Dancing Stick Figures

I have some extra post-it pads. Well, not that they’re really extra, they are just sitting here, you know… waiting to be used. I thought maybe I’d create a little motion dancing stick figure on the corner of one (or 2 or 3). Can we say “bored“?

So, of course, rather than mess up a pad of post-its, I googled it. I found this “Dance Off” from Disney, where you take different premade dance actions and put them together to create a whole dance. It’s really cute. You can even send it via email to a friend, or yourself.

I also came across the Pivot Stickfigure Animator software from windows – it’s a download and I’m at work.. I may check it out later, for curiosities sake.

Or.. try creating yoga people with FlexMax Stick Figure Drawing tool. Made for yoga teachers to create posture images.

But, if you are going to doodle with stick figures, be considerate of others. In January 2005, two boys, ages 9 and 10 were arrested for drawing a violent stickfigure showing a classmate being hung and stabbed. Egads.

Pumpkin Carving Dremel Tool Kit – Giveaway / Contest!

Pumpkin Carving KitOnly 7 days to Win a FREE Dremel Pumpkin Carving Tool!

I was at one of the big box home improvement stores a few weeks ago and saw what I thought was one of the coolest pumpkin carving kits – made by dremel, a tool to carve your pumpkins.

So, here you go, I’m giving it away. I will definitely have to get another one, as I think these are just too cool!

The kit allows carvers to quickly create intricate designs, such as a haunted house or a pirate, on the surface of a pumpkin after it has been cut open and cleaned out, giving the gourd a sophisticated, iridescent appearance compared to jack-o-lanterns of the past.

Creating a spectacularly sculpted pumpkin with the Dremel Pumpkin Carving Kit is fast and easy. The kit’s 6-Volt Dremel Alkaline Cordless rotary tool features two speeds – 7,000 and 14,000 rotations per minute – to aid carvers with varying levels of experience. The lowest speed, 7,000 rpm, is the most manageable for beginners and is ideal for providing control over small and intricate designs. As carvers become more experienced, they can speed up their cutting process by switching to 14,000 rpm.

The tool’s compact size, light weight and cordless power make it easy for carvers to maneuver for intricate carving. Alkaline battery power from four AA batteries eliminates the need for a battery charger.

Also included in the kit are 10 spooky carving templates, such as a witch, ghost and skeleton, that range in levels of difficulty. By affixing the template to a pumpkin, carving becomes as easy as tracing a drawing.

The Dremel Pumpkin Carving Kit can also be used to create fun, fall decorations by carving designs in gourds, miniature pumpkins or fake pumpkins. Because the kit contains a sharp object, children are encouraged to use only with adult supervision.

Additional templates can be downloaded from the carving templates page on the Dremel Web site, or carvers can easily make their own by printing a black and white image.

Want to win this handy dandy halloweeny tool? Comment here, on this post (this is the only post that counts for the giveaway). Contest ends September 30th 2008. Winner will be chosen randomly on October 1st 2008. Halloween is just around the corner – so you must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be chosen. See Contest Guidelines for all the small print.

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Hurricane in Ohio

Yesterday, we were blindsided by winds up to 70 mph here in Dayton, Ohio. We knew it was going to be a windy day, even had a wind advisory… but the wind we received, and the damage, was just crazy.

I’m at work now, without power at home (why, oh why must work have had power today, lol?).. and I’m even limited in my internet here as it seems all sercure servers are blocked (this may be our issue though) as we can’t access any https sites -which means my mail, my bank, etc.

We, in our yard, lost half of a very large, very old tree, and several other branches. Thankfully, no other damage (house or vehicle, etc). Our food in the fridge is already a goner – the sorbet was liquid this morning. We walked around the neighborhood for a few hours last night – you know, no tv, no internet, what’s a person to do but walk around and be social?

One of our neighbors lost several trees – minimal roof damage as far as we could tell. But then, the whole neighborhood lost so many trees.

