Sunday, February 28, 2010

The 25 Books in a Year Challange

Books are the entertainment for any age. I get more satisfaction out of reading a book that cost $3 that watching a movie that cost $3.
I would like to pull your attention to my side bar to the section entitled "25 Books in a Year". Last year I failed to read my goal of 50 so this year I'm going with the modest goal of five and twenty books in a year. If you like to read join me and read five and twenty books in a year or more! You get bonus points if it's the first time you have read the book.
To enter the challenge, post in the comments of your goal. Create a list in the side bar of your blog and list what books you've read and the date finished. In April I'll do a check up on how things are going.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cashier Rant

No, I'm not trying to start a knock off of my current book Waiter Rant. I just to remind people how to act at the check out.
By the time you read this, thanks to the posting delay set up, I will be cashier my little heart out during something all Ace Hardware cashiers cringe when they here it.
Bag Sale.
The Bag Sale is a quarterly event in which all customers are entitled to a grocery bag and may stuff anything except candy and such things. Anything that fits in the bag qualifies for a 20% discount. That's great for you. But bag day can be very hecktic for a cashier. Some may say, "Well, cashiers just ring everything up." Well, not where I work. If I were to write a job discription here's what it would look like:
Rings customer's items up and guides them through the check out process. Assists customers in finding items. Takes phone calls. Custodian. Places special orders. Stocker. Customer service.
Now, during the Bag Sale, lines will probably be long. This applies ANYWHERE. To insure fast service please:
Have you store card ready to be scanned. (I scan them after I ring everything up).
Have your own bag ready if you brought them.
Take things out of your basket.
While your items are being rung up and bagged have your method of payment ready.
If using a credit or debit card READ what the screen is saying. All of these machines are different.
You have no idea how many times people actually stare at those screens doing nothing or push the wrong buttons and blame me for it. Strange enough, I really like the old way.
One more thing, they store is not your trash can. If you don't want your receipt throw it into the trash can or ask the cashier to throw it away. Do now throw it in the parking lot, on the side walk, and (my favorite) in the Toys for Tots bin.
Do not talk on the phone while being waited on. Politly tell the person your talking to, to either hang on a minute or call you back.
Please use the proper etiquette with coughing and sneezing. Cough/sneeze into the elbow of your non-dominate arm.
An ackowledgment of my exsistance is well appericiated. At least a friendly 'how do you do'.
Don't forget your wallet!
This has been a message from a blogging cashier. Thank you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

They're Kidding, Right?

I doubt that they're eating McDonalds right before their event or ar all. What will they try next?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winter, Please Go Away

I'm tired of snow that lasts all day and weeks later you can still see the evidence. I'm done with it! Let me hibernate until spring comes and this snow melts. I want to go outside and rake my hands through the dirt and make something of the garden.
Everytime I look outside I dream of it. I dream of string beans, sweet peppers, and beets. I dream of going to the farm to pick strawberries in June and blackberries in August. I dream of the harvest, the pickles, the jams that I will make. I dream of fresh local apples from my favorite orchard and their apple cider. I dream of picking wild raspberries off of the bushes and popping them into my mouth.
I just can't wait.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Frugility with Books

I'm cheap. I really am. I will not deny it. But trying to spend less doesn't always go hand in hand with one's love of reading. I use to spend hundreds of dollars on books but I've stopped. Here's my process.
1) I browse the online bookstores such as Amazon or get book tips from friends. The great thing about Amazon is that you can read the first few pages of some books.
2) I see what format the book is advalible in. If I buy new I usually shoot for the mass market paperbacks because they're cheaper. Rarely do I buy the trade paperbacks because they cost as least twice as much.
3) If the book is a new release I'll wait for it to come out in paperback but if I'm desperate I'll check it out at the library or, if I really think I should, I get it in hardback.
4) If I come across books that I want to buy I search EVERYWHERE for the cheapest copy. In most cases this means a used book.
The last book that I bought in hardcover was the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and I could kick myself for not waiting to buy it in paperback. I believe it cost somewhere around $20. The newest series that I'm reading I scored the first three books on all from the same seller. All three, including shipping, cost me $11 which was still a steal considering that they retail for $8 a pop, I saved at least $14. The trouble now is tracking down the fourth book for a reasonable price.
The best place to get books in the library, hands down. If you think you're not going to like a book go to the library and get it out. Most libraries are apart of a network of libraries and are able to hold a book from another library for you and you can pick it up at your "home" library. There's also a great thing called inter library loans which allows you to check out a book from anywhere in the state. For example, I've been wanting to read Joel Salatin's Everything I Want to do is Illegal so I made a request at my library. It'll take a few weeks but I'll most likely get it.
Here are my favorite places to get reasonably priced books:
Amazon - they have a buy 3 get the 4th free promotion for some of their books and you can preview most books
Barnes and Nobles - You'll need to go through Deal Tracker for this one. Click on the coupon that will get you 6% off and free shipping for your entire order regardless of how much you spend. - I've found a lot of good deals on books from here and who can beat their $3 flat rate shipping? - A Mecca of used books but watch the shipping prices and buy more than one book from a seller or the shipping charges will kill you.
So, what do you do?

