Cookie Exchange: Good Deal or Not???

The Holidays are an endless source of approved indulgences.  A time to make merry, and to sample all the goodies this special season can offer–and, oh my, yes there are many! Ho, Ho, Ho!!!  For example, Christmas cookies, so many to choose from and don’t they look wonderful and colorful on a sideboard.  But to get a nice assortment from a bakery, it’s easy to spend $50-$75 for these confections.

You can, of course, save money by  baking your own, but in order to have a variety that captures the eye as well as the palate, you have to plan in advance, your materials, your kitchen to go into full production, and have time.  Groan–so much work, so little time…

The light bulb turns on with a bright idea:  A Cookie Exchange!  The Cookie Exchange was born to answer the call of hostesses with the mostest for creating that last pièce de resistance for their buffet table–with less fuss and small muss.  Great idea, win-win, right?

However, not all Cookie Exchanges are created equal and may be more work than you expected.  The idea is to make 1-2 dozen of one type of cookie for each participant –the more participants, the more variety of cookies.  In theory, if you have 12 participants, you make 12 dozen cookies of the same recipe to exchange and you receive 1 dozen each of 12 different holiday cookies creating a beautiful assortment for your table.  Right??? Maybe not!

Follow these Guidelines from Markdown Mom to avoid the pitfalls of a Cookie Exchange, and there are pitfalls, Virginia:

  • Know the baking abilities of all participants. Just like planning  a family potluck dinner–there is always one kitchen challenged relative you ask to bring either an hors d’oeuvres tray or the green leaf salad.  Look for Pillsbury Bake-Off Winners!
  • Know ahead of time the cookies they will bring to avoid duplication.   Additionally, you do not want to spend oodles of time and expensive ingredients and exchange for cookies of less effort and quality.
  • Cardinal Rule:  no substituting homemade with store bought  if that happens, you  either keep her/his portion of your cookies, or depending how insulting that store bought cookie is–say an Oreo–you pelt them with their share of your cookies  and blacklist them from future Cookie Exchanges.
  • No cookies made ? Even though you agreed to participate,  save yourself the embarrassment, call in sick.
  • A successful Cookie Exchange should be photographed and accompanied with recipes–in a number of years,  you’ll have a book!
  • Give ribbons for the best decorated, flavorful, etc.–a quality control incentive.

****Better yet, sign up for a Cookie Exchange offered through Community Education of your local school where you can go and make and exchange cookies in one night.  This way, you get an assortment, somewhat smaller, but you don’t have the clutter and disruption in your kitchen, you meet new people, plus you may  gain a a few tips and baking shortcuts, and you can always blame the instructor!

Is Kindle Unlimited The New Netflix For Books???

Calling all ebook readers!  Amazon has debuted its’ new online monthly book club, kindle unlimited.  For $9.99 a month (30 days free trial) you get:

  • Unlimited number of selected ebooks each month, exclusive titles by best selling authors.
  •  Over 600,000 titles, news releases may not be available.
  •  Thousands of audiobooks.
  •  Children books with parental controls.
  • Whisper Sync, a narrated ebook version, that allows the reader to switch from a narrating  professional reader to text and back again, is available on select titles.

MarkdowMom says for book lovers, it doesn’t get better than this and with a month’s free trial, what’s stopping you?



Sign-Up For New Ikea Catalog Now!

Many makeovers and HGTV design shows are filled with great products from Ikea®.  Why?  Because Ikea style is a perfect fit for almost any home decor and at a reasonable price.  Those glass wall sconces for livingroom or bedroom, the wall flower lights in the nursery or children’s bedroom, designer room dividers, and kitchen organizers offered by Ikea make their way onto redecorating shows.

Recently MarkdownMom visited the Ikea® store across from Mall of America and found a great dry erase pen noticeboard,Kludd, in a pale seafoam green.  Made of glass, it measures 25½” x17¾,” it can be hung horizontally or vertically on the wall and comes with 4 clips.  A stylish way to keep track of those important notes and dates!  $19.99–perfect for home offices!

 Additionally, the new 2011 Ikea catalog will be available this month, sign-up or stop by to get your FREE copy!

Sunday Deal: Kindle for PC FREE Download !

Nothing good on TV?  How about the latest bestseller?  Oh, doggone it,  it’s too late to go to the bookstore!@#!  Now is the time you wish that you could afford a Kindle!  What to do?  How about turning your own PC into a Kindle with the Kindle for PC download

Simply click here to have your own library at your fingertips


Local Crime Watch On The Internet

Police scanners now have a new ally in local crime reporting.  Crime Mapping™.com has been developed by The Omega Group to help law enforcement agencies keep the public informed of recent neighborhood crimes with the idea that an informed public is another way to strengthen efforts for fighting crime.  By using an advanced mapping engine, crime data is extracted on a regular basis from each department’s records system so that the information being viewed through a Web browser is the most current available. This data is always verified for accuracy and all address information is generalized by block in order to help ensure that privacy is protected.  Not all states, counties, or cities are covered at this time.

