Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Comfort Food Link up with Gooseberry Patch Yum yum!

(Click here to get my comfort food: Oooey Gooey Onion Cheese Bread. It was passed along to me by my friend, Diane. It is always a huge hit when I make it for my family and friends.)

Here is the latest from Gooseberry Patch: Homemade chicken noodles simmering away on the stove, Mom's meatloaf with buttery mashed potatoes, bubbly mac & cheese with a golden brown breadcrumb topping or a slice of fresh-baked apple pie...no matter what your favorite comfort food (Vickie's is nachos!) we're rounding 'em up today!
Comfort Foods Cookbook (Gooseberry Patch)
What's YOUR favorite COMFORT FOOD recipe?
Share 'em all in today's Recipe Round-Up.

Here's one to inspire you from our Cookbook of the Week,
Comfort Foods, which (as you might imagine) is filled with these
classic recipes that we all love.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Frequent contributor, Nancy Wise of Little Rock, Arkansas shared this homestyle recipe wtih us. She writes, "This recipe is full of down-home goodness…delicious warm from the skillet or wrapped in wax paper to savor cold as a picnic lunch."

1 c. buttermilk
3-1/2 lbs. chicken
1 c. plus 3 T. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
oil for frying
1 c. milk
1-1/2 c. water
salt and pepper to taste

Pour buttermilk over chicken pieces in a large shallow dish; cover and refrigerate for one hour. Combine one cup flour, salt and pepper in a large plastic zipping bag. Drain chicken and add to bag, one piece at a time, shaking to coat. Place on wax paper; let stand for 15 minutes. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook until golden on all sides. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, until juices run clear. Uncover; cook for an additional 5 minutes. Drain chicken on paper towels; keep warm. For gravy, pour off all except 1/4 cup drippings from skillet. Stir in remaining flour over low heat until well blended; gradually add milk. Slowly stir in water; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve gravy with chicken. Makes 6 servings.


Link up YOUR favorite COMFORT FOOD
recipes below and do you want to add this hop to your OWN blog?

Be our guest...just click here to get the code.

Do you wear WHITE after Labor Day? Chime in and Labor Day Deals

Do you wear WHITE after Labor Day? I remember this being a big deal in the 1970s-80s. Is it still a fashion faux pas to wear white shoes and pants past Labor Day? Does it matter to you? haha Just asking. Leave a comment and let me know.

Below are some saving opportunities and Click Here for my post on Coupons which are about to go away soon from coupon.com.

The only good thing about the end of summer is Labor Day, a holiday that provides a day off and great opportunities for consumer savings. Labor Day sales allow shoppers to take advantage of discounts on everything from fall fashions to appliances. It's also a good time to find deals on end-of-season merchandise, like swimsuits, lawnmowers, patio furniture and more.

With practically everything under the sun on sale during these short three days, how can you possibly know if you're getting the best deal?

Here are six ways to maximize your savings on Labor Day.

1. Do Your Due Diligence
Find out the average price of your coveted purchase before Labor Day, using sites like Pricespider.com. This will keep you from being fooled by false promotions, and help you identify the best sale price.

2. Shop in Your PJs
Labor Day triggers the holiday shopping madness that continues into the New Year. Let the masses scurry about the stores and highways while you casually shop multiple online stores in the comfort of your own home. Not only will your blood pressure thank you, but you'll realize savings in fuel, too.

3. Save More
In addition to Labor Day price reductions, be sure to find online coupons for more savings. Shipping should also be free or greatly reduced; merchants like Lands' End and JCPenney typically offer free shipping codes during this high-volume weekend.

4. Negotiate
Major sale events represent an excellent opportunity to hone your haggling skills, especially on big items like televisions and appliances. Compare prices between various competitors and ask retailers if they can meet or beat your preferred price. Not comfortable with bartering? Check out this article on ConsumerReports.org for tips on making the negotiating practice work for you.

5. Socialize
Before hitting a store's sale rack or browsing Labor Day deals online, remember to follow or "like" the retailer or brand on Facebook and/orTwitter to find exclusive coupon codes and promotional offers. It pays to join these social media networks.

6. Use Tunnel Vision
Knowing what you want before Labor Day is easy; sticking to just that in the heat of the moment can be challenging. Be strong. Whenever you find yourself straying from the main purchase, gently remind yourself to "stay focused" and move on.

