So I reported for juror orientation yesterday afternoon. I am "on call" the whole month of November. I have to call in every day after 4 and see if I have to serve the next day. The plus side to this is since it is Nov I get 4 holidays (Veterans Day, Election Day, and Thurs and Fri for Thanksgiving). The downside is it is going to make it VERY hard to schedule transporters to come pick up cars. I am going to have to tell them well I may or may not be here tomorrow as I might have to serve jury duty. Oh well maybe my company will finally see the benefits of having some part time office help.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, even as a kid. For me though it was not about the candy, but getting to dress up and be something else. I do not remember ever buying a costume. When I was youger my mom would help me make a costume and when I got older I came up with my ideas myself. This year I am the Wiked Witch of the West per my sons request. He loves when I do her voice. "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!"
Growing up in the south, in the bible belt, there were always people who did not celebrate Halloween because it was "satanic." Or those who would only let their kids wear "happy" costumes. As I got older I did a lot of reading about the origins of Halloween and I though I would share some of what I learned. I know there will always be the people who think like that, but I would like to think that I did something to attempt to change their minds.
Halloween does have its origins in pagan beliefs. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland, the UK, and northern France, celebrated their New Year on Nov 1. This day marked the end of the harvest and the coming of winter. Winter for them was a very dark cold period, and was a pretty scary part of the year for them, as it was most often associated with death. The Celts believed that on Oct 31 the boundaries between the spirit world and the world of the living became thin. Oct 31 was known to them as Samhain (pronounced sow-in or sah ween). The Celts believd that the spirits could cross over into the world of the living and wreak havoc on crops and cause all kinds of other mischief. They also believed that the presence of those spirtis made it easier for their priests, the Druids, to make predictions about the future.
To celebrate this event the Celts would create bonfires and perform animal sacrifices tp their gods while dressed in costumes which were usually animal skins and heads. Hence the tradition of dressing up on Halloween.
By the early 40 A.D.'s, the Romans had conquered most of the Celtic territories. The Romans had 2 holidays that were celebrated around the same time as Samhain. Ferelia which was a day that the Romans celebrated the dead and the second was a day to celebrate Pomona, goddess of the trees and fruit. Pomonas symbol was an apple and it is generally thought that is where the tradition of "bobbing for apples" comes from.
With the spread of Christianity, came a move to try and replace the pagan holidays with chuch sanctioned ones. Hence All Saints Day which is Nov 1. The holiday was also known as All Hallows or All Hallowmas. The night before which was Samhain became All Hallows Eve which became Hallow Evening which later became Halloween.
The name might have changed but much of the same traditions were kept. The tradition of dressing up in costume and going from house to house seeking treats can be traced back to the Celts. The Celts would put out offerings of food and drink to appease the spirits, fairies and demons that were wandering the earth on Samhain. Over the years people started to dress like the spirits that were said to be wandering the earth and would do tricks to gain food and drink. This was called mumming and is where we get trick or treating today from.
We also get the jack o lantern from the ancient Irish myth of Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him and being true to his name did not want to pay for the drink. He convinced the devil to trun himself into a coin that Jack could use to pay for the drinks in return for Jacks soul. When the devil had done so JAck placed the coin into his pocket with a silver cross which prevented the devil from retaking his true form. Jack eventually freed the devil after making him promise to leave him alone for a year. After the years time was up the devil again came for JAck and JAck tricked him into climbing into a tree to pick an apple. While the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross onto the trunk, again trapping the devil. He made the devil promise to leave him alone for 10 years before he would let him down. Not long after Jack died and being the type of person he was God did not want to let him into heaven so he sent him down to the devil. The devil would have nothing to do with Jack after all the times he had tricked him and told him to go back where he came from. JAck asked for a light to light his way home with and the devil gave him a piece of coal from the fires of hell. Jack carved out a turnip and stuck the coal inside to use as a light and he has been roaming the earth ever since. The Irish began to refer to the ghostly figure as Jack of the Lantern which became Jack O Lantern. The people of Ireland soon began to use turnips, potatoes and other vegetables to make their own to frighten away the spirits. When people immigrated to the Americas they brought their traditions with them and discovered that pumpkins, which were native to America, were perfect to make their Jack O Lanterns with.
This is just a brief look at the history/traditions of Halloween. There are a lot more out there and this is nowhere near being the complete history. It is just a little bit of knowledge I thought I would share.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I have lived in AL my whole life up until I moved here in April. I got my KY drivers license in June I believe it was. By August I had gotten my summons to appear for Jury Duty.
I have no luck what so ever. I have to report this afternoon for orientation. With my luck I will probably get Grand Jury.
