Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Five

I've enjoyed doing Friday 5 a few times before so here are the questions for today:

1. How and when did you learn to swim?

I learned to swim when I was very young. I'm not sure how old I was but I'm sure it was by the time I was 7. I don't remember taking formal lessons but I do remember my dad throwing me in the lake and naturally, I started to doggie paddle. From there, I just watched people swimming and perfected my skills.

2. How and when did you learn to drive?

I learned to drive at 16. My mom taught me to drive the only car we had, which was a stick shift sports car. I'll never forget one of the first times I was driving. I had to come to a stop on a slight hill and I had not yet mastered the skill of pulling out on a hill. Of course, I totally panicked and started to yell that I couldn't do it and I was going to have to get out and let her do it. I ended up pulling out just fine but it was very scary! Looking back, I'm so glad I learned to drive a stick shift. I don't think I've ever owned anything else.

3. How and when did you learn to tie your shoelaces?

When I was about five, I learned to tie my shoes. I don't remember specifics but there was a lot of practice involved!

4. How and when did you learn to cook?

I learned a lot of things from watching my mom and grandmother. I really learned to cook after I was married. I took all of the things I learned from my mom and grandmother and just incorporated those with trying new things. I'm still not where I'd like to be with my cooking but I am getting more bold with my "experiments."

5. How and when did you learn to type?

I learned to type when I was in 9th grade. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Buckles, that I adored and the class was a lot of fun. Because I was a distance runner in high school, I ran about five miles every day. During those runs, I would use my hands and practice typing long words as I went along. It really helped take my mind off the run plus it helped me memorize the keys on a keyboard/typewriter. To this day, I still do this when I'm on my treadmill. It's amazing how it keeps my mind off of how tired I am from the exercise!


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Au-Pair Services

Because so many women today work, Infant Specialized Care is in demand. Daycare centers are packed to the gills and many working moms find it difficult to find care for their child. Finding a reliable care giver is sometimes extremely hard. Many turn to relatives for help. What happens if you can't find that help? Have you ever considered using an au pair? For many, this may be the perfect solution.

One benefit of having a live-in au pair is that the child is constantly in a familiar environment. For many parents, this will bring them comfort. If you are a working mom in need of child care, be sure to check out this service. I've included the press release below so that you might read more about it.


Despite 55% of U.S. Mothers with Infants In The Workforce, Childcare Providers Offering Specialized Infant Care Services Remain Rare

San Francisco, CA, February 26, 2008 – With over half of U.S. mothers of infants employed outside the home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, most must arrange for infant care. Experts agree that the first year in a child’s life is the most critical developmentally and requires a consistent, nurturing caretaker. With maternity leaves as short as twelve weeks, mothers are confronted with leaving their newborns in someone else’s hands. Unfortunately, with limited training for childcare providers and overcrowding in day care centers, what is a mother to do?

This month AuPairCare (, a leading au pair agency, will begin offering Infant Specialized Care™, a program that provides families with a trained, live-in au pair who specializes in infant care and development, allowing working parents to provide their babies with consistent care in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Demand for this service clearly exists: Based on a survey sent to 400 AuPairCare host families, almost 2/3 of families with infants currently employing au pairs said they would be interested in an infant qualified and trained au pair if the service were offered and would be willing to pay for the additional training.
Infant Specialized Care au pairs receive over 40 hours of infant care training, covering topics, such as feeding, bathing, changing, soothing techniques and safety. Additionally, they receive specialized training in infant stimulation and development, infant massage, infant sign language and certification in Infant First Aid and CPR. This training is complemented by significant hands-on experience working with infants, with each of the Infant Specialized au pairs having at least 400 documented hours of childcare experience with children under the age of two.

“Having my au pair specifically trained to care for my baby will help alleviate some of my ‘mommy guilt.’ Just knowing that my baby is being well cared for and challenged developmentally will allow me to stop worrying and focus on my work,” says Kenna Norris, back-to-work mother of a 13-week old baby.

“With so many women with infants in the workforce and a clear lack of quality providers catering to this age group, developing a tailored au pair service that offers specialized infant training and experience was a priority for AuPairCare.” said Heidi Woehl, Vice President of AuPairCare.

AuPairCare’s Infant Specialized Care program launches this month nationwide.

About AuPairCare
AuPairCare is a leading au pair agency in the United States providing affordable, live-in au pair childcare. Designated by the U.S. Department of State since 1989 as an official au pair agency, AuPairCare has successfully placed over 30,000 au pairs from 40 countries with caring American families. To learn more, please visit

Contact: Karie Stern
Tel: 415-608-9195


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stuck In The Middle by Virginia Smith

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Stuck in the Middle

Revell (February 1, 2008)


Virginia Smith


Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker with the release of her first novel Just As I Am.

Since then she has contracted eight novels and published numerous articles and short stories. She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007) and her newest release, Stuck in the Middle(Revell, February 2008), book 1 in the Sister-to-Sister Series.

Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines. An energetic speaker, she loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

Virginia is a speaker, and an avid Scuba diver. She and her husband Ted, divide their times between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for diving trips to the Caribbean!


Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement-or romance.

That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to catch his eye and get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut and into the life she's been hiding from.

Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that is sure to make you smile.

"A gentle story of one young woman's season of growth, deftly blending the tangle of family relationships with gifts of whimsy and revelation. A joy to read."
~SHARON HINCK, author of Renovating Becky Miller and Symphony of Secrets~


"Virginia Smith has created a charming and humorous novel that celebrates small-town life, generations of women caring for each other, and the value of finding a deeper, more active faith."
~SHARON DUNN, author of the Bargain Hunters mysteries~

*********My Review********

This book was pretty entertaining. I really enjoyed reading it and loved the characters. The sisters were so funny that I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things they did. Since my mother has four sisters, I could imagine them in their youth acting much the same as the sisters in this book. The grandmother was sweet and reminded me of my own grandma. I have a neighbor that reminds me so much of Joan. Through the entire book, I was cheering for Joan, hoping that she would gain confidence and that she would find a godly man to share her life with.

