The Grift

This is a movie that my oldest son played a small part in as a Carney. He was also a production assistant.

It’s a 1940’s period drama about about a woman who has been wronged by her husband, but must help him after he has fallen in with a family of grifters.

A Special Offer – Just In Time For The Holidays…

… Thanksgiving and Christmas are just a few short weeks away. Are you ready for the big meals and parties?

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the perfect time to get family and friends together around the dinner table. We prepare special dishes, a huge turkey, ham or roast and we want everything to be perfect. Throwing a Holiday dinner can be quite the production, even if you are doing your best to keep things simple. To make it easy, we put some of our best tips and ideas into a Thanksgiving Planning guide and a Christmas Planning guide that will each:

• Allow you to get as much as possible done ahead of time.

• Provide you with healthy recipes for traditional favorites.

• Give you a “To-Do” List to make sure nothing is forgotten.
With everything you need to plan a memorable Thanksgiving and Christmas at your fingertips, you don’t have to worry if there’s something you forgot to buy or do ahead of time, resulting in a mad “last-minute” dash to the grocery store.

Don’t Let Planning for The Holidays Stress You Out
You’ve heard all about the benefits of meal planning, the time it saves you, the money it saves you and that you are much more likely to stick with eating healthy if you already have everything for a healthy meal in the house. But let’s face it, we can all think of more fun things to do then to plan a weekly menu. That’s where we come in.

We’ll take care of the tedious and time consuming part of planning healthy meals for your family.

Here’s what you will get with the Thanksgiving Planning Guide…

•The Thanksgiving Planning Guide with organizing and planning tips.

•A Complete Thanksgiving Menu with detailed recipes.

•A Shopping List with everything you need to prepare the recipes of the menu.

•A second Shopping List of non-perishable items you can buy ahead of time.

•Our original “To-Do” List to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

Here’s what you will get with the Christmas Planning Guide…

•The Christmas Planning Guide with organizing and planning tips, decorating ideas, craft suggestions for the kids and more. This guide alone is 55 pages long.

•A Complete Christmas Menu with detailed recipes.

•A Shopping List with everything you need to prepare the recipes of the menu.

•Our original “To-Do” List to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

<img src=" Thanksgiving & Christmas Planned For You” alt=”null” />

Fall is here!! Check this out!!

Are you ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving & Fall Baking? I
just grabbed a resource from my friend Christine Steendahl – “The Menu Mom” and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

She has created a special Fall Product Bundle that I know you are going to
love! (I promise you’ll love the price too!) Included are TWELVE great

Special Fall Bundle

Included in the bundle are the following:

All About Apples (Valued at $5.97)
Who doesn’t love a fresh crisp apple this time of year! This e-book walks
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what to do if you end up with a ton of apples, delicious yummy apple
recipes and much more.

All About Pumpkins (Valued at $5.97)
Pumpkins are great for both decorating and eating! Learn how to choose and
store pumpkins, fun uses for pumpkins and of course delicious pumpkin

Delicious Fall Recipes (Valued at $8.97)
This resource includes 29 super fun and creative fall & Halloween recipes
the whole family is sure to love – everything from Halloween Party Fondue,
to Vampire Bat Stew, to Ghosts on a stick.

Eat Whole Foods – For the Health of It (Valued at 12.97)
Our family is working on cutting out a lot of processed foods. In this
ebook I share what whole foods are, why they are important, info. on
organics, how to eat whole foods on a budget and much more. If you are
interested in learning more about whole foods – this is a great guide!

Halloween Week Menu (Valued at $6.97)
Halloween is often one of kids favorite holidays! How about making the
entire week super fun! We have created a Halloween week dinner menu (with
a grocery shopping list of course) to make it a fun food week your kids
will never forget! (Don’t worry – these are super easy recipes that the
entire family will enjoy!)

Halloween Fun Recipes & Party Games (Valued at $5.97)
Even more Halloween recipes and some great games to play at your Halloween
Party. With this bundle you certainly won’t be at a loss for creative
Halloween ideas!

