Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quit with the Free Mayo Already

Dear Kroger,

While I am deeply grateful that you send me coupons in the mail, several of which are for completely free items, I do not think I can handle another free jar of mayonnaise. Your past two mailings have included coupons for free jars of Miracle Whip. The problem is, all of your jars of mayo expire in March. I waited. I kept returning to your store to check the expiration dates on your mayo. March 2010. March 2010. March 2010. How do you expect me to use up two large jars of mayo in the next two or three months?

In your next mailing, feel free to include a free coupon on something like cheese or bread. I go through these items quickly. Mayo- not so much. Today, in an effort to use up some of Mayo Jar #1, I whipped up some tuna salad and some tartar sauce. Said tartar sauce went beautifully with the $1.99 tilapia I purchased at your store during my last visit. I also have several jars of pickles from a recent grocery trip when I went a little nutso got excited at your pickles on clearance. Too bad hubby doesn't eat pickles. He also doesn't eat fish or seafood. Looks like I'll be eating lots of tuna salad and tartar sauce while my dear husband starves to death.

Please, for the sake of my marriage, do not send me another Miracle Whip coupon. You know I have a special weakness for all things free and would not be able to turn it down. You know I hate wastefulness and so I would be stuck trying to use up yet another jar of mayo. A girl can only eat so much mayo.



P.S. It would also be helpful if in your next mailer you were able to include some delicious recipes using said Miracle Whip. It would be even better if those recipes did not involve pickles or seafood so that my husband doesn't wither away to nothing. I have heard about cake recipes that utilize mayo- this I am willing to try (for my husband of course). Also, baconnaise is a new concept to me that I just might have to give a whirl. If you have any outstanding recipes like these, please send them my way. Thank you.

P.P.S. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Suck on the Toilet Seat

Yeah, the wee tot actually did that. And unfortunately he did it before we cleaned the bathroom. *Sigh*

Remember these magnets?

Speaking of toilets and sighing... we had to have Mr. Rooter come out the other day because we noticed water had been leaking down into the basement closet. Sadly, among several other things, a Columbus Blue Jackets (my husband's beloved hockey team) autographed calendar got ruined from the water damage. As if this wasn't bad enough...

Mr. Rooter then knocks us out with a $1000 repair bill. They said the toilet was leaking (um, raw sewage dripping into the basement?) because the previous homeowner is an ignoramus... half-assed home improvement moron...

The home-improvementally-challenged-previous-homeowner stacked four flanges on top of each other instead of putting in a longer PVC pipe. This apparently was a no-no, and I got to pay to have it fixed the right way. I swear if I ever run into him, I'm giving him a swirlie.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Please Pray

My husband's father's family has suffered two tremendous losses today. Bob, my father-in-law's step-dad and the man who raised him, lost both his grandson Bryan and his wife today, on Christmas Eve. Bryan was my husband's cousin and was our age- early 30s. He went into the hospital a couple weeks ago for what everyone thought would be routine back surgery and never left the hospital. One complication after another, including H1N1, led to his being taken off life support this morning and passing away within 15 minutes. Bryan leaves behind his parents, siblings, a long-time girlfriend and an elementary-school-aged daughter. In an unrelated event, Grandpa Bob's wife passed away about an hour later.

Please pray to ease the pain and suffering of this family. While my husband isn't super-close with his dad's family like he is with his mom's family and therefore I didn't know them very well, I still feel their pain. I cannot imagine losing not one, but two relatives on the day before Christmas. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why God chooses to do what he does, however hopefully they can find comfort in the fact that this was part of God's master plan. They are both at peace in the arms of the Lord.

Everything I Learned, I Learned From Little Women

  • "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents." (Too bad they didn't have the internet at their fingertips. They could have hopped online, downloaded some tutes, and made each other some wonderful handcrafted gifts!)

  • "Housekeeping ain't no joke." (Amen, sister)

  • "Something more than energy and good-will is necessary to make a cook." (Yes, I think it's called a Kitchenaid mixer).

  • "Lounging and larking doesn't pay." (Darn. That's what I was going to do when I grow up).

  • "Work is wholesome and there is plenty for everyone; it keeps us from ennui and mischief, is good for health and spirits and gives us a sense of power and independence better than money or fashion." (I'm not so sure about this one).

  • "Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life becomes a beautiful success, in spite of poverty." (Well said, mama!)

  • "Why mind the fashion? Wear a big hat, and be comfortable!" (Just do me a favor, and don't go out in public in your Snuggie. No, not even to a sporting event).

  • "He [Grandfather] wants me to be an India merchant, as he was, and I'd rather be shot." (I guess even back then children were rebelling against their caregivers!)

  • "Are you going to deliver lectures all the way home?" he asked presently... "Because if you are, I'll take a bus; if you are not, I'd like to walk with you." (And even back then, men hated being nagged by the women in their lives!)

  • "Mother likes to have us out of doors as much as possible." (Some things never change. 150 years later, parents are still shooing their children outside to get some peace and quiet).

  • "We go grubbing along day after day, without a bit of change, and very little fun. We might as well be in a treadmill." (Exercise sucked back then too.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Upcycling Baby Food Jars into Christmas Decor

*Hums Klondike Bar commercial jingle*
What can I do-oo-oo, with a baby food jar?

Over at Prudent Baby, Jaime came up with and posted several ingenious projects to use up those Glass Jars. My personal fav is to turn it into a pin cushion. Ca-UTE! (Ok, my real personal fav is the jello shot idea! Can you believe I'm almost 31, and I've never tried a jello shot? That should be my new year's resolution this year. Forget about losing weight, actually menu planning for more than two weeks, and blogging regularly... let's make my resolution one that I can actually keep!)

At first I was thinking that the baby food jars could be turned into a cute little tea set. I quickly scratched that idea when I realized that I wouldn't even trust some of my junior high students with glass, let alone toddlers.

