Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inline Comments

Having inline comments does one thing for you: it tells people to comment!

Blogger will now allow you to have inline comments. Inline comments are basically the little comment box that is open at the bottom of this post, if you are viewing it alone and not on a page with several of my latest posts. If you came here from Rocks in My Dryer, you should be able to see it. If not, just click the title of the post and it will take you to a page with just this post.

Having inline comments does one thing for you: it tells people to comment! It is just one less step they have to take when they are already landing on the individual post, and it works!

You can find out all about how to make your Blogger blog have inline comments at BlogU, on this post. She explains it all much better than I could. If you use Blogger, you might want to go ahead and bookmark BlogU, because she always has great tips but doesn't intimidate us non-techie bloggers. I also found out how to do the little pullquote up at the top of this post by reading her tutorial. For more great tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Funday Joke - Shrinking

A man rushed into the doctor's office and shouted, "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!!" The doctor calmly responded, "Now, settle down. You'll just have to be a little patient."

Saturday, July 26, 2008


A few weeks ago, my mom saw a weird-looking freckle on my face, and recommended I get a doctor to look at it. I had seen what she was talking about, I think it is just an "age spot." I was putting a fade cream on it to see if I could get rid of it, but she is probably right. I need to ask a professional.

I decided to go straight to a dermatologist, since I thought my family doctor would just send me on to one anyway. I found our list of providers on our health insurance and called the first one on the list. I guess it is still good to have a last name that starts with "A."

I made an appointment with him for next month. Since then, someone said they knew of him and he was supposed to be really good. My method for finding a dermatologist was probably not the best. How do you find a good one? Do you need to find one that is good at your particular problem, like skin spots or acne problems?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fetus Friday: The Dirty Truth

I started reading this cool girl's blog and she and her roommate are wanting baby advice since roomie is expecting a baby soon. I know can give advice on baby stuff!

In answer to the question, "Is is okay to stock up on diapers?" Yes, most definitely. I don't think it is that common to be allergic. It is common for people to be super picky. "Oh, we only get Huggie$ $upreme, becau$e they fit $o well!" You will go through so many, just get the cheapest and be happy! If you plan to breastfeed, the diapers are going to leak anyway. Always have a change of clothes with you, and you'll be fine.

And I mean clothes for the baby, and clothes for you. Try to imagine why I would say that!

Here is my free advice: Since you are near the end of the pregnancy and it is the hot summertime, you may find that you have a craving for ice. Most likely, this is just because you can't really get cool, but it can possibly mean that you are low on iron. So make sure they have checked your iron levels lately, and take the supplement if they recommend it, no matter how inconvenient the side-effects are!

With my first, I was anemic and taking a supplement, but it wasn't building me back up fast enough. I would stop on my way home from work and buy two plain snowcones with no syrup. I would eat one snowcone immediately, and put the other in the freezer for after dinner! I later found out that the ice craving was a symptom of anemia.

It doesn't hurt to eat ice, though. Get the crushed kind instead of the hard kind, because chewing it is bad for your teeth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Get the fly, everytime!

Three years ago, I went to a conference. For part of the conference, I was seated at a table with a mild-mannered, middle-aged, male social worker and a couple of ladies. We were all strangers, trying to engage in polite conversation. Suddenly, the social worker stirred things up by swatting and killing a bothersome fly with his BARE HAND! We were astounded! He politely excused himself to go and wash his hands, and when he came back, we were full of questions. Did he have special training? Was he born with this ability? How could this be accomplished?

He quietly explained that he had heard that flies have to take-off backward, so when you swat them, you must aim behind them. Since he had learned this, he was able to almost always get them on the first try.

I am not brave enough to swat one with my bare hand, but now I do aim the flyswatter behind them. I have to say that I have rarely missed one by doing this. It is so much quicker to get them on the first try!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Freezer Alarm

Last year after I lost my freezer contents when the door was left slightly ajar, I purchased a freezer alarm. It saved us last night by letting us know that the door had been left open a small crack. Nothing had happened to the food, except for a tiny layer of condensation that had frozen over a few things on the top shelf.

There is a little sensor that attaches inside the freezer near the back. A little wire runs out and the alarm unit sticks to the outside of the freezer. This unit is preset so that when the temperature inside the freezer rises above 15 degrees, the alarm goes off. It is battery-operated, so it would work in a power-failure.

This type of alarm works best for a separate freezer unit. I don't think most freezers that are attached to a refrigerator get cold enough for it to work. It can be switched off during the times when you are defrosting.

Our freezer is in the garage, and we could easily hear the alarm inside the house. The wire is small, but it does leave a tiny gap in the seal of the freezer. We think it is worth the small loss of energy.

