Friday, June 1, 2012

Project Me...Take Two

 (Picture from our second honeymoon in Carmel Highlands)

Wow! Talk about the best intentions kind of going down the toilet.  Wait...does anyone talk about that?  Or at least do they use that terminology?  I entered the new year with high hopes of changing my life, finding direction, gaining purpose and insight.  I wanted to do so much, some point, I kind of flopped.  Not in a drastic way, but my project of me was not something I could really keep up with on here.  Not good.

So hey, there are six more months left in this year.  How about we try that again?  Okay.  How about I try that again.  

No guilt and no condemnation.  Sometimes you make plans, and sometimes you slip out of them.  I have been working on myself, and I have been trying to make some headway with things.  I will get into that as I continue writing over the next few months.  

I am not going to make any grand predictions.  I do have some goals ahead.  These goals I have been working on.  Like I said, I haven't been exactly chronicling them, but I have been making efforts.  

One of the things that I have been truly trying to figure out is my place in this world.  My talent.  My gift.  What is it that God created me to do?  Is that a question that you wonder about?  I have spent hours and hours just trying to find direction.  I have friends who always just knew.  They had gifts and talents that were hard to miss.  Some are amazing organizers, teachers, and leaders.  I have a friend who has an incredible singing voice and who spent a time singing professionally in a very successful Christian group.  Her talent was in your face and amazing.  In your face as in it is something that is obvious like beauty.  You see someone tall and lithe and gorgeous and thing "she should be a model."  When you heard my friend sing, you knew she should do it for life.  And she did.  :)  My talents were not quite that open.

As a child I loved to draw.  I would pick up pencils and draw on everything I could get my hands on.  All scrap paper was handed to me.  I drew pictures and comics.  Then, my cousin began to draw.  She was incredible.  Everyone oohed and aahed over her work.  I slowly stopped.  I did move into stories though.  I wrote and wrote pages of stories.  Or I would take long walks where my grandma lived and tell myself stories.  I decided that it would be pretty neat to be a writer.  Then for some reason, I got it into my head that I wasn't bright enough to write.  The dream didn't completely die, but it fizzled out dramatically.  I figured I would go to college and figure it all out.  Something happened after that though, my family kept telling me I needed a fall-back plan.  I should focus on that, and then worry about doing something I would like.  Mainly I began to see my dreams as unreachable or at least saw myself as not up to par.  If I was, certainly I would be encouraged.  

This isn't about my family though, and I feel bad even writing that.  I just wish that I had a little more open direction.  I have felt for a time like I am not living the life God created me to live.  I don't want the talents He gave me to not be used for His glory.  I want to help others.  I want more than to just have a good job.  You know how they say that you should do what you love?  That is what I want.  Most of all, I want to silence the self doubt and open up to what God can do. 

This brings me to my new position.  I will actually get into it tomorrow.  I am stressing a bit much right now and really kind of need to pull focus off it and onto God. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bordeaux Candy Recipe


My favorite candy store in the world is See's.  Well, I haven't really been around the world to try EVERYTHING, but each time I try something new, it never compares to my favorite See's Candy Store.  When I lived in Rhode Island, I sorely missed See's and did my best to compensate with Godiva.  Not even close.  When I moved back to California, I was delighted to be near a See's though I'll be honest, I didn't head there too often as I was afraid I would grow to five times my size.

Today I almost ordered See's Dark Chocolate Bordeaux online, because sadly now I can only get it when the holidays roll around and they take up shop in our mall here in Prescott.  Since I am on a diet, I talked myself down from my strong desire, but not before looking to see if there were possible a recipe that I could follow.  And joy of joys!!!!!  I found it.  This came from Taste of Home.

from Taste of Home

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp instant coffee
pinch salt
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
12 oz dark or milk chocolate

Melt butter and brown sugar together in heavy pan. Bring to boil and boil for two minutes. Stir in cream, coffee, salt and bring to boil again. Stir constantly. Boil for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Add sifted powdered sugar to mixture. Stir in well. Chill until mixture holds shape of a small ball. Roll into 2-inch balls. Melt chocolate according to pkg instructions. Dip candy balls into melted chocolate. Sprinkle with cake sprinkles, if desired. Makes approx. 30 bon bons.

Now even though I am on a diet, I really think I am going to make this treat this weekend.  I'm really too excited to hold out.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jimmy Needham Free Song Download - I Will Find You - Nose Trade

What an amazing voice! I love Jimmy Needham. He is an incredible talent. You can download his song "I Will Find You" featuring LeCrae for FREE! Just spread the word. Thanks NoiseTrade!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Review - A Taste Of Murder by Virginia Smith


I have been working my way through one of the Love Inspired Suspense books by Virginia Smith titled "A Taste of Murder." Love Inspired Suspense is fabulous division by Steeple Hill. I like it more than the other Love Inspired stories, because I enjoy a little thrill with my inspiration, and I love me some mystery! Excuse me for not being very grammatically correct here. I am just sharing my shear joy. I first discovered Virginia Smith when I read "Murder By Mushroom" another Love Inspired Suspense book. At that point, I became an instant fan.

About The Book (From Goodreads):
Who murdered a small-town beauty-pageant judge--in a very strange way? Jasmine Delaney must find out. Because she's taken the victim's place. She came to the Kentucky Bar-B-Q festival for a wedding, eager to meet the bride's handsome brother, Derrick Rogers. Yet she's suddenly surrounded by pint-size contestants whose competitive parents will do anything to ensure the crown. Even kill? Derrick fears she's the killer's next target and promises to keep a close eye on her. Yet someone is already watching Jazzy's every move. Someone who's had a taste of murder. And is hungry for more.

My Review:

I was thrilled to get into another one of Virginia Smith's mysteries.  I have enjoyed her well-developed characters and attention to detail with settings.  She really fleshes out a book from top to bottom which allows a reader to get totally immersed in the story.  Also her humor totally shines through, and I love that.

Jazzy is part of a classical trio who have been hired to perform at a wedding that is taking place the same weekend as a colossal Kentucky B-B-Q festival.  The girls arrive at the hotel in the midst of pageant moms and beauty queen hopefuls.  The hotel is absolutely engulfed in chaos.  The girls are taken aback by the crowd and surprised at the wedding's timing, but they are professionals and more than ready for the task at hand.  Jazzy is also looking forward to meeting the bride's older brother Derrick whom she met via a Christian online community as he was looking for someone to perform at his sister's wedding.  

Jazzy has the slight idea of a little romance on the brain, and is completely blindsided when she and her friends find themselves stuck in the middle of a murder investigation and new commitments as judges for several activities that will be taking place during the B-B-Q festival weekend.  Add to that the fact that their host, Derrick is extremely attractive although not really the kind of guy Jazzy is usually interested in.

What ensues is a murder mystery with a little romance thrown in for good measure.  Jazzy feels as if she sees the killer at every turn and is convinced that it must be someone who would like to win one of the contests at any cost.  However, Jazzy behaves several times in ways that aren't terribly bright for someone who is concerned that a murderer is watching their every move.  I expected someone to call her out on this with a little more force though that did not happen.  

