Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond vs. Magnolia's Joanna Gaines

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I’m a die hard Pioneer Woman fan.  I love her show, her food, her family, her work ethic, her ranch, her photography, the list just goes on and on, and I LOVE her Walmart kitchy kitchen collections.  I’ve been a fan since her first episode on Food Network and I believe I’ve seen every one of them.  I also was a huge Joanna Gaines fan back in the day.  I’ve never been a fan of the Chipster, he acts so goofy and now he looks even goofier with that scruffy beard and man bun, let’s face it the poor fella will never be the Marlboro Man.  But I thought Joanna was so talented, I loved her farm, her darling little children and all the animals.  I eagerly looked forward to every episode of her show, and then I kind of lost interest.

I thought Chip and Joanna became too commercialized, they were spread too thin,  Ttheir houses became too contemporary for me and while Ree was selling her Walmart line at awesome, affordable prices, Joanna teamed up with Pier1 and her products were really pricey, she was selling her pillows for over $100 a pop. And her rugs, oh my, they were as high as $2300. No, that’s not a typo, they’re selling them for TWENTY THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  Total turn off for me, total.

But now Chip and Joanna are teaming up with Target with a new line, Hearth and Hand and guess what??? It’s inexpensive!!!  No surprise here, The Pioneer Woman’s Walmart line sells like hotcakes and I bet Pier1 still has a boatload of those $100+ pillows left in their warehouses.  And I’m sure those rugs didn’t fly off the shelves at $2300 either.

I hope she does well, she’s a sweet woman and I’ll be checking the Target site to see what she has to offer, but I think I’m more of a kitchy retro kinda girl. Oh, let’s face it, I just think The Pioneer Woman is da bomb, always have, always will.  I hope she’s around for many more years and one of these days I’m gonna be on a road trip to Pawhuska.  Yeah, I know it’s in the middle of nowhere, but I want to go.  I have no desire to go to Waco and see the silos, but oh I want to be Pawhuska bound sometime within the next year.

Just my thoughts this afternoon, it will be interesting to see how competitive this gets.  Walmart vs. Target, Ree vs. Joanna, I know who my bets are on...

Photo snagged from Facebook, blatant advertising on my part for the 2nd issue of her new magazine

Monday, September 4, 2017

My Pillows, do I love them?

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I like them, I’m not in love with them yet, but I just got them last week so I haven’t had time to really bond with them.  I’m brutal on pillows, BRUTAL - I punch them, flip them to the cool side incessantly, wad them in a ball, flip them again, fluff them, pull them toward my head, then away from my head, all in the space of, oh an hour.  You guessed it, there hasn’t been a lot of restful sleep going on at my house.

I’ve watched the infomercials about how these pillows are the end all, I’ve talked to people, our neighbors, Don and Jacquie have them, they hate them, my buddy V has them, she loves them, her hubby, Rich hates them.  Zuilly occasionally has these pillows for a good price, $64.99 for a set of king size, and when they came back in stock a few weeks ago I ordered them.

Now LC was just shaking his head, he’s lived the pillow wars with me.  I’ve had goose down, duck down, chicken feathers, foam, gel, poly filled, are you starting to get the picture here?  I’ve spent a chunka change on pillows over the years and they just aren’t all that! Currently I have this worn out feather pillow that I drag everywhere like Linus with his blanket.  Seriously, if we’re going on a car trip, that pillow is the first thing that is loaded.  Other people have horrid pillows too, it’s just not me and I detest a hard, unyielding pillow with a purple passion!!!

So last week the pillows arrive, it takes for-ev-er to get things from Zuilly, I’m spoiled with Amazon Prime, Zuilly is in no hurry to ship.  They came in this little box, hubby unpacked them and instantly complained that we had been ripped off because they were flat as a flitter.  I explained to him that V told me you had to put them in the dryer sandwiched between a damp towel, so I did that and they came out nice and puffy.  I bought the soft-medium ones, I put them on the bed and took them for a spin.  They are supposed to have a “cooling” effect, so you don’t put a pillow protector on them, just a 100% cotton pillow case.  When you lay down they feel firm, they’re filled with shredded foam, they don’t lump, but they do adjust to your head and it’s kinda soft in the middle where the indentation is.  

And what do I think of them?  Well, they are not what they advertise, I still toss and turn all night, and I flip the pillow, but I no longer wad it up or fluff it, I just flip it.  Does it have a cooling effect?  Oh who the hell knows, I’m still hot all the time, so I’m not a judge.  But I have been waking up lately with neck pain and I have to say that it’s gone now, probably in part because I’m laying on a pillow that isn’t all bunched up.  I just asked LC this morning how he’s liking them and he says, “oh they’re okay I guess, I never know which pillow I’m sleeping on anyway.”  Men Schmen!

But I am going to order two more of them, so I must like them.  Well, actually it’s more economics and desperation.  They’re decent pillows, and you don’t buy decent pillows for $32.50 apiece, at least I haven’t been able to do so.

So, if you think you might like them, go ahead, knock yourself out, pull out that old credit card and CHARGE!

The link, ya, I know you want it, here it is...

Let’s face it, you’re not breaking the bank, these pillows in king size are usually over $100 for a set.  The worst case scenario, you blew $64.99, less if you buy queen size.  Hope you enjoy.  ~ Jan

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Downy Fresh Protect, It's AMAZING!!!!

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In a perfect world I would have clean sheets every single day.  No, let me rephrase that, in a perfect world I would have a maid who would put clean sheets on my bed every single day.  But, it’s not a perfect world, hubby is the closest thing i have to a maid, oh he will love reading this, but seriously, he always strips the bed for me, we wash the sheets and we both make it again.  But back to my story.  I love the smell of clean sheets, who doesn’t.  I grew up with line dried sheets and nothing in the world smells better, but that’s not possible anymore, so I dump in tons of fabric softener in an attempt to get a fresh smell.  And it works, for a day and then they don’t smell fresh anymore.

