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

Biden his time

>> Friday, October 31, 2008

Why is Senator Biden running for reelection...for the Senate.

Could it be that he wants something to do in January? I mean there wouldn't be any other reason to run for both offices unless he thought that the lower office was the only one he would be sitting in after January 20th. Here's hoping the voters in Delaware wake up and leave him without a job.

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Mmmm... Now What?

>> Thursday, October 30, 2008

I just finished the list of giveaways. 1392 of them. Of course I skipped all the ones that were baby items. Or for cats. And, after a while, I quit clicking on anything that said "Spa Indulgence" as I didn't really want to see any more Chex Bars... But there was lots of great stuff. I hope I win something. (Which, seriously, never happens. Ever. But I keep trying.)

My email boxes are stuffed full. My desk is covered with stuff that needs to be done. And rooms in my house could use a cleaning.

I should probably get on it then, huh?

Seriously, next week things will be back to normal around here...

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Whew!

>> Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Well, my giveaways are all finally listed! If you want to find them over at Bloggy Giveaways Carnival they are numbers:
281
298
302
308
358
723
736
772
1081
1087
1280
1281
1284

Those numbers may change as posts are disqualified for not linking correctly or not mentioning the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival.

Right now there are 1328 giveaways listed. There are 2 days left of carnival and I know that some blogs add something every day. If you haven't been yet, you'd best get started. I'm at entry #587...

Back to work. I'm hoping to win Christmas gifts!

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Obama Insider Switches to McCain

Don't expect to see this published much of anywhere.

A former speech writer for Senator Obama has officially declared herself for McCain/Palin. Her reasons are the obvious; overt sexism, socialism and elitism from the Obama machine. Of course, all of that was aided, abetted and encouraged by a willing media. However, the people are noticing and responding with their pocketbook.

Now, if we can just "help" these Congress Critters into retirement....

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Build A Bear Plush + $10 Gift Card Giveaway

Contest Closed

I belong to a wonderful organization called MomSelect. If you haven't heard of them go visit their website now. I'll wait... (cue Jeopardy music... But take your time. I'll be here when you get back.)

The great thing about MomSelect is that you don't have to be a blogger to participate. It's a wonderful program. I learn about (and get to try!) so many great products through them. And my readers benefit because often they send me goodies to share!

Recently they sent me the cutest Build A Bear cub, complete with Cub Condo and teeny-tiny t-shirt. It was a difficult decision to share him as my youngest has a fondness for cuddly cubs (as you could tell if you entered her room- the bed is covered with "cuddle buddies"!)


Isn't he adorable? Or is this one a she? You'll gt to decide as the "birth certificate" is also included. As is a $10 gift card. Use it at Build A Bear to outfit your new friend or to buy a buddy. Build A Bear has a line of $10 friends...


To enter simply let me know who you would give this cuddly buddy to. (And don't forget to check out MomSelect. You can thank me later.)

Because of the size of the package this item is open to US residents only (sorry!) unless you only want the gift card, which I will send anywhere. If that is the case my girls and I will personally deliver this little guy to a child at a local hospital who could use some cheering up.

A winner will be drawn November 1, sometime before noon.

For more fun giveaways visit:

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

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Christmas Sneaking Up On You Again?

Is Christmas sneaking up on you every year? Somehow it always manages to do that when you are mired down in debt. It jumps out at you around December 1 and you feel so guilty about not spending the time shopping for meaningful gifts that you pull out your credit cards and spend too much on gifts that will (probably) be forgotten long before the next Christmas rolls around.

It may be too late to get your budget arranged and start putting aside money for this Christmas but it’s not too early to get things in line for next year. Why not begin 2009 on a positive note financially?

If you just don’t know where to begin why not visit Debtguru.com a free non profit debt consolidation company. They are a Utah based non profit organization, bonded and insured (make sure they are licensed in your state before you begin, please) .

I strongly suggest beginning with their “self help” articles. See what you could be doing differently and what you can cut from your expenses. You’d be surprised what you can live without (cable TV, extra phone lines, expensive meals out, movies at the theater…)

You didn’t get in to debt overnight and it will take 2-3 times as long to get out of debt. But it can be done. You just have to take the first step.

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Plugging Away

>> Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The girls are playing with Tinker Toys for half an hour before quiet time and I am plugging away at the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. I've made it through #284... There are now 1064 contests. Will I get to them all???

During quiet time I plan to get the rest of my giveaways posted. Good stuff.

So... I just "thought" I was wanting a Pepsi One. For the first time in over 2 weeks I thought it sounded good. So I popped one open and took a big drink. And gagged. Even without all the sweet stuff in it, it was too sweet. So down the sink it went. I get my soda addiction is officially through.

Now if I would just get that to happen with food...

OK, back to the contests... People are giving away some crazy stuff... Vacuums, carpet cleaners, strollers... Tons of baby stuff. Get over there!

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Seriously Wiped Out

>> Monday, October 27, 2008

I spent much of the day working on entries for Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. Have you been yet? There were 872 entries the last time I looked. So far I've made it through #72.

I still have 4 entries to add. I'll do it tomorrow as I am practically comatose.

But I've got some great stuff up now...

Here on Iowa Geek I've got a Janine King tote, wearable art and 2 Safety Tat packs (you'll want to check these out if you have kids!).

Over at Fab Food Friday I have a Janine King Market Tote.

And at Have Kid Will Travel I'm offering (drumroll please)...
A VTECH Cyber Pocket
A Flip Video Camera
A Premium Subscription to One True Media
And 3 more Safety Tat packs!

So follow my links and have fun!

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Janine King Tote Bag- Giveaway

Contest Closed

You all should know by now just how much I love Janine King's bags... Since the purchase of the wonderful laptop bag and matching gadget keeper I've given away some of her stuff as gifts...Much to the delight of the recipients.

And delighted is just what you'll be if you win this big, beautiful zipper tote in Spa Stripe Chocolate:


Isn't it gorgeous? And, as an owner of a few of Janine's bags, I can testify as to its sturdy construction and great style!

BAG FEATURES

► Dimensions: 16½" wide x 14" high with 4½" boxed corners at bottom

► Three interior pockets. See bag home page

► Double straps are 24" end to end, comprised of 4 fabric layers

► Secure zipper top closure

► Fully lined with industrial twill treated to repel moisture and stains. The twill we use is heavy like canvas but with a tighter weave for even better durability.

Want to win this tote?

1) Visit Janine's Shop. Take a look around and tell me what bag best fits your lifestyle (bag style and fabric selection).
2) In your comment tell me which bag is "you".
3) Subscribe to Iowa Geek via email using the form below.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Don't forget to leave me your email address! Winner will be drawn on November 1, sometime before noon.

