Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our little t.v. addict

When Mr. Bernie and I were in Minnesota to get married, Mr. B's brother watched our fur children. Upon our return the brother was giddy about our youngest fur child, Captain Luke FuzzyNuts the First, new t.v. habit. It seemed the youngster became quite the t.v. watcher. The brother would watch the Outdoor channel and Captain Luke really enjoyed the bird hunting shows. Ya, right, whatever.

Fast forward to three weeks later, and its true! He loves shows with birds in them. He enjoys Hoarders, as there are always cats running around there. One of his favorite programs to watch is MMA fighting. I had to take a picture of him sitting with his daddy watching t.v.

He does not enjoy "girly programs" Once we changed the channel to a decorating show, Captain Luke was done. He went to find something else to do, which was clean up our cat, Abby.

Now if only I could get him to watch Judge Judy with me, life would be complete.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday's value meal...

Well now that Thanksgiving is over the question becomes what to do with all those left overs.  We froze a lot of ours so we could make some things later, so I thought I would share a couple of the ideas we had.  Since I love watching all the cooking shows, both of these are from the Food networks site Food.com.

Second Day Turkey and String Bean Pot Pies
from the Dear Food Network Show

4 servings or 4 cups Leftover Green Bean Casserole (recommended: Campbell's Soup recipe)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup turkey, beef, or chicken stock
1 cup roasted turkey meat, chopped
2 standard puff pastry sheets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl lightly blend leftover green bean casserole with milk, stock and turkey. Using the puff pastry, cut out 6 (4-inch) disks from each sheet. Lightly press the disks into the bottom and up the sides of 6 (1-cup) muffin tins or ramekins, leaving about 1/2-inch crust over the edge to secure the top. Press the tines of the fork into the bottom and the sides to dock the pastry. Fill each cup level with the top and cover with another cut circle. Secure the edges by pinching together. Cut a small hole in the top for steam. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Potato Croquettes
from Paula's Home Cooking
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped green onion
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg, beaten
Sifted dried bread crumbs
Peanut oil, enough to fill pan 1/2-inch

Add milk, salt, pepper, chopped onion, beaten egg yolks and flour to mashed potatoes. Chill and then shape using an ice cream scoop. Dip in the beaten egg, then roll through bread crumbs. Fry each croquette in shallow oil until brown on all sides.

Cook's Note: Cook in small batches, giving each croquette at least 2 inches of space around it to not overcrowd the pan. This prevents the croquettes from crumbling while frying.


$1.00 off any four Campbell’s Condensed “Great for Cooking” soups
$1.00 off any two Imagine Stock, Broth or Soup (coupon is near the middle of the page)
$1.00 off any two boxes of Pepperidge Farm Sheets or Shells Puff Pastry
I hope this gives you some inspiration.  So what is your favorite after Thanksgiving meal? 
Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

I know I usually pick a title to write about but with the holidays upon us I thought I would write about the actual hardware of media.  Today's picks are the Philips 7" Portable TV and the 16 GIB Apple iPad with 3G Wifi. I would also have looked at an e-reader but with the iPad or a smart phone you wouldn't need this devise so it seemed a bit redundant.  Technically true for the mini TV as well but some of the less gadget orientated folks, ie my husbands, appreciate having just a little entertainment on the go.

The Philips 7" Portable TV is LCD and comes in wide-screen format. You should be able to get three hours of use with the built-in rechargeable battery and the whole package includes the TV together with a Detachable antenna and a Headphone jack.  This is a great gift for someone you know who likes to spend time outdoors but never likes to miss a game.   The lowest price I was able to find was at Walmart for $88.98, marked down from $110.00 with free shipping and as of the writing of this article they were currently still in stock.  Remember, if you shop through Ebates or Market America you will get 2% cash back on your purchase here, or if you are a member of My Points you will get one point per dollar spent at Walmart.

The 16 GIB Apple iPad with the 3G Wifi was picked because it is the middle of the road iPad.  The Wifi is optional but is a great feature for anyone who travels, it works by going into the settings section of the iPad and turning it on for an instant connection.  There is a monthly fee of $30.00 for the Wifi connection but it is only charged if its used, which means that if you only need it a couple of times a year the owner will only be charged $60.00.  The lowest price I found from a highly rated company was with Sweetwater, the base price is the same as the Apple store but they do not charge tax or shipping making the base price of $629.00 the total cost of the item.  The iPad comes with the Dock Connector to USB Cable 10W USB Power Adapter and Documentation.  This item was also in stock at the time this was written.  Some fun accessories to consider with this gift would be a camera connector kit, a carrying case or cover and Anti-Glare screen protector. 

Have a great Sunday everyone.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Old fashioned holiday saving...

