Happy Holidays!

Whew! The year is flying by. I hope that this finds everyone well and that you are warm. Virginia may or may not see snow and it may or may not be a huge snow. Apparently you don't have to worry about being right if you are a weather-person:)

But it doesn't matter. The Adventure Girls are enjoying the day and playing together. It sounds great. ~enjoy.

The Holidays are On The Way

We've already begun our annual Holiday traditions. Monday was the tree lighting at The Jefferson. Friday will be the Illumination at The James Center. We're making plans to get together with friends and family over the next few weeks as we prepare for Christmas.

How does your family prepare for the holidays? Do you do anything special?

I saw this on a blog that I enjoy. Here's how some wacky Canadians helped bring some holiday cheer to some shoppers -

I hope you enjoy your holiday preparations. Take your time and remember to breathe.

So, While I Was Cooking....

I took the time to do something that I desperately needed to do. I went through the stack of recipes that I'd collected and a) tossed the ones that we didn't like or didn't work for us, b) tossed duplicate copies, c) put stray copies in page protectors and d) put the page protectors in my recipe binder.

It didn't take any longer than waiting for the oven to preheat and it no only makes a huge difference in the look of the cabinet but now I don't have stray pieces of paper falling out at me when I open the door.

So, next time you have a few minutes while you're waiting for water to boil or something else that is equally mind-numbing, put it to use by taking on a kitchen chore like culling recipes or tidying a kitchen drawer. It's one of the best ways we can put our time to good use and that's always a Cool Idea!

So What's The Big Deal


Hey, where ya been?

Well, actually no one has said that except me. The month of October blew right past me and now November is half over. Thanksgiving is around the corner and yet I'm taking it 1,667 words at a time.

Yes, it's National Novel Writing Month.

Lest you think that there won't be blog posts - you're wrong. Already there are posts ahead detailing some of the wonderful ways in which I'm avoiding writing. It's scintillating - and tasty.

Cellfire Customer Appreciation

Yep, it's here again and those of us in Kroger-family store areas are going to benefit.

First, Register for a Cellfire account if you don't already have one.

Second, save 10 coupons to your account and then WAMMO! on November 16 you'll see a $1 coupon in your account toward your total at any Kroger-family store.

Also, and here's where it gets even better - you'll be entered to win a free turkey. Now how cool is that!

What on Earth Happened to October?

Seriously? Last time I had a chance to write something it was a month ago. Well, I don't really have time at the moment but that's another story for another day.

So, October. It's gone. I remember it. It was jam-packed full of stuff.

I finished putting away 40lbs of apples. [see previous post]
I finished a very intense six-week writing class.
I tried to figure out the best routes for carpool and created new routines in our day.

Yep, bascially I found that Back to School kicked my butt this year and lasted until about last week. I think I finally have it figured out now. Just in time for the holidays!

New Fall Wardrobes for the Adventure Girls

Fall has finally descending upon Virginia and it's time for us to get out our long pants and sweaters. Yep, you guessed it -- Comfort and Joy were wearing the same couple of outfits everyday few days because they'd outgrown all their warm weather clothes- that is until the package from Nana and Grandpa arrived. Thank You!

But that won't keep us going all season. And sadly they have now reached the size where I have a problem with buying much of the clothes that are available in the stores. You know this. You've been there.

So I procrastinated, bought a couple of long-sleeved shirts to add in the rotation, and just did another load of laundry. Until I remembered that there were other options.

Locally, we have several consignment stores for children's clothes. I'm sure there are some in your area. I also figured at this point in the season they'd probably be tapped out but I'll be making a run out there for sure. But that's quite a drive for me and I have to schedule it around carpool and my other work.

But last night I let my fingers do the walking - or the bidding, I should say - and I got a good headstart on their fall/ winter wardrobe by checking out eBay. Yep, I don't know why I always forget it exists until my brain is just tapped out but I do. It was the same way when I got the Dansko shoes, remember? So far I managed to get some very nice Hanna Andersson sweaters for the girls at an incredible price - and for those of you unfamiliar with Hanna Andersson products you should hop on over and take a look. You'll fall in love and let me just tell you that these things will never fall apart and the quality is amazing even though the prices are staggering.

I still have some other bids out there waiting and I'll be patient. I have a maximum bid in my head and I make sure to keep postage in mind because otherwise it might become a huge vortex of 'bad idea' - instead of a labor and time saving option.

Any other ideas you have that you'd like to pass along because I'm ready to call this a wonderfully Cool Idea!

Today ONLY @ Restaurant.com!!

Get a $25 certificate for $1 by using the coupon code WOW.  Check out the restaurants that are available in your area and stock up for the holidays or for gifts. Most certificates are good for a year, but be sure to read the fine print. I'm headed over to check it out because this is definitely a Cool Idea!!

How 'bout Them Apples

Finally there are no apples in my house. Whew!! But it took fierce determination and a lot of time, patience, and recipe help from some friends.

So just how many apples met their match? Well, I couldn't rightly tell you except to say that I bought 40 pounds of gala apples from my CSA - which gets them from an organic orchard near Charlottesville. Yep, I needed to debit my account quickly and large purchases like apples are the easiest way to do it.

