Some of my happiest days…


When I think of times that I was really happy, I always remember this picture. It was at a wrestling event in Cleveland. I am not sure exactly what I was cheering for, but just my whole “being” in this shot says pure and absolute joy. I was so happy. I think it shows!

Other times I was happy of course were the days my three sons were born. That goes without saying. I have started of thinking of some of the other best days of my life. I’m going to make a list, and I just know I will leave things out. And that will be without meaning to, for sure.

I was so happy on my trip to Ireland, but there was one night there that sticks out a little more than the rest. My sister and I were having dinner in an actual authentic Irish pub, and they had live music. An Irish step dancer was performing, and the crowd was happily cheering her on. Being there, watching that and drinking Guinness in Dublin, this was one of my happiest times.

Not long ago, I was visiting Amanda and Kevin. It must have been in August, because I know it was after Jeff and I decided to move home. We found a table online in a Facebook group that was listed as free on the curbside. Knowing we could use this, soon the three of us were in the car going to get it. It was so much fun, giggling and laughing. And finding out that it was a Stanley table in really good condition was a plus! It’s in our dining room now, and every once in a while I smile at it when I remember this story.

Two years ago my son Chris turned twenty one, and his birthday present was a trip – we went to Cincinatti for the weekend to see his Broncos play the Bengals. We had a great time, and the trip came to an end. While eating breakfast off the lobby, paramedics ran in and into the elevator. Soon enough, they left. I went up to the room, and Chris was almost done getting ready so we could leave. As we were leaving the room, coming down the hall towards us and the elevator were two ambulance drivers – with a body on a stretcher. Turns out the person overdosed in the room. Now that itself is very sad, and I don’t mean to minimize it. What was funny was the fact that hotel elevators don’t seem to be the correct size for an ambulance gurney. The attendants had to move and shove and push the stretcher all sorts of ways, and as it raised and lowered, the body was slipping. Absolutely comical with these two guys and Chris and I trying to get a dead body into a hotel elevator. We giggled on and off the entire way home over the absurdity of it all.

I remember one of the happiest days of my life was May 24, 1980. That was the day the New York Islanders won their very first Stanley Cup. It was the day after my Junior Prom, and though I was scheduled to work – there was no way I was going in. So I was watching the game with my Dad, and I remember I was eating fish cakes. The game went into overtime. And seven minutes eleven seconds into that overtime, Bob Nystrom scored. I jumped off the couch, the plate that the fish cakes had been on went flying. I will never forget that feeling ever.

Michael was my son who got me into wrestling, and we have been to many events together. One time we went in the summer, and just sort of hung out in the car – not really tailgating, because we had eaten. Had some cold drinks and just sat there people watching. He and I focused on a group that had one guy who was way worse off than his friends. He was sitting in a chair, talking on his phone and sliding. Slowly, from one side to the other. We were almost taking bets between us as to what side he’d fall from. Somehow, someway he leaned forward and found a trash bag. We didn’t know what happened to the phone, but his leaning side to side was now done with a bag attached to his face. We sat there laughing and watching for so long, yet never knew what happened to him because we needed to go inside. We have wondered for years if that guy ever made it into the event.

There are other things, like the day I finally was able to attend a Tampa Bay Lightning game. I couldn’t believe I was there! The day that Christine, Keith and I were at our Korean Luncheon group get together, and just KNEW we were going to win the contest. Being out with friends from the hospital and just looking at them, knowing they were (and still are) some of the best people I’ve ever known. I am forgetting to mention probably thousands of things.

What are some of the best times of your lives?

Really Cheap and Really Easy

Hahaha, that sounds like it could be the topic of a bad daytime talk show. When I say this, I am talking about food. Sometimes I want to save a lot, and sometimes I don’t want to do a lot. So these go-to’s help me out. Let me just say here that these ideas are based on meals for two people.

I know in the past I have posted a casserole recipe with these items, but if you want something very quick, and very easy start with boiling these noodles. As they are cooking and getting done, heat the soup – use TWO cans, but only half the amount of milk on the label. Put the noodles back into the pot you cooked then in after draining. Stir the soup and see that it’s a gravy consistency. Once you like how it looks, pour the soup mixture over the noodles. If you think it looks a little sparse, add a bit more milk or even water. If you want to be fancier, transfer to a serving dish. But more often than not, I will just put the pot on a hotplate and serve it that way. I can often get these cans of soup for fifty cents each, and the egg noodles seem to regularly go for eighty eight cents. There is usually enough for at least one leftover meal.