School Lunches Made Easy (Valued at $8.97)
If you have school lunches to pack each day, this guide will be your new
best friend! We’ll share quick easy lunch ideas, organization tips, and
even printable charts to help you out!

It’s Sleepover Party Time (Valued at $6.97)
Sleepovers – so much fun for the kids, but sometimes a lot of work for the
parents! This illustrated recipe resource takes you through a few of our
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Slow Cooker Recipe Book (Valued at $14.97)
I absolutely love using my slow cooker in the fall – the aroma of dinner
drifts through the house all day, and feeding the family is a cinch come
supper time! I have gathered up 54 pages of my favorite slow cooker
recipes to share with you.

Spooky & Fun Halloween Recipes (Valued at $5.97)
Okay, maybe I went a little overboard on the Halloween Recipes – what can I
say! There are so many yummy ideas!

Seven Simple Steps to a Super Halloween Party (Valued at $7.97)
Would you like to host a simple Halloween Party but you’re just not sure
where to start? We’ve got you covered! We’ll walk you through 7 easy
steps – Invitations, Decorations, Music, Food, Games & Activities, Crafts &
Goodie Bags. With this resource the Halloween Party Stress will be gone!

Thanksgiving Planned for You (Valued at $12.97)
Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? If so, we’ve done the work for
you! We have prepared the menu, the shopping list, and the to-do list.
Take a deep breath, follow our guide and know that this year you can
actually enjoy the holiday!

Total Value: $104.64
How does 90% off sound?
Everything listed above is included in the Fall Bundle for one low price of
(I absolutely LOVE my copy! My favorite is the Halloween Week
Menu! I can’t wait to use that with my family!)

This special price is only available through Oct. 3rd. Grab your bundle
NOW while you can!

P.S. After October 3, 2011 the price will go up to $24.97

Special Fall Bundle

How do I get my child to listen to me?

Ok, I keep reading all these articles about “How do I get my child to listen to me?” and other things to this same point. I had to raise three children by myself and that was a struggle for me also. They are all grown now and still have sibling rivals now and then but when they were small I came up with a concept that worked for them. My concept may not work for everyone’s children but thought I would share it and maybe it will help someone else.

I was at my wits end and was obsessed with trying to find a way to have my children listen to me and a way to punish them for their wrong doings because I wanted them to be good people when they grew up. I prayed about this everynight for a very long time, I thought about it day and night and then one day I came up with this solution, tried it and it worked.

This solution took me a couple of weeks to get fixed before I could use it and after I started using it, I had to add to it as things happend. But I sit down and started making a list of everything I had to get on to my children for doing, (backtalking, hitting each other, fighting, etc, etc, etc.) I don’t remember what all it was, but I do remember I had a lengthy list of things that three different children got in trouble for doing on a daily basis.

After my list was finished I catagorized all of the bad behaviors into three different catagories. One, not so bad misbehaviors – things that weren’t so bad but things they didn’t want to do but had to do like taking a bath, brushing their teeth, etc., the medium misbehaviours were things that wouldn’t hurt themselves or somebody else, and really bad misbehaviors were things they did that would hurt themselves or someone else.

After sorting thru all the misbehaviors and getting them in the correct three catagories, I rewrote my list of misbehaviors on a piece of poster board. My first catagory was all writen in the same color of marker, my second catagory was written in another color of marker and my last catagory was all written in RED marker. Each catagory was seperated with a black line. I left a large space at the end of the poster board for three pockets across the bottom.

I then measured and cut three pieces of poster board and stapled them to the bottom of my list making three pockets of the same size across the bottom of the list.

I wrote some punishments down myself on a sheet of paper and then I sit down with my children and as I read off each misbehaviour I asked them how they thought they should be punished for doing that. They would tell me a punishment and then if I didn’t think it was harsh enough or if I thought it was to harsh then I would explain to them why it should be more or less of a punishment. We did this with the whole list until we came up with agreeable punishments. They seemed to have fun with it.

When we were done establishing a punishment for each crime. I cut out large tear drop shapes out of constuction paper that coordinated with the three colors I used to write the punishments down with. Then I wrote one punishment on each tear drop and put the tear drops in the matching pockets.

