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Archive for December, 2011

2011 spending

December 31st, 2011 at 02:33 pm

I spent $2,699.15 more in 2011 than in 2010, almost 11% more. Most of that can be attributed to the carpet I bought for my whole house. The other big difference was in food. I started eating more whole food and lots more vitamins. I spent $2,314.65 more on food in 2011. I averaged almost $275/month. As some compensation restaraunt meals went down $324.78. The other big decrease was health costs which went down $2716.80. Due to the fact I didn't have to go to the hospital and have several organs removed Smile Also because of eating better I've been able to go off 4 of my 6 medicines.

Next year my HOA went up $53/month and my health care went up $44/month. So I'll be spending almost $100 more a month on basics. Plus the gas/heating bill is supposed to go up in January, but I don't know by how much yet.

I don't forsee any major expenses, except I plan to go to Maine on vacation in the fall. I'd also like to get a new laptop or computer sometime next year. I estimate around $1500 for the Maine trip and about $350 for the computer.

My property tax should go down, but my income tax will be a couple hundred more so that's a wash.

I finished reading my book Sweet Liar by Jude Devereaux. Romance - good.

Staples deals

December 30th, 2011 at 02:11 pm

Staples had a printable coupon that I sent to my parents and printed out for myself. It was fill an eco-bag with whatever will fit and get the bag free, plus 15% off any thing in the bag. Plus furniture is also 15% off. The coupon is good thru tomorrow. After we walked today we went there and I got 3 check files, on sale for $5 each from $6.98, plus 15% off. I also got a hundred straws for $.85. I got the straws because I was using my easy rebates from last month, which were about $12.90 and wanted to use it all. I use straws every day in my drinking mug. I ended up spending .92. I use the check files to store the receipts for the items I donate thru out the year. I have to keep them for taxes, so I need a new one every year. I also keep my other receipts in another one thru the year and every other year I throw the 2 year old receipts away and reuse the check file. That way I have most receipts for up to 2 years if I need them.

While there I picked out a desk chair that my parents are going to give me for my birthday. Mine is falling apart. I didn't think I was going to find one at first they were all over $100 and many of them were very chintzy. But at the front of the store where I walked right past them, without seeing them, were chairs on sale for $60 - a $70 savings. They were nice, faux leather, high back and adjustable with arms. Just what I wanted. I sat in one and it was comfy so parents got that and with the 15% discount it was around $50. They also got some other things to put in their eco-bags and they gave me the bag.

We went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch - spent $12.06

I finished reading the library book Bonnie by Iris Johansen. Mystery - very good.

Sherlock Holmes

December 29th, 2011 at 04:42 pm

Took my youngest niece to see Sherlock Holmes this afternoon. We both liked it. Spent $12 using my CC that gives 5% back on movies this quarter.

Went to the Egg and I for breakfast/lunch first. First time there for her and she got an omelet and said it was really good. I spent $17.35. I also bought a $50 gift card and got a $10 bonus gift card. Again paid for with my CC that gives 5% back on restaraunts this quarter.

Before picking her up I stopped at King Soopers and got 5 Zone bars for free. King Soopers changed their coupon policy from only allowing 3 like coupons to allowing 5. That's good news for me and a little surprising since most stores are making it harder to use coupons. Gave all the bars to my niece since she likes them.

After the movie we stopped at a calaner kiosk in the mall and she got a Michael Jackson calendar for half price. Mom always buys them a calendar each year and she gave her $15 towards one, but niece only spent $9 and gets to keep the extra.

Last stop was the dollar store. I needed 13 gallon trash bags and wanted some lemon juice. They didn't have any juice, but I got 28 trash bags for a $1.

My niece was telling me her mom's new boyfriend has started spending Friday and Saturday night there and she really doesn't like it. I told her she's welcome to come stay with me when she wants to. She said she had thought about doing that. It must really be bad for her to want to leave all her stuff to come to my boring house. I don't have any game systems or movie channels or stuff for her to play with. If she decides to come over I'll see about renting a movie or something. She doesn't like to read, so I can't give her a book. The older one would be ok with that. I have my dolls from when I was a kid and when she was younger she used to play with those, but she's 17 now, way to old for that.

