22. February 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I will admit I don’t play the game (yet), but this is an AMAZING cake! Enjoy!

Let me know when you see a playable Bejeweled Blitz cake!

16. February 2011 · Comments Off on Sin in a Tin. Or: OH MY! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day?

I did — Dave sent me on a scavenger hunt around the house finding one clue after another. The clues were tied into some pretty cryptic things about our marriage, such as “When we were stationed in Louisiana we learned to put this on all our food” and there was the next clue taped to the bottom of my can of Tony Chachere’s seasoning!

Ultimately it led me to my old college backpack with a pair of pretty sapphire earrings inside.

I was NOT so creative with Dave this year. I did take a suggestion from a fellow-chocoholic friend, Lisa C., and found something called Guthrie’s “Sin in a Tin” at our local Publix grocery store. I was drawn to it because it’s locally made, and we’re all about the local fare!

The cool 19th Century-styled tin is recyclable!

It’s marketed as a “chocolate pate”, but you could imagine it as a giant chocolate truffle! It’s sold frozen, but if you bring it to room temperature, you could spread it.

Spread it on what? I don’t know — on what do you spread chocolate? A cracker? A chocolate cookie?

Oh wait, read the directions for suggestions!

It’s made right here in Pensacola!

We simply sliced it and made it dessert for Dave, Timmy and me for two days. Yum!

14. February 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Happy Valentine’s Day friends!

We enjoyed a special Valentine’s Day-themed Build and Grow project at Lowe’s last Saturday!

My boys awakened this morning and were greeted with these little gifts for Valentine’s Day:

They had asked for them for Christmas, but I’m glad we waited till now, I think that Valentine Puppy sure is cute!

I’d backed off significant gifts for Valentine’s Day over the past couple years, but I’d kept these Pillow Pets in the back of my mind this year.  They’re about $20 each.

I found the Valentine’s ones at Walgreen’s.  You wouldn’t think of it, but you can whip together a pretty nice Valentine’s Day experience at your local drugstore.

I also found some M&Ms Star Wars gifts…$5 per kid.  The lightsaber on the left in the bottom pic has LED lights, you press a button and it stays on for about a minute.  More M&Ms stuffed into the handle of that toy.

12. February 2011 · 5 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
Not a complete fail, but a “mostly” fail.

Today I officially gave up on the CrashPlan 30 Day free trial to send files to “the cloud”: the CrashPlan Central offsite servers.  I had a 30 day free trial to try this out, and after 27 days, I had only uploaded 60% of the files.

I didn’t get enough time to test restoring the files after a full upload, therefore I cut my losses and will do backup another way.

Besides, with the recent news about Mozy, I wonder how much longer “all you can eat” offsite data storage will remain affordable.

By the way, until the end of February, CrashPlan is offering a 15% discount to Mozy customers who are bailing because of Mozy’s recent price schedule changes.

Paul and I attempted some file transfers to each other, but that wasn’t very stable either.  Our network settings had to be very precise to maintain a connection.  Paul’s fiber broadband pushed about 2/3 of his files to me, but my slower connection only allowed us to give him about 1/3 of the files.  I have dynamic IP addressing — so a system reboot would change up our settings and kill the connection.  We pushed our respective computers into our firewall’s DMZs, which made me incredibly nervous, and if that’s how we had to keep things permanently, that was also a no-go.

I will caveat things to say that it wasn’t a complete wash.  Without paying, you can still use the CrashPlan GUI to manage in-house backups free of charge, as well as backups to friends.  I’m probably going to stick with that.  It’s the only GUI that allows “cross-flow” between PCs and Macs.  It also allows you to attach external HDs and network-attached-storage into the setup.  Other programs, such as Mozy and Carbonite, have restrictions on that.

While I’d read dozens of testimonies to how great CrashPlan worked for their individual needs, I feel that our family’s network setup simply wasn’t going to support things.  We have an AT&T DSL connection coming into the house that typically allows for about 7 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload speeds.  When CrashPlan was running, those speeds dwindled down to about 20-40%.  Especially when CrashPlan was running on our PC and was uploading data to CrashPlan Central.

We couldn’t watch videos anywhere else on our network (i.e. via Netflix streaming, Wii or on YouTube on our computers), so I removed Crashplan from the PC and suddenly things sped up.

This morning I re-installed CrashPlan on the PC but cut it off from external network connections.  I am hopeful that will be okay.  I will keep it to back up our 3 computers’ files to each other, and we at least have that.  Better than nothing, right?

In the meantime, I’m pricing 2 TB external HDs and will be replacing our two smaller external HDs for day-to-day backups.