I explained to my kids that everytime they misbehaved they had to check the chart to see which color of tear drop they had to draw out of the pockets for their punishment. When they would misbehave I would just say, “Ok it’s time to go look at the chart and take our punishment.” While using this system they would get mad because they were getting into trouble but they did not throw a fit like they did before. They would pull their tear drop out and were anxious to see what the punishment was and then would cry because they had the punishment but would take the punishment without throwing a fit. It was really a great experience to not have to argue with them anymore.


The other half of this system that I think helped it work was our star charts. I made a chore chart for each child with age appropriate chores including brushing teeth, taking baths, getting dressed, putting your shoes on, making your bed (which consists of just throwing a comforter on the bed as best as they could), doing your homework, not hitting anyone, not yelling at anyone, practically everything that was on the tear drop chart. At the end of the day they got to put a star or somekind of sticker on each thing that they did good. At the end of every three days they would get some kind of reward depending on the number of stars or stickers they had. The more stars and stickers the better the reward. I had to set up rewards like I did the punishments. Rewards would be money, or me doing something with them that I hadn’t had time to do, or small things I had collected in a box and saved for rewards. Anything they liked would work.


For long time things, like if they wanted to see a movie, go skating with some friends, or go see a movie at the theater or what ever it might be we made up contracts. On a plain piece of paper, I would write what they wanted to do and what they had to do to earn it. The dates of the time limit and we would both sign it. If you do this one, you have to be reasonable about the time limit. You have to make things doable for your child. If you know your child has bad anxieties and then you have the agreement to last for way longer than you know that they can wait, that is not fair to your child and the contracts are not going to work. If you know your child can wait for something a week then a week is a good timeline but if you know in your heart that your child will start getting anxieties about the contract going on the second day of making it then start out making the contracts for just two days and then if this goes well after a few times try to extend the contract to three days. Please don’t set them up for failure or nothing will work.

I am no expert on children and don’t claim to be. This is just an idea for you, if you are having troubles with your children listening and throwing fits and is just something I done myself about 20 years ago.

“Robert, they can’t eat you!”

Written Tuesday, February 15, 2005 by Robert Parsons, an article I found worthy of reposting. I read this article and found that it fit my life in many situations, with my personal life, in my genealogy research, at work and with other situations in my life. This is a good read as I’m sure that it will also fit in alot of places in your life also. If you don’t have time or want to read the whole article, please, at least, take time to drop down to the middle and read the 16 Rules to try to live by that Mr. Parson writes about.

My rules for survival.

Over a year ago, I was asked by BizAz Magazine (a local Phoenix magazine) to speak at one of its “Business Beneath The Surface” breakfast meetings. As part of the event, participants have the option of submitting questions to the speakers, which are then answered during the breakfast.

One of the questions directed towards me was, “What advice do you have for someone who is just starting a business?”

I liked Clint Eastwood’s rules.
Also at that time, I happened to pick up a copy of Men’s Journal. Clint Eastwood was on the cover and an article featured 10 items called “Clint’s rules.” I found his rules to be interesting. They were things like, “You are what you drive,” “avoid extreme makeovers,” and things like that. As Clint Eastwood is a pretty easy guy to respect, I thought the whole rule thing was pretty cool. And the more I thought about it, I realized that over the years I had accumulated a number of principles (or rules) that I tried very hard to adhere to — and these rules (in many ways) have become the foundation for whatever successes I’ve had.

So, a few weeks before the meeting, I sat down and started typing — in no particular order — the rules I try to live by. At the breakfast meeting, I read my rules at the end of my presentation. The response was amazing. I was swamped with requests for copies of the rules. An edited list was published in the Arizona Republic newspaper a few days later. I was even called and interviewed by a local radio station about the list.

Since then, some of the rules have been edited, some consolidated, and a few new ones added. Despite those changes, the list of rules I presented that morning are pretty much what appears at the end of this post.