I read online that Gain Detergent scent lasts a long time so I bought it after making myself nauseous in the grocery store, smelling all of their different fragrances. I ended up buying their original scent, bought the pricey pods, bought the softener, came home, washed the sheets and they smelled HIDEOUS.  Those reviewers must have been paid because that Gain was some nasty stuff!  It went in the trash and it was back to Tide Pods and Downy for me, but I still wanted that fresh smell to last longer.

Then a few weeks ago we were at Costco and I saw this Downy April  Fresh Protect Scent Booster with Febreze, you add it to your wash and you can sprinkle in a little or sprinkle in a lot.  Well, I washed sheets and blankets and I sprinkled in a lot, I filled that little pink cup to the rim, if a little dab will do ya, then a lot has to be better, right???  And the result...

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Oh my, my bed smells amazing and the scent lasts for days.  

You may think this is an unnecessary expense but the smell is so worth it, your bed smells so fresh, your linen closet smells fresh, your clothes smell fresh, your laundry room smells fresh, what’s not to love..

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner, these little pink beads pack a big punch, this is definitely holy grail at our house now...

Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo, It's Good Stuff!

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I used to wash my hair every single morning, my entire adult life I washed it and blew it dry every morning, and then a year or so ago I realized I didn’t have to do this anymore.   I wear my hair long these days, but never down, I look like a hag with it down, it's always up and I realized that 2nd day hair was always easier to work with then freshly shampooed hair, it had more texture, wasn’t as flyaway and as I age, it’s not oily like it was when I was younger.  It’s a freeing experience, not washing your hair every morning, and my secret trick is Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo.  It gives your hair texture, and VOLUME ladies, you would be surprised at how much VOLUME it gives you.  Not to mention that it smells positively delicious.

So now I can go 2 days, 3 days even, I just spritz this shampoo at the roots and my hair smells mahvelous, dahling.  And it has tons of VOLUME!  The price is great, too $5.99 at your local Target and comes in several scents.

You know I always share the good stuff and this dry shampoo is a game changer!  Did I mention that it gives your hair VOLUME? ;-)  Seriously, it looks so much thicker when you use this!  

Try it Mikey, you’ll like it, pinky swear you will.  ~ Jan

Friday, September 1, 2017

The chili of my childhood...


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It wasn't until after I was grown that I realized not everyone ate pickles with their chili.  It was a staple at our house, and looking back, it was probably mother using what she had.  We always had sweet pickles and dill pickles with chili, no peanut butter sandwiches, no cornbread, just pickles and crackers and always in the fall apple pie.

I loved it then, and I love it now.  I make really good chili, you want to know how I do it?  Okay, here goes...

First of all, I’m a slow cooker kinda girl, it’s easy, you set it and forget it.  But if you don’t use a slow cooker, I’m a fan of putting it in a big pot, adding the lid and baking it in the oven.  You don’t have to watch it or stir it to make sure it doesn’t stick like you do if you cook it on top of the stove, I’m all about easy in my old(er) age.

2 lbs. ground chuck browned with a large chopped onion, two onions if yours aren’t really big, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 can of Brooks Chili Mix with Beans

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Thought you might like a picture, so you can see what it looks like.  If you can’t find this, just substitute a couple of cans of chili beans with sauce 

Now back to the recipe...

1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
2 or 3 cans of light red kidney beans, drained
sometimes I use 2 cans of light red kidney beans and 1 can of chili beans with sauce, I don’t drain the chili beans with sauce
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons of sugar to cut the acidity
1 dry packet of chili seasoning mix - I like Brooks best, it’s hard to find, but any dry mix will do 

Brown the ground beef and onions, stir into chili mixture and cook on high in your slow for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  If you bake it in the oven, cook it at 350-375 degrees for an hour.

If you like more heat, add a dash or two of cayenne pepper to the ground beef as you are browning it.  Then taste it after it cooks to see if you need additional chili powder.

The Hoosier way of eating chili is to stir in macaroni.  I don’t do this at first but a day or so later, I cook jumbo elbow macaroni, put it in the bowls and ladle chili over it like I did in the picture above.  I never chili mac as a kid, it’s strictly an Indiana thing, but it is good.

Mother didn’t make her chili like this, she just used hamburger, onions, a quart of her home canned tomatoes and added cans of chili beans.  Hers wasn’t highly seasoned, but the pickles took it over the top.

Oh, the pickles - the best pickles EVER, EVER, EVER are these - 

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Oh my, I can’t say enough about Famous Dave’s Signature Spicy Pickle Chips.  They are absolutely wonderful, just the right combo of sweet and hot, they are YUMMY!  We buy these at Costo in big jars, I add them to so many things. tuna salad, macaroni salad and sandwiches and they are gone before our next trip back.  Amazing pickles, if you’ve never tried them, look for them in your market, they are delicious!  If you can’t find them, of course Amazon has them, Amazon has everything... 

 

 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dreaming of Fall

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It’s that time of year and nothing is better than fall decorating, I like it even more than Christmas.  This is so warm, so inviting, nothing at all that would work for me, well except for the grapevine and twinkle lights.

Maybe those lights will happen on my back porch, or maybe they won’t but it’s a nice little dream on a Sunday afternoon.

And last week we were in an antique store in Franklin and saw this poster.  It’s perfect for my kitchen, but I have no wall space, so I guess this isn’t going to work either.

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But wait, there is a positive note here.  It’s the butcher block.  My buddy V sent me this picture last summer and I loved it.  