Guest Article provided by Andrea Woroch. She is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satelite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do you use Coupon.com? Great deals!

Last month we FINALLY got a printer that is compatible with all of our different computers in our home (We print from Windows, Linux and iPad). I can FINALLY print coupons off from online sites like Coupon.com and boy have I ever been using them! I've stocked up on a vast amount of coupons and I'm NOT afraid to use them! lol I have a few local cashiers that I always go to at my local stores when I'm carrying my coupons. They know I'm a smart shopper and are wonder cashiers to work with. I give them tips while they are checking me out on where to get the best coupons!


Here are some great ones going on right now via Coupon.com. I hope you find some you like. I know that I did!

Just click to go right to them:



Sunday, August 28, 2011

NOOK Cookbook review with @GooseberryPatch *101 Christmas Recipes*

101 Christmas Recipes (Gooseberry Patch)
Did you know that I"m a HUGE fan of Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks? YES most of you, regular readers, know this and are probably TIRED of me telling you this, right? No I don't think so because you keep coming back to read about their cookbooks, get new tasty recipes and when I have them, enter to win their cookbooks CLICK HERE to learn about a giveaway! I think some of you are as addicted or even more so addicted to their cookbooks than I can ever claim to be on this blog!! Someone left a comment on my blog post telling me that they own over 40 Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. She wins for most addicted!

This is a quick post to remind you that you can purchase quite a few Gooseberry Patch cookbooks (and a few free ones) on Kindle and NOOK. We have both the Kindle and NOOK in my home. The NOOKcolor is mine and only mine so I have a nice collection of Gooseberry Patch on my NOOK. The Kindle books work great for all of their cookbooks except for the "101" type cookbooks because those have pictures AND you can't see colorful tasty pictures on your Kindle, sorry! On the Nook you can see the tasty pictures just like you would if you owned the paper copy of the cookbook. Here is a shot I got of my cookbook:
In real life, the picture quality is much better because it looks just like the actual picture in their cookbooks. I really love having recipes on my NOOK. Either way, Kindle or NOOK, you can't go wrong loading up on these ebooks. I love that I can take the recipe right to the store with me and get what I need!

The 101 Christmas Recipes cookbook by Gooseberry Patch is just the book that I was looking for to help me prepare for my annual Christmas Open House. We host one every year and I always add in new dips and sweets. I have a few that will always be served but for the most part I enjoy new recipe hunting for this occasion.

Here are the chapters in this book and some of my favorite recipes:
  • Holiday Open House- Jalapeno Cheese Spread, Greek Spread (heads up Open House Guest I am making this one for sure), Gingered Coconut Chicken Fingers, Garlic-Romano Dipping Sauce, Chocolate Eggnog,(yep making this one, too) and Cranberry & Blue Cheese Ball. 
  • Snow Fun- Christmas Eve Soup, Ham & Swiss Cheese Rolls (yum), Mexican Albondigas Soup, Pizzawiches, Twiced-Baked Sweet Potatoes and Tomato Bisque.
  • Christmas Day- Apple-Glazed Pork Chops, Bruschetta Chicken Bake and Fire & Spice Baked Ham.
  • Sweets of the Season- Graham Pralines (making these for sure), Peanut Butter Fudge (I make this but I'm trying this new recipe), Raspberry-Marshmallow Cookie Pizza, Buckeyes, Christmas Crunch, GiGi's Cranberry Cobbler (yum), Peppermint Snowballs, Minty Candy Canes (From Jen @ Gooseberry Patch), Gumdrop cookies (very cute) and Lemon Icebox Cookies
I do love the Index on my Nook with all the recipes in the book. They are broken into sections such as Appetizers, Beverages, Breakfast & Brunch,etc. The wonderful thing is each recipe has a link that once clicked it will take you right to the recipe in the book. Love it!

One of the recipe worth trying is Peppermint Punch. Here it goes:
Peppermint Punch

1 quart peppermint ice cream, softened
1 cup milk
2 liters gingerale, chilled
Garnish: peppermint sticks, finely crushed or whole

In a large punch bowl, blend together ice cream and milk; stir gently. Slowly add ginger ale; stir until combined. Moisten rims of glasses with water and dip into finely crushed candy. Serve with peppermint sticks stirrers, if desired. Serves 8-10.

