Saturday, October 20, 2012

Answer to Prayer

Jordan, who is the daughter of a friend of ours, Paula, had taken Zoloft during her entire pregnancy.  As many as 30% of all babies whose mothers took Zoloft, had birth defects; many of them quite serious, even deadly.  

Chase, Jordan's baby, was born this morning shortly after 9:00 a.m. and weighed 6 pounds.  So far, everything seems to be okay with the baby.  There have been a lot of prayers going up for this little boy and it is a true miracle that no birth defects are evident at this time.

Please continue to pray for Chase and for Jordan (she has a lot going on in her life) and help her to embrace the maternal bond between mother and baby.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and may the Lord richly bless you and yours.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frozen Lemonade Pie

When you have hot summers like we do here, it is really nice to serve desserts that are cool and delicious.  

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1  14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
  • 1   6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate (do not thaw)

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes; cool completely.
Make the filling: In a cold medium bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, stir together the condensed milk and frozen lemonade. Gently fold the lemonade mixture into the whipped cream. Pour the filling into the crust; freeze overnight.
About an hour before you serve the pie, make the topping: Toss the berries in a medium bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Set aside until ready to serve.
Let the pie come to room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting. Top each slice with berries.
Note:  You can use any combination of berries that you like; instead of two kinds of berries, you can always just use 2 cups of your favorite berries.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Finned Friends

We have a 30 gallon aquarium that is just awesome.  Besides being very calming to watch the fish, it is also very beautiful.  We have learned a lot about fish since our anniversary two years ago, when my husband and I found an aquarium and stocked it with some really cool fish.

We knew nothing about fish varieties as we were amateur enthusiasts (and I stress the word enthusiasts) and didn't know anything about cycling the tank and choosing the very best type of fish for our tank.  Needless to say, some of our fish didn't make it.  We finally had the water where it needed to be and our fish were healthy at that point.  Our big mistake was letting someone talk us into getting mystery snails (their real name) to clean algae and waste in the tank.  The snails were fine for a while and then they would turn this weird bubble gum color and in 1-2 days, they were dead.  Our fish were starting to die again, little-by-little, so I decided to do some research.

Our snails had flukes, which we found out were using the snails as hosts.  There are two types of flukes; the egg laying (oviparous) gill fluke and the live bearing (viviparous) body (or skin)  fluke.  Skin and gill flukes are caused by parasitic flatworms known as trematodes.  They are called "flukes" because they have the same flattened body shape as a flounder (the old Saxon name for flounder was fluke).  Skin flukes have been found to have more than 4 generations inside a single fluke.  A healthy fish will be better equipped to withstand a small fluke attack, but a large fluke infestation can be very deadly.  They can cause severe tissue damage and lesions and can be the reason behind hyperplasia of  both skin and gill epithelium (Hyperplasia is increased cell production in a normal tissue or organ).   When the skin and gills are damaged by the trematodes (flukes), it is even easier for new trematodes to attack the fish.  Some symptoms of flukes are:  sluggishness, flashing (rubbing against rocks or decorations and sometimes "bouncing"), reddened fins, drooping fins, fin damage, loss of appetite, isolation and there may also be excessive mucus production.

There are several methods of treating flukes, however, some medications are not effective in their treatment.  Prazi is a great medication and is safe to use with even the most sensitive of fish; if it is used as directed, it almost guarantees elimination of the flukes (according to  Prazi doesn't affect your filter bacteria, which a lot of treatments do, and it lasts a long time.  Prazi can be hard to find, but there are several online retailers that carry it including:  Amazon, Rocky Mountain Discus Care Products, Doctors Foster and Smith, and Bonnie's Plants.  This is not an inexpensive treatment; it is offered on Amazon for between $5 and $35.

We lost all of our fish, but we have learned a lot.  We cleaned the tank and the gravel, decorative rocks, etc. with vinegar (works best, in my opinion to clean with and also is good to put on your hands and arms when having to place your hands inside the tank for whatever reason) just make sure to rinse well and when using on your hands/arms, rinse well and dry on paper towels to avoid transfer of any soap or laundry softener to the tank.

