Friday, September 19, 2008

Pink Toes

Last week I managed to go out and get a pedicure while my husband took the children to a birthday party. Ahhh, I love pedicures and am vowing to get them done more often! Anyhow, I came home with red toenails and the children were quite impressed and requested I paint their toenails.
And so I now have two children with pink toenails. Yes, one of those children is a boy--he loves pink because his sissy loves pink. I had to take a picture for future blackmailing purposes.

We fly home from Disneyland tomorrow!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Decorating

Before we left for our Disneyland trip (yes, we're there right now!) I put out most of my fall decorations. It was a good way to put off packing and I was getting tired of the summer decorations. And, as always, I ended up rearranging stuff and turning a medium project into a big project!
This little spot on top of the bookcase in my dining room (we're a wee bit short on space here!) looks SO much better now. It used to house some of our art supplies. Supplies that were supposed to stay inside the baskets...obviously that didn't work so well! I've moved the art supplies into the freshly painted black dresser that I'm using as a sofa table (pictures of that next week!) and now the top of the bookcase is available for decorating!
Much better, don't you think! I'm not 100% thrilled with this arrangement. I like the jars, but I'm "eh" on the basket. I have mini gourds in two of the jars and fall leaves (fake, of course!) in the third jar. The leaves look better in real life--not so squished. Anyhow, originally I had the jars centered on top of the bookcase (no basket) and then I looked around my house and realized just how often I do a grouping of is rather insane! I need to start expanding my horizons beyond the number three! So, I tried to break out of my rut...but I didn't really have anything else in a large enough scale to put up on top of this very tall bookcase--so I stuck my Halloween treat basket up there. It'll do for now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Birdcages Revisited!

Remember those identical birdcages I bought for a steal at two different garage sales? Well, in the midst of a spray-painting frenzy last week, I repainted the red one--now it is black and is full of little gourds! Actually, it is full of little gourds and three plastic cups. Did that confuse you? See, the gourds are not exactly inexpensive (even using my 40% off coupons at Michaels!) and the birdcage is a lot bigger inside than I I used some plastic cups to take up some of the interior space. Look at my slightly blurry picture (ooops!) and see if you can see the cups. My husband had no idea they were in there until he practically stuck his nose in the cage.
By the way, it is sitting on my black dresser...I've repainted the drawer fronts from where Handsome scratched them up. I love it!! I'll have to post pictures of it when I return from vacation. Yes, we're still at Disneyland--I love this delayed post feature...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Box Tops for Education

If you're anything like me, you like to support your schools whenever possible. One popular way is by cutting out those "Boxtops for Education"...or, if you're REALLY like me, you don't cut them, you just rip them out and hope that you don't tear off any pertinent information. I have a hefty stockpile of boxtops that I've accumulated that will go off to school with my little girl next year--don't worry, I've been checking the expiration dates and they haven't expired!

So, lucky me--I was contacted by a marketing firm and given the opportunity to test out a NEW way to support the school of my choice. And, the best part?? It is by shopping!! Woohoo! Shopping is something I'm very very good at!
All you do is go to and click "Sign Up Now" and pick a school to support. Then you click on "Marketplace" and shop at the stores that are listed--anything from Nordstrom to Gap to Barnes and Noble! Hey, if you want to give a child a subscription to Zoobooks (remember that animal magazine?), they'll give a kickback of over 22% to your school!

Anyhow, it was super-duper easy to navigate and shop--I highly recommend it! A few clicks and POOF! Not only does my son have a new pair of snowpants, but I've supported the Catholic school I'm planning on sending my daughter to next fall!

So, what do you think? Did you know you could shop this way? I had no idea!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Look what I won!

I was lucky enough to win this cutie-pie apron from Whitney over at My Journey Toward: The Glamorous Life of a Housewife. Love it!
My daughter claims it is for her, but there is no way--it is too cute to be relegated to the dress-up box! I'm going to wear it with pride while I do my best impression of a 50s housewife and make yummy goodies for my family! Thanks, Whitney!!
We leave tomorrow for Disneyland! See you all on Sunday or Monday--don't forget me while I'm gone! I'll be taking lots of Disneyland pictures. Handsome and Princess are very excited! In the words of Handsome... "go-in Dihneelan, see mih-he mouh an minnie mouh!!"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

In 2001 I was working as an assistant director of admission at a college in Connecticut and my husband worked across the river as an engineer designing hull sections for nuclear submarines. On the morning of September 11th 2001 I was in a meeting with a colleague and two of our athletic coaches--we were discussing recruitment plans for our athletic department. Our meeting was interrupted by a call from my colleague's wife. A plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center and her sister was in midair, enroute from Boston to California. Needless to say, our meeting was over.

We worked the rest of the day in shock, glued to our computer screens to keep up-to-date with the news of what was going on just 1.5 hours down the road in New York City as well as in DC. Fortunately my colleague's sister-in-law was safe, but so many others were not. The submarines at the base were sent out, one after another, to open sea--except for one that was left to guard the entrance of the river. Huge barricades were erected around my husband's work site--one of just a handful of places in the country where submarines are designed and built.