Get it today on NOOK or Kindle!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Link up Portable Recipes in the @GooseberryPatch link up here!


*ENTER THE 101 Hearty Recipe Gooseberry Patch Cookbook Giveaway ends 8/26
*Check out the next up and coming Gooseberry Patch Cookbook Giveaway

(From Gooseberry Patch) With kids heading back to school and the weather cooling down for some
of us (sorry, Texas and other sweltering states) we thought this week would
be a great time to round up all your portable lunchbox-friendly recipes.
Whether you're packing a picnic or looking for something
other than PB & J to send to school, tell us...

What's YOUR favorite PORTABLE recipe?
Share 'em all in today's Recipe Round-Up.
Here's one to inspire you from our newest book in the Our Favorites series, Our Favorite Melts & Wraps. It's full of tasty take-along inspiration...sandwiches for suppertime too!


Lunchbox Pita Pockets
Great with cooked chicken or turkey as well, this recipes makes 6 servings but they'll keep well in the fridge. You could always halve the recipe and keep just a few for later in the week too!

OFMW 1-1/2 c. yogurt
1-1/2 c. cucumber,
    diced

1-1/2 t. fresh parsley,
    chopped

1/2 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
hot pepper sauce to taste
6 sausage patties
3 pita rounds,
    sliced in half

1 tomato, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 head lettuce, torn
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine yogurt, cucumber and seasonings in a medium-size bowl; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Prepare sausage patties according to package directions. Gently open up pita pockets; fill equally with a sausage patty, vegetables and cheese. Spoon in cucumber sauce; wrap tightly in wax paper and refrigerate until serving. Serves 6.

Prefense review and giveaway

Do you use hand sanitizer? Was it one of those required items that you had to purchase during your Back To School shopping? I recently reviewed a hand sanitizer called Prefense. It is a Silica based hand sanitizer that smooths, softens and protects through 10 hand washings.

I carried my Prefense with me as I went second hand shopping. I don't usually have a chance to wash my hands in between stores or yard sales so this product gave my hands protection against all the touching I was doing. I used it along with baby wipes that I always carry with me. Unlike other sanitizers, this one did not leave my hands feeling sticky or overly dry.

According to their website, Prefense proactively and persistently offers protection from bacteria and fungi including strep and many more for up to 24 hours or 10 hand washings without reapplication. It is alcohol free.

Enter the Giveaway below with my quick and easy Rafflecopter Giveaway form. You can win a bottle and give it a try for yourself. Giveaway ends on September 8, 2011 and is open to residents in USA.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

About the book:

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Want more? Read the press release.

Sarah Headshot

About Sarah:

Sarah Sundin received the 2011 Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and her second novel A Memory Between Us is a finalist for an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Her stories are inspired by her great-uncle who flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England during World War II.

Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.  Visit with Sarah online at www.sarahsundin.com.

Scraps of Life Book Club Review
 
About a year ago I posted a review on A Memory Between Us by author Sarah Sundin with her Wings of Glory Series. I loved the book so click the above link to read my review. I was eager to get the next book in the series, Blue Skies Tomorrow, which I did and LOVED it! As I believe I mentioned in the first review, I didn't read the first book in the series but was able to follow along with the story. This is written as a series but each book is strong enough to stand on its own. I LOVE it when an author does this. I'm also a sucker for a series so that is why I've enjoyed this one.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction. I'm also a huge fan of books of the heart and again, this book has both. Broken hearts and healing never gets old as a story line. It seems to be a particular them I enjoy reading. The book is suspenseful. Once I started reading about Helen I could not stop. I also love reading about human life struggles and making choices. Sometimes the choice that is the most difficult becomes the best choice. I'm not about blogging spoilers so you will have to get the book and read for yourself.

Want to read what other bloggers are saying? Then check out the tour here

To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package! 

Read what the reviewers are saying here.



One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see a photo here)

* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin's blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
 Thanks to the sponsor and LitFuse for providing a copy of the book for me to read and review on my blog. My own tasty opinions are expressed here.

