Friday, April 30, 2010

Harris Teeter Triples

We also went to Harris Teeter four triple coupon week. Picked up around $110 worth of groceries and paid $30. Not too bad eh? We didn't have a lot of great coupons this time but the $20 off your $50 or more purchase really helped. We just got in the mail 4 more weeks of $20 coupons so we can continue to go there and save lots of money.

Bank Security Questions

The problem with bank call centers are that they can't see your ID to prove you are who you say you are. One good way to get around that is to have the person make up questions themselves since finding out your mother's maiden name is way too easy. Its much more secure and as you can see below, allows you to be creative. I didn't come up with these but I think they're pretty funny.

Teller: Do you know why I think you're so sexy?
Customer: Probably because you're totally in love with me.

Teller: Need any weed? Grass? Kind bud? Shrooms?
Customer: No thanks hippie, I'd just like to do some banking.

Teller: The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men.
Customer: Go forth, and kill. Zardoz has spoken.

Teller: What the heck is your problem, sir?
Customer: This is completely inappropriate and I'd like to speak to your supervisor.

Teller: I've been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from my employer, and I don't care who knows it.
Customer: It's a good thing they're recording this call, because I'm going to have to report you.

Teller: Are you really who you say you are?
Customer: No, I am a Russian identity thief.

Random Pictures

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Unconstitutional Practice of National Day of Prayer

You read that right. Judge Barbara Crabb has ruled it illegal for the US government to say the un-government-funded and un-government-advertised day can no longer remain an official day. While I strongly believe in the separation of Church and State, I wonder if this is over the top. I try to think of how a National Atheist Day would sound to me if it was set up by the government. I don’t’ think I would worry too much as long as like the day of prayer, no government funding went to its promotion or celebration. Then again, I have Christian values that were the reason we have the liberties we have today. It seems namely the Atheist movement angrily opposes the freedom of religion. As our country slips away from Christian values, the liberties and freedoms we once celebrated will no longer exist. It’s a sad day for our country but I have a feeling it will be good for our souls. Apathy is rampant when freedoms are taken for granted.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Facebook Shares your Information

You might have heard that Facebook shares your information now. That doesn't have to happen though. Click on THIS website to see what you can do to block it.

Lowes Triples

I made a quick stop this morning by Lowe's to hit their 3 day triples deal. Coupons up to $.99 tripled Sunday, Monday, and today. I'm feeling lazy so I'm not going to post a picture of the receipt but my total before everything would have been $31.07. I had $7.50 worth of coupons taken off. Then a lot of those doubled for an extra $3.75 off. Then, being triple coupon day, an extra $3.30 was taken off. Also, some of the items were on sale so that was $6.86 off because of that sale. That is a total of $21.41 off my bill. I could have kept it 100% free but I didn't have time to comb through all the coupons and the rice although not free was a good deal, and Marcie was out of cereal so I wanted to pick some up for her.

Here is what I picked up:
  • Family size Froot Loops ($.89)
  • Family size Apple Jacks ($.89)
  • Total blueberry and pomegranate cereal ($1.75)
  • two bags of Jasmine rice ($1.00 x 2)
  • McCormick black pepper ($.14)
  • 100% recycled heavy duty Reynolds Wrap ($.64)
  • "boil in bag" success rice ($.00)
  • Barilla Ziti ($.00)
  • four candy bars (but don't tell Marcie about those) ($.00)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The end is nigh

If you're still considering taking the coupon class, you have almost no time to sign up. Check this link for more info.

Lowes Foods Triples

Lowes Foods is starting triple coupons and will continue till Tuesday. Break out your 50 cent coupons for all of those $1.50 and less items. Time to rack up the free stuff.

Friday, April 23, 2010

P&G Year of Savings

I'm sending off my Proctor and Gamble year of savings form today. Since I've bought $50 worth of P&G products, they say they will send me in the mail coupons worth $100 total! What a good deal!

Harris Teeter Triples

Harris Teeter Triples are coming up! Starting Wednesday the 28th I hear.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Harris Teeter Shopping List

Not a big week at Harris Teeter. I wonder if I'll hit the $50 total this week to get $20 off.

