Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reminder: STARTING TOMORROW

"30 days to a New Beautiful, Frugal You"


By all means I am not a beauty expert per se, but I do love beauty products, and I love to save dollars and cents, so I hope to show you some good alternatives to department store and high end products. (And other days, I am just have a free tip or sample for you!)
I hope you stick around and send me your comments each day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slim Fast Coupons

For those of you considering diets in the New Year, I recommend Slim Fast. It's part of the reason I lost 11 pounds in the past few months. I replaced breakfast with a shake and lunch with a meal bar. You can get $20 in coupons and more information here: http://www.slim-fast.com/offer/default.aspx?utm_source=slimfastpower.com&utm_medium=drtv&utm_campaign=dr-dec-08-20-coupon

We played in the "snow" in Celebration, FL!

Last night, my parents and I brought the kids to see "snow" in Celebration, FL. Now in Florida, snow is basically soap foam or bubbles blown from machines (see photo below), but the kids still love it. Celebration runs the event each year from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Carriage rides, Santa Claus, and more available for the fun!
You may have heard of Celebration in the past. It's a tiny town near Disney. Actually, it was set up as a Disney community, but today the company has removed it's name from the idea. It's a very pretty, quaint little area with beautiful homes and a "downtown" with a little splash park on the lake, a movie theater, ice cream shop, restaurants and shops. Celebration also hosts wonderful town gatherings (July 4th fireworks, Snow in December, etc).
If you are ever visiting Walt Disney World, you should take the short drive over to check it out. Here are a few photos from the Christmas celebration:


Gift Idea for Hubby's Birthday

My hubby has a birthday coming up soon. Normally, we just go out to dinner with friends and that is his "gift", but this year I want to do a little more. I am thinking about buying him a Digital Photo Frame for his office. You see, my hubby's place of employment limits the number of personal pictures you can have in your office so I like the idea of "rotating photos" on his desk.

The past few weeks, I have seen many digital frames on sale ranging from $50 to $150, so I sat down today to do some research.

I specifically am interested in the CEIVA frames. Why you ask? Well I like the convenience to load photos without having to connect to computer. (Last year my sister gave my parents a digital frame. It was difficult to download the photos and keep updating it. They got really frustrated--they are not the most computer literate--and have never once added new photos to the frame.)

And the price is decent too. I can buy the frame and a one-year picture plan for $129. Plus they are offering free standard shipping until January 10, 2009. Have any of you seen or own the new CEIVA digital photo frame?

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Starting January 1st: A NEW YOU!

I am so excited to tell you about the next few weeks!

I haved decided to combine two of my favorite topics
--budgeting and beauty--
to bring you
"30 days to a New Beautiful, Frugal You"
By all means I am not a beauty expert per se, but I do love beauty products, and I love to save dollars and cents, so I hope to show you some good alternatives to department store and high end products. (And other days, I am just have a free tip or sample for you!)
I hope you stick around and send me your comments each day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Personalized Holiday Gifts

Did you forget to send someone a gift this Christmas? There's still time to purchase personalized holiday gifts! Even better, from now until the end of the year, Pexagon is offering 20% off 4 awesome personalized holiday gift ideas!

Here are four ideas:
  1. Personalized Thumb Drives - available in 14 colors, up to 16GB in capacity with FREE custom laser engraving! Choose from one of our 32 exciting themes such as "#1 Teacher" or "Happy Holidays" and engrave two lines of personalization text on the reverse side! Starting at $7.99 after discount.
  2. Personalized Pens - 3 unique styles, multiple colors and a FREE line of personalized laser engraved text! Starting at $1.59 after discount.
  3. Business Card Flash Drives - the perfect gift for the business person or administrator in your life! It looks like a business card but the back side hides a small USB cable (huge 2GB capacity) and the front side can be engraved for FREE with 3 lines of personalization text! Starting at $15.99 after discount.
  4. Wooden USB Flash Drives - environment-friendly, wooden design with attached cap and two color choices. Available in 2GB and 4GB capacities with 2-sided custom laser engraving absolutely FREE! Starting at $15.99 after discount.
    Opp-300x300

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Friday, December 26, 2008

I probably gained five pounds...