Kindle Giveaway with Too Blessed To Be Stressed by Debora M. Coty

Too Blessed to Be Stressed: Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life's Stress-Pool
 Do your to do lists have footnotes?  (YES) Has your fam suggested a rabies shot because your bite has surpassed Rover’s?

Maybe it’s time for a healthy dose of truth gift-wrapped in humor. With her own offbeat brand of wit and near-wisdom, inspirational humorist Debora Coty addresses the heart-needs of desperate women drowning in the churning everyday stress-pool of busyness.

In Too Blessed to Be Stressed, you’ll find simple, practical steps for attaining the peace that you crave as you struggle with the stresses of finances, health, career, relationships, self-image and family. You’ll discover healing, refreshment, and revitalization for your own spirit, body and mind through heart-changing real life stories, biblically based insights, and short chapters for on-the-run convenience.

Scraps of Life Book Club Review:  If you think that you are way too stressed to have time to read this book then it IS for you. The books is small, the chapters are short and it is a quick, witty read. This book is the perfect size to just toss in your purse and read while you are at red lights (joke) ummm....I mean read while you have a few minutes of waiting time  no matter where you are or what you are doing.

The book has four sections with forty small chapters. The sections are Time Management, Develop a Sense of Humor (no, really), Cultivate Relationships and Focus on Faith. I love the sections and then each mini-chapter is broken down into specific topics so that you can quickly go to the one you need to read at that moment. The author also provides thought provoking questions with most of the chapters, too. 

For example, one of the mini-chapters "Nuts in the Batter" is one worth reading. It addresses the "not so friendly" neighbor in all of us. She describes it as selfish behavior that grates our last nerve raw. It is something we've done or had done to us that just sits and festers or causes us to react and then regret later. Very insightful tips and scripture is given to point our selfish behavior to something worth giving our energy to. The humor really flows in the chapter which helps to aleve stress, too. The author pointed out that we don't have to WIN at everything. We don't have to dominate everything. When we do there is loss of respect, friendship, peace and relationships. As much as some of us try and avoid difficult people in our life (I know that I do this) we need to know that they are often in our life for unseen purposes. To end the chapter "Remember, even nutty lumps in the batter add flavor!"

This book would be great for a book club. It would really get the women talking. It would also make a wonderful gift.

About the Author:
Debora M. Coty is a humorist, columnist, speaker, writing workshop instructor and award-winning author of over 100 internationally published articles and ten inspirational books. She has also contributed short stories and devotionals to numerous anthologies. Debora's passion is sharing her offbeat blend of humor and hope, wit and near-wisdom with women of all ages. As a piano teacher for twenty years, she acquired the skill of auditory long-suffering and has helped countless people as an occupational therapist specializing in orthopedics for over three decades. Mother of two grown children, Debora currently lives and loves in central Florida with her husband and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.
Debora has lots of fun stuff going on for the launch of her book - be sure to check out Debora's series of Stress-Buster videos at her website: www.debcoty.com. She’s also hosting a  photo caption contest on her blog for a chance to win a copy of Too Blessed to Be Stressed.

To celebrate the release of her latest laugh-out-loud book, Too Blessed to Be Stressed, Debora Coty is hosting the Too Blessed to Be Stressed KINDLE Giveaway!

Too Blessed to be Stressed is a fun-filled read overflowing with insights and practical tips. Perfectly delicious for living happily ever after! 
-Rhonda Rhea, best-selling author of Whatsoever Things Are Lovely




Debora has created a “Too Blessed” prize package worth over $150! One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

Too Blessed to Be Stressed by Debora Coty (for KINDLE)

To enter just click one of the icons below. Hurry! The giveaway ends August 25th. Winner will be announced on the evening of the 18th during Debora's De-Stress Facebook Party! Debora will be hosting a "life-preserver" chat (it’s okay if you haven’t read the book – who knows, you might WIN a copy!), testing trivia skills, swapping funny stories, handing out some decom-stress tips, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Chocolate, books, and more!) Hope to see you there. Bring your friends and join the fun on August 25th at 5:00 PM PST (6 PM MDT, 7 PM CDT, & 8 PM EDT).

