Monday, November 28, 2005

The Prescription Lowdown...Finding cheaper alternatives

If you know anyone who needs help with saving money on prescription drugs, this is an excellent article.

By: Amy Allen Clark from the dollar stretcher

Prescription medication is an expense that many families cannot afford. If you do not have an insurance plan that will cover your prescriptions and are a low-income family, then you are not alone. Fortunately, there are programs available to assist you with your medications, but finding them can be a struggle.
For many years, we went without coverage for our prescriptions and it was a very difficult time for our family financially. Making our six hundred dollar a month health insurance payment was enough to sink us and, to add insult to injury, our prescriptions were not included in this unreal price tag. Not having prescription coverage was not an issue for my husband because he was healthy and rarely needed any medication, but that was not the case for my son and myself. The first year of my son's life was filled with illness after illness and, being his mother, I got just about everything my son had along with him. Keeping the two of us healthy and all of the prescriptions that I took on a daily basis added up to a huge chunk of change that our family just did not have. At times, we went without medications or we were at the complete mercy of our doctor and his samples stash.
During this time, I started doing some research on more affordable ways that we could purchase our prescriptions without completely breaking the bank. Through my research, I discovered a few options that would help us afford our medicines while still being able to make our other monthly expenses.
Communicate With Your Doctor
If you are without prescription coverage, it is important to have a good relationship with your doctor. Your doctor can truly be your greatest alley and can help you in a variety of ways.
If your doctor starts you on a new prescription drug, there
are a series of questions you can ask to make sure you get the best deal.
Begin by asking your doctor if he has any free samples you can have to try the medication. Explain your insurance situation and see if your doctor will offer you the medication for free. If your doctor does not have any samples for you to take home, ask him if he could call the drug representative from that company to send some samples to you. These drug representatives stop in regularly to restock their supply and are happy to get more clients under their belt. This can be a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
If samples are unavailable, ask your doctor if you can have a "trial prescription," so you can buy fewer of the tablets at first. This can be a good way to find out if a medication will work for you and also to see if you can tolerate any nasty side effects. If the drug does not work for you, you will not have invested in a month's supply that you will be unable to use.
There are also specific questions that you can ask about the medications you are taking. For example, ask your doctor if there is a generic equivalent to the medication you are taking because you are exploring less expensive alternatives. If there are no generic equivalents to this medication, you can also ask about over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Sometimes, there are OTC medications you can take that will achieve the same results as the actual prescription drug.
Another question you can ask is if you could buy a double dosage of the medication, in pill form, and split the tablets in half for your regular dosage. There are many prescriptions you can purchase that can easily be halved. This can result in a fifty-percent savings on your medication.
Your doctor may also know about specific aid from the drug manufacturer. Many prescription companies have programs to give medications to patients who have no way to pay for their prescription drugs. Programs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but all require your doctor to submit the application for you. Explore this route with your doctor and see what the company requirements are and if this type of aid is available to you and your family.
Finally, check in yearly with your doctor to see if cheaper versions of your medications have become available. Many of us review our bills and insurance policies yearly, so add this to your agenda and you may reap the rewards of a few dollars saved.

Buy Online: Online stores can offer a lot of savings for their customers, particularly Canadian pharmacies where drug prices are much cheaper (savings of up to half on many prescriptions). Whether you buy American or not, you must make sure that you research the company well to ensure that the company is not a fake.
Examples of things to look for are a toll free number, real operators who answer their phone, a physical company address, and a secure website to do your shopping. You will also want to make sure the pharmacy is approved by the organization that governs the state/country where the pharmacy is located.

State Assistance Make sure to investigate what your state offers in assisting with the cost of your prescription drugs. These programs are typically available to the elderly, disabled, and low-income families. You can obtain information about these programs through your state's website or by calling the office of your state senator or representative.

Additional Resources: These are a few sites that you can check for additional information, for free, on medical assistance programs:
Needy Meds ( is designed to provide information about patient assistance programs which provide no cost prescription medications to eligible participants.
Rx Outreach ( is a new Patient Assistance Program developed by Express Scripts Specialty Distribution Services, Inc. (ESSDS). The program provides qualified low-income individuals and families with access to generic versions of brand name medications.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( brings together America's pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to help qualifying patients who lack prescription coverage get the medicines they need through the public or private program that's right for them. Many will get them free or nearly free. Its mission is to increase awareness of patient assistance programs and boost enrollment of those who are eligible.
Together Rx Access ( is a card that has been created to help qualified individuals and families without prescription drug coverage to save on brand- name prescription drugs and other prescription products, as well as save on a wide range of generic drugs. This card is available to those who are ineligible for Medicare, have no prescription drug coverage (public or private), and families who meet certain income requirements. This program is only available to legal US residents.

