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Door To Door Organics

Posted by Carol on January 12, 2011

I have always heard that organic fruits and veggies were better for you than conventional produce. The pesticides and chemical fertilizers used were cancer hazards. And then add GMO’s to the mix, and eating produce was a potential mine field for your health.

Yeah, I had heard all that, but didn’t pay much attention. The whole thing was very overwhelming to me and once in a while I would stumble across an article that would say it didn’t really make that much of a difference.  That would calm my worries for a time.

But every so often, I’d get a nagging feeling that there really was something to the idea that organic fruits and veggies were better for my family. You could say I had just enough information to be dangerous. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, yet didn’t know what I didn’t know.

One day, I drove past an organic farm not too far from our house in New Jersey. I saw that the farmer had set up a stand and was selling ears of organic corn.  Organic or not, farm stand corn is one of the joys of summer. I slammed on my brakes, tires squealing, and did a u-turn Miami Vice-style and pulled up to the stand.  I bought a dozen ears of the organic farm stand corn, feeling very proud of myself for my healthy, yet delicious find.

You can imagine my disappointment when I grabbed the first ear to husk for dinner and discovered a little tiny worm had helped himself to some of the corn. I tried the second, third, fourth ear and sure enough, each had its own little visitor. All twelve of my organic ears of corn had worms still aboard when I brought them home.

I am not scared of spiders or most other insects. However, the ONE creepy crawly that gives me the heebie geebies is the lowly worm. I HATE worms and caterpillars. I’m not too fond of butterflies, either,  because they used to be caterpillars.

I’ll pass on the organic worms and take an extra helping of chemicals, please.

That experience killed any interest I had in organic produce. If eating organic meant I had to deal with bugs in my food, I’ll take my chances.  Thankyouverymuch.

While I felt organic veggies were dead to me, I still had an interest in healthy eating and I recently read two books that have changed the way I think about food.  They are “Real Food” by Nina Planck and “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. I don’t want to get into the books here, but the gist of both of them is that organic is the bare minimum standard for our fruits, veggies, and meat to maintain our health.

So, I’ve bitten the worm bullet and given organic fruits and vegetables another chance.

And, as luck would have it, I recently discovered a cool company to help me in my organic pursuits.  It is Door To Door Organics. Every week, they deliver a box full of organic produce right to my front door. I get to choose the size of the box as well as the contents. I haven’t done a head to head comparision between Door To Door and my local grocery store or Whole Foods, but someone else did.  The results were that the same produce bought at Whole Foods were more expensive and the variety was better through Door To Door.  Since my local King Soopers has a miniscule organic section, Door To Door is the clear winner there, too.

And, so far, no insects.  Bonus!

Door to Door Organics did not ask me to write this post. I use them and enjoy their service and I wanted to share it with you here for Works For Me Wednesday.

Door to Door Organics is available in several locations around the country. Check the website to see if they will deliver to you!

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WFMW ~ Deodorant, it’s just a suggestion.

Posted by Carol on April 29, 2009

Now that the weather is getting warmer here in Bloggsville, USA, many of us are doing what we can to stay cool and dry. For most, that includes the wearing of deodorant.

If deodorant isn’t included in your plan to stay dry and cool, you may want to rethink that.

I’m just sayin’.

One of the biggest problems with deodorant is the white streaks it leaves on your clothes.  You may have tried some of the newer versions that are supposedly clear and streak free, but if you don’t want to switch brands just because of the white streak situation, here’s something that Works for Me.

Are you ready for this? It’s really earth shattering information I’m about to share with you.  Hold on to your hats…

Put your deodorant on after you put your clothes on.  If your outfit is sleeveless, attack those pits through the sleeve hole.  If you have sleeves, come up from under your top.  It really works.

While we’re on the subject of deodorant,  I need to add my 2 cents about scents.  (Pun intended)

Why, oh why, do women spend lots of their hard earned money on perfume and/or scented lotions just to have it compete with the smell of their deodorant?

Who wants to smell like “powder fresh” or “spring rain” or “cool wave” when you’re wearing Estee Lauder’s Beautiful or Clinique’s Happy? Put the combo of scents together with your shampoo, hair products, and lotions and it’s enough to knock over anyone with a sensitive olfactory system within 50 feet.

That’s why I vote for unscented deodorant.  I am one of those with a sensitive nose. While I love perfume, I have to be careful to only pick very light scents.  If I’ve got too much smell going on, I get a headache or nauseated.  So if I have to choose between my Calvin Klein’s Escape or “Natural Sport Scent”, Calvin’s going to win every time.

