Time to Renovate- The Living Room Update

Friday, December 31, 2010

My living room blinds came in today( Sears sale)- replacing our older blue curtains and sheers.
It makes the living room look bigger now and hard to get used to after having curtains for so long.Will have to see if I can sell my curtains now.

We're slowly getting things done in this room.Not sure what I will save for next to get done in here. New carpet or coffee tables. One part of me still likes my old grey carpet though- it allows me to feel it's okay to walk in here if need be with my shoes on, just because it is "old".
Will keep you updated with any changes.


Review and Giveaway:Executive Gift Shoppe

With Gerry having an office job, I thought the Executive Gift Shoppe would be the perfect online store for a business type gift for him, to review. They had so much to choose from: from an engraved business card holder , flasks for men, and even photo frames, which is what I thought would be perfect for his desk. We love this eco-friendly leather 4" X 4" picture frame. It's very classy looking and will look great on his desk.

Executive Gift Shoppe started as a small personalized gift store in Nanuet, NY in 1999 catering to the wedding & corporate gift industry. They built their reputation by providing unique, engraved & personalized gifts at affordable prices. Over the years, they have added thousands of new products, many personalized and many that aren't.
You, are their valuable customers,and are their #1 priority. If you're not happy, their not happy.

Executive Gift Shoppe would love to give away one of these great looking photo frames to one lucky winner in Canada or the USA.
A random draw will be held January 12,2011 by from all entries recieved.

To Enter:

Like Executive Gift Shoppe on Facebook or follow them on Twitter

Extra Entries:

Add my button to your blog hop
Follow me on Twitter:oneincome
Tweet this giveaway
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Good luck to all!

Today's Quick Tip

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keep your computer running smoothly by keeping the inside of the computer tower dust free.
Open up the back of your computer tower and vacumm or blow out the dust that's in there on a regular basis.

Today's Winner!

Today's winner of the following giveaway:

** Winner has been contacted and has 7 days to reply before a new winner is selected.
Thanks to everyone who entered!

I'm Getting Married!

You may have remembered a few days ago when I told you I had a surprise I would share with you in a few days- well, I'm getting married this year. Well, not 2010 but you know what I mean.LOL

Gerry and I mutually agreed on it this Christmas.We're skipping the engagement ring, at my request. I do have a promise ring, and Gerry has been spending anything extra on Erika's schooling, and now that her boyfriend left her, she is going to need help with the rent.The money only goes so far on the one income.

Will let you know what we decide.
Still no date set yet but will keep you all up to date.
Erika will be moving back home for a few months before she changes schools, so once that is all out of the way we can get better organized.

We'll keep everyone up to date.

Ideally I'd love to have a cruise wedding- something small- just Gerry, the girls and I. I've never cruised and it seems very romantic.

Are No Name Brands Really A Good Deal?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm sure we've all seen grocery tips on saving money where your told to buy no name products, and that they'll save you money. I really felt it was time to comment on this, as I'm sure they will/do save you money, but at what cost?

You buy no name dish liquid, but if your using more of the product to get suds ,are you really getting a deal?Laundry soap is another example. I have personally bought some not so popular liquid laundry soaps, only to open the lid of the washer to see barely a soap sud in there.Good thing my clothes are not "dirty". I've also done reviews for Tide and really do notice a difference in the way they wash.

My bigger "beef" which brought me to writing this is more with food products. Gerry and I have gone to the grocery store and actually compared the food labels of the no name brands to that of the name brands.We've noticed on the no name nutrition content labels, higher sodium, higher fat, higher calories and just plain more unhealthier versions of the food with the no name than with the brand names. We've also found that "store brand" isn't as bad as the no name yellow bag/packaged foods. Not sure why, but you may want to do some label reading the next time you think that box of no name macaroni and cheese is a "good deal".

Just our 2 cents-but your input is always welcome.

Review ,Giveaway and Discount Code: Choccreate

If your looking to give a "different" type of a gift, something a bit different and fun are the custom made chocolate bars from Choccreate. Anyone who loves chocolate will love the opportunity to make and create their own chocolate bar. Or give a chocolate gift certificate when gift giving- they'll have fun creating their own chocolate masterpiece!

Gerry and I had fun on their site, creating a chocolate bar to our liking.It arrived exactly as we wanted and very nicely wrapped if we would have been giving it as a gift.

