Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bucket List: California Adventure Park

If you haven't been to California Adventure Park in a few years then you're way over due for a visit. Last time I went was roughly over 3 years ago and boy has it changed for the better. This park is by far better maintained and organized than Disneyland park.

Line cutters are quickly confronted and asked to either go to the back of the time or leave. There was also an incident where a grown man tried to steal my son's cars mouse ears hat and security quickly confronted the man completely preventing any kind of altercation.

While I can understand people have bad days but the people at Disneyland park (especially at night) seemed impatient. There was no sign of that at the California Park. Employees were quick to answer questions, pleasant, funny, and did well when talking to my shy kids. 

 One quick tip, however, is to make Car's Land your first stop. The Radiator Springs Racers line will only get worse as the day goes by and will not let up when the fireworks and parade starts. Also if you're looking to get a fast pass, don't. Fast passes get sold out with in the first 1-2 hours of opening. Plus you'll still end up in a long line waiting at least 45 minutes later in the day during your 'scheduled time'. Your best bet is to get to the park as early as you can and head straight to the ride's line. If you make it between 9am - 9:30am you'll get an about a 90 minute wait. Before 9 am it can vary between 30-90 minutes. Anything after 10 am is 2 hour or more wait. But let me tell you it is worth it! Remember to bring your camera since there are plenty of picture opportunities while waiting in line. There are also employees selling drinks and candy all through out the line so make sure you have some cash on hand.

Also, especially if you have teenagers check out the Mad Hatter's T Party. I have younger kids and they loved it but the music was night club music loud and I worried about my toddler's ears. The hubby and I definitely plan to go back with out the kids one day. While it is 'kid friendly' it's obviously more for adults.

One think that disappointed me was the lack of characters. It was way more than Disneyland Park but I guess I got spoiled as child when it was common to see them all over the park un-guarded.

Another thing that upset me was the serving of alcoholic drinks, especially at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf area. I just thought that was inappropriate and I did actually see a teenage girl sneak a swig of her mother's Margareta. Stuff like that is unavoidable and that's why I just personally think it should not be there at all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bucket List: Disneyland

This past October we took the kids to Disneyland. It was the first time for my two younger kids. If you haven't been to Disneyland in while, it's changed. It certainly wasn't the Disneyland I remember as a  kid and it's even changed a bit in the 4 years since I last visited.

One mega shocker was the price. Last I went it was about $90 for a 2 park 1 day for each pass. Now it's $170 each. Yikes!

Another disappointment was when I was a kid, all the Disney characters walked around the park. The illusion was that was where they lived.  It was great seeing random characters walking around the park and even the parking lot where I remember was the first time I met Goofy as a child.

Even four years ago there were still many characters all over the park but they had 'guards' and you had to wait in line. It wasn't bad really. The lines were organized and everyone got to say hello and you could still get all the autographs if you really tried. However, that wasn't what was happening when I went. To be honest since it's was the Halloween season with just a week before trick or treat time I was expecting to see more villains roaming around. But that didn't happen. In fact we only saw two at a distance and a sign for Micky and Minni Mouse in Toon Town. This was a huge disappointment and being that I went on a Sunday so it wasn't like it was a midweek slow down either.

Another disappointment: Line cutters. What can I say? I can easily forgive little kids hopped up on sugar who are practically shaking from excitement. But that wasn't what was happening. These were grown ups, many dragging along kids with them to sneak into rides. This happened on nearly all the rides (and no they did not have the fast track passes.)

The employees would wrinkle their noses, people would complain, but the cheaters would jump in a seat all smiles and they would get away with it. It was like a game to them. The rides operators would roll their eyes but let them get away with it. Only once on the tea-cup rides did I see two groups of line jumpers being kicked out and asked to go to the back of the line. Those people were easily in their mid twenties and far past the age of being seen as just a bunch of stupid teenagers.

Over all it was still a great time. Now I know a lot of people put Disney down for being money hungry, blah blah blah. But really, can you put a price on this?

It was so worth the high-way robbery price tag.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How To Get Rid of Root Aphids & the Ants that Farm Them

Ok, here are my results for getting rid of root aphids and ants.

Let me first explain that I had a severe infestation on my vegetable plants. So some of there may work for a mild case.

Ladybugs: They work well but they require a lot of prep. If you don't have plenty of ladybug attracting flowers in your yard already don't bother buying them. However, a research study found that mixing melted sugar with water will attract ladybugs and lacewings ans saw an average population increase of 300% -500%. If you already have a bad infestation in the soil it can prevent seeds from germinating and growing properly to already planted seeds it may not help. They will only eat what is on the surface and are likely to fly away.

Dish soap/water mixture: I have used this method on regular aphids with great results with in a 3 week period based on a once per week application. On root aphids this mixture didn't do too well. There was a noticeable reduction in the population with in the first few days after the first application but the population boomed again with in a week. The white 'eggs' that look like weird feathery roots remained unaffected and once hatched the cycle starts all over again. Application would need should be done 2x a week for as long as needed.

Dish soap/vegetable oil/water mixture: This has so far given me the fastest and most notable results. After two days I barely say any crawling (or flying) aphids and when I turned over the soil I didn't see any larva that was previously very obvious a day before application. However, I had a huge ant population boom followed by an increase in the aphid population (about 1/3 of the population before the first application.). This over all gave the best and fastest results and I highly recommend it.

Ortho Diaznon Ultra Insect Spray Multi- Purpose Insect Killer: Since the aphids were all over the yard I ended up giving in to a commercial product. This did an amazing job. All of my flower plants started a late bloom and had a nice growth spurt.

Other products that people swear by: diatomaceous earth, nematodes, and pyrethrum based insecticide.

Another very important part of eliminating aphids is to get rid of the ants that are probably farming them. Here are some methods that I have tried. The ants I am trying to get rid of are large black ants and small biting red fire ants. Both are extremely stubborn. All methods bellow, however, worked on small black ants.

Boiling Water: This seemed to extremely upset the ants and made them go into a panic mode but all it did was have the move the entrance of the ant hill one to three feet across for both type of ants.Warning: This method can harm plants so be careful where you pour.

Raid Spot Treatments: I tried just spraying the entrance with common Raid ant spray in a can but this didn't work well. Many large black ants died but they didn't even bother moving the ant hill. It worked better on the fire ants but didn't eliminate all the ants hills which only moved about a foot away.

Coffee Grounds: Both types of ants didn't even bat an eyelash at this method and didn't even bother moving their hill. They didn't even get upset over it. The red ants, however, avoided garden area where coffee grounds were on surface.

Boiling Water/Vegetable Oil: They were clearly upset but not enough to even move.

Create a Turf War: Shovel ants from one ant hill to another and vise versa. This actually worked! Since ants are territorial they are likely to start fighting each other. Two days after I did this all the red ant's hills were abandoned! A week later there were no sign of them. The large black ants, however, are still around but at least they don't bite me every chance they get.

Dig a hole & fill it up: (Used only on the large black ants) I did this purely out of frustration but it seemed to work at first but then they all showed up again in their same spot. Ant holes are essentially water proof because their tunnel system so I dug a hole right where their ant hill was. After that I filled it up with water at night (so there is less evaporation) for 3 days. WARNING: If you try this wear long pants and tuck them into your boots because the ants will attack. Also try stomping occasionally to shake them off. DOUBLE WARNING: Make sure that you're not digging over any pipes. In the U.S. you can call 811 and they will send over someone for free to mark where the utility lines are at.

