Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal...

The picture...

This summer we took a tourist cruise of Lake Superior and I got a picture of the tug boats that are used in our area, the North Carolina, the North Dakota, the Kentucky and the Minnesota. 

The deal...

Bath and Body Works is introducing a new scent called Secret Wonderland, its a blend of strawberry, Jasmin and white amber.  They are pushing it as the big seller this holiday season so right now you can get the 2 ounce travel size lotion for $1.00 and the travel size fragrance mist for $2.00 to try for yourself.  This offer is available both on line and in the retail branches of the stores.

Have a great day everyone!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn...


twee  \TWEE\ ~ adjective

DEFINITION:  affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint

EXAMPLES: I stood in the greeting card section of the store reading through the selections, looking for one that would express my affection and appreciation without being intolerably twee.

DID YOU KNOW? Most adults wouldn't be caught dead saying, "Oh, look at the tweet 'ittle birdie!" (at least not to anyone over the age of three), but they probably wouldn't be averse to saying, "He went fishing with his dad," "She works as a nanny," or "Hey, buddy, how's it going?" Anyone who uses "dad," "nanny," or "buddy" owes a debt to "baby talk," a term used for both the childish speech adults adopt when addressing youngsters and for the speech of small children who are just learning to talk. "Twee" also originated in baby talk, as an alteration of "sweet." In the early 1900s, it was a term of affection, but nowadays British speakers and writers, and, increasingly, Americans as well, use "twee" for things that have passed beyond agreeable and into the realm of cloying.

Now through 11/15/2010 if you collect six (6) green caps from specially-marked 20-ounce bottles of A&W, 7Up, Sunkist, Squirt, or Welch’s you can get a FREE vintage look t-shirt.  All you need to do is go to the official web page and sign up, then enter the codes found in the bottle cap.  When you have enough you will qualify for the t-shirt.

Hope you are all having a great Wednesday!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday's value meal...

This is a fun and easy recipe that is a favorite in our house.  It also has the added benefit that it looks like you spent a lot of time to make, so its great for company too.  You can use canned or precooked refrigerated chicken for this dish, but we like to use our left overs for this dish.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Chicken Pot Pie in a Shell

1 package (10 ounces) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey

*** I added a little curry powder to this to give it a little extra flavor since its a little bland.

Prepare the pastry shells according to the package directions.  Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender.  Stir the soup, milk and peas and carrots in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Spoon the chicken mixture into the pastry shells.

Makes 6 pastries.

---Main dish---
$0.55 off Pilgrim's Pride Chicken
$1.50 off 3 Campbell's Condensed Soup
$0.60 off 3 Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables (currently listed on page 3)
$2.00 off 1 Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals
$1.00 off  1 Tazo Zero Calorie Iced Tea
$0.75 off Smart Balance Milk
$1.00 off 2 Pillsbury Rolled Refrigerated Pie Crusts
$1.00 off 2 Lucky Leaf Pie Filling
Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

My friends know my two biggest reality TV musts are Top Chef and Project Runway, I love Chef Tom Colicchio of Top Chef and Tim Gunn of Project Runway, their insights are great and the stories they can tell about things within their respective industries is very eye opening!  While both have books out I have totally fallen in love with Tim Gunn's latest, Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, released earlier this monthThis book has some great stories from the fashion industry, many involving names you know, plus a lot of inside information on both Project Runway as well as his now defunct show Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, including why it is no longer on the air, you may be surprised.  I am also impressed with his emphasis on manners in the book, its is chalk full of great reminders for us all.  Here is the book information from Amazon:

Product Description:
On the runway of life, Tim Gunn is the perfect life coach. You’ve watched him mentor talented designers on the hit television show Project Runway. Now the inimitable Tim Gunndivadom as he describes Vogue’s AndrĂ© Leon Talley being hand-fed grapes and Anna Wintour being carried downstairs by her bodyguards. And you’ll get Tim’s view on the backstabbing by one designer on Project Runway and how it brilliantly backfired. Then there are his down-to-earth guidelines for making life better—for yourself and others—in small and large ways, especially in an age that favors comfort over politeness, ease over style. Texting at the dinner table? Wearing shorts to the theater? Not in Tim’s book. Living a well-mannered life of integrity and character is hard work, he admits, but the rewards are many: being a good friend, being glamorous and attractive, and being a success— much like Tim himself! He is never one to mince words. But Tim Gunn is always warm, witty, wise, and wonderfully supportive— just the mentor you need to design a happy, creative, and fulfilling life that will never go out of style.

