12/21/14

8 Tips for Winterizing Your Home


This is a sponsored post.
Are the winter blues already getting you down? Don't fret. These eight tips will keep you nice and toasty through the new year and beyond.

1. Wrap Your Pipes
When the weather outside is frightful, insulation is a critical component in protecting your pipes. Otherwise they'll freeze, depriving your household of its water supply and cracking or rupturing your pipes to the extent that they need replacements.

 2. Perform Draft Tests
If you notice a breeze where a breeze shouldn't be, take a flashlight to your walls and figure out where light is passing through. This is where you'll find your draft, and you can apply caulk to prevent it from bothering you again.  

3. Fine-Tune Your Furnace
Furnace filters should be replaced at the start of every winter. You might also want to vacuum vents or clean out your air ducts to make sure the warmth can pass uninhibited through your home.  

4. Clean Your Gutters
Many homeowners neglect their gutters in the winter because there aren't any falling leaves to clog up their pipes. This is a mistake! When ice freezes in your gutters, it can create dangerous icicles just waiting to fall and hurt someone.  

5. Talk To Your Electric Company
Ask the experts about energy-saving and cost-lowering measures you can employ around the home. Brands like PALMco are always happy to talk to customers and help them survive the winter without frostbitten toes.  

6. Seal Your Windows
Cracks in your windows or their frames will allow the cold to come sweeping inside. Apply sealant or new weather-stripping wherever you notice a crack, or if the damage is bad enough, think about replacing it entirely.

7. Clean Your Fireplace
Don't set up a crackling fire until you're sure that nothing is obstructing the chimney. It only needs to be professionally cleaned once every few years, but you never know when you might need to knock down a bird nest or retrieve a stray baseball.

8. Check Your Doors
Try sliding a piece of cardboard under your door. If it fits, the foundation of your home has been sinking, and it's time to either replace your door or install insulation so your warm air can't escape.

These are just eight ways to prepare your home for the upcoming season. There are many more, of course, but these should be enough to get you started. Lower utility bills are just a few tricks away!

12/17/14

Book Review: Weird 365: Weird Criminal Law Stories for Every day of the Year by Professor Birdsong


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Having worked in law enforcement once upon a time--I have always enjoyed real life accounts of criminals caught in the act or those doing something so stupid that their actions land them in trouble.  I read and reviewed Professor Birdsong's Women in Trouble, Volume VI of his Weird Criminal Law Stories last summer--and knew that I had to read his latest, Weird 365:  Criminal Law Stories for Every Day of the YearWhat did I think of Birdsong's latest collection of Weird Criminal Law Stories?

Quick Summary of Professor Birdsong’s Weird 365: Weird Criminal Law Stories for Every day of the Year:  This time the professor uses his expertise and experience in criminal law to bring forth his “365” weird criminal law stories for each day of the year. This is his funniest volume of criminal law stories mostly from around the States to date. This book covers more than a lot of silly and unlawful conduct one could imagine. Full of his witty “Birdsong” commentary and observations the book is sure to deliver some great laughs. There’s a story about the 54-year-old man who attempts to perform an exorcism on his 80-year-old girlfriend to get the devil out of her; a story about a Czech man who uses a chain saw to slice his way back into a restaurant after closing time; a story of an alleged child pornographer caught downloading child porn on his phone while being question at police headquarters; a story about a Tennessee man who had a stroke who thought he was dying confessed to a 1977 murder – he didn’t die and now is facing a murder charge; a “drunken dummy” or two; and a wide variety of just plain, stupid criminals that make this anthology worth reading.

Birdsong serves up short, daily doses of weird, criminal antics. In keeping with the other volumes, this book continues to offer short paragraphs of criminal news stories from around the world.  Birdsong breaks this book down into monthly chapters--focused mostly within the United States--with a story for each day of the month.  Birdsong adds a little personal commentary to many of the stories.
 

Would I recommend Weird 365: Weird Criminal Law Stories for Every day of the Year by Professor Birdsong?  The tales of weird, unfortunate and just plain stupid crimes and criminals featured by Birdsong are often good for a chuckle or, at least, an eye roll.  I didn't find these as funny as the other volumes that I have read.  There did not seem to be as many notable Birdsong's sarcastic side notes included as there were in other volumes--and those are just the key to these books for me.  I really do love reading these--and having at least a few, "What were they thinking?" and "WHY would you even TRY to do that?" moments--and do recommend Birdsong's Weird Criminal Law Stories to anyone who enjoys laughing at stupid human tricks.  Although this one wasn't the best of the series, in my opinion--it still offers funny peeks at the criminally stupid and would make a fun stocking stuffer or lighthearted gift.    

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About the author:

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Professor Birdsong received his J.D. from the Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Howard University. He teaches law in Orlando, Florida. After graduation from law school he worked four years at the law firm of Baker Hostetler. He then entered into a varied and distinguished career in government service. He served as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department with various postings in Nigeria, Germany and the Bahamas. Professor Birdsong later served as a federal prosecutor. After leaving government service, and before he began teaching, Professor Birdsong was in private law practice in Washington, D.C. Twitter | Website | Email

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12/16/14

December Wordless Wednesday Linkup: A Celtic Nutcracker Weekend


For the past few years, our middle daughter performed in The Celtic Nutcracker--an Irish dance version of the holiday show.  This year, both our middle daughter and our youngest were able to perform--making for a very busy weekend. 

The girls had their dress rehearsal on a Friday evening--over the course of around 5 hours--and returned to the theater early on Saturday and spent the day for the two shows.  Since they were at the theater for a day and a half--their dad and I were in the theater area for a day and a half as well!  I thought I would share some of our Celtic Nutcracker Weekend experiences as this week's Wordless Wednesday Link Up!

Getting Ready for The Dress Rehearsal..

Sisters..
 I'm not sure if Madelyn was happy to be dancing....or happy to be wearing makeup for the first time!

Miss Macy's Smile
Macy has mastered the art of selfies...

Dress Rehearsal / Date Night
Madelyn was required at rehearsal from 4:15 until 7:30....Macy was required from 4:15 until 8:45.  Rather than criss-cross Columbus six times--the husband and I opted to wander the Lincoln Theater area for an all-too-rare date night!

We visited the Olde Towne Tavern 

....for a Hummus Trio

...and a Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Then we headed to Yellow Brick Pizza


One of the monthly specials was a Goonie's Inspired Truffle Shuffle Pizza..


Yum!  The pizza crust was topped with truffle mashed potatoes, a blend of mushrooms, leeks, gruyere, mozzarella, and masala. I may need another one of those before the month ends!


The drink that jumped off the menu was an Apple Pie Mead Beer from Brothers Drake. 

It was soon time to hit the Zanzibar Coffee Shop
....and collect Madelyn from rehearsal...


We were surprised that the coffee shop also had a full bar....
That would be two strong coffees and little whiskey in the cup...

And a little Salsa Dancing...


Madelyn switched from Irish dance to a little salsa dancing while we waited for her sister.. 
Aahhh....to have the energy of an eight year old!

Saturday.  The Big Day.  The Celtic Nutcracker.


Madelyn worked on selfies back stage first as a Frosted Flower...


Then as a dancing present... 

Then posed with friends..



Macy was ready to pose...

On Stage as a Forest Fairy


Off stage as a Forest Fairy..


In her Scottish Highlands Dress

 (third from the right in yellow...)

And...as the Elf in the Toy Scene


Yes.  I think the highlight of the performance was that her character allowed her to constantly stick out her tongue and make faces at everyone!  

It was quite a busy weekend--but, we are all looking forward to doing it again next year!

Join this week's Wordless Wednesday Linkup!