Friday, December 17, 2010

Twins? Gift Ideas.

So a friend is having twins, and I tried to think back about the things that I needed most when we had a newborn.  Now, it is only been a year, and I can't really remember the things that I liked best.  I could have gone with a soft toy, a few cute outfits (I do love clothes shopping) or a sock monkey (it was top on the list), but I wanted something different; special.  So instead of getting her something that she probably already has two of, I went with something handmade.  I made a set of quilts that at first glance are the same, similar, but if you look you will see that the color combination is opposite.  The boys are identical, but will no doubt grow up to be very different people.  These quilts, are similar, but different, just as twins are.  So I hope that she likes them, and that the boys will too!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Running the Distance

Now that I am equipped with a running stroller, our daily run will be so much better.  We are going longer and further than normal.  Now that I can go further distances, I need to know just how far I am going.  I think for Christmas I am going to ask santa for a running gps watch with heart rate monitor.  I love great gadgets, and this one is so useful.  I like to know where I have gone, how long it has taken, and how many calories I likely burned.  Of course, Garmin makes great GPS items, and their watches are no different.  They are the perfect mate for running, and they aren't too bulky.  I can't wait to have an accurate account of the distance that we have run in an easy to use gps watch.  What do you use to track your runs, walks or other exercises?  Do you prefer handheld devices or watches?  I would love to hear your feedback!  Gotta run, literally!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A little something for myself

With all the holiday shopping going on, I find that it is important to remember yourself.  In the midst shopping for family gifts, I did a little search for shoes for myself.  I enjoy browsing the internet for the perfect pair.  It is almost a calming venture when looking for a new pair of running shoes, or even some sandals.  I like knowing that I am carving out time for me now as I shoe shop, and time later to go running.   It is a great way to relax and also keep the holiday pounds at bay.  Of course, you can search for any kind of shoes you want.  That is not the best part.  The best part is you can narrow your search in many different ways, like my favorite price!  Depending on my mood I like to sort my shoe search by color.  That way I can see all the blue running shoes first.  How do you like to shoe shop?  Are you a brick and mortar shopper or do you prefer the solitude of online shopping?  I know that I prefer the online shopping, no crowds, no hassle returns, and I love to get packages in the mail.  It is a win-win situation for me.  The added bonus of  shoe therapy is that it is one way to calm my nerves, it is like the reset button.  Once I am done browsing, I can go back to the task at hand, in this case shopping for family holiday gifts.  Maybe I could get some shoes for a few people, two birds one stone!  Perfect!

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Fail Gift Giving

I think we have all given someone a present and watched them open it.  Have you ever seen the face of someone who did not like the present, but suddenly realized they needed to make it seem as if they did like it?  I am sure.  It is hard to find gifts for a person that has everything.  How about that co-worker that is new and you just happened to draw their name in secret santa. There are a few presents that are no fail, one of them being my eco friendly coffee cozies, the other being chocolate.  Except for the rare few that are not chocolate fans, there is something to be said for good candy.  First it is consumable, so it is not going to be sticking around until next year, secondly you can always share it with your friends!  I know that there are several people on my list that will be getting candy this year.  I have one or two friends that are not chocolate fanatics like me, so they will be getting a fun bundle of peanut brittle this holiday season.  If you can't find the perfect gift this year, try some candy, it might surprise you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just a big kid

Guest post written by Jeramy Sparks
When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was go outside and have some fun with friends. We would either have a pick-up game of baseball or basketball or make up a new game. It just all depended on who was there at that particular time and how active or lazy we were all feeling. The older we got, we all started to assume more responsibilities and our pick-up games started to decrease in frequency. College studies, new careers, marriages and finally having our own children sort of got in the way of our quality time with friends. Not long ago, I was stressed because of work situations and my husband losing some hours at his own work. We talked about it one night and decided that we were part of the problem. We redid our budget, cut back on a few things, and added fun back into our lives as well. We both joined our community's adult baseball league. Since not too many participated, it was open to both men and women who were above the age of 25. This was one of the best decisions we could have made. We would load the kids up in the car after we set the home security alarm from Home-Alarm-Systems.com/. Once we got to the field, a volunteer group of parents would watch all the kids while the rest of us practiced or played. We have been doing this for the last six years now and we couldn't be happier!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A place to reflect.

My garden is growing at a record pace.  Being that it is finally a place to hang out, I need a place to sit and relax.  I was thinking that on the path that winds through the flowers would be a perfect place for a few garden benches.  That way I could sit on the stone benches and watch the butterflies float by.  I love to just sit and reflect on the day during the peaceful mornings or in the late afternoon.  The mornings are cool enough to want a warm cup of joe while enjoying the garden.  There are many types of benches you could choose for your garden, I like stone garden benches.  I like that they don't require any maintenance and over time they get a great patina.  There are memorial benches at the park that are amazing.  They look like they have been there for ever, and they have this sort of greenish patina in the detail crevasses.  It is so earthy, and natural.  I would love form my benches to look like that some day.

A place to reflect.

My garden is growing at a record pace.  Being that it is finally a place to hang out, I need a place to sit and relax.  I was thinking that on the path that winds through the flowers would be a perfect place for a few garden benches.  That way I could sit on the stone benches and watch the butterflies float by.  I love to just sit and reflect on the day during the peaceful mornings or in the late afternoon.  The mornings are cool enough to want a warm cup of joe while enjoying the garden.  There are many types of benches you could choose for your garden, I like stone garden benches.  I like that they don't require any maintenance and over time they get a great patina.  There are memorial benches at the park that are amazing.  They look like they have been there for ever, and they have this sort of greenish patina in the detail crevasses.  It is so earthy, and natural.  I would love form my benches to look like that some day.

Rusted!

