Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garage Saling and Thrifting

I just love community yard sales, don’t you? My husband sleeps until about noon every day since he works until 3 AM, so I loaded Joel up and we headed out Saturday morning. We walked around for almost two hours and made quite a haul. I got two books about daddies and father’s day, as well as several other children’s books, all for 25c apiece or less. Joel presented his daddy with the books, and he was thrilled. (Well either that or he sat aside the books without even looking at them, but it makes a better story to say he was thrilled).

At one of the first garage sales of the morning, I met a wonderful lady whose daughter is into sewing. She said she owns a company called “Sew What?” I came home and tried to look it up, however do you know how many companies out there that are called “Sew What?” Here a link to a “Sew What” boutique that sells some cool stuff, although I’m pretty sure it’s not her daughter’s shop. She and I got to talking about how toys just don’t leave anything to the imagination anymore. That’s exactly how I feel! Amen, sister! Kids today have to have the latest fifty dollar Transformer toys, etc… whatever happened to just playing with regular toy cars? Playing dress-up? I remember making cities in our basement out of blocks, Lincoln Logs, and basic ole Legos, then we’d add in our matchbox cars and plastic Cowboys and Indians (sorry, I know that’s not PC), and we’d have a good ole time.

I was happy to find these toys for Joel for when he’s a little bit bigger, as well as a pair of cute, barely worn Stride Rite shoes. I hope these toys will spark some good old fashioned imaginative play!

A whole bag of magnet letters and numbers for 25c... there's even a plus sign for practicing math problems!

I was so excited to find this little fire extinguisher. There's a crank you turn, and it even makes sounds. *Squeals with excitement* Now I will have to sew some firefighter dress up clothes. I also found this little treasure chest which will be wonderful for stuffing full of Mardi Gras beads. When Joel outgrows it, I can use it at school because it's our school colors, and our mascot is a pirate :) Both toys were 50c apiece.

Probably my favorite find of the day. I actually found this at a thrift store, hence the odd 90c pricetag. You can't really tell from the photo, but the blue part is wood. Yay, a vintage toy! Now I will have to sew a mailman outfit. Does anyone want to go postal with me?

A box of little boy fabric for 2 dollars. I need to get started on another baby quilt. We just had another pregnancy announced in the family... there's going to be ANOTHER baby boy born this year. That makes three baby boys all born within 10 months of each other! Isn't that going to be fun when they're two or three years old?!

A 25c binkie clip which will probably become a gift for Little One Number Three, an unopened birthday candle for 30c, and a close second for my favorite find of the week... a Wilton Christmas Tree pan, still new in the packaging for 90c. I have been dying to melt down some crayons, and now I finally have the pan to do it with! I was taking the paper off crayons for about an hour last night, and I think I got a paper-cut under my thumb nail. Ouch. There has got to be a better way...

And last but not least, a little something-something for me. Two bags full of sewing notions, mostly vintage and still in the original packaging. This came from the thrift store; each bag was 90c. I was especially stoked to see all the velcro. I love velcro. I'd like to give a big smoochy-smoochy to the man who invented it. *Muah!*

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden Check-in

I'm still here, folks (Hi Katie; thanks for checking in on me!)

I got the call from my employer telling me that I can have a job back. A job, that is, not my job. It's a job that entails lots more work plus working throughout the summer for pretty much the same pay. Boo Hiss. I was really looking forward to being a stay at home mom, or at least to have six months with my son. Instead now I have an infant and even less time than before to spend with him. Don't get me wrong; I am glad to be working. I know there are lots of people who want jobs and can't find one. I understand that and am sensitive to that. I just had dreams of being a stay-at-home mommy and now my dream has crumbled.

I started back to work the day they called (last Tuesday). So that's where I've been. My school year has started already. My husband will be quitting his job to take care of our son because we really don't want to put him in daycare. Daycare would be half of his salary anyway.

So do you want to know what's ironic? I dragged my feet for years when it came to planting a garden. I finally broke down and planted a garden this year, and this summer, as it turns out, I have to work. Go figure. But anyway, here's some photos of my plant babies. Some people have "fur babies" ... I have plant babies :) I have two little peppers, a baby eggplant, and several little tomatoes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meal Planning Monday

I went a little nutso at the grocery with the yellow and honey mustard. I had coupons, and my hubby loves mustard, so I bought several bottles. Now I have to come up with some recipes for it. Hence I bring to you….

Honey Mustard Lime Chicken!

Some of you may remember I opened up a package of smoked sausage on Friday to put in my macaroni and cheese. I only used one and saved the other for this week. With it, I’ll be making Cheesy Sausage Stew.

