Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Do Holidays Have to Cost So Much?

Every holiday has its own regrets and buyer's remorse.  Even little tiny holidays like Groundhog day seem to cost me more than I plan. 

Christmas always costs more! 

Poor planning, paying full price, and the ever present, "Oh, what the heck!  Christmas only comes once a year!" always take a toll on my budget.  Then, all too soon, the celebration is over.  All that is left is the clean up and the accounting.
This is the year when I will plan a plan, spend the time, do the shopping and get my act together.
Every month has its own special challenge.  Two January birthdays make for an expensive beginning of the year. 
This year my baby daughter will be eleven.  Practically a teenager.  That calls for a special, albeit frugal, celebration. Sixteen is the milestone for my middle kid.  He will get his driver's license this year.  Somehow we have to mark that historic occasion.  My oldest will be 23 in March.  A grown man, but he wants his celebration to be memorable too. (Or maybe his mommy does?) 

Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, the 4th of July.  The list goes on and on. 

My goal for 2011 is to get my act together, gather my resources and make every holiday special, memorable and especially FRUGAL!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas is Only Three Weeks Away? What?

While glancing through my e-mails, I happened to notice a subject line that said Christmas is only three weeks away. 

I had a little heart palpatation. 

Last time I checked it was the end of October and I had plenty of time to get ready for Christmas. 

How can it be Christmas when I am spending all of my time thinking about pirate ships and animals? 

Thankfully, the mural making and general foofifying at the church is progressing better than my blogging. 

I can somehow picture that my New Year's Resolutions are going to involve becoming a better blogger.  Sorry I am such a slacker.  These last two months have been a blur of Lap Band and Painting and Driving three hours a day to get to work.

My lists are epic.  You can't even imagine!

Actually, don't try.  I don't want anyone to hurt themselves.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Palm Trees and Some Sort of Greenery

Next step.... Palm Trees. 

Now these are just the background palm trees, mind you, but I thought that they turned out pretty cool.   I checked out my Donna Dewberry books before I started to give myself a refresher in palm tree painting.  Just like I thought I remembered!

Stems?  Trunks?  Whatever you call the bottom of palm trees.

Now we have some leaves or branches or maybe they are palm fronds?  Whatever!  The green things at the top.

The trees on the other side.  See how they are nicely covering up the funky shrubs.

 Some little palm trees back there on that hill in front of the volcano.

Some sort of foliage growing around the waterfall.

Next we will get to the 3-D stuff. 

I promise. 

Can't wait to show you the waterfall!  I wish I had taken some pics of the thing in progress.  If anyone wants to know how I did it, it will really prove the point about a picture being worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Waterfall and a Volcano

Next on the list for foofifying the Children's Church is the backdrop for all of the 3-D stuff.  So.... a little paint and a little time go a long way.

The waterfall and a lovely shrub.  OK, the shrub is a little odd looking, but it will be mostly hidden.

The volcano still needs some smoke and lava.  Just a teeny bit of erupting!

Palm trees are next on the list.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where the Heck Have I been?

A tropical island, of course!

OK, so not really, but I have been spending a great deal of time creating one for the Children's Church room at my pastor's pastor's church an hour and a half away.

He wants a tropical island and a real pirate ship that the kids can climb on with a slide and a puppet stage! 

A man with a vision. 

Makes my heart go pitter patter, I tell ya!

It started out as a great big room (when I say big, I mean a 40X40 foot room with a stage and a sink and counter) with pretty, puffy white clouds painted all over.  While the clouds were beautiful, they just weren't as animated as I imagined that they should be.

I took purple and blue paint and a sponge and added some dimension to them.  After two days on a scaffold sponging and foofing and glittering, we had some pretty nifty clouds.

That was the first step among many!  But next, I had to go SHOPPING!  Oh, Happy Day!  Shopping at craft stores to create a whole tropical island pirate hide-away. 

Think palm trees and parrots and treasure chests and monkeys and waterfalls and...

Can't wait, can you?  I'll show you some more tomorrow!

Monday, September 27, 2010

What To Do With A Worn Out Down Comforter

I had two, count 'em, two, ragged out down comforters that were losing feathers like a goose in a tornado.  Being such a cheap frugal person, I couldn't just throw them away.  Anyway, the dog loved laying on them.  (I think she goes for the high thread count stuff, too.)  But the feathers were driving me nuts!

Definitely 800 thread count.  I can smell the quality!

I decided to make the dog a pillow.  'Cause she is the princess dog, ya know.

