Friday, July 29, 2011

All That Glitters. . .

We moved into this house 24 years ago.  I have not used glitter since I was a child, over 24 years ago.  Well, I'm doing a deep clean of our house.  I'm in what used to be the junk room, and am down to some residue from the past.  Evidently at some point in time a box of stuff from when I was a child toppled and more boxes were piled on top of the 'topple' as well as the glitter.  There is a layer of glitter on the floor in this area.  Whoever invented glitter should be given glitter clean up for eternity.

Some of the other things I've found:

  • an old time chair for a "little people" toy
  • the rear end -- just the rear end -- of a Barbie doll
  • a coupon that expired decades ago
  • a badge from Canada's Wonderland
  • photo from a school field trip circa 1985
  • Christmas cards from decades ago
  • a huge stack of newspapers from 1987-1990
I'll be glad when the list square of glittler is eradicated from this room! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Robert Pierre CD review

I've been a fan of Christian music for years.  I have a huge collection of music dating back years, even records and cassettes, so when I was asked to review a new Christian music CD I was excited at the opportunity to listen to I'm All in .

What did I think?  I'm getting a little older these days.  I very much enjoyed the lyrics, but a few songs sounded very much the same to me musically, although the lyrics were very deep and definitely made up for my disappointment in the couple of the songs sounding alike.  It was a CD I enjoyed listening to, but unlike many of my other CDs, this one will find itself being listened to once through and then being switched out for another CD.  That said, I know I'll be listening to this CD quite a bit, just not on constant repeat like I do with some of my favorites.  (I think again my age is showing not only in musical styles but that I listen to CDs and not through streaming or digitally!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

MyLoveBook review and Giveaway

Have you ever wanted to give a creative gift book to someone?  What happens, if like me, you have run out of photos to create photo books?  Or maybe a photo book isn't exactly what you want to give?

Well, now you can still give a gift book even if you're not particularly creative with MyLoveBook.  The website is easy to navigate, and they have "story starters" for you to tell that special person in your life how much they mean to you.

I was given the opportunity to create my own MyLoveBook.  I gave the code to my mother as she thought this would make a nice gift to her sister for Christmas.  (We shop early around here!) 

My mother isn't extremely computer savvy, but she did fine creating this book.  What she made was an 18 question, 35 page book, complete with dedication page. 

While this book sounds like it's for a spouse, you can create it for anyone you love.  My mother did find it a bit difficult to find enough questions appropriate for her relationship with her sister.  I think it would be great if in the future MyLoveBook would add a way you could create your own story starters for those who are a bit more creative.

You can add funny comments, too, if you like.  For instance, one answer my mother wrote was this:
Your most impressive talent:
being able to spell "automobile."
(about 1950)

Of course, this is a joke between my aunt and my mother.  Growing up, my aunt always tormented my mother by not allowing her to swing on their one swing until she spelled a word correctly.  Being five years older, my aunt would ask my mother to spell long words such as "automobile" until she was tired of playing on the swing, and then ask her to spell something simple like "car".

This is one of the great things about MyLoveBook -- you can personalize it how you wish.  If Mom would have wanted to have been serious and told of a talent my aunt has she finds impressive, she could have.  Instead, she decided to be funny with this one. 

The book measures 8 3/4 inches by 5 3/4 inches.  There are three different covers to choose from.  Because this was for my aunt, this is the cover we chose:

The inside of the book looks fantastic.  On the left side on each page there is a beautiful design.  The selection my mother wrote is on the right side of each two-page spread.

I know I am looking forward to Christmas when my mother is planning on giving this to my aunt. There are answers my mother gave that are both sentimental and some so funny I know it will cause all of us to start telling stories of mishaps and humorous events in our family's history. My mother and I were very pleased with the finished book!

I have fantastic news: would like to give away a code for one of my blog readers to create their very own MyLoveBook. This is a $49.99 value!  (Shipping isn't included.  Shipping starts at $5.95 for the USA, $13.95 for Canada and Mexico, and $15.95 for all other countries.)  Even with paying shipping, this is a fantastic way to create your own MyLoveBook for just the cost of shipping.  Just imagine the surprise your love one will have when he or she realizes you created a book just for them! 

Giveaway details:

Giveaway ends August 25th at 11:59 pm Eastern.  Open worldwide.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

Mandatory Entry(PLEASE LEAVE A SEPERATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY as well as a way for me to contact you if you win)

Visit and tell me something you learned or who you would like to give a MyLoveBook to and for what occasion 

Additional Entries:
 Enter to win a @mylovebook from The Radar Report and @jenndiggy  Ends 8/25

FTC disclaimer:  I received a code to create my own My Love Book from the company.  The review is my own.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My birthday.

