Monday, July 30, 2012

Toothy's product and store review

Here’s an interesting seller on Etsy.com – Toothy’s Trinkets. She sells some pretty unique items that caught my attention. Things like her super hero glass magnets (you know I’m a nerd!), feather earrings, rainbow glass candle holders (beautiful and bright colors), and some other glass magnets in various colors. Quirky, cute and reasonably priced - they make great gifts.
My personal favorite is the glass magnets. I’ve always loved magnets and have picked up some here and there in my lifetime that I find interesting. As someone who loves bright colors and comic book heroes – Toothy’s has a little of both! Toothy’s sent me two magnets to do a product review on. And I gotta say – they are pretty cool! First of all, she sent them Friday and I received them today (Monday). Fast shipping is always a plus, especially if you are getting something as a gift and need it quick. Toothy’s is also quick with replying via Etsy convo (their form of email) and was very easy to talk to. Those two things mean a lot to me when it comes to buying from small businesses. As for the magnets themselves; they are round glass with classic comic pictures inside. She sent Batman and Wonder Woman (my favorites!). On the backs are attached a heavy duty magnet. Solid, bright colored and really cool. These make the perfect gift for your nerd/geeky friends!
And for her other products; the candle holders come in star shape or as candlesticks. And they are the vibrant colors from the rainbow. The comic book magnets each have a more classic looking picture inside from comics of super heroes. She also has a bright vibrant blue colored set of glass magnets as well as the rainbow glass set which is painted glass in the colors of the rainbow. The earrings she makes are long and feathered and come in various colors.

She ships from Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. The link to her store on Etsy.com is http://www.etsy.com/shop/Toothys
Definitely check her out!
***Revisions as of 10-30-12*** I stopped by her Etsy shop tonight to see what she had going on. Looks like she has added quite a few other things since I did my review! So many new gift ideas and fun masks.

OOFOS Shoe product review and giveaway

Who loves shoes?? I know I do. I love comfortable shoes that look good. Particularly shoes that look with more than one outfit. And here in Texas where it’s HOT at least 8 months out the year, I like shoes that are open and let my feet breathe! Recently, I was given the chance to try a pair of really amazing shoes from OOFOS. And as they like to say, I can definitely “Feel the OO!”
Being 9 months pregnant and having to chase my 2 little boys around, I need shoes that offer support and comfort over several hours at a time since I am on my feet a lot. Before trying the OOFOS, I used a cheap pair of flip flops that weren't much better than a couple pieces of cardboard tied together with a thong. After trying OOFOS, I'm walking on clouds! They are super comfy - but offer great support! I prefer the OOriginal Sandals (they stay on my feet better when I have to chase my little guys) and I love how these fit so well. No pinching like new shoes normally do. They have thick soles that contour to your feet.

They are lightweight, water resistant, machine washable (in cold water only – don’t put them in the dryer!), reduce the body impact using revolutionary comfort designs, and have underfoot support.

OOFOS are available in men’s and women’s sizes. They have 2 styles to choose from: OOriginal Sandals and OOahh Slides. Colors that they have for the OOriginals are Black, Mocha, Fuchsia, and Tangerine. The Slides only come in Black, Mocha and Fuchsia (for now). These are shoes – not just sandals that can be purchased online at the Insole Store http://www.theinsolestore.com/insoles-store-brands/oofos.html.
You can also follow OOFOS on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/oofosfootwear, Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/oofos and Pinterest http://pinterest.com/oofos/ to see what they might come out with next!

So do you want a chance to Feel the OO!? I’m happy to offer you, my readers, an OOFOS giveaway! Just enter via the Rafflecopter options below.

