Thursday, July 31, 2008

See you later...

Tomorrow I will be seeing a lot of this:

photo: greg westfall

and a lot of this:

photo: Aaron Escobar

and a lot of this:

photo: extranoise

and hopefully lots of these:

photo: google images

and also NONE of these:

photo: google images

Wish me luck!

I hope to continue to post while I'm gone. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WW: Deep Down, I Know They Love Each Other

I needed a reminder. It seems like constant fighting between the 2 of them right now...

I've decided to throw in a post for Wordless Wednesdays at 5 Minutes for Mom. For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tagged Again!

Kelli assured me that inquiring blog-minds want to know...ok here goes...

4 Jobs I've Had:

*Video store clerk (coolest high school job - the 1990's, that is)

*Mystery shopper (this was fun, but got expensive as gas prices rose)

*Olan Mills telemarketer (my first job EVER! - way fun...let me assure you!)

*Kinkos Copies (worked here through college in Utah...met so many friends here...loved this job for several years)

4 Movies I Can Watch Over & Over:

In general, I don't like to watch movies over and over, but there are some that I can...

*The Princess Bride - "Aaaaaaaas....youuuuuuuuuu...wiiiiiiiiiish!"

*Scrooge - the 1970's version with Albert Finney. It is a musical, of course..."The minister's cat is a lovely cat"

*Mamma Mia, The Movie - apparently I love this movie. I've seen it in the movie theater twice now. It is such a happy movie and I love, love, love the music!

*Lots of Disney Movies - for example, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin.

4 Places I've Lived:

*Laie, Hawaii - My freshman year of college at BYU Hawaii. Seriously beautiful...

*Logan, Utah - I finished up my college experience here at Utah State University. Also where I met my hubby.

*Virginia - born and raised and came back to raise my kids.

*OK - so I've only lived 3 places. Oh well.

4 TV Shows I Love:

*LOST - addicted to this one

*Decorating on a Dime - decorating shows that show frugal solutions

*American Idol - my husband & I dubbed this and Lost as our date night shows

*Project Runway

4 Places I've Vacationed:

*Walt Disney World! Loved, loved, loved it! If you are going, check out Tour Guide Mike's site and buy the inexpensive membership. Worth every penny!

*Hilton Head, SC - this is our favorite beach in the southeast (that we've visited) because it is warmer for longer in the south and the waves are big enough to boogie board in, but calm enough that the kids can play in the surf without getting knocked down.

*Nags Head, NC - aka. the Outer Banks - growing up, this was were we vacationed. I still love it. Beaches instantly calm me.

*Las Vegas, NV - I love the lights and action feel the place has. I don't enjoy the smut part of LV, but I love the energy and all the themed hotels to tour! :)

4 of My Favorite Dishes:

*I love the ribs from Lonestar Steakhouse and also Texas Roadhouse. I have a thing about eating meat from the bone. I don't do it. This rib meat just comes of the bone with a fork...yum!

*Crepe Diablotin - I, too, enjoy this delish dessert.

*Really anything cheesy or with chocolate...I'm good.

4 Sites I Visit Daily:

*Mine - I've got to see who loves me has commented and visit them!

*My google reader helps me check out tonnnnsssss of sites when they post new stuff. But I never miss The Nester, Fussy, or Just Beachy.

4 Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

*The Beach

*The Beach

*The Beach

*Did I mention that I LOVE the Beach?!

Simple Woman's Daybook: Journal Entry

FOR TODAY July 28, 2008...

Outside My Window... the raindrops are drying from the overnight rain.

I am thankful for... the business of the upcoming week. I have TONS to do to prep for the trip. Laundry, cleaning, cleaning, laundry, packing, cleaning.

From the kitchen...I am freezing grapes so they don't go bad. I am also going to be cooking and freezing some corn for the same reason.

I am wearing...It seems like when I write this post I'm never dressed in real clothes. I guess I live in bummy clothes unless I'm going somewhere...

I am creating...clean laundry? Can one really create clean laundry? I'm not sure.

I am get as much done today as I possibly can. This is the only day this week when I don't have to leave the house.

I am reading...Still reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Not a ton of time to read last week.

I am have a peaceful, yet productive day.

I am hearing...Zach playing with Tanner (the canine that lives here) pretending they are in a zoo parade. Oh....kay.....?

Around the house...As previously mentioned, there needs to be lots of laundry and cleaning taking place here.

