Let's say I try and bite you. How much is it gonna hurt? I'm...

August 31, 2010

Christmas On My Mind

You may not realize it, but Christmas is right around the corner! Retail stores start counting down the weeks until Christmas around August and in September they begin the battle plans. I figure that I should probably get a jump on things as well. Caleb's birthday is in December as well, so that means that I have to save up even MORE money.

I have been looking into some different sales that are going on and Ikea is having a couple of 1 day, 1 item type sales coming up this month. September 4th, they have duvets for $9.99. There are only 3 types to choose from, but I think that I am going to get one for myself and one for Caleb. Then, on Sept. 11, They have dish sets on sale for $4.99. My brother's girlfriend is going to be moving from her mom's house into her own apartment soon and I know that she will need some of those.

Toys R Us is also having quite a few sales recently. They sent me an email saying that all of their electronics were on sale on their website. That didn't pertain to me very much since Caleb is not really at the electronics age, but it's good to know for nieces and nephews.

So, I am going to be keeping my ear to the ground and seeking out these sales. You can get info on them as well if you sign up to receive emails from Ikea and Toys R Us. Ikea is pretty good about not sending you junk email, and they only send out regular mail if they are having a sale, or once a year for their catalogue. Toys R Us, on the other hand, bombards my email inbox several times a day, so beware of that!

I Work With a Cop

So we hired this guy at work a couple of months ago and I thought he was pretty cool until I found out he's a cop. Don't get me wrong, I like cops. I call them when something goes wrong. I use their services, is what I am saying. What I don't like are cops that are off duty... I believe they call them "off-duty police officers"; yeah, that's right.

It seems to me like a cop can never turn off his "cop mode". They are always scanning the room, enforcing laws, and instructing you on what's leagal and what's not. Well, I have to say that this particular cop has showed me that I am not always right... Yup, it hurt me a little to say it.

It isn't that I ever looked at cops as being inhuman. Like in Reservoir Dogs when they are recapping who was killed, they count the cops and then someone says, "No real people?" I know cops are real people, I just also think they are real sticks in the mud!

So, anyway I am giving this cop a chance and he seems really cool. We left work at the same time a few nights ago and he didn't imediately pull me over for having a head light out. He is also good for helpful information when I need to know how much the ticket for talking on your cell phone and driving is ($140.oo by the way).

August 27, 2010

Everything I Needed For My Baby I Bought Online

The Author of this post is Sally Dejesus

As soon as I found out that we were going to have a baby I started making plans. I called my family, my husband's family, and all of our friends to tell them the good new, and then I started shopping. I used the internet we got with a CLEAR and DirecTV package to get online, and started book marking baby websites. If the site has advice on being a new parent, or really cute merchandise, I bookmarked it.

A few months later, we found out that we were having a girl. I then went back to those bookmarked sites and started shopping. I had UPS, FedEx, and the USPS working overtime. They delivered a beautiful white wooden crib, pink baby bedding, matching curtains, a white wooden rocking chair, and tons of clothes. Everything I needed for our bundle of joy I bought online. I saved money as websites are always having sales, I saved time by not traveling from store to store, I saved gas by ordering from my living room, and I saved my husband's back by making the delivery guys bring in my packages.

Slumber Party!

A few days ago I promised Caleb that we would have a slumber party in his room tonight. He has been asking me to sleep in his bed with him for the last couple of days and ever since I promised that I would this weekend, he has been mentioning it every night. Each night when I would tuck him in this week, he woud count down the days until Friday.

Well, Friday is finally here and we are just finishing watching Sesame Street Dinosaurs. Next stop is sleepy town, but I have a feeling that he ill be way too excited to sleep. After all, he's been looking forward to this all week.

I'm really going to enjoy snuggling him to sleep tonight, but I don't think I can stay in bed with him all night long. Caleb still sleeps in a toddler bed and there just isn't enough room for a mama in that size of bed!

