Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Braces or Invisalign?

Did you have braces when you were growing up?  I didn't, but I always thought it would be cool to have them.  Yeah, I'm probably weird.  Most of the kids I knew who had braces wished they didn't have them.  I'm sure there was more to it than that they just didn't like the way they looked, but I remember kids with braces not wanting to smile and show the braces.

Nowadays teens (and adults) can get straighter teeth and a perfect smile with clear braces from invisalign montreal or another experienced Invisalign Preferred Provider.  Invisalign's clear aligners are virtually invisible so most people won't even notice them, and they're meant to be removed when you eat or brush your teeth, meaning you can eat whatever you want, no restrictions.  And they're more comfortable than traditional metal braces, which can irritate cheeks and gums.  See, I didn't really know what I would have been getting into when I thought it would be cool to have braces.

The cost and length of treatment is usually comparable to the cost of traditional braces, but the comfort and convenience of invisalign makes it worth asking your local or montreal dentist if invisalign is right for you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Do’s and Don’ts of Raising a Healthy Child

The following is a guest post by Adrienne Razon.

Raising a healthy child can be a challenge, especially with so many temptations around your kids, such as junk food advertising, television and computers, and other factors that lead them to live a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. The key to steering your kids away from these influences is to build a strong foundation and to lead by example, so they can learn how to distinguish “healthy” from “unhealthy.”

Before pointing out effective methods to raising a healthy child, you need to be aware of what habits need to be avoided.
  1. Believing that “fat-free” or “low-fat” products are healthy – People need certain types of fat in their diet, such as those that can be obtained from animal sources, coconut oil, and raw nuts.
  2. Using sweets and junk food as a reward for good behavior – This will only encourage kids to think that unhealthy snacks are good for them.
  3. Forcing your kid to finish his meal – Kids will naturally stop eating when they’re full. To avoid wasting food, serve small portions.
  4. Letting your kids eat refined carbs and drink soda – Pizza, mac and cheese, fries, and burgers should not be a part of your kid’s meal. Soda and fruit juices are not ideal beverages for kids.
  5. Not eating a healthy meal yourself – If kids see that you yourself don’t eat any vegetables or other healthy foods, they will automatically follow suit and refuse to eating them.
Now that you have an idea of what you shouldn’t do, it’s time to focus on guidelines that will help you raise a healthy kid. Here are some of them.

Your Own Health Matters

What you eat or do during pregnancy will have a significant effect on your fetus’ growth and development. Maintain your optimal health (and your baby’s) by eating right and exercising regularly.  Consult your doctor on what foods to eat and supplements you can take, as well as what exercises you can do.

Remember that Breastfeeding is Crucial

The more and longer you breastfeed, the more successful your baby’s development will be. Breast milk provides DHA that contributes to your baby’s brain development. At the same time, it can deliver other important nutrients, such as vitamin K.

Take Advantage of the Sunshine

The best source of vitamin D is ample sunshine exposure. Take your child outside for at least 15 minutes a day to optimize his vitamin D levels.

Plan Your Child’s Diet

As much as possible, your child’s diet should be organic. Avoid snacks and beverages loaded with sugar and preservatives. If you train your kids to eat vegetables early, they will find no difficulty in resisting processed and junk foods. It is also ideal to prepare your own food. Let your kids help you. Lead by example.

Encourage Them to Be Active

Encourage your kids to make exercise a part of their daily activities. Prevent them from being sedentary, letting them watch TV or playing computer games for hours.

You don’t need to enroll them in exercise classes. Instead, encourage them to do fun activities,  such as sports, riding bikes, or simply play with them outdoors. The more you do these activities with them, the more your kids will be inspired to stay active. At the same time, doing physical activities together will strengthen your bond as a family.

Stick to a Schedule

Kids can understand time better if you create a schedule for them. Teach them to eat, sleep, and wake up on time. This also gives them a sense of security.

Make Informed Decisions

When it comes to vaccinations or drugs, find out all the details. This will enable you to create informed decisions for your kids.

Use Natural and Organic Products

The immune systems of infants and children are still in the process of developing. Any exposure to chemicals may put them at risk for serious complications in the future. Lessen their exposure by replacing detergents, cleaners, insect repellants, and personal care products to natural and organic varieties.

Take note of these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to nurturing a healthy child.

About the Author

Adrienne Razon works as a writer at and produces natural health articles. She is currently doing research on important nutrients that children should receive in optimal amounts, such as vitamin K, vitamin D, antioxidants, and probiotics.

How About a Green Roof?

It's a good thing they have an English version of this site, because I really didn't know what it was about when I clicked the link for couvreur montreal. So I checked out the English version, and now I'm really interested in this green roofing.  I'm not sure it's really appropriate here, but how great for a city.  It turns a roof into additional living space with room for gardening and recreation.  Not only that, but it reduces the effects of greenhouse gases and can double the life of the roofing by providing protection from UV rays and extreme temperature variations.

