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 Bestdealmagazines.com 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.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Friendship Award Peeps

This award is given to the writers of blogs that “are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.
Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

A huge thank you goes out to Katie for sending me this award! I told her that I really don't feel worthy since I have been so missing these past couple weeks :( I really don't know how I am going to survive once the school year really begins with the regular school day, marching band rehearsals and activities, and the baby. Pfew. I'm tired just thinking about it. I hope that I am able to keep everything up (crafting, sewing, blogging, cooking). I guess I will just have to take it one day at a time :)

I do hereby claim these wonderful bloggers recipients of the friendship award! These are all blogs that I truly enjoy visiting. They are written by very friendly women, and I just wanted to let them know that their amiable styles have not gone unnoticed! Check them out and show them some bloggy love

Joanne at We Knit, Sew, Bake, and Grow

Maggie at Maggie Blue Designs

Felicia at Go Graham Go!

Linda at My Trendy Tykes

The Queen of Fifty Cents, the Garage Sale Queen

Monica from Black Olives on my Fingertips

MJ from Making Do with the Not-So-New

Jen from Lipstick and Laundry

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Neighborhood Houligans

First off, let me publicly thank Katie for the Friendship award! I have been fuming over this whole mailbox thing for the past few days and was filled with glee when Katie told me she left me an award on her page! I'll perpetuate the award in my next blog, I promise! (which I hope doesn't take me 8 days this time!)

On to the mailbox makeover. Jason came home from work the other night and said that someone had bashed in our mailbox. It looks like someone took a baseball bat to it. They also hit some of my neighbors' mailboxes. Why do people think that it is okay to destroy other people's property? The disrespect that is running rampant in this country is very alarming. We need to crack down on these punk-kids. Teenagers should be prosecuted as adults. As a junior high teacher, I have had my share of experiences with teens, and I can say without reservation that teens know what they are doing. They know right from wrong. We are doing them a disservice if we do not penalize them by the fullest extent of the law. If we let them off with a mere slap on the wrist, then they learn that they can get away with it. Next time, their path of destruction becomes larger and more severe.

Of course, the punks who terrorized my block will never see any consequences since they will never be caught. But that's another story altogether...

On to the photos.

This mailbox transformation cost me eleven bucks. The mailbox is plastic and cost ten dollars, and we also had to buy a can of black spray paint which cost a dollar. I had the white spray paint already so painting the numbers was free. The numbers needed painted anyway because a few years ago my mailbox was graffiti'ed with green spray paint. I had painted the mailbox white again but never did get around to repainting the numbers.

I like the way it turned out. I especially like that the mailbox is plastic now so it should withstand a baseball beating the next time it happens!