Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beautiful Blogs: Cherry Hill Cottage

Am I the last person to find this beautiful blog, Cherry Hill Cottage? If so why didn't someone tell me about it earlier? Tina has a beautiful home and an extreme talent for decorating. Her pictures are amazing. I want her to adopt me so I can live there or she can come to Tennessee and decorate MY house...yeah...that's the ticket.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Little Big Star

I found this video on a friend's blog. This girl, Charice Pempengco, who is 14, is on a show in the Philippines call Little Big Star as a competitor. I assume that it is something like an American Idol.

This is from an appearance on a Korean show called Star King. She does speak English and you can pick up a little on her accent in her song. I was so blown away by her performance I decided to share it here. The English subtitles are hilarious so be sure to watch them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Best Political Ad EVER!

Royal Family A-gassed!

I'll let you write your own caption but " Go ahead, pull my finger." does come to mind.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just For Fun: Retro Cartoon

I found this cartoon on YouTube and just had to share it. I remember watching this back when I was a kid and it was old then. It was made in the 1940's. Times have surely changed. So skip over the the side panel, pause the music and enjoy. Hope you get a kick out of it like I did.

Recipe Link: Corn Syrup

Have you noticed that Hershey's Chocolate just doesn't taste as good as it used to? Neither do Cokes. I hadn't really put my finger on the reason why. I thought that maybe I was just getting older and sweets just didn't taste as good as they did when I was a kid.

A few years back my daughter brought a present of English chocolate home to us from her trip to London. Ahhhh, there was that chocolate taste I remembered from childhood! Looking at the ingredients I noticed that the English chocolate was sweetened with real sugar. After drinking a Jones soda made with real sugar I realized that corn syrup must be the culprit and is a very poor substitute for the real thing.

All over the media these days they are talking about how corn syrup is making us fat and sick. I am making an effort to remove as much as possible from our diets and it is proving to be a daunting task. I think it may be impossible to remove all of it but there are ways to get started.

I was happy to see this morning that Patty over at Morning Ramble has posted a recipe for a corn syrup substitute. I'm looking forward to trying it out and seeing what a difference it will make in my homemade Pecan pies.

Update: I made the syrup and used it in Pecan pie. The pie turned 0ut fine, maybe not as firm as usual but the taste was good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Savings: Free Candy!

Maybe one of these days I'll get around to posting something besides pictures of gorgeous leaves and stuff I have bought. Life is as crazy as usual even though I thought it might slow down some by now. I've been cleaning and sorting and clearing out my closets and storage. Even with several trips to drop off stuff at the thrift store there is more to go yet.

I haven't gone to the grocery store yet this week, that is scheduled for later today. I know our Krogers has Betty Crocker Au Gratin potatoes for .99 and I have .35/1 that will be doubled to .70 so I plan to stock up on those.

The first picture is off my Target trip. I got the Stove Top with the Target coupons from their kiosk for .29 each.

The Head and Shoulders was on clearance for $5, I paid $3 with a $2/1. The Aussie was on clearance for .62. The Reveal light bulbs were on sale for $2 and I had $1/1 so I stocked up for $1 a box.

The Mr. Clean erasers were a trial size for .84. I can't really see that they are any smaller than regular. I got them with .50/1 coupons so they were .34 each. I love those things! So I was excited to get those so cheap. The Pledge duster was .74 after a $3/1.

My favorite deal this week was from Walgreens. The Turtles candy was on sale and after an Easy Saver coupon which made them .99 and stacking with $1/1 coupons from 09-16 SmartSource flier in the paper they were free! There were 12, only 11 now, but I can't imagine what happened to the other one...ahem....anyway, these will be used as stocking stuffers and gifts . I might have a few more items to add to this later today after I finish my shopping. Meanwhile, check out Crystal's blog for more money saving reports. Update: More free stuff. Farm Rich Mozzarella sticks on sale at Food City 5/$5. I had $1/1 from the 9/16 Smartsource flier so they were free. The Lea & Perrins was from a coupon printed out at Kroger for a free bottle.
The No Yolks pasta was .99 at Kroger and I had .50/1, which was doubled, from the 10/o7 Valassis flier.
At Kroger, Wal Mart and Food City I spent a total of $53.12 out of pocket for $121.29 before coupons. My best deals there were Betty Crocker potatoes for .29 after doubling .35 coupons from the 10-7 GM flier and Ro Tel tomatoes for .17after doubling .30 coupons. Also Herbal Essence haircolor for $1.97 after $5/1 from the 10/14 PG flier.

My budget right now is to try to average $50. I'm getting closer and actually will be below that I believe after the holidays. I had coupons for everything, including the fruit and veggies, except the sweet potatoes and the cheese.

