"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Someone's Had a Bit Too Much Kool Aid

>> Sunday, August 31, 2008

I had this comment waiting for me in my comments about McCain choosing Palin as his VP and I just had to share it. Basically because this is the substance of so many liberal arguments.

Of course you know I will not agree with you since Im for the people and democratic. When it come to John and Cindy McCain and Palin, gag me, and lets go shopping for another house or another jet while American families starve and have no jobs. Yahhhhh sounds fabulous. And lets destroy our Alaskan wilderness so we can save money on gas...hahhaha sounds fun. And lets not worry about the animals that contribute to our ecosytem as their slowly dying of starvation...sounds like a winner to me. And lets put laws on women's bodies so that we look "right" in the eyes of the Catholic church. That's all I have to say about that.

And yeah I know my use of english is bad

Personally I think this comment deserves a full reply... So here goes...
Seeker- while I will not berate you for your improper use of English I will pick on you for your invalid and weak arguements.

"For the people" means democrat? Really? Last I knew "for the people" meant freedoms and rights. Unless, of course, your version of "for the people" means "take from those who work and give to those who don't". I've been so poor that peanut butter and Ramen noodles were the only foods we had to eat. My husband and I have worked hard over our lives to have what we have. We sacrificed much. If we can do it, anyone can. Neither of us were privledged; I lived with my mom and three siblings in a one bedroom house. My mom worked three jobs. So don't tell me about American families starving. I've been there. With hard work and determination you can get out of it. Unfortunately too many people feel like they are owed...

As for homes... Quick- tell me all the homes your spouse's family owns. Because that's what you expect John McCain to do. Those aren't his homes... Those are homes owned and purchased by his wife's family that are in a trust that she just happens to oversee. Quit worshiping at the alter of Obama and do your research.

As for jets, Palin sold the jet the previous governor purchased. And I believe your candidate bought a bigger one not long ago ... So maybe you should take that up with him...

Now, about the Alaskan wilderness. Do you know how big ANWR is? Are you aware that where drilling would occur there is not even a tree within 700 miles? Here's a bit of info to help you with this research.

Could you please tell me which animals that contribute to the ecosystem are slowly dying of starvation? Surely you don’t mean polar bears? Because for every article or scientist that says they are declining I can show you one that says they are increasing in number. Like this one: Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School says, “To list a species that is currently in good health as an endangered species requires valid forecasts that its population would decline to levels that threaten its viability. In fact, the polar bear populations have been increasing rapidly in recent decades due to hunting restrictions. Assuming these restrictions remain, the most appropriate forecast is to assume that the upward trend would continue for a few years, then level off.
Maybe you mean the bats that are being killed by wind turbines? Because I agree that is a problem. Bats eat mosquitos and we have way too many mosquitos this year...
I'm pretty sure you don't mean deer... Or bobcats... Or prairie chickens... In fact, many cities and states are having trouble controling their animal populations...

Now, I'm not against alternative energy. But I'm not willing to pay insane amounts to drive my car or heat my home until that technology is developed. Drill now, work on alternative methods now. One day we won't be dependent on oil. Great. But now we are and the people (who you claim to be "for") can't afford to pay $4, $5, $6 per gallon for gas. Nor can they afford to fund government programs to develop new technologies. It's not an all or nothing proposition- but there must be give and take.

As for laws on women's bodies... It has nothing to do with the Catholic church... It has to do with right and wrong. If abortion is ok please tell me why, if you kill a pregnant woman, you are charged with two counts of murder? Because you are killing two people. Pretty straight forward... It's murder. Abortion kills babies. Abortion is murder. Pretty black and white...

You are always welcome to voice your opinion here, but, please, come armed with some facts. Otherwise you just appear foolish.


And the Winner Is...

Courtest of Random.org: Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-08-31 12:55:18 UTC

According to my spreadsheet that means the winner is...

Cindy! (on an "extra" entry for a referral!) See, those referrals really do matter!

I'll be sending out your goodies on Tuesday, Cindy!


Scrap Bribing Ends Tomorrow!

>> Friday, August 29, 2008

Have you signed up? Posted? Get on it!

And since you're here, go ahead & vote for me... Just to the right... See it? Under the video? Little green button that says vote? Click it. Go ahead... You know you want to...


I Think I'm Impressed...

Actually, I'm pretty darn sure I am. John McCain chose a running mate I can get behind. He chose a strong, pro-life, conservative woman. And, not only a woman but a mother of 5. Who has what no presidential or vice presidential candidate has: executive experience.

So, who is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin? That's a good question. She wasn't on the "radar" really and very few people know about her. But why should that stop reporters from yelling that she's "inexperienced" (hmmm... she's run a state... not one of the other candidates have run anything...) and pulling the "but she's a mom, what about the kids?" card (funny, you never hear that about dads...)

Here is some info I have been able to find (along with the links so you can continue your research)

Bravo, John McCain. With a strong, sensible, no-nonsense woman as your VP I can now throw my support behind you.


Do You Think of Me as a Cartier Wearing Woman?

I haven’t worn a watch in almost five years. Not since I left the work force and began staying at home in preparation for our first child. Why bother? I always have my cell phone with me so I can easily check the time if I need to. That said, I do find myself flicking my wrist and expecting to see a watch there. It’s an old habit.

There are times I would really like to have a nice watch. Wait, let me rephrase… There are times I would really like to have a nice watch. Which I probably deserve… after all, I didn’t get an engagement ring.

And while I know that Cartier watches are not in our budget right now (or for the next 5 years) I can’t help but look…

Even at 20% off ($4000!) this watch is way out of my league. On sale it’s still $15,500! Yikes! Maybe someday…

But until then The Watchery has more affordable options like Bulova (hmmm… I actually have a Bulova watch upstairs) and Citizen (there’s a really pretty one by Citizen called the Silhouette. My anniversary and birthday are coming up. Just an FYI to those who love me!) Probably both better options as the watch would spend more time in my jewelry case than on my wrist…


You Have Been Weighed, You Have Been Measured, and You Have Been Found Wanting

I know there is at least one reader who will know exactly where that title came from. And she never comments... Does it ring a bell with anyone else?

This morning I am perusing recipes (as I wait for the errant window guys) and trying to decide what to take to a gathering of Doug's family on Sunday. Of course we just found out about this gathering yesterday (why oh why can't they make plans with more than a week's notice?) so I am unprepared.

When it comes to the maternal side of Doug's family I feel just like my title suggests... Like, somehow, I am lacking something important... Something I can't acquire because I have no idea what it is. So I try to prove my worth with food... Pretty desserts or unique appetizers.

I know it's futile, but every time we must attend a family event I feel I spend more time trying to "prove" myself worthy of Doug than doing anything else. Wait, I take that back. I spend more time watching my kids than anything else. And since my kids are the youngest I am usually alone...