I really like the idea of being able to take a previously ugly and unused space and turn it into a new green space.  It gives new life to the building and helps to provide a better quality of life for the community.  I know I'd appreciate having a place like this if I had to live in a big city.  I'm used to my green spaces, my yard and my garden!

For more information on green roofing, how it can optimize the potential of a building, and all the many benefits, be sure to check out toiture montreal and take a look at some of the projects they've completed.
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remember the Coupon Code

In today's tough economy, every little bit you can save counts.  When shopping online, that means looking for a coupon code before you check out.  For instance, if you need a lot of table cloths, you can save up to 20% by using a tableclothsfactory coupon code offered right on the site.  Other times you'll just have to do a web search for coupon codes for the site you are buying from.  Whether it's 10% off your order, free shipping, or some other savings, it's worth the extra few minutes it takes to search.

Another great way to save money on online shopping is to use one of the cash back sites such as Ebates, ShopatHome, and Big Crumbs.  I have referral links in my sidebar for each of those sites, so if you haven't yet signed up for them, please consider using those links.  You'll get a bonus just for signing up, and so will I!

Not only do those sites give you cash back for practically every purchase you make online, they also list available coupons codes, helping you save as much as possible.

The key really is remembering to use them.  Every time.  You know me; I love to save a penny.  I still catch myself ordering something online and then remembering the next day that I should have checked one of those sites to see if I could get cash back on my purchase.  And I torture myself by checking to see how much I could have saved, and I promise to do better next time.

If you really want to save, remember those coupon codes and be sure to shop through one of the cash back sites every time you shop online.  Those savings can really add up.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jason's Big Weekend

Jason got to ride in an ambulance twice last night and then spend the night in the hospital.  Very scary night for his parents.

He was beginning his weekend with his dad, and he found an open bottle of tea tree oil, and he drank some of it.  They immediately called Poison Control and were told to call 911, and he got his first ambulance ride to the hospital in Waukesha. From there they sent him by ambulance to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee where he had to spend the night.  He was having some breathing problems and was very lethargic, and they needed to keep an eye on him.

Thankfully it was just something that had to get out of his system, and now he's safely back home with his daddy.  Definitely NOT the kind of weekend his daddy had planned with him, I'm sure.

It's just scary how quickly a little guy can get into things.  And he's getting taller so he can reach things he didn't used to be able to reach.  Now things we think are put up out of his reach aren't out of his reach anymore.  The other night when he was here I was getting ready to cut some onions and mushrooms for our scrambled eggs, and he reached up and almost got his hand on the handle of the knife.  I was right there and quickly pushed the knife and cutting board further from the edge of the counter, but how quickly he could have gotten a hand on that knife and knocked it off and maybe hurt himself.

Oh, little boy!  And we're not used to having a little guy around, so it's hard to think of everything. Of course that's why I can't get anything done when he's here - I have to keep an eye on him every second.  It doesn't have anything to do with just wanting all the hugs, kisses, smiles, and goofiness I can get!  So glad that little guy is OK!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

If the Shoe Fits...

Beth wanted to see a movie tonight with some of her friends, so she asked if I'd watch Jason.  How could I say no to that?  It's been a while since we've hung out.  We read books, scribbled with colored pencils, played 'catch' with a ball, ate dinner and animal crackers, danced, snuggled, and Jason tried on all my shoes.  Well, several pairs of them anyway.

I guess in the end he decided that none of them were the right pair after all.  Goofy little guy!  Gotta love him.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'll Probably Vacuum the Basement, Too

My house didn't really look bad, but I've been busy this week cleaning bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, clearing away clutter, etc.  I still have to wonder how that clutter accumulates so quickly! 

Good thing I've been working on it, because now the house looks really good - just in time for a showing.  Our real estate agent called today to tell me that someone wants to come look at the house tomorrow afternoon, and I didn't feel all panicked about it and that I'd have to rush around like a crazy person trying to get everything ready.  It's pretty much all done, except for making sure dishes are washed and put away and any extra stuff that can be cleared off the kitchen counters is cleared away.  (I really would like to be able to keep it perfect at all times, but I live here.)

I may or may not vacuum the basement and the stairs.  I just did the upstairs yesterday.  I think the basement looks pretty good, because we're not really using it right now.  If I had one of these Miele Vacuum cleaners (one of the canister style) I'd probably just do it.  It's not like it's that big of a deal to carry my vacuum cleaner down the stairs, but still...

We used to have a vacuum cleaner in the basement too, but Jeffrey has that at the apartment now.  It's not like we specifically bought a vacuum cleaner for the basement.  It was just one that we had before we bought the one I have now, and there was another one we had in between, but that one broke.  When I think about how many vacuum cleaners we've had over the years, I'm thinking I should have had one of these Miele cleaners.  They're designed and engineered for a lifetime of at least 20 years and Miele’s unique 12-stage AirClean™ filtration system retains over 99.9% of all fine particles from the air without releasing harmful particulates and allergens back into your home, which I think is even more important.