The whole neighborhood had trees snapped like toothpicks all over the place, but again, very little structural damage. Power is out everywhere. In Dayton, they say 180,000 225,000 are without power and it could be “multiple days” before it’s restored. Cinci, to the south of us, I hear had 600,000 without power and Columbus is much without power too. Our fire departments are running on limited electricity which puts our whole city in a “state of emergency”. And I also heard several of our emergency personnel went to help in Texas, which also limits us.

It seems Ike made a big whoosh over lots of area. I’ve never seen anything like this here and what we have here is nothing compared to what is in the South.

Chocolate Pie Crust Recipes

I’m all about easy when it comes to cooking. Give me simple ingredients and easy recipes. Here are some easy, and tasty, chocolate pie crusts you can use to put your favorite fillings in… For filling suggestions, see below recipes.

Chocolate Cookie Crust

2 1/2 c. crushed chocolate wafers or creme-filled cookies (like Oreos)
1/4 c. melted butter

– Mix together well and press into a 9? pie pan, pressing up the sides.
– Fill with favorite filling – pudding, ice cream, etc.

Chocolate Krispy Crust

1/2 c. melted chocolate chips
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
2 c. Rice Krispies

– Melt chocolate chips and chunky peanut butter.
– When melted add to the Rice Krispies and mix well.
– Butter pie tin.
– Put mixture into pie pan and press up sides and bottom.

Chocolate Wafer Crust

1 1/2 c. chocolate wafer crumbs
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. butter, melted

– Combine all ingredients and mix well.
– Press into a lightly greased pie pan.

Chocolate Pie Fillings

Pudding – Chocolate, Vanilla, Mix it up
Ice Cream – Mint Chocolate Chip in the Chocolate Cookie Pie Crust is super yummmy! When using ice cream, let it soften slightly on counter, fill into pie crust, and place in freezer for a few hours.
Don’t forget to top your tasty pies with homemade whipped cream!

Sex, SIDS, Stillbirth

I read this news story the other day, possibly, you read it too, about a 59 year old man who was illegally video taped having sex with his 50 year old comatose wife in a nursing home – where he thought he had some privacy. Now, my first thought was kind of “um, eww.. she was comatose”.

But, here’s a few more details. They two were married in 1988. The didn’t have any kids. He went to visit her every single day, reading to her from the bible, moving her arms and legs so they wouldn’t atrophy. In thinking a little deeper on this, I almost find it sweet… He loved her so much. I can imagine he talked to her like she could hear him, he read to her like she was listening and he probably loved on her like she was still aware. Whether that’s considered illegal or not, I can see in a way, where he was coming from. We, the general public, the deciders of what’s “normal” and “acceptable” in society don’t have to see it his way, it just is.

In 2000, my husband and I lost a baby. She was stillborn – I knew it when I turned 36 weeks during the pregnancy and she was born about 5 days later. I wrote pretty in-depth about my pregnancy and the birth story at the time. It was my “therapy”. Over the first few years, I edited parts of it out, because even though the majority of the responses I received were positive, and even thankful, a handful were not and I felt so bare and judged. I wish now I’d left it alone. Anyway, the thing is, when we are in a situation that is not the “norm”, we may handle things differently than what you, who has never been in that situation, may handle it. When we lost our baby, it was my husbands first child. We didn’t know her gender… it was so hard. But we did things like dress her, hold her, take pictures… all things that in years to come, we’d have as mementos. We talk about her, we note (but don’t really celebrate) her birthday.

What sparked my thoughts on this today, was first the article about the man and his wife.. but then this morning, an article about Why infants still die from SIDS. It’s unknown. We just don’t know why. We do everything right – like our baby Jordan… no idea why. I equivalate our baby’s stillbirth with SIDS.

People do things during times of stress and heartache, they may not otherwise do or may in other times, think odd or even gross.. but who are we to judge and condemn them until we have been there? And trust me, I’d never wish a person to walk the path of heartache, loss.

