Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kroger Free Milk and Giveaway

From November 13th through November 26th, with the purchase of any four participating General Mills products, you will either receive free milk (up to $3; limit of 2) or to receive $3 off your shopping order**

I'm also sponsoring a giveaway of one $25 Kroger gift card (good at any of the Kroger. Co Family of Stores). To enter, just leave a comment below with your favorite General Mills product. The winner will be selected on November 20th. This is only open to US residents. The gift pack will be sent by MyBlogSpark.

I will need your email address so I can notify the winner, and you can leave it in the following ways:
1) enter it in your comment, but please use "at" instead of "@"
2) make sure I can send you an email via your blogger profile
3) send it me to me using this secure message form

Look for some of your favorite participating General Mills products like Cheerios, Pillsbury Ready to Bake Cookies, Nature Valley Bars and Fiber One Bars

Promotion varies in different locations. Please be sure to check your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores for specific deals and offers which include Kroger, Ralphs, King Scoopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s, Fry’s, QFC, Baker’s, Owen’s, Jay C Food Stores, Hilander, Gerbes, Food4Less, Fred Meyer, Pay Less Supermarkets and Scott’s Food & Pharmacy

What’s better than being rewarded for buying your favorite products from your favorite store? Visit for more information and great ways to save and be sure to check out the Kroger Facebook page to join the conversation and share which General Mills products you’d like to stock up on during the promotion.

*Excludes General Mills meal and baking products including; Betty Crocker, Old El Paso, Progresso, Hamburger Helper, Macaroni Grill, Wanchai Ferry, Yoplait

**Promotion varies based on store location; check your local Kroger store for details (Cash Offer: Mid South, Delta, Mid Atlantic, SW Louisiana stores, Central Missouri stores and Dillons Missouri stores)

Disclosure: The Kroger gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by Kroger and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

UPDATE: I used to choose a number, and the winner was 12 corresponding to Eliza's entry. The Kroger gift card will be sent by MyBlogSpark.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Weaving (Part I)

For ages, I've wanted to try weaving with rags. So even though my clipped rug isn't finished yet, I decided to try making a loom.

In the book "Fabulous Rag Rugs from Simple Frames", there was a description of a loom made from dowel rods and plumbing fittings. So I bought 2 - 4 foot dowels and 2 - 3 foot dowel rods to make my loom.

Yesterday, I started warping it in a continuous warp. Next, I'll start weaving and take pictures as I go along. I have a bunch of rag balls made from strips (originally cut to make crocheted baskets).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Peeled Snacks

Peeled SnacksI've talked about Earndit before, where you can earn prizes and rewards for logging your physical activity.

I'd won a $20 gift certificate from Peeled Snacks before, and now they're upping their generosity and letting us earn up to 5 gift certificates.

Plus, they're sponsoring a challenge at Earndit where they're giving away several memberships to their Organic Fruit of the Month Club. But everyone gets a $5 Peeled Snacks gift card just for participating in the challenge!

I'm not in any way affiliated with Earndit or Peeled Snacks - just a happy customer spreading the word

Sunday, October 2, 2011


A couple of months ago, I stumbled across ReminderFox which is an add-on for Firefox browser. It's a reminder program that lets you manage lists of reminders and to-dos.

It pops up in a small box on your screen and "reminds" you that you have something to do that day. You can hit the Snooze button and the reminder will go away for a specified amount of time. Then you mark the to-do as Complete when you've finished it.

You can set reminders to repeat at certain frequencies. I just set one to remind me to clear out my email Inbox every month since it gets really full.

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Blog Template

I'm having a blast customizing the new blog template for my Favorite Online Shops blog. I finally got brave enough to try a new template so that I could change the layout to 3 columns. It was so easy to do. I should have tried this months ago.

The only teeny speed bump was finding out how to center the header, but a quick search gave me the exact code that I needed and step-by-step instructions on how to place it. It worked beautifully.

Eventually I'll change this one, too. I'll play around with different formats and see what looks best. Now that I know how easy it is to experiment. Or I might keep the same layout and just update it a little.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Convert Tealight Tart Burner to Flameless

I love tart burners that melt wax, but I've been wanting flameless ones that use either a light bulb or a warming element.

I have a gazillion of the tealight kind and they make great decorations. So I was trying to find a way to convert my tealight tart burners into flameless. I searched all over the internet for some kind of small heating element and couldn't find anything.