One of my favorite sleeping. Unfortunately, I do too much of this, really. And yet, I'm always tired.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:Wednesday we are swimming at a friend's pool. Thursday we have a fun Activity Girls (group from church that Taylor is in) hike and museum field trip. Friday is the big to Utah.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... this is my husband trying to nap on the couch at his sister's house last month. As you can see, their dogs (Hank & Libby) & Tanner have made themselves quite comfortable as well.

For more of A Simple Woman's Daybook, go here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Have you ever dealt with a company by the name of TeleCheck? You may have dealt with them unknowingly, even. They are a check guarantee system that some merchants use to, well, guarantee checks.

OK - Here's the situation, my parents went away on a week's vacation, and, I took the keys... (got a little carried away with Fresh Prince in my head, there. Anyway..........

Here's what happened:

The kids and I went to the free movie this morning at Regal Cinemas. It was Alvin & the Chipmunks. Cute movie. Anyway, after lunching at Chick-Fil-A (we affectionately call it "Chickee Fil Lay Lay") using our free meal vouchers from the first 100, I thought we'd head to the mall across the street and check out the end of season sale at the Children's Place. Rumor was they had an extra 50% off already marked down stuff.

They did, and I picked some stuff out for both kiddos for next summer. About $50 worth. I try not to shop with kids in tow, but in the name of saving gas money, I succommed to the sale since we were right there. I bought Zach a ton of stuff at $2.50 each and the most expensive purchase was for Taylor. A playdress, coming in at $6.99. Considering that's not tons more than I pay at thrift stores, I'm pretty happy with my purchases. Well...almost purchases...

Are you wondering what the heck this has to do with TeleCheck? Well, here's where it gets frustrating.

My total...$54.99. I wrote my check and handed it to the friendly employee. After a few minutes, she told me that it was declined. They use a check guarantee system and it wasn't approving the check. She didn't know why, though.

She handed me a little slip of paper with this message:

"We are sorry that we cannot accept your check, open your account, or cash your check at this time. Our decision is based, in part, on information provided to us by TeleCheck. If you have recieved a turndown, our decision may also be based, at least in part, on TeleCheck's need for additional information. We encourage you to call or write TeleCheck's check Writer Services Office to obtain the information in TeleCheck's files. Please include...blah...blah...blah..."

Also included on that paper was a toll free telephone number to call 24 hours a day.

So I did.

I rounded up the kids (who may or may not have been crawling on the floor under the clothing racks) and sat them on a bench outside of the store so I could make this phone call and straighten this situation out.

I knew there was plenty of money in the account and that it shouldn't be declined.

Lo and behold, after entering umpteen million (yes. I' m pretty sure that's a real number) phone numbers, check numbers, etc., etc., I was told by a recording that they couldn't accept the check. No reason, no human.

I tried back seveveral times, trying multiple ways to get a human on the phone with me. It. did. not. give. me. that. option. In desperation, I tried pressing zero to get a human. It hung up on me. Seriously. (Is my level of frustration coming across here?)

I went in to talk to the girl at the counter and explained the situation and she over-rode the transaction. Thank goodness for customer service.

We came home and I looked up the TeleCheck company online and found another phone number for them so I could speak to a human.

Enter a not-very-helpful customer service human being that works at TeleCheck. I told her my story...blah...blah...blah. I asked to speak to her supervisor. Cue the not-very-helpful, beligerant customer service human being supervisor that works at TeleCheck.

Get this - she told me that the account didn't have enough history in their system. Mind you, that account is about 5 years old. I told her that. She said that there weren't enough transactions or purchases made with it in the last 365 days. Whah????

Mike & I have several bank accounts for different things. One of those accounts gets money deposited into it EVERY PAYCHECK and rarely gets checks written to withdraw money from it. This is for things like school supplies, seasonal clothes, once-a-year payments, etc. And I use billpay online a lot. So basically, because I choose to save my money in this account, I can't use it when I need to. Seriously flawed system. "It didn't meet their company's parameters" (to quote the ever helpful Telecheck supevisor) for a check that could be approved.

She said that I should've called from the store. I told her that I did (multiple times, in fact), and that I could not get ahold of a human to help me. She says that the recording comes on when all the representatives are busy. It did not tell me that, nor did it give me an option of holding for a human representative.

The wonderful, helpful, beligerent supervisor told me that they just had to call the bank to verify the balance amount. Well - I guess that would've been helpful if I could get ahold of a human while still at the store, then, huh? She could care less that their system is flawed and told me she had no supervisor there and wouldn't give me a way to talk to one.

