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January 27, 2009

Brainwashed

For some reason I always grew up liking Ford vehicles. I suppose it was because my dad always owned a Ford truck or two, and we were taught at a young age they were good trucks. I don't necessarily disagree with this thought, but I'm a girl, so I'm more into the aesthetics of a vehicle rather than the brand, motor, transmission or number of cylinders. Obviously this is true since I've wanted a Volkswagen Beetle since the 4th grade.

Since I've met my husband, I have been informed of the greatness of the Chrysler family of cars. I suppose this is because his dad (my father-in-law) worked for the American Motors corporation and then Chrysler for the majority of his career. Just as I was, my husband was taught at a young age how wonderful the AMC family is and later the Chrysler family.

I have never really argued either way. As I stated above, I'm partial to the beauty and appearance of the car. My bug is very minimal when it comes to options on the inside, and the Dodge truck I drive is fully loaded with every button you could possibly imagine (minus the heated seats). But more importantly, my Dodge truck has "Driver Adjustable Pedals". This wonderful feature was discovered by accident when my husband was looking into changing a fuse. He noticed a button on the left side of the dash, he moved it and voila, the pedals moved forward and back.

As a petite person, this is a fabulous feature. I no longer have to hug the steering wheel or move the seat all the way up so I can reach the pedals! This one feature may move me closer to being a Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep girl.

 


 

January 21, 2009

Response to "So Long Old Friend"

This is in response to my husband's blog So Long Old Friend. If you haven't read it yet, you need to grab a beverage, maybe even a snack, sit back and relax, because he never has "short" stories. But to his credit, all of his stories are good.

Yes, the Pig is gone. Gone from our driveway. Gone from my bedroom window view. No longer piled up with snow from the snow blower. No longer a collection of tree sap and needles from the pine trees. No longer our carbon footprint.

I do feel sad for him, because I felt the same way when I got rid of my 1986 Buick Park Avenue known as The Grandma Cruiser a few years ago. I did love that car, it glided like a magic rug across the expressway. It had the most leg room of any mid-size car, the seats were a burgundy "velvet like" material and you could comfortably seat six. Lots of parts had been replaced, I kept a detailed log book of all of the improvements I had paid for, new tires, brakes, steering column, etc.

I remember the process of selling my car. Dan washed it, cleaned the inside and took photos for me. He listed it in Auto Trader and got LOTS of phone calls. A couple came over to look at the car. I was inside telling Dan to take no less than $600 (It was listed at $850) and sent him out the door to negotiate. Dan's favorite part of selling a car is negotiating. He loves to negotiate. When it was all said and done, the buyers paid the ASKING price of $850, so he didn't even get a chance to barter with the couple.

I watched my car drive away on a nice spring evening. The couple was from the area, so a few years after I sold my car, I kept looking for it when I was out and about. I never did see it. And as much as I missed my old car, I was beginning to like my new one and replacing the old with the new felt a lot better.

January 17, 2009

Frozen Nose Hairs

Today's weather is below freezing. The temperatures are in the NEGATIVE degrees! And they have been that way for a few days. Just yesterday I experienced my first frozen nose hairs of 2009.

The first time I experienced frozen nose hairs was when I was in Sault Ste. Marie, walking from my dorm room to class one evening. I remember thinking something was in my nose, then running from my nose, then freaking out because I wasn't sure what was going on with my nose, then realizing my nose hairs were freezing. At the time, I hadn't experienced anything like that.

After the frozen nose hairs in the U.P., I was fortunate enough to have frozen eye lashes. I think what happens is the condensation from breathing into my scarf while walking, travelled up my face, adding condensation to my eye lashes, and because the temperatures were so cold, the condensation froze. Causing frozen eye lashes. The neat thing about frozen eyelashes is when they thaw. It happens almost instantly when you enter a warm building, and then you can see the condensation on your lashes for a minute or two and then it disappears. 