*Kellogg's cereals BOGO
*HT marinated pork tenderloin for $3.99 lb
*Top Round London Broil or Top Round Roast - Boneless- BOGO
*93% Lean Ground Turkey - HT Fresh BOGO
*Classico Pasta Sauce - 24 oz- B2G3
*H.T. Naturals Organic Blueberries - 10 ounce - 1/2 off
*Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail Juice - 4 pk, 48 oz - BOGO
*Mott's Apple Juice - 64 ounce - BOGO
*Ocean Spray Grapefruit Juice - 64 ounce - BOGO

Mailbox flowers

The planting is done and the ground is ready. The front row are some really interesting looking marigolds. Behind that, we've got several varieties of poppies. Behind that is snap dragons, red hot pokers, and lupins or something like that. In the very back row are canna lilies and dahlias.

On the side, we planted basil, oregano, and parsley. I told Marcie next year that we need to plant all food there. Won't that be fun to see carrots and other veggies growing by the mailbox.

So, the planting is done. Its God's turn now. We've already got a few plants coming up already. We're hoping they are poppies and not weeds.

Dirt Cheap

We needed some soil for our flower beds so Marcie and I went to Wal-mart to pick some up. How much do you normally pay for a bag of dirt? Typically, its around $6-$7 a bag so when I bought three bags, I was surprised to find out my total was under $5. The topsoil bag shown left is only $1.28 a bag. Not too bad huh?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Garden planning

One of these days, Marcie and I will have a nice garden full of produce. I see all these amazing ideas on how you can make food look good in your yard. For instance, see the strawberry patch to the left. That little patch even with out flowers looks much better then just plain grass. You can do all kinds of things like this. We stuck a few herbs in our flower patch around our mailbox. We figured why not get some functional use out of that space. With all of these ideas, I'd like to have a full functioning garden with out making my yard look like a farm.

As far as what to plant, I found a great site that gives suggestions on how many of everything to plan to do this. Here is what they suggested for a family of four. Obviously you can alter this list based on your taste preference but its a good pointer on where to start.

Artichoke 1- 5 Plants Perennial if temp. remains above 20F
Asparagus 10'-40’ row Perennial. Don’t harvest for the first 2-3 years
Beans, bush 15’-40’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 14 day intervals
Beans, pole 8-20 Plants Provide trellis to grow on
Beets 10’-15' row Spring and Fall crops
Broccoli 5-10 Plants 2 plantings to extend harvest
Brussels Sprouts 5-10 Plants 2 plantings to extend harvest
Cabbage 5-10 Plants 2 plantings to extend harvest
Cantaloupe 4-6 Plants Require full sun
Carrots 8’-16’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 2-4 week intervals
Cauliflower 5-10 Plants 2 plantings to extend harvest
Celery 5-10 Plants Blanch stems for best flavor
Chard, Swiss 5-10 Plants Red, yellow or purple varieties will add color to garden
Corn 30’-60’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 14 day intervals
Cucumbers 6-10 Plants Grow on trellis
Eggplant 6-10 Plants Try new varieties
Garlic 10-20 Plants Garlic may help discourage insects in the surrounding area
Kale 5-10 Plants Very cold hardy
Kohlrabi 10’-20’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 14 day intervals
Lettuce, head 8-15 Plants Extend harvest time by planting at 2-4 week intervals
Lettuce, leaf 10’-20’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 2-4 week intervals
Onions 5’-10' Onion sets or plants may produce better than seeds
Peas 10’-30’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 14 day intervals
Pepper, sweet 4-8 Plants Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date
Potato 20’-40’ row Harvested potatoes require cool, dark storage
Pumpkin 2-4 Plants Plant away from other squash or pumpkin varieties
Radish 4’-6’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 14 day intervals
Rhubarb 2-4 Plants Perennial
Spinach 6’-12’ row Extend harvest time by planting at 2-4 week intervals
Squash, summer 4-8 Plants Plant away from other squash or pumpkin varieties
Squash, winter 4-8 Plants Plant away from other squash or pumpkin varieties
Tomato 5-10 Plants Indeterminate varieties need trellis or cages
Watermelon 4-6 Plants Plant the short season varieties for summer picnics

Jackhammers and Patios

Marcie and I have been wanting to fix up our patio for the longest time. There was a flower bed around the outside but we needed a little extra space so decided to expand. What should have been a simple job turned into a construction nightmare. As I was digging the dirt out, I found stone after stone. After pulling out a stone that was the size of my tv, we decided it would be better to bust up the rocks instead of trying to dig them out. I first tried a sledge hammer but that didn't do anything. Last weekend I decided to rent a jackhammer. It worked like a charm. In about five hours, all of the rocks were broken and removed. The ground was leveled and ready for cement to be poured. I'm really looking forward to having a large patio for our one year anniversary. We were married on the fourth of July and what better day to celebrate by the grill then on that day.

