Thursday, July 31, 2008

Being Frugal...

I checked this book out at the library yesterday. I am eager to start on it today. It is by Lauren Weisberger, the auther of "The Devil Wears Prada". I am hoping it will be just as page turning. I didn't read her 2nd book (how did that get by me?) but I will put it on my list.

I just finished "Love the one you're with" by Emily Giffin, which I also got at the library. So I figure I have saved over $50 by getting these at the library. How frugal is that??

I figure I will need the extra $$ to pay my electric bill. It is so blazing hot here (112 today) and our lovely electric co just raised rates 20%. Ouch!! This is always done in the middle of the summer for some reason. I know this raise was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission. I should be more informed so I know WHY they did it. I need to look into this because I always like to think these things are done for a good reason and no one is out to 'get us'. So before I rant too much I will do some research. In the meantime, I will try to be frugal and only buy what we REALLY need (such a great concept for so many reasons).

Well, I am off to fix breakfast for my daughter and me. Oh, I need to feed the dog, too. Only 2 more weekdays of summer vacation...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

There's 104 days of summer vacation...

Well, not really for us but according Phineas & Ferb there are. Some days I wish for more summer vacation and some days I am glad that school starts on Monday.

Yesterday was a good day. Last night my daughter said "I had fun today even thought we didn't go too many places". We went to the post office to drop off mail (didn't get out of the car), vet and grocery store. She always wants to be on the go so I guessed this worked for her.

Our trip to the vet was for different medicine for the pooch. First, since she has been back from the kennel she has had diarehhea so we got some meds for that - I was getting tired of cleaning that mess up. Second, she was put on a new anti-inflammatory since her old one was not working. Monday night was scary; she couldn't get up by herself and once we got her up she could barely walk. These new meds seem to be helping. She had a good night and things look good so far this morning.

Today is my dad's birthday. We are having a small desert party for him tonight complete with a 'Cars' theme and goody bags. Guess who's idea all that was? It will be fun though - he's not much of a gift person - he buys what he wants so a little whimsy with the party will be fun. My dad's never been much of a b-day guy but this year will be especially hard since his mom just died & her b-day is on Monday. Two of my dad's brothers also had birthdays today and yesterday and they both passed away in the last 2 years. So, what used to be such a joyful family time will forever be a little less so. But we will try to make it special for a special person. I am making the cake this morning. I will try to make it kind of fun.

I have been snapping pictures all summer try to find that just right, cute as can be one of my daughter. They are all cute, but you know what I mean. I think I got it yesterday.

Isn't that cute? She is trying to hold her water balloons in the water (that's what the yellow thing is) So, mission accomplished for summer pictures.

I am off to watch the news and make a cake...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Remember Dr. Noah Drake...

from General Hospital? Gosh, the hours I spent watching that show. I watched it during the first big 'Luke and Laura' era. Remember Bobbie Spencer? And Colton? And I think Jack Wagner was on GH too (before his Melrose Place gig). But I definitely remember Dr. Noah Drake (Rick Springfield). Rick Springfield was on Good Morning America today singing a song from his new album (out tomorrow) and he mentioned that he is on GH again!! It is tempting to start watching again. I am sure it would only take a few episodes to be right back in the swing of things. Apparently he has a recurring role. Maybe I'll tune in when I have some free time...

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's been a long day...

My daughter & I were up and out a little before 9 am and for all intents and purposes arrived home at 5:10 pm. We made 2 stops at home to drop off things and check on the dog but the rest of the time we were shopping ('errand' type shopping, not 'fun' shopping) or in the car. We did meet my husband and dad for lunch which was a nice break. I want nothing more than to go nowhere over the weekend (not going to happen as we need food). Didn't make it to the grocery in all that time.

This is why we needed to check on the dog: the little bandages on her back paws are there because she had problems getting up in the kennel and rubbed her pads raw and they bled. Needless to say, she is having a rough time getting around. She will fall in an akward position and not be able to get up & she trips over anything that is in her path. I removed one of the bandages this afternoon but the paws were still bleeding so Dr Debra had to fashion a bandage for her using gauze and tape my husband uses for hockey sticks (he did happen to have some in pink) It's a lovely sight. Just one of the many reasons I am not in the medical profession. I will look at her paws in the a.m. If needed we'll run over to the vet and have then put a new bandage on.

I am on a mission to find a dress for my daughter to wear to my Grandma's funeral. I have found one I like at Gymboree but will probably run out to Dillards on Monday to see if they have anything before I order this one at Gymboree. My plan is to have her wear it for her Christmas pictures too - with a Navy cardigan. It is really hard to find something that I feel is appropriate for a funeral. Everything I see is to 'sundress-y' if you know what I mean. And those are the good ones. Lots of mini call girlish things out there these days. Yuck. And it should be hot so I want her to be comfortable but appropriate. Luckily, I have something to wear so I only have to hunt for one outfit. Oh, and of course, I don' t want to spend a fortune. Good luck to me. :)
Time to hit the sack for what will likely be another busy day tomorrow...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sad News...

We got a call at 6 am today that my Grandma had passed away. She was 91 and lived a full and happy life. Lots of friends and family. She was the nicest, kindest person. We will definitely miss her alot. She was a devout Mormon throughout her entire life so it seem fitting that she die on Pioneer Day. It was almost like she was waiting for this day.

