Friday, July 30, 2010

7 Things I Learned This Week-#80 (blogging, checkers, bromeliads, writing, conference)


Daisy the Curly Cat left a comment on my Strange Sight-Covered Trees post saying she likes seeing bromeliads growing on trees. I had no clue what those were so asked her and she told me that they are a kind of spiky plant; there are tons of kinds! In Florida, you can see lots of them growing naturally on trees. This link has a picture of bromeliads in trees.


In my Three Questions For You post, I asked about our checker game and everyone who commented about it said I was right and Gerard should not have been able to go back and jump me after he moved something else. However, since then I found the rules in the box and read them. It clearly says that you HAVE to jump and doesn't say anything about losing your piece if you do not jump. So, actually, Gerard did have to change his move and jump me. Gerard was right and we were all wrong! Good for you, Gerard!

Resizing YouTube Videos

Design It Chic
Over at Design it Chic is instructions on Resizing The YouTube Videos to fit your blog. I always just played around trying different sizes but you can actually find the width of your blog space in the HTML code and there's actually a formula to use to determine the height. Also, there are two places in the embed code you have to change.

Adding The "Like" Button

Thanks to Mrs 4444 at Half Past Kissin time, I learned how to add the "like" button to posts. It's something you need to do for individual posts. According to the Facebook plug-in page, "When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user's friends' News Feed with a link back to your website."

I Write Like

At Joann's Best I found out about a fun site that analyzes your writing and then compares it to a famous author. I used 20 random samples from the book I wrote in memory of my dad, and posted my results on "My Funny Dad, Harry" blog. Go head, give it a try at I Write Like.

Book Bloggers and Authors Online Conference

At Crazy-for-Books I learned that a Book Bloggers & Authors Online Conference is August 6 & 7 and the cost is just $15. The list of topics looks very good. I've never seen an online conference before!

Tips For Interesting Article Titles

At the Ad Master, I found "5 Types of Titles That Can Get More People To Read Your Article". They are: make a question, use the word "why," include a benefit, the list of tips or things, "How To" title.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

For A Work Day, It Was A Good Day

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. --Psalm 118:24
I am still having "vacation lag." You know, wishing I did not have to go to work because I'd rather still be on vacation. Yesterday morning, I tried singing "This is The Day" to get me in a better frame of mind, and it helped. It seems as though some days are filled with hassles and a bunch of little things to do that sort of pile up. Yesterday was sort of like that, but at the end of the day, I felt good about how it went.

Taking care of business, paying my sales tax. Whenever I sell any of my author copies of my book, I have to go online and pay sales tax to the State of Ohio. It's kind of a pain and I usually put it off until the last few days. It seems like such a hassle for such a small amount. I owed a big $3.10 this time plus $1.00 for paying with a credit card. Anyhow, when I went to file, it said I had to call them to get a new password. Naturally, it was after business hours when I tried doing this so had to wait until the next day. Yesterday, I got my new password and was able to get this tedious task completed!

Making an impulse buy less damaging. This month for some unknown reason when I saw the email to upgrade my "My Life" membership to actually see the results for people I was looking for, a whole two, I did it. I really don't know what I was thinking other than I thought perhaps I might use my old high school contacts to promote my book. When I realized it cost $83 for the year, I was very angry with myself for getting sucked into this. I noticed in the very small print that if I canceled, any unused portion would not be refunded. After sending a couple emails with no response, I finally decided to give them a call yesterday and beg to at least change it to only three months which they did. The customer rep was very nice and understanding and said they would put through a refund of the difference in cost. I was relieved and happy about this!

Good news from the doctor. Then when I called my doctor's office for the results of my Ecko and blood tests, I got good news--"Normal" on the Ecko test and "Perfect" on the blood test. That's what I wanted to hear!

Surprise in the mail and reading enjoyment. It was a beautiful day and so that's always a good thing! I'm currently reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly and I got to a good part in it yesterday so read quite a bit. I also got a nice surprise when Gerard met me on the way home from the bus stop. He said I got a book but I didn't remember ordering any book. Then when I saw it was The Language God Talks I remembered that I had won that in a giveaway on someone's blog. I had to go back through my emails to find out who to let know it arrived.

