Thursday, July 31, 2008

PODA update

So, it's been too humid to weed, it wouldn't be so bad if there was any amount of shade to be had! That's the only bad with full sun exposure! And of course since it's on my list of things to do I haven't touched the apartment side of the house, I did paint the trim on our side porch though. I even washed out my brush and container! Woohoo!!! We are preparing to re-do the screen and install a sliding screen door, so that needs to be painted before we hang screening.

I am off to spray paint one of my wicker chairs, then I need a break!

summer Rec for boy

27 Fling boogies
surfaces, surfaces, surfaces!

Weekly Zone Chores
Zone 5 is the living room and apartment side yard, usually there are only a day or 2 here, but this week it's 5 days.
1. Flat surfaces
2. Detailed vacuuming
3. dust knick knacks
4. dust trims and cobwebs
5. put something pretty in the room - like flowers

1. weed around steps
2. scrape siding on entry
3. if weather is nice paint

Special weekly things
~Make sure carport/tent is ready for neighbors to borrow & us to set up Thursday
~RSVP for wedding
~golf on Thursday
~art program Wednesday

~mop kitchen
~mop bathroom

Menu Plan Monday

Our Menu:

I'll be making pasta (penne and canned sauce), pizza (crust is in the freezer), grilled chicken legs (probably with home made BBQ sauce), freezer pickles, boxed mac and cheese (with peas and tuna), somehow using up the lunch meat (grilled salami and provolone sounds good to me!)!!!

Stumble It!

Find the shoes - Game

2 Widgets, 1 game, one contest!

Stumble It!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frugal Family challenge this fall on TV

ABC's Good Morning America Weekend and USA Today are launching a Frugal family challenge.

Each month, we feature two families who want to save money on various aspects of their family budget. A financial adviser will be sent to meet with the families, evaluate their financial goals, and offer them tips to save money each month. Over the course of the month we will follow and film the progress of the two families over one month as they follow the new money saving tips.

At the end of the month, we will reveal which family manages to save more money.

If you would like to be considered for a free financial makeover, and participate in this "Frugal Family Challenge", we want to hear from you. Please send us your name, home and email addresses, phone numbers, and a brief description of your family's most pressing financial issue/concern (ie: family budget, transport costs etc) and a "GMA" producer may be in touch with you.

I don't think I'll be signing us up, I don't think they'd call us back anyways! Not sure how much advice their financial advisers could help us with! It sounds like it'll be good to watch, maybe if I can get our ABC to come in with the antenna, or we get our basic tv turned on!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Squash (yellow) recipes

Roasted Baby squash with Feta and Thyme

Fried Squash Puffs

Summer Squash Pancakes

Sauted Yellow Squash

What I am going to do with the 1 I have right now:

Thinly slice the squash on my mandolin
Steam it in the steamer
drizzle it with olive oil and toss with some minced garlic

Stumble It!

From my Feeds #3

Make it from Scratch #74. I submitted my PB bread recipe (which now has a picture), think I might have to give the peach liqueur a try...

Crock pot Gyro

Square foot garden overfloweth

Back to school templates

Clutter for a Cause

Let's Cook carnival of the recipes.

Grill Roasted Corn

Inspirational videos to watch when you are in a rut

What's your take?

Extreme Home Foreclosure

I can't really form an opinion on this...

A. It's not MY house
B. I'm not sure how I'd handle a windfall of almost half a million in equity
C. I stopped watching the show, mostly because it seemed to propagate the "bigger & better" housing craze

I am all for people helping people, and sometimes people need someone to swoop in and save them (the best example of that was the woman who lived on an island was widowed & had a house fire, I balled my eyes out). The show has been great for that. But I've always felt like they go over the top a little too much. I can just see the assessors standing there ready to re-assess the property once taping is over. Most of these people are on the verge of losing their homes, how does increasing their property values by hundreds of thousands of dollars help?

But I do know that if I was one of the 1800 people who came to help I'd be ticked off. Multiple reasons I helped; my house isn't as nice; no one helped me; I wasted my week; etc, etc, etc.

Sure my house is HUGE (over 3800 square feet total) but it was built in 1867, not 2003. Trust me sometimes bigger isn't always better, there is more to clean, more to heat. More places for hamsters to hide...

30 Day Challenge

Thirty Day Challenge is in the preseason! So far I'm getting that it is a teaching system to help us make money online, or market your stuff (like a blog). Finding a niche and marketing the h out of it... was what they described in the forum!

So far I'm on preseason lesson 7, The challenge starts August 1st so sign up now!

Tackel it Tuesday #16

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Besides everything on my parade of adventures list I NEED to put the fridge back together. Hubby thought he heard the missing hamster in there 2 nights ago (midnight of course) so it's all apart and pulled out from the wall. I had to help, so I should be tackling a good nights sleep...

I'm not sure who took this picture (wasn't me!), but I thought it was very artsy. You have to use your imagination to see the fridge about 2 feet from the wall with the back off, insulation out and surrounded by baby powder (our tracking tool of choice at midnight).

I still swear he only heard a bag of frosted flakes that had been leaning up against the wall on top of the fridge, but we don't do rational at midnight!!!

