Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kroger Gift Card Giveaway Winner

The $20 Kroger Gift Card goes to the following randomly chosen commenter: 

Mari said...

Yes I am a pet owner (or do they own me-lol?) of dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and 1 hedgehog.

April 21, 2010 12:51 PM

Thanks to everyone that entered. Mari, I will be emailing you shortly to get your information.

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-04-29 11:55:01 UTC

Kentucky Derby T-Shirt Giveaway Winner

The randomly selected winner of the Kentucky Derby T-Shirt is:  Septembermom

I will be emailing you shortly to get your information. Thanks!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-04-29 11:39:23 UTC

iPod Meme

I haven't done any memes lately so when I saw this fun iPod Meme over at Jillian, Inc, I knew I had to jump right in....


1. Put your iPod on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn’t make sense. NO CHEATING!

How do you feel today?   Wish You Were Here - Incubus

What’s your outlook on life?   Schizophrenic Conversations - Staind (oh my!)

What does your family think of you?   Tangled - Maroon 5

What do your friends think of you?   She's On Fire - Train

What do your exes think of you? -  Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee (HA!)

How’s your love life? -   Whatever It Takes - Lifehouse

How will your love life be in the future? -   S.O.S. - ABBA (hmmm, uh-oh?)

Will you get married? -   Take A Chance On Me - ABBA

Are you good at school? -   Wasted - Carrie Underwood

Will you be successful? -   Around The World - Red Hot Chili Peppers

What song should they play on your birthday? -   Sex Type Thing - Stone Temple Pilots (*blush*)

The soundtrack of your life? -   The Things We Do For Love - 10cc

You and your best friends are? -   Girls On Film - Duran Duran (HAHA)

Happy times:   Love Me Do - The Beatles

Sad times:   Come As You Are - Nirvana

Every day:   Train In Vain (Stand By Me) - The Clash

For tomorrow:  Whataya Want From Me - Adam Lambert

For you:   Crazy - Patsy Cline (one of my all-time fave songs)

What does next year have in store for me? -  Turn Me Loose - Loverboy

What do I say when life gets too hard?  Whenever I Call You Friend - Kenny Loggins (another all-time fave)

What song will I dance to at my wedding? -  Island In The Sun - Weezer

What do you want as your career? - Telephone - Lady GaGa

Your favorite saying? -  I Can't Go For That - Hall & Oates

How will I die? - Rich Girl - Hall & Oates

Funny! Can you tell I love 80's music and ABBA? My kids are probably among the few tweens who can sing all the lyrics to a variety of Hall & Oates songs (but they would never admit that).

If you decide to play along let me know so I can check out your answers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kentucky Derby Time - Plus A Giveaway

Kentucky DerbyImage via Wikipedia
This giveaway is now closed

Being a Kentuckian my entire life, this time of year is always exciting. The Kentucky Derby, and all the great events leading up to it, are a fun and historic tradition around here. Here's a little information about The Kentucky Derby from Wikipedia:

"The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival and is widely considered the most prestigious horse race in the world. The race is one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57.2 kg) and fillies 121 pounds (54.9 kg). The race is known in the United States as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and is also called "The Run for the Roses" for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and is followed by the Preakness Stakes then the Belmont Stakes. The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders' Cup."

"In addition to the race itself, a number of traditions play a large role in the Derby atmosphere. The Mint Julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and a sugar syrup is the traditional beverage of the race. The historic drink can be served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup but most Churchill Downs patrons sip theirs from a souvenir glass printed with all previous Derby winners. Also, burgoo, a thick stew of beef, chicken, pork and vegetables, is a popular Kentucky dish served at the Derby."

"The infield, a spectator area inside the track, offers general admission prices but little chance of seeing much of the race. Instead, revelers show up in the infield to party with abandon. By contrast, "Millionaire's Row" refers to the expensive box seats that attract the rich, the famous and the well-connected. Women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville marching band plays Stephen Foster's 'My Old Kentucky Home'."

