Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Thanks to everyone for the encouraging comments yesterday! I went to get my blood test today. I didn't go yesterday while I was at the doctor because I had a b*t*h of a headache all day. You know the kind I matter what you take, it doesn't go away. Danged sinuses. I feel much better today so I hiked over there. (Okay, I drove.) I got lucky--found a place to park right away and I only had to wait about 15 minutes to get the test done! (This is New York--every place is crowded, usually.)I'm not sure what they're looking for, but my doctor wants to rule out all possibilities before assuming the hot flashes/attacks/whatevers were caused by the onset of real menopause. (As opposed to the perio kind, which I've been having fun with for about 5 years now.) Totally off topic, I noticed my word verification was turned off for blogger! I wonder how that happened? So, I turned it back on again. If I get comments, I want to hear from real people, not some machine trying to show me how to make a million bucks! (I wish!)

WFMW Strikes Again

This is my favorite WFMW tip that I have offered. It has saved me a lot of money because socks are expensive! Just use a binder clip (sometimes called a bull clip) to keep socks together when you wash and dry them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

What I'm tackling these days is the start of menopause. Not fun, I tell you. It hit me big time this weekend. At least, I think that's what it was! On Saturday evening, I started feeling this tingling in my arm, like hot electricity. Suddenly, my joints started going numb and this wave of terrible heat washed through me. My heart started beating really hard and I started to hyperventilate. My husband took me to the emergency room, where they determined I had had a panic attack. Don't ask me why--I was just sitting in my living room, doing nothing in particular. The doctor thought I was afraid I was having a heart attack. (My heart and lungs are fine, btw.) I told him I thought the stinging pain was from a bug bite and I was reacting to that. But there is no bite mark. He thought it might have been some tendon pain. Well, this whole thing happened to me 3 times that night. It was awful. They gave me some Xanax, which helped.
The whole heat-wave thing made me think of hot flashes. So I did some research and found that everything that happened to me is symptomatic of hot flashes. Somehow, a drop in estrogen screws up your hypothalmus (I think!) which is what regulates body temperature. I'm 50, just the right age to start this menopause crap. So what I'm tackling is to do all the research I can. You know how it goes: "I have menopause, menopause doesn't have me." I want to know what vitamins to take, what exercises to do, etc. etc. I'm going to see my doctor today.
I woke up with a headache last night and have been very, very restless. I got up and dressed by 7 this morning and went for a walk around my back yard. 12 laps=about 1080 steps. Oh, and I actually did tackle a cleaning project yesterday. I dusted off the shelves where I keep my photo boxes.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I was pretty happy to say that I had gone without a bad cold for almost three years. Almost. But I've got one this weekend. I forgot how awful they make you feel. I've also got a slight stomach ache. Stomach problems terrify me because I was very, very sick for 8 months a few years ago. I keep telling myself this will go away, it's just part of the cold. It's hard to get comfortable. One moment I want to fall down and sleep and the next I want to be moving around. The moving around part makes my stomach feel better. The sleeping part makes the cold feel better. The kicker is that I have work tonight and might have to call in sick if I don't pick up a little before the end of the day. (I go in at 4.) I wouldn't care except my boss is leaving for India tomorrow and I feel bad leaving her with a very busy office. Still, I'm sick. What can I do?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tag, I'm it!

World According to Julie Oh, boy, I got tagged by Julie to tell you the first words that come to my mind after reading the following list.

Bright...and shining

I don't know what a brain trust is. I've just heard the word before.

Blooming Idiot sounds kind of Monty-Pythonish, doesn't it?

