Saturday, December 20, 2014

Costco is Stepping Up their Social Networking

Costco is stepping up their social network presence.  It's about time.  This is from their Facebook page today, 

#SantaAtCostco

Friday, December 12, 2014

Self Service at Charleston Costco

Maybe I never noticed it before, Charleston Costco has self check-out. 

I had less than ten items, but it was a hassle packing my own cart. Of course, I hadn't thought, but Costco self check-out does not have the bags set up the way that grocery store self check-outs do. At the end of paying, each item needed to be packed separately, loose in the cart. 

Self check-out here takes twice as long as at the grocery store, the time to ring the item up at the beginning and the time to pack it in the cart at the end.

Most people using self check-out had only a couple items, in the future I would reserve self check-out for times like that.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fig Bars by nature's bakery at Costco

I received a request to review Fig Bars, a new product at Costco.  

Bob and I are not great fig bar fans, we want more protein in our snacks, but Henry, age 5, liked these and asked for more. 

The cookies are similar to Fig Newtons, although not as sweet, which to me is a good thing. I believe the Fig Bar cookies are larger than Fig Newtons; the Fig Bars come in three flavors: strawberry, blueberry and fig.  

Bars are all natural, made with whole wheat, no trans fats. Thirty 2 oz. packs are $8.99 at my Nashville Costco.  I asked my friend Rose, a nutritionist, what she thought of the nutritional label. She said:

"It would be fine as part of a healthy diet, low fat and low protein.  15 grams of carbohydrates are considered one serving so this is over that...."


Monday, November 17, 2014

Fuzzy Animal Stride Rite Children's Slippers at Costco



These fuzzy Stride Rite kid's slippers are a big hit with the granddaughters.  Currently, $9.99 at Nashville Costco, the slippers are on sale for $3.00 off from November 21 until November  26.

Emmie is especially happy with them.

Nashville Costco has four styles: sweet bunny rabbit, bright pink horse, alligator claws, and shark. No comment on the gender stereotyping.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Costco, Decision Fatigue, and Mental Rest



My new realization is that Costco membership has an underappreciated benefit -the ability to limit making decisions.

Decision fatigue can be just as exhausting as physical fatigue and sometimes worse.

Since I read about the study in Israel showing judges made better decisions earlier in the day, I've become more and more aware of how exhausting the act of choosing can be. I can feel it, if I spend too long shopping I start to loose focus the same way I can feel my muscles cramping if I spend too long standing.

With Costco, I no longer have to choose between five types of Almond Butter, no longer have to search five dates to find the newest milk - one choice. Shopping at Costco is mentally restful.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Costco and Fleming's for the Win


I'm going to brag about my Dad's 95 birthday dinner, which we held at Fleming's Steakhouse.

I had decided on Fleming's and was reading on-line reviews for ordering suggestions.  One reviewer mentioned that Costco carries Flemings gift cards at $80 for $100.  I figured there had to be a catch. I imagined only being able to use one, or not being able to use the card for alcohol.

I did not have any problems using multiple cards.

Fleming's served my Costco birthday cake, which I had pre-ordered, and brought over that afternoon. I had special candles. Fleming's first presented the cake with candles, then cut and served it at the table.

At my request, Fleming's printed menus without prices, even printing children's menus, which I didn't expect.  

I was so proud of the little girls, who behaved with great sophistication, only having to safari to the ladies room three times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lentils, Carolyn Kizer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and William Butler Yeats


Because of my new found respect for quinoa, while looking 
without success in my West Nashville Costco for quinoa, I stumbled upon a product, new to me - Lentil Trio. Since I figured lentils are healthy in the same way as quinoa (18 grams of protein per cup), I decided lentils could be substituted for quinoa; lentils would be another weapon in my effort to infuse more complex carbohydrates into our diet.   

The three color lentils at Costco are beautiful, and I thought, mistakenly, that beautiful raw lentils might result in beautiful cooked lentils.  Lentils, as you probably know, look like mud when cooked. A tip - tri-colored lentils look just like any other lentils once cooked - like mud.

Here's Mud Soup by poet Carolyn Kizer who passed away last week at the age of 89.  If you've ever spent the day with a recipe from the New York Times and been disappointed in the result, this poem is for you.

