An Open Letter to the Recently Elected

Dear recently elected,

I feel the need to be clear. I did not vote for you because I thought you were the most qualified person for the job – I voted for you because you were the most qualified of those who could be elected for the job in that little booth.

While I am only one person, I feel pretty comfortable asserting that you were not voted into office for your stance on any party platform. While the topics concerning gay marriage, weed, guns, abortion, immigration, etc. are all very, very important, I would wager that many in every sexual, religious, racial, financial, stoned demographic are just ready for government to do its damn job. If you need a point of reference for what that is, I direct you to a little thing known as The Constitution. In the name of all that is holy I pray you have heard of it. You’re welcome.

In the days to come you will be tempted to think yourself more than you ought. Don’t. The majority of the population is just waiting, dare I say expecting, for you to eff this up.

You know what pisses you off about people – dishonesty, passing the buck, blatant distraction, assbackward leadership, conniving trickery, stubbornness, weakness, bloated condescension, dishonesty (yes, I know I said it twice) – well, it pisses the rest of us off too – just in case you were wondering how that kind of stuff would go over.

However, I love this country and so I appreciate you. I think this is a new day and you, in light of your newly elected position, deserve a chance to do what you said you were going to do. I will make a choice to have faith in you (as asinine as some might believe that to be).

Congratulations. Don’t eff this up,
~ Me

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February will be chalked up to yet another month I didn’t meet my savings goal. Ah well, we’ll see if March will bring a higher percentage. Still, I can’t scoff at 43% savings and I’m so close to my 50% goal. Getting this close is actually a great incentive.
I do need to make sure you’re all aware that Publix is no longer accepting their expired store coupons. I certainly don’t blame them and I’m still achieving my greatest percentage of savings from Publix.
As some of you may recall, a friend and I joined Weight Watchers in December. I’ve only seen significant weight loss (remember healthy weight loss is 2-4 pounds per month) in the last couple weeks and I think it has to do with the weather being nicer and allowing me to become more active. In fact, now that my children have three soccer practices a week at the Devaul Henderson Park, I’m “forced” to walk each of those nights. (Walking keeps me from becoming Sand Gnat food!) If you need a walking buddy, please let me know. My iPod will appreciate the break!
While I’m learning to making healthier choices, I think the most important change I’ve made is to trade my Diet Coke for water. Mind you I have not cut the Diet Coke addiction completely, but I have noticed days where I didn’t have a single can because I chose water or soda water with lime instead.
My mom bought me a cookbook that I highly recommend. It’s called Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch and I’m very happy with most of the recipes in it. The book is for sale at Kroger or on-line. One of my favorite recipes from this book is:

Fresh Broccoli and Walnut Salad
Makes 5 Servings

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
6 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (I substitute with Truvia, just remember to adjust the amount)

4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/4 cup raisins or 3 tablespoons real bacon bits

1. To make the dressing, in a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, and sugar.
2. For the salad, in a large bowl, toss the broccoli, onion, walnuts, and raisins. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and mix well.
3. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to meld the flavors and slightly soften the broccoli before serving. Just before serving, toss in the bacon bits.


the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Have you missed me? Hopefully everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Doesn’t that seem like such a long time ago? I mean, here we are already in February! Life is getting busier, business is growing, the kids are practicing for spring sports, and we added a puppy to our house in January. But some things just don’t change and I’m proud to say that I am still addicted to my coupons.
Unfortunately my January savings dropped to 37%, but at least I saved 37%, right? I still have a goal of 50% savings each month so we’ll see if I can tighten the purse strings even more. One challenge I have is fruits and vegetables. I joined Weight Watchers in December and I’m blaming the additional produce for my reduced savings. My calculator is telling me that it’s time to find a farmer’s market to see if I can bring costs down in that category.
Even though I only saved 37% this month, I can’t believe how much product that 37% adds to my pantry! Without coupons my cupboards would look like Old Mother Hubbard’s. Instead I no longer hear, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat.”

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

A couple weeks ago a friend and I attended a Savvy Shopper coupon class at Savannah Morning News. In all honesty, when I walked out of that class I thought I had picked up a couple tips. But once I sat down that Sunday with my coupons and sale ads and started putting multiple coupons together per deal, I discovered I had picked up a whole bunch of new tips. What I learned at that class has taken my addiction to coupons to a whole new level and might very well make me a Publix convert as well!
Did you know that Publix accepts competitor coupons? Did you know that if there is a CVSWalgreens, or Rite Aid within three miles of a Publix they, along with any other grocery stores, are considered competitors? Did you know that Publix honors +Up Rewards from Rite Aid, Extra Care Bucks from CVS, and Register Rewards from Walgreen’s up to $5.00? These rewards print at the bottom of your receipt when you purchase specific items. This has solved a small dilemma I was having. First of all, I find drugstore prices extremely high compared to a grocery store, I don’t wear make-up, and rarely fill a prescription. Therefore, I end up shopping at drugstores for specific items that are on sale that I also have a coupon for in order to make the item a decent price. The rewards at the bottom of the receipt often expire in one or two weeks and I found that I was not able to use them if the store didn’t have something I thought was a great deal before the expiration date. Now that I can take those rewards to Publix, I’m able to use all the rewards points I can accumulate!
I also learned that because Publix accepts competitor coupons I can triple my coupons in some cases by stacking a store coupon plus a manufacturer’s coupon plus a competitor’s coupon. AND I learned that if I purchase two items on a BOGO (Buy One Get One) deal, I can also use two coupons (one for each item)! My first shopping trip after that class was the following Saturday at Publix. I walked out of the store with 4 boxes of Ronzoni pasta, 9 cans of Hunt’s tomatoes, 9 cans of Chunky soup, 3 bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, 2 bottles of Spray N Wash, and 4 tubes of John Frieda shampoo. My credit card was charged $10.52 and my savings total was $67.92.
Whew! I highly recommend attending one of these classes. I know there is one being offered locally October 26 at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church but I don’t know how many spaces are available. There seems to be at least one class per week at Savannah Morning News and they are free. By the way, these classes do fill up pretty fast.

