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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Traditions

Ever since The Big One was a little munchkin, we've been making mini-pumpkin bats and spiders for Halloween. It's a simple craft project for kids, and we use them to decorate our yard and house. We have even given them as little gifts some years.

Basically, what you need is a bunch of mini pumpkins with good stems, chenille stems (pipe cleaners), black contruction  paper or foam sheets, Sharpies or acrylic paints, string, glue, and optional googly eyes.

Kids can make bat and spider faces on the pumpkins. Then an adult can poke holes in the pumpkin for the pipecleaners. I  used to use a nail to poke the holes, but it hurts your hand! Now I use my little electric screwdriver with a small drillbit.

For bats: Cut wings from the paper or foam and attach a pipecleaner to each wing, with a bit hanging over the inner edge. You can glue or staple the pipecleaner on. Stick the free edge of the pipecleaner in the holes and attach a string or piece of fishing line to the stem for hanging. I like to make sure the string stays attached with a little hot glue.

For spiders:  use 8 pipecleaners for each spider. Curl or twist or bend the legs in any way you like. Attach a string or fishing line to the stem.

We hang our spiders from trees in our front yard and the bats hang from our Christmas light hooks on our gutters. They look cute-creepy, not scary.

Don't make them too far in advance of the big day, especially if you live where it's warm like we do. Otherwise, your pumpkins will turn mushy and disgusting. We aim for about 3 days before Halloween.  Have fun!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sad News Today

I have a very dear friend. We have known each other since high school, about 35 years! We don't live close by anymore, as she moved a few years ago to Colorado, but we keep in touch and even visit in person now and then. When she lived in California, I got to see her parents and sisters quite often, when they came out for a visit. When my family took a road trip 10 years ago we even stayed with her parents in Illinois for a few days. Her dad is my husband's age and they get along very well, which is a testament to her dad's wonderful personality and godly outlook!

She comes from a very close Armenian family. She is the eldest of three sisters, and I have often envied the relationships they have. I do have two brothers, but they are 20 years my senior, and we are not very close, geographically or otherwise.

I got a text from her today that said her dad is in stage 3 malignant bladder cancer. He will begin radiation treatments in the morning. The prognosis is for a 70-80% chance of stopping the growth with a 5 year maximum longevity. Chemotherapy will follow the radiation.

The news hit me like a brick! My own father died of bladder cancer the year before I met my friend. I was 14, and for 5 years my dad was a man we visited in the VA hospital who came home for periods of time, but never returned to work. It was horrible. All the memories of my mom struggling with a menopause, a tween daughter, and having to go back to work came back to me. CANCER SUCKS. It sucks the life out of people who have it and of those they love.

I would like to believe that cancer treatment has come a long way in the last 35 years, but i just can't. I don't see that his treatment plan is any different than my dad's. My dad ended up having his bladder removed, and the cancer spread until he also had a colostomy. He was a big man, probably 250 pounds, and weighed about 90 when he died. It was sickening to watch, but even worse was hearing my mom crying in her room at night. I will always remember the phone call in the middle of the night when he passed away.

I texted my friend back. I told her I was sorry to hear it, and inquired about her mom. She said her sister was there and was a blessing, and that her and her other sister in AZ would be traveling back to Illinois soon. I tried then to call her and got a voicemail. I left a sappy message, but was actually relieved she hadn't answered, because I was all choked up and started to cry, which would not have been very comforting.

I later got an email from the youngest of the sisters, basically repeating the news. I composed an email back, and copied it to my friend. I assured them I would pray for guidance and wisdom for the doctors, peace and patience for Iris, comfort and healing for John. I also said that I was thankful that he has the Lord, and such amazing daughters.

I've been sad ever since. I know there is nothing I can do, but I wish I could just wrap my arms around those wonderful women and the amazing parents that raised them. God bless them as they climb this most difficult mountain.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Now I'm getting FREEBIES in Spanish!