At first I started out making applesauce and apple butter. I love both of these but Comfort and Joy won't eat either one so I don't make but so much. Some of the applesauce got repurposed into applesauce bread which I then took to a variety of social functions - a party, church, and used for a small group meeting at our house. I'm pretty sure this would freeze well but I haven't tried it yet.

But I still had a LOT of apples. So I made more apple butter and I cut several dozen into slices and flash froze them to store in the freezer for use in our Thanksgiving Apple Pie. I learned last year that a one gallon Ziplock bag of apples works for my recipe.

And yet there were more apples. I put out a call to some friends on an email loop and someone suggested apple cider and I thought they had lost their ever lovin' mind. Then I did some research - mosty confined to a quick Swagbucks search and learned that while you could invest in a press and yada, yada there was way to make apple cider in your kitchen with just items that I had on hand.

I will say that the cider doesn't taste like store bought, or even what you might get at a fair, likely because I only had one type of apple. I'll also tell you that I used the remaining 30 apples and ended up with 1.5L of apple cider. It was a great way to use up the apples and I'm glad that I have a new skill but if you're really interested in doing this you're going to need a LOT of apples. And invest in the cider press. Using the food processor worked for a small batch but if I were going to do this often I might think about something more efficient.

That's our apple adventure from this past month. Do you have interesting ways to get through bountiful produce at your house?

Saving Second Base

There is an incredible eCookbook and blog idea getting started that will be going on during October to help commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here's some of the info from the Once A Month Mom blog:

Saving Second Base: A Breast Cancer eCookbook Project

We are looking for recipes and stories/memories related to those recipes of those you have known or loved that have survived or passed away from breast cancer. We will be using these recipes/posts throughout the month of October on A Southern Fairytale and Once A Month Mom.

In addition, at the conclusion of the month we will take each of these recipes and create a commemorative ecookbook that you can then purchase for yourself or as a gift to the loved one and/or their family. All PROFITS from the sale of these ecookbooks will go to the Susan G Koman Foundation. We (Tricia and Rachel) will keep NONE of the proceeds.

We hope that you find that this is a memorable way to honor those in your life and to relive some of their (or your) favorite culinary creations. Here is how you can contribute:

1.Include an original recipe. It can be one of the following: a recipe of theirs, a recipe of yours that they loved, or a recipe that makes you think of them/remember them when you make it.

2.Write a food related memory or story about someone that has survived or passed whom you knew or were close to that had breast cancer to go with the recipe.

3.Include a picture of that person, a picture of you with that person, a picture of the recipe, or another photo that would be appropriate.

4.A one-two sentence bio about you, include a URL if you have a blog.

5.Email all of the above to breastcancerebook@gmail.com

Note: Those entering will be asked to sign a publication release for print of the commemorative ecookbook.

If you have known a love one with a love for the kitchen that has survived or been a victim of breast cancer I hope that you will consider joining us by contributing a recipe and story, visiting during the month of October, or by purchasing the ecookbook in November!

[There's more information on the blog so hop on over and check it out so you can get everything you'll need to know!]
Okay, it's Stephanie again: this is one of those things I love about the internet. A casual conversation starts and then - you have something incredible happen. This is definitely a Cool Idea!

MP3 Deal at Amazon Today the 14th

Yep, it's a deal for today only so move quickly. And you get to pick your own deal - sort of. Get $3 off one of the 35 new MP3s in the Amazon collection - you pick which one - and use the code PICKDEAL at check out! That's it. Super cool, huh!

Passing Along More Goodness

And another reason to subscribe to Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate. In the email I got this morning, which I believe must be yesterday's column, there was a tip from a woman with VERY specific instructions about how she gets free diapers by participating in product research with Johnson & Johnson.

Have I got your attention now?

It got mine even though we're, hopefully, 'this close' to being done with diapers for good. If you are interested check out the site and take a look. If you can't find it but you're interested shoot me an email and I'll send the section in question to you.

But you should subscribe anyway. It's free and the tips are great. So are the recipes. It's all the way around a Cool Idea!

Back to School Resolutions

Yep, back to school time feels like the new year to me in so many ways. There are new outfits, new haircuts, new schools and let's not forget - new crayons! So let's take time to make some resolutions...

This is a really, really good time to get your meal planning organized. Check out Once a Month Mom or $5 Dinners for help.

If you need some help getting your home organization in hand then I suggest hoping over to Totally Together Journal and subscribing to the daily email. I guarantee you won't be made to feel guilty but you will get a daily reminder that it's time to do the dusting/ change the sheets/ send cards to friends/ or just take a day for yourself.

And how about taking better care of our personal computers. Personally, I've experienced four hard drive crashes and it took the last, and most catastrophic, for me to really learn my lesson. After that tumultuous even I did some research and found that Mozy online backup was what I needed. It pulls my files up into the ether at some point during the day when my I take a break and my computer goes idle.  There are several packages but I use the free version. It works for me. It might work for you, it might not, but I guarantee you that if you are a heavy computer user you need some kind of automatic backup system. Even if you use a thumb drive to backup some of your files you need something else because thumb drives are not indestructible - I can attest to this as well. So, pick something that works with your work style and budget so you won't get stuck empty handed in a horrible crash.

