Amber Alert

The Ultimate Blog Party - Still Blog Hopping

Still hopping from blog to blog... my goal is to post at each blog at least once. Happy blogging!

As of today I have made it to 527 blogs out of 1,498 (the final number at midnight of the last day of the party [a few have joined the party after the last day]) and posted at most of them.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few blogs with no party posts, some blogs that were businesses only, some blogs that had disappeared (due to lack of a proper ISP address), and some blogs with duplicate (and triplicate) entries.

I did not count the blogs -- approx. 20 -- that I visited from links from other blogs.

I will be posting an update soon on some of my new favorite blogs and blogs worth visiting again.

What You Need to Know About the 2008 Tax Rebate Plan

What You Need to Know about the 2008 Tax Rebate Plan

The first piece of tax legislation in 2008, the Economic Stimulus Act provides that the taxpayers will receive a one-time rebate in mid-2008. The rebates, or "stimulus payments" as they are being called by the IRS, will be mailed or sent via direct deposit to individuals who file a 2007 tax return and meet certain eligibility requirements. The IRS will calculate the amount of the rebate for you based on your 2007 income information.

What's the Maximum Stimulus Rebate Payment

$600 for unmarried persons and $1,200 for married couples. Plus an additional $300 per qualifying child.

How Will the Rebate be Calculated
The rebate is limited to the net tax liability. For many people, this amount will be the same as found on Form 1040 Line 57, Form 1040A Line 35, or Form 1040EZ Line 10. The rebate is reduced if the net tax liability is less than the maximum credit. The rebate will also be reduced for people with higher incomes. The stimulus rebate is reduced by 5 percent of the amount of income in excess of $75,000 (or $150,000 for married couples).

Who's Eligible for the Rebate
Individuals who have at least $3,000 in qualifying income.

Who's Not Eligible for the Rebate
Dependents, or people who could be claimed as dependents by another taxpayer, are not eligible. Also ineligible are non-resident aliens, anyone without a valid Social Security Number, and estates and trusts.
Qualifying Income: Wages, self-employment, Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, and veterans' disability compensation, pension or survivors' benefits received from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not qualify for the rebate.

Qualifying Children and Dependents
Any child under age 17 who is related to the taxpayer by blood, marriage, adoption or foster arrangement and whom the taxpayer can claim as a dependent. Dependents age 17 and over do not qualify for the additional rebate. Dependents of any age do not qualify for the rebate in their own name even if they earn their own income.

Impact on 2008 Tax Returns
The stimulus rebates will be calculated by the IRS using information on the 2007 tax returns. If taxpayers were entitled to a larger rebate based on their 2008 income, those taxpayers will be able to claim a tax credit for the additional amount. Taxpayers won't have to pay back the rebate, however, if using their 2008 income would result in a lower rebate amount.

How Rebates will be Processed
The IRS will mail out two notices to taxpayers. The first notice will inform people about the rebate. The second notice will confirm the taxpayer's eligibility, amount of the rebate that the IRS has calculated, and when the taxpayer should receive the rebate payment. Rebates will be sent by direct deposit, if bank account information was provided on the 2007 tax return, or by paper check.

Filing a Return
Individuals must file a 2007 tax return to receive the stimulus rebate payment. Even if the person does not have a filing requirement and does not have a tax liability, they will still need to file a return so that the IRS will know that the person qualifies for the rebate.

If you are filing a 2007 tax return solely for the purpose of claiming the stimulus rebate repayment, show your nontaxable Social Security benefits, veteran's disability pension, or Railroad Retirement benefits on Form 1040 Line 20a or Form 1040A Line 14a. This will let the IRS know that you have qualifying income for the purposes of the rebate, even if you have no taxable income.

April Fool's Creating and Crafting

Are you someone who enjoys playing April Fool’s pranks and practical jokes? I’ve gathered a list of harmless pranks and April Fool’s jokes guaranteed to entertain and delight! The plotting and planning are half the fun.