Dog Breath

Chopper has had the most ridiculous dog breath lately. BLECH! I love getting puppy kisses from him, but recently it smells like he's been eating live frogs in the backyard. I was worried that maybe his whole mouth needed freshening. If you don't take care of your dog's teeth, it can cause all kinds of health problems including heart failure. My sister brushes her cat's teeth, but the last thing I want to do is be elbow deep in my dog's slobbery mouth.

I decided to pick up a mouth-cleaning treat for him. I buy his dog food at Costco and so while I was there recently, I picked up a bag of NUBZ. Nubz are a little treat that help to clean dogs' teeth and gums, while promoting fresh breath and
good health by cleaning away tartar and plaque. There are lots of products out there that claim they can do the same thing, and there are even several different treats at Costco that say the same thing, but there was one important selling point for me... They are made in the USA.

Yes, I am patriotic. Yes, I prefer products that are made in the USA, but there is more to it than that. Dog treats that are made in other countries have been found to include deadly ingredients, most notably formaldehyde. Shawn and I have always been very careful to always buy dog treats that are made in the USA and I encourage all dog owners to do the same.

There are a few more reasons that I went with Nubz byNylabone. First off, they are gluten free. Many dog foods and dog treats will use wheat products as fillers. This isn't particularly good for dogs, b ut my dad's dog, Lilly, is gluten intolerant and if we want to share treats with her, we have to be conscious of her allergy. Also, as opposed to rubber toys, the Nubz are made of real chicken, are highly digestible, and safe for dogs to eat. It may seem obvious, but there are several rubber toys out there designed to clean dog teeth that end up being eaten by dogs... namely, Chopper. So far he has been able to pass all of without incident. Luck for us! I'm not going to temp fate again. From now on it is food items all the way, and it has to be something that his body can break down easily after he eats it nearly whole.

I heard a rumor that there was a coupon available for the Nubz treats at Costco, but I didn't know about it when I got mine. Hopefully, you'll be able to find the Costco coupon because I think it saves you over $3!

We're Watching You

Usually, I think that I have a lot of common sense. I'm pretty good with directions and I'm savvy when it comes to reading signs. This time I'm scratching my head because I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what this sign is trying to get across.

Usually, when an area is monitored by video cameras, it's to deter crime. Vandalism and theft are normally at the top of the list of things that are trying to be stopped by closed circuit television. In light of that, I would think that a sticker outside of a supermarket which announced video surveillance wouldn't need pictures of persons with disabilities. If it had any pictures at all it should be of a teenager spray painting a wall and one of those bad-guy robbers from Ducktails (a-woo-ooh).

At first I thought that these were 3 stickers put all together, but it's not. It's one long sticker so I would assume that there is a singular message. I would even accept a single message with multiple meanings. I understand that the bigger blue "handicap" sign underneath means that the store is wheelchair accessible. I would assume that the depiction of the stick figure with a sight disability would either mean that the store is equipped to cater to their specific needs, or that one stick figure in conjunction with the stick figure in the wheel chair on the other end, would mean that the store is compliant with ADA requirements.

What I can't figure out is why would a sticker showing your ADA compliance be coupled with a message about being monitored by a video system.

August 26, 2010

Anniversary Idea!

I really want to thank everyone for the anniversary ideas. I have decided to surprise Shawn with a trip to skibowl! If you don't live in the pacific northwest you have probably never heard of skibowl. Skibowl is a ski area in the Winter, but in the Summertime they open it up as an adventure park.

They have horseback riding, land luge, zip lines, go karts, and all kinds of other great activities! They are only about 45 minutes away from Portland, but I have never been. Shawn went one time in high school and he loved it so much that he is still talking about it.

I really wanted to take him out there for the weekend, but I won't have the money to bool a place until payday. I didn't know it, but our anniversary weekend is the same weekend as Oktoberfest. If I could afford a hotel room or a cabin we could do both! Hopefully they don't all book up before payday!!

