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Archive for October, 2008

Our Friends!

October 30th, 2008 Comments off

image The friends that we have made are great. The Sorenson’s are wonderful. The husband and wife are close to our age and their kids are our kids age. They have two and Dan and I have 3 and that is the only difference. We can sit and talk just about anything with them and I feel we have known them for ever.

Our kids are best friends and I can see the boys hanging out in high school and the girls be best friends and talk about boys they like and do everything together like sisters.

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They are truly friends that we always wanted to have in California but never had the time to do meet.

This is another thing that we could not have if we did not live here in Texas, not to say that we could not find and make friends in a different place but this is where we belong. This is where we were meant to be.

Categories: From the Network, The Kids Tags:

Back From Vacation in El Salvador

October 29th, 2008 Comments off

DSCN0447I got back from my vacation in El Salvador on Saturday afternoon. All-in-all it was a really nice place to visit. My wife’s family is very nice and it’s really a beautiful place. I took a lot of pictures and posted some of them below. I took some of them with the intent to create black and white photos but have not had the chance to convert them yet. I will post them when I get the chance.

Before traveling to El Salvador I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was kind of expecting it to be like Mexico which in a way it was but at the same time it was quite different . The biggest difference was it is a whole lot cleaner then the place I had been in Mexico (TJ, Ensenada, San Felipe). The people are also very nice and make you feel welcome. It ended up being nice then I expected.

image The city that we stayed in was Zacatecoluca which according to Wikipedia is the manufacturing center of El Salvador. Wikipedia also mentions that it has a population of around 62,000 people which is a little surprising to me since Round Rock is about the same size. While there we traveled to a beach area near San Luis La Herradura and also went to the large cite of San Salvador.

Safety

Going to El Salvador I was a little concerned because I had read and heard that it is not safest place to go. Specifically it was not good to go out at night. After being there for a couple of days I realized that these types of concerns are the type that you can apply to any city in any country. Any city has it’s share of bad people and these bad people often do more bad things at night. This applies to where we stayed but not anymore then I would apply it to downtown Los Angeles here in the states. The overall rule of thumb is be aware of your surroundings and you will not be taken advantage of.

It is always better to hang out with someone who is familiar with the area that you are in as they are going to know the good places and he places you should stay away from. That is what we did and I would recommend that to anyone going anywhere in the world. That is just the wise thing to do. In my opinion the general concern about safety in El Salvador is overblown which is really disappointing. All the people that I came in contact with where all really nice and always seemed to try to make me as comfortable as possible. After being these a few days I felt as comfortable as I did traveling in Mexico at night.

Exploring

After my safety concerns were diminished my wife and I imagebegan to venture out on our own. Several times we walked down into the heart of the  city where the street vendors were in order to do some shopping. We frequented the Pollo Campero that was in town for better then KFC fried chicken and air conditioning. At the grocery store I was able to find Red Bulls and Coco Pebbles cereal so I was in heaven. I even picked up a cool hammock that is now suspended on my back porch.

By the end of the week we secured a truck and had true freedom to go where we wanted. We visited my wife’s uncle in the country and looked at some property that her dad had left her and her brothers. I definitely felt more comfortable driving in El Salvador then I ever felt in Mexico. People there are trying to get where they are going like everyone else in the world but they will still take the time to let you know when traffic is clear and it is safe to go.

Overall Experience

Overall I liked el Salvador. If I compare it to my first driving trip in Mexico it is pretty comparable. I was scared out of my wits end the first time I drove in Mexico and didn’t have the best time. That initial fear quickly went away and for the 6 years years that my wife and I lived in California we probably went back to Mexico at least 3 times a year. I think I could put El Salvador in the same category.

There were some things that were less enjoyable about the trip but in my opinion that is due to me being born and raised in the US. Also, these things can easily be acquired or fixed. Our issue was that this was my first time down there and my wife’s first time down there with someone who had never been down there before. Due to that there were some things that we did not plan for.

Some of the things we didn’t realize were important (for me anyway) that ended up being important and could have made the trip a little more enjoyable were:

  • Hot water
    It is hot down there and because of that people have little need of hot water. It is common to go to a restroom and there is only one knob on the faucet for water (not cold or hot – just “water”). This was the same thing with the house that we stayed in – no hot water. I took a cold shower every day and hated it. Next time we stay in a hotel and the first question I will ask is whether they have hot water in the rooms.
  • Air Conditioning
    The other thing that the house we stayed didn’t have was air conditioning. It is not super hot down there but it is humid. A/C would definitely have made it nicer. We had A/C in the car on the final day and it was wonderful.
  • A Car
    We only had a car on the last day that we were there. While it was cool to get chauffeured around by family there is something to be said about going where you want to go when you want to go there. After a few days I felt comfortable enough down there that I could have driven us around.
  • Internet Access
    I really didn’t miss TV but I sure did miss having access to the internet. I mean with internet access I can watch all the TV I want. The house we stayed at did not have it and I wasn’t going to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to use the internet on my iPhone while down there. There were internet cafe’s but they usually closed early and I usually prefer to surf at night. That would be the second question that I would ask when l looking for a hotel. This is not an absolute deal breaker but it would make things nicer.