I went home that night to my husband, horrified at the evil that had permeated our society. We had been talking about having a baby and the idea of bringing a baby into this world now seemed to be a selfish and terrifying thought.

September 11th is more than just another is a date that brings me to my knees in gratitude for the lives of my loved ones and in prayer for those who no longer are with us and with thanks to those who spend every day working to keep there from being another September 11th.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain for President.

Usually I avoid discussing politics with friends and have mostly maintained that here on this blog (except for that Rosie the Riveter poster on the side of my blog that highlights Sarah Palin)...but I just saw this YouTube video (it is less than two minutes long!) and it moved me to tears. If you have the time, please watch it through to the end. It is powerful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


This past weekend I went out to a few garage sales and found nothing useful. If I had been in the market for fifteen deskchairs, twenty mats to go under rolling chairs, ten metal filing cabinets, and four tacky bookcases--well, then I would have hit the motherload. Unfortunately I'm not in the market for any of that stuff.

Two weekends ago, however, I found a couple of good things. One of these cost fifty cents and the other cost seventy-five cents.
My husband says the first garage sale ripped me off (the one that charged me 75 cents), especially since the second birdcage came with the bonus of an old magnet stuck to the bottom. Actually, I believe he thinks both garage sales ripped me off because he sees no point to buying a birdcage that can't house a bird...and trust me, we will not be getting a bird!

Still, I was quite excited and have a lot of plans for these birdcages. I did paint one of them just to see what it would look like...
Now I'm thinking of painting it again. This time I'm thinking of painting it black and putting pumpkins in it. I'm not sure yet, but I'll come up with something for these bargains of mine!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Caramel Bars

Feed these Caramel Bars to your children and your husband and they will be forever in your debt. (Plus if you feed them to other people you won't have to spend a week on the elliptical burning off all the calories you just consumed.) They are TDF good. Mmmmmmm!! I was going to take a picture of the panful of Caramel Bars before I cut into them...but I didn't have the willpower to hold out that long--so this is midway through the devouring process. My family LOVES these now!

I first found them on Christie's blog and have now made them twice. They are soooo yummy. If you have patience, they taste even better the second day.

Here is the recipe:
  • Melt two sticks of butter
  • Add: 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups flour, 2 cups oatmeal, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt
  • Use your hands to mix it together--it will be crumbly
  • Press half the dough into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan
  • Bake at 325 for 20ish minutes (Christie says 17 minutes, but that didn't work for me)
  • Remove from the oven and pour an entire jar of caramel sauce over it
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel sauce
  • Put your remaining dough over the top of everything
  • Put it back in the oven for 20ish minutes (again, she says 17...but mine still was raw then
Now let it cool completely before you eat it--otherwise it will truly be an ooey gooey mess. A tasty mess...but really really messy. Don't ask me how I know this. Really it is even better the next day after it has solidified more...but that requires extreme amounts of willpower.

Here is Christie's recipe...her blog is fun and she has a number of recipes that will send you running for your elliptical after you try them! Whitney at My Journey Toward: The Glamorous Life of a Housewife has a variation on this recipe. I think the end result would be about the same...except that she put M&Ms on the top! Yum!! Oh, and Whitney is doing a fall giveaway of some cute plates! Go check her out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blackberry Freezer Jam

The children and I have stopped off a few times to pick blackberries on the outskirts of our church parking lot. Princess is a huge fan of blackberries whereas Handsome just likes to eat them while picking them--he's not so fond of them once we return home. I think he likes them when they're warmed by the sun. My little nature boy...well, except that he says "no like dirt!" whenever he realizes his hands are dirty!
Anyhow, I had the bright idea of making blackberry freezer jam so that I can stop spending a small fortune buying jam at the grocery store. It was so simple and easy--I made it during the time it took for my husband to give the children a bath. The only downside to this is that it has a TON of sugar in it. Really, a TON of sugar. Hmmm.
Here is the recipe I used--it worked out perfectly!

3 pints blackberries (6 cups)
5 1/4 cups sugar
1 box Sure-Jell
  • Mash berries (I used a potato masher) two cups at a time.
  • Add sugar to crushed berries.
  • Stir thoroughly and then let the mixture sit for ten minutes.
  • Put pectin and 3/4 cup of water in a pan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  • Boil for one minute.
  • Add mixture to berries and stir for three minutes until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Pour mixture into containers--make sure you leave expansion room at the top of the container.
  • Let your jam sit at room temperature overnight.
  • Keeps in the fridge for approximately three weeks or up to a year in the freezer.
I have more blackberries to use up (we've gone out picking three times) and will be stockpiling more jam in the freezer! I'm using these nifty plastic containers by Bell that are suitable for freezing jam. Most glass jars (including typical canning jars) are NOT safe for putting in the freezer. I made 8 containers of jam using the recipe I posted and I think each container holds 8 oz of jam.


