This is Why We Love to Shop

The Crusty Bastards are probably going to mock us endlessly for this one, like they did when Janaan bought some rather expensive balloons that weren't exactly a necessity. (In her defense, they are really cool balloons and we WILL use them someday!)

When I look back at my life some of my happiest memories are from shopping with Mom and Janaan. Certain trips stand out for either the EPIC hauls (we have pictures from our most amazing days on Canal Street in New York and at the Orange County marketplace) or our EPIC laughs (one time we were at the Container Store in Dallas and Janaan cracked a joke about Mom's arthritis in her hands and we were all laughing so hard that the cashier told us to shut up and calm down...come to think of it, maybe she had arthritis and didn't think we were funny).

ANYHOO, last Thursday night at Big Lots is in my top 5 most EPIC hauls ever. It was a fantastical, fabulous, fun night that for me was amplified by the fact that I had spent the night before gambling in the lovely lovely ARIA Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas and was living on about two hours of sleep. I never thought the words "lovely" and "casino" would work well together, but the ARIA is special. Alas, that is the topic of another post.

So, we hadn't seen each other in a few days and we met up for dinner. After dinner mom suggested that we pop-in to Big Lots. "What the hell? Let's do a pop-in." That's pretty much our motto for life.

So we cruised up and down the aisles of Big Lots for a while, gathering up sock monkeys and gigantic silver Christmas bows and musing about whether or not the pink tinsel Christmas tree would be there when the holiday stuff hit 50% off. We were rounding the corner of our last aisle when I heard Janaan squeal.

Sidebar: If we haven't mentioned it before, Janaan is the absolute QUEEN of spotting things. You never want to go shopping without her. You'll miss everything good. She has a gift, I tell you.

Anyway, Janaan had spied a whole rack of special edition Christian Lacroix Evian bottles. She had just read about them on a blog and there they were for $1 a bottle.

OOHHHH!! They are SSSSOOOO pretty. We each immediately snatched up about 10 bottles and then started toward the check stand. As we walked away I got this little ping of sadness in my heart. How could I leave something so so beautiful at Big Lots?? No offense, but Big Lots is not exactly a beautiful place and these bottles seemed to be tragically caught there by mistake. They were calling to me. Calling to me like a wide-eyed-laborador-retriever-puppy at a Pets Mart Adoption day.

I told Mom and Janaan I wanted all of them. They quickly agreed. We all felt it. We stood there for a minute trying to justify how we would TOTALLY use all of them for all of the fabulous parties we were planning for 2010. We were having balloon flashbacks.

I estimated that there were 100 bottles (Janaan thought there were more like 40) and for a moment I felt ridiculous, then I came to the sudden realization that I had lost $100 at a craps table at the ARIA in about 60 seconds just hours earlier and these bottles of water would bring me oh so much more joy and happiness than gambling ever could. I just wanted to hold them and look at them and line them up and then look at them lined up and maybe have a party just to drink my designer Evian or perhaps open one up whenever I had a bad day and needed to see something beautiful. This water was going to make me even happier than I already am. This water was going to make my life WONDERFUL.

So, Mom and I RAN out the door to move our cars closer (we'd walked across the parking lot from the restaurant because we're totally on a new fitness regime... HA!!). We scrounged around for empty boxes (an exercise in futility) and grabbed 3 more carts.

Long story short, there were 98 bottles (YES! I was so right on my estimate). That's $98 on bottled water. It was still less than I lost at the craps table and I'm still giddy about my water and we have a fun story to tell and laugh about forever. It should be noted that the other shoppers at Big Lots thought we were total freaks and there was one particularly bitchy woman behind me in line at the check stand that was all huffy and moved to another line to avoid my 3 carts of Evian. (For the record I had counted everything before I got to the cashier and I BEAT her out the door.)

All of that was fun enough. But are you ready for the best part??? They retail for $13.95 a bottle!!! So I saved $1,270 bucks. Take that, Vegas!!!

Year of the Monkey

I'm not sure when our obsession with Sock Monkey's started. I think it was at a recent baby shower. In any case, there are a lot of sock monkeys floating around.

We found these "Little Maxx" sock monkeys at Big Lots for $7.

Janaan and I both bought this sock monkey cap. $32 from the Sundance Catalog.

Mom and Janaan found these cuties at Sam's club. $9.86 for both of them!
I'm a little annoyed at the Target website right now...but I digress. Target sells the classic Schylling Sock Monkey pictured above in their specialty classic toys section. It comes in the classic brown and sweet purple, pink and blue too. I just can't find a link to it on their website. I bought one for Louis in brown and Janaan bought one for Baby G in pink.