And last but not least, a Paula Deen recipe. Last night a commercial for some ham came on, and Paula was their spokesperson. After the commercial, hubby asked, “What was up with that lady?!” I had to tell him, “That’s Paula Deen, dear. She’s only the most famous cook in all of the south! Remember when we were down in Savannah and I wanted to go to that one special restaurant? That was her restaurant.” But apparently you can’t just walk into her restaurant, so we didn’t go. My grandma went, and she said you have to get there in the morning to get tickets. That sounds to me more like the filming of the show than the restaurant, so maybe she got confused. Anyone out there been to Paula’s restaurant that could give me a definitive answer?

Anyway, Paula’s Meatball Casserole is on the Menu for the week.

Until next time, I wish you "best dishes" from my kitchen to yours! (I heart Paula Deen, don't you?)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Recycled Patio and Garage Sale Finds

Check this out, my peeps! This is the ultimate in reusing and repurposing. Katie has created a patio out of stones from an old barn foundation. She had to carry them barefoot, uphill both ways, and through the snow! Great job Katie ;)

She also make a planter out of an old treestump (how creative!) and furnished her beautiful patio with lots of garage sale finds.

Speaking of garage sales... boy did I ever hit the mother lode. I went out garage saling on Friday morning. I had mapped out all the garage sales I wanted to hit and when you add in the others I just happened upon, I hit about twelve to fifteen. Most of my luck was at the first few though. Then on Saturday, we went to my mother-in-law's fiftieth birthday party, but stopped at a couple garage sales near their house.

When we were a few blocks from the party, that's when I saw it. It was surrounded by a golden glow and angels were sounding their trumpets, beckoning me to come in closer for a look. It was a church flea market. I dropped off hubby and baby and headed straight back to the flea market. (And then I saw another garage sale so I had to stop there afterwards). Pfew. I made quite the haul this weekend.

At the flea market, they had clothes for ten cents apiece. Yes, for a mere fifty cents, I got five things for Joel. None of them will fit him now, however, how could I pass up ten-cent clothes? And they weren't nasty either; they were completely hole and stain free!

Other things I got include

  • a kiddie construction hat for a dime
  • four children's books for a dollar
  • a baby carrier, new in the box for five dollars (the Sears $35 price tag still attached)
  • two wool sweaters for felting for 50c each
  • some red and black fabric like T-3 has been coveting lately (yes, girl, I found some too!)
  • a chrome over-the-door rack in it's original box for five dollars (I actually just bought one of these online for Joel's room, and was excited to see this one for our bedroom door)
  • a small enamelware pan just like I got last week, but this one only cost 50c. I am so addicted to enamelware. I wonder if Enamelware Anonymous exists for people like me who hoard the stuff.
  • one of those red and blue toys with the yellow shapes that push down through the matching hole. I had one when I was little, so I had to get it for Joel. Who can pass up such an educational toy for 50c?
  • a short sleeved polo for 25c
  • a baby girl's binky set and receiving blanket, still brand new and unopened for 50c each
  • several toys, all still brand new in the package which I'm hoarding for gifts over the next few years, including a jumprope, sidewalk chalk, action figures, rattle/teether set, wateringcan and sand scoop, and bathtub boats, for a total of $3.60. I hope Joel never stumbles upon my stash of gifts in the laundry room. Meh. He probably won't. Why would he ever go in the laundry room? That's a room kids avoid like the plague... the perfect place to store gifts!
  • unopened birthday napkins, 25c
  • an OSU longsleeved onesie, 12 months, for a dollar

One dollar. Geesh. I'm feeling guilty about that. I had previously set my limit at fifty cents for any article of clothing for Joel (except coats). I'm thinking of lowering my limit to a quarter. If I do that, though, thrift store shopping is pretty much out of the question. It's hard enough to find stuff at thrift stores for fifty cents. It's nearly impossible to find stuff for a quarter, at least around here. Prices at thrift stores are getting outrageous. Even at some garage sales, prices are getting outrageous.

For example, yesterday someone wanted twenty dollars for a beat-up plastic riding firetruck. If it was metal and an antique, twenty dollars, sure. But plastic? Um, no thanks. Five dollars, maybe. Three dollars, sure. But twenty? She must have been on crack.

What is your limit? Where do you draw the line? Talk to me, people!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Party in Your Mouth with Barefoot Contessa

Yum. She made macaroni and cheese! I of course did not follow her recipe (at all) but mac and cheese sounded so good. I do not have fancy schmancy mushrooms and butter like she has… (apparently the key to her mac and cheese is this expensive flavored butter…)

I do have some shredded cheddar cheese, milk, elbow macaroni, and Blue Bonnet margarine! Mine won’t be as elegant as hers. So what?! (*puts on my flannel shirt, tattered jeans, and sits on a bale of hay*) Elegance isn’t my strong suit anyway.

