December 27, 2010

Choose Frozen Over Canned

Those canned vegetables - I really don't have too much good to say about them.

It's good to have a couple on hand in case nothing else is available or an extra dish is needed, and we do have some.

But eating them regularly would really turn me off to veggies.

This mushiness of them, the salt, and the metallic canned taste just doesn't set well.

I have always purchased fresh veggies since I got married over 28 years ago.

I know they cost more than canned but they taste so much better.

And during the summer they are the best all the way around.

The last month or so, I have been quite disappointed with the selection of fresh veggies at the market.

I know it is winter, that is to be expected, but the prices have gotten so high and the quality has fallen.

So I have been turning to the freezer veggies to see what they have to offer.

I must say, I have been pleasantly surprised.

I don't want any of those kinds in "sauce" which are usually over-salted and not very tasty - I think they try to hide the less desirable veggies in them.

I just picked the ones that were still in their natural state, just frozen.

They are tons of selections, from the expensive ones to the store brand ones.

I tried some of each and found no difference in the quality and they are both quite tasty.

These frozen ones are easier to prepare than the fresh ones.

There is no waste - the whole product is eaten.

And they are cheaper than the fresh.

What a good way to get through the winter months and save some money too without sacrificing taste!

December 18, 2010

No Place to Park

The mall was not the place to be on this last Saturday before Christmas.

It is one of the biggest ones in our state, and there was no place to park the car in that vast pavement area of parking spots.

The rest of the year they are all abandoned as everyone likes to park close to the buildings.

Even the most remote spots were unavailable today.

We never made it into the actual mall - just one of the corner stores was our goal for the day.

And I'm glad we went no further - the masses of people and check out lines were unreal.

It really makes one quite tired - the calories were being burnt for sure today.

Glad the shopping is done for another year!

December 15, 2010

Deals for Christmas Gifts

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of my favorite places to browse and shop is Pier 1.

Whether it be online or in the store itself, there is always a deal to be found.

And with Christmas right around the corner, it's time to go do some shopping for some fine holiday gifts for the family.

Checking out their clearance section, I ran across these very popular LED candles.

I was skeptical about them at first - how could a lighted candle look like a real one?

As with the pillar style candles, the flame usually doesn't show, so the lights really do the job when it comes to looking real.

They glow and flicker just like real candles - it's hard to tell the difference.

The best part about them - there's no fire - which is great when there are kids and animals around who may knock them over.

This is a sure gift for several people that I know - got to do my part to keep them safe.

I also noticed on the website that Pier 1 supports the Toys for Tots program that is sponsored each holiday season by the US Marines.

They accept unwrapped toys or cash donations that make many children happy during the holidays.

By Liking Pier 1 Imports on Facebook, they will donate a $1 for every new fan to the Toys for Tots Foundation.

What an easy and great way to help out those in need!


Visit Sponsor's Site

December 12, 2010

Care for the Humidifier

In my post a couple of days ago, I mentioned how dry the air is indoors in the winter and how a humidifier can help add the much needed moisture.

There are several different styles on the market and each one has it's pros and cons, but the most important thing about any of them is the cleaning of them.

The kind we use is a warm moist air style that sends a warm mist into the air.

I have found that I need to thoroughly clean mine about every two weeks - and that's using it all the time, constantly filling and refilling the water tank.

The tank and the unit each get their own treatment as they each have their own separate issues.

When the water in the tank starts to get cloudy, I know it's time for a cleaning.

If I don't then the bacteria starts to build up and get pushed out into the air in the water vapor of the warm mist.

Not a healthy thing at all.

The tank gets cleaned with a mixture of bleach and water - I let it soak for at least a 1/2 an hour.

The heating unit really takes a beating as our water tends to be hard - which means it has a lot of minerals in it.

The element gets coated and it needs to cleaned with water and vinegar and scrubbed with an old toothbrush - it is the only thing that works to release the hardened minerals.

Years ago, we had a cool air humidifier that only lasted us one season.

I could never get it cleaned good enough, and eventually it began to have an odor.

And it bothered my allergies quite a bit.

The warm air king may be a bit more expensive to run with the electricity, but I find it to be more efficient and healthy.

