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

Is The Ship Really Sinking?

>> Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Or does Congress just want us to think it is?

I heard quite a few interviews yesterday with politicians talking about the bailout- which has yet to pass. And thankfully so... I can not believe the stuff they are putting into this bill... Profits back to ACORN (which is under government sanctions for misusing taxpayer dollars)?!?! Are you kidding me?

The way I am understanding this (put quite simply) is that banks who invested heavily in high risk home loans are in trouble. Financial institutions that did not (CitiGroup and Wells Fargo to name a couple) are not in crisis.

I found this transcript of an interview with Senator DeMint from South Dakota. Apparently there is a lot of input from the American people on this subject- at 9 to 1 against a bailout.

One local news station interviewed two economics professors from ISU the other night. And though the tone of their speech indicated they were for a bailout they finished the interview by saying that "it might not work. We'll just have to wait and see."

I'm pretty sure the American people aren't wanting to just "wait and see" if spending such a huge amount of money might work. I'm pretty sure most of us are at the point where we are wondering why our elected officials spend money like they are playing Monopoly. And I think we're getting pretty sick of it.

I'm pretty sure this isn't passing because politicians want to keep their jobs. When it matters to them, personally, I guess they can remember who they work for...

UPDATE (Doug): More at Who caused “the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression?”.

And, Understanding $700,000,000,000.

"The Bottom Line: If the Treasury simply took the $700 Billion and started paying off taxpayer mortgages, they could pay off every mortgage in the country worth less than $75,000... Or put another way, $700 Billion could pay off well over half of all outstanding first mortgages in the entire country."


Halloween Costumes 30% Off at Old Navy

>> Monday, September 29, 2008

Which made these warm, fuzzy and oh-so cute fleece costumes under $16 each.

Which is less than I could make them for.

And since I'm anticipating a cold Halloween here in the midwest, well I had to get them before they was gone...

The selection at the store I visited also included ninjas, bats, skunks (Doug nixed that), rats, purple butterflies and princesses. ALL on sale. And only at the stores (I looked online but couldn't find costumes on the website.)


I Guess I'm Not a "Hungry Girl"

Remember I told you that I checked out a couple of cookbooks from the library? Well, it's been almost a month now and I have a verdict on one...

My conclusion? The recipes are good. I especially love the Perfect Pepperoni Pizzas (recipe at the end of the post) and the Yum Yum Brownie Muffins(recipe at the end of the post).

I also made the Eggs Bene-Chick, but not being a big eggs Benedict fan to begin with I merely thought it was good.

I did, however, come to a few conclusions while trying these recipes:

  1. The "Hungry Girl" has no children at home. The recipes are mainly single serving and can be time consuming. I don't know about you, but I don't have 20 minutes to make my lunch. I would get the girls set down with their lunches, get mine ready to eat just as they are finishing and then, well, you all know how it is... When they are done you are done... The pizzas are nice, though, as I can make this for all of us and the girls enjoy it.
  2. I had trouble finding some items in my grocery store. (I searched high and low for turkey pepperoni and never found it. So I use regular pepperoni links and chop them up tiny so I "seem" to have lots of pepperoni goodness...)
  3. My food budget can't handle all this "special" food. Soy crumbles, liquid egg substitute, Splenda... It's expensive to eat this way...
My verdict: Time consuming and expensive. The recipes I have listed below I will use. This is a great cookbook for singles.

Repeat after me: portion control is my friend... portion control is my friend... portion control is my friend...


Yum-Yum Brownie Muffins
(1 Muffin, or 3 minis - 181 calories, 3.5g fat, 37g carbs, 2g, fiber, 2g protein - 4 WW points)

This super-simple 2-ingredient recipe is a Weight Watchers Fave!

1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can solid pack pumpkin (15 oz.)

Mix the two ingredients together. Don't add anything else that may be mentioned on the box, such as eggs, oil, or water. The mixture will be very thick and you will be tempted to add in other things to make the batter smoother. DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL RUIN EVERYTHING! Place batter into muffin tins (or mini muffin tins) lined with paper, or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular or 36 mini muffins. (I made 16 regular muffins... )

Perfect Pepperoni Pizzas

These guilt-free pizzas are easy to make and can easily kick any pizza craving...


1 light english muffin (like the ones by Thomas' and Weight Watchers)
2 tbsp. canned tomato sauce; seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, and spices
8 Slices Hormel Turkey Pepperoni
1 oz. Shredded Fat Free Mozzarella Cheese

Split english muffin, spread sauce on each half. Top with cheese. Place pepperoni on top (cut pepperoni into small pieces & it'll seem like more). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

Serves: 1
187 calories, 3g Fat, 875mg Sodium, 24 Carbs, 6.5g Fiber, 2g Sugars, 19g Protein -- 3 Points


Thinking About Pest Control

With fall finding it’s way here I find myself thinking about those nasty little critters that invaded my house the last time it got cold. Since our infestation I’ve learned quite a bit about mice and pest management.

Apparently they only live about 4 months. But they begin breeding at 5 weeks of age (!) and their rapid reproduction makes pest control almost unmanageable.

Because the infestation seemed to come out of nowhere we hired an exterminating company. The first guy to come out went through my house from top to bottom, inside and out, figured out where the beasties were coming in and plugged those holes. Then he put traps through my storage room- where they seemed to hang out.

Because I have kids and a dog no poisons were put out; only traps. We rigged the traps with dog food (since that was what they were stealing and hiding throughout the basement {{shudder}}. I joked about using peanut butter and was told that, while that was good, the little disease carriers really liked canola oil!

Another little trick I learned is that cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil or ammonia will repel mice! The peppermint oil is really nice- it keeps the room smelling good, too!

So now the exterminators come every three months or so- just to make sure the problem doesn’t resurface. I think we only had a “small” family. We killed 8 or 9 and haven’t seen any in a few months.

Thank goodness. I’ve never felt so dirty in my life.


Another Lovely Saturday

>> Saturday, September 27, 2008

And more items to put on eBay. I only got 5 listed last week! One sold immediately (on a Buy It Now) and the others end in a couple hours (it looks like all but one will sell. Not sure why no one wants this practically new Baby Gap dress...If you're interested email me, we'll cut a deal.)

On for today? Fall & winter clothes for little girls (up to 18 months), a My First Leap Pad + 2 sets of books (barely used as Caelan preferred her sister's), men's Gap khaki's (worn once. Doug didn't try them on at the store and he didn't keep the receipt **he's a guy).

If anything interests you here's my seller page. Come buy (ha! Get the pun?) and help me reduce our debt!

FYI: Chances to win this great collage frame end Tuesday! Sign up now!!


Dave Says...

Yeah, you're probably sick of that... But we've made great progress in our own debt problem following his advice, so I'll listen to his thoughts on the economy, too.

And follow his advice- make sure your "voice" in Washington hears your voice in this matter! (Mine have.)


Office Geeks Beware!

>> Friday, September 26, 2008

I went to Staples today to get printer paper (50% back with the Staples Easy Rewards) and a few 5x7 photo mailers.

As I wandered the store (because I can't help it... I love the paper, the organization supplies, the pens... Yep, so low tech, I know...)

Anyway... I found a round bin filled with lovely desk supplies...

Colored and shaped paper clips...

Clamps in metallics, brights and designs...

Big thumbtacks...

And you could fill the little 4 part dish with as much as it would hold for a set price.

Two sizes. I controlled myself and got the small one. It could have been worse.


Expert Moving Advice

I know that at least one of my bloggy friends is packing up and moving soon (Hi Bob! Let me know which house you chose!) so when I found this blog that is chock full of moving advice from the experts at ABF I thought it might come in handy for someone else, as well.

