Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We made it to Level 2 today!

No, I'm not referring to the next level on some video game. Unless you are from Ohio, you probably do not realize that as explained here, per Ohio Revised Code the County Sheriff issues a snow emergency alert based on travel conditions. I remember our first Christmas here, we got a snowstorm and were at a "Level 3"...we didn't think that sounded too bad (assuming it was on a scale of 5 or 10) and we had all day to travel to Pennsylvania so we went ahead and packed up the Aztek for our journey. Later we found out that "Level 3" is the highest Level emergency and we were not allowed to be out on the roads. (In our defense, the roads weren't the greatest but it had stopped snowing by the time that we left and we were driving very slowly and there were other cars out on the Interstate. They really need to offer some explanation for those of us "out-of-staters" when they issue an alert.) ........................................................................................ Well, today the roads were pretty bad, even in town. In fact, I had coworkers tell me that they were the worst in town. I didn't know if I would make it to work because of the piles of snow in the intersections left behind by the snow plow. They didn't plow our parking lot until after I left for work and along with all of the snow to drive through there was a layer of ice still from last week underneath the snow! Thanks to our kind neighbor who had a shovel, he and Mike helped me back the car out, shovel around it, go a little further, shovel around it when it got stuck again, go a little further, shovel around it when it got stuck again, until I got to the plowed out path across the parking lot. These pictures were taken about 5:30 pm (after it stopped snowing and after the parking lot was plowed out). You can see how high the snow is next to Mike's red Aztek where it was not plowed out. That's all since last evening. As you can see, it appears that some seminary students had a play day in the snow since classes were cancelled... So, although it wasn't the worst snowstorm (I can remember at least 3 others that were worse in the last 4 years), we made it to Level 2!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sick Kitty

Mike had his wisdom teeth taken out shortly after we started dating. I did what any girlfriend who wanted to make a good impression on her boyfriend would do...buy something cute to cheer him up and let him know that I was thinking of him...the small stuffed animal pictured above that is a pretty sad looking kitty cat. It became known as Sick Kitty. Mike wanted me to post this picture because last Wednesday he had some periodontal work done, and we got Sick Kitty out for old times sake. Mike is doing great, hopefully on Thursday the surgeon will tell him he can progress on to a regular diet so that he can enjoy the snacks at the Harpst Steelers Superbowl Party. __________________________________________________ By the way, I pulled this picture up because I was trying to respond to Joni's post with the "Picture Game" but the 4th picture in the 4th folder under Pictures on our computer is one that I just posted on my blog a week or so ago, so sorry, this is going to have to count as my picture for the "Picture Game" - the 1st picture in the 5th folder.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meal Planner Monday: Cranberry-Apple-Walnut Chicken Salad

You know those yummy pecans that Jason and Kerby gave us for Christmas? I used them for our dinner salad the other night. I will need to get the recipe for them because they make a great salad topper to this rather healthy salad that I created. If you have any of those pecans left, you have to try this... Salad: Romaine lettuce Cooked chicken breast, cut up into bite-size pieces Apple (like Granny Smith, Gala or Yellow Delicious), cut up into bite-size pieces Dried cranberries or Craisins Sugar-coated pecans (or walnuts) to top
Dressing:
Equal parts olive oil, red wine vinegar and sugar or honey (1 Tbsp. of each is just about the right amount for 1 salad)
Sugar Roasted Pecans
1 egg white
1c brown sugar
1 tbs flour
1/8 tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
2.5-3c pecan halves
Beat egg white until white and foamy. Slowly beat in brown sugar mixed with flour. Add salt and vanilla flavoring. Fold in pecans. Transfer pecans to a greased pan. Bake at 250F for 45 minutes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pittsburgh's....

Goin' to the Superbowl!!!! You can watch the AFC Championship Game Highlights from the NFL website here: video ...............Listen to 2009 Steelers Fight Songs on this link (Thanks, Joni!) WAHOO!

Meal Planner Monday: Soups - Homemade Bean and Ham

This is one I made up myself. It is very inexpensive and also healthy...and yummy on a very cold winter day... Rinse and soak 2 cups navy beans covered in water overnight. Add: 6 cups water, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup onion, Leftover ham pieces or ham bone. You can also add (optional): 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, Garlic salt, (sprinkle to taste) Salt, (sprinkle to taste) Pepper, (sprinkle to taste) Bay leaf, Liquid smoke, (sprinkle to taste). Cook in crockpot several hours to blend flavors. Serve with warm homemade bread.