I finished reading the library book Tangled Reins by Stephanie Laurens. Romance - pretty good.

not the best xmas ever

December 27th, 2011 at 02:58 pm

Christmas was marred this year by a lot of fighting and bad feelings. Sister and youngest niece were fighting a lot when they got to my parents. Niece not happy that sister invited new boyfriend to family event and boyfriend was half an hour late for lunch. So that wasn't fun.

Then they had originally planned to come to mom's and open presents in the morning. That worked out fine. Everyone was happy with what they got/gave. We were supposed to eat lunch at 1:00, but sister's boyfriend was late so it was closer to 2. Lunch was great. The girls were supposed to go to thier father's house at 4:00 to celebrate with him.

About 1 he starts texting the youngest saying "I'm home, come on over" She explained we were waiting for boyfriend to get there and he got really upset, saying he expected them for dinner and if they were going to eat a big lunch, they wouldn't appreciate his dinner, etc, etc. Jerk. He puts a big guilt trip on both girls for not rushing right over, even though he originally set it up for 4 and he knew they were eating with us first.

Both girls feel really bad and don't want to spend time with either side, because it's more hassle than it's worth. He's mad because sister has boyfriend and brings him to family deal, even though he has a girlfriend, but he says he didn't go to her house and spoil her kids xmas. Just a bunch of babies. The girls are more mature than either parent.

The oldest was saying this might be her last year at a family xmas, because of the hassle and she feels bad. I told her I didn't care if we didn't have it till January, I just wanted to see her, I didn't care what day it was. I also told her that the plans were made and agreed to long before the day and if someone get upset when they change them that's their problem not hers. Other people's disappointments/feelings are thier problem not hers.

Anyways it was awkward and not the best. I guess next year we are going to try some other time to get together. That's fine with mom and me.

I got all the things I asked for and more. Mom decided to splurge because she got some money from grandma's estate recently. Gave me and my sister $1000 each on top of more presents than usual. Gave the girls and extra $100 from grandma.

This was the first xmas without my grandma so that was hard too.

After the girls left to see their father, I left too. I find the new boyfriend very boring, and didn't care to hang around. I went back over a couple hours later after they left and played games with parents.

I finished reading the library book Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara. Sci/fi - excellent.

betcha didn't know

December 23rd, 2011 at 02:17 pm

how we're paying for the payroll tax extension bill that just passed. According to Yahoo finance "The two-month version's $33 billion cost will be covered by a 0.1 percentage point increase on guarantee fees on new home loans backed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae at a likely cost of about $17 a month for a homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage"

So someone who gets a new mortgage or refinances starting next year will have to pay an extra $17/month on their mortgage for the term of the mortgage. That does not seem fair to me. They say it will be temporary, but I doubt that. Housing is already hurting, so I don't see how this will help, I also don't see why homeowners should have to pay the bill or why we should be taking money from the social security system at a time when they are broke. Obviously I don't understand politics or high-finance.

I'm making my pumpkin custard again today to take to xmas. I'll also bring some celery with the cream cheese, peanut butter and caramel dip I made the other day.

Today I sauteed some green beans in butter with salt and pepper, then added a couple tablespoons of Salsa to the mix. I cut up the leftover ham mom gave me and I had a really good one pot dish.

I occassionally get a free box of macaroni and cheese. Usually I donate them. I had one and decided to try a recipe I read about with pork rinds. I took the cheese packet from the box and put about a third of it in a baggie. I added pork rinds and shook it up. They tasted pretty good. Maybe not the most 'pure' of foods, but low-carb and a nice crunch factor.

I finished reading the library book Dragon's Time by Anne McCaffrey. Sci/Fi - very good.

Puritan's Pride

December 22nd, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I recently found this website and they are offering a great deal on vitamins right now. Buy 1 get 1 free, or buy 2 get 3 free etc. Plus free shipping on orders over $25. I've been using several vitamins in the last few months and I priced out the ones I use and found that I could buy a year's worth of several of them for what I was paying for 2 months worth in the local stores. I ended up buying a years worth of 7 of my vitamins. It's a big outlay now, but will save a lot over the course of a year. Some of my pill costs went from .15/pill to .02/pill - a nice savings.

