Friday, January 27, 2012

Clean Your Junk Drawer & Make a Rubber Band Ball

Yes folks, here it is-the post you have all been waiting for...

How to Make a Rubber Band Ball!

Anyway, in following my New Year's Game Plan, I am trying to Get Organized. One of my first projects to tackle this year was cleaning out our junk drawer. Ugh-I do not know how all of that stuff fit in there! I should have taken a picture, but trust me when I say there were no fewer than 75 pens & pencils, piles of scrap paper that added up to reams of paper, at least 25 different chap sticks & lip balms, enough paper clips & safety pins to start a store, a few rolls of dimes (Seriously? Seriously.), hair accessories galore, and lots, lots more. Another thing in that junk drawer was rubber bands. I always can use rubber bands, but it isn't very useful when they are strewn about the drawer caught up on everything in there. So, rubber band ball!

1. Start with a pile of rubber bands. (Ignore dog hair throughout my pile.)

2. Crumple up first band. Admire ridiculously dry hands.

3. Wrap the second band around the first as many times as you need to. 
4. Wrap the third band around as many times as you need to, while trying to make/keep a ball shape. 
5. Keep on going this way until you have a rubber band ball. 

6. Stop bouncing it around the kitchen, and put it away before the kids see you!

The only problem with this is that it really is a fun bouncy ball, and the kids keep swiping it...

Gotta bounce...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

French Cosmo Drink Recipe

I found a new drink recipe recently and I wanted to share it with you. Of course, I have altered it a bit. It is  pretty darn good.

So, the French Cosmo, Vanessa style
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. triple sec
2 oz. cranberry juice
splash lime juice
Mix, & fill a tall glass with ice. Garnish with lime (or lemon, if you are taking a photo & need a garnish).

I googled French Cosmo, and apparently there are many versions.
The original version I saw called for 2 oz. vodka, 1/2 oz. triple sec, & 1 oz. cranberry juice. Oh, and of course you are supposed to shake it with ice, strain it, and put it in a fancy chilled martini glass-I skipped all that!


Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Make Money while De-Cluttering

Like many, I have been starting the new year with some de-cluttering. We have a lot of books here, and sometimes a good weed through is in order.

We generally give away our goodies as hand me downs or save them for our preschool yard sale, but with newer books it is possible to make some money selling them. Here is some information I have learned recently.

Have your heard of Cash4Books? This site buys back books. You can print a postage paid label from your home computer & mail them in. There is also a pretty handy app so you can scan a ISBN from your phone & find out right away if they will buy that book & how much you can get paid. If they make an offer on a book & you think it is too low, you can just decline the offer. I tried the app recently-pretty darn convenient. I did think the prices offered were quite low, but if you have recent textbooks, those look like they get a lot of money. They also have this list of 500 of the most recent books that they have purchased & how much they paid for each, so you can get an idea. To clarify, I have not actually sent in any books to them, but it seems like a legitimate option to use for selling used books as long as you do your homework & read all of the condition requirements, rules, etc.

What about Paperback Swap? I have been doing this one for at least a year or two now. With Paperback Swap, you create an account & list the books you have to swap. Other members can search for books and request books from you. If someone requests a book(s) from you, you are responsible for mailing the book to that person & paying postage. When they receive the book, you receive 1 credit which you can use to request a book from someone else. The sender always pays postage. You can also create a wishlist, and Paperback Swap will automatically notify you when a member posts that book. I have gotten lots of books this way-Fun! And, once you refer someone to Paperback Swap and they post 10 books to their account, you get a credit for referring them. Right on!

Amazon is also buying books back now. You can always sell used books on amazon, but it seems quite labor intensive and when you are competing with other sellers who are selling for a penny, it seems like it would be kind of hard to make money. But Amazon buys back certain books for Amazon credit. To see if Amazon is buying your book, look on the right side under Other Buying Options. If they are buying it, there will be a box here stating Sell Your Copy, with the amount of credit offered. So, the interesting thing here is that, like most Amazon items, the amount you are offered for your item varies day by day. I sold a book back for $6.44 today. Yesterday the sell back price was $2.98, and the day before that it was $3.96! Interesting...

