Wednesday, October 26, 2016

20 Valentine Day Craft Card Ideas

Valentines day cards are a great way to express any hidden creativity you might have. Here are 20 ideas

A special card. Use a bought card blank with a heart cut out of the front or make one yourself. Use scraps of material and lace to make a
small piece of crazy patchwork. Embellish and then mount on the card.

Make a card with different coloured squares torn from mulberry paper, cut rose petals into heart shapes and stick on the squares.

Get a large piece of white card fold in half. Tak a piece of red card and cut out a heart and make sure there are small tabs on the sides. Glue the tabs to the card and it will pop open when the person opens it.

Show your loved one you care by making them a special card out of any scrap papers that you have at home. Decoupage the papers and use lots of colours to create picture effects.

Add details to a cheap card by using puffy paint to add interest then just hold the hairdryer over the card to have something special.

Do some simple bright red embroidered cross stitch on a white or cream background. Add Romeo’s name (lettering charts can be found in any crossstitch magazine or free from the library). It will certainly be remembered by the recipient – and you could end up darning his socks!

A large heart-shaped button sewn on to a piece of red card makes a great Valentines card. Alternatively a row of three smaller heart-shaped buttons looks equally good.

A simple card to make is fold a rectangle of white card in half, kiss the front of the card with your best cherry red lipstick. Spray with a sealer and then write a message to your sweetie on the inside.

Cut full heart shape out of red card and then the same out of pink insert paper. Trim slightly smaller than the red card, stick inside on fold, Cut 2 smaller hearts, one red, one gold and glue to front of red card, gold one first and red overlapping on top.

I used a bright pink card stock and a velum that was a very pale pink with dark pink hearts (kind of faded). Tied with 1/8 inch white ribbon.

Cut card stock paper in half and then fold the two halves (make 2 cards). Use a one inch heart punch for the front (center)and then use a piece of vellum behind the heart punch (inside – left hand side)for a frontal peek-a-boo effect. Use various heart stickers, metal embellishments, or heart punch sizes (use vellum and card stock scraps) to create a border around the inside/right hand side of the page.

I like to make paper hearts with a twist. I use decorative paper to cut out two hearts of exactly the same size. Then “sew” the two hearts together with a thin layer of batting in between. The hearts can then be decorated and used as a gift card or included in a larger gift .

Make hand made valentine cards. Get the kids involved! Use scrapbooking supplies to make the cards then to embellish them with punch art or glitter and scissors to cut frilly edges. By using gel pens or your computer then you can personalize the text.

Trace child’s hand on pink or red card stock or construction paper. Cut out and adhere to paper doily. Adhere doily to large red or pink heart cut out of card stock or construction paper.

Trace a hand design into your card stock. Next cut a heart to fit into that hand. Write a “love note” unto the heart. Finally, bend over the heart the ring and middle finger. This should sign, “I Love” you in sign language

Definitely would have to be handmade Valentines cards. You can make them with anything, crayons, markers, stamps, cut paper, just let your imagination run wild. Don’t forget to add an original poem made by you to your sweetie. It doesn’t even have to rhyme, they’ll love it anyway.

For fancy valentines fast. Do a serendipity style heart. Take a sheet of card stock and randomly cover it with strips and scraps of red and white paper. Use some patterned paper as well. Randomly stamp some hearts on top. Don’t worry about how if it all looks “messy”. When you’ve covered the whole page, cut out hearts from it. The result will be intricate collage hearts that you can use “as is” for valentines or mount on a red card.

Make heart out of card stock, and write a love note on it. Then, cut it like a puzzle, and give to your valentine to put it together and get the message.

A few years ago, I made Valentines cards by taking a picture of my son holding a big heart I made that said “Happy Valentines Day”. I made copies of the picture and glued it to a big red construction paper heart. It was so cute!

I use a valentines heart rubber stamp to stamp an image on a piece of cardstock. I then color it in and then I cut a heart shaped piece of see through vellum and place it over top of the stamped image. I keep the two images together with mini brads and use the finished product for a journaling shape for my scrapbook page.

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20 Questions for ABC's Family Game Show, Opportunity Knocks

Here are 20 family trivia questions that will surely stump family contestants on ABC’s Opportunity Knocks:

1. What was your child’s favorite television show when they were 5-years-old?
2. How many people did your son/daughter invite to their 10th birthday party?
3. When they were in the 3rd grade, what was the name of the PTA leader of your son’s/daughter’s class?
4. What is your child’s favorite flavor of ice cream?
5. What was your child’s favorite color when they were 6-years-old?
6. Who is your child’s favorite musician?
7. What is your child’s favorite sport to watch?
8. What is your child’s favorite sport to play?
9. What genre of music does you child like the most?
10. What are the lyrics to the chorus of your child’s favorite song?
11. How much money did your child get after losing their 8th tooth?
12. Who was your child’s best friend in the 4th grade?
13. What exact grade did your child receive in math in the 5th grade?
14. Whom was your child’s favorite teacher in the 3rd grade?
15. What was your child’s favorite movie in 2005?
16. What is your child’s locker number?
17. What is your child’s favorite number?
18. How many friends does your child have on myspace?
19. How many groups is your child in on facebook?
20. What did your child give you for father’s/mother’s day when they were 6-years-old?