It's snowy and nasty here today so I didn't go out to walk. Plan to work on jigsaw puzzle and read. For dinner I'll fix some of the turkey mom gave me, with roasted pumpkin and a cranberry sauce. Mini thanksgiving.

I finished reading my book Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole. Paranormal - very good.

Atlas Shrugged

December 21st, 2011 at 02:08 pm

I used my last free Redbox code to rent this movie last night. Pretty good, I liked it although I didn't realize it was the first part of 3 and the 2nd one won't be out till fall of 2012. It inspired me to reread the book again.

I purchased a Costco gift card to share with my mom. MyPoints is offering 550 points, plus costco is giving $55 in coupons including a free rotisserie chicken and a free bag of coffee. Mom and I will split the coupons. $27.50/each.

Mom brought me leftover ham and turkey from her party on Sunday, there's probably enough to last till xmas day and then I'll have lunch at thier house. Smile

I saw this handmade xmas ornament on money saving mom's blog and I thought it was really pretty. I don't decorate for xmas, but if I did I would probably make one or more of these.

http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/12/a-handmade-christmas-snowf...

I finished reading the library book Devil's Gate by Clive Cussler. Adventure - very good.

The Egg and I

December 20th, 2011 at 01:48 pm

I met a friend in town for brunch this morning at this restaraunt. Only second time I've been. Good food and good prices. I spent $8.02

We talked for about 2 hours, good thing they weren't very busy. Smile She brought back 6 boxes of books I had loaned her 10 years ago and that she finally was able to get to from when they moved. It's so interesting to open the boxes and remember some of those old books. Many of them I have replaced since it's been awhile and I figured I wouldn't get them back, so I will put them on paperback swap.

We got about 4 inches of snow, the roads were sloppy wet. I had to use my washer cleaner about 10 times because of flying water/snow in the air. I met mom at Walmart at 9 am to walk and it was mostly empty, probably because of the snow.

I got about 90 swagbucks yesterday from their mega swagbucks day, that was nice. I have enough for another $5 at Amazon, but will wait till I have enough for 2 GCs before cashing in.

I finished reading the library book Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Sci/Fi - very good.

why is it?

December 19th, 2011 at 02:32 pm

that celery is so cheap right now? It's .69/lb right now and usually it's $1.49 - $1.79. I don't know anything about how celery is grown, but I'm sure it's an above ground crop, so it seems weird that it's so cheap right now. I'm taking advantage of it and am eating it almost every day.

I mixed about 4 oz's cream cheese, about 1 cup peanut butter, some caramel extract and some Splenda water together to make a really good spread to put on the celery. I didn't measure, just tasted till it seemed good. I like this a lot. I read about it on the Hold the Toast blog and she used it as a spread for apple slices.

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,491.03
RX total = 406.32
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,108.40

I went to Walmart this morning and it was very busy, but they had a lot of cashiers and it went fairly fast.

I got 1 Yes to Carrots berry lip moisturizer, a trial size of Olay body wash and 2 1.25 liters of Coke Zero for free. I'll donate the Coke. I got 2 lbs of Challenge butter for $1.98/lb after $1 coupons. I got 2 6 oz cans of Muir Glen tomato paste for .17/each.

I finished reading the library book Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey. Sci/Fi - very good.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

December 18th, 2011 at 08:41 am

I just finished re-reading this book for the umpeenth time. It was just as good as the first time. I like to reread my financial books every other year or so. Rereading this reinspired me towards watching my money more closely. After awhile you get slack and start doing silly things, letting money fritter away.

One of the main take aways this time was to recreate my price book since I'm buying different food than I used to, plus prices have gone up so much. I used to know what things cost, anymore I'm off by about 25% or more on many things. I don't know what good prices are for some of the things I'm buying now and I need to find out, so I can stock up when I see those good prices.

Out of curiosity I did a search on Amy Dacyczyn and found some interviews I hadn't seen/read. And in one of the interviews she admits she was totally wrong about her take on the internet in her books. One of them shows the farmhouse she bought, it's really nice. Here's the links if anyone else is interested.

http://www.frugalfollies.com/2010/02/where-amy-dacyczyn-went...

http://www.mlive.com/businessreview/annarbor/index.ssf/2009/...

