Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Day in History September 1, 1864

This might give you a hint as to what occurred on this date.  Those of you who are Civil War scholars will know that this was towards the end of the War.  And this was the day that Atlanta fell to Sherman.

William Sherman was a native of Ohio and a graduate of West Point.  He began serving right away with the Union Army, and eventually he commanded large numbers of forces under General Grant.  In spring of 1864, he became the supreme commander of the armies in the West.  It was General Grant that ordered him to take the city of Atlanta because it was a key military supply center and railroad hub.

The Atlanta campaign actually began in May of 1864.  But it was this day that saw the fall of Atlanta.  It was less than a year later that the war ended.  But as you can guess, Atlanta recovered quickly after the war, and it even became the capital of Georgia--as it is today.

Now how does this fit?  Well, I can't help but remember the movie Gone With the Wind.  I remember the scene when Scarlet and Rhett are trying to escape from Atlanta as it burns.  It is a dramatic scene indeed.  I remember learning in college (and here is the site to back it up) that the old King Kong set was burned during this scene in the film.  Of all things, it was my music professor who taught me this, and I don't even know why it was brought up!  But anyway, I guess that this is the only film I ever saw that helped me understand somewhat what the people must have felt as they fled the city.  I never questioned whether Sherman was in his rights until I saw that film.  This film actually made me feel sorry for the South.

But after all, what do I know?  I'm a Washington native, and we were busy fighting the Indians at this time in history!!  (That was a response I used as I was growing up because Washington State doesn't figure into a lot of exciting American history.)

What I will say is that at least slavery is over, and hopefully the U.S. will never fight like this again!  God bless the USA!

For more information (including a video), check out this site.

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop--2 Winners! (Ends 9/7) International (CLOSED)

Yes, it is that time again!  Most of the country is probably back to school, but there are a few stragglers (like Yelm, Washington and others) who have yet to start school.  I am so happy to be participating in this giveaway hop hosted I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Buried in Books.

Because this system was so successful last time, I am going to follow the same pattern I did during the last book giveaway hop. This is an international giveaway which should make so many of my international  followers happy!

For the mandatory entry, you will need to list 3-10 books that you would like to have.  I will need you to list the title and author, or if you would like, please leave a link to that book.  Ranking them in order is fine, but that may or may not help your results.  After you create this comment, make  sure you fill out the rest of the rafflecopter form.

When the giveaway is done and the two winners are picked, I will be contacting each person to get their mailing information.  I will also take that opportunity to clarify the book lists if needed and to make sure that the winners have not procured a copy of any of the books on their lists.  I will then choose one book for each winner that will be sent to them.  The winners will not know which book they are receiving.  Understand that I have the right to get a used copy of the book or a new copy.  It is my decision.  But don't worry.  Unless it is some out-of-print book or a very old book that I get, it will be in good condition.

Once the winners receive their books, if either one of them contact me and thank me for the book, that person will be able to receive the following:
1.  10 extra entries into any of my current giveaways (the person may spread these out any way they like)
 2.  One month of featured advertising on my blog for free.  This will consist of a weekly feature on my blog and featured entries in my giveaways.   (Note:  If the winner(s) don't have a blog or business to advertise, we will work out a substitution.)

To sweeten the deal just a little bit, I will add a winner to the giveaway for each of these goals that are accomplished.

  • 1000 google friend connect followers
  • 500 facebook fans
  • 1500 twitter followers
I know these seem like very lofty goals, but I know they can be accomplished.  If all goals are accomplished by the end of the giveaway, I will add one more winner.  That means that there could be 6 winners!  I don't know about you, but this would sure get me excited.  I will be watching very carefully to see what happens as I am sure you will.

So then , what are you waiting for?  This giveaway will end at 9 P.M. September 7 Pacific Time.  Be sure to place all entries in the rafflecopter form.  Only make a comment on the blog post if the form says to or if you have some kind of problem with the giveaway (form not working, computer issues, etc.).  Best of wishes to all of you!  And don't forget to enter all the other giveaways listed below the form!  I can assure you I will be hopping along, too!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This Day in History August 31,1897

Thomas Edison (right) demonstrating his kinetograph with the help of  George Eastman

So, I wonder how many of you even know what a kinetograph is.  I sure didn't!  I probably still don't, but I think this is an important day for those of who enjoy films.  I sure know I do!

Thomas Edison, an avid inventor, received a patent for his movie camera on this date in 1897.  It was called a kinetograph, and he had actually developed in the 1890's.  He had staged several demonstrations of this new machine already.

While still cameras and very primitive moving cameras had been around for some time, Edison's machine was quite different.  George Eastman invented celluloid film in 1889, and this was what Edison's kinetoscope and kinetegraph used.  His first demonstration was staged in front of a group of blacksmiths in 1893,  It was Edison's machine that inspired the development of the Cinematographe by French inventors.

There were really only two drawbacks to this machine.  First of all, there was no sound.  Well, that should not be too surprising.  It was not until 1927 that films were "talking" films.  (I learned that information on the movie "Singin' in the Rain.")  The second drawback was that only one person could view the picture at a time.  I think I could say that makes sense also.  I think it is very safe to say that had Edison not invented this, we wouldn't be able to see films today.