My brain raced to think of something else. What about those clear glass ornaments that I've seen all over bloggyland, where the crafty mama swirls paint on the inside and makes a cool ornament for the tree? This would be cute made with baby food jars instead of round ornaments. I could put a little piece of fabric on the top and secure with a piece of wire wrapped around the edge. The wire could double as a hanger. Nice idea, but I'm too lazy to do it.

And then I remembered this. Yes, my friends, this is the most bomb-diggetiest idea. Place a photo in the glass jar! You can do what designsponge does and sit a grouping of glass jars of various sizes on your mantel, or you could make them into ornaments by adding fabric and wire.

You could cut out pictures from Christmas cards (like I did here) and put them inside the jars for a nice holiday display, or you could make a whole nativity scene with the jars! You could line up a bunch of baby food jars and put a letter in each one to spell out the word "Believe." The possibilities are endless! (Sorry my photo is so generic. I didn't have many glass jars lying around because we emptied the recycling bin the other day).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Things I Almost Did this Holiday Season

Put up the Christmas tree? Check. Buy gifts for everyone on the list? Check. Take Joel to see Santa and pray he doesn't get H1N1? Check. Send out Christmas cards? Crap, I knew I forgot something. Hang outdoor Christmas lights? Crap. Bake delicious Christmas cookies like the good Betty Crocker wife that I am? Crap.

Christmas sweet treats I almost baked:

Aren't these Candy Corn Cookies the bees knees? Just make the cookies red, white, and green or perhaps red, white, and pink and voila you've got Christmas Candy Corn Cookies. It would look really cute with a bowl of actual Christmas candy corn nearby so people know what the cookies are supposed to be. Otherwise they might look like some demented Christmas trees or something.

Frugal Gift Idea: Cookies in a jar! Didn't quite get around to it though.

Anyone care for some Peppermint Kiss Cookies? Too bad. Just drool over the photo. That's what I'm doing too. Less calories that way.

Check out these knock-out-drop-dead-gorgeous cupcakes from Bakerella. Confession: teensy weensy lie here. I did not almost make them. I really wasn't planning on ever making them. They look way too involved for me. (Fondant? I. Don't. Think. So.) But if you've got the time (Time? It could happen- you do have 2 days), then these look A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.

In the realm of sewing, I thought about appliquing a onesie today. The wee tot has a fairly nondescript white onesie that I figured I could spruce up with a Christmas tree applique (Get it? Spruce?). Then I changed my mind and decided to go the stocking route. I went so far as to gather up the fabric I'd use for the applique. I dug out a red print and even the white faux fur I would have used on the top part. Then I laughed at myself and decided no, I am not dragging out the sewing machine beast. I just put it away today. Sewing makes a mess. I'm having company in a couple days. Let it go. And with that, I put the fabric back away.

So is there anyone else who has been a slacker this holiday season?

Won't You Play Along?

What? You don't have time for such shananigans when it's three, count them, three days before Christmas?! (Yikes!)

Anyway, here I go! Copy and paste into your own blog if you're up to it!


What are your middle names?
Mine is Ann; his is Michael

How long have you been together?
We started dating January 2007.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We didn't. We met on the internet, chatted for a week or so, and then met in real life.

Who asked who out?
See above.

Who made the first move?
He did. I think.

How old are each of you?
We're 30, but Jason just turned 30, and I'll be 31 in less than a month. Gulp.

Did you go to the same school?
Nope, we grew up a couple hours apart. Though the weird thing is, his grandpa lived right down the street from my high school!

Are you from the same home town?
See above

Who is the smartest?
I think we're both pretty smart! We both graduated in the top ten... I was 2nd of about 400, and he was 6th out of ??? Not sure- I'll have to find out :)

Who majored in what?
I have a bachelors and masters in music education. He was a geology major but didn't finish when he realized that he didn't want to have to move where the geologist jobs are!

Who is the most sensitive?
Oh that would probably be me!

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We try not to eat out, but when his friend comes over, he always wants us to go to Asian Star. That's where Jason and I met in real life actually, so I don't mind. It's some freakin' good Asian food, too!

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
The Virgin Islands, baby!

Who has the worst temper?
Definitely me. Jason's the most even keeled person I've ever met.

How many children do you want?
We said we wanted two. I can't imagine going through the late nights again though. I'm getting too old for this crap.

Who does the cooking?
That would be a big fat ME. I tried to teach Jason since I went back to work, and he's been staying home. That didn't work out.

Who is more social?
Me. Jason is pretty shy and stays quiet most of the time around others.

Who is the neat-freak?
Neither of us is a neat freak :)

Who is the most stubborn?
How come all of these are ME?

Who wakes up earlier?
Me, once again! I wake up to go to work, and even on the weekends, I get up at 6 because of my stupid internal clock. Either that or the baby!

Where was your first date?
Asian Star Buffet and some cemetery hopping!

Who has the bigger family?
Ooh, Jason finally wins one! His family get-togethers have like, 30 people. Ours usually have about 10.

Do you get flowers often?
No not really, but I think paying for flowers is a waste of money.

How do you spend the holidays?
This year it's Christmas Eve with his family, and Christmas at our house with my family.

Who is more jealous?
I don't think either of us is the jealous type, thankfully!

How long did it take to get serious?
We met in late January and were talking engagement in March. He was moved in by April 1 and engaged on Cinco de Mayo! Crazy, huh?!

Who eats more?
Hmmmm... can I go with a tie for this one?

What do you do for a living?
I'm a music teacher. He's a SAHD.

Who does the laundry?
Both of us do. Why am I still doing laundry when he's a SAHD?!

Who’s better with the computer?
That would definitely be Jason's domain.

Who drives when you are together?
He usually does, although we'll take my car once in a blue moon. I would prefer he drives though.

What is your song?
We danced to "Unforgettable" at our wedding, so I guess that's our song :)

Monday, December 21, 2009


Maybe someone out there in bloggyland can help me with this. I took a long hiatus from blogging while my little one was an infant, and I'm slowly but surely getting back on the blogging train. While I was away, it seems that blogger and google hooked up, however the sites I follow are not working the way they should.