I'm bookmarking this webpage because next time I need a vacuum, I want to look at these.  They even offer free shipping on all purchases, and no tax outside of Virginia.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The New Face of HSN (and a Giveaway) has completely relaunched all their digital channels, making the customer experience faster, more efficient and more social than ever before.  To celebrate the new look, is running a Super (Re)Model Sweepstakes! There will be Weekly Grand Prize Winners and Daily Winners all this month, so be sure to enter.

The enhanced social aspect on means that customers will be able to easily share their product finds, thoughts and reviews with their friends via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  So, if you like shopping with friends, this is for you!  Whether shopping from home or on the go with your smart phone, HSN is committed to providing the same content rich experience, anywhere and everywhere.  Mobile apps are available for for iPad, iPhone and Android.

The integrated social media tools are also a big part of "The 20" - a list of 20 of the best HSN,com products, specially selected.  Customers vote for their favorites, and once the votes are tallied, those who voted for the winning product get a special discount on that product.   (Be sure to scroll down the page so you can vote for your favorite.)

Giveaway: has also agreed to give a $10 HSN gift card to two winners.  To enter, simply leave a comment here telling me what you will use your gift card toward when you win.  Get an extra entry for tweeting about this giveaway - be sure to leave a comment with a link to your tweet.  You can tweet once per day.  And I'll give you another entry for tweeting and letting know what you like best about the remodel (be sure to use #HSNRemodel in your tweet), and leave me a link to that tweet, too.

Good luck!  Giveaway is open to US residents only, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm Central Time on February 5, 2013.

Disclosure: I am being compensated by for this post.  All opinions are mine.

It's Cold Out There!

I walk nearly every morning, all year long.  Even in the winter.  My cut-off temperature is -20° with the wind chill.  If it's that cold, I stay in.  That means yesterday and today I did not go walking. Instead, I stayed in and did some exercise videos off YouTube, which worked out perfectly fine yesterday, but my internet went down for a bit this morning, and I was regretting that I haven't downloaded some of these videos for just such an occasion.  In the meantime I ran up and down the stairs - enough times that my quads were burning - and did some crunches and stretches, until the internet came back and I could do one of the videos.

Yesterday when I got up it was really windy, the kind of windy that could have people calling a roofing contractor calgary to replace missing shingles.  Thankfully, we've got a nice new roof with a great warranty.  Those shingles are not going anywhere!  And neither was I.  Besides the wind, there were icy looking little snowflakes flying around, and it did not look like fun at all.  Even if the wind chill hadn't been -20° I'd have been tempted to stay in.

This morning it looked much better.  No real noticeable wind, certainly not the kind that would have anybody calling roofing calgary, and the sun was shining.  It couldn't be that cold, could it? My phone said the air temperature was -5°, and the television said the wind chill was around -25° - even colder than yesterday.  That sunshine was very deceptive.  YouTube videos or no YouTube videos, I'm glad I didn't attempt to walk anyway.  I went out later this afternoon, after it had warmed up some, to get the mail and take some trash out.  I put my coat on, a hat, and some gloves, and I was only out there for a few minutes, but that was enough to discover that no matter how nice it might look out there, it was bitterly cold.

It's supposed to be a bit warmer tomorrow.  I'm hoping to finally get out there and walk.  I'm happy to have YouTube exercise videos as backup, but there's just something about getting outside in the fresh air.  Maybe I'll just double-check those shingles when I do...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Emmy Rossum Sentimental Journey

I heard Emmy Rossum sing on one of the shows (was it GMA?) I was watching a week or so ago, and I was blown away by her voice.  This girl can sing!

So, when I was offered the chance to preview her new CD Sentimental Journey, I jumped at it.  I received the CD on Friday, popped it into the CD player and listened to it over and over.  And over.  With so many of today's music stars hiding marginal talent behind auto-tune and creative editing, it's refreshing to listen to a CD that shows real talent.  There are none of those gimmicks here, just real music and real vocals - and real feeling.

The CD is:
A collection of covers of classic songs that span the '20s to the '60s. The album's highlights include its title track, which was a No. 1 hit for Les Brown and His Band of Renown with Doris Day as the vocalist in 1945; "These Foolish Things," a '30s standard that has been recorded by everyone from Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby to Rod Stewart and Michael Buble; "Summer Wind," which was popularized by Frank Sinatra in 1966; and "I"ll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time," which was a Top 5 hit for the Andrews Sisters in 1941.
So it's quite a collection of songs, most of them from before my time, and all of them from before Ms. Rossum's time - but she makes them all her own.  Emmy Rossum is meant to sing these songs!  She chose the songs on this CD as an emotional and musical journey, with each song representing a month of the year.  Each song either lyrically or emotionally reflects the corresponding month - Summer Wind for June, and Pretty Paper for December, were obvious fits lyrically.  Others were chosen for the emotional feeling of the song.  For example, she chose Nobody Knows You (When You're Down and Out) for September because, "the plaintive melody and lyric emotionally reflect the cold weather creeping in and the sense of melancholy we can get in the fall months."