Love this tip from MojoSavings. I clicked on all three links and they all worked. I should be receiving 3 FREE samples from Dove.

And here's a sample of Vaseline Intensive Rescue.

And finally, WHO WOULDN'T WANT THIS?? 
Weeping Angel

Warning! NSFD (Not Safe For Dieting)

By popular demand, here is the incredible recipe I talked about on Twitter today.
I got the October issue of Family Circle for FREE and just look at the cover!

Here is the recipe, as found in the magazine:

1 box (1 lb) box cavatappi pasta
6 slices bacon, diced
1 T butter
3 T flour
2 C 2% milk
1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 C shredded colby-jack cheese (4 oz)
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
8 slices Kraft Deli Deluxe American cheese (6 oz)

1) Heat oven to 350 deg. Coat a 3 qt. broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.

2) Cook cavatappi 8 min in boiling water, then drain. Meanwhile, in medium-size saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels. Carefully pour off drippings, returning 2 T to pan. Add butter.

3) Whisk in flour until smooth. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. In large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-jack and mozzarella.

4) Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 1-1/4 cups of the cheddar mixture. Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese.

5) In pasa pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with a generous cup of the bacon-cheese mixture. Repeat layering.

6) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Broil for 3 minutes until top is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

Makes 10 cups. A million calories each serving.

Now I made some necessary changes in order to use the ingredients I had on hand. Being a bacon freak, the first change I made was to use twice as much bacon. I have no idea what cavatappi is when it's at home, so I used medium shells. I don't have onion flakes either, so I just used pepper and seasoned salt.

The cheese was another modification. I had some shredded medium cheddar in the freezer, some Italian blend shredded cheese, and some orange and white shredded blend, no longer in it's original package, but I assumed it was cheddar & Jack or a Mexican blend.  I just mixed it all up. Tasted fine to me!

I baked it in a stoneware casserole dish and it came out looking quite pretty.

Most importantly, it earned the Treklet Seal of Approval.

Want FREE coffee?

Request a FREE sample of Thomas coffee here.
FREE Stayfree sample here
FREE sample of Dove Go Fresh deodorant here 

FREE sample of Toms of Maine Wicked Fresh Toothpaste here
FREE sample of iFlora probiotics here
TGI Fridays is offering a FREE appetizer to anyone in costume on Friday & Saturday, and kids in costume eat FREE on Sunday. Details here.
FREE 14 day supply of Enzymetica Digest Basic here. Use promo code TASTE
ESPN Magazine for only $3/year here.  Use coupon code 8138 at checkout.
Yankee Candle coupon here for $1 votives & tarts. .

FREE Balance Bars at Walgreens Wed. - Sat. Here's how:
Buy 1 Balance Bar at $1.59, Get $1.59 Register Rewards
Buy 2 and use the Buy One, Get One Free coupon from the 10/10 SmartSource insert
Get both free after coupon and Register Rewards 

This week's mailbox freebies

Wow, there's a lot since my last post!

*$3 reward certificate from Hallmark
* FREE Cottenelle Wipes coupon
* FREE sample of Jergens moisturizers
*FREE sample of Cold-Eeze Zinc lozenges
*FREE sample of Tampax
* 2 FREEsamples of Playtex Sport
* High-value coupons from P&G
* FREE sample of Your Life Adult Gummy Vitamins
* FREE sample of Wisk
*FREE Zone Perfect Cookie Dough Bar coupon
* FREE sample Dove Hair Care

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What can you get for free this week?

Do I sign up for every freebie? Well practically. If they're gonna send it, I'm gonna take it. If I can't use it, someone can, whether it be a shelter, a collection at church, or a visitor. For instance, there is currently a collection of magazines at church for the troops, so free issues are going in that bag. 