International entries welcome!

For more great giveaways visit:

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

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Wear Your Art- A Giveaway.

Contest Closed

Last week the girls and I got to hang out with "Auntie Gina". Brenna absolutely adores her... And Caelan, who rarely warms to anyone quickly, was quite cuddly with her as well.

As a gift for each of the girls, Gina painted a shirt... Here is Brenna's:

And Caelan's- but she wouldn't pose:


Gina worked in their initials with bits of sparkle and whimsy, both on the front and back of the shirts. They are adorable. And, quite honestly, much cuter than they appear in photographs.

Gina also does wearable art for adults- as well as some jewelry and pieces that hang on the wall instead of on your body.

Gina and her partner, Joseph, have recently opened a studio on etsy, a great marketplace for handmade items. Each piece is hand painted, nothing is a print, so everything is completely original.

Want to wear a piece of art? Just visit Studio Of Divergent Layers at etsy and pick your favorite piece. Or, maybe if you really sweet talk me, Gina could design a top for your toddler.

Leave me a comment letting me know which piece is your favorite (Brenna's and Caelan's included!). Don't forget to leave an email address.

Winner will be drawn November 1, sometime before noon.

Go enjoy more of the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival:

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

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Tattoo Your Kids for Safety- Giveaway

Contest Closed

This is an idea so cool I wish I would have thought of it! Temporary tattoos with personal information on them. How brilliant is that?

I let Safety Tat know just how cool I thought their idea was by reviewing these over on Have Kid Will Travel.

These temporary tattoos are completely customizable, are available in girl and boy designs (as well as special needs and allergy designs) and even special Halloween designs. A pack of 30 customized tats is only $19.95.

But wait.... There's more...

Safety Tat also makes "write on" safety tats- perfect for field trips or football games. And Safety Tat is kindly giving away 2 sets of Quick Stick Write On tats (6 tats per package) to two lucky readers!

Leave me a comment telling me how you would use Safety Tats! Don't foret to include your email address!

I will draw two winners on November 1, sometime before noon.


temporary safety tattoo

For more Bloggy Giveaways :

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

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She's 4?!? How Did That Happen?

>> Sunday, October 26, 2008


Somehow four years have passed- seemingly in the blink of an eye... Oh, I know that I may say that some weeks feel like years but, honestly, how did my baby get so grown up?



Some days it seems impossible that she is 4 because she has a way of acting so mature. So when she actually acts her age it is confusing to me.

Then, of course, there is the fact that she just doesn't look 4...



Who would guess her at 4? I couldn't believe the changes in her from a year ago. The chubby baby cheeks are gone and a beautiful girl has taken her place.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful Brenna!

We love you!

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Giveaways Galore

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Bloggy Giveaway Carnival... Are you ready? I've got 16 (!!!) offerings between my 3 blogs.

Until then I have two ending today:

Kajeet notepad & pen

and

Free HP Photo Prints

Both of these drawings end tonight so check them out.

And be watching for all the goodies that begin tomorrow!

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5 Years...

>> Friday, October 24, 2008

Five years ago today was a Friday.

On that day Doug & I woke early, gathered clothing and items we had packed for a long weekend in Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, and left the house.

We drove into the country, past a couple small towns and into another. In the middle of this town was a small chapel. And there, with my sister and her husband as our witnesses, we were married.

Still clothed in our wedding finery we drove toward Kansas City. A quick stop was made in southern Iowa at a casino because we felt lucky. We left $40 poorer but still feeling lucky.

At our hotel we were greeted like royalty, presented with champagne and an offer of free drinks in the bar that evening, which we accepted.

We spent our afternoon being lazy and enjoying our first day of marriage. That evening, dressed again in our wedding attire, we made our way down to the lounge where we sipped free drinks- from the hotel and from other guests wishing us congratulations. Another bottle of champagne was sent to our room "for later".

We strolled through the plaza to dinner- complete with roses and more champagne- and then wandered along the river after.

My wedding day was perfect. It was intimate and beautiful and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Happy Anniversary, Doug. I love you.

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Have You Thought About the Cell Phone Issue?

Yeah, me either. Although I know it's going to come around quicker than I expect. Luckily I have MomSelect to keep me in the know of what's out there...

In my pack of goodies was info about Kajeet, cell phone service for kids. It's a completely customizable phone. You can decide when the phone can and can't be used, who can and can't call or text, who is paying for certain calls... It also has a GPS locator option and no annual contract.

And all the features are accessible online! The phones are even fun and fashionable (there's one in pink!)

If you're considering a cell phone for your kids check this out. And use the code "Bonus10" to receive a special $10 airtime bonus.

I also have this fun Kajeet notepad and pen for one lucky reader (includes info packet about Kajeet). Let me know if you want it. I'll draw the winner Sunday, as a prelude to the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival.

PS If you haven't signed up for MomSelect go check them out. You don't have to be a blogger- just a mom!

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We're Just Fun Havin' People

Yeah, I know we just got home but there was fun happening in the uptown area of my suburb. The Historical Society and some of the Uptown Merchants got together to host a Trick or Treat- a week early.

The girls were very excited to put on their costumes and get treats!

Trick or Treat


Brenna, my performer, would tell a joke for her treats and Caelan, after she got warmed up, would yell, "Trick or treat!" The shop owners were all so welcoming and raved over every child that walked in.

Trick or Treat Uptown


It was great promotion for the businesses that participated. I got fliers and little gifts, too! And one of the local photography studios took professional photos:



After collecting all the treats we went to the historical society and listened to a story teller! She was great at interacting with the kids. Brenna would yell out answers to her questions; Caelan was enthralled.

Trick or Treat Uptown


I had two exhausted little girls tonight! Nary a peep after we put them to bed.

Hey- if you're taking photos this Halloween be sure to check out my HP Photo Contest!

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I'm Not Saying We're Sensitive

OK, yes, I am. Well, our skin is. And I’ll just let you know that when my girls’ skin is very dry or even having a bad outbreak of eczema there is nothing I won’t do for them. And I can’t give them the steroid cream the doctor prescribes for my bad flare-ups.

With winter coming on- a time of dry skin which only worsens the condition- I wanted to share a new find with any of you mommies who might have sensitive skinned kidlets.
Mustela skin care is specialized for infants, babies and pregnancy, but don’t let that limit your useage. For incredibly dry skin or eczema you need to check out their Stelatopia line- especially the milky bath oil. It’s great at relieving the itch and helping to soothe irritations. And for sensitive skin the Stelaprotect line protects the most sensitive of skins from irritants.