I've tried to blend in. I've done my best to keep with their traditions. But whenever we can't make it to something that is "always" done it seems it is my fault. I used to get phone calls at home from various family members telling me that certain things were "tradition" and "always" done a certain way. I used to tell Doug about it and he would assure me that he attended more family events now that we were married than he did in the past. After a while I quit telling him; nothing changed. Now that we have no home phone the calls have ceased...

Conversations feel barbed with sarcasm "It's so nice that you get to stay home and not work" or "It so nice that you have time to make (gifts, scrapbook, etc), maybe if I didn't work I could do that."

I just dread these gatherings sometimes.



>> Thursday, August 28, 2008

I really don't feel like I accomplished much today... The afternoon was spent waiting on the window guys who never showed up after they called and told me what time they would arrive. They finally called at 5:30pm and said that the job they were working on ran late so they will be here tomorrow morning.

Nice. Why they couldn't call me at 4 or even 4:30 to tell me that? I could have run out of the house for the cleaning supplies I needed...

It's not like nothing got done... Laundry, dishes, toys picked up and put away, kids fed, rested and bathed. All those things that make me "just" a mom. Why is that not enough accomplishment?

Since I am numb of mind and my body is tired (because my youngest was awakened in the middle of the night by thunder and if she's awake then I am, too) because I didn't exercise this morning (and spent the day trying to "fake" energy with sugar) I want to share this "American Creed" with you. As you read it try to imagine how much stronger of a nation we would be if more people lived by it. (the italics are mine)

An American Creed
~ by Dean Alfange

I do not choose to be a common man
It is my right to be uncommon...
If I can. I seek opportunity... Not security.

I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
Humbled and dulled by having the state to dream and build, to
Fail and succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole.
I prefer the challenges of life to the
Guaranteed existence; the thrill of
Fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a hand out.
I will
Never cower before any master nor bend
to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect,
proud, and unafraid; to think and act for
enjoy the benefits of my
creations; and to face the world boldly
and say, "This I have done with my own hand,
I am a man. I am an American.


The Critters are Preparing for Winter

Where we live I see plenty of non-domesticated animals running about. Deer? Check. Rabbits? Check. Opossum? Check. Squirrels? Check. Rabbits? Hundreds. Mice? Oh, yeah. Surely you haven’t forgotten? I’ve even see pheasants walk out of the stand of trees across the creek and we’ve had a big snapping turtle climb the hill in our back yard and have a bit of sun on our patio.

As the evenings get cooler I notice the preparations the little critters are taking for the upcoming winter. The rabbits are lining their burrows with the fur they have shed over the summer. The birds who winter here are using the hair we so thoughtfully brush from Toby and leave in the yard to line their nests. The squirrels are gathering walnuts and acorns and scurrying with them back to their trees. And the mice…

Well, the mice are probably trying to figure out how to get back in to my basement. Nasty little buggars. The last mouse infestation was enough to make me take precautions to prevent a second occurrence. We’ve had any possible entrance routes closed, everything in storage is in plastic tubs, and Toby’s food is double checked so it’s not accessible.

As much as I hated knowing those little beasts were in my house I felt kind of bad for killing them. It’s a nasty business to dispose of them… Not that I really considered live traps… Where would I put it? Back in the field behind the house so it could find it’s way back in? Not likely, little mouse, not likely.

For a rabbit? Well, I suppose we'll hold that judgement until they eat my vegetables.


Nothing to Do

My schedule is blank. Nuthin' on it.

Wait... Let me rephrase that. The column for today in my planner is empty. My scehdule, however, is never empty. Let's see what on for today...

Iowa Moms post
Laundry (waiting to be put in the drier)
Last night's dinner dishes to be washed
Clean the master suite (yeah, it just sounds better than "clean bedroom and bathroom")
Vacuum basement
Post Fab Food Friday recipe
Remind everyone of Scrap Bribing (I draw on Sunday)
Remind everyone to vote for me (7 days left; I'm in third place)
I've got stuff to add to the travel website... More pages, more goodies

And the window guys just called. Apparently my correct windows are in and I can be rid of the ugly thing they stuck in.

Gee... It's a good thing my schedule is wide open...


How I Fit Eating Out Into My Budget

>> Wednesday, August 27, 2008

With my budget being tight it's really had to justify going out to eat. Not that we do it alot... But we all know that there are times that cooking is just not something you want to do.

As I head to my final FPU class tonight (sniff, sniff) I'm going to share with you how we eat out on the cheap.

First and foremost we rarely- if ever- pay for our children's meals. Why bother? Practically every restaurant has a kid's night. Even the local grocery stores with deli's have a kid's night. To find local restaurants I Googled "kids eat free" and my town. Or try ParentZone for their listing- scroll down for cities and states.

We also split meals quite often. Why not? Most portions are huge. And, if you share it's easier to justify dessert!

A real treat for the girls is a Happy Meal at McDonald's. On Wednesdays those "special meals" are $1.89. I get two and a $1 menu item for me (we split the fries they get) and the girls and I eat for around $7. This comes out of my fun money- it's fun for me because I don't have to figure out what to make for lunch!

If a restaurant you frequent offers a punch card get it! This is especially good at ice cream places like Marble Slab and Cold Stone Creamery. It's an expensive treat.

And then there is my favorite way to eat out- in secret! The secret isn't that we're eating out- the secret is that we are being paid to do so! I am signed up with quite a few mystery shopping companies who pay me to evaluate the food, service and atmosphere of a wide variety of restaurants.

Here's just a small list of restaurant's I've been paid to eat at:

Texas Roadhouse

Fleming's (upscale steakhouse)

Bandana's (BBQ)


Outback Steakhouse

Bonefish Grill

Cheesecake Factory

I've also been paid for oil changes, a Sam's Club membership and eye exams and glasses.


Here are some of the companies I shop for:

A Closer Look

Beyond Hello



Mystery Guest

Customer Impact

Service X

Marketing Endeavors

Even more are listed at Turn2You. Do not pay a company to set you up as a mystery shopper! All these companies are free to sign up with. Be prepared on a dining shop- most will ask for times on food delivery, beverages and waiting. A mall investment of a digital recorder makes the shop easy and enjoyable!

Those are just a few tips that I can think of right now. Anyone else? How do you eat on the cheap?


It May Be Beautiful... But What Does It Mean?

If you’re a sucker for romantic comedies (or historical romances) you know that every flower has a meaning. Remember this bit from Kate & Leopold:

The orange lily implies extreme hatred. The begonia and lavender danger and
suspicion, respectively. Every flower has a meaning, Charles. Might I suggest
the amaryllis, which declares the recipient a most splendid beauty. Or the
cabbage rose.

Which is unfortunate as I rather like the orange lily and lavender...

The most popular flower on the planet, the rose, has an entire webpage dedicated to the meanings of each color. Of course meanings don't mean quite so much when you really just want to lift someone's spirits and let them know that you are thinking of them...
After looking through the huge selection at 1-800-flowers.com (a sponsor of the American Rose Society) I chose this bouquet- with matching bear:

My grandmother got a bit of bad news today and I am hoping this will lift her spirits a bit. Would it make you smile?