Loved this one and I can't wait to read others by Virginia Smith. After I read the book, I emailed Mrs. Smith to tell her much I enjoyed it. She was kind enough to correspond with me several times and I was able to see what a friendly, down to earth woman she is. I love to support authors like this so if you haven't read this book, please pick up a copy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Do You Eat Oysters?

Two oysters wash up on the beach. One oyster says to the other, "you crack me up!"

Many people eat Gulf oysters and love them. Although I'm not one of those people, I certainly agree that there are many great benefits from eating them. They are loaded with zinc, B-12, and omega 3 fatty acids that make them very good for you. However, did you know that if you have certain health conditions, you are considered "at risk" when consuming raw oysters? If you suffer from a stomach disorder, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, or any other disorder that weakens your immune system, you are considered one of these at risk individuals. If you fall into this category, relax. This doesn't mean you will never eat oysters again. You just have to take extra precautions when consuming them. One thing you can do is eat fully cooked oysters.

You can find this and much more information at

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Wordless Wednesday....Creatures @ GA Aquarium


For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit

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Pop Up TV, Who Knew!

You all know that everyone in our family is an avid sports fan. We love, love, love football especially. Several years ago, we bought a big screen tv. It's huge and bulky and takes up a lot of floor space. The only love I feel for it is the huge screen it has to display our beloved UT Vols and our favorite NFL teams. I'm always surprised by how quickly technology advances. We all know that as soon as soon as we buy a product, before we get it home even, something better is going to come out. It's crazy!

I'm not sure if these have been around for awhile or not but I can say that I drooled BIG TIME when I saw this pop-up tv . All of your accessories are hidden and all you have to do is hit a button and viola, out pops your tv. How cool is that! Now you can have this pretty piece of furniture that secretly holds your tv and all of the other junk that drives me nuts. I just love them and although they are a little pricey, the next time we have to invest in a tv, it's going to be something like this.

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Weekend Reflection

It was an eventful weekend in our house. On Friday, hubby left for Charleston, SC. He competed in his first bagpipe competition on Saturday but went down a day early so he could rest up. After he left Friday, the girls and I managed to have a productive school day before leaving to run some errands. We had to pick up a gift for a sweet gal who was having a birthday sleep over Friday night and invited Caroline. The birthday gal is the daughter of our pastor so his family was kind enough to invite Logan and I to stay for supper. We had a great time celebrating this birthday and really enjoyed fellowshipping with a few members from our church who were there. This was the first time I had eaten pizza since starting WW's and I did very well. I had one slice with a very large portion of salad. I even skipped the chocolate layer cake but that was tough! We had a wonderful time and left around 8:30. Logan invited the oldest daughter to come along to see a movie with us and sleep over at our place. The three of us took off to see The Spiderwick Chronicles and we really enjoyed it. The movie didn't start until 10 so it was after midnight when we got home. I think the girls ended up staying awake until 3am watching Gone With the Wind.

Saturday was competition day for Jeff. We didn't hear from him until late afternoon but he did very well. He played three pieces and placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. He also placed 2nd overall for the day! He was even blessed to win a scholarship toward piping school. Logan and friend slept in because they stayed up so late. Caroline arrived home around 1:30 and our guest was picked up then as well. In the evening, I went grocery shopping and then prepared to watch the UT mens basketball team play #1 ranked Memphis at 9pm. I waited all day for it to come on and I was not disappointed. The UT men won and will be ranked #1 now!

Sunday, Jeff got home from Charleston about an hour after we got home from church. We took it easy all day and just rested. At 9pm, the last part of Pride & Prejudice was on Masterpiece Theater so, of course, I watched it. Afterwards, Jeff and I watched a wonderful movie (I'll be posting about it later this week).

Today we were off for piano lessons at 2:00 and afterwards we made our library run. How about you, what did you do this weekend?

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Buy A Girl A Watch

Need a gift for the lady in the family? If so, check out these womens gold watches . I am terrible at keeping up with the time and a big factor is that I don't have a watch. I would love to wear one and I have in the past. The problem is that no matter what kind of watch I buy, it dies after a month. It's crazy. I'm starting to think I have some kind of "watch curse" that will not allow the watch to work very long once it's on my wrist! Seriously, it's a real hassle to do without one and it would be the perfect gift for me. Most moms I know are multitaskers and keeping up with the time is crucial. So if you know a lady who doesn't have a watch, go out and buy her one. She'll definitely use it and you can smile knowing you've made her life a little easier.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday ~ Feb. 25

Last week was a good week. All of the new recipes I tried were a hit except one. It could have been better and next time I know what I can add to it to make it great. I'm really impressed with all of the Weight Watchers recipes so far. This week, I'll be making five new recipes.

Monday ~ Boca Chicken Patties, Broccoli and Cheese, Vegetarian Beans

Tuesday ~ Southwestern Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup (WW), Salad, Bread (We were supposed to have this last week but didn't)

Wednesday ~ We will be eating with a family from church

Thursday ~ Penne w/Vodka Sauce (WW), Salad, Bread

Friday ~ Monte Cristo Sandwiches (WW), Cumin Spiced Oven Fries (WW), Salad

Saturday ~ Chicken Fajitas (WW), Fat-Free Refried Beans, Low-Fat Chips and Homemade Salsa

Sunday ~ Taco Soup (WW), Salad

As before, if you are interested in any of these recipes, let me know and I'll share them with you. Several of them are available to WW's members only therefore I can't link directly to them. For more MPM's, visit Laura.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Golf Anyone?

I would love to find a sport that Jeff and I could enjoy together. In the past, I was a long distance runner and he sure isn't into that. We've talked about golf and I think it would be a wonderful sport for us to enjoy together. He always talks about how expensive it is but I wonder, if I were to buy him some fancy golf shoes, would that change his mind?

