Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pineapple

I love fresh pineapple!

It is my favorite summer fruit, but if you are like I am, you may be confused about how to choose a good one. I found this list on Relish! and I wanted to share it.

1. Be alert for two key elements of a ripe pineapple: freshness and deterioration. You are looking for a fresh pineapple, not a rotting one. The stem is the area of the pineapple that feeds sugar to the fruit. It is from here that the pineapple changes color.

2. Look at the pineapple. It should reflect a golden yellow color. The minimum area for this should be on the eyes at the base of the fruit. Never purchase a pineapple that is fully green as it will not ripen well. The higher the color rises up the pineapple, the sweeter it will be. The pineapples in the photo above indicate good coloring

3. Smell the pineapple. If it smells sweet, then it's ready. If it has no scent, it's not ripe. If it smells fermented, it's over ripe!

Check out this great video on how to cut a pineapple. If you don't want to take the time to cut the pineapple into rings, when it's peeled, slice into strips and then into cubes.

EIGHT Free One Night Rental Codes

Blockbuster Express is offering 8 Free One Night Rentals with codes:

85JBHS2 – 86RRAP3 – 23CMEA6 – 66MLBJ9
72MDEB9 – 34ZGDB4 – 74EHJR4 – 22VHAP2

You can use these codes to reserve online.
Don’t forget to return your movies by 9pm the next night to avoid the $1 per night rental fee!
You can use EACH once per credit card.
Expires 7/4/11.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Try AboutOne for a year--FREE!

What is AboutOne?

When was the last time you had to search through boxes, piles of paper, or a filing cabinet for information related to your family?

AboutOne is a secure online family management system that simplifies daily life by providing ONE location to store and manage household information, including:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Home
  • Vehicle
And right now, through 6/30 (tomorrow) you can get a year subscription by using the code JUNEFREE. You don't even have to enter a credit card number.

You can check out the site here.
Read more about them on their blog here.

The Buzz of the Blogosphere--10 cents/gallon discount at Murphy Express! Walmart Offers 10-Cents-a-Gallon Gas Savings at Participating Stations Nationwide

"Walmart Offers 10-Cents-a-Gallon Gas Savings at Participating Stations Nationwide

Today, Walmart announces a 90-day Rollback at the pump to give customers a savings of 10 cents a gallon on all fuel, gas and diesel, at participating Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations. The discount applies to gas purchases made when using a reloadable Walmart gift card, reloadable Walmart MoneyCard® or Walmart credit card from June 29 through September 30, 2011."

A Scensty Giveaway

Head on over to The Modest Mom to see what you can do to win a $25 Scentsy Gift Certificate. I love the Scentsy products. My mother-in-law gave us a warmer and a brick of wax (Baked Apple Pie) for Christmas and I have been impressed with how long the scent lasts.

Click on the links above to go to the giveaway page to see what you have to do to be entered into the drawing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Turn a Crib Side Rail into a Magazine Rack

I just had a "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" moment?

This is a great use for a crib side rail.

Even if you don't have a crib sitting around your attic or garage, you can always get one at a yard sale CHEAP or even a giveaway on Craig's List!

What a great way to UpCycle!

Turn Your Crib Siderail Into A Magazine Rack Salty Pineapple | Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh

Do you know about Pinterest?

From the about section of the website: Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

I like this concept.

As of now, you can email for an invite (which I have), but until you get that magical message, you can still check out several things there. I found these to be particularly interesting:

Things to Bake and Decorate

Beautiful Spaces

Dreamy Places


If you want to read more about the site and its concept, click here.

UPDATE: I got my invitation by email at 11:34 a.m. In order to register, you must connect your account through Facebook, so if you are not comfortable with that, then this is not for you. You can search your contacts in Yahoo mail, Google, Facebook, and Twitter to see who has an account. (I found several.)

You have the ability to add a shortcut to your bookmarks bar, so that when you see something you want to "share" it is easy to pin it to your "wall." So far I like it. I can see that this has the potential to become another distraction, so for now. . .the jury is out!

20 Surprising Uses for White Vinegar

Great list from Mary Hunt of DebtProof Living.

20 Surprising Uses for White Vinegar


I am making a commitment.

I have decided to read through the Bible again in 90 days.

I was introduced to the program last summer while browsing over at Mom's ToolBox.

Although I had read through the Bible before, I had not taken on a challenge quite the size of this one.

16 pages per day? Wow!

45 minutes of reading? (not studying, praying, or meditating on the verses . . . reading, as studiously as I can!)

These three months take commitment. They take dedication. They take time. They take planning. Some days, it requires sacrifice. Am I willing to sacrifice sleep, computer time, TV time, "me" time?

Can I make this commitment?


I make you a promise.

I promise that if you make this commitment and stick with it that your life will never be the same.

I promise that you will be blessed by the seeing the story of the Scriptures unfold.

