July 31, 2010

The Big Move

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 1-800-Flowers. All opinions are 100% mine.

This weekend is the big move.

My daughter has been searching for the last couple of months for the perfect apartment.

One that was just right for the baby with enough room for her to bring her own washer and dryer.

The trips to the laundromat were beginning to wear thin for her.

She is so excited.

It is a bit further away from town than she wanted, but the deal was just too good to refuse.

And these days we all have to watch our spending just a bit more.

She is going to spend the weekend getting all moved in and putting everything away as the boxes come through the front door.

A big job to be sure, but she wants it all done so when we come up next week, everything is pretty much put away.

All of this in one weekend, but it should be a bit easier with us watching the baby while they are getting it done.

She loves the big windows and openness of her new living room, and I just know she is thinking of how much her plants are going to love it there too.

Before we go over I am thinking of having a new plant delivered to her that will arrive before we do.

I can't decide whether to send her a cactus or a bonsai - either one she will love, and the cat won't.

This would be a great surprise for her - one she could certainly use after the very busy weekend she will be putting in.

Besides, who doesn't love to see that flower delivery person at the door with a special gift - send some to your someone special too!

Visit my sponsor: Who are you thinking about?

Still Swimming

We only missed four days of swimming this month.

Even when it was lightly raining we went.

A couple of thunderstorms kept us away for two of the days, which is just common sense.

It has been a pretty dry month for July, it will be interesting to see what August brings.

I bit chilly this morning, in the fifties, so I bet it has brought down the temperature of the lake water just a bit.

That won't matter though, we are committed, and will swim just as month next month as the weather allows.

July 29, 2010

Life in a Small Town

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

We made a big decision many years ago right after we were married.

Living in a small town and raising our family away from the big city was important to us.

Living a simpler life without all the unneeded frills was also a major decision that has been one of the best things we could have done.

These days, with all the economic hard times, we have seen many families struggling.

And it is not only families.

Our small town has also seen hard times.

The center store that was always the "hub" of the town is no longer in business.

People are finding better "deals" in the bigger stores in the cities.

And who can blame them, we all need to stretch our dollars a bit farther these days.

We are also a small business, via the internet, and are holding on the best we can too.

One way we to try to help is to buy local if we can.

And we also look for things that are Made in the USA.

To us, that is another way of helping our neighbors.

I am always proud to let my online customers know when I have a product that is Made in America - most feel the same way I do.

Lately I have noticed there are more companies that are thinking along those lines too.

Companies that are dedicated to revitalizing America's small towns - giving new life to them and new hope to the families that reside in them.

Hopefully someone will the see the value in the little store in the center of our town.

After all, it resides in one of our historical buildings - and that is something to be proud of too!

Visit my sponsor: Made in America

Homemade Granola

For years I have made my own granola.

I have tried many different recipes over the years, but I knew exactly when I found the "right" one.

My kids loved it.

Years later, it is still a hit.

If you want to try a good one here it is:

3 cups raw old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 Tbs sesame seeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbs canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup dried apples or cranberries or raisins, or any combo of dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a 9x13 pan mix everything except the dried fruits

Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once

Cool and add the dried fruit.

Store in a tight container in the refrigerator.

I eat it plain, as is, but it can be used as a cereal or topping for yogurt, ice cream, or fruit.

I would love to know what you think of it!

July 27, 2010

Laptop Giveaway

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


Giving back to the community - that's what it is all about for the folks over at Charter Communications.

If you are lucky enough to live in their service area, you can also win one of sixty-one new Lenovo laptops they will be giving away.

The best part about this laptop-a-day giveaway is that they will be giving fifty laptops to two different schools.

But first the schools need to be nominated, and that can be done by the parents in the service area.

Charter will then choose fifty different schools as finalists after reviewing the nomination stories.

Then the fun begins for the parents and their friends when the open voting occurs.

The two schools that get the most votes will win the laptops.

And by ordering any Charter service during this promotion, you are automatically entered to win one too - and perhaps a bit of cash back as a bonus!

If you live in the service area you can also register online without making any purchase.

All of the details for the nominations can be found on this page.

You can also reach all the rules and finalists names for voting from that link.

While you are there, let them know that you "like" this promotion by clicking their Charter on Facebook fanpage button.

We need more promotions from companies like Charter that give back to their community!

Visit my sponsor: Charter is giving Free laptops to Schools

Peanut Butter with Flaxseed

Not just any old peanut butter will do.

I figured that one out years ago when it began to make me feel sick after eating it.

After checking the ingredients list, the main thing listed after the peanuts and the sugar was that ugly hydrogenated vegetable oil.

That was the culprit.