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John and Deanna had a very similar butcher block in their garage, it’s sat there for years, they weren’t using it so they hauled it to our house, hubby cleaned it and it’s in my kitchen.  Isn’t it amazing, it called to me.   

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The shelf above it holds some of my favorite things, mother’s butter mold, an old cow bell with the brass embossing worn off where it rubbed against a cow’s neck, an Elsie the Cow cookie jar, mother’s chicken cookie jar that always sat on her kitchen table and my favorite, a green cow pitcher that Veronica gave me after I told her how much I  loved it.  She had it for years, and she gave it to me.  It was a huge deal for me...

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I could take down the cow collage, put up the Gentry Farm picture, I could redo the top of the butcher block to make it look more like the photo V sent me last year, and if I really wanted it to be authentic, I could draw the pumpkin on chalkboard, well not me, I’m not arty, but hubby is and so is Deanna or Veronica.  I’m looking at this picture and I know I can do better, it’s not vibrant enough, it needs shades of orange and gold and a real pumpkin instead of this raffia one.

It’s only August, one of these days I’ll get a wild hare and redo it.  It’s too cluttered, I need to take away some things, ditch the pig and the turkey, use that real pumpkin, get rid of the snacks in the basket, take better pictures with a real camera instead of my cellphone and repost it.  And I will, as soon as there is a chill in the air I’ll be ready.

But this afternoon I’m going to play with my granddaughter, take her some chocolate and see what’s going on in her three year old world.  Works for me... 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

I'm a boot girl...

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I’ve loved boots my entire life.  I had my first pair of majorette boots when I was about three years old, and still have a vague memory of them. I guess that seed was planted early.
 
Every year I buy a new pair, it’s my fall indulgence, and I’ve always been a fan of the weathered vintage look.  I’m a big Ugg fan as well, but Middle Tennessee winters are so mild, that I might need to rethink buying Uggs.  Anyway, I was poking around on Nordstrom’s site the other evening, I like ordering from them because its free ship, free returns and you don’t have to fight the crowds in the store.
 
I’ve been a fan of Born shoes and boots for years, they work well for me, the prices aren’t cheap, but they’re not hateful either and they usually have the casual styles I like.  I saw these boots and it was love at first site.  They’re weathered, they look worn in and they’re a shortie boot.  They called to me, so they’re on the way, due to arrive next week, I just hope they look as good in person as they do in this picture.  
 
So now I’m on the search for a new fall bag to go with the boots.  But it’s only August, I have plenty of time.  I’m just so ready for autumn this year that I think I’m rushing the season a bit.
 
Do you like them, too?  Umhmmm, I thought some of you might.
 
Here’s the link, they come in taupe also but I love the tobacco brown.  Now go, look, browse and see if you might like to buy them, too.  Nordstrom’s should give me a discount for the publicity, ya think???

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lexi's off to School...

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When your youngest grandchild starts preschool you cry a little bit.  It’s what Grammie’s do.

Just not ready for her to be this old yet...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Kindle Paperwhite, I'm loving it...

White paperwhiteI’m so late jumping on the Kindle bandwagon, and I’m a techie gadget girl, oh Kindle where have you been all my life…  I got on the e-reader bandwagon as soon as they came out with a Sony Reader, it was bulky, didn’t operate well, but this was in the e-reader infancy and my first experience with any kind of electronic reading device.

And then along came my iPad and I read non-stop on it using iBooks.  Then I bought an iPad mini and read using it. 

And then I fell out of love with iPads, instead gravitating to a MacBook Pro, and once again reading books on it.  I’m a voracious reader, I read fast, sometimes I skim, but I go through several books a week.  I never ever read a real book anymore, I like the convenience of digital books and the fact that I can have so many loaded onto whatever device I’m reading them on.

So last month when Amazon had their big July blowout, on a whim I bought a Kindle Paperwhite.  It was on sale for $89, it was a good deal, and I thought I might enjoy it.  It took a bit of getting used to, it doesn’t operate as fluidly as my Apple products, and it’s greyscale, no color, but after a few days I was hooked.  Why?  What sets it apart from an iPad or my MacBook?

First, it’s so lightweight, there is nothing to it.  It doesn’t get hot to the touch, it’s very portable, there is never any glare like I have with my iPad or my MacBook. I read outside, I stick it in my purse to read in the car, I grab it and take it to bed, I carry it around everywhere.  The battery life is awesome, too.   I bought a white one, I’m a fan of anything white, and I bought a Vera Bradley blue paisley quilted case for it.  So I’m all set, right?  No, not exactly, after watching MsKristin321 on YouTube, she had this cute little Ayotu cover for hers, I just had to have it, the price was right, $15.59 so it’s now in my Amazon shopping cart. 

Here’s the link

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I know several of you are reading this and wondering why i didn’t buy a Kindle years ago.  I dunno, I guess I’m such an Apple fan girl, I never thought outside my box.  But I’m so glad I finally did, it’s a relatively cheap thrill, it’s easy to convert .epub books to .mobi using Calibre and the portability of it is wonderful!  

I’m in love, what more can I say… ~ Jan

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dark Chocolate Dusted Almonds, they are AMAZING!

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If you haven’t tried these yet, run don’t walk to get them.  They taste like Mars Almond Bars, but healthy.  A friend gave me some this week, I looked for them in Krogers, couldn’t find them, went to Walgreens, they didn’t have Blue Diamond, but they did have Nice Cocoa Dusted with Dark Chocolate.  They are awesome, seriously awesome.  Great nutritionals, too!

 

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150 calories for 1/4 cup (28g)

4 Net Carbs

1gram of sugar 

You can all thank me later just go buy the darned things… ~ Jan

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reliving my childhood summers

Oh, the lazy summer days of childhood, I have so many good memories of my childhood, and I’m recapturing some of those days here in middle Tennessee.