About the Author:

Beloved pop culture icon Tim Gunn is best known as co-host of the twelve-time Emmy-nominated reality show Project Runway. He also hosted two seasons of his own former Bravo makeover series, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.
I personally downloaded a copy from Amazon to my Kindle so I could take it with me where ever I go, this version was $9.99 directly from Amazon, Barns and Noble has the e-book available for down load to iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android, PC, Blackberry, Mac and the Nook for $9.99.  If you are a member of The Book of the Month Club you can order the book for $9.95 with free shipping, if not you can find the hardcover selling at Amazon for $14.03, if you don't order enough for the free shipping the final cost will be $18.02, if that is the case then go to The Book Depository, they have the hard cover version for $17.99 with free shipping.  If you know someone who is a huge fan and are looking for a terrific gift idea there is a seller with 4 autographed copies on eBay, the asking price for them is $42.95 + $7.50 for expedited shipping.
I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eating up the savings...

The folks who know me know that I am somewhat of a foodie, I enjoy dining out and if I were unable to go out at least once a month I would get a little glum so I have found ways to be able to do this without over spending. I have touched on a few of these ideas before but I just read a great little article in the Consumerist that made me think its time to bring this up again.  With money still tight for folks we can tend to get a little stir crazy because we are staying home more, its nice to be able to get out and have a nice sit down dinner away from home where someone else cook, serves and cleans.  This may sound like something that could potentially break the bank but there are some great ways to save money and indulge at the same time.

First, check all the great general sites for discounts and half off gift cards.  If you live in areas served by Groupon, Half Off DealsNeo Fill and Half Off Depot check out the savings on their sites, also remember to check out your area Entertainment book for additional coupons that can be used together with your half price gift certificates.  The other fantastic place to check is where you can find gift certificates for area dining at more than 50% off plus, if you use coupon code AUTUMN right now you will save 80%.  They are also giving a free $10.00 gift card with every order. 

Before you head off to dinner be sure to check out Facebook and Twitter as well, many restaurants are trying to get dollars in their door through social media and will offer an instant coupon if you follow them on line.  Also check the establishments web site directly, many times you can find promotions and coupons there as well.  While you are at the restaurants web site to sign up for their birthday clubs if they have one, then you will get some great deals when your birthday rolls around each year.

Next is to figure out the best time to go to a restaurant, some places have great deals on Monday's to get traffic through the door; or consider making appetizers your meal, you will get to try a couple of items for less than the price of a full meal, and some places offer great appetizers for half off during Happy Hour.  If you decide to use Happy Hour to stretch your dollars remember not to order more than  one drink, better still just have a soda or a glass of water.  Again, checking the restaurants web site to look at the menu in advance will also help you stay within your budget, knowing what you want to order before you are even seated can really help your bottom line, also you will be able to see if where you are going has joined the new wave of dining establishments with a prix fixe menu.  These are great and let you have some of the best food at quite a reduced cost. While you are there consider what you may want to take home for later, many restaurants offer large portions which you can easily make into two meals, plus, if you are at a place that serves free salad, bread sticks or chips for a starter then you can have the freebies to fill you up a little, allowing you more to take home and enjoy later. If you qualify for it, be sure to ask the waitstaff about a senior discount as well, you have earned that discount, why not ask for it?

I also found a great web site called Pocket your Dollars while writing this article that I think can help you find even more savings.  I would love to hear some of your tips for a great night out at a fancy restaurant.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday’s freebie…

Today’s freebies are all about taking care of those pearly whites. First up get a free sample of the new Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection toothpaste from Walmart, just fill in the quiz then enter your name and address in the on line form and allow a couple weeks for it to arrive at your door.

To complement the new Crest Toothpaste I found an offer from Colgate for a free children’s toothbrush, the promotion runs through December 31, 2010 with a limit of one per address. All you need to do is fill in the information on the Colgate web page and they will mail one out to you as long as supplies last.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Friday, enjoy the weekend.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal...

The picture...

When I was in Montana my friends fiance took me to a place called Norm Schoenthal Island, a Natural area located on the north side of the Yellowstone River.  Its a great spot and a haven for birds....and folks with cameras.  I was able to get a great shot of this Cedar Waxwing up in the trees. 

The deal...

All the Bon-Ton stores, which includes Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Yonkers are having their annual Goodwill sale.  Bring your donations to one of the stores and you will receive a 20% off coupon for every piece of apparel or home textiles you donate!  The sale ends September 29th and is good for everything in the store, even cosmetics and sale items.  If you are looking for a specific item that is not available in your local store you can use the coupon generated in the store on line when you get home.  This is a great sale and it helps support a good cause, especially in these hard economic times.  Even if you don't need the coupon please stop by your local store and drop off a gently used item for the Goodwill, you can give the coupon to a friend or co-worker and do a double good deed for the day.

