Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LAST CALL! Sign up or donate for

How many people have been a part of JFK High School through the years? (Raise your hand.)

And of all of you people, how many of you know someone - friend or family - who have suffered from Arthritis? (Probably everyone!)   (OK, you can put your hands down now.)

Well, you are a part of JFK, and you should be a part of JFK's team to help raise money to combat Arthritis. Mr. Kaul, a teacher at JFK, has formed a team for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis.

It's going to be in Metuchen on December 4th. There is a registration fee to sign up, and then you can raise money... or you can just donate to JFK's team. The 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk®is a fun, festive event for the whole family!   Put on your reindeer antlers and your running shoes and come join us for some holiday cheer.  All the details are on the website.

Several teachers and students have already signed up. Wouldn't it be spectacular if we proved - again - that JFK is NUMBER 1... by having the biggest team, and raising the most money?

I know we can do it... so click on this link:  
5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk team for Arthritis, JFK High School 

I hope to see you there!!! Sign up today. Or at least, make a donation!

The Quote of the Day

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included. 

~Bernard Manning

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Quote of the Day

Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall.  We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space. 

~Dave Barry

Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't get left out
Of Cyber Monday Shopping!

My friend Janine sells PartyLite Candle stuff, and you can find some really good sales - plus 30% off for "Cyber Monday" - if you go HERE!

Plus - in line with my "buy American" fixation this year - the candles (maybe not the candle holders, but definitely the candles!) are MADE IN AMERICA... plus, your purchase will benefit a small business owner... Janine!

This is what Janine wrote on her Facebook:

How can I help you save a bundle?
Retiring scents & products get 'em now!!
Have a candlelit Christmas for LESS!
Effortless Holiday Shopping!
GREAT Gifts! & even More Great Gifts!
Mystery Host Opportunity!
Simple Pleasures Holiday Sweepstakes!
Free Tealights with $25 order
3 Doz Tealights for $25/3 Dozen Votives for $35!
Extra $50 Host Credit now through 12/15!
Collect orders, and YOU can start your business/earn $$ Now!

What a beautiful day!

The weather was amazing today.  NYC hit a record of 70 degrees, and I don't thing we're far behind... we might even have been warmer!   I hear it's going to rain tomorrow.  I just hope it's a warm rain....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Quote of the Day

The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it is difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine. 

-- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Today is "Small Business Saturday." It's a day to support the many small businesses and "Mom and Pop Shops" that make up a big part of our economy, providing jobs for our community.
According to Small,
New Jersey Small Business Profile - In New Jersey, small businesses are vital to the financial well-being of the state’s economy. Their contribution is essential for economic growth since they make up almost all employer firms in the state. 

There are lots of small businesses around town. Woodbridge publishes a "Shop Local" list. Here are a few...
Westfield Antiques - 717 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge 
Auto Parts and Sporting Goods of Woodbridge - 108 Main Street, Woodbridge 
Classic Audio - 1239 St. George Avenue, Colonia 
Vintage Vinyl - Route 1, Fords 
Thriftway Card$mart - 853 St. George Avenue, Woodbridge 
Extremz Bike Shop - 108 Main Street, Woodbridge 
Rookies and Stars Sports Cards - 1350 St. George Avenue, Avenel

But there are plenty more.  And don't forget, today on Main Street in Woodbridge, there's a holiday kickoff celebration!
So, today's Christmas Shopping Suggestion of the Day?  Shop Local and support our local economy!

The Quote of the Day

Oh, for the good old days 
when people would stop Christmas shopping
when they ran out of money.  

~Author Unknown

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Present Idea - MADE IN THE USA!

I'm still looking for ideas for my Christmas Shopping list for things that are MADE IN THE USA, and I found this idea.  If you know someone who is in the medical field, this might be a good idea for you, too.  Actually, scrubs uniforms are a good idea for just about anyone who wants to be comfortable.  I hear that people wear them as PJ's or just around the house to relax in.

