May 23, 2010

My Review of 16" Electric Skillet

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

All Presto Control Master Appliances feature heavy cast aluminum construction, premium nonstick finish, inside and out, and are completely immersible when the heat control is detached. Experience the versatility and durability of this electric skillet that accommodates extra large cuts o...

Excellent for all frying uses

By tnshadylady from Tennessee on 5/23/2010


5out of 5

Pros: Temperature Control, Easy To Clean, Delicious Results

Describe Yourself: Avid Cook

I love my new 16" electric skillet! The extra large skillet space really makes a difference when you're cooking eggs, pancakes, etc. It heats up really fast, has great temperature control, and is a breeze to clean. I started out using just a little olive oil but found out the non-stick surface really is non-stick, so now I rarely use any oil or butter at all and nothing sticks to the pan. Highly recommended!


May 11, 2010

My Top 10 Creative and Affordable Vacation Ideas

Every year I have this dilemma: I want to go somewhere - anywhere - but I'm always short on money.

Twitter Moms got me thinking about the possibilities when I read this.

Mediterranean cruise? Lovely thought, but too expensive.

Left Bank of Paris? Amazing experience, but too expensive.

La Costa? Again... too expensive.

Are you sensing a pattern here?

"Vacation" doesn't have to mean a foreign trip. Or a luxury indulgence. (although both of those would be nice!!)

Last year, the buzzword was "staycation". That's all well and good, but I can't make it work for me. If I'm at home for a few days, I start feeling guilty and find things to do around the house. NOT my idea of a vacation.

So I started thinking of alternatives... and here are My Top 10 Creative and Affordable Vacation Ideas:

1. Think local. There are lots of places within a day's drive that offer entertainment, culture, activity or just relaxation. Google your home town and search in a 100-mile radius for attractions.

2. Think outside the box. Amusement parks are fine, but kids also love animals. How about a petting zoo or working farm?

3. Let your friends and family know you are looking for vacation ideas and opportunities. You never know what might turn up. A friend had tickets for a NASCAR race and couldn't go, so he gave them to me. Instant vacation from the ordinary!

4. There's strength in numbers. If that trip is too expensive to take on your own or with just your family, get together with another person or family and split the costs. A beach house rental for a week at half price is quite a deal.

5. Think about your hobbies and passions and look for ways to vacation around them. I love exploring antebellum mansions, so a trip to Vicksburg, Mississippi appeals to me very much, whereas someone who doesn't share that passion might be bored with Vicksburg. (sorry, Vicksburg, no offense intended - I just used you as an example) :)

6. If you're single and love adventure, try your luck at stand-by flights. Airlines want to send up full planes, of course, but sometimes passengers don't make their flights for whatever reasons and the plane has to go up anyway, even with an empty seat. Airlines will fill those seats at deeply discounted prices, but you have to be available at a moment's notice to go wherever that plane is going. Not for the timid!

7. House-sit for a friend or relative while they are away. I just love staying at my sister's place while she and her family are in Florida for a week. It's just familiar enough to feel cozy and home-like, and just exotic enough to feel like I'm getting a little mini-getaway. And she has a pool and hot tub. :)

8. Camping is an affordable escape if you don't mind roughing it. Don't forget mosquito repellent!

9. State and national parks also offer some great deals on cabin rentals or hotel room stays. Meals are often included, and the grounds and premises are well-patrolled and family-friendly. Check out your state's website for local parks and nature areas.

10. And finally, nothing says "vacation" to me like just relaxing. And nothing says "relax" to me like a hammock. A quick visit to the hardware store, thirty minutes of assembly, and voila, instant haven in the privacy of your own backyard.

So there you have it, and I hope I've given you some things to think about. An African Safari would be the trip of a lifetime, sure, but it would cost about as much as a small house. Not something I can afford. So get creative and think of your own affordable vacation getaway ideas.

Affordable Vacation Ideas
Toyota Sienna

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Toyota Sienna and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.