I hope you are all having a great day!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn...


insouciance \in-SOO-see-unss\ ~ noun

DEFINITION: lighthearted unconcern : nonchalance

EXAMPLES: The teenager’s careless insouciance about her schoolwork does not bode well for her grades.

DID YOU KNOW? Don't worry -- be insouciant. Perhaps your mind will rest easier if we explain that English speakers learned "insouciance" from the French in the 1700s (and the adjective "insouciant" has been part of our language since the 1800s). The French word comes from a combination of the negative prefix "in-" and "soucier," meaning "to trouble or disturb." "Soucier" in turn traces to "sollicitus," the Latin word for "anxious." If it seems to you that "sollicitus


Need some new make-up or hair care goods?  If you purchase $30.00 worth of Revlon and/or Nexxus products at Walgreen's between 9/1/2010 and 9/30/2010 you will get a $10.00 gift card to Walgreen's. 
All you need to do is send in the completed rebate form together with a copy of your Walgreen's receipt(s) with the items circled.  All rebate forms must be postmarked 9/30/2010.

Have a great day everyone, you're half way to to the weekend!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday's value meal...

Its already time for the apple harvest in our area, things have been a little ahead of schedule all year.  Today's recipe takes advantage of using the apples while they are at their best, I hope it's something you will enjoy.


1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork loin
1 tsp. salt
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves


2 green onions, chopped fine
2 green apples, grated or chopped
2 tbsp. soft butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. mustard

Mix all ingredients for stuffing and set aside.  Make slits in loin, deep enough for filling. Rub pork loin with salt, ginger and cloves. Place loin in roasting pan and spoon stuffing into pockets in loin. Place rest of stuffing around loin. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until pork is done. Let stand 15 minutes covered with foil before slicing.  Optional: After slicing, garnish with sauteed apples, spoon pan juices over slices with extra stuffing.

---Main course---

$1.00 off any HORMEL® ALWAYS TENDER® product
$0.50 off two Land O Lakes Butter
$0.60 off Imperial Sugar Redi-Measure Light Brown Sugar
$0.50 off French's Mustard


$1.00 off one Olivia's Organic Salad
$2.00 off one Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals Dressing (coupon is at the bottom of the page)


FREE Birds Eye Steamfresh Vegetable wyb Mrs. Paul's or Van de Kamp's Seafood (this isn't available in all areas of the country)


$0.50 off any Newman's Own drink (not wine)


$1.00 off any Sara Lee Frozen Dessert

Have a great week everyone!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

I have had a long time love of movies and when DVDs first came out I started collecting them, to the point that they now have their own cabinet as well as shelves build in around the TV to house the TV series and holiday film.  You would think owing over 500 DVDs I would have found Disney's Movie Rewards a long time ago!  I guess I thought Disney Movies were just for kids and I only had a couple, but guess what? Disney is so diverse I actually had 14 of them and now have over 1500 points in my account.  What does that mean?  Well, depending on how patient I am it could mean a trip to Disney Land.  In the 0 - 400 range you can get a free 0 point reward mini story book that goes along with the new Tinkerbell movie release, or if you want to spend some points you can make a donation to one of several organizations, get free Snapfish photo prints or a movie poster.  If you are willing to save up a little longer the 2810 and up category has $100 Delta vacation certificate, Hannah Montana guitar, Mary Poppins and the Lion King tickets on Broadway  and the Walt Disney Studios Special Private Tour for four.  Signing up for the program is easy, just enter your basic information and start putting in your Disney codes, you can find the code numbers on the DVD and Blue Rays as well as the Disney CDs.  You can even earn reward points by uploading a photo of your theater movie ticket stubs.  So go check your DVD collection, bet you will be surprised by what you have, then start saving your points for something fun for you, your child or grand kids.

Have a fantastic Sunday everyone!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saving through portal shopping...

Reward programs have been around for years, remember S and H Green Stamps? They were started in the 1930s by the Sperry and Hutchinson company (S and H), founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelly Hutchinson, and given to customers at grocery stores, department stores and gas stations. During the 1960s, the rewards catalog printed by the company was the largest publication in the United States and the company issued three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service.

Now with the Internet there are some great reward sites for shopping online, and while there are a lot of good ones I am going to go over the four I am the most familiar with today, starting with My Points. When I first ventured into reward sites on the Internet in the 80s this was the first site I joined.  Originally started by United Airlines, the company was purchased by a private corporation in 1996 and has been handled very well.  They payout points for shopping, points are awarded after a one month waiting time, this insured that large products are not returned and point credits reversed. If you choose to subscribe to their email list you also earn 5 points for almost every email read, this adds up very quickly.  You only need 1,500 for a $10 gift card to Olive Garden or Red Lobster, there are also a lot of other payout options, most in gift cards.

