Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Online Horse SIMS Reviews: Part 1

This is the first of a 3-part series that will review 3 different online horse SIMS. The one I am going to review today is Howrse.

I've already done a post telling what Howrse is about, so if you haven't already, go over and read that before you read this.


  • Friendly community
  • Friendly & helpful moderators
  • Fairly realistic
  • You can breed your horses
  • There is a "Safe Haven" (a place to sell horses that other player's don't want)
  • An advertising section of the forum
  • 2 different currencies
  • You can "age" your horse to make it grow up faster (this is a pro for impatient players, but a con for players wanting realistic-ness. See cons.)
  • You don't have to care for your horses every single day. If you are unable to get on for a while, your horses stay the same way you left them until you get on again.


  • Fairly small number of breeds
  • HUGE number of players (over 1 million), so there is a lot of forum spam
  • Unrealistic aspects, such as being able to age your horse, make your horse immortal, bringing a dead horse back to life, etc.
  • No trading feature, where players can safely trade items to each other without the fear of being scammed
  • Ads. Uggh. The ads are annoying, but since the game is free to play, I'm not really upset about them.

Ratings on a scale of 1-10:

Realistic-ness: 7

Family friendliness: 7 (Just because of all the forum spam. However, if you stay off of the forums I would give it a 9 or 10.)

Difficulty level: 6

Overall friendliness: 9


So, that's my review of Howrse. Feel free to put your opinions of it in the comments, but please keep the comments nice or they will not be published. (By nice, I don't mean that I only want to have people saying my review is great. I'm perfectly fine with someone saying "I disagree with such-and-such a point. However, I am not fine with someone saying something like, "You're so stupid, how in the world can you think that!")

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crafty Creations Announcement

ATTENTION: I have any important announcement to make regarding my Crafty Creations Carnival!

From now on, the Crafty Creations Carnival will be held bi-monthly instead of every week. I might change it back to every week eventually if it generated enough interest.

So, there will not be a Crafty Creations Carnival this Saturday, March 27, but there will be one the Saturday after that.

Click here to read the rules of the carnival, and be ready to come back on Saturday, April 3!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crafty Creations: The Carnival

Today, I'm going to show y'all something adorable I found on Etsy. But first, let's have a run-through of the rules of this carnival, shall we?

  • You can't link to one of your own products. This carnival is about sharing cute things that others make!
  • Please don't enter your link in the same Mr. Linky more than once.
  • You can link to more than one product in the same post if you want to.
  • In your post, you must link to the blog/website of the person whose product you are talking about.
  • Please copy and paste this HTML code in your post:

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

It's the URL for my button, so that other people can click on over and join the fun!

Again, please do not link to your own product!

Okay, now that that's out of the way, here's this week's featured Crafty Creation:

An absolutely ADORABLE teddy bear!

Hop on over there and take a look, and then link up to your post about someone else's Crafty Creation!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crafty Creations

This is just a heads up that my Crafty Creations post will be going up tomorrow morning at 8:00! Get your posts ready!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oh no!

I just realized that I forgot to do my Crafty Creations carnival last Saturday! I can't believe I did that! We went out of town and I completely forgot about it. I'm really sorry, everybody! I will be having it this coming Saturday, though, so get ready!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Turtle

Some of y'all might remember that a while back, I said I wanted to get a Russian tortoise. Well, I didn't get one, but I did get...

A 3-Toed Box Turtle!

Her name is Pumpkin. She's been living inside over the winter because I didn't want to let her hibernate. I'm hoping to build her an outdoor pen in one of our flowerbeds. I measured it a while back, and I think I remember that it's around 5' by 12'. Right now I'm in the process of digging it up.

I feed her a lot of different things. Last time I fed her, her meal was butternut squash with chopped bell pepper, tomato, and green beans. I usually also give her a nightcrawler with every meal but I'm currently out of them. I'm planning on getting some more then next time we go to Wal-Mart.

She's about 6 inches long (her shell length) and I'm not sure how old she is, only that she's an adult. Her favorite foods are earthworms and cherry tomatoes.