Kraft cheese is on sale at Kroger 3/$5 with a catalina for $1 off your next order with purchase of 3, buy 4 get $2, buy 5 or more get $3. I didn't know that or I would have picked up at least 1 more. I know there is a Post cereal deal going on at Kroger until the Dec 2 where you buy Post cereal and get $ off your next order.

Buy 2 get$1

Buy 3 get $2

Buy 4 or more and get $3

All must be purchased at one time

I think I'll be concentrating on fresh foods for the next few weeks now that my pantry is well stocked. It is a great feeling.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Protest!

It was around 70 degrees yesterday. We got a much needed 2 inches of rain this week. But the news tonight is just too much. Snow. Up to 4 inches of snow over the mountains. When I went out to check the mail this afternoon sleet was pelting me. I'm not ready for cold weather. This is the South for Pete's sake and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet! I'm just going to post a couple of pictures I took yesterday of the beautiful leaves and mope around feeling jipped out of even a minute of my much loved rare Autumn days outside.

How quickly pass the days

and Autumn's beauty quickly fades

While our feet may seek a different path

our hearts still bring us home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Be Still And Know That I Am God."

Sometimes life overwhelms us. Some days it all seems so unfair. We lose sight of the truth, the never changing fact that no matter how deep and dark a valley we traverse, even when our hearts and eyes seem to search frantically, God is there.

Ann at Holy Experience has a beautiful post about the miracles we are given each and every day...

"In a fractured, diseased world of cancerous bodies, broken marriages, dying babies, illness, starvation, poverty, we are a people, en masse, holding out for a miracle. His ear is low, His heart attuned. We need but whisper and He swings open the door and graciously, abundantly gives. The miracle falls softly, imperceptibly."

Be still. Be still and know.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday Savings and A Couple Of Deals For This Week

I found a couple of good deals currently at my Walgreens. They have Turtles candy on sale this week for 99 cents after instant coupon. There are coupons from the 9/16 Smartsource flier for $1 off 1. So they are free with the coupon. Also Bayer Aspirin, 24 count, is on sale for 99 cent this week, and there are 55 cents off coupons from the 10/7 Valassis flier so the aspirin would be 44 cents. Good deal.

This past week I shopped 4 different stores: Krogers, Ingles, CVS and Walgreens. The Dukes mayo in the picture below came from Ingles. It was on sale for $1.50 and I had .90/1 coupons so it was .60 each. I can't find the ticket but around $4.54 after tax. Everything else in the picture came from Kroger and along with a rotisserie chicken came to $71.06 , down from $134.98 before coupons, for a savings of $63.92.

At CVS I bought one of the blood glucose monitors with the coupon, so I got it for free and got the $20 ECBs. I have more coupons but it says only one per customer on the coupon so I don't feel right about doing it again with the coupon. I got the Advil for 99 cents.

At Walgreens I got John Freida Hair Gloss and Dove conditioner on clearance and with coupons for about 20 cents each. The apricots were.99 cents each and the witch hazel came to $1.69 I think. The caramels were .50. All of it was around $6. I really need to get my receipts before I start posting.

More mayo from Ingles. I got 12 total. Enough to last until the next sale and enough to donate. The Cascadian Farms cereal was on clearance and with a coupon was $1.25. The Post Trail Mix Crunch was on clearance for $1.01 with a $1/1 it was .01. So an additional $6 something at Ingles. All in all a very good shopping week.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Remember When: The Osmonds

I switched on Oprah this afternoon and found an all Osmond hour. It seems that they are celebrating 50 years in show business. There was an audience full of their families.

Regardless of what you think of the Osmonds it really is amazing that they have all turned out to be as normal as they are. They all have beautiful families and seem to all get along.

Earlier this week their father passed away and they buried him today.

All this brought back memories for me of the 70's. I was an Osmond fan and I got to meet them in 1975. All the news about them made me look through my old pictures until I found pics from those days and thought I would share a few.

Mrs. Osmond was a truly kind person. She treated me and my friend like we were her own kids. She reminded us not to stay up too late, to eat well and to call our moms.

One of the highlights of meeting them was having Alan sing "Carrie, Carry me Through" to me in an elevator. It is so sad that he has MS now. He seems to be handling it well and has a great deal of support from his wife and kids.

Merrill was married by then and missing his wife Mary. They collected Tea cups and he bought some in a local antique store to take back to her.

Donny was much shorter than I expected. I am 6 ft and I was disappointed he was such a little guy. He was warming up his voice at the hotel, I guess it was before the concert, and I was shocked how strong his voice was. I had never heard a professional singer up close with no microphone. It was amazing.

Jay was my favorite and I was pretty nervous around him. He was a cutie back then and a great drummer.

I have some pictures with Marie and Wayne somewhere. I just can't find them right now.