Distilled Water vs. Tap Water and Drugs in Water

I’ve noted a couple times I generally drink distilled water rather than tap water. I don’t care much for “spring” water or similar… but my husband and kids will drink it. I prefer good ol’ nothing but distilled water.

I’ve also been asked in comments why I drink distilled water and what it tastes like. I drink it because it’s so clean. There are no extras in it. It’s pure, simple water. No minerals, no fluoride, no vitamins, nothing but water. The water is so crisp and fresh — or “flat” as this description of what distilled water is states:

“Distilled water is water which has been heated to the boiling point – 212 degrees farenheit (100 C.) The evaporated water is collected; the result is distilled water. Distillation of water produces the purest water available from a single stage of processing.

Distilling water removes nearly all impurities from water, whether biological, mineral, or chemical. In itself it does not remove 100% of VOCs like benzene and toluene whose boiling points are near that of water, but it will remove calcium, magnesium, lead, viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts. In fact distilling water removes metals and oxygen, which results in the “flat” taste of distilled water.”1

The health benefits or drawbacks have been debated long and hard. Some say distilled water is not good for you because it leaches the minerals from your own body. The flip side is it removes the minerals from your body which your cells have rejected, thus cleansing your body a little faster than it would on it’s own (since your body would naturally process these minerals out via urination anyway).

So what about tap water. Personal preference. I just don’t like the taste of it. I can use it to make coffee, tea or kool aid; I can cook with it.. I just can’t drink it plain. Not even at a restaurant. I just get icked out by the taste. I guess I like my water “flat”. ha!

Tonight, I was reading this article about Drugs in water affect 46 million in U.S. – This, btw, is up from the 41 million first reported in March of this year 2. We live in Dayton, Ohio – my family is surrounded by cities who have tested positive for pharmaceutical drugs in the tap water – I won’t hold my breath that our city could report no contaminations.

Some of the drugs found include a cholesterol medication, a nicotine derivative, anti-convulsant carbamazepine, a tranquilizer, mood stabilizers and a (sex) hormone (and more! You’d have to read the articles quoted for more information – but alarmingly, one quotes a find of 56 pharmaceuticals and byproducts (um… what exactly would byproducts be? 3

“Fargo’s water director, Bruce Grubb, said the concentrations of three drugs detected there were so incredibly minute — parts per trillion — that he sent them to the local health officer to figure out how to interpret the information for the community.”

And this… this just totally icks me out. Do you want to know HOW these trace amounts of drugs are making it into our tap water? Water that we give our kids?

“The drug residues detected in water supplies are generally flushed into sewers and waterways through human excretion. Many of the pharmaceuticals are known to slip through sewage and drinking water treatment plants.”4

The thing is, regardless of how minute these traced amounts are, not to even mention the combinations of drugs… in the long term, what does it do to us, to our cell growth 5, to eventual pregnancies and babies. Oh, but I see I’m not the only one wondering, as scientists have been concerned about this and are seeing issues:

“And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.”

Will I stop drinking our tap water? Yes, probably more so now than before. However, I will probably still use it for some things. I will also keep watching news for more information regarding testing and what chemicals may be in our city’s water. I like distilled, so I’ll keep drinking it.

What about you? Do you drink your tap water? Are you concerned about the drugs which may be in your area (or maybe you live in one of the clean cities)?

  1. Distilled Water from everything2.com
  2. Pharmaceuticals lurking in U.S. drinking water
  3. Oh.. this explains drug byproducts-3rd paragraph.).
  4. MSNBC Article 8/08
  5. How meds in water could impact human cells

Making Aromatherapy Massage Bath Oil

Have you ever wondered how to make your own scented massage oil?

You can easily make your own massaging, moisturizing scented oil at home rather than buy it. I love using scented oils after a shower or bath particularly during the cooler weather. I put the oil all over just before toweling off. Afterwards, my skin is so silky soft and smooth. Plus, you will know exactly what goes into your massage oils and you will also be able to adjust it to suit your tastes and your body’s needs.