I decided to dig around the hardware store and found a candelabra clip socket in the lighting area at Lowe's. Since it has a 1" diameter, I got a 1" washer to fit into it to make a stand.
Here's the clip with the washer over it.
Here is the assembled stand with a light bulb inserted.
Here it is in the tart burner cavity. The socket is rated up to 75 watt bulb. I needed a 60 watt bulb to melt my Yankee Candle tarts easily. A 40 watt bulb would work, but it took a long time and didn't have great scent throw.

I haven't tried soy tarts yet with this converted tart burner, so I will report back on that after I try them.

I'm not affiliated with Lowe's in any way

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Spread Thunderbird
This weekend, I started having problems with my Outlook Express mail client and lost about 10 days worth of emails. Knowing that OE isn't supported any longer, I figured that it's time to bite the bullet and change email clients.

Since I love Firefox, I decided to try Thunderbird. It has some really amazing features like the option of separate Inboxes for each email account. It was very easy to setup, start using, and migrate all my email from OE. Plus for every feature that I wanted, I could find an add-on that someone had written.

It's so much faster than OE. Granted, I save TONS of emails and use folders for storing emails, so I'm sure I was reaching OE's capability limits. But Thunderbird seems so much more forgiving.

I'm a Thunderbird Community member and the link is my referral link

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Customer Service - Kohl's

I had another wonderful customer service experience at Kohl's.

I'd bought 2 denim skorts for the summer in my usual size. I wore them once and they stretched so that they were too big. I was disappointed but tried washing them, hoping they'd shrink. But they didn't and they were still too big.

So I thought I'd try to see if I could possibly exchange them, not sure if I could since I'd already washed them. The customer service clerk at Kohl's was wonderful. She took them back as defective and let me exchange them for the next smaller size, which fits beautifully.

I'm not in any way affiliated with Kohl's - just a happy customer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Notes from the Universe Challenge

I've posted about the Notes from the Universe by Mike Dooley as being very motivational for me. Plus they're wacky and alot of fun. Plus, they're free!! (I have a gadget on the lower right hand sidebar of the blog that displays daily NOTES.)

Mike is now offering a challenge to get more Adventurers to join the club and get the free daily notes. Here's what we get if we reach certain milestones:

If we reach 500,000 subscribers, every subscriber will get "Notes from the Universe" Screensaver Download
750,000 subscribers, every subscriber will get "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Life" 14 Hour MP3
1,000,000 subscribers, every subscriber will get (for the first time in TUT history),NOTES on weekends

Friday, July 22, 2011

Daily Feats

Dre Moran of suggested DailyFeats, and I've been exploring it and think it's wonderful. It's a cool, free, new site that rewards you for all your positive actions, including exercise. You manually check-in "feats" which are actions. There are multiple categories for health, learning, family, etc. You get points for actions and then you can actually trade them in for rewards.

The site is still relatively new, but I'm really enjoying it. It helps to reinforce and reward all the positives that we do daily. I just reached my first reward level so I'll be selecting a reward and will let you know how the process goes.

The site developers are actively seeking input and are making changes, so it's fun to give input on what we'd like to see.

I'm not in any way affiliated with Daily Feats

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Customer Serive - J C Penney

I love shopping and getting bargains and using coupons, and I had a memorable experience the other day at J C Penney.

My family and I were stocking up on socks since they were on sale. But we had coupons for $10 off a $25 purchase, which amounts to big savings.

The wonderful cashier split our sock purchase into 4 transactions so that we could use the coupon 4 times and save even MORE money on top of the sale prices.

She was so cheerful and kind and pleasant, so here's a big pat on the back to JCP for their wonderful customer service

I'm not in any way affiliated with JCP

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Customer Service - Rite Aid

I had a wonderful customer experience at Rite Aid yesterday. I was browsing the store and saw there was a mail-in rebate if you bought 2 of a Rite Aid brand personal care product. I thought that was pretty cool, so I looked on the shelves and only found 1 available.

I asked for some help to see if there was more in the store room, but there wasn't. The very helpful man (who happened to be the store manager) let me have 1 of the name brand items at the same price as the Rite Aid item so that I could have 2 in order to get my rebate.

Not only did that save me money, since I was able to use my Rite Aid card to save the additional 10% on the Rite Aid brands, but now I'll be able to get my rebate, too.