December 7, 2010

Store Brands are Just as Good

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have posted many times about how I like to buy the store brand of most of the products that I use.

Whether the item is a cleaning product, food item, office supply, or storage container, I check it out good, read the labels, and will for the most part, give it a try.

Many times my family can not tell the difference - especially in the food products.

We have saved a lot of money over the years by doing this, and my daughter has learned well - she is quite a smart shopper also.

There was one product that she would not compromise on though, and it was the baby formula she was using for our little grandson.

She figured that the name brands, especially the Similac formula had all the right amount of nutrients for her baby.

She used it until the Similac recall issue this past summer when she has to make some changes.

At that time, she began to use the store brand formula and was surprised to see how much she saved each week by doing so.

She carefully compared the labels, and since baby formula has to meet certain FDA requirements, she saw no difference in the nutritional content.

Since the store brands don't do the expensive advertising that the name brands do, and then pass that cost along to the consumer, she is able to still feed her baby the right food, and save a load of money at the same time.

Visit Sponsor's Site

December 6, 2010

Humidifier for Dry Air

Winter air - it is so dry.

Especially in the areas that have to keep the heat on constantly.

Most of the cold and flu sicknesses are caught during this time of year.

And one thing that doesn't help with keeping them at bay is the dry indoor air.

Our bodies are wondrous machines, but they need our help sometimes to keep fighting and working correctly.

Many winter sicknesses are breathed in through our mouth and nose, and the mucous membranes that line these cavities work hard to move those germs out fast.

But the dry air causes these membranes to shrink which makes it pretty hard for them to perform their job.

Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air can help.

And anything that helps to ward off sickness is worth a try.

This is the second year that we have used a warm moist humidifier.

And even with it on high, I can only get the humidity to about 32 in the house.

The recommended indoor humidity is be between 40-50 for the most comfortable and healthy level.

Without the humidifier, the level is 19, which is very dry indeed!

December 2, 2010

Strep Throat Arriving Early

It is early in the season for this, but strep throat has entered our home.

This is the second time in all these years that we have had it in the family.

As soon as my son felt it, he knew exactly what it was.

There is no other sore throat like it, is his description.

But we also learned that mononucleosis has many of the same symptoms.

That really got us all nervous as it is very contagious.

Luckily the blood test was negative for the mono, but positive for the strep, which we already knew.

A round of antibiotics will take care of it for him, and so far he is the only one who has it.

Keeping the hands away from the face and frequent washing of them is always important.

It's the first line of defense and the most important!

November 29, 2010

So Good Roast Beef

I have never been too keen on any of the roast beef meals I have cooked over the years.

They were good, but not something I would look forward to having too often.

This past Thanksgiving, we decided to have one for the big meal, and I was determined to make it tasty.

We have just finished the last of it for dinner tonight, and I cannot wait to cook another one.

It was sooo good!

Not dry, not tough, and the seasonings were perfect.

I used a bottom round cut and it had a layer of fat on the top - which I left on.

I made a rub of oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic, thyme, and marjoram.

I massaged it into all sides of the meat after the meat had been sitting at room temp for about an hour.

Then I roasted it in a dry pan for 15 minutes in a 500 degree oven.

The oven was then dropped to 300 degrees and it was cooked until the internal temp was 150 degrees for medium doneness.

It was good during the meal, but it was great as leftovers.

The seasonings had blended through the whole meat by then, and we shaved it this time instead of slicing it.

The only thing different I would do next time - cook it to an internal temp of 145 degrees - the meat continues to cook for a bit once it has been removed from the oven.

November 26, 2010

Have to Watch the Hot Chocolate Too

There is nothing better on a cold winter day than to come inside to a cup of hot chocolate that warms the bones right up.

But did you know that the majority of hot chocolate mixes on the market have that dreaded partially hydrogenated fat in it?

Who would have thought they would add that to even a powdered mix.

Well, I found an alternative to that - I make my own mixture.

It is very simple, and I think it is even a better value than the packet kinds.

I know it is certainly better for you - the powdered milk I use is fat free.

I use three packets of the 1 quart dry powered milk.

To that I add a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.

Mix it very well and keep it in an airtight container.

Put 3-4 heaping teaspoons in a mug and add boiling water.

