Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Return of LOST

Our favorite show comes back on tonight. I'm talking about LOST, of course! We are very excited! Last night, the final episode from the previous season came on. We had already seen it but we watched it again anyway! It's amazing how gripping this show is. I had no intention of getting hooked on another series but when some church friends loaned us Season One on DVD, we were hooked. I can't tell you how many nights Jeff and I spent watching the first season. We would watch an episode and when it ended, we had to move on to the next episode. Even though we had DVD's and could watch them anytime, we couldn't break away. We were so curious as to what would happen next.

Tonight will be no exception. The two hour premiere comes on and we have cleared the evening just so we can enjoy it. I've talked to a few people who have never watched the show. All I can say is once you start, you can't stop. If you are able to stop watching it, you must be some kind of super human! Already, I'm thinking about what might happen in the premiere tonight. Will Jack and company get off the island? Is this rescue boat really a rescue boat? There are about 1,000 other questions on my mind and I hope the next two years will be exciting ones. The show will end in 2010 and that's not really a long time to wrap up a story line like this.

LOST comes on ABC from 8:00 to 10:00 tonight. Will you be watching? I will, so don't call me during those two hours because I won't answer! LOL!

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Man oh man, what will they think of next! If it isn't cool enough that you can get movies delivered to your mailbox, now a company called Gamefly delivers games to your mailbox! It will be all the rage, mark my words. If you've got a PS2, PS3, Xbox, Game Cube, Nintendo, Game Boy, or Wii user in your home, watch out!

Gamefly offers the same kind of service that Netflix and Blockbuster Online does. They have over 5,000 titles, offer free shipping and returns, and no late fees. I showed it to the girls earlier and they were very excited. They have an Xbox and they enjoy playing it together. We don't buy many games because they're just too expensive! Of course, when they have their own money and want to invest in a new game, they can but almost always buy a used copy.

The subscription is a bit pricey but I found some Gamefly coupons that are worth using. I'm not sure we're ready to commit to a subscription but for hard core gamers, this is probably much cheaper than going to a store and renting games on a regular basis. It is worth checking out if you have a gamer in your house.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Young Readers Challenge ~ Giveaway (Winner!!)


The winner is Rhonda over at Whatever! Congratulations Rhonda and thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Caroline and I are reading books for the Young Readers Challenge. We just finished a book called Snake and Lizard and we've reviewed it over at My Thousand Loves (our new homeschool blog). We will be giving this book away on January 30th. If interested, head over there to read our review and to enter the giveaway.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wuzzles and Puzzles

The Mom Blogs tipped me off to this cool place called Wuzzles and Puzzles, that my kids are going to enjoy! Go check it out!

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Just Say No To Pop Ups!

One of the many advantages I've noticed since switching from a Windows machine to a Mac, has been the lack of pop up windows. Those things drive me nuts! I really haven't had a problem with them since getting this Mac. It is very seldom that I've had to worry with them. The kids still have a Windows based machine so they still use a blocker. I hope that I never have to go back to a Windows machine but if I do, I will definitely have a good popup blocker so that I can maintain my sanity. I remember having to deal with pop ups to the point that I would just shut things down and turn the computer off. Other times, there would be so many of them, that it would freeze up my computer. You talk about anger! If I could get my hands on the people who made pop up ads possible, I think I may give them a good smackin'!

This is just one of the many advantages I've found since we "wandered to the dark side." I remember thinking years ago that Macs were useless. Fifteen years later, I find myself wondering why we didn't make the switch sooner.

How about you? How do you deal with pop ups? Do you love them or hate them? Do you find that you ever click on one of the ads?

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Sheeshamoley! A New Craft Blog

Y'all hear me talk about my best gal Jenny a lot around here. She's a hoot and I really enjoy our little get togethers. Last Thursday, she brought her kids and came to my house so that we could make these awesome Jane Austen clothespin dolls (if you want to see the JA dolls, you'll have to watch the video on Martha's site). We were making great progress until my hubby called instructing me to go to his mother's house to check on her. I threw my shoes on and left Jenny here with all the kids. When I got to my MIL's house, she was in the middle of having a heart attack. I hung out there with her and my FIL until EMS arrived and then I headed back home to grab some books and tell everyone I had to head to the hospital. Jenny was kind enough to hang out with my kids until her hubby came to pick her up. Isn't she the bestest?

I do think she's the best and because I do, I want to send you to her new craft blog so that you can see what the two of us have been working on together. Jenny is a very crafty, artsy type and I draw lots of inspiration from her. She'll deny all that but it's all true. She has a whole area in her house that is her "studio" and you'll find tons of craft projects in the works. She has an afghan started and parts of a quilt hanging on the wall. It's awesome. Every time I'm there, I feel crafty! Anyway, head over and look around Sheeshamoley. She just got this up a day or two ago and already she has three or four projects posted. She has the neatest ideas! I wish all of you had a friend like her. She is a hoot!

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The Jubilee Academy Online Curriculum

When we started homeschooling seven years ago, textbooks and workbooks were very popular. Most of the people we knew used them and we started out using them. However, a few years ago, we used an online curriculum for the first time. We loved the freedom that it brought to our schooling. Our oldest daughter really enjoyed moving through her assignments at her own pace and because her work was graded by the computer, my job was much easier. I could devote so much more time to our reading sessions or having craft time. It was wonderful.

