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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Holidays Get Crazy Here

I've been out for a bit because the holidays just get insane here. My youngest likes to monopolize all of my time while he is home from school and since he's my last one I won't complain. I'm just watching him play on the computer right now. He's all bundled up in a blanket and watching his brother's band video.

Such a cutie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Too Broke for Christmas?

I was a little broke this year too so I decided to have Santa Claus come on the 25th and then we can all exchange presents in January when the rest of the family comes over to deliver their presents. Everything came down on me at once this year and no matter how I planned it all fell through.

I don't want my youngest to stop believing in Santa Claus just yet. He has already said he doesn't believe because Santa never brings him what he wants. So this year I went and bought something second-hand from GameStop. I bought him a Guitar Hero guitar for the Wii for $30.00 and the game for another $30.00 (I agreed to give each kid $50 to $60 from Santa.) Then, to my delight, my landlord gave us a $40.00 gift card from Wal-Mart. With this I bought stocking stuffers from the holiday candy department and trinkets and gadgets of about $7.00 for each child.

It won't be a big Christmas, but I believe they will be happy. We will have a very nice already planned Christmas dinner.

I'm a little nervous.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Candy Canes and Hot Cocoa

Every year when my children and I decorate the Christmas tree we have a favorite tradition of pizza and hot chocolate. I usually go to Papa Murphy's (weather permitting) and pick out a 4-for all pizza, soda, and cookie dough. While the good are baking we put up the tree and decorations and then eat. Afterwards when it's all quiet and we're admiring out beautiful work I break out the homemade hot cocoa in warm cups and give out the candy canes to hang on the tree. We each get a candy cane to stir out hot cocoa with. It's delicious!

Here is how I make my cocoa:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Gherideli)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup real whipping cream (not the kind you put on top of cake, the real kind in a carton)

Mix sugar, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and 1/4 cup of the milk into a 2-quart sauce pan. let it come to a rolling boil while constantly stirring. Slowly add the rest of the milk while stirring and then when all mixed add the cream.

Serve topped with whipping cream and either powdered cocoa or cinnamon on top. I've been known to replace cream with french roast coffee for the adults.

MMMM yummmm...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Does Alternative Music Mean?

I love different kinds of music and most of it falls into the "alternative" category. But what does alternative mean anyway? Many companies classify anything that is not mainstream rock as alternative. I listen to a good majority of punk and new wave music, which is considered alternative by the radio stations, but why? The two genres are completely different in sound and voice so why are they both classified as alternative? Did the people get lazy and not want to have 50 different categories of music?

Take Green Day for example. A lot of their earlier music was punk. Then eventually they merged into kind of a popish rock sound with a punkish slant. This would classify as "alternative" but it's not anything different than any other band that is out there today. So now if everything sounds the same then why isn't it just "rock" music?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blogging for a Living

I recently signed up for a project called The Niche Blogger where you take a class on blogging and how to market, find subjects, etc. Now I've been blogging for years but I've never really put my heart into it until now. I ignored all the hype of what was going on and did other things.

Since I'm paying for the class I'm really hoping that it turns into something useful. I'll be honest with you--it already has. I didn't realize there was a craft to all this. I figured blogging was just putting words down on paper like I'm doing now, but I was wrong. There is a lot more to it than just thinking up a few paragraphs about your day and getting into it if you want to make a living from writing.

I'm anxious to know how many of you make money at blogging. Do you do it just for fun or do you rake in the dough? How many of you really put your heart into it? I know that some of you call me privately and tell me these things and others send a private email, but I'd like to see it in comments if you want.

What do you think about taking a class and learning all about how to blog?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is That a Gun in Your Pocket or are You Just Happy to See Me?

I'll be honest with you, there is nothing sexier than a man in either a suit or a uniform except when an undercover detective or agent takes off his coat and is wearing a nice crisp shirt and delicious tie and a nice fitting gun holster. Honestly, I should have married a gun carrying cop. I actually watch shows like The X-Files just so I can see Fox Mulder pull out that shiny piece and then when he goes back to his office he can take off that adorable long black jacket and suit jacket and show me just where he carries that hard weapon. He usually wears a should holster and those are my favorite.

So what is it about a man who wears a holster? Is it the strength and the power he posses? I think it's a combination of a lot of things. They simply look inviting to me. So, to look for a nice place to put my friend's gun I visited LA Police Gear. They have a great selection of holsters where many of them are made for the on-duty cop. I think the best looking one is the Bianchi 390 Interceptor Duty Holster where it's ready for duty at a moment's notice. Criminals can't get away with much when your gun can be ready immediately.

As of this writing you can get a free hat when you purchase a Galco holster. Their should holster is nice looking and looks very comfortable to wear as well as discreet. Made of genuine leather, these holsters will look and feel great when you need to remove that jacket. Details on how to get the hat are on the LA Police Gear Site.

At LA Police Gear I did a search on holster just to see what other results I could come up with and the selection is endless. I'm sure you will find something to fit your needs.

