Monday, March 30, 2009

saving dough at the grocery

saving money at the grocery store is sometimes a daunting task, but it can be fairly simple, with a few tips.

clip only the coupons that you will use and that you NEED. if you don't like a brand, don't clip the coupon, and def don't buy it.

the sunday paper is a great place to find coupons for items on sale and many stores will show you the total savings in their ads. take advantage of them doing some research for you.

use a frequent shopper card wherever you shop...kroger, march, piggly wiggly, etc. you get automatic deals and they track your coupon usage. if you use coupons, they will send you more coupons. i get coupons in the mail about twice a month from my grocer with save $1 or more or buy one get one free or even plain free items. it's worth using the stores coupons.

avoid buying convenience items. cheese by the block is much cheaper, for instance, than buying it already shredded.

buying in bulk is often times not as cost make sure to check your price per ounce. i find that it's often cheaper, for instance, to buy two boxes of cereal bars than to buy one large box. and if i have the coupon for buy two, i get an even better deal.

look up and look down...i'm short, so i swear that's why i find the deals. stores put the highest price items at eye level...and the less expensive items high and low. we do the same thing in our pantry with snack items so they won't get pretty well.

plan your menu based on what's on sale that week. for instance, if chicken quarters are on sale, i will make crock pot roasted chicken one night. pull the extra meat off the bone the next night and add bbq sauce and we'll have bbq chicken sandwiches the next night. if there's still some left over, there's the freezer for casseroles later. {this is a meal plan for a week this month...nothing special}

shop with a list...and try to stick to it. if you don't need frozen foods, don't even go to that aisle. you'll get pulled in by "good deals" that you don't need.

and then, sometimes you get uber lucky and have a week like mine last week...and save tons of money. and that's good for the wallet, but it's also super fun! (43%)

good luck...and happy shopping!!!
danyele @ a thorn among roses

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fool's foods

april fool's day is just around the corner...
how about haivng a little fun with your fam in the kitchen?

sushi??? or rice crispies wrapped in fruit leather! family fun has the recipe and details on pulling this one off.
how about some mashed potatoes and gravy for dessert??? (ewww)
{ice cream and butterscotch/caramel topping}
and a delicious after school snack of peas and fish sticks?
{recipe here}
1. For the fish sticks, place a couple of handfuls of cornflakes in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Cover 2 sugar wafer cookies with peanut butter, then toss them in the cornflake crumbs to coat.
2. For the peas, tear off and roll small pieces of the taffy candy into balls. If the taffy is too stiff to work with, microwave it for about 6 seconds.
3. For the ketchup, use a fork to stir a few teaspoons of the jam until it's smooth.

go have some fun with the kids...why not? don' thave kids? take the snacks to work and freak out the co workers!!!

happy spring!
danyele @ a thorn among roses

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Ideas To Celebrate The Everyday!

  1. Plan a picnic. Call some friends and then pack fresh fruit, sandwiches, and maybe a bottle of wine. Find a shady tree or a peaceful spot...Maybe even a picnic under the stars!

  2. Meditate while you walk. Stroll through a familiar part of town and focus your mind on its sights, smells, and sounds. If other thoughts pop up, acknowledge them but return your concentration to what's around you.

  3. Fine Dine @ home....put out your best linens, your finest dishes,create a beautiful centerpiece from things you have laying around, or simply light a candle. Create an inviting place to sit and celebrate the everyday!

  4. Sit in the sun for 10 minutes a day...Feel the sun rays on your shoulders and the warmth on your back...The sun may help you produce a natural chemical that induces the feeling of JOY! And you get a dose of vitamin D!

  5. Dance...Turn up the music and just dance...No one has to know! Leap in the air like Flash Dance and twist and shake like you are back in the 50's ...You will laugh and feel happy instantly! Do this with your kids, too! I dance silly in the morning to make my kids smile! Sometimes I make them join in...though they act like they don't like it...They end up laughing and being silly along with me! And the best part, they walk out the door in the right mindset to take on the day!