For more information,  check out these informative sites:

(I realize I am behind in my normal daily posting themes, but we had a family emergency today, and there has been incredible stress around here as of late.  I plan to get back on track tomorrow!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

This Day in History August 30, 30 B.C.

Beautiful, isn't she?  Well, it's kind of hard to tell.  But history says she was.  And at least Julius Caesar thought so.  As did Mark Antony.  On this day in history back in 30 B.C., Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, committed suicide.

The name Cleopatra was a common name in the Ptolemaic family, and at the age of 17, she married her younger brother (eww!!) Ptolemy XII.  Julius Caesar helped her lead a revolt against her brother, and Caesar helped her regain the Egyptian throne.  Her "husband" accidentally drowned in the Nile, and she married her still younger brother Ptolemy XIII (this is really a messed up family!).  She became Caesar's mistress, followed him to Rome, bore him a son (which he did not formally claim).

Following Caesar's murder, Marc Antony fell in love with her.  They married in 36 B.C. (are you following this?) , and she was seen as a threat to Rome.  Octavian and Augustus tried to destroy them.  They were defeated in 31 B.C., and Marc Antony fell on his own sword.  Then she killed herself as well--via a poisonous snake according to legend.

There is so much legend about her, and much of what we know about her was written after her death.  So all we do know is that this was the date of her death, and it would seem appropriate (in light of the craziness of the family, Rome, and Egypt) that she did in fact kill herself.

If you would like more information, check out these sites:

My favorite Cleopatra--Elizabeth Taylor

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This Day in History August 29, 2005

Does this date sound familiar?  Or does this picture evoke any images or memories?  I doubt that anyone who is old enough to read my blog would not remember this day.  Especially when I tell you that this is an image of Hurricane Katrina.  On this date in 2005, this hurricane slammed the Gulf Coast, destroying beachfront areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.  One million people were displaced, and over 1000 people were killed.

I suppose this hits home now in light of Hurricane Irene.  However, Hurricane Katrina is considered the most destructive hurricane to hit the U.S.--at least economically.  Thankfully the loss of life was not as great as other storms.  The estimate is that this hurricane will cost 130 billion (I changed from what the site says because Fox News right now has reported this updated number).

I think this storm hits home with me because I was teaching in Texas at the time.  In Dallas.  I never would have dreamed that the little southwest Dallas school district in which I was would see so many students from this storm.  But Texas opened wide its doors to Katrina survivors, and I saw many of them come and go.  It was so hard to see that happen to these poor kids.  I do remember that at our church, we acquired a tremendous singer from New Orleans.  I believe he even made the decision to stay since he got a job at  New Orleans cuisine restaurant.

Let's pray that Hurricane Irene does not end up being worse than Katrina.  But only God knows.

Before ending tonight, I want to take a moment to thank each one of you who enjoy this segment and regularly come back for it.  When I began this segment, I thought I might be the only one who would enjoy it.  It means so much to realize that there are those of you who look forward to it. I got back late tonight and nearly did not write this post.  But because of the support and encouragement from my readers, I plan to continue it!

For more information, check out these sites:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Day in History August 28, 1907

Did you know that United Parcel Service or UPS began in Seattle on this date in 1907?  I didn't!   How could I grow up in Washington state and not know this?  Oh well, here is some information.

UPS was originally called American Messenger Service, and it was begun by two teenagers (Jim Casey and Claude Ryan), a bicycle and $100 borrowed from a friend.   The company was originally run in a hotel basement at second avenue and main street in Seattle.

Not many people had phones back then, and so many telegrams were sent.  And that is what this company delivered.  As time went on, they were willing to deliver just about anything that could be carried on foot or by bicycle.

A few years later, they agreed to merge with their rival company--Merchant Parcel Delivery.  Now they were able to deliver via a Model T Ford.  The U.S. postal service was giving them stiff competition about this time.  As the company evolved, they had a great strategy.  The same delivery person would deliver parcels going to the same general area.  The sped things up quite a bit.

In 1919, they acquired Motor Parcel Delivery in Oakland, California.  This was when the name was changed to United Parcel Service.  In 1929, airplane delivery was added.  And the story continues.

I don't know about you, but if I have a choice and cost is similar, I would rather go with UPS.  I do not prefer the post office.  I love the UPS store--we had a really nice one down in Texas.

For more information, check out both of these sites:

Satisfied Saturday--Kitchen Aid Recipe Collection (August 28-September 3)

A couple weeks ago, I won this book from Book R Us.  I really have enjoyed going through this book, and I decided to plan my meals from this cookbook this week.  However, before I do this, let me review last week's meals.

  • The Turkey Ceasar Sandwich was fantastic!  Next time, we are going to use garlic bread that has no butter on it.  My mom and I ate it open-faced, and my dad had it with two pieces of bread.  I added bacon jam to the spread.  We had no mashed potatoes because we didn't feel like it.
  • The Cannelini Tuna Salad was also out of this world!  I added bacon jam (it's now all gone!) and feta cheese, and it was fantastic.  I used a jalapeno Greek yogurt dip as my dressing, and it was just out of this world.  Others had whatever dressing they wanted.  I also served garlic bread--butter for my parents, none for my daughter or me.
  • The chicken penne bake was awesome!  I couldn't believe how great it was!  
  • Oh, and the tuna cobb salad did turn out well from the other week!
Now on to this week (no I did not make the dessert yet).  I will give the page numbers and names of recipes.