"Mud Soup"
by Carolyn Kizer


1.
Had the ham bone, had the lentils,
Got to meat store for the salt pork,
Got to grocery for the celery.
Had the onions, had the garlic,
Borrowed carrots from the neighbor.
Had the spices, had the parsley.
One big kettle I had not got;
Borrowed pot and lid from landlord.
2.
Dice the pork and chop the celery,
Chop the onions, chop the carrots,
Chop the tender index finger.
Put the kettle on the burner,
Drop the lentils into kettle:
Two quarts water, two cups lentils.
Afternoon is wearing on.
3.
Sauté pork and add the veggies,
Add the garlic, cook ten minutes,
Add to lentils, add to ham bone;
Add the bayleaf, cloves in cheesecloth,
Add the cayenne! Got no cayenne!
Got paprika, salt and pepper.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer.
Did I say that this is summer?
Simmer, summer, summer, simmer.
Mop the floor and suck the finger.
Mop the brow with old potholder.
4.
Time is up! Discard the cheesecloth.
Force the mixture thru the foodmill
(having first discarded ham bone).
Add the lean meat from the ham bone;
Reheat soup and chop the parsley.
Now that sweating night has fallen,
Try at last the finished product:
5.
Tastes like mud, the finished product.
Looks like mud, the finished product.
Consistency of mud the dinner.
(Was it lentils, Claiborne, me?)
Flush the dinner down disposall,
Say to hell with ham bone, lentils,
New York Times's recipe.
Purchase Campbell's. Just add water.
Concentrate on poetry:
By the shores of Gitche Gumee
You can bet the banks were muddy,
Not like Isle of Innisfree.

Here's a tiny bit of The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which she referenced.

On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O'er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset.


And, here's The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats, the final poem Carolyn Kizer references in Mud Soup:

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


don't believe all lentil recipes have to taste like mud, and, if I figure out one that doesn't, I'll post it.






Friday, October 10, 2014

West Nashville Costco Gas Pumps Certified Accurate


In all of my...mumble...mumble..."many" years of driving, I had never actually seen the state regulators in action at a gas pump.  

The Department of Transportation in each state tests the calibration of gas pumps to make sure they are accurate. I think regulators check both the measurement of the gallons and the octane, and I always wondered how that was done and why I had never run into anyone doing it.

This morning I ran into these regulators at West Nashville Costco. The testing truck was pretty snazzy. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Costco Quinoa Salad in the Costco Deli Section

Two things make me a quinoa fan - Alzheimer's research and the quinoa salad at Costco. I'm going to talk about Alzheimer's research first, so, if you would rather skip that, go directly to the last paragraph.

Last week, an article was published in Aging, a respected research periodical, in which UCLA researchers announced the results of a study showing for the first time a reversal of memory loss. If you haven't been following this issue, memory loss is almost impossible to stop and has been completely impossible to reverse. For the first time, the UCLA program showed an ability to reverse symptoms. What did they do? Everything they could to improve the test subjects' health.

Most scientific studies focus on one variable, manipulate that and document any changes. The UCLA study changed everything, from adding vitamins to encouraging tooth flossing, to adding an hour of exercise 4-6 times per week.  Among these changes was a dietary reduction in simple carbohydrates.  An article about the study specifically mentioned that test subjects substituting quinoa for rice.

I had been equating quinoa with brown rice or couscous, but after hearing about the UCLA study, I did some resesrch and discovered that quinoa is more of a seed or nut than a refined grain like rice. One cup of quinoa has 26 grams of protein compared to 5 grams in a cup of brown rice or 8 grams in a cup of couscous.  Based on this, I've become convinced that quinoa is worth substituting for rice in most recipes. For some time, we've believed that complex carbohydrates are better than simple carbohydrates. Now, a possible connection with brain health makes complex carbohydrates even more attractive.

The Costco Quinoa Salad includes cucumber and red pepper, which add crunchiness, tomatoes, brown rice, and mung beans.  The vinaigrette dressing tastes about half vinegar/lemon juice to half oil; the oil is soybean.  The quinoa salad is $4.99 a pound and sold in two pound packages.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dark Chocolate Enrobed Mangoes at Costco


If you're mourning the disappearance of the chocolate covered almonds and cherries at Costco, these Dark Chocolate Enrobed Mangoes might work for you. I'm finding Dark Chocolate Enrobed Mangoes are assuaging my sorrow pretty well - maybe too well. I can control how many I eat at one time, kind of. The bag says three pieces equal about 190 calories.