If you go to Blue Sky - the web site is located at - you'll find a whole lot of really nice choices.  They look stylish AND comfy!  Plus, like I said, they are MADE IN THE USA, which is really important to me this year, because I want to help an American in a manufacturing plant somewhere keep his or her job!

Oh, and there is some sweepstakes contest going on until the 30th... you might want to enter, too...

So, that's my Christmas Present Idea of the Day... scrubs uniforms for sale for a nurse, doctor, or medical professional that you love.

Small Business Saturday

Come Christmas Shopping in Woodbridge on Saturday with the Annual
“ Holiday Stroll” & Horse-Drawn “Sleigh” Ride on 
Main Street in Woodbridge
Price of admission to all Township Holiday events is a can…or two…or three of non-perishable foods to help our neighbors make it through the holiday season

Woodbridge – Mayor John E. McCormac and the Woodbridge Downtown Merchants Association kick-off the 2011 Holiday Season with the Annual “Holiday Stroll” and horse-drawn “sleigh” ride down Main Street on Sat., Nov. 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  It's a lot of fun... plus, it's "small business Saturday" - so come on down and support your local small businesses!

Justin Beiber in Menlo Mall?

I don't really follow Justin Beiber much. So I don't really know where he is playing right now... if he's in concert or making public appearances. But someone commented on the blog that I should write about Justin Beiber at Menlo Park Mall.

So I did a little research online, and I didn't find anything definite.

I did find a note from Menlo Park Mall on their Facebook page. Someone random had posted that everyone was all excited because they heard rumors that Justin Beiber was going to be there. The official Menlo Park Mall response was this:
Menlo Park Mall: People let eveyone know... If the mall is/was planning ANY appearances they would be posted by the mall on the website / here / and twitter. If you DO NOT read it here from us - assume it's not true. Thanks
The only thing I found was this commercial, linked to Justin's twitter accout...which does NOT promise that he's going to any Macy's in particular...

There is also some indication that Justin Beiber granted some wishes for some Make A Wish children... Could that have happened at Macy's in Menlo? I don't know, but maybe.
Also, this morning, #PrayforJustinBeiber is a trending topic on twitter.

A sample tweet is this:
#prayforjustinbieber Justin had an asthma attack and now he's in the hospital. RT if you care.♥

So the rumor...and it's just a rumor... on twitter is that he had an asthma attack while doing an interview. And if this is true, I suppose his personal appearances may be on hold for the moment. If you know otherwise, let me know! I'd love to post a picture of Beiber at Menlo!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Quote of the Day

Only one shopping day left 'til tomorrow.  

~Author Unknown

A Tale of Two Turkeys

It was the best of times, it was the... Yeah, it really was the best of times. I have a lot to be grateful for this year... not the least of which is a JOB!!! Yay! So, I decided to go all out on my celebration, and have TWO - very different - turkeys!

Those of you who know me, know that I am NOT a vegetarian. I am, however, interested in conservation, biodiversity, sustainable farming and heirloom vegetables. Farming isn't happening much in Iselin, but I did order some heirloom seeds for my garden last year. I'm saving some seeds from each harvest and planting them again next year.

Did you realize that some seeds only grow plants without seeds, so you have to buy new seeds every year? And a lot of people plant the exact same variety year after year, in garden after garden; but there are many different varieties of any given plant. Eventually, the old, unusual varieties disappear; but by preserving many different varieties, I believe you make our food supply stronger and better able to defend itself from pests and disease.   Same thing with Turkeys.  We all always get the supermarket turkey, which is bred to be lots of white meat and very mild.  They are raised in factories and never go outside.  I wanted to try something different.  No, not beef. 

Yeah, this is stuff I think about sometimes. Doesn't everyone? No? So, this year, I decided I wanted to order a free-range, organic, "naturally raised" kind of turkey. And I like the idea of a "heritage" turkey, which means that it is a variety not normally found in the supermarkets. I really wanted to go right to the farm and pick one up, but I didn't see a listing for a turkey farm anywhere around here.