Cold Case Files

Guest post written by my buddy Lavern Small

I have always been a huge fan of true crime dramas. The first time I watched 'Cold Case Files' on satellite TV I immediately loved it.

The show stars Lilly Rush a detective played by Kathryn Morris, her boss Lt. John Stillman who is played by John Finn, and her co-workers. When the show starts it normally depicts an original crime scene then skips to someone contacting the office and asking for the case to be reopened.

The team who gets the case starts at the beginning, digging into the past closed cases. They try to solve the case using modern knowledge and technology.

After the case is solved and the criminal is brought to justice, the show is brought to an end. The end usually depicts the team seeing the victim's spirit watch over them with approval then they walk the box of cold case files back to the closed section in the storage room.

This is a very entertaining tv show. It combines the reality of crime with the thrill of a good drama. I like the variety of personalities on the show, it allows you to relate to at least one character. I enjoy relating to them because it allows me to escape the living room and jump into the story.

'Cold Case Files' airs on Sunday nights at 9pm and also reruns are shown throughout the week.

August 25, 2010

I Want to Plan an Anniversary Surprise!

My 6th wedding anniversary is 3 1/2 weeks away and I want to plan something really nice for my husband. We have been together for almost 12 years, (we were high school sweethearts) and so our wedding anniversaries have never been celebrated as something special. For the last 5 years we have ordered pizza and watched a movie at home. Sometimes we go out to eat on the weekend after, but it's never anything too extravagant.

I want to do something really special for Shawn this time. 6 years isn't typically made a very special celebration for most people because it isn't a milestone. The number of years isn't super special to me, but the guy I'm married to totally is. Shawn has been working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for over 4 months now. I would love to take him somwhere that he can relax and be away from work for a while.

Here is an incomplete list of some things that I think Shawn would like to do

  1. Swim with Sharks

  2. Helicopter Rides

  3. Hot Air Balloon Rides

  4. Dune Buggies

  5. Jet Skis

As you can see, Shawn is into experiences. As you may know by my refusal to purchase tomato cages, I am into saving money and being frugal. I'm looking for something that is going to keep us both happy. Any ideas?

Planning for a Birthday Party With the Internet

Thanks for the post, Arthur Lawrence

Planning a birthday party for a child can be a stressful situation. What should I do? What kind of games should I do with the guests? Many of these questions can all be solved by using the computer and satellite internet. The information found can take the guesswork out of a lot of your questions and concerns.

When my son turned three years old, I decided to have a big party for him. I planned on about fifteen of his friends as well as our extended family. Quickly, I turned to the internet from satellite and internet packages for ideas for the party. On Target's website I found some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's plates and cups. Since that was his favorite at the time, I knew that this was the beginning of the idea and theme of the party.

Another website had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle invitations that I purchased with satellite internet wireless for the party. I also got a great deal on plain green t-shirts for each of his friends. I went to the fabric store and bought colored fabric on the clearance bins. With this fabric, I cut it into strips for the kids to wear around their head like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's.

At the party, the kids decorated the green t-shirts with paint. This was a great craft and also made for great pictures!

August 24, 2010

Anniversary Time!

It's that time again! Time for my wedding anniversary! This is going to be our 6th year as a happy married couple. I have been trying to think of something romantic to surprise Shawn with. I found something fantastic in our Clark Parks and Recreations news printing. It was a hot air balloon ride over wine country for $180 per person including travel to the location where they blast off (or whatever they do).

I thought this would be PERFECT! Shawn loves stuff like that! Then I ran into a real road block. This outing is for people 50 years old and older! NOT FAIR! So now I am back to square one. I will post more of my ideas later, hopefully I think of something original.

Saving Up For Braces

Caleb had is routine cleaning and check up at the dentist yesterday. His teeth look great, very clean and "shiny" which is Caleb's new favortie word, so he was excited to hear the dentist say it. Dr. Lewis says I didn't do any irreparable damage by waiting so long to take away his pacifier.

