Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Memories giveaway for everyone

Apologies, people! I forgot to start this on Sunday.

Okay, if you have read my blog at all, you may have seen a few entries about My Memories digital scrapbooking software. If not, you can check here, here, here, here, here and here.

The good news today is that you can get it yourself FOR FREE. Just go to My Memories, create an account and click on the software link. You want to get MyMemories Suite, which is the main program. Click on Add to Cart.

You should see Enter Coupon/Promo Code. Use this code: FreeTreatEE148. Copy it from here and paste it, as it has to be exact. THIS CODE IS GOOD THROUGH OCT. 26, 2013.

You can click on Proceed to Checkout or go back to the main page and click on Free Kits in the Shop listing. There's a variety of free items, including fonts, quick pages, papers and mini kits. There are hundreds to choose from, which will give you quite a selection to add to what's already in the program.

The next screen after Proceed to Checkout will have your billing address information, which you can change at this point if appropriate.

Now you should see your Order Summary. Look it over and especially make sure the dollar amount is what you expect. For the My Memories Suite, it should be free if you used the code.

Click on Place Your Order. Make sure you click it only once. Now you will see your order number and a link to Access Your Downloads. Click that link and you can start downloading everything. The product key for My Memories Suite will be on this page.

Download and install My Memories Suite before installing any other downloads, as installing the program sets up the folders where the other downloads go.

Your download options for kits are Windows, Mac and general. General is for using the kits in other programs, like Photoshop. This list, including the My Memories Suite, will stay. You can download them again if needed, for example if you get a new computer or have to reformat your computer for some reason. I would suggest saving the downloads on an external hard drive, though, because that would be quicker than downloading everything again.

There are so many things you can do with this software. Yes, you can scrapbook, but you can do other things. I have made Facebook covers and profile pictures with it. They have templates for things like calendars, cupcake wraps, gift tags, chapstick covers, cards, party invitations, different kinds of gift boxes and more.

And that's it. There are tutorial videos on YouTube if you need instruction. I think it's pretty straightforward. I have been able to figure a lot out on my own.

The code is good through Oct. 26, so use it soon. Once you have gone through the checkout process, it's yours forever. Remember, the code to use after clicking on Add to Cart is FreeTreatEE148.

Disclosure: I received a copy of My Memories Suite v4 for free. I can earn money when people buy the software though my affiliate link, although I haven't yet. All of the kits and add-ons I have on my computer were either free for everyone or I purchased them. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Halloween giveaway: $500 KMart gift card

It’s Halloween Giveaway Event

Growing up, my sister and I didn't get to go trick or treating much. I only remember once that I was allowed to go. We lived in the country from the time I was about 3 until I was 14. Dad felt that it was "begging" like actual begging on the street, so that was pretty much not allowed.

I took my kids trick or treating, though. Amanda's first trick or treat night was when she was nearly 2 1/2, and we lived in Chicago. We went around a long block in our neighborhood. I was pregnant with Cayla and it was chilly and dark. On the way back home, we stopped at a house that had a porch light on (which was the sign where we lived in Iowa when I was younger that you welcomed trick or treaters). We knocked, a man came to the door. He looked surprised, but went away and came back with a tray of things like refrigerator magnets. There was a distinct smell of marijuana.

So, here's my tips for Halloween:
  • Don't smoke pot if you expect people to come to your door. Police officers take their kids trick or treating, too, and you certainly don't want to make them have to interrupt their kids' fun to arrest you. 
  • If you welcome trick or treaters, have a porch or outside light on. If you don't want them, make sure that light is not on. 
  • Be prepared for a variety of ages. 
  • Offer different things - make sure there is something that doesn't have peanuts in case there's a kid who is allergic. You can give out fun stuff like spider rings, plastic fangs, glow sticks or stickers.
  • Wear a costume if possible - it makes the experience better for the trick or treaters and for you. 
  • Have fun!
MPM Network Bloggers are super excited to share their Halloween Recipes, Crafts, Decor Ideas and so much more with you this holiday season. Make sure you take a peek at the fabulous posts below. Surely you will find something that makes you smile!

One lucky reader will receive a $500 K-Mart Gift Card!

Giveaway ends October 28th at 11:59 p.m., open to US, ages 18+. 
To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:Carol's Random Babble is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


In response to this blog post "3 Ways to Increase Your (and Your Child’s) Creativity", I commented:

I never told my parents this at the time, but I gave up on being artistic in kindergarten. We made "Indian" clay pots and to my eyes, my little pot was misshapen and ugly, while it seemed that everyone else's pots were delicate and lovely. I felt that I could not ever catch up, so I gave up.

