Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Did you Know about this?

I received this email from a friend today. And, being the doubting Thomas that I am, went immediately to my roll of Reynolds wrap. Darned if that little tab isn't there ... on both ends yet!!

I've been using aluminum foil for more years than I care to remember. Great stuff, but sometimes it can be a pain. You know, like when you are in the middle of doing something and you try to pull some foil out and the roll comes out of the box. Then you have to put the roll back in the box and start over. The darn roll always comes out at the wrong time.

Well, I would like to share this with you. Yesterday I went to throw out an empty Reynolds foil box and for some reason I turned it and looked at the end of the box. And written on the end it said, "Press here to lock end". Right there on the end of the box is a tab to lock the roll in place. How long has this little locking tab been there? I then looked at a generic brand of aluminum foil and it had one, too. I then looked at a box of Saran wrap and it had one too! I can't count the number of times the Saran wrap roll has jumped out when I was trying to cover something up.

I'm sharing this with my friends that did not know this. I hope I'm not the only person that didn't know about this.

Note from Lucy: It's true, I went and looked.....

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More Tidbits.......

I was scouring the “Make a Note” website this morning and found this wonderful tidbits.


Some states have a variety of tax holidays, days when you can buy certain products without paying tax on them. Most of us are familiar with the school clothing/supplies holidays, but a few states are now doing hurricane and energy saving item tax holidays as well. To see if your state has tax holidays that can save you money, when they are, along with links to approved item lists and other information, go to...
Most of the hurricane holidays are imminent, so check your dates soon. NOTE TO FLORIDA RESIDENTS: If you are looking for your hurricane holiday, your state legislature decided to skip it this year, sorry. POST IT…on your computer and your calendar.

Recent reports have found that more chemical compounds leech into our food from plastic containers than was originally thought. Many of us use a lot more plastic containers than we realize. So consider replacing plastic containers with glass or metal ones. Other items you might not think of that come into contact with food/drink…water bottles, travel mugs, measuring spoons/cups, cutting boards, utensils, pitchers, mixing bowls, etc. Here’s a link to an article with even more ideas on avoiding the chemicals…

It has been sitting in your cupboard for an eternity. That lone can or package of some ingredient that you bought at one time or another and never got around to using. You can’t even find the recipe you were going to use it with. Now you can find a way to use it without pouring through piles of recipes. Go to… http://allrecipes.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx
Enter the ingredient that you don’t have a recipe for, and then hit “Go” or enter. You will usually get a good variety of recipes to choose from. For example, I had a package of dry leek soup mix that had me at a loss. I entered it in, and now I have some veggie dip recipes and a slow cooked chicken dish to try. Hey, I’m guessing if it can come up with recipes for leek soup mix, then it can come up with recipes for your ingredient. It’s
a great way to clean out your cupboard a bit, without being wasteful. You may even find a new favorite recipe. POST IT…on the inside of the kitchen cupboard where you store your food, and/or with your recipes.

BACK ISSUE TREASURE: September 17th, 2003 Issue
(Hurricane Prep Sites, Legos, Practice Tests/Drills/Games, Italian Potato Salad, and More) Hurricane season isn’t that far away, and if you’d like to know what you might want to purchase during your state’s hurricane tax holiday, or how to prepare in other ways, check out the article in this back issue. You can also find a good source for Legos and practice tests/drills/games for almost any subject. Don’t forget the recipe for the Italian Potato Salad too. For all this & more, head to our back issue section by following the directions below. POST IT...on your computer.

~~Via Web Site (All Issues...Eventually):
http://home.att.net/~make-a-note/index.htm , then click on "Back Issues", then scroll down to desired issue.
~~Via Automated Email (Issues from 8/98 to Present): Send a blank email to
make-a-note-issues@xc.org and follow directions you will receive by return email.
~~Via Request to Editor (ONLY Issues Prior to 8/98 for Readers UNABLE to Access Web Sites): Send date of requested issue to Editor at make-a-note@worldnet.att.net

Note from Lucy: If you love these hints you will love "Make a Note". Go check out their website and decide for yourself.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Helpful Hints......