Have you tallied up your Black Friday sales purchases yet? Planning on shopping on the highest grossing day for retailers, Cyber Monday?  What about a budget?  If your like most shoppers this time of year its easy to get carried away in the frenzy of deals and overspend.  With the recession a lot of consumers have changed strategies and started using only cash, that way when its gone you stop spending and don't end up with that dreaded January bill from your credit card company.  A great way to have some extra cash for the holidays is the Christmas Club, a tried and true method of saving that was devised during the Great Depression and is seeing a resurgence of use.  Its simple, you put away a little bit of money every month starting in January and in October or November you can take it out for your holiday needs.  If you save as little as $10.00 a week starting in January and go through October you would have $420 at the start of November.  You can earn interest compounded on many of these types of accounts as well because you are not allowed to withdraw your funds until a specific date for the holidays, its kind of like a mini CD.  Some Banks and Credit Unions offer these accounts (be sure to ask since its usually not advertiesed), but if not you can also consider short term CDs that will offer a higher yield than your general savings account will, the down side is that you may need a higher amount down to open an account for a CD than a Christmas Club account. 

If you run into a problem finding a bank that offers a Christmas Club, or the CDs terms are too high consider opening an account with a group by pooling your money together. If you require that two signatures are needed to withdraw any funds it would cut down the temptation to take anything out early. Its also fun at the end of the term to get together with that group of family or friends to get your cash, have a little lunch, get caught up and then shop together to kick off the holiday season with a smile.

Another option that is super easy is simply saving all your ones over the year and then bundling them in groups of $100.00.  This is something that my husband and I do at usually at the end of the year we have between $500.00 and $600.00 for shopping or a vacation.  Its fun to watch the cash grow and the bank will convert it to larger bills for free when we are ready.  You don't earn interest but because its so easy we both do it every time we shop with cash.  My husband laughs because I don't call them One's any more, I call them "Fun's".

I hope you all have a relaxing Saturday!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday's freebie...

What better to put you in the Christmas spirit than listening to free Christmas music while you recover from your Black Friday shopping or decorate around the house?  I found 3 free MP3 albums with different songs on each at Amazon.  These can be downloaded to MP3 Players (including with iPod®), iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Timeless Christmas is an Amazon MP3 Exclusive Sampler an has the songs I Heard The Bells and Hark The Herald Angles sung by the Irish Tenors, O Holy Night and The First Noel sung by Neil Sedaka, Wexford Carol and Come, O Come Emanuel/ What Month Was Jesus Born sung by Michael McDonald.

The Sugo Music Free Holiday Sampler features instrumental versions of O Holy Night preformed by Stevan Pasero, The Carol of the Bells preformed by Anna Maria Mendieta, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy preformed by Nina Postolovskaya, Oh Christmas Tree preformed by Indigo and March of the Wooden Soldiers preformed by Stevan Pasero.

The Chacra World Music Holiday Sampler has El Cant Dels Ocells sung by Coro Vox Aurea, 12 Days Of Christmas and O Christmas Tree sung by The Allisons, Silent Night and Coventry Carol  sung by Celtic Lore.

If you have a friend with an iPod who would like a little holiday pick me up you can send one song or the whole album as a little pick me up and give someone a smile for the day.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying your Friday!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal...

The picture...

This is a close up of one of the champagne glasses from our Thanksgiving feast last year.  A toast to you for the holiday and thank you for following my blog through the year.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The deal...

If you are going to have to squint to read the amount you saved on your Black Friday sales receipts or your getting blurry eyed reading the directions to put that bike together before Christmas then its time to check out Coastal Contacts.  Recently a friend got a pair of eye glasses there for FREE, all she paid for were the lenses.  All she needed to do was click the like button on Facebook and she was notified when they had a free day.  When they do that they give away 10,000 pairs of glasses in a day and when the promotion is over you need to wait for the next one.  They still have great deals going, right now you can get one pair of glasses free with the purchase of another pair, just pick the ones you like and when you check out use coupon code THANKSBOGO, this sale will end on November 29th though so act quick for this one.  They always have promotional codes available and you can find a list of them together with a 7% rebate if you shop through Ebates.  Remember to have your current prescription handy and a measuring tape as you will need to measure between your pupils for your PD (my friend used the first answer she found on Yahoo Answers that was 71, the correct answer is more like 16.  Good thing someone called to check on that.)  Coastal Contacts also has a 110% low price guarantee as well as an amazing return policy like none I have ever seen.  If you have difficulty ordering online or need help with some questions you can reach them Monday - Thursday between 5am and 10pm, Friday 5 am to 5 pm, Saturday 8 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday 9:30 am to 10 pm at 1-866-333-6888.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn...


sigmoid /SIG-moyd\ ~ adjective


1a: curved like the letter C b : curved in two directions like the letter S

2: of, relating to, or being the sigmoid colon

EXAMPLES: Glancing out the airplane's window, I could see the sigmoid curvature of the river below us.
"In my opinion, Missouri's deer herd is following the classic sigmoid population curve. The sigmoid curve is 'S' shaped with slow growth on the left side, very rapid growth in the middle, followed by population maintenance as the population reaches carrying capacity for the habitat." -- From an article by Spencer E. Turner in Missouri's Columbia Daily Tribune, January 6, 2008 Sunday

DID YOU KNOW? The shape sense of "sigmoid" is most often used in scientific contexts to describe an s-shaped curve on a graph. Usually, though, "sigmoid" is used in contexts relating to the sigmoid colon—the contracted and crooked part of the colon immediately above the rectum. "Sigmoid" comes from "sigma," the name of the 18th letter of the Greek alphabet. At one time sigma had a common form that was shaped like the Roman letter C (hence sense 1a), but sigma is equivalent to the English letter S (hence sense 1b).