We have been holding on to our car, not wanting to buy a new one.  We bit the bullet and took it in for repairs.  We were prepared, or so we thought, for how much it was going to cost.  After it sat in the shop for a day they called back and told us they could not fix it.  Everything they needed to do required bolting something to the subframe, which really doesn't exist anymore.  I guess that is what you get for living in the snow belt for 10 years.  So we have driving the car literally into the ground, there is no hope.  They said it would take  10,000 dollars to fix everything that was wrong with it, and frankly it is not worth it.  So our car hunt continues, as we limp along with one vehicle for a few more weeks.  This, if you have read previous posts, has been going on for sometime.  We are always on the look out for the best car for our needs.  We knew this day would come.  Now for some decisions, do we go high with the Cadillac Cts  or do we stay on budget with the more affordable Hyundai Azera.  I am not sure what car is best for the sonatas replacement, do you think we need more seating, or something cute and fun like the VW Jetta.  Since we are doing ok with one car for now we will do some research, I need more info before I can make the correct decision.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catching Up

Guest post written by Ann Helsing
My neighbor and I both have daughters around the same age, so we like to give them ample time to play together when we can. WeÕre old friends (I've lived on the block for years we both have, even before we both got married and had kids!) so we appreciate the time to get together for ourselves, too. Well, last night Sherri came over and brought her daughter, as usual. We had a great time catching up as the girls played house.
As we got to talking, Sherri mentioned that she and her husband had been up to a pretty intensive redesign over at their place. She said they'd been going to sears home improvement nearly every day! Their project sounds pretty fun, though, they're hoping to give their home a whole new, sophisticated feel. I told her that sounded like a great idea, and that I was kind of jealous! I'll have to start working on Peter to see if he'd want to do something similar. Either way, sounds like a fun project!

Snackin'

What is your toddlers favorite snack?  I am on the search for some good snacks for a 1 year old.  In the beginning he was the best eater ever.  He would eat avocado, squash, zuccini, cauliflower, peas, carrots, and hummus to name a few.  Then in the last few weeks he has gone from trying everything and liking it to snubbing almost everything.  Applesauce is our go-to food right now, but we really want him to branch out.  So at each meal time we try a few different items, if he "says" no (with his crazy head turning) then we move on to apple sauce, which he eats until we stop giving it to him.  I am convinced he would eat an entire jar in one sitting (we don't try that though).  So we want to try some new things, any suggestions?

Video Troubles

We love to shoot video of our almost 1 year old to share with the out of town relatives.  However, sometimes we have a difficult time converting it to a format in which everyone can view.  Everyone has different technology when it comes to watching the videos.  Some on Macs, some on PC, netbooks, and some just have a good old DVD player.  So I will have to try out a video converter so that I can make videos and movies easy for everyone to watch.  Since most of the computers our families have are mac's I will look into a video converter for mac, and make all these precious moments viewable for all!  I also want to try the iPad video converter, I think the iPad would be great for storing, editing and bringing along all my favorite videos.

Latest Hosting reviews

Do you need a new web hosting site?  Don't know where to turn?  Well, there are places you can find the right site for your needs.  Each business or blog has certain "needs" when it comes to their domain, and you need to research that when you are starting out, or when you are on the move (virtually that is).   A personal blog page is going to need something entirely different than a business that is trying to market and sell their goods.  Where as a blogger might want something that is quick and easy to set up, while the business owner wants something they can control every aspect of the page and its set up.  Learn all about web hosting before you start out, it makes it easier to brand your product without having to change servers, and hosting companies mid year.  If you are looking for the latest and greatest, keep your eye on webhosting news.  You will be able to find out the newest things that are on the market, and how they can help you grow your site.  Check out the news from google about buying and selling domains and parking regulations.  There is so much to learn about the internet and the interworking of it all, very interesting, and makes great lunch time reading.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do you like CheeseBurgers?

Then you will love this!  Last night I made the best meatloaf you have ever imagined.  WAIT!  Don't stop reading just because I said meatloaf.  I don't even like meatloaf, but this was great.  We shall call it BBQ Bacon cheeseburger loaf.  The word loaf kind of makes it sound icky, but it's not.  Moist, cheesy, and it has BACON!  So here it is in all its glory.

What you'll need:
1.5 lbs ground beef
half an onion
2 green peppers
a few carrots
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 cup bbq (separate 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons mustard
1/2 cup bread crumbs
5 strips bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Cook bacon and remove from pan.  Use food processor chop finely the onion and transfer to the pan with bacon grease to caramelize with the balsamic vinegar.  Then chop the peppers and carrots finely.  Chop bacon in the same fashion.  Mix bacon with all the veggies (including the onions which should be sweet and caramelized).  Add the sweet pickle relish, breadcrumbs, mustard, BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix in the ground beef, gently mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Then transfer to a loaf pan.  Spread the remaining BBQ sauce on top and cook in a 350 degree oven for an hour (give or take a little time depending on your range).  The loaf will pull away from the sides, and that is a good indicator that it is done.

We really enjoyed this dish with red skinned mashed potatoes and green beans, it was a real comfort dish for a cool Florida night!

Clothes for my boy

As he lays in his crib, suppose to be napping, I search the internet quickly.  I have to do some shopping for clothes.  It is much easier, for me, to shop online when he is napping.  Otherwise, we have to fight the crowds, fight off a nap, or some other catastrophe.  I would just rather have the items I want shipped directly to my door!  Clothes at the local stores leave much to be desired when it comes to clothes for boys. I am always on the look out for something fun, new, and of course perfect for my boy.  Boys clothing can be fun to shop for when you know where to look, so skip the big box, and search the net.  Exchanges, and returns are just as easy (if not easier) online than in the store, for many of the reasons I listed for shopping online in the first place.  Also, the customer service levels of online retailers I have found to be far superior!  I know that I will have my babe's outfits mail to me in no time flat!

