Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway

This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart Layaway blogger, though all opinions are my own.

It's getting to be that time of year when people are starting to think about buying holiday gifts.  That makes it a good time to think about Kmart Layaway.  Instead of maxing out the credit cards and going into debt, shoppers can pay a small down payment ($15 or 10%, whichever is greater) and make regular biweekly payments until their items are paid for.  Payments can be made online or at any Kmart register.  I could find plenty of items to  put on Kmart Layaway, like the Barnes & Noble NOOK Color, a Green+Life 10PC Ceramic Cookware Set, the Ninja Kitchen System, and a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor, to name a few.  I'm not so sure I'd be willing to give any of those things away, though.
Why Kmart Layaway and not Walmart, Best Buy, or some other store?  Check out the benefits of the Kmart Layaway system that those other stores don't have, like the online layaway option (how convenient is that?), no minimum transaction amount, the ability to pay online and pick up in store, and more.
Kmart Free Layaway Grid 09_12.jpg

Ordinarily there is a fee to put something on layaway, but right now Kmart is waiving the service fees and offering free layaway on contracts initiated from 9/9/2012 through 11/17/12.  There's also a chance you could have the remaining balance of your layaway purchase paid for with Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway.  There will be one layaway giveaway per store per week every week from 9/9/12 through 11/17/12.  That's a lot of winners!  I know I'd love to win.

There is no purchase required to enter the giveaway.  For more information about how to enter, whether you make a purchase or not, and to get the Official Rules, visit a participating Kmart location or www.kmart.com/layawaygiveaway.

BLG_Logo_Horizontal.jpg (3 documents, 3 total pages)

Good luck and happy shopping.

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My Well-Being

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of My Well-Being Powered by Humana for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Any time is a good time to think about your well-being, not just health, but peace of mind, family, finances, and just over-all contentment with life.  Yes, there will always be things in your life that you can and should change, but a big part of life is learning to embrace, enjoy and appreciate what you have.  Of course, that is always going to be a challenge because our society is so much about keeping up with the Joneses and wanting what we do not have, but it's a worthy goal.

MWB Logo (3)
There's a very comprehensive site from Humana called My Well-Being that is designed to help people do just that.  Start by taking the My Well-Being Assessment to evaluate your well-being today, and get the tools you need to improve it.  The site offers expert articles on everything from health and wellness to saving money and organizing your family.  There are also online games to play, polls to take, and special offers and discounts available just for members.  Since well-being means something different for everyone, it's easy to customize the content you want to see and get the things that will be most useful for you personally.  For instance, I probably won't spend too much time looking at the articles and content on saving money, because those kinds of articles usually just tell me stuff I already know.  But I'm hoping to find some content on life after the kids grow up and move out, because I could use some help figuring out what comes next.

Watch this video for more information about My Well-Being from Humana:
About MyWell-Being from mywell-being on Vimeo.

Be sure to check it out and see what kind of tools and resources My Well-Being has for your well-being.  It's free to register, and all of the content is free.  You'll also get a FREE Dummies book mailed to you just for signing up.  Choose from - Retirement for Dummies, Well-Being for Dummies, and Living the Boomer Life for Dummies.  Whichever book you choose, you can read the other ones too if you want - they're available as e-books on the site.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Is Anybody Looking?

I feel like I need to keep the house nice at all times - just in case somebody wants to come look at it.  Of course, I also feel like that's impossible, because I live here.  So I just feel like I'm continually straightening up but getting nowhere.  And nobody is looking anyway.

So far we've had a couple people actually come look at the house, the first weekend after it was listed.  Then we had an open house a couple weeks later, and some people came through.  After that, nothing.

We finally got some information from the realtor, and it looks like people are looking at the website, but for whatever reason, they aren't actually coming to look at the house.  I think it looks pretty good in the pictures, and if I was planning to move to this area, it would be one I'd want to look at.  Is that just because it's my house and I like it?  I guess I might be biased.

