Friday, March 21, 2008

Weight Loss, the surgical way

There are many methods of weight loss out there, from ranging to eating a low fat diet, to eating a high fat/low carb diet, to exercising a ton, to taking pills, and the of course there's lapband surgery.

As with all weight loss options, researching before doing anything is very important. You can research your options, talk with your doctor, and visit websites such as lapband surgeon cincinnati.



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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Montana WIC

I signed up for WIC. My mom would be horrified that I'm on 'public assistance' but the numbers in our budget just don't add up, and I refuse to put the little one in daycare to pay for our past mistakes (credit card debt). And a good $150+ is being taken out of my hubby's paycheck every pay period, so I don't mind taking a little back.

Oh. My. The. Milk.

The little one and I both are allergic to cow's milk. I figured that since I told them this they'd just give us cheese or something. No. They gave us quarts and quarts of goat's milk. And I didn't even qualify, they were able to give her goat's milk without a 'prescription' but not me. I got that later that day, and I'll bring it by next month.

So, just for her, they gave us checks for 24 quarts of goat's milk! I bought 16, and I have most of it in the freezer. They gave us 2 lbs of cheese, 7 containers of juice concentrate, 2 lbs of beans, 36 eggs, and 3 boxes of cereal. I'm going to see next time if I can trade some of the milk for beans. She's still breastfed, and I told them that as long as I have milk (human milk, in my boobies) I'll be nursing her, as human milk for human babies is superior to goat milk for human babies. And beans are cheaper for them anyway. We cook and eat a lot of beans, and could use easily 10-20 lbs a month.

We'll see. I'm not complaining. And for the record, if I have the chance to vote for or against WIC or any other type of public assistance, I vote against it (I don't believe that is the government's job to redistribute the wealth or food). But as long as they're taking so much out of my hubby's check, we'll go ahead and use what we qualify for.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Why does my baby have a diaper rash?

Some less commonly known reasons for a diaper rash, and some solutions

1. Your baby is having a reaction to perfumed chemical-laden disposable diapers. If you don't want to switch to cloth, then try Tushie's brand disposable, which don't have the gross gel beads, any perfumes, dyes, or bleach. Seventh Generation diapers may work too, but they still have the gel beads, which I tend to think are not healthy.

2. Your baby is teething. During teething God designed the body to change the pH, making the teeth easier to push through. You may notice your baby also has a little rash around his or her mouth, indicating that his saliva also is a bit more acidic. Frequent changes and washes with a wet wash cloth will help, and after washing you can also coat the baby's bum with a diaper ointment like Burt's Bees Zinc Oxide to keep the urine from irritating baby's delicate skin.

3. Baby is sensitive to something he just started eating. Citrus (oranges, orange juice, etc) is a common culprit, as are tomatoes. Think about what baby recently started eating, or has been eating a lot of and try cutting that out of his diet.

4. Baby is sensitive to polyester, commonly found in 'wicking fabric' in modern cloth diapers such as FuzziBunz. Buy some inexpensive CPFs (Chinese Prefolds) from an online retailer (Not a department store! The Target and Walmart Prefolds by gerber contain polyester which a. doesn't absorb squat and b. baby would still be sensitive to) and see if the rash clears up. We had some beautiful used work-at-home-mom made diapers that had a 'microfiber liner' that gave my baby a rash every time she would pee :( Very sad. I finally figured out that it was the diapers, not anything else and switched to only cotton interiors. Easy all-in-one diapers with cotton interiors are also sold here.

5. Baby is sensitive to detergents. Unknown to most, 'Free and Clear' detergents are designed to clear the laundry of allergy-causing dust mites, and are not 'clear' of potential allergens. They contain enzymes that babies are often sensitive to. Switch to a natural detergent like Seventh Generation, or, in a pinch, use a natural baby shampoo- just a squirt- to clean baby's clothes and diapers.

6. There is buildup on your diapers. A double wash on hot/hot (turn off the cold water coming into your machine if you don't have a hot/hot cycle and run it on warm/warm). This can be caused by using fabric softener (a no-no for babies due to it's allergy potential and chemicals) or diaper cream. Washing on hot/hot with a quirt of hand dishwashing liquid (like Dawn or Joy or anything) should get rid of the detergent buildup. If you have very soft water, you may need to use 1/4 the amount of detergent always, and run an extra rinse on your laundry.

Solutions:

One of the best solutions for chronic diaper rash is to let your baby's bum breathe each day. Perhaps during 'tummy time' allow him to be on a blanket on the floor in the nude to get fresh air to his diaper area.

If you want to use cream, and sometimes bad rashes demand something more than air-time, I recommend Burt's Bee's natural ointment. It is zinc oxide based like Desitin, but doesn't contain fish oil that makes your baby smell icky and can be an allergen. A&D can be okay, but it does contain mineral oil, which is controversial. Plain coconut oil is antibacterial, as is vitamin E oil (just buy capsules in the vitimin section and break them open and spread around).

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Web To TV

Web To TV

This is a good idea. Especially for those who are addicted to YouTube videos, or past episodes of The Office. We also download from Netflix and have to watch our movies on the computer monitor because we can't get them over to the TV. With Web To TV you can search on your laptop or desktop and then play what you want to watch right on your TV. A good combination of both media, so you don't have to squint across the room to try to see what you're typing or read the fine print of search engines.

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Still working on dropping a nap

We were good with one nap for a few days, and yesterday we took two. Bummer, up twice last night. I think the key to sleeping more at night is going to be dropping down to one nap. But it's a whole cycle... because now, after being up at 2:30 and 5:00 this morning, she's back down at 8:34 right now. I'm going to go ahead and let her sleep for a half hour and then wake her up and hopefully she'll take a nice long afternoon nap around noon and then be down for good at 8:30.

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Vacationing in the UK

lodges for sale

If you're looking to go to the England coast this summer, or planning your dream vacation for your 25th anniversery next year, be sure to check out lodges for sale and rent at Soutlakelandparks.co.uk. Be near water if you like boating or swimming, the countryside if you are looking to hike or take a romantic picnic, or the city if the hustle and bustle of city life is what you thrive on.

With offers to rent or buy, starting as low as 25 lbs, SouthLakeLandParks is a place everyone should check out before booking their vacation. Know another family or two who is looking to do the same thing? Go in together and buy a vacation home as both a favorite vacation spot and an investment!

When you are traveling with children, there are many houses with more than one bedroom near attractions that will make your vacation a bonding family experience. In one broad psychological study, the most common memory of happy successful adults was vacationing with the family in the countryside. That's right, a strong common link between happy successful adults is having strong family bonding vacations. Provide lasting memories for your children, or a special time with your spouce, and check out lodges in England some time soon.

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Brushing little girl's hair


A part, getting ready for pig tails today

My daughter is 18 months now, and about a month ago her hair got too long to stay out of her eyes. Knowing that I didn't want to deal with bangs, we're letting her hair grow. So it needed to be put up in pony tails, pig tails or something else. For a few days I tried clippies, but they eventually would come out and I was always worried she'd take them out in her car seat and choke (paranoid mama, I know). We still use clippies when we get dressed up, they're cute, but for every day hair we do a pony tail on top of her head, or pig tails.