I also want to share their “Parent’s Corner” with you. It’s has a recommendation tool to help you find the right products, tips and advice for your changing skin (if you’re pregnant) and baby’s skin, and a great FAQs page (with cradle cap info- something every new parent experiences!)

Mustela also has diaper changing products and a sweepstakes to win a year’s supply of their soothing wipes and barrier cream!
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If you aren't motivated enough

>> Thursday, October 23, 2008

Senator Kennedy wants to have the plan to destroy healthcare in the United States ready for the next president to sign. Obama is ready.

If that doesn't motivate you to vote for McCain/Palin, how about these?



There are many, many more.

Like in Florida.
But what's wrong with socialism anyway?



Updates:
Here's some good stuff from our choice in the caucuses.


And here are some things the media needs to be curious about. Note the end where $200 million of Obama's campaign contributions are suspect and that Obama may be Constitutionally disqualified for the Presidency (fingers crossed - note that the ruling is not signed by the judge, the documents have just been prepared). Follow the suit from the plantif's side here.

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There's No Place Like...

sigh

It’s getting cold outside. And overcast. And, well, blah. I really hate blah. It’s dreary and all I want to do is sleep. Fall and winter really make me want to get away. Funnily enough I don’t really want to head off to a sun and sand destination. I don’t mind cool and dreary weather as long as I’m seeing and experiencing new things.

Yeah, weird, I know.

So, to torture myself a bit (and to rub it in that I’m not going to Dublin this weekend for my anniversary) I was checking out the offerings over on Rentalo’s vacation rentals page.

As I was clicking through Ireland’s lodgings I saw that the Park Hotel in Kenmare is one of the offerings they have…

Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s one of the highest rated hotels in Ireland and through Rentalo you can contact the hotel directly and inquire about prices or services. In addition to hotels, Rentalo also lists Bed and Breakfasts and vacation rentals so you can really check out all your options in one convenient location.

And with the new “smart search” option I can filter out places that don’t accept children, have less than 2 bedrooms or don’t have double rooms. It’s a great resource for travel. Even if you’re just dreaming. Soon... I'll be there soon...

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Free HP Prints

MomSelect sent me "credit cards" for free prints from an HP Photosmart Express Station. Each card has 10 prints and I got 4 cards...

So I'm gonna split these in half and give two people each two cards. That's 20 free 4x6 prints at an HP Photo Station.

Follow the HP link above and see if there's a Photosmart Express Station in your area... If there is let me know if you want to win a couple of these cards.

I'll draw the winner Sunday.

And if you haven't joined MomSelect yet... Why not? It's a marketing company focused on moms... Lots of great stuff to try out, share with friends & readers (if you're a blogger), and surveys so you can share your input. Check them out. You don't have to be a blogger, just a mom.

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Shopping Online? Buy Safe.

This last paycheck Doug got had an extra amount budgeted out of it- our Christmas money. It’s not a lot of money this year as our budget is pretty slim. We are cutting back on gift giving by quite a bit; not in our little family as we don’t go overboard, but for other family. Which might come as a surprise to them…

Because our budget is so tight I’m going to be looking for the very best deals I can find on products. I’ll be price shopping and buying as much as I can online- because I’m not about to chase all over town if I can help it.

To make sure that I’m safe while shopping online I use buySAFE, a free shopping toolbar that rates online shopping by safety and gives a free bond guarantee up to $25,000 (which will certainly cover my little purchases) and a 30-day identity theft protection following all purchases made through the tool bar.

buySAFE has over 3000 bonded merchants with over 17 million guaranteed purchases. So if you can’t find what you need through their toolbar you aren’t looking very hard.

It’s easy to install so if you’ll be doing any online shopping check it out.

Buysafe_350x400__2


Post?slot_id=23560&url=http%3a%2f%2fsocialspark

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We're Home!

The girls and I had an uneventful drive home. If you count fussy girls who really need to nap and spend half of a 4 hour drive fighting it, uneventful. But we're home now and the girls are resting... And I'm trying to get caught up before Monday. I've got LOTS to do!

I got a great box of giveaway goodies from MomSelect today...

In case you don't know, the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival begins on Monday...

And I have some really good stuff to put on ALL of my blogs for that...

But, before that, I have a few goodies to share, to whet your appetite for the big week...

Be sure to watch tonight & tomorrow... Fun stuff!

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Well, Ick

>> Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I was hoping to take the girls to some wonderful apple orchards and pumpkin patches today, but it's raining and muddy. Not an outdoor day.

So we're heading indoors- the Children's Museum in St. Paul... Looks like a lot of fun...

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Up North

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The girls and I made it to the Twin Cities safely and are currently ensconced in a hotel that cost me very little- which is good as that is, so far, the only thing I really like about it.

My friend Gina came by and brought the girls gifts- shirts that she hand painted. (You're in for a treat as she will be offering a choice of work from her etsy site next week during Bloggy Giveaways).

But now it's late and the girls are squirrelly... I've got to go lay down with them. Ugh... I wish this was a 2 room suite. Seriously, I know better than to share a single room with them...

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Gird Your Loins

It was funny to me that Biden said these words because they were actually in part of a Bible study I'm doing of 1Peter.

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you in holy, you also be holy in all you conduct,
16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

Now, there are many, many places where you can read what has been said about Biden's speech: this one from Glenn Beck today is quite good and this one from ABC News has the quotes word for word.

As for what the man was saying... I think it's just another reason to not vote for Obama. All this time they have been telling us that we need to vote for him because the "world likes him". Now Biden tells us that there are "four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities.

So, Joe... Can I call you Joe? Are you saying that they won't pull that with McCain because they know there will be no talking it through and that retribution will follow???

But what I want to get to is the Bible verse itself... Namely this part: rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

While Obama spreads his message of hope that people are clinging to because, well, I honestly don't know why they are clinging to that word so much, but they are...

Just remember this: Barack Obama is not the Messiah.

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Precious Girls Club

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

A while back I gave away quite a few books titled A Little Bit of Faith... a story about a gilr named Katie who formed the Precious Girls Club when she moved to a new town.

If you received a book won't you leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it so I can share the feedback with MomSelect, who so generously sent the books out for me to share...

I also want to let everyone know that the Precious Girls Club website is now live and ready to explore. There are games and other activities as well as a virtual world where you daughter can design her own virtual character and room and view exclusive content and activities.

Right now you can try the Premium Rainbow Membership for free with this code: 3HWH-T9DX-RROK

If you have a precious girl in your life share this site with them- and then let me know what you thought!

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Some Days It's Just Not Worth the Fight

Like when Caelan only wants to wear a leotard. And the only coat she will consider putting on is part of her Halloween costume... Accented with Little Mermaid sunglasses from a long ago Happy Meal... And shiny black shoes...

