Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time to Prepare Your Skin for Harsh Winter Weather + Tips

I live in the north east and our winter season here in Pennsylvania can be absolutely brutal. Every year my skin gets really dry, chapped and at times cracks from the harsh winter weather. In addition to the typical dry skin problems that I suffer with...skin cancer runs really high in my family. My mother, two aunts and even my grandmother all had various forms of skin cancer. It is really important to protect your skin and to check for signs of skin cancer. Here are some tips from Dr. Richard Bezozo, M.D.
Now is the Time to Prepare Your Skin for Harsh Winter Weather

By Richard Bezozo, M.D., president of MoleSafe

Now that winter is upon us and the snowflakes have begun to fall, we often think back to the summer months filled with countless hours of sunshine. While looking back on those hot summer days, if you can remember receiving one or more bad sunburns, you may be at risk for melanoma. Studies show that one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than double your chances of developing skin cancer later in life and repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major factor for most skin cancers, like melanoma, due to the damage it causes to your cells. This winter be proactive about your skin’s health by monitoring for changes in your skin and enroll in an early detection melanoma screening and surveillance program.

Performing self-checks on your skin and scheduling regular exams can help find and treat melanoma and other skin cancers effectively. Here are some tips on how to monitor your skin this winter:

Continue your sunscreen regimen through the winter. Although the winter sun is not warm, it is still very dangerous and can be harmful to our skin. UV rays are intense on both clear and cloudy winter days, making it essential to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, specifically to your face, hands, neck and scalp, at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. Due to the sun’s reflections off the snow and conditions that occur at high altitudes, be sure to apply a sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB radiation when you go skiing and snowboarding, to reduce your risk of sunburns and other long-term effects, including premature aging of the skin and even skin cancer.

Check your own skin. You are the only person who sees your body every day, so be proactive in your skin health and start examining your body from head to toe and everywhere in between. Make sure you perform your self-check in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Also, keep a hand mirror handy to help look at areas that are hard to see, especially your back and scalp. Performing a skin self-exam each month is a small time investment in what could end up being a life-saving procedure.

Learn your skin patterns. The first time you perform a self-check, spend time carefully examining the entire surface. Be sure to learn the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles and other lesions on your skin, so you will better be able to notice any changes during your next exam. Take note of any new growths and bring them to your physician’s attention at your next screening.

Know your moles. Normal moles are typically an evenly colored brown, tan or black spot on the skin. Most people have moles, and most are harmless. However, a warning sign of melanoma is a mole that is changing in size, shape or color.

Learn your ABCDEs. ABCDEs in melanoma detection represent asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving. Any changes in these characteristics can indicate an affected area and calls the need for immediate attention.

Enroll in an early detection screening and surveillance program. By enrolling in an early detection screening program, you can have peace of mind that your skin will stay healthy. Early detection of melanoma cannot be overstated, because when melanoma is found and treated in the initial stages, your chance of long-term survival is very high. Early detection screening programs are an ongoing way to ensure that you taking the most cautious measures to protect the skin you’re in.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so make skin health a priority during all months of the year, including these cold, snowy, winter months. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about enrolling in an early detection screening and surveillance program, please visit www.molesafe.com.

Richard Bezozo, M.D., is the president of MoleSafe, the world’s most advanced melanoma screening program.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Crown Royal Black Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

New Year's Eve is just around the corner and many of us will be hosting New Year's Eve parties or attending one. As a party hostess myself, I am always looking for new cocktail recipes to whip up and serve to my party guests. This particular recipe was sent over to us to share with all of you. It looks delicious and perfect for any holiday celebration!

Crown Royal Black Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

1 oz. Crown Royal Black
0.25 oz. Cragganmore Distiller Edition
0.25 oz. sweet vermouth
1.25 oz. simple syrup
0.25 dashes of bitters
1 piece maraschino cherry

Stir all together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Disclosure: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages. Please drink responsibly this holiday season. Recipe and photo is courtesy of Crown Royal Black.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Beat the Holiday Bulge with Tips from Fitness Coach Shelly Goldman

During the holiday season I always seem to pack on about 8 to 10 extra pounds and then after the first of the year I scramble trying to work all that extra weight. For some reason, I just indulge a little too much during the holiday season and have no will power when delicious food, cakes, candy and pies are slapped down in front of my face.

Well, if you are like me...now is the time to think about that holiday food and that extra weight that many of us gain. Celebrity Fitness Coach Shelly Goldman is here to share some tips with all of us on how to Beat the Holiday Bulge this season! The tips she is giving us are timely and things we can all do!

Celebrity Fitness Coach Shelly Goldman Weighs in on Winter’s Worst Season for Snacking

How does a celebrity fitness coach instruct her clients on how to keep the calories off during the holidays? Just like this:

If you are going to a holiday party do not go on an empty stomach. Eat a small healthy and filling snack or meal before you go. Choose from lean protein, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, or non-fat dairy or dairy substitute. This will allow you to focus on socializing with the guests rather than zeroing in on the food.

When given the option at a buffet always choose the salad size or smaller plate. A full smaller plate is more satisfying than a half empty larger plate. Since we tend to finish everything on our plate start with taking just a few tablespoons of each dish to taste and enjoy.

Indulging in alcohol as you socialize and celebrate the holidays is customary, so plan your strategy in advance. Wine has fewer calories than any of those creamy or frozen mixed drinks. Alternate a glass of wine with a glass of water topped with a slice of lemon or lime, or seltzer. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily to stay well hydrated.

Do not simply graze your way through the holidays. Be mindful, eat three meals a day and try not to change your schedule during this tempting season. If you start with a filling breakfast and don’t skip lunch you are less likely to overindulge by dinnertime. Count a holiday party or dinner out as one of your three daily meals.

When bringing an appetizer or dessert to a party, prepare a healthy, filling, low calorie dish that you will also enjoy. Crudités with hummus, fresh fruit with fat-free yogurt or cubes of low-fat cheese, oatmeal raisin bites, sugar-free Jell-O. Choose from your favorite lower fat recipes.

Don’t forget time for exercise and keep moving to burn those extra holiday calories: Park farther away in the parking lot; take the stairs instead of the elevator; don’t load your arms with all the grocery bags for just one trip into the kitchen; and suggest a walk with your family after a large meal. Change it up, try a different form of exercise to keep your enthusiasm. If you swim try Spin or a Group Exercise class. Instead of aerobics try a weight bearing class such as a Bodypump or Bodysculpt.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Homemade Bread Pudding Recipe

When I was a little girl I would sit in the kitchen and watch my grandmother bake for hours on end! Seriously, some of my best and favorite memories of my grandmother was when she would allow me to come into the kitchen to help her bake. She was a great cook!

Back in the early 70's times were tough and women would through together whatever they had on hand to feed their families. One of the recipes my grandmother made often was her homemade bread pudding recipe.

Homemade Bread Pudding Recipe

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 quart milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 slices of stale white bread
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Warm up the milk in a saucepan over low heat but do NOT boil it. Remove from heat. In a large mixing bowl beat the large eggs and then add the granulated sugar. Stir in the warm milk and vanilla extract. Tear the bread into pieces and stir them into the mixture. Fold in the raisins. Sprinkle in the nutmeg and the ground cinnamon until all ingredients are well combined. Pour the entire mixture into a casserole baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from oven. You can serve it warm or refrigerate it and serve it chilled.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bohemia Apple Lime Cider Recipe

The weather outside has been terrible here in the east coast and many of us have just been staying indoors. Not only that, the holidays are just around the corner and we have all been busy wrapping packages and getting things ready for the big day.

If you are looking to sit back & relax during the holiday season or plan on doing any type of holiday entertaining...here is a great recipe for you to whip up and enjoy. It comes from our friends over at BOHEMIA and they wanted us to share the recipe with all of you.