It was a pretty big change for me not having the above items and I believe if I at least had the first one or two items it would have been that much more enjoyable. People down there are not necessarily used to having these things so the fact that they are not readily available is not a big deal to them. But when you are used to having these things and then they are not there it was noticeable to me.

Would I Go Back?

Yes, I would.

Having the items that I mentioned above would make El Salvador an fun place to go. I know that I would have a much better time the second, third, fourth, etc time. I think for my kids to enjoy it I would have to go down there a few times and get into the grove of being there like I did in going to Mexico. Kids can get bored really easy so making sure that there is plenty to do is important to them having a good time.

Final Thoughts

Going to El Salvador was a life changing experience for me. It took me out of my comfort zone and let me see a part of the world that I think most of us forget exists. Seeing people down there go about their lives helped to remind me about what is really important in life and how truly blessed we are in here in the US. Seeing that other people do not have the disposable income that we do here in the states has made me more mindful of how I spend my money. It has made me thankful that I was born and live here in the US and that this is truly a great country.

El Salvador is a great country as well and the people there are really wonderful. They have pride in their land and take good care of it. They are hard working people who look out for each other. I am glad that I had the opportunity to visit.

Photos

Here are some of the photos that I took while down there. The “Black & White Collection” should be coming soon.

New Respect for Windows Vista

October 28th, 2008 Comments off

Windows Vista Home Premium My brother-in-law text me yesterday asking if I could come by his house and take a look at his computer since it was acting up again. I went by his house and both DVD drives had died on his 6 year old Sony Vaio desktop. I convinced him to go to Best Buy and get a new computer. He ended up with a pretty nice Dell Desktop for ~$750 with the following specs:

  • 2.6GHz Intel 2 Quad
  • 6GB memory
  • 750GB Hard Drive
  • A dedicated ATI video card
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit

If you know my history you know that I have not always had the best opinion of Windows Vista but there wasn’t really the choice to get anything else. XP isn’t available anymore and a Mac was just too expensive. Besides, he likes to do some gaming on his computer so a Mac really does not fit the bill for that.

So we got the new Dell home and I unboxed it and got it setup. Out of the box this thing was a tiger. Everything loaded up nice and quick. I was also surprised that their was minimum crapware on the system and I only uninstalled a Dell/eBay application.

Next it was time to install his wireless Linksys card and 6 year old HP printer. Both the Linksys card and the printer installed without having to download any drivers. I was shocked.

From there we setup his 5.1 surround sound speakers which sounded awesome and loaded a couple of games. Games played nice and smooth and looked great on the new 22” Westinghouse LCD Monitor he picked up with it. He may want to upgrade to a better video card down the road as new games come out but he is more then set for the games that he plays right now.

I have to say that I was really impressed with what he got for the price and the performance that it has. It has definitely caused me to have a new respect for PC’s and Windows Vista. Who knows, maybe a Vista machine (or maybe a Windows 7) will be in my not-so-distant future.

Life In Texas – 2 years and 8 months later!

October 28th, 2008 Comments off

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Life in Texas 2 years and 8 months later is great. We love our house, our life here, the neighborhood, the friends we’ve made, the things we’ve done and experienced.

My 3rd child was born here. My kids have made friends here as well as my parents, my husband and I. We are plugged in a church and we feel like family. The city of Round Rock Texas is a city made just for us. When we first came here things were a little hard but we found the church, made friends and started growing here after being planted.

I still drive thru county roads just to see the cows and the open fields and that same feeling I had when I did that the first time is still there. I love it here.

Life in Texas 2 years and 8 month later is truly great!

Categories: From the Network, Texas, The Family Tags:

Acer Apsire One – The Perfect Vacation Computer

October 22nd, 2008 Comments off

image As mentioned before my wife and I are down in El Salvador. After a little hesitation  decided to our Aspire One with us. I am glad that I did. Due to where we are you don’t want to carry a computer around with you everywhere. The first reason forth that is that you are on vacation. The second is safety.