Do you have any new resolutions for the end of the calendar year?

My Favorite Vegetable!

Okay, my mom and my best friend are laughing uncontrolably at this already  [You guys can stop now!!] because to say I love veggies isn't exactly true.

I eat vegetables. Some. I have a few that I prefer over others. I have some I'll only eat cooked and some I'll only eat raw and some I won't even get within the same zip code.

Then there's creamed spinach. This is my absolute favorite vegetable and it has been ever since I was a child. Although I realize for some people it doesn't qualify as a vegetable since it has been changed into something almost unrecognizable from it's original form. However, I will go so far as to continue to call it a veggie since a) the noun here is 'spinach' and b) I'm the one making the rules.

So, growing up we always ate Seabrook Creamed Spinach which by most people's account and my own, again - I make the rules here - is some of the best Creamed Spinach around. In fact, I remember reading an article in the New Yorker to this account, too, so I'm not the only one who thought this. Others just didn't match it - some were more like souffles, or had more butter or were just plain gross.

Then I grew up and moved away from home and my new grocery store didn't carry Seabrook Creamed Spinach so I thought I'd try to cook it for myself. I scoured cookbooks and tried different options and all of them tasted like crap. Well, some of them didn't even make it to the tasting round. Some of them went straight to the trash.

Then Boston Market came to town and I found their creamed spinach and even with the incredible amount of garlic they included I decided it was better than nothing so I learned to like it and about the time that I found I wanted Boston Market's Creamed Spinach more than anything else, the chain of restaurants disappeared from the area.

And then I was back to the beginning, looking for creamed spinach recipes occasionally and testing them out, never with very high hopes until one day I took a chance on a recipe from Jenn at Frugal Upstate and let me just say - Yumm.

So, here's what I did with her recipe... I didn't use cream of celery soup. Why? Because I didn't have any. Because I don't buy any. Because I don't understand why you would want to 'cream celery'. Maybe I'll try it next time. Maybe I'll just make an extra thick white sauce instead.

I did have cream of chicken soup and the thickness of the creamed spinach was absolutely perfect. The taste was great except when I'd find a wee bit of chicken;) Not gross, just unexpected.

As for the amount of garlic... well, if you think your kids are going to eat it this is probably a great amout, however if you're just making it for adults you might think about doubling it.

And let me just say that this is so yummy that I almost ate it all for myself scalding hot right off the stove instead of serving it to my family for dinner. I'm pretty sure this will become a staple of yumminess in our dinner rotation from now on and I can see the creamed spinach also becoming a yummy filling for enchiladas, too, and maybe a filling in wonton wrappers. You see, the spinach is already making me smarter!! Or was that stronger? Maybe it's both but it's definitely a Cool Idea!

Amazing Back to School Recipes

I've been baking up a storm and bulking back up the freezer in anticipation of school starting soon.

Here are a couple of our go-to breakfast favorites:
Very Best Banana Muffins
Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cake from Once a Month Mom [actually called Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake]

And here's a new dinner favorite from $5 Dinners that I am almost certain you could do as a once a month cooking mostly in the crockpot so you could stock up the freezer - and let me tell you it is just that good!!

Cheesy Green Chicken Enchiladas - I will say that I didn't have any green enchilada sauce and the diced tomatoes I had were 'chili ready' so this is what I did.... I made the recipe as written but I only used half the cumin and since I didn't have sauce for the tortillas I used the shredded cheese that I always have in the fridge.

Here's what I would do next time... I'd add more heat to it. I loved the creaminess and if your kids are going to eat with you then you might not want to kick this up, but ours ate quesadillas instead. Next time I might toss in a small can of chopped green chilis with the chicken. Oh, and I'd add more cheese to the top. I love cheese and we always have it!!

Sharing the Coolness: Title 9 Catalog

I'm a long-time reader of the Title 9 Catalog. Not only do they have phenomenal workout clothes for women but the catalog is actually written to be read all the way through. Seriously, each item has a description that tells you something about the product, or how it was developed, or the women they know that like it/ wear it, or well - you get the picture.

And the thing I really like is that these are workout clothes that are truly made just for women. This is one thing you'll notice right away - even if it's just the fact that outfits are color coordinated and that there are clothes that can go from workout to real life.

But the real gem you'll find is the sport bra section. You can shop by cup size, the bra genie,  or you can use the barbell indicator. Yep, the more barbells that a bra has the less bounce that it allows. Reading this section of the catalog is a real treat for any woman who has had to live through step aerobics with the dreaded uniboob!! Well, no more. There's a bra here for every woman, but I will tell you that you may have to manage your expectations. Good sport bras don't come cheap.