Tags:20 Questions for ABC’s Family Game Show, Opportunity Knocks

20 Uses for Coffee Filters Around the House

1. Run out of dryer sheets? No problem! Put a few drops of fabric softener on a coffee filter, rub sides together, and toss in the dryer to help prevent static cling.

2. Use a coffee filter to line the bottom of a terra cotta or ceramic pot when planting. The filter allows for drainage, but without the dirt particles leaking out.

3. Use single filters to make individual “baskets” for popcorn, pretzels or chips.

4. Add dried orange peels, mint leaves or other herbs to flavor your sun tea. Take one filter and center the contents in the middle. Gather the edges, twist and tie with string. Drop into the jar along with the tea bags and let it brew as usual.

5. Wrap cut celery stalks in a coffee filter before putting them in a plastic bag to store in the refrigerator. The coffee filter will help absorb any moisture, and keeps the celery crisp longer.

6. Line a plate with filters to absorb cooking oil of fried foods like bacon or chicken.

7. Wrap jumbo dill pickles in coffee filters to prevent dripping when eating.

8. Save the amount of dishes you need to wash when baking by using filters to temporarily store the dry ingredients you’ve measured out for your recipe.

9. Soak filters in brewed tea and chill. You can then fold them and use as a cold compress for puffy eyes.

10. Take two coffee filters and run a seam around the outer edges, leaving a 1-inch hole in the top. Add ½ cup dry used coffee grounds, then sew the hole shut. You can add these packets to your freezer, hope chest or closet shelves to remove musty or strong odors.

11. Use filters on the workbench to keep small parts like nails and screws from rolling off the surface area.

12. Put a scoop of baking soda in the middle of a filter, gather edges and tie with string. Add one or two to your ice chest to keep it smelling fresh between uses.

13. Use filters to bake jumbo muffins or mini cakes in the oven. Fill the filter 1/3 full with batter and place in a shallow circular pan to bake. You can spray the bottoms of the filter with non-stick cooking spray before adding the batter, to prevent any sticking.

14. Filters are great alternatives to paper towels for cleaning bathroom mirrors and chrome.

15. Poke a Popsicle or ice cream stick through the middle of a filter to prevent dripping.

16. Put a filter in the bottom of a metal fruit bowl to prevent brown spots on your fruits or vegetables.

17. Cover the top of large mugs or bowls with a filter to prevent splatters, especially for items like chili or oatmeal.

18. Eyeglasses are left lint-free when cleaned with a coffee filter instead of a tissue.

19. Keep your cast iron skillets rust free by lining with filters when not in use.

20. Store garden seeds between seasons in filters to keep them moisture free.

Tags:20 Uses for Coffee Filters Around the House

20 Questions with Taddy Porter

Michigan’s favorite Oklahoman rock band Taddy Porter recently found themselves back in Michigan just in time for the holidays and the first big snowfall of the year.

On Saturday, December 4 the band closed out their tour with Rains and Evans Blue in Pontiac at the Eagle Theater.

Then on Monday the band played a free acoustic show in Mt. Clemens at the Hayloft for the WRIF’s charitable Christmas party.

On Tuesday the band, along with Like A Storm and headliners Alter Bridge, opened their tour at Pontiac’s Clutch Cargos.

Before the show, I caught up with Taddy Porter armed with some fan questions and band members Andy Brewer, Kevin Jones, Doug Jones and Joe Selby were quick to come up with colorful answers to all of them:

Q: How did the rest of the last tour with Evans Blue end up going?

Andy: It was amazing. It actually went really well. We had a good time. I would have to say the tour was successful. People were coming out and we made some new friends and stuff so it went well.

Q: You played an acoustic set at the Hayloft last night for a WRIF Christmas party. Did you get a lot of people to come out despite the snowstorm?

Andy: Well you know what because last night the weather was so bad there were people there but not as much as you would have hoped. But it was good. It was for Adopt-A-Family [looks at Kevin] That was it right?

Kevin: Huh? For what?

Andy: Adopt-A-Family last night?

Kevin: Oh, yeah, yeah!

Andy: And there were silent auctions there. It was cool. We gave some stuff and it ended up being a good time. Took us awhile to get out here because of the snow as well but it was fun.

Q: The Hayloft is a great venue too. Mike Scott from Critical Bill is part owner and I know they were all coming out to the show tonight.

Andy: Oh yeah. That’s cool. The Hayloft was fun.

Q: I had some of your Michigan fans send me some questions to ask you. One that I saw different variations of was from people who did manage to brave the storm and come out to see you last night. They wanted to know about the worst and longest drive you guys have had to do.

Doug: Oh well we had that one…

Kevin: Sula, Montana to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. 30 hours.

Doug: 30 hours straight through. We were really, really delirious by the end of it.

Kevin: Oklahoma City to L.A. is like 25 hours. New York City to Oklahoma City is what 25 or 26?

Joe: 26 and a half.

Doug: We’ve got one coming up. We’re doing Tulsa to Spokane, Washington so with all the snow and everything it’ll probably be like three days!

Q: With Christmas on it’s way, what is the best Christmas gift you have ever received?