Meal 1: Steak and Black Bean Chili (p. 78)

Meal 2:  Fresh Spinach Couscous Salad (p. 112)

Meal 3:  Thai Fried Rice (p. 132)--add chicken

Meal 4:  (not in the cookbook)  Chicken and Wild Rice mix from Costco

Dessert:  Key Lime Pie (p. 160)

By the way, save some money on your next KitchenAid or accessories purchases by using KitchenAid coupons.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Day in History August 27, 1984

Well, this was a day that changed this woman's life forever--Barbara Morgan.  I was alive, and I remember.  President Ronald Reagan announced that NASA would be putting a teacher in space.  Immediately, Idaho teacher, Barbara Morgan, knew she had to apply.  She said that she was always trying to find ways to bring the real world into her classroom.  Little did she know how real it would be for her students.

Out of 11,000 applicants, she was the runner-up.  She trained right alongside Christa McAuliffe.  You probably know that she and the other members of the Challenger disaster of January 1986 died, and poor Barbara Morgan thought she would never get the chance to fly in space.

She beat the odds, however.  Even in spite of another disaster--the Columbia Disaster of February 2003--Barbara Morgan became a full-fledged astronaut.  August 8, 2007, she and the six other members of the Shuttle Endeavor for a 13-day mission.  

She has retired from NASA, and she works for Boise State University promoting science and math.

I was not aware of this, and my hat is off to her.  She began as a 32-year-old teacher who longed to fly in space, and she was 55 before she realized her dream.  Wow!  This is a woman who could have given up--I am pretty sure I would have.  I can't imagine going on in spite of the first disaster let alone the second.  But she never gave up.  And now the shuttle program is over.  Good thing she got to do it when she did!

For more information, check out this site.

Free-Wheeling Friday--A Bonus Recipe Created By Me

As the years have gone on, I have become much more inventive cook.  I have been cooking since I was in first or second grade, and I have always been one who followed the recipes to the letter.  And I also am a cook who rarely makes the same dish twice.  My ex-husband always complained about that!  He wanted simple meals, and I loved to make gourmet meals.

The years have gone by, and I have become much more realistic.  I still often don't make the same thing twice, but I prefer meals that can be made quickly.  And with simple ingredients.  Occasionally I throw in something here or there, but mostly it is simple, wholesome food that can be prepared very quickly.

This week, I happened to need another quick meal.  My mom and I had just gone to the store yesterday, and we picked up some strawberries.  And we already had spinach.  We had some bagel bites left over, and so we decided to make things simple--bagel bites and salad.

First of all, I asked my daughter how many bagel bites she would like.  She said she didn't like them.  I asked her what she would like for dinner, and she said she didn't know.  I told her I would add more cheese to them, and she said she would try them.  I was relieved.

I thought about the spinach, and I thought about the strawberries.  I knew that I had made salads in the past that combined these.  And so I began to work on the following spinach strawberry salad for 2.  (My dad was at a church potluck.)

  • spinach--enough for 2
  • pint of strawberries, halved
  • gala apple cut into little squares
  • handful of craisins
  • a couple handfuls of flaxseed
  • a few squirts of lemon juice

That was the salad.  I now knew I needed to make a dressing that would work with this salad, and so I really got creative here.

  • 1 container of strawberry Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of milk (more or less)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of poppy seeds (more or less)
  • about 2 Tablespoons of honey
  • scant teaspoon of bacon jam (see my review)
  • a few squirts of lemon

I have to say that this salad and dressing were fantastic.  In fact, the dressing was one of the finest dressing I have ever had.  My mom especially loved this.

I will tell you more when I create my recipes for this week as to what changes I made.

This Day in History August 26, 580

I know this is kind of late, but I think you'll find it enjoyable.  And after all it is still August 26!

Today is Toilet Paper day!  Aren't you excited?  According to many sources, it was on this date back in 580 that the Chinese invented toilet paper.  Before that, what was used? Lace, leaves, corn husks, and much more.  Can you imagine?

So we thank the Chinese yet again for their fantastic contribution to this modern convenience.  I did read somewhere in my searching today that they realized that paper that had writing on it was not suitable for toilet paper usage.

Sites used:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday--Why God Won't Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty? by Alister E. McGrath Review

Summary from Goodreads: An accessible discourse written by a trusted expert and scholar critiquing the new atheism on its own merits and claims.
The rise of the new atheism, which includes the manifestos of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, has created a public willingness in today's marketplace to talk about God and religion. Yet the debate up to this point has focused largely on rebutting the new atheist critique of Christianity. Why God Won't God Away moves into new territory by challenging the new atheism on its own grounds. Chapters include discussion on:

  • What is the new atheism
  • The problem of religion
  • The problem of human nature
  • Believing only what can be proved
  • Dealing with imagined worlds and myths
  • The new humanism and the new enlightenment 
  • Violence and dogmatism

Why God Won't Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty?Why God Won't Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty? by Alister E. McGrath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I began this book, I had not even heard of the "new atheist" movement.  I knew what an atheist was, but I was not aware of the new direction it had taken.  I was amazed with how brazen this movement had become and how hostile to religion it is.  I am only familiar with tolerant atheists, and this book showed me that new atheism has gone far beyond that.  It is kind of funny that new atheism, in a way, has become a religion or a church group in itself.  The very thing they are fighting against is what they have become.  Which is why new atheism is not the tour de force it once was.