I've never played in my life. The closest I've come is miniature golf. I'm not great at that but with some practice, I think I could master it. I have to admit that golf bores me a little when I watch it on television so I'm not sure how I would like playing it. I guess I could always do some doughnuts with the golf cart if things get a little too quiet.

How about you? What sport do you and your hubby enjoy together?

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thirteen Things I've Learned With Weight Watchers

Ok, for the past three weeks, I've attended local WW's meetings. I must say that I think I'm in love with the Flex Plan. I'm about 25lbs. too lovable and wanted to feel better so that's why I started. One of the things you learn at WW's is that mental strength is your friend. Making this list is going to help me reflect on the past three weeks so that I will remember how much progress I've made. When I have a tough week, I can come read this list again and know that I can be successful. Annie and JennaG, I hope you are having as much fun with WW's as I am!

  1. I've learned exactly how many calories and fat grams are in the things that I normally eat. Wow! You would be amazed at what we put into our bodies!
  2. That there are healthier alternatives out there and if you are a little bit creative, they can be just as tasty.
  3. That salsa is a gal's best friend (it has a 0 point value and makes everything taste better).
  4. That my tennis shoes really do have a purpose. They aren't supposed to be tucked under my bed with no hope of ever coming out. Who knew!
  5. That keeping a journal of your food intake every day is very helpful. When you see those points being used as you eat, it's really hard for me to make myself cheat!
  6. That in a little more than two weeks, I'm 5lbs. lighter. Woooooo hoooooooo!!! I've lost 2.5lbs each week for the past two weigh-ins.
  7. That exercising self control really makes a difference in your success and attitude.
  8. That being overweight is very common. When I see the other ladies (and a few men) in the meeting each week, I realize just how out of hand we've become as a nation. Our health is at risk here yet fast food chains continue to put out greasy, fatty, unhealthy foods. People are way too busy and because of this, fast food becomes second nature.
  9. That watching what you eat can become contagious. My hubby is loosely following the flex plan and he's 11 lbs. lighter. I've also found my girls calculating a points value for everything they eat. This is wonderful because a lot of what they like in the store is stuff that is terrible for them. They are understanding why one candy bar might be ok but 2 or 3 candy bars is bad. This causes them to pick up a piece of fruit rather than that old fatty candy.
  10. That eating because of emotion really doesn't make you feel better. Trust me, I used to do that and it would make me feel sick.
  11. That eating out can be fun and inexpensive. Hubby and I went to Chili's last week and I resisted the molten chocolate cake and other fatty things I would have normally ordered. He did too. The result was a $16 tab! BONUS!!!
  12. That eating according to the flex plan is very manageable and plenty of food.You will not starve to death, although the first week you may think you're going to!
  13. That there are more people following WW's than you would imagine. Since starting it, I've found 5 or 6 ladies at church who follow it. I never knew it either!

For more Thursday Thirteen's, go here.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ten On Tuesday ~ Ten Things I Love

I think this one will be very easy for me. I love many things, as my blog name reflects. These are only a few of the many, but several of these are the most important things in life.

  1. The Lord ~ Apart from His grace, I would be lost and wandering in this world. I am so glad that He chose me, loves me, and continues to refine me.
  2. My husband ~ God sent the perfect man for me. We complement each other so well and we truly did become one when we married.
  3. My children ~ I am convinced that I have the most wonderful children in the world. They are the apple of my eye.
  4. My duty ~ As wife and mother, I am absolutely fulfilled. I love that God designed this role for women and I seek to glorify Him through it.
  5. My extended family ~ I have the sweetest mom, the most wonderful in-laws, two awesome aunties (Kat and Z, I love ya!), many cousins, a beautiful (almost) 85 year old grandma, and the best church family in the world.
  6. Our pets ~ All five kitties and our cuddly mini-schnauzer.
  7. My friends ~ I have many and I cherish them all. Jenny happens to be the closest to me and we totally "get" each other. She gets more praise because of that! I have to say that I really have enjoyed making internet friends this past year or so. Y'all are great!
  8. Good food ~ And lots of it! LOL! Mexican and Japanese are my favorite. Pizza is a food I could eat for every meal. I also really love chocolate chip cookie dough pop tarts. Since I started weight watchers a few weeks ago, all of this food is "off the table" until by goal is reached. Oddly enough, weight watchers recipes are really pretty good.
  9. My MacBook ~ It's like an extra arm. I communicate mostly via email and chat because I detest phones. I bank, do lesson plans, keep records and recipes, and do odd jobs on it. Many women love their shoes or pocketbooks. Me, you'll find me hugging my Mac. That's how I roll!
  10. Life ~ I love every minute of it. The only way it could be better would be if I could live it without sin.

For more Ten On Tuesdays, visit the official site.


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday ~ Week of Feb. 18

Since starting Weight Watchers two weeks ago, my cooking habits have changed drastically. I'm adapting all of my recipes so that they are healthier. Many of these are WW recipes and I can't link to them because they are for online subscribers only. If you'd like any of them, email me and I'll share them with you.

Monday ~ California Chicken Pita (Weight Watchers), Salad, Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday ~ Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup (WW), Homemade tortilla chips (WW), salsa

Wednesday ~ Pork Chops w/corn and cilantro salsa, Green beans, Mashed Potatoes

Thursday ~Italian Pork and Pepper Sandwiches (WW), Low-fat chips, Salad

Friday ~ Creamy Pasta w/ Bell Peppers, Salad, Whole Wheat Roll

Saturday ~ Boca Burgers, Potato Wedges, Salad

Sunday ~ Southwestern Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup (WW), Sandwiches

For more menu ideas, visit Laura.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

My Mom, The Workaholic

My mom has worked in retail for over 25 years. She's been a store manager for most of that time. Recently, she found out that the company she works for is tentatively planning to close the store where she works. It's in Beckley, WV and the store is surrounded by competition. The thing is, they were supposed to close it back in October. Here it is mid-February and the store is still open and going strong. Mom is a really hard worker. She is one of those employees that gives so much to a company only to get very little in return. She has always received wonderful reviews and regular raises. The thing is, the job isn't worth it. It hasn't been for a really long time. She's very over worked, stressed, and very down. I guess that's understandable, seeing as how she doesn't know what she'll do for work in the future. I'm trying to encourage her to be thinking about what she really enjoys doing. Once the store actually closes, she'll get a severance package that will allow her a little time to figure things out. We've asked her to move in with us and take a break from work. She could settle in with us for awhile, take it easy, and slowly figure out what she would like to do. She would be closer to her sisters and her mom. She would get to spend quality time with our family and we would love to have her. I'm not sure that she's truly considering it but maybe if she reads this post, she'll think a little harder :-o) There's nothing like good old-fashioned peer pressure!

