Friday, December 31, 2010

Search and Win in '10 -- $60+

One of my favorite sites is Swagbucks  (click the banner below)

Search & Win

When you do a search sometimes you'll get a notice that you won "swag bucks".  I generally save these and cash them in for Amazon certificates.   Last night I got my last $10 from Swagbucks for 2010.

Now for 2011, I have a different plan.  I'm hoping to save all my swagbucks and cash them in at once at this time next year.  We'll see how that plan goes, but this year my video camera quit, and I'd like to get another, and in the event that I don't win one, I hope to get it free this way.  I know someone who got a Kindle free, one search at a time!  It's amazing how just one small thing can add up! 

So, how much did YOUR search engine make YOU in 2010?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Changing of the calendars

I have a lot of calendars.  It does make me sound even more organzied than I am, but in addition to the main calendar in the living room, I have one in the kitchen where I record my weight.  I have one in my sweepstakes notebook so I can count how many mail days there are if a sweepstakes is a "one entry per day" and I want to enter daily.  I keep one in my bedroom, I keep one in my office.  I keep one at the desk where I enter sweepstakes to check off days that I have gone through the new sweepstakes listed for that day.  I have another sweepstakes related calendar-type chart on the fridge where I check off if I have entered sweepstakes that day.  I also record the number of snail mail entries I've gotten ready that day.

Usually I get a free photo calendar during the holiday season, and that goes as our main calendar.  But this year nothing. 

I've gotten free advertising calendars but not sureI want to put an advertising calendar up in the living room, and am considering buying a calendar.  Barnes and Noble has them half off and I have a coupon for 15% off one item.  But I can't decide what type of calendar to get, or even if I should go with an advertising one in the living room.  The one from our bank isn't bad, so might go with it.

As for free calendars, I have collected a number of free ones and looking forward to changing the 2010 calendars to 2011 ones!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And the cleanout begins. . .

I wrote a blog post last week about how I am quitting selling on eBay.  I contacted someone who sells and he is going to sell some of the stuff I have left.  Much of it will be going in a garage sale as some of it was bought back when stuff sold better.  For instance, I found a cake pan that used to sell for about $15 a few years ago, now it doesn't even get a $3 bid.  So, that's in the garage sale pile.

I am using the stopwatch function on my new iPod to see how long it takes me to get this room cleaned out.  I've worked on it only about 3 1/2 hours so far, and have gotten so much out it's unreal.  There were three bags of trash (each a 30 gallon bag), and a 30 gallon trash bag full of recycled packing materials I'll take to the man who is going to sell for me. 

I've found interesting stuff both to sell and of my own.  I found a winter hat I wondered what happened to it.  I found my handheld GPS for geocaching I've been looking for it for a while. 

I decided I need to get rid of a lot of stuff, and recently we had company and I had to get a bedroom "guest worthy".  Cleaning that room out took a long time because I was emotionally attached to so many of the objects in that room.   But with my eBay room, most everything was brought in for resell, so there is no sentimentality on the objects.

I'll be glad to reclaim this room.  Seems like over the last few years the entire upstairs became a "junk room" and I'm out to change that.  I didn't do an work in this room today because we had to much trash because of my three bags out of that room and Christmas I thought it would be pushing our luck to set out so many trash bags!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Divanomics

Normally I don't post book reviews on my blog unless I've been given a book free to read and review.  Another new one came in the mail today, so soon you'll be seeing a review for Walls: Why Everybodys Stuck (and Nobody Has to Be) but today the book I'm going to review is Divanomics: How to Still Be Fabulous When You're Broke because I feel because many of my posts have to do with saving money, it's appropriate to review.