April Fools' Pranks to Play on Your Friends
http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/specialfeature/aprilfools-pranks-ms/aprilfools-pranks-ms.html?link=Section4Link1

A Shamburger
http://familyfun.go.com/utilities/global/feature/fftv-archive-video-player/fftv-archive-video-player.html?video=hamburger_cookies&campaign=NLC-NL_Wkdr&link=Section2Link2

April Fools' Funnies
http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/feature/april-fools-funnies/april-fools-funnies.html

April Fools' Practical Jokes and Pranks
http://www.kidzworld.com/article/1939-april-fools-practical-jokes-and-pranks

April Fool Zone
http://www.aprilfoolzone.com/


Earth Hour

So how many of you will participate at 8:00 PM tonight? Turn off the lights for one hour! I plan to.

On March 29, 2008 at 8 PM, join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fun.

Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments, and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate.

They are encouraging everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 PM (your own local time)– whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.

What will you do when the lights are off? Go to the site and read the long list of ideas.

Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.

One hour, America. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!

http://www7.earthhourus.org/

Double Take

Double Take by Catherine Coulter

"The police are convinced that Julia Ransom is guilty of the brutal murder of her husband, renowned psychic August Ransom. But after six months of investigation and media frenzy, she is free of their scrutiny, because of the lack of evidence. One afternoon she walks from her Pacific Heights home to Fisherman's Wharf, alone, unwatched, and -- she realizes, happy. Standing at the railing on Pier 39, she savors the sounds around her -- tourists, countless seals on the barges, and for a moment enjoys the sheer normalcy of it all. It suddenly comes to an end when a respectable-looking man distracts her with conversation before striking her unconscious and heaving her over the rail into the San Francisco Bay. If it weren't for Special Agency Cheney Stone, Julia would drown. Cheney quickly realizes the attempt on Julia's life must be connected with the murder of her husband, and reopens the investigation with the SFPD.

Meanwhile, in Maestro, Virginia, Sheriff Dixon Noble (last seen in Point Blank) learns about a woman named Charlotte Pallack, whose extraordinary resemblance to his vanished wife, Christie, gone for three years, sends him across the country. Although in his heart he knows that this woman can't possibly be his missing wife, Dix is compelled to see her with his own eyes.

In San Francisco, Dix's and Cheney's paths cross, brought together by FBI Special Agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. All four begin to unlock the mystery behind Charlotte Pallack's identity, as well as the forces behind Julie Ransom's attempted murder and the vicious murder of her husband. The most fascinating aspect of the case is the extraordinary cast of psychics they meet as they push deep into the intriguing and complex world of visions, mind benders, and communications with the dead. As the stakes and the body count rise, Savich, Sherlock, Dix, and Cheney fight for answers -- and their lives."

Another great book by Coulter, but a little slow in bringing in all the characters and making them pertinent to the plot. I figured out the mystery man behind the killings so that was disappointing.

Rating (1, lowest; 5, highest): 4.

Think Spring - Birds







A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.
~~ Chinese Proverb ~~

How Much Do You Know about Christmas?




You Know a Lot About Christmas



You got 10/10 correct



You know tons about the history and traditions surrounding Christmas.

When you celebrate the holidays, you never forget their true meaning - or all the little fun details.



Random Christmas fact: In early England, the traditional Christmas dinner was a pig's head prepared with mustard.

When Is the Perfect Time?

When is the "perfect" time to DO something?

Are you waiting for the "perfect" time?Been there, done that - and yes - still DO that.

Perhaps we'll take our kids to the park "later."
Perhaps we'll go for an evening walk "later."
Perhaps we'll invite the new neighbors over to visit "later"
Perhaps we'll call up an old friend to say hello "later."
Perhaps we'll sort out the cabinet under the bathroom sink "later."
Perhaps we'll pay back that $20 we owe someone "later."
Perhaps we'll make that apology "later."
Perhaps we'll start tackling that credit card debt "later."
Perhaps we'll start saving money for the future "later."
Perhaps we'll quit smoking "later."
Perhaps we'll go on that vacation "later."
Perhaps we'll get that new hair style "later."
Perhaps we'll use up that gift certificate "later."
Perhaps we'll finish our Will "later."
Perhaps..