A tad of milk to cool it down and a spoonful of marshmallow floated on top makes it just perfect.

A delicious treat just right for this time of year!

November 25, 2010

Natural is Best

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom's of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.

As most of you know, I prefer to use and consume products that are as close to natural as one can get.

I once read in a medical magazine that your food should look as close to what it is when it comes out of the ground - for the plant products, that is.

The less processed it is, the more it retains the healthful benefits of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

Even though it is harder to find and more expensive for the meat and dairy products, consuming organic and all-natural is the best. 

 I know I saw a huge difference in the all-natural turkey I cooked last week.  There was less shrinkage of the meat and a lot less water in the roasting pan.  It had no additional water and chemicals pumped into it during the processing stage.

It makes sense to put the all-natural foods inside us, but seldom do we give thought to our outsides - the beauty and cleaning products for our skin, teeth, and hair.

These are much harder to find, and many people have gone back to the old fashioned way of making these products so they know exactly what is in them.

There is one company though, Tom's Of Maine that makes their toothpastes, deodorants, soaps, and mouthwashes of all-natural products.

And they are quite reasonably priced too - even a frugal shopper like me can appreciate that.

Check out their That's Wicked Fresh contest page to see their newest toothpaste and mouthwash products and share a Wicked Fresh moment of your own.

Follow them on Facebook and @TomsofMaine on Twitter to keep up to date with them.

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 24, 2010

Protect That Skin

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

Sometimes it seems to be a loosing battle when it comes to diaper rash and babies.

I remember when my niece was born, her poor skin was so sensitive, it would break out if the wrong brand of diapers were used.

My sister tried them all until she found some that weren't as bad, but they were not the affordable ones either.

She would fly through them as she changed them so often to keep her baby as comfortable as she could.

She also tried many different products on the market that help make the rash feel better - but those were not helpful either.

There were not a lot of choices back then, and the products worked to help heal the rash, not prevent it.

For today's baby's there is a product called Boudreaux's Butt Paste

It protects the tender sensitive skin from many irritants -  including the material the diapers are made of.

It forms a protective layer that acts as a barrier against moisture as well as soothes irritated skin.

It is made of all natural ingredients which is great for sensitive skin.

It comes in many different sizes, and been featured on Oprah, The Tonight Show, and in People Magazine.

Visit their website to receive a free sample.

Too bad this pediatrician recommended product wasn't available years go, but glad to know it is today for the grandbabies!

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 20, 2010

Stretching the Soup Even More

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how we like to stretch a can of soup.

I told my daughter about it, and she thought the idea was great - not just for saving money, but because it tasted so good too.

She came up with another idea which we tried this afternoon for lunch.

She adds a bit more rice and some left over meat to the soup so that all the broth gets absorbed by the rice.

She uses a mexican flavored soup for this as well as tortilla wraps and some cheese.

She spreads the warmed soup mixture on the warmed tortillas and sprinkles it with the cheese.

She rolls them up - and voila - instant burritos, or fajitas, or what ever you want to call them.

We used the leftover chicken soup that we had on hand, added the cheese and wrapped it up - it was delicious.

I am so anxious to try the mexican version - it bet it is the best.

My girl is so clever!

November 16, 2010

Time for Hot Drinks

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nestle Dolce Gusto. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ice tea is thought of as a summer drink by most people, but we enjoy it year round in our household.

Instead of having the sun brew it for us, we just set a jug of water with the tea bags in it by one of the heater units and it gets brewed that way.

I must admit though, we don't go through those jugs as quickly now as we did in the summer months.

Quite often, after being outside in the cold temperatures, it is nice to come into the house to have a hot beverage to warm the chilly bones.

Besides hot tea in the winter, hot chocolate is my second favorite drink.  Sometimes it seems to take forever for the water in the kettle to boil, and when one is cold, it seems to take twice as long.

NESCAFE has a new machine on the market that can prepare hot beverages in less than a minute.

This sleek, modern machine makes many kinds of hot or cold beverages by using a special capsule system that produces coffeehouse quality beverages.

What a great accessory  this would be to use year round.  No more waiting for that kettle to boil - hot chocolate or hot tea would be ready when we need it most - probably even before we have the time to take off all those winter layers.

Visit to check out the Nescafe Dolce Gusto for yourself.