Needless to say, I walked out of the store feeling great and valued as a customer. You bet I'll remember that experience for a long time.

I'm not in any way affiliated with Rite Aid

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Robert Wilson

While browsing the W's in my library, I found this series of detective mysteries by Robert Wilson.

They're set in Seville, Spain and feature detective Javier Falcon. I really enjoyed this character. His first case involves unearthing some family secrets, so it's very psychologically layered and suspenseful.

The second book picks up almost right where the first ended, so it assumes that you're already familiar with some of the peripheral characters. Then I was pleasantly surprised that there are two more books in the series.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Customer Service - Aeropostale

I like giving kudos when I get customer service that makes me feel good, so I want to say "Thanks" to the Aeropostale folks.

I took my son shopping for clothes to get him ready for college, and Aeropostale is one of his favorites for shirts. We had some $10 off $50 coupons that I wanted to use. I asked the clerk if I could ring up in separate transactions so I could use 2 of the coupons. She was so gracious and helpful, and helped me maximize my savings.

I'm not in any way affiliated with Aeropostale - just a happy customer

Friday, June 3, 2011


If you remember, I have a FitBit pedometer which wirelessly uploads to the web. Recently the FitBit developers released an API so that other developers can access the FitBit users' data (with our permission, of course).

The cool programmer guys at Earndit can now use our FitBit data to award us points based on our activity levels. Other tracking devices can be read, too, including Nike Plus, Foursquare, Everytrail, and Garmin Connect.

Sponsors have donated prizes that we can redeem for our points. Just recently, I was the winner of a month's supply of Greek yogurt from Stonyfield Farm. Today I got my 30 free yogurt coupons!!

I'm not in any way affiliated with Earndit

Friday, April 8, 2011

Richard Montanari

While I was browsing in the "M's" at my library, I stumbled on this series by Richard Montanari.

It's set in Philadelphia and features detective Jessica Balzano (who is a mom to a toddler and is a prize fighter in her spare time) and Kevin Byrne (who has a surprising talent that I won't reveal). It's the classic pairing of the new, fresh rookie and the seasoned, seen-it-all veteran.

So far, I've read two of the series and I have more on my shelf to read. Montanari has me intrigued with the characters and I want to see how they develop and what happens in their lives.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Harker Moore

I found this 2-book series by Harker Moore while browsing my local library shelves. I can only find 2 books written by this author, and I wish he/she had written more.

The main character is a Japanese-born detective so he brings a different perspective to the typical detective scenario. His wife was born blind and she intuitively sees.

I kept waiting for the author to bring more of the Japanese childhood views into the novel. When he did, I liked it, but I felt he/she could have done more with that.

Also, with his wife being an intuitive. I really, really wanted the author to develop her character and have her give valuable input into the cases based on her visions and feelings.

I refer to the author as he/she since I couldn't find any information on him/her. I got the feeling that this is a pseudonym for an author wanting to explore a new character and not wanting to write under their "known" name.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Customer Service - AA Aquarium

I had a fantastic customer service experience with AA Aquarium this week. I had bought a Green Killing Machine UV sterilizer for our fish tank since we had algae bloom that we couldn't fix.

The UV sterilizer worked amazingly well and cleared the tank within 5 days. The UV lamps are supposed to last 3 - 6 months, but we decided to run ours continuously. So the light indicator went out, meaning that you're supposed to change the UV lamp.

We did, but the light indicator still did not come on. So I contacted the AA Aquarium folks and they promptly sent me a new control box for the unit. I installed it yesterday, put in the "old" UV lamp, and it's now working great.

I always appreciate a great customer service experience, and I'm a huger fan of AA Aquarium now.

I'm in no way affiliated with AA Aquarium. Just a very, very happy customer of theirs.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Big East Tournament

All I can say so far is, "WOW!!" I'm having basketball withdrawals this afternoon since I've been watching all 4 games each day. Today we're down to 2 games, starting at 7 pm tonight.

I almost feel that the NCAA tournament is a let down after the Big East tournament. This feels like the teams are playing for the national championship. The games have all the drama and excitement.

What a week, though. With controversial finishes and last minute buzzer beaters, it's been tremendously exciting so far.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jeffrey Ford

I recently finished "The Shadow Year" by Jeffrey Ford. It was unforgettable in a really quirky way. I already want to read more of his books and wish that our library had more of them.