I thought of Divanomics as a "money saving guide for the other half", and I'm certianly not the other half!  I realize that the word DIVA is in the title, and I realize that some people probably have never shopped 'lower end retail', but there was a whole chapter devoted to shopping at Walmart and Target and the bargains that can be found there!  There was also a short bit on how she gets stuff with coupons and rewards points at Neiman Marcus.  Now, I think that's the first time I've ever even WRITTEN Neiman Marcus and I've certainly never been to one!    I will have to say that I was impressed that even though it was a Christian book she didn't seem to think that Dave Ramsey is god of financial advice.  (I've encountered some Christians with that attitude, almost to the point they seems to think if you are not listening to him exclusively you're in sin even if you're debt free!)  She mentions Dave Ramsey, but also mentions Suze Orman.  She did give a nod to but most of the coupon talk was dealing with coupons you can use at higher end department stores.  She also gave some suggestions like instead of going out to dinner you can have a fun night at home with friends playing games.  (Wow!  Who knew?)  Overall I give this three stars.  It kept my interest because of how to "save money" on designer fashions, etc. but for people who didn't already live that kind of lifestyle, I'm not sure how helpful this book would be.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lots and Lots of free books

I got an iPod Touch for Christmas!  Wow!  All the stuff I can do on it is amazing, but keep in mind that the mp3 player I had before this was six years old and so old I can no longer add any music to it because after my last computer upgrade, the software was out of date and the company was no longer making updates for it.

I can't believe I can not only check e-mail and Facebook with my iPod, but I can watch YouTube videos, and download any app in the iTunes store.  Of course, being only 8 gbs, I need to watch how much stuff I add to it, but I have a feeling that music isn't going to be my main use for this because . . .

I downloaded the Amazon Kindle app.

What this means is I can read books on my iPod.

Imagine my joy when I found this page on Amazon:  Free Kindle books

I had already downloaded the Kindle for PC program some time back because I follow a couple of my favorite publishers on Facebook and from time to time they will say they have books available free for Kindle for only a week or so -- so off I would go to download them thinking someday I would win a Kindle. 

So, now I have a Kindle app, some free books I've downloaded and am ready to read.

I've already nearly through my first book read on my iPod --   Divanomics: How to Still Be Fabulous When You're Broke  as you can see, the price for the Kindle edition is back to regular price at $8.79, but I follow Tyndale on Facebook, and they let this book be free for a short time, and posted on Facebook that it was, so I downloaded it even before I had anything to read it on! :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Book Review: LITTLE STAR

Little Star is a children's book which would be perfect for a bedtime story around Christmas. The illustrations are beautiful. It's a charming story about the star that led the shepherds to where Jesus was born. However, I was a bit bothered by the fact that the star shone so brightly he burned out, and with an illustration of a gray, wilted looking star in the book. Some children, including myself as a child, would find this disturbing. I would have rather the star never shine brightly again and remain a “Little Star”. Although the story ends on a happy note, it still was a bit unsettling to see an illustration of a 'worn out' star. Overall this is a wonderful book for young and old. I highly expect it to become a Christmas classic! 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Tis an Irish Win

I went to the store today and came home to find three wins waiting on me.

The first was Christmas in Harmony by Wilson Phillips.

The second was a Columbia winter coat and a Columbia Sportswear Women's Peak Ascent Peruvian Hat  (I knew this was on the way because they asked for what size coat I would like.)

Finally, there was a huge box that I didn't know what was in it.

Inside was an audiobook  and hardcover copy of each of the following.  (I'm not sure why anyone would want an audio AND hardcover book, but it's a fantastic box, and I expect the hardcover books will become a Christmas gift!)  :)

An Irish Country Doctor
An Irish Country Girl: A Novel (Irish Country Books)
An Irish Country Village
An Irish Country Courtship: A Novel (Irish Country Books)
An Irish Country Christmas (Irish Country Books)

What a nice box of goodies!  :)  They look like great books, too!  :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Good Name is Better than Great Riches

When I was a child I had a bookmark with my name on it.  It also said "A good name is better than great riches."  I spent hours looking at that bookmark thinking how I disliked my name, but over the years I came to realize it didn't mean a good GIVEN name, but the name we earn for ourselves.  That verse in the New Living Translation reads:

Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.

I've been an eBay seller for eleven years now.  I quit my job yesterday.  I've had one too many people call me a liar.  It's interesting how I have a good, honest reputation in this area, but on eBay people are quick to call me a cheat when I've done nothing wrong.