If you have kids on your holiday shopping list then be sure to check out the rebate being offered when you buy select Crayola products. They have nine different products that qualify for the rebate with varying rebates for each item.  My husband and I will use this rebate as well when we purchase our Toys for Tots gifts this year. Purchase must be made by 12/31 and there is a limit of one rebate per item per household.  You will need to mail in the rebate form with the UPCs filled in on it together with the ORIGINAL cash register receipt(s) or online receipt dated between 10/15/2010 and 12/31/2010.

Have a great day everyone!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Keep Scaring Myself

A couple of years ago, the Mr. and I bought an animated man for Halloween. He stays inside the house during the year so he doesn't freeze. That means he keeps getting moved from room to room. Then I forget about him.At full height he stands close to 7 feet tall.
Last year for Thanksgiving we put him in our office and forgot about him. Roy's family noticed him when we went to show them what little we did with the office. It caused them to jump. We had my friend Teresa's daughter over and he was in our garden tub and she let out a shriek to wake the dead. Michele and Jen had a little jolt when they noticed him in our bathroom.
Lately, he is hanging out in our guest room. The curtains are sheer so people can see him from the road. Every time I walk by the guest room to use the bathroom I either think its Roy or a stranger. It makes sure my heart keeps beating when I jump. Its almost time to put his Santa hat on so he is ready for the holiday's. We are not sure if he is going to be standing by the Christmas tree or not.
We really need a hobby.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday's value meal...

Today I am going to do this a little differently, with Thanksgiving right around the corner and the Macy's parade and football that goes with it I thought I would give you some recipe ideas for tidbits to serve while watching the big games.  Any ingredients in bold will have a coupon at the end of the recipes.

One of the most simple is Deviled Eggs because you can do so much of the prep work ahead of time and still look like you worked hard.

Deviled Eggs:

6 eggs
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
salt to taste
1 dash hot pepper sauce
paprika, for garnish

1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool and peel.

2. Cut eggs in half. Remove yolks and place in a medium bowl. Mash together with celery, onion, mayonnaise, salt and hot pepper sauce.

3. Stuff the egg white halves with the egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle eggs with paprika. Chill covered in the refrigerator until serving.


Every game needs a dip and this is a nice thing hardy one that everyone will love.
Six Layer Mexican Dip:
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1(15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups low fat shredded Cheddar
2 ripe avocados, preferably Hass
1 jalapeno, stemmed, finely chopped, Optional (remember to remove the seeds if you want less heat)
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 1/2 cups nonfat yogurt, Greek works best 
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and some stems, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
3 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
5 scallions (white and green), thinly sliced
Baked tortilla chips, for dipping

1. On a cutting board, smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Put the garlic, beans, chili powder, water, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread in the bottom of a 2 quart casserole or gratin dish, or in individual sized dishes, as desired. 
2. Scatter the cheese over the beans. Halve and pit the avocados, then mash with the jalapeno and another teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Spread a layer of the avocado over the cheese, and then scatter the lettuce on top.

3. Mix the yogurt with the cilantro and then spread over the lettuce. Add a layer of tomatoes and finally scatter the scallions on top. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with a few cilantro sprigs and serve with baked chips.


Finally, what game party would be complete without the wings.  This version is a sweet version.
Glazed Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings:

20 to 25 chicken wings
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Asian chile paste
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil cooking spray

Prepare the wings by cutting through the joint to make 2 pieces. Snip off the tips. Put the wings in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chile paste in a small bowl, and whisk well. Brush liberally on the chicken wings, turning them to coat both sides. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable-oil cooking spray. The coals should be moderately hot. Grill the wings, turning with tongs 3 to 4 times and brushing with any remaining glaze during the first 10 minutes of grilling or until cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.


$0.50 off any size, any pepper sauce flavor from TABASCO® brand
$0.75 off any three cans GOYA® Blue Label Premium Beans
$1.00 off any GOYA® Olive Oil, 17 oz. or larger
$0.50 off any FAGE Total Greek Yogurt
$0.55 off Pilgrim's Pride Chicken

Buy 1 Get 1 Free Kikkoman Soy Sauce
$0.50 off Imperial Sugar® Light Brown, Dark Brown, or Powdered Sugar

I hope this gives you some fun ideas for the gaming season.  As a safety measure for those who over indulge, here is a coupon for $1.00 off of any Tums product.  Have a great week.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

Usually the second full moon in one month is considered a Blue Moon, but because there are exceptions to every rule today's full moon is also a Blue Moon even though it is the only full moon in November.  For the full confusing story check out the Space.com story on Yahoo News by Joe Rao.  In honor of the Blue Moon I thought I would tell you about a book and the song which share the name.