It is an unconventional mystery story with some supernatural elements. But it's an engrossing story of childhood as well, so it was very touching.

His other books look intriguing, too. I have received one of them from Paperbackswap and will see if I can find the others.

The Paperbackswap link does include my referral id, and if you join using my link, I get 1 book credit

Friday, February 25, 2011

Boston Celtics Trades

I'm just a basketball fan and don't follow the NBA religiously. But I really like the team chemistry of the Boston Celtics (at least as it appears outwardly. It may be totally different than it appears to us fans).

So I'm confused about the trades from yesterday. From looking at the sports analysts, I'm not the only one. This close to the playoffs, it doesn't make sense to make such drastic changes.

But I hope Danny Ainge is looking in his crystal ball and sees something for the future. Maybe it's one of those "this will hurt now, but will be better in the long run" deals.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jack McDevitt

I love books about time travel, and this one was great. It had so many time travel loops going that it was mind-blowing.

The story is that Shel and his friend, Dave, journey through time in search of Shel's missing physicist-father.

The book's ending was wonderful, too. I was telling my kids about it the other day. We were discussing undiscovered literature and how would you know if you stumbled on a "new" play or manuscript by a famous author. And that's all I'll say so I don't give anything away.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Removable Wall Decals

My current project of interest is finding some kind of decoration for my great room. I'm interested in removable vinyl art, so I don't have to nail a gazillion holes in the wall.

I found these wall quotes at Kohl's, and I'm sure other places have them as well. I'd like to try them and see how they look over doors and over my sofa.

I'd also like to find a beach scene wall decal, maybe 3 feet by 3 feet for my bathroom. I've been scouring the search engines but haven't found yet. So I'll keep looking.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Slow Cooker

I've just recently learned how to cook with a slow cooker. I don't know why I didn't try it before. They are absolutely amazing!!

I'm not usually a very good cook. But with the slow cooker, the meat comes out fork tender every time.

I'm experimenting with sauces now. The other day, I used apple butter for a pork roast - Wow!! Today I'm trying peach preserves with bacon bits over pork chops. The kitchen smells heavenly. I can't wait to eat it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Applebee's recently hosted a pancake breakfast fundraiser for our high school tennis team. We had so much fun!! We raised about $1200 total.

The staff was outstanding. They had tickets printed for us that we pre-sold. Then they supplied all the materials and food and cooked the pancakes. We had to serve, clean up, and make coffee.

The kids really enjoyed it (the adults did, too). It was a great team-builder as well as fundraiser The time flew by, and we all got to know each other better.

Thanks again to Applebee's!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ray Allen

Congratulations to Ray Allen on breaking the 3-point shooting record last night. It was pretty incredible that the fans kept cheering forever (well, a really long time).

When I was younger, I used to think that NBA basketball was too glitzy and too polished. That the athletes made it look almost too easy. I thought college basketball was much more fun.

Now that I'm older, I understand what fantastic athletes these NBA players are. What control they have and what mental toughness (a phrase used alot in tennis) to be able to hit clutch shots under pressure.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


GoSaveIf you use Facebook, you might have seen ads for GoSave that say, "Earn Points. Get Prizes. Wouldn't it be nice to actually win prizes from playing games? We think so too."

The blog says their goal is to "...combines fun games into your rewards and discounts, GoSave is more fun, GoSave is more competitive, and GoSave is more social."

The blog also says that "We are getting very close to launching the new GoSave and are excited to send invites out to all of you awesome dedicated fans."

So I requested an invite. This is my referral link above, so if you request an invite as well, I might get to play early. I'm excited since I love rewards programs, and I love playing games, and I definitely love winning prizes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fabric Origami

I finally tried making fabric origami boxes, and I was pleased with my first attempt.

These are fat quarter squares which I stiffened with Stiffy stiffener (kinda redundant). They got pretty hard, almost brittle, so I might try less the next time I do this.

I used a bone folding tool to crease the folds. I think the next time I will try my little Clover iron.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Zet Astrology Software

I've been a big fan of the Zet free astrology software for 5 or 6 years now. The first time I tried it was version 7, and it's now up to version 9.

The free versions allow you to run natal and predictive horoscopes, but you can only read them online. The print capability is disabled.

