Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

Re-use your food and stretch your food budget


Volunteers load a truckload of oranges
for local f
ood banks and pantries.
Learn how to donate at 
endhunger.org.
Wasted food is wasted money. Every time edible food is thrown in the garbage can, a few pennies get thrown away with it. Get more bang out of your grocery budget by reducing the amount of food you throw out. And, when you have extra food that you just can't use, donate to your local food bank.

This morning I sat for a few minutes and watched the Food Waste Ticker at EndHunger.org. The ticker showed that over 91 billion pounds of food have been wasted in the U.S. since the beginning of 2014. For every second that ticked by, I saw another 200 pounds of food being sent to our municipal landfills.

In February, 2014, the USDA released a report showing The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States. The report shows that in 2010, the US produced 430 billion pounds of food. Of this available food supply, 31 percent went uneaten. Think about the impact of this unnecessary food waste.
  • A total of 133 billion pounds of wasted food was sent to municipal waste facilities. Landfills collected over $2 billion from taxpayers and consumers to dispose of this food waste. 
  • If you purchased this 133 billion pounds of food from a grocery store, it would cost $161.6 billion.
  • It's not just money that is wasted. This 133 billion pounds of food waste coverts to 141 trillion calories. That's enough food to supply each person in the US with 1,249 calories of energy per day.

What can you do to prevent food waste?


Start in your own kitchen. There are many ways to get the most value out of the groceries you buy.
  • Look in your refrigerator before heading to the store for a quick dinner. Find ways to cook what you already have at home. The longer it sits in your pantry, the more likely it is that the food will go to waste.
  • Plan your meals before you go shopping and make a shopping list. When you're at the grocery store, only buy those items on your list. Resist the urge to impulse buy.
  • Don't buy more than you need. Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils.
  • Reuse food scraps. Fruit skins can be turned into pickles and jellies. Vegetable peelings make a tasty vegetable soup stock. Stale bread can be used to make croutons.
  • Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are abundant during harvest season. Stock up on your favorites.

Our Favorite Food Saving Tips


It's 3 p.m. and your family asks, "What's for dinner?" If you haven't thought ahead, take a quick inventory of the food in your pantry and refrigerator. Even if you don't have the right ingredients for your favorite dish, it's always possible to substitute. Ruthi uses whatever leftovers she has in the refrigerator for a Chicken Not Quite Paella Surprise Recipe.

Winter will be here soon and that means soup season is just around the corner. Around our house, there's always a quart of homemade vegetable soup stock in the freezer and a quart of vegetable peelings waiting to be cooked into stock. We save so much money when we Recycle Food Waste and Make Soup Stock.

When our favorite fruits are in season, we buy extra to freeze. Frozen fruits are are perfect for smoothies and ice creams. On the FoodFAQs blog, Regg and I share directions for how we freeze fruits without adding any extra sugar.


End Food Waste and Stop Hunger


Do you have food to spare? Not everyone is so fortunate. In 2012, 15.9 million children lived in food insecure households, homes where there is not enough nutritious foods for those children to grow up strong and healthy. Donate your excess food to your Local Food Bank.

Please help put an end to food waste.




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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review This!: Getting Ready for a Wonderful Winter with the Birds!

Review This!: Getting Ready for a Wonderful Winter with the Birds!



I'd love to share some of what I love to do in the winter months.  That of course is feeding and then watching the birds!  Some of the antics that happen at the feeders has me chuckling  for days afterwards.  I think maybe I should set up a camera and film the goings on!  There just might be a YouTube sensation happening there.


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Getting Ready for a Wonderful Winter with the Birds!

The year is very quickly coming to an abrupt halt!  What I mean of course is the summer of 2014!  It seems like just yesterday when we were all out in our gardens looking for signs of life after a winter that left most of us feeling very, very cold.

Because last years winter was so cold, I decided it's time to review what we should be doing to help our little feathered friends make it through another winter season, so that when it is finished, they can herald in the spring of 2015!

