Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I daresay that there are places in this world that are colder, much colder, than Salt Lake City, Utah.

But I have been cold almost non-stop for about three weeks now, and I'm tired of it. It's not just "winter" cold - this is bone-chilling cold - and it seems that no matter what I do, I can't get warm again.

I have no desire to go into my basement because it is COLD. Unfortunately, there are piles and piles of things down there that desperately need my attention. One of those things would be our laundry. If we had extra money, I would be tempted to put it all towards finishing the basement. Anything to get a little warmth in this house.

Unfortunately, if I don't go and put in a load of laundry tonight, The Princess will have NOTHING to wear tomorrow. Nothing appropriate anyway.

So I'm going now. Down to the basement. To freeze. Send help if I'm not back in 10 minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

President Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet and president of the LDS church passed away today.

From www.lds.org:

Born in Salt Lake City on June 23, 1910, Gordon B. Hinckley was prepared from his youth to be a prophet. After graduating from the University of Utah, he was called to serve a mission to Great Britain. After he returned, he embarked on a lifetime of service for the Church. He was employed as the executive secretary of the Church Radio, Publicity, and Literature committee, before he was called to be an Apostle in 1961. He was later called to serve as a counselor to President Kimball, President Benson, and President Hunter. Since becoming Church President on March 12, 1995, he has directed the most intense temple building program in the history of the Church in an effort to extend temple blessings to more members. He has exhibited vitality and energy as he has traveled about the world meeting and speaking to members of the Church. Through television interviews and national press publications, he has increased media attention and improved the public image of the Church. He has counseled Church members to fellowship new converts, befriend members of other faiths, live exemplary lives, and avoid the evils of the world.

I found this nice tribute on YouTube... it was created before his passing, but I think it is worth sharing.

President Gordon B. Hinckley will be sorely missed, and while I am sorrowful, I rejoice in the fact that he has returned to our Heavenly Father and will now see his sweet wife once again.

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Mothers Who Know

Some of my readers may not know that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. During our General Conference (a meeting that is broadcasted world-wide to members of the church) in October, Sister Julie Beck gave a talk entitled "Mothers Who Know."

Some women were offended by her talk. Some might feel that she was putting them down, that they weren't doing enough. Some felt that she was demanding that they be the best, be perfect, excel... and DO MORE.

Personally, I loved her talk, for reasons I can't adequately express.

But somebody put some of her words to pictures and music, and created a YouTube video. I think it is worth sharing. This video embodies what motherhood is, or should be, and whether or not we share the same religious beliefs, I believe that there is a lot of truth and wisdom in this video. I hope you enjoy it.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Busy Day

I had a Creative Memories Get Together today. I really enjoy being able to get out of the house, meet new people, and show them that celebrating their memories doesn't have to be done in a traditional scrapbook. There are so many options available now - it's exciting to be a part of this business!

The Everyday Display frame is growing in popularity, and I have to say that I love it more and more each time I use it. The magnets make it so easy to update - even I can keep it reasonably up to date.

I love my job, and I'm so glad that I get the opportunity to share what I do with others.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here We Go Again...

Uh-oh! I'm starting to feel rather overwhelmed again.

There are a lot of things to do, and not enough time to do them.

It would help if I would stay off the internet.

But we all know that that's NOT gonna happen!

So, I guess the only option is to learn how to manage my time better. HA HA HA HA HA!

I read a book that told me that there is NO WAY that I will EVER accomplish every single thing that I want to do. I have a feeling that the author is right. How depressing is that? Seriously.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Web Hosting

Before the great job lay-off of 2008, I was making plans to purchase my own domain. During this process, The King and I started discussing if our web hosting choices were being met.

Have you evaluated your hosting provider lately? Are your needs still being met? Want an easy way to figure out what else is out there?

This site will help you with your web hosting choice.

Just fill out a simple form, and a list of web hosting providers will be provided to you free of charge!

Be sure to check out their FAQ - because sometimes we all get a little lost in all the techno-mumbo-jumbo and this is a pretty comprehensive list that can help you figure out what's what.

Visit WebHostingChoice.com today!

Monday, January 21, 2008


I'm not feeling very happy today. Not entirely glum, either, but not very happy.

It snowed like crazy this morning. Six to eight inches of snow! I didn't go outside all day today, and that was probably part of the problem.

I'm having a difficult time with Creative Memories right now. Nothing serious, just a low spot and I'm having a hard time getting motivated. Probably due in part to the job-layoff. The times that I really need to get motivated are the times that I find it the hardest to get motivated. What's up with that?

I'm also worried, in general. I'm taking every precaution I can right now to help us get through this. The King is very dedicated to finding a job. I'm really impressed with all the effort that he has put into this so far. I know that he will be successful, and ultimately we will be ok, but it is SO HARD. I am trying really, really hard not to keep wondering "Why us?" - but it is difficult. I am trying to stay positive, but today just hasn't been a good day for me.

I was also disappointed in MyPoints today. I went to redeem our points for a Wal-Mart gift card, only to find that they are not currently offering Wal-Mart gift cards! Argh! We probably have enough points for about $300 in gift cards. I can get them for Target, which is basically the same store, but ultimately, Wal-Mart's prices are lower day-in and day-out. Sometimes the cards vary from week-to-week, so maybe if I wait a couple of more weeks, Wal-Mart will be back. One can hope.

BTW, if you would like to join MyPoints, please ask me for a referral. You don't need a referral to join, but I'll get a few extra points with every person that I refer. It's a free program... they send you e-mails and you click on the links and in exchange they give you points. You get more points if you choose to buy something, but generally, you get points just for clicking. Ultimately, you cash in your points for gift certificates to an assortment of stores. We've earned several hundreds of dollars through this program... I've been a member of it for over 10 years. Crazy.

Anyway, today hasn't been a great day as far as I am concerned. The King was very kind and installed a new virus scan program and a new e-mail program for me. I like them well enough, but it will take some getting used to. On the plus side, I got rid of approximately 1000 email messages today. Never mind that I still have at least 6000 more to sort through. *LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!*

The Princess and The Dragon each had a friend come over to our house today - two girls from church who live within walking distance. I am grateful that they have friends to play with.

Tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Not The Right Reason

On one of my online groups there was a woman looking for ways to earn money from home. Many women came forward and suggested a large variety of jobs.

The original woman came back and said, "Well, we've considered these ideas, but what about "Foster Parents?" She asked for the possible pros and cons.

Well, here in Utah, if you have a "normal" child, age 11 or under, who requires what they call "Basic Shelter" - you can be paid $15 per day. Their medical bills will be covered, and if they are young enough, they might qualify for WIC which will help with the food expenses. The money is for you to use as you wish, but you are also required to purchase a minimum of $41 in clothing for the child each month.

Personally, the idea of someone considering becoming a foster parent so that they can earn extra money turns my stomach.

Plus, I'm not sure $15 per day is worth it... not if I was just in it for the money.

It takes a very special person to be a foster parent. The ones that I have met, I have been honored to know. They have been some of the most loving, selfless people I have ever met. I realize that not all foster parents are in it for the money, and I realize that not all foster parents are all that loving. I also realize that being able to make a difference in a child's life is priceless.