***Updated - Still no hamster, it has been a week and 2 days now, I think he left to join the chipmunk circus that is our yard. Guess we'll know when we have fat furry chipmunks next year. I think we are going to wait a month or so to replace it, teach the boy a lesson in responsibility. He was so excited that he bought a new cage at a yard sale he left the current cage open and didn't notice until morning... ***

Monday, July 28, 2008

Comments #4

Lis Garrett

160 Acre Woods

Good Intentions Queen

Chatbug Karen

Mom of 2 Princesses

Grammy Always Wins

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife

Muthering Heights

Cafe at the end of the Universe


Chelle Young

It's Naptime

Grandmother Wren

Maisie in Maine

Family Musings

Live and Let Di

Nicole Austin

Around the Island

Mixed Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza

I may have to make this for myself sometime, doubt anyone else would try it!!!

Mixed Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza

1 10"-ready-made pizza crust
1/2 cup softened goat cheese
1/3 pound pound shitakes, sliced thin
1/3 pound crimini, sliced thin
6 ounces baby spinach (one of those already cleaned kinds)
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat large pan, add oil and cook mushrooms until
softened. Add garlic and stir for a minute. Then
add spinach and stir in until the spinach wilts
all the way down—only a minute or so.

Spread goat cheese on crust and top with
mushroom-spinach mixture. Sprinkle a bit of shredded Parmesan on top.

Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Serves 4.

Sam Zien

Source: Discovery Health

Weekly PODA 7-28 to 8-1

Think I'll start doing a weekly check list instead of a daily, sooooo many things repeat!!!

summer Rec for boy
27 Fling boogies
surfaces, surfaces, surfaces!

Weekly Zone Chores

Zone 5 is the living room and apartment side yard, usually there are only a day or 2 here, but this week it's 5 days.
1. Flat surfaces
2. Detailed vacuuming
3. dust knick knacks
4. dust trims and cobwebs
5. put something pretty in the room - like flowers

1. weed around steps
2. scrape siding on entry
3. if weather is nice paint

Special weekly things

~Make sure carport/tent is ready for neighbors to borrow & us to set up Thursday
~RSVP for wedding
~golf on Thursday
~art program Wednesday

~mop kitchen
~mop bathroom

Menu Plan Monday

Our Menu:

I'll be making pasta (penne and canned sauce), pizza (crust is in the freezer), grilled chicken legs (probably with home made BBQ sauce), freezer pickles, boxed mac and cheese (with peas and tuna), somehow using up the lunch meat (grilled salami and provolone sounds good to me!)!!!

Product Recalls

Or why I won't be buying my kids the latest & greatest this Christmas...

I subscribe to the CPSC newsletter to keep on top of all the recalls that have been coming out. On July 24th they issued this: Remote Controlled Helicopter toy recall

I know I almost bought this for my son about half a dozen times (or a similar model). All of these recalls make me want to give them wood blocks I make myself! It just makes me nervous about what will come next. I'm not sure what they are getting for Christmas yet (I have purchased exactly 1 item, woohoo!). I think maybe we'll just stick with the plan of a family Wii!!!

Lisa K

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Organized coupons

My coupon Binder Video at Kingdom First Mom. My coupons are not organized in any fashion at the moment. I have a stack of flyers, an envelope in my purse and 2 empty sorters. I prefer the binder method. It just looks more manageable to me, easier to see what you have, easier to toss expired ones. I am adding a binder like this to my "back to school" shopping list and then find the trading card holders where ever!

Festival of Frugality

Lisa K

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Parade of Events 7-25

We are having friends over tonight so we are in crisis cleaning mode! It's not so bad, but still disheveled from the hamster search. We haven't given up, but the probability of his return is low. My biggest fear is that he managed to join up with the troupe of chipmunks that torment us and have an elaborate tunnel system in our back yard.

~Laundry (always)
~Dinner - Friends are bringing, I'm not supposed to make anything, I'm sure I'll find something to make
~Room Rescues, one room at a time (I might play the flylady crisis cleaning podcast for motivation
~Sweep front & side porches
~clear off outdoor tables (toys and cups from the kids)
~find seating
~set up fire pit
~vacuum DR rugs
~clear surfaces in the house, put stuff AWAY
~Make PB bread for football bake sale, if I start now I'll have a few done by Saturday to drop off.
~zone 4 declutter 15 minutes
~zone 4 mission - re make your bed, but I don't wash sheets until Monday again, so I'll probably find something else!

Lisa K

What's your grocery budget?

So I am sitting here waiting for my vacuum to cool off, I'm trying to get the flour off the floor (hamster is still MIA, but I can't take the mess anymore). I picked up the August Woman's Day. Woohoo, cover says 184 Money saving ideas, right up my alley!

So I turn to the "Secrets of extreme grocery shoppers" article and dig in. I read the catchy first page and was hooked, so I turn to the second page and I am floored by the highlighted blurb. ~According to the USDA, the American family of four is now spending $10,933 a year on groceries - more than $911 a month.~ WHAT??? Where? WHo???

Even when hubby was working for the wholesale food restaurant distributor we weren't spending that on food a month. Maybe, half that, but we were buying more expensive meats. I don't know if we could eat that much in groceries a month.

