The Gift of Life

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 26, 2008 | | 0 comments »

There is a little heart on my driver's license that lets people know, in case of emergency, that I am an organ donor. I'd like to think that if, god forbid, I or anyone in my family would ever need an organ replaced that there will be someone out there that would save our life.

In a way, that too is the mission of C'Elle. You've heard of the many benefits that have come from stem cell research, I'm sure. But did you also know that the same benefits can be garnered from harvesting menstrual cells? Menstrual blood has been such a taboo that it is only recently that it was realized how similar the cells sloughed from a woman's endometrium are similar to the bone marrow and embryonic stem cells: they have the ability to multiply rapidly and can integrate into other types of cells like bone, fat, cardiac and others.

Using the same technology used to preserve blood, sperm and eggs, you can now preserve menstrual cells for future use. C'Elle offers kits that will enable you to collect a sampling and bank it for later.

What better way to ensure some peace of mind, knowing that you've thought ahead and have this resource available should your family ever need it. We hope they won't ever need it but like they say, you just never know...

How about you? Would you take this chance to leave your family a gift they may never need but if they do, would never forget?



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Beautiful Bentos

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 26, 2008 | , | 1 comments »

Bentos have always impressed me but some bentos completely awe me. My girls and I love bentos and we even pack our own sometimes but not ever to the degree that Anna the Red's Bento Factory makes them. Some of her bentos are literally too good to eat!

The great thing is, she provides step by step tutorials on how to make the bento elements on her all bento blog.

If you'd like to see more of her creations, visit the bento Flickr set. Some of these creations are truly a work of art.




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Donate to Heroes at Home

Posted by JMom | Thursday, December 25, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

It is the season for giving and if you're still looking for a good cause to contribute to, consider the heroes at home program at Sears. The unsung heroes behind our troops deployed on the front lines are the families they left behind. They not only have to contend with not having their loved one and main provider gone during the holidays, they also have to deal with reduced income and sometimes money just gets really tight. Sears hasn't forgotten the families left behind, that's the main focus of the Heroes at Home program which grants wishes of military families by giving them Sears gift cards.

Donations to Heroes at Home are not tax deductible but the donation you give will make a huge difference in someone's life. Visit the heroes at home wish list section and read about some of the simple but touching wishes from these military families. Like the request from the mom who is serving overseas and misses her husband and kids and wanted to make sure they had something for the holidays when all they probably want is their mom home with them. There are many more stories like that on the wish list registry. Visit the website and see which wishes your donations will be granting.

Watch the video below on how every little bit helps when we all work together.




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How to Cook Meals in a Hotel Room

Posted by JMom | Thursday, December 25, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

The number of people who travel usually increases during the holidays and this season was no different even with the stressed out economy. We still all have to be with our families, after all. However, what with unexpectedly severe weather conditions in some areas of the country, the delays and cancellations have affected travel plans all over. There are people right now who are stranded at hotel rooms if they're lucky, but many more are just camping out at the airport.

I thought it was kind of funny that just as I was watching the news talking about the stranded travelers, I stumble on this wiki-how page on how to cook food in a hotel room. There are instructions on how to make oatmeal and bacon for breakfast, ramen noodles for lunch or a grilled cheese for dinner! If you need some convincing, just watch the video below of Alton Brown demonstrating how to make oatmeal. It actually sounds yummy!







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A hostess Gift Idea

Posted by JMom | Thursday, December 25, 2008 | | 0 comments »


Merry Christmas!! How has your holiday been going so far? For the most part, our holiday has been a quiet one and we didn't really buy a whole lot of presents. We do have one party to go to later today, and one visit we've committed to next week. We'll need a hostess gift so I think, even though I hadn't planned on it, we'll be going shopping tomorrow, the day after Christmas.

Going out to shopping tomorrow may not be such a bad idea after all as I hear there are going to be even more sales. For instance, you can still get last minute gifts from Kmart for under $25! There are thousands of items on the KMart inventory under $25 from clothing, jewelry, tows, housewares, linens, accessories and so on to choose from.

For the hostess gift, I'm think of getting something for the home like the cake stand pictured above. We're going to be making a cake to take with us anyway, so it will be perfect to put it on this cake dome and just leave the whole thing with our hostess when the party is over. I have one of these cake stands and I love it and use it every time we bake a cake. Mine hasn't been put away all month! Since our hostess is an avid baker too, I'm sure she'll love getting this gift.

KMart is a great place to go for last minute gifts but also a great resource for everyday needs. And don't forget, they are the ones that have the layaway plan for those purchases that you can't afford to get right away. The best thing about putting something on layaway is you can make payments on your item without having to pay interest. Pretty good deal, I think.

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Have a Chili Willie

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 22, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

I have, and I'm sure you have seen these peppers on those forwarded emails of weirdly shaped vegetables too. I thought they were just another accident of nature, but apparently they are real plants albeit very rare plants. According to the Chilli Willy website (yes, there is one!), "The pepper itself is a very rare plant species, which was originally native to the American states of Texas and Louisiana, and only really found in the private collections of very few gardeners."