ABF is a “you pack, we ship” company… Good for anal people like me who don’t trust strangers to pack my stuff the way I want it packed but who aren’t willing to drive a U-Haul (ever again) across state lines. Less expensive than a full service mover but easier on your posterior than a rental truck.


Abandon Ship!

>> Thursday, September 25, 2008

I was away from home today so I had a chance to listen to a lot of radio... And every talk station I flipped through was talking about the government bail out.

I gotta tell you... I'm not a fan of this. Not one bit. Many are calling it the "Billionaire Bailout" and they really aren't wrong. If this gets passed (and I'm sure it will) it will mean big government and big business all intertwined. We won't just be flirting with socialism, we'll be half way there.

I'm not even going to point any fingers as this is the fault of all our government officials beginning with Carter, ignored by Reagan and Bush Sr., re-inforced by Clinton (in this article from winter 2000 it was called a mistake), and completely bumbled by W... Our Congress, which holds America's purse strings, has been much too free-spending with the People's money these past two decades and it was bound to catch up with us. Even the NY Times thought so in 1999. And Bill Clinton today.

So, as much as I know the bail out is inevitable, I also know it's only a band-aid. So I have a few suggestions for Washington (and, yes,I am sending these on to my state representatives who seem to have forgotten just who they work for)...

Because we recently went through drastic steps to live within our own budget and quit borrowing money (although I only have one set of books to manage. I understand the government has three. One to make us feel good, one to make them feel good and a real one) I have a few suggestions...

So, Washington, here's what I think you should do.

1) Cut all unnecessary spending. In fact, suspend all entitlement programs. All of them. Yes, even welfare, Medicaid and the department of education. HUD needs pared down drastically... Endowments? That's for when you have money. We have no money. Buh-bye endowments. This chart (and it's only half the government spending) from 2004 is a good place to begin...

Mostly you're just getting in the way and wrapping us in red tape. Leave it to the states. When we have enough money to cover them again maybe we'll talk.

2) Can you say "garage sale"?

  • Sell NASA and give any strategic stuff to the Navy or Air Force. Let rocket scientists work without restrictions and on some billionaire's dime. Let them raise money by taking other billionaires for rides on the shuttle.
  • Sell Amtrak. How it continues to lose money is beyond me. But yet you keep pumping money in to it. Sell it, use the money to pay off debt and let someone who knows how to run a business take over. I bet it will turn a profit in less than 5 years.
  • Let the UN move to another country. Like the poorest country in Africa. They could use the income a bunch of diplomats bring in (HA!)
  • You seem to own a lot of land in the western part of the US. With the property values in California and Nevada you could make a nice sum of money if you sold some of it.
3) Stop sending money to other countries. The only ones that make any sense are Panama and Egypt (so we can access the canals).

4) Stop giving yourself pay raises! Your approval rating is in the single digits. At a "real" job that would get you a pink slip.

5) Take your lunch to work. Pay for your own parking. Pare down your staff. Stop spending my money on your frivolities.

Cutting your spending and living within your means can be painful and you may have to give up some of those "niceties" you've become used to doling out without a thought. But you know what? Your job depends on it. I'm angry and I vote. Those pink slips just may be coming sooner than you think.



>> Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You know what? Right now I just don't care. Just can't find it in myself to care about anything. Oh, sure, I have a pile of "to do" sitting right beside my computer. And I know that I won't be online hardly at all tomorrow because we are heading down to my grandparent's farm for the day.

I feel bloated. And lazy. And crabby.

So I say "bah" to everything. I'm gonna go to bed. Surely I'll feel better tomorrow.

Until then just go check out this month's giveaway, ok?


I Have to Shout to be Heard

Lately my lovely daughters have begun shouting. Alot. Most days begin with Caelan shouting from her room that she is awake. And it continues...

She shouts for breakfast...

She shouts for a dry diaper...

She shouts just to shout...

So Brenna shouts back.

And I have to shout to stop them from shouting.

It's getting very old very fast.

I've been telling Calean that I'm not going to respond to her until she speaks to me in a nice voice... Which works for about 3.5 seconds. And if I don't hop up and do her bidding immediately she shouts again. And then it's back to step one.



Because Affordable and Nice Can Be Synomous

I mentioned a few days ago that Doug and I will be redoing our half bath as an anniversary gift you ourselves. (It’s cheaper than a 3-day weekend anywhere.) So I’ve begun my search for a new Bathroom Vanity. I really dislike the one we have and am searching Discount Bathroom Vanities for just the right one.

Because I am working with such a small space I have to remember to stick with the single Bathroom Vanities. I’m also wanting something “clean” but not too modern. Of course, if I had my way (and the budget for it) I would be choosing a marble topped antique style. Unfortunately the one I really like is over the budget we have to do the entire bathroom!

So I should probably stop drooling over the 3-piece antique Double Vanity and bookmark it for when we have a larger budget and we redo the master bath (which is ugly, too. I’m not sure who advised the original owners on their decorating style. Yikes!).

For now I’ll just focus on finding something nice for the small space that I can afford. Because I still have to buy wainscoting, paint, towels and a picture or two for the walls.


I'm Afraid This is Only the Beginning of the Division

>> Tuesday, September 23, 2008

OK, so I got this email the other day (name and website removed to protect the intolerant)

Hi, Jody.
My stats indicate that you've posted a link to my blog on your website. While I'm flattered that you would choose to link to me, your site includes political content with which I do not want to be associated. I would like to ask that you please remove the link to my blog from your site.

Thank you so much for your help with this.
I found this funny for a couple of reasons...
  1. In my blog world any links are good links.
  2. That link had been there for quite a while.
  3. If her stat counter showed activity from my site that means people were visiting her. Isn't that good?
  4. People visiting from my site already know my politics and aren't going to be offended if you're some freaky tree-hugging-placenta burying Wiccan. They are visiting for your crafts.
Yep, it was a link to a craft site.

So, because my politics differ from hers she doesn't want my link on her site.

So I responded with "As you wish"... but here's what bothers me...

While I am absolutely terrified at the thought of Barack Obama becoming president and am almost as scared as what will happen if he doesn't. Because you know that everyone who voted against him will be termed a "racist" and "intolerant". And the election will have been "stolen" or "rigged". Because, as I was told in the Des Moines Register the other day, "the majority of the country backs him". Since most of the polls have had the country split practically evenly for weeks I am wondering where that information came from...

As an aside...

Can anyone tell me why those who preach tolerance are so intolerant of conservative views?

Also, why where there more arrests during the RNC (800) than the DNC (152)?

Just curious...


I Got Mentioned in Budget Travel's Newsletter!

I subscribe to lots of travel newsletters. (Gee... Go figure...) I also belong to lots of sites where I can input info and link back to my travel site in hopes of garnering more traffic.

Well, today the Budget Travel Newsletter had a link to my "My Budget Travel" page. This is where I upload photos and videos and write a little journal entry that leads readers to my Have Kid Will Travel site for more information. My mention is made under the header of "Contests" and my user name is iatraveler. The photo they are featuring is of the Cliffs of Moher.

Here's the link to the photo and here's the link to My Budget Travel page. Come visit!


The XFLOWSION Explosion

I’ve fallen into a workout rut. Wait, let me rephrase that. I’ve fallen out of working out. I have some really nice equipment, too. A home gym and an elliptical machine that is nicer than the ones at the Y. And they sit in the other room, mostly unused. Why? Well, maybe because they are in a windowless room. I hate windowless rooms. I feel closed in. Or maybe because they are boring…

Or maybe I’m just making excuses because I am tired and working out just feels like such a hassle.

