Wednesday, April 27, 2011

List of Three: Royal Wedding Gift Ideas

Sad to say, we have not yet received our invitations to the Royal Wedding -- whom do we contact about this gross oversight?  *Sigh.*  Although we won't be jetting across the pond for Will and Kate's nuptials, we can still daydream about what we'd give to the happy couple!!  Instead of registering for gifts, the royal couple has requested donations to charity, but sometimes it's more fun to give an actual gift.  But what do you get the couple who has everything?  Enter SkyMall, which can keep you entertained on a long flight and supply you with a wide variety of unique gift items.  After perusing, here are some items we think Prince William and Princess Kate might enjoy. . .

The Siamese Slanket
The Siamese Slanket, perfect for chilly evenings in a drafty castle.

Elephant Wall Sconce
This lovely elephant wall sconce.  Let's face it, the palace is very British; this lovely sconce will lend an exotic flair by bringing Africa to England.  It would be even better in a matching pair!!

Bigfoot Garden Yeti - Large

A Bigfoot Garden Yeti sculpture!  A great conversation piece at those Royal Garden parties.  When coupled with an eye patch and hat, he can also be a scary pirate for their Halloween decor!


A Prince & Princess shouldn't have to lift a finger...for anything. That is why I feel the Levo Book Holder would be the perfect gift in helping Will & Kate with the mundane task of holding a book.

Everyone has seen that Will & Kate have quite a few apperances, appointments & very special meetings that they need to be on time for. The Dual Watch Winder Pro can make sure the royal's time pieces are wound to keep perfect time and like a true married couple their watches can be wound together - aaaawww.

I like it when a gift really says something or is meaningful, I suggest the Personalized Fire Ring. To symbolize
Will & Kates eternal flame of love.

What are your suggestions for a royal wedding gift? 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

List of Three: Cleaning Products & Tools

So with all this talk of Spring Cleaning in the air it's got me starting to clean and what are the top three of our favorite cleaning tools that we love to have by our sides:

1. Ajax/Comet. There is just nothing like it. I don't use it on all surfaces, but I don't feel that a bathroom sink, bathtub or kitchen sink is truly clean with out some good scrubbing action. Not to mention - the price is unbeatable!!
2. Disposable dusters. I found one in the dollar aisle of Rite Aid and I LOVE them!! They are cheap, can get into small spaces & when they get old and dusty - throw away! I really love this tool for cleaning blinds.
3. Multisurface cleaner. I think the reason for love is in the name. Anywhere. Anytime. Multisurface cleaner. Just recently I found a "Green" cleaner for cheap and I like it quite a lot.

I have a harbored interest in homemade cleaning mixes. If you have a good mix share it!! along with your top three cleaning tool & product picks!

1. My favorite cleaners are made by Melaleuca.  They're nontoxic and safe for the environment, too.  I've been using them for the last seven years and totally love 'em.  They come in a concentrated form that you mix with water, which saves on packaging and $$.  They make all the cleaners you need, from dish care to glass cleaner to laundry soap and everything in between.  I don't know if I could pick just one; I love them all!!

2. My vacuum.  I know this is a big tool, but I'm a little infatuated with it.  We just bought a Eureka Airspeed and it is awesome -- I love to vacuum now!  All the little attachments make it easy for me to clean my stairs, furniture, even my lampshades.  Love it.  We used a different vacuum for the first 7+ years of marriage and it was okay, but we were both blown away by how well this one works.

3. Lemi Shine.  I first found out about this from PW.  We have really hard water, which causes icky buildup in the dishwasher.  I occasionally add some before I run a load, which helps keep the inside of my dishwasher clean and smelling great.  I also use Lemi Shine's rinse agent, and it keeps my dishes sparkling.

When it comes to cleaning, what do you love??

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just keep Cleaning!