For much more useful helpful hints than this one, check out  We are THAT Family.

Now, go forth and smell nice!

(Originally posted on 7/08)

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WFMW ~ Best Of Edition ~ Keeping Your Eyeliner From Smearing

Posted by Carol on March 3, 2009

We Are THAT Family is hosting a “Best Of” edition of Works for me Wednesday.  This is my entry because this has been my most popular post so far. Forget the deep devotional posts or even the recipes. Nope, smeary eye liner must be a world-wide epidemic. This is just my attempt at making the world a more beautiful place – one eye liner smear at a time.

My helpful hint this week is a makeup trick that lets you  never have those dark raccoon circles under your eyes from your eyeliner smearing as the day goes on.  The reason your eyeliner smears is that it is made with wax.  Your body heat causes the wax to slowly melt, giving you those unsightly dark circles under your eyes.  Here’s what you need to do to avoid all that:

Get yourself an angled makeup brush and a dark color eyeshadow, such as brown.  Or just go with a color that you would normally choose in an eyeliner pencil.  Then use the angled brush to apply the eyeshadow along your lash line, just like you would with your eyeliner pencil. The brush I use is small with flat bristles and is kind of stiff.  I promise, it will not smear – unless, of course you rub your eyes.  It is also easier to wash off at the end of the day.  Here is a picture of some brushes that would work well.

Give it a try.  I think you’ll be happy with the results.

To see everyone’s Best Ever hints, check out Works for me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family!

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WFMW ~ Removing Candle Wax or How I saved my pants.

Posted by Carol on February 17, 2009

At the doctors’ office where I work, we try very hard to make the atmosphere very homey and welcoming.  One of the things we do to accomplish that is to always have a scented candle burning.

The last candle we burned came in a tall mason jar and smelled like Grandma’s Kitchen. Actually that was the name of the scent, but it smelled really good.  The only problem with a candle that comes in a tall mason jar is trying to light that candle with a regular sized lighter when the wax gets too low.

Rather than give up on having our office smell deliciously like Grandma’s Kitchen when the candle got too low, we rigged up a system where we would light a smaller votive candle then stick our hand with the lit votive down into the tall mason jar and hope that the wick would catch on fire.

I use the word “we” very loosely here because I am usually the one who lights the candle. It’s not actually part of my job description, but since the docs are kind enough to buy me coffee almost every day, I figure I can handle lighting a candle for them.

Anyway, as you can imagine, there are certain risks when one chooses to light a candle in such a way, one of which is possibly burning your fingers off. I was fortunate enough to avoid the burning finger tragedy, but something almost as bad happened to me while observing the daily lighting of the candle ritual last week.

I got candle wax on my favorite pants. {Gasp!}

The only thing I could think of to save the pants was the ol’ ice cube to harden the wax and scrape it off trick, but sadly, that didn’t work.

I just happened to mention my wax woes to a friend (I know, I’m a fascinating conversationalist) and she gave me this hint that totally saved my pants.

She told me to heat up an iron and place a paper towel  over the wax on the pants. Once the iron gets hot, place it over the paper towel covered wax and it will lift right off. This worked for my pants and I’m sure it would work to get wax off a table cloth or anything else that wax might drip on.

This worked for me. To see what might work for you, head on over to Shannon’s blog for her last edition of Works for Me Wednesday.

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WFMW ~ Keeping Your Salad Fresh

Posted by Carol on January 27, 2009

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette.  I meant to include this tip with the recipe, but I must have gotten distracted by something shiny because I totally forgot all about it.

So, here’s what works for me. When you are putting your salad away in the refrigerator, whether you put it in Tupperware or cover it with plastic wrap or whathaveyou, lay a paper napkin or paper towel on top of the salad before you cover it. The paper will absorb excess moisture, keeping the lettuce crisp and fresh significantly longer (within reason) than without. You’ll see it works because the next time you take the salad out, the paper will be damp and limp, but the salad fresh and delicious.

This, of course, will not work if there is dressing on the salad, so unless you’re pretty sure the whole salad will be consumed by your family at one meal, don’t pour dressing on the whole salad, just the individual servings.

For more helpful hints, tune into Shannon’s blog, Rocks in my Dryer.

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WFMW ~ Magic Eraser

Posted by Carol on January 21, 2009

Oh my goodness. Is it Wednesday already? I guess it is. So that means it’s time to write a Works for me Wednesday post.