Online curriculum has really taken off over the past few years. There are so many available options and one of those is The Jubilee Academy. Jubilee is a bible based homeschool curriculum for students from Pre-K to twelfth grade. The curriculum is Christ-centered and encourages students to focus on Him in all aspects of their education. With Jubilee's curriculum, you can work anytime, anywhere. It is available online twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This makes it very versatile. Need to take a quick out of town trip? No problem. You can access Jubilee's curriculum from anywhere!

If you are looking for an online bible based curriculum, check out The Jubilee Academy and see if it's right for your family.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Family Health Updates

The past week has been a real humdinger. My MIL had a severe heart attack on Thursday afternoon. She was taken to the hospital where we found out that she had an artery that was completely blocked and two more that had damage. The cardiologist inserted a stint in the artery that was completely blocked. She has been recovering in ICU since then. A few hours ago, she was finally moved to a step-down room and she may be able to come home in a few days. The docs plan to do triple bypass surgery on her but they want her to come home and heal a bit before surgery. She has been a smoker for 50+ years and this will be the hardest struggle for her when she gets home. She has a long road ahead but our hope is that she will heal quickly and start feeling well again.

If this wasn't enough, my BIL got a call this evening from his transplant doctor. They had a kidney and pancreas for him and had him come to the hospital to get prepped for surgery. They have to do several tests beforehand so this usually takes several hours. He got the call around 2:00 today. He called us a short time ago to tell us the surgery is a "no go" because there is damage to the pancreas. He is being discharged from the hospital now and I'm sure he's feeling very disappointed. He has been through this two previous times. Each time, he was admitted and prepped for surgery only to find out later that one of the organs was damaged. I'm sure it is very discouraging with this being the third time this has happened.

He has only been on the transplant list for about six months, which made me start to think about others on the list. Some of them have been on there for a year, two years, and some even longer. Imagine how they feel. I can't imagine being in that place. I can't imagine having a child in that place. My dear friend Jenny knows this experience all too well though. Her beautiful little boy Gus passed away while waiting for a transplant. As someone who has a family member on the list, I will say that it is harder each time an organ becomes available but then is damaged. There are all sorts of questions that come into play. Ultimately, I come back to the same thing. God is sovereign over all things. Psalm 46 reminds us that He is our refuge and our strength.

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Need New Glasses?


Need new glasses? Check out this amazing deal at Zenni Optical:

Zenni Optical: Sell Rx Glasses $8 with case!

Yes, you read that right. There are so many options to chose from that you will have to see them to believe them! If you wear glasses, you know how easy it is to misplace, lose, or break your glasses. Now there is an inexpensive solution to replacing them. Go check out all of the options you have to choose from. You can't beat this price.


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Movie Review Sunday

We don't watch a huge amount of television around our house unless it's football season. When the season is over, we watch basketball and the occasional tv series. We do watch movies. That's one thing Jeff and I really enjoy and we really enjoy that time together. We started out with a Netflix subscription several years ago. We loved it so much. A few years down the road, Blockbuster came along and started their online subscription so we switched. The thing we loved about BB was that you could take the movies into the store and trade them for new movies. We were able to watch a ton of movies each month for a very reasonable rate. Then they went and did it. They slowly started to raise rates and take away all of the advantages to the program. First, the monthly subscription fee went up. Then, instead of having an unlimited amount of trade in movies, you could only bring five per month in and trade them for in store movies. Basically, we had a really sweet deal when we first started out and in the end, it was just, uh, crappy!

I should tell you, we are a very principled family. So, what were we to do? We had to say enough is enough. BB was taking advantage of us now. Last week, we decided to ditch BB and go back to Netflix. I'll have to say, I wasn't really excited about this. However, I'm slowly warming up to Netflix again and I really love the feature they offer where you can download and watch movies on your computer. The kids have taken advantage of this twice this week. Anyway, my point is to say that because we do watch movies quite often, I want to start mentioning those each week. I want to share my two cents worth in hopes that it might be helpful to those of you who like to watch movies and haven't seen the ones I mention. Without further ado, here's what we've seen this past week.

3:10 to Yuma ~ Synopsis:

Rancher Dan Evans heads into Bisbee to clear up issues concerning the sake of his land when he witnesses the closing events of a stagecoach robbery lead by famed outlaw Ben Wade. No sooner or later, Wade is captured by the law in Bisbee and Evans finds himself one of the escorts who will take Wade to the 3:10 to Yuma train in Contention for the reward of $200. Evans quest for taking Wade to the station is not only for saving for his land but an inner battle that he can be more than just a naive rancher in the eyes of his impetuous and gun slinging son William Evans. The transport to Contention is hazardous and filled with ambushes from Indians, pursuits by Wade's vengeful gang and Wade's own conniving and surreptitious demeanor that makes the ride all more intense. (Plot summary by commanderblue)

*I'll have to say, I really enjoyed this movie. The guy in the video store ranked this one up there with Tombstone and while I enjoyed it, I think he was dead wrong. Tombstone is a classic. This film is a one time watch at best. I enjoyed the story and I like both Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. This is a real "shoot em' up" kind of movie and may be too much if you dislike that kind of thing. I don't remember how much language was in the movie but I know there was at least a little. It is, after all, a gun slingin' western. My favorite part of the movie was the ending. I can't say much more because I'll give it away. If you like westerns, you'll probably enjoy this one but don't set your expectations too high. It was just ok.

The Hunting Party ~ Synopsis:

A young journalist (Eisenberg), a seasoned cameraman (Howard) and a discredited journalist (Gere) embark on an unauthorized mission to find the no. 1 war criminal in Bosnia; they find themselves in serious jeopardy when they are mistaken as a CIA hit squad and their target decides to come after them.