I quite enjoyed "A Taste Of Murder."  I felt like I was on a little vacation with just enough excitement and puzzle thrown in.  The romance to me was a little off with everyone and their mother being over-the-top pushy with Jazzy and Derrick, but I would not say that it is unbelievable.  I have a friend who met her husband when they were both in a wedding and they fell VERY quickly.  As for meeting the man of your dreams online...that happened to me and my husband and I are heading to our fifth year of wedded awesomeness.  My only head scratching was that with all the murder and worry going on, who really has time to think about courting?  Still that did not take me away from the story.  

I understand that there are more mysteries with these characters, and I plan to check out each and every one.  Oh, and if I ever find myself in Kentucky, I am hitting up some BBQ and looking for some burgoo!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Top Five Free Kindle Books Today - February 17th


Who doesn't love a great deal?  I love my Kindle app and my Nook.  They are absolutely a must have for reading on the go.  I also love that Amazon and Barnes & Noble give you lots of opportunities to discover new authors through free eBook downloads.  Here are some goodies I'm looking forward to reading that are free right now.  Remember what is free today may not be free tomorrow so act fast.  Also, if you read a book for free and you really like the book, spread the word, write a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or both, and of course don't be shy see what else the author has that you might like to buy.  

Here are my top 5.  

Description from Amazon:  

They said, “He’s a nobody.”

They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

Description from Amazon:

On Bernadine Brown's fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn't cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose.

The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The failing town had put itself up for sale on the Internet, so Bernadine bought it. 

Trent July is the mayor, and watching the town of his birth slide into debt and foreclosure is about the hardest thing he's ever done. When the buyer comes to town, he's impressed by her vision, strength, and the hope she wants to offer not only to the town and its few remaining residents, but to a handful of kids in desperate need of a second chance. 

Not everyone in town wants to get on board though; they don't want change. But Bernadine and Trent, along with his first love, Lily Fontaine, are determined to preserve the town's legacy while ushering in a new era with ties to its unique past and its promising future.

Description from Amazon:

 Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a "nothing mama," she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.

For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key that unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family's longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Saturated in Southern ambiance and written in the vein of other Southern literary bestsellers like
The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, Julie Cantrell has created a story that will sweep you away long after the novel ends.

Description from Goodreads:

Olivia Wallace has a birthday curse . . . or so she thinks. It was a broken heart on her 16th, a car accident on her 21st, pneumonia on her 30th, and a fall down a flight of stairs on her 35th. There were Ohio blizzards on her 38th, 39th, and 40th; and six days before her 45th, she lost the love of her life to a heart attack. Numbing grief stole that birthday and a couple more to follow and, on the morning of her 48th birthday, she received the call she’d dreaded ever since losing her mom so many years ago…she was diagnosed with stage-3 ovarian cancer. The doctors didn’t hold out a lot of hope, but Liv survived and maintained her faith. Months of surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed.

But now, as her 50th birthday creeps up the icy Ohio path toward her, her hair has grown back, her energy level is up, and she is officially cancer free. It makes her nervous. After everything she’s gone through, Liv hates the idea of driving on icy roads and returning to work as an O.R. nurse in a local Cincinnati hospital.

Her best friend Hallie knows just the thing to break Liv out of the winter doldrums, while providing a safe haven of warmth, sunshine, and a time to regroup: a holiday in the Florida sunshine!

Description from Goodreads:

Allie Whitman and Connor Norman loved making the devils of the corporate world pay. Now, it’s their turn. And the price could be their lives.

“I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t.” That’s what Allie Whitman tells herself every night as she lies awake. Sometimes she even believes it. But mostly she knows deep down that her inability to make a hard choice has put millions of lives at risk, including her own. Now the only one who can help her is her lawyer, Connor Norman. Unfortunately, Allie’s actions have destroyed Connor’s trust in her—and may destroy much, much more

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Life Book Movement

More Than 2 Million Students Receive Gospel in Public Schools
Christian students give The Life Book to their classmates
in public schools throughout the United States
For nearly five decades, religion has been consistently pushed out of the public school.As a result, studies show that only four-percent of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.  According to Carl Blunt, President and CEO of The Life Book Movement, “teenagers today represent the most Biblically illiterate generation ever in the history of the United States.”
Christian students are rising to the challenge to change that dynamic.  Through The Life Book Movement, over 75,000 Christian students in forty-seven states have given the gift of The Life Book to over 2 Million classmates, in school – during school.
Founded by The Gideons International, The Life Book Movement is an innovative strategy to reach high school students. The movement is a Christian mission centered on The Life Book, a unique presentation of Scripture designed to engage high school students with the truth of God’s Word created by Carl Blunt, president and CEO of The Life Book Movement. The Life Book presents a brief overview of the Old Testament and the Gospel of John using an interactive format with honest student comments and real-life questions in the margins. Readers are drawn into the only story that can change their lives forever.
For your church to request free copies of the Life Book
for your teens to give to their classmates in school,
view video and more, visit
The Life Book Movement works in collaboration with churches throughout the country to provide the books for free to students to “saturate” their schools with God’s Word. Blunt’s organization brilliantly threads a separation-of-church-and-state opening by getting his publication into the hands of Christian high school students and having thempass the books out as a gift to classmates at school—a practice within a student’s religious freedoms, as long as the books are not distributed by school staff or other adults.
Blunt says, “Working with local youth leaders, we help students take God’s Word into a closed country (public high schools) to reach an unreached people group because studies show that only 4% of today’s teenagers are Bible-believing Christians.” The goal is to ensure that every student in every high school in the United States has an opportunity to receive the gift of The Life Book. This approach presents a phenomenal opportunity to impact a generation with the good news of Jesus Christ. 
The Life Book Movement works with local church youth ministries to provide everything students need to offer The Life Book as a gift to their classmates. The churches receive the books at no cost from The Life Book Movement and provide the books, along with some training, to the students in their youth groups. The students then spend a week or two giving them as gifts to their friends and classmates at school.
Since January of 2010, more than 2 Million copies of The Life Book have been distributed. According to Blunt, over 3 million copies are being printed for distribution in the 2012-2013 school year.
Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has provided specialized services that achieve the communications and public relations goals of each client.  The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., continues to be a proven provider of exceptional services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.

Book Review - Lie Down In Green Pasures by Debbie Viguie


Back to the Nook for an awesome read. I actually downloaded "Lie Down In Green Pastures" with my Kindle app and my Nook. It was available free via Kindle first, and I was honestly really excited to get another book in this series. Of course I hadn't read even the first book in the series at the time, but because I had read other books by Debbie Viguie, I was more than sure I would enjoy this series. The opportunity to get several books in a series on Kindle or Nook for free was hard to pass up. 

ABOUT THE BOOK (From Goodreads):   
St. Patrick's Day brings a new murder mystery for the crime-solving duo of Cindy, a church secretary, and Jeremiah, a Reformed rabbi. Can they rush to save hundreds of teens and the man she's grown to care for before it's too late?

I was fortunate to get to read these books in order.  I cannot say that reading them out of order would have taken away from the story, but certainly because I had more time invested, I certainly have come to care for the characters more.  This is of course one of the reasons I really enjoy book series.  It is always like catching up with family. 