Of course I kept reading, and found out I am an extreme shopper because I go to our local Aldi. Of course I do, the only thing they stock that I don't like or use is their brand of regular coffee. And that was fine until the last time we bought it there, tasted like grass. I could never remember to take it back, since their policy is double your money back, but I kept forgetting and hubby used it up. Their gourmet coffee has been just fine!

The best part is you don't really risk anything by trying their product because of their guarantee. It's not the easiest place to shop. You "rent" your cart for a quarter; bring your own bags, use boxes or buy theirs; and you bag everything. They usually only have a line or 2 open, so I try not to shop during busy times.

I usually buy store brands anyways, unless there is a sale & I have a coupon! The article says to think "outside the box" for things like milk. I know in our area the Aldi or Walmart have the best milk prices, unless someone is having a sale. The local gas station/convenient store if fine for emergencies, or if you ONLY need a couple things (gas is still $4.21 a gallon here and Aldi is 12 miles away). They chaged $3.89 the last time I bought milk there, Aldi was $2.79. So I save $1.10, easy enough!

I really like the "Grocery Share" idea, now I need to set up a group of people to do this with! The problem is I am the best shopper in my group! So basically the idea is you go to one store and buy the deals and the others in your group go to other stores and buy their deals; then meet up to exchange! The closest I've come to this was buying shampoo for my sister at CVS, it was a money maker after coupons and ECBs. She still thought I was a nut though...

I am also an extreme shopper because I match coupons to sales! The author even mentions Trent Hamm's (of The Simple Dollar) philosophy on waiting 4 weeks for sales after coupons are released. I've also found that there are usually good sales the same week coupons are released, especially at CVS.

Once a month cooking is mentioned. I personally use 30 Day Gourmet. They have a great planning software tool. I picked it up a couple years ago and use it regularly.

Make a menu and shop less frequently are also listed. I'd much rather shop once a week or every other. It cuts down on the impulse buying!

All in all I think I am a pretty extreme shopper. We hardly buy anything at "full price" or name brands. We garden to help out with the produce portion of our bill (I think we make out in the end, even with the expense of seeds, mulch, etc).

Oh yea, I'm probably extreme because I "Earned" the magazine subscription!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday Parade of Adventures 7-24

~Golf lessons for boy& hubby (he just watches) The Prince has natural talent. He can drive the ball farther than I can already & he earned his first $2 at the last lesson, so he's already a pro. They had a putting competition, he beat everyone in the class (even the 13 year old). So he may not be the next Tiger, but club pros make a decent living!

~Laundry (ALWAYS)
~Dishes, sink & dishwasher
~Hamster still MIA
~Check garden, pull a few weeds
~Dinner, I have no idea yet, thinking chicken helper since I have a box & chicken handy!

~Spend 15 minutes decluttering zone 4 (master bedroom)
~Zone 4 mission - 15 more minutes attacking the clothes pile
~Zone 4 mission (Thursday) - clear off dressers

~Remake The Princess's bed, she had a potty accident yesterday ;-(.
I can't complain it's her first real bed accident. Hers were usually issues with clothing removal standing in the bathroom!

~figure out who has my hubby's immunization record, since his Dr.'s office doesn't, useless people, he's only been a patient there since the late 80s...

~Find surfaces in the house, they all seem to be cluttered with something...
~Run to the store (or drive), need wiper blades for the van, deposit a few $s into my new bank account, add $ to my cell phone, etc, etc, etc.

13 Things I've learned about gardening

This is our first cucumber and the reason why I will plant lots more beans next year.

1. Plant more beans, 10 plants is not enough to fill a quart size freezer bag.

2. When starting seeds, label the containers better. I have a pumpkin where a cucumber is supposed to be (and vice versa). Or just avoid help from small people...

3. Start tomato seeds at least a month before you think you should, no matter what the package says. Ours are about a month behind, although the ones that self seeded in the garden I had them in last year are already fruiting... I'm thinking End of January for next year!

4. Newspaper and straw(hay) make good mulch, but landscape fabric is the only thing that will BLOCK all the weeds. And I HATE pulling weeds.

5. Newspaper, pizza boxes and hay help with the weeds. And make great mulch. Although my dad says we'll regret it next year when we have MORE weeds, I told him I didn't think that was possible...

6. Watermelon plants don't like to be extremely wet, or transplanted. Only one survived transplanting and all 5 that sprouted in the lower "wet" garden died.

7. Homegrown cucumbers taste so much better than store bought.

8. I don't know how to grow spinach, I think it needed to be colder when I sowed the seeds, but who knows!

9. If you want to make a tepee out of pole beans for your kids, more than 8 plants need to be planted. Think next year I'll try 20. Oh, and the rabbits will find them and eat at least one.

10. That the mesh fencing my hubby bought for no GOOD reason makes a great fence, it just looks really unattractive.

11. Cleosia (Pampas Plume)which is an annual flower will self seed, at least it did for me! And in the most inconvenient places! I left it thinking that if it was a weed it was pretty with it's reddish leaves, but then the flower spikes appeared, who knew!

12. That no matter what the internet says you cannot prune a wisteria in the early spring. I think I hacked off all the flower buds. Of course I didn't know what I was looking for to avoid it. *** I spotted a new flower last night, so that makes 3 clusters for 2008!***

13. That cardboard and drywall pieces covered with all our fall leaves do not breakdown as readily as I read they would, at least not if you have a light winter. Also, picking out pieces of drywall after tilling is not a fun thing!