Make sure to cycle your tank; we use filtered water and a water conditioner (used to remove any chlorine, other chemicals, etc.), a good filter, an air strip with variable water pressure (to incorporate oxygen into the tank and also provide a current for your fish whose natural habitat is in a body of water with a current (whether strong or mild).  It is good to add live plants to your tank, such as myriophyllum, varieties of water lily (lilies are good for fish that like a dimmer light in the tank) and crypt plants to help keep ammonia levels down and provide a nice hiding place for your fish also.  We put beneficial bacteria in the tank (biozyme is the brand we used) to help cycle the water.  You will get an initial "bloom" of  bacteria that will turn the water a cloudy whitish hue; this is actually what it is supposed to do.  You can add about 5 drops of a pure ammonia liquid (no scents, no added ingredients) to every 10 gallons get your ammonia level to .5, which helps kill the bad bacteria and algae.  Cycle it for about 2 weeks and check the ammonia level to make sure it is appropriate for the fish and if all looks good, add about 2-4 fish initially and then another 4-6 in about 2 weeks (if getting tetras or other small varieties, you may add 6-8 because they are schooling fish and do better in a larger group).

We now have 12 cardinal tetras, 3 chinese algae eaters, 2 reticulated hillside loaches (they look like little manta rays and are so cool), 5 calico platies (we now have 4 little platie babies - awww!), 5 dwarf rainbows and a lot of brine shrimp that just appeared one day and are excellent for baby fish (fry) and fish who like live  food.  If you would like to find out more about fish diseases, symptoms and treatment, click here.

Good luck and make sure to do your homework; it will prove to be a lifesaver - literally!      

Monday, August 20, 2012

Text Message Codes that Kids Don't Want Their Parents to Know

We see our children texting at 90 mph and wonder how they can be doing that while watching television and talking on the phone at the same time; well, there is more to it than just saying "What's up"?  There are codes that the kids use for when their parents are in the room (or even standing over their shoulder), so the sender doesn't share anything the parent would disapprove of.  Here are some of the "codes" they use:

2H2H         Too hot to handle
2M2H        Too much to handle
99              Parent has left
420            Let's get high/marijuana
A3             Anytime, anywhere, any place
ACE          Marijuana cigarette
AITR          Adult in the room
ASL           Age/sex/location
ASLP        Age/sex/location/picture
AWT         At what time
B/G           Background (personal information request)
BGWM      Be gentle with me
BIH           Burn in H***
BTYCL      Booty call
CD9          Code 9 meaning "parents are around"
CICYHW   Can I copy your homework
CT            Can't talk
CTN          Can't talk now
CUIMD      See you in my dreams
D46?         Down for s_x?
DM            Do me
DOC          Drug of choice
DYFM        Dude, you fascinate me
E               Ecstasy (the drug)
ED             Erase display
ES             Erase screen
ESAD        Eat s... and die
EZ             Easy
FB             Facebook
FBFR         Facebook friend
FML         "F" my life
FOAD       "F" off and die
FU            "F" you
FWB          Friend with benefits
FYEO        For your eyes only
GGOH       Gotta get outta here
GGMSOT  Gotta get me some of that
GIRL         Guy in real life
GTFO        Get the "F" out
HUYA        Head up your butt
ICEDI         I can't even discuss it
IMEZRU     I am easy, are you?
IWAWO     I want a way out
IGHT          I got high tonight
IWSN         I want s_x now
JDI            Just do it
KFY           Kiss for you
KMA          Kiss my ...
KPC          Keeping parents clueless
LGH           Let's get high
LH6            Let's have s_x!
LHSX         "
LIK             meaning "liquor"
LMIRL        Let's meet in real life
MBS          Mom behind shoulder
MLM          meaning give the middle finger
MOS          Mom over shoulder
NIFOC        Naked in front of computer
NWO          No way out
OB             Oh baby!
P911          Parents coming into room alert
PA             Parent alert
PAQ          Parents are watching
PBB          Parent behind back
PIR            Parent in room
POS          Parent over shoulder
PRON        meaning pornography
PRT           Party
PRW          People/parents are watching
PSOS        Parents standing over shoulder
RYO          Roll your own
S2R          Send to receive
SOS          Someone over shoulder
SOWM      Someone is with me
SPST        Same place, same time
TD2M        Talk dirty to me
TDTM         "
URH          You are hot
WAN2       Want to?
WYCM      Will you call me?
YBS          You'll be sorry!
YHBW       You have been warned!

