Tag Archives: Reference

10 Good Sites for Thanksgiving Information, Ideas, and General Sanity-Saving Tips


A Great Thanksgiving Planner

This planner starts with a two weeks before and breaks down various tasks that should be completed within each time frame: one week before, the Monday before, and so on.  It is enormously helpful even if you aren’t quite that…organized.  I know my own weaknesses and I know that I won’t do all of these things, but I still admire the detail.  I highly recommend taking a look – I think it could inspire you to make your own planner.

Mary Organizes Thanksgiving Planner

This is a very nice blank printable that you can fill out yourself.  The blog entry describes the intention of each section and is very helpful. It has sections for each course of a meal, area for shopping list of things you can buy a head, one for perishables to get the day before, and so on.

Cat Christmas

Holiday 7-Week Planner

This lovely list will help you spread the tasks surrounding both/all of the holidays out a bit so that you can actually catch your breath and spend some time with family!  What a concept!

Need to know how much to make for Thanksgiving?

That is a great printable for you, if you are in doubt as to how much food you need for your crowd.

A Girl and A Glue Gun has some terrific ideas listed – with credit given to other locations that she found some of the crafts.  One of the cutest is “Roll a Turkey” – you roll dice and for each number, draw a specific part of the turkey.  Kids should LOVE this one!

Buzzfeed is quite a source of fun, merriment, and…who knew, Thanksgiving tips.  Here is a fantastic list of 17 Life-Saving Thanksgiving Tips.    I had never seen a number of these and think they sound like they would make a big difference.

Car Hacks, Tricks, and Tips provides all of the above for those families traveling by car over the holidays.  Some of these ideas (like silicone cupcake molds in drink holders to make cleaning easier) are all-season and things that I had never thought of; I highly recommend taking a look at the list.

Erin, from My Frugal Home, has a very handy list of how long specific Thanksgiving leftovers stay good.  That is enormously helpful.  I’m going to go print my copy now and put it on the refrigerator!

Country Living Magazine is a source for a lot of helpful ideas, recipes and the like.  Thanksgiving is no different from the rest of the year.  Go take a look at these!  Tips from Country Living!

Smart Savvy Living has 10 tips to keep your Thanksgiving organized and help you stress less.  Some are obvious – make lists – but if you follow these, it WILL decrease the stress and help you have a more enjoyable holiday with the people you care most about.  Isn’t that the true point?

I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Fall Leaves

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April 2010 Really Useful (Or Amusing) Websites

Disclaimer:  some of these sites are actually professional sites, offering things to purchase (services, etc) and I am not affiliated in any way with any of them.  If I have referred to a site like that, it is simply because I found information on their site helpful or interesting, not because I have used their services – unless I specifically say that I have.

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Really Useful Websites (March 2009)

This month’s websites are a hodgepodge (as if other months’ were not).  I simply found sites that I thought had good or helpful information on a variety of topics.  There is no real method or theme for this collection.

First of all, I wanted more information this month on economic topics, such as recessions and depressions.  On those subjects, I recommend the following articles:

Then I decided I wanted more information on what sort of help is out there for people who are struggling for one reason or another.  (Gee, I wish I had had this thought some time back – I found a lot of helpful information.  I think I was too depressed to go looking for it at the time.)

  • www.virginia.gov – Ok, this is my state, so that’s where I started.  I had no idea some of these services existed.  There are sections on the site for citizens, students, and employees.  Under citizens, there is a section for community services.  My guess is that many if not all states have something along these lines.  These include:
    • 2-1-1 VIRGINIA:  provides easy access to information and referrals on child care, energy assistance, financial assistance and more.
    • Child care database:  you can search for licensed day care in your area.
    • Virginia Communities – a database of local resources.
  • For Minnasoteans (?), Minnasotahelp.info seems to have a wealth of information and resources listed or linked.