Protecting Your Kids from TV

I recently received a digital box from my cable company and I just love the PIN number feature. My son likes to sneak around and watch shows like South Park and other various things his brother is old enough to watch so I graciously added a PIN number to anything PG-13 and over. He wasn't very happy.

He recently went on restriction to the point where he can't even watch television but for a 1/2 hour a day if he does his home right when he gets home from school. I conveniently locked the PIN code for ALL channels :) Now he can't even watch Sesame Street if he wanted to.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giving in to the Oil Man

I guess I'm giving in to the oil company. Ugh. The house is too cold. It doesn't help that the front door has a giant leak. I suppose since we sit in the room with the register that it will stay warmer in this room and the rest of the house can heat up slowly. I just wish there was something I could do about that door. I've tried covering it with so many things but they eventually just fall down.

I wish I could just become a multi-millionaire and move back home to California :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who Owns that Number?

Have you ever wanted to find that unidentified phone number that calls you every night and doesn't say anything? Is it a secret admirer? A stalker? A bill collector?

Well now you can type in the phone number of any number that calls you and get detailed information through Reverse Phone Search. I've been able to track down where certain calls are coming from just by entering the information and finding out if I want to call the back or not. Now, if I had a caller that continues to call me I can even look up personal information to find out who is harassing me and I can do it privately so no one knows that I'm looking into who it is.

I wish they offered a little more information other than the location of the call though. I understand that people want to keep their phone number private, but at the same time I don't want to pay $14.95 for ever search. This is probably why they offer two different plans. You can get the $14.95 plan for detailing information on the one call or if you receive many calls a day you can get an unlimited search option for $39.95 per month. I guess if you're hiding from someone this might be the plan to go with.

Making Monday While I Sleep?

In my quest for making money I've decided to try Gomez. I don't know how much I can earn but all I need to do is leave a computer on at night and help with network monitoring.

I don't mind as long as they do it over port 80!

My account is still in pending status and I don't know how long it will be there. I suspect maybe for some time. I know of one guy who took a few months to get to active and then a little longer for just $5.00 per month. Is it worth it? You bet. I've heard of people who eventually make a lot more.

It's Windows based only but since I can run windows in the background on my machine I just run it that way. It doesn't affect my processing time on the Mac at all. ha ha.

Do you want to try it? Go for it! Just use the button below:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Even the Doors Freeze Here?

I really don't know what I would do if I had to get out of bed at 5:00 AM and go to work. This morning when I got up and faced the -7 F feels like -24 frigid air outside I found my doors were frozen shut. The rubbing alcohol was gone. The windshield wiper fluid was gone. A bit of Liz Clairborne cologne didn't work. Boiling water just froze back onto the car.

My son finally went out with boiling water and a tennis racket and wedged it open.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Are Your Kids Watching CSI?

Sometimes people think just because a show is on television it is going to be appropriate for children. After one extremely gory part of CSI a few years ago I stopped letting my kids watch certain shows at night. For awhile this was a problem, but since I've had my DVR it is very, very nice. :)

This morning I started watching CSI after my son had gone to school and I am so glad that I waited. The first thing I see is a woman getting attacked and then a decomposing corpse stored in a garbage bag. For me, it was great because I'm into all that horror, but what about those who tune in to watch a crime show?

Honestly, what are we doing to our kids to allow them to watch such shows? I'm not telling you what to watch or what to let your kids watch, but I'm just wondering if we're allowing ourselves and our kids to be trained by the site of gore and horror that it really doesn't matter to some any longer. Kind of like porn creep where people who watch porn so often they can no longer perform naturally. Is this doing something similar to our minds? Where the shock of death is no longer shocking?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Are True Friends?

A true friend is someone who has been there for you and always will be. I just realized that I know someone that is more of a true friend then a lot of people I know. I worked with him for a few years and somehow we've stayed in contact after not working many years later and we now live 2,000 miles apart. There are no romantic involvements or anything, we're just buddies. It's cool.

I've had other friends online and offline who have come and gone. I had someone who I thought would be a friend forever waltz into my life one year, whisk me off my feet because it was more than just a friendship at one point, and then disappear after an argument. We had been friends for over 30 years and to end it like that was just stupid. Very stupid. We had survived friendship for 3 decades and to just end it like that because of a so-called relationship was a waste.

I guess we all find out who our true friends are by this type of behavior. Since I don't go out much I don't know many people in my neighborhood. I know one person who would stand by me through thick and thin and I would stand by her too. We don't go out drinking or shopping a lot, but we know that if the other one needs something that we'll be there. We're so busy with our families and daily life that we don't get to talk much, but we know that we can. She is someone I can trust.

Honestly, take a look at your friends. Are there some that you wouldn't put your life in their hands if something happened and then there are others that make you feel differently? Which ones are you spending more time with? Is it time that you started spending more time with your true friends than the ones who are just more fun?

