Coupons – Use Them!

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I would not say I am a coupon queen. I don’t obsess over them. I don’t go out and buy a bunch of stuff just because I have a coupon.  Well, once in a while I do. Sometimes you just cannot beat the deal.

I recall a good 10 years ago a conversation I had with a former boss of mine. He is well off.  I was making good money and doing fine.  We had this gig in the office though that we would share the coupon packets from the Sunday papers.  There were a few of us in the office that would go through them and take what we wanted and then pass them on to the next person.  I remember him saying to me, you still use coupons?  Why yes!  Every little bit helps!  The conversation went on, and he apparently thought that I made enough money that I should have to use coupons. Well, I like to save just as much as the next person!

We don’t go out to eat a lot. Well, lately we have because we just aren’t home much. Anyways.  We do use coupons a LOT when we eat out. If I can find a buy one get one coupon, we like to use those.  A lot of local places have great food coupons – Cousin’s Subs, Papa Murphys,  Jersey Mike’s Subs, Culvers, and our favorite local pizza joint.  Look online. Check out those flyers that come in the mail.

We have tried new places thanks to the coupons we have found and used.

Grocery shopping with coupons is also a good deal.  Woodman’s has coupons hanging all over the store. I still cut coupons from the Sunday paper ads as well.  I don’t always remember to take them along and use them, but I do try.

Save yourself a few bucks!  There is nothing wrong with using coupons.  Every lil bit helps!

 

Tim’s Awesome Chicken Pasta

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Tim was making us supper a few nights ago. He wanted something different, and I think he came up with an awesome dish that I told him can be made again soon. We were both needing something bland. I am not sure all of the butter helped our situation, but regardless, the meal was a winner! We agreed less butter next time. 🙂

 Tim’s Awesome Chicken Pasta 

Ingredients:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon dill weed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pasta
Additional butter
Mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Brown cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast in 4 Tablespoons butter. Add dill and lemon juice while browning.

Meanwhile, cook 2 servings of your choice of pasta according to box/bag instructions. Drain. Put the pasta back in the pan with some butter. (Tim used the remaining 4 Tablespoons from the stick he used to brown the chicken.) Once coated with butter, place pasta on plate or in bowl. Add chicken pieces. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Enjoy!

Noble Deer Birthday Card 

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I really struggle with masculine cards. I always have. It’s not a lack of stamps. 

I feel that ribbon can’t be used. I do like to use twine as you see on this card. I try to not use too many layers. Brads work, so I tend to use them a lot on masculine cards.  

I like how this turned out though. Not too many layers, and I think the image really works as a focal point. 

Stampin Up! Product:
Stamp Sets: Noble Deer, Flannel Plaid, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Card Stock: Close to Cocoa & Chocolate Chip
Ink: Chocolate Chip & Close to Cocoa

Non SU! Product:
Papertrey Ink Vintage Cream card stock and American Crafts Twine 

Thank you for stopping by!

Road Closed – High Water

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It isn’t quite time for storm spotter training, but it will be coming very soon!

I realize this is posting a few days after the fact, but it still has relevance.

Our February weather has been odd for Southeastern Wisconsin, but I am loving it. Overnight we had some thunderstorms that dropped a lot of rain. I, for one, am REALLY glad it wasn’t snow.  Holy smokes!  We would have been buried!

I am the first to admit that I am far from a perfect driver.  However, if the road is blocked off by barricades that say Road Closed – High Water, I stay off of those roads.  Having lived along the Root River for several years, this is a common occurrence for us.  She runs along both sides of the road, and she easily goes over her banks by us.  When the county puts up their signs, it is  for good reason.

What amazes me is how often I see people go around the signs, go speeding down the road – which I do not do even in good weather due to the number of deer that we have living near us – and then slam on the brakes when they get up to the standing water.  Did the driver not see it as he/she maneuvered around the barricades?  Were the signs put up just for the heck of it?  I’m sure those county workers had nothing better to do!

Seriously though – in our area, we have seen the road wash out.  We have seen standing water close the road for days.  There are some very large pot holes that fill with water not to mention the water that is standing on the road deep enough to cross the entire road.

There is no way I would drive down the Root River Parkway if it is closed due to high water. Nor any other road for that matter.  I have had car damage done due to high water.

If nothing else, please learn from this!  We were coming home from a trip up north and hit bad weather.  We had pulled over for a bit, but when the rain slowed down we took off again.  We had just pulled back onto the interstate when our weather radio went off. It was very shortly after a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued, so we knew what was next.  Yep, tornado warning.  It was dark, and they were reporting there was possibly a rain wrapped tornado.  Cars lined the side of the interstate.  I didn’t feel safe pulling off there anyway, so we went to the next exit. It was raining so hard I could barely see past the hood of the CRV.   We were on the off ramp to go to a hotel to find safety.  We hit water.  DEEP water.  I could feel it on the floor boards.  I never saw it coming. There was no warning.  We got through it.  Thank God the CRV sits up higher because I don’t think a car would have cleared that.  We stopped at the hotel for a while and hung out there until the storm passed.  We never saw the tornado thankfully (or a bummer for Tim).  When we got close to my Mom’s house, we could  hear a scraping noise.  We found a piece of metal was dragging along the road.  Upon further inspection the next day from our neighbor who is a mechanic, it was determined that the water we had driven through ripped off one side of the heat shield. The rivets were completely gone.  $300 in car repairs later, we were good to go. Thankfully it wasn’t worse than that and nobody got hurt.