While looking the above mentioned sites up, I found sites that were odd, really amusing, or just caught my eye.  I’ve included a sampling for kicks and giggles…

  • Callinsick – well, the name really says it all.  From the site:  “Sick notes – provided.  Fake prescriptions – provided.  Tutorials for faking sick – provided!”  🙂
  • Sickday Excuse Generator – well, once I saw the first one, I decided to see what else was out there!  Good for a laugh!
  • Economic Assistance For Struggling Families Varies Widely
  • I Work With Fools – well, I don’t personally work with fools at the moment, but I certainly HAVE.  It looks like this site is no longer being updated, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

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Really Good Websites (December 2008)

  1. Picasa – this isn’t a website but hey…it is really useful.  I’ve been using it for several years now and just updated to Picasa 3.  I LOVE it.  Picasa is a Google product.
  2. Stepcase Lifehack – what caught my eye was this article on over 100 Quick and Easy Healthy Foods.  In light of the holidays, I was looking for quick and easy meals, but I also wanted healthy meals.  This is what I discovered: pretty much something for everyone.
  3. Be Well at Stanford – this is a wonderful site with communities, tips, articles, and so much more.  You can join for free and get personalized news and track your goals, but you can also read the articles without joining.  Go take a bit of time and explore – there are communities for health, fitness, green living, stress management, allergies, and so much more.
  4. Dumb Little Man – fantastic site.  Lots of interesting articles.  The article that caught my eye was 30+ Useful Websites You Probably Didn’t Know About, but there is so much more here.  Their purpose is to provide a handful of tips weekly – on a variety of subjects.  When I looked at the site (very recently), I found articles on differentiating between “real” wants and “should” wants – if only I had read that about 20 years ago!  I also like the fact that you can easily find articles by theme, as well as the most popular.  Go check it out – there is a lot of good reading there.  Another plus: it is possible to submit articles!
  5. What Should I Read Next – type in the name of the book you are reading and it will recommend books for you.  You can also register for more accurate results.
  6. Make Use of – This is a wonderful site – full of a wide range of information.  It describes cool websites and software, and has internet tips as well.  There are categories such as Browsers/Addons, Lists of tools, Windows, Gaming,  and Mac.  One article I found particularly interesting was Store Your Thoughts, Ideas, and Anything Else in Your WikiPad.  I highly recommend checking it out – you can even subscribe.
  7. Simply Checklists – if you want a pre-made checklist or if you want to make sure you haven’t left something important off the one you came up with, this is the site for you.  There are work checklists (like Interview Checklist), sports/hobbies  checklists like Day Hiking, and Emergency and Storm checklists.  Pretty helpful, if you ask me!
  8. Amusing Facts – this is, well, an amusing site.  Good for passing time, filling in a bit here and there.  I don’t know if everything there is true or not, but I read a wide range of amusing tidbits and followed up with “more detail” when I found something that really interested me.  There is a wide range of categories from Entertainment to Household Products to Food and Drink.  I don’t know that I would spend hours there, but when I have five or ten minutes to kill, this would be a good place to spend them!
  9. Instructables – ok, this is a terrific website and I would spend a TREMENDOUS amount of time here … if I had it.  Still, it is going to be bookmarked.  Categories of how-to’s include Crafts, Food, Games, Home, Offbeat, Outdoors, Science, and Tech.  I saw any number of things under crafts that I want to try and others under Offbeat I just want to take a closer look at.  Trust me, there is something for just about anyone here!
  10. Solitaire Central – ok, this one will NOT increase your productivity.  It won’t make you a well-rounded individual.  It is entertaining, though, and sometimes that is all that matters.   There are solitaire rules, downloads, and online versions – quite a selection of those, by the way.  Check it out, when you have some time!
  11. Orisinal – this is a wonderful site for cute, simple games.  I’ve loved this one for years, and I felt I should share it with others who may not have found it yet.   Cranky Crabs and Pocketful of Stars are two of my favorites.
  12. 43 Folders – this is one of those “I’ll check it out now and then, when I need something” sort of sites.  I won’t necessarily read everything on it, but I will “graze” through it, searching for the nudge I need, the inspiration I need to push me to get moving.

