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This video is a must see. Done by Perpetuum Jazzile, an cappella jazz choir from Slovenia – it is the song “Africa.” The group is very talented, but if you don’t want to watch the whole thing pay attention to the first minute. They create a thunder storm with their hands, on stage. Check it out!


From Puppy

Belle is home! We picked her up this morning and she’s doing great.

Ok, at the moment she’s howling at me because I’m typing and not playing, but for now it’s really cute!

She’s had quite a busy morning; she rode in the car, chased the kids around the front yard, met the neighbor who saw us get her out of the car, had a nap in the playroom, had lunch, had a nap outside, had a bath and is now waiting for me to come back and play, since the kids are down for naps.

I’m still soaked from the bath, and I smell like puppy, but I’m happy! She’s adorable and very sweet, and the kids love her. It’s clear she’s a lab, she picks up and carries everything from her toys to her leash to Alex’s stuffed animals, it’s going to be fun to teach her how to fetch.

I noticed over the last couple of weeks that the breeder would play music to the puppies when she wasn’t doing something with them. I think I’ll continue that for crate time, during the day, for a while so it feels familiar.

Check out the gallery linked above for more pictures from today. I gotta go play!


It looks like nesting, and it feels like nesting…but we’re not having a baby. At least, not a human one! We get to pick up our new puppy on Friday, and I can hardly wait!

I’ve been collecting pink puppy stuff for weeks now, everything from a pink collar with a little heart shaped ID tag, to pink toys and bedding. I haven’t bought any actual dog clothes yet, but it has been a close call several times. I think I’ve gone a little crazy.

I can’t help talking about Belle all the time, and I think I’ve driven the poor breeder to distraction with all of the visits since the puppies were born. If I didn’t feel bad about taking up her time, I’d be visiting daily.

I know my poor hubby thinks I’m losing it, he gave me the weirdest look today when I asked him to make copies of a house training schedule I found in a puppy magazine. He’s humoring me though, and was quite cooperative in setting up the crate and is even going to take a day off to help out with the settling in period. I guess he’s just glad this is a puppy and not a baby that’s got me so excited.

The kids are excited too. They know we only have two days to go, and they love looking at pictures of Belle, when we aren’t visiting her. Both boys have grown more confident around dogs in the past few months, as I’ve been including them in the re-training of Dakota, and taking them with me to visit Belle. Even little Alex, who is barely taller than Dakota is issuing firm commands like “off” and “no” rather than squealing and running away now. I really think that the experience of owning animals is going to be a positive influence on their lives.

Well, I better get back to puppy-proofing. I’ve got to relocate the cat food and check for stray legos at puppy eye level.


Our local library has a great schedule of events setup for this summer, including a Summer Reading Challenge that begins this week. We stopped at the library this morning and signed up both boys for the challenge, and picked up another batch of library books. Each boy has a reading log with their name on it, and they are excited to get started.

Josh already says he wants to read more books than anyone. I think this is going to be a great incentive to get him reading on his own. He’s got a pretty good start, and loves the library, so I’m confident we’ll make progress.

The scheduled events sound really fun too. One week they’ll play outside with bubbles. Another week they’ll make buttons. I think this will be fun for both boys, and give us something close to home to do during the week.


Yesterday we had a great day at the beach. It was overcast and cool, but not too cool. We went to a park along the beach that we hadn’t been to before, and we loved it!

It’s a nice short distance from home, only about a 10-15 minute drive. From the parking lot we climbed a set of stairs and found ourselves on a bridge overlooking the train tracks. Now that totally made Alex’s day. He loves trains. Down the other side was a great little beach. Nice and flat, with very calm waves (more like ripples really) it was perfect for shell and crab hunting.

We found one little red crab, but he’d already passed on. The kids foun him interesting though, and were able to examine him up close. A wide variety of shells and pretty rocks found their way into our bag (I was prepared with ziplocs).

The kids got wet, we all smelled like seaweed, and the event was a success! We can’t wait to go back.