BOHEMIA APPLE LIME CIDER RECIPE
* Makes 2 drinks

· 1 tablespoon each: coarse salt, sugar
· 1 cup fresh, unfiltered apple cider
· 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
· 1 bottle (12 ounces) Bohemia
· Fresh lime wedges

Instructions:

1. Mix salt and sugar on a small plate. Use a lime wedge to moisten the rim of two beer glass. Dip the rims into the salt mixture.
2. Mix cider and lime juice in small pitcher. Divide among 2 beer glasses. Top with Bohemia. Serve with a lime wedge.

Disclosure: Recipe and photo is courtesy of Bohemia. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Coastal Holiday Tree Decorations and Beach Ornaments

The holidays are quickly approaching and this year we will have 2 Christmas trees here in our home. One is a 7 foot tall super large artificial tree that will hold all of our family ornaments that we have collected over the past 28 years. That beast of a tree will be in our family room throughout the holiday season. We will start decorating that one in a few days and it takes us 3-4 days to complete.

New this year is our 5 foot artificial Christmas tree and this one is going into our dining room. I have always wanted a coastal theme'd holiday tree and this year I am getting one! For the past 5 years I have been purchasing coastal & beach ornaments and I finally have enough of them to decorate an entire tree! Yay!

We started decorated the coastal theme'd tree a few days ago and I still have some ornaments to add to it, my coastal garland and the tree topper but for now I thought I would share a few photos of our coastal holiday tree "in progress". In a few days I will share more photos once it is finally done and the rest of my coastal ornaments that I ordered arrive.

Now that our little grand daughter is 4 1/2 years old...the Christmas holiday has become a big deal around here again and it's really fun for our entire family to have a little one to enjoy the holidays with. Have any of you started decorating your Christmas trees yet? When do you usually decorate them and for how long do you leave them up?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fight the Holiday Stress with These Helpful Tips

Dr. Nicolle Ionascu, author of “The Power of Journaling: A Guided Pathway to Insight,” offers tips to overcome Holiday anxiety

Holiday stress is inevitable; from buying gifts, hosting family to preparing a feast for your loved ones during the holidays is enough to rob the season of cheer. Clinical Neuropsychologist, Dr. Nicolle Ionascu, reminds us of a simple art that, when used diligently, can renew the restless mind. Her book, “The Power of Journaling: A Guided Pathway to Insight.” The book introduces the natural and holistic art of daily writing that can undoubtedly break the stress barrier and allow enjoyment for you this Holiday season.

Dr. Nicolle provides an outline of tips to help individuals have a great and stress free Holiday season.

Organize Your Thoughts

Buying gifts is perhaps the number one stress enhancer during holidays. An extremely helpful way to go about buying gifts is a detailed list; who, what, and where certain gifts could be bought. Even if you are aware of your own anxious tendencies, addressing them can be incredibly frustrating. Sadly, people attempt desperate and unhealthy measures - anything - to crush their anxiety. Writing down reactions and feelings helps organize thoughts and decrease mental chaos, which adds to stress.

Write Them Down

Relatives during the holidays can add to more stress, especially when trying to accommodate everyone. Whether its stress from out-of-town guests, parents, in-laws to children - striving to accomplish a fun time for everyone, can at times take away from your own enjoyment. Letting go of pent up feelings in a controlled way, such as writing, helps to alleviate stress.

Step back. Enjoy yourself & those around you

Journaling keeps people from releasing anger and stress on those around them. Writing is a great coping mechanism with life’s difficulties in a different and more freeing way. It helps individuals set a time for themselves to release whatever stress they may have, and in doing so alleviates pent up emotions. Holiday’s are special because of tradition, and spending time with loved ones, and journaling can be a great escape to keep grounded and remember to have a great time.

About Dr. Nicolle Ionascu: Dr. Nicolle Ionascu graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1990’s with a degree in English Literature. She then went on to earn her Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, specializing in Neuropsychology. Dr. Nicolle works as a clinical neuropsychologist in the department of neurology at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, CA. She is a contributing author for livestrong.com and ehow.com, having published over sixty articles for these sites in the past year. For more information on Dr. Nicolle Napier-Ionascu or her new book The Power of Journaling: A Guided Pathway to Insight please visit Dr. Nicolle’s website at http://www.journal4good.com.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

DIY Sugar Scrub Recipe for Your Lips

Image Courtesy of FreeImages.com 
With winter right around the corner, everyone is gearing up, bundling up and prepping for holiday fun, which can make it hard to remember the importance of your beauty routine! Indie Lee, DIY queen and creator of the namesake eco-chic skincare collection, knows that one beauty area that needs special attention during the winter are your lips!

Harsh winds and frigid temperatures leave your pout dry and in need of some real seasonal smoothing. Luckily, lip scrubs are the perfect way to nourish your lips while leaving them kissable (hello mistletoe!) With many lip scrubs containing harmful chemicals, why not make your own with all natural ingredients, plus this makes a thoughtful and inexpensive gift!

Total Lip Service Scrub Recipe by Indie Lee

1 Tablespoon Raw Cane Sugar
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Drop Peppermint Oil

Directions: Combine together the raw cane sugar and the honey in a small bowl. Mix in the peppermint oil until ingredients are well combined. Use this mixture immediately to buff and polish your lips.

* Recipe and directions are courtesy of Indie Lee.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I wanted to take a few minutes out of my busy morning and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! It is a busy morning here in our household as I finish baking up some breads, rolls and various desserts. I have been in full baking and cooking mode for three full days now!

We are going to pack up the car and head over to the Assisted Living Center where my great auntie now lives. Last year we started a new tradition and every Thanksgiving we go into the nursing home aka Assisted Living Center and spend the day with her.

They cater in a delicious tasting dinner but I always bring a lot of extra freshly prepared food with me that the senior ladies can enjoy later in the day or even tomorrow. They love freshly made goodies from home!

Tomorrow we will be going back in to the center and will be decorating 4 public area rooms for the upcoming Christmas holiday with items donated by local businesses, family and friends. We did this last year for them and they absolutely loved it!

The holiday season is here and if you can donate a few hours of your time I suggest you donate them at your local nursing home and/or assisted living center. Many seniors are simply dropped off in these places and don't get regular visitors! It's the holiday season and they really appreciate all of the volunteers they can get!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and remember, we all have a lot to be Thankful for!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pennsylvania Weather - Winter Storm November 26th 2013

Weather here in Pennsylvania has been pretty wicked over the past 2 years and it doesn't seem to be letting up. Just in the past 2 years we have been hit with 2 hurricanes (Irene and Sandy), numerous severe thunderstorms, ice storms, snow storms and all kinds of other things that mother nature has thrown at us.
Just this past year we have had damage to our property 7 times with the most recent one being yesterday and last night. A nasty winter storm slammed us with some winds, sleet, freezing rain, ice and a few minor snow showers.

For the 7th time this year our trees on our property have taken a big hit! One of our 50+ year old pine trees lost a lot of its limbs! Hubby said it is so badly damaged that he will have to have people come out and chop it down to remove it. Sad really because I used to play under that big old pine tree when I was a little girl.
Our garbage cans and patio furniture blew down the street and we had to go snatch those up earlier this morning. On top of that, hubby's work truck has a nice big dent in it that wasn't there the day before. We are not sure what slammed into that. 

So, instead of shopping this Black Friday and holiday weekend...we will be cleaning up our property for the 7th time this year. This is becoming a REAL PAIN IN THE ASS these days! I am hoping mother nature and old man winter will cut us a break soon!