I literally squealed when I saw this one. We're calling him "Big Maxx". $20 at The Wal-Marts. It's not pictured on their website either. WHAT-EVER WAL-MART and TARGET WEBSITES I JUST WANT TO TELL ALL OF MY FRIENDS ABOUT SOCK MONKEYS!! Geez.

Free Printables

One of my favorite things about the blogging world is all of the creative people who are willing to share their talents. Like when they design something pretty and let all the world print it out for their personal use.

Here are a few that I currently enjoy -

Orange Pillow Box - perfect for jewelry, little gifts or gift cards

Cute pink tags for your sweets found at Creature Comforts

2010 Pocket Calendar. This would be so great hanging on my bulletin board

Have you noticed...

...our lack of stocking stuffer posts?

...our lack of tweets?

....our lack of posts in general?

...our new blog layout?

Well we have been a bit crazy as of late but promise to come back with renewed energy soon. A new blog look has given us the little boost we've needed.

A Little Birdie Told Me...

While perusing Little Birdie Secrets (a fabulously crafty blog that provides lots and lots of inspiration for us not so creative types) we saw this post on an easy bread wrapper.

While the wrapper was adorable, we fell in love with the mini bread loaf pans from Michaels for only $1! We love anything that only costs and buck and rushed to our local Michaels to scoop some up.

Filled with a delicious bread, the white ones will be great to have on hand for hostess gifts, pick-me-up gifts and the like. While the red ones we'll use for Christmas.

Today Only $1 Shipping

At Bath and Body Works when you enter the code SHIP1 at checkout.

So, go ahead and stock up on more Wallflowers. The Coconut Lime Verbena smells oh so good.

Kid's Stocking Stuffer Idea #3

I found this cute little soft toy CPG GNON for my baby grand daughter at a local specialty store and just had to have it right then and there. It's made by the great French company Vulli and is like their famous must have "Sophie the Giraffe" only it's a mushroom. It comes in three colors and is available on for your stocking stuffing pleasure.

"Baby grows up with Vulli ! Unique and special moments, the first months of a baby's life are a time of mutual discovery and happiness shared with its parents. Real specialists in items for babies, Vulli offers you products which will help your child to develop : nursery items and babies' toys suited to each stage of his/her development like Sophie the Giraffe."

Vulli available at for $14.24

More Yummy Holiday Pictures

Seriously, if you haven't called Jodi yet. Do it now.

Yummy Holiday Pictures

Last year I didn't send a picture with my Christmas card. In the end, this was even more pathetic than sending a Christmas card with a picture of just me. Plus, when you don't send a picture there is all this pressure to write a big note in every single card and suddenly you find yourself on a plane ride back from San Francisco on December 21st spilling diet coke all over your holiday wishes.

This year I am the fattest I've ever been in my life, so why not send a picture out to every person I know to celebrate?? Enter in the wonderful Jodi from A Yummy Life Photography. We all love Jodi and we were very excited when she told us about her studio space in Downtown Salt Lake. I was even MORE excited when she said that there was this PhotoShop filter called "liquify" that could help shave off a few pounds. Bye bye Christmas Card Picture Diet!

If I look back at my life, there are just a handful of pictures of myself that I really truly like. And this year, at my fattest self, Jodi delivered one to me. Thank you Jodi.

Jodi is having mini sessions on December 4th, just in time for Christmas!


I've noticed lately that a lot of people have been asking me what my favorite app is for my iPhone. While Flashlight is cool, my favorite App always has been and always will be Shazam! Here are some of my latest new music discoveries:

Song: Whatever You Like (yes, this is a cover of T.I.'s Whatever You Like)
Artist: Anya Marina
Shazamed At: My living room. This song was played in an episode of Gossip Girl. Although Gossip Girl sucks in general this season, the earrings and music are still worth watching for.
Love This Song For: Chilling Out.

I See You
Artist: Mika
Shazamed At: See above.
Love This Song For: Daydreaming.

Song: Moth's Wings
Artist: Passion Pit
Shazamed At: See above.
Love This Song For: Remembering the love of your life, and how your heart skips a beat whenever they walk into the room.

Song: I'm In Love With Your Rock and Roll
Artist: Kish Mauve
Shazamed At: See above. This was played as Serena walked in to play in a ridiculous high-stakes poker game. Has she worn a skirt longer than 18 inches this season??
Love This Song For: Perfect background music for a party.