You can draw your own face ona pumpkin and then light it up to see what it looks like.
Posted by Natalie at 11:46 AM
There was a recipe for some really cute spider cookies in an All You magazine I picked up this month. I tried it out last night and they turned out quite cute, if I do say so myself. Plus I had most of the ingredients on hand so it only cost me a few dollars to pick up what I needed. Here is the recipe:
Prep: 15 min.
Bake: 12 min. per batch
Yield: 18 cookies
Cost per serving: 42 cents
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate sprinkles
72 mini M&Ms
144 mini pretzel sticks, about 4 inches long, each snapped in half
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
2. Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour mixture until well combined.
3. Roll a tablespoonful of dough between palms of your hands and then roll ball in sprinkles. Repeat with remaining dough and sprinkles. Place 6 large balls on each baking sheet, evenly spacing them and pressing lightly to slightly flatten. Place two red hots or mini M&Ms on one end of each ball to resemble eyes. Insert 4 pretzel stick halves on each side of each ball to resemble legs.
4. Bake one sheet of cookies until dry on top, 12 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet on wire rack. Repeat with remaining sheet.
PER SERVING (1 cookie): 159 Cal., 8g Fat (5g Sat), 29mg Chol., 1g Fiber, 2g Pro., 21g Carb., 142mg Sod.
Or you can go here for some other ideas for spooky treats!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
For today's Try it Tuesday I am going to share a new wine I tried a few weeks ago called Witches Brew.
This is a spiced red wine by Leelanau Cellars that goes by the name Leelanau Cellars Spiced Wine for most of the year. However, during the Halloween season, it is Witches Brew.
I saw an advertisement in the Meijer circular a few weeks ago and decided to try it as it reminded me of my friends back in AL. We jokingly called ourselves the Witches of Sloss after the place where we all met. One of them introduced me to mead and would serve it mulled with yummy spices in it.
Witches Brew is perfect for the chilly nights of autumn. Open a bottle and por into a pan and heat on low heat just until it is warm. It has a nice amount of spice without being too strong. You can also warm it in a Crock Pot on low heat with a few cinnamon sticks thrown in and the smell will fill your home.
And for the best part....it is on sale at Meijers 2 for $11. I have stocked up on it as I am giving it as Christmas gifts to my witches back in AL and for my husband and I to enjoy. (Yep you know it is good when your husband ASKS you to fix it)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Good for one free rental due back by midnight on Tuesday
Posted by Natalie at 3:48 PM
Got this in my email. Free 2 oz Signature Collection Lotion with any purchse.
Posted by Natalie at 2:55 PM
I hit the mall Saturday morning with the purpose of using the Bath and Body Works coupons I posted about here and also checking out the sale at JCPenney.
I desperately need some winter clothes and new blue jeans. Mine must have shrunk in the wash....right?
While I was there I decided to go by Lush in Macy's and check out their products. Another blogger that I read recommended one of their cleansers The sales girl was VERY helpful and gave me a sample of the cleanser plus a moisturizer sample to try. I love both of them so far and will probably start using them both. I also bought a chunk of one of their yummy smelling soaps.
I left there and headed to Bath and Body Works, stopping on the way to sample some wine from Elk Creek's kiosk. At Bath and Body Works I got 6 antibacterial soaps, a bubble bath in my favorite scent (sensual Amber), and the wallflowers starter kit for $18.90 total. This was divided into 2 purchases and I got a coupon book with $35 worth of coupons including another coupon for a free item with a $10 purchase with each purchase I made. Guess I have to go back next weekend and use those. That deal was great for me because the antibacterial soaps were on sale for $3 and I LOVE using them at home, plus I can use them for Christmas gifts.
Next I headed to JCPenney, stopping to get a $25 flu shot on my way. I ended up getting 3 pairs of Arizona Jeans, an Arizona sweater, and a Saint Johns Bay microfiber jacket for a total of $94. I had a gift card with a few dollars still on it so I ended up paying $89 and some change OOP. My total savings on that purchase was $85, so I basically got everything for half price.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
I went to the mall this weekend to use the coupons I posted about. I ended up scoring 6 antibacterial soaps (for the house and for Christmas gifts, bubble bath for me, and the Wallflowers set (Christmas gift) for $18.90.
They also gave me a coupon book with $35 worth of savings with each purchase. Each book has another buy $10 get an item free coupon. So I am planning on heading to the mall again this next weekend for more Christmas gifts.
My son decided while watching Eragon that he wanted to be a dragon for Halloween. A green one of course, "that's my favorite color."