***I received these shoes for free for the sole purpose of a product review. I was not paid or otherwise endorsed to write this, it is strictly my opinions on the product unless otherwise stated.***
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jonathan's Wild Cherry Spoons review (and discount)

As a mom, I spend several hours a day in my kitchen. So, when it comes to my utensils - I choose things that are durable and useful - as well as pleasing to the eyes. Recently I was granted the opportunity to try out an amazing spoon from Jonathan’s Wild Cherry Spoons. They are made of cherry wood or maple wood - which if I'm buying any real wood products, cherry is what I prefer! It's durable, soft to the touch, and naturally beautiful. This particular spoon is no exception. It’s also handcrafted in America which is a big plus for my family.  
I chose to review the Spiral Slim Spoon. I love the unique design of swirls on the spoon part and scribble going down the handle. The tag that came on the spoon says, “Spiral Spoon Progressive circles signifying growth and balance in a world gone crazy.” How true! I also love the feel of the wood as I’m stirring food. It’s comfortable, warm and easy to grip. It is also very sturdy - I don’t have to worry about it feeling like it’s going to break like most wooden spoons I have used before.
I also love that while communicating with various members of Jonathan's Wild Cherry Spoons (including Jonathan himself), everyone was very friendly and helpful. They have extremely good customer service.
This is a card that explains more about caring for your spoon (top) and a book mark that gives information about Jonathan and how he got the idea to start his business that came with the spoon.

There are several types of designs to choose from such as; Original, Cat Tail, Flame Blackened, and the Scribbles, Spirals, and Spots. It’s not just spoons though! Spoons, spatulas, ladles, spootles, pasta forks – the list goes on. Each one is something useful but unique to have around your kitchen. The Lazy Spoons collection offer you the chance to simply rest your utensil on the edge of the pot, giving you easy access to it while continually returning to stir whatever you happen to be cooking. It’s a really neat idea. Keeps your cooking space clean too!

Caring for your spoons:
You can easily wash them with a Scotchbrite® pad using soap and water. The owner of Jonathan’s Wild Cherry Spoons also included the following recommendations on his website: “Occasionally oil them when you want them to look their best – natural coconut oil is my favorite! I do not recommend using a dishwasher for any wood, as the drying cycle dehydrates wood too rapidly which can cause it to crack, and cleaning agents may age the surface of the wood. Other than that, people say my spoons survive their dishwasher’s just fine. The color of my spoons will deepen with use, and with age their beauty goes beyond skin deep, becoming the cherished utensils that we always reach for – embodying the internal beauty of usefulness.” (A side note about the coconut oil – Not only is it good for the spoons, but it’s actually good for you too!)

And as a final plus: they come in left-handed as well as right-handed utensils! So if you do happen to be a lefty and find it hard to get cooking utensils suited more to you, Jonathan’s Wild Cherry Spoons is the place to go!
How to order your own:

You can order from Jonathan’s Wild Cherry Spoons online at this website - http://www.woodspoon.com/. Or you can check on his website and possibly find a shop nearby that carries his wares. My husband already told me which he wants me to order or find: the Scribble Cheese Board!  
And as a special bonus for my readers and followers only – they are offering a 5% discount on your orders! The discount is available from July 30th to August 12th. Just enter the coupon code blogemily when placing your order. This discount is exclusively through Jonathan’s Wild Cherry Spoons. You can get it when calling to place an order or when ordering online only. It does not apply in any stores locally.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow my blog. I’ll be adding more reviews and possibly some giveaways next time.
***The views expressed in this review are strictly my own; I was not paid or given any incentive to write the way I did. I simply received a free spoon to review and wrote my honest opinions on it.***

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lego KidsFest!

If you are a Lego fan, I have something special to announce today:
You could win tickets to go to Lego KidsFest August 31 - September 2 in Austin, Texas! You could win 2 tickets to the opening night festivities.Click the following link for instructions telling you what you need to do to enter and good luck!
http://ilovemycouponfans.com/win-lego-kidsfest-tickets-austin-legokidsfest/

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blogger reviews

I recently read some posts on a forum about bloggers making requests to review products and there were a lot of negative comments about it. For those of you that don't know, this is how it works: A blogger sends a request to review a product. If accepted, the company sends them a free product to try and review. The blogger then takes 1 to 2 weeks to try it out, take notes and write the review. They post it on their blog and tell you what they think. Sometimes the company will even host a giveaway through that blogger so you can win and try the product too.