My favorite section of the book was the section that dealt with science.  I really did a lot of thinking about science's role in our everyday lives here on earth.  Science answers questions like: How did we get here? and the like.  What science does not answer is:  Why are we here?  I think that when the author pointed out that not everything can be answered by reason, he really struck a chord with me.

I appreciated the way in which the author wrote.  His style is academic but quite understandable.  I suppose that if you are not a theology student, you might struggle to understand some of what he says, but thankfully he deals with the topic in a simple and abbreviated way.  His sense of humor often came out at just the right time, which was a nice change.  Some theologians don't understand what humor is.

I would recommend this book to anyone who may be dealing with an atheist--new or not.  This is one I plan to keep in my library for a long time to come!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

View all my reviews

This book is written by a theology professor and Christian apologist who not only has a best-selling book rebutting the new atheist critique of Christianity but has debated Richard Dawkins in Oxford, Christopher Hitchens in Washington, and Daniel Dennett in London.

About the Author 

Alister McGrath was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1953. He grew up in Downpatrick, Co. Down, where he attended Down High School. In September 1966 he became a pupil at the Methodist College, Belfast, majoring in pure and applied mathematics, physics and chemistry. He was elected to an open major scholarship at Wadham College, Oxford University, to study chemistry from October 1971, where his tutors included Jeremy R. Knowles and R. J. P. Williams. He gained first class honours in chemistry in June 1975, and began research in molecular biophysics in the Oxford University Department of Biochemistryunder the supervision of Professor Sir George K. Radda, FRS, who is presently head of theDepartment of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at Oxford University.  He was elected to an E.P.A. Cephalosporin Research Studentship at Linacre College, Oxford, for the academic year 1975-6, and to a Domus Senior Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford, for the period 1976-8. He also spent three months as a European Molecular Biology Organization visiting fellow at the University of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. During the years 1975-8, he carried out scientific research, leading to the publication of a number of peer-reviewed research articles, alongside studying for the Oxford University Final Honour School of Theology. In December 1977, he was awarded an Oxford D.Phil. for his research in the natural sciences, and he gained first class honours in Theology in June 1978. The interaction of Christian theology and the natural sciences has subsequently been a major theme of his research work, and is best seen in the three volumes of his Scientific Theology (2001-3).

As a former atheist, McGrath is respectful yet critical of the movement. In recent years, he has been especially interested in the emergence of "scientific atheism", and has researched the distinctive approach to atheist apologetics found in the writings of the Oxford zoologist and scientific populariser Richard Dawkins. He regularly engages in debate and dialogue with leading atheists, and has made a special study of the iconic role played by Charles Darwin in atheist apologetics, and the appeal to the controversial and problematic concept of the "meme" in recent atheist accounts of the origins of belief in God. He continues to contribute to the conversation begun by the "New Atheism" in 2006.

His main research interest at present is the area of thought traditionally known as "natural theology", which is experiencing significant renewal and revitalization at the moment. He addressed this theme in detail at his Richardson Lectures at the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne (2008), his Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen (February 2009), and his Hulsean Lectures at the University of Cambridge (October - November 2009). The Richardson Lectures were published as The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology(Blackwells). The Gifford Lectures were published in 2009 as A Fine Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology. The Hulsean Lectures were published in 2011 with the title Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Day in History August 25, 1940

This should give you a hint about what happened, but I was surprised, I must say.  On this date in 1940, the first parachute wedding occurred in New York City during the World's Fair.  Arno Rodolphi and Ann Hayward were married by Reverend Homer Tomlinson.  He performed the wedding ceremony while he, the couple, the best man, the maid of honor and 4 musicians were suspended in the air.  Once they kissed, they went into freefall.  The papers read the nest day: "No Man on Earth is Good Enough for Ann."

I was not aware of this fact until I did the research.  I had a traditional wedding, and I never would have considered something like this.  I certainly wouldn't have back in 1940!  That was before both of my parents were born!!

Websites Used:

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Author Spotlight and Giveaway Reminder

Do you remember our author interview with Sandra Stiles?  A wonderful reader left her another question, and being as gracious as she is, she has responded.

Question:  Why did you become an author?

Answer:  I've always written.  It was my outlet for any emotions.  When I'm angry or extremely frustrated I write poetry.  It must be in the genes.  My father wrote songs.  One of my students was frustrated I was giving yet another writing assignment.  I modeled it for the class by creating a story with them.  This particular student asked why I didn't write books for my shelves because they always liked what I wrote.  So I did.  I see or hear something and before I know it I have a synopsis for a new book written and filed away for the future.    It is something I've come to realize I really love to do.

Don't forget.  There is a giveaway for a signed copy of her book still going on!  It has very low entries, and it is open worldwide!  Check it out here.  

Thank you, Sandra, for being so gracious to continue to answer questions posed by readers of my blog!