(And I don't want to go hunting for the infamous Iselin Turkey! He's a wild one, and I'm hoping he stays free and has lots of little turkeys that will spread throughout Iselin.)

I did find a listing for turkey farms that were farther away, and it just so happens that they DELIVER! The down side is that a turkey of the size that I usually would order for my Thanksgiving dinner and everyone who joins us was just TOOOOO expensive.

I was worried if I'd get it on time.  I'm lucky it's so little, because it was delivered yesterday evening, and yes, it was nicely packaged and frozen solid.  (I knew it was coming in frozen; I'd rather it was frozen than spoil on the UPS truck.)  But here is the box...

Butterball Turkey and Heritage Turkey Farm Turkey
I switched them around here - the Heritage is on the left, Butterball on the right

Anyway, I compromised. I ordered two smaller turkeys from the farm in Wisconsin, for the price of the one larger one. And I've decided to save one of them for the next holiday dinner;

AND I got my Shop Rite turkey, and I'm cooking that too.

I'm cooking both varieties together, in the exact same way. And I'll let you know if there is any difference between them, and if there is a difference, which one is better? I'll have a poll of my family, and I'll let you know the results of the poll.
Heritage (L) and Butterball (R) fixed with butter, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper, and stuffed with celery, onions, and other aromatics...

Here they are, all prepared to go into the oven.

Happy eating!

Alice's Restaurant

For me, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Alice's Restaurant song. Here is the video (although you won't be able to see it in an email... you knew that already, didn't you?)

C'mon, everybody, in four part harmony... "You can get anything you want in Alice's Restaurant!"

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Quote of the Day

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is your turkey defrosted?
I'm not sure if mine is or not... gulp... because I ordered a turkey on the internet, from a farm, and it hasn't been delivered yet! And, since it's supposed to arrive frozen, I've got a feeling it's going to be pretty solid. At least it's supposed to be a little turkey. Hopefully it won't take too long to thaw.

Thawing correctly is really important, because it can be DANGEROUS TO YOUR GUESTS to thaw the turkey wrong!!! 

I looked up thawing turkeys on the internet, and this is what I found, on the USDA Website, HERE:

There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave oven.

Immediately after grocery store checkout, take the frozen turkey home and store it in the freezer. Frozen turkeys should not be left on the back porch, in the car trunk, in the basement, or any place else where temperatures cannot be constantly monitored.

Refrigerator Thawing When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator: Plan ahead: allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below. Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods. 

Refrigerator Thawing Times: 
Whole turkey:
4 to 12 pounds …… 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds …… 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds …… 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds …… 5 to 6 days

A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking but there may be some loss of quality.

Cold Water Thawing 
Allow about 30 minutes per pound. First be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product. Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. 

Cold Water Thawing Times
4 to 12 pounds …… 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds …… 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds …… 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds …… 10 to 12 hours

A turkey thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately. After cooking, meat from the turkey can be refrozen. 

Microwave Thawing 
Follow the microwave oven manufacturer's instruction when defrosting a turkey. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed. A turkey thawed in the microwave must be cooked immediately.

Happy turkey prep!

The Quote of the Day

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  
They are consumed in twelve minutes.  
Half-times take twelve minutes.  
This is not coincidence.  

~Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

xkcd: A Comic

 xkcd is a really good internet comic.  I look at it pretty often.  It's my kind of weird humor, most days.

They just did a "comic" about money, which you can see HERE. 
It is really helpful in my quest to understand finances...

I would liked to have posted it here on my blog - they don't mind if I copy it, as long as I give them credit - but it was tooooo big for blogspot to be able to handle.
So, go see it on their website.  It's not funny, but it is very VERY fascinating.

The Iselin Turkey!

Photo credit -  Patrick Daniels

Wow, look at that!
These photos may be a little blurry, but you can see what it is, can't you?
It's the Iselin Turkey!  Really~ a wild turkey, wandering around on Oak Tree Road!