There are a lot more of these, parents, and these are the ones that I could actually put on my site without getting really graphic.  There are more codes out there that you need to know; some of these are extremely graphic and touch on many different aspects of human relationships (that's the nicest way I can put it).  

If you want to find out more about the other codes, click here  to go to the Better Parenting Institute's site.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hanging in There

Just when I think that my flare-ups of the fibromyalgia are getting better - wham!  I have had a lot of swelling along with more and more pain - I am so over this right now.  I am just really thankful that the Lord gives me strength to deal with what I am going through.  I still get upset sometimes and wish that I could be the active person that I once was, but I know that I am going through this for a reason.

The worst thing I could have done was take Lyrica; which, unfortunately, I did.  I didn't want to take this medication, but basically let my doctor talk me into it.  I went from 105 lbs. to 120 lbs. in one month's time.  I was eating less due to the pain and nausea that accompanies it, but my weight went up anyway.   My doctor told me that it was largely due to inflammation and fluid retention.  I am back to about 112 lbs. now and can fit in some of my smaller clothes again, but I still have things that I cannot fit into that I really miss wearing.  I can fit in something one day and not be able to get it together enough to zip it the next.  We are talking about anywhere from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches difference in one day.  I'm sure you ladies know how frustrating that would be.

I know that Lyrica has helped some people, but I would not hesitate one bit to discourage anyone I come in contact with, from taking Lyrica.  I was one of the lucky ones to have about 60% of the side effects.  I have heart palpitations, PVC's (premature ventricular contractions where your heart skips beats), some chest pain, extremely bad swelling of my feet and legs (much worse if I am on them for very long at a time) and also my abdomen.  These are just a few of the side effects that I have from the Lyrica (these are permanent by-the-way).

I can tell you one thing, though - the Lord blessed me with a very sincere, loving, understanding husband who tells me every single day, how beautiful I am and how much he loves me.  I have a daughter who says that I am the best mommy in the whole world and the most beautiful woman she has ever seen.  With fans like that, how could you not feel a little better.  Believe me, I know how blessed I am; all I have to do is look around me and I see my greatest blessings.  Love abounds in our home in all directions, and that is what's important.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Funny Lists

Creative Ways to Define Stupid

A few clowns short of a circus 

A few fries short of a Happy Meal 

A few beers short of a six-pack 

Dumber than dust bunnies 

A few peas short of a casserole 

Doesn't have all his cornflakes in one box 

The wheel's spinning but the hamster's dead 

One Froot Loop shy of a full bowl 

Couldn't pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel 

Has an intellect rivaled only by garden tools 

As smart as bait 

Elevator doesn't go all the way to the top

His antenna doesn't pick up all the channels

His belt doesn't go through all the loops 

Missing a few buttons on his remote control 

No grain in the silo

Proof that evolution CAN go in reverse

Receiver is off the hook 

Too much yardage between the goal posts

Kicking the Habit

Tips to Help you Quit Smoking

If you are ready to quit smoking, UM smoking cessation expert Kevin Ferentz has some advice for you.

You know you need to quit. You really want to quit. But smoking has become such a huge part of your life that you just can't imagine waking up in the morning without reaching for a cigarette, finishing a meal without lighting up or hanging out with your friends -- all smokers -- without smoking yourself.

So, how does one go about kicking the habit for good? What is going to make this year any different than previous ones when you resolved to swear off nicotine?

An effective strategy can help. If you're armed with a little knowledge, you can greatly improve your odds of success. You just have to know what you are up against.

