Friday, November 30, 2007

Sweet Treat

I tried a new(to me) treat last night.
Sugared Pecans are yummy!

I snuck in a picture of banana nut
bread made in the bread machine.

The bread machine was smoking
because I also used it to make this
french bread. This was the first
time I've ever attempted french
bread and the man said it looked
like it came from a bakery. I love
him! I think the eggwash brushed on
top gave it professional touch.

Now I'd never even heard of a baguette
pan until I read it in the recipe for this
french bread. Of course, I had to be
creative so I put the 2 long round loaves
in a 9X13 glass Pyrex and put each
loaf against the long walls and placed a
Pyrex meatloaf pan between the loaves.
Now when the loaves started to rise
they rose up and not out! I never knew
this bread was so easy to make. I will
definitely be making this for my MIL.
She luuuves bread.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Hate Hard Water

Our neighborhood has a community well with very hard water.
Even with a water softener we get hard water stains on the toilets.
The stains always make the toilet look unsightly and always appear dirty.
I have discovered an easy way to get rid of the stain around the water
line of the toilet.

Waterproof sandpaper works great to rid the toilet of the unwanted ring.

It is very easy to do. Just turn the water off at the back of the toilet and
flush until the water doesn't rise to the water line. With a small square of the
sandpaper scrub until the ring is gone. Turn the water back on and flush.

It is a dirty job so wear gloves.

Every time I do this I am amazed that my toilet looks brand new again!

Turkey Stock attempt

I am attempting to make a turkey stock as I write this. I've never done

this before so I hope it turns out okay, as I want to make a turkey and veggie

soup out of the stock. What went into the pot:

Turkey bones with a little meat on them

1 whole clove

1 clove garlic

1 roughly cut carrot(no need to peel)

1 roughly chopped onion

a little dried parsley

a little dried thyme

a bay leaf
1/2 pot of water

Simmer at least 4 hours and strain the broth. I would have added

celery, but I didn't have any.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Party Potatoes

Traditionally, people serve sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, but my family always asks for Party Potatoes on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here's the recipe

Party Potatoes

  • 8-10 medium potatoes
  • 1 8oz. cream cheese
  • 1 8oz. carton sour cream
  • 1/3 cup dried chives
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel, chop and boil potatoes until fork tender(about 30 minutes). Mash potatoes and add cream cheese, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper and beat with mixer until smooth. Dot with butter. Transfer to casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Men really love this recipe. Enjoy!

Flatware find

I am hosting Thanksgiving for 10 of my family members this year. I debated on purchasing plastic ware or using flatware.
I have a hodge podge of flatware and would not have enough forks so I decided on purchasing a new set of flatware.
I found a nice set of Oneida at Walmart for $24.99 for 4 place setting. I was looking for an eight place setting so I would have had to buy 2 for $50.
I decided to check out Kohl's. They had a Cuisinart service for 8 with the wooden box for storage and a 5 piece hostess set. The original price was $139.00, but knowing Kohl's it was on sale. I took it to the price scanner and it showed the price as $69.00.
However, one of the salad forks was missing and I it was the last one they had so I took it to the counter and asked if it could be discounted. The gentleman at the register did not bat an eye he promptly took an additional 20% of the already %50 off!
My point it explaining all this is when you notice a damaged box or item ask for a discount. Chances are they will give it to you to get rid of it.
Now I wonder what happened to that salad fork that was strapped on the front of the box with a zip tie. Maybe an employee needed it for their lunch! We will never know.


Neutrogena Healthy Skin Rejuvenator:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

3 year olds say the funniest things

3 year old sneezes and sprays his hands and arms with...well um...snot. Walks to the kitchen where I am cooking and says with arms held out "Mommy wash this bless you off of me!"

Myself and 3 year old riding in the car listening to the radio(country). 3 year old says "Mommy I like dada's music" I ask "what is dada's music?" 3 year old makes head banging gestures and says "da na na na na na na"

I love the way he makes me laugh!

Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein

I made this yummy dish for Dinner tonight. It was cheap and easy, two of my favorite things. I added an onion to mine, but green onions would have been good too.

Health Insurance Costs

Every year my company has an open enrollment period when all employees can make changes to their health insurance plans. It is no secret insurance costs are rising at astronomical rates, but every year I notice not only the premiums going up, but the amount out of pocket for services also rising. I work for a major health care system and they pay a large portion of the premiums for each employee.

The shift seems to be for the patient to foot more of the bill. For example, we used to have a flat copay for an inpatient visit to the hospital. Now we pay a percentage of the bill based on the insurance plan picked. One plan requires you pay 10% out of pocket the other 20% where the annual cost is higher for the 10% plan. This could amount to thousands of dollars for a major surgery and lengthy hospital stay!

My company also has a FSA for health care costs, where one designates how much they want to go into the account at the beginning of the year. A debit card is issued to use for any health care related costs not covered by insurance. The money is deducted from the paycheck tax free weekly or biweekly, based on how you are paid. This is truly a good service, but if there is money left in the account at the end of the year it is forfeited. So you would only want to select an amount you are almost sure you will spend for the year.

Even with skyrocketing health insurance costs I feel very fortunate to have health insurance. No one ever expects to get sick, but that's why we are insured to protect against a catastrophic event. I personally know some people that don't have it and it has devastated them when a huge hospital bill came in the mail. One family I know had to sell a property they owned to pay the bill.

I don't know what the future holds when it comes to paying for health care, but for now it looks like the consumer is going to have to have deep pockets if they get sick.


I hate laundry as much as Mandy. I have tried all kinds of different ways to make the job easier. The best thing I ever did was buy a front load washing machine until it started giving me trouble(don't buy a Kenmore-trust me on that one). Front loaders hold a ton of laundry. Okay not literally a ton but a lot none the less. I will replace my Kenmore one day but for now I fight with it every time I use it. :(

Another way I have tried to make laundry day easier is over the past few years I have started replacing all my towels as they wear out with white ones. I can wash them with all the other whites and I can bleach them and they stay clean and fresh looking. I don't buy the big huge bath towels either. We really don't need a bath blanket as we are not elephants. I actually prefer the smaller bath towels for wrapping my hair in when I get out the shower, because they stay on tighter.

My latest way of trying to make the laundry process easier is to take the laundry directly upstairs when it is dry and fold it on my bed and put it away as I fold. Even if the item needs to be ironed I will hang it up in the closet and iron when I have the time. I wish my washer was upstairs it sure would make life a lot easier!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CVS AmealBP deal

So, after 3 CVS stores and $20.77 spent oop, I got 3 bottles of the amealbp and $29.99 in ECB's to spend on something else! My dad has high BP so I'll probably give them to him. The clerk had to call the shift supervisor to the counter to authorize the second 2 transactions, as they were free. I sometimes feel guilty doing this, but CVS offers it so am I wrong by taking them up on giving away free stuff???

And a special bonus was when I got home the fedex guy had brought my Victoria's Secret Deal. I was really impressed with the scarf and glove set. The single Beauty Rush lip gloss was marked $7.99 alone. I haven't tried on my sweater yet, but it looks nice.

There are a lot of Dove products on sale this week at CVS. There is a free Dove tote with samples you get free(well$3.99 for shipping) for buying $15 worth of products.

Also,Gold Emblem snacks are on sale so don't forget to use this coupon for buying $10 worth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cheap Meat

One of the biggest grocery budget busters is fresh meats. You can find meat at reasonable prices if you know when to shop for it. Simply ask the butcher when they mark down their meat. Grocery stores usually slash prices by half and even more on meat that is nearing their sell by date. You just have to know what time of day your particular store performs the mark downs to get the best selection. My local Harris Teeter puts their reduced meat out by 8am. However, my local Lowe's Foods does their markdowns later around 10am.

If I'm out or just need to stock up on meat I will just run in and check the meat section for any decent buys that day. I plan my meals around what cut of meat I have bought the week or weeks before on discount.

On my last meat run I got 2 packs of 1lb. ground chicken. 2 packs 1 1/2lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs, 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breasts and 3 NY Strip steaks(splurge for $5,originally 17.50!) all for $17.

The week before I got a great deal on Perfect Portion Chickens breasts originally priced at 8.99 on sale for 7.99 but had a $5 off sticker on the outside of the package! That was about .50 for one boneless skinless perfectly portioned chicken breast. What a bargain.

Now the cheapest way to save on meat is to go vegetarian and not buy meat, but my husband would not live without meat. However, lately I have been trying to sneak in a meatless or low meat meal a week. This week we had Black Bean Quesadillas. He raved about how good they were.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Marble Works Anyone?

As you can see this colorful toy is the first thing that is played with in the morning by CK. MarbleWorks is made by Discovery Toys. Some of you may have been to a Discovery Toys Party, as they were popular in the 90's. This set was given to me by my friend whose 3 boys are all teenagers now, so that gives you an idea how well they hold up. I have a teen too and he has had many Discovery Toys over the years that my mother bought for him. With all the toy recalls of late this company guarantees the highest quality standards by the US and Canadian governments. So, if you are looking for quality education toys for all ages check out the vast array offered at Discovery Toys.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


There are a few things I love about mornings

~the first few sips of hot coffee (tastes so good)

~the sound of the birds outside the window

~watching the squirrels run around and gather acorns(I guess that's what they are doing)

~the quiet in the house after everyone is off to work and school and my 3yo is still sleeping

~last but not least...the smell of 3yo morning breath saying "mommy I waked up this morning" and a warm little body on my lap and sweet little arms wrapped around my neck.

Thank you God for these simple pleasures!