A friend posted on my Facebook wall "Quit havin' myself, but Happy Birthday".  He and I are the same age.  It's funny how thirty years ago birthdays were something to look forward to and I'd count down the days.  Now I don't exactly enjoy the extra number added to my age, but the birthday freebies are kind of fun.

Last week I received a number of birthday coupons in my e-mail.  I started using a few of them, and then this week the big day.

Mom said she'd take me somewhere to eat, so I picked Chili's.  I asked if they still did free dessert and was told I would get a free scoop of ice cream.  What was NOT told to me is they sing to you with your free ice cream. 

Also, Mom had been wanting a hot dog, so I asked if they had a children's menu she could look at.  They also brought her crayons.  :)

I stopped at McDonalds just before 7 to try the new pineapple mango smoothie.  (I loved it, but wouldn't pay full price for it.  It was on sale for 25 cents yesterday.)  There was such a run on smoothies, I was late to church and as I walked in the back of the room, my pastor whispered "Happy Birthday" and then another friend called out "Happy Birthday".

After church, I was joking with a friend and told her she should take me to Denny's for my birthday since they give you a free Grand Slam (and also thinking that they don't sing to you at Denny's).  She got all excited that it was my birthday and said we'd go and asked if we could invite a few others.  Well people started inquiring about my age.  The oldest anyone guessed was 26.  (Have I ever mentioned I LOVE my friends?  Ha ha!)  I admitted my age, which is the same age as some of their parents, and got looks like "You can't be serious".  I was surprised how few knew I was as old as I am!

Well, my friend rounded up 18 of my closest friends to go to Denny's.  I even had someone treat me to my drink (which isn't free) and pay the tip for me.  While I was there, a friend from Kansas called.  She has remembered my birthday every year since we met 15 years ago, and has called every time except the summer she was in Russia and I was in China.  :)  She even called me from Costa Rica one year.  Of course, I didn't really have time to chat but told her we'd talk soon.

When I returned to the table, this is what happened. . .

So much for thinking I wouldn't be embarrassed.  In fact, I sang along because I didn't want people to know I was the one being sung to!  :)

Then I came home and needed to talk to a friend at some stuff, so that rounded out my day.  What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Winner of RESTORED!

The winner of the Restored! Giveaway has been chosen.  She has been contacted, and her prize will be on the way to her very soon!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Local Music Festivals

In 2007, at my (sort of) annual ice cream party, an attendant at a local music festival wandered by our house, saw the spread of scoops and half gallons and asked if he could join us.  I agreed, as he looked harmless enough and there were plenty of  people around.  He is still talked about as the person who crashed my party.  (One friend came up to me and asked, "You don't know him, do you?")  He had somehow lost his shoes, and our mayor's wife went to her home and found a pair he declared "perfect".  He won a door prize, and he (in his new shoes) was on his way after the party.  (Somehow I have a feeling he'll someday tell his grandchildren about my ice cream party and how welcomed he was.)

Well, the music festival has moved to the other end of the county.  We were sitting in traffic for about an hour today when a man went into the woods to -- um -- do his business.  Of course, at that moment the traffic jam eased and he was jogging down the road to try and catch up with his ride.  Instead he jumped on the back of a pick-up and waved for it to drive until we were stuck in traffic again (about another half mile to mile down the road.)

I'm glad the music festival in our area is over for the year and life can get back to normal and hopefully the county will be free of party crashers and those literally hoping a ride from strangers for another year!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Savvy is Back and Better than Ever (Review)

I was first introduced to Sandra Byrd's London Confidential series a few months ago. I read the first two books, and put it in the back of my mind that I wanted to read the next ones. It was that good. I'm not a fiction reader, but I couldn't put these down. Savvy is such a well developed character who is so easy to like.

In this book Don't Kiss Him Good-Bye (London Confidential) Savvy falls for a guy who says he is new at the school. But is he? Whenever Savvy mentions Rhys, everyone seems disapproving, but WHY? Then Savvy's little sister, Louanne, starts acting strangely, but what could be wrong with her?. At April Fool's For Christ night at church, Savvy isn't careful with her notes and someone (But who?) finds out she is the author of the “Asking For Trouble” column in the Wexford Academy newspaper. Savvy has no date to the May Day Ball. A former columnist for the Wexford Academy newspaper moves back into town, and is there something strange there?

Obviously there is no lack of plot lines, so this is a very fast paced book. I enjoyed it as an adult, and I think teen Christian girls would especially enjoy this! After reading it, I want to be able to hang out at the fish and chips shop with Savvy and her friends!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Connecting with Kids About Media

Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War is a book for parents on how to navigate the world of technology that sometimes seems foreign to adults. In this book Bob Waliszewski does not lay definite rules of “Good” and “Bad” for media, but suggests parents get involved with their children's choices of websites, video games, and even texting. One thing he didn't mention was books. I know children and teens don't read today like they once did, but books still send messages, good or bad, and I'm sure the author believes this or he wouldn't have penned a book himself!

