It is my friend Bryan's birthday today, so I thought I would showcase his awesome, award winning, short film The Invisible Car.  If you want to see more fun videos, check out VideoYEAH.com.  Enjoy!!



Posted by Jen B On Monday, January 31, 2011 2 comments
When I want something sweet but I'm not in the mood to do too much baking, I fall back onto Cake Mix Cookies. Say what you will about cake mixes, but I love them! They were on sale for $0.99 before Christmas so I picked up five boxes, knowing full well that half of them would be cookies and not cakes.  There are tonnes of recipes online for all sorts of cookies, bars, and fancier cakes - all made with a cake mix as the base. I enjoy the recipes from Duncan Hines, but you'll also find recipes at Betty Crocker and on allrecipes.com (my Mom even has two cookbooks, Cake Mix Magic and Cake Mix Magic 2).

Today's recipe comes from Duncan Hines, and it is for Snicker Doodles.

Ingredients:

1 pkg Golden Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F and grease or line baking sheets.

Step 1.  Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.      Set aside.

Step 2. Mix together cake mix, eggs, and oil.

Once mixed a dough should form.

Step 3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls.

Step 4. Roll the dough balls in cinnamon + sugar mixture so they are completely covered.

Step 5. Place sugar covered dough balls onto greased (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet.  Flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Step 6. Bake in 375°F oven for 9 minutes.

Step 7. Remove from oven and let sit one minute before transferring to wire rack to cool.  My batch made 27 cookies.  Enjoy!
Serving Suggestion: Snicker Doodles and your favourite tea.

Posted by Jen B On Sunday, January 30, 2011 2 comments
Surfing Saturday: a weekly round up of some of my favourite links on the interwebs.

Human Interest

Remember this blog about the kid who dressed as Scooby Doo's Daphne for Halloween?  Well his mom is still writing and is having a giveaway of some of the cool stuff she's received since her post went viral.  She's accepting comments on her blog as entries in the giveaway until Jan 31, and the last time I checked there were less than 100 comments - so those are some good odds!!  The Daphne blog and it's discussion led me to find My Princess Boy, which is a "nonfiction picture book about acceptance".  I love that there is so much attention being given to real people who are allowing their kids to just be kids!  More power to these mothers!

An amazing blog that started this month, Born This Way, is too adorable for words.  Cute photos from LGBT youth coupled with heartwarming stories about when the pictures were taken.  I get lost in this blog, and some of my favourite stories so far are Renee, LaMar, Ken, Joshua, and Dustin. They keep adding more daily, so there are many stories to choose from!


Arts and Crafts

For any playwrights out there, the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto is having an Emerging Playwrights' Competition.  It is open to Canadians, and be sure to read all the eligibility requirements to see if you are eligible to participate.  Submissions are due April 29, 2011.

My craft blog addiction this week is Craftgossip, which is constantly updated with all types of crafty/DIY things to do, sourced from tonnes of different bloggers.  Some of the hundreds of posts that have caught my eye are: Cinnamon Trolls (eek!), DIY mini-notebooks, and Printable Valentines.  There are tonnes of posts to choose from at Craftgossip - and it is updated frequently, so my new addiction is being fed constantly!


Deals

Finding a deal on gas nowadays is all but a pipe dream, but OntarioGasPrices.com makes finding the lowest price a little easier.  Here are the links for the Barrie, Elmvale, and Midland gas stations.  The prices are usually best in Elmvale, but I like to check all my options, just in case someone is selling it for less than $1/Litre.  I know - pipe dream, right?

On Fridays or Saturdays over at Smart Canucks, some amazing people go through your weekly grocery flyers and post their Hot Coupon Flyer Deals of the Week!  I used their superior deal-round-up skills last week to get TWO 1.77L jugs of Tide liquid laundry detergent for only $4.96+tax.  Each jug was $2.47!!  Smart Canucks rocks!  They also have Baby Deals for all the Mom's out there, and I love that they call it 'Baby Deals', because it makes me think they are selling babies...for cheap!!