Now if you want to own one of these rare plants, you can buy your own chili willy online. For £1.75, you get 5 seeds that you can then germinate. If you need them, they also have a germination solution and pollinating brush sold on the site.

I'm thinking this would make an unusual gift for a gardener with a sense of humor :)


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Soups Wont Always Do It

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 19, 2008 | | 0 comments »

When it starts to get cold, soups are usually a great way to warm up but not all the time. After you've had your fill of some warm and filling winter soups, you still have to warm your outsides and it would be great if you can look good doing it too.

What better way to warm up in luxurious style than with a cashmere overcoat! Sanyo Fashion House offers men's cashmere coats that are made to be worn in either casual or formal settings. Some men will wear cashmere about as often as they would eat quiche but my husband is not some men. He would totally love having a luxurious coat like this one to wrap up in and he would look great in it too!

Sanyo's Cashmere and Wool overcoats are designed for men with taste, I think. They are not only stylish, they are also functional. These cashmere coats come with a removable Breath Thermo vest which is also waterproof. The vest can be removed on mild days but on days when an extra layer of warmth is needed, this thermal layer will be most welcome indeed.

Still looking for a unique present for the man in your life? Think about keeping him warm in style.

Sushi A Sushi Hater Could Eat

Posted by JMom | Thursday, December 18, 2008 | , | 0 comments »


I can't believe I've spawned a sushi hater, but I have. As much as I love seafood and anything sushi, my youngest daughter hates it all. By all I mean everything seafood. The mildest fish, even the nori wrapper in most sushi rolls, she won't go near those. There was a time when I can get her to take bites of popcorn shrimp but even that phase has passed. Mention sushi and her whole disposition sours.

That's why I thought these Koo-ko Sushi would be a great gag gift for her! Because although they look just like a plateful of sushi, they are actually a collection of artfully made chocolate and cookie confections! I would love to get a taste of one of these. If you're as curious as I am, check out the Koo-ki Sushi website.



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Winter Wonderland

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Every year just around this time, the girls and I start dreaming of a white Christmas. For the twelve years that we have been here in North Carolina, we haven't experienced a White Christmas yet. We've had snow and we've had ice, but never on Christmas day. Most times the sun is out and shining on Christmas day.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a nice family winter vacation? It would be a dream come true to be able to go somewhere to spend Christmas and be surrounded by a winter wonderland. Not counting the change in scenery, it would be nice to do something different for a change. I don't even think we would mind being away from family just this once.

Green Mountain Inn in Vermont's historic Stowe Village would be just the ideal place for such a getaway. If Vermont skiing is on your list to experience, then there is no better place than this resort to start from. They offer every amenities you can think of (restaurants, specialty shops, a year-round heated outdoor pool, game room, afternoon tea and cookies, fully equipped health club)and there are plenty of things to do if skiing is not your thing to do such as: walking, biking, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and the great American past time, shopping!

The Ski Vermont experience is not something to be missed though. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you've just got to hit the slopes to get your money's worth. If you've never gone skiing before, this may be the perfect place to learn. Believe me, you'll love it!

Filipino Cookbooks

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 15, 2008 | , | 1 comments »

I just ran across this Filipino Cookbook on Filipino Homestyle Dishes: Delicious Meals in Minutes by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco. It's a small book, only 96 pages long. It is certainly a book designed for beginners and would be perfect for someone just learning to cook Filipino food. The ingredients have been tailored to be easily accessible and would therefore not prevent anyone from attempting the recipes.

Anything that says home style is going to get my attention. I like simple, non-fussy methods of cooking and this book has accomplished just that. This is a great place to start cooking Filipino food.


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Season's Greetings

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 12, 2008 | | 2 comments »


Tis the season for sweet treats and sweet sentiments. I love getting both as most people probably. I am still working on our greeting cards and I've already started receiving them from family, friends and business associates.

If you haven't got your cards ready yet, there is still time but you need to get on it. The Gallery Collection is one of the best places online to get greeting cards. Personalized Holiday Cards can still be ordered until Monday, the 15th and you will receive them by the 18th. Just enough time to send them out before Christmas. Visit their website and browse through the collection of beautifully designed cards which are printed on high quality paper. You can personalize each with your name and address on the envelopes. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will refund your payment should you be dissatisfied with the quality of the cards you receive.

Whether you're sending out cards for personal or business, you will make a lasting and memorable impression with your family, friends and colleagues. If dealing with a company with a civic conscience is important to you, keep in mind that the Gallery Collection contributes to the over 400,000 care packages that are sent through Operation Gratitude to US troops overseas.

Suman

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 12, 2008 | , , | 1 comments »

Suman with Matamis na Bao



This is suman, glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves, that is consumed as snack and one of the memorable treats from my childhood. I remember my grandmother making this for us during special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Suman is most commonly eaten as a snack and served with something sweet.

My girls and I like to pair it up with a perfectly ripened, sweet mango. I wish I had a better photo, but my daughter had devoured her serving of suman and mango before we could take a good photo.

all gone!

Click here if you want to know how to make suman.