IowaMoms.com is Back!

After some redesigning and sporting a new logo! (Now I need a new button! I can't "steal" the logo to make my own!)

And not a moment too soon! If you live in Iowa (or happen to be visiting over the long Labor Day weekend) check out my "Things to Do" post.

And be sure to tell the head Iowa Mom what a great job she did!


Be Aware

You can’t be too careful. It really doesn’t matter where you live… Every town has it’s own dangers. Thanks to Megan’s Law you can now Locate Sexual Predators in your area.

In my zip code there are 17 registered sex offenders. Seventeen! It is law that convicted sexual predators register their addresses with state authorities. It is your job to use that information to protect yourself and your family.


8 Days Left!

And I've dropped to 4th!

In 8 days the "professional" judging of the videos in the "Dream Job For a Day" contest will happen. Can you help me out and give me a boost during this last week?

Just click the link above or vote easily by clicking the "vote" button below the video on the right.



Looking for Affordable Clothing That Is Age Appropriate?

I have come to dislike shopping. And it’s not just because practically everything I buy has to be tailored… I’m at a crossroads when it comes to clothing. The styles for “women” just feel too old and styles I am drawn to are just too young. And there is nothing worse than a grown woman dressing too young (hello Madonna…).

So I have to shop carefully and discriminately. That’s one of the reasons I like to peruse Heavenly Couture. They carry great quality clothes in a wide variety of styles; all at deep discounts. And you know, with my frugality, that I only buy Discount Clothing.

Here are a few styles I found at the site today:

Nice, huh? And all perfectly acceptable for a woman my age.

I mentioned that this is Cheap Clothing, right? In fact, all the items I showed you (as well as everything else on the site) is $17.95 or less. And, right now, you can take additional savings up to 10% off during their "back to school" special.

Go on... Peruse the site... You know you want to...


Stupid Tax- to the Max

>> Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A big "plus" for all those credit cards are the "rewards" they offer. Because the more you spend the more you "earn".

Well, that's the logic. Except it isn't really logical.

Case in point:

We have a credit card through our investment company (that's just illogical right from the start). As I was paying bills the other day I noticed that it had 6900 reward points built up. And since rewards addition is $1= 1 point that's $6900.

What did we spend that money on? Good question... I know a healthy chunk of the balance of that card is from Doug's senate campaign. Otherwise... Not a clue. Dining? Hotels? Shopping? Certainly nothing memorable. (And not our vacation- that was paid for with our tax refund.)

So... I have all these points...

I had actually considered getting a $50 Visa gift card (6000 points) and giving it away as a symbol of our stupidity. But then the Rewards Catalog came... And I saw something I had been wanting...

A portable Slow Cooker with Removeable Stoneware Dish. Yes, it's nice. No, I probably wouldn't have gotten it until I asked for it for my birthday if I hadn't had "rewards".

But the simple fact is that the interest (even the low interest) per month on the 6300 points I accumulated to "earn" the darn thing could have bought me two of them. And since there is a balance on that card... Well, I could have restocked my kitchen with new pots & pans a and attachments for my Kitchen Aid mixer AND replaced my oven, sink & island cooktop over the time I've been paying interest.

So much for "rewards"...

PS To enter to win Dave Ramsey's Total Money Make Over and begin to understand how much "Stupid Tax" you pay visit Green3 and sign up for her giveaway!


Do You Whiten Your Teeth?

Does anyone remember the episode of Friends when Ross whitened his teeth for a date and they glowed in the black light? I cringed when I watched that because I had a friend who was a habitual teeth whitener. It was creepy. We worked in a bar with black lights and you could see her clear across the club.

She used those teeth whitening strips… I, on the other hand, just cannot. They slip, they taste bad and they make my gums sore. Then I tried the stuff you paint on at night… I got a sore throat from swallowing it. Luckily there are a wide variety of products made to whiten teeth… I just need to find one I like. HA! Easier said then done…

Someone mentioned to me that they found a product they really like at smilewarehouse.com. They do have a huge variety. Thirty teeth whiteners… Not to mention toothbrushes, toothpaste, rinses, oral irrigators… Even dental care for pets.

Yep, you can buy your teeth whitening supplies and dog plaque remover in one spot. They even have a product for dog bad breath and a special doggie toothbrush. Not that I ever brush my dog’s teeth…

Dozens of dental health products in one place…


Well... Crap...

I have been trying to get an appointment with my hairstylist and between my limited availability - because there is no way my girls are going to sit still while I get a cut and color - and her MOVING AWAY I can't get in. I've been seeing her since she was in cosmetology school...

Because I have been a stylist I tend to be a bit pickier while also maintaining the stance of "it's only hair" and "hair is just another accessory". Which can freak people out. I'll try new things... But just because it's new doesn't mean it shouldn't be done well.

So now I have to find a new stylist. Argh. I hate that. (Hey Paula- where do you go?)


Let There Be Light- When the Rest of the Block is Dark

All the weather forecasts have the same bleak outlook- a very long, very snowy and very cold winter will be hitting the Midwest. Probably early if our pleasantly chilly evenings are any indication. Overnight lows are dropping into the 40s and it’s still August!

For a while Doug has been weighing the options of diesel generators to power our home in case of power outages. We have, so far, been quite fortunate and have not lost power this year. Others we know have not been quite so fortunate. And, as our house is large and we can take in family in case of emergency, a diesel generator just seems like an intelligent option.

Now, I will readily admit that generators are really not on my radar. I just want my home to function in a storm. Especially since there are kids in it. Doug has shown me a kubota diesel generator that he says would do the job- and it really isn’t terribly expensive. It’s supposed to be “super silent” and can be housed indoors or outdoors. I just nod my head and make “uh-huh” noises every few minutes. It’s his decision. After all, it’s his job to keep his family safe and protected.

Yes, it’s very “retro” of me to say that, I know. I’m OK with that…


Didn't Win My Dave Giveaway?

Well, then, you're in luck...

Green3 has 6 copies to give away. Yes, SIX!

If you've been reading me for any time at all you know how life changing Total Money Make Over was for us. Why not win it for yourself and see just how different life is when you live like noone else so later you can live like noone else.

GO! Enter NOW!


Cookin' Up a Successful Site

When I started my recipe blog it was as an accompaniment to my “main” blog - this blog. You see, I did a weekly recipe feature here and my blog was getting so busy that I created a “spin off”.

That was at the beginning of this year. As I was looking through the stats on my web pages the other day I saw that my humble little recipe site has by-passed Iowa Geek in daily readers.

I guess recipes are the way to go…

Because of that I’m really glad that I took care of my website hosting when I first began that site, instead of changing to a web host when the site got popular. When that happens the search engines "lose" you and your page hits drop significantly until they "find" you again.