I used to make up a whole bunch of pancakes at one time, and freeze them in individual portions so breakfasts were easier. Out of a box like this I could make about 25 pancakes, give or take. I haven’t done that in a while, but will again soon. Each meal could be three pancakes, and add an egg or two on the side in whatever style you like. You probably have eggs on hand, as well as syrup. A box of breakfast sausages costs $1.00. This is an easy meal, especially when part of it is already prepared. Breakfast for dinner was always a hit with my family. And it was a hit with my budget, too.

Side note – you can also do a Breakfast for Dinner with French Toast, and the sides above. A whole loaf of white bread dipped into egg batter and maybe even some cinnamon sugar will make you quite a few meal portions. There is a store in our area that had regular, plain old white bread regularly priced at eighty eight cents, but that has now been reduced to sixty-seven cents. An even cheaper option, which is something I’m always looking for.

Each of these items cost eighty-eight cents. Spaghetti with sauce is a delicious meal. You could add some grated cheese on top. And frozen bulk sausage from the same store costs $1.50. You can fry that up and add it to the sauce for extra protein. I have also made those $1.00 a box breakfast sausages and ground them in my little food processor. This is a good, filling meal.

If you like tuna salad, you might like this. It is a recipe that is truly comfort food for me. My mother used to make it. She simply called it Tuna Fish and Noodles. She would boil a box of elbow macaroni and let cool. And this is the part I don’t remember – how she mixed it up, but she always served it in this one particular Pyrex bowl with a glass lid. Basically, it’s a box of elbows, a can or two of tuna fish, some Miracle Whip, and vinegar. She never had amounts, she just did it to taste. It was always one of my favorites. How I wish she was here today to have some with me.

So there you have it. Quick and cheap. Nutritionally balanced? No, not at all. I believe there are just some times that you need to give yourself a break and take it easy.

Life is short…

One Little Chicken

The title of this post sounds like it could be a nursery rhyme song. Financially and convenience-wise, this little guy was a success.

chicken cooked cuisine cutlery
Photo by Lukas on

I love the smell of turkey or chicken roasting in the oven. This weekend was supposed to be very cold, so I figured it would be the perfect time to make one. It would warm the house up, and besides it is just such comfort food to me. I ended up buying a roasting chicken, which only cost $5.82. With it I served mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, gravy and cranberry sauce. It came out absolutely delicious! It was Jeff and I, and Ellie who brought a delicious
German Chocolate Cake.

We had plenty of leftovers from the bird itself. The next day I picked it clean, and there was enough meat for two actual meals for me at home, and for Jeff to take to work. I got more meat off the bones to put in a bowl to make chicken salad. Chopping that up in my little food processor, there were two portions for salad (one regular chicken salad with grated carrots and mayonnaise, and one barbeque chicken salad). The bones were pretty bare at this point, so it was time to cover it with water to make broth. That broth cooking for a few hours made the house smell SO good. Draining it once it was done and cooled, it yielded one large and two smaller containers of broth. Looking at the carcass, there were still odd pieces of meat on it. Those pieces came off very easy, and I put them into the food processor with a little bit of broth. This remaining concoction has been feeding the outside cats of our neighborhood. They seem to love it! There are about five or six strays that I guess are feral (one has made his or her way into our basement) running around. I can’t save the cat world – five is a lot already – but it makes me feel better that even in this freezing weather, at least they are well fed. Not that I always cook for them, because I don’t. They get the same dry food mine get.

One reasonably priced chicken gave me a main meal for three people, a leftover meal for two, two portions of chicken salad, three containers of broth and home cooking for the neighborhood cats. Not bad. Not bad at all. Worth the money!


It’s the little things…

Friends and Family. Family and Friends. Besides food and shelter, what else do we really need?

Since JB’s diagnosis last week, I’m trying hard, so hard to focus on the good things that I have that are around me.

I am very happy with the Family I have. For me, that includes friends. Pretty much one and the same. We are a small circle, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love that I have such a connection with my sister and nephew over the Austin Powers Goldmember movie. We repeat quotes from it several times each and every time we get together. I love the little things I share with my kids, even as they are adults. I am happy I can walk back into MY hospital and know that I am home. Ellie and I are great friends, we are family and she is a perfect landlord. And Christine and Keith, what more can I say. I love them, and they are the closest my children will ever get to having another Aunt and Uncle. One day when my grandchildren are here, they will have an additional set of grandparents.