Anyway, mom is a huge Don Williams fan. She likes old country music. Growing up, I remember listening to Don, Skeeter Davis, Glen Campbell, and George Jones. Since many of these musicians have moved their acts to Branson, MO, I think mom needs to take a little vacation and head that way. She could stay in one of the many fine Branson hotels , take in a few shows, and then head back home. It would do her a world of good. She's never really taken a break from her job. When she takes a vacation, it's usually to come home to Virginia and care for her mom.

A few days ago, mom was told that the new "close date" is the end of March. I really hope that they do it this time. In the meantime, I'm going to be thinking (and making a list) of all the things she could do for work in the future. I'd love to see her start her own business and work out of her home. Of course, I want her home to be here in Tennessee with us. She's still young at 51 and is excellent with interior design. If any of you have suggestions or ideas, send them my way. I want my mom back!

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Friday Fun ~ Gaming Edition

I haven't done a Friday Fun meme before and this one looked fun. So, here it is:

1. What was your favorite outside childhood game? Kick the Can, Ghost in the Graveyard, etc.? When I was young, I really liked kick ball. We played it at school all the time and it was fun to come home and play with neighborhood children too. I'm embarrassed to say that the part I liked best was how you could throw the ball and hit someone to get them out. I guess maybe I was a mean child :-o)

2. How about board games? Do you have a favorite?
I really do like board games. We have many tucked away in our closet. Some of my favorites are Scattergories, Cranium, Pictionary, Phase 10, Rook (although I'm not the greatest player), TriBond, Trivial Pursuit and Blurt. The kids were given Smarter Than A Fifth Grader for Christmas and I actually enjoy it as well.

3. Do you play any PC games? Online or offline? If so, what is your favorite? If not, is there one out there you want to try?
I really do like online games. I played one for a time. My hubby is a huge MMPORPG gamer. Years ago, he played Dark Age of Camelot and talked me into playing with him. It was a ton of fun and very addictive! I had to quit playing because I was spending way too much time playing. However, I'd play again in a heartbeat if I could find a way to manage my time better. Hubby still plays them. Right now, he's playing Lord of the Rings online. He's played everything from Star Wars (which didn't last long), World of Warcraft, to EverQuest. There are tons more but their names escape me.

4. Gaming stations,… there are so many out there and I know jack about them! Do you have one or more and which ones? XBox, XBox 360, Playstation, etc.?
We have an XBox but I don't really like these types of game systems. I'm not sure why because I loved the Nintendo my brother and I had as kids. The girls like the XBox but I think that I might like a Wii. Of course, I don't like the idea of paying for it! LOL!

For more Friday Fun participants, visit the official site.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Special Privileges?

Are you a doctor, lawyer, or a dentist? Do you live in the UK or are you thinking of moving there? Do you need a Commercial Mortgage ? If so, you may be able to get some special treatment. Did you know that some lenders will work harder for people in professional jobs? They do so because they say it is more likely that someone in a professional position will be able to repay their loan. Some of these lenders will loan out more than they would if you did not hold a professional job.

On paper, that makes perfect sense. If someone draws a bigger salary, they can afford more. Lenders look at these professionals as guaranteed customers. I have a different take on things because I have known people with professional jobs who have been very careless with money or they have not been very good at managing it. Maybe the overall statistics support the idea that these lenders hold to. Maybe I'm the one who is way off. What I do think is that credit scores speak for themselves. No matter how much money you do or do not make, you have to have a good credit rating to get anything. If you keep that up and pay your bills like you ought to, your credit score continues to climb. This makes it easier for you to purchase necessary things. It doesn't matter what kind of job or title you hold. If you've got a good credit score, I'd give you a loan!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time Travel Tuesday ~ Favorite Pet Edition

Did you have a favorite pet as a child? What was it?

Where did it come from?

What was the coolest thing about your pet?

This week, Annie has asked us to share memories of our favorite childhood pet. For me, this is a tough one. Growing up, we had all sorts of animals at various times. At one point, we had a blue doberman and a red doberman, a white terrier mix named Rags, and Egore, our favorite long-haired gray "man cat." Boy did he have attitude! They were all wonderful pets and we were very attached to each of them. None of them can compare to Grumpy though.

My step-dad worked (and still does) for the power company when I was growing up. One day while he was working, he happened upon a baby groundhog. It was very small and apparently had been abandoned by its momma. Fearing that the little guy would wonder into the road, my step-dad scooped it up, put it in a shoe box, and brought it home. At this point, the little thing was small enough to fit into the palms of our hands. My brother and I would feed him and he tolerated us petting him pretty well, for a wild animal. Our thoughts were to help him grow big enough so that we could safely release him.

Grumpy continued to grow and his home became our basement. He was pretty gentle for the most part and loved supper time. At this point, "Grump" was a "teenage" groundhog but we hung onto him because he was so much a part of our family. One day after school, I went to the basement with a bowl of milk, which was Grump's favorite meal. He must have woke up in a bad mood that day because he started to make some very scary noises at me as I carried the milk. The problem was that he wanted the milk and he wanted it right then. He didn't care that I was taking it to his normal feeding spot. He just wanted the milk. The noises he made frightened me so much that I remember jumping to the top of our washing machine. When Grump started to drink the milk, I made a mad dash back upstairs. I decided right then that I no longer wanted to feed him.