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 12, 2010

Good Teachers Make a Difference

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of 2tor. All opinions are 100% mine.

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about the quality of the teaching in the United States public schools over the past twenty years.

The are more students dropping out of high school than ever before, and the ones who really want to learn aren't given the incentives do to so.

Comparing the school system in the US to many other countries, our children are not getting what they need to be able to compete and keep up with their peers abroad.

Good teachers are in great demand, and in today's world, earning a teaching degree or advancing a current degree can be done online.

The USC Rossier School of Education offers an accelerated teaching program online with tuition reimbursement and scholarships to help with the funding.

This innovative program offers field-based experiences in your local area combined with interactive learning online.

The convenience and flexibility of taking classes online fits into just about any lifestyle and schedule.

Full time workers, mothers, fathers, and current teachers can all benefit from taking classes online at a private university that has been ranked #9 in the United States by US News and World Report.

If you are looking to make a difference with the next generation then checking the online program information through the University of Southern California may be just what you need.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Cooking a Turkey

The supermarket had turkeys on sale this week for .49 cents a pound for the frozen ones.

They were the good ones too - the all natural kind with no preservatives or additives.

If our freezer hadn't given out earlier this week, I would have bought an extra one for after the holidays.

I ended up cooking the one I did buy last night for dinner, and it was delicious.

It came with a pop-up in its breast to let us know when it was done, but I never like to rely on those little plastic pieces.

I made sure it was cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the breast meat and in the thigh meat.

The turkey weighed 21 pounds, and it took almost five hours to cook in a 350 degree oven.

What surprised me the most was the amount of fluid in the roasting pan.

In the past I have had to keep taking out the water as it cooked or it would drip all over the oven and make a mess.

I kept a careful eye on it, but I didn't have to remove any.

Must be that the all natural ones aren't filled with water that comes out during the cooking.

I have posted below the USDA recommended cooking times for a turkey.

Unstuffed Turkey
4 to 8 pounds.............1-1/2 to 3-1/4 hours
8 to 12 pounds................2-3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds...............3 to 3-3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds...............3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds...............4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds...............4-1/2 to 5 hours

Stuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds................3 to 3-1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds...............3-1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds...............4 to 4-1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds...............4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds...............4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours


November 8, 2010

A Different Kind of GPS

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SPOT. All opinions are 100% mine.

We have been spending a lot of time in the woods this past week since hunting season opened last weekend.

In a previous post I mentioned how we liked to stay off the trails as the deer just don't take to much to them as we humans do.

For the past couple of years, we have been using a handheld GPS tracking device that works just like a compass.

It is better than a compass though because we can track our progress as points on this device, and all we have to do is follow the path on the GPS screen to get us back to our starting point.

We seldom go off the beaten trail without this device with us, because where we go, there is no reception for our cell phones.

This has often made me a bit nervous - what would happen if we ran into trouble, or one of us got hurt.

We are not youngsters anymore, and even though my husband reassures me that we are the toughest things in the woods when he has his weapons, I still worry about it.

I remember the big bear in the backyard last autumn, and I know we are in his territory.  My husband's black powder rifle only has one shot, and I hope is aim is good.

Now, if we had something like the SPOT Satellite GPS messenger, we would be able to contact help with just a push of the button.

This device uses satellite technology that even works in the areas that cell phones don't.  To me, it sounds like a necessary piece of equipment for hunters as well as hikers and adventurers.

GPS devices have come a long way since our little handheld one!

Visit Sponsor's Site

November 7, 2010

Stretching That Soup

Just thought I would share a tip that we have been using for the past couple of months.

The days have been getting colder, and sometimes a can of soup for lunch tastes so good.

We try to get the soups that pay attention to the fat and salt content, and those ones are usually a bit more expensive than the regular cans.

Our supermarket has been having the kind we like best on sale for the past week, so we stocked up a few extra cans.

A dollar for a can of soup isn't too bad, and when we split it between two of us, it becomes a great value.

But, we found that we can stretch that one can just a bit more.

I always have a large bowl of cooked rice in the refrigerator - we love to add it to many of our meals.

Well, by adding it to the soup, it expands that one can for another serving - making three bowls instead of two.