Slow Cooker Thursday Here's my contribution to "Slow Cooking Thursday," hosted by "Diary of a Stay at Home Mom." We are having it with buttery corn bread and some kind of vegetable--as in, what I pull from my freezer. I love this theme--it will get me to make more use of my crockpot. And boy, are there some gooooood recipes over there! BTW, I had bought the cranberry juice earlier in the week and it's already gone. I also didn't want a lot of sauce because we're using cornbread, not rice or noodles. So I am skipping the cornstarch and water part. I needed something tart to cut the sweetness, so I added a dash of lemon juice instead of the cranberry juice--just a dash, not a half cup, LOL! I also used honey instead of sugar. I've made this recipe in the regular way many times so I feel confident experimenting with it. Oh...and I'm using pork tenderloin. It is my pork of choice and I always stock up when it is BOGO.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

A number of bloggers have posted tips on prepping food ahead of time. I do that. I like to cut things up in the afternoon while watching TV, so it's all ready to go at dinner time. But...where to store it until you need it? A bowl or a dish is just another thing to wash. A zip-top bag is money down the drain, since they can't be washed if you put raw meat in them. Well, maybe they can...but if I wanted to treat my family to e coli I would buy spinach this week. Okay, so...I use a plastic grocery bag! Why not? They are made to carry food. They are free. You can tie a knot in them and nothing leaks out. And they are disposable. And if you have a lot of food to a bunch of vegetables...they hold a huge amount of food!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

Nothing really exciting today. I just got back to my coupon drawer again. I tend to just throw them in there willy-nilly. So of course, when I'm off to the grocery, I can't find what I need. So I sorted them into their proper files and got rid of a few things. I also took out all the recipes I've been clipping. I need to transfer those to recipe cards, and I did 4 today. (I like reading from a 4x6 inch card better than a magazine page.) That's the link for the recipe card program I use. It costs $25/year, which isn't too bad if you cook a lot. Basically, you type your recipe onto a template (there are lots of cute designs) and it prints out in the size you want.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

About time, too! I just never got around to it today, but here goes: Monday--Teriyaki Ribs, Fried Rice and Broccoli. Tuesday: Maple Mustard Drumsticks*, muffins*, broccoli in mustard sauce*. Wednesday: Hungarian Goulash*, Noodles and salad. Thursday: Cranberry Pork Roast (never made it last week), corn bread, broccoli cranberry slaw*. Friday: Grilled Ham and Jack cheese sandwiches*, Parmesan vegetable toss*. Starred items are new recipes I hope to try. We'll see how the week works out. For the muffins, I'm going to try to sub maple syrup for some of the liquid or sugar (if there is any) so they go with the rest of the dinner. Oh, and btw, check out my baby dress post, too! And the pineapple puppy post! But beware...the cute-o-meter is off the scale.

The baby dress

Here is my friend's grandbaby, Ada, in a dress I made for her. I started it when she was little, but made it big on purpose in the hopes that, by the time I finally finished it--she wouldn't have outgrown it. As you can see, it's a perfect fit! I'm so glad because I put a lot of work into it. It just takes me a long time to finish a project (several months for this one), and half-cutting-off my thumb didn't help speed up the process, LOL! And isn't Ada a button?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pineapple Puppy

A while back my daughter came in with the puppy, cracking up. She has this poor little guy dressed up like a pineapple. Okay, it is pretty funny. But I still feel for the dog. (She also has a sailor outfit for him. Don't have pictures of that yet.) The little girl here is my daughter's friend's daughter, Angelina. As far as the scrapping elements, some come from a kit called "Midsummer Swelter" by a lady named Rina. I don't know where I got it from. The elements are from a kit by JTWOK, from In either case, it was free stuff. BTW, if you've heard about the puppy chewing up the wire that connects the camera to the computer, you'll be happy to know I can load pictures again. I didn't get a wire, though. I bought a memory card reader for $20. It will save battery power in the camera and I can use it with any memory card.

Friday, September 15, 2006

You know what I wish?

I wish that, when they tell you to get more fish into your diet, they'd realize that most of us can't afford 7.99/lb. Which is about what I paid for the swordfish we had tonight. I also paid $12.99/lb for sea scallops as a treat for my husband. Of course, not a whole pound, LOL! But even flounder is pricey. Same with tilapia, which is really, really good. (My most favorite fish is striped bass. I haven't had it since I was a child. They banned it for a while because of mercury. Now it is $17.99 a pound. Alas, I guess I won't be having it any time soon.) This is why we limit ourselves to having a fish dinner maybe once a month. It runs me over $20 to feed us all--but still cheaper than going out, right? And the only reason I can swing it is because I am frugal in other areas. I mean, isn't that what being frugal is all about--saving money on things you need so you can splurge once in a while on things you want? (What I really want is lobster. I'm lucky to get it once a year. $9.99 average per pound, but if you calculate how much of it you throw away (the shell)--I'd venture it's closer to $25/lb. for the actual meat.) I made my swordfish with olive oil, onion powder, dill, seasoned salt and fresh lime juice. Everything for the scallops was the same...except I added a touch of butter. Mike really enjoyed it. A pricey dinner...but ooooohhh sooooo gooooood!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

