Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Family Christmas


What's for Dinner

Crockpot Turkey Cassoulet

This savory turkey casserole crockpot recipe uses only five ingredients.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups dried great northern beans
1 lb. turkey breast tenderloin
2 onions, chopped
14 oz. can ready to serve chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

Preparation:
Place beans in a medium bowl and cover with water. Cover and let stand overnight to soak. Drain beans and discard soaking water. Place beans in 3-4 quart crockpot. Cut turkey into 1" pieces and place in crockpot along with onions, chicken broth and water. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Then stir in tomatoes and pepper. Cover again and cook on low for 30 minutes until hot. 6 servings

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If it weren't for bad luck we'd have to luck at all


Well..... on top of all our other bad luck stuff......... I was in an auto accident yesterday. I was going around a curve here in the neighborhood and when I turned.......the car didn't. I slammed into the high curb with my right front and then my right rear. The car is damaged pretty good. Both tires are warped, the rims are bent and the hubcaps are destroyed. A tow truck is coming to pick up the Saturn today. It is not even drivable!

I slammed into the center console with my right hip (my bad one to start with) and my right shoulder. I am not feeling so hot this morning. That is why I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning.

Matt has been up all night too. He started having some additional pain yesterday and has been very uncomfortable all night. What a pair we are.

I am up and attached to my TENS Unit. Hoping I can get this pain in check before I have to go to work........ and then I have to go pick up food at Sam's Club today.................and spruce up the house for a Family Christmas gathering at our house tomorrow.......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas
from
The Barber Bunch
We here at the Barber Bunch are wishing you the merriest Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

He is Home

Matt is Home!!

Yesterday was a little rough when we got home. He was really tired and in pain. But he was so excited to be home he would not sit or lay. So when he did he was really uncomfortable. So we spent a couple hours trying to find a comfortable position for him. When we did find it he was able to sleep for a little bit which helped.

We were able to come up with a comfortable position for him to sleep in the bed too. He slept thru the night with no problems. He just woke up and asked for a pain pill a little while ago. So I hope he can sleep a few more hours.

We don't have much planned for today. I will probably catch up on laundry and do a little cleaning around the house. We are still planning on having both our Families Christmas Parties here. I thought it might be easier that way with Matt in his current condition.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Matt

Just wanted to explain my absence here in Blog World.

Matt had emergency surgery yesterday.

He was complaining of bad abdominal pain and when he let me take him to the Emergency Room they concluded (after many hours mind you) that he had a "hot" appendix. A few more hours wait for a CT Scan with contrast then they did in fact confirm he had appendicitis and he needed to go to surgery.....stat! So with in a half hour we were up in Pre Op and they were preparing Matt for his first major surgery.

He did well during the surgery and they were able to do it with laporoscopy, so he only has 3 tiny holes in his belly. He will be in the Hospital for a couple days and off work for a few weeks.


Not what we had planned for the week before Christmas but you work with what you got.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's for Dinner

Crockpot Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with chilies and garlic, undrained
1 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a 4-5 quart crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Stir well so the chicken breaks into small pieces.

6 servings

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12 Things of Christmas

Twelve Things of Christmas

1. Real tree or artificial? Artificial

2. When do you put up the tree? Weekend after Thanksgiving

3. When do you take down the tree? First weekend after the new year

4. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly gift bags but if it won’t fit in a bag, Wrapping Paper. My family circulates gift bags. There are some that we have been using for years

5. When do you start Christmas shopping? January of the New Year. It is easier to budget that way

6. Who is the hardest person to buy for? My Dad

7. Easiest person to buy for? My Mom

8. Angel on top of the tree, or star? A Santa

9. What is the worst Christmas gift you ever got? A Calendar and a bag of M&M's from my Ex Husband.

10. What is the best gift you received as a child? I remember one Christmas where I wanted some boots and I got them. I was so excited

11. What is your favorite food to eat at Christmas time? Cookies, Cakes and Sweets!!

12. What do you want for Christmas this year? I want to spend time with friends and family.

Wanna play along?? Copy this and put your answers in your blog or answer in the comment section

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our new Couch

Our new couch arrived!! And we have our Christmas Tree up.
I thought I would show you the new front room decor!



The Christmas Trees lights.
(Can you see Samantha under the Tree?)

The new Couch.
I got the blue accent pillows and throw yesterday.

My Great Grandpa Naylor's Rocker.


A whole new room!!
What do you think??





I feel bad


I did so well during the summer with my back to basics lifestyle. Reading and learning about new things, learning new skills and trying them on in my daily life. I will say it is a lot of work to live simply. It is a lot more time consuming than most people think.


Which brings me to my point........I recently started working again and I am balancing work, home, and a marriage (like most women are these days). I have started falling into my previous life of convenience and I feel bad. I kept some of summertime practices but others..... I simply do not have time for.


Hopefully when I get on more of a schedule, I can balance things a little better and get back to living simply.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's for Dinner? Potato Soup



My Grandma Jordan made the best Potato Soup. I am always leery of trying or making Potato Soup...... I just know that no one can make it the way Grandma used to.

I found a recipe for Potato Soup the other day and I thought I would give it a whirl. I am pleased to say that it is ALMOST like what Grandma used to make.

Potato Soup

3 tbsp Butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups Milk ( whatever you use daily)
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in saucepan over LOW heat. Add Flour. Stir constantly until smooth.

GRADUALLY add Milk, Potatoes, Onion, Salt and Pepper

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and potatoes are done.

Shown here served with bacon bits, cheese and chives.

YUMMY!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First Day at My New Job

My first day went well. I was impressed with the Company and the employees. They really treat their people well there.

UTC services over 200 Hospitals with more being added weekly. I have a lot of information to learn but I don't think it will be a problem. The technology is amazing. I can click a button on my computer and turn on a TV in New York!

I will be training for 3 months in the office and them I will be on my own at home.

What I am reading




Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving from a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse

Monday, December 1, 2008

What's for Dinner? Double Chocolate Chip Brownies


Easy Double Chocolate Chip Brownies ..... Homemade!!!
Ingredients:
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions:
PREHEAT: oven to 350° F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

MELT: 1 cup morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract and baking soda. Stir in remaining morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.