Shootin' Hoops

Mike and I were able to get a membership to the AU Rec Center for 1/2 semester through March. So, we started going to the gym in the evenings this week. We played basketball a couple nights. I have no chance against Mike, one-on-one or playing H-O-R-S-E or anything like that, but we have been shooting around some and it was a great feeling to have the ball "swish" through the net. Man, it's been along time since I played basketball, so I was actually impressed with myself that I could even still shoot the ball. My stats weren't NCAA status, but they never were: Foul line = 9/25, Lay-ups = 18/25. I'll have to keep practicing!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crunch!

We had a couple days of snow accumulation over the past week. Now, the temperatures have dropped so low that the parking lots, although they have been plowed out, are still covered in a layer of packed-down snow because the sun and salt aren't enough to cause it to melt. So, walking or driving across it makes a crunching noise. It's so cold that the hairs inside your nose freeze just walking out to the car, and the inside of our car windows are frosted. (I had to bring the snow brush in from the car because the wet snow had frozen solid and made the brush useless.) It makes me very thankful for just simply warm clothes and a blanket and shelter from the cold and some warm soup and hot cocoa. You know it's cold when you feel sorry for things like your car and the bushes all covered in ice and snow...

Frugal Friday: Defining Frugality - Part 1: Living on Less

This is a little different kind of Frugal Friday post. Pastor Dan's sermon was great this past weekend, and it really ties into the "Frugal Friday" theme. He stated it a lot better than I could. So, whether you are struggling financially right now or not, I would encourage all to listen to the message from last Sunday at Ashland Grace Brethren Church at this link. (Look for "A Life on Less" 1/11/09.) "If you find honey, eat just enough -- too much of it, and you will vomit." Proverbs 25:16 ___________________________________________________ A Few Good Deals: Johnson's Buddies soap, Coupons Booklets, 50 free prints from CVS Photo Center, $2 off Kashi cereal bars (these are $2.97 at our Walmart which makes them only $.97 a box - not bad for a healthy snack)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Here we go...

I just thought that I would post a few pictures of our "Black and Gold" family as we all get pumped up for the game Sunday afternoon: From two weeks ago at the last regular season game - Dad, Mike, Jason, Kerby (Dad, you really look like a true Steelers fan in your garb with your gotee): Last Christmas: And, the youngest of the family with Dad: Sorry, I couldn't come up with others of the Valentines to post...Julie, you'll have to take a picture for us... GO STEELERS!!!!

A Snowy Saturday

It started snowing yesterday afternoon with a few breaks in between the snow showers. This is what is looked like outside our window about 10:00 Saturday morning. Mike joined our neighbor friends (Nate & Sharon, Victor & Victoria) (Victoria decided to go in because she was too cold) to play outside in the snow. I enjoy the snow more from inside, so I just watched from the window and took the pictures. Then they all thought it would be fun to through snowballs at me through the window... video

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Meal Planner Monday: Soups - Weight Watchers "0 points" Vegetable Soup

I saw this recipe the other day on the Weight Watchers website. Hopefully the link here still works. I have not tried the recipe but it sounds yummy.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Attention Coupon Clippers

Today's newspaper had several good coupons. It may be worth getting an extra copy of this week's paper. These were in the Times Gazette today ($.50/copy)... -McDonald's - Free small McCafe capaccino/mocha or medium iced coffee (in addition to other McDonald's coupons) -Logan's Roadhouse $3 off/$10 and $5 off/$20 purchase -Green Giant Vegetables: $.50 Valley Fresh Steamers (several others) -Colgate Total $1.50 **They are an ECB deal at CVS this week - you could get 2 tubes free if you have 2 coupons -Colgate MaxFresh $1 -Fiber One Bars $.50 -Progresso $.50 off 2 **They are on sale for $1 this week at Hawkins which doubles coupons so that will make them $.50 each -Cascadian Farm Organic product $1 -Rubbermaid storage containers and totes $1 (we'll be needing some when we move) -Red Lobster $3 off two lunch entrees, $4 off two dinner entrees -Snyder Multigrain chips $1 -**Bayer Special 1/2 Price Offer Rebate Form Aleve, Bayer, Flinstones, Alka-Seltzer Plus, One-a-Day, Citracel, Phillips, etc Also, there are additional coupons...AND CVS has a deal this week to get $5 ECB back when you buy $15 products which include the Bayer, Alka-Seltzer and Aleve(sale prices apply), so if I've figured this out right I can buy 1 each of Bayer, Alka-Seltzer and Aleve - use 3 $1 coupons = $18 then get $7.50 back in rebate - $5 ECB = Total Price $5.50 for all of those 3 things As well as coupons for the following: Pillsbury Grands, Sweet Rolls, Dinner Rolls, Toaster Strudel Nature Valley Granola Bars Fruit Rollups Yoplait Os-Cal Atkins bars Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers, Cafe Steamers Healthy Ones Deli Meat Joint Care Drinkables (I'll save them for you Mom) Chef Boyardee Nature Made vitamins Oust Fuzze PizzaAmore Act Flouride Rinse Airborne Kleenex Coffemate Taster's Choice Carnation Instant Breakfast Boost Juicy Juice Campbells - soups (several coupons) V8 Minute Rice Lysol - various products So I thought it was worth spending $.50 for a couple more copies...Anyone want me to do some shopping for them?