You get to choose your chocolate: milk, white, or dark, and then start creating your chocolate masterpiece. You can select from 90+ ingredients, with an almost unlimited amount of combinations, from nuts & dried fruit to herbs & spices, and decorations to suite the occasion.

This is chocolate your way! Or you can choose their Chocolate Surprise, where they choose for you, at a discounted rate.

If you love the good with the bad, you can try their healthy versions of their chocolate bars-
chocolate chock full of all that's good!

***A 20% Discount for our readers, valid through to 02/28/2011,is being offered as well: use coupon code "stretchingdollars".

Choccreate would love to give away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky winner from Canada or the US.

A random draw will be made by on January 12,2011 from all entries recieved.

To Enter:

Tell me if you like dark, milk or white chocolate the best.

Extra Entries:

Add my button to your blog hop
Follow me on Twitter:oneincome
Tweet this giveaway
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Grab my site button
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Grab both of my travel buttons

Good luck to all!

Wednesday-December 29

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas-a safe and a happy one.

It's been nice having my daughter in town from college. She's with us for 3 weeks.

I have to stop myself,from nagging her to pick up what she leaves or drops behind her. Like the lights and t.v left on when she leaves the room,etc..I feel we are lucky to have her with us in our lives, and that is more important than any power or heat bill.
The two of us were at the hospital again seeing granny, who is back on iv due to her potassium being too low.
Also stopped at Warehouse One to use one of my gift cards I recieved for Christmas.Got myself a new pair of pjs and a top- I went over, but liked both so didn't want to choose this time.

Things have been slow for reviews and giveaways right now as most of our sponsers are still taking holidays till the 3rd of January.

Here in Canada, our banks and post office were closed till today, so slowly we will get back into the swing of things again, till New Year's Eve and the New Year roll in.

What is everyone doing for New Year's Eve? We don't have any plans. We aren't partiers so will just be staying at home. I hear our girls are going out though, so we always like to hear their stories.

This year I had recieved a free hotel night stay for the hotel here in town, after we had problems earlier in the year, with their restaurant's service. I think Erika will be using that so she can go to the bar there for the New Year's Eve party, and not have to worry about a ride home that night, and just stay there with herself and a friend.

I don't know about you all, but I've been having my fair share of food and chocolates over the holidays.My stomache hasn't been too bad lately,( the IBS), so I've been able to eat more than when I normally do. Have been taking probiotics daily as well- and truly feel that is a great tummy tamer of all that's evil in there.

Off to get started on my day-may take some of my Christmas decorations down today.Will probably leave the tree up till the weekend though.
Have a great day!

Today's Quick Tip

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If your filling prescriptions, take advantage of pharmacies that offer prescription gift card offers. We take advantage of these at our local grocery store that has a pharmacy and then use the gift cards for our groceries.

Leveraging Post Holiday Sales for Valentines, Birthdays and Beyond

Christmas is one of the most wallet-stretching holidays, if not the biggest wallet-cleaning
holiday of the year. In our haste to check off that Christmas list, we usually spend more than
intended on gifts, and by the time the holiday are over, "broke but happy" is a common saying
for most of us. And just as soon as we're breathing normally, another holiday pops up. Valentine's Day, Aunt
Sally's birthday, a friend's baby shower - there is no time to shop or money to burn when those
days roll around!

As a mom and the primary family shopper, I've come to realize that planning ahead is a great way
to stay on top of my gift-giving desires and obligations. Plus, it lets me whip out amazing gifts for
any occasion. How do I do this? By taking advantage of post-Christmas sales! When
retailers want to get rid of surplus stock, I bring my wallet and a strict list of all my gift-giving
needs to their stores. This goes for online as well as brick-and-mortar stores.

Here are some tips on getting ready for post Christmas shopping:

Make your list. I update mine right after the New Year, removing people I may no longer be close to
and adding on new friends. This list should be organized by month, person, and the type
of gift they usually receive. I also stock up on hostess gifts and children's birthday gifts
at this time. Each person or category (such as hostess gifts) gets a price limit, and that is
written in big letters.

Know thy stores. Know which stores sell what, and who has the largest discounts for your
gift-giving needs. Stores will always advertise their blow-out sales, so next to each
person/category on your list, put a few stores that have what you need at the best

Coupon clipper? Bring them in when you go holiday shopping to combine discounts with
the coupons. This will make a big sale even lighter on the pocket.