Gasoline: (DO NOT TRY THIS) I really wanted to try to avoid this method for obvious reasons but my husband was getting tired of these ants (they even survived store=bought undiluted concentrated sprays last year) they were starting to become aggressive and the bites were extremely painful. He poured some gasoline into the hole (it wasn't near my vegetable garden or any other plants). And well, it works ... for 3 days until the ants that survived underground dug themselves out and formed a new any hill about a foot and half away. 

Results: Ants win. The large unnamed black ants have had a huge reduction in population but nothing seems to get rid of them so I surrendered.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pet Peeves about American History

Here is something that bothers me, more than it should but it does bother me a lot.

Here are two comments on a video.

"Indians killed more Indians than the Europeans. True fact."

 And when I corrected that person by saying that the genocide against the 'Inidians/Native Americans' was the largest in WORLD history and continued LONGER than any other EVER. (Yup, even worse than the WWII Holocaust). And that no, Indians did not kill more Indians than Europeans.

Then I got this bit from someone else:

"Wrong. European diseases made up a huge sum of the death count. Throughout the 1400-1850 hundreds."

Okay *Deep Breath* Before I get into a long rant I want to point something out. You'll see where I'm going with this Trust me. I have a point!

  • An estimated 11 - 17 million people died during the Holocaust (including non-jews), however some estimates are as high as 26 million.
  • Of that, an estimated 6 million were Jewish.
  • Millions died of disease in concentration camps and weren't directly 'killed' yet they are still considered victims of the Holocaust. Remember Ann Frank? She died of typhoid.
  • From 1940 through 1942, disease (especially typhoid) and starvation killed hundreds of thousands of Jews confined in the ghettos, yet these people are still counted as victims.

Trust me, keep reading, I do have a point to make.

Ok, the second commenter does have a point. Many did die of disease and not directly by a bullet in their head. However, even after first contact and people died 'accidentally' through exposure to a new disease, and then the natives kept on dieing from disease! BUT, oh yes there is a big but. But, this time it was on purpose.

  • Some soldiers began purposely infecting captured natives then sending them back to their tribe. Eventually, this became more and more common (some disagree, but there are surviving documents proving that this tactic was used multiple times & many believe that it was actually a very common practice). Take this wonderful example : "On June 24, 1763, William Trent, [...] recorded in his journal that two Indian chiefs had visited the fort, urging the British to abandon the fight, but the British refused. Instead, when the Indians were ready to leave, Trent wrote: "Out of our regard for them, we gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect."" ~ Colonial Germ Warfare. And this too, "Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander of British forces in North America, [...] "Could it not be contrived to Send the Small Pox among those Disaffected Tribes of Indians? We must, on this occasion, Use Every Stratagem in our power to Reduce them." He ordered the extirpation of the Indians and said no prisoners should be taken. [...] : "You will Do well to try to Innoculate the Indians by means of Blanketts as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race."
The small pox epidemic is estimated to have killed 80-90% of the total population.
  • They nearly eliminated all their crops by forcing them out of their land, purposely destroying farming areas, and letting their horses and cattle eat where ever they want.

  • Their fresh water was poisoned. "In Virginia Dr. John Pott, the physician at Jamestown, was said to have poisoned Indians in 1623, during a round of retaliation for a Powhatan uprising in which 350 English died. [...] The English said that about 200 savages died of poison and fifty from wounds." Colonial Germ Warefare.

  • The settlers shot a lot of local wild life and scared even more away with loud gun shots. So hunting became harder. Add that to their ruined crops and they had nothing to eat!

  • They were forced out of their home land which same it harder to survive causing more to die from exposure & disease.

  • Then there were the concentration camps reservations where the conditions were deplorable and practically a breeding ground for sickness. Not only that, they became malnutrition and starved causing more diseases.

All of these people technically did died from disease. True, but does it NOT make it the Europeans fault? REALLY??? It's like saying all those people who died of starvation and disease during the Holocaust wasn't the Nazi's fault. Because it was! And it was the Europeans and Americans fault that all those people died. (see what I did right there? I told you I had a point.)

STOP IT! Just please stop acting like 'it wasn't our/their fault'. It WAS. Get with the program people. Denial is a BAD thing.

So yes, the genocide against the Native Americans was the LARGEST in world history. FACT.

Then to just add to it, the second commenter replies: "I was only contesting that the European settlers [weren't] completely to blame. And you should know this, this is the history of almost 400 years. And that itself is dwarfed by the amount of these types of things that have happened throughout the world. And you chose to be angry about this specific area in the history of genocide."

Wow . . . I'm so sorry that the I corrected misinformation about the worst genocide in the history of the planet since it's obviously "dwarfed by the amount of these types of things that have happened throughout the world."


And why, no I am not being dramatic in that last statement. The guy literally said "And that itself is dwarfed by the amount of these types of things that have happened throughout the world. And you chose to be angry about this specific area in the history of genocide."

Ya, apparently because the mass murder of Native Americans is nothing to get upset over and it really doesn't matter in history ...

But really, I never got *angry* I actually stated confirmed FACTS from history telling that what they knew was in fact wrong. But after his second comment I did get angry. I could go on and on why I believe explaining the truth is important but this guy said it better than I ever could :

“Despite the fact that every country tends to be ethnocentric about its own past and tends to emphasize that their country did things with the best of intentions . . . Indian history is an important antidote to the notion that European Americans are God’s chosen people. The idea that God is on our side began with the Pilgrims.”


He recalls a 1631 fight over land at Saugus, Massachusetts, when the Puritan minister Increase Mather said, “God ended the controversy by sending smallpox among the Indians.’”

“Now that is Manifest Destiny. Divine destiny,” Loewen says. “Same idea. God is on our side, fate is on our side, the overall sweep of history is on our side. Of course, it is a rationalization for what we do or what we did. If we killed them all, it was too bad, it was Manifest Destiny.

“However, history is not a film you can unreel. You cannot run it backwards. You cannot make native people independent again. Politically or logically, it is impossible. We can’t do a lot about injustices from whenever. But I do think there is a relationship between knowing the truth about the past, and justice in the present. Once enough Americans understand the truth about the past and what we did to the native population, they will be in favor of the next step, whatever that next step is.” ~ The Indian War

However, I firmly believe that ignorance breeds ignorance. Meaning if you get wrong information you will give wrong information. So the point of this post is to help stop the wrong information.

Simply stating "European diseases made up a huge sum of the death count." Is such a complete cop-out of what really happened and a complete utter disrespect to those murdered. Stop the denial, these people just didn't drop dead by themselves, it was murder.

So here's the low down on what really happened:
I'll spare most the details since people have already written plenty of books on that.

The Europeans (and by European I mean starting with Columbus) arrive! Now, from the first encounters, including Columbus, immediately thought the natives so inferior that they could be easily eradicated or enslaved. Upon his second visit he immediately ordered policies of slavery and mass extermination against all local tribes encountered.