I promise at the end of three months--you will want to do it again and you will most likely try to recruit anyone you can find: friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the street (well, that may be a stretch) to read through it with you in the Spring.

Will you join me?

Will you make the commitment?

Check out this great post Commit and Prioritize.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Do you hear that sound?

It's the sound of the ground saying, "ahhh."

Thank you Lord for a nice, steady rain.

Deuteronomy 28:12 says "The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season."

The tease. . .

WeatherCall from local station.

The sky looks so promising.


Temperature Drop.

The smell of damp earth. . .

Lightning. . .

Wind whipping.

Temps cooler.

Raindrops that fall quickly evaporate on the hot cement.

And then it was over.

Look really hard and you
might see the drops.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.--2 Samuel 22:31


I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of fortitude.

  • I will spend more time with the Lord each day.
  • I will spend more time "sharpening my axe" to be a better wife, mother, sister, and daughter.
  • I will try to listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting to be a better encourager.
  • I will play with my kids more.
  • I will read more.
  • I will watch less TV.
  • I will strive each day to do something to make my life healthier: walk, drink more water, etc.
Fortitude is defined as adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.

The problem with fortitude (if I am not very careful) is that is relies on me.

Not HIM.

The Bible plainly states in Philippians 4:13 that
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Any fortitude that I have must come through HIM.

My goal should be to approach the list above, through HIM, for HIS glory.

Anything done with/in/through my own fortitude will not bring glory to HIM, but to myself. And to me, that is not acceptable.

Do I succeed every time bringing HIM glory? NO.
Do I desire success? YES.

So as I look at the list, I think, "I can do it--through HIM!"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Free samples never stink.

Vocalpoint’s giving away FREE samples of Glad® ForceFlex® OdorShield® with Febreze® Freshness bags. Get yours!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Most Common Grilling Mistakes

Most Common Grilling Mistakes

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

Summer is here! Obviously, I'm a big fan of the grill and I feel as though I've spoken at length about it in that regard, so this isn't another article expressing my unwavering love for this cooking marvel, rather, it's a cautionary tale.

Though the grill may seem flawless and requiring hardly any maintenance at all, it isn't always the case. The grill is a remarkably low-maintenance piece of equipment, but it does need some looking after. So, I'm going to make a little list of common mistakes you can learn to avoid from the start:

Clean Your Grill. Just because everything technically burns off, doesn't mean you shouldn't scrape down the remains of the previous meal made. Think about it, would you want burnt scraps of last week's dinner sneaking into this week's? I didn't think so. All you need to do is take a metal brush and either brush it down after you use it or even wait until you use it again - either way make sure it happens before the next course of food touches the grate.

Put A Lid On It! (or not) Just because you have a lid doesn't mean you have to use it religiously. In fact, I suggest skipping the lid when grilling the essentials (steak, chicken, burgers, etc.). You'll notice that whenever you do that you lock in the smoke and your steak that had been marinating for two days prior will have the strong taste of smoke instead of the marinade.

Make It Right. First of all - don't just throw a steak on the grill straight from it's packaging. That flavorful first bite you've been looking forward to since you brought that luscious steak home in the first place is going to be severely lacking in any flavor. On the other hand I don't want you to submerge it in a sea of marinade for a week. Think simple. As far as steaks go, I recommend rubbing each side in with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of basic steak rub - taking a gallon size Ziploc and add just a bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, then add the steaks and allow them you soak in that for a few hours if not one or two days. Then write me a thank you note telling me how delightful your steak was!

Keep Your Eyes Peeled. When you're grilling, you won't have the same amount of prep time you do when you're in the kitchen. In fact, you really won't have any time at all because you'll always have to keep an eye on whatever you're grilling lest it becomes charred remains. So, before diving into the dinner you've plotted to be entirely cooked on the grill, make sure everything is seasoned, sliced, diced, and ready to go!

We have ways of making grilling SUPER simple, check out our Freezer Meals that go on the GRILL

Copyright (C) 2011 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Copyright (C) 2011 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Friday July 8th is Cow Appreciation Day!

Friday, July 8th is Cow Appreciation day at participating Chick-fil-A locations. Dress up like a cow and you'll score a FREE Chick-fil-A meal!

Don't worry -- Chick-fil-A makes it easy for you by providing this cute downloadable costume kit, or you can always come up with your own creation. Bon appetit!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Clone Your Favorite Summertime Drinks

Here's a great collection of copycat summer drink recipes from Mary Hunt at Everyday Cheapskate.

During the sizzling days of summer it’s tempting to duck into a coffee shop or juice bar to grab the latest in decadent blended coffee chillers or a fruit smoothie. But if the hidden calories don’t get you, the price tag will.

Weighing in at 410 calories, 20 grams of fat and more than $4 for 16 ounces (that’s a medium or ‘grande’), Starbuck’s Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino® Blended Crème carries quite a punch to your waistline as well as to your wallet.

