Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What a wonderful experience working with Jeff Hyslop. We are in the second week of the run of Grease and it is as exhilarating as when we began! More pics to come of opening night, right now my eyelids are stuck together from too much eyelash glue and my legs feel like lead from shakin' at the highschool hop. Grease is the word!
I also had a wonderful birthday with friends, family and the show. Womp bam a loom op!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Well, here we are, the next few weeks is the show. We do a family thank you night for our nearest and dearest on Sunday, Dec 5th. This will be a great chance to work out the bugs in the show before Opening night on the 8th. I am so excited about this show. We have been rehearsing since October the songs for the month of October, the dialogue blocking and choreography for the month of November and now the big moment is almost here! This show is why I have not been blogging very much. We have been rehearsing up to seven days a week at times and all my thoughts are concentrated upon remembering my lines, dance steps and blocking! So, if all you hear out of my mouth for the next little while is Grease this and Grease that, now you'll know why.
If you don't like it, Fongool! I'm Sandra Dee!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Amish Friendship Loaf

I went to a dinner party recently and was given a gift: a zipper top baggie with batter in it to start my own Amish Friendship Loaf. The idea is to mix up your starter and then give starters to two or three friends, so they can bake up their own delicious loaves. If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every ten days. This is the kind of motivation I needed to kick start my Christmas baking! Luckily for me, since I am impatient, my friend gave me my starter on day 9. Yes, this starter takes ten days to be ready to use, but I hear the results are worth it. In about an hour, when my loaves come out of the oven, I will let you know for sure :).

The starter comes with instructions, which you are supposed to pass on with the starter. They are not terribly difficult and it feels kind of like you are in a special bread club while you are baking. At least I felt this way while mixing away my batter. I was also thinking of whom I will share my good fortune with.Will it be my neighbour? My friend that I will meet for coffee later on? It is also nice to think about which of your friends will bake bread next and think of you, just as I am now thinking of the woman who gave the starter to me.

Here are the instructions for the basic loaf. There are many variations as well. Comment if you would like them.

-DO NOT use metal spoons or bowls for mixing (the photo here is some other bread I made, mine is still in the oven)

-DO NOT refrigerate

-If air gets in bag, let it out

-It is normal for the batter to rise bubble and ferment

Day 1: Do nothing

Day 2-5: Mush the bag

Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and mush the bag

Days 7-9: Mush the bag

Day 10:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Pour contents of bag into non-metal bowl

Add 1.5 cups flour, 1.5 cups sugar and 1.5 cups milk. Mix well.

Measure out three separate batters of 1 cup each and place into clean zip top bags. Pass on to 3 friends or 2 if you want to keep a starter for yourself. Give these directions and be sure to tell your friend which day the starter is on. ie: date the bag.

Add the following to the remaining starter.

3 eggs

1/2 c oil

1/2 c apple sauce

1/2 c sugar

2 cups flour

1 lg pkg instant vanilla pudding

1/tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp bkg pwdr

1/2 tsp bkg soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2tsp cinnamon

optional: 1 cup nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, choc chips, etc.

Grease two large loaf pans

Pour batter evenly into pans

Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, sprinkle evenly over loaves.

Bake 1 hour. Cool until breads loosen from pan. Turn onto serving dish.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

English Muffin Pizzas

This is a super fun dinner to make with kids. I did some minor prep work and then left dinner to the chef! After these were baked and we had eaten dinner, the left overs went into sandwich bags and were brought for lunch snacks. These little pizzas are not a brand new idea. I have also done pita pizzas, if you recall.
In conclusion, not having to make pizza dough from scratch and using up a bag of English muffins and being the best mom ever, and a kid-friendly, somewhat healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes? Pretty cool.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Hey what's shakin'? Me, I'm just rockin' and rollin' and whatnot. Check out our Halloween digs. Mine is a complete DIY, I am a Beauty "Ghoul" Dropout. That's a reference to Grease. I know... I'm hilarious! Originally I was going to be a bubble gum princess, based on the pink wig, which I bought on clearance last year, right after Halloween. I'll score more cool stuff next week for next year. Why pay full price? Rather than a princess, I thought it would be more fun to look dead. Why not?
The turtle costume was a Value Village deal, bought last spring. They raise the prices right before Halloween, didja notice?? It has been used for playtime a few times and is a bit too short in the legs, but a green pair of PJ bottoms, a safety pin and gumboots solved that problem quite nicely. My polka dot dress? I wore it once and didn't care for the matronly drape of it so, I cut it to ribbons. It looks way cooler now! We wore our costumes for two hours and we were the best dressed folks in town. We look like a million bucks, don'tcha think???

