Saturday, February 27, 2010

brighten your day with a song

I saw this on someone else's blog!

So adorable!


You're welcome.

Friday, February 26, 2010

money in other people's pockets

Money is tight these days for just about everyone. We are all feeling the pinch of higher prices and possibly lower (or nonexistent for some) wages. Yet, I feel we are still called to serve others. And there's a way to do it without a squeeze on your own pocketbook. 

The answer? Clipping coupons you don't need. We don't need diapers in this household anymore, but I regularly clip diaper coupons when I see them. I give them to Suzanne or Kim. If the coupons are ones they won't use, I post them on the whiteboard at school. When I see a coupon for a certain brand of paper towel, I clip that one for Paulette. Essentially, you can be putting money in other people's pockets without spending your own grocery money. It just takes a little ~ very little ~ time and thought. 

One day I was in line at Joann's when the woman in front of me asked me if I wanted her coupons. She wasn't going to be able to use all of them that day and they were soon to expire. Hot dog! She handed me three or four 40% off coupons. That woman saved me so much money with such a simple gesture.

Right now you're probably thinking that the fifty cent or dollar off coupon isn't going to make that much of an impact in someone's life. It can. Small amounts of spare change over time can add up. So far this year I have been able to save $51.29 by using coupons (not including any Joann's coupons) ~ little by little.

So next time you're sitting down with the coupon circular, think about the other people in your life. Is there a coupon someone else can take advantage of? Take a minute to clip it. Also, did you know you can go to to print some really good coupons. They are reloaded at the first of each month. You can usually print two if you hit your back button after the coupons print.

Get out your scissors and go forth to put money in other people's pockets!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

happy birthday to you

The other day I mentioned I sent off some birthday gifts. I can now share them with you. I made these fun silverware holders for Kim. Maybe their sheer cuteness will soften the blow that they are nearly two months late. 

They match a set of black leather place mats they have, as well as some place mats that I made them before.

Boys can be tough to craft for, but I found a great tutorial for this toddler drawstring backpack. I want to be the aunt that makes the coolest things ever ~ not the one who sends inappropriate gifts of bunny costumes! Now Carter can carry all of his treasures around the house or on errands. 

You can visit Noodlehead for the tutorial. I didn't repurpose khaki pants like she did. I just used some canvasy material.

Monday, February 22, 2010

menu plan monday - february 22

Greg has been working four 10-hour days since school started this fall. The work isn't any harder because he was already working at least 10-hour days before. He has come to really enjoy this schedule because he gets an extra day off.

I have also benefited from this arrangement as well in a few ways. He is forced out of bed because we are loud gets up and drives us to school. We don't live far from school and driving there is not a pain, but there's something nice about being shuttled to the front door, then picked up later in the afternoon. One reason he drives us to school is because after he drops us off, he does the grocery shopping. That's right ~ I'm totally spoiled. I make sure the list (in store order, of course) and the coupons are ready for him and he does the hard work. He even price matches at the register for me, people!

Every once in a while, we break from our routine and we all go shopping together. Last week he had a different day off and I wasn't prepared for him to go to the store. So we skipped it and went Saturday morning. This kids are spoiled too because they were not thrilled to find out they had to go grocery shopping. They kept trying to tell Greg to make me go by myself. No way! In December, Greg worked five days a week, so I went with the kids alone on his grocery shopping day because we were on track break.

But usually, once a week you can find Greg in the grocery aisles first thing in the morning. You'd better look fast, though, cuz he's a quick shopper.

Here's what's for dinner this week:

  • chicken quesadillas
  • king ranch chicken (freezer)
  • chicken pot pie
  • pork chops
  • roast
  • swedish meatballs
  • roasted chicken

For other menu ideas, visit

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

betcha didn't know - premier episode

Amber is hosting Betcha Didn't Know... at her place today. In celebration and collaboration of all things random ~ here we go!

Betcha didn't know...

**I was child-free this weekend because the little people went to Disneyland with Grandma & Papa. I should have accomplished all sorts of miraculous things around the house. I didn't.

**Instead I finished the last three-quarters of yet another book.

**I also cleared out the Tivo lineup by watching several hours worth of programming. Need to make room for Olympic recording, you know.

**I did finish my nephew, Carter's, birthday present. His birthday was last week. I packed it all up with his mommy's birthday present to mail today. Her birthday was in December. I will completely understand if I have been disowned. I did have the forethought to take pictures of what I made. I'll show you after they receive them.