Keep the Streets Empty for Me
Artist: Fever Ray
Shazamed At: CSI Miami. Yes, I got tricked into watching CSI Miami (the WORST of the CSI's by far) when they had their CSI Miami/CSI New York/CSI Vegas 3-part series a couple of weeks ago. Hey, at least I got this song out of it.
Love This Song For: Background music at work.

Song: Dice
Artist: Finley Quaye
Shazamed At: Ross. Yes. Ross.
Love This Song For: Unwinding as you drive home from work.

Song: 1901
Artist: Phoenix
Shazamed At: This was in a Cadillac commercial. Yeah. I watch a lot of TV.
Love This Song For: Gearing up as you drive into work. And if you drive a Cadillac, all the better.

Women's/Girls Stocking Stuffer Idea #2

We simply love headbands. It might have started with "Blair Waldorf's"character on Gossip Girl. Even though Gossip Girl has become a lame show this year. But more about that later.

This beautiful headband was featured on The Pioneer Woman recently and it reminded me about all the headbands I've been buying up for either stocking stuffers or gifts. You can pay a pretty penny for headbands and I think they are worth it, but it's very nice to find them at our favorite Cheaping Girls spot - you guessed it - Ross. They usually run about $2.99. Now at that price you can buy one or two for everyone on your list!

We have this one in black, grey and white.

Kid's Stocking Stuffer Idea #2

I picked up these cute Melissa & Doug wood toys for my baby grand daughter's Christmas stocking this week at Tuesday Morning for $3.99 and $4.99 each! I know she won't remember Christmas this year - but I don't care! So check our your local Tuesday Morning to see if they are available or go to
$6.99 - Peek-a-boo Bear at
$7.00 - Friendly Fish Rattle at

Women's Stocking Stuffer Idea #1

After Nie Nie's appearance on Oprah she blogged about how Oprah drank from her silver straw while she had only a plastic one. Well, we were inspired by Oprah and wanted a silver straw of our own.

We searched and found a stainless steel straw on They are a little pricey at $9.49 plus shipping for a set of four, but we will split them up and have one for each Cheaping Girl. We can clean them in the dishwasher - now that's being "green".

Words to Live By

Has everyone read these "Time Tested Beauty Tips" by Sam Levenson? He wrote them for his grandchild, and it became one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite poems. She read it to her children often. I think it has such a lovely message I look forward to reading it my little girl.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Kid's Stocking Stuffer Idea #1

I love the clever line of books "Fancy Nancy" written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The first book was published in 2005 and was a little bit hard to find. Now the ever growing line of Fancy Nancy products seem to be everywhere.

I found these playing cards at The Walmarts yesterday and decided they would be a perfect stocking stuffer for my granddaughter. She definitely likes Fancy Nancy, but I think I'm the bigger fan. I only wish I would have thought of the idea and wrote the book! (P.S. These are also available on for only $5.74! Whoop!)

Confessions from Fans of The Pioneer Woman

The Cheaping Girls and The Pioneer Woman. I don't like to smile with my teeth anymore. Maybe it's just a phase, I don't know. Also, could I be sticking my butt out any further in this picture???

Have we ever talked about Mom's recipe addiction? She spends lots of time each week perusing the web and magazines and talking to people about new yummy recipes to try. Every Sunday Mom whips up an insanely good meal and most Sunday's you'll find a ream of paper sitting on her countertop with stacks and stacks of recipes that she's printed out that week. Most Sunday's you'll also find us sitting around, groaning, bellies aching because we've had altogether too much to eat. Mom has officially moved into multiple 5" 3-ring binders for her recipes. Oh, and we have little patience for people that won't share their recipes (unless you are making money off of those recipes, of course). But really, why are some people so stingy about that? Food is love and we love love love to share our favorite recipes with our friends.

All of us (MWM included) love The Pioneer Woman. The Pioneer Woman was a city girl that ended up married to a Cattle rancher in Oklahoma (Exciting News! She is writing a book about their love story. But I digress...). We love her hilarious slice-of-life-on-the-ranch stories, her beautiful photographs and most of all her RECIPES.

The MWM secretly wishes Mom would wake up one day and run off with him to a big cattle ranch and leave all of her Ross's behind. Mom isn't going to do that, but she does keep all of our bellies happy with The Pioneer Woman's amazing and delicious food. We were all excited that The Pioneer Woman wrote a cookbook and even MORE excited when she announced a book tour with a stop at our very own King's English book store.