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I am really enjoying all of the fall activity lately. I am involved in my local community theatre's production of Grease and I am so excited about it. Between work, school stuff, karate, rehearsal and general life, the blog has taken a backseat. I am sure many of you can relate.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunities my family has to explore our passions and gifts, for the (small amount 0f) time we get to spend together and for our friends and family who support us and love as just as we are. I am thankful for my beautiful child. He surprises and delights me every day and his quick mind and intelligent wit give me pause and wonder. I am thankful for my wonderful, hard working, passionate husband who is not only heart- stopping-ly handsome, but is so smart it is frightening at times. He accepts me as I am and enjoys my creativity and unconventionality. I am thankful to my extended family. They always believe in me, even when I don't believe in myself. I am also grateful for our happy home, our cars and our jobs. We are a lucky family, indeed. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Poor, Poor Bloggy

I know I am neglecting you. I went and got busy again. I'll be back, someday. Until then, enjoy this.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Secrets revealed.

Remember when I told you about my hoarding ways and stockpiling food for the winter? Well, I don't have anything on my cousin's maternal grandmother, Bernice, whom I have the pleasure of adopting as another grandmother for my family. She is truly incredible. I wish I knew more of her story so that I could properly portray her here. The best that I can do is show you her secret root cellar which is in an undisclosed location on her property. I haven't exactly asked permission to put this information on the Internet, but I did ask for the opportunity to photograph it and that was O.K. So, if you happen to guess where Bernice's root cellar is, don't tell her you got it from me ;)
Are you ready for this? O.K. here it is... Creeeaaak. It kind of reminds one of a dungeon and it is a little spooky to walk inside. It was built by Bernice's late husband, Jack. If you look very closely, you can see my aunt Rosealee in the shadows of the doorway. The bunker, (OK , not really a bunker but close) is actually built into the earth on the side of a hill and reinforced with wood framing on the inside. It is where they store all of their preserves and stockpile their food for winter. They probably have a few years worth in there and some items have been stored there for longer than anyone can remember. Some of the jars looked like a creepy science experiment the last time I was in there, but I think recently there has been some inventory done. I'm sure if you ask Bernice how many jars of jam she has left from last year, or even years past, she will be able to tell you without rising from her comfortable position in her favourite recliner.
Ready for the inside tour?

O.K. That is all I can show you. I have told you too much already. The punishment for revealing a hoarders' secrets is no more preserves and I would hate for that to happen.
Please, don't tell Bernice!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bountiful Beauty

Having just returned from the loving arms of my family, I have a single day to get ready for school and say a final adieu to the summer for the year. How do I spend my final day? Squeezing in one last relaxing day, drinking coffee and blogging, of course. We had an amazing time, as usual, and ate fantastic food. The theme of the party is the smoked salmon that my uncle prepares for the year and that is the reason we have entitled our celebration "Smokefest." Here, my cousin is laying the salmon onto the racks to go into the smoker. They have been marinating in the brine over night. These tomatoes were quite delicious as well, made with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and melted with ooey gooey brie cheese on top. We got to bring home a couple of the smoked salmon. My husband has eaten it all already. Lucky for us, we know exactly where to find more. Now, this party is certainly not what I would categorize as frugal, per se, however, next time, I will let you in on some of the trade secrets of a lady I know that lives here. She has a secret room. What is in that secret room? Well, let's just say that she is the freakin' Queen of Frugalistas. She is the original, the bonafide bodacious bountiful Bernice. If ever there is a natural disaster, or if ever I just feel like falling off the grid of society, I am going to live with her. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You can call me Alvin

I'm a chipmunk, hoarding my nuts for the winter. I can not rearrange my freezer anymore as it is now stuffed. I have reached the point where I must eat all the food, I absolutely cannot buy anymore. This gives me such a satisfying feeling. The minute the weather cools off I seem to get into this frenzy of storing food. I come by it honestly. You see, my relatives are hoarders. Not in the extreme sense where you can't see over our piles of newspapers or anything. We just like to keep stuff. Lots of stuff. The more the better, really. You never know when you might need it! Remember my zippers?
I only keep the most recent two newspapers tops. Otherwise my husband will have a conniption fit. He thinks I must be afraid of starvation or natural disaster. Maybe that is true, but it doesn't come firsthand. This fear was bred into me, I think, from my ancestors. I am of Irish descent, after all.

I also did some baking today, using the same recipe booklet as the banana bread. (In other words, I kind of made things up as I went along.) I made two different kinds of muffins; carrot-pineapple and apple-cranberry-lemon, as well as a zucchini bread. The latter was a huge recipe, it filled my 9x13 pan. I am taking all it to the relatives so they can eat it on Saturday. By then, all the flavours should be just right.
I also finished my menu plan and ordered my first Good Food Box. It will arrive in a couple weeks. I can't wait to see all the fresh goodies from local farms. The price was so reasonable, and I can never seem to get to the farmer's market. I have been meaning to do this for over a year, so I am glad I finally got off my butt and did it.
I am looking forward to the long weekend, but with a smidgen of sadness because after that, summer will truly be over. It's a good thing I love the autumn so much.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Banana Nut Bread.