**I forgot to take pictures of the hands-free kindle holder Danny requested I make for him. Greg says it's a man bag. All I know is that Danny seemed quite excited to finally get it. He probably was just missing his kindle that I've had for so long.

**I hardly stepped foot in the kitchen this weekend unless it was to pour a Dr. Pepper into my empty glass. Greg said I didn't have to cook. I only cooked breakfast on Sunday and dinner on Monday.

**Speaking of television (up there a few items, remember?), I'm hooked on Vampire Diaries. I know ~ so teenagerish. And I can't wait until Glee comes back on the tube. What can I say ~ I am completely unwilling to act my age.

**Since my kitchen hiatus is over, I'm off to make dinner. I'm making a new recipe tonight. If it turns out well you might hear about it. If it's a disaster, we will speak no more of this new recipe. It has Italian sausage in it. How could it go wrong?

Monday, February 15, 2010

how does your garden grow?

Heather turned eight in January. We had a little *garden party* for her.

This was her cake! When we came up with the idea of the garden party, I thought this dirt cake would be a perfect and unexpected dessert. The girls at the party were thrilled and maybe a little grossed out at first. But they loved it as soon as they tasted it.

Pink and green were the order of the day. 

We got bigger goodie bags than normal because the guests planted their own flowers. We had several different colors of flowers. Rather than deal with screaming, squealing, and eye scratching to get the color they wanted. Greg came up with the idea to put the colors of the flowers on a slip of paper underneath the overturned pots. Were the girls sat determined the color they got. The scheme was rigged only a little bit ~ Heather wanted pink.

Greg took charge of the planting demonstration and help. We ended up buying plants a little bigger than originally planned, so it took a little more work on the guest's Greg's part. 

Stephanie was the *big sister hostess*.  Her job was to make sure that everyone felt included. She was also helping me put the food together until playing with the rest of the kids sounded like the better deal! She was an awesome hostess.

After planting the girls played outside until lunch was ready. It was a gorgeous day. Perfect for screaming outside and terrorizing our neighbors with their girliness. 

Heather wanted salad for her birthday party lunch. She L.O.V.E.S. salad! She enjoys salad so much that she gets offended if a salad is not included as a side option on the kids' menu. Papa does not particularly enjoy a salad, so he always orders a side salad with his meal to give to her if the kids' menu is not cooperative. Initially, we were worried about serving salad as the main dish because some kids aren't as keen on it as our children. But, then, we decided it's her party. She can have what she wants. All the girls were good sports ~ even the girl who had never had salad before (say what?) ate a little bit. We also served fruit kabobs (huge hit!) and lemonade.

Then, of course, we ate dirt for dessert.

Seeing Heather so happy with her party was the best part of the day.

We made Heather wait until her guests left to open our gift. She was delighted and a little confused by the purse-that's-not-really-a-purse that she got first.

Greg was messing with her, telling her that's all we got her. Wasn't it worth waiting for? I don't think she's completely buying it ~ but still, she was just a little worried he was serious.

She's wanted a DSi forever. We kept telling her no. Christmas came. We still told her no. We really did mean it too. Somehow we must have been struck with temporary insanity because we got her one for her birthday. She was pretty shocked (so were we).

And totally jazzed.

What a great birthday party. She had fun. Her friends had fun. It was so little hassle for Greg and I. Plus it was quite economical. 

Happy *8*, Heather!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

are they clean or dirty?

When I did the dishes all by myself, I always knew whether the dishes were clean or dirty. If someone needed something out of the dishwasher they'd ask, "Are these clean or dirty?"

Then I got dish helpers on a regular basis.

Things got confusing.

Are they clean or dirty?

So Stephanie made this sign to hang up with a magnet. The other side says clean. Funny that she did that, because I had been working on an idea in my head for a solution to the problem. Her solution was the same basic idea as the one rattling around in my head.

It rattled around in there for some time because I was busy with Christmas and Heather's birthday. And this and that.

Today, I made a clean and dirty magnetic sign for the dishwasher. The problem I see with most clean/dirty dishwasher magnets is that one word is on the top and the other is upside down. What if the magnet slides during door opening and closing & the words are sideways. It doesn't leave a clear message about the cleanliness of the dishes. With the idea that Stephanie and I had, it's pretty clear.

Just flip it over. The magnet is sandwiched in between the fabric.

Why hog all this dishwasher goodness to myself? I made some for the shop too.