Spunky Doodle quality time. I also got a new VISA credit card in the mail from Chase that I had no recollection of requesting and promptly called to cancel it. Spunky Doodle helped me make the call and laid next to the phone letting me pet her real nice. It helped keep me calm and I just love it when my cats come around letting me pet them like that.

In reflecting on my day, it was a very good day, especially for a work day! I got a lot accomplished, some good news and had nice relaxing time. What about you? Have you had a good day lately?  Do you have any tasks that you have been procrastinating on--get to them and you'll feel better!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Favorite Reads For July--"The Hunger Games" and "Zoo Story"

This is our first vlog and I wanted to make sure it didn't go too long. There is so much more to discuss about this book! I loved the characters, the humor in it, the obstacles the characters had to overcome to stay alive and their ingenuity to "beat the system" and remain true to themselves.

For our written reviews, please visit our book blog, "Grab A Book From Our Stack"--The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Gerard also wanted me to list another of his July favorites--Zoo Story by Thomas French. This was very interesting because he learned a lot about zoos and animals he never knew before. 

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ice Cream and Tacos

When on vacation last week we decided to be daring and go to a couple places we never went before. We heard how good the ice cream was at Cold Stone and there is one pretty close by to us so off we went for lunch there one hot day last week. We were presented with lots of different flavors from which to choose. There were even two lists! We each got a medium sized bowl and yes, it was very good. It should be for $10! We won't be going there again. At Giant Eagle, we got three 1.5 quarts of Turkey Hill ice cream which is delicious for $10. I wonder how they stay in business. By the way, we were their only customers when we went.

The other new place we tried because we won a 2 for 1 coupon in the Ships Ahoy summer reading contest at our library, was a Mexican restaurant called Chipotle. We got tacos which were very good and not just one but three for one serving. We could also choose the meat we wanted. We ate outside on a shady patio and it was very pleasant. They had music playing, but it wasn't too loud and I did not mind it. We still have another coupon for that place so will be back there.

Have you ever tried either of these places and if so, what did you think of them? Have you tried any new places lately?

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm A Reader, Are You? (Blog hop)

We are doing our first blog hop on Grab A Book From Our Stack called "My Journey To Reading For Pleasure." Karen asked me to share my journey here and link up over there. We'd love it if you would share how you became an avid reader too and link up.

I love to read! I read anything and everything! If I am in a store, I stop at the magazine rack and browse. If I go into a restaurant and see those newspaper boxes by the door, I'll stop and read as much as I can. We bring along the PLAIN DEALER to Hometown Buffet when we go for breakfast on Saturdays. I take a book to work to read on my breaks and at lunch, then I'll usually read some in the evenings too. I try to read 50 pages a day. I love to browse in bookstores and usually do whenever we go to the mall. I read customer reviews on to see what other people think about books I consider reading.

I remember walking with my mom to the library every other Saturday as a kid and reading sports books.  I remember the librarian saying "He reads too many sports books and should try something else."  I did and now like non-fiction best.  I enjoy learning about things and events that I've heard about.  I've always been big on reading!  Thanks to Karen, I am on Shelfari.  She posts my stuff there for me so now I can keep track of what I've read.

I sometimes read sitting at the table, in a chair or laying on the couch or the floor.  I can read in any position, at any time of the day and anywhere.  Our cats often join me. During the summer, I like to read on the porch.  What about you?  Where do you like to read and how did you get into it?

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Friday, July 23, 2010

5 Things I Learned This Week-#79 (Hippos, Blog Catalog, Casper, Widgets)

Widget Titles

At Design it Chic this week, I learned that to put a widget in my sidebar without a title, all I have to do is put this code in the title section:

.  Simple enough!  She has lots of other great tips on blogging too.  I've added this to my blog roll.

Casper, The Friendly Ghost

Remember Casper? When I read the flap of Confessions of the Prairie Bitch, I learned that the mother of the actress who played Nellie on "Little House on The Prairie" did the voice for Casper, The Friendly Ghost! I plan to read this one next.