I just really want something fun that I don’t dread doing.

I just heard about XFLOWSION the other day and visited the website. It looks like a high-energy workout (something I definitely need- then maybe I can cut out the caffeine and avoid my mid-afternoon slump!) but it also looks like fun. And I’m definitely more likely to continue to exercise if I’m having fun.

I’m most interested in the “Body Blast” and “Calm Down Dog” videos. “Body Blast” is a total body toning, strengthening and flexibility workout while “Calm Down Dog” is a yoga-centric workout that relieves stress and tension (which I definitely need after a long day with the girls).

I’m gonna check this out… It definitely can’t hurt. How about you? Has anyone tried this? Or does anyone want to join me? Workouts are better in groups!



Do You Follow My Link Bar?

>> Monday, September 22, 2008

At the top of the page, right under my header is a link bar where I list contests and giveaways I have going on my websites. Have you ever noticed it?

September's Bribing Giveaway is going on here in Iowa Geek.

There are just a few days left to enter to win a grill over at Fab Food Friday.

And there are about 4 vacation contests listed over at Have Kid Will Travel.

Someone has to win- why not you?

PS I put up a "bonus recipe" over at Fab Food Friday. Snickers Cheesecake. Yes, it's as good as it sounds. No, it's not difficult to make. Yes, you should work it into your food budget.


Another Bill Bites the Dust and I Knew This Would Come Back to Bite Me

>> Sunday, September 21, 2008

That title is best sung (to yourself) to the tune of "Another One Bites the Dust"...

But, yes, with Doug's paycheck on Friday we paid off the third bill on our debt snowball and our snowball is picking up speed!

The bill we paid off was my elliptical machine. I bought it almost a year ago on a 12 month interest free loan. I had the payments all worked out so that it would be paid off before the interest kicked in. But one glitch in that plan and I would have owed the entire year's worth of interest.

And since many people "think" they will pay off an interest free loan before the interest kicks in, few do. And that is why it is a bad idea. One day late and you're looking at a few more months of payments... All accruing interest.

We began FPU in June. As of Friday we have paid off $7742.52 in debt. Not too bad for 3 1/2 months...

However... This "Live Like No One Else" has come back to bite me in the rear... If you are paid on an every-two-week schedule (like Doug is) October brings an "extra" paycheck... If you do your budgeting per month basing it on 2 paychecks (like I do) this is a nice surprise.

And since our 5th anniversary falls in October I thought Doug & I could take the one weekend we have free and have a little getaway. I perused three day packages to Dublin and London... I checked out airfares to Memphis and waded through beautiful B&Bs.

I didn't book anything. Believe me, it was hard not to, but my fun money doesn't stretch that far... So I brought up the subject to Doug...

"Hon, you get paid 3 times in October. I was thinking we could go away for our anniversary."

To which he replies, "How's our emergency fund? Is there something we could pay off early? Remember, "live like no one else"...

So, after much discussion, we decided that we could redo our very ugly half bathroom as an anniversary gift to us. As long as we spent under $500. Oh, and I get a new faucet for the kitchen sink. And I'll probably be able to pay off a credit card a month early.

But a weekend in Dublin without kids would have been more fun...


I'm No Digital Goddess...

I’m always looking for ways to make my travel blog more eye catching and interesting. I’ve found and used many different online products but I still know so little about what is out there and what I can ultimately do. So I entered myself in the Roxio Extreme Digital Makeover contest.

It’s a very easy contest to enter- all you have to do is email your name, organization, phone number, email and digital dilemma to: digitalmakeover@roxio.com. No videos to make (because if you had the answers you wouldn’t need their help!

Go over and check out the episodes they’ve done. I especially like “A Walk in the Park” because they explain the Roxio photo show software (ps… It’s free!).

So check out this little clip and enter yourself for a digital makeover (and prizes!)



Every Mother's Worst Nightmare

It began as a wonderful day. Everyone was having fun. We were all laughing and playing. We went swimming at a local gym and were helping the girls with back floats. The girls and I went into the dressing room to change. I changed Brenna first as she was making the most noise about being cold. She ran around the dressing room as I changed Caelan and then myself.

When I couldn't find her I figured she had run out of the dressing room to find Doug or her cousin. But none of them had seen her. No one had seen her leave the building but no one could find her in it. Where is my little girl?

I never found out, because, luckily for me, this actually was a nightmare. I woke up when my brother-in-law was calling the police.

I take for granted that I live in a very safe town. But even in my town children are hurt- just not often (and no abductions since I moved here- or before that I'm aware of). I assume that Brenna would scream and kick and make a fuss- but I've not spoken to her about it.

I suppose I should.

Does anyone else ever have such vivid bad dreams?


A Lovely Saturday... And What Am I Doing?

>> Saturday, September 20, 2008

I am listing items on eBay and Craig's List. Yep. I have stuff that didn't sell in the garage sale due to season (clothing) or cost (more than garage sale shoppers wanted to pay) or some other reason unknown to me (because I have good stuff...).

Anyway, fall is coming, gift giving season is approaching and I have debt I want gone. So my goal is to get all this stuff listed today.

It's a lofty goal, to be sure. It takes time to list stuff on eBay, describe it in a way that makes people want to buy it, do your research so you aren't over or under pricing, take the pictures and list it.

So... Why am I here writing? Because I've taken all the pictures (and edited them) and I've gotten 3 items listed. My computer is popping up a virus warning (apparently something has been quarantined because it was trying to install itself and I need to get rid of it) and it puts a pause in my typing. Annoying.

And in half an hour I need to go pick up Caelan's birthday cake and prepare for guests.


Back to work.


Just Bead It

I like pretty things. This probably comes as no surprise to those who know me. My ideas of “pretty” and “beauty” don’t always match with style guides, though, and often I am left searching for someone who has my taste. Because, although I may be somewhat crafty, I just don’t have all the time I need to do all these crafts and ideas that are swimming through my head.

I may have to make some time soon for some beading, though. I just found this great site that has beautiful wholesale beads. The selection of semi-precious gemstones in a wide variety if cuts is huge. They have gorgeous topaz in many colors, stunning ametrine, tourmalines in various hues and more stones that I have never heard of. And they have freshwater pearls in so many colors. I didn’t know pearls came in burgundy, bronze and blue! It’s almost overwhelming.

If you create jewelry you’ll want to check out the huge selection and variety of wholesale gemstone beads at BeadsOfCambay.com. They offer discounts up to 30% and you will not be disappointed with their selection.

And don’t overlook their discounted beads. There are some copper coin freshwater pearls listed there now – a 16 inch length for under $20. They would make a very simple but quite stunning necklace all by themselves.


A Giveaway with a "New View" - Non-Scrap Bribing for September

I saw this in my sister-in-law's house and loved it. However the fact that she owns it kind of keeps me from buying it. It doesn't, however, keep me from giving it away.

Here's the info on this great frame:
* Elegant "Live Laugh Love" script and heart-warming etched messages create a unique display for your favorite photos.
* Sliding collage design lets you add however many snapshots you choose and place them in your own special order.
* Sturdy design offers years of enjoyment.
o 15"H x 19"W
o Horizontal display
o Attached wall hooks
o Wood/glass
o By New View Gifts & Accessories

This is a seriously striking piece and is sure to make people talk.

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 and that it has contact info.)

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 October 1 so get those posts up and keep reminding your readers to visit and drop your name!