Make room. Whether in the pantry, or the freezer, or the bedroom - dedicate space for
these gifts. It is much more efficient to have everything neatly stacked in one space.
When you've got an occasion coming up, you know EXACTLY where to go!

Not a fan of shopping right after Christmas? Scout your favorite online stores for post
Christmas blowouts. Most of them are sure to be clearing out their inventory for the
year. This way you can do all your post-holiday shopping in the safety (and calm) of your
own home, away from the other bargain hunters.

Good buys on post holiday sales:

Plain colored wrapper (one color, vibrant or elegant, of course). Pick a red, gold, silver,
or green. This will fit into various holidays within the year, and if you have a signature
hue, buy that, and make your present really represent you when giving it to the

Craft supplies. Handy with crafts? Make your own gifts/wrap them/make holiday cards
and the like with craft supplies you bought at a fraction of the cost.Gift sets. Holiday baskets or packages can easily be repacked in a canvas tote, or other
packaging to use as birthday gifts. As long as the items themselves aren't in holiday
edition packaging, they can be used year-round as gifts.

Classic fashion. Fashion is always on a steep post-holiday discount, so take advantage
and stock up on gifts for relatives and friends who have
timeless style. Classic little black dresses, scarves for the winter, and flip flops for the
summer will be amazing gifts for the eternal Fashionista on the list.

Food and snacks. Check the expiration date before you buy! Candies and other food
items are priced at an all-time low after Christmas, so bulk up for those winter and
spring holidays such as Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter. They're also perfect
for a friend or family member who loves sweets and snacks. Repackage them into a
personalized box or basket and surprise them with a load of food that you got at a
fraction of cost!

Baking and food preparation items. Don't have time to make them a cake? Make it a basket
of food preparation items that you got on sale. Many home goods stores put their baking
items on discount, so make a nice basket of inexpensive cake or brownie mixes and the
appropriate pan(s). Tuck a loving note into the package and you'll have a personalized gift
that, with any luck, you'll be invited to partake in when the time comes!

I love to start the year by saving money on items that would normally rack up unexpected
expenses. By using this post holiday shopping tip sheet, you'll never forget an occasion or a
holiday, or overspend on something that you bought at the last minute. Pinching
pennies doesn't have to mean looking cheap!

Maxine is a dedicated mother who works to instill in her children the ideas of giving, charity and frugality so they have a solid foundation for their future. When not with her family, she works for Treetopia, a seller of artificial Christmas trees. The Christmas tree sale this holiday season was particularly busy but a great reminder for her of the need to balance work and family.

Today's winner!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Today's winner of the following giveaway:
is :

** Winner has been contacted and has 7 days to reply before a new winner is selected.
Thank you to all who entered!

Sunday-December 26th

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today was a busy one for us: as we spent time going to Walmart to do a few Christmas returns of Erika's and then picked ourselves up a new cordless phone with a gift card we had gotten from my brother.Shouldn't have really gone there, as it was just too busy to move around comfortably. But we also had to venture to the grocery store for romaine for the guinea pigs.We all had gotten a few Walmart gift cards but will use them another time when it's less busy.

We are heading out of town tommorow afternoon for some mystery shopping.Since I will have my mileage reimbursed at .36 km, it will make it worth my while.Gerry is working the morning only, so he's chauffeur in the afternoon.

I saw Sears online had a Boxing Day sale on blinds today, so I ordered the ones for the living room.Saved $100+ than what it would have costed at regular price.Had the cash saved for them.Only thing is that they are white and not ivory like the side window we have in here,that has an ivory blind, but Gerry feels it hardly will be noticable, and not at all if the blinds are open.

I had my Boxing Day supper tonight as well, so it took time to get that all ready. I was glad I had cooked my turkey the day before and just carved it and put aside- the silly thing was so big that it took 8 hours to cook! Much easier doing that the day before the supper. Anyone else cook their turkey a day before the rest of the trimmings?

My grandma is still in the hospital and we've been going there daily to visit with her but looks like she should be able to come home soon. She wants to. She said she had a severe bladder infection and didn't know she had it till it hit her that day.

My girls are both out tonight at a Boxing Day social.I remember the days when I used to party till late. Now I'm content to stay home and go to bed at a decent hour.