Posted by Jen B On Saturday, January 29, 2011 2 comments
There is an Open House at The Cottage Scrapbook here in Midland today from 2pm - 4pm, and also on Saturday from 2pm - 4pm.  They are doing a "Make and Take" which means you'll learn a scrapbooking technique and make something in-store and take it home with you (all for free).  I'll be checking it out today and will post my Make and Take later this evening.

Shameless self promotion wise, this could be a great opportunity for you to go to the scrapbook store and vote for my layout!! (My layout is the one pictured, right). I'm just saying...

Find The Cottage Scrapbook store hours and location here.

UPDATE: I'm back from the open house and the Make and Take was awesome!  We made TWO Valentines Day cards (for free) and learned how to use scrapbooking watercolour paints (I had no idea there was such a thing!).  The open house is on again tomorrow (Sat Jan 29) from 2pm-4pm, so if you want to do something crafty this is a free and fun way to do it!

Here are the cards I made at the open house.  Not bad, eh?




Posted by Jen B On Friday, January 28, 2011 No comments
This is a lovely photo taken right next door of an owl friend who came for day visits a few winters ago.  I was heavy into Harry Potter when this guy started stopping by, so I thought for sure I would be getting a letter from Hogwarts.  We haven't seen him yet this winter, but hopefully he comes back... with my invitation to wizarding school!

Winter Owl Hang Outs - January 2009

Posted by Jen B On Friday, January 28, 2011 5 comments
I'm a silly human, so sometimes I like to force new things onto the cat, with the hopes that she will actually take joy from the new thing and add it to her daily routine.  I'm silly, because clearly the cat only wants to play with what the cat wants to play with, when the cat wants to play with it!  Pesky human meddling in her life! Geez!
Gary: Seriously, you want me to do what?

I was at Dollarama yesterday and I saw this activity toy for cats.  Treats get locked into a ball that has treat sized holes, and the cat is supposed to play with the ball until the treats fall out.  They generally fall out one at a time for extended play.  Sounds simple right?

Treats that have fallen out of the ball.

I encouraged Gary to play with the ball.  I pushed it in front of her.  Nothing.  I shook it to indicate it contained treats.  No dice.  As she got more and more annoyed, she glared at me like I was a stupid human jerk.

Gary: I don't care about this.

Gary: Seriously!! Just give me the treats already.


I was not giving up!  I was going to force the cat to have fun, whether she liked it or not!  For the most part I just pushed around the ball until the treats came out.  Gary ate the treats and caught on to the idea that the treats and the ball were somehow related.  She had no desire to push the ball, though; that was something a silly human would want her to do.  Periodically she would sniff at the ball, but it only made her angrier.  I continued to push the ball around and more treats would fall out.  Gary would eat the treats and then resume her frustration.  Finally she put two and two together.

Gary: Okay ball, I don't like you and you don't like me...

Giving it a push.

Gary: Something better frickin' happen!

And then.... success:



A little later Gary decided that there was a much better way to get at the treats.  Leave the ball and the human out of it altogether!

Direct access = Smart Cat

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, January 27, 2011 2 comments
We still have my Mother's Christmas Cactus, and it is doing exceptionally well.  In April of 2010 the Christmas Cactus successfully bloomed a year after almost dying.  Since then it has showed some wonderful new growth and it looks really happy hanging around here.

Just over a month ago, in early December, the Christmas Cactus began budding, but within a few days all the buds fell off.  I don't know enough about how plants function, but I'm guessing that it wanted to bloom in December (hence Christmas Cactus), but it just didn't have the power to do it yet.

This past week I started noticing buds again, and we had our first full bloom on January 21.  So who knows, maybe by Christmas 2011 it will be right on schedule!  As always with this amazingly tough, sixty-plus year old plant, I say: "way to go, buddy!"

The following are some of the Christmas Cactus flowers at various states of growth:

Baby bud.

Next size up.

Showing a little colour.

Getting long.

Full Bloom!


Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, January 26, 2011 2 comments
If you are part of the Monday-Friday crowd, Mondays generally suck. Knowing this, I would like to introduce a new feature here at My Adorable Small Town Life, that will showcase something awesome every Monday.  It's my little attempt to make sure there is something good about Monday.