Maybe there's something we don't have that people are really looking for, like a double sink bathroom vanity, or maybe a dishwasher, so they're looking at other houses instead.  Of course, those things can be fixed, if they like the rest of the house, right?  At least that's the way I'm trying to think when I look at houses for us.  It might even be fun to shop online for a new bathroom vanity or maybe a kitchen island, something to make the house their own.

The realtor suggested maybe lowering the price already.  But first I'd like to get a little more information, like why he thinks people aren't looking.  Is anybody actually looking at houses in town? Which houses are they looking at?  Are they looking at the houses that are listed at a lower price?  Are they looking at houses that have features our house doesn't have?  A realtor should be able to tell us that kind of stuff, right? 

And remember, we may not have a double sink bathroom vanity, but we have a very nice house, so if you or anyone you know is thinking about moving to Eagle, Wisconsin - be sure to look at my house!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Buddy is Back

Weasley didn't adjust very well to having Beth's cats living here.  He was beginning to be more comfortable and even to assert himself toward the end there, but he just wasn't the same cat.  Tillie was the one that surprised me, because she didn't seem to mind having the extra guys around at all - and she's the one I thought would have problems, because she's always so timid.

It didn't take Weasley long after the other two cats moved out, however, to get back to being his old self.  He's my snuggly boy again.  He comes and sits on my lap or next to me on the couch while I'm on the computer, like now.  He comes to bed and snuggles up.  Sometimes he just curls up next to my legs, but other times he wakes me up by purring in my face, and he won't leave me alone until I let him under the covers to snuggle up next to me.  During the day he usually follows me from room to room while I'm working on whatever it is I'm doing.  I rarely get a chance to go to the bathroom by myself.

He's such a little buddy cat.  He seems to think he always needs to be close, and watching him you'd think he's been neglected and never gets enough attention.  It's not like he couldn't have had attention when the other cats lived here!  I don't know why he was so weird while they were here, but it's kinda nice to have my little buddy back.  Except maybe when he's purring in my face when I'm trying to sleep...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vipre Antivirus

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of GFI for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've been using Vipre Antivirus on my computer for a while now.  It was really easy to download and install right from their website.  Here's a screenshot from my computer while I was installing it:

Vipre is being installed

There was a lot of helpful information as Vipre installed, and then it did a quick scan of my computer while i was installing.  I don't guess it found anything, because it said something like, "you rock." when it got done, and then I got to start using the software.

Along with installation comes the option to join ThreatNet, a worldwide network of thousands of VIPRE Antivirus, and VIPRE Internet Security users sharing and identifying potentially dangerous program files (both through manual submissions and automatically), resulting in the blocking of new malware almost as quickly as it is released into the wild.  Unknown risks can be automatically sent as soon as they are detected, allowing VIPRE to add them to definition updates and protect users from new malware.  I joined because I want to do everything in my power to stop viruses and malware before they cause problems.  Since I have no idea how or why they work, this at least is something I can do.

One of the things I like best about Vipre is the ability to schedule regular scans of my computer.  If I have to remember to scan every week - or however often I want my computer scanned - I probably won't do it, because I'm going to be busy using my computer for other things - and I usually remember about as soon as I shut the computer down for the night.  By scheduling it to scan automatically, I don't have to think about it again, but I know my computer is being checked for all the bad stuff.  Vipre is supposed to work without using a lot of system resources, so it's possible to scan the computer while also using it for other things.  I still like to set it up to scan overnight, at a time when I'm not using the computer, and I like that there's a box to check to shutdown computer after scan - so, just because I'm scanning at bedtime, that doesn't mean my computer has to run all night.

I have run a couple scans while I was using my computer for other things, and I really did not notice that it slowed my computer down.  I love that, because I've had other antivirus programs that pretty much made it impossible to do anything else while a scan was running - which is why I just started setting it up to scan when I was in bed.