Oh the things I've done to increase the organic content of my sandy flower bed!!! I'm sure I'll have learned more by the end of the season, once the other plants start producing.

We have tons of cucumber buds, even the Lemon cukes are budding like crazy. The pumpkins have started as well. I hope we get at least 5 of those to make it to October!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peanut Butter Bread

1 c sugar
1/2 c PB
1 T Butter
1 egg
1/2 t salt
2 c flour
1/2 T baking powder
1 c sour milk (1T vinegar to 1 c milk)
1/2 T Soda

Mix it all together, pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake @350 for 50 minutes - 1 loaf

Lisa K

From my Feeds #2

Make it From Scratch 73 the Fair time edition.

Rebuilding the EF after Murphy visits. This is our focus, I am throwing all sorts of spare change at the EF. We got lucky with the van, this time!!!

Blogging Basics 101 newbie checklist

Crockpot Blueberry Buckle

Ways to make your blog sticky and yes my mommy blogger instincts were immediately turned to fingerprints on the fridge, ewww. But the article is about a GOOD sticky!!!

Lisa K

Wednesday Parade of Events

Yesterday we washed two vehicles and cleaned them inside and out, so most of my list didn't get completed, started, just not finished. I'm ok with that though because my VAN LIVES!!! We traded the old car for the towing and $ off the repairs of the van. So I have my van back, after 11 months of waiting. We took it to a different mechanic and a week later & for $500 less it is on the road! WooHoo. So after sitting in a weedy lot for 11 months I needed to clean the van inside and out. Plus my brother is taking the Blazer we've been borrowing to Canada later today, so I washed it & vacuumed that up (not really for him, but my kids are messy in vehicles).

~Summer Rec for boy
~Dishes, sink & dishwasher
~Hamster still MIA
~Weed garden (this is a new daily chore, yuck!)
~Pick beans
~Dinner is pizza at Baseball awards
~hubby off to job interview

Never made it upstairs to declutter the bedroom yesterday
~Spend 15 minutes decluttering zone 4 (master bedroom)
~Zone 4 mission - 15 minutes attacking the clothes pile
~Zone 4 mission (Wed) - clear off the nightstands

clear off and wipe down counters. (finish, got this started yesterday)
Vacuum up flour I left it for an extra day but I'm tired of the icky mess.

Calls -
Dr.s office to get the Prince a football physical before the 11th. OF course they scheduled the group ones tonight during the baseball awards.

Lisa K

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Parade of Events

~Summer Rec for boy
~Dishes, sink & dishwasher
~Hamster still MIA - put out fresh food, vacuum boys room (we think evidence was left behind)
~Weed garden if it stops raining long enough
~Pick beans
~Cook dinner - Chicken (last night ended up being steak on the grill, hubby cooked)
~Spend 15 minutes decluttering zone 4 (master bedroom)
~Zone 4 mission - 15 minutes attacking the clothes pile, unfortunately I have one, sigh.
clear off and wipe down counters.
Vacuum up flour (supposed tip to track hamster, now it's just tracking the kids)

Lisa K

Tackel it Tuesday #15

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This is the way things happen around here...
1. The side porch is piled with stuff from over the winter and the bathroom remodel.
a. we must clean out the garage before we can put the stuff from the porch away.
b. we must clean out the shed to clean out the garage
c. we must get rid of more leftover junk (previous home owners left us lots!)

It kind of feels like "If you give a mouse a cookie" doesn't it!

So this project is well under way. We emptied the shed and garage. In the process I sorted all the "bits" that were in various cans, boxes, drawers, buckets and bins. Of course I picked the HOTTEST day last week to do this out in the sun, so it took a while. We hung a shelf to put the misc containers on (sorted of course) and hung the bin sorter we've had for ages.

The red shed is now gardening and kids storage. We re-purposed a desk from the garage as a potting bench. All my flats, tools and containers are in there. The larger tools are hung on the wall. The kids bikes, scooters, sports equipment is all in there now.

The garage is organized with a work table (this REALLY all started because we needed the table for the yard sale, what a mess!) that is cleared off except for 2 projects. Doll beds that need bottoms and a wagon that needs new wheels.

When all was said and done we took a truck load to the dump, it's ages to big trash day here & our regular pickup won't take that much. But in the trash was part of the bathroom wall, 2 bike frames, 2 old hammocks, 1 old hammock frame, a broken hot fudge warmer, a screen tent (not ours), a small spool of coax cable (not even the spool was worth keeping)(also not ours), 6 bags of garbage from around the garage (all kinds, broken things, leaves, etc), and an old shower curtain rod (the not adjustable kind).

We tossed one large box of burnables on the fire pit.

The best part is that if I go to the garage looking for a nail or a screw to hang something I know exactly where they are!

Street Science School Stuff

I must be on a back to school kick!

These came in the mail about a week (or so) ago. The Prince has been checking them out, LOVES THEM! There is more info at Street Science.

The camo composition notebook is cool! It's hard to believe they even make the old black and whites anymore, I'd had to have had this one!

The blue print one the 1 subject is of a turntable! It has a pocket for storage, very heavy cover and the coolest thing is there is a blurb about the cover on the inside!