Perhaps the best ingredient is the Barry Callebaut chocolate. Barry Callebaut, publicly traded on the SIX, the Swiss stock exchange, as BARN, is the largest chocolate manufacturer in the world, so no wonder the excellent quality of the chocolate.

The mangoes come from the Philippines, the finished product is assembled in Canada, and the company, "nature's intent", lists Venice, California as location, (although "nature's intent" was organized in New York city and incorporated in Delaware).  

The Barry Callebaut website is a source of free chocolate recipes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Buying the iPhone 6 or 6 plus

Like many other folks, I've been trying to figure out if, and when, I need a new iPhone 6 and the best place to purchase. 

In the past few months, I've been happy with ATT because the new Family Share plan is a big savings for me, so I was ready to re-up with ATT...until....

I ordered an iPhone plus directly from Apple the day the phones premiered on-line, but a few days later I got a text from ATT:  

Upgrading on a 2-year wireless agreement increases the Mobile Share Value smartphone access charge for this line to $40/mo. Other charges apply. To learn how to keep your Mobile Share Value discount or for more details, visit att.com/planconfirmm

What?  You mean, in addition to paying for the phone, the bill goes up?  In addition to the cost of the phone, the monthly service cost increases and that increase goes on forever?
  
After research, I decided the best alternative was to buy the phone outright, which, even though expensive would be cheaper. I was surprised to discover that on-line from Apple or in the Costco store, I couldn't buy an iPhone outright. 

Boo. 

My understanding is that the Costco price is $20 cheaper than elsewhere, and, at Costco, an accesory pack, including a car charger, comes free, so, if you're ready to pull the trigger on the new iPhone, Costco might be your best bet.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Valencia Peanuts at Costco

Valencia Peanuts, with added sweetness and salt, are on sale at my Nashville Costco for 2.75 pounds for $4.97. The peanuts are coated with a thin mixture of salt, sugar, malasses, and honey, but are not overly sweet.


According to the label, 1/4 cup is 160 calories. Information on the Internet indicates Valencia peanuts, without added sugar, are 208 calaries, 1/4 cup. Why this differs is a mystery to me.

In researching, I encountered once again the unfortunate and confusing situation in Portales, New Mexico, where most Valencia peanuts are grown.  The Sunland peanut butter plant in Portales was the source of salmonella poisoning which sickened people in numerous states in 2012. The plant had to file for bankrupcy. 

While in the process of going bankrupt, Sunland had accumulated a large number of Valencia peanuts, purchased by Costco to make peanut butter, which Sunland wanted to retain, Sunland wanted to keep those peanuts as an asset and perhaps file Chapter 11 (reorganization) rather than Chapter 7 (dissolution) bankrupcy. However in December 2013, a court decided the peanuts belonged to Costco, and should not be part of the bankrupcy settlement.

In May, 2014, the Sunland Portales plant was sold at auction to Golden Boy foods, a Canadian company, but the plant has not started peanut butter production as of September, 2014, and the small town of Portales (20,000) is anxiously awaiting the plant opening.  The jobs at the plant were a significant source of town employment.

I'm wondering if the Valencia peanut/Sunland/Costco connection is a coincidence, or if these Kirkland Valencia peanuts are part of the crop bought by Costco that never were turned into peanut butter, and were recovered by Costco.  

Either way, the Kirkland Valencia Peanuts are a tasty snack, and at $4.97 for 2.75 pounds an extraordinary purchase.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Intimidation and Dsousa Book at Costco

The more people tell me they read this website, the more intimidated I feel when I write. I'm not sure why I thought I was writing if I didn't expect it to be read? 

The answer is, I started to figure out if I could. Way back then, 18 months ago, I didn't know anything about setting up a website, had never heard of Blogger and didn't have a clue about HTML. 

Now, I have a clue about how much I don't know.  

But I still love Costco. 

In case you're looking for it, West Nashville Costco has the Dsousa book America: Imagine a World Without Her for $15.27. Limit 5.  If you need more, you can have my 5.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Moon Cakes to Celebrate the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival for Sale at Costco


The Chinese Moon Festival will be celebrated September 6-8, 2014.  I've posted before about the Moon Festival  and the traditional moon cakes available from Costco at this time of year.