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
 
 Thanks to Litfuse and the sponsor I was given a copy of this book to read for my participation in the blog tour. The book club expressed their own thoughts and opinions of the book.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School Photo traditions


Do you have any fun back to school traditions? We've had one tradition that gets done on the first day of school, no matter what! I always take a picture of each child and then a group photo at the door as they head out or get ready to stay in for school.  I say that because my older girls went to private schools through 5th grade. After that, they were homeschooled. So we took the picture by the door as they left for school or as they stayed in for school.
I dug up a few photos from my digital files from various years. I LOVE looking back at how much they have changed over the years. Time really flies. The oldest girls are now Juniors in high school taking college classes and the youngest is in 8th grade. 
 
Have you finished all your Back To School shopping? One of my stops will be at Tiny Print to check out all they are offering for my back-to-school shopping. Guess what you will find? You'll have a fun assortment of personalized items such as lunch box notes, allergy cards, play date cards, teacher stationery, Halloween ideas, teacher appreciation cards, activity planners, wall art for dorms, notebooks, notepads and MORE!

So what are your back to school traditions? How do you make back to school, fun and exciting??


Thanks to Tiny Prints and Global Influence for sponsoring this post. I'm a customer of Tiny Prints and anything stated about this is from my own experience and my own tasty opinion.

Gooseberry Patch Big Book of Home Cooking Cookbook debut and giveaway info

Gooseberry Patch Big Book of Home Cooking: Favorite Family Recipes, Tips & Ideas for Delicious Comforting Food at its Best
 If you are a frequent reader here, you know that I LOVE Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks. I love them so much that I'm a Early Cookbook Reviewer for their Company! Those sweet ladies send me cookbooks to review, blog and even giveaway copies!

101 Hearty Recipes (101 Cookbook Collection)
As you know I have a giveaway going on right now, 101 Hearty Recipes(click to enter) and it ends on 8/26. I have shared several recipes from this book and will post more soon. I've made at least 5 things in this book over the past month. It isn't too late to enter. Hope over and do it before 8/27.
Soooo on to the new book, Big Book of Home Cooking which to say the least is BIG! I thought big would be 200 pages but no this book really is BIG. It has over 350 pages, hard back and beautiful, mouth-watering photos.

I don't know about you but whenever I get a new Gooseberry Patch Cookbook I always sit down in a comfy chair armed with a package of post-it note tabs. I start tabbing items that I must try first. This book, as you can see by the tabs, is so full of recipes I had to restrain myself from marking every other page. I had to remove some of the tabs to narrow down what I planned on cooking first.

Here are a few of the recipes that I will be trying out, sharing pictures, the recipes as well as offering a copy of this BIG book as a giveaway.

*Fried Okra Salad (OH MY GOSH)
*Russian Beef Borscht (come on cold weather...bring it on!)
*Easy Cheesy Enchiladas
*Vickie's Gazpacho Dip (Yes the Gooseberry Patch Vickie)
*Healthy Hummus
*Spiced Chocolate Coffee

It was NOT easy to narrow down which recipes to make first. The ones picked are perfect for my up and coming meal plans and events. There are plenty more to come.

What is your favorite Gooseberry Patch Cookbook or recipe?If you are NOT familiar with Gooseberry Patch, visit them HERE, and find a book or a recipe that is one you want to cook.

Leave a comment below and you will be qualified for 5 bonus entries into this giveaway when I post it on Saturday September 3rd, 2011. This book isn't for sale until Sept. 20th and is being published by Oxmoor House. Click HERE to see the Amazon info.

I'm an early Gooseberry Patch Reviewer. A cookbook was provided to me in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tasty Deal of the Day! AMC Popcorn & Drink Coupon

We love going to the movies and almost always purchase popcorn and a drink. I think it is illegal in 39 states to go to the movies and not purchase buttered popcorn (jk). So for the sake of not wanting anyone to break a law or go bankrupt, here is my Tasty Deal of the Deal! It is too good to pass up and to not share with YOU!

The Help
 I recommend The Help as a must see movie for ages 12 and up. So print the coupon for 50% off Popcorn and Drink and head over to the AMC theater and enjoy a show and a tasty deal!

Have you seen any good movies lately? Which one are you going to see and use this coupon?