But to be a foster parent for the money? That's simply, in my opinion, not the right reason.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The King was asked if he would like to be interviewed for the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday. He said yes, and now we're famous! Ha!

You can read the article here, and there is even a picture of us.

Do you think that it will help us to get a job?

My thinking is probably not, but it is kind-of cool to see our picture in the paper. It's also a little bit embarrassing.

But who knows what kind of opportunities will become available to us because of a little bit of embarrassment?

Another Easy Way To Save Money

Well, if you know me at all, you know I'm all about saving money. Here's another e-commerce site that you may want to add to your bookmark list: WebbyPlanet.

It's simple to use; you can either search for the specific company that you are looking for, or you can choose a category to see whatever offers are available from a variety of companies.

One thing that I really like that seems to be different from other similar companies, is that once you pick a category (or a company), the deals are listed by the type of deal that they are. For instance, underneath "Computers" I find special offers and coupon codes under sections labeled: Specials, Coupon, Freebie, Hot Deals, Shipping, Free Shipping, Limited Time, Rebate, Gift Certificate, Catalog, Deals, and Discount. I like the fact that everything is listed on ONE page so that you don't have to click, click, and click some more to find out what the actual deal is.

Give it a try, and if you like what you see consider signing up for newsletter updates via e-mail to get the most recent coupons posted by your favorite companies.


The King and I are rapidly approaching our 10-year wedding anniversary. While I don't believe that The King remembers this, I let him choose the flavor of our wedding cake. He chose "marble." Many of our guests thought that we were making a statement. If you haven't figured it out yet, I am white while The King is black.

We were not making a statement.

We never really worried about what effects or consequences would be of our actions. We were in love. And love was (IS) enough.

10 years later we find ourselves still together, still in love, and with two beautiful little girls. The Princess, age 7, and The Dragon, age 5.

The King has never been much of a fan of celebrating his "African-American Heritage" - he's not from "Africa" after all. He considers himself an American - and he truly is one. He's just not a fan of the "classification of race" system. He feels that "it doesn't matter." If the form that he is filling out has an option for "Other" with a blank line to be filled in with whatever kind of "other" you are, The King has been known to write "Human."

I never had a problem with it before, and I still continue to check my little "Caucasian/White" box. But now I'm starting to have issues with it... sometimes I know that the people who want to know are going to extrapolate (incorrectly) that because I am white, the rest of my family is white. And I wonder, what box should my children check? There can be advantages in being able to check the "African American/Black" box, so maybe they should be taught to choose that one. But maybe they don't want to embrace that part of their lives, and the "Caucasian" box is good enough for them. I personally feel that they should be able to check both.

Well, with Monday being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there has been a lot of talk in school about who he was and what he did. The Princess got pinpointed by her teacher because she is African American. Now before you go blasting her teacher, you need to know that The Princess was OK with this. But honestly? I'm not sure The Princess knew she was African American before this happened. Not really. It's brought up some questions, and maybe even some hurt feelings, and most certainly, some interesting discussions.

In watching a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr., The Princess felt bad for how black people were treated. She's been watching movies like this since Kindergarten (Ruby Bridges), so it's not new information for her, but maybe she understands a little bit more this year. She has a hard time understanding how people could hate someone just because of the color of their skin. I think a small part of her is worried that this might happen to her. I've explained that things are different now, and I think she gets that (obviously she can use any drinking fountain she wants), but it's still hard to grasp that just 45 years ago, things were very, very different.

The Princess has decided that she is black... but I don't think she's very happy about it. The Dragon is convinced that she is absolutely, positively, white.

They wanted to know if they had labeled themselves correctly. For something that is simply an issue of "black or white" I discovered that the answer wasn't "black and white."

What to tell them? After all, their Mommy is white and their Daddy is black. What are they really?

I studied their legs, their arms, their bellies. I looked at their faces, and examined their necks. I leaned in really close and smelled the sweet smell of their so-soft skin. And the giggles ensued as I nibbled on their finger tips...

"Chocolate," I said. "You are rich, milky chocolate."

And for now, that's going to have to be enough.

Finance Genius

Since our recent job-layoff, I have spent some time looking for tips to help us with our finances. It's one thing to have a budget when you have money coming in on a regular basis, but a budget just doesn't work very well when you have little or no income.

Anyway, one of the sites that I was looking at is called Finance Genius. While this site didn't contain the type of information that I was looking for, I wish I had been aware of this site when we were first married, or even before we ever purchased our first home. Finance Genius has a wealth of information about automobiles (new vs. used, insurance, and Auto Refinance), insurance (auto, home and life), and mortgages.

I was really pleased with the way that the Finance Genius website was set-up. It is easy to navigate, with an easy-to-read format. While there are ads posted on both the left and right sides of the screen, they do a good job of keeping the ads out of the text area. Also, I felt that they did a good job of keeping the explanations plain and simple. All of these things make Finance Genius a good introduction to the world of finance.

Friday, January 18, 2008

ING Direct

We have a savings account with ING Direct. It is a FDIC Insured online bank. We've been account holders for many years, and are very happy with the service that they provide. The APY for the savings account is currently at 4.10%.

Periodically, they offer referral programs. You open an account with a minimum $250 deposit, and they will pay you $25, and they will pay ME $10.

If you would like an invite/referral from me, please send me a comment. I will be very happy to send you one. You don't need a referral form to join, but you DO need a referral form for ME to get the $10. (See why I want to send you a referral?)

If you do request a referral, please be sure to use it.

I sent one to my brother, and he forgot. No bonus for me! It was a sad, sad, day.

I love ING.

[This is not a sponsored post. Consider it free advertising for my favorite bank. The only way I will receive any compensation for this post is if YOU make a deposit using the referral form.]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let The Munchies Begin!

One sure sign that I am not dealing with the unemployment issue as well as I might appear is that I keep heading over to the pantry and staring into it every five minutes.

I think I want hot fudge. I don't even need the ice cream to go with it.

Need to find some other way to comfort myself. And soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day One of Unemployment

It's a bit different going through a job lay-off for the fourth time. I'm sure it's even more different for my husband... after all, it was HIS job. He's always so calm (he basically has an imaginary concrete wall built around him), it always seems like I am the one who is completely freaking out while he just keeps plodding along down his chosen path. I'm guessing that on the inside, he's probably more upset than the outside shows - but maybe not. It's no fun being unemployed, and it sure as heck isn't going to be easy for us, but in another way, he was so miserable at this company it's almost a relief to be cut free. We just wish that one of the other places he has been interviewing with recently had hired him - because then he could've just quit. It's much nicer to find a new job when it's on your terms and schedules.

We hadn't decided whether or not to tell the kids about the lay-off, but I accidentally let it slip. The Dragon doesn't quite understand what's going on - and that's OK. The Princess, however, does. She started crying, and I had to do some major reassuring that everything is going to be OK. This conversation took place on the way home from school, and when we finally got home, she decided to make a present for The King and I.

It was a set of two envelopes. One was labeled "Daddy" and the other was labeled "Mommy." She had put a piece of candy in each of them. Each envelope also contained fifty cents - carefully counted out from her piggy bank.