The weather is cool and rainy. I am wearing jeans, but just barely, after eating this delicious banana bread. I got the recipe from a bread recipe booklet called, Quick and Delicious Breads by Johna Blinn, that I got at Value Village for 99 cents. I have a feeling I will be making a few of these recipes in the coming months. (I also scored both my fall and winter coats at their big 50% off sale, but that's another story.) This is an old favourite and this recipe was pretty standard. Of course, because I am the Queen of Substitution, my banana bread will never taste the same twice. It may not even contain bananas. I added 2tbsp of molasses because I was out of vanilla, and used ground up trail mix instead of walnuts. I used yogurt instead of sour cream. I also didn't bother separating the nuts and sugar mixture and pouring on top as it suggested in the recipe. Yes, I said 'suggested'. I am not a big rule follower in the kitchen; The fewer bowls to wash, the better, I say. Here is the recipe that I sort of used as a guide, but didn't really follow at all, now that I look at it more closely :

Vanilla Banana Bread
Makes one 9 inch loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 tblsps butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (2 or 3)
1/2 c dairy sour cream

There is a big long explanation that I won't bother to transcribe here. The scoop with quick breads is: Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Pour wet into dry and don't over mix. Pour into greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees. The pan that I used here took an hour to bake. See if you can wait until the next day to eat, banana bread always has more flavour the next day. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Living on a Prayer.

I don't usually talk about money. That's just how I was raised. We never had any money, so it was best not to talk about it, I guess. Today though, I will talk about money. I live in the now. I am not my past.
I have just been informed by ING Direct, that I am half way to my savings goal of an Emergency Fund! This is so motivating to me. Saving has not been so terribly difficult because I have kept my payments affordable and automatic. Still, there is a part of me that wants to shut me up, lest someone take my meagre stockpile away from me. I wish to be fantastically frugal and not merely miserly and it is my hope to repair my dysfunctional relationship with money and to speak more openly about it. I plan to keep this emergency fund for the next time we need a van repair, or another major expense comes up. They always seem to crop up at the worst possible moment and this time I want to look ahead, just a little. This will free me from having to use credit and thus, in the long run, save me some hefty interest charges. Once I have attained this fundamental step, I can begin to work on my other financial goals. This Emergency Fund is a biggie though, and I am half way there.
My Orange Key is 34802436S1. Just in case you want to start your own Emergency Fund with ING and be referred by me ;)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Butterscotch Parfait

I wish I had a photo of the dessert, but it is a testament to how delicious it was that I don't. Instead, you can all bask in my nephew wearing a Where's Waldo-esque tuque in August and riding a pink barbie bike. He sure makes an auntie proud!
Last night, we all had a hankering for something sweet, but here in the Okanagan, it is still too hot in the evening to turn on the oven. This limited my baking options, so I got out my new Magic Bullet (I love this thing) and ground up some graham crackers, about ten? I think. Then I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter and made a graham cracker crust in my 8 inch Pyrex cake dish. You can use whatever you have, I might do individual ones next time, in ramekins. I then made up a box of instant butterscotch pudding, with a bit less milk than called for to make it thicker. I poured that over the crust. Then I topped the pudding layer with 9 whole graham crackers and dispensed nine whipping cream flowers on top from the spray can. This was all that was left in the can after each of us, when no one was looking of course, sprayed mounds of whipping cream into our mouths while pretending to search for some other, healthy food in the fridge. I wrapped it up and let it chill for thirty minutes, because that was as long as we could wait, and then we enjoyed! Everyone wanted seconds, but since we have managed to score dessert twice this week, an abnormality in this house, I advised them to wait. This meant more for me when they went to school and work, ha ha. It's even better this morning!
Butterscotch Parfait.
You will need:
Graham crackers, most of a sleeve
Instant pudding, I used the four serving size, you could add layers of different flavours, too.
Butter, for what is a dessert without it?
Whipped Cream, Real only please. None of that edible oil product, yeesh. You don't have to use the spray can, you'd have more if you whip it up yourself. I just happened to have a little bit left over from our pie, which I also do not have a photo of.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We all knew it couldn't last forever