First is Blue Moon by Lori Handeland and is the first in the Nightcreature series:

From Publishers Weekly

"Sassy, wisecracking policewoman Jessie McQuade, the book's first-person narrator, takes readers on a thrilling hunt through the forests of small town Miniwa, Wis., in search of a mythical predator in this lively paranormal romance. No-nonsense Jessie has never believed in magic or other supernatural "woo woo," but when she sees schoolteacher Karen Larson turn rabid in the classroom and attempt to bite one of her students shortly after being bitten by a wolf herself, she begins to realize that the world is not just black and white but "a host of annoying shades of gray." Before long, she's tramping through the forest with a self-professed werewolf hunter by her side and lusty thoughts of gorgeous professor Will Cadote, an expert in Native American mythology, racing through her mind. The enigmatic professor may be able to help Jessie figure out why the onyx wolf totem she found on the road near where Karen was bitten is so important, but it's possible he may be a werewolf himself. Handeland (The Husband Quest, etc.) sets a feverish pace, thrusting Jessie into one dangerous situation after another, and she keeps readers in delicious suspense over Will's motives. What makes this book so compulsively readable, however, is Jessie's spunky narration, acerbic wit and combustible chemistry with Will." - Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The lowest price for a new copy can of the paperback can be found at Book Depository for $7.49 with free shipping.   If you own a Kindle or have the Kindle app you can download the book from Amazon from $7.99.  You can find a used copy on eBay starting at $0.75 with $3.75 shipping.

Then there's the song.  Blue Moon was written in 1933 by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for MGM Studios. It was originally recorded in 1934 by Shirley Ross and has since been sung by many many performers including Harpo Marx in 1939, Mel Tormé in 1949, Dizzy Gillespie in 1954, Elvis Presley in 1958, Frank Sinatra in 1961, Dean Martin in 1964, Tony Bennett with Ella Fitzgerald in 1973, Chris Isaak in 1994 and even Rod Stewart with Eric Clapton in 2004.  You can download your favorite version to your iPod from iTunes, most of them for only $0.99.

I hope you are all having a fun weekend!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gifts from the heart, not your wallet...

While the economy is getting better, its still not great and folks are still  living with tight belts.  That can be a dilemma when you are trying to give a little something to your child's  teacher, music instructor, the mail man, your computer tech and so on.  So I thought I would share this little ornament idea that I found, I just love the way these turn out and they are easy to customize.  In this case the picture is for an ornament made with sheet music. (This can also work for any gift giving, use the recipients favorite song or Christmas carols.)

•STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam:
◦Ball, 4"
• sheet music or photocopy (or book pages or old stamps.... be creative)
•Artificial berry or holly pick
•Decoupage medium
•White/iridescent glitter
•Silver jingle bells, 1", two
•Sheer white/iridescent ribbon, 1/2" x 1/3 yd.
•Silver cording
•Wooden skewer
•Wide, soft paintbrush
•Water basin
•Paper towels
•Low-temp glue gun and glue sticks
•Thick, white craft glue

1. Cut title from sheet music and cut rest of page into 1-1/2" squares. Insert wooden skewer into bottom of foam ball to use as handle.

2. Follow manufacturer's instructions to apply decoupage medium to small area of ball and to back of one paper square. Smooth paper onto ball; if paper won't lay flat, cut tiny slits into paper edges and press to ball. Cover entire ball in same way, overlapping paper edges.

3. Trim music title as desired and glue to ball in visible location; place skewer in heavy glass or jar to dry. Apply generous coat of decoupage medium to entire ball; while wet, sprinkle with glitter. Let dry. Remove skewer.

4. Cut 8" length from cording; knot ends for hanging loop. Use skewer tip to make small hole in center top of ornament. Apply glue to cording knot and use skewer to push knot into hole. Tie ribbon bow and glue to base of hanger.

5. Cut two 6" lengths from cording and tie a jingle bell to one end of each length. Place dot of glue into hole at bottom of ornament and use skewer to push cord ends into hole. Glue small bit of greenery to ornament to cover hole.

These are fun to make and you can make quite a few in one sitting.  Here are some creative ideas instead of music.  For a postal worker or stamp collector use stamps, a caddy or friend into golf use score cards,  for the avid reader or library worker use pages from a worn copy of A Christmas Carol or any favorite book,  for someone who just passed the bar exam you could use pages from legal statutes, or if you want it to be funny looks up some weird but true laws that are still on the books, (and there are some great ones!), you can even make these to give out unaccustomed by just using gift wrap.
I would love to hear your idea!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's freebie...

This is the time of year when my desk calendar starts looking thinner and thinner and in its own way reminds me to check for a new one.  The same is true of  my wall calendar, but it is much easier to replace.  There are so many different free calendars you can order that you should be able to find one that seems to be made "just for you".

If you know someone who loves road trips and flowers there is the 2011 Roadsides in Bloom Calendar.  This is put out by folks in West Virginia but is available through out the whole country.

Looking for great recipes and meal ideas through the year?  Check out the Betty Crocker 2011 Calendar, all you need to do is enter your e-mail address to sign up for the Betty Crocker®, Dinner Made Easy, or Bisquick® email newsletter.