I gave her a huge hug, and told her how much I appreciated her thoughtful gift. And then I asked her to do me a favor. I told her that Mommy and Daddy and our family were OK and that we didn't need her money. I told her that she didn't need to worry about it... that everything was going to be OK. And then I asked her to do me a favor. "Will you please take this envelope and put it in a very safe place? Daddy and I don't need this money right now, but I promise that if we do need the money, we will come and ask you for this envelope. But for as long as you have this envelope, you don't need to worry about the money at all. Ever. As long as you have this envelope, we are OK." She accepted this line of thought and scurried off to put her precious gift in a safe place.

You can bet that I will NEVER ask her for that envelope.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Affiliate Marketing

A couple of years ago, I attempted to become an affiliate for various companies who had major web presence. Nothing ever became of it - I found it very difficult to figure out what exactly I was supposed to be doing, or how I was to get paid, or who to contact without a paddle. Basically, I stuck a button on my website that linked to their website, and NOTHING ever happened. So frustrating.

So how about some new options for Affiliate Marketing?

Pepperjam Network is free to join, and has over 100 merchants, including Jelly Belly, Baby Phat and Blockbuster. In addition, Pepperjam Network itself has its own affiliate program that will pay up to $7 for each approved publisher application.

I think that Pepperjam Network is on the right track with helping affiliates and advertisers with their communication issues. Pepperjam Chat allows for real-time communication - a huge plus over plain-old e-mail.

To learn more, you can check out the Pepperjam Network Blog.

Press Release:

Pepperjam Announces Launch of Next Generation Affiliate Marketing Network

Pepperjam, a two-time Inc. Magazine fastest growing company and industry leading full-service internet marketing agency, today announced the launch of Pepperjam Network, a proprietary next generation affiliate marketing network.

If you are an advertiser or affiliate and would like to sign-up for Pepperjam Network please visit www.pepperjamnetwork.com.

“Pepperjam Network represents an evolution in affiliate marketing. The creation of Pepperjam Network represents eight years of research and development and the combined ideas, feedback, and intelligence of hundreds of affiliate marketers and advertisers. Pepperjam Network will forever change the face of affiliate marketing by putting power back in the hands of affiliates and advertisers to build long-term, profitable partnerships through better communication tools and transparency,” said Kristopher B. Jones, President & CEO of Pepperjam.

Among a variety of affiliate marketing enhancements, Pepperjam Network addresses the two primary shortcomings of other existing affiliate networks, namely (1) poor, unreliable communication tools and (2) lack of affiliate transparency. With Pepperjam Network, affiliates and advertisers can communicate in real-time via Pepperjam Chat™, thereby providing a reliable communication system to build stronger, more profitable partnerships. Pepperjam Network also provides advertisers with an unprecedented measure of affiliate transparency, which helps to establish trust, protect brand integrity, and lays the groundwork for open, long-term, profitable relationships.

Pepperjam Network also introduces pepperjamADS, which is a first-ever affiliate marketing widget that affiliates can use to serve customized contextual ads from one or multiple Pepperjam Network advertisers at the same time.

Pepperjam Network was designed to make the experience of affiliate marketing profitable and educational, with the goal of allowing affiliates and advertisers to truly understand and maximize the critical affiliate marketing channel.

Unlike the traditional networks, Pepperjam Network uses Web 2.0 technology to provide affiliates and advertisers with an easy-to-use, cutting-edge interface designed to facilitate and optimize the affiliate marketing process. For instance, Pepperjam Network offers industry leading source-level tracking and reporting - this robust technology is especially beneficial to search marketing and sophisticated super affiliates that want to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology available to track commissions at the keyword level.

Here is just a sample of what many industry experts are saying about Pepperjam Network:

“Even after all these years using Commission Junction on the merchant and affiliate side, I still find it terribly clumsy to find what I want. With Pepperjam Network it is quick and easy. Pepperjam Network is what an affiliate network would look like if it were built from a wish list from both the affiliate and merchant perspective,” said Shawn Collins, Cofounder of Affiliate Summit.

“As both an advertiser and a affiliate, I am on the lookout for affiliate marketing systems that meet all our company’s needs. Pepperjam Network is without a doubt the most comprehensive, practical and useful affiliate marketing system I have seen to date. Pepperjam Network demonstrates that it is possible to combine style with substance in a network that provides site owners and advertisers with tools and resources to increase their bottom line,” said Joel Comm, New York Times Best-Selling author and CEO, InfoMedia, Inc.

About Pepperjam:

Pepperjam is an industry leading full-service internet marketing agency offering marketing services and advanced technology in the areas of pay-per-click, search-engine optimization, affiliate marketing, and online media planning and buying. The company was founded in 1999 by internet marketing expert, accomplished speaker, and published author Kristopher B. Jones. Pepperjam has received numerous awards and achievements, including recognition by Inc. Magazine for two consecutive years as one of the fastest growing privately-held businesses in the United States. Learn more at www.pepperjam.com.


If "no news" is "good news" I wish we hadn't gotten any news at all.

Oh yeah, here we go down the unemployment trail AGAIN.

Oddly enough, it is strangely comforting to be in "familiar" (although strongly UNLIKED) territory. At least I know how this "works". Heh. Didn't mean to have a pun there.

So, since I'm going to be seeing The King around here more often, what do you think the chances are that he will be willing to get up with The Princess at 6:00 am in the morning? Maybe once a week? I would REALLY love to sleep in. How 'bout Fridays? Can I sleep in on Fridays?

Wish us luck.

Do You Know Your Credit Score?

Do you know your credit score?

For that matter, do you even know what a credit score is?

You've been told to "protect your credit", but do you know how?

Do you know how to find out what your score is, or for that matter, where to find it?

Do you know what a credit report is, and have you seen yours? And if you have seen yours, have you checked it within the last year?

My Credit Score 101 can answer all of these questions with their vast collection of free articles and videos that are all about credit. Check them out!

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Shopping (Poor Budget!)

Confession: I think I am addicted to shopping.

My efforts in budgeting are definitely helping to curb my spending, but I can tell that this is going to be a long-term transformation for me. But the changes I have made so far have been pretty drastic. All is not lost, but the budget is... oops. Still, I'm not TOO off track in my efforts. Oh well, I get to start again on the 20th (and I think I can restrain myself until then... I think).

So, I went shopping again today. I spent $29.05 (including taxes). I love listing what I bought, so you're just gonna have to tough it out. It's a short list - pay close attention to the first line.

I bought:
90 (yes, NINETY) rolls of Lifesaver Candy
7 12-oz. packages of sausage links
2 16-oz. packages of bacon
2 jars of peanut butter
24 .5-liter bottles of Dasani water
6 .5-liter bottles of Albertson's water
12 rolls of Scott toilet paper
4 cans of Progresso soup
6 boxes of Hamburger Helper
4 boxes of Life cereal
4 boxes of Quaker Simple Harvest Instant Oatmeal
2 boxes of Quaker Breakfast Bars
1 loaf of Whole Wheat Bread

And what, you might ask, am I going to do with 90 rolls of Lifesavers? Use them for Valentine Day treats for my kids to hand out, and the leftovers will be party favors or Pinata-stuffers for The Princess' birthday party which will happen sometime in March.

