Happy 4th of July

 
I hope you're all having a wonderful and safe holiday today! We got the day off work and enjoyed the local neighorhood parad with some friends, and then went to a free cookout hosted by Bulluck Law Group. It was my lucky day and I won the final grand prize at the raffle contest - a BBQ dinner for 8 from Luptons! Yummy
Enjoy some fireworks tonight too!

The Missing Blog



A week ago I went to a blog conference and it was a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and learn how to grow my blog. I don't earn much from this blog, just enough to cover expenses - but I know it has potential. I need to focus on a goal and strive to meet it. One of the things that everyone at the conference encouraged me to do, is to transfer my blog to Wordpress. But without it generating income, I can't justify the expense of self hosting and then there's all the tech support and design needed to make it look really professional.
 
But, I'm determined to grow. I decided to sign up for a free blogging class online offered by Blogelina. Along with the class is a free year of hosting offered by Godaddy. So, I took the plunge and decided to move my other personal blog to Wordpress and hosted by Godaddy. That was last Sunday. I haven't seen my blog since. It's in lala land somewhere transferring. Despite several calls to Godaddy tech support, it's on its way, but still missing.
 
Granted, I don't really know what I'm doing but it sure seems to me these companies could make it a little easier. How am I supposed to know that you have to change the A Host IP address so it points to the new server? This option is buried in about 4 sub menus of  the domain control center. Which I didn't even know existed until yesterday. I also learned that I transferred from a host with 4 servers to a host plan on 1 server. So now, I need to figure out how to change my settings so there are more host name servers. Luckily these days, there is a ton of help online in forums and those friendly YouTube videos. I'm determined to teach myself how to do this. Then I might transfer this blog, but then again maybe I won't. Blogger has done me good, and now that I learned how to set up Google Analytics and Google Adsense, and use better keywords - it might make more sense to just stay put.
 
You might ask, why don't you just pay $79 and hire someone to move your blog to Wordpress? Is that the frugal thing to do? Maybe. But I'm capable of learning myself, and who knows, maybe I would learn enough to be able to offer those services myself someday, or at least do a video series on YouTube.
 
So the frugal side of me wants to learn all this. Others tell me it will be best in the long run. But the feeling of being overwhelmed is not exactly comforting. Wish me luck.
 
 
 

Weight Loss Breakfast: Zucchini Patties #Recipe



This is one of my favorite diet foods since it is quick and easy to reheat premade patties for  breakfast. They are filling and healthy. You will love them too! Serve as a breakfast item with some bacon or sausage, or serve as a vegetable side dish for lunch or dinner.
 
Nutrition Info: 95 calories for 3 patties (14 gm protein, 6 gm carb, 2 gm fat) 
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
 
Ingredients:
1 medium zucchini, shredded by hand or in food processor (top blade only)
1 T. green onions, chopped
2 T. parmesan cheese, ground
1 egg, or 2 T. of egg beaters
Spray Pam or Olive oil for skillet lubrication
 
Instructions:
1. Shred zucchini and place in a mixing bowl.
2. Add onions, parmesan cheese and egg.
3. Stir mixture until well mixed.
4. Put skillet on medium heat stove top burner, add lubricant, warm up the pan.
5. Place spoonful of zucchini mixure into pan, flatten and shape as desired. About six or seven spoonfuls will fill a skillet.
6. Cook zucchini patties until brown on bottom, then flip with spatula and cook other side too.
7. Place 3 or 4 patties on plate to serve, or cool for eating later.
 
Serves 2

My Publix Trip - Saved $121, Spent $1.24

 
What a great week to have the $5 off $40 PQ to go along with a sale! There are a lot of deals where I wish I would have had more newspaper coupons, but oh well - take what you have and be happy. The Mayo deal only worked Thursday because the PQ expires today. I wanted to get Snausages dog treats but there was only one lonely bag on the shelf for this BOGO deal. But a raincheck works too. And of course the elusive Seagrams Ginger Ale was nowhere to be found again. I asked my store to order it for me last time and still have not received a call. I think Coca Cola is slow on the stocking here. Plus they only have a small space for that flavor.

I had to buy some of the expensive B complex vitamins to get my order up over $70 so I could use the stacking Winn Dixie $5 off $30. Sometimes it's worth it to buy something you don't need (a filler item) to be able to buy something you want. That's a strategy that is hard for new couponers to understand and practice doing.