BAKE : for 18 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What's for Dinner- Easy Turkey Pot Pie


Easy Turkey Pot Pie

1 cup hot water
6 oz. leftover Stuffing
3 cups chopped cooked leftover turkey
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
12 oz. turkey gravy


PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Add hot water to stuffing mix; stir just until moistened. Set aside.

PLACE turkey and vegetables in 2-qt. casserole dish. Pour gravy over turkey mixture; top with prepared stuffing.

BAKE 30 min.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We have wanted a couch for the front room since we moved into our House.

We are going to be hosted a couple Holiday Parties and thought there was no time like the present to buy a couch!

We decided to do some online comparative shopping and ended up ordering this couch from www.samsclub.com


The Madrid Convert-a-Couch is a multi-solution sofa bed with a revolutionary design. With the touch of a hand this stylish and comfortable sofa converts into a full size bed. Designed with a lightweight super steel construction, the 640 independently wrapped pocket coil spring system and 10" pillow top offer two types of comfort for the price of one. There's no longer a need to move tables or remove cushions - finally there is a sofa bed that transforms from sit to sleep instantly by simply lifting the lightweight seat cushion. It's that easy. High performance 100% polyester microfiber in mocha is stain resistant, making the Madrid Convert-a-Couch the perfect sofa for any room.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I thought it was kind of cool that we got a couch and didn't leave the comfort of our own home! Especially on Black Friday!


It will be here in 7 to 10 Days!!!! I will take some pictures of the completed room after it arrives!

What's for Dinner- Turkey & Stuffing Cakes

Turkey & Stuffing Cakes

What You Need
2 cups leftover Stuffing
2 cups finely chopped leftover cooked turkey
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 egg
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (or more to taste), finely minced

2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup KRAFT Ranch Dressing

Make It
MIX all ingredients except oil and dressing until well blended. Shape into 8 patties.

COOK patties in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides.

SERVE with dressing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What's for Dinner- Warm Turkey and Havarti Sandwich


Warm Turkey and Havarti Sandwich

Perfect for leftover turkey, served open-face on warm, homemade bread and topped with sweet and simple Mango Chutney.

Serves: 4-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS
Leftover turkey, sliced finely
1 loaf homemade bread, thickly sliced
16 slices of Havarti cheese or 1 bar of Havarti, sliced
1 can olive oil spray
Mango Chutney

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat your toaster oven to broil or preheat your oven to 400ºF.

Spray the bottom side of each piece of bread with a small amount of olive oil and place on your baking tray. Lay a slice of Havarti on top of each piece.
Put the tray into the toaster to broil or oven to bake just until the cheese melts on the bread, and remove.
Place the leftover turkey on top of the melted Havarti and top with a heaping spoonful of Simple Mango Chutney.
Top with another slice of Havarti and return the tray to the toaster oven to broil or oven to bake just until the Havarti is melted, or for about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a plate and serve hot. Top with additional Simple Mango Chutney, as desired.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving from The Barber Bunch
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Be sure and check back for the next few days.......
I am doing a series of Turkey Recipes to help you use up all that
leftover Turkey from the big day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Update on Grandma

I went to visit Grandma yesterday. She is doing well in the Rehab Center. She had gone to the Dining Room for Breakfast and was getting ready to go to PT when I got there. She walked with a walker to the PT room. Did a few minutes on the Stationary Bike and then walked back to her room.She was excited to start PT yesterday.

We rested for a little bit then it was time to go to lunch in the Dining Room. ( the staff encourages them to go to the Dining Room unless they are sick in bed. It makes them interact with other people....which I think is good for Grandma) She has made a couple friends and they are telling her all the things to do and see at the Facility. After lunch, We went to the Starbucks Coffee Shop they have on premises and got her a cup of coffee. She was amazed that they had such a thing and that the coffee was FREE!

There is a Dog that lives at the Facility. She was looking forward to meeting him yesterday. She misses Scottie and we are trying to figure out a day that Scottie can come visit her.

I guess she did have words with her nurse in the morning but was a case of Grandma being Grandma. I talked to her about being cooperative and communicating with the staff a little better. God bless her!

Overall, I think she likes it. She was also talking about maybe having to have some help when she gets home. So I think she is opening up to having some Home Health Care people come in.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Matt's Grandma


Sorry I haven't posted more.

Matt's Grandma is in the Hospital. She had a couple hours of distress yesterday. But with some intervention she came out of it and was able to breath again. Luckily Matt and I were there and that seemed to calm her.

The Doctor is going to keep her for a couple more days and then the plan is to send her to a Short Term Nursing Facility aka Nursing Home for a couple weeks. She is not real happy about this and it has taken alot of talking to get her to agree. The incident yesterday really scared her and has helped her accept that she needs to got into the Nursing Home for some reahab and PT.

We are dealing with calming and reassuring her, coordinating with her and her Dr's, Social Workers , After Care coordinators to get her all squared away. Oh and making sure her dog is being cared for.

I hope everyone is well. I will get around to visit you all as time permits.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Instead

I worked for Home Instead for the last time last night. I will say, I will miss it.

The little lady I was sitting with last night is totally ate up with Alzheimer's. She asks the same questions over and over and over again. I must have told her it was Tuesday a thousand times! But she was so cute when her Husband came to see her. They were just so sweet together. When I got ready to go, She told me that she liked me and didn't want me to go. (insert my heart melting here) She also wanted to know when I would come back (heart breaking here because the answer was never). Now granted......she forgot this whole exchange in a matter of moments but talking with a Alzheimer's patient is kind of like talking to a child. They speak the truth, even if they forget it 2 seconds later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What's for Dinner- Creamy Orange Shake

www.livingonadime.com

Creamy Orange Shake (like Orange Julius)
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
5-6 ice cubes
1/4 cup sugar
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup water (optional)

Combine ingredients in blender until smooth.
Can be kept in the refrigerator 1 day.
Serves 4.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Whoooooo Hooooooo

My Disability was approved!!!!!!!!!!!!

I should be getting my back pay in 24 to 48 hours and start receiving payments in December!!

Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and support.
Carolyn

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Barber Bunch Products

To celebrate the launch of The Barber Bunch Products........

I'm having a Giveaway!!

To enter:
Visit my Cafe Press Store:
http://www.cafepress.com/TheBarberBunch
Then come back here and tell me what product you would like to win.

Write a blog post about my giveaway and I will give you a second entry. Just be sure to add a comment with the link to your post.

Those without a blog can enter too. Just be sure to leave a way for me to contact you in your comment.