I decided to throw in some extras I had on hand. Barefoot Contessa did not do this, but I was just winging it. I had some smoked sausage thawed in the fridge, so I sliced it very thin and placed it into my BFF, my trusty 9x13. I also had some frozen broccoli and cauliflower (what’s not to love about cheesy broccoli and cauliflower?!) so I thawed it and tossed that in too. Meanwhile of course, make sure your macaroni is boiling in some salted water. The next part I just eyeballed so I can’t give you definite measurements. I put two globs of butter in my pan, followed by about 2 cups shredded cheese and enough milk to make it the right consistency. I also dumped in some onion powder for taste. I stirred until it looked like a good cheese sauce, then I stirred it in with the elbows. I then dumped it all in my 9x13 and cooked it for about thirty minutes in a medium oven. I cooked it at 325 because the other thing I made was supposed to be baked at 325. It’s just a casserole, and everything was already fully cooked, so the temperature really doesn’t matter, does it? I wouldn’t go cooking it at 450 or anything though.

Please disregard the spoon. I got hungry. So sue me.

Do you subscribe to the philosophy that you should never wash a half load of dishes or laundry? Me too. What about cooking? Do you believe that you should never just use the one rack in your oven? If the oven’s on, you might as well stuff it full of food so as not to waste all that heat, right?

So I also made some A to Z bread. Basically, it’s a use-whatever-you-have-on-hand-to-make-some-kick-@ss-bread recipe. You can use anything from apples to zucchini. Hence the name. How clever.

My babies

Today, I used four past-their-prime bananas with enough raspberry jam to make 2 cups. (You need two cups of A to Z ingredients for this recipe). It says to bake for an hour at 325, however I ended up baking it about ten or fifteen extra minutes. I think maybe upping the temp a little bit would have worked better. I’ll be taking one of the loaves to my mother-in-law’s fiftieth birthday party today. I’ll be hiding the other loaf from my husband so I can eat the whole thing myself. Funny thing is, you think I’m joking.

That reminds me. I went over and paid my in-laws a visit a couple days ago (I usually hang out with them a few times a week while hubby works). My father-in-law came home and saw me sitting on the couch, and he said to my MIL, “I thought you said you were cooking dinner? Not that you invited a cook over for dinner!” Well thank you, thank you very much. I’m known as the cook of the family. I feel so special!

Sweatshops in the US

Just a quick post to let you know that I am pretty angry right now. My friend who graduated with a degree in fashion is now on the job hunt. She's looking for a job that would enable her to sew costumes for a theatre company or something similar. The problem is, many of the jobs out there don't pay. And when I say, "don't pay," I don't mean that they don't pay well. I mean that you sew for them, and you don't get a single cent. Can you say sweatshop?
If the theatre company charges admission, I don't see how they can get away with that. I can understand if it's a free show like the free Shakespeare shows in Schiller Park here in Columbus. Why would they pay the employees because they're not taking in any money? But if the company takes in money, don't you think those profits should be shared with the costume sewers? Sewing takes time, people!

Yeah, me too. I just had to get that off my chest.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Foodie Friday: Baby Food Edition

I forget who turned me on to this book, but I read about it somewhere. I had to run out and get it from my local library right away! Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel gives you all sorts of recipes and food combos from your little one’s first foods all the way up through one year. Annabel’s philosophy is that babies become picky eaters because they aren’t exposed to flavorful and interesting foods. Babies don’t want bland, nasty food from a jar; they want to eat food chock full of flavor like adults do! Annabel points out that your baby’s taste buds are starting to develop, and this is a crucial time for your baby to experience an array of appetizing flavors!

I thought I’d share some things from this book so you can see what kinds of flavor combinations Annabel recommends. She says to combine pureed parsnip, carrots, and either sweet potato, pumpkin or rutabaga for six month olds. Avocado and banana with a tad bit of formula or breast milk is an easy no-cook option for six month olds. At around seven months, she includes recipes such as Fillet of fish with cheese sauce and vegetables and Easy One-Pot Chicken. She also says that combos such as peach, pear, and blueberry or apricot, apple, pear, and vanilla are suitable for seven month olds. (I read some of these to my sister-in-law who has a six month old, and she told him no way was he getting any of these homemade gourmet meals!)

When a baby is 7-9 months old, he can eat Tomato, Cauliflower and Carrot with Basil or Pasta with Butternut Squash, Tomato, and Cheese. Or perhaps Fillet of Fish in an Orange Sauce will tickle his fancy! No? How about Salmon Surprise or Chicken with Leek, Carrot, and Peas? Desserts and fruits for 7-9 months old include Apple, Pear, and Prune with Oats and Strawberry, Peach, and Pear Crumble. (Is your mouth watering yet? Yeah, mine too).

And finally, for 9-12 month olds, try Tuna Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce and Fillet of Cod with Spinach in a Cheese Sauce. He might also like Tasty Chicken Bolognese and Tender Casserole of Lamb. Sweet tooth? Try Nectarine and Strawberry with Vanilla. (Damn, these babies are eating better than me. I plan on making my own baby food but I think Lamb might be taking it a little too far).

I’m going to cut this posting short. I have a date with some nectarines, strawberries, and vanilla!