Taking a bite out of crime, one click at a time!

Book It!

School Days, school days, good old golden rule days–an oldie yes, but did you ever wonder who sang it more?  The kids or the parents, especially moms.  School Days are not as gleeful as they use to be–the longer you go, the more expensive it becomes and by the time your a college student you almost need a loan each semester just for the books!

But not to worry, Markdown Mom has found another internet site to save those precious college dollars on textbooks. compares the prices on over 150 million books for sale–new, used, textbooks, out of print, rare, and international.

Save up to 80% over campus stores!  Time is growing short before the Back-to-School crowd begins its’ exodus to campuses nationwide.    Get ready for that first day by letting this site find what you need at a price you can afford!

Wednesday Steal: Plug-In Your Student And Save!

Summer sales went bye-bye sooner than expected.  For some of us in certain parts of the nation, we are still waiting for summer’s arrival.  However, go shopping  and not only has the season past, but beginning the first part of July, retailers were already setting up for Back-to-School! Having given up on the lackluster sales of summer, stores needed to recoup losses with early sales of school supplies.  Markdown Mom usually waits until after school has started to get the best bargains on school supplies because even with suggested lists given out by the schools inevitably the lists are wrong and then you end up with a lot of unnecessary supplies at full price.

However, having said that there are  exceptions.  One exception is buys on computers.  This month you will see great deals on computers–desktops, laptops, and notebooks.  As a student or buying for student, computer manufacturers and retailers will be going all out to salvage a lackluster year not only with great bargains but special packages bundled with computers.  If you are a first-time computer buyer your best bet is a laptop because of its’ versatility.  Although mini or netbooks have increased in popularity, they lack the CD disk drive or DVD, therefore,  mini books should be auxiliary equipment to your present desktop or laptop  or notebook computer system.

You can get a desktop computer at major retailers like Wal-Mart under $400 and laptops for under $500. These special prices typically aren’t seen again until the holidays, and are not off-brand but include major computer companies.  Shop around for the best package to meet your needs, remember you’ll pay more for the lastest innovations with all the bells and whistles, but you’ll be surprised by just how much you get with these baseline packages.

Presidents' Daily Tech Deal: Go Mini For Mighty Savings–Wireless Mini Under $250!

What a grind, so many books, notebooks, pens, markers to haul around either to class or to work and that’s not even thinking about that laptop.  Yeah, laptops are convenient, but they don’t fit into every briefcase and after a day of carting it around it seems like it weighs a ton. 

The Answer:  A Dell Inspiron Mini 9, and for this price at Sam’s Club, you may consider getting one for yourself and one for your student or significant other.  Red Hot Price, $245 includes free shipping.  For these savings, hey, it’s worth getting a Sam’s Membership.  Be sure to tell them Markdown Mom sent you!

Comes in 4 colors:  black, red, pink, and white–cool.  Comes with 4 hours battery life, weighs 2.2 lbs.  Plus while you’re shopping, check out the Toshiba 16G Flash Drive instore and online for $34.24, what whopping memory!

‘Here are all the specs:

Processor and Memory:
Additional Information


1 year limited

Assembled Country of Origin:


Components Country of Origin:

USA and Imported

This item ships to the 48 contiguous states only. Due to specialty processing, estimated delivery time is 4 to 6 weeks. Signature required upon delivery.
Shipping Options (Delivery):
Shipping Included

  • Inspiron 910 Intel Atom processor N270, 1.6GHz, 533Mhz512K L2 Cache
  • 1GB DDR2, 533MHZ, 1 DIMMHard Drive and Multimedia Drives:
  • 8GB Solid State Drive (mini-card Module/PATA)
  • 3-in-1 Media Card ReaderGraphics:
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950Connectivity:
  • Integrated 10/100 LAN (RJ45)
  • Wireless 802.11g Mini CardPorts/Slots:
  • USB 2.0 (3)
  • 15-pin VGA video connector
  • Audio jacks (1-line out, 1 mic-in)
  • AC adapter connectorDisplay and Webcam:
  • 8.9″ Wide Screen WSVGA TL LCD
  • 0.3MP WebcamPower:
  • 4-cell 32WHr Li-Ion Battery Dimensions and Weight:
  • Dimensions: 9.13″W x 1.07″H x 6.77″D
  • Weight: 2.28 lbs.Operating System:
  • Genuine Windows XP Home EditionIncluded:
  • Power cord




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