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Friday, October 29, 2010

Be scared, very scared!!!


My kids are grown and there are few young trick-or-treaters on our street, so decorating for Halloween loses its appeal these days! I have found, however, that JibJab.com allows me a way to express my inner child for all occasions (sometimes free or $4.99 if I really love it and need to download it for posterity...) Due to PC issues, I couldn't find my file to post but check out the site for very scary deals!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheesy yet elegant!


Invariably I am searching for unique treats for my family for Halloween (the kids are in college...candy no longer cuts it!) or for family and guests on Thanksgiving (pumpkin pie is great, but something out of the ordinary is called for now!)...

I spotted a recipe "a la" spreadphilly.com for spiced pumpkin cheesecake:

Makes 16 servings.

Ingredients:

38 Nabisco ginger snaps (finely crushed)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkgs (8 oz. each) Philadelphia cream cheese , softened
1 can (15 oz. pumpkin)
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (I recommend allspice as substitute)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat oven t 325 degrees F.
Mix crumbs, nuts and butter and press onto bottom and one inch up side of 9-inch springform pan. Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each just until blended. Pour mixture into crust.

Bake one hour and 20 minutes to one hour and 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan and cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours. Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip and a dusting of nutmeg!

Preparation time = 15 minutes! Amazing and yet so simple! :D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toasting the holidays!


Martha Stewart (yeah, I know...I bemoan her perfection but still cite her suggestions...go figure!!)
suggests buying wine by the case for your holiday celebrations...in particular, she lauds the wisdom of mixed cases to allow for a variety of wines for your guests' enjoyment. "House" wines provide you an economical way to serve a mix of palates, while adding in one or two special bottles to set aside for host/hostess gifts is a sensible way to go!

Check out MarthaStewart.com for details on how to balance your vineyard selections!

A votre sante!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Outer Space (I mean in your garage!)


USA Today's Sunday insert last week provided some great ideas for organizing your garage (and mine could really use it!)

1) Determine "zones of function" - separate places for laundry, tools, your car(s), etc...
2) Think vertically - use walls to create storage - shelves, cabinets, etc...
3) Go "above and beyond" - store bikes, etc...overhead (hanging from ceiling).
4) Organize "tool" kits - in separate bins put garden tools, oil change supplies, dog wash stuff...you get the idea!
5) Keep toys within reach...make it easily accessible for kids to get their bikes, game equipment, etc.

Voila...instant garage organization!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What are you looking for?


Alas...I am sadly lacking input from my followers...! (no offense intended!). I have a wide range of topics which I am considering covering but not sure what will interest my "bleaders" ( yeah, blog readers is what that stands for!).

I am busy researching tour group deals for a recent contact...any other requests? Please let me know! Thanks!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall for fall with some easy crafts...


Ok, so admittedly I am not usually a Martha Stewart fan, but I do occasionally find myself falling (no pun intended) in love with some of her ideas (and recipes!). In this case, her most recent issue (also available on marthastewart.com) provides an easy, yet classic, decoration for your Thanksgiving table! She calls it "Flaming Foliage" and here are the easy (3-step) instructions:

Materials:
*Spray adhesive
*Assorted dried leaves
*Glass candleholders
*Candles

Steps:
1) Apply spray adhesive to backs of the leaves.
2) Wrap leaves around candleholder, letting the stem of each extend slightly past the base.
3) Cut off leaf over-hang along bottom of candleholder and put candles in holder - leaves look like flames when candle is lit!

Thanks, Martha...my table will look amazing!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On the right track...!


USA Weekend (10/15-17/10) published an interesting item for family members/friends of Alzeheimer's patients. Apparently there is a new GPS-tracking shoe that allows you to keep your loved one safe. It suggests that "wearing shoes is part of the 'procedural memory' that most still have during Alzheimer's wandering stage" The GPS chip embedded in the sole of their shoes allows tracking of the patient through cellular networks! Check Foot.com and/or GPSShoe.com for details. Note that security and peace of mind do not come free! Expect to pay up to $300 plus monthly connection fees of $25 to $49 for this service which will be available in stores in 2011.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too much info?


The Oct. 15-17th issue of USA Weekend covers a very important issue given the fact that so many of us are job-hunting (yes, including me!) in this tough and very competitive economy! I am a regular user of FaceBook and LinkedIn, but it's easy to forget that prospective employers (or your current employer) may be checking your posts...don't post anything you wouldn't want them to see or take the wrong way! Your future may depend on it!

The article suggests a few ways to help with this image-building:

* Sign up at google.com/alerts to get e-mail notifications whenever your name appears on line. And if Google doesn't show anything, try technorati.com to see if any blogs out there are mentioning you!

* Generate more positive information about yourself (create a blog, sign up for LinkedIn, etc.) to create a more professional reputation.

* Put privacy settings on your FaceBook or MySpace pages to be sure you only allow people on there that you want to see your posts!

Monday, October 18, 2010

De-stress to avoid Distress!


"Redbook" magazine recently provided an advertising insert (thanks to Lean Cuisine) that provided what they referred to as "10-minute health fixes." Here are a few of my favorites from that list:

* Can't live without coffee? Don't!!!! 2-4 cups of coffee/day protects your heart...YAY!!!

* Unplug your gadgets for awhile...lower your stress by turning off your phone and computer for awhile...Sounds logical to me! :)

* Spend some time every day walking around barefoot...I live in AZ...that makes sense to me!

Check out redbook.com for more suggestions!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hey, I met some other penny pinchers today!


Yes, I am behind on posting, but meeting 3 women today prompted me to get back in gear again! I was an hour early (yes, I did plan that!) to wait in line for a free "Culture Pass" for the zoo from my local Phoenix library branch...in hand I had my CDs to return...(free iPod music...score!)and a free coffee from Starbucks (courtesy of turning in my empty coffee bean bag)...But stories from the 3 ladies I met in line remind me of why I write this blog...

Joanne took her grand-kids on a tour of Northern AZ gathering "junior ranger badges" as they traveled...an inexpensive yet fun and educational trip! Check out: http://www.juniorranger.info/Junior_Ranger_Program.html (This program is for all national parks in the US!)

Yvonne knew all of the "ins and outs" of the Culture passes and other deals to get into metro area museums and events...

All four of us (and yes, 4th member of the crew...I apologize profusely for not recalling your name but I do remember YOU!) shared bargain ideas from Goodwill deals to grocery shopping to movie and book deals and favorites...

We are all in this together and don't forget that!!! Please feel free to share on any topic and request topics for me to cover (shout out to Yvonne...I will be looking for great travel/tour deals soon)!