Caleb has a gap in his front teeth and as adorable as I think it is, we are going to get it taken care of. Dr. Lewis thinks we can do it without braces after he loses his 2 from teeth - super cute, but very far away, or so it seems. I'm sure it will sneak up on me before I know it.

We did learn that Caleb has a crossbite. He will probably need a retainer or braces in the future to take care of it. Dr. Lewis says that he will probably refer him to an orthodontist when he is about 7. That gives me 4 years to save for braces. I should probably start on that right away!

August 17, 2010

Saving up for our cruise

Guest post written by Kimberly Bramlett

This economy has left me cutting costs wherever I can and even though it’s supposed to be improving, those ways are pretty ingrained in me now.

So when my boyfriend suggested that we go on a cruise to the Bahamas, I told him that it would probably be way too expensive and he was crazy to even think about that. However, he told me the cost, which would end up being just a couple hundred dollars – a whole lot cheaper than I expected.

I decided that I would examine my utility costs and compare them to other providers so I could get better deals and put that extra change toward the trip. I found a satalite internet special that seemed like a good deal so I switched over that and my cell phone service.

After a couple of months I had saved quite a bit and put that extra money toward spending on the cruise. It was so nice and the worst part was having to come back to work instead of drinking rum out of coconuts on the beach.

Too Much Retail

I work part time on a retail sales floor. At the beginning of every week I remind myself that there are only 4 work days in a week for me. I try to amp myself up that 4 days is so little, and then I have a 3 day weekend waiting for me every Friday.

Unfortunately, it only takes about 5 or 6 hours before I start longing for Saturday morning. It usually has something to do with the customer who is waiting in line saying that they want to break their foot off in someone's tushie before I even get to talk to them. I just wish people could be kind and courteous to strangers.

So if you ever go into a business establishment, remember, the person you are dealing with is at work. That means their day already sucks enough. The last thing that anyone needs is to be made into some stranger's punching bag. Can't we all just follow the golden rule and treat others how we would want to be treated? Can't we all just get along?

August 11, 2010

Increasing Website Visits

Remember when I wrote some posts about SEO and increasing visits to your website? Since I have started I have noticed that I have had a 20% increase in traffic month over month. I started slacking over July and my increase was only 9%. Even after I wasn't paying attention to SEO, I was still reaping the benefits from concentrating on it before. If only I could apply myself and focus on it more.

If you're in the same boat I am in - if it is hard for you to keep SEO on the front of your mind while you are blogging or building your website, then you may need professional help. I recently visited http://www.discountclick.com/ to see what they have to offer.

What they do is focus on the SEO of your web page for you. Their goal is not only to increase your traffic, but also to increase your revenue. This type of service is ideal if your web page offers a product or service. The more people who visit your website, the more people who are out there that know about your company. It's not hard to figure out how that is going to help grow your business!

DiscountClick also has an Ad Service. They will market your website in order to help you increase your traffic. This combined with the SEO is a sure fire way to increase your website visits. You've probably read it on the internet a thousand times already, but the best web page or business in the world isn't worth anything if no one can find you. If you're struggling to get more visits to your web page, then you may want to contact the folks who make it their business to try to improve yours... I'm just sayin'.

Jena's Hair Design

I just want to give a shout out to my brother's fiance, Jena. She is a hair stylist in Vancouver, WA and has just recently started her own blog called JenasHairDesign. She does cuts for the whole family, is a color specialist, and she also specializes in formal hair for weddings, graduations, holiday parties, and girls' night out!

A lot of people don't think about how fun it would be to have your hair and makeup done before a girls night out! Jena is super fast with her updos. They always look fantastic and her prices are the best out there that I have ever seen! My sister-in-law, Bethany, my sister, Cindy, and I have all gone to Jena for special occasions. She did Bethany's wedding party, and she also did our hair for Bethany's bachelorette party!