Offer valid from August 26th-September 8th, 2011 at any participating US AMC Theater; Dine-In Theaters not included. AMC Stubs free upgrades are not eligible with this offer.
Limit one coupon per guest, per visit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting Organized for Back to School

Back to school time is a stress for all involved.  We homeschool and I'm not usually stressed but two of our daughters are high school juniors and are taking most of their classes at a local college this year. They are in a dual-credit program that allows them to finish up high school taking college classes. We are very blessed to have this opportunity for them but the stress of college classes on 16 year olds seemed to be a tad high the first week.  


Part of the stress is the unknown. They are socialable, level-headed girls who are ready for the class load. One of the class locations is in our town  which is no problem. The other location is 40 minutes away which adds the extra stress of one daughter going off by herself to class. This is a good thing for her but as with any new situation, it increases the stress level. 


One of the biggest issues is how to get organized so that everyone can be prepared for what is going on and what is coming up on the calendar. Prior to this year, I've been able to follow the flow of the 3 girls schedules but that flow isn't going to cut it this year. I just recently tried out AboutOne which is an online digital filing cabinet to post and share with a specific group of people. In our case, we can use the digital family calendar to input the class schedules, travel time, work, study time, meetings,etc to keep up with what is going on. We have two cars so we have to coordinate this to make sure that there is always a car available for work and classes. 

I'm not the best user of digital calendars because I'm such a paper person but I know that I have to try this route this year or we will all go crazy (if not ALL of us, at least ONE which is me). This site might just be what I'm looking for to get me into the digitize age of planning. Even though it is a  digital filing system and more  It is very user friendly and syncs with other already established digital calendars such a Google calendar which is what the dad uses, faithfully.  

I do know that the though of getting organized or learning how to declutter is a HUGE stress in itself.  I'm finding that AboutOne is very easy to use and to input data. I love that you can easily upload cell phone photos and share them with a specific group. What you do this already with Facebook? Yes so do I but believe it or not I know a lot of people who don't use or refuse to use "fakebook" which drives me crazy when they call it that.  So if you have people like that, AboutOne is a great way to get those rebels included into the fun. You can create a "Bulletin Board" and post photos and updates and share. It really is impressive.


What areas of your life do you need to organize? AboutOne has these categories: Family Newsletter, Babysitter Instructions, Home Maintenance, Health History, Caregiver Report, Vehicle Maintenance, Capital Gains, Volunteer Hours (very cool) and Educational History. The Educational History is great for homeschooling. This will allow me to keep track of the girls actual classes for their transcripts. All this can be done online and some on your smartphone, email and iPhone app! 

Check out the video for an online organizer:



BACK TO SCHOOL LINK PARTY! - add anything back to school!
More Back to School Tips & Resources

Back to School Security Issues for Kids
Free Common Core Standards eBooks
Get Back To School Organized
Make the school year less stressful this year
10 Teen Budget Saving Tips
Tips for Teen Back To Shopping Deals
Top 5 Ways to Save Big for Back to School...while teaching the kids a lesson
Top 10 Ways to Save $ for Back to School
Wake Up Shake up the Morning Routine




Sunday, August 21, 2011

Online photo printing ISSUES!


Ok this is a RANT! Just a small one and I'm hoping that you can chime in and share with me your experience.

I'm a huge fan of online photo services. I've used most of them at least once and for various projects. I currently use Shutterfly on a regular basis. They have a user friendly website. I love clicking on which photos that I want and then within a week my pictures arrive to pass out, scrapbook,etc.

A few weeks ago I needed to print off pictures quickly so I ordered through Shutterfly, as usual and  had my photos set to be picked up at Walmart one-hour service. After waiting 6 hours for an email confirmation from Walmart, that never arrived, I called them. They said that their machines were down and my pictures would be ready in a few days. I'm a totally understanding person, I know machines break down BUT their system should have been updated to let me know that my pictures would take days vs. one-hour. The photo dept. did have my order and they could have called or sent me a text message. I was very disappointed.

This story continues with me going through the Shutterfly process, again, sending the photos on to Walgreens. They were ready in one-hour and the photos looked great. After going through my photos and planning out my project I found that I needed a few more photos printed off. I decided to try Target Photo Dept. because they had a $.10 sale and I was headed over there to shop. I did the same order process and ended up with a similar problem like I had at Walmart. This time, I ordered and after not getting an update within 2 hours I headed over there to the store. This time I find out that the person who runs the photo dept. didn't show up for work. The nice clerk working the service desk told me that they would be done the next day "if she shows up tomorrow for work", yikes!