  6. Cruise in your car..Like when you were young and free...We forget that first taste of freedom! Grab some CDs and hit the road! Open that sunroof or roll those windows down and feel the wind in your hair! Think about how you used to feel and recreate it! You could even rent a revertible for the day! Go all out! Maybe even that your sweetie along for some back seat smooching!

  7. Paint a picture...Get a canvas or something to paint on and grab some paints...Let your imagination flow through the paint brush...If you want you can use your fingers too...How fun if you and your sweetie painted one together one afternoon...Be playful and laugh! You may even want to get silly and drab a little on his nose...But be ready to get some back! :) Hang the painting somewhere special!

  8. Pay it forward...Every kind deed offered to you...Do a kind deed to someone else....

  9. Walk outside and look for simple beauty...The sound of the birds, a budding flower,the way the wind is blowing through the trees...Act as though you have never seen this before...How does it make you feel? Relish in that feeling...Don't let the everyday make the simple gifts less than what they should be...A gift from God...A simple miracle...Now if we could only find that same beauty in ourselves...We'd be so much more happier!

  10. Write a note thanking your neighbors for being "neighborly." Stick them in their mailbox or doors...It will make their day!

  11. Be in the moment...Instead of worrying about your bank account balance or something you forgot to do, focus on the here and now...So, often we are not present in the moment...Our minds are off worrying about the future...If we can learn to be completely present...we will be happier and healthier for it!

  12. Laugh out loud!...Just simply laughing raises levels of endorphins and other pleasure inducing hormones and lower production of stress hormones...Look around you and find ways to create more laughter with your family and friends...Grab a funny movie, remember something funny that happened, dress your pet up, tickle someone, or make a silly face out of nowhere...You get the point!

  13. Use scents to create happiness.... Research has proven that aromatherapy helps create different moods and relieves stress...Rosemary lowers anxiety levels and increases alertness...It is a great scent to give to a student before a test! Lavender increases relaxation....Look into how different scents can help you! And by the way, a smelly house or moldy building can depress you...So, keep your home smelling fresh with flowers, oils, candles, and good, old housekeeping! Want to be nature friendly...Look for ways to clean and freshen your home with vinegar,lemons,baking soda, and other natural cleaners!

  14. Spend time alone...Although relationships are important and bring us joy... sometimes you need time alone to recharge and reflect... Take yourself out to lunch, catch a movie, or simply spend an afternoon reading a book or magazines, visit a local bookstore, or flea marketing or antiquing....Do things that make your happy...You'll be able to give more of yourself to all your relationships!

  15. Count your blessings one by one.... People who stop each day to reflect on all the positive things in their lives... experience a sense of well-being,live a more abundant life and are more healthy! Write out a list of what you are thankful for today!

I hope this got your mind thinking of more ways to create a happier life! We all have the ability to change how we live and can create a happier life NOW!

I heard this quote on Rachel Ray's show...It was a quote her Grandfather used to say...It touched me...

"You have two choices in life - You can laugh or you can cry. Which would you rather do?"....Author Unknown

Written by Screaming Meme...Editor In Chief

Scream over to my other

Note to readers! We have a winner of our Life and Style Makeover! We'll post more information next week!

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sadness...and faith

on the way home from DD {{bc apparently there was NO preschool today for's no prob, really...we just rushed around and scrambled and got in the car and then when we got there and there was no school...well, there were tears...thus DD}}, there came a moment of sincere sadness in my heart.

jk: "mommy, i want to look like brookie"
"why sweetie? you are the perfect jada"
jk: "i don't like my brown skin. i want peach skin like brookie"

i just sank. does that not make ur heart want to break? a 3 yo is struggling already with her skin being different. then, this happened:

brooke: "jada, god made you and he loves you. he does it all right the very first time"

then, i think my heart grew three sizes.

jada threw a big smile up on her face and said, "ok. god loves me"

now, if we all could just do that. god loves us...he doesn't make mistakes...he makes perfect works of art. sometimes there are scratches in the art. sometimes chips. sometimes we've been repainted. but we are all perfect works of art. it's a great reminder for me...

"i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made."

another great reminder: raise your children in the faith of the lord...and they will be blessed...and, so will you. (proverbs 22:6)

danyele @ a thorn among roses
{{from my 12/2/2008 post}}

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Staying Fit Has Never Been So Fun!