Pretty Poodle Collage

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Make a Plan and Pay Off Your Debt

So… Now that the big bail out really hasn’t worked the way everyone politicians hoped it would how do you feel about your debt? Is it beginning to scare you? Are you wondering just how you’re going to afford the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to if you can’t expand your credit limit?

Here’s a thought… How about getting out of debt? I know, it’s a strange concept in our world of instant gratification but I can tell you from experience that getting rid of debt feels so much better than sitting in front of a big screen TV and wondering just how you’re going to pay for it.

One avenue we used for debt relief was debt consolidation. This can be a tricky road to travel if you don’t close the previous accounts after you consolidate them (so you don’t spend them up again). But if you handle it correctly, debt consolidation can help you lower your monthly payments and pay multiple bills off with just one payment.

I want to share this bit from Bills.com- it’s good information to remember:

“debt consolidation doesn’t reduce your debt; it just helps it be more manageable. So, you need to analyze your finances to see if you can truly start paying off your debt. See where you can cut back on your expenses. You’re going to have to make some personal sacrifices if you want to get out of debt.”


It’s past time to get rid of your debt. Do a budget, do your homework and know what options are available to you. Make a plan and attack that debt!

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Crazy, I Know

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you probably know that I have a love of Pepsi. It was actually a process to wean myself from the fully sugared stuff to the (now defunct) Pepsi Edge and then to the Pepsi One. And I worked hard to limit myself to one or two a day. (HA! Like that ever happened!)

But a very funny thing happened with this last stomach ick that I had... Somehow it diminished my taste for Pepsi. The desire for any soda has actually disappeared. And I haven't had one in 9 days.

NINE DAYS! And it's not like we don't have them in the house... They are sitting, chilled, in the refrigerator. I even put one in Doug's lunch every day. But to grab one for myself? No desire.

So I find myself drinking water (gasp!). And a civilized cup of afternoon tea. With a biscuit if I'm hungry. Which is even more weird as every time I grabbed a Pepsi I wanted a snack. With the tea I can skip the food.

They say that people who drink sodas (even the no-calorie kind) take in more calories daily than people who don't. I totally see it now...

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Card (S)hopping?

I don’t know if you’ve hear the news about credit lately, but it’s getting harder and harder to get. GMAC announced the other day that if you wanted to finance a car through them you needed a credit score of 700 or greater. And that’s going to be the way of it for the foreseeable future.

Of course Doug and I are working to get rid of all our Credit Cards and stop worshiping at the alter of the all-mighty FICO. But I know that not everyone is ready to sever that connection to “safety” and “freedom”.

Until you are, at least make sure you are getting the best credit card for your needs. CardHub lets you search using specific preferences: interest rate, rewards, fees, and card networks to name a few. It’s incredibly easy to use and will present you with the best card options to fit your needs.

Be sure to open the advanced option and company categories, too, as they are not expanded unless you request it.

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It's Home!

>> Sunday, October 19, 2008

My laptop came home today! I'm so happy! Giddy, even.

To celebrate (and because I am sorry I didn't get a recipe up on Friday) I am putting up three tonight! Two of which we had for dinner- Irish Stew & Mini Cheddar Scones. Head over to Fab Food Friday.

To. Die. For. The Guinness makes all the difference. The midwest is expecting a cold front- buy the stuff and make the stew this week!

Last night, since I had nothing else to do (and Doug was on his computer) I watched Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.


I wasn't really sure about it when I put it on my list but I am so glad I saw it. The movie takes place in a whirlwind 24 hour period. It's brilliantly done and feels almost like it could have been made in the 30's (except for the great film quality).

Adapted from the 1938 classic by Winnifred Watson who "never wrote sad endings"...

It's well worth watching if you haven't yet...

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Popcorn Memories and Halloween Bribing

I remember when I was a child my grandmother would buy our family one of those big metal tins of popcorn for Christmas. You know… The one with the trio of flavors: regular, cheese and caramel. I don’t think there was much I looked forward to more as a child than dipping my hands into that orange popcorn.

I think I even sent my grandparents a big tin of tri-flavored popcorn one Christmas, to thank them for all those great memories. I’m not sure they appreciated it as much as I did as a child, though…

Doug and my girls all love popcorn so I am thinking of beginning a “popcorn tradition” here at Casa Geek. But instead of popcorn at Christmas I’m thinking about halloween popcorn. I could probably trade my girls all their trick or treat goodies for a big ‘ol tin of flavored popcorn.

WAIT! I have found it! Perusing through the Popcorn Factory site (because I can’t not look- can you?) I found a set of 2 Goblin Goodies Totes- each with a Double Chocolate popcorn, candy corn, Halloween Jelly Belly® beans, a funny face chocolate pumpkin and a Halloween Popcorn Ball. I could probably bribe my girls to skip trick or treating with that! (And don’t think I won’t try to if it’s cold outside!)

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I'm Still Here

>> Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kind of. In addition to being without a computer the past two days have been insanely busy. Lots of running hither and yon...

I've been back to the store with the Big Yellow Tag... And paid them to remove the 14 spyware viruses from my system. Which may mean they have to wipe my system down to nothing and begin again. Nice.

It's annoying because I have a really nice virus/spyware/ firewall protector. Can someone tell me why the hackers are smarter than the people protecting you from the hackers? It's kind of like home security, I think... The best person to design your home security is an ex- burglar. So wouldn't the best person to design spyware be an ex-hacker?

I'm going slightly crazy without my computer. Sure, we have more but none of them are mine... I can't do exactly what I want on them. None of them are set up exactly like mine is. And I'm really not loading software into them for just a few days.

So, I'm still here... I'm not ignoring you. And when I get my laptop back you'll know... I've got lots that needs done before next week... I'll have giveaways on ALL of my blogs. Lots of great stuff! It's going to be wonderful fun!

Read more...

Grrr...

>> Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apparently my computer has issues. Issues which aren't covered by the warranty we purchased because it "covered everything". It would, however, cover repairs if I were to drown my system in hot tea or drop it from the 2nd story of my house to the patio of the basement walk-out.

Oh, don't think it hasn't been considered...

I have to go back to the store with the Big Yellow Tag tomorrow to go through my computer and pick what needs to be backed up... Because I couldn't open any Windows based items this morning. And I need to back up my Outlook, passwords and a few other necessities that will cost me more in lost information than the $100 or so the "geeks" are gonna charge me.

Unfortunately this little "glitch" takes $250 from something else this pay period... Namely the new kitchen faucet I really need, the carpet cleaning and lighting for the living room. Pfffttt...

It is also costing me money as the girls computers don't have what I need to update my websites, do my paid writing or anything else productive. I can't even get my sidebar to appear so I can't go visiting. BAH!