Andy: That’s a great question. You know the most memorable Christmas gift for me is when I picked up my first guitar.

Kevin: I remember one time I got a choice between either a Sega Dreamcast or a PS2 and I chose the Dreamcast and I loved it. Yeah, I’m a big fan of that so bring it back! [the rest of the band laughs]

Doug: Yeah. Mine would be the Creepy Crawler Oven.

Kevin: That was awesome! I played with it too.

Doug: The Game Genie!

Kevin: Game Genie. Also a very good one.

Q: What are your plans for the holidays this year?

Andy: We’re on tour. We have some time off.

Q: You’re off for Christmas? Are you playing for New Years?

Andy: Yeah, we have five days off. Of course we’re gonna go home and do that. So it’ll be good because we haven’t been home for more than like three consecutive days for awhile so we’re looking forward to that. That’s for sure. I think we’re playing New Years Day.

Q: When does this tour end?

Kevin: This tour with Alter Bridge lasts through January 8.

Q: Then will you be jumping on another tour?

Kevin: I’m sure we are.

Andy: Yes, probably.

Q: You toured with Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy when he was playing with Slash. Is that how you got on this tour?

Andy: Yep.

Kevin: Mark Tremonti [Alter Bridge guitarist] said that Myles requested us and said he wouldn’t go out unless Taddy Porter came.

Q: I’m sure it won’t surprise you but a lot of people wanted to know when you are finally going to be playing “Long Slow Drag”?

Andy: Well I think whenever uh…

Kevin: Not on this tour.

Andy: Yeah not on this tour because it’s a rock and roll tour. It’s more I think around the time that we release our third single is when we’ll start playing “Long Slow Drag”.

Kevin: The main thing is getting the piano to come out and setting it up.

Andy: We have it. It’s a vintage piano and expensive.

Q: You have the new video for “Big Enough” and it seems to be getting a lot of media coverage. Have you seen a positive reaction to it?

Andy: It has. Yeah, it’s been awesome. We’ve seen lots of good things about it. It’s only been out for a short period of time so it’s still gaining more press so it’s cool. It’s good to see.

Q: One interesting question suggested was if you could invite any 3 people to dinner living or dead who would that be?

Kevin: Living or dead ooh…

Doug: Whoa…

Andy: Abraham Lincoln…

Joe: What was the question?

Kevin: 3 people living or dead for dinner. We’re all answering this one. We all get our own vote. I’m calling that right now!

Andy: Okay, unfortunately I’ve gotta go take care of something. [Exits interview]

Doug: Okay Andy’s first one was Lincoln.

Kevin: Living or dead…[looks at Joe] all you, go!

Joe: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Keith Moon.

Kevin: Okay, Joe’s are Hendrix, Morrison and Moon. All three very great choices. I’m gonna one up him now. John Lennon…

Joe: I almost said that.

Kevin: Yeah and Bob Dylan. I’d like those two to be together. I think I’d just like to hear what they would talk about. I think that would be awesome. Now I gotta choose someone really cool from way back in the day like uh Alexander the Great!

Doug: I’m gonna have a cool dinner. I’m gonna say Jon Bonham, Keith Moon and…

Kevin: You can do living.

Doug: I know I though about that too. I was like I don’t want to take John Cusack to dinner.

Kevin: Bob Dylan’s still alive.

Doug: Um Malcolm Young. Not Angus Young but Malcolm Young.

Joe: Steven Tyler. One of my favorite books is Walk This Way. Actually our manager Rick Smith is in that book.

Kevin: He is a great guy.

Q: Well my next question kind of goes along with that. If you were doing a Hollywood movie about the band who would you want to play you?

Kevin: Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Doug: Marlon Brando.

Joe: Jack Black.

Q: What’s one word you would use to describe the other band members?

Doug [who is distracted by his phone]: Say what?

Kevin: One word to describe the other band members.

Doug: Okay, cool. Give me one minute.

Joe: One word for everyone or each person.

Q: You can use one to encompass everyone if you want.

Kevin: Joe I’m going to describe as sookie.

Doug: I’m gonna use interesting.

Kevin: One word for everyone?

Doug: Yeah, interesting.

Joe: Crazy!

Doug: Then I’m taking that one too. Crazy or interesting. I went with the nicer way of saying it…interesting.

Joe: Intriguing.

Kevin: Then I will lump everyone in as sookie.

Q: Do you have a philosophy to live by?

Kevin: I have like 4,000 philosophies to live by. Mostly Aristotle.

Doug: You don’t need a parachute to skydive, only if you want to do it more than once!

Joe: The road to success is filled with…

Kevin: People.

Joe: …is filled with fans who go the extra mile. Something like that.

Doug: Yeah something lame like that.

Q: What do you consider the greatest album ever?

Doug: Oh wow that’s a really, really hard question. I’m gonna go with…

Joe [shouting]: Jeff Beck’s Truth!

Kevin: I’m gonna have to go with The White Album. That’s my problem I can’t choose between that Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road. It’s just cuz they’re such great albums front to back.

Doug: Electric Warrior by T. Rex.

Joe: That’s a good one.

Kevin: It’s awesome.

Q: Coming from Michigan fans and the fact that you’ve spent so much time out this way, do you have a favorite hangout in the state?

Kevin: The Machine Shop.