Moon Cakes are traditionally given to friends and family on the occasion of the Harvest Moon Festival, one of the four most important holidays in China.  The cakes are complicated to manufacture, so are most often bakery produced. Auspicious words in Chinese are formed into the tops, and, inside, bean or seed paste and salted hard egg yolks mimic the harvest moon. 


The Joy Luck Palace Moon Cakes at Costco are in a metal tin that contains four cakes, each of which has double salted egg yolks and lotus seed paste. 


At $12.88 for the tin, these moon cakes are an inexpensive, unique taste and unusual cultural experience.  Give them as good luck presents to friends. Seems like they would be a great thing to share with an elementary school class.

Once again, here is the famous poem about the Chinese Moon Festival from poet Su Shi, (1039-1112).
The Moon Festival

Bright moon, when was your birth? (明月几时有)

Winecup in hand, I ask the deep blue sky;(把酒问青天) 

Not knowing what year it is tonight (不知天上宫阙)

In those celestial palaces on high. I long to fly on the wind, 

(今夕是何年,我欲乘风归去) 

Yet dread those crystal towers, those courts of jade,

(又恐琼楼玉宇)

Freezing to death among those icy heights! 

(高处不胜寒)

Instead I rise to dance with my pale shadow;

(起舞弄清影) 

Better off, after all, in the world of men.

(何似在人间) 

Rounding the red pavilion,

(转朱阁) 

Stooping to look through gauze windows,

(低绮户)

She shines on the sleepless.

(照无眠)

The moon should know no sadness;

(不应有恨) 

Why, then, is she always full when dear ones are parted? 

(何事长向别时圆)

For men the grief of parting, joy of reunion,

(人有悲欢离合)

Just as the moon wanes and waxes, is bright or dim:

(月有阴晴圆缺)

Always some flaw and so it has been since of old.

(此事古难全)

My one wish for you, is long life,

(但愿人长久)

And a share in this loveliness far, far away! 

(千里共婵娟)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nashville State (Part 2)

Spanish Language is the other class I wanted to take this fall at Nashville State.  Perhaps you saw the story in the New York Times by the man who took French to improve his brain function.  He didn't learn any French but measurement of his brain functions improved dramatically.

I mostly wanted to take Spanish because I'm GOING TO COSTA RICA in January.  But even if I didn't learn any Spanish, if my brain functions improved, that would have been good for me.  

Turns out, I probably won't be able to take Spanish because I don't have the required certification of competency in English. Bureaucracy wins once again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nashville State Starts in Two Weeks:


I'm excited and nervous, getting ready to register for my fall classes at Nashville State. Seniors here in Nashville can audit classes at the technical institutes for free. This summer, I took Photoshop, which was much more difficult than I had imagined. Last spring, I took Introduction to Photography, and, last fall, HTML, and History of Photography.

Upcoming fall term, I'm hoping to audit Black and White Photography, which requires a black and white film camera. Luckily, my son held on to the one we purchased for him 15 years ago for a college photography class.  The camera wasn't new back then and has manual rewind and manual advance. 

As my son was showing me how it worked, he explained the entire content of my photography class in 15 minutes. At Nashville State I had learned about shutter speed, aperture and iso, so I could keep nodding as my son explained: "And the shutter speed, that's...."

He must think his mom is a pretty quick study. 

Even though I grew up with manual cameras, I found myself trying to snap photos without doing the manual rewind after every shot. So unused to thinking about film. 

When I took the film camera to have the sensor cleaned: "Ma'am," the technician said, "this is a FILM camera...."

"So?"

"Well, film cameras don't have sensors...they have film."

"Oh....OH!"

Considering my beginner status, I'm amazed and happy with the first shots.  

These are from the 404 Kitchen, a local restaurant where we had an excellent meal, and a hilarious time, (sometimes, but not always, mutually exclusive). 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Halloween Costumes at Costco

I just had a great visit with my daughter and granddaughter in Washington, DC, where we visited the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of the American Indian, but also visited the Baltimore Costco.

Halloween costumes are in, and, while we didn't see the Frozen characters, we did find this Rapunzel outfit, which made my granddaughter almost as happy. Notice the tiara and gloves.  

I don't remember a pirate princess in previous years. I thought the mermaid, Ariel (?) costume was especially cute.  Costumes are in three sizes, largest is 4-6. I paid about $15. 

In previous years these sold out quickly, so, to get a choice of all sizes and characters, go now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Toast! At last!

Here at the house, we have had inferior toast production for a year and a half. When my dad moved to Nashville, I lent him my toaster and, to compensate, I pulled out the little toaster oven, which used to make OK toast about 25 years ago, but in 2014, the toast function didn't work.

I discovered that, if, instead of the toast function, I used the oven function, the bread got brown and dried out, sort of like toast.  Of course, with no automatic shut off, I had to continually check the little oven to make sure the toast wasn't burning. I learned that different types of bread take different amounts of cooking time, but I never was able to set a timer accurately enough to conquer toast.  More than one piece had to be tossed out because of burnt edges or completely charcoal-ed exterior.

I kept checking Costco for a white toaster. All the toasters have been stainless steel, and my appliances are white. I guess almost everyone wants stainless steel now, but, finally, Costco had a white toaster on deep discount.

Here is my new 4-slice Cuisinart toaster, which can make regular toast in all shades, or toast only on one side. I can still remember my x-father-in-law getting angry with me because I made toasted cheese by toasting the bread first instead of browning on one side, the correct way.  One-sided toasting is also preferred for bagels.

I paid $19.97 for my new toaster. Nashville Costco had a bunch,  On the Internet these Cuisinarts sell
For around $50.00. 

I had four slices of toast yesterday. I'm going to have to cut back.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

5 Best Places to Eat Lunch in Nashville (Granny Style)

I've been asked by TheBesty.com for my list of the best places to eat in Nashville.  My dinner list would look like everyone else's- City House, Josephine's, 404 Kitchen, Husk, Etch... (if I left yours off, I haven't eaten there yet).  But grandmothers are economical, and like to eat lunch, which is cheaper than dinner. And grandmothers, like me, might be retired, and might have time to mosy around after lunch and look around, so here are my lunch picks:

Frist Cafe: At the wonderful, art deco, Frist Museum the food is good, and the restored old building is marvelous. The museum is worth a trip just to see the building even if no exhibit catches your fancy. If you're traveling with grandchildren, the hands-on art room upstairs is a very fun place to visit.

Pineapple Room at Cheekwood:  Harder to recommend because if you're not a Cheekwood member, you have to pay to get into Cheekwood, a significant extra expense. The food is ladies-who-lunch fare, salads, light sandwiches, but fresh and well prepared. If you've never seen Cheekwood, the house that Maxwell House Coffee built, you need to visit. This beautiful 1930's mansion is now an art museum and the grounds are a botanical garden.

Etch:  This restaurant has some of the best food of the group, the food is truly wonderful, and also has valet parking, which is great because Etch is located downtown right across from the symphony hall. Let the valet park your car, and, after lunch, go explore Lower Broadway.  Be sure to see the symphony hall, but also cross over the pedestrian bridge for a Nashville photo opportunity.

Capitol Grill: This restaurant, in the historic Hermitage Hotel, also has excellent food.  Don't leave without seeing the men's restroom, often on the best restrooms of America list. Afterwards, cross Memorial Plaza, the state legislature meeting rooms are underneath this open square, and visit the pre-Civil War state capitol and an Andrew Jackson statue identical to the one in Jackson Square in New Orleans..

Thistle Stop Cafe:  This cafe serves fresh salads and sandwiches, but, also, this is a great place to eat because of the extraordinary mission of the cafe, to be a learning lab for women who are working to turn their lives around.  This is another enterprise of the same group that developed the Thistle Farms cosmetics line.

So many fun places, so much to do in Nashville. What's your favorite place to lunch? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Long Black Skirt at Costco

I need an outfit for a formal dinner in August, but I want something I will wear more than once.  Instead of a long formal, I think I can squeek by with a cocktail dress.  I ordered a little black dress from Nordstrom on-line, $150; uninspiring in person, I had to return it.  Rather than mail it back, I returned it to the store here, where the Nordstrom sales person found me a cute little black dress for $895.  Hmmm. No.

I also needed a swimsuit, and, at Nordstrom, in the swim department, I noticed long black skirts with elastic waistbands being sold as "dresses/skirts" for around $50.  Took me a second, but I realized they were designed to be pulled up and worn either as strapless bathing suit cover-ups or as skirts over a suit.  Hummm. 

I remembered seeing something similar at Costco.

These matti m skirts at Costco are very similar, but sell for $16.99.

I'm not going to wear this to the formal dinner, I'm going to wear it over a swim suit. Probably.

Happy National Hotdog Day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kenneth Cole Reversible Belts at Costco


Been looking for a belt for my Dad and this Kenneth Cole Casual Belt, reversible, is working great.  

My dad had no complaints and says ithe process to reverse from black to brown is easy. 

I paid $17.99 at the Nashville Costco.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Apple Products at Costco



Apple products are in my Costco in Nashville!  I saw phones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Nanos.  I'm not sure how these prices compare with the Apple store.  Here are some details:

I asked about the iPhone 6. They said they may be taking names once the launch is announced, but expect to sell out fast.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Frozen Books From Costco

This 4 book Frozen set is a big hit with my 5-year-old granddaughters.  

The chapter book was the first non-picture story book for one of the girls.  

With the less than $15 price tag, I was able to send the set by USPS Media Mail to Brooklyn for less than it would have cost to send the set from Amazon. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adams Reserve Sharp Cheddar Slices at Costco

My Nashville Costco has changed the sliced medium cheddar Tillamook Cheese to sliced sharp cheddar Adams Reserve.  We liked the Tillamook Cheese, a staple here.

But the Adams Reserve is growing on me.  I like a sharp cheddar taste better, but liked the Tillamook because it was Costco's only real cheddar that came in slices.  My impression is that Jacques prefers medium cheddar, but, so far, he hasn't complained about the Adams Reserve.

Tillamook was packaged in 2.5 lb. packages; Adams Reserve is in 2 lb. packs.  I paid $6.99 for 2 pounds of the Adams Reserve, making it a slightly better buy than Tillamook.

The Adams Reserve does not come with paper separating the slices, but the slices don't seem to stick together as much as the Tillamook.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Outdoor Picnic Blanket from Costco



I bought this Outdoor Blanket from Costco to go to Bluebird on the Mountain.

At Bluebird on the Mountain, tickets are by the car; the trick is to come early, get in line with your car, tailgate, enter Dyer Observatory when the gate opens, and let out the Scout. 

Someone has to be the Scout, getting out of the car and claiming a site as close to the front and center of the stage as possible. Meanwhile, the others, loaded up with chairs, food, bug spray, and tables, trek to whatever spot the Scout claims.

Our Scout Saturday was Bonnie, who did a great job, aided by this Outdoor Blanket from Costco. 

At Bluebird on the Mountain, one must maintain civilities and claim the exactly right amount of space. The Outdoor Blanket does this by not being over-large, 60" by 70", a size that made the perfect "floor" for our picnic table. Eight of us fit around it easily.

In contrast to most picnic blankets, the Outdoor Blanket has a water resistant side, and a carrying strap. The fabric is stiff and seems like an effective bug barrier. Unfortunately, if it gets really cold, this would not be a good blanket for snuggling. Not a problem right now in Nashville.

I paid just under $20.00 at my Nashville Costco. 

The composite photo is made up of two of friend Jan's photos, but I don't know the nice family at the top, I added that photo from the Outdoor Blanket tag.

I can't mention Bluebird on the Mountain without praising this great series of songwriter concerts.  This month we heard Tom Douglas, Gretchen Peters and Steve Seskin, and they were wonderful. 





Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft Toilet Paper at Costco

It could be embarrassing blogging about toilet paper.

But the new Costco Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft toilet paper is worth it.

The new paper is embossed with a flower that looks something like a stylized cherry blossom and is more expensive per sheet than other Kirkland toilet paper. I paid $14.99 for the pack. But the difference between the new paper and the old paper is as great as the difference between standard motel bath towels and four-star hotel towels.

I like the regular Costco toilet paper and have no problems with it, but the new Ultra Soft would be the type of toilet paper you could imagine making into a wedding dress  I know the toilet paper wedding dress contest is sponsored by Charmin, but this Kirkland Ultra Soft paper almost feels like cloth rather than paper.

My advice: If you have to make a wedding dress out of toilet paper, use Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft.