Visit Ann's website for more Food on Fridays! Make sure to leave all participants lots of bloggy love!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gardening with the Aliens Among Us

Tomatoes are red
Zucchinis are green
Whether my garden will be successful
Has yet to be seen.

Bell Peppers are Green
And can be yellow or red.
Stay tuned for adventures
In my vegetable bed.

I finally broke down and did it. I bought some vegetable plants and got some dirt under my fingernails. You may remember how much I hate gardening. Really what I hate is the sunshine and the heat, so I figure I can take care of all things garden-related either early before it gets hot, or later after the heat of the day has passed.

Once it gets hot, all I am going to do is sit inside, sip some lemonade, and write about gardening. For example…

My Bucket List
  • Create a topsy-turvy upside down tomato planter from a five gallon bucket (Get it? Bucket list? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)
  • Buy some vegetable plants
  • Weed the flower bed so I can plant the veges there
  • Get down and dirty with my plants (That didn’t come out right. What I meant was plant them in the ground
  • Water my babies regularly

So far, I have accomplished the first four things on my Bucket List. Hopefully I can do the fifth and final one as well. I’m not holding my breath though.

So you are jealous of my attractive upside-down tomato planter and want to make one for yourself? Well let me start off by saying that Becky over at Crafting a Green World somehow managed to tap into my brain power and blogged about how to make an upside-down tomato planter before I got a chance to.

My husband the conspiracy theorist is always telling me I should wear a little tinfoil hat. That way Becky and the aliens won’t be able to read my thoughts anymore. See what I get for not listening to my husband? Note to self: add “make tinfoil hat” to my bucket list.

There’s really no point in me explaining how I made my tomato planter because Becky did a nice job (Of course she did. She stole my brain waves, after all). I will say however that some people say to use burlap to keep the dirt in, others use coffee filters, but I used some stiff tulle fabric from my bridesmaid dress. That dress is like the Energizer Bunny, isn’t it? It keeps going and going and going…

I’ll leave you with some photos. If you look very closely, I’m pretty sure there’s a flying saucer in that first photograph. I sure hope they're here to do some weeding.

PS. A forum my husband frequents called Above Top Secret says that France is about to come clean about their knowledge of extra-terrestrials. Other European countries will then follow suit. Maybe we should start crafting ourselves some tinfoil hats. Remember, you heard it here first, folks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beef Stew, Burgundy Style: Update

Hubby called from work and told me that some of his coworkers were inquiring about the beef stew. (Quick shout out to Adam and Flora! If you stop by my blog, leave me a comment, yo!) I did link to the recipe on Monday, however since I didn't really follow the recipe (at all), I figured I better just redo it. I'm going to copy and paste the recipe into this post and add my own things in italics. Here it goes.

  • 1/4 cup dried parsley- didn't use this
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme - didn't use this either
  • 2 tablespoons dried bay leaf- I have this, but for some reason didn't use this
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary- You guessed it. I omitted this too. Geez. You mean to tell me the only spice I did use wasn't even on the original ingredient list?! (I used some oregano)
  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into large pieces-I think I used about two pounds of roast
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped- I used a regular white onion but at least I used an onion!
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped- used some frozen carrots on hand and also threw in a can of corn and a can of green beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled- I buy the little jar of garlic already minced. I'd say I probably used about a teaspoon or so
  • 25 1/2 oz wine, (1 bottle) rich red burgundy or California pinot noir- I used a little over half a bottle of red wine. Don't even ask where the other half went...
  • 6 ounces Lean salt pork, diced- Ew, this just sounds bad so I left it out.
  • 1 tsp each Salt and Pepper- Come to think of it, I can't remember if I put S&P in or not!
  • 1/3 cup flour- This would have certainly thickened it up a bit, but I didn't put any flour in my concoction
  • 2 cups water-I used beef broth rather than water, and I also added in a can of whole tomatoes in their juice. Smash up the tomatoes with your hands. I think the addition of beef broth and tomato juice made the soup a little less knock-your-socks-off-with-the-taste-of-wine
  • 1 pound mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps peeled-Crap, I knew I forgot something...

Basically I marinated the meat and onion in the wine for 24 hours. I then browned the meat and sauteed the onion with it. I placed the rest of the wine marinade in a crockpot along with all the other ingredients and cooked on low for about 8 hours.


Sewing Some Snazzy Sock Storage

Problem: Need somewhere to house my collection of ratty, tatty can't-bring-myself-to-throw-them-away socks.

Solution: Sew myself some handy dandy sock pockets! (*hums the Hot Pockets commercial*)

Want some snazzy storage of your own? Here's how.
Measure the top of your dresser.

I am clearly not a perfectionist-type.

I thought I might mention that you need to make sure that you don't sew your pocket shut! You need to catch all the layers of fabric while stitching up the sides of your pocket, but when you topstitch the top of your pocket, you obviously wouldn't want to sew through the bottom layer or else your pocket won't be much of a pocket!