Today's piece of awesome is inspired by my recent intake of all six seasons of The Sopranos.  The show is as good or better than you've heard it is, and their use of music is beyond stellar.  I won't spoil it for you, but there is an amazing episode that uses the following song by Moby.  The song, "When It's Cold I'd Like to Die" was haunting in the episode and it is equally haunting on its own.  It is also awesome. 

I couldn't find an official music video, but the video below from YouTube has some pleasant imagery.  Enjoy!  Also, if you have already seen The Sopranos and want to revisit the episode in question, follow this link to enjoy it on YouTube.



Posted by Jen B On Monday, January 24, 2011 No comments
As I've detailed here and here on the blog, I am participating in a Scrapbook layout challenge.  I've finished the layout and handed it in and now it is up to the voters/visitors of The Cottage Scrapbook here in Midland to see where I place.  There are 13 participants in the challenge, so they are awarding first and second place prizes ($20, and $10 of store credit respectively).  If you are in Midland, head on down to the Cottage Scrapbook (294 King St., right beside The Perk!) and check out all the awesome entries...but be sure to vote for mine! :)

First things first, here is a photo of Gary sitting on my layout (it is in the paper bag, thankfully):
Gary likes to sit on important things.

And here is the layout I worked on and submitted to the contest:


The theme was Christmas 2010, and the layout features my little cutie Gary.  It was really fun creating this layout and working with new materials.  I did way more planning than I think I ever have for a layout.  Even if I don't win, I will probably participate in this event again.

If you are in Midland, please go downtown and vote for me!  Voting closes at the end of the month!  Thanks!

Find the hours for The Cottage Scrapbook here.

Posted by Jen B On Sunday, January 23, 2011 No comments
Surfing Saturday: a weekly round up of some of my favourite links on the interwebs.

Arts and Crafts

My friend Tasha was rewarded this week for her readership of The Canadian Living Craft Blog.  Her comment was randomly selected as the winner of a basket of yarn. Congratulations Tasha!  The craft blog is great, and this week they show you how to make picture mats using scrapbooking supplies.

Last week I needed help with a title for a scrapbook page and found The Perfect Title.  Lots of suggestions for a variety of page themes.

Also with Scrapbooking, I realize that my new favourite thing to work with is brads.  Eyelet Outlet has tonnes of them that I am falling in love with:  Guitairs!  Legos!  They even have Moose!  The store motto is: "Because Eyelets & Brads Aren't Just Round Anymore!" They sure aren't!

If you're a knitter and haven't joined Ravelry yet, you should!  It's free to join and there are tonnes of free patterns on there.  I have a number of patterns in my queue that I will one day get started: a needle case, a rocking wonder woman sweater, and the always inspiring flying spaghetti monster


Geeky Goodness

If you dig Role Playing Games, check out Rule of the Dice, and not just because I know the dude that writes for it (it's also awesome!)

For technological news, reviews, analysis, and advice, head over to Ars Technica for some interesting reading.

And if you've ever made a website for someone or been involved in advertising, Things Real People Don't Say About Advertising is right on the mark.


Celebrity Blogs

After the recent NOTroversy over his hosting of the Golden Globes, I have been avidly reading Ricky Gervais' blog.  Funny, funny, dude.  And he has balls!

I recently caught up on Jorge Garcia's blog.  He played Hurley on Lost and he has a new blog since leaving Hawaii (this is his old blog).  Seems like a neat dude.


Posted by Jen B On Saturday, January 22, 2011 3 comments
My dad always told me that "everything is a photo opportunity," so always have your camera with you and always be ready to take photos.  Growing up with such a photo savvy dad, adult me is obsessed with photos.  Once on a weekend trip to Niagara Falls I took 144 photos - with a film camera.  So you can imagine how many I take now that I'm not limited by the cost of processing film.

Since I am thoroughly obsessed with photos, I am starting a new feature here at My Adorable Small Town Life where I showcase some of my favourite photos with you.  They might be photos I've taken, my brother has taken (he is equally obsessed with photography - and has a better camera!), neat photos from the past, or a photo that has caught my eye on a web.