But beware when you add the rice.

Adding it just before you eat it is best.

If you have any extra soup that you already added the rice to, and you store it until the next meal, then the rice will swell up big and there will be no liquid left in the soup.

This is really good too, but I think of it as more of a side dish now rather than soup.

Hey, it works too, though!

November 1, 2010

Long Walking

The walks are quite long these days.

And they are not done on the nice road or pavement.

We are back to walking in the woods.

We do not walk on trails either, because hunting season has begun in our area - and the deer do not stay on trails.

We walk slowly at times - trying to be really quiet on those crunchy leaves all over the forest floor.

There is no such thing as level ground in the woods.

There are rocks and roots and slippery pine needles also - all there to trip you up if you are not paying attention.

Bending low under some branches and stretching up to others as supports gives one an all-over work out in addition to the walking.

I still only count the steps each day - so all this extra is a great bonus!

October 28, 2010

Don't Forget Emotional Health

Quite often in our search for a healthy physical body, we often forget the mental and emotional side of our health.

I received some potential bad news regarding my health a couple of weeks ago, and it really didn't hit me right off.

Soon after the news, we went about our daily chores, grocery shopping and various tasks.

Not one to spend money unnecessarily, I always admire the flowers and plants in the market, but only purchase them for special occasions - mainly holidays when the family will be around.

This time I actually took a stroll around the stands - and a bright bouquet of colored daisies caught my eye.

They were not something I would usually even give a second glance - I prefer flowers in their natural state, not colored unnaturally.

But they were very bright and cheerful - just what was called for at the moment.

Throwing my usual frugalness to the wind, a bouquet made their way into the cart.

My husband looked at them and asked if they were really the ones I wanted.

Those were the ones, and they only cost $3.99.

This was over two weeks ago, and those bright flowers are still in beautiful shape right in the center of the kitchen table.

I really can't believe they have lasted so long.

They were a small thing that has given my emotional side great pleasure.

It is important to nurture this side of our health also.

Too often we forget this - I won't be from now on.

October 20, 2010

Love Those Outlets

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Liz Claiborne New York Outlets. All opinions are 100% mine.

Outlet stores are the best.

I never fail to find a good deal on just about everything I need - and sometimes don't need.

We are fortunate to have several outlet malls within an hour or so away from us and they have some of the best stores in them.

The Liz Claiborne New York Outlets are one of my favorites, and they have some of the best clothes.

I love the quality of the clothing and the fall styles that are arriving in the stores now are just the kind I like.

Classy and feminine with simple lines and soft colors - I can't wait to go shopping!

Time to find some cozy sweaters and perhaps a new pair of jeans to go with them.

And to top all of this off - the outlet store is now offering these fashions at 50-80% of the original prices.

80% is a lot.

That means I get to buy more - my dollars will go so much further.

My frugal bone has been kicked into high gear, and I feel some good deals coming down the line on fall fashions.

Some early Christmas shopping will be in order too.

I really love a good deal, and I hope you can find an outlet store near you too for some great deals!

Visit my sponsor: Calling all Fashionistas!

October 15, 2010

Eat With the Other Hand

I read something the other day that made me think.

It was a tip that said eating with your opposite hand will help you loose weight.

I had to chuckle thinking that's for sure - everything lands on the floor - not in your mouth.

Yep, that would make me loose weight with the added exercise benefit of cleaning the floor too afterward.

But that was not what they had in mind when they posted the tip.

We eat way too fast.

And when we eat fast, our belly cannot tell us it is full until it is way overfilled.

If we eat slower, we will feel when we get full long before we eat too much.

And using the opposite hand makes you slow down your eating so you don't end up spilling it all over the floor.

I'm up for trying it- if anything it should be good for a few laughs - and that's always good too!

October 7, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is the month designated as Breast Cancer Awareness month.

It has been so since 1985, and it is used to promote mammograms which are the best tool we have for finding and fighting this disease.

In 1993, the pink ribbon was made the official symbol for this cause.

I have already scheduled my mammogram, have you?

October 1, 2010

Swimming in October

We started swimming this past season in May - the hot days before summer officially arrived had us heading down to the lake.

And we have ended this season in October - a first for us.

This past week had us at the lake four days.