It used to be, if I clicked to add a site to the list of sites I follow, it would refer to me as sewing-chick and have my little photo there in the list of followers. You could click on me and then see a link to visit my blog. Well that's not the way it's working now. It now refers to me by my first name as if Jodie and sewing-chick are not one and the same. A mention of my own blog is nowhere to be found. Ideas, anyone? Did I miss something while I was away?

Thanks so much! *Hugs!*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dieters, Beware Dollar General!

Holy crap on a cracker. I just found out today while I was perusing Dollar General, that they sell... drum roll please...

Generic Girl Scout Cookies. I'm talking, honest to goodness, I-can-have-them-year-round Samoas (and Thin Mints and a couple other varieties)! They are d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. Of course, I'll still buy some from the Girl Scouts when it's that time of year, but now I can have them whenever my little heart desires! (They cost $1.85 in case you're wondering).

Just thought you'd like to know!

Read to your Kidlet

Today Joel learned how to pull books off of the bookshelf. Yay. There's no turning back now. Awhile ago I thrifted a new-in-the-package pair of straps to secure said bookshelf to the studs in the wall. Looks like we'll be needing to install that this week!

While we were scattering the books all over the floor, I mean reading, I got the idea to share with you the Christmas/ Wintry books we own. I very rarely pay full price for books (though I did get Joel two books at Barnes & Noble last weekend because a percentage of the purchase price went back to the band program at my school). Most of these books were thrifted, though some were Jason's when he was little, and a few were gifts. Here we go.

Elf Help by Margie Palatini is one of my favs. It's about a cyber-geeky elf who royally screws up everyone's Christmas lists when his computer crashes. Luckily, the kids end up liking the gifts they mistakenly received, and the elf gets to keep his job as cyber-geek. My copy is personally signed by the author!

The Little Engine that Could and the Snowy, Blowy Christmas by Watty Piper. Santa's reindeer come down with an illness just as he's finishing up delivering all the toys. Uh-oh! There's one toy left to deliver but the reindeer are too sick to fly! Who will come to the rescue? I'll let you figure that one out.

Memories of the Present is by William N. Fullington. It's a tale of a grandfather telling his grandson about this metal wagon that he really wanted for Christmas. In the end, his parents couldn't afford the metal wagon and make him a wooden one instead. He overcomes his disappointment and realizes that the wooden wagon is super special because it was homemade. Can I get a hell yeah?

The Mitten is a Ukrainian folktale told by Jan Brett. In this tale, a little boy loses his white mitten in the snow. One by one, animals begin to snuggle themselves into the mitten to keep warm. Finally a bear squeezes into the mitten, sneezes, and all the animals go flying. The little boy sees his mitten, picks it up, and takes it home. It's a good thing too because his grandmother was going to rip him a new one if he lost his mittens.

Silent Night, A Mouse Tale by Betsy Hernandez and Donny Monk is a cute story about how the church mice nearly ruined Christmas were instrumental in the writing of Franz Gruber's beloved Christmas carol, Silent Night.

Rudolph's Second Christmas by Robert L. May is about two children whose dad works for a lousy circus. No one buys tickets for their circus, and they go from town to town, only staying in each town for one day. Because of this vagabond lifestyle, Santa missed them last year! The children were very upset. Rudolph saves the day by introducing a bunch of misfit animals to the circus. The circus suddenly is very popular, and so the family can stay in one town for months on end now. Santa doesn't miss them this year, and all is well.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a classic. I thrifted this one today for 50c! Woot, woot!

The Fattest, Tallest, Biggest Snowman Ever by Bettina Ling is a book that first and second graders should be able to read. It cleverly incorporates math into the story!

The Hat by Jan Brett is about a hedgehog who gets a hat stuck on his prickly things (what are those things called?). He feels ridiculous and when questioned by the other animals, he tells them that it's winter for pete's sake! Everyone should wear a hat! The other animals then go steal clothes from a nearby clothesline so that they can cover their heads too. And here the hedgehog thought the other animals were making fun of him!

We own three different copies of "The Nutcracker." You can't go wrong there. We also own three different versions of the Baby Jesus story. Baby Jesus by Lori Froeb is toddler friendly. The Christmas Story is a Little Golden Book, and I think it was my husband's so it's pretty old. Finally, we have The Nativity by Juliana Bragg, copyright 1982. It's as old as my brother!

There you have it folks! What's your favorite Christmas book to read to the kiddos?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mommy, Promise me...

... that you will never show my future girlfriends the photos of me in those silly orange pants you made. What?! You posted them on the internet?!

Ah, the things we do to torture our children.

These warm pajama-like pants came from sleeves of a sweater of mine that I outgrew long, long ago. I couldn't even fit into that sweater before I got pregnant, so I'm pretty sure I'll never fit into that sweater again!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thrifted Ornament Wreath

Here's something I made several years ago. I used all thrifted materials. Wreath forms which I wrapped in a green and white gingham garage sale ribbon served as the base to which I hot-glued thrifted ornaments. Did I ever mention that my hot glue gun is my BFF? Well, my trusty BFF probably wasn't the best choice for this project. At first, the glue held well but every year when I retrieve these wreaths from storage, ornaments are falling off. Perhaps a different adhesive would work better!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dealing with Cashier Error

Today I ventured out into the damp greyness and went thrifting despite the freezing cold temps. I'm not sure why I was thinking that today was their monthly half off sale, when I know darn well it's the last Tuesday of the month. Fiddlesticks.