Have a New Xperience

>> Friday, September 19, 2008

I love to do new and different things – no matter where we are. Something I’ve learned about recently is travel and gift “experiences”. These look really fun. In cities across America you can race cars, do aerial acrobatics, learn to cook like a chef or take a Helicopter Ride and tour the city. There are even a few flights that will even let you take control of the helicopter! Or in Vegas you can leave the city in a helicopter and arrive at a winery, take a tour, have an exceptional dinner and fly back into Vegas at night – when it’s lit up and looking it’s best.

Some of these packages really aren’t that expensive so if you’re looking for a memorable gift or just a way to make a vacation extra special you’ve gotta see the options at xperiencedays.com.


Think She Was Tired?

Poor Miss Calean. She was up at 6:30 this morning, had her 2 year well child visit (and got her flu vaccine- in mist form! Yea!), had gymnastics and then we ran a couple errands before coming home for lunch and naps.

But she said she didn't want to lay down- she wasn't tired. So she was playing in the office while I paid bills and updated the budget.

Suddenly it was quiet. And there she lay, fast asleep on the floor.

Yes, she is still in her new gymnastics outfit. No, she doesn't want to take it off. Yes, she slept in it last night.


MyLifetime- TV and So Much More

I’m always on the look out for unique craft ideas, especially with gift giving season coming up fast and our frugal budget for said gifts. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon it but Lifetime TV’s website has craft ideas- and helpful video for creating home accents.

Because I was so surprised at this I spent the next half hour just clicking around the website. They have tons of their shows and movies available online… Games for thinking adults (and some mindless time wasters, too!)… Health, style and relationship information… And, of course, entertainment news.

It’s all really nicely laid out and easy to navigate. If you have a few minutes go over and check it out. But make sure you have a few minutes – you don’t want to forget to pick up the kids!


"Articulate" Obama

Quite a while back Doug posted a sound byte of Obama giving a speech without a teleprompter. It was all but impossible for me to listen to. Now Doug has linked a video (below) which is not so bad but is still plenty painful to listen to. Seeing it almost makes me feel sorry for the man.

I took speech classes in high school and even at it's very worst I never heard anyone stammer and stutter like this.

Don't watch if you like to watch articulate speakers...


If You Had 3 Days

Where would you go?

I’m itching to go somewhere… Anywhere… I just want to get away and experience something new. This always happens about 6 months after our last vacation and I can usually manage to contain it, although this time it is proving more difficult. I actually said to Doug the other day, How cheap does a vacation have to be for us to be able to take it?”

His answer, “How much money do we have saved so I can miss work?” He’s a contractor so no work = no pay.

The answer? “None.”

“Well, then, it really doesn’t matter how cheap the vacation is, we can’t afford it.” Bah! But he’s right. Not that it keeps me from looking, though.

I was perusing Rentalo’s website the other day. It was torturous. I found some great Kissimmee vacation rentals close to Disney and lots of other fun stuff, a bed and breakfast Breckenridge with end of summer specials and Siesta Key vacation rentals- also really cheap right now due to hurricane season.

Our anniversary is coming up… I wonder if I booked something and he only had to miss one day of work if he would put up much struggle? Visit Rentalo’s website and tell me where you would go…


Me, Give Up? Never!

>> Thursday, September 18, 2008

When I have my mind set on something it's rather difficult for me to let it go... That's how I was today with Caelan's photos. I was determined to get them done on her birthday and a little fussing on her part wasn't going to stop me.

So when she was settled into a much needed nap and Brenna was having her own (requested!) quiet time I called Clix! to see if they could get me in this afternoon. Joy! They could!

So after naps and lunch, off we went for photos.

I explained quite extensively to Caelan that we were going to take pictures and if she was very good we could go next door for ice cream at Marble Slab while we waited for our pictures to print.

That bit of bribery certainly helped. So did Brenna... She did whatever I asked of her. She climbed the ladder (because Caelan always wants to do what her big sister does), she danced, she played with the flower...

And Caelan gleefully followed suit. The photographer we had was wonderful with the girls (her name is Angela) and was incredibly patient with Caelan after I explained the morning's incident.

As you can see we got some great photos. And I spent about the same as I would have at Portrait Innovations (which is difficult to get in to unless you book a month in advance) because right now they have 30% off portrait packages. I told Angela exactly what I needed and she didn't give me any "hard sell" or tell me that we had to go through photos and options first. She made it very easy to narrow down the photos and get exactly what I needed.

One thing Clix! does is gives you "points" depending on the package size you get. The package I bought "earned" me 4 points. With it I got these fun items: 2 8x10 2009 calendar sheets and 4 "photo strips".
Sweet, yes? And a really nice bonus? You could choose from all the photos for these items- not just the "final" photos you chose in the package. That made it really easy to get the "action" photo strip and the sweet calendar shot.

Funny story... The princess tiara and puffy tutu? Not ours. They were on the shelf of accessories and Caelan zeroed in on them. And those produced the sweetest photos.


My Baby is 2 Today ... Cue the Terrible 2's

I can't quite believe it but my precious little baby turns two today. Where did the time go?

We've already had a "breakfast" of birthday cake and her present has been opened- a new gymnastics outfit! She was quite excited and couldn't wait to put it on. In just a few minutes we leave to go get her two-year photos done. And, since I knew she wouldn't want to take off her new outfit I actually planned to have it be one of her photo outfits. Then it's off to Red Robin (or, as Brenna calls it "eddie yum"... not quite sure how she got that from the "Red Robin Yum" commercials...) for lunch with grandma.

Caelan's 2 collage

Looks happy, doesn't she?


Yeah... It was temporary. It lasted until exactly the time the lady called our name for pictures. And then everything fell apart. A crazed child took the place of my happy toddler. Suddenly I had a leech clinging to my leg. I managed to detach her and get her in position for her pictures and there she stood... Stiff... Unsmiling... Unhappy.

I tried to get her to jump or do gymnastics... Brenna and I even got down by her and did "butterfly" stretches like we do every week at gymnastics... Still nothing...

Then I did the unthinkable. I tried to put on her other outfit. Anticipating that she wouldn't want to take off her new gymnastics outfit I struggled to put the other one on over it. It turned in to a very ugly scene with Caelan throwing herself on the floor screaming and hitting her head on the wall.

Oh, yeah, great parenting demonstration ahead. I spanked her, apologized to the photographer, gathered our stuff and we left.

We came straight home- no lunch with grandma; no rewards for bad behavior. Guess who's napping?


Shameless Self Promotion

There’s a new place for Website Reviews. I went over to check it out and ended up reviewing my travel site and my recipe site. My only complaint is that the images the website pulled up are quite old. Otherwise I think this is an easy to use resource and a great place to self-promote your websites. Maybe I can break into their list of “Top Websites”.


Children in the Corn

>> Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I've got a nice long post over at the travel site so you can hear all about the corn maze we went to Monday night.

And don't stop there! Go over and see Paula's great photos!

And check out what Melody had to say (sans photos as her computer is down and she's updating from the local library).


Leaving Was A Compliment

So you’ve heard the lament about losing my hairstylist. I’m still sad about it, mostly because I’d been seeing her since she was in cosmetology school at La James College in Johnston. It’s difficult to get people to follow you from beauty school into a salon setting because the price difference is so substantial.

It’s kind of funny that I went to that school at all, really. You see, I used to drive to the La James College in Mason City for continuing education when I lived in Minneapolis to keep my Iowa cosmetology license. Then I looked in to their massage therapist school before I realized that my tendinitis would bother me as much doing that as it did when I did hair.

