Archive for August, 2010

Who’s Grandma’s Favorite Now?

Grandparent’s Day is September 12 and while I’m sure your grandparent(s) love getting that flowery, mushy, “you’re the best” Hallmark card, you may want to shock them by stepping up your game.

In the technology category, I’ve got the following suggestions …  TV Ears – I’ve TV earsgifted these twice and I’ve been told that they can save a marriage. If one person has a hard time hearing, they can use the TV ears at a louder volume so that the rest of the room can listen at a normal, even muted range. If your grandparent has a computer, download skype for them and show them how easy it is to virtually visit. Even 5 minutes/week can mean so much! If they are wary of computers, check out Celery. Not a great name but a good computerless email system that anyone can use.

In more traditional gifts, pick up a set of these State Dish Towels (gotta pen-fishing-rod_mainrepresent), Pocket Fishing Rod, Locklite Mini Key Torch (less fumbling in the dark), or this faux Unzippered Glass Bag to hold their favorite sweet treats. Tell Me a Story is one of my favorite grandparent’s journals but there are many of these to choose from. However don’t just send the book to them, set aside an afternoon (or two) and find out the answers to such revealing questions like “Where I grew up,” “Favorite Family Traditions,” “What I did for fun,” “My least favorite job,” “My favorite ice cream flavor” and “A place I would like to visit”.

Whether you choose a card, fun gift or plan an “experience” together, the most important thing is letting them know how much they are loved!

Spice It Up!

As I’m trying to get more comfortable in the kitchen, I found this great list of spices, with suggested vegetable pairings, that is creating the illusion that I know Smith and Truslowwhat I’m doing with all these great summer veggies.

  • Basil – beans, peas, squash, potatoes, tomatoes
  • Bay leaf – beets, carrots, potatoes, stewed tomatoes
  • Dill Weed – beets, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, potatoes
  • Marjoram – Brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, peas, spinach
  • Oregano – broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Rosemary – cauliflower, peas, potatoes, spinach
  • Tarragon – cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes
  • Thyme – asparagus, beans, carrots, zucchini

Not only do spices add flavour to your food, they are also good for your health. Smith and Truslow  provide a comprehensive list of spices and their health benefits such as using Chinese 5 Spice to improve digestion and Spice Rackpromote intestinal health; antioxidant and antibacterial; stimulates the breakdown of fat cells; relieves congestion, headaches; balances blood sugar. WOW!

Locally, check out Penzeys Spices for their incredible selection of spices and Tubular Spice Company, Zevro, and Fox Run for fabulous spice racks.


School is such a drag. I think Doug is back at the top of the list again. If he and I and Kim and Sammy could all get together, it would be perfect. I talked to Sammy at the game the other night and told him to find out who Doug Kings Islandlikes. I also talked to Bob, Tony H, Chris H at the game but Doug was grounded. Friday Dana and I went to the movies and Jerry, Cam , Joe and Robbie were also there. Connie and Bobbi were too but they always hang out with the older guys. Saturday all the girls went to Kings Island which was fun. On the log rides, 4 guys kept staring at Kim, me, Stacey and Shandra. Later they wanted us to ride around with them. We said No Thanks.

I’m Buggin’ Out!

I don’t know what my facination with Christopher Marley is but I can’t get enough of him since I saw a story about him on CBS Sunday Morning. He’s Pheromonegot a great new book out called Pheromone that presents the compositions of his work: assemblages of real insect bodies that display brilliant color and otherworldly form. The colors are entirely natural, and to render the reproductions as accurate as possible some have been reproduced with fifth-color metallic inks and highlighted with spot varnish – absolutely beautiful.

I’m not a big bug person and, if anything, cause them great harm when I come in contact with him. But there is something beautiful that Marley pulls CM1from these creepy crawly creatures that is simply stunning. “I want to kind of juxtapose order and cleanliness and composition with the radical diversity of insects and their colors and their shapes and their patterns,” Marley says.

While some have been concerned about his method of collecting these insects, he responds, “The only way you can damage or really adversely affect an insect population is by destroying its habitat or destroying its host plant,” Marley said. “What we do is we go in and we cull a very few specimens. And that CM4gives an economic incentive Read the rest of this entry

Give Thanks

thank you noteI was brought up under the strict rule of thank-you note writing and it carries with me until this day. I believe in good, old fashioned notes that are hand written, require a stamp and are sent in a timely fashion. Saying this, I still haven’t written ones for my birthday (from May) or to the wonderful friends and family who hosted us while we were road tripping this summer. I used to be SO much better, actually a little obsessed my husband might say, as I made us do all our thank-you notes for our wedding gifts on the plane ride to our honeymoon destination?!

So it was with mixed emotion that I read about Thanks for Everything on the site DailyCandy Kids. In three easy steps, your thank you notes are done – by someone else!

  1. Answer a few simple questions about the occasion, then select your stationary.
  2. List the “gifts” you received and who to thank.
  3. Place your order.