It wasn’t an easy childhood, but it was a happy one and the pleasures were simple.  My memories are so vivid lately,  it’s amazing at how many things I remember.  

We lived in a little house by my beloved ditch on a dirt road, we didn’t have air conditioning or an inside bathroom or even running water, but what we did have were shade trees and we lived in a valley so there was always a breeze,  We had a great little front porch where I spent many hours playing with my dolls, sitting in the porch swing reading an endless supply of books while drinking iced tea.  My memories are so strong I can still hear the swing creaking and the sound of the screen door slamming shut when I went in and out the front door. 

Our house faced south, but it was so shady the sun didn’t hit the porch, so it was always cool, even on the hottest of days.  It could get dusty when the cars drove by and it was such a small community, I knew every car that passed.  Sometimes I would run in the house until the dust settled, it would be thick and if the wind was blowing toward the house the grit would get in your eyes and they would feel like sandpaper.  And when it rained, oh it was wonderful, the smell of the dust mingling with the rain, we lived for summer rains and the cooler temperatures that followed.

I loved the fence row across the road, the dappled sunlight and the way the big trees swayed in the wind, and I would sit and watch the trees, listening for the train to curve down Appel's hill.  My playmates were dogs and cats, and the birds, the crickets and the frogs were all familiar sounds.

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Fast forward to this summer.  Our house faces north, but we have a great little porch, and the ferns have gotten so big that they totally shade everything.  When I look across the street there is a fence row of trees, and I watch them blowing in the wind.  We always have a breeze, and so I sit on the porch, with Maggie beside me, reading an endless supply of books, drinking glasses of iced tea, listening to the old familiar country sounds of birds, crickets and frogs and occasionally glancing at the cars that pass by.  Even though the days are hot, I welcome the warmth, and the cooling breeze coupled with the nature sounds just transport me back to that simple life in our little house by the ditch.

It’s like a gift, being able to have this glimpse of my childhood after all these years and I treasure every moment.  And as I remember those years, I’m very grateful for what I have now, running water, bathrooms, appliances and air conditioning.

So many similarities, that I wouldn’t have thought possible even last year.  It’s never to late to discover new things, there are adventures awaiting us around every corner.

And who says you can’t go home again, in a way I have...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Phillips Air Fryer XL Review

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Those of you who follow me know that I love kitchen gadgets.  I love to research and buy the highest rated versions because quality gadgets last a lifetime.  But when everybody started jumping on the Air Fryer bandwagon, I wasn’t that impressed.  And then I started reading more about them, the seed was planted and I was off to the races.

I did my research, and while there are cheaper versions of air fryers there were many complaints, one of the primary ones being that the finish came off of several models, but Phillips invented the air fryer and they have remained the industry standard.  So I bought one from Williams Sonoma, because they have a great return policy and always take care of their customers if they have any issues.  I bought the XL, you don’t want a smaller one, even for one person I would want the XL, the smaller ones just don’t hold enough food.  The price was spendy - $300, but I had a 25% off coupon and free shipping so that helped, and I knew since I bought it from WS that I could return it if I didn’t like it.  

It just didn’t seem possible that food could get that crispy when you fried it with no or little oil.  But boy was I in for a surprise, this thing is a rock star.  The first thing we made were french fries, then fried veggies, hubby wanted fried pies, so we made those, and everything turned out great.  He loves hash browns fried in it, I do drizzle the with a little oil, and while they aren’t grease laden like regular hash browns, they are still delicious, very crisp and so easy to cook.

The unit heats in two minutes, I line the basket with perforated parchment paper to make cleanup a breeze, you don’t heat your kitchen, it’s so fast, so easy, I would rank this as one of my very favorite kitchen gadgets.

My kids are critics, my son Ryan was here with his family last weekend, and he was very skeptical.  After using it just a few times he said, “Mom, you know I’m going to have to buy one of these.”  And that’s high praise from a foodie.  We fried pork chops in it today, it took 18 minutes and they were so good, juicy and flavorful, no oil and no mess!  Hubby thinks it’s great and he can be a hard sell too, but the man does love fried food and this makes it a lot more guilt free than frying it in oil on the stove.  And did I mention that there is no mess, your kitchen stays clean and you don’t have to heat up your oven.  Of course I mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating. ;)  That’s one of the best parts, not having to deal with a greasy stove.  We haven’t fried food often for years because it’s just not healthy, but this thing is a game changer!

There are several groups on FaceBook that give you great recipes, lots of cookbooks, too, even Paula Dean is on the bandwagon with her own brand of fryer and a cookbook.

So, if anybody has mad money and thinks they might like one of these, I’ll give you the link and also the code I used for the 25% off.  I don’t know if it still works, but they gave it to me this month, so there is a good chance it will.

Here’s the link

And the code:

USE CODE RHJP-KKX9-MH3P

 

Oh, this one is a winner winner chicken dinner for sure!

 

~ Jan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Organizing my world...

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I really do think organization is addictive.  I started slowly, and gradually have gotten to the point that when things are in disarray I just hate it.   But if you’re reading this and it’s not for you, that’s okay, too.  I was a formerly messy underneath, but organized on the surface kinda girl, everything looked fine until you opened my drawers, and then it was chaos, everything was just shoved in drawers and I couldn’t find anything, but I didn’t know better, so I didn’t have a problem with it.  But once I realized a few years ago that the key to organization is containment, I started by buying trays and dividers for drawers, and I quickly realized that my life was a lot easier when I could quickly find what I wanted without having to dig through piles of debris to find it.