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Explosion Proof Lights

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

The Magnalight brand is a well known brand among professionals who work in high risk careers and require high intensity lighting. Magnalight makes high quality, durable and long lasting light sources like flashlights, spot lights, flood lights and explosion proof lights. Yep, there's such a thing as explosion proof lights. The most common example would probably be the light in your oven. Ever wonder why that lightbulb doesn't explode in the heat of your oven? Well the Magnalight explosion proof lights are similar except they're about a thousand times better.

Explosion proof lighting produced by Magnalight are the highest quality you can get at the best possible price. They all go through rigorous testing through the Underwriters Laboratory and are rated as UL class 1, division 1 or UL class 1, division 2 lights which means they are proven for use in hazardous areas. Hazardous areas mean any location where flammable gas is a potential problem. Places like paint spray booths and petrochemical facilities are considered hazardous areas, for example, because any spark, from say a broken light bulb, can cause an explosion.

If you have a handy man in your house, this would be a great present this Christmas. My husband is always working on the cars or on furniture until well after dark and would need additional lighting in order to see. Sometimes he's had to call the girls to point a regular flashlight just so he can finish what he started. Those are the times he starts wishing he had a decent shop light. I know he would appreciate one of these high quality Magnalight lamps.

How to Cook Filipino Spaghetti

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

My girls only recently developed for the 'Filipino Spaghetti'. This style is sweeter than the Italian/American style spaghetti we all know. The other ingredient that makes it uniquely Pinoy is the addition of hot hogs. But the kicker secret ingredient has got to be the huge amount of banana sauce used in the recipe demonstrated below! My version differs from the video below in that I didn't use red hot dogs although they certainly can be found here in the South and I didn't use banana sauce, I used regular ketchup.

My daughter Jade shared this video with me and we had such a good laugh watching it, I thought I'd share it with you.





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Corum Coin Watch - A Timeless Tradition

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Corum CoinAside from the Christmas sweater and the infamous fruit cake, the watch is probably one of the most commonly given gift at Christmas. It's just one of those things that you know almost everyone would appreciate. I know if I got one of these corum coin watches from The Watchery, I would be thrilled. Wouldn't you?

Corum leads the line of Swiss made watches at The Watchery, seller of genuine brand name watches at substantial discounts to the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Browse through their inventory of beautiful, stylish watches with innovative designs. They have everything you could look for from traditional designs to contemporary ones like the Corum Bubble. I love the vibrant colors and sleek modern design of the Corum Bubble. The Corum Coin line, on the other hand, focuses on the classics. Classic design lines and classic images. If you have a coin collector or someone who loves history, the corum coin watches would be a great and unique gift. These watches are meant for a lifetime and will be a great heirloom piece for generations to come.

Regardless of which design you favor, be assured that all watches sold at the Watchery are 100% genuine and authentic.

Candy Cane Cookies

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Candy Cane CookiesHoliday baking is all about getting the family together. These candy cane cookies are perfect when baking with kids. My girls love making cookies that you have to handle, roll out and cut out. They love it even more when they are as colorful as these candy cane cookies are.

These Candy Cane cookies are courtesy of The Neelys, Patrick and Gina, who are just too cute in the kitchen cooking together. You can watch them make these cookies and you'll see what I mean.



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Sprucin' Up for the Holidays

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | , , | 1 comments »

One of the quickest way to spruce up your home for the holidays is with vinyl shutters. Larson Shutter Company has affordable exterior vinyl shutters, composite shutters and premium quality wood shutters. While most shutters nowadays are for decorative purposes, Larson's shutters can provide shutter hardware to make them functional.

These shutters are custom sized to fit, made from a variety of materials such as solid composite wood, vinyl and premium wood and come in a wide range of colors. Check out the different styles of shutters on their website. You'd be surprised how much they can enhance the curb appeal of your home. If you order online before the end of the year, you are eligible for FREE shipping.

Sturrin' Things Up

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »


I just love Paula Dean and this clip of her and her friend Kim making brunch is just hilarious but also informational. The informational part, is how she cooks cheese grits. If you've ever wondered how to make cheese grits that aren't gummy, you gotta watch this video. Paula says that the secret to making the perfect cheese grits is "to keep them sturred" lol! Y'all, I really, I love her Southern accent. This is not a dis :P

The video is actually on how to make Krispy Kreme burgers so I didn't really see how the grits eventually turned out. It looked really creamy though like everything Paula Dean makes, it was a little scary watching how much butter, eggs and cheese were going into that concoction! As for the burgers, well you just gotta watch the video and see. Would you eat one?

Thanks to this Squidoo lens about Krispy Kreme, I ran across this video.

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Christmas Flowers

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | , | 1 comments »

PointsettiaFlowers make everything more festive and colorful. That's why we have flowers for just about every occasion in our life. I fact, I can't think of an occasion when there isn't some kind of a flower arrangement or other.

Christmas is especially a time for flowers. Christmas is a holiday for all the senses; the smells, the sights and the feeling of Christmas stays with you forever. One of the symbols of Christmas that I always try to have is poinsettias. Even that one Christmas when I didn't have a Christmas tree, I at least had to have a poinsettia on my table. Of course, there are many other Christmas flowers out there, but for me, the poinsettia just says Christmas through and through to the point that when I see it outside of Christmas season, it just seems out of place.