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/05/14/an-interview-with-...

http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mi...

I wonder what she thinks about the show Extreme Couponing, that would be an interesting interview.

I finished reading the library book For Heaven's Eyes Only by Simon R. Green. Sci/Fi - good.

fire

December 17th, 2011 at 01:14 pm

Last night I turned my oven on to fix a mushroom pizza. The heating element started sparking and caught on fire. I tried to put it out with water, but the spark just moved along the coil and wouldn't go out. It finally burned thru the element in 2 places. Anyways, I called the fire department, but the fire went out right before they got there, about 5 min. It was ridiculous. First came a square truck, then 2 fire trucks and an ambulance. I know they don't know ahead of time what kind of force they will need, but it seemed like overkill.

They were really nice, but basically the fire was over by then. They checked the wall and stove and made sure it was all cool and left within 10 minutes.

After they left I went online and started researching new stoves. I found what I wanted at Home Depot, Lowe's and Sears. Sears had the best price, but Home Depot has their price match policy + 10% lower and they had free delivery and haul away. So I thought I had done pretty well at $450. I called my dad and asked if he would go with me because he's the big negotiator. He came over this morning and looked at the stove and told me he could just replace the heating element in the oven, if I wanted to do that, or I could buy the new stove if I wanted to. I didn't know you could do that, he said he's done it several times on stoves in rentals he owns and did it 3 times for my grandparents. Cool! I decided to go that route. We had to drive into the next town to get the replacement element and it cost $75 after taxes, but that's a lot better than $450.

It took him about 20 minutes to replace it and it seems to work fine. I haven't actually cooked anything yet. I took him to Village Inn for lunch as a thanks. Spent $19.10

I finished reading my book Alector's Choice by L.E. Modesitt Jr. Sci/Fi - very good.

more books for free

December 16th, 2011 at 02:18 pm

I added $20 to my Amazon account using gift cards I got from Swagbucks. I ordered 4 books for me. They had a sale buy 3 get 1 free, plus free shipping. I spent $23.97 on 4 books. Most won't be shipped until next year because they don't officially release until January.

I cashed in some bonds from my IRA to cover my next 6 months of expenses. I usually sell stocks, but this year the stocks didn't do so good, but that's why I have some bonds to provide income when the stocks don't go up. I will have to pay some of the 10% penalty because I cashed in before I was 59 1/2, but most of it is offset by my medical costs.

Occasionally I get in the mood for something crunchy to eat with my protein and veggies, (although veggies can be crunchy). I like to get plain pork rinds and put them in a baggie with some cinnamon and 1 packet of Splenda. Shake them all together and eat. Very good.

I finished reading The Next Always by Nora Roberts. Romance - excellent.

mean-spirited

December 15th, 2011 at 02:22 pm

I find the Game On Santa commercials from Best Buy to be mean-spirited. The mom's are trying to outdo Santa by buying gifts from Best Buy. But when they confront Santa, they are actually mean about it. I already don't care for Best Buy, but these commercials make me even less likely to shop there. I don't care for the message that giving gifts is a competition and I don't care for the idea of being mean to Santa, because he usually gives better gifts than you do.

I got several free trial size items from Walmart yesterday using coupons. 3 bottles of shampoo, 1 body wash, 1 deodorant and 2 packages of Tide.

I used the last of my RX reward money at King Soopers today - approx $18. I transferred another coupon but they said I had met the max and they wouldn't give me another reward - bummer!

When I was at Walmart I saw the classic xmas DVD The Year without a Santa Claus. That's my favorite xmas movie, I never see it played on TV anymore, so I bought it for $10. The only problem is that after watching it I have the 'heat miser' song stuck in my head for 3 days afterwards. Smile

I finished reading my book Eternity by Jude Devereaux. Romance - pretty good.

Larry Crowne

December 13th, 2011 at 04:47 pm

I used another of my free Redbox codes to rent this movie today. I thought it was good, not great, but good. Worth watching and it's something I can recommend to my mom, who wanted to see it. No nudity, or cursing that I remember.