The sites above are your best bet for finding this information, but do not be afraid to ask your doctor, the drug company, or your pharmacy about assistance programs. You will find there are great savings in simply asking and exploring for cheaper alternatives. ________________________
Amy Allen Clark is a stay-at-home mother of a three-year-old son and is expecting their second child in December. She is founder and creator of ( Her web site is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget, and for those seeking work-at-home employment. The author resides in Granger, Indiana and her hobbies include reading, writing, and cooking. Please visit her web site for more information on these various topics for mothers.

For those of you who do not qualify for drug assistance you can purchase a discount plan that will give you 25 to 50% off discounts on perscription drugs. Check out my website for further details. Get a dental, vision, perscription and chiropractic plan for one low price.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What I'm Most Thankful For

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Here is my family! From left to right: Jennifer, Justin (holding 4 month old Jocelyne), Bonnie (holding 4 yr. old J.J.) and William. The two grandkids belong to Jennifer and Justin. TF (my husband) took the picture last night, after all of our Thanksgiving guests had left for the day. They were trying to decide what they wanted to do and I said, “It’s time for our yearly picture”. They all plopped down on the love seat while TF retrieved the camera. We took three pictures of the group. It’s not easy getting everyone to look forward and smile at the same time. I noticed after TF had downloaded them that they were all wearing blue jeans, even the baby. Along with my husband, this is the thing I am most grateful for.

Thanksgiving came along way too fast. I had been busy cleaning the house and shopping for the day. I found a 22lb. turkey at Kroger’s and after last years fiasco, I knew this one would be big enough for our crowd. You say, “What happened last year?” Well, a friend of my wanted to do the turkey and dressing and I said ALLRight. Two hours before the dinner was to be served, he called up and said, “How many people are coming, this is only a 12 lb. turkey.” I almost fainted, knowing that we would have about 20 people there for dinner. I immediately ran to the freezer and found a half ham. It went into the microwave immediately for a quick thaw. I got it wrapped in foil and put it into the oven. Just so you will know, we didn’t have one bite left of the turkey or the ham. That was just too nerve wracking. This year we had plenty.. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving!

TF and I finally left the house today around 4:00pm. I was still trying to recover from yesterday and just relax. I looked over the “black Friday” ads and saw a couple of things that I would like to go shop for. We headed to Fry’s electronics and found everything on the list, how lucky is that? Now, I’m home again and doing my blogging.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Look what I just found!

( click on image to enlarge )
Just the other day I posted on dejunking the house of all that "stuff" that magically fills up every nook and craney. Look what was in the Sunday Funnies...It's me! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Where did all this "Stuff" come from....

I have been helping a friend of mine pack for a move. She came here from Europe about eight years ago with just one suitcase of clothes. She didn’t even have a car, she rode a bicycle to work till she could afford an auto. She lives on a teacher’s salary and nothing more. I can’t believe how much “stuff” she has accumulated over the years. Nic-nacks and plants are everywhere. She is working on her masters degree and she has a ton of books and papers. A small three bedroom house is now her pride and joy. Several men from church will be coming over this morning to help her get moved.

It got me to thinking what it would take for me to make a move right now. Oh my gosh, my head started to swim. With all my food storage, books, clothes, TF’s inventory from his business, papers and things from my business, and everything else we own, it would be a tremendous chore. I have been working on de-junking lately and it just goes to prove that we accumulate things before we know it. I still have stuff here that belongs to the kids. It doesn’t help that I am a child of depression era parents. Mom and dad didn’t like to throw things out, because they might need it one day. A lot of that has rubbed off on me and I have to learn to get rid of “things”. My house doesn’t look like one of those houses from “Clean Sweep”, but it can use some de-junking. I am working on it.

Update: If you are a fan of Donna Summers or John Travolta, you will enjoy this Thanksgiving Day song:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Herbs and Spices

Hi everyone! Well it’s that time of year when my church group puts together an herb and spice order. I’m a little later than usual in getting out the word so this year we are doing something a little different. We are able to look at the catalog “online” and then put together a group order. I am going to give you the web address for the catalog so you can look at it and see if it is something you might want to order for yourself. The web address is: I have been ordering herbs and spices from them for about 10 years now and am always happy with what I order. These prices are much lower than what you will pay at the store.