I’m afraid this month’s edition of my list is a short one, due to the holiday and all the “hustle and bustle” involved.  I have two children – both under 4 – so my time has been short.  I hope you enjoy my selections.  If you have any recommendations, please feel free to drop me a note or comment.


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Really Useful Websites (June 2008)

  1. Job Hunter’s Bible – the official site for the book “What Color is Your Parachute?”. I haven’t read the book, but I did find useful information/advice here.
  2. Eight Letters in Search of a WordThis is a fantastic addiction; each level has eight letters. There is at least ONE eight-letter word to be formed. You get points for each letter you use. In addition, you must reach a certain point level before time runs out.
  3. Lunchtimers – This is a cute little thing; well, it can be. You can spend a bit of time here, basically chatting with magnetic refrigerator letters. Ok, some players can be crude but it is kind of cute. In addition, they have other games. A definite time-waster.
  4. Spirograph – If you’ve missed playing with a Spirograph, now you can do it online (of course!). No more paper! (Well, if you insist, you can still buy an actual physical one, I think, but I loved this one.)
  5. 1980s Games – Ok, I admit it; I was feeling nostalgic. I loved some of the games from the 1980s so when I found a site online that allowed me to play them for free, I got excited. This is a pretty good site – there were a lot of games I had never even heard of (well, perhaps I’ve forgotten a few…). Anyway, take a look, if you’re waxing nostalgic, like I was.
  6. Unique IQ Tests – this is an interesting one. It is a collection of puzzles. Complete it to see how sharp you are (or aren’t!).
  7. RinkWorks – I think that this site has been around awhile (a long while, really) but it is worth revisiting. I seem to remember spending quite a bit of time browsing their “Computer Stupidities” section. In the humor section, there are summarized books and movies (much funnier than that sounds) and things people said (among other things). Then, there is a section for games and puzzles. All in all, plenty to keep you from your tasks.
  8. Google notebook:  I love this idea from Google.  You can save clips from sites you find online, plus you can save urls with notes in “notebooks.”  This way, you can move the clips/notes around, put then in notebooks by subject, create sections, and so forth.  It is a great way to organize information that you find online and need and/or want to remember.
  9. K Schweizer – a wonderful site for journals, glass pens and pens of other types, inks, handmade journals and so on.  I love it.
  10. Solitaire Central – this is a great site.  It has links to a good number of online solitaire games, as well as rules of variations, and downloads.
  11. Drinknation – I thought this was helpful.  You can check the ingredients that you have and it will list the drinks you can make with those ingredients.
  12. Shopping List (Google) – I’ve never noticed this before, so I have no idea how long it has been available, but I think this is rather nice.  Apparently, you can also make a Wish List via google, which is great since the products on it will not be specific to one website.  I love this idea.  You can add items from your shopping list to your wish list, and you can send your wish list to people.
  13. The Innerwords Messenger – here is a list of self-care tips that is really nice.  The back issues of the newsletter are also good reading.
  14. Name a Star – The international star registry; this is a site where you can name a star as a gift.  I thought it was an interesting idea – something for the person who has everything.  Everyone has at least one in their family!  On the other hand, you may want to take a look at this beforehand, from Space.com.
  15. Makeuseof.com – I’m not really sure HOW to describe this one, other than to say you could spend a bit of time here.  There is an interesting article on “40 Unusual Websites You Should Bookmark” but there is more there than that.  There is a blog, web applications, tips, and reviews.

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Good Reading: A Review (February 2008)

This month I read a book by Zora Neale Hurston called Their Eyes Were Watching God. I highly recommend it. I had decided that I wanted to branch out from my normal themes or genres and try something that I hadn’t been exposed to during my education.

