Archive | January, 2009

No More Chances

January 31, 2009

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Well. I guess we’re not getting our January Thaw.

šŸ™

Here’s hoping for an early spring. Usually we get a reprieve of winter’s gloom and cold about the last week of January. No such thing this year. It was a freezing cold January, up until the bitter end. We got up to a whopping 12 degrees F today. :-p Even my kitten was cold. Isn’t she adorable? She’s learned to sleep under blankets.

Too Cold for Livvy

And look. My poor, poor, neglected lawn chairs. šŸ™ The kids left them out this year. *gasp* They look so forlorn and miserable under the snow.

Snowy Lawn Chairs

Even the house is cold. See? It’s crying. Well, frozen tears.

Icicle on Eaves

But the best thing about this weather are the GIGANTIC snow mountains! Look at the size of the snow banks!

On the Snow Mountain

On the Snow Mountain 2

So not all is bad. But I’m still eagerly awaiting spring and sunshine and GREEN things again.

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Technology Meets Toothbrush, Or…

January 27, 2009

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… How To Get Your Kid To LIKE Brushing His Teeth. The Saga Begins…

Over the holidays, we got some fancy-schmancy toothbrushes for two of the kids. The Oral B Triumph with SmartGuide toothbrush, and the Oral B Pulsonic. Both toothbrushes come highly rated by our dentists and orthodondist’s office. I decided to try them out, and gave the Oral B Pulsonic to my 16 year old daughter (who wears braces) and the Oral B Triumph to my 12 year-old son, a reluctant brusher. I’ll review my son’s Triumph toothbrush in this post, and give my opinion about my daughter’s Pulsonic in a future one.

Oral B Products

First off, I want to say that I am a freak of a mom, when it comes to brushing. The Wrath of Mother may come down from the Heavens if my children do not brush with frenetic fervor. You see, I had terrible dental hygiene as a kid. I rarely brushed, didn’t see a dentist until my late teens and subsequently I have seven teeth missing from my set (and a gold crowned tooth, which is very cool to show off to kids, lol). ANYWAY, as a mom I was determined that my kids would not be in the pain and agony that I was– they were going to have good teeth. My two daughters have marvelously clean teeth (the 16 year old has never had a cavity). I slacked off with my sons (too much candy flowing around here) and they have had cavities. Plus, my youngest never liked brushing very much. It IS a dull chore, I know….

Old Toothbrush

So… what do you do with a kid who hates boring chores like toothbrushing but loves electronic gadgets? Blend the two! That’s what Oral B did, and I have to hand it to them– they did a fantastic job with this toothbrush. No longer do I have to stand over the sink like a vulture, watching my son to make sure he does it right and brushes long enough. Oral B does it for him, and makes it fun to do. It’s really cute, they must have had kids in mind with this.

Oral B Triumph is cool

Be prepared for sticker shock– […]

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Condition 1

January 25, 2009

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We’re back to the deep freeze here in Upstate New York. But February is on the way!! Plus, I saw this video, taken from Antartica, and I feel suddenly warmer with my 5-degree NY weather!

That’s a scientist who lives in Antarctica, showing us what a Condition 1 storm is like on the icy continent. BRRRRR!!!!

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Sigggghhhhh

January 23, 2009

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More Gubment Jobs

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On a sidenote, at the beginning of a new presidential term, I always wonder how cartoonists will characterize the new presidents. I thought GW Bush’s characterizations were extremely funny when they came out. Obama’s look is a bit too bland, me thinks. I couldn’t tell who this was until I saw the purple lips and tilted up head.

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Review of the Black & Decker Rice Cooker

January 22, 2009

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Well, I finally broke down and bought a rice cooker. WHAT on EARTH took me so long?! I don’t know why I waited– these things are so great!

I have always been a very poor cook when it came to rice. Either I bought the wrong kind, or I didn’t baby it enough, or I don’t have the patience… my rice always came out too mushy or too sticky. It was awful. It got to the point where I wouldn’t serve it anymore.

I tinkered with the idea of getting a rice cooker, for a few years. I’m usually very slow to buy new appliances. But two weeks ago I saw a little Black & Decker Rice Cooker (me and Black & Decker are like THIS, man) for $21 and thought, “Well, why not?” Boy, what a difference it has made! We can actually eat rice again!


The kind I got has no name except “Black & Decker Rice Cooker Plus.” It’s supposed to make 16 cups of cooked rice. The instructions are so easy…. *slaps head* what have I been waiting for all these years! If I knew it was this easy… sheesh!Ā  This appliance is very much worthwhile.

I’ve made the full 16-cup recipe and the 5-cup recipe so far. The 5-cup recipe size has turned out the best, very fluffy and light. The 16-cup batch wasn’t bad– much much better than anything I’ve ever done on the stovetop– but it was a little stickier and moister than the smaller batch.

All you do it measure cups of rice (this cooker came with a measuring cup and a plastic spatula). Dump the cups of rice into the cooker. Then, add water up to the line of how many cups your poured. For example, I poured in 5 measuring cups of rice, I fill up the cooker with water to the line that says “5.” I press the switch in the “cook” position and leave it for 25 minutes. It stops cooking automatically when done, although it goes into a “Keep Warm” position. I usually unplug the cooker right after it’s done cooking, so the rice doesn’t “Keep Warm” forever and get dry on the bottom of the bowl.

I’ve had great success with the cooker. I did read a lot of reviews at Amazon and WalMart about rice cookers before buying one. A lot of people say they have had problems, particularly with the “Keep Warm” feature burning the rice at the bottom of the bowl. Honestly, I think you’d have to have the cooker at “Keep Warm” all day for the rice to burn at the bottom! I don’t know what these folks are talking about– I love this cooker and it has simplified my meal-making so much.