Alternately, you could sew the pockets with right sides together, and then the stitching up the sides would be on the inside and wouldn't show. I opted to do a fancy schmancy zig zag stitch on mine, so I didn't mind it showing.

My fabrics were curtain panels but of course you could use normal-person fabric. The blue and white stripe was from a Kmart-going-out-of-business-sale, and the toile-like fabric was thrifted a couple months ago.

Now go stuff your pockets full of socks and do a little jig because you're finished!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Kiddie Microphone Tutorial

I’m finally creating my first tutorial! I’ve mooched off of others long enough; it was high time for me to get creative. This is a ten minute project; just the way I like ‘em. Quick and easy peasy.

Go gather up the following items: small piece of black fabric, piece of silver or black ribbon (or any color would probably be okay), piece of silver fabric, tube from foil container (though a toilet paper tube would work as well, it’s just not as sturdy), a saw to cut the foil tube in half, hot glue gun, and a ball of yarn. Go ahead and grab your supplies. I’ll wait. *Whistles Jeopardy theme song.* Are you ready? Ok, let’s begin!

First I covered the ball of yarn with the piece of silver fabric (leftover from Mom and Dad’s 25th wedding anniversary lap quilt). Use your ribbon and tie the silver fabric onto the ball of yarn with a tight knot. I didn’t worry about the tail because it’s just going to be tucked into the tube anyway. In fact, I thought it was kind of cool looking. I could see making some of these to throw around like comets or meteors or something.

Next saw the foil tube in half. Yes, I actually used a saw. It’s sturdier than it looks! Then I ran a bead of hot glue around the top of the tube and secured the silver “comet” to it.

With your sewing machine, hem three sides of your black fabric. The top and bottom both need hemmed, as does one of the sides. The other side is going to be underneath so it will not matter. How big should the black piece of fabric be, you ask? Well that depends on your tube. Just make sure it’s wide enough to wrap around it with some overlap (I made mine a couple inches wider). You’ll want it to be a couple inches longer than the tube also for tucking it in at the end.

Here I used bright pink thread so that you could see the stitching better. I also thought bright pink gave it that rockin’-out-to-the-eighties vibe. (I used to have neon pink spandex, did you? No? Oh, me neither). I certainly did not use bright pink thread simply because it was still in my machine from the piggy and the crinkle toys. *Ahem* Moving right along…

Next you’ll want to hot glue the crap out of your microphone. I ran a bead along the top and along the side to make sure the black fabric stayed put. You see how the pink thread curves? I meant to do that. It’s not because I’m a half-ass sewer or anything.

Now simply tuck the remaining black fabric up into the tube and secure with more hot glue if you want to. I didn’t but that might come back to bite me in the rear later. Once Joel starts head-banging with this microphone and guitar softie, the fabric is probably going to fall out and need hot-glued. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

You’re finished! Go admire your handiwork. Grab your mic, some hairspray, and your cassette tape of Cyndi Lauper’s greatest hits and have a jam session in front of the bathroom mirror. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Double Digits! (And Some Baby Gear)

Woohoo! I just had to share with y'all that I finally made it to double digit followers (there's ten of you special peeps out there now)!!! Small potatoes, I know, however it still made me excited!

In other news, today I made some baby gifts for my mom's best friend's step-son's wife. Pfew. That was a mouthful. She's having a little girl, so I made her two of those crinkle toys that have been such a hit lately in blogland, and I machine appliqued a heart onto a onesie. Not the best applique job but at least you can tell it's a heart so it will do! I also got her a pair of little jeans for a couple bucks. Actually, I bought those pants awhile ago with no particular baby in mind but they were so cheap and cute I had to snatch them up, knowing that someone would have a baby girl sooner or later.

Gift Bag- Free (reused from one of my showers). Tissue Paper- free, once again reused. Card- on clearance for fifty cents at The Book Loft purchased awhile ago because I knew there'd be a girl baby born eventually.

Pants were a couple bucks; onesie was from a pack of onesies someone got Joel however I never even opened them because we had so many. I figured I could use the five onesies from that pack as gifts for others as I've done here. Do you regift like that or do you think it's tacky? Oh well, she'll never know!

Fabric, Ribbons, and Thread- from the stash. Crinkly stuff- reused some cellophane that I received the other day from my coworkers as a going away present. Not that their gift to me was cellophane. They all wrote a nice comment to me, and all the little note cards were wrapped in cellophane. And there was chocolate too. Dark chocolate. My favorite!

Menu Planning, Making Do, and Making Stuff

(If you're here for Make Do Monday or Make Something Monday, please scroll down!)

You might remember that last week was Mexican Week around here. It was rudely interrupted by Egg Salad Day and German Day. I felt like some brats, so I thawed some from the freezer. Click here for the B.E.S.T brats on the planet. They're proudly made in Bucyrus, Ohio, which in case you didn't know, is the Bratwurst Capital and home of the Bratwurst Festival and also the birthplace of little ole me. Oh how I dreamed of being Miss Bratwurst... being dressed up in old-fashioned German garb, sitting atop of the float, waving that fake wave to the parade goers... ah, but I've digressed.