Mailboxes beauty or beast

Everyone has a mailbox, well, unless you have a PO Box, but most suburban homes have one either wall mounted mailboxes or one that is out by the road at the end of the drive.  What are your thoughts on the mailbox, are they beautiful, or are the strictly utilitarian.  I am in the beauty camp, they can give a little hint to your style, and give a little curb appeal.  Recently, we have been told that our mailbox is  not in the beautiful category, and we might need an upgrade.  I do agree too, the one we have is plastic, white, and covered in some sort of moss.  It might be time to upgrade.  I was thinking that I would like to have a wall mount mailbox, not only would it be easier to check the mail, but I really like the way they look when they are hung just under the outside light.  It gives me that warm fuzzy feeling.  A house mailboxes might not work here, since the mailman does his run in the truck, and not on foot, but I am still a fan of  wall mount mailboxes.  We had one when we lived up in Chicago, and it was really great, and looked fabulous!  What do you consider your mailbox to be beauty or the beast?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

House Guests

Yes, this time of year, is not only time for shopping, but time for the guests to arrive.  Having mild temperatures year long has its perks.  Everyone wants to come here in the winter to visit!  I love having visitors, especially when it is time to makeover the guest room.  I love picking out bath accessories and bedding accessories to make the room look fresh, fun and just like home.  There are so many things to choose from, the first thing I have to do is narrow down the style I want in each of the rooms.  Then I get to  search the internet for just the right things.  One of my searches took me to DonnaKaranHome.com they have great styles and great prices.  The Donna Karan Home bedding is great, it is the perfect fresh look that I want for the guest room.  We are going for a light and bright color scheme that will leave our guests wanting to come back.  For those of our friends that are coming from the dreary midwest, it will be the perfect retreat in Florida!  All I have to do now is wait for the mailman to bring me my packages and start decorating!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hawaii Five O

Posted by Arden Wallace
When a television show is remade, it is often not well received. I have never seen any of the original Hawaii Five O episodes, but my mother has. We decided to watch the 2010 series since she was a fan of the old show and I am a fan of the actors in the remade version. We meet at her house on Monday nights and after a tasty meal, we will turn on the satellite TV from http://www.direct.tv/direct-tv-hd.html to watch a few shows. We always end our night with Hawaii Five O. Though it has only been on a handful of times so far, we are both fans of it already. She said it doesn't compare to the original very much, but the plots and actors have won her over. It's the same for me. The team of four has enough diversity to keep the team interesting and enough closeness already to make them feel like family. Not every story has a happy ending on every level, but that keeps it real. Another thing that has won me over is the scenery. The setting is Hawaii and it is absolutely gorgeous! I have always wanted to go there. I want to go even more now, so maybe I will buy those tickets sooner rather than later. One of the best parts of this show is the bonding time that I get to have with my mom. This show's a winner no matter which way you look at it.

Car trouble

Oh Sonata why can't you limp along for just a few more months.  We are in a bind with the car, the deal said it is unsafe to drive, but we don't want to buy a new one, not this month.  We will get one, but we did not plan for it this month.  We are rebuilding our credit score, and I don't think it is to the point we want just yet.  For any of you out there that are trying to rebuild your credit, you well know that it is a difficult task.  We never are late, but we had a lot of debt, and it takes time to bump up your score to a stellar mark.  Once a year we search for our free credit score to make sure we are on the right track.  So far, so good.  We want to have the score as high as we can before we make the jump to purchasing a car.  We will try the one car household for a few weeks and see how that goes.  I will keep you posted!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Etsy for Christmas

Shopping seems to be on my mind today.  I just relisted a bag in my Etsy shop, and noticed that the views are really low for these weeks leading in to the biggest shopping time of year.  I was hoping to see more traffic through the online storefront, and wondering if more people are shopping in retail locations vs. online.  I hope though they will be checking out Etsy for unique presents.  Reusable coffee sleeves and reusable bags are the perfect gifts for your office secret santa, or if you need something special to wrap up that unique gift you just purchased, try a reusable bag to make your gift giving a little more green.
Mostly have fun, and don't forget to check out Threadbeaur for some great gifts.

Deals to be had

The shopping season is upon us.  What is your favorite way to shop?  Will you be headed out to the retail stores, or will you be surfing the internet in your PJ's at 2 A.M.?  I know that I personally love shopping online and this shopping season will be no different for me.  I will use my favorite online stores and hopefully I will find a few new ones during my shopping endeavors.  In my opinion one of the best benefits of shopping online is getting a great deal.  There are many places where you can find coupons.  However, I really like the deals that you can find at www.offers.com.  They have such a variety of coupon codes that you are bound to find a deal for something you want to buy.  Even if you are looking for some travel coupons to get away  you will be able to find coupon codes there.  Coupons and deals from entertainment to baby items, you can search for codes for your favorite shopping websites.  Shopping is always better when you can get a good deal, or use a coupon to get free shipping or a great deal.  So check it out and make your shopping dollar go a little further this holiday shopping season!

In the Know

Over the weekend I spent some time at a flea market in Central Florida.  It was eye opening to say the least.  People there were selling all sorts of things from trinkets to signed letters by Ed Sullivan.  Though there were a few vendors that were selling gold.  Perhaps the were in the know about gold bullion and the price of gold, but maybe you could get a good deal on it.  The internet is a great place to research how to buy gold bullion, and become one of the people in the know about investing in gold IRA's.  Knowing a thing or two about gold is most important when you are considering whether or not to buy bullion.  Is the price up or is the price down, it can make a difference in making some money, or making a lot of money when you do finally sell.  So do you research first before you invest, or before you head out to a local flea market in search of a good deal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What am I?