From the PR company ~ While tweens and teens alike will be totally excited about being able to express their creativity and individuality, all while making the ultimate fashion statement, they'll also be taking part in a greater cause and joining the start of a major educational movement! Street Science not only educates youth through style, design and the pursuit of knowledge but also promotes academic improvement in an effort to decrease the escalating drop out rate within the public school system s . This September Street Science will launch the Street Science Foundation and a portion of all school supplies purchased will go back into the foundation to help keep kids in and interested school.~

I'm not sure where they will be available but I hope they will be where I shop!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Parade of Events

Summer Rec for the boy
weed garden (lower) - take pics
Sweep side porch
Find missing hamster
Cook dinner - chicken
spend 15 minutes decluttering kitchen
spend 15 minutes decluttering zone 4 (Master bedroom)

Trim and pull shrubs by side porch - replace pulled ones with something flowering, hydrangea maybe & ground cover.

Shop the one-cent sale at!

Painting the Money Pit

Painting the house (at least part of it) is a big project for us. We've had the paint for 2 years, I was waiting to get a sprayer to make it easier but it couldn't wait any longer! We needed to get the spot ready where the hot tub is going (hand me down from parents).

Comments #3

Casual Friday Everyday

Lisa C Writes


They call me Wahmmy

Butterflies of the Moment

5 in the Potter's hand

The 160 Acre Woods

Pockets of Time

Life is like Champagne

Muthering Heights

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters
1 lb of zucchini (about 2 medium sized), coarsely grated
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grape seed oil or olive oil
Sour cream or plain yogurt

1. Salt the zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Try to remove the excess moisture from the zucchini by either squeezing the liquid out with a potato ricer, or by squeezing with paper towels.

2. Whisk egg in a large bowl; add the zucchini,flour, scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix to combine well.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook fritters in two batches. Drop six mounds of batter (2 Tbsp each) into the skillet. Flatten slightly. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve immediately, with sour cream or plain yogurt on the side.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My coupon was in the mail!

Virtually Organized had a procrastination challenge contest in June. Due to the yard sale stealing my tables I wasn't able to finish the sewing project I had planned to finish, but at least I didn't plow ahead & make a mess of my dinning room table!

The coupon for my free 6.8 photo book from CVS came yesterday. I haven't made one of these yet, but I am looking forward to it. I think I am going to put them together as gifts for Christmas.

It's a great little reward for not procrastinating!!!


In preparation for all the zucchini I am most likely going to have!


Serving Size : 4

1 T olive oil
2 T chopped garlic
1 pound zucchini - cut in half length-wise and then in half-inch thick half moons
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt to taste
2 T freshly grated Parmesan
4 T grated mozzarella

In a large skillet with a cover, heat the oil til shimmery.

Add the garlic and stir to coat with oil, then cook for a minute or two, just until garlic begins to turn golden in color.

Add zucchini, stir several times to coat with oil and garlic. Cover and cook for four minutes, stirring once or twice.

Uncover and let continue to cook til done or slightly crisp. Stir in salt and parsley. TURN OFF THE HEAT.

Sprinkle cheese over top, cover and let rest for 1 - 2 minutes til cheese is slightly melted. Serve immediately.

86 Calories; 4 g Protein; 6 g; 6 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb 4; 2 g Sugar; 95 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 86 mg Sodium; 7 mg Cholesterol.

Preschool Stuff

Sometimes blogging can rock! I really do like the constant influx of crap swag! Yesterday I recieved a package from School Zone containing 2 books for the Princess. This HUGE book of alphabet worksheets ($12.99) and an awesome Math workbook with stickers ($7.99). I'm not big into "homeschooling" my kiddos but I do my best to make sure they are exposed to stuff that is above their current levels.

The Princess had just started to learn to write her name at the end of preschool this year, so working on the other 21 letters will be a big help come September! We learned that the state has upped the requirements of our little kindergarten students for this school year, meaning they need to know more before the ever start. Thankfully we will be 3 days a week at preschool next year and hopefully they'll have all the required skills. I am pretty sure the teacher said they will need to be able to write a short (sentence) response to a question. What happened to the letter people??? It's crazy the amount of stuff they try to cram into 180 days of school...

Anyways, School Zone has an awesome website full of educational products from baby to 6th grade! I think I need to pick up some math workbooks for the Prince, he starts multiplication & division this year, eek.

In a recent trip to Aldi I found some neat wipe off boards for them both, regular letters for the Princess, cursive for the Prince. The Prince's handwriting is borderline Doctor, so any help he can get!!! They've had a blast using them. I can't believe I'm already preparing for back to school, the Prince's teacher has already sent us supply lists! I want to ask where has the summer gone, but I don't even think it's half over yet!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WFMW - Gum

I learned the hard way that a preschooler cannot be trusted with A.B.C. gum left in her room overnight. It's not bad enough that I rarely buy the stuff but this was "special" gum. I wasn't allowed to throw it out, and sometimes at bed time I have to try REALLY hard to pick my battles wisely! So I caved. We stuck the gum to a plate and left it on a night stand, with explicit instructions to under NO circumstances was it to be touched until morning... Sure Mom, OK, I won't.