If you're interested in taking your humble blog (no matter what it's about) to the next level you'll want to check out these tips for choosing a domain. You want something catchy and easy to remember. Run the name through your head... Type it out... See if it sticks with you. And once you find it, get it registered. And cook up your own successful site.


Monday Giveaway #2

>> Monday, August 25, 2008

This is a sticky post and will reamin at the top of the blog until midnight Monday, August 25. Please scroll down for new posts.

I've got a great Monday Giveaway for you- especially nice if you know someone who is going to have a baby! Or if you collect Teddy Bears...

Courtesy of MomSelect I have this adorable first car of their "Birthday Train" series. This oh-so-sweet baby sits on the caboose with it's bottle...

Courtesy of Janine King Designs I have this Large Wristlet. I love, love, love Janine's stuff! It's so well made and the case is padded so mom can safely stow her camera in the diaper bag for all those photos she'll be taking!

And, courtesy of me, this absolutely beautiful stuffed bear. I was at a small town festival this weekend and just had to buy this little guy. He is handmade by "Mother Hubbard" from a cotton/chenille fabric in the palest pink. So sweet!

All you have to de to enter is leave me a comment. Just make sure I have your email or you are logged in. If I can't reach you, you can't win!

Because this is a Monday Giveaway I will draw for the prize tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

And don't forget about Scrap Bribing! Be a good bloggy friend and send your readers over for these great giveaways!


To Whom It May Concern

There is a big difference between washable markers and dry erase markers. Namely the word erase. If you aren't sure which markers are which please don't give the two-year-old any of them.

Actually, the only markers the two-year-old should be using are the Color Wonder markers. Because then I won't find a workbook covered in un-erasable marker markings and open markers littering the floor, dried out and ruined.

OK, technically she can still leave the Color Wonder markers open. Which is why we pick up together when the girls finish any "art" projects. Maybe the best idea is to just have the kids stick to paper and crayons when I'm not available to watch them. It will save me a lot of frustration the day after the fact.

(As I write this my fingers are stained red with washable marker that was used in a dry erase book. Washable markers don't dry in those books- they stay wet and stain. Just FYI.)


Democrats in Action


More from:
Hot Air
People's Press Collection


Implants and Bridges to Nowhere

My teeth have never been great. Most dentists attribute this to the fact that I grew up on a farm and well water is not treated with fluoride. I did drink a lot of milk, though, so that probably helped keep too many problems at bay.

As a child I had many cavities (therefore many fillings) and then braces. I spent way too much time in dental offices. When I was 20 one of my fillings went bad and on Christmas Eve I was in agonizing pain. Of course there were no dentists available in my small town to see me until the 27th. Three days of pain, no sleep and misery.

When I was finally able to get in to see a dentist he offered me two options: root canal or pull the tooth. I had been in pain for days and had heard that root canals were an awful, painful experience. So I had the tooth pulled. (Knowing what I know now I wish I had opted for the root canal.)

As it was a back tooth I didn’t think much about it and it wasn’t until this past year that I had a bridge put in to replace it. I considered dental implants but after doing a bunch of research I decided that a bridge would be less time consuming, less painful and less expensive.

Of course a dental implant is more natural as it is implanted into the jaw. Had it not been a back tooth that needed replaced I would have definitely tracked down a respected oral surgeon and had an implant done.

Has anyone had a dental implant done? What was the process like? Are you happy with it? Would you do it again?


Leap Pad Plus Writing

>> Friday, August 22, 2008

Does anyone have this system? Because I bought a NEW book and cartridge today thinking it would work in the Leap system we have and it doesn't.

I did some research and this set sells for some major dough... I got it for $1 at a garage sale.

It's the Reading & Writing book & cartridge for the LeapPa Plus Writing set. If you want it let me know. I don't want to buy a new system (although birthdays are coming up...) and a single book isn't worth listing in eBay...


Win a $100 Lands End Gift Card

>> Thursday, August 21, 2008

If you haven't signed up for MomSelect yet- why not? You don't have to be a blogger, so that's no excuse. You don't even have to "check in" with them to see if there's something new. All you need is an email address.

Tonight they just gave me the heads up on a chance to win a $100 gift card from Land's End. All you have to do is answer a (very simple) survey.

click here to take the survey

You have until midnight August 28 to take it- but just do it now. It only takes a couple of minutes. Don't worry, it will open in a new page and when you're done you can come back and read what I've been up to today...


My First Trip to the "Big City" Wasn't So Memorable

My first time on an airplane I was 20 years old. (How sad is it that my children both flew by the age of one?) I was a hair stylist and the salon I worked at sent us to a huge convention in Chicago. At this time I was very, well, let’s just call me “green”. Oh, I thought I was pretty cool, but I was a fish way out of water having come out of small-town Iowa not long before and having been practically nowhere before.

I wish I could remember the hotel we stayed at… But I know it was within walking distance of Watertower Place- the largest shopping mall I had ever seen. There was a Disney Store! I didn’t know such a place existed!

A friend of mine had given me her ID. The only real similarities were our dark hair. I was taller and her eyes were a startling blue. But it worked. And I got my first taste of big-city nightlife. I have no idea how I got back to my hotel room the nights I was there. I vaguely remember cabs and one of my shoes lost a heel. I’m told that I had a good time. Lucky for me I didn’t suffer any ill effects- my boss would have had my hide!

My real regret is that my first trip to a major city really isn’t all that memorable. I wish I had taken some Chicago tours or ventured to the top of the Sears Tower.

Even though I've returned to Chicago a few times since that trip I still haven't toured the city. I really plan to do that one day, with the help of Trusted Tours & Attractions and their online travel guides. They offer tours in 23 cities across America so whether you want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, ghosts in Savannah or the Metropolitan museum of art, they can help you do it.

And if you're planning a trip sign up for their free newsletter- this month you could win $150 Magellan's gift certificate.


Hearts All Around

I was over checking out what was up with my Minnesota Bloggy Friend and saw that she gave me an award. Now,I love getting awards as much as anyone else and this one is quite cute.

See? Cute, right? I've met Kellyn and she's as smart and funny in person as she is on her blog. If you haven't met her yet, go on over and introduce yourself. Although I am concerned that she only loves me because she won some goodies from me (which shipped yesterday- you'll have them by the weekend) and she's looking for brownie points in my newest scrap bribing giveaway.

Now, here's the delimma. I'm supposed to give this to seven other blogs that I adore. However I have more than seven that are my "I must read them daily (and often check in more than once)" blogs. And, looking at Kellyn's list I see that we run in the same circle. So, alas, my dear friends at Boogers and Burps and Three Boys and a Dog won't be getting this from me. Don't want them getting too spoiled. You know what they say... You can love a blogger too much and then they never move out and get a job...

Ahem... So seven blogs to present this to...

