Wednesday, December 30, 2009

after Christmas sales

My favorite shopping day of the year is after Christmas. I love getting all those wonderful goodies at 50% or more off. I have a favorite floral store that I go to every year and add to my Christmas items. The ceramic platter, three birds, three snowmen, trio of whimsical Christmas trees and the "Joy" ceramic items all purchased there at 50%. The red cupcake holder I was eyeballing before Christmas at Target but I wasn't going to pay $15 for it, so I got it at half off. Melamine bowl ($2) and new coat for Zoey ($6)from Old Navy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas Cookie Day .... but they aren't Aunt Barbara's cut-outs

I'm posting late because my kids wanted this on my blog. Christmas cut-outs for Santa. I cheat. I buy pre-cut cut-outs from GFS. I have made cut-outs before, but they just don't turn out like my Aunt Barbara's cookies. She makes the best, I mean the best. Nothing has compared to her cut-outs ever, and I have tried cut-out after cut-out just to make sure.

Santa doesn't mind though.
Even Bear lasted about 10 minutes with this project.
Sophie wanted her grams to help.
Brock using a "new" technique.
I just realized Brock made a "peace out" sign to me with his fingers. Where do they learn this stuff?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ore-Ida Easy Fries - a review

So here we are 4 days before Christmas and I'm writing a review post on french fries. I was in walmart one day close to lunch time and a guy came in and snatched up 4 of these boxes as I was standing there staring into the cooler. I asked him if they were good. He said they were wonderful. Of course, any french fry is a friend of mine. What, microwaveable, get out!

The verdict: Pretty good for a very quick 4 minute addition to your meal. Better than I expected that's for sure. Not mushy like I expected. As good as oven baked, no, but a very good quick passable option. And purchased on sale, not a bad price.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

simple, easy Goodwill find hostess gift

You've all seen them at garage sales. Many times when I got hunting at our goodwill store, I find them. These cute glass dome cheese plates. Sometimes with a wooden plate, sometimes with the pretty marble slab, like the one below. $6. Decorated up with some ribbon, burlap and a bell. Add a block of cream cheese, some hot pepper jelly and voila, a wonderful hostess gift.

If the wooden plate looks bad, keep the glass dome, toss the wooden plate, get a pretty plate from Home Goods and you have instant charm and whimsy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Almost 10 ...... plus a kit kat cake

Bear turns 10 on the 20th. We always have to do something a bit early to celebrate because people get busy with Christmas. We said to him, would you rather have a big party and a small gift from us, or would you rather have a big gift from us and just a couple friends for a sleepover. After 2 minutes he chose the big gift. Everything on his wish birthday/Christmas list this year seems to be over $100. So I'm glad he chose wisely.
Fun cake with kit kats on the side [I used 11 candy bars] and the top covered with mini M&M's.
Throw in a brother and couple of your best buddies and you have a fun, nice [relaxed] birthday. His friend on the right really isn't that small, he's just sitting down in his chair while the others are on their leg or standing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

clean your sink & garbage disposal

Every month I do a thorough cleaning of my disposal. I cannot stand the smell of a dirty sink disposal. I have a special sponge I use just for this purpose because it's so gross. I also use a product called Disposer Care which is fabulous and can be found at Wal-mart.

Put on a clean sponge and dedicate this sponge for garbage disposal cleaning only. Go down into your sink with the disposal and underneath the black rubber part. You will be amazed and grossed out at the same time.
Next, follow directions for the disposer care container.

Put it down into the drain, package and all.

You get this great bubble action and the best smell ever.

Patiently wait while it does it's job and have the kids watch too, it's fun. It will fill up the extra sink too.

when it's all finished, it will look like this [below] and then just rinse clean.
No nasty smells coming from this sink.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

holiday parties ... kids style

my hand gets twisted pretty easily when someone asks for help with a school party. i do love organizing a party, searching for new games, and pulling it all together. i usually have a friend who signed up to do the party and then asks for help and i usually just end up planning the entire thing. and that's okay cause i'm controlling like that.

This year for Brock's 3rd grade holiday party, we're playing a book game called lefty and righty. There are several versions of this story. you can read 4 of the versions here. Each child brings in a new paperback book, age/grade appropriate, gender friendly, and wrapped in paper with no name on it. During the party all the kids sit in a circle and someone reads the story. Whenever they hear the word "lefty" they pass their book to the left, and whenever they hear the word "righty", they pass the book to the right. At the end of the story, all the kids unwrap their new book. Of course, if it's something they don't like, they can switch with another friend.