When the salon I had been going to “lost” all it’s stylists to a bad business decision by the owner (I still don’t know what it was) I had to find a new salon. And I didn’t have much luck, so I decided to go into a school setting because there are always instructors around to fix any mistakes (something some high priced salons need sometimes!). And I stuck around there until my stylist graduated. I met her the very first day she took clients and I stayed with her until she left the area. It's really a compliment to the school that I left them to follow her, right?


Guess Where We Were Last Night

>> Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I had big plans to do a write up about all the new things going on out at Geisler Family Farm. But my day was insane and I had much to catch up on that didn't get done yesterday, so this is all you get- a collage of photos.

Harvest Moon Collage

Because the Moon Maze was such a hit last year they are doing a Full Moon Maze again in October. I highly recommend it.
If you simply must read about it head over to Paula's. She got an excellent picture of the moon. Seriously, HOW? I couldn't get one and I tried every setting on my camera!

Right now I am beat. It's 8pm. I'm going to fold laundry and go to bed.


Supporting Those Who Support Our Troops

It’s almost time for me to design my Christmas cards. I prefer to design my own as cards off the shelf just never seem to say the right thing. As I was perusing all the printers available online I came across ChristmasCardsDirect, a personalized holiday cards publisher. I spent some time wading through their extensive site and had them included in my short list of card makers.

Then I found something that cinched the deal: They are donating 180,000 blank holiday cards to Soldiers' Angels, who will deliver the cards to deployed members of the United States military to write home to their family and friends. Can you imagine the joy on those family’s faces when they get a card from overseas for Christmas? (A company whose cards they also sell, GalleryCollection.com, is also donating 180,000 cards.)

Well, that did it for me because I’m all about supporting companies who support our troops. So whether you’re planning to create Personalized Christmas Cards (which is super easy on their website! They even have tips for taking the perfect photo!) or you need holiday cards for your business I urge you to check out ChristmasCardsDirect at their website www.ChristmasCardsDirect.com . They also have card assortment boxes for other occasions, too.


My Testimony- If God Can Save Me He Can Save Anyone

>> Monday, September 15, 2008

One of the things that attracted us to the church we attend is the series our pastor teaches. We delve deeply into a book and he makes it relevant to us now. Quite often he offers humorous anecdotes, like yesterdays about a conversation he recently had with another local pastor. The pastor asked what our church was doing to gain congregants so quickly- do we have short services, is the teaching soft and inoffensive? My pastor replied that, “No, we don’t do any of those things. Services often run long and (my) teaching is unapologetically straight from Bible text.” He joked that he did everything “wrong” to grow a church but people just keep coming.

My pastor really makes us evaluate who we are as Christians and challenges us to learn and understand the Word. And I truly appreciate that.

We just began a study of 1 Timothy. Yesterdays teaching included Paul’s testimonial (1:13-17).

13Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

As I was listening to Pastor Todd teach I felt a nudge- it is time for me to share my testimony. I have been asked for it many times but am really quite embarrassed and ashamed of who I was and what I have done. And, for a very long time, I was afraid of being judged for my past. I’ve gotten over that now. I know that I have been forgiven by God and that Jesus was sacrificed for the sins I have committed. With the knowledge of that amazing gift I am ready to share my story…

I offer this first glimpse of my life not to lay blame or to offer excuses but just as fact. It happened and it shaped me.

I was born to a newly single mother. My father did not want me and it is only due to my mother’s love that I am here today. She very easily could have succumbed to her husband’s wishes and terminated my life. Unfortunately my father wasn’t willing to let her go so easily and he thought that if I were gone my mother would come back to him. So, one day while my grandparents and mother were in the barn milking cows (maybe 500 feet from the house) he took me. Neighbors found me crying in a country ditch and brought me home.

Fast forward to about preschool age. I can’t really pinpoint the time… Who can when they are that young? I am thinking it began about age 3 and ended about 7 or 8… During this time I was molested by two male relatives. Who they are and what they did is no longer an issue to me. It is past. It happened. I will go to any length to keep it from happening to my daughters.

Much of my life is lost to me… I really don’t know what I can’t remember… My childhood memories are filled with large spots of emptiness.

I was an awful teen. Family referred to me as a “rebel without a pause” and I lived up to it, foolishly wearing the comment as a badge of honor. My mother and father (she remarried when I was young and I was legally adopted) divorced when I was in my early teens. My mom had three other kids to care for and her own issues. I rebelled against every rule she tried to set. I followed no curfews and would defiantly walk out of the house immediately after being grounded, daring her to do something to stop me. I had a violent temper- if you crossed me you definitely needed to watch your back. Revenge would come. I held grudges for tiny, tiny infractions. To this day my temper is quick to rise and I fight very hard to control it.

I ran around with a much older crowd; drinking, smoking… There were very few things I wouldn’t try at least once. I dated men, not boys, and was exposed to way too many adult experiences as a teen.

Luckily I was a smart kid and school was easy for me. If I cared to learn, that is. I excelled at classes I enjoyed and didn’t try at those I disliked. I graduated from high school early and went directly into cosmetology school- it was the quickest education I could get and get out of my house and out of the small town I lived in.

I spent the next couple years living a “rock and roll” lifestyle. I worked during the day and spent nights in clubs or at concerts. Men rotated through my life too quickly for me to recall their names and much of that time is lost to me in an alcohol haze.

In what can only be described as an “escape” I moved to Minneapolis. Unfortunately I continued to make bad decisions and be guided only by my desires. After only a short time there I became a stripper- and remained one for 10 years. The rotation of men through my life ceased and I entered into a long term abusive relationship. There were days that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to work- the bruises might not cover easily. Excuses came easily to my lips.

As I look back at that time I can see that, even then, God had his hand in my life. I was surrounded by alcohol and drugs yet it was at this time that I quit using drugs and drinking to excess. I was known as “responsible” and “organized”. Girls I worked with died tragic deaths- overdoses, drug related murders, and alcohol related car accidents…

As I approached my 30th birthday I began searching for a purpose, a meaning, a reason for life. I couldn’t see the point. I began studying religions, delving into anything and everything that was suggested to me. I dismissed God in favor of false teachings but, luckily, He had other plans for me.

In late 2003 I was visiting my sister when God put Doug in front of me for the third time (third time’s a charm). The day Doug came into my life was the day my life began to change. Doug made me desire to be a better person, to leave my past behind completely and to move forward as the person I wanted to be, not the person I was expected to be.

Before Caelan’s birth I was ready to allow God into my life. It wasn’t so much a quick decision as much as a realization that He had been watching over my life and had blessed me in ways I hadn’t even begun to realize. We visited churches but none felt right. Many circled around the Word or didn’t even open a Bible. So many felt apologetic for believing in God.

We had almost given up when we were invited to First Family Church. And here we found a “family” who didn’t apologize for believing the word of God and who welcomed us wholly. And who not only opened the Bible but read from it, studied it and expected me to do the same!

I can’t remember the sermon that day in February when I accepted God fully. What I remember is that the last place I wanted to be that day was in church. I had woken frustrated, Doug was at home (he was working so much at the time- I think he had finished a meeting at 3am that morning) and the girls were an overwhelming handful. I was tired, I was angry and I could have, very easily, lashed out at someone. So the last place I wanted to be- but where I definitely needed to be- was church.

I remember the sermon really hitting home with me and fully realizing that I didn’t have to go through life “alone”, that, if I would only allow it, God would guide me. And that day when Todd asked who was willing to accept Jesus as their savior I raised my hand. And I cried. (As I am crying now)

Not long after that we became members of First Family and this past June I was baptized. I still struggle every day with my temper and with memories of my past. I’m still defensive and I have to think before I speak. I have a tendency to come off as abrasive and cold. I have trust issues.