Does anyone else have a turtle?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

10 Reasons I'm a Weirdo

  1. I do not like any type of carbonated drink. They burn my throat. In fact, when I was about 5 and I (very rarely) wanted to drink a carbonated drink, I would pour it in a cup, put water in it, and then let it sit on the counter for about 4 hours. That usually got rid of the bubbles.
  2. I love snails, salamanders, toads, and other critters like that. They don't gross me out. I think they're cute!
  3. I talk to my dog sometimes.
  4. Even though I'm technically in high school (9th grade), I like being around the middle schoolers at church better than being around the high schoolers. Also, most people think I'm a middle schooler anyways, because...
  5. I'm a lot smaller than most kids my age. I'm only about 5'2" and 105 pounds, which actually works very well with #4.
  6. I like being short.
  7. I hate that peanut-butter-and-dry-milk edible "play dough". It grosses me out.
  8. I looooove gymnastics, but I get scared to do stuff that I know I can do easily, like a back handspring.
  9. I like to organize things as long as I just get to sit in the same place and sort the items. I don't like when I have to clean up a room and I have to go to all corners of the house to put everything away. When I got bored, I used to dump out my box of beads and mix them up just so I could sort them out again.
  10. I actually typed out this list and published it on my blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to set up an aquarium - for beginners

I've noticed that there is a big need for information on fishkeeping, and that a lot of the information out there isn't so great. So without further ado, here is the first of many posts about fishkeeping.

Many people buy a bowl and a couple of fish before doing any research. If you are one of those, pretend you are starting from scratch, and after you follow the instructions in this post, move your fish to the tank you've just set up.

If you are one of the few people who decided to research fishkeeping before diving in, congratulations! You've just taken the first step in helping to make sure your fish have a long, happy life.

A good size for a first aquarium is 29 gallons, since it is small enough to care for easily but big enough to house most common species of fish, including goldfish. However, some people can't afford a 29 gallon tank so it's OK to start smaller, but you shouldn't get a tank smaller than 10 gallons for your first tank since there aren't a lot of options as to what to put in anything smaller than a 10 gallon. Here's a tip, though: If you look on Craigslist, you can often find used tanks in good condition for a really great price!

Assuming you can afford a 29 gallon tank, here's a list of what you'll need to set up your first aquarium:

A 29 gallon aquarium

An aquarium stand

A lid for the aquarium

A filter rated for at least a 29 gallon aquarium

A 200-250 watt aquarium heater (if you are keeping any fish that is not a goldfish)

Filter cartridges (they are the pieces of sponge-like stuff that go inside the filter)

An API master test kit

None of the things I listed above are optional. They are absolutely necessary to keeping fish, unless you are keeping a goldfish tank, in which case you won't need the heater, but you will still need everything else listed!

Here are some optional things to make your aquarium much nicer:

Substrate (gravel, sand, etc. My favorite substrate is sand. You will need about 1-2 pounds of substrate per gallon of tank, so you will need around 40 pounds for the 29 gallon tank.)

Decorations (plants, driftwood, castles, etc.)

A light, if the lid didn't come with one (these will make the aquarium much more
attractive, and are necessary if you want to have live aquatic plants in your tank)

Do NOT buy any fish yet! You will buy them much later in the process.

Okay, now that you have everything, the fun part starts! First, you will need to find a good place to set up your tank. You shouldn't set it up right next to a window, door, or air vent because those can cause the temperature of the tank to fluctuate. You will need to put the tank near a power outlet because you will need to plug in the filter, heater, and lights. The floor of the place you choose needs to be level. You will probably also want to place the tank in a main room of the house so everyone can see the fish.

Once you find the right place, set up the stand and make sure it is level. Then take the tank and carefully rinse it out with the water hose (if the weather is warm) or in the bathtub (if the weather is cold & the tank is small enough). If you have purchased a used tank, you may need to scrub it thoroughly. If it is a new tank it just needs a light rinsing to get off any dust. NEVER use soap on your aquarium, because it is very hard to get all of the soap off and even a tiny bit of soap can kill fish.

After you have rinsed the aquarium, empty it and dry off the outside so it will be easy to carry. Don't ever try to carry the aquarium when it has water in it. A full 29 gallon aquarium will weigh in at between 250 and 300 pounds!

Set the aquarium on the stand and make sure it is centered. Rinse the substrate well and put it in the bottom of the empty tank. If you have any large decorations such as big rocks, caves, etc. go ahead and arrange those in the tank as well. You should also stick the heater to the back of the tank at this point, but do not turn it on yet.

