Friday, December 10, 2010

House Guests

On Monday I picked the winners of my Bunny Mug giveaway.  Since I only had three comments, it wasn't too hard to figure out who my winners were.  In case you were looking for a big announcement, that would be reason #1 why there wasn't one.  I ordered the mugs, and emailed the winners for their addresses.  Now as soon as the mugs show up, which looks to be sometime between Monday and Thursday of next week, I will send them out.

Other than that, I've had house guests.  My mom to be exact.  She's been here since Monday and leaves next Monday.  Then on Wednesday, my mother in law comes.

Right before receiving house guests, I was able to get my tree up and decorate my mantel.

I got new stockings for the older two last year after Christmas at Target.  
They didn't have the little one's initial.  
Plus, hers is pink, and has monkeys, she's kind of attached to it.

There used to be this company called Christmas Around the World.  
They sold awesome Christmas stuff using the home party plan (like Tupperware)
Then they wen't bankrupt.
I was sad.  
These gingerbread houses are the last thing I got from them.

I was so excited this year that I finally had a mantel again 
and could use my "JOY" stocking hangers.
I opened the box they were in to discover that a snow globe had not survived the move.
Other contents of the tote were ruined, the stocking hangers were attempting to rust.
They were able to be saved, but I did have to put new felt under the J.

These hurricanes usually have candles in them.  
I took the candles out and filled them with little wooden ornaments my mom had given me
 from when I was a kid.

 That's about the extent of the decorating around here.  New lights were purchased for the outside of the house, but since they haven't been put up yet and the hubby only has one day off this week, I don't think they are getting done this year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My First Snow

We finally got snow here a few days ago.
I was too busy selling out for fornicating bunny mugs posting giveaways to blog about it.

My first snow was beautiful.

At first.

Then I had to drive in it.

Tiffany had a violin lesson.  A lesson that normally is about 30 min from the house.  Hubby warned me to leave early, give myself plenty of time, leave plenty of room between me and the car in front of me, and not to wait until the last minute to brake.

I left to take her a full hour before we needed to be there.  The roads had been plowed or salted or something because the roads were just wet.  The drive was not as treacherous as the hubby had made it out to be. It took 45 minutes.  I drove slow.  I left room.  I braked slowly and carefully.  We got there in one piece, with 15 minutes to spare.

Forty five minutes later when we left it was a WHOLE different story.  All those roads that had been merely wet had turned to ice, and apparently everyone is leaving work (near violin lessons) and heading home (to my neighborhood) around 5 pm.  Go figure.

The TWO hour drive home was the scariest two hours I have ever spent in my whole life.
It was two hours spent clutching my steering wheel, pointing my car in the general direction I wanted to go, and praying.

There was sliding.
There was not going anywhere even though the gas pedal was being pushed.
There was an annoying pulsation that is the traction control.
It didn't seem to help much other than to remind me that
causing me to panic even more.

I really wished I had painted "I'm new here and have never driven in the snow before" on the back window of my car.  People were entirely too close to me for their own good.

When I finally made it home, I told my husband that for the rest of the winter I'm only going out right after the roads have been cleared, quickly running my errands, and then I'm coming straight home.  If I can't get it done in a 2 hour window, it's not getting done until spring.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Everyone Loves Free Stuff

The wonderful folks over at CSN stores recently contacted me about doing a giveaway on my blog.  They have over 200 different stores selling everything from tv tables to bathroom sinks.

I really got excited about getting some free cookware from their cookware site, but the Le Creuset skillet I was hoping for costs a little more than the $35 they are going to give me.

So, you my loyal readers luck out.
I'll be spending the $35 on six of my second favorite item on their site, this bunny mug.

I'm keeping one for myself, and giving the other five away.

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment and make sure that you leave your email if I am not going to be able to find it in 2 clicks or less.

I'm also giving an extra entry to anyone who leaves a comment
AND was following me before this post went live.

If for some reason the bunny mug is going to be inappropriate for your workplace, feel free to peruse any of CSN's other 200 stores and tell me what you'd rather have as long as it costs the same or less than the bunny mug.

Winners will be picked at random on December 7th.

************ Contest Is Closed *****************************

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal

You know when bloggers write about the bad PR pitches they receive?
I always thought, I'll know when I'm a big deal blogger when I get bad PR pitches too.

So a few days ago I get this email,
asking ME if I'd be interested in doing a review/giveaway.

Unlike some of the offers I've heard other bloggers laugh at, this seemed well written (enough), 
and didn't ask me to whore myself out while getting nothing in return.

Of course, they didn't address me by name, 
but they didn't screw up my name either, so I'll call that even.

I checked out their website with minimal expectations and immediately saw that they carry a brand of cookware that I've lusted over for years, but this is what happened when I considered buying a piece of it once.

Me (to hubby):  "While I was out shopping today I saw this awesome skillet, 
I almost bought it, but thought I should run it by you."