I am soooo addicted.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I Love You

Nothin' like spanking your kid good-night.

The Dragon has been hitting The Princess a lot lately. Since The Princess refuses to slug her back (99.9% of the time), it looks like it's going to be falling to me to hand out the corporal punishment.

I really don't like spanking. It's not something that is done a lot around here, but in this case, I'm pretty much at my wits end. The Dragon just won't stop doing it. If The Princess would fight back, I think that The Dragon would realize that it HURTS and that it is NOT FUN to get pushed/pinched/hit/bit by someone else.

Of course, I can't really blame The Princess for not hitting back. I mean, if she did, I'd have to punish her too. I guess she's a little smarter than I gave her credit for.

So tonight, The Dragon hit The Princess with a toy just moments before she was supposed to be tucked in for bed. I'm not kidding about the "moments" - she was already IN bed when she did it. As a last resort, I've been telling The Dragon that if she doesn't stop hurting her sister, I'm going to start giving her spankings each time she does it. Yeah, I know that doesn't make any sense:

"Don't hit your sister!"
"Do you hear me? WE. DO. NOT. HIT."

Well, she got one spanking tonight. I'm serious about the ONE. It was only one. I still feel guilty. But nothing else is working... so what do you do?

Massage The Stress Away

The previous hour or so has been rather stressful for me. First, The Princess needed her hair combed because it was full of knots. Then, The Dragon chose to hit The Princess as a "goodnight kiss" of sorts. Lots of screaming around here, and now I find myself tense and annoyed.

Since I don't have a Massage Chair, all I can do is dream about one. Human Touch massage chairs use the "most advanced robotic massage technology" so that their "systems expertly replicate the hands and techniques" of massage professionals.

I've been the recipient of a professional massage, and let me tell you, it's incredible. If you don't have a masseuse residing in your home, a massage chair has got to be the next best thing. These chairs can replicate the rolling, kneading, compression and percussion techniques of massage therapists, and best of all, you can experience it in your own home.

If I had one in my home, I would first program it to focus on my neck, and then I would program it for a full-body massage. After that, well, after that I'd be so relaxed I think the only thing I would be good for would be a nice long nap!

Bless Heather's Heart!

Wow, oh wow, oh wow.

A friend just passed along this website to me: Bless Heather's Heart

Heather is one of my online acquaintances. In the short time that I have known her I have been impressed with how positive and upbeat she is, even when tragedy strikes. A few months ago, when Heather's heart started acting up (again), I had no idea of the extent of the damage and seriousness -- her attitude was one of thankfulness. Simply put, she expressed how much she loved her family and how grateful she was that she was still here.

Today, I got the whole story of what has been happening to her and her family. They are desperately trying to raise money to help Heather have heart surgery.

Money is tight in our house, so I highly doubt that I can make a cash donation. But another one of my online acquaintances is going to hold a yard sale with all of the proceeds going towards Heather's surgery, so I was thinking I could look through my stuff and see if there is anything that could be donated.

I can't imagine being faced with something like this.

Ambient Lighting

Since the Christmas season is over, The King decided (wisely) to unplug the outdoor Christmas lights at our house. I'm a little sad to see them go, because I love Christmas lights, but I was thinking about other ways I could put them to use.

In one of our previous homes, we used Christmas lights in the empty space between the top of our kitchen cabinets and the ceiling. It created a pretty, soft glow when the rest of the lights were out in the kitchen, but provided just enough light to insure we weren't going to trip over anything. We could recreate this look using LED lights, which would help with keeping our energy costs down, and, since LED lights last for a really long time, there wouldn't be the hassle of worrying about having to replace burned out bulbs every few months.

In the summer months, it might be fun to take a small string of LED lights and attach them to the inside of our deck umbrella. Since LED lights stay cool to the touch, they wouldn't be a big fire hazard, and it would provide our family with some much needed light during those warm summer nights.

With a little bit of creativity, maybe I can enjoy my Christmas lights all year round.

Friday, January 11, 2008


One of my friends last name is "Patience." I told her I thought that was a name that would be hard to live up to. I lack patience.

The problem with budgeting is the time/patience factor. I want results now, and with a budget, well, you really can't tell how well you did overall until you've actually reached the end of the time period for your budget. You can tell whether or not you are on track, of course, but that just doesn't cut it for me. I want the end results and I want them now. 10 more days until the "official" payday, though I believe the next paycheck will actually arrive in 8 more days.

Patience. I require patience.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Behavior Modification Needed

[So this morning (January 10) I go to my blog and realize that something is wrong. Very wrong. Where's my post?!? I did a Dubby and saved, rather than published my post. Oops. I'm publishing it now.]

I'm really not in the mood to post tonight. I've been having a really hard time with the girls lately, and it's wearing on me. The feeling of "I would just like to trade them in for the newest model" can't be appropriate. And I'm not sure I want the newest model anyway, I just want the bugs fixed in the two models I currently have.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

So, a couple of days ago I told you that I wanted to see if I could spend $75 or less a week on groceries. I made a menu (which included 13 dinners, and some other things including food for other meals), made a very detailed list, searched the ads for the best prices on anything that I was planning on buying (I am not skilled enough to make my menu based on what is on sale - yet), and hit the stores.

My original plan involved spending about $120, so that I would have approximately $30 left for the extra trips to the store for whatever I forgot, plus being able to buy extra milk and possibly fresh vegetables as the 2-weeks progress.

Well, if you look at it in a strictly 'black and white' sort of way, I broke the budget.

I spent $144.99, before taxes. I know that I will have to buy at least 2 more gallons of milk, before our next payday. At $2.50 a gallon, I definitely go over. Plus, it's before taxes.

However, I did make a few purchases that will take us well beyond our 13-meal plan. For example, hamburger was on sale for $1.59 a pound. That's a really good deal, so I went ahead and purchased 10 pounds, all individually wrapped, for future use. My meals only call for 3 to 4 pounds of hamburger this week. I also purchased a big bag of chicken breasts at Costco (my favorite kind, I refuse to buy anything else) - which will last us for at least 4 more meals beyond what I need this shopping period. I also got enough pork chops to last us for FIVE meals, and I only need 1 meals worth this week.

I was trying to buy enough food to get us through January 20th, and I managed to buy enough meat to last us through February 5th... at least.

I'm bummed that I broke the budget, but I'm not giving up yet. This is the first time I've really ever tried to stick to a budget while grocery shopping. All in all, I did a pretty good job. If all I have to buy is more milk during the coming weeks, we are in REALLY good shape.

How do you think I did?