"Las Casas, the primary historian of the Columbian era, writes of many accounts of the horrors that the Spanish colonists inflicted upon the indigenous population: hanging them en mass, hacking their children into pieces to be used as dog feed, and other horrid cruelties. The works of Las Casas are often omitted from popular American history books and courses because Columbus is considered a hero by many, even today."~ Native American Genocide Still Haunts United States

Now at this point your teacher likely told you that the Europeans 'settled' in America. Well ... I'll let this guy do the talking : "If you had to apply a one-word summary for what happened in North America,” Loewen says, “‘invasion’ would be that word. ‘Settlement’ is a euphemism. ‘Settling’ implies that North America had not already been settled, but it had." ~ The Indian War

While the invasion took place European soldiers infected, poisoned, and shot anyone that got in their way.

The tribes were forced to leave fertile land and pushed out of their homeland, soldiers began to destroy crops and the natural landscape.

The stronger and more difficult tribes were tricked into thinking that the 'settlers' wanted some sort of peace. These trickaries ranged from poisonings, murder, or treaties that they would later break.

As the wars raged on the British government signed an agreement in 1763 that no one was to expand west of the Appellation Mountains.  This gave the British monopoly on land they could buy from the local tribes and would prohibit colonist from staking their claim to land any where they wanted and hypothetically stop the killing.

Colonist got pissed and start fighting against the English rule. (You didn't think the American Revolution was only about taxes and poor representation in the Parliament did you?)

English lose, Colonist win, the United States government orders the annihilation of tribes and expand west.

President Andrew Jackson orders the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Many had been killed, starved, and moved away from their land. Tactics included starvation, slavery, and brutal terror. Thousands died during the 'removal' to reservations.

These removals were brutal and even American officers were appalled by the actions of the U.S. government. "Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock was subsequently among those who found the remains of the Dade party in February [1835] [during the Second Seminole War]. In his journal he accounted for the discovery, then vented his bitter discontent with the conflict: "The [U.S.] government is in the wrong, and this is the chief cause of the persevering opposition of the Indians, who have nobly defended their country against our attempt to enforce a fraudulent treaty. The natives used every means to avoid a war, but were forced into it by the tyranny of our government." ~ American Indian Wars (Wiki)

From the 1830's - 1870's series of retaliations against the U.S. were known as the Texas-Indian Wars. After Texas joined the Union, more 'settlers' expand taking over more land and with the help of federal forces were able to over take and out number local tribes.

The Gold Rush leads to many clashes between prospectors and local tribes, who were defending their home land and prevent from being forcibly removed.

During the expansion to Utah, Americans took land from local tribes with no compensation. Between having the most fertile land taken from them and the large about of white travelers depleting the food supplies, the local natives were starving. Out of survival many resorted to stealing food to survive. This lead to the California Milita causing the Bear River Massacre: "After killing most of the men and many of the children, they raped and assaulted the women. In some cases, soldiers held the feet of infants by the heel and "beat their brains out on any hard substance they could find." Women who resisted the soldiers were shot and killed. One local resident, Alexander Stalker, noted that many soldiers pulled out their pistols and shot several Shoshone at point blank range. The soldiers burned the Shoshone dwellings and supplies; they killed anyone they found in the shelters." Local resident, Has Jasperson, wrote that he counted 493 dead men, women, and children after the massacre. ~Bear River Massacre

December 26, 1862 President Lincoln orders the largest penal mass execution in U.S. history against the Dakota Sioux.

Colorado 1864 massacre at Sand Creek, a peaceful, unarmed Cheyenne village, was ordered to be killed by Colonel John Chivington.  “Kill them all, little and big, because nits make lice.” Ex-president Andrew Jackson said, “If you pursue a wolf, you have to kill the whelps too.”

Tribes in the Colorado and Kansas kept peaceful relations with settlers and had no intention of going to war. However, many settlers grew angry wanting to take their land and formed the Colorado Volunteers.  John Chivington and George L. Shoup ordered the policy of shoot on sight against any Indians leading to the Colorado War.

November 29, 1864, Colorado volunteers attacked a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village in Sand Creek. Under take no prisoners policy, the militia killed and mutilated about 200. An estimated two-thirds were women and children. The tribe at Sand Creek was assured by the U.S. Government prior to settling there that they would be safe and their settlement legal, however, anti-Indian sentiments by white local settlers were high. Later congressional investigations resulted in a short-lived public outcry against the slaughter of the Native Americans.

After the Mexican-American War and the purchase of land; the U.S. government sent troops to remove and defeat rebel tribes. One of the most famous of these orders were 5,000 troops sent in 1886 to capture the Apache Geronimo, his 24 warriors, as well as women and children of the run away tribe. During this time many small bands escaped to Mexico, however, under government orders soldiers forced them to return to reservations.

December 29, 1890,- Wounded Knee massacre: the United States Army, on orders, killed 146 Lakota Sioux men (most were elderly), women and children with rapid-fire Hotchkiss guns.

Many of the tribes relocated to reservations were on very poor land making it difficult for them to survive let alone prosper. This poverty was forced into them has lasted for generations.

Okay got it? I know I left out A LOT but I would just be repeating myself. The white people came, saw, destroyed, terrorized, killed, and won. The wars, murders, and massacres I listed were not isolated instances. It happened all over America to every tribe.

Now lets step back a bit to the comment about Indians killing more Indians nonsense. The Native Americans did not fight in warfare 'kill all' standard. When two tribes would go in war the winning side would kill the opposing warriors and take their land, however, the non-fighting people on the loosing side were assimilated into the tribe. They were not killed, enslaved, or forced to move. They became part of the winning tribe. This was the most common type of warfare all through out the Americas.

If you didn't know this, don't worry it's not just you and it's not your fault. It's the school system, a.k.a. the government.

I mean most Americans can't even tell you who was the 1st president of the United States! Go ahead, what did your teacher tell you ...

Think about it, chances are you were given wrong information. Doubt me?

Guess who it was ...
. . .

 . .


Times up! The correct answer is : John Hanson. I bet you were thinking George Washington, huh?

Nope, not really, but if you want to get technical on me George Washington was the first Constitutional President of the executive branch. However, during the Articles of Confederation (the founding and start of the United States) there were a total of seven presidents before George Washington (all of which George acknowledged, supported, and referred to as President).

Now, some would even disagree that John Hanson wasn't the first either since there were in fact people before him with the title 'President'. However, this was before independence was won. John Hanson was ousted as 1st president because under the Articles of Confederation of the United States he was a part of congress since the executive branch did not exist until the Constitution was finalized.

Resources (aka just so you know I'm not talking out of my a$$): *

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Truth About Parenting

I'd like to address a pet peeve of mine. Women who talk about parenting like it's the most natural, easiest, wonderful job in the world and every woman should do it.

Many would like you to believe that parenting is the most wonderful job a woman can ever have or that a woman's natural instincts make it easier. Well, maybe in la la land this is true and for women who's ideal job is working for needy person who on occasion yells, screams, and say they hate you. Oh, did I mention the pay and benefits? Well ... there is none. Nada. And if you want a day off, guess what? You have to pay someone else to cover for you.

Yes, there are many wonderful moments that a child can give you. If you are lucky to have a child who is naturally easy going then you will have many more with little effort. On the other hand with children with difficult personalities and strong wills; these moments will be a bit less until you get a hang of it and become a parenting pro.