This has been going on for some time now and a few years ago I organized my pantry and blogged about it, then hubby made me spice racks for my pantry doors for my anniversary, yeah, I was thrilled, and I know that’s nerdy, but that was a total game changer as well, so when we moved last winter, I duplicated my pantry space so that it’s similar to the way it was when we lived in Heavensville.  And yes, I alphabetize my spices. ;-).  

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LC built-in my makeup table in my closet for me this spring, and I had everything in open acrylic containers, but it wasn’t enough.   After a trip to the Container Store, where they have everything known to (wo)man and prices that are hideous, I went to HomeGood and bought acrylic storage drawer units for a fraction of the price of the Container Store and it works really well.  I still have some of the open acrilic containers, I’m a makeup junkie who has a lot to store, but I’m really pleased at how efficient it is.

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But the biggest game changer for me happened two years ago in August.  I would often take my clothes off in the evening and just leave them in a pile by the side of my bed, and a couple of days would go by and the pile would grow and it was just stupid.  I would make the bed and not pick up my clothes.  Why???  Who knows, but for some reason I said to myself, “Jan, you are never going to leave you clothes by the side of the bed again”  and it stuck!   It’s the only resolution I’ve ever made and actually kept, but since that day the clothes either go on a hangar or in the hamper at the end of the day and I’ve never gotten into that mess again.

Now if I could just make the same resolution about my eating habits...

So that’s whats going on in my world, sometimes when I put actions to paper, it reaffirms the progress I’ve made in my life.  But in all fairness, I do live with a neat freak, who never gets things in a mess and that helps a lot.  And if you’re still with me, my friend Holly says this video has changed her life.  It’s long, 40 minutes, the lady is Japanese and uses a translator so it’s a bit hard to follow, but she has a huge following and her techniques really are life changing.  So maybe I need to implement some of this as well.  One of the things she tells you to do is to put all of your clothes in a pile in the floor and as you pick up each piece, put it to your chest and if you feel the love, keep it, if you don’t, get rid of it.  

 Now go organize something, anything, just one drawer, just take five minutes and see if you don’t feel a sense of accomplishment.  Double dawg dare ya to do it...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House Review

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If you’re within a few hours of Lynchburg, TN and haven’t been, GO!  We visited there earlier this month with John, Deanna and Lexi for a long weekend and enjoyed it so much.  This is definitely in the hills and hollers of Tennessee, everything is rural and authentic, well, except for the town of Lynchburg, which of course is a tourist trap, but the surrounding countryside is amazing and we found great antique stores like we haven’t seen in years. I I had wanted to go to Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House in Lynchburg for lunch for years.  It’s reservations only, so make plans ahead of time, but it’s absolutely wonderful, the food was amazing, a little pricey for lunch at $22, but it was a total treat and well worth it!
 
After we checked in, we waited in the parlor for our dinner bell to ring.  Deanna captured this picture of John and Lexi, very Norman Rockwell, I just had to Photoshop it ;)
 
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But back to my story, the dinner bell rings, a “hostess” which is a little old grey haired lady, all of their hostesses are little grey haired old ladies, took us to our “room.”  The restaurant seating is in the different rooms of the boarding house, and you sit a table with people you don’t know, your hostess sits at the end of the table, eats with us and tells stories about Miss Mary Bobo and Jack Daniels.  Except our hostess had broken her arm and she was much more interested in telling us about her accident than the history of the boarding house.  We did manage to coax a few stories out of her, everybody introduced themselves, told where they were from and it was an interesting mix of people we shared a meal with.  
 
We were the last ones to be seated, and when we came in with a three year old there was dead silence.  I’m sure people were wondering what to expect.  But Miss Lexi is a pro, she’s eaten out everywhere and has great table manners, she charmed the entire table.  She broke the ice right from the start when Deanna quietly asked the server for milk for Lexi and they informed her that they didn't have milk.  Lexi announced emphatically “What??? NO MILK???”  Everybody started laughing, and the conversation flowed non-stop from them on.
 
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But the best part, the food!  Oh my goodness it was splendid, truly splendid.  I’m linking to several recipes, so if you see a food item in bold lettering, click on it for the recipe.  The food was amazing, pan fried chicken, obviously they had cut it themselves, because it had the tenderloin on the bone, and you never get that anymore.  That’s how mother always cut her chicken and the wishbone was my favorite part.
 
Here was our menu, and it changes daily, but they always have fried chicken, fried okra and candied apples.
 
 
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Miss Mary’s Boarding House Meatloaf  (it was wonderful, full of onions and green peppers and lots of ketchup.  I’m a meatloaf lover and this was  definitely 4 stars.
 
 

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Mac & Cheese, very, very creamy, I suspect there was Velveet involved with this even though the recipe says American cheese
 
Fried Okra
 
No recipe for this, just tips...
 
When the dinner bell rings at Miss Mary Bobo’s, a surefire hit is the ever-present bowl of fried okra. The restaurant—based in an elegant, Federal-style home just down the road from the Jack Daniel Distillery—changes its family-style menu daily, but proprietress Lynne Tolley insists on serving this favorite Southern staple every day. Miss Mary Bobo’s fries okra better than anyone, with a crunchy cornmeal crust that locks in that moist, unique taste. “Our secret,” says Lynne, “is to not crowd the skillet. You want to let each bite get crispy; otherwise, you’ll end up with one big, soggy ‘okra fritter.’ 
 
 
Creamed Corn
 
Green Beans
 
Homemade rolls, split with butter in the middle
 
 
Tennessee Sweet Tea
 

I’m not a whiskey drinker, I don’t like the taste, but their pie was delicious, subtle, not overkill.  The whipped cream was spiked with whiskey and the entire pie was dusted with cocoa, it was so good for the grand finale.