Hubby:  "Why?"

Me:  " It was $70"

Him:  "It's a good thing you didn't buy it then, 
I would have had to hit you upside the head with it."

Me:  "That would have hurt.  It was cast iron."

I emailed them back and said "Sure, I'd love to receive two of these skillets.  
One for me and one to giveaway to one of my 19 many followers." 

I don't know for sure if this is how it works, but it sure as heck is how I want it to work, 
so I decided to put it out there.  The worst they could say is no, right? 

I'm pretty sure at some point they will figure out that I am not, in fact, the big deal they thought I was, and rescind their offer to give me free stuff.  In the meantime I'll dream, and maybe if each of you goes and finds a few friends to come follow me before they come to check me out further, we'll actually get these frying pans.  
Hint Hint.

After replying to them with my wishes, I went back to close the window to their online store, 
but got distracted by a coffee mug with what appeared to be rabbits on it, 
doing that thing that rabbits are famous for.  

I clicked on it, and what would you know, it was a coffee mug, with rabbits, making rabbits.  
In. Multiple. Positions.  
Like I'm pretty sure it was the bunny Kama Sutra on a coffee mug.  

BUT THEN, once I was actually looking at the mug with the fornicating rabbits on it, 
it suggested that people that liked that item also viewed....  
the coffee mug with the bears, 
or the one with the penguins, 
or elephants, 
all of them in the throes of passion.  

Well except maybe the bears, 
they kinda looked like they were trying to bite each other's faces off. 

Then I was pissed at myself for not looking a little longer before agreeing to write sponsored content for a frying pan when I could have had the bunny porn mug!  I've decided that if they turn me down for the skillet, telling me that a blog with only nineteen followers isn't worthy of a $70 skillet, I'm going to ask again for the mug.  
It's only $5.99.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

6 Days

Six days ago my youngest came home from school and passed out on the couch.
I knew without looking at her that she was sick.
A mom knows.

My hubby came home that night and kept complaining that it was too cold
in the 70 degree house.
He was sick too.
This was going to be fun.

Five days ago my hubby insisted he needed to go to the doctor.
I told him he was wasting his time and a copay.
He still wanted to go.
Okey Dokey.

I called and made him an appointment.
Because I'm the mom and know who the doctor is.
As I expected the doctor told him to take Alka Selzer Plus and plenty of fluids
and to return Monday if he wasn't better.
I saved a copay on the kid.

My hubby always tells me I'm not a doctor,
but I've taken my kids to the doctor enough times to know when the symptoms are going to warrant the trip and be worth the chance we pick up something more fun.

Then the fever and lethargy spawned a nice cough.

The weekend came and my facebook status read
"My house sounds like the seal exhibit at the zoo".
One of my friends commented "dead sardines all over the place?"
I have funny friends.

By Monday the fevers were better, but the coughs were worse.
My husband did not return to the doctor.
I thought he must be feeling better.
Apparently he was just enjoying being miserable too much.

I finally took my little one to the doctor yesterday, she got an inhaler and antibiotics,
since after 5 days she still had a low grade fever.
Hubby couldn't get in yesterday so he goes back today and I'm sure he'll get the same thing.

It's a good thing too.
Because it's kinda sad that my 9 year old is handling being sick better than her daddy.
And I haven't gotten anything done that I wanted to do in a week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Musings On Being A Grown Up

My drivers license says I've been a adult two times over, but so far I suck at being a grown up.

I still shop in the juniors section, because I refuse to wear the jeans that cover my belly button,
and there is no in between.  It's either the juniors section or the grandma section.
WTF?  Where is the hip 30 something year old section?

I've been drinking coffee for 20 something years, if you consider a grande white mocha a coffee.
I know it's more like a hot chocolate with a little coffee thrown in.
I didn't own or know how to operate a coffee maker until 2 years ago.
My coffee to creamer ratio is 2:1.

I have a collection of about 50 shot glasses but my wine glasses are plastic.
Up until recently my favorite wine was Boone's Farm Sangria.
Lately I've been trying different wines (with corked bottles) and enjoying them.
Hoping Santa brings me real glass wine glasses.

My favorite time of day is nap time and I get cranky if I don't get one.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I "grow up".
Right now am leaning towards artist.
I wouldn't have to worry about that whole starving part, because my hubby works.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Irony Is Not Lost On Me

So almost a month (gasp) ago I told you guys all about my entryway and why I live in constant fear that someone will come to my door and see the mess and clutter.  I vowed to do something about it.  I was a girl on a mission. I had all these fabulous ideas in my head and I was going to tackle that entryway.

Yeah.  About that.

A lack of money, procrastination, and other life obligations kinda got in the way of that.

I did pick up some scrapbook paper and Mod Podge to spruce up the shoe thingie.  The actual Mod Podging has not commenced however.