Water over a road is nothing to mess with.  You can become stranded.  Your vehicle can be damaged. You run the risk of not being able to get out of  your car.  What if you have kids/pets with you?  What about them?

Please follow the advice of the signs.  Stay safe!  You never know what, if anything at all, is under all of that water.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

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We were fortunate to be able to get a whole butchered pig. We decided to make one of the smoked half hams we got. There was a LOT leftover. I decided to make scalloped potatoes and ham. I asked my Mom for her recipe. I was informed that she doesn’t use one, but she gave me a list of ingredients. Ok. I looked around online and found a recipe that had a pretty similar ingredient list. Then I decided to add a couple of my own ideas.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (Tim used our Pampered Chef mandolin to slice them.)
Ham cut into chunks. I figure I used 2-3 cups
3 cans cream of celery soup
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 – 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
A couple of handfuls of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Directions:
Grease or butter a 9×13 baking pan.
Peel and slice the taters. Cube up the ham. I placed these in a large mixing bowl. Add cream soup, salt, pepper and one handful of shredded cheese.
Bake at 350° for an hour to an hour and a half. (I had Tim belp me slice the taters the night before. I kept them in water overnight. They were very cold, and I think that is why I had to bake them loger.

About 10 minutes before they were done I sprinkled another generous handful of cheese on them. Mine did take about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Everyday Enchantment Birthday Card

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I was searching for birthday cards to CASE. I found one I really like. I am also trying to start using up the huge amounts of Designer Series Paper and ribbon that I have been hoarding. 

The card I cased is here: http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/gallery/photo/2366308

It was fun to figure out how I could change it up a bit and make it my own. 

I made four of this card. Two have Pool Party circles behind the DSP circles, and two havs Calypso Coral behind the DSP circles. This is one of my favorite cards that I have made in some time. 

The only stamping on this card is on the inside. This is a nice card for using up scraps.

I was a little concerned that the Soft Suede card stock might be a bit too dark, but I think it worked out nicely. 

Stampin’ Up! Product:
Card Stock:Calypso Coral, Pool Party and Soft Suede
Other:Everyday Enchantment designer series paper, Elegant Butterfly punch, Polka Dots embossing folder, Scallop Trim border punch, 1 3/8″ circle punch, 1 1/4″ circle punch, 1/8″ Calypso Coral organdy ribbon

Non SU! Product: Papertrey Ink Vintage Cream card stock 

Thank you for stopping by! 

Renter’s Insurance

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I remember well the conversation Tim and I had with former neighbors of ours regarding renter’s insurance. He wanted renter’s insurance, but she did not. I don’t know how they ever resolved it. We strongly urged them to get the insurance. It is quite cheap, and it is so worth it!

We tried to explain the importance of being able to replace everything should you lose everything. Chances are good that it won’t happen, but jinkies, do you want to be uninsured if it does?  There is another apartment complex near us, and they have had two or three fires there in the past year alone. Scary stuff!

My insurance broker posted a great article regarding renter’s insurance, and I thought I would share a link to their blog.  It goes into detail about the benefits of having renter’s insurance and the different parts of a policy.  It is a short read that is jam packed with info.

I realize not all of my followers rent an apartment, but I still think it’s a good idea to talk about it.  I am a former home owner, and I know home owner’s insurance is also a good idea. It might even be required?  Well, anyways.  I truly suggest looking into it.

Already have renter’s insurance?  I think you can still gain some knowledge from this article. I know I am emailing my broker to be sure my policy covers the stuff discussed in the article.  My policy renews May 1st, and I want to be sure to have changes in place if needed.

I also think it is a good idea to review what you have anyways.  Make sure you are covered for what you have as life changes.

Here is the link:  https://www.myknowledgebroker.com/blog/do-i-really-need-renters-insurance

Thanks for stopping by!

Copycat Recipe for Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  I should probably be sharing a recipe for some sort of chocolate dessert, or maybe telling about some great place to go eat a nice Valentine’s Day meal.  Instead, I am sharing a recipe that was a huge hit with me and Tim a few weeks ago.  I found this on Pinterest (I think), and the recipe is a bit putzy, but it is well worth it!  I like the extra time I have on Monday nights (non tax-season Mondays that is) so I can putz with stuff like this.  Don’t let this sway you from trying this.  If you like Panda Express (like Tim and I do), you will be pleased with this recipe.

I did not use the Thai sweet chili sauce listed in the ingredients.  Instead I bought the bottle of Panda Express Sweet Chili sauce.  It is in the International aisle at Woodman’s if you happen to shop there.