Dates:
You can enter to win from November 12 thru November 26

I will announce the Winner on Saturday November 29

Thank you and Good Luck

~~~~~~~~
See all The Barber Bunch Products at:
http://www.cafepress.com/TheBarberBunch

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dorothy Lane Markets

The Dorothy Lane Market Story

"Dorothy Lane Market, like many American food stores, began as a fruit stand. In 1948 founder Calvin Mayne began selling quality fruits and vegetables in the south Dayton, Ohio area at the corner of Far Hills Avenue and Dorothy Lane (hence the name of the market, or DLM for short). Calvin loved good food, and wanted his customers to enjoy the same.

Fast forward to today, and Dorothy Lane Market is a company of three well-known gourmet supermarkets, recognized for great food and service in national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Gourmet Retailer. More importantly, our customers know they will have a great food experience every time they come to our stores! For over fifty years, the passion for eating well has not only remained a constant at Dorothy Lane Market, it continues to grow.

We believe there are few things in life as pleasurable as enjoying good food, be it tearing off a piece of aromatic crusty bread, drizzling a peppery olive oil over fresh greens, or sinking your teeth into a piece of flavorful cheese. If you have ever visited us, or shop in our stores now, you know what good things await you at Dorothy Lane Market. How do we do it? For one thing, we’ve been living it for over 50 years. We’ve also traveled to Europe, Asia, Australia, and all over the United States, eating and finding ways to bring you some of the same great eating experiences we’ve had. We partner with and learn from food artisans and others passionate about food. Simply put, at DLM, we love good food; and we want to share the experience with you."

Dorothy Lane Markets are famous in the area for supporting local agriculture and farming. They were selling fresh local fruits, vegetables and meats before it was the "In" thing to do.

3 Area Locations
Oakwood
2710 Far Hills Ave.
Dayton, Ohio 45419

Washington Square
6177 Far Hills Ave.
Dayton, Ohio 45459

Springboro
740 N. Main Street
Springboro, Ohio 45066

Visit their website at : www.dorothylane.com/

Visit their new Blog at: www.dorothylane.com/blog/

CDC: Emergency Preparedness and Response

CDC: Emergency Preparedness and Response

This site is intended to increase the nation's ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/

Lots of great information......check it out!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rohm and Haas' Fall Tips

Rohm and Haas is a specialty materials company that manufacturers the water-based acrylic technology found in common household supplies like paint, adhesives, caulk, roofing and much more. Recently, Rohm and Haas offered consumers the following tips:

* After a long summer in the sun, your deck probably needs a facelift. Deck paints and stains come in a variety of colors and finishes. An added bonus – acrylic paints offer UV protection and emit little to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), extending the look and lifetime of the deck, while reducing impact on the environment.

*Caulk entryways like windows and doors to keep cold air out this winter. Securely weatherizing your home with weather stripping and acrylic caulk pays off -- according to the Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR ® program, homeowners who thoroughly seal and insulate their homes can expect up to a 20 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs.

*Walk around the exterior of the home to check for cracks in the foundation and examine walls and attics to ensure you have ample insulation. Using acrylic insulation in the walls and ceilings of your home can save as much as $245 per year, according to http://www.stopglobalwarming.com/.

*Replace your old light bulbs with eco-efficient halogen bulbs. Even if you only replace 25 percent of the bulbs in your house, you could cut your electric bill roughly in half.

The Department of Energy estimates that in total, Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat and cool their homes – using 21 percent of total national energy. If we all made energy efficient improvements, like sealing entry ways, installing new windows and adding proper insulation, the country could save roughly $32 to $48 billion dollars annually in heating and cooling costs.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Project Laundry List: Will there be a clothesline in the White House?

Project Laundry List: Will there be a clothesline in the White House?

Fall Checklist

Does the smoke alarm work? Are downspouts and gutters clean? And doesn't the chimney need some attention?

Do these questions sound familiar? To help you get back into the spirit of winterizing your home, here is a checklist of some of the most important to-do's.

Remember to:
• Install carbon monoxide detectors near all combustion appliances. The American Lung Association® (ALA) recommends detectors with digital displays because they are easy to read.

• Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Most of these safety devices require a fresh pair of batteries at least once a year. But it pays to do your homework, so consult the manuals.

• Replace the furnace filter. A clean filter will improve the flow of air, which will make your home more temperate and help to lower utility bills.

• Check the dryer vent to ensure that the plastic housing is tight and that the flap swings freely.

• Arrange for a professional to inspect all fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, hot water heater, fireplace and gas range. Annual inspections of all fuel-burning appliances help to safeguard against carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Don't forget to replace the screen windows with glass! And while you're out there, remember to inspect storm windows for cracks, holes or signs of wear and tear.

• Consider hiring a professional if storm windows look like they are in need of serious repair.

• You may want to consider covering windows with plastic to help keep the heat in.

• Repair damaged or worn caulking on windows and doors to lock heat in and keep cold air out.

• Remove obstructions that might clog gutters and downspouts.

• Make sure that downspouts are sufficiently sloped to carry water away from your home's foundation.

By following these easy steps, you can ensure that your home is ready for the change of season. It's time to welcome fall!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What's for Dinner? Turtle Pumpkin Pie



Turtle Pumpkin Pie

Prep Time:15 min
Total Time:1 hr 15 min
Makes:10 servings

What You Need
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. caramel ice cream topping, divided
1 Graham Pie Crust
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Pecan Pieces, divided
1 cup cold milk
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