This time the series opens with Jeremiah heading off to work on his day off (never do this) when his car gets hit by another car right in front of Cindy's church.  Jeremiah, being very observant, is pretty sure that the driver of the other car was already dead before the impact.  Cindy contacts the police, and once again, Jeremiah and Cindy become involved in yet another murder mystery involving their small town.  

I liked that we got to know more about Mark (a police detective we have gotten to know throughout the series) and also focused more on Jeremiah and his abilities which shine further light into his past life before his life as a reformed rabbi.  Frankly it was nice seeing the focus go off of Cindy for a bit.  The part of the book that focused primarily on Jeremiah was very well written and interesting.  

All in all, I once again thoroughly enjoyed reading this latest book in the series.  There were really two sides of a story going on in this book, and I loved that.  I also enjoyed that this one didn't seem too focused on romance.  It really hasn't been heavy handed with romance, but of course with Cindy looking for love in another book, for me it was a concern.  This is not to say I don't like romance.  I do.  I just am fond of the way a cozy mystery can ease that in rather than make it the main focus.  I am liking that all the characters are developing friendships naturally rather than forcing thenm on us at light speed.  At least that is my take on it.  I do hope that Debbie Viguie writes more books for this series.  Free or not, I will definitely snap them up.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review - Death In Dahlonega by Deborah Malone


I was fortunate to win Death In Dahlonega at author Trish Perry's blog "Reading, Writing, and the Stuff In-Between."  I have recently become totally enamored of Cozy mysteries so I was super thrilled at this win.

Here is a description from Good Reads:

A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains. Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along. Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum - the very man she'd had a run in with earlier that day - holding a bloody pickax in her hands. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer? Winner in American Christian Fiction Writers' Category Five writing contest.

My Review:  Can I just say that other than being embroiled in a murder investigation, I loved the life of Trixie Montgomery and her friend Dee Dee?  Who wouldn't be delighted to travel a bit for their career?  

Trixie takes her pal Dee Dee along with her on a work assignment for "Georgia On The Way" magazine where they are to catch the buzz of Gold Rush Days  in the quaint mountain town Dahlonega.  Other than the town's hotels being quite booked up because of the heavily attended event, the assignment truly seems to be fairly mundane and Trixie is looking for an angle for a more compelling story in order to wow her boss.  Trixie gets more than she asks for when her dear friend is found holding the murder weapon over a very lifeless townie.  What ensues are Trixie and Dee Dee's attempts to get to the bottom of who could have offed John Tatum.  The list grows because John is a prominent yet not terribly liked citizen.  

"Death In Dahlonega" is a quick read with great characters.  The town descriptions were so well written that I truly could picture it all in my mind.  The townspeople were pretty much what you would expect in a Cozy mystery, some were a little on the quirky side while others were straight-faced serious.  It was enjoyable reading about the ladies' interactions with them as well as the various eateries in town.  I would say that they were certainly true to life in the best way.  The murderer wasn't a complete surprise, but still it had me guessing.  I enjoyed the brief mind-vacation I had through Deborah Moore's book, and I do hope that more will follow.

Minor Spoiler:  This doesn't really touch on the main plot of the book, but a warning is still important.  I felt that the story did not have to end with a romantic loose end tied up.  Truly it was not necessary to the story, and it would have been something I would have preferred to see develop in future works. wont keep me from hoping for and definitely purchasing a sequel.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review - In The Dead of Winter by Nancy Mehl

I am a huge fan of Cozy Mysteries. For some reason they are on the top of my reading radar right now. I read Nancy's book quite a while back when I had won it on a review site. It had been long enough that I decided to re-read it this past week and weekend, and I am so glad I did.


Samantha "Ivy" Towers returns to Winter Break, Kansas, where she spent her summers as a child, to make funeral arrangements for her Aunt Bitty. While there, she begins to suspect her aunt's death, which resulted from a fall in her bookshop, wasn't an accident after all. Childhood friend Amos Parker, now sheriff of Winter Break, seems anxious to get Ivy out of town. A missing book, a message scrawled by an unknown person, and an extra coffee cup leave Ivy with more questions than answers.


Cozy mysteries have recently become my genre of choice, and books like In The Dead of Winter are exactly why.

Ivy Towers arrives in Winter Break surrounded by a whirl of snow.  Weather wise it is stormy and barely an opportune time to arrive in Winter Break as Winter Break holds onto snow with every last bit of its being.  Thus the delightful name that rings icily true.  The main issue is of course, Ivy is arriving to handle the estate and funeral arrangements for her dear great aunt whom she hasn't seen in quite a while.  

Ivy spent summers there as a youth, but now she is a college student with a semester left before taking on the world.  She is headed for a new and exciting future and uses her middle name, rather than Ivy, to claim it and leave behind the uncertain girl she once was.  The problem is you really can't be the new you when you bring yourself to your old stomping grounds.  Ivy is now in Winter Break where the population is tiny and everyone knows everyone's story and business.  

Though things should be clear cut on aunt Bitty's demise, Ivy has been left a note that causes her suspicion, and despite knowing most everyone in the small town, there is no small list of suspects.  Ivy has only a few short weeks before her final semester, but she isn't heading anywhere until she knows what happened to the woman who was just like a mother to her.  As Ivy searches for answers, the reader is introduced to a town that despite its overwhelming amount of snow and ice, sounds utterly delightful.  Delightful even as one is searching along with Ivy for answers.  Perhaps I feel this way because of the time I spent in my own icy stomping grounds in Maine and Rhode Island.

In The Dead of Winter was a much needed break from everyday for me.  I enjoyed the escape into the small town of Winter Break and all its residents whose varied eccentricities made each one more interesting than the next.  The place was charming which is saying a lot for a town that is situated in just such a way that winter really likes to kick it and stick around.  

I am usually rather good at guessing who the murderer is in cozy mysteries, but I did not get this one right away.  I enjoyed Ivy's interaction with the other townsfolk and that Ivy was an average girl next door type and not your typical obvious beauty.  She was flawed like the rest of us, but with a good heart, dreamer's mind, and a small dash of insecurity.   This was so much more interesting for me than some of the typical heroines you find in books.  I think that might be why I like cozy mysteries so much.  People are a lot more normal even though their circumstances might not be.  Some parts may have been tied up a little too quickly in the end, but it did not detract from the overall story.  I enjoyed it a great deal, and I am already looking forward to reading the next book in the series "Bye Bye Bertie" which I have already ordered.

As I said, I won this book a long time ago and was not remotely requested to do a review.  These opinions are truly my own.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thrifty Tips for February 1st



This Sunday is Superbowl Sunday, and it is the time for fun, friends, family and really odd commercials, and it can also be a real wallet denter.  Sooooo let's think of some ways that we can save money on enjoying the Superbowl. 

1 - If you are having a party, make it a potluck.  Assign different items to different guests.  Some can bring drinks, appetizers, desserts, plates and cups.  You supply the main dish and of course the locale.  This way everyone takes part in the cost.

2 - If child care is needed, chip in together and hire some sitters to take care of all the kids at your party. 

