10.09.2011

Rooms To Go Outlet - Hunt for Bargains

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Rooms To Go Outlet
I finally visited the Rooms To Go Outlet on Hwy 249 and FM 1960. It's a bit difficult to get to if you take the FM 1960 exit going South as you'll have to fight traffic to get over into the far lane so make sure to take the exit before.

The show room is smaller than the one you'll find at the Star Furniture Outlet and much smaller than the Dump's show room. However, although the selection is not as varied, the prices are much less. If you arrive with plenty of time to pick through all the items on the floor, there's a good chance you'll find something you like at a price you'll love. It did not seem to me that much of it was at the same level of quality that you would find at the other outlets but if you don't want to spend a lot of money Rooms To Go Outlet is worth a visit. I did not see many rugs at the time of my visit so The Dump and Star Furniture are better bets if a rug's what you need.

There were quite a few children at this furniture store. I attributed their presence to the store's open layout. You can see most of the store from any spot. There aren't any walls or large pieces to provide hiding.

For more budget shopping, read my posts on The Dump and Star Furniture Outlets. For a fun and unique bargain furniture shopping experience, read about the Antique Gallery in Spring, TX.



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10.02.2011

Best Dry Shaver for Men - Phillips Norelco SensoTouch

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My husband searched for years for the perfect shaver. He's tried just about every disposable shaver out there but none of them gave him the close shave he wanted without  some nicks and cuts by the end. In addition, he doesn't like to shave even though he needs to do it at least once a day. He hates all the lather and mess that comes with shaving. After months of research he decided to buy a Philips Norelco 7310XL Men's Shaving System. When he bought it in 2010, it was $82. It's now $40 on Amazon. The shaver doesn't need water or lather to deliver a close shave. My husband just keeps it charged and is able to shave quickly whenevr he likes with little fuss. Initially, I was not happy about the price of this shaver but a year later I've finally come around. He hasn't bought any razors or lather all year and hasn't had any cuts either. I figure we have come out ahead savings wise already as some of the Gilette razors he used to buy were pretty pricey in my opinion.


Take a look at the Philips Norelco 7310XL Men's Shaving System on Amazon and its reviews. It gets four stars. It looks like Phillips Norelco kept developing this product as it also now has the 1150x/40 SensoTouch 2d Electric Shaver and 1160XCC SensoTouch 2d Electric Shaver with Jet Clean System. Both currently are rated 4 stars or more by Amazon reviewers.

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9.18.2011

Heirloom Seeds for Drought Tolerant Vegetables

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Click above to review and buy drought resistant heritage seeds

I've been frustrated all summer with the lack of rain and intense heat. Most of the vegetables that I planted died and the ones that didn't wither up, produced little to no vegetables. I nearly gave up but decided to give it one more shot. The websites below give some good advice on which varieties of vegetables to grow if you live in an area with little rain (which describes most of Texas right now). There's a wide variety, from black-eyed peas to mustard greens to spinach to watermelon.


I also decided to switch over to using heirloom seeds to see if I could master growing vegetables and then reserve any seeds produced to grow in following years. Amazon has a good selection of drought tolerant, heirloom seeds. All the ones I selected have low shipping rates (except for the snap beans).  My favorite seller is Hirt's Gardens. I have included New Zealand spinach even though it's not a heritage seed just because the research I completed on this plant said it was a hardy, leafy green, vegetable that grows well in the summer. Those are hard to find in Texas. I'm hoping these plants thrive through the Fall, Winter and Spring despite the lack of rain.

The tomato seeds below are not heritage but do grow well in dry areas:
Early Girl Tomato Seeds

If you're looking for extremely cheap pots to grow your seedlings, check out this link - GROW BAGS

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4.17.2011

Best Deer Repellent - Even Protects Roses

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I've really struggled with growing anything in my garden because the deer are such voracious eaters. Any plants that don't have an extremely strong and usually unpleasant smell, the deer will eat completely even if they are labelled deer resistant. I used lots of different deer repellents over the years and never had much luck. Eventually, I planted a lot of pretty but smelly plants (Society garlic, Rosemary) but gave up on my plants like the rosebush I planted a few years ago in the yard as the deer wouldn't let more than a few leaves sprout before chowing down.  Earlier this year, after seeing so many gorgeous rose bushes in Houston I decided to try and protect my rose bush from the deer again. Deer Out got great reviews on Amazon. After buying it, I put a portion in a spray bottle with water (it comes concentrated) and sprayed my rose bush. The deer have ignored it ever since. Take a look at how it looks now. I'm hoping next year. it looks even better. I'm also thinking about growing a few more rose bushes around the yard.
Roses - Best Deer Repellent
Best Deer Repellent - Deer Out

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Best solar cell phone charger

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I didn't have a generator for the last few power outages I've gone through. Although I had plenty of flashlights and batteries, I didn't have an efficient way to charge my phone.  Because there's usually plenty of sun in Texas, a solar cell charger seemed the best way to go. I read reviews on all sorts of solar chargers. Those that charged rechargeable batteries, cell phones specifically or even more. The best reviews were for the Suntactics Compact Solar Charger. This charger is comprised solely of high grade solar cells.  Other chargers use a battery to store the energy which then charges your cell phone. However, this battery eventually burns out from the sun's heat. Also many of the cheaper chargers didn't have the same grade of solar cells found in Suntactics version. The Suntactics version is capable of charging cell phones, iPods, Kindles and even iPads. I've used it to charge all of those things except for the Kindle and am happy with the outcome. Suntactics is pricey at $139.95 but if there's an outage I won't worry about charging most of my electronic devices. Check on the amazing reviews by clicking on the Amazon icon above.

