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SCAM ALERT: Truepeoplesearch.com

Everyone on my facebook is freaking out over a website TruePeopleSearch. As a professional stalker… erm… I mean, child of unknown parentage who was forced to become very good at skills that resemble stalking… I am telling you right now, this site is nothing new. It’s absolutely nothing new and is simply pulling information from various placed on the web to compile an educated guess about your personal details for those who look you up on their site.

Here’s the thing though… People are posting these crazy dramatic videos about how users need to remove their information right now! It’s so easy, you can do it through their site! Here’s the thing though… in order to remove your information, you have to agree to their privacy policy, which includes this little gem;

“… we and our third-party service providers may use a variety of technologies that automatically (or passively) collect certain information whenever you visit or interact with the Applications (“Usage Information”), including the device used to access the Applications (“Device”), and the IP address or other unique identifier identified by that Device (“Device Identifier”). Your Device Identifier may also identify your regional location”

Does anyone else smell something fishy? I sure do and a whole bunch of people on reddit do. This company is likely hiring people to make these videos, scaring people into wanting their data removed, and then forcing people to agree to the privacy policy in order to remove their data… but the privacy policy allows the website to track your location. Does anyone else see the problem here? You’re confirming their information AND giving them access to your device location… Come on people!

Not to mention… Their entire privacy policy was copied word for word from a website called Stud or Dud? Don’t believe me? Check it out yourself HERE.

Needless to say, this entire thing is super duper sketchy, and if you’re truly worried about your privacy, I’d just stay off that site. It’s all pulled from other services and public records anyway. The info is already out there through the hundreds of other people search services.. This company is just exploiting the public’s fear of privacy invasion to confirm their own data.

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US Passport Processing Times 2017

I’m not going to lie. I totally lost my passport. I got it in 2012. I used it when we went to Europe that fall. All was fine and dandy, brought it home with me. Kept it in our little accordion file (which was usually kept in the safe) and somehow, after I used it again through Canada when we moved to Minnesota, I lost it. I kept thinking it would turn up. Why wouldn’t it? I hadn’t been anywhere with it. No one had been in the home. Where the heck did it go? And only mine was missing. The kid’s passports and my husband’s passports were all still in that accordion file. My only theory is that I misplaced it, meant to put it back and lost it… or one of my kids got it. Two theories, I guess.

We moved and I used my passport card at that time and figured I’d probably find it when we unpacked at the new house. Wrong. I didn’t find it. I looked EVERYWHERE. That stupid thing was nowhere to be seen. Seriously. How could I lose it? I swear, I misplaced it but I don’t even know when I last saw it. Knowing my luck it fell into a crack or crevice or some tiny nook and cranny at our old house and six new owners from now, someone’s going to find it.

What to do if you lose or misplace a passport

First, make sure it’s really lost because once you report it, the old passport is a dud. I’ve done that with my bank cards before, swearing up and down I lost it then finding it minutes after I hang up the phone after deactivating my card. That sucked, big time. So, make sure it’s really lost. Check everywhere. Tear your house apart like I did. Then, if it truly is lost, you’ll need to submit a DS-64 form. You can print it off and mail it in, but there’s an online option now which is kind of nice. They’ll ask you for your name, passport numbers, etc. I found the form a little difficult because how am I supposed to know the number if I don’t have it in front of me? Memo to self, write the number of the next one down and put it somewhere safe.

You can find the DS-64 form here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/lost-stolen.html

It’s relatively painless. Once you finish the report, you can even fill out a request for a new passport. It will fill in all the blanks and spaces for you with your information. Once you’re done, you print it and take it to your local agency with your new passport photos (which for me, was the post office). DO NOT SIGN IT UNTIL YOU GET THERE! If you sign it beforehand, you’re going to have to fill out an entirely new application. Just don’t do it, okay?

Don’t know where to take your finished application?

Usually, the post office will accept completed passport applications, but not always. Sometimes they have specific hours that they accept passports. The easiest way to figure out where to take your passport is to use THIS website to locate the nearest acceptance agency.

2017 US Passport Processing Times

Last time I applied for a passport, it was a whole lot of sitting and waiting. It’s still a lot of sitting and waiting, but fortunately for me (and everyone else waiting), you can now track the status online via the U.S. Department of State’s passport tracking website. While times may vary, applications submitted around the same times tend to have similar processing times, as the times are based on passport application volume; the more passports submitted, the more likely it is to take longer, toward the 8-week side of the spectrum, vs. the shorter side of 6 weeks. Of course, this is entirely different if you submit for an expedited passport.

I applied for “routine service” with a processing time of 6-8 weeks.

  • 3/27/2017 – Submitted application, photos, and fees at my local passport acceptance facility.
  • 4/3/2017 – Online tracking information updated from “not found” to “Your passport is currently being processed.”
  • 5/3/2017 – Online tracking information updated to “Your passport application is in the final processing stages.” and “This means you should receive your passport on or about 05/08/2017.”
  • 5/5/2017 – My passport arrived!
  • 5/6/2017 – My documents were returned to me!

Have you submitted a passport application recently? Was it routine service or expedited? Card or book? What’s the status on yours?