I must admit, I did not realize the CD was meant as a journey through the year when I first listened to it, but I will be paying attention to that the next time I listen.  It really adds another layer to the overall experience.  As it is, I have several 'favorite' songs on this CD already.  I really love Summer Wind and Many Tears Ago and also Things.  Here's the complete track list.  Perhaps you'll find some favorites of your own.
  1. “Sentimental Journey” (Les Brown, Ben Homer, Arthur Green)
  2. “The Object Of My Affection” (Pinky Tomlin)
  3. “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover “(Mort Dixon, Harry M. Woods)
  4. “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” (Eric Maschwitz, Jack Strachey)
  5. “(I’ll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time” (Albert Von Tilzer, Neville Fleeson)
  6. “Summer Wind” (Heinz Meier, Johnny Mercer)
  7. “Many Tears Ago” (Winfield Scott)
  8. “All I Do Is Dream Of You” (Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed)
  9. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” (Jimmy Cox)
  10. “Autumn Leaves” (Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prévert)
  11. “Things” (Bobby Darin)
  12. “Pretty Paper” (Willie Nelson)

Sentimental Journey will be available January 29.  Preorder on Amazon or iTunes now.  Also, be sure to mark your calendars - Emmy will be appearing on Access Hollywood Live on January 25th where she will be performing a song from this CD. She'll also be appearing as a guest on Conan on January 28th, Chelsea Lately on January 29th, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on February 6th.

Be sure to visit the official Emmy Rossum web site and follow Emmy on Twitter to keep up with all the latest.

Note: I received a free copy of the CD from One2One Network to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oh, Pinterest!

Heart shaped candle favors
Heart shaped candle favors (Photo credit: Regal Ribbons)
I'm having a really hard time getting anything done today - and it's not just because I keep going through doors and forgetting what I'm about! (See last post)

No, I settled down to get busy this morning, checked my email, and promptly got distracted by Pinterest!  Somebody started following one of my boards or repinned one of my pins, or some such thing.  So, of course, I had to go check it out.  If you're on Pinterest, you'll understand.  If you're not, let me explain.

Pinterest is this beautiful site full of images and links from all over the internet.  There are so many people pinning and sharing and so many wonderful things just begging to be explored.  It's really easy to get completely and totally immersed - liking and clicking and pinning while scrolling down the never-ending page.  Seriously, have you ever actually come to the end of the page on Pinterest?  It just keeps fetching more and more pins!

I mostly use Pinterest to collect recipes I want to try, and I've found some really good ones there.  It's certainly a good way to save recipes for later browsing and inspiration when I'm wondering what to fix for dinner.  I also collect instructions for craft projects I'll probably never actually get around to trying, but you never know. I've noticed that a lot of people use Pinterest to plan their weddings.  It's a great tool for pulling together all those little details, everything from possible dresses to where to get personalized ribbon for favors. See an idea or something wedding-related, pin it!  It really is so handy.

The problem, I think, is narrowing it down in the end, when it really comes time to plan that wedding.  I remember having no clue where to start when it came time to plan our wedding. What exactly was supposed to go into a wedding?  Thankfully, we came up with something very simple that worked for us.  It did not involve favors, tied up with personalized ribbon or otherwise.

A few years later we helped some friends with their wedding - not the planning itself, but a lot of the set-up and helping with the details the day of.  That's when I realized that planning a wedding could be a whole lot more complicated than what we did - and I was very thankful that I hadn't even known some of those details could (should?) be a part of a wedding.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.  Imagine if I'd had Pinterest back then - I could have been so swamped by possibilities that I couldn't have planned anything.  Really, I find it so much easier to make a decision when I don't have so many things to choose from.  (Does anybody remember how hard it was to make all those choices when we were having the house redone?)  I can just see being sucked into the Pinterest vortex, pinning, pinning, pinning, never coming to the end.  Yeah, it's a good thing...

In the end, we're just as married after our simple wedding as those who put together a big, fancy wedding.  It's not really about the wedding after all - it's about the marriage!
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It's the Door!

Shadows and The door
This came in my email last week and made the facebook rounds, too. 

Now it all makes sense:

Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to forget what that purpose was?

Turns out, doors are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an "event boundary" in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next.

Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

It's not aging, it's the darn door!

Whew! Thank goodness for studies

Since I read this, I've been noticing more and more that it must be true.  Even the act of opening a door can trigger this - for instance when I open the pantry door and then stand there for several minutes trying to remember what I was looking for.  It's nice to have something to blame.

Of course, that doesn't help me remember what I walked into this room for...
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Friday, January 11, 2013

It Could Be the Pillow

I was trying to get comfortable in bed the other morning and get back to sleep.  Sometimes I feel like I'm waking up every hour or so all night long, and then other nights I go to sleep and know nothing until it's time to get up in the morning.  The other night I think it was worrying about selling the house and whether or not the would-be buyers would be willing to negotiate - and mostly how in the world was I going to be ready to leave my house.  So, of course, I wasn't sleeping really well.