First we spritz all the fine baby hair with California Baby Hair Detangler. It isn't gummy like other detanglers, and it has lavender and other herbs in it to promote calmness and smell fresh. Then I brush her hair, starting from the back where she rubs against her car seat or the bed at night, with a hair bristle brush. I bought our that came with a comb for 2.99 at Walmart. I love the one they have in Nova Natural, but we can't afford that right now.

I brush the front back away from her face. Then I decide if we're doing a pony tail or a pig tails. I love pig tails, but it's only on really complacent mornings that I'm going to get her to be still long enough to put two elastics in ;) For a pony tail, I do it right on the top of her head, so that it catches the 'bangs' and they don't go in her eyes. Yes, she does look somewhat like Pebbles Flintstone, but she's a toddler- she's adorable with her hair any which way. To put in the elastic, I buy the small elastics (about the size of my wedding ring) from Target that are 'no ouch'. I don't like the rubber ones, I'd have to cut them out of her hair and she wiggles so much that I'd be afraid to accidentally cut off her ponytail.

To put in the elastic, I have the pony tail in my hand, and I twist it a few times to bring all the hair together so no stray ones are stuck out. Then I wrap the elastic around three times and call it good.

By this time she's generally wiggled enough that the elastic isn't right against her scalp, but is about 1 inch down the hair length. To tighten I divide the pony tail in half and pull on each side, so the elastic slides down. As you get used to this, you can use this to help center the pony tail as well, changing how much pressure you put on each side as you tighten. I aim for the pony tail coming up in the center of her head, though if it is off to the side a bit it's still cute, albeit a tad 80s ;)

For pig tails (I'd try pony tails first until you're fast enough!) we do the same thing, but eyeball the centerline of her scalp and brush the hair down to each side to make the part.

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Attention Stock Junkies!

Click here to join MF/X and read more



MF/X is a new community for those who make a hobby out of trading stocks, looking into new IPOs (initial public offerings, these have the potential to double, triple, or more your investment as they are first released onto the market) and researching. Get together with investment-minded people and participate in discussions, give your take on the stock market, and share or learn investing strategies. Do you check your stock portfolio as your coffee is brewing in the morning? Then click here to join MF/X and read more - this might be 'the place' for you to check out!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Sweatshop labor and clothing

In my old age (or is it my idealistic phase... heard that in Clueless that Babe and I watched a couple months ago. I thought Clueless was the coolest thing ever when I was in like 7th grade... now... it wasn't so entertaining. I feel old) I'm getting more and more concerned with sweatshop labor. Am I supporting mean bosses and communist countries with my clothing purchases? Are the people sewing my clothes treated badly? What about child labor... did a child work long hours on dangerous machinery so I could get a cute maternity shirt?

To avoid sweatshop labor I first try to shop used. For Babe I'm able to find stuff used often, and the profits actually go to small local, often mom-owned, second hand stores or a charity such as Montana Rescue Mission.

Next, I try to find clothing made in the US, Canada, or Europe. I was disappointed to find out that even Hanna Andersson has some of their items made in China. Though, if they run their own factories it may not be as bad as a company such as Gap, Nike, or Carter's.

I still fail. The baby clothing section in Walmart is right between the fabric section and the grocery section, both places of which I frequent. The spring flowery little girls clothing called to me. I looked. I put items back. I took them again, and finally checked out with a little spring pajama top and pants for Babe, for 6.28. Made in Pakistan. While I'm sure there are non-sweatshop clothing manufacturers in Pakistan, most likley if I"m paying for a top and pants for 6.28, they are not getting a fair or even close to fair wage.

Regardless, I renew my vow to do a better job at resisting impulsive purchases like this. And I will be more diligent in saving up for a serger so I can make my own...

But then we even get into the issue of where fabric is made, and sadly, a lot of it is made in 3rd world countries with awful conditions.

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Good Prices on Outdoor Gear

Discount Luggage and Backpacks


During the long Montana winters we most look forward to going outside and visiting the outdoors. From spring til fall, that's where we are- outside! When backpacking or even just going for a day hike, having the right equipment makes or breaks the day. With Discount Luggage and Backpacks it's easy to find the backpack or day pack you need at a price that still leaves room for the tank of gas it takes to get to the wilderness.

Look for Discount Luggage and Backpacks today and be prepared for the glorious spring days ahead.

If you're looking for great vacation or hiking spots in Montana, here are a few:

Yellowstone (watch for bears!)
Mystic Lake (moderate hike, hubby had no problem, I found it steep)
The Beartooth Mountains between Montana and Wyoming (beautiful streams and fishing spots)

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Izea

Izea's real rank is kind of confusing to me. It seems to be confusing to many. But on my other blog I've gotten indication that my real rank is in the top 40% of blogs on PPP :) That's encouraging! It's just kind of confusing to figure out at first.

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Wordpress Bloggers, listen up!

Links In Content

I just learned that you can monetize your Wordpress blog with Links In Content, Wordpress bloggers can start making money in minutes, using posts they were already going to write so the monetized links don't interfere with content or other blogging obligations. What a good idea!

I've been a Blogger blogger by default, it was simple to set up, so I used it for my family blog, business blog, technology blog, and health blog. With a plugin that allows monetized links about content I was already going to wrie, I may just go ahead and check this out.

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The dog is barking

Busy week. Lots of custom orders, and baby to take care of, monthly cooking to do, and things to plan. I'll sketch out a menu here so I have something to reference:

Monday:
Chicken and rice
Tuesday:
in Billings- pizza - thaw the night before
Wednesday:
tacos
Thursday:
French toast
Friday:
Hamburgers
Saturday:
Chicken fried rice
Sunday:
pizza

To make ahead: I'm doing a make-shift bulk cooking each week, got 5 batches of cookies done last week, that *should* last us through the month.
Cinnamon rolls for weekend breakfasts- dough rising now
bread for sandwiches- 2-3 loaves
cook chicken for lunch meat
form patties
make 4-5 pizzas for the freezer
thaw meat to cook tacos- pull out of freezer

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Black Friday

cyber monday

I just learned about black Friday this past year, as I now 'work' in retail. It's the day after Thanksgiving when people are jump starting both on their retail goals for the year, and jump starting on their Christmas shopping to get their presents in soon.

Good news for those who aren't willing to get up at 5:00 a.m. to catch all the deals (and the crowds!) in stores the day after Thanksgiving, we can catch sales online from the comfort of our living room, on our laptop or desk top! One of my favorite stores to shop Black Friday for is, I'm almost ashamed to admit, Walmart. Known for their already low prices and oftentimes 97-cent shipping, I adore catching even bigger bargins at Walmart's Black Friday sales. Having everything from cute organic Clothing for the kids, to groceries, to electronics for Dad, Walmart is America's one-stop shop for Christmas. With the ease of online ordering, the UPS man can deliver it all to your door, oftentimes for free shipping!

For us, we love Walmart online because our Walmart is over an hour away. Ordering on line actually saves us money, as it costs us $25 in gas just to drive to the store. We all know time is money, so even if you live right around the corner from Walmart or another store on cyber monday, visit online and place your order quickly without waiting in line or battling the crowds in the parking lot.