For example, after several years of being pregnant and nursing it was finally time to replace my sports bras. It's always difficult to find my size at department stores or even Target so I searched through the listings at Title 9. There were several that looked great but I did wish a bit for the $14.99 price tag I might find at the store with the red bullseye. Not gonna happen but I ordered a couple and they looked great. In the meantime I did find one that fit at Target and bought it too because it's summer in Virginia and you can't have too any sports bras. Well, I can tell you that at this point in my life the sport bra that pulls over the head [and costs $14.99] is also the sport bra that does not support the 'girls' and will give me a backache and headache within an hour. So, lesson learned. The more expensive sportsbras with back closures and better support were exactly what I needed and will be exactly were I go to in the future.

 So that's why I'm passing along this great catalog. Of course, if you live in certain cool western/ mid-western cities you can visit them in person. Also, I just love the name. As someone who benefited from the changes that were brought about by the Title IX legislation it's definitely Cool Idea to keep in mind where we came from and the great places we can still go.

Fun in VA: Rt. 11 Potato Chips

Personally I love learning about food especially yummy snacks like Rt. 11 Potato Chips. I first tasted their Sweet Potato chips years ago and fell in love immediately. Then I learned they have some other extremely yummy varieties like barbecue, sour cream and chive, and lightly salted. They also have a Chesapeake Bay flavor and Dill Pickle that people think are outta this world but I can't vouch for them 'cause I don't eat 'em.

But back to the chips. While we were the Adventure Family this summer we went to visit Rt. 11 Potato Chips. Heck, it's right around the corner from Shenandoah Caverns so it makes a nice day.

Here are some of the first things you'll notice:
1. It is a small operation. The first day we were there we saw 1 person cooking the chips, 2 people seasoning the chips, and 2 people were putting the bags into boxes. Oh, and 2 women were assisting people like us who'd walked in from the street. I imagine there were other people about but this is not a vast operation.
2. That said, they get a tractor-trailer truck of potatoes from the Eastern Shore of Virginia every week. That's 55,000 pounds of potatoes and they cook them EVERY WEEK. That's a lot of potatoes. And it's nice to know that not only is the end product made in Virginia but the root, ahem, product is from the Commonwealth as well.
3. Sweet potatoes are cooked at the end of the week. So if you're visiting and you're interested in watching them cook the sweet taters you might want to time your visit for Friday and Saturday.
4. One Hundred pounds of potatoes will give you 25 pounds of potato chips. Yep, that means that potatoes are 75% water. [I didn't do the math. I remembered this from the tour.]
5. They only cook chips that have already been purchased by a buyer so none of the chips are just sitting around their building waiting for a home. Not only is this good business but it's nice that the chips aren't getting lonely:)
6. You can freeze potato chips. You know, just in case you want to buy the big 1 1/2 pound bag while you're visiting and you're worried that they'll go stale before you can finish them. If you don't have a freezer you can feel free to invite me over;)
7. All potato peelings are feed to a herd of cows down the road from them. How's that for recycling!!

Want to find where to find Rt. 11 Chips near where you live? You should!! These are wonderful chips made in small batches, with wonderful flavors.

This was a great stop for the family, too. It's just a few minutes off the interstate and I didn't feel like I needed to worry about the girls' behavior. We went twice it was so much fun and we needed refueling before we came home. There are large viewing windows so that everyone can see. Stairs lead up to the second level where large windows allow viewing of the seasoning process. Stairs mean that the entire process isn't exactly accessible but like I said, this isn't a large operation.

So, if you're in the vicinity, or even passing through, I think you'll really enjoy a stop at Rt. 11 Potato Chips. It is definitely a Cool Idea!!

Green Eggs and Ham Turns 50!!

Green Eggs and Ham [GREEN EGGS & HAM -LIB] [Library Binding]

Two thoughts came to my mind. The first was ... thank goodness it's older than me:)
The second was about the actual book of GE&H that I got for my 5th bday from a girl in my neighborhood that couldn't come to my party. I still have that book, too!

Green Eggs and Ham has always been a favorite of mine and this summer we used 'Try New Things' and 'Don't be a Sam I Am' as the mantra for Comfort who has taken to not trying new foods because, well - she's a four year old.

In case you didn't know just how brilliant this book is go back and read it. It uses only 50 words throughout the entire text. Dr. Seuss wrote it on a dare that a coherent plot couldn't be written in that many words. Well, we know differently and we are thankful for it.  And for those of you about my age, ahem, you might remember the SNL sketch with Jesse Jackson also you can see clips of President Obama reading Green Eggs and Ham at the 2010 Easter Egg Roll.

Actually on that site you can see lots of different people reading GE&H. Go and enjoy. It's a great day to enjoy a wonderful book with our kidlets and that is defintely a Cool Idea!

The Magic Cave

We visited Shenandoah Cavern with Comfort and Joy twice this month and they absolutely loved it. Comfort is our budding photographer so I've included some of her pictures here.

Some things of note: 
1) There are no stairs to worry about and strollers are welcome.
2) Kids under 6 are free.
3) It's very cool in the cavern so this is excellent as a summertime destination. In fact, it's a constant 56 degrees so bring a jacket and maybe long pants.
4) They were fine with the kidlets consuming snacks and drinks along the way and the older kids in our group all had their water bottles. Trash cans are provided along the 1-mile walk through the cavern.