I can check email... kind of. I just can't send messages unless you email me first because all my addresses are stored in Outlook... On my computer...

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Hobbled

I had a friend tell me yesterday that my "Blech" post sounded like I was bored. I was.

BUT

It's a good thing I moved pictures. Because this morning my computer was acting fritzy (yes, it's a real word) and I had to restart it.

Or should I say that I tried to restart it... Instead of the Windows screen I got a black screen telling me that my computer was unable to start and it began a system restore.

Which, unfortunately, didn't work. After the restore was "done" I got a message stating "Windows cannot repair this computer automatically".

Neat.

I've not had this computer 2 years yet. If it was older I would just replace it because, honestly, it hasn't been quite right since I got it. I blamed Vista but I really wonder if that was actually the issue.

Doug thinks the problem is either the hard drive or a virus. And since I have a virus sweeper- which pops up all the time to let me know it's protecting me- it had better not be a virus.

so, instead of having our planned "pajama morning", I must shower and venture in to the store with the Big Yellow Tag to leave my laptop for who-knows-how-long. And then they'll tell me that whatever is wrong is not covered by the warranty that, when I bought it, covered "everything".

All I know is that this will probably be the last Gateway computer I buy... Which is too bad because I remember, quite fondly, my first one. It was wonderful. Their product seems to have degraded over time...

I'm considering a Mac... Better for photos, web design, videos and other "creative" stuff, I hear...

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I'm Just Sayin...

>> Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marble Slab should make it's pumpkin ice cream all. year. long. It is a bit much all by itself but if you mix it with their cheesecake ice cream (my rest-of-the-year favorite) it's delish. Add some graham cracker and a few pecans... If I could sing I would break into a song about it right now.

Brenna asked to play "the new game" tonight. That's what I was afraid of. She got to play one game of bowling before bed. (Just to work off the sugar high from her ice cream.) My sister says "Bubble Bobble" is good for little ones and it's a download.

Panera should not be two doors down from Marble Slab. Don't they know that their Asiago cheese bagels call to me if I'm within 2 miles? Hello? How could I not go in to get a bagel for tomorrow morning? (Oh, don't worry about my family... Brenna chose a muffin, Doug got a blueberry scone and Caelan chose a pastry...)

Doug and I played a couple quick games before settling down in front of the computers to work. I kicked his rear at bowling (my Mii bowls so much better than I do!) and he took two games from me in tennis (I'm pretty sure he tampered with my controller).

My birthday is coming up soon and I have to figure out what I want from my family... Williams Sonoma has a multi-chopper that I've been admiring... I told Doug that all I wanted from him and the girls is to spend a full day scrapbooking at Archivers the day after my birthday. So an Archiver's gift card would come in handy (then I don't have to worry about my budget)... I said that they could interrupt my scrapping for lunch at "Eddie Yum" (that's how Brenna heard the radio commercial for the longest time. We have yet to actually eat there.)

Oops! It's after 10! Bedtime! (Cuz I'm old- that's why!)

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Feeling Catty?

Some people are cat people… I’m more of an animal person, myself, in a “dog” phase right now. But my first pet was a cat.

When I moved out on my own I picked the greatest kitten from my grandparent’s farm. She was a long-haired very pale calico. Her grey was almost lilac and her orange seemed to be pale pink. She was gorgeous. She lived a long, full life, moving with me from Iowa to Minnesota and back again. She was pampered and well loved and I cried like a baby when I had to put her down due to old age and kidney disease.

I haven’t considered another cat yet. But I came close to changing my mind when I saw these Bengal kittens for sale at Boyd’s Bengals, a cattery in Savannah. After reading how much love they lavish on the kittens from the time they are born I am surprised they can part with any of them!

If you’re a cat lover or just want to ooh and ahh at some pretty kittens check out their gallery. And while you’re over there check out the story of The Legend of the Marble Cat on their “available kittens” page. Like any legend it has a beautiful air of fantasy woven in to it. It’s a wonderful distraction from that spreadsheet you should be working on…

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Blech

Seriously. It's cold... And rainy... Just no fun. I've gotten all my "work" done so I'm catching up on editing photos and moving them to an external hard drive. Where they will sit until I get a chance to burn them on to CDs, which then get put into a fireproof safe.

Exciting, I know. Aren't you glad you checked in?

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Worth Reading

Reading is one of my favorite past times. Unfortunately it is something I don’t get to do as much of as I would like. But I have a list of books to read as well as a pile of notes about books I’ve heard about that sound interesting.

A book that recently came into that second pile is A Change in Life by Regina Rose.

Mrs. Rose isn’t a celebrity nor has she done anything outside the scope in which we all live our lives. Mrs. Rose is just a normal person. Married, two kids, a job… She’s average. Which is what makes her book so interesting to me…

A Change in Life is a memoir written during a trying time in any person’s life- a devastating illness and the death of a loved one. It’s something that many of us have been through yet very few share. As Mrs. Rose says in her book, "we all have to go through pain and suffering, some more than others. It's how we overcome them that make us who we really are inside."

I have only read bits of this book, though I soon plan to sit down with it. I am going to recommend it now, though; especially if you or your family are going through your own trials right now. Check it out at the links above. There is a bit from the introduction... It will pull you in to her story.


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I Hate to Admit It, But Wii Had Fun

To entertain the girls while I was at Bible study last night, Doug hooked up the Wii. We only have the sports games that come with the game and, unfortunately, the girls weren't that interested in them.

When I got home Doug was playing with it and checking out all the other "channels" available. So we played a couple quick sets of bowling and a quick game of tennis. And, darn it, we laughed and had fun!

So, sorry to those who offered to buy it, I think it will stick around. Since we got rid of the cable TV I can see this being a fun winter activity. As much as I hate to admit it...

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Wouldn't Infrared Saunas Feel Nice Now?

Someone once said that motherhood isn’t for wimps. And, boy, were they right! I got to bed with more aches and pains now than I ever did when I was working a very physical job and weight lifting at night.

Sometimes I miss my gym membership- just because of the relaxing Infrared Sauna they had. It was so nice to sit in a sauna that could relax my muscles but not get covered with the steam that most saunas have. It was honestly amazing.

Now you can get the relief that a far infrared sauna can bring from Midwest Saunas for far less than you might think.

And while I might prefer a sauna for muscle pain and weight loss (you can burn up to 900 calories in 30 minutes) saunas can help with everything from skin condition to body detox; nose bleeds to arthritis; and much, much more.

This is definitely something I am looking at adding to my “home gym” as soon as the cash is available.