Other than that,Christmas was great - and in the next day or two I will have a surprise to tell you about something that happened to us at Christmas.Hope everyone had a safe, peaceful Christmas. If you were out Boxing Day shopping, I'd love to hear about your best deal!


Today's Winner!

Friday, December 24, 2010
Is today's winner of the following giveaway:

** Winner has been contacted and has 7 days to reply before a new winner is selected.
Thank you to all who entered!

Wishing Everyone A Merry Christmas!

At this time, I'd like to wish all my readers a safe and happy holiday season.I hope you all have a fun Christmas and enjoy the company of your family and friends.

Think of all that leftover turkey you'll have! (smile)Turkey soup, turkey pie,turkey sandwiches, and on and on.And yes, you can freeze your cooked turkey.

Remember to save as much of your throw aways such as boxes, card envelopes and extras, for the recycling depot.It makes a much better home there than at the garbage dump.

My 88 year old grandma is in the hospital still and may be over Christmas, so I do ask for your prayers for her for a speedy recovery.Certainly not the place you want to be in for Christmas.

Looks like we will be having Boxing Day supper here with the girls.One just broke up with her boyfriend so we will be minus one guy.As for our family, unfortunately, this one doesn't talk with that one or that one like this one, so we're keeping it small, with just Gerry, myself, Ria, Erika and Ria's new boyfriend.
Does this happen in your family as well- family not getting along?
Wish we could all be like the Waltons and the Brady Bunch but it just ain't so.

However, this is Stretching the One Income Dollar's second Christmas, and we hope for many more to come! Merry Christmas Everyone!


Review and Giveway:Bubble Talk by Techno Source

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is a great time of the year to have games in the house for when friends and family come over during the holidays.Bubble Talk is a fun new game from Techno Source.

The game is as much fun if you are 8 or 80.
Bubble Talk begins when each player draws seven random caption cards. The judge for that round draws a picture card and players must quickly try to match the funniest caption they have to the picture. The player who makes the judge laugh the most wins that round! Very simple game with no complicated instructions. I hate complicated games that you have to stop in the middle of the game and reread the instructions because your not sure if your playing it right or forgot what all the rules were.
Good for 3-8 players,Bubble Talk is now available for purchase at specialty retailers nationwide for just $19.99. Fun for the whole family!

Techno Source would love to give away one of these games to a lucky reader from Canada or the USA.

A random draw will be made by on December 30,2010 from all entries recieved.

To Enter:

Leave your email address

Extra Entries:

Add my button to your blog hop
Follow me on Twitter:oneincome
Tweet this giveaway
Add this giveaway to your Linky
Grab my site button
Follow as a Google Friend
Follow as an email subscriber
Grab both of my travel buttons

Good luck to all!

Last Minute Gift Suggestion: The Body Shop's Gift of Joy Collection

If you are still running around and holiday shopping, a great place to pick up great beauty products is from The Body Shop. They have a nice collection called the Gift of Joy Collection.
Scents such as spiced vanilla,cranberry joy, and jolly orange really give your sense of smell a nice wake up.I love their products .My favorite would have to be their body butters-they are so nice and thick and smell sooo good.
I'm also boiling their scented fragrance oil and it smells so nice-a cranberry scent.
By boiling a few drops of it in a pot with some water, it works just as well if your like me and don't have a fragrance burner.
Since my gramma is in the hospital, I'm going to take her some of their jolly orange body butter and spiced vanilla bath soap to make her feel good.I believe fragrance can really help pick up your spirits.
You can use their online store locator to find a location nearest you and shop for last minute gift ideas.
The Body Shop carries products for men and women.

Free Groceries

All the groceries in the above photo I got free today.It was nice walking away and not having to pay anything.
How did I do it? Well, I had 2 free products coupons for the Pillsbury and the General Mills cereal.It didn't say I couldn't buy the biggest boxes, just no club packs, so I bought the biggest sizes. I got the salad mix half off,( for my guinea pigs), and the rest I had a $10 gift card from my prescriptions I fill at this grocery store.
At Walmart I had a coupon to get a free body wash( $4.77) when buying a deodorant- so not a bad shop for today.
Of course I did buy a few other things, but wanted to share about this shop.