Ray Charles Greatest Hits 3-CD Pack Giveaway (Ends 9/25) WW (ended)

How would you like to win a fantastic pack of 3 CD's?  I happened to get a 3 CD pack of Ray Charles Greatest Hits.  You can read about this product here.  When this arrived, I was actually concerned it was a record album because that is the size of the case, but I can assure you it has 3 CD's!  I think Ray Charles was one of the greats, and this prize pack is open worldwide.  As a special bonus, I will be adding one or two surprise CD's from my amazon or store.

So let's get to the giveaway!  Be sure to make all entries on the rafflecopter form unless the blog post specifically says to leave a comment on the post.  Ends September 25 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Day in History August 24, 79 A.D.

Okay, I know this is not a cheery happening, but I am sure you have heard of this historical event before.  This is a modern-day picture of the famous Mount Vesuvius that erupted on this date back in 79 A.D.  I hadn't realized that this is the only active volcano in mainland Europe.  I guess I never spent much time thinking about it.

This map will give you a general idea of where this mountain is located.  In the last 17,000 years, this volcano has erupted eight times.  It is said that this eruption may have killed as many as 16,000 people.

On a side note, this eruption is the reason volcanologists call large volcanic eruption clouds "Plinian."  They are named after Pliny, the younger, a Roman historian who witnessed and chronicled this very eruption.  These are the same clouds that were witness at the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. (I still remember that!  I was alive, and I will never forge the ash on the cars!!)  

For further study, click here.

For a video dramatization, click here.

Twinkle Tuesday 2--Minute to Win It Printables

I was so excited when I got the chance to review this product!  Mainly because my daughter is a huge fan of the show.  My daughter is eight years old, and if you were to ask her what her favorite show was, I am quite sure that she would say Minute to Win It.  My daughter also has a tremendous imagination, and these printables kept her occupied for at least a while.

The best thing about these printables is that you do not have to wait for the mail to arrive!  I sometimes get tired of waiting for things like this to arrive, and I also know that packaging can really be a waste.  As you can see from the picture, the printables are very high quality and well done.  I like the water bottle printables--I never thought about doing something like that.  And the games are quite entertaining.  My daughter's favorite was the "Skittle Scurry."  

I know for a fact that this theme is very popular amongst kids now.  I am a substitute teacher, and I have often been subbing on a day when there was a special assembly.  The vast majority of the games I saw in assemblies over the past school year were based on Minute to Win It.  And every time, the kids absolutely loved the activity!

I would highly recommend these printables to anyone planning a party for older elementary/middle school kids.  If you would like more information, check out their site.  You can find other themes there as well.  So if  you are looking for high quality party printables for any kind of party, check out their site!  I am fairly confident that you will find exactly what you are looking for!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Twinkle Tuesday--Bryton Pick Floss Review

A short time ago, I was sent the Bryton Pick Floss to review.  For me, dental health is extremely important.  I have suffered from gingivitis off and on since I was pregnant with my daughter.  I have flossed my teeth for most of my life, and in more recent times I have added the water pick to my regimen. 

One problem I have with my dental hygiene regimen is that water picks do not travel well.  If I happen to be away for the weekend or just too tired to use the water pick, I like to have a back up plan.  Usually I have to use disposable flossers.  And something I never like about those is the waste.  You have to throw them away once you use them.

The best feature about this product is that it is reusable.  It comes with its own plastic bag, and when you are done using it, you can wash it off.  It will last up to 30 days!  That is pretty impressive, I think.  

The only thing I do not like about this product is that it is difficult for me to reach my back teeth.  I hope they eventually find a design that makes it easier to reach the back teeth, but I have to say that I am able to reach my back teeth better with this product than the typical disposable flosser.

If you would like more information about Bryton Pick Floss, please check out their site here.  You can use that same link to find a store near you that carries this product.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Day in History August 23, 1912

I cannot be happier as I report about this day in history.  I had planned on being a little more serious, but when I discovered that this was the birthday of Gene Kelly, I knew what I would cover today.

I'm going to go on a bit of a personal note here, since this is my blog, and I can.  I grew up watching old films and musicals.  I loved The Wizard of Oz, and I faithfully watched it every year on TV.  I grew up in the time of the VCR--I know, that sounds dated, but it's true.  One of my favorite things was to go to the library and check out videos.  I saw The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady countless times.

One day, my mom and I went to the downtown library.  That was a big deal.  Yes, I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, but we lived on the North End--the old end of town.  My mom hated going downtown.  But we did.  I remember looking through the movies, and I happened to see Singin' in the Rain.  I knew nothing about it, but it was a musical, and it was old, so we gave it a try.

I was enraptured with all of the stars from the beginning.  I can't recall how many times I have seen this film, and I can go on and on about the little stories that went on behind the scenes.  I read a biography about Gene Kelly and one about Debbie Reynolds as well.  I regard Gene Kelly as one of the greatest dancers that ever lived.  He could do it all--tap, ballet, jazz, ballroom.  He often did his own stunts, much to the studio's chagrin.  He was a perfectionist to the core--nice to Judy Garland but mean to so many others, including young Debbie Reynolds.  He was a fantastic choreographer and director, and I don't think there will be ever be another.

