Refunds and coupons

So, my favorite refunding / coupon site RefundCents ended at the end of the November 2017.  I haven’t been as consistent about looking for coupons and refunds as I used to be, but I loved the Off Topic board where you could ask for random advice, get a card sent to someone, and help out other people.

So, I am thinking it is time for me to take on posting more of the great deals that I find so others can find them also.

Is this something people would like to see from me?  If so, hit the Like button. If it is more than a few people I will start posting great deals – whether it is a code for a free print from Walgreens or Shutterfly to some super buy on Amazon, etc.

I will try to post the national / online sites, but sometimes there will be a regional (California / Nevada) deal too.

Oh, and if you want to know some of the other websites/ bloggers that I follow that share great deals hit the Like button and I will write a post with their links too.

Later – Heather

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Authors you would recommend?

So, when I originally thought of this post it was going to tell you a book I didn’t like.  It was so bad (in my opinion) that I stopped reading it after the first chapter.  That alone shows that I am changing since when I was young I would read a complete book, even if I didn’t like it, with the hopes that it got better.  Now I have too much I want and have to do so I stopped reading this one and it is already in the give away pile.  And, no I won’t give the author or title since I know other people like the author.  I found this book and others by the same author at a garage sale recently.

I will say that I do like Joanne Fluke and I recently finished Devil’s Food Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery).  And if the name sounds familiar it is because the Hallmark Channel has started turning these books into movies.  I like the movies too.

I won’t give any secrets away about Devil’s Food Cake Murder , but I will say that there were a few slow parts, but it doesn’t help that I usually only read a little fiction before going to bed.

What fiction (cozy mysteries, etc) authors / book titles would you recommend?

Later – Heather

Tip Tuesday – Plastic silverware

I figured I will try to put at a quick tip on Tuesday so here is the first one.

This one originally came from my mother-in-law ‘M’.  During the last few years my father-in-law had to eat with plastic silverware due to shaking, etc caused by Parkinson’s Disease.  I never realized that plastic silverware could be washed in the dishwasher – did you know that??

So, I had a few plastic forks and spoons so I washed them in our dishwasher (in the silverware area) and they stayed in the compartment and came out clean.

These plastic forks and spoons were used by us (that is another tip for the future), but when we have a party I will buy new ones.

Do you wash, recycle or throw out all plastic silverware after one use?

Later – Heather

Upcycled bag

Here is a quick project that I finished today.

Supplies:

  • A small piece of material that I picked up from the free table at the local Quilt Guild.
  • A scrap of material that I cut into strips and used as a border.
  • Zipper topped bag that my mom had written her name, etc on.

Here is a photo of the bag before with the personal information covered.

2018 bag before copy

Here is how the bag turned out afterwards.  I sewed as much as I could on with the sewing machine and then hand stitched the rest.

2018 bag after copy

The bag has already been put into use.  I currently have a crochet project and a shirt that needs it’s buttons replaced in the bag.  I will take the bag with me on our next road trip.

What have you been working on lately?

Later – Heather

Last two months….

In some ways I know it has been two months since my last post went live, but in other ways it has gone by fast.

Some highlights / lowlights,  which will have separate posts in the future:

  • I went to Italy with our daughter ‘A’!  Was Northern Italy, in Winter, on my bucket list?  No, but she had to go see a vendor and drive a rental car around Milan and to a town about two hours away so I went with her.  The highlights, lowlights and things I learned will take multiple posts so that will be sometime in the future.
  • Our daughter ‘A’ got engaged!  The future son-in-law ‘D’ came and talked to her dad while daughter ‘A’ and I were in Italy.  (Our daughter said that ‘D’ had to get her dad’s blessing, which I thought was sweet.)
  • Italy or major jet lag ‘brain fog’ is a real thing.  If/when I travel to Europe, etc again I want to stop in the middle (New York, etc) and take a mini-vacation there for a few days before I continue on.  The nine hour time difference was killing me (going and coming home).
  • My father-in-law died earlier this month.  He had lived with Parkinson’s Disease for 18 years.  My mother-in-law took very good care of him.
  • I have lost weight.  Is it a huge amount, no, but I have gone down at least a pant size and people have noticed.

What have been some of your highlights / lowlights from the last two months?

 

Later – Heather

My word for 2018 – Be

So, a few years ago I heard about people who were picking a Word for the Year.  The last few years I have done it and semi-failed.  I had picked Simplify one year and that year didn’t get any easier, but more complex even, but it really wasn’t in my control.

So, this year I wanted a Word, but I was struggling with what it should be.  Then I was listening to Kimmy @ She’s in Her Apron on YouTube (you did know that there are bloggers, other interest topics and music available on YouTube, right?) and she said that her Word was ‘Be’.

I loved it!  I was already heading for ‘Be’ being my word, but I didn’t think it was specific enough.

So, this year I want to:

  • Be present
  • Be creative
  • Be joyful
  • Be curious
  • Be thankful
  • Be patient
  • Be active
  • Be humble
  • Be loving
  • Be kind
  • Be brave
  • Be adventurous
  • Be protective of my time

I am hoping I can live up to my word of Be this year.

So, did you pick a word for 2018?  If so, want to share what it is?