I can't remember the circumstances leading up to his escape but Grumpy did indeed escape. While I loved the idea of a pet groundhog, I was quite glad to see him go. I can't imagine what would have happened if he had gotten mean enough to bite me. I would have been scarred for life! I love to tell the story of him though. Most of my friends thought we were crazy. Maybe we were, but little ole' Grumpy was our favorite pet groundhog.

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Are You A Pet Lover?

Do you love reading pet stories? If so, you've got to check out Thoughts Fur Paws. This blog is a place where pet owners can connect to share stories about their pets, as well as a host of other Pet Information. You can find posts about microchipping your pet, buying insurance for them, and even poems about pets. There are stories written from a pet's perspective that are pretty cute. I enjoyed the post that included an online quiz you can take to tell you whether you are more like a cat or a dog. It was a lot of fun and as I expected, I am more cat. That makes sense since we have four cats!

If you love talking about your pet and would like to connect with others who love to do the same, check them out. You'll find lots of information and many amusing stories. Enjoy!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

And The Winner Is......

Sorry for the late post. We woke up this morning to find that we had no heat :-) Not to worry, it was our own fault. With all of the running to and from the hospital the past two weeks, we (I) had neglected to order more propane. I even remember hubby telling me to do it last week but it just slipped my mind. Funny thing happened though. I called our gas company to have them bring some out but they informed me that they wouldn't have a delivery truck in our area until Friday. Huh, huh. Very funny. Oh, they were serious. The young gal on the phone acted like it didn't matter to her one way or the other whether we had heat or not. Now, I fully understand that this was an oversight on our (my) part and I told her that. However, she offered nothing in the way of understanding. In fact, I could not engage her in conversation at all. She just said that no one could come until Friday. After I had a small meltdown, I called hubby and told him the news. We have been planning to switch companies for some time, so this morning was a good day for it. I called up a few places, compared prices and service, and chose the nicest, most economic company. They were kind enough to work us into their schedule and will come out today to install a new gas tank and fill it up. Customer service is not dead folks. It's just scarce these days. Again, I realize that this was a stupid mistake on my part so I can't gripe too much. I guess I just got overwhelmed the last couple of weeks because my BIL had a kidney/pancreas transplant and my MIL had a heart attack. Nothing major :-o)

Anyway, without further ado, the winner of Sisters, Ink is Judi at Momma's Mind Sweep. Even though I'm mad at Judi for not telling me she was in my neck of the woods, I am glad she won the book! You see, she came up and visited Jenny a few days ago. Neither of them called me. I'm not sure what to make of it. Sounds like a conspiracy to me! I guess I'm just not important enough :-o) Or maybe they got together to talk about me! LOL! Just kidding girls!

I used a random number generator to pick the lucky winner. Thanks to all who entered. And remember, order your propane when your hubby tells you too!

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Need A Ride?

With gas prices soaring and no end in sight, we are doing all we can to conserve. We've combined our trips so that I usually take one day a week to run all of our errands. On Mondays, we have piano lessons so I've started doing my grocery shopping on that day as well. Thankfully, Jeff only has to go into the office two days each week. Since the office is an hour from our home, the miles and gas expense really add up. I can't imagine what it would be if he had to drive to the office five days a week.

I have no idea how college students make it these days. They usually have lots of running to do between going to school and holding down a job. Add to that, the expense of housing and you've got yourself a hefty sum. What if you are a student who doesn't own a car? You would have no way to get around and that would be even harder. It is very neat that places like are popping up. GoHov is a wonderful tool that students can use to help them save on gas. It will help them find other students or even friends who are looking to share rides to and from various places. Safety would be my biggest concern with these types of arrangements but GoHov offers common sense guidelines to help students determine the most reliable, safe rides available. If you're a student and could use a service like this, check them out and remember, safety first.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Just Wondering Why

I had to take my MIL to the ER last night. She had a severe heart attack about two weeks ago and has been recovering at home. Yesterday, she had such difficulty breathing that she called her cardiologist and he told her to go to the ER for a chest X-ray. Easy, right? Huh, huh. I picked her up about 6:30 and we were in the ER by 7:00. We checked in and sat down amid twenty other colorful characters in the waiting area :-o) They called us back and asked her a gazillion questions before finally taking her to a room. Once in that room, a nurse came in and did his thing and left us to wait for the ER doc.

This is the part where things started to go blurry for me. About an hour and a half later, the doctor popped into the room, spent five minutes asking questions and listening to her lungs, and popped out again. The nurse came back in, took some blood (lots of it actually), gave her some lasix, and out he went. A little more than an hour later, the doctor popped back in again, said she had some fluid build up on her lungs, that he needed to consult with the cardiologist on call, and that most likely, she'd be spending the night. Out he went and we were left to sit for another hour before the nurse popped in to "see if we needed anything." At this point, we were four hours into our ER adventure, neither of us had eaten supper, and the ER was getting busier by the minute. I could see patients being placed on cots in the hallway. As a matter of fact, there were two patients outside our door. I assume they were waiting to get into the room we were occupying. An hour and a half later, the nurse pops in to tell us he's doing paperwork to get my MIL a room. I failed to mention that during this 5 1/2 hour confinement, we witnessed a couple brawling in the waiting area, a two-year old having seizures next door, and a man with facial fractures decided the ER staff was taking too long and he was leaving AMA. Oooookkkkkaaaaaayyy! A wonderful way to spend a Friday night.

Here's my question, and my complaint. What in the name of all that is good and holy are they doing during that 5 1/2 hour time frame? I know they are working and that there are multiple patients to deal with. I fully understand that and I am thankful for modern medicine. I do question the efficiency of an emergency room though. Do they only staff it with one doctor? Why do they not have shared records with other departments in the hospital? For example, in the rush to get to the ER, my MIL forgot to pick up her meds. When we got to triage and they asked what meds she took, she couldn't tell them because many of them are meds she started since her heart attack. She didn't have them all memorized yet :-o) This is the same hospital that she was in two weeks ago. Why were they not able to pull up her records and see that for themselves?