In fact, my grandfather's name was so strong in this area that I needed to get gas about 4 years ago and didn't have any cash on me.  Even though my grandfather has been dead since before I was born, I told the elderly man working at the gas station who my grandfather was, and that was as good as any ID I could have shown.

I've been taught you are honest, and being called a theif, liar, cheat, etc. is something I can't tolerate, so I decided to quit eBay.

I was writing in my journal last night musing over the fact of WHO quits their job four days before Christmas without other ideas in mind?

One of my hopes yesterday was to find what eBay calls a "Trading Assistant".  That is someone who sells stuff for you on eBay and takes part of the profit.

I contacted one yesterday, and we talked for about an hour today.  It sounds like not only is he willing to sell the stuff I have collected from yardsales and auction that is in my current possession, but he may be willing to sell stuff that I collect in the future, so I have a new job title as of today.  I'm now a picker.

This feels like the second best Christmas gift I could have received.  (I was baptized earlier this month, and that was by far the best Christmas gift I could have received.)  What being a picker means for me is I will still get to do the part of eBay that I LOVE -- the going out and hunting for stuff to sell.  But it also means I can give up the parts I hate -- the taking photos, writing descriptions, dealing with customers, some of whom are unreasonable, and the packing.

So I will still be using the knowledge I have gleaned from 11 years of eBay selling, but now I will be able to pass the work that I hate on to someone else.

Obviously I haven't taken any items to this man yet, so it's still not set in stone this business relationship will work out but I feel very good about this.  And if this one doesn't work, I'm going to try to find someone else who is interested in doing the same thing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Annie Chun Dinner Party Win

Recently Annie Chun Asian foods had a contest where 250 people would win everything for a dinner party for ten!  I received an e-mail that I was a finalist, and then had to do a survey about my party hosting habits.  I was a finalist!

I received an e-mail the other day saying a box that weighed 27 pounds was being shipped to me, and I couldn't imagine how stuff for a dinner party for 10 would weigh that much, but here are the contents of the box:

A more detailed list of contents;

5 boxes  Annie Chun's Pad Thai Noodles
3 boxes  Annie Chun's Chow Mein Noodles
6 bowls  Annie Chun's Rice Express Black Pearl Rice
8 bowls Annie Chun's Rice Express Sticky White Rice
1 bottle Annie Chun's Go-Chu-Jang, Korean Sweet Spicy Sauce
1 bottle Annie Chun'S Chinese Stir Fry Sauce
2 bottles Annie Chun's Korean BBQ Sauce
1 bottle Annie Chun's Pad Thai Sauce
2 bottles Annie Chun's Thai Peanut Sauce
11 pairs chopsticks
1 Oxo Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner
model release forms for people who attend the dinner party to sign
recipe cards
10 coupons for $1 off Annie Chun products
4 coupons good for totally free Annie Chun products so if you want frozen / refridgerated items you can get them for free (such as Wontons, Potstickers, etc.)

I'm really looking forward to my dinner party, but don't know at this point when I will have it!

Account of Savings

Here's my "Account" of savings today.

First, I had won a $10 BookCash certifitcate, so I decided to go to Barnes and Noble to get a new book.  The cashiers had never seen such a thing before, but thankfully even as busy as they were, they were very nice about it.  :)  So I got a new book for $3.35.

Then I went to Giant Eagle to fill the car with gas.  I had 20 cents off on a gallon of gas because of grocery purchases.

Then Mom and I went to CiCi's for lunch.  I had signed up for their e-mail club and had been e-mailed a coupon for "Two can dine for $9.99"  We got two buffets and two drinks.  (One complaint about the drinks, Mom isn't suppossed to have sugar or caffeine, and there's nothing there that fits both of those.  She has to choose between sugar free or caffeine free.)

After that I went to CVS.  I had over $30 in Extra Care Bucks that expired this week.   I also had a 20% off my total coupon.  And I had a buy 2 get 1 free Zhu Zhu pets coupon.  Because those were on sale buy one get one, I could have gotten four for the price of one, but all they had was the ninja ones.  Now I think Zhu Zhu pets are cute, but seriously, ninja hamsters?  Who thought that one up.  