3 - Save time on Superbowl Sunday and prep as many things in advance as you can.  One of my favorite foods for a large group is chili.   Follow this link to a great slow cooker chili recipe.  You can set up an inexpensive chili and baked potato bar with all the fixings.  Because it is Superbowl weekend, you can pick up many of the sides at low cost, because all of these goodies are on sale.  Normally I would also suggest making meatballs and keeping those hot in a crock pot full of sauce.  But if you want to save time, you can buy those big bags of frozen meatballs and save yourself a step.  Ragu is on sale at Fry's right now grab a couple of jars.  Toss a bag of frozen meatballs in a crockpot, add two jars of sauce and let them cook on low until game time.  You can make meatball sliders or full on meatball grinders for a very inexpensive Superbowl meal.

5 - Team Spirit - My team is playing this year, and I will be spray painting my own team shirt.  Pick up stencils or make your own by printing and cutting out the stencils at this link.


As many of you know, I love getting free magazine subscriptions.  You never know what kind of information you are going to find.  I have a free subscription for Entrepreneur magazine, and although much of it is well out of my income bracket, I always find interesting articles.  The latest had an article on entrepreneurship opportunities that military veterans have been pursuing.  The article included some fabulous websites that I think could be a benefit to a veteran you may know.  These websites can help veterans start businesses.

SBA.GOV website is loaded with information for everyone, but they have an awesome page for the Office of Veterans Business Development with many links to programs and resources for veterans to get information on loan programs for veteran owned small businesses. 

LINK:  SBA Office of Veterans Business Development

US Department of Veterans Affairs helps small businesses become certified as Veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.  Once certified these businesses can become eligible for even more programs.  Their site, is loaded with information.



Last week I posted many, many uses for used coffee grounds and also left over coffee.  This week I thought I would share some uses for baking soda.  Baking soda is relatively inexpensive and something we usually have on hand for baking, but there is so much more you can use it for.

1 - Okay...we all know the obvious, but in case you do not, put an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb icky odors.

2 - Tooth whitening paste - Back in the mid 80s when tooth whitening products first hit the scene, my friends and I found that you could combine baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide into a goopy paste and mimic the whitening formulas.  We were college students on a very limited budget and really were pleased with the results.  You can also simply use baking soda as a simple toothpaste.  It isn't tasty, but it is effective and really makes your teeth feel pretty awesome.

3 - Silver Cleaner - When my silver gets a little grubby, I mix up some baking soda and water and gently rub it into the silver.  Tarnish comes off easily and leaves behind a nice shine.  I have not used it on large silver pieces, but I have used it on silver chains, rings, and flatware.

4 - Baking soda and water make a great gentle scrub for your face.  It is gritty so you will need to rinse quite a bit, but you will feel squeaky clean and exfoliated without overdoing it.

5 - Hair clarifying - A teaspoon of baking soda mixed in with your daily shampoo is all you need to use to remove a week's worth of product build up in your hair.  This is really something you only need to use once a week.  Trust me, I lived in the hairspray capital of the US back in the 80s and 90s, and all it took was this little trick to safely and inexpensively remove that build up.

6 - Fruit and veggie rinse - Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a bowl of water and use the mixture to clean off your fruit and veggies.  It works wonders with getting off the dirt and other residues.  Be sure to rinse well when done, because baking soda is not tasty.

7 - Keeping baking soda nearby when cooking is a great tool to have on hand in case of grease fires. 
Baking soda will smother the fire.  Be sure to put some distance between you and the flame before tossing the baking soda onto it, and of course if you can safely do so, turn off the appliance.

8 - Clean a curling iron - Just as your hair can hold a build up of hairspray and product so can your curling iron.  The nice thing is they clean really well with the use of baking soda.  Make a mixture of equal parts baking soda and water.  Take your cool and unplugged iron -let's repeat for emphasis...COOL AND UNPLUGGED CURLING IRON, and rub the iron with a soft cloth and the baking soda and water mixture. 

9 - Keep your sneakers from getting funky by sprinkling them with baking soda.  I like to do this at least once every two weeks. 

10 - Room refresher - Sprinkle baking soda on the floor.  Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then vacuum up.

11 - When your kitty litter box is cleaned out but still a little off putting, sprinkle some baking soda on the top and let it sit.  It isn't going to harm your kitties toes, but it will take their kitty scents away.

12 - Give your sink and pipes a quick clean by putting about 3/4 cup of baking soda in the drain followed by half a cup of white vinegar.  Not only will it clean your pipes but it can also be a natural way to unclog your pipes.  Of course sometimes you still need a plumber, but we have had pretty good results with this as a maintenance method. 

13 - Car Care - Baking soda is a great car cleaning tool.  Use it on the chrome, lights and to remove road tar and sap.  Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water and use with a sponge or soft cloth.   

14 - Oven Cleaner - Wipe the oven with a wet sponge or cloth and then sprinkle with baking soda.  Let this sit over night and tackle it the next day.  I have also tossed baking soda on oven spills for a quick clean up when the oven is cool.

15 - Upset Tummy - Use baking soda to relieve acid indigestion.  Follow the directions on the box.  DO NOT OVERUSE.

16 - Underarm deodorant - Yep...apply baking soda with a puff (you can usually buy these at drug stores in the beauty department) for a natural deodorant.  Note this is not an antiperspirant just a deodorant.

17 - Bath - For a nice relaxing soak that will remove oils and soften skin, add a cup of baking soda to the tub and soak it out.  If your skin is irritated from a sunburn a soda wash will help take the irritation out.  It is also great for a foot soak too.

18 - Smelly Fish Hands - I am so sorry that I wrote smelly fish hands, but I was thinking about how when you have to squeeze out a can of tuna before you use it, and afterward you are left with smelly fish hands.  ICK!  I mentioned how you can wash your hands with used coffee grounds to remove the scent, but you can also wash your hands with baking soda and water.  Scrub them up and remove the stink.  Sorry about the silly side, but I have been eating a lot of tuna lately, and this has really been a priority in the cleaning department.  Plus if you wash your hands in the kitchen sink with the baking soda, it will minimize the odor in the sink.

19 - Clean the kitchen or bathroom sink - Baking soda is a great mild abrasive that you can use to clean your sinks, stove tops and counter tops.  In fact it is also great to use to remove marks on the wall.  It is also nice because it has no bleach.

20 - Draw out the stale smell from wash cloths by soaking in 1/4 cup of baking soda and a quart of water.

21 - Make beans more digestible - Okay...I haven't tried this yet, but I have read that if you add some baking soda to the water that you soak your dried beans in, it will help the beans be more easily digestible. 

22 - Stings and bites - Baking soda with a little dash of water on a sting or bite is said to remove the ouch.

23 - Make a soak for retainers or other appliances.  Add two teaspoons of baking soda to two cups of water or a bowl of water, mix and add the appliance or a retainer.  This will clean and freshen the retainers.  NEVER soak your retainers in mouthwash.

24 - Make Play Clay!  Simply combine baking soda, corn starch and water and you can make clay.  Follow this link to the Arm & Hammer site for the recipe.


A lot of us use an envelope system in order to keep our budgets on track.  If you are interested in trying out the envelope system, follow this link to Dave Ramsey's website to learn how to get started with an envelope system.  If you would like a very cool printable that you can use to print your own envelopes which will have a spending register included, follow this link to Today's Nest for their fabulous free envelope printable.  Seriously, I love this. 