Well, this is more of an ongoing project because it is so huge. But having "Tackle It Tuesday" got me up there working for a bit today. I'm talking about my attic, of course! You know, that realm of holiday decorations, old clothes and toys? I've been trying to tackle one box at a time. My idea has been to get rid of all the ugly, ripped old cardboard boxes and transfer the things I really want to keep to good plastic boxes. (And boy, have I gotten rid of a lot of stuff!) I had just recently bought two cute storage crates from CVS at 75% off (because they are summer-themed). I used one for my daughter's old Barbies and another for her old toy horses. I was also able to incorporate papers from one big, ripped box into a basket that already had some papers--so I got to throw that box away. That box was taking up about 6 square feet of room up there.
I don't suppose I'll ever be completely done, but at this point at least I have a general idea where things are. Each category has its own section. One thing I don't have up there now is boy clothes. My youngest has outgrown everything, including things left from his oldest brother (same body type). BTW, do you ever go through old things and find something that really makes you sentimental? For me it is an old stuffed clown my mom gave my son when he was born. Clownie is 23 years old--and if I wind him up, it still makes me teary-eyed to remember that little baby. (Michael, of course, is also 23. He has a hard time believing he was ever 'cute.')

Dorito Chicken

I had a few requests, so here goes...(I'm sorry, but for some reason this danged thing won't let me paragraph!) DORITO CHICKEN: 1) 2 C cubed, cooked chicken; 2)8 oz sour cream 3)1/2 onion, chopped*; 4)1 T chili powder 5)1 medium bag Doritos, crushed; 6)1/2 t salt; 7)1/2 t pepper; 8)1 C grated cheese 9)1 can diced tomatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick spray and sprinkle on half of the Doritos. Mix the rest of the ingredients together except for the cheese and place on Doritos. Put remaining Doritos on top and cover with cheese. Cover with foil (Reynold's no-stick is great here) and bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. A couple of notes and a confession: *I use onion powder because I can't eat real onions. Ground turkey works really well here. Now, the confession: I made this last night for the second time and I couldn't put my finger on why it didn't turn out right. The chicken was tender and delicious, but the chips were kind of 'over crunchy.' I can't really describe it. I guess I was okay because Mike came back for seconds. But it bugged me. Until I started typing the recipe this morning! Duh! I forgot to put the tomatoes in! Oh, well, live and learn!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

This is what I hope to make this week:

Tonight: Dorito Chicken, Chunky Guacamole and chips

Tuesday: Beef and Pasta Casserole and Delicious Vegetable Salad

Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Italian Tomato Salad

Thursday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Friday: Some kind of fish, if I can afford it, with Buttery Corn Bread and Brocolli-Cranberry Slaw. (Or Cranberry Pork Roast)


They are reading the names of the victims on TV. Names of regular, every day people who were just minding their own business on September 11. People just following a routine, expecting an ordinary day in the office, on a flight, at the Pentagon. People killed by monsters for no other reason than that they are Americans. Those jealous bastards thought they could bring us down. Jealous, and stupid. They just plain don't get what freedom means to us. There is nothing that will make us bow down to them. Alas, I don't think they will give up...but neither will we. History has shown us that evil wins many battles...but isn't it always good that wins the war? And we will win this one!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Million Dollar Savings Club


That's how fast your money grows in 30 days if you save just 3 dollars a day! Go check out the Million Dollar Savings Club at Bryan C. Flemings blog!