I bought a piece of fabric with very realistic money printed all over it (I thought this would make a nice something-or-other for St Patty's Day), six children's books at 50c a pop, and nine articles of clothing for Joel, all for either 50c or 25c. There were several items that were 1.99 however all were pink tags and 75% off. Woot, woot! I won't spend more than 50c for a piece of clothing for Joel unless it's super special. Herein lies my problem. Today the cashier forgot to ring up one of my items 75% off like it was supposed to be. That means I paid two dollars for one of his shirts. Gasp! She almost missed another one, however I caught that one and reminded her that yellow tags are 50% off. I'm not very happy about it, but I keep telling myself that the extra buck fifty I was charged is a donation to the thrift store. The little devil on my shoulder keeps reminding me that with a buck fifty, I could have bought three more articles of clothing for Joel, but his angelic counterpart reminds me that in the big scheme of things, this is not a big deal!

Now off to the sewing machine I go. I want to sew up another shopping-cart-kiddie- cover-germ-keeper-awayer. I keep one in my car, however it seems like every time we're out and about and need it, we're in my husband's car. This way, we'll each have one. Toodles!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Felted Wool Baby Mittens

It's gotten C.O.L.D. these past few days! So cold, in fact, that I am having second thoughts about going to tomorrow's half-off sale at the Volunteers of America. (You know it's cold if I'm thinking of passing on a 50% off thrifting trip!) With these frigid temperatures, I figured I better get my act in gear and sew Joel a pair of mittens.

This project is easy peasy. First, I chose a felted sweater that still had sleeves. I cut several inches off from the base of each sleeve. I figured I'd utilize the finished wrist section to make less work for myself.

Then I sewed a generic "U" shape onto each cuff and trimmed away the excess. You're done! It's a five minute project- woohoo!

Here's the little squirt passed out on daddy's lap while he played video games.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Your initial on a Wreath!

I saw this wreath by Living with Lindsay and I just had to make one. I had a large cardboard "R" that we used as a decoration at our wedding, and I had some evergreen garland that I used to hang outside.

Put the two together, and voila!

I think it looks a little small for the front door so I might have to hang it somewhere else.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Brand New Used Stocking

Yep. That's right. I thrifted a blue stocking with tags still attached for the mere price of $2.92. I then purchased some silver glitter glue specifically designed for personalizing stockings, which set me back another $2. I was very excited to come home and put Joel's name on his stocking. Unfortunately, the silver glitter did not turn out at all. It wasn't silver. It wasn't glittery. It looked like crap.

Luckily, I had a bunch of leftover white felt in the basement, so I cut out letter's and glued them onto the stocking with regular old Elmer's glue. Thankfully, I was able to cover up the not silver, not glittery debacle with the felt letters. I am bummed that I wasted $2 however am very glad with the way it turned out!

Awesome Felt Castle

I really should be sleeping since it's after midnight. When I woke up this morning to go to work, I already had massive bags under my eyes... but it's so much more fun to catch up on some much needed blog reading! I stumbled across two toy posts that I wanted to share since it's the holiday season, and we all have toys on the brain!

The first is a tutorial on how to make a castle out of felt. It definitely is the bomb diggety.

The second one is about how people these days tend to go to their local Walmart and stock up on plastic toys that leave nothing to imagination. This is not what I want for my child! For example, I want (and have been purchasing) real vintage enamleware for my son when he plays "kitchen." And she does too! This post is amazing... check it out!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bad Blogger, Very Bad!

Sorry for the hiatus.... I went back to work and haven't stopped to breathe for the past three months!

Earlier this month, our school levy failed (again), and the superintendent told me that my job would be eliminated (again) although it wouldn't be officially voted on until January, and would be effective at the end of the school year. Last year when the levy failed, they eliminated music K-6. Since I had seniority, I got shifted from teaching fifth and sixth grade band to teaching seventh and eighth grade band. Twelve music teachers out of nineteen were laid off. I was the lucky number seven (and the last one) that was kept. Now they will be eliminating probably all but three music teachers, and so I'll be gone for real this time. That is, unless the levy passes in May.

I of course don't want to lose my job (I feel so bad for the kids who are missing their art, music, and P.E.) however the thought of getting to stay home with my little rugrat is very appealing! I would love to be able to stay home and do crafts with my son (like these wonderful Christmas crafts from No Time for Flashcards)

I haven't been very crafty lately due to a lack of time. My friend T-3 and I did find the time the other day to pump out four of these chef hats for some of my students. We're doing a piece called Christmas in the Kitchen in which four percussionists are playing water glasses and pots and pans. We made them chef's hats and I thrifted some aprons for them to wear. It will be so cute!

I did make a blue baby quilt for my husband's cousin's new baby, Jacob. It was my first attempt at actually quilting. (I usually just use yarn and tie the layers together). Here are some photos of his cousin opening her gift:

I have been out on many thrifting and garage sale trips this fall and have found lots of good deals. My favorite item from my last trip was a Santa Claus suit for Joel. The outfit cost $5 which is 10x more than I usually spend (since my limit is 50c), however I figure the photos we take of him in it will be priceless and so it was worth it! I also found a tiger Halloween costume for Joel for $3:

My last thrifting trip also yielded a $9 black peacoat for myself and a wooden dollhouse (which I am so excited about!) for under $2. I took it home, cleaned it up, used some wallpaper samples to the walls, and painted a light blue over the old bright red paint job, and voila, a wonderful masterpiece for Joel when he's a little older!

The only other (somewhat) interesting thing I've done lately is clean out my closet, set aside many t-shirts that are past their prime downright ratty, and either place them in a dusting-rag pile or a make-a-tee-shirt-quilt-someday pile. I did start to make my aunt a lap quilt from my four Breast Cancer Walk t-shirts, however I don't know if I'll have the time to finish it before Christmas. I also intended on making a baby quilt for a pregnant friend, but as her shower was a week ago, and I didn't finish anything more than cutting out some squares, I ended up buying her some gifts instead. (I'm so ashamed!)

Hopefully it won't take me three more months before I post again!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

You say Tomato, I say To-mah-to

Yes folks, it's that time! Time when tomatoes are ripening, and I'm bringing them into the house by the truckload.

I haven't done menu planning lately, but as I'm about to go back to work in a few days, *sigh,* then I better get my act together and get organized!

This week our meals will be based on tomatoes. This morning, into the crockpot went ten fresh tomatoes, an onion, two tiny lovely garden-grown, yellowish-orangish bell peppers, along with chili powder, pepper, curry powder, paprika, oregano, and two pounds of ground turkey. Hopefully this turns out like Cincinnati style chili, but we'll see. I'm going to cut up a pack of hotdogs and toss it in too, and the whole concoction goes over spaghetti and is topped with cheese and oyster crackers. Never heard of Cincinnati chili? Boy are you missing out!!!

After that's gone (maybe Tues?) then I'm going to make turkey burgers with some garden-grown shredded zucchini, topped with... you guessed it... sliced tomatoes! To go with that, I think I'll make some macaroni and cheese with chopped tomatoes in it.

That should last us until Thursday maybe. By then I'll be back at work, so my stay-at-home husband will have to start learning how to cook! He can grill very well, so we'll probably round out the week with marinated pork chops on the grill and some frozen vegetables. (Not tomatoes) And after heading back to work, a tall glass of wine might on the menu!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bathroom Update, Part Deux

I don't have much time because I'm squeezing this blog entry in before heading over to the in-laws' place to go swimming. I took some photos and just wanted to share! Sorry the photos are pretty crappy... lighting was bad!

Brushed Nickel finish

I'm a medicine cabinet in disguise (and it only cost me $14 plus tax!) Sure beats these prices

Once again, bad lighting... the brown is actually quite a bit darker than the photo shows. It doesn't look all that great in the photo, but in real life it looks nicer. I like the handles!

This isn't installed yet. This is a photo of the box :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If My Blog was a College Student...

... then she'd be able to drink adult beverages now! She has reached the almighty 21 followers! Wow. When I started this blog, I didn't really think anyone would give a hoot about what I have to say. It blows my mind that there's people out there who aren't my relatives who actually come to my blog and read it. (Actually, not even my family reads it except occasionally my husband, and even then I have to beat him with a club and threaten to serve liver and onions for supper before he begrudgingly visits my site).

Okay, I'm kidding about the liver and onions part

In other news, I got back from vacation last weekend. We took a trip down to Chattanooga, Tennessee and visited Rock City, Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, took a train ride, swam in the hotel pool, and experienced country's longest yard sale. I was very disappointed in the Rte 127 yard sale as I thought prices were too high. If I wanted to pay antique store prices, then I would head on down to the local antique mall. I didn't buy a single thing *gasp* You know it's bad when I walk away empty handed!

Since I've been home, I've actually had to do some work. I was glad to get all my school stuff out of the house and shed and back to school where it belongs. We actually had to take two carloads over to the school. I'm all moved in now but still have a lot of work to do in the next week. The fun part about getting ready for the upcoming school year is going clothes shopping. I got a $10 off card from Kohls, so I headed on over today. I spent $13 out of pocket (and used up about ten dollars from a gift card), but I saved $141 by shopping on clearance! For my thirteen dollars, I got four short sleeved shirts and one mid-sleeve shirt for work, and a toddler t-shirt and two baby outfits to give as Christmas gifts. Not bad for $13, eh?

But what's been taking up the majority of my time would have to be the bathroom. Before we left for vacation, I made the mistake of excitedly ripped off the wallpaper border in the upstairs bathroom. I then took down all the pictures hanging on the wall and patched the holes. I bought a gallon of tan "oops" paint at the Home Depot and have plans to repaint the walls. But was this good enough? Noooooooo. I wanted a new light fixture and faucet. So we bought those for $50 and $92 and had my father-in-law over for the install. I also hated the el cheapo medicine cabinet door, so I took it off its hinges and replaced it with a $14 picture frame. (Photos will come later, I promise).

But do you think those changes were enough satisfy me? No, of course not. I also bought a new mirror from Walmart for $35 and painted the vanity a dark brown color. But what about the knobs, you ask? I bought some new, sleek contemporary ones for $5 each at Lowes. They look sharp if I do say so myself!

Jason pointed out that I had brown kitchen cabinets, and I painted them white. I had a white vanity in the bathroom and just painted it brown...

At this point, I decided what the hell. We might as well rip out the tile flooring and tub surround and put in some tile that I actually like. I found some 12x12 tiles at Lowes for 40-some cents apiece but they actually rung up for eight cents apiece! The guy in the flooring department practically called every store in Ohio to see if he could find me any more of those tiles. I ended up with 29. That is not enough to cover the whole floor, so I found a 6x6 tile that looks good with it, and we'll have a cool pattern laid. We're also planning on having our bathtub refinished for less than $300, and we bought a new tub faucet for $118.

We have five different handymen coming to the house for free estimates over the next several days. Keep your fingers crossed that the tile work won't be too expensive!!

Now if you'll excuse me, my blog and I are going to go have a glass of wine and retire for the evening :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spot-the-Dollar-Store-Item Quiz

I didn't do so hot. I only got three right. Take the quiz and try to beat my score!

In other news, we leave for Chattanooga tomorrow! Seven-and-a-half-hour-car-ride-with-an-infant here we come!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I didn't go to BlogHer

I think I'm the only blogger in the US that didn't make the trek to the Windy City last weekend. Instead of mingling with blog-stars and battling what sounds like fierce, greedy crowds, I stayed home this weekend. Here's ten things I did that I could not have done if I went to Chicago.