 

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How to do an AncestryDNA test WITHOUT spit

I haven’t written my reviews on the three big ancestral DNA companies, but I plan to soon. When I do, it will become glaringly obvious how obsessed I am with genetic genealogy. The science behind it is amazing, and in many cases (like mine) it can be completely life-altering. There’s one issue though; two of the three companies require saliva samples and not a cheek swab. While this might not seem like a big deal, it can be when you’re trying to test older generations as the elderly often have difficulty trying to produce enough saliva. Sometimes certain medications can also affect spit production. So, while a teaspoon of spit might not seem like a lot, many people have had to forgo testing at their company of choice due to difficulty producing saliva. On individuals who are searching for biological family using genetic genealogy, this is a huge blow and can dramatically reduce the odds of finding good matches. Fortunately, this hasn’t really been an issue for me, but I discovered the solution to this problem doing a “just for fun” test.

I originally developed an interest in genetic genealogy for the purpose of identifying my biological father. It quickly spiralled out of control into a full-blown hobby/addiction. I manage a couple dozen DNA tests for friends and relatives. I tested my daughter in 2015 and when Ancestry had their Black Friday sale (Hello, $69 DNA tests!) I decided to test my remaining children. The 7 year old did fine. The 5 year old did fine. The 3 year old, however, did not. She is strong-willed and refused to let me hold the vial. Problem was, she would spit, then drink it, spit, then drink it, over and over. And if I tried to hold it, she would refuse to even attempt to spit and throw herself on the floor in a tantrum. I was getting stressed once we hit two hours of attempting to collect a sample from a bratty toddler and I gave up.

The spit-drinker and I.

After complaining about it to my husband, he asked me “Well, is there a way to do it without her spitting into the tube?” I tried explaining that the topic comes up frequently on my DNA group, but as far as I am aware, no one has figured out how yet. He suggested I figure it out.

Challenge accepted.

I did a lot of research and learned that saliva is approximately 99% water and the remainder is electrolytes, enzymes and other naturally occurring substances. I kept researching how to make artificial saliva and after a few days, I was pretty sure I had a theory figured out. My biggest concern was that I would accidentally create a hypotonic solution and the cells would burst, but at this point, what would it hurt to at least try? If it fails, it fails. If it succeeds, I could help a lot of people in much more serious predicaments than a strong willed toddler. If my ridiculous amount of biology courses prepared me for anything, it was for this moment. I took a leap of faith, created an artificial saliva solution and guess what? It worked. Perfectly. I was on pins and needles the entire time her sample was processing, but as soon as those results came in, I knew I had figured it out! I was shocked. I was sooooo sure the test would fail. So here’s the information YOU will need in order to re-create my artificial saliva test kit.

If you have the time, PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO. It can be so much easier to understand with the visual/audio explanation versus the written! Please watch the video before asking me questions! I know it’s long, but bear with me!

SUPPLIES:

You will not need a lot of supplies, but you will need more than if you were to just spit in the tube.

1: Create Your Artificial Saliva Solution

  1. Pour a fair amount of distilled water into one of the clean cups.
  2. Spray a small amount of saline into another clean cup until it pools in the bottom.
  3. Measure 99ml of distilled water into the third clean cup.
  4. Measure 1ml of saline into the third clean cup.
  5. Discard the two unmixed cups.

2: Take Your Sample

Now the fun part! You will need to obtain your sample.

  1. Measure approximately 5ml of your artificial saliva and fill the test tube 2-3mm ABOVE the fill line. As you remove swabs, liquid will be removed from the container, so overfilling it very slightly will not be a problem.
  2. Swab the GUM brushes on the cheeks 10-20 seconds, then place tip down into the DNA tube to soak for another 10-20 seconds. You may “stir” them in the tube as well. Remove the swab carefully allowing the liquid to drip off of it and into the vial, and scraping the swab along the edge to ensure as much is left behind as possible.
  3. Repeat above until all 8 swabs have been used. While swabbing, it is best to leave the previous swab in the solution to soak.

Note: If the mouth is especially dry, dip the swab tip in your excess solution before swabbing.

3: Proceed as normal

At this point, your saliva sample should look identical to actual saliva. It’s actually pretty cool. If you tilt and swish it near a light source, you should be able to see debris from the cheeks and it should be thick and slimy just like actual spit. Screw on the cap with the stabilizing liquid, place it in the pouch, seal the box and ship it in!

 

Conclusion:

This method was very successful for me. I used it to obtain DNA results for my bratty strong willed 3 year old who kept drinking her spit, despite my pleas and attempts at bribery. Her results, despite my doubts about my methods, came back perfectly and took the normal amount of processing time when compared to other kits obtained through normal spitting.

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Where have we been?!

You might be wondering where we have been the last few years! Well, here’s a fun summary!

  • I finished my Associate’s degree through the University of Alaska Anchorage.
  • I started a pretty successful business in 2012.
  • We had another baby, Vada Jane! An amazing homebirth after two prior cesareans.

  • We have driven the ALCAN (Alaska Canada Highway) four times. Chelsea even tagged along for three of those trips!

