The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Return of the PS2

Since Mr. Incredible so sweetly gave up his first chance to replace his PS2, I was determined that he would not have to wait long for the object of his desires. He gave me the vacuum cleaner on Monday, and he got his PS2 on Black Friday. It actually worked out better for him to wait that little bit of extra time. The store where he purchased the PS2 also gave a $30 gift card with the purchase, so he is going to get at least one free game out of the deal.

Mr. Incredible has enjoyed having his game console back, but he hasn't spent as much time playing games as I thought he would, which, actually, is a good thing. I'm even willing to play golf with him again. That actually is a pretty fun game. I think it's time to update my character's look, too. Hm, maybe Ogio gear would be a nice change. *smile*


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Learn How to Customize Your Borders

I mentioned that Linda and I are writing Blogger tutorials over at RS Designs. I am happy to announce that my first tutorial is now live. If you would like to customize borders on your blog, read Blogspot 101 - Borders. Let me know what you think of it. It's my first tutorial, and I hope I didn't make it overwhelming.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Review Blog Offers $40 Starbucks Gift Card

Chic Mama Reviews

I bet that title caught your attention! It's no joke, either. This is actually one of my recent clients. She and a friend just started Lookit! I Spy..., their review blog, and are offering you a chance to win a $40 Starbucks gift card just for helping them spread the word.
"Here are the rules. If you'd like a chance to win this $40 gift card to Starbucks, first leave a comment here on this post. Then either post a link to this contest OR proudly post our button somewhere on your blog (see sidebar for html code) and you will receive one entry into our first ever giveaways. Non–bloggers are welcome too, just make sure you comment letting us know how you are going to help spread the word to your friends. Make sure however that you leave us a valid email address to contact you if you win. Contest will close Sunday night and we will announce the winners on Monday morning."
It's easy to participate. Why not take a shot at winning that gift card yourself?


Everyday Life

I'm very happy to report that nearly everyone is well again. Mr. Incredible still has some sinus problems, but everyone else seems to be fine - finally! On top of that good news, I've only had one brief bout of morning sickness and am feeling great so far. Yippee! (Yes, you read and understood that correctly. *grin*)

My mother and father picked up the girls yesterday and brought them back in time for church tonight. I enjoyed my peaceful house, but I must admit I did miss having the girls around. I got a lot of design work accomplished today, and I should have - I sat at my computer for nearly eight hours straight!

RS Designs' Happy Holidays specialSpeaking of design work, I thought you might be interested to learn that Linda and I are running a holiday special at RS Designs right now. We have created holiday themed headers and templates and are offering them at special holiday prices. I think we did a good job. *smile* You're welcome to let us know what you think of our efforts. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

We are also starting a series of tutorials telling you how to customize your Blogger blog. Planned tutorials include editing, adding, or deleting borders, changing your blog's colors to something other than the standard Blogger palate, customizing your comment link, and much more. We're not planning to put ourselves out of business, but we are willing to show you how to make changes to your blog on your own. I'm excited about this series. If you have any customization questions, leave me a comment, and, if I am able, I'll write a tutorial to answer your question.

Well, I guess that brings you up to date on my life. I need to get back to paying bills online, including the insurance bill I ended up with after receiving an excellent term life insurance quote. I'm happy to know that my family won't be put in a bind if I should die.

Actually, that's a rabbit trail I really don't have time to go down right now. Have a great night!


Friday, November 23, 2007

This and That

This is just a quick post tonight. I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. We really did, but about 5 miles away from home, Pookie Bear threw up all. *sigh* Another one bites the dust. She is finally doing better tonight. Only Baby Bear and Mr. Incredible have not come down with that particular bug yet, and Baby Bear may miss out because of the steroid shot she got for the croup she had. (Yes, it has been fun at our house lately.)

Question - do any of you have small children who take riding lessons? Mr. Incredible and I have discussed many activities we would like the girls to experience, and one is riding. All three girls enjoyed riding the horse at Sierra's birthday party, and there are plenty of stables around us. If your children do take riding lessons, what is the most appropriate horse riding apparel? T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers would be my guess, but I really have no clue. It would be great if it didn't require any special clothing.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Learning Resources

all photos in this post courtesy of Learning Resources

I love toys that also teach, and I recently came across a neat website devoted to educational toys. I couldn't help myself; I ended up getting three toys for the girls.