Later – Heather

 

Beef Vegetable Instant Pot Soup

So, my goal this year is to convert some of my Slow Cooker recipes for use in the Instant Pot.  This one is loosely based off some of the Beef and Vegetable Soups listed in the Fix-it and Forget-It Cookbook Feasting with your Slow Cooker by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good.

I used those recipies as a starting point and then used what we had in the house.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1 pound of beef cut into small pieces
  • 2 pounds of fresh vegetables which included
    • 2 potatoes roughly chopped
    • 3 large carrots roughly chopped
    • cut up celery ribs
    • cut up fresh green beans
  • flour  (any, but in my case gluten-free)
  • garlic powder to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 medium onion chopped
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz beef stock (I use the kind in a box)
  • olive oil
  1. Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a plastic bag or in the bottom of a pie tin.  Dredge the beef pieces through the flour mixture.
  2.  Plug in your Instant Pot and turn on to Saute
  3. Pour a small amount of olive oil into the Instant Pot.
  4. Put the beef pieces in the Instant Pot and brown.  Remove the beef pieces after they are all partly browned.
  5. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, vegetables, chopped onion and beef pieces to the Instant Pot while it is still on the Saute setting.
  6. Stir all the ingredients together.
  7. Add stock until it is below the Max Line.
  8. Keep using the Saute feature until the liquid starts to get hot.
  9. Turn off the Instant Pot and then set it to High Pressure for about 10 minutes.
  10. After it is done, turn off the Instant Pot and do a Quick Release of the pressure.
  11. Check that the liquid level still covers all of the ingredients.  Add more liquid, if needed.
  12. Use the Slow Cook feature and set to ‘More’ (high temperature setting) and for over 4 hours.

After about 5 hours we were hungry.  The potatoes and carrots were soft and it smelled amazing.

My family really liked how the soup turned out.

! instant pot beef veg soup

 

What have you made in the Instant Pot lately?

Later – Heather

 

 

Dryer Vent Wizard

This post is Not Sponsored and all opinions are my own.

When is the last time you cleaned your dryer vent?  A family member bought a new LG dryer and it gave a warning that the dryer vent was mostly blocked.  When the manual was reviewed she found out that when it went above a certain percentage the dryer would actually not run anymore until the dryer vent was cleaned.

I actually have a dryer vent cleaner kit that I bought from FlyLady.net years ago, but it is not available anymore.  But, when the house was inspected we realized that the dryer vent went under a bedroom and out the other side of the house!  No way was my kit going to be able to clean that.

We did some searching and found out that there was a Dryer Vent Wizard location that covered Northern Nevada.  (And I just found out that they are nation wide).

http://www.dryerventwizard.com  Dryer Vent Wizard

The guy from Dryer Vent Wizard came out and within a few hours the dryer vent was completely cleaned out and the dryer was working great!  It turns out the vent piping was over 60% blocked!

Per https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html

‘2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires.’

So, when was the last time that your dryer vent was cleaned and are you going to put it on your To Do list for this year?

Later – Heather

Oh, and if you are WordPress wizard could you explain where my sidebar went?  It was the area where I set up the tags, etc.  Thanks!

Starting a new hobby?

I was thinking of writing a blog post about what steps to take when starting a new hobby, but then Crafty Staci wrote one on her blog.

I definitely agree with her post!  I have made some of the mistakes that she lists and would like to help others from doing the same thing.

Here is the link to her post.  Enjoy reading it.

10 Steps to Learning a New Craft

 

So, what new hobby is on your wishlist for this year?  I have multiple, but I am trying to limit myself to just relearning to take photos with a real camera and not a point-and-shoot or my phone.

Until later – Heather

Animal Ark in winter – That is in Nevada?

Animal Ark is north of Reno, NV.  We had been there in the summer, but never in winter.  We found out that Animal Ark was opened for two weekends in the winter of 2017 .

The Reno, NV area of Nevada had received a lot of snow in the winter of 2016- 2017.  At one point Animal Ark didn’t know if they would be even able to open on Martin Luther King weekend since there might have been too much snow!  (What a difference a year makes.  So far in the winter of 2017-2018 the Reno area has only received a dusting of snow.)

We decided to go up with our daughter and her boyfriend and we had a blast, but boy were we cold!  It was so neat to see the animals be active instead of hiding in the shade like they do when it is hot.

! Animal Ark bear sign revised

The actual bears were hibernating.

 

! Animal Ark bobcat revised

Bobcat (photo courtesy of my husband)

 

We were seeing a lot of cottontail rabbit ‘remains’ in the enclosures.  We were able to watch this jaguar catch this rabbit.  The rabbit ran right for the jaguar!  The staff thought it was since there was fresh straw, etc put out in the enclosures.

!Animal Ark jag bunny revised

Jaguar with a fresh catch  (photo courtesy of my husband)

 

I have to admit that I mentally have to think of Pepper (the golden retriever) with her stuff toys when I look at the above photo.

This year Animal Ark will be open on Saturday January 13th, 2018 and Sunday January 14th, 2018.  They will also be open on Saturday February 17th, 2018 and Sunday February 18th, 2018.

I have no idea if there will be snow on the ground this year, but it would be nice to see the animals in their winter coats either way.

Here is the website for Animal Ark:  http://animalark.org/

If you are interested in going it is a good idea to either check out their posts on Facebook or check out their website a head of time.

Until later – Heather