Monday, December 3, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

Blurry photo of Uncle A with his treats.

My month of giving started a bit early.  On Thanksgiving eve I baked cookies and made some candy for my mom to take to one of my uncles.  Every time Uncle A saw me he would ask where his cookies were.  Mom delivered them on Thanksgiving and snapped a blurry photo of him grinning while holding the goodies.   Mom also delivered a box of goodies (of the non-edible variety) to a cousin for her two youngest.

I haven’t really been keeping track of my random good deeds.  That’s not the point of the project.  I can share some of the things I’ve done.

  • Made banana cakes and took slices to three departments at work (well, two were actually branches where I was working that day).
  • I also took a plate of banana cake slices to a local pizza restaurant.  My staff and I have our meetings there about every two months.  We have lunch and then discuss whatever work things we need to go over at that time.  We are rarely there less than 2 hours.  The owner of the restaurant also donates coupons to be used as a Summer Reading prize.  So I figured it would be nice to show my appreciation.
  • Gave a woman and her granddaughter a coupon from my Entertainment book.  I was seated near them and heard the younger one order an appetizer.  The coupon was for a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees.  They were surprised and delighted.
  • I also gave a couple of coupons to a coworker.  She and her husband like to go roller skating, so I passed along the coupon I had for their local rink.  As they are both gluten free, I also passed along a coupon for a pizza place that I know offers a GF pizza that they both enjoy.
  • The hubby and I choose a child’s wishlist from a giving tree and purchased several items. Thus far this has been the most expensive act of giving.
  •  I pulled two cards from another giving tree and will be donating a $10 gift card for both Walmart and Giant Eagle (a grocery store in our area). 
  •  Sponsored a Night Night Package with ProjectNight Night. This idea came from The Bloggess.
  •  Gave several coworkers Gold Canyon air fresheners for their cars.
I’ve few other ideas mulling in my head, but haven’t yet put them into action.  There is still time, since there is still three weeks until Christmas.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

For some time now I have been thinking of starting some new holiday traditions.  While I love to receive gifts, I enjoy giving them even more.  This holiday season I want to start something that I hope to continue for the rest of my life.  I want to make it truly a season of giving.

Therefore I am trying an experiment between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Every day I will perform a Random Act of Giving.  I want to go beyond the gifts for friends and family.  Now to just figure out how! 

My reasoning for this?  I am thankful for all I do have.  Hubby and I have had our struggles over the years, and, as life is always full of them, I am certain we will come across more obstacles as time goes by. Beyond the physical objects we possess, we are rich in other, just as important things: love, friendship, humor, joy...Those feelings that are there even when times seem dark.

Starting on Sunday, November 25, I will begin my Month of Giving.  Feel free to join in …and to share your Random Acts of Giving as well.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

At a recent crop I decided to make a few cards instead of scrapbooking. I made five cards that night.

I am going to another crop this Friday night.  My big plans are to make Christmas cards.  Once upon a time I made Christmas cards every year.  That was when I sent out over 100 cards - and had them all ready to be mailed by December 1!  I know.  That's just crazy.  Well, my list has gotten a lot smaller (as postage prices have increased) and this year I plan to make about 50 cards.  I might not mail all of them, but I will have them in case I want to!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Disaster Planning - Making an emergency kit

I am going to break with my usual daily themes to share what I think is a timely article.  I wrote this for another site, but feel it should be shared in many places!  

As Hurricane Sandy is affecting so much of the eastern US right now, my thoughts are, obviously, with the people who live in those areas.  Even in my neck of the woods there is talk of possible flooding and high wind damage.  The hubby is on the road...but stuck in eastern Pennsylvania, as his usual destination of Hartford, Connecticut is unreachable.  The state of Connecticut is under a state of emergency.

Disaster Planning - Making an emergency kit

No one wants to think of a natural disaster hitting their home, but, unfortunately, we cannot control Mother Nature. With just a little time and money, you can put together a kit that will be easy to grab with calamity strikes.

What items should you put in your kit? Here is a list of materials that will be helpful in case of an emergency:

  • Blanket(s)
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Small battery operated radio
  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars
  • Trash bags
  • Rain ponchos
  • Extra cell phone charger
  • Water tablets
  • Aspirin
  • First aid kit
  • Important papers – birth certificates, insurance information (home, medical), prescription information, family and other important phone numbers, recent photos of household members, etc. put in a water tight plastic storage bag.

You may want to have enough food and water to last 72 hours. This can make the container heavy, but that weight will be well worth it if disaster comes knocking at your door. If you have more than one adult or teenager in your household, you may want to put the food items in a second container. Canned food (don’t forget a manual can opener!) and gallons of water are ideal.

How should you store your emergency kit? A large plastic storage container is a great way to keep the kit dry.

Make sure you check your kit periodically – about twice a year. This way you can ensure nothing is close to expiring.

If you have small children, it wouldn’t hurt to add something to keep them occupied – a toy, coloring book, crayons. Keep it lightweight and easily portable. Also add items that may be needed, such as diapers and formula for an infant.

Don’t forget about your pets! If you have a pet, add food and water for him as well. A photo of your pet should be added to your important papers.

Where should you store your emergency kit? Somewhere out of the way is ideal, but you want to be able to grab it quickly if needed. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday - Family History Searching 101 - Continuing the Search

You have your list of names, places and dates and you’ve collected some of the family stories. Now what?

As I mentioned in a previous posting, your local library or genealogical society can be a great help. Perhaps you can’t get there just yet. What can you do?

Go online!

Some states have vital records – birth, marriage and death records – available to view online. The years may be limited for a variety of reasons – loss of records, to help prevent identity theft – but you can still gather a lot of great information.