As much as I love his musicals where he sings and dances, my favorite movie of his is not the musicals.  I could watch them over and over, but there is a movie not as well known in which he did not sing or dance.  He acted, and he acted well.  It is called Inherit the Wind.  The film is about a very controversial --evolution versus creation. He plays the reporter who is extremely cynical and smart-mouthed.  I actually loved his performance.  This film intrigues me because it is based on fact, and it shows how "religion" can give God a bad name.  Notice, I did not say faith.  I grew up defending creationism from a Biblical view that was deeply rooted in science, but so many Christians don't appreciate the need to understand why we believe what we believe.

Gene Kelly died February 2, 1996, and I may still have the original obituary published in the Tacoma News Tribune somewhere in my files.  I can remember when my parents told me.  I used to really be affected by the death of those old movie stars.  After all, I grew up watching them.  I couldn't have told you back then any of the current movie stars.

If you would like to do some more research on Gene Kelly, click here.
If you would like to find out more about Inherit the Wind, click here.

Gene Kelly - I'm Singing in the Rain by goldrausch

Music Monday--Three Mini-Reviews

Because I had a 3-hour drive to and from the Alan Jackson concert on Friday night, I got to listen to some CD's!  And you will now benefit.  I have 3 CD's to review, so here goes.

Herb Alpert &  the Tijuana Brass Classics is a CD with an interesting story.  My ex-husband was a huge fan of theirs, so I bought him this CD for some occasion during our marriage.  While I like them, I never did understand why he thought so highly of them and put down music that I listened to that was much better than this CD.  When we divorced, this is many of the things that he left behind.  So because I like it, it is now mine.

This CD has a lot of familiar music on it.  I would say it has all of their best known songs on it:
The Lonely Bull, Tijuana Taxi, Zorba the Greek, This Guy's In Love With You, Mame.
It has a total of 25 of their greatest hits, and if you like mariachi music or oldies music that is mainly instrumental, this is for you.  They were a group with a signature sound, and I think you would enjoy it.

Michael Ball Centre Stage was my first Michael Ball album.  I actually lost it and had to buy it again, but it was worth it.  It has long been one of my favorite Michael Ball albums.  So where did I hear of Michael Ball?  Well, my love for Andrew Lloyd Webber caused me to find a lot of musicians who sang his music.  And Michael Ball is one of them.  He first got his start in Les Miz.  I know he was more recently in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in England.

This album includes a wealth of songs from shows.  For me, the highlights are Every Story, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Winner Takes it All, and Send in the Clowns.  I have to say there is not a bad track on there.  When I was so enamored with Michael Crawford, I would have told you to not bother to listen to Michael Ball's Phantom and Music of the Night renditions.  After all, no one could take Michael Crawford's place, right?  Well, Michael Ball is good.  I think the lady's voice is lacking in quality, but honestly, this is a good CD.  My only problem with Michael Ball is that sometimes he tends to have a big head.  But he and humility do not appear to be on speaking terms.
I will have to show you a song that is not on this album--hard to find ones that are!

And finally, my favorite in the group, I must admit!  This was the first Josh Turner album I owned, and I loved it from the beginning.  I can remember hearing him on the radio and always wondering who he was.  It was my English friend, Martin, who filled me in on Josh Turner.

I love Josh Turner because of his voice and his Christian walk.  He lives what he talks about.  This album has a fantastic song called That's Just the Way He Was Raised.  You don't realize it is talking about Christ until the song is almost done.

The CD is filled with highlights including the title song, Firecracker, Soulmate, and much more.  I love the range he has--his low voice is where he just gets to me!  He is one of the only "celebrities" I have ever found handsome.  I am one of those weird women who doesn't often look at guys and drool over them--never have.  If you were to ask me who the most handsome actor is, I would have to select a dead one like Cary Grant or Clark Gable.  But Josh Turner is one who could easily turn me on if I let him!  Thank goodness he's married so I don't permit myself to think that way!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Solution Sunday--Skillet Bacon Jam Review

I recently had the opportunity to review an unusual product called skillet bacon jam (or spread). I was intrigued by the name alone, and when I read the company's description of their product, I knew this was something I wanted to try!

From the company:  
we make this bacon spread condiment called bacon say what?.. that’s right, we use niman ranch bacon and render it down along with onions, balsamic and other spices . It cooks for several hours until it is a perfect blend of smoky, tangy, savory and slightly sweet….basically spreadable bacony goodness!  USDA approved.

The first thing I was concerned about was the fat content.  I do not know what the caloric information is of this product, but I want to tell you that whatever calories/fat this item has, it is worth it!  This item is flavorful, and not once did I feel like I was sabotaging my diet.  I suppose that if I ate the entire contents of the container in one sitting, I might be overdoing it, but I can assure you I would not do that.

My first use of this product was on a hot dog (of all things, I know!).  I really thought it gave lots of good flavor to the hot dog.  It was not overly strong, but the taste seemed just right.  My mom agreed very strongly when she tried it on her hot dog as well.

The second time I used it was when I was making up a hash brown skillet side dish a few days ago.  I had all sorts of vegetables frying up with the hash browns, and I thought that this bacon jam would give these bland veggies a little flavor.  Again, I was right!  In fact, I truly should have added more.  Next time, I will.