It’s a beautiful night when you are just laying around, you on the loveseat with one kitten, your boyfriend on the couch with the other one. The three bigger guys, around as well. As we watch television, first football then a few crime shows, it dawns on me (again) that I really do have a happy home.

It doesn’t take a whole lot to thrill me. I enjoy being in my house, typing, cleaning up, cooking, taking care of the cats…while watching television. I enjoy daytime television. Maury is my favorite, as evidenced by the fact that Jeff and I went to see him in person last month. I am happy doing a whole lot of nothing here at home.

As I’ve said before, I am very thankful for the interests I have. Hockey and wrestling, they just make me smile. I wonder what I would be doing with my time if I didn’t watch them both on television. And every night, I fall asleep watching Forensic Files. I just love that show.

Happy that I have a man in my life who smiles at me randomly, for no reason. Amazingly, he will tell me I’m pretty as I’m scooping out litter boxes. While being all mismatched – in Elf pajama pants, red and white socks, a dark blue Broncos t-shirt and a black wrestling hoodie. This is love.

There is so much more I have, but the last aspect of my life that gives me such happiness are my cats. Jeff met me a year ago as a single man. Now he lives with me and five cats, one who has cancer. Just having these boys and the little Princess in the house with us makes me smile. They do such silly things, you just can’t help but laugh. Beavis is our big Tabby, and he is probably the sweetest cat you will ever meet. Stan is our long-haired Gray. He is so silly, he puts himself in situations that only he can. JB you all know about. This is the boy who captured my heart. And the babies! They get cuter every day! Alexi is the little girl who has totally turned into a lovebug lap cat. And Nikita is growing so big, trying hard to turn into a big cat like his brothers. He stinks up the little box worse than any of them, so since he’s named after a Russian, he’s got a Russian nickname. Von-you-chee. It means smelly.

Life is good. Hope it is for all of you too…

At Home Indulgences – for a prettier you..

“Spoil yourself every once in a while. You deserve it.”

This has been a hard week for me. Very hard. In addition to not feeling well since Thanksgiving time, getting the diagnosis for JB last Monday almost destroyed me. Thankfully I believe I figured out what was wrong. Turns out it could have been a case of shingles. I started taking medicine I have for cold sores, and I have improved. Once I get a job with insurance, I will go to the doctor for a full checkup, because I really do need one.

My appearance has really suffered recently. I mean, I am clean and neat. But even if I do try, try to get ready to go out – meaning I do my hair, put on nice clothes, use makeup – something is missing. Things with JB seem to have stabilized, well…at least my reaction to his illness has. It’s time for me to do a few things that I always try to do on a semi-regular basis to keep my looks in check.

I am on a budget, and I like to save money. You all know that. I do some things, some treatments that are not costly, but they do make me feel better. From what I can tell, they seem effective as well. I plan on doing all of these things this week. Maybe I can finally climb out of the “poor look” funk.

I like having pretty feet. There is nothing worse to me than a gnarled-up foot, with bad nails and dry skin. One indulgent thing I do is get my fingernails done, but my feet – I take care of them myself. The most important thing to do when you do your own pedicure is to get the old polish off. Sometimes that can be a challenge, and it can take a while. I use rubber gloves so the polish remover won’t mess up my fingers. Once this done, I soak my feet in a bucket of some sort that has toasty, warm water (with soap gel or lotion in it). It is very soothing. As soon as the water starts to cool, I take my feet out and dry them. This is the time that I will trim them if they need, and file them accordingly. I refill the bucket with more warm water (plain), and soak them for just a short while. Then I remove my feet, and rub them in all the way up my calves with some sort of lotion. I usually use whatever scent I am in the mood for. There is no need to use special foot cream, unless you want to. I relax with my feet like this again, past the time when the water cools. Dry my feet, and repeat with more clear water. At this time, you can apply polish. What I usually do though is rub my feet in with a great deal of the lotion, and put on those puffy and fluffy socks. Most of the time I will do polish the next day. I have done all crazy combinations of colors.