Look for the Social Security Death Index. You can often find birth and death dates by searching the SSDI.

Check your library’s online databases. Some databases can be used from outside the library. If there is a genealogy or newspaper database, you have a wonderful resource to use.

Speaking of newspapers – many recent obituaries are now online. You can find a lot of information from an obituary. The person’s parents’ names, his birthdate and place, his death date and place, names of spouse and children (and sometimes children’s spouses and their children). Usually an obituary will list where the person worked, what school she attended and community groups in which she participated.

These are just a few of the free resources available online. There are many others that cost money. I have been doing genealogy for nearly 25 years and I started paying for a subscription for an online database only six months ago. For many years I used the database through the library. This was great…until I wanted to do more research from the comfort of my couch.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday - Family History Searching 101 - Where to Begin

Today's miscellaneous post is about searching for your roots.  I've been working on my own family history for over 23 years.  Yes...I was a tween when I started, thanks to a friend's mom teaching me the basics. 

NOTE: I wrote this post for a content site called Bubblews, where I have also shared some of my other blog posts.

Want to know more about your family history, but aren’t sure how to begin? Here are a few tips to get started on your search.

My dad ran off to be a cowboy at a very young age.
  • Write down the information that you know. Names of your parents, grandparents, spouse(s), children, siblings. Dates and locations of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. 
  • Take note of family stories. Have you always been told that your great-great-grandfather died of alcoholism in a nearby county jail? Write it down. It might be a folktale, but it could very well be the truth! 
  •  Talk to other family members. They might tell you that they don’t remember or know much about the past generations. Chances are you will both be pleasantly surprised by what they remember once you start asking.
  • Go to the library or local genealogy society. Many will have an expert available to help you with your search. Arrive armed with your notes and you will quickly be on your way to finding your family’s past!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Frugal Friday - Couponing 101 (Where to find coupons)

So you’ve decided to save money and use coupons.  Perhaps you even want to develop a stockpile. Where can you find the coupons that you need?  Here are a few great places to get coupons:

Newspapers – most newspapers have the coupons in the Sunday paper.  If you get the paper delivered, though, the Sunday ads and coupons may arrive on a different day.  

Friends and family – Know someone who gets the paper every week but doesn’t use the coupons?  Ask them if you can have their inserts.  Perhaps they do use coupons, but not all of them.  By working together you can all save some money!

Coupon websites– there are many sites for coupons, such as,, and  There are also many blogs that will point you to printable coupon savings.

Facebook – Many companies will periodically offer coupons through their Facebook pages.

An envelope of coupons I sold on eBay.
eBay – Did you know that you can purchase coupons from eBay? This is great for stocking up on items.  You can buy coupons for a specific item or a mystery envelope full of a variety of coupons.  Often the mystery envelopes will contain coupons that have not been made available in your area.

Company websites – Just like they do on Facebook, many companies will periodically post coupons on their websites. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

It has been over a month since I we brought Luna home.  The Hubby mentioned this weekend that he thinks that Spike’s body is changing.  Spike’s midsection seems more solid.  He still has a bit of a pouch to his stomach, but he doesn’t feel quite like the Fat Puppy that Hubby likes to call him. 

"Treats, please?"
I’ve noticed it too.  Or thought I did, at least.  So much so that I weighed both of the kids a few days ago. Little Miss Luna Belle weighs 17 pounds.  Spike still weighs 27.4.  So he hasn’t lost any weight, but we think he might have gained back some muscle.

It makes sense.  I’ve been feeding both of them a mixture of dry kibble and homemade, protein-rich food and Spike has been getting a lot more exercise by playing with his little sister.  He has been on a joint supplement for about a month.  I still notice some nights he is a bit stiff, but I think that has decreased as well!  

Last week’s home cooked meal was different than the previous weeks.  I must really love those pups.  I bought some slices of beef liver and boiled them with some brown rice, carrots, frozen peas and frozen green beans. Good gods! That sure does stink!  I also browned some ground sirloin.  When it was finished cooking, the liver “soup” went into the food processor.  I added some oatmeal (made with the rest of the liquid in the stockpot), cottage cheese, and the ground beef. 

While it was cooking I had made the kids a quick meal of scrambled eggs, pumpkin, ground beef, cottage cheese and oatmeal.  Spike wasn’t too sure about that.  I’m guessing he isn’t a fan of pumpkin.  Such a fussy eater!  He did eat it, though.  My guess is that he didn’t want Luna to have any.

The leftovers of the pumpkin mixture were added to the rest of the food. Neither dog has complained about their food since!

I made this over a week ago and still have a bit over a quart left.  I froze several quarts that night and have been pulling out a container as needed.  One quart is usually enough for about 2 days (2 meals a day).  They also have some kibble to nibble on throughout the day - about 2 cups worth total. 

Ever since I started processing the homemade food into more of a pastelike consistently, Luna hasn’t had another regurgitating episode.  I really do think the issue was because she would eat her food so quickly.  Between switching to a partial kibble diet and processing the food, she seems to be cured!

A note about the regurgitating issues.  The day Luna was spayed, her doctor did an x-ray of her chest and esophagus to make sure she was OK for surgery.  At that time the veterinarian was able to see that Luna does not have something called megaesophagus, something that we had discussed as being a possibility for the regurgitating.  When I took Luna for her follow-up appointment, we discussed it again.  Her doctor agreed that it was likely due to eating her food too quickly.  So I am not diagnosing and correcting a medical condition for my dog on my own.  I am stating my observations after discussing the issue with the appropriate medical professionals.