The Flu shots and safety

The Flu season is fast approaching and it’s time for us, the parents in Richmond Hill, Georgia to join in the discussions about the flu and the flu vaccines. Various media outlets have expressed opinions and statistics, I’m going to do my best to lay out my research of the articles and let the discussions begin.

Part I – Read thru the attached links –

Influenza H1N1 vaccine safety:

Poland rejects H1N1 vaccines altogether “The prime minister described Poland as a country with the rare “courage” to refuse a vaccine that he believes has not undergone sufficient testing. “We are making this decision only in the interest of the Polish patient and the taxpayer,” Mr. Tusk insisted in December. “We will not take part because it’s not honest and it’s not safe for the patient.”

Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia halted the use of certain Flu vaccines on children.

CDC clears the Flu shots as safe:

Part II next week – Analysis from 3 different countries on 2009 H1N1 vaccines.

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Just a quick post to brag about my September total savings. Now that we’re done with September I’ve added all the grocery receipts. I spent a total of $695.43 and saved $243.63 for a whopping 26% savings! I have basically built my pantry up to the point where the only items I purchase that aren’t on sale AND don’t have a coupon are the necessary perishables such as milk, bread and eggs. I’ve also taught my kids to let me know what snacks they want so that when I have a coupon and the item is on sale I can get them that extra special treat. I am really excited about attending the coupon classthat Savannah Morning News offers this Thursday evening. Hopefully I can increase my savings even more beginning next week!

the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Coupons! Did you notice the abundance of coupon circulars in Sunday’s Savannah Morning Newspaper? It must have sounded like Santa had made a surprise appearance in my kitchen as I discovered the treasure chest that had somehow slid its way into this week’s newspaper.
So far this month I have spent $420.48 and saved $70.00 which means I’ve saved 16% just by using coupons combined with sale items. I have to admit the numbers are a little skewed since I spent $112.52 at Sam’s Club and they don’t accept coupons. Since I don’t have any more trips to Sam’s Club scheduled this month, my percentage of savings should increase by the end of the month. In fact, if I re-work the math to show my savings at stores that accept coupons, I’m up to 23% savings.

By the way, in case you’re unaware, Walgreen’s uses an outside company to administer their register rewards program. If you use a coupon with an item that is advertised as a register reward, the register reward does not apply. For example, this week’s ad promoted toothpaste for $2.99 plus a $2.00 register reward. But when I tried to use a coupon, the register reward became invalid.

City Council Heats Up over City Center

City Center vs Richmond Hill Restaurants

Everything was very calm and quiet at City Hall on Tuesday until the management group that runs the City Center proposed having a $18 Sunday Brunch and Friday night tapas & drinks for $9 plus cash bar.

City Center Proposal

Richmond Hill  restaurants parried with the reason the City Center was built, to bring out of town people to Richmond Hill to spend money in our hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Restaurant Owners Parry

General questions that need to be answered:

How does a Sunday Brunch appeal to Savannah’s populus?

Or does the $18 brunch target after church crowd from Richmond Hill?

Why did the tax payers build the City Center?

Is the City Center management group focusing on bringing out of county business to Richmond Hill businesses?

Is there a public list of the vendors used to plan, decorate, and facilitate functions? are Richmond Hill businesses given priority?

As a recent new comer to Richmond Hill, I’m perplexed by the building, the concept, and the City Center’s management style that was demonstrated tonight. When you have direct conflict with multiple businesses that make up the tax base that fund the very building that is occupied by the management company, something has to change.

When you drive by City Hall on Tuesday Night and the parking lot is full, you know there’s going to be fireworks tonight.

Hope to see ya next time, Dr. Trace

Richmond Hill Fishing Tournament for Kids

Bass Masters of Bryan County

Richmond Hill Fishing Tournament for Kids – Bass Masters of Bryan County

 Hats off to the Bass Masters of Bryan County and their fishing tournament for our kids at J.F. Gregory Park. Anglers of all ages from 1 to 15 took out their rods and reels to land some fish. Bass Masters had prestocked the pond with some fish and even a few “red tagged” fish worth prize money for the 131 kids that participated in the tournament.  

My girly girl and her mom

When I told my 7 yr old daughter that a red tag fish was worth 30 weeks of allowance, baiting her hook with chicken livers was no problem for my girly girl. Of course she had to wash and sanitize her hands afterwards, but she was out to land a “Moby Dick” fish with a red tag.

Most fish that were caught were on the smaller size, but a few crafty souls landed some biggies. Here is the Diesman Family and their monster.

Diesman Family and the Catch

 Occasionally someone landed a turtle or two and which were caught and released. One of the kids hooked a 20 inch wide sea monster or better known as a Florida Softshell (Apalone ferox) . This female turtle (males don’t get this big) took more than 10 minutes to get close enough to net so she could be unhooked and released.

Florida Softshell - Female

Amongst the 131 kids that participated, both boys and girls earned trophies for their finesse of a cricket on a hook or odoriferous chicken livers on the bottom of the pond. Prizes for the largest fish and the top 3 weight totals were given to each group.

4-7 Age Group Winner

8-11 Age Group Winners


The Bass Masters of Bryan County topped off the day by giving each of the 131 kids a new fishing pole, a Zebco 202 or Zebco 33. The kids were giddy over their new treasures and just to see the smiles on their faces was priceless.

Prizes for Everyone

Hope to see you all there next year,

Trace Palmer