Monday, November 25, 2013

7 Tips to Burn Calories to Make Room for that Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with friends and family, but did you know it's also a great time to burn calories? Check out these seven unique calorie-burning fitness tips to keep you feeling strong during Thanksgiving, from Shana Schneider, fitness expert and Founder of FITWEEK, a fitness company dedicated to helping women turn any week into a fitweek.

7 Tips to Burn Calories to Make Room for that Thanksgiving Meal (Plus Leftovers!)

You don't have to make huge sacrifices to indulge in that Thanksgiving meal while also watching your waistline. The little things add up; and here are seven simple steps that will save you room, that you've earned, for more.

1. No more mixers! Mash the potatoes by hand and get an incredible arm workout.

2. Football? Yes! But instead of watching it, take the family outside and actually play it.

3. Take an extra lap around the grocery store when you’re shopping for all the ingredients. It’s a fact: Small steps can add up to make a big difference for your health.

4. Walk it off. Take a brisk walk post-Thanksgiving meal. You’ll have to fight the drowsiness that sets in after all that turkey, while also earning the calories you’ve consumed.

5. Before you dish up the plates and sit down, stand up and go around the table having everyone say one thing they are thankful for.

6. Make bread from scratch. It’s all about using your body weight to really get that loaf soft and delicious!

7. Don’t sit down to watch the Macy’s Day parade, stand up and march along. Better yet, why not go do it in person! Plus, there are parades all around the country to choose from.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sparkling ICE Pops - Homemade Popsicle Recipe

This month is a great time to focus on healthy habits. Have children help with menu planning, shopping, and cooking to emphasize the importance of eating together and making healthy choices. An easy way to celebrate throughout the month is to swap out soda, sugary drinks and energy drinks for Sparkling ICE. It’s a beverage your kids will love to drink.

Sparkling ICE is a naturally flavored slightly sparkling water that is zero calories, gluten-free, sugar-free and Kosher. It also contains fruit juice, vitamins and healthy antioxidants.

Sparkling ICE Pops Recipes

Ice Cube Tray (or your favorite ice pop making molds)
Toothpicks or Popsicle sticks
I bottle of Sparkling ICE
1 container of fresh raspberries or blueberries, chopped

Fill your trays or molds with Sparkling ICE, topping each with a scoop of chopped raspberries or blueberries. If using ice cube trays cover tray tightly with tin foil. Poke a Popsicle stick through the foil into each cube. If using an ice pop maker place the handle sticks into the molds. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen. Please note that this recipe works with any of flavor of Sparkling ICE flavors and fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Disclosure: Recipe and photo is courtesy of Sparkling ICE.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Holiday Gift Wrapping Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

The holidays are on the way and before you know it the holiday will be here. Like millions of people I used to wait until the very last minute to wrap my gifts which always stressed me out before the big day.

Last year I got my holiday gift wrapping in-order and figured out a system that worked really well for me. Every weekend leading up to the holidays I spent one hour wrapping gifts & addressing holiday cards, so that I didn't have to give up an entire weekend right before the holiday to get them done.

Here are a few tips that I wanted to share with all of you.

1. Set up a small area in your home to be your gift wrapping station. In my case, I have a large rectangular table set up in my basement near one of our large basement windows. You want to make sure that your area has proper lighting.

2. Head out to the store and buy everything you think you will need in one shopping trip. For me, I headed to my local dollar store and picked up numerous rolls of wrapping paper, several packs of holiday print gift bags, ribbons, bows, gift tags, colored tape and regular gift wrapping tape. I also picked up a pack of fun colored gel ink pens for doing my gift tags in fun colors. I always make a point to buy a little more supplies than what I think I will need, so that I don't have to run out again.

3. Organize all of your supplies onto your table so that things are kept neat and tidy. I purchased small plastic bins (at the dollar store) and have all of my ribbons in one, gift tags in another, bows in a third and so forth. If you are organized, the gift wrapping will go much quicker and you won't get stressed out trying to find something.

4. Designate an area in your home for the wrapped gifts to go! I have four large plastic bins in that room (our laundry room) and each bin is labeled for the family. ie. Hubby's Family, My Family, Friends, etc. Once you got the gifts wrapped, you want to place them into the appropriate bin to keep things organized.

5. Once a week (for me that is on the weekend) I spend 30 minutes to 1 hour wrapping gifts and addressing holiday cards. I play Christmas music or I will pop in a holiday DVD while I am wrapping gifts, addressing cards and doing other necessary pre-holiday tasks. Setting the mood, reduces the stress!

By the time the Christmas eve rolls around you should have all of your gifts wrapped, sorted and be ready to go come Christmas morning! It's a great way to cut down the stress and a fantastic way to get the most enjoyment out of this important holiday season.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stealing Blog Content is Unprofessional and Illegal

I have been online networking, chatting, promoting various businesses and blogging for over 15 years. Matter of fact, I own or co-own 7 very successful blogs. Over the years I educated myself on copyright laws and learned about Intellectual Property Rights...if you write articles, write content for websites and/or blog, you need to educate yourself on all of this immediately!

Over the years I have caught way too many people to count stealing my content! That's write, people have stolen my professionally written articles, web site content, blog content and even images that I have had on my sites.

I have spent a lot of time and money over the past few years hunting down these content thieves and getting my content and/or images removed from their sites. While this is time consuming and at times expensive, it is very important to pursue losers who are too lazy to product their own content.

Why is important that you pursue these losers you might ask? Well, several reasons!

1. Having duplicate content all over the web can hurt your ranking in search engine results.

2. Even if the thief who stole your content rewrites a few things within it or edits it in some way, it is still content theft if they did not change enough of the content to make it "uniquely" theirs. Some thieves call this content "respinning" and I call it just plain laziness!

3. You write your own content to make yourself unique and to set yourself up as a leader within your niche. When someone steals your content and republishes it or respins it to suit their own purpose, it makes them look "worthy" when they are not!

There are a ton of reasons why you can NOT ignore the problem but these 3 are important reasons on why you must pursue those who steal your content or respin your original works! It can't be tolerated and it certainly should not be ignored. You have legal rights and you need to exercise them when you come across a content thief.

Just yesterday I was alerted to a blog who was stealing my ideals, tip sheets and blog posts and publishing them onto her own blog. WTH? Can ya say unprofessional and lazy? Some of my content was published whole, some she took chunks out of my original post (then respinned it) and others she completely respinned and reworded to suit her own needs.

I am not talking about 1 or 2 posts...try over 40 different posts! Those that she did respin and reword she didn't do enough rewording to make the content uniquely hers. People who know me and my professionally written work...recognized right away that she was stealing my content and/or respinning my original content.

To all of you out there who cruise blogs, social media sites and web sites to grab your content...Stop! You can not steal another person's work!!! While you can cruise around for some topic ideas, you certainly can not cruise around and grab whatever you want for your own site. You can NOT respin someone else's article and/or blog post unless you rewrite it from top to bottom and add something new, fresh and/or unique to it. That post has to be changed by at least 70%.

I don't condone content respinning and personally...it's a very unprofessional thing to do. Most professional ghostwriters like myself don't practice that at all.

If you are stealing content...STOP immediately! If you are a victim of someone who has stolen content from you...exercise your LEGAL rights! Don't ignore it! Get that content taken down and if they don't cease and desist...you hit them LEGALLY!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Late Fall Foliage Photos from the Susquehanna Valley

Hubby and I took a road trip up to State College in Pennsylvania last weekend and got to see some of the pretty Fall foliage that the Susquehanna Valley has to offer. Next year we are going to take the same road trip but go 2 to 3 weeks earlier so we can see the Fall foliage at peak time. This year we were a little late on seeing it but still...it was a beautiful drive. 