Make It
POUR 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust; sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans.

BEAT milk, pudding mixes, pumpkin and spices with whisk until blended. Stir in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP. Spread into crust.

REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour. Top with remaining COOL WHIP, caramel topping and pecans just before serving.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Brand Name vs. Generic: Part 4

Part 4: Brand Name vs. Generic

article by www.walletpop.com



Brand Name Cold & Allergy Elixir
Brand: Dimetapp Children's Grape
Price: $8.24
Size: 8 oz. bottle
Review: Great grape taste with a nice after effect of a good night's rest.

Generic Cold & Allergy Elixir
Brand: Wal-Mart's Equate Children's Cold & Allergy Grape
Price: $2.84
Size: 8 oz. bottle
Review: The Wal-Mart version was great tasting and also helped me sleep.
Verdict: Equate is the clear winner giving me a savings of $5.40. Other than the cost and the packaging the products seemed identical.

Brand Name Weight Loss Shake
Brand: Slim-Fast Optima French Vanilla
Price: $6.97
Size: Six 11 oz. cans
Review: The Slim-Fast Optima tasted like a thin vanilla milkshake without the "mmm" factor. It also had a granular feel to the liquid. I drank the shake at 1 p.m. after breakfast at 9:30 a.m. (three eggs with green peppers and a yogurt). I was hungry three hours later.

Generic Weight Loss Shake
Brand: Equate Ultra French Vanilla
Price: $4.59
Size: Six 11 oz. cans
Review: The Wal-Mart version tasted nearly identical to Slim Fast but with a touch more sweetness and no grainy feeling. As with the Slim-Fast, I was hungry three hours later.
Verdict: Both drinks are fine to the taste, although the texture of the Slim-Fast was bothersome. However, Slim-Fast has 2.5 grams of saturated fat whereas the Equate has no saturated fat and ten less calories. The Equate kept me full for the same time, had no "grain" in it and saved me $2.39.

Brand Name Peanut Butter Cups
Brand: Reese's
Price: $2.69
Size: 12 oz. bag
Review: The peanut butter was very nutty and the chocolate covering had a nice crisp bite to it.

Generic Peanut Butter Cups
Brand: Target's Market Pantry
Price: $1.49
Size: 6 oz. bag
Review: The peanut butter was very smooth, moist and very fresh tasting.
Verdict: I thought the Target cup was better, but I had an additional 15 people test the cups. Out of 16 taste tests nine people preferred the Market Pantry cups -- which cost more per ounce. After looking at the saturated fat levels. though, I will stay with Reese's because they have 1.5g less saturated fat per serving and they cost less.


Brand Name Fiber Chewy Bars
Brand: Fiber One
Price: $2.34
Size: 5 bars
Review: These fiber bars are delicious and I've been an addict to their great taste for some time. They are sweet, chewy, and nutty. They taste like a healthy candy bar. Each bar is 150 calories and has only two grams of saturated fat (the bad fat) per bar. Cost wise it works out to about 47 cents a bar.

Generic Fiber Chewy Bars
Brand: Target's Market Pantry
Price: $1.84
Size: 5 bars
Review: These fiber bars don't look as appetizing, but they have a powerful nutty punch and they satisfy my taste buds. The bars work out to be 37 cents each.
Verdict: They have a subtle taste difference that I think comes down to more of the amount of rice vs. oats mixed into the bars, Target having more rice. Since I'm a fan of the fiber bar and will buy a lot of these, my vote falls with the Target brand which is cheaper.

Brand Name Cola
Brand: Coca Cola Classic
Price: $1.89
Size: 2 liter
Review: Good, sweet taste, a good level of carbonation and a pleasant aftertaste.

Generic Cola
Brand: Safeway Go 2 Cola
Price: $0.81
Size: 2 liters
Review: Though it has more sugar than Coke, it's not as sweet. I just opened the bottle and the soda seems a little flat.
Verdict: Coke is definitely better, but if I wasn't tasting them back to back I don't think I'd notice any of the shortcomings of the generic brand. I don't buy soda very often so since the actual difference in price is pretty small I'd probably just buy the Coke. If I bought it more often I'd definitely buy the generic since it's less than half the cost.

Brand Name Applesauce
Brand: Mott's Cinnamon
Price: $2.19
Size: 24 oz.
Review: Mott's was light in color, sweet and a bit liquidy. It tasted good.

Generic Applesauce
Brand: Giant Cinnamon
Price: $1.79
Size: 25 oz.
Review: The Giant brand was a little darker in color and had a much stronger cinnamon taste (too strong for me). But overall, the taste was decent.
Verdict: They both tasted good. I would give a slight edge to Mott's on taste alone, but with the cost difference it becomes a tie.

Brand Name Canned Corn
Brand: Green Giant Whole Kernel
Price: $1.69
Size: 15.25 oz. can
Review: Large yellow crisp kernels, good chewy skin texture.

Generic Canned Corn
Brand: Shoppers Food Whole Kernel
Price: $0.75
Size: 15.25 oz. can
Review: Kernels were inconsistent in size and color. Flavor was good. The overall color was not as yellow.
Verdict: They both tasted similar. The consistency of Green Giant was better, but for the cost difference would probably buy Shopper's again.

Brand Name Vanilla Wafers
Brand: Nabisco Nilla Wafers
Price: $3.79
Size: 11 oz. box
Review: Nilla Wafers were crisp with a nice taste. All the wafers I tested had a consistent quality.

Generic Vanilla Wafers
Brand: Giant Vanilla Wafers
Price: $1.99
Size: 12 oz. box
Review: The generic brand wafers were not as crisp and didn't really taste like vanilla. They were bland, harder and had an after-taste. They almost tasted stale even though it was a brand new box.
Verdict: I was surprised the generic was half the cost, but the taste was considerably different between the two. This is one case where I would definitely spend more to get the name brand over this generic brand.

Brand Name Root Beer
Brand: A&W Root Beer
Price: $1.18
Size: 2 liter
Review: A&W had a rich, creamy, and malty taste with a nice presentation of foam. This root beer kept well in the fridge until it was all gone.

Generic Root Beer
Brand: Wal-Mart Root Beer
Price: $0.67
Size: 2 liter
Review: This root beer tasted very spunky; it had "zing." It is sort of a sweet and tangy root beer. However, after the sixth day it had gone flat. I really liked the taste at first, so I'd only buy it again if I knew it would be consumed fast.
Verdict: I personally liked the Wal-Mart root beer better, especially in a root beer float. But since the generic brand went flat so fast, I would only buy again if I knew other people would be over to help me finish it off quickly. A&W wins because its fizz lasts longer.
~~~~~~~
As we have seen you can save a lot of money by buying the Generic Brands. We have also learned that just because it is a name brand does not mean it's better. I hope you have found the article informative and have given a Generic Brand a try.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Contest