10. February 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

The reason I was inspired to post about that 1957 Air Force wife book last week was because I was thinking about getting some “calling cards” of my own.  I’ve done this in the past, it’s great for trading playdate information on the playground.  It’s also much classier than scrawling down your information on the back of a crumbled gas station receipt at the bottom of your purse.  It helps out as a reservist, too, when you can’t access your military phone and e-mail account daily, you can just hand someone a personal card to follow up on a correspondence.

I learned this idea through a Mom on a playground in Cary, North Carolina back in 2005, but it’s reaped dividends as a military wife…when you have to introduce yourself to a new circle of friends every 2-3 years.

I had placed an order a couple weeks ago through VistaPrint.com for my free** 250 business cards and they arrived on Tuesday.

You really thought I’d show the world our address and phone number?  These cards are also great for “We’ve Moved” cards.  That way folks could just put your new address/phone/e-mail address in with other business cards.

Since they’re free**, you’ll be shamelessly promoting VistaPrint every time you share one of your cards.  I don’t mind, can’t argue with cheap well-made business cards.

**The cards are free, but you pay a small shipping fee (~$5).  Plus you have to be prepared to weed through no less than 15 webpages worth of “Would you like to add XX onto your order??” offers.

08. February 2011 · Comments Off on Oops He Did It Again… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Our poor little Howie tore his other rear CCL this past weekend. Nearly 2 years after he ruptured the left one. We don’t know how he did it this time, we came home from a bunch of errands Friday night and Howie wasn’t putting weight on his right rear leg.  He might have been chasing squirrels (which always seems to get him into trouble)…we have squirrels here, and Howie still will run after them.

We took Howie to the animal emergency room in Pensacola on Saturday to rule out anything broken, and the vet could tell right away it was his other CCL.  He’s 11 years old now, his (suspected) breed mix is predisposed to this issue, and once you repair one CCL, the chances of the other CCL failing are increased.

This morning we followed up with our own vet and she suggested using “cold laser therapy” to trigger scar tissue to grow in quickly and we can reinforce the torn ligament precisely enough so Howie can get his mobility back without surgery!

This wasn’t presented as an option in 2009, perhaps because it’s wasn’t widely available 2 years ago.  Our options here are much easier, we only have to travel as far as Pensacola, instead of Manhattan, KS to do the most intensive of our repair options.

Dave and I took a few hours to learn more about the procedure, ask questions of our vet and pet insurance company and we were happy with the pricing, the procedure, and the ease (almost too good to be true!).  We decided not to waste any more time and scheduled Howie to start the first of 8 treatments this afternoon.  He’ll need up to 8 treatments without more than 3 days between the treatments.  It’s aggressive, but since I live 5 minutes from the vet (it’s just past the boys’ school), it’s easy enough for me.

Enjoy some recent pictures of Howie.  These are all from AFTER his first CCL repair.  He was hiking and climbing like he was 2 years old last summer!

From 2009 12 08 SnowDay!
From 2009 12 08 SnowDay!

From 2010 05 30 Black Hills Day 3: Custer State Park & Hiking
From 2010 05 30 Black Hills Day 3: Custer State Park & Hiking

From 2010 05 31 Badlands National Park
From 2010 05 29 Black Hills Day 2 Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse
06. February 2011 · Comments Off on The Runner Girl Returneth!!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
I’d like to thank the kind young Marine pilot candidate for taking this nice picture.  I gave him my 3 beer coupons in return.  Like the bling?  They were handing out Mardi Gras beads near one of the water stations.

Today was the 15K race I’d mentioned last month.  I was feeling pretty discouraged going into it this morning.  I don’t know why — perhaps I just started doubting myself or something. Perhaps I was bummed from awakening at 4:45am.  I trained appropriately, I wasn’t in (much) pain, I brought enough the appropriate clothing for the weather.  Seeing everyone else suffering in 15-20 knot north winds, 45 degree temperatures, on the waterfront brought some comfort that we were all in this together.

My goal was to complete this race in less than 90 minutes and I’m so proud that I was able to meet my goal! Just under 86 minutes!

My Twitter and Facebook friends saw an obscure status early this morning about worrying about my bladder more than whether I could finish the race.  Would I drink too much and have to go to the bathroom every mile?  (Or worse yet, would I drink too much and die*?)  Would I not drink enough and really slow down due to dehydration?  What’s that perfect balance?  Luckily, I was able to go about 2 minutes before the Star Spangled Banner, and made it out the starting gate with a nice empty bladder!  I did fine, I was able to have water along the route, along with these nifty “Extreme Sport Beans” by Jelly Belly.  A gal I was standing near waiting to start offered me a couple.  I ate one before each of the two bridges…I can’t say if they worked any wonders, but they were yummy just the same.  I might have to pick up a pack for upcoming long runs.