Want a fun exercise that is super easy and has loads of health benefits?

Skipping! I know what you are thinking...skipping is child's play...

Skipping is not just for the school playground or after school fun!

Boxers use skipping as training before a fight and is used by many trainers to help their client's lose weight... And best of all, skipping can be done anywhere, anytime....Honeychild!

It creates that happy feeling inside of you...You know the one you felt when you were young,footloose and fancy free...Skipping along and enjoying life and not even realizing you were exercising! Try it! You'll giggle at first...but you'll be surprised of the work out you get!

Benefits Of Skipping:
Skipping will help improve your beautiful heart & lungs, flexibility and coordination...

When using as a high-impact exercise...skipping is great for building bones and a good exercise to trim that fat from our hips, thighs and those pesky backsides!

Burn Rate:

Depending on your weight and your intensity in your workout...You
'll burn between 70-110 extra calories in a ten minute skip...

Moderate...about 70 calories
Vigorous...about 110 calories

Written By Screaming Meme....Editor In Chief

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How to comfort a grieving friend...

A short course in being supportive, when it is difficult to know how...

Life is full of so many wonderful experiences! We are so privileged to be able to experience and celebrate birth, marriage, new jobs, moves, and everyday joys in abundance! The part of life that can send us into a sense of panic and loss on how to cope, is the inevitable death of a loved one, or wishing to be of support to a friend who has suffered loss. Having recently experienced the loss of both of my parents, I wanted to share a few "Do's and Don't s" that may help you in supporting a friend experiencing the same.

Do call and offer your sincere sympathy for their loss. If the phone is not answered, be sure and end your message with, "No need to call back, I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you." After someone dies, there is an overwhelming amount of things to do...from contacting relatives, to planning a funeral, housing out of town guests, cancelling accounts, filing death certificates, etc...When a dozen well meaning calls end with, "Please call me right away", it feels overwhelming to have one more "to do" item on the list. A grieving person is overwhelmed with details; your "permission" to not have to call back will be a relief and a comfort to your friend.
Do send a card with a special story or memory. Cards can be saved and be reread many times. Don't underestimate this simple gesture.

Do bring food. It is difficult to eat when sad and burdened. It is even more overwhelming to try and decide what to serve the children, and visiting guests. What a huge help it was to see a smiling face at the door with a warm casserole and a big hug. Bring will never be turned away and will be most appreciated! If possible, bring something easily frozen for use later on.

Don't exclude your friend from gatherings and outings with others. It feels good to have a diversion from sadness, and even a simple glass of wine and loving company, can boost a mood more than you can imagine.

Don't begin lenthy conversations about how the loved one is in a better place, how time will heal the wounds, etc....just simple thoughts of, "I am so sorry for your loss", or "I'm here to support you in anyway" is much more helpful than a "lecture".

Do bring up the name of your friend's loved one often. Sometimes I felt as though people didn't want to talk about my parents for fear it would upset me. It was worse to feel as though everyone was avoiding the subject, so if you have a story or memory to share, don't be afraid to share it. It brings back the loved one's memory in such a positive way.

Do offer to help in non traditional ways. Can I tell you how helpful it was to have a friend offer to take the children for ice cream during the funeral visitation? Or, the friend who offered to sit with the children during the funeral. They were comforted and cared for while my husband I were listening to eulogies, or when I was consumed with my own grief. One friend carried a water bottle for me, kleenex, a sweater, and stayed close in case I needed something during the funeral and reception afterwards. Or, the friend who offered to spend a day with me to help pack up belongings from my parents home, and then stay the night to watch a movie. These gestures of kindness mean so much, and are such practical ways to show support. Do stop by and call weeks and months after the funeral to check on how your friend is doing. Everything is easier to cope with when there are two sets of footprints rather one. Often as time passes, we forget to inquire how our friend is coping...keep asking, keep offering to help, and keep up your friendship and support. The time you invest will not go unnoticed, and will make such a difference in your friend's outlook on the future! Most importantly, live your life fully and appreciate every moment...all any of us have is TODAY...savor it! :-)