We arrived EARLY (this is a feat, especially for me), queued up and got tickets to have our cookbooks signed by the one and only Pioneer Woman. Here are some highlights from our evening:

- The King's English is next door to Mazza (Go eat there. Go right now.) So we had Mazza's incredible French Fries and tart and tangy lime-ades while we waited in line. Yum!

- The Pioneer woman is LOVELY. Great hair. Great skin. Very tall. Very funny. She has a nice warm happy glow all around her. She is friendly. She is funny, did I mention that? She does a mean Ethel Merman impression.

- The Pioneer woman had her sister in law and mother in law with her. They were both lovely too. All three of them had on great boots. The MWM would be proud. Her sister in law was wearing a very cool bracelet, which she had picked up at the Banana Republic at the Gateway. Note to self: Get to a Banana Republic ASAFP.

- We waited in line for a couple of hours to have our book signed, so I of course picked up a few impulse buys. I fell in love with this book called Wag! by Patrick McDonnell:

It made me smile and I wanted to give my dog Lucy a big belly rub and a treat and a long walk.

It was a really fun evening and I'm excited to read my cookbook. Yes, READ it. The Pioneer Woman has added in some great color commentary and stories along with her recipes and each recipe features her step by step photographs and mouth watering descriptions, which is great for "aspirational" cooks like me.

If you haven't tried any of her recipes, here are some that CANNOT be missed:

Spicy Shrimp - I can't even tell you how many times we've had this as a kick-off to dinner. SO UNBELIEVABLY GOOD.

Apple Dumplings - Yes, have that 2nd one. You know you want it. But the 3rd one is over the top. Trust me, I've made this mistake again and again.

Marlboro Man's Second Favorite Sandwich - Not the most simple sandwich, but definitely the most delicious. Eat this one slowly. SAVOR.

Olive Cheese Bread - Garlic. Cheese. Olives. Bread. What more is there to say?

Cheese Muffins - I could seriously eat 10 or 20 of these in a single sitting.

Bon Appetit!!!

Why are all the REALLY Old People Women?

I've always known that there are more "little old ladies" than "little old men". But I was not sure of the reason. I have been known to say I think women are the superior species and that's why we live longer. But recently I read in the September 28, 2009 issue of Newsweek the top five reasons women live longer - even to 110 years of age. I hope to live a long healthy life but I'm not so sure about that long!

Sixty-eight of the 72 known "supercentenarians" (people 110 and older) are female, even though there are more boys than girls born each year. Here's why.

The danger years
The difference between male and female death rates peaks between ages 20 and 24—during which men are six times as likely to be murdered and five times as likely to die of a non-automobile accident.

Toxic testosterone
The hormone increases levels of bad cholesterol (known as LDL) and decreases levels of good cholesterol (HDL), while estrogen does just the opposite.

Whether it's homicide, suicide, or by accident, men are five times more likely to die by firearms than women.

Drop-dead diseases
Fatal conditions like cancer and heart disease are common among men, while women are more likely to suffer from chronic nonfatal conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and autoimmune disorders.

Overwhelming emotions
The tendency to ignore signs of depression and emotional distress may account for the fact that, between the ages of 75 and 79, men are nine times more likely to commit suicide.

© 2009 Newsweek

Image from here

Fantastic Halloween Party

I really wish I was invited to this party.

A Brooklyn Limestone - threw the most fantastic Halloween party I've ever seen. Her house decorations were pretty amazing too. I am bookmarking this for the future when I have a bigger house and can throw a great Halloween party.

Pickin' and a Grinnin' - Hee Haw circa 1969

This is not about the kind of "pickin' and grinnin' " Roy Clark and Buck Owens were talking 'bout for 23 years on Hee Haw, but's it's my kind.

I'm a little intense about things on my face that are bugging me - pimples, stray hairs, wrinkles, etc, etc, etc. So I thought I would share with you my favorite make-up mirror. Now once you behold yourself in the 10x glory you will either run away or have to buy one and take it everywhere you go. That's hard in this day and age of luggage restrictions. I got this little gem at Bed Bath and Beyond (remember to always use your 20% off coupon!).

"Daylight 10x Cosmetic Mirror. With 360 fluorescent lighting, you can see yourself in a more natural light. Tweeze eyebrow, see facial hair, apply make-up evenly, monitor skin and insert contacts easily with powerful 10x magnification and distortion -free DFP glass. Mirror adjusts to all angles and measures 9" in diameter."