I hope he makes it through Thanksgiving...

Photo credit - Patrick Daniels

Thanks to Pat Daniels for snapping these photos this morning, and sending them to me.  If anyone else gets a good photo around Iselin, and you'd like to see it on the Iselin Times, please email me at  - I love local photos, even if I haven't taken them myself.


Meat cupcakes with mashed potato icing ...

I saw this on the Pop 2 it/Zap 2 it web site...

Why did I never think of this myself?
Now that I read about online, I can totally imagine it.  After all, we already love meatloaf.  It's not such a stretch to make mini-meatloaves in cupcake pans, cook them done, and then ice them with twice baked potatoes. 
Tonight, we're having leftovers, because I need to make room in the fridge for the Thanksgiving Dinner that is already being prepared.  Tomorrow will probably be a good night to eat out, since I have to pick up the kid from college, and that's a bit of a hike.  Then, of course is Thanksgiving.  But Friday night, I'm definitely making meat cupcakes. 

The Quote of the Day

Cooking is like love.  
It should be entered into 
with abandon
or not at all.  

~Harriet van Horne

Let the cooking begin!  Today is the day to make cookies and other desserts and start the preparations.  I'm hoping my turkey is delivered today... and that's going to be a blog post in itself.  Are you cooking for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 21, 2011

From the Home News Tribune Police Blotter

 I just saw this article in the Home News Tribune Police Blotter on, which you can read HERE:

Car with keys in ignition stolen

WOODBRIDGE: A 22-year-old Iselin man’s car was stolen from a Woodbridge Center Mall parking lot after he left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition.
About 8:30 p.m. Nov. 16, police were dispatched to the Olive Garden restaurant at Woodbridge Center for a report of a theft of a motor vehicle.
The 22-year-old Iselin man told police he parked his car in the lot about 7 a.m. Nov. 16 and noticed it was gone about 8:30 p.m.
The vehicle had been left unlocked with the keys in the ignition, police said.

I feel bad for the guy.  I know people figure nothing will happen.  It's not true.  Sure, I love Iselin, and I believe it's a pretty safe place, but I also know I shouldn't tempt fate.  

So - the moral of my story is - please lock your doors, and take your keys with you. 

What I'd REALLY like for Christmas... a little more space around here, to put things away!  It's hard to clean up because I have a LOT of stuff, and no garage or basement. I don't need a bigger house, but I am so envious of people with garage storage cabinets.

It's only a few more days before the holidays begin.  I was cleaning up the house this afternoon, getting ready for company, and I realized that I have so much stuff that has no "place".   You know, like my momma always said - a place for everything, and everything in it's place.  Well, not around here.   I wish.

 I have so many hobbies, and all the equipment that goes with them - camping stuff and arts and craft supplies and sewing things, to name a few. I need somewhere to put things; my closets are already full, and it seems like I'm always just shifting things around, from the corner of one room to the corner of another. It makes it much harder to really get organized.

So I was thinking, if I HAD a garage or basement, I would have it filled with garage cabinets and shelves. But all I have is a laundry room. It's small, but why can't it be more efficient? It should be more organized.   If I had the right kind of cabinets, I could probably find a permanent place for more of my stuff. So I went online, and I found a bunch of really nice steel storage cabinets at Arrow  They seem really heavy duty, and I even like the color they come in!

So, I'm going to give my husband a link to the Arrow Spacemaker Storage Cabinets site, and suggest that for our Christmas gift to each other, we remodel the laundry room.  I think he'll agree, because the mess bothers him even more than it bothers me; he'll be glad to finally get my craft supplies put away!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Quote of the Day

Youth is like spring, an over praised season 
more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes.  
Autumn is the mellower season, 
and what we lose in flowers 
we more than gain in fruits.  

~Samuel Butler

Can Iselin win the Readers Digest Sweepstakes?