Granted it seems to be mostly geared toward baby shower/birth gifts as well as wedding gifts but I could dream, for a moment, of a “personal assistant” handling one of my most procrastinated tasks.  They are not actually handwritten but use “sophisticated handwriting fonts that could fool all but the most suspicious forensic graphologist”. And I have to love a site that refuses to do notes for kid’s birthday or bar/bat mitzvah gifts stating that kids need to learn and master the rules of writing thank-you notes…before they can break them.

Know Someone Heading to College?

My prior unsimplified life involved working with college student housing for the last 15 years. Since kids are headed back to college over the next few weeks, I tapped a few of my former colleagues for their one piece of advice for our future generation. Here’s a sampling:

For the Parents:

*Be supportive of your children going to college by empowering them to act for themselves.  Instead of calling the Residence Life Office or the Accounting Office for them, encourage your son or daughter to go to those images collegeoffices in person, to learn how to solve such problems themselves and to be able to network with those offices to find those people out there at the college or university whose job it is to support students.  The same goes for faculty in that parents should encourage their children to utilize faculty’s office hours to get as much as they can out of their education.  You have already passed the college years; it is your son or daughter’s turn to learn the lessons available inside and outside the classroom on the college campus. 

*Drop you student off, and tell them that you’ll see them for Fall Family Weekend.  Do NOT allow your student to come home for the Labor Day weekend, no matter how much they might beg and plead.  Students need time to get used to their new community, and they cannot do that if they return to their old one right away.

For the Students:

* The best time to start looking the job you want AFTER college is the day you START college.

* STUDY:  It IS what you know.  SEE:  It IS who you know.  BE SEEN:  It IS who knows you! 

*Make a point to visit each of your professors during their office hours at least once. 

*The night before the first day of class, print out your schedule and “walk” your schedule.  You don’t need the added pressure of finding buildings /classrooms during the first week. Read the rest of this entry


images heartMy love life is hilarious. I sort of like Bob and Doug. Friday when Kim spent the night Amy called and said she was having a party that night. Jerry (he’s back in my life again) flirted with me and I flirted with him. We also danced so I sort of like him too. Connie is getting everybody mad.


I wasn’t but I am now. MAGHOUND is a fabulous new online membership service that allows you to choose, change and manage all the magazines images 3delivered to your home. Select a tier package of 3, 5, or 7 magazines – with the option to add even more. So one month I could be perusing Better Homes & Gardens, Time and Consumer Reports for fantastic life simplified tips and a few months later switch it up to Food & Wine, Entertainment Weekly and Dwell.

You’ll find hundreds of other popular magazines to choose from. Search by category or look for magazine titles by name. Tier 1 (3 magazines) is $4.95 / month, Tier 2 (5 magazines) is $7.95 / month and Tier 3 (7 magazines) is $9.95 / month. There are no hidden commitments and no obligation to continue. If you are not satisfied with MAGHOUND for any reason, they will cancel your membership anytime, online, 24 hours a day, with no cancellation fees.

Looking for a gift?  Read the rest of this entry

Smart (& Entertaining) Sites

None of these sites have anything in common except for the fact that they are somewhat practical or a lot of fun. StereoMood is similar to pandora in imagesthat you can create your own music stations and tag songs that you like but stereomood does it by providing music that best suits your mood and your activities. Feeling optimistic, epic, lost in thought or are you reading or dressing up, there’s a station for that.

Have a question about ANYTHING that you want answered by a real person and not have to search thorough search engine results, head to ChaCha! ChaCha is like having a smart friend you can call or text for answers on your cell phone anytime for free! Simply text your question to 242242 (spells ‘ChaCha’ or call 1-800-2ChaCha (800-224-2242) from your mobile phone to ask any question. What are you waiting for? Ask away! (my most visited site) turned me onto Woot. The perfect website for those that like to shop but don’t have a lot of time to browse through a slew of merchandise, the daily Woot features only one product, so you can save time and still do your thing. Of course, you can always just check out Cool Site of the Day for never ending entertainment and to keep up with what’s happening on the web.

No Better Time to Shop!

imagesMany states will be offering a tax free weekend this weekend or sometime in August so grab your back-to-school lists and get shopping! Check out the following states for details: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C. & West Virginia.

Locally, St. Louis’ tax free weekend is this weekend (August 6-8) and applies to:

  • Clothing under $100
  • School supplies under $50
  • Computer software under $350
  • Computers/computer equipment under $3,500
  • Note: Some cities and counties in Missouri elect not to participate.

If you happen to do any of your school shopping at Target, they will begin offering a great new program in the fall which entitles you to 5% off everything in the store with a Target credit card.  The new 5%-off program (for every purchase, every visit) will replace Target’s current program in which account holders receive an initial 10% off coupon and existing cardholders earn coupons for a future shopping visit. No exact date has been set but I’ll make every attempt to post the date when it’s announced. For more great tips on back-to-school shopping and the tax free weekend, check out this great article on