If found these on my Dollar Stretcher website today and thought they were worth sharing. I especially like the one about the onions, since I just had to through out a couple of them for that very reason…


As you know, onions rot if you leave them in plastic bags, and they tend to go bad when they touch other onions in a bag. Here's how to keep them longer. Take an old pair of panty hose that you don't wear any longer. Cut off one of the legs. Put an onion in the bottom of the foot. Tie a knot in the hose. Then, put in another onion and tie another knot. Keep repeating. When you're done, you can tie the onions up and hang them on a nail inside of the pantry or somewhere else. You only need to cut an onion off at a time when you need them. This works in both humid and dry climates. Mary A. in Cortaro, AZ

Preventing Garden Water Waste

It's time to set gardens again. One tip I tell friends is to recycle used water or soda bottles by cutting off the bottom and using it as a funnel in the garden. As I set out my tomato
plants (this is also good for other plants as well), I place a "funnel" in the hole too, so that when I need to water (we usually have a drought during summer), it goes directly to the
roots. I use a lot less water and I am not watering any weeds. Mary R.

Cheaper Wrapping Paper

Instead of buying boxes or using flimsy brown paper, use wallpaper to solve some of your shipping and mailing dilemmas. When I need to mail oversized books that don't fit into a manila envelope, I wrap them in wallpaper. When I don't have the right sized shipping box to send gifts to family/friends across the country, I use wallpaper to wrap and seal things that already have their own (non-packing) boxes. You can find really strong, sturdy wallpaper at thrift stores for a dollar or less. It's generally heavy weight and almost untearable, even by those machines they use at the USPS. I've never had a
package arrive damaged and the recipients almost always remark on how clever (and sometimes colorful) it is. Just attach the address on a sticky label and you're set!
Glenda in Chicago

Garage Sale Discipline

Garage sale season is upon us here again in PA after a long winter. I love to get great bargains at garage sales, but I can also end up spending more money than I should. I figure out which garage sales I will go to on the upcoming Saturday (I map it out using our local Pennysaver), then I figure out a budget. I withdraw that budgeted amount from the bank and keep it in the bank envelope that it comes in. This way, I don't have to carry my purse. Instead, I just keep the envelope in my wallet and I know how much money I have left to spend.

My 3-year-old also comes with me now to the sales and we usually take $5 out of her piggy bank for her to spend. We use the same idea, except she likes carrying around a little purse. This teaches her budgeting and how to purchase an item. We also discuss an item she may be wanting. If she says she wants something with a Disney princess on it, I let her get one item like that. Michelle in Freedom, PA

Restocking My "Gift Box"

I frequent garage sales weekly during the summer. Besides buying used clothing and furniture for my family, I stretch my budget by looking for new items. Often I can buy new kitchen or other items unused still in the box or package. I've purchased new Pampered Chef items, home decor, baby items, and clothing with tags. I store these items in my "gift box" and pull them out when I need a shower gift. I was able to buy a Pampered Chef pitcher still in the plastic and in the box for $3. I also purchased a PC food chopper new in the box for $5. This adds up to considerable savings in my gift budget. Rhonda H.
Note from Lucy: I keep a gift box too, but I usually get my items when they are on sale or marked down at a good price.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Daffodil Principle

( I received this from my friend Richard Sutton and it has always been a favorite of mine.)

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, 'Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.'

I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead 'I will come next Tuesday', I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned, cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

'Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!'

My daughter smiled calmly and said, 'We drive in this all the time, Mother.'
'Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!' I assured her.

'But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks,' Carolyn said. 'I'll drive. I'm used to this.'

'Carolyn,' I said sternly, 'Please turn around.'
'It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.'

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, ' Daffodil Garden .' We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

'Who did this?' I asked Carolyn.
'Just one woman,' Carolyn answered. 'She lives on the property. That's her home.' Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. 'Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking', was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. '50,000 bulbs,' it read. The second answer was, 'One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.' The third answer was, 'Began in 1958.'

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived.
One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we, too, will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world .

'It makes me sad in a way,' I admitted to Carolyn. 'What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!'

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. 'Start tomorrow,' she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, 'How can I put this to use today?'

Use the Daffodil Principle.
Stop waiting.....
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and, Dance like no one's watching.

Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

With Mothers Day upon us......

(Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions.) Thanks to Richard Sutton for sending me this one.

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Note from Lucy: It's been 24 years since my own mother died at the tender age of 57. I love her very much and still miss her today. She raised four children within 5 years of each other. I was the oldest, Barbara next at exactly 2 years to the date, then Pat 18 months later, and last but not least, my brother Donny, 15 months after Pat.....I always wondered why she was half crazy and after having kids of my own, I know why......I really don't know how she managed us all so close in age. We grew up with very little money but we felt rich with all the love that was shared. I feel very grateful to have had good parents. I wish my mom had been her longer to see her grandkids grow up, hopefully she is watching us all from above. Happy Mothers Day, Mom... (I have to say, that TF's mom is the best! I love her too.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Vacation for Less....