Jiminy Kickit Soccer

Summer is around the bend and so is Summer Heat soccer registration. I'll be resurrecting the Jiminy Kickit team for another season of fun in the sun. Its twelve games played on Monday and Wednesdays this year and you get a free shirt with registration. Hopefully we'll get a good color this time. Let me know if you're interested in playing.

Job Satisfaction and Happiness

CNN Money as well as John Tesh's "Intelligence for your life" has recently been posting a lot of articles about how Job Satisfaction effects job performance and general happiness. I've compiled what seems to be the recurring themes in them as I attempt to apply these lessons to my life.

"If you're really happy at work, you'll be 180% happier with life overall, have 180% more energy, and be at least 50% more productive than your least happy colleagues," says Pryce-Jones, who also is CEO of iOpener, an HR consulting firm based in Oxford, England.

"Happy couples talk about what happens at work, even if it's 'boring' or unpleasant," she says. "For years, the conventional wisdom was, 'Leave work at work!' But it's a huge part of your spouse's world, so why not make an effort to understand what's happening there?" Just allowing him to vent -- without chiming in with urgings to get another job -- may ease a lot of the pressure he's feeling.

There is also research showing that low job satisfaction lowers productivity so you and your boss may want to know what can be done.

1) Exercise:
"Exercise is a tremendous stress reliever." Orbuch adds for couples: "You can also try exercising together, maybe by taking a long walk two or three times a week."
This is different then going out and looking for an "escape." That actually causes one to dread going back to work making things worse. You can always walk around the block or you can join a sports team or a gym. Several new gyms have opened and they have some great classes out there. Marcie and I have recently started doing the Les Mills "body pump" and "RPM" class. While a trainer is probably the best motivation, exercise in a class setting really seems to help you push yourself.

2) Connection:
ANONYMITY. Employees feel anonymous when their manager isn’t interested in them as people. If you’re feeling ignored, try acting like the manager you want.Ask them about their weekend.The more interest you take in their life, the more interest they’ll take in yours.
This is a bit more difficult for the introvert but it is still in your hands to change this.

3) Relevance:
IRRELEVANCE. We need to feel that our performance matters. To counter this problem, ask your boss to explain how the work you’re doing makes a difference. Even if the reason’s lost in layers of bureaucracy, it’s there. Otherwise, there’d be no reason to keep you on the payroll.
Firefighters and police typically have this much easier. I read an article that they tend to have pretty high job satisfaction for this very reason. As was said above however, if you were not needed, they would just let you go.

4) Reviews:
The last sign of a miserable job is something Lencioni calls IMMEASUREMENT. That’s his term for the uneasy feeling you get when there’s no way to tell if you’re doing a good job.
If your boss or team lead has never said anything positive to you yet jumps all over you for not forwarding your phone when you're on your vacation day, they are actually lowering productivity. At the same time, always blowing sunshine isn't the answer. Employees need both acknowledgment for success as well as direction for growth however this is ultimately your job and your responsibility. Ask your manager what criteria they use to measure your success, and ask for regular performance reviews.

The employees who are the happiest at work have three things in common
: They feel their work makes a difference, no matter how small, they have friends on the job, and they can make some of their own decisions. Get those three things going, and you’ll be burned out no more.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jones Gap Slideshow

Andrew's bachelor weekend backpacking trip.

Americans distrust the Government

Obama forces through unwanted changes that will harm middle class' standard of living and put an extra burden of taxes on most. It is no wonder trust for the government is at an all time low (80% distrust the governing body). People have not trusted the government less since the flower power age according to a Reuters survey. Here's your "change" America. That's what happens when you listen to the media and stop listening to the facts.