While wandering the stairs on Filbert Street near Telegraph Hill in San Francisco we were treated to many botanical delights.  The gardens up and down the stair case were amazing.  The steps are steep, but worth the climb to Coit Tower.  On the way back down we noticed this beauty, but we have no idea what it is.  I was wondering if anyone out there might know what kind of flower this is.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Office" is on Track



Thanks for the post from Wilbert Aguilar

Season six of "The Office" was painful to sit through as I watched Jim and Pam get married and give birth. The season lacked comedy on most episodes to the point I even missed episodes here and there. However, with song, dance and ignorant Michael Scott, season seven of "The Office" started off with a band as my favorite fall TV premiere on satellite TV fromwww.directstartv.com/localchannels/Texas/.
Michael Scott hires his nephew over the summer as an assistant to grow close to his family. The only problem with this is Luke sucks at his job and the crew in the office isn't afraid to say so. Michael won't hear of this and demands kindness towards his nephew. After Luke fails to send off important documents Gabe squeals to the owner that Michael is treating his nephew with extra care and it is decided Michael is then responsible for all of his nephew's actions if he stays employed. The entire episode is full of slapstick and ignorant comedy as Michael Scott shines at his best.
If this episode is anything of what the future season holds there may be light at the end of the tunnel for "The Office."
 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Birds are back

We played out the yard today.  We did some gardening, weeding, planting, and of course filled all the bird feeders.  The birds are back and there are tons of them everywhere you look.  From the big blue jays and cardinals to the little black cap chickadees and tufted titmouse.  They were all on the feeder today.
I caught this one (so to speak... with the camera).  What a great day for a little bird watching.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Diversions!

Every once in a while I need a little break, a diversion from everyday things.  I like to play text twist, or other online games.  It gives me a little break that I need, but in the case of text twist, it keeps your mind sharp.  I really like the games that make you think a little bit.  Online games can be just what the doctor ordered.  During baby nap time, I like to play a quick online game before I get all my chores done, makes me refreshed, and ready to go again.  Now that I have had my break, it is time to get back to the laundry!  So when you have a break you can check out the games on the web.
You can find downloads for both Mac and PC for all the online games that you love.

Playing the market

No. Not the stock market.  We are always on the look out for property in our home town that is cheap.  Free Foreclosures are the best way to keep up on that market.  On the internet you can search for free, no fee to pay for a search of homes in your area.  Many sites charge a fee, or offer you a free trial, but why use them when you can get the info here for free!  We want to find a great small place that we can fix up and use for a bit, then maybe rent it out.  Of course we don't want to spend and arm and a leg to get it, so I watch for free REO foreclosures on the internet, and through a local agent.  If you are patient and keep your eyes open there are deals all around.  You can find them for your own town, or one that you are keen on.  Though the real estate market is not what it used to be, if you are smart with your purchase you can be profitable.  The flipping that was so common a few years back is not the way to make your money though, I think the way to go is buy low, fix and rent small places in a great town.  Real estate owned foreclosures are all around in every town in this great land you can find foreclosures, from big to small, rural single family to city apartments, they are all around.  Keep your eyes open for great deals, and perhaps you can be a real estate tycoon with all your rentals.  A girl can dream right!?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall planting

It is time for mums.  We were recently visiting some friends up in Pennsylvania, and they had a great fall scape on the front porch.  There were some gourds surrounded by some fiberglass planters filled with a variety of colors of mums exploding with flowers.  They were huge, and bright, and beautiful.  Now I think it is time for me to pull our my fiber glass planter and fill it up.  You can find all sorts of planters to match the style of your home, and they will last a lifetime!  I am not sure if I can get any plants as nice as theirs looked, but I will go check out the home improvement store for a few good ones.  I find it easiest to buy the plants and put them directly into a fiberglass planter so that when the flowers are gone, I can easily remove them, and fill the planters with something for the next season.  How are you going to decorate for fall?  Post your ideas here, and check back to see what others have come up with.

Feeding a Fussy Child

Thanks for the guest post by Kristofer Bartlett
My daughter is a food picker. I try to give her the healthiest all natural foods available, but I just think her palate isn't developed enough to appreciate it. Or she's just plain fussy. Either way, I found an interesting show on direct.tv where kids ate healthy foods and liked it. They even asked for more.
It's all about disguising the healthy foods at this point, for fussy eaters. Doll it up so it looks pretty and attractive enough so that they don't see it coming. Peanut butter is a good addition for flavoring, but some children are allergic. I thought about all thefruits and vegetables and how to disguise them.
I've found that I can sneak greens into her by the means of a vegetable dip. Homemade vegetable dips are simple to make. A small container of low fat or fat free sour cream, I've even tried yogurt, and mix a packet of onion vegetable mix to it makes it taste great. I don't like to use packets that hold monosodium glutamate in it, so sometimes it can be a hard find in the grocery store. When worse comes to worse, onion powder and beef boullion powder, both MSG free, are an easy substitute. Slice up some any vegetables of any color and the kids will easily eat them without a fuss.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Viva Mexico!

I was visiting my parents the other day, and my dad mentioned that you can find coke with no High fructose corn syrup.  You just have to search for it at the store.  Look for a few glass bottles packaged separately and say bottled in Mexico!  We rushed to the store to see what we could find.  After several minutes I was ready to give up.  Then my mom found them.  Hidden between a few small bottles and a six pack of glass bottles there were 4 bottles by standing in a row.  She grabbed one, read the label and it said made with sugar!!!!
Of course we had to rush home and try them.  And sure enough the taste conjures up memories of how real coke tasted! Oh glory day, it was delicious!
Go to your grocery store and look for them, and do a taste test of your own.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Phone Home

When I went off to college, my parents had a toll free number that I could call...so I would phone home.  It was the ultimate convenience for a college kid who did not even have a phone in the dorm room.  I could call from any pay phone (that is dating myself since pay phones are a thing of the past).  Now you can have toll free forwarding to your cell phone, or business phone, or even just your house phone.  It is perfect if you have a lot of business traffic via the phone from overseas, it gives you a way to keep in touch with clients with a single phone.  With tollfreeforwarding you can direct all your calls to a single phone without your clients having to pay for long distance calls.  International call forwarding is great for any business that is building a client base.  Start out right from the start with a toll free number that gives you the freedom of international or domestic calling rates.  Not only would a  international call forwarding be great for businesses, but think about my experience with toll free numbers, college kids studying overseas, or here at home.  It is a great way to keep them in touch, without having to give them extra money to phone home!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Get seen!