From Puppy

Meet Belle! Or, “Summer Sky Aurora’s Belle” to be exact.

Belle is a three week old chocolate lab puppy, and the most cuddly little thing ever! We just get to visit with her for now, but will be able to bring her home around the 4th of July.

Until today we have been visiting will all three female chocolate labs in the litter, about once a week, to get an idea of which pup would be ours. Today though, we were able to mark the one we chose with a little dab of nail polish on the back of the head, so the owner can keep track of who belongs to who! Our choice was the lightest brown pup. She’s a bit bigger than her sisters, but extremely cuddly. While the other two were wiggling and squirming and searching for mommy, she was happily asleep in my arms. All three are adorable and sweet, but we only get one, so the choice had to be made!

There is still time to be sure of our choice, as their personalities emerge over the next couple of weeks, but the breeder is pretty sure this one is going to be a good fit for us. Also, we have second pick of the chocolates, so if the first pick family changes their mind, we may have to re-pick, but I’m not worried.

When we visited today all the puppies had their eyes open, and have been allowed to leave the whelping box and venture out into their mother’s run. Already they are leaving the box to go potty, and going back in to eat and sleep – pretty good for barely walking!!

The mother, Roxy, is an absolute sweetheart. She loves to show off her pups, and carefully smells and licks each one as it is brought back to her. You can practically see her counting to make sure they are all there! If past litters and the temperament of the parents are a good indicator, our pup is going to be incredibly sweet, and easy to train.

The hardest part about visiting is leaving the puppy when we go. I want to bring her home so badly! It’s hard to wait. But I’ve been using the last couple of weeks to get everything ready. I’ve got all the supplies I’ll need to care for a new pup, and the boys have had time to get used to the idea, and get really excited. They ask me daily if it’s time to bring home our puppy yet.

Check out the album linked under the picture for more puppy shots! The pictures start with week old babies when we first went to visit, and continue with each visit since. Look how much they’ve grown already!


The Sims 3
is out for PC!

The latest version of the popular game already has me hooked. I’ve loved the sims since they first came out, and have way more expansions and stuff packs for the sims 2 than is healthy. Now that the new version is out, I’m happily exploring all the new content and the graphics/AI updates.

So far, it’s great. The town is newer, bigger and seamless. I love being able to send my sim somewhere and not have to wait through the loading screen. The sim creator has had a complete overhaul. The possibilities seem endless for customizing the sim just the way you want them. Even the alien look is included with this game.

The sim AI seems to be greatly improved. No longer do my sims go into a panic because they can’t decide if they should pee or fix dinner. They seem to interact better with each other now too. The only odd thing I’ve seen so far is when they first arrive home after being out for any period of time. They stand facing a wall for a second or two…as if the AI needs to load household actions. Not a big deal, but odd for sure. I love the new wish system, and the ability to choose which ones to accept and work on at any given time. I like this a lot better than having to constantly worry about fears, and then having wants randomized each morning if they weren’t locked.

The relationship meter displayed for every interaction with other sims is great. It’s so much easier to tell if they are hitting it off, or just irritating each other – long before they start screaming at each other! It shows the progression from first interest to friendship and on to deeper connections too, which is great. You still have the relationship window in the UI that shows where you are with each person you know, but the real time meter is very useful.

And now for my very favorite aspect of the Sims. Houses. Building them, decorating them and forcing my sims to live in them. I’ve always loved the build/buy modes the best. I can honestly say I’ve probably spent at least twice as much time in those modes than actually playing in live mode with the sims themselves. In the sims3 everything has been greatly improved. I’m still not quite used to the new item menus, but the increased inventory is great! I absolutely love the ability to customize colors for everything, and the angled, and even off grid placement ability. Placement was a big irritation for me with sims2, I was forever looking for work arounds and giving my poor sims fits because items weren’t placed the way they wanted them…but it looked better that way! Now I can have both.