As the book began, I thought it was going to be one where the parents make the rules and lay down the law. In fact, I still thought this a couple chapters in, but then it seemed to take a change. One thing the author suggested was a family media contract where any new media must be approved of by the parents, and if it doesn't meet the guidelines agreed upon in advance, the child is out the new CD/video game/DVD, and also is out the money they spent on that item.

Waliszewski gives advice on how to deal with situations when schools or other parents want to show a movie you don't approve of. He gives advice for both parents and the child in that situation.

This book is adaptable, so it will be relevant in a few years as it is today. Just because there is some yet-to-be-invented media down the road won't make the principles of this book any less relevant because he discusses how to have an open and honest dialog with your children so they learn good decision making skills about entertainment choices.

FTC disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. The opinions of it are my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

$300 of school supplies

Recently Clorox had an instant win game where one of the prizes was $300 of school supplies.  Amazingly the screen came up "Congratulations".  I was very happy about this because I try to donate supplies, Boxtops for Education, Campbell's Labels, etc. to a school that has about 80% of the students living in poverty.

My school supplies arrived this week.  I will say that I could have made $300 go a lot farther, but then again, I'm a super shopper.

What does $300 of school supplies look like? 

Included in the package:

1 package of 12 colored pencils
1 package of 60 mini binder clips
18 glue sticks
3 erasers
foldable cart
1 box of 100 file folders
electric pencil sharpener
wooden stamp set
teacher stamp set
8 packs of 200 count filler paper
rainbow stamp pad
2 boxes of chalk
chalk holder
teacher planner book
1 package dry erase makers
file organizer
1 package 24 count Sharpies
16 dozen pencils
10 packs of 100 index cards

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Naming Intruders

When I lived in Asia one summer, a friend I was living with and I were ready to go out the door.  I screamed, and she calmly asked, "Did you see Lenny?"

"LENNY?  You mean THAT THING is Lenny?"  Turns out "That Thing" was a lizard they couldn't exterminate.

I learned to live with Lenny.  In fact living with Lenny was easier than living with "a lizard" or "That Thing".

So, I've taken to naming intruders until they are eradicated.  Living in an old house in a rather rural area we do occasionally get an uninvited guest. Last summer Millard the Mole ambled around our house for a while until we went on to his final reward -- which was when he stumbled into the vacuum hose and met the great dust bunny in the sky -- or at least inside the drum.

So it felt easier living with Millard until his demise when he was "Millard" rather than "That Mole"

So currently, we are living with Mildred.  Mildred is still uninvited, and I'm hoping she doesn't stay long!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodbye, Ray

Somehow it seems fitting that a family friend died on July 4th.  He was the last surviving WWII veteran I personally knew. 

Ray was a neighbor to my aunt and in later years, he would ask my aunt's help with a few things and before we knew it, he was part of the family.

My Dad didn't realize this until one Christmas when I told Dad that instead of his nephew picking him up for our annual Christmas party, "Ray will be out and pick you up."  Dad thought we just had a random person do a chore of picking him up and got so upset until we explained that Ray was like one of the family.  At that, Dad had no problem riding to the party with Ray, and proceeded to call him "Razor" all evening.  (A nickname I felt was not respecting of a WWII veteran, but as Ray used to say about my dad, "Buck was always an adventure.")  People say of Ray he could pack so much wisdom in one statement, and yes, Ray, Dad was always an adventure.

At my annual ice cream party one year, my aunt bought a cake for Ray's birthday, and we all sung to him.  A friend of mine realized he served in the war, and he rounded his children up to make a point to talk to him.

One of my favorite memories of Ray was when I had a navy uniform to put on eBay.  I wasn't sure the date of it, so I asked him to identify it.  As he was looking at it, he pointed out the thirteen buttons on the pants.  His eyes twinkled and he gave me such an ornery look and said, "We used to say it gave the girls 13 chances to say no."  He later asked my aunt how we took that story because, of course, back in his day that was not something you would say to a lady. 

He loved anything with a rooster motif and I'd keep an eye out for anything "rooster" for him. One year with a promotion with Amazon, I was able to get an outdoor temperature gauge with a rooster on it for free.  He absolutely loved the gift, and I always enjoy giving a gift that someone enjoys so much.  That will probably always be one of my favorite gifts I've ever given.

Today's service was so touching.  I watched the WWII veterans including a lady who had been a nurse, as well as Korean and Vietnam vets salute Ray in the church.  I'd never seen a military tribute before.  A 21 gun salute and Taps. 

A fitting tribute to a man who was part of The Greatest Generation.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our Winged Hitchhiker

Mom and I were caught in construction tonight.  A pigeon decided to hop a ride on our car.  Mom felt like people were staring at us because we were inching down the road with a bird on our car.  Would you believe a little while later it scraped along the top of our car roof?  I wonder if it thought our blue car was a pond and was wanting a bath?