The Osmonds were the first celebrities that I ever met and I have to say some of the nicest. They set a good example for young people unlike many of the popular singers today.

Their father was very much in charge of things and really took care of business and his family. He was a no nonsense kind of guy but you could tell he really loved them, especially Mrs. Osmond. May they both rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What I Saw: Rock Island State Park

I added this picture for perspective. In the picture below that little white dot toward the lower middle is my almost 6 ft tall son on the rocks toward the base of the falls.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Money Making At Home: Finding Your Niche

It is Money Making Monday at Crystal's blog. I've been wanting to write a post for it but just haven't had the time recently to sit down and compose my thoughts.

I have been fortunate to be able to be home with my kids since my son was born two years into our marriage. I did work for a couple of months during a very bad time, but decided then and there I wanted to avoid having to do that again. Leaving my children everyday was heartbreaking to me.

As a result I have done many different things at home for extra income. I have: stuffed envelopes for a friend, arranged flowers for weddings, provided daycare (7 years), did some design work and production of some accessory pieces for my friends quilting business, sold at craft shows and craft malls for about 5 years, that one lead to the home based business that my husband and I have run for the past 10 years.

My bit of advice for people looking for something to do out of their home is very simple.

First: Determine what your strengths and skills are. What do you have someone might need? Do you have a hobby you can turn into a business? Everyone has marketable skills whether they believe it or not.

Second: Make it known to your family and friends, even people you know casually, that you are looking for at home employment. They may know someone who needs someone to do at home work. We have used at home moms in our business. An added bonus is they can give you a reference.

I have a friend who got her part time job through the lady who did reading therapy for her daughter. She works 2 days a week and is paid the rest of the week to take calls for the business on her cell phone. Another friend takes customer service calls at her home and sets up appointments for repair men.

Third: After you evaluate your skills and talents and think about what you might like to do. Start looking for a niche that needs filling.

This is one of the most important things in my opinion to being successful. Find a need and fill it. When we started doing research into marketing our gift product to stores we noticed that though there were similar products they were much less expensive (and not as nice) items and much more expensive items. We decided to fill that gap between the two extremes with our product and I that is what helped us to stay in business long enough to start turning a real profit. Many of my friends who have had successful businesses have found success in doing the same thing.

Just remember, whatever you decide to do, you have to market yourself. You can't just start a business and sit back and wait for the customers. You have to let folks know you are there. Some people I have known in the past that have failed at businesses thought they could stick a sign in their front yard or put one ad in the paper and people would flock to them. It takes time.

I read somewhere that the typical entreprenuer starts and fails at an average of 5 businesses before they find one that is successful for them. So, just remember that whatever you decide to do, you are going to have to give it some time and some real effort to make it work. Motivation and a real desire to keep plugging along at building your business is a major factor in making it a success.

Pic: Backyard of my "office".

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday Savings: Free Stuff and Found Coupons

Since my last Saturday Savings post I've got quite a few free items. In the picture below I only put one of each just to show the items. At Walgreens I got 5 free Purell Gentle Foam. They were on sale for .99 and I used the $1/1 coupons. At Kroger I got 9 free Tennessee Pride Sausage gravy. They were on 10/$10 and I had .50/1 that they doubled to $1. The Nesquik was also 10/$10 and I had .50/1, so I got 10 of those free. Free Krispy Kreme donuts with coupon.

There were almost free items at CVS starting with the Soy Joy which I rolled over into the Crest Night Effects which I bought with a BYGO. I rolled those ECBs into the Mylanta deal where I used a $4/$20, 3- $3 off and ended up $2.26 after tax out of pocket with $10 ECBs back. My question...if you eat Sausage gravy, chocolate milk, Krispy cremes and then try adding something healthy like Soy Joys will your head spin around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist? Good thing I got the Mylanta!

At Ingles I got 14 packs of the Dannon Natural (and healthy) yogurt (56 individual) on sale 2/$3. I used $1/1 coupons. I also got 3 packs (18 individual) Swiss Miss pudding (OK, not as healthy but it does have milk in it...I think.) used .45/1 coupons that they doubled to .90. All of this was $12.35.

There were other deals but these were the best this week.

Several things I noted and wanted to share. At the pharmacy in CVS I looked for the booklet with the coupon for the Glucose monitor on sale and couldn't find it. I did notice though that they have many brochures that have $2/10 coupons that are good through the end of the year. Each brochure noted "Coupon Inside" on the cover.

I also had a Catalina print out at Kroger advertising the upcoming Post cereal deal. Nov 9-Dec2 they are having the deal where you buy Post cereal and get $ off your next order.

Buy 2 get$1

Buy 3 get $2

Buy 4 or more and get $3

All must be purchased at one time.

Time to stock up again, I'm almost out of the cereal I bought last time they ran the deal.

You have to love the coupon thing!