What I did get though:

FOUR caffeine free Diet Coke (they had buy 2 get $1 off coupons on the side of the boxes, so I was able to use two of these coupons)

ONE Revlon nail polish

ONE Thermacare neck wrap

One Revlon lipstick

TWO boxes of Hello Kitty Band-Aids

ONE Physician's Formula blush

I bought the makeup mainly because I could get Extra Care Bucks back and there wasn't much that caught my eye today, so I thought that might be the best way to use my ECBs.

In total I paid $6.97  (and $2.48 of that was sales tax!).  I saved $55.51.   And I received $22.79 in ECBs back. 

And upon returning home I arrived to an e-mail saying I won a $20 iTunes gift card, also in the mail were coupons for totally free Jelly Belly Jellybeans and a totally free 20 oz. Sprite.

I also saw where Barnes and Noble online had a coupon for 25% off one item, free shipping.  I had a Barnes and Noble gift card I had gotten free, so decided to use it, and ordered myself a book.  Between the Barnes and Noble deals I've been getting and the free books I've been getting if I agree to review them on my blog, I should have a lot of good reading for a while!

Not a bad day at all!  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

You can win! Help others win, too!

I love the New Living Translation of the Bible. The NLT Facebook Page is having some giveaways.  You can win the following:

• Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.

• Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.

• Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.

• Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website and they could win five NLT Study Bibles and $250 worth of NLT products.

• One Grand Prize winner will enjoy a unique trip customized just for them and their family (or three guests of their choice), to Wycliffe Bible Translators world headquarters and the WordSpring Discovery Center where they will experience firsthand the exciting world of Bible translation. The Grand Prize winner could also choose to donate the value of the trip--$2000--to Wycliffe instead.
Okay, who WOULDN'T want to win a trip to Orlando in this weather?
Be sure and check it out, and good luck!  :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"The Sacred Meal" Book Review

Book review for The Sacred Meal: The Ancient Practices Series

“The Sacred Meal” by Nora Gallagher has a definite slant towards Episcopalian theology, and some may read this and shudder at the thought that Communion should have no “rules” attached. At one point I may have said the same, and possibly I would be a “rule person” to Ms. Gallagher. Although I see a need for some control of who participates in Communion, I don't like the idea of how humans decide who can and cannot participate. What human can say if we are worthy? Worthy. Are we ever worth? As I was growing up, I didn't see Communion presented in the loving way it is in “The Sacred Meal”. Instead I grew to see it as something that MUST be done, but the smallest infraction we have committed will turn us into condemned people before God. I used to think that God was just waiting for us to participate in Communion, not as a ritual of faith, but as an opportunity to be able to 'zap' us since we're not perfect. That couldn't be further from the truth, and this book does a good job of explaining what Communion is, why we participate, and how the community within our participation affects our experience.   While unless you are of Episcopalian background, you likely won't agree with all of the book, it's still a good overall book on this Christian tradition.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

It's that time of the year again

It's that time of the year again.

I'm starting to think of my "WANT TO WIN" list for 2011.  Each year I sit down and come up with 10 things I most want to win, and I do my best to win them.  Usually I win between 4-6 of the items on my list, but 2010 was a bad year for my list, and I only won two items. . . cash and $1000+ total in gift cards. 

My "Want to Win" list for 2010 included
  • cash
  • car
  • Israel trip
  • other international trip
  • flooring
  • kitchen makeover
  • $1000 in gift certifcates
  • $1000 in pre-paid cards
  • Superbowl 2011 tickets
  • something for school/community
Like I said, I won two items off this list.  Of course the year isn't over. . .

I'm not sure but I think my list this year will be

  • cash
  • car
  • Israel trip
  • $1000 in gift certificates
  • $1000 in pre-paid cards
  • kitchen makeover
  • evertything won for a weekend to see a friend's weekend magic show  (gas cards, hotel, etc.)
  • iPod
  • trip to Orlando (I want to go to the Harry Potter exhibit at Universal)
  • something for school/community
Of course this list is subject to change since we're not to 2011 yet, but this is a tenative list. 

