Thursday, May 28, 2009

How I Save Money on Groceries and Household Items

As I've been couponing, I've had a lot of people ask me how I have learned to save money on groceries and household items. I share a little of this info here and there with others, but thought I'd finally do a write-up of what I have learned and the things I do.

(Read more about how I save money on groceries ....)


I have disabled comments on this post because I want any questions or comments to be made on that post only.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My "kids" may not be human, but...

they do funny things just like regular kids.

For example:

I have one of those oil plugins with a little fan next to a sliding glass door. My cats like to sit between the curtain and said door, and almost every time that Yanni leaves the curtain he walks by the air freshener and sniffs it! Now, I can understand him having sniffed it the first time, or maybe each time I put in a new one (because the fragrance is probably pretty strong), but he does it almost constantly. "Yanni," I say, "stop sniffing the air freshener!" It's like he's a junkie. But instead of paint or markers it's air freshener. Yes, he's weird.

BUT, even weirder, is Yuki. I saw her do this some time ago, but it only happened once, so I didn't think twice about it, until it happened in a similar circumstance several times over the last few days. Yuki likes to jump on my desk and sit in front of me while I'm on the computer. No, that's normal cat behavior. What ISN'T normal is when she walks away to the other part of my desk, comes across an opened legal-size envelope, sniffs it, and proceeds to lick the glue on the underside of the flap. NO LIE! And she's done this several times! She's a glue-licker! "Stop lickin' the glue!"

Both of my cats are junkies. Who knew? (Yet they don't seem very fazed by cat nip. *shrug*)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Writing Wednesday

The barely clean windows reflected candle-lit memories back to her. She stared past them, into the velvety night, as she sat in a cozy tavern bedroom. She had traveled so many, that they all looked the same, with age-worn wooden headboards polished with beeswax, and well-trodden rugs that had once known exotic colors now covering creaking floors. Before, she would have caroused in the common room, her honest laughter and unapparent wittiness surrounding her with friends and soon-to-be friends. But no longer.

A shadow of anonymity had dampened her spirit.

Those that truly had known her were gone. And so entrenched had she been in that familiarity that she had blocked others out at the time. Now there were none to take their place. Oh, there were new smiles and promises of friendship given, but all without substance--social cordialities passed on as easily as gossip.

Not that she hadn’t tried. Was still trying, she sometimes felt. Had she changed? Or had she been just a nothingness attached to others and thus became special? Or was there something about her that no one could see anymore?

She gently touched her cool forehead, and a gentle whisper of wind alighted against the guttering flames, darkening the room around her. A soft murmur from the bed, with a rustling of sheets, turned her head to the figure sleeping there.

A gentle smile curved on her lips, catching the moon’s light filtering in. She had him, at least. But her gaze watered slightly, as she turned to look back out into the darkness. Was it selfish that she wanted just a little more? That sometimes she needed something--someone--a little different?

A tear sloped down a cheek in loneliness, refusing to answer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Early May Book Reviews

I'm trying to cut back on how many books I get from the library, as I tend to read them more than I should be doing other things. So....

Beauty: A Retelling by Robin McKinley
I have to say that I thought this was nice, but it suffered from my having seen Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I actually have never read the original tale, but if this is a "retelling" then I hope Disney gave Ms. McKinley some credit, because at almost every step of the book I kept seeing the movie in my head. Don't get me wrong, I love the story, but, well. I think this was less ambiguous than Spindle's End, so, at least that helps, right?

Mistborn: The Final Empire, and Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
After reading Sanderson's first novel (a one-shot fantasy), we definitely wanted to pick up his first fantasy series (for adults, because he does have a children's/young adult series as well). I have to tell you, he is well on his way to become well-known and quite prolific, and I expect to be reading him for years to come. Mistborn is very interesting in that the magic system (like Elantris) is very interesting. It's based on metals, or alloys, and the ability to "burn" them within yourself to use them for various purposes. He has interesting characters and some good twists. I really don't want to give too much away, and I have yet to finish the series (for some reason my local library does NOT have the final book!), but I suspect I will enjoy it. The second book seems more of a bridge, but still self-contained, in a way. However, I will say that while these books are considered fantasy, I can definitely see where it could work in maybe another genre, as well. (This particular world has a little bit of a steampunk meets the renaissance sort of vibe.) It's almost such a departure that you're not sure you're reading fantasy. I highly recommend Sanderson, and if you just want a good, quick read that just happens to be fantasy, start with Elantris, his first.

Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind by Patricia McKillip
I finished the Riddle-Master series and overall I liked it. However, while the language she uses to write is poetic and beautiful, sometimes it was hard to get past it to read the story. Also, there are quite a few instances where the character "realizes" something, but the reader doesn't get in on the joke -- which is odd because we get to see inside the character's mind a lot. The second book was from a different perspective, so that threw me off, and the third one had some chapters very akin to battle scenes that I tend to skim, although the twist at the end was interesting, but not completely shocking.