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McCain Says He's Going for the "Goofy Vote"

>> Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That was his joking response to the story that came out today that ACORN registered Mickey Mouse to vote in Florida.

Now I'm not saying that Obama has anything to do with all these false registrations (all over the country) that Acorn is turning in (stories here, here and here).

And, again, Obama is distancing himself from yet another group that he has supported, claiming that he never "organized for them". Well, ACORN's spokesman has already said that Obama conducted two unpaid training sessions for the Chicago affiliate and he was the lead attourney in a 1995 lawsuit in Chicago.

The ties that bind Barack Obama to so many corrupt and questionable people and groups are beginning to tie him up. I'm just so confused how people can continue to support him so feverently.

For some really fun reading check out the Obama Birth Certificate Lawsuit. If he was born in Kenya he may not be a natural born citizen, which you must be to be President. Apparently this was begun by a Democrat... Oh, and Obama won't release his college transcripts (I didn't know those were privledged...) and the thought is that they would show that he was registered as a national of Kenya... Nice...

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I Guess I've Slept Enough

Apparently spending all day Sunday in bed, and taking a nap yesterday, have managed to get me all rested because I am awake. And my mind is going...

And since I have piles of "to do" on my desk I suppose I'll get to it.

PS The Flip for my giveaway arrived. It's pink!

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You May Be 40...

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

Because Doug and his best friend (and BIL) turn 40 within a month of each other my sister and I decided to throw a combined 40th birthday party for them.

We rented the 4 lane mini bowling alley at InPlay (click Galleries and search for the Bowling Alley to see photos of the room) and began planning- about 6 months ago. It's not easy to get contact info out of a man without being sneaky... And we got our brothers involved; they took Doug & Jon out for "guy's night".

Jen and I printed posters and ordered cake. Everything was planned perfectly, although I was afraid that Doug was on to me when I slipped and mentioned that the babysitter (who is also my cousin) would be coming over Saturday night. Quickly I made up a story about her being grounded and her parents asked if she could come over. Whew!

Justin collected the guys shortly after 5pm and then Jen & I hurriedly got ready and went to get the cake. Looks nice, yes? Well, look closer... See how the "may be" are just a bit too close together? And the "e" looks a bit funny? When I arrived to pick it up it didn't say "may be" it said "mayby". All one word- and not even spelled correctly. I looked at the kid -who couldn't have been over 17- in the bakery and said, "This isn't right."

He gave me a deer in the headlights look.

So, again, I said, "This isn't right. Is there a bakery manager here?"

He stammered and finally managed to spit out that he was the only one there.

Seeing that he was pretty much worthless to help me, I took charge. "I need a scraper, the blue icing and some white frosting. And a manager."

I'm pretty sure I scared him as he practically ran to the phone to page a manager. When the manager arrived- after 10 minutes- I told him the same thing. They finally got what we needed and I did the scraping and Jen made the "e". Oh, and we got the cake for 1/2 price. (The manager offered it for free but I didn't feel right about that...)

Running half an hour late, we headed for the party and got set up. Posters on the doors and over the cake. Fruit and cheese trays out and guests being welcomed.

About 7:45 the guys arrived. And wondered jut why my brothers were leading them into a room that instead of toward the games. They didn't notice the fun signs on the doors...

Amazingly we pulled it off! They were totally clueless! The biggest surprise for Doug was that his brother and nephew drove up from Dallas...

Much fun was had by all...

Justin worked on his bowling technique...


And the guys pretended they were bikers...

To see how well we pulled it off, watch the video...

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9 1/2 Weeks

Hey guys! Yeah, I know there are a few of you that check in daily. And we’ll even say that you’re stopping in to see if Doug has posted anything, if it makes you feel better. So you can pretend not to read what I have to say, but I have a little warning for you: Christmas is 9 ½ weeks away. That’s slightly over two months. What are you getting for your wife (or girlfriend)?

Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it yet. What were you going to do, wait until Christmas Eve and run to the store? She’ll know if you did. Why not put some thought into this year’s present and work with YouDesignWeCreate.com on a custom jewelry design?

They make it easy to turn your idea into a 3 dimensional masterpiece that will mean the world to the person you give it to. You can choose the metal and the stones; you can make a charm, a ring or a bracelet- or make a matching set. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

YouDesignWeCreate.com will work with you until your jewelry is perfect. And just think of the rewards you’ll reap for years… And years… And years…

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Here's Washington's Problem

If you bother looking at my sidebar you can see what I'm reading. Right now one of the books is More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey. I know that people who just "aren't there yet" really don;t like Dave. Unfortunately that is a lot of people. Especially right now.

You know what I've noticed? Those who "do Dave" aren't all that worried about this "crisis" Washington has put us in. And do you know why? Because borrowing money is not something we plan to do. Credit is in our past and as we pay off our debt we are saying "goodbye and good riddance" to being slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

So, I was reading and this bit stuck with me and I wanted to share it: (empahsis mine)

Responsibility is Personal

I am not a licensed or degreed psychologist, but I believe that traditional Freudian views of psychotherapy have done more harm to our nation's values than any good philosophy to come along in years. The concept of digging in to the graveyard of your past to find what caused your faults has some merit when used to identify your wounds and heal them, but too often we are taught to blame our lot in life on others. It was our mean, nasty old parents; it was that we weren't firstborn, it was our brother who tortured us; it was our sister who got all the attention. Bull! Thousands and thousands of people who had horrible childhoods thrive and even prosper in relationships and wealth. Why do they prosper? Because they made a decision that their fate is up to them, that it is their own personal responsibility.

Albert Schweitzer said it well: "Man must ceast attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to ecercise his will, his personal responsibility." Enough whining, I am sick of whining, whining by every special interest group, whining against our upbringing, whining against the mean old boss, whining against your pastor, whining about your spouse- especially if it's an ex-spouse- just whining. Whining is a lack of character on your part. If you don't like the way something is, do something about it. Finger-pointing, blame shifting, and whining, while they appear to have merit, are not doing something. There is tremendous energy in positive activity and in providing a solution. That activity, while it may not solve the problem, moves you from being self-centered to solution-centered.


Now... Think about all the blame being thrown around the beltway. "It the fault of the Democrats." "No, the Republicans got you in this mess." No, people, the fault is ours. It is our fault for giving the government so much control and for letting them play with our money like it's a nationwide Monoploy board. No one has had to be responsible for a couple decades now. This crisis has been forcast; it's amazing it didn't happen before now.

The "free ride" has to end. We have to be responsible for ourselves because, honestly, no one looks out for you and yours as well as you do yourself. All we are entitled to, as Americans, is "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Everything else needs to go. Noone should be entitled to more than anyone else because noone should be entitled to anything. Period.