Doug: Of course! [Joe nods]

Kevin: And Marvin’s Magical, Mechanical Museum [Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington].

Joe: God Bless Marvin’s Mechanical Museum!

Doug: PF Changs.

Kevin: Hoops Bar and Grill.

Q: Finally, if you can close with one word to describe the show tonight what would it be?

Kevin: Swagger.

Joe: Tremonti or four…

Doug: Four? I’ll say peace.

Tags:20 Questions with Taddy Porter

20 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Gamble

We live in a special country in this good old USA. It’s land of the free and home of the brave. Home to do pretty much anything you want, like gamble on anything from a Football game to who’s going to be the next President of our treasured country. Gambling is offered almost everywhere we go. You walk in a store you can buy a scratch ticket, in a bar you can play some keno your next door neighbor maybe a bookie. When you gamble you lose. Yea sure some lucky Joe will win the lottery, but you have a better chance of going to Hollywood and becoming the next Denzel Washington. On a serious note gambling can be a serious addiction for some people. Some people can lose their homes, or families and it can go as far as someone being in so deep they take their own life. All your doing when you gamble is making someone richer. I have revised a list to help you turn away from this bad habit and stop gambling today.

20 Reasons why you should not gamble:

1. The house always wins.
2. Extremely high stress level.
3. If you love your wife, kids and home in which you live.
4. The odds are always against you.
5. If you did not go to MIT and can’t count cards.
6. Referees like former NBA Ref Tim Donaghy.
7. There is a real life Tony Soprano out there and he will break your legs.
8. You have a part time job, and full time bills.
9. You didn’t just win a big betI you just won back last months losings.
10. You still live with mom and dad, save up and move out.
11. Your grandfather had bad luck chances are he passed it on to you.
12. Your name is in collections.
13. You drive a 94 and it can’t pass inspection.
14. Your bias towards the home team. You always pick them and the never cover for you.
15. That credit card APR is not going down anytime soon.
16. It’s an addiction like a drug you’ll want it more and more.
17. Your not a professional handicapper if you are your probably not reading this.
18. It may cause depression and that’s not something you want to deal with.
19. It ruins your passion for sports.
20. Your related to Pete Rose.

Gamblers anonymous 1-800-333-HOPE

Tags:20 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Gamble

20 Minute Indoor Workouts

Whether you are someone looking to increase your body’s stamina, build a little muscle, or just want to use some time while watching TV, there are some relatively easy 20 minute workouts you can do without things like weights or cables. The abdominal muscles are usually the easiest muscle group to train without the usage of equipment, and “Scooby’s Workshop” has a few videos and some good descriptions of these ab workouts including the well-known crunch and bicycle exercises, to the lesser known plank and leg raise workouts that strengthen the midsection.

Getting a cardio workout inside your house isn’t nearly as easy, but there are some things you can do to get your heart pumping a little faster. One very good method is to set up a small platform that sits between six inches and a foot off the ground, and continuously step on and off it, like a stair master. 20 minutes is a good amount of time to get the blood flowing in this manner, and again is great while watching the TV or listening to music as the time will fly by.

If you’re someone looking to increase muscle strength, there are some workouts for you as well. Setting up a pull-up bar in a doorway that can sustain your weight is a surefire way to build up biceps, lats, and shoulders. Pushups are a great way to build chest and triceps muscles, and are made even more effective if your feet are propped up on an elevated surface such as a couch, as this will cause your body to slant, and force you to push a little harder.

The main thing with any workout is the consistency and regularity of it. Although you may be dissatisfied because results don’t show right away, after only a few weeks of exercising 20 minutes a day you will be able to look in the mirror and be very pleased.

Tags:20 Minute Indoor Workouts

2002 Playoffs Game 6: Lakers vs. Kings was Suspicious

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has accused the NBA of manipulation of game results in order to “boost ticket sales and television ratings.” Commissioner David Stern has called the allegations “baseless.” But statistical analysis seems to support the claim that an abnormal percentage of NBA playoff Series are extended to seven games.

Mathematics estimate that a NBA Playoff series will go the full seven games approximately 18% of the time. Since 2000, a surprisingly large 26% of non-first round NBA Series have extended to the maximum seven games. That’s 44% more often than expected. That’s 16 of 62 Series when only 11 would have been expected. RJ Bell of said: “The odds of this increase happening randomly are less than 1%, approximately 180 to 1.”

“44% more Game 7s than expected clearly supports Tim Donaghy’s claim that the NBA Playoffs are officiated with the agenda of extending Series as long as possible,” says Bell.

Former Kings player, Doug Christie, and others weighed in on Donaghy’s allegations today. What they have to say may surprise you. See more at SpursReport.Com or below:

Tags:2002 Playoffs Game 6: Lakers vs. Kings was Suspicious

20 Words of Promise

Let me present twenty words packed full of promise. “The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! (Psalms 22:26).” These are the words of the psalmist David, king of Israel. Let’s break this verse down and examine what promises are made in it.