*We just finished this one and I have to say, I was surprised. I really enjoyed this one. The story is set in the middle of war torn Bosnia, with three reporters trying to find the most wanted war criminal in the world. The storyline was interesting and the actors did a wonderful job portraying their characters. I'm convinced that Richard Gere could play any role. This one was no exception. There is a lot of action and language in this film. The language garnered it its R rating. There was also several scenes showing war torn areas, which included murdered civilians in the streets. In the end, the reporters realize that all of the authorities (the UN, the United States, the Hague) supposedly looking for this criminal are actually allowing him to remain free. They determine that they must come up with a plan to expose this and catch this horrible man. This was a surprisingly good movie, despite the terrible language and graphic scenes of the aftermath of war.

Griffin and Phoenix ~ Synopsis:

Ed Stone's bittersweet drama Griffin & Phoenix concerns Griffin (Dermot Mulroney), a divorcee suffering from cancerous lesions in his chest that give him a life expectancy of less than two years. He falls in love with academic advisor Phoenix (Amanda Peet), and the pair decide to 'live life to the fullest' by fulfilling all of Griffin's childhood fantasies, from painting water towers to sneaking into movies to hopping freight trains. But a secret of Phoenix's threatens to damper the joy of their time together.

*Oh my. What can I say about this movie. It caught me totally off guard. Jeff and I had wanted to see this for awhile but could never catch it at the video store. We put it in our online BB queue and it finally came last week. This is the most emotional movie I've seen in a very long time. Your heart goes out to Griffin as he learns of his illness. Later on in the movie, he meets Phoenix and she brings joy to him. About this time, you get blind sided by what happens next. All I can tell you is that you'd better have a really big box of kleenex handy. I'm not sure who cried more, Jeff or myself. It was that emotional! This is definitely an adult movie and one that will make you think about your life and what you would do if you were in Griffin's situation. I remember that after the movie went off, we turned the tv off and just sat there in silence for a few minutes. For days afterwards, we talked about those "what if" situations. My opinion is that it's a great movie in spite of its less than perfect circumstances. Don't say I didn't warn ya!

300 ~ Synopsis:

Based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, "300" is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy. The film brings Miller's (Sin City) acclaimed graphic novel to life by combining live action with virtual backgrounds that capture his distinct vision of this ancient historic tale.

*I'm going to try and be nice here. The story is a great one. This movie is, uh, a not so great one. I'm not sure I liked anything about this movie. There was a lot of battle scenes in which men would get their heads chopped off. They actually showed it and it was almost funny. It looked so fake and I just don't understand the need for showing it. Fake or not, it was just too much for me. I admired the Spartans courage and their "fight to the death" determination. However, I think this movie missed the mark and definitely could have been made better. To put it nicely, I could have just as easily slept through this one and been just fine :-o)

Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) ~ Jane Austen movies

Six of Austen's works will be presented on Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday evenings for the next several weeks. I have already watched Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Tonight they will feature Mansfield Park. So far, I have not been terribly impressed with these. Don't get me wrong, I like them, but I've decided that you can't fit Austen's work into 90 minutes. The first movie that PBS featured was Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. It was excellent. Because it was very good, I expected all of the Austen works to be equally as good. That hasn't been the case but I still wouldn't miss them.

I think that's it for this week. Right now we've got Ocean's 13, A Mighty Heart, and Live Free or Die Hard. Check back next Sunday for my reviews of those!


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Friday, January 25, 2008

Handheld GPS: A Chance To Win

I've mentioned before how my husband "lost" me while we were in New York last year. I've also mentioned how he called the NYPD and was in the process of filing a missing persons report when he finally got in touch with me. What an experience! I never would have dreamed that while I was strolling across Manhattan, my hubby was stuck in Times Square, waiting on the police, having a major breakdown. Looking back on it now, I should have made an itinerary, given him a copy, and then the problem may have been solved. I could have taken one of those fancy sightseeing tours so that I would have been with a group of people all day. That would have made him feel like I was much safer.

Why do I mention this again? Today, I noticed this promotion over at Trusted Tours & Attractions: Win Handheld GPS-Newsletter. I was intrigued so I went over to check it out. They are giving away one of these babies and all you have to do is sign up for their newsletter! The newsletter will give you travel tips and lead you to travel blogs that will help you better plan your trip. It's useful and best of all, it gives you a chance to enter to win the handheld GPS. I wish this had been around last year because it would have been a great comfort to my hubby!

What are you waiting for? Get over there and enter for a chance to win. Entry deadline is January 31. If you win, let me know. I'll be jealous but I'll get over it!


Hospitals, UGH!

Lately, we've spent our fair share of time in hospitals. First, my grandmother fell and broke her arm. She was in the hospital for five days. Yesterday, my MIL had a heart attack. Now, before you get too excited, she is doing well today. She had a blocked artery that they were able to open by inserting a stint. The cardiologist that put in the stint said that this attack was due to her 50+ years of smoking. It was a very serious attack and we hope she will come home and break those bad habits. I've bugged her for years to stop but she's always laughed at me.

While we were at the hospital last night, I started to notice all of the cool modern furniture they have out in the halls. In the waiting rooms, there were just chairs and no real area to lay down and rest. Many people do stay overnight with their loved ones when something like this occurs so I started to wonder, why don't they have a room dedicated for sleep so that those who need to stay nearby can do so in comfort? All I'm asking for is a room with a bed that has a memory foam mattress . That's not too much to ask is it? I think this would get more use than all of that mod furniture in the hallway. I would even be willing to bring my own sheets.