Chalice by Robin McKinley
Ah, an actually story from Ms. McKinley, and not a take on another one. It's interesting, because I read several reviews on this, and most people didn't like it, or didn't feel it was her best work. I actually liked it quite a bit, overall. I still think she has some issues with vagueness in resolving her endings. I want to know a little bit more on the why of something. I don't have to have everything explained, but still would like a little more. I thought the story was interesting -- basically every region in this book has an organization, if you will, of people with abilities that tie them to the land. It's headed by a Master, with several that work under him that make sure the land is in harmony. One of those is the Chalice, and, well, it's all a little hard to explain, but the story is of the new Chalice coming to grips with her own abilities, while dealing with a new Master of the land.

First Meetings: 3 Stories from Enderverse by Orson Scott Card
If you've never read the Ender's Game books, then what are you waiting for? However, if you don't want to think, and just want entertainment, then I don't know if you want to read these. They really will make you think about the world around you. And people. I think, for me, especially Speaker for the Dead (for some reason just the premise and story was very interesting). These are considered sci-fi, I think, but not tech heavy at all. Anyway, this is just a collection of short stories, one which includes the original novella that turned into the novel, plus some other stories. Read Ender's Game first, if you want.

I still have a few books on my list from the last recommendations made, unfortunately my library doesn't carry a huge selection and even the main library is lacking. We did end up getting a special card that allows us to check out books from other libraries that are part of a special sharing program. However, we still have to limit ourselves to nearby ones since we don't want to be driving all over the place. But, any other recommendations, let me know.

Monday, May 4, 2009

DigiScrap: Activities at Church

I am part of the activities committee at church, and I volunteered to help take pictures and also create some scrapbook layouts to document the activities. We've only had 3 so far this year, and only one have I been directly involved with (the unBirthday Party), but I'll be completely in charge of the Trunk or Treat activity in October. Hehehehe...

I only got some pictures back from other people recently, but since then I've been working hard on LOs. (They link directly to their Flickr page, so I won't be including credits here, as they take up space.)

January 2009 - Chili Cook-off
Chili Cook-off (D6 Ward) - Jan 09

February 2009 - unBirthday Party
unBirthday Party (D6 Ward) - Feb 09

April 2009 - Luau
Luau (D6 Ward) - Apr 09

I love Lightroom! I know I've said this before, but that program really worked some magic. Since not all of these pictures were taken by me, I had to adjust for different cameras and Lightroom helped me save a lot of pictures.


And totally un-related, but I've been sick for the last 15 hours, or so. I got some sort of stomach virus that woke me up with the worst pains at 1 am this morning! Nausea, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach -- I was a walking (writhing in pain on my bed) ad for Pepto. Fortunately, I think it has quickly worked through my system as I'm feeling better, though still with a tender tummy. But hey, at least it's not the swine flu -- oink!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hybrid Craft: Spiky Swirls Birthday Card

Happy Birthday Spiky Swirls Card

Spiky Swirls PS Brushes: Mel's Brushes
Font:TW Cen MT
"Gold Linen Weave" Embossed Metallic Paper (for lining): The Paper Company
Card and Envelope: Crane Museo Cards
Other: Rhinestones

Done for KWerner's 50th Color Challenge!

I had a lot going on this week when this color challenge came out, and then the colors really gave me a hard time. It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do, and I finally found some inspiration from a magazine to help me (VERY loose inspiration, but at least I finally got some idea in my head).

I decided to try my hand at making something that you might find at a nice stationery store (like a Papyrus), so I broke out my small box of Crane Museo Cards -- 100% cotton paper. Oh, it's SO yummy! I LOVE it. However, it doesn't really like printing borderless, so I decided to go with a simple, yet elegant design. Less is more! The brown came out pretty dark, but hopefully you can tell it IS brown. Obviously the card stands in for my white, and I love the way the other colors came out. This paper takes ink so well. The swirls are so fun, and you know me, I love swirls ... and rhinestones! AND, I found this delicious gold paper to line the card with. Technically, gold IS a shade of yellow, but since it's not really part of the card, hope it won't count against me ^_-.)

I do have to say, the picture doesn't really do this card justice. The soft texture of the paper is so lovely, and the woven gold paper just adds this richness. Love it! (And don't you just love the rounded corners? So fun!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

First Friday Fanfic Postponed

Dear Readers,

April was a busy month, and I really didn't have time to give the next installment of my Stargate fanfic the attention it deserved. There are a few things I need to address in it, and there's still one scene I'm not completely happy with. (Also, I remember Brian and I went over this some time ago, and we made some notations as to things that need to be addressed now so that they make sense later, and I need time to find those.)

SO, there will not be an installment this month (I know, you're so sad ^_-), but I'll try and put two parts up next month (the scene after this one doesn't need as much tweaking).

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