Some of the festivities leading up to the Derby include:

Chow Wagon on the Waterfront - food feasts and live music on the river
Thunder Over Louisville - huge airshow & fireworks display
Pegasus Parade
Great Balloon Race
The Great Steamboat Race
Run For The Rose'
Great Bed Races
...and much, much more. There are concerts, parties, winefests, and all kinds of celebrations. It's really a terrific time to be in Louisville!

Even though I have lived in or around Louisville all my life, I've only attended The Kentucky Derby once. It was a spectacular experience and watching the horses parade by as they played "My Old Kentucky Home" was truly moving. I will say that I tried a mint julep and thought it was one of the worst things I've ever tasted, LOL! But, it was fun to dress up and wear a pretty hat and then get to see it all in person.

I thought it would be fun to share some hometown pride and offer a little giveaway. Up for grabs is a Kentucky Derby T-Shirt. If you would like to enter, please leave a comment on this post. Tell me whether or not you will be watching or celebrating the Kentucky Derby in any way. Also, tell me your shirt size (Adult S, M, L, or XL) in your comment. I'll pick a random winner Thursday (4-29-10) and get the shirt out in the mail right away. U.S. entries only, please.

*This is not a sponsored giveaway. The t-shirt for giveaway is being supplied by me, as a way to share a little hometown pride

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - The Duchess

From Netlix:
Keira Knightley stars as Georgiana Spencer, a young duchess who indulges in extravagant vices and begins a scandalous affair with politician Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper) to balance her unhappy marriage to the duke of Devonshire (Golden Globe–nominated Ralph Fiennes). Director Saul Dibb's lavish adaptation of Amanda Foreman's novel about the real-life 18th-century femme fatale received an Oscar for Best Costume Design.

If you love period pieces, you must see this one. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity and thematic material. Available on DVD

Just Playing Around

Just playing around with my new camera and Smilebox....goofing off with my daughter, Shelby, and our dog, Emma. We were taking the silliest pictures that had me laughing so hard. I was laughing so hard I was crying, which led me to fall over onto my daughter, which led her to spill Big Red all over my bed, which then led her to jump off the bed splattering Big Red on my carpet! Ooops!

Click to play this Smilebox collage: Shelby and Emma
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Free picture collage created with Smilebox

Monday, April 26, 2010

Enter To Win An iPod Touch & iTunes Gift Card

Head over to Unexpected Bliss to enter a fabulous giveaway. The winner will receive an 8GB Apple iPod Touch and a $15 iTunes Gift Card. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents and ends on May 3, 2010. Visit HERE for all the details.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Aloha Friday - Household Finances

~Enter Kroger Gift Card Giveaway Here~

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too.

Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My question is for those of you with spouses or significant others:

Who takes care of the household finances, such as keeping checkbook, paying bills, etc.?

In our household, I'm the one who keeps the checkbook and pays the bills; we share our checking account. I'm very particular (can we say "control freak") about it all and want the checkbook kept nice, neat, and organized (and balanced, LOL). A few of my married friends maintain separate checking accounts and divide up the financial responsibilities - that's interesting to me but wouldn't work for us since we are a one-income household.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

National Kids & Pet Day - Kroger Gift Card Giveaway

Golden Retriever PuppyImage via Wikipedia

This Giveaway is now closed

National Kids and Pet Day is celebrated on April 26th and Kroger and its family of stores are celebrating by sharing fantastic information about pet safety, selecting the right pet for your family, and making sure your family’s animal friends are taken care of. Pets are such an important part of our families, and making sure that they are happy and well cared for is a huge responsibility. Everything from finding the right pet to making decisions about their health and well-being is a major undertaking that can impact the whole family.

(Keep reading, the Kroger Gift Card Giveaway information will come later in this post...)

Pet Safety - here are some tips regarding children and safe pet play:
  • Teach your children to pet softly, stay away from food dishes, toys and bones, and not to startle your dog or cat when it is sleeping.
  • Keep babies and toddlers at a level higher than your dog. Dogs perceive height as representative of their hierarchy. Keep your children off the floor when the dog is in the room.
  • Don’t give your dog toys that resemble your children’s toys or clothing. Stay away from fabric stuffed dog toys that resemble your child’s stuffed animals.
  • Involve your child in your dog’s care. Even just the presence of your child in the same room while your dog is receiving his favorite things or activities can help build a positive association to children.