After a few days here I have a pretty good feel for the area that we are in so my wife and I ventured to a ciber cafe where they let me plug into their network. Really this is my wife’s computer so she should be using it but the other computers have Windows En Espanol so they are a little more difficult to use (at least that is what I told her ;-) ). Anyway it is really cool to have your own computer to surf and connect to the rest of the world.

The biggest thing that I like about he Aspire One is how little it weighs. Really, I could carry twelve of these things. I am used to carrying my IBM T60 and my MacBook around and those guys with their power packs and everything are easily 20 ponds. The Aspire One is about 2 1/2 pounds with everything. The other nice part is that I am using the same back pack that I usually use with the other 2 laptops so we have room for a lot more stuff like snacks and souvenirs.

I am seriously considering getting my wife a pink Aspire One so I can inherit this blue one for myself. That sounds like a good Christmas present for her me for both of us.

On Vacation in El Salvador

October 22nd, 2008 Comments off

el-salvador Tomorrow morning I am on my way to El Salvador for the first time. It is my wife’s native land and she has been wanting me to see it since before we were married. We will be spending a week down there visiting family on both of her parent’s sides.

I am hoping and expecting that it is going to be similar to Mexico, I have not traveled extensively in Mexico (only the Baja area) but I have see the little towns and the larger cities and my wife says that it is similar. My wife’s nephew who lives here in the states has a house down there that we are going to stay at. Another family member is going to drive us around while we are there as well.

We are bringing the trusty Acer Aspire One netbook with us. It is perfect for the trip as it is really small and light and God forbid if we lose it we will only be out $350. I am hoping to find some wifi down there to do some blogging and surfing. I don’t think that I have every been without internet access for more then a day or so in the last 10 years so I hope that I don’t go through withdraws if we don’t find access.

My wife is as bad off as I am every since she got her first gen iPhone. I call her a “Craigslist Junkie” because every time I turn around she is browsing craigslist.com. We will see how she fairs on the trip.

Well I got to sign off now, It is midnight and I have to be up at 5am in order to catch my plan at 7am.

Children and Preschool

October 19th, 2008 Comments off

image All of my three little ones are in preschool.  My kids love to go to school and I love all that going to school does for them. Sometimes we as parents tend to over protect our kids and not expose them to a healthy and needed social environment. School does that for them. My 2 year old was not liking to be in crowed places and of course I did not want to make him uncomfortable so I kept him from crowed places. Since he started school he is more flexible and willing to take chances.

He tries to engage children his own age and older with play and is not afraid of strangers as much.  He does not like me to leave him at school but once he is there he enjoys himself. School teaches them to share and work with peers as group. It teaches them to resolve conflict and deal with situations that are not comfortable or even a little scary. It builds there self esteem and problem solving skills.image

My 2 year old learned something about himself. He learned that he enjoys playing with dirt. He has lots and lots of fun doing that. I would have never let him do that but seeing at school and how much he enjoys himself I am ok with that. I don’t care if there clothes gets dirty with dirt or paint or food from cooking as long as they are discovering, having fun, and learning as they go.

For me it is a financial stretch for them to be in Preschool but it is worth it. There will be better of when they go to school and when things get difficult as adults. They will have learned valuable lessons very young.

Categories: From the Network, The Family, The Kids Tags:

Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary

October 16th, 2008 Comments off

Dan and I have planned a Vacation Trip Internationally without theimage kids. I have left them behind before but we have been in the states. This trip we are going to El Salvador to finally have my husband meet my family on Moms side.

My husband has been saying he would go since we got married and for the first 5 years that we did not have kids but never meant it. This is our 10th Anniversary and just now he has agreed to go. As soon as he said he wanted to do this for me as a gift I turned around and booked the flight. He can’t change his mind now!

I have to give him credit though, because I know that he was fearful about going down there for what ever reason. He has overcome his fear and he says he is ok about going and is looking forward to it. 

I think he is going to have lots of fun and will be spoiled over there. All ready my family down there has hire a person to drive us around. We are going to a resort near the beach and will be staying in a mid size city near the beach in a house with aunts willing to come clean and cook for us while staying there.

I think that swing in a hammock and drinking coconut juice will appeal to him.  Who knows, maybe he likes it so much that he may want to go there for our 11th Anniversary.