After shopping I went home, uploaded the same pictures to Walgreens and had them within the hour. Thank you Walgreens!

Why this post? I'm curious as to your experience with picking up photos in local stores. I really do think that if a company offers one-hour and can't meet that deadline they should call, text, email the person ordering or have their computers updated. Enough said by me!

One last thing, do you scrapbook?? I want to blog my recent scrapbooking experience and wonder how many of you scrapbook.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Free Catfish Cookbook for National Catfish Month

Are you a catfish fan? Well we are celebrating National Catfish Month! Thanks to the Catfish Institute for offering a catfish cookbook to promote U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish. Click the link to get the book. Hurry as the supplies are limited! FREE Catfish Cookbook.

Alexa Ranking Blog hop! Help improve your rank!

*IF YOU stop here today, please leave a comment so I can come visit you. In your comment tell me how you are following me, all the links are on my right side bar, I will follow back!

If you’ve been participating in our Alexa Blog Hops the past few weeks, you have probably seen a significant improvement in your Alexa rank. If you are a new blogger looking to decrease your Alexa rank & gain new GFC (Google Friend Connect) followers, please participate.

You will need to install the Alexa Toolbar on your browser. it only takes a few seconds! There are toolbars for Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. (for those that are worried, don’t be this is NOT an additional toolbar, just a little “A” icon that will show up in your toolbar) FYI- if you don't use the toolbar you won't see your ratings decrease.

The Alexa Toolbar will allow you to keep track of your daily Alexa Traffic Rank- which will give you an idea of how your blogging efforts are paying off. you can also use it to check out the Alexa Rank of any website.Your Alexa Traffic Rank will most likely fluctuate daily and the lower you are the better.

Here are the rules:

*Download the Alexa toolbar.

*Add your blog name & URL to the linky list below.

*Then, follow any blogs on GFC that interest you (be sure to leave a friendly comment on their blog letting them know that you are a new follower so they can follow back!) if you are already a follower of their blog, just leave a comment asking them to visit you for the Alexa hop!

*Feel free to grab the Spearmint Baby Blog Hop banner & post on your blog to get new people involved. (the more new people the better!)

* Please note that I keep this blog hop open all week so you have plenty of time to visit all of the blogs on the list.

Be a sweetie and follow the Blogs that are the hosting this Hop: We have Spearmint Baby and her 3 cohosts, me, SusieQTpies Scraps of Life, Kelly’s Lucky You, & Our Family World. THANKS! We do follow back!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Link up recipes from Grandma with Gooseberry Patch Recipe Round up!

This week, we've been celebrating all the handed-down goodness
in our kitchens, whether it be from Grandma, Mom or another beloved
member of your family. Seems only fitting that we should round up
favorites that have been passed down to YOU, don't you think?
What's YOUR favorite recipe that has been HANDED DOWN
to you? Share 'em all in today's Recipe Round-Up.
Here's one to inspire you from our Cookbook of the Week, From Grandma's Kitchen. It's filled with over 200 treasured family recipes.
Peach-Walnut Crisp
Shared with us by Debbie Zlupko of Aston, Pennsylvania...thanks Debbie! Treat yourself to a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top…heavenly.

Fgkcover 5 c. fresh or frozen peach
    slices, thawed

1 T. all-purpose flour
3 T. sugar
1/2 c. quick-cooking
    oats, uncooked

1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
2 T. wheat and barley cereal
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. buttermilk

Drain and discard any juice from peaches; arrange slices in an ungreased 8" round baking pan. In a small bowl, stir together all-purpose flour and sugar. Sprinkle over peaches, tossing to coat. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except buttermilk; mix well. Pour buttermilk over oat mixture and combine mixture with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle oat mixture on top of peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden. Serves 6.

Link up YOUR favorite HANDED-DOWN
recipes below and, if you're joining this hop,
link back here by using our handy button below.
GBPRecipeRoundUp

12 College Moving Tips

 The countdown has begun to move on from college dorms and your parents' basement. Freedom is so close you can taste it; no longer will your comings and goings be monitored. You can eat pizza and cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But before these dreams become reality, there's a lot of work to be done with the whole relocation thing. To help you combat packing panic, here are 12 moving tips to get you smartly on your way.