Every Christmas, my sisters and I send my mom and a couple of special aunts flowers. I just seemed like a great idea when we started doing it a few years back. They get flowers for mother's day, valentine's day and on their birthdays and they always love getting them. But no one ever sends flowers for Christmas do they? Well I thought Christmas is just the perfect time to give someone flowers! Why not? And what's more, not only do the flowers express your affection, they can be shared with others during the holidays as more households get more guests during this time than other. My mom and aunts certainly appreciate it.

So if you have a special someone that you don't know what to get for, consider sending them flowers. 1800flowers.com makes it convenient to order your arrangements and deliver them for you.

Coffee & Chocolate

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Food is probably one of the most appreciated gift during the holidays and during these hard economic times, it could also be one of the most frugal gifts to give.

One good idea, especially if you don't cook, is coffee and chocolate. One of the best places to get organic coffee is Green Mountain's Fair Trade. Check out their reasonably priced packs of coffee and/or chocolates. Much cheaper than that over roasted stuff you'd get from that seattle coffee company :).




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Heritage Web Solutions

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | , | 5 comments »

On a previous post I had talked about getting your own domain and hosting. After you do that, the next step is to design your website. There are of course plenty of free templates out there and with a little patience and perseverance you can even learn to implement and tweak the templates yourself.

However, if you are serious about your creating a brand with your blog or website, it is probably a good idea to get your site professionally designed. Heritage Web Solutions is one company that can help you do that. For as little as $199 you can get your website custom designed by their staff of professional webmasters and designers.

Sure, you can put up an acceptable website online but keep in mind that there are more to running a successful website or blog than merely putting something out there. Here are a few things that they can provide your website:
The pros at Heritage Web Solutions can provide you with an original design that will set you apart from your competitors.

  • They can customize design elements to be unique to your chosen niche. They can make your site easy to navigate so that your readers can easily find what they need.
  • They can optimize your site design and content so that it is easily found by search engines giving you better results in searches.
  • They can make your layout suitable for advertising if that is one of your goals
  • They can make your overall look easier on the eyes of your readers. This is one of those features that is harder to accomplish than it seems. You need a pro for this.

Heritage Web Solutions has a wide range of services to offer in addition to website design. They also provide support for logo design, ecommerce and shopping carts, galleries, spam filters and more. They also offer full technical support with all their products and most of all their prices are reasonable and affordable.





Peel n Play

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | , | 0 comments »


Peel 'N' Play is a great way to introduce kids to vegetables. Make it a part of their everyday play life and they will know exactly what it is when it shows up on their plate. This colorful 13-piece set includes an avocado, tomato, broccoli, green pepper, corn, eggplant, peas in the pod, carrot, cauliflower, onion, lettuce, cutting board and a plastic knife. Kids can pretend to prepare their own veggies by peeling them and slicing them up. The pieces then fit back together again with velcro.

This set sells for $18.99 at Small World Toys. All the toys at Small World Toys are educational and reasonably priced. They are thoughtful and feeds the creativity of young minds.

Get an additional 20% off when you use Coupon Code: SALE142 when placing your order.


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Feeding Your Skin

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Infusion_therapyEating healthy, eating the right kinds of food does wonders for your skin. I truly believe that and lived by it for years. However, you hit 40 and things seem to start going downhill no matter how hard you try to stave off the effects of aging. Some things are just inevitable and aging is one of them.

I had always taken casual care of my skin, it had never let me down before. But lately, I have succumbed to a certain amount of vanity just to maintain the looks of my skin that I had gotten accustomed to. I've been testing a number of products to see which one would be most effective against the oiliness and dryness that seem to happen all at once and in different areas of my face. Wrinkles aren't too much of a problem yet, but I do notice a looser and less lustrous look and feel to my skin.

I recently had a chance to try out a new skin rejuvenating cream called Dermalastyl. It's a new product that is available only online. The cream features tropoelastin as the main ingredient which is works to prevent wrinkles by absorbing into the layers of skin, converts into elastin and integrates itself into the skin. Elasticity in your skin, as we all know is what starts to deteriorate with age thus causing wrinkles, starting with the loosening or slackness of the skin as I mentioned.

I've been using this cream for a week now, twice a day, and I am already noticing a small difference. I like this cream because it is not heavily perfumed. You can't smell any fragrance other than just a pleasant, clean smell. The texture is not oily so you don't feel like you have a mask on. It feels really light on your skin and it makes it feel soft even with the first application. I don't wear foundation daily, but I do use face powder to even out my skin tone. This moisturizer does not cause my powder to clump as some of the other products I have tried. I like that.

I'll use the cream for a few more weeks and see if the improvements increase. BTW, I also noticed that the oiliness on my nose and forehead seem to have decreased with this cream as well. I'm keeping an eye on a couple of spots between my eyes and on the corner of my eyes to see if the wrinkles that are starting to take hold there will be reduced before my supply runs out.

As of now, after one week of use, I would strongly recommend this product.


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White Chocolate & Cranberry Cake

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | | 0 comments »


What could be a better combination than white chocolate and cranberry cake? Unique but also deliciously paired. This would be a perfect cake to serve with tea or coffee. It is almost as dense as a pound cake but not quite. The cake is infused with white chocolate flavors and the dried cranberries provide a very nice and very different contrast.

Try the recipe here...



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Food for your Blogs

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | , | 2 comments »

You've been blogging a while, you've learned the ropes and you've made some blogging friends. What's the next step?

If you are still blogging on a free platform like this blog on Blogger, then it's time to start thinking about getting your own domain and hosting provider. It's really not as hard or complicated as it sounds. Visit sites like The Web Hosting Report.

Blog Hosting will become a simpler concept when you read their reviews of the different blog hosting providers out there. The services they offer, the amount of storage they provide and the type of customer service they have are all explained in the reviews and you can compare between providers to see which best fits your needs.

Articles on varying subjects such as how to choose a web hosting company and the beginner's guide to web hosting are available for users to read and learn from.

Give yourself a gift this Christmas, get your own dedicated blog.

12 Days of Cookies and More

Posted by JMom | Monday, December 08, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

linzertorteAre you subscribed to the 12 days of cookies from the Food Network? It's become part of my holiday tradition, getting these emails at the start of December every year to kick off the holiday season. It's just a good way to kickstart my brain into thinking 'Christmas'.

It's now on the eight day and my favorites so far are:
Paula Dean's Pistachio Linzetorte (photo)
Ginger Bread Cookies
Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Hazelnut Tea Cookies

To subscribe to the 12 Days of Cookies newsletter, visit the Food Network website.


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It's the Grandfather Time of Year

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 05, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

grandfather clockGrandfather time is waning this time of year, but not so for grandfather clock. I have been seeing more modern homes lately that have clocks as a centerpiece in their home decor.

Time has always held a certain fascination for me so I guess it's only natural that I've also developed an affinity to timepieces. It started when I was single and didn't have my own home yet. I started collecting watches then jewelry timepieces. When I finally moved out of my moms house and got my own condo, one of my most treasured housewarming gifts was a crystal mantel clock. My condo didn't have a fireplace much less a mantle, but that didn't matter much. It was perfect atop the credenza in my dining room. As I got more comfortable with my new space, I added more embellishments here and there including a huge wall clock that dominated one wall in the living room.

It's been a few decades since those early days. I've moved several times since then but I always took my clocks with me. Now we're in a home that I think we'll be in for quite a long time, at least until the girls are out of the house into their own. The house we're in is an old house and we've done a lot to improve it and modernize it. There is one thing that I have been wanting to add but hadn't in our ten years living in this house and that's a grandfather clock. I think having a grandfather clock would nicely cap off my collection of clocks and it would just look terrific in this old house.

Holiday Sweets

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 05, 2008 | | 0 comments »




The Chew on That food blog usually asks it's readers a monthly mouthful question resulting with some very interesting and useful answers. This month being December, the question was:

“What is your favorite holiday cookie or dessert? Please share your recipe!”

If you love sweets especially this time of year, then make sure you check the responses to this question. I already found a few new treats that I would like to try out.

My answer to the question:
I make a lot of treats during the holidays and the lineup changes every year. There is only one that is missed if I take it out: Sugar Cookies! Here is the recipe!
We actually haven't started baking anything yet at our house. I'm hoping the list will kick start my lazy butt and start backing this weekend.


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Nikon Christmas Promotion

Posted by JMom | Thursday, December 04, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Every retailer, it seems, are doing their best to encourage shoppers to keep shopping. This means great deals and bargains abound this holiday season. For the hunter/outdoorsman on your list, Nikon Sport Optics, NikonProGear.com and NikonHunting.com is offering a special Nikon Hunting Christmas Promotion designed to increase a hunter's shooting skills. The package comes with a ProStaff rifle scope, ProStaff 550 rangefinder, a DVD of hints and techniques to help you master the Nikon BDC reticle and a Silent Technology Neoprene Rangefinder Case.

In addition, you can get a FREE Nikon Pro Gear Gift Card ($25 and $50 value) with the purchase of Nikon Monarch Binoculars, Trailblazer Binoculars, Nikon Action 10x50 Binoculars and ANY Nikon ATB Binoculars!

Visit their website and browse through their inventory of binoculars for a unique gift this holiday season.

Ingredients: Cinnamon

Posted by JMom | Thursday, December 04, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Nothing says the holidays better than cinnamon. When you catch a whiff of this fragrant spice, you are instantly transported to a holiday wonderland. It was the spice of nobility and gods of old and now it is a spice that no kitchen should be without.

It is most commonly used and recognized in its powdered form but it is actually a bark from an evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, Cinnamomum verum. This spice is widely used in baking here in the west. In the east, it is not uncommon to use cinnamon in savory dishes like the beef rendang we cooked up recently.