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 Her cookbook is available on Amazon, the menu changes daily, so there are lots of options that are featured in this book.
 

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We stayed at Cedar Cabin, the entire cabin was made of cedar and when you walked in the door it smelled wonderful.  Even though it was summer we made S’mores in the evening at the outdoor fireplace.  The fire kept the mosquitoes away, it worked great and across the road was a field of cows, who the owner swears don’t like country music, they like to jam to Bon Jovi.  
 
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 We went antiquing several times and at the owners suggestion went to Sewanee. We were totally unfamiliar with Sewanee, but it’s the home of The University of the South, a private liberal arts college founded in 1857 and the entire campus was built of native rock.  It was so beautiful it’s undescribable, but here’s a YouTube video to give you a visual.  It just blew us away, the grounds were lush, shaded and gorgeous.  It sits high on a mountain ridge overlooking the valley, it’s definitely a place we want to return to, especially in the fall.
 

 And that’s a few highlights of our trip, if you live within driving distance it’s a wonderful getaway.  The guys toured Jack Daniels Distillery, we checked out the shops in Lynchburg, it was definitely a low-key relaxing get away that I would highly recommend...

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Diane Keaton, doing it HER way...

 

 

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I’ve always been a fan of this woman, especially the movie Something’s Gotta Give.  Okay, I admit it, me, along with the rest of American women, loved, loved, LOVED the house.  But she’s a cutey, she’s funky, she still wears the same style hat and high waisted belt that she’s worn for years. 

Does the outfit work?  Not really, but on her it does.  Just had to share this picture this morning, she’s in her 70’s and she’s still workin’ it.

GO GIRL, GO!!!

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Okay, one more pix.  Here she is, not all glammed up, shopping in Rite Aid this week.  Don’t you love it, no assistant, she’s richer than Croesus, and she’s in Rite Aid buying Cover Girl and L’Oreal mascara and pencils.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Citi Cash Rewind

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 We just got back $499 from Citi Cash Rewind!!!!

We’ve had a 2% cash back Citi Double Cash Back Card for a couple of years now.  We like it because there is no cap, you get 1% on anything you purchase and another 1% when you pay the bill.  We put everything on it, monthly expenses, utility bills, insurance, we use it instead of a debit card and pay it off at the end of the month and the cash back adds up really fast.

But the best part is the Price Rewind, if you buy something using your card and find it cheaper within 90 days, you mail them proof of purchase and they give you the cash back.

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Hubby found these red garage cabinets, they were exactly what they wanted but they were sold out online EVERYWHERE.  You could get them in grey, but not in red.  I called the factory, talked with their sales rep, he checked his computer and told me the only place that had stock in the USA was Menards, and since LC is not known for his patience, he didn’t wait to see if anybody had a better price when the red was restocked, he went ahead and bought them.  $1499, free shipping, no tax.  BUT,  he had seen them online at Costco earlier for $999, same exact cabinets, but of course you couldn’t get them, they were sold out.  So I kept watching Costco and sure enough, they popped up for sale again for $999 a few weeks ago.  So I sent all the necessary documentation to Citi Cash Rewind Department via the post office, registered mail, called them a couple of times to make sure the order was being processed and a couple of days ago, our account was credited for $499.

That’s a chunka change, and you can do this with anything you buy using their credit card.

Just a heads up, who doesn’t love a good deal and this is definitely one . good . deal !

Here is a link if you’re interested in their card

And here is the Costco link for the cabinets

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, and remember it’s not about the picnic...

~ Jan

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What I'm reading this spring

 

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Zoe Saldivar is more than just single—she's ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it's up to her to stop living in isolation. 

Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated—her first new friend is Jen's widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen's brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe's own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam's flustered, Jen's annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think "alone" doesn't sound so bad, after all.

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life.  And yes, I’m shallow, I like easy, breezy romance novels, written only by women.  Susan Mallory is one of my very favorite authors, and this book is a good one.  Take some time for yourself, put your feet up, relax and read.  It’s one of life’s most simple pleasures, and for me, one of the best.

~ Jan

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The hills of Tennessee are showing their green...

 

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I know I constantly gush about how pretty it is in Tennessee, but just look at this picture.  I snapped it from the car window this week, and I’m just in awe of how how beautiful it is and pinch myself because I’m so lucky to live in such a lovely part of these great United States.

Middle Tennessee sits in a valley, so everything is surrounded by hills.  This spring has been so rainy, everything is lush and the views are  just magnificent.

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Finally

The weather has been warm, we’ve been doing a lot of landscaping, and I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on the front porch.  It’s just a tiny little porch, but we enjoy it more than any outdoor area we’ve ever had.  For hubby it’s because there is activity.  We often say we live on Sesame Street because there are so many young families with children.  Fortunately for us, Don and Jacquie moved in last month across the street and they are also children of the 60’s.  We were doing the happy dance the day we saw their car pull in with age appropriate people inside :) 

But back to hubby and sitting on the porch.  People walk by with their kids and dogs and stop to say hi, he watches traffic, he isn’t bored.  We had such a pretty patio in Heavensville and he never sat outside.  He’s not a nature lover, there was nothing to watch except the birds and when we moved here, I was totally shocked to see him actually sit on the porch and relax.  I bought an outdoor lamp, it seems to be a southern thing, people  in Nashville often have lamps on their porches, and of course I jumped right on that bandwagon.  He mounted it to my table so the wind doesn’t blow it away and I sit early mornings in a chair with my coffee on the table, checking mail on my laptop and it’s a beautiful thing.  Our outdoor areas in Heavensville were beautiful, but the condo faced west and there was nothing to shield it from the sun so I rarely sat outside.  I sat on the back patio a lot, but usually by myself since hubby wasn’t a fan, so this works far better than I ever imagined.  Our house now faces north, so there is always shade.   I hung ferns, plopped a topiary in a pot by the front door, planted our iron tiered basket that we’ve had forever with impatiens and now I’m on the hunt for the perfect wreath for the front door.  LC put in the micro irrigation, so no watering for me this summer.