The next site is Quick Rewards, this is the second site I joined.  The things I really like about this program are the extremely fast customer service, the speed the cash back is credited to my account, (sometimes with in minutes but usually with in a day) and the fact that it is a cash system, not a point system so I know exactly what my account is worth at all times and there is no minimum payout.  When you want your money you have the option of cash to PayPal, or store and online gift certificates.  Like MyPoints you can also earn cash for reading email and doing surveys as well as for shopping.

Third I joined Ebates in 2005, this site is specifically for shopping online and aside from offering the cash back also lists all the coupons available, which is a general time saver.  Like MyPoints your cash earned will show as pending in your account until they are sure you are going to keep your purchase, and like Quick Rewards your balance is all in cash.  You earn $5.00 to your account just for signing up with them, then every 3 months, they send a cash back payment for purchases posted during the previous quarter based on their posted schedule. But if you've earned less than $5.01 cash back, they carry it over your money to the next check.  You can opt for a check  payable to you, your child, a charity or any organization of your choice, and of course there is always the option for PayPal.

Finally I recently joined Market America, I have a friend who has used this site for years and loves it.  He does probably all his shopping through this site.  You earn cash for your purchases of both their own branded products as well as their partner sites.  Their site has a great feature that allows you to type in what you are looking for and it will find it for you at multiple stores as well as find comparable products.  It works a little like the shopping feature on Google but has more options.  When your account reaches $50.00 you can cash out for a check to yourself or like Ebates, a child, charity or any organization of your choice, if your balance is under $50.00 you can use it to spend on their own branded products.  This is a fantastic way to try something new to see if you like it, who knows it could save you a ton of money in the long run! 

When I use my cash back shopping portals I always check to see where the best deal is, so for example if I want to order a book through Target for $20.00 I will check them all and find that...

MyPoints will pay 10 points per dollar, that's 200 points or about $0.13
Quick Rewards will pay me 4.20% or $0.84
Ebates will pay me 4.00% or $0.80
Market America will pay me 2% or $0.40

In this case I would use Quick Rewards, but that isn't always the case.  Each retailer is willing to pay each portal provider different amounts and in some cases is will only go through a certain provider so its worth while to check which sites offer what rewards.  I was able to earn thousands of dollars when we built our house a few years back, I used shopping reward sites combined with my reward credit cards for an even better deal.  So remember when you shopp on line to check for rewards and cash back though at least two portals to maximize your discount.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday's freebie...

A friend of mine found this great deal and passed it along.  I have another friend taking her children to the museum using this freebie so I found a dining idea for kids to go with the deal.  Hope you have a great time with this one!

Saturday, September 25th is free museum day, all you have to do is fill in the information required to get your free admission ticket via email.  The free ticket is good for you and one guest, just remember to print and bring your ticket to your selected participating museum. 

If you are bringing your child with you and have a Marie Calender's nearby this is a perfect time to bring them in to dine, Tuesday's and Saturday's children under 12 dine free with the purchase of an adult meal.  They get their choice of selected entrees, a soft drink and a sundae for dessert.

Have a great Friday everyone!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal...

The picture...

This picture was taken looking up through the iron work of the Duluth Rose Garden gazebo.  The original rose garden was moved from the home of Mrs. John Klints and opened in 1965 within Leif Erickson Park, with 2,000 roses.  In 1990 the rose garden was revised to allow for the highway to go under the park and was reopened in 1994, it now has over 3000 roses and 12,000 non-rose plantings, including day lilies, evergreen shrubs, mixed perennials and an herb garden.

The deal...

With kids going back to college and living in drab dorm rooms its time to check out All Posters back to school sale.  Thousands of their posters are on sale starting at only $4.98, they have free shipping on orders over $9.99, just enter coupon code TAUPE in the area where is says  "Add Gift Certificate Or Coupon Code" at check out.  This is a great way to make a visual statement without breaking the bank.  To make your poster look even better you can find nice set of 6 Mainstay poster frames at Walmart for $34.00, that's only $5.67 each!  If you don't need 6 of them Target has a nice set of 2 Elite Poster frames for only $11.99, and Amazon has a single MCS Acrylic & Corrugated Back Poster Frame for only $5.95.  Posters are a nice in an office space as well because you can change your artwork when you get tired of looking at the same thing every day.