To help consumers make energy-efficient, yet budget-conscious home improvements, specialty materials company Rohm and Haas is hosting the $pruce Up Your Home contest, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.

Until February 1, 2009, consumers can enter their home by visiting The Spruce Up Your Home Site for a chance to win one of eight home exterior paint jobs or the Grand Prize improvement package worth $20,000. The contest was created to help consumers realize that home improvements don’t need to be expensive in order to add value and style, and to celebrate Rohm and Haas’s acrylic technology recently being awarded landmark status by the American Chemical Society.

What's for Dinner- Lentil Stew

Lentil Stew

1 1/2 cups lentils
1 1/2 quarts of tap water (6 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
15 oz can tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon basil (optional)

Put the clean lentils in a stew pot (4-quart size) and add the tap water. Bring the lentils to a boil and simmer them on the back of the stove for about an hour.

Near the end of the Hour, Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Quickly sauté the onions and garlic until they become tender and translucent. Then add the tomatoes and basil. Bring to a slow boil, and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the salt and pepper to the lentils. When the tomatoes and onions are hot, add them to the pot of lentils.

Stir and serve.

Friday, October 31, 2008

October Independence

October 2008 Independence Summary

Planting, Harvesting & Preserving – To date:
Canned
Strawberry Jam - 7 Jelly Jars
Grape Jelly - 7 Jelly Jars
Orange Juice Jelly - 7 Jelly Jars
Banana Jam - 7 Jelly Jars
Dill Pickles- 8 Quarts
Sauerkraut- 10 Quarts
Steak Sauce- 3 pints
Tomatoes- 5 Quarts Tomato Sauce
4 Quarts Spiced Tomato Sauce
4 Quarts Tomato Quarters
Carrot Pepper Salsa- 5 Pints
Green Tomato Hodge Podge- 3 pints, 1 Quart
Pickled Green Tomatoes- 1 pint, 1 Quart
Applesauce- 6 Pints
Apple Butter- 8 Jelly Jars

Frozen
Strawberries- 6 Quarts
Blueberries- 2 Pints
Green Beans- 3 pints
Carrots- 7 pints

Dried-
Dried Veggie Seasoning- 1 pint
Beef Jerky- 1 pint
Tomatoes- 5 Jelly Jars
Candy- Loupe - (Dried Candied Cantaloupe)
Green Peppers



Preparedness & Planning –
Reading information on how to prepare for and reduce risk of Pandemic Flu
Changed Water in our 55 Gallon Emergency Water Container
Researching Alternative Cooking methods

Managing household & reserves –
Rotating Stockpiled Foods- Eating the replenishing.
Cleaned and prepared Furnace for Winter

Keeping it Local –
Eating food from our Garden
Buying from Local Farmers and Farmers Markets

Learned New Skill or Tried Something New –
Canning Class- End of Season Harvest
My first ever, homemade from scratch Apple Pie!!
Making Applesauce and Apple Butter

Misc. & Handcrafting -
Researching and reading articles and books on survival, homesteading and back to basic skills.
Incorporating new skills, practices and methods into day to day life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bidding Farewell to Zeke

Sidney police bid farewell to K-9 officer

Zeke dies of cancer

By Darrin Michael


The term "valor" is best defined as showing boldness or determination when facing great danger, especially in battle.

With that said, a Sidney K-9 officer who recently passed away showed nothing less during his tenure with the Sidney Police Department.

On Sunday, Zeke, a K-9 officer with the department passed away after a brief battle with cancer. He was 11 years old.

In late August, Zeke was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). His trainer, Lt. Michael Rosengarten, had taken him to Sidney veterinarian Richard N. Flinn for treatment. Unfortunately, nothing other than offering comfort could be done for the dog.

"Dr. Flinn and his staff were very helpful with Zeke's treatment," said Rosengarten. "Unfortunately, we knew that the cancer would continue to progress and would eventually get the best of him in a short period of time."

Rosengarten was Zeke's trainer since the German Shepherd arrived in May of 1999 from Von Der Haus Gill, in Wapakoneta, who had imported him from Germany.

"We trained together for six straight weeks at the kennel prior to receiving certification as a Police K-9 unit in August of '99," Rosengarten said.

And with that, Zeke officially became a member of the department.

His first criminal apprehension was of a subject that fled from a stolen car in the Chestnut Avenue area of Sidney.

One of Zeke's more memorable calls; however, was a robbery at a business in Piqua.

"The assailants had fled on foot from a pizza shop and Piqua Police had set up containment in the area and apprehended one of the assailants prior to our arrival," said Rosengarten.

"Zeke and I arrived and began a track from the last place the other assailant had been seen, several blocks from the pizza place."

Zeke was able to quickly track and find the other subject who had been hiding in some bushes along side of a house. The subject was then taken into custody.

Rosengarten added he and Zeke then went to the Piqua Police Department and found neither subject had any of the stolen property in their possession.

"I suggested we go back to the pizza shop and start a track since the both subjects had discarded the stolen property in their attempt to escape," said Rosengarten.

Zeke was able to track both suspects' path, locate the stolen property and even found the weapon used to commit the robbery. Amazingly, this was after the robbery had occurred a few hours earlier.

Aside from tracking down criminals for the department, Zeke loved to participate in public demonstrations like Safety Town and also enjoyed helping out with the D.A.R.E. tent at the Shelby County Fair each year.

"He was a very social dog and enjoyed meeting anyone who showed an interest in him," said Rosengarten.

Zeke wasn't just a member of the police force, however.

"My wife, Kim, and my two sons, Riley and Rhett, have helped with the care of Zeke over the years, especially during the final two months when he was diagnosed with leukemia," Rosengarten said.

"We have been very blessed to have had him as part of our family and he will be greatly missed."

For the other officers of the Sidney Police Department, loosing one of their own is something which is never easy.

"Zeke was a brother officer," said Sidney Police Chief Steve Wearly. "He will be greatly missed by everyone in the department."

Wearly added the department is currently in the process of putting a memorial plaque together for Zeke.

"It's something we do for all K-9 officers who have served in the department," he said. "And honoring Zeke will be no different."

FEMA- Are you Ready?


Are You Ready?

http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/index.shtm

An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness (IS-22) is FEMA’s most comprehensive source on individual, family, and community preparedness. The guide has been revised, updated, and enhanced in August 2004 to provide the public with the most current and up-to-date disaster preparedness information available.

Are You Ready? provides a step-by-step approach to disaster preparedness by walking the reader through how to get informed about local emergency plans, how to identify hazards that affect their local area, and how to develop and maintain an emergency communications plan and disaster supplies kit. Other topics covered include evacuation, emergency public shelters, animals in disaster, and information specific to people with disabilities.