The Magic Cave has some fantastically beautiful formations.

Capitol Dome

Fried Eggs

Diamond Cascade

Pictures of Mirror Lake, The Archibishop and Popcorn didn't turn out well. I think Comfort forgot the flash. But you get the idea. It's an amazing cave and at just a mile of walking it's doable for small legs.

Yep, there's a lot of food and Joy really got into that. The bacon was her favorite. She pointed it out everywhere!!

Interested in visiting with your family? Kids 6-14 are 1/2 Price [Kids under 6 are free] if you mention the Humdinger Deal.  Print the ad and take it with you. What could be a better deal than that!!

Redeem and Receive - Cellfire and Kroger

When it rains it pours and I mean coupons from Cellfire!! If you redeem at least one of these coupons at your Kroger-family store you will receive $1 off your next shopping trip. Truly, how cool is that!!!

To receive the $1 off “Redeem & Receive” award, shoppers must redeem between midnight Thursday August 5 and midnight Sunday August 8. That is the kicker here but hey, they are giving us a buck so we can play with their rules. Right?

These three are on the site and available to be saved now:
   $1 off Pillsbury Holiday Cookies
   $.75 off Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie
   $.30 off Pillsbury Refrigerated Grands!

Cool New Ideas from Cellfire

If you are a Safeway shopper then Cellfire has new coupons that are part of the MDA Aisles of Smiles promotion to benefit "Jerry's Kids" which is dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy. This promotion is in association with Safeway and proceeds go to the MDA. I’ve listed the coupons below which are only available for use at Safeway and Safeway stores (Von’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Pavilions, Genuardi’s, Dominick’s, and Carrs). 

MDA Coupons available at Safeway and Safeway-owned stores
(Von’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Pavilions, Genuardi’s, Dominick’s, and Carrs)
Coupons available Aug 3rd through Sep 17. Please check each coupon for redemption info.
KC Masterpiece Save $1 
Save $1.00 on the purchase of any TWO (2) bottles of KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce or Marinade (16oz. or larger). 

Tyson Frozen Product Save $1 
Save $1.00 on any one bag of Tyson frozen product. 
 Sargento Cheese Save $.55 
 Save 55¢ on any Sargento Natural Deli Style Sliced Cheese (any variety, 5 oz. or larger) 
Vlasic Products Save $1 
Save $1.00 off any two (2) Vlasic Items. 
Mission Products Save $.55 
 Save 55¢ when you buy any ONE (1) Mission Product. 

Lawry's Products Save $.50 
Save $.50 on any Lawry's Marinade, Seasoned Salt (8 oz. or larger) or Garlic Salt (6 oz. or larger). 
Brut Products Save $1 
Save $1.00 on any BRUT Product. 
Infusium23 Products Save $2
Save $2.00 on any one Infusium23 purchase.
C&H or Domino Sugar Save $.75 
Save $0.75 on any Two (2) C&H or Domino Sugar products 2lbs. or larger. 
Star Olive Oil Save $.50 
Save $0.50 on any STAR Olive Oil 17 oz. or larger. 
Fish & Vegetables Save $2
Save $2.00 when you purchase any one Van de Kamp's or Mrs. Paul's and any one Birds Eye or Birds Eye C&W Vegetables.
Best Foods/Hellman's Save $.50 
Save $0.50¢ on any ONE (1) Best Foods or Hellmann's Mayonnaise (22 oz. or larger). 
Bertolli Pasta Sauce Save $.50
Save $0.50 on any ONE (1) Bertolli Pasta Sauce Product.
Hidden Valley Dressing Save $2
Save $2.00 on the purchase of any TWO (2) bottles of Hidden Valley Dressing (16 oz.).
Hidden Valley Ranch Save $2.50
Save $2.50 on the purchase of any TWO (2) bottles of Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Dressing (24 oz.).
Kingsford Charcoal Save $4
Save $4.00 on the purchase of any TWO (2) bags of Kingsford Charcoal (11.1 lb. or larger).
Glad Food Storage Bags Save $2
Save $2.00 on the purchase of TWO (2) GLAD Food Storage Bags (30 ct., 40 ct., 50 ct.).
RiceSelect Products Save $1
$1.00 off any 2 RiceSelect items. 

Fantastic Fun in Virginia

We have truly been Adventure Girls this summer and it's time to begin to report back on the many wonders we've encountered. The memory card in the camera will get dumped and edited and I'll put together some fun facts along the way to document some interesting things we've learned. Stick around and see what we've learned especially if you're interested in travels through Virginia or are looking for new adventures for your own kidlets.

Catching Back Up with Cellfire

Oh the great coupons that are coming up. Check it out!!

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel® Save $.50   
Save $0.50 when you buy TWO any flavor/variety Pillsbury® Toaster Strudel® Pastries. 

Totinos Party Pizza Save $1  
Save $1.00 when you buy FIVE any flavor/variety Totinos® Crisp Crust Party Pizza® Products.