But what happens when "later" comes when we least expect (or want) it.I had an eye-opening and sad event happen this week. Last Thursday, an individual left a message on my answering machine. Since they called after hours and it was the Easter long weekend, I did not return his call until Tuesday morning.

Imagine my shock when his wife informed me that her husband, the individual who'd left me the phone message, had died suddenly over the weekend. That was it. I never even had a chance to talk to him.

For him, "later" (his latest) arrived on Saturday. For his wife, "later" arrived before either of them was prepared or ready. She was understandably stressed, scared, and uncertain. No one knows when that final "later" is going to arrive. But we have it in OUR control to schedule those very important other "laters" in our lives.

Today.

NOW!

Mini Scrapbooks

I haven't been doing much scrapping lately and, unfortunately, I'm starting to feel guilty about that. I went looking for inspiration so I can get some scrapping done this weekend. I swiped this mini album mosaic from Flickr. Credits are at the bottom of this post.

Flickr can be a great source of inspiration for scrapbookers since there are a bazillion scrappers who post their scrapbook art there.

Go to http://www.flickr.com// to get inspired today.

Credits for the mini album mosaic..1. accordion mini book - Girl with a red bucket, 2. Mini Coco+Allison, 3. sugar and spice - craft 35 - day 152, 4. Not available, 5. Inspire Mini, 6. Not available, 7. Owl Organizer (mini book) 21/365, 8. Avoriaz, 9. Smiles Mini Book Pages, 10. Cedric&Laetitia mini paperbag album7, 11. Thankful Mini, 12. IMG_1122, 13. Couverture Mini 7Gypsies, 14. I Love, 15. Mini albums galore!, 16. Mini Album--March Project, 17. Black notebook, 18. Mini album nostalgie...., 19. IMG_1068, 20. un été en Inde "Indian Summer", 21. Minibook "Dates" 1, 22. Mes loulous, 23. P1000438, 24. Inside of Mini Book - SoML Kit, 25. Moments

Safety Recalls

When you click on the link below, you will see the most recent recalls issued by the six government regulatory agencies --
Consumer Products
Foods, Medicines, & Cosmetics
Motor Vehicles and Car Seats
Environmental Products
Meat & Poultry Products
Boats and Boating Safety

You can scroll through each agency's recalls.

http://www.recalls.gov/recent.html

A Swab, a Consent Form, & an Envelope

DNA paternity testing kit goes on sale for 30 dollars

A swab, a consent form, and an envelope is all there is to settling paternity issues with the test kit that went on sale this week at many US drug stores.

Identigene, which runs a DNA testing laboratory, said its DNA Paternity Test Collection Kit went on sale at Rite Aid drug stores throughout the United States.

The swab in the kit is used to collect a saliva sample, to be mailed to the Identigene laboratory for an analysis that costs an additional $119.

It takes three to five business days to get the test results, which are delivered by mail, email, or online through a secured Web service.

Test kit buyers include women who want to know the identity of the father of their child or unborn child, as well as people looking for their parents.
The kits can be bought without a prescription.

Adapted from Washington AFP article at http://health.yahoo.com/news/afp/ushealthdna_080326224747.html.

Animal Testing

The Price of Gas


Thankful Thursday #3 - Thankful Defined

Today I am finding it hard to be thankful for my blessings with so little sleep and the over-abundance of stress.

Instead of adding more stress to myself I decided I needed to refresh my mind and my heart and learn what it means to be thankful.



thankful (thngkfl)

ADJECTIVE:
Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.
Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.
Feeling or expressing thanks.

OTHER FORMS:
thankfully (Adverb), thankfulness (Noun)

SYNONYMS:
grateful, full of gratitude, appreciative, relieved, obliged, gratified, contented, satisfied, indebted to, beholden, pleased, kindly disposed, appreciative, giving thanks, overwhelmed.


What does thankful mean to you? What are you thankful for today?

Family Minute #8

What’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do as a parent?