I'm still trying to overcome that.
It's been 47 years and that self-doubt, that self-criticism, still holds me back.

I try to get around it. I have scrapbooked, both physically and digitally. I have used Photoshop and Illustrator to create and manipulate images. I used to draw, a little, back in high school, but would never show it off. I have written (well, you know that, you are reading my blog) fiction, nonfiction, columns, blog posts, talks that I have given at church, a eulogy for my mother.

And yet I still don't feel good enough to say "I am creative."

If you tell yourself something for decades, it's hard to get out of that mental rut.

Yet, that's exactly what I must do. Especially considering that Mom died of Alzheimer's.

I can't afford not to use my brain in every way possible. I have to keep trying new things. I have to keep learning. I have to stretch my brain cells because that's my best way to avoid or stave off mental deterioration.

I guess my point is that there are things out there that people can do, and if they don't get them right the first time, don't give up. Keep trying. You will find something that you can do, or you will learn to do something better than you did it before.

And for inspiration, watch this video, because not only can you be creative, you can learn new things in a reasonable amount of time:

The video is "The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything": Josh Kaufman at TEDxCSU. I love TED talks - they are usually inspiring, and even ones I don't necessarily agree with will make me think.

So I'm going to try this. I haven't yet decided exactly what I will do for my first 20-hour experiment. I have been thinking about NaNoWriMo again, although I'm not sure how writing a novel fits with the 20-hour learning. But that method of breaking things down into easier parts should be applicable to the novel-writing process.

So, we'll see. I will try to learn a new skill, or write a novel (which could be a learning process).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Good intentions

I'm at my most productive when I'm doing something else.

Actually, that should read I intend productivity when I'm doing something else.

In practice, that means that at 8:30 on a Tuesday night when I'm close to being done with work, I start thinking of all the productive things I can do at home, once I get there.

In reality, once I get home, it's off to the time vortex that is Facebook, games, emails and other time wasters.

I know I should cut myself off from these things, but I can't. Because they are useful. Even the games, in moderation.

But especially for doing family history and stuff like that.

So I need to retrain my brain, I guess. Start timing my unuseful Facebook time and get started on those projects I'm behind on.

Right after I catch up on my games ...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

You can read my post here or choose to go to Married to Medicine: Vaccination: A Layperson's Perspective. My post is my opinion,facts I found through Google, personal knowledge and a bit of family history. Married to Medicine has more facts and photos of actual people (mostly children) who caught diseases that could have been prevented, plus links to scientific articles about vaccination. To me, it's more important that you be fully informed (and hopefully more likely to vaccinate for your kids' safety and the safety of others) than whether you read my words or someone else's.

I chose to vaccinate my kids. I feel that the risk of a reaction from the vaccination (particularly since we don't have a history of problems) is much less than the possible risk of the actual disease.

I butted heads with a mom blogger a couple of months ago over her anti-vaccination stance. She recently posted in favor of no-peanut policy in schools because *gasp* allergic kids die of exposure to peanuts.

According to my brief research on Google, about 200 people die in the U.S. every year due to food allergies (not just peanut).

Here's what the WHO says about measles: In 2011, there were 158,000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?

According to the CDC, before vaccinations were widely available, about 2.6 million people died each year from measles.

I'm not saying that peanut allergies are inconsequential. There's a kid in my ward (church) who has a peanut allergy. We are all aware of it and keep an eye out. But an unvaccinated person who brings a disease into an unvaccinated group of people has more chances to kill by accident than a peanut butter sandwich in the wrong hands.

I worked as a secretary in a bank in Chicago in the 1990s. One of my co-workers caught whooping cough from another co-worker and her baby caught it from her, and ended up in the hospital. It was incredibly bad timing - my co-worker came back to work after her baby was born but before the baby got the Tdap shot.

My great-grandmother Augusta Meyn was 2 when her sister, father and two brothers died in about a 3-week period of diphtheria in 1879. There was an epidemic in the area.

We think that things like this don't happen any more in this modern era, but they do happen all the time, in places that don't have widespread vaccinations against the diseases that can be conquered.