When I wrote this blog, back in September, I gave a recipe for Cinnamon Ornaments. I ordered the cinnamon and other spices thru San Francisco Herb Co. and paid quiet a bet less for the spices than I would have at Krogers.

If anyone in Houston wants to order with our group, please email me at: and we can talk and I could give you the particulars. By ordering as a group, we will get enough that we won’t have to pay shipping.

Tip for the Day: Making Croutons

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Use slices of white or dark bread. Cut into ½ inch cubes.
3) Arrange cubes in a shallow baking pan.
4) Bake until golden brown – about 20 to 25 minutes- stirring occasionally. ( you can also season the bread cubes at this time with garlic salt or what ever flavor you want your croutons to have.)
5) Cool and store in an airtight container.

These croutons may be used for Bread stuffing for your turkey.
Yesterday I used some stale bread and about six small loaves of some stale french sticks. I cut them up into small pieces and just followed the recipe above. I wanted to get a head start on my Thanksgiving cooking. They turned out great and I am looking forward to making my dressing with them. My husband likes the bread stuffing, which is different from the corn bread stuffing I was raised on. Ahhhhh...we'll see what happens.

Corny Casserole: A recipe from Cindy Watson * Gooseberry Patch Christmas book
Actually this is one of my dad’s favorite recipes. This would be great on your Thanksgiving table as an extra dish.

3 eggs
½ cup Butter, melted
½ tea. Salt
7 oz. box corn muffin mix (Jiffy is what I use)
8 oz. sour cream
16 oz. can creamed corn
16 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained

Beat eggs with butter. Add salt, corn muffin mix and sour cream; beat well. Add corn. Bake in 8” x 8” (greased) pan at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 8.

Dad would double the recipe and take it to pot lucks, senior citizens dinners, church dinners, and family dinners. We all love his corn casserole. It’s easy, give it a try..

Update: Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Friday, November 11, 2005

Jumbo Chocolate Muffins

Recipe By : Real Food for Real PeopleServing Size : 6 Categories : Quick Breads

2 tablespoons Butter or Margarine
2 squares Unsweetened Chocolate -- (1 oz)
1 1/4 cups Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Milk
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare six jumbo muffin cups with paper liners or non-stick cooking spray. In 1-qt. saucepan over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; set aside to cool slightly. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In small bowl using wire whisk, beat milk, egg, and vanilla to blend well; stir in cooled chocolate mix. Add milk mix to flour mix, stirring until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into muffin cups; bake 30 minutes or until tops spring back. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 395 Calories; 17g Fat (35.4% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 61g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 45mg Cholesterol; 236mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 3 Fat; 2 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Tips for the Day:

How do you know when the turkey's done? Use a meat thermometer. When the thermometer reads 170°F in the thickest part of the breast, it's fully cooked and ready to be the star of your table.

Five Foods for a Healthy Digestive System

In this article, you'll learn about five important foods
you should be eating to build a healthy digestive tract.
Must reading for those with indigestion.

Dr. Ben Kim's Autumn Apple Cleanse

If you want a simple and effective cleansing program, Dr.
Ben Kim has a great one for you. Eating apples and other healthy foods, you can feel better fast. Check this one out, for sure.

Monday, November 07, 2005

How long did they practice this routine?

I found the cutest video on Rossputin’s blog today and I just had to “borrow” it for you to see. My little 3 month old granddaughter thought it was awesome. She had been fussing and we sat down at the computer for her to drink a bottle. I turned on the video and she instantly quit crying. She watched intently as the three and a half minute video played.

The two young men in the above video are Chinese and they are wearing Rockets shirts. They must be fans of our Yao Ming. I suppose the youth, all over the world, are just the same as our young people here in America. Move over Back Street Boys!

I remember, in college, as one of my roommates would sing along with Diana Ross and the Supremes. She would turn on the music and practice till she could “mouth” the music perfectly. I had more fun watching her do this. When it come time for our dorm talent show she would play Diana Ross and Deanna and I would be the “Supremes”. . . . You can't hurry love, oh you just have to wait. . . . We had a blast!

Tip of the day: Now for those of you who are diabetic or on a diet, here is a Pumpkin Cheese pie that should fit your Thanksgiving diet. No pecans Fred!

Pumpkin Cheese Pie
Recipe By : Real Food for Real People Serving Size : 8
Categories : Desserts Diabetic
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

8 ounces Lowfat Cream Cheese -- Softened
1 Egg -- or replacer
2 tablespoons Splenda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Pumpkin, canned
2 Eggs -- or replacer
1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Pie Crust (9 inch) -- unbaked
1 cup Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons Splenda

For Cheese Layer: Combine cream cheese, Splenda, vanilla and 1 egg (or replacer) in mixing bowl. Stir to mix well, spread in bottom of unbaked pie shell.