If you are interested in what I purchased, keep reading. Otherwise, consider this post over. :)

On January 8, 2008, $144.99 (before taxes) can buy you the following:
4 cans of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
Bear Creek Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 Gallons of 2% Milk
One whole Chicken
2 "packages" of green onions
3 large white onions
1 package of hot dogs
2 packages of hamburger buns
HUGE bag of Costco/Foster Farms Boneless Chicken Breasts
Case of Kern's Nectar from Costco
Giant container of Pace Picante Sauce
2 bottles of pickles
16 oz bottle of Kraft Parmesan Cheese
Honey Dijon Mustard
A can of peas and carrots
15 Pork Chops
French Fries
2 packages of tortillas
1 package of dried cranberries
1 bag of walnuts
1 bag of celery
Light Mayonaiise
2 packages of Welch's Juice (6 packs)
Turkey Breast
2 packages of shredded cheddar cheese
Ham (Deli sliced, lunch meat)
2 packages of Crescent Rolls
Sour Cream
6-pack of water bottles
4 South Beach Diet Frozen Dinners
Loaf of Bread
2 packages of frozen broccoli
2 jars of peanut butter
10 pounds of ground beef
4 bottles of Juicy Juice
4 boxes of Cheerios
2 boxes of Total (cereal)
1 box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 box of Trix

The Queen's Guide To Coupons

I am a bargain shopper. This does not mean that I am good at budgeting my money, it means that I love me a good deal.

In the past year, I've spent a lot of time and energy attempting to use coupons to save money. I thought that I'd share some of the things I've learned with you. Perhaps you will find one or two of these ideas helpful.

I feel the easiest way to get coupons is from your Sunday paper. I have it delivered directly to my door, rather than running to the store to buy them. I have friends who order multiple copies of the newspaper so that they can get multiple copies of the coupons. I know people who get TEN copies of the paper every week. I get three, and that's only because my Mom and Grandpa don't use the coupons that come with their paper, so I ask them to save them for me. Occasionally, I wish I had more than 3 of a certain coupon, but for the most part, 3 is sufficient.

Pay attention to your subscription fees. Usually you will get a very good deal when you sign up, but the price increases over time (usually in about 6 months). Many times if you call the renewal office, they will get you a better deal than what is said on your subscription notice. I've gotten a 6 month subscription for as low as $15. Some people say they make up the expense in what they save in coupons, but I say, why spend it if you don't have to? It's a newspaper, for cryin' out loud.

There are several websites that allow you to print manufacturer coupons for free. Before I list these sites, there are two things you must understand.

The first is that despite the fact that you printed these coupons from home, it is NOT OK to copy them. You may not make as many duplicates as you want, it is FRAUDULENT, so please, don't even try it. The companies that provide these coupons have set it up so that you cannot print coupons more than a specified number of times (usually one, I have seen as many as 10), and usually, when these coupons print they have different bar code numbers (or other numbers) on them that can be tracked back to you. So if you use the same coupon twice (meaning you photocopied it), chances are good that you will be caught.

The second thing to remember is that just because you can print a coupon doesn't mean a store is required to take them. Because of some people abusing the system (see above), some stores will no longer take printable coupons. Respect their policy.

So, here are some of the sites that I use to print free coupons. If you find a really hot coupon, keep in mind that you might be able to find it on another one of these sites. Quite often these sites have duplicate coupons which will really come in handy, because you can print the same coupon from each of the sites, without worrying about "breaking the rules." Also, try to keep track of what you are printing, because you're not going to be saving money if you have wasted all of your toner printing 10 copies of a coupon you will NEVER use.





Trust me on this one, before you start clipping your coupons, decide how you are going to organize them. It will save you a lot of time and hassle later on.

Some people prefer to keep their coupons intact until they go shopping, and then clip the ones they will use. This method does not work for me, because I end up with half-clipped newspapers EVERYWHERE, and once I've started clipping things out of them, they completely fall apart and I have a huge mess on my hands.

So, I created a file system of sorts. I use envelopes (the small ones) with the flaps cut off to act as my "folders". Each one is labeled with a number (I currently have 156 different categories - scary, I know!). They are all held in a plastic 'shoe box size box'. On the lid of the box, I have my "list" which tells me which number belongs to each category. All I need to do is file the coupons in the appropriate folder, and I'm ready to go. I know it sounds complicated, but this system works really well for me, and it gets easier as the weeks go on. I love being able to find any coupon I might need in a moments notice. This box goes with me every time I go to the store. If you would like the "list" - send me an e-mail with your e-mail address (unless you already know that I have your email address) and I will send you a copy of it. If you don't have my e-mail address, you can find it in my "Disclosure Policy" (located under the PayPerPost button) on the left side of the page.

I am trying to clip my coupons on Mondays (giving me time to collect the extra newspapers from my relatives). I make sure that I cut all three copies of coupons at the same time -- this saves me a LOT of time in the long run because I only have to cut once AND file once, because the three copies stay together.

I once asked a friend if they clipped all of the coupons in the inserts? Her reply was, "If I would be happy if someone gave me the item in the coupon for free, I clip it!" I think that this is a really good answer, because you would be surprised at how much stuff you can get for free. There are some items that I know I will never ever use, so I don't bother to clip those coupons. There are other items that I know I won't use a lot of, so if my supply is pretty well stocked, I don't clip those either. On the other hand, if I were to clip all of them, chances are good that I would be able to work out some trades with other coupon users. Right now, I'm pretty happy with the number of coupons I am getting, so I choose NOT to clip them all and save some valuable time.

This one is a no-brainer to me, but sign up for whatever free "savings program" your grocery store offers. This is usually in the form of a plastic card that you swipe every time that you go to the store. Usually it entitles the holder to whatever "sales" are taking place to automatically be credited to your shopping order. If you aren't using one, get one. This is where some of the biggest savings are found when it comes to "regular" grocery store prices. If you have one, but forget to take it to the store, ask the cashier if they can look it up for you, or if they have one they can scan for you. Usually they can look it up by phone number, or they'll just swipe an extra card that they have laying around.

I LOVE PINCHING YOUR PENNIES! This website is awesome. Membership is free, everyone is really friendly, and I have learned SO much there. There are a lot of forums there, so it can be a little confusing at first, but I encourage you to stick with it. I always find out about the best deals there. Once you are a member (remember, it's FREE!), click on the "Screaming Deals By State" button and then go to your appropriate location. I'll be honest, the Utah forum is GREAT, but if you live somewhere else, I haven't tried your state, so I can't make any guarantees. The Utah forum lists all the deals (with appropriate coupons listed) in an easy to print and use format, for each major grocery store. If there are "printable coupons" available, they will also provide a link to that coupon. It makes it really easy for me to find the deals. The people who use these forums are all really willing to share tips and advice, plus they will share any other deals they find such as Catalinas (the coupons that print at the register), tearpads (coupons that you find around the store on, ironically, tear pads!), and Blinkies (coupons that are dispensed at the store from those little electronic boxes that sometimes have flashing lights). There are tons of good deals out there, and I would be missing a lot of them if it wasn't for this website. I strongly encourage you to check it out!

There are coupons out there for pretty much anything you could possibly want. However, the coupons that I use most frequently are for items like cereal, granola bars, hamburger helper, pasta, cake mixes, cookie mixes, brownie mixes, and other items like that. I have found coupons for eggs, butter, vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned), fruit (fresh, frozen and canned), milk, cheese, bread, candy, and pretty much all of your hygiene needs too (I have friends who have large Rubbermaid tubs filled with free toothbrushes).

My brain is starting to shut-down, so I'm hoping that there are a few tips here that have helped you out. I am sure that I have more to share, so if you have a question, feel free to send it my way! I'll do my best to come up with an accurate, and perhaps even HELPFUL answer.