In the morning she was fussing because she was stuck to the sheet. So at some point she had disobeyed the direct order and not only chewed the gum again, but failed to put it in it's proper resting place. It must have fallen into the bed and "melted" into her PJ top & the fitted sheet.
Becoming permanent evidence that I should not have given THAT battle to the little one!

I scoured the met for tips on how to remove it, especially since the PJ top was almost new. It is in the freezer waiting for the results of my experiments on the sheet. I have heard of peanut butter working and freezing it and ice. But this was more of an embedded stain than something sitting on the fabric. I found my first tip - Vinegar. Plain old white vinegar, purchased at Aldi for a low 59 cents! I parked myself in the laundry room with the sheet & my bottle. I poured some onto the gum and began to rub it in. I realized quickly that some of it could have been picked off if it had been frozen first, but it was breaking it down rather effectively. After I had it all treated with the vinegar I tossed it in the washer. I only added a few other things, mostly because I didn't want gum on anything else, but I felt that it could use some agitation. I used my regular laundry soap and some fabric softener. I did set the machine for a heavy stain, that bumps the regular cycle to an hour and 5 minutes.

When I took the sheet out the gum was gone, all that is left is a faint stain. I am hoping that will come out over the next few washes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #14

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Yesterday I tackled the front porch. I didn't take before pictures, but take my word for it, it was bad! We started the morning off with a trip to the Salvation Army to donate the lawn sale leftovers. The only reason it didn't happen the Monday after the sale was because my Mom had promised some stuff to a cat shelter yard sale. Well that fell through, so off it all went.

Once we got back I took EVERYTHING off the porch. All the furniture and decor items. Then I got out the shop vac and swept the porch. It really did need this, all the cracks and crevices had dirt in them and the broom just wasn't able to get it out. I must have looked like a nut, but it worked!
I started to arrange the furniture, my goal was a cozy sitting area, I think I achieved it.
While I was doing this, hubby was firming up the bentwood rockers I have been acquiring at yard sales for the last 8 years! I had 4 but one was beyond repair. Now I have to make cushions for the seats and they will be done.I bought the massive hanging plant at our local green house when they went on sale. It isn't big enough to hide our tenants truck but I think with the screen and my antique copper fire extinguisher it makes a nice view!

Check out other tackles at 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, July 14, 2008

Week in Review July 14th


(The purpose of this meme is to record a weekly memoir of your life to look back on for your own personal reflection/enjoyment and for your children/grandchildren to enjoy and learn from your experiences. Don't you wish your parents/grandparents had left something like this for you?? I do!! Feel free to answer all or any...whatever you want to share and record, and feel free to add any subject I may have overlooked.

Weather ~ 80s & 90s rainy and humid.

Life lessons ~ I'm going with more of a schedule here, we have had 3 graduation parties a multi year reunion for school, out of town relatives are visiting from AZ, dinner out for "fish," 4th of July, since I last posted a review. So lots of gifts, drinks and travel!!!

Favorite Meal(s) ~ Fish dinner out with family.

Treasured Moment(s) Spending a lot of time with extended family, watching my kids around the cousins boyfriend, The Princess especially, I'm not sure how she'll deal when he has to leave!!!

Simple Pleasures ~ Hanging out at my Mom's while my cousins Firefighter boyfriend entertains my kiddos (an they LOVE him!)

Talked with ~ Cousins, Aunts & Uncles, Grandma, In Laws, School Alumni, people from town

Impacting News ~ I hate to admit that I couldn't tell you a single bit of news! We've been so wrapped up in what's going on with family & the parties.

Personal news - the car died, transmission. I think we decided to have it looked at by the transmission people in hopes that it will not be the ultra bad news we are fearing, hey there is always hope right! Also my mini van has been moved to a new mechanic. It has been "waiting" at a different mechanics now for 10 months to be fixed. It is a big job & probably not really "Worth" it. But the alternatives really aren't an option either. We have lived without a car payment since 2000 buying used vehicles with savings and getting lucky at the right times.

Things I Read ~ "Just Do It" By Douglas Brown - interesting read for long time married couples, just keep in mind the guy wrote it. I'm finding it almost a little too much info... but otherwise a good read.

Movies/Videos ~ "Dr. No" - we are big Bond fans!

Interesting Internet ~ finding sites that link to old tv shows (even new ones) like "The 4400," "Firefly," "Mary Tyler Moore" etc etc etc.

Places We Went ~ Parties, parties, parties, fireworks, dinner, Mom's... feels like everywhere

Budget Savers/Busters ~ Opened bank account more local, the one 40 minutes away is fine for direct deposit, but it killed the car to drive to deposit the stimulus check. I am lame I opted for the MOST convenient bank ever, the one located at our Walmart! They are open every day except Christmas, until 7 during the week. I don't think there are any other banks that would do that!

Blessings ~Spending time with family & friends

Challenges ~the car situation

Accomplishments ~ The house is coming together now that we are done flipping rooms around!

Family Happenings parties, parties, parties!!!

Tried Something New ~ The alumni party was it's 2nd annual but our first, so I guess that counts! We will be going again, it was a blast. We went to a really small school so having it open to all alumni makes for one big party! I couldn't tell you how many people were there but I'd say over 400 easily, all ages (including a couple 2008 grads who got roped into helping out!). It has also lit a fire under my hubby who hasn't had a class reunion yet (it'll be 20 in 2010) he is going to try to get their officers to do their job or do it for them!