I tried blaming it on my pillow, though.  I'm wondering if I should try using another pillow for a while.  It seems that, no matter how comfortable a pillow is for a while, it eventually just doesn't seem to work for me.  I wake up feeling like I need to head out to massage montréal (or massothérapie montréal for those who speak French, which I don't.)  I just feel like I'm either not lying on the pillow properly, or it's not supporting me in the right way, or something.  My back feels out of line, my shoulders feel tight, I wake up with a headache, etc.  Yeah, a massage would be nice, wouldn't it? 

I'm sure there is some information available telling me how often I should get a new pillow and what the best type of pillow is for the way I sleep, but I'm not sure that's it.  Usually when I get to this point, I just swap my pillow out for a different kind - one I've used in the past - and I'm good for a while.  Until the next time.

Of course, it could be the stress of selling the house - probably is the stress - but it won't hurt to find that old pillow.  Now, which one was it, and where did I put that thing?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

So Many Dishes

If I'm the only one home, how in the world can there be so many dishes?  In one day.

All clean

Oh yeah - I made bread, cooked the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, warmed up some chili and made some cornbread for dinner, and there were also dishes in there from breakfast and lunch.  They do add up, but I can stack a lot of them in the drainer, because, while I kinda like washing dishes, I do not like drying them.  Mostly that's because I have the hardest time actually getting them dry.  Seriously, sometimes I can't even seem to get my hands dry when I wash them!  It's really irritating.

Tomorrow I get to start all over again.  I need to make soup with the turkey broth.  I'm thinking this Split Pea Soup or maybe Lentil Barley Soup.  I guess it depends on what sounds good tomorrow when I'm ready to make it - and if I have all the ingredients.  Do I even have split peas or barley?  Guess I better check.  Tomorrow.  When I'm putting all these dishes away, while keeping out the ones I'll be using again.  No sense in putting something away just to get it out again!

Letting Go

We had another showing of the house this week.  I spent all day Monday cleaning and straightening the house to get ready for it.  It's not like it was so bad, but I like it to be perfect when people come to look at it, because then they'll like it, right?  It must have worked, because the people liked it.  They even made an offer.  Again, a low offer.  I know it's supposedly a buyer's market, but that doesn't mean we can be expected to give the house away, and we need to be able to buy a new house, without having to get a mortgage a lot bigger than what we have now.  So we countered the offer - lowered our price, agreed to pay the closing costs they asked for, and to pay for a home warranty - and they walked away without bothering to negotiate further.  So I guess they weren't the ones, and we just have to be patient.

In the meantime, I was panicking a bit.  Yes, I know we've been trying to sell this house for a few months, but the idea of actually selling it and moving - it's hard.  We talked about this when Jeffrey was looking for a new job, but an actual offer and the possibility that it could be soon, made me realize that I might be having just a little bit of a hard time letting go.  I like my house.  I like my neighborhood.  I like that the kids are close.  But, you know what?  Besides the kids - and they/we can visit - it's all just stuff.  I need to keep reminding myself of that.  Selling the house and being able to call demenagement international montreal or some local moving company (how much is that going to cost?) is a good thing.  Being able to go live with my husband again is a good thing.

So, while this particular buyer didn't pan out, I know there will be one, and I need to be prepared for that - both emotionally and for real.  Time to get back to organizing, sorting, and getting rid of the extra stuff we just don't need any more.  We're going to move on so we might as well move on a bit lighter, right?  Also, I need to concentrate harder on emptying out the freezer.  When we sell the house, if we haven't found another one right away - and bought a new freezer since we're leaving this one here - I'll have to survive with just the freezer space in that apartment refrigerator.  That means this freezer must be emptied before that, or else I'll have to start farming things out and giving things away.

Yeah, so much going through my head in the space of a couple days when I was trying to figure out how to be ready to move out and move on in less than two months.  Now if I can just tap into that panic to get the things done that need done - I work best with deadlines, which is probably why this is suddenly hitting me even though I've had plenty of time to adjust and prepare.

I tend to put things off until I have time to do them right, but that's another story.
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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Book List 2012

Once again, all the books I read (and listened to) this year - listed by the month I finished reading them. 