There are those who say that the risk of vaccination is worse than the risk of not being vaccinated. I don't believe that. (Go back and read the CDC article about What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?) There are those who say that faith in God is all you need to stay healthy. (There's a megachurch in Texas holding vaccination clinics now because of a measles outbreak, but apparently they have been saying that all you need is faith.) I say that God gave people brains in order to figure out how to do things, such as scientists who research how to prevent diseases.

I'm done with my rant for now. It may not be my last word on the subject (or will if you are lucky). But we have the opportunity to learn from the past, and it's a shame if we don't take that chance. Vaccines save lives and save people from worse suffering from diseases that they don't have to catch.

Adding a few links I've come across lately.
Anti-vaccine body count
Penn and Teller on vaccinations (language warning)
Growing up unvaccinated
The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic
The Extent of America's (Totally Unnecessary) Whooping Cough Outbreak
I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks a Lot, Jenny McCarthy.
Woman with flu miscarries, battles for her life

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ultimate Life Prize Pack

PinkMama’s Place and Carol's Random Babble are hosting "The Ultimate Life" Prize Pack.

Ultimate Life

Between the pressure of running a foundation started by his late grandfather, being sued by his greedy extended family, and seeing his beloved Alexia leave on an extended mission trip to Haiti, Jason Stevens' world is unraveling. But when Jason discovers a journal that his grandfather began as a Depression-era lad, his writings transport Jason on an incredible rags-to-riches ride. With everything he loves hanging in the balance, Jason hopes he can discover "THE ULTIMATE LIFE".

Opening in theaters September 6, "THE ULTIMATE LIFE" (the sequel to "The Ultimate Gift") reminds us some things are worth more than money! With "The Ultimate Life" Blog App, take the quiz to find out if YOU are Living Life to the Fullest! Read six great ways to start living the ultimate life NOW, as written by Jim Stovall, author of "The Ultimate Life" book. And watch the official trailer for this inspiring movie!

You can enter your quiz info below in comments:

Carol's Random Babble Quiz Results:

CONGRATULATIONS! You know how to LIVE to the fullest! You know that LIVING life is not about possessions but people.

PinkMama's Readers~ Official Ultimate Life Prize Pack to award one lucky reader!

The prize pack contains:
• DVD of "The Ultimate Gift"
• "The Ultimate Gift" book by Jim Stovall
• "The Ultimate Gift" charm bracelet
• "The Ultimate Life" leather-bound journal

Please enter the Giveaway Form below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please. Thanks to "The Ultimate Life" for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway! If you would like to host a giveaway event with PinkMama's Place please contact her at pamallen68 (at) gmail(dot) com.

Disclosure: PinkMama’s Place and Carol's Random Babble are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Blog lovin. We hereby release Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Blog lovin of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and will have 24 hours after the giveaway ends to respond before another winner is selected. All entries will be verified.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blogger op: "Ultimate Life" prize giveaway

BLOGGERS: Pink Mama's Place is hosting a giveaway and there's still time to get in for a free link.

Calling all BLOGGERS- would you like a FREE Link on the “Ultimate Life” Prize Giveaway - starting tomorrow?  All she asks if you please share on your blog (not required but you can) and your social media outlets.

Official Ultimate Life Prize Pack:
The prize pack contains:
• DVD of The Ultimate Gift
• The Ultimate Gift book by Jim Stovall
• The Ultimate Gift charm bracelet
• The Ultimate Life leather-bound journal

Please fill out form here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blogger op: It's Halloween

Bloggers: Here's an opportunity to be involved in a giveaway. These are great for increasing your readership.

It’s Halloween Event

Organized by: Mom Powered Media

Grand Prize: $500 K-Mart Gift Card
Event dates: 10/14 - 10/28
Open to US
Referral prize: $50 Amazon E-Code or Paypal Cash

Bloggers: Sign Up HERE

Please say that Carol's Random Babble referred you.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tired and crabby

When people ask me, "how are you?" I usually say "tired" because it's almost always true.

Don't get started talking about how it's probably depression because you're probably right but there's not a whole lot I can do about it right now.

So, between 11 a.m. Tuesday and midnight Wednesday, I had about 3 hours of sleep. Not consecutive, either.

I had insomnia, then after getting up for a bit to go on the computer, when I laid back down, I couldn't breathe very well. That problem is actually the reason I sleep with a body pillow crossways on my bed, around my rib area. It seems to help, although the pillow is getting pretty flat.