An Iowa Mom- for her heroic efforts to control 4 kids and get a major project (IowaMoms.com) off the ground

Green 3- because, without her, I wouldn't know Dave

Sally- who I hope to meet one day in Kansas City so we can discuss dream cars while we drink adult beverages and our husbands mind the kids

Fantastagirl- who sent me a State Fair ticket, thereby saving me $10

tuh-mar-uh- who really needs to come scrapping with me sometime

Boudicca- who I have been reading longer than any other blogger. And who keeps me coming back.

Jennifer- who gives me some insite to how our neighbors to the north live. That's Canada, not Minnesota...

So, there you have it... Lucky number 7. Pass it on.


Ireland is Calling- So I'll Call Ireland

I’m getting that itch again. No, not that feminine one. Geez. Like I would share that. Ok, maybe I would, but still, that is so not what I am talking about.

Nope, I’m getting the itch to head overseas again. Like soon. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the bi-monthly magazine I receive from Ireland. And the fact that my travel magazines arrived this week has had no impact what so ever. Actually, to be quite honest, the big push came from an Irish trinket catalog. Yes, a catalog filled with Irish knick-knacks and I’m longing for the Emerald Isle.

Of course I can’t go right now… Not in the budget… I keep telling myself that but with the rates for calling cards for Ireland being so low surely it wouldn’t hurt me to just check on prices at some of my favorite B&Bs… Right? And to maybe dial the car rental place, just to see what kind of deal I can get? And a nice Irish lilt at the other end of the line would certainly be worth the call to Aer Lingus…


It’s gonna take a lot of calling cards to help me through the next year until we go…


Lots Going On

Not in my life... Well, yes, in my life, but that's not what I want to point out to you today.

It's been a couple weeks since I launced the new blog template and now that it's pretty much in place I want to give you a little tour.

Across the top you see my banner. I made it myself, thankyouverymuch. The photo is from our last visit to the Cliffs of Moher. It was so incredibly windy tht day and the only spot that was sheltered was by the tower. Then you see our tag line: The State is not a substitute for personal responsibility. I followed it with another photo taken near the Cliffs of Moher. Looking at that sign is like looking at our government; they squirm to get around things they don't want to deal with, trying to get anything done is an uphill battle and, man, are they s l o w...

Right below the banner is what I call my "Good Stuff" links. These are links that I think deserve to be highlighted. Right now there are contests (scrap bribing is up!, win a grill, win vacations (I have 3 or 4 contests at Have Kid Will Travel), a link to the latest recipe at Fab Food Friday and info about Doug & I. There will always be great stuff there so be sure to glance at it.

Continuing down the left side of the page you see my Amazon store. This is full of stuff we absolutely love. This is stuff we own and use. It doesn't make my store if I haven't held it in my hands.

Below my store are my posts.

On the right side of the page I begin with a single column. Here you see my "subscribe" button (so you always know what's going on), my Dream Job contest entry (14 days left! You can vote every day!), links for my other blogs and places I contribute and, right now, information on how to enter to join the Disney Moms Panel.

Now this single column splits to two columns. My space is on the left and Doug's is on the right. Here's where you can see who we are reading, who sponsors my blog (click them- they are great companies), how I make a it of money, and quick search labels.

And if you make it all the way to the bottom of the page you'll see my webrings and other bloggy-geeky stuff.

So, there you have it... A tour of my new bloggy home. I hope I pointed out some goodies you may have been missing.


Know Your Heart

Doug’s family has a history of heart disease which, quite honestly, scares me. He’s healthy now and is showing no signs of problems. (Which reminds me- it’s time for his physical.) But his maternal grandmother has had at least one heart surgery and I'm pretty sure his grandfather did, too, so the fear of him suffering a Cardiac Arrest is always stalking around in the back of my mind.

If heart disease runs in your family (or your loved one’s) I want you to check out HeartLibrary.com. It’s an interactive library of video clips by real doctors talking in plain English about the heart, heart conditions and heart disease. It’s an easy website to navigate and really a great resource.


You Didn't Buy It! Don't Panic! (A New PayPal Phish)

>> Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I got an email today from "PayPal" that made my heart skip. It was asking me to confirm a purchase that I didn't make. It then told me that, to dispute the charge, click a button.

Now, there were two giveaways that this was fake:
1) It came to an address that is not associated with my PayPal account
2) I have never, in all my days of paying with PayPal, received an email asking me to confirm a purchase.

So I logged on to PayPal and reported the email. They have special email that you forward to. They make it very easy to report fraud. They also have a great quiz to see if you can spot phishing emails. If you're a PayPal account holder check it out. (I would link it but you have to be signed in to access it.)

In case you want to see the email, I copied it below. Just imagine it with all the pretty HTML and PayPal logos...

Dear PayPal Member,

This email confirms that you have sent an eBay payment of $48.75USD to cheryl.blake@yahoo.com for an eBay item using PayPal.



Payment Details

Transaction ID: 8H293150XN522260H
Item Price: $48.75USD
Total: $48.75USD
Order Description: Digimax 130
Item/Product Number:


Note: If you haven't authorized this charge ,click the link below to dispute transaction and get full refund

Dispute transaction (Encrypted Link )

*SSL connection: PayPal automatically encrypts your confidential information in transit from your computer to ours using the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length of 128-bits (the highest level commercially available)


Item Information

eBay User ID: pcheryl.blake34
Name: Cheryl Blake
Address: 1225 Seeneytown Road
City: Dover, DE 19904
State: United States

Important Note: Cheryl Blake has provided an Unconfirmed Address. If you are planning on shipping items to Cheryl Blake, please check the Transaction Details page of this payment to find out whether you will be covered by the PayPal Seller Protection Policy.


If your email program has problems with hypertext links, then you may also confirm your email address by logging into your PayPal account at www.paypal.com/us. On your My Account page you will find a "Confirm Your Email Address" link. Click on this link and enter the following confirmation number:


Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team

Commissions and Fees incurred by sender: $0.00

Rate of Exchange: The above exchange rate includes a 2.5% spread above the wholesale exchange rate at which PayPal obtains foreign currency, and the spread is retained by PayPal. If and when the Recipient chooses to withdraw these funds from the PayPal System, and if the withdrawal involves a currency conversion, the Recipient will convert the funds at the applicable currency exchange rate at the time of the withdrawal, and the Recipient may incur a withdrawal fee.

You, the customer, are entitled to a refund of the money to be transmitted as a result of this agreement if PayPal does not forward the money received from you within 10 days of the date of its receipt, or does not give instructions committing an equivalent amount of money to the person designated by you within 10 days of the date of the receipt of the funds from you unless otherwise instructed by you.

If your instructions as to when the money shall be forwarded or transmitted are not complied with, and the money has not yet been forwarded or transmitted, you have a right to a refund of your money.

If you want a refund, you must mail or deliver your written request to PayPal at P.O. Box 45950, Omaha, NE 68145-0950. If you do not receive your refund, you may be entitled to your money back plus a penalty of up to $1,000.00 USD and attorney's fees pursuant to Section 1810.5 of the California Financial Code.