Of course there's also the Active Protection which looks for and catches things in real time, which I think is the most important part of any anti-virus program.  If you're like me, you spend a lot of time online, interacting on facebook and other social media sites.  While there are a lot of positives, there are always risks that clicking the wrong link can invite a virus onto your computer.  I try to be really careful and don't click questionable links, but you can never be too careful, and it's so very important to have a program that is looking out for you. Vipre also comes with free US-based technical support.  You know what that means - when you call with a problem, you'll be able to understand what they're trying to tell you!

Be sure to check out Vipre for yourself.  You can find out all about the features and what it can do for you on the vipreantivirus.com website and http://www.facebook.com/GFIVIPREAntivirus.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

If it Was ANY OTHER Window...

Cory got his first car early this summer, a 2001 Ford Taurus.  The car came with a 30-day 'warranty' - meaning that the dealership had checked the car over and said that it was in good shape, but if anything would need fixed in the first 30 days, we could get it fixed, in their service center, and they'd split the cost with us.  Which sounds pretty good, except for the fact that we bought the car one week, and Cory headed to Door County for the summer early the following week, and he wouldn't be back until the 30 days was up.  And, of course, the car had a few issues, the biggest of which is that his driver's side window sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  Sometimes it goes down and won't go back up again - until, randomly, it finally decides to work.  Sometimes it just won't go down at all.

Now, if it was any other window, Cory could probably live with it, but the driver's side window?  Toll booths, drive-ups, drive throughs, talking to somebody without getting out of the car, etc.  You don't realize how often you use your window until it doesn't work.

So, Jeffrey reported it to our salesman, and then called him again last week to see if there was anything they could do.  He managed to get us the 50/50 warranty deal, even though our time was up, so today I took Cory's car to get it fixed.  He would have taken it himself, but with classes and rehearsal and all the things he has going on, he didn't feel like he would have time, so he brought me his car yesterday so I could take it.  It's a good thing he didn't try to take it - because I was there all day.

I got there at 11am, told them what the issue was - and the window was not working then, so they could see it for themselves.  They said to give them an hour or so...  So I finished my book, played my turns in Words with Friends, checked Facebook, etc.  I really should have taken my computer and gotten some work done, but I didn't think it would take that long.

Two hours later the service advisor I was working with came to let me know that they couldn't figure out what the problem was because they didn't have the right equipment to read the codes, so they needed to take it over to the Ford dealership where they would have the right equipment.  Did I mention this was at the Honda dealership?  Yeah, that's where we bought the car.  Not a Honda; just a Taurus somebody traded in for a Honda.  Probably.

Anyway, the Ford garage could get it in at 2pm - did I want to wait?  I figured I might as well since I was already there.  So I waited.  Apparently, over at Ford, the window decided to work.  But they did whatever it is they do to get the codes and found out which part was bad - some kind of junction box that controls all the windows.  Good, right?  Except that part has been discontinued.  So they couldn't fix it.  By then it was almost 4pm.

So they're going to look for a used part.  And I'll have to go back to get it fixed.  And hopefully it won't take too long since they already figured out what's wrong and just have to change out the part.   At least I can hope.  Because spending all day waiting for a car to be fixed is not my idea of fun.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Just Me and the Cats

Jeffrey is on his way back to Champaign for another week of work.  Cory, of course, is off at college where he's so busy he doesn't even have time to come home on weekends.  And Beth moved out this weekend.

So, it's just me and the cats - thankfully just the two cats that actually live here, because Beth took her two away.  Yay!  Four cats in one house is just too many.  I am going to miss that little guy, even if I'm not going to miss the cats.  Not that I've seen him much at all in recent weeks.  Ever since Tim moved out, Beth has pretty much never been here, not coming home at night, not calling, acting like she didn't live here at all.  So I guess nothing much is going to change around here - except that I'm not going to be responsible for taking care of her cats in addition to taking care of ours.

Now, what to do all alone in the house?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

It's Football Season; Get to B-Dubs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Buffalo Wild Wings for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I'd never seen so many people so crazy about football until we moved to Wisconsin.  Here it seems that everything is about the Packers - even when it's not football season. When it is football season, pretty much everybody in the state is watching when there's a game on.

