Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beautiful Music

Ever since I was a young girl, I have always wanted to learn to play piano. I have always thought that piano music is quite possibly the most beautiful music the ear can ever hear. It is also such a versatile instrument that allows a player to play it in a variety of different ways.

I remember listening to my aunt play when I was a child. It was amazing! I would always ask her when I could learn to play piano just like her. She told me that all I had to do was practice, practice, practice. That sounded extremely difficult to me, but it was exactly how my aunt learned to play. As far as I know, she never had even one piano lesson.

Even if I never learn to play piano, I am hoping that my daughter will someday take an interest in it. It would be just as enjoyable to me seeing her making beautiful music on a piano bench as it would for me to be playing myself.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If you're gonna shop, why not get paid for it?!

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Taking a Day Trip

Written by Sherri Hicks

One of the blessed things we have in this country is the ability to take our families on vacations and day trips. The day trip is the mini-vacation- one day to get away from the day-to-day routine of our lives and see new places and experience new things. The invention of the automobile allows us to be the adventurers and explorers we long and want to be and the day trip is the perfect getaway for a family.

Some preliminary things need to be done before we take our trip such as: taking along extra food and water, a first-aid kit, small toolbox, cell phone, and some extra clothes. The last thing to do is to set the security choice home security system before leaving the house.

One of the more ambitious day trips is the drive to Durango, Colorado and the train ride from Durango to Silverton. Just the drive alone is worth the trip but the train ride is a step back in time. This is a genuine steam locomotive the kind they ran in the 1800s. The train has been featured in many western movies and the trip is one of the greatest attractions in Colorado. Silverton is a real old west mining town complete with unpaved streets nestled between two mountain ranges. Our family loves to ride the train and the drive although long (we generally leave before the sun is up), is well worth it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tartpon Springs, Florida

Content by Sol Rosales

Being somewhat short on money and also somewhat short of time, I decided that the Fourth of July weekend would be a good chance for a little vacation. The plan was to take a short trip, maybe two or three hours from home, check into a hotel for Friday and Saturday nights and return home on Sunday.

Using my satellite internet service to get online, I searched for destinations that were maybe 100 to 150 miles from our north central Florida home. On the east coast, I considered Daytona Beach and Melbourne. I did'nt want to go back to the theme parks in the Orlando area and finally settled on a trip to the Gulf Coast.

I looked up Tampa and St. Petersburg on several travel sites to see what the area had to offer. There were plenty of possibilities including the beach, Hard Rock Casino, Salvador Dali Museum and the Tampa Aquarium. I decided to take advantage of my Hilton Honors Reward Points and got a free night at the Hampton Inn in Tarpon Springs.

Tarpon Springs is located a few miles north of Tampa and St. Pete and is known as the Sponge Capital of America.

An old, Greek fishing village, Tarpon Springs seemed like a nice place to stay. We enjoyed the weekend, visiting local attractions, eating at some nice restaurants and just enjoying the change of scenery. If you want an easy vacation planning experience, you should Get DIRECTV and CLEAR to help!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Movie Time at Home

Guest post written by Taylor Jorne

This last year my family was visiting. It is always fun to see them because they have younger children. We had plans to watch a movie. I had seen great reviews for the family movie "Everyone's Hero". It is an animated movie about a young boy, named Yankee Irving, who loves baseball. I knew this would be perfect for all of us, and we would be able to watch the movie on directv So while my dad was outdoors grilling, we set up our places in the theatre room, where eating and watching movies at the same time are a blast! The movie's scene is set in the Great Depression, along with the times that Babe Ruth was a player. Irving is a 10 year-old boy, and loves baseball, but baseball does not seem to encompass him readily--his talent is sadly lacking. One day Irving finds a baseball that can talk. The ball's name is Screwie. The name fits because the baseball is a grumpy character. Irving finds himself going to see his father at the Yankee Stadium, where his father works as a janitor. Yankee Irving has always wanted to see the locker room of all of his heroes. He is let in. Trouble arises when a signed baseball goes missing that night...It is a movie worth watching for all ages--young and older.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron

This was written by guest blogger Linda Penea

There was a black out at the private school that my two daughters attend. The weather was challenging that day so we were given a notification in email that school would be delayed for three hours. I have the pleasure of working from home as a writer so I didn't have to worry about finding a baby sitter or get the girls to a daycare center so I could get to work.