The dog crate problem was partially solved, at least in my head anyway, when I found this article on how to hide a dog crate.  Amazing what searching Google for "how to hide a dog crate" will find you.  The remaining problem is for me to A) get the table, and B) figure out how to keep the dogs from being able to reach the fabric.  They kinda like to pull any fabric they can snag with their claws into their crate and shred it.  This might not work well if I have something pretty sitting on top of the table.  So there is some sort of crate retrofit in order if this is going to work.  Once again it just takes money.

The one issue I did manage to solve was what to do with all the hats, gloves, etc. that were overflowing in a  too small plastic tote on top of the shoe thing.

Yes, my friends, that is an over the door shoe rack holding all the hats, gloves, and scarves.  It is not, but is remarkably similar to, the over the door shoe rack some of you might remember me ranting about way back in December of 2008.  Now just so you know, THAT shoe rack was given to me in December of 2005 and even though I had no use for it, I held on to it (because it was a gift and hoping I'd find something I could use it for).  I finally gave up and put it in a garage sale this past January  so I would have less to move to Michigan, and now, just as I lamented about in this post, as soon as I got rid of it, I needed it.  Grr.

This past weekend I went to the store and spent $12.99 on this over the door shoe rack.  I came home and put it on the door.  I put all the hats and what not in it.  I proudly showed the hubby what I had done.

Hubby: "What is that?"
Me:  "That would be my mad home organizational skillz"
Hubby:  "And what EXACTLY did you USE to achieve this organization?"
Me: "an over the door shoe rack?"
Hubby:  "A what???"
Me:  "An over the door shoe rack"
Hubby: "You'd better not let your mom see that"
Me:  "I know"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Homemade Christmas

As I've been exercising my creative muscles this past month, the kids have wanted to play too.  Every time I pull out the craft supplies, they are right there saying "Can I make something?".  That gave me an idea.  They are old enough now, 14, 12, and 9 to really start thinking about Christmas in terms of giving rather than receiving.  So I told them that this year, I want them to make presents for each other, grandmas, and mom and dad.  I gave them a week to plan what they want to make and took them shopping at the craft store this weekend.  They came up with some really good ideas.  It will be interesting to see how they turn out.  I won't post any pics until the gifts are given, but look for them in a future post.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bunch of Ingrates

Again I found inspiration over at Tip Junkie.

A few days ago Laurie posted 20 Thanksgiving Crafts To Make.  I loved the concept behind crafts 1 - 4, to decorate for Thanksgiving with something that would cause the kids, and the hubby and I, to think about what we are grateful for.  Sometimes I think we all get so caught up wanting things we don't have (and don't need) that we forget to take stock of our blessings.

A trip to JoAnn's last night and a trip to the Salvation Army store this morning
yielded the items needed to make my board.

I worked on it for hours.  Mostly because the chipboard letters were on the smallish
side and I wanted to Mod Podge them with fall scrapbook paper.
Tracing and cutting out all the letters took forever.

I finally finished it and invited the kids to come write what they were thankful for.

Tiffany is thankful for her family, shelter, and bananas.

Kimberly is thankful for mommy and daddy's love & yummy muffins.

Aimee is thankful for all the wonderful people that I love and all the love we share.

They drew some interesting pictures too.

After I took this picture the hubby came over and added that he was thankful for whoopie cushions and added to the art fest with a drawing of a dude wearing sunglasses.

I think they are missing the point.

Or they are mocking me.

Either way I'm really proud of my board.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Craftiness

Today is Halloween and this past week I had the chance to use my creativity to make some treats for Tiffany's classroom and decorations for my front porch.  

I was so excited that Tiffany's class was having a Halloween party, she was getting to wear her costume at school, and the whole school was having a costume parade.  After living in Arizona for the last six years, where every holiday was either completely ignored by the school (like Halloween) or rendered completely non offensive (like the winter party and winter concert that didn't have any holiday songs or references to the fact that anybody might celebrate anything in the upcoming weeks of December), it was nice to be in a place where the kids can just have fun being kids and enjoy dressing up and eating candy.  I decided that to celebrate, I needed to make awesome treats for her class party.  The fact that I could make awesome treats was special too.  Arizona only allowed store bought treats to be brought to school, BOO.  I decided I really wanted to learn to play with chocolate, so I went to Michael's, bought candy melts, sticks, sprinkles, and lollipop bags, then hit up the store for some marshmallows, and made these.

They came out great.  I was a little surprised by the thickness of the candy melts.  I had envisioned drizzling the orange across the white, but there was no drizzling going on.  I took a break and Google'd chocolate covered marshmallows and Wilton candy melts and found that most people recommended a dip and spin along the edge of the bowl to remove the excess technique.  Realizing that drizzling wasn't going to be an option, I gave up trying that and just did some white with sprinkles, some orange with sprinkles, and some white and then dipped partially in orange.  They came out amazing and her class loved them.  

