Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Pranks

Earlysville Road, Charlottesville, Virginia
This post is dedicated to my Halloween kindred spirit - Bren - BOO.

I love Halloween and S P O O K Y things.  Creepy houses, candy, Devils and Ghosts.  When we moved into our family home built in 1932 we tried our hardest to resurrect the spirits - NOTHING - 20 years of nothing... except for the meowie Crow that always seemed to appear at my darkest moments.  When I was down in the dumps it always seemed this Crow would appear and make a cat like meowie sound.  One time I was up at the family cemetery plot and was deep in sadness the Crow appeared and started meowing.  I always associated the Crow with my Grandmother watching over me.  She apparently liked many of the things I like such as flowers, books, and cooking.  The freaky thing is that when we moved 3 hours away, shortly afterwards, here came a meowie Crow.  We still have a large flock of Crow's that hang out at our house, just like they did at our old house.

Our old house - lots of vegetation to hide in!
Our old house was a perfect haunted house having two huge trees out front, a long front porch, and lots of fallen leaves.  I had moved from a condo that was not scary friendly.  I so longed to scare the bejesus out of some Trick or Treaters and now I had the perfect setting.  I of course had an evil assortment of costumes, a Witch, Devil, and Skeleton.  With my husbands help, we created a leaf pile that moved.  A string and cube of cardboard was buried in the pile and a sign that read, Beware of the LEAF PILE of course got the Trick or Treaters curious about the pile.  At just the right moment, my husband who was hidden in the bushes pulled the string.  We laughed so hard watching the kids scream and run into the night.

We loved "candy" pranks.  Dressed up as a Witch, spooky music in the background, I would snap out a scarred plastic hand just as the kids were grabbing a glob of candy and say "don't take too many".  It worked every time, getting a jump out of the kids and saving more candy for us (ha ha).  I would present a tray of Pennies to the kids.  The faces were so funny, looks of -- are you nuts -- WE WANT CANDY - forget the MONEY - we want CANDY!  I had an old metal dish that had a piece of wrapped candy that had melted and was stuck to the bottom.  It was too funny to watch the kids try to get it off.  I had to discontinue one prank... I had a tray of bone shaped Dog Biscuits - a few kids would laugh and not take but several took them.  The next day my neighbor said one kid came to their door that said, those people over there are giving out bone shaped candy --- holding a piece with a bite out --- "it's not very good."  I never imagined anyone would actually EAT IT.

Happy Halloween and have FUN.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Where has the Week Gone

It's been one of those weeks... and now it is GONE.  At the start, it had so much promise.  I was going to get the basement "vintage" assortment organized and list items in my Etsy shop and on Craigslist.

Pair of Vintage Shades for sale in my Etsy shop, ForsythiaHill.
It turns out that the search for a new pair of eyeglasses is proving to be more difficult than imagined.  Every day I hit a new shop, searching for a frame that looks good on me.  In between eyeglass searching, I did a few more things this week... 

Monday I heard Bob Woodward speak at the lovely historic Miller Center, a.k.a. The Faulkner House, a.k.a The Old Ivy Inn.  I had never been there before and discovered 19 acres of lovely grounds and a beautifully restored mansion.  Mr. Woodward's presentation was very interesting and I put a check mark in my brain to seek out his books at the library.  Later in the week when I stopped by the Recycle Center in Charlottesville and there is this wonderful trailer in the back full of discarded books!  I actually found an old book of Bob Woodward's, The Commanders.  I did the sniff test, no funky old smells and have begun reading it.  So far it is fascinating and it was FREE.

Tuesday I took a trip to Lynchburg to have lunch with the parents and Wednesday I met with my Newcomers Club Saving 101 Group.  Thursday I zipped up the 29N Bypass - yes, there already IS a bypass -- it's called Earlysville Rd - to get my hair cut and pick up some deals at PetSmart.  I had a $15.00 off coupon for $50.00 or more purchase and it really adds up when you buy bagged dog food and joint supplements.  Anyway, I saved over $30.00 with coupons.