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The note by the person that wrote the recipe says to not cube the chicken.  Cut it into thinner squares (think like a matchbook) around 1 inch by 1 inch.  Also, she noted that she does not dip each piece in the egg.  Instead she just adds the flour to the corn starch, dumps the chicken pieces back in and shakes it again.  I also did this, and it worked just fine.  I am assuming that maybe the coating would have been a little crunchier had I done the eggs step, but we loved it as it was.  🙂  I also added a bit more sauce because I think I had more than a pound of chicken. 🙂

I served it with brown rice.

You can see her post at http://dinnerthendessert.com/panda-express-sweetfire-chicken-breast

There are other copy cat recipes there, but they will have to wait until life quiets down again sometime in May or June.  We love the Orange Chicken and Bejing Beef at Panda Express as well, so I would love to try those copy cat recipes!

Panda Express SweetFire Chicken Breast (Copycat Recipe)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into thin 1 inch squares
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/4 white onion, sliced into 1 inch thick wedges
2 cups pineapple, cubed into 1 inch cubes (1 large can drained worked out perfectly)
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (or the Panda Express Sweet Chili Sauce)
3 Tablespoons green onions, chopped for garnish
sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:
Heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat
In a large ziploc bag add the chicken and cornstarch, seal and shake until totally covered.
Dip each piece into the egg to cover, then dredge into the flour (I skipped this step with the egg and did as I mentioned above.)
Working in batches, cook for 2 minutes on the first side and one minute on the second side or until golden brown and crispy (took longer for me).
Remove from the pan.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in your skillet over medium heat.
Add bell pepper, garlic and pineapple.
Cook until the bell pepper and pineapple just start to wilt a little and is warm throughout (about 2-3 minutes).
Add the chicken back in and add in the sweet chili sauce.
Stir to combine everything and serve immediately.
If using the green onions and sesame seeds, sprinkle them on top as a garnish.

Enjoy!

Baby Shower Card

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I got lucky!  I was cleaning out some boxes that are stored in the closet in the craft cave.  It is “stuff” that is still in boxes after moving in about five years ago.  I decided they needed to be purged.  I did a good job and got rid of about 25% of the “stuff” in those boxes! YAY!

I found a stack of cards in one box that were just waiting to be rescued from the closet so they could be used to brighten someone’s day.  What worked out best?  I had to have a baby shower card, and the card I found perfectly matched the gift bag i had recently bought at the Dollar Tree!  GO ME!

One quick fun tip about the ribbon…the other side does not have dots on it.  Flip it over and  use that side if the dots don’t work with your project. 🙂

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Sorry there is a bit of glare in the picture from my desk.

The Baby Tees Jumbo Wheel is so fun.  It has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it.  I am not fond of coloring on my cards, but these lil onsies sure are fun!

I scribbled the watercolor crayons on the cardstock, and then I used the blender pen to smooth out the color. I like using Stazon for this because it almost never smears when the blender pen runs over it.

Stampin’ Up! Product:
Stamps: Baby Tees Jumbo Wheel (I don’t recall which set the sentiment came from. Sorry!)
Ink: Tangerine Tango and YoYo Yellow Watercolor Crayons
Card Stock: Tangerine Tango and YoYo Yellow
Other: Scallop Oval Punch, Large Oval Punch, Scallop Edge border punch, Tangerine Tango dotted grosgrain ribbon, Blender pen, Polka Dots embossing folder

Non SU! Product:
Jet Black Stazon ink and Papertrey Ink white card stock

Thank you for stopping by!

Telephone Scams

I have a very strict rule for myself.  If I do not recognize the phone number calling me, I do not answer the call.  We do not have a landline anymore, so if someone needs to call me, it has to be on my cell phone.  Now I know people say, well, back in the day before caller ID we just answered and never knew who was calling. Times are different now folks.  People are getting brilliant at scamming people via phone.

One phone scam that I probably post too much about on Facebook is the fact that the IRS will NOT call you regarding taxes owed or any other issue.  They will send you a paper notice in the mail.  There won’t be emails or phone calls.  Good old fashioned paper notices that are usually four to six pages long is their way of contacting you.  If the caller claims to be from the IRS they are lying their butts off. Hang up. DO NOT give them any personal information or “verify” information. The IRS is not going to sue you and you cannot pay your taxes with gift cards from Best Buy.

Another phone scam I have heard about recently is that a local number calls you. It starts as a robo-call (computer voice) and they ask “Can you hear me?”. When you reply yes, this is recorded, and is used at some other point to authorize purchases that you do not make.   However, they have you recorded saying yes, and they use it against you. These scammers generally have already hacked some of your other information elsewhere such as your credit card info.What a scam.

I haven’t heard as much about this scam lately, but I do know it comes around every so often.  The caller claims to be taking donations for the fire or police association. What is really sad is that there is a true charity like this, but you have no idea who you are talking to on the other end.  God only knows who you are giving your credit card info to.  I do not take those calls either.  Our local fire departments do a boot fundraiser.  Fire fighters stand at major intersections with their boots and take donations for Fill the Boot.  The money is donated to various charities.  Now that is a fund raiser I like!

Please answer your phone with caution. Please do not fall for these scammers.  It is hard to fix the issues when you are scammed.  I think, in MY opinion, that the easiest way to prevent it is to just not answer your phone unless you know who is calling. If the call is important, the caller can leave a message. Please be careful.