Today's Winner

Today's winner of the following giveaway is:

** Winner has been contacted and has 7 days to reply before a new winner is selected.
Thank you to everyone who entered!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I know it's winter, and here I am reviewing sandals, but I'm planning ahead!
I came across a great site with great sandals: Flojos. I was really excited to get the opportunity to review these sandals. My Walmart sandals that I had for one season, just couldn't keep up to all the walking I did this Summer. The bottoms thinned out so much that the rocks would just get stuck in there and I could feel them at the bottom of my foot when I walked. The flaps where I velcroed them up, loosened up too, so they just wouldn't have made it for next summer's walks.

The sandals I got to review are the Tierra sandals- a women's toning sandal.The bottoms of these are quite different than any sandal I've ever had.You actually roll when you walk- from heel to toe.I was walking around the house trying them out-and it was like I was walking on air.Flojos sandals are a great quality sandal. There may be some of you planning a winter getaway this year, so check out Flojos for a lot of great looking sandals for your holiday.Or perhaps you're one of those lucky ones that lives someplace warm all year round?

Flojos (pronounced flo-hos, meaning “kick back” in Spanish) specializes in beach, fashion and sport sandals for women, men and children, with a focus on comfort, style and affordable prices.

** The Tierra sandals (slip into fit line of shoes), are available online to Canadians but do require extra shipping/handling and duty charges.The rest of the line is available at regular shipping costs to Canadians.

Holiday Gift Guide Suggestion:Fruit of the Loom

With just a few days left before Christmas, I wanted to suggest another great idea for under the tree, and that is Fruit of the Loom underwear and apparel. Fruit of Loom is a well known brand to all I'm sure, as they have been around for more than 150 years.
Their collections feature classic and contemporary styling with comfortable cotton fabrics and carefree cotton blends, and are readily available at your local retailer.

Gerry recieved 3 plain white classic t-shirts and boxers to go with them.They are light weight and great for bed.

They carry underwear and apparel for everyone in the family.
You can buy Fruit of the Loom products with confidence ... as they stand behind every product they sell. That's why they offer an unconditional guarantee:

If you are not satisfied with any Fruit of the Loom product, return it to Fruit of the Loom. You will receive a new one, if available, or your money back.
Happy Holidays from Fruit of the Loom.

Entering Contests for Profit and Fun

Everyone likes to win and get something for free, and an unexpected windfall could easily be yours if you choose to enter contests. Not only is the anticipation a lot of fun, but most contests are free to enter and require only that you fill out a survey, or in some cases, merely provide your contact information. And you could win all sorts of prizes, starting with something as small as a discount coupon or a gift certificate and reaching such levels as an all-expenses-paid trip to see a show or exhibit, a new car, or even cash money! You may not win, but since it’s free to enter, you stand to lose nothing (except maybe a few moments of your time, which you could chalk up to entertainment). So how do you get started?

Depending on where you live, there are probably thousands of localized contests. You may find them in stores that you frequent or be approached by individuals looking for your John Hancock out in public. You can also find them on products that you purchase or in magazines (with mail in entry forms). But the best way by far to enter contests and sweepstakes is via the worldwide web. Not only are they offered at many of your favorite online retailers (often in the form of pop-up ads) and through blogs that you read regularly (as giveaways), but there are entire databases devoted to bringing you contests that are held online.

A good place to start is a website like They offer free links to current contests, but also provide instant-win opportunities like gift cards, coupons, and discounts given simply for signing up for a service or filling out a survey. However, entering contests piecemeal can be fairly time intensive. While you could spend all day seeking contests and filling out entry forms (and many people do) you may not have the time for such an undertaking. However, the more contests you enter, the better chance you’ll have of winning. For this reason, you may want to consider signing up for a service, such as Win for Me, that only requires you to fill out information once and then enters you in hundreds of sweepstakes using that information. Unfortunately, it is a paid service (starting at about $12 monthly, but going down as low as about $6 per month if you purchase a year in advance).

Of course, most people don’t want to pay to enter contests. It is for this reason that many of us do it as a hobby. Since there is no guarantee of winning (and most sweepstakes let you enter only once anyway) it’s probably better not to spend money on it. After all, you’ll be lucky if you win one or two prizes for every hundred you enter. The point is not necessarily to make money (although winning cash or prizes is the impetus and the ultimate goal), but rather to have fun. People participate in all kinds of time-wasting activities, but if you make entering contests a hobby, you stand to get more than a few moments diversion; you could actually win!

Kyle Simpson writes for Upgradeable where you can find the right ram and lap top memory to get your computer running like a powerhouse.