I took a piece of an old sheet and sewed it into a rectangle, folded the comforter to fit and slid it into the case.  Then, I sewed the end shut.  The dog loves it!

Yes, the dog is wearing a dress.  The kids thought that she wanted to look good for her photo op.

Since that worked out so well and I had another comforter, I decided to make one for the outside dog,too.

36" X 24" rectangle of canvas

I sewed up two sides, and folded the comforter to fit the pillowcase.  Butterscotch thought that maybe it was a nicer thread count than hers so she tested it out for me.  She was useless at helping me get it into the pillowcase.

After I sewed the case shut, we took it out to try it out on the Brown Dog.  He was a little shy so I had to sneak a pic of him through the window.

He really does like it.  That shell-shocked look is just a ploy to get me to bring him out a little snack because I feel sorry for him.  I swear.  Really!  No, He really does like it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homeschooling Makes Me Happy

The minions at work. 
Assisted by a Chiweenie.

Homeschooling Rocks. 
 I love to see their smiles.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Tabletops

I have two fabulous surfaces to decorate in my Living Room.  An antique buffet that my hubby's little neighbor gave him many years ago as a thank you for mowing her lawn and a vintage library card catalog from a school that my mom taught at for years.  I dusted off the summer decor and foofed it up for fall.
Look at those beauteous red dishes.  Perfect for fall, and Christmas, and Valentine's Day, and the Fourth of July, and...

Someday I will show you my fabulous 48 star flag, but right now it is a bit obscured by all the homeschool stuff.

I really need to refinish my library table, but I like to think of all those years of kids looking up books for their first report.

Amazing how you can gather up some thrift store finds and yard sale treasures, add in a few things from the 90% off after Thanksgiving Hobby Lobby sale and make your whole house feel like Fall.

I just wish the weather would cool off a little more.

I'm linking up to Tabletop Tuesday over at A Stroll Thru Life.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Top 5 Things to Take on a Camping Trip

* Toilet Paper!!

* Tylenol

* Food that doesn't have to be prepared over a campfire.

* Extra Pillow and 900 thread count sheets.

* Tushie Donut

My dad has lots of horses that we drive and ride.  We took another trip out to Buckeye Furnace to "camp."  Usually I get out of the whole "staying over night" thing because I have the great excuse of there being no toilet and I have absolutely no peeing in the woods skills.  But...... the grandpas of this whole expedition decided to get a port-a-pottie for the campsite.  And I stupidly told the kids that if there was a potty, I would stay all night.

Huge. Huge. Mistake. 

Not really, I had a great time but I think that all things conspired against me to remind me that I am getting old!

Not only did I sleep on an incredibly lumpy bed but I actually rode a horse for the first time in eleven or twelve years.  For about five or six miles.  Needles to say, I am only sitting in cushy chairs today.

I forgot my camera, so I didn't document the whole debacle.

More camping trips are in the planning stage and I am packing accordingly.  Do they make 900 thread count sleeping bags?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Little Fall Decorating

A new rule I made for myself this year:  No turkeys before November!

When I put out my fall decorations every year, I just think, "Thanksgiving will be here before you know it.  I'll just put out the turkeys too."  But this year I went all crazy and only put out the pumpkins and Fall stuff.  Hubby will be home tomorrow and I am certain that he will drag out the Halloween stuff, so today I am enjoying it the way I like it.  Pumpkins and leaves.  No Turkeys.  No Dracula.

A little something I like to call "Crow Under Glass"
I whipped up this cloche from a candle globe and a glass top from a coffee percolator. 
Lame ribbon, I know, but who knew we didn't own any orange ribbon?  Crazy!

I did a little more fall arranging.  My island is always home to my two tiered stand and all my Fall Bling.  Who knew Fall Bling was so hard to take a picture of.  Much, much cuter in real life, I have to say.
Faux sugared pumpkins and sparkly garland.
My sweet honeysuckle basket and a vintage jewelry box that Hubby got at a thrift store.  It says "made exclusively for Gimbels" on the bottom.  Just like the store in Miracle on 34th Street.  I'm a sucker for old movies.

I'm linking up to the cloche party at A Stroll Through Life. 

Homeschool Fashions

Every Friday Abby and her best friend Jessie (and Jessie's mom and brother) come over so that they can work on science or art.  They also do a little home ec.  Today they made homemade apple pie.  Delish!

They took a some time out to craft a little fashion for the OHVA meet and greet that we went to later in the day.  We used this tutorial from Cut Out + Keep.  They were the cutest girlies there!

We also whipped up headbands cut from the sleeves of the T.