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White lingers in the shadows once more. A small blanket of snow covered the ground yesterday. While the sun is out, threatening to loosen the grips of the ice cycles from our tin siding and roof, the world at least is brightened by snow. It's a nice change from the brown grass, mud, and foliage of last week. In just a few weeks we'll have shoots of green grass, which is so nice!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Online Trivia

online trivia games



Online Trivia games are popular among everyone. They inspire friendly competition and provoke us to keep our minds sharp! As a stay at home mom, sometimes I crave adult interaction and using my brain for a little more than one more round of 'good night moon'. An online trivia game show would be perfect! Let's face it, a lot of the websites geared to moms revolve around complaining about our kids, competition, and bad mouthing other moms. A much better solution is to go to something that is completely removed from our 'mommy' world and stimulates our minds! It's like a mile jog for the brain, and it's fun too!

Senior Citizens also can benefit from such online trivia games. They don't have to depend on someone else to drive them, or leave the house themselves, to interact with others. A win-win situation for many.

247trivia.com Brings the Thrill of TV Game Shows to the Internet

Trivia game-shows are a huge hit on TV. Now they are arriving on the Internet in a big way. Leading this trend, 247trivia.com lets its members participate in online game shows and win cash prizes.

With trivia game shows on TV being viewed by huge audiences worldwide, it is little surprise that online trivia games are emerging as a big trend on the internet. Several new websites are being launched every month and all of them seem to be gaining ground rapidly, leading industry observers to predict that online trivia games may well enjoy high growth rates for years to come.

247trivia, a pioneer in the field of game shows on the Internet, is leading this trend by offering its members online trivia games that simulate a game show experience. The flash games include captivating game-showesque graphics and music scores and have players from around the world meet and compete in different categories of knowledge. To make the game show atmosphere complete, the site is now offering cash prizes in daily tournaments, so players can win money like on TV game shows.

Many trivia fans who love to watch trivia game shows on television are discovering that they no longer need to be just spectators; they can be the contestants in sites like 247trivia.

"I can't believe how addictive these games are," says Jennifer Davis, a trivia player on 247trivia.com. "And I keep meeting many other regular players who seem to log on as much as I do. I love watching Jeopardy on TV, but here I am actually playing and even winning money."

247trivia holds several daily tournaments with free entry and cash prizes, as well as a weekly Grand Slam tournament with prizes that grow as more players join to play. Players can also win money in cash games in which they pay an entry fee to join the game, and the winner takes the whole pot, minus the website's facilitating fee.

"Online trivia games have been around for years, but in recent months there has been a big surge of interest and our community of trivia lovers is growing very rapidly. We are trying to keep everyone happy with new games and special offers as well. Whenever we ask our players what kind of promotion they would appreciate the most, they ask for more Freeroll tournaments, and we are happy to oblige with several new tournaments added in the past month," says Nick Roberts, 247trivia's community manager. "But we also like to offer promotions with an added value. Last month, for example, we cooperated with another website in a promotion in which we balanced out the paper used in the books read by our leading players by planting trees in under-developed countries," Roberts added.

The selection of games in 247trivia includes upfront multi-player trivia quiz game-shows as well as more sophisticated trivia games that require strategy and thinking and not just good trivia skills. There are also different games for sports trivia and entertainment trivia with different graphics and rules that are suited for lovers of these special categories.

To experience the thrill of a game show on the internet, visit our website at www.247trivia.com.

247trivia.com is the leading online trivia games site on the internet, with tens of thousands of players in its rapidly growing community of trivia lovers, 247trivia offers its players non-stop trivia games online with the best flash based multiplayer trivia games that offer a real game-show experience.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/trivia/games/prweb674423.htm

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Paid Post Tips

I've made over $100 this month doing paid posts! I'm really excited about that! For tips go here

If you need a referral to sign up, click below

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Ethnocentrism in parenting

In America there are certain things that are considered 'wrong', such as breastfeeding beyond 12 months (or even 6 weeks in some parts of the country), letting children sleep in the parent's bed, or insisting that children need 'socialization' in the form of government-structured schooling. We try to look at things from a more open mind. This American mindset that just because it's normal in America, that means it's right, is totally self-centered and ethnocentric. No wonder we have a whole population of people who are also self centered and unable to see that everyone is different and that's okay.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

In-home AuPair Childcare

Infant Specialized Care




Many women either must go back to work after they have a baby, or they want to. Now over 50% of women go back to work when their child is still an infant. Seeing the need for high quality Infant Specialized Care AuPairCare is stepping up to help out. As a childcare worker, and a mom, I know that sometimes babies don't get the care they need in commercial childcare centers. AuPairCare is a great Infant Specialized Care solution for the task at hand. Infant Specialized Care is hard to find, often the waiting list will be months or even years long. With American maternity leave being only an average of 6-12 weeks, this can place a burden on an already frazzled new mother. Infant Specialized Care is also unique in that infants need more 1 on 1 contact while being fed, talked to, and cuddled than older babies and toddlers who can go play on their own. AuPair Childcare is a great solution for working mothers.

Press Release:

DEMAND FOR QUALITY INFANT CARE FAR OUTSTRIPS AVAILABLE RESOURCES

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: Karie Stern
Tel: 415-608-9195
E-mail: kjstern@comcast.net

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Cooking for babies

When you're cooking for babies, there are some things to keep in mind. First is keeping it a texture they can digest. Babies don't necessarily need pureed food, but they do need to be able to break it down on their own. Soft chunks of things like bananas or cooked sweet potatoes are great.

For my daughter, starting when she first learned to sit up and was putting things in her mouth on her own, we started giving her beans, cooked squash, and bananas. She loves beans even to this day. When seasoning baby food, be sure to use natural sea salt, which has a natural form of iodine in it, not a synthetic form. Typical iodized table salt is not good for anyone, much less babies.

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WebbyPlanet

Everyone I know now is on the boat with internet shopping. It's quick! It's easy! No running around town just to find they are sold out, or never carried the item you're looking for. A quick Google search, and up come thousands of retailers waiting to ship out your item the next day.

I just learned about Webby Planet. They are updated daily and have acoupon code for lots of different online retailers, to make your shopping experience more affordable and better. You can use a coupon for different things such as free shipping, percentage off, and rebates at different stores, from big names like Overstock.com, Eddie Bauer, and Dell! What could be better than that? I know next time I go shop for something online, I'll go look for a coupon at Webbyplanet.com.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sewing

I've got a gerzillion Mamacloths to sew today, I'm working on a set of 5 diapers, and an extra either for my shop or for my friend who's havin a baby this summer. And cloth wipes, one side soft flannel, one side silky velour. So soft and nice to use, these are a splurge and a luxary with cloth diapering! Not only limited to cloth diapering, these are great for cleaning up lunchtime messes or hands that have been playing in the dirt. I'm hoping to find some fun fruit and veggie flannel and make some that are more targeted to non-cloth-diapering families soon. Marketing them as baby's special wash cloths :)

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New Online Selling Place

SILKFAIR



Silkfair is a new alternative to the big name... Ebay. With a FREE store, FREE listing, and only 3% of the sale price being the fee, this is an awesome alternative. You can integrate your existing Ebay feedback for your buyer's peace of mind. It offers both standard Paypal and newer Google checkout, for your buyer's choice.

SILKFAIR Is perfect for the home based business mom who is trying to get her name out there without paying a fortune in fees. SILKFAIR's listing fees are lower than Etsy's even, at $0, and the sale commission is $0.05 lower as well. Buying is easy, with the choice of many checkout options and at-a-glance feedback of the seller.

To see how it worked, I loaded up one of my dolls that I normally sell on Etsy. I registered with my ID being the same as my shop name on Etsy, and my Ebay profile. Branding people... branding.. you want people who are surfing the 'net to see your name all over. The more you pop up in search results, the more exposure for you!