I hope you are all having a great Thursday!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn...


grimalkin  \grih-MAWL-kin\ ~ noun

DEFINITION: a domestic cat; especially : an old female cat

EXAMPLE: Maizy, the family grimalkin, wasn't as fast as she used to be, but she was still very good at catching mice.

DID YOU KNOW? In the opening scene of Macbeth, one of the three witches planning to meet with Macbeth suddenly announces, "I come, Graymalkin." The witch is responding to the summons of her familiar, or guardian spirit, which is embodied in the form of a cat. Shakespeare's "graymalkin" literally means "gray cat." The "gray" is of course the color; the "malkin" was a nickname for Matilda or Maud that came to be used in dialect as a general name for a cat (and sometimes a hare). By the 1630s, "graymalkin" had been altered to the modern spelling "grimalkin."


If you have kids,  grand kids or are a kid at heart, this is a fun rebate.  Buy any Shrek, Shrek Two or Shrek the Third on DVD or Blue Ray  and a 6 pack 1.5 oz or 7oz mini boxes bag purchase of Sunmaid Raisins and get $3.00 back by mail.  Just send in the proof of purchase tab from the DVD or Blue-ray, the UPC from your 6 pack or bag of raisins, the cash register receipts (photo copies are OK) for the movie and the raisins dated between August 1st and March 31, 2011 with the prices circled and the original hand printed completed rebate form.

I checked for the lowest prices on the DVD version of the movie and found that Walmart was the lowest for the first Shrek movie at $8.32 plus shipping and tax that brought it up to $10.95.  For both Shrek Two and Shrek the Third the lowest price was at Movie Mars, both were $14.34 with no shipping fees.

I hope you are all having a good week so far.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's value meal...

This is the time of year when the kids are back in school and everyone is figuring out their new schedules.  Its a great time for a make ahead dinner so I thought the original Cobb Salad would be wonderful.  Cobb salad was created at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, a place I have many great memories of as a little girl.  It has long since been closed despite its famous and sometimes infamous, patrons and long history.  The restaurant was a one of a kind landmark in Hollywood, now there is a reproduction, built in 1989 in Orlando Florida.

The Original Cobb Salad with dressing: 

1/2 head lettuce, about 4 cups

1 bunch watercress
1 small bunch chicory, about 2 1/2 cups
1/2 head romaine, about 2 1/2 cups
2 medium peeled tomatoes
6 strips of crisp bacon
2 breasts of boiled chicken
3 hard cooked eggs
1 avocado
1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 cup (approximately) Original Cobb Salad Dressing

Cut lettuce, half the watercress, chicory and romaine in fine pieces and arrange in a large salad bowl.  Cut the tomatoes, bacon, chicken, eggs, and avocado in small pieces and arrange, along with the crumbled Roquefort cheese, in strips on the greens.  Sprinkle finely cut chives over the Cobb salad and garnish with the remaining watercress.  Just before serving mix the salad with the Cobb salad dressing.

Original Cobb Salad Dressing:

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry English mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup full-flavored olive oil
3/4 cup salad oil

Blend all ingredients together, except oils. Add olive and salad oils. Mix well.  Blend well again before mixing with salad.

A note from the Brown Derby: "The water is optional, depending upon the degree of oiliness desired in the dressing."

A lot of the ingredients can be found fresh and may even be in abundance in your garden this time of year, for the rest here are the coupons:

---Main course---

$1.00 off one Crisco Olive Oil



 $0.50 off one Tetley Tea iced tea blend


$1 off Duncan Hines Amazing Glaze with purchase of a Duncan Hines Cake Mix

I hope you are all having a great Monday!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

With Fall arriving quickly its time to look towards having a quiet blanket of white for the garden, or is it? I came across a book called The Garden in Winter: Plant for Beauty and Interest in the Quiet Season by Suzy Bales. If you live in an area that gets brown, grey or white in the Winter this is the book to check out. The author gives you ideas for planting a winter garden so you can enjoy your views in in every month, June or January, in all seasons. She also has ideas to change and light up the view from your windows and how to bring the outdoors in for the holidays. The ideas in this book are extremely creative and will keep you smiling all through the year.

* Product Description:

Most of us think of winter as the time when the garden sleeps and our attention turns to indoor activities. Yet Better Homes & Gardens contributing editor Suzy Bales lures us to the windows, the garden paths, and outdoor areas to witness the beauty and vitality of the winter garden.

The possibilities for creating interest in the winter landscape are considerable. Through Suzy’s eyes, you’ll discover the intriguing patterns of tree bark; the sculptural shapes created by trees, arching vines, shrubs, and seed heads of perennials and grasses; the outline of outdoor structures, containers, and ornaments; and the unexpected but welcome dashes of color added by conifers, berries, early bulbs, and yes, even flowers. Suzy provides details on the best plants and cultivars to choose and explains how to group them for the most arresting vignettes.