The shortest verse is...

"He Said:" - Job 3:2
In the King James version, this verse is four words long but in most modern translations, it is only "He said:."

Friday, April 16, 2010

The shortest verse

Do you know the shortest verse in the Bible? You might think you do but you might be surprised. I'll give you a hint, it isn't in the New Testament.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Harris Teeter Shopping List

I'm going to wait till Friday to hear my personal eVIC items but here are the items I will consider buying this week at HT. A lot of them I have coupons for. If the coupon plus the sale price listed below is good enough, I'll buy it. Otherwise, it will stay on the list for another time. I can afford to be a little less picky this week because I've got a HT coupon that says I get $20 off a $50 order. That helps quite a bit keep my total down.

Prices are valid through 2010-04-20.*
1 - Purple Eggplant - Fresh- HT Farmers Market
$1.49 lb
1 - Fresh Broccoli - Bunch- HT Farmers Market
1 - Cantaloupe Melons - Sweet- HT Farmers Market
Buy 1, Get 1 Free
Bakery & Baked Goods
1 - King's Hawaiian Rolls - 12 count
Meat - Fresh
1 - Smithfield Whole Pork Tenderloin
$1.99 lb
Meat - Packaged
3 - Perdue Chicken Breast - 3 lb Bag- Frozen, Boneless
Buy 1, Get 2 Free
1 - Newman's Own Olive Oil - 16.9 ounce
1 - Kellogg's Raisin Bran - 20 oz- or 14 oz Raisin Bran Extra or 18.2 oz Raisin Bran Crunch
Buy 1, Get 1 Free
10 - Dannon Yogurt Fruit On The Bottom - 6 ounce
Soft Drinks & Beverages
1 - Deer Park Water - 24 pack, .5 liter- Bottles
Buy 1, Get 1 Free

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Backpacking and Testosterone

On the way to Rainbow Falls, a two mile detour from the Jones Gap trail, we had a decision to make. We're going up the side of a mountain (equivalent to taking the steps to the 88th floor of a building) and we've got 50 lbs on our back so needless to say we were tired. What do we do? Should we ditch our packs some place and pick them up on the way back down? I say never. Andrew, Derek and I flirted with the idea but nobody was going to be the person to do it. We toughed it out and made it to the top. It was well worth it. The falls were beautiful and if you stood to the side, the light reflected into a rainbow from one side to the other. A picture never tells the picture properly. It was a good trip and a good reminder to never give up on a marriage. Times will be tough but once you get through them, what's on the other side is much better then where you started. Congrats on your upcoming marriage Andrew and God bless you both.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Match Report - Canceled

Last night was an interesting game. Marcie was a trooper and stayed out in the pelting rain for about five minutes. She moved to the car after that. Anyways, we played OK considering the slick ball and grass but three minutes before the half was over, they called the game. The saw lightning in the background (no thunder) and decided we should call it a night.

At first, I was pretty disappointed. This is my first season since around a year and a half and I just want to play. That being said, since it was canceled, I'm glad it was before the half so we'll get to make up the game. I guess all's well that ends well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Office 2007 Problems

Is it just me or does Microsoft Office 2007 really stink? I'm not sure if it something with the way formatting is done but it takes 5-6 seconds before I can highlight words by using shift-arrow key. Also, if you select an entire line, it tends to remove the next line as well (and sometimes a few more). I have to highlight the line then holding down shift, move left one or more characters which as I said takes 5-6 seconds to work if it ever does. Normally not a big deal but I do these actions a lot. When you type as much as I and you're used to a product working, upgrade doesn't look that great.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Harris Teeter Coupons

We had a good night last night. As you can see, we paid $55.83 which was $102.71 off what it would have been with out our VIC card and coupons. We had several free items which really helped get our total down. A lot of the yogurt was free as was the sour cream and the paper towels. The meat was half off which never happens for that cut and the asparagus was $.99/lb. The pepsi was buy two get three free so I had to pick those up as well.

