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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bully boards

Can't you just imagine the wall above your desk covered with these clever embroidery-hoop bulletin boards??
I sure can!

You can purchase them here, or follow these directions to make them yourself.

"Is that chocolate or poop?"

Brian and I saw "Baby Mama" over the weekend... pretty dang funny! I'd definitely recommend it!

Has anybody seen Steve?

This made me smile...

(as seen on More Cowbell)

That's hot.

The geniuses at Columbia University recently completed a study determining that in the world of romance, beautiful people will flock to each other, and in turn, the less attractive among us seek out those who are less attractive. Ooooh-kay?!

Here's the best part:
To complete this study, they used statistics from HOTorNOT.com. (I'm.not.kidding.)
Ariely, Leonard Lee of Columbia University's Business School in New York, and their colleagues looked at information from an online dating Web site called HOTorNOT.com, which allows members to rate others on their physical attractiveness.

They focused on a 10-day period in August 2005 to figure out how an individual's attractiveness rating affected how that person rated others' physical attractiveness on a scale from 1 to the hottest value of 10. Then, the researchers compared the average hot-or-not ratings for each person with the number of dating requests.

On average, participants paired up with others having compatible attractiveness. Compared with the ladies, guys were most influenced by physical attractiveness when requesting dates, but their own appearance ratings had less effect on their date choices.

Wow. I had no idea HOTorNOT's hottie statistics were so scientifically valuable.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Across the pond

Brian's over in the UK this week. It's their annual sales meeting in Bristol, and then he'll get to hang out in London for a few days. What a lucky bloke!


Meanwhile, I'm stuck at boring, old home... having to entertain myself and while away the hours (I probably should WORK, but I just. can't. get. motivated.) until I head to DENVER!
Yeehaw!!

Speed reader

I'm a big reader, and always have been. Now that I usually only read before bed (aside from whatever I read during the day online), my habits have slowed considerably. The downside of a reading habit is clutter... there's just not enough room for all the bookshelves I would need! I do go to the library on occasion, but I love visiting bookstores and even the book row at Costco to find new reads.

If I had a spare $399 lying around, the first thing I would have to spend it on is the Amazon Kindle. This contraption is seriously cool in my book. (ha.) Upon first release, Amazon could not keep it in stock - but now, as of today - it's back!

The Kindle is a "portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers." The device is about the size of a paperback book (weighs even less), and features a display that resembles electronic paper to reduce eye strain normally incurred from electronic displays. Currently the Kindle store contains over 110,000 books, plus newspapers, magazines, and blogs, and is growing every day. That's a lot of reading!!

You know, $399 is a lot cheaper than a nice bookshelf full of books...
And, Brian is out of town right now...
;)

I scream, you scream

...we all scream for ICE CREAM!

Two great deals this week:

Tuesday (today), is FREE CONE DAY at participating Ben & Jerry's. Click here to see if there's a location near you.

On Wednesday (tomorrow) from 5-10pm, it's 31 CENT SCOOP NIGHT at Baskin Robbins. Click here to find the closest store.

It's probably just gas...

More pics of the cute one here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Must Have Monday

This week's Must Have Monday item is the...

Belkin CushTop Laptop Desk

This was one of Brian's Christmas gifts this year, and it has definitely been money well spent. This laptop desk is perfect for surfing the net from your lap, without any worries of "overheating". It puts the laptop at the optimal height and angle for use, and is incredibly lightweight. Both sides of the desk can be used, thus accommodating small and large laptops. It's covered in a type of upholstery fabric which grips the laptop and doesn't allow it to slip around. I ordered ours from Amazon.com in chocolate/tourmaline, but I have even seen them in Target stores. If you're looking for a laptop desk, look no more!

One day, when I don't have to "borrow" Brian's work laptop and I have my very own, I'd also love this companion accessory... the Laptop Hideaway - very handy!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Come on, people...

I've got 2 spots left in my Pay it Forward Exchange... any takers?? Remember, even if you're not a blogger, or not crafty - you can still participate! Just promise that you'll pay it forward to 3 people with an act of service...