I am not happy with my hair. I need to get some sort of a new style. What I am happy about with it is the condition. I have managed to keep split ends under control, and in general it is very healthy. Even though, every once in a while I feel like a scarecrow with straw for hair. When that happens, I do a deep condition. Not surprisingly with me, this doesn’t have to cost a lot. I have a lot of products, both for regular conditioning, for a three-minute condition, and very long (deep) conditioning. For the most part, I used these products the same way. First, I wash my hair and rinse it very well. At this point, I comb my hair back and apply whatever product I’ve decided to use. I comb or brush it through, and just wait. Depending on what I’m doing, it could be ten minutes or an hour. Usually at this time, I do a facial of some sort too. Then when it’s time for both to be over, I take a relaxing shower and always feel better after this.

The facial I wrote about above is nothing fancy, but it feels indulgent nonetheless. I will tweeze my eyebrows, and then take off my makeup if I have any on. I will use all the proper products for each part of my face. During regular skin care, I get lazy and may use cocoa butter or cold cream and will forget the specialty items. I get my face really clean, and then I will use toner. I will rinse the toner off, and then just apply whatever cream I feel like using. All over my face – from my forehead down to my neck. Time-wise I do the same thing as with my fair – ten minutes or an hour. It just depends. My skin always looks better after this, and my makeup seems to make me look better after one of these treatments.

Chattering Teeth
I take care of my teeth every day, like most of us out there. Currently I am having issues with a Dental Organization that shall remain nameless. Nevertheless I still need to keep up with good care, and extra care. Once a week, usually on a Sunday night I spend a greater deal of time on them. I have a few different toothbrushes, and I change them back and forth. I also soak them in antiseptic mouthwash just to extra clean them. First thing I do is floss, floss, floss. Because of the certain dental troubles I am having, this is very important. I won’t do it hard, until they bleed. It needs to be done thoroughly. After this is done, I will rinse with either that blue Mouth Treatment liquid, or with regular green mouthwash. Rinsing with water, I then put enough toothpaste on my brush. It’s important to use the right kind of toothpaste for your teeth and the issues you are having. There are many kinds on the market. Sensitive, extra whitening, etc. I will brush hard but again, not enough to bleed. I’ll give them a good rinse with water, and then maybe with a swish of those mouthwashes. If I’m in the mood, somewhere during this I will use the whitening one too, though I question if they are really effective.

So there you have it. My self-care treatments, procedures…whatever you want to call them. Anyone out there have anything else they do that I can try, too?

Snowstorm Boredom Busters

They were right, those weather people from the news. We got snow, and we got a lot of it. Yeah sure, people think it looks pretty. I don’t really agree. It’s still snowing and blowing, so there is no sense to go out and begin shoveling. Jeff may or may not be able to get to work today, so if he doesn’t go I will have his help. Otherwise, I guess it will be just Ellie and I.

Besides today being Championship Sunday in football, there’s really nothing all that thrilling on television right now. So a day like this is the perfect time to organize. To do all those little things that I just never, ever seem to get to. While these things to combat boredom are actually boring themselves, I guarantee once they are done – you will be happy you did them.

First thing I’m going to do is to organize my food storage containers. I always have good intentions of keeping everything together, but before I know it I have containers without lids and then lids without containers. I am going to get all these together today and once and for all make a system for keeping it this way. Wish me luck!

I have a lot of products – self care products, like shampoo, conditioner, body gel, lotions – and when I say a lot, that is exactly what I mean. There is nothing wrong with any of them, but since most have been opened and used somewhat I can’t donate them. My goal today is to put the more full ones towards the back of wherever I plan to put them (this plan also includes changing shelves for this stuff). The ones that are more empty will be up front and then as they get used, the cans, etc. can be thrown away. I will end up with more space this way, and less clutter.

We moved in here almost four months ago. With five cats, I vacuum a lot. Sometimes three times a day, because our rugs on the first floor are dark green and show EVERY little speck of anything. What I haven’t done is to move the couch and love seat from the wall, and move the end tables. This place needs a good, thorough vacuuming and that’s on my list as well. I vacuum so much my cats are no longer afraid of the vacuum cleaner. They just walk around, looking at me as if to say “oh, again. Couldn’t be anything we did, right?”