Today's Winner
Today's winner for this is:

** Winner has been contacted and has 7 days to reply before a new winner is selected.
Thank you to all who entered!

Today's Quick Tip

Were you short on money this year for your holiday shopping?Did you use your credit card for holiday shopping? Do you wish you would have had more to spend on gifts? Start saving after Christmas for next year. Open a Christmas savings account and start adding to it regularily.Even putting $20 aside every paycheque makes a difference, and will have you a nice little chunk of change next year to spend on gifts.

Affordable Snowmobile Buying

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If you live in a rural part of the northern hemisphere, you are probably more aware of global warming that the average equator-adjacent individual. While everyone seems to think that global warming is a literal term, meaning that the entire planet is warmer, this is a misconception. In fact, the process is one by which temperatures (and attendant weather) simply become more extreme (highs are higher, lows lower). So while those in the middle climes may be pleased as punch to have some relief from the hotter weather that characterizes their summers, those in in colder regions are suffering more extreme temperatures in every season. If you find that the last few winters have left you dealing with a lot more snow than you’re used to, then perhaps a snowmobile is the solution. Unfortunately, this type of specialized vehicle can be pretty pricy.

So how much do they cost? Most snowmobiles range in price from about $5,000 to $10,000 brand new (plus the cost of licensing, classes, and so on, which differ from region to region). Even used ones tend to start in the neighborhood of $2,000. Suddenly mukluks and snowshoes are looking pretty good, right? But don’t despair. If a snowmobile is what you need to make it through the winter without having to hibernate for three months at your cabin on Minnesota-every-town Lake Wobegon, this winter vehicle could be in the cards for a lot less.

The first thing to know about snowmobiles is that they are as widely varied as automobiles. There are a number of manufacturers to choose from, as well as a huge selection of sizes, engines, features, and so on that will affect the price. Plus, you can find workable used snowmobiles dating back to the 1960s (or even older), although you may not want to go with a vintage model for the simple fact that restoration may be expensive due a decided lack of replacement parts. Your best bet would probably be to look for a model that is a few years old but has compatibility with other models so that parts will be easy to find and cheap to purchase.

As for saving on the initial cost, there are a number of ways to do this, as well. You can begin by searching websites where individuals owners trade used snowmobiles in order to find potential vehicles in your area for less than buying at a retailer (although you should first check your state’s lemon laws to ensure that you don’t end up stuck with a snowmobile that craps out, leaving you with no recourse for reimbursement). You might also want to look into local classified ads as well as poking around on Craig’s List to nab a steal. And if you have any mechanical ability, you can always get a vehicle that’s not running (on the cheap) and install a new motor yourself to create a snowmobile that’s good as new at a fraction of the cost. In short, you should approach buying a snowmobile as you would any other vehicle. Do your homework and look for a deal and you’re sure to find just what you need within your limited budget.

Kyle Simpson writes for Ask Deb, where you can find Olive Garden Coupons , Outback Steakhouse Coupons and tons of other great deals on your favorite eating and shopping establishments.

Tommorow is -December 21- First Day of Winter

Monday, December 20, 2010

Although you'd think we've already had our first day of winter ages ago for some of us, tommorow will officially be the first day of Winter.

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and marks the official beginning of winter.

The days will now be getting longer. In six months, Earth will be on the other side of the sun and residents of the Northern Hemisphere will enjoy the longest day of the year.

7 Sites you Should Visit Before you Buy Online This Holiday Season

Have a low tolerance for standing in line? Dislike broken limbs (and teeth)?

Sounds like you’re probably planning on avoiding the masses of people at the local mall this holiday season. Good on you. You’re probably considering shopping online instead, however — you still might want to do some homework beforehand.

You’ll need to protect yourself from high prices and identity thieves alike. Here are seven sites that you should visit before you even think about purchasing anything online:

ShopShield (

Fear online identity theft? Look no further than ShopShield! The site allows you to make secure online payments by using a “virtual” credit or debit card, thereby protecting your name, billing address, e-mail address, credit and debit cards, and bank accounts. The cards, which are anonymized using secure encryption measures, expire after one use. (You can choose to have a reusable card for one merchant in order to gain frequent shopper rewards, and a special travel card uses your real name while keeping your billing information anonymous.) It’s free for sixty days, and also free when you charge purchases directly to your checking account. The “Free Plus” plan allows you to pay as you go (with $1.99 per transaction), while the “Unlimited” plan comes out to about $99 a year.

