Friday, March 28, 2014


Last fall we decided that we had a need for a combination lock. $40 later it was installed and ready to use. A few months later, when we needed to access the lock, Guess what? We had  no idea what the combination was. Of course this happened during a MN blizzard while the temperature was well below zero. Bare fingers, trying multiple combinations is not my idea of a fun time. Several combinations later, we still were unable to access it. Fantastic! (I am hoping to figure it out when it gets warmer.)

Small collection of keys used to access various padlocks.
Fast forward another month and I won a free combination lock from WordLock. Honestly I wasn't all that thrilled since I have a history of forgetting things. A few months later and guess what? I still know what the word is! Luckily for me, I am able to remember words better than random numbers. Yes I know that random letters would be more secure than an actual word, but did you read the first paragraph of this post? Sarcasm aside, as an avid player of Words with Friends I know that there are some obscure words/letter combinations that would be harder to guess. I also learned to write down the combination for future reference. (Like looking for the giant ball of keys.)

Resetting the pre-programed word is simple, just follow the instructions on the packaging.

The best part though, is that once they found out I had a blog they offered to send me a different model that I get to share with two of my readers! Yippee! Use the widget below to enter, you might need to give it a minute to load. Everyone gets 1 entry, but if you share on FB you can get 2 extra entries. (Getting people involved in these review posts are essential so that I can offer further giveaways to you.)

**Read my advertising policies here.

WordLock padlock that you could win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It Doesn't Get Any Easier Than This!

My Vet and I were watching TV yesterday and I saw a commercial from Walmart that blew my mind. As you know I am a serious saver, and am willing to go to multiple stores and price match. Most of my friends are not, and Walmart has just the thing for you!

They call it Savings Catcher, and it does the comparison shopping for you. All you have to do is log in to the Savings Catcher/Walmart website and enter the TC code at the bottom of your Walmart receipt, the computer then scans all the local competitors ads and issues you a credit for use on a future Walmart visit.

Photo from a previous post on saver shopping at Walmart.
It doesn't get any easier than that to shop around. It is a Beta program that has been going for a while, but it just arrived to the Minneapolis area last week. Be sure to log in and enter your receipts, what are you going to spend your found money on?

I also think this could be a good fundraising idea for rescue/nonprofit organizations, have people donate their Walmart receipts, then the organization enters the TC code and then uses that found money.

**There are no affiliate links in this post. It's just such a great way to save money.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Fun

We tend to focus more on reality than fantasy at our house, but when it comes to St. Patrick's Day I let the Irish part of me go crazy. Last year we had a wee bit of fun with leprechauns. My daughters didn't like the idea of trapping the leprechauns, they worried about how they would see their families again.

This time we decided to leave them a treat and kindly ask them to take a selfie. All they really wanted was just to see a leprechaun. A dish of "gold" and a fully charged camera were left out for them.
Made this cute poem, and then realized my
printer was COMPLETELY out of ink.

The girls woke to an empty dish and a stack of photos.

Just photos, this forgetful mom didn't pick up any candy,
or Lucky Charms. And wasn't heading out at 11pm.

I took these photos during a family trip last fall. While the rest of America was starting to think Elf on the Shelf, I was already getting ready for today.

At first the girls were upset that he didn't take better photos, but they were happy to share the story with their friends. Hope you have a Happy St. Patrick's Day too!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cake Box Bars

These bars are a family favorite, I got the recipe from my sister years ago, and they are always a hit anywhere we go. The best part is that they are super easy and use ingredients I already have around the house.

1 Stick of butter (I said butter not margarine or any other light substitute)
1 cake mix (Chocolate, white, yellow, funfetti, etc not so sure I would go with carrot or spice)
1 cup of Mini Marshmallows
1 cup Chocolate Chips (white, butterscotch, or peanut butter work too)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Melt butter in a jelly roll pan. (That is a cookie sheet with sides on all 4 sides). Sprinkle dry cake mix over butter and gently pat down to completely cover the pan;

sprinkle chips and marshmallows; drizzle over the Sweetened Condensed Milk.

Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and the milk has caramelized.  Cool slightly then cut and remove from pan while still warm.


As you can see there are lots of variations that would work, just mix together what you think sounds good together. (Although spice with butterscotch chips could be yummy...)

