Thursday, December 31, 2009



See that lovely floral arrangement above?  It came in a pretty red sleigh that I can fill with different flowers next year.  Savings? About $14.00.  Thanks Kelly!
Lorraine H. says she runs her last spin cycle in the washer twice so that it takes less time to dry them in the dryer.
Judi W. wrote that she walks to the store saving on gas, how much she spends at the store (can't carry too much home) and lowers doctors bills with healthy walking.  Judi also had a new air conditioner/heat pump (with an energy star rating) installed, cutting her electric bill in half!
Tracy T. recommends getting a BJ's card.  When they offer their own coupons, along with the lower prices, you can also use the manufacturer's coupons and get a triple whammy.  She also buys furniture from Craig's List.  Driving 30 minutes saves hundreds on these items.  But my very favorite Tracy tip is checking out the "still good" pile at the dump.  As long as those things can be cleaned up, they can be great free finds!

Jon S. suggests keeping a jug of water in the fridge so you won't have to waste running water every time you want a cold drink.  Many municipalities charge for water "in" and water "out."
Jack S. says, "Never buy extended warranties on electronic products.  They cost more than the depreciated value if the item fails."
And, here are a few BloggerOne tips:
Don't believe your printer's "low" cartridge message.  I print stuff out way after the "empty" sign flashes
Paper towel and disposable gloves used for cleaning can be re-used.  Better yet, use rags and toss them in the laundry.
Don't throw away those tubes and plastic bottles of lotions until you cut off the top and scape out the remainder.  You'll be shocked at how much is left inside.

Tracy T. also mentioned the "markdown" aisles at Marshalls and Home Goods.  I bought this great $160.00 Calvin Klein jacket two days after Christmas at T.J. Max.  It was marked down to $59.00.  Way to shop!

Now that we've discussed money savers, on Jan. 1, please click one of my sponsors on the right, then email me at  If you're the 20th emailer, I'll send you $20.00!  That's all you have to do.  Good luck and thanks to all of you who sent me your tips.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


To the many people suffering from economic and/or medical problems this year, I hope all of these will be happily resolved in the new year. 

To those who lost their mates within the last few years, I pray you will find solace in the loving memories you carry each day.

To you suffering from deep depression, I wish you new joy and balance in your lives soon.

To my relatives and friends suffering from rheumatoid arthritis--a disease that is as serious as it is debilitating-- I pray new medical treatments stop both the progression of your illness and pain that is with you constantly.

And others, enduring severe pain either from past injuries or chronic condidtions, I hope the care you receive will relieve that pain so you can quickly get back of your very busy lives..

To those who will be undergoing treatments, I wish a wonderful outcome and many, many more happy, healthy years.

For all the people either out of work or facing job loss, I hope you find your dream job, soon.

For military personnel and their families who have given so much to our country--I pray your sacrifice will be greatly rewarded with a free, bountifull and peaceful future, which you have so bravely helped to create.


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Saturday, December 19, 2009


How amazing is it that today we are celebrating the birth of a tiny baby born under the most humble of circumstances over 2000 years ago?  This amazing child grew into the most written about, talked about and revered individual in all of mankind, bringing his simple message of love and proper behavior.
What more is there to say except Happy Birthday may we all be able to emulate him in some small way, making this world a much better place in which to live.



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Thursday, December 17, 2009


Cookies make a great last minute gift and reflect the time and effort you put into your baking them. I found these great boxes at Big Lots for a couple of dollars each. Aren't they pretty?  I filled the large farm scene one with the following cookie bars using a recipe from  These got excellent reviews from my tasters.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white baking chips (optional)
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk, beat well.  Add flour and cinnamon; beat on low speed until well blended.  Press dough out evenly into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle on large ungreased baking sheet.  (I used a rectangle baking pan with sides.) 

Beat egg white until foamy.  Brush on dough.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Lightly press into dough.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.  When dough is slightly cooled, press in half of the dark chocolate chips and all of the white chips.  Cut into bars while still warm.  Melt remaining dark chocolate in a pan set inside a larger pan filled with boiling water.  Drizzle chocolate over bars.  Makes about 2 dozen.
(One taster said he preferred these without the chocolate chips.)

Bake these just before company comes and you house will smell fantastic!

What's YOUR favorite cookie recipe?