Suzy devotes an entire chapter sharing her secrets for creating one-of-a-kind holiday wreaths, unique centerpieces and mantel arrangements, and striking outdoor features with greens, interesting branches, berries, cones, and seedpods from her winter garden. Sometimes whimsical, always useful, her suggestions and ideas bring the outdoors in to brighten the darkest time of year.

You will also find descriptions of places and people who celebrate winter in unusual ways, such as Les Blake, the creator of "fire and ice" sculptures in Alaska, or the village of Cooperstown, New York, that decorates for the holidays with a flourish.

This book overflows with ideas for transforming your views in winter. Plan for the quiet season by following the suggestions of garden enthusiast Suzy Bales and your garden will continue to delight you through the year.

* About the Author:

SUZY BALES is a contributing editor at Better Homes and Gardens and the author of Suzy Bales' Down to Earth Gardener. She divides her time between Manhattan and Oyster Bay on Long Island, where she maintains her extensive gardens.

* Information from

If you would like a peek inside the book you can see it at Amazon, but for the lowest price on a new go to where I found it for only $2.76, if you don’t mind a used copy you can find one in like new condition at Amazon for $0.01 with $3.99 shipping.

Hope you all have a fantastic Sunday!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grandmother's cost effective cleaning...

I remember visiting my grandmother a lot when I was younger and she had such a small house that I loved to pretend it was mine to take care of, kind of like a small princess castle, I especially loved to dust and vacuum with her big pink upright, much to my grandmothers delight I'm sure.  I remember my grandmothers cleaning cupboard quite vividly as well, it housed 7 things, a BIG glass jug of vinegar, several boxes of Baking Soda, salt, dish soap, steal wool pads, a dusting cloth and a glass bottle of camphor oil.  From those seven things came one of the cleanest houses I have ever known. I think she had the right idea, keep it simple and inexpensive, I look at all the things on the market nowadays that do exactly what grandma did with much less and wonder why folks spend so much on this stuff every year. 

In our own home I haven't bought a bottle of glass cleaner in years, I use grandma's recipe of equal parts vinegar and warm water wiped off with newspaper to wash all our windows and leave no streaks.  Grandma used to use it to clean the oven window off as well, she just put it on a cloth right from the jug and wiped down the window, worked like a charm.  One of my other favorite uses for vinegar is to clean my flower vases, I love to bring in fresh flowers from the garden but most of the time I end up with a white ring in the vase and if its a bud vase this is hard to clean out.  I just pour in some vinegar, let it sit then use a bottle brush and its gone.  Vinegar is definitely one of those underutilized tools and you can check out 1001 tips for using vinegar at the vinegar website, many of the ideas shown I have used at one point or another, and some of them may surprise you, I know I found some things I didn't know, like vinegar can be used to discourage ants and get rid of fruit flies. There is a printable a coupon for $0.50 off Heinz Vinegar just for entering your name, email address and checking a few boxes at the Heinz Vinegar web site.

My Grandmother was using baking soda in her refrigerator long before I understood it wasn't there to use in her cooking, it was there to keep her food fresh, but she had other tricks up her sleeve for this versatile product as well.  When she cleaned the kitchen at the end of the day she would wipe the counters with her damp dish cloth, the lightly sprinkle baking soda on them and let it sit while she put the dishes away, then she would use the damp cloth to wipe it up, it left the kitchen smelling like new and it cleaned up any grease or stains on the counter.  Way before there was any type of sprinkle in carpet deodorizer grandma and I would have fun dancing through her little living room sprinkling the carpet with baking soda before I vacuumed, it worked great and left everything smelling so fresh.  When the box was empty she would cut it open and set it in the bottom of her little garbage can between the can and the bag, that way the area under the kitchen sink where she kept the garbage would have any unpleasant odors held in check.  Even though this was long before  the days recycling she used every part of everything and nothing went to waste.  For some easy ideas for cleaning and keeping your house smelling fresh check out The New Homemaker blog.  I also found a coupon for $0.50 off two of either the 2# or 4# boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, just click on the special offers on the side and  enter your name and email address.

Grandma usually used the salt when she needed a harder abrasive than the baking soda, like for really icky frying pans or stuff that was caked onto her oven wear, I also remember her putting her dish sponges in salt water overnight about every other day to keep them fresh.  She kept some downstairs as well by her washing machine, I wasn't allowed to help with the laundry because she was always afraid I would run my hand through the mangle, then she would have to explain that to my mother.  For more on the everyday and not so everyday uses of salt be sure to check out the Belly Bytes web page.  The Morton Salt site also has ideas for the uses of salt as well as offering coupons on occasion.