My rules come from the significant life events I’ve experienced.
As I write this, I am now 54 years old, and during my life thus far I suspect that I’ve encountered more significant life events than most people ever dream about. Here’s some information about me:

I grew up in a lower middle class family in Baltimore’s inner city. We were always broke. I’ve earned everything I ever received. Very little was ever given to me.

I’ve been working as long as I can remember. Whether it was delivering or selling newspapers, pumping gas, working in construction or in a factory, I’ve always been making my own money.

Not all of the life events were happy ones.
I was stood up to be executed twice during a robbery of a gas station where I was working when I was 16. To my amazement, my would-be executioner could not muster the nerve to pull the trigger. This saved both of us. I lived, and while he went to jail, he did not go there forever. Eventually, in spite of other witnesses of that and other crimes, I was the only one who testified against the two perpetrators. They both received major jail sentences.

I was with a United States Marine Corps rifle company in Viet Nam for a short while in 1969. As a combat rifleman, I learned several key life lessons that resulted in some of the rules I try to live by. I learned first hand how significant a role “luck” or karma can play in our lives. The rifle company I was assigned to, Delta Company of the 1st Batallion, 26th Marines, operated in the rice paddys of Quang Nam province. We operated on the squad level (7 to 10 of us, depending on casualties), and most every night we left our command post and went several kilometers out into the rice paddys and set up in ambush. While there are many who saw significantly more combat action than me, I did see my share. After 5 or 6 weeks, I was wounded and medevaced to Japan. I returned to Viet Nam several times after that, but came back as a courier of classified documents. Although I requested (at least twice) to return to my old rifle company, the transfer was never approved.

After the Marine Corps, I used the G.I. Bill to attend college, and graduated from the University of Baltimore with a degree in accounting. I attended college mostly at night. After college, I took and passed the CPA exam. I worked only a few years as an accountant. The lion’s share of my career has been spent as an entrepreneur.

I’ve been very lucky when it comes to business.
I started a successful business division for a company called LeaseAmerica. During the four years I was involved with this business, it grew to 84 employees and wrote over $150 million dollars in small office equipment leases. Its success helped redefine how business in that industry is now conducted.

Not long after I started the division for LeaseAmerica, I started a software company in the basement of my house. I started it with the little bit of money I had, and named it Parsons Technology. I owned this business for 10 years, grew it to about 1,000 employees and just shy of $100 million a year in sales. Eventually, we sold Parsons Technology to a company named Intuit. Because my then-wife and I were the only investors, and the company had no debt, we received the entire purchase price.

Shortly after selling Parsons Technology, my wife and I decided to go our separate ways and did the customary “divide everything by two.” I then moved to Arizona and retired for a year. This was a requirement of my deal with Intuit.

Retirement was not for me.
Retirement wasn’t for me, so after the mandatory year passed, and using the money I had from the sale of Parsons Technology, I started a new business. This business eventually became The Go Daddy Group. I started this business from scratch, did it without acquisitions, and developed our own products. In the process, I came spooky close to losing everything I had, and actually made the decision to “lose it all” rather than close Go Daddy. Today, Go Daddy is the world leader in new domain name registrations, and has been cash flow positive since October 2001 (not bad for a dot com). As of this writing, I continue to be the only investor in Go Daddy.

Throughout all of these life events, I came to accumulate a number of rules that I look to in various situations. Some of them I learned the hard way. Others I learned from the study of history. I know they work because I have applied them in both my business and personal life.

And one more thing.
I’ve read many times that original ideas are rare indeed. This is particularly true when it comes to the rules herein. I can’t imagine that any of my rules represent new ideas.

My contribution is that I’ve assembled these ideas, put them to work in my life, and can attest — that more often than not — they hold true.

While I put my 16 rules together in response to a business question, I’ve been told by others that they can be applied to almost any pursuit.

Here are the 16 rules I try to live by:

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, “But I’m concerned about security.” My response to that is simple: “Security is for cadavers.”

2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of “undefined consequences.” My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, “Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.”

5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, “As you think, so shall you be.”

6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what the Union Civil War general, Tecumseh Sherman said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks. You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems. You’ll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you’ll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” There’s also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: “A wise man keeps his own counsel.”