The first item we opened was the Sweet Heart Sayings for kids ages 2-5. All three of the girls were fascinated by these hearts and loved adding them to the laces. I really like the way the heart colors indicate what kind of word is on the heart: pronouns are blue,verbs are yellow, and nouns are purple. The pink and green hearts have pictures to illustrate the nouns. I think this will become a great tool for teaching the girls how to construct sentences later. Right now, this is a great way for them to exercise their motor skills.

After they had thoroughly examined the hearts, we opened the next game - the Jump and Jam Jungle for children ages 3-5. This interactive mat features 5 games that will help your child learn to follow directions, identify colors, shapes, animals, and their sounds. I must warn that the music can quickly become annoying, and musical toys don't often annoy me.

The last game we got was the Pretend and Play World Traveler for kids ages 5-7. Ironically, of the three games we got, this is all three girls' favorite. They love the camera and binoculars that is part of the set. They also love the play money, wallet, credit card, and pictures of sights from foreign lands. I plan to use this kit to teach geography and history to the girls this year, and I know we will all have a ton of fun using this toy.

If you are looking for educational toys, you should stop by Learning Resources. If nothing else, you will probably get new ideas for games to play with your child.


Mr. Incredible Truly Is Incredible!

photo courtesy of

I have so many different posts piled up in my head from the few short days I was without my computer. Thankfully, there appears to be nothing wrong with the computer, but the new monitor we purchased was broken. I'm glad our old one is actually working so we were able to return the new monitor for a refund instead of an exchange. Our best guess now is that our surge protector is wonky, so we've tried replacing that. So far so good, but out fingers are still crossed.

Back to those posts in my head. You'll be seeing several of them over the next couple of days. I hope I don't swamp you with such a deluge. Before I get to those, though, I simply must brag on Mr. Incredible.

You all know how badly Mr. Incredible has wanted to replace his broken PlayStation2. We finally had enough "extra" money for him to do so, and last night he went to buy it. When he came home, I was cooking dinner. He brought his package into the living room where the girls clamored to see it. Without turning around, I emphasized that this was Daddy's and that they would be in big trouble if they touched it.

Mr. Incredible mentioned something about Wal-Mart not having it in stock, which puzzled me so I turned around to ask him about that statement. When I did, I was shocked to see this. I never expected that, though I had told him months ago that I really wanted it.

My first thought was that he had bought the vacuum cleaner in addition to his PlayStation2, but I didn't see the game system anywhere. He informed me that he had purchased the vacuum cleaner for me instead of buying himself that PS2. Wow! That literally made me cry. Getting me something that I really wanted instead of what he wanted - that spoke volumes to me.
  1. He actually listened when I said I wanted that vacuum cleaner.
  2. He thought of me.
  3. He cares enough about me to sacrifice his desires to make me happy.
Life couldn't be sweeter right now. Oh, and I have told him that he will be getting his PS2 very soon. :)


Pensieve's Poetic License

Mid-month Every Month at PENSIEVE
Want this button?

I like to write little ditties occasionally, so when my friend Robin announced that she was starting a monthly poetry meme, I was intrigued. The rules are simple - there are no rules. Though Robin does pick a poetry form and theme for each month, she states that participants are not obligated to use that suggestion.

I decided to participate in this month's assignment: a Thanksgiving limerick. Here's my attempt. Be kind. *smile*

Thanksgiving Woes

Desserts are what everyones bakes -
Their very best pies and cakes.
Now this is good living;
You see, it's Thanksgiving.
Our tummies surely will ache!


Featured Friday

This was supposed to have been published last Friday. Due to my computer being in the shop, that didn't happen, but I think you might find this interesting anyway.

Featured Friday button

Over at RS Designs, Linda and I have created Featured Friday. The purpose of this meme is for people to share their recommendations: websites, products, tips, tools - anything clean and family-friendly is fair game. I decided to play along here at the Porch Light this week.

Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving, and traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year here in the U.S. of A.) will be here in only one short week. I recently found, a resource for viewing the different advertised sales so that you can make sure you are getting the best deal on your Christmas gifts. Tuesday's listings included Radio Shack, Kmart, and Meijer. New ads are posted daily, so make sure you stop by often to see what is offered.