You save 3 one-dollars bills each day, one each to a pile labeled either "Save," "Invest," or "Give Away." 3 dollars is easy for most any of us. I just started a few days ago and I'm having so much fun with this. I had gone to CVS yesterday and spotted a garage sale on my way home. I put aside my 3 singles before I even got out of the car to see what goodies she had. (Bought 2 shoe trees and a set of pretty oriental vases for $1.50.) The idea isn't that you're going to be a millionaire if you save $3/day. It's a fun way to get you into a savings habit. You start looking at your dollars and saying: "I need 3 singles for tomorrow. I won't buy that (insert frivolous thing here) so I have the money for my club!"

So, go look, and have fun!

Oh, btw, I found this via another really cool blog:
Which I got to from here:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Frugal Friday

How much fun is this?
We have a new theme day! I just love these--you get to learn so many new things. I have a feeling this one is really, really gonna take off! So let's see...what can I contribute for this first round? Oh, here you go. There are a lot of recipes that call for buttermilk, but since I don't use it very often, I don't always have it on hand. Here's a substitute: 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar (white or cider) plus enough milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5-10 minutes). I've done this several times and it really works.

That was close!

I only shop at 2 supermarkets. (I keep wanting to call them 'grocery stores,' which shows my age. When was the last time you saw a 'grocery' store, rather than a mega-super-collosal mart?) After doing price comparisons, I've found these two to be consistently lower priced. Today, I went to Waldbaum's in particular because canned tomatoes (crushed in puree) and Barilla pasta were on sale cheaper than I have seen them in ages. Fat lot of good that would have done me, if I'd walked out without showing the cashier my club card. Trouble with Waldbaum's is that they don't take the card until after they've rung you up. Which is dumb. I was so busy packing cans I almost forgot. And when I handed it over, I ended up saving $10. Ten Dollars! Geesh. This is why Stop and Shop is my preferred store. I use self-check there and then I am in total control.
I would have gone back in to customer service with my receipt to get my $10, but who needs one more thing to do in their day?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Kim over at Life in a Shoe has tagged anyone who's name begins with a letter in the word 'Chocolate.' Mine begins with C. (If you want to's a county in Ireland).

Here are the questions and my answers:

1. Are you craving anything, and if so, what?

Not at the moment. Already had my caffeine fix this morning, LOL!

2. What is the weather outside, and do you wish it would change?

The weather here has been amazing for the past few days--blue skies, cool temps. It's like early fall--the only thing missing is the changing leaves. Nope, wouldn't change a thing. (I do love a good thunderstorm, though!)

3.What two websites do you think you will go to next after you are finished here?

I better get up off my dupa and do some housework, really. But I've book marked a few frugal sites I want to check out. One is called The Cheap Chap and the other is Frugal Duchess.

4. Do you wish you were somewhere else and if so, where?

In an ideal world, I'd be able to afford my own island. I would have raised my family there...away from all the annoying liberals. Although sometimes, they are kind of funny. Hilary is always good for a laugh.
In reality--I'm happy where I am, at home, with my husband and kids.

5. Do you wish you were someone else, and if so, who?

Oh, gosh, not in a million years. I love being my weird, flaky self. The only thing I would change, if I could, is to be exactly me without 24/7 back pain. It is more annoying than even the liberals are.

6. Tag?

I'm not sure how this works but if I can pick my own tagees--I pick anyone of Irish descent! Or anyone who wishes he/she was Irish. Or...anyone wearing green today!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

I was sitting in my living room last week, looking into the clutter of my dining room and wondering what to do about it. Some of it I can't touch--it's my husband's at-home-office area, too. But the cookbooks set alongside the pretty blue-and-white plates on the white hutch bothered me. They just didn't look right. But there was no place else to put them. The two cabinets in my dining room are full of bowls, baking supplies, etc. Then I got a bolt-out-of-the-blue idea. I got it the way we always get them: when thinking of something totally unrelated. The unrelated thing was what a mess my pantry is becoming (again). I suddenly realized I had a lot of wasted space up in the back of the top shelf. (Top shelf is for breakfast items). So...why not move the bowls I rarely use back there? And open up some space in the dining room cabinet? I did this and tackled a few things: 1)moved the books 2)sorted out bowls I'll never use and can get rid of and 3)cleaned the top shelf of the pantry while I was at it.
You'll have to take my word for it, as I can't connect my camera to the computer. If you've been paying attention, you know my bad puppy chewed the wire. And I haven't yet gotten over to Best Buy to see if I can replace it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