Here is what we bought:
  • $80 worth of beef tenderloin (the steak Fillet Mignon comes from)
  • a lot of yogurt (including Greek yogurt and Breyers with toppings)
  • five 12-packs of Pepsi products
  • a bunch of sister shubert rolls
  • an eight pack of paper towels
  • smart balance sour cream
  • almost four lbs of asparagus

I try to stay under my mental price book on things we buy. the Pepsi fridge packs were $2.40 per a package which isn't that great. A great deal is $2.25 and under but I'm OK with anything under $2.50. Asparagus is normally $3.00/lb so anything under $1.50 is a great deal. Yogurt should pretty much always be free if you wait for good deals and use your coupons correctly. We did that for this order and if you remove the steak, we would have spent $15 and saved $60. Then again, I'm cool with buying a lot of quality steak for that price.

Pink Floyd

Lets see if this is going to work. I'm attempting to post a video from the Pink Floyd Experience show a while back. In case it doesn't, Here is a picture of the flying pig for you to enjoy.

I don't know what it is about the song in the video but I love it. I just can't get enough of their music. Marcie loves the money song but I'm a little partial to another brick in the wall. They're all good though.

Green cars sure are popular these days

Despite a quick rinse the day before, the pollen is back and worse then it was before. Marcie was saying the fifth grade kids had to run their mile yesterday. They all came in after with pollen stuck to their shoes and their sweat. I bet that will make the parents super happy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The pollen is coming

It isn't easy being green. That's why my car told me today. I left work to see a light dusting of green pollen. My allergies aren't too bad but it is kind of annoying to have an inch thick layer of pollen on your car after letting it sit for a day. Should I was my car or just wait the season out? That's the question I ask myself every year.

By the way, April 15th is the last day of frost so if you're waiting to put anything out, you only have a little more then a week to go before all is safe. Once April 15th arrives, we will plant our poppies (already about an inch or two tall) and spread out a few other flower seeds.

Marcie's Birthday Cake

Here's the candle I bought for Marcie's birthday cake a while back. I just got it off her phone. I don't think I posted it before.

Pink Floyd

Finally pulled the pictures from Marcie's cell phone. This is one of them from our Pink Floyd Experience a while back.

First flower

Its not a flower yet but the bulb is finally starting to rear its head. This is so exciting. We bought a few more poppies and some other really cool looking flowers. Its amazing that for under two dollars, you can get a packet of almost any flower you want. It takes patience to wait for them to pop through the soil but I have a feeling it will be worth the wait.

Much better

Now that I've had some time running the car with out heat or AC, its gotten back up to where it should. You're probably not impressed with 22.3 miles per a gallon but for a muscle car, I'm happy with the results. If I did more highway driving, I could get it up much higher but with the stops and goes of city driving, this is the best I can do.

Match Report

We lost again last night. I wonder if we'll win a game this season. I scored a goal early but they came back with two more goals. We outplayed them for all but 10 minutes (that's when they got their goals) but it wasn't enough. We had so many opportunities but nothing capalized. Our team is playing much better though. We're moving with out the ball and are passing much better. Our players that are new to the game are playing much smarter so we're starting to come around. We just need to score more.

On that note, they had one player that single handily won the game for them. He as fast and strong and in great shape. Every pass that wasn't perfect was anticipated by him and picked up. I would have had probably three times the looks on goal if it wasn't for him. I tried to drag him to the outside and that seemed to help a little but we just couldn't put one in.

I'm very tired today though. Before the game, I went to a RPM cycling class. My sister & her husband just opened their newest gym the other day and I went to check it out. There is a small room where you turn down the lights and cycle to techno music. The music is picked to keep your RPMs (cycles per a minute) at a certain pace through out the entire thing. Marcie and I are both sore and tired from it. Also, if you're not used to riding a bike, you'll get a nice bruise on your butt that lasts a day or two. I hear that stops happening after your 3-4th ride.

Although it was a good workout, I felt like once the game started I was ready to play. My legs were warmed up and I had much better control of the ball. I don't know if that was just my legs being used to physical activity or just because I'm getting to play more bringing back muscle memory. Just like last week though, I still need to work on accuracy. A few of the harder passes and shots I took were errant. Maybe next week I'll try to get our team to do a proper warm up. No one was passing and crossing before the game so we had to figure it out as we played. Some people were juggling the ball and others were just sitting and talking. It didn't help that we only had two balls for the entire team. If I can find my needle, I'll have to get my ball pumped up so I can bring that one out there.