Categories: From the Network, Stay at Home Mom Tags:

The Evernote as a Blogging Tool Post Got Twittered

October 16th, 2008 Comments off

evernote It seems that my post about using Evernote as a tool for blogging has caused a little stir in the Evernote community. Yesterday I started getting emails from folks saying that using Everynote on the spot to take notes for blog posts later was a cool idea. They also mentioned that my comments section was broken which I finally fixed. Anyway, traffic is way up today for idano and the majority of traffic is coming from this Twitter -

#EvernoteTip - Blogging - Capture your ideas and inspirations into Evernote as they occur, then blog when you want: http://twurl.nl/no4a2c

 

Evernote also mentioned my post in their Evernote update email that went out last night:

Cool ways to use Evernote - Evernote for BMX riders: http://evernote.com/about/redirect/2c3mep - Evernote for knitting: http://evernote.com/about/redirect/qfjr4a - Evernote for recipes: http://evernote.com/about/redirect/d48da2 - Evernote for blogging: http://evernote.com/about/redirect/no4a2c

I am really happy to see a company like Evernote keeping there fingers on the pulse about what people are saying in regard to their products.

Comments are Fixed

October 16th, 2008 Comments off

Comments are fixed here at idano.net now.

Sorry for the mixup.

Categories: From the Network, Web Site News Tags:

A Quick Note to Comment Posters

October 16th, 2008 Comments off

I have received several emails telling me that comments are not working properly here at idano.net. I apologize for this as it is not intentional. It seems that the theme that I am using has issues if you require folks to login in order to post a comment.

I will try to fix it as soon as I can.

Categories: From the Network, Web Site News Tags:

Work At Church

October 14th, 2008 Comments off

I am working at the Church. My kids go to the Mother’s Day Out there and I assist one of the  imageteachers twice a week for 4 hours. I am learning a lot and I enjoy being close to the kids.

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My 2 year old gets really exited about going to school. I think he misses going on the other days that we are at home. He does not say much but I can tell he just wants to go when he sees everyone getting ready in the morning.

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My 4 year old always asks to stay with me in the class I assist instead of going to his classroom. I tell my husband jokingly that he has Mammasitis. But once he is in his classroom with his friends and forgets all about me until he sees me at the playground.

I really do like working at the church. It gives me a little adult interaction that I need even if it is 4 hours twice a week in the center of a class full of 3 year olds.

Categories: From the Network, The Kids Tags:

New Blogging Tool – Evernote on My iPhone

October 14th, 2008 Comments off

image I have discovered a new tool that I hope will help me to start blogging more – Evernote on my iPhone. This application is not directly related to blogging but it is a note taking program that fits in my pocket so it is with me all the time. Evernote has the ability to take text, photo, and voice notes and is a free application on the iPhone.

The issue that I have had for a while now with blogging is that I do not have as much spare time as I used to blog. When I do have some time I sit in front of my computer and thing – Um, what am I going to blog about? After a while I end up only getting a post or two out or at worst  none at all.

With Evernote anytime I feel inspired I can pull my iPhone out of my pocket, record a quick voice note. let it sync, wirelessly with Evernote’s servers and then I am done. Once my voice note is uploaded to Evernote’s servers it then gets downloaded to my computer when I open the Windows or Mac application on any one of my computers.

The night that I put  2 and 2 together and figured this out I sat down and recorded 6 blog posts in under 1/2 hour. In fact this post is one of the posts that I recorded that night. The only way that it could be any easier would be if Evernote could transcribe my voice note for me then I would not even need to type the whole thing (wishful thinking, I know).

I am really hoping that this new discovery will help in me blogging more frequently.

Coat Closet

October 13th, 2008 Comments off

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On my to do list, the next project for the house is to organize the coat closet. This closet I currently use for storing kids toys, shoes, school backpacks, and jackets. What I would like to do with my husband’s help of course, is build a storage unit to organize the toys and shoes.

I found cubbies at the dollar store for 0.99 cents each. I have about 12 and I plan to label them for toys. I want one to read outside shoes. The others will have labels that may read puzzles, blocks, books, doll house, small cars, and so on.

The unit will be built-in and go as high as the wall at the back of the closet and on one side when one opens the door. This should give me lots of space to finally organize the toys and be easy to find and put things away when the kids are done playing.

This project has me exited! I can’t wait to have after pictures to share my accomplishments.

Categories: From the Network, Uncategorized Tags:

Work From Home

October 10th, 2008 Comments off

The work I do online from home is not doing so well. I find that my  ratings on my blogs is going down. I am to blame since I left my blogs with out posting for a while. I am trying to post more often. I need to get my ratings back up and quick since Christmas is just a couple of months away and this is my money to buy presents and such.image

I do this part time but for the last 6 months I have not been writing like I should. I was up to $200 a month and now I am going down very fast. I know that $200 a month is nothing but when it is not counted on and it is just for what ever and when ever it is nice.

Last year I save about 3 months worth and bought Christmas presents and that was very nice. I am hoping I can get up there before the month of December starts. It may be too much to hope for but I am working very hard to get there.