I'm also in love with the Tweezerman Point Tweezer. I for one can NOT wait for a waxing appointment. I can see those hairs in my 10x magnification mirror and they have to go! These are available anywhere Tweezerman is sold. They are worth every penny and guaranteed for life."Get your eyebrows just right with this tweezer that grabs the smallest and finest hairs. Due to sharp and perfectly aligned hand filed tips, tweezers can even grap a hold of stubble and ingrown hairs. Tweezers are stainless steel with a color finish." Also available at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Sophie the Giraffe

Sophie is a classic French teething toy that is cute, rubbery and doesn't smell like the chemicals you find in most rubber toys made in China. She actually smells good. And little Baby G loves to chew on Sophie's legs. And ears. And nose. And neck. You get the idea.

Our lovely friend Estelle who hails from France still has her Sophie from when she was baby. You can't get more classic than that.

Fishnet Tights

I'm a big fishnet tights fan. I threw out my most of my pantyhose long ago and made fishnets the mainstay of my hosiery. Oh, I'll occasionally wear other tights if I have to, but as a rule I avoid them. I was in Paris a few years ago and even the older and I mean really mature women were wearing patterned or fishnet tights! I was so impressed. It was a sassy look for an eighty year old.

Fishnets seem to readily available as at most stores in any color but nude. I have one pair of nude fishnets and they are really old - I'm talking 5 years old. And while that pair is still fine, I need a few more because my bare legs don't look as good as they used to (thanks to age and sun spots.) I have found many places for them online and recently ordered a supply for my "older legs" that want to still be sassy.

These professional fishnets for dancers would last a long time and have a reinforced foot, but you pay for it - at 26.00 a pair they are a little pricey -

Hue nude fishnet tights are available at for $12.50 a pair. has nude fishnets (not pictured in nude color) that are a great price - 6:00 per pair if you buy 3! I think I'll order these and let you know how they work out.

Kid Steals

We've blogged before about Baby Steals, an online site that sells a different baby or maternity product everyday. Yesterday they launched Kid Steals - same premise, just for toddlers and kids. Sign up now if you haven't already. The deals are amazing.

Image via A Yummy Life Photography

Comfy Heels

I've been on a hunt for some low heels to wear with straight leg jeans and pants. I like the look, but hate the pain they cause for my feet. I might be growing a tiny bunion on my left foot(insert scream here) and it's kinda hurting me. This is a fate worse than death for a shoe lover like me. So I found a solution in these shoes from Born. I'm not a huge Born fan but these are like heaven on your feet. I wore them for 10 hours yesterday and had no pain at all!

Born Geller -$99.00 at Dillards - they looked like "witch" shoes to me and that made them all the more attractive.

Born Velma - $128.90 at Now that I have put the Geller style to the test I think I might need these. Hummmmmm.

Inspirational Baby Shower Favors

The Cheaping Girls were invited to the loveliest baby shower last Friday. It was thrown by The Richards Girls for their sister/daughter Courtney who is due with her first baby on New Year's Day 2010. Can I just say that the food was DELICIOUS. I mean DELICIOUS. You know how food at these things can be. From the homemade limeade to the pasta salads to the homemade sugar cookies everything we ate was fabulous. I am still thinking about those sugar cookies. SO GOOD.

ANYWAY, the lovely Nicky, in addition to hand making a box full of gifts (Like a perfectly made hand sewn sock monkey! Oh and did I mention she also made the box that the lovely gifts came in too??), made the shower favors, which I have pictured below. All of the rivets, paper details, ties, and even the polka dots on the tulle inside were done by hand. And there were at least 30 of these:

I mean, how cute are these favors??? Well come to find out, Nicky works full time as teacher at a charter high school that is ranked #8 in the state, is in a master's program and runs on a regular basis. And she also looks very pretty all of the time (even after running a 15K, I have seen that with my own two eyes).

When I was working full time and getting my graduate degree all I did was pull my hair into a pony tail, work, do homework, do more work, study, eat, get fatter by the day and, when I had a moment to spare, zone out and watch TV.

Actually, minus the school part that pretty much sums up my life right now. So I'm just going to say that I've found these little party favors very inspiring. If Nicky can find the time to hone these skills and put such loveliness into the world, then I can too. At the very least, I can blow out my hair once in a while.