Slowly add water to the tank until it is about 1/3 full. If you put a plate on the gravel and our water on top of it, the gravel will not be disturbed by the water. After the tank is about 1/3 full, secure any plants in the gravel and continue to fill the aquarium until it is full. Put the filter on the tank and fill it with water. Put the hood and light on the tank. Now you can plug everything in!

Most people go out an buy a whole bunch of fish at this point, but that is a very bad thing to do, because your tank is not cycled yet. Here is a brief explanation of the nitrogen cycle.

I'm not going to explain how to cycle your tank before you get fish, because it would take a long time, so instead I'm going to give you links:

Different methods to cycle your aquarium before you add fish

How to do a fishless cycle on an aquarium

Do you notice how the articles say to test your water? This is where the API master test kit comes in. Test strips are cheap, but they are not very accurate at all, so you should use the liquid test kit.

You will know your tank is finished cycling when it holds steady at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 10-30 nitrate for at least 3 days.

NOW you can add your fish! They will be so much happier now that they don't have to go through all of the stress of the nitrogen cycle, and happy fish are generally healthy fish.

Congratulations! You just set up your first tank!

An Explanation of the Nitrogen Cycle

Here is a brief explanation of the nitrogen cycle.

When your tank is just set up and no fish are in it, there are a few tiny bacteria floating around in the water. These bacteria eat ammonia.

When fish poop, they produce ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to fish. However, when you add fish to the tank and they start pooping, the bacteria start eating the ammonia & reproducing more bacteria that eat ammonia. So what's the problem? Well, remember that at first there are only a very few bacteria, so when you add fish to the tank, you are suddenly adding a lot more ammonia than those few bacteria can handle. Eventually the bacteria will have reproduced enough times that there are enough of them to handle the ammonia, but until then, the ammonia just builds up in the tank until it kills the fish. The fish usually die before the bacteria has multiplied enough.

Once there are enough bacteria to handle the ammonia, any fish that have survived will be OK, since there won't be any more ammonia, right? Wrong! When the first bacteria eat ammonia, they produce nitrites. Nitrites are just as poisonous to fish as ammonia. However, just like with the ammonia, there are a very few nitrite-eating bacteria floating around in the water. Eventually they will grow and reproduce enough to handle all of the nitrites that are a by-product of the ammonia-eating bacteria, but until then, just like with the ammonia, the nitrite will build up in the tank and kill the fish.

As you might suspect by now, after there are enough nitrite-eating bacteria to eat up the nitrites, these bacteria also produce a by-product. It is called nitrate. Nitrate, however, is only poisonous to fish in very large quantities, which is why you should change 25% of the water in your tank once a week. This keeps the nitrate level low enough that it doesn't harm the fish, and everyone lives happily every after!

The end.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Check out this giveaway!

Life in a Shoe is having a great giveaway! Go on over and enter!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Crafty Creations - post your links!

Today is the big kick-off of my Crafty Creations Carnival! If you want to know how to be a part of this carnival, read this post.

The Crafty Creations that I'm sharing with y'all today are Mimi's headbands and hairclips. They are handmade and super cute! I can't believe she actually makes them herself. Take a look at some of my favorites:

Pink & lime green headband

Aquamarine & chocolate headband

Raspberry pink & pistachio green hairclips

Green flower hairclip

Blue & green headband

Aren't they adorable?

Now it's your turn! Leave me a link to a post of yours that talks about someone else's adorable creations!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pictures - 3/04/2010

I just wanted to share some of my favorite pictures that I've taken.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crafty Creations - The Carnival

I've decided to have a blog carnival! I will put up a Mr. Linky this Saturday (March 6th) and I'll leave it open to new links until Monday. I'm hoping to do this every Saturday, so don't forget to come back!

What you do is find a product that another blogger sells that you think is adorable/nifty/useful/etc. Write a post about that product, linking to the blogger who makes it, and then link your post up in my Mr. Linky!

Here are the rules:

  • You can't link to one of your own products. This carnival is about sharing cute things that others make!
  • Please don't enter your link in the same Mr. Linky more than once.
  • You can link to more than one product in the same post if you want to.
  • In your post, you must link to the blog/website of the person whose product you are talking about.
  • Please copy and paste this HTML code in your post:

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

It's the URL for my button, so that other people can click on over and join the fun!

Remember, it starts this Saturday, so everybody get typing!