I took all the coins I've collected for the last year and went to Coinstar today. The last few years Coinstar offered a $10 bonus when you cashed in $40 in coins on Amazon gift cards. Doesn't look they are going to do that this year, so I cashed them in anyways. I got $53.30 on an Amazon gift card.

This is the last day King Soopers is having their promo of giving 4X gas points when you buy gift cards. I got $115 in gift cards and 460 gas points. I got a $15 gift card to Cold Stone to give to youngest niece to tie her up with amount I spent on oldest. As long as I'm within $10 or so I don't fuss about what I'm spending on each one, but I like to keep it generally even. With the purchase of the book for the oldest, it made it too lopsided so I got the gift card to even it up some.

I finished reading my book Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole. Paranormal - very good.

mom's bday

December 12th, 2011 at 05:21 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,428.31
RX total = 388.06
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,027.42

My mom is 72 today. Dad took my sister, niece and me out to Outback yesterday to celebrate her bday. Today he wanted to go to lunch again to celebrate her bday after we walked at Walmart so we went to Village Inn. I spent $8.62 at Village Inn.

Village Inn had a deal buy $25 in gift cards and get a $5 bonus card to use between Jan and March next year. I got 2 $25 gift cards and paid using my CC that gives 5% back on restaraunts this quarter.

I gave mom the flower arrangement thingy she picked out when we went to the craft show last month. She had forgotten about it so it was as good as being surprised Smile

When I saw my niece yesterday I gave her 2 of the free Redbox codes I got at Thanksgiving to use.

I thought I was all thru with xmas, but my oldest niece sent me a request for a book today. Mom is going in town tomorrow so I asked her to pick it up for me. Books are one of my favorite things to give. The youngest one doesn't like to read anymore, so I don't give them to her now.

I made my last drop off of the year to the food pantry. During the year I gave 889 items, for a retail cost of $1,328 and my cost was $490.57. Not as good as last year, but still respectable. I also donated $200 in cash.

I also went to Walgreens today where I got two Olay moisturizers for $16 after coupons and 2 free Olay body washes. I will give the body washes to my nieces. I also got 4 free chocolate covered Peeps to give the girls. I spent over $50 before coupons so I got a $10 RR to use next week.

I finished reading the library book Scepters by L. E. Modesitt Jr. Sci/Fi - very good.

Pumpkin Custard

December 10th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I got this recipe from Slow Carb for Life, but made some changes to it. It turned out really well, I loved it. The original recipe used a bunch of individual spices and I substituted 2 tsps of Pumpkin Pie spice mix. It originally called for rum extract and I used caramel instead and it originally called for 1 cup of the pumpkin, I used the whole can before I saw it was just the one cup, I liked it as is, so will continue to use the whole can.

Pumpkin Custard - very good

1 cups heavy cream
12 packets Splenda
2 caps Caramel extract
4 large egg yolks
1 can pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream, caramel extract, spices and Splenda. Heat over medium heat until steam rises and bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat, whisking every minute or so to keep blended.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and whisk to blend. Very slowly add the warm cream mixture to the egg mixture until well blended.

4. Pour into 8 small ramekins or individual custard cups. Fill a large roasting pan with of water and place the 8 dessert dishes in the water bath. Put the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until just set. The mixture will appear slightly soft in the middle.

5. Carefully remove ramekins from pan, making sure not to get any water in the custards, and place on a wire rack to cool. Place in fridge for 2 - 3 hours before serving.

6. Serve with a small dollop of whipped cream.

Totals don't include the whipped cream.

Calories: 207
Carbs: 8
Net Carbs: 6.5

I tasted it when it came out of the oven to see if it was good and I liked it so much I didn't wait for it to cool, but ate the whole ramekin while it was hot and almost soupy still. Smile I had another one that had been cooled today and I think I may like it warm better, either way it was very good.

I used the Kroger brand of pumpkin. It was only $1.25/can. It's very hard to find anything but Libby pumpkin around here, which I don't find as good. I tried the Farmer's Market organic brand, but thought it was really loose and not as firm as I liked. So far this Kroger brand is the best I've found, and it's the cheapest too. I'm hoping they still have some next time I go to King Soopers and I'll stock up. For some reason after it's very hard to find canned pumpkin around here except during the fall/winter. I like pumpkin year around.

