Interesting new computer technology

I normally don't spend a lot of time looking at new technologies, and commenting on them. However, I somehow stumbled onto this video tonight, and wanted to share it with you. I believe this is the future of computer technology.

The first 5 minutes of the video are pretty standard ideas that we've seen or heard about lately. Starting at about 5:30 minutes into the video, you'll see some pretty astonishing new ways to look at computer technology. At 6:30 minutes it gets really interesting.

He calls it the Sixthsense.

Anyhow, I mostly wanted to share it with you. In case you don't see stuff like this too often. And to get your thoughts on what he shares about the future of computing.
I was pretty amazed. I think you might be too.

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The Many Faces of Lowery Park Zoo

Well, it's been almost a month ago, but I wanted to share a bit of our time our for Keeley's birthday. She turned 9 back in November, and wanted to head out to the zoo for her event for the day.

We have heard a tremendous amount about Tampa's Lowery Park Zoo, but we've never gone. So, we decided this would be a great day to get out there. On top of that... when you go on your birthday, to the zoo, you get in for free. That was a great price for us, so we took them up on that offer.

The Lowry Park Zoo turned out to be in an interesting part of Tampa. It definitely wasn't like riding up in the West Hills in Portland. This is a much older, more established part of town. There are lots of interesting homes and individuals hanging out as you drive down to the zoo. There was plenty of parking for us, which was also a bit of a shocker. You almost can't go to any 'hot spot' in the this state and expect to find easy parking. However, we parked quickly, and had a relatively short walk to the entrance.

The Lowry Zoo is actually a pretty popular zoo, and has been rated as a top zoo by Parents magazine. And it's pretty easy to see why. We arrived to the zoo pretty late, probably around 11, and we stayed until it closed. It seemed like we were walking from exhibit to exhibit and we still missed a couple of the animals. We didn't miss out on too many, but it just felt like we had to hurry to get through everything. So, it's a pretty large zoo, and you will probably need an entire day to see the whole park.

I think the 'best' part of this zoo is the proximity you have to the animals. I don't know if it's just old, or if the entire zoo was designed to feel this way... but there are LOTS of very close encounters you can have with the animals. And that, I think, is what makes Lowry Park so amazing and popular.

  • Feeding giraffe
  • Riding camel
  • Leaning over the penguin wall
  • And who knows what else we didn't experience
Here are a few pictures from our time at the Lowery Park Zoo.

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What a HAUL!

Wow this weeks add was great for our family! I got so much stuff that it even prompted the checker to say that she wants to start couponing! And this weeks shopping included out Christmas ham and a couple treats!
So before sales and coupons this would have cost $231.60. And After, what I paid, was just $37.83! That is a whopping savings of $193.77 or 94%.
And lets add another blessing on top of it. I paid with a gift card that I won from a Gatorade/Publix sweepstakes and received in the mail a couple days ago. So technically there was absolutely nothing out of my pocket for all this! And I still have some left on my winning gift card! God is amazing!!
And now time for the photo and rundown of all that is there.

8- bags Oreida Hash Browns BOGO $2.39 used Target coupons for $2.00/2, .46 each

4- Philadelphia cream cheese $1.25 used target coupons for .50/2 and a manufactures coupons
for $1.00 each making them FREE

2- Reddi Whip whip cream topping $2.39 used manufactures coupons for .50 each $1.89 each

16- Nestle Toll House Cookie dough $2.79 BOGO used manufactures coupons for $1.00 each
making them .39 each

1- 5lb bag potatoes $2.50 used a $1.00 manufactures making it $1.50

4- 2 liters Coke $1.79 B2G1 used Target coupon for B3G1 and a Manufactures coupon for
BOGO making them .44 each

4- Bottles Sundown vitamins $2.99 each used store coupons for $3.00/1 and manufactures
coupons for $1.00/1 Making them FREE with $4.04 OVERAGE

4- Boxes 4 way Nasal spray $3.99 each used store coupons for $5.00/2 and manufactures
coupons for $2.00 each making them FREE with $2.04 OVERAGE

2- gallons Publix Sweet Tea $2.39 BOGO making them 1.19 each

4- Boxes Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa $1.99 BOGO used store coupons for $1.00/1 and
Manufactures coupons for $1.99/1 making them FREE with $7.98 OVERAGE!