Except us.  We've learned it's a good time to go shopping. There are no crowds!  Of course, the football game is on in every store that sells televisions, and it's on the radio in the stores that don't.  So there's really no getting away from it.

And then there was the time we were out shopping and decided to go get something to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.  The game was on, and the whole place was full.  Not too full that we couldn't get a table, but there were plenty of people in there enjoying a good meal and a good time while watching the game on the big screen televisions.  It actually turned out to be fun, and while I wasn't exactly cheering - or even understanding what was going on - I found myself watching the game too.

And of course the food was great.  I usually go for the wings (Love their wings!), and Jeffrey doesn't care too much for wings, so he always gets a burger.  They have good burgers.  The Buffalo Chicken Flatbread is really good, too.  I got that the time we were in there during the football game.

So, whether you LOVE football or just tolerate it, Buffalo Wild Wings is a great place to catch the game. If you don't really care about the game, you can still get some good food and enjoy hanging out with your family and friends.  If you love football, you won't miss a second of the game, because they have huge television screens on every wall and throughout the restaurant, so everyone has a good view, and nobody has to make all the game-day snacks!

Protect the football. Get to B-Dubs. There's something for everybody.

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Common Courtesy

Another one of those things I failed to teach.

Or at least half failed.

Should I really have to constantly ask, "Where are you going?"  "When will you be back?"  "Will you be back?"

So I don't ask.  Common courtesy says when you live with other people, you keep them informed, if not about where you'll be, at least when or if you'll be back.  Doesn't it?  And, yes, parents are people too.  Treating them as less than does not prove that you're an adult.

Parenting Resources

Parenting is one of those things that is so important, but it's something you have to learn as you go.  You pretty much get it figured out by the time your kids are all grown up!  Or at least you get to sit back and watch your own kids get what they deserve when their own kids put them through the same things they did to you!  Oh, payback!

Of course, the more resources a parent has, the better.  Books, friends, family, websites - there are lots of resources out there.  The trick is to find the ones that will work for you and your family. 

I've been checking out this site called EverydayFamily that offers resources from preconception to preschool and beyond.  Parents can get expert advice and read helpful articles on everything from pregnancy symptoms to baby milestones and beyond and get tips and weekly development newsletters, and even sign up for rewards programs and enter Sweepstakes to win prizes.

I noticed that Beth liked EverydayFamily on facebook, so hopefully she's getting some good tips and information about taking care of her little guy.  He's a precious one.  Maybe she really deserves an ornery brat, but it will be better for all of us, and Jason, if he's got an informed mommy who can take good care of him.  If you're looking for parenting resources, be sure to check out EverydayFamily.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

It's Times Like These that I Really Need a Man

English: Unknown house spider crawling through...
Unknown house spider crawling through the bathroom. Seattle WA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was in my bathroom this evening.  I dried my hands on the hand towel, and then my face. And that's when a spider came crawling out of one side of the towel and quickly crawled right back in.  A spider.  Seriously.  What was a spider doing in the towel?

This wasn't some wimpy little spider either.  It was a big brown one.

This is when I would usually scream, leave the room, and get one of the guys to take care of that nasty spider.  Except there are no men in the house.  Jeffrey is gone during the week working at his new job, and Cory went back to college.  The only guy in the house is Jason, and he's already in bed - not that he'd be any help in this case.

So I sucked it up, went and got the fly swatter, and then I grabbed a corner of that towel and shook the spider out of the towel and into the sink.  And I killed him with that fly swatter.  And washed him down the drain by running the hot water for several minutes.  Can't have him crawling back out of that drain, now can we?

Now I'm just all crawly.  You know how after you see a bug or a spider, you keep feeling something crawling in your hair and across your body, even though there's nothing there.  Ughhh.  And I'm wondering if it's safe to use any of my towels without first shaking them out, just to make sure there's not a spider hiding inside.
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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What's With the Purple Carpet?

We've been looking for our new house. 