GroupOn (

If you’re thinking about doing your holiday purchasing at a local online retailer, GroupOn might just be for you. GroupOn is a hugely popular deal-of-the-day site with 2 million members (and counting). Featured in Forbes, Time, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal, among others, GroupOn works by negotiating deals with businesses, then offering deals to members via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. The deal is activated once a minimum number of people agree to buy. You print out your coupon (or use your online voucher), present it to the participating business, and voila! 50-90% off. You’re welcome.

MyCoupons (

If you’re looking for major savings, MyCoupons posts real-time coupon codes and printable coupons on its website. You just search the merchant you want to shop, find a coupon code, and enter it in at check-out time (they also have printable coupons). Coupons are also grouped by category on the site, and the “Holiday deals” one is hot this time of year — so make sure to check it out fast!

MyPoints (

MyPoints offers points and rewards for shopping through their website (as well as lists coupons and daily deals). Rounding up points earns you more savings on shopping, and free giftcards (for example, 11,700 points gets you a $100 Macy’s giftcard). A great option if you’re planning on doing the majority of your shopping online.

Shop It To Me (’

Ever needed a personal shopper? If you’re a style-conscious man or woman, then Shop It To Me is the next best thing. Just tell it your favorite designers/brand, styles, and your size, and it’ll update you with deals, secret promotion codes, and coupons via “Salemail.” You decide when you receive Salemail, and it’s totally free to use, too. Shop It To Me limits its retailers to only top-quality brands, though - sorry, Wet Seal fans.

Overstock (

Overstock specializes in grabbing excess merchandise from retailers and selling it online at heavily discounted or clearance prices. From couches, to clothes, to cameras, Overstock has an extremely diverse set of inventory to pick and choose from — but beware: items sell out, and fast. That sparkly new tupperware set you saw last week might be gone tomorrow, so don’t delay if you see something you want. Oh, and shipping is $1, flat, for all purchases. Sounds like a winner to me.

Gotta Deal (

Gotta Deal is an all-around “deals” site, much like some of the ones listed above — but its real draw is its online community forum, where savings-savvy users post hourly on deals (the “Online Hot Deals” board is the most active with over 170,000 posts.) This site is also immensely popular — it has up-to-the-minute “leaks” from major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Sears. Gotta Deal also has a free app, so make sure to put that iPhone to use, if you’re so inclined.

About the Author: Daniel Flores is a freelance writer for Oval and Round Mirrors. The company specializes in selling a diverse selection of wall mirrors in all sorts of shapes such as oval, round and rectangle mirrors in many sizes and finishes. Most of the frame styles have been developed especially for us and are therefore not available anywhere else on the internet.

Win A Free Cruise! 2 Days Left!

Who wants to win a free cruise? I do, I do! Well, you better hurry then- as you have 2 days left to be a lucky winner in MSC Cruises, Cruise a Day Giveaway.

Prize Details
20 prize winners, one a day, will each receive a free Caribbean cruise for two.

The prize will be awarded in the form of a cruise certificate in the amount of $250 valid for the MSC Poesia United States/Bahamas Caribbean cruise departing on January 2, 2011. The MSC Poesia departs from Port Everglades, Florida, stops in Nassau, Bahamas and returns to Port Everglades on January 4, 2011. The prize package includes an interior cabin for two guests sharing the same stateroom.

Prize Eligibility
Only persons residing in United States, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Yukon who are at least 18 years of age can enter.

Sweepstakes Starts
December 03, 2010 @ 12:00 am (EST)
Sweepstakes Ends
December 22, 2010 @ 11:59 am (EST)

Need more Details?
Read the Official Rules

Review: Black Sock's Classic Merino Wool Socks and Men's Boxer Briefs

Gerry can honestly say he's never had a pair of dress socks that were $16 for a trial pair, but sure noticed the difference when he put them on, and commented on how nice they were! I even noticed after I washed them, that they felt so soft. There IS a difference with paying a bit more.
What did he review? The Classic Merino wool socks from Black These are a made from luxury wool.
Their men’s Merino wool dress socks will keep your feet cool in the summer and toasty warm in the winter.
Merino wool is also a better quality than conventional wool and feels soft and sleek against your skin. This wonder wool is breathable, neutralizes odors and wicks sweat away from your skin. The natural characteristics of the wool make the socks extremely comfortable for extended wear.