Paperwork! Who needs (most) of it? I have decided not me. The other day I was having computer problems, and needed what I thought was a recovery disk. Come to realize later that this computer never came with one. The big computer bag I have, plus the little one and the box I keep them in was filled with a bunch of papers, flyers, receipts. I am sure out of everything in there, I probably need to keep about five percent of it all. This is a job I can do later while watching football. I will sit on the floor and make piles – trash, keep, undecided. Then once I’m done I plan on going through the undecided to reduce that to almost nothing.

Since it was three degrees this morning when I woke up (yes, THREE), it’s pretty obvious that the coat hooks we have in the living room don’t need to have my light, spring jackets on them. We have an extra clothing rack that is in my closet room. I will bring that up into the attic and then hang all the jackets up there that I sadly won’t be able to wear at least until April I’m guessing.

I have a large garbage bag towards the back of our kitchen table, underneath it. It is half-filled with items to donate. My plan today is to fill it up more. We are fortunate and have a lot of things. Extra pots and pans we have are going to Michael and his girlfriend Alex. They are moving out of their apartment to a new place, and apparently where they are currently supplied kitchen-type items.

In my piles of paperwork, and elsewhere I have so many pictures. Ones I printed out to do…whatever with. I am going to organize them somewhat, and maybe (eventually) get those small photo albums and give them to some of the people in the photos. Also on this line, I’m going to clean out the pictures on my phone. Keeping some, getting rid of some. I actually need to do that with a lot of things on there. I have apparently downloaded aps that bring along with them tons of commercials, ads…it is very annoying to sometimes have to close out five or six of these things to get to what you want to do.

So, these are my Snow Day plans. Realistically knowing myself, I probably won’t get all of these done, but for every thing I do accomplish I will feel very satisfied with myself.


I knew I loved him, but…


This gorgeous boy is my JB. He is the sweetheart-part-of-my-heart that we took with us when we left for Pennsylvania from Florida. He became my third of three in September, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I cannot believe I love him this much, but I do.

In November, Jeff and I thought that maybe JB’s snoring, noises, etc. were in need of a look-see from a Vet. We brought him in. He was seen for different ailments. All was looking…eh, ok. Until this past Monday, when I could feel my heart…break. The Vet said his nose was still not right, was pink. A tumor was suspected, and it was said he had lymphoma. I stood there with him, questioning things in my mind. Not understanding anything. I swear I could feel my chest hurt and my heart break. How I was able to be coherent, I don’t know. How was I able to ask…time? How much did he have left? In reality, how much time did I have with him? The Vet said he had a few months, to a year maybe. What? How did this happen? He was our baby, our youngster… Monday afternoon into that night, I literally was a zombie. I tried hard not to cry, but I couldn’t…my tears would not allow me. I shook and shivered as I ate dinner. Why in the world was this happening to us, to him? I cried, I sobbed…I begged God to change places with him. I didn’t and still don’t want him to go alone.

Since his diagnosis, I have read. A LOT of information. I am positive (if perhaps I am reaching) that he has more time than he has been initially given. He is just SO healthy, and strong. This boy is my heart, in my heart…and no matter what happens for us, I will love him for always.

I rescued him from the streets, yet…he did more for me than he could have ever thought. If I live to be 100 years old, JB will be my boy, in only a way that he can…it’s a Mom and J-ster kind of thing…

Gift giving, according to me :)

I am a gift giver. I enjoy giving presents to those I love. I find the hunt of finding just the right gift for the right person to be very exciting. It makes me happy. And usually, the recipient is happy as well. This is part of the reason I believe that you always have to be ready and have your eyes peeled for something that just might make a loved one happy.

I have said that you can never be too late with a gift, in part because if you know you are not going to see someone special, say until right after Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Easter, you can get great discounts. I’ve been in stores on these actual nights (well not Christmas) and many items have already been reduced fifty percent. In that case you can do very well, looking like a big spender!

Since Jeff and I have moved in together, he has gotten me to be much better organized. I have places for things that I never really had set up decently before. I had been more of a here, there, everywhere kind of person. For Christmas this year, we had those storage bins with stickers, showing who’s gifts were inside. It made things so much easier. Now that he has given me more of a system, I can plan better. At this point, it is early in the year so I have two or three bins with items in them. I have already come across things that were 75% off for Christmas stockings next year (they ended up being twenty five cents each – but don’t worry, they are not edible. They will be safe). I have oddball things that can go along with birthday presents. You know, those little extras. Just last weekend when Christine and I were thrifting, I found two brand new Christmas mugs – not typical, run of the mill ones – I won’t give too many details, because I am still not sure who is getting them, so…after Christmas you find new items that people received as gifts, but didn’t want. Brand new items are always a good thing. Yet things don’t have to be brand new to make them a good present.