Sign up for a free sample of Emergen-C while supplies last.  The varieties change all the time.

LINK:  Emergen-C Sample


Send a Valentine via Redbox's Facebook page and your friends will get a free Redbox rental code to use on Valentine's Day.  I don't know about you, but I love a free movie.  Oh, and don't worry about not getting to enjoy a free movie too.  You can head back there on Valentine's Day to get a code for you too!

LINK:  Redbox Free Valentine's Rental

FreeCCM is my first stop for free Christian music.  This week you can download Jonny Diaz's song "Cross The Line" as well as songs from The Afters, Building 429, and Skillet. 

LINK:  FreeCCM Free Christian Music Downloads has two songs to download this week.  You can get "Damaged" by Plumb and "In Christ Alone" by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

LINK:  iTickets Free Christian Music Downloads



Rancher's Reserve Boneless Beef Petite Sirloin Steak $3.99 lb
Hass Imported Avocados 2/$1
Pantry Essentials or Dairy Glen Milk Gallon, Whole, 2%, 1%, Creamy Fat Free or Fat Free $1.57 (limit 2)
 Red Baron Pizza 15.77 to 22.63 oz Selected varieties 3/$10
Oscar Mayer Meat Franks 16 oz Selected Varieties 1/2 Free
Lay's Potato chips or Rold Gold Pretzels 10 to 10.5 oz Lay's or 7 to 16 oz Rold Gold Slected Varieties $1.99
Best Foods Mayonnaise or Kraft Miracle Whip 22 to 30 oz Select Varieties $2.88
Gallo Salame 8 oz Select Varieties 2/$7
Bumble Bee Solid White Tuna 5 oz 4/$5
Green Onions or Red Radishes 2/$1
Sweet Yellow Onions Imported 99 cents lb
Doritos Tortilla 11-11.5 oz or Lay's Kettle Chips 8.5 oz Select Varieties 2/$5
12 Pack Coca-Cola 12 oz Cans  Select Varieties 4/$11
Lucerne Ice Cream 1.5 qt Select Varieties $1.99


Coca-Cola, Pepsi or 7-Up Soft Drinks 4/$9 with $25 additional purchase
Blueberries 6 oz $1
Wholly Guacamole or Salsa $1
Clover Club Potato  Chips Select Varieties 10 oz While Supplies  Last 4/$5
Doritos Select Varieties 11 to 11.5 oz 2/$5
Bar-S Franks 12 oz 99 cents (limit 4)
Keenan Farm Pistachios 10 oz $3.99
Fry's Buns Select Varieties Hamburger or Hot Dog 8 ct 4/$5
Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail or Lights Select Varieties 4 ct or 64 oz $1.99
D'Anjou or Bosc Pears 99 cents lb
GAME DAY GREATS BUY 10 PARTICIPATING PRODUCTS SAVE $5 (prices reflect discount when you buy 10)
Hunt's Tomatoes or Paste Select Varieties12-14.5 oz .49 cents each
Healthy Choice Entree Select Varieties 9.5 to 12.5 oz $1.88
Marie Callender's Entree Select Varieties 8.5 to 19 oz $1.88
Ragu Pasta Sauce Select Varieties 16-26 oz .99 cents
Lay's Potato or Kettle Cooked  Chips Select Varieties8.5 to 10.5 oz $1.88
Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice or Trop50 Juice Select Varieties 59 oz $2.49
Mom's Best Natural Cereal Select Varieties 7.4 oz to 16.5 oz .99 cents
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Select Varieties 8 oz $1.29
Mission Soft Taco Tortillas 10 ct $1.49
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Beverage Select Varieties Half Gallon $1.99
Van's Waffles, Pancakes or French Toast Sticks Select Varieties 7.5 to 12.4 oz $1.99


Pork Loin Back Ribs Seasoned 1/2 free
Hormel Spiral Sliced Half Ham Bone-in 99 cents lb
Pork Country Style Ribs Bone-in $1.99 lb
Campbell's Tomato or Chicken Noodle Soup 10.75 oz 2/$1 (limit 6)
Kraft Salad Dressing 16  oz Select Varieties $1.49 (limit 4)
Nabisco Snack Cerackers 5.5 t0 10 oz Select Varieties $1.99
Coffee-mate Flavored Creamer 16 oz Select Varieties 2/$3
Herdez Salsa 16 oz or Hidden Valley Dip  Mix 1 oz Select Varieties 2/$3
Sunshine Cheez-it Crakcers 7.5 to 9 oz 2/$4
Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake 15.25 - 18.4 oz Select Varieties 4/$5
Betty Crocker Frosting 12-16 oz 3/$5
Red Bell Peppers 99 cents each
Large Pink Lady Apples 99 cents lb
Fresh Cilantro or Garlic 2/88 cents
Large  Texas Grapefruit 69 cents lb

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Power In The Name - Jesus

This is a video from my friend's band, Covenant 31.  I think that everyone involved did a great job.  There is power in the name of Jesus.  We can take our faults and frailties to him, and He can break the chains and turn it all around.  We just need to be willing to come to Him. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Progress Report - A Slip


This morning I did not wake up at 5:00 am for my prayer and Bible reading time.  I was very bummed.  I set the alarm for 5:50 AM rather than 4:50 AM like had had been doing for two days now.  I woke up at 5:38 AM and had to do the mad dash to get caught up with the morning routine without getting the opportunity to follow through on my deal with God.  I will not give up though.  I realize now that this is definitely something I can do, and it is definitely helping me.  I am enjoying my moments of quiet with just me and God and then God, me and Joyce Meyer.  :)

Speaking of Joyce Meyer, she is heading to Phoenix soon.  I talked with one of our listeners at the station today, and we are going to drive up together to catch the first evening conference.  I wish that I could go to all of them, but we have a lot of events going on at the station, and really the first night will be my only good chance to go.  I am really looking forward to it!


I am so excited to have found this time with God.  I look forward to waking up tomorrow morning and spending more time with him.  It really is THE best way to start your day. 

Next week I'll begin my new weight loss plan.  :) 

Thursday, January 26, 2012



One of my old school friends that I reconnected with via Facebook's husband just passed away.  It was very surprising for everyone.  He was only 44.  Right now I just can't really focus on much.  I am just surprised at how lives develop and change.  I am also of course thinking about my own mortality and of course my husband's.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thrifty Tips January 25th


This is just what I work on every week for the radio station I work at.  I post it on my blog and the station's blog.  If you ever want to listen in, you can go to and listen on Thursdays at 8:05 am for these tips.


Have you been looking for a motivating place with diet plans, support, nutrition and fitness help.  An online community that is successful, helpful, and also free?  Take a moment and check out will help you develop a new lifestyle not just another way to lose weight by limits that are next to impossible to continue with.  You can join a whole community but also take advantage of expert advise.  The pounds are flying and  All you need is internet access which you can get for free at the library.



Coffee Grounds.  Not only is coffee amazing when you drink a yummy hot cup in the morning or a frosty glass of iced coffee in the evening, but it has many ways that it can be reused as well.  Here are just a few things you can do with those old grounds.  If you do not have coffee grounds ask around.  Many restaurants or coffee shops will be happy to let you have theirs.  Just pop in and ask. 