We'll start with one of my favourite photos, taken while I was on vacation in Newfoundland back in 2005.  If you ever have the chance, get your ass to Newfoundland!

St. John's, Newfoundland, September 2005

Posted by Jen B On Friday, January 21, 2011 2 comments
Participating in the Scrapbooking Layout Challenge put on by the Midland scrapbook store has made me very aware of my scrapbooking style. I am a very photo heavy scrapbooker (I just printed 150 photos last week, so I'm not surprised by this revelation). I love the detail that is added through embellishments, but they have always taken a back seat to the photos. I seldom use loud or busy paper for a background, as I want the photos to be the focus, not the background. My scrapping mindset seems to be that I am scrapbooking to remember the good times, not to look back and admire really cool stickers (I could get a sticker book for that!).

My reluctance to sacrifice photos for embellishments made the Layout Challenge just that - a challenge. The kit came with more paper and embellishments than I would normally use on a two page spread, let alone the one page I was to do for the contest. The rules stated that you must use 80% of the materials provided, which meant I had to step out of my comfort zone and rock that paper!

The challenge led me to pick up a few new techniques.  The first one was layering papers. Many of my previous layouts have had pictures placed on accenting paper to give them the illusion of a boarder.  For the challenge layout I put photos on top of accenting paper on top of EVEN MORE accenting paper; two boarders instead of one!  Layering the paper was an easy way to use it up, so I did it as often as I could.  I even used the layering effect to enhance the lettering for the title of my page by combining it with another new-ish technique: using a square punch.  I have a Creative Memories square punch that I rarely use, but it was perfect for helping me boarder the letters in my title.  My normal go-to style is to just put lettering directly onto the page, but I love the way the layered letters turned out, so I am definitely going to use this technique again for future layouts.

The best new technique I had to learn was working with brads (see photo, right). I have seen various brads in the stores before, but I was never really interested in them.  Now that I have worked with them, I can't wait to use them again!  I don't have the tool kit you are supposed to use to set them onto your page, but I had a general idea of how it worked so I improvised using a hammer and a Robertson head screwdriver.  It worked just fine!  Plus the awesome thing about brads is that they remind me of being in grade two and making paper clocks. Did you ever do that? The brad fastens the clock hands onto the clock face and allows the hands to be movable so you can set the time.  Seven year old me wants to get some more brads just so I can make a paper clock. So much fun!

Now that I have told you all about my new adventures in scrapbooking for the layout contest, you would think I would show you the finished page I made.  And I would ... if it was finished.  Rest assured, I will post my Layout Challenge page once it is completed.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, January 20, 2011 2 comments
I wonderfully live in an area that has many amazing trails.  I have access to both forest trails, which are great for walking and picking berries, and also the rail trail, which is great for cycling.  There has been talk lately of improving the trail system, and there have been calls for community input on the best way to do this.

Late last year I participated in a number of web questionnaires put online by Tiny Township.  The questionnaires asked about current trail usage, experiences on the trails, and asked for my opinion on some suggested improvements to the trail system.  Some of the suggested improvements include:
  • Pave the trail (currently most of the rail trail is covered in gravel)
  • Connect the trail conveniently to public beaches
  • Connect the trail conveniently to neighbouring communities
  • Install public washroom facilities along routes
  • Increase amount of parking space near entrances to trail
  • Add more signage along trail, including trail maps, historical information, etc.
  • Install bike lock-up areas at destination points (beach, etc.)

The questionnaires are still online, so if you have an interest in the trail system, you could fill them out too if you wanted (surveys are fun!).  You don't have to be from Tiny Township to fill out the survey, but the first question asks you to list where you are from.  (*Note: I'm not sure if data is still being collected from these surveys.)