Do you need a new advertising campaign?  Yes, well, no matter what your budget big or small, you an Advertising Agency can get you seen in all the right places.  Is it true that the more you advertise the more your products will sell?  Not necessarily, but the more people that you can drive you to your site, the more likely you are to make a sale.  There are many places to advertise like facebook, twitter, the side of you car, but are you marketing to the correct people?  Think about your product, think about what other things "your customers" might buy, how can you reach them.  Using an Advertising Agency can make your marketing side of your business boom, and you can concentrate on the fun part, making your product.  In my case I will be making bags all weekend and filling the shop, that is what is fun in my business.  The advertising side is not the most fun, maybe because I am not good at it, or I don't know exactly where I should be finding customers, whatever the reason, I think many types of business can benefit from using an Advertising Agency.  Finding the right agency is not always easy either, do they have your business in mind, or are they just looking at their bottom line.  Search the internet for Advertising Agency and you will find so many, the possibilities are endless.  Look for one that is cutting edge, willing to work within your budget, and that has great customer service.  With those points met, you can't go wrong!  So what are you waiting for get out there and get your business on the map!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Curbside apartment furniture

Guest post written by Blair Parks


In college me and my roommates never really cared about the furniture in our apartment or how it all didn't match together. We just needed a place to sit while we watched the game. We even got some of our stuff from where our apartment dumpster was where people just left stuff to be taken away that they didn't want to take when they moved out.
Then when I moved to NYC and got an internet deal from www.ClearwireWimax4G.com, I found out just how great Craigslist is. It ends up that in a place where hardly anyone drives a car, people will just let you take their stuff that they're trying to get rid of if you just move it yourself. So that's how I've furnished my whole apartment.
I told my friend what I was doing and she started looking for stuff for me too because she said that she didn't want everything in my apartment to be ugly. She actually found a really nice dresser for my bedroom that is a lot better than the rubbermaid containers I was using to keep my clothes in.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's a Wrap!

"Another turkey sandwich" they all yell from the other room in exaggerated disgust.  With that sort of response I tried to mix it up a bit.  So instead of our regular turkey on wheat with cheese I have come up with our new standard.  If you too are tired of your everyday sandwiches you can give this new favorites a try.

The New Turkey wrap.
tortilla wrap
sliced turkey
provolone cheese slice (or your favorite cheese)
avocado slices
cranberries
lettuce or spinach
Layer all ingredients on the wrap, roll and enjoy!
Depending on the state of your avocado you can use that instead of any mayo.

Or

Quick Turkey Quesadilla
2 tortilla wrap
cheese
turkey

Layer ingredients in heated pan, fry until tortillas brown slightly, cut like a pizza enjoy!
You can dress this up any way you like, but we like ours with a dollop of sour cream and slices of avocados.

In the heat of the day

I just got back in from weeding my garden, the peppers are going crazy.  There are bell peppers and scotch bonnets ready to pick.  Tons of green peppers weighing down the plants.  It is hot out there, and I definitely need a break underneath my ceiling fan.  We have a great hunter ceiling fan and it pumps the air down so efficiently, and feels great when you are hot.  Ceiling fans are a great way to add a little functional personality to any room.  If you are unsure of which fan would be right for you, you can find out who makes the best ceiling fans here!  We got our fans online because there are so many to choose from, and you can find ones that are not available at your local hardware store.  There are lots of places to search for the right fan for you, but one of the stores I like is Hansen Wholesale ceiling fans.  The cooling effect of the fan is joyous, now back to the garden!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The love of showers

A shower can reset my day.  No matter what is going on, if I am having a bad day, I simply have to jump through a nice shower, to wash away my troubles.  The type of shower heads is a very important part of the shower.  Does it trickle?  Does it spray?  Does it have options?  Massage mode?  All things are good for different moods.  Takeashower.com has some great ideas for all sorts of your needs.  Don't worry if you have low water pressure, think about thFire Hydrant Spa head, maybe it is just what the doctor ordered!  So next time you are feeling blue, or just overwhelmed, try taking a little time for yourself and hop through a warm soothing shower.  It is just thing you need to wash away your stress.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I left my heart?

In San Francisco... Well, not really, I am going there in less than a month and want to find some baby friendly activities.  I have a few days to spend in San Fran, and really want to take some pictures of the bridge, and the city, and get some good shots for my photography class.
Anyone have any suggestions on "must sees" when I am there?

I would love your suggestions.
Thanks

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bite or Fight?

Which is your camp when it comes to cutting baby nails?  I know that I spent a many a day trying with all my might to cut those razor sharp nails on a squirming babe.  No longer.  Our little badger, as we lovingly call our babe, has nails like, well a badger!  He not only unknowingly inflicts wounds on those around him, he makes his ears bleed with his crazy nails.  As I was driving home from the grocery store just the other day I knew that the badger had fallen asleep in the car seat and I would be able to transfer him gingerly into his crib.  When I went to the backseat to get him out he looked very peaceful and still and his fingers were in perfect position for a clipping!  I was not prepared that day, but yesterday I was cut all those little nails while he caught some zzzz's in his car seat.  Many of you probably have already figured that out, but for those who have not, take advantage of the car nap for an easy way to cut those nails!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do you Haiku?

I bought a book called Haiku Baby, and I love it.  The short poems revolve around nature, as a traditional haiku should, and the are fun for baby.  The illustrations are great too.  The book got me thinking why not "haiku" other thoughts for baby.
I know that the traditional haiku is always about nature, and there are specific rules on how it is structured, but sometimes aren't rules suppose to be broken, or at least altered a bit?  That is how we come up with new and exciting concepts.  I stuck to the 5-7-5 syllables, and took a subject that baby knows well and came up with this little poem for him.


blowing bubbles high
i reach for them in the sky
gotcha - surprise - pop!