Are You Ready? also provides in-depth information on specific hazards including what to do before, during, and after each hazard type. The following hazards are covered: Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and Lightning, Winter Storms and Extreme Cold, Extreme Heat, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslide and Debris Flows (Mudslide), Tsunamis, Fires, Wildfires, Hazardous Materials Incidents, Household Chemical Emergencies, Nuclear Power Plant, and Terrorism (including Explosion, Biological, Chemical, Nuclear, and Radiological hazards).

Are You Ready?, also available in Spanish, can be used in a variety of ways including as a read-through or reference guide. The guide can also be used as a study manual guide with credit awarded for successful completion and a 75 percent score on a final exam. Questions about the exam should be directed to the FEMA Independent Study Program by calling 1-800-238-3358 or by going to training.fema.gov/is.

Also available is the Are You Ready? Facilitator Guide (IS-22FG). The Facilitator Guide is a tool for those interested in delivering Are You Ready? content in a small group or classroom setting. The Facilitator Guide is an easy to use manual that has instruction modules for adults, older children, and younger children. A resource CD is packaged with the Facilitator Guide that contains customizable presentation materials, sample training plans, and other disaster preparedness education resources.

Copies of Are You Ready? and the Facilitator Guide are available through the FEMA publications warehouse (1.800.480.2520). For large quantities, your organization may reprint the publication. Please visit our reprint page for more information.

For more publications on disaster preparedness, visit the Community and Family Preparedness webpage.


FEMA RELEASES "Getting Ready For Disaster" DVD
With the upcoming hurricane season on the horizon, killer tornado's and wildfires in the Midwest and south and California floods breaking levies, FEMA announces the release of a new citizen preparedness DVD titled, "Getting Ready For Disaster- One Family's Experience". The DVD guides viewers through important steps of disaster preparedness and is a welcome addition to FEMA's preparedness materials.

Introduction (Windows Media 6.3MB)
Get Informed (Windows Media 4.7MB)
Make a Plan (Windows Media 7.0MB)
Disaster Supplies Kit (Windows Media 5.6MB)
People with Disabilities (Windows Media 3.8MB)
Food and Water (Windows Media 5.8MB)
Helping Children Cope (Windows Media 5.8MB)
Get Involved (Windows Media 7.0MB)

A transcript of the videos has been provided for those that are unable to view these files.


Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Are You Ready Full Document (PDF 21MB)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do you love Blog Giveaway's?

Do you love Blog Giveaway's?


The site is having a Giveaway Carnival. There are over 1205 giveaways to enter!!!


Visit http://www.donttryit.com/bloggy_giveaways/


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

32 Ways to Save

32 ways to save when Grocery Shopping


~ Trim your food bill by as much as 19 percent simply by shopping at a couple of different stores.

~Don't "crisis cook" : Shopping after work for the day's dinner gets expensive. Plan a weekly menu before shopping and watch your grocery bill shrink.

~Don't waste money on prepared foods. Instead, prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them, or double a recipe when cooking, and freeze the second for a hectic day coming up.

~Don't be fooled by familiar products, such as cereal, that have decreased package sizes while keeping prices constant, the food industry's latest response to rising costs.

~Take the farmer's market approach: Buy produce that's fresh, inexpensive and in season. With less middlemen involved, you get good buys and your family gets the freshest food.

~The highest markup items on the shelves are at about chest level. Reach up or kneel down to select the cheaper house or generic brands.

~A grocery store's main aisles, like the paths to milk and bread, are usually strewn with high-priced land mines. Avoiding those pricey areas will really help.

~Try to shop when you're alone. Those little helpers can quickly boost your bill.

~Shop early in the day. You get through the store faster with your list and spend less.

~Avoid shopping for food when you're hungry; you'll buy more.

~Don't grocery shop when you're tired, you'll buy more sweets, more high-carbohydrates. When you're angry you go for crunch food, the junk food.

~Buy on the markdowns and save as much as 20 percent.

~Read your newspaper's weekly food section for local grocery sales and menu ideas.

~Clip coupons. You'll also find coupons in women's and general-interest magazines. Only clip what you will use!

~Find coupon swap-boxes, generally found at (surprise!) supermarkets, but also at some public libraries.

~Take advantage of in-store coupon displays and the machines that spew them.

~Log on to your supermarket's online home page for coupons.

~Call the toll-free numbers on your favorite products' labels and tell the customer-service rep how much you enjoy them. Some reps will offer cents-off (or even free) coupons for the product itself.

~Nab a newsie. Does your newspaper vendor just dump the inserts in unsold papers at the end of the day? If so, would he mind tossing a few your way?

~Check out the wealth of national-brands coupon-offering services on the Web. They can save you money -- even the ones that charge nominal fees.

~Seek out supermarkets that will double -- some super stores even triple -- the face value of manufacturers' coupons.

~Try for triple plays. That's when you use a manufacturer's coupon and a store's own coupon.
~Some retailers guarantee that if the item doesn't ring up at the correct price, you get it for free or at a discount. Pay attention to the details.

~Avoid purchasing nongrocery items, such as painkillers, contact lens solution, etc., at a grocery store. You usually pay more.

~Always get a rain check if a sale item is gone.

~Know when your store marks down goods that expire, like meat and bread. The deal: Use them that night or freeze them.

~Check your store for a small section where they discount products that aren't as popular as the manufacturer had hoped. This area can be a gold mine for bargains.

~Shop with a calculator. That way, you can figure whether the unit price for a case lot is really cheaper than buying one of the same item.

~Request price matching. Find a store in your area that will honor all competitors' ads. You'll save money, time and gas.

~Beware of "discount store syndrome." Just because you're in a bargain store doesn't mean you're getting the best price on every item.

~Check your receipts. No matter how careful you or the store staff might be, mistakes happen.

~Always send in for the rebate on a purchase whether it's $2 or $50. It all adds up.

~Put your savings to work. Whether it's a trip, a car or a savings account, have some specific goals for the money you're not spending on food.

www.Bankrate.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

We won!!

We won!!