Time sure flies when you're having fun and we've been having our share of it. Now, as the end of summer draws near, I am beginning to look forward to the upcoming autumn and thinking of some goals I would like to set for myself and my family. I wrote previously about beginning to prepare for Christmas and gathering supplies for Halloween.
As for the return of pencils, books and teacher's dirty looks, this reality is beginning to dawn on me as never before. I have purchased the school supplies and there they sit, in the same plastic bag as the day they were bought and plunked unceremoniously on the floor. At some point they will need to be opened, labelled and utilized. My child will need to be reigned in from weeks of late nights, unkempt hair and face washing being deemed optional. Popsicles can no longer pass as a snack. We need routine. In my realization of the impending end of our party time, I sent out a family memo. It read something to the effect of : Summer's almost over! Clean up your own damn messes, you hillbillies! I am not your maid! and so on...The memo, which was read in my absence and was left with sticky Popsicle fingerprints on it, was met with, well... apathy, frankly, but thankfully, no resistance. It was a response something along the lines of; "Meh." Some half hearted attempts have even been made to 1) aim, 2) put the lid down and 3) flush. For these things I am grateful. And yet, I yearn for more. It is my hope to reinstate some kind of order to this household, starting with good short haircuts all around. Well, not for me. I am not that militant. With proper menu planning, chore charts, budgeting and regular family meetings, we will begin to have some structure security, and less panic and low blood sugar at supper time.
These are not new concepts for us. I think the key will be consistency. I have learned much from my fellow bloggers and I continue with the heart of a new student to receive and pass on information I gather and what is useful to me. I will renew and redouble my efforts, taking what I have learned and putting more theories into practice.
Here are my 5 goals for the week:
1)Begin to pack away/donate some of the summer clothes
2) Make yogurt, fruit lax, muffins
3)Write up agenda for family meeting
4)Fill out chore charts
5)Make up a menu plan for September

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just droppin' in.

I'm taking another break. Living life in the fast lane, you know. Time to slow it down a bit and head out to the lake. Will catch you on the flip side. Peace out frugalistas.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

to get ready for the holidays! This is the year, the year I will get all my ducks in a row well before the two weeks before Christmas. With the help of my husband, we have organized and stored the decorations in an accessible place and I have even begun my gift shopping. With all of the summer clearance sales, especially toys, I am picking up things here and there for Christmas. Today I bought a beautiful table cloth, as well as a pattern for Halloween capes. Since my son's birthday is done, and the back to school stuff is purchased, I can focus on fall and winter. Maybe this seems silly, but that time of year is so pressurized, I think the more prepared in advance, the better. I don't like feeling like I am not ready.

Don't worry, I still hate it so much when people ask, "So, you all ready for Christmas?" on, like, December 1st. Or, like when people say, in this weather, "Hot enough for ya?" and you just want to punch them in the mouth but then you remember you are a lady and ladies don't do such things, even when the heat and humidity make those ladies crazy. No, I just want to look those people straight in the eye and confidently reply, "I've been ready since August seventh" That ought to put a sock in their pie holes. Well, I am off to my air conditioned bedroom. I think that is best under the circumstances.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good Bits

Well, it's hot. It's busy. I have so much to do. My life is chaotic. Is that enough excuses yet? I know my blog isn't getting the attention it deserves, but I am sure once the cool weather rolls around I will be back to my regular programming. For now though, I thought i would share the Good bits that other people are doing. This beautiful Hawaiian cake, made for her two year old princess, was made by lovinglifebabymama , a new/old friend of mine. New, in the sense that I just found out about her blog, and Old in the fact that we used to cruise the night clubs together in our high heels.

Our disco days behind us, we now focus on our little ones, spoiling them with handcrafted dolly cakes and the like. She gives a great description of how she made this amazing cake over on her blog, so check her out and follow her too. She's funny!

I am in the midst of mid summer re-organization. My apartment is in absolute chaos. The thrift shop is going to get a nice donation from me, I tell ya, just as soon as I can peel myself away from the monitor and keyboard. My old clunker of a computer has been serving me well for many years, even though my husband scoffs at me over the thin screen of his laptop, asking me to keep the tap tap tap of my old keyboard down. I quite like the sound, it reminds me of a simpler time. I envision myself as a fifties secretary, hammering out my correspondence in an efficient manner, in a plume of socially acceptable smoke, in the midst of a busy steno pool.

Except that I can't type, and I no longer smoke. Oh well.

I start my Vacation Part Deux in a week or so. Again, no plans to leave town, just to get ready for the start of school for my grade one-er. I got all of his supplies and I have been saving clothes for months, so if I buy anymore for him, it will just be excessive. Clearance sales are my best friend.

Well, I am back to sorting, sorting, sorting and purging. Until next time, here are sixty uses for baking soda!