My next plan of action was to call the Children's Place customer service and let them know about the bad experience with TeleCheck. I thought they'd want to know that they were "partnering" with a company that is that difficult to deal with. The nice CS lady (I was totally nice to her too, btw. My problem was not with TCP at all) at TCP said that they'd had lots of complaints about TeleCheck and they are in the middle of getting a new check guarantee company to work with. She thanked me for sharing my experience and said that it did matter to them how their customers are being treated by TeleCheck.

There. I feel better.

Anyone else have a frustrating experience with a check guarantee company?

(photo sources:;;

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WFMW: New Favorite Hair Accessory

Do you ever have one of those days when you can't stand to have your hair around your face? Yeah? Me too.

I have a stacked, a-line bob-type hair cut and its not very long...not really long enough for a ponytail. I showed you what it looks like here.

I found a product at Walmart (not my favorite all) and I love it. It is called the Goody Stay Put headwrap. It looks like this...

I. Seriously. Heart. my new headbands. They grip and stay put just like their name says. Also, they don't give me a headache like other hard plastic headbands. Those little dotted lines you see are rubbery grippy thingys. Yes. That is the technical name.

Thought you'd wanna know what works for me.

To see what is working for other bloggers, check here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook: Journal Entry

FOR TODAY July 21, 2008...

Outside My Window... I'm enjoying the fresh cut grass (thanks to my sister) and trimmed bushes (thanks to my mamma) in our yard. My husband's back prevents him from doing those things, and I'm just not a yardwork kind of girl. I know, it sounds snobby, but it is what it is.

I am thinking...about my little man, who has a bit of a stomach bug as of this morning. I had to reschedule my birthday present massage for Wednesday, but that's ok cause I wanted to be here taking care of him.

I am thankful for...air conditioning. It is hot as hades out today. I think the heat index is something like 105. Yikes!

From the kitchen...I'm roasting a chicken tonight for dinner and chopping up the leftovers for enchiladas.

I am wearing...bum-around-the-house clothes. Comfy, but wouldn't leave the house looking this way.

I am creating...this blog post? Really not creating anything else right now that I can think of.

I am tonight to pick up cheap school supplies on sale & other sale goodies at Kroger. Great sales this week!

I am reading...Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Although I was an English major in college, I somehow missed out on some great classics. I'm trying to go through Austen's stuff. I've seen the movies, but now want to read the books. So far, I'm not disappointed.

I am get organized for our upcoming trip. We will soon be heading to Utah to visit Mike's family for 10 days.

I am hearing...the Mamma Mia movie soundtrack. If you know me, you know I love musicals. My sisters & I (all 4 of us) got together and saw the new movie Friday night. It was fun and way cute. I had never seen the musical before, but my sister said the movie was very close to the stage version.

Around the house...Just laundry & straightening up.

One of my favorite things...Music can really set a mood. The Mamma Mia soundtrack is a great cleaning cd! It worked wonders for me this morning!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:Of course, my massage on Wednesday. We'll probably do the free movie on Thursday. We won't be having a water day this week, as my nephew's 3rd birthday party is Saturday and will be at the POOL!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...aren't cemetery pictures cool? These were taken at Hollywood Cemetery, an awesome, old cemetery in Richmond, VA.

For more of a Simple Woman's Daybook, click here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Roll N Grow, Anyone?

As the kids & I drove home from church today, I noticed some beautiful zinnias in lots of colors in a yard we passed.

I commented on their beauty:

Me -"Look at those beautiful colorful flowers, guys."

Taylor - "Yeah."

Zach - "They probably used Roll N Grow."

Yeah...I'm sure they did Zach. All beautiful flowers come from an infomercial, right?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Take a Mini-Vacation

With the price of everything steadily rising, it is important to be smart with recreational fun.

Problem: Expensive hotels and travel expenses

Solution: Stay with friends nearby, but not in our hometown and do their cool local stuff

We stayed with our friends in Newport News, VA this weeks for several days and had a blast. It was just the kids and I...Mike had to work.

The Virginia Living Museum is an excellent local trip. We all enjoyed it. The friends we stayed with only live about 15 minutes away from the museum, and visit it often, so they have annual memberships.

There is currently a dinosaur exhibit, complete with robotic dinosaurs...a big hit!