It was super quick to set up and validate my store. The typical 1.01 authorization charge was charged (it'll be refunded in a few days) to my credit card, they wanted to validate my identity.

After submitting a few things like my shop name, shop announcement, etc, I uploaded a 'product'. I chose to upload a cloth diaper. I got a little hung up on adding my payment information, but was able to go on ahead (I chose to allow Paypal)

They allow you to choose your tax area (we're montana, so no taxes) and have an extensive inventory tracking system, helpful for work-at-home businesses. For some reason it came up as sold out, so I had to re-look into it. But overall, it was fast to load pictures, easy to use, and FREE to list, so a major plus :)

I tried editing my listing, and it was super easy and quick. I love the clean look of the site, and that it loads fast. I'll be going back to list more later!



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Taxes and your home-based business

We all are excited about the home based business that we are about to start, right? I started Etsy-ing about a year ago, and now I'm doing paid blogging too. But one of the keys to making and not losing money in your home based business is to keep your receipts!

To keep my receipts for all my purchases related to my business (just Monday that was a printer cartridge, fabric, a pen, sewing machine needles, and my receipt organizer) I bought a small expanding file that I think was designed to keep coupons in. Each time a receipt crosses my path, be it from the post office or an online purchase, I tuck it in there. Come tax time, Uncle Sam isn't going to be able to take such a big bite out of my earnings, since I can now prove that it wasn't all profit, I had to... you know... spend money to make money ;) And Uncle Sam doesn't tax on what you spend for your business.

Works for me!

See Rocks in my Dryer for more great tips

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Cycle Day

Do you know those acronyms? Are you obsessive about getting pregnant? TTC, CD16, 2WW, DOP, AF...

I'm waiting waiting waiting to get pregnant. My baby will be 18 months next month, I'm a whopping 24 years old, but we're still nursing. It doesn't change that I long to feel a little one snuggling up in my womb, that I constantly dream of how another baby would fit into our lives (very well), or that I say 500 times a week... 'if' I ever get pregnant... I'm going to name the baby-- I'm going to get this carseat-- I"m going to

Teehee. All in God's timing. We have the conviction to nurse our children until they're 2, so that might be suppressing my fertility a bit still. We'll see.

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Going on a trip?


Are you planning a trip soon? Whether it be for business or pleasure, oftentimes a hotel stay is necessary. Why pay more for your hotel room than you have to? With HotelReservations.com you can save up to 70% and they have a $100 rebate, should you find lower rates! Not traveling in the USA? That's okay, HotelReservations.com still finds the lowest rates in many countries. You can book online (maybe from your lap top when stuck in a boring meeting) or by calling their 800 number. The web site is easy to use and loads quickly, even if you have a less than stellar Internet connection. They even have airline reservations, rental cars, and vacation homes in their database, so you can search and get the best value for your money.

I searched for a hotel in our small town, a whopping 2000 people, and sure enough they pop up with our little hotel AND save approximately 15%. Not too bad!

They have different toll free numbers for different countries, specialize in group bookings (like if you want to rent out the hotel for a wedding or something, everyone can be on the same floor)

Did you want to travel to Ireland? They can book you a rental! Did you want to travel to Spain? They have access to the best rates there too. Why chance going to a foreign country and trying to figure it out yourself, when a quick stop on a website can pull up all the information you need. Great for those who are budgeting a long international trip and want to see the most destinations for their money! Who would want to pay more than they have to just to sleep in a hotel? Visit HotelReservations.com and see what they have today!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shellac

Shellac is an insect resin secreted by the Lac bug, which lives in India and Southeast Asia.

Never woulda thunk it.. learned that from Wiki tonight :o)

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So much to do and so little time!

I still have no idea what people are talking about when they say the days go slow. Today we are sewing up a gerzillion cloth pads that people are buying from us to support Goods4Girls.

It's supposed to be nice for a while, so I'm moving the roosters up to the garden to poop. Heh. Then they're going in the freezer. Not exactly looking forward to that, but I can't afford to feed a bunch of non egg laying chickens. They're just the wrong gender.

I need to scoop the dog poop out of the garden too. Then hubby will help me turn it over (once the roosters are dead) and we'll start planning the garden. The Babe's swing is right near it, so she can swing as I'm gardening. She adores the swing, should be good.

I've been reading Crunchy Chicken's blog lately (she's doing Goods4Girls) and I"m getting much more motivated to Blog! Hers is amazing. I'm starting an environmental blog tomorrow with a friend, I'm going to blog specifically about women's and children's health issues, and how they relate to the environment.

I want to do posts on how to select a wood stove, are wood stoves worse for the environment than gas furnaces? blog about my chicken butchering (I'll do that here, so as to not piss off the vegans), Christianity and environmentalism, what is being a good steward?

And we're also building... building a 900ish square foot house that we're designing ourselves. We have got to get out of the trailer this winter- I'm not doing the whole 'no water when the temp dips below 0' thing for one more winter. ENOUgh is enough.

Goods for Girls

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Monday, February 18, 2008

More on routines

In my never-ending quest to make my time more managed, I am constantly redoing our routines. For right now what I'm trying to do is sew for Etsy in the mornings. Blog in the mornings before Babe gets up. Then do housework and errands between her naps, start dinner sometime in the afternoon, and get 1-2 loads of laundry done in the afternoon. But then, of course, life just throws a curve ball sometimes, doesn't it? Life seems to throw curve balls at me allll the times ;)

My etsy store is all but selling out right now, so it's 3:31 (and I should be making dinner) and I'm listing things. Pay Per Post seems stuck on uploading jobs when I'm *not* supposed to be on the computer, so I'm doing paid posting.

I did get the floor swept and sewing done and laundry done :) It's a good compromise.

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Hide-and-go-seek for Software!

Free software in a hidden 'Vault' (use code 1234567)



Software.com has a special going on, they have free software hidden in their vault! Do you know where to find it? Access to the Vault requires a special code: (1234567)

Go check out their site while you're looking in the vault! They have everything from the most up to date program for your home business to fun educational games for the kids. Read reviews, download instantly, and more!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Win an Oreck!

Win an ultralight Oreck from 5 Minutes for Moms!

I'm not sure *what* is with vacuums, but I am suseptable to advertising methods like no other when it comes to vacuum advertising. As if a small (pricey!) piece of equipment could *really* turn my home into a spacious retreat with sparkling floors, happily playing children, and well behaved pets. Ahem. But, regardless, I would would would love a new vacuum to get the crumbs/dog hair/ mud from hubby's boots up, so I"m putting in my entry!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Routines

I didn't realize it, but I've made a habit of putting the baby down for her nap after getting some fresh air. I do believe that getting fresh air is beneficial for a person, and sunlight (vit D) too. So unless it's below 10 or so degrees, or the wind is blowing hard, we're out for at least 20 minutes a day to get our 'fix'. And I notice it quite a bit when we miss a few days, due to extreme weather. We're more agitated, restless, and cranky. Mid morning I start to notice that the babe isn't playing happily with her toys. She doesn't want to nurse. She's ready for our walk! And we go on out, check on the chickens, put the dogs up in their kennel, maybe take out the trash. When we're done, she's leaning her head on my back in the Ergo. When I take her out, immediately she asks to nurse (in sign language) and her eyes get sleepy (as I blog LOL). Then I lay her down and do all the fun things like scrubbing the toilet, that I try not to do while she's awake :o)

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On the agenda

On the agenda today. Since I thought it was TUESDAY and it's actually FRIDAY I have quite a bit of stuff to get done. Now that I'm staying home, I spend my week preparing for the weekend. Before it was flip-flopped, and I spent my weekend preparing for the work week.

