Sure, you can always watch warm, friendly Christmas movies that feature nice people doing nice things. We prefer, though, to start our holiday viewing a different way — with the weirdest movies we can find. Like:
Home Alone. Wherein a kid gets left behind from a family vacation (twice, if you count Home Alone 2), and has to deal with burglars on his own. Not to mention eat whatever he wants, watch gangster movies, and rely on the “I’m just a little child” card whenever he gets caught. (Stupid premise — what mom wouldn’t quadruple-check after she left him once?) Home Alone became the highest-grossing comedy of all time, but without Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, it wouldn’t be nearly as funny. (The hilarious “falling kids Christmas tree” in Home Alone 2 is worth that sequel alone.Yes, I know there are other Home Alone movies out there. Don’t bother.)
Elf. Did you ever wonder [...]
During this time of year, as in any season, wildlife will come into neighborhoods of the mountain towns as well as into Denver and surrounding suburbs like Larkspur where the deer photo was taken. As these pictures depict, if wild life are taking food from hand outs of humans, they will learn to trust humans or at least approach them without fear. This could lead to negative interactions such as biting, kicking and attack. Many generations of Coloradoans have learns the hard way that is it best to withhold hand outs of food, grains and others offerings. As early as the early nineteenth century, humans have suffered from bear attacks, mountain lion meetings and even raccoon invasions, with disastrous results.
These interactions have lead to the well-learned no-feeding wildlife laws enforced by each county, especially Estes Park, Colorado where wildlife encounters are frequent, as seen in these chronological [...]
If you’ve been hanging around the Penny Thots archives for a while, you may have seen my comments on raising chickens…. the original report is here. (Part II is here.)
Just in case you haven’t followed the Saga of the Brick Chicks, here’s a quick recap:
We have 15 chickens at present…assuming, that is, that the resident fox in the neighborhood allows us to keep up the current count. (He took two back in late August, on one unguarded summer evening, when our watchdog Charley was indoors, miserable with allergies.)
Three are ‘Production’ Reds – Rhode Island Reds that are specially bred to produce more eggs. They look like this:
They are mean, quarrelsome, bossy…and excellent layers. They also began laying eggs earlier than the others. Maybe I’d be crabby too, if I felt that urge all the time!
The rest are Australorps – a Buff Orpington breed refined [...]
supermarket isle containing staples such as pasta and rice
Every few months, the same advice on saving money at the supermarket crops up. You’ve heard the line: shopping the perimeter of the store and ignoring the isles will save you money and leave you healthier. The advice is good natured, but is also generally wrong. Okay, maybe not wrong, but at best only half right. Shopping the perimeter is a good way on how to not save money on groceries.
Why is this? The theory behind the advice to shop the perimeter is based on the idea that all of your staples, your meat, produce, dairy, etc. are going to be along the outer edges of the store. Meanwhile, the higher mark-up stuff, the processed foods, and the junk food that simply isn’t necessary are all going to be in the isles. So by shopping the perimeter, you get [...]
Pizza — crispety, crunchety bliss. A good hot pizza, fresh out of the oven, is one of life’s best frugal treats. And it’s not difficult to make, either…with a few tricks.
First, you’ll need a crust: a sturdy one that has plenty of crunch. This one has done well for me:
CLASSIC PIZZA DOUGH CRUST
2 cups flour (add a few tablespoons of whole wheat, if you like an ‘artisan’ texture)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional, but good)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
sprinkle of sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mix everything but the flour, and let it ‘proof’ in a warm spot for ten or so minutes, until bubbles or fuzz are starting to form. Add the flour gradually until the dough is stiff, then knead until elastic. For best results, let rise for at least [...]
The weatherman says our first snowfall is on its way — but he didn’t have to go to the trouble. Everyone already knows.The sky is a strange, soft gray, giving the fall leaves an unearthly glow.
Our chickens are gobbling down as much feed as possible (not to mention chasing fellow hens, just in case they’ve got a juicy worm in beak). Our garden beds, with wilting zucchini and bean vines, newly-uncovered from their protective netting, are fair game. The chickens pull at tender bits of leaves and vine, fluff their feathers and strut around, seemingly unconcerned. I know, though, that they’ll make a beeline for the warm straw of the coop, the minute it starts to get thick outside.
Time for the first snowfall of the season – the one that announces, whether you like it or not, that fall is only temporary. Get [...]
1. Antifreeze: Adding antifreeze is recommended to keep your car running well in cold weather. But did you know that it keeps your car from boiling over in hot temperatures, as well? In cold climates, add antifreeze to windshield washer fluid, to keep it moving smoothly. (Run the windshield wipers a few times to get the antifreeze well-distributed through the tubing.)
2. Hoses: Have you disconnected your watering hoses before the first freeze? (Trust me, you’ll want to. A broken hose inside our wall cost us thousands of dollars in damage.) If you’re headed for warm weather, instead, take a minute to disconnect and flush out hoses, sprinklers and other equipment. Double-check any watering systems you’ve got installed, and make sure they’re ready for use, or are ‘put to bed’ for the winter.
3. Heat and/or cooling: Replace furnace filters, and vacuum dust and dirt off your [...]
For me, “affordable care” will actually be double what health insurance would currently cost. And if that’s not bad enough, my choices in 2014 are just a fraction of what they are today – a measly six options after January 1st compared with 27 now. I can live with fewer choices but am I missing something? Where is the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act?
According to eHealth.com, a person my age in my location can currently choose from 27 plans that start at $226/month. Beginning January 2014, however, my choices drop to just six plans and the price jumps to $456/month for the cheapest option.
To summarize my current and future options:
2013 – 27 plans starting at $226/mo 2014 – 6 plans starting at $456/mo
If I were eligible for premium assistance, I could get the lowest level plan on my state’s insurance exchange for $1/month. Or [...]