Selecting The Right Pet For Your Family - choosing a pet is a big decision and one that should not be made lightly. Before you get a pet, do a little research to learn more about specific breeds and how they might fit in with your family. Here are a few examples of family-friendly dog breeds:
  • Cocker Spaniel – These lap dogs are sensitive and sweet and enjoy the attention of children. Cocker Spaniels are obedient with training and friendly around people.
  • Pug – This affectionate breed loves being part of a family. Outgoing and mischievous, they make playful companions for children.
  • Golden Retriever – Similar to Labs in personality, Goldens are mild mannered and enjoy being around families and other people. These dogs are easy to train and are gentle with children.
  • Basset Hound – This breed is good with children of all ages. They are known for their docile nature and gentleness. Their long backs need to be supported when they are picked up, and an eager child can accidentally injure them.

Taking Care Of Your Animal Friend is an important part of being a pet owner. Did you know that The Kroger Co. offers pet insurance? Offered through PetFirst, Kroger pet insurance policies cover routine care and medical procedures for dogs and cats, and is available at more than 2,400 stores in the Kroger family including City Market, Dillon’s, Fred Meyer, Frye’s, King Sooper, Owen’s, Pay Less, QFC, Ralph’s and Smith’s. In addition to being available in-store, Kroger’s pet insurance can be purchased online at Kroger’s pet insurance works at any veterinarian nationwide, with reimbursement typically occurring within two weeks. Coverage starts as low as $9.95 per month and right now, individuals who purchase online can save $10.

For more information on family friendly breeds or additional tips on teaching your children about pet safety, visit Kroger’s Pet Health blog.

On Twitter:
Kroger has set up the hashtag #pethealth so people can follow along on National Kids & Pet Day. Kroger will be Tweeting too, from our Pet Health account @PetsOfHealth

Kroger $20 Gift Card Giveaway - to enter the giveaway, comment on this post and tell me whether or not you are a pet owner, and, if so, what type of pet you have. (mandatory entry)

For extra entries, you may do any of the following (leave separate comment for each that you do):
1. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (see sidebar)
2. Subscribe to my blog via email (see sidebar)
3. Follow me on twitter
4. Follow Kroger @petsofhealth on twitter
5. Tweet about this giveaway and leave tweet link in your comment (may tweet 1x per day)

**This giveaway is open only to U.S. residents. Giveaway will close at 10:00 pm EST on April 28, 2010. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email (please make sure I have a valid way to contact you).

For helping raise awareness of National Kids & Pet Day, Global Influence Network and the Kroger Co. provided me with a $20 Kroger gift card to spoil the pet in my life and a $20 Kroger gift card to giveaway to one of my blog readers so that they could do the same.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant as the great American writer, Truman Capote. In 1959, a Kansas farm family is brutally murdered. Capote decides to travel to Kansas to learn more about this crime. Through his research, he ends up becoming quite close with the accused killers. After extensive time spent with the accused, Capote goes on to write one of his most famous works, In Cold Blood.

Rated R for some violent images and brief strong language

Monday, April 19, 2010

Take Another Chance Challenge - Challenge #5 Title Word Count - The Book of Fires

The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale

I'm participating in the Take Another Chance Challenge. This fun and clever reading challenge is hosted by Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here. She has, once again, come up with 12 unique challenges. You can choose your own level of participation and the challenge runs through the entire year. This is a very low-pressure challenge and a cool way to find some great reads that you might not otherwise have ever thought to check out.

This is my entry for Challenge #5 Title Word Count- here are the rules of this challenge:

Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the numbers 1 for the min. and 5 for the max. and then hit generate. Find a book to read that has that number of words in the title. Read the book and write about it.

Example: If you get 1 for your number, read a book that has a one word title. If you get 2, read a book that has a two word title and so on and so forth.