I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out since I have not used my creative genes in a few years. Sad I know. I am attempting to remedy that.
All in all I have to say it turned out fairly well. I still have a tail to create and his gloves to fix, but he was VERY happy with his costume.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Bath and Body Works has some great deals going on right now. Perfect for stocking up on stuff for Christmas.
Get a Free Signature Collection Product ($12 Value) with any $10 purchase here
Valid until Nov 2
Works great with their Stockpile Sale on Antibacterial Soaps which are 5/$15 and you would get the 6th one free.
You can also get a free Wallflowers or Scentport Pluggable Diffuser Starter Set with this coupon
Valid until Nov 23
You can use that with ANY purchase. There is no minimum purchase required. I am going to use it with a sample size item. I can use the sample for a stocking stuffer and give the Wallflowers or Scentport as a gift!
Here is a fun game to waste away the hours at work until the weekend.....
Posted by Natalie at 10:18 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
She currently has a $50 giftcard giveaway for this company. Go here to check it out.
Posted by Natalie at 11:31 AM
Nutritonal Tree will send you a free sample (right now it is 1 oz tube of Revitacil Wrinkle and Eye Cream) if you mention them in a blog and send them the link to it. Go here
They also do a free sample starting every morning at 10 am est but there is a limited number and they usually go quickly.
Posted by Natalie at 10:53 AM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Has attacked my house. My son was sick all last week and Saturday night my husband came down with it. (Why is it that he is a bigger baby about it than my 3 year old?) I am walking around in a constant cloud of Lysol at home praying that I do not get it. Yes I can miss work but I REALLY hate those kind of viruses.
Posted by Natalie at 4:21 PM
Try it Tuesday
Hanes did a giveaway, about a month ago if I remember correctly (Don't hold me to that, I sometimes have problems rememebring yesterday) for a free pair of their new wedgie free underwear. I got mine in the mail this past week and decided to give it a try this weekend.
I got the bikini underwear and they were a lovely shade of pale green. I was kind of skeptical about the whole no wedgie bit, but surprisingly, they were very comfortable and NO WEDGIES!!!
They come in all different styles and prices. Go here for a complete list of styles and prices online.
I know I would definitely buy more!
Posted by Natalie at 10:33 AM
Monday, October 20, 2008
Yep imagine my surprise when we pulled up to Evan's Orchard Saturday and there was a camel. And llamas, alpacas, a zebra, kangaroos, porcupines, tortoises, a Highland calf, and some animal from Australia that I forgot the name of. Their petting zoo was extraordinary! The baby camel was very greedy and would steal the whole ice cream cone of food. The baby zebra bit Daniel's friend who was with us. Glad we could not get close to the porcupines! Who knows what would have happened!
We also had to ride the ponies and spend a lot of time running around the huge playground. I think the only thing we did not do was the wagon ride.
Daniel picked out a small white pumpkin that we ended up only paying a dollar for. Not too bad. The rest of the attractions were well worth the money charged for them as well. And once you had paid for the petting zoo/playground you could come and go as much as you wanted.
There were also some nice crafts/gifts inside the store for the adults to browse through. And not to mention the very yummy apple cider doughnuts and all the fudge. YUM! Oh and can't forget the kettle corn. We tried regular and cherry and both were delicious!
I would give this place 2 thumbs up for a reasonable price and tons of fun! I know I will not forget riding a camel anytime soon!
Posted by Natalie at 2:10 PM
Friday, October 17, 2008
This week seems to have drug by. Maybe because Daniel has been sick? Who knows. I know I am glad that it is Friday though. We are taking Daniel and a new friend to Evan's Orchard's pumpkin patch tomorrow morning. Should be fun. I will try and rememebr to take some pics so I can post them Monday. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I am off to try and fix my phone....AGAIN. Maybe I will have better luck with TMobile today then I did yesterday.
Posted by Natalie at 3:38 PM
A co worker of mine in the Birmingham, AL branch turned me on to this website last year. http://www.bidz.com Sign up for an account and you can bid on the items for sale. It is possible to get some VERY good deals but it can be tricky. I have been bidding off and on for a year (more off than on) and just won my first bid today. I got my mom a gorgeous necklace for $11 plus shipping and handling. I spent 20.61 total.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
When we moved here in April I got a raise to go with my promotion. It was not much of one but enough to make the move worth it. However when my husband came up here to look for a job we were in for a surprise.