Oh, Maddy!

It's good to know the teddy bear we sent you
is making you so happy!

Bubble magnets

Hola, Isabel describes how to make these fun, cute, and inexpensive bubble magnets on her blog, here.

Perfect for Mother's Day!

Powder Room Rehab

There are many, many projects we'd like to take on at our home, but today, I'm focused on a trivial one...

We've been thinking about upgrading a few of the details in our powder room for quite some time. This is our only bathroom on the main floor, so it gets plenty of use. It's a tiny room - just a half bath - a toilet, mirror, and pedestal sink.

Don't get me wrong, everything works just fine in there, but it's all "Builder's Special" (ie. the cheapest/dinkiest/most generic fixtures, etc.). The neck of the current faucet is too shallow for the pedestal sink to effectively wash your hands, and the toilet would be better if it were an elongated bowl. Plus, I'm not loving the cheap-version chrome everywhere (except for the light fixture - it's a lovely shade of bright yellow brass - yep, doesn't match).

Several months ago, we found the fixtures and lighting we wanted, but then the drive to do this just kind of fizzled out, and so we benched the idea for awhile. Today I took a peek online, and discovered the lighting we wanted is 40% off! It's on clearance, so I'm thinking if I don't move soon, it will be gone forever. (It took us a long time to find a lighting fixture that coordinated so well with the faucet we chose.)

So, I present to you the basic elements of what could be our new powder room for your honest opinions and insight. I'd like to go with all finishes in oil-rubbed bronze to warm up the space. But, I still can't decide if the oil-rubbed bronze finish is just trendy or classic. I definitely love it... I just don't want it to hurt us when we sell this house and all the trends point back to bright yellow brass!

Whadya think??

It's Nate!

Just about the only time I watch Oprah anymore, it's because Nate Berkus is on the show... I love his clean and simple approach to decorating, and he makes it look so easy! Anyway, program your Tivos, because he's on Friday's show and he's making over a kitchen! (If you miss the first airing of Oprah because this blog isn't the first thing you read every morning - as you know it very well should be! - the show is usually played twice per day in most markets, with the second airing around midnight or so.)

Sure signs of Spring

The grass is greening, the trees are budding, the bushes are blooming, and ducklings are afoot in our neighborhood again... one of the best parts of Spring?


Daffodils at Trader Joe's -
10 stems for only $1.49.

I'm serious! Check it out for yourself.

"Mom, I gotta go... my friends are getting beat up by some girls!"



Em - The full episode can be seen here. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Today is Kristen's 29th birthday!

A new baby daughter and a birthday all in the same month - she's a lucky girl!!

Happy birthday, sis!
Love you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today is Steal Post Ideas From Karen Day!

From Karen's blog:
I'm participating in a Pay It Forward Exchange. Want to play? I will send a small handmade gift to the first three people who leave a comment on my blog. You will receive your gift within a month from leaving your comment, hopefully! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog (or to 3 people in your life, if you're not a blogger). Apparently this has been going on for over a year. I hope you comment so you can enjoy the fun too!!
So, I can't wait to see what little goody Karen's going to send me, and I have something really cute in mind for the first 3 commenters on my blog. I'll change it up a bit... say you're not crafty, but you still want to participate? Just promise that you'll pay it forward with an act of service for 3 people.
Go ahead, leave a comment... you know you want to!

I have no shame



Yep, no shame... and I'm just getting this all out of the way now so that Brian can't embarrass me with these at some point in the future!

Hi, my name is Aimee, and I've had bad hair...
not just sorta bad, but monumentally bad!!!

I have been pretty fortunate to have good friends through college and beyond (Andi, Karen, Sarah), who possessed the necessary and exemplary talents to tame my distastrous mess. As a result, this past hair decade has been much kinder to me than the first two!

I am in desperate need of a stylist these days! Lately, I've had to resort to wearing a baseball cap, because I just don't have it in me to fight the long fight.