You know what the dish soap, steal wool and dusting cloth are for, but not everyone knows about the magic of camphor oil.  That one bottle was used over the years whenever there was a white ring left on a wood table, just a little dab on a cotton cloth rubbed with the grain of the wood right over the ring and it would disappear like magic.  For a while it was hard to find Camphor oil because of FDA restrictions on the product, but now you can find it again with relative ease.  Don't be tempted to buy the largest bottle you can find though, that little bottle the size of my hand was passed down from my grandmother to my mom and finally to me.  The lowest price I found for a two ounce bottle was at NOW Foods for $2.49.

The basic message is back to basics will save you quite a lot of cash.  Why spend $2.50 - $3.00 for a carpet deodorizer when a box of baking soda will do the trick for around a buck?  Do you have any cleaning tips or tricks from by gone eras?  I would love to hear about them.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday's freebie...

With the addition of a new kitten to our family we are looking at needing a second litter box, which of course means more litter to fill it with.  Today's freebie is from Arm & Hammer, enter your email address and they will get you $10.50 in coupons for their new Double Duty Clumping Litter that has advanced odor control.  I have used their litters for many years and have always liked them, they seem to be a leader in this type of product.

I hope everyone on having a fantastic Friday!!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal..

The picture...

Last Summer we had a baby Flycatcher parked on our railing by its mother, it stayed for quite awhile so I got some great shots of it.

The deal...

I love burning scented candles, its especially therapeutic in the middle of a long winter when I can smell things like fresh roses, cut grass, a mountain lake or Honeydew melon.  From now until October 3, 2010 Yankee Candle is having their buy 2 get one free sale with $5.00 flat rate shipping if you buy on line, if your order is over $100.00 they will wave the shipping fee.  If you have a Yankee Candle store near you then clip the coupon and bring it in with you when you shop, you can also shop by phone, just mention coupon code XG010A1 to the operator.  Recently my husband and I decided to try two of the new scents, Jelly Roll and Maple Pancake and we love them both, Yankee never ceases to amaze me with their scents.

I hope you are all having a great Thursday!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn


squinny \SKWIN-ee\ ~ verb

DEFINITION: to look or peer with eyes partly closed : squint

EXAMPLE: "I leant far out, and squinnied for a sign / That this was still the town that had been 'mine'…." (Philip Larkin, "I Remember, I Remember") 
DID YOU KNOW?: "I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny at me?" So asks Shakespeare's mad King Lear of blind Gloucester, marking the first use of the verb "squinny" in 1605. It is likely that Shakespeare formed the word from an earlier English word "squin," meaning "with the eye directed to one side." Shakespeare also uses the more familiar "squint" in King Lear: "This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet.… He gives the web and the pin, / squints the eye, and makes the harelip; mildews the white wheat, / and hurts the poor creature of earth." Although this is not the first known use of the verb "squint," which appears in print six years earlier, it is the first known use of the verb's transitive sense.

I loved this rebate because I actually have the season two release of Castle on my pop up calender so I don't forget and I think Wholly Guacamole is wonderful!
Get $10 back by mail when you purchase any one eligible ABC TV season on DVD and any Wholly Guacamole product. 

Eligible DVDs include:

  • Cougar Town Season 1
  • Desperate Housewives Season 6
  • Brothers & Sisters Season 4
  • Castle Season 2
  • Grey’s Anatomy Season 6
  • Private Practice Season 3
  • Lost Season 6
  • Flash Forward Season 1
  • Scrubs Season 9
You will need to down load the rebate form and mail it back with the cash register receipt with the price circled and the proof of purchase tab from the DVD you choose together with the cash register receipt for the Wholly Guacamole, both recieptes must be imprinted with the store name and the date of purchase between August 15, 2010 and November 30, 2010.  All requests must be in by December 30, 2010.  (Note that all the reciepts must be from within the state you live in so if you buy on vacation in another state it won't qualify.)

As an added bonus, there are currently 3 coupons available for Wholly Guacamole, the first is $1.50 off of one pacagage directly from the company, the other two are for $1.00 off one package and $1.00 off of two packages.

I hope you are all having a great day!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday's value meal...

Happy Labor Day everyone, since this is the weekend known for enjoying everything outdoors and enjoying the last of the Summer I thought I would keep it simple and stick with Hamburgers for the grill.  As with the hot dogs that I did earlier this Summer, you can make a burger any way you like.  My personal favorites are fresh avocado, a fresh tomato slice from my garden and mayonnaise on a Kaiser roll, or roasted green pepper with pineapple on a Kings Hawaiian Roll for a great Hawaiian burger.  I have found some other great combinations of buns and toppings over the years as well so experiment and see what you like.