Don't forget to stop by RS Designs to see other participants' recommendations or to leave a link to yours.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Banking Online

I like the bank of which we are currently customers. I have been with other banks that I have not liked, but our bank consistently provides good services at competitive rates with few fees. One feature I particularly like is online banking - it is much more convenient to pay bills and check your balance from home than to have to go to your bank to perform those same functions.

I sometimes look at online banks to see how my bank compares. One online bank, WaMu, seems to have great products: their free checking account offer free ATM withdrawals, free checks for the life of your account (only one style qualifies), a Gold debit Master Card, one overdraft/ nonsufficient funds fee refund per year, $0 monthly fee (it is a free checking account, after all), and only requires $1 to open the account. (I didn't list everything included with this account; follow the link for the complete list of features.)

Though I do like WaMu's products, I believe I will stick with my bank for a while longer.

Do you bank online? Why or why not?


I May Not Be Around Very Much for a Little While

I tell you what - this week has been something else. First, the van is in the shop, then Baby Bear comes down with croup, then I have computer problems (which, by the way, are not merely monitor problems as we had thought; in fact, the computer is in the shop, and I am typing this entry at a relative's house), then our microwave died last night. Whew! It has been one exciting week!

Baby Bear is doing better, we were loaned a microwave until we are given one for Christmas, and the van is out of the shop (though they never did find the reason for the problem we were encountering). I'm very thankful for that. But I don't know when I will get my computer back, though the repair guy said it might be ready Monday, depending on how serious of a problem it is. Well, I guess thrr out of four problems solved isn't too bad.

On a different note, I am happy to report that we are finally going to be able to replace the PlayStation2 system that the girls broke. Now Mr. Incredible is talking about wanting an xbox 360, but at least he does acknowledge that he won't be getting that any time soon. *smile*


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Catching Up

I promised to catch you up on my life during the more-than-a-week I did not post.

Wednesday was Mr. Incredible's birthday. I made him the angel food cake he requested. He was very surprised to receive the 57 Chevy #8 car. (I'm happy; the girls and I had to take a 3 hour round trip to get it on Tuesday!). I also spent most of the afternoon attempting to clean up after a fiasco with Baby Bear and acrylic paint. That's not a very fun story, and it was my fault. *sigh*

Pookie Bear had asked to paint after breakfast, and I let her. Once she finished up, I cleaned up and put the paints away where I thought Baby Bear could not get them. Apparently I was wrong. She got into the bottle of black paint; when I found her, it was all over her (thank goodness she was clad in only a diaper!), the table, two chairs, and the dining room ceramic tile floor. It could have been worse.

Oh, wait! It did get worse! While I was scrubbing Baby Bear in the tub, Pookie attempted to help me by cleaning up, and Miss Muffet decided to do a little painting of her own. When I came out of the bathroom, both the couch and the recliner had black paint on their armrests, and one of the couch cushions had black paint on the edge. Not only that, but there were two paint-covered towels on the living room carpet (Pookie's unsuccessful attempts at cleanup) and black paint drops down the hall - not sure who left those for me. Ugh!

I'm glad Mr. Incredible had a good day; I sure didn't!

Thursday was fun. Mr. Incredible found out that the Budweiser Clydesdales were in town for a show and were being stabled about two minutes from our house. Since the public was welcome to see the horses free of charge, he took the girls and me with him to see the horses during his lunch break. We all enjoyed that. (I'll share pictures later.)

On Friday, I found out that the good news I had hinted at before was now official: a little thing called MyBlogLog is running a contest which offers a Grand Prize worth approximately $2,600. That is great news for me because part of that Grand Prize package is a complete blog redesign by none other than yours truly of RS Designs! I didn't offer this on my own - I was asked to be a sponsor. Wow! That made me quite happy.

Saturday was fun; we went to a t3rd birthday party for one of my nieces. The theme was Old MacDonald Had a Farm, and they had a horse for all the kids to ride. My girls absolutely loved that. (You'll see those pictures soon, too.) After the party, we went to Mr. Incredible's grandparents' place to help out and enjoy barbecued baby back ribs and shrimp. Yum! On the way home, though, our van nearly quit on us and is in the shop as I write. Ugh!