2- Boxes Captian crunch cereal $4.49 BOGO used manufactured coupons for .50/1 making them
$1.74 each
4- Planters Peanuts $3.19 BOGO used Target store coupons for $2.00/2 and Manufactures
coupons for $2.00/2 making them FREE with an OVERAGE of $1.62

2- Wheat Thins $3.39 BOGO used Target store coupons for $1.00/2 and manufactures
coupons for $1.50/2 making them .44 each

2- Triscuits $3.39 BOGO used Target store coupons for $1.00/2 and manufactures coupons for
$1.50/2 making them .44 each

2- Coffee Mate creamers $2.50 each used manufactures coupons for $1.00/1 making them
$1.50 each

2- Froot Loops Cereal $3.99 BOGO used manufactures coupons for .70/1 making them $1.29

2- Kraft Salad Dressings $3.19 BOGO used Target store coupons for .50/1 and manufactures
coupon for $1.00/2 making them .59 each

2- Dole Pineapple $1.69 BOGO used manufactures coupon for .55/2 making them .57 each

2- 4 packs Starbucks Frappuccino $4.99 used a store coupon for $2.00/2 and manufactures
coupons for $1.00/1 making them $1.99 each

2- Wesson oils $3.59 BOGO used manufactures coupons for .40/1 making them $1.39 each

1- 8.33lb Ham 1.59lb making it $12.05

Wow, That is what I call a Haul!


How to save on gas for your car

This weeks Publix sales were not that great for my family. There really was nothing much there. But then I found a gem! There is a coupon in this weeks sales paper that is for $10.00 off a $50.00 BP Gas gift card, when you spend $25.00 in other groceries. So I started working the numbers and came up with a couple different transactions that I did. I was able to get 3 cards, a total of $150.00 in gas, and I only paid $87 out of pocket for it! How great is that!?!

The first one, sadly, I did not take a photo of but it included 4 boxes of Cheeze-its, 4 cans of Almonds, 4 bottles of Sundown Vitamins, and 2 bags of pretzels.

For all the transactions I used a $5.00 off $50.00 purchase Winn Dixie coupon that I found in the Sunday paper. Publix is great in-that they even take these types of competitor store coupons. (Try that at Walmart!) Plus, I had other coupons for all the other items I bought.

So here is photo of the second transaction...

And here is the break down.
  • 4- Boxes of Cheeze-its crackers $3.09 BOGO I used a coupon that was on the box for $1.00 off 2 making them $1.04 each
  • 4- Bottles Sundown Vitamins $2.99 I used a Publix store coupon for $3.00 off 1 and a manufactures coupon for $1.00 off 1 making them FREE with a total overage of $4.04
  • 2- bags Snyders pretzels $2.59 I used a Target store coupon for $1.50 off when you buy a box of cheeze-its crackers. Making them $1.09 each
  • 1- $50.00 BP Gas Gift card. I used the Publix store coupon found in the weekly add for $10.00 off making it $40.00
Like I said before I used a Winn Dixie store coupon for $5.00 off a $50.00 purchase.
So when you take the $10 coupon off of the $50.00 card, and then apply the $5.00 Winn Dixie card, and the overage of the vitamins of $4.04... I paid a whopping $30.96 for $50.00 worth of gas.

This is the last transaction, which I did just this evening...

I got
  • 4- Bottles of Sundown Vitamins $2.99. I used the same coupons as listed above for an overage for all of them
  • 4 - Bottles of Sobe Life water. $1.00 I used a manufactures coupons for Free Sobe that I won from and online game. Making them FREE!
  • 4- Boxes of Theraflu caplets $3.50 each I used a Publix store coupon for $5.00 off 2 and Manufactures coupons for $2.00 off 1. Making them FREE with a total overage of $4.00
    This is something that our family doesn't use. We prefer to let our body's natural immunity do its job, and we use things that complement the bodies healing process. However, getting it free with overage, is worth bringing it home even if we give it to someone else.
  • 1- BP gift card for $50.00 I used the Publix store coupon for $10.00 off making it $40.00
Again I used the $5.00 off $50.00 purchase Winn Dixie coupon. So I Paid $25.89 out of pocket of all this

I was able to get $150.00 worth of gas cards for $87.81!

Oh yeah and there was all the other grocery items for that price as well!

Really the only thing I can say is God is Good! I am just amazed at how He is continuing to show me how to make the most of what he has given us. Praise be to GOD!
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Florida Springs Family Bike Tour - Day 7

As we were planning the route, for our trip, this day was noted as almost 65 miles. And the notes said it contained a lot of rough, bumpy roads, with plenty of highway travel time. So, instead of torturing the girls by riding all 65 miles, we decided to go ahead and rent a truck. PLUS, I wanted my daughter to still 'kinda' love me when we got home. I didn't want a road rebellion right in the middle of the trip.

