Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. - John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Friday CVS deals

If you don't have a CVS Extra Care card you need to go sign up for one. Right. Now. Here's a link to the Black Friday Deals that actually start on Thanksgiving Day, complete with links to printable coupons that will actually let you make money. Seriously. And yes, I will be there on Thanksgiving Day because it will be way less busy and we never go home that early in the morning.

If you don't have a card yet or any ECB's, you can do multiple transactions. Just buy a thing or two, then use those bucks toward the next transaction. The cashiers are always really nice about doing this.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Making your own pickles is easy and cheap. It hardly even counts as cooking it's so easy. I get cucumbers 3/$1 at Save and Prosper, the Russian market. This week they were huge so I paid 5o cents each. Look how big this thing is (it's next to a sheet of paper to show you the size)!

All you need is jars, and probably you can just use old mayo jars if you don't want to go buy the expensive canning kind. So here's what you do:

Mix together in a saucepan:
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar
Up to 1 tablespoon each mustard seed and celery seed, depending on your taste

Boil that mixture for a few minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. While that cooks, slice up some cucumbers and fill your jars with them, like this:

When your vinegar mixture is done, just pour it into the jars over the cucumbers, screw on the lid and stick them in the fridge! I don't know how long they last because no matter how many I make, they are always gone pretty fast, but it seems like they should last a good long while. This batch was made with 2 smaller cucumbers and 1-1/2 bigger ones. If you buy the spices at Sharp Shopper for 89 cents, the grand total is less than 50 cents a jar for delicious, homemade pickles!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who's excited about the new Mudvayne CD?

I AM!!! I would've rushed out and bought it, but a little birdie told me we might be getting it for Christmas so I am impatiently waiting. I listened to the 3 songs on their Myspace and, as always, they rock my face off. I know everyone loves LD50 (as do I), but I am already in love with The NEW GAME. It's a good blend of old and new Mudvayne.

From their Myspace: THE NEW GAME is an electrical storm of musical fury, a lesson in controlled chaos that tempers hard rock, heavy metal, prog rock and sadistic splatters of melody into an onslaught of metallic highs and emotional lows, rushing surges and pronounced blows. The album ups the ante for Mudvayne, one of the most creative and distinctive bands in the aggressive music world with sales exceeding 5 million units worldwide. The band--CHAD GRAY (vocals), GREG TRIBBETT (guitars), RYAN MARTINIE (bass) and MATT MCDONOUGH (drums)--produced THE NEW GAME with Dave Fortman (Evanescence), capturing the wily charisma and hyper-kinetic energy of a band who survived their seven-year itch by embedding their claws into the heart of their music.

So probably most of you reading this are not into my genre of music, but if you like rock at all you should check it out. As for me, I'm turning it up to 11.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Enough with the gas complaints!

OK, check out this quote that I read in the paper last week regarding gas prices when they were higher. "When you have to go to work, you have to go to work. When you have to take your kids places, you take them places. You do what you have to do to cut back in other places." This is all well and good, except that the lady who said it was driving a 2008 Toyota Highlander (the non-hybrid)!!! Are you kidding me?!?! Most people who complain about gas prices had a choice when they bought their vehicle. If they chose a gas-guzzler - too bad. Especially a 2008 model gas-guzzler. That means she even bought it when the prices were sky high. If this lady could truly afford a Highlander, she probably didn't have to cut back like she said, and if she couldn't afford it, she shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Only under 3 circumstances do gas price complaints seem legitimate to me.
1 - People who truly cannot afford gas and/or a family member or friend gave them a ridiculously good price on a less efficient car.
2 - People who need a larger vehicle for work reasons.
3 - People who have more than 3 kids.

And there is my rant about gasoline. That's why I have a Hess credit card which gives me a 5% discount and drive a Corolla and bought a house 3 miles from work!! I am just as happy as anyone that the prices are starting to drop, but these decisions have helped the fluctuations not have such a huge impact. You can leave a mean comment if I've stepped on your toes because I probably have, but I just think that we as Americans have some serious entitlement issues. And don't tell me I will buy a bigger vehicle when I have kids because I won't. We never had a mini-van or SUV growing up and we managed fine. Maybe we should just be thankful for what we have. Gas prices in Amsterdam hit over $10/gallon this year, and many developed countries still pay over $5/gallon on a regular basis. And don't tell me to go live there (Aaron, because that's what you would tell me) because I'm not the one complaining.

Monday, November 17, 2008

At the risk of a TMI error...

...I am wondering if anyone out there has ever dealt with bladder pain or interstitial cystitis. I had stomach surgery back in August which was the best decision I've ever made and my stomach is PERFECT now!!! However, since June I have been dealing with moderate-severe bladder pain and have been seeing a urologist. It's pretty funny being 24 years old and going to the urologist because everyone in there is like 80!!

So today I start my elimination diet with the help of the dietitian at work. This will help me to find things in my diet that trigger pain in my bladder. Nothing but plain rice, potatoes, and homemade crackers for 48 hours, then I start to add 1 food at a time (kinda like when you start babies on food one at a time to make sure they don't have allergies). You all who know me know that this is a really hard thing to do because I LOVE to cook and eat and this pretty much has stolen all the joy out of that.