Happy 4th Of July!

Happy 4th of July!

No, I'm not late in wishing you that.  Our town 4th of July parade is tonight, July 7th at 7 pm.   The 4th of July fireworks are on July 8th, and the demo derby is July 9th.

It wasn't always this way.  In fact, my town has the old continuous 4th of July celebration in our state.  The fire department was always in charge of it, and there's a carnival and a week of festivities.

One year, the carnival they planned on getting was booked that week, and they discovered that it was cheaper to get a carnival if you didn't include July 4th, and so July 4th in our town doesn't land on July 4 anymore.  (At least that's the reason I heard as to the date change.)

Since then the town's betterment committee has sponsored an "Old Fashioned Day in the Park" to celebrate Independence Day, and that one lands on July 4 every year!

So I wish everyone a very happy and safe 4th of July!  (If anyone beyond my town is still celebrating, that is!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review: Craving Grace

I rarely think of chick lit as non-fiction, but that is exactly what Lisa Velthouse has created in the book Craving Grace: A Story of Faith, Failure, and My Search for Sweetness .  It is funny, girlfriend-y, and laugh out loud funny, and yet is a memoir.

The book starts as Lisa experiences her first kiss. This doesn't sound that big of a deal until you realize she is the author of Saving My First Kiss: Why I'm Keeping Confetti in My Closet so she has to deal with the ramifications of being a hypocrite by not living up to the premise of her book. (Or is she a hypocrite? Is she no longer a self-righteous person instead?)

She keeps referring in the book to when she did “The Honey Project” when she fasted from sweets and what she during that time about God, herself, and others. As it went on, she also became more attuned to sweetness in things like ketchup. (Ketchup is sweet? Hmmmm.)

During the course of her tale, she moves into the basement of friends. It sounds like an ideal situation to me, but she obsesses over if she's doing enough chores and other things, such as sitting on the kitchen counter and leaving a pair of panties in the dryer accidentally.

The book is entitled “Craving Grace”, and Grace is exactly what Velthouse discovers. From reaction from others when she had her first kiss. From when she eats sweets during “The Honey Project”. And maybe that annoying man with the out of date hair cut in the drive through in front of her with a bunch of Christian bumper stickers. . . maybe . . . just maybe. . . he's not as obnoxious as she first thought.

I very much enjoyed this book (with the exception of her description of an annoying pastor. He reminded me too much of someone out of my past! But then again that's a trait of good writing!) I recommend this book to any woman who would like to explore the concept of grace in a lighthearted, fun way, or any lover of chick lit. You did know chick lit doesn't need to be fiction, didn't you?

I received this book from from the publisher as part of their summer reading program. The opinions of the review are my own.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson

When I think of the word “Primal”, I often think of an uncivilized culture. But in the book “Primal” Mark Batterson strips away all the 21st century trappings of Christianity to take us back to the roots of our faith. With four sections (Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength), I expect there will be one that resonates more than the others with you. While I found the section on the mind fascinating because I always do love a good trivia fact, it wasn't that one that got me excited. I loved the “Strength of Christianity”. One of my favorite parts of the book is where he feels God speaks to him that the sound of the bricks in an orphanage that he is helping to build is music to God's ears. It's often so easy to see Christians as something we are, not as something we do and live out.

You can read the first chapter right here:

Primal by Mark Batterson (Chapter 1)
I loved how on page 148 he talks about how for us to quit sinning is not our resolve to do better, but the fact we need to capture a vision from God. I also loved how he said on page 149, “If you do little things like they are big things, God will bless them and use them.”

This would be a fantastic book for a Bible study group. It includes discussion questions in the back and there is an accompanying Primal: DVD-Based Study that you can also purchase.

Be forewarned, this is a rather heavy book. It's not beach reading material. If I were to compare books with meals, this is a steak. It needs to be savored, but I definitely recommend it.

FTC disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own.

I would appriciate it if you would take a moment and rank my review.  This helps in what books are available for me to review in the future.  Thank you.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bath Time!

It's that time of year again! It's warm, and I try to give the guinea pigs a bath!  Today was Baby Crockett's turn.  Sometimes the pigs enjoy their bath, sometimes not, and I never know how it's going to go.  Today, Crockett treated it like a day at the spa.  I turned on the water, made sure it was a nice warm temperature, and then put him in the sink.  He was so happy.  I scrubbed him and he was doing lap talk.  He needed a bath so I'm sure he felt better for that reason, but I was surprised how much he enjoyed it! 

He's a little more dry in this photo than he was in the sink, but he's just as happy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Fotos -- my guinea pigs

I've had a super busy week and haven't been able to blog much, but here's a few new photos of my guinea pigs. :)