Keeping the birds happy through the winter months really isn't too difficult.  Just make sure that if you start a routine of feeding the birds, please continue it throughout the whole year.  Many people don't believe in feeding the birds, they are of the mind that there is plenty out there for them already.

I personally think, that if I feed the birds, they will know that my yard is the one that they should keep on their radar, because I like them so much, I will do whatever it takes to keep them coming back!

So without further adieu, I'd like to present some reading material that you should find interesting and helpful.  Hopefully it will result in you making the effort to see what you can see, when you put out some food for the birds.
The Best Bird Feeders Ever

And then when you are at a comfort level with that kind of bird feeder, there are always some Suet Feeders and Suet Cakes to make for our feathered friends.  Here you will find a basic recipe for Suet cakes, and lots of additional items for your special little friends.

Super-Easy-Suet-Cakes-for-Winter-Bird Feeding

The hope is that with more people feeding the birds through the year, we will have a great time seeing and watching our native birds, even as they entertain us through the coldest months of the year.

Hope you are on board to enjoying just a little bit of Mother Nature's gifts to us.





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Monday, September 8, 2014

Elk Neck State Park and Turkey Point Lighthouse




Located in northeastern Maryland is a nice place to visit called Elk Neck State Park. Perched high atop an overlook, at the southern edge of the Elk Neck Peninsula, is the Turkey Point Lighthouse. It has stood watch above the North East River, the Elk River, and the Chesapeake Bay since 1833. 

We found this park by chance during one of our Sunday drives.  And I am so glad we did. We have returned several times through the years in order to walk out to the overlook area and then to meander along the trails along the bluff.  I supposed I shouldn't call it meandering. The trails we choose can be very steep from the lighthouse to the water.  It is an interesting terrain filled with tree roots poking out from the hard-packed soil banks.  At some points, we climbed down the bank and walked along the rip-rap at the water's edge. 


I should point out that the trail from the parking lot to the lighthouse is a somewhat long, but an easy and wide gravel path.  I did read some reviews about complaints at the length of the this path. This lighthouse overlook is definitely not an area where you park next to the attraction. There is a bit of a walk. So wear your comfy shoes and bring the good stroller if you have a baby.  When I go, I bring my back pack with water, snacks, a blanket to sit on, and as always, something to read.

The Turkey Point Lighthouse provides a peek into history as well as an area for camping, swimming, fishing, and hiking.  The accompanying home was razed in 1972 but fortunately, the lighthouse and one small outbuilding remain. During the weekends April through November, you can climb the inside of the lighthouse.  I have not yet toured the inside of the lighthouse.

I have not yet ventured into the park for more than day trips so I do not have first hand experience with the recreational beach, and camping areas. However, many local residents go there and recommend it to others.  Overall, it seems to be a well-liked camping area; complete with tiny rustic cabin rentals, an easy access swimming beach, and plenty of less treacherous hiking trails to choose from.  For some of these first hand reviews and  photographs about the camping area I suggest that you read the reviews on TripAdvisor.

Finally, I was thrilled to find Glen Fortner's video of the lighthouse area.  It is a very brief video (under a minute) that will give you a sense of the beauty of the lighthouse, overlook, and flora and fauna.  

Written by Dawn Rae
Image Credit: Skip willits (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons





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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Brad Paisley Does it Again with Another Great Love Song

Perfect Storm Available Via Amazon
Don't miss 'Perfect Storm' by Brad Paisley  

Brad Paisley hits another home-run with the descriptive emotion he paints as he sings about how much he loves her. It's hard not to think that he was inspired by his relationship with his beautiful wife during the writing!

In true Brad Paisley style, the song is mixed with charm, captivating cuteness and passion. There's something different about the approach on this one. As a woman listening to the song, it really makes you think about what it's like to be appreciated and accepted for both your good and bad qualities by the one you love.