What can you come up with.
Give me your best haiku.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is fall here?

It is official, September is here, and summer is over!  That was fast, but it is still blazing hot.  We were greeted over the weekend with a cool morning, and we took advantage of it and went for a nice long walk with the Quinny Buzz stroller and the dog too!  It won't be long now before every morning is that nice.  In the meantime, the between time, that is between summer and fall, we turn to a few fun indoor things to do. Of course many days we go to the library, but today, I just finished rearranging the house.  Yes, we needed a change, and it is the perfect fall transition.  Couches moved, chairs moved, new rug in place, table moved and redressed for fall.  All of the furniture has found new places, and all the decor has gotten refresher.  No need to go buy anything new, just move it around, and it feels fresh.  Before I know it Christmas will be here, and then another new year beginning.
As for now, I will enjoy today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Colors! Pick your Colors!

I just saw this survey from BumGenius.  Make sure your voice is heard about what new colors you would like to see.
It is a short survey.


http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/colors

Snow? No Salt.

We could use sand for the driveway instead of salt, better for the environment.  Yes, what are other ways to deal with the snow that are eco friendly?  When we were vacationing in North Carolina once we were at the top of a mountain.  As we were getting into the car a kind gentleman asked us if were were going to be putting our tire chains on before going down.  At the time we had no idea what snow chains were, and we just looked at him blankly.  We then realized what he meant, since it was blizzard like conditions we were able to put two and two together.  Since we were on vacation we did not have chains, so we slid down the mountain in our rear wheel drive truck, needless to say, white knuckles all the way down.

There are many chains out there, and some are better than others (as with all things).  So when you are picking out your chains look for heavy duty ones such as Pewag (not made in China).  Quality chains that will last a long time (think durability when purchasing all your items) are those made of Nickel Manganese.  They will last much longer than those made of steel alloy.  If you live in a rural area that gets snow, the chains are a must, they have heavy duty chains for tractors.  I had never thought about a tractor  chains before, but I guess construction vehicles in the north might need them to stay on slippery snowy terrain.  
What are your thoughts on snow chains, and what can you deal with your snow in a more eco friendly fashion?  I would love to hear your stories.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Batteries Not Required

Who wants to listen to the off key tones from a battery operated plastic kids toy?  I presume that nobody would be the answer.  Some people buy those toys just to pacify the kids, but do they really need it?  No, and most people I have talked to just say they can't stand the noises they make, so I say "why buy them"!  Why increase your stress by having these noisy toys.  I am all for no plastic no battery operated toys.  So far in the first 9 months we have done just that.  We do have a few plastic rattles that we got from the shower before the baby was born, but we have not purchased anything plastic for him.  Our neighbor made him and awesome wooden car, and we just bought his first big toy.  Using the age range on the toy as just a suggestion, we went ahead and bought the Zany zoo from Target.  It is awesome (though made in China) we could not resist it.  Made from wood, and painted on designs this Zany zoo captured his attention the moment we put it on the floor.  From across the house I set baby on the floor and he crawled as fast as he could over to it.  Pulled up on the side and stood and played with the top for a good ten minutes, then sat and discovered the box had sides too!  With a great color scheme, and so many things to look at this will bring years of enjoyment.  The suggested age of it is 1-3 years, but I think that because of the great colors and easy to manipulate activities it is perfect for him.  Next time you are in the store looking for a great toy to afford you a little peace and quiet, check out some of the great wooden toys available, and you too will have play time that is not aggravating!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Online Customer Service

I have talked about my feelings of customer service before.  There are some places where it does not exists.  And unfortunately that seems to be the case in your big box retailers.  When dealing with online vendors it seems as if the customer service is key, and most online retailers are really coming around.  I have had some great experiences lately with Maui Jim, Cotton Babies (cloth diapers), and most recently with Title Nine.  I opened a live chat with a Title Nine rep a few weeks back, and was asking about a tank top that I really wanted, but they seemed to be out of stock, everywhere.  She checked all the stores, and said they were just not available, and were not going to be available.  I was sad to say the least.  Then just two days ago I received another email from Title Nine, it was the same rep that I was talking to, and she said they just found a small stash of the tank I wanted, in the size and color I wanted.  She further wrote in the email, that she had put an order on hold for me in case I was still interested in purchasing the shirt!  I was so excited, that would never happen at your brick and mortar stores, I say never, but I am sure there are a few exceptions to the rule...
Anyway, Title Nine, thank you for taking the time to remember me, and put the shirt on hold.  I did buy it and it is on it's way.  Way to go with fantastic customer service you have a customer for life!

The New Education

We have all seen them advertised: online universities.  I wanted to get some feed back on what my readers think about them.  I have had a few friends get their MBA's via the internet, and I am currently enrolled in a online university photography course.  There are so many different educational opportunities available via the internet for those who otherwise don't have time, or the ability to get to a traditional school.  The Chronicle is packed full of information from jobs, to current news, and opportunities available to those with a higher education.  It is a great source of information.  That is what the internet is all about, right?  The ability to obtain the answer for any question.  Do you think having a degree from an online source is as good as a tradition school?  One online school (there are many)  Walden University, has many degree and certificate programs.  From Doctorals, to individual classes, you can tailor your schedule to your personal life.  Do your course work at your own pace, nothing is better than that!  Education is not limited to brick and mortar establishments anymore.  I am a fan of education for the sake of education, so I am in favor of all types of learning from your tradition schools, to online degree programs.