The Poor Shall Eat and Be Satisfied
This is a powerful statement loaded with promise. On the surface, the word poor simply relates to those who may be lacking material possessions. However, an alternate definition is in order here. The word poor, as rendered in this verse aptly means humble or unpretentious. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word meek. To be meek is to be humble. Jesus touched on humility when he spoke the words “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3), ” and again, “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).” God honors and rewards those who are poor in spirit, meaning meek or humble. This first promise can be stated in this manner: “The ones who are humble will eat and be satisfied.” In the words of the Apostle Paul, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).” You may ask how God can do this. We are told in Psalms 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness.” The promise that the poor, or the humble, will eat and be satisfied is fulfilled in this manner:
Everything on this planet belongs to God. God promises to allow the humble to dwell on this planet as a blessing for humility. Therefore, God promises that the humble will have the basic necessities to live on this earth.

Those Who Seek Him Will Praise the Lord
At first glance, this statement doesn’t make very much sense. How can you praise something you’re searching for? To grasp the promise of this statement, we must dig beneath the surface. First, we must come to understand the fact that God is seeking for us. Jesus tells us Himself, “for the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).” What an incredible thought! The God who created the universe is looking for me! While may be seeking for God, He is looking for us. We have the promise that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 tells us, “and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So how will this seeking and finding lead to praise? “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him (Lamentations 3:25).” It’s very simple, when God is good to us, when God blesses us, we will give Him praise.

Let Your Heart Live Forever
I firmly believe that when God created Adam, He intended for him to live forever, to never know the sting of death. Adam’s sin of disobedience brought death into this world. The Apostle Paul picks up this theme in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The twenty words of promise conclude with this exclamation, “Let your heart live forever!” It can only lead us to one thing, the most quoted verse ever penned, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” I can’t help but bring in the words of Paul to the Romans, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).” The final promise given in Psalms 22:26 is the promise of eternal life.

Those who are humble will eat and be satisfied. Those who seek God will find God and they will praise God because God is good. Those who are humble will have their daily necessities met, they will seek and find God, leading them to eternal life with God. “The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! (Psalms 22:26).” Yes, these are twenty words that are loaded with promise!

All Bible references taken from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Tags:20 Words of Promise

20 Ways to Save Money on a New Baby

No matter if you are a married couple or a single parent, saving money on a new baby can make a big difference on your finances. There are a lot of ways that you can save money on a new baby. Some are obvious, and others you may have to work at, but all of these can save money on a new baby.

  1. Breastfeed if you can, if not look at ways to save on formula. You can go to the manufacturers web site to sign up for free samples and coupons, choose a generic formula, or check with your local WIC office to see if you can qualify for assistance.
  2. Use cloth diapers if you do not mind cleaning them. If that is not an option for you, look for sales and coupons. Diapers are one of the biggest costs, so you have to find the best deal in order to save money.
  3. Have a baby shower to receive gifs and necessities for your new baby. Be sure to register so your guests will know what you need and would like.
  4. Find places to register that you can get free samples. I know that Babies R Us and Target does, but unsure of other retailers. Anything free is a good way to save money on a new baby.
  5. Return baby shower items that you do not need as soon as you can. Even if you only get store credit for items, you can still use that money on something that will be useful for the baby.
  6. Sign up for manufacturers sites for baby products. Most of these sites such as Proctor and Gamble, Similac, Enfamil, Gerber, Pampers, and many more will send you free samples and money saving coupons to help you save money on the new baby.
  7. Ask your Doctor and hospital for samples. Most have samples available, but only give them out when they are asked. Some have been known to give quite a bit of formula, and even diaper bags.
  8. Instead of paying a lot for new mommy classes, birthing classes, or breastfeeding classes look at your local government offices or hospitals to see if they have free classes. I have noticed that there is a wide variety of places to get free information, without paying a fortune on the classes.
  9. Purchase second hand baby items, or accept hand me downs from friends and family. Babies grow out of there toys, clothing, and other items very quickly so second hand baby items will not be overly used. These items clean up very well, and will save a lot of money on a new baby.
  10. If you are going to purchase items before the baby is born you should be sure to buy a variety of sizes. This is more for clothing and diapers of course. Your baby will be growing fast and will not wear the smaller sizes for long, so don’t over purchase on the same sizes.
  11. Keep receipts and tags for everything you purchase. You may thing you will need it, but if you do not you will be able to return it and get your money back.
  12. Watch your sales papers and coupons every week to find the best deals on everyday baby items. Comparison shopping can save you hundreds of dollars a year, and it is easy to do once you get used to it. Using coupons on the same baby items can save you even more on your new baby. Example: I recently received a free umbrella stroller for purchasing items that were on sale at CVS, and used coupons so I spend $25 and received more than $45 worth of baby items.
  13. Purchase items in bulk and sign up for a warehouse club if you can. I have notice that at Sam’s and Costco diapers and formula can be purchased in bulk, and costs quite a bit less per unit than when you buy smaller packages.
  14. Try generic brand items for your baby. The generic brands are held to the same standards as the name brands, but cost quite a bit less.
  15. Always watch the clearance sections in local retail stores. You can find great buys at almost all of the retails stores if you keep a watch.
  16. Skip the shoes until the baby can walk. Baby shoes are expensive, and not needed. You can purchase little booties for a couple of dollars, and they work much better.
  17. Make your own baby food. Making your own baby food can save money on your new baby, and it is actually healthier for your baby.
  18. Instead of purchasing the bottle sanitizer, use a pot of boiling water like your mom used to. It is not very hard, and it is much cheaper that the other items.
  19. Watch for ways to save money, not necessarily time. There is so many baby items that does help you save a little time, but does that time cover the cost that it takes? Most of them do not. Saving money on the new baby may be more important that saving a few seconds.
  20. Think carefully about your child care. Child care takes a large portion of parent’s earnings, especially when the baby is fairly young. Before deciding on putting your child in daycare, think about other options that you may have. Is there relatives or friends that may be able to care for the baby? Can you rearrange your work schedules so one parent can be there at all times? Is there another family in your neighborhood that you may be able to do child care swaps? These are just a few things to think about. You do not want to spend more than you have to on child care.