To read more about our family's journey through brain cancer this past year, and now living life joyfully beyond, visit:

Be sure and peruse posts will find so many wonderful ideas, recipes, and inspirations!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

oh beans...

a super fun toy or gift for kids...bean bags!!
i made little bags for party favors for jk's bday...all the kids loved them and the parents were thrilled to not have junk, plastic toys that get tossed and clutter things up.

so here's how you do it:
grab some extra fabric {my piece is scrap fleece and felt, 8"x5"} misc ribbon to match scissors sewing machine {no machine? use wonder under or a glue gun} bag of dried beans

since i have 4 girlies, we differentiate between each bag by shape. {silly, i know, but it lessens the fights later}. i use the big zig zaggy stitch and sew a shape on top of the fabric. {no perfection required...just look at the end pic}
then sew up the sides inside out and leave a small space for filling and for adding the ribbon to the final deal.

flip the bag inside out, to show the right side...ahhh, pretty!
grab a funnel {or make one with a scrap piece of paper} and fill up with a $1 bag of your dried beans of choice...or you can use rice or couscous}

after the bag is about 80% filled, add the ribbon in the hole, and sew shut the open seam right over the top and thru the ribbon.

and you get fun bean real cost...and a super fun toy!

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Decorate with Circles

I did a post on my blog a while back, about using Circles as your theme!
So this post is Circle inspired.

I love the color and pattern in this beautiful chair
Notice the Circles in the mirrored dresser
Love the look of the inter locking Circles around this mirror
Beautiful circles in this amore
Circle inspired rug
Circle wall plaque

Look around your room, what inspires you!

xoxo, Cathleen

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easter eggs...pretty style

hidden surprises are the fun part for the kiddos...but sewing them is the fun for you!
don't sew, use hot glue! seriously!

i found sew, mama, sew's blog...look at these easter goodies!

here's her version...super fun!!!!

and and my version...not quite done but on the machine as i type. time. it's always my enemy!
so go ahead and try it. sew mama sew has this great tutorial...HERE!

sew {or glue} them up...use them to decorate your house until easter, and then, the easter bunny can use them to put a few special treats for you or the kids!

danyele @ a thorn among roses

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Greek Cinnamon Chicken

I loved making these recipe...My family went CRAZY for it! I was shocked that the cinnamon was what made the dish so special...I thought how could cinnamon taste good on chicken...I was pleasantly surprised! You have to try this one! I don't eat, I used Salmon for my dish...It was to die for! I could not find, I used couscous...I sauted olive oil and garlic...and then brought water and a little sea salt to a boil and added the couscous...Removed from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes...It tasted great with it!...:)

Source: Oprah Winfrey Show

Cat Cora's Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken
Ingredients:Serves 4

1 chicken (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (legs, breast and thighs)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic , peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion , peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups water
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried Italian herb seasoning
1 cup orzo , cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preboil water with sea salt.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. A wet chicken will cause the oil to splatter while the chicken is sautéing. Mix the cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the chicken pieces on all sides with the seasoning.

Heat the olive oil in a large, nonreactive, deep skillet over high heat. A 12-inch skillet with sides about 2 1/2 to 3 inches high will allow you to brown all the chicken at once. If you don't have a skillet large enough, brown them in two batches using 1/2 the oil for each batch. What's important is that the chicken isn't overcrowded, which would cause them to steam rather than brown.

Add the chicken to the oil and brown for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn the pieces using a metal spatula, as they have a tendency to stick to the pan. Remove the pieces when they are well browned on all sides.

Mince three of the garlic cloves. Lower the heat to medium-high, and add the onions and minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the onions have softened and are a rich golden brown. Add about 1/2 cup of the water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula or spoon to deglaze the pan, loosening any particles stuck on the bottom.

When the water has evaporated, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and remaining 2 garlic cloves, minced.

Return the chicken to the pan. The liquid should cover about 3/4 of the chicken pieces. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-high heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. If the sauce becomes too thick, it can be thinned with a little more water. Season the finished sauce with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve over orzo, cooked according to package directions, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Written by Screaming Meme

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crock pot rotisserie chicken

got a little bit of time and a lot of mouths to feed?

whole chicken and a crock pot are the right combo!