Friday, January 2, 2009

On the 9th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine drummers drumming...Eight maids a-milking...Seven swans a-swimming...Six geese a-laying...Five golden rings...Four colly birds...Three French hens...Two turtle doves...
...and a partridge in a pear tree...
Did you know that tonight is the 9th Night of Christmas? Did you ever wonder what this song is all about? This is what Wikipedia had to say... The Twelve Days of Christmas, and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany (January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 25–26 and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. Twelfth Day is January 6. This period is also known as Christmastide. With the onset of more Americanized and secular traditions throughout the past two centuries (such as the American "Santa Claus", popularity of Christmas Eve itself as a holiday, and rise in popularity of New Year's Eve parties as well), the traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been largely forgotten in the U.S.. This is also heightened by the commercial practice to have "After-Christmas Sales" begin on December 26 and run usually until New Year's Eve. Indeed, contemporary marketing and media tend to espouse the (erroneous) belief that the Twelve Days end on Christmas and thus begin December 14.[3][4] However, a small percentage of Christians of many sects have held on to their own favorite ways to celebrate and those who choose to also have their own church to guide them in a spiritual way of marking this reverent holiday. Americans who celebrate various ways include secular Christians of all backgrounds, religious Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Moravians and those of the Amish and Mennonite communities. Today, some celebrants give gifts each of the Twelve Days, feast and otherwise celebrate the entire time through to Epiphany morning. Lighting a candle for each day has become a modern tradition in the U.S. and of course, singing the appropriate verses of the famous song each day is also an important and fun part of the American celebrations. Some still celebrate Twelfth Night as the biggest night for parties and gift-giving and some also light a Yule Log on the first night (Christmas) and let it burn some each of the twelve nights. Some Americans also have their own traditional foods to serve each night. As in olden days, Twelfth Night to Epiphany morning is then the traditional time to take down the Christmas tree and decorations. The rhyme or chant "The Twelve Days of Christmas" first appeared in a children's book titled, Mirth Without Mischief, c. 1780. There are possibly three earlier French versions and one Scottish. The song was first known to be performed by James O. Halliwell in 1842. The days in England are traditionally[5] as follows: A partridge in a pear tree Two turtle doves Three French hens Four colly birds Five gold rings Six geese a-laying Seven swans a-swimming Eight maids a-milking Nine drummer drumming Ten pipers piping Eleven ladies dancing Twelve lords a-leaping The song calls for "four colly birds," but these are often mistakenly called calling birds. This is due primarily to a misunderstood pronunciation, probably in the 20th century—and partly because of the evolution of the English language since the 16th century and the differences between Australasian, British, and North American pronunciation.[6] Colly in Early English meaning black, would make day four a reference to "four blackbirds." The "five gold rings" refer to ring-necked pheasants. There have been various interpretations of the religious symbolism for each of the Twelve Days, with some claiming the song to be a code used by persecuted Catholics. This is known to be false.[7]
So don't take down that Christmas tree yet...we have some more celebrating to do!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Frugal Friday: Christmas Clearance Gift Wrapping Supplies

Not that I need any more wrapping paper or ribbon, but I love looking through the Christmas wrapping section this time of year when it is marked down 50% or more. In addition to the Christmas wrapping paper for future Christmas gifts, often I have found wrapping paper and ribbons/bows that can be used anytime of the year (like those shown above), and they are discounted as well because they are labeled "Christmas." It is also when I search the Christmas ornaments on clearance for future package decorations. I'll admit that storing the rolls of wrapping paper can be a problem. I have mine standing upright in a box in the closet. I also came across this clever way to store the wrapping rolls.
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At Walmart this week, the ribbon by the yard (and material) in the craft section was all marked down 75% off clearance. It appears that Walmart (at least ours) is getting rid of all of the items in the sewing section that need to be measured and cut. Unfortunately, it was very picked over but I did find several things, including some colored rhinestone type things to use as "embellishments" on my cards for a total of just $2.10 for my bag of goodies.
Other grocery "freebie" deals from MoneySavingMom...

Back to Blogging

I know it's been 2 1/2 weeks since I posted something. I should be back to regular blogging now starting with a "Frugal Friday" post for tomorrow (and hopefully soon a video of our Christmas). Happy New Year!