So, coupons are a great way to build up some food storage - particularly when it comes to cereal. I started trying to save money on cereal when Leanne Ely shared that she never spends more than .10 an ounce on cereal. Trust me, this is more challenging than it sounds. I quickly discovered the 10 for $10 cereal sales, which I thought was a great deal, and it helped me meet the .10 an ounce goal. However, now I wait for the 10 for $10 sales (or something close to it), and use coupons on top of that. Today I purchased 8 boxes of cereal for $5.50. That's .69 a box, friends. Cereal at $1 a box isn't very appealing to me anymore.

Coupons can help you save money, but the REAL key to saving money is in MEAL PLANNING. Making a menu, detailing what you need to buy at the store, and sticking to the list will save you the most money in the long run. If you can match your menus to what is currently on sale, you'll save even more money. Use the coupons on top of that to sweeten the deal.

Here are some of the hardest lessons I have had to learn (and some days, I'm still learning):

Just because there is a coupon out there, doesn't mean that you have to buy it.
Just because there is a coupon out there, doesn't mean that it's a good deal.
Just because it's a good deal, doesn't mean that you have to buy it (I really need to work on this one because I currently have TWENTY-SEVEN unopened boxes of cereal in my basement, and that's not counting the oatmeal section!).

Be patient. Using coupons has a definite learning curve to it. It will get easier, it will take less time, and it will, eventually, start saving you A LOT of money.

Good luck!

Oh, and stay tuned for the details of my latest shopping trip!

Making Changes In Your Sleep

The New Year has most of us thinking about change by way of New Year Resolutions.

The web's largest collection of subliminal CDs offers an easy way to make positive changes in your life - while you sleep! The CDs make use of subliminal messaging which is a way to send messages to the subconscious mind, while bypassing the conscious mind. In effect, your subconscious is reprogrammed, and you will begin to see changes in the way you act and in the way you see yourself.

There are many different CDs to choose from. Some of the ones that caught my eye:

Stop Procrastinating, Get Moving!

Self-Esteem Booster

Lose Weight - It's Easy!

Give subliminal cds a try ( http://www.subliminal-cds.com/ ) - with the 100% satisfaction guarantee, a new you might only be a good night's sleep away.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Guess What Else I Forgot Today

Well, in addition to forgetting various passwords, I forgot to do something else today.

Around 5 pm, I realized that I was feeling rather lightheaded, shaky, and my eyes were doing some pretty funky things. I couldn't really figure out what was wrong with me, but then my body gave me a clue. GROWL!

Yep, I was hungry.

Somehow, I managed to not eat (almost) anything all day. I did drink some Mt. Dew, I remember that. And I think I had a handful of potato chips at some point. But as far as I can remember, that was it. No wonder I was having problems. Frankly, I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did.

Am I going to have to put post-its around the house reminding me to eat? You would think it would be easy to remember.

I still love my coupons. They really help me save a lot of money on food around here. Yesterday, my newspaper brought SIX inserts of coupons. Since I get my copy, plus a copy from my Mom and another copy from my Grandpa, I had a lot of coupons to cut out today. I am clever enough to cut all three pages together rather than one at a time, but it still takes forever. And now, oh joy, I get to go grocery shopping. I am attempting to go shopping for 2 weeks, and my budget is $130. Actually, it's $150, but I only want to spend $130 so that I have money left over to go and buy more milk and a few other things that I'm bound to forget on this shopping trip. I'm curious to see if I can feed my family on $75 a week. Things like cleaning supplies and other necessities aren't included in the $75, the $75 is for food only. If I break the budget, it's not going to be the end of the world. I'm just curious, so I'm going to see how far I can stretch the budget. It might be fun.

The girls have been very contrary as of late. Lots of whining and grumbling and frowny/pouty faces, and it's getting old. When they start getting really grumpy with me, my new "trick" is to tell them to do whatever it is that they are already doing. Something along the lines of, "Hey! I want you to stomp your feet and march across the room with a really grumpy look on your face! Then throw yourself down on that couch and start screaming! OH GOOD! You are SO obedient!" It usually makes them even more angrier at me, but I find it amusing... and if it keeps me from getting mad, well, then it's a good thing. And eventually they start laughing and we can move on.

Same old, same old, but I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed AGAIN. This seems to be a never-ending cycle for me. I have GOT to find a better solution. Lots of things to do around here... laundry, cleaning, organizing, decluttering, scrapbooking, blogging, playing with kids, supervising homework, cooking (YEAH, RIGHT), putting CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS away (we left them up for Dianna, really!), and a myriad of other things, including trying to run my Creative Memories business.


Better go... obviously I've got things to do.

Forgot Your Password?

A long time ago, it used to be that I had only one password for everything. Because there was only one password for everything, if I thought that I forgot my password for one thing, I only had to remember what it was for something else... and voila! Instant access!

Times have changed. Passwords now have more stringent requirements. We have passwords for more things. Personally, I am getting older, and we all know that makes it even harder to remember things. Sometimes we need a little extra help.

Well, it just so happens that I have some files on my computer that I decided to password-protect. Oops. Well, it's been several years and I'm sure you can guess what happened... I've forgotten what the passwords are.

Enter Password-Studio Pro, a software program available from http://www.password-studio.com. If you have an Office file that has been password protected, Password-Studio Pro can help you with Access, Word and Excel password recovery. Best of all, it has a money-back guarantee. Sounds like a winner to me.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

D is for Dianna

Dianna is here!

We (meaning The King and I) haven't spoken to her much because The Princess and The Dragon have been keeping her very busy with all of their toys.

Since Dianna insisted that she didn't mind playing with them, we kind-of left well enough alone and did our own thing.

I like having a full-time babysitter in my house.

Sadly, my babysitter leaves tomorrow morning. We wish her lots of luck at BYU-I!

No more sleeping in, we've got the 9:00 time slot at church this year. Amazingly enough, we were on time. Early, in fact. The key to keeping this up will be making sure that the girls take their showers or baths and laying out their clothes on Saturday night. I really enjoyed coming home and having the rest of the day available for "whatever."

Just for the record, I don't purposely feed my cat all of these human-foods. He's very good at scavenging snacks off the floor. Maybe I should sweep more often.

OK, I admit it, this totally stinks but I'm not posting the joke. I can't find it. But, The Princess wanted to tell me a joke earlier today and proceeded to read it out of her joke book. The joke involved a dinosaur getting into a car accident with a truck full of thesaurus', and when the joke described the accident victims, it was basically a thesaurus entry... along the lines of "the dinosaur was shocked, anxious, frightened, horrified, petrified, startled, scared, terrified..."

Obviously, I laughed at the joke, but noticed that The Princess wasn't laughing. I asked her if she understood the joke. "No Mommy, but the funny part is what The Dragon said!" Apparently, when Dianna was trying to explain the joke, she asked the girls if they knew what a 'thesaurus' was. "Yes," exclaimed The Dragon, it's a Long Neck (brachiosaurus)!"

So I guess it was a joke inside a joke... but I'm not really sure it was that funny to begin with. But it was rather cute. :)

My friend Lara is trying to simplify her life. I really should follow her example, because I have way too many things going on at the same time, and I'm falling rapidly behind. Again. It's the same old story, and I'm getting really tired of the ending. HELP!