Anyway, my plan today is as follows

Think if what we're having to eat when our friends are here on Sunday
Bring in wood
Move the laundry
Load stuff for the dump
Go to the dump
Mail out packages
Swing by grocery store
-bananas
-bread for french toast (I don't like homemade bread for that, is that pathetic?)
-?
Lunch- we'll have pan burritos from last night
Babe down for a nap
Move the laundry some more
Click on PayPerPost Open Opportunities 97 times (I hit refresh every time I walk by the computer)
Tame my fabric explosion in my closet
Sweep/wash the kitchen floor
Dinner will be.... French toast

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I woke up this morning


Thinking it was Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday, but most likely Tuesday. What is it? It's FRIDAY. I stopped working at my 'regular' transcription job about a month back. And whoever said that the days are slow when you have little kids is sooo wrong! My days fly by. On the days that the babe sleeps past the alarm, I'll hear her wake and think it's about 7:00. No, often it's 8:30 or later! Then we're off and running, and before I know it she's acting clingy and tired, so we take a walk outside and put the dogs up in the garden. Nothing worse than getting the baby down for a nap only to have the mail man come up and make all the dogs bark and wake her up. But she's gotten enough sleep that she doesn't want to go back down but is still crabby. Anyway, after we do that nap, I get quite a bit done during nap time, then she's awake again, we get something to eat, and before I know it Daddy will be home in an hour! And it's a mad rush to clean up!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Paintball anyone?

My brother loves paintball. My husband likes it too, he played with his high school buddies for years, until we moved out of the area The setup can get pricey. Paintball gun packages are a good way to get the whole setup at a good price.

My hubby's favorite place to play paintball is out in the forest, using natural land features as cover. While paintball isn't necessarily a 'clean' sport, it is good clean fun for the family, especially those with testosterone-filled guys who need an outlet. Moms, when you're wondering what's good about guys running around pretending to shoot each other, remember that we would rather *know where they are* and keep them busy. Paintball has other benefits than just fun, it's great for the mind. Paintballers must create strategics to win. It's also good exercise, running around in the outdoors. Of all the hobbies that my family members have, paintballing really is one of the best, I think.

When you are checking around to buy paintball equipment, be sure to check http://www.pntball.com - They have the most competative prices and FREE shipping, which rocks, because this stuff is kinda heavy and bulky.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Eating healthy

Eating healthy is something we all strive to do as mothers, isn't it? For the health of our children prenatally, while we are breastfeeding, and still as our children wean, as we want to be good examples as well as live a long time to see our grandchildren and great grandchildren!

Over here are some healthy eating tips.

And a great detailed essay from Crunchy Chicken, that I think is awesome.

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Ready for Valentines?

What would you like to get your sweetheart for valentines? Whatever you're looking for, CouponChief.com can help it become reality.

I'd love to get my husband a book that he's been eyeing about fishing from Amazon
And my sweet daughter would love something from Target
And my mom thinks that Zappos is the best!



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Going to town

We went to town today, my darling daughter is always the star of the show :) We live in a town where there are mostly older people, and the few that do have kids tend to be the kind who don't *like* their kids and the kids are always crying, they are always yelling. Not too fun. But my little daughter just lights up with a smile for everyone, is so curious at how everything works, and I usually take her when she's well rested so she's in a good mood :)

Sorry for the shameless bragging :o)

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Heights Auto Brokers, Billings, MT