It’s allowing your teen to make a bad decision... a decision that might hurt. We all want to protect our children, and we need to protect them from things that might scar them for life. But from time to time, teens need to test their own judgment and, if they make the wrong choice, accept the consequences for their actions.

It’s better to let them spread their wings a bit while they’re still in the nest, than to experience a tragic fall when they have to fly solo later in life.

Remember your family first.

Think Spring

Click on the link below. You will get a black page. Click your mouse anywhere on the page to see what happens -- better yet, click and drag your mouse over the blank page.

http://www.procreo.jp/labo/flower_garden.swf

Wordless Wednesday #5


The Dog's Party

The dogs all had a party
They came from near and far.
Some dogs came by taxi
And some dogs came by car.

Each dog signed his name
Upon a special book
And each dog hung his tail
Upon a special hook.

One dog was not invited,
And this aroused his ire.
He stormed into the party
And loudly shouted "FIRE!"

In the scene that followed,
The dogs forgot to look
And grabbed just any tail
From off of any hook.

And that is why when dogs roam
On land or sea or foam,
They sniff each others' tail,
To try and find their own!

~~ Author Unknown ~~

Celebrate National Scrapbook Month

As National Scrapbook Month quickly approaches in May, I am scouring the internet to find some great blog parties, giveaways, and, of course, projects to commemorate one of the coolest months in the crafting world.

One blog party I will be attending is being hosted by Scrapping Servant and will bring together Christian scrapbookers from all over the world. It will run from May 10th through May 24th. Not only will there be tons of prizes awarded -- one every day! -- but you will also get to play some fun games, learn some new scrapbooking techniques, and make new friends! You don't have to be a scrapbooker to join in the party.

Happy Easter


All About Easter

History of Easter

According to the New Testament, Christ was crucified on the eve of Passover and shortly afterward rose from the dead. In consequence, the Easter festival commemorated Christ's resurrection.

In time, a serious difference over the date of the Easter festival arose among Christians. Those of Jewish origin celebrated the resurrection immediately following the Passover festival, which, according to their Babylonian lunar calendar, fell on the evening of the full moon (the 14th day in the month of Nisan, the first month of the year). By their reckoning, Easter, from year to year, fell on different days of the week.

Christians of Gentile origin, however, wished to commemorate the resurrection on the first day of the week, Sunday; by their method, Easter occurred on the same day of the week, but from year to year it fell on different dates. An important historical result of the difference in reckoning the date of Easter was that the Christian churches in the East, which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observed Easter according to the date of the Passover festival. The churches of the West, descendants of Greco-Roman civilization, celebrated Easter on a Sunday.

Early Dating Methods

The Council of Nicaea also decided that the calendar date of Easter was to be calculated at Alexandria, then the principal astronomical center of the world. The accurate determination of the date, however, proved an impossible task in view of the limited knowledge of the 4th-century world. The principal astronomical problem involved was the discrepancy, called the epact, between the solar year and the lunar year. The chief calendric problem was a gradually increasing discrepancy between the true astronomical year and the Julian calendar then in use.

Later Dating Methods

Ways of fixing the date of the feast tried by the church proved unsatisfactory, and Easter was celebrated on different dates in different parts of the world. In 387, for example, the dates of Easter in France and Egypt were 35 days apart. About 465, the church adopted a system of calculation proposed by the astronomer Victorinus (fl. 5th cent.), who had been commissioned by Pope Hilarius (r. 461–68) to reform the calendar and fix the date of Easter. Elements of his method are still in use. Refusal of the British and Celtic Christian churches to adopt the proposed changes led to a bitter dispute between them and Rome in the 7th century.
Reform of the Julian calendar in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, through adoption of the Gregorian calendar, eliminated much of the difficulty in fixing the date of Easter and in arranging the ecclesiastical year; since 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was also adopted in Great Britain and Ireland, Easter has been celebrated on the same day in the Western part of the Christian world. The Eastern churches, however, which did not adopt the Gregorian calendar, commemorate Easter on a Sunday either preceding or following the date observed in the West. Occasionally the dates coincide; the most recent times were in 1865 and 1963.