Edit: For those of you interested in knowing why books are so expensive has a pretty good artical explaining why. Book Sales Update

Up, that's another book ready to go off into the mail and be enjoyed by someone else. I started selling my used unwanted books online in September. It's was better than some of the alternatives, donating, or giving them to the used book store for credit. Although, I love donating my books, about two years ago I donated at least fifty books and to me, I think I did my share for now. So far I've sold seven books and one DVD for a total of $31.25. Not bad, really but it does make room on my bookshelf for some new books. The only bad thing about is that they charge a bundle for shipping if you want to buy. Personally, I try to price my books so that with shipping it's still cheaper than buying it new.
I really want to get rid of these books! So, browse my shop and see what you want. If something strikes your fancy e-mail me at and we can arrange payment and BETTER shipping charges (shipping a single book really only costs $2.50 and it gets cheaper if you get multiples). I have a postal scale that's accurate so I will not over charge you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I love bagels. My family eats a lot of bagels therefore I made some bagels. The best bagels that I ever had were ones that my high school's entepenture class sold. The everything bagels were the best. Although the bagels didn't come close to what I made but let me tell you, it makes paying 55 cents for one at the bakery seem like a rip off.
The recipe can be seen here. I think I'll get some poppy seeds next time I make them. I don't know why but I LOVE poppy seeds.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cleaning Day Again

I love cleaning day. Wait let me correct that. I love the results of cleaning day. Although, I try my best to put things back where they should be throughout the week, I always get lazy and slip up. Wrappers, papers, magazines, get piled up on my desk, on my floor, and on my nightstand. About a year I ago I've started what is cleaning day.
Cleaning day, for me, is usually Sunday. It's a great start to my week. Fresh floors, fresh desk, and an airing out it weather permits.
My favorite weapon right now is vinegar. It kills the germs and doesn't leave any scent behind. I'm a viscious toliet cleaner. Squirt some bowl cleaner in go around with the toliet brush, do under the rim, then do an aerial attack with a pumic stone (always wearing gloves). The shower is impossible to clean! It's so grimmy and dirty that my mom or I will touch it. But, I think I'm going to try and hit it with a daily 409 regiment. Maybe that will work.
For my room I sprinkle baking soda on the rugs, make the bed, put EVERYTHING back where it should be and dust, then finally vacuum, and hit all of the furniture with furniture polish.
I think I'm done cleaning this week. Next week I'll be washing my sheets.

Happy Valentine's Day
Enjoy my clean bathroom pictures

What to think?

So, on Yahoo Sports this morning I saw an artical about one of the Olympic skaters, Johnny Weir, having to live in the Olympic village because of "anti-fur" activists' threats. Apparently, his skating customes use fur, such as fox fur. He's run into trouble for it before but I'm assuming that the pressure was just too much this time. Weir is known for his "flamboyant" customes. Now, I'm all animal right and everything but these people must have really shaken him up which is just cruel. He was planning on staying at a hotel but opted for the Olympic village, that has better security, instead. Animal rights aside, what about human rights?
Although, I am concerned with these people threatening Weir, I do hope that he stops wearing animal fur.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coupon Clipping Hourly Rate

Click here.
That will change your mind about not clipping coupons, wont it?

Some helpful coupon site: <-- requires download
Retail Me Not
Coupon Cabin
Smart Source <-- requires download
Cool Savings

Add your favorite websites in the comments!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Turning Snow Day into Pretzel Day!

I love pretzels mostly soft Annie Anne's and from some  random bakery in Lancaster that I went to last spring for a field trip. The only problem is Annie Anne's pretzels are expensive and the ones for Lancaster I'll probably never have again and will never find the place again.
So, I decided that it was time to make my own. And boy, I'll never go back to frozen store pretzels! The only thing is that I felt that they need A LOT more butter and perhaps 1 tablespoon more of sugar.
Here's the recipe:
The dough:
1 1/2 cup of warm water
1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups all purpose flour

Baking Soda/Water Solution:
4 cups water
4 tablespoons baking soda

Melted butter

Dissolve yeast, sugar, and salt in warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Mix in flour. Turn mixture onto floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Lightly grease a bowl and turn down in it to coat. Place towel or plastic wrap over dough and let rise for 1 hour. Turn dough out and cut into 12 stripes. Roll them into 3 foot long pieces and twist. Let sit. Boil water and baking soda and one at a time, place pretzels in water until they float. Repeat until all pretzels are done. Coat with plenty of butter and sprinkle kosher salt* on. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

I think this was my most successful venture into making bread. When I make bread my loaves are dense and I was afraid that this would be as well.