  1. The Shakespeare Manuscript: The Original Hamlet Discovered - Stewart Buettner
  2. The Mark of the Golden Dragon - Louis A. Meyer (audio)
  3. Booth's Daughter - Raymond Wemmlinger
  4. Knowing the Truth About Jesus the Messiah (Defenders Series) - John Ankerberg
  1. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery (audio)
  2. Explosive Eighteen - Janet Evanovich
  1. New York to Dallas - J.D. Robb
  2. Whirlwind - Joseph Garber (audio)
  3. The Lorax - Dr. Seuss
  4. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson

  1. Celebrity In Death - J. D. Robb
  2. In the Garden of Beasts: love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s Berlin - Erik Larson (audio)

  1. Strategic Moves - Stuart Woods (audio)
  2. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
  3. Two Kisses for Maddy - Matt Logelin
  4. The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion - Kate Egan
  5. The Water Wars - Cameron Stracher
  6. Quinn - Iris Johansen (audio)

  1. A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness - Gene Edwards (audio)
  2. As You Like it - William Shakespeare
  3. MOMumental - Jennifer Grant
  4. I Married You for Happiness - Lily Tuck
  5. Spin - Catherine McKenzie
  1. Arranged - Catherine McKenzie
  1. Inheritance - Christopher Paolini (audio)
  2. As You Like it - William Shakespeare (Yes, I read it twice. I also saw it performed twice)
  3. Forgotten - Catherine McKenzie
  4. Anne of Avonlea - Lucy Maud Montgomery (audio)
  1. The Last Letter from Your Lover - Jojo Moyes
  2. In the Bag - Kate Klise
  1. 48 Liberal Lies About American History - Larry Schweikart (audio)
  2. The Harbinger: The ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future - Jonathan Cahn
  3. The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera (audio)
  1. Holy Bible (CEV) - Chronological Reading Plan
  2. The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5) - Stephen King
  3. Between Sisters - Kristin Hannah (audio)
  4. Locomotion - Jacqueline Woodson (audio)
  1. Love's Labour's Lost - William Shakespeare
  2. Bold as Love: What Can Happen When We See People the Way God Does - Bob Roberts, Jr.
  3. The Dead Cat Bounce (Home Repair is Homicide Mystery #1) - Sarah Graves (audio)
  4. The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan

41 books, which is not as many as last year, but still not bad, right?  And one of them was the entire Bible all the way through, which I started in 2011..  It's always fun to add the books all up in the end because I really don't keep track of how many I'm reading through the year.  I just read.

How many books did you read in 2012?  Any I should add to my reading list for 2013?

Our Government at Work - Golden Guernsey Shuts Down

Golden Guernsey Dairy
Golden Guernsey Dairy (Photo credit: jimmywayne)
We pretty much saw this coming as soon as the DOJ first brought the suit.  Dean Foods fought it while the DOJ dragged it out, never being 'ready' for any of the court dates.  Finally, to avoid continuing legal fees, Dean Foods settled and had to sell the Waukesha plant for pretty much nothing - to an investment firm that knew nothing about running a dairy and didn't want to put any more money into it.    And, for the record, the Waukesha plant didn't ship school milk to that part of Wisconsin or Michigan's Upper Peninsula - that would have been the DePere plant, which Dean Foods was allowed to keep.

So, in the end, there's still no competition for the school milk business in that little part of Wisconsin and the UP - and 100 people have lost their jobs.  I'm thankful that Jeffrey got out of there and feel really bad for those people who are now affected and don't know what happens next.  Thanks to our wonderful government.

Waukesha dairy plant Golden Guernsey suddenly closes

Waukesha - The Golden Guernsey dairy processing plant in Waukesha that supplies milk to schools and supermarkets was closed suddenly Saturday when employees showed up for work and were told not to stay, sources said.

Lynn Hiemke, president of Mapleton Dairy Haulers in Oconomowoc, said he was told by Golden Guernsey managers early Saturday that the plant was shutting down.
Hiemke said he was stunned by the closing and left scrambling as he tried to find alternate supplies of milk for hundreds of local schools.

"There's going to be schools without milk on Monday morning - a lot of them - and they don't know it yet," he said.

The dairy operation at 2101 Delafield St. has been under new ownership since last year.
Open Gate Capital, a Los Angeles private equity firm, bought Golden Guernsey after its former owner, Dean Foods, was required to sell the plant to settle antitrust concerns.

The U.S. Department of Justice - along with attorneys general in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan - had raised concerns that Dean Foods would have too much of a share of the school milk supply in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. As a result, they required Dean to sell the Waukesha plant while allowing it to retain its dairy processing plant in De Pere, just south of Green Bay.

An employee who did not want to be identified said the workers were notified Friday night that the plant would be closed. Another employee who arrived at the plant Saturday morning was told not to come to work Saturday or Sunday, a source said.

The plant was locked Saturday afternoon, with vendor trucks parked outside and Golden Guernsey trucks behind the locked fence. The cow statue in front of the plant was still adorned with its festive Christmas hat.

An Open Gate representative did not return a phone call and email seeking comment Saturday. Company president Brad Parks did not return an email or a phone call, and a woman at his home declined to comment.

Golden Guernsey supplies milk to Pick 'n Save as well as other area grocery stores.
Department of Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko said he was unaware of the closing.

Under state law, employers are required to give 60 days' notice of any shutdown to city and state officials, and to pay their workers severance payments for 60 days leading up to a shutdown or mass layoff.

The plant had roughly 100 workers, according to employees.
Dean Foods had acquired the De Pere and Waukesha plants from Foremost Farms USA of Baraboo in 2009 for $35 million.