I know I'm only dreaming but I really do wish there was some way to make it more comfortable for people who need to stay with loved ones. My MIL is in ICU so it's not like you can stay back there and sleep in her room. It seems like hospitals spend a big amount of money on things that really don't serve a great purpose. Just think about those people who have loved ones that are in really bad shape. It's natural that they don't want to leave their loved one. So, maybe I'll lobby local hospitals to stop spending money on hallway furniture and invest it in essential comforts for those of us who have to stick around for awhile!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thirteen Movies That Make Me Cry

  1. Pride&Prejudice ~ Every version of this film makes me cry!
  2. Griffin and Phoenix ~ Oh my goodness. Just watched this. It deserves its own post (which will come shortly)
  3. Message In A Bottle ~ Seen it a million times, cried every time
  4. End of the Spear
  5. Braveheart
  6. Facing the Giants ~ Every time I watch it, I cry harder
  7. The Notebook ~ Buckets of tears :-O
  8. Love Affair ~ with Annette Bening version
  9. The American President ~ I really like Annette Bening
  10. Sabrina
  11. While You Were Sleeping
  12. The Wedding Planner
  13. My Best Friend's Wedding

For more TT's, go here.

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Asbestos: It's Bad Stuff

I have always heard how bad asbestos is if you're exposed to it. However, I had no idea it caused a serious cancer called mesothelioma . The cancer affects the serous membranes, which surround most of your vital organs. There a several different types of this, the most common being pleural mesothelioma. This type of the cancer attacks the tissue around the lung and many people mistake it for lung cancer. Eighty percent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have pleural mesothelioma. Currently, there is not a cure for this disease, although surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are options used to treat it.

I watched a movie recently that dealt with a man who was terminally ill with cancer. I'm not sure if it was this type but the movie was one of the best I've seen in awhile. It reminded me of how hard it must be to internalize this type of diagnosis and how hard it must be (emotionally) for family members who nurse their loved ones during their illness. I'll be reviewing the movie soon so that you might look into it and watch it. I find that learning about these things help me to be a stronger person. I feel like if I ever have to nurse a loved one with this type of disease, I will be better informed and hopefully will handle it with a sweet spirit.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ten On Tuesday ~ 10 Things That Were Better “Way Back When”

  1. Tab ~ I used to love the stuff. Now, it makes me want to barf.
  2. Sweet 'n' Low ~ Blah! Can't stand it now. Splenda is the way to go.
  3. Gloria Vanderbilt jeans ~ Remember the swan logo?
  4. Leg warmers ~ Were these ever really cool?
  5. Michael Jackson ~ Two titles: "Beat It" and "Thriller" (Come on, you know he was cool!)
  6. Family Feud ~ I liked it better years ago. The host was so much better than Drew Carey
  7. Cool Ranch Doritos ~ I used to love them. Have my tastes matured or are they not as flavorful as they once were?
  8. The Beatles ~ Ok, I never thought the Beatles were very good :-o)
  9. Big hair ~ Please don't let it make a come back!
  10. Pizza Hut pizza ~ It just doesn't taste as good as it used to. I hate those giant veggies they put on the pizzas now! Bring back diced veggies!

For more Ten On Tuesday posts, visit yaknowwhatimean!

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Granny Watch

Recently, my grandmother fell and broke her arm. She is almost 85 and her health has been declining for the past couple of years. She's just become feeble and had to start using a walker. She didn't like it but she did it so that she could stay mobile. Anyway, after breaking her arm, she had to spend five days in the hospital. My oldest daughter and I were able to sit with her over several days and really enjoyed hearing her stories from years past. She was finally discharged to a nursing home/rehab facility. She needs physical therapy on her arm so that she might regain use of it. It's going to be a long road and she was expected to be in the rehab facility for at least four weeks. We knew it could be longer but we really hoped she would be back home in no time. It looks like that isn't going to happen. Currently, she can't walk at all. She hasn't been on her feet much since her accident and her joints have stiffened up. It looks like she's going to need a lot more rehab than we originally thought.

A few days ago, we found out that her medicare insurance would pay for her to be in the rehab center for up to 100 days. That's a long time and we pray she will not need to be there that long. In another sense, we are relieved that she will be able to receive therapy for that length of time if it's needed. She's got a long road ahead of her and I hope that we will be able to boost her spirits and that it will help to motivate her. We love her to pieces and want to make every day special for her. Hopefully we will be able to do that in the comfort of her own home very, very soon!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Kind of Flower Are You?

I saw this over at Annie's and thought it would be fun to check it out. Just for fun, go see what flower you are :-o)


I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Me, a prankster? I have no idea what you're talking about!

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Do You Stock Up?

I really enjoy stocking up on party invitations and cards. I find so many unique and cute ones that I like to buy them ahead of time, to keep for when an event or occasion comes up. I usually keep a nice stock of birthday cards, party invitations, note cards, and get well cards. More and more today, people are really celebrating baptisms and first communions. Did you know that you can buy first communion invitations ? I had no idea! I haven't bought any lately so I've got to get on the ball! There are several events coming up that I need to be prepared for. How about you? Are you prepared? Do you buy cards and invitations ahead of time?

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Tuesdays With Morrie: Review

From Random House:

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.