I've always gotten a kick out of reading my predictions. But I just tried the natal report for version 9 the other day, and I was blown away!! It was amazing how accurately it described me. (Of course, I won't tell you what it said...)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Sew Tee Shirt Quilt

This is another project that I want to start, making a no sew tee shirt quilt. Over the years, I've collected a bunch of souvenir tee shirts. I thought it would be fun to make a quilt from them.

I bought these shirts in the picture for 50 cents each at Crafts 2000 to try a mock up first. I'm going to cut 15" x 15" squares from each and attach them using Stitch Witchery fusible webbing tape.

I'll take pictures as I go along so I can report on my progress. Plus I'll let you know what does and doesn't work and what adjustments I have to make.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rug Clipping (Part 5)

This is an update on the progress of the rag rug that I've been working on for 2 years now. I finally finished the pattern so I know what it will look like when it's finished.

I still don't know exactly how many fabric strips of each color that I will need. But having the pattern finished gives me a somewhat better idea now.

I usually work on it during sports games to keep me from getting nervous and pacing the floor. I think I have enough work to take me through the NCAA basketball tournament and the NBA finals.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Google Voice

I love the Google Voice free service. I've had mine for quite awhile now, yet I'm sure I haven't begun to use or know all it's features and functionalities yet.

The main reason I use it is to send text messages to my kids (and just a few other people). It is so much easier for me to type a text message from my computer than to type it on my phone.

The transcribed voicemail is great, too. I've begun using it when I fill out sweepstakes forms that request a home number. That way I can use it as a screening tool.

Plus it's nice to be able to use it from my iPod Touch as well. There's no app for it, but I can access it through the Safari browser and use it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jim Kelly

I mentioned that I'm currently reading several series(es) and I'm alternating between them. They are the Jonathan Kellerman books, the Stephen White books, the William Kent Krueger books, and a new series I found by Jim Kelly.

I found this one just by browsing the shelves in my library. It looked interesting and proved to be a great detective story. The main character is a reporter who used to work for a larger-city newspaper but prefers to work in his hometown. He stumbles on some links between an old murder (recently discovered) and a new murder.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jonathan Kellerman

Since I love reading books in series, I finally decided to start the series by Jonathan Kellerman, featuring psychologist Alex Delaware. I'm so glad I did, since these are great books.

I just finished the 8th one, and I usually keep one or two more on my bookshelf ready to go (interspersed between other series book, though, so I don't get overwhelmed. I will tell you which other series books I'm reading in my next post.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Check Points

Another app that I like is CheckPoints. It's a rewards program where you get points for scanning bar codes of certain products or downloading apps and trying them. Then you redeem the points for prizes.

So far, it only works on iPhones. You can download the app for iPod Touches, but the scanning feature doesn't work for it (yet). The points for downloading apps DOES work for the Touches, though.

I've seen ALOT of requests to make it more workable for WiFi and Touch users who don't have iPhones, so I'm hoping there will be more features in the near future.

If you use my name "janetmango" when you join, I do get points for referring you.

Friday, January 21, 2011


One of the first apps I wanted to find was one that would let me keep listings of all the books that are on my "to read" list.  I had been tearing pages out of my book club magazines, putting them in file folders, and taking these to the library to look for books that I wanted to read.

So I was thrilled when I found the Goodreads app. I can add the books and categorize them into "shelves." Each book listing will show me the cover, a brief description, and let me see reviews by other members.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

IPod Touch

My son got a new iPod Touch for the holidays, so he gave me his old one.  It is so cool !!  I feel like I have a mini-computer that I take with me.  I've been downloading apps for websites that I use daily, so I'll be telling you more about those.

I haven't even started putting my music on it yet. I guess I'm still too used to my CD's playing in the car. I do already have the FM transmitter so I can play the iPod through the car speakers, though.  I bought that when I was using a VERY old iPod Shuffle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

William Kent Krueger

I found this series at my local library while browsing the shelves.  It's a series of mysteries set in Northern Minnesota and features a sometimes-sheriff who is part Ojibwe.

The stories are fantastic, but it's the characters who are the most engaging.  Cork O'Connor (the sheriff) is a very devoted father who goes through some internal struggles about what he wants for himself and his family.  He's a decent, caring guy but also an excellent law enforcer.

There are a few more books in the series and I'm hoping he continues to write, since I'm really enjoying these.
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