But I trust in God, I believe in His salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ and I know that I have been forgiven the sins I have committed. He has blessed me with the beautiful gifts of my daughters and with a husband who is a Godly man and is willing to walk beside me as we navigate God’s Word.

From yesterday’s sermon: If God can save Paul he can save anyone. God changes all who believe in him. God’s seed always bears fruit.

From my life: If God can save me he can save anyone. My life has changed due to my belief in God. His seed has planted in me and I strive daily to share the fruits with others.

Our church offers sermons and series online, if you are interested. Or, if you are in the area, I would be honored to have you join us at service. And visit Pastor Todd at his blog (which he needs to update, lol).


Well Hello, Kitty...

Caelan and I went about today, running errands while Brenna was in school. The first order of business was ordering her birthday cake. Before we looked through the books she was saying she wanted a Tink cake. Then she saw a Disney Princesses castle cake and her mind changed. But all was forgotten as soon as she saw Hello Kitty. Yes, my two year old daughter is a fan of Hello Kitty. I’m not quite sure how the lure of the little white kitty has ensnared my youngest child but she is also determined to be Hello Kitty for Halloween (this decision came about as we passed the halloween costumes at Target. Caelan may not know much about Halloween but she knows all about dressing up in costumes!

I didn’t realize it before today, but Hello Kitty is more of a teen thing so finding a Hello Kitty in childrens costumes proved tricky. I finally found one at EasternToys.com. It’s a cute, fuzzy one piece with Hello Kitty on the front with ears. It’s simple but I like that it could easily go right over a sweat suit. And it’s under $20. Sweet.

Because they also have adult costumes I spent a few minutes browsing their selection. There’s a really nice Tinkerbell costume for adults. I’m just sayin’…


Now I'm Rude and Judgemental...

>> Sunday, September 14, 2008

I was responding to a comment in my comment form and it got rather long so I thought I would share it here as I think some of my readers might get some use out of it. The comment was left on a post I wrote for an advertiser (which is how I help suppliment my husband's income).

Here is the comment:

I have never been to your blog before, but I have to say this post is
ridiculous. Having a credit card is not an addiction. We have one credit card
that we pay in full every month. It has no fees whatsoever and we get gift cards
every once in a while from the points. We have never, ever had credit card debt.

My in-laws do the same thing only they get frequent flyer miles with
their card and they get to come visit us for FREE because they use that card.
With no fees and no interest because they pay it off every month. That is

That's a pretty rude and judgmental post to suggest that a
credit card is an addiction that you should ideally break.

Now I don't think that anyone who has struggled with debt would argue my point of saying credit cards can be an addiction. Unfortunately the numbers don't lie. A recent Dun and Bradstreet study found that you spend 12-18% more if you use credit cards instead of cash. Also, 60% of credit card users aren't paying off their cards every month, so you are in the minority. (more info here here- Dave can argue the points better than I can).

I'm glad you have not fallen into the credit trap that so many have. But credit cards are an addiction for many- and often one that can lead to the end of marriages and bankruptcy. The Bible says "the borrower is slave (servant) to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).

A few more numbers to help prove my point about credit addiction (taken from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace classes):

  • The total American consumer debt is more than $2.7 trillion
  • The average household credit card debt has increased approximately 16% in the past 17 years
  • There are over 1.3 billion credit cards in circulation in America
  • 45% of card holders pay only the minimum balance each month
  • The average balance per credit card holding household is $9300
  • Overall, American households spend over $412 billion in credit card charges per year

So while you may be good with your credit card, the majority of Americans are not. And, with these statistics, I believe that credit card useage could easily qualify as an addiction that should be broken. (And, speaking from experience, is can be a difficult addiction to break.)

Anyone else want to weigh in on this?



>> Friday, September 12, 2008

Via Striderweb

The video Barack is desperately trying to stop

Compare to Sarah's interview with Gibson. This is the full transcript and highlights the parts ABC chopped out.


Behold! The $6300 Slow Cooker!

$6300 crock pot

Looks like a plain ol' crock pot, I know. Surely it's not worth $6300.

But that's what it cost me... Actually more...

OK, if you've been reading lately you know exactly what this is about. If you're confused check out this post for a good laugh- at our expense.


Search for What You Want

So after all my “get rid of your credit cards” posts you still think you need a card… OK, I get it. It’s difficult to get rid of addictions, I know. But if you must have a card be wise about what you get. I suggest a visit to Credit Card Hub. By using this site you can search for a credit card based on interest rates, rewards and companies (along with other options).

I did a quick search for a business card with a low interest rate, mileage rewards and no annual fee. The results returned one option that fit all my requirements. If I were searching for a credit card this would certainly be easier than taking chances with the offers that fill my mailbox.


Beware the Blitz!

I got a new "toy" today. My "new every two" finally came about last weekend- and not a minute too soon as my phone was being held together with tape. Too many drops on the floor (by a couple little girls whose names I won't mention), I expect. Apparently only phones that actually work are fun...

So after leaving Brenna at Lunch Bunch (followed by pre-school... WHEE! 3 1/2 hours of dealing with only one child!) Caelan and I went to Verizon.

Once upon a time I had everything you could get on a phone- and more. Every little bit you could do with it I did. Not so much any more. Now I just text (to Doug) and answer calls. I do really want to figure out how to put MP3s on here so I can listen to Glenn and Dave on my own schedule... (No, I don't have an iPod. Yes, I know how lame that is...) I'm pretty sure I'll have to do something with the microSD card...

This phone is so new that I bought the first one at the Verizon store I go to. They just unpacked them yesterday. It's so new they didn't have the software yet to transfer my phone book from my old phone. Annoying.

Now I just have to figure out how to use it... Which I am going to do now... Oh, sure, I could put away groceries, get stuff ready to bake a 3-layer cake, work on my travel website, or even (gasp!) relax but this place is called Iowa Geek for a reason... I'm gonna go geek out with my new toy for half an hour until we need to go pick up Brenna.


Debt- Easier Spent Than Gone

I’ve been having an email conversation with one of my readers about the debt burden she and her husband are carrying and how the stress of it has been affecting her. Just the other day she broached the subject with her husband and they, for the first time, sat down and discussed how their debt made them feel and what they could do to turn it around. She said that bringing up the subject made her very nervous and she was truly afraid that the “big D word” might come up if a fight ensued.

Thankfully they did not have a fight but, instead, worked out plans to take them forward and out of debt. They know it won’t be easy and that they may need some help along the way but because they are working together on it the problem doesn’t seem so big.

I gotta tell you, I know exactly how she feels. For the longest time I would try to finagle our bills and make the money last all month. It was truly a stretch and I was beginning to feel like I have a huge weight on me. Somehow Doug & I, though we had a nice income coming in, were running behind all the time. I was playing a constant game of catch up.

To put it simply, debt sucks. Yet we’ve been taught that we need to “build our credit” so we can buy things. I’m not really sure who sold us that bill of goods, but the spending public bought it- hook, line & sinker. (Just a note- if you pay cash you don’t have to borrow! And if you have enough cash to put down 20%+ on a house no one cares if you have a credit score!) And now the majority of us are living paycheck to paycheck trying to pay for the stuff we “had to have” that we never get to use because we are too busy paying for the stuff. Stupid.

As we work to pay off our debt I do a lot of reading about the help that is out there. I know I have quite a few UK readers (a surprising number, actually, thank you!) I thought I would share this info I found about IVAs. Apparently this is a structured agreement to help you pay back your debts over a set period of time. Plans are set up with each creditor and some debt may be forgiven and interest rates are frozen. Basically it gives you a mediator on your side to help negotiate with the creditors.