We took route 322/22 from Harrisburg up to State College which is a beautiful drive (except during the winter where you have to deal with snow and ice). Taking this route will take you through many of our beautiful mountains and valleys, as well as through several small towns. You can easily do a round trip on a 1/2 tank of gas which is really nice.
If you take this little day trip make sure you take a good look out your car window right before you hit Dauphin, PA. on 322/22 so that you can grab a quick peek at the Statue of Liberty that sits out in the middle of the Susquehanna River on an old stone column leftover from an old stone bridge. Yup, that is her above and trust me, she stands 25 feet tall (she looks small in the photo).

Hubby and I took our road trip on a Sunday and we specifically picked that day because trucker traffic on route 322/22 is a LOT less on weekends, especially on Sunday. We wanted to take our good old time and stop off the road to take in the scenery in several places along the route. You can click on the photos in this blog post to enlarge them to see better details. 
If you love looking at mountains and beautiful Fall foliage then Pennsylvania is one state you need to consider for a road trip every Fall. If you would like to learn more about traveling in Pennsylvania, I would like for you to visit my travel blog called Pennsylvania and Beyond. You will find 100's of travel photos, articles and blog posts for seeing many of the travel destinations that Pennsylvania has to offer. If you have any Pennsylvania travel questions, please free to leave me a comment on this blog or on my official travel blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sweet Cherry Spritzer Cocktail Recipe

During the weekends I like to sit down and relax...one of the things that helps me to relax and unwind after a long week is a delicious tasting cocktail. The great folks over at Voga Italia sent over this yummy looking cocktail recipe for me to share with all of my blog readers. You can find out more about the Voga Italia products and grab additional recipes by visiting their website online. With the holidays coming up, I think it would be perfect at any holiday party!

Sweet Cherry Spritzer Cocktail Recipe

4 oz VOGA Dolce Rosso
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Fine Sugar
2 oz soda water
Cherries and Mint for garnish

Directions: In a mixer, shake up cherries, lemon juice, sugar and VOGA Dolce Rosso. Pour into a glass and top off with soda water. Garnish with cherries and mint sprig.

Disclosure: Recipe & photo is courtesy of Voga Italia. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013 - Neighborhood Halloween Decorations

Witch coming out of chimney!
We had been patiently awaiting the arriving of Halloween and this year...we were ready! Now that we are all moved into our new home, we went out of our way to put up some great outdoor decorations. We put up spooky bat wind chimes that chirp when motion is detected and matched them up on the other porch with black spider ones.
Halloween Yard Decorations
We put out various corn stalks, pumpkins, gourds and a scarecrow. But the best part of our Halloween decorations were all of the festive lights and light up ghosts, etc. that hubby put in our front yard. We didn't go over board with it but did put out several nice things to make our house look festive.

My grand daughter lives 5 minutes away but in a different township so we took her out Trick or Treating. She was dressed as Tangled and looked darling in her princess costume. Once we were done, we headed back to our house to await the arrival of the little Trick or Treaters.In a matter of 2 hours those darling little kids wiped us out of 9 bags of candy! That's right, 9 bags of Hershey's chocolate candy went out the door!
Love the Inflatables!
One of our neighbors went way out this year and really decorated up their front yard & house. They had a large witch popping out the chimney on the roof and it was fantastic! They had various lights all over their trees and shrubs and various other "light-up" things through out their yard.

Our neighborhood goes WAY OUT when it comes to holiday decorating and that is always nice to see! Next year hubby and I plan on adding even more...after all, we need to keep up with the Jone's.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grandma's Zucchini Pepper Relish Recipe

My grandmother was a great cook and made some of the best homemade food that I have ever tasted. She immigrated to the United States back in the 1940's from Italy and even though she cooked a lot of Italian food, she also cooked various dishes from other cuisines too. A few years before she passed...she started making this Zucchini Pepper Relish as a way to use up the massive amounts of zucchinis & peppers she harvested from her backyard garden.

This relish does take some time to prepare but it is absolutely delicious and well-worth your efforts. My hubby loves using this relish on hot dogs, fish and sometimes on his massive sized burgers. Enjoy the recipe!

Zucchini Pepper Relish Recipe

4 1/2 cups freshly shredded zucchini
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground yellow mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 chili pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

In a large mixing bowl combine together the shredded zucchini, chopped onion and salt. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator and drain away any liquid that accumulated while it was in the refrigerator (a strainer works well for this).

In a large stock pot over medium heat combine together the cornstarch, ground yellow mustard, turmeric, ground black pepper, ground white pepper and white vinegar. Slowly add in the zucchini mixture, alternating with all of the freshly chopped peppers. Once combined simmer mixture over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Fall Harvest Season - Halloween Decorating

It's that time again...another week which means another "Almost: Wordless Wednesday post! This week I am featuring a photo of some colorful looking pumpkins and gourds.

We are definitely into the Fall season now here in Pennsylvania and a few days ago I had to turn on my heat for the first time this season. All of our trees are changing the color of their leaves and many of those trees are getting naked (leaves are falling to the ground). Pretty soon we will be busy raking up and bagging leaves from our yard.

Last week I hit up our local farmer's market for some Fall gourds and pumpkins and have them sitting outside on our porch and in our flower garden. Looks cute but holy heck, the cost of buying that stuff is through the roof. I think next year I will do something different to keep the costs down.

Hubby is working on a scarecrow and that is the only thing left to complete in our Fall outdoor decor. This year we did spider webs, spider wind chimes, orange and lime green outdoor lights, pumpkins, corn stalks, gourds, plastic light up ghosts by our front door, a skeleton hanging from one tree, etc. I think the Trick or Treaters will like what they see when they come visiting in another week! ha!

Well there you have it. Another almost wordless Wednesday post! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homemade Chicken Parmesan Recipe

When I buy chicken for our family dinners I always purchase it in bulk from the grocery store or from a local butcher. Chicken is one of those meats that can be made a thousand different ways so that your family never gets tired of it. One of our favorite dishes to make using chicken is my aunt's homemade chicken Parmesan recipe.

This dish is really easy to prepare and is one that the entire family will enjoy. If you have a larger sized family, you can easily double up on the recipe ingredients to make a double batch.

Homemade Chicken Parmesan Recipe

2 large eggs
2 chicken breasts
seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 quart jar spaghetti sauce

Directions: Beat the large eggs in a small mixing bowl. Dip the chicken breasts into the egg mixture one at a time. Then roll the dipped chicken breasts into the seasoned bread crumbs. Brown the chicken in a large frying pan with the vegetable oil. Place the browned chicken breasts into a baking dish and sprinkle the cheeses on top. Pour the spaghetti sauce into the baking dish and over the top of the chicken breasts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until done. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tom Hanks in BIG ~ 25th Anniversary Edition Coming to DVD December 10th

I remember when BIG first hit the big screen because within the first 3 weeks of it hitting the movie theaters my husband insisted that we see it four times! Yes, four times! Then when it came out on VHS...he was at the store on day one purchasing it. Then DVDs came along and again, he was there to buy one. BIG happens to be one of his favorite Tom Hanks movies ever and guess what? The new 25th Anniversary Edition will be released on December 10th, 2013. Below you will find some additional information about the upcoming release.

Tom Hanks Shines in his First Oscar®-nominated Performance When the BIG: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION Arrives on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack December 10th, 2013. Featuring Collectible Sound Chip Packaging That Plays “Heart & Soul”

ONE OF THE “BIG”GEST COMEDIES OF ALL-TIME CELEBRATES 25 YEARS

Two-time Oscar® Winner Tom Hanks* received his first Best Actor Nomination for his disarming turn as a 12-year-old man-child in Penny Marshall’s timeless, “hilarious” (Newsweek) delight. Tired of being a kid, Josh Baskin wishes he was big. When he wakes up the next day, he’s an adult! Now, Josh must hold down a job – and please a new boss (Robert Loggia). Tougher still, he must convince his best friend that he’s still himself, and explain to a beautiful woman (Elizabeth Perkins) who falls for him, that he’s not. Soon, Josh just wants to be a kid again, but can he? As exhilarating as it was during its acclaimed debut, the “warmhearted” (The Washington Post) Big is available as a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack!