Keep frugal my friends!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hot child in the city

I have been mostly at the beach with some intermittent, annoying interruptions of working shifts. I have been burning the candle at both ends as well as the fuel gauge. Still, you just can't beat vacationing in your own back yard while still earning a pay cheque.
The boy is busy all day at day camp and then visiting campsites and friends in the evening. We are just trying to pack the most fun into the shortest season of the year as we can.
Every meal is a picnic and my latest trick is to freeze all of the juice boxes and water bottles so that they act as ice packs for the lunch. I did this in the cooler for camping. I froze a big square jug of juice as my center cooler and then the individual water bottles and juice boxes. I packed the food around it. When it thaws, you have cold beverages and no melted ice water to get the food all soggy. Why didn't I think of this before? Some people need time to figure these things out. I am one of those people.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm very excited!

My sister is on her way to my house this very minute! She is on vacay and I might actually get to see her for a bit before she galavants to see all other family members in the area. I think it helps that she was delayed and I am the closest relative with a ready bed for her and the kids. I use the term "kids" loosely as they are now gigantic teenagers :)

Today we went cherry picking. Well, scratch that, we tried to go cherry picking. I couldn't find the U-pick farm so we went to the fruit stand and bought some instead. No matter, they were delicious and it was, at 34 degrees celcius, too hot to go picking anyhow. Then,we went to a thrift store that I had never been into before called The Bargain Bin. This was an apt name as many items were priced at ten cents! Gotta love that! The boy, with his keen eye, found me a citrus juicer for twenty five cents. It has a strainer so that pulp and seeds are kept out of the juice. Too cool for a quarter! We had great fun squeezing all my old wrinkly oranges into fresh juice. We then took our cherries and had a lovely splash in the lake. So refreshing! Now, I am tidying and mapping out sleeping arrangements. I love having visitors!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Staycation, all I ever wanted...

Hey folks, I'm back to my blogging and my regular life, hell yeah! I had one heck of a Staycation filled with good food, family fun, local camping, two rocking concerts (Nazareth and Rhianna, oh yeah!) and a super fancy wedding to boot! It was all both exhilarating and exhausting! It was great to have a real break from the everyday but still sleep in my bed for (most of) the nights. I figured, I live in a world class vacation destination, why not take advantage for a change? It sure saved on gas and airfare! A huge thank you to my girl, friday, for steering to the ole' ship while I was away. What a fabulous treat to see what she is up to in her neck of the woods, and for you all to get to know my BFF. You did a wonderful job, my friend, hope to see your new blog debut soon. You are a natural! Now that I have spent all my hard earned pennies on concert tickets and convenience foods, I am more determined than ever to strap the old belt a little tighter as we approach fall and the coming school year. I have been preparing by scouring the thrift stores for gently used kids clothes for next year. I already have two new kid's backpacks with cost me less than $12 for both. Score. I also went to an awesome bag sale at my work thrift store. Well... I was technically working, so that entitles me to first dibs. I LOVE my job. I found some ah-may-zing deals and filled two five dollar sacks, jammed with interesting, colourful clothes, kids' books and a really cool photo silver coloured frame. When someone says "bag sale", I say "let's see how far this bag can stretch!" It really is a thrill for me. I will now have to go through and purge some older stuff. At least it is recycling, right? I'm so glad to be back and can't wait to catch up on the blog roll to see what y'all have been up to.
Ciao Bella! What? Just because I never did leave home, that doesn't mean that I can't dream...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hi, it's me, friday, again... just hangin out today... went for a walk along some of the trails around here- checked out the local bowling alley. anyone into glow in the dark bowling? it's super fun! not sure if you guys are into camping but, if you are, you might be surprised to know that there's tons of free camping in canada (maybe everywhere? i can only speak for here) many 'recreation' or 'forestry' sites are free! they have maintained outhouses, fire pits, and lots are lake front or near hotsprings. We use Back Road Map Books to find spots and then go explore! (these books are available by region and are easy to find, not expensive, look for updated version, if buying second hand) A lot of the time we have the place to ourselves, sometimes one or two others are there... it's like having our very own lake front cottage! i've been trying out painting rocks. I figure this is a free canvas. It was fun for a while but I think I'm just doing too many tiny details and it's become less fun so I don't know if i'll keep that up or not- I need to get some new inspiration... Does anyone have any great vegetarian recipes that involve a food processor? just got a new one, it's really pretty and i need some ideas because i've never had one before, it can make dough and everything! have fun, ciao