Getting into debt is easier than getting out of it. Don't be ashamed to ask for help.


BBC being impartial?

The least biased reports on Sarah Palin I've found so far have been by the BBC.

A little of real Palin revealed

Sarah Palin: 10 things we've learnt


Baking Day

>> Thursday, September 11, 2008

I just put the most labor intensive bread EVER into the oven. I should have known better- the recipe came from Martha Stewart Living.

As I read through the recipe I really didn't think it would be such a pain. There were so many instances of moving the bread around (and it was insanely sticky!) that I have dough stuck to my fingers even after multiple washings.

I can guarantee that I will not be using this recipe again- even if the bread is amazing. I don't have 12 hours to bake 3 loaves of bread.

Luckily my yummy layered pumpkin muffins took only an hour from start to finish...

Fab Food Friday 035


September 11th

We remember....

I remember getting into my client's office and hearing the buzz of "a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York". It was the first time I heard of Drudge Report. Like the rest of the nation, I thought a small plane got tangled up in the buildings while trying to land.

I remember going into a meeting room for a large meeting with the development staff, where they had CNN, which at one time was a trusted news source, playing on the pull down screen. The newscasters were talking about a passenger plane hitting the building. That, with the size of the impact, had me concerned. But, it still looked like an accident.

Then, we watched as the second plane struck another building. Deliberate. Intentional. The only course corrections were AT the building. The first words out of my mouth were "we are at war". But with who?

The rest of the day was a blur of working and watching the news as another plane hit the Pentagon and a plane crashing into a field in Pennsylvania.

How do you attack an entity that has repeatedly attacked you? Start here with section 2.4. How does a nation take the fight to an enemy without borders? The answer is "the only way you can". That is, take the fight to those that support your enigmatic enemy and make them come to you. Over there. On defense. Cause them to stand and fight rather than infiltrate your borders. Have them fight were our soldiers are armed, ready and on high alert.

That's how you fight a terrorist organization. Or, in this case, a loose confederation of groups that wish to see the end of Western Civilization. This is a war that has been on-and-off for over 1,300 years.

For you atheists, agnostics, and multiculturalists don't think you can escape, or are even excused. For these beliefs put you at the level of domesticated animals in Sharia Law. No punishment can be brought if a Muslim were to kill you, and in fact praise may be earned.

America, as always, is at a watershed moment in history. We have just knocked back two state sponsors of terror. As a result of this, Libya is minding it's manners. Ethiopia killed terrorists in Somalia and restored order there. Lebanon started a democratic movement with the Cedar Revolution, but was knocked back when we became squishy again. We have killed a large number of those that wish to kill innocents. We have set almost 50 million people free to choose their own course. The next challenge is "can we keep it?" Thailand and the Philippines have their challenges now. Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands too.

Can we keep our heritage or will we be defeated from within? Sure Rome was overrun by barbarians, but that was only allowed because Romans stopped actively participating in the defense of Rome. Romans hired the barbarians to stop the barbarians and went back to their decadent ways.

American is still producing heroes. I am proud of our men and women in and out of uniform who swore and oath to defend the nation. I am proud that we are fighting back against those that wish the end of Western Civilization. That includes Americans who don't like America.

I am proud to be an American.

The fight is not even close to being done.


We Only Go For The Toys...

>> Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So... It's Wednesday. Usually it's a McDonald's day as Happy Meals here are $1.89.

But, quite honestly, the toys right now are, well, crap. My girls don't know what Star Wars is, let alone want anything to do with these really strange looking toys. And then, last week as we were eating, Brenna looked at the bag her food came in and asked me if the people with swords were going to "make people dead".


So today we went to Wendy's. We paid a bit more but the food is (much) better. And so are the toys. Right now Wendy's has teamed up with Hasbro.

We got the Barrel of Monkeys today. I predict half an hour of fun. Maybe more.


What do the candidates think about this?

All three of the Senators in the race have to vote on this soon.

or this.

Spending is up, up, up.


I Probably Shouldn't Admit This...

>> Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I checked out two new cookbooks from the library...


I checked out Sandra Lee because I do love a good slow cooker recipe. And though I don't always buy the stuff she recommends and I may take a longer way about making some of her recipes (by not using pre-packaged stuff) I have to admit that they are usually quite good.

The Hungry Girl book was right beside it. I don't know if you've ever perused the website... It's full of good stuff but I just don't have the time to really delve into it. I barely have time to shower... Anyway, the author is a "Hungry Girl" who is, like the rest of us, striving for good food that doesn't come in a package that isn't bad for us.

So, I've been reading through these books for the past couple weeks... Yes, I read cookbooks. I read recipe magazines, too. And in the next couple of days I will be photocopying the recipes that look most promising so I can try them and if they are good- and only if they are good- I will share them on the recipe site. (Yes, I know good is a matter of taste. But it's my site so it's my taste.)

If you're impatient I highly recommend the Hungry Girl book. The recipes look good, they look easy to do and they look edible. I'm holding back on recommending Sandra Lee's cookbook. I just don't know how many recipes I will actually pull from there. Her books get me excited but then I don't use them and sell them on Half.com. Hence the borrowing from the library.

And now I'm off to make a dough starter. It gets to "grow" overnight. Here's hoping I don't wake to a kitchen full of creeping dough.


Who's Bugging You?

Caller ID is a wonderful thing. It enables you to see who is calling. And if you know them you can answer. But what if you don’t know them? What if the same number, a number you have never seen before, keeps calling? Look them up on the Reverse Phone Registry.

It’s pretty cool, actually. It can trace landlines, mobile numbers and even unlisted numbers back to their owners. So now, after you *69 that blocked number you can call them back, use their name and say, “I know where you live” in a really creepy voice. Hence, the bugger becomes the bug-ee...


Is Family Circle Reading My Mind?

A few months ago when I visited my gyno he mentioned that I should go and have a baseline mammogram. You know... Since I was having babies "late" and didn't get my baseline done at 35 like all those "on time" women.

Anyway... I put the sheet of information and phone numbers on my desk and it got buried under the piles of "do this now" stuff... And I didn't get around to it.

Then, a week ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with a rapid growth type of breast cancer. (I wish I could remember what kind... Not happening right now... It will come to me later when I'm giving the girls a bath, I'm sure...) Anyway, a week after her diagnosis (yesterday) she had a radical mastectomy. (She went home today. She's doing well. Thanks for the prayers.)

Anyway... Last week the new Family Circle came to my house. And in it was an article titled "Why Haven't You Had a Mammogram?" "Yes, why haven't you?" thought I as I realized that I was really just putting off the inevitable.

So I made my appointment... it's next Wednesday afternoon. Wow... Did they get me in quick or what?

So... Who out there has had one of these done? Is it as uncomfortable as I hear about? Or is the procedure much ado about nothing?


Because I Only Buy Big Items When They're on Sale

I’m sure that you all “get” that I’m frugal by now. Not much comes in to this house that hasn’t been paid for in cash and only after a lot of shopping around for the best deal. It’s been a tough lesson for us to learn, but as it sinks in and we live within our means we have found that it is easier for us to afford splurges here and there.

Right now I am considering a splurge on patio furniture. “But summer is over!” I hear some of you saying. Yes, it is. And that is why I want to buy it now- because stores need to get rid of it to make room for new merchandise.

I was checking out the lovely teak patio sets over at Max Furniture as they are having a summer clearance. Priced at 50% off it’s almost affordable.

Actually, all of their stock is 50% off. From living room furniture (mmmm… leather couches) to home office furniture (including a wall library unit with rolling ladder sigh), it’s all on sale. They even have some pretty fancy bar set ups for that entertainment room you’ve been thinking about putting in the basement. Did I mention it's on sale?