Then, while surfing in blog land last week I came across a super easy craft using milk jugs, and I forgot where I found it, so unfortunately can't link to it, but since that person mentioned seeing the craft on Family Fun, I know it's not an original.  The whole craft only cost me 29 cents since I had the rest of the materials already in my stash and only had to buy one piece of green felt..  I used 3 milk jugs, one strand of orange lights, three pipe cleaners, a sharpie marker, and one piece of green felt, and this is what I came up with.

Pretty cute huh?
Tiffany made the albino spider while I was busy making these 
so he needed to be in the picture too.

Have a Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not A Prude

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm not a prude. 
 I know how to have a good time, but this.... 


Those are not the costumes I was considering for myself this year.

Those are the TWEEN costumes my TWELVE YEAR OLD had to choose from this year.  

Really???  Thank you so much for including those SEE THROUGH TIGHTS with that ADULT costume that isn't more than a freaking TUBE TOP!!  That so makes this more appropriate for my child that is just barely beginning to notice boys.  Way to tell her that slutting it up is the way to get their attention.  

OH.  And they wanted $35 - $40 for that crap! 
 Break my wallet and turn my kid into a hooker at the same time.  

I refused.  We ended up with this, a Geisha costume.

My twelve year old is dressing as a hooker for Halloween!  
OH WELL, at least she's going to be a COVERED UP hooker.  

(yes, I know, Geisha weren't really hookers, the Orian were the hookers)

Oh yeah, and this covered up costume...  $14.99.

But next year, I'm boycotting store bought costumes.  
Like it or not, my kids and I will all be dressing like this next Halloween.

I'm just disappointed that I didn't find all these great homemade costume ideas from
 Disney's Family Fun until after I had wasted two days driving all over town
 trying to find prude costumes for my kids.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Giving credit where credit is due

After writing yesterday's post, I realized that I may have exaggerated ever so slightly about the fact that my husband claims he can build stuff and yet has only ever built me a mantel.  The mantel was part of a complete living room remodel.  I've got some pictures, but you're going to have to use your imagination for some of this story.  Unfortunately I wasn't so good about capturing this whole process on film.

This is what we started with.  A cute little house that we rented for three years before we purchased.  See those two floor to ceiling windows in the front.  Yeah, I hated them.  My couch backed up to them so I could never open the blinds without showing the neighborhood the back of my couch.  Plus they were drafty.  For three years I said, "If this were my house, I'd take those windows out and put in one (dual paned) window that doesn't go all the way to the floor"

Three days after we closed escrow on the house, the neighbors were invited over, beer was purchased and within a few hours those windows were gone, and in their place was a beautiful eight foot wide by four foot high dual paned window set inside brand new framing.

Now we needed to put up new drywall, texture, and paint,  
but we couldn't do that to just this wall,
 it wouldn't match with all the others in the room if we did.  
The entire room and adjoining hallway were re-textured and painted.  
By my hubby.

We said goodbye to the 1970's style popcorn ceiling too, courtesy of my hubby.

Then he brought the room into a more modern age by installing recessed lighting, 
a ceiling fan, and crown moulding.  You can kinda see part of the fan and one
 recessed light in the picture above.

He had never done stucco before, so he called a friend that had, and the outside got finished too.
Here's a picture I took before the final color coat of stucco went on.  
Somehow I never got a picture of the end result.

I found this picture from the following Halloween where you can see just a smidge of
 the decorative moulding and ledge that the hubby built around the new window.

Then there was that mantel that I referred to yesterday.  
Here is it's before picture.

This was the crappiest mantel ever, and another thing that I had said for three years 
I would fix if it were my house.  It was made out of 4 x 4's for the pieces that surround the 
brick and then sitting on top of that were two warped 1 x 4's.  Anything I tried to set on top
 would tip over either because of the warped condition of the boards or the gap between
 them that ran the length of the mantel.

Utterly useless.

I personally got to use a sledgehammer and a crowbar to remove this.  
Oh my was that fun.

I sketched out what I wanted the mantel to look like and my hubby built it for me.
It was perfect and looked just like my sketch.
Do you think I got a picture of it?

Sort of?

Here is a picture from the following Christmas.  You can see a corner of it.

The last step in the remodel was ripping out the old grey carpet and installing laminate
 flooring in the whole house.  As soon as the hubby did that, we decided to sell the house 
and move to Arizona.  I never got any pictures of the laminate floors.

Thinking about all this reminds me of how much more fun it is to live in an old house.  

I like to build stuff.  
And break stuff with sledgehammers. 

 I need another old house. 
And some wood.
And a new saw for the hubby.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Maybe it's the changing of the leaves, or the fact that I can tell that each day has less daylight than the one before, but I've never been so aware that winter was coming.  Our work pretty much comes to a dead stop in winter.  This is the time of year I need to prepare for several lean months.  I stock the freezer. I try to put aside enough money in the bank to pay the bills for at least three months.  I don't spend money on anything that isn't a necessity. I feel a bit like a squirrel trying to hoard nuts.