1. Start Sorting
Before you begin loading up boxes, go through all your stuff and weed out items you don't want. There's no point in adding this clutter to your new place. Remember, one person's trash is another's treasure. Before dumping and donating unwanted items, give friends and neighbors a chance to dig through for hand-me-downs. They'll appreciate the thought and it's one less thing for you to move.

2. Run Down the Damage
College houses are not always in the greatest condition. Since you don't want to be on the hook for other tenants' wild times, get together with the landlord before you move in and do a walk through. Document any existing damage, snap a few photos and get the landlord to sign off on a list of problem areas. This will ensure you don't get nailed for pre-existing issues.

3. Set Up Your Services
Before moving day, make sure to call the electric, water and cable companies so you have service as soon as you arrive. There's nothing more disappointing than moving in and finding the lights aren't working.

4. Take Advantage of Your Schedule
One of the many great things about college is flexible scheduling. If you have the option, plan to move mid-week. This way, you can move at your own pace and don't have to compete with others cramming their move into one hectic weekend. Also, moving trucks are typically cheaper to rent in the middle of the week. If you do end up hiring movers, be sure to read this article from MainStreet.com to learn about secrets moving companies don't want you to know.

5. Condense What You Can
If you have bags, suitcases or even coolers, think about how you can use them like boxes. Pack the small stuff inside larger items like Russian nesting dolls. The fewer trips you have to take back and forth, the more time and money you'll save.

6. Don't Pay for Packing
Before you buy expensive packing materials to protect your precious possessions, consider what you already have around. Dish towels, T-shirts and pillows all make for great packing materials. Your local grocery store will usually contribute some free empty boxes if you ask nicely during off-peak times. To cover more delicate furniture, hit a thrift shop for cheap blankets and tape them in place.

7. Wait to Buy
If you're the type that likes to plan ahead, it's tempting to shop for everything you think you'll need before the big move. In many cases, you won't need nearly as much as you expect. Fill in the space with what you already have before picking up a new sofa or coffee table. Once you know what you need, go shopping with roommates and save on some shared items. Try using coupons for discounts on back-to-college lines from stores like Target. They can easily be found at such sites as CouponSherpa.com.

8. Bribe Family and Friends
Trying to lug a floppy mattress up three flights of stairs by yourself is no fun at all. Your closest friends might help you with the move, but likely with some reluctance since no one likes moving. Sweeten the deal by planning in advance and offering bribes. A free meal and some suds can make it harder to resist.

9. Watch the Sun
You won't find much relaxation in a scented candle when it's melted all over your clothes. Even though temperatures are dropping, mid-day heat is still strong at the end of summer. If you have items that can melt or will be damaged by the sun, make sure to pack them in an easily accessible place and unload them first. Don't forget about the bathroom, either. Aerosol products, such as body spray or sunscreen, can explode after sitting in the sun.

10. Ask About Student Discounts
You're already paying a ton for tuition; you might as well make the most of your status as a student. Whether you're picking up packing supplies, a new couch or just some snacks, there's no harm in asking about a student discount.

11. Start Big, Finish Small
Once you get settled in there's going to be plenty of time to unpack your knick-knacks. Instead of worrying about the small stuff, get major items out of the way first. Couches, beds and tables should all be in place before you begin putting up posters. Having your furniture set up will allow you to fill in the gaps and make your new house feel like a home.

12. Map Out a Floor Plan
It really helps to plan where furniture will fit before you move. Rough out a floor plan and fit in the major pieces so you have a guide on moving day. It also helps to have someone guide the move-in process. Spend the day playing traffic cop, indicating where boxes and furniture should be placed so you don't have to move everything after your crew has left. If you don't have that luxury, these six online room design tools should help you plan ahead.

Do you agree? Do you have any other tips? Feel free to share below.


Thanks to Brandon Farestad-Rittel for providing the guest article. He is a college-savings expert for Kinoli Inc. Based on his own college experiences and extensive research, this recent graduate has covered a variety of topics, including the college selection process, for-profit colleges, and the modern era of textbooks.

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