Still, all the screams, tantrums, messes, and yelling they don't like you . . . oh yes, it will happen and it will hurt you more than anything else. But those smiles, laughs, kisses, I love yous, and cuddles make it all worth it. But still, you will have more days where you collapse on the bed exhausted.

So ladies, please! Don't fall into the trap of needing to explain how wonderful having children is to those with out kids. I know that there is tremendous pressure to look like the the perfect mommy but by not tell the hard ugly truth, we are doing a disservice to other women.

Instead, give them a reality check. They are expensive from before the time they're born to after they graduate high school. A good nights sleep will be a thing of the past and by the time that do start sleeping through the night they'll be waking up early to start school.

They are messy! And I don't mean college dorm room messy. I mean poop on the walls messy (if you're lucky their fascination with poop will be short).

Every heard of the terrible twos? Well it actually doesn't stop there. Studies have actually show that you can predict how a kid will be as a teenager by how they acted when they were two years old. Wonderful, right?

And privacy ... you'll eventually forget what even means.

So please ladies, the next time a women with no kids asks what it's like having kids . . . tell the truth. Because there is nothing easy about being a mother. It takes blood, sweat, and tears from start to finish; but in the end you can sit back and look at the amazing person created out of it all and know that they are truly a part of you and the love they have for you truly unquestionable.

Let's face it, it takes a strong woman to be a good mother and if you can't handle the worst of it, you'll never truly be able to enjoy the very best that comes from being a mother.

Sorry for this little rant but I just don't like it when some women act like having a kid is a cure all for anything and you are not complete with out one. No one likes to say it but some women should not have children. My own mother was one and I suffered greatly from it, I still am. I am glad that I am alive but considering how suicidal I used to be as a child because of my mother, it is rather surprising that I am actually still alive.

With so much poverty and child abuse going on we should be encouraging women to think twice about bringing a life into the world and encourage the use of birth control. Not every women is meant to be a mother just because she has a vagina. I'm all for family planning. Things such as the Plan B and The Pill should be widely accepted. It lowers the need for abortions and teen pregnancies.  It helps couples make sure that their ready. It helps women take control of their own life!

I know you ladies and gentlemen all love your kids, but be honest when someone asks about parenting. It's hard! And give them a question back too, 'Are you sure you're ready?'

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bucket List: Top 100 Movies

So, another one on my list is to see the top 100 movies of all time. For this I am using IMDb Top 250 list.
I plan on re-watching them and I'll give my rating right next to it.

So here are IMDb's Top 250 Movies (as of September 2012):

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 5/5

2. The Godfather (1972) 4/5

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) 5/5

4. Pulp Fiction (1994) 5/5

5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 5/5

6. 12 Angry Men (1957) 5/5

7. Schindler's List (1993) 5/5

8. The Dark Knight (2008) 5/5

9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

10. Fight Club (1999) 5/5

11. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 4/5

12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 4/5

13. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 5/5

14. Inception (2010) 4/5

15. Goodfellas (1990) 4/5

16. Star Wars (1977) 5/5

17. Seven Samurai (1954) 5/5

18. The Matrix (1999) 5/5

19. City of God (2002) 5/5

20. Forrest Gump (1994) 5/5

21.  Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 2/5

22. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) 4/5

23. Casablanca (1942) 2/5

24. Se7en (1995) 5/5

25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 5/5

26. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 5/5

27.The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 5/5

28. The Usual Suspects (1995) 4/5

29. Rear Window (1954) 5/5

30.  Psycho (1960) 5/5

31. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

32. Léon: The Professional (1994)

33. Sunset Blvd. (1950) 5/5

34. Memento (2000) 5/5

35. American History X (1998) 5/5

36. Apocalypse Now (1979) 5/5

37. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 5/5

38. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 5/5

39. Saving Private Ryan (1998) 5/5

40. North by Northwest (1959) 4/5

41. Alien (1979) 5/5

42. City Lights (1931)

43. Spirited Away (2001)

44. Citizen Kane (1941) 5/5

45.  The Shining (1980) 5/5

46. Modern Times (1936) 5/5

47. American Beauty (1999) 5/5

48. Taxi Driver (1976) 3/5

49. Vertigo (1958) 5/5

50. Toy Story 3 (2010) Rating 5/5

51. The Departed (2006)  5/5

52. The Pianist (2002) 5/5

53. Back to the Future (1985) 5/5

54. M (1931) 5/5

55. Paths of Glory (1957) 5/5

56. Double Indemnity (1944) 4/5

57. Aliens (1986) 4/5

58. Life Is Beautiful (1997) 5/5 (this should be much higher on the list!)

59. WALL·E (2008) 5/5

60. The Lives of Others (2006) 5/5

61. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

62. Amélie (2001) 3/5

63. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 4/5

64.  Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 5/5

65. Gladiator (2000) 4/5

66. The Green Mile (1999) 5/5

67. The Prestige (2006) 5/5

68. Reservoir Dogs (1992) 5/5

69.  The Great Dictator (1940) 5/5

70. Das Boot (1981)

71. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

72. The Third Man (1949) 3/5

73. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

74. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 4/5

75.  The Intouchables (2011)

76. Chinatown (1974) 4/5

77. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

78.  L.A. Confidential (1997) 5/5

79. Once Upon a Time in America (1984) 4/5

80. Full Metal Jacket (1987) 5/5

81. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) 3/5

82. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) 5/5

83. The Lion King (1994) 5/5

84. Braveheart (1995) 5/5

85. Some Like It Hot (1959) 4/5

86. Singin' in the Rain (1952) 5/5

87. Oldboy (2003) 5/5

88. Amadeus (1984) 5/5

89.  Metropolis (1927) 5/5

90. Rashomon (1950)

91. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

92. All About Eve (1950)

93. The Avengers (2012) 5/5

94. Unforgiven (1992) 5/5

95. The Apartment (1960) 5/5

96. Raging Bull (1980) 3/5

97. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

98. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) 4/5

99. The Sting (1973) 2/5

100. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) 5/5

101. Princess Mononoke (1997)

102. A Separation (2011) 5/5

103. Die Hard (1988) 4/5

104. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

105. Downfall (2004)

106. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

107. Batman Begins (2005) 4/5

108. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) 4/5

109. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

110. The Great Escape (1963) 4/5

111. Inglourious Basterds (2009) 5/5

112. Yojimbo (1961)

113. Up (2009) 5/5

114. For a Few Dollars More (1965) 5/5

115. Snatch. (2000) 4/5

116. The Elephant Man (1980) 4/5

117. On the Waterfront (1954) 3/5

118. The Seventh Seal (1957) 3/5

119. The Maltese Falcon (1941) 3/5

120. Heat (1995) 4/5

121. Gran Torino (2008) 5/5

122. Toy Story (1995) 5/5

123. Rebecca (1940) 4/5

124. The General (1926)

125. Blade Runner (1982)

126. Wild Strawberries (1957)

127. Fargo (1996) 4/5

128. Touch of Evil (1958)

129. The Big Lebowski (1998)

130. The Kid (1921)

131. Scarface (1983) 4/5

132. Ran (1985)

133. Cool Hand Luke (1967) 4/5

134. The Deer Hunter (1978)

135. Sin City (2005)

136. Strangers on a Train (1951) 5/5

137. The Gold Rush (1925)  5/5

138. Jaws (1975) 5/5

139. No Country for Old Men (2007) 4/5

140. It Happened One Night (1934) 4/5

141. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

142. High Noon (1952)

143. The Sixth Sense (1999) 5/5

144. Platoon (1986) 5/5

145. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) 4/5

146. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

147. The Thing (1982) 5/5

148. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 5/5

149. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) 5/5

150. Trainspotting (1996)

151. Notorious (1946) 2/5

152. Annie Hall (1977) 4/5

153. Casino (1995) 5/5

154. Warrior (2011/I)

155. The King's Speech (2010) 3/5

156. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) 5/5

157. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

158. Gone with the Wind (1939) 5/5

159. Into the Wild (2007)

160. Black Swan (2010)

161. Good Will Hunting (1997) 5/5

162. Life of Brian (1979)

163. The Big Sleep (1946) 2/5

164. How to Train Your Dragon (2010) Rating: 5/5

165. Finding Nemo (2003) 5/5

166. V for Vendetta (2005) 5/5

167. Donnie Darko (2001)

168. Network (1976) 4/5

169. Ben-Hur (1959) 5/5

170. The Night of the Hunter (1955) 4/5

171. The Terminator (1984) 4/5

172. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

173. Million Dollar Baby (2004) 5/5

174. Dial M for Murder (1954) 4/5

175. Stand by Me (1986) 4/5

176. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) 5/5

177. There Will Be Blood (2007)

178. Groundhog Day (1993) 5/5

179. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

180. The Artist (2011/I) 

181. Twelve Monkeys (1995) 5/5

182. Amores Perros (2000)

183. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) 3/5

184. The Graduate (1967) 

185. Mary and Max (2009) 5/5

186. Gandhi (1982) 4/5

187. The 400 Blows (1959)

188. The Killing (1956)

189. Persona (1966)

190. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) 5/5

191.  8½ (1963)

192. The Princess Bride (1987) 3/5

193. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) 5/5

194. Howl's Moving Castle (2004) 

195. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) 4/5

196. La Strada (1954)

197. The Hustler (1961) 3/5

198. The Wild Bunch (1969)

199. Stalag 17 (1953) 5/5

200. Rocky (1976) 5/5

201. Anatomy of a Murder (1959) 4/5

202. District 9 (2009)

203. The Exorcist (1973)

204. A Beautiful Mind (2001) 5/5

205. Rope (1948)

206. Barry Lyndon (1975) 

207. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) 4/5

208. Stalker (1979) 

209. Ratatouille (2007)

210. Roman Holiday (1953) 5/5

211. Infernal Affairs (2002)

212. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) 5/5

213. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) 

214. The Truman Show (1998) 

215. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 

216.  Ip Man (2008) 

217. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

218. The Wrestler (2008)

219. Star Trek (2009) 5/5

220. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

221. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

222. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

223. Harvey (1950) 

224. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

225. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

226. In the Name of the Father (1993)

227. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

228. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

229. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

230. Nosferatu (1922)

231. Manhattan (1979)

232. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)

233. Rain Man (1988) 5/5

234. La Haine (1995)

235. Mystic River (2003)

236. Shutter Island (2010)

237. Let the Right One In (2008)

238. Big Fish (2003) 4/5

239. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

240.  In the Heat of the Night (1967) 4/5

241.  The Searchers (1956)

242.  Rio Bravo (1959) 

243.  La Dolce Vita (1960) 

244. Castle in the Sky (1986) 

245. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 5/5

246.  The Untouchables (1987)

247. King Kong (1933)

248.  Papillon (1973)

249.  His Girl Friday (1940) 

250.  Ed Wood (1994)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

How To Get Rid of Urine Odor from Carpet

So lately I've had some pee pee trouble. For a multitude of reasons my potty trained 5 year old daughter started to pee in her room. Her reasons ranged from being lazy, upset, and she left a shirt full of food on the bathroom floor that ended up covered in ants so she didn't want to go in there. Mind, we have two bathrooms in the house. Mostly, I think it's because she's upset at me and jealous of her two younger siblings. To top off my pee pee troubles my cat started to pee in her room too. And anyone one who owns a cat knows that cat urine is extremely difficult to get rid of and most commercial products don't nearly work as claimed.
So here is how to get rid of urine and the odor from carpet:
Since once the pee enters the carpet it actually spreads deep into the padding under neither the carpet so hand held sprays won't work. Both techniques will work for spot treatments, but if you can't pin point the smell then do the entire carpet. I personally use and recommend using both starting with the vinegar first then the baking soda the next day.
Vinegar Mix Cleaner:
  • In a large bucket mix a 1 to 1 ratio of vinegar and water (boiling hot water is recommend for very stinky carpet.)

  • Liberally soak the carpet and let sit for about 10 minutes.

  • *Optional* Add any carpet cleaner of you choice (I like to use one with a strong floral smell) using a carpet shampooer. This helps mask the vinegar smell.

  • Pick up as much of the mixture as you can with either a carpet shampooer or a wet/dry shop vac.

  • Let the room air out. Once the carpet is dry the vinegar smell will go away.
Baking Soda/ Hydrogen Peroxide Mix
  • Spread baking soda over the entire carpet generously. Break up any clumps by hand and sprinkle over the floor.
  • Work into fibers with a cleaning brush
  • Let it sit over night.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon dish soap (non-bleach) for every 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • Spray or pour over baking soda (you don't need to soak the carpet like with the vinegar mix)
  • Work it into the carpet using a cleaning brush or toothbrush.
  • Let it completely dry
  • Vacuum it up with the upholstery attachment.
  • *Optional* After I like to spray a light layer of Fabreez for a nice floral sent.

*Warning!* I have no idea why but if you have a roach problem (even a mild one) they might be attracted to the baking soda & hydrogen peroxide mix. So spray the out side of the house completely with a roach repellent so they don't get in. I don't know if it was a one time thing but this did happen once to me when I left a window open over night (I actually saw them crawling through the window to get in!) However, this never before or after. Maybe the neighbors were fumigating? I don't know but I though I should warn you anyway.
Using this really helped. My daughter's room smelled really bad since she would pee at different spots and not say anything. The cat didn't help either.
I recommend buying the vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide in bulk at either Sam's Club, Costco, or Smart & Final (this one doesn't require membership).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bucket List: Top 100 Books

One of the things on my bucket list was to read the top 100 books of all time (once I'm done I might shoot for the 1,000 list). There are a lot of lists out there around the internet but I narrowed it down to two different lists that don't have a lot of the same books. The TIME Entertainment Magazines top 100 and theguardian's top 100 books of all time. The TIME list is a little limited since they restrict the books that have been written since the magazine first started publishing and theguardian's list include many true 'classics' such as Gilgamesh and The Ilaid which were written long before the printing press was invented. All around I think the two lists give a well rounded list of books.

Here are the books that I have read so far.

TIME Entertainment Magazine's Top 100 Books

Vanessa's bookshelf: time-mag-top-100

To Kill a Mockingbird
4 of 5 stars true
tagged: historical-fiction and time-mag-top-100
Gone with the Wind
5 of 5 stars true
tagged: historical-fiction, all-time-fav-books, and time-mag-top-100

theguardian's Top 100 Books of All Time

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Check The Crime Rate In an Area Before Moving

I plan on moving next year and I thought I'd share these links with you guys.

At Trulia they let you see recent crime reports and a general color coded map showing the crime rate for a city. The link above shows Las Vegas, NV but you can change it by typing in the city and state of your choice in the top left search bar. Being that I have been to Vegas (outside the strip) more times than I can count and know many people who live there I'd say that it is fairly accurate. I also tested it to see my local area and surrounding cities and it shows a fair amount accuracy.

There are also online websites that show where registered sex offenders live in an area. For an accurate map google 'regestered sex offenders' and include the state you live in or the state you are moving too. There is also a website called that offers the same information for different states, however, I am not completely sure how accurate it is or how often it is updated but when comparing it to the official California one it had all the same information. Many of the sites have a similar system where you can look at the map an click on the color squares (or dots) to see a picture of the sex offender. The ones I have checked allow to search by general location, specific address and name.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why People Hate Twilight and Parents Should Worry About Their Kids Reading the Twilight Saga

Okay I feel the need to write this as part disclaimer, discussion and warning. I will admit that I do dislike the Twilight books, however, I really do like the general idea of the books. My dislike of the books is out of personal preference (I have read all of them). However, I at times, like many others hate the books.

I want to explain why and point out that a lot of the hate isn’t even about the book itself but rather the publisher and certain Twilight fans.

Most of you reading are reasonable and intelligent people who understand that fiction and personal fantasy don’t and at times shouldn’t be applied to the real world. Many of you may also be writers or reading enthusiasts and realize that not everything in fiction will be ‘good’ in a moral sense but still might be expressed it that way because it’s fiction. However, many others do not and this is where the ‘haters,’ ‘bashers,’ and ‘anti-Twilighters’ come in.

Bella forfeits her life by basically becoming a robot after Edward leaves. She cannot properly function or live with out Edward. In the books (including Midnight Sun) both Edward and Bella just shuffled through life and didn't start 'living' until they met each other and now cannot adjust to life with out each other. In fantasy many see this as ‘true love’ or ‘romantic’ but in reality this is co-dependency and not ok. Many of you readers wouldn’t stop living your life just because an ex dumped you. Yes any one would go through a period of depression but eventually move on. However, some actually think that if you do not act like Bella did in Eclipse that it wasn’t real love. This is a scary thought that people actually think that way. I know I may get people who disagree but in Eclipse Bella was trying to commit suicide. Just because she lived doesn't change the fact that dying was the point. I thought it would be obvious but I guess not. When she jumped off the cliff she wasn't trying to get a 'rush' she was trying to kill herself because Edward didn't want her.

Picture a guy that you don’t have romantic feelings for trying to force himself on you and try to manipulate you into breaking up with someone you love. Then he tells you that since you don’t love him he is going to kill himself. This in short describes Jacob. What Jacob did in the book in real life would be considered sexual assault as well as abusive both mentally and physically. It’s okay to fantasize or like Jacob. The situation can be considered or passed off as ‘he loves her.’ But most of you wouldn’t put up with an abusive guy or girl who forced you to kiss them and avidly try to destroy your relationship. However, some actually think that type of behavior is acceptable in real life.

Imagine that your boyfriend/girlfriend began to stalk you and told you that you couldn’t see your friend anymore because they think that person is safe. He/she begins to try to control who you see by going as far as sabotage. This same person also makes it a point to control other aspects of your life to the point of physical force. This is Edward. In the fictional and personal fantasy sense it is okay to like this. But would you really let a guy/girl control you like that in the real world? To follow you everywhere? Some people actually think that what Edward did is acceptable and actually wish that they could be in Bella’s shoes. In reality if Edward and Bella was a real couple they would show ALL the signs of domestic violence. Love or hate Edward you have to admit that not everything he did was right and the bottom line is that he is a fictional character. However, there are people who want a guy to treat them the way Edward treated Bella in real life or else it isn’t real love.

Many people hate Twilight because some readers actually take the book seriously and apply it to real life. Even the author stresses that Bella, Edward, & Jacob’s life and actions can’t and don’t correlate into the real world or real situations or even be realistic because they are fictional. She even states that Edward doesn’t even have human emotions or thoughts anymore. Many who love Twilight always tell haters that ‘it’s just a book!’ And you guys are a 100% right! But like I have repeatedly said some take the book seriously and that is why people hate the book so passionately.

There was even a girl in Washington who jumped off a cliff because Bella did it in the book while another woman cried and complained that her husband was nothing like Edward Cullen. Some men have complained that it has ruined their relationships because their wives want them to act abusively (because that is what it is) and aren't comfortable with it. Oh but the list goes on ... and on ...

Some twilight fans have gone as far as trying to kill people who don't like the book including shooting at them with a flare gun, beating people with a bat, and even attempting to slit someones throat in school.

From pre-teens to grown women have become so addicted to Twilight that it has caused real problems in their life.

Many try to spread hate by encouraging other online to harass those who did not like or hate the books/movie, sometimes even each other (team Edward/team Jacob), and now (I've seen this stuff happen personally) attacking Harry Potter fans. Here are some entertaining videos of people talking about these Twilight attacks.

There has been a lot of attacks ranging from small to felony worthy attacks.

Here are some real quotes form discussion forums. I won’t post where or who wrote these. Try to take away the supernatural and Twilight perspective and you’ll see how scary these posts are. Please note that these quotes are applying fiction situations to real life.

I think some people are just jealous of what Edward and Bells have!” I think these two responses to the above says it all – “Plenty of women send love letters to serial killers in prisons across the world. It speaks volumes.” “Yeah, you're right, everyone is jealous when they don't have an unbalanced, fatalistic and completely dependent relationship of their own to tear down their mental psyche. I know I am.”

I do think the concept and depth of Bella and Edward's love is real and people do find [it] and want to have that kind of relationship. Some people say Edward is a creeper but I disagree.”

People hate Twilight because they don’t know the meaning of love. The book is the exact meaning of why and what love is and trust me all the book have [real] love between Edward and Bella!”

I think every girl deserves an Edward and a Jacob. If only, hey?”

It’s not sick or abusive. Yes, Edward's actions taken out of context could be called stalker, scary, dangerous, etc. But here's the thing, Bella loves him. She likes the danger, the over-protectiveness, the volatile relationship, the over-intensity of it all. Some women like that, some things are not black and white. There are several different kinds of attractions out there and one women's abuse may be another person's romance.” (bold emphasis is mine.)

I wish that I had a guy like Edward who would love me so much that he would stalk me and worry about who my friends are.”

Nobody in their right mind would support domestic violence or sexual assault but these people are and defend it to the point it is scary. The discussion threads started innocently by someone asking why people hate Twilight. Some on this thread have actually gone through and flagged every reasonable post that describes why they don’t like book and point out the character’s faults and abusive tendencies. They post almost everyday trying to discredit people and actually quote google (I kid you not) on how Bella, Edward, and Jacob are not clingy, abusive, co-dependant, ect. Apparently psychology and dysfunction is so easy that google can give you the answer in one page. Anyone who has taken psychology classes or at least interested in it knows how absolutely ridicules that is. Several actually avidly defend Bella by saying she ‘never whines’ in the books. Really? Even google should be able to properly define whining.