Back to the bratwurst. We didn't have any bread to go with them, but we did have two half loaves that were stale, so my brain started ticking, and this is what I came up with: Sauerkraut Bread Pudding. As you all know bread pudding can be sweet or savory. My favorite combos are cinnamon apple bread pudding for the sweet side, and cheesy spinach for the savory. I figured that sauerkraut and spinach kind of have the same consistency, so it might work. I could not find any recipes for sauerkraut bread pudding, so I just winged it.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • caraway seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 10 oz sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 cup cheese (I actually forgot to add this though I meant to)
  • about 12 slices dense white and wheat bread (ripped into pieces) though rye would be great for this recipe!

Heat oven to 375.
Whisk together eggs, milk, and spices. Stir in saurkraut, cheese and bread with rubber spatula. Pour into 13X9 baking dish. Bake 45 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.

I wish I had remembered the cheese. I think this bread pudding was missing something in the taste department, and cheese would have made it much tastier! I don't know what's wrong with me because I also forgot to add cheese to the sausage-bisquick stuff I made last week. It definitely would have been better with the cheese too.

Anyway, for this week I think I'll make some...

Make sure to drop by orgjunkie for more menu planning madness, and leave all the participants lots of bloggy love!

I have not one, not two, but three things I've done lately that is "making do" in my books. First of all, let me just say that I hate bar soap. It is a big concession for me to use bar soap. I don't like how it feels all slimy. I don't like how it slips out of my hand and goes flying into the sink all the time. I don't like the thought of touching it after someone else has touched it (though that one doesn't really bother me when it's at my house). I've somehow amassed quite a collection of barsoaps, ranging from a shimmery Christmas tree barsoap to barsoaps shaped like frogs to fancy schmancy barsoap that smelled of cinnamon apples. I've broked down and decided that we should use it up! *The crowd goes wild with cheering and applause; throws roses up on stage* Thank you, thank you very much! I'm pretty proud of myself too!

The next way I'm making do is by not buying gray paint when I needed it in the basement. Black paint? Check. White paint? You know that's a big fat check. I think every room in the house has furniture in it that's been spruced up with a fresh coat of white paint. Black + White= free gray paint. Mind you, the gray that I created didn't quite match the gray of the paneling, however it matched good enough for a basement!

Finally, I bring you the ugliest ceiling fan on the planet. I've been patiently putting up with this fugly fan for seven years and counting. I cringe every time I see it. It turns on all by itself (I'm not kidding) so either I have a ghost who is afraid of the dark or it's malfunctioning... (You may have noticed the picture is missing. That's because the ceiling fan is so ugly that my camera broke when I was photographing it. Either that or my house is so messy that I cannot find my camera, Ahem.)

Here’s a little something that I made last week: introducing the pretty-in-pink piggy bank! I got the idea over at Nosey Nest and thought they were so cute that I just had to make one for my son. Hopefully he won’t have a complex about the pink, but pigs are supposed to be pink, you know?! All I have left to do with this little piglet is place some velcro under the flap so that she will stay closed. Do you have some pink fabric and a free hour? If so, you should totally make this!

I think I'm so enamored with my piggy that I'm going to have to get one of these

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Super Secondhand Saturday

I just love alliterations, don’t you? (okay, so I’m a grammar nerd…)

T-3 and I hit the big one this weekend. We went down to Victorian Village and spent all day at the community garage sales there. We didn’t even get to finish because they closed before we got all the way through. Actually, we didn’t even come close to finishing because not only did Victorian Village participate, but so did the Short North, Italian Village, and Harrison West.

We walked around for awhile and found some great stuff (more on that later), and then we went back to the car to grab our picnic lunch (we parked near Goodale Park). Hubby came and picked up the little one because he was severely slowing down our garage saling, plus I think it was just too hot for him. After some delicious egg salad sandwiches and tomato-cucumber-and-bean salad, we hit the streets once again. Our day finally concluded at about 3 pm. To say my feet hurt would be an understatement.

My favorite stop each year is the church. I wish I could be more specific but I don’t remember its name nor do I remember the street it’s on. They have the best stuff down in the basement for awesome prices (and it’s air conditioned, woot, woot!) This year I just bought baby clothes. All clothes were 3/ $1. I got seven pairs of 6-9 month baby pants and two 6-9 sweatshirts. I remember last year scoring some bunny Christmas cards (unused of course), and that’s what I sent out this past Christmas.