I got 4 so I chose The Book of Fires

Seventeen year-old Agnes Trussel lives in rural Sussex, England with her family. It's winter 1752 and times are difficult - everyone works hard, but there are just too many mouths to feed and never enough food or money. When Agnes becomes pregnant out of wedlock, she is filled with fear and shame. She decides that she cannot bear for her family to know of her disgrace and she runs away to London. Upon arriving in the dirty, bustling city, Agnes is scared and alone. She meets a fireworks maker named Mr. J. Blacklock. He is a strange and moody man, but, he offers Agnes employment as his apprentice. She readily accepts his job offer and moves into his home/workshop, all the while, concealing her pregnancy from everyone. As time passes, Agnes discovers that she has quite the penchant for the science of fireworks. She quickly learns the skills needed to make rockets, portfires, and fiery rain fireworks. She and Mr. Blacklock maintain a peculiar relationship with little interaction except for the necessary shop-talk. But, they come to realize that they both share a passion for creating spectacular fireworks.
 It becomes harder and harder for Agnes to continue concealing her secret. She lives in dread and fear of what will happen once her pregnancy is revealed. She soon meets Cornelius Soul, who sells gunpowder to Mr. Blacklock. When Cornelius begins to flirt and show an interest in Agnes, she considers a plan that may save her from her situation. But, as she gets closer to Cornelius, why does Mr. Blacklock seem to harbor such disapproval and resentment of their relationship? As the firework making continues, Mr. Blacklock becomes more and more reclusive. Agnes feels that he is working on something very important. She does not understand why he is acting so secretively. Little does she know that he has been watching her and is working on a plan of his own. Summer arrives and with it comes some very shocking twists to this story. Agnes finds that her future is going to turn out a little differently than she expected.

I loved this book! Historic fiction of this nature is my favorite genre and this story had me hooked from page one. Agnes was an innocent, desperate character who showed bravery and determination. The fact that this story revolved around the science of fireworks was very unique and made it even more interesting. The ending was totally unexpected but really beautiful.  I love when a story surprises me and this one did.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Aloha Friday - Pick A Hobby Or Skill

In Hawaii, Fridays are the day to take it easy and get ready for the weekend. Kailani, over at An Island Life, came up with this fun and easy Friday meme called Aloha Friday. Simply post something on your blog that readers can quickly respond to, then head over to an Island Life to link up and visit other participants.

My question is: Is there a skill or hobby that you wish you could learn and be really good at?

My answer: I have a few -
1. I would love to be able to speak a foreign language fluently (French or Russian)
2. I wish I could play the piano - I took lessons as a child for about 3 years and really regret quitting
3. Photography/Photoshop - I am clueless about both of these but would love to learn to take better photos and how to use photoshop

Be sure and visit An Island Life for more Aloha Friday
Happy Friday! Have a great weekend~

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Census Outreach

Did you know that tomorrow, April 16, 2010, is the last day to return your Census form? - If you forget to send in your Census form, it ends up costing tax-payers more money to complete the Census process. It costs the government just 42 cents for a postage paid envelope when a household mails back the form but costs on average of about $57 per household to send a Census taker. For every 1 percent increase in the national participation rate by mail, the Census Bureau saves taxpayers $85 million by not having to send Census takers door to door to households that failed to return the forms. If every household mailed back its 2010 Census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the Census and save $1.5 billion.

Information for parents about why the Census is important - Many parents may not realize the importance of accurately reporting the number of children in their family, including newborns. Census counts are used, in whole or in part, for more than 140 programs that distribute more than $400 billion of federal funds to states and localities, including such child-focused programs as:

  • Special Education Grants to states ($10.8 billion)

  • Head Start ($6.9 billion)

  • State Children's Health Insurance Program ($5.9 billion)

  • Foster Care Title IV-E ($4.7 billion)

  • Improving Teacher Quality State Grants ($2.9 billion)
Local communities rely on Census information in planning for schools, child care, health and other critical services. Adults can bear responsibility for making sure they are counted in the Census. But, children are dependent on others to make sure they are included. The Census only comes around every ten years - please make sure that your child is counted. Return your Census form today!

Other resources:

Hastag for Census: #2010census

No compensation was received for this post. This post was written in collaboration with Global Influence. Global Influence is working with 2010 Census to help spread this important message to all of the parents who read our blogs. We need your help to make sure that every child is reported so they can receive the services they will need in the future.