So I tried making some myself for a while with the blender.

It was good, but I could never get it smooth enough no matter how much I whipped it.

I then splurged and tried one of the all natural brands on the market.

Really good stuff!

And you can buy it with flaxseed added for extra fiber and nutrition.

Glad I didn't have to give up an old favorite!

July 24, 2010

Saving Everywhere

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

We are very careful shoppers no matter what we may purchasing.

We are always on the look out for the best deal, and we weigh the pro and cons of those items that are more wanted than needed at times.

Keeping our spending low has given us a most rewarding way to live.

We have been able to work from our home for the last ten years.

And times are really hard right now for everyone, and most people are just beginning to embrace the way of life that we have always known.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with shopping the sales, and waiting until what you need is on sale.

And when we can, we buy a bit extra while it's on sale - we're going to use those necessities anyway.

Clearance racks are one of my favorite places.

It can be in the clothing store, department store, grocery store, drug store, or hardware store - they all have them.

Even many online merchants have clearance or discount pages that have great deals.

One such merchant, Zenni Optical, has super great deals on eyeglasses - a necessity for us for sure.

I am very happy to see that my daughter has learned well from us.

Her careful shopping allows her to stay home with her little one - and we all know that babies need a lot.

It's always a good feeling to make a good deal, and it's even more rewarding these days when money is tight.

Visit my sponsor: How Do YOU Save Money?

Collard Greens

We found a treat in the produce department this past week.

The collard greens were on sale.

Usually $3.99 for a bag, we purchased it for only a dollar.

My husband was so excited, but I had never tried them.

The first thing I noticed was how long it took to cook them.

Spinach is cooked so quickly, so I thought they would be the same.

They were more hearty than spinach, but I kind of liked that - I have always referred to cooked spinach as swamp weed because of it's consistency.

I bit of butter, and some freshly ground pepper completed the preparation of them.

They were actually pretty good - the texture was great and the taste wasn't bitter at all.

Hopefully they will make it to the sale rack again - they were quite a treat!

July 22, 2010

A Leaking Faucet

We installed a new faucet ourselves in the kitchen about five years ago.

It was not big deal and we all really loved the single control for the handle rather than the two knobs we had before.

About two and a half years later, it began to leak.

We called the company that made it and they sent the parts we needed to fix it.

Well, another two and a half years have gone by, and guess what, it's leaking again in the same spot.

I think this time we are probably going to replace the whole faucet.

And after looking at the condition that my stainless steel kitchen sink is in, we have given thought to replacing that as well.

The faucet is a necessity, so finding a decent deal on a good one is definitely in the plans.

Finding a good deal on stainless steel kitchen sinks is not an easy thing, but I will most certainly be looking.

I bet I may even get a few extra hands to help with washing the dishes - everybody loves trying out and using new stuff, only if it is for a short time!

July 20, 2010

Graduate College Online

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

Earning a college degree online is becoming more popular than ever before.

My son, who will be attending college in the fall will be taking most of his classes in a classroom.

But the school he will be attending offers a few of his courses online.

I was really enthused about that, and could think of many ways it could be a great benefit.

As a Mom who works at home, I think nothing could be more flexible or perfect for learning around my schedule.

Obtaining an Online degree at your own pace while raising a family or fitting it in with a full-time job is made easier by some schools who specialize in online teaching.

And that is not the best part.

Most college graduates will owe quite a sum of tuition fees once they are out in the real world.

Learning online is more affordable, and Ashworth offers zero-interest financing with very low monthly payments.

They guarantee that when you graduate, you will have no student loan debt.

That is pretty good to not have that hanging over your head on top of daily living expenses.

With over 100 accredited diplomas, degrees, and certificate programs to choose from, there is something for everyone in online education.

Visit my sponsor: While the kids are away

July 19, 2010

Trying Gnocchi

Okay, Gnocchi is a new thing for me.

After seeing it on sale at the market, I decided to give it a try.

It sounded really good - basil was all through it, so that made it extra appealing to me.

It was the kind in a shrink-wrap, so I guess that would be considered fresh.

It smelled delightful as it was cooking - filling the whole house with that wonderful basil aroma.

The package said to serve it as a side dish with pasta sauce and cheese.

This variety was made with potato, which seemed a bit different to me to be putting pasta sauce on it.

It tasted really good, especially once the provolone cheese melted on it.

The consistency of it bugged me though.

I read where they are supposed to be light and fluffy.

Ours were thick and kind of chewy.

And they sat rather heavily in my belly.

Don't know if it was the gnocchi itself, or the way they were cooked - boiled in water until they floated.

But they didn't agree with me.

I am hesitant to try them again if this is how they are supposed to be.

I liked them, but they didn't like me.

July 16, 2010

Fiber on the Food Label

One of the first things I check for when I purchase any kind of grain product, mainly bread and cereal, is the amount of fiber per serving.

My doctor recommended to me to get at least 25 grams of fiber per day.

It is not an easy thing to do.

Most people in the US only get 5-10 grams a day, according to the UWSP University Health Service.

One of the best sources I have found is a whole grain bread that has 5 grams per slice.

Just 2 slices is 10 grams and lunch can take care of that.

By leaving the skin on vegetables and fruits, the fiber amounts are also increased.

We eat a lot of rice and I sometimes mix the white and brown together when cooking it.

Not only does it taste really good, but when using it in stir fry recipes, it is hard to tell the difference.

Getting enough fiber is important as it helps to reduce heart disease and colon cancer.

It keeps the digestive system running smoothly which in turn keeps us feeling good.

July 12, 2010

The Pleasures of On Demand

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

On Demand TV, that is something that is just not available in our area.

Living in the boonies like we do, it was a trade-off we decided on long ago to do without.

We don't even have cable TV, so when the stations all went digital and did away with analog broadcasting, we were left with only one channel on our TV.

Not much of a selection, but with the internet, there is very little that we miss in the news department.

The entertainment department is another story though.

I was reading online about this thing called On Demand.

Checking out the On Demand home page really had me thinking about this whole cable TV thing.

Those who are lucky enough to have access to it are no longer slaves to the TV.

They can watch any TV show or movie they want, when they want.

No more missing that favorite cooking or specialty show because it is on at the wrong time.

No more rearranging schedules to catch that so important workout show.

And if you miss a favorite show while doing those exercises, then you can just watch it afterward.

I think that is just too cool.

Retirement is peeking around the corner in the next few years.

Moving to a smaller place will be a priority for us.

And perhaps it will be in an area where this On Demand is available.

It's a small pleasure that we would both most certainly enjoy.

If you visited and enjoyed the link above for On Demand, then You will ‘Like’ their Facebook page as well.


Visit my sponsor: Charter On Demand goes WAY beyond movies

New Challenges

The BeeWell for Life website that I log my walking miles on each day has added another way to earn donations to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength program.

They have added a daily challenge that the members can complete.

It is usually a small thing - like so many jumping jacks or a certain kind of snack.

Sometimes it is interaction in the forums on the site or using other tools found on the site too.

They donate .10 cents for each completed challenge.

Just on the challenges alone, they have raised over $105 since June 1st.

For all the miles the members have walked so far this year they will donate $34,244 to the cause.

And we still have the rest of the year to earn more.

Check it out - it's free to join and the walking is oh so good - for you and for someone who needs the help!

July 5, 2010

Swimming Time Again

The swimming season has begun with gusto in our corner of the world this summer.

The porch thermometer stated it was 113 degrees in the sun this afternoon.

The humidity is on the rise, and this forecast is predicted for the rest of the week.

It is officially summer, so this heat is expected.

Thank goodness we have the lake that is about 7 miles from the house.

$10 gets us a season pass, which is quite a deal considering how much we go.

5:00 pm seems to be the best time to hit it - most people have left to go home and prepare dinner.

The water is just great - a wee bit chilly at first, but so grand once you're in.

A few laps back and forth with the flippers for extra resistance and of course, speed.

We plan to go each day for exercise and enjoyment.

Life is good!

July 1, 2010

Can't Beat $10 Meals

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

Nothing like homemade Chicken Fajitas, and these ones made with soft Mission Flour Tortillas are my favorites.

And these tortillas aren't just for dinner or lunch anymore.

They are also great wrapped around scrambled eggs for a quick breakfast burrito that the kids love.

Snack wraps are also popular and are a snap with these versatile tortillas.

Right now, Mission Flour Tortillas is having a Mission Menus Challenge where the grand prize is a $10,000 dream kitchen makeover.

This contest is running from now until August 9, 2010.

You can submit your original recipe online. It must use Mission Flour Tortillas, cost under $10.00 to prepare, and feed a family of five.

There will be a cook-off at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles on September 10.

A few years ago we did a meal challenge with each member of our family that involved a cost limit and it was a lot of fun.

We will have a blast with this one!

These tortillas contain no trans fats - which you all know I will not consume. They also come in several sizes to keep each member of the family happy.

Mission Foods supports Share our Strength which is a national organization that is committed to ending childhood hunger in the United States by 2015.

Hard to believe that 1 in 4 children in this country don't know where their next meal is coming from. No Kid Hungry is a worthy cause.

Visit my sponsor: Mission Menus Challenge