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time.”

A special word of thanks.
I owe a special thanks to Brian Dunn. When I first wrote these rules down and was thinking about compiling them into a book — that book, like most books I suppose, has been half-done for a while :); — Brian read them and suggested a title. His suggestion was, “They Can’t Eat You.” I like Brian’s suggestion for two reasons: 1. It reminds me of my Dad. I sure miss him; and 2. It’s true. No matter how difficult things get, you’re going to be OK. It’s very important to realize that. Thanks, Brian.

Republishing my rules
Should you care to include all or part of this article (or any article in my weblog for that matter) in one of your publications you have my permission to do so provided that you credit me for the material, mention where itl was obtained and also my copyright. A suggested form might be “The above (or following) article (or rules for survival) is included with the permission of Bob Parsons ( and is Copyright 2005 by Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.”

Copyright © 2004 – 2005 Bob Parsons All rights reserved

Basic Thanksgiving Recipes

by Jill Cooper

For those of you just need just the basic side dishes and desserts for your Thanksgiving dinner, here they all are in one spot:

Mashed Potatoes

5 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

In a large saucepan, place potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes depending on your altitude). Drain. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl and mash. I use a hand mixer for this but you can use a potato masher. Add butter, milk, sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Serves 5-6.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix all the ingredients and put in a buttered 9×9 casserole dish. Sprinkle on topping. Bake uncovered at 350° for 20 minutes. This is a great dish for holiday dinners and potlucks because it can be made the day before and then baked the next day. Serves 8-9.

Grandma Tatum’s Stuffing

I have hesitated about including our stuffing recipe because it is one of those recipes where it is hard to give exact measurements. This year, I have finally decided to try. You can adjust any of these ingredients to suit your taste and if you want, you can add different things to the dish. For example, you can replace some of the bread with cornbread or you can add mushrooms, celery, apples, or giblets and many other things according to your own taste. This is one of those recipes that looks complicated but is really easy once you make it.

Here is the basic recipe:
8-10 cups dried bread, cubed or torn (You can use anything including hot dog buns, dinner rolls or French bread.)
1/2-1 lb. pork sausage
1/2-1 onion (or onion powder to taste)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups broth*
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4-1/2 cup margarine
3 heaping tsp. ground sage
1 small bag or box of seasoned croutons
Salt and pepper

Cube and tear bread in a very large mixing bowl and let set out overnight if not dry enough. Fry sausage and onion. I don’t like celery in my dressing but if you do you can add it at this time. Drain and add to the bowl of bread. Pour broth into a large measuring cup. Add margarine and bouillon cube and heat in the microwave to melt margarine and bouillon cubes. Pour this mixture and eggs over bread. Add sage, salt, pepper and onion powder if not using onions and croutons. Using your hands, mush it all together until well mixed. Place in a well greased casserole dish or pan. Cover. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes.
If you like your stuffing soft on the inside with a crispy crust, just remove the cover for the last 15 minutes. If your dressing seems too dry, add a little milk for more moisture.
*For broth, I simmer the neck and giblets in a pan of water for an hour or two as soon as I take them out of the turkey. Then I use this water and some broth from my turkey, which has been cooking, to make my 1 1/2 cups.

Turkey Gravy

3-4 cups turkey juices/drippings
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Pour turkey juices/drippings into a sauce pan. Whisk in flour. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once in a while until it is the right consistency.
If the gravy is too strong or you need to stretch it just a little, you can add a small amount of water.
Another way I used to make the gravy (either way works) is to dissolve the flour into a half cup of cold water and then whisk it into the turkey juices.

Pie Crust

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups shortening, cold
1 egg, cold
1 Tbsp. vinegar, cold
5 Tbsp. water, cold

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives (I use my fingers). Add egg, vinegar and 3 tablespoons water. Mix lightly. If dough is too dry, add more water. Mix with hands. Don’t over mix. Mix just until the dough sticks together.
Divide into thirds. Roll out to make 3 pies crusts. When using the crust for the top of the pie, sprinkle sugar on top and poke with a few steam holes. Crust can be frozen in balls and then defrosted and rolled out when ready to use. Makes 3 crusts.