And if small luxuries, that cost almost nothing more than the regular product, can make your day better, I say go for it. Pun intended.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Costco Carrying Apple Again!

I was pretty excited to see Apple iTunes gift cards back in Costco.  Costco's split from Apple in 2010 made me sad; I'm a huge consumer of Apple products,

I wonder if Apple and Costco have other plans in the works. Wouldn't it be great if Costco sells the new iphone 6?!  Or the watch that's supposed to be coming out at the same time, maybe September. 

I'm hoping these gift cards are the beginning of a great renewed partnership. The discounted price is great. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Farro (Spelt) for Sale at Costco



My Costco has organic Italian Pedon Farro (spelt) on sale for $4.97 for 3 pounds. Spelt is an old variety of wheat, a very old variety, according to the packaging, eaten by the Roman Legion.  It tastes kind of healthy to me, very similar to brown rice. Flavor is slightly nutty but mostly bland; I would use it in place of rice, pasta or potatoes. I'm sure it's much better for you than white rice, white bread or white potatoes.

The packaging has imprecise directions, which might have something to do with this item ending up on sale:

Use plenty of water, bring to a boil, add farro, reduce heat and cook for 25-30 minutes.  

The directions would horrify most American cookbook writers, who are urged to sound like chemists in their precision, but I loved them!

I found that 5 cups of water to 2 cups of spelt simmered for 30 minutes worked fine, but made LOTS. One cup of uncooked farro would have been plenty for two people. I added salt, pepper and butter and served it as a side dish with salmon and broccoli.
                                                                 
The recipe on the packaging suggests a bacon, marinara, Parmesan cheese, and black olive dish; I'm going to try that next.

Check your Costco soon, it's not going to last at this price.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Movie Frozen and Pre-schoolers



In about 15 years, I think there will be a strong feminine audience for Broadway.  

My Brooklyn granddaughter's entire pre-school class sang Frozen's Let It Be, with emotion, at pre-school graduation. My other granddaughter, in Detroit, loves the story and its music, too.  

My doctor here in Nashville told me his grandson got in an altercation with a little girl playing at his house.  After separating them, he asked the little girl what was wrong.  "Sam wasn't listening to THE song," she said.

My Costco seems to be sold out of the movie. I'm going to get a copy myself as soon as it's back.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Embarrassing but True Costco Exchange Experience

We ended up exchanging the Mignone dresses because the sparkles came off the first time they were washed. Costco, of course, had no problem taking the dresses back.

However, five year old granddaughter loved the Mignone dresses so much, at her urging, we bought another sparkle dress and are treating it as the finest lingerie - delicate, gentle hand washing only!  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bluebird on the Mountain, Ravinia, and my new Costco Wagon


A few years ago, maybe ten, Bob and I and a group of friends attended Ravinia in the Chicago suburbs. At Ravinia, an outdoor concert venue, I think we heard the Chicago Symphony, but I know we saw sophisticated city folk with elegant picnics sitting under the stars listening to music.

The music was lovely, but what impressed me most was the elegant picnics, at least one of which included a candelabra, white tablecloth, and candles. 

With the memory of Ravinia, I had a reference to approach Bluebird on the Mountain, a local Nashville tradition. Bluebird on the Mountain combines the Bluebird Cafe and the Dyer Observatory of Vanderbilt University in a series of six open-air songwriter concerts. Picnics are the rule. I've been waiting for this for ten years.

Along with the picnic, I packed a handful of Costco flameless candles and purchased, and this is what was INCREDIBLY SMART, if I do say so myself, a collapsable wagon purchased at Costco for $58.


The candles were a nice touch, but the wagon was perfect for transporting wine, food, blankets, and chairs over the uneven terrain.  I am SURE the sight of us pulling the wagon sold many other wagons.  One man even said , "I've been thinking about getting one of those, and now I'm going to." 


We heard Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher, and Andrew Pates, who've written songs for Jason Aldean and
Rascal Flats.

The schedule for the rest of the summer is:


June 21st: Tom Douglas, Steve Seskin, TBA
July 26th: Marshall Altman, Dylan Altman, Amy Grant, 
Gabe Dixon
Aug 16th: Victoria Banks, Dave Berg, Roger Cook
Sept 20th: The Waymores
Oct 4th: Jeff Black, Kim Richey, Jack Tempchin


I'll be bringing my candles and wagon!