For locals (Maine & New Hampshire, USA), Bull Moose Music buys back used CDs, DVDs, games, and books. You can get cash or credit (credit will be 25% more than the cash offered).

So, there you have it. Hopefully you learned something new & maybe you can make some money if you are de-cluttering this season. Have fun!

PS-What are you reading right now? I am reading Barnheart, by  Jenna Woginrich & The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson-Seriously good.

Happy reading,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fat Flush Soup

So, New Year's Resolutions, Goals, Plans, etc. Anyone? I have a few, one of which is Get Strong. I have fallen out of shape much more than I would like to admit the past few years, but the camera & the muscles don't lie. So, Operation Get Strong is (kind of) in effect.

Enter Fat Flush Soup. Have you ever checked out the books by Ann Louise Gittleman? I read the Fat Flush Plan a few years ago-liked it a lot. I got through 2 days of the Fat Flush and then it all crumbled-I don't love my days without dairy, sugar, or caffeine:( But I recently saw a recipe for a fat flush soup in Woman's World and it sounded delicious. I didn't love all of the ingredients so I altered it a bit-what's new? It better still flush the fat! (OK, OK, not expecting miracles here, but this soup is full of healthy ingredients and is pretty darn delicious-even the Mr. likes it!)

Here is the recipe, modified slightly from the original. I haven't figured out how to do the cool 'Print this' button, but this is pretty easy to cut & paste into a word document to print.
Fat Flush Soup
2 tsp. olive oil
1 20 oz. pkg ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pkg. frozen peppers
1/3-1/2 pkg. frozen spinach
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
half of a 64 oz bottle reduced sodium tomato or vegetable cocktail juice
1 14 oz can cannelli or kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 Tbls ground cumin|
Few shakes hot sauce
½ bunch each fresh cilantro & parsley, chopped
In sauté pan, heat olive oil. Saute meat until cooked through, about 5 min.  Dump turkey into stock pot.
In same saute pan, sauté onions, garlic, & peppers until soft, about 5 minutes. Just before finished, add spinach. Add to stock pot. Add vegetable juice & tomatoes.
Stir in remaining ingredients (beans, cumin, hot sauce), except cilantro & parsley.
Cover & simmer 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro & parsley. Cover, simmer 10 minutes longer. 
Good for several days in the fridge, but it won’t make it that long.
Here is the ingredients list, enough for 2 big batches of soup.

Fat Flush Soup Ingredient List
For 2 batches of soup, buy;
2 20 oz pkg. ground turkey
2 onions
1 bulb garlic
2 pkg. frozen peppers
1 pkg. frozen spinach
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 64 oz bottle reduced sodium tomato or vegetable cocktail juice
2 14 oz cans cannelli or kidney beans
1 jar ground cumin|
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh parsley
This list assumes you have hot sauce & olive oil at home. If not, pick these up too:)
And, the original recipe from Woman's World.

Fat Flush Soup,
Woman’s World magazine
2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 ¼ lb lean ground beef, turkey, or shredded chicken
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded & chopped
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 32 oz bottle reduced sodium tomato or vegetable cocktail juice
1 14 oz can beans, rinsed & drained
1 Tbls ground cumin|
1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
¼ c. each fresh cilantro & parsley, chopped
In stock pot, heat olive oil. Saute meat/poultry until cooked through, about 5 min. 
Saute onion, garlic, peppers, & mushrooms until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients, except cilantro & parsley.
Cover & simmer 20 minutes.   
Stir in cilantro & parsley. Cover, simmer 10 minutes longer. Store in refrigerator up to 5 days. Freezes well.
Makes 16 cups.
1 serving=3 cups.
Also, I finally caved & joined Pinterest. It is kind of awesome. Another great way to lose a few hours of your day effortlessly. You can look at all of the things you want to do, bake, & create, and then waste all of your time looking so you don't have time to do any of them (Oh, maybe that is just me-please tell me it's not!) Anyway, if you want in, it seems to be best to get an invite-so let me know if you want one!

Have a great day!