Thursday, December 18, 2014

15 Bacon Gifts & 25 Filler Items to bump you into free super saver Shipping at Amazon

Most of my posts contain affiliate links.  What this means is that I receive a small commission for you starting your shopping here at NO cost to you!  Thank you for your continued support.

Double check prices, but when I created this list, most items were under $6, making it great for stocking stuffers or filler items to bump your order into free super saver shipping at  And a couple items, like the Justin Beiber singing toothbrush was just too funny not to add!

First some bacon gag gifts:




And now for the filler items:






Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: Chocolate Covered Cashews

Most of my posts contain affiliate links.  What this means is that I receive a small commission for you starting your shopping here at NO cost to you!  Thank you for your continued support.

Chocolate-Covered Cashews caught my eye because I thought it was going to be about the big surprise that Wiley Baxter had one day.  He received a phone call finding out he was the father of twins who were in their 30s.  With a story like that, I expected it to be focused mainly on this huge revelation and how it changed his life.  However,  this took up only the first few chapters and a mention of the end.

This book was more like sitting down with someone and them telling you their life story.  It could have used a lot more editing, because even with this being a mere 66 pages, there could have been several pages less if there were unnecessary words left out, examples being "The next day in the evening" instead of "the next evening" and "someplace called Kings Dominion" where "someplace called" is not needed -- it seems to diminish the experience instead of just using the proper noun.   He stated that he was very sad the day his brother died.  That is a common emotion when a family member dies, and I didn't feel it needed to be told.  Because I love English and grammar, the writing style bothered me.  While for a personal letter it would be fine, I expect a book to be a bit more polished.

There were a number of stories that I think could have been left out entirely.  His sister having a Beatles wig when they were kids was irrelevant.  Also, the mention at the end of his daughters, he says that one of his daughters quit having contact with him.  There was no explanation of why.   Since his daughter is living and has children, I feel like this should have not been included or this book should have only been available to people who know him.  As a stranger, I felt like I was being given information that should be reserved for family.

This book could have been interesting.  If the final book would have been a rough draft, I would have said it has potential (except for the most interesting part being at the beginning.  That might work for Frantz Kafka but not for Wiley Baxter.) I would have recommended this book either be a memoir in a bit more chronological order or been a book about learning he had twin daughters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers < book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tightening the Belt Financially

Most of my posts contain affiliate links.  What this means is that I receive a small commission for you starting your shopping here at NO cost to you!  Thank you for your continued support.

I know it's unusual to see a post about frugality this close to Christmas.  Most people wait until after the holidays to start saving money and trying to cut back.  Possibly we would be the same, but right now it's a time of high spending for us and we're trying to save all we can.

Photo courtesy of

It is less than six months until the wedding.  (Talk about expenses.)   Plus I decided it was time to do some major renovations on the house.  When I won a bad kitchen sink contest, I don't think that's being wasteful.  The living room carpet is about 60 years old.  The entire house is paneled.  I would like to get the house looking a little more 2000s and a lot lets mid-century retro.  (Which would be cool if it was the neat designs of mid-century!)

My fiance and I have started reading The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.  In a way this feels odd to me because I've always been good at managing money.  But I also know it's time to cut back.

I'm going to have to be a "spending saver" for a while.  Flooring for the house.  Drywall.  Wedding expenses.  But I'm going to try and cut back in other areas.

One thing that I'm cutting out is my rather regular fill up of my soda mug.  I found a 100 ounce refillable mug a while back.  For under $1.50 I can get it filled with Diet Pepsi.  (Love that stuff.)  But if I did that every day for a month, it would cost over $40.  I need to get myself used to drinking water, but for now I'm making iced tea.  A five pack container of generic Crystal Light costs about $2.50.  Because it makes five mugs, that's about $15 a month.  I'm still spending money, but less than I would be otherwise.  And that $25 I save?  Two months of that and I have saved enough for a high end can of paint for the house.

Over the next few months, I will be spending more money than it cost me to get through college back in the 1980s/1990s.  But I want to make wise decisions about how I spend my money.  I feel like so many of these house repairs are needed. This was a fixer-upper when my parents bought it and while they put $10,000 into it in the mid-1980s, not too much has been done since.  It's also been difficult living in the same house after both my parents passed away.  (I helped Mom out the last few years of her life.)  By painting the rooms, making things more "mine" will help me realize it's now my house and I can let my personality show through.