Oh my. Seriously treadmill alert. I think I gained five pounds in the past two days. Look at this great food I made the past few days!

On Christmas Eve, I fixed a homemade Red Velvet Cake... and Chicken Gumbo (yum!)

I fixed Monkey Bread on Christmas morning.

And, a Christmas Brunch Casserole (full of eggs, cheese and bacon!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace this blessed Christmas Day!


Last Minute Cookies For Santa

This recipe is super easy, and I think the dough is easier (than sugar cookie dough) to work with. But note you need to chill the dough overnight. Santa will LOVE them!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream
cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough for 8 hours, or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Leave cookies plain for frosting, or brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with candy sprinkles or colored sugar.
4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light and golden brown. Cool cookies completely before frosting.

Kmart for Last Minute Gifts

So it's Christmas Eve and I swore I wouldn't get out of the house today. But then at 6:00am hubby decided to tell me that we are out of cat litter and he broke the scoop! Great, thanks honey. So at 8am, I dressed the kids and loaded up the van.

Now, my home is within equal minutes of the big three: Walmart, Kmart and Target. I decided to hit Kmart this time around. It wasn't too crowded, thank God. (I am not one who likes crowds and in fact I haven't been to the mall since mid-November). So I was able to easily find the cat stuff for my hubby.

But, what I wasn't expecting was the great sales today!!

So if you are running out to get Christmas gifts today, consider last minute gifts from Kmart! Some ideas in the "under $25 category" include the Craftsman® 23-inch hand tool box with comfort handle (for him), Martha Stewart Everyday tall nickel pillar candleholders (for her), or Just Kidz® Deluxe soft-bodied 16” doll set with stroller or LeapFrog Leapster Learning Games, various titles.

And don't forget that Kmart is offering great layaway programs and no payment/no interest programs right now, due to the falling economy. Happy Shopping!


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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wow, It IS December 23rd!

My kids are sleeping, and even hubby is already in bed. I am sitting down to relax and just realized that Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and I haven't done many things I normally do this Holiday season.
  • I only got one tree up this year; not three!
  • We didn't make it to Church ONCE this advent season! (WOW!)
  • We never made it to see "snow" falling which Mimi so badly wanted to do (um that's soap bubbles for those of you outside of Florida).
  • Although Hubby and I made it to Epcot once (to see the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT), we didn't bring the kids to see the Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios (which we never miss!).
  • We never hung our outside decorations and lights. (Our neighbors must think we are Jewish; we are the only home on the block without lights!)
  • We didn't have ONE guest over to enjoy my pretty Christmas China or see my tree.

How the heck did the Holiday season get away from me!? I mean, I had my cards addressed the first of November (yes November) and my shopping was completed by Thanksgiving. I guess I shouldn't be so hard on myself--I MEAN THE KIDS HAVE BEEN SICK FOR THREE WEEKS-- but I am just feeling a little "down" about what we didn't do this season.

Oh well, tomorrow will come and I'll soon forget. And before I know it will be 2009, a new year; and I'll have new priorities and new things "to do". I guess the ol' saying is true--life seems to go by faster the older we get!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bronchitis Update (And a Crazy Lady Story!)

Princess Mimi isn't getting better. We saw the pediatrician today, and Mimi is on four new prescriptions (new antibiotic, oral steroid, cough syrup and continue with nebulizer). The doctor wants the cough completely gone in two weeks. If Mimi still has even the littlest cough in the new year, she will get a chest x-ray. Please pray for my sweet girl.