I recently had the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of the Magic Eraser with Powerful Foaming Cleaner for Kitchen and Bath vs “A Leading Brand”.  When I say I did a side-by-side comparison, I am not kidding. The Magic Eraser people sent me two scummy bathroom tiles, crayons, a marker, and a chili recipe to use to mess up my kitchen. Thankyouverymuch, but I don’t need any extra help messing up my kitchen. It’s pretty much a daily occurrence.

I have to admit I sat on this one for a while because the instructions that came along with the products instructed me to write with the crayon on my wall and see which cleaning product got it off better.

Yeah, that’s not happening.

My kids are teenagers and I am well past the “oh, isn’t little Johnny’s artwork on the drywall just adorable” stage. I was very squeamish about actually letting the crayon touch any part of my walls.  It turned out to be one of those teenagers who told me to just deal with it and found a spot inside my pantry to test the crayon on. She figured no one would notice a little wall art if they are too distracted looking for food. Oh me of little faith, I was afraid I might have to live with the aftermath of our little test if the results were less than desirable.

Since I’d rather show you than tell you how things turned out, here’s some pictures of our cleaning adventures.

magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-0031 magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-0061

The Magic Eraser did such a good job on my stove that I went ahead and cleaned the whole thing before I remembered that I was supposed to try “A Leading Brand” also. The foaming side of the Eraser provided just enough cleaner to get the greasy mess cleaned up.

Now, to tackle the scummy tiles. (I really don’t want to know how they gotmagic-eraser-test-and-lauren-021 that way!)

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The Magic Eraser made cleaning the scummy tile so much easer than “A Leading Brand” that I ended up finishing both tiles with it rather than scrubbing forever with the mystery cleanser. Magic Eraser wins round 2!

Now for round 3, we had to draw on the tile with the marker they provided.

magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-027magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-033I have to be honest here, round 3 ended in a tie. Both the Magic Eraser and the Leading Brand got the marker off the tiles quickly and easily.

Score after 3 rounds: Magic Eraser – 3;  A Leading Brand – 1

The next test was to draw with the marker on a wall.

magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-036magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-038

The Magic Eraser got the marker off the wall. The Leading Brand did not even after much scrubbing.  See?

magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-0391Magic Eraser wins again!

The last test was to write on the wall with crayon. We chose the inside of the pantry again, just in case.

magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-041magic-eraser-test-and-lauren-0421

The Magic Eraser did a great job removing the crayon. The “Leading Brand” did not remove the crayon and I had to finish the job with the Eraser.

Over all, the Magic Eraser did a much better job than “The Leading Brand”. I had already been a fan of Magic Eraser, but now I have proof that it really is better!

For more great hints, see what works for everyone else over at Rocks in my Dryer!

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WFMW ~ Online Devotionals

Posted by Carol on January 14, 2009

One thing I really enjoy about the internet is reading online devotionals.  It’s like having church at home everyday while wearing my pink fluffy slippers without getting all those strange looks.

Well, there’s a new blog on the block that lets me do just that.  It’s the TBloG and every day its author, Sylane Mack, shares a treasure trove of wisdom from God’s Word.  And since I happen to know Sylane personally, I can assure you she is the real deal. Everything she writes and encourages us from God’s Word, she lives out loud herself.

Please do yourself a favor and pay the TBloG a visit. You’ll be blessed. I promise!

(Also do yourself a favor and visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer for more great helpful hints.)

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WFMW ~ CollegeZapps

Posted by Carol on January 7, 2009

Just before Christmas I was contacted by an organization called CollegeZapps asking me to look at their website and write about it here on my blog. I agreed on two conditions – that I liked what I saw and that I could wait until after the holidays to do it. Hey, I know my limitations and I wanted to make sure I had the time to really check  them out.

Check them out I did, and here’s what I found. CollegeZapps is a website that streamlines the college application process. Having gone through it all just a couple of years ago with our son, and with our daughter’s last year of high school approaching like a speeding locomotive, I was intrigued by the idea of CollegeZapps. Here’s a quote from the email they sent me:

We know that helping your student through the college application process can be like taking on a second job. Whether your kids are a few years away from applying to college, or just a few months, we can help.

Let’s face it; applying to college is confusing for a lot of students (and parents!). CollegeZapps was established in June 2007 to help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the college application through leading-edge technology. Our proprietary tool eliminates redundancy, which allows students to focus on their essays and other more important elements.

How It Works
Students are taken through four easy steps:

  1. Choose multiple schools. Students can choose from more than 1,100 schools within our network. Almost every school that has at least 1,500 students is listed in our database.
  2. Complete the questionnaire. Our tool walks students through every step of the process and never asks the same question twice – no matter how many applications are completed. Students can save their progress at any point and return to the in-progress application later.
  3. Print and proof. CollegeZapps generates print-ready, professional-looking applications in each school’s preferred format. Simply print and review.
  4. Send in the apps. Students can then drop each application in the mail along with any application fees, transcripts, reference letters or other materials.