The U.S. Department of Justice intervened the next year, saying the De Pere and Waukesha plants supplied more than 50% of the school milk purchased in Wisconsin and the U.P.

Hiemke said his company has been serving the plant, delivering milk to schools across the region from the dairy, since 1976. Mapleton has 14 employees.
"This could take me right under, and I think it's going to," he said.

"The Department of Justice has no clue," Hiemke said. "They have wrecked our plant. It's the federal government going in there, and they wrecked our plant."

Hiemke said he was working to find alternate suppliers for milk for the schools that have been buying Golden Guernsey. "I hope our schools understand we are trying as hard as we can," he said.

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Brain Dead? Really?

Is it only me or does it appear like a few of the remarks appear as if they are coming from brain dead visitors?
I love comments, but recently the only ones I've been getting are spam comments.  They sound sort of nice and flattering, but really they don't make any sense.  Or they ask questions like the one above that seem directed specifically toward those stupid spammy commenters. 

The comments always end with an invitation to visit a blog or website.  Of course, they're just a not-so-cleverly disguised attempt to slip in a free link.  Thankfully most of them are on old posts, and I've got it set up to moderate comments on old posts, so I get an email giving me the options to Publish, Delete, or Mark as Spam.  I've been marking a lot of them as spam.

Doesn't it just seem that these spammers are wasting their time?  What is the point, really?  I mean, they're really annoying, but I don't see how they think they're accomplishing anything.

Stylish Legwear is No nonsense

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
leggings and bootsI recently received some No nonsense tights and leggings to try.  I used to wear No nonsense panty hose all the time, but then I pretty much stopped wearing panty hose at all.  My style has been pretty much bare legs and sandals in the summers and long skirts or pants with socks and boots in the winter - and that's just when I'm dressing up a bit.  The rest of the time I like my jeans and sweaters.

The leggings I received were a denim color, so they were kind of like wearing jeans - only a bit dressier, and they tucked into my boots so nicely.  I kept hearing in my head, "Leggings are not pants" so I wore a long top with them, one I've had for a while but haven't worn much.  It was a very cute and comfy outfit, and I'll be wearing it again.

The tights I received are a black lace net openwork design.  I haven't had a chance to wear them yet, but I've been thinking I need to wear them with a shorter skirt and boots, so the pattern can be seen.  Either that or a long skirt and ankle boots.  Either way, the tights should be seen, right?

I'm thinking something like this - above the knee dress and mid-calf boots:
sweater dress and tights
I'm also wishing I hadn't gotten rid of my black velvety jumper, because I think that would be nice with these tights.  I like the solid dress or skirt with the patterned tights, but I think it's OK to mix and match patterns and textures nowadays.  I'm just not sure how to do it.

I just learned that fashion expert Jill Martin has teamed up with No nonsense as Brand Ambassador and Style Expert and that she'll be sharing style tips and educating women like me on how to wear the latest trends that include tights and leggings like I received as well as all the colorful tights offered by No nonsense, as featured in the following video:

Be sure to Like No nonsense on Facebook and follow No nonsense on twitter to get all the lastest tips and information.  I know I will!  I can use all the fashion help I can get.  Maybe I'll figure out how to mix those patterns after all.

No nonsense tights and leggings can be found at food and drug stores and most retail stores.  They're an easy and affordable way to update and change out any look.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

How Hard is Your Toothbrush?

English: Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. T...
Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When it came to choosing between medium and soft toothbrushes, I always chose the medium. Occasionally I'd happen to get a soft one, but those always felt like they wouldn't actually do anything.

Then last time I went to the dentist, he said I should be using a soft toothbrush.  Turns out those medium toothbrushes can cause damage to the gums.  If only he'd mentioned this ages ago...

I don't know if using a soft toothbrush will reverse the damage, but at least it won't get worse, right?  The thing I don't understand is, if nobody should actually use those medium toothbrushes, which is what the dentist said, then why do they make them?  Why even give people the choice to buy them?

I've been reading about this Extra soft toothbrush from PeriClean and thinking I should try one of these next.  Apparently even the standard soft toothbrushes can still cause damage, mainly because people brush too hard and use too much force - probably because that soft toothbrush doesn't feel like it's hard enough.  The toothbrush from PeriClean has a rubber head and will effectively clean teeth without damaging either teeth or gums.  BRUSH SMARTER, NOT HARDER, is what they say - and now I'm wondering if I'm just brushing harder now that I'm using the softer toothbrushes and not helping myself at all.

I'm not sure I want to spend that much on a toothbrush, but if it's really that much better, it just might be worth it.  Has anyone tried one of these?  Do you like it?
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He's a Handy Man

My husband is really handy to have around.  If something needs fixed around the house, he can take care of it.  Me?  Well, that's why I have him, of course!

Except that these days he's living elsewhere all week and only home on the weekends.  Now, when something breaks or isn't quite right, I hope it isn't too serious so that he can fix it on the weekend.  Or I figure out how to do it myself, like changing the light bulbs that Jeffrey usually changes.  It's not really that difficult; I just need to find a step-stool so I can reach them.

