Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saving Money with Greeting Cards

If you're like me, you rush into a grocery store on your way to a party to grab a card.  It could be a birthday card, thank you card, new baby, graduation, whatever.  A card goes with the gift, or in the case of gift cards, a card IS the gift.  The right card is important, but it's always been the "extra" thing.  Recently though, the card has become an expensive part of gift giving.  Some of this can be attributed to the complexity of cards with sound and delicately cut designs, but let's face it - greeting cards are getting really expensive!

Recently, I decided that if a standard greeting card is going to cost $5.00 or more in a grocery store, at least I'm going to find something handmade and unique.  Look no further than Etsy.

Just search "handmade greeting cards" to find over 70,000 listings.  You can find intricate hand cut cards, hand drawn illustrations, funny cards and photo cards.  You can buy them individually or in sets and spend much less than you would at the drug or grocery store.  Here's a few I found (click on the link below the picture to visit that Etsy store):

Now if you're like me, about now you are saying - who buys greeting cards in advance??  I did, but as a set of general cards.  You can really save money this way too.  I bought this set of 8 cards of my choice for $20.  Even with the shipping costs added in that is less than $4 a card.  

I don't even have to make a stop on the way to my next party!  As an extra bonus, I don't have to worry about whether the graduate or birthday card recipient will be getting a duplicate card from another guest!

Have a few minutes?  Shop Etsy for a huge selection of unique greeting cards.  Buy from the comfort of your living room 24 hours a day for delivery to your door!  Support small businesses!


Saturday, June 9, 2018

One Week Until Father's Day . . .

I'm happy to report that my childrens' father is already secured for Father's Day and we are still a week out.  However, if you don't have a gift (or a plan), I have been in your shoes some most years.  Never fear, here are some great ideas for gifts Dad is sure to love.  Here are suggestions by category (links to products included):

Personal Care

Lillian Vernon Personalized Grooming Bag  $42.99 at Amazon
No more Ziploc bag for Dad!

Goby Brush Kit (Includes Subscription)  $50.00 at Goby
This includes a subscription for a new brush head every month (or whenever you tell them)

Harry's Winston Shave Set  $25 ($15 more engraved at Harry's

Loris Azzaro Chrome $40.95 at Amazon

Interests and Vices

Personalized Hammer  $21.00+  at Etsy

Personalized Humidor  $52.79 at Etsy

Cornhole Bags  $25.98 at Amazon
Assorted colors and designs for the man who loves to play cornhole

Unique Gifts

DNA Test   $69 from  Find out Dad's ethnic background and backstory!

Holy Stone Drone  $279.99 at Amazon

Magnetic Wristband for DIY  $12.99 at Amazon

Holds all those little things he needs while completing the "honey-do" list!

Free (if you have an Echo)

If "Alexa" lives at your house, you can teach her to give Dad compliments on his special day.  It's very easy to do, and they provide suggestions as well as let you say exactly what you want.  If "Alexa" doesn't live with you yet, why not get an Echo Dot from Amazon?  They start at $39.99 and an Echo Show with a screen to view images and video is $149.99.

Hope your Father's Day is fun!


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Holy Guacamole!

It's summer and nothing says summer snacking like fresh guacamole.  Fresh is the key here, so don't make it too far in advance!  The best guacamole is made to your taste - so don't sweat too much about exact measurements as long as you have all the ingredients.  Here's an easy recipe for my favorite summer pleasure.  This is enough for a big party, so feel free to scale back for a smaller quantity.


5 medium avocados
2 vine ripened tomatoes (plum tomatoes work well too) diced
3/4 c. diced red onions
3 cloves garlic
lime juice (I used two small limes)
3 Tablespoons cilantro
sea salt to taste
red pepper to taste

To start, you need to know the right way to cut and peel an avocado.  Here are the experts from the California Avocado industry with a short video to show you how:

After you have cut and peeled your 5 avocados, slice a few times to get this:

Notice the pit in there too?  To keep your avocados (and resulting guacamole) from turning brown quickly, keep the pit and stick it in the middle.  When you cover guacamole for storage, use a plastic cling wrap and make sure it touches the guacamole in the bowl.  Now, back to your recipe.

Chop tomatoes, onion, cilantro and garlic.

Go back to your avocados and squeeze the juice of two small limes over the top.  The key to your own special recipe for guacamole is lime juice and cilantro.  You can experiment with how much you use to get the taste you like best.  After adding the lime juice, gently MASH the avocados, using a fork or a potato masher.  Don't MUSH them.  The best guacamole is not pureed or even smooth, but has chunks of avocado.  MASH don't MUSH!

Add the other ingredients and gently stir to mix them.  Again, be careful not to mush your avocados or tomatoes.

And that's it!  Serve with your favorite tortillas or use on tacos or burritos.  Fresh guacamole doesn't have a long shelf life (more because of how it looks as opposed to how it tastes), so plan on making your guacamole the day of your party.  If you want to chill before using it, don't forget the tips about using the avocado pit and plastic wrap placed directly on the guacamole.