Every December I hit our local Scholastic Outlet for 50% off books. My kids get a small pile of books under the Christmas tree, and their elves usually bring them a book or two to read. This year I picked up several neat books for just a couple dollars. You should check and see if there is a Scholastic Warehouse Sale near you. Now you never know what you'll find at a sale, but there are paperbacks, hardbacks, stocking stuffers, computer games, gifts and gadgets, cookbooks, plush animals, science experiment kits, Klutz items. you just never know. You sign up on line and you get a coupon for $10 off $75 or more. Believe me, you can rack up $75 pretty easily, even at 50%!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

teacher gifts

this is hard. thinking of clever things a teacher might like ... 3 teachers, plus 2 enrichment teachers. really i love spreading holiday cheer, but this kind of stresses me out. i could take the easy road and buy gift cards, but Christmas i like to get a bit more personal. Sophie's 1st grade teacher we've had three times, i know her well. Brock's 3rd grade teacher, Cole had last year, i know her well too. i really feel like getting more personal this year and not doing gift cards. something fun and whimsical, i'll save the gift cards for the end of year present. so this is some of what i decided to do.

in supporting the ever wonderful etsy, darling, small ornaments from tracybdesigns

this is completely and totally fun. i'm giving these to all our teachers [5 of them], the secretaries at school and some of my friends. i purchased the cards only so i can print on my own computer. i found the little plexiglass containers at hoblob for $1.77. What a cool and fun gift. from meckmom and on etsy.

got a few simple recipes, tins at hoblob half off this week.
caramel crunch - i'm going to drizzle chocolate over it too.
you can find the recipe here at Good Housekeeping.
an updated, classy version of rice krispy treats with heath bars found at Oprah.

also found neat plastic polka dot Christmas bowls on sale at hoblob this week and some pretty disposable food containers. all items are going inside, along with some handmade by me jumbo paperclips and bookmarks. this make me happy and i didn't break the bank to give everyone a little something.

this is what it is all about ~ sharing

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Goodwill Find - Lamp ReVamp

I am becoming a weekly goodwill hunting addict. I found two lamps there recently for $1.99 each. One had a pathetic ill-fitted lampshade while the other had none.

This lamp was in pretty good shape, just need a fresh coat of Heirloom White spray paint.

I love the shape of this lamp, short and fat. I needed that for a tall cream colored table, so this lamp needed to be painted.

Lamp No. 1 with a fresh coat of spray paint and a new lampshade from Target.

Lamp No. 2 with a fresh coat of spray pant and a new lampshade also from Target.

Monday, November 2, 2009

confession ... i don't make pancakes from scratch

Does everyone make pancakes from scratch? I tried it twice, I didn't like it. Feeding 3 hungry kids at the same time, homemade pancakes just doesn't cut it. Does this make me less of a mom because I don't mix the batter and perfectly pour an exact amount onto a skillet? Does it make me less of a cook because my son can open the freezer, unwrap cellophane, put the frozen 3 stack of pancakes in the microwave, hit the 1 minute button and call it a day? Well, I don't think so, but I keep reading about how certain mothers would NEVER make pancakes from the freezer and from "scratch" is the only way.
I don't like that my skillet can only hold 3 pancakes at a time. I don't want a bigger skillet or a griddle, that means i just have to find somewhere to store it and I'd probably never use it for anything else, which would make me mad.
So shoot me. I make frozen pancakes. And I'm proud of it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

h a l l o w e e n

Our beggar's night happened last night. Our city doesn't allow trick or treat on a Friday or Saturday night for safety reasons ..... so here they are: A scary skeleton lacrosse player, the cutest, rockin' Hannah Montana I've ever seen, and a frightful, ugly zombie.