Anyway, the point of this post is to see if anyone has any experience with this stuff and what have you found helpful?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bugaloo Kids are cute

Have you ever heard of Robeez? I hadn't before today, but are really cute, pretty pricey kids shoes (almost $30 a pair!). One of the ladies who writes a blog I read posted that her cousin just started a new business called Bugaloo Kids. The shoes are pretty much the same as Robeez (soft-sole leather shoes), but for half the price! Each pair is $15 and shipping is free if you buy 3 pairs. This would be a great Christmas gift for some young-uns on your list. And the best part, she donates 5% of profits to International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. So while $15 is still a lot for kids shoes, it's worth it, plus they seem to be made well so hopefully will last a while. Happy Shopping!

Visit this other blog...

...for my post today. It's about how we can always afford to be generous because God will provide.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great New Harrisonburg Discoveries

Here's some places you should check out if you live in my area...

1 - Plato's Closet. This is a store where they buy your gently-used brand name clothing and give you cash on the spot (unlike consignment). I've tried twice to take in a couple items and the line is SO long and the people in front of me have multiple laundry baskets full of junk. So unfortunately, I can't tell you about how much they pay or anything...if anyone else knows please comment. As far as buying, they have tons of cool clothes for decent prices (jeans were about $12-15 and shirts were less than $10). This is the perfect place to take your preteen daughter who is obsessed with Hollister or for people like me who want to stay at least semi-cool but not break the bank. Reber found a pair of Timberland boots in his size and in great condition for $16!!

2 - Red Panda Chinese Buffet. Their lunch buffet is $6.75 which is very reasonable considering the amount of expensive things on it. They have a sushi bar for those of you who are into that, salad bar, lots of seafood options, and the traditional stuff too. The ladies working were really nice too. It's located in Harrisonburg Crossing (I know, I know, we all hate that place, but we had to go to the Ntelos store b/c Reber's phone wasn't working).

3 - Pueblo Grade Mexican Restaurant. This is the BEST Mexican restaurant. The service is OUTSTANDING and they have $3.99 lunch specials everyday that give you tons of food. Sometimes they have a Mariachi Band for special occasions. They give you a mild salsa but ask for the spicy's much better : )

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I am the Guitar Hero

First of all Happy Birthday to Reber on Sunday. I'm on my last day of a 4-day weekend which has completely rocked (even though my Steelers lost *tear*). One of his gifts from his family was the Guitar Hero Rock Legends pack. We have been tearing it up so far on easy...I even got the Slayer song with 93% correct notes on my second day!! Our social worker told us that the company who makes Guitar Hero is the only company on the stock exchange making money right now. So as Americans, we're not buying as many cars, gallons of gas, food items, or other necessary things........we're buying Guitar Hero.

The game is totally fun but I do have one complaint...Where is Hendrix? Where is AC/DC? Where is Judas Priest? Are these not rock legends? They have AFI with a 2006 song but none of these others? WHAT THE HECK?!?! I also think they should make an entire punk version so the punk doesn't get mixed in with our metal.

That is the end of my Guitar Hero rant. Give us a couple weeks and we'll be up for some tournaments so bring it on!!!

CVS Rocks

Guess how much all this cost....$7.00!! That includes out of pocket (OOP) money and extra care bucks (ECBs) that I used. Not too shabby! Check out my previous CVS post if you wanna know more about how to get in on these deals...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why you should love your crockpot (Part 4)

Two words - Apple Butter! I never follow a specific recipe and I ususally use a mixture of applesauce and fresh apples. You can find all kinds of recipes by doing a search and find the one that's best for you. I always like a lot more spices in mine than the recipe calls for. The basic ingredients are some form of apples or sauce, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

Basically, you just put your ingredients in the crockpot on Low for about 12 hours, then remove the lid and cook until enough moisture has evaporated to give you a nice, medium-thick consistency. People will think you are so awesome but it is so easy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't Make Fun of Canada, eh!

Here is a copy of a recent letter to the editor in my local paper. I am probably breaking copyright laws so don't tell, but it was from the Daily News Record.

“After enduring a whole 37 days of campaigning, Canadians recently voted. There were no exit polls. There were no national news broadcasts about results on the East Coast before the polls on the West Coast closed.

Within an hour of the last poll closing the overall result was obvious — another minority government. The leaders of all the parties gave what were essentially concession speeches — acknowledging that they would need multi-partisan cooperation to address the concerns of the whole country.”

I think the Canadians get it right on this one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GO VOTE can get free stuff! If you live near a Krispy Kreme you get a free donut, Ben and Jerry's a free ice cream scoop, and Starbucks a free coffee! If you are still trying to figure out who to vote for, here's a little hint ; )

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why you should love your crockpot (Part 3)

"Beans, beans, they're good for your heart..."

I'll let you finish that in your head and laugh. Beans are a great crockpot food and a great way to save tons of money. Some of you may see dried beans and think "What the crap am I supposed to do with these?" EASY. Just rinse them, put them in your crockpot, and cook on low overnight. I also add salt - which is another advantage over canned because you can control the amount. In the morning, just divide the beans into freezer containers and you're all set! Reaching for a container of beans from the freezer is just as easy as reaching for a can of beans from the pantry. Sometimes I add mild beans (like pintos) to dishes (like sloppy joes) and my husband doesn't even notice (and he notices everything!) They are a great way to stretch your food and add tons of nutrition at the same time.

And speaking of that familiar rhyme, did you know that if you eat beans kinda frequently, your body builds up what it needs to digest them and you won't have so much gas? Seriously.