I normally do not write things like this, I don't like to do things like this. It isn't my personality. But I am beyond irritated with this guy, and I'd like to warn others before they allow him to 'borrow' their belongings.

~~~


Why I am never going to work with the Heights Auto Brokers in Billings, Montana ever again:

The owner, Jason, was so sure that he could sell our vehicles. He did sell two things, a ol' beater 75 Chevy truck, for a little less than our asking price. We could live with that. And a Grand Am 1994 for $200. Blue book was somewhere around $1200, but oh well. These are the prices he says he got for them at least, no way to really know.

That's not the reason I will never be working with the Heights Auto Brokers in Billings, MT, ever again, though. It is because we provided him with a lock and cable to lock up the dirt bike we had for sale down there. After months of not selling it, we started noticing it wasn't even out on the lot. So I put it up for sale on craigslist.org. When someone contacted it because they wanted to buy it, we said sure, and called Jason to let us know that we needed to come pick it up. Jason informed us that it was in a garage or shed that he couldn't get to. There was no way to get it out. My husband promptly went down there and 'helped' him figure out a way that we could get OUR dirtbike out of the shed, where it was obviously not available for sale. If he had just told us that he didn't want to have the dirt bike on his lot any more, we would have picked it up the next day, but no, he chose not to do that.

But even that we could live with.

The thing we had an issue with was that Jason apparently had taken the lock home with him that we had provided to lock up the dirtbike. He assured us that he would bring it for us to pick up next time we were in Billings. I stopped by on my monthly run to get groceries, unbuckling and rebuckling my baby from her car seat in the middle of winter just to find that he
a. wasn't there
or
b. didn't have the lock

3 or 4 times.

I called. I called more. I talked to his secretary. Still no lock. It turns out he loaned it (NOT his lock, he never paid for this) to another customer who needed it to tie down an ATV or something. Never mind that Walmart is a few blocks away from where he works, or that Ace Hardware is nearly across the street, both of them having locks that are available for sale. No, he loaned out our lock, and now doesn't have it.

This was back in December when I started all this, now it's the middle of February and he does not pick up his phone, assures me that I just need to give him a few more days, and he will have the lock. I estimate that between stopping by the place of business and calling on the phone, I have spent over 3 hours trying to get this stupid lock.

Why is the lock so important, you ask? Because it's keyed the same as 3 other locks we own. And it's the principal. Someone who does not own something, should not be loaning it out because it's more convenient than buying his own.

Is Jason a nice guy? Sure he is. Is he someone I would trust with my belongings ever again? Absolutely not. Seeing that things we have for sale are boarded up and loaned out, is not good business.

And since I wrote this, I sent down an invoice for the lock. I asked for either the lock to be mailed up, or the invoice paid. He says he has the lock (heard this before) and to just swing by. I said no, mail it, we've already been by at least 4 times since we picked up the dirtbike over two months ago. He says I'm being demanding. I hung up on him.

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Vacations

Oh, in the middle of winter, what's more exciting than planning a summer vacation? Second best, I suppose, to darting off to some romantic tropical island :o)

american motor homes



Come check out american motor homes and see if one is right for you. My parents, who live in California, are planning a visit over here in Montana this summer. My dad recently re-did his motor home and may be towing it with his truck out here. It's a 25 hour drive, and I have a feeling if he does decide to drive my mom will fly in and meet us in Billings, but once they're both retired they plan on doing lots of sight seeing. The drive from California to Montana isn't difficult. There are a few different ways you can go, we did all of them I think in our move out here.

My favorite way was to go north through California, then through Oregon and Washington, and over through Idaho and then to Montana. It takes a little bit longer, but it’s much nicer than the other route of California-Nevada-Utah-Idaho-Montana

I think if we ever have an RV we’ll take it out to the forest in a remote area of Montana, maybe north western Montana, and do a week or two of fishing, hiking, and swimming. I grew up tent camping, and while I suppose that was okay for my parents, I really would appreciate being able to sleep off the ground, have a small area to cook in, and a place to get out of the weather, as we often seem to end up camping when the only snowstorm in June hits ;)

Overall, though, camping is a great memory building time for the entire family, and it’s also nice because you can bring along your pets- no need to find a pet sitter or babysitter.

This is a sponsored post

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My Love...

My dishwasher is running. I ♥ Dishwashers. I really think they help me cook more, and we actually eat healthier because of them. Is that insane? After having a dishwasher for a year, then not for 3 years, I'm back to having them, and it's my new best friend... :)

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Remodeling?

replacement window



Are you remodeling? We're hoping to build this spring or summer, a small house. In designing our house, and budgeting for the cost, budgeting for good windows is always a cost-effective important decision. Windows can make a substantial influance on the costs of every day running the house. UV blocking windows help keep furniture from fading, and double paned windows with good insulation lower heating and cooling bills. We love lots of light, and hope to have good windows on all four sides of our small house that we build.

This is a sponsored post

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Procrastination

I was reading my sister-in-law's Good Housekeeping magazine this weekend, and there was an excellent article on procrastination in it. I'll go see if I can find a link. Also a good article about marriage with Dr Phil. Dr Phil is someone I've heard a lot about, but never actually read anything he wrote or listened to his show.

The procrastinating article had one statement that I thought was totally insightful. It was something about people doing all sorts of 'busy' things while putting off what really needs to be done. Their thinking is that 'since they're not having any fun, isn't that almost as good as doing work'? Hmmm, something to think about next time I decide to scrub under the burners on the stove top when I really should be putting away laundry ;)

Here's a link to the article.

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Valentine's Promotion from Honda

Valentine's Special 2008 on Honda Cars for San Diego County Residents



Honda is having a sweetheart deal for San Diego residents. If you are in the area, come check them out! Honda is well known for their good-quality cars. I'd love a Honda SUV or Minivan, but, alas, my husband refuses to have a minivan parked on our property or work on them, so for now I"m a pickup gal.

My sister-in-law has a red honda civic, which is super easy to get around. The only disadvantage is that now that between us we have three children, we can't fit 3 in car seats in the back seat. And it only has two doors, so it's kind of hard to get the kids in and out. But it can't be beat for maneuverability- I drove it for a while while our truck was getting fixed, and it feels so easy to drive, it makes errands not seem so tedious. Driving around our 1-ton pickup, regardless of it having 4 doors, is kind of a drag when you have to make 15 stops on errand day, carefully trying to ease the truck into the cramped parking lot at each stop.

This is a sponsored post

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Sleeping

I co-sleep with our baby. Some call this the family bed, to me it's just normal. We do have a crib ;) Actually, a crib and a port-a-crib, but we didn't set up the big crib. I use the portable one for when I need to keep the babe safe while I do something that she can't be a part of, like getting firwood when there's snow on the ground. Too much danger that I'd fall if she was on my back, so in the 'containment device' she goes.

Anyway, at night, she's taken to sleeping with her foot on me. She juts a leg or both out at a 90 degree angle, just to know I"m there. It's the sweetest thing, I absolutely adore her. I have no doubt that this is keeping my fertility away, which I'm not thrilled about (she still nurses at least once a night), but it just seems to be the *right* thing, so this is what we'll do.

I'm still waiting to 'fall out of love' and get annoyed by her... It hasn't happened yet. I adore every minute with her. Don't get me wrong, some things that she does need to be stopped or trained away (the *shrieking* every time I had something to drink, because she wanted some too, put a damper on my water intake, so that had to stop. But every day, all in all, I enjoy every minute :)

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Perfume

Looking for perfume bay? It's right here. Come look at their unique variety of new perfumes, hard to find favorites, and scents for men and women. The look of the site is clean and welcoming, easy to navigate. I enjoy shopping on sites set up like this, they are descriptive and easy to navigate.

I'm not one to try different perfumes often, but when I do I go for high quality and don't mind paying a little more. The price per ounce is high, but higher priced perfumes often use higher quality ingredients. I try to find one that has good reviews online and is high in natural ingredients. essential oils are preferred to synthetic fragrance oils, fragrance oils tend to degrade and smell different over time.

When testing perfume bay perfume, be sure to smell it as it first goes on, smell it again 10 or so minutes later, and again a couple hours later, as your body chemistry reacts with it the scent will change. I've found Sand and Sable to be the best for my body chemistry, as well as Stila's Lilly of the Valley.

This is a sponsored post.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Politics

A quick rundown on my politics
I'm

Pro-life

anti death penalty by the government (though I reserve that I should have the right to shoot someone who is breaking into my house and looks like they may harm me or my family)

pro-immigration (open borders, and yes I understand why this isn't likely to happen any time soon, regardless, I'm still pro-open borders)