Again, many realize it’s just a book. People hate the book because many crazy girls don’t understand that. This also upsets people because a publisher of books aimed at children and teens should be held to a higher standard and not let a book that contains abusive relationships in a positive light be published through them. And the haters are right. Twilight should have been published as an adult book. It seems that as long as the main character is a teenager that the book is automatic a ‘teen’ book.
But like most fans, here is a quote from a TRUE fan who is able to enjoy the book the way it was supposed to be, as fiction:

I am a HUGE fan of Twilight! [...] But this doesn't mean I am blind to the flaws in the characters or the possibilities for improvement. I can see the point in other people arguments. I also agree that Bella is not a great character. She has many flaws as being unhealthily dependable on Edward. Edward himself is kind or creepy as well. But, to me, I can avoid it because it's such a romantic story (well in my head it is). I love the fact that Bella and Edward seemed so doomed because of every little thing but the put through. I also love it because of the love they share. Those [two] people, Edward and Bella, seem and are so in love they would do anything for each other.”

And don't get me started on imprinting ...


Lets just say that Jacob imprints on baby Rennesme and claims it's not romantic, however, givers her a tribal marriage bracelet that is the same as a promise ring when she is only a few months old (physically 7 years old; she has accelerated growth). He claims to not have romantic feelings but already plans on marrying her. She is what in the real world would be considered a child bride and what Jacob is doing is considered child grooming, a form of pedophilia. There are also many fans who so see nothing wrong with this either.


Here is one pet peeve that I also have against some Twilight fans who argue with 'haters'. One claimed that you have to understand Stephine Meyer, who is Mormon and places a high value to marriage, to understand the relationships in the story. Namely Edward/Bella, Jacob/Rennesme, and Quil/Clair.
This was from one poster, so I hope to God that people don't think that the average Mormon would approve of the type of relationships in these books. Yes, they have gotten a bad rap from a few polygamous and generally just plain crazy people but every Mormon that I have known personally have been caring, intelligent, family people who wouldn't condone abusive relationships. Just to clear the air Mormons are not weird, freaks, or a scary cult.

So as a warning to parents who have kids that have read or want to read the Twilight books talk to them about domestic violence! Tell them how Jacob and Edward act in the books are NOT acceptable in real life. And here is why:

"1 in 3 teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.)

1 in 4 teenage girls who have been in relationships reveal they have been pressured to perform oral sex or engage in intercourse. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.)

More than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship (26%) report enduring repeated verbal abuse. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.)

Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.)

Of the women between the ages 15-19 murdered each year, 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend. (City of New York, Teen Relationship Abuse Fact Sheet, March 1998)

Less than 25% of teens say they have discussed dating violence with their parents. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study of teens 13-17 conducted by Applied Research and Consulting LLC, Spring 2000)

Teens report dating abuse via technology is a serious problem

* 71% of teens regard boyfriends/girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cellphones and social networking sites as a serious problem.

* 68% of teens say boyfriends/girlfriends sharing private or embarrassing pictures/videos on cell phones and computers is a serious problem.

Cell phone calls and texting at unimaginable frequency mean constant control day and night

* Nearly one in four teens in a relationship (24%) communicated with their partner via cellphone or texting HOURLY between midnight and 5:00am.

* One in three teens (30%) say they are text messaged 10, 20, 30 times an hour by a partner inquiring where they are, what they're doing, or who they're with. " ~ T.E.A.R. Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships

Abuse is a serious problem among young girls and shouldn't be taken lightly and the publisher of the Twilight books should have known better. Since even before mass publishing, books have spread ideas and help bring about cultural change. Don't underestimate the power of the written word.

There are also many other problems with the book including bad grammar, word usage, characterizing, just plain not researching, not being consistent, ect. The list really does go on. Since I really would like to end this post on a somewhat positive note I'll share this link with you:  it really is very funny and rips at all the mistakes, oddities, and totally unrealistic moments in Twilight. If you haven't read twilight I suggest reading this instead. It is much more entertaining. (They also do funny reviews and 'sporking' on Eclipse, New Moon, 50 Shades of Grey as well as Midnight Sun.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

One Magic Square book Review

One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot SquareOne Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square by Lolo Houbein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over all this was a great all around gardening book. It covers the basics of soil prep, watering, pests, crop rotation, pruning, problem solving, ect.

A beginner will need to read Part 1 and Part 2 in full before starting. Anyone with some gardening experience can jump ahead where the author suggests to do so.

Even people with gardening experience will get a lot from this book. I believe that this really is a 'must have.' It is informative enough for the average gardener but simple enough to understand for anyone who is completely new. The reason I suggest to actually buy this book rather than borrow it from the library is that nearly half the book is devoted to plot designs with companion gardening to how to grow and take care of different types of fruit and vegetables. Not only is this book informative it is also a great reference book with entire section devoted to plot plans and descriptions of plants. As a bonus the book uses all organic methods and even some interesting cooking ideas.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Wonder Who Came Up With THESE Toys

Every once in a while toy companies try to become inovative and 'new' by coming out with toys that are truely unique.

Not all are automatic hits.

Here is one from the Star Wars collection.

Why yes, that is the dead mangeled bodies of Owen and Aunt Beru as action figures!

Okay kids, who wants to shave a baby!?

And here is something that I saw yesterday at Toys R Us.
Because kids like playing with poop and according to this guy its fun, especially for boys.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Now's the Time to Start Gardening!

I went  grocery shopping yesterday and I was shocked at high the food prices had gone up in one week! Chicken alone was $1.77 a pound when just a couple of weeks ago I was paying $1.17 a pound. You don't even want to know how much the best cut of steaks were going for! ($8.78 a pound if you were wondering.) Why is this happening?

If you have been watching CNN  or anything not to do with the Olympics you might have noticed news casters talking about how farmers have been growing increased amounts of corn. Even those who didn't usually grow large amounts of corn were starting to grow it since it was supposed to be more profitable. Now as of yesterday it was announced that about 50% of our nations farm land (mainly growing corn) is now considered a disaster area and the government is now trying to assist them. Not all the crops in that area are failing but a good portion of them are.

The drought has been so bad that the crops have failed since many of the farmers didn't have water reserves or towers for their crops. What does that mean for us? Supply and demand. Less supply, higher demand means higher prices. Yesterday on CNN it was even projected that food prices will take another leap up. Everything from vegetables to meat and to make matters worse the full effect of the drought is expected to be fully felt until 2013. So start gardening now! As you may know I am a pessimist at heart and I don't like to give up luxury food items so I am taking this seriously since I am on a fixed budget with three growing kids.

CNN: How the drought could hit your wallet.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mommy, What Does 'Give Him an Inch and He'll Take the Whole Foot' Mean?

Mommy, what does "give 'em an inch and they'll take the whole foot" mean?