So thumbs up on this appliance!!

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Pet Photo Contest and $500 Prize

January 21, 2009

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There’s a cute pet pictures contest for you pet owners, from Energized Sellers. I entered Livvy, my kitten. Here’s the *winning* submission!

Olivia Laser Eyes

I just love those laser eyes photos, lol! She’s in her skulking mood there, ready to pounce on unsuspecting Siberian Tiger prey! She’s very photogenic, so maybe she’ll win! If you have a scary or funny pet photo, check out the site. The contest is free to enter. Looks really cute! You have to register to enter (and it’s free and quite easy to register). Winner will get a $500 gift certificate for Lowe’s or Home Depot!!!! I hope I win I hope I win! $500 would go a long way around here. It may not get me my entire kitchen redone, but it would buy a room of sheetrock!!

Energized Sellers is a home seller/real estate networking site. If you have interest in selling your home wisely, see their informative 101 Home Selling and Staging Tips article. I’ve got it bookmarked for future reference. Home staging is IN. It’s the art of making your home look and smell beautiful when you are trying to sell it– it’s a procedure done for open houses or home showings. It’s been shown that people who improve their home’s appearance and appeal sell their homes much faster than people who don’t do home staging. Check it out, and hey- you just might win a $500 gift certificate for your pet photo!

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Vanilla Nice

January 21, 2009

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Yow, I forgot how stinky a house can get with an indoor cat. Livvy is really sweet, but… you know it is with cats. The “normal” smells of wet basement, 70s faux wood paneling, plaster and lathe are bad enough.. combine it with the cat and it’s a toxic waste site here at the Mecomber household, lol.

So I’m continuing my experiment with finding the *perfect* air freshener/air deodorizer. I really like the way the Pet Odors Febreze deodorized the air, but I tired of the perfumy frangrance after a while. I’ve tried some nice spice candles, but Livvy got a little too close to one and singed her eyebrow whiskers!! So I’m sticking to the harmless fresheners.

I recently got the Febreze “Vanilla & Refresh” spray, 9.7 ounces. Costs $3.79 at Walgreens. I love the smell of vanilla; and I just love having the smell of foods or cooking in the house before guests visit. I try to have bread baking or coffee perking before having people over, so that the intoxicating scents hit their sinuses when they walk in the door. This way, visitors are more inclined to notice the nice smells and are not knocked-out cold when they see the disastrous mess of wiring and plaster all over the place… lol. Soooo… I sprayed the Vanilla & Refresh spray.

Oh my gosh, people! Warning!! DO NOT USE THIS SPRAY IF YOU ARE HUNGRY!! It is the smell of baking vanilla sugar cookies!! Immediately, I started salivating and craving desserts. Hoh boy, if this won’t drive the guests nuts, I don’t know what will! Hehehe!

Seriously, it’s niiiiice. It smells like cookies, or Breyer’s vanilla bean ice cream– that warm, cozy scent that brings to mind chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or a heart-warming Norman Rockwell painting. It’s addicting. I think it’s perfect for winter days, when you’re stuck in the house and wanting comfort food and comforting smells. I like it! So thumbs up to Febreze on their new Vanilla & Refresh! Tip– this scent is available for a limited time only, so if you’re interested, it would be wise not to wait.

P.S. This is not a paid post!

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Dreamhomes for Sale

January 21, 2009

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Am I an eternal optimist? I keep entering sweepstakes to win my dreamhome.

By the way, my definition of dreamhome: electricity in all the rooms; plumbing that WORKS; no leaks; new kitchen; nice floors. I guess I’m pretty easy to please, huh? šŸ˜€

I know the odds of me winning those sweepstakes is next to nil. I’m not counting on winning them, though. I’m just hoping! šŸ˜€ But I know I can’t wait forever to get one. I’m working on the house I have. I’ll be happy to have a new kitchen! But if you’re making plans for your dreamhome, check out one of the top-notch crafters of dreamhomes in Louisiana: Schumacher Homes. I’ll bet they are seeing a lot of business, rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina! Schumacher builds homes all across the United States, not just Louisiana. Look them up when you are ready to build. Then YOU can stop entering those sweepstakes and give me more of a chance to win! šŸ˜‰

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I’m Jill?!?!

January 21, 2009

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Well, at least I’m not Tim the Toolman Taylor…

You’re Jill! You love music and the arts and you don’t mind being a little daring when it comes to the ones you love. Somethings are hard for you to understand, and you always try to make the best of any situation. You love to help people, which makes you a beautiful person, inside and out.

I found this funny quiz here. I have no idea how accurate it is. I suspect I got labeled as Jill because I don’t care for fancy cars and babes…. Still, it would have been cool to be labeled Bob Vila or Norm Abrams or something, sheesh!

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Help and Ideas

January 21, 2009

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I don’t get any television reception. I don’t miss TV at all, but there are a few shows I’ve seen (at the dentist’s office– they have small TVs for patients in the chairs!) that I wish I could see regularly. One of them is This Old House and the DIY Network. I could watch them for hours and reap such great information! Well, this morning I was surfing a site called Hulu, and guess what?! I found some DIYNetwork shows there! For free! To watch!

I really enjoyed the show “Desperate Landscapes.” That’s kind of what I feel about my property, lol. It’s pretty… overgrown… and it’s taking me a long time to restore it. I have scads of gardening and landscaping textbooks, but sometimes you need to watch someone else show you how, you know what I mean? Anyway, I’m thrilled that I can watch the DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and other home and garden shows online, and for free! Woooo! Check it out, I’m sure you’ll find some great ideas. Go to Hulu.com, choose “channels” and then “Home and Garden.” Or, click here for the direct page.

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