Burgess Books Online

Here is a list I have compiled of all the Thornton Burgess books I could find that are available for free online.

If you have read any of the Burgess stories, I know you have fallen in love with the little characters. We always look forward to hearing about nosy Peter Cottontail, mischievous Sammy Jay, and wise Grandfather Frog. For me, the best thing about them is reading them aloud. The dialog is charming, and I love doing the different voices.

I know that Ambleside Online curriculum recommends some of them, as do other homeschool curricula. They are wonderful stories which teach morals and values while exploring the world of wildlife.

The majority of the Burgess books that you can find online are at Gutenberg.org. There are a few more out there, however, that are not included on Gutenberg. Most of these are not available in text format, because they are scanned images. They do include the color illustrations by Harrison Cady.

Burgess books on Gutenberg.org
Bugess Bedtime Stories from an old calendar.
The Adventures of Peter Rabbit
Bobby Coon’s Mistake
A Great Joke on Jimmy Skunk
The Neatness of Bobby Coon
A Merry Coasting Pary
Paddy’s Surprise Visitor
The Three Bears
Reddy Fox’s Sudden Engagement
Grandfather Frog Stays in the Smiling Pool
A Robber Meets His Match
Peter Rabbit Proves a Friend
Young Flash the Deer

Additional Link: Podcast of Old Mother West Wind by Lori K. Brooke. There are audio versions of some of the Burgess books available at Gutenberg.org and Librivox.org, but I wanted to share these because they are different, and not as easy to find. The woman reading them has a grandmotherly, sweet voice, and there is background music added which gaves them a relaxing, bedtime feel.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Memory Work Idea

A friend shared this idea for memory work with me: When memorizing a passage, start with the last phrase first. This actually works very well. I have not tried it when memorizing a very long passage, such as a chapter in the Bible, or an entire poem, but if you are learning two or three Bible verses at a time, it makes it easier.

For instance, look at this passage:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Start out saying, "Jeremiah twenty-nine eleven through thirteen," to yourself. When you have that, you can add, "Seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13." That is pretty easy, so add, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Keep going back, phrase by phrase, until you have the whole thing.

My friend explained a couple of reasons why this works. The first thing she told me is that you will know the end of the verse better than the first, so when you repeat the verse from the beginning, you will grow more confident as you go along. This helps with anxiety and stress. I believe this is true whether or not you are saying the passage to another person or not. The anxiety is a more internal anxiety rather than just a "performance" anxiety.

Another reason is that often the main point or the most important point is contained in the end. It helps to know the point that you are working towards. In the example I gave, you could probably argue against that, so here is a better example:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

Here, "that it may benefit those who listen" is the point of the verse, it is the logical conlusion. If you have the last phrase secure in your mind, the first part makes more sense.

Please share any ideas you know that help when memorizing short or long passages.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Funday Joke - Vultures

Two vultures board an airplane; each is carrying two dead raccoons ...

... The stewardess looks at them and says, "I'm sorry, gentlemen, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nutrition Unit Study Question

This is another post where I am questioning something. Any opinions are welcome.

When putting together a unit study on nutrition, would you include information on methods that people use for weightloss? I am talking about crash dieting, counting calories, exercise, and even diet pills such as Phentermine?

My kids are too young for this, really. I guess I am just thinking of the future, when they are older. My thought is just that you would be able to explore those topics more scientifically, instead of them being exposed to them in the real world through a friend or an advertisement. I suppose it would be something like drug education.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wart Treatment

Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away works great for us! My 9-year-old daughter had a wart on her finger. We saw this at the store and decided to give it a try before going to the doctor. It was very easy to use, did not hurt much, (per her report, and she is a weenie about pain!) we only had to do it once, and in less than two weeks, the wart was gone! 'Nuff said.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Living Math Monday: Anno's Magic Seeds

We read a second book by Mitsumasa Anno, called Anno's Magic Seeds. It is another good living book, and I recommend it. Mr. Anno has written several more books, and we are going to check into them soon. I might have to just give them a blanket recommendation if they are all as good as the two we have read.

In Anno's Magic Seeds, a man named Jack is given two seeds. One seed, he is told, will feed him for a year. He is to plant the other seed, and he will grow a plant with two more seeds on it. This way, he can be self-sustaining.

He soon figures out that he can improve things if he saves both seeds one year, and plants two seeds. So he finds some other way to eat for a year, so that in the spring he can plant two seeds. The following year, he has three seeds to plant (after eating one of course.)

This book very simply explores the concept of planting and harvest, showing the geometric pattern of increase each year. The watercolor pictures are beautifully simple. Again, this appears to be a simple picture book, but the concepts are much deeper. It would be appropriate for any elementary-aged child.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cold coffee

I put this up a few weeks ago, but I'm reposting because it is so hot. Who wants real coffee? This is fun for those of us who have espresso machines.
Basic recipe:
½ cup of fresh espresso
2 ½ cups of milk (reconstituted powdered milk works fine)
¼ cup sugar (adjust to taste. This is pretty sweet.)