Pillsbury Refrigerated Grands! Save $.30       
Save $0.30 when you buy TWO any size/variety Refrigerated Pillsbury® Grands!® Biscuits.

Totinos Pizza Rolls Save $.40  
Save $0.40 when you buy TWO PACKAGES any flavor/variety Totinos® Rolls Snacks.

Pillsbury Cookie Dough Save $1 
Save $1.00 when you buy TWO PACKAGES any variety Pillsbury® Refrigerated Cookie Dough

Old El Paso® Save $.60 
Save $0.60 when you buy any TWO Old El Paso® products (Excludes Old El Paso® Refrigerated, 
Frozen OR Soup products)

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks Save $.50   
Save $0.50 when you buy TWO BOXES any flavor/variety Betty Crocker® Fruit Shapes, Fruit by the Foot®, Fruit Gushers® OR Fruit Roll-Ups® fruit flavored snacks

Fiber One® Chewy Bar Save $.50 
Save $0.50 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor Fiber One® Chewy Bars

Bisquick® Save $.50    
Save $0.50 when you buy ONE BOX 40 OZ. OR LARGER Original Bisquick® OR Bisquick Heart 
Smart® Baking Mix

Gardetto's Snack Mix Save $.50 
Save $0.50 when you buy any flavor 8 OZ. OR LARGER Gardettos® Snack Mix

Reeses® Puffs® Save $.55       
Save $0.55 when you buy ONE BOX Reeses® Puffs® cereal

Cheerios® Cereal Save $.55     
Save $0.55 when you buy ONE BOX Original Cheerios® cereal (the one in the yellow box)

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Save $.55        
Save $0.55 when you buy ONE BOX Cinnamon Toast Crunch® cereal

Chex Mix® or Snacks Save $.50  
Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any flavor 4.5 OZ. OR LARGER Chex Mix® OR Chex® 100 Calorie Snack.

Betty Crocker Cake Mix/Frosting Save $.50      
Save $0.50 when you buy BOTH Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® Cake Mix AND Betty Crocker® 
Ready to Spread Frosting (any flavors/varieties)

Yoplait® Yogurt Cups Save $.40 
Save $0.40 when you buy SIX any variety Yoplait® Yogurt cups (Includes Original, Light, Thick & Creamy, OR Whips!®) OR any flavor Yoplait® Original OR Light Smoothie

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Save $.50  
Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Bowls OR Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Minis Bowls

Pillsbury Holiday Cookies Save $1      
Save $1.00 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Refrigerated Holiday Cookies

Nature Valley Granola Thins Save $.50  
Save $0.50 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Nature Valley® Granola Thins

Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Save $.75        
Save $0.75 when you buy TWO BOXES any flavor Betty Crocker® Supreme Brownie OR Dessert Bar Mixes

Starbucks VIA® Save $1         
Save $1.00 when you buy any ONE package of 8-Count Colombia, 8-Count Italian, or 7-Count Italian Decaf Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew. Starbucks VIA® can be found in the premium coffee aisle near the Starbucks® bagged coffee. 

Biltmore Dressings Save $1     
Save $1.00 when you purchase 1 (one) Biltmore® Salad Dressing. 

Dessert Toppers Save $.75      
Save $0.75 when you purchase 1 (one) A&W™ Root BeerDr Pepper™ Cherry or Orange Crush™ and Vanilla Cream Dessert Topper.

Dr Pepper BBQ Save $.75        
Save $0.75 when you purchase 1 (one) Dr Pepper™ Barbecue Sauce.

Budweiser BBQ Sauce Buy 2 Get 1 FREE   
Purchase any 2 (two) Budweiser® Genuine Barbecue Sauces and receive the third Budweiser Genuine Barbecue Sauce FREE.

Little Girl Hair Help

If you've ever had a little girl you know how trying it can be to keep Little Girl Hair from getting tangled. Then please imagine Little Girl Hair that has not been allowed to be combed for a month. Notice, I said allowed. Yep, each morning and usually several times a day I try to comb Joy's hair and there are meltdowns that take place. Sometimes there is biting. Yes there are issues.  So I wash it and condition it and hope for the best.

But she has nice curls in her hair. Ringlets in fact in several places and I finally realized that the baby hair conditioner wasn't going to really help me as the mats and tangles kept growing.

We have postponed the required haircut for Joy all thanks to Pantene Pro-V Conditioner. Whew!! And this is after she hadn't let us comb her hair for a month. Yep, I gotta say it was pretty amazing although it still took some work.  The haircut will still need to take place before too long most likely but now it won't need to be one that cuts out the worst of the tangles. Instead it can be a real haircut that makes the most of her beautiful face and is easy to care for.

And in case you think I'm the only one that has thought of this amazing cure for Little Girl Hair I can tell you that I mentioned it to a couple of other mothers and they said they use the same thing for the very same reason so it sounds like a very Cool Idea and one which should be passed along.

A Truly Great Lesson Learned

Comfort ran errands this morning with dh at Wal-Mart and apparently as they walked around she made an astute observation. "There are no walls here!"