I have two mandevillas planted on trellises on either side of the porch and they are flourishing, the entire front of the house is landscaped with trees and bushes.  V and Rich visited last month and she helped me plan things.  The azaleas are flowering, there are big buds on the mountain laurels, the beds of Stella D’oro day lilies are blooming and the birds are singing.  The crape myrtle has leafed out and I just love watching everything grow.  LC knows I’m a sucker for a birch tree, he got a lovely one and planted it, we bought a dozen boxwoods to line the driveway and now we’re waiting on the sprinkler company to come and work on the system.  Then we mulch and we’re pretty much finished.  Well, gardens are never finished, but for this spring we’ve done enough.

Our back porch is covered as well, it only gets early morning sun, so it’s accessible as well.  Summers are hot in middle Tennessee, but hopefully we can sit outside some evenings and enjoy dinner. But what’s been a defining moment for me is the realization that it doesn’t take a lot of space to make an area your own.  We brought all of our favorite outdoor pots and statuaries and were able to use most of them.  My big concrete roosters are sitting under the birch tree, my stone rabbits are tucked under bushes and my favorite big clay frog is sitting on the back porch.  I planted hydrangeas in pots and sat them in the landscaping since there was limited space on the back porch for pots, I hung colorful baskets and planted herbs.  It’s small, contained and just the right size for me to putter around in without being overwhelmed.  

And that’s what I’ve been up to.  It’s starting to feel like home, it takes awhile to adjust to new surroundings, but I’m getting there and loving it...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Old Barns in Tennessee

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Anything that reminds me of my childhood is so special at this time in my life.  I grew up in a family of farmers and played countless hours in old barns very similar to this.  I’m so nostalgic about the look, the smells, the creaking boards, and now that we live in Tennessee I’m lucky enough to see old barns everywhere in the countryside.

Unlike Illinois and Indiana, who have long since destroyed so many old barns and put up aluminum pole buildings, Tennessee seems to preserve theirs, they are everywhere.  We drive through the country and around every corner is another old barn and often silos sitting behind them.  I think a road trip just to take pictures of them would be so much fun.  It’s something that this generation knows nothing about, old barns, and oh are they missing out.  There is no greater joy for a child than to play in a barn, climb in the hayloft and make forts in the hay, feed the animals, smell the corn in the crib, and seeing so many of these wonderful barns brings back so many good memories. 

If you get a chance to just wander through the backroads of Tennessee, you will be richly rewarded of a life we don’t often see anymore.  Small towns, meat and three diners, cattle grazing, country people, it’s well worth the trip...

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thank You Pioneer Woman!

 

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I’m a big fan of the tablescape, but since we’ve moved and have more company I’ve decided to only set the table with things I actually use.  Well, kinda.  And it’s spring and Pioneer Woman has her new spring collection at Walmart, so I was all over it like mayo on white bread.

The fun thing about her products is that they’re so affordable.  This cute little butter dish was $5.46, the round rug placemats were $3.00 each, the underneath yellow bandana placemats $1.50 each, napkins were $6 for a set of 4, the set of 4 plates were under $20 and they have flowers and yellow polka dots on them, I’m a huge fan of yellow polka dots!  The 4 glasses were $15.86, this great old fashioned pitcher was $12.72, the fluted pie plate was $12.  I got the cow last year for $5 and change.   I also have a napkin holder and coasters, you’re getting the picture, you can have a whole lot of fun for not a whole lot of money.  And you’re thinking, but.. it adds up.  Yeah, it does but you could easily spend this much money on an Easter outfit or a spring purse.  

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Now I’m eyeing up this cookie jar, okay I admit, it’s in my shopping cart, okay, okay, so I bought it just now.  It was $15 - I’m the queen of justification, just ask my friends, I can justify anything and I really wanted this cookie jar to complete my collection.  I love the old fashioned look of it, the glasses are sturdy and the pitcher is the perfect size.  Do I need this stuff?  Of course not, but I had a heck of a good time buying all of this and it makes me happy.  I walk into the kitchen and I smile.

And did I mention her knife set?  We’re in overload here, I’m saving that little gem for another post.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lynne Rossetto Kasper is retiring

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It’s a sad day for her fans, I’ve listened to this woman on NPR for years and enjoyed her throaty chuckle and her velvet voice.  Her programs were always fresh, always interesting and I learned so much from her.  And thanks to Podcasts, she will live on in repeats so I can pretend she isn’t really gone.  There is a time for all things, we grow old(er) and I hope she has many more golden years to come.

I read about her retirement recently in the StarTribune, if you want to read her article in full, here’s the link…

Bon Appetit, Lynne, you were the BEST!  ~ Jan

Friday, March 17, 2017

85% of All Women Wear Wrong Bra Size

 

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Do your boobs hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Chances are they do if you’re of a certain age and a full figured girl —eight out of 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra!  When you actually know your exact size if you're a busty lady, trust me it’s a humbling experience.

I just read an article about this today, and it jogged my memory because I’ve meant to blog about this for some time now.  

Here’s what works for me, Wacoal Underwire Sports Bras.  They’re a little pricey and they aren’t pretty but they hoist the girls, you won’t sag and you won’t bounce.  When you first put a new one on, it’s quite a feat, you will think this will never work because they are tight and unyielding.  But don’t give up, once they’re on, they aren’t really uncomfortable, just feel a little snug, and after a few wears they relax.