I just finished reading this as part of the In Their Shoes Reading Challenge and the 2008 TBR Challenge. I must say it did not disappoint. It is the second book I've recently about someone struck by ALS. As the story begins, we read of Mitch, a college student, who has a unique relationship with one of his professors. This professor, Morrie, has a special interest in teaching his students all things concerning life. They form a special bond and throughout Mitch's college days, the two spend much time together. After graduation, Mitch looses touch with Morrie and throws himself into his work. Sixteen years later, he learns that Morrie is dying and feels deep regret from not keeping in touch with his mentor. After Mitch makes contact with his old "coach", the two resume their relationship where they left off so many years before. Morrie has a story to tell and wants Mitch to tell it. Thus begins their regular Tuesday sessions, which will continue until Morrie's death.

*I really enjoyed this book. ALS is a disease that slowly takes away ones ability to perform the simplest tasks and ultimately attacks the lungs so that breathing becomes impossible. The way Morrie chose to live with the disease was by living each day to the fullest. He surrounded himself with friends, family, students, and colleagues. He taught life lessons on how to deal with the disease. He kept such a positive attitude throughout his illness. He remained so gentle, so loving. He taught these lessons until his last breath.

Morrie's story made me think of my own grandmother. She doesn't have this disease, or any other, but I see her time slowly slipping away. The most simple tasks are impossible for her to perform. She has total dependence on others for almost all of her needs. As I read Morrie's story, I thought of her. I thought of how I could be her Mitch. I can sit with her and I can tell her stories. One of the best things we can do for our aging or dying loved ones is to be there, surrounding them with our love and care.

Morrie's spiritual state was not mentioned very much in the book. Only once did he reference "talking with God" about his situation. The bottom line, thumbs up to Mitch Albom for penning Morrie's story. I think it will be an encouragement to many who are afflicted with such illnesses in showing them to "love each other or perish."

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Friday Freast #167

What is your favorite beverage?

It's a toss up. I love Diet Sunkist and Coke Zero. It's hard to pick between the two.

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.

  1. Mary Engelbreit calendar. A desk is not a desk without one of these!
  2. Our bill basket. Every desk could do without one of these! I keep them in a wicker basket on my desk so it is easy to get to when I need to pay them.
  3. Two stacks of books in my TBR pile. I keep as many as I can on top of my desk so that I have to look at them every day, which makes me read more diligently.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?

One thing I have learned is that it never pays to be dishonest. I'd say I'm very honest and on a scale of 1-10, I give myself a 9 1/2. I rate myself this way because there have been times that I've padded the truth to keep from hurting someone. Whew! That was a tough question!

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?

Intercourse, Pennsylvania. It's a little Amish village that I read about in Beverly Lewis books and also that we visited when we were vacationing in Lancaster. It just seems a rather odd name for a place and I'd change it to something more fitting. Maybe I'd call it Dairy Land, PA since there were several dairy farms in that area.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?

This question should have been what doesn't stress you out! LOL! There are a number of things that stress me out and most of these things are silly. I get stressed over messes around the house (dirty floors, laundry in the floor, kitty hair on things). Time also stresses me out. It seems that I never have enough of it and when I am trying to squeeze in reading or craft time, I get stressed by looking at the clock.

I am calmed by hot showers, sewing or crafting, or getting outdoors.

To read more Friday Feasts, go here.

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Heart Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and that means it's almost time for men to go out and buy their wives a dozen roses . Most women love flowers, myself included, but 1-800-Flowers has so much more to offer. From gift baskets, plants, and chocolate to stuffed animals and luxury gifts, you are sure to find the perfect gift for your "honey." Ladies, let's not forget our hardworking husbands. There is a whole section of "gifts for him" so be sure and check them out. My favorite is the giant fortune cookie. Nothing says I love you like a giant fortune cookie!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen ~ All About Jane

Since Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors, she is the subject of this Thursday Thirteen. The first four are quotes from JA books or movie adaptations. The rest is biographical information.

  1. “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
  2. “Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then.”
  3. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
  4. "I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them."
  5. Jane's father was a clergyman.
  6. Jane was the seventh of eight children.
  7. The original title of Pride & Prejudice was First Impressions.
  8. Jane's father sent P&P to a publisher who refused to look at the manuscript.
  9. Sense & Sensibility was published first.
  10. Jane was never married.
  11. Jane's closest friend was her only sister, Cassandra.
  12. Jane only became a popular writer after her death in 1817.
  13. She died at age 41 possibly from Addison's disease.
For more TT's, go here.


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Flame Grilled Chicken

When I think of grilling, one thing comes to mind....chicken. In the summer, we use our grill a lot. We love using various chicken recipes that we find on the internet or get from friends. We have tried over and over to reproduce that wonderful flame grilled flavor that we get in restaurants. I'm sad to say that we just don't get that same flavor. Recently, we heard about some flame grilled Mexican chicken from El Pollo Loco and we can't wait to give it a try. In the meantime, we are doing our research and watching some pretty informational videos about chicken over at Where's the Flame Grill. Check them out. You'll learn all kinds of ways to grill up chicken. Personally, I like the instructional video on how to grill your chicken in the fireplace. Maybe we'll try that tonight!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008

WaterBrook Press (January 15, 2008)


Sally Stuart


Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide" for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter. She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast.

Check out her blog!


The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!

Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!

Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.

To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at

A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.


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Planning A Move?

It seems that there is always someone moving around us, whether it be a friend, family member, church member, or co-worker. We have moved a couple of times over the past ten years. Both times, it has been in the dead of winter. We packed up the truck and moved everything ourselves. After the last time, we decided that if we moved in the future, we would check out local moving companies to see if we could go that route. It's such a chore to do it alone.