List of Giveaway Link-Ups

Are you looking for a place to link up your blog giveaways? Or, would you like to find some awesome giveaways that you can enter yourself?

I usually spend the first 30 minutes or so of my weekday mornings looking around online for blog giveaways that I would like to enter. I also have the occasional opportunity to host a giveaway myself, at my own blog. Here is a list of blogs that are my favorite go-to sites when looking for giveaways or places to link up my own giveaways (most links below will take you to that site's most recent giveaway linky; I have listed the days that they post their new linky):

Piece of Me
Give-It-Away Thursday

Baby Loving Mama
Giveaway Linky Love every Thursday

Eighty MPH Mom
Link em' Up Thursday

The B Keeps Us Honest
Great Giveaway Links every Thursday

Go Graham Go! and Jolly Mom
Giveaways Galore every Thursday

A Nut in a Nutshell
Saturday Giveaway Parade

The Secret is in the Sauce
You can find a blog giveaway linky here on most Sundays

Here are a few more sources for finding giveaways to enter:

Blog Giveaways
Postings of various giveaways around the blogosphere. You can also submit your giveaway to be posted.
Tons of giveaways listed here. I like this site because you can search through the giveaways by prize type, ending date, entering frequency, new giveaways, and more.

Helping Mommys Win
Postings of various low-entry giveaways around the blogosphere. You can also submit your giveaway to be posted.

If you know of any other good giveaway link sites, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. It's fun to enter giveaways and I have been pretty lucky this past year, winning several great items.

*Please read fine print and instructions for any giveaway that you enter. I cannot vouch for individual giveaways that may be posted. I'm only recommending these sites as places I like to go when looking for giveaways or giveaway link-ups*

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Random Report

  • Our daughter just found out she will be receiving a "Top 10" academic award. These awards are based on academic achievement and given to the top ten 5th graders, 8th graders, and 12th graders of each school in our county (she's an 8th grader). She also received the "Top 10" award as a 5th grader. It's a pretty big deal around here and we are very proud of her!
  • Our 3rd grader brought home a note from his teacher yesterday. It stated that for the upcoming state testing that they will be doing, they will be allowed to use calculators and that he should bring his own calculator to school this week. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Why on earth does a 3rd grader need to be using a calculator for math testing? Are we so lazy that we no longer expect our children to actually learn to do math in their head? We never used calculators until we got to more advanced math in high school. Is it just me or does this seem ridiculous?
  • Our 11th grade son will be going to his first prom next month. Yikes, did you know it's about $140 to rent a tux?
  • I really need to get a new digital camera ASAP. Does anyone have recommendations for a good one that is in the $150-$200 price range? I want something that is super easy to use (because I am very technically challenged) and takes great pics.
  • Do you watch Flash Forward on ABC?  What about Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Starz? Love them, they are both great! (Just to let you know, Spartacus is not for the faint-of-heart - lots of blood, violence, and sex)
  • I'm excited to tell you that I was invited to join the review team at An Island Life. If you are not familiar with this site, check it out. You can find great product reviews, giveaways, photo contests, and more. It's also the home of the very popular Friday meme, Aloha Friday.
  • I've always been an American Idol fan. Did you watch last week's show? Casey James singing Jealous Guy is my FAVORITE IDOL PERFORMANCE EVER! Here it is in case you missed it - beautiful!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday - The Importance of Being Earnest

From Netflix:

In this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's witty play about mistaken identities, Rupert Everett and Colin Firth star as two proper gentlemen in 1890s London who use the same pseudonym with disastrous results. At a country estate, they fall in love with two ladies -- Cecily (Reese Witherspoon) and Gwendolyn (Frances O'Connor). But the hilarious confusion that ensues from their noms de guerre could sink their respective chances at romance.

This is one of my favorite movies - very funny and the cast is terrific.

Monday, April 12, 2010

BBC Earth Offers Free Planet Earth Episode Download on iTunes

From social media release:

In celebration of Earth Day's 40th anniversary, the beloved and award-winning BBC Earth series Planet Earth is now available on iTunes with a special one-time free episode download ("Pole to Pole"). This download is available April 12-26, 2010.