(Cue the techno music). Are you ready for this? Here’s what else I got:

  • A sunburn, free of charge.
  • Two small baby toys, also free of charge
  • A very cool bluish-green necklace for 75c.
  • A small metallic pendant for a nickel. Yes, you read that right, folks!
  • A pair of sunglasses for yours truly, 50c
  • A bread pan for a quarter, and a metallic soap dispenser for 50c. I found the soap dispenser in the bottom of a large box of crap. The lady didn't have any of it priced, and when I asked her how much it was, she said it was a couple bucks. What?! Are you insane, woman? Stuff from boxes o' crap should cost a quarter or something. T-3 said fifty cents and the lady agreed. (More on these items later).
  • Some blue fabric with black polka dots for 50c
  • A bag of kid tools, including a hammer, and also a toy circular saw for $1.25
  • Yellow no-scratch mittens (we can’t have enough of these) for 50c
  • A 12-month Christmas sleeper for 50c
  • And drumroll please…. An upholstered rocking chair for a mere $20. Can I get a “hell yeah?!”

I have a strict Do-Not-Bring-Home-Any-Chairs-or-I’m-Going-to-Divorce-You policy. But when my husband came to pick up Joel, I was able to convince him that we needed this rocker. We do have one upstairs that my parents got me for my birthday. It’s an oak one from Amish country. But our house has three levels, so we need one per level, right? Hubby reluctantly agreed to purchase this rocker as long as I agreed to get rid of one chair around here. And he said it has to be of comparable size. I can’t get rid of a kitchen chair in order to keep the rocker. Ouch. I can’t stand to part with any of my chairs. Click here to read more about my love affair with all things sit-uponable.

Here are the photos of some of my finds.
The blue fabric is from yesterday. The pepper fabric is from a thrifting outing last week. I thought it would make a nice apron or something.

Here's my stash o' necklaces. The big blue one is the one I got yesterday.

As promised, more on why I bought this nasty loaf pan and this metallic soap dispenser. I've decided to make a kid stove and sink, and these two items are going to make the sink. I'll just jigsaw out the holes on the top of this small cabinet we already have and drop these bad boys in. What I'm really excited about is that the soap dispenser just might be able to actually have water flow out of it because there's the reservoir underneath. How cool will that be if Joel can actually pump water from the "spigot" into the sink?! Also pictured here are two tiny enamelware pieces I thrifted last week for the kiddie stove. I'm addicted to enamelware. Some day I'll have to show you the mounds of enamelware that I've amassed. But not today, because I still have not shown you ... drumroll please....

The Chair! Jason thinks it's ugly. He wants me to recover it to hide the current upholstery job, but quite frankly I love it as is! What do you guys think? Slipcover or floral print?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Egg Carton Scriptures

I opened my carton of Aldi eggs and found this:

Do you find this odd, or is it just me? I've been getting Aldi eggs for awhile now (68c per dozen, woot, woot!) but never noticed that they put a bible verse on the carton. I had another carton sitting around (craft project... more on that in a little bit), so I checked it, and sure enough, the same passage was on that one too, however it was smaller and located in a different spot. I feel like I'd opened a fortune cookie or something. How did my egg carton know that I had a crappy day at work? That I had my last day at work. That I cried and cried as I hugged everyone good-bye?

My egg carton reminded me to rejoice and to be glad. I know that when God closes a door, he opens a window. I just needed my egg carton to remind me, that's all. Thank you, egg carton, for putting things into perspective.

So how exactly does one properly thank an egg carton? By stuffing it full of dryer lint and hot wax and setting it on fire, of course!

Yes, that's right folks. After I came home from sob-fest, I got busy making some firestarters. No work = no income = how are we going to pay the expensive gas bills this winter? Really we won't be scraping it that close since hubby is still working, however I figured we could utilize the fireplace a little more this coming winter. We didn't use it a single time last winter.

Yes, I realize it's technically not even summer yet, however don't you remember the story about the bugs? You know the one. Bug #1 works all summer long gathering food and storing it away while Bug #2 screws around the whole time and then finds himself up a creek without a paddle when winter comes. You better believe that I am Bug #1, baby.

Here's some photos of my not-very-glamorous-yet-oh-so-practical frugal friday project.

Everything you need for this project. Paper towel tubes, TP tubes, and/or paper egg cartons, candle wax, and dryer lint.

"I'm Melting! I'm M. E. L. T. I. N. G. !"

How pretty do these toilet paper tubes look, all cozy in a basket?

The finished product. Three dozen firestarters. That's enough to last me over one month!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Repurposing Stuff from School

My personal items from my classroom are now completely boxed up and sitting here at home. I had accumulated a lot of stuff in the eight years I taught there. I brought home over ten boxes of stuff. I realized there are several things I can reuse or repurpose, such as