The exhibit is complete with baby dinosaurs hatching:

The food chain in display:
A "bare bones" robotic dinosaur stripped of his skin. The kids could control the movements of this one and even make him roar. Kind of spooky:
There were plenty of photo opps:
Hands on areas where the kids could get up close and personal with local sea creatures:

A wildlife reserve path outside that includes many fun animals to observe: beavers, otters, pelicans, coyotes, and bobcats (among others):

There were cool "discovery centers" where the kids could learn about geology, archeology, animal tracks-ology, and fossil-ology. I liked the sign that said, "Discovery area: DO TOUCH!":

Our trip concluded with a fashion show in the museum's gift shop:

Although the museum admission was not inexpensive at $15 for me and $12 each for the kiddos, I feel that our little mini vacation was frugal because we kept the travel expenses low: we didn't go very far from home (only 1 hour drive) and had no hotel expenses. We also enjoyed the nearby beach the next day which was a ton of fun and frugal as well, but alas, the camera was left in the car.

Want more frugal ideas? Go here.

My Surprise This Morning...

My daughter, Taylor(8), surprised me this morning. This was on the inside of my door when I woke up:

Then this on the upstairs banister:

Then halfway down the stairs on the landing:

Then in the downstairs foyer:

Then on the couch in the family room:

Then on the doorway to the kitchen:

Guess what I had for breakfast?

Scrambled eggs seasoned perfectly and cinnamon toast. Yum! And I didn't even have to cook it! :) Sorry I didn't get a picture of the plate before it was all gone! Thanks Taylor! It was a wonderful surprise!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Does Your Cat Use the Toilet?

Ok - I'm not a cat person. Partly, I'm sure, because I'm allergic to them. That pretty much hinders my getting close to a cat without itching, sneezing, and runny eyes.

But I had to tell y'all about this new product a friend told me about. The Cat Genie. It's a cat toilet, y'all. You hook it up to the plumbing in your bathroom or your laundry room and it flushes. Yeah, I said it flushes.

Here's what the site says:

The only automatic cat box that flushes away wasteand, like a cat, washes itself clean.
CatGenie uses permanent Washable Granules that never need changing
For your cats, it's like using a clean box of cat-comfy, normal-size cat box filler
For you, CatGenie works like a modern washing-drying, cat toilet appliance
After a one-time, simple DIY hook up to water, you're set
Push a button or preset CatGenie Cat Box to start automatically
Used and recommended by veterinarians, nationwide.

You want one now? The basic version will set you back only $297 smackeroos. Yep. You heard me right. Two Hundred & Ninety-Seven dollars. Wow. That's all I can really say.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yummy, Easy Crockpot Chicken Alfredo, Anyone?

Simple, easy, & yummy. These are my requirements for a winning recipe at my house.

Here's one for ya...shared by a friend from college...Danielle...if you're out there, shout out!

Yummy, Easy Crockpot Chicken Alfredo
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (uncooked, frozen is even ok)
1 8oz. block of cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat version...still yummy)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 soup can of water
1 packet dry Italian dressing mix
1/2 stick butter

Throw it all in there. Stir to mix. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 3. Serve over any type of noodles. Easy peasy!

For more kitchen tips, go to Tammy's Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ants Have Taken Over My Kitchen

Dear ants inhabiting my kitchen,

Seriously...could you leave, already? I mean come on. I understand that there's good stuff on the countertops sometimes and dirty dishes in the sink callin' your name and all. But still.

Don't you read the internet? There are pages upon pages of tips on how to get rid of you. I have followed all of that advice and none of it is working. I've tried to give you little "ant motels" to hang out in. Were they not decorated cute enough, or something?

From what I understand, you don't like to cross over a line of chalk or a sprinkling of baby powder. Do you realize that it is not fun having baby powder sprinkled all over my kitchen? Although, baby powder is preferable to having you all over the counters.

We've caulked up the spots you use as your special "doors" and bought the nice expensive Terro stuff the internet promises will make you leave us alone. What is with you anyway? Just go away!

I'm seriously too discusted to cook in my kitchen right now and my family menus and budgets are suffering.

Windex kills you right on the spot and I've got plenty of it, but I'm pretty sick of cleaning up trails of your carcasses all over my kitchen. Just eat that sweet smellin' stuff and leave us alone. You have really overstayed your welcome.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tybee Island, Georgia

This is a slideshow from last September when my husband & I (no kiddos) celebrated our 10 year anniversary at Tybee Island, GA. It was wonderful. I just thought I'd share my smilebox creation here. Enjoy!

Click to play Tybee Island, GA
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook