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Archive | March, 2007

The Scariest Word in Blogging

The B-Word: Burnout

Do you get scared when you hear the word Burnout? If you do, then you’ve probably experienced it. If not, then you are probably still a newbie, hyped out on adrenaline and caffeine, and still very excited about this endeavor, blogging your way to fame, fortune, or fantasy.

But then it hits. Ugh. The Slump. What to write? Who cares? Self-doubt creeps in, “I can’t do this. Maybe I should look into something else.”

The Good News Need some sleep

We don’t have to be afraid of this word. In fact I’m going to take it down a notch. I’m here to tell you, “Don’t turn that molehill into a mountain!” Because that’s probably all it is. If you’ve been burning the candle on both ends, what you probably need is rest, both mental and physical.

It’s like when you first fall in love, you spend so much time with your new love, and you don’t get much sleep. And then the crash happens.

Well the solution is simple. Take a break. But like all over-tired, cranky children who are being told it’s bedtime, we protest, “No! Just one more hour on the internet!”

Taking a Break

Now don’t get anxious. The break doesn’t have to be for long, but do make sure that it is a real break. I would recommend at least a half or whole day. Get off the computer completely. Take a walk in silence. Give your buzzing brain a chance to settle down. That’s when the cream will rise to the top.

I'm ready to fly!Do some of those things you’ve been meaning to do but never get done because you are always glued to your computer. Talk to your friends, call your mom, go see a movie, watch Oprah, go find an (indoor) pool to go swimming, play with your kids, play with your spouse, anything but just no computer!

Is That It?

Well, almost. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep too. If you get some good ideas along the way, then write them down in a notebook so you can come back to them later. That’s it!

Listen to your body. Rest when you’re tired, instead of making yourself more miserable with caffeine. The world will wait and your blog and you will be better because of it!

Wishing you much success!

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How to Keep Your Child from Ever Smoking

You CAN Help Prevent Your Children From Smoking

If we can figure out what need smoking fills, then we can come up with alternatives to meet those needs in your children. We can then teach our children these skills to meet their needs well before the peer pressure to try smoking kicks in. And these skills are also good for helping them say no to drugs,alcohol, and other risky behavior.

Why Does Anyone Smoke?

Here are a list of the possible reasons why anyone starts smoking:


Reason Why Someone Starts Smoking Alternative to Smoking to Teach
Boredom How to Entertain Oneself
Anxiety How to Calm Self Naturally 
Peer Pressure Self Esteem and Confidence to say No
Excitement of Experimenting Safe Healthy Ways to Find Excitement
Mimicking our Role Models Be a Positive Role Model

There may be other reasons, and please feel free to comment below. I will expand now on what to teach your children so that your child will naturally know what to do when confronted with the idea of or invitation to smoke.

How to Entertain Oneself


Keeping the TV off as much as possible forces a child to use their creativity. But it is important to guide and support their creativity. Give them some help. Teach your child how to brainstorm about things to do. Try using mind mapping to come up with ideas. Some categories might be painting, crafts (search Google for infinite ideas), write a story, put on a play, invent something, build something. Do these kinds of things with children regularly, say at least 1-2 times per week and watch how they will start to come up with ideas on their own.


Also if children come up with ideas that seem too difficult to you, help them find ways to modify the idea instead of just saying no. By working positively with your child to make their vision come to life, you will bolster their confidence.


How to Calm Self Naturally walking in the woods


Teach your children how to be quiet. It is not natural for children to be too quiet or to sit still, but if you invite them to listen to nature, to discover the “mysteries” of nature, they can become quiet and really enjoy it. This teaches a kind of meditation. Anytime you can get away from modern noisy distractions and focus on one thing, you are meditating.


This meditating can be stretching, taking a nature walk, picking flowers, discovering “treasures” outside -even if it is “garbage” it can be made interesting by asking questions about it. Teach them to recognize how they created this calm inside of themselves by asking them how they feel once you see them calming down. This will reinforce their understanding of how to do this again in the future when they need it.


Self Esteem and Confidence to say No


Tell your child they are great. Be specific. “Joshua, you are very good at listening to things and coming up with your own questions. That is very smart of you. That makes me proud.”  Praise them often. This will not spoil a child if you also teach them humility.


Explain how everyone has special gifts, like Rudolph to use a simple example. Teach them to recognize this in themselves and others. Teach them to praise others in addition to having pride in themselves. This will help to develop humility and prevent bullying.


Role play with your child from any early age on how to say no to things that are not good for them, like smoking, alcohol, drugs, and risky behavior. Children love pretend games. Make up scenarios where another child asks them to try something bad. Have your child practice what they would say. And then reinforce it by asking your child why they would say no. And then praise them for their strength to do the right thing and their intelligence to know why!


children on waterslidesSafe Healthy Ways to Find Excitement


I believe what I call “excess energy” is responsible for a lot of drug abuse.  I define excess energy as when you have too much time on your hands and not enough work or constructive activities to fill that time. This happens a lot with teenagers.  So let’s teach our children early on what to do with their energy.


Start when you notice that your child has a lot of energy and they are fidgeting a lot, climbing the walls, perhaps driving you crazy? 🙂


If you can, drop what you are doing to get them started on an energy activity. Much like finding ways to entertain oneself, finding excitement starts with brainstorming. Let your child lead. If they are at an age where they say “I don’t know what to do” or “I’m bored” it is good to help guide them to come up with ideas.


What is exciting? Anything that involves intrigue or activity is usually a good place to start. Here are some ideas:

Close to Home

  • Make up a mystery game. It can be simple or complex, whatever you have time for.
  • Make up treasure hunt.
  • Hide and seek is great for little ones.

Away from Home

  • Go to the beach, waterslides
  • Go to the park
  • Play tag or some other running game
  • Play frisbee
  • Go sledding
  • Any outdoor activity
  • Silly crazy dancing contest

The important thing is to get active, have fun, laugh and then reinforce how you were able to create excitement naturally by asking your child how they feel at a moment when you see them enjoying themselves. “Isn’t it wonderful how we were able to create our own excitement! Wasn’t that fun?”


Be a Positive Role Model child looking up

You know what this means. Children mimick their parents, care takers and role models. Even if you have smoked in front of your child for years and think it’s too late, IT’s NOT! (That’s the addiction talking in your brain.) The impact you can have by quitting can be enormous. You know what to do. Find the method for quitting that works for you.

We also need to be good role models in how we handle our own boredom, reaction to anxiety, and need for excitement. Watch yourself how you handle these things. If over time you are more aware of what causes your knee-jerk reactions you can create new reactions that teach your children by example the good habits you would like them to mimic. And remember to talk to them about it, even invite their help! “Mommy is disappointed about not getting an award at work. What do you think I should do to feel better?” Bet they’ll surprise you and make you smile!

Start Today – A Little Today,  More Tomorrow, and So On!

The earlier you can start teaching these concepts to your children the better. It doesn’t have to be within the context of smoking either. A little bit each day. Repetition is the key to learning. And praise your children to reinforce when you see examples of them doing these things on their own. Name them. For example, “Great Job Suzy! You found a way to create excitement on your own and it is safe! How does that make you feel? Good? That’s Great!”

And when you’ve done one of these things, them make sure to praise yourself too!

Please share this with others if you found it helpful. See the email link below.

And please let us know your comments or practices that work for you!

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Magical Life

The Universal Concept

Magic is a concept that we grab a hold of early in our life. Talk with any child between the ages of 3 and 5 and you will hear them talk about the concept of magic. It is universal. It’s the fascinating idea that can explain all the mysteries of the world, from Santa Claus to plot holes in children’s stories to why a certain toy disappeared. And when you engage a child on the topic of magic, you get to feel some of that wonderment again. 

Imaginary Ideas, Real Joy

Children use magical thinking regularly to create in their imagination the things that they desire in reality.  For instance if they want to play with someone, but no one is available, they just create imaginary characters to play with. The important thing to note is that the use of their magic imagination brings Real Joy.  This leaves me wondering how can adults tap into this powerful concept?

KidsInBoxRocketshipToo Smart for Magic?

As adults we are still enamored with magic, but it is different. We are a lot more jaded, analytical, and too smart to be fooled by imaginary things.  So we don’t pursue imaginary friends, except with reality games such as Second Life. But I think you will agree that, in general, adults don’t allow themselves to experience real joy with their imaginations.

Chasing Magic

We are in search of magic, chasing down all manner of gurus (business, health, wealth, etc.), searching for the perfect lover, taking drugs of all kinds (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and illegal drugs), buying into get rich quick schemes, buying books called The Secret. What are we chasing? Magic. And the joyous feeling it once gave us as children. But for all this chasing and grasping, we never quite obtain magic.

Real Magic

If we can’t get magic from gurus, drugs, lovers or money, then where is the real magic of this world? Aha! It is all around you!

  • It is the fact that you can walk, talk, or even just think.
  • It is the new leaf growing on your tree just outside your front door, that you never stop to notice.
  • It is in the natural imaginations of children and their incredible stories.
  • It is in the Potential to do anything in this world you set your mind to do and take action on.
  • It is the exquisite sensation you feel when listening to your favorite music.
  • It is the powerful sunset and sunrise that happens every day!
  • Where else do you sense it?

Getting It Back yellowfloweronblue

It never left you, you just haven’t tapped into it.  To “get it back” is to open your eyes, your imaginative wonderment eyes.  You can’t hold it. You can only immerse yourself in it. To do this you must release your worry, anxiety, your to-do list, your analysis, your anger and whatever else that has you locked up and feeling tight. Savor at least one moment a day. You’ll find it becomes more and more easy to do this throughout your day. Begin now.

What did you notice today that is magical? Did you feel the joy? Please share your insights and experience!


This short video show how we lose our own imaginations, and illustrates how to open up our thinking.

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Getting Out of a Rut: Explore the Universe

Problems Problems Everywhere

Ever feel like your life is just one problem after another? Does it seem like your head is swimming with trying to fix these problems? Well you’re not alone. That is what life is, problems. But I prefer to reframe that word to “challenges.” And taking that one step further, challenges represent opportunities. How you choose to perceive your challenges will determine the quality of your life.universe

Broaden Your Perspective

So how do you jumpstart this change in perception? Broaden your perspective. Get away from your problems for a short while and allow your brain to be stimulated by something out of the blue. It can be taking a walk or a drive to somewhere you don’t usually go, read a self-help book such as Follow Your Heart by Andrew Matthews, or experience anything that you don’t usually do or see. By doing this you will allow your mind to see your problems from a different perspective and thus come up with new solutions which may work better.

Breakthrough with the UniverseString_Theory

Here’s fun suggestion. To really broaden your perspective and achieve  a breakthrough in your current challenges, check out some of the information by physicist Brian Greene on PBS. If you have a lot of time (up to 3 hours) you can watch in its entirety the series on The Elegant Universe. Or if you have a shorter time (10 minutes) you can check out the NPR interview with Dr. Greene about how to Build Your Own Universe! 

How to Maximize Your New Perspective

After you’ve experienced something new allow yourself some time to sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and just think about the things you want to solve. What did you see today that could help you think of your challenge and possible solutions in a new way? After thinking for 10- 15 minutes (or longer if you have the time) then start writing down your ideas. Mindmapping is a great way to facilitate organizing new ideas.

Hubble Eagle Nebula

Good Luck and please share your experience with this learning community so that we may all benefit! Thank you!

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International Woman of Mystery: Ilker Yoldas and The Thinking Blog

Inspiring Blog Inspiring Author

There is a site that inspires me and it is called “The Thinking Blog.” It is authored by Ilker Yoldas. This blog inspires me to write my best for my blog. The Thinking Blog provides “Thinking Fuel” for your brain, which is similar to what I want to bring to my readers, “Learning Fuel” – to borrow a phrase. The posts are diverse, well researched and make an impact on you. I am also inspired by Ilker and her positive, friendly, good-hearted nature which I believe is genuine. I am inspired by her success story in gaining a very solid readership in just 3 months, but I believe that her success directly stems from her superb content and her positive nature.


Posts of Note

I have yet to read all of The Thinking Blog, but that wouldn’t be easy as she posts religiously every day, which means after 3 months, she has at least 90+ interesting posts to choose from in categories such as: arts, cars, computers, creative, design, games, health, music, sports, technology, and more. A couple of posts that demonstrate her well researched, well-thought out content are: The Cult of Apple-Part 1 and Microsoft Substitutes. These are two of her longer posts. The Cult of Apple-Part 1 is a well thought out examination of the merits and fallacies of blindly following Apple (without being negative or disrespectful). Microsoft Substitutes is about all the cool open source computer goodies she uses with links to where to get them. In her posts, Ilker makes good use of including videos, diagrams and other visuals to relay good food for thought. Oh and of course you won’t want to miss her most popular post, Support Topless Women.

Designer Extraordinaire

Ilker is a designer and a good one. Here are 2  links to some of her work: Her website redesign and John Chow redesign idea. Of course there are many more examples in her blog. If you need to hire a freelance designer for your website, she is available. And of course you must check out her Free 2007 Calendar giveaway that showcases her beautiful photography.

Mystery Author

So why do I call her the International Woman of Mystery. Well it is because none of us, her readers, really know her. In fact we don’t even know if she is a man or a woman. I’ve seen her readers refer to her both as “he” and “she.” The avatar that she uses is a picture of Natalia Oreiro, a popular Latin Grammy-nominated Uruguayan singer and actress. She started by using the avatar as a test, and when she tried to go back to her alien fetus avatar, her readers demanded the Natalia avatar back.. She either lives in Turkey or is Turkish, but seems to be very American. Again another mystery. With every post we learn a little more about Ilker, like connecting the dots in the stars to form a constellation. I believe that her mystery is partially what keeps us coming back for more. With each post another clue is revealed. It’s a little bit like a reality blog, although the focus on herself is not Ilker’s aim. Her aim is to invite us to think along with her on the subjects that fascinate her.

One to Watch

Ilker has amassed a large community of readers. She claims to not be interested in “traffic or SEO or nothing like that,”  and also she “never thought of making money with this blog.” She claims it is “Just another hobby. Time left over from studying, sports, and hanging out with friends, this is what I enjoy doing. Its some serious fun!” (My guess is that she doesn’t sleep with all her activities both offline and online. How do you do it Ilker?) However, by design or by intuition she promotes her blog well and in doing so she has gained much blogging success.  As of this writing, she is ranked the 5th most popular community on MyBlogLog, and her Technorati Rank: is  8,646 (581 links from 360 blogs) which is excellent. UPDATE: Technorati Rank is now: 1,281 (1,943 links from 1,213 blogs)! That’s a jump of 7000 places! Wow!

Her Secret

The key to her success? She blogs with honor, her content is high quality, and she keeps us coming back for more because we all want to know this positve person a little better than yesterday. Congrats Ilker! Keep inspiring us all!

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Peace Amidst the Chaos


I was having strange dreams last night. I can’t remember them, but whenever that happens I know that I’m worried or bothered by something. I know what caused it: FEAR. Fear of death, fear of leaving my young son parentless. What brought this on? Elizabeth Edwards announcement of her “uncurable, but treatable cancer.” I was upset by her news because I feel the pain that her family is going through. I lost my husband to cancer and I know what “uncurable, but treatable” can mean. And as I fear for the Edwards children, I fear for my own child. He only has one parent left, so I need to take extra good care of myself.


All this fear produces anxiety. We all feel anxiety. Anxiety about our jobs, our children, our lovers, our possessions, our health, and on and on. Sometimes it is so chronic in our lives that we don’t even notice it anymore. But it is there and it is a heavy burden to carry around …all day and for me all of last night. At it’s essense anxiety is fear of being out of control. What is the antidote to this?

A New Perspective on Hope

Elizabeth Edwards’ doctor spoke at the press conference and described “uncurable, but treatable,” and later I saw Dr. Nancy Snyderman on NBC Nightly News talk about looking at this from a different perspective. Uncurable means that she’ll be living with it for the rest of her life, much like diseases like diabetes.  Treatable means that she can manage this disease and continue to live a productive life.  How we define a situation makes it either an unbearable problem or simply a challenge to work on.

A Great Gift

One of the blessings when my husband was sick with cancer was the incredible appreciation for life we found on a daily basis. Small problems were no longer problems. Even big problems couldn’t bother us. You could find us laughing every day at problems that would turn most people inside out. Even as we knew his prognosis was terminal, we had some of our happiest days together during his last year. Want to know the Real Secret? The key to a happy life is to grasp this every day whether you have a terminal diagnosis or not. Because, guess what? We all have a terminal diagnosis.

Peace Amidst the Chaos

One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “Peace is not about avoiding trouble, work and hardships. Rather Peace is the ability to remain calm in the midst of life’s challenges.” This is our life everyday. We have control over lots of things, and many things we don’t have control over. But the biggest thing we don’t have control over is the fact that we will die someday. Rather than running from that, we each need to find a certain peace about that. The way that works for me is to turn my worry over to God. I put my trust in God that he will take care of me, my son, my family, friends and the whole world for that matter. Boy do I feel a weight lift when I do that. I know that there may be times that I don’t understand why certain things happen, but when I trust in God, I find that the good emerges eventually.

Living the Lesson

So where can we implement this peace, this appreciation of life, the ability to really laugh at problems big and small? Here are some ideas:

  • If you’re late and there’s traffic, let it go. Turn up the radio and enjoy. Laugh.
  • If someone cuts you in line, tell them (in your mind) that they are welcome to go ahead.
  • When your child spills his drink all over the dinner that took you an hour to prepare, laugh! Take it slow. Roll with the punches.
  • You need to get more work done, you’re falling behind, your tense and anxious. Let it go. Plan and then do one thing at a time. One foot in front of the other. Let go of worry. What’s the worst that can happen? Find a way to laugh.
  • You lose your house in a fire. What do you still have? Your health? Your family? Take things one day at a time. Ask and receive help.
  • You lose a loved one? What do you still have? Life, memories, their spirit, other loved ones who still need you. Cry, grieve, but when you can find your smile amongst the tears. That’s how your loved one would want it.
  • You’re told you have a terminal diagnosis.  We all do. Only God knows the date and hour. Live today. Love today. Smile today.

Florida Sunset

Where will you find peace today? What will you let go? Big or small, please share your thoughts with this Learning Community! Peace to all.

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Easy Blog Posting by ECTO: Why You Should Check It Out!

What is ECTO?


Ecto is a desktop blogging client for MAC and Windows that is compatible with most major blogging platforms including Blogger, WordPress and Typepad, amongst many others.

Why I Started Using ECTO.

I switched from Blogger to WordPress for two reasons. One was for more flexibility with my template and the other was for a better tool for writing my blog posts. Well I’m sorry to say that even WordPress, while much better than Blogger still has some kludginess in it’s text editor. I need the WYSIWYG feature. I found my holy grail of text editors: ECTO from a recommendation by ProBlogger, Darren Rowse.

Why You Should Try ECTO:

Time Saving Benefits

  • Easy formatting in WYSIWYG. No more losing your post in unreliable WYSIWYG text editors. Both Blogger and WordPress have this problem. ECTO eliminates this problem.
  • No more losing code or gaining random code.
  • Free 21 day trial.
  • Save your posts locally on your computer
  • Easy insertion of YouTube videos.
  • Easy insertion of Flickr photos.
  • You can manage multiple blogs across multiple blogging platforms inside one program!

Monetizing Benefits

  • Amazon links with your Amazon Associate ID is all embedded in the program for ease of use.
  • ECTO allows you to set up HTML tag shortcuts, which is handy if you use Adsense Deluxe,

Promotion Benefits

  • ECTO comes set up to automatically ping weblogs,, and technorati. so the world will know each time your blog is updated.
  • You can use tags with ECTO. This important because Technorati, Flickr and all use tags making searching for your information easier.

Try It Today

I am writing this review because I have found this software to be so useful. I hope you do too. I have kept this post short and sweet to give you a quick flavor for what ECTO can do for you. Please share your thoughts and learnings with our reader community!


Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Reivew: Microsoft vs. Logitech

I recently got my act together to improve the ergonomics of my computer setup to eliminate that nagging neck pain. I thought I would share my experience to help others who are looking for a similar solution. I will explain the components of my setup and also offer a review of two brands of wireless keyboard and mouse systems, Microsoft and Logitech.

Expansion Base Setup

I raised up my HP laptop on my desk with a Rolodex Laptop Stand. This is a nice simple unit that I can recommend. It costs approximately $23 at Office Depot. The wireless keyboard and mouse setup that I am using and will recommend to you cost $29 after rebates at Office Depot. (This rebate deal is good until June 30th 2007.) So for $55 I was able to get just about the same functionality as the HP xb3000 Notebook Expansion Base which costs $250. Not bad! 