For Pie Layer:Combine pumpkin, milk, 2 eggs (or replacer), sugar or replacement and spices in a mixing bowl, beating to blend thoroughly. Carefully pour over cheese layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 65 to 70 min or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 251 Calories; 15g Fat (54.6% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 95mg Cholesterol; 400mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Update: Enjoy this Turkey Day song:

Friday, November 04, 2005

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Half of 11 oz. pkg. pie crust mix
½ cup - light corn syrup
½ cup - dark brown sugar
6 – eggs
3 Tbs.- butter, melted
5 Tbs.- all-purpose flour
2 tsp. - Vanilla extract
½ tsp. – salt
2 ½ - cups pecan halves
3 pkgs. – (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 container – (8 oz.) sour cream
¼ cup - caramel topping
2 cups – sweetened whipped cream
Red decorating sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place roasting pan on bottom oven rack; fill halfway with water. Prepare pie crust mix according to package directions for 1 crust. Chill 20 minutes. Roll crust into 10” circle; fit into 9” springform pan.

Mix syrup, brown sugar, 1 egg, butter, 2 Tbs. flour, 1 tsp. vanilla and salt. Stir in 1 ½ cups pecans. Pour into pan; bake 40 minutes. At medium speed beat cream cheese and 1 cup granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in remaining eggs, then sour cream and remaining flour and vanilla. Pour into pan. Bake on rack above water 35 minutes or until center jiggles.

Turn oven off; let stand in oven 15 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake. Cool. Chill 8 hours. Remove side of pan. Mix topping and remaining nuts. Spoon over cake. Top with whipped cream and red sugar.

To Freeze: After removing side from pan, wrap cake in plastic wrap and foil; freeze up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Top as directed.

Servings: 16 Calories: 589 Protein: 9 g. Fat: 44 g. (19 g. saturated)
Chol.; 159 Carbs: 44 g. Sodium: 325 g. Fiber: 2 g. Sugar: 30 g.
Kitchen time: 1 hour. Total time: 10 hours.
Recipe from: Women’s World magazine. P. 30 Dated 11/08/05
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

My dad loved to cook and his favorite time of year was Thanksgiving. He made such a big deal about cooking the turkey. The night before he would make lots of cornbread and he would cut up onions, celery, green peppers and garlic for the dressing. He would put the turkey giblets and livers in a pan of water with onions and cook them till they were done. Then he would chop them up and put half of it in the cornbread along with the onions, celery, green peppers and garlic, next came the seasonings. You really had to watch him here because he would get a little carried away with the pepper. Ohhh..he had such a good time preparing the dressing. It went into the refrigerator for the overnight chill. The next morning he would get up early and stuff the turkey. He would clean out the turkey cavity and sprinkle salt inside. The dressing went in next and then he would close the openings with string and tie the legs closed. He would spread oil all over the outside of the turkey and then cover it with a tent made from aluminum foil. He made sure that the foil was crimped tightly around the edges of the pan. He would have the oven pre-heating to 500 degrees. The turkey went in and cooked for 30 minutes on 500 degrees and then he would turn it down to 325 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time. When the turkey was almost done he would take the foil off and baste the turkey and let it brown. He would take it out of the oven and let it sit till ready to eat. The meat would be falling off the bones and was the most tender turkey you would ever eat…Oh, I can taste it now.

Once my mother died, twenty years ago, dad would come over to my house and spend the night. He would bring all of his supplies and all the things he would need for his cooking. We stayed up late preparing the dressing. Dad never missed his chance to “do his turkey”. The year before he died he came over, with his oxygen tank in tow, he sat on a stool in the kitchen cutting his onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. I was right there handing him what he needed to prepare his dressing. It took him a little longer to do, but he did it anyway. He wanted to, it was his job. I do all the turkey fixings now. Dad did a good job teaching by example. The turkey is just as good but somehow it was better when dad did it. I sure do miss my dad.

I need to keep my eye out for a turkey about 22 to 24 lbs. We usually have about 20 family and friends over for dinner. Everyone brings a dish and we have a real feast. It’s a lot of work but well worth it. I am very thankful for all my blessings.

What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions?
One of my favorite things to do is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade on TV, in the morning, after stuffing the turkey. I love parades. Nothing like a great marching band and watching children in coats, hats and gloves having a great time.

Tip of the Day: 7 home repairs you can't ignore!

For women only!

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