My favorite thing about this product is that it is made in the Pacific Northwest!  I always love finding new products from the area, and it makes me want to promote this product even more.

So if you get a chance, take a closer look at this product here.  You'll be glad you did!  

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Satisfied Saturday (August 21-27, 2011) with a little help from Tidy Mom!

First of all, I was basically pleased with last week's recipes.  I still have one to make--the tuna cobb salad.  I will probably make that tomorrow or Monday.  So I will just plan 3-4 recipes this week. 

Meals 1 and 3 from last week were outstanding!  I loved making biscuits into little flattened biscuits.  My only recommendation with that is to roll them out at thinly as you can, and do not use oil.  I did not even use cooking spray.  They were perfect when I made them thin.  And I used the leftovers of these with Meal 3.  I did not make meal 3 in the oven.  I just cooked the eggs and bacon, and I put that with the cheese on the flattened biscuit.  I then took hashbrowns and added all the veggies I had lying around to them.  They were really good!

This week, I decided to try something a little different.  I downloaded the tidy mom toolbar this week, and I love it!  I told her that I would try to plan my meals using that toolbar (it has a recipe section), and so I am.  Here goes.
Meal 1:

She used Bob Evans mashed potatoes, but we have some other mashed potatoes we have on hand.  I will also add some other veggies.

Meal 2:

I will probably add some toast or biscuits to this.

Meal 3:


Well, I look forward to trying this out!  Thank you, Tidy Mom!

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Day in History August 20, 1911 and 1977

I bet this title threw you for a loop, eh?

Well, two very important events happened on this date in history.  They both involved technology, and they were considered great strides in that field.

The first happened on August 20, 1911.  The Times decided to send a telegram on this day to see how fast a commercial message could be sent around the world via the telegraph.  And the message that was sent?  "This message sent around the world."  This message left the dispatch room at 7 P.M. in New York, traveled more than 28,000 miles, was relayed by 16 different operators, and it was received by the same operator 16.5 minutes later.  Not bad for 1911!

Fast-forward 66 years later.  August 20, 1977.  NASA launched an unmanned 1820 pound unmanned spacecraft named Voyager II.  It left Cape Canaveral, Florida for a grand tour of the outer planets.  It carried an aluminum-jacket covered capsule that contained a phonograph record that would hopefully be discovered by extraterrestrials someday.  That was thankfully only an insignificant part of its mission.  More importantly, it sent back much information about the outer planets to scientists here in earth.  It is set to continue through the outer reaches of our solar system/galaxy until 2020 or until its engine gives out. 

So from this:

to this:

All on the same day in history!!

Websites Used:

Free-Wheeling Friday--Alan Jackson Concert

I will not be leaving today until tomorrow afternoon for Everett, Washington.  It's about a three-hour drive there from Yelm, and my mom and I are having a special vacation.  My dad will still be here--he gets to babysit the animals!  My daughter will be at a sleepover.

Now, why are my mom and I going?  We are going to see Alan Jackson in concert!  He is one of my favorite country singers.  I love so many of his songs, and it is exciting to realize that I will get to see him live!  I will have my phone so I can at least check e-mails, so if anyone has an issue with something, you know where to contact me.

Blessings to all of you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Day in History August 19, 1977

I guess I was actually alive when this occurred, but I was only 3 at the time.  This is the date when Groucho Marx died in Los Angeles at the age of 86.

For those of you who do not know Groucho Marx or the Marx brothers, I feel you are missing out.  I don't remember how young I was when I discovered them, but I was not much older than my daughter is now.  Groucho Marx was never my favorite--even he "pushed the envelope."  I have been shocked to go back and see some of his old films and see what the censors did not catch!

Brief biography:  Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was born October 2, 1890.  He had 4 brothers, and together they made up a comedy team that graced vaudeville, Broadway, and films.

In addition to his very successful films, he had a very well-respected radio and television game show called "You Bet Your Life."  His signature physical features were his mustache, eyebrows, and glasses.  He is best remembered for being an absolute master of wit.  He knew how to give out more insults in five minutes than most people could give in a lifetime.

If the below embedded video does not work, click here.

Websites used:

Thoughtful Thursday--"Kindle Kondition"

Well, I did it.  That is, my mom and I did.  Thanks to all her rewards points on amazon, we finally got a kindle.  Or at least we have ordered one.  By the end of this month, I will be able to review and read e-books.  I have to admit that I really was against getting and e-reader at first.  In my mind, it will never replace the printed book just like the CD was never replaced by the mp3 player.  At least for me.

It was actually my mother's doings.  She wanted to be able to access the Bible electronically, and she also is a big fan of Arthur Pink.  She is not a big fan of toting big books around with her that weigh a ton.  So she decided to go for it.

What sealed the deal for us is that I am being asked to review so many books now that I cannot access in print.  I have two I need to review within the next month that will not allow a print from the site.  It's annoying, but now at least I will have a way to review them. 

So with this post, I enter the 21st century at last.  There must be hope for me!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This Day in History August 18, 1587

Hopefully you were fortunate enough to be taught history in school.  (I don't mean to sound negative, but I learned as a teacher that the majority of my students did not even know when the U.S. became a nation.)  I can remember being taught about the first European to be born on American soil.  I can't say that I remembered her name, but this is the anniversary of her birth date:  August 18, 1587.  Her name was Virginia Dare, and she was born to Eleanor White Dare and John White.  John White was the governor of Roanoke.  I hope that at least sounds familiar to you--the Lost Colony.