Keyboard and Mouse 

I tried both the Microsoft Optical Desktop 3000 and the Logitech Easy Call Desktop products. Although the Microsoft had a couple of nice features, the winner by a landslide was the Logitech Easy Call Desktop solution.

Microsoft Optical Desktop 3000

Likes: Here’s what I liked about this product. The keyboard keys were very quiet. And the keyboard is spill-resistant. But after that there were many things I didn’t like.

Dislikes: The keyboard has the ergonomic feature, Curved Comfort Design with wider keys at the “G” and “H” keys area. I found this awkward when typing. It also made the overall keyboard wider and thus more difficult to reach over to the up/down arrows and the number keypad.

The system interfered with myscreen saverr and the only way to solve this problem was to disconnect the base from the USB drive. Not difficult to do, but a nuisance all the same. I searched on the web on this seems to be a common problem for users.

The mouse design is bulky and not as sleek as the Logitech mouse. Clicking on the mouse often didn’t work until clicking it several times. This is not acceptable. The left to right scroll controller never worked.

Cost: $40 after $20 mail-in rebate which is good until March 31, 2007 at Office Depot.

Here is the description of this product from the Office Depot site:

  • Ergonomic wireless keyboard and wireless optical mouse in 1 convenient package.
  • Comfort Curve design lets your hands rest naturally on the keyboard.
  • Keyboard is spill-resistant — enjoy a cup of coffee while you work!
  • Enhanced 1-touch function keys, media keys and hot keys make performing everyday, frequent functions fast and easy. Access Web sites and files with the push of a button.
  • High-definition optical mouse delivers smooth, precise tracking.
  • Handy tilt wheel lets you scroll from side to side as well as up and down for versatile navigation.
  • Point-and-click Magnifier button on mouse lets you enlarge, view and edit details easily.
  • Mouse battery life is typically 6 months or more. Requires 4 AA alkaline batteries (included).
  • For use with Windows 2000/XP and Mac OS X 10.2 and later.
  • Backed by the manufacturer’s 3-year limited warranty.

Logitech Easy Call Desktop

When I saw the price after rebates on this product I thought I would try it even though I don’t use Internet calling yet. I knew I was dissatisfied with the Microsoft keyboard and mouse, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to try this. I’m glad I did!

Likes:  I really liked this product right away. The keyboard is compact for all the features it contains, including Internet phone, music, email, search, and 12 programmable function keys which were very easy to program. Typing is very comfortable and the keys never stick or miss like my laptop keys do.  Unlike the Microsoft system, this system did not interfere with any programs on my laptop, such as the screen saver.

The mouse is wonderful! For me function is most important in my computer tools, but this mouse also has great form. It is sculpted beautifully to fit in your right hand very nicely. Every click registers. Customizing the buttons and speeds is very easy with the Logitech control panel. Lastly this mouse has tons of functionality. All the basics, plus scroll wheel for both up/down and left/right navigation. It has zoom buttons. And it also has forward and back keys that you can use when web surfing in your favorite browser. You would think that all this functionality would make it cumbersome, but that’s not the case at all. Elegant design and super-charged functionality.

The Internet phone service works with most Internet phone service providers like Yahoo and Skype. I have not used this feature yet so I can’t comment on it. I will add to this post when I have done so. My guess though is that it probably works great.

Dislikes: The keys are louder than the Microsoft keyboard, but not so loud that it is bothersome. Some of the controls are on the edges of the keyboard so if you pick up the keyboard you may accidentally launch your music or the phone. I’m not sure if the keyboard is spill-resistant. It doesn’t say, so I guess it’s not. But that’s not a very important feature for me as I’ve learned over the years to try to avoid spilling liquids into my keyboard!

Cost: $30 after rebates at Office Depot.