I am a big gift-basket fan. I have made all sorts of gift baskets. This year for Christmas, I had a really large basket that I filled with all sorts of snacks, both salty and sweet and two nice mugs for my ex husband and his girlfriend. They both loved it, and I must admit – it did make an impressive gift. That was large, but I have also done small baskets. You don’t have to stick to actual baskets, either. One of my favorites that I did was a pedicure bucket – it wasn’t an actual bucket, per se – but more of a large kind of container, big enough to soak feet and toes in. Inside I included foot scrub, a scrub brush, lotion, emery boards, pretty soft socks. I also included two bottles of nail polish. I wrapped this all up in cellophane, attached a bow and curling ribbon, and it was a very well-received gift. I wanted one for myself!

Some other “baskets” that I have done included Italian Night – two jars of sauce, a pre-baked pizza crust, a box of angel hair pasta, pepperoni (that needed no refrigeration), a small pizza pan, grated parmesan cheese – and I put two single $1 bills so they could get some mozzarella cheese. They loved it. Another successful one was the Ice Cream Social – this one I think was in an actual basket. I found two parfait glasses, two regular ice cream sundae bowls…and dishes (I bought two) specifically for banana splits. With this I put a container of chocolate syrup, a jar/container of rainbow sprinkles and I also included two of those long spoons – I think they call them iced tea spoons. Didn’t include any extra $$$ for ice cream or whipped cream, but this was also a good gift that made the recipients smile. Another basket I made was for a couple that each liked one thing – one coffee, one tea. I used two travel mugs, two mugs for home. One box of “pink” sweetener. A container of creamer, the powdered kind. Not sure if they were fans of that, but it filled up a space in the basket that I needed, haha. I also included a box that had twenty tea bags of a flavor I knew was liked, and three small boxes of coffee “K cup” pods. This was a very well liked gift, and I am told the travel mugs still get used to this day (and this gift was from at least two years ago).

One of my last “ideas” on gift giving, believe it or not involves color. My sister is a BIG Walking Dead fan. She has so many things involving this show that I didn’t know what else to buy, didn’t remember what she had (despite at the time we lived together). For her birthday one year, I got her one Dead item – I can’t even remember what it was. I think it was a pair of socks. With this gift I either used a plastic red or black basket type container from Dollar Tree. Whatever item was the centerpiece, I built around it. I got her black gloves (since Winter was coming and her birthday is in November). I bought a red reusable cup with a straw for water (or more for her, iced coffee). I got a small bottle of black nail polish – don’t know if she ever used it, but…oh well. I don’t remember what else, other than red napkins and black plates – to use for her birthday cake or cupcakes, which I baked. Red velvet cake, white icing and black sprinkles. It was a theme, and I went with it.

I think summing up this whole gift giving thing is that you have to KNOW your recipient. And if you do, with proper planning – you do not have to go broke showing you care, and making them happy on a special day…

Any other gift ideas? I would welcome hearing them…

And things that I DON’T think are a waste of money…

US Currency is seen in this January 30,

Yesterday I wrote about things that I think are a waste of money, or rather things I’ve done that wasted my funds. That got me thinking about things I do think are worth my finances.

As I have said before, I just love beer. I have for a very long time, and I don’t see my taste for it ending any time soon. My absolute favorite beer is Molson XXX. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just LOVE it. Sadly though it is not inexpensive. I do buy a case whenever I’m feeling good money-wise and have been spending decently. There are times though that I need to economize. I have found two decent alternatives that are much cheaper. Steel Reserve and Natty Daddy are good. I enjoy them. If you do some research on beer (as I did when I was looking for the photos) you will find that both of these beers do not have good ratings, decent posts written about them and in general are considered poor quality. I do not agree. If I had my choice, I would drink nothing but XXX but for me, these other two are just fine.