10 Benefits of Cinnamon:

  1. Lowers LDL Cholesterol
  2. Good for Diabetes - helps regulate blood sugar levels
  3. Yeast Infections - stops some medication resistant strains
  4. Reduces Cancer Cells - studies show cinnamon to reduce the growth of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
  5. Relieves Indigestion - a dash of cinnamon powder with two tablespoons of honey taken before eating relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals
  6. Anti-coagulant - prevents blood from clotting
  7. Pain Relief - some studies have shown that cinnamon combined with honey relieved some arthritis pain
  8. Food Preservative - cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth
  9. Improves Cognitive Function and Memory - the scent of cinnamon is said to awaken the senses
  10. Resists E.Coli - some studies have shown that cinnamon is resistant to the e. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices
  11. Source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium


To have a festive smelling house, simply boil a stick of cinnamon in water.


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Round Rock

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Round Rock, Texas is located 20 miles north of Austin. Voted number 7 in the top 10 best places to live in 2008 by CNN Money, Round rock boasts affordable housing, excellent schools and computer maker Dell, which has established its headquarters here. This ranking is sure to boost up the round rock texas real estate market.

Round Rock, if you didn't know, is situated on the famed Chisholm Trail which is the trail used for cattle drives between ranches in Texas and the Kansas cattle markets. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. The city has three medical centers and a campus of Texas State University. Shopping centers with stores like IKEA to a premium outlet mall, to attractions like the minor league baseball team, the Round Rock Express help grow the city and keep it vibrant.

It's not surprising that many are moving there for the affordable housing and good job prospects. If you're interested in the real estate market in Round Rock, check with Home City, a full service Austin Real Estate broker.


Donut on a stick

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Donut on a stick
What is it about food on a stick that is so appealing? Take this doughnut on a stick that we found at the Chinese deli inside the Grand Asia Market in Cary, N.C. The girls and I love going to that market on weekends because it is just bustling with activity. Plus, they have only-on-weekends fare like sweet or savory silken tofu, freshly made noodles with your choice of toppings and of course, freshly baked goods from baos to these doughnuts on a stick.

The doughnuts were light, not too greasy and rolled in sugar. The girls love them.

Grand Asia Market
1253 Buck Jones Rd
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 468-2988



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Having Your Oysters

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | , | 0 comments »


I love oysters but I have never found a pearl in one. Have you? Maybe I've been eating the wrong kind of oysters. Probably a good thing too.

Pearls, if you didn't know are cultivated from oysters by introducing an irritant like sand into the oyster. It then tries to protect itself from the irritant by coating it with layers of nacre. It just so happens that the nacre has a luminous quality that makes pearls beautiful and thus highly desirable. For a while, pearls went out of fashion, relegated to be the jewelry of 'older' women. However, it is again coming into fashion as the younger fashionistas realize the classic beauty of a well made pearl necklace. Just look at runway and red carpet photos and you'll see what I mean.

Every woman should have a set of pearls, my mother always said and so she presented me with my own when I got married. Now it's my turn to pass on this tradition to my three daughters. It's a good thing there are sites like the Pearl Outlet where you can get high quality pearls at wholesale prices. If you're looking for a special present that will bring a huge impact but won't break the bank, then I think pearls are for you.

Check the Pearl Outlet and learn about the different types of pearls available. There are many of them and they cover a variety of colors, shape and quality. Don't forget that they offer their pearls at wholesale prices.

Eggplant & Zucchini Stirfry

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Zucchini & Eggplant

I had one eggplant and a couple of zucchinis so why not put them together for a quick and tasty stir fry, I thought. So I did, and it was good!

Want to try out something that is different and refreshing especially after all the Thanksgiving turkey and all the rich trimmings? This vegetable dish is perfect for that. Just get you a bowl full of rice and put this Eggplant & Zucchini stir fry over it, and you're good to go.



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Customized Gift Cards

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | | 1 comments »

If you have teenagers like I do, then you will probably be buying some gift cards this holiday season. It's so hard to buy things that they like now so your best bet of making them happy is to give them gift cards. They don't have to bland and impersonal though. You can now spruce up the cards to make them suited for each individual.

VISA gift cards are a favorite because you can use them anywhere rather than being limited to spending it all in one place. Add customization available at the Gift Card Lab and you've got the perfect present! To customize your gift card, you can either select from a huge number of pre-designed cards or you can use your own photo or art work. Simply upload your graphic file when you're ordering your gift card and you have a one of a kind present!

Keurig Coffee Maker

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, December 02, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

The single serve brewing system is cropping up in offices and homes. Have you noticed? I went to a meeting the other day and the person I was meeting with had one of these Keurig mini brewers in his office. It wasn't the first time I've seen it, I've also seen this brewer in private homes and the owners all are raving about it.

If only I had the counter space in my office, I would want one of these. Considering how difficult it is to get a good, reliable cup of coffee from our coffee station, this would be so worth it.

The Keurig B30 Mini Brewerscan make a fresh cup of gourmet coffee or tea in less than three minutes. The unit uses Keurig's patented K-Cups, which offer over 70 varieties of pre-measured gourmet coffee and tea from a variety of premium brands. Operation is simple, just open the lid, insert a K-Cup, close the lid, and push a button.

When you buy your mini brewer, a variety pack of 10 K-Cups comes included.