What does this accomplish? For the blogger - it gives them a chance to try new things for free, build their fan base, and share the things they learned with their readers so the readers can make a more informed decision on products before making a purchase. For the company – it means more interest in their websites or place of business. Which then, can lead to more sales and growth.
Companies or individuals who decide to take a chance and give away something for free could get more sales and growth. There are no guarantees though. Are bloggers really just looking for handouts and freebies? Some of them might be. You can tell a good reviewer by the reviews. The more details put into it, the more time taken to make sure it’s well written and easy to understand = the more they care about what they are doing and saying.
What does all this mean for the readers? You can see for yourself pictures of the product that aren't touched up or photo shopped, read what a real person who has used it, thinks and knows about it, and make a decision that's more informed about the product or company. Most people buy things based on what they hear about it right? Your friend tells you, "Hey I just found this amazing deal on a super pair of shoes at So and So's." They show them off and maybe even let you slide your foot in to get a feel. What are you likely to do? Well, if you need or love buying shoes - you will probably head to that store and spend money there. Basically, you will be listening to a review.
That's what review bloggers are supposed to be about. Helping you see and experience something before shelling out your hard earned cash on something that might not be worth it to you later. So if you are a skeptic about review bloggers - I hope you can see them in a new light and maybe understand why some of us do what we do and ask for things like we do. And the rest of you readers out there - I hope this makes things a little more clear on what my purpose is when it comes to reviews. I will be completely honest about things. I won't write a rave review just because something was given to me free. Nor will I endorse something I don't believe is worth it. Hopefully soon, as my numbers of readers and followers grow both here and on my Facebook Fan page, you will see more reviews and maybe I can even start giveaways. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Looking to boost your income?

If you are like me, the economy these days may be prompting you to seek extra income here and there. I recently found an article that was in Woman’s Day magazine way back in 2009. My mom had given it to me right after I had gotten married and was struggling to make ends meet. I’ve pulled some helpful tips from the article to share with you guys. As of right now, I haven’t tried all of these for myself (though I definitely plan to try a few more) so if you try them out and would be so kind – please share some feedback and let me know how it went for you!
Sell your books:

Have books lying around that you can’t seem to sell or don’t need anymore? Check out Cash4Books.net. It’s a family-owned book-buying and selling company that has been going since 2004.

1.      Type in the book’s ISBN number (on the back cover or on the copyright page in the front) and it will tell you if they are buying that book and how much cash you can get for it.

2.      Complete the transaction online.

3.      Print out a prepaid mailing label.

4.      Pack up those books and send them in.

In just a few days, you should either receive a check in the mail or a deposit to your PayPal account. But you don’t have to stop there. If you scour garage sale and thrift stores – you might find more money-making books. Be sure to check which books are selling before you buy though. If your mobile phone is internet-enabled, you can check cash4books.net/mobile while shopping.

*WARNING* While you might hit the jackpot buying a book super cheap to resell at a high profit, remember there are condition requirements. So get familiar with them before you head out.
http://www.cash4books.net/


Join e-clubs:

Most retailers, restaurant chains, supermarkets, drugstores and travel-related companies offer some kind of rewards program to encourage customer loyalty. These rewards come in the forms of discounts, rebates or even free products. So if it’s free – join it! Most times you get something special on your birthday. Check the websites of your favorite restaurants and retailers to sign up. Also look at PriorityClubRewards.com where you can earn points towards free night stays at IHG hotels, air miles, cruises, electronics and more. http://www.priorityclub.com/hotels/us/en/home

Cold Stone Creamery gives you a rewards card and will send you a promotion for free ice cream on your birthday. http://www.coldstonecreamery.com/promotions.html

DisneyParks.com – you might get a free entrance to a Disney theme park for your birthday. http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/

*WARNING* Merchants and service providers use e-clubs for sales and marketing purposes. This means you’re likely to receive a LOT of emails from them, so you might want to consider getting a separate email account just for the e-clubs.
Freelancing:

Elance.com is an online workplace where small businesses connect with qualified professionals to get small jobs done. Writers, programmers, graphic designers, marketers or whatever skills you might have to offer – you can bid on jobs and get paid to do what you do best. https://www.elance.com/

Yahoo! Voices (previously known as Associated Content) is an open content network that lets anyone submit content on any subject. If the editors like it, they’ll pay you for it and give you bonus payments based on the number of views the article receives. http://voices.yahoo.com/

*WARNING* Make sure, if you have a daytime employer, that they don’t have any restrictions on you freelancing.