Now that we are into a little bit more of a "Spring" we can continue with our spring cleaning (or if you are like me, just start to spring clean....just start to think about it :) We are happy to have Jessica from Clear the Clutter back with us to help with our windows and doors!
Windows and Doors:
Are you ready to throw open those windows and enjoy the fresh Spring air? I am! Only problem is that the air might not be so fresh coming through filthy window tracks and door ways. If you think I am being overly OCD about this area, it may have been a while since you opened your windows and took a peek. YUCK!
First thing is to get out the best vacuum you have and get the smallest attachment. Take some time and really get out as much of the loose dirt that you can, it will make things MUCH easier when we start adding moisture to the process.
While the vacuum is still out, use it on top of all doorways and door frames. Obviously if there is stuck on dirt, a clean rag or Magic Eraser will be necessary.
Now, getting the gunk and grime out of and off the window tracks and doorways does require some time, but it can be very rewarding.
If you have a Shark Pocket Steamer, this is my favorite place to use it! Shoot that steam right into the window tracks and entry ways and you will blast yourself to shinny happiness.
If you don’t have a steamer, you can still get it just as clean, just use a little more elbow grease. Get out your cleaning toothbrush, rags, and HOT water with cleaning solution and go to town.
My last touch on window and doorways may be a bit over the top for you, but it can really be the icing on the cake. I touch up the paint on the trim, and re-caulk any areas necessary.
With a little effort, soon you’re going to open up those windows and doors, feel the fresh Spring air, and enjoy the clean window and door tracks at the same time.
Let me know if you have any questions


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

We read The Pioneer Woman's "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" together...well not literally together, but about the same time. If we read together no reading would actually be going on - we would be talking - just ask Mr. Shaw our 8th grade English teacher, he would tell you!
** The reivew does contain spoilers if that is important to you**

Aaaah love! I've never been one for romance novels - just isn't my thing, but I have to admit that reading about love makes you reflect more on your own. Reading about how PW & MM met made me reflect on mine & Mr. S's first meeting and all those warm, fuzzy, feelings came up inside. Granted within the first few pages I think PW had used every way to say "weak in the knees" & that got a bit much, but the emotions were still there and that is what I think her point was. I've read a few reviews from this book and there are some readers that are slamming her writing "this is a great example of why bloggers shouldn't become book writers", but I didn't choose to read BHTTW because I thought it would take me to new literary heights - I read it because I'm a fan of the blog and I actually like her writing. It may not be grammatically correct, but she writes the way that she talks (I've been told I do that too) and I think that is fine and fun. Her honesty and humor really come out and that is why I think this book and her blog has done so well. She's fun. She's your friend. I like it.
To go back to her honesty a bit there were a few parts where I almost said "Amen" outloud. She hit the nail on the emotional head of two things for me.
#1. Her parents' divorce. I actually wrote her a Thank you e-mail for that one. My parents divorced last year (2010) and I was 28 years old. I felt like the only girl in the world whose parents decided to get divorced in my twenties instead of my teens (I really knew deep down that I wasn't, but you know how you feel alone when you are going through something hard). It was nice to read that I wasn't the only one. My feelings were justified and I echo Ree with her sentiment, "I couldn't purport to know everything about my parents' marriage, who did what to whom and when. But my parents had been happy. We'd been a family. My Dad had worked hard, my mom had raised four children, and at a time when they should have been reveling in the good work they'd done and really enjoying each other, my mom decided she was through. Deep down, I knew that nothing in life was black or white. I knew that if you weighed one side against the other throughout the whole course of their marriage, it would probably come out a wash."
#2. Was when she was adjusting to new motherhood and describing the first night at home and the baby not sleeping (oooh those days of ZERO sleep) again I echo her description, "Before the sun came up, I'd gotten up six more times, each time thinking it had to be the last, and if it wasn't, it might actually kill me." I laughed because I can laugh instead of cry at that now.
All in all it was a FUN read. A book that you would want to pick up for a weekend afternoon read, or a beach read (it has short chapters so you can put it down and pick it up easy) or an evening read right before bed.
Apparently, like every book that is out for at least five minutes, they are making it into a movie. If you want to read more on that check it out in the Tulsa World Newspaper online article.