So, Andi, when I come to visit you in a week and a half - don't say I didn't warn you! :S

Happy Earth Day!

You can review all of my old "soapbox" posts here.

“He is the very pineapple of politeness!” - Richard Brinsley Sheridan

In these parts, pineapples have been on sale the past few weeks for $3.00 or less. We likey! You should check out a grocery store near you... but don't let the thought of chunking that pineapple scare you away from it's juicy, sweet goodness. Go here to learn how to cut your pineapple like a South Seas island boy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Amen.

Flutterbys

New project I must make... found here.

LooLoo

Wait. For. It... at 0:24!! (As seen on Dooce.)

Must Have Monday

Resurrecting the meme from Karen's blog, I'm going to try her "Must Have Monday" idea. Basically, on this blog, they'll be "good things".

So without further adieu...

SideSwipe Spatula Blade Attachment for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer

This gadget is AMAZING! Brian got this for me for Christmas, after a little hinting on my part, and I finally broke it in last week on some chocolate chip cookies. The blue silicone on the blade actually scrapes down the sides of your bowl while it's mixing, so you don't have to! In the beginning of my mixing, it didn't seem to be pulling too much off the sides of the bowl, but as my mixture became dough, it pulled everything into the center. I highly recommend this $24.95 contraption, if you use your mixer a lot.

Anyone have some tips out there for how to keep cookies advertised as "chewy" actually chewy? I specifically chose a recipe known for producing chewy cookies, I followed the recipe to a "T", let them properly cool, and then stored them in an air-tight container. Sadly, they were hockey pucks the next day - tasty hockey pucks, though.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Moldy Oldie #2

Hope it's not too blurry...

video

Ridiculous, yes... I know.

A bit surreal

So I'm watching this video from Ellen, and I'm wondering if it's more interactive than I thought it could be when the grounds starts moving beneath me! An aftershock... yikes! I think I preferred sleeping through the earthquake like I did earlier. Dogs in the neighborhood are going crazy right now.

I'm sure my friends from California are laughing at my wussy-ness...

Shake, rattle, & roll

When Brian's traveling, I don't sleep the greatest. I become ultra-sensitive to every creak and shift of the house.

I thought I was just dreaming this morning when I woke up because of this...

Midwest Gets Shakey Start Friday

Rare Earthquake Felt From Louisville To Milwaukee

POSTED: 5:33 am CDT April 18, 2008
UPDATED: 8:58 am CDT April 18, 2008

A 5.4 earthquake that appeared to rival the strongest recorded in the region rocked people awake from Milwaukee to Indianapolis and beyond early Friday, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a powerful Midwest temblor.

The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered 6 miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind. It awakened people in neighboring Indiana and even Milwaukee, Wis., 350 miles north of the epicenter.

"It shook our house where it woke me up," said David Behm of Philo, 10 miles south of Champaign. "Windows were rattling, and you could hear it. The house was shaking inches. For people in central Illinois, this is a big deal. It's not like California."

In Chicago, the city’s 911 call-center had an immediate spike in calls from people reporting tremors, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

More than 100 calls came into the center, Office of Emergency Management and Communications spokeswoman Jennifer Martinez said.

"For the most part, people are reporting they felt movement and some items vibrated on shelves and some ceiling fixtures could be seen moving," Langford said.

As of 5:30 a.m., the fire department said nobody has been injured, Langford said. There have been no reports of significant structural damage to area buildings.

In Plainfield, a police dispatcher said multiple people reported their houses being shaken. She said the quake was not felt in the police station.

Langford said the fire department immediately contacted Chicago police and OEMC after receiving reports of tremors.

The quake also shook tall buildings in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of the epicenter.

Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Todd Ringle in Evansville said there were no immediate reports of damage.

The quake occurred in the Illinois basin-Ozark dome region that covers parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas and stretches from Indianapolis and St. Louis to Memphis, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The organization's Web site said earthquakes occur irregularly in the area, and that the largest historical earthquake in the region -- also a magnitude 5.4 -- caused damage in southern Illinois in 1968.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey the depth of the earthquake was 5.0 kilometers.