The air temps ranged anywhere between 71 and 81 degrees - higher than normal for this region at this time of the year.

The water temperature on Wednesday was 68 degrees - up 3 degrees from the previous weekend.

A wind and rain storm started moving up the eastern seaboard yesterday and it made the air quite tropical.

By the time it passed through this afternoon, the air and water were the same temperature.

The wind yesterday had the water quite choppy and it was a chore to swim.

Today it was raining, but it was as smooth as glass - my favorite.

I do not know if we will make it in again to swim this season, but we have certainly enjoyed every minute we have spent in the water.

I will surely miss this great form of exercise.

Thanks to Mother Nature for giving us this beautiful gift!

September 30, 2010

New Game in Town

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PlayStation MOVE. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is a new game in town, and my family is anxiously awaiting its arrival in our home.

My boys have been big Playstation fans since the original console came out many years ago.

My daughter has enjoyed a variety of the action games, while the only one I really got into was a car racing one that we would all compete on.

Each console upgrade has brought us better graphics and action - keeping us all entertained over the years.

Now, enter the Playstation Move, which works with the current Playstation 3 game console.

Move over boys, this is one upgrade that Mom is going to be using more than she ever has.

There is one game I have my eye on - and I know it will be just mine.

The Get Fit with Mel B game would get me up to Move around and get in shape.

My son already has his eye on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.

I can't wait to see him physically teeing off in this game - right in the middle of the living room!

And I bet The Fight: Lights Out game will give my husband even more exercise than my Mel B one will give me.

I can just see us all - it will be hilarious and a lot of fun.

If you already have the Playstation3 console, then you can upgrade for just $99 with the MOVE Bundle package.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we will!

Visit my sponsor: PlayStation®Move

September 26, 2010

Cold Season Has Arrived

They are starting to succumb all around us.

One by one each family member has caught their first cold of the season.

It is closing in, and my fingers are crossed that my husband and I do not get it too.

Our little grandson has been with us all weekend, and I hope he is also immune.

Tried to keep the little hands clean the best we could.

We added some extra garlic and onions in the rice at lunch in hopes of some additional protection.

Meanwhile, we will supply the sickos with cough drops and decongestants and whatever else they need to get well.

Of course, we all know that they are most contagious before they even get sick.

Fingers are now doubly crossed!

September 23, 2010

The Swimming Was Grand!

The first day of autumn arrived yesterday, and what a glorious day it was!

It was the warmest day we have had in while - 82 degrees under the shade trees that still have leaves.

We hadn't been swimming in a week - the air temps have just been a tad too chilly.

But not today, this first day of fall.

Down to the lake we went, swimsuits on, and towels in tow.

With my thermometer, of course.

The water registered 65.4 degrees, and it felt pretty chilly on the feet.

But, we were there, and we were ready, so in we went.

The feet and legs adjusted quickly, but the arms kept the chill.

Such nice warm air to come out to - it was quite a grand swim.

Hopefully not the last - the weatherman says it is supposed to be 90 degrees on Friday.

And you know where we will be.

September 22, 2010

Reuse to Save Money and Our Planet

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aladdin. All opinions are 100% mine.

Reusing just makes sense.

And by doing it wisely, it can keep more cents in our pockets.

The biggest benefit of all - it can help save our planet.

The resources it takes to make disposable bottles is ridiculous - seven million barrels of oil are used to produce the disposable bottles that Americans go through in one year.

I didn't even realize oil was used to make them - that is a big waste.

And speaking of waste - all those empty bottles are then added to the landfills - 137,000 each day in the US alone.

To help combat all this waste,  Aladdin has come up with the Do The Reuse Challenge .

This challenge is a 30 day commitment to give up all disposable water bottles, food containers, and paper cups.

By making coffee at home in the morning instead of buying it, one can save almost $500.

By putting that coffee in a reusable coffee mug, it will help put a dent in the 23 billion paper coffee cups that will be thrown away this year.

Now, if you really want to keep some of your hard earned dollars - take your lunch to work.

Saving over $2300 a year should make most people think twice about eating out every day.

These challenges are far from impossible and will make a big impact on our lives and the planet.

I have already signed up to take them - I am always interested in saving anything in any way I can.