But I had to get up at 6 a.m. so Cayla could get up at 6:30 to be at the Civitan meeting at 7 to report on the youth leadership conference she attended that the local Civitans sponsored.

Only, when we got there (across town), she discovered that they want her to come next week. It was a scheduling error on the part of her advisor. So I get to do that over again next week - hopefully without the insomnia.

Then I had to go spend 5 hours at the library as a volunteer for the Webster County Genealogical Society. Which isn't a bad gig, but it helps to be well-rested.

Then back home, where I stayed awake to take Cayla to band camp, waited for her to be done (had my Kindle Fire with me) and then took her to church.

I had asked Cayla to do a load of laundry for me. She couldn't do it before band camp and church because the one working washer was occupied. So after church, she started it. She did get it in the dryer (after I reminded her) but said she was going to bed and I should wake her up when it was time to check the dryer.

Which meant that I finished it myself. I didn't dry the load a second time because it was close to dry and it was late at night (can't disturb the neighbors with laundry sounds, right?).

Cayla brought home a sheet for me to sign with dates of home football games. They want all the band parents to volunteer at least once for working concessions. Every one of those games is on a Friday night. The one person who could take my place working on a Friday night goes on maternity leave today or tomorrow. The other options are Saturday band contests, which I suppose I could do a couple of hours, but would have to go home and rest/sleep before going to work. And I don't want to think about how much pain I'll be in with my feet and knees after being on my feet for even a couple of hours.

The rolling garbage bin for our building hasn't been emptied since Aug. 5. It's always been emptied on Mondays since I moved in, 13 months ago (except for holidays). Apparently now the pickup date is Thursdays. Only here it is Thursday and it hasn't been picked up yet. (Update: The garbage was still there when I got home around 11 p.m., so it is officially - as opposed to actuallly - late.)

Does this seem right to you?

I originally posted this in a hurry and didn't notice that I posted to the wrong blog. So this is late to Carol's Random Babble and I'll have to delete it from the other one, which is where I plan to post writing stuff, not my usual complaining. (I wondered why this didn't show up on the Facebook page. Now I know.)

So here I am. There are a couple more things going on but it's family stuff and I don't want people getting all snippy with me for airing our communal dirty laundry. Suffice it to say I'm not just tired - I'm tired and crabby.

I have my reasons.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Winning and losing

Yesterday, my father-in-law was in town.

My situation is kind of confusing. I've been separated since October 2008, but not divorced. No plans to get back together - ever. Much happier this way.

But it makes talking about the man I married confusing. He's not actually my ex-husband, since we're still married. And I do and don't consider myself married. I don't in the sense that I don't have a "married" emotional attachment to him any more. But I do in the eyes of the law and am not free to consider dating or anything of that nature.

But back to the father-in-law visit.

He lives in another state, but comes back to Iowa from time to time. He came up to visit Kent (my future ex-husband - see how awkward that is?) and took the girls and me out to lunch, as well.

During lunch conversation. I asked him if he ever considered writing his life story. I think he confused my intent with family history, or genealogy. (And I'm interested in that, too.) He didn't think he has anything interesting to share.

So I asked him a question. From what I knew, he was born in Pennsylvania and his family moved to San Diego when he was a kid. So I asked him why.

He talked about that for a couple of minutes, and I found it interesting. I asked Cayla later (she's the "family history is boring" girl) and she said it was "kinda" interesting. I don't think my father-in-law thought that it was anything spectacular, but I consider that a "win" on the family history front. He gave a glimpse into the history of the family, of himself, and that move was what brought him into contact with Pauline, the girl he later married and raised four sons with.

When he brought us home, I tried to find the box of photos we got when Pauline died in 1997. I know exactly what that box looks like, but I couldn't find it quickly enough (I think it's in another box, and I'm not sure where that is). When I do find it, I am to scan any photos of him with his car(s) that I can find. I've got at least one from the 1950s, when they were dating.

The losing side of the day was much later, after coming home from church. I asked Cayla to do a load of laundry, which is mostly her stuff plus the pants I wear to work. She put the clothes in the washer, but then she won the game of "who gets to finish doing laundry" by falling asleep at the kitchen table, leaving me to bring the clothes down to the available dryer and run them through 2 cycles. Which kept me up to 11 p.m. or so, and still I didn't go to sleep.

As I write this, I'm planning to take a nap. But Cayla is still asleep, as she has been since about 10 or so last night.

I wish I could sleep for 12-14 hours straight ...