Teaching kids to like math

I am thinking that this is a difficult task.  Math, never one of my strong suits, is coming back to me.  I am starting to enjoy fractions, and dare I say percentages!  Yes, of course, they do come in handy when you are at a 63% off sale, and you have to know if I can buy those to die for shoes.  So I guess starting young is the way to go with teaching kids to enjoy math.  Tutoring can start as young as kindergarten, and go through college, for all sorts of subjects including math, and pre algebra.  Math can be used in many everyday situations, and tutoring kids early can help ease the frustrations.  How do divide numbers, fractions, decimals can all be taught to the very young using simple examples from things they see everyday.  I use algebra equations when I am in the craft room trying to come up with new quilt designs, so you really can bring math into the house so kids can see it in action.  If you can seem to do it yourself, get a tutor to help out.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Potty Pail

Get it.  Click on the side bar for a link to the shop, and order it now!!!  Life saver.  That is all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remodeling Picks

We want to remodel our bathroom, and that starts with picking out tiles.  We want make our selections before we start the demolition.  That way we are sure to find something we like in a timely fashion.  I am not a good decision maker, and lean toward procrastination at any chance I get.  So picking the tiles for the shower is a big deal.  We have made one decision already, and it is what prompted the re-do.  We want to have glass tiles like subway tiles.  Something modern, something bright, something easy to clean.  These are our only demands, today.  So I am scouring the internet in search of the perfect tile.  At the local store they did not have anything that really grabbed me, so I will search, and seek out the perfect bathroom tiles for the job.  Once we have our minds made up, then the fun can really begin.  I love a good demolition, I find it therapeutic, so here I go to the shed to get my crowbar!  It is time to get started!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Printed in the USA

No, I am not talking about money.  I found this awesome site for funny t-shirts, it is nerdyshirts.  They have great quality shirts, and they are printed here in the USA!  It is fun to support a business that is trying to make it here in America, despite all the red tape, and new taxes that they will be paying in the near future.  They have a new shirt every Monday, and yep a sale's rack too!  There are always a few on the sale page.  Whether you are into Mens fashion or just need to get something super funny for a friend, check out nerdy shirts, you are sure to find something, something funny!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bring your Herbs Inside

Check out this great idea on ReadyMade's Blog.  This Herb garden fuses function and great design.  No big budget needed either for fresh tasty herbs.  This is a low budget idea that can bring beautiful modern green design to your green thumb.  Why not give it a try, your spaghetti sauce will thank you for the freshest ingredients!

To match or not to match

I just listed some great items in the shop.  A shoulder bag which is good for all your shopping needs, or great for a purse.  Also in the same fabric I have a reusable coffee sleeve.  They would be the perfect gift for that special someone.  If you don't like the match, you can always go for one of the other items in the shop.
There are so many reasons to buy during August.  Get your holiday shopping done early, but lets not forget the fun days in August.
August 12- Sewing Machine Day
August 12 - Vinyl Record Day
August 15 - Best Friends Day
August 17 - National Thrift Shop Day

Just to name a few.
Make your shopping more green all year long, check out Threadbeaur for all your gift giving needs.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Birding! High Tech

We have talked about getting a high tech motion sensor bird camera.  I love to watch the birds as the approach the feeders, and land gracefully without spilling all the seeds out.  How fun would it be to have a photo of this, without the need to sit out in the sun all day to snap a picture.  They have a  wireless bird camera that works with your SD memory cards.  It has a motion sensor, so that it will just snap the picture when the birds are around.  No need to spend hours and days trying for the perfect shot.  You could have bird house camera to capture any little ones that might arrive.  You could watch the progress via the camera.  It could be a great learning tool for the kids too.  No need to disturb the nest, just build your own bird house, and place the camera inside.  Watch the secret nest life unfold before you!  How fun.  Now that I have found these bird cameras on the web, it might be time to pick one up. 


When Lightning Strikes

Thunder follows.  Following the thunder comes the drip, drip drip, from a shaking, shivering, panicing, panting, pacing 80 pound yellow lab.  Somewhere between her bed and my head she lost her brain.  Commands cease to work, and she is just a mess.  When you have a dog who for 11 years has been terrified of thunder, it makes for long afternoons and nights when you live in Florida.  It is almost a daily occurrence during the summer  months here and our dog has terrible anxiety attacks when it is thundering.  If it isn't bad enough during the day, the nighttime thunder storms are really bad.  Nothing quite like an 80 pound dog standing at the head of the bed to wake you up at night.  Once you wake up then she paces at the top of the bed, and that is where our heads are, so paw in the right eye, then on the tracheae, never good.  So when my mom called and told me about an ad she saw in a magazine we jumped at the opportunity to buy a Thundershirt.  Over the years we have tried medications to sooth the dog, but they are so long lasting that the storms are long gone, and the dog remains droopy all day, and night.  Today the shirt arrived, fast delivery, which was really nice, and I was really glad to see it.  All week we have had a shivering, panting, pacing dog on our hands.  Out of the package and on to her back the Thundershirt went.  The storm was over, but we rewarded her with a few dog biscuits to make her love the shirt.  The instructions were easy to understand, and offered easy tips to ensure that the pup would like her shirt.  First impressions?  Well made shirt, nice color, fit great, easy to put on.
Just a few hours later another storm was rolling through, so I just slipped the thundershirt over her head.  At first I thought this was not going to work.  She was already upset with "sky dog"(as we call thunder).  After about 10 minutes she seemed much calmer.  I am not going to say this is a cure all for her thunder anxiety, but she was not panting, shivering, yes, but no panting, and no pacing.  We were able to play on the floor and she did not even step on me once! (Bonus, baby can't pull her fur through the Thundershirt!)  The real test was the ability to follow her commands.  We put this shirt to the test, we called"outside", with only slight hesitation she got up and headed to the door.  We looked at each other with great amazement.  She would never go out in a storm before.  So out we went, and with only a little extra encouragement, she headed into the grass!  WOW!  Thundershirt where have you been all my life.
Then last night we took the shirt off and went to bed.  At 4 in the morning another thunder storm came through with a crashing thunder that woke us all up.  I grabbed the thundershirt from beside my bed and again slipped it over her head.  This really was the test.  She was upset, and shaking, and on the bed, but no panting, no pacing, no face stepping!  This takes the edge of for our poor scared dog, and I, even if pushed from my side of the bed, can still get a decent nights sleep through  a storm!  Thundershirt we thank you for helping our dog, and now if you could just make some dog breath mints we would be all set!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fabric Hoarder