My FIL goes to a local VA hospital (for veterans). He has a patient number and anytime he goes for a visit, whether it be a routine visit or a visit to their ER, he gives them his patient number and they are able to electronically pull up all of his records. They can tell everything from this. If it's been a while since he's been there, they just ask him questions and update it. This seems like a no-brainer. So why in the world doesn't our local hospital have this same set-up? I really need to understand this because these are the types of things that bug me and make me never want to go to the doctor. I also need to mention another situation that I noted. When the nurse came in to draw blood, he ended up having to leave to get supplies to do so. What is up with that? Why are these rooms not better stocked? This is where we go for emergencies. Shouldn't they be prepared for emergencies? To me, being prepared means having everything you might need right there in the room. They have a whole set of cabinets and drawers dedicated for supplies. Why were they not there last night?

I truly want to understand these things. I don't expect perfection but I do expect hospitals to have it together. I expect them to have the things they need to work with right there. When I see things like I saw last night, it makes me fearful of ever having to go to the ER. I see the ER nurses running around like mad trying to take care of multiple patients and I wonder how they keep it all together. I guess what bothers me is that I see so much potential for error in situations like this. Unnecessary errors. Somebody please help me understand. Am I just being unreasonable?

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Friday, February 8, 2008

The Friday Five

1. Do you consider yourself to be a good housekeeper? Why or why not?

I think I'm a pretty good housekeeper but there is always room for improvement. I like the house to be tidy. When it's untidy, it stresses me. I'm a firm believer in "a place for everything and everything in its place." Having said that, I won't say that everything in our home has a place but I strive for that.

2. Are there any household chores that you enjoy doing? If so, what and why?

I enjoy doing laundry (washing, drying, and folding). Cleaning windows and washing walls are others that I enjoy. I feel like I've exercised when I do those!

3. Which household chore frustrates/angers you the most?

I can't think of anything that angers me. I am frustrated by the accumulation of piles of things around the house. I do not enjoy cleaning up a pile of clothes that someone has laid across a chair or bed :-o) I guess the only thing that truly frustrates me is trying to keep the floors clean.

4. When doing household chores, what do you do to make them seem less of a "chore"?

I love to listen to music while I clean. Classical music is wonderful for this. I find myself lost in the music and don't really think about the chore I'm doing. I also like to get the kids involved so that things are done quickly.

5. Which chore do you find yourself doing most often, and why?

Even my hubby could answer this one. I am most often doing his favorite.... Vacuuming! I have to rib him because he is always picking on me about using the vacuum. I have no idea why he does either. I mean, doesn't everyone vacuum at midnight? LOL! I do this most often because I'm obsessive over clean floors.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thirteen Things To Say No To While Following WW's

Today's list is in honor of all the foods I've loved before :-o) A dear friend talked me into doing Weight Watchers with her. I'm into my third day of it and it's going well. I'm learning to eat differently (more healthy) and decrease my portion sizes (which desperately needed to happen). Overall, I think this is something I can stick to and I'm feeling better already. I guess this is what it feels like when you don't stuff yourself full of sugar for every meal! Here are thirteen things I love that I'll be saying "no" to while on this journey.

  1. Moolattes from DQ
  2. Hot fudge sundaes from McD's
  3. Mexican (we will still eat it occasionally but it will be very limited for a time)
  4. Pizza (only two slices per meal now)
  5. Cake for breakfast in the mornings
  6. Chocolate chip cookie dough pop tarts (my all time favorite fix!)
  7. 80% lean beef (we're buying the good stuff for awhile. We can afford it since we eat less and are measuring portion sizes)
  8. Tiramisu (my other all time favorite)
  9. Regular ranch dressing (using fat-free Italian and it's tasty)
  10. Lots of white bread (I'll miss it but whole wheat bread is very good)
  11. Hershey Sundae pie from BK
  12. Sweet tea (this is pretty easy since diet soda is my favorite drink)
  13. Being a couch potato (yep, I've even gone so far as to make an exercise plan)

This is a big change for me but I know it'll be a good one. I tend to eat so much sugar that it's ridiculous. With hypothyroidism, I don't need anything else to make me tired. This is going to be a good thing! Thanks to Kasi for getting me into gear! Now, if only I could get her to blog!

For more TT's, visit the official site.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cool Giveaway

Judi, over at Doodlebug Designs, is giving away some sweet prizes in celebration of her new business venture. Get on over there and check it out.

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Sisters, Ink. Review & Giveaway

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sister's Ink

Broadman & Holman Books (February 1, 2008)


Rebeca Seitz

Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, PRINTS CHARMING was her first novel.

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian world view.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.


Sisters, Ink marks the first in a series of novels written by, for, and about scrapbookers. At the center of the creativity and humor are four unlikely young adult sisters, each separately adopted during early childhood into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair.

Ten years after their mother Marilyn has died, the multi-racial Sinclair sisters (Meg, Kendra, Tandy, and Joy) still return to her converted attic scrapping studio in the small town of Stars Hill, Tennessee, to encourage each other through life’s highs and lows.

Book one spotlights headstrong Tandy, a successful yet haunted attorney now living back in Orlando where she spent the first eight years of her life on the streets as a junkie’s kid. When a suddenly enforced leave of absence at work leads her to an extended visit with her sisters in Stars Hill, a business opportunity, rekindled romance, and fresh understanding of God’s will soon follow.


"What more can any woman want? Sisters, Ink weaves the love of sisters, the fun of scrapbooking, and a romance as sugary and tingling as Sweet Home Alabama. A must read for those who love southern fiction."--DiAnn Mills, author of Leather and Lace and When the Nile Runs Red

"Fun . . . funny . . . fantastic! Rebeca Seitz has brought together scrapbooking and sisterhood in a lively romp, with a love for going home again."--Eva Marie Everson, coauthor of The Potluck Club series.