  • We moved to Minnesota for a year and a half after buying an old church with plans to renovate it.

  • We decided we didn’t like living in Minnesota, ditched the renovation plans, moved back to our hometown a little over a year and a half later and bought our dream house.
  • Our children started school at the same school my husband and I both attended as children.

  • My oldest turned into an aquarium geek… She *reallyyyyyy* loves snails.

  • The hardest chapter of my life finally closed. I found my biological dad, with no names, nothing to go off of, after 9 years, 10 months and 27 days of searching using AncestryDNA and 23andme ancestral DNA testing. I met him 10 years and 4 days after I began searching.

  • My kids met their grandfather for the first time.

  • We took our long overdue, family photo. Our last one was in 2009! We’ve added two more kids to the mix since then!

 

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Tiny Heartbeats: PLEASE HELP!!!

Hey guys!

PLEASE take the time to vote for Tiny heartbeats for Chase’s community giving program… the top 200 will get a grant… And it would mean so much for them to be able to provide this! They only need around three hundred votes to be in the running! Tiny heartbeats provide dopplers to pregnant women allowing them to check their baby’s heart, and can help indicate possible problems in some cases….

http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/260647481-tiny-heartbeats-inc?src=charity-details-wall-post-self&_fb_fromhash=9e4944e3887d84d22f9381b60e1970ec

You need a facebook account to vote!

EXTRA ENTRIES!

Anyone who votes can have an extra five entries into one current giveaway. You MUST leave a comment here letting me know you voted!

Anyone who posts this link on their facebook or twitter and encourages others to vote will get an additional five entries into one current giveaway, If you do both, you get 10.

Please help Tiny Heartbeats reach this goal!

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An Apology…

I have been missing in action for a bit, but it’s been very crazy.

First, my computer went BOOM. Almost literally. I heard a loud pop, smelled smoke and it stopped turning on. Took my husband a couple weeks to figure that one out, but thanfully it was all recovered and just fine!

Second, we have found out that we are expecting a baby! It’s been a little crazy between finding out the good news, morning sickness, and a few other health issues.

But the good news is, I’m feeling way better and will be getting all of my back reviews up! Be patient with me! They’ll get up, I promise!

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Just a note about my absense…

I just wanted to let you guys know why I haven’t been around much! I’ve been incredibly busy… Like crazy busy…. My son turned one on the 19th and we had his party on the 23rd, and in addition to that we’ve been sick with colds and having other issues coming up.

So, my apologies for not being around as much! However, I’m getting back in the swing of things, and I will be posting a few more reviews, and some more giveaways soon! I’ll also be announcing the Regen de Peau winner tomorrow! So, keep an eye out for it!

Again, so sorry! Leave me some comments, and remind me I’m loved! Comments definitely help me want to post more often! 😉 Just kidding… But seriously, I do love comments. 😛

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Updates: Rating Systems, “DoFollow”, Linky, Blog Hop & More!

Okay! We have a ton of updates and I just wanted to make a quick post letting everyone know what’s going on here!

Rating System:
I posted about this previously, but in case anyone missed the memo, I added a brand new rating system to the site. All review items are rated in five different areas, and assigned an overall star rating by averaging these values. I think this helps better convey my opinions and thoughts on a product in a more concrete and relatable way.

Post Ratings:
In addition to product ratings, you can now rate my blog posts! You may assign a post anywhere from one star, to ten stars. You may also “like” (thumbs up) or “dislike” (thumbs down) my posts by clicking the images at the bottom of the posts beneath the star ratings.

“DoFollow”:
I recently installed an amazing plugin: the “DoFollow” plugin. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this plug in removes the “nofollow” feature wordpress has, meaning that this plugin makes it so every link left on this blog is registered, and able to be indexed by google. And we all know what that does! RAISES YOUR PAGE RANK!

Linky:
A few readers asked about it, so I finally decided to put up a weekly giveaway linky on my blog! I will be putting it up every Wednesday. Feel free to list all of your giveaways!

Add-Me Linky:
Now, you’re probably wondering what this one is! This one, I kind of came up with on my own! It might have been done before… It might now. Who knows. But, I am posting a weekly “Add Me” linky for twitter, facebook and youtube. I may add more as they are requested, but the point of these, is to build up followers/fans/subscribers! Great way!

BlogHop:
Again, you guys asked for it, so I put a blog hop up too! For now, it will be every Wednesday. I may separate the times for the bloghop and linky, but for now, they are both on Wednesday. There’s a few rules (just to make sure it’s achieving it’s purpose and no one’s missing out) but it’s easy, fun and helps us all!

Link Exchange:
Lastly, I am looking for people to exchange links with! So, if you’d like to link swap, shoot me an email at reviews@anotherteenmom.com with your site link, and where you would put my link and I will get back to you asap!

And that’s it for now! Look for a few more awesome reviews coming up, be sure to leave me some love!

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Giveaway: STILL GOING!

Have you taken the time to check out our Earth Mama Angel Baby review and giveaway? It’s still going, and there’s still a little bit of time left! So why not come check it out and enter to win!!!

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