Thursday, December 10, 2009


First, in response to my commentors (commenters?) on last week's blog--THANKS!  I love hearing from all of you.  I learned that Beta Sigma Phi Sorority prepares "suitcases" packed with items for foster children, teachers are giving to "Pennies for Peace" (for building schools in rural Afghanistan) and Santa's Helper's health class has adpoted a family for Christmas giving.  God bless you all.  It's a joy to see the real spirit of Christmas alive and well.
I must also mention that Jack corrected me about the snow thing in Bethlehem.  He says it may very well have been snowing there that night.  If so, I hope the animals kept everyone nice and warm.  Thanks for the info, Jack.  I think it was Michaelangelo who said that he never stopped learning--me, too.

It's easy to get into the Christmas Spirit when it looks like this outside. 

Here is a suggestion for an unusual gift that is not very expensive but would be very welcomed.  Ask that special someone to give you a list of their very favorite songs by specific artists.  Then, download those songs to your music library and burn a disc with just those songs.  If you have trouble doing this, ask your favorite teenager to do it for you.  Most songs are no more than $.99 each.  Another special gift would be to download one song that says exactly how you feel about your "special someone" and ask them to play it when they are alone.  The cost of the gift will be the $.99  for each song, plus the audio disk.  To make it even more special, you can scan in a photo, sign it and place it where the disk cover goes.  I love this idea because I am a music freak and so many songs say things better than I ever could.

A gift I REALLY want is a car visor extender (you can see through) that pulls down to block the sun from blinding me while I'm driving at sundown!  I guess you can only find them in catalogs but I'm sure others would appreciate one.  It's certainly something they will use year-round.  One more thing, I'm hoping someone will give my husband a carrying case for his glasses that hooks onto his belt.  Then he will have no more excuses for not bringing them everywhere and he can stop using mine.

Don't these photos make you want to have a snowball fight?

What gift ideas do YOU have? 

Comments, please!

Next week:  Let's bake some cookies!

Please click a sponsor on the right.  It helps alot!  Thanks again....Dot

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I have to chuckle at some of the myriad holiday songs.  After hearing "It Ain't Christmas If There is No Snow" (or something like that), I'm thinking it really wasn't snowing in Bethlehem the night Jesus was born.
No Santa, reindeer, candy canes or IPods were around either.  Just a simple, quiet, manger birth.  Since this is the season when we celebrate the birth of Christ, It seems fitting to search out activities that will honor his birth and the first thing that comes to mind is doing some type of charitable work or contribution.

I recently came across a website that seems to be a good place to start reflecting on Christmas called "Citizen Sam."  This organization looks out for our military personnel, providing them with things that will make their holiday a little cheerier and more comfortable.  Everything from a simple "thank you" card (to be included in one of their many packages headed overseas) to recommended stocking stuffers and hand knitted items would be greatly appreciated.  A box of 15 stockings can be shipped for only $30.00!  The group also takes donations for postage to send the packages to the troops and uses very little money to run the organization.  Please check them out at http://www.http//

Nowadays, we also see many restaurants and shops displaying "giving trees" with tags asking for specific items for someone in need.  Maybe your contribution could be grabbing a tag and picking up an extra gift for someone you don't even know.

In times of very high unemployment, there will be many more folks seeking aid from different sources and food banks are desperately trying to keep up with requests.  That is a good place to either volunteer or give a donation where people have so much less than we do.  I personally know a gentleman who works at our local food bank every week.  I want him to know how much we appreciate his generosity and sensitivity in helping those in need.  Thanks Jack!  You're great!

Lastly, please don't forget the animals.  You can click the purple button on
 to feed a critter for free or make donations to help any number of abandoned animals.

Let's look past the flash and glitz of the season and focus on the fact that Christmas is really a wonderful birthday celebration.  No matter your religious affiliation, what better way to observe the day than with acts of pure, unselfish kindness?

What's YOUR favorite charity?  Tell me about it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Leaves dance through the sky and land on the tarmac with a brittle, paper-like sound.  Exposed branches have turned a lonely grey and brown.

This morning, another "V" formation of gypsy geese starting their journey south, pass overhead squawking a vocal farewell.  With hesitation, I wave my goodbyes, telling them I will see them in the spring.

A few remaining red apples hang on forgotten trees, perhaps a later treat for scavaging, hungry critters.  The weather has turned cold, a preview of coming temperatures that will soon challenge man and beast--at least those who choose to remain behind--while others escape winter's wrath.  It's November in New England.

This is the month of thanksgiving, starting with the harvest for which we are so grateful.  Food is the mainstay of any culture and nowhere is it more apparent than in New England.  From dairy to fruits, vegetables and grain, we see crops rotated, planted, growing and harvested from early spring until late fall. quotes from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth by Edward Winslow--describing the first Thanksgiving in New England--as a three day affair involving 90 Indians and a group of early Colonists at Plymouth in 1621 with feasting and game playing for three days.  The menu probably included deer, fish, carrots, acorns, chestnuts and stewed pumpkin.