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

hey folks, is it crazy hot where you live too? it's swimming in the lake season!!! hooray!... i've been helping out with dan and cathy's garden since i moved here- it's fun and relaxing and helpful, plus they feed me and send me home with produce! my grocery bill is shrinking, i love it! so i'm heading over there in a bit and then to the beach! i had a job interview a couple of days ago, just waiting for them to talk to my references- we'll see... anyone else looking for a job right now? i tried a more casual approach this time, informal cover letter, brought a cup of tea to the interview, just wanted to be more natural. i used to pretend i was all formal but that's not really me- i can be professional but i'm also creative and maybe a bit unconventional so they may as well know who they're hiring right? have fun, wear sunscreen -friday

Sunday, July 4, 2010

hey folks, how are ya today? my name's friday. i'm a friend of sandy's filling in while she takes a little break from blogland... i'll just do a little guest blogging here and there. a few weeks ago, my life was turned right side up when i moved from a big city to a small town down the highway from our good friend miss hiptobecheap. i've replaced the sound of sirens and traffic for birds and frogs- lovin life in the slow lane! on wednesdays in the summer they hold a farmer's market and live music, which we checked out... it's called wednesday on the wharf. i got a potato salad recipe from the internet (all my recipes were fancy and i just wanted the ol standard) and i invented a crisp as i went... some frozen rhubarb, two apples, a few bits of frozen strawberries. for the crisp i mashed together some rolled oats, margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, a bit of flour (not sure if it was needed but it seemed like the right thing to do) i think that was it- turned out great for our little picnic! do you guys have cool community events too? free entertainment for the whole family! yeah!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thrifty Tuesday.

I like Tuesday. It sure beats Monday, that's for sure. I made a rule never to do business on Monday. People are too stressed. If you call me Monday morning before ten, chances are I won't answer. I save it all until Tuesday. By Tuesdays, I've got my priorities straight. Today for instance, I took my son to Denny's for breakfast. Yes, I could have, and probably should have, made my own pancakes, but it turned out that their Grand Slam is only 3.99 right now, so breakfast for two certainly didn't break the bank. they also gave me a rewards card and said I will get a free hamburger at some point. Then we checked out the Best Store of all Time. I finally found a king size bed skirt that matches my bedding, yay! It will cover the tomato soup cans nicely. I found a twin one as well, though this was not such a surprise. Twin bedding is ubiquitous. I also got the boy a backpack, new with tags, for six bucks. His other one has holes in it from his dragging it on the ground instead of wearing it. We found a like-new lunch kit as well. When we got home, I rolled out the newsprint and let him go to town with his new-to-him 3D paints. What a blast he had! I treated myself to a mani-pedi while I read blogs and farted around with Picasa. I had used this program before and I liked it, it is easy to use. The photo above was taken by my cousin. She has an eye for photography. It must be genetic with all that creative brilliance running through her veins. I lightened it a bit and added the text. I like the back lighting that gives our hair that ethereal halo effect.
For supper, I made mac and cheese casserole with some cubed pork thrown in from the freezer. Anything covered with cheese and homemade breadcrumbs is probably an effort by me to clean out the leftovers from the fridge. Just don't tell the boy. Any day that one can use up leftovers and hit the thrift store is a good day, indeed. Tuesday is my kind of day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coupons and Dumpster Diving

Look at what I scored! I never used to admit this to anyone, let alone proclaim it in a public forum, but now I can, without shame, call myself a Dumpster Diver. OK, so this wasn't technically inside of the dumpster, (eew!) but it was dumped, and I did dive to get it. It's a partially used roll of perfectly fine newsprint paper! Who would throw this out? Well, I suppose if one were moving or downsizing they may not wish to burden themselves with a large roll of discarded paper...but...uh, I digress...ahem.... My son is going to be thrilled! Imagine all the fun drawing we can do. I just had to share this with my faithful readers. I know you'll understand my excitement, even if my real life peeps don't. If you are reading this, dear, just look away. You knew what you were signing up for.

The other new thing is that I am back on the coupons. I took a little break because I was beginning to become a tad obsessed and overwhelmed. I had stacks of coupons in a photo album that mocked me with their expiry dates. I was throwing out more than I ever used and then feeling like I had wasted my time clipping and sorting only to end up chucking them. Also, I was buying silly stuff just because I had a coupon, which is not very frugal. Now, I have wised up a little. I have decided to only clip coupons which are actually useful to me, such as those for bread and juice. The rest, like those for air freshener plug ins and scented candles, go directly into the recycling bin . They do not pass go, they do not cost me two hundred dollars. I also have a new system that I am trying out. I used to use this mini photo album, which was OK because I could see all my coupons at a glance, but it was hard to get them out of the book quickly in the store. It was awkward and conspicuous. Also, once, I brought the book in my shopping cart and it was actually inspected and tagged by the store greeter. I did not like this! I wanted to be a bit more discreet.
After some searching, I found a mini, expandable file folder at the dollar store. I like it because it is a good size and fits inside my purse. I can open it quickly and find my coupons at the till, because they are filed alphabetically. No one objects to my rummaging around in my purse at the counter, but a book of coupons is taboo, for some reason. I am careful to be obvious about what I am doing, so that no one thinks that I am shoving stuff in there. My short lived, pre-adolescent crime spree when I was eleven cured me of shoplifting for life. They scared me good!
I may change to filing the coops by categories later. For now, though, it is working because a) I don't have so many coupons that I can't keep track of them and b) I can find them quickly if I spot a good deal in store that matches my coupons.
So that, my friends, is my latest evolution in couponing. I know that many people out there are coupon experts, but I have decided to remain an amateur.
I still like getting the dollar off a lipstick.
It makes me feel like I did when I was eleven.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Free Fun