Click here to read more: Clone Your Favorite Summertime Drinks

Best Ballpark Bites

Best Ballpark Bites

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

If you and your family are sports fanatics or your children are on sports teams, you're probably not as enthusiastic about the homerun after you've substituted your usual dinner plans for whatever the vender sold you. So how do you make the best of ballpark food? Easy enough!

First, water not soda! (I bet you knew I'd say that, LOL!) For whatever reason going to a ballgame always presents more temptation for leaning towards a soda because they seem more traditional. Understand that it's not tradition as much as it is sugar, and most likely in the form of high fructose corn syrup. If you want to be jumping up and down and cheering for your favorite team or your kid's team then avoid these sugar bombs.

Second, there are always nachos at sports events. Go ahead and order them... just don't get the yellow goop they've labeled "cheese" on top. Instead, ask if they have any salsa, and if not, enjoy them plain! Better eaten this way then glopped down with all that pretend cheese gunk, ick!

Third, hot dogs. Hot dogs are the epitome of tradition at ballgames. So I say its time for new traditions! It's a safe bet that a lot of venders are probably going to be offering some healthier options. Look for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a hot dog. Maybe add some coleslaw instead of French fries. Believe or not sunflower seeds are a great option for potato chips--they take a little work to get into, but satisfy that salty taste you might be looking for.

If you start making decisions like these when it doesn't look like there are healthy options, you'll come out just fine and still have a great time. In fact, you'll probably feel just as pumped and energized as the team that wins the game! Batter UP!

Copyright (C) 2011 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

Building an eBook Library on the Cheap

As a Kindle owner, I am always interested in good reading material for a small price. Here's an excellent article on building a Kindle library from Tim Challies

Over the past week I’ve been linking to some ebook deals and have been surprised at how many people have apparently taken advantage of the deals. This got me thinking about the best way to build a library of Christian ebooks. I thought it would be worthwhile to combine forces here, to put together a list of the places you go to find ebook deals. So the purpose of this post is not so much to point to individual deals as much as to point to the places we go to find those deals.

$30 for $60 at

Check out this deal I found on FamilyFinds Raleigh Durham...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Win a $30 Gift Card to the Patsy Aiken Raleigh Outlet Sale!

Win a $30 Gift Card to the Patsy Aiken Raleigh Outlet Sale!

One Lil-Kid-Things winner will be randomly selected to win $30 toward purchases made during this month’s Outlet Sale in Raleigh! The outlet is located at 4812 Hargrove Rd, Raleigh, NC and open daily from 9am-5pm during the above-mentioned week only! Gift-Card can only be used for the outlet sale and will be held for the winner at the sale.

30 Ways to Honor Dad this Father's Day

Here's just a teaser of the list that can be found here, at Mom Life Today.

1. Purchase small artists’ canvases. Let your kids paint pictures of themselves doing things with him.

2. Give him a jar filled with slips of paper on which you’ve each written things you appreciate about him.

3. Talk about the things you love about their dad or that he does well when he’s not there.

4. Express to him the things you love about him when they can hear.

5. Have fun making a “sneaky snack” to surprise Dad—one of his favorites.

6. Even when you disagree with him, demonstrate respect in the way you respond. (They’re watching.)

7. Pick up his favorite drink or snack while you’re out and about with your child.

8. Let them help brainstorm Father’s Day gifts he’d love. Get them excited and let them come help purchase it, wrap it, and make cards to go with it.

Farmers Market 101

Farmers Market 101

by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

If you've never experienced the summer and fall privilege of a farmer's market, you're missing out, Big Time. Here are some reasons you need to get yourself there--

1. Better Flavor and Better for You. The produce you can find at farmer's markets have incredible flavor and nutritional benefits because they were harvested locally either that day or the day before. Everything you enjoy is fresh and came directly from the farm and into your hands instead of being shipped, gassed and refrigerated for the long journey to the grocery store. You'll quickly realize that you can't help but snatch up all the fruits and veggies you see and the delicious consequence is you'll eat more of them! You can typically find a lot of homemade breads, jams, local honey and other great stuff, too.

2. Shop Local and Know Your Farmer. I have talked about shopping locally before and I always say the same thing: do it! The food you can get at the farmer's market isn't just great because it's fresh, but it's economically better for you and your community! Instead of paying for produce in a grocery store and by doing so paying all the expenses necessary to get those veggies produced and shipped, you're paying the farmer directly and keeping the money in your local economy. Also, you get to meet the farmer. Ask him about his crop and you'll probably learn that some of the farmers even do winter options. Stay local and stay personal!

3. Frankly, it's just fun! I love going as many weekends as I possibly can, and when my kids were younger they loved going to! Trust me, it can become a great family tradition. Depending on your town, there is often local entertainment. Often times local musicians will set up and perform--free entertainment!

Want to find a farmer's market in your neighborhood? Check out

Copyright (C) 2011 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

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