Hope it is possible!

Organized Garage

October 9th, 2008 Comments off

image My husband has been working very hard to organize our garage. He has done so much all ready. It looks one hundred times nicer than when we moved in 4 1/2 months ago. Back then, everything was in piles and on the floor. There was no room to even walk thru the garage from one end to the other. Now there is room for my Van to be parked in the garage.

My husband is working on work benches and they are coming along. He enjoys working in the garage. I think it relaxes him which makes me very happy.

I have given him a list of projects now that he can find his way around the wood working tools and equipment. He is even helping my brother build a bar for his house. In the to do list I have given him is a shelf unit for the downstairs closet which I use to store the kids toys, school backpacks, outside shoes, and jackets.

Categories: DIY, From the Network, Misc Tags:

The Frustration in Choosing WordPress Themes

October 9th, 2008 Comments off

myImage I think frustration is maybe a little strong word to use given my situation. My “frustration” stems from me trolling several sites that offer free or even very inexpensive WordPress themes. I do not really think it is fair on my part to be “frustrated” because hey, these people are giving these themes away for free (or for very cheap).

The part that does frustrate me though is that I cannot find a theme from my dan.idano.net website in the layout that I want. I would think that what I want is simple but it is just not proving to be that way. The layout that I want is simple -

  • Has Pages and Categories along the top in the header
  • Has the first post section on the blog be a “Featured Posts” section where I can control which posts show up there
  • Has recent posts under the featured posts section
  • Has a two column sidebar for ads, links, and my network feed
  • Has a footer that can have different sections for Blog info, Archives, etc
  • Have just the recent posts on the 2nd page + when paging through content
    I have the above sketch that I whipped up really quick and it looks like I am just going to have to build it myself. Oh well, maybe I can distribute it for free in order to get some free back links from it. 

Star Wars Costume For Halloween

October 7th, 2008 Comments off

image I stopped by Sam’s club this morning and found this cool star wars head piece. I walked a bit more and found the body suit for the star wars clone that goes with the helmet.

I first think that went thru my mind was my 4 year old. He has been changing his mind about what costume he wants. It costs about $60 bucks to get the whole set. I spent some money all ready in a different costume he wanted and I am not sure I want to spend more.

But I will keep this in mind and be on the look out for sales. If I find the right price for this costume I may get it for him.

Guess Bathroom

October 6th, 2008 Comments off

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The guess bathroom is complete. The decor is a soft lime green with different shades of lavender. There are a couple of things that I still would like to purchase to make it final.  I need a nice rug that goes well with the theme I am going for and hand towels. I need hand towels for every day use and special occasions.

DSCN0237I think the white trim, door and power cabinet gives it that feminine touch I was hoping for. I think it looks fresh, clean, and bright. Something needed for a small space with no windows like this guess bathroom is.

Over all I believe it looks great.  I particularly like the small accents I was able to find that give it that final touch.  DSCN0238The hardware is modern with a touch of country that is added by an old hand made cross stitched art.  The frame is hand painted with a forest green and the paper where the art sits is a dark, deep lavender. 

DSCN0240The flowers and green leafs, the green and lavender decorative soap add to the freshness of the room.

 

 

Categories: Bathroom, From the Network Tags:

Halloween Costumes!

October 3rd, 2008 Comments off

imageI It is now October and Halloween is just around the corner. I have three little ones that will be dressing up. My two year old is all set. He will be spider man, that was easy. He does not ask for anything or has a preference for any particular character. My 3 year old is a cute little girls but acts a lot like a boy and she is always more difficult then my 2 year old. But I think a fairy costume will do for her this year.

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Her costume is very colorful unlike the pastel colors that most fairy costumes come in, this one I believe goes better with her personality.

Now my 4 year old is very out spoken about his likes and dislikes. The problem with that is that one week he wants to be a knight, another week he wants to be a clone from star wars, he sees the spider man costume his brother has and thinks he would like to be spider man instead.

He was very strong on the knight costume and I thought for sure it imagewas a done deal. I bought the material for his outfit, bought a swore, a shield and needed only the helmet and now he is saying he wants something else. I think that I will make his costume and hope that ones he puts it on he will be happy.

Either way I know he will be happy with whatever is given to him the day off Halloween. He just gets so exited and for him this is a hard decision to make. He is a very grateful and happy child and I do want him to be happy.  But with that, if I find something that is just a “got to have” I may buy something different for him.

For them three Halloween is not even about the candy, well maybe it is for my little girl, but it is mostly about dressing up and the experience of walking down the street and seeing all the parents with their children out on the street that night.

Categories: From the Network, The Kids Tags: