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Thank You and Goodbye

Dear Snapurly Reader:

A couple of years ago, I decided to start this blog as a way of sharing some insights and thoughts that had come into my mind based on things I had seen, heard, or read about. I was excited about it and commenced eagerly on entertaining the masses (all 12 of you who are reading this). However, earlier this year, while I felt the content being put out wasn’t bad for an amateur writer, the fun side of writing had diminished. The process was laborious and a few postings I felt like I had put something out there because I hadn’t written a post in a few days or a week. What’s more, the tone of the postings started getting away from my personality. I like to laugh. I like to enjoy life. I like to share random thoughts. And although I can be serious when I need to be, I am not a self-improvement guru that which all persons on Earth should stop what they are doing and listen when I speak. So why am I writing like that? Let me leave that advice to the experts.

I desire to get back to the point where I enjoy writing again and am using the excuse of life change (I  recently got married) to reinvent my blogging identity. This means that this is the last post on Snapurly. I am proud of what I put out and would not take any of it back but I feel like it’s time to move in a different direction to mirror the new chapter in my personal life. I want to thank all of you who have stopped by and glanced at one of my 108 posts. I may know you, I may not but either way I am grateful for your time.

The good news (or bad depending on your thoughts of Snapurly) is that I am not going away, just changing addresses. I am proud to announce my new blog Burtogram that will be my blog home going forward. It will be a departure from the Snapurly posts but I am excited about the new direction and content decisions I have made for it. Look for the first posting to appear in the next week or two at burtogram.wordpress.com.  I hope that you like what you see.

Thanks again for your readership over the past couple of years. It has been a great ride.

Best,
Britt

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Flapjack Fundraiser

There are a lot of ways for non-profit organizations to raise money. Golf tournaments, dinners, and door-to-door food sales are common fundraiser ideas utilized by companies to operate their business. While these are typically profitable ventures, they require a lot of logistical planning and staffing (and in some cases, money) to execute. For a company with plentiful resources these issues are not a problem, but what about smaller non-profits that cannot afford the time, manpower, or money to do it? Thankfully, Applebee’s offers an alternative option: the Flapjack Fundraiser.

The Flapjack Fundraiser allows a non-profit organization the opportunity to raise money by serving pancakes to its supporters. Here’s how it works: Applebee’s will open up on Saturday morning. From 8:00-10:00 in the morning, people who have already purchased tickets or buy the tickets (for $5-$7 a pop) in person stop by the restaurant. Applebee’s staff will cook up a plethora of pancakes and sausage. They will also provide butter, syrup, milk, orange juice, and coffee for guests to drink. Usually only one serving of food is offered but if there is an excess of food/small crowd then additional food is available. The non-profit will be responsible for marketing the event, selling tickets, staffing the tables, and cleaning up the tables. After two hours time (or 400 guests, whichever comes first), the event comes to an end. Applebee’s charges $2 for each guest to cover the costs of the food ingredients but the non-profit walks away with the remaining $3-$5. You don’t have to be a math major to see that this is a great deal, even if 400 people do not come through the doors. Say 100 people make it down to the restaurant. Depending on the price of the tickets, after Applebee’s cut you would walk away with $300-$500. That’s a nice amount of folding money.

My fiance’s youth group just held a Flapjack Fundraiser and made a couple hundred dollars to use towards their kids’ mission trips fees this summer. If you are a non-profit organization, you would be wise to follow in their footsteps and contact your local Applebee’s. Who knows, you might find that flapjacks are your new favorite food.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Budget Meals- Chicken With Macaroni and Cheese

The meal (except green beans instead of baked beans).

We’re back with another installment of Budget Meals. This week we have a scrumptious dinner option that is both delicious and easy on the pocketbook: chicken breast with sides of homemade Macaroni & Cheese and green beans. The list of items you will need to pick up at the store includes:

1 3 lbs. package chicken breast                              $7.00
1 box Great Value elbow macaroni                          $1.00
1 package American sliced cheese (16 ct)              $2.59
1 1/2 jug of milk                                                        $1.75
1 tub of butter                                                           $2.00
1 can green beans                                                   $0.62
Total:                                                                        $14.96

(Spices can be added to the chicken if you have them for taste. This will increase the bottom line a bit if you don’t have them already.)

The dollar amount is a little high at first glance; however, the recipe below makes two wholesome servings and more importantly, leaves inventory of all listed items except the green beans for use in other meals. Because of this, the actual cost of the meal is much lower. Plus, you may have some or all of these items around the house already which also decreases the price of the meal. According to my calculations ($0.70 for chicken, $0.50 for noodles, $0.65 for cheese, $0.07 for milk, $0.10 for butter, and $0.62 for green beans), the cost of items used on the recipe comes to $2.64.

Here’s the process to concoct the meal for two:

Ingredient list
(Time to cook: 30 minutes)
(Makes 2 servings)

1 large chicken breast*
1/3 to 1/2 box elbow macaroni
4 slices of American cheese
1 spoonful of butter
1/3 cup milk
1 can green beans

*Here’s a neat trick to get more out of your package of chicken, thanks to my roommate Eric. Take a knife and insert on one side of the breast about halfway between the top and bottom of the breast. Push the knife through until it breaks through the other side of the meat. Cut sideways towards one end, keeping the knife parallel to the top of the breast. Repeat from the middle to the other side to cut the breast into two sizable portions.

Fill a pot with water and heat to boiling. On another burner, heat a pan or griddle (or Foreman grill) to medium. Once the water is ready, pour in the macaroni noodles. Stir occasionally until noodles are tender, then drain the pot. Meanwhile, take the two pieces of chicken and apply spices if desired, then throw in the pan with spice side up. Flip onto other side when the down side of the breast has finished cooking, then take off heat when finished. After draining the macaroni, put noodles back into pot. Turn heat down a bit before throwing in butter, milk, and slices of cheese. Stir together until butter and cheese are melted and a creamy macaroni and cheese mixture appears. Open can of green beans and throw in bowl. Put in microwave and cook for two and a half minutes. Place chicken breast, portion of macaroni & cheese, and green beans on a a plate and enjoy.

If you are looking for a dinner idea in the next few days, give this one a try and let me know what you think. Bon appetite!

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Budget Meals

 

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Opening Day

An Opening Day scene at Kauffman Stadium (courtesy of Kansas City Pro.com)

During the last week, all 30 Major League Baseball teams have held or will hold their Opening Day game. Opening Day for a baseball game is unlike any other sport’s inaugural game of the season. Sure, MLB and other sports will have various fan experience events going throughout and outside of the stadium (radio remotes, concerts, games, etc.) in the hours leading up to the game. In addition, all the major sports leagues will open up the parking lots and gates earlier than usual and have passionate fans on hand to tailgate and celebrate the season getting underway. They all even have special introductions for the day (recording artist for the National Anthem/God Bless America, US flag and/or flyover, etc.). But baseball’s opening days stand apart from the others in the way it is celebrated.

First, the start of the baseball season coincides with the start of spring. Knowing that the dreary, cool (usually) winter is over is a cause for celebration to many people. What better way to mark the occasion than getting together with 40,000 of your closest friends at a ballgame? Second, the team has either not played any games or only a few games; either way, they are not out of contention for the playoffs yet so hope exists for the team and its fans that “this could be the year” of unparalleled or renewed success in the standings. Third, a team’s first game is typically on a weekday during the day, meaning a person would have to take off part or all of the day from work to take part in the festivities and people arrange parties around the game itself. Taking off work and having fun with friends? Winning.

I have been party to two Opening Day games for the Kansas City Royals. The first time I was only able to make the game due to an issue at work but the second time was a memorable event. One of my best friends invited me to join a few of his coworkers for their Opening Day party. I met up with him late morning and we drove over to his bosses’ house. Apparently each of the “few coworkers” invited a friend because there were probably 30-35 people in the house. Trays of fruit, vegetables, and snack foods adorned the kitchen island; a keg was stationed on the back deck; and cheese and chocolate fondue pots were set up on the dining room table. After a couple of hours of hanging out, a bus the boss had rented pulled up out front and everyone piled in. We headed to Kauffman stadium where our party tailgated for a bit before heading into the game. We were a little late to the game itself- I think it was the bottom of the 2nd inning before we found our seats. Being a sports fan, I was paying a little more attention to the game then other attendees in our party who were just having a great time with some of the 40,000 fans in attendance. The Royals were taking on the Boston Red Sox and played really well that day, winning 7-1. We ducked out a little early to beat traffic and a jubilant bunch was even more so with the Royals W. (Unfortunately, the two teams’ fortunes that season would go in vastly different directions: the Royals ended up in last place in the AL Central at 69-93; the Red Sox finished first in the AL East at 96-66 and then won the World Series.)

If you have not been part of a Major League Baseball team’s Opening Day, I encourage you to add it to your bucket list. Even if you are not a baseball fan, you can have a special time out at the ballpark. Play Ball!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Budget Meals- Homemade Pizza

I am working towards becoming more budget conscious with my money and as a result, I have began searching for ways to stretch my money as much as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by cooking a “budget meal” at home. A budget meal is a meal that large enough to comfortably feed your family (no matter the size) and provide leftovers for future meals as well. Not only does this save on the number of times a week you are required to cook, but it is a much more cost-efficient way to eat. For example, I went to McDonald’s last week for a quick dinner. The total came to $5.44 which supplied enough food to feed me for one meal. Conversely, I went to the store a couple days later to buy supplies for homemade pizza. I spent $16.65 on supplies for the pizza, but that covered four meals worth of food (an average cost per meal of only $4.16!).

Whether you are currently a family of one or ten, the principle still applies to countless meal options. As I come across some of these budget meal I will share them with you so that you too can get more out of your money. My inaugural entry into this series is the aforementioned homemade pizza. Here is a list of the ingredients you will need as well as their cost*:

1 package Mama Mary’s Pizza Crust                                $3.48
1 jar Great Value Pizza Sauce                                         $1.00
1 package Hormel Pepperonis                                          $2.28
1 package Great Value Shredded Mozzarella (4 cup bag)   $4.23
1 package of Jimmy Dean Italian Sausage                        $2.98
1 can of Great Value Mushrooms                                     $0.75
1 green bell pepper                                                         $0.58

Total, including tax:                                                        $16.65
(quanties listed make 2 whole pizzas, 4 servings)
(Time to prepare and cook: 30-40 minutes)

*items purchased at Wal-Mart

If you want to add a little flavor to the pizza, add a couple of bucks to the total and pick up some olive oil. Even with this addition, the cost per meal is only $4.66, and the olive oil will be there for future pizzas and other Italian dishes you may create.

Give the homemade pizza a try and let me know what you think. And if you have any other budget meal ideas, let me know. There are numerous budget meals waiting to be discovered.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Budget Meals

 

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Crapshoot Revisited

After three weeks of competition and 67 games, March Madness came to a close earlier this week. Congrats to the Kentucky Wildcats who held off a furious rally by the Kansas Jayhawks to win their school’s eighth national championship. Now that the games have concluded, the Snapurly research team dove into the results of the NCAA tournament to see whether the trends that have emerged over the last 20 years continued this season or not. Here are the results:

– Upsets. The upset bug made itself at home during the tournament. In the second round alone there were 2 5-12 upsets; 2 7-10 upsets; 2 6-11 upsets; 1 4-13 upset; and shockingly not one but two 15-2 upsets as Norfolk State took down Missouri and Lehigh downed Duke. In addition, a 10 seed (Xavier), a 7 seed (Florida), and a 13 seed (Ohio) reached the Sweet 16.

-Higher seeds at the Final Four. Tradition continued this year as a #1 seed (Kentucky) reached the Final Four weekend. Joining them were 2 #2 seeds (Kansas and Ohio State) and a #4 seed (Louisville).

-Blue. Once again, this tournament followed most years past as the national champion wore blue. Interestingly, the Final Four participants featured two teams in blue and two teams in red. Both red teams lost, assuring that the trend would survive another year.

-Nike. I discovered another trend this week, thanks to Darren Rovell of CNBC.com: 15 of the last 17 champs wore Nike apparel. Only Kansas in 2008 (Adidas) and Michigan State in 2000 (Reebok) were the exceptions.

It was another great session of March Madness. Only 11 more months until it commences again! The question will be: will the trends make themselves apparent for the 75th anniversary of the tournament? We’ll see in the next Crapshoot.

 

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Spoiled- See “Jayhawk Fan”

1/3 of the seasons I have been a part of Jayhawk Nation have resulted in a Final Four appearance.


spoiled
– having the character or disposition harmed by pampering or oversolicitous attention (Free Online Dictionary.com)

spoiled – see “Kansas Jayhawk fan” (Snapurly.com)

The Final Four commences tomorrow. I am a college basketball fan(atic) so I usually tune in for the final weekend of games but this year. However, I have even more incentive to do so this time around because my Kansas Jayhawks are one of this year’s participants. I have been following the coverage in the newspapers, online, and over the airwaves the past few days and my excitement is growing for the Hawks’ national semifinal matchup versus Ohio State. During my information overload this week I also was reminded of how spoiled myself and the Jayhawk Nation are.

I began my collegiate studies at the University of Kansas in 2000. 2000 was also the first year I began rooting for the Jayhawks (the Wichita State Shockers being the only team I cheered for previously thanks to my dad; they did not realize a lot of success during my childhood). Here is what I have experienced in the dozen years since:

– 12 winning seasons
– 12 seasons of at least 23 wins
– 30+ wins 5 of last 6 seasons
– 184-9 record in Allen Fieldhouse (never more than 2 losses per season)
– 10 conference titles (2nd place the other 2 years), including the last 8 consecutive years
– 5 conference tournament titles
– 12 NCAA tournament appearances*
– 9 Sweet Sixteen appearances*
– 7 Elite Eight appearances*
– 4 Final Four appearances*
– 2 Championship Game appearances**
– 1 National Championship**

*including this season
**if KU wins Saturday, this will be 3 championship game appearances and chance to win the 2nd national title in this timeframe

In addition to these team accomplishments, there have been several individuals feats:

7 All-Americans
2 Academic All-Americans
13 NBA draft picks
2 Hall of Fame coaches

That is ridiculous. Most schools (blue bloods included) consider achieving one of these feats in the regular season a good season. Realize some success in the postseason? A great season. An Elite Eight or Final Four appearance? A legendary team remembered by their fanbase forever. At Kansas, though, a consistent excellence has been maintained through this timeframe. An excellence that has been seen numerous times throughout KU’s 114 year history. An excellence that has contributed to new traditions at other elite basketball schools (Kentucky, North Carolina). And an excellence that leads the coaching staff, media, and fans alike to set the bar not at a winning season, conference title, or Sweet Sixteen appearance like other schools, but instead Final Fours (and national titles). KU has earned their 4th Final Four appearance during my tenure in Jayhawk Nation and 14th overall. Whether KU wins or loses this weekend, they have produced a season Hawk fans can be proud of. Again. Can you say, “spoiled?”

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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