Need something more along the lines of some year long financial planning?  Then you can download or order a hard copy of the 2011 Financial Fitness Calendar that is put out by the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.  The calendar is designed to provide you with year-round tips and tools on topics that will improve your financial health.

If you or someone you know is expecting or has small children take a look at the Free Baby Calendar from Hyland's.  This web site also has some great advise as well as coupons geared towards babies so be sure to explore a little.

Finally, if you are a small business owner or self employed then its important to keep up with all the new rules and guidelines for the IRS.  They are currently taking orders for the free Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and Self-Employed.  You can order from the IRS web site or simply call 1-800-829-3676.

Have a great Friday everyone!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal...

The picture...

This Summer a friend and I were in Northern Minnesota and one of the stores we were in had a beautiful display of blue glass in the front window and I loved the way it caught the light.

The deal...

Yankee Candle has a great sale going until November 28, 2010, buy two large jar candles and get two free!  Just use promo code CATH210 if you are shopping online.  They have $5.00 flat rate shipping for all orders under $100.00. They have another sale on their web site that offers buy one get one 1/2 off but this is only good for four of their holiday scents, also, if you put one of these candles in your basket for the buy 2 get 2 offer your coupon won't take anything off the sale candle.  I had to play around with my purchases to figure that out, in the end I purchased Winter Wonderland,  Eggnog and Mistletoe & Fig for the holidays and Banana Cream Pie for the pick-me-up I'll need in January when the cabin fever starts to set in and make me grumpy.  Remember, candles make great gifts as well so this may be just what you need to find a little something at a great price for a teacher, co-worker or friend.

Have a fantastic Friday everyone!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn...


boustrophedon  \boo-struh-FEE-dahn\ ~ noun

DEFINITION: the writing of alternate lines in opposite directions (as from left to right and from right to left)

EXAMPLES: The archaeologist was quick to see that the text was written in boustrophedon.

"Some writing systems, like the ancient Greeks' boustrophedon, in which alternate lines are read in opposite directions, appear to actually support these pre-literary inclinations." -- From an article in The Economist (U.S. Edition), July 10, 2010

DID YOU KNOW? Before the standardization of writing from left to right, ancient Greek inscribers once used a style called "boustrophedon," a word meaning literally "turning like oxen in plowing." When they came to the end of a line, the ancient Greeks simply started the next line immediately below the last letter, writing the letters and words in the opposite direction, and thus following the analogy of oxen plowing left to right, then right to left. "Reverse boustrophedon" writing has also been found in which the inscribers turned the document 180 degrees before starting a new line so that the words are always read left to right with every half turn. The word "boustrophedon" itself is formed from the Greek word for the ox or cow, "bous," and the verb "strephein," which means "to turn."


The Holidays being what they are you are bound to get something dropped on your carpet so her is a nice little rebate that includes a gift for you to give (or keep) and a gift for your carpet.  Purchase any Spot Shot product for yourself (excluding 4 oz. size) and one DVD or Blu-Ray copy of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore from any store between 11/1/10 and 6/30/11, then fill in the rebate form and mail in with your original cash register receipts, which must show the store name, address and date as well as the items purchased and the prices.  All the rebate requests must be received by 7/8/11.  There is also a $1.00 off coupon for Spot Shot available for printing.

I hope you are all having a great week so far!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Menu Planning Can Be Handy, If You Follow It

I got married a few weeks ago and have been having a hard time getting into the swing of things. I decided to start making a weekly menu again, in hopes of trying to get us back on track. Not so much with on track with healthy menus, just menus in general.

I have a ton of cookbooks, it can be a fun or frustrating task, depending on my mood. This week was a fun one. My sister-in-law, brother and niece made me a cookbook of all their family favorites. When they entertain they always have enough food for an army. Everything tastes great! So as a wedding gift to us they gathered up their favorite family recipes and put them into a cookbook for us. They went the extra mile to add photos and cooking tips as well as scrapbook pages. It is a real treat to read. I must admit it was a very unexpected and amazing thing.

On Saturday, I would have been doing thank you cards, but I was too busy going through the cookbook. I found several recipes that we plan on trying this week. So I made a grocery list and hung a menu on the refrigerator. I always feel so accomplished when I post a menu. It must be because I forget that I actually have to cook said menu during the week. But for those few seconds, life is good. Makes me feel like an adult.

Last night we did our grocery shopping according to the list. Mr. Bernie trimmed and cut up the chuck roast for me last night. What a guy! I think he is just happy that I might actually cook something. If he does the prep work, there is a better chance of me cooking. I was surprised that he was busy making bread in our bread-maker this morning. I think it was his way to get mentioned in the blog, do something unexpected and I will sing his praises. I should be assembling meat and spices in the crockpot. I just have not made it that far yet this morning. The meat is calling to me from the refrigerator and I have my fingers in my ears ignoring it. I will do it, just on my own time in my own way. Hopefully, this morning.

Planning a menu can be a great thing, if you actually follow through with it. Some days I do and some days I don't. Its a gamble as to which day today is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday's value meal...