*Get creative with what you put on it. Try garlic salt, and cinnamon and sugar.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chocolate: The Raw Truth

Just a magazine clipping that I found interesting. My favorite chocolate is fair trade. I love the Endanger Species Chocolate. You'll need to click the artical so you can zoom in and out to read it. I'm going to try to post more interesting magazine articals especially those that I find in Mother Earth News.

Today's Agenda

Today is a snow day from work. I went in last night for my shift with the threat of the snow chasing me out early. It didn't, to my relief. But today there's about five inches of snow on the ground and my road is completely covered. Nevermind the main roads, it's my roads that I worry about since I think we are the last to get plowed.
So, on today's agenda it looks like cleaning for me. Since I still live with my parents I have little cleaning responsibility, I only clean my room, the upstairs bathroom, and the upstairs hallway. I have to admit, I've been neglecting my cleaning duties lately. My room my not look messy, compared to my friend's room (don't get me started), but it bothers me. Part of the problem is that I have little storage.
Today I need to clean my room which includes; vacuuming, dusting, cleaning my furiture; and cleaning the bathroom which includes; the toliet, the floor, and the sink (my mom and I give up on the shower). The toliet's already done, scrubbed and the bowl done over with a pumic stone for the lime bulid up. It's so clean you could drink out of it, although it's not recommended.
Being organized is a bit of an obession for me. I feel good once my room is clean since I spend about 75% of my time there. I think i'm going to invest some money in organization products such as a shoe organizer for my closet door and binder magazine holders for my Mother Earth News. I have a few cliped articals from other magazines that I want to scan and put on my flash drive and possibly post here.
Well  I better get cleaning!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Field Trip: To the Library

One of my friends is nineteen now, loves to read but doesn't have a library card when she lives two minutes from one! So yesterday we made a trip there and got her one. I made her drive since I only had a vauge idea as to where this library was. I thought we were going to die and it wasn't just because her car dates to 1991.
The building that the library is held in is more than 100 years old and use to be a school. It was really nice and had that library feel to it (You can learn about the library's history here). One would think that this library would be huge but it isn't. It's just the top floor of the building. It was actually a little bit disappointing. But for me and my friend, it's better than driving twenty minutes to the better library.
Afterwards we went to the pizza parlor next door which was really nice.

Sick Again-What's Wrong with Me?

So here I sit with a cup of throat soother's tea. I'm sick again. The second time within a month. I know that you don't actually catch colds but I had a feeling that being cold can actually lower your immunity. After a quick look up online I found that it was true. and of course Monday night I slept cold and woke up with a minor sore throat. Last night I turned the heat up and piled on the blankets in hopes that my cold wouldn't get worse. It did, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, it's more of a runny nose than a sore throat now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

I just got a text message from Phil:
"Hey, just saw my shadow. I hereby do predict 6 more weeks of winter. Last one to a PA ski lodge is an opossum. -Phil"
"Germn tradition holds that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow on Feb[uary] 2...winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early."-From the Associated Press
He's devilishly handsome isn't he? The groundhog not the human.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Simple Breakfast

Yesterday I had a really good breakfast of my awesome french toast. It's so rich and so good by Monday I crave something simplier. This morning I made toast with jam. It's not a fantasic example of my cuilinary adventures but it's so simple that's wonderful.
Back in November I went out to Lancaster and stopped by something called the Kitchen Kettle Village. I was under the impression that the jams that they made were the most fantastic thing on earth. The truth is, it's not.
Today I put Kitchen Kettle's Strawberry Rhubarb (left)  jam up against my homemade blackberry jam (roght). I was a little disgusted when I read the ingrediant lable of the KK jam. High fuctose corn syrup. And this stuff is made by Amish women!
Anyway, I put both on toasted texas toast bread and tried both. Which is the best? Mine of course. The KK jam is overly sweet with not much Rhubarb flavor. Honesty, I'm a little bit annoyed about it and I don't think I'll be getting anymore KK products. You could try all of their products before buying and the pickles tasted like sugar coated cucumbers!
Hopefully next time I go back to Lancaster I can go to one of those nice roadside stands. The one with the pretzels is amazing.