Important Note: The Right to Refund claim process applies only to payments that have not been successfully transmitted to the recipient. With PayPal, almost all payments are transmitted to the recipient immediately, except for eCheck payments, and payments to non-PayPal members.

Please do not file a Right to Refund claim if your payment has already been completed. If you have problems with a completed payment or need assistance with settling a dispute with a seller, go to PayPal's Resolution Center by logging into your account and clicking the Resolution Center sub tab located at the top center of the Account Overview page.

You can also click the Help link at the top right of any PayPal page to look up more information about the Resolution Center and filing complaints.

MA residents only: PayPal holds a Foreign Transmittal Agency license in the State of Massachusetts - License Number FT3345.

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you will not receive a response.


PayPal Email ID PP120


August Scrap Bribing- Goodbye to Summer

If you're anything like me you've taken tons of photos this summer... Kids playing, fireworks, beach time, kicking back with a cold one...

So, as a "farewell" to summer I present scrap bribing for August:

First up is a 9x9 scrapbook with top loading pages. I love the linen scrapbooks because you can do so much to them- you can stamp them,paint them, wrap them in ribbon...

Of course you need to fill those pages so I have 12 sheets of 12x12 paper with a summer themes like water, fish, flowers, words and three solids: pale green, orange & yellow. Because the album is 9x9 you will have 3" on each side to create mats, frames and page accents. Mix & match!

To add even more accent I have a sheet of floral vellum and a great sheet of thick stickers- frames, spots for notes, ribbon sliders... With great summer sayings like "Fire up the grill" and "Hit the beach".

Do you ever use the plain white sheets you pull from album page protectors? With these stamps and great summer ink colors you'll want to use those pages in a variety of ways: Stamp the quote block and cut it out close for a great way to add journaling to a page. Or cut a mat out of the white and brush the ink along the edges to add color to a plain mat. Stamp the beach stamp and combine it with one of the previous stickers. Make an oversized mat for a photo, edge it in one color and add the journaling at the bottom. Just don't throw away those white sheets!

And finally a few fun page accents: sparkly stickers with a summer theme. The first two are actually two and three piece sets- break them up for maximum effect. A sparkly bumble bee and flower, bright twirly accents that work almost like decorative paper clips (they will wrap around photos or tags for added interest), clear green blossoms and dots (I love these with ribbons) and a blue tag for stamping or journaling.

Ready to play? Here's how:

1) Leave me a nice comment. That gets you entered once. (PS- If you don't leave me a way to contact you then you can't win. Make sure you leave an email or you are signed in with Google and I can reach your profile page.)

2) Write a nice little post on your blog. Link to this post. That gets you another entry. (Be sure to let me know or I might miss it!)

3) Make sure you tell everyone who visits from your blog to let me know you sent them. For every comment that mentions your name I will give you another entry.

So easy! And the more people you send me the better your chances to win. So give me some linky love and get your readers over here!

The random number generator spins on August 31 so get those posts up and keep reminding your readers to visit and drop your name!


Planning for Your Family's Future

Doug and I are doing everything we can now to protect our family for the future. With the program we’re doing we will have no debt (except our house) by this time next year. And we should have the house payment abolished within 10 years (and that may even be too long- could be 7 years). I can't describe the feeling you have when you know your family will be taken care of. It's amazing.

“Oh, goodie for you,” I can hear some of you saying. “What about those of us who are older or don’t have your income?”

Well, first, let me say that our income is pretty average. It just seems like we make more money because a) we’re in debt and b) I’m really freakin’ cheap. We’re working on the debt part and I’m just getting more frugal.

If you are worried about house payments should you become disabled or die there are mortgage disability insurance policies and mortgage insurance policies available. If you are disabled or die these policies will take care of the house payment or pay off the house.

Of course a wiser decision would be to make sure you have enough life insurance- you should have 10x your annual salary. Then, in the event of your death, the lifestyle of you family won’t have to change drastically.

A mortgage protection insurance policy will cost less than a life insurance policy because the face value of the policy will be smaller.

You can get all the info on these policies at NAA Life. Be sure to discuss all the options available to you with a professional to confirm you are making the most financially sound decision.


If I'm Only Helping One Person Then I'm Making a Difference

>> Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I got a great email the other day that I wanted to share. (Yes, I asked if it was ok first. Sheesh. I'm not gonna throw someone under the bus without finding out if I can push them first...)

Hi Jody~
I'm a reader of yours, and was thinking about you the other day. I
know you are going through debt management (we'll just call it that for lack of
another word). Did you guys go with a company to do something with your credit
cards? If so (or even if not) who did you go with? I am in Iowa also. We've got
loads of credit card debt, and I'm convinced that we need to take a step towards
control. I really related to one post of yours where you said that you just need
to sit down together with your spouse and go through everything- it may cause
stress, may cause nausea, etc. That's how I feel- it's almost like I'm scared to
even sit down with my husband because he has no clue how bad it has gotten, and
I don't want him to be mad at me.

Can you help a girl out?

(Name Withheld unless she comments and gives herself away)

You all know me well enough to know that I wrote a nice long reply:

We are doing Financial Peace University. It's a Dave Ramsey program
offered mainly through churches. You don't have to belong to a church to attend the class. On the home page there is a place to input your zip code to find a class near you.

I highly recommend the class because it's a great motivator to be around so many other people who are after your same goal. It really got Doug on board; he was very hesitant to follow Dave's plan (he saw so many things "wrong" with it) until he saw it in action through the classes.

Most companies that will "do something" with your credit cards will destroy your credit and charge you a lot to do it. (Not a big deal since you should be paying cash for everything from now on out, anyway, but you don't need them.)

The "big" sit down was to go over our entire budget (it's the third lesson) and it was hard. But we got it done and our lives are so much smoother. Following Dave's plan isn't always easy nor is it fun (we didn't go on vacation with the rest of our family, we missed KC Irish Fest and the MN Renaissance Fest) but we should have no debt but our house by this time next year. And then just think of what we can do with all that cash!

If you can't get a class you can take FPU online and buy Dave's
Total Money Make Over (it's the book that started it for me) to read before.
It's a great overview of the plan that FPU gets much more involved in.

Please let me know if I can help in any way,offer any advice or
encouragement, or just cheer you on. Once your snowball gets rolling it's a
great feeling to watch the debt disappear under it.


Her next question is typical of so many families:

Thanks for the advice, Jody. I will look into it. So how did you talk Doug into
even going to the class? Are you guys like we are- I pay the bills, take care of
all money matters, and he has no clue. I can't picture a way to even bring this
up to (name withheld to protect the indebted), that's how bad it is. We just
bought a new house, and got me a new car since my old one was falling apart.
Both payments are higher than our previous house/car...so I've vaguely brought
it up to (name withheld to protect the indebted) that we really need to sit down
and work up a budget now. He just says "yeah"...and it never goes any further.
We are both so used to spending willy-nilly, although I am obviously more aware
of it than he is!!

Because that is totally how Doug & I were I had an answer...