Well, remember when we were at the beach and I was trying to get sunblock on you while your sister won't stop nagging to hurry up? I told her she can only get her feet wet and not to go any further. She went in and each time a wave hit she kept on going further in even though I was telling her to get back over here but I couldn't yell because there were other people around and I didn't want to look trashy by yelling. Then I had to run in there after her because she went all the in chasing a wave after I told her not to. Then like just like Murphy's Law a big wave comes in and knocks her down!

I told her to only go far enough to get her feet wet and what does she do? She runs all the way in like a lunatic and gets hit by a wave freaking out making me look like horrible mother. We left because I couldn't handle the shame of all those hypocritical eyes staring at me. Give your sister an inch and she'll take the whole foot! and usually ends up making me look bad.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Growing Your Own Fruit & Veg For Dummies Review

Growing Your Own Fruit and Veg for Dummies, UK EditionGrowing Your Own Fruit and Veg for Dummies, UK Edition by Geoff Stebbings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is truly the 'go to' book and should be read from front to back by anyone new to gardening. Those with a little more experience can still use this a good reference book. It covers everything from soil preparation to recommended varieties of fruits and veggies. Those not in the UK can still use this book with a little common sense as to figuring out what doesn't apply to you.

It starts with soil preparation, dealing with pests, then the rest of the book goes into how to grow certain types of plants. It does a pretty good job describing and has a few illustrations. However, for it to be a true beginner book I think it should have added more illustrations and how to encourage beneficial insects.

The non-UK specific version of this book is "Vegetable Gardening For Dummies, 2nd edition" The table of contents is similar but doesn't start logically by starting with soil preparation as the UK version does. There are other more generalized gardening books such as Gardening All-In-One, Basic Gardening, and Organic Gardening for any non UK readers. I am in the US but read this book since oddly enough this book is easier to get a hold on then the Vegetable Gardening version.

My general recommendation for this book is a must have for new gardeners, however, those with a few years of successful gardening under their belt will not get much out of this.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Who's Child Is This?

Yesterday I really looked at my oldest daughter. I mean really looked. And what I saw was a long legged kid with a high pony tail and a thin face. All I could think was Is this really MY kid? When did this happen? Where was I? OMG I'm old!

To make matters worse she is starting 1st grade. At least when she was in kindergarten I fooled myself into thinking that it's not 'official' grade school since it doesn't have a number on it. (I was in severe denial)

My baby, my toddler, my preschooler is gone and all I have are pictures to remember her by. In replacement I have been given a young girl. I feel just as lost as when she became a toddler and then a preschooler.

What am I going to do with this kid? I mean, I just got the hang of that preschooler stuff and now we're moving on already? This feels so sudden to me even when it was staring at me right in the face. I know I still have two younger kids but I'm not ready to let go of my first baby.

I'm pretty sure she thinks I've gone slightly crazy by all the squeezing hugs and how I seem to randomly stare at her.

As always, I am starting a new adventure with my 1st born into another phase of life. Wish me luck and God help me!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The War on Aphids

Remember a while back when I complained about my aphid problem? Well it's not going so well. I was wondering why are those buggers still alive! I took a closer look and noticed that they weren't even on the leaves anymore, and they are flying now. WTF?

I did some research and apparently they're root aphids. I've never had this problem but it explains a lot. I noticed that my plants had stunted growth but I just thought it was from those normal aphids. Well these guys are a little harder to get rid of but it isn't as outrageously out of control anymore but there are still lots. I swear my soil looked like New York on New Years Eve, but with aphids. And if that wasn't bad enough the ants have been farming them and I have gone from two stubborn colonies to about 10 ant hills and they all bite, hard.

I couldn't get a good enough picture (they're really small and my camera sucks) but click here for a link to pictures of what they look like.

I'll be post what works and what doesn't help get rid of root aphids in a couple weeks.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Aesop's Fables for Kids

I just wanted to share this YouTube  playlist of cartoons of Aeosp's Fables. My kids really liked it and actaually sat through the whole thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stop Bulling Pt2; Being 'Fat' in Kindergarten

Bullying and low self-esteem issues start early. A lot earlier than you might think. Things have changed since we've been in school, for better and worse.
Half of all girls ages 3 to 6 worry about becoming fat according to a news segment done by Good Morning America. Unfortunately my daughter fell into that category half way through her kindergarten year. The segment asked children ages 5 to 8 with many of their health answers revolved around body image from eating healthy so they don't get fat to eating less so that their stomach won't bulge.
Childhood obesity is a problem, but is the way we are handling it solving the problem? These anti-obesity campaigns single out 'fat' kids which more often than not will only lead them to eating more out of depression. This anti-fat culture that both parents and society in general is doing more harm than good.

What are the consequences? To give a personal example a couple of girls took the childhood obesity awareness week to whole other level. The school itself, which also co-runs a community garden, emphasised eating healthy and exercise. However, my little girl became obsessed at the fact that she was 'fat'. My daughter is actually on the very thin side of body shapes. She went quickly from being thin to skin and bones. She began to refuse food and was starving herself. She would only eat out of extreme hunger and even then very little. She also stopped eating school at lunch along with many other girls.

Luckily, between the school intervention and myself we were able to start getting her to eating normally again with out medical intervention. It seemed like forever but it lasted a week. The girls who has started this had to be separated during lunch because they were nit-picking other students telling then they were going to be fat and not to eat. None of these children that were bullied were what could be considered 'fat' in any sense of the word.
While she is eating now and at a normal weight the damage that those girls did is said and done. My daughter still refuses to eat at school along with several other students. Luckily, I have been able to get her to eat breakfast before school and lunch as soon as she gets home. Hopefully, by her next school year in 1st grade we can make further progress together to actually eat at lunch time at school.
Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident. Stories like these are spreading in many schools. If you dig deep enough it usually comes down to 1 - 2 kids in a classroom that started the bullying and name calling. Body image shouldn't be an issue with children this young but it is. Instead of focusing on who is and isn't 'fat' it should be on what we can all do to be healthy. The anti obesity campaign had their heart in the right place but bullies have found a way to damage its efforts.
So this summer talk to your children about body image and what's really important, being and staying healthy. Eat right and stay active. It's that simple. Help your child know what IS healthy and not to tease and name-call others. It's easier said than done but we should focus on what's on the inside not the outside. Many of you may have a child like mine who takes what others say very seriously so it is important that you get the first say on issues like these and not wait like I did. In cases like this, knowledge is the key to thick skin.
Click the links bellow for articles for information on how and what to talk about regarding body image. You can also call NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) at 800-931-2237 if you feel that your child might have an eating disorder.

With all the love in the world,
Vanessa <3

Body Image: Help Kids Love The Shape They're In Body Image and Self-Esteem

Saturday, June 9, 2012

And I Have Declaired War

As I have mentioned before I haven't really had time to do that much gardening. Last year in one foul swoop all of my crop was suddenly infested by aphids. Oh, and ever heard that aphids hate mint? It's all lies. They loved my poor spearmint.

And now again today my entire backyard as become a full scale invasion of epic proportions. There are so many aphids that showed up over the last few days that they are even hanging out all around the soil and not just the plants.

This means war. Their hostile actions towards my veggies will not be tolerated.

Plan of attack:

Spray with soap water (water with a little bit of dish soap) until reinforcements of the ladybug division arrive. May God have mercy on your little bug soul.

I feel so evil right now ....