Tags:20 Ways to Save Money on a New Baby

20 Years of IMDb.Com: A Serious & Satiric Look at the Movie Site's Famous Features

Most people who didn’t discover until the early part of the 21st century were likely surprised to learn that the site is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Not that it was in any shape or form in 1990 as it is now, or even visualized in very many minds when the tangible Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide was thought to be the final reference on movie info minutiae. The site also went through as many evolutions as a human being, including the very show business name changes from Rec.arts.movies Movie Database to classy Cardiff Internet Movie Database to the more business-savvy and abbreviated IMDb once bought the company in 1998.

Through all of those changes, it also became the emblem of the trivia-obsessed human being providing info on the net. You can say that despite IMDb always giving the illusion that it’s some kind of film trivia entity that miraculously came down from an info queue in a cloud for our own enlightenment. Or, perhaps it was more intended as a gift to make us look more knowledgeable than Turner Classic Movie’s host Robert Osborne (who reportedly consults the site for his intros/outros).

After 20 years, though, this site requires a deeper look into how it’s shaped us, even if most of us have only used it for less than half of the site’s age. Its key components set a standard for how fast information can be had on the internet at the click of a link. Similarly, it gradually formed itself into a companion to those Maltin and Ebert movie guides rather than destroying the reference book as some alarmists report.

Yes, as comprehensive as IMDb is, it occasionally overlooks minor things you can ultimately find in your tangible reference book lying nearby.

But what are the classic assets of IMDb over the years that we turn to again and again? Many are near perfection, and others should be easily designated as 20-year works-in-progress…

Trivia Section on Movies/TV

This section always gets clicked by me first thanks to a teaser on the main page showing the most interesting or juiciest piece of trivia from a movie or TV show. When you see the trivia in its totality, it’s easy to get the feeling you’re reading an elaborate hoax of information Wikipedia style. That feeling still persists considering sources aren’t always cited. Then again, I’ve backed some of the information up through other legitimate sources. And, reportedly, industry people anonymously provide some of the trivia.

The only time the trivia section turns surreal is when you’re watching a movie on Turner Classic Movies and Robert Osborne mentions several pieces of the same trivia you just read to yourself or out loud to someone watching the movie with you.

Also, after reading every trivia fact or half-truth, you realize that making a movie appears to have more mayhem behind the scenes than any other chaotic event you can imagine or remember.

Other Minutiae: Box Office Returns, Famous Quotes and Marriages

You can usually get a good idea whether an unknown movie was a turkey or not based on the box office return information. Once you see that particular movie and realize how much of an earnest effort was put forth in its making, it hurts to see a movie with a cost of $58 million only making back $10 million back to date.

Sometimes the same feeling can be had seeing quotes taken from famous stars of the past. Many of them look like extracts during a sodium pentothal session. Ultimately, though, it helps provide the best glimpse into the true soul of movie stars alive and dead than found anywhere else.

And what about the section (occasionally found in Trivia) that shows the past marriages of the stars? Most names of spouses are there. However, you’ll sometimes see a “?” in place of a name, either as a gaping hole of trivia minutiae or maybe intentional by decree of divorcees that were or be.

IMDb Public Ratings System

Arguably the only site that lets a film have as much as ten stars, it’s clear this part of IMDb isn’t perfected quite yet. Also, the chances are good that no film will ever see a full ten stars. The only movie that comes close at the time of this writing is “The Shawshank Redemption” (9.1), which also happens to be the #1 movie on IMDb’s Top 250 movies. Good luck to you, though, if you can decide whether a movie is worth seeing when it gets 5.7 stars.

The Top 250, on the other hand, is worth existing to give a populist list as counterbalance to the American Film Institute’s ubiquitous Top 100. Nevertheless, it’s clear that any internet voting method is going to have its share of biases and ways of fans tweaking to give benefit to movies that don’t deserve to be in the Top 10. Consider something wrong and worth investigating when movies made only in the last 35 years are in the Top Ten and none from any year prior to “The Godfather” (1972).

As counterbalance to the counterbalance, you might want to check out the Bottom 100 that doesn’t get heralded enough. Apparently every bad movie has been primarily made since the 1980’s. They mostly contain monsters, wizards and babies.

Public Reviews

This section of IMDb is the better half of the populist element. Unlike customer reviews that can sometimes border on “I Haven’t Received My Product!” (2 out of 57 people found this review helpful), IMDb’s public reviews are some of the most thoughtful you’ll find in a similar arena. Plus, many of them go into minute detail about why they think the film is good, great or horrible, despite having to endure another ten-star rating system. Many of these are seen by more eyes than Amazon’s clumsy customer comments and may be the best training ground for movie reviewers in training.