My friend Debbie has a house that has ghosts! I think it's cool, but it freaks me out at the same time. I really love hearing about stuff like this, but I think if I experienced it in real life, well, maybe I wouldn't think it's so cool anymore. Do you believe in ghosts?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

My Cat Hates Vacuums

I didn't follow my journal "plan" today, so of course, I'm going to have a hard time remembering what happened.

First off, George the Cat does not like vacuums. He runs and hides every time I pull it out. Today it took us quite a while to find him. Does your cat like vacuums? Did they hate them at first but now they don't mind them, or are they just too lazy to run and hide?

My kids were extremely cranky this morning. Really, really, cranky. I was not happy. 'Nuff said.

We can't wait for Dianna to get here. It's been 2.5 years since we last saw her. The Princess remembers her, The Dragon is simply excited because Dianna is Cathryn's little sister.

It's about time to head to the airport, so I'll write more tomorrow!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Another Good Weightloss Option

My Dad is severely overweight. I am not far behind, unfortunately. There are lots of ways that you can lose weight and one of those is through a surgical procedure called lap-band.

My Dad has actually done a lot of research into this and has been considering this option. The Lap-Band system is the safest weight-loss surgery available. There are many advantages to using the Lap-Band system. For starters, because the surgery is performed laparoscopically, you can go home just a few hours later. There is a very low risk of complications, and the Lap-Band system is adjustable and reversible, for life.

I hope my Dad continues to pursue Lap-Band as a possible assistant to his weight loss struggle.

My Cat Likes French Fries And Cheerios

Aha, you came back for more. Just a short post today as I don't have very much to say.

George keeps searching the floor for "people" food. Today he found a french fry and a cheerio. He seems to like these types of food also.

Well, I think that Isepik is right. It's information that I used to know, but had forgotten in an effort to try and remember more important things (like where I put my keys). So, let's have some fun and test the theory.

This sentence was typed with one space between each word.
This sentence was typed with two space between each word.
This sentence was typed with three spaces between each word.
This sentence was typed with four spaces between each word.
This sentence was typed with five spaces between each word.
This sentence was typed with six spaces between each word.
This sentence was typed with seven spaces between each word.
This sentence was typed with eight spaces between each word.

I think we can safely assume that you can pretty much put in any number of spaces that you want and HTML will eat them for you.

How's this for a resolution? By the end of 2008, I would like my boobs to stick farther out than my stomach does. In order to accomplish this, I figure I will need to get a boob job. Or diet. Which would you choose?

Dance class started today for both The Princess and The Dragon. The girls were very excited, and looked really cute in their leotards and tights. And I forgot the camera. The Dragon said that she really likes it and that she did everything her teacher asked her two and she only needed help two times. The Princess said she liked it too and said that everything she learned was new. This is a good thing because she was acting like quite the know-it-all before she went.

The bad news is that we got the recital schedule today. The girls got put into different casts, so now I have two dress rehearsals and two performances to attend. The plus side is that each girl will get to watch her sister perform and see the entire performance. The "ballet" is the same - with some variances in the dances - but the kids should get the idea. My theory is that they did this so that I would have to buy two different DVD's of the performances. Hopefully they'll put both casts on ONE DVD. That would be nice.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Cat Likes Picante Sauce and other useless stories...

I know you weren't aware of this, but the last paragraph I wrote last night? The one that goes like this?

The King just got home, which means that one of us has to find some food to throw at the short people. I've got some projects to work on tonight, so I guess I'll end this for now... but be warned... you never know when I might be back. WATCH OUT!

Yeah, well, there was a really funny joke in there. Did you miss it? That line about having some projects to work on? You probably thought that I was ACTUALLY GOING TO DO THEM. HA HA HA! Yeah. Right.

The Princess must catch the school bus at 7:00 AM every morning. Some of you are awake by then. A few of you, I daresay, are even outside by then. But for those of you who are still asleep in your beds, let me just tell you that at this time of year, it is still VERY dark at 7:00 AM. It is also very cold. This morning, as I climbed back into my car after the bus arrived, the radio announced that it was 16 degrees outside. BRRRR! For the record, I have experienced colder (I attended Utah State after all) and when I haven't been living in Utah, I was living on the east coast. They've got some crazy cold temperatures there too, sometimes. So this isn't a "my morning is colder than your morning" post - it's simply a "WHY am I stuck out here in the frickin' (Utah word) freezing cold while the rest of the world (meaning DH - love you, honey!) is still asleep?" post. Um, yeah.

Meal planning? What's that? OH WAIT! That's the idea where you make of list of meals that your family would be willing to eat over the next -- insert time period here -- and then you shop according to the list and what's in your pantry. It's a really good idea. I used to do it rather successfully. But not lately. So my friend Deb (who is probably freezing because she lives in "Aggie Land") wrote about meal planning and asked people to share a few recipes. New ideas are always good, yes? This is the easiest recipe I know how to make (well, not counting PB&J):

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

Put one whole chicken (thawed) into crockpot. Cut two onions (we wedged them, about 8 wedges each) and put on top/around chicken. Pour two cups of your favorite BBQ sauce on top. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Our chicken usually cooks for about 7 hours and it is SO tender we usually can't get it out of the pot in one piece. It's delish!

So, I'm trying to be more consistent in how I link to blogs -- other than my little list over on the left. I have realized (and this, I'm sure, is obvious to many of you) that if I just link to the "main page" of the blog when I write about somebody, it won't necessary reference the post that inspired the link. You know, because you keep writing and the post I referenced disappeared into your archives somewhere. (SEE? It's YOUR fault!) So, I am now going to REALLY try to make sure that I link to you TWICE when I mention a specific post. Look at the reference to Deb's blog above. Her name goes directly to the main page of her blog, but the "menu planning" link goes directly to the post that inspired me to reference it. Pretty cool, huh? Hopefully, the extra links will help to send a little more traffic your way (You know, because I have like FIVE people who read my blog on a regular basis! Or is it TEN? How about you leave me a comment and I'll attempt to count you!). Anyway, I think I've tried to do this in the past, but I'm not sure I've been consistent. I'm going to try harder.

Well, it's true. George the Cat likes picante sauce. I discovered this over the weekend when he was desperately trying to eat my quesadilla. When I finally finished eating, I had the brilliant idea that if I let him lick my plate, he would run in terror from the spiciness. Um, no. Quite the opposite. George the Cat definitely LIKES picante sauce. And now he's even more of a pest whenever I get ready to make my lunch. Talk about backfires!

I just ate the last tortilla. And the last of the cheese. Now WHAT am I going to eat? Nothing. Nothing, that is, until I go to the store. BLAH!

OK all you teachers (or other smart people) out there... help me out here. In the casual setting of a blog, what's the proper protocol? Is it ONE space or TWO that should be used after every sentence? Inquiring minds want to know.

The other day I was sitting in line at a drive-thru, and The Dragon started asking me how people can get the food if there's no window on their side. Huh? Yeah, time to investigate. It turns out that The Princess and The Dragon have been discussing cars in other countries - cars where the steering wheel is on the WRONG side of the car and countries where you drive on the WRONG side of the road. There was a teeny tiny misconception though, apparently the girls think that the way it works is that the cars in other countries are built EXACTLY the same way the cars in the U.S. are built - with the steering wheel on the left - but the PEOPLE sit on the right side and drive from there. Yep, I bet THAT works really well. So, getting back to the question about the window and getting food, The Dragon was trying to figure out how the person who is seated on the right side of the car could possibly get food when the window that they use to pass the food through to you is on the LEFT side of the car... near the steering wheel.