Look at these adorable little apothecary jars! I bought them at an antique shop in our town--I was shocked at how inexpensive they were since most things there were quite overpriced. With tax I paid $9.80 for all three of them! They are so cute, too!

I also picked up some items at Rite Aid. Usually I think of Rite Aid as the most overpriced drugstore on the planet, but this time I was lucky and found some good sale items.
These barn stars were tagged at $9.99 but were on summer clearance for $2.49! What a steal! I bought them thinking that I would repaint them...but the patriotic coloring is cute too for 4th of July decor. I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet, but couldn't pass them up at that price!
Look at these cute little decorations! The little wood pumpkins were on sale for 99 cents (usually $1.99) and the ceramic gourds were $1.24 each (usually $2.49). Very cute and I love the colors of the ceramic gourds. They also had some twig pumpkins on sale, but I already have some of those. Still, there were some good deals on cute decorations...and some good deals on ultra-tacky decorations! Take your pick!

(As an aside, I tried using Photobucket again to upload pictures...but they come out HUGE on my blog! Help! I had to delete them and upload via Blogger.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of Pre-K!

Yesterday was the first day of pre-kindergarten for Princess. This is her third year in preschool so the routine was quite familiar for her. This year she is attending three afternoons a week from 12:30-2:45. The timing is very awkward for us, but it was the only option available to us at this preschool since she's already completed the other levels of preschool.
She looked so cute in her smocked dress--I love the apple and crayons around the neckline and she really liked the dress too. And I lucked out and the "back to school" bow I had made for her last year looked cute with this year's outfit too.
She is sitting next to her best friend and is very happy about that!

While she was at preschool, Handsome and I walked into town and had his haircut. After a stop at the bakery next door for his traditional "after-haircut-cookie", we walked through our quaint downtown a bit more, including a trip through one of the antique stores. Then we went to a little park and he played for a bit before we walked back to preschool. I had him back in the stroller for the walk back to preschool and let me tell you, it was HEAVY to push him back up the big hill in that! Ugh! Anyhow, it was about 1.5 miles of walking for me, so that is a good thing!!
Princess was happy to see us when class was over and she had a GREAT time!

(by the way--I'm trying out hosting my pictures on Photobucket....I'm not sure if I like it...where do you host your blog pictures? I was just uploading them to Blogger, but I've already used 5% of my space here--plus if I ever want to move my blog the pictures won't go with my blog unless I use an outside host)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Garage Sale Dresser

Remember this garage sale find? A wood Bassett dresser that I bought for $13--what a find! I finally finished sanding and stripping and sanding and sanding and sanding it...there was SO much peeling paint and so many layers of it.

Look at the top of this thing--I just couldn't get the rest of the paint off except in that one spot where it had been peeling in the first place.
So this weekend I took everything out into the yard and spray primed it and then spray painted it a nice glossy black. I used one can of primer and three cans of black spray paint.
I have to admit, it was far from perfect--you definitely could see where I wasn't able to get off all the gazillion layers of paint...but I did the best I could and I invested hours and hours into this piece. On Monday night we moved it into the house and I put my new silver colored knobs on it.
What's the matter? You were expecting to see a picture of the piece all finished?! Nope, sorry. Instead you get to see Handsome's smiling face. You see, yesterday (approximately 15 hours after the piece came inside) he took a comb and used it to "paint" the fronts of the drawers. Now there are HUGE scratches all over the drawer fronts and they need to be repainted!

On the plus side, I hadn't actually put anything into the drawers yet anyhow...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Treasure Hunt!

Monday was the day we told the children about our trip to Disneyland in TWO weeks. To make the announcement extra fun for them, I made them a treasure hunt! They found the treasure map when they opened the front door to go out for a walk--and they were SO excited!

The treasure map was very basic, but Princess loved it and read it all to her brother.
The first step was to touch the mailbox and next they were instructed to find an apple tree. They knew right where to go for these tasks!
The next task was to sing to a stop sign--I put this stop in for my own amusement. They opted to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" to the stop sign at the top of our street. I could barely hold the camera still enough to take a picture of that because I was laughing so much. It was so cute and funny!
After consulting the map some more, they were off to the next stop!
Next they found a basketball hoop and jumped five times and then they walked around our Jeep.
They checked the map again...
And went over to sniff the yellow flowers before heading into the backyard to count the tomatoes
After counting the tomatoes, they climbed up on the wall and clapped three times
Then they looked behind the stump...and shouted with glee!
Yes, that's right, an ammo can!! (You have to remember, our family enjoys geocaching and ammo cans are the children's FAVORITE type of cache to find because there usually is good treasure inside that they can trade for.) My two year old shrieks "AMMO CAN!!" whenever we find one--he really loves them!

After they were done dancing a jig of joy, Princess hauled out the ammo can
And they settled down to open it...
And were thrilled to find presents inside!
Inside the presents were custom Mickey and Minnie shirts that I had made for them to wear at Disneyland. Both children were SO excited...but I really think they loved the treasure hunt even more than they liked hearing that we're going to Disneyland!