Movers Directory is an online resource that offers moving tips, moving guides, and moving services. You'll find a huge network of resources from professional moving companies to storage companies. It doesn't matter if your move is a small one or a large one, you are sure to find helpful information. You will find relocation information for all fifty states, as well as one hundred countries. You can research real estate, mortgage loan rates, auto shipping rates, and even compare rates from various moving companies. Moving couldn't be easier!

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan. 14

I am very excited to do my menu this week after DJ led me to a wonderful new meal planner. I worked with it over the weekend and I absolutely love it! It is so easy to use and I will be using it from here on out. If you're looking for a good online meal planner, check this one out. You can schedule breakfast, lunch, and supper. I've never planned breakfast or lunch before and because I haven't, we tend to have the same things each morning for breakfast. I'm sure the kids are not excited about that and it gets old really quickly. I love that you can plan all three meals and you can even pull menus from the Meals Matter recipe database! You can print out your menu and stick it on your fridge once you've finalized it. I can't say enough about it! Now on to our menu for the week.....

Monday ~ Blake's lasagna, salad, garlic bread ~ I will post the recipe for this as soon as I find it. It is very good and I call it Blake's lasagna because he cooked this for our family recently. He is a young, single man from our church whose rental house recently burned down. He lost all of his possessions in the fire and is working hard to try and resume his normal life. If you go here, you can scroll down and read a little about Blake's loss. Please do pray for him.

Tuesday ~ Eat Out ~ We usually go out on this night since Jeff has bagpipe practice. We normally go to our favorite local Mexican place. So yummy!

Wednesday ~ Burgers, fries, broc 'n' cheese. We haven't made burgers at home in at least a month! I think I'll add some bacon and swiss cheese to them!

Thursday ~ Pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls

Friday ~ Corn chowder (from Fix It and Forget It), bread

Saturday ~ Smoked pork roast w/slaw, potato wedges, cowboy beans

Sunday ~ Pizza (probably DiGiorno or Freschetta)

Along with using a new menu planner comes the excitement of using new recipes. I hope to use a couple of new ones next week. For more menus, check out Laura's place.

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Drug Rehab Help

I am blessed to be able to say that I've never had anyone close to me that has had a drug problem. Many families know at least one person with these types of problems. I'm sure it is a hard situation to be in and I can't imagine watching someone you love go through this. The good news is that there are facilities out there that specialize in drug rehabilitation. No matter what the situation, you will find information to help you learn about treatments and facilities that are right for your situation. With professional help, many people are able to overcome their addiction and get their lives back. If you or someone you know need help, check out the many resources that Drug Rehabilitation Network has to offer.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Beyond The Gates

Genocide: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.

We all know what genocide is. It's horrible. It is stomach turning. It's brutal. It's hard to believe that it goes on around us even today. Last night, hubby and I had the opportunity to watch Beyond The Gates . It is the best movie we've seen in a very long time. It's brutal so if you have a weak stomach, maybe you should skip the movie and just research the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


Based on true events and filmed in Rwanda with genocide survivors as cast and crew, BEYOND THE GATES tells their shared story of humanity in the most inhumane circumstances.

In April 1994, a secondary school in Kigali, Rwanda called the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO), being used as a UN army base, became a refugee camp. Belgian UN troops, school children, NGO workers and over 2,500 Tutsi citizens and their sympathizers took refuge against a raging genocide while the Hutu militia, clad with machetes, clamored outside the school gates.

Five days later, the UN troops withdrew from the school, taking the whites with them. Within hours, almost all of the Rwandans were dead.

BEYOND THE GATES is about the choices we make when we are free to choose. In the tragic circumstances of the Ecole Technique Officielle, would you have left with the UN troops on the fifth day or would you have stayed?

Directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring John Hurt, Hugh Dancy and Clare-Hope Ashitey, BEYOND THE GATES was co-produced by David Belton, Pippa Cross and Jens Meurer. Belton who also co-wrote the original story was a former BBC Newsnight correspondent stationed in Rwanda during the genocide.

End of Synopsis

This was such a moving story. It made me hopeful at times. It made me sad. It made me angry. It made me question our government, the United Nations, and humanity. I found myself laying in bed last night thinking about the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi. It is an age old conflict centered around the status of each group. The Tutsi were in power; the Hutu were considered poor. The poor got tired of this and decided to kill all Tutsi, to snuff out the group so that Hutu would be the only remaining group. There's so much to ponder. There are so many questions. There are so many emotions. I just can't say enough about the quality of this film. It was so moving that it made me want to do something, anything. Since I can't go to Rwanda and do relief work, I decided that I will educate myself on the subject so that I might share it with others when the topic comes up.

I think as Americans, we sometimes feel we are beyond this type of situation.We think there's no way a civil war could break out here and people behave so brutally. Last night, my husband reminded me that this sort of thing is not beyond us. This country suffered terrible loss in 1861. Abraham Lincoln started a "civil war", not because slavery was his main concern, but because he would not have states secede from the Union.

This is just a well done movie and I can't say enough about it. As I mentioned above, the movie does show the brutality of the situation so use your own judgment when viewing it. We watched it without our children but will have our 13 year old watch it when we cover Rwanda in history. I hope if you watch this movie, that you are as moved by it as I was.


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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

And The Winner Is......

I had the girls randomly pick the winner for Jerome Teel's book, The Divine Appointment, and I'm happy to say that Zenaida is the winner! Congratulations! I'll be contacting you shortly so that I can get this mailed out! Thanks to everyone who entered.