Today I am focusing on Thanksgiving dinner, but I am not going to presume to tell you how to cook a turkey or make stuffing, but I DO know how to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.  We grew pumpkins in our garden both last year and this year and are looking forward to fresh pumpkin pie again this Thanksgiving, we usually get enough to share as well.  If you have fresh not canned pumpkin her is a great pie recipe for your last dinner course.


2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin
1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 good crust (make your own or use a store bought)

To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, (you can always save the seeds to roast). Cut into sections bake halved or quartered in a 350°F oven until fork tender.  Puree in a food processor or with a hand blender.

1 Preheat oven to 425°F.

2 Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.

3 Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

4 Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Serve with whipped cream. Serves 8

---Main course---
Butterball has both a $1.00 off coupon for a turkey as well as a $5.00 rebate
$1.00 of a Honeysuckle Turkey
$2.00 off 2 Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice
$1.00 off a 12 oz bag of whole bean or ground Caribou Coffee
$1.00 off any Reeser's Deli salad (I found the coupon on page 10)
$0.60 off three Green Giant Frozen Boxed Vegetables (I found the coupon on page 2)
$0.40 off one bagged Green Giant Frozen Vegetable (This was also on page 2)
$0.40 on any one Idahoan Potato product 4 oz or larger
$0.50 off two Land-O-Lakes butter
$0.50 off two Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
$0.50 off two 12 oz cans Carnation Evaporated Milk
$0.50 off two Pillsbury Pie Crust
$0.50 off any variety Reddi-Wip
Bernie is back with her weekly blog tomorrow, she will be filling in for me on Tuesdays so be sure to watch for her wit and wisdom!
Have a great week all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

Are you headed over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving?  If you are you may want to consider a fun gift for the kids who have had to wait patiently for dinner after smelling all those wonderful aromas all day.  I found a couple of fun ideas today for the children to enjoy while waiting for the feast.

First up, I found a great book for the little ones called Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George by H. A. Rey, its a tabbed book making it easy for little hands to turn the pages.  I loved reading Curious George books as a little girl, this story looks adorable. "Today is Thanksgiving and George is so excited! He loves everything about the holiday; from the parade with music, jugglers, and big balloons to the delicious turkey shared with family and friends. But even on Thanksgiving the curious little monkey manages to stir up some trouble! Follow George through his Thanksgiving adventures with the short poems in this board book."  I found it for the lowest price at Deep Discount for $6.87 with free shipping.

The other children's classic is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving By Charles M. Schulz.  "In this beloved classic for the whole family, Charlie Brown has to prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal before time runs out! Featuring the antics of Snoopy, Woodstock, Sally, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the Peanuts® gang, this special collector’s Miniature Edition, based on the beloved holiday television special, is the perfect kickoff to the holiday season."  I found this book for the lowest price at The Book Depository for $3.99 with free shipping.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Avoid having your holiday hijacked...

I noticed ads already for Black Friday pricing starting this weekend!  I think retailers are looking forward to the slightly better economy to boost their sales.  Many people have said that they plan to spend more this year than they did last year so stores are really competing to get your holiday dollar.  This can mean some really great deals for you but it also means more opportunity for scams.  Here is some helpful information to help you avoid being ripped while your looking for your perfect gifts.

Almost everyone knows not to fall for the "I have been robbed overseas please send me cash fast" scam that is going now or the "hey I am from Nigeria and need to get my cash out of the country please give me your Social Security number" that was popular a couple of years ago and still crops up every now and then, but what about the non-cyber crimes?  Here are some things to watch for as you battle the crowds.

First and foremost watch out for the straight forward and criminally tried and true method of simple pickpocketing.  Just like the retail stores, the holiday season is the high point for thieves as well.  To help avoid this take your shopping list and just one credit card, leave any others at home.  Its a good idea to keep a photo copy of the front and back of your credit cards in a secure place in case you do need to cancel them. Take your Drivers license for I.D., if you use checks don't carry a full book (I usually  only carry one) and make a note of the check numbers you have with you so you can tell the bank if you do get robbed.  Ladies need to keep their purse zipped at all times and guys should keep their wallets in a front pocket. 

Another theft that takes place during the holidays is the parking lot smash and grab, thieves will watch mall parking lots for people that need to bring their gifts to the car and go back into the mall.  To avoid losing all your holiday hard work this way make sure to put everything in the trunk, out of sight of prying eyes.  The very best way to avoid this is to see if the mall has a secured area to leave packages while you shop (this is usually only available in large metro areas or mega malls like the Mall of America) or move your vehicle when you come out to put things away.  I have done this in the past and it can be a hassle trying to find a new parking spot, but it is so much better than the alternative.

During the holidays department stores tend to hire seasonal help with a little less of a background check.  This is a scam that my parents fell victim to many years ago, a thief gets a hold of credit card numbers while checking you out then uses your card to purchase small things that you may not ever notice, usually under $10.00.  To help avoid this simply look at your statement when it comes, if you don't remember purchasing something for $5.95 on line then call the credit card company right away.