(Lyrics) She Destroys Me in that T-Shirt! 


The lyrics talk about how he loves her so much it hurts! Everything about her is what he adores; her highs are high and her lows are low, and he's o.k. with that. He can make her laugh or make her mad, and he loves her no matter her mood, even if she's angry.

(Lyrics) She's Sunshine Mixed with a Little Hurricane

As I talk about in a more in-depth song review of 'Perfect Storm', I had to laugh when I first heard this lyric because my husband pretty much describes me this way. Sometimes he's too smart when I get angry with him, he knows how to diffuse the situation pretty quickly (when he wants to)! He'll look at me and announce 'that's why I love you!' <---gheesh, gets me smiling even when I wasn't planning on it!

Personally speaking, I find the song incredibly soothing. For some crazy reason, it cheers me up; but Brad Paisley has the affect on the listener in just about everything he writes and sings!

Hope you enjoy the song as well:





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Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Beauty of Fall Home Decor

Every September heralds the coming of the beauty of the Fall season. Every September it's time to think about bringing that beauty into our homes. Even a little Fall home decor can add a fresh look to our homes. Just the simple act of changing a picture or two, adding in a new decorative pillow or replacing a lamp shade can bring that Fall beauty inside.

The Colors of Fall


The vibrant oranges, reds, yellows and even browns are those that we associate with the Autumn season. Those colors of leaves as they prepare to drop off the trees. Through the talents of many artists and photographers, Zazzle has brought us a wealth of these color to use in our home decor.

Some of my favorites are represented in articles that I write. I do enjoy reviewing all the options and then narrowing them down to those that delight me. Decorative Pillows for Fall Home Decor Accents is one of those such articles.

Home Decor Inside and Outside


I don't stop at reviewing beautiful Fall decor items just for the inside of your home. I also love Welcome Autumn with Garden Flags shows other ways to decorate your home with the beauty of Fall.
sharing that decor for the outside as well.

These are just a few of the ways to add more of the Autumn colors to your home decor. Simple accents are my favorite way to decorate. So I'm continuously looking for great home accents to review. Should you run across other items, please share them. I'm always happy to include what others see as the beauty of Fall in home decor items.




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Friday, September 5, 2014

Halloween Pizza

I love Halloween!  All of the fun costumes, the eerie decorations, the spooky music and the creepy food all add to creating a fun filled evening once a year.

When our children were very young and anxious to go out trick or treating, I would willingly defer to my husband and allow him to prepare dinner for the family.

He makes excellent pizzas and pizzas are perfect for Halloween.   We could easily grab a piece of pizza, eat it before we went out and finish dinner after we returned.  But the real reason we always loved our Halloween pizza was simply because it was so much fun to see what he would do to freak me out and entertain the children simultaneously.  


Halloween Spider Web Pizza


Have you ever had spiders on your pizza?  I have!!!

Spiders don't normally freak me out too much.  Since I grew up with four brothers, none of the creatures that normally frighten females really bother me much.  However, having spiders on my pizza really did get to me the first time my husband decided to decorate our pizza with spiders.   I don't believe I had ever screeched at that volume or in that fear filled high octave previously.

Now he adds a spider on the pizza each year in hopes of getting the same initial reaction he sparked the first time.  I always hate to disappoint him so I have to "act" like the spider is such a surprise and so very awful, but I have never been able to repeat my mournful wail. 

It doesn't look very frightening in the photo, but I assure you, if you are eating by candlelight, that spider looks down right evil!  Oh,  and those horrible rubber hairs on his legs just send chills down my back when I reach for a piece of pizza and accidentally touch the spider.  Eek!  



If you want to have a bit of harmless eerie fun this year on Halloween, try decorating your pizza with spiders!  
 