There's this Readers Digest sweepstakes thing I got in an email, and I decided to enter Iselin in the sweepstakes.  The form I filled out asked me what I would do with the money if we won; well, I LOVE the arts, and I would love to see an Iselin Arts Council.  Iselin is such a beautiful place, I would love it if we could celebrate that.  Art teachers from our local schools could be on the council, along with musicians,  and dance troupes... Hey, isn't it fun to imagine all the different ways you could spend the money if you hit the lottery?  Yeah...

Well, it turns out that it isn't just a lottery; it's won by having the most votes.  And the weird thing about THAT is that everyone can vote AS MUCH AS THEY WANT.  And we're already #265 (well, we were when I looked last) and I'm the only one who voted. So, if you think it's a good idea, log on and vote about a million times, and maybe we'll win something!  At the very least, maybe we could get an Iselin "Day of Art" out of it, with a decent band and dancers and an art show!  (That would be fun for me, anyway!)  Well, these are the prizes:
Editors' Picks
Cheers from 50 States
One of the smallest entrants in the 2011 "We Hear You America" contest, the remote town of Grand Marais, MI is home to only 300 people but received a phenomenal 1,281,724 votes to capture the top cash award! The town promised to use the $40,000 prize to help restore its status as a "harbor of refuge" to vehicles on the often turbulent waters of Lake Superior, which laps at the town's edge.

Voting ends March 1, 2012. 

Remember, every vote gets your town closer to winning -- and you can vote as often as you want each day.

CLICK HERE TO GET TO THE WEBSITE TO VOTE... and remember - vote early, vote often!  And tell all your friends... Vote a bunch of times!  Go Iselin!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More from McBump's Basement
To Start your Saturday Night!

Get to the WHS Bazaar while there's still time!!!

I just stopped in at the Woodbridge High School Holiday Bazaar.  It's open today (Sat., Nov. 19th) until 3:00.

I wanted to make sure I got there because a friend of mine is selling her handcrafted bee products... honeys and soaps and lotions, all really nice.  I bought a bunch of stuff for people on my list for Christmas this year.

But I have to tell you about the Creamed Honey that she is selling.  OMG!  I tried a little bit, and I LOVE it!  I'm talking especially about the JALEPENO flavored creamed honey.

I don't know if you've ever thought about a spicy flavored honey, but now I'm wondering why it's not all over the place.  I brought some home and I'm going to make some corn muffins to eat it on.  I LOVED it! (I'm not giving it to anyone for Christmas, because I'm keeping it for myself!)  There was a spicy peanut creamed honey, and a cinnamon pecan creamed honey, too.  I didn't try them, but I'm thinking about calling her and getting those next time.  I did get a Boysenberry creamed honey; I love fruity flavors.  BUT... the JALAPENO!!! Wow!

Anyway, the whole craft bazaar is FULL of reallly nice tables of beautiful things you can get for people for Christmas.  So if you have any presents left to buy, get over there before it closes today at 3!!!

(And if you pick up any of the stuff at the Barely BeeHav'N table, tell Cathryn I said HI!)

The Quote of the Day

Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. 

~Robert Caspar Lintner

Friday, November 18, 2011

Craft Fair Saturday!!!

Woodbridge High School's Holiday Bazaar,  Saturday, November 19th, in the Woodbridge High School Gym... 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM ... Winter Wonderland for Kids,Refreshments, And shopping... lots of vendors! Artists, Crafters, Jewelers and More!

The Father's Club of St. Joseph High School Craft Fair,  at 145 Plainfield Ave.,  Metuchen, is sponsoring a Craft Fair on November 19th from 9AM - 5PM and November 20th from 9AM - 4PM. There are many vendors with all types of crafts, jewelry and such.

Chris Cornell coming to Vintage Vinyl in Fords

I found this on the Facebook page for Vintage Vinyl Records, located at 51 Lafayette Road, Fords, NJ... 
CHRIS CORNELL  Instore Signing Date Saturday, November 26th, Time 3:30PM

Who is Chris Cornell?  If you don't already know, you probably won't care! He sang Spoonman... remember that song on Guitar Hero? And my favorite, Black Hole Sun. But here is a video in case you aren't sure...