Like I said, we just went through this process not too long ago and it is an ordeal. My son applied to 6 colleges, but I hear the average is more like 10.  And, believe it or not, a woman in our high school’s guidance office told me there are kids whose parents make them apply to 30 schools. That is definitely not the norm. That’s what happens when kids are raised in an over achieving suburb in New Jersey.

But wouldn’t those poor kids who applied to way too many schools have loved CollegeZapps? They would have only had to fill out the questionnaire on the website once (not answering the same question over and over again on each application), and write the appropriate essays for the colleges. CollegeZapps would then plug the information from the questionnaire into the correct application format for each college or university and once printed, it is ready to be mailed.

All Mom and Dad have to do is write a check for each application fee, request transcripts and letters of recommendation from the high school, then wait with great anticipation to see which institution of higher learning is going to get all their money for the next 4 years.

From what I can tell from the website, it only costs $5 for each application and believe me, it sounds like money well spent. Or you can use the Zapp Track feature which, for $25, lets your student apply to an unlimited number of colleges. I really should tell my friend in the guidance office about this.  Her students will thank me.

There are a couple of other nifty features CollegeZapps offers. They keep you posted on where in the application process your child should be. They remind your student of where in the application process they should be, putting the responsibility on their shoulders, where it really should be by this stage of the game. They put you in the running for a $250 Target gift card when you sign up for Zapp Track. Very nifty. There are also sections of the website for parents, for students, and for guidance counselors with pertinent info for each.

So, do yourself a favor and visit CollegeZapps. You’ll be glad you did. I’m pretty sure we’ll be using them next fall when Darling Daughter is ready to apply to her not 30 colleges!

For more great helpful hints, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer!

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WFMW ~ Boost your Turkey Gravy

Posted by Carol on December 2, 2008

I know, Thanksgiving was last week, but I wanted to test out this idea before I shared it with the rest of Bloggsville. Besides, I’ll bet many of you will be having turkey for Christmas, too.

I got this idea from my mother who is a gravy-maker extraordinaire.  When she gets invited to friends’ houses for Thanksgiving, they recruit her to make their gravy. There really is an art to it and she’s got it down.

Here’s a bit of her gravy-making advice. Up to a week before Thanksgiving or whenever you will be serving the turkey, roast a chicken and collect all the drippings.  Of course, you’ll want to separate the fat from the good stuff – discarding the fat.

Use the roasted chicken in different recipes, but save the drippings. When it’s time to make your turkey gravy, add the drippings from the chicken to the turkey’s for an extra boost to your gravy. This hint made the difference between us having gravy with Thanksgiving dinner and not having it. For some reason, my turkey did not produce enough drippings to make decent gravy at all.

Tragedy was averted and Thanksgiving was saved because of this little trick. Thanks, Mom!

For more helpful hints, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

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WFMW ~ Grocery Delivery

Posted by Carol on November 12, 2008

I know, I know…It sounds terribly spoiled of me to have my groceries delivered, but think about it.

Think about the time it takes to make the list, cut coupons, drive to the store, shop for at least an hour, go through the check out line, bag your groceries, load them in your car, drive home, unload the car, and put them away.  And don’t forget about doing all that with 2 or more kids in tow. Whew! Just writing that made me tired.

What if you could cut out driving to the store, shopping for the groceries, the check out line and bagging, and loading and unloading the car?  How happy would you be?  I’ll tell you how happy you’d be.

Very.

I have been using Peapod for grocery delivery for over a year and I love it.  I log in, make my list on-line, pick a delivery time and date and then wait for the groceries to be carried into my house.  I set up payment with my debit card number when I set up the account, so I don’t even have to deal with money – other than a tip, but only if I have cash on hand (sorry, delivery guy).  They also accept coupons.

In my area, the delivery charge is $6.95.  Personally I feel it’s worth every penny, but there are ways to lower that.  Having my payment set up in advance knocks $1 off my total.  Then you can choose off-peak delivery times that can knock another $1-$2 off.  Every once in a while they will offer free delivery if you meet certain criteria.

There are trade-offs, such as things being out of stock sometimes, or not being able to squeeze and sniff your own produce (never had a problem though).  In the event of a mistake, a toll free number connects you with extremely helpful customer service people who will promptly make things right or credit your account.

Call me spoiled, but it Works for Me!  For more great ideas, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

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