On a lighter note...funny story. The dr's office was running an hour behind today (ugh!--and I had both kids with me--not fun). This lady walks in with her teenage daughter and starts talking to me. Right away, I could tell she was a "nut" but I tried to smile and be nice. She starts telling me that all of our kids are sick due to terrorists. She wants to call the CDC to tell them her theory. (um, okay lady, whatever you say!). She goes on to say something like, "Why else are kids so sick today? There is MRSA viruses in school and more things that can't be explained. It has to be terrorists!"...and then Mimi's name was called. (THANK GOD, I was saved!).

Our First Christmas (2005)

Hubby and I had a busy first year (2005) together! We were married in January bought a home, and gave birth to our Princess. This is the photo on our first Christmas card.

New Stem Cell Technology

Now, I will start off being honest. I am not sure if I am on the "stem cell" bandwagon just yet. But I will also admit I haven't researched the topic totally.

So when I first heard of C'Elle I was in shock! You see C'Elle is exclusive and revolutionary stem cell technology empowers women to safely and easily collect non-controversial, potentially life-saving stem cells found in menstrual blood. (Yes, menstural blood!)

When I first heard this I thought to myself, "NEVER!" I couldn't believe what I had heard.

But then I think back to the greatest Christmas gift I ever received! Remember the story I shared with you two weeks back? You know, the story about my sweet Princess Mimi receiving two blood transfusions in 2006? I wish I could personally thank the two individuals who shared their blood with my baby.

And I bet years ago, blood transfusions were not popular. I am sure their was controversy!

So I am starting to open my mind a little more to stem cell.

C'elle menstrual stem cells have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into other cell types such as heart muscle, cartilage, nerve and bone stem cells. This translates into the potential for future therapeutic developments to possibly treat major diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, MS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's; as well as possible cosmeceutical applications like anti-aging and wound-healing.

So what are your thoughts on stem cell? I'd be happy to hear your comments!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Tag

The Mrs. tagged me for this fun Christmas tag...Here are my answers!
1. What is/are your favorite Christmas Movie(s)? The Santa Clause series (1, 2 & 3!)

2. Favorite Christmas Song? Garth Brook's "Go Tell It On the Mountain"

3. Favorite Holiday Memory? Family gatherings at my great-aunt's home on Christmas Eve.

4. What is your favorite cookie/treat to make? Cream cheese cookie cut-outs (a little easier to work with than sugar cookies). I'll post the recipe on Monday!

5. Have you ever made an igloo? NOPE.

6. Do you love Starbucks? Not that much because I don't drink coffee!

7. What makes the perfect Snowman? I have no clue, I have never seen real snow!

8. Not sure what happened to #8 so we'll move on..

9. Best gift you have ever received? That's a tough one.

10. What is the snowman's name on Rudolph? Uh oh, not sure.

11. Silver or Gold? My decoration are accented in Gold

12. What is your favorite Christmas decoration? My mantel.

13. What's your Christmas decorating style? Nature-oriented (birds and pinecones).

14. Do you hang stockings? Yes, personalized by Pottery Barn.

15. How many days do you celebrate Christmas? Usually once, but this year TWICE! (My parents arrive on December 26 so we'll do Christmas a second time on December 27!)

16. What was your favorite ornament on the tree as a child? My mom collected the Hallmark ones and I liked them a bunch!

17. Where will you be spending this Christmas? This year, at our home in Florida.

18. When do you open presents? First thing Christmas morning.

19. Real tree or artificial? Artificial, easier to care for...and more economical.

So, tag you are ALL "it!" Please play along and let me know when you post your answers!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Giveaway Time!!

Well in honor of yesterday's 500th post, I am doing my second blog giveaway. And since I live in Central Florida, this one will be a Disney Fun Pack. I will create a special package of Disney items, customized for your family!! So leave me a comment please and tell me your favorite Disney character. I will draw the winner this Friday, 12/19/08 at 6:00pm!

Good luck!

Our Horrible Economy Has Me In the Dumps!