Anyway, I used the overage from the mayo, and the WD and PQ's to get some pork spareribs which are on sale. They are a pretty good deal, and with the BBQ sauce from last week, it makes for a cheap outdoor meal this upcoming holiday next week.

In the end it worked out to spending a little over a dollar on my Publix gift card, and saving over $121 dollars, saving over 98%.

27-Jun 35   106.60 35.23 71.00 tax 1.24 47 -98.84%
Product qty price subtl -B1G1 -Q 0.87 total Q# Q details
Pork Spareribs 1 8.82 8.82   2.00   6.82 2 $1/1 Pork MQ + 1/1 PQ fresh meat baby club
Pork Spareribs 1 8.79 8.79   1.00   7.79 1 $1/1 Pork MQ printable
cucumber 1 0.65 0.65       0.65    
Fresh Express Ceasar Salad Kit BOGO 2 3.99 7.98 3.99 4.00   -0.01 2 $2/1 MQ http://www.tonytantillo.com
Arnold Sandwich Thins bread BOGO 2 3.89 7.78 3.89 3.00   0.89 3 $1/1 MQ print + $0.50/1 TQ print
Reynolds Baking Cup 10 0.99 9.90   10.00 0.64 0.54 10 $1/1 MQ 6-23ss
Hellmans Mayo 30oz BOGO 10 4.77 47.70 23.85 30.00   -6.15 20 $2/1 PQ print + $1/1 MQ 6-23ss
Temptations Cat treats BOGO 4 1.75 7.00 3.50 4.00 0.23 -0.27 4 $1/2 TQ print + $1/2 MQ 6-16rp
Sundown B Complex vit 2 3.99 7.98   7.00   0.98 3 $2/1 PQ purple flyer + $3/2 MQ print
Publix coupon 1 0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5/$40 PQ 6-16 paper
Winn Dixie coupon 1 0.00 0.00   5.00 0.00 -5.00 1 $5/30 In the City booklets
71.37  

30 Day Weight Loss Results

A month ago we stepped off a cruise ship after a long holiday weekend of lazing around and eating lots of yummy, fattening food. We each gained several pounds that needed to come off so our clothes would fit better and we would feel healthier. Here's a picture of us at St Johns USVI where we went on a nice catamaran and snorkling excursion. This is the "before" picture.

This is us each five pounds heavier, the "before" photo UGH
At first we kept up our regular meal plan of a carbohydrate rich breakfast of raisin bran with a banana, or homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal. But the problem was we were hungry for a morning snack about an hour later. Recently, the past couple weeks we've made turkey bacon for breakfast, alon with zuchinni patties (shredded zuchinni, parm cheese, egg beaters fried in a pan) Snacks in the morning are protein snack bars, cereal bars, almonds, beef jerky, fresh cut up melon or berries. Then lunch is a lettuce salad with chicken and veggie toppings, along with a nonfat yogurt for dessert. After work, we have a small snack of hummus or corn salsa on chips, then dinner is usually something from the stockpile like fish, pasta, rice or pork and of course frozen veggies steamers. Oh, and a couple beers. But no night time snacks, no eating after dinner for me.

our lunch salad, and a yogurt
I track my food and exercise using the MyFitnessPal app on my smart phone, If I am trying out a new exercise I track it live with the CardioTrainer app which uses a GPS to calculate steps, miles, calories, time etc so I know what it's all worth (It's a 2 mile trip around Busch Gardens). I try to eat about 1200-1400 calories a day, and burn up 400 to 600 calories with exercise (biking, walking. treading water in pool) each day. On Fridays and Saturdays, I may go out to eat (love those buffalo chicken wings!) so my calories can jump to 2000 per day. But my activity is up too so I think it evens out.

 I also read a diet book I checked out from the library (an ebook) The Adaptation Diet by Charles A Moss, which outlined a basically low carb diet with other ideas too. I've implemented some of the ideas, like eliminating anti inflammatory pills like Aleve or Advil because they cause a "leaky gut". I've pretty much cut out bread, and corn products and potatoes. I've cut back on drinking beer and we've never been sugar lovers, so sweets are easy to ignore.

Well, I'm pleased to report we have each lost five pounds in a month with this plan. DH doesn't bike like I do, so his plan includes less exercising, but men lose weight easier anyway. And the wonderful thing is, this lifestyle is frugal. There are no special foods, or pills, or drinks needed to lose weight. It's good old fashioned healthy diet and exercise. It's a lifestyle that can endure and be long lasting, with occasional treats that will not sideline your efforts because overall a healthy lifestyle can sustain the bumps in the road.