If you can't see the video, you'll have to come right to the blog (because for some reason, the videos don't show up on the emails or on smart phones. I have no idea why.)
You must pre-order or purchase the new Chris Cornell "Songbook" CD, LP, or the Soundgarden "Before the Doors" LP at Vintage Vinyl Records to get your wristband!
You must be wearing the wristband for admittance to the event.

Pre-ordering can only be done at the physical location; no internet or phone orders will be accepted.
The number of people that will admitted is limited so we encourage pre-orders.
Chris will be signing only ONE of the three titles listed above per person.
Please DO NOT bring any other items to be signed.
Customers bringing other items will be ejected from the line.

Newest Song from McBump

Hubby and Me

Guest post written by Christine Duncan
My husband and I have been trying to figure out how to save more money. There are some things we don’t want to give up like our channels or the trip we take each year but I think we’ve decided there are others we can do without like trash pickup and buying the nicest beer in the case everytime we go. I don’t know what it is but now that we’re married I feel an intense need to hoard moneyin case something happens. I think it’s living in this big house knowing that at any moment something could break or that one of us could lose our job and that’s enough to make me worry for our future, you know? I think at the end of the day it’s every person’s responsibility to try and save money for their family and though our family is only the two of us right now I think saving for our FUTURE family is a really smart decision for the both of us. I’m trying to be frugal!

The Quote of the Day

Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?  


Free Show tonight at OLP in Fords!

Tonight at 7:00 PM, in the Our Lady of Peace Annex (across from the OLP Church), in Fords, you are invited to attend a free show:  "Junior's Household Misadventures."

The show is being presented Eagle Scout candidate Charles Gorman.  All are welcome to attend, especially OLP students and PREP students.  It's appropriate for grades PreK to 5th grade... so come out tonight, and see what Junior gets himself into!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There is still time!
Sign up for the Jingle Ball Run/Walk with JFK!!!

It isn't too late! You should be a part of JFK's team to help raise money to combat Arthritis. Mr. Kaul, a teacher at JFK, has formed a team for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis.

It's going to be in Metuchen on December 4th. There is a registration fee to sign up, and then you can raise money... or you can just donate to JFK's team. The 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk®is a fun, festive event for the whole family!   Put on your reindeer antlers and your running shoes and come join us for some holiday cheer.  All the details are on the website.

Several teachers and students have already signed up. Wouldn't it be spectacular if we proved - again - that JFK is NUMBER 1... by having the biggest team, and raising the most money?

I know we can do it... so click on this link:  
5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk team for Arthritis, JFK High School 

I hope to see you there!!! Sign up today. Or at least, make a donation!

Financial Aid Workshop at JFK HS

If you have a child in High School, you probably got this message already.

"John F. Kennedy Memorial High School will be hosting the Woodbridge Township School District's Financial Aid workshop on Thursday, November 17th. The workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. All senior students and families are invited to attend this meeting."

I went to this workshop before my child was a senior, and I was glad I did, because there is a lot to learn about applying for the FAFSA when your kid goes off to college.

So, even though you probably know the meeting is happening, I just wanted to remind you about it - and recommend that you go and listen to them, at least one time, so you have a basic understanding. Because filling out the FAFSA form is no fun, but this might make it a little bit easier.

A nice little video from Chick Fil A

It's a nice little video, not really a commercial. It was kind of thoughtful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I've got so much to learn about finances!

So, I am still continuing my quest to learn about finances and the economy and all that stuff.
And I find that the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  I am SO clueless.

 I guess that shouldn't be a surprise.

I've been talking to my Mom and Dad, who are retired, and I've realized that I have no understanding of what kind of things I need to prepare for retirement.  It seems like it's SOOO far in the future.  But it's really not; time flies so quickly.  And I'm certainly not going to be able to learn it all at once, right?  So I want to start understanding it now, a little at a time.