It's Friday, and Christmas is just a few days away. But instead of feeling cheery and excited, I am feeling kind of down. I think the economy has me worried.

Just a few days ago, I was thinking to myself, "You know the news keeps talking about tough times but I haven't felt it yet, thank the Lord." But now...yea, not feeling so confident.

A friend of mine works at FedEx, and if you saw yesterday's news, you know the company is cutting salaries across the board by 5-percent and no longer matching 401k funds. OUCH. Another friend of mine, a respected attorney, will soon be losing her job. AND, I have heard rumors that my hubby's employer will start lay-offs soon too. Times are scary.

Realization hit me today. The economy won't improve overnight.

I am not sure how I can cut my family's budget to save a few bucks. We already live pretty tight. I don't have a gym membership, or a maid, or a lawn service. I already buy "generic" at the grocery store.

Is there something I am missing? What have you done to save a few dollars?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Hour: Jingle Juice

I found this recipe last year in Southern Living and it was a hit at my Holiday Party. It's simple and can be garnished with a fruit-flavored Candy Cane! Enjoy!

Ingredients
5 cups orange juice
1 cup vodka
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
Garnishes: fruit-flavored candy cane sticks, cherries with stems, orange and lemon slices

Preparation
1. Stir together orange juice and next 4 ingredients; serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
Rudolph's Spritzer: Omit vodka and orange liqueur. Add 2 cups chilled lemon-lime soft drink. Proceed as directed.

Update: Kids/Bronchitis

I am sorry I haven't visited your blogs in a few days. It's been a tough week with both kids fighting bronchitis! They are doing better (yea!) and I'll be back in the swing of things soon. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Shopping Alert: PB Kids

I just received an email from Pottery Barn kids. They are doing free shipping today on any in-stock items. One day only! Check it out at: http://www.potterybarnkids.com/. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Weigh-In

I haven't "weighed in" in weeks...just too busy I guess. But I got on the scale this weekend and am still holding at 126. Guess I'll never loose that last pound, but who cares! I am in a size 6 pants again...and a small top...so the scale doesn't bug me! I admit that I have cut back on the treadmill some (from 5 days a week to 2 or 3 days a week).

Thank you OSBs for the help and support! Having to report back to you gals each week made me feel more responsible to keep up the progress. (If you would like to see how I lost the weight please visit: http://operationskinnybitch.blogspot.com/) I wish the rest of you luck in your weight loss.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Tuesday Treats!...

Edible Ornaments are so much fun for the little ones. Check out the recipe here: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/display?id=15060

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Red food coloring


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Gradually mix in the flour.

2. Divide the dough in half. Color one half with red food coloring and leave the other half plain. Roll out a tablespoon of red dough and a tablespoon of plain until they are each 6 to 8 inches long. Twist them into a candy cane, pinching the ends. Repeat.

3. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not brown.

Makes about 25.

Another Yummy Dessert

Speaking of yummy recipes...Paula Deen has combined two of my favorites: Bread Pudding and Red Velvet cake. Check out this great recipe: YUM!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/red-velvet-bread-pudding-recipe/index.html

Cookies for Princess Mimi's Christmas party

I am bringing the "special snack" to Princess Mimi's Preschool Christmas party today (which poor girl had to miss today due to her bronchitis--she's really upset about this!)

Since, I am coming down with a horrible head cold and wanted to find a quick cookie recipe. . I found this one in my Southern Living cookbook and oh my--only FOUR ingredients and so dang delicious--yum!
http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=522472

My second cookie was a "semi homemade"....I purchased the Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix and added a Hershey Kiss. (I checked the teacher and none of the children have a peanut allergy, whew!)

I am serving all the cookies in Santa cups; each kid will get four cookies and a handful of candy.