Even when I set out to build something simple – I seem to end up with large houses, the most expensive items and a generally “similar” look. Now with the ability to customize colors and patterns, that problem is fixed. Well, the look part anyway, I still can’t seem to build a small house.

There are a couple things I miss from the expansions for sims2. I miss pets. And surprisingly, gardens and seasons. I wasn’t expecting that to be such a big deal, but I’m really hoping those are in the works to be expansions for sims3. Vacations were fun, as was owning a business. But there seems to be an option to buy into a business in sims3 – I’ll need to explore that and figure out how that works. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

The only con I have so far is that you still can’t watch your sim work, and have to either busy yourself with decorating, or just wait for time to pass while they are at work. I personally would like to watch them I think – it shouldn’t be that different from the business expansion where everyone went about their jobs. The challenges and activities too should be visible. Especially things like tours through the museum – I’d like to see the inside of those buildings too!

Overall I’m happy with the latest addition to the Sims family of games from EA. I look forward to many hours of building and playing with this latest addiction. Maybe I’ll use the time my sim is at work to do my laundry or blog…


My boys have just experienced the wonder that is Cheetos…And they are in love.

Before now I never bought them because I don’t like the crunchy ones. As a kid, I loved the supper soft cheese balls. I was so sad when they stopped making them. But this weekend at the store I noticed the Cheetos “puffs” and thought I’d give them a chance.

After the first questioning bite, my boys were sold. They started worrying about who had more, and Alex (2yo) even tried to grab one from Josh, claiming it was his! Josh of course immediately wanted to know if we could “buy lots and lots of these forever?” The highest recommendation in his world.

I didn’t think they were bad either, a nice amount of crunch, they reminded me of the cheese balls I used to love.

Halfway through the first bag, and three sets of orange coated fingers later, I can safely say that cheetos puffs are a big hit here. Now if only I could come up with a way to get Frito Lay to let me “test” their product for more reviews! 🙂

Now that the beta is over, I’m free to talk about my latest online game addiction.

Free Realms is classified as a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) or MMO for short. Two races are available for play, Human and Pixie. Both have male and female options, with customization of hair, eye and skin color, different outfits and hairstyles.

I’ve chosen a human female, and named her “Lyric Rainsong.”

From Free Realms

Free Realms does not have a class system, instead it offers a job system. Each player can choose to do any (or all) of the available jobs, switching from job to job depending on what they are working on at the moment with just a simple change of outfit.

From Free Realms

So far I’m impressed with the graphic quality of the game, everything is clear and bright, just right for a world full of pixies, adorable goblins and cartoony humans. The user interface is simple to use and easy to figure out. I’m convinced that the developers have done their homework and incorporated some of the best elements of other available games (such as World of Warcraft) to make this game fun and easy to learn.

The job system, quests and minigames are well developed. I am looking forward to the addition of other features like player housing and clubs (guilds) which have been mentioned as “on the list” by the devs.

As the name suggests, Free Realms IS free to play. It also allows quite a bit of freedom in game play – which the devs insist is the true meaning of the name. Membership is available for a small monthly fee, and buying “Station Cash” allows players to purchase exclusive items such as pets and select accessories. A few of the jobs are limited to members only as well, but from what I can tell playing for free still offers quite a variety of fun and games to young and casual players.

I’ve started a web gallery for my screenshots, and I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I explore each of the various jobs and games.

Gallery: My Free Realms Pics
Link: Free Realms


1. Apples are to oranges as soup is to sandwiches. My kids like both but always seem to want the opposite of each other!

2. Someone better remember what Sunday is! And that’s all I have to say about that.

3. I think I hear a little one yawning. Must be nap time!

4. New Mail flag.

5. Do what you want to do, but I think pizza sounds good for dinner.

6. Along came Alex and behind him was a Radio Flyer wagon; in the wagon was a bucket filled with the rocks from my front landscaping.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to going to Curves, tomorrow my plans include shopping and Sunday, I want to have breakfast in bed!


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