I'm excited about fixing up the house -- and terrified of the cost of it.  But I know it will be worth it in the end.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Radar's Roundup of Giveaways 12/13/14

Feel free to link up blog giveaways here.  They must be open to the USA, hosted by a blog, and the link should go directly to the giveaway post.

While you are here, if you haven't already downloaded the FREE parent child agreement on cell phone usage, you can do that here.  It's a great resource that I think you will find very useful.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

$15 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Ends 12/21

I decided to do it again.  This time I purchased a $15 Amazon gift card to give away.  Open to those in the USA 18 and older. Winner has 48 hours to respond to my e-mail or another winner will be picked.

25 Stocking Stuffers and Filler Items at Amazon 12/11/14

Double check prices, but when I created this list, all these items were under $5, making it great for stocking stuffers or filler items to bump your order into free super saver shipping.






Monday, December 8, 2014

Is your cell phone ready for winter? #spon

I live in an area where the majority of our severe weather happens in the winter months.  From the time I was little, I learned winter preparedness.  In the late summer or early fall until winter hit, my mother used to stick a couple extra non-perishable groceries in her cart every time we went to the store so there would be extra food in the house in the winter in case we couldn't make it to the store.  There were a number of rituals we had in getting ready for winter.  In fact, my future mother in law was visiting this weekend, and I had to explain the boxed meals to her.  During Hurricane Sandy, we were hit with a blizzard from that storm, and my mother and I were stuck in the house with no electric (which meant no heat) for three days.  

I was so thankful for my U.S. Cellular cell phone during that time.  That was the only means of communication we had with anyone outside the house.  I have since purchased a device that holds phone charge in case of another such emergency.  My mother was on dialysis, and I posted our plight of being in the house with a utility line across the driveway that needed checked before we left the house to make sure it wasn't live.  Friends picked up on that and started tweeting to the governor to help us!  How did our driveway get shoveled and the snow cleared from in front of the porch enough for us to leave the house?  Once again, my U.S. Cellular phone was my only communication.  I posted on Facebook and a friend's brother came to dig us out.  In a situation like that, you don't want to be without communication, and I was so grateful that U.S. Cellular's towers remained intact and my reception was great.  Trying to save battery, I did call some friends who had working land lines and ask for their assistance in securing us help, and thankfully help did come before Mom got sick from not having dialysis.  It was a scary time, and one I hope to never have to relive.

While most winters aren't that severe, I still am making sure my cell phone is ready for winter.    Here are some of the ways this is done:

I make sure my case is in good condition.  Cases such as Life Proof can help protect my phone from low temperatures and when I am outside snow.  (Usually once a year I fall in a snow drift, and I usually keep my phone in my pocket, so I need to protect it from snow even if I am not using it!)

 I make sure I have apps that I would need.  Of course a good weather app like AccuweatherThe Weather Channel, and Weather Bug are the most obvious.  But I also find local news, TV, and radio apps to be helpful, as well as the one for the power company giving estimated time of power being restored.

Did you know that cell phone batteries are also sensitive to temperature?   A battery will preform at 100% capacity when it is in 80 degree temperatures, but only at 50% capacity when it is in 0 degrees.  Having an extra battery on hand or a device such as an external battery pack means if you are without power for an extended period of time, you can still use your cell phone for emergency reasons.  (I powered down my cell phone during much of Hurricane Sandy to conserve battery.)

Keeping the display screen covered is important.  Prolonged exposure to the cold for extended time could cause the display screen to become brittle as liquid crystals may freeze.

In the event your cell phone gets wet, get as much moisture as possible off of it,  power it down, and remove the battery for a day or two so the internal circuity has a chance to dry out.

If you really need a rugged smart phone, you might want to look into the Kyocera DuraForce.  It is designed to operate in temperatures as low as 22 degrees below zero!  It can be submerged in up to six feet of water for 30 minutes at a time, and with the wet and glove touchscreen, the screen will operate even if it has snow on it or if you are wearing gloves!

I hope everyone else is ready for winter.  I never am wanting to see it come, but it always does!  At least I can be prepared, and that includes preparing my cell phone!

Also, if you have not yet downloaded the parent child agreement from U.S. Cellular, please do so.  Why?  It helps you facilitate that difficult conversation with your child about ground rules for cell phone usage.  You can download it free by Clicking Here.

FTC disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  Even so I only recommend products I think are worthwhile.