I posted a few days ago that I actually used everything on my menu last week, a first for me! I hope I can do the same this week!
Monday: Barbecue: steak, cheese and parsley sausage, hamburgers, hot dogs
Fruit salad
Tuesday: Chicken Enchilada Bake
Wednesday: Salisbury Steak
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Friday: Grilled Pork
Potato bread

Can you tell we're big salad eaters? Any day, though, I can substitute regular vegetables. I see frozen ones are on sale at either Stop and Shop or Waldbaum's this week. I'm going to be stocking up my freezer because when the weather starts getting yucky, and I don't want to drive, it's always nice to be able to pull frozen broccoli from my freezer to round out a meal.
But what I'm really hoping is that roast beef and Oven Stuffers start going on sale, too! And turkey!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Storing Summer Clothes

I tend to put up and take down clothes from my attic in stages. This morning, I brought up all my sleeveless tops. At least, the ones that aren't currently in the laundry. I figure, with outside temps hitting the 60s and low 70s these days (probably thanks to Ernesto), I won't have much use for sleeveless tops. (No need to store bathing suits or shorts--I wouldn't be caught dead in either.) Next things to go up will be short-sleeved t-shirts, in a few weeks. What's coming down now is long-sleeved tops that are light in weight, and later on I'll bring down heavier sweatshirts and sweaters. So for a little while, my drawers are ready for two different seasons. In the meantime, I also intended to bring down all the boy clothes up there. Nicky has grown from the young boys' to the men's department and I was going to systematically go through old clothes to see if anything would fit him. I must have done that last year--I didn't find a single thing. What I did find is that my daughter needs to go through her things to see what she wants and doesn't want. Sounds like a project to do in front of the TV on a day off! (I have a feeling some young girl somewhere is going to inherit a lot of really nice things. My daughter has excellent fashion sense. She didn't get it from me--I have no fashion sense at all. If it's clean and it matches, I'm good to go. Katherine, who is 21, and my mom, who is 83, have infinitely more fashion sense than me!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baby Love:a layout

Here is another layout I did. That's Michael when he was 2 1/2 and Katherine at about 6 months old. Years ago I had made a collage for my in-laws. This was one of the pictures. Mom P and Dad P have passed away, and I got the collage back. I realized that there were a lot of cute pictures in there. (The collage happened before my scrapbooking days.) So I've been cropped out my favorite ones and making layouts, using the Creating Keepsakes scrapbooking program (one of my gifts for my 50th last January). Of course, collage photos are oddly cut, so I've also had to do some 'repair' work. If you look closely at the gray area, you'll see 'stripes' where I copied one part to cover over an area that belonged to another photo. The kit here is from RAK Scraps, by Christy Heins, I believe. It was part of their free April Mega Kit. The butterflies and bears come from PC Hugclub. I had belonged to that for a while but quit because a)I didn't always like the kits each month and b)it costs about $8. I have better things to spend $8 on. If I used the kits even 80% of the time, I'd be fine with it. But I really only use less than 50%. RAK Scraps, on the other hand, puts out a monthly kit that is totally free! (I've posted about them before.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Menu Plan Monday...Friday

Wow, I did it. I actually stuck to my menu and made everything on it this week! Right down to the meatloaf, which I wasn't sure I'd make. (It came out really good, btw.) Tonight we are having ciabatta pizza. Let me tell you, this is NOT frugal. Not by the time I bought the ciabatta bread and mozzarella! However, there was one frugal aspect that came as a nice surprise. I only needed a little pepperoni, since not all of us like it. Whether you buy the sticks or slices in a package, that stuff is expensive. Salad Bar to the rescue! Sure, it costs 3.99 a pound. But I'm not buying a pound of pepperoni! I only needed enough for 2 or 3 people. Just a 'scoopful.' Do you want to know how much it cost me? Honestly, truthfully...8 cents. I hit the "Salad Bar" button on the self-scanner screen and that is exactly what came up. So next time you need just a little of something, try buying it from the salad bar. It might only cost you pennies! (BTW, I'm eating the pizza right now. Yummy! I like it enough that when mozzarella is actually on sale, I'd definitely make it again.)