1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry {giblets removed}
2 cups chicken broth {or 2 bouillon cubes and 2 cups hot water}
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper

roll 3 balls of aluminum foil about 3 inches in diameter each.
stuff the chicken {for flavoring not eat} with quartered onion and garlic.
add chicken broth to the crock pot.
sprinkle with poultry seasoning and salt and pepper.
place the chicken on top of the balls of foil.

bake on high for 1 hour, low for 6-7 hours {leaving the lid on for steaming}

save the broth and extra chicken for chicken noodle soup!

danyele @ a thorn among roses

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

scrubbing your hard drive...

old technolgy is a killer!!!
especially when your computer/laptop is screaming a fatal error or just won't boot up...

...but don't just toss the whole thing in the trash. protect you and your information that resides on the hard drive first.

unfortunately, it's not quite as easy as just deleting all the contents on a hard drive...because there are folks who can read what they want from the remaining fragments that remain...and well, that's not good.

so you basically have two choices: smash the hard drive with a hammer and trash it. or, you can scrub your hard drive...and it's really easier than scrubbing a toilet...way less messy.

the esaiset and best way to to that is to use a program that overwrites the entire drive several times with unreadable gibberish.

here are a few freebies you can try:
summit computer's free Hard Disk Scrubber 2
PCW's active@ kill disk hard drive eraser

and when you're done scrubbing that hard drive...don't just trash the computer, recycle it! the EPA estimates recycling 1 million desktop computers prevents the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of over 17,000 passenger cars.

so recycle that old computer...don't know where to go. well, lucky for you, i have a linky HERE!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Smiling 101...

A Genuine Smile....

We are all have a genuine smile, so why do we cross paths with a stranger or an casual acquaintance...we give them a fake smile? That polite smile....You know the one....
Want to change that? Smile with your eyes! Feel it genuinely and it will come out naturally....

  • People will be attracted to you...They will want to be around you...because the energy you created with a genuine smile...

  • You will feel more optimistic...It creates a positive out look for you and the world you live in...

  • A smile can help you not only feel good...It can help you through illness and stressful times...It creates hope...

  • Do you know someone who is down? A smile can uplift their spirit and make them feel happier...

  • Smiling is contagious...Try this out...Give a genuine smile to a room full of people...See how it changes the mood of the room...It is magical!

What to learn how to smile genuinely?

Don't know the difference between a genuine smile and a fake smile? It's in the upper cheeks and lower eyelids. I want you to try something... Stand in front of a mirror and smile with your mouth only. Then smile with your whole face, specifically squeezing your upper cheeks and raising your lower eyelids. Do you see the difference? More importantly, do you feel the difference? When you smile with only your mouth, you might feel a little happy, but if you smile with your whole face...It instantly makes you feel more happy...Smiling immediately changes the way you feel because our emotions are literally hard wired to muscles in your face, its like an physical connection to your emotions, so you can immediately switch how you are feeling by simply smiling!

Written by....Screaming Meme...Editor In Chief

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

techie gifts, jewelry and repurposing

every woman, techie or not, needs some fab jewelry or gifts fo themselves or others...and i've found some pretty fun stuff out there...

geeks are kinda hard to buy can't always "afford" their gadgets, so why not get something fun and useful at the same time!

scrap ribbon cable that is repurposed as a bracelet...{digi Bling}

or some super fab earrings made from recycled circuit boards from debby arem designs on etsy...
how about some HTML earrings...from gearlog.

blue resistor earrings from digi Bling on etsy...
cuff links for the geek boy...made with oscillators also from {digi Bling}.

or the infamous computer micro tie tack {digi Bling}

how about a super fun little recycled circuit board bookmarks from debby arem designs on etsy

a nice clock for the geeky hubs office...made from an old hard drive {it's even green friendly...and not in your house} on etsy at pixel this

remember...recycling is only one way to help out. repurposing is another! get your thinking caps on and see what you can repurpose!

danyele @ a thorn among roses

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