Fortunately, most of those amateur movie reviewers will eventually get demoted to using four stars to work with in rating a movie.

Message Boards

This part of IMDb has seen more tweaks than anything, for good reason. Somewhere along the line, IMDb’s message boards became a haven for a specific brand of spammers and vitriolic messengers who decided to stick around there for the rest of their wasted lives. As sullying as that sounds to IMDb’s reputation, let’s not exaggerate and put a disclaimer to their message boards as “will vary, depending on which board you read.” It seems the more arousing you are in the world of entertainment, the more the disclaimer becomes moot.

With that in mind, let’s also remind IMDb that any board without a moderating team is a sitting duck for chaos. Fortunately, there is a way to report spam and other torture bearers, but it doesn’t always remove spiteful comments. Also, as primitive and as insignificant as the IMDb boards are, I’ve seen evidence that some of the famous names with busy boards actually read their boards. No word whether they swore off reading it again after seeing some of the thread titles.

IMDb Media Content & IMDb Pro

These last assets of IMDb may arguably be the best of all. While Hulu mostly has the old television classics market cornered in free viewing, IMDb consolidates all that if you’re already there looking up info on an old TV show. It’s the showcase of independent filmmakers there in the last couple of years that’s taken IMDb up a few notches. The small little films showcased on the site have provided ample space for aspiring filmmakers when other space has become a little crowded lately.

What of IMDb Pro, though, and why do you and I need to have it? Well, it’s resourceful for media professionals who need to learn about upcoming film projects or to promote your own acting career. Nonetheless, I suspect some of its users aren’t media professionals at all and instead just curious individuals with money to burn. Or, it could be the new tool to look like you’re a Hollywood insider at parties. For real users, the hope that your profile picture randomly shows up on IMDb’s front page is the new dice throw of a nascent acting career.

Honorable Mention: Reducing Movie Trailer Snipes

If you’ve been hijacked with a movie trailer graphic or video while reading IMDb in recent years, then willkommen, bienvenue, welcome. These obtrusive ads were as bad as the snipes you see on network and cable TV that hijack your TV screen with what’s coming up next Thursday instead of the current show. More recently, IMDb tweaked this feature so there hasn’t been as many obtrusive movie trailers starting unexpectedly on your screen as you search info on an entirely different movie.

It’s a perfect example that brains are still behind the curtain and making IMDb all the more perfect for those of us demanding so much more in websites that give us reams of free information.

Tags:20 Years of IMDb.Com: A Serious & Satiric Look at the Movie Site’s Famous Features

20-Year-Old L.A. Man Murdered in Gang Homicide

According to a recently published Los Angeles Police Department press release, a gang related shooting has left a 20-year-old Los Angeles man dead.

The 20-year-old man, whose named is being withheld by police until his family has been contacted, was shot on the night of August 31.

The incident happened at around 10:50 at night on the 2200 block of West Pico Boulevard in the city of Los Angeles.

The unnamed man was walking down the street when two Hispanic men driving inside a green 2004 Ford Explorer drove up near him and parked in a nearby alley. One of the two men got out of the Ford Explorer and started walking towards the victim. One of the men reportedly asked the 20-year-old what gang he was in. Within a few moments a fight broke out between the two men on the street.

The two men got into a serious and dangerous fist fight and wrestled each other to the ground. The victim was trying to defend himself while the other man who was inside the vehicle came to the other man’s aid. He was wearing a black ski mask and was armed with an unidentified shotgun. He then fired at the victim and struck him in both the chest and the head.

Unfortunately for the young male victim, he was pronounced dead at the scene. His cause of death, according to paramedics who arrived on the scene, was serious injuries as a result of being shot.

Within a few moments after hitting the man with gunfire, the two Hispanic suspects fled. They then lost control of their green Ford Explorer and ending up crashing into a cement wall. After the collision, they left their vehicle and escaped by foot down the street.

Police describe the driver of the vehicle as being a Hispanic man with a mustache. He was last seeing blue denim jeans and a gray shirt. The masked gunman and passenger of the vehicle was last seen wearing what is simply described as dark clothing.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives are still searching for the two homicide suspects, even though they currently have several leads in the case. Anyone who has any information about the suspects or the incident is urged to immediately call Rampart homicide detectives Gilbert Alonso or Carlos Silva at 213-207-2060. On weekends and during off-hours and non-business houses, call the 24-hour toll free tip line number at 1-877-LAW-FULL (529-3855).


Los Angeles Police Department. “Man Dead in Gang Related Shooting.”

Tags:20-Year-Old L.A. Man Murdered in Gang Homicide

20 Things You Can Do for Your Roommate

Maybe you let slip your New Year’s resolution to “be a better person.” Maybe you need to suck up to your housemates, or make up for a big boo-boo. Whatever the motivation, pony up and take care of your roomie. (They’re not bad tips for romantic relationships, either.)

1. Make extra portions. If you’re cooking for one anyway, double the recipe. It’s gracious to offer a little sustenance to your buddy after a long day at work.