The frozen nose hairs, eyelashes, cold toes and fingers and horrible cold wind became the norm while attending college at LSSU. It made me really miss living in the  thumb area, because it seemed like paradise in the winter. In my 5 year academic career, I recall one day that school was called off, the day I didn't have any classes to attend! And that was because of the snow, not the cold. What's with all of these schools being closed because of the cold? Are we all growing up to be wimps? We are from Michigan, we should know how to bundle up, dress in layers, take an extra pair of gloves and socks with us and be sure to pre-heat the car! I say it isn't cold until your car won't start because the temperatures are too far into the negative (which only happened to me once whie in the Sault).

January 16, 2009

Giving to Others & Yourself

I cannot believe how much “free money” is out there. Thanks to the internet, schools, nonprofit organizations and normal people like you and I can make money for other people or ourselves. 


I recently pulled a page from my Real Simple magazine. The title Give a Little (or a lot) (Real Simple January 20009 page 83) suggests the following:


1-”Surf Selflessly. With every online search, goodsearch.com donates a penny to a charity of your choosing.”
I logged onto www.goodsearch.com, picked my charity (Last Chance Rescue, of course) and then I began searching! For every search I preform, Last Chance Rescue gets one penny. It may not be much but do you know how many times I do a google search during the day? Lets just say if I don’t know something I “google it” and I have everyone at the office “googling it”, as well. 


The trick, how am I going to remember to always visit goodsearch.com before I need to look up something, well, my genius idea was to create a toolbar in my web browser (Firefox) that always showed goodsearch. Have I lost you? Well, most browsers have some sort of default search bar, such as google, yahoo, etc. This enables you to quickly search for something without first going to the search engine website. You can always change the search engine, so I did just that. Now when I go into the handy dandy toolbar, I don’t search google as I did before, but goodsearch! In the three hours since I started using goodsearch, I think I’ve earned Last Chance Rescue about 7 cents!

2-”Find an heir for Jane Eyre. At ILoveSchools.com, teachers create wish lists; donors can use the site to make a match.”

I brought up this website and began searching schools in my area and to my dismay, I found one school! I set out to find my hometown school and there is one teacher taking part in this donation program. He was my high school pre-calc teacher and is in need of calculators. Graphing calculators are most desirable, but any type will work. I know I have one of those calculators some where, I just need to find it. And when I do, I'm donating it to Mr. Rubringer!

After I was unable to find any local schools on the site, I sent an email to friends who are teachers and I'm hoping they can use this valuable tool. I think it would be great for relatives and especially grand parents who always want to help out their grand children. Grandma or pa can always make a donation to little Joey's school classroom needs, especially those that live out of the area!

3- Ebates was not listed in the Real Simple Magazine article, but I am so fascinated with their website that I have to continue to share it with friends! Here are the basics:
1-go to ebates.com web page
2-search the store you want to purchase something at (for example target)
3-you’ll be directed to target’s store where you begin shopping. When you make a purchase, a percentage of the sale is given back to you!

Here's what I love about ebates (see image below). It tells you all of the coupon/specials/discounts the store your shopping at is having!

 

What's even better, eBay will give you 3% of your purchase back! Whenever I bid on and win something on eBay, I log into ebates and pay for my winning items!

4-Free food for Animals!
 I was turned onto this animal rescue site while visiting Last Chance Rescue. All you do is visit once a day, click on the tab to give food to rescue animals! You can bookmark this page and try to remember to click daily, just like you remember to put on deodorant, check your emails and update your facebook status! You can even share the site with friends!

 5-Care2.org is having a contest right now! You can vote for your favorite animal shelter. Click here to vote for Last Chance Rescue. If you visit their home page, you can also send the ecard of the day. For each card you send a donation will be made to a specific cause.

 

What’s your favorite cause? Share it with me by leaving a comment.

January 14, 2009

Tequila, Mexico Style

 

I just got back from Puerto Vallarta Mexico. I know what you are thinking if you are in Michigan...uh, that bit¢h, she got to go to Mexico in January while I sat here in the friggin' cold snow! I did get to go to Mexico, with 20 other people I knew, but I had to come back to MI where I missed 6 inches of snow and now that I'm home the below freezing temperatures are here.