I think I have mentioned before, My Sister in Law works for Spring Hill Nursery. Spring Hill is working on a update project for their catalogs. Spring Hill offers Step by Step Gardens, which is all you need to make a pretty garden but the pictures are all illustrated in the catalog. They want to update the catalog by having pictures of actual planted gardens.
So they took entries from people who would be willing to participate. We won over several other entries. I am so excited!!
Spring Hill will do all the prep work, planting and even pruning and maintenance for the first two years while they take pictures of the planting and growing Gardens. So we get some pretty landscaping and our House will be in a Spring Hill Catalog.
How cool is that?!?!
If you would like more information on Spring Hill or the Step By Step Gardens, Please click the Spring Hill picture link in the sidebar to be taken to their site.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zeke


Just wanted to let you all know that my Brother in Law's K-9 Partner Zeke was put to rest today.

Keep the Rosengarten's in your prayers during this difficult time.

Frugal Grocery Tip

Look down while shopping at the Grocery Store.

In many grocery stores the best bargains are closer to the floor.
The pricier items are often at eye level.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Product Review


                                 Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer SPF 15 1.7oz


Last week I noticed that I needed moisturizer for my face. I was also looking for a change in my makeup routine as I am getting ready to return to the work force. I wanted something quick, easy and lasting. That is when I came across this great product from Olay.

Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer plus Touch of Foundation

I love the 7 in 1 benefits and the touch of foundation is just the perfect amount. It evens out my skin tone without the mask-y look of foundation. I have noticed a general improvement in my skin since using the product too. Even Hubs noticed! He told me my skin looked pretty.

Here is more information on the Product:

Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer plus Touch of Foundation

Why is Total Effects plus Touch of Foundation right for you?For those looking to smooth away the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin tone without looking too made-up.

Total Effects 7 Anti-Aging Therapies:
~Line Minimization: Reduces the appearance of fine wrinkles
~Nourishing Moisturization: For a radiant, healthy glow
~Subtle Lifting: Hydrates for firmer skin appearance
~Brightening: Improves skin surface dullness
~Gentle Exfoliation: Smoothes and evens skin texture
~Pore Refinement: Minimizes the appearance of pores
~Free Radical Defense: Helps prevent damage to skin's surface


The result?
Visibly younger-looking, even-toned skin you may not want to cover with makeup.

How does it work?
This daily facial moisturizer combines the benefits of 7 anti-aging therapies PLUS a touch of sheer foundation to delicately even out skin's tone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Try it!! I hope you like it as much as I do!


Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer SPF 15 1.7oz

Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer SPF 15 1.7oz

What's for Dinner- Easy Shepherd's Pie



Easy Shepherd's Pie

1 lb. ground beef
2 cups hot mashed potatoes
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup beef gravy

Make It
PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Brown meat in large skillet. Meanwhile, mix potatoes, cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and the garlic until well blended.

DRAIN meat. Return to skillet; stir in vegetables and gravy. Spoon into 9-inch square baking dish; cover with potato mixture and remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Material Provision Priorities

When it comes to you and your families survival, some things are important to have.

Following is list of provisions in a Priority List:

Priority 1:
*Basic Food Plans for one year with recipes.
*Water Purifier. Water for 2 weeks. 14 gallons per person.
4 Gallon Countertop Water Filter Purifier - Save $$$ - Transform Tap Water to Pure Healthy Mineral Drinking Water - FREE SHIPPING

*Garden seeds for 1 season.
Preparedness Seeds - Food Storage Gardening Kit - 16 Non-hybrid, Heirloom Seed Varieties

*Manual grain mill.
Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain / Flour Mill by Wondermill

*Basic medical supplies and medicines.
American Red Cross Disaster & Emergency Kit by First Aid Only

*Minimal sanitation needs.
Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

*Clothing to last a year.
* Bedding to keep you warm with out additional heat.

*Methods to cook and heat with fuel for one year.
Stansport Portable Stainless Steel Propane Barbeque Grill

*Basic Survival Library.

Priority 2:
*Portable Storage for minimal needs for 72 hours. Emergency Evacuation Kit.

Priority 3:
Storage and other items necessary for a more normal life style. equipment, tools, supplies including a self suffient homestead or survial retreat.

From: Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack A. Sparelli

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's for Dinner?- Prairie-Land Pot Roast

Prairie-Land Pot Roast

Prep Time:20 min
Total Time:2 hr 40 min
Makes:8 servings

What You Need
1 boneless beef shoulder pot roast roast (2 lb.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 bottle (8 oz.) CATALINA Dressing, divided
2 large onions, sliced
2 lb. Yukon gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb. carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
water
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Make It
SEASON meat with salt and pepper. Brown in large heavy pot or Dutch oven on high heat in 1/4 cup dressing, turning to brown both sides. Add onions; cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
ADD remaining dressing, potatoes, carrots and enough water to come 3/4 the way up side of meat (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups). Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on low heat 2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
REMOVE meat from pan; cut across the grain into thin slices. Serve meat and vegetables topped with pan gravy. Sprinkle with parsley.


How to Thicken Pan Gravy
If a thicker pan gravy is desired, mix 1/4 cup water with 2 to 3 Tbsp. flour. Remove meat and vegetables from pan to platter; cover to keep warm. Bring reserved liquid in pan to boil on medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in flour mixture; cook until thickened to desired consistency.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brand Name vs. Generic: Part 3

Part 3 Brand vs. Generic

article by www.walletpop.com


Brand Name Baby Wipes
Brand: Huggies Natural Care Wipes
Price: $3.99
Size: 80 wipes
Review: Huggies Wipes are embossed with cutesy teddy bear shapes and are somewhat thicker than generic wipes. Unfortunately, they're also flimsier, and tear easily when you're taking them out of the dispenser, or when you're wiping enthusiastically.

Generic Baby Wipes
Brand: Safeway Mom to Mom
Price: $2.99 (or $5.99 for a three-pack)
Size: 80 wipes
Review: Mom to Mom wipes are textured with a simple dot pattern and, though they look flimsier than Huggies, are actually a lot sturdier; and seem to have a milder scent.
Verdict: In my side-by-side testing, I was able to use fewer Mom-to-Mom wipes to get the job done. They were easier to remove from the package and had a less pronounced scent. Since they are far cheaper and sturdier than Huggies, I'll only buy Mom-to-Mom in the future.

Brand Name Black Tea
Brand: Choice Organic Irish Breakfast Tea
Price: $3.89
Size: 16 tea bags/1.1 ounces total
Review: Choice tea is an excellent Irish Breakfast tea with a sharp but smooth flavor. The tea bags are usually good for a second steeping if you've brewed your first cup quickly.