Now, I've helped as much as I can. You'll just have the train the dishwasher emptier and the dishwasher filler at your house to change the sign as necessary. You're kinda on your own there.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

just because

Just because you might need to see these little cuties.

Just because they were being silly while we shopped for New Year's decorations.

Just because they are both hilarious kids.

Just because I can't get enough of them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

oatmeal for breakfast

Sunday morning, I was on the computer when Heather asked if she could have oatmeal for breakfast. I asked her if she remembered how to make it. No. I told her I'd be down in a minute. Then she asked if the directions were on the package. Yes. So she decided to read and follow the directions. The kids have made instant oatmeal in the microwave before. They are perfectly capable of reading and following the simple directions. So I happily clicked away.

Later that night she pulled this out of the pantry

and told me this is what she made for breakfast. I laughed and asked her how that tasted. Horrible. Then she said she added raisins. Still horrible. Then she added yogurt. Still horrible. I laughed some more. Greg asked her if the oatmeal turned out hard. No, soft. Stephanie then informed us there are microwave directions on the can that they followed. Oh. I told her she probably needed sugar. Her eyes lit up like she had made the most earth-shattering discovery. Oh, sugar!

Next time, I bet she'll make the instant kind with peaches and cream.

someone's in the kitchen

There's a lot of buzz about Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) and as much as I'd like to theoretically jump on that bandwagon, I'm being realistic with myself. I'd better start slow. I spent some time last weekend and this weekend doing some bulk cooking and some freezer meals. We were home for most of the both weekends, so I had plenty of time. I probably could have accomplished this in a shorter amount of time, but I cooked a little, read a little, sewed a little, repeat.

Last weekend I made:

  • bread - 2 loaves
  • pancakes - froze them for weekday mornings for the kids - already gone
  • black beans - equivalent of 3 cans - freezer
  • refried beans - equivalent of 3 cans - freezer
  • baked a bunch of chicken breasts for dinners

Yesterday I made these meals to put in the freezer:

  • chicken enchiladas
  • king ranch chicken
  • burgundy beef stew

I tell you what, it was really hard not to pop that pan of enchiladas or king ranch chicken in the oven right then and there ~ even at 10 a.m.

I also cut up everything needed for Greg's lunch this week. And I precooked meat and chopped veggies for tomorrow's dinner of taco soup.

Although it's not enough meals for a month, I'm feeling pretty good about what I have accomplished. I have a few meals done for dance night (trying to stay away from the box) that are easy for Greg to pop in the oven.

So for menu planning this week:

  • taco soup
  • crockpot chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables
  • tacaroni
  • pork chops

Kinda skimpy, I know. We'll see where the week leads us.

Check out other meal plans at

Friday, February 5, 2010

it appears i am an open book

Apparently you are not so much a curious bunch! Greg said I must have given all the goods away already and you know all about me.

Alright. Fine.

From now on, mum's the word.

But let me just answer these two for now:

Danny wants to know: Our governor has turned his back on you teachers yet again. If there is a pay cut will it affect you this year, or are you contracted for your current salary and safe until next year? And thanks for the nice picture with no blood 'n stuff.

Yes, the governor has turned his back on us. While I do not wish to discuss politics and such, I will say he is a butthead (and sometimes I am an 8-year old child, apparently). Good news. I am contracted for my current salary and should be safe until the next school year. Then? Well, who knows.

CPQ wants to know: Do you set aside crafting time each week or do you just craft when the inspiration fairy hits you?

In my head I do set aside time constantly to craft. I always have lofty plans for how much I'm gonna get done and how quickly. Unfortunately my big head doesn't check with my tired body first. While I'm at work I think to myself that I will go home early, get dinner cooked and eaten, then spend the rest of the evening doing something mighty crafty. Something about that couch gets a hold of me and after dinner I sit slack-jawed and nearly drooling until Greg declares it time for bed. So when I'm working, I don't craft as much as I'd like. Most of my crafting really happens on the weekends and on track break. That being said, I'm in a dry spell right now. I have lots of ideas in my head, but no mojo in my hands. Even a wide open weekend or two lately hasn't seen a crafty me. So, I guess that would constitute following the muse of the inspiration fairy. Where has she been hiding? I do have to get a couple of things done in the next little while here, so she better find her way home soon.

There you have it, all you inquiring minds.

Now, I think I need to go reintroduce myself to my sewing machine.