Should maybe, but shorn't

Love, love, love the Jam goodness that starts at 1:10!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moldy Oldie

Karen sent this to me today...

And for the record...
Brian, you can always send me flowers! :)

Current Read

I've wanted to read this book for a long time... probably ever since it was used in the movie, Serendipity. (Remember? Kate Beckinsale's character wrote her phone number in the book when they met, and John Cusack's character spent years looking at used book stores for that one particular book?) When Oprah made it one of her book club picks, then it was everywhere, and even became a movie. So far, it's really good!

Love in the Time of Cholera

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

From Library Journal
While delivering a message to her father, Florentino Ariza spots the barely pubescent Fermina Daza and immediately falls in love. What follows is the story of a passion that extends over 50 years, as Fermina is courted solely by letter, decisively rejects her suitor when he first speaks, and then joins the urbane Dr. Juvenal Urbino, much above her station, in a marriage initially loveless but ultimately remarkable in its strength. Florentino remains faithful in his fashion; paralleling the tale of the marriage is that of his numerous liaisons, all ultimately without the depth of love he again declares at Urbino's death. In substance and style not as fantastical, as mythologizing, as the previous works, this is a compelling exploration of the myths we make of love. Highly recommended.

UPDATE: Still reading this book... and it's taking me forever! I would still recommend it, but must caution it should be rated PG-13 or possibly a soft R for content. It's beautifully written, but Mr. Ariza definitely gets around!

You know what's frustrating?

Waiting for Kristen & Dan to post more pictures of Madelyn... (hint, hint).

Wanna see something gross?

.
..
...
....
.....
......
.......
........
.........
..........

I thought you would!!

Don't say I didn't warn you - it's nasty!

This is my sprained ankle 11 days later.
Still sore. Still swollen. Still bruised. :(

This photo doesn't do it justice - it's really a lovely shade of green, too.

Maybe I should have gone to the doctor?
Who knows.

See, I'm an absolute professional at doing these things to myself. I figured if I could bear weight on it, things would be okay. I just didn't expect to still be gimping around this late in the game.

Woe is me.

P-L-A-T-E-S!

I'm going to have to start collecting plates, since I want to do this to one of the walls:

As seen at Bluelines.

I have a fam’ly tree, with branches by the dozens!!

My brother, Scott, has spent a significant amount of time recently working on our Rogers Family Tree on Geni.

There are currently 355 people listed - both alive and deceased. These names span 1,068 years - beginning in 940 with the birth of Fredistina De Hauteville (my 28th great-grandmother!), and ending with the birth of my niece, Madelyn, just a few days ago. He's found all kinds of photos and stories of our ancestors online, and has posted them on each person's profile.

The following bio was posted by Scott of my 4th great-grandfather, David White Rogers:

David White Rogers was born on October 4, 1787, in Morristown, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, to Samuel Rogers and Hannah Sinclair. Alone as a youth, Rogers began trapping along the northeastern rivers between Canada and the United Stated. After trapping beaver, mink, and other animals, Rogers prepared the skins and sold the furs in Montreal. It was in Montreal the Rogers met Martha Collins and married her on December 5, 1811. While living in Canada, David and Martha had four children.

Susanna, the oldest child, often accompanied her father as he set traps and collected the animals. She felt it was cruel to kill the animals and pleaded with her father to give up the fur business. He agreed the killing was difficult, but he felt the high profits made up for the distasteful task.

Years later, however, Rogers gave up trapping for homesteading. He cleared some virgin land on the shores of Lake Champlain, an area that became known as Rogers's Rock. Then, in the early 1820s, Rogers decided to become a carpenter, eventually moving his family to Dunkirk, New York, where four more children were added to the family. After a few years, Rogers temporarily left his family to establish a carpentry business in New York City. The business soon prospered, and a year later, he sent for his family.

-----------------------------
Authored by Naida R. Williamson , published in BYU Studies
All this work that Scott has done, in making it so readily accessible for the family - it's really something else!!