The County of Simcoe also wants to improve the trails, and there are a number of Public Open Houses regarding the development of something called The Simcoe County Trails Strategy.  If you are in the area and have input about the future of the trails, think about checking out one of these events to get your voice heard (the first one is tonight!).  From the flyer that appeared in this weeks paper:

Click to Embiggen
As a regular summer user of the trails, I am glad they are something we are putting money into.  I find the trail a safe place to walk/cycle/explore without having to worry about getting hit by a car.  Many country roads don't have sidewalks, so it is good to know we are investing in safer places to enjoy the outdoors that aren't directly on the roadway.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, January 19, 2011 No comments
Yesterday was widely reported as being Blue Monday, or the most depressing day of the year.  Unfortunately, the "science" that decided it was the most depressing day of the year is based on arbitrary factors and funded by people trying to sell you stuff.  In other words, advertising that sounds like truth.  But I guess it makes a good news story, and a good leaping off point for a blog...

Yesterday was actually a great day.  The sun was shining, I got a full nights sleep, and I got a pile of work done.  In winter, days like that can be rare.  The noticeable absence of the sun, the constant threat of snow storms, having to wear a coat, boots, hat, mitts, and a scarf AND STILL be really freaking cold all the time, can be a real downer.  Despite how beautiful winter can be, and despite how much I love cuddling in blankets and wearing sweaters and pajamas, winter kinda sucks.


For one thing driving is harder.  I recently got my first car so I am still really hyper about it, so icy roads, white outs, and heaps of snow covering the car are my new enemies.  Thankfully my car came with snow tires, so I am feeling less edgy about driving in the wintertime than I have in previous years.  Even with the tires, winter driving is still a lot less fun than clear-blue-skies summer driving.

Another thing about winter is the constant gray days and the dark nights that stay well into the morning and come back far too early in the evening.  Even the days where the sun does show up, it is -20°C or colder out, making indoors the only wise place to be and cabin fever something you have to fight off.  No wonder it's hard to stay happy!

One of the ways I am trying to combat my Winter Blahs is by dosing myself with Vitamin D.  I take 1000 IU per day and hopefully that makes my body happy, regardless of all sun it is missing out on.  I have also been fighting cabin fever by engaging in hobbies that keep me from going crazy, redrum style.  Scrapbooking, knitting, writing, and reading are all key to my indoor mental health.  I also have to make sure I get regular exercise, as exercise is definitely a mood enhancer for me.  I have some work out videos that get my heart pumping, and on any sunny day that is above -5°C, I'll brave the cold and go out for a walk.

Even if there had been hard evidence, I don't agree that yesterday was the most depressing day of the year.  I would place such a day somewhere in February, as that is when we realize we still have a month or more of this shit to get through.  One of these days I'm going to get myself some snow pants so I can at least try to enjoy the snow while it is here.  Until then, bring on summer!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, January 18, 2011 1 comment

Betty White is 89 today!  It is amazing how active, beautiful, and funny she continues to be, all while showing no signs of stopping!  Way to keep rocking, Betty!

Also, this post is a major shout out to my brother-in-law; thanks for reading! xoxoxo

Posted by Jen B On Monday, January 17, 2011 2 comments
My Grandma has started doing the cutest thing when she sends me snail mail:

The envelope of the most recent birthday card from Grandma

The envelope of a thank you card I received last week

I’m afraid of the internet, so I’ve edited out our addresses, but Grandma no longer puts my actual name on the envelope.  I’m just referred to in variations of “the best granddaughter”.  The mail-lady and I are okay with that.

She also puts stickers all over the envelope, and the back of the most recent one made my heart smile:


She mailed me a thank you card last week because I helped her prepare and present all the food for the family drop in at Christmas.  I really didn't do all that much, but she said she was so happy for the help that she looked around for a special card for me:

I think Grandma has great taste!

When I called to thank her for the card, she thanked me again for “being so sweet”.  I thanked her for being so sweet as well.  To which she said: “Okay, let’s not get sickening”.  My Grandma is a funny and amazing lady!