Planet Earth is the 11-part series from BBC's Natural History Unit which presents the epic story of life on Earth. Series producer Alastair Fothergill and his team spent four years in production, over 2000 days in the field, using 71 camermen filming across 204 locations in 62 countries to capture the ultimate portrait of our planet. Using a budget of unprecedented proportions and captured on HD cameras, Planet Earth is among the highest rated and best selling HD programs ever made. It offers stunning visuals perfect for any HD television or HD handheld device like the Apple iPad which launched on April 3rd.

The BBC Natural History Unit has been producing extraordinary programming for over 50 years, and continues to take viewers to new and exciting parts of our Earth. Planet Earth, a BBD/Discovery coproduction, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2007. It is the must-see precursor to the highly anticipated BBC nature series Life, currently airing on the Discovery Channel and releasing on DVD June 1, 2010 from BBC video.

Get the whole series
Want more Planet Earth? The whole series is available for instant download on iTunes.
  • Standard Definition - $1.99/episode; $20.99 Series Pass
  • High-Definition - $2.99/episode; $31.99 Series Pass

Join the conversation on Twitter
Use the #planetearth hashtag if you would like to join the conversation on Twitter

Be sure and check out this fantastic offer. We own the Planet Earth series on DVD and it is truly amazing!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Take Another Chance Challenge - Challenge #6 Genre Switch-Up

I'm participating in the Take Another Chance Challenge. This fun and clever reading challenge is hosted by Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here. She has, once again, come up with 12 unique challenges. You can choose your own level of participation and the challenge runs through the entire year. This is a very low-pressure challenge and a cool way to find some great reads that you might not otherwise have ever thought to check out.

This is my entry for Challenge #6 - here are the rules of this challenge:

Challenge 6: Genre Switch-Up
Go to this list of book genres and pick a genre that you have NEVER read before. Find a book from that genre, read it, and write about it. Note: If you seriously cannot find a genre that you have never read, then pick the genre that is as far away from what you normally read.

I tend to read mostly fiction - historical fiction, romantic fiction, chick lit - that kind of thing. Horror is a genre that I never read. So, I thought I would give it a try for this challenge. The book I chose to read is Darkness On The Edge Of Town by Brian Keene.

Robbie and Christy are a young couple living in the small town of Walden, Virginia. He's a pizza delivery guy, she works in a local new-age gift shop. They live together in a small apartment building along with their neighbors, Russ (he's smart, divorced, and into astronomy) and Cranston (an ex-hippie liberal in his early 60's). They all enjoy their occasional alcohol and marijuana and mostly tend to keep to themselves.

One morning the residents of Walden wake up and discover that the rest of the world seems to be gone. Darkness is everywhere. There is no electricity, radio, tv, or phone signals. On the edge of town, there is an intense, impenetrable darkness; a darkness that almost seems alive with sounds and voices calling out to the residents of Walden. Whevenever anyone gets too close to this edge of darkness, bad things happen. Those who attempt to leave Walden are met with an unknown fate. Only their terrifying screams are heard. Then, they do not come back. The darkness has strange effects on the people of Walden, who quickly turn to looting, robbery, beatings, rape, and even murder. Everyone soon discovers that the darkness is bringing out the worst in them; they find themselves thinking and eventually doing evil things.

And, then there's Dez. He's the local crazy homeless guy. Most people either ignore him or treat him badly and call him names. But, he may just be the one person in town who actually knows why this darkness is happening.

Robbie decides that not knowing what is happening is the worst part. He comes up with a plan to try and unite some of the townspeople and learn more about the darkness. But, things don't go well with this plan. Robbie, Russ, and Cranston retreat back to their homes and decide that they should all stay put for awhile. As the darkness continues, the madness of the townspeople continues to increase. Robbie, Christie, Russ, and Cranston all find that their moods and urges are being influenced by the darkness. The least little trigger sets them off, and on more than one occasion, they find themselves filled with an urge to kill each other.