(First of all, we really need someone to come along and buy our house.  It's a really nice house.  I wouldn't move if we didn't have to.  But... So, if you know somebody looking for a house in the Eagle, WI area, send them our way.)

In the meantime, we've been looking at houses in the Champaign, IL area.  I've been looking at so many houses online that I'm having a hard time remembering which house is which.  There are quite a few houses available.  The trick is going to be finding the right one - or at least one that we can live with.  Unless we decide to build another house so we can pick the floor plan, the cabinets, the flooring, the colors, the lighting, and everything else, we're going to have to live with some things that won't be exactly what we would have chosen.  Not to say that there aren't some really nice houses.

But the otherwise nice houses will have a small or poorly designed kitchen.  The houses with nice kitchens will be lacking something else.  I found some really nice houses, but they only had a 1-car garage.  And since Jeffrey finally got his trailer, he's hoping to find a nice, affordable house with a 3-car garage.  Or at least room to park his trailer.  We've got plenty of room for the trailer here, but the lots all these houses are sitting on - they're so small!  They really do build these houses right on top of each other, and there's just nowhere for the trailer to go.

A relatively small percentage of the houses for sale in the area have basements.  We have a basement.  It's a nice basement.  We like it.  Do we really need a basement?  Maybe not, but we've been through a tornado; I'd really like a basement.  We haven't completely ruled out buying a house without a basement, but we'd have to figure out where stuff goes.  Sure, we can get a house that gives us the same amount of square footage we have now, counting the living space in the basement, but where does the stuff we have in the storage room in the back go?  Where does the 2nd refrigerator go?  And the deep freeze?  Where is Jeffrey going to display his Jack Daniels collection?  Not to say we can't change the way we do things and figure out how to make something else work, and if he built a classy display cabinet for all his bottles, it could work in a main-floor family room instead of a basement rec room, but we just have to figure it out before we commit to something.  And I really am going to get rid of some of that stuff we've collected over the years, though I know it won't be enough that we don't need some kind of storage.

While looking at these houses I've been amazed at all the colors - different colors in every room.  And here I agonized over picking just one color - besides the basic 'white' - to go on my walls!  I do really like the green we chose, but do you know how much trouble I had choosing which color to use as the main color and which green I liked best?  How in the world do people choose so many colors?  Why do they want all those colors?  (If you have different colors in every room, feel free to let me know)  Some of their colors aren't too bad - earthtones and fairly neutral colors - and I could probably live with them, at least for a while.  Others?  The entire house will need repainted.  Thankfully I know what colors I like now!  And painting is something that can be done without too much trouble.  Wallpaper and borders in every room is another thing.  That might be a bit more trouble to fix - and it definitely must be fixed!  Can you paint over wallpaper, or does it need to be removed first?  Sounds like a lot of work.

And then there are the houses with the purple carpet.  Or is it pink or rose?  It's kind of hard to tell in the pictures, but whatever color it is, it would have to go - immediately.  Why would anybody choose that color?  Why is it even available?  Of course, we eventually want to take all the carpet out of the house and go with all hard surfaces.  Carpet that color would just mean we have to do it sooner, I guess.  But I'd also want to pay less for the house so we'd have the money to do it.  All our upgrades here have been done over time.

And then there are the houses that are gorgeous, with nice kitchens, and basements, and they even cost less than some of the others.  Perfect, right?  But they're what they call 'zero lot' homes, meaning they're attached to somebody else's house, and you really don't have any yard.  Maybe a patio or deck, separated from the next-door neighbors' patio or deck by a fence.  Definitely no room for the trailer, but one of those could be nice - if only I can be sure that the neighbors aren't smokers, because I can't imagine living that close to somebody who smokes.  If they're outside, I can't be.  If they're outside, all my windows have to be closed...  Not that some of these other unattached houses are that much further apart....

Oh well, we'll keep looking and hopefully find something we really like and that gives us everything we need.  We may even change our ideas of what we need by the time we find something.

And don't forget - we have an awesome house for sale in Eagle, and it has everything you need!  (and everything we need, except for its location)
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