(Click and drag within the box below to view more of the Rogers Family Tree.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clever

NANA Saver Banana Holder keeps a sliced banana fresher longer by reducing air exposure. Only $3 at Taylor Gifts.

As seen on Nerd Approved.

But alas, he was not in love with me...

The golden days

Wondering where low self esteem comes from?

A new book for kids helps to explain why mom is having a nose job and a tummy tuck.

Buy yours here.

Things that make you go, "Hmmmm..."


From The Story of Stuff:

10 Little and Big Things You Can Do

  1. Power down! A great deal of the resources we use and the waste we create is in the energy we consume. Look for opportunities in your life to significantly reduce energy use: drive less, fly less, turn off lights, buy local seasonal food (food takes energy to grow, package, store and transport), wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat, use a clothesline instead of a dryer, vacation closer to home, buy used or borrow things before buying new, recycle. All these things save energy and save you money. And, if you can switch to alternative energy by supporting a company that sells green energy to the grid or by installing solar panels on your home, bravo!
  2. Waste less. Per capita waste production in the U.S. just keeps growing. There are hundreds of opportunities each day to nurture a Zero Waste culture in your home, school, workplace, church, community. This takes developing new habits which soon become second nature. Use both sides of the paper, carry your own mugs and shopping bags, get printer cartridges refilled instead of replaced, compost food scraps, avoid bottled water and other over packaged products, upgrade computers rather than buying new ones, repair and mend rather than replace….the list is endless! The more we visibly engage in re-use over wasting, the more we cultivate a new cultural norm, or actually, reclaim an old one!
  3. Talk to everyone about these issues. At school, your neighbors, in line at the supermarket, on the bus…A student once asked Cesar Chavez how he organized. He said, “First, I talk to one person. Then I talk to another person.” “No,” said the student, “how do you organize?” Chavez answered, “First I talk to one person. Then I talk to another person.” You get the point. Talking about these issues raises awareness, builds community and can inspire others to action.
  4. Make Your Voice Heard. Write letters to the editor and submit articles to local press. In the last two years, and especially with Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the media has been forced to write about Climate Change. As individuals, we can influence the media to better represent other important issues as well. Letters to the editor are a great way to help newspaper readers make connections they might not make without your help. Also local papers are often willing to print book and film reviews, interviews and articles by community members. Let’s get the issues we care about in the news.
  5. DeTox your body, DeTox your home, and DeTox the Economy. Many of today’s consumer products – from children’s pajamas to lipstick – contain toxic chemical additives that simply aren’t necessary. Research online (for example, http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/) before you buy to be sure you’re not inadvertently introducing toxics into your home and body. Then tell your friends about toxics in consumer products. Together, ask the businesses why they’re using toxic chemicals without any warning labels. And ask your elected officials why they are permitting this practice. The European Union has adopted strong policies that require toxics to be removed from many products. So, while our electronic gadgets and cosmetics have toxics in them, people in Europe can buy the same things toxics-free. Let’s demand the same thing here. Getting the toxics out of production at the source is the best way to ensure they don’t get into any home and body.
  6. Unplug (the TV and internet) and Plug In (the community). The average person in the U.S. watches T.V. over 4 hours a day. Four hours per day filled with messages about stuff we should buy. That is four hours a day that could be spent with family, friends and in our community. On-line activism is a good start, but spending time in face-to-face civic or community activities strengthens the community and many studies show that a stronger community is a source of social and logistical support, greater security and happiness. A strong community is also critical to having a strong, active democracy.
  7. Park your car and walk…and when necessary MARCH! Car-centric land use policies and life styles lead to more greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel extraction, conversion of agricultural and wildlands to roads and parking lots. Driving less and walking more is good for the climate, the planet, your health, and your wallet. But sometimes we don’t have an option to leave the car home because of inadequate bike lanes or public transportation options. Then, we may need to march, to join with others to demand sustainable transportation options. Throughout U.S. history, peaceful non-violent marches have played a powerful role in raising awareness about issues, mobilizing people, and sending messages to decision makers.
  8. Change your lightbulbs…and then, change your paradigm. Changing lightbulbs is quick and easy. Energy efficient lightbulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than conventional ones. That’s a no-brainer. But changing lightbulbs is just tinkering at the margins of a fundamentally flawed system unless we also change our paradigm. A paradigm is a collection of assumptions, concepts, beliefs and values that together make up a community’s way of viewing reality. Our current paradigm dictates that more stuff is better, that infinite economic growth is desirable and possible, and that pollution is the price of progress. To really turn things around, we need to nurture a different paradigm based on the values of sustainability, justice, health, and community.
  9. Recycle your trash…and, recycle your elected officials. Recycling saves energy and reduces both waste and the pressure to harvest and mine new stuff. Unfortunately, many cities still don’t have adequate recycling systems in place. In that case you can usually find some recycling options in the phone book to start recycling while you’re pressuring your local government to support recycling city-wide. Also, many products – for example, most electronics - are designed not to be recycled or contain toxics so recycling is hazardous. In these cases, we need to lobby government to prohibit toxics in consumer products and to enact Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws, as is happening in Europe. EPR is a policy which holds producers responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, so that electronics company who use toxics in their products, have to take them back. That is a great incentive for them to get the toxics out!
  10. Buy Green, Buy Fair, Buy Local, Buy Used, and most importantly, Buy Less. Shopping is not the solution to the environmental problems we currently face because the real changes we need just aren’t for sale in even the greenest shop. But, when we do shop, we should ensure our dollars support businesses that protect the environment and worker rights. Look beyond vague claims on packages like “all natural” to find hard facts. Is it organic? Is it free of super-toxic PVC plastic? When you can, buy local products from local stores, which keeps more of our hard earned money in the community. Buying used items keeps them out of the trash and avoids the upstream waste created during extraction and production. But, buying less may be the best option of all. Less pollution. Less Waste. Less time working to pay for the stuff. Sometimes, less really is more.