On another note, I'm having a bit of trouble with spammers leaving comments so I've had to switch on word verification for anyone who comments. Sorry for the inconvenience but I'm tired of the spam and lewd commenters. Hopefully this will take care of things.

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The Divine Appointment Giveaway (Sticky Post)

I received The Divine Appointment by Jerome Teel a few months ago from Joyful Days. She was giving it away as part of the Pay It Forward Book Exchange. I recently took time to read it and just finished it up.


A liberal Supreme Court Justice dies, leaving a vacant seat for conservative President Richard Wallace to fill. Can he gain the nomination for his pro-life candidate against Senate Majority leader Lance Proctor and the pro choice gang who stop at nothing, including murder, to accomplish their evil purposes?

Small town Southern lawyer Elijah Faulkner wonders if he’s on the right side when a seemingly unrelated murder in Nashville brings his associate Jill Baker and himself into the crosshairs of a murder plot.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. There was a lot going on and it kept me on my toes. It jumps from situation to situation, place to place. It reminded me of watching an episode of Law & Order. I do not normally read political thrillers but I'm glad I had the opportunity to delve into new territory. It was easy to relate to the book because the same type of corruption in the book goes on in our own government today. The book gives a glimpse of what it would be like to have an honorable, Christian president who would do what was right regardless of the consequences to himself. The book offers insight into two marriages; one that is in shambles because the husband and wife are somewhat estranged due to adultery, and another between a Christian lawyer and his wife, who have difficulty seeing eye to eye about starting a family. In the end, the book pulls everything to a close and does a nice job of repairing the broken relationships.

This book is an easy read at 340 pages and I would definitely read another Jerome Teel novel. If you'd like to find out more about Mr. Teel and his novels, you can visit him at Jerome Teel.

Upon completing this book, Joyful Days asked that I pay it forward. If you'd like to win this copy of The Divine Appointment, leave a comment and I will draw a winner on Wednesday, January 9th. You do not have to have a blog to enter. All I ask is that you leave an email address so that I can get in touch with you.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas 2007

I haven't taken time to write about our Christmas holiday because we have had a lot going on. Just like I've heard many of you say, the past two months have gone by so quickly that I barely remembered to breathe. We have had such a wonderful time and I'm a little sad that the holidays have passed. I love being around my extended family because they are just loads of fun.

We enjoyed a wonderful worship service with our church family bout 6:00p.m. Afterwards, as per tradition, we spent Christmas Eve night with Jeff's family. His mom always cooks a huge meal and this year was no exception. We enjoyed spiral sliced ham, cubed steak in gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, broccoli, biscuits, her world famous mac 'n' cheese, and a bunch of other goodies that made me gain five pounds! We enjoyed eating, looking at her pretty decorations, opening gifts together, and playing Scattergories. We were having so much fun that when we looked at the clock, it was 2:30a.m!

The girls had fun posing for pictures

They were even able to get a quick shot of me and Jeff

Christmas morning we all slept in. Once everyone was awake, we enjoyed opening gifts together. Caroline was thrilled to get a Liberty doll from Vision Forum and Logan was equally thrilled to receive several books, including Jane Austen's complete works and the Love Comes Softly series. Hubby got an awesome orange UT dress shirt that the girls picked out. He surprised me with a set of videos from Franklin Springs Family Media. If you have never heard of Franklin Springs, please check them out. They are a small company making wonderful, meaningful videos.

In the evening, as per tradition, we drove a little more than an hour to spend time with my family. We arrived around 5:00 to find aunts, uncles, cousins, my mom, and grandmother all waiting for us. We enjoyed another big supper and then spent lots of time chatting. We opened gifts and then spent an hour or so singing Christmas songs. Jeff was kind enough to play guitar for us and we were amazed at how many songs we forgot the lyrics to! It was great fun and I think it'll remain part of our yearly tradition. My grandmother seemed to really enjoy herself and I am so thankful that we were able to spend another Christmas with her.

Me & My Grandmother

My mom, oldest daughter (I'm not sure why she has such a look on her face), and grandmother

This Christmas was such a wonderful time. We made so many special memories and I'm already looking forward to next year! I have decided that I want to exchange homemade gifts with everyone next year so I've got to get to work.


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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Personalize Your Car

I've never really been into dressing up my car. However, several years ago, we purchased a very plain, black Toyota Echo. While we were filling out the paperwork, the car salesman asked if we'd like to add a spoiler to the back of it. We decided to go for it and I'm very happy we did. It added lots of character to the car for just a small amount of money.

As I look around while I'm driving, I see so many vehicles that have been customized. Whether it's a cool color or an awesome accessory, it seems that many people take pride in personalizing their cars. Wood Dash Experts, Inc. is a company that offers many different types of those accessories. They have everything from dash kits to car spoilers . If you are thinking about personalizing your car, check out Wood Dash Experts to see what unique touches you can add to your vehicle.

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I ~Heart~The Holidays

One box of Jiffy baking mix: $1.68

One roll of mild sausage: $1.50

One bag of shredded cheddar cheese: $1.98

Making a batch of sausage balls to cook on New Year's Eve but forgetting to actually do so, which results in your eating them for breakfast and lunches for the next three or four days: PRICELESS! (And incredibly yummy)

And did I mention that DJ gave me a recipe for puppy chow, I made it, and the bag is completely gone? The girls, myself, and my BIL managed to eat a gallon size bag of it over a three day period. Can you say holiday weight gain?

Ahhhhhh, I love the holidays!


