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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Green pens


Here's something new...a pen made from recycled bottles! Simple, useful and green all at the same time! And it's out in time for the back-to-school supply shoppers! They are put out by Pilot and you can check them out at www.notjustapen.com/red1

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Post-Its"


OK, this is my 401st post in 2 years of writing my blog...It's been awhile since I actively solicited ideas for topics from my readers...so let's do it again for old-time's sake!

My overall theme is "penny-pinching" - getting good deals, DIY projects, and ways to improve your health and lifestyle at a minimal price (better yet for free!). I've covered pets, couponing, vacation ideas, gift ideas, hobbies, education...you name it! Aha...but that's what's missing!!! You haven't named it!

What would you like to have covered in the blog? What do you think would interest people enough that they would also follow my blog? I have seven regular followers and I hope that I've kept your interest over time! To help me continue to do so, post your ideas and don't forget to post your comments on any of the things I write about. I'd love for this to be a forum for sharing these ideas as well!

Thanks for your support and (in advance) for your ideas!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Going to the Dogs!


One of my recent favorite sources for pet-related posts is Wagworld (see my post from 7/14/11). In the August '11 issue, they suggested some ways to make your home more dog friendly (ok, some are more for you than your pets and I will pass on getting a doghouse that resembles my house or a mural of my dog on my wall...!). Here are a few that aren't bad!

* Windows at your dog's level so he/she can look outside
* A dog wash station for those quick cleanups of muddy paws, etc.
* A play area (they said a room but I'm not quite that generous) with dog toys, bedding, etc.

My dogs give these a paws up!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Christmas in July?


I admit it! I am one of those annoying people who shop year-round for the holidays...why not catch a great sale on Memorial Day or Labor Day? I hate the lines and chaos that hit in November and December - I'd rather sip hot chocolate and watch "White Christmas" and enjoy my holidays.

So, given my mindset on this topic, I am offering some ideas for holiday gifts (but you can always use them as hostess gifts, birthday gifts, etc.)! Once again, Martha (check out marthastewart.com for more ideas) has some great ideas for creating gift packages or baskets.

For example:

* Buy some classic board games (checkers, scrabble, Twister, puzzles, etc.) - stack several together and tie with a wide, colorful bow. Great gift for a family at the holidays!

* Bar in a box? Why not? Martha suggests putting items such a cocktail napkins, paper straws, coasters, a cocktail recipe book, cocktail shaker, mixed nuts and umbrella picks (or other similar types of items together on a wooden tray and wrapping it with cellophane and a bow. Very chic for a housewarming party, shower gift or hostess gift!

Some of my own suggestions:

* Basket for babies (everyone does the toys or clothes, but what about a rubber duckie, baby lotion/shampoo, towel, etc. placed inside a baby tub?)

* A colorful canvas bin (the kind you see at Target to slide in sectioned shelves) could be filled with a selection of paper, scissors, stamps and similar goodies for your friends who are fanatical about
scrapbooking.

The possibilities are endless - pasta kits, wine & cheese baskets, baskets for jewelery-makers, pet-owners' goodies in a dog dish, coffee & tea basket, a spa set, movie package (popcorn, candy, and rental coupons, a watering can with gardening items...You get the idea!

None of these have to break the bank either...look for sales (yes, throughout the year!), coupons, and great deals at places like Michael's, JoAnn's or Tuesday Morning. Even your local dollar stores are likely to have items perfect for these occasions. Watch out! I may just have changed your perspective on Christmas in July!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Perk up while keeping your cool!


We all have our guilty pleasures...other than chardonnay, mine is coffee, and in Phoenix iced coffee is best in summer. Martha (aka Stewart!) suggests saving the last bit of coffee or tea you've made and using it to make ice cubes. You can add those to iced coffee drinks or iced tea to avoid watering down your beverage while still keeping it cold! I bet it would be great in Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlua too...yum! Now if I can only remember to do that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Free of the "Funk"


Need to break out of a "mood"?

  • Drink more water - hydration "de-fuzzes" your mind.
  • Music creates adrenaline and bright light makes you more alert; so increase the volume and wattage and get moving again!
  • Think positive (you know..."don't worry, be happy!") - positivity increases energy too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mix it up!


Think healthy when reaching for snacks to take to a movie or on a hike! Mix it up and make your own trail mix. Some possible ingredients? Check these out or add similar healthy picks of your own:
almonds, peanuts, dried fruit (cranberries, bananas or cherries are good), coconut, sesame seeds, yellow raisins, carob chips...any suggestions that you've tried? Let us know!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Best...Ad...Ever (or very close)!


I love The Skin Cancer Foundation's ad in Redbook (8/11) - "Keep tanning. You look great in leather."
That just says it all!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Souvenirs or junk?


Half (or perhaps even more than half) of the fun on a summer vacation is picking up "kitschy" souvenirs - the kind that later end up as "white elephant" gifts to terrorize your friends! Want to see what others have picked up along the way on their vacation treasure hunts? Check out
www.crapsouvenirs.com and maybe (just maybe) your finds will seem a bit more "normal"!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer (& Fall, Winter & Spring)!


I found some great ideas for entertaining our five dogs (yeah, you read that right!). Everyone needs some R&R and "WagWorld" magazine (also found on www.WagWorld.com) shows how you and your canine buddies can share some downtime.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Find a dog-friendly cafe near home (also check WagWorld.com) and share breakfast or brunch (my favorite is Einstein's - they even sell doggy "bagels" and put water dishes outside).
  • Learn a new game together or add a new toy to their collection - change it up!
  • Hit the floor - move off that sofa and hang-out on the floor with your furry pal(s); play tug, watch "Animal Planet" or whatever sounds like fun!
Here's to the dog days of summer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Klutz-proofing!


Ok, I admit it! I am well-organized, I volunteer, I work full-time, I'm a mom and yes...(wait for it...), I'm a klutz with a capital "K"! So when "USA Weekend" (6/24-26/11) included an article entitled "Know when to use an ice pack or a hot pack," I was pretty sure they were targeting me specifically!

Still, these are good reminders for all of us with so much outdoor summertime activity (or in my case even indoors just tripping down the stairs...ah, so sad!):

Cold: use on new injuries such as sprained ankles, sore elbows, bruises or as a last "attack" on aching joints or arthritis). When you can't locate an ice pack, try a bag of frozen peas...works perfectly!

Heat: use for chronic (ongoing) pain or muscle aches or instead of cold pack if you are particularly sensitive to cold.

When in doubt, consult your doctor, particularly if you have diabetes or any condition that can cause poor circulation or impaired nerve sensation. Also, always wrap your ice pack or hot pack in a towel before using it to avoid injuring your skin. Also stay awake when using either type of pack and with a cold pack apply it for no longer than 20 minutes and then wait 20 minutes before using it again.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spritz it up!


It's outdoor living time and that means cool drinks by the pool! Once again, thanks, Martha! (4/11) for some lovely looking spritzers! Here's one that sounds amazing (for more, check MarthaStewart.com):

White Wine:

Divide 2 cups chilled dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc) between 4 ice-filled wine glasses. Top the off with 1 and 1/2 cups chilled sparkling (very important that it's sparkling!) lemonade. If you like, garnish with lemon wedges! How easy is that?

Ahhhh...off to enjoy in the sunshine!