Doug made the money and I paid everything. His big problem was his debit card.
He really didn’t realize how much he used it. I bought the Total Money Makeover
book and read it. I made a lot of comments to Doug about it and finally he read
it but didn’t “agree” with a lot of it. When our church offered
Financial Peace University I told him we were signing up. He’s been on board ever since. But it did take me about 6 months to get him there!

I suggest getting the book and beginning the
8 Baby Steps. Do what you can, make your own changes and hopefully he’ll notice and follow. But the class is invaluable.

I know that quite a few of you who stop by follow Dave's plan. Does anyone else have any advice for my friend? Please leave it in the comments- I know she'll be checking in!


Only 17 Weeks

Just a warning… Christmas is 17 weeks away. Yeah, I could say it is 119 days away, but that isn’t quite so scary now, is it?

Yes, I know it’s early. Yes, I know you are irritated that so many stores have up Halloween items before September even rolls around. But I am telling you this for your own good. Otherwise Christmas is going to sneak up on you and you will be wondering, “How did this happen? What happened to October? Did someone switch my calendar?”

I know a lot of you may like to wait for that big fat paper that comes on Thanksgiving Day full of all the “Black Friday” bargains. But what if I told you there was a way to get that thanksgiving flyer early? And that you could get those deals online with no fighting crowds, no standing in the cold, no annoying people…

Oh yeah, now you’re interested…

Because I prefer to do my shopping online and in one place if I can I’ll be checking for the best Amazon.com deals. Honestly, I do so much shopping there because they have practically everything. Of course I’ll also be checking ads from Best Buy and Target (two of my favorite stores).

Be sure to bookmark BlackFriday.biz and check it before you start making that list and checking it twice. And sign up for their email alerts so you don't miss anything.


Monday Giveaway #1 Winners

Congratulations to Marie and Kellyn! Your goodies are on the way!

I'll have another Monday giveaway next week!

Until then why not hop over to Have Kid Will Travel and sign up for the drawing I have over there. (Don't forget to check the FunStuff page! There are usually a couple contests there!)

And tomorrow brings Scrap Bribing! Lots of great stuff going on!


A Family Beach Vacation in New Jersey? Read On...

In one of the many travel newsletters I get was an article titled “Summer Staycations are Over; Labor Day Getaways are Filling Hotels” (or something close to that). It went on to say that now that the price of gas has begun it’s decline (coincidence?) people are taking late summer vacations before school begins. (Hunh. I don’t know where these people live… School began here a week ago.)

But the article got me thinking about the possibility of a quickie family beach vacation so I did some poking around and found this site for New Jersey waterparks right on the beach. Yeah, I know, why put a waterpark on the beach? I don’t get it- but the view looks really pretty.

Morey’s Piers website has everything I need to plan this little getaway: info on hotels and dining, amusement parks… You name it. In all honesty the waterparks look like vacation destinations in themselves.

If the girls were older I would totally pick the Ocean Oasis Beach Club with it’s private cabanas and massage therapy services. But my kids are little and I don’t really trust anyone to watch them around water (not even Doug, to be quite honest) so the Raging Waters theme park would be our destination. They have two huge interactive play areas for kids.

If I’ve piqued your interest be sure to check out the weekly specials offered at Morey’s Piers for some really fun deals!


Monday Giveaway #1

>> Monday, August 18, 2008

This is a sticky post and will remain at the top of my page today. Scroll down for new stuff- including State Fair photos!

I didn't get to go to BlogHer '08 Conference but this great marketing group I belong to, MomSelect, was there. The great thing about MomSelect is that you don't have to be a Mommy Blogger to join, you just have to be a mom. They email me with great tips and info and hook me up with companies who value my feedback- even though I'm "just a mom".

Well, since I didn't make it to the big conference MomSelect hooked me up with some BlogHer swag. And I've got goodies to share! So, for the next three Mondays, I'll be offering up some goodies for you- just because you take the time to read my little blog. Because I know you have a choice in the blogs you read and I am thankful that you read mine.

So, anyway, here we go.

What I have today is 20 free 4x6 prints at an HP Photosmart Express Station and a CD full of photo activites and ideas for kids. I have two of these prizes to give away. Yep, two winners!

This is super easy- just leave me a comment. Because this is a Monday Giveaway I will draw for the winners Tuesday morning.

Be sure to tell your friends! And check out MomSelect for yourself!


Click. Smart.

I just had a guy out today to fix the big picture window in my house. It was difficult to find someone who knew what to do with the darn thing- I had 4 people out before anyone knew what to do. And they were all window “experts”.

And that’s in a small city with only a few suburbs. I can’t imagine trying to find a handyman in Chicago or a bigger city. Luckily there is a new service called ClickSmart that connects you with certified experts in your area- whether you’re looking for a Chicago handyman or a plumber in Pittsburgh.

And they don’t just handle home repairs. You can find florists, massage therapists and wedding planners, too.


State Fair Photos!

Paula had a great post about her experience at the Iowa State Fair (complete with photos)- go check it out. After you read mine, of course.

The girls and I made our excursion on Friday afternoon with my mom, brother & nephew. Not to rub it in to Paula, but I didn't wait in a long line of traffic (and I took the main road in), I got free on-street parking right outside the fairgrounds and it was a perfect day (about 82 degrees).

After the petting zoo and pony rides we were meandering toward the Kid's Fun Forest when the Budweiser Clydesdales made an appearance.

2008-08-15 State Fair 010

Then Brenna met the mascots, Fairfield and Rosetta.

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I tried to get a photo of Caelan with Rosetta but she wasn't having anything to do with a walking purple ribbon...

We finally made it to the Fun Forest and got our front row seats for Bob the Builder.
2008-08-15 State Fair 020

Brenna & Caelan clapped and did the manditory response "Yes we can!"

Since the Ag building is right by the Fun Forest we stopped there next. There was very little wait to see the fair's most famous attraction:

2008-08-15 State Fair 024

600 pounds of butter. Almost clogs your arteries, doesn't it?

Also on display were a butter Shawn Johnson and a gingerbread Terrace Hill (our governor's mansion).
2008-08-15 State Fair 023 2008-08-15 State Fair 022

Brenna was off with Grandma & cousin Koen riding the tractor trolleys so Caelan and I wandered about the grounds. Doug arrived and we spent a bit of time at the National Guard tents. Caelan tried out a Humvee.
2008-08-15 State Fair 026

After browsing the varied industries building we had a wide variety of fried food for dinner then Brenna rode the sky glider with Daddy.
2008-08-15 State Fair 030

She loved it.

Then we were off to a new building: the Animal Learning Center. Brand new babies... And I mean brand new.
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There were also calves, pigs and goats. I never did get to see the ducks go down the slide...

There was also good 'ol farm fun- jumping in hay bales.
2008-08-15 State Fair 042

Right next to this is the "Little Hands on the Farm" interactive exhibit for kids. We were too late... Maybe next year.