Put a Halt to Annoying Callers

I rarely answer my main phone anymore. 90% of the time the call I'm getting is from someone either selling something or a bill collector calling the owner of the previous number. Since I have caller ID I can look up the number beforehand and see if I want to answer the call. Unfortunately, many of these calls do not even list a caller name. When this happens I use a service like Phone Number Reporting.

What Phone Number Reporting does for me is gives me the information that other people have listed about the caller. If no one has entered the information and I had the mind rattling experience of getting a telemarketer then I can list the number and what the call was about. For example, today I had an annoying call that woke me up from my slumber. I looked at the caller ID and decided to not answer it because all it listed was a phone number. Then I looked up (800) 448-1103 and came up with a company that I've never even heard of nor was interested in talking with them. Fortunately, I can now just ignore the call and put it on my blocked caller list :)

Another way to use the service is for job searching. A lot of us Internet workers use places like Craigslist and The Telecommute Resource to search for jobs. Some companies refuse to leave information about who they are so it is hard to tell the difference between a scammer and a real company. With this tool you can see if the job is another scam out there by just seeing if the number is listed. What would be really convenient is if they merged with a phone book directory and a cross search could be done. That would be really handy.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Going Back to School?

I'm a lifetime student and I love to learn. I've been thinking about going back to college--again--where I can learn more about psychology this time around. Why do I want to learn so much? Because it keeps my brain going and keeps things interesting.

I also have children who are getting ready to go to college. Since I am not a wealthy person I am going to check out any scholarships out there which includes the Pell Grant. The US Government will help you go to college by offering this grant to a good majority of individuals who cannot afford to pay for their education. I will also check out any other grants available. The Pell Grant and many of the government sponsored loans will only cover the cost of credits and books and often times they do not cover all the credits and require the student pay for a small percentage of the bill.

Since that small percentage can be more than what I make per year and my children might need housing, I will need to help them get private student loans. Taking out a loan at such a high price tag is a big decision to make which is why I need a site that can help me decide on the best interest rate and deal from the private institutions out there.

With I can compare loans that fit my budget and needs. You can even apply for their $10K giveaway to help out with costs.

If you have children then check it out and plan for their future.

Warm Turkey Stew

Nothing hits the spot better than something warm on a freezing cold day. Yesterday was one of the days where the snow came pouring down and the wind chill was terrible. Today isn't any better. Even though the snow isn't falling, the sun does little to warm the place and the wind chill puts our 18 degrees down to 4 degrees.

Right now I'm making the last of the left over turkey. I put it in a casserole pan with some baking potatoes. I'm also making some gravy to go with it. After that is cooked I'm going to take some of the turkey bits and make a stew out of it for tonight. I will add some left over cranberries, potatoes, carrots, celery, and some corn and then make some homemade rolls to dip into the soup. The cranberries will give it a nice and tart taste.

I'll leave it stewing for about 6 hours in the crockpot when it will then be ready. I'm sure the kids will groan because they're tired of turkey by now, but if they're hungry they have no choice :)

What do you do with your leftover turkey?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

As many of you know, I'm a handbag addict. I love my Gucci bags and my Louis Vuitton. What you don't know is that I am also a watch collector. I have two Gucci watches and several other unusual ones that I found at great discounts. I can't afford one with every outfit, but with watches you don't need to get every color.

My friend has a Breitling watch that I've always loved to put on just for the feel of elegance so I decided to take a look at the selection at The Watchery. Honestly, I had no idea the cost of this brand of watch was so high, but you can just tell by the craftsmanship and feel of the piece that it is well worth the purchase. If you think about it, it is more of an investment.

There are even more watches in the men's selection. I see quite a few that I would love to give my son for graduation or for when my second son makes his first labeled band album. These would be keepsakes and family heirlooms to hand down to their children and so on. It's something to be proud of and to wear during important occasions or celebrations. There are so many that it's really hard to choose which one.

My favorite watch is this one:

It would look so elegant with my casual Christmas suit. It's not too feminine that I need to break out the diamonds and little black dress, yet it is divine. At the moment the cost is a little over half off the retail price and at these prices that is almost a steal.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My New Toy: Magic Chef Sandwhich Toaster

I picked up one of these handy little gadgets at a garage sale or some place really cheap one day. I really think it's the easiest thing to use to cook with. For example, today I whipped up some pancake batter and then filled the slots and closed it. I made the whole batch within a few minutes without flipping and tossing. These won't be traditional and stackable pancakes with butter and syrup, but they can be grabbed on the way out the door. Of course not all can be eaten in one morning so I freeze the rest for microwavable snacks.

Since I've gone back on low carb I personally can't have any of these tasty treats. Did I put it away? No, I just wiped down the non-stick surface and added some whipped eggs and butter. They came out perfect on both sides.

I have other things to try on this gadget: french toast, mini pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more.

Do you have one? Let me know what you cook in it and I'll let you know how it turns out for the kids. I would LOVE to have an electric omelet maker :)