*Actor: 1993, Philadelphia; 1994, Forrest Gump

Special Features:

● Big Extended Cut
● Big Brainstorming Audio Documentary by Writers/Co-Producers Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg
● Deleted Scenes, Including 5 with Intros by Director Penny Marshall
● Big Beginnings
● Chemistry of a Classic
● The Work of Play
● Hollywood Backstories: Big
● Carnival Party Newswrap

About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programing. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™ and Digital HD™. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

Disclosure: Shelly Hill is a member of the Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Club. The information and graphic contained within this post is courtesy of Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Club. Shelly has not received any monetary compensation for this post. Information is for informational purposes only.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Visit to the Local Pumpkin Patch in Harrisburg PA

Last weekend we picked up our grand daughter and daughter for our annual tradition of visiting the local Pumpkin Patch together. Every Fall we get together and go apple picking, pumpkin picking, visit a local corn maze and go on a hayride.

We piled into the car and got there in the early afternoon. Oh my gosh..we were not prepared for it being 91 degrees in early October and sweated our butts off out in the apple orchard and pumpkin field. Princess had a great time picking apples and then we finally headed over to the Pumpkin Patch.

We spent about 35 minutes walking the filed and she finally decided on the 5 pumpkins that we would get. Such hard decisions for a little 4 1/2 year old girl. She was particular on the ones she wanted but we ended up getting 5 great pumpkins for our Halloween decorations.
It was really nice that they had some areas set up around the Pumpkin Patch and at the nearby Farmer's Market where you could pose for some family photos...great Fall displays and since I am a big time scrapbooker, I took advantage of those and got several nice photos to celebrate our day.

Next weekend we are going out on a hayride and we are all looking forward to that and we are going to visit one of the local corn mazes. We do those during the early evening hours when they are kid-friendly and not all spooked out for the adults. We don't like exposing the Princess to scary things just yet!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

“The Way, Way Back” Coming to DVD on October 22nd


My husband loves a good comedy and I know he is going to love this DVD when it's released. He wanted to see it in the theaters but we were super busy when it was out and missed it. Now that it's coming to DVD...I will have to pick up a copy for him.

"The Way, Way Back" is coming to DVD on October 22nd, 2013 and here is some additional information about it.

Synopsis: Dive into this “smart, imaginative, first-rate comedy” (Karen Durbin, ELLE) featuring an all-star comedic cast, including Steve Carell, Maya Rudolph, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, and Amanda Peet! While 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is being dragged on a family trip with his mom (Collette) and her overbearing boyfriend (Carell), he finds a gregarious friend (Rockwell) at a local water park. The two form a powerful bond as Duncan learns to swim through the challenges of life, love, family and friendship, resulting in a vacation he’ll never forget.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Club. This information was provided to me as a member of the club to share with my blog readers. I was not compensated for this post. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Homemade Tropical Fruit Muffins Recipe

To make this delicious muffins recipe you will need to purchase a box of Post Fruit & Fiber Cereal in the Tropical Fruit Flavor because you will need 2 1/2 cups of this cereal to make the following recipe. Once the recipe has been prepared...it will make 12 full size muffins which are delicious and full of flavor & healthy fiber that we all need.

Homemade Tropical Fruit Muffins Recipe

1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups Post Fruit & Fiber Cereal - Tropical Fruit Flavor
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the cereal with milk in another bowl and let stand for 3 minutes at room temperature, so that the cereal becomes very moist.  Stir in the egg and vegetable oil until well blended. Blend in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients (cereal mixture) until everything is well combined together.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon muffin batter into each cavity filling each one 75% of the way full. Place muffin pan into the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins are done. Remove and let cool.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Early Fall Foliage in Central Pennsylvania

I went out earlier today for a walk through my neighborhood with the gals from my Mommies Walking Group. Today we went on a 1 1/2 mile walk and as we were walking around the neighborhood getting our exercise we noticed how pretty the trees are starting to get.
Fall is definitely here in Pennsylvania although we hit a high temperature of 85 degrees today. I wish October was always like that for us up here in the North East but sadly it's not and the cold temperatures are coming. Many people around here are calling this our "2013 Indian Summer" and I believe they are right. All week long we have been in the upper 70's and lower 80's and it has felt great!

I am not a fan of late Fall weather and Winter weather so I have been trying to hold on to the warmer sunshine filled days of late Summer and early Fall. I do have to admit though...I love looking at the trees as their leaves change to orange, yellow and bright red. Soon though those leaves will all drop, the trees will get naked (hate seeing naked trees) and winter will be here!
In two weeks I will get some new photos and really show you how beautiful our trees get once the Fall foliage really kicks into high gear. We are about 2 weeks into it now and in another 2 weeks it will be a pretty awesome display of nature. Enjoy!!!

Wagbucks on Swagbucks! Fun for us All!


Swagbucks.com is celebrating Pets this weekend with a site takeover. The pets have turned it into Wagbucks and brought fun, games, and even savings for all your petcare needs. Here's what you can find on Wagbucks from today through Sunday:

Shop & Earn Sales on Pet Supplies
Fun Contests on Facebook & the Blog
Charity Spotlight: The Humane Society of the United States
A Weekend Game Challenge for all the animal lovers

Multiple Codes each day In fact, here's a Swag Code to kick off this weekend for our furry, feathered and fishy friends: Wagbucks 3 SB Active from 12pm until 2pm Pacific Time Click here to redeem your Swag Code before it expires and join in on the fun & savings!

New to Swagbucks? Check out my previous post on how I make money on Swagbucks and grab yourself a new member swagcode worth big swagbucks!!! You can find my previous post ----> HERE

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

“White Collar” Season Four on DVD October 8th


How many of you are big fans of the hit television show called White Collar? My hubby and I love this show and have been watching it from the very beginning with season one. What we love about this show is that its a crime drama with just a little bit of comedy thrown in...just a tad! Plus...the guys make for great eye candy too!

Anyway...White Collar season four is coming to DVD on October 8th, 2013...so mark your calendars now!

Synopsis: Matt Bomer excels again as charming con man Neal Caffrey in another engaging season of crime solving and high-stakes heists! Facing the uncertain future of his partnership with FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), Neal sheds his tracking anklet and disappears into thin air. But the Feds aren’t done with him and Neal is hardly ready for retirement. Back in action, Neal ponders the future as Season Four delves deeper into the stunning secrets of his mysterious past. Packed with seduction, intrigue, and more of everything you love about TV’s sexiest show, “White Collar” will have you glued to the edge of your seat. Let the games begin!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Club and this information was provided to me as a club member. It is to be used for informational purposes only. I was not compensated for this post.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tuna Chow Mein Casserole Recipe

Looking for a new twist to the traditional tuna noodle casserole? If so, you have got to try my brother's recipe for Tuna Chow Mein Casserole! While it sounds a little strange...it's delicious and very easy to prepare. Even his two teenage picky eater boys will eat this one!

Tuna Chow Mein Casserole Recipe

1 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped or grated
7 oz. canned tuna fish
10 1/2 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups chow mein noodles
3/4 cup salted chopped cashew nuts
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Saute celery, onion and green pepper in 2 tbsp. butter or margarine. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, reserving 1/3 cup of the chow mein noodles.  Pour into a buttered 2 quart casserole baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining chow mein noodles.

Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Great served with white or brown rice.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quick and Easy Natural Microwave Oven Cleaning Tips

If your family is anything like mine...they make a mess every time they use the microwave oven. For some reason they won't grab a paper towel and cover what they are reheating and they certainly do not clean up the splatters. Cleaning up the microwave used to be a real chore for me until I discovered a few quick and easy cleaning solutions.

Tip #1 - Keep after your microwave and don't let those splatters and crusty food drips get out of control. I wipe out my microwave twice a week (Wednesday & Saturdays) and stick to that schedule. If you keep on top of it you won't have to spend an hour cleaning it up.

Tip #2 - Fill a glass bowl with some tap water and add in 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Set your microwave on 50% power and microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. You want the water to get nice & hot and a lot of steam to occur. (plus it will smell good too!). Carefully remove the hot bowl of water from the microwave and set it aside to cool. While it is cooling wipe out your microwave with a clean damp cloth. Once the lemon water has cooled, use it to wipe out the microwave again. Lemon naturally cleans and deodorizes and the steam will loosen up food debris.

Tip #3 - If you have a lot of hard baked on food debris...sprinkle some table salt onto that debris and scrub it off with a clean sponge. The salt acts like a natural abrasive and will loosen it up for you. Then wipe out with your lemon water and let dry.

Tip #4 - When the microwave is really filthy you can sprinkle some baking soda on those tough stains and food debris. Mist the baking soda with some tap water using a spray bottle. Let it sit for several minutes and then use a clean sponge to clean it up. Baking soda will act as a natural abrasive, deodorizer and it can remove stubborn stains.

Tip #5 - I am not a big fan of the smell of vinegar so I usually don't use it. However, My mother makes a spray solution of white vinegar and tap water - 3 to 4 teaspoons of vinegar per spray bottle mixed with tap water and uses that to clean out the inside of her microwave. It works like a charm. Like I said, I just don't care for the smell of vinegar so I rarely use her cleaning method. 

I always finish cleaning up the inside of my microwave with lemon water and then I towel dry or air dry. My microwave smells good and is sparkling clean. At most I spend cleaning my microwave is 5 minutes, twice a week. I don't use any type of chemicals as I don't want that near my family's food.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Spinach Apple and Pear Homemade Juice Recipe


Juice cleansing is all of the rage right now and celebrities have been doing it hot & heavy for the past few years. Even though I have never tried a juice cleanse...I am always looking for healthy juice recipes to make for my family.

 Omega Juicers has teamed up with Leanne Vogel, holistic nutritionist, of Healthful Pursuit to create a simple healthy home juice recipe.

Just looking at this juice makes me feel like it’s working it’s healing magic on me! This recipe will take approximately 10 minutes to prepare and will make one 750ml serving.

Spinach, Apple & Pear Homemade Juice Recipe

1 pear
1 apple
2 cups spinach
1 bunch of kale
1 celery stalk (about 10 sticks with leaves)
1 cucumber

Instructions - If you have a 'low' setting on your juicer, begin with the softer veggies first - spinach, kale and cucumber. Then turn to 'high' and juice the pear, apple, and celery.

New Swagbucks Swag Code for September 20th


Hey everyone -- Swag Code Alert! Here's the new Swag Code available on Swagbucks.com: 



9/20 - ListenUp (4 SB)
10am-11:30am (1pm to 2:30pm EST) on Blog  (US) Facebook (UK/IE, CA)

Make sure to go to Swagbucks.com to get your free Swag Bucks before time runs out! If you don't know about Swagbucks yet, it's the largest rewards website that gives people free gift cards for the things they do online.

In addition to earning Swag Bucks through the Search engine, playing Games, Watching videos, taking Surveys & more, they also like to give out Swag Codes for bonus Swag Bucks. The more Swag Bucks, the more free gifts cards! In fact, Swagbucks.com has helped me pay for my new backyard porch swing, new curtains for my kitchen, a new area rug in our family room and a new comforter for our guest bedroom! I love redeeming the swagbucks that I earn for Amazon.com gift cards!  Don't miss out on all the savings and free rewards -- sign up for Swagbucks here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Swagbucks Swag Code for September 19th


Hey everyone -- Swag Code Alert! Here's the new Swag Code available on Swagbucks.com: 



9/19 - LandLubber (5 SB)
3-5pm PDT (6pm to 8pm EST) on Twitter - All except India


Make sure to go to Swagbucks.com to get your free Swag Bucks before time runs out! If you don't know about Swagbucks yet, it's the largest rewards website that gives people free gift cards for the things they do online.


In addition to earning Swag Bucks through the Search engine, playing Games, Watching videos, taking Surveys & more, they also like to give out Swag Codes for bonus Swag Bucks. The more Swag Bucks, the more free gifts cards! In fact, Swagbucks.com has helped me pay for my new backyard porch swing, new curtains for my kitchen, a new area rug in our family room and a new comforter for our guest bedroom! I love redeeming the swagbucks that I earn for Amazon.com gift cards!  Don't miss out on all the savings and free rewards -- sign up for Swagbucks here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How I Make Over $125 a Month with Swagbucks + My Swagbucks Tips!!!

I have been a member of the online rewards site called Swagbucks for well over a year now. There are many online reward sites that I have participated in online but NONE of them make me as much money as Swagbucks and Swagbucks pays you to do the things that most of us do online!

You can earn rewards (Swagbucks) for taking surveys, answering the daily poll, watching videos on Swagbucks TV, for interacting with brands (companies like following them on Facebook, Twitter or watching a specific brand video), using the Swagbucks search engine to search for things (it's a combination of Google & Bing, so it's a lot better) and you are randomly awarded with Swagbucks on your searches.

There are all kinds of different rewards over there and you can earn rewards for shopping from stores that are affiliated with Swagbucks, playing some FREE online games and all kinds of fun & rewarding things! Hubby and I both love the Swagbucks site!

I am often asked how do I rack up so many Swagbucks in one given month and today...I thought I would share that with all of you.

1. I do the daily poll every day for 1 Swagbuck.

2. I do the daily NOSO offers (just click no and submit) for 2 Swagbucks

3. I play 20 FREE Swagbuck Games and earn a total of 10 Swagbucks every day. You earn 2 Swagbucks per every 2 games you play up to 10 Swagbucks per day.

4. I look through the survey's every day and try to do one of those but I am selective on which ones. I don't have an hour to spend doing survey's so I look for ones that take only 5, 10 or 15 minutes max. You are rewarded various Swagbuck amounts depending on the surveys and for me...that is mostly 50 to 75 Swagbucks per survey. With that said, there are higher paying ones but they are pretty time consuming.

5. Do to my other "real paying" job...I do a lot of keyword searches every day when I am researching topics for my ghostwriting clients or researching topics for my own blogs. I usually earn rewards 2 to 3 times a day by using their search engine and those Swagbuck rewards vary from 6 Swagbucks up to 80 (that was my max).

6. I try to watch a few videos on Swagbuck's TV and for every 10 videos that you watch...you earn 3 Swagbucks! I like watching the cooking ones, home improvement ones and sometimes the ones with current events & the news. You can earn a MAX of 150 Swagbucks every day by spending some time watching the videos.

7. Every day check out the Swagbuck's blog, Facebook & Twitter pages for Swagcodes! That's right..usually once a day but sometimes more...Swagbucks will post a Swagcode and all you have to do is copy & paste that code into the redemption box on the home page and you are rewarding with FREE Swagbacks! Super cool!

8. I print out coupons from the coupon section on the Swagbucks site and take them to my local store. I only print the coupons that I definitely know I will use. You are rewarded a few weeks later with Swagbucks for using each of the coupons that you print & you are saving money on your grocery bill at the same time! It's a win-win for you!