Very true and cleverly said.

I Fixed the Vacuum!

Whew!! I fixed my vacuum!!

First of, it would have been fixed long ago if I'd done this earlier so much of my frustration is my own fault. Actually, all of it is.

Second, I have the best vacuum in the world. I bought a Dyson DC14 All-Floors Cyclone Upright Vacuum Cleaner [refurbished] at Big Lots several years ago after I'd gone through 3 vacuums in about 5 years. I immediately loved it. In some ways it's like going from a PC to a Mac because you have to retrain your brain on how to use a vacuum because everything is so intuitive.

And then it stopped working. I should say the upright stopped working. I could still use the extension arm so I did all my cleaning this way. It wasn't perfect since it was slower but it worked and finally now that I'm working my way through my list of things to 'Get Done over the Summer' [yes, I am trying to keep up with  Totally Together Journal as much as humanly possible LOL] I pulled up the online troubleshooting guide on the Dyson website and walked through it.

I was several screens into the guide and on a page that I was definitely going to skip when I found the problem. It wasn't any issue pointed out in the problem solving guide. I had a blockage but it wasn't anywhere that I would've seen unless I had checked out that particular issue on that exact page of the problem solving guide. And the blockage was caused by me - because I had let the canister get too full before I emptied it and all the ick had packed back down toward the roller.

So, many lesson learned here. 1) Empty the canister early and often and 2) never underestimate the online problem-solving guide when dealing with a Dyson. Seriously though it was the process of going through the guide, step-by-step, that brought me to the point where I could fix the vacuum myself.  And now the vacuum takes care of the carpet in half the time, maybe less, and I can scratch one more thing off my list. This was a total win-win situation and I'm glad to have my totally awesome vacuum back and that is amazingly Cool!

New Coupons for July!

I know that the page is a bit wonky right now... I'm working on it in between our Adventures, etc, but in the meantime don't forget that since it's a new month the coupons.com sidebar is recharged and there are new coupons to be found. Hop on over and grab what you need before they d-i-s-a-p-p-e-a-r.

The Role of Brownies

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! What rituals do you have or do you do something different every year? Did you do something different this year?

Comfort and Joy are still young but we have some traditions that are becoming entrenched in our family. For many it's the fireworks. We're lucky that we live within walking distance of the city's firework display so we leave the house when it gets dark, having put the girls into their pjs, find a spot and have a snack on our blanket while we wait.

Last week my mom sent an email to my brother and I to remind us to make our brownies for the day. Yep, brownies are a 4th of July ritual in my family. Growing up we had a full day on  each July 4th - from parades to be marched to brownies to be baked to family to be rounded up for fireworks. The brownies were our snack as we sat and waited for it to get dark enough for the fireworks to begin, just like they are at our house now.

But why brownies? My guess is that it's because it was something that my brother and I could make together and it didn't take very long to bake. Oh, and it's chocolate. Yum! My brother and I were always in the kitchen when my mom cooked and we were expected to help and being tall ourselves it wasn't long before we could do a lot to help.

Brownies are wonderfully collaborative. There's a little bit of measuring, some stirring, pouring, and then there's the best part - licking the bowl. Comfort and Joy have started helping me with the stirring. Growing up my brother and I got to where we could do it all by ourselves. I think having some activity in the kitchen that your kids can learn to do by themselves is wonderful. As they grow kids can learn to do more and more by themselves, under supervision.

The funny part is that our 4th of July brownies have to be from a box. I know I've blogged about Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies recipe. It is fabulously rich and well, I'm drooling as I type. However, it's box brownies that bring me back to my childhood and for this day I stick with what the nostalgia.

This is the role of brownies, or whatever the equivalent is in your family. It a traditon on a holiday for sure, but it's also an opportunity for our kids to find a way to be part of the collaborative process of cooking and baking. It's a way for them to learn measuring - which is a great form of math. It's a way for them to learn how to follow instructions. It's a way for them to learn independence and self-worth and isn't definitely a Cool Idea!

And Just in time for the 4th of July

I've gotten the Cellfire comments pulled together and input them into my magic bean counter and let Random.org do it's magic here's what we got...
True Random Number Generator  4
So, Deanna G. you are my lucky winner!! Please send your contact information to whatacoolidea@yahoo.com and I'll make sure that Cellfire gets your gift card to you.

Thank you to everyone for passing along the great info and recipes for how you use products from Cellfire. It's great meeting y'all and picking up more readers. 

If for some reason I don't hear from this recipient I will pick another winner on July 7 by random.org and contact them. Thanks again everyone!!

Check Our What Cellfire is Up To

Cellfire is getting ready to update the coupon bar and here's a peak at what will be available:

Starbucks VIA® Save $1- Save $1.00 when you buy any ONE package of 8-Count Colombia, 8-Count Italian, or 7-Count Italian Decaf Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew. Starbucks VIA® can be found in the premium coffee aisle near the Starbucks® bagged coffee. (Safeway Only)

Nature Valley Granola Bars Save $.50  - Save $0.50 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Nature Valley® Granola Bars

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks Save $.50 - Save $0.50 when you buy TWO BOXES Betty Crocker® Fruit by the Foot®, Fruit Gushers®, Fruit Roll-Ups® OR Fruit Roll-Ups® Fruit Stickerz® Fruit Flavored Snacks.