Yes, that is me.  I have so much fabric that it was stacked up in the corner.  It was time for an intervention.  I shopped all the antique stores in the area looking for a bookshelf that would hold my stash.  I was unsuccessful, and since time was of the essence I went for handmade, of course.  M made me the awesome bookshelf that is perfect for the fabric.  We went to Lowe's and picked up 7 four foot boards that were 10 inches wide and 1 inch thick.  We got them home, and in less than half an hour my bookshelf was ready.  I slapped on a coat of brown paint, and let it dry overnight!  Measuring 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, each shelf is about 11 inches tall.  It was a quick and easy project - Instant gratification! I transferred my quilting fabric to the new shelf, and the old shelf (which he also made) will be the new home for the fabric I use to make my shopping bags.  The fabric for the  reusable coffee sleeves will also have its own area on the shelf.  I am going to be more organized, and no more fabric piled in the corner!
Now if I can just keep the fabric folded on the shelf.  It looks so good, and it makes me want to make a few new projects!  I guess I should finish the 9 quilts that are in varies stages of completion before I start another!

Cooling history

Guest post written by Pete Stump

Living in a nationally certified historic home is a blessing and a burden. Our home’s value only increases over time as long as we keep it up, which means that maintaining its exterior doesn’t require a lot of imagination because it has to remain the same.
But there are also a lot of problems with it. We’re stuck with the look of the exterior and are held to a higher regard by our neighbors than someone not in a historic home. The home also isn’t well insulated, which means that heating and air conditioning can be a problem. When the one we had broke down, we decided to go with a new model and settled on anew hvac that wouldn’t compromise the integrity of the historic structure. We didn’t have to put a noisy unit outside that’s an eyesore – at least when it comes to historic homes.
I was so grateful for the house to be cool again because we also have some antique furniture in here that doesn’t do well in damp and warm conditions that often happen in homes without good cooling systems.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Taxes! They aren't all bad.

Check out this tax on plastic bags in our nations capital!  In the article on www.earth911.com, they give us the low down on the tax.  It has brought in almost a million dollars.  Also it has reduced the number of plastic bags by 19 million!!!!  Can you even believe that?  WOW!  Why can't we implement this all over the nation.  It is one of the taxes that I can really get behind.  Why not bring your own bag.  Let's get out of the one time use mindset!  Let's be reusers, let's be recyclers, let's all be more green.  Of course, you can get a great unique cloth shopping bag at Threadbeaur's Shop.  You don't have to wait until you are taxed for every plastic bag you use, you can start today making a difference.  Keep track of the number of bags that you have not used.  Let's count them together and see how much of a difference we can make.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In a Pinch

While we were driving through Georgia on the Family Reunion road trip we saw many things.  Pecan trees, goats, acres and acres of open land, then we saw tarps.  We saw blue tarps that covered old barns, we saw a clear tarp covering the side of a house, and of course the  canvas tarp that was covering an old boat next to a barn.  This won't have been such a remarkable sight, but we saw so many of them it was strange.  They were not all in the same town, or even on the same road.  The many shades of tarps were scattered through the country side.  So when you are in a pinch you can use your tarp for many different applications as demonstrated by the country dwellers in Southern Georgia.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green Travel

Do you have the travel bug?  Yes, but what about your carbon footprint?  Can you combine your love for travel with your love for being green?  The answer is yes.  Instead of taking a large tour bus around London, try 

London walking tours.  Not only will you decrease your travel carbon footprint, you get a little exercise too!  There are companies that are starting to see the light in respect to eco-travel.  They are thinking smaller groups which means, less transportation, which means less pollution from behind those tour buses.  If you are not into groups, try a London private tour.  With tourism becoming one of the largest industries we all need to think about our own travel practices, try practicing the saying take only pictures leave only footprints.  With a walking tours London you could do just that!  

In traffic

So I was sitting in traffic behind a bus, and the ad on the back of the bus was for people suffering from mesothelioma.  I did not know what that was, so I did a little internet search to see what mesothelioma cancer was.  Turns out it is really bad, and can be caused from asbestos.  What a horrible cancer, how sad the stories of those who suffer from it.  Surviving mesothelioma is a site targeted for those who are suffering.  I can imagine that having a support group of others going through the same thing would be very helpful, to read others stories, and know that you are not alone.  If you know anyone that is suffering get them the free book of a story of one mans journey.

Coupons

I recently bought a high chair at diapers.com. It was the svan high chair, and I love it!
I was lucky enough to find a coupon code for 15% off my entire purchase. I thought that was great. When I signed up I got a coupon code for diapers.com to share. So if you are looking for a coupon code use CCXN7940 to get you discount. Plus if you spend $50 you get free shipping! Happy shopping. If you use my code I even get a little something in return. Coupon for you bonus for me. It is win-win. Www.diapers.com coupon code:CCXN7940
Thanks!

House address

I just got back from a morning walk with baby.  As I was walking and he sleeping, I started to notice the address plaques in front of some of the houses.  The larger estate houses have elaborate, high end address plaques and numbers.  Usually you can see the signs at the end of a long driveway that winds down to a house on the water.  You know the kind where there is just enough of a curve in the driveway that you can't see the house clearly.  What do you think about the large metal plaques that indicate your house number?  Or maybe don your families last name?  I really like the look of the metal address signs, I think they look very sophisticated, and welcoming.  It looks like they take pride in their home, and property.  If ever I have a long curvy driveway I will get an address sign for my yard.