 Auto Insurance discounts:

If you have a teenage driver that is bringing home great report cards, check and see if your auto insurance company offers discounts for such a thing. They might knock as much as 10% off the top if your teen maintains a GPA of 3.0. Or perhaps someone in your household is a teacher? Some insurance companies give discounts to credentialed teachers (too bad they don’t recognize homeschool moms as teacher’s right??) and educational administrators. Some insurance companies might even have a discount for those that have a Bachelor’s degree in an engineering or science related field. And lastly, most insurers will give a discount for having all vehicles on the same company policy.  

*WARNING* Don’t assume that the insurance company will automatically give you every discount available. Speak up and ask about anything you think you might be qualified for that they could offer. Ask for a complete list and remember that not all companies offer the same things.

 Sell your Cell:

Most Americans these days tend to get a new cell phone every 12 months or so. But how can you get money back for the ones laying around the house taking up space? You might be able to sell it on eBay.com or list it on Craigslist.com. But there are other websites out there you might try. For instance – Flipswap.com. Just input the brand and model to see the buyers are willing to pay. You might try CellForCash.com too but I couldn’t get it to pull up on my computer. Both sites are supposed to let you print a prepaid mailing label for sending in your phone. http://flipswap.com/

*WARNING* Before you mail it, make sure you remove the auxiliary memory card, reset the password to 0000 and delete all of your information from the phone or remove its SIM card.


 Selling CDs, DVDs, and video games:

Check out SecondSpin.com. http://www.secondspin.com/ I don’t know much about how their program works. I think it’s similar to the cell phones and books websites.

My mother sent me some other helpful sites that might interest you about saving money and helpful hints:
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/

http://frugalliving.about.com/

http://www.livingonadime.com/
 Hope this was helpful! Keep reading and following for future tips and possibly reviews to come.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Texas Chili Cook Off (Humor)

Okay so most of you have probably already read this before. Its been going around the internet and emails for years. And no matter how many times I read it - I still laugh until my sides ache. So a little humor for your day!
Notes from an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:
Recently I was honored to be selected to be a judge at a Chili cook-off in Texas, because no one else wanted to do it. Also the original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides, they told me that I could have free beer during the tasting. So I accepted.

Here are the scorecards from the event:

CHILI # 1: MIKE'S MANIC MONSTER CHILI

JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy crap, what the heck is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with this stuff. I needed two beers to put the flames out. Hope that's the worst one. Those Texans are crazy.

 CHILI # 2: ARTHUR'S AFTERBURNER CHILI

JUDGE ONE: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor. Needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to walkie-talkie in three extra beers when they saw the look on my face.

 CHILI # 3: FRED'S FAMOUS BURN DOWN THE BARN CHILI

JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A bean less chili. A bit salty. Good use of red peppers.

FRANK: Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting plastered.

CHILI # 4: BUBBA'S BLACK MAGIC

JUDGE ONE: Black Bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods. Not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills; that 300lb woman is starting to look HOT, just like this nuclear-waste I'm eating.

 CHILI # 5: LINDA'S LEGAL LIP REMOVER

JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly from a pitcher onto it. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Crazy rednecks! ! !

 CHILI # 6: VERA'S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY

JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions and garlic.

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. I need to wipe my rear with a snow cone!

 CHILI # 7: SUSAN'S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI

JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum. Tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge # 3.

FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a darn thing. I've lost the sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of a lava-like mess, to match my shirt. At least the during the autopsy they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful. I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the four inch hole in my stomach.

CHILI # 8: HELEN'S MOUNT SAINT CHILI

JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending. This is a nice blend chili, safe for all; not too bold, but spicy enough to declare its existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 passed out, fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor Yank.