Bisquick® Save $.50    - Save $0.50 when you buy 40 OZ. OR LARGER Original Bisquick® OR Bisquick Heart Smart® Baking Mix.

Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Save $.75    - Save $0.75 when you buy TWO BOXES any flavor Betty Crocker® Box Supreme Brownie Mixes.

Multigrain Cheerios® Save $.75 -  Save $0.75 when you buy ONE BOX MultiGrain Cheerios® cereal.

Cocoa Puffs® cereal Save $.55- Save $0.55 when you buy any ONE BOX Cocoa Puffs® cereal

Golden Grahams® Save $.75 - Save $0.75 when you buy ONE BOX Golden Grahams® cereal

Yoplait® Cups Save $.40  - Save $0.40 when you buy SIX any variety Yoplait® Yogurt cups (Includes Original, Light, Thick & Creamy, OR Whips!®) OR any flavor Yoplait® Original OR Light Smoothie.

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Save $.50  - Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Bowls OR Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Minis Bowls.

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters Save $1  - Save $1.00 when you buy ONE BAG any flavor Nature Valley® Granola Nut Clusters.

Yoplait® Delights(tm) Save $1  - Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Yoplait® Delights Yogurt Multipack.

Nature Valley Granola Thins Save $.50  - Save $0.50 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Nature Valley® Granola Thins

So, have you found a new favorite treat recently using Cellfire coupons? Or maybe you've figured out how to use them at last? Perhaps you have a tip that you'd like to pass along to others? Whatever it is, it's almost the end of the month so be sure to get in your comments which will be your entry into my giveaway for a grocery gift card courtesy of Cellfire.

The Perfect Shoe for Potty Training

Yep, today is Joy's half-birthday and we are up to our elbows in potty training. Still. Again. For REAL. It's not that she doesn't understand the concept or that she can't 'do' it but she chooses not to stop what she's doing to - you know.  This is especially a problem at home with me. At school she's a champ. Even on car trips. Heck, five out of seven nights she'll stay dry.

So I know it's about sticking to it and summer seems to be a great time to run around the house in fewer clothes and make sure we are more about sticking to it. We bought cute underwear - she loves monkeys so she now has Paul Frank monkey undies from Target - and thankfully they came in a 7 pack. Yep, one for everyday of the week. I've done laundry twice in two days!!

Some things were expected. Like accidents. And laundry. And I've cleaned the floor more than I have since we had a puppy. What I hadn't expected was how wonderful it would be that she is wearing her Crocs around the house.

Not only are these shoes easy for her to get on and off on her own but they are super easy to clean. In fact, they even hold some of the 'accident' in their structure. Then I put them in the sink and wash them with anti-bacterial soap and wipe with a Clorox wipe and set to dry and they're ready in an hour or so. This would not be the case with a sneaker or a regular sandal and a flip flop wouldn't help me with containment.

So even in the midst of the drama of potty training I've found a new silver lining and it is the Croc shoe. Which helps remind me that a woman, no matter how young she is, should never underestimate the power of having a shoe for the right occasion.

Happy Birthday, sweetie. Enjoy those purple Crocs!

Cool Ways to Use Cellfire + Giveaway

I've been chatting up Cellfire this month because they've rolled out some nifty new ways to enjoy their ecoupons and I want to make sure that as many people as possible know how to use this great way to save on their groceries.

First of all, the easiest thing to do is to hop over to the right hand sidebar and sign up. Cellfire ecoupons can be used at Kroger-family stores, Safeway, and Shoprite. Some coupons are store specific so if a coupon isn't available when you log in it's because it's not available at the store in your area.

Second, Cellfire has been releasing their Cinderella coupons this month. These $x off coupons have been available on their website at specific times and for very short periods of time, in very limited quantities. I got a $1 the first time around but had a schedule conflict during the second time period and wasn't online. But, hey - that's what happens.

Third, I love that Cellfire sends me reminder emails that I have coupons that are about to expire. How Cool Is That!! I can't think of any other marketer doing something like that - can you? Seriously, it's like saying, "Please spend my money!" and truly Cellfire is just that easy.

It really is an easy approach to saving money at the store. Load the coupons and forget about it. When you check out they come off your receipt. Sure, I double check to make sure but at least I don't have to dig through my coupon caddy or worry that I dropped tiny pieces of paper while going up and down the aisles of the store.

So, if you haven't tried Cellfire yet I encourage you to give it a try. And while you're at it go ahead and leave me a comment telling me that you did. Or tell me what you like about Cellfire. Or tell me if you were lucky enough to catch a Cinderella coupon last week. Remember, each comment in English enters you into a drawing for a grocery gift card courtesy of Cellfire.

**Disclosure: The $100 Gift card is provided by Cellfire to readers of this blog. I will receive compensation for my work through the month.