Product Features

Color: White or Black
* Single-serve brewing system for gourmet coffee or tea
* Uses patented K-Cups; no messy grinding or clean up
* Brews an 8-ounce cup at a time; ready in less than 3 minutes
* 1-touch technology; variety pack of 10 K-Cups included
* Measures 11-1/2 by 10 by 13-1/4 inches; 1-year limited warranty


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What do you watch?

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Are you a watcher? I am, but I am mostly a people watcher. When I get a chance to get out in nature, I do love to watch birds too but lately most of our bird watching has been in our backyard. We are lucky that the birds come to us and share our garden with us. We have a variety of birds that visit our garden: finches, robins, wood peckers, crows, doves, and we even have an owl and a hawk that swing by once in a while. How about you, what do you watch?

If you're a watcher or know of one and are thinking of a great Christmas present for them, consider giving something they will put to use and appreciate like a good pair of nature binoculars. Optics Planet carries a wide range of binoculars for various reasons. Whether you intend on using them for bird watching, sports or opera and theater, Optics Planet carries them all in all the major optics brands like Nikon, Bushnell, Leica, Celestron, etc.

OpticsPlanet.com not only sells binoculars, they also provide valuable information in their 'Learn' section.In the same section is a link to a forum where you can get more and share information with other enthusiasts. These are just a couple of ways that Optics Planet provides great customer service. Browse their website and see what you think.

Baked Acorn Squash

Posted by JMom | Friday, November 21, 2008 | | 1 comments »

Baked Acorn Squash
Our garden is now officially dead for the winter save a few herbs and greens. What we have now are the last of the squash. They should hold for a couple of weeks, at least until Thanksgiving. I'm hoping the acorn squash, especially, will hold until then because I want to back some more up for Thanksgiving.

Baking an acorn squash is the easiest way to cook it, I think. You don't have to peel it, which can be a pain in the butt, all you do is half it, take the seeds out, season it, bake it and it it. I baked these babies when I made some spicy sitaw (long beans) from our garden. The sweetness of these squash provided just the right contrast and as you can see in the photo below, the vegetables were so good on their own that you didn't even miss the meat.

Vegetarian Plate

To bake the acorn squash, simply sprinkle each half with coarse salt & freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees F until tender, around 30 minutes.

The other vegetable on the plate is fried okra in case you were wondering.



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Goes well with tom yum

Posted by JMom | Friday, November 21, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

SnowboardSpeaking of tom yum goong soup, this hot and sour soup is perfect as an apre ski soup. Keep this in mind if you have any plans for a ski trip this holiday season.

Christy Sports carry every winter gear you can think of from snow skis, Burton snowboards, clothing, snow boots and other accessories. Based in Colorado, Christy Sports does not cater to other sports other than skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing and mountain biking. This is their specialty so you know that what winter gear you get from them will be of excellent quality. Their staff, because of their specialized line, are all knowledgeable and professional and are ready to assist you in whatever you need. They have a number of locations in the Rocky Mountains, but if you can't get there, you can get the same service and quality products online.

Ingredients: Kaffir Lime Leaves

Posted by JMom | Friday, November 21, 2008 | | 1 comments »

Kaffir Lime Leaves
I went on a hunt for Kaffir Lime Leaves when I cooked Beef Rendang last month. I finally found it in a corner of the freezer section. This little bag of a few leaves was $1.99!

It's expensive because Kaffir, I don't think, is grown anywhere here in the U.S. This lime is native to Indonesia and Malaysia.

As for the taste, I'm not really sure. I think the beef rendang was the wrong dish to try this ingredient on if you were trying to see what flavor or essence it contributes to the dish. There were so many spices and aromatics in the beef rendang that none of them really stand out. I am guessing this contributed some acidity and essence to the dish. I'll have to try making my favorite Thai soup, Tom Yum Goong as it's another dish that kaffir leaves are used in.




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When the kitchen gets hot....

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | | 0 comments »

KitchenWhen the kitchen gets hot, the cooks get cookin'. If it's getting too hot where you work; if you see yourself going nowhere, your earnings are going down instead of up and you keep getting passed up for promotions, then maybe you need to get cooking too. You'd be surprised how many opportunities a degree can open for you. Now it's even easier to earn a degree. You can earn an online degree without giving up your present job and income source. If you'd like to learn where to get this degree, check out DegreeHound.com. They have gathered together a list of online schools that offers just the right career to improve your present situation.

Whether you're looking to earn an associate degree, a bachelors, a masters or even a PhD, you can narrow down the search for schools that have the courses you are interested in. It has been shown that people with college degrees earn more and have more career opportunities available to them than high school graduates alone. Create the career of your dreams and rejuvenate the interest in your work or even grow into a totally new one. It's possible when you have a degree under your belt. So to speak.

You Look Good Enough to Eat

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Twilight Want to read an early review of the movie Twilight? I was lucky enough to go to an advanced screening of the movie last night. I couldn't decide which of my three daughters to take with me so I decided to make it a date with my husband instead. Besides, it was his birthday so it was a nice treat for him too. We haven't gone out to the movies in ages! We are more the DVD kind of people. We like to watch movies in the comfort of our own couch. lol!