Join Aladdin on Facebook to keep up with the progress of these challenges and the families who are blogging about them.

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September 21, 2010

No Deals Today

The market trip was very disappointing today.

We never fail to find a few good deals - especially on the veggies and in the meat department.

There were none to be found today, and it really has me wondering what is going on.

No markdowns or coupons and even the regular sales were lacking any deals.

We were on the search for dinner, and I figured that if we can't find anything, then ground bison was always a good choice.

Low fat, great taste, and about the same price as the better ground beef.

Walking down the meat aisle, I grabbed the familiar package, but quickly put it back with a gasp.

The price read $7.29.

Two weeks ago, when we last bought it, it was $5.49.

That was a shock, especially after not finding any deals anywhere else.

If this is the way of things to come, things are going to get even tougher than they already are.

By nature, I usually try to keep a positive attitude, but this really got me down.

Lighting up on the meals isn't a bad idea, but I still need to feed us healthy food.

The junk is still fairly inexpensive, but junk is something I will not buy.

Time to take stock and fasten the belt a bit tighter.

September 20, 2010

The Fall TV Lineup

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of TiVo. All opinions are 100% mine.

The new Fall TV lineup has finally arrived with many of the new shows beginning tonight.

My favorite, Dancing With the Stars, will be the first one airing tonight and again tomorrow night.

My aunt in Texas and I are such big fans of this show and we have to call each other each week to discuss all the specifics.

And best of all we love to predict who is going home that night.

She is usually the one who is right - she is a former dancer and really knows what to look for with each contestant.

We get a kick out of it and are more excited about this season than some of the previous ones.

We like the amateurs who compete, not the professional dancers who have a huge advantage over everyone else.

And this season has no professionals for once - so it should be a good one!

And keeping it all organized is easy with the new TiVo Premiere.

This handy gadget can also keep you up to date on your favorite actors and their new projects.

Besides TV shows, this gadget can also search on the internet for movies and web videos - that has got to be my favorite feature of this new device.

Quite a powerful tool and it is all controlled by a cool Slide Remote.

It slides, just like a cell phone, to reveal a full qwerty keyboard - very handy for searching on the internet.

By joining the TiVo Facebook Fan Page, you can keep up with all their new innovations.

They are also having a "30 Slides in 30 Days" Sweepstakes, so be sure to Enter to Win that giveaway too.

This season promises to be a good one all around!

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September 16, 2010

Riding a Motorcycle as Exercise

Okay, I know it isn't a strenuous thing, but riding a motorcycle does provide some exercise.

Not in the traditional sense, but it does require upper body strength and balance at all times.

I am the passenger, so my upper body doesn't get the workout my husband's does.

My legs and back get more of a work out though.

I hang-on with my legs quite often, and with no backrest, I need to keep upright at all times.

No slouching - I wouldn't want to flop off the back, especially on the powerful machine we drive.

We stopped at the lake today, but didn't go swimming.

The water temp was 67 degrees compared to the 68 degrees on Tuesday when we last went swimming.

The wind was gusting today - it would have made the swimming hard - it certainly required some extra hanging-on while on the bike.

We got home with just in time - within the hour a rain storm had moved in.

Glad we took the time to enjoy the warm afternoon - I'll take the motorcycle riding form of exercise any day!

September 13, 2010

Back to Floor Exercises

The last two days have not even been close to swimming days.

The air temps have not gone above the low 60's and it has been really damp and chilly.

I bet the water is still really nice, but we don't want to risk the chance of getting too chilled and catching colds.

The park is locked from now on, and we have to walk down to the lake - too far for getting out all wet and walking back in the cold air.

So - back to the floor exercises for me.

I haven't done them since the very beginning of summer, and I thought it was going to be tough.

I was quite surprised - I had no problem with any of them.

When I first made up this routine - about 10 years ago, it took weeks to be able to get through it - and the muscle pains almost had me immobile when I pressed too hard.

Guess the muscles remembered and didn't protest at all.

Perhaps the swimming helped, I don't know, but I won't complain!

September 10, 2010

9/10 and Still Swimming

This is a record for us.

Usually by August 31, we are done for the year - very rarely have we gone into September with us still in the water.

The next few days I will be recording the air and lake temperatures so I can use it as a record to go by in the future.