*My Review*

The first couple chapters of this book were a little slow going. Once I got a little further into the book, I started to enjoy it. I really enjoyed reading about the sisters and how they were so connected. They reminded me a lot of my aunts, each unique in their own way. Tandy is worried about repaying the parents who adopted her and gave her such a wonderful life. She goes about it all wrong though, putting her career before everything else in her life. Meg is a wonderful, spunky, homeschooling mom who tells Tandy like it is (Seitz gets brownie points with me for throwing a homeschool mom into the mix). Kendra is artsy, sassy, and fun. Joy is reserved and quiet yet tries hard to be a good wife. Each of them bring a different, wonderful quality to the story.

Scrapbooking was a central theme that brought these sisters together in a special way. They liked to spend time together, carrying on this tradition that their mother started years before. I loved the small town setting of the book since I too come from a small town. The romance between Tandy and Clay was cute and reminded me of friends I had in high school. A young couple in love, torn apart by the decision of one party. They run into each other years later and find that their love is still as strong as ever.

This was a cute story and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. It's an easy read and is around 335 pages. The story flows well, which kept me interested. I found as I got toward the end of the book, it was harder to pull myself away from it. I wanted to finish so that I could see how Tandy's situation was resolved. This is the first book I've read by Seitz but I will be reading another.

Overall, cute book, easy to read, with a story that many of us can relate to (lost love, disappointment, death of a family member). Because I enjoyed the book, I'd like to pass it along for your enjoyment. If interested in winning my copy, leave a comment between now and Sunday, February 10th. I'll draw the lucky winner and post it first thing Monday morning (Feb. 11). Since shipping is outrageous, I'll only ship within the U.S. You do not have to have a blog to enter. Simply leave your email address in the comments so that I may contact you if you win.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ten Things To Do Instead of Watching TV

There are lots of things we can do instead of watching television. These are ten things that I'm most likely to do without tv.

  1. Read ~ I've got several book challenges going and I try and use every second I can squeeze in to meet these goals.
  2. Play a board game with the girls ~ Lately it's been Blink or Monopoly
  3. Clean something ~ Yep, I'm sick that way!
  4. Do laundry ~ When all else fails, I actually put up the laundry that I fold. I don't like to do it but I do it :-o)
  5. Read blogs
  6. Email/Chat with friends online
  7. Browse recipes
  8. Sleep
  9. Listen to the radio ~ I used to love to listen to UT football games rather than watching. That was before John Ward retired!
  10. Craft something ~ Right now I'm stitching on a quilt that Jenny made for a sweet little boy named Rhett. She doesn't have a picture up of it but when we get it finished, I'll bug her to post it!

For more TOT's, go here.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

What A Game!

What a spectacular Super Bowl! I am still stunned. Oh, I'm happy, but stunned. I'm stunned by what a hard-fought match up this turned out to be. I'm thrilled that Eli and company got the win.

We're hard core football fans and I was a little deflated when my Colts lost. They're my first love you see. Then my Cowboys got ousted but it didn't hurt as bad because they were beaten by the Packers. Gotta love Brett Farve. He is my favorite QB to watch. He just has a love of the game that inspires a person. You know he is having fun when he plays football. When the Packers were beaten by the Giants, I was a little sad. I've always liked the Giants but I really wanted this to be Farve's year. I have to admit, when the Giants beat the Packers and I knew they were going to the Super Bowl, I didn't give them a chance. I wanted them to have one but I thought they'd get their socks blown off. Looking back on it now, I'm not sure why I thought that. During regular season, the Giants gave the Pats one of their toughest games. Silly me! Seems that no one else was giving the Giants a chance yesterday either. I think out of all the coaches/players/commentators picks I saw, only Mike Ditka picked the Giants. Way to go coach! I'm thrilled for the Manning family, for Eli, for the Giants organization, but mostly for Michael Strahan. He's such a charismatic, funny guy and I'm glad to see him get a win after 15 seasons. I was shocked to find out that he has played his entire career with the Giants! That's pretty cool.

I'm sad that it's over until fall. We will keep ourselves busy with our UT basketball teams for now. Come summer, we'll be counting down the days until football season starts. I already can't wait! Hey Stacy, if Romo keeps it up with this Jessica Simpson thing, I'm hanging up that old #9! LOL!

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Real Estate Help in Canada

We have always wanted to visit Canada. We have a friend who has a summer home there. At the end of the summer, he travels up there to stay for a few months. He loves it up there. I'm not sure where his place is but I recently happened upon some photos of Lethbridge and it was beautiful. The mountains were breathtaking and it looks like such a serene place. It seems to be a nice place to have a summer home or to go on vacation.

It seems that more and more people are buying real estate in areas like this and using it to rent out to tourists. It's a pretty good plan if you ask me. If you are considering this option, you'll need some professional help. Meet Donna Wilde, a Lethbridge Real Estate Agent and Learn How to Increase the Value of Your Property in Less than a Week. Donna can help you prepare your property so that you get the most out of it. If you've ever had any experience with selling a home, you know how tedious it can become. Let the pros help you.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Movie Review Sunday #2

My sweet 13 yo daughter is having a lot of fun learning to use Photoshop. She made me this cute little graphic for Movie Review Sunday. I think she did a great job since this is her first one. Oh, and did I mention that she just started using Photoshop about an hour ago? Smarty britches! Anyway, here's what we've seen this week and my two cents about them! Enjoy!

Live Free or Die Hard


Hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long), not knowing who he is working for, finishes work on a computer program and sends it to Mai Linh (Maggie Q), who advises her boss and lover, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), that they can now proceed with their evil plan. The criminal mastermind begins killing the hackers he hired by exploding their computers by means of a virus he has implanted, and commencing the initial stages of a computer attack on US government networks.

We liked this one pretty well. I know I've seen some of the earlier Die Hard movies but it's been a long time. I really wasn't in the mood to watch this but half way through the movie, I was glad hubby suggested it. This one has lots of action and a pretty good plot. If you've seen the other movies and liked them, you're sure to like this one. I like Bruce Willis in these types of films. Overall, good action movie.