10. Cleaned out the basement closet and the pantry. I was inspired by a fellow blogger (can't remember who, so if it was you who just blogged about it the other day, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due).
9. Discovered I have five jars of pickles in the pantry. I can't even blame it on the pregnancy. I never craved pickles.
8. Took craploads of stuff out to the shed for a future garage sale. (And in the future, I'll probably go through it again, decide that I really do need this stuff, and bring it back into the house).
7. Sewed Joel a bean bag chair, filled with my stuffed animals rather than normal bean bag stuffing.
6. Tore off a piece of wallpaper border in the nursery, which led to a full-scale redo.
5. Sewed window treatments, painted stripes on the nursery walls, repainted a toy box, and painted a book shelf for the nursery. (I just painted that toy box green a couple months ago and now decided that it really should be brown).
4. Continued with my de-wallpaper-borderizing in the upstairs bathroom. Now I'll have to paint that room too. While I'm at it, I will go ahead and repaint our bedroom as well. Pfew.
3. Make tons and tons of Beef Vegetable Soup, froze it, and will bring it with us to Tennessee for free meals in the hotel. Also made and froze baby food green beans, carrots, and sweet peas for the little one.
2. Went to visit my mom's dad and stepmom because they were having a ginormous garage sale. Came home with lots of free stuff, including a blue and white platter, plastic fruit for Joel's toy kitchen, tons of vintage trims, rick rack, seam binding, and bias tape, some children's books, and "Cottage Style" for my reading pleasure. Will blog about that later.
1. Spent time with my family and got spit up on by my baby boy a million times.

What did you do last weekend?

The Fruits (er, Vegetables) of my Labor

Menu Planning Madness is brought to you today by the letters E, P, T, and Z. (No, not a pregnancy test, Thank goodness!!!) Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini. As in, those are the veges growing in my garden :)

I harvested my first three vegetables yesterday: three zukes were just the right size! I have one tomato turning red (which means gadzooks of them will probably ripen while we're away on vacation...), and even though my green peppers are small, I think they're done growing. They're turning brown which I read was a sign of ripening. My little eggplants are chugging along as well.

I went on a rampage last night looking up recipes to use up all these vegetables as they ripen. Menu planning will revolve around what vegetables are picked that week. My best guess for this week is as follows:

To use up the ranch dressing and potatoes before we leave for vacation:
Ranch Baked Chicken with Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Zucchini Casserole
Plum Upside Down Cake to use up the plums

Italian Sausages with sauteed bell peppers and onions are on the menu later in the week after all that above is eaten. That should do it for the week, and then bright and early Saturday morning we leave for Tennessee! Woot, woot!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dress Reconstructed

What do you get when you cross a dress with a bulletin board? Give up?
Why, window treatments, of course! And it couldn't be simpler!

I cut the bottom 14 inches off for one panel, and next 14 inches off for the other panel (see the red lines). That was all I needed for the curtains. The top portion of the dress did not get touched, so I now have a wonderful tank top! (Which I'm probably too fat for, but that's neither here nor there).

Several years ago I purchased solid fabrics for three bulletin boards in my classroom. Paper fades, however fabric on bulletin boards work wonders! I will no longer be teaching in that building, and so I brought all that fabric home with me. I married the brown bulletin board fabric with my pretty-but-can't-squeeze-my-ginormous-hips-into-it-anymore dress, and here's what you get: *drumroll*

Please pay no mind to the painters tape and hodge podge shelf. This room is in a transitional state right now. I also am thinking about upgrading the curtain rod to one with finials, however I am not sure how that would look since the right side of the curtain rod really wouldn't have room for a finial. Plus I'm trying not to buy anything for the room and instead remix what I already have, so maybe I'll just stick with the plain white one. A coat of brown spray paint might spruce it up though.

A breakdown of the materials:
Brown and Blue Paint- from the basement. Free!
Paintbrushes/roller/paint tray- already had them from a previous project. Free!
Painters Tape- $6 something at Lowes
Window treatments- from my closet and fabric stash. Free!
Clips to hang the window treatments- previously used for the shower curtain. Free!

Sewing Chick: 4, Opponent: 1. Woohoo!

Nursery Walls Redo

My son is five months old. I'm just now getting around to removing the wallpaper border and painting the nursery.

It's not really worth making it all cutesy since he will outgrow that kind of decor lickety split. Instead, here is the color scheme I have come up with. I've picked this color scheme because the tan and the green were already on the walls when I moved in eight years ago. Yes, I'm lazy. All I want to do is paint the area where the border was.

Painting stripes. Good times. I painted the brown stripe first (color chosen because I already had a quart of it in the basement). Of course, the color ran under the tape. Argh. And to make matters worse, the painters tape pulled up some of the green and tan original paint in several spots.

Plan B: Add blue stripes above and below the brown. Why blue? Because I had some dark blue paint, and I had leftover white paint from the kitchen cabinets. Dark blue plus white equals a nice light blue.

I went out and bought a different painters tape. This one is low adhesion and is rated to go over paint that isn't cured yet. We'll see how that goes. Keep your fingers crossed.

Also this time I am going to paint a clear coat under the blue. This way, the clear coat creates a bond with the tape so that the blue will not be able to seep underneath. I learned that little trick from Danielle Hirsch on HGTV. She's the bomb diggety painter.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green Thumb Thursday

When it comes to gardening, I've got two left feet. (And neither of them are green). I somehow managed to all but kill my hanging tomato plant.

Does anyone know why when I water it, the water just drains straight through the soil and lands on the plate underneath? I think that is why it's dying. It's not that I'm not watering it (though I admit that I probably don't water it as much as I should...), it's just that the water doesn't stay in the soil.

Here's my next question for you gardening gurus out there: why are my green peppers turning brown?

And other question: are Japanese long eggplants supposed to be white? Will it turn purple later, or do I have a prize-winning albino eggplant on my hands?

Finally. Something is growing normally. These two tomato plants are thriving. *Knocks on wood*

This is my Dusty Eggplant. He's purple. And tiny. Look closely- he's there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is how I know Hubby Loves Me

These little black plastic thingies originally held my husband's ammo (he's a gun enthusiast). He gave them to me the other day and said that he didn't want to throw them away because he thought I might be able to do something with them. He knows me so well. Most women swoon over a man who brings them flowers; I swoon for recycled craftables. Love ya babe!