Now it just figures that this would be the time I would be inspired to create things too.  While everything is dying around me, I want to make things.  I want to pretty up my foyer, I want to re-finish my dining room table, I want to build stuff.  Oh my goodness how I want to build stuff.  Yesterday Jen over at Let's Make It Ours wrote this about how she needs to learn how to use power tools so that she could build all these awesome creations byAna at  Now I want to learn how to use power tools too!

It seems like Ana and I have a lot of the same taste in furniture.  The expensive Pottery Barn type stuff that I have lusted after for years but would never buy, because I just can't justify spending $600 - $1000 on a cabinet to collect all the crap in my entry way.  But I want it, oh how I want it.  I've even spent hours looking online for something similarly awesome without the Pottery Barn price tag.  No luck.  Until yesterday.

See there's Ana with the cabinet I've been lusting after for years, that she MADE herself, and tells me and YOU how to make here.  So I'm all gung ho to go buy some wood and start making a cabinet, but crap, just like Jen, I need to learn to use power tools, oh and theres that little thing about not spending any money that isn't absolutely necessary.  I do, however, have a husband that is pretty handy and knows how to build stuff.  That's what he tells me anyway.  We've been married for fifteen years and I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a table or bookshelf that I've wanted and he's told me he could build it cheaper.  Except he never does and I end up buying some POS bookshelf made out of particle board at Walmart.  Well he did build me a new mantel once, and it was awesome, but that's it.

So today I called him out on it.  I said, "For fifteen years you've told me you can build stuff and I've been dreaming of a cabinet like this for almost that long.  You MUST build me this cabinet.  Oh, and teach me how to use the power tools because there's about  15 more things on Ana's site that I want to build too."

He smiled at me (because I'm so adorable when I'm being demanding), then he told me that he didn't think that saws and I were a good combination. Remember last week when I told you about the ladder rule.  Yeah, that totally extends to anything I could maim myself with.  He may have said something to the effect of "I've seen you walk".  So what if I trip over air, I insisted that if he taught me how to use the the power tools properly I could be safe and retain all my appendages.  Finally, he relented and told me he would help me build my cabinet..  Only, in order to do this, he'd need a new saw since his was stolen years ago.

So I can start building stuff as soon as I can find extra money to buy wood and a new saw.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

When a piece is missing

My hubby just returned from a two week trip.  Originally he was only going to be gone for one.  I spent the first week being rather productive.  I did some blogging.  A quiet house is so conducive to blogging.   Plus I gave myself a project to complete so I wouldn't have time to be miserable.  My project, finish unpacking the boxes in my room.  Yeah, I know, we've been in this house since July, but since the hubby and I are the only ones to ever see my room, it's always the last to be cleaned, unpacked, etc.  This time however it's taken even longer than usual.  The first day I tried to tackle my room I discovered the problem.  The closet was all jacked up.  There were boxes shoved in it and the clothes were all mixed up, shirts, pants, hubby's stuff, my stuff.  I had to clean out and organize the closet before I could do the room.  By the end of the week it was done.  The room was beautiful and ready for my hubby to be home to enjoy it.

The weekend approached and I was giddy with anticipation, but then he called and asked me if I thought he should stay another week.  I wanted nothing in the world more than to have him home, but if he stayed, there would be work.  Work would mean a paycheck we wouldn't have otherwise.  Paychecks mean we can eat and pay bills and stupid stuff like that.  He wanted to come home too.  He hates Los Angeles, with it's smog, traffic, and rude people.  We both decided to do the smart thing and have him stay another week.  To say it was a painful decision would be an understatement.  This is when I started crumbling.
That second week he was gone he missed so much.

Our oldest went to Homecoming and he wasn't here too see how beautiful she was.

We had some rain and wind which made our scarecrows fall down.
I didn't have the requisite muscles to make them stand up again.

So they stayed like this, looking like zombie scarecrows.

I think the worst though was missing his birthday.  Other than a Facebook wall filled with birthday wishes, his special day passed like any other.  He got up, went to work, and returned to his brother's house to sleep on an air mattress.  Happy Birthday indeed.  So I was determined to do something special for him in honor of his birthday upon his  return.  I decided I needed to bake him a cake.  There's just one small problem.  His favorite cake, German Chocolate, and I'm allergic to coconut.  As much as it's his day and all, this is cake we are talking about.  I can't make it and then not be able to eat it.  He got birthday cupcakes instead.  Half had German Chocolate frosting and half had Cream Cheese frosting.  Compromise people.  It's all about the compromise.

Today he got up and made the scarecrows upright again.