If you don’t know your size, and trust me, you probably really don’t, go to your local department store for a measurement or use Wacoal’s guide.  Just don’t faint when you realize what size you really wear, we are all in denial.   Wacoal makes more than one style of sports bra, but this one is the holy grail, it works better than anything I’ve ever found.

It’s a good idea to buy your first one from Nordstroms, free shipping, free returns, and I do find them new on eBay for less money, but whatever you pay if you don’t go around with your tata’s hanging to your waist and flopping in the breeze, it’s worth it.  Pinky swear it is.  ~ Jan

Here’s the Nordstrom’s link for you...



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Decluttering...

Okay, let’s talk...

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When we moved, three months ago, I dutifully promised my family that I would declutter and get rid of stuff.  Oh, I had such good intentions, but it just isn’t happening like poor hubby had hoped it would.  But everybody that comes here thinks my house has a lot less in it than my condo did.  And when they tell me that, I just shake my head and laugh, because I still have it all, it’s just spread out.

In my defense, and I can justify pretty much anything, but seriously I have a thousand more square feet than I had before, more closets, and they’re all walk in, more bathrooms, are you getting the picture?  I have a lot more room to organize things.  And I have done a good job, patting myself on the back here, everything is 100% organized thanks to hubby and his penchant for having things neat.  It’s been pure torture, though, what a mess we’ve had getting to this point.

But back to getting rid of things.  I have sixty totes, yes that’s right,  S . I. X. T . Y  totes n the garage for the mother of all garage sales.  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had him dig through those boxes because I need something I thought I didn’t want.  We are seeing the finish line, however.  The house is done, the garage will be soon, well it will when we got rid of all those totes.  And the picture above?  This is just some of the things I had in the sunroom at the condo.  But look at this, it’s all the treasured cards that Holly has made me, which I will keep forever and then pass down to my granddaughters, it’s colored note cards, and pencils in every color of the rainbow, fun scrapbooking scissors to cut paper into cool shapes, things that little grandchildren hands will love to mess with, and so it goes.  

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See all the drawers in this old piece of office furniture?  And what’s in these drawers?  Not much, so i can transfer all the things that I have in the picture above, to these drawers.  Everything in it’s place and a place for everything.

See, the queen of justification...

Several of you keep asking for pictures, and when I take them, there is so much light in this house that I get a lot of blowout. You can tell in the picture above, that rug is not the color that you are seeing, and there aren’t stains on it as it appears in the picture.  Things like this just drive me nuttier than I already am.  So, I need to take pictures really early morning, which would entail me getting up really early, or late in the afternoon, and I always forget.  But I will, soon I will.  Pinkie swear I will… ~ Jan

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I did it, I bought a ROOMBA!!!!

 

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A couple of years ago, my friend Holly told me that I needed a Roomba, she has cats and swears by hers.  The price point is a bit hateful, so I didn’t buy it, but since then I’ve seen over and over again on Facebook people singing it’s praises, and nobody seems to have negative things to say about it.

The first time we saw our house, I told hubby I loved it but the floors would be a b*tch to keep clean because they were dark.  He kind of shook his head, I don’t think he really understood how unforgiving dark wood is.  But boy, does he ever get it now.  He’s the floor guy, and it’s a daily job, using the Swiffer and cleaning them with the Bona wet system.  We bought a Shark Cordless Vac and it helped but it was still a royal pain in the patootie.  

Out of desperation he started reading about the Roomba, and was quickly onboard.  We snagged a great deal, but that’s another blog post, fired it up and O . M. G. it does a phenomenal job with the floors.  This thing is seriously awesome, seriously!  I was worried about the sensors, since my floors are so dark, but she has no problems at all.  It runs for a long time, I walk by and say “Hi Hazel, great job you’re doing” while grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary.  If you have stairs, you can set up zones so that she doesn’t go near them, these are highly engineered, the company that builds them does a wonderful job.

Every morning she undocks herself, cleans the floors and then redocks to charge again.  And since I name everything, I named her Hazel, after the 60’s maid in the sitcom Hazel, one of my favorite shows of that era.

Here’s a video of Hazel in action, boy was she a “doozy."


If you’ve been considering a Roomba, I highly recommend it.  She goes from wood to carpet to tile with no problems.  She vacuums my closet, under my bed, along my cabinets, and she never complains or gets tired, Hazel is da bomb!!!!!

~ Jan

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It'll Blow the Lid Right Off the Popper

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If you are a certain age, you will remember Orville Redenbacher, the geeky guy from Valparaiso, Indiana, and how he always blew his lid right off the popper.  Our family has coughed up the big bucks for his popcorn since it first came out, nothing else compares with his big fluffy kernels, but we don’t do the microwave bags, too unhealthy.  We have had several Presto Microwave Poppers, you know the ones with the nasty little paper disk in the bottom.  But the poppers worked well, so I just spent a chunka change replacing those disks.
 
A couple of weeks ago, hubby was popping corn and the whole lid just broke in half and fell apart, so it was obviously time for a new one.  I checked them out on Amazon, decided that I just couldn’t handle that Presto one any longer, it’s time to update to silicone.
 

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This silicone popper had good reviews, the price was right, $12.97 Prime, so I ordered it.  It’s pliable, folds flat, easy to store, at first hubby thought it was a bit small, but we quickly found out that it pops just the right amount.
 
No more nasty disks, you can put oil in the bottom (Orville Redenbcher’s Popping Oil, of course) and salt along with the popcorn, 1/4 cup seems to be the right amount, and in less than 3 minutes you have popcorn.  When you put the lid on, it sinks down in the bowl, but raises as the corn pops.
 
It’s a winner, winner, chicken dinner, check it out here if you need a new popper, too.
 
 

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