Pumpkin Pie

1 pie crust
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

Bake pie crust at 350° for 1-2 minutes until crust starts to puff with small bubbles. Watch carefully. Then remove from oven. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into pie crust and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350° for 45 minutes. When a knife is inserted into the center of the pie and comes out clean, it is done. Makes one pie.

Pecan Pie

1 stick butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
1 (8-9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Brown butter in a pan until golden brown. Do not burn. Cool. Add other ingredients in order given in a separate bowl. Mix well. Blend in cooled butter well. Pour into pie crust. Bake 10 minutes at 425° and then 40 minutes at 325°. Makes one pie.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit

Thanksgiving for Less

by Jill Cooper

It’s really hard to find ways to save on your Thanksgiving dinner
because, let’s face it — It doesn’t get a whole lot cheaper than a
turkey dinner! Still, I have found some ways that you can save and
today I’ll pass them on to you! ;-)

For starters, the larger turkeys are usually cheaper, so buy the
largest one you can. I hear some of you groaning now about what to
do with all those leftovers because you really don’t need a 22 lb.
turkey for 6 people. Not to worry — just don’t bake the whole

I discovered one year by accident that my butcher (at a regular
national chain grocery store) would cut it in half for me. Even if
it is frozen he can still do it. This discovery really changed my
life. (That sounds dramatic, but I was really having a problem
becoming “one” with my turkeys.) I suddenly had the revelation that
I didn’t have to deal with mounds of leftover turkey that haunted
my post Thanksgiving menu for years. I had just enough for a good
old turkey sandwich and some soup. I mean Thanksgiving really isn’t
Thanksgiving without a few leftovers, is it?

It was so much easier to handle and prepare an 11 lb. turkey rather
than to man handle a 22 lb. one. Getting it cleaned and into the
pan was a breeze and in and out of the oven was just plain simple.

Just wrap the other half and freeze it to use for Christmas. I’ve
often made ham for Christmas just because by Christmas we are so
sick of turkey that we don’t want to think of preparing another one
— ever! By not creating so many leftovers, your family might not
mind having turkey again. That’s also potentially one less thing to
buy for Christmas dinner.

Another way to save is by making your own pies instead of buying
the expensive pre-made ones. If you are daunted by the thought of
making pie crust, just buy a ready made one. They are usually on
sale for very little around Thanksgiving. It really isn’t that hard
to make the filling for most pies. Often they are easier to make
than a cake or cookies. If you like the traditional pumpkin pie,
most cans have the recipe on the back.

If your family and friends aren’t fussy about having the
traditional, then you can make banana cream, chocolate, or
butterscotch pie. Just take a box of banana pudding, mix it up and
pour it into a baked pie crust. Cover with sliced bananas and
whipped topping. For the chocolate pie use chocolate pudding with
chocolate chips in it and cover it with whipped topping. For the
butterscotch use butterscotch pudding, whipped topping and sprinkle
with butterscotch chips. My mouth is watering just thinking about

You also don’t have to make so many pies that you could open a
bakery. I have found that most kids are just as happy with a
platter of cookies. Don’t overdo it. You’ll just wear yourself out!
If you have time, make the cookies in the shapes of pumpkins and

Save on your relish dish. Buying ingredients for a relish dish can
get expensive, especially where we live. One year I paid more for
my relish dish items than my turkey. If you’re having this problem,
only use 3-4 veggies on it instead of 10 and cut out on the more
expensive veggies. For example broccoli and cauliflower are very
high priced for us so I would probably use carrots and celery. I
fill the celery with cheese or peanut butter or cut them into fancy
shapes. On this occasion, the turkey is the star and most people
won’t even notice that you cut back on the relish dish.

Don’t make so many side dishes– Like I said the turkey, gravy and
mashed potatoes are above all else. By the time everyone stuffs
themselves on those, they only eat a token amount of the side
dishes. Why? —Because of course everyone wants to save room for

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the
authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will
help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking
quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit

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