If you don't like spoilers, don't read the review. Especially if you haven't read the book. However, if you've read the book and have somewhat of an idea about the story line, then you may appreciate reading my review. Let me know if you agree with my thoughts.




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Mis en Place

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | | 1 comments »

Mis en Place
There is a term in cooking called 'Mis en Place'. What it means is to gather everything together before you start cooking. This will ensure that you don't leave any ingredient out, you don't burn anything while you go hunting for an ingredient, and it will also make the whole cooking process faster and hassle free. This is especially true when you're making stir fried dishes as we do in our house.

In the finance world, the term to get things in order is debt consolidation. Sometimes when you have a lot of debts making your monthly payments can get quite overwhelming. I hope you don't ever get to that point, but if you are there, then the best thing to do short of filing for bankruptcy which will ruin your credit for the next ten years, is to get your debts consolidated. Get them in order in other words.

When you consolidate, you can lower your monthly payments or better yet, turn it into just one monthly payment. You won't have to worry about which bill is due next, etc. Make your debt into one manageable one rather than ten debts all over the place. You will pay it off faster and you will be debt free sooner. Sort of like the same idea as Mis en Place, right?

Win Cat Cora's Latest Cookbook

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | , | 0 comments »


Are you a fan of chef Cat Cora? I couldn't really say that I am since I hadn't really heard much about her since we no longer have cable television. I really miss the food channel! What I've seen of her on the online videos, I liked what I saw. She's very articulate and you can tell she really loves food. She's also very pretty but that's beside the point. Her food is way more gorgeous.

If you are a fan and you have a favorite recipe from her and would like to win a signed copy of her new book, Cooking from the Hip, enter the Food Network Giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment letting them know which of the recipes is your favorite.





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Stirring the Pot

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

When something goes wrong, when people start losing their jobs, when the economy starts slip sliding down, we are all quick to scream FIX IT! We immediately start moaning about how someone needs to do something. But which someone? And what's that something they are supposed to do? Are we ever as quick to offer a solution? Do we ever put our money in our mouths as quick as we put our feet in it? Probably not.

The Rebuilding of America provides us with a way to get involve in turning this economy around. Their purpose is to revive foreclosed construction projects that have defaulted and with the help of individual investors, turn those properties around into their initially intended purposes and also provide work for the thousands of construction related laborers displaced when the properties went into default.

Help rebuild communities by investing a mere $25, the cost of one dinner out. With $25 you can make a difference by getting these projects up and running again. There is no where else that a small investment can make such a huge impact. In return, your small investment will enable defunct constructions projects to be completed and ensuring jobs for the construction workers. Your investment is fully insured and guaranteed against loss via a certificate of deposit that is FDIC insured through a reputable financial institution. Rebuilding of America pledges a 100% return of all profits to the investor.

Be assured that your investment will not go to bail out huge corporate projects but rather focused on community projects that have been sidelined due to the economic downturn. For example, a couple of the projects being considered are:

1. Gulf Coast/ Katrina-stricken area. Low-income partially-built housing destroyed by the hurricane several years ago. Our goal is to rebuild a 20-unit residential property for occupancy.

2. Kansas City. 36-unit senior living patio homes. Incomplete when builder filed bankruptcy. Defaulted to bank. We will purchase, rebuild and turn this into another income-producing investment.




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Stir Fried Chicken with Asparagus

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Chicken & Asparagus StirfryStir frying is the saving grace of busy moms who have to get meals on the table in a hurry. Stir frying is also a very easy technique for budding cooks to learn. This dish was cooked up by my 15 year old daughter Jade.

Sometimes, even with the best intentions I am just too tired by the time I get home from a full day's work at the office. It is nice to come home and find dinner already ready and waiting. And when that dinner is as delicious as this chicken and asparagus stirfry was, well it just melts your cares away.

Click here for the Stir Fried Chicken with Asparagus recipe.


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Gifts for the Big Girls

Posted by JMom | Monday, November 17, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

So we talked about gifts for your little girls on the previous post. Now lets talk about gifts for your big girls. Kmart is really working hard to enable buyers this holiday season first with the rejuvenation of the layaway plan and now they've marked over 25,000 gift items to be priced at under $25!

Slow CookerFor moms, aunts, wives and girlfriends, Wal-Mart has just the perfect gift for them for under $25. For instance, check out this Hamilton Beach slow cooker for $19.99. That stainless steel, modern look certainly looks like a lot more than twenty bucks!

OK, so maybe I won't mind getting kitchen gadgets for Christmas but many women actually get offended so maybe it would be safer to stick with something non-domestic. How about a nice jacket or a robe? Even a sweater? K-Mart has a large selection of Women's apparel that are priced under $25. They even have jewelry priced under $25! When it comes to cosmetics, beauty products and gift sets, K-Mart has all that covered and mroe.

Let's not forget, for you Martha Stewart fans, that K-Mart is THE official store to get Martha Stewart Everyday living products. Who wouldn't love to get a set of linens or towels or bedding or curtains or any of the hundreds of items that make a home much more livable.

Start shopping and ordering your presents now from K-Mart. Some rders over $49 qualify for FREE SHIPPING.



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