Blog Catalog

I tried signing up my book blog in Blog Catalog and added their widget but every time I check to see if it's there, it shows it as "declined." I have no idea why. I read through the guidelines and do not see any that I violated unless they consider the Amazon ads for the books as spam. Could that be? I contacted them by email but do not get any response back. My other three blogs are all in it.  UPDATED 7/23/10 at 9:27 p.m.:
I got this response back today from Blog Catalog so guess I have to remove most of the Amazon ads to be accepted:
It was declined because it looks to much like spam.
This is more of a website in order to sell your books.


By reading Zoo Story Gerard shared with me this tidbit of information: Hippos kill more people in Africa in a year than both lions and elephants combined! Watch out for those hippos!! His review of this book is up on Grab A Book From Our Stack now.

Blog Badge

I found out how to make a blog badge this week at Blogging Is My New Hobby. Think I'll give it a try for my book blog.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Strange Sight--Covered Trees


 Here are pictures of two trees I saw in our neighborhood while walking Abby. I thought it was very strange that the ground cover has climbed all the way up these two trees, even along the branches! Have you ever seen such a thing? I never knew ground cover could actually climb up a tree like this!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

SonQuest VBS at Parma Heights Baptist Church

This week Gerard and I are helping in Vacation Bible School. It's so much fun to see all the children and to work along side such a wonderful dedicated staff. Gerard is helping in the third grade group and I am in the fifth and sixth grade group. Our Pastor, Dan Barfell, and his wife, Elena, are doing all the lessons each day and the different groups just rotate into the Family Life Center at different times for the lesson. When I saw today's lesson was on the parable of the soils, I wonder how they were going to make that interesting. Well, they did a fantastic job with it!

Working together, they acted like they were going to teach tribal children in the rain forest. The background was decorated like a rain forest, and all the kids were the tribal kids. Elena is so funny anyway so she did the silly part and her husband was the "straight man." Elena brought along great props, and made up a silly poem for teaching the story and then her husband did the explanation of the parable. It was very funny which kept every one's attention and the kids seemed to get the point that we should obey God's Word to be like the good soil.

Gerard is the only man in his group and feels a bit lonely.  He would like to know why more men aren't helping.

Our church has a blog where you can see video of our VBS this week: SonQuest VBS 2010.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

We All Like The Furminator!

The Furminator works really well and all our pets seem to like it. In my video, I do a short demonstration with my big fury dog, Abby, and my two cats, Manny and Spunky Doodle. After using it, their fur feels so soft that people who pet Abby always comment about how soft she feels. I put off buying this for awhile because I thought it was a bit pricey, but I'm glad I finally made the purchase. It is very useful and works really well! We have much less fur on our furniture and carpets now. Even though it says it's for dogs, using it very lightly on our cats works well too. As you can see in the video--they like it. We all highly recommend it!

Abby likes it because she has such thick fur, it thins it out for her so makes it cooler for her. She'll sit or lay for me while I brush and brush and brush. The first time I used it on her I got half a wastebasket full in about an hour.

Manny seems to like it too. He was never big on a brush but sometimes he even purrs while I brush him with the Furminator. It's just very important to go very gently and not over the same place several times in a row. As you can see from the video, Manny even lets me do his fluffy belly!

Spunky doesn't seem to mind it either but likes to lay while I use it. She sheds a lot and this is bigger than my other combs I use on the cats so it takes less time

See Manny's post about it: We Like The Furminator
(This is not a paid post.)

Check out Mrs4444 Saturday Samplings for more good posts.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

7 Things I Learned This Week #78 (giveaway, bats, repairs, Saturday Sampling, Knitting, Petties)

Book Giveaway: The Hunger Games

There is a 2-week giveaway for The Hunger Games over at Happily Blended. Giveaway ends Saturday, July 24. There will be 5 winners so what are you waiting for? Check it out!  To read our review of this book, check it out on our Grab A Book From Our Stack.  We even did our first Vlog about it which we'll post here at the end of the month since we already know it will be our favorite read for July.  If you can't wait to see it though, here's the link to it on YouTube:  The Hunger Games Is A Must Read!

Homerun Derby

David Ortiz won the Homerun Derby! Of course, we are very happy for him, especially since he is on the Red Sox!