I know my organizing skills pay off now and then when my kids come home from trick or treating and immediately spill their candy on the table and declare "let's organize this mess." Don't ya love it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

h1n1, swine flu, pig virus ... whatever we've got it

Well, at least the medical community is telling us that they are 95% sure we have it. If you test positive for the type A flu, 95% of those patients are suffering from h1n1. It started last weekend with Brock and myself. He was home until today. Then 2 nights ago, Sophie woke up puking in the middle of the night. Tomorrow will be her day 3. From what I've heard [and what we've been through] it lasts 4 days. Fever, chills, headache, sore throat, vomiting, etc. Initially I heard [several months ago] that the symptoms were only a bad headache and fever/chills. Well, now h1n1 is all encompassing and you can easily experience every aspect of yuk possible. We all only threw up one time each, so that wasn't horrible. Honestly, I've had the flu much worse than this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

we've been busy

Just wrapping up some sporting events here. We've just been busy. Big N was head coach for the boys football team this year ... the Buffaloes. Here they are getting their trophies:

Brock was more interested in playing in all the leaves in the background (lol)

Sophie finishing her fall soccer. To brag a bit, the highest goal scorer on the team and fastest runner.

what an action shot

and we began a new sport this year for Brock ... hockey
talk about an exciting game. We're looking forward to this new [and long season] sport.
Last night Cole began basketball practice with Big N being head coach. He just can't say no.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

d e a t h

it's a rainy, gray day
almost the type of day
you'd expect to get sad news
news of loss
it seems fitting doesn't it
death comes expected
and anticipated
but yet when it actually comes
you're still not ready
it still leaves a void
a hole in your heart
i can imagine nothing worse
than a slow, painful death
that's what cancer brings
it rears its ugly head
over and over
until you are beaten down
faith must be strong
lightly turning rosary beads
around in ones hands
questioning why He has done this
and then
finding solace in
knowing what you will find
at the end
is beautiful and painless
a release, at last
after a very long journey

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thrifty Finds

Linking up to rhonda's blog at southern hospitality. Goodwill find on the denim valance $1.99, hockey stick [free from a neighbor] and the hanging rings from Wal-mart. The hardest part was trying to figure out how to mount this. BB is playing house hockey this year and is a huge Columbus Blue Jackets fan. So that's what his bedroom is done in. The walls are a blue/gray color, not light blue as the first photo looks - had to use my flash because it's raining and that's a dark corner in his room. Wall color in second photo is much better.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Grog Mix for the Techers

We decided to sprinkle our teachers with a little fall treat. Fall officially began last week, but we had rain all week and it just was yucky. I bought all the ingredients and this made a ton. I wanted enough to make for 9 teachers [including the principal and secretaries], but ended up using all my mason jars and some treat bags which we'll pass out to some neighbors.
Washed the jars, added a ribbon and tag to the lids, twine for additional fall feel.
Ready to pour - except we took out the blue M&M's because they don't look like fall to us.
This made all 12 jars, plus 6 bags, plus what's left over for us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

martha stewart measuring spoons

So I like watching The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. I think I would like living next to Ina in the Hamptons and just pop over to see what she's up to ... every day. I had seen her use these measuring spoons instead of measuring cups [not the ones photographed below, but similar]. To me it just made sense to use a spoon instead of a cup for measuring. Not only are these spoons easier to hold, but have multi-uses. I grab them all the time for measuring, serving from stovetop to plates, from microwave to thermos, from soup to a bowl. They really are a perfect serving spoon ~ part service spoon/part ladle. Using a ladle has always been awkward for me. The roundness never seems to be the size of the bowl I have, but these spoons have never let me down.

Not easy to find. My mom was on the hunt and found some Martha Stewart ones for me at Kmart, although I only have 3 in my set. These below are now carried at Kmart too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

more bento ....

I could quite possibly be addicted to bento. Read my post here. Okay, so I'm not going to take this to the degree that some people do as I just don't see myself buying seaweed and forming it into shapes for mouths and eyes and hair. But I do really like the way the below photo looks. Especially that light blue silicone baking cup. Do you see it? Yea, that's what I like. I needed one this morning for Bear's lunch. He wanted salami and provolone rolled [yes, I used toothpicks as he's almost 10 and hoped he didn't jab anyone at the lunch table]. He also wanted a bun and mandarin oranges. Oh those oranges would have been so cute in a silicone cup, but all I had were the pink and red hearts which I'm sure would have embarrassed him to death in front of the other 4th grade boys.

So off to Jo-Ann's today with my 40% and 50% coupons to buy some of these yummy Wilton silicone baking cups. Had to get square ones too because you never know what shape of dish you'll be using.

I already had these from Valentine's Day.

Oh, and while I was there, look at this neat silicone brownie pop tray. You put your brownie mixture in there, bake it and put sticks in them as soon as they come out of the oven. Then after they cool, you dip them in melted chocolate, into some non-perils or sprinkles and enjoy. Perfect, perfect for a school party.

They also have these in this flower shape. How cute? I need some more coupons.