Apparently I'm Retro

>> Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm not sure how I feel about this...

Homecoming is this week in my suburb and the high school has a theme every day. One theme has something to do with "retro" or "blast from the past" or something like that.

And, apparently, my favorite jacket (that I admittedly haven't worn in years) is perfect. My cropped black leather biker jacket is now "retro".

Did I mention that she is pairing the jacket with a Guns N Roses t-shirt I purchased at a concert in 1991? A t-shirt that was rarely worn and is in perfect condition,I might add.

Sweet, huh? What's old is new again.

Except me. sigh


Monday Giveaway #3

A while back MomSelect sent me a box of stuff from that great blog conference I didn't attend. In it were two books (more on the books in a minute). Then, a couple weeks ago, MomSelect sent me an email asking if I would like 5 more of these books to give away. So today I have seven books to give out.

These are special books, though. They are the first book in the Precious Girls Club series, A Little Bit of Faith.

Here's a bit about the Precious Girl''s Club: Since the topic of little girls growing up too fast seems to be a concern for Moms everywhere, Precious Moments®, the inspirational figurine and collectible company, created the Precious Girls Club™ and we're excited to share it with you! More than a club, it's a way of thinking and being, a safe place for young girls to discover how wonderful it is to be precious.

The Precious Girls Club is based on an all new book series for girls that revolves around the life of Katie Bennett and a diverse group of her friends. Their world is brought to life not only through books, but also through a state-of-the-art virtual world where your daughter can learn and play in a safe, wholesome environment based on the values embraced by Precious Moments.
These books are recommended for ages 4-10.

In addition to the books I also have 9 (seven will go with the books + two extra) scratch-off cards for a free Premium "Rainbow Membership" trial on the PreciousGirlsClub.com website. This is a safe interactive site for moms and daughters filled with games, crafts and fun.

Brenna and I read this book last week. It's a sweet story filled with the positive message of having faith in yourself and those around you and the special gifts that make each girl "precious in His sight".

Because I have so many to give away today I will be taking the first 7 comments or emails I recieve. I do ask, though, that you only contact me if you have a daughter of the recommended age range and not just because you want something free.
And if you haven't signed up with MomSelect yet, go do it now. You don't have to be a mommy blogger- you just have to be a mommy!


Quick Update

>> Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thank you to everyone who included my dad in their prayers. His surgery went well and today he was in very good spirits and was able to get out of bed. We had a bit of a worry this morning when his blood pressure was low enough to threaten a move to the ICU, but the wonderful doctors and nurses got it under control and he's much better. Of course he's on enough morphine to fell a horse...


Why Brenna's Favorite Holiday Isn't Christmas...

Brenna had to fill out a questionnaire the other day for school. In it she was asked what her favorite color is (red), what her favorite toy is (Caelan), what her favorite sport is (basketball) and what her favorite holiday is (Christmas).

Well, it was Christmas… Until she remembered that at Halloween she gets to dress up, visit people’s homes and collect candy. That totally knocked Christmas down her list.

And why did she suddenly remember such a holiday existed? Because we went to the store and the shelves are lined with trick or treat bags, candy and costumes. Yep… It’s barely September and Halloween items are front and center as you enter stores.

I actually thought we had the costume thing covered this year… Until it started to get cold last week. And now I’m quite worried that we will have a bitter Halloween and the costumes we have won’t work. So I’ve been checking out Childrens Costumes online that we can layer over warm clothes.

While searching Halloween Costume Stores I found HalloweenAdventure.com. I’m really impressed by their large selection of children’s costumes, their return policy and guarantee and their same day shipping (for those of us who these kinds of things sneak up upon).

If you’re searching for costumes check them out. The best part? You won’t find the “perfect” costume and find that the only size the store doesn’t have is the one you need.


Too Much to Mention

>> Friday, September 05, 2008

I haven't talked about life much lately... We have a lot going on.

Some of you might remember that a year ago tomorrow (wow, I can't believe it's been a year) we almost lost my dad in an accident at his work when he was crushed by a heavy piece of equipment. This morning he went in to the hospital for a 6+ hour back surgery and 5-7 days in the hospital. Prayers are appreciated.

A week ago my grandmother (the one I talk about on the farm) was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is a huge shock as we have always been very fortunate as a family and have been healthy. On Monday she goes in for a radical mastectomy. Again, prayers are appreciated.

Doug's mother and step father will be staying with us this weekend. Prayers are appreciated. (I'm only joking a little.)

The girls have gymnastics this morning, then Brenna has preschool. Caelan and I will be making a quick stop to see if I can quickly find a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding tonight (the weather turned rather quickly and the dress I planned to wear is too light weight). And I need to buy the rest of the wedding gift.

Then we are off to the hospital to check on my dad's surgery.

Then back to pick up Brenna and a couple of pizzas for the kids to eat tonight with Grandma while the rest of us are at the wedding (it's on dad's side of the family).

If I'm lucky with timing I'll be able to get ready for the wedding and go in to the hospital to see dad before going to the wedding...

Not much time to be checking in so I'll wish everyone a great weekend now!


I Just Got a Warm Tingly Feeling Inside

>> Thursday, September 04, 2008

If any of you have been following the conversations with Seeker about politics I want to share this with you:

Well after having rattled the democrats cages, and the republicans cages, and
getting very valid arguments from both, I am STILL a little unsure about who is
going to do the best job. I have to admit, you republicans can argue your
points. I was very impressed with Sarah Palin's speech last night, and the more
I think about how much money is going to go to people who are not "putting out"
(thank you Jody)with Obama's plan, the more Im ready to vote McCain. As much as
I don't agree with SOME things the Repubs are selling, I can plainly see that
they will probably do a better job. Jody, Im impressed with your ability to not
take things I've said personally and just stick with the facts. Kudos. You've
done well. For all others who have a bad taste in there mouth over what Ive
said, maybe YOU should talk to Jody about how to not take everything so
personally, and know that there was a purpose to my rants, even if those
purposes are purely my own. As for my "hiding my identity" Im sure Jody knows
who it is, and that's enough for me.

This is pretty high compliment for me, thank you. I appreciate the debate and, whether anyone sees it, I do look very closely at views from both sides. Which is why my opinions may seem self-righteous- I've done my homework and know how I stand. How does that old country song go- "You gotta stand for something or you'll fall for anything"...

I rarely agree with any individual party (and have been very critical of the GOP during the past 4 years) but, unfortunately, no one party or candidate is perfect. You have to choose the candidate that most fits your views and ideals.

That said, Sarah Palin gave a very powerful speech last night. I teared up a couple of times (especially when they spotlighted the POW that was with McCain- you could see he was moved by the tribute) and when she spoke of her baby. And I laughed at the humorous jabs she took at some of Obama's past statements. And at the Hockey Mom joke. (The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick!) Her use of humor is spot-on and will carry her through the upcoming months with grace and poise.

The problem with politics is that people get passionate about where they stand and with passion comes a personal connection. It's difficult to remove that for many, many people (hence violent protests and name calling).

As for knowing who you are, I really don't. I even went into my visitor paths from my stats... But with so many returning visitors from Minnesota to Florida, San Francisco to London, Australia to Alaska in the last 2 days I can't really pinpoint who you are. And that's ok. I don't require that people disclose who they are as everyone who reads and comments here (with just a couple exceptions) have always been kind and respectful.

So, Seeker, I'm glad I was able to help you along in your decision on politics this year (no matter which way you end up swinging) and, as I said before, I welcome your discussion. (Just, please don't call me boring again!)

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