Saturday Sampling

This is a great idea I wish I had thought of! Over at Half-Past Kissin' Time with Mrs.4444 she has a link up of "best of the week" posts. You are invited to link up your BEST post of the week, the one you really wish more people would see or one you come across in your blog hopping that you think others should see too. Here is a link to last week's Saturday Sampling.

Brown Bats

At Life On A Colorado Farm I learned that bats eat mosquitoes. Knowing this makes me like them now in spite of their looks.

Car Repairs--YIKES!

$2,577 worth! Yup, last Sunday my power steering went out on my van and then the next day I got it back, the brake pedal was going practically all the way to the floor and taking forever to stop. Then the "brake" light came on to confirm my suspicions. Fortunately, I did not get in an accident and Parma Tire is conveniently located at the corner of our street. My van is a '98 Olds that I got from my dad. This is what our savings are for!


From reading Twenty Wishes by Debbie Mecomber I learned that knitting isn't too hard because there are only two stitches: knit and pearl but you have to count. In the book, even a young girl learned to do it.

Best Pet Blog Contest--Nominations

Head on over to The Petties 2010 pet blog awards where you can nominate your favorite cat, dog, pet, and best cause related blogs. Nominations close July 31. The winner gets to choose a shelter or rescue to receive a $500 donation! My pets wanted me to ask you to check out their blogs and perhaps nominate them. The links to their blogs are in my tabs at the top of this blog. I explained to them that there a lots of great pet blogs so not to be too disappointed if they do not win.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Three Questions For You--What Do You Think?


(1)  A few houses down the street from us is a yard with these pretty purple flowers. Our next door neighbor also has some like them in her backyard but she couldn’t tell me what kind they were. Do you know?

(2)  Gerard and I played checkers July 4th weekend and normally he wins. We haven’t played in a long time though so he was a little rusty and made some bad moves. Our first game was a draw, he won the second game, and I won the third. I think though, that I really won the first game too because near the end he did not jump when he could have and moved a different piece instead. I said I get his man for not jumping, but then he took back his move and jumped then. What do you think? Once you move and your hand comes off the piece, can you take back that move? I think not, but Gerard thinks you can in this situation because the rule is you have to jump. (He just ignores that part about taking the piece for not jumping.)

3)  While walking Abby, I noticed the location of the flag on this house and wondered how they got it up there. Do you think they stood on a ladder on the porch and reached up? Or do you think they climbed out of that second floor window onto the roof and reached down? I just wonder.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Day At Virginia Kendall Park Sure Beats Work!

Yesterday I took off work to join in the mystery outing with the boys in my Sunday School class. We went to Virginia Kendall park in search of the icebox cave but also played some games, had hot dogs, found a little snake, a chipmunk, a mouse, and had a great time hiking in the woods in between some huge rock formations.

It was call a "mystery" outing because the boys did not know where they were going which even adds to the fun. On the way back, we stopped at a great little country ice cream place that had about 20 different flavors. I had lemon which was very good!   Everyone had a fun time!

Did you ever go on a "mystery outing"?  

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What’s With The Sirius Radio—Not Playing Again?

Gerard likes to listen to music or talk shows about sports as he cleans but lately his Sirius radio is not working well. First of all, it is supposed to face north to get the signal so we placed in on our dining room table in front of our big window. It worked pretty good there for a long time, but lately, it kept losing the signal and now it won’t even go on! I’m thinking there might be a problem with the outlet. We had a big storm and our power went off two days in a row. Since then the radio has not been working so we moved it to a different outlet in the living room.

Now the radio is farther away from the window sitting on top of our heat surge fireplace with the antennae facing towards our dining room window. It worked beautifully the first day, but the next day, it kept going on and off searching for a signal. By the third day, Gerard got so fed up with it that he turned it off and put on one of the music channels on Direct TV.

We just had Handyman Connection in to fix other things and now I have to call them again. I am so spoiled with modern conveniences and technology. We take things for granted but don’t realize how much until something doesn’t work right. We are still waiting to hear from the place repairing our electric lawn mower. Every time something breaks or does not work right, I always think of dad and how he would be able to fix it for us if he were still here. I’ll never forget him!