Just when I had gotten used to having zombie scarecrows.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Singing Dryer

When we moved to Michigan we brought all of our appliances.  Our side by side fridge that's been with us for 7 years and 3 states and has only needed to be fixed once, then our freezer that we bought about 4 years ago in Arizona which of course decided to stop working when we got here, and our washer and electric dryer.  Of course the new house has a gas hook up for the dryer.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm really happy that it has a gas hook up.  I much prefer a gas dryer to an electric one.  (I prefer gas stoves too, but couldn't get that lucky apparently.)  So of course I had to go out and buy a new one, and when I got to the store I kept being drawn to this one.

It was on sale even.  $669 the plain old style one was like $500.  I wanted it.  So I took this picture, sent it to the hubby and said "Can I?  Please????".  While I waited for his response, I tracked down a sales person and pumped her for information.  I need the stats.  Tell me why, other than the fact that it's all new fangled looking, I should get this one over the old school one.  Please tell me how to convince my husband that we need to have THIS one and not any other one.  Well for starters she told me, it's even cheaper than $669.  She pulls out her calculator and after making some calculations tells me that it will in fact be only $600 at the register.  Well, that's awesome, what else.  So she goes on to tell me that it is more energy efficient, and that it's smart, like it will stop when it senses the clothes are dry, or will keep going even when the time has run out if the clothes are still wet.  And, if you don't come unload it right away, it will intermittently tumble the clothes to keep them from getting all wrinkly. Now I REALLY REALLY want it, and am prepared to beg, when the hubby texts back and says "If that's the one you want.".  Well that was easy.

A few days later it was delivered, and a few days after that the hubby finally got it hooked up.  By then there was a mountain of laundry that needed to be done.  When we dried our first load in it we discovered it sings!. It wasn't cool enough with it's energy efficiency and what not, they had to make it even cooler, every little thing that it does is accompanied by a charming little tune.  Turn it on, you get a tune.  Select a cycle, you get a tune.  When it's done, no annoying buzzer here, you get a jaunty tune.  If you don't come unload it right away, not only is it intermittently tumbling the clothes to keep them from getting wrinkly, but it reminds you that it is still not unloaded with a little tune.  Of course I love it.

Except for today when I discovered that the sensor thingie doesn't work too well when there is just one comforter in there.  It keeps playing it's little tune and each time I go to unload it, the comforter is NOT DRY.  I wouldn't call it wet, but it's damp for sure.  I'm sure there is probably some fix for this, some kind of just one comforter setting on the thing.  It's so smart otherwise, I can't imagine it being dumb about drying comforters. It's probably operator error.  I should probably read the manual.  Except I don't know where it is.

Someday I'll get my freezer fixed too, but it's been on hold since I blew my extra money on the singing dryer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This is so cool

Some of you may have witnessed this phenomenon before,
but this is my first time.

 I'm awestruck by the variety of colors.  

I expected the yellows and oranges, but was taken completely by surprise
by the fiery reds, the pinks, and even purples.

Just beautiful

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sorry If This Makes You Dizzy

I apologize in advance if this post makes your head spin.  My train of thought sometimes derails, takes side trips, and switches tracks before arriving at a station which may or may not be the intended destination.  Hopefully you can make it to the end, but if not, I hope you find something awesome when your train of thought jumps tracks.  

As those of you who regularly read my blog are painfully aware, 
I have not been blogging regularly in quite some time.

This post isn't about excuses BTW.
You all know why it's a miracle that I blog AT ALL.

The thing is though, that when I'm not blogging, I'm also not reading blogs.
I'm not checking in to see what everyone else that I follow is posting.
I'm not getting inspired to write more or do crafty things that I see on some of my favorite blogs.

And I need that.  I get so caught up sometimes in my ridiculously busy schedule that I put myself at the bottom of my list.  At the end of the day, there isn't any time left for me, what I like to do, the things that make me happy.

So the  past week, while I've been checking in and blogging, I've also been catching up with some of my favorite blogs and finding new ones that are absolutely amazing.

Ready?  Here comes the part that's going to make you dizzy.

This is what I did yesterday.  All day, while the kids were at school.

I was checking out the blogs I follow and I saw a post on Tip Junkie about a Coffee Table repair. Now I don't have a coffee table in need of repair, but the info might come in handy some day.  Like if I saw a totally awesome coffee table on the side of the road for free because it needed repair.  If that ever happened I would totally know what to do, so I hop over there to read it.  Down at the bottom of the page there were some links to more articles on Second Hand Furniture Repair, and the one about file cabinet makeovers caught my eye.  I actually just found the mother load of old file cabinets at the Habitat For Humanity Restore, and since I need more file cabinets, both at home and at my new office (yeah, the business now has a real office, more about that later), I really needed to know how to make file cabinets pretty, because sitting in an office with a bunch of banged up, dull gray file cabinets staring at me all day is surely a one way ticket to loony town.

I look at each makeover one by one and when I get to number six it takes me to this makeover by Sew Woodsy, she used Mod Podge to do hers and mentions Mod Podge Rocks and when you follow the link it takes you to a post about the filing cabinet makeover featured on Tip Junkie #3.