I have been drinking coffee for thirty-six years. There were times when I would try to cut down. There were times that for whatever reason I lost my desire to drink it. In general though, I enjoy it so for me it is very much worth the money. I have perfected making my own at home (in my little Flex Brew machine) and it is very good. In fact, I am having a cup right now! I am also a Dunkin Donuts person. It is my absolute favorite place to go for coffee. It’s such a good feeling walking into one of the stores and smelling that wonderful aroma. I have said they should make a specific candle with that scent. Actually I think I read somewhere that these do exist. I could be wrong on that, though. So coffee for me is worth the cost, either making it at home or buying it at Dunkin. Only Dunkin. Not that “other” place. I will NEVER go to that place again.

I have straight hair. Most of the time I like to wear my hair with some sort of curl. Hair spray is important to me, because in order for me to feel like I look my best, my hair has to be in good shape. It is also important because if it is raining out, my hair droops. It also does this in humid weather. The brand pictured is my favorite and, again like with the beer, if I am feeling good money-wise I will get this kind. It is costly. I have a few other cans on hand always. Some are so-called “decent” ones purchased with coupons, others were paid for cheaply in a discount store. The same holds true for gel and mousse. I have a few favorites, some costing more than others. They are important also because even before you need the spray, you’ve got to style your hair the way you like it. In general, the hairsprays I get are in aerosol cans. I haven’t had much luck with pump sprays. If anyone has one they recommend, I would love to know about it.

I eat A LOT of cheese. I always tell Jeff I am like a mouse. Some may know and some may not know, but I am a weight-loss surgery patient. I had an operation known as Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch, more easily referred to as the DS. I had this operation in December of 2007. It has been very successful, and I am very glad that I chose to have it (and thankful my insurance company paid for it). After all these years, I can pretty much eat what I want. Certain things need to be limited, and I am fine with that. One thing that the doctors always stress to us DS patients is that we need protein, protein, protein. I always accomplish this at meals, but snacks can be a little harder. Nuts are good, and peanut butter on a spoon or even a few spoons full of ricotta or cottage cheese works too. My source of easy protein is cheese. I always have packages of sliced cheese in the house. I have bags of shredded cheese. I buy blocks of cheese when they are on sale, and have them cut into little squares or wedges. It is very simple when you want or need a snack to have cheese easily accessible, whether you are at home or carry some in a container when you go to work or go out. With everything I do, I try to save money but cheese is one purchase that I always need to have. So for me, cheese is worth the money. That sounds very boring. But it is very true.

My subscription to the NHL Center ice is worth the money in every shape and form. I paid for the season in advance. Having this channel gives me access to each and every game played in the league. Living in Scranton, I would almost never get to see my Tampa Bay Lightning without it. I follow three other teams who are also not local, so this gives me access to them as well. My oldest son Michael is a big hockey fan, and he thinks I should pick one team and stick to them. He’s an Avalanche fan and thinks they should be my team. I told him given the choice, I would pick the Bolts hands down. I also have a love for the New York Islanders and a liking for the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. My all-time favorite player is John Tonelli, and my current favorite players are Nikita Kucherov and Alex Ovechkin. To show how hockey influences me, I have a John Tonelli tattoo on my left leg, and our two new kittens are named Alexi (the princess) and Nikita. I thank my father for my interest in hockey. Without him, I wouldn’t have the memories that I do. And without hockey, maybe I would have kept the kittens original names. They were previously called Adam and Eve.

I absolutely love the WWE. I love everything about it – the wrestlers, the characters, going to the events, watching the regular shows, having Pay Per View parties – all of it. I cannot even begin to imagine what money I have put out towards this industry since I started being die-hard twenty years ago. There is no doubt in my mind that every cent was worth it. I have had amazing fun, met great people, and have wonderful memories that will last for my entire lifetime. Worth it? A million times yes!

Things that just MIGHT be a waste of money…

Waste paper basket with crumpled money

I really don’t INTENTIONALLY waste money. Sometimes it just happens that way. Recently I was thinking about a few sort-of stupid mistakes that I have made. Like they say, live and learn. I would rather not have that pertain to my finances, though. Now none of these examples are going to put me into bankruptcy, but I have learned my lesson. Hopefully. We will see as the future unfolds.