Yesterday, our computer monitor quit. Mr. Incredible kindly brought home another one for me. He said he knew I'd be going crazy if I couldn't work on my computer!

So how have you been while I have been absent?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Not All About Me

clip art courtesy of

I've been absent from this blog for way too long - my apologies! I'll fill you in on my exciting life shortly; I do have several good things to share. Hurray for good news!

Thanksgiving is almost here. I love this holiday and think it should be at least as celebrated as Christmas. After all, it is the holiday we set aside to thank God for His goodness and the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Sadly, commercial elements prefer to skip over Thanksgiving with as little notice as possible. Giving thanks is not as marketable as is giving gifts; consequently, it seems as though every year finds less time passing between Halloween and the appearance of Christmas items. In fact, our Wal-Mart didn't even wait for Halloween to pass this year before putting up their Christmas displays.

I mentioned the marketing aspect of giving gifts, but that actually was slightly incorrect. Retailers are not as interested in marketing for the giving of gifts as they are for the receiving of gifts. Ads, whether television, radio, or print, cater to the greed that lurks within every human soul.

I find it especially annoying when children are targeted by greed-inducing ads. This past week, we received a mailer from a retailer which shall remain nameless. The mini catalog was geared toward children and was designed so that they could create a Wish List based upon the items in that catalog. Girls were offered toys such as Barbies sporting gemstone jewelry, and boys were tantalized by Nintendo Wii's and many other toys. The whole catalog was designed so that the children would focus on the toys that they just "had" to have.

Our society is already focused on self; we don't need our children bombarded and influenced by these materialistic marketing campaigns. I am working on teaching my children that Christmas is not about "me" but is instead the celebration of the greatest gift that mankind has ever received: Jesus.

I know you all have great ideas. How do you teach your children that Christmas (and life) is not "all about me"?


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wholesale Fashion Jewelry Source

clip art courtesy of

If you love fashion jewelry or have several ladies on your Christmas list who do, you might want to take a look at D's Keepsakes. They offer a wide variety of wholesale fashion jewelry at low prices.

You must create a free account in order to make purchases, but it appears that is all that is required to be able to place an order. They do have a minimum purchase requirement of $100 (before shipping and handling) but also state that orders that do not meet that requirement will assessed a $5 handling charge, which indicates to me that you can place smaller orders; you will just be penalized $5 for doing so.

Go ahead; stop by their site. I saw some very nice pieces at very reasonable prices.


Why I Don't Drink

clipart courtesy of

I don't like alcohol. Actually, I guess that's not a true statement. I don't think I like alcohol. I have to say think because I have never tasted an alcoholic beverage (nor smoked a cigarette nor taken any illegal substances), and I have no intention of ever consuming any amount of an alcoholic beverage, either. (Does cough medicine count as an alcoholic beverage? *smile*) I do know that I do not like the potential effects of alcohol consumption.

From my observations, alcohol appears to be a seductive siren, luring the unwary into succumbing to her advertised charms. On the one hand, if you don't drink, you could be labeled a goody-goody, or people might think you are rude for not joining them in drinking "just one." On the other, "everyone's" drinking, it seems like fun, and the advertisements portray those who do drink as intelligent, witty, and the life of the proverbial party. Who wouldn't want a part of that?

Unfortunately, those slick advertisements don't show you what may await at the end of what is all too often a slippery slope: the man who spends on alcohol every penny he can find, not caring that the money he is spending in a vain attempt to quench his unquenchable thirst is needed to pay bills or buy clothes and food; the college coed whose judgment is impaired by having one too many and ends up being easy prey for an uncaring (or worse) male; the person who ends up killing another person because he decided to drive after drinking; the homeless person who lost everything because of his alcoholism - the scenarios are nearly unending, and none of them are pretty.

You see, alcohol doesn't care about your wealth or social status. For every celebrity who makes the news for entering (yet again) into rehab, there are many others quietly entering alcohol rehabs in an attempt to break their bondage to the fiery drink. There are many paths to alcohol abuse/addiction: the poor drink to forget their poverty, the rich drink because society "demands" it, the sorrowful drink to drown their sorrows, and the happy drink to celebrate their happiness. Yet drinking can be compared to playing Russian roulette: you never know which drink will be the one when you became a drunkard.