I've combed my Google Reader and found these today: 

FREE 8 x 10 photo at Walgreens. Order online, use code 8X10TREAT and pick up at the store to avoid shipping.  Expires 10/23
FREE MP3 here of Best Song Ever by Katie Arminger
FREE sample Crest Whitestrips here
Kodak 20 FREE Photocards ($2.99 shipping) or 50 FREE prints, and more here $25 gift certificates for $2. Use code PUMPKIN at checkout.
Mojo Savings has a list of FREE stuff you can get at WalMart this week with coupons here.
FREE sample of Le Natural cosmetics when you join the mailing list here.
FREE pumpkin carving patterns here, here, here, and here
FREE eBook Living Rich By Spending Smart here.
FREE book. The Nativity here.
FREE sample Poise pads here.
FREE subscription to Mens Fitness here.
Like Carmex on Facebook for a chance to win FREE products every day.
FREE spaghettti at Buca de Beppo on 10/25, no coupon needed. Details here
FREE sample of Fat Hair here
FREE Sephora when you download the app. Details here
FREE Sports Cards when you Like Breaker Brothers on Facebook, then request from their website  I asked for Chicago Bears cards!
Add the Fresh Healthy Recipes Organic and Natural Food Guide to your cart and then use coupon code NEAFREE to get it FREE.
FREE business cards or invitations at Vista Print (pay shipping)
100 FREE prints for new members at See Here 

Don't forget to sign up at All You for the Daily Freebie offer. Each day you will get an email with a link to sign up for a different freebie.  

My Weekend and My Mailbox

I was away at Hollywood/Trek Xpo over the weekend, and had a great visit with some of my convention pals. The convention wasn't very well attended, by talent or fans, but those few of us that already knew each other had a wonderful visit!

Although I fought with a horrible headache all weekend, I still had enough respite from it to spend loads of time laughing with my friends Melissa, Patsy, Ernie, Kurt, Terry, Alan, Mary, John and Brett

I enjoyed the few panels I saw. I got giggly with Ernie at the BSG panel and I watched Kurt drool over Suzie Plakson at the TNG panel. I laughed my head off with Melissa and Patsy at John Billingsley, who later joined our group for snacks in the bar. I was fascinated by Cirroc Lofton's knowledge of Ethiopian history and the Ark of the Covenant.

Friday night Patsy, Missy, Kurt and I went to Citywalk, where I mercilessly flirted with the waiter at dinner and got a ride back to the Hilton in a fire engine! Yep! LA Station 76 rocks!!Oh, and we got them to sing Happy Birthday to Melissa (her birthday is in April!).

Saturday night I enjoyed a burger and very fun conversation with Kurt, but my Klingon Code of Honor prevents me from sharing the topic. Death Before Dishonor! I almost didn't go out at all that night, because I felt like my brains were going to explode through my eyeballs, but a handful of Naprosyn, a nap, a bit of scotch, and lot of laughter fixed me right up. Thanks Kurt and Ernie for salvaging my evening!

It's so good to have friends that love the same things you do. Star Trek, and Sci Fi in general, is so great for bringing people from all different walks of life together with a common interest. I love my Contourage!

Here's what I got in my mailbox this week:
3 FREE bags of gourmet popcorn from The Popcorn Factory
2 FREE magazines
FREE Super Sticky Post-It Notes
FREE Crest Pro-Health for Me toothpaste sample with 5 $1 coupons and a $2 coupon
FREE 12 oz bag of Green Mountain Coffee with a FREE travel mug

That last one was my favorite. :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The FREEBIES are pouring in

So far this week I've got a FREE sample of Crest Outlast toothpaste, a coupon for a FREE bottle of Advil, a coupon for a FREE 18 count package of RePhresh tampons with 2 coupons for $1 off, a FREE Quaker Life Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bar with a $1 coupon for more and a $1 coupon for Hearty Medleys oatmeal, 2 packages of Emergen-C, 2 $10 gift cards for Pei Wei and a FREE visit from my chiropractor.