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Friday, January 4, 2008

Help For Small Businesses

Several small businesses have opened in our town recently. Many of them started with only the bare necessities to keep costs low, and now they find themselves needing something more. They need help getting equipment to make their work more efficient. They need e-commerce solutions to make their online presence known. That's where Crest Capital comes in.

Crest Capital offers all sorts of solutions to help established businesses take the next step in growing their companies. They offer financing to help with anything from software purchases to business equipment leasing. They process your loan applications quickly which means you get the things you need to help your business faster than if you applied for a loan with major bank. If you have an established small business and need help obtaining equipment or e-commerce solutions to grow that business, give Crest Capital a moment to show you how they can serve you faster and better than anyone else.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Best Movies~The Past Six Months

I saw this over at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 and wanted to share my list of the movies we've enjoyed over the past six months, whether in the theater or through renting them.

Things We've Rented

  • The Bourne Trilogy ~ I really enjoyed the story. The action was crazy at times and made me dizzy but I like Jason Bourne. I liked all three movies equally.
  • Star Dust ~ I normally don't go for these types of films but I'll have to admit it was better than I thought it would be.
  • Shooter ~ Wonderful movie that I enjoyed very much.
  • We Are Marshall ~ Great movie but heart wrenching.
  • Amazing Grace
  • Masterpiece Theatre: Jane Eyre Part One ~ Didn't rent this but watched it on PBS recently. Part Two will be coming on this Sunday. I had never seen this version and it was really good. Can't wait for all of the Jane Austen ones to come on in the coming months.
  • Reign Over Me ~ A little strange for Adam Sandler but a story that many can relate to.
  • Pan's Labyrinth ~ Not my normal type of favorite but this one had a pretty good story.
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • 1408
  • Ratatouille
  • Copying Beethoven
  • Miss Potter ~ Maybe the best movie we've rented in ages! Loved, loved, loved it.

Things We've Seen At The Theater

  • Enchanted
  • I Am Legend
  • Nancy Drew

I'm certain I've forgotten a few but these are the ones that come to mind. We do not watch tv much, besides football or basketball, but we do have an online movie subscription with Blockbuster. It allows us to see quite a few movies but they've recently changed the subscription rates and decreased the number of movies you can trade in-store. That is not good and we may move back to Netflix. I wish these companies would do their homework before they give you a really great deal and then slowly take it away.


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Another Challenge: First In A Series

I've joined several challenges for 2008 so that I might make a dent in the books around here. The First In A Series Challenge caught my attention because I love a continuing story. Here are the books I've chosen for this challenge and a couple of them overlap with other challenges I'm participating in. However, I am trying to overlap as little as possible so that I can read more books!

  1. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
  2. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
  3. The Time Travelers (The Gideon Trilogy) by Linda Buckley-Archer (I think my kids might enjoy this one!)
  4. Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke
  5. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
  6. Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs
  7. An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan
  8. Letters From Pemberly by Jane Dawkins
  9. Defiant Heart by Tracey Bateman
  10. A Sister's Secret by Wanda Brunstetter
  11. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
  12. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlow

This was a hard list for me to gather! I'm not going to list alternates and hope that I don't run into a book that I absolutely do not enjoy reading :-0)

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Small Business Financing

Have you been thinking about starting a small business? Are you looking for ways to finance and expand that business? If you answered yes, then PCA is the company for you. Preferred Capital Alliance, Inc. wants to help you obtain the financing you need to open that business and make it successful. PCA works with over 200 lenders and lessors to help build your business. Their goal is to help you get better rates and terms than your local bank can offer, and in many cases, they are able to do so. PCA is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and they have built a trustworthy reputation. Want to learn more? Click here to learn about business financing . Go online today to chat with a representative and find out how PCA can work for you.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

YAC 2008

  1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  2. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  3. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
  4. The Ocean of Truth: The Story of Sir Isaac Newton by Joyce McPherson
  5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeliene L'Engle
  7. Valiant for Truth: The Story of John Bunyan by Anne Arnott
  8. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  9. Prison Letters by Corrie ten Boom
  10. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
  11. Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson
  12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling


  • The Diary of Anne Frank
  • The Hobbitt by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

This challenge is being hosted by Thoughts of Joy.


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Security Solutions for Businesses

My husband works in the IT industry and is constantly concerned with security issues. On a daily basis, he uses SSH, SFTP , and telnet services that are built into the operating systems he administrates. Many of the companies that provide these tools fall short in features and security. Pragma Systems focuses entirely on intranet and internet security solutions for businesses. Pragma makes it their business to see that your company receives the fastest and most secure solutions for your needs.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Modern Furniture

There nothing I love more than remodeling things in our home. It's so much fun and so much satisfaction comes from it. There is a lot of that in our future but for now, we're trying to buy nice pieces for our home, as we can afford them. Recently we purchased a new mattress set and we are in the market for a headboard and footboard for it. We have looked in several local stores but couldn't find anything that fit our tastes. While searching online, I came across several things I really like, including a line of modern furniture that caught my attention. It has such a unique style to it and I love things like that. While I'm at it, I think I may see if I can talk the hubby into a new kitchen set!

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Austen Mini-Challenge

Becky, over at Becky's Book Reviews, is hosting a mini-challenge that is sure to be my favorite! Why? Well, only because it features one of my favorite authors, Jane Austen. For this challenge, I'll be reading two Austen novels and I'll watch all six of the Masterpiece Theatre movies coming on in January. The novels I'll read are:

I hope you join in!

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