1- Composting - Did you know that composting involves more than just dumping your scraps into a barrel?  Apparently you need the right balance of green materials to produce nitrogen and brown materials to produce carbon.  I honestly have no idea why you need both, but my friend you do, and coffee grounds are just one of the materials you can use in your composting pile that will produce carbon.  Kashi's website (yes the cereal granola bar people) has some fabulous composting tips.  It isn't too late to get started, and it is so much nicer than useless waste.  Check it all out here:  Kashi Composting Tips

2- Let the grounds dry and stuff into small paper bags, tie and put in places where odors abound.  You can also put some in old stockings and stuff into gym shoes especially if you don't have more than one pair to switch out of so you can get rid of the funk.  This is also great for taking odors out of the car.  Dried flavored coffee grounds will make the car smell exceptionally great.  Pop some into the refrigerator and freezer too.

3- Use to exfoliate your skin.  I have put used coffee grounds into an old jar or container and use them to exfoliate my hands and feet.  You can use it as a body scrub as well.  I have even found this as a way to boost a tan in the summer as it gets dry skin sloughed off but also adds a very light color.  Your skin will feel absolutely silky!  Guys, it can't hurt you to try this as well.

4- Several sites have recommended soaking the grounds in water overnight or longer and using the colored water as a wood stain. 

5- When planning to cook onion or fish, set aside some of your used coffee grounds to scrub your hands with to eliminate that fishy or onion odor.  Yes, lemons work as well, but then you have to waste a lemon.

6- Coffee grounds are a good fertilizer for acid loving plants like blueberries, carrots and melons.  Check with your local garden center to be sure that you are putting your grounds with the right plants (I have heard yes and no when it comes to tomatoes) as well as the ratios to follow.

7- Soak the coffee in water and use the liquid as a dye for material.

8- It has been said that you can sprinkle old coffee grounds in your garden to keep pests like ants, slugs and even cats away.  If you have dogs or puppies stay away from this as it can make them sick.

9- This is for leftover coffee though for me there is no such thing and I love iced coffee.  Still you can use leftover coffee as a meat tenderizer.

10- If you have dark hair, you can rub used coffee grounds into your hair to stimulate the scalp and add shine.  Lighter haired individuals should not try this as it can stain the hair.

11- I read about using the coffee grounds to dye Easter eggs for a natural look, but I was thinking you could pretty much take care of that by doing brown eggs.  Still, if you would like to try it, you would do the same staining process with soaking the grounds overnight in water.

12- If you have a fireplace, you might want to sprinkle used coffee grounds over the ashes before cleaning out the fireplace.  They will help minimize the dust that can be flying about.

13- Another way to use leftover coffee is to put equal parts of coffee and sugar in a pan and boiling it down into a syrup.  This may seem weird to some, but back in Rhode Island, coffee milk and coffee syrup was hugely popular.  In fact, I just may have to use some of my stored up iced coffee to make my own.

14- Speaking of iced coffee, brew a second pot of coffee using leftover coffee grounds and use the lighter coffee to make ice cubes to put in your iced coffee drinks.  They flavor will be less diluted this way as the ice melts.

15- Mix coffee grounds with your carrot and radish seeds when planting to help their crop grown and keep pests away.


Create a free Walmart Photo Center account and you will get 25 free 4 x 6 photos in your welcome email.  OOOH I didn't mention that these were one hour prints.  There are also other great reasons to join like free shipping to the store and photo storage too.  At the very least, how can you pass up 25 free prints?  I'm sure you have some pics you would like to print for free.

LINK:  Walmart Photo Center Account


Living The Country Life, I believe that this magazine subscription is quarterly.  I get it and it really has some great information for people who like gardening and things like that.  I have found some great tips in the issues that I have received in the past.  Because it is quarterly, do not expect it to arrive right away.  Sign up while supplies last.  I  just got the latest issue so I am not sure exactly when the next one will arrive.

LINK:  Living The Country Life

Got a new baby in the family or are you expecting?  Sign up for a free subscription to Baby Talk magazine. 

LINK:  Baby Talk Magazine

Another fabulous subscription for those with  new babies or babies on the way is American Baby.

LINK:  American Baby Magazine


FreeCCM is offering free downloads this week from Building 429, Skillet, Todd Agnew (Christmas), Phillips, Craig & Dean (Christmas), 33Miles (Christmas), Stellar Kart and Decyfer Down.

LINK:  FreeCCM Music Downloads

New Release Tuesday has free song downloads too including "Come to Me" by Bethel Music from their album "The Loft Sessions," "At Your Name" by Worship Central from their album "Spirit Breakout,"  "Even Here" by Rachel Chan from her debut album "Go" and "Take Me Home" by Hollywood Holly from his album "When Super Meets Natural."

LINK:  New Release Tuesday Free Music Downloads

Sign up for Hear It First and you can get a free song download every week emailed to you as well as lots of Christian music news, videos, and deals.  I do want to let you know that they will email you with deals and new release news.  You wont get a bunch of junk mail, but you may get more than one email a week.  I like them very much though.

LINK:  Hear It First



Entire Selection of Fresh Pork 50% Off
New York Strip Steak USDA Choice, Bone-In, Beef Loin Family Packs $4.67 lb (limit 2)
Red Seedless Grapes 88 cents lb
Fry's Milk Whole Vitamin D, 2%, 1% Lowfat, or Nonfat Gallon sizes $1.57 (limit 2)
Doritos 11-11.5 oz $1.99
Dole Premium Classic Salad Select Varieties $1.00 each
Anjou or Bosc Pears 99 cents lb
Navel Oranges 99 cents lb
Bananas 57 cents lb
-GAMEDAY GREATS BUY 10 SAVE $5 (all the prices reflect the $5 off when 10 are purchased)
Mission Soft Taco  Tortillas $1.9
Lay's Potato or Kettle cooked Chips 8.5 to 10.5 oz $1.88
Ragu Pasta Sauce 16-26 oz Select Varieties 99 cents
Marie Callender's Entree Select Varieties 8.5-19 oz $1.88
Healthy Choice Entrees Select Varieties $1.88
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Select Varieties8 oz $1.29
Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese 15 oz or Velveeta Shells & Cheese 10-14 oz $1.49
Welches Essentials or Light Grape Juice 64 oz $1.99
Hebrew National Beef Franks Select Varieties 11-12 oz $2.99 each
Advil Pain Reliever Select Varieties 20-24 ct $3.34
Edge or Skintimate Shave Gel Select Varieties 7 oz $1.49
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Beverage Select Varieties Half Gallon $1.99


Whole Pork Shoulder Blade Roast Bone-in, Sold in the bag $1.29 lb
Swai Fillets Farm raised, previously frozen $2.99 lb
Imported Red Seedless Grapes 99 cents lb
Russet Potatoes 49 cents lb
Safeway Apple Juice 64 oz $1.99

Barilla Pasta 12 to 16 oz 10/$10
4 lb Bag Safeway Oranges $2.00
Sweet Navel Oranges 99 cents lb


Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji or Granny Smith Apples 99 cents lb
Ken's Salad Dressing 16 oz Select Varieties 2/$3
Deli Counter Meat or Cheese - Turkey, Ham or American $4.99 lb