You have heard me talk about this before, when you are searching for that perfect gift sometimes a gift card is just the only option, but this time of year you need to be wary.  Thieves take gift cards that are displayed on grab-and-go racks, like in grocery and department stores. Using a handheld scanner they can read the code behind the magnetic or scratch-off strip on the back of the card. Using that and the number off the front of the card they can steal the value from that card, leaving you a zero balance to give as a gift.  If you do take a gift card from an open rack take it from as far back as possible.  An even better option is to buy gift cards from behind the counter, having to ask the cashier for the cards may be a little bit of  extra work but its better than giving a worthless gift card.

Lastly, keep an eye on your mail, both in coming and out going.  Petty thieves will think nothing of opening your mail this holiday for everything from gift cards and cash sent in your holiday greeting cards, to your bank statements and credit card bills so they can steal your identity.  The easiest way to avoid this is to mail your outgoing mail in a blue post office box and purchase a locking mail box for your home.  The locking boxes are not that expensive when you consider the cost of identity theft.  Home Depot has a good selection of them for both post and flush mount, depending on if your mail is delivered to your door or the street.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday's freebie...

Holiday stress can cause a lot problems with your health, everything from headaches and aches and pains to wearing down your immune systems.  Today's freebies will help combat your holiday stress issues.

First up is get rid of the headache, aches and pains with a free sample of Aleve from Sam's Club.  Just click on the button for a free sample and fill in the information, you will need your membership number so make sure you have it handy. There are some other great samples at their site as well.

The next freebie is to try a free sample of Emergen-C from Walmart to help fight of colds. The new version also has vitamin D for healthier bones.  Again, just click the link and fill in your name and address and answer a few simple questions, the sample should arrive at your door shortly.

I hope you are all having a great Friday!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursdays picture perfect deal...

The picture...

I took this picture one spring when the trillium in our yard started to bloom.  They are nodding flowers so I had to get on the ground and point the camera up towards the flower. 

The deal...

We are fast heading into the holidays, a time of family meals, holiday pies and cookie exchanges.  If your stove of oven is on the fritz or you are looking for an upgrade Home Depot is currently having their appliance savings event, stoves, ovens, refigerators, washers, dryers and dishwashers are all on sale at drastically lower prices.  Check the prices online before you head into the store, that way you will know what features you want and are willing to pay for and what you can live without.

I hope you are all having a nice Veteran's Day!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday's learn and earn...


farraginous \fuh-RAJ-uh-nus\ ~ adjective

DEFINITION: consisting of a confused mixture : formed of various materials in no fixed order or arrangement

EXAMPLES: The large box at the hotel’s lost and found desk contained a farraginous assortment of hats, umbrellas, cell phones, and other personal items.

"Like the Habsburg empire, the kingdom of Sweden encompassed a farraginous set of languages, including Swedish, Finnish, Latvian, Estonian, and German, the language of administration." -- From the book A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present (Third Edition), by John Merriman, 2009

DID YOU KNOW? "Farraginous" is the adjective connected with "farrago," a word we featured in September. In Latin, the stem "farragin-" and the noun "farrago" both mean "mixture" or (specifically) "a mixture of grains for cattle feed." They derive from "far," the Latin name for spelt, a type of grain. In the 1600s, English speakers began using "farrago" as a noun meaning "hodgepodge" and "farraginous" as an adjective meaning "consisting of a mixture." The creation of the adjective was simply a matter of adding the adjectival suffix "-ous" to "farragin-" (although at least one writer had previously experimented with "farraginary," employing a different adjectival suffix).

Redbook Magazine has teamed up with Walgreen's to offer a fun rebate for the holidays.  Instead of cash, when you shop at Walgreen's and purchase one of the qualifying products you will receive a free gift wrapping set which includes gift bags and a book of limited edition gift labels.  Qualifying products are GarnierJergens Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer, Arm & Hammer Advance White Toothpaste, Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller, Listerine Total Care Plus Whitening Mouthwash, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds Perfume, Oscillococcinum, Suave Naturals Body Lotion or SlimQuick.  To redeam just go to the Redbook Walgreen's web page and click the link, you will be taken to a web page where you will need to fill in your name and address and enter the RFN#  from the top section of your cash register receipt.  You must be 18 and over to take part in this offer and the receipts must be received between 10/19/10 and 11/16/10. This offer is good only while supplies last,  as soon as the Sponsor has received the last eligible entry, the Sponsor will post a notice on redbookmag.com/rboffers so that all consumers are notified that there is no longer a chance to receive the prize.

Have a great day everyone!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday's value meal...

In Northern Minnesota its deer season, the time when folks follow the urge to be the hunter gatherer's that they are and take off too the woods in search of the elusive thirty point buck.  Some have already gotten their deer for the season so I thought I would make today's recipe relevant to the hunt.


1/2 pound of venison cubed
1/2  cup green pepper
1/2 cup celery finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 cup raw wild rice
1/2 cup diced onion finely diced
1 cup tomatoes
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt

Dredge venison cubes in the flour and brown them in butter over medium to low heat.  Add onion and garlic and continue cooking about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the rice and bring to a boil.  Wash the wild rice well and add to the mixture then transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, stirring twice while its cooking.  This will serve about 6 people.