I found this to be a wonderful book.  As a woman, I really identified with the main character, Janie.  My life experiences and hers are widely different and  yet I understand her and I understand her emotions and her thinking.  The book covers her growth and changes as she goes from a young girl to a widow; it covers three marriages and life afterward.

I’ve seen criticism of the language Ms. Hurston uses in the book – it is too black, it is spelled phonetically, it made the characters sound stupid, and the like.  While it took some getting used to for me, I found that it added to the story.  I don’t personally know if people in the areas of the country actually talk that way, but I assume that they do.  For me, it added to the texture of the book, the way it felt to me; it drew me into the environment.  As for making the characters sound stupid, I find that an odd argument.  I have talked to various intelligent people from different parts of the world; some accents can have an impact on how someone sounds but listening to WHAT a person is saying makes it apparent that they are indeed intelligent.  To focus on how the characters talk in this book is to focus on one tiny insignificant detail and ignore the beauty all around it.   The language is too black?  For what, I want to know.  I am indeed white but I had no problem understanding it.  Some things I gathered from context, but most of it was clear to me without effort.  I don’t know; perhaps I am not analyzing this enough but the criticisms I have seen in other places just don’t make sense to me.

All in all, I recommend this book.  I believe that any woman would find something in this story with with they could identify.  I found the language interesting and in some places absolutely beautiful.  I fully intend to read more by Zola Hurston.

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Really Useful Reference Websites (January 2008)

I will be listing some of the most helpful and most interesting websites that I have found here. I realize that they aren’t new, but they are new to me and I thought I would share what I find. (I’ll probably post the quirky ones too!)

    1. American President – This is an excellent website provided by The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Actually, this is one portion of the website. I found this particularly interesting. It includes (obviously) information on each president, as well as essays on the presidents and their administrations.
    2. Download Time Calculator – calculates how long it will take a file of the size that you enter to download.
    3. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – this is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. It gives victims of cyber crime an “easy to use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.” They accept complaints from the victims themselves or from third parties.
    4. Info Please – this is a general website, with a large number of categories such as World & News, US, Government, Health and Science, and Homework. It has pages for almanacs, encyclopedias, dictionaries, black history, and the 2008 campaign. On the front page, it also has quizzes, a daily crossword, and other entertaining bits like trivia. There is also an “Editor’s Favorites” list to one side.
    5. WebMD – this is a very helpful site for information on various illnesses and medical information (though no substitute for actually talking to your doctor!). I found information on women’s health, men’s health, and of course, that of children. Also, it has information on various drugs, in case you want more information than that which your doctor provided. In addition, it has articles on healthy living. It too has a section on the 2008 election. There are also articles like “5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight“.
    6. Snopes – I cannot say often enough how helpful this site is. How often do you get an email from a friend, family member, or coworker that is excessively dramatic, claiming something new is causing cancer, that there is a new risk while driving if you are a woman, or about a “new” missing child? My family (in particular) does it to me all the time. Frequently, if you go to this site and search, you’ll discover that it is an urban legend. If something sounds too fantastic to be true (i.e., deodorant causing breast cancer), it frequently is a myth making the rounds.
    7. State and Local Government on the Net – this is a very helpful gathering of websites from all the US states and many local governments in one spot.
    8. School Matters – this is a service of Standard & Poor’s. You can see what others think of your child’s school, write a review, or compare schools.
    9. E How – how to do just about anything. Some articles are better and more helpful than others, but there are articles in one place on a wide range of subjects.
    10. Epicurious – a cooking site. It has articles, recipes, menus, and the like. It also has a food dictionary and a wine dictionary, which I found helpful. There are also technique videos to help those of us who aren’t as proficient as others!
    11. How Products are Made – this contains fairly in-depth articles on how things are made.
    12. CEO Express – this is a wonderful gathering of links to business magazines, news sources, office tools, travel sites, online TV news sources, and more. This is truly an amazing number of links in one place!

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