Petite Sirloin Steak boneless $8.49 lb 1/2 free
Assorted Pork Loin Chops Bone-in Family Pack $1.88 lb
Pork Rib Racks Bone-in $1.99 lb
Pork Sirloin Chops $1.99 lb
Coke 12 pk Select Varieties Sale Price 4/$13 with $25 purchase 4/$10
Michelina's Entrees 4.5 to 9.5 oz 10/$10
Purple Eggplant 77 cents each
Large Navel Oranges 99 cents lb
Red, Green or Romaine Leaf Lettuce 99 cents each
Banquet Value Meals 4.66 oz - 10.25 oz 10/$10

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day One & Two - Getting Up Early For My Time With God



I have to say that I really, really, really had a horrendous night's sleep.  It was so bad that I asked God to please give me the stamina to get up in the morning to begin  my reading.  No joke, I probably tossed and turned the entire time I was in bed.  I slept fitfully at best.  When the clock went off at 5:00 am, I was soooo very very nervous, and I desperately wanted to slip right back into my old pattern of listening to see if my son got up and got into the shower (I listen for the door and for the shower to turn on) and get one more half an hour of sleep.  But I made a promise to God to get up at 5:00 am every day this week so I could spend time reading and studying His word and of course time in prayer.  

I slipped out of the bed, made my way into the kitchen and bleary eyed...set up the coffee maker.  As the coffee began to brew, I opened my Bible by following the marker.  Oh boy.  1 Chronicles!  This just might be one of the most sleep inducing books in the Bible!  That isn't fair.  It is just full of so much lineage and stuff that I find it hard to move through more than a chapter at a time.  I made my promise though, and God so far had more than met me half way.  I read the first chapter.  After it was completed I asked God if it would be okay to read a chapter and then watch Joyce Meyer.  I get a lot out of watching her conferences and I would love, love, love to go to one, but unfortunately they  never seem to fit into my schedule...but I digress.

It didn't seem as if God objected.  I didn't feel guilty about my request.  I didn't feel like I was trying to get out of anything.  I looked up the DVR recordings and pressed play.  It was amazing.  It was as if God was saying "You have made the right decision."  The program was all about how to start your day, and the importance of spending your morning with God.  Talk about confirmation.

I have to say that my day went well.  My work day went well.  I felt in good spirits.  I had a great work out at the gym.  I also felt good all day.  I wasn't tired!  God hooked this lady up!!!!


I forgot to mention that after I took my son to the bus stop, I was able to read more of the Bible.  My day started the same as yesterday.  I pushed myself out of bed and made my way into the kitchen, prepped my coffee and began to read. All in all, I handled the morning the same way.  I read up to chapter 6 including commentary sections and watched Joyce Meyer as she continued on the program about starting your day with God.  I really felt as if I was making headway and felt really good.

I almost, actually more than almost, felt like getting up even earlier so I could spend more time.  I may do that tomorrow.  I will get up a little earlier tomorrow, but probably not on Thursday.  Wednesday evenings I am up late doing show prep, so I really can't count on a decent night's sleep.  I am going to try to really work it hard core so I can complete all the prep by our usual bedtime. 

I had a few set backs and a few good things today.  I felt in a great mood and was humming and praying most of the day.  I had a small set back at work, but nothing major.  I guess my mind still will desperately try to play games with me.  My mind, satan, whatever it was...I was a bit of a mess as I headed out to the gym after work.  I recalled the program that I watched this morning though.  One of the things I remembered was Joyce talking about angels hearkening to God's word.  And talking about good things for yourself rather than negative.  

I spoke and spoke and spoke all the positive things that I could think of over myself.  I cried.  I didn't bawl, but speaking those things to myself was good yet they made me cry.  I think I was realizing that I could claim God's love for me and that God has created me for a purpose, but at the same time, I have felt so down for so long that I couldn't handle the positive without high emotion. 

At the gym, I worked out with abandon.  It felt good.  At home I felt good too.  My son and I watched his favorite show together, and then I slipped into a mini sleepy jag.  I woke up sad and depressed.  I felt blue and I really had no reason why.  I did everything I could think of doing and pulled myself out of a funk earlier, but this time I couldn't do it.  I felt so bad and I don't know why.  

I pulled out of it, but it was a weird moment in an equally weird day.  I had definite ups but some downs too.  I wonder how things will go tomorrow.  

All in all, I am very happy to have followed my promise.  I know that God is working in my life which probably explains why things have gotten a little hard for me so soon.  It is still a victory though, because I could have been blue a lot earlier and fallen into the funk a lot harder.  I did not.  I got through it the first time and kind of zombied it the second.  God is good, and He loves me!  :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday January 23 to 29

I was very happy to stick with last week's Menu Plan Monday.  I am quite late on jumping on the bandwagon today, but I'll be darned if I am going to stop now!  I will get through this year!

Leftover Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Stew (I made changes in that I used my own chicken stock rather than bouillon and seasoned salt instead of celery or garlic salt.Spring Mix Salad with mushrooms, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, cranberries and candied pecans (chopped).

Homemade pizzas - One pepperoni and one heavy veggies with light pepperoni and homemade crust recipe.

Beef Tostadas

Spaghetti with meat sauce

Chicken enchiladas

Spring Mix Salad with left over pizza

Pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn

Not lots of recipes, but I have made fabulous granola bars this week that we have been using for quick breakfasts and snacks. I added dried cranberries, apple sauce, dark chocolate chips and flax seed.  VERY easy and VERY yummy!

Big thanks to Laura from I'm An Organizing Junkie for helping us all live life a little easier.  :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012



I have been thinking about goals and dreams.  Do you ever feel like although you are happy with your life the way it is, you wouldn't mind a few changes?  It isn't like I am not appreciative of what I have, but I guess I am a little dreamer.  One of my dreams is to live in Carmel.  Of course Carmel is in no way inexpensive so for that dream to be a reality will take a huge act of God.  Still...if there were a way, I would definitely be there. 

I went there on my honeymoon in 2007, and I absolutely fell in love with the place.  Really it just has the appeal to me that so many towns like it do.  It is kind of a small town thing.  I loved the views, the greenery, and of course many of the sweet looking cottages I saw.  I looked at these amazing homes and just wondered to myself what it would be like to live in a place like that.  Imaging waking up to the sound of the surf and the site of the cliffs...magical.  

My husband and I are going back soon.  For some reason this made me totally look at the homes there and in Pacific Grove.  I daydreamed quite a bit about waking up in one of these sweet cottages.  A simple two bed and two bath would be fine with me...though I would appreciate also a yard (front and back) so I could garden. 

I don't feel it is wrong to dream these things...I just wish I could figure out that whole way to make them happen short of winning the lottery of course.  When I come back from my honeymoon.  I'll post some pictures.  

Now speaking of goals.  I have been reading about ways to help you change habits and be successful in endeavors to change.  One of the things I have really wanted to do is spend more time in the  Word.  I have been trying to figure out a way to make this more of a reality.  It is killing me.  I don't want to do it, but I seriously think that getting up earlier is probably going to be my only way to go.  I don't mind getting up early.  I just hate not sleeping.  How sad am I? 

So do I do it?  Do I get up a half an hour earlier so I can spend that time reading my Bible?  Part of me wants to do it, but part of me desperately wants to sleep more.  So here's my plan.  For the n ext week starting tomorrow, I am going to get up one half hour earlier and read my Bible.  I am going to just tell me flesh to shut up and do it.  I am also going to pray for God's help in this.  My flesh is weak, weak, weak.  

Where did this post start?  No idea.  Off to finish watching American Idol.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting It In Under The Wire

I am squeezing this post in because I realize that OOOPS, I haven't posted today.  It wasn't that I was terribly busy, but well, I was busy.  Just not terribly. More like with terrible projects like laundry, cleaning the cat litter box, going through three piles of papers that were at least 8 inches tall, and of course cooking, cooking, cooking.  These projects aren't even terrible.  I just wasn't in the mood to do them.  Oh!  I didn't even mention that I also went to the grocery store.  What can I say?  I hate leaving the house on weekends unless I am doing something fun.

But...I am proud of myself today.  I am proud that even though I didn't want to, I completed a few chores that needed to be done.  The 2011 me would have found a way to stay in and do the store thing later.

OOOOH I am also proud that it is January 21st and I still have not used my credit card this month!  Wooo Hooo!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seattle's Best Coffee Review - Level 3


I love free samples.  I love the opportunity to try something new and perhaps add a new item to my loves!  When it comes to coffee, I am always ready to give a new brand a shot.  A while back I got a free sample of Seatle's Best Coffee in Level 3.  I honestly wanted to rip into it immediately, but my husband convinced me to wait for a Friday evening.  Why?  Because he is an old man (actually younger than me) and coffee keeps him up at night.  Me?  I can drink coffee and still sleep like a baby.  I believe that is because of the extensive training I received from many late night coffee walks in my college days where my best friend and I would drink cup after cup of coffee while walking and talking through her neighborhood.  But...I digress.  I do that.  Let's get on to my review.

Seattle's Best Coffee has a new level system that makes it easy to pick the level that is right for you.  You can head to the Seattle's Best Coffee website and read all about each one and be sure that you are going to be pleased.  It couldn't be easier.  I had chosen Level 3 which is described as "Balanced, smooth , full flavored."  The description definitely seemed to suit me, but the test was in the brewing.

First of all, even though I said the test was in the is a lot more than that my friends.  What happens when you open the bag of coffee.  Does the aroma make you smile?  Does it smell so good you can't wait to try it?  Does it smell so good you can taste it?  I'm serious.  This coffee smelled good.  It had a strong aroma, but not a STRONG aroma.  It was nutty and rich scented.  Once brewed, my husband took notice.  He grabbed a cup quickly, prepped it up and said "This is good coffee, baby."  I hadn't even had mine yet, the rat!  My own fault of course as I was finishing up some homemade iced coffee (ever since we got a new fridge with a crushed ice mode...I have rediscovered my iced coffee addition ---oops again I digress).  That was all the spurring on I needed.  

The but not overly so.  Bold in a cheeky way.  In other words, it didn't slap me in the face, but its smooth nuttiness made just the right impression.  I am in definite like!  My husband tried it with a flavored creamer next and said that the creamer didn't overpower the flavor of the coffee like it can with others.  I don't do soy so I couldn't go in that direction, but I made myself a mocha next by adding a little chocolate syrup, and the flavor balance was fabulous.

Overall opinion - Lovin't it!  I already am a fan of the yummy lattes in a can, and now I can say that I will be picking up some of the bagged coffees as well.  I am really tempted to grab myself a Level 5 which is described as "Bold, dark, intense."  It also has a stunning purple package.  This I like as well.  It is nice that you can find what you like and not grab something else because you mistook the packaging.  By they way...Level 3 was a beautiful brilliant red.  

You can pick up Seattle's Best Coffees at grocery stores, Walmarts, CVS and even get it brewed at Subway and Burger King.  I of course prefer to brew my own.  Follow this link to their website if you'd like to learn more.  :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recipes Links From Burgers to Desserts


Am I the only person who goes on a diet and suddenly feels compelled to watch EVERY food show they can find? I have become addicted to Cupcake Wars, Cake Wars, and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, as well as Kid In A Candy Store. I need help. I guess it is better to watch these shows than to actually eat myself into oblivion.

I think one of the things I really like about Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is the travel. The food too of course. I would LOVE going to different lil eateries all over this country. It is something I kind of picked up from my parents and the various cross country trips we took when I was a child.

Here are a few treats that I am surely going to make.

Original Lauer Kraut Burgers - After watching the fabulous little diner produce these beauties, I was convinced that I must try this recipe out. And in several weeks, I shall. This recipe came from Lauer-Krauts, Brighton, CO. If I ever get to Brighton, I am begging the husband to stop here.

Foolish Guacamole - We have several sports faves around here, and there is nothing like a good snack while watching football, Nascar, or MMA. One of my favorites to make is guacamole. I fell in love with avocados in my teens and guacamole quickly after. I thought BINGO when I watched Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and they showed this amazing guacamole recipe called Foolish Guacamole at Foolish Craig's Cafe in Boulder, CO. Seriously it looks like there are some amazing places to nosh in Colorado!

And now onto the blogging world:

I am continually looking for recipes that can incorporate foods that I have on hand (especially overripe items like bananas).  When I saw Dina's recipe for Healthy Banana Muffins at her blog Just Another New Blog, I was super excited.  First there is a normal option of which would be yummy and a must try.  And in bold, Dina shows the substitutes that she uses to make an even healthier option.  Follow this link and prepare to be delighted!

Healthy Banana Muffins at Just Another New Blog

Norwegian Chocolate Pizza - You never know where you are going to find an enticing recipe. I was perusing Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews when I saw the most tasty looking chocolate treat. It looks addicting and possibly entirely too indulgent, but once in awhile that is what a person needs. Sharon shared Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook which is a compilation of yummy recipes found in author Joanne Flukes Hannah Swensen series of cozy mysteries. Check out Sharon's blog today. There are a lot of delightful reviews.

Dark Chocolate Florentine Cookies - These sound good, but click on the link and look at them, and you will agree that they also look amazing. I love anything that utilizes dark chocolate. These look like the perfect cookie gift, and I am really thinking of gifting some friends with cookies on Valentine's day. This recipe from Caramel Potatoes couldn't have been posted at a better time. :)

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
- This yummy looking treat comes from Heather's Dish. I love pumpkin and of course coffee cake.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Pie - Sometimes you open up an email and go "What?" This is what happened to me when I opened my email subscription to Tidy Mom which is Cheryl's wonderful blog. Cheryl, the Tidy Mom who posted a wonderful picture of the most amazing looking chocolatey creamy pie with pretzels! I love a salty-sweet combo of chocolate dipped pretzels, and I imagine I will be just as overtaken by this yummy looking pie. Intesested? You simply HAVE to check out the recipe at Cheryl's blog.

Pumpkin Praline Trifle
- I believe I have mentioned that I adore trifle. It is seriously a dessert that I dream of. I have picked up some extra cans of pumpkin, and I truly think this will be on my must-make list for perhaps my husband's birthday. This divine recipe is located at Baker's Royale.