One thing I'm hoping for 2011 is to get caught up with sweepstakes and stay caught up.  Today Mom asked me if I didn't want to enter a giveaway where the prize was $10,000 in travel certificates (drool).  I hadn't marked it in the book, and it was one from JULY!  When I get behind, I start with the most recent giveaways and work my way back, and haven't gotten back to July yet. . .  so I want to keep caught up in 2011!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sidrel Mundet

Okay, before I went to a "twitter party" recently, I never heard of Sidrel Mundet.  I had no idea what it was, but did look it up online before I went to the twitter party so I would have some clue of what the party was about.  I had my eye on the iPod that was being given away.

This is what I found Sidrel Mundet to be:

Well, I didn't win the iPod, but today I had a Sidral Mundet prize pack delivered to me.  There were two bottles of apple flavored soda (glad they didn't burst!  We've been having very cold tempertures and the last thing I would have wanted was apple soda ice all over the front porch.)   As well as a Sidral Mundet tote bag.  They are in real glass bottles. 

I've been kind of sick lately and want to wait until I'm feeling better to drink the soda.  (I usually only drink sugar free soda, but I'm interested in this stuff!)  I did have apple flavored soda in Budapest some years back and it was really good, so I expect I'll enjoy this as well!

But I thought winning two bottles of soda, in glass bottles, was definately a unique win and thought I'd share!

This was my first win ever from a Twitter party!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Fotos -- Christmas ornaments

Each year, I love putting up the Christmas tree because I have so many ornaments that bring back so many memories.  The one from 1980 that started a tradition of my family being the FIRST to put up our Christmas tree -- the first Saturday in December -- putting it up that early then was unheard of!    There's the wooden block with "Joy, Peace, Hope, Love" written on it that was a gift to everyone who went to church a certain Sunday when I was in college.  I rode to church with a friend that day, and we're still friends 20 years later.

This ornament was given to everyone in 1981 by my 2nd grade teacher.  She only taught a half year because she had a baby.  We had close to 40 DIFFERENT teachers that year, sometimes even one teacher in a morning, one in the afternoon.  I was so happy to find out I got this teacher for 2nd grade, but only had her a few months.  Then the school board finally found someone to fill her spot, and that lady later moved to the jr. high and was my drama club sponsor in high school.  But this ornament was made by my original 2nd grade teacher.  Yes, those are real lifesavers from 29 years ago!

An ornament made by me in school.   This one is only 27 years old.  Plaster ornament we painted with watercolors.  I loved my 4th grade teacher.  I was able to see him again last summer (he moved away about 20 years ago).  It's so weird to hang out with your 4th grade teacher and have him ask you to call him by his first name.  Seems almost disrespectful.  After all, he was almost an icon of my childhood we all loved him so much!  This ornament always reminds me of him.  Some of my best school memories happened in his classroom!

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. . . . I bought this one in Bethlehem in Israel.  Nothing too exciting about it except that it was bought in Bethlehem.  There was a store there with lots of Christmas stuff, and this is obviously one of the ornaments I bought.

Now tell me, have you ever seen a more frightening angel?  I bought this one in Denmark and thought it was hillarious because it's so scary!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

20 years and three friends

I had a wonderful time last week when two college friends came to town.  One was doing a show near me and we were able to get together for an afternoon.  It was a wonderful time, and I'm thankful for reconnecting through facebook and getting to meet up!

For lunch, I wanted them to try one of my favorite mom and pop type places to eat.  We deicded to get a grilled chocolate sandwich to split between the three of us.  I've never had one before, but as weird as it sounds, it was amazingly good.  It was homemade bread, grilled, with a Hershey's bar in it.  Sounds strange, but very tasty.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Sometimes Unrecognizable Church

I recently was able to review the book Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality and the following is my review:

Been to church, sang the songs, got a few dozen t-shirts. Unfortunately, that's what Christianity has been reduced to in much of America. We get up on Sunday morning, dress in our Sunday best, or if we're in a seeker-friendly church, we'll put on our best pair of jeans and polo, and spend two hours looking perfect.
But we're not perfect, and neither is the person sitting behind us, our cell group leader, nor our pastor.
This is a book I wish existed a few years ago. I went to a friend who was a pastor and asked for something to read that cut out all the clutter of church, something that took us right back to the Person of Jesus. What he recommended was a book that pointed out all the flaws in the institutional church.