When we lose 5 more pounds, I'll post an "after" photo. Stay posted.

Easing of Rules: Electronics On Airplanes

 
I just got back from a conference this weekend in Cincinnati, OH and wasted a whole bunch of hours of my life on an airplane. As usual when traveling, I packed a lot of electronic gadgets to entertain me, connect me and enable me to keep up with the web. I also packed a good old fashioned hardback book, (Ironhorse by the estate of Robert B. Parker). I also was excited to use my mobile app on my Android phone to access my boarding pass, therefore avoiding the stupid security TSA rep, scribbling meaningless doodle on my boarding pass while giving me the evil eye and exasperated sigh for using my phone app.
 
Anyway, as you know, we earthlings are prohibited from operating electronic gadgets below 10,000 feet cruising altitude in an airplane. This means the time from backing away from the gangway all the way up to cruising altitude, we must shut off our electronics. For many flights, this is at least a half hour of sitting there with nothing to listen to, no pictures to be taken out the window, and no reading to be done.
 
But not me, I break the rules when they are simply there to annoy me. When breaking the rule does not hurt or offend anyone, I'll do what I want. So, I listened to the music on my ipod. I did have my book to read legally - I don't break all the rules. Nice picture landing in Cincinnati, huh? I only put my phone on airplane mode rather than powering off all the way. OMG you rule breaker! But, really. Wait - its actually quite harmless these days with weaker cell signals and more insulation on planes. Just today, it was announced that efforts are underway in the FAA to lesson restrictions on electronic devices on airplanes.
 
Expect the rules to allow expanded electronic activity as early as this fall 2013.

How to Open Wine w/o a Corkscrew


I was out of town this past weekend at the Savvy Blogging Conference, and it absolutely blew my mind. There were a ton of other great bloggers who shared their tips of the trade, and also some techies who explained how to do the computer stuff. And of course, there was lots of swag. One of the items was a bottle of wine, compliments of ALDI. But, since I packed light and didn't plan to check any bags on the flight, that meant I had to drink the wine at the conference. Well, on Friday night for the dinner and dancing, I did this frugal hack by just unscrewing the handle off a hanger and then screwing it into the cork until it pooked through on the other end. Then I simply poured the wine out of the hole in the cork. It only took a couple minutes and it worked like a charm.
 

How To Find Amazon Prime Lending Library Books

If you have Amazon prime, you probably are aware of the benefit of getting one free "prime eligible" ebook per month of your membership. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find books that fit into this category unless you apply a few filters. Here is an easy way to browse the free "lendable" books. These thousands of books can be borrowed using any Kindle device, but they are not transferable to other devices such as Ipads, Smartphones or PCs. There are no due dates, the book remains on your device until you return it. You can not "check out" a new book until you return the previous one.
1. Go to Amazon and make sure you're logged in. In the search box, select the drop down arrow and select the BOOKS department.
2. Then scroll down and select Prime Eligible. You must be signed into your Amazon account for this selection to show, if you don't have prime, you won't see this choice.
3. Then select Kindle Edition from one of Formats.
This will show you all the Kindle books that may be borrowed on your Kindle for free. Now to actually check out the book you must do this through your Kindle device.
So, to make this easier when you are on your Kindle, I browse the books I want on the computer, and then put them on my ebook wishlist that I created. Then when I am on the Kindle, I just click the shopping cart and go to my ebook wishlist and check out the book that way.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Mobility Matters

So we're planning on going to Kinetix again this weekend. It's a fun outdoor show at Busch Gardens in the center of the park. It requires a bit of planning to get there on time since there may be lines in the parking lot, bag checks at the front entrance, ticket scanning issues at the gate, and then of course the half mile trek back to the area where the concert is. For the able bodied person it takes at least a half hour to complete all those steps to get seated in time for the event with the fantastic party starters and dancers.

But now some friends are considering going too, and one person is not functionally mobile. It is a complication that could be remedied but there is some denial that there is an issue by the immobile party. I'm not being unsympathetic to this person, but the mobility problem is just an effect of some bigger health issues. We've experienced the issues of managing a person's ability to move around when DH was injured in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. It required a lot of patience and extra planning, and especially extra time. It also involves extra effort from the caretaker making extra trips to get equipment needed or securing proper seating ahead of time. But I didn't mind because it meant we could share time together doing things besides sitting around with a leg propped up.