So what should I make with these? They remind me of those things you'd see in a forensic lab where they put the little vials for DNA testing. Yes, I've been watching too much "Crime 360" and "The First 48."

Edward Scissorhands Paid Me a Visit

What else would explain this? I woke up to find the fitted sheet on my side of the bed was all slashed up. Either Edward was in my bedroom last night or I have the sharpest toe nails E.V.E.R. These sheets were maybe about ten years old; I got them at a K-mart Going-Out-of-Business sale back in college. I think they were two bucks. I'd say I got my money out of them.

The plus side: I now have lots of blue fabric to add to my stash! I think I'll save the material and make some lounge pants for Joel when he's a little older. He doesn't do much lounging right now. (Oh wait, that's all he does).

P. S. I just ran across this tutorial for sewing your own sheets. The weird thing is, I wasn't even looking for a tute on sewing my own fitted sheet. I'm planning on just making do because we still do have two queen fitted sheets. I'd like to say that I'm stoked about the possibility of sewing my own sheets, however sadly, I am not. I just have not been in a sewy mood lately. I've done some alterations on some clothes and still have some left to do (shorten straps on a thrifted tank top, sew the seam closed on a Gap Clearance Center tank top, etc) but I'm just not in the groove. Please send some inspiration this way if you have extra to give!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

A friend of mine paid to have her son's third birthday photos taken, and in one of them, the photographer had him hold a little number "3." It was a really cute idea, and I told her that I would have to find a number "1" for Joel to hold when he turns one.

Well guess what! I went thrifting a few hours later, and lo and behold, there was a wooden number one for 19c !!!

I got some other things too, including a LeBron James jersey for Joel for 90c and a floral painting for $1.91 that will fit in nicely in the sunroom. I'm on the lookout for some Robeez shoes however I haven't found any (yet). I did, however, find some size 2M (does that stand for "medium" ??) brown Gerber shoes with little Jeeps on the side. They don't fit him yet but will in the future. They sure are cute! I exceeded my fifty cent limit ($3.60, yikes!) but I figure shoes and coats don't count, right?

At the checkout, I learned that Salvation Army gives teachers a 10% discount. Woot, woot!! Why has none of the cashiers ever told me this before?!?!!

And one more nice thing happened today: T-3 emailed me a recipe for an upside down cake using plums and blueberries. I had just been thinking to myself that I needed to use up the plums in the fridge, and BAM! Along came that email. I will omit the blueberries and go heavy on the plums. Hopefully I will make that tomorrow.

It's like the stars were in alignment today. I hope your day was a good one too!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hebron, Kentucky or Bust and a stupid criminal

If you are ever in or near Cincinnati, Ohio, do me a favor and check out the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic Clearance Center. It's not like other outlets. Gap does have outlet centers across the country, however those aren't real outlets. Gap actually makes a specific line of clothes to be sold at those outlets. They do not sell true clearance items in those outlets. In Hebron, Kentucky, however they do.

This is my husband's last week of work, so we wanted to make the trek down to the clearance center while we still get the employee discount (an additional 30% off already low, low prices). We loaded up the car, filled up the tank, and headed out for a shopping dream come true.

I got Old Navy sunglasses for 99c a pair. I bought five pairs. (Of the exact same pair of sunglasses, I might add). I am hard on my sunglasses, so I figure if I keep four pairs in reserves, I might make it to next year before I have to buy another pair.

Ladies' underwear for 49c apiece. Baby/Toddler pajamas separates for 49c apiece. Tank tops for $1.99. Jeans for $4.99 to $9.99. Capris for $4.99. Ok, so some of these prices aren't that great. $9.99 is a little on the high end, but if you were to buy a pair of Gap or Banana Republic jeans new, you're going to fork over a pretty penny.

In other frugal shopping news, some thrifting trips lately have yielded a new roll of Winnie the Pooh wrapping paper for 50c, a plastic thingie to make popsicles for 59c, a vintage red handled rolling pin for 99c (yes, I do need another one, ok?!), and of course some half-off clothes for Joel and I.

While we were at the last thrift store checking out, an employee came up to the register and said that they had just received a mysterious phone call. The caller asked if the store had an armed security guard, to which the employee responded that no they did not, and then the caller hung up.

Um, I think that Salvation Army is about to be robbed. Seriously, how low do you have to go to rob a Salvation Army?!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Save Money on Photography

I cannot believe it has been a week since I last posted. Much of the past week has been spent (A) Figuring out my husband's Canon Rebel XT (B) Looking at professional photography portfolios to get ideas (C) Considering building one of these PVP pipe backdrop stands (D) Learning how to convert a photo to black-and-white except for one item which remains in color (E) All of the above.

Did you guess "E" ? Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

My mother-in-law really wants us to get "professional" photographs of Joel done. The problem is two-fold. One, I don't want to spend the money. Two, what she considers professional is not really professional. She wants me to take him to Sears, Target, etc. I consider someone who went to college to become a photographer a professional. Those people don't work at Sears. Those people also charge a lot of money (rightly so). So she's stuck with our home photography. People have commented on photographs we've taken and have said things about them being professionally done.... they're shocked when I tell them that we actually took them!
You can even add borders and/or text before printing them off at Walgreens, Meijer, etc. to make the photos look even cooler.

I'm still playing around with the Rebel XT. I'm experimenting with the AV setting. Smaller f numbers mean that the background gets blurred. It's a cool effect that I have not yet mastered. Hopefully I can get Joel out and get some good photos tomorrow using this new-fangled technique. Until then, here's a few photos that look (somewhat) professional.