From the Dollar Stretcher website:
by Judith A. Filangeri
Cutting costs without cutting the pleasure out of the trip

Ahhh! The very thought of vacation makes us wax positively poetic. "Summer afternoon - summer afternoon...the two most beautiful words in the English language." Henry James certainly got that right. Now, let's get practical.

AAA has been tracking vacation costs since 1950, when the average daily cost of meals and lodging for a family of four was $13. As of 2007, food and lodging for that family was up to an average of $269 a day, with lodging being the main
inflation driver. Remember that "average" includes places like Hawaii, which are up over $600 a day, as well North Dakota, which are under $200. And then there's the skyrocketing cost of gas.

So if you're planning to pack the family suitcases and get out of town, whether to the cabin on the lake or more exotic fare, are there any ways to cut costs without cutting the pleasure out of the trip? You betcha!

Air Fares: If you're flying, check the Internet sites (Priceline.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, etc.) and don't forget the actual airline sites. Many airlines offer special travel packages. Fares are also often lower if you fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The more flexible you can be the better chance you have at savings. Note from Lucy: TF and I just recently purchased some good airfare on www.cheaptickets.com

Auto Care and Repair: If you're driving, get your car checked out and tuned up at home before you go. You'll avoid potential expensive emergency towing and repairs.

Gas Prices: Get off the interstate if you can. Gas is always a few cents cheaper. And remember that a well-tuned car eats less gas.

Food: If you have the luxury of getting off the interstate, you can often find much less expensive restaurants. Consider a picnic in a park you will pass en route. A picnic has the added advantage of letting the kids run off some steam. Consider choosing a motel where the rooms have a kitchen. This is not to suggest that you make all your meals there. What kind of vacation is that? However, it's not a bad idea for the evening snack, the occasional pizza, or even for a continental breakfast. And you can keep picnic food for some of your day excursions in the room refrigerator. Note from Lucy: I try to pack a cooler with veggies that we can snack on as we travel. It can be refilled all during the trip.

Plan Ahead: If you know where you're going, write (or email)the local Chamber of Commerce or Bureau of Tourism. Tell them what your interests are. You will often get free maps, suggested hotels and restaurants, and valuable sight seeing tips. After all, these folks know the area a lot better than you do. Sometimes there are even discount coupons for restaurants and sights. If you're an AAA member, get a TripTik. Many motels and restaurants have free coupon booklets available. Keep in mind, also, that some local sights have picnic areas attached.
Note from Lucy: I usually purchase an Entertainment Book for the area we are going to for discount coupons to use on the trip. Right now you can get an Entertainment book for $ 15.00 on their website. I have ordered one for our trip, to New York City, this coming July..

Lodging: As with airfares, many hotels can be booked online. Whether you're booking online or stopping more spontaneously, remember that most hotels and motels offer discounts for AAA, for AARP, and sometimes just for asking. Even if you aren't sure you qualify for anything, always ask if there is a discount rate available. The worst that can happen is that they'll say no. And don't count on the travel websites having the lowest rates. Often the hotel website will offer a special that isn't available elsewhere. Note from Lucy: Check the Entertainment book for good hotel rates..

Souvenirs: Ah, souvenirs. Wood carvings and trinkets (most of them made in Taiwan or Mexico) that are hardly local crafts unless you're in Taiwan or Mexico. Saving money here is exercising common sense and self-control. Are you really going to wear that serape or peasant blouse once you're home? Set a budget. For example, everyone gets to buy one thing only and no more than $XX.00. Or set a theme. We get souvenirs to jog the memory of happy times. Good memory joggers are postcards, key chains, or even ticket stubs and brochures from places you visit. Keep them all together and make a scrapbook with the kids when you get home or integrate them with your photos. T-shirts are another option. Or select one special item that can be hung on the Christmas tree to remember the family vacation.

Finally, leave yourself some down time. It's good to plan, but don't over plan. Just because you know every single sight seeing option in an area doesn't mean you have to visit them all. A vacation is not a to-do list. Sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury said it best: "Half the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness" Chill. Relax. You don't want to return from a vacation needing one more than when you left.

Have a wonderful vacation!

Note from Lucy: There are a lot of good ideas here which can save you money on this years vacation. Every year my brother and two sisters and I go on a week trip down to Galveston in June. This year we planned to go to Destin, Flordia for our trip. We planned this trip in Janurary and my sister Pat made the reservations at the RV park. As gas prices started going higher and higher, I called my sister and told her that it would not be wise to go such a distance. We calculated that it would cost us $ 200.00 each way and with two vechiles, that amounted to $ 800.00 just for gas. We decided that Galvestion would be much closer to home and less expensive to go to. The main purpose of the trip is to be together as family and that can be done anywhere.

Have a great week everyone....