We're staying IN - all snugglie and warm.
The week is at end and a friend ordered reserved tickets for the Fall Open House at the Fan Mountain Observatory.  It's going to be cloudy so no sky viewing but the gang wants to go anyway.  Burrr, it's beginning to feel like Winter, I just want to stay in this weekend and stay WARM. 

Off to try and list ONE item on Craigslist... we'll see if that happens.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's a Girl To Do

Weekend Deal

On Saturday 11 am - 2 pm at Whole Foods
FREE - 8 oz. Cup of Whole Trade Allegro Coffee at for trying Organic Valley Creamer (Dairy or Soy).  NOTE:  This is my favorite creamer, it actually tastes GOOD!

Virginia Creeper on Forsythia Hill

2 PM - October 23rd Ivy Creek Natural Area - FREE - Native Trees of Virginia walk and talk with Ellen Powell of the Virginia Department of Forestry about our native trees.

6 - 9 PM - October 23rd - The Haven - DONATION - Food Day Potluck with speaker Tanya Cobb who will share success stories from her book concerning locally grown grassroots food sources.  Proceeds to help the homeless.   "Reclaiming Our Food: How the Grassroots Food Movement is Changing the Way We Eat."


11 AM - October 24 - The Miller Center - FREE - Forum: From Nixon to Obama.   BOB WOODWARD is regarded as one of America’s preeminent investigative reporters and non-fiction authors. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post. A book signing will follow his Forum.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Trip to Crabtree Falls

Lovely views on the way to Crabtree Falls.
Three friends headed out Saturday to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I had it in my mind that on a beautiful fall day the place to go would be the Shenandoah National Park.  Charlottesville is conveniently located just a short drive between both of these beautiful natural areas.  Basically, right off I-64 you either head South to the Blue Ridge Parkway or North to Shenandoah National Forest.

The upper section of Crabtree Falls.

I bet you did not realize that only one hour away from Charlottesville on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River!  Crabtree Falls is located in Nelson County, Virginia, just six miles off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 27.  It was pretty crowded this peak fall day but it was not obnoxiously crowded.  There were moments of quiet and solitude and I can imagine this spot would be wonderful to visit just about any time of the year.


A 3 mile hike up gets you to the top of the falls that travel 1,200 feet down.  Twenty-seven people have fallen off the falls and died (most were not on the trail).  A sign at the falls cautions: "Young men and women between 18 and 25 years of age, who are bright, intelligent and educated fit the profile of the victims of the siren of Crabtree Falls."   We only went 1/2 way up as one section is literally an extreme vertical flight of stairs up to the sky. It is not insurmountable but it is very steep and we didn't want to be victim #28, 29, and 30. 

The falls are thought to be named after William Crabtree of 1777.  Crabtree Falls was mentioned in the Walton's Television Show but never filmed as part of the show.  This is an outstanding camping and cabin rental area complete with a store and many hiking opportunities.

Searching the Pumpkin Patch.
After leaving the falls, we happened upon an Apple Festival and Trisha and I split a 1/2 a bushel of my favorite apple, the Stayman.  Wow, they are so good.  I'm putting them in pancakes, oatmeal, cookies, and now am getting ready to make some applesauce!  At the festival, there was a Pumpkin picking patch, music, and apple tasting. 

I'm ready to welcome in Fall now.  Taking a short rest before Spring planting.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's a Girl To Do

9:30 AM - October 15th - $15.00 - Apple Tasting at Tufton Farm of Monticello.   2.5 hour discussion and tasting of many unusual but wonderful apple varieties that can't be found in the local grocery store.  Pre-pay online.

Noon - October 15th & 16th - FREE - Stone Carving Demo at White Hall Vineyards.  Members of the Virginia Stone Carvers Guild demonstrate stone carving techniques under the open sky.  Also on Sunday at the same time.