"The difficulty people have when trying to quit around New Year's is that there is typically so much alcohol consumption during the holiday," said Kevin Scott Ferentz, M.D., associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"The alcohol makes it much less likely that you will be able to quit because most smokers like to smoke when they drink. I tell people who want to quit around New Year's not to worry if they don't quit exactly on New Year's Day."

Ferentz, who specializes in smoking cessation, said that choosing a quit date and sticking to it is an important part of breaking the habit. Smokers who want to become ex-smokers, however, must chose a date that makes sense for them.

"There is nothing wrong with making that day January 3rd or the 4th," Ferentz says. "Choosing a day later in the week after all of the parties and activities have died down is probably more realistic. You have to do what works for you because you don't want to set yourself up for failure."

Ferentz says one of the biggest mistakes smokers make when attempting to quit is that they give up the fight too soon if their initial efforts don't work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of all adult smokers do manage to quit for good. Most of them, however, aren't successful the first time around. In fact, studies show that most smokers attempt to quit several times before they are able to make it stick.

"People shouldn't be hard on themselves," said Ferentz. "Quitting is a process. Smokers who want to quit and have tried and failed in the past shouldn't feel defeated because quitting is far from impossible. It is actually quite possible. There are more people out there who have successfully quit smoking than there are people who still smoke."

Smoke-Free Suggestions

Here are some tips Ferentz suggests to keep in mind if quitting is one of your goals:
  • Put it in writing. Write down your reasons for quitting on 3 x 5-inch index cards so you can refer to them when you are tempted to smoke.
  • Explore your motives for smoking. Keep a journal before you quit to document your feelings about your habit. You want to include details about where you smoke most often, when you smoke, with whom and why. Review your diary after four or five days to identify feelings and circumstances that trigger your cravings for nicotine.
  • Modify your behavior. Write down your "triggers" on the left side of a piece of paper and on the right side, jot down how you plan to either avoid or cope with those situations or feelings that send you reaching for nicotine.
  • Reduce the pleasure quotient. Most people have favorite brands of cigarettes. In the week or so leading up to your quit date, ditch your favorites for other, less-appealing varieties. For example, buy menthols if you normally don't smoke them. Buy low-tar filters or light versions of your favorite brand or try new, unusual brands that you've never smoked before. This practice will make the habit of smoking seem less appealing and easier to stop.
  • Spread the news. Tell everyone you know you're quitting to develop a network of family members, co-workers and friends who can support your efforts.
  • Get rid of smoking paraphernalia. Throw out all of your ashtrays, matches and lighters.
  • Go cold turkey. Despite an urge to gradually cut back, stopping completely on your chosen quit date is the best approach to kicking the habit for good.
  • Reward yourself. Come up with reasons to celebrate your quitting at regular intervals. For example, a week after you quit, go to the movies or bowling. A month after quitting, go to a nice hotel for an evening or treat yourself to a shopping spree. A year after quitting, go on a nice vacation with the money you save from no longer buying packs of cigarettes.
  • If you relapse, don't panic. Identify what it was that triggered your desire to smoke again and come up with a way to cope with the trigger. The urge to smoke -- no matter how overwhelming -- will pass after a few minutes, whether or not you give into it.
  • Seek help. If you aren't able to quit on your own, try using aids such as nicotine gum or the nicotine patch. If you still aren't able to quit, see your doctor about other options. You may also want to join a support group. Whatever you do, don't give up!

Information provided by University of Maryland Medical Center

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Feline Physics

I have had cats all of my life and I cannot imagine not having one.  This really speaks to me; over the years, we have had great cats and some like these:

Law of Cat Inertia
A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force - such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.
Law of Cat Motion
A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.
Law of Cat Magnetism
All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.
Law of Cat Thermodynamics
Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.
Law of Cat Stretching
A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.
Law of Cat Sleeping
All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved, and as comfortable as possible for the cat.
Law of Cat Elongation
A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.
Law of Cat Obstruction
A cat must lie on the floor in such a position to obstruct the maximum amount of human foot traffic.
Law of Cat Acceleration
A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.
Law of Dinner Table Attendance
Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.
Law of Rug Configuration
No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.
Law of Obedience Resistance
A cat's resistance varies in proportion to a human's desire for her to do something.
First Law of Energy Conservation
Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.
Second Law of Energy Conservation
Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.
Law of Refrigerator Observation
If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.
Law of Electric Blanket Attraction
Turn on an electric blanket and a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light.
Law of Random Comfort Seeking
A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.
Law of Bag/Box Occupancy
All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.
Law of Cat Embarrassment
A cat's irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.
Law of Milk Consumption
A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.
Law of Furniture Replacement
A cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.
Law of Cat Landing
A cat will always land in the softest place possible; often the mid-section of an unsuspecting, reclining human.
Law of Fluid Displacement
A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.
Law of Cat Disinterest
A cat's interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.
Law of Pill Rejection
Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.
Law of Cat Composition
A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn't Matter.

Funny Cat Sayings

  • There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.
  • I got rid of my husband. The cat was allergic.
  • Never feed your cat anything that doesn't match the carpet.
  • Cat's motto: "No matter what you've done wrong, always try to make it look as if the dog did it."
  • Dogs have owners, cats have staff.
  • You know when people see a cat's litter box, they always say, "Oh, have you got a cat?" Just once I want to say, "No, it's for company!"
  • "Humans: No fur, no paws, no tail. They run away from mice. They never get enough sleep. How can you help but love such an absurd animal?" Anonymous cat about humans
  • Anything on the ground is a cat toy. Anything not there yet, will be.
  • For a man to truly understand rejection, he must first be ignored by a cat.
  • Cats are like potato chips. You can never have just one.
  • These aren't my thoughts, they're my cat walking on the keyboard.
  • Everyone knows cats are on a higher level of existence. These silly humans are just too big-headed to admit their inferiority.
  • Cats are better than any vice. They're not fattening, dangerous, or expensive. However, they can be addictive.
  • I have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food which they take for granted, but his or her entertainment value.
  • Some people have cats and go on to lead normal lives.
  • Most of the above-mentioned sayings have an unknown origin.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Little by Little

I know it has been a couple of months since my last post and I am really glad to be back.  I appreciate all of the e-mails, well wishes and prayers from so many of you.  It will be 6 months since my surgery on May 1st, so I am basically healed inside.  I took my pain medication regularly for a couple of months following surgery, but now I am tapering way off.  I didn't exactly realize just how much it helped until the last couple of months.  On the one hand, you have medication that can help your pain tremendously, but can wreck your liver and other organs; on the other hand, with very little medication, the pain is just awful.  Although the surgery for the prolapse and adhesions was a success for those problems, I still have the fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis and osteoarthritis.  I was just really hoping that a significant amount of pain would be gone, and some of it is, but it is totally in God's hands.  He can heal me from this in a heartbeat, or it may be a witness down the road as to how much I had to endure and how He has completely delivered me of it.  I never question anything, because there is usually a reason that things happen.  Sometimes, you may be in a situation to help someone that is going through the same thing; you just never know how God will use you.

One thing I did want to mention to you about interstitial cystitis, is that there is a procedure that is very successful in treating the overactive bladder symptom of IC called Sacral Neuromodulation.  I have had this procedure and it does help; I went from 10 trips to the bathroom at night to just 1 or 2.   Sacral neuromodulation works with the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone.  The sacral nerves control the bladder and muscles related to urinary function.  If the brain and sacral nerves are miscommunicating, the nerves can't tell the bladder to function correctly.  Interstim Therapy modulates the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses that help the brain and nerves to better communicate so that the bladder and muscles involved, can work correctly.  Your Urologist can determine if you're a good candidate for the implant and will let you have a one week trial, gathering information during this trial to determine if a permanent device would benefit you.   For more information on the Interstim device, click here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Perfect Valentine

My husband is the most wonderful, caring, loving, devoted, sincere, handsome man I have ever known.  He is not only a wonderful husband, but a loving, devoted father as well.  I could never imagine a day without him -  without his smile; his beautiful soft brown eyes; his strong, yet gentle hand holding mine; his warm and loving embrace.  He is my best friend, my soulmate (I never really appreciated the term until I met my husband), my confidante, my lover, my other half that makes me complete. 