I like to infuse lavender into my oil. This year, I grew my own lavender. I’ll add a few sprigs to a small bottle of light olive oil and let it sit on the window sill and soak up the lavender goodness for a few weeks. Then, when I am ready to make an “after bath oil” I’ll use a bit of my lavender infused olive oil.

Olive oil is so easily attainable, I keep it on hand for cooking, soaping and bath & body. It’s a moisturizing oil, soothing and healing to all skin types.

Sweet almond oil is an excellent skin softener and moisturizer. Almond oil is great for all skin types but especially beneficial for dry or irritated skin.

Jojoba oil contains protein and minerals. It is similar to our own sebum which is secreted by our glands, helping lubricate, as well as, protect our skin. Not good for use at 100%, but adding to your base oil(s) in a small amount would be beneficial (but not necessary). This is, however, a nice oil to use to make a “perfume oil”. Use about 50 drops of your essential oil per 1 ounce of jojoba. Please be sure to research your essential oils prior to using at that strength however, as some EOs could be harmful in a high quanitity.

Grapeseed oil is a great massage oil. It has good “slip” and absorbs easily into the skin. It is mildly astringent and has regenerative qualities which help to tighten and tone the skin making it useful for skin issues such as acne, as well as repairing skin and cell membranes – use this one for stretchmarks pregnant momma!

Sesame oil is a great massage oil, penetrates the skin easily nourishing and detoxifying deep tissue layers. Because of it’s antioxidant properties some claim when used regularly, it’s also reduced stress and tension, promoting strength and vitality. Plus it’s great for wrinkle reduction! And it may even soothe minor burns or sunburns. Sesame oil is also a good base oil for perfume too.

These aren’t the only oils you may use, just a few – some are easier to find than others, like at the local grocery or specialty shop… or you may want to find a place online to purchase them. If you can’t find them, you should be able to find it at a few places which sell soap supplies.

These oils may be used in a blend, or on their own (except the jojoba, mix it with another base oil as stated).

Or go Aromatherapy — You may also wish to add scented essential oils, such as lavender or jasmine (not to be used in pregnancy), for an aromatherapy massage blend. Add 10-20 drops of your essential oil to per 1 ounce of carrier oil, depending on which essential oil(s) you choose.

Some essential oils shouldn’t be used under certain conditions, be sure you research which oils you’d like to use to ensure your safety and those using your oils.

Fun With Food Coloring

My kids have always had fun playing with food coloring in the bath tub.

I’d buy the little 4 pack from the spice isle at the grocery and give them a few squirts at bath time. Sometimes it would be blues and greens, other times reds and yellows. Sometimes, I’d fill 4 cups 1/2 full with water and put a color in each one. The kids would then slowly add the colors, little bit by little bit as they played in the tub with bubbles and spoons, cups and cars…

By the end of bath time, the water would typically look like I’d just washed a couple of mud covered heathens…

Fun with Food ColoringWhen I was last at the hospital, dealing with a crohns issue, they gave me several syringes to use at home. I saved a couple of them knowing these were just going to be too much fun for the boys! I kept them for well over a month before I finally figured out something to do with them.

I bought new containers of food coloring – and they even had a 4 pack of neon food coloring. I thought that was cool. So, 8 different colors.. We took 8 bowls and filled half full with water. Each boy got a syringe. They used their syringe to suck up a little bit of different colors to see what new colors they could make.

Once they filled up their syringe showed off the color, they’d powerfully squirt out the water and start over. We did this on one of hot September days this last week, and it gave them a few hours of cool play time during the heat of the day.

Before long, both boys ended up shirtless and streaked with colors. I was calling them Alien boys because the coloring left steaks down their arms, backs and chest.

They had so much fun, entertained themselves and though we called it “science”, it was probably more like “art”, or loosely like crafts.. but they learned more about mixing colors, how to use a syringe, and Ella, my little Miss Ornery (Italian Greyhound) had fun too – Ry ended up turning her mostly green by squirting her with blue colored water – because she’s fawn, the color looked green. But, hey, she liked the water and that’s not a bad thing! No pics of that though… I really wanted the alien veins in a picture, ha!