9. When I do get the hankering to purchase something online...I head over to Swagbucks to check out their Shop & Earn section to see if the store is participating and if not...I look for a store that sells similar items. If you are going to buy online...why not earn some Swagbucks in the process? Yay!!! You can really rack up the Swagbucks and in one day alone...I earned close to 1,000 Swagbucks by just going through the Swagbucks site.

10. Click the DISCOVER TAB on the home page and check out some of the Special Offers! You can earn swagbucks for doing all kinds of tasks and you earn them per task you complete. A lot of these tasks are FREE and only take a few minutes to complete!

11. Refer your friends & family members to Swagbucks! Once they join through your referral link you will earn matching Swagbucks when they are rewarded with them for searching (using the Swagbucks) search engine up to 1,000 Swagbucks! Those referral Swagbucks can add up super fast! 

If you are new to Swagbucks...I have a starter deal just for you!!! When you register & sign up for FREE through my referral link in this post you will be given 70 SB instantly when you redeem this code upon registration. The code is TTLM70SB. In addition to the 30 SB you get for filling out your profile, etc., you will start out with 100 SB total just for signing up through me and using the sign-up code -- that's already 1/5 towards your first $5 gift card.

* Make sure when you sign up, you must click on the text “I have a sign up code” (it can be small and hard to see, but definitely look for it!) to put in the code.

I love the Swagbucks site and I do earn quite a bit of money (rewards) for participating. Most of the time I cash in my Swagbucks for Amazon.com gift cards but from time to time I also cash them in for direct Paypal.com Deposits. You can get rewarded and earn online too! You can sign up for FREE and get started today! If you have any questions or need any additional tips...just leave a comment here on my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @ClassyChicShel and tweet at me if you need some help getting started or need additional tips. I am here to help and you too can make a lot of extra money over on Swagbucks!

Disclosure: This post contains my Swagbucks affiliate link.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cheesy Chicken and Stuffing Casserole Recipe

I love to buy chicken in bulk and then spend one Sunday afternoon cooking it up to use in various recipes throughout the week. On weeks that I do this...one of the recipes that I like to make is this Cheesy Chicken & Stuffing Casserole that my great auntie gave to me about 15 years ago.

The recipe is really easy to prepare and will feed a family of 4 easily. If you have a larger family...you can double the recipe ingredients and use a 4 quart baking dish instead of a 2 quart one that you will need when making it.

Cheesy Chicken and Stuffing Casserole Recipe

4 cooked chicken breasts, bones removed and cut into cubes
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cups chicken broth

In a large 2 quart casserole dish, combine all of the above ingredients. Do not need water...the soup should thin down with the addition of the chicken broth.

Topping:

1 cup chicken broth
1 stick butter
10 oz. bag stuffing mix
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine together the chicken broth, butter and stuffing mix. Sprinkle stuffing mixture on top of the ingredients in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the stuffing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

New Swagbucks Swag Code for September 17th


Hey everyone -- Swag Code Alert! Here's the new Swag Code available on Swagbucks.com: 


9/17 - Foliage (6 SB)
9am-10:30am PDT (12pm to 1:30pm EST)  on Blog - All except India and Australia

Make sure to go to Swagbucks.com to get your free Swag Bucks before time runs out! If you don't know about Swagbucks yet, it's the largest rewards website that gives people free gift cards for the things they do online.


In addition to earning Swag Bucks through the Search engine, playing Games, Watching videos, taking Surveys & more, they also like to give out Swag Codes for bonus Swag Bucks. The more Swag Bucks, the more free gifts cards! In fact, Swagbucks.com has helped me pay for my new backyard porch swing, new curtains for my kitchen, a new area rug in our family room and a new comforter for our guest bedroom! I love redeeming the swagbucks that I earn for Amazon.com gift cards!  Don't miss out on all the savings and free rewards -- sign up for Swagbucks here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cheesy Haddock Casserole Recipe

Hubby and I have been trying to incorporate more fish into our daily diet and last week we made this Cheesy Haddock Casserole Recipe that we found in an old cookbook from the late 1970's. The casserole was very easy to prepare and once done...delicious!

Homemade Cheesy Haddock Casserole Recipe

1 lb. haddock fillets, cooked & broken up
5 slices of bread, buttered & cubed
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cut up
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1/2 can of milk
2 large eggs, beaten

Optional: dried bread crumbs and shredded cheddar cheese

In a casserole baking dish, combine together the bread, Velveeta cheese, soup, milk and beaten eggs. Stir in the broken-up haddock fish pieces. If desired, you can sprinkle on some dried bread crumbs and shredded cheese onto the top. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place casserole into the oven and bake uncovered for 20 to 22 minutes or until done. Serve immediately. Any leftovers...cover & refrigerate.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Our Annual Family Trip to Wildwood NJ

Every year we go down to Wildwood New Jersey during the month of September and during this particular trip we decided to take the family down with us. We took my mother, my daughter, her fiance, my grand daughter and then hubby and myself were all along for the adventure.

We love the north Wildwood area and it's our favorite area on the Wildwood island. If you are ever visiting the area, I highly recommend that you talk a walk up to the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse and walk behind it and up onto the sea wall.

Once on the sea wall you will get some spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Inlet and the surrounding areas. In my opinion, this is the prettiest part of the entire Wildwood island and a MUST SEE when visiting. You will find a beautiful white sandy beach, lots of sand dunes and sea grass and if you are really lucky...you will see a few dolphins swimming by. This is where we usually see them swimming when we visit.
There are a lot of things to see and do while visiting Wildwood New Jersey like a day trip to the Cape May County Zoo, a hike at the Nature Conservancy down in Cape May, tour the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse & the Cape May Lighthouse, check out the World War II Lookout Tower & Bunker on the Beach in Cape May and of course make sure you have some amusement ride fun on Morey's Pier.

We are hoping to head back down there in late October for one last visit before the weather here in PA gets really cold and the winter weather moves in. But if not...we will be back down again come May 2014. Yay!

New Swagbucks Swag Code for September 13th


Hey everyone -- Swag Code Alert! Here's the new Swag Code available on Swagbucks.com: 


9/13 - BlackCat (4 SB)
6-8am PDT (9am to 11am EST) on Facebook - All except Australia

Make sure to go to Swagbucks.com to get your free Swag Bucks before time runs out! If you don't know about Swagbucks yet, it's the largest rewards website that gives people free gift cards for the things they do online.

In addition to earning Swag Bucks through the Search engine, playing Games, Watching videos, taking Surveys & more, they also like to give out Swag Codes for bonus Swag Bucks. The more Swag Bucks, the more free gifts cards! In fact, Swagbucks.com has helped me pay for my new backyard porch swing, new curtains for my kitchen, a new area rug in our family room and a new comforter for our guest bedroom! I love redeeming the swagbucks that I earn for Amazon.com gift cards!  Don't miss out on all the savings and free rewards -- sign up for Swagbucks here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beautiful Views of the Atlantic Ocean in Wildwood NJ

We were on vacation all of last week and had a wonderful time down at the Jersey Shore....more specifically, in Wildwood New Jersey. We go down to North Wildwood several times every year and just LOVE that area! While the rest of the Wildwood island is pretty, our favorite spots are in North Wildwood.

We love to go onto the beach right behind the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse and if you ask me, that is where you get the best views of the Atlantic Ocean. If you love watching sunrises, this is also the best place to catch those while visiting the Wildwood area.

The beach here is pure white...wide and beautiful! You will find a lot of sand dunes, sea grass and if you are a beach comber, you can pick up some seashells too! One of the things I love about this particular area is that you can see the Inlet, a sand dune and then the Atlantic Ocean behind it, as my photo above shows!