2. Be discreet. Don’t play or relay phone messages from their throngs of admirers in front of another date. Use care when divulging their schedule or social habits.

3. Be discreet. Don’t bag on their habits to anyone who might relay it back.

4. Clean communal areas. Scrub the fridge or the barbeque without being asked (and without being a martyr about it).

5. Be a big spender. Round your half of the utility bills up to the nearest buck or five. You don’t need to split everything to the penny.

6. Leave their stuff alone. Don’t “borrow” without asking, “share” desserts unless invited, and definitely don’t snoop through their mail.

7. Be conscientious of their down time. Everyone needs space and a little quiet to decompress. Be buddies another day.

8. Communicate. Let them know if you’ll be out late or out of town. They worry about you, too.

9. Don’t hog the house. If you monopolize the kitchen or TV from after work until bedtime, they’ll feel like they’re just renting a bedroom.

10. Wash. Wash the cars or dishes, but leave their laundry be. (It can be pretty personal.) Help without expectation of reciprocity – just be nice.

11. Give unsolicited compliments. You can always find one thing to praise.

12. Do a few home improvements. Upgrade the toaster, blender, or stereo system. Even if you take it with you when you move, you’ll both be able to enjoy the benefits now.

13. Be energy efficient. Turn off lights when you leave the room, turn down the AC when you step out, and conserve water. Lower bills help you both.

14. Listen. Let your roomie dish about all the jerks at their workplace. Don’t offer advice, just listen.

15. Pick your battles. Don’t nag them about the direction of the toilet paper roll. Save your confrontations for major problems.

16. Don’t treat your apartment like a hotel. Your overnight guests really aren’t welcome for weeks.

17. Take care of your own. Water your own plants, walk your own dog. If your roomie’s favorite shoes get chewed up, offer ungrudgingly to replace them.

18. Be reliable. Pay your portion on time. Always.

19. Be a good neighbor. Your actions reflect your entire household. If you’re rude to the crazy cat lady next door, who knows how she’ll respond.

20. Say “thank you.” It can be verbal, e-mail, on cards, or with little gifts. Show appreciation for that person who takes care of you right back.

That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

Tags:20 Things You Can Do for Your Roommate

2000 Dances

Here, licking the syrup of your tongue
as you guide me deeper into you, your sex
is flushed red as an eye seeing through
layers of the world, crying out in ecstasy
onto the sheets of my bed. You hold me

between your legs like a mouth
holding back the words it practiced
saying over and over, yet whispers
them instead in pantomime, synced
in time with my heavy groans, the blind

passion flowing in the grids of our veins,
our nerves, every cell lit and pulsing
like orgones, swollen into spasms

as your legs shake. You can’t stop
coming together, each piece of you
magnified and gathered like rain draws
endlessly into rivers, each droplet
touched skin to skin then becoming one.

I want to tell you a secret, but
I haven’t heard any yet, besides,
when I was inside you I saw your lips
move and swell into a kiss, and I
swear I heard you say “the secret
is us, and we shall speak it.”

Tags:2000 Dances

20 Tips for Husbands

It never ceases to amaze us how easy it “could” be for a guy to be a considerate husband. We know it seems like rocket science to most guys. Having worked 30 years with 90% women, we are convinced that if there were a manual written as required reading for all men, things would be a whole lot better. We have listened to women over the years and it is truly amazing how the simplest of things would make their world so much better. Alot of these issues women have and talk about are the day in day out things. They struggle with how they are going to do it all. They truly ‘want” to do it all for their husbands and children. They struggle every day with how they can handle all of life’s issues. The answer to all of this is simple—–THEY NEED YOUR HELP.

Ponder the list below and see if any of these tips make sense. We believe these are all very do-able things.

1. Seems to us over the years that the following is a huge issue–remember their birthday!

2. PMS-don’t make lite of it, they hate it as much as you hate the moods and outbursts.

3. Help around the house. These days both spouses are usually holding down an outside job. The home chores must be shared. Do so willingly.

4. Compliments always welcome–always!

5.Take care of all vehicles–some men feel if it’s the wife’s car she needs to schedule maintenance on it.

6.Plan a day with the kids, free up time for your wife to go shopping, have lunch with a girlfriend, etc…

7. Don’t laugh at their television shows. For some women, watching Oprah or Dr. Phil may be the only adult conversation they have in a day.

8. Plan special evenings for no reason, AND schedule the babysitter.

9. It would be in your best interest to remember that women have very LONG memories and don’t forget easily.

10. Treat them as special as they are. They still really want to be your “girlfriend”.

11. Respect–no explanation needed.

12. Suggest a walking routine together, not to discuss heavy issues, but to simply spend some time together.

13. Encourage her dreams and help make them come true if you can.

14. Be interesting…not glued to the TV with a beer in your hand.

15. Ok, this is huge—give her the remote!

16. Flowers–for NO reason. Daisies picked from a neighboring field will put a smile on her face.

17.Know that if she is a “stay at home” mom, she is doing a huge job and one you would not want. Show appreciation.

18. If you detect trouble in the relationship, talk about it….to her.

19. Buying gifts, make them special, no appliances unless she is asking for them.

20.Be the very best you can be.

Tags:20 Tips for Husbands

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