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Totally 80's, Dude

I am sooo showing my age here as I remember Leggings when they did their turn around the fashion world in the 80’s.

And we wore them with everything… Short denim shorts and leggings… Mini skirts and leggings… Oversize Oxford shirts and leggings…

Of course I’m too old for the trend (I firmly believe that if you wore it the first time around you should really skip it the second time) but some of the cute Hue Leggings make me want to break my own rule. Especially the cute fishnet capri’s…

Speaking of 80’s trends… Hue also has legwarmers. Now all they need are “slouchy” socks to match every shirt you own.

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Not Really Sure What Wii Will Do With It...

Doug's brother gave him a Wii...

To be honest I'm not really thrilled. In fact, I was kind of proud that we had no game systems in our home. And now we have one...

I'm not a fan of video games and I really don't want my girls to spend hours in front of the TV playing games.

So, those of you who love the Wii... Tell me why I should hook this thing up. What's out there that isn't mind numbing? Other then the Fit, which I hear is great. What about educational stuff? Also, I hear that you can download games? Is that true?

C'mon, tell me about this thing that has come into my possession...

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Be True to Yourself

It took me a long time to find “Mr. Right”. Of course he was put in front of me multiple times, I just wasn’t smart enough to see him. Instead I dated liars and losers until I grew up enough to really appreciate a man who a) had a good job, b) wasn’t a “player” and c) had verifiable references from people I trusted (my sister and brother in law).

Even though I had to wait until I was 32 to meet Doug I consider myself lucky. Besides, I had to grow up enough to meet a good guy…

But what if you don’t have family to introduce you to someone? Or you’re in a new city where you don’t know anyone? Well, that’s where the internet comes in to play. It’s amazing just how many people I know have met their spouses online- and they have great relationships! You just have to be choosy about the sites you use. Remember- you get what you pay for… If you’re too cheap to set yourself up on a quality site you’re gonna meet people who are too cheap to set themselves up on a quality site, too.

Psychology Today recommends True.com. They have scientific compatibility testing and they do criminal screenings for felons. They also have a disclaimer stating “if you are married and representing yourself as single… be aware that you could be guilty of fraud and subject to civil and criminal penalties under U.S. federal and state law.”

It’s almost like you have someone watching your back. Sign up is free and right now you can also search for free. So you have nothing to lose- except those Saturday nights at home watching Sex in the City reruns.

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The Party

I fully meant to post photos and video from Saturday night's surprise party yesterday.

That was the plan... Until I woke with the nastiest stomach virus known to man and spent half the morning curled up on the bathroom floor (because it was so cool and close to the toilet) and the rest of the day in bed.

No, I didn't overindulge in alcohol, I had to drive. Although I may have had too much Brie...

Anyway, photos and stories to come later...

There's a really good one about the cake...

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When We're Away Where Does Toby Play?

When we travel we usually have family to fall back on for the pooch. But, once in a while, that doesn’t work out. And then I have to find someone to watch Toby. Which is what led me to this website of Dog Boarding Kennels today. It has listings for every state. I didn’t know there were so many boarding kennels in my small town!

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Surprise!

>> Saturday, October 11, 2008

I didn't mention that Doug turned 40 last Monday because my sister and I have been planning this surprise party for him & my BIL for months and I didn't want to blow the surprise.

So now I'm off to get things ready... Here's a blast from the past... Doug and my BIL the summer after their junior year (I think)... Both just back from Army training...


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Sometimes My Husband Can Be So Cruel

>> Friday, October 10, 2008

Right now he's viewing Irish estates for sale.

Here's what he's sent me for my "viewing pleasure"

A former convent with 27 bedrooms. Some with ensuite baths and others shared. Hmmm.... I'm thinking hostel...

Or this one... Thornhill Manor... I love places with their own names... sigh... It has a library and beautiful lands...

Or how about Ryehill... two kitchens, two reception rooms, a separate apartment and an office...

Grovehouse is in Cork with a terrace that overlooks the harbour...

Oh, why must he torture me so???

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Disney For Christmas

Doug has visited Disney World a couple of times. Me… Nope. And, quite honestly, I really figured I could go my entire life without it. I had no interest. I’m not really an amusement park person…

And then I had kids. And then I saw the episode on the Travel Channel about the great Christmas celebrations at the home of The Mouse. And then my cousin’s wife (who is probably about the luckiest person I know) won 3 years worth of Disney Resort vacations. Now I want to go. For Christmas. Before the girls are too old to miss the wonder of it all but are not so young that they can’t enjoy it.

So I’m thinking it will have to happen in the next year or two. Probably 2010. Of course that doesn’t stop me from planning now. Because you gotta have reservations for some of the really cool stuff. Like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle. Or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party… And Doug really wants to take us all through Epcot as it was his favorite – and they have a Holidays Around the World event that looks great. And then there’s Downtown Disney- a place for Doug & I to go for a nice evening out while the girls are entertained by whatever grandparent we can get to accompany us. (Probably my mom… She’s always up for adventure.)

Of course I’m frugal so if we want to do all kinds of “special” things you know I’m looking for the best deal on everything else. In my searching I found that OrlandoFunTickets.com has discount disney tickets including “Your Way” tickets and “Park Hopper” tickets that get you in to the four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom.

Oh, yeah, all the people I talk to say “start planning early”… And I can totally see why. With so many options it will probably take me two years to plan the perfect (affordable) vacation!

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Chick Flick

Last night I turned in early and took in a chick flick. I watched Made of Honor with Patrick Dempsey.



It was cute... But predictable. You knew as it rolled out just what was going to happen.

For me the best parts were the views of the Scottish countryside and castle on the loch. But if you're looking for a mindless romance with great scenery (not just the land) check it out. The sex-toy sales lady at the bridal shower is pretty funny...

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I'll Be 39 in a Few Weeks. But My "Real Age" is 34...

Because I have nothing else to do (HA!) I spent a little time taking this RealAge Test today.

Logo

It’s a really thorough test and has a lot of questions… It takes a while to do. And after taking it it seems that I:
**eat too much red meat and not enough fish (yep, I knew that)
**don’t get enough exercise (yeah, yeah, I know)
**need to find out my cholesterol levels (that involves blood work, right?)
**don’t floss enough

The RealAge website has given me a plan to follow and maybe the next time I check in I’ll be more than 4 years “younger” than my real age.

How old is your body? Find out: Take the RealAge Test! It's Free!
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How The Lion King Reflects What is to Come

Brenna's favorite movie right now is The Lion King. Or as she calls it, "The Lion King with Scar". I had really forgotten how bloody that movie is. And then, as I think the the movies Disney has turned out lately with all the "green" themes and the agendas I wonder how this one was such a big hit for them...