Most Americans probably don't know that Thanksgiving is celebrated in Canada on the second Monday of October.  And, our first president George Washington, stated in his proclamation of October 3, 1789:

*"...Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint
Committee requested me 'to recommend to the People of the
United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God,
especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of
government for their safety and happiness.'"

And so, a Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

You will find the first president's entire message at:
* Proclamations/Thanksgiving1789.html.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Most people don't know that some Butterball turkeys come
 pre-stuffed and don't even need defrosting. 

Just run under hot water, remove packaging and gravy packet, place in a dark roaster pan, insert a meat thermometer, set the right temp on the oven and a few hours later you have a perfect turkey and stuffing. (Make sure and check the directions inside the package.)

I highly recommend that you do not use the turkey drippings to make gravy.  College Inn Turkey Broth has no fat and quickly makes a tasty gravy.  Make your favorite recipe only use two 14.5 ounce cans of broth in a saucepan and add 1/2 Knorr chicken bullion cube.  If it gets lumpy, just pour it through a strainer.   
Or, you can just buy Heinz Roasted Turkey Gravy and just heat it up! 
It has NO fat and Target has it for only $.79 a jar through Saturday!

Since canned cranberries have 22 grams of sugar per serving, I like to cook them up fresh.  Just rinse the berries well, add 1.5 to 2 cups of Splenda and follow directions on the bag.  These are tart but eliminating all that sugar is a  good idea.  With no fat, no sodium, only 6 grams of carbs and 20% of your vitamin C, these berries are really good for you.

Think about substituting sweet potatoes for white ones.  They are loaded with vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, B6, Riboflavin, Copper, Pantothetic Acid and Folic Acid.  And, they taste great when mashed with light butter and topped with Splenda and cinnamom.  Corn has no fat either, so that's a good choice. Along with an apple pie made with Splenda, you can top off any meal without a sugar/fat/salt overload. 

Of course, a long walk after dinner with people you love will help your heart and make you feel great any day.

Here's a tip for Christmas giving:
Bring your digital camera to the Thanksgiving festivities and snap lots of photos.
Later, you can pick the best ones, print them out and frame them for a gift.  People really love these! 

What are your Thanksgiving suggestions?
Comment below by clicking "comments."
Thank you!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Season changes in New England are always very dramatic.  When nature begins preparing the landscape for long, dark, cold days ahead, she leaves a special pallet of colors and designs that are barely noticeable but can, in fact, be stunning.

Grays of stone surround the pale rust of leaves.

These stones glimmer in the soft morning light.

Dried pods dot the hillsides ready to spread their seeds.

Shades of misty blue are even more dramatic when set behind a darkend forest.

Acorns cast their own tawny hues along the roadways.

Storm broken branches and cat tails form their own woodland sculptures.

Pine cones and leaves cover the forest floor with beautiful designs
painted in burnt umber, ochre and shades of beige.

This is my New England!

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Friday, November 6, 2009


Country folks shop a bit differently than their city counterparts.  I don't know about other residents but we hit the malls about twice a year and that's mainly to look at the decorations.

We need satellite dishes more than chafing dishes, generators more than gems and chain saws more than gold chains.  Out here, we buy boots that keep our feet warm, as well as preventing us from sliding on mud and ice.  No pointy-toed, high-heeled things that may make our legs look great.  Here in the hills, it's more important to keep our legs from breaking.

And, when we wear tights, they are not a fashion statement.  It's to keep our legs warm.  Fleece is big in the northeast but we can also get Romney Wool right from the sheep at Maplehaven Farm.
We can purchase eggs right from the chickens at Maplehaven, too.

Fitch's Corners sells milk right from the cow, if you don't need it to be pasteurized.  Shopping for maple syrup, vegetables, fruits and baked goods is easy, too.  And, we know exactly where our food comes from!

A lot of folks shop for tractors instead of lawn mowers.  Cut "grass" is rolled up and taken to feed cows and horses.

One thing we do have in common with city types--firearms sell well here.  Hunting season spans several time frames but we only need pepper spray for the bears that knock-over bird houses and bees' nests.

We also have a general store in town.  All that's missing from it are woven baskets that women used to carry their supplies home in.  On a cold day you can grab a cup a coffe and a hot lunch along with your milk that comes in a real carton.

So, where do you live?  Is it this great?

Please click "comments" below and leave me a message!