Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hot Pockets

Don't you just love people who have a knack for taking the most random thing ever and turning it into side-splitting, please-stop-being-funny-so-I-don't-have-a-hernia HILARITY?!? If so, watch this.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More Bang for your Buck!

Tonight the women at my church are having an event entitled "More Bang for your Buck." We've all submitted our favorite money-saving ideas to share with one another. So, I thought I would post mine here as well. I look forward to sharing others' ideas after this event. Some of these ideas have been in previous posts and are just slightly re-stated here, so I apologize for any repetition.

After quitting my full-time job 18 months ago, it was more imperative than ever for us to trim our budget in any way possible. I have saved tons on our grocery bill and I don’t clip that many coupons, nor do I drive all over town shopping the best deals. The following list includes money-saving places where I shop as well as a few on-line resources for saving money.

Favorite Stores:
It’s small but they have most of the stuff I need, including produce. They also have their own line of healthy items, Fit & Active, that I really like. Go to to see their weekly specials.
Big Lots: Also a great place for food bargains. I find really healthy, expensive bread there for $1 a loaf and just freeze it. You never know exactly what they'll have but I have found fantastic deals there.
Wal-Mart (of course)
A local salvage grocery store: Featuring dented cans & boxed items, close-to-the-date items (and some shelf items past their date so you have to look carefully.) This place is hit-or-miss. I’ve found amazing deals and come back with unbelievable buys. Others who have gone weren’t as impressed. I like to think of it as a treasure hunt and it’s always been worth my trip over there. I typically go once a month.

Plan Ahead, Shop Your Pantry, & Use Supercook:
It's no secret; planning menus in advance saves us money, time, and stress. I am not known for being a good planner but it's really not tough to write a week or two's worth of meals on a dry-erase board. Second, shop your pantry, freezer, and fridge. What do you have? Got a random can of pumpkin? Make pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins. Got a can of tuna and a bag of egg noodles? Presto! You've got tuna noodle casserole for dinner. One of my favorite free web-sites is You type in any ingredients you may have in your house and it provides a list of recipes. I have made many a new meal during lean times with random pantry items, a bag of pinto beans, and the internet. Look at it as being resourceful and creative!

Become goal-oriented:
Having a goal for anything helps to keep me on track since I am not naturally disciplined in any area of my life. One month this past summer I set an incentive for keeping my grocery bill under a certain amount for the month. If I succeeded, I got a “prize.” It worked and I got the prize. The Man didn't think I could do it and the competitive part of me wanted to show him I could!

On-line Helps: Grocery Game is a website that can save you hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill each month. Log in, spend a few minutes with a pair of scissors, and you're off to win The Grocery Game! When you play, you'll get a weekly list (called Teri's List) of the lowest-priced products at your supermarket matched with manufacturers' coupons and weekly specials -- advertised and unadvertised. The Grocery Game does all the hard work and research, and presents it to you in a straightforward format. (–explanation taken from the web-site) The grocery game isn’t free but you do get a free one-month trial when you sign up. After that it’s $10 for 8 weeks for one store. This FREE site is really easy to use. Simply register to become a member, enter your zip code, click on the stores where you shop and my grocery deals shows you all the sales that week at the stores you’ve clicked on. Flag items you want to purchase; the web-site allows you to print out a handy shopping list to take with you. This is super easy and fast!

Other: A national ministry to provide a month’s worth of balanced meals for a bargain! Anyone can purchase. You go on-line, see the month’s menu, & pre-order. For $30 you can purchase a box of food. For $16-$20 you can purchase supplemental specials (grill specials, produce specials, & holiday specials.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Fall, Ya'll!

And what better way to bring in a Southern Fall than a trip to the Pumkintown Fall Festival? The Man and me and all our young 'uns decided to load up our '98 Ford Windstar and visit this famed fall festival on Saturday. And while this shindig has been mentioned by the likes of Southern Living, posh and sophisticated it ain't. But, I figured we should go since it would likely result in a blog post that practically wrote itself. I was right.