In KY you have to have a journeyman's license to do what he did in AL. We talked with several people that basically said without one he would have to start off as an apprentice and work his way up. We finally found one company that said he did not have to start as an apprentice as long as he had his tax returns and could prove he had worked in the field for the required amount of time. They hired him at a lower rate than what he made in AL but provided him with the materials to study for his test and said they would give him a $2 raise once he got the license. (hopefully in the next few weeks) So with his drop in pay and my increase we are still bringing home about the same that we used too.
Our expenses have changed quite a bit as well. We no longer have the huge gas bills from driving so far to work (rougly 40 miles one way for both of us) but our childcare expenses have gone through the roof. We are able to comparison shop here and save money on groceries where before we had the choice of 2 places in the town we lived in. Our rent is $200 higher for an apt where before we had a small house with a fenced yard.
With the rising cost of everything I have been attempting to learn how to save the family some money. I have started cutting coupons and I am quite proud of how I am doing there. Now if I could just get my coupons organized.... My husband even asks me now how much I saved when I go to the store on the weekends. I will admit though that I am still learning and have quite a ways to go. On the grocery note I have also tried to cut back on all the millions of trips to the grocery store. I go to Meijer on Saturday and do the majority of my shopping, then on Sat or Sun depending on what is going on, I go to Wal Mart and pick up the rest of what I need. Both stores are within 5 min of the house too so I cut back on driving.
We have enjoyed going to the farmer's market every Sunday as well for our supply of fresh veggies and honey. Can't forget the honey. That is my sons favorite part. We also combine this trip with our trip to the laundry mat as the market is in front of our usual place on Sundays. So more gas saved.
I had my husbands new car (well new to him anyway) put with the same insurance company as mine so we qualified for the multi car discount and also got renters insurance through the same company for another discount. Now both of our cars and the renters insurance costs us less than what I was paying for just my auto insurance.
I think this is quite possibly the biggest sacrifice I made.....I had the internet turned off at the house! It saves me roughly $30 a month. I am on the computer all day at work and most of the time when I come home I do not even turn my laptop on. Yes it was nice to have it and occasionally I do need it for work but it was not worth that $30 a month. And once we can get our savings built back up I will turn it back on.
My goal is to get our savings built back up. We did not have much to begin with but what we did have has been used up with the cost of moving, and some emergency trips back to AL. It is going to be a challenge with the holidays coming up. But I have lots of helpful blogs to help point me in the right direction!
Posted by Natalie at 12:49 PM
I am the manager of a repo company here in Lexington. I rely on my cell phone to kep me in touch with my agents out in the field. If they have a problem, no matter what time it is, they have to be able to reach me.
About a month ago, I was sitting at my desk filling out some survey that I had to know what model my cell phone was. So I popped out the battery and looked. I put the battery back in and pushed the power button. Nothing happened. I tried repeatedly to get it to come on with no success. So I trekked down to T Mobile and had them look at it. They had me call support and they proceeded to tell me that I needed a new phone. Mine was still under warranty so it would not cost anything. So I signed up for the loaner phone and went on my way.
I got my new phone and everything has been grand. Until last night. My battery was low and we were watching a movie and I was too lazy to get up and go plug my phone in so I turned it off. Now it will not come back on. AGAIN. I tried my charger AND my husbands charger and nothing.
So I get to trek back to T Mobile with my three year old in tow and attempt to get this fixed again. YAY!!! What fun!
Posted by Natalie at 11:40 AM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
My family and I have had many new beginnings this year. My husband and I were married in February. In April, my company moved us to Lexington, KY for me to be branch manager of our new Lexington office. My son turned 3 in May and joined us here in KY, where he soon joined the ranks of a big kid by becoming fully potty trained. We all left our friends and family behind in AL.
All of those things by themselves are big changes, then add to it that we were literally starting from scratch in a place where we knew no one, or where anything was. The GPS I bought soon became my best friend! And still is!
Gone were the free overnight babysitters (Mom and Dad), the weekends spent with friends watching SEC football, racing at Talladega, my part time fall job ( http://www.frightfurnace.com), and just my friends in general.
My husband is one of the most wonderful men I know, because he left everything behind so that I could further my career. And did not once complain. Ok maybe a little about missing the race at Talladega this year. (He has not missed one since 1996 or something like that) He has a very close family and I know it has not been easy for him to be so far away from them.
All of these new beginnings have brought us together as a family. We took several small trips this summer to explore our new state. We have several weekend rituals that we do as a family, and we look forward to them every week.
I do not know what the future brings for us, but then who does? This is my space for exploring my new state and sharing that with others, for venting when something bothers me, and I guess in general trying to learn more about the person I am becoming, as well as sharing all the silly/funny things that happen to us. Maybe through my ramblings on here someone else will learn something about themselves.