>> Sunday, August 17, 2008

There are games that are always with us. BINGO is one of those. Who doesn’t remember hearing the letter/number combinations in school, hoping to hear yours called and waiting, breathlessly to yell,”BINGO!”?

I can recall playing BINGO as a child in grade school for holidays- Halloween, Easter, Christmas… If you won there was a special treat- a pencil, a hard holiday shaped eraser (that never really erased), some silly gadget that broke quickly… But, oh, how I wanted a prize.

Of course BINGO has advanced with the times and now there is DVD Disney Bingo. With cards and mouse ear tokens to cover the squares the DVD will call out numbers and colors - and play movie clips from all your kid’s Disney favorite characters.

It looks like great fun; check out this video:

I found this at both Amazon.com and Drugstore.com and available now. I can name a little girl who will be getting this for her birthday. What a great way to spend a cold, snowy Iowa evening.

The info page says “Ages 4 – Adult” but I bet that, with a little help, Caelan will happily play, too. She can name almost every Disney character- she just might need some help with the numbers…
Sponsored by Screenlife Games


After a Long Day at the Fair

>> Friday, August 15, 2008

Brenna said, "The fair was awesome." She said the last almost on a sigh,as if she couldn't believe how wonderful her day had been.

I've got pictures and I'll do my best to share them by Monday. Butter sculptures (for Fantastagirl), pony rides, sky glider, baby animals (some of chicks hatching as we watched) and other fun stuff.

But right now I've been on my feet for 9+ hours and all I want to do is go to bed.


I Should Know Better

I know that I feel my best when I'm in bed by 10pm and asleep shortly after. Then I can wake at 6am, walk the dog and get my day started before everyone else.

But last night I wanted to watch a couple new episodes of Psych. Seriously love this show. Funny, funny, funny. Of course I watch it online because we ditched the dish (either on the USA website or Hulu).

Last night's episode focused on Shawn & Gus' high school reunion and had a John Hughes "theme". Honestly, all the Brekafast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles references had me cracking up. Check it out...

So I stayed up watching that and didn't get to sleep until 11. And missed my wake up and didn't get out of bed until 7:30.

So now my day is "off" and I don't know what I should be doing. I haven't made a pot of tea yet, or had breakfast. I know there are things that need done but I am so off schedule I can't figure out what they are...


How to Become International With One Easy Account

I think this is genius. And I wish I had thought of it. Not only is BPM a mailbox and Mail Forwarding company but they will notify you upon receipt of your letters or packages and will scan your information so you can receive it online.

With one account you can become international with addresses in Luxemburg, Germany, France, Belgium, the UK and the USA. This is a great service for those who live outside eBay or other online shipping areas.

Seriously… Brilliant.


Fun at the farm

>> Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tuesday the girls and I headed south (as in southern Iowa) to visit my grandparent's farm. I always enjoy going because my grandparents are fun and interesting. (Although my grandfather knows way too much about meth labs. Quite a few down that way, it seems. Meth labs and Amish folks.) The girls like to go because there are usually a few calves that have been bottle fed and are curious. Curious enough to come see a couple girls I know...

Of course animals aren't the only fun things on the farm. Brenna and Caelan picked a nice bouquet of wildflowers (ok, weeds,but they were pretty weeds) for grandma's table and Brenna had a great time climbing a tree in the yard.
Of course she needed a boost to get started but once she was up there it was difficult for me to get her to come down. I try not to let me fear of her breaking her neck get in the way of her fun, but it's hard. I was relieved when she was done.

We had a great visit- so great that Brenna didn't want to leave. Hopefully we can go back soon.


I'm So Low Tech Sometimes

I was reading about this new free online video game Operation Immortality: Leave your mark. Save Humanity. I’m actually hesitant to write about it because it is a game I can see Doug playing. A lot. Doug isn’t a “gamer” but these “build your own empire” type things he’s all over.


Of course games like this lead to the question “What would you bring to a new planet if the Earth was destroyed?” Which, quite honestly, isn’t such an easy thing to answer…

Will the new planet have electricity? Internet? Light bulbs? Running water? Houses? Grocery stores? FOOD??? I’m kind of a harsh realist and tend to think that if the Earth was destroyed and we had to vacate to a new planet that said planet would be pretty sparse and, quite honestly, not that many humans are going to make it there.

So I say that I would bring notebooks and pens. About as low tech as you can get, I know. But with those two simple items you can do so much…

In October 2008 Richard Garriott, the force behind the Tabula Rasa video game,will be the 6th private citizen to travel into space. He is taking with him the archive of Operation Immortality: Leave your mark. Save Humanity. with him. It’s cool in a completely sci-fi geek way. Go over and check it out. Maybe you’ll see Doug there…
Sponsored by Operation Immortality


Hi. My Name is Jody and I am Addicted to Scrapbooking

>> Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Now you're all supposed to say "Hi Jody" and tell me how brave I am to come forward like this.

I kind of knew I had a problem but I was able to convince myself that since I could get everything to fit in my wonderful tote (pictured below) that it was under control and I brushed my addiction under the rug.

Well, today, as I was printing pictures and packing up for this weekend's scrap mania I could not get everything to fit. It didn't matter what positions I tried or how I switched things around it just would not go. And I finally had to admit that my problem had finally broken it's barriers.

So I did what any scrapping addict would do. I called Archiver's (they're my dealer) and arranged a pickup. Tomorrow I take possession of "the trash can".

We call it "the trash can" because it honestly stands as tall as a big garbage can. Three feet tall, to be exact. And it holds a ton of stuff. Honestly, if I outgrow this my husband needs to lock me in the house until I use the multitudes of scrapping stuff I have.

You love it though, right? I can't wait to organize it. And,for those of you watching my budget, I've got some "fun money" saved... And a 30% off coupon.

Of course I have a wonderful tote that I now have no use for. It was, quite possibly, my favorite tote ever. It's a rolling tote by Scrap Paper Scissors in brown and pink. Isn't it pretty?

What I liked best about this tote was all the removeable see-through pockets and the removeble table top easel that held my cutter, pens and markers, scissors... Check out these features: * Rolling tote with telescopic handle * Large interior that includes the following: * One removable divider; * One removable tabletop easel which includes six pockets and horizontal scissors/pens loops. One clear pocket is sized to hold a paper trimmer * One large clear pocket on inside of flap * Two removable clear pockets * Two side zip compartments: * One side zip has accordion storage * One side zip has 3 removable clear pockets * Total dimensions: 15-inch x 9 ½ inch x 15½ inch” / 38 cm x 24.13 cm x 39.37 cm

It sounds like I'm trying to sell it, right? Well, I am. I don't need it anymore and it's such a wonderful tote. It's still in great condition (just one small stress hole where I put a pointy object in an outer pocket) and can be yours for the low price of only $15. (Local delivery only lol) If you're interested I can send you more pictures with lots of detail. Unless you've already seen it... Melody I know you're interested! Paula? Jenni?

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