Posted by Jen B On Monday, January 17, 2011 2 comments
We are getting ten digit dialing in the 705 region starting tomorrow, and like every other region that has ever gotten it, no one knew it was coming!
Homer: What really burns me up is they didn't give us one word of warning.
Carl: What do you mean? They ran those TV commercials about it, and that big radio campaign.
Lenny: Don't forget the leaflets they dropped from the Space Shuttle, and the two weeks we all spent at area code camp.
Homer: Not a single word of warning.
From The Simpsons: "A Tale of Two Springfields"

If you have a 705 number and don't want the recorded operator yelling at you repeatedly, then get used to adding the three extra digits, even if you are calling right next door.

As with most things, ten-digit-dialing has been in the works for a while now, but no one cared about it until it was SUDDENLY HAPPENING this weekend.  I found the CRTC decision for 705 to adopt ten-digit-dialing, and it was decided all the way back in October 2009.  For the people I know who are just hearing about it now, I chalk it up to none of us watching local news or listening to the radio.  Plus they are phasing in the new system, so up until March, if you still only dial seven digits, you will hear a reminder to dial ten digits, but your call will still go through.  After March, if you only dial seven digits, your call will not be completed at dialed!  Phasing in the system over a few months is a good way to get everyone to know about it, but I'm with Homer, why didn't anyone tell us! :)
Posted by Jen B On Friday, January 14, 2011 No comments
They recently revamped the gas bar at Mac's in Elmvale.  Now you can 'pay-at-the-pump' with their sophisticated new pumps.
Filling up the car is something I don't mind doing. I absolutely hate the price, but the task is something I actually enjoy.  I am one of those weirdos who likes the smell of gasoline, and I also love the feeling of getting back into the car and seeing the needle go all the way up to the Full line.  I find that very satisfying.

Even though I enjoy it and I do it frequently, it is by far the blondest thing I will do in a day. (Full disclosure: I am blonde).  Part of the problem is the size of gas bars; they are often small and awkward and have many cars vying for one of the few spots.  I also find that everything feels rushed, as more cars are lining up behind you and wanting you to go faster so they can move ahead.  The blonde in me doesn't like the mixture of "go faster" and "small, awkward space"; it can make me feel flustered.  (Aside: I feel the same way at the grocery store when I am hurriedly packing my groceries into bags and there is already another person's order flying down the conveyor belt and threatening to crash into mine).

So Mac's has new gas pumps and I had my first fill up with them recently.  I first added a bottle of gas line antifreeze into the tank, so my excuse for what happened next was that my mind was focused on doing that.  I grabbed the pump and tried to put it into the tank.  I say tried because the nozzle didn't fit.  My first thought was confused/angry: 'Wow, they got new gas pumps and now the nozzles don't fit?!?"  I looked over at the pump and a bright light was blinking under the word 'DIESEL'.  Damn.  Thank goodness they make the diesel nozzle incompatible with gas tanks or I would have had to explain why I put diesel in the car.  Fortunately I just get to tell a funny story about how I tried to put diesel into the car.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, January 13, 2011 No comments
Did you happen to catch the TLC show about the extreme couponers?  It was a few weeks ago, but there are some clips online.  The show profiled people who are really good at using coupons to get free groceries/products.  Check out this clip of a woman saving a pile of money at the grocery store:


I love the idea of couponing but I haven't really gotten into it beyond checking the weekly grocery flyers.  I have clipped coupons, but only for products I already buy, and often coupons that come in the mail are for things I would never purchase.  The show was inspiring though, and it made me search around the internet to see what kinds of deals/coupons are out there.  The internet is FULL of couponers, and the following are some links to some Canadian couponing sites/deals.


BLOGS/FORUMS:

Red Flag Deals: I've known about this site for a while, but the Extreme Couponing show pushed me to take a closer look.  I noticed a section called Freebies and I clicked the link to check out what was currently available.  One of the available freebies was free photos from Walmart PhotoCentre.  By ordering online, I got 50 free photos just for signing up and I was also able to use a promo code to get another 50 free photos.  Grand total of 100 photos for $0.00.  They were ready for pick up the next day at my local store.  When I picked them up I felt like an extreme couponer because I got $19(+tax) worth of photos for free!

Smart Canucks: This is a deal blog/forum with links to coupons, shopping deals, and a forum where you can brag about the deal you just got!  I love that.  The only thing better than getting a deal is telling other people about the awesome deal you got!!