Do you do anything fun with food coloring? What kinds of activities could we do with snow in the winter… hmmmm…. ?

So what.. Bristol Palin is Pregnant

Her and a lot of other teens. This year and every year before since the beginning of time and every year forward, I’m sure. Pregnancy doesn’t avoid the rich, the poor, the smart, the dumb. Some pregnancies are intentional, others are accidents. And speaking of accidents, those happen all the time, and not just with pregnancy, obviously.

It was reported the Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s boyfriend and the baby’s father, had written on his myspace page (and since taken it down) that he was in a relationship and didn’t want kids… For goodness sakes, good for him.. most kids his age don’t want kids – not at that point in time. But it’s apparent that he wants their baby and is working towards a future with Bristol. We don’t know the circumstances of their relationship and it’s not our business to know those details (regardless of whether Sarah Palin makes VP or not). We know her daughters pregnant and I wish her a safe, joyful pregnancy and birth.

You know what.. this is just one more thing about Sarah Palin that makes her identifiable to me as a person… I certainly don’t identify with any of the other running candidates. But I’m not talking politics, it’s all just so over my head. I just know that I look at Sarah, a mom of 5, with a pregnant teen daughter, and I see a real woman, someone I would bump into at the grocery, or pass in the McDonald’s drive thru line. I see an everyday woman who knows what life is like for the majority of us.

So maybe I’m biased on this situation, since my own 17 year old daughter (she’ll be 18 soon, but that’s neither here nor there since 18 is no “magical” age) is pregnant. I do know the circumstances behind her situation (and it’s not anyones business either). I’m excited about being a grandma. Don’t get me wrong.. If I’d had the opportunity to suggest waiting a few years, I certainly would have.. but now there is a baby on the way. My daughter will be a good mom, will struggle, will find unparallel joys, and I’ll be a good grandma – so much joy from the birth of a baby.

Good luck to Bristol and Levi.

Oh.. and I also read that Jamie Lynn Spears mother, Lynne, called up a boutique and asked to spend up to $100 on a gift for Bristol’s baby, to be given in Jamie Lynn’s name – they chose pink burp cloths for $60. I sure hope no one spends $60 on burp cloths for my daughters baby.. that’s just crazy.

Chloroform found in Casey Anthony’s Car

I pull up the news on my computer all the time.. usually a couple times a day. I’m headed to bed and thought I’d check real quick before I go… what do I see, but a new news report stating a preliminary report shows traces of chloroform found in Casey Anthony’s trunk.

What does this mean? Caylee sure wasn’t killed by accident. This was premeditated, plain and simple. And, they also found visits to websites about chloroform on Casey’s computer, which was confiscated in July when she was first arrested on charges of child neglect.

Just yesterday I was complaining that Casey killed her little girl, whether by accident or not, and was going to get away with it… Hubby disagreed – he said people have been convicted on less. But this new information makes me feel much more confident she’ll be charged with murder, as she should be.

What do we have so far:
* Missing toddler, for a month before notifying police.
* Borrowing a shovel from neighbor around time of Caylee’s disappearance.
* Removal of over 200 pictures from myspace.
* Out partying, as if she’s no care in the world.
* Lying to police about baby sitter, location, etc.
* Traces of decomposition in trunk of car.
* Strand of hair in trunk of car.
* Traces of chloroform in trunk of car.
* Visits to website regarding information on chloroform.
… what am I missing?

Now, I just wish something could be done about her mother, Cindy, because I fully believe she’s been ‘in the know’ to some degree. I realize Casey is her daughter, and we love our children… but even she says Casey has issues. Of course, if Cindy thinks she has issues now… just wait until Casey gets to prison.

Lab results: Chloroform in Casey Anthony’s trunk

Casey Anthony needs to rot.