From my experiences, the problem with dealing with mobility issues is that the affected party usually feels like they are  not really disabled and immobile, so they refuse help from strangers and their friends. They insist they don't need the wheelchair, or the walker or the cane to move about. So they stumble along in pain, whimpering from the stabbing aches and breathing hard like they are going to die. Or they insist that they are well enough to go along with the event and refuse to discuss accommodating their immobility. They know they are an extra bother and its true. But guess what, the caretaker or friends want to attend the activity bad enough, so they are willing to make the sacrifice to make sure the immobile party can attend to. Because unfortunately in some relationships if the hobbled one stays home, everyone must stay home.

My mother is dealing with immobility issues as she ages and has had some serious injuries from falls. She definitely needs assistance with her mobility. But she doesn't want to admit it. She feels like it is an admission of being old, which she is. She doesn't want to give up her independence and be reliant on others for her mobility. She wants to go for nature walks and go to the gym for an aqua class but these activities are beyond her ability now. She does not want to accept this. So she tries to go for walks outside by herself without a walker or cane, and falls. It is sad.

Mobility does matter. To all of us. But when you are immobile you need to admit it. Accept offers of assistance from friends, family and strangers to help you get through that heavy door, or up that ramp, or by taking their seat on a bench. You are doing no one any favors by being the difficult one who refuses to get in a wheelchair. If putting you in a wheelchair will improve the activity for others, then sit your butt in the chair and shut up. They will gladly push you around and if its a public event you might even get front row seats for the handicapped seating area. You will allow your caretakers to leave you seated comfortably at all times instead of panting and breathing heavy after you've walked 100 ft and can't find a bench.

The point being is that it's not all about you. Just because you can't walk doesn't mean you can't live. The world we live in today is very accommodating to people with mobility issues and you can do almost everything an able bodied person can do. So quit complaining and get the proper equipment you need to be mobile. Then live your life. 

Planning for the Demise of Google Reader

With the upcoming death of Google Reader at the end of the month; I've had to set up RSS feeds with another feed reader to capture blog and news updates from hundreds of web sites. I've set up with Feedly, TheOldReader and Netvibes so far and none of them compare to Google Reader. Maybe its just me needing to learn how to use all the features, but they don't all sync or display nicely across my devices - computers, Ipad and smartphone. The problem with Feedly is it requires the use of a non internet explorer browser to view on a computer. This is not an option at my work so I can't view my feeds in the day. On the Ipad and Smartphone it's my favorite though. So, I've settled for netvibes which doesn't require a special browser or downloading software, so I can use it a work - for now, until they block it.

I've noticed I'm viewing my feeds less often since it is not as simple as Google Reader, and that certain deal and coupon sites really are borderline spammers with ten to fifteen posts per day. If I follow 50 deal sites who all post 10 times a day that's 500 feeds. So, I've grouped them together under one tab because they clutter my other feeds. And guess what, I rarely take the time to read them. I simply click "Mark As Read". For a while I will probably continue to do this, but eventually I suspect I'll just delete that tab. One of the greatest benefits of not viewing all these feeds, is that I don't get the temptation to spend money on stuff. It's saving me money to not read those blogs.

Another feature that's nice about Netvibes is that you can set up different "dashboards" where  you can put different types of feeds. I could have one for deals, and one for personal finance and one for news. I have noticed that if I put all my hundreds of feeds in one dashboard it errors out and cannot pull them all. I think it is from the spamming type accounts like news sites and deal forums. These sites send out hundreds of updates a day and netvibes can't seem to handle them.

If you use Google Reader, I would recommend you find an alternative now so you can export your feeds to a new vendor instead of creating them from scratch. You can also download your feeds into a file to be imported later if someone develops a great new reader. However, if you wait too long - Google Reader will be gone and you'll have to start from scratch building your feed list.

There are a couple other apps that I've started to use also, to help capture articles I want to read later. Since I don't really care for netvibes on my smartphone and Ipad I use Feedly. When I see an article I want to read, I bookmark it, or send it to Pocket or Dropbox. I also can send my photos from my phone to Dropbox and then access them on my computers. These sites also have free apps at Google Play and App Store on your phones and Ipads.

This is not a sponsored post, I am simply telling you how I am dealing with the demise of one of my most useful internet applications. It's kind of teaching me not to get too dependent on one entity because they could sell it or get rid of it, and you don't want to lose your stuff. I personally don't trust Google to not end any of their features including Picassa, Drive and Blogger. They are shutting down iGoogle in November which will force me to figure out a new homepage. That will again change how I manage my time on the internet.