Let me start by saying I am not endorsing any particular brand. That being said, when we decided to adopt Alexi and Nikita, they were small. They were kittens, well actually they still are. I did what the shelter said. I bought them specific food for kittens. They were kept separate from Beavis, Stan and JB for a few days. Once everyone was all together, it was very hard to keep the little guys from eating the big guys food, and vice versa. I did some online research and realized the kinds I have been feeding all of them are pretty similar. I also realize that my babies are older kittens. The shelter figures them to be about four months, and Nik – well, he is a beast, he’s a monster amongst babies so I am not worried about him. Lexi is tiny, but she’s pushy and if she wants more food, she just shoves her brothers out of her way. So at this point, the increased cost of the kitten food is just not worth it to me. I am not a vet obviously, and anyone with tinies should trust what their Vet tells them to do. It is certainly easier to have one kind of dry food to manage (though in several bowls) and all five plates of canned food being the same kind. The cats were probably tired of hearing me tell each one, no don’t eat that, it’s not yours. Ugh. I was tired of saying it myself!

I really would like to stop using as many rolls of paper towels as we do. Obviously, toilet paper usage has to remain constant. In my never ending quest to save money, etc. I have been trying some no-names of these two products. The one very cheap roll of paper towels I got was double the size of the others, and it only cost $1. How bad could it be, I figured? Bad. It was bad. The consistency wasn’t soft, but that didn’t bother me. What was awful about it was that no matter what you did, how you held it, whatever – it would never, ever rip off correctly. So you always ended up with a piece larger than you wanted. Wasteful. I tried two other brands that were also reasonably priced. One was a store brand and one was a brand I had really never heard of. They were both also $1 each, but there were less sheets. I must admit, both of these were decent and I will probably keep buying these when I do need paper towels. The toilet paper I’ve bought for cheap prices fared no better. My main complaint with these were the fact that the rolls were so small. They didn’t look it, but they really were. They were comfortable to use, but before you knew it, they were gone and you were replacing the roll on the spindle. The cheap ones I tried were $1 for 4 and $0.68 for 4. I won’t buy them again, though having a cheap package somewhere just for emergencies might not be a terrible idea. I will stay with my “Scott-like” store brand that works out to be about $0.75 per roll.

Ever since I was a young child, I have always liked stationery. I loved crayons and cray pas growing up, also colored pencils. I liked having nice paper to send letters, stickers to use. I even buy fancy color envelopes now, to this day (of course, on clearance). I wanted some new magic markers for the holidays – I had crafty type things I was doing around Harvest time (that I never got around to) and some others for Christmas. I started what I wanted to do, mostly focusing on the red and green ones in the set. They worked good for what I did that particular day. When I went back to the items the next day, the markers worked good for another few words, and then…died. Dried up, I don’t know. They were done for. So I decided to improvise what I was doing. I used a white background and would use blue – like a snowflake theme. Same thing, although the blue died almost immediately. I was getting aggravated, so I tried all the other colors in the package, and again – no good, done for. I have bought a lot of things in “dollar type” stores and have loved what I’ve gotten. This $1 plus tax was a total waste of money. Of course, this was not a major investment. I just don’t like spending my money on something that doesn’t work, no matter what the cost.

This one kind of goes along the lines of stationery. I do not like cheap scotch tape. I was in a discount “dollar type” store around the holidays, and I needed tape to wrap presents. At the front of the store near the wrapping paper, they had a card that had one roll. I wasn’t paying a dollar for one, so as I shopped around I found a card that had two rolls on it. I decided to take some of those, as that was a better deal, right? So I thought until at the end of one aisle was a card that had FOUR rolls. I put down the ones with two and took two of the fours. Big mistake! When I started wrapping later that day, I realized what junk they were. They wouldn’t rip off evenly, they would come off the roll, they weren’t sticky enough. By the next morning, the few packages that I did manage to get done were coming unstuck. Later that day, I went back and bought a few of the ones with two. They worked great, and I had absolutely no problems with them at all. I could have brought the originals back, but I didn’t want to deal with a return and the crowds doing that for $2. I learned my scotch tape lesson this holiday season!

Every time I can, I have usually chosen to buy what people would call cheap batteries. Maybe not the cheapest out there, but ones that were more affordable than others. Up until recently we have never had any trouble. But yes, recently – oh my goodness. It all has to do with clocks. We have two wall clocks, one in the kitchen and one in our bedroom. Jeff bought me a really cute “Beer” clock for Christmas. We cannot get any luck with the batteries we have been buying. I never thought wall clocks were particularly hard on AA batteries. I don’t know what we are doing wrong – we need to upgrade our choices, apparently. Jeff replaces them, and it seems like within a day they are running slow, and then they stop completely. Frustrating!

So what other money-wasting things have happened to all of you recently?