Monday 11:00 AM - October 24 - FREE - The Miller Center.  Forum: From Nixon to ObamaBOB WOODWARD is regarded as one of America’s preeminent investigative reporters and non-fiction authors. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post. A book signing will follow his Forum.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Staples Camera Deal

Kodak Easyshare M320
I've been waiting months to pounce on a good camera deal.  My husband purchased a Kodak Easyshare as a gift for me years ago.  It was time for an upgrade.  Back in the day of "film" photography, I had a zoom lens Minolta.  I paid a good penny for it in the early 80's and it weighed a ton.  It was a great camera but not easily replaced for a decent price with today's digital technology, until yesterday. 

I researched online, reading numerous reviews.  There were really no serious negatives so I took the plunge and grabbed a Fujifilm Finepix S3300.  It seemed weight was an issue for some reviewers but compared to my old Minolta this was lightweight.  It actually adds some balance and the point and shoots are so lightweight I fumble with them! 

The deal runs this week at Staples.  The cost is $199.00 and you get a $50.00 gift card, making the deal $150.00.  It's an impressive camera with 14 megapixels, 26X Optical Zoom.  It's fairly easy to use for a versitle camera.  I am so happy to finally once again be able to manually alter aperature and shutter settings.  The lower priced point and shoots rarely, if ever, don't offer both.  My Kodak actually allowed more flexiblity and was a decent 9.2 megapixels (which was pretty good even by today's standards) but maxed out at a 3X Optical Zoom.

FujiFilm S3300
You can see the improvement from the shots taken in the same light minutes apart.  The detail just can not be realized with my Kodak 3X zoom.  Pretty impressive for just pointing and shooting right out of the box.  I have a lot to learn but it was easy to get a few shots without too much fiddling.  There is no other digital camera with such zoom power and good online ratings at this price.  Typical prices for other camera in this category are $500 - $800.00.  If your in the market and will spend $50.00 at Staples over the next several years, grab it before the deal is gone.  The Gift Card has no "expiration".


Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's a Girl To Do


I decided to finally breakdown and buy a food processor.  Originally I purchased one that had "middle of the road" online recommendations.  It didn't make my Hummus fine enough so I returned it.  I researched products online and ended up with a Ninja.  Someone even stopped  me as I was buying it to tell me how much they loved their Ninja!  It pulverizes my Hummus in a snap and makes creamy Smoothies.  Included is a hard plastic pitcher and chopper container.  It's chops just about anything in record speed.  I made some homemade Tomato Sauce and ran it through to make it even finer and it worked great.  I had to grind and grind my Hummus with the first processor that I purchased and it never got as fine whipped as with the Ninja.  I found mine at Target on sale but they can be purchased online as well.

Shenandoah National Park

9:30 AM - October 8th - $15.00 - Strenuous Trek - Hike up Montalto with Peter Hatch of MonticelloLong 2.5 hour hike takes you to pristine views of C'ville, Albemarle County, and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Pre-pay online.


2:00 PM - October 9th- FREE - Movie Screening - Forks over Knives. Save your life by changing your diet.  Take charge of your health.  The reasons why and motivation to get you started.  Downtown Central Library, Charlottesville.


7:00 PM - October 11th - FREE - Photographic Presentation - TechnoTrees and Natural Trees.  Ivy Creek Nature Center, Charlottesville.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Free Stuff and Deals

I came home today w/a small load of FREE items and several deals.

Freecycle is a great place to find this or that.  I have found numerous items; two "like new" bookcases, packaging supplies, and now a sawdust "source".  I use sawdust for my deep litter system that I use inside my Chicken Coop.  It's better than paying $5.00 a bale for straw or shavings.

I picked up a bag of used Coffee grounds from the downtown Mudhouse (a $1.00 donation to Habitat for Humanity is recommended) to help fortify my garden. 

The Wonderful Pistachios were on sale and I had a manufacturers coupon for $1.00 off and a $2.00 CVS store coupon.  I also got $1.00 Extracare Bucks back, making the nuts only $1.00.  Now that is a deal.  Suet is on sale this week at Southern States for .89.  I load up (buying a dozen) and freeze it until needed.

Happy dealing this week.  They are out there, you just gotta look.

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