Roanoke was located on the outer banks of North Carolina.  Here's a link to a very helpful map of Roanoke and the surrounding area.

Exactly what happened to Roanoke is unknown.  There is a lot of speculation, but I don't want to spend the time dealing with all of that here.  Governor White returned to Roanoke Island in 1591, and there was no trace of any of the inhabitants.  Her birthday is celebrated annually in Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

Websites Used:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Secrets by Jude Deveraux

Summary from goodreads:  At age twelve, Cassandra Madden fell in love with Jefferson Ames, a young man she met at one of her mother's business conferences. For years, Cassandra held on to this unrequited love in order to cope with her loneliness and the pain of her mother's coldness; even after meeting a man she thought she might marry, her heart still yearned for Jeff.

In a decisive moment, Cassandra calls off her pending engagement and travels to Williamsburg, Virginia, to become the nanny to the now-widowed Jeff's young daughter. But the object of her desire barely notices her. That is, until the day she hears shots coming from the mansion of an eccentric neighbor, a world-renowned actress. Stepping into a world of deception, where no one is who they claim to be, Cassandra must unravel the secrets all around her -- before she and Jeff can ever find happiness together.

SecretsSecrets by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although this is the first book I have ever read by Jude Deveraux, I have seen her name all over book sites and the web for some time. I was under the impression that she was just a good romance author, and so when I picked up the book, I figured that was what I would be reading.  Something light and nice with a basic romance plot.

Nothing could be further from the truth!  I now understand why this author is a best-selling novelist.  She is so much more than a typical romance novelist.  She is a master as romantic suspense writing, and I was completely engrossed in this book.

There was so much I appreciated about this novel.  It had a strong romantic story--which was what I was initially looking for.  In addition to this, she added a fantastically suspenseful plot with lots of twists and turns. I remember thinking halfway through that I was not even assured what would happen at the end!  Would it even end how I thought it should?

I would certainly put Jude Deveraux in the same category as Agatha Christie, and that is saying something.  I found myself not wanting to put this book down once a chapter finished because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.  There was never a dull moment in this book, and the writing was dynamic!

The other thing I appreciated about this book was the absence of steamy sex scenes.  While sex was mentioned as having happened, it was not described in detail. I also appreciated the absence of vulgar language.  There was an occasional mild word, but nothing that was truly horrendous.  This author has easily become one of my favorite romance novelists, and I  can hardly wait to read more of her books.  I now know why she is considered one of the greats!

View all my reviews

Jude Deveraux is the author of thirty-seven New York Times bestsellers, including Scarlet Nights, Days of Gold, Lavender Morning, Return to Summerhouse, Secrets, Someone to Love, Wild Orchids, Holly, The Mulberry Tree, The Summerhouse, and Temptation. To date, there are more than 50 million copies of her books in print worldwide. She lives in North Carolina.

Progress Cards Back To School Sampler Pack Giveaway (Ends 9/3) U.S. Only (CLOSED)

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Did you read my Progress Cards Review I just posted?  Does it sound like something you may like to own?  Well, here is your chance to win exactly what I reviewed!  One person (U.S. only) will win their very own Back To School Sampler Pack of Progress Cards.  Be sure to enter on the rafflecopter form below and only write a comment on the post when asked to.  This giveaway will end on September 3 at 9:00 P.M. Pacific Time.  Best of wishes to all!

Twinkle Tuesday--Progress Cards Review--Back To School Sampler Pack

A short time ago, I was asked to review a fantastic product--Progress Cards.  I was sent a Back to School Sampler pack which included a Progress Report and 15 cards for children to track their progress in various areas.  When I discovered that it was developed by an elementary school teacher, I was instantly hooked!

I was most impressed by the Progress Book (which you can download for free here).  While my daughter has not had a chance to fill it out yet, I am planning to have her go through it next week as a way to get her thinking about school again.  She is preparing to enter the third grade, and I think it is high time for her to develop her own goals and track her progress without her teacher or her grandmother or me harping on her.  She is already a very self-driven child, but she does tend to get sidetracked easily, and this is the very thing to keep her on the straight and narrow.

As I looked through the Back To School Progress pack of Progress Cards (download a free sample of Friendship Skills and Study Skills here), several topics caught my interest.  My daughter constantly struggles with her bedtime routine, healthy meals, and homework routine.  Guess what?  These are three topics that are covered in the Progress Cards!  (Maybe that means my daughter isn't the only one who struggles with these??)  My daughter can use these to establish her routines and track her progress on her own.  It even has the simplest of things listed on the cards--Go to the bathroom.  If you knew my daughter, you would know why this is important.  Now I can't remember the last time she had an accident, but she does tend to wait until the last minute when it comes to going to the bathroom.

Whether your child attends public school, private school, or home school, I believe that this product is something I could recommend with no hesitation.  I feel it is important for my child to "own" her actions, and this is an organized way for her to do it.  And it makes my life simpler!  Yes, I forget things sometimes, but with these cards, my excuse is gone.  And so is hers!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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