You can click on the photo to enlarge it to see the pretty details. If you look really close, you can see some sea gulls on the edge of the water too! We sat on the beach for awhile that day and then got up onto the sea wall and sat on a wooden bench. The ocean & beach views behind the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse are some of the best on the entire Wildwood island.

Well there you have it! My "almost" Wordless Wednesday post for this week. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing some additional photos from our vacation. Enjoy!


New Swagbucks Swag Code for September 10th


Hey everyone -- Swag Code Alert! Here's the new Swag Code available on Swagbucks.com: 

9/10 - Skatergirl19 (4SB) 
1-2:30pm PDT (4pm to 5:30pm EST) on Blog - All except India

Make sure to go to Swagbucks.com to get your free Swag Bucks before time runs out! If you don't know about Swagbucks yet, it's the largest rewards website that gives people free gift cards for the things they do online.


In addition to earning Swag Bucks through the Search engine, playing Games, Watching videos, taking Surveys & more, they also like to give out Swag Codes for bonus Swag Bucks. The more Swag Bucks, the more free gifts cards! In fact, Swagbucks.com has helped me pay for my new backyard porch swing, new curtains for my kitchen, a new area rug in our family room and a new comforter for our guest bedroom! I love redeeming the swagbucks that I earn for Amazon.com gift cards!  Don't miss out on all the savings and free rewards -- sign up for Swagbucks here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub Recipe for Beautiful Skin

I love using homemade recipes for natural bath, body and beauty products and this one from Indie Lee looks fabulous! I am going to go out and get the ingredients tomorrow and try it myself.

I hope you are enjoying these last moments of summer! As the heat comes to an end and you reach for your favorite seasonal latte from Starbucks, let Indie Lee, creator of the eco-chic and all-natural skincare line, soothe your sun drenched skin and give you a flawless fall complexion with her DIY Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub. Inspired by the Indie Lee fan favorite Coconut Citrus Body Scrub, which will be returning to the line in October, this delightful DIY is as good as a slice of pie, but without the calories! Leaving you wrapped in a warm harvest scent, this amazing autumnal scrub will have you relaxed and ready for the crisp months ahead!

Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub Recipe

2 cups organic fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup pumpkin pie mix

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients until fully blended. Next add Coconut Oil and Pumpkin Pie mix and blend until smooth (if scrub is too runny, add more sugar). Lastly cover the scrub and let it sit for an hour before indulging in this guilt-free pumpkin polisher.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hamburger and Rice Casserole Recipe

I love making a variety of casserole dinners for my family and I love making them to give as get well gifts when friends or family are ill. In my opinion, casseroles are always appreciated when someone is not feeling well & it saves them from cooking.

This hamburger and rice casserole is one that I make often for my own family and one that I like to make & give to others. It's really easy to prepare and tastes delicious. If you are pressed for time and want to reduce the cooking time...use cooked rice and bake the casserole for 12 to 15 minutes or until done.

Hamburger & Rice Casserole Recipe

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 cups hot water
2 beef bouillon cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Fry up the lean ground beef until it's done, drain away grease. Stir in the onions, carrots and minced garlic, simmer for an additional 3 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the beef bouillon cubes in hot water.  In a casserole dish, combine together the ground beef mixture, bouillon mixture, salt, ground black pepper and the rice. Cover baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place casserole dish into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove and serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Homemade Pierogi & Lasagna Casserole Recipe

My neighbor made us a homemade casserole and brought it over a few weeks ago when I came home from the hospital from my hip surgery. I had never heard of a Pierogi & Lasagna Casserole before but once hubby and I tried it...wow...we were really missing out! Anyway, here is the recipe which she included with the casserole.

Optional: You can substitute with instant mashed potatoes if you are in a hurry and it's a weeknight & dinner needs to get onto the table.

Homemade Pierogi & Lasagna Casserole Recipe

10 to 12 large potatoes, boiled and mashed
3/4 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
2 sticks butter, softened
1 large onion, finely diced
1 lb. lasagna noodles, cooked & water drained
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Mash potatoes; add the shredded cheese, beat with a mixer until combined. Saute the onions in butter until fork tender. Add 1/3 of the sauteed onions to the potato mixture, salt & pepper to taste.

Butter a 13" by 9" baking dish. Layer cooked lasagna noodles and then mashed potatoes, repeat forming layers as you go....ending with lasagna noodles on the top. Pour remaining butter & onions over the top. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove and serve.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How NOT to Pitch a Professional Review Blogger!!!

I own or co-own 7 highly successful blogs online and turned all of my blogs into businesses. All of my blogs are at least 3 years old with established readership and I am highly visible on several social media channels.

One of my businesses is that I review products and host giveaways for the same products that I reviewed on several of my blogs. I do not do any copy & paste, I insert proper keywords, I write in great detail and I promote the heck out of my professionally written reviews on numerous social media channels. I get companies a HECK OF A LOT business exposure.

I have been dealing with hundreds of PR and Media companies for the past 4 1/2 years. I would say that 80% of these companies are a real pleasure to work with and I have formed great relationships with them. These PR & Media companies appreciate the value of a professional blogger and what the blogger can bring to the marketing table.

With that said, about 20% of the PR & Media companies that I come into contact with are a BIG JOKE! Seriously, I get over 50+ pitches a day in my email box from companies here in the US and a few in Canada. I love working with companies & PR firms...but lately, I am getting really disgusted with the behavior of 20% of these PR firms.

Here is an example of what I have had to deal with in the past 3 weeks.

1. Hundreds of pitches of PR firms wanting me or my business partner to review products from sent .jpg images? Oh really!!! Hmmm, NO ONE can review a product from a high-quality image and be honest with their readers by doing that. Not only that...what is in it for the blogger? Nothing tangible at all.

2. Pitches roll in that offer one of us a product to review but....and yes there is a but...they want us to return it to them after the review!!! Sometimes this is at our expense and other times at theirs. What the hell? Again, nothing for the blogger's time, writing skills, social media pull, marketing efforts...etc. NOTHING!

3. We often get "pitches" that are labeled as "guest posts" and/or "story ideas" where they want us to give their client (the company) FREE advertising on one of our blogs by labeling it as a "story idea" or as a"guest post". What the hell is that about? Why not be honest and say "Hey, will you give my client some free advertising on your site?" Please quit disguising that junk as "guest posts" and "story ideas". Trust me...we are NOT desperate for content on ANY of our blog sites and we would rather give that CONTENT SPACE to a company who is compensating us with either a product or money. Get real folks!!!

4. We will get pitches saying "Can you post this for my client about their new product launch or sales promo and tomorrow I will ship out some products to you to thank you?" The problem with this is...we have been burnt WAY TOO MANY TIMES by never receiving the goodies!!! Oh yeah...people lie to get what they want!!! Well, we are now smarter about that!!!

5. I just love getting pitches from PR firms and companies offering to send me XYZ product to review for them, seriously...I love that!!! However...way too often these days when that product arrives to your home to be reviewed it is a sample one-time use packet of something! Wow...so the company can only send you a swipe pad or one-time use packet and not be honest with you that you are ONLY getting a one-time use sample? The reason they are NOT honest is because they know bloggers will NOT work for a .02 cent sample! Ugh!

I am really getting beyond irritated now with all of these unprofessional PR pitches hitting my email box each and every day!

PR & Media companies are being paid to push those press releases & pitches around...YES....getting paid! If you want to work with a professional review blogger who is also a professional ghostwriter with years of experience... well then...you have to offer me something in return! That is the bottom line!

Just like you all...I have a family to feed, a roof to put over our heads, medical bills to pay and so forth. Your ridiculous PR & Media pitches do NOTHING for me and my family!