Folks, allow me to indulge in a bit of cultural commentary pertaining to this here region. Here are the favorites (in no particular order):

* A greased pole climb...with a professional commentator.

* Local bluegrass bands and cloggers...of all ages and sizes. Did you know that 3-year-old itty bitty cloggers exist in real life?

* Confederate re-enactors...even though there wasn't a re-enactment. And even though the Confederacy was defeated exactly 143 year ago. No kidding. When we first arrived and were looking for a place to park, I almost told The Man to keep driving, that maybe this excursion was a mistake. That's because I saw Jed and Zedekiah walking down the side of the road, complete with Confederate caps, boots, and facial scruff. Unfortunately, they weren't alone. My favorite "soldier" was walking around the festival with his lady. I'm pretty sure she was blind because this Jed was wearing authentic 19th-century military boots...with sweat pants. With a Little House on the Prarie "Pa" undershirt (tucked into the sweat pants). With suspenders holding the sweatpants up. But that's not all. Around the sweat pants he sported a holster. For his knives. And of course this little number was topped off with the obligatory Confederate cap and 9-day-old facial scruff. I wanted to take a picture so bad but I feared Jed might knife me. The picture would have been totally worth it though.

* The food. Fried Oreos. Again, I'm not kidding. As if partially-hydrogenated-oils, artificial coloring, and high-fructose corn syrup were not enough for these round sandwich slices of Americana, Bubba and company decided they would ensure artery clogging by deep frying these bad boys in peanut oil. Yep, people were lined up to get their sticky fingers on these deep-fried morsels...and paying $2 for just four of them! Obviously yours truly was not about to lower myself to such barbaric culinary standards. Instead, I opted for the much-healthier option of a funnel cake, laden with powdered sugar. And lest you think I was gluttonous and foolish enough to singlehandedly inhale a 9-inch-wide swirly pile of deep-fried dough, rest assured I did not. I shared it with my 10-month-old baby.

* The crafts. No less than 40 craft vendors came from far and wide to attend this annual festivity. And while there were many handmade treasures I would have gladly taken home (beautiful beaded jewelry, dried hydrangea bouquets, and exquisitely-scented homemade soaps), a John Deere hair scrunchie was not one of them.

* The bumper stickers. I'm pretty sure there were more "United We Stand" bumper stickers per capita than any other place in America. And then I got to thinking, with such a solid showing of national pride and patriotism, isn't the whole Confederate thing a bit oxymoronic? Unless I am historically mistaken, didn't the Confederates decide they did not want to be united with the other states of America? Just a thought.

Well, I could go on but you get a nice overview. Next year I'm going with my camera and a wide-angle zoom lens so I can hide behind trees and take pictures. It's twisted, I know but I feel a sick need to prove to all of you that this stuff is all too real. Ooooh, maybe I can borrow some of Jed's Confederate camouflage so I can just blend into the crowd!

(My young 'uns were plum wore out from The Pumkintown Fall Festival. Ain't they sweet, all snuggled up together at their Nana & Poppy's house later that night?)

Laughing Matters

If you've read "About Me: The Unabridged Version" (my very first post) you may remember that I love to laugh, but I usually take myself and life in general way too seriously. That's why I'm thankful for days like today. My very funny brother sent me some great you tube fodder.

I've determined that more entertainment atrocities have taken place on church stages and religious broadcasting networks than any other place in the world. I am a pastor's kid so I know what I'm talking about here. This first clip, "Jesus is a friend of mine," demonstrates my hypothesis. You will be humming this song for a minimum of 3 days after viewing.

"Jesus is a friend of mine"

"The Way" This one sent to me by my other funny brother.

"Biggie Fries," a parody of One Republic's "Apologize," done by funny brother's college friend, Dustin Ahkhoui. Hilarious!

"Haven't I seen you somewhere before?" (Actually, a lot of the stuff from Flight of the Conchords is hysterical; however, some of it is a bit crude. My favorites are this one and another one called, "issues." Check it out.)


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