No, thank you. I'm not taking chances. If I don't take that first drink, I will never become an alcoholic. Your life is yours to live, and I am not telling you how to live it. May I, however, kindly advise that you avoid even the beginning of the path that could lead to your destruction?


Happy Birthday, Pookie Bear!

Pookie's fifth birthday has finally arrived!!! She has only been talking about it at least once a day for nine months now, and that's not an exaggeration. I'm happy to say that her day appears to have been a great one.

I let her choose her party's theme. After talking about wanting a princess, dinosaur, and Barbie party (not all together), she finally chose a pumpkin party. I was rather doubtful about that theme but did convince her that pumpkins and scarecrows together would be cute. It actually worked out wonderfully - her birthday falls at the perfect time for a pumpkin party - and made a cute theme with which she was delighted. The adorable little guy to the right was the table center piece. You can't tell very well from the picture, but he's sitting on a bale of "hay."

Out of the family and friends we invited, only four people were missing. Pookie and the kids had a great time playing outside. They even ate outside, which meant that the adults got to eat at the table this year instead of having to eat in the living room or wherever else they could find a seat.

Here's Pookie's pumpkin cake. I was quite happy with how it turned out, and so was she, which is the more important opinion anyway. *smile* She was so happy to have that number five candle on her cake.

She was given some really neat gifts. We gave her a Disney Princess art pack and a Princess bicycle helmet set that she has wanted for almost a year. She also received a disposable camera and scrapbooking supplies, a pet salon Play-Doh set, flower stationery, a Disney Princess wristwatch, and a set of gel pens of which her favorite was the pink pen. She also received plenty of money, which we will deposit into the interest bearing checking account she shares with her sisters. I'm sure I've forgotten something she received. If the giver(s) happen(s) to read this post, please forgive me! I assure you no slight was intended.

After opening presents, it was time for us to sing to a very happy girl and watch her blow out her candle. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Birthday Cake flavored ice cream we had. Soon after the cake and ice cream, our guests slowly started leaving. We appreciated each and every person who came to share Pookie's special day.

Pookie is a dear girl, and we all love her very much. Our family is blessed to have such a sweet and caring oldest child. She takes her role of big sister seriously and does her best to be a good helper to me, often doing more than I would ask or expect her to do.

Happy birthday, Baby! We pray that you have many more.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Search Engine Optimization

image courtesy of

I think every blogger and every website fights this battle - at least for a while. Here's a common scenario: you start a blog, install a stat counter to keep track of the amount of traffic you are receiving, and wait for the visitors to start dropping by your little piece of Internet real estate. Time goes by, and your stats show that you are receiving very few visits. You wonder what is wrong and how you can fix the problem.

There are a few simple steps you can take to help bring traffic to you site:
  • visit blogs and leave relevant (not spam!) comments on posts that interest you. Be sure you leave a link to your site, preferably in the field named URL or Website.
  • participate in a contest such as the Fall, Y'all! Bloggy Giveaway.
  • ask to exchange links with a site you like or one that targets an audience similar to yours.
  • load your site with great content and optimize your pages/posts for search engines.
The last tip is what I would like to explore in this post. Good ways to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) include:
  • making a keyword bold the first time it appears on the page or in your post
  • deep linking - link to other pages or posts on your site
  • write articles for ezines - they generally allow you to link to your site in your profile at the end of the article
  • make your titles into links and write titles that are concise yet detail what your readers can expect to find in the content following the title
  • have a navigation bar (for small sites) or a site map (for large sites)
  • offer solid content, not fluff, using keywords and phrases but taking care that you do not use so many they overshadow your content
If you feel that you need SEO help, there are companies and consultants eager to assist you. This SEO Company is a great example. They have done the research necessary to know exactly how to maximize SEO for your site.

For example, they offer a list linking to deep link directories that "offer the most links to your site per Web Directory submission." You can either do these submissions yourself, or they have a web directory submission service where they will submit your site for you.

Another feature of this site is a list linking to SEO tools that will help you attain higher search engine ranking.

Many SEO companies also offer free resources. Our example site offers a SEO blog where you can find the latest SEO news and also has a Podcasting blog featuring tips on creating a quality podcast.

Whatever road you take, whether you conduct your own research and find your way through trial-and-error or whether you choose to place your trust in a professional, you can improve your site's search engine visibility and, in turn, see more traffic coming to your site.