anti-socialized medicine

anti-government programs

Pro legalized drugs

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Friday, February 8, 2008

50 links to starting an online craft business

50 Helpful Links to Starting an Online Craft Business


Everything you could ever want to know about starting an online crafts business as a work at home mom out of your home

1. Starting your craft business without debt

2. Etsy or Ebay?

3. Setting up Etsy

4. Setting up Ebay

5. Feedback on Etsy

6. Feedback on Ebay

7. Your site’s Page Rank

8. The benefits of starting a business blog

9. All you need to know about Paypal

10. Google Checkout?

11. Creating a business plan

12. Craft Econ 101

13. Don't do seller games

14. Importance of dividing your shop into sections

15. Making your site user friendly

16. Setting prices

17. Shipping- pad it with your fees?

18. Joining sellers groups

19. What are Street Teams?

20. Free Advertising

21. Paid Advertising

22. Your target audience

23. Choosing your items for sale

24. Taking Pictures

25. Using free photo editing software

26. Keeping the kids busy while you work

27. Social networking sites?

28. Myspace/Facebook benefits for your business

29. Ordering business cards

30. Getting your supplies in bulk

31. Selling your product wholesale

32. Packaging your sale

33. Friendly customer service

34. KISS

35. Your description

36. Copyrights

37. Patents

38. UPS/Fedex/USPS

39. International Shipping

40. Sales and Clearance

41. Buyer Beware

42. Insurance

43. Business licenses

44. Selling to friends

45. Advertising with Google Adsense

46. Dealing with copycats

47. Researching competition

48. Coming up in the searches

49. Balancing with your family life

50. Taking a vacation


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Abortion

Loaded topic, no?

Molly is talking about voting based on abortion stance. Something that I am wrestling with as well. Her blog seems to mirror my wonderings, and inspires me to think it through more.

Right now I support Ron Paul, and I'm not sure what I think of his stance on abortion. It's not so bad that I can't vote for him, and I tend to think it's the most effective way, but I'm not convinced it is *right*. This is what I understand about him: He believes that the unborn are *real* babies, and is against killing them. But he believes the federal government should leave it up to the states to vote on it (?)

I believe this is the most effective way of starting to get abortion to be illegal in some areas of the US. Right now I believe the vocal minority (NY and CA mostly) are causing it to be legal in all states. I would be willing to bet that if it was up to states to decide, a lot of the middle ones would vote against abortion, like Montana, where I am. I believe this could potentially save more lives sooner than trying to re-work the entire nation at once.

But is it right? My ideas are that we need to have less laws. Either it's okay to kill innocent people for convenience, or it's not. End of story. To me it would be *right* to not say that abortion is illegal, but just to throw out whatever moron statement says that the unborn aren't people. There already is a law about killing innocent people in the US, or so I'd imagine, and I think they should just be using that law and not making new ones.

The reason I can still vote for Ron Paul is because I believe he is doing what he can to save the most babies as soon as possible. I'm willing to compromise on principals in order to save lives.

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Beartooth Moutains, WY


I'm *ready* for summer!

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Statement of faith

I believe..

I believe God made the world in 6 days

I believe God created man in His image

I believe God created woman out of man, to be his helper

I believe God breathed into the animals the breath of life

I believe that there was a fall in the garden of Eden, and because of that, there was separation between man and God.

I believe there was a flood...

I believe it covered the whole world.

I believe the world is right around 6000 years old

I believe that God sent Jesus as a perfect man to fulfill the law and wipe away our sins, should we believe in Him

I believe that Jesus is Lord

I believe that children are blessings

I believe that murder is wrong

I believe that it is the burden of the church, not the state, to provide for those in need

I believe that the Bible is the true inspired word of God

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Payday Loans

Have you ever used a payday loan? I haven't, but I do realize they can be advantageous for those who are risking overdrafting their checking account due to an emergency circumstance. While payday loans do charge interest, oftentimes a few overdraft charges from checking ($30 each on average) will cost more. And then there is the embarrassment of not having overdraft protection and bouncing checks… having stores call you and tell you your check bounced, and then they tack on $25+ to the check when the put it in again to collect. Those can all add up. A cash advance could help avoid some of these fees, if used responsibly in emergencies or in the case of a mistake- like you and your husband both paid the car insurance payment for that month, and you didn’t realize it, and it creates a gap in your budget. Payday loans usually go by different terms, but they are a much shorter loan than regular loans, and are designed to be paid back within a week or two, not months. There are payday loan places on the internet, also around town, especially in Billings. They are as prevalent as pawn shops and casinos it seems, one on every street.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oh Deer


Deer out the side window... We're now missing half a fender, want to guess why?

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California Finance

Do you live in California? Need to refinance? Check out www.dollarblvd.com today!

California Refinance

You can get 5 free quotes on your refinance on that website, do it right over your computer. When it comes to competitive rates, the internet is your friend! Having lived in California, I know that it's expensive to buy there, so now that interest rates are dropping refinance and save money each month! They have special deals for California residents.

This post is sponsored.

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Staying home

We've decided for the meantime to have me stay home with the babe and back out of doing transcription. Transcription was great for helping us out in a rough patch in our lives, and I'm more than thankful that I never had to put Babe in daycare, but now that we've worked through some financial things (still got a LONG way to go!) we decided God is calling us to have me be a homemaker full time.

It's been so nice! I was a little giddy/nervous the first day, but after Babe went to bed 90 minutes early due to being so worn out from our fun 'eventful' day, I knew we made the right decision. 'Stuff' can wait. We can eat more dried beans. And I'll enjoy more precious time with my sweet baby, and preparing our home.

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Online Shopping/ Packing the diaper bag

It's a theme one... Online shopping- Etsy is my favorite online shopping place, behind Amazon ;) We go to Amazon sometimes just for the reviews, and then acutally buy the book/DVD/whatever somewhere else. Their reviews rock!

Works for me... I had a great idea last week. Hey! I should remember to actually post that on a Wednesday! LOL And now, Wednesday morning, I can't remember it.

Oh, this was it. When we receive an outfit from... someone... that we're not quite thrilled with, we keep it in the diaper bag. We happen to receive like 6-piece sets (hat, 2 shirts, 2 pants, socks) from people, so it's easy to remember that that particular color/pattern goes right into the diaper bag from the laundry.

That way I don't have to *think* before we leave. I know that outfit's in there just in case, and it's not banishing an outfit I love to the diaper bag just so I have *something* just in case.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Blogging info

Going over our budget today- seeing if I can live off of blogging. No, just kidding. I am seeing if I can give up transcription, though, and just do odd side jobs that don't require a weekly commitment. I know that would help reduce the stress level considerably in our house!

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Taking Pictures

Want to add a boost to your Etsy shop? Or maybe even your Ebay listings? Come on over to Mommy Techie and learn how to use a free program easily and make your listings pop.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

This afternoon I was going to make Babe eggs for lunch. I set the pan with olive oil in it to heat, and came to fart around on the internet. All of a sudden there was a *flash* *boom* and my olive oil burst into flames. Lets here it for farting around on the internet ;) I put the lid on it and I'm now boiling water in the pan to see if I can turn it from scorched black back to its shiny steel color.

It's 4:55 and hubby is on his way home, with a truck that now has a hole in it's fiberglass fender. He had a match with a deer, and of the two, he won. But we're still left with a shattered fender. It's cosmetic, he says, regardless of the fact that it's there to keep rocks from being sprayed up by the douls. Doules? Don't know how to spell that- the two tires in the back of a one-ton. It's $250 for the replacement part, and the part only comes in primer black- our truck is white. Depending on whether we sell it or not, we'll go ahead and 'rattle can' it.

I have a dishwasher full of clean dishes, my kitchenaid creaming the butter and sugar for chocolate chip cookies, babe sleeping, and two loads of laundry strewn across my couch, in folded and unfolded condition. A bath towel is on my floor, I have three large 'rag' towels both in the wash, another bath towel soaking up the water I spilled when trying to step over the dog bucket, and this one from my apparently splashy attempt at hand washing the pile of wooden can't-go-in-the-dishwasher dishes that had been stacked to the left of my sink for a week.

I've got another 20 minutes at the least until hubby gets home, I'll finish the cookies, kitchen, and stash the laundry in the port-a-crib where it's not as noticable as the couch ;)

I'm really liking blogging anomonously. My sister-in-law can know about it, and then just random people on the net. My sister-in-law and I aren't even best friends or anything, she just knows the good, bad, and ugly of everything. And I seriously doubt she'd get mad at me for saying she's not my best friend. A good kind of in-law to have :)

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What IS a bluetooth