Initially, I didn't really feel strongly about reading BHTTW; I figured that I knew the gist of it from PW's website.  After I met her in February, though, I changed my mind and decided that I had to read it.  Once it finally arrived, I devoured it.  Now, please keep in mind that I majored in English and am familiar with some of the most celebrated and cerebral books out there; however, this doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a book just for the fun of it!  (Although at one time, I really feared it would.)  I thoroughly enjoyed BHTTW.  Is it destined to forever change modern literature?  No.  Is it entertaining?  YES!  I had a lot of fun while reading it and laughed out loud several times.  I also had the added bonus of having met her and being able to imagine her voice as the narrator while I read. :)
PW does spend a lot of time describing MM's eyes, voice, and muscles, and as Michelle said, PW does seem to go on and on about being weak in the knees, having a fluttering heart, blushing uncontrollably when MM was near, etc.  Some of that did get a little tiresome, but I also appreciated her honesty about other things.  My parents are not divorced and I have never had to deal with a crying baby in the middle of the night, but there are other things I could relate to.  After describing a particularly embarrassing moment, she says, "...more often than not, I was a mess.  Embarrassing, clumsy things happened to me with some degree of regularity; this hadn't been the first time and it sure wouldn't be the last.  The truth was, despite my best efforts to appear normal and put together on the outside, I'd always felt more like one of the weird kids."  I relate to that statement more than you know.  In fact, most of us probably really relate to it, but few of us are willing to be that brave.  Most of the time, I feel like an embarrassing moment waiting to happen (I'm thinking of a specific moment right now, and my mother-in-law is chuckling if she's reading this), and even though I'm 27 and should just embrace my weirdness, it is still nice to know that Ree -- beautiful, polished, famous Ree -- feels the same way.  It gives me courage.  And like PW, I've been so blessed to find someone who loves and supports me through all of my weirdness...and even finds my quirks cute.
I also really appreciated the way Ree handled the drastic change in her life plans.  She was originally planning to move to Chicago and go to law school, and then she ended up getting married and moving to a ranch in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma.  Her life is so different from anything she'd ever imagined, but it's also better than she would have planned for herself.  Although not as drastic, my life has also gone a different direction from what I'd planned, and I'm learning to see that maybe it really will be better in the long run than what I would have chosen.
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels is many stories in one -- a coming-of-age story, a comedy, an adventure, a family analysis, a love story.  I think the think that struck me most about it is that it's just someone's life story, but for PW and MM, it's the greatest story ever told; hopefully we all feel that our own lives make up the greatest story ever told, too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

{Cheep} Books Please!

Aaah I don't know about you guys but I did see some signs of Spring last gives me hope that we just might have one coming our way!
I recently came upon a few gift-giving occasions where a good book was in order (one was for a baby shower & another for my hubbies Easter basket). I LOVE books! And I think they make a really great gift and I love recieving them too!
When you give a book as a gift you have to put thought into it, know the reader and alot of times the book you give has really meant alot to you too. Here is the thing....while I find great value IN a book I don't want to pay a great value FOR the book. I like cheap books....I like them alot....I like used books....I think the more they are used (i.e LOVED) they more meaningful they are. Here are the few places I get good - cheap- books!

YARD SALES - I picked up a copy of "The Poinsonwood Bible" for 25 cents, it was on my To Reads list on Good Reads so I snagged it up. A few books down I saw Jessica Seinfield's "Deceptively Delicious" for $2, I knew it was a book that my sister-in-law Shelley needed to have & what is better than an "I'm thinking of you gift" for $2!?! I usually have a rule that I will not pay more than 25 cents for a book (cheaper than that for kids books), but I do make some exceptions.

THRIFT STORES/GOOD WILL - Hello to tons of books for under a dollar. Granted you do have to dig, but heck for a good deal I'll roll up my sleeves. Sometimes the thrill of the hunt OR the thrill of finding that $1 book is the color of the day and is now 50% off  is true wind that blows up your skirt! This is the way I got my hands on "What To Expect the First Year" (80 cents my friends!).

SWAPTREE.COM - I love this site. I read about it in a magazine article that was discussing sites that you can trade things on. Swaptree caught my attention. You can trade Books, Movies, Games & Music for the mere cost of a trade fee (25-50 cents a trade) and the cost of postage. You make a list of stuff you have and a list of stuff that you want and Swaptree connects you to other traders that have the stuff you want. I have traded MANY a book/DVD for a mere $3 (trade fee + postage) I've said goodbye to The Little Black Book (stupidest movie ever) and hello to "Eat, Love, Pray" (again on my To Read list) or with a multiple copy of Pride & Prejudice (the book) I got to say good bye to Mr. Darcy and HELLO! to Johnny Depp in Chocolat.

I new love I just recently found is Thrift Books. This is what keeps me hooked on them : FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the US and the more you buy the more you save. They have warehouses all over the US and if you buy more than one book from the same warehouse than you get additional savings. Granted this can be a very dangerous offer to someone like me, instead of purchasing the one book I went there to get - I bought another - just to see...I was very happy. If you friend them on Facebook you get a heads up on deals & they send out additional coupon codes!

Other sites that I check frequently are Amazon & eBay. I was able to get a book club read off of eBay once and the purchase of that book helped a public library in Pheonix, I felt warm & fuzzy inside.

Where do you get your books? Are there any good sites/stores that I missed (or gasp!) not aware of?
Shout it out and let me know!

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