I got the Pei Wei cards because I tweeted about my poor service and mediocre meal there on Monday. Pei Wei saw my tweet and messaged me. The giftcards arrived just 2 days later with a note that want me to have an awesome Pei Wei experience.

My awesome chiropractor is having Patient Appreciation Day and is offering a FREE adjustment.The catch is you have to bring in 3 cans of food for charity. She also sent me a certificate to refer a friend for a FREE X-ray and adjustment. Let me know if you want it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Now you can get the free natural dogfood too!

Remember last week I got an $18 bag of dog food for FREE? Well here's the link for you to get it, too!

I got the 6.6 lb bag of EVO, but there are 3 other brands to choose from.

A coupon will come in the mail. Don't tear it. Bring the whole sheet to the pet store you choose at the above link and all you pay is tax! If you go to Kahoots, you will also get a free sample of their brand dog food.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Can you say FREE??

Oh my gosh, I've been too busy to blog, or even tweet this week! But I did want to take a couple of minutes to show you all the FREE stuff I got this week.

The Best: remember when I posted all those pet freebies? Well I got my coupon good for a free bag of natural dog food, redeemable at Kahoots. Since it was near school, I stopped by on my way to pick up Treklet yesterday and this is what I got:
6.6 oz bag of EVO Dog Food and 2 sample bags of Kahoots Dog Food.

The EVO dogfood is one of the best natural diets out there. It's grain free...and VERY expensive! This bag is $18.48 BUT I GOT IT FOR FREE! The clerk also gave me a sample bag of 2 different flavors of the Kahoots brand dogfood, too. Now THAT was a score!

Amazing Wags Trip:  I got all this for 36 CENTS:
7 bags of Quaker Rice Snacks and 2 Nivea Tinted Lip Balm  

Yes, you read that right! THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS. I had 7 coupons for .75/1 that came out of Quaker product boxes. I also had 2 Nivea Lip Care coupons for $1/1. Each item was on sale for .99 and I also had $2 RR.  Woot! My girls love those rice snacks in their lunchboxes and the lip care will make great stocking stuffers.

My Mailbox:  Finally, here is a pic of all the freebies that came in my mailbox in the last week:

Tena pads, Organic Feminine Pads, Kashi TLC bar, Wisk, Tasters Choice and Oxy Clinical  

Most of the samples also came with high-value coupons. I wonder what's going to be in my mailbox today?

Friday, October 1, 2010


Play the Fresh Express Salad Spinner sweepstakes daily, and you'll be entered to win one of eight iPads, a Garmin GPS, or FREE salad for a year! Plus you'll have the option to print a $1/1 Fresh Express Salad Kit coupon. It's not as easy as it looks to get the spinner to stop where you want it!

Click on the “Like” button on the Bath & Body Works Facebook Page and then you’ll be able to print a coupon for a free 2-oz. Secret Wonderland Lotion. No purchase is necessary.

Facebook likers of Regal Cinemas can get weekly printable coupons (this week it's $2 off Dibs today).

Visit your nearest Estée Lauder Counter in October and receive a 10-day supply of your ideal liquid foundation in your shade. No purchase necessary.

*      Join the Snapfish Merry Deal Reveal and get exclusive and amazing deals every day from November 15th to January 1st with fresh offers on your favorite creative gifts like photo books and calendars, as well as FREE shipping days, and more! Sign up to be the first to hear about these exclusive deals because the holidays will be here before you know it.  Plus, once you finish your shopping you can easily stop receiving our Reveal emails, no worries.

Starting October 1, 2010, all Gift Cards ship with FREE One-Day Shipping, making this perfect present a great last-minute gift. Redeemable for millions of items with no expiration, Gift Cards are available in a variety of designs and denominations for any gifting occasion.

3 ways you can give Gift Cards:
1) E-mail a personalized gift card for immediate delivery or schedule up to a year in advance.
2) Print a personalized gift card on your home or office printer now.
3) Mail a gift card with FREE One-Day Shipping.

Just click this link or the picture above to order.