Friday, July 10, 2009

RIP White Pages

Finally! Columbus is doing away with the white pages (unless you ask for a copy). I am so happy. I haven't wanted phone books in eons. If you have the internet, you don't need to waste all the paper that it takes to create a phone book.
AT&T claims that they're trying to be more eco-friendly, and that coupled with the fact that many people just don't want the white pages, is why they've been allowed to discontinue the practice. On the flip side, the yellow pages which brings in buku bucks, is going ahead full steam. Hmmm. Sounds to me like AT&T just wants to quit printing the white pages because they have to pay for it and don't see any money in return. If AT&T was truly sincere, then they would quit publishing the yellow pages too for those of us who do not want it, and go 100% online.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Varmint Masters

I was online looking for cheap magazine subscriptions because I think magazines make good birthday gifts. I ran across Varmint Masters. For the low, low price of $4.69, six issues of Varmint Masters can be all yours! Just visit for your subscription. Who wouldn't love this as a gift?

Is money tight? Varmint Masters can help. Learn how to hunt down and kill nontraditional game species such as coyotes and foxes. Cook 'em up for supper for a nearly free meal. Tasty! This magazine will be perfect for my parents. Even though they live in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood, they have coyotes running amuck. With the tips and pointers in this magazine, my dad will be able to stop these varmints in their tracks.

I am reminded of something Ted Nugent once said. Ted lives on a large ranch, and he has many coyotes. He was quoted as saying, "I don't have a coyote problem. The coyotes have a Ted problem." (He's on the NRA Board of Directors, just in case you're wondering).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Price is Right

No, this isn't a post about how sexy Drew Carey is. Or how Drew has breathed new life into a once tired game show. Or how I used to hate the Price is Right but now find myself yearning to fly to California just so I can make myself a shirt to wear there. Or how Drew is a fellow Ohioan and is my homeboy.

Don't get me wrong: Bob Barker is a legend. He can sway you spay and neuter your pets like no other. But Drew Carey really is so freakin' awesome and funny, don't you think?

No, folks. This post is about price books. Talk to me. Do you use them? Have you tried them? Have you ever even heard of them?

What you do is take a notebook with you while you shop for groceries. You take note of prices and jot them down into your book. You begin to notice patterns of prices so you can see what is a good deal and what isn't. It helps you determine whether a price is too high, okay, or stock-up, smokin' hot

I've never used one. I do have some price limits stored up in the ole noggin though. I thought I'd share some prices with you (in US dollars, sorry chicas in Australia and the UK!). What do you think about these prices? Do you have any more to add?

Light Bread (35 calories a slice): I buy bread and buns for 89c because I live near the Schwebels outlet.

Spaghetti Sauce: I never buy it if it's more than a dollar a jar. The other day with coupons, I got three jars for $2.10.

Cereal: I can get it for about a dollar a box when there's a good stock-up sale, however I will go as high as two bucks a box.

Bananas: I hate paying 49cents/lb. Aldi carries them cheaper though their bananas tend to go bad more quickly.

Apples, Peaches, Pears: No more than 99c/ lb.

Packs of Bratwurst: only buy when they're $2.50 or less. The other day I had coupons, and they were BOGO. Woot, woot!

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast: $1.88/lb

One Lb. Ground Turkey: I used to be able to get it for 99c however now they're everyday price went up to $1.19.

2 cups of Shredded Cheese: no more than two dollars

Milk: Aldi carries a gallon for less than $1.70

Eggs: Once again, Aldi is my BFF. Their eggs are usually between 65-75c for a dozen.

Jars of Baby Food: found at Big Lots for a quarter apiece. As I'm making my own baby food, I only bought about ten jars for times when we're out and about. Hopefully they last me for several months.

Large container of Formula: I buy the generic brand that compares to Similac Advance. I've gotten two containers for four dollars apiece on clearance, and two containers on sale for $9.99 each. I've decided to never go higher than ten bucks. As I'm pumping breast milk, a can lasts me almost a month.

Diapers 13c apiece seems to be a pretty good deal. Have you found them cheaper than that?

Baby Puke and Carrot Poop

Is it just me or did the past month fly by? Wasn't it just Memorial Day last weekend?! Somehow I missed the whole month of June. I can't believe the Fourth has come and gone. There were so many blog posts that I wanted to get to but didn't get the chance. For example, there's the Guy-Fieri-is-the-coolest-dude-on-the-planet post. I wish I had his job. I'd love to go around the country and eat at diners, drive-ins, and dives. (And get paid to do it).

There's also the Hubby-Gave-Me-His-Hand-Me-Down-Old-Navy-Flag-Tee post. Isn't he the sweetest? I needed something red, white, and blue to wear to the community orchestra concert I was playing in on Saturday. I don't fit into any of my flag tees because of the extra five pounds I've put on since this time last year.

Fine. You got me. It's a little bit more than five pounds.

Anyway, he gave me his 2006 tee, which is an XXXL I might add. And what was he doing getting a triple X, anyway?! He so graciously donated it to me so that I could sew it down to my current size. I dragged out the sewing machine beast, cut it to size, and sewed it to fit me. I tried it on, and it was a pretty good fit. I then picked up the baby because he was crying, and he promptly puked his guts out onto my newly fitted shirt. Motherhood is the best. The concert ended up being rained out which is a good thing. Otherwise I would have had to go to the concert topless because I wasn't about to sew myself another flag tee.

Speaking of motherhood, I also wanted to post about solid carrot poop. I've been busy making my own baby foods these past couple days (which prompted my father-in-law to ask why in the world was I putting mashed sweet potatoes in the ice cube trays?!) So far, Joel has enjoyed bananas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. His poop is really nasty now. I just thought you'd like to know.

He's also developed a very cute yet annoying habit. He's learned to blow spit bubbles. He's not even five months old, folks. Isn't that a little early to be a human whoopie cushion? He thinks it's quite funny. He and my husband take turns... it's all fun and games until baby blows spit bubbles while mommy is trying to feed him carrots. Spit bubbles + pureed carrots = big mess.

As I think I'm baby fluided out, I'll leave you with some photos of my little monster.
Spit bubbles in action.

Not bad for an entirely thrifted outfit for the babe. I think the whole outfit (red vest, white dress shirt, and blue cords) cost me $1.50.