I'm so far behind on technology. We don't have TV, and I seem to have become immune to Internet advertising, but I'm entering 5 Minutes for Mom's Bluetooth giveaway from Best Buy anyway. I think it has something to do with music. Hubby loves music, and is more techie than I, so if I win I will have one happy honey!

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Confessions in motherhood

I scheduled a job interview for yesterday at noon. Babe goes down for her nap usually around 11:00 so this would be perfect. I knew I'd have to conduct the interview in the bathroom, on the opposite end of the house, but that's not a big deal.

Come 11:20 a.m. naptime was nowhere in sight. I frantically folded the 4+ loads of laundry residing in the port-a-crib and put a dozen butterscotch chips (no dye) in the bottom of her plastic glittery Valentine's day cup from Grandma. Set child and cup 'o candy in the crib and the interview was conducted without a blip (other than my tendency to over-explain everything). Came out to child happily retrieving butterscotch chips from her cup.

Guess what my new parenting tactic is? Other people, like Musician's Friend, who I'm on hold with at the moment, understand a few baby chirps, but it's much simpler to write notes on phone conversations sans the grabbing fingers, loud input, and overall baby 'help'

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We got our water back on this morning. I'm rather embarrassed about this, I generally don't mention it until after the fact, and generally never to my mother. We live in a single wide with minimal insulation in Montana. No matter how much we crank up the stove, the pipes/drains will freeze outside. While *I* realize that running water isn't a necessity of life, oftentimes others, especially others who don't live in a cold climate think that we are total savages.

Hubby's boss lent us what looked to be a jet engine that ran on diesel. We blew it under the trailer, the water wasn't on as of 11 last night when we turned it off to go to bed, but this morning I flipped the breaker and the water came pouring out. As I type this the babe is still asleep due to the lingering 'radiant floor' heating, Dog #2 is barking outside on her tether, dog #3 is frantically running around my feet, no, now Dog #3 is out, and Dog #1 is snorting under the door, but I know he doesn't really want to go outside. I have the dishwasher and the washing machine running, and hubby is on his 60 mile commute to work.

Is it bad that oftentimes I'm jealous of his commute?

I'm returning his guitar today. He had Christmas money and he researched and researched... and they air-mailed him a guitar with a crack in it. The crack is down at the bottom and painted over, but still very noticeable. Obviously something that didn't happen in shipping, I'd really like to know how this passed QA.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pay Per Post

blog reviews



I applied with Pay Per Post just one day ago, and today they approved my blog. I'm excited to see the opportunities out there. I don't have a video camera, and I see oppertunities for videos in blogs, but we'll see what text ones come through.

Being laid off my job last week and still searching and testing (Medical transcription requires extensive testing before even getting an interview) for companies, I'm happy to do something to fill the gap in the meantime.

As a work-at-home mom, sometimes it takes some creativity to makethe money you need while still being able to keep a watchful eye on your child. I had a phone interview earlier today wiht a transcription company, and it involved a playpen, mason jar of chocolate chips, and me in the bathroom wiht the door closed ;) Don't know what my mama did without a portable phone!

As I type this, my daughter is sitting on the couch waving the phone at me and taunting that she might touch the 'no touching' lamp. I can look over and smile at her as I type, chant one of our favorite nursery rhymes (hickory dickery dock today), and keep on typing... A skill WAHMs have mastered, I'm sure :)


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Parenting by grace

I've hugely changed my mind on what the 'right' way to parent is since my daughter was born. And I fully anticipate changing my mind 57 more times as different children and their different stages come along.

I thought she'd be on a schedule, be spanked for disobedience, and sleep in her own bed ;) She sleeps with me, is not on a schedule, and I do swat for disobedience, but that's rare.

I guess, it's a matter of the heart. I'm not set on spanking her, if there was something that worked better I'd do that. I don't believe spanking is for all children or all parents. It's just that for her it works. If I was having to swat her multiple times a day, I think I'd find something else to do.

I've also come away from the idea of 'punishment'. I don't punish her because she 'deserves' it. I'm not called to judge what she deserves, but more to encourage her to do what is right. And if what is 'right' is not swinging the lamp around or touching the electrical outlet, then a little flick might encourage that. Just consistently pulling her away from something sometimes might do the trick as well. I'm now a big believer in doing the least amount of negative response as possible, so if a consistent distraction works and accomplishes the desired outcome without negatively impacting the family, I'm happy to do that.

I've also seen families where the children dictate everything the family does, and I know I didn't want that. This is what initially turned me off from 'grace based parenting' that I'd heard about, but I believe that's just some people taking a concept and following it to a ridiculous extreme.

Both hubby and I come from families where the parents really had an agenda to 'show us who's boss'- his parents by physical discipline, mine by emotional manipulation. I don't really feel a burden to have her believe that I am boss. I'm guessing she does, but proving the point isn't something I'm interested in. Believing that God gave her to me for a time, rather than believing her to be 'my property' has been the best thing He has taught me regarding parenting, I think.

When I ask her to do something, I tend to really check myself to make sure she is capable of doing it relatively easily and that it's really necessary. I'm sure she *could* sleep through the night without nursing, but it's not necessary for me right now. If I really wanted to push, I *could* blanket train her (to stay on a blanket quietly on the floor for a set amount of time) but again, it's not really necessary. We were at a friend's with a Christmas tree a while back, and I knew it was perfectly within her ability to not touch it even though she would really like to, so I did require that of her. It's not so easy for her to get in her jammies at night without complaining if she's over-tired, so I don't require her to be quiet while I do that, but I do demand that she not physically fight me about it as I'm dressing her.

This whole experience has been really interesting to me, and humbling. I have to admit that I *do not* have control of her, I'm not ruling her by fear but rather encouragement. I don't believe disobedience is always sin on her part (this was what I believed before), and it may be not necessarily sin, but at least wrongness on *my* part for asking something of her that she is not really able to do or was for my selfishness rather than what she needed.

An example of something that illustrates my change is if a toddler is going over to the dog food bowl in a friend's house. He wants to see what it's all about. Curiosity is how children learn, it isn't a bad thing at all. But mommy doesn't want him to make a mess and tells him not to touch the dog food bowl. He is still inching closer to it, and she tells him again not to touch it. He continues to go closer to it.

Before, I thought that he 'deserved' a spanking for touching it, and if he spilled it, he would have to pick up all the pieces and put them back, and if he didn't, he would get a spanking for not following directions and it would repeat until he had picked up all the dog food.

Now, I most likely would try to distract the toddler with something else, but not completely remove the dogfood bowl from the situation as I do still desire to teach my child self control. If he didn't want to play with the other distractions I provided, and he still went back to the dogfood bowl, I might give a little flick on the hand as he went to touch it. This isn't about punishment, it's about a little negative stimuli to encourage him not to touch it. If he presisted, and the dog food got spilled, I would tell him we had to clean it up, and taking his hands, 'together' we would pickup the dog food. This isn't as overwhelming to a small child as being instructed to pick up the food on his own, by an angry parent. This is gently but firmly encouraging him to fix his mistake, and helping him do so.

If the dog food was absolutely still tempting after all this, then the child just most likely isn't capable of resisting the temptation and I *would* put it up. I'd prefer to use things like this, if possible, as a self discipline training tool rather than making everything 'babyproof' but I don't desire to exasperate my child either.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Taking your own child's protraits

I wrote this on Associated Content and wanted to share. I'm thrilled with the way our pictures have turned out, they really are meaningful to us.

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My favorites on Etsy

Favorites right now
Hmm, java isn't working?
How bout a list, then
Georganne
SoBenArts
Just ordered a couple diaper covers from Georganne, and a tie dye heart tee for Babe from SoBen :)




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Learning to draw


Still learning to draw with Mona Brooks, the biggest thing I've taken so far from this was 'draw what you see, not what you think you see'

Using a specific point to start with, notice how every line and dot relates to the starting point. This is ball point pen because I was sitting at my desk as my sweet hubby and I had a 'discussion' and I needed to expend some energy, I suppose ;)

Certainly not a masterpiece, but a big improvement over anything I've drawn before.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Contest!

5 minutes for mom has another great contest. A way cool pedal car! Here's the post with all the info. And where they're sold online is here

When I worked in an Ace Hardware in Sebastopol the owner was big time into toys, and we had a couple of the pedal planes suspended from the ceiling. They looked cool, and actually were for sale, though in the 2 years I worked there I never saw any sold.

My daughter has been awake since 5 this morning... We were sleeping til 8 for a while, and that was nice... bummer.

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