While abroad, we took a very short and small Tequila Tour. We learned what plant makes tequila, how long it takes to age the tequila, what three types of tequila there are and then we did some tasting and purchasing of tequila. Here is what I learned:

Tequila is made from the Agave plant. (Wikipedia says the Agave plant "is an important economic product of Jalisco state in Mexico due to its role as the base ingredient of tequila" and we were in the State of Jalisco when we were in Mexico!) The plant must be at least 10 years old before it is suitable for tequila making. Each year, the leaves are pruned so the heart of the plant can grow better. It is the heart of the plant that is used to make the tequila.

 

Authentic tequila is made completely from the agave plant. It will say 100% agave on the label. The most "famous" tequila, José Cuervo, is not 100% agave. It is 51% agave and 49% additives such as color, sugar, water, etc. The tour guide assured us it is the additives that give us the headache in the morning. Maybe this is why most of us create a sour face when we hear the word tequila, it isn't 100% agave! 

There are 3 types of tequila, blanco, which means white, is clear and is used for shooting/shots. It's aged for a very short time or bottled just after it is distilled. Reposado, the second type, is gold in color and is used for mixing drinks, such as margaritas. It is aged for at least 2 months in oak barrels. The third one I cannot remember the name of, but it is dark in color and is used for sipping and I think it says longer in the oak barrels to age. Perhaps a few years. I tried all three, the sipping drink tasted the best. 

But then I tried three more! They were flavored tequilas! They had an almond flavor, chocolate/coffee flavor and a cream flavor that was similar to your Irish cream liquor. The flavors were all wonderful. We ended up bringing home two bottles, one of the almond and one of the chocolate coffee. I would have nabbed two of each of the flavors (that is what is allowed by law to bring back to the US) but my suitcase and pocket book were not big enough.

The brand of tequila we purchased is very unique. It's called Cava Antigua It's a small company that makes about 300 bottles a month and I was unable to locate the brand in any store in Puerto Vallarta, so the guy must have told me the truth when I asked if I could go to a liquor store in town and purchase a bottle. Thanks to the world wide web, we found the website!

The glass bottles are very unique (the website says they are hand made) as is the leather stamped label. There is a cork like top that pulls off when you open the bottle. My new mission is to figure out a way to get the tequila here in the United States...

 

 

 

January 06, 2009

Hard Boiled Egg Necessity!

I've had the Egg Perfect Eggtimer in my drawer of kitchen gadgets for a few years. I have never forgotten to use this gadget when I make hard boiled eggs. It's about the size of an egg, made of plastic and gets placed directly in your pan of water with the eggs you want to boil. As the water begins to boil the timer will darken as the eggs cook. The longer the eggs cook, the darker the timer gets and eventually you'll have hard boiled eggs (or soft or medium, whichever you prefer).

This gadget has worked perfectly for me every time. Even when I forget about the eggs, I check the timer and voila! They are done! I've never undercooked an egg and I have never overcooked an egg. 

My mom gave me this timer for Christmas one year, so I'm not sure where it came from. You can google the name and lots of listings will appear. I found a similar one here. I think I've seen them at Bed Bath and Beyond and at Meijer!

Get one of these! It will be one of your best kitchen gadget investment! You just have to remember to use it!

 

January 05, 2009

Read the Fine Print

Lately I've been obsessed with reading the fine print. I see it flash across the bottom of the television screen during commercials and I zone in on the text at the bottom and struggle to read it before the screen changes. When I do read the fine print, I feel like I've mastered all of the gimmicky infomercials and "know their secret". Here are a few of my observations.

Commercial For: Nutrisystem (www.nutrisystem.com)
What they say: Save $55 per week on groceries! That's over $600 a year with the Nutrisystem plan!
Fine Print: The price of Nutrisystem does not include the fresh groceries that are a requirement for the plan
What I say: You can easily spend $55 a week on fresh fruits and vegetables that need to be added to the plan!

Product: Maxwell House Coffee
What the package says: 1 serving of water is 6 ozs.
What I say: Who on earth drinks 6 ozs of coffee as a serving! I don't think you can even get a 6 oz cup of coffee at a gas station, even the Starbucks coffee "Tall" starts at a 12 oz cup. 

Product & Commercial for: Any weight loss pill, drink or bar
What they say: This item will help you lose weight and fast!
Fine Print: Results not typical, individuals are remunerated.
What I say: Remunerated = Paid. If anyone paid me to lose weight, I would lose it!