My cousins boyfriend with my kiddos enjoying an ice cream & a sunset over a local small lake!

My cousin & her boyfriend

Sunday, July 13, 2008

From the Comments

There were a few comments, thanks for all the WTGs! It really is encouraging!!!
On the move to the apartment upstairs... yes we had rented out the upper front apartment that is now our "master suite" We had a hard time finding anyone we wanted living upstairs from our children. We didn't NEED the space but it works better for us this way. It was the easy choice since there are stairs that go into the kitchen. At one time the house was a single family, I don't know if we'll ever get back to that, but It's possible!

~ We gained a second bathroom, (no matter when it always seemed that the second someone went in to the bathroom, someone else needed to use it too)
~The Princess' room is no longer directly underneath the bed of our remaining tenant, if it was quiet enough you could hear him snore. She isn't a heavy sleeper so it needed to be fixed!
~I have a wonderfully large walk in closet/storage room now
~The kids bedrooms are now the same size so no arguments down the road when that stuff matters!
~ More room to put things away in an organized manner!

~Missing the rental income
~More house to clean

I think we made the better choice for our family needs!

Frugal Granola


Heart of Wisdom

Winding Threads

160 Acre Woods

Mommy I am Home

Friday, July 11, 2008

Frugal Friday #11

Farmer's markets & road side stands are a fantastic resource. I frequent them for all the things I don't grow myself.

Take this week, we stopped at a local farm to buy some hay for mulching the garden. I also picked up 2 quarts of strawberries and a quart of cherries.

Well we ate most of the cherries & a quart of strawberries that day and the day after, leaving me with a quart that didn't get dealt with right away. We mulched all of our gardens including the flower beds so the day was pretty much spent on that. By the time I got to cleaning & taking care of them 3 days later I had to toss about a 1/4 of the quart.

So my frugal tip is to only buy what you know you can handle in a short period of time, if not that day. The produce that goes to the grocery store will last longer "on the shelf" than fresh picked local. Something I get out of the habit of during winter!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Playroom roundup

Beware the mess you are about to see...

The only reason I am admitting to this mess is because it is no longer!!! The room is mostly empty now, 75% of the stuff is in the Princess' new room. The other 25% is either still in there or was tossed!

I just had to document the chaos so I can show my children when the grow up just why they are nicknamed tornado & hurricane around here! I am pretty sure that this mess was created in a 2 day period, at least most of it.

The Princess' new room

We decided to move the Princess' stuff into our old bedroom. Now she has enough room for all her toys (minus the 3 shopping bags of trash I removed) and bedroom stuff.

We still need to wire for an overhead fixture (fan I think) and finish the ceiling but it will be much better than what she had. And it's not like her stuff is so big that it would be hard to work around when we get to that project!

I am certain that the girl has more pairs of shoes now that they are all lined up on my old shoe rack (that I was able to share with my hubby, ok he had room for 2 pairs but still).

I am also proud of the fact that everything fits into the space she has, plus there is still room in the locking closet for more, once we get that stuff cleared out. Right now it is housing an open box of ceiling tiles, 2 baby gates & a tote full of clothes for the Princess to grow into.

She has plenty of floor space to play on & dance around! Bonus for me, no more carpet, so when she sneaks food in there and is messy I'll only have to sweep it up. In her old room I'd have to squeeze into the spot where she'd drop food and have to use the attachments to try to get it all out, ewww.



Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #13

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

We finally moved all of our bedroom upstairs. It's only taken 6 months, so yesterday on the hottest day yet, we hauled the bed up the stairs. Probably wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't a king, of if it had handles!

We converted the apartment's bedroom into a closet. Hubby hung 2 walls with wire shelving. There should be more than enough hanging space now. We will be using the rest of the room for storage.

The Living room is an office, there is also a table and seating.

The dinning room is where our bed, TV, and dresser are. It all fit nicely. I've even decorated a little. I am hoping that sometime we can pick up a new comforter set with matching window coverings.

The kitchen is where my sewing room will be, right now it's only a couple tables with all my "stuff" piled everywhere. That is a tackle for another day!

Head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom to see what others have tackled.

Monday, July 7, 2008

From My feeds...

I'm sure you all sub to a ton of feeds, here are a few highlights from my faves!

Crockpot Cheesecake

What's Lurking in your closet?"

Root & Sprout

Sunday Conversation with Frugal Dad

Crock pot Lasagna

Menu Plan Monday

We have family coming in tomorrow so our evening plans can change but if they do I'll just shift the plan!!!

Breakfasts are usually simple, cereal, toast, eggs.
Lunch - leftovers or a sandwich

Burgers on the grill, nothing fancy, just burgers!

Pasta & chicken - I'm not sure how I'll fix it yet, I have a crock pot full of precooked chicken so I'm thinking some kind of cream sauce over penne.

Since the weather is supposed to be rainy here I am going to make a batch or two of these Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls. Probably put a batch in the freezer!

Sloppy Joes - the ground is already cooked, I just need to heat it in the sauce

Breakfast for dinner, the works eggs, bacon toast.

If we don't order out pizza I will make pizza

Graduation Party

Something with what is left of the cooked chicken. It was very good with a Hawaiian BBQ sauce hubby got from work, over rice. Or I might make the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Pie substituting the chicken for the ham.