He also reviewed their mens boxer briefs: Delphine Trunk Style , and commented on how they were nice because they felt so light and "not there" as well as very stretchy and so comfortable.These come in black, white and grey
Made for comfort and style: These sleek trunk (no fly) mens boxer briefs are made to last. They are available in small, medium, large and extra-large .
Fabric content: 95% cotton, 5% spandex.

Thank you Black Socks for allowing Gerry to review this product in exchange for our comments.

Sunday- December 19

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We just put our tree up today. We were waiting for Erika to get home from college, and she arrived yesterday. She put some Christmas music on the tv., and we decorated and set the gifts underneath. Later on we watched the new Ben Affleck movie : The Town...really loved this movie! Great all star cast.

Erika's staying in her old room, but unfortunately not much in there but the blow up mattress.
Gerry should get a company bonus this spring so a bed for her room will be something we'd like to put in there for her, especially since she will be staying here from May- September, till the next school year starts.

We did re-paint the room this month- from pink to brown, but we have been saving for fixing up the living room, making some changes as we can afford it. Saving right now to replace the blue curtains in here,( so 80's). Blinds will replace the curtains once I can save about $250 for that.We have a bow window,so there are 3 windows to cover, each costing around $70.

Erika wants to do her second year college in another city, closer to home next year. Right now, she's a 12 hour drive away. Moving for her second year accounting, will place her about 6 hours away. Her dad and Gerry have been paying tuition. Next term( January) she has another $500 worth of books to pay for,on top of the tuition that was paid!

It's times like these that I wish I would have had an education savings plan set up for her.

So if your reading this and have small kids,consider saving for something like your child's college education.It comes before we know it.

3 Ways to Earn Money on a Cruise Ship

Jobs that ‘have it all’ are so rare. In addition to a regular pay check, a lively work environment and steady working hours are what people generally look for in an ideal job. Cruise ship jobs offer all this and much more. Employees get to travel to exotic destinations for free and meet the who’s who of the high society. Working on a cruise ship can be the ultimate job. Plus, the glamour quotient of saying ‘I work on a cruise ship’ is quite high compared to ‘I have a regular desk job’! There are also several ways that you can earn extra money while on the job. Here are 3 ways that you can make money on a cruise ship:

Get a Job Aboard the Ship!

Obvious, isn’t it? Cruise ships have all sorts of jobs that one can apply for. Be it a waiter, chef, pool guards, engineers, performing artists, IT technicians or managerial positions, there is bound to be a job that fits your skill set. Having some form of formal education in the field is definitely a plus though. There are several full time courses as well as online education options where you can get a degree or diploma in Hospitality and Travel and Tourism. In addition to a steady pay and working hours, employees get free boarding as the job requires them to live on the ship for the contract period. No worrying about gas or car prices, no worrying about grocery shopping, no electric or water bill. This means virtually no expenses - so most of your earnings get saved.

Write a Blog!

Blogging is the ‘In’ thing on the internet at the moment, with popular blogs raking in lots of money from ads. Working on a cruise gives you plenty of unique experiences to relate on your own travel blog. Take an online crash course on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and once your blog has a good following, you can start placing ads on it for which you get paid! It’s a great way to spend your off duty time and make some extra cash while you are at it.

Sell Articles and Photographs!

Articles are different from blog writing. They are more detailed and informative, usually carrying more literary weight. There are several sites online that pay authors to write travel articles for them. Working on a cruise gives you a unique perspective and can fetch a good sum for your written word! Also, if you have a flare for photography, you can sell photographs of picturesque locales to travel sites. Another great way to use your spare time to make money.

To cut a long story short, working on a cruise ship is not only fun but has great financial benefits. If you have a passion for travel, a thirst for adventure, and want a well paying job, then working on a cruise ship is for you! Sure, there is a lot of hard work and learning involved; you may even be required to work longer than the regular 9 to 5, 8 hour shift but the benefits, both cash and kind, more than make up for it. It can be said that working on a cruise ship is a rewarding experience indeed!

12 Unusual Events Around The World This Christmas

In the spirit of the Season, I thought I would share with you different Christmas events that are celebrated all over the world. Click on the map to learn about each one!

Happy Holidays!!!


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