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Showcasing Photos on Zazzle

Using Zazzle to Show your Photos

When I first started getting serious about photography, 8 years ago, I took 100's of photos every time I went out on a photo shoot.  I put some in photo books, but as I improved in my skills I decided to try to sell some of my photos. Zazzle has been a great way to showcase my photos on a wide variety of products. 

Selling on Zazzle

 After a short time I found that other people purchased my products on Zazzle and my hobby turned into a small business.   With Zazzle I need only to add my photo to any or all of their products and they will be listed on the Zazzle site for sale.  Zazzle takes care of all of the customer needs like producing and shipping the product and then they send me my portion of the money.  It is a great way to make a small profit without outlaying any funds.  Below are links to my three Zazzle shops.  Stop by to see links to my products on hundreds of different products or go to Zazzle to create your own free products from your photos.

Work of Review This Authors

Follow the links below to find see some of the Zazzle products that Review This authors have created from their photos.

Animals





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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Best 1,200 Gallon - EPIC Ice Bucket Challenge on YouTube!





 I want to share this excellent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge YouTube Video made by Town and Country Ford in Bessemer, AL. My son-in-law Kyle Sain did all the talking in the video, hence my prejudice in calling this the BEST Ice Bucket Challenge! So proud of the team's creativity in the way they accomplished their EPIC challenge.

The Town and Country Ford Team then went on to throw down the gauntlet for TWO impressive people. One is the current President and CEO of The Ford Motor Company, Mark Fields and Retired President and former CEO of The Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally.

 Remember to make a donation to ALS!


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Monday, September 1, 2014

Interactive History Lesson - the Memphis Belle

I live near a state airport that serves both the public and military.  Some folks might think living near an airport is a drawback but I consider it a community amenity. Imagine being able to experience mini airshows from the comfort of your own balcony.  


Photo by Dawn Rae
All weekend I have had the pleasure of watching a B-17 fly about. Today, I finally left the comfort of my balcony and drove around the corner to Martin State Airport to see that historic plane up close and personal. 

The Memphis Belle, the original one, is sequestered away and is being restored.  However, there is a B-17 that has been done in her likeness, apparently for the movie of the same name. The movie version Memphis Belle was taking people for rides during this entire weekend. When not in the air with a load of human cargo, it was on the ground and you could tour it inside and out.  It was great fun watching the smiling and happy faces of the passengers disembarking from the plane after their ride in the sky. There was not a dissatisfied customer in sight. It was better yet, watching older gentlemen being given special treatment with photos at the front of the plane and airport staff escorting them on to the plane.  I can only imagine that these gentlemen may have first hand memories of these planes.

A few bits about the B-17 during the campaign against Nazi Germany from eyewitness to history:
* up to 1,000 aircraft would take part in a mission
* each plane was manned by a crew of 10 men
* a mission would last about 8 hours
* planes were unheated and temperatures could reach 60 below
* planes were open to the outside 
* B-17s often took fire or were shot down
* crewmen wore helmets and suits to help protect against enemy fire
* on average, a crew member had a 1 in 4 chance of completing his tour of duty

Again, I am not a history buff.  But the personal stories of the men who flew in these "flying fortresses" in order to fight in WW II both intrigue me and touch me.





If you are a history buff, you have to make sure you find a way to take a ride in one of these pieces of history.  You can follow the Movie Memphis Belle schedule and plan your purchase of the $450 ticket.  If I had the spare money, you can bet your sweet bippy I would have been on that plane today.  My chance may not be lost as she is scheduled for the remainder of this year in nearby states: GA, NC, SC, TN, and VA

Whether you agree with military intervention or not, it is clear even to me that B-17s had an important part in ending the horror that was happening in Nazi Germany. And for that reason, I highly recommend that you tour a B-17 and you take a ride in this amazing bit of history if you are able.

Thank you to all who served during WWII; especially those of you who piloted and manned these flying fortresses. Thank you to the Liberty Foundation and Martin State Airport for providing such a wonderful glimpse into our history.

Written by Dawn Rae


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