---Main course---

If you don't have wild rice in your area you can order it online from Gibbs, they offer the Minnesota cultivated wild rice as well as other goodies, they also have more great recipes like this one!

$0.25 off any McCormick Spice or Extract


$0.35 off Hershey's milk or Milkshake
$1.00 off any two Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water or San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water


$1.00 off three Del Monte Fruit Naturals


$0.50 off Land O Lakes butter
$0.50 off Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls


$0.40 off one pouch of any flavor 17.5 oz or larger Betty Crocker cookie mix

Have a great week everyone!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

Not too long ago I was in Best Buy and found myself looking for the new release seasons of TV shows I have in my DVD library.  On occasion I come across a show I haven't seen but will take a chance on, in this case it was season one of Human Target.  If you like Leverage or watched Mission Impossible as a kid this is going to be right up your ally.  "Based on the popular DC Comics comic book and graphic novel, HUMAN TARGET is a full-throttle action drama centered on CHRISTOPHER CHANCE (Mark Valley), a unique personal security expert hired to shield those in danger from an imminent threat that cannot be solved through normal means of protection." ~ from the FOX TV website 

The show airs on the FOX network and season two is starting on Wednesday November 17 at 7:00pm Central time.  If you would like to see season one to get caught up you can watch 3 episodes online for free at Fox, or if you would prefer to own the whole first season I found the lowest price on a new DVD copy at Go Hastings for $17.99 plus $2.28 shipping for a total of $20.27.  Also, be sure to check eBay, I was able to find copies as low as $0.99 plus $3.00 shipping.  You can also purchase the full season for download from iTunes for $23.88 for the regular version or $35.88 for the HD version, individual episodes are priced at $2.99 each.

I hope you are all having a great weekend!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Safety savings...

Today we come off daylight savings time which means its fire safety week and time to check the fire safety items in your home, starting with the smoke detector.  If your smoke detectors are hard wired into your home it's important to check them and make sure they are working, so put in a pair of ear plugs and start pushing the tester buttons.  If they sound weak take the vacuum to them and see if that helps, if it doesn't help or they don't come on at all it may be time to call a professional to check the wiring, it could be a loose connection or damage from moisture build up or even a mouse.  No matter what caused the problem its vital that the detectors work.  (Please remember that if you have a direct connection type of detector that notifies Police and Fire to call your provider first so you don't send a false alarm) If you have the battery operated type of detectors then be sure to change the batteries and then test them to make sure they are working and the battery is installed properly.  You can print a $1.00 coupon for Rayovac batteries when you click through the Rayovac sight to Facebook and click the like button.  They also have a promotion going to get $10.00 back via rebate when you purchase one of their RoughNeck  Flex360 flashlights and a package of their batteries.  Just mail in the UPCs from the flashlight and the batteries together with the original or copy of dated, store-identified cash receipt with purchase price circled and the rebate form.  All purchases must made between 1/31/2011 and 2/15/2011.  If you prefer Energizer Batteries they also have a promotion going, buy 3 packages of Energizer batteries and get a $10.00 iTunes gift card.  This one is super easy, just go to their sight and enter the codes from the specially marked packages at the Energizer web sight.

This is also the time of year to check your fire extinguisher.  To do this make sure the extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that could interfere with access in an emergency.  Make sure the pressure is at the recommended level, on extinguishers equipped with a gauge the needle should be in the green zone - not too high and not too low.  The nozzle or other parts are not hindered in any way and the pin and tamper seal (if it has one) are intact.  There should be no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and/or other signs of abuse/wear. Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk etc. that may have deposited on the extinguisher.  If it needs to be recharged check the yellow pages for a certified re-filler near you, in some places the local Fire Department may do this for free or a small charge, if you have a volunteer department that does this for free please consider leaving them a donation for their efforts.  If you don't have an extinguisher you need to get one, they are not that expensive and may even save you money on you home or renters insurance.  You can get a small First Alert Multi Purpos extinguisher from Tool District for only $16.46.  This extinguisher is good for fires involving paper, wood, textiles and plastics as well as flammable liquid fires and electrical fires and comes with wall mount straps.

Remember, tonight we set our clocks back one hour before bed. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday's freebie...

I love to read and that started when I was very young.  Growing up I had a few favorite books, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, ANY Eloise book by Kay Thompson, because I adored any child more precocious than I could be, and The Mitten by Alvin Tresslet, which is a beautiful story based on a Ukrainian folktale. This story has been rewritten by American author Jan Brett.

Barnes and Noble offers free online story time for kids, with a new story each month.  Your child will be able to listen to the story and see the illustrations from the books as the story is being read.  This month's story is The Mitten by Jan Brett. Its the story of a little boy who loses his mitten in the show, the mitten is found by the animals of the forest where they take refuge from the cold.  I think the big draw for me with this book was because I was always losing mittens as a little girl and I loved to think that the animals were using them as a winter home to keep them warm. 

I hope you are all having a terrific Friday!