I loaded my freezer cooking planning software back onto the computer. Hopefully I'll be able to catch another sale on meats & stock up. I'd love to get some ready meals in the freezer, I haven't done precooking in a while. Of course the freezer is badly in need of defrosting. Guess that's going on one of my PODAs for this week (Flylady)

Look Mom no teeth...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

First Taste of Freedom

The Prince is going to reading camp for two weeks. Wednesday they meet at the library. We are only about a 5 minute (or so) walk to there. So I told him he could walk all by himself, after all he is 8 and a HALF.

I sure it was harder on us, but he said he was a little nervous after he left the house. I sent him with my cell phone. We even made him dial our house number before he left just to make sure he could. I had to send him with a note saying it was OK for him to walk home. It took him about 7 minutes to make the walk. The best part was the determined way he took off down the sidewalk. Made me start humming "Send me on my way" in my head! LOL!!!

This was a big step for him & us. Up until now we were holding him back, not wanting to "let him go" but I realized that he can't stay little forever. And he will be playing football in the fall & weighs in at 89 pounds. So it was probably past time!

Now the next step will be walking to Granny's house it's just a little further than the library, but a straight walk!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We have a graduation party this afternoon & then we will find some fireworks!

Have a great, safe holiday!

Dishwasher Detergent Experiment

I was asked to test some dishwasher detergents by email. So I said sure why not, I run the thing at least once a day...

I was shocked to get 2 full size bottles delivered UPS. So weird.

Well anyways, my usual brand is Electrosol, but I use the tabs with the jet dry ball. I don't use the jet dry dispenser in my dishwasher.

First up I tried the Electrosol liquid. We packed the dishwasher as usual, filled both soap cups to the top & then ran on the normal cycle without heated drying.

Result: I wasn't as happy with it as I usually am with the tablets the glassware didn't come as clean as I'm used to. That said it wasn't bad and probably if I was able to us the jet dry dispenser things might be different.

Second I tried the Cascade, which was the one recommended in the original email. I didn't care for their "gel packs" they left pieces in my dishwasher which clogged my sprayer. I filled the dishwasher as usual. filled the cups & ran on normal.

Result: There wasn't much difference between the two as far as clean went. It worked just as well as the Electrosol did. I never dreamed I'd end up with a tie! The Cascade smelled better, if that counts for anything.

Overall: I think I'll stick with my over priced tablets with jet dry. At least until I get the dishwasher replaced or the recalled part fixed.

***Note: other than the product I was given I received not payment for my review, or was swayed one way or the other (obviously!)***

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Busy Week

The Prince has finally recovered. It didn't take long once he started on the antibiotic. He didn't have a follow up scheduled, apparently I'm just supposed to hope it's all clear.

The Prince & Princess went fishing with my Dad yesterday, down at the pond. It was the Princess's first time & she's a natural. She dropped her worm & 5 seconds later had her first bluegill (awwww). The pond is well stocked with bluegills & they must have been hungry. She caught at least 5 before she got bored with the whole thing!!! The Prince caught 2 bass & a bunch of bluegills. They catch & release too keep the pond stocked.

We have 2 graduation parties this weekend. Not so frugal.

Also the stimulus check finally arrived. On the way back from the bank the car's transmission decided it was time to die. So, now all the fantastic wonderful frugal things I was planning for the money are history & we will have to find a vehicle or a new/used transmission. Murphy's law can take a break for a while, go bug someone else for a while.

I have been able to send small amounts to the ING account. I've done it for the past 2 weeks, so I'm hoping to be able to do that regularly.

I am hosting this weekends Carnival of the Recipes at Lisa's Cook Book. This weeks is hosted at New Hampshire State of Mind the Wimbledon Edition!

I will leave you with the worst morning hair ever!!! It really was worse than this when she crawled out of bed, it had settled by the time I took it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Pie

I first posted this here. I made it the other night. I reminded me a lot of a thin quiche. I think next time I might double the recipe just to see if I can get it a bit thicker.

I substituted colby jack for the meunster cheese & only used bacon. I think the next time I make it I'll use taco beef. I also added cooked onions, green peppers & mushrooms before I cooked it. I think broccoli might also be good.

I really do like discovering a recipe that is so versatile & frugal all at the same time!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Pie

1 Egg
3/4 c Flour
1/2 ts Salt
1/8 ts Pepper
1 ts Oregano
1 c Milk
2 1/2 c Meunster cheese, shredded
2 c Ham, crumbled bacon, diced

In a small mixing bowl, combine egg, flour, salt, pepper, and half of
milk. Using a rotary beater, beat until smooth. Add remaining milk and
beat until well blended. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese and the ham or
bacon and pour into a well greased 8-inch pie pan or 2 quart baking
dish. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top
and bake just until cheese is melted (2 minutes)

Frugal Find

I really do dislike shopping at our local Wal*** Super Center, but in this current state of finances, driving all over town just isn't feasible. I did manage to find a great deal though (at least for here) I bought a 10 pound package of chicken quarters for $0.49 a pound. I should have bought 2. I'm going to toss a few in the crock pot later (maybe all depending on how they fit).

I plan on pulling some out for grilling & letting the rest cook. I can make a hundred things with cooked chicken on hand!