The good news is that I called Handyman Connection back again and apparently when they fixed the string light in the basement, they goofed up something and that's what caused our other outlets to not work. Anyhow, there was no charge for the second trip to fix the outlets!

Do you have Sirius radio? If so, how is your reception? Do you use it in your car? If you need something fixed or some home improvement project that you don't want to tackle yourself, call Handyman Connection--they stand by their work.
(This is not a paid post--I wish it were!)

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Monday, July 12, 2010

What Is Your Favorite Garage Item?

Favorite Things
I love working in the yard so this is an easy question for me to answer—my lawn mower! I enjoy cutting the grass and usually start cutting it in April and keep on through November. I used to have a gas mower, but when Karen’s dad died, we took his electric Neuton one and I like it. It is light weight, no cord to worry about and easy to start. It runs on battery which I recharge when I’m through cutting and uses a key to start it up.

There is an edger attachment that Karen tried using but it didn’t seem like it did much. The only goofy thing about it is that I am not supposed to go backwards with it. Sometimes I’ll forget and if Karen is watching, is quick to remind me. I really missed it when it wasn’t working. A small part broke that we finally got replaced once we found a service facility for this type of lawn mower in our area. At first, Karen thought the batteries were old so she ordered a new one—needlessly. She was not too happy about spending $90 for a battery we really didn’t need, but she was just trying to help.

I was without my lawn mower for about 8 weeks and had to keep borrowing from different neighbors. It was stressful and I hated having to bother my neighbors every week, but I can’t stand a ugly yard so really had no choice.

This is part of Mrs. 4444 Favorite Things link up. What’s your favorite garage item?

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Friday, July 9, 2010

6 Things I Learned This Week #77 (cats, giveaway, Bible, blogs, Blogger, LeBron)


Playing the Free Kibble trivia game, I learned that cats need to eat twice as many calories in real cold weather. That explains why they are eating less lately!

Wedding Photography Giveaway

If you or someone you know is engaged to be married between Nov.1, 2010 and Feb. 28, 2011, you may want to try for a free photography giveaway by Rosina W. Photography. I found out about this when visiting Life with Kaishon.

Bloggers Bible Challenge

When I visited Some Days You Gotta Dance, I discovered that Mom's Toolbox has instigated a Bible Challenge to help you read through that big book in 90 days.  This is a very aggressive schedule.  Each Monday she'll have a check-in. I know it's a little late telling you about it here, but you could still join in and catch up. It just started July 5.  I posted more about this at Grab A Book From Our Stack.

Blogs By State

This week I found "Blog Trotting" which is a blog about virtual travel. There is a directory of blogs by state there so go add yours under the state you live in.  Just click on the image here and it will take you there.

LeBron James Left Us!

LeBron James left the Cavs for the Miami Heat. Sad for Cleveland, boo hoo. He is a great basketball player!

Blogger--All My Blogs Listed On One Dashboard

I finally learned this week how to get "My Funny Dad, Harry" blog to show up on the same dashboard as my other two. I just had to add this blog as an additional author to "My Funny Dad, Harry." It was separate because I accidentally created this blog separately. I discovered when I created my book blog "Grab A Book From Our Stack" recently, that I can create it from my Dashboard and then it will show up in a list and I can easily move from one to another without having to sign out and in again. Hooray!

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Husband's 10 Things That Make Him Smile When He Is Not Happy (writer's workshop)

1. Four o'clock punch out time at work!

2. Zero traffic coming home from work.  (This never happens though!)

3. Hearing Abby bark when I pull in the driveway and greeting me when I come inside.

4. Cookies, cookies, cookies!  (This is why I sometimes bring him some from meetings I attend.)

5. One of the sports teams I follow wins.

6. Seeing Karen get off the bus when I meet her at the bus stop.

7. Cleaning (It relaxes me, except when the vacuum breaks!).

8. Yardwork (I love working outside, getting after those weeks, sprinkling the flowers, and cutting the grass, especially now that my own lawn mower is working again!)

9. Reading a good book or magazine.  Visit our book blog at "Grab A Book From Our Stack."

10. Walking Abby.

This post was prompted by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt: Write a list of 10 things that are sure to put a smile on your face when you are not happy. If you didn't see Karen's list, she did this prompt last week.

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