Five minute project.  Endless possibilities!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Organizing: Medicine Stuff Cabinet

What a mess! 
Who woulda thunk you could get so much junk into one cabinet?

Sooooo, anywhoo.  I took it upon myself to empty most of the mess and start over.  Half of two shelves are full to the brim of cold meds and diet supplements that I have purchased on sale and keep on hand in case the population of a small town has bathroom problems or a really bad cold.  The rest of it was a collection of water bottles, insulated coffee cups, paper plates and other crazy random stuff.

I followed the top three rules for organizing:

First I dragged everything out of the bottom two shelves and sorted it out into categories.  Next I threw away all of the almost empty bottles of cold remedies and the extremely out of date prescriptions.

I used a basket to hold all of the bottles of cough and cold meds, cough drops, and cough prescriptions for all of the allergy sufferers in my house.  Another basket is helping all those silly water bottles stand up and not tumble out every time you open a door.  I found a new home for the paper plates and napkins in the drawer right above the baggies and plastic wrap.  All of the diet supplement stuff is sorted and stacked, ready for some sort of emergency.

The top shelf is Christmas dishes.  I have to have a step stool to reach it, so it makes a great place to store things that are only used seasonally.

Really, it was only a 30 minute project even with all of the interruptions for homeschooling help.  Ooooohhhh, the trials of long division!  But I keep opening that cabinet to see how nice it looks.  I think that the colander breathed a big sigh of relief.  It was getting a bit tight in there.

I cleaned out the drawer where we keep the everyday meds too!

Organizing: Plastic Stuff Cabinet

If you remember Hubby's Top 5 List of things to organize in the kitchen, You will recall that the cabinet where I keep all of the plastic bowls was giving him fits. 

 Me too, but I didn't admit that to him. 

I really have no idea why it bothered him when half a dozen plastic bowls jumped out every time he reached for a measuring cup!?!  He doesn't do that much cooking!

I forgot to take a picture before I emptied the bottom shelf.  It looks all that much more impressive strewn all over the counter, dontcha think?
I threw away about 27 bajillion lids that didn't have containers to go with them.  I gathered all of the lids together in a little purple basket and stacked up the containers.  I am not in love with the purple basket, but it is the right size and I am not going out shopping for a blue or yellow one, so it will have to do.

The middle shelf has a huge bowl that won't fit in any other cabinet in my kitchen, so I lined up my measuring cups in front of it. 

On the top shelf are some of Abby's snack sets.  She has a collection of them.  Don't ask me how many.  It is embarrassing.  She doesn't do that much entertaining and really, most ten year olds use paper plates.  We are just strange that way. 

OK, side by side.  Before and after.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spicy Organizing

Much nicer. 

(Although hubby failed to comment on the improvement.) 

I used some handy little jars that I recycled to hold some spices that I had way too much of like cinnamon and whole cloves.  I corralled all the toothpicks that kept escaping from the boxes in a jar also. 

I actually threw away a few spices that I think I got for my first wedding shower back in 1991. (Blush)

Next I am going to tackle the cupboard full of plastic containers.  I think that the lids are multiplying in there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Top 5 Spots to Organize: Kitchen Edition

So, after I got a five minute lecture about the condition of my spice drawers, I asked Hubby what his top 5 list for places to organize in the kitchen are. 
And he responded, in no particular order:

* Spice Drawers (Duh)
* Plastic Bowl Cabinet
* Under the Sink
* Cabinet with the Medicine
* My Desk!!! (What?  It is in the bedroom?  So What?  It's driving him crazy!)

Yeah, you're right.  The drawer didn't actually close after he got through showing me how horrible it was.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

Sunshine yellow blooms.
Plucked from a ditch by my favorite nephew. 
On an absolutely perfect day.
Can you see the smile on my face?

Labor Day Weekend

We spent the day Saturday at the Buckey Furnace State Memorial.  President Abraham Lincoln stopped by to speak and they had ice cream and lemonade.  Our real reason for visiting was actually a little more selfish.  They have a beautiful park way out in the boonies.  All the back roads make for a great place to drive a team of horses with a wagon.  The day was gorgeous, the sky was blue, the minions were content to run around, play in the fire, get filthy and have a blast.

We (meaning not really me, but my dad and oldest son) hitched up Doc and Chief to the wagon and we all bailed on for a ride.  The girls watched the road go by and Jonah made up a new game of snatching weeds out of the ditch.
Butterscotch helped him! 

We rode through woods and reclaimed strip mine land.  The sky was so blue it almost hurt your eyes.
We had such a great time we had to go back again on Sunday and Monday.