I tried, I really tried, to explain how the "road" would go around the building in a different way so that the window would be on the right side of the car. It was a complicated concept for The Dragon to try and grasp. I found it easier to end with this explanation: "Well, they just MOVE the building to the OTHER side of the parking lot, and flip it around so the window is on the right side of the car." "OH!" she exclaims, "THAT MAKES SENSE!" Indeed.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Day!

So, since I have decided to post every day for a year (yep, still insane and now you have proof), I've decided to try something new. Something, that I think will work rather well as long as I am home and/or my laptop is accessible. If I am away from home all day with no laptop, this might be problematic. But here's the idea:

One of the reasons I keep this blog is so that it can act like a journal of sorts. At least a journal of the happy times in our lives because when I write about the bad stuff, it usually backfires. Because I usually wait until the end of the day to write about my day, I miss a lot of the little "bright spots" that happen during the boring old "day to day" stuff. So, I thought I would try to start a post every morning and then add on to it as the day goes on. We shall see how this genius theory works, eh?

I was very busy cleaning the royal bedroom yesterday and I found a teeny tiny envelope under my bed. I opened it, and found a teeny tiny letter tucked inside it. There was also a teeny tiny piece of blue "something." When I opened the letter, I read the following:

"Dear Laura, Here is a piece of my baseball shirt. Love, "The Princess"

Last Spring, when The Princess was playing baseball, I threw her shirt in the dryer, and the plastic-y letters fell apart. Apparently it was important enough to warrant this letter. Why this letter ended up under my bed, I have no clue. But I thought it was pretty funny.

I know we've all read product 'warnings' before. Some of the funnier ones are the ones that tell us what we think would be painfully obvious, or the ones that warn us of the unthinkable (like dropping a toaster into the bathtub). Well, I discovered a new one this morning while I was eating breakfast at my Mom's house. She had an empty box of the Weight Watchers brand Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream bars on her counter. Because there was nothing better to do, I started to read the box. This is what I read:

NOTICE: This product, when extremely cold, may stick to warm lips or tongue. Allow to warm slightly before eating.

I dunno, now that I've written it down it doesn't seem to be so funny. But it was funny at the time. :)

Let me tell you how much I appreciate all of you putting up with my little PayPerPost adventure. Thank you for reading through my products reviews, and even clicking on the links provided in those reviews to visit the applicable sites. Well, once I review a site or a product, there is a 30-day waiting period before I get paid. I've been completing reviews pretty regularly, but I've been waiting with bated breath to see if there will actually be a payout.

Today I got paid! All payments are made via PayPal, so it's really easy to transfer funds to whatever bank account I want. By the time January 31st rolls around, I will have been paid somewhere between $102.42 and $176.04. Big discrepancy, I know, but some of my posts haven't been approved yet (a potential glitch which is currently being researched by a staff member).

Want some extra cash? The opportunity is available to you too! You don't have to post reviews all the time, it's only when you want to. And if you sign up using the link below (or the one on the menu bar on the left), I'll get a bonus too! I really can't believe I'm getting paid to blog.

The girls are really excited about the Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa. They are paying for dance lessons. Both girls start on Friday (at the same time, at the same place, but with different teachers!). Grandma and Grandpa are paying for the lessons, but I have to pay for the extras. Today we went and bought the shoes. $17 a pair! ACK! Still, I think the girls will really enjoy it. Hopefully it will be money well spent.

The King just got home, which means that one of us has to find some food to throw at the short people. I've got some projects to work on tonight, so I guess I'll end this for now... but be warned... you never know when I might be back. WATCH OUT!

I Knew It Was Evil

[I started this post on November 2, 2007, but never published it (lucky you!). But now (your luck has changed!), it is here for your amusement.]

In February of 2005 a new time-waster was born. Most of the world welcomed YouTube with open arms - but not me. Oh no, I knew it was evil! A time waster! And it was stupid! Who would want to watch other people's videos of their boring lives? It's boring! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING!

So, up until about three weeks ago, I was, in effect, a YouTube virgin. I had never watched a single YouTube movie of my own free will. There was only one time that I saw one and I say that it wasn't my fault because my news station broadcasted it on the nightly news. See? Not my fault.

But a few weeks ago, someone told me about "The Mom Song". And I was curious, so I watched it. And the inevitable happened... I was hooked.

These are "oldies" but they still make me laugh every time I see or hear them.

Pachelbel Bedtime

Pachelbel Rant

The Mom Song



Saving Money On Ink Cartridges

I have to admit that I am still completely in love with our "new" printer, although new may not accurately describe it anymore as it is 2 years old. It's a Canon Pixma, and one of the things I love about it is that all the ink color cartridges are separate, so that I only have to replace a color when that specific color runs out, rather than replacing red, blue and yellow when only the blue stops working.

If I go to a "brick and mortar" store, each ink cartridge costs me approximately $13. All in all, it's not a huge savings over what I was paying before with my "all in one cartridges" but, since I only have to replace one color at a time, I do believe that I am saving money in the long run.

There are several online stores that sell compatible ink cartridges for much less than the name brand cartridges. I found one site that lists online stores where you can purchase cheap Hewlett Packard printer ink cartridges or even compatible ink cartridges for my Canon printer.

In addition to listing the stores where you can find these products, Inkjet Deals also provides a list of coupon codes so that you can save even more money.

I enjoyed reading these tips to help save ink and by doing so, saving even more money. Some of these suggestions are really simple, such as making sure that you use economy mode as much as possible. Others are good ideas that I need to be sure to follow - such as only printing the portions that you need (in addition to using less ink, think of how much paper you can save!). There are other easy tips that I'm eager to try, it will be neat to see how well they work!

Happy printing, everyone!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I was thinking that I should have some cute, catchy phrase for the title, rather than "Happy New Year!" because there are probably thousands of blogs that have the exact same title today. But, it is what it is: a happy new year.

A friend sent me a short e-mail asking if I am OK. My initial response was, "Yes, yes I am. Why would you think otherwise? Everything is just fine." But, a few minutes later as I was filling out yet another "sign-up form", I realized that I must not be fine. Here's why: I just signed up for Blog365.
See? See why I'm not OK? Who, in their right mind, would sign up to post EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN' DAY of 2008 (except for February 29th)? Nobody. That's who. Therefore, I must not be OK. :)

I have a list of things I would like to accomplish today this week this year at some point, but I don't think that any of them really qualify as a resolution. Well, maybe a couple of them do, but I don't want to post them here. What is it about the new year that makes us want to start all over? Do things differently? With luck, do things better than we ever have before? Why have I been procrastinating certain things until it's "the new year" rather than just starting today? Why not today? (Try clicking this to listen to it, or hit the yellow "Play Song" button when the other link loads.)

Hope your 2008 is great!

*Kill me now - I didn't mean to make that rhyme!* LOL

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