This book was very easy to get into and I did think it was scary. Obviously, this story has some sort of supernatural component to it. What was really scary to me was how quickly people in the town turned to violence and crime when faced with a disaster (i.e. no light, electricity, phones, dwindling food supplies, etc.). Robbie, Christy, and their friends became prisoners in their own town, and then, when the violence escalated so much, they became prisoners in their own homes; afraid to venture out into the streets. I won't give away the ending, but, it wasn't the ending I was expecting. Overall, I enjoyed the story and would like to check out another of this author's books.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Wishing everyone a wonderful Easter!

Graphic courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Camera Got Your Tongue?

The other day my 13 yr. old daughter was showing me some pictures that she has on her iPod Touch and Facebook. They were mostly pictures of some of her friends and a few of her with her friends. I was immediately taken by the fact that in more than half of these pictures, the girls (my daughter included) had their tongues hanging out - and not in the "na-na-na-na-poo-poo" way, but, in the gross "hey boys look at me" way. UGH! Why the heck do teenage girls want to take pictures with their tongues hanging out? The first thing I thought was, "Oh, I guess they think that makes them look hot." The second thing I thought was, "Oh no! I don't want my 13 yr. old daughter trying to look hot." So, I asked her why they had so many pictures like this. She shrugged it off and said she didn't really know, that it wasn't supposed to mean anything. I explained to her that, in my humble little mom's opinion, it's not really appropriate for young girls to take photos with their tongues wagging. Even though she might not think anything of it, someone else might get the wrong impression or take it the wrong way. She acted very surprised and said I was being a "perv". She insisted that it wasn't for any other reason than goofing around. Still, I let her know that I did not want her tongue out of her mouth in any photos, especially those that might end up online or on someone's cell phone.

A couple nights later, we were at the baseball park for our son's scrimmage game. A lady, who was a high-school friend of my husband, came over to say hello. I don't really know her, but she is very nice and has girls around the same age as my daughter. One of the first things she asked me was, "are you the mom who doesn't want her daughter sticking her tongue out in pictures?" HUH? She laughed and said she had been reading her daughter's facebook and saw where my daughter made a comment about it. Apparently it was a whole big Facebook discussion among my daugher and some of her friends. A few girls thought it was ridiculous of me. But, I'm happy to say that some fessed up and admitted that their moms felt the same way.

I'm not a prude or old-fashioned (well, ok, maybe I am a little) but, what is up with girls today thinking they have to be overtly sexual and provocative. Is it a low self-esteem issue? Some of the pictures that I see of these girls on Facebook make me feel like I'm looking at the girl-of-the-month calendar or something. And, they are so young! Do their moms even know they are posting these kind of pictures online? Do they even care? I think it's important to let my daughter know those kind of pictures are not acceptable and that she is too special to demean herself like that.

Now, I'll step off the soapbox. But, I would love to hear your thoughts on this....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Aloha Friday - Alarm Clock

In Hawaii, Fridays are a day to take it easy and get ready for the weekend. In honor of Aloha Friday, Kailani over at An Island Life came up with this fun and easy Friday meme. Simply post something on your blog which readers can respond to quickly and easily. Then, visit An Island Life to link up and visit other Aloha Friday participants.

When it comes to alarm clocks, I tend to have some obsessive-compulsive habits. For example, I always set the time on my alarm clock about 4-6 minutes fast. And, when I set the alarm, I will only set it for a time that ends in 4 or 7 (like 6:07 or 8:14) - yes, this is very weird, I know. It kinda drives my husband crazy. But, like I said, I am obsessive-compulsive about such things (especially about the numbers 4 and 7). Another thing I do is repeatedly hit the snooze button (sometimes I might set my alarm early enough so that I will be able to hit the snooze button enough times for a good 45-60 minutes of extra sleep). Yes, I realize this is probably weird too, LOL! I am not a morning person at all, and I just need to feel like I'm getting every possible little bit of sleep that I can.

What about you? What are your alarm clock habits?

Are you a fan of the snooze button or do you get right up with the first sound of your alarm?

Do you wake up to music or that loud annoying buzzing sound?