Laptop bags from Spire

Do you ever think about the wear and tear of your laptop bag? Think about it for a minute. Personally, I pick it up in the morning, throw it in the car (with the kids diaper bags & lunch boxes), head to work for a few hours, and then back in the car. Honestly, there are been many times I have almost dropped that sucker. Well, I found a solution! Spire has laptop backpacks. How cool is that!? The Spire bags fit a variety of laptops, no matter how small. So check them out...Spire USA is a leading provider of quality laptop bags that last a lifetime!
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Monday, December 15, 2008

'Tis the Season...


...for colds and flu. Or in my house, bronchitis! Both of my little ones have it, so are on antibiotics and the nebulizer. It never fails that we all get sick right before Christmas!

Awesome T-Shirt Designs for only $10

I have to tell you that as a mom I wear T-shirts all the time. There comfortable and easy to care for. I think I even did a post once during the summer about owning five white shirts. Of course, with two kids, all were stained, ha.

To make it worse, this fall I can't seem to find regular crew neck long sleeve shirts. I have searched JCP and Target with no luck. Finally, Old Navy had a few but they were really thin and literally looked like they would fall apart after one washing.

So I was happy to come across this new site today where you can Buy $10 T-Shirts. Now, I am not talking about cheap tee shirts--these are quality tees. And they have really cool designs, all customized by the sites artists.

Even better, for the next seven days, http://www.tenbills.com/, is having a 7-7-7 sale. What does that mean? Well for the next seven days, the site offers seven t-shirts for only seven dollars. See this red one I posted? Yup, you guessed it, $7.

The site offers shirts in youth and adult sizes so go ahead and check it out now, while the 7-7-7 Deal is underway. Oh, and there is a “free shipping” offer on the site right now, too. During the month of December, shoppers can enter the code “Flurry” to get t-shirts shipped at no cost—and there is no minimum.

Just another “great deal” I wanted to share with you all!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Celebrating my 500th Post!!

GUESS WHAT!?! THIS IS MY 500th POST, so we will celebrate with Disney...want to see how:

http://www.sun7news.com/index.php?code=48P29w302hGi577JSJEk&CMP=OTC-WWYCOVS1001

Isn't that cute!? You can personalize the video for yourself or a friend, too!

Go Pistachio!

This weekend my family had a chance to sample "Everybody's Nuts", a brand of pistachois. Now you know they must be good with my 3-year old Princess Mimi kept saying, "More Please!".

(She liked the No-Salt flavor. Hubby on the other hand likes the European Roast with combines salt and vinegar.)

Nuts have been in the news quite a bit lately, so we all know they are nutrient dense--full of antioxidants, vitamin B-6 and lutein--and they are a good source of fiber.

But did you know that pistachios also keep you trim!? Yup, they are one of the lowest fat and lowest calorie nuts; and are a low glycemic index food.

Oh, and please take a minute to check out their FUN web site at http://everybodysnuts.com/. "Starch" is the mascot for the nuts and my kids think he is a hoot!

I can these great nuts at my local Walgreen's but if you want to try them check out the "store finder" on the web site. In fact, I think I will pick up a few extra boxes for Holiday gifts. They will be perfect in a basket with a bottle of wine, don't you think!?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Healthy Makeover Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
2 1/4 all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamom
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 lg eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 can (8oz to 8 1/4.) crushed pinapple in juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 bag (10 oz.) shredded carrots
1/2 c dark raisins (optional)

Cream cheese icing
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. low fat milk
1/4 tsp. vanila extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spray nonstick 12-cup Bundt-style pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Prepare cake: combine flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on med. speed, beat eggs & egg whites until blended. Beat in sugars: beat 2 minutes. On low speed , blend in pineapple with juice, oil and vanila. Add flour mixture; beat 1 minute. Stir in carrots & raisens. Pour batter into pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min.. Invert cake onto rack; cool completely. Prepare icing; in bowl, stir ceam cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Add milk and vanila, and remaining sugar; stir to a drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over cake.