Generic Black Tea
Brand: Trader Joe's Fair Trade Organic Black Tea
Price: $2.59
Size: 20 tea bags/1.4 ounces total
Review: Trader Joe's is very comparable to Choice brand; though it's slightly less richly flavored and, when brewed at the same time, took longer to reach desired strength.
Verdict: These teas are very close in flavor and Choice brand is significantly more expensive, but Trader Joe's tea bags are individually wrapped in plastic, meaning every box sends 20 plastic wrappers into the trash. The entire contents of the Choice brand box can be composted or recycled.

Brand Name Cranberry Cocktail
Brand: Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Price: $3.29
Size: 32 oz.
Review: Tastes just like the juice you've always known since you were a kid.

Generic Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Brand: Target's Market Pantry Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Price: $2.99
Size: 32 oz.
Review: A little more watered down and a little more sugary-tasting than the Ocean Spray.
Verdict: The taste wasn't that different, so for the money I saved, would actually go with the Target brand over Ocean Spray.

Brand Name Apricot Scrub
Price: $3.99
Size: 6 oz.
Review: The No. 1 Most Popular facial scrub on Drugstore.com, and an Allure Magazine beauty pick. I have been using this stuff for years, but I think they've recently changed the forumla. It now has a very unappealing scent, like an apricot gone bad. I still like how it scrubs my face, though.

Generic Apricot Scrub
Brand: CVS Brand Apricot Scrub
Price: $2.99
Size: 6 oz.
Review: A little less grainy than the St. Ives, but it has a much more appealing scent. It cleans my face pretty well.
Verdict: I would actually lean toward the CVS brand since it smells so much better. I might use St. Ives every once in a while because it scrubs harder but CVS might be my new go-to scrub.

Brand Name Cashews
Brand: Planters Whole Cashews
Price: $10.99
Size: 21 oz.
Review: Delicious, but salty, with a satisfying al dente crunch. Many in the can were in halves, not whole.

Generic Whole Cashews
Brand: Kirkland (Costco) Whole Fancy Cashews
Price: $12.99
Size: 40 oz.
Review: Nuts are very large, meaty and satisfying. Not too salty. Seemed very fresh.
Verdict: It's a close race, but I prefer the Kirkland nuts, especially for the price. They are bigger (almost none were in halves), meatier, and have a soft-yet-firm texture that makes them seem just out of the shell. My family favored the Planters, which are saltier, crunchier and, they argued, more flavorful.

Brand Name Dishwashing Detergent
Brand: Cascade
Price: $4.39
Size: 45 oz.
Review: Cascade really does seem to provide the extra "grease-fighting power" and "shine shield" that its label promises. Detergent is thick and smooth and easy to pour.

Generic Dishwashing Detergent
Brand: Kirkland (Costco) Liquid Gel
Price: $7.99
Size: Two 125 oz. bottles (250 oz)
Review: Cleans well, but gel can separate and be watery at first, then later get clumpy and harden around the top of bottle so it doesn't close properly.
Verdict: I'll keep buying Kirkland on price alone. Cascade seems to get the dishes a bit cleaner and the liquid has a better consistency, but Kirkland does the job too and is much cheaper.

Brand Name Paper Towels
Brand: Bounty Paper Towels
Price: $0.99 per roll
Size: 69 sheets
Review: The paper towels felt thick and fluffy. After spilling a little bit of water and laying a paper towel on the spill, it picked up most of it but water remained in some spots.

Generic Paper Towels
Brand: Wegmans Paper Towels
Price: $0.89 per roll
Size: 60 sheets
Review: The paper towels were not as soft as Bounty but had the exact same results.
Verdict: Since they are equally effective and the price works out to be almost the same, your choice basically comes down to whether you want floral print or plain.


Brand Name Orange Juice
Brand: Tropicana No Pulp
Price: $2.99
Size: 1/2 gallon
Review: Tasted like it was just squeezed, had a pleasing look, perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.


Generic Orange Juice
Brand: Wegmans No Pulp
Price: $2.59
Size: 1/2 gallon
Review: Tasted great, but slightly less sweet compared to Tropicana. The color was a little lighter, too.
Verdict: They both taste almost the same (neither are from concentrate), but the Tropicana OJ is just barely sweeter than the generic brand. If extra sweetness is worth 40 cents to you, go with the Tropicana, otherwise stick with the store brand.

If you have tried a Generic Brand after reading the article, Give us your review!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I want one.......

An idea whose time has come…….again

Mrs. Pegg’s HANDY LINE

The clothes line has been around since your great-grandmother's time. With the advent of the automatic clothes dryer, the clothes line slowly fell out of fashion. But the clothes dryer came with a price - it's hard on fabrics, shortening the life of your clothes.

Your clothes dryer consumes a lot of energy, like your air conditioner. At today's sky high energy prices, it can cost as much to operate your dryer as it cost to buy it.

Check out Mrs. Pegg’s HANDY LINE: http://www.mrspeggshandyline.com/

~Pre-assembled - simply take it out of the box and set up for use. No installation required.
~Available in two sizes large and small
~Lightweight - large line weighs only 5.9 Lbs, small 5.7 Lbs.
~Folds flat for storage and can be hung on the back of your closet door.
~Can be moved with a full load of washing.
~45 Lineal Ft of line space (large), 35 Lineal Ft (small).
~Large line holds 4 king size sheets (with 2 spare lines) and the small line holds 4 double sheets.
~Quick locking mechanism for fast and easy folding.
~Legs splay beyond top frame for extra stability.
~Leg caps for floor protection.
~Capable of handling heavy washloads and hangers.
~Quilts and blankets may be tented over the top of the HANDY LINE.
~Sweaters can be laid flat on top of line.
~Made from robust and non-corrosive materials - can be left outside permanently and will not rust. No maintenance required.
~Lower line level makes it easy for those who have difficulty reaching a conventional line.

This would be the perfect solution for hanging clothing to dry during the winter months when I can't hang them outside.

I want one.....................


Until then, I will use these:

 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's for Dinner- Harvest Pumpkin Spice Bars



Harvest Pumpkin-Spice Bars

Bars
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins, if desired

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of 15x10x1-inch pan with shortening. In large bowl, beat eggs, granulated sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves. Stir in raisins. Spread in pan.
2. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 2 hours.
3. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Spread frosting over bars. Sprinkle with walnuts. For bars, cut into 7 rows by 7 rows. Store in refrigerator.