Monday, April 14, 2008

You know you've overstayed your welcome...

This guest towel is hilarious and handy... put it out for your guests when you've had enough!
(As seen on Craftzine.)

DISCLAIMER: We LOVE our houseguests, and have had no need to use one of these!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy, happy birthday!!

I'm posting this a day early, but I know she's already celebrating!! Way back when, Emily never let you forget that APRIL 14th was her birthday... I hope you've had a wonderful birthday season this year!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Em!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Well, hellooooo...

Lately, I've been reconnecting with old friends from my past and family I haven't been in touch with for awhile. It's been so much fun!

Recently, I've found a friend from when I was in Kindergarten (Melanie), another friend from High School (Christy), an old college roommate (Tiff), and 2 members of G-squared (Emily & Karen)... WOW! Plus, I think my Uncle Greg checked out the site today and found his way over to my sister's blog... ;) With some super-sleuthing, I discovered some of my cousins' blogs (Bryon & Dane)!

I'm thinking and hoping there might be more of you "lurking" out there, checking out Sprik Space every once in awhile... please don't be shy! :) I'd love for you to say hi! And, I'd really enjoy seeing your blogs, too!

Please post a comment below, or contact me (us) according to the information on the left sidebar...
I can't wait to hear from you!

An oak-y afterbirth...

I can't believe you missed this!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

She's here!!!

CONGRATULATIONS, MacKinlay Family!!

My sister and brother-in-law had their baby girl
early Wednesday morning,
and we couldn't be happier for them!


(I've been attempting to learn some new computer tricks,
and told Kristen I would try to design her birth announcement...
this is by no means the "official" one, but I think it turned out pretty cute.)


My mom said, "We just got back from visiting Dan, Kristen and Maddy. She's a cutie. When I first saw her she reminded me alot of Scott. She's got dark, long hair almost as long as Scott's was."

Well, I think we agree... she looks A LOT like her Uncle Scott!

Oh happy day!!

UPDATE: You can see more pics of beautiful Madelyn here.
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