Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kid Review of Pictureka!

He's played it four times since dinner yesterday! William gives a kid overview of this new game.

GIVEAWAY: Pillsbury Gift Pack--Winner Announced

I love MYBlogspark!  Yesterday the FedEx guy dropped off my gift box to try out (courtesy of Pillsbury). Inside I found a set of cute pizza plates, a FREE coupon for Pillsbury pizza crust, and a Hasbro board game "Pictureka.")

Needless to say, BOTH the kids and I were thrilled!

Pictureka! is called a "fast find it game" and reminds us all of those I SPY books where you have to find the tiny object in the photo. My son (8) LOVED it (he's an enthusiastic kid when it comes to board games). The entire family played it. It's a fast game, and there was a bit of challenge for everyone. All in all, I'd give it thumbs up. Plus, if your a Spanish-speaking family, all the game cards a bilingual!

The pizza plates hold one generous slice of pizza, so you'll need another dish if your serving up salad or any side dish. I've got the free coupon and will likely grab the thin crust version since I'm more a fan of the "New York" style pizza than deep dish (my hubby would disagree!).  

With Pillsbury Pizza Crust, you and your family can make your own fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza just the way you want it! Everyone can load their favorite toppings on to the ready-to-bake pizza crust and enjoy a fresh, hot pizza in minutes. You can personalize your meal even further by using the Classic Crust for a thicker, soft crust or the Thin Crust for a pizza that’s a bit crispier and just as delicious. So round up your little chefs and make their favorite night of the week even more memorable.

When we make the pizza, I will report back.

Meanwhile YOU can print a 40c off two pizza tubes from Pillsbury here. You can use up all the free Ragu pizza sauce we all have on hand from Jewel's Your Bucks deal!

Would you like to win a similar gift pack from Pillsbury/MyBlogspark? The pack contains:

1 coupon for a FREE container of Pillsbury pizza crust (Traditional or Thin Crust)
1 Pictureka! game from Hasbro
4 melamine (plastic) printed pizza plates.

To enter, leave me the answer to this question:
What is your favorite thing about family pizza night?
For an additional entry, leave an answer to this question:
What special memories do you have of pizza night from your childhood or what other activities you like to incorporate into family pizza night (i.e. games, movies, etc.)?

One winner will be drawn at random on Monday, May 3, 2010 at 5pm via

PLEASE leave me a way to contact you via email. If I cannot contact you (no email or an anonymous entry) I will draw another number. Sorry!

Note: the information and product was provided to me by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark as part of the Pillsbury Pizza Crusts “Family Pizza Party” Spark

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mom's Recipe: Southern Style Baked Ziti

I haven't tried this yet, but my mom swears that she's served it several times and the guests love it, so here goes. Report back if you make it and what you thought of it.

Southern Style Baked Ziti
Serves 10
  • 1lb box of ziti, or penne or rotelle
  • 1lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 2 carrot,s grated
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • Garlic to taste (chopped)
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes (crushed) (28 oz can)
  • 6 oz. of basil pesto
  • 15 oz. of ricotta cheese
  • 9 oz. fresh spinach
  • 16 oz. mozzarella shredded
  • 12 oz. shredded Italian cheeses
Cook the pasta till al dente. Set aside.

Brown sausage in a pan, then remove and add onion, celery, and carrots with garlic in some olive oil. Sauté till limp.

Add tomatoes, pesto and the ricotta and simmer.  Add to the sauté pan. 

In a separate container mix the washed spinach, the Italian chesses. 

Layer the pasta mix and spinach into glass baking dishes coated with pam. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and bake at 375F for approx. 20 min till the cheese is golden and melted.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Truth about Bottled Water

I was appalled to see we ship millions of plastic bottles to landfills in India! A must see.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another cute video on how to shop Walgreens

I love these little videos that coupon moms have been posting on the Internet! Note she explains the policy that at Walgreens you must have as many items as you have coupons (only affects when you are stacking).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ooo this is fun: Free Sample Showcase

I read about this over at

Sign up to receive a free sample box of products from USPS--yes THAT USPS, the United States Postal Service of all things. If selected you will receive a box of sample goodies in May (current list shows Reeses, Nescafe, Aveeno, Secret, Ben-gay etc but they may differ).  I know you're already thinking "great, more junk mail," but in this case you might get a neat item you haven't tried, and typically samples come with coupons. If you don't like the items, consider donating them to a shelter or pantry.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Great new video on coupons and organic products

I think it's totally great that is posting new videos on how to save money at the grocery store. This new video is on organic shopping and well worth the 8 minutes if you're curious on how she does it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I know it's spring when the cactus flowers

 I've had this little guy for about 15 years now. I bought him as a wee, 2 inch tall pin cushion cactus in the Las Vegas, Nevada airport returning from a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show. He was sooo cute (and only $3).   For a long time (years?) he never grew, but he never died either. 

I realize I've assigned a gender to this plant. Eh. Humor me.


I re-potted him on a whim, only to discover that instead of dirt, he was potted in plaster, likely to prevent spilling in transit. I stuck him in a little dirt, sat him in a south-facing window and watered him virtually never. Unlike Mr. Ficus, who I see has decided to turn yellow again in protest over new fertilize, the cactus remains content with tap water and sunlight.

And so the cactus grew, and grew over 15 years, and eventually split into two sections (now a tiny, baby third section has appeared at the base).

Every year, come end of March, he flowers. This always amazes me. A cactus is so perennially static. It moves in slow motion all its life and then in the span of a few short weeks it goes crazy with flowers. And then back to just sitting, and soaking up the sun.

And when there is no sun, the little flowers take a nap. Awww!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

$15/$45 at Yankee Candle

Thanks Saving with Shellie!