I'm not always smart, but I think this was a wise move on our part. If I haven't said it before, kids are very strong, but mentally they are not always willing to go along with my whims peacefully.

So, we trekked back to the closest u-haul shop, and rented the truck for the day. It cost a TON of money to do this. But, again, to save my sanity, I think it was money well spent. Unfortunately, don't tell the kids this, but it comes directly out of their Christmas gifts. I'm sure they will appreciate that! Just kidding.

Anyhow, we rented a truck, and threw all of the bikes and gear in the back end. And headed on down the road. Essentially we knocked the entire length of the south side of Gainesville on this leg of the trip. We traveled from Manatee Springs State Park back over to Gold Head Branch State Park. I think we rode 15-20 miles for the day.

We spent the last 2 days at Gold Head Branch. Enjoying the park, and the local town of Keystone Heights. Another point to remember, when you are on your bike... it is ALWAYS several miles back to the closest town from the park campgrounds. So, in the case of Manatee Springs, it was about 6-7 miles. In the case of Gold Head Branch it was 6-9 miles (depending on where you camped inside of the campground). In a car, that's no big deal at all. On a bike, it equals a 30-60 minute ride. That's okay, but just keep that distinction in mind when doing your planning.

Civilian Conservation Corps constructing road....Image via WikipediaGold Head Branch State Park is a pretty cool park. It was originally built during the 30's, in the Great Depression, by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corpse). A concept America should have thought about before they threw all of their money at a bunch of bankers. Who knows what we could have done for the infrastructure of our country with all that money. Look at how well built things were back then:

Here's one of the buildings, still standing, from 70-80 years ago. They sure did a heck of a job on the stuff they built back then. Oh well, I guess!

Anyhow, it is a great park. The lake itself is not a spring, so it's not super clear, blue water. But it was SO cool to jump in, and it was absolutely refreshing on a hot day.

The craziest thing for us, was jumping into the lake on the very first night of our trip. We rode 40+ miles, and the girls and I were hot and tired. We were so late getting into the campground, that the sun was setting when we actually got into the water that first night. So, we just wanted to go jump in and feel refreshed. It was delightfully cool, and felt so good to head back down to camp after going for a super fast swim. It was about a mile (or so) from our campsite to the lake, so we had to ride to get everywhere.

Finally, we came back to the lake, at the end of our tour, and I noticed this sign:

So then I told the girls it was okay to go ahead and play in the water:

Actually, after they saw the sign, this was about as far as they would go in the water. And that was about all Chris would let them do as well. I couldn't resist though. I had to get back in. It was SO refreshing, and felt so good. Under normal circumstances, if there are dozens of people in the water, I wouldn't expect a gator to be anywhere near this portion of beach that they have roped off for swimming. It was a bit eerie to see that sign though. It makes you think twice about getting in the water... that's for sure.

Gold Head Branch also has an interesting creature that you can take a photo of. He's called the Mossman. I assume, it's similar to the Bigfoot or Swamp thing stories that have floated around the country for decades. This one is pretty cool.

Then, you get a few shots of us hanging around the campsite, doing what we do best... goofing off.

Finally, a few shots of the other great outdoor activity you can explore at Gold Head Branch. There are a couple of large lakes here for exploring. And with lots of wildlife running around, this has to be a great way to enjoy the area.

I'm sad to say, this is basically the end of our tour. We did have one last day of riding, but it concluded with use riding back to Palatka, FL. It was an inglorious finish, with some of the strongest headwinds and worst traffic of the entire trip.

Waiting for us was Mogwai, our trusty steed. I don't know that I've ever seen the girls happier than at that moment when we pulled into the parking lot, and were finally done pedaling.

Kaitlyn actually admitted that she had more fun on the trip than she expected. But, I don't know that she would have enjoyed one stroke more on the bike pedals than she absolutely had to.

If you have any questions or comments, I'll be glad to help out in any way that I can. Overall, traveling across a part of Florida by bike was one of the coolest things I've ever done. And it was encouraging to know that Chris and I were much stronger than we ever thought at riding. After this experience, a cross-country trip seems TOTALLY plausible.

I think Chris will have more details, and specifics, that I have left out over the length of the trip. But, I hope you've enjoyed checking out the journey.

All the best,

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