For those with Teens--Online Education Site

As parents, I think one of our biggest concerns for our children is education. Now my kids are still in preschool, but I know many of you have teens, so I wanted to share information with you about Brightstorm, an online educational site.

At Brightstorm, each course is designed by a classroom teacher and will be in a form of video lessons. Each student can do the course at her own pace and order. Best of all, you can Sign up for a free!

(Let me add here that I took some online graduate courses a few years back and loved it. It was convenient with my work schedule and I could repeat a lesson if I needed. I had no idea that there were lessons for high school students online. I truly think this is the future of our educational system.)

Once registered, you can view courses and teachers, before decided to buy 24/7 access. The value and "funness" provided at this site is like no others on the net. They offer courses in SAT preparation, Geometry, Algebra, History, Writing, and more!

Oh and parents....you can also use Brightstorm. If you need to develop your skills so you can help your kids with homework, you can try a course too!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Hour: Frozen Cranberry Margaritos

Yum, Who wants to join me for Happy Hour!? This one is compliments of Southern Living.

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1665298

Prep: 5 min. A mojito traditionally uses rum; here we use tequila instead, hence the fun title. Dip rims of glasses in lime juice and a mixture of equal parts kosher salt and sugar for a twist on salt-rimmed glasses.

Yield
Makes 5 cups

Ingredients
1 (10-oz.) can frozen mojito mix
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Ice

Preparation
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender. Fill blender with ice to 5-cup level, and process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Triple Sec for orange liqueur.
Southern Living, OCTOBER 2007

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Deals at Sears!

So I am pretty much done with my Christmas shopping. I have shopped for the kids, my parents, cousins, babysitters, and coworkers (whew!). But hubby -- my poor hubby – hasn’t done ANY shopping yet! So this weekend, I am sending him out to the mall to fight the crowds. I gave him my “wish list” but it’s time to edit that list as I just found two great deals that I must share with you!

Sears is once again having a huge sale this week (12/7.08 - 12/13/08). There are two items I want to specifically mention are:

  • $199.99 Sylvania 20” class LCD HDTV, save $100.
  • Canon Powershot 8.0-megapixel 4X optical zoom digital camera. $149.99 (before $20 instant savings)

I mean a flat-screen for $200. That can’t be beat. I really want a new television in our bedroom. (I know, I know experts say to leave the TV out of the bedroom, but come on, who doesn’t fall asleep watching their favorite show!?) I mentioned the other day we still have tube TVs in my home, so it’s time to upgrade.

Also, last week, while seeing Neil Patrick Harris at EPCOT, my camera wouldn’t zoom in quite enough. And lately, I have a white glare on the pictures. My camera is three years old, so I think it’s time to upgrade that too! Don’t you agree!?


P.S. You can check out more weekly deals at Sears by visiting: www.sears.com/weeklyad




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My First Blog interview

I was interviewed by Caroline at "Over the Top Aprons" this week for her personality feature on her blog...pretty cool, eh?...check out the interview and her super cute aprons at: http://overthetopaprons.blogspot.com/.

Looking for a Christian Themed Gift This Season?

Do you have to buy for a faith-based friend or family member? Here's a suggestion, an Award-Winning Celebrity Audio Bible.

(Gosh, I know if my grandmother were still alive she would absolutely love this gift. I remember her reading her bible every single day until she got to the point that she couldn’t see much. I even remember here watching Church on TV each Sunday morning. She was such a Godly woman who I deeply miss.)

What makes this gift so special? For starters, there is a stellar ensemble of almost 400 of today's award-winning actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and producers! (I’m talking about Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, and Blair Underwood!)

Tbeimage


Do I need to convince you more? Well, the original musical underscore bis y the Prague Symphony Orchestra; and a Hollywood-style sound design created at Technicolor Studios. Even more this Audtio Bible received the 2007 Audies Audiobook of the Year for the New Testament edition.

