Saturday, April 15, 2006

My Movie Pick for April - 'Emma'

I stumbled on this movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I decided to give it a try and was utterly delighted! 'Emma' stars Gwyneth Paltrow, in the leading role. She was funny and cute in this movie. I found myself wanted to brew a pot of tea and serve it with some small sandwiches. It's such a good feel movie.

Consider renting this one during your 'Just Me Time'. You'll definitely enjoy it. It's also available at Read the following review and see if you agree.
Most people didn't mind Gwyneth Paltrow's English accent in this charming, 1996 adaptation of Jane Austen's novel (which also inspired Clueless). But even if it doesn't sound quite right to you, there are plenty of authentic and wonderful Brit thespians in this film by screenwriter-turned-director Douglas McGrath (co-author of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway), including Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply), Alan Cumming (Buddy), Phyllida Law (Much Ado About Nothing), Ewan McGregor (the Scots star of Trainspotting), and Sophie Thompson, outstanding and finally heartbreaking as the chattering Miss Bates. Paltrow plays Austen's benign busybody, Emma Woodhouse--so busy trying to arrange the lives of others that she is sidestepping her own. McGrath brings a kind of pretty and light touch to the production, his best move the wise delegation of creative authority to the actors themselves. --Tom Keogh

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Definition of a Work at Home Call Center Agent by Charissa Bear

The Definition of a Work at Home Call Center Agent
By: Charissa Bear

At the present time there is an estimated "100,000 home-based phone representatives" employed throughout the United States. According to predictions made by the Gartner Group, it is believed that by the end of 2006 approximately ten percent of all call centers scattered throughout the United States will be relying on the skills and services of work at home call center agents for the widespread success of their businesses.

Call centers are becoming a bigger and better industry all of the time. They comprise a large percentage of the customer service work that many companies engage in. In a general way a call center refers to "a variety of actual business functions, ranging from call centers designed to handle customer calls, tech support systems, help desks, or even outbound customer call agents." Call center agents (work at home or on site employees) are trained to manage many 'call'-types, including regular telephone inquiries, faxes, e-mails and web requests.

Many call centers find that costs are lowered and the overall efficiency of a business is increased when work is "home sourced" out to work at home call center agents. Also referred to as "working remotely" these at home or remote agents often are more productive and happier and also report greater levels of job satisfaction than those who work in other capacities. Walking hand in hand with these positive characteristics is the fact that work at home call center agents tend to be loyal to their companies and not as likely to be jumping from job to job. In a lot of ways these agents get the best of both worlds- they get to have their cake and eat it too.

A remote agent is loosely defined as a "call center or help desk employee working away from the main office, either occasionally or full-time." Some people simply think of work at home call center agents as telecommuters who do their work from their own home instead of in the office.

Call centers that make the decision to institute a remote agent program experience many benefits from giving their employees the opportunity to be work at home call center agents. These benefits include the necessity for less office space (which is a definite money saver); the ability to both bring in and hold onto key agents; voice communication via the telephone when a work emergency should arise; constant support and feedback between employer and agent; a link from office to office and the ability for the company to hire temporary and seasonal staff as well as disabled individuals. Finally working from home has been shown through a variety of studies to increase levels of productivity and to allow for easier flexibility for scheduling work hours for agents.

Article by:

Charissa Bear is the owner of, a work at home resource. Stop by today and sign up for her 5 day ecourse, Starting and Choosing a Work a Home Business, or get your free ecourse by sending a blank email to: mailto:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's a Chilly Night - How About Making a Shawl

Picture this, you have a terrific little evening dress but need a little something to keep the chill off. Consider a fabric shawl...and make it yourself!

At Sewing, Debbie Colgrove has a free sewing pattern for this easy and quick project.

Do you need a purse too? Click here for the clutch purse instructions and pattern.

Reclaiming Your Weekend - Real

Recently, I responded to a question about managing homeschooling and working from home, at The Blog. One of my suggestions is to take a day off from work, each week. It's usually Fridays but somtimes I'll take a Saturday or Sunday off. I might go to lunch with my husband, have a manicure, see a movie or take a craft class. The next day, I'm refreshed and ready to take on my work day.

Stop by Real website to read about how 3 women learned to reclaimed their weekends. Many of their suggestions may look familiar but you may pick up a few new ones.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Education World Lessons Newsletter - Sign Up Today

Stop by the website to sign up for this free newsletter! In this week's newsletter you'll find:

April Is Poetry Month!
Education World editors have gathered poetry resources from our archive to help teachers everywhere celebrate National Poetry Month. Here you will find poetry lesson plans, poetry activities and projects, poetry articles and resources, and tips for staging your own Poetry Slam event.

Five "Eggs-traordinary" Lesson Plans: Just Add the Eggs!
Looking for a teaching theme with which to welcome spring? We have "eggs-actly" what you're looking for. Toss eggs into the curriculum mix. Eggs can be used to teach skills in math, geography, and science. And don't forget to create "eggs-quisite" art!

Math Fun: Volume 1
You may have to remind students that they're learning math after they've done one of these five “invisible math” lessons from Education World.

Telephone Techniques for the Virtual Customer Service Rep

Greet the customer enthusiastically. Put a smile on your face and energy in your voice. Intentionally sound fun, interesting, friendly, and conversational. When you do these simple things, you will find that you are quickly establishing rapport with callers and that customers enjoy speaking with you.

Listen without interrupting. It can be tempting to interrupt a rambler or storyteller, but try not to do so within the first few seconds. Listen patiently and let the customer tell you what is on her mind. Of course, you can't let a long-winded caller get out of hand.

For more Customer Service techniques, sign up at Myra Golden Seminars, for her free newsletter. You'll also receive 6 of Myra's Dealing with Difficult Customers videos.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month - Yummy!

Did you know that DuPont Teflon had the World's Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwich Contest? The winner was The Caribbean Grill. Why not stop by the website for the winning recipe.

By the way, my favorite grilled cheese sandwich is white sourdough bread, cheddar cheese and bacon. This is definitely an delicious indulgence. Enjoy!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tonight on '24' - Kiefer Sutherland will be back!

It hit the news this morning that Kiefer Sutherland will be back for 3 more seasons with a reported $20 million a year. As a fan of the show, I'm thrilled because there's no one else who sticks their live on the line to protect the great USA like Jack!

Stop by the official '24' website's message board and read more about this announcement. And don't forget to watch tonight's show.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

April's Recipe of the Month - Beer BBQ Short Ribs

This recipe actually is for chicken but there was a sale on short ribs so I went for it. I braised the ribs first, chopped 1/4 onion and assembled my sauce in the dutch oven. (to pick up all those yummy little pieces and scraping of the short ribs) This is a crockpot recipe so you can make it and go on with your day. It turned out delicious. Serve with a green salad and white rice. A macaroni or potato salad would be great too.

4 pounds chicken breasts and thighs
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 medium onions, cut into wedges
1 cup dark beer or ale
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce

Thoroughly rinse chicken and pat dry. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown chicken on both sides.

Place chicken and onions in slow cooker. Combine dark beer or ale and barbecue sauce in a bowl. Stir. Pour mixture over chicken and onions. Cover and cook on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours or low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours.

Rona's Recommended Website Pick - 'The Money Instructor'

Are you looking for lesson plans to that teach your student (and perhaps yourself) money management, check writing, interview skills, and budgeting? Look no further and stop by The Money Instructor website today!

For only $29.95 a year you'll have unlimited access to lesson plans, activities and interactive lessons.

Elementary, middle and high school students will enjoy all this site has to offer. You'll also find lesson plans on home business, customer service, and basic accounting skills.

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