Grocery Alerts: This site will go through the weekly grocery store flyers and point out the best deals.  They will also show you how you can get some of the deals for even less by providing the appropriate coupon (they tell you where to get the coupons too!).


COUPONS:

There are tonnes of Canadian coupon sites on the internet.  I have surfed many of them, but have yet to order any coupons, as I don't often want the items that are being offered.  New coupons are added as they become available, so I'll keep checking the sites in case something of interest pops up.
Some coupon sites worth checking out:   Save.ca,   Gocoupons.ca,   Couponclick.ca,   Brandsaver.ca


DEALS:

Flyerland.ca:  If I ever miss a flyer or recycle one prematurely, I check out Flyerland to see what is on sale.  It is not just flyers, they also have links for featured deals, coupons, and contests.

Wag Jag: I haven't bought one yet, but there are deals to be had on this site.  Basically they post a deal of the week, and if a minimum number of people buy it (5 or 10, etc.), the deal becomes 'active' and everyone can get the deal for that low price.  I'm sure I'll try it at some point, I'm just waiting for the deal to be something I actually want to buy!

Are you a couponer? Do you chase after deals?  Have you gotten any awesome deals lately?

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, January 12, 2011 No comments
The last few months of 2010 I renewed my obsession with scrapbooking.  I only have four layouts left to do in my 2009/2010 scrapbook, which means I am sooooo close to starting my 2010/2011 book!  Wouldn't it be amazing if I actually finished a scrapbook in the same year the photos were taken?  That is the dream people!  I just printed 150 photos, so I am ready to start my new book.  Scrapbooking for the win!    

I am on the mailing list of the Midland scrapbooking store, The Cottage Scrapbook.  This month I noticed they are having a Layout Contest to win $20 store credit.  It costs $7+tax to enter, but you get the card stock and embellishments you need to do the layout.  I went in yesterday and picked up my layout kit and I am excited about doing it.  The theme is 'Christmas 2010' so I am going to look through my photos and see what I can come up with.  The challenge for me will be planning out the project so I don't ruin any of the card stock that was supplied, as you cannot use any paper that isn't in the kit.  I'll also have to practice my lettering ability as you can't use any commercially made letters (I am a sucker for alphabet stickers).  Wish me luck!

If you are in and around Midland and interested in participating, you need to buy your kit by January 21st, and you need to hand in your finished layout by 5:00pm on January 22nd, 2011.  I can't wait to start mine!

The supplies found in the contest kit.

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, January 11, 2011 No comments
Happy New Year!!  New Years is that wonderful time when the calender changes and we tell ourselves it's a good time to start fresh and accomplish all those things we put off last year.  I think this someecard is pretty fitting:
www.someecards.com

So like everyone else this time of year, I am actively trying to eat better and exercise more.  Mostly I am just walking more and have made a clean break from all the junk food that had been a staple in my life since Halloween.  Things are going well so far.

One of my new habits is eating Oatmeal in the mornings.  Oatmeal is a regular breakfast for me, but until last week I was instant packaged all the way.  I had myself convinced that not only was cooking oatmeal way more work, it also tasted gross.  I discovered that I was wrong on both assumptions.  For the past eight days I have cooked the oatmeal and it takes about as long as boiling the kettle.  As for the taste, it tastes good for you - but not in a bad way.  It is also hearty, so it feels like I am eating a meal.  Plus 10 packages of instant oatmeal costs $2.00 for only 400g.  A bag of Quaker Quick Oats is $2.50 for 1000g.  It's an awesome deal too!

Here is how I have been preparing my morning oats:
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 cup chopped walnuts

Bring water to boil and add oats.  Let simmer on low for 4 minutes, adding cinnamon and ginger while cooking.  Pour into a bowl and add walnuts.  Enjoy!

I am going to check out Bulk Barn sometime this week and see what other fun things I can add to my oatmeal.  Do you like oatmeal?  What do you add to yours?

Posted by Jen B On Monday, January 10, 2011 7 comments
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