Because the Easter holiday affects a varied number of secular affairs in many countries, it has long been urged as a matter of convenience that the movable dates of the festival be either narrowed in range or replaced by a fixed date in the manner of Christmas. In 1923 the problem was referred to the Holy See, which has found no canonical objection to the proposed reform. In 1928 the British Parliament enacted a measure allowing the Church of England to commemorate Easter on the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. Despite these steps toward reform, Easter continues to be a movable feast.

Christian Origins

Easter is the annual festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the principal feast of the Christian year. It is celebrated on a Sunday on varying dates between March 22 and April 25 and is therefore called a movable feast. The dates of several other ecclesiastical festivals, extending over a period between Septuagesima Sunday (the ninth Sunday before Easter) and the first Sunday of Advent, are fixed in relation to the date of Easter.

Connected with the observance of Easter are the 40-day penitential season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding at midnight on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday; Holy Week, commencing on Palm Sunday, including Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion, and terminating with Holy Saturday; and the Octave of Easter, extending from Easter Sunday through the following Sunday. During the Octave of Easter in early Christian times, the newly baptized wore white garments, white being the liturgical color of Easter and signifying light, purity, and joy.

The Christian festival of Easter probably embodies a number of converging traditions; most scholars emphasize the original relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name for Easter. The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the advent of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

Easter Symbols


Eastre (or "Ostara"), the Anglo-Saxon Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility was often accompanied by a hare when represented. The fertile nature of rabbits and hares is another symbol of new life and the rebirth that occurs during the spring season.
Also, German settlers in America are said to have brought over the tradition of a bunny named "Oschter Haws" who would visit houses on Easter eve, leaving colored eggs for children. Easter eggs were painted different colors to represent the sunlight of spring. Christians later used eggs to symbolize the rebirth of Christ.
Another Easter tradition is the eating of Hot Cross Buns. These cakes were marked by the Saxons to honor Eastre, the fertility goddess. The crosses on the buns are said to represent the moon's quarters, while Christians see the cross as a reference to the crucifixion.

Modified from the Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia.

The Ultimate Blog After Party - Blog Round Up

One of the things that 5 Minutes for Mom asked of the participants of The Ultimate Blog Party was to take the time to review some of the favorite or new blogs visited during the party.

After visiting over 350 blogs (and still blog hopping) -- 373 to be exact -- here is my ROUND UP OF FAVORITE BLOGS (in no particular order):

Extravagant Grace
http://www.extravagantgrace.net/
This lady is down-to-Earth, compassionate, loves God, and is full of grace. This is a beautiful blog, literally, figuratively, and with a gracious, beautiful author. In her own words, "Extravagant Grace is about the business spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ while reaching women of all ages with God's message of extravagant grace, love, hope, forgiveness, and transformation."

Self Talk, Soul Talk
http://www.selftalksoultalk.com/
This blog is based on the awesome book that Jennifer Rothschild wrote. This is a place for those who have read the book to get more insight. Its a comforting place to wander through; so uplifting. The blog focuses on showing you that God should cultivate your soul, heart, and mind so you can be positive when you talk to yourself. No negativity here!

Girlfriendology
http://girlfriendology.blogspot.com/ and http://girlfriendologytoo.blogspot.com/
Celebrate the special relationship yo have with your girlfriends. Be inspired and get some creative mojo. In their own words, "These sites focus on the inspiration, appreciation and celebration of girlfriends. It takes the creative side of girlfriends by offering crafty ideas for making and giving girlfriend gifts and greetings."

The Love List
http://love-list.blogspot.com/
"The Love List is a running list of daily discoveries in design, food, fashion, and living."

Some other blogs that I will be visiting again (in no particular order):

Scrapping Servant at http://scrappingservant.com
Charmed Life at http://charmedlife.wordpress.com
Just a Mom at http://sevenwithoneextra.blogspot.com/
A Daily Dose of Debbie at http://adailydoseofdebbie.blogspot.com/
Heart of Wisdom at http://heartofwisdom.com/blog/
Weary Parent at http://www.wearyparent.com/
The Mommy Project at http://themommyproject.blogspot.com/

 
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