So today is no basic burger recipe, how about a wine burger on the grill?  I have never tried this but when I found the recipe it sounded like something I want to try...SOON! 

The Wine Burger

•2lbs ground beef
•8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
•1/2 cup Sangria (or other red wine of your choice)
•4 slices sharp cheddar (cut at least 1/4” thick) or 8 slices American cheese
•4 hamburger buns
•Lettuce, tomato slices, pickles, onion…whatever you like on a burger

1.In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, bacon, and wine. Lightly toss until evenly mixed.

2.Form eight patties slightly larger in diameter than the buns. Remember to press lightly just until the patties hold together for the lightest, juiciest results.

3.Place one chunk of cheddar or 2 slices of American cheese in the center of four patties. Add a smear of mustard if desired.

4.Top each one with the remaining patties and press lightly together, sealing the edges.

5.Fry or grill, turning once, until the patties are seared on the outside and cooked to your preference on the inside.

6.Serve them on buns with the toppings of your choice.
---Main course---

$2.00 off any fresh beef when you purchase any two Snyder's of Hanover 16 oz pretzels or tortilla chips, 10 oz flavored pieces, nibblers or pretzel chips. (Coupon is about 3/4 of the way down the page.)
$0.50 off one French's Mustard, you will need to sign up for their email news letter.
$0.75 off one Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise (you will need to fill out the form for them to mail it to you)
$1.00 off any size Wholly Guacamole
$4.00 off three President Fat Free Feta, Sorrento Fat Free or Low Fat Ricotta, Precious Fat Free or Low Fat Ricotta or The Skinny Cheese (you get a free cookbook with this offer as well.) 
$0.75 off one HORMEL® Fully Cooked Bacon product
$0.55 off any two HORMEL® chili products


$1.00 off  any two Litehouse products


$0.60 off three any variety Green Giant® Frozen Boxed Vegetables
$0.40 off one any variety 19 OZ. - 24 OZ. Green Giant® Frozen Bagged Vegetables


$1.00 off one Starbucks Frappuccino Coffee Drink Multi pack when you create your own bottle artwork. (the link is along the bottom of the page) 
$0.55 off one Real California Milk


$1.00 off any two Lucky Leaf Pie Filling

I hope you are all having a great Labor Day!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

As I have mentioned in the past I love to read, and as you may know, after books I love to read my travel magazines.  Although I enjoy them very much I actually get more out of reading magazines on where I live, they keep me informed on the things going on in the area and great deals I may not find elsewhere.  I currently subscribe to the Duluth Superior Magazine which is specific to my area but there is also a great publication called Lake Superior which encompasses a larger area and is great when we plan our one day adventures and over night mini vacations.  On occasion I like to check out the Minnesota magazine as well for travel ideas within the state. All the Magazine sites I like,,, and have the same price of $14.95 with-in pennies for a 12 month subscription.

So where do you live?  I have a great friend in Billings Montana and they have three publications for the state, Montana Magazine, Distinctly Montana Magazine and Montana Outdoors.  The lowest price for the Montana Magazine was at Discount Magazines, $22.99 for 6 issues,  The lowest for the Distinctly Montana Magazine was $19.99 for 4 issues, also at Discount Magazines, and a Montana Outdoors six issue subscription is $9.00 at all of the providers.  For something more localized they have a magazine specifically for her area, Billings, called Magic, it is $29.00 for the year and like the Duluth Superior Magazine it needs to be purchased through the company that prints the magazine.  Going the other direction, I have a Nephew that lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and while they don't have a magazine specific to the location he is in, there is a wonderful periodical for the Boston area called simply, Boston Magazine, you can get a 12 issue subscription for only $9.99 at, there is also a nice publication for the outdoor enthusiast called Massachusetts Wildlife Magazine, a 4 copy subscription is only $5.99 at Discount Magazines.

One of the other publications that is wonderful if you live in an area that they are offered is the Time Out series, they have grown quite a bit over the years and offer weekly information on Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York just to name a few in the US as well as internationally from Vancouver to Sydney to Dubai to Paris, if you are planning on traveling or just what to find out whats going on in your neck of the woods these are great and the company is growing each year to include more place.

I was also able to find some coupon codes to help you along the way, is offering $5.00 of a select list of magazines, use coupon code fall_5off and has a coupon listed for 10% off your purchase using coupon code SAVE10.

I hope this encourages you to check out some of the publication in your local area and start seeing things you never knew were at your own back door.

Have a great weekend all!