Friday, September 3, 2010


My minions and I were cleaning off the porch this afternoon. 

Yes.  They were thrilled.  It's true. 

There are so many things that came home with the store that we still have to put away.  Mostly I have them tucked around the corner out of sight, but there were a few that I thought would make cute Christmas decorations still hanging around.  I arranged a few things and said to the teen minion,
"There!  I made a vignette."
"What's a vignette?" he asks.
"When you arrange random stuff so it looks good," I nonchalantly reply.

He goes on about his business carting things around for me. 
i But in my heart of hearts I am totally dejected.  I am thinking, "What?  Have I failed?  Doesn't he know anything?" 

It makes me doubt my ability as a parent

Soon, though, all is golden.  I say,"Take that garden tool thing and arrange it cutely over where we are gonna make a flower bed." 

 Later I go check to see how it looks.
He does have skills. 
I am so proud!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where Are the Lists?!?

I know, if you are reading this you are asking yourself, "Where are the lists?  I thought she was gonna blog about lists?"  So, OK, my lists right now are pretty darn boring.  Nobody really wants to read about stuff like: clean the kitchen, do the laundry, sweep up the giant hairball under the radio, get all of the junk out of the corner by the door, you know, stuff like that.  Every time I think I am going to have a few minutes to tackle something interesting some other mundane and totally boring project rears its ugly head.  I do have one little project in the works, but so far it has been a comedy of errors.

Big Home Schooling day tomorrow!  Two science experiments lined up for our enlightenment.  One of them involves a 2 liter bottle, a pair of panty hose and some dirt.

I anticipate a lot more cleaning on my schedule.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eye Candy For List-Oholics

Isn't this the most fabulous things that you have ever seen?  Sweet little pads of list making paper.  Lined!  No frou-frou stuff taking up space and distracting from the actual glory of the list.  Just 24 little lines to keep track of all the stuff that needs to be accomplished.  I am using them for my kid's daily homeschool to-do lists and for myself so I actually get something done every day.  I got them at a flea market.  I got eight.  For $3.00.  For all eight.  But wait a second!  What if I never see them again?  What if I run out?  What if I have to go back to writing my lists on plain old printer paper?  Gasp!  Now I am having an anxiety attack about what I will do when I run out.  Shoot!  They still make me happy, though.
Consider this the first post in an ongoing list of Things That Make Me Happy!

Monday, August 30, 2010


No, I'm not going crazy. 
I got a really great deal on a whole box of bananas.  $2 for a whole banana box full!  That is a lot of monkey chow.  They were quickly going south and the guy at the flea market threw them in with my bushel of peaches for two bucks.  Everyone thought that I was nuts, but I had a plan.  First, I gave away a few bunches to my mom, my dad, and my sister.  Then I took them home and fed some to the minions and this is what I had left.  No way we were gonna get these babies eaten before they were bad.

Sooooo.... I peeled them. 
Then I put them on a cookie sheet and shoved them in the freezer.  A few hours later I took them out and stuck them in a zipper baggie.  Now whenever I want to make banana bread, I can pull out a few, thaw them in the microwave, and whip up a batch.  Thawing them in the microwave makes them a really nice, mushy consistency for bread.  I usually zap even fresh bananas that I am using for bread.

Works for me!
Now I need to make a list of recipes that require bananas.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

So Where Did All the Groceries Go?

"Where did she put all of those boxes of groceries?" you may be asking yourself.  Or you would be if there were more than two people who were reading this blog.  And if those two people were at all interested in where someone might store 7 or 8 boxes of groceries. 
Well, I'm gonna tell you!  I put them away!  I cleaned out my pantry!  I harassed my minions, oops! I mean, my lovely children.  I rearranged.  I containerized.  I sorted.  I rearranged again.  I got it done!

Looks great HUH?   I'm a little bitter about that green basket because my kitchen is cobalt blue and yellow, but I am going to be big about it and just let it go.

I decluttered my baking stuff cabinet.  
I didn't put it all in there sideways, I swear.  I just can't figure out how to rotate the picture. 

(Note to Self:  Only take horizontal pics, you aren't smart enough for the vertical ones...ask the minions, they may be able to figure it out!)

I rearranged my laundry room and bought an extremely overpriced shelf from Walmart. 

OK!  It's sideways. So shoot me!

All put away so neat and tidy.  If anyone messes it up they are gonna have to deal with me.  It all looks so lovely that I hate to disarrange it to cook something. 

Might have to eat out!