Today Mom and I talked about health insurance stuff, and I learned a little bit about Medicare and insurance.
You might already know all this; but if you are not of retirement age, maybe you don't understand it yet either.

For example... do you know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?  I didn't, until I started looking it up.  Medicare is a federal program that you apply for at the local Social Security Office, and it is for people who are either 65 and over, or for people who are permanently disabled  and can't work.   Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state program for low-income people who qualify.

There's different parts of Medicare coverage; you can learn a lot about it by clicking on this link to the Open Enrollment center.  There is Medicare part A, which is Hospital Insurance, and there is Medicare part B, which is Medical Coverage - for Doctors and things.  And there's a Medicare part D, which is for prescription drugs.  The medicare covers about 80% of the bills; and then there is Medicare Supplemental Coverage, also known as Medicare Gap Coverage, which covers the stuff that Medicare doesn't cover.  I plan on trying to learn more about this Medicare Supplement Insurance soon, by checking out the website  and the government medicare websites.

In the meantime, I'm talking to my Mom and Dad, to try to learn from their experience.

The Quote of the Day

Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness.

~Henrik Ibsen

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Video about the Economy

Remember the Chocolate Rain video guy?
This is a video from him. It's about the economy... in my never ending quest to try to understand the economy, I think this was pretty entertaining and educational.
So you might want to watch the video too. Or maybe not. That's up to you.

If you find something on the internet that you think is good information on the economy, please share it with me. Thanks!

Christmas Shopping started yet?

Interesting info from the email I get from Jaffe Communications every day, called "The Morning Briefing."   For more information on Jaffe Communications, go to their website at 
STATEWIDE - The National Retail Federation would like to politely remind you that Christmas is less than two months away. And, the federation would like to know, have you spent $704.18 yet? That's how much you are expected to shell out - slightly down from $718.98 last year - on gifts. Here's what is expected: You'll spend $403.26 on the kiddies, parents and other family members. You'll spend an average of $68.23 on friends, $21.06 on co-workers, and $23.39 on the family pet. The federation also thinks you will shell out $46.73 in decorations, $26.52 in greeting cards, $96.75 in candy and food and $18.23 in flowers. Have you spent the money yet? Huh? No? Why not? -- Jaffe Communications

The Quote of the Day

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” 

– Henry Ford

I found this quote on The Simple Dollar website, HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Eagle Project:
Do you have used musical instruments to donate?

Bryce Gomes is a Boy Scout in Troop 31, Port Reading.  He's working on his Eagle Project, and he's hoping you can help.

Bryce loves music, so for his Eagle Project, he's decided to collect any old, used, and worn musical instruments and repair them, and then give them to our township schools for use in their music programs.

Bryce explains, "Schools do not (always) have instruments for children who would like to play but do not have the money to buy or rent." But Bryce throught that it was very possible that other local families might have old musical instruments that they had no use for... maybe in attics or closets, left over from when their own children started taking lessons and then quit.  Those instruments, rather than being locked away and unplayed, could benefit others. 

Bryce said "All donations will go directly to our local schools and are tax deductible."  Most recently, he said, he's gotten a donation of a Fender Guitar.  Even broken instruments are being accepted, because he's going to have them fixed up before he sends them to school.

So, if you have an old oboe or tuba, flute or clarinet, or any other kind of musical instrument, and you aren't using it anymore, you can contact Bryce at 732-850-4239, or at

More Beautiful Fall Foliage Photos

I love to take pictures.

The Quote of the Day

 Do not dwell in the past, 
    do not dream of the future, 
      concentrate the mind on the present moment.
-- Buddha

Friday, November 11, 2011

JFK HS Marching Band

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Brennan
This picture was taken yesterday at the Holiday Parade and Chick-Fil-A Fundraiser.  Happy Holidays!