FRANK: - - - - - Mama? (Editor's Note: Judge # 3 was unable to report)


Monday, July 9, 2012

Encouragement for the down trodden

Some days are harder than others. Today is turning out to be one of those days. My youngest son refuses to sleep on his own so after he falls asleep, I typically go lay down and a few hours later he comes to find me and lies down next to me. Depending on how tired I am I may not even notice until I roll over and there he is. This morning (much like most mornings) he wakes me up at 6:30 AM asking for his cup.  I told him to go back to sleep and tried to roll over but he answers no. Its time for mommy to get up and get to work. I struggle to roll out of bed and feel around the dresser for my glasses. I’m blind as a bat and feeling big as a cow since I’ve just passed the 32 week point in this pregnancy. I grab a diaper and we head to the kitchen to get his cup. He now wants me to turn on the TV but I’m trying to cut back on how much they watch. Even the educational shows these have questionable content and have my kids saying or doing things that makes me wonder, “Where in the world did you learn that?!” By now my oldest son has stumbled in and wants his drink too. They sit down on the couch with their cups and want the TV on. So I turn on Chuggington and begin contemplating what to make for breakfast. Here’s the deal – my husband works overnight. And he doesn’t drive. So at night I take him to work and in the morning I have to go pick him up. It can be quite a pain at times. I never know when he will get off work. More than once I’ve started cooking a big breakfast (eggs, sausage, toast, etc.) only to have him tell me he’s ready for me to come pick him up. Very annoying for someone who is OCD about completing tasks.
This morning I opted for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not the healthiest, I know, but quick and easy. They finished eating and I began my cleaning. Vacuuming the whole apartment, finding a hole in my sons windowsill, washing the dishes, starting the dryer again since it didn’t dry the clothes completely (AGAIN), and going about getting the boys dressed and ready for when daddy finishes work. 7:30 rolls around, I’m out of breath and getting packages ready to be mailed (my husband has an online business selling Lego’s). I get a text, time to leave and pick him up! We get buckled in and head out. Wouldn’t you know it? Traffic as far as I can see down 1604. What normally takes me about 10 minutes now takes about 40. During our car ride, the boys are in the back seat getting restless. “Mom, go faster!” “Mom, he take his shoes off.” “Mom, we go to daddy HEB?” Now I’m wishing my car could fly….

Finally get to my husband’s job, pick him up and its smooth riding back home. From the corner of my eye I can see my husband signing. Once again its complaints about how tired he is, his aisle was a mess and he needs to get home and get to sleep since he has to work early tonight because of inventory. I tune him out and just nod occasionally. I’m feeling exhausted already and yet my day hasn’t really begun.

Once home I get the packages ready for the mail, have my husband start copying some paperwork I need mailed out today, get the boys ready for their bath, and try to prepare myself for a long day. My husband is frustrated that I need this paperwork ready this morning (I’ve told him I’d need it for the past 2 days already). He doesn’t like having to rush unless it’s something he really wants.

Finally everything is done that really needed to get done. He gets in the shower, the kids go play, and I take a moment to catch my breath and read. My mom had given me some pamphlets on marriage and living better. The first one I pick up is by Dr. James Dobson. I’ve heard him before. When I was still living with my parents we listened to a Christian radio station that often played Dr. Dobson clips. This one is titled Values in the Home, and is supposed to offer 38 principles that Dr. Dobson “has drawn from a lifetime of experience in Christian living and in human experience”. The one that seemed to shout to me right away was #7: Human worth does not depend on beauty or intelligence or accomplishments. We are all more valuable than the possessions of the entire world, simply because God gave us that value. This fact remains true, even if every other person on earth treats us like losers.

I really needed to hear that. Some days, like today, I get to feeling like I took the wrong path in life. That everything is headed downhill permanently. I want to throw in the towel and say, “I’m done!” Nothing more, I’m done. Statements like the one above, however, remind me that it’s just one of those days. As quick as it came and as bad as it may have been, it will be gone. Tomorrow will be a new day with new challenges and possibilities.

Further down at #8: Strong desire is like a river. When you have a strong desire for something the outcome can go 1 of 2 ways. If it’s the right kind of desire – things can go well. If you desire something that shouldn’t or isn’t meant to be – you will be very unhappy when things don’t go well.