Place in refrigerator to chill. Adding hot espresso to 2 ½ cups of cold milk just doesn’t cut it. You really need to chill it. If you are in a hurry, you could serve it over ice, but it gets watered down a bit.

For a mocha cappucino: add a pinch of cocoa.
For a vanilla cappucino: add a few drops of vanilla.
For a mint cappucino: add a drop or two of peppermint extract, and a drop or two of vanilla.

Funday Joke - Pet

This guy was lonely and so he decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.

He went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet. After some discussion, he finally bought a centipede, which came in a little white box to use for his house.

He took the box back home, found a good location for the box, and decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar to have a drink. Then he asked the centipede in the box, "Would you like to go to Frank's with me and have a beer?" But there was no answer from his new pet.

This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and then asked him again, "How about going to the bar and having a drink with me?" But again, there was no answer from his new friend and pet. So he waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation. He decided to ask him one more time; this time putting his face up against the centipede's house and shouting, "Hey, in there! Would you like to go to Frank's place and have a drink with me?

A little voice came out of the box "I heard you the first time! I'm putting on my shoes."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Creative writing of the silly kind.

I sometimes wonder why they named an online store Amazon books?

The company was not founded in South America. Is there a stream of thought there? I am not willing to brook disappointment in my quest! Water they thinking?

Canoe think of why they would do it? It sounds fishy to me. I seem to have a flood of questions today. It is giving me a creek in my neck.

Sorry. We now return you to our regular programming. :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Credit Card Juggling

Has anyone been hearing that it is getting harder to find a credit card with no balance transfer fee?

From my research, it may be easier if you have excellent credit. Chances are, if you are looking for these deals, you might not have excellent credit.

But it does serve to show us that debt is not the way to go.

You are always going to run into those who swear by it. By juggling things around, they are actually making money off these credit card companies. I am not sure that is going to last.

But if you need to transfer a balance, you might try to get it done as soon as possible.

Taking surveys

I keep getting calls from a market research firm. I signed up for it a long time ago, thinking it would be interesting. They mentioned that I might be asked to test products and give my opinion.

But everytime they call, they want to talk to my husband.

What am I, chopped liver? He doesn't want to talk to them. So now I just don't answer.

There are some good market research firms. I sometimes get products from Pinecone Research. It is so much nicer to try products, rather than just tell the company, "Yes, I think this product would be good." How do you know?

Extremely Cool Singer

Esperanza Spalding was on David Letterman the other night. I actually don't even watch Letterman that much, but I'm glad I was watching that time, because I would have missed this:

Ahh! I am downloading this from iTunes right now. This song is called "Precious."

Hey, I looked at her MySpace page, and it turns out she "was home-schooled for a significant portion of her elementary school years."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cool Whip Fruit Salad

Cottage Cheese Salad

2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 small box Jello
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 sliced banana

Stir powdered Jello into cottage cheese. Add fruit, then add Cool Whip. Any flavor of Jello may be used. Strawberry Jello is a good one to start. Different fruits may be substituted. Mandarin oranges, grapes, strawberries, and fruit cocktail are all good options. Drain any canned fruit.

This is an old standby that we always loved when we were kids. I made some the other day, and it is still wonderful!!

Furniture or not

We went to visit my brother and his wife recently because they have a new baby. My little neice is so sweet!

They have a small, two-bedroom house. I noticed a couple of things that they have done to save space.

The baby has a little closet in her room. They took the folding doors off the closet, and are using a pretty curtain over the closet. The curtain is a piece of pretty fabric that has been hemmed, and they used curtain clips to make it into a curtain. Her dresser is in the closet, along with some hanging clothes.

Then they also have their bedroom TV on the wall using a tv mount. This way, they do not have to use an extra piece of furniture.

Inside Cat

When I was growing up, all our cats were outdoor cats. You don't need to spend a great deal of money on outdoor cats. We bought their catfood, and that was about it.

My sister now has an indoor-only cat. It is more of an expense to have an indoor cat. There is the food, and then the additional cat supplies. The coolest thing my sis bought her cat is a heated bed. It is a nice, warm place for the little guy to sleep. That is important because he is a Sphinx, a hairless cat.

I think that one of the purposes of the extra supplies is to mimic the outdoor environment. The most creative thing she has is a set of shelves that they nailed to the wall in one of their bedrooms. The kitty can jump from shelf to shelf up three shelves to the top corner of the room, where there is a place for him to lie down and take a nap.