Ocean's 13


When senior Ocean member Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) gets double crossed by the scheming Willie Bank (Al Panico), the Ocean team decide it is time to get even, but this time, with the help of an old enemy.

Together, they decide that the goal here is not to take Bank's money, but make him loose it and his Five Diamond awards. Through a series of scams, they rig every game in the casino, making everything pay out to any player there. Underground, they create an earthquake, causing everyone in the casino to evacuate, removing Bank's chance of winning it back.

Through out the movie, the Five Diamond reviewers time at the casino is sabotaged through various means (chicken pox-like infection on his towels, laxatives in his food, terrible smelling insence being burned in his room, and overall bad service) and he reviews it very poorly, taking Bank's chance at winning another Five Diamond with him.

At the end, after successfully pulling off the heist, Rusty (Brat Pitt) rigs one last machine in the Airport, letting the reviewer who they un-willingly put through all the problems hit the jackpot before boarding his plane.

I was a little disappointed in this movie. Hubby liked it but I didn't feel that it was as good as the first two. I love all the characters but I found this one lacking. I think I even slept through parts of it. I missed Julia Roberts nagging Clooney in this one. Overall, I was not thrilled.

Evan Almighty


In director Tom Shadyac's raucous follow-up to the 2003 comedy Bruce Almighty (also helmed by Shadyac), God (Morgan Freeman) summons narcissistic newscaster turned congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an enormous ark in preparation for a devastating flood. Unfortunately, Evan's perplexed family interprets his latest hobby as a midlife crisis gone wrong rather than as a divine assignment from the man upstairs.

Pretty cute movie. Great family movie. I don't remember any questionable material in this one. Steve Carell is not my favorite actor because he has a dry sense of humor that I just don't get. He did a pretty good job in this one though. So overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield Park

I love Jane Austen. I really do. I'm just not thrilled with these versions of her work. Many of these versions are only 90 minutes and you just can't cover her work in that length of time. One of the things I love about Austen is her sense of humor and her sarcasm. I feel the movies are lacking in this, which makes them only mediocre for me. Because I love her work, I will watch all of these versions but I don't expect my opinion of them to change. (If you miss these movies on Masterpiece Theatre, they are available for purchase). The movie coming on tonight, "Miss Austen Regrets, " looks very promising.

If you have movies to review, please let me know by signing Mr. Linky below. You can also grab the button if you'd like!


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Friday, February 1, 2008

Are You A Leap Year Baby?

Yesterday, my 13yo asked me, "if someone is born on February 29, which only comes around during leap years, how do they celebrate their birthdays each year?"

I can't say that I've ever thought about it but now it's driving me nuts. So, if you were born on February 29, please share your answer with us. My husband thinks it's cool because you only age every four years :-o) He's a silly bird. It is kind of cool though, if you're an adult. However, if you're a child, I'm sure you don't think it's so great. I think it would be a neat excuse to throw a huge birthday bash every four years!


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Are You Political?

The last few days, I've spent time trying to get hubby and I ready to vote in the November election. We've had some problems with the election commission "not receiving" our address change from four years ago. Go figure! Anyway, I was on the phone several times yesterday and finally got it all squared away. We will not be able to vote in the primary but we are all set for the general election. I'm very relieved because we are actually excited about the election this year.

I'm online a lot, listening to candidates or reading about their various positions on things. I find it very interesting and I like to be well informed. ElectionQlips is a new site that allows people like you and me to leave comments in some pretty interesting ways. While watching videos of the candidates, we can add our own audio, text, or images. For example, if a candidate is talking about an issue that I believe strongly in, I can record myself, reflecting my own opinion, and it will be added so that people all over the world can hear it. If you look at the video above, you'll see those little blue bubbles. Those are viewer comments. I think this is a neat way to see that "our voices are heard" since we may introduce a different point that others may have failed to think about. I'm including the press release about the Web site so that you might better understand how it all works. Go check it out. If you're interested in politics at all, I think you'll like it. All they need to do is add some Ron Paul videos to the mix!

Press Release:

QlipMedia ( has just launched the public beta version of ElectionQlips (, a new destination to discuss all that is Election 2008. Readers can share their comments with the community and leave comments on Presidential Election themed video posts using their recorded voice, free-hand drawing, and images to let everyone know what they think and how they feel about every point in the posted debates, ads, punditry and stump speeches.

As the nation’s attention increasingly focuses on the outcomes of the ongoing primary elections and the general election to follow this November, viewers of ElectionQlips can stayed tuned to all the exciting action, including voice and video comments of their fellow citizens. And anyone can bring their wit and wisdom to bear on the debate of the moment, commenting to their heart’s content with their own voice and images.

The blogosphere has always been about giving a voice to common ‘netizens’, while democratizing the dissemination of the news and opinion. But heretofore that voice has been confined to the two dimensional world of the written word. The broad appeal of video has added a third dimension, a layer of contextual relevancy just not possible with the written word alone. Blog commenting has been similarly constrained by the same technical barriers. ElectionQlips brings multimedia blogging full circle, giving blog commenters the ability to post live, multimedia comments right on the videos they’re viewing in their own voice, using their own doodles and images.

• 100+ million blogs in existence
• 1.5 million blog posts per day
• 1 blog with multimedia commenting capability

ElectionQlips users can take their election debate with them by sharing the link and embedding the player anywhere. On the video timeline, it’s easy to bring out all the facts with every detail of the debate through point-by-point analysis. The density of comments at every point let’s one see what’s hot and what’s not in every debate.

The goal of ElectionQlips is to make it possible for everyone to participate in any debate, discussion and controversy using their own voice. Commenting on blog posts is a common enough, ElectionQlips gives an edge over other contemporary election blogs, especially with respect to sharing your comments and opinions.

About QlipMedia:
QlipMedia makes QlipBoard, a tool that combines videos and images with drawing, highlighting and adds your voice is the easiest way to talk about anything and turn any video into an instant discussion room. ElectionQlips is produced by QlipMedia, Inc. and designed by OuterJoin. For more information, visit


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