#10: Comparison is the root of all feelings of inferiority. The moment you begin examining other people’s strengths against your most obvious weaknesses, your self-esteem starts to crumble! Everyone is strong and weak in various abilities. Comparing yourself or your life with someone else’s (probably because they seem to be doing so much better than you), leads to unhappiness and resentment towards them. It’s also a waste of energy. Some people may seem to have the perfect life, but underneath they are struggling just as hard if not harder. They put on a mask to make others think all is well and hide the reality.

#13: If you’re going through difficult times today, hold steady: It will change soon. If you are experiencing smooth sailing and easy times now, brace yourself: It will change soon. The only thing you can be certain of is change.

#17: One of the secrets of successful living is found in the word balance, referring to the avoidance of harmful extremes. We need food, but we should not overeat. We should work, but not make work our only activity. We should play, but not let play rule us. Throughout life, it will be important to find the safety of the middle ground, rather than the imbalance of the extremes.

I could go on with other encouraging words from this pamphlet but I have 2 little boys who need a nap and laundry that needs to get done…. So I’ll end for now and maybe write more later. I hope someone out there reads this and has a brighter day. You are worth more than all the world and its riches, so don’t let anyone or anything get you down for too long.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lego’s®!!!

Who doesn’t love the famous children’s toy? Originally created in 1932 in Billund, Denmark, Lego’s® have become a common household name across the globe. <http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/lego-group> They are a privately owned company that not only fascinate children, but even have adult fans now. From the building blocks themselves to the merchandise, to the conventions and learning centers based around Lego’s® there is something out there for everyone.
My husband and I both grew up enjoying Lego’s®. My parents bought me the cheaper brands of building blocks like Mega Bloks, but I didn’t care. As long as I could let my mind go wild and build whatever was in my imagination – I was happy!

A couple years ago my husband decided he wanted to start buying Lego’s® again as a hobby. He started buying small sets and pulled out his bin of Lego’s® from when he was a kid. Then he got the idea that instead of building random things, he was going to build a city of them. He named it his Deaf Lego City. At first I thought it was cute. We built the sets together. Some of them ran pretty high in price. We started with the Green Grocer and Grand Emporium. He wanted to take videos of the progress we made every time we added to it. So I recorded and then uploaded them to my YouTube account. His city started to grow and grow…. And grow some more. We had to stop for about a year or two from lack of money and 2 little boys that took up our time. But then the itch came back and he was at it again. Only this time it became his obsession.

Now he has gone from a small table with a few buildings to a custom wooden table we built late one night and later added to. We have about a dozen or so buildings, streets, vehicles, a sky rail train… It looks like a regular city to us. You can see the last video we uploaded below.
But once again, money is tight for us. We buy Lego’s® here and there when we can. We build when he’s off work for a while and hasn’t any other plans. We started buying from a couple guys here in town. Then one of them mentioned a website specifically for buying and selling Lego’s®. It’s called Brick Link. http://www.bricklink.com/ It’s a worldwide network of Lego fans buying and selling together. Well, my husband certainly didn’t take long to check it out. And now his Lego® obsession has gone from buying/building to buying/selling them! He started up a store via Brick Link (username is TexasBrickStore) and has not only gotten great deals but is now also making money from it. http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=TexasBrickStore

So if you are a Lego® fan looking to buy or sell, I suggest Brick Link before checking Craigslist or eBay. And definitely feel free to contact my husband! He’s a Lego® fanatic with a great deal of Lego’s® I’d personally like to see dwindle. Enjoy building and creating!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The truth about Great White Sharks