We've kinda gone full circle here.
Dizzy yet?
Computer freaking out because you have 10 tabs open?
You might want to close a few.  We aren't done yet.

Ok, where was I?  Oh yeah, Mod Podge.  So at this point I'm like "Whaa?  There's a WHOLE blog dedicated to Mod Podge???  Really??  That's so Awesome!!  I love me some Mod Podge".  So I start poking around over there and get lost in ideas.  She doesn't just have stuff about crafting and Mod Podge either, she has stuff about FOOD.  Sweet food.  Cake type food.  My favorite kind of food.  She's even doing a giveaway of the book Cake Pops by Bakerella.  Which, if you hurry right over there before midnight EST you can totally still enter BTW, and no, writing a post about hers isn't required for entry, all you have to do is leave a comment. So of course I had to go check out Bakerella, and from there I found Cakespy, with not only recipes for yummy goodness but also the most adorable artwork featuring cupcakes.  OMG.  Yeah, and I'm so totally ordering THESE for my Christmas cards this year from her site.

Need a bucket yet?

After going off on that little side trip I went back to Mod Podge Rocks and finished exploring.  I came across this Fall Canvas Craft Tutorial from My Blessed Life and after cruising her site for awhile came across her foyer makeover which is something else I really do need.  Right now, this is what you see when you walk in my front door. 
Hello doggie jail.
Hello Kibbles and Bits that the doggies spill out of their bowl onto the floor.

And then, if you turn to your right, you'll see this...
That would be the dreaded Flat Surface that collects crap, on the top of an attempt at shoe organization, next to a yet to be hung piece of art.  In fact it's a framed collection of Picasso sketches I picked up at IKEA.  Oh how I love that store.  I have wanted these sketches forever, but they've always been out of my budget.  This piece was a bargain at only $50 for the 5 sketches mounted and framed.  The cheapest I have ever seen them was $10 each and that was unframed.
Here is a closer picture, except I accidentally cut off the owl.  Ooops.

If you turn again you will see the front of the shoe organizer/junk collecting flat surface
Yuck.  Isn't it.

First we've got the prison gray walls that I can't do much about since
A) This is a rental
B) Hubby hates painting
 C) this particular area has cathedral ceilings which would require a really big ladder
(that we don't have) to reach the top of if I were to do it myself and finally
D) Hubby doesn't allow me to get on ladders.
Now before any of you go getting all feminist rights and
 "OMG, he doesn't "ALLOW" her on a ladder",
 just know it's for my own safety, I'm ok with it.
Those who know me in real life are busting up right now.
I trip over air.
I have no business being on a ladder.

Second, my shoe organizer.  Made by Closet Maid, purchased at Target.
Now sure I would have loved to have a real piece of furniture to store the shoes in my entry way,
 but that wasn't in my budget either and the shoes were out of control.

Third, the flat surface.  Somewhere under that pile is a plastic storage tote that houses all the gloves and hats, but it's been buried under sweatshirts, shin guards,
and Halloween decorations that fell off our front windows.

Last, the dog kennel completes the stark jail house theme that's going on
and sweeping up Kibbles and Bits everyday is getting OLD.

Now I'm on a mission.

I can't do anything with the gray background,
but that doesn't mean I can't liven it up with colorful accent pieces.
That shoe organizer.  It's going to get a Mod Podge makeover.
The flat surface is going to get accessorized to deter the flat surface dump.
Something better than a plastic storage tote is going to be devised for the hats and gloves.
The walls need stuff, but maybe not the Picasso piece.
It may be a little monochromatic for the space I now have pictured.
Maybe it should go over the door?
The dog kennel is going to be modified somehow to both make it pretty,
and keep the Kibbles and Bits inside.

Of course, I don't have any of the stuff I need for this project yet,
 so it's time to start hitting up garage sales and thrift stores.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The kids started school a month ago. New schools in a new town. Great schools. Schools that my kids love. This was one of my biggest fears. We'd move all this way and the kids would hate it. But they don't. They like it here, they really do. Not that they don't miss their friends in Arizona, but they aren't miserable every day, pining over what was left behind. Instead they are tackling each day with a smile on their face, looking forward to all the new and different things they can do here.

Aimee joined the swim team and started the year with a bunch of new friends. Kimberly is going to a real middle school, with lockers, changing classes, electives, and even having to dress for PE. Most of the kids Tiffany already knew from the neighborhood are in her class, plus she met some new ones.

Fall in Michigan has brought trees changing colors, and leaves to rake.

Surprisingly Kimberly LOVES yard work.
Give the kid a rake and she's in seventh heaven.
I hope the novelty doesn't wear off.
This is only the first tree to change.