This audio version is truly contemporary, using the accessible and trusted Today’s New International Version (TNIV) of the Bible. If you want to learn more, please visit the The Bible Experience website. You can also download a sample clip (narrated by free Nick Cannon) by using the exclusive download code: GEN3SPRK.




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Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Breakfast (or Christmas Brunch) Ideas

I love making a special breakfast on Christmas morning--more than I enjoy making or eating Christmas lunch! But at the same time, I hate to spend too much time in the kitchen and away from the kids (and the new toys). So I always look for recipes I can make the night before and just pop in the oven the next morning.

Here are a few recipes I want to share with you that I have found online:
Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
Breakfast Casserole I
Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Let me know if you decide to try one of these yummy recipes!

Safe and Free Online Fun for the Kids

This one is for the kids! They will love the Action AllStars Sports-themed Virtual World. I know that Internet safety is important to all of us parents, so I was thrilled to find this site. It is fun, free and safe for your little boy and/or little girl. It's a virtual sports world where kids can play sports, shop for (virtual) sports gear, chat, and more!

I tried it out myself today before sending it over to my nephew. I decided to play basketball. (I am in the red). It was easy. Basically, I used the four arrows and the spacebar to “play” my game. (I played basketball as a teenager and let’s just say that my skills are still bad, ha! No wonder I sat the bench so much. ) Here’s a screenshot of my game.

Registration is free and easy. Simply log in to http://www.actionallstars.com/ and hit “play”. You and your child must sign up with the parent's email address. Then, your child can customize his virtual self (hair color, eye shape, outfit, shoes, etc).

The site is built upon four "C's": Compete, Collect, Customize and Chat.
One last note, current ActionAllStars.com partners include MLB.com (MLBMA), NBA.com (National Basketball League), and ConnectSafetly.org.
Dotcom_outlinedall

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Still Need a Gift for Him?

So we have roughly two and a half weeks left until Christmas day. I am done with my shopping, yay.

But for those of you who still need a gift for the man in your life, I have a suggestion. Check out the web site for Sierra Adventure Gear. There are tons of "perfect gifts" on this outdoor adventure web site.

Sierra Adventure Gear's web site sales tons of items from camping gear, sunglasses, flash lights to headlamps, knives and watches.

And they offer top brands like Bushnell, Maglite, Safeguard, and NovaTac.

I'm sure you'll find only quality items on the site since the company was created by two outdoor enthusiasts! Sierra Adventure Gear was born on the foundation of an appreciation for life and the adventures of our infinite great outdoors. The team’s travels have taken them all the way from the beautiful deserts of California to the frozen tundra of the Arctic. (Pretty cool, uh?)

The return policy is simple. Sierra Adventure Gear will accept all products that are returned to us in its original condition and within 20 days of our shipping. After 20 days, this policy becomes null and void.

And they are offering free shipping on orders over $75 right now! Let me know if you get anything fun.



Thanks Allyson for the Tip

I know many of you loved the Victoria's Secret slipper socks I posted about last week. Well, Allyson tells me that they are on sale HALF PRICE in the stores (she picked up two pairs on Friday!), so go pick yours up quickly!! And take a minute to visit Allyson's blog at: http://www.allysonanddave.blogspot.com/.

Sit on Santa's Lap: Online Fun

Okay, so it's my usual Sunday afternoon. Kids are napping. I'm still in my pajamas. And I'm looking for fun things online to share with you all!

And, low and behold, I came across this cute site. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes for this fun experience and it's super cute. You see, CEIVA is promoting their unique digital frames by asking you to sit on Santa's lap and tell him you got a wish! All you do is upload a digital photo of yourself, with your name and a wish. Then Santa incorporates you back into the video.

After viewing the video you can email it to a friend or embed the video onto your blog or web site. Pretty simple and really fun. (I added a "sexy photo" of me from a few years back and asked for a new flat screen TV and then emailed the video to my hubby. Do you think he will get the hint!?)