  • index cards: use for my brother's birthday next month. I bought him different brands of bbq sauce (when it was on clearance), and to each bottle I am going to attach a recipe which uses bbq sauce. I think this will be a nice frugal gift because my brother and his girlfriend will be moving in together soon. Hopefully she'll cook and be able to use the bbq sauce.
  • four different fabrics (three of them very large pieces that covered eight feet tall bulletin boards, and one was window treatments). Perhaps I'll make this tension rod puppet theatre
  • dowel rod previously used to hang the window treatments- surely can be used for something
  • small stickers- can be used on a chart to reward Joel for doing chores, etc. when he gets older. Originally I used these small stickers to mark flute keys so the students could remember where their fingers are supposed to go. I thrifted these years ago; I think these originally were a dime per package of 440 stickers. I bought twenty packs. You do the math. I have enough stickers to reward an entire daycare center.
  • a small garage-sale four-drawer cabinet that I previously decoupaged with pieces of sheet music. I can sand the cabinet down to eliminate the sheet music, and then it will match the other cabinet that I kept at home and painted white. I can repaint the two matching cabinets and have my dad turn one into a kid stove and the other into a kid sink.
  • wallpaper that I used to line a bulletin board- can be used for some craft project down the road
  • Happy Birthday wrapping paper, laminated, used to line a birthday bulletin board. Since it's laminated, it can be taped together with clear tape and placed on the floor under Joel to keep the floor safe from pieces of falling smashed birthday cake. After his first birthday, it can be cut to fit the table and turned into a festive birthday tablecloth.
  • Lots and lots of children's books that will now be Joel's.
  • Wallpaper samples for crafting: first craft I'd like to do is cover large formula cans and turn them into pretty storage
  • Various holiday wall-hangings. When I was little, I loved hanging up Halloween and Easter decorations in the windows and doors of our house. I have lots of stuff that I used in my classroom on bulletin boards that we can now use at home instead.
  • an el cheapo $3 garage sale office chair. I found a tute that shows us how to recover a boring black office chair to add some pizzaz. Joel can use this chair when he's older.
  • A thrifted Little Tikes basketball hoop used to play "band basketball" with my students. Now it will bring endless hours of entertainment to my own offspring.
  • Broken up Crayons. I've been dying to make this project for the past week or two. There's now lots of people out there who have made these darling Crayon initial shadowboxes. I even thrifted a shadow box on Wed. for 90c just so I could make this project. It just needs a coat of paint and a back for the frame.
  • Probably lots more that I can't think of right now!

The gray and blue fabrics would make nice skirts. The brown fabric has already been cut up and is being used in the growth chart.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Well what do you know...

I just found this stuffed animal bowling set like I'm working on. They're only asking forty five bucks. That's $7.50 per bowling pin. It takes me well over an hour to do each one, when you figure in hunting for just the right fabric, tracing and cutting paper templates, pinning, cutting, sewing, taking forever to get those ears turned right side out, stuffing, dropping rice everywhere, stopping to clean up spilled rice, and sewing the hole closed by hand. Let's say about an hour and a half. Here's the math.

Apparently, I'm going to spend about nine hours on this project. Probably more actually, but let's go with nine. When teaching private music lessons, I make twelve dollars a half hour (and for around here, that's cheap). If I were to charge twenty four dollars an hour to make these rabbit bowling pins, I would have to charge $216 for a set of six. And that doesn't even take into consideration the cost of the fabric and stuffing! Any takers? I didn't think so.

But it does make me feel good to know that I'm saving $45 since I do not need to buy the ready-made version. Hey, a penny saved is a penny earned!

The Spice Girls

If you could be a Spice Girl, what would your name be? I think I would be Baby Spice. Or maybe Crafting-for-Baby Spice. Breastfeeding Spice has a nice ring to it too, don't you think? Diaper-Changing Spice and Baby-Always-Spits-Up-on-Me-But-Never-on-Daddy Spice are also contenders.

Speaking of spices...

I've had this thrifted spice rack* and some milk glass spice jars that I've collected on various thrift outings. I recently washed them, removed their old labels, and began the hunt for new labels. I was thinking I'd buy some sticker labels at Office Max, until Tiffany over at songbirdtiff said some regular paper and mod podge works just dandy.

Paper? Check. Mod Podge? Check. Sweet, a no-cost project!

Our good buddy Stock-Trading-Scandal Spice** (aliases include Jailbird Spice or Kmart Spice) has a pdf file of some awesome blue and cream spice labels. She even leaves some blank so you can add your own spices; the only problem is that I could not figure out how to add text to the pdf file. Instead, I created a jpeg file which I will gladly share with y'all because I'm nice like that. (A small version is below; click on it to make it large).

Here you can see the font I've chosen.

Here I've squeezed more on one page in case you have way more spice jars than me. Don't want to waste paper, you know!

If you want to do this project like I did, you'll want to use Microsoft Picture it9 aka Digital Image Pro. Open up the file, click on the little "A" button (that's the font button), and a text box will appear. You can move, shrink, or enlarge the text box so that it's directly over the spice label. Add your text in any size and font that your little heart desires.

* I thought about naming this post, "I've Got a Great Rack" (a spice rack that is), however I thought that might be a little too risque for this blog. It would go along nice with Breastfeeding Spice though.

** Just kidding, Martha. You know you're my homegirl.