The kids made scarecrows at our town's Harvest Festival
and decorated our yard with them.
A few nights ago, we got BOO'd.
The doorbell rang, and when we answered the door,
we found this adorable little guy attached to a bag of candy.

The instructions say:
1. Eat the CANDY!!!!
2. Make a copy of this picture to boo another neighbor
3. Leave a bag of candy and the copied piece of paper at their doorstep.
Remember to be sneaky.
4. Put the picture of the ghost in your window so everyone can see.

The kids thought this was the coolest thing ever.

I just hope that everyone enjoys winter just as much.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Summertime and Slimy Things

When we first arrived in Michigan this past June,
we stayed with our friend Alex.

Alex has fourteen acres of property.

And one pond.

In that pond were many different forms of life.
Algae, fish, leaches (eww),
and these...

That's a tadpole.
In a jar.

And here he is, swimming up to say hi.

We didn't let the kids keep the tadpoles in jars for very long.
They could look at them for an hour or so
and then had to return them to the pond.

Before long,
they weren't bringing tadpoles up to the house in jars any more.

They were bringing FROGS.

Big frogs.
No jars.
These were returned to the pond much more promptly.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Science Experiment Gone Wrong

I believe that it's good for kids to learn things by doing them,
 rather than reading about them in a book.  

So when Kimberly brought home a science project where she was supposed to grow a plant, 
I should have been excited right?  

Yeah.  Not so much.

Not because it's not a cool idea.

In concept.

It's the fact that I have a habit of killing anything that uses photosynthesis
 that I have ever tried to cultivate indoors. 

 I only have about a 50% success rate with things I try to grow outdoors.

Asking me to keep a plant alive in my house is akin to asking an alligator to babysit a chicken.

It's just not going to end well.  

My daughter's grade depends on me not killing this plant.
It's not fair.  To her mostly.  But also to me. 
 You don't know what kind of stress I've been under because of this.

To make matters worse.  It wasn't just one plant to keep alive.  
It was two.

She was supposed to start the two of them growing,
 then do something to one of them, to see how it changed how the plant grew.

The caveat being, whatever she did was supposed to be something that might naturally occur in nature.

So Kimberly went out in the yard, dug up some worms, and put them in with plant A.

That little thing there at the bottom.  A clipping of a plant that grows in our front yard.  
Not the bean plant she is supposed to be growing.  Not worms.  
She's good at following directions.  Can you tell?

This is plant B.  No Worms.

So everything was going just fine.  Both plants were growing.  
Plant A seemed to be growing slightly faster than Plant B, but nothing drastic.
I was actually beginning to wonder if the worms were going to make a significant enough 
difference  to count as a valid experiment.

They were getting equal amounts of sun sitting in my kitchen window.
Overlooking my sink.

The very sink where I was standing a few nights ago,
 trying to drain the grease off the meatloaf I made for dinner, 
without dumping the meatloaf in the sink.
While running VERY hot water so the grease wouldn't clog my pipes.
When I lost the grip on the loaf pan, the hot glass burning my hand.
When I jerked my hand away from the burning, I knocked Plant B into the sink.
Into the grease.
Into the hot water.

Somehow, miraculously, none of the potting material ended up in the meatloaf.
I scooped it up and placed it all back in it's cup.
Placed the cup back in the windowsill.

The next morning, Plant B looked like this.

Apparently meatloaf grease and scalding hot water aren't conducive to the growing process.
Who knew?

Also, I probably just earned my daughter an F on her experiment, because I'm pretty sure getting doused with meatloaf grease and scalding hot water are not something that would occur in nature.

On the bright side.  I didn't completely kill it.

Those are new leaves growing there at the top.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Road Trip Part 2

Yesterday's pictures were the ones I had taken of our road trip to Michigan. There is another side to the story though. We also gave a camera to the kids to document the trip. Here are some of the highlights according to them.

We stopped at Mc Donald's every morning.


Because we had to have these.

Well Jay didn't, because he doesn't like coffee, he had a stash of Red Bull in the cooler in the back of the Suburban, but the rest of us wanted our caffeine in an ice blended caramel and whip cream topped form.

The dogs spent each day laying on the seat in between Kimberly and Tiffany. They falsely believed that the girls' Snuggies were for them and there were quite a few child vs. dog fights while they tried to work this out.

I don't remember seeing this, but the kids found a tire graveyard somewhere along the way.

Midway through Day 2, the Snuggie became a makeshift wall. Kimberly was fed up with being stuck in a car all day with everyone.

Aimee passed the time waving at all the big rig drivers we passed and seeing if they would wave back. There are quite a few pictures like this one of one of the other kids trying to document this process. What we ended up with was a lot of pictures of tractors where you can't make out the driver, let alone if he's waving or not.

No road trip would be complete without a truck with an eagle/flag mural on it's back windows.

And finally, Welcome to PURE Michigan, not just Michigan, but PURE Michigan.
Notice in the lower right hand corner.
That's me, rubbing my temples.