I had my hair done for my birthday because I knew my friends would want to take me out that night. Jena did my hair in the morning and the style stayed in all night long! I love it when she does flat iron curls in my hair and gives my hair body that last all day.

Even if you aren't in the area, you can still check out JenasHairDesign for tips on caring for your hair and also how to prepare your hair before you see a stylist for an occasion. Some people don't realize that you're not supposed to wash your hair the day of your event or to put in any product that day since it weighs the hair down. There are also pictures from her portfolio and celebrity styles to inspire you.

Tell her I sent ya!

Prepaid Phone Service

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you know me at all then you know that I am addicted to my cell phone. Even before I had a smart phone, I was constantly on my phone, and not only talking. I always described myself as an "unlimited everything type of girl". I need to have unlimited talk, text, and web on my phone or I pay bazillions of dollars in overages.

Unlimited plans are just one way to avoid wireless phone bill overages. One way that is gaining in popularity is with a prepaid phone service. While some carriers deal exclusively in prepaid service, I think that nearly every wireless provider out there has some sort of prepaid service. Actually, now that I think about it, I am pretty sure they have to. Wireless phone service providers are considered a utility and therefore no one can be turned down for service. A prepaid service requires no contract and a very limited risk for the service provider, so it's a way to get around paying a deposit that might be required of someone after a credit check.

I myself use a post paid and a prepaid service. One service that I have not used is Boost Mobile. That isn't because of reputation, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Typically, I have found that prepaid services offer you a less reliable coverage area. Even large companies that do post paid and prepaid services, will have a smaller coverage area for their pre paid customers. Still, I find that those larger name companies have larger and more reliable networks anyway. They usually own more cell towers first hand and therefore your reception and call quality are increased.

A nice thing that boost mobile has is a program called Re-Boost. The re-boost program allows you to refill your prepaid calling service multiple ways. You can pay online, over the phone, or in person. I use a go phone from AT&T and this is the same set up they have as well. While both providers will allow family / friends to refill your account, boost makes it a little easier by having a "gift" button on their website. It seems to be geared more towards a set up that will allow people to make payments on your airtime.

One big difference between the AT&T go phone and the Boost Mobile program is that on Boost, you can use a Blackberry as a phone. Personally, I would never use a smart phone on any other network besides AT&T. Because of the simultaneous voice and data alone. I think using a smart phone on any other network makes the phone less smart; it just doesn't do as much and it doesn't reach its full potential. On the other hand, large deposits, or a desire to avoid a 24 month commitment can turn many people on to the prepaid services. While there are people out there using Blackberry devices on AT&T's go phone plans, this is not typical. The reason is because there isn't a data plan on the prepaid service that can support the Blackberry's data usage in a cost effective way.

Boost not only advertises that you can use a Blackberry on their prepaid phone service, but also that you can use the phone online for web browsing and social networking. I've had a facebook for a long time now, but I never started using it until I got the app on my Blackberry and later on my iPhone. In fact, more people are accessing their social networking sites via mobile devices than they are on their home computers! The reason is because it is fast, efficient, and instant! Your status update can read, "Having lunch at fair" with a snap shot of your kid covered in ketchup - as it really happens. If you only access your social networking site from home your status update is more like, "Got up, had coffee, went on a walk, bought groceries, took the kids to the fair, Johnny covered himself in ketchup, now I'm sleepy". Several short updates not only get more attention and comments, but they also keep your friends more informed of the fun little details of your day. Being able to snap a pic of my kid and send it straight to facebook is something I take advantage of every day if not several times a day.

Visit my sponsor: Reboost

August 10, 2010

Samsung Captivate

I had the chance to use the Samsung Captivate last week. I was very excited to have the chance to get to know this phone. Over the last year, I have used several different smart phones. The Nokia E71x, the Blackberry Bold 9000, the iPhone 3Gs, and now the Samsung Captivate. As a side note, I have also used the Palm Pre Plus for a very short amount of time as well.