Today the air temp was 66.2 degrees and the water temp was 69.9 - almost 70.

It was very overcast - the clouds were quite gray, but it didn't rain all day.

The winds were very light compared to the past week.

It was a joy to swim in the calmer water without being swamped by the waves.

The winds were from the west instead of the south - perhaps that's why it was a bit calmer - they were coming from the land instead of the open lake.

We took the car down instead of the motorcycle - it was just a bit too nippy to be going 55 miles an hour for over 6 miles of traveling and be all wet from the water.

One other nice thing - the swim lines were gone.

It felt so free to be swimming in the open lake!

September 9, 2010

Apple Season

The apple orchard was open this past weekend when we took a ride up.

The pick your own option wasn't available yet, but they had a good selection to purchase in the barn.

My daughter and I decided to split a peck - we both were thinking along the same line.

Apple Crisp was going to be on menu sometime within the next few days.

She has already made hers - I will be making mine tomorrow.

I had to locate my little apple peeler/corer/slicer gadget.

A most ingenious invention - it certainly makes the job of readying the apples a real breeze.

A dollop of whipped cream right after the crisp comes out of the oven - and we will all be in heaven after dinner!

September 7, 2010

Free Sample for Baby

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

Free is always good.

And when it comes to babies, it is even better.

Babies are a great gift and joy in our lives, but one must admit, they certainly are expensive.

We strive to give them everything they need and keeping them in good health certainly keeps us breathing a sigh of relief.

Many things are preventable for these little guys, and one such thing is diaper rash.

If you have ever seen one on a poor little one's bum, then you understand why they are so miserable and tearful.

Using Boudreaux's Butt Paste on a little one's behind when regularly changing a diaper will prevent it from even breaking out with a rash.

Now that is worth it for everyone.

Keeping the baby happy is ultimately keeping the parents happy.

This ointment comes in several different sizes - a big 16 oz tub, several flip top tube sizes, and my favorite, a single use foil pack.

That single use pack is perfect for the diaper bag - how I wish they made these when I had my babies.

By going to the website for this product you will find the instructions for obtaining a free sample of this handy ointment.

Free is good, happy parents is really good, and a happy baby is the best.

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September 4, 2010

Fidgeting Burns Calories

We may not give it much thought, but fidgeting burns calories.

It is considered a non-exercise activity, and it can burn an additional 300-800 calories a day.

It is put in the same category as stretching, changing posture, or getting up from a chair.

So, when you find yourself waiting in line, stuck in traffic, or watching TV commercials, think of it as an opportunity for exercising, and do some fidgeting.

Any kind of movement counts, and keeping those muscles moving is the important thing.

August 30, 2010

Lake Water was Like Glass

We had a talk about it last week right after the rain stopped.

We hadn't been swimming for three days because of the weather, and we figured the rain would make the water quite chilly afterwards.

Well, we were wrong.

On 8/22, before the rain came, the water temp was 74 degrees and it was just gorgeous.

On 8/26, when the rain stopped, the temp was 71 degrees - only three degrees difference.

Not too bad.

And we made a pact before hand that we would go swimming no matter what - and for as long as we could this season.

So far, so good.

Tonight the water was just like glass - how easy it makes it to swim in such calm water.

Gliding along, not having to dodge the waves for a breath of air, struggling through the swells.

Just smooth strokes, and you know, we swam twice as far as we usually do.

I'll take this kind of exercise any day, and will remember it well when the lake is frozen solid in February!

August 27, 2010

Gunpowder Green Tea

I think that just the name makes this tea sound like it is quite strong.

And it really looks it too when it is brewed - it is so dark in the cup.

It's not like the regular green tea that I am used to with the light green color.

But I found this Gunpowder Green Tea to be so delightful!

It has a really mild flavor despite it's deep dark color in the cup.

There is no bitterness or bite to it, just a smooth flavor that tastes so fresh and good.

It is said to get its name because the tea leaves are rolled into pellets that resemble blackpowder grains.

This rolling preserves the flavor and aroma of the tea as there is less physical damage to the leaves.

Whatever it is, if you get the chance to have some - it will be a great treat.

Glad I was able to find some on sale at the market, and even happier that I decided to give it a try!