Friday, February 29, 2008

Free Shizzle

Cool free stuff from the internet.

1. Skype. Okay, I know Skype is old news for lots of people, but the bub and I had our first Skype experience this afternoon and it was awesome! My brother Boo (The Intern) helped my parents set up their new laptop and installed the Skype software. Even with the bub's "help" and my own tech-anxiety, I was able to install the software and get set up in less than five minutes. NTB. Then, the bub and I had a nice video call with Grammy and Boo (with Pop in the Peanut Gallery). My parents and I are fortunate enough to have laptops with built-in web cams, but I happen to know that you can buy a web cam for less than a hundred bucks. I now want all my siblings to get them ASAP so we can explore a family teleconference. I want my friends to get them too. And, by the way, the video call was FREE.

2. Google Books Library Project. A few years back, I heard some rumblings about Google scanning thousands of library books and did not think much of it. However, my current dissertation chapter is about two nineteenth-century women writers (Margaret Fuller and Fanny Fern, if you're interested) and Google Library is my new best friend. Fuller is a canonical writer, and her texts are easy to locate in libraries and reasonably-priced paperback editions. Fanny Fern has only received the critical attention she deserves in the past few decades and, as a result, her works are harder to procure. I was all set to shell out $20-30 per book for several (5 or so) of her harder-to-find texts (from a publisher in Michigan who reprints such texts). But then, by some miracle, I remembered the Google Library. Long story short, I was able to download all but one of the texts. My husband printed them at work because he has the capability there to print two pages per side and double sided (that's four book pages per one sheet of printer paper!). I was prepared to buy a collection of Elizabeth Stoddard's poems for $17.95 for my final chapter when, what do you know, it's available in the Google Library Book Project! So, if you're interested in books that are old enough to either not to have copyrights or to have expired copyrights, check it out. I think you can also view portions of copyrighted texts (authors give permission for this). Pretty sweet.

3. Recipes. Um, I know it comes as no surprise to most of you that the internet is an endless source of recipes. I thought I would just mention a few of my favorite sites for securing free recipes. The first is which includes recipes from two of my favorite magazines (and some others as well): Cooking Light and Southern Living. For recipes that range from standard to retro to creative, you also can't go wrong with I am also a fan of the recipes and other content at and the free newsletters that you can sign up for on their site.

4. Toddler Shizzle. If your child has favorite television characters or shows, they likely have a website with free games and videos. The bub and I decorate a birthday cake for Barney (his show turns 20 this year) about twice a week. We also enjoy sing-a-long videos at the Thomas and Friends website. Many of these websites also allow you to download and print black and white picture pages for your toddler to color. There's a Sesame Street website with a lot of such pages available for download.

5. Clip Art. I'm not a clip art hound or anything, but I have signed up at to get free samples of clip art sent to me each week. I download them and save them in a folder in my computer with the hope that someday, I might find the time and inspiration to print them on my full page white label sheets and then make my own stationary or note cards or something. NTB.

What free shizzle have you found on the internet?


PITA said...

I heard about the webcam conversation and I heard it was pretty OTH. I also just explored the Google Book Library and it was very impressive. Thanks for the are the shizzle. NTB

Anonymous said...

I was part of the inaugural web cam experience. It was pretty awesome, NTB. I can't wait for my next babysitting gig so I can orchestrate the cousins talking to each other. Believe it or not, I've been part of a few of those Thomas songs, and the birthday cakes.

Maggie said...

We purchased a web cam for the Doc's birthday this year, and it has been the source of several laughs since.

I loved the Florida pics, beach bubby was super cute!

Steph said...

Wow - I didn't know about Google Library. Thank you!

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