I also take advantage of technology to try and let him know what is going on, so he can figure out how to take care of it ahead of time. Several weeks ago the toilet in the master bathroom started acting up.  The tank just would not fill up properly.  How do I explain what is going on to him?  Take video with my cell phone and send it to him!

I don't know if he could actually tell what was going on from that video, but he went to Menard's and got the parts so that he could fix the problem when he came home for the weekend.  I had to turn the water to the toilet off and use the one in the hall bathroom for a few days, but I didn't have to call the professionals from plumbing toronto or even our favorite plumber from Minnesota, and now our toilet works perfectly.

I ought to start compiling a list of local professionals, though - just in case something goes wrong that can't wait until the weekend.  NOT that I expect anything like that, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared, right?  I could always leave the list for the new owners when we sell the house, because maybe he won't be such a handy man.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Such a Pitiful Boy

Beth left Jason with us last night so she could go out for New Year's.  I don't really understand the whole point of going out and celebrating the whole thing.  So I have to take one calendar off the wall and put a new one up - I hope I actually have a new one - but what's the big deal in that?

But anyway, Beth wanted to go out, so we got to have the little guy.  He really is a happy little guy and always seems to have fun when he's here.  He just likes his mommy (and his daddy).  If he thinks either of them is going to go off and leave him, he's not a happy camper.  Last night Beth tried to sneak out while Jason was playing with his Papa and hopefully too distracted to notice.  He noticed.  Right before she walked out the door, he looked her way, and he noticed.  And he was not happy.  We had drama.

Is it wrong that we didn't really take him seriously?

A few minutes later he was happily sitting on his Papa's lap sharing animal crackers.  Soon after that he went to bed and snuggled up without a fuss. 

It's Cold Outside

We had below zero temperatures this morning.  It was sunny and looked like a nice day, but it was cold.  Now, normally I walk every morning unless the wind chill is colder than 20 below zero, but I didn't even go outside today.  I just believed the thermometer!  Actually, I was going to go walking, but Jason spent the night with us last night, and about the time I woke up this morning and was thinking I should get up, get dressed, and go for my walk, Jason woke up.  So I just didn't end up going.

Instead we stayed in, had our coffee, and enjoyed our grandson.  We also enjoyed the fact that we have a nice snug house and a working furnace.  It certainly wouldn't do to get to the coldest day of the year (so far) and have furnace problems and have to call for furnace services hamilton or something like that.  The power was out for a couple hours last night, and it started to get a bit cold in the house.  It was enough to make us appreciate the furnace when the power came back on and the heat kicked in.  Sometimes we tend to take these things for granted instead of always realizing how good we have it.

Speaking of taking things for granted, it might not be a bad idea to think about a service like furnace cleaning hamilton just to get the furnace and everything associated with it checked over - sometime when we're not really depending on it.  They say maintaining the furnace, whether by checking and cleaning the filters regularly or by getting a professional check-up and cleaning, will help it run more efficiently and save on energy bills.

OK, Time to Move

OK, it's a new year - time to get this house sold so I can live with my husband again!  We got to be together for more than a week and a half, with going to Lexington, my staying in Champaign with him, and then him having a long weekend because of the New Year holiday.  Now he's gone, and I'm starting to miss him already.  I kinda like having him around - even after all these years.

Yes, I really like our house, and it's kinda weird to think about someone else living here, and I like being close to the kids, and the grandson, but it's time to move on.  I'd rather be close to my husband - living in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, hanging out together.  We'll find a new house we like.  We'll visit the kids or they can visit us - thankfully Champaign isn't all that far away.  New year, new house, new life, right?

So let's all pray that we have some buyers come and fall in love with our house and that they offer us the right price for it so that we can move.  Soon.  Then we can call a company like déménagement montréal for their moving and storage services, or pack everything up and load the trailer a few more times and start living together again.  That will be nice.

Walking for a Cause

I walked 480 miles last year, and because I logged those miles on the Beewell for Life site, I donated $132.10 to some worthy causes. My donations were split between The American Diabetes Association and WomenHeart.  I've been walking practically every day for about 20 years, and I love that just by logging the miles I'm walking, I can help somebody.

However, I am thinking about looking for another site to log my miles this year.  Earlier this year they re-designed the site, and it's not as user-friendly as it used to be.  I think the main thing is that I have to change it from running to walking and set the speed every single day, when it used to remember my usual distance and speed.  OK, not a big deal, but still a pain.  It's also much harder to see which days I've logged my miles and which days I may have missed.  I do try to log them every day, but sometimes I get behind.  The old site featured a really great calendar view of my log, and it was easy to see when or where I'd missed a day or two.

I hate to quit logging miles for some good causes, but I'd also like a better way to keep track of my miles - just for my own knowledge.  Any suggestions?  Maybe I'll just log miles on both sites if I can find another one I like.