Michael Spencer has done a fantastic job of shaving away everything that is not of Jesus. Getting us back to what God had in mind. He understands some people have walked away from the church because of the pretenses that are rampant in the church. I loved how he mentioned that it's fine in prayer requests of the gory details of an ingrown toenail, but we mustn't dare mention personal problems such as rebellious children, mental illness, or a shaky marriage. If we can't turn to the church for help and strength, who can we turn to?
He strips away the idea that if we have issues with the way things are in organized Christianity, it might not be the fact that we are deceived sinners, but we might be seeing something that does need changing. In my own church, something that Spencer has discussed that we have also mentioned from time to time is going out to eat. Yes, the waitress knows we are from church. The way we act, even down to the tip we leave leaves an impression on who we are – and Whose we are. One of my friends often leaves a tip equal to or higher than his meal. He says he doesn't want to leave a bad impression of Christians to our server.

Spencer also recognizes the fact that the Vending Machine Jesus is still the Jesus worshiped in many churches. Worship God and He will give you monetary riches. Of course, there's the more popular trend of worship giving you a great sex life with your spouse. Money and Sex. There really is more that God cares about than those two things.

While this book appears to be church-bashing, it is far from it. He admits we NEED the church but also recognizes that the church is sometimes not living up to what God had in mind.

If this book had been available to me a few years ago, I would likely say it would have been one of the most influential books of my life. However, I struggled with these issues on my own and came to much of the same conclusions that Spencer did. It was fantastic to see in print the very issues I wrestled with and eventually had to come to grips with a church that is not always what God had in mind.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

I would appriciate it if you could CLICK HERE and rank my review.  Thank you so much!

Didn't win, but I think it's cute

I thought I'd share a contest entry for Dean's Dip's "Be Our Avatar" contest.  This didn't win, but I still think it's cute. 

Fuzzbutt loves his veggies, but you better not even come near his Dean's Dip!

Monday, December 13, 2010

85 cents more . . .

Last week I got a $5 Register Rewards at Walgreens for spending over $25.  Well, my order total after coupons came to $3, so I expected to be able to do that again after coupons.  Evidently they changed it because my order after coupons came to $24.15 and I didn't get a $5 Register Rewards.  My favorite cashier offered to void everything and ring it all in and I could by a candy bar, but I didn't want to make her go through all that bother.

There were a number of grocery items this week that were on sale that we eat, so I bought a number of them.   It certainly wasn't anything to write home about.  I spent $24.15 and saved $22.88 and got $7 back in Reigster Rewards.  I haven't added my receipt to my W Card yet, but I should get 70 cents on that from this purchase.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


This is good for new eBates customers only.

First, sign up at eBates

Then go through the eBates link to

SeeHere has photo coffee mugs or photo ornaments for $12.99 with free shipping through 12/12.  Chose one of these and create it.

Check out.  Use code THANKYOU  at check out.

You'll receive $5 back from eBates for your first purchase and either $1.55 or 62¢ from eBates depending on if they use pre-coupon price or not.  Considering you'll be paying $5.20 for your mug and receiving either $6.55 or $5.62 back, either way, it's a money maker.

It also has free overnight shipping, so you will receive it in time for Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Walgreens this week

No picture this week because I got my mother a number of stocking stuffers, and I know she reads my blog!

Just as I was getting ready to go into Walgreens this week, a friend called.  He was in town to do a magic show.  (I would say I'm the only person I know who is friends with a professional magician, but we have a lot of friends in common!)  He asked me before another friend and I met him for a late lunch to pick up a pair of fingernail clippers for him since I was at Walgreens.  He insisted he'd pay me back.

I had a number of Register Rewards, which were going to expire this week, so I used them all, even though this wasn't a great Walgreens week.