But that takes me from my point...

You remember how Scar became king and the lions and hyenas were all living together (against nature)? And, since it was the lioness' job to hunt, the hyenas just lounged around all day and didn't scavenge for food in the elephant graveyard... And since the lioness' had so many mouths to feed and there were more animals living off the Pridelands that food became scarce and the land quit producing...

Now, just make our government "Scar" and everyone who believes they are entitled to a free ride "hyenas" and everyone else "lioness'"...

Does anyone else see it?

Lions and hyenas were not meant to live side by side. People who work hard to build their life should not be forced to pay for someone who won't work as hard to live the same life. Redistribution of wealth doesn't work. Not in a movie and not in real life.

I also kinda blame Disney for groups like PETA... Talking animals with human traits... No wonder people are confused...

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How a $74 Per Night Hotel Room is Costing $47.25

>> Thursday, October 09, 2008

No, I don't have an "in" with management.

And I don't have a family member who works there.

It only took a tiny bit of searching- which I was doing anyway as I'm frugal- a phone call and a few clicks on my keyboard.

For all the "ins" on bagging a room for less with Carlson Hotels visit this post at Have Kid Will Travel.

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Space for Rent?

To promote its life changing journeys to New Zealand www.airnewzealand.com is holding a casting call in late October to select 30 people in the Los Angeles area to shave their heads, be tattooed and serve as cranial billboards. Like this:
325x425_baldcampaign
Now, I can think of someone who is perfect for this- and it’s not a guy. My girlfriend Gina is heavily tattooed, very adventurous and has had hairstyles ranging from very short dreadlocks to long and wavy. I’m pretty sure she would see this as a lark and find it funny. And she’s so beautiful it really wouldn’t affect her looks… She's a sculptor... Here she is with Brenna showing us a dinosaur skull at her project at the Minnesota Zoo.

I’ve not been to New Zealand – but I hope to go one day. I understand that the best way to see the country is to rent an RV and drive. Sounds great to me... But I’ve already had my life-changing trip. It was to Ireland in 2002.

I went alone. When you travel alone you are forced to meet people, to leave your comfort zone and to overcome any shyness you may have. I was free to wander as I wished, making plans on the fly and seeing what I wished when I wished.

Even though I knew I could travel to a foreign country (albeit one where English is spoken) alone, drive on the “wrong” side of the road and navigate a map without getting too lost there were those around me who had very serious doubts. And while I proved them wrong I also proved something to myself… That I know myself better than anyone else and that I can do whatever I put my mind to.

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Breakfast Anyone?

>> Wednesday, October 08, 2008



Betcha can't guess what was on sale...


Oh... And I had coupons...


I think I paid just over a dollar a box when all was said and done...

Less even than the generic brands...

Now that's what you call some frugal shopping...

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Amanda- Are You Looking for Wedding Jewelry?

OK, so I know your “big day” was a year ago but since you’re celebrating it on your first anniversary I think you might want some nice Wedding Jewelry. The Freshwater Pearl & Crystal set (available in a variety of crystal colors!) would look great with a simple dress… (What’s your budget for that, by the way & when are we going shopping? I’m going to Minneapolis on the 21st if you want to ride along!) Oh, and it’s affordable!

Are you sure you’re not in the market for a Unity Candle? I’m thinking a small lighting ceremony in the middle of karaoke would be great! You guys could sing “You’re The One That I Want” while you light it!

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Maybe She Thinks I Expect It

Caelan had school this morning. Which she really likes. When we drop Brenna off she's always saying how she wants to stay.

When Tuesday finally rolls around she is more than happy to get ready, grab her backpack and get in the truck. She's even happy to walk in the door. Often we are early so we will sit in the lobby and talk with the receptionists and she's just fine.

Until we go to hang her coat and backpack on the hooks and enter the classroom. Then the tears begin to fall and she clings to me like a burr.

When her teacher approaches, however, she will turn and walk into her arms. Still crying.

And when I am gone she is fine. No tears, no fussing. She plays quietly and listens to her teachers.

I'm guessing it's habit...

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If You're Dreaming You Might as Well Dream Big

Saying that Doug and I dream big is like saying Hershey makes chocolate. It’s an understatement. Our dreams are as varied as the varieties of Hershey’s chocolates… Some dreams are wrapped in others, some are swirled together and some just stand on their own.

Because we enjoy travel Doug has often said that he would like to get his pilot’s license. I’m not against that… You never know when you might need an extra pilot. But those small planes worry me a bit. And I’m not really hip on actually owning our own plane. So we’ve come to a compromise on the whole airplane thing- a private jet company that will own and maintain the plane while we have fractional ownership. Did I mention that the plan comes with a crew?

I told you that we dream big… As Doug says, “Why dream small?”

Legendary Jets may not be the biggest name in the market but they are one of the most respected- choosing to grow slowly to maintain a personal relationship with it’s members. If you dream big like us (but are closer to realizing those dreams) contact Legendary Jets and the founder himself will discuss your needs and come up with your custom aircraft package.

Who knows, maybe someday we can share a jet…

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It's All Very Exciting!

I just heard from Budget Travel and their "Top 15 Travel Bloggers" article is slated for publication in the November issue! Remember- I was chosen as one of those 15...

Anyway, to celebrate I've asked the companies of products I've reviewed to make donations for me to give away.

So far I have received:
A Flip Video camera (!!!)
A Cyber Pocket from VTECH (!!!)
A Snack and Play tray from Family Travel Gear (!!!)
and bags from Janine King (!!!)

And I have more requests waiting to be answered.

I bet you can't wait for the contests to begin, can you?

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Your Big Break Could Be a Phone Call Away

My sister in law is fond of telling people that she was in a movie. (Which is true, by the way)

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned that I was in one, as well. (But my portion ended up on the cutting room floor, metaphorically speaking)

Neither of us are actors, nor did we make a huge amount of money for our big screen debuts. We were both “extras” in movies that were shooting locally to where we lived at the time (Wyoming and Minneapolis).

The interesting thing about “extras” is that they are hired wherever a film is shooting- and films shoot all across the country (even here in Iowa). Extras are paid between $100 and $300 per day and don’t have any lines to memorize. Basically you’re a prop. You get to meet some very interesting people (and I’m not talking about the film’s stars who, half the time, aren’t as interesting if they aren’t reading a script) and it's really a lot of fun.

Talent6 is a company that handles the booking of movie extras. If you’re 18 to 85 and interested in learning more call them toll-free at 800-493-9047.

Who knows what could happen… People have been “discovered” in coffee shops and walking down the street. If you have a desire to “break in” to the movie business this could be your shot…



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