So who is CEIVA anyhow? Well, CEIVA is considered the "Connected digital frame" because you can automatically receive photos to your digital frame from all over the world. The frame connects via phone line or wi fi, and can receive photos directly from a computer or cell phone. SUPER COOL, uh!?

So, now you can get started on your Santa video by visiting: http://www.sitonsantaslap.com/?utm_source=b.

By the way, 1 random entry selected for each day of the contest to receive a cash prize of $500 per winner. WAHOO! (Hope that's me, hehe!)

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Oh, Little Boys!!

Tom-Tom has come very close to pulling the TV out this week! (Yes, I still have outdated tube tv's in my home, no flat screens yet!) So to make sure he doesn't get to the TV anymore I had to move the coffee table in front of the entertainment center! Little boys are a handful!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Favorites Continued: Cookies!

Now, y'all know how much I love to bake cookies. In fact, growing up, my mom, sister and I used to bake at least five varieties, if not more, to deliver to friends during the Holidays.

So I am so excited to have found this site: http://www.christmas-cookies.com/. You won't believe all this recipes here!

BHG's Site also has recipes for All-tim Favorite Christmas cookies on its site at: http://www.bhg.com/holidays/christmas/cookies/favorite-christmas-cookies-and-bars/.

What are your favorites? I like M&M cookies, Toll House chocolate chip, Snickerdoodles, Peanut butter (with the hershey kiss on top!) and oatmeal gumdrop (my mom's secret recipe).

OH--and don't forget that it's COOKIE NIGHT on the FOOD Network!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Disney Store: Friends & Family Discount

DisneyStore.com Shopping Discount:
Enter code FF25 to get at checkout to get an additional 25% off!

Speaking of Christmas Favorites...MOVIES!

I love watching Holiday movies to get me in the "spirit". My top five are:

1. Miracle on the 34th Street (the newer version)
2. Elf (Will Farrell cracks me up!)
3. The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen)
4. The Santa Clause 2 (got to have Mrs. Claus!)
5. The Christmas Story (gotta love Ralphie!)

So, which movies are your favorite!?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Yup, True Story

Tonight, I was trying to get the kids dinner on the table and had just popped open a little Miller Lite (oh, I love the new 8 ounce cans--perfect size). The doorbell rings and without thinking I open the door with beer in hand.

On the other side, are two men in white shirts and ties. One guy says, "Good evening, we are missionaries with the Latter Day Saints. We'd like to share a story with you."

I reply with "Sorry I am feeding my kids dinner." <Laughing that I am holding my beer>

"Can we come back at a more appropriarte time?" he asks.

To which I salute my beer and replied "I am proud to be Catholic, thank you very much" as I shut the door.

Christmas Music

Now, I love Christmas and I love listening to Christmas carols this time of year, but there are a few songs I could do with out.

1. Elvis's Blue Christmas just annoys the hell out of me, don't know why.
2. Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller) is so over done.
3. O' Christmas Tree (why are we praising the tree and not our Lord??)
4. Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys. No explantation needed.
5. 12 Days of Christmas....yes a classic but it makes no damn sense today.

And then, there are five songs I could hear over and over all day with pleasure.

1. Baby It's Cold Outside (yes, I love the movie ELF!)
2. Charlie Brown Christmas Theme (my all time favorite cartoon)
3. Here Comes Santa Claus by Gene Autry (oh, what a classic!)
4. Go Tell it On the Mountain (The Garth Brooks version is a must!)
5. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve (Not really Christmas but love Harry Jr!)

So there you go, my list of 5 favorites and 5 not so favorites. What are yours?

Stocking stuffers for Her (or ME!)

Victoria's Secret Pink™ - Slipper Socks $14.50
Burt's Bees - Classic Tin Quartet $10.00
Philosopy's kiss kiss kiss
holiday flavored lip shine trio $28.00

Bath & Body Works® Signature Collection - Forever Festive $10.00