We had a great opportunity to watch 'Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron,' together on our cheap satellite tv. Although the setting and plot take place in frontier America where no horse shows were taking place, my two girls absolutely fell in love with Spirit, the horse. They love horses and talk to each other all the time about when they will own their own horses. Spirit is the horse they say that they want to own so they can participate in jumping and dressage and three day eventing. Although Spirit did not perform in those types of activities in the movie, but instead was a supporting vehicle of inspiration for the young Lakota Indian brave, they felt Spirit could easily be trained for shows, especially for jumping. They even agreed that the paint mare, Rain, that Spirit fell in love with would make a great brood mare for one a foal that they would breed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How Quickly Life Can Change...

Up until about 4 years ago, life was not so bad. Neither my husband or I had any health problems that we were aware of. He worked full time and earned a decent living and I worked and made extra money at a job that I loved. I had great co-workers that were like family to me and the students I worked with at school gave me so much joy. We weren't rich, but we were paying our bills and had two vehicles and could take our kids out on fun days on the weekends if we liked. We could all go places together and often took my Mom right along with us. Back then there were no needs for any pain meds or depression meds b/c we were basically happy.
Then things changed drastically...John started having various health problems which meant missed time at work, more than one surgery, and tremendous medical bills. Then my MIL was diagnosed with cancer. I lost my job w/the school system and started working from home. My husband was diagnosed with depression b/c it was almost unbearable for him to deal with his mother's illness. She passed away 6 mths later and we were devastated. The next year John's grandmother passed away and again we were heartbroken. Shortly after I started having back problems and was diagnosed with depression as well due to ongoing stress and the chronic back pain that never goes away. Moving forward to this year, my grandfather passed away in May and only a couple weeks later a very dear friend of our lost his battle with cancer. In June, we move my FIL & BIL in with us b/c my FIL is also ill now. He has severe lung issues and desperately needs a hernia surgery that the surgeon will not do b/c of the condition of his lungs. Sometimes the grief and heartbreak that has hit us is so hard to deal with. It's almost unbelievable that one family could keep getting blow after blow like this.
Now, John has been off from work due to his messed up knee and back since August of last year. He does get a small amount of long term disability each month but still we can barely make ends meet. I still work from home and don't make near what I need to for everything we need and used to be able to afford. We only have 1 running vehicle now that does not have room for every one in it and does not have A/C either. We can never go anywhere as a family anymore. I rarely leave this house for anything other than going to the grocery store. My depression has gotten worse b/c I constantly feel horrible b/c I can't do things for or with my kids like I used to. I miss the person I used to be. I miss the life we used to have. I don't even have any friends anymore other than my online friends who live thousands of miles away from me. I see where those I used to call my friends can do fun things with their family. I want to do those things too. But, I can't right now. I feel like because of our health issues and our financial problems, my sweet babies are being deprived of doing things that other kids enjoy. I am so tired of this struggle. But, I have no idea if or when it will get any better. A few years ago, I would never have imagined how quickly things can change. But now I know, it happens. I would love to know how to make things good once again...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What I've Been Up to Lately...

Lately, I've been writing...a lot. I've started working more at my freelance writing jobs than ever before. I do still have a few smaller jobs that are basically for extra money, but I have been more seriously focused on my writing than ever before. I am so thrilled that I was able to get into freelance writing as this is a job that I can really put my heart into. So, starting tomorrow, I am going to double my writing goals and start doubling my work load as well. I have the jobs that will allow me to earn a decent living right from home, so it is high time I give it my all so I can start earning at my full potential.(:

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