We spent the weekend doing fun start-of -summer activities. Saturday was the aptly named Sunshine Fest, which I heartily enjoyed because most of the attractions were free! Free bouncy castles galore, free face painting, free lollipops and free entertainment. We even got a cheap on-the-street festival haircut, but I had to trim it up a bit once we got home. I didn't mind, the hairdresser still saved me a lot of work and time and the boy's hair was starting to look mop-like. I'm sure he felt a lot cooler after being shorn on the street.

Today we were off to the local airport for Wings and Wheels, with all things having to do with, well, wings and wheels. We did lots of fun free things, including : drive a go-kart, fly a paper airplane, get a balloon sword, stickers, and tattoos and see all kinds of aircraft and a helicopter demonstration. It was a lot to pack in before lunch! When we got home, I realized that I had missed a spot on my shoulders with the sunscreen and they both looked like cooked lobsters. Ouch. By the way, that water pump above was a cool steam powered engine which we were simply fascinated with. It also made me very thirsty to look at it.
By far, the best of all:
The admission tickets were free from the radio station. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

As promised~ Cheese Bread

Don't you wish we had Smell-o-vision? Or Taste-o-vision? I made this recipe from the one Kristen posted over at The Frugal Girl. Today she has Italian cheese twists. Oh my! Must do that one too! I didn't get too fancy with my dough shaping, I just made one loaf and four mini loaves, two of which my son gobbled up while still hot out of the oven. OK, I gobbled a little bit, too. This bread has all the elements; soft, cheesy and wonderful. Served warm with a little bit o' butter? That's a little bit of heaven right there. What a fantastic addition to an otherwise regular Tuesday night meal. It was very pleasant to warm up the house on a rainy evening. I made another batch of granola, too. This time I added some chopped up trail mix in the last five minutes of toasting for that added bit of luxury. Along with supper, this is the most cooking I have done for a while. With the warmer weather and busy schedule, I haven't wanted to turn on the oven, so it was a treat to have a hot meal for a change. Now I have plenty of prepared food to work with for the rest of the week. Hooray for batch cooking! Saves energy in more ways than one.

OK here's another beauty shot, just for the heck of it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making Bread and online window shopping

The Schwinn Romper Grosgrain Giveaway
Did you know rompers are back in? Darn my over efficient packing of all things crafty and sewing related! Hubs knew I would miss them, I told him I could make it through the summer. I can't. I can't make it through the summer. I must craft! I made cheese bread tonight using the Cheese Twists recipe over at The Frugal Girl. Oh. My. This bread is so soft and delicious. I made it into loaves which I photographed and may share tomorrow. For now, must get the child off to bed. It's raining. A good night for homemade bread.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Self imposed confinement

I am holding a spontaneous Open House. We noticed that the upstairs apartment is holding one today so we decided to piggy back on their traffic. We figure the Realtors would do the same thing if they could, so why not? I already had one young couple come who had come to see another apartment, so I guess it's working. It also means I can't go out in the beautiful sunshine today :(

Do you want to hear about my frugal staging tricks? First, I bought new towels and bathroom accessories which are folded up neatly and put away when we are not showing the place. In the living room, I used slipcovers and new throw pillows. The lamps are from Walmart but I fancied them up with some Freecycle tassels. Now, here is my deepest darkest staging trick which is almost laughable it's so crazy. But it works.