*Note: It takes an inordinate amount of water for it to kill you, I was semi-joking there.

I made it just fine without even thinking about finding a bathroom.  Phew!

But I did notice a guy hit a Circle K restroom at mile 2 (really?  after just TWO miles?), and a few women were in line at an Exxon station restroom at about mile 6.  There were a couple port-a-potties scattered along the route, but I think they were actually designated for construction sites, not for us runners.

Next up?  I got to see what the medals for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon look like, and I think I want one!  Click the link, scroll down and look closely. They’re bottle openers, how cool is that?

(Click on the pictures to see closeups of the text in the pictures).

Several years ago I received this book from my father-in-law.  He got it from a friend who sells antiques.  Dad thought I’d be intrigued by it, and gave it to me as a tongue-in-cheek gift.

I read the book the same weekend that Dave’s dad gave it to me and it put a lot of smiles on my face.  The book has been sitting with our other “old books”, and I discovered it again last month when we were unloading/organizing our bookcases in our new house.  I’ll share some of the tips and tricks here, but know that my intent here is NOT to be like the infamous 15 Minute Lunch post from 2007 (<–click it, if you haven’t seen the old Penney’s catalog blog posts, they’re AWESOME!).

Amazon offers the book, as you can see from my link on the left, but I absolutely have to share with you the typeface of the cover of my own copy.  It’s pretty cool!

A look at the back cover to learn a little more about the authors…

….wait a second!  They aren’t even AIR FORCE wives????  Actually these two ladies brought in several USAF wives for the various chapters, and they’re credit inside the book.

The forward was written by Mrs. Nathan Twining, the wife of the then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force.  That’s very nice — seriously, it was nice of her to endorse it.  Not sure if I would have bought it otherwise, especially after learning the authors were Navy wives.

I didn’t feel like scanning in the whole book, so I took photos of some of the funnier topics to share with you…

First of all, there’s this notion of calling cards.  According to this book, you need to ensure you have the proper stationary made up at a reputable engraver.  The sizes of the cardstock, paper and engraving type are recommended here:

Here are some examples of what calling cards should look like.

The book then goes into page after page about where and when to leave calling cards (Hint: you leave them when you “go calling”), what to write on the fronts, on the backs, and whether or not to use envelopes.  And PLEASE, no children!!!

The next picture stunned me.  May women wear Air Force insignia?  My first instincts is “WTF?  Don’t you get put in jail for doing that???”  But according to the book:

And if you go calling and the servant answers the door?  The servant?  Wow, I am definitely an AF wife in the wrong era:

Here’s something I’ve always needed help with.  And don’t forget that hot bouillon on a cold day for the early-arrivals 🙂

Now, here’s a tip that I know is still true 60+ years later!  Many of these military spouse functions fall by the wayside when you’re stationed in Washington, D.C.  I’m definitely glad the President no longer requires officers to call upon him.

To me, this paragraph is timeless.  I’m even going to make the picture bigger for you.  This is precisely why is probably wasn’t in the best interest for Captain Honor of the USS Enterprise or General McChrystal of US Forces Afghanistan to do things they did.  Believe me, I’ve said my share of things over a few beers at the club that I would never wanted recorded!  I have my opinions about publicizing those things that were recorded. Nonetheless, the cat was let out of the bag and the general public was left with a poor taste about our military leaders, who are trusted with our nation’s sons, daughters, husbands and wives.

03. February 2011 · Comments Off on We’re Rooting for You Leia! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
“I was a Geek Pinup Girl!”

Who out there has seen the recent Jenny Craig ads?

My husband saw one of them this past weekend — I think it was a “targeted” online ad on a health website — and he couldn’t believe it was Carrie Fisher!  We didn’t recognize her!  Seriously.

Then this morning during the Rachel Ray Show I saw my first television ad featuring Carrie Fisher.  The commercial, which was a simple interview with Carrie (similar to the video below), was actually kind of dark, but it got me inspired to root for her.  She’s brutally honest!

Today, I found a video on YouTube’s Jenny Craig channel, and it’s worth sharing.  She talks about how she was the Geek Pinup girl of the mid-80s, and has declared that she’s going to fit back into that gold metal bikini with Jenny’s help!

So who’s with me!  Go Carrie! Go Carrie!