I finished reading my book Hunting Julian by Jacquelyn Frank. Paranormal - good.

It's way too early

December 9th, 2011 at 02:20 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,406.34
RX total = 388.06
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,005.45

for easter candy to be out in the stores. I went to Safeway this morning for $5/lb turkey breast lunchmeat and $1.27/lb on the vine tomatoes and I saw a big display of the Cadbury easter eggs. I used to love those things and I probably still would, if I tried them, but I wasn't even tempted, just disgusted that they are displaying them already. It's not even xmas, let alone New Year's, Valentines, etc. I think the way the make every thing perpetual takes away the specialness of things. It used to be you looked forward all year to xmas or easter, when you would have a special item you only had that time of year. Now it's kind of 'eh' nothing special, I can have that any time. I especially dislike the perpetual campaigns. Enough is enough already. Let's keep them down to 6 months at most.

Even though I'm eating low carb I'm not depriving myself of treats, they just need to be no sugar and low carb treats. I really like the no sugar Reese's mini peanut butter cups, the Dove chocolate and peanut butter bites, the Werther's cinnamon and caramel hard candies and several of the Atkins bars are very good. The nutty fudge brownie, the peanut butter cups, the nougat, chocolate and nut bar are all very good. I just don't have them that often. I try to keep it to twice a week, but some weeks it's more Smile

I also went to King Soopers and transfered another prescription for another $25 in groceries. I spent $2.44 on the prescription. I got $12+ in groceries, mostly produce.

I told mom I would meet her at Home Depot today to walk, since I figured Walmart would be really busy. We've been walking there on the weekends since Thanksgiving to beat the crowds. Well she forgot and dad dropped her off at Walmart, which is across the street. So I waited about 15 minutes and was about to drive over and see if maybe she forgot where we were supposed to meet and here she comes walking across the parking lot with no coat in 33 degree weather. She didn't have a phone or her purse or anything with her so no way of contacting dad. She tells me it's not good to ask old people to change their routines, they can't think Smile So we walked and I drove her back to Walmart where dad was waiting for her to finish her walk. I bet he heard an earful, since he knew he was supposed to drop her off at Home Depot too, she blamed it on him, since he knows she has a lot on her mind right now getting ready for xmas. It's a good thing I waited as long as I did because I might not have seen her walking across the road if I went back to Walmart.

I finished reading the library book Night Watch by Suzanne Brockmann. Romance - excellent.

Conan

December 7th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I used one of the free Redbox promo codes I got at Walgreens on Thanksgiving to rent Conan yesterday. It was ok, not near as good as the original with Swartzenager, in my opinion. My oldest niece had told me it was 'awsome' and she wanted it for xmas. I guess are tastes have changed Smile I gave her 3 of the promotion codes and will give the other niece some when I see her next.

I got some free snickers xmas candy at Walgreens yesterday to add to the nieces xmas pile. I also got 5 boxes of sugar free Royal gelatin for .20/each. Good price.

I've finished all my xmas wrapping so that's done now.

I finished reading my book Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs. Sci/Fi - very good. Also finished the library book Blood Sacrifice by Maria Lima. Paranormal - pretty good.

low carb dried cranberries and chicken salad

December 2nd, 2011 at 01:01 pm

Before Thanksgiving I got two sacks of cranberries on a BOGO sale. Cranberries are a low carb fruit that I can have as long as I don't have sugar in them. I decided to try drying one sack using Splenda instead of sugar. It was super easy and worked great. Just 1/2 c splenda dissolved in water. Heat cranberries and sugar water in pan until cranberries pop. Spread on cookie sheet on silicone baking mat and bake for about 8 hours at 150 degrees.

I made a chicken salad today using the dried cranberries. Leftover roasted chicken, celery, walnuts, hard-boiled egg and dried cranberries mixed with mayonaise. It was very good.

I cashed in 20 Discover card points for a $25 gift card to Staples.

Christmas ended up costing $498+ this year. I'm not planning to buy anything else unless it's free.

I got 3 bottles of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce at Safeway today. I'll donate all of them.

I finished reading the library book Foundation by Mercedes Lackey. Sci/Fi - good.