My bed, which is a king, was a mattress and box spring on the floor and I was going to get my husband to build something like a platform type to get it off the floor for showings. We plan to get a new frame eventually but I needed something in the meanwhile. I phoned my stepdad, who is a carpenter and had to spend some time in a basement apartment near his job with spare furnishings. After some hemming and hawing and vehement discouragement of using MDF from Home Depot (an insult to his craft, or "cheap sh*t" as he called it) he finally let me in on his frugal bed frame trick. I bet you all want to know what it is, don't you? OK, I will tell you, but don't laugh! Especially once I tell you that my bed is the perfect height off the floor and this cost me next to nothing: OK, here it is...are you ready for this? Friday, you already know, because you are my best friend and I tell you everything. And yes, she smirked, but she did not laugh at me.
So there you have it. Tomato juice cans. I needed twelve cans for my king size bed. If one were patient, they could pick through recycling for the cans. I bought mine at the grocery store. Up to you.
OK go ahead and laugh at me. I don't mind. I won't cry into my pillow at night :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Advice to a New Graduate

Congrats to my hip-to-the extreme cousin Jake who graduated this year and is now a full blown adult. Craazy. I think back to when I was that age and thought I knew everything and well, the fact is, I am much the same person now that I was back then, I just know a couple more things.
I hereby bequeath my pearls of wisdom from my vast experience in the real world.
Pearl #1 When you are eighteen, dating men who are eighteen is not at all what you are interested in doing, but it's probably what you should stick to for a while until you get your feet wet. 18 yr olds are good to practice on, they are just like puppies and they are about as harmless. They will follow you around loyally around with the hopes that you will scratch their bellies. This is what you should aim for. They also have an insatiable appetite, so have lots of kibble available, but dole it out one. piece. at. a. time.
Pearl #2. Move out! Many (including your parents and grandparents) will try to extol the virtues of mooching for a couple more years while you get established, but in my experience, nothing teaches you money management quicker than the fear of being evicted or having your telephone and utilities cut off for non-payment. Life experience requires just that; Experience. Your parents' couch will probably still be there when you inevitably bankrupt yourself and have to live on vending machine Cheetos bought with scrounged change from a friend's couch. So get out there. Fall on your face and get it done with already. All these thirty year olds who are just starting to get out in to the real world make me wanna puke.
Pearl #3. Do all that crazy shit. Get a job in Alaska. Play in a rock and roll band. Get married then annulled in Vegas Ala Britney Spears. Now is the time. Once you have kids is NOT the time. So do it now. P.S. Don't have kids yet. Not yet.
Pearl #4. One should waitress at some point. It keeps you humble.
Pearl #5. Just because you're doing all that crazy shit, doesn't mean you've lost your head completely. You know what's right and what's stupid. Stay away from the really stupid stuff. Your adult self will thank you for it. No regrets. It's all about the journey.
Pearl #6. Know that you are loved and that I have plenty of Cheetos.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer time and the livin' is easy

We made our first exploratory visit to the beach yesterday. I decided on a whim to go get milkshakes after school and go to the beach because it was hot and I didn't want to do housework. I'm glad I took the opportunity because today it is raining cats and dogs.
This is my sister and I on a summer's day past. I am the overexposed baby on the right. I tend to look like that in the sun, even now. I've never been a tanner. I just love my sister's Dorothy Hamill haircut. She always did keep up with the trends. I can safely make fun of my big sis because I don't think she knows that I blog. Ha ha, little sister's revenge :D
I have been getting out a lot to local events lately and in particular the craft fair that I visited for the first time last year. Once again, it was jam packed with artisans from all over hawking their wares. I managed to restrain myself to buying gourmet fudge (and only with the persist ant urging of a co-worker, "You HAVE to buy this fudge, you just HAVE to!") and a CD of children's music. The little guy also talked me into a $5 zip lock bag of wooden blocks, which were such a great deal and an open ended toy that stimulates creativity, I just couldn't say no. My boy knows me like he knit me, educational toys are a sure bet with me.
All in all it was a music filled, sweet experience. The best part? Spending a good time with my friends that I met at the fair.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peanut butter granola

I googled this recipe after I made it and it was similar. I didn't really measure my stuff, I just used what was on hand and it turned out really good. The only problem with it is that I can't stop munching it.

About a quarter cup of butter.

1/2 cup sugar (I used pancake syrup) honey would work too but I was out.

about a half cup of peanut butter.

as much oats as to make a moistened but clumpy texture. I guess I used about five to six cups.

I also had some peanuts, so I chopped them up finely to make about a half cup.

Melt the sugar butter and peanut butter in the microwave. Toss with oat and nut mixture until moistened. Spread out onto oiled cookie sheet.

I cooked this in an oven which had been heated up to 350 then turned off. Basically I was through cooking supper and used the residual heat to make the granola. I set the timer to turn it every ten minutes. Then I forgot about it and went to bed. Good thing I remembered to turn the oven off. I also greased the cookie sheet. I don't imagine for one second that this is lo-cal granola, but it is the first time I have done granola in the oven without it burning. It toasted up nicely but not as hard as the stuff you buy in the store, which is just fine by me.

I was glad to make some frugal granola, because I had to atone for my spendiness (I know, I know, not a word) this weekend.

It was totally worth every dollar.