Get $15 off a purchase of $45 or more.
I recently went into a Yankee Candle store for the first time (yes, I've recently moved here from the Moon). We just have this thing about candles in the house. My husband calls it the no open flame rule, aka we don't want to burn the house down (although trust me, there are times when I think it would solve a lot of home decorating issues I have!). Call me crazy, but that's actually how we do it here.

Have you met my husband?

The neat thing about candles is that they are made of wax (yes, it's TRUE!!) and you can set one on a ceramic dish over a heating vent and get the same smell (and sometimes stronger) when then heat runs as you would if you lit it. I usually set the candle on the dish in it glass holder since the wax will melt (I know, you're speechless) but the sorta of neat thing about the Yankee Candle little "Tart" I bought was that it didn't come in a glass dish and it didn't melt. I don't know why (maybe its soy?).

$20,000 "green" home make-over and $1,000 weekly prize

 I entered this because I could think of a lot of ways to spend $20,000 on my home. And what the heck, I'm already giving my spam filter a workout anyway.
Go here to enter the sweepstakes.

PLUS get a free sample of Purex® Complete 3-in-1™ Laundry Sheets Free

FREE Sample: Aveeno Nourish+ Shampoo and Conditioner

Aveeno is my new friend after they sent me a FULL size sensitive skin lotion sample last week (who sends out full size samples these days? Like to see Tide get in on that trend!)

Choose from three different options of shampoo and conditioner:
Click here to get yours.

BOGO Jamba Juice Coupon

Print the coupon from Jamba Juice and enjoy one free beverage when you buy one equally priced or less expensive one. Offer is good through 4/25.

Thanks Savingwithshellie!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Simply Go-Gurts WINNER!

Congrats SASHAFRAS!  You're the lucky winner! I'll be contacting you via email shortly.

Friday, April 9, 2010

FREE samples of John Frieda shampoo and $2.50 coupons

I saw this over at Mashupmom.  Click here to take a super short survey and then receive a coupon for $2.50 (click back on your browser to print two).

The samples page is right here. They are offering samples of either Luxurious Volume or Frizz Ease shampoos. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Simply Go-Gurts 30 FREE Coupons and Giveaway has BEGUN!!

(Sorry, free coupons have all been claimed. Print to get a $1.10 coupon and be sure to register for the drawing for the gift pack.)

This one will be fun!  Click to claim one of the 30 FREE Simply Go-Gurts coupons. After the first 30 are gone, the rest will print $1.10 each.

One special winner will receive the gift package (a pocket Etch a Sketch, weekly planner, a free Go-Gurts coupon and a seat back organizer) sent to them directly from General Mills. Leave me your name and email address in the comments box. One winner will be chosen at random at 5pm on Monday, April 12th. Good luck!

All items shown, including coupons and giveaways were provided to me by My Blog Spark and General Mills.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy cow! Glad I never threw it out!

(Han Solo, I still luv you)

Today we went to the library and my daughter found a book on Star Wars collectibles. I'm not sure what led her to it, maybe it was The Force, but what a discovery we made!

  • 12" vintage 1979 Star Wars Luke doll--I have one in box, never played with--worth $360
  • About 200 Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back trading cards, in a box--worth about $1 each
  • Sets of glass Star Wars collectors glasses from Burger King (remember those?)--I have all the sets, wrapped in tissue paper, never used--worth about $60 a set
Not exactly Antiques Roadshow stuff (do you all remember the episode with the guy who found a 15th century Milanese parade helmet in his attic worth $250,000?), but what a fun find. My kids are making runs up and down the basement stairs to the storage room finding Star Wars treasures in a box and asking me to Google them, and then asking if that's enough to buy a DS. Apparently my childhood treasures have been reduced to booty towards a video game system. Ah well.

A great grocery app for your mobile phone

Recently I downloaded Our Groceries application to my mobile phone and to my husband's. The program is free. When I add an item to the list, it also appears on my husband's phone, and vice versa. When I buy something, it gets crossed off my list, and automatically gets crossed off the list on my husband's phone. I found this app by searching the Android marketplace. Another nice thing about it that you don't have to have the same types of phones. It works across platforms (meaning if you have an Android phone and your husband has an iPhone, it still will work). 

You can read more about this program here:

What's in my oven right now: Gourmet magazine's Chocolate Tart

(image from Gourmet Magazine)

First, a moment of silence for Gourmet magazine....

I made this chocolate torte on a whim Christmas 2008. Now, before you get all excited and think I am some sort of gourmet chef (any reading of this blog should cure you of that misinformation), this recipe is EASY.  Yes, EASY. The only teensy thing you will need to buy is an 9" fluted torte pan with removeable bottom. Don't bother with Target. This is an excuse to go to a real kitchen store. I suppose you could use a springform cheesecake pan, but that would be overkill. The torte doesn't rise; it sets. So it's only all of about 1 inch tall at the end. But in a pinch, I think the springform pan would be ok.

Here's the recipe link to the Gourmet site.

Recipe copyright Gourmet magazine

Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate Tart
Serves 8 to 10
Active time:30 minStart to finish:2 3/4 hr (includes cooling)

September 2008

A triple layer of crumbly crust, a truffle-like interior, and an almost patent-leather-shiny glaze make this tart the chicest take on chocolate we’ve come across in a long time.

For crust
  • 9 (5- by 21/4-inch) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (1 cup)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For filling
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 9 oz bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For glaze
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
Equipment: a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with removable bottom

Make crust:
•Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
•Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes.

Make filling:
•Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.
•Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.

Make glaze:
•Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.
•Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Cooks’ note: Tart is best the day it is made but can be made, without glaze, 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before glazing.

Recipe by Paul Grimes
Photograph by Martyn Thompson


Mine just came out of the oven. I'll glaze it tomorrow:


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