I spent a total of $3.66 and had 60 cents added to my W card, so a final cost of $3.06

What I got

Kraft mayo with olive oil
2 packages of Angel Soft 9 roll toilet paper
1 pair slippers
1 pair black and gold socks for a friend as a stocking stuffer
1 Lifesavers candy box for my aunt for Christmas
2 pairs of aloe moisturizing socks (LOVE these)
Revlon fingernail clippers
4 packages Walgreens paper plates
6 stocking stuffers for Mom

Total before coupons was $47.91.  I didn't realize I was that close to $50.  I received back a $5 Register Reward, but had I bought $2.09 more I would have received another $5 Register Reward.  D'oh!

My favorite cashier was ringing me out.  When she saw I got all that for $3.66 she let out  a yell.  My friend who was with me asked her if she was okay.  She was just amazed at how good I did again this week!

Once we meet my friend for lunch, he asked how much his fingernail clippers were.  I'm bad in math, believe it or not, so I just told him they were free.   He said they couldn't be free, and my other friend started saying that yes, indeed, they were.   Finally I said I got $50 of stuff for $3 after coupons, with $5 to spend on my next order, so if he wanted to figure out the final cost of them, that was fine, but I wasn't going to worry about it.  After I explained my shopping trip, he never again mentioned paying me the $3 for fingernail clippers.  :)  Of course, he bought lunch for my friend and me, but even if he hadn't, I wouldn't have worried about a $3 pair of fingernail clippers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Fotos

Some photos of my Christmas decorations.  I have a collection of oddball nativities, and I took photos of some of my favorites.

Duck nativity:

From Russia:

African American nativity

Native American nativity:

Fisher Price Nativity:


From South America:

From Sweden:

Another from Russia:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Very Ninja Christmas

My weekend guest left this morning, so I'm back to blogging.

I was accepted for another House Party.  This one was for American Ninja Warrior, and I received buttons, magnets, a t-shirt, and temporary tattoos.  I was suppossed to be able to stream the seasion premier of American Ninja Warrior, but it didn't work with my Wii, and I couldn't burn it to DVD.  House Party was as helpful as possible and even said they would overnight a burned DVD for me, but since Fed Ex and UPS don't deliver overnight where I live on Saturdays that was impossible.

Instead we watched a TV show from 1993 called "Brought to you by Santa" of some of the most amazing and funny Christmas commercials ever made from around the world.  It was a huge hit, and everyone really enjoyed it.  After all, Christmas isn't Christmas until Santa slides in on his rotary shaver.

We made Christmas cards, played other games including moving jingle bells from one bowl to another with chopsticks, a "Right" and "Left" passing a prize game using the Christmas story, ate Mexican food, and had a fun time!

Some photos:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Chanukkah

Although I'm not Jewish, two menorahs have been added to my holiday decorations.  This is one I bought new in Israel in the most facinating shop I've ever been in!  It was owned by an elderly Jewish merchant and sold everythign from $2 dreidels (which I bought one of them) to menorahs that cost thousands of dollars.  He was a burly guy, and the sign out front said, "We do ear piercing".   Just a facinating shop, and I loved the heart in this menorah.

My other menorah is an antique I believe.  I would guess it's from about 1920.  I found it in a junk shop for $5 a few years ago, and I wish this menorah could tell tales.  I believe it's Eastern European in origin, and I would love to hear the stories of where it's been and how it came to be in the United States.  I think it's just beautiful.  Each year these two pieces come out during the holidays.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My guinea pigs and I thank you

I want to say "Thank You" to everyone who voted in the contest.  I mailed paperwork back yesterday because I was notified I was a "potential winner" of the $2500.  (It's potential only until they receive a signed and notarized affidavit.)

The money comes at such a good time because of the bathroom problems.   It is very much appriciated.

I may not be blogging much for the next week, but will have plenty to blog about when I have time to do so.

On Saturday I'm hosting a House Party for American Ninja Warrior.  After the party, we're getting company for four days. 

On Monday, a friend who is a professional magician will be doing a show near me.  Because he's based out of Orlando, this is very exciting.  His time here is short, and my other friend who is coming in and I are both hoping to be able to spend at least a little time with him! 

So I'll be having overnight company from Saturday until Wednesday, a party on Saturday, and a friend in for the day on Monday!  Exciting week!