I really wanted to love this Samsung Captivate. I have been waiting for an Android phone to come a long and sweep me off my feet. The Samsung Captivate came pretty close. The 4" AMOLED screen was amazing. The uploading and downloading speeds were awesome. After using an iPhone for the last 6 months, I was anxious to change the sounds of my email alerts and SMS notifications.

The customization on this phone was definitely my favorite part about using this phone. I created an entire Yoshi Sound theme that I downloaded right to the phone using a free application. It took me back to my blackberry days when I could find anything I wanted for free if I only looked hard enough.

My least favorite thing about this phone was the battery life. It died or nearly died several times a day. When I would plug it in, it would take over an hour to fully charge. I used advanced app killer to be sure that I wasn't running any apps in the background. It didn't really make much of a difference.

This was the only phone that has ever come close to taking me away from my iPhone. Personally, I didn't think that it would be very difficult. Even with extended use, the Captivate didn't integrate itself into my life the way my iPhone did. I guess I am more vested in my iPhone than I thought.

I Finally Got an Opp!

I finally got my first opportunity to do a sponsored blog from Izea since the updates. This opp did not come from the new social spark 2.0 as far as I can tell. They seemed to come from the old system. I didn't notice anything different. I did get some emails telling me that I qualified to do several different blogging opportunities today, but when I went to the website, I was mysteriously not qualified. This has been happening a lot since the updates. It's a little frustrating. Okay, it's a lot frustrating.

some good news is that I got something called a "cast call" from the new Izea 2.0 to do a certain paid blog. I am hoping this means that the opps for the new social spark 2.0 will start rolling in. It's hard to say. I have received these types if emails before and about 60% of the time, I get to take the opp. I haven't done an opp since this time last month and I'm sick of waiting. I hope things pick up soon!

Linens N Things Coupon!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of LinensNThings. All opinions are 100% mine.

I spent the weekend trying to get organized. I started by taking everything out of the dresser drawers in the bedroom, refolding them, and placing them back all nice and neat. It took a little while, but it was worth it when Shawn noticed and said thank you.

The next step was beginning to organize the kitchen. Cleaning it from top to bottom and then throwing out things that I don't really need. Every time I start to throw out what I don't need, I find that there are more and more things that I DO need.

Fortunately I LOVE home organizational products. My favorite place to pick up items to make my home rub smoother was Linens 'N Things, but the store in my area closed a few years ago. I know that they are still available for online shopping which I love, but they charge for shipping and handling which I do not love. Well, no longer! Use this discount code LNTFREE when you shop on LNT.com to get free shipping on your order!

Get your home organized, or add pretty things to your already tidy home on LNT.com and then get the shipping and handling covered with the coupon code LNTFREE because after all of your hard work in your home, you deserve it (and I do, too).

Visit my sponsor: Linens 'N Things

August 1, 2010

Movie Night: Finding Nemo

Friday night we had a movie night again! I was very excited because it had been so long since we have done this. Caleb was thrilled. Hr made repeated requests for The Princess and the Frog, but we had borrowed Finding Nemo from my sister and I had planned to watch it with him.

Caleb loves fish and he dropped the idea of the frog movie in exchange for the idea of a fish movie. He spent most of the movie naming the sea creatures and their emotions. Mostly he said, "The fish is saaaaaad", but he also said, "The baby turtle is happy" "the bird is silly" and "the fish is happy".

I realized that Finding Nemo is actually a very sad movie with a very happy ending. It also follows in the footsteps of nearly every Disney Movie in that the main character has lost at least one parent.

I was surprised that this movie wasn't a bigger hit with Caleb. He loves sea animals, like I said he knew the names of nearly all of them in the movie. He enjoyed the sharks, but their mood swings were over his head. He thought the turtles were cute, but he couldn't understand everything they were talking about. I think we will watch this movie a couple of more times before returning it to see if he starts to catch on.


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