I love discovering new foods that are good for me and won't expand my ever expanding bottom. Recently my local Costco started carrying Oroweat Sandwich Thins, although I see them at the regular grocery store now. They are kinda like a pita that's cut in half, but soft and have a good flavor. Only 100 calories, 5 grams fiber, and 1 gram of fat. That's 1 point for you Weight Watchers gals. My latest obsession is to spread fat free cream cheese, top with cucumbers and dash of salt and pepper. It's a no guilt sandwich or snack! They come in 100% whole wheat and Multi-grain.
Visit Oroweat to learn more!

Yummy Sugar Baby Caramel Apple

This candy came out a couple of years ago and is showing up again this fall. I'm a sucker for these types of candy and I really love them and so does my husband. A friend gave us a dozen boxes last weekend, but we are on the hunt for more. Try them!

The Candy Addict says:

I love Sugar Babies. I love their cute, conveniently “poppable” small size. I love their rich, sweet caramel taste and the long chew they provide your mouth. I love how they won’t melt in the summer heat. So to say I was excited, when I saw the new Caramel Apple Sugar Babies in their bright cheery green box at my local store, is quite an understatement.

Once I was home I immediately opened the box to see what these new Sugar Babies looked like. I was surprised when I rolled the first few into my hand. Whoa, these were so strange! The coating is a matte bright green and they seriously looked like plastic peas! The felt a little greasy to the touch, yet they didn’t leave any residue on my fingers. Again, strange.

The coating comes off immediately once it’s in your mouth. It’s the standard sour green apple Jolly Rancher flavor. It really hits your taste buds, as the flavor comes rushing in like a tsunami and then disappears just as quickly. Then the Sugar Baby comes in with its familiar sweet caramel flavor and stick-to-your-teeth texture. It’s like encountering your best friend in a Halloween costume: at first you’re confused, and then the familiar face appears from beneath the mask.

These are good, but they really feel like two separate candies to me. The two flavors interact so separately in your mouth that it’s hard to try and “taste” a caramel apple in there. They’re worth a try if you’re a big Sugar Baby fan, just to say you did!

For The Love of Tomatoes

Our family loves tomatoes and salsa. Dad definitely loves them the most. He is a downright tomato and salsa connoisseur. He will eat pretty much any tomato or any salsa at anytime. Remember the whole tainted tomatoes scare of 2008? That didn't stop Dad one bit.

I'd put Janaan at 2nd place in terms of tomato love. She's been known to drink the juice leftover on her plate from a fresh raw summer tomato. She manages to do this in a ladylike manner, don't ask me how.

The rest of us, well we obsess about summer tomatoes. We start to talk about them and ask about them in early July, even though we know full well they won't be ready for another month. When we start to see them on the roadside stands we faithfully buy a box every week and eat every last one.

It's always sad when the first frost comes and the summer tomatoes are gone and we spend October mourning and reminiscing about all of the yummy tomatoes we had in September.

Well, this year, Mom went all out and decided to can some summer tomatoes and salsa so we could enjoy them a little bit longer.

Mom spent a good week buying tomatoes and pots and pans and all kinds of contraptions that I didn't even know existed and boiling and boiling and boiling and boiling on two stoves on two different levels of the house and canned dozens and dozens of jars of those beautiful summer tomatoes and summer tomato salsa.

Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. Wow. Wow. I helped one measly Saturday and I had NO IDEA the kind of work it takes to get these things from the farmers market into a little Kerr jar. NO IDEA. For the record, I will never again look at a delicious jar of tomatoes, or dilly beans, or, well anything in a jar in the same way again. I will savor every bite knowing the work that went into making such delicious organic food.

We've decided to call these "sipping tomatoes". They are to be savored between now and next August, when our lovely summer tomatoes come back and we start all over again. However, given this our family we're talking about, I don't think these are going to make it much past Christmas. We just can't help it.

I Heart Books

I love to read. I buy so many books I began to run out of space for them. So I decided that I would keep only the best and share the rest with anyone who happened to stop by or I would donate them. My husband does not share my "sharing" point of view and still crowds our shelves, drawers, bedside tables, coffee tables, etc with his books. I can't complain, I love to read. I love to look at stacks of books and just think about how much I'm going to enjoy reading them. I came across these quotes and agree with the "famous" who wrote them.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. Mark Twain


I cannot live without books! Thomas Jefferson


Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. Charles W. Eliot


You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. Paul Sweeney

Go to Barnes and Noble to print your own coupon and get a book now!

This will be my next book purchase - it's by the author of "The Glass Castle," one of my favorite books last year. Go to to read more about Jeanette Walls.