It's a Beautiful Morning

And it might just be the peak leaf color for the year... I have a feeling that after today... well, maybe tomorrow... we're going to start dropping leaves fast and furious.  It's been a beautiful week of "Indian  Summer."  I hope you all enjoyed it, because winter is coming!

The True Significance of 11/11/11

November 11th is Veteran's Day.  This year, it's 11/11/11.  I've been hearing a lot about how lucky the day is, especially at 11:11 - we should all stop and make a wish.

I'll agree with that.
We should all stop for a moment.

We should definitely stop for a moment, and observe a moment of silence for our Veterans.

We should say a fervent "Thank You" for the sacrifices they have made, so that we could be so lucky.

And yes, maybe it would be good to make a wish.

We could wish for peace.

We could wish for all our Soldiers and Veterans to be safe and protected and taken care of.
We could wish for a world where it is no longer necessary to fight wars.

Veterans Day is an annual holiday in America honoring the 24.9 million military veterans in the United States.  From the Veteran's Affairs website:

Veterans Day is both a federal and state holiday and is usually observed on November 11 each year.

In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world celebrated because after four years of war, the Allied powers signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany, bringing World War I to a close.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of "Armistice Day" with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

On May 13, 1938, our government made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day."

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans."

With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

 And... If you are a Veteran... 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tonight is the night for the Marching Mustangs and SANTA!!!

Chick-Fil-A Spirit Night
and Woodbridge Center Santa Arrival Parade

Thursday, November 10 · 5:00pm - 8:00pm


Come to the mall for dinner at Chick-Fil-A to benefit the John F. Kennedy High School "Marching Mustangs" band program.  A flyer is required for JFK to receive benefit of the sales. Please see a band member or parent for flyers; flyers will also be available by emailing

Join us for Woodbridge Center's Annual Santa Arrival Parade on Thursday, November 10 at 7PM.  The Marching Mutangs and the Chick-Fil-A Cow will kick off the holiday season with a parade on the lower level of the mall. Please come out for a night of fun and support our JFK marching band!
March with Santa and all his friends to Santa's My Wish Experience where Santa will then take photograph with all his friends.
LOCATION: Lower Level JCPenney to Santa My Wish Workshop
TIME: 7:00PM - 8:00PM

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buy some American Made Gifts this holiday season!
And... a Holiday Bazaar at Woodbridge HS 11/19!

I've been trying to promote the whole idea of "Made in America" Gifts for the Holiday Season.
This email was going around, and TWO people sent it to me. Here it is!

Holiday season 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition!
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. 

This year will be different. 

This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

 It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
-- Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?...
-- Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement....
-- Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates....
-- Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

-- There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.
Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open....
-- How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?....
-- Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day....

-- My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running....
-- OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes....
-- Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.... Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Woodbridge High School's
3rd Annual Holiday Bazaar!!!
*proceeds help benefit a local soup kitchen*

When: Saturday, November 19, 2011
Where: WHS Gymnasium
Time:  10:00 am - 3:00 PM

And shopping... lots of vendors!
Artists, Crafters, Jewelers and More!
Including a friend of mine, who makes these "Barely BeeHav'N products here in the USA...

... So look for the "Barely Bee Hav'N display at the Bazaar, for quality AMERICAN presents to give to friends and family!
*Winter Wonderland for Kids!*
There will be several activities for children run by the senior class!
  • Pictures with Santa (run by the junior class)
  • Bean - Bag Toss
  • Bowling
  • Coloring Station
  • Face Painting
  • Fish - Bowl Pong
  • Ornament Making
  • Snowball Toss
  • Sand Art
(Provided by clubs of WHS, all proceeds will go to the various clubs)
  • Baked Goods
  • Candid Apples
  • Cold Drinks
  • Empanadas
  • Freshly-Popped Popcorn
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Hot Dogs
  • Hot Pretzels
  • Sausage and Peppers Sandwiches

If you would like to participate as a vendor
or if you have any questions regarding this event,
please contact Jacquelyn Soto at
or (732) 602-8600.