Best Solar Charger

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4.10.2011

Grow a Lettuce Bowl for Fresh Salads

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I came across a lettuce bowl at a local garden store the other day. It was a plastic bowl full of young heat tolerant lettuce (I haven't had any luck growing lettuce in Texas during the summer). The instuctions stated that I just needed to keep the bowl watered and to cut the leaves back to 2 inches of growth each time I harvested them. I paid about 10 dollars for the bowl but then realized after I did a bit of research at home that I could have created a few bowls at home for much less. All that's needed is a lage plastic bowl, potting soil and the seeds to a heat tolerant variety of lettuce. Like the ones in the Amazon link. A photo of the bowl I bought is below but I'll definitely be creating my own in the future.

Make/Grow a lettuce bowl

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Cheap Pots for Plants - Grow Bags

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I was having trouble keeping the deer, rabbits and racoons out of my vegetable garden. I surrounded it with lots of deer netting but became frustrated with the amount of time it took me to remove the netting and then put it back each time I ventured into my garden. Finally, I decided to grow my garden in pots on the patio. However, the pots at all the shops, including discount stores were too expensive far the amount of plants I wanted to grow.

Eventually, I came across Grow Bags on Amazon. 10 five gallon bags (one is big enough to grow a huge tomato plant) cost $3.77.  They are incredibly sturdy and all my plants are thriving. The reviews for these bags state that they can be reused and I'm hoping that's true. I am growing a grape vine, raspberries, watermelon, zucchini, squash and cucumber. I'll post some pictures once they start bearing fruit and vegetables. The downside about the bags is that the cost of shipping brings the total amount paid to about $10 for 10 bags. Still, the price is still far cheaper than buying 10 pots. Grow Bags come in all sizes, from one gallon to 10 gallon bags.
Growing Vegetables & Fruits in Grow Bags

Container Garden with Grow Bags

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Cheap Pots - Grow Bags

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10.30.2010

Jewelry Financial Services has moved to River Oaks

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Jewelry Financial Services can now be found at River Oaks Tower, 3730 Kirby Drive, Ste 1200, Houston, TX 77098. The company's new phone number is 832-377-0537.

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7.27.2010

Guest Post on OneTravel.com - Texas Gulf Coast

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I was fortunate to write an article for OneTravel.com, a site that promotes great travel deals and has a blog featuring travel writers from all over the world. Take a look at my article on the Texas Gulf Coast. Sadly, I hear oil has started to wash up on our beaches as well.

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7.09.2010

Retreat Hill Winery - Navasota, TX

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Recently, after having a terrific lunch at Cafe Eccell, in College Station my family and I came across Retreat Hill Winery off of Highway 105 in Navasota. Retreat Hill is a new winery and its vines are not yet mature.  However, the people who work there are doing some terrific things with the grapes they buy from elsewhere in the US.

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7.04.2010

Swede Farm - Waller, TX

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 I've been thinking about buying a goat lately. All the uncertainty in the world and the doomsayers out there have created within me an urge to be more self sufficient. I'm growing a garden, and am thinking about what I would do if food, water and electricity weren't readily available. There are enough cows, goats, and sheep to be found in the fields outside of Houston that I didn't feel like buying one for fresh milk to be such a crazy plan. However, since I drink soy milk and haven't had cow or goat milk in over a decade, I thought I should taste some goat milk before purchasing an entire goat.

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6.15.2010

Splash in the Fountains at Discovery Green

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Fountain at Discovery Green
Summer has arrived and it is hot around here. We haven't reached the point where it feels as if you're actually being baked within your own skin but I'm sure those days will be here soon. One way you and your children can cheaply fight off the heat is to spend a few hours at the Discovery Green fountains.

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5.29.2010

Houston Hurricane Season is Approaching (Along with More Financial Mess) - Be Prepared

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Hurricane season is coming up fast, possibly along with other disasters, acts of God and man. Take a look here at my articles on emergency planning for your family. They discuss emergency evacuations, generators, food planning and emergency cash. When disasters strike make sure you and your family are prepared. Traditional sources of support and aid such as the police, grocery stores, and banks may not be available to you. I now believe some of my earlier posts don't go far enough. Make sure you're prepared to depend on yourself and your community for a very long stretch of time. This includes planting and tending to a garden and raising animals such as chicken, quail, goats or rabbits so that you know how to and can feed your family if you must.

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5.15.2010

Berry Picking in King's Orchard, Plantersville

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Once late spring, early summer rolls around, one of my favorite things to do with my son is to go berry picking at King's Orchard which is located in Plantersville, Texas. In addition to strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, this massive orchard sells a variety of vegetables, flowers and fruits such as peaches and plums. there is no admission to enter but you will most likely have to buy a box to pick the fruit (the orchard's scales are callibrated for the weight of the box). Fruit prices are about the same as those in the stores this year but taste much, much better. Wagons are available for you to load your produce or your little ones (I put both in mine).

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4.24.2010

Photographs of Mustang Island State Park, TX

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Mustang Island State Park, located on the shores of Mustang Island, is an excellent place to go if you love the beach. At the Park, you can camp, swim, hike, watch a huge variety of birds and just relax. Admission is just $4 per person, per day, children under 12 are free. Camp fees range from $8 to $16 per night. During our visit, my family swam, collected shells, watched birds (the pelicans and huge herons were beautiful), and tried to identify some of the interesting marine life that had washed ashore. A jellyfish the size of my husband's head was definitely the most unique animal we saw. For more information go to the Park's website at  http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/mustang_island/.

Mustang Island State Park - Things to do in Corpus Christi

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