Here is the description from the Office Depot site:

  • Enjoy Internet (VoIP) calling from your desk. Speakerphone and call headset make it simple to connect hands-free with friends or colleagues.
  • Speakerphone has 1-touch controls for easy call management and includes RightSoundâ„¢ technology that cancels echoes and room noise for clearer calls.
  • High-quality stereo headset ensures call privacy. Plugs into audio jack on speakerphone.
  • High-performance cordless laser mouse provides precise tracking and control. Gently contoured sides and soft rubber grips for support and comfort.
  • Convenient wireless keyboard with straight layout and hot keys.
  • Long battery life: up to 15 months for keyboard, up to 6 months for mouse. Mouse also has on/off switch to extend battery life further.
  • For Windows XP/Vista only. Requires an available USB port and Pentium III 1GHz processor or faster. Broadband Internet access recommended for best sound quality. Internet phone (VoIP) service sold separately.
  • Backed by the manufacturer’s 5-year limited warranty.


I recommend the Logitech Easy Call Desktop wireless keyboard and mouse system. For $30 (after rebates) you get fully functional keyboard, a super-charged elegant mouse, and internet calling functionality. This is much better than the $40 (after rebates) Microsoft keyboard and mouse which don’t work well and don’t come with online phone features.

For an inexpensive way to elevate your laptop for more ergonomic usage, I also recommend the Rolodex Laptop Stand. It is sturdy mesh metal so your laptop won’t overheat and you can choose from multiple heights.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this review was helpful and if you have any thoughts to share. 

Easy Article Idea Generation

Do you ever find yourself staring at a blank screen agonizing over what to write today? Maybe you simply skip over that excrutiating habit and move straight into full out procrastination. Web surfing is a great way to procrastinate. Here’s the good news: you can surf and solve your dilemma at the same time!

The Bad News First

Well it’s not so bad. This part is fun and easy, and it takes only 10-15 minutes. First walk away from or hibernate your computer. Here’s what you do. Write down all the problems/questions you want answers to right now. Here are some examples:

  • What should I write today?
  • How can I meet a guy/girl to date?
  • How can I get my blog categories to show up as a cloud?
  • How can I ensure that I teach my child the values that I think are important?
  • How can I grow a tomato plant?
  • Why does being in love make a person feel so good?

Now once you get started thinking of your problems/questions you want answered you’ll probably find that it is very easy to generate a lot of these. Once you warm up with your own problems/questions, then ask yourself which ones your readers would also find interesting. Each one can be the topic of an article or blog post.

Here’s Where You Get to Surf

Oh joy! Time to research the answer to your question. But don’t get too carried away. Gather some preliminary information and then get started with the outline for your article. You can surf more if you need more information later.

Let’s Do a Funnel

 An outline funnel that is. Take your question and identify how you will write your article. A good way to do this is to start broad and then focus in on the conclusion. Here is an example of a generic outline you can use.

    Generic Article Outline

    1. Question or Problem Topic you will discuss.
    2. Possible Solution(s) and their description(s).
    3. Best Solution/Answer (if applicable).
    4. Conclusion/Summary/Call to Action to Get Started.
    Example Article Outline
    1. How Can I Grow My Own Tomato Plants?
    2. Things You need to do.
    a. Get Seeds – explain different methods.
    b. Plant Seeds – explain different methods.
    c. Transplant – explain method.
    d. Care of Plants – explain watering, fertilizer, how much sun, etc.
    e. When to Harvest
    f. Troubleshooting – things that can go wrong & solutions.
    3. Conclusion – How to get started Today!

Begin Countdown

Give yourself a time goal to get your first draft written. I like to use this as a way to keep myself from getting distracted during the process. Once the article is written then go back and edit it to polish it. Add a good title and lead in that will hook your reader with something interesting or useful to them.

Voila! You’re done!

This is just one way to skin this cat. I hope you have fun with this! Please let me know your thoughts and any ideas you’d like to add!

If you find this site helpful, you may contribute a donation below. My heartfelt thanks & blessings to those who take the time to do this!

Hold On Tight to Your Children. Angelina Jolie is Coming!


Angelina Jolie just adopted a child in Vietnam. This brings her total to four and she shows little signs of stopping.

She is collecting children. Her desire to create a family where each country is represented is unstoppable. Maybe she’ll want to create a subset of her family where each state in the US is represented.

Of course I’m joking around here. Angelina seems to be doing good for others who are in great need. She sets an example of charity work that we should all strive to emulate in some way. More power to her and her growing family!

……but just in case, keep an eye on your kids!

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