We continue to love our way through life and hold hands as the sands of time so slowly drift downward through the hourglass.  He is the Lord's perfect and infinitely wise match for me; he is the perfect valentine.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I wanted to use this picture because it reminds me of my daughter, who is now 7.  I have always told her that "I love you more than anything in the whole world", ever since she was born.  When she was 2, she told me, "Mommy, I love you the whole world"; I thought that was the sweetest thing that I had ever heard.  She is truly one of a kind, to say the least.  She gives presents to Santa Claus; she donates her toys and clothes, and the latest idea she had was to give a dollar back to the tooth fairy because she deserves it.  She has a lot of love in her heart for such a little girl.  The Lord truly blessed us with a precious and beautiful child who has a very giving heart.

My Valentine's Day Anniversary

I once thought that getting married on Valentine's Day was completely and totally cliche; until I met my husband.  When you find that perfect person that is the love of your life, then Valentine's Day is the most wonderful day to get married.  My husband and I were friends before we even thought about a relationship.  We knew everything about each other, had mostly everything in common, prayed about finding the person the Lord wanted us to be with and were always there for each other to talk about anything and everything.  We wanted to spend each and every moment we could together and still do.  We are celebrating our 9 year anniversary tomorrow and we have never had a spat.  We have never raised our voices to one another, ever.  We still hold hands while sitting on the sofa watching the television, or walking in the park, or shopping in the grocery store.  I suppose you could say we are kind of sappy in that regard.  We actually like being sappy and  hope to be for years to come.  Picture the elderly couple walking hand-in-hand slowly along the sidewalk and that will definitely be us in a few decades.  I can honestly say that I prayed for many, many years to find the right man and in the Lord's perfect timing, we met.  We were married on Valentine's Day in 2003 and were baptized together two days later.  What a fitting beginning to a marriage; a Christ-centered marriage.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Out of the Past

Recently, I decided to research our family history.  I had quite a bit of information on my mom's side, so I decided to go for it and see what I could find.  I was really surprised!  Not only did I find history on almost all sides of my family back to the 1700's; I also found records on some of my family that go back to the 700's.  We are (oddly enough) related to French, British and Scottish royalty.  Who forgot to mention that?!  

There are many good online resources that can help you piece together the past so that you can leave a legacy for the future.  I'm going to go ahead and list the sites for you so you can start your own research.  Be aware of the sites out there that offer you free birth records, free census records, etc. - when (and if) they tell you they have found a possible match, when you click on it they will ask you to sign up for their service.  Some of the sites will give you a 3 day or 7 day trial (you have to give a credit card number for the free trials) and I have found that a lot of these don't have records that are that good anyway.  I went to and even though they want you to either sign up for a 14 day free trial or subscribe, they have the best, most comprehensive information.  I used them almost exclusively and found out more than I ever thought I could.  Even if you don't know a birth year, you can put abt. 1900 (for example) and it will show all the closest matches for the information given.  You can also look in old newspaper announcements (birth and death), county records, military records, passenger lists on ships with the name, date and location, etc.

Here's your first step to successful fact finding: - What I really like about this site is that you can print out your family tree by sections.  A 14 day free trial is all you need to get a wealth of information all in one place.

Family - They have billions of names across hundreds of collections.

Family Search Research Helps - Just like the name implies.

International Genealogical Index - You can research family from Europe, the UK, etc.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors - They have a lot of great information here.

Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild - If you know the name of the ship your family sailed on, this can give you even more information.

Roots - They give you search engines, databases, websites, research tools and more.

Norway Digital Archives - If you have family from Norway (and go figure, part of my family is from Norway), this is a good place to start.

Native American-Indian Genealogy - This gives listings of all the tribes and also the regions.

Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites - She lists dozens of sites for you to investigate; not all of them are free to research, however, so read carefully.