Time to get nerdy and spread some facts....I recently saw this video posted on a friends wall about great sharks being spotted off both coasts of America. http://gma.yahoo.com/video/news-26797925/summer-shark-warning-great-whites-on-both-coasts-29880307.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fnews-26797925%252Fsummer-shark-warning-great-whites-on-both-coasts-29880307.html
Perfect timing for the news frenzy to make comparisons of the infamous movie, Jaws and the current events.
First of all, yes, this is unusual. Great whites aren't seen around the northern states of the US all that much. However, they do follow their favorite food: seals.
Secondly, they don't often attack people. Sharks in general attack only when they are hungry and you look like the perfect next meal. The most aggressive shark known to us is not the Great White though. Its the Bull Shark. And the Bull Shark happens to be the only shark capable of going from salt water to fresh. If I'm going to fear sharks - that's that one I'm going to be the most worried about. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/bull-shark/
Want to know some basic facts about the great white? Check out this list:  
Great White Sharks are the largest predatory fish in the sea.
Great White sharks live along the coasts of all continents except Antarctica.
The Great White Shark is not all white. The shark’s back may be dark blue, gray, brown or black.
Great White Sharks rarely attack people and when they do, it is because they mistaken the person for their usual seal prey.
Scientists estimate that after a big meal, a Great White Shark can last up to three months before needing another one.
A Great White Shark can roll its eyeballs back, which protects the vital front part of the eye from being scratched. (Just another fact, if you are ever attacked by any shark - hit them in the eyes and gills. They are very sensitive there and will most likely release you and swim away.)
Some scientists believe there are less than 10,000 Great White Sharks in the entire world.
More than 70 percent of known victims of Great White Shark Attacks survive because the shark realizes it has made a mistake and doesn’t finish off the prey.
Found all this on this link: http://sharkfacts.org/great-white-shark-facts/
Another thing they didn't mention - if you see dolphins swimming nearby, the water is safe. Sharks and dolphins don't mix. A pack of dolphins will protect a human (or group of humans) by swimming circles around them. And if need be, a dolphin will kill a shark by ramming it repeatedly in the gills.  
My family got the Jaws movie when I was about 8 or 9 years old. We sat down together to watch it one night. My parents laughed at the special effects difference from then and now and how fake everything looked. My brother was enthralled by the beast that ravaged all those people at the beach. I was sickened by all the bloody scenes and wondered why the heck so many people still got in the water.... Shortly after watching that, we also watched Deep Blue Sea. Again my parents were not impressed. "Look at how fake that looks!" "That's so un-believable." My brother was again awestruck by the sharks. I'm wondering - why did the chick have to completely jump in the water to spread her bloody hands around? Can't you just splash them in the water but stay safely on the rock ledge?? (And other things similiar to this when the characters did something stupid.)
Every time we went to the library, my brother started checking out books on sharks. Any kind of book, any kind of shark. We were homeschooled and sharks became our fun subject. I even wrote a short scary story about a shark in a lake that won me scholarship money for college.
We lived in Jacksonville, Florida at the time. So going to the beach was a family event everyone looked forward to. I wouldn't go in the water past my knees. But I loved looking for shells and building in the sand. Or just sitting in the tide pools. My brother, on the other hand, wasn't satisfied with this. He would run into the waves as far as he could go. Then he would float face down and let the tide/waves carry him back to shore. He did this repeatedly. At first none of us really paid attention. But mom (ever watchful) soon noticed and was just about to freak out when he floated near the sand and got up to run back in. At first we were puzzled. What on earth was he trying to do? Well, he came in for a break and we asked. "I'm trying to get bitten by a shark." Only my brother.... It never did work though. There were probably plenty of sharks out there. But being that my brother was too white and skinny, they passed him right by.
So before everyone freaks out and gets sucked into the SHARK! scares, just try to keep these things in mind, hmm? Chances are, you've been swimming with the sharks for years and just didn't know it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Easy Dark Chocolate Fudge

In the moodfor some yummy dark chocolate fudge? Here is a truly simplerecipe for an amazing batch of fudge. I recently made some and took it to theapartment manager of our complex. In her words, “This is better than sex! Melts-in-your-mouth goodness.” Enjoy!


Dark Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:

2 cups(as-oz. pkg.) Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Chips®

1 can(14oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoonvanilla extract

(walnuts orother nuts are optional, I prefer my fudge to be straight up chocolate)


Directions:

Line 8 or 9inch square baking pan with foil.
Combine morsels and sweetened condensed milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Warm overlowest possible heat, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract (and nuts if you are adding them).

Spread evenly into prepared baking pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into pieces.

***Warning: This comesout to be very rich, so I cut it into bite sized pieces.***