As you could guess the pan can be a bit messy with all that caramel baked on. So when I needed a my messiest dishes to test a cleaning product I just had to make these. (And eat them too.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chocolate? Yes Please!

I love chocolate. You know that girl in college who had that box of Little Debbies for those late night cravings? Ok that wasn't me, but I did keep some change so that I could run to the vending machine if it happened after the student commons where closed for the night.

I also admit to recently  eating an entire large bag of M&M's. (It took me a few days so that doesn't count as bad does it?) I can't tell you the last time I was 100% out of chocolate chips. I panic around 2 bags remaining. (You just never know when you will need to make cookies or bars.)

So when Chupon Chocolate asked me to sample and review their product line How could I say no?

What is Chupon Chocolate? Chupon is the magic that happens when a Swiss chocolatier carefully infuses fruit and other exotic flavors into rich Swiss Neuch√Ętel chocolate.

Mayan was the first of the 3 flavors I tried. It had a kick. A slow heat that came in behind. I know that is popular and I think paired with a cream for Hot Cocoa or over Ice Cream could be really good. Straight up I thought it was odd to have the spice. But overall it was smooth and hard the way a good chocolate should be.

Next up was the Dark. I know lots of purists prefer dark, I find dark to be bitter, so I was pleasantly surprised. The 80% Dark had a smooth flavor that wasn't overly sweet, without being bitter. Just a good classic piece of chocolate that has universal appeal and usage.

My favorite by far was the one I couldn't read the label on. Whomp, whomp, whomp. The label looked like "White Matcha". It looked similar to the green tea on the website, and even had a mild tea like flavor.

What I liked best about all 3 was that they were satisfying. It has been a really hard and long winter, and I have spend way too much time wrapped in layers of clothes and flannel blankets while eating and sipping hot sugar laden beverages to stay warm. Now that we are finally above freezing I've noticed it's time to work off some of those "layers". One small piece and I was finished. Unlike the mass marketed chocolates, when one just makes me crave 10+ more.

Yep I'm saying chocolate could help you lose weight! Chupon has a great website with lots of decadent recipes. You can also follow them on Facebook for recipes, photos, and some overall chocolate love.

**Disclaimer** This content may have been sponsored and compensated in some form.  Opinions expressed are that of the site owner. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Old is New Again

Having 2 little girls, means we have lots of jewelry around the house. It also means we often have bracelets break and beads scatter everywhere. When they were young and they grabbed hold of one of my necklaces and it broke, I would just toss it, slowly the jewelry they broke was newer and/or nicer, and I set them aside to someday see what I could do.

Eventually, the girls got old enough to break there own, and they cried when I wanted to toss it. They would look at me with those pleading eyes, and tell me I could "just fix it". Not ready to shatter their childlike idea that I was Wonder Woman, I channeled my inner Super Grover. Some simple supplies that I picked up at the craft store, chased those tears away.

Sometimes too many beads can't be found so
I have to purchase some.
I am not, and will not ever be a jewelry maker, but I can satisfactorily repair it. Here is a quick rundown on the supplies I've needed.

I always start with a plastic bag. I find all the pieces I can and place them in a sandwich bag. This way the parts for each piece are neatly stored and separated until I am able to get to them.

When I am ready to repair, I lay out the pieces on a piece of solid fabric so that they don't roll away. Since I don't always find every piece, or even remember the original pattern I can arrange them into a pleasing pattern before stringing.


My go to string is .8 mm Clear Stretch Cord. Since my repaired jewelry will need to withstand children again. I think something that stretches is important. Clear because it will hopefully camouflage any mistakes.

Set of jewelry pliers. Needle-nosed, Flat, and rounded. I have found those 3 to be sufficient.

Crimp Tubes. Stretch Cord doesn't simply tie in a knot. Crimp Tubes come in packages of 100 and quickly and easily knot 2 ends of the stretch cord together. 2 years later I am still using my original package.

Metal rings in a variety of sizes. These small, easy to bend pieces are often lost when an item breaks, I also like new ones that are hopefully stronger and will last longer.

So far I haven't encountered anything too complicated, granted I've only tackled costume Jewelry.

***Disclaimer *** I am not recommending these techniques for more expensive jewelry. That should be left to professional.