I don't think it has really hit me fully that she is gone. I know it will when I want to pick up the phone to call her the first time. My Grandpa is doing okay. He was exhausted from taking care of her these past few months but I know he wouldn't have done it any other way. He can now get some rest knowing that she is in a better place.

This is a good reminder to us all not to take anyone or anything for granted...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's been a while...

Well, I cannot believe it is Wednesday evening. Where did the week go? Oh, I know.

We got a call from my dad on Saturday at noon saying my Grandmother had taken a turn for the worse and he and my mom were going up on Sunday. After very little discussion, my husband & I decided to go also. We rode separately as my husband needed to get back to work and my parents weren't sure how long they would stay. We arrived at my grandparent's about 5'ish on Sunday (after an 8 hour trip). My grandmother was asleep and had not been awake since Saturday afternoon. She is on morphine (she is in alot of pain, probably from stomach cancer but it has never been diagnosed since she told the doctor that she would not be cut open to find out - my grandma is 91.) So they have been giving her the morphine every couple of hours to keep the pain from getting too bad so she is sleeping. When she wakes she is in alot of pain. We just arrived home this evening. As of today she is still sleeping (now in a 'semi-coma' according to her nurse), hasn't had anything to eat or drink in 5 days, is still on the morphine. It is horrible to say the least. We didn't even let my daughter go in to see her - she waved to her from the back patio. It is getting harder each day for my grandpa. He is not sleeping much but he is still eating and getting lots of visitors and help (probably too much sometimes). So we sit and wait and pray for a peaceful passing. It could be a day or a week.

My grandma has lived a long and happy life with lots of friends and family. She has always been the picture of health so this is especially hard. I have been optimistic that she would recover but since Saturday I have come to the realization that the end is near and I can only now pray that she goes peacefully with her loved ones near.

On a brighter note, my husband & I saw "Mamma Mia" on Friday. It was really good. I would go see it again. We hardly go to the movies and if we do it's a weekend matinee so going on a Friday night was interesting. I think every tween and teen in town was either in the theater (NOT seeing "Mamma Mia" by the way!) or roaming around outside. Young girls walking around in small groups (& smaller clothing) in the dark. Kind of scary. I know we went to the movies when I was in high school but we wore more clothes back then.

Tomorrow morning the FINAL countertop installation will be done. The wetbar sink is in and we're ready to go. I have to go to Lowe's first thing in the morning to get the faucet. After that errand we need to pick the dog up at the kennel. We usually don't kennel her but she is 15 and I don't like to leave her alone anymore since she has fallen in the pool a few times and can't get out by herself. One of my friends watched her on Sunday & took her to the kennel for me on Monday since the kennel closed at noon on Saturday and we went to CA on Sunday. I am eager to see the pup - it's really quiet around here without her.

I finished reading "Love the one you're with" by Emily Giffin. It is a good book - an easy read. Not my favorite book of hers but still good. I think we will head to the library this week (I guess on Friday since the week is almost over) and see if they have anything new.

Since my daughter couldn't spend anytime at my Grandma's I was able to take her to get some back to school shopping done . They start school on August 4th so it's time to do that. I got everything she needed except socks, shoes, kleenex, and copy paper (don't get me started on the last two). I will probably take her next week to get the shoes and socks. My daughter really likes High School Musical and Hannah Montana so it was hard to steer her away from the 'character' clothing and to the other stuff. We did a pretty good job- we did break down and get her a Hannah tee-shirt(on sale for $4.48, thankfully). It is kind of cute but I am not sure I am going to let her wear it to school. They don't wear uniforms at her school (why not, I ask?) but I told her I wasn't sure if the first grade teachers let the kids wear character clothing. She informed me later that, yes, the first grade teachers did indeed allow characters...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mamma Mia!!

I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!! I have been waiting for this movie. I have seen the musical 3 times so this is the next thing. It starts today at 2 pm! I think my husband and I will go this weekend. Maybe even tonight. Now, we aren't the types to go to a movie on the opening weekend - not big fans of the crowds. But he tells me last night that it should be okay to go since we are not seeing 'Dark Knight' or 'Hellboy'. I don't think he thinks it will be quite as popular as those. :)
If you are not a fan of Abba you will probably still like the storyline. I have had more than one person say they enjoyed it despite the Abba connection. And if you LOVED Abba then you should really enjoy it.
Well, I am off to look for a babysitter in a while...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kitchen update..

The wet bar sink is still not in but the cabinet guys are coming tomorrow morning to put the counter in the hallway and put the slide outs in the pantry. Hopefully they are bringing the missing backsplash for the kitchen and I can post those pictures. The sink still might come in today. The only good thing about dragging this out is that we get to keep a hold on our money longer. :)

The dining room is open to the kitchen. You can see a bit of the green wall. I am not painting that now but I thought new panels on the window might connect the 2 rooms nicely. I wanted chocolate silk panels (read: expensive and dry clean only) but I found 'faux silk' ones at Kmart in the Martha Stewart line (read: much less expensive and washable). So I got the faux silk ones and hung them yesterday for a trial run. I think I like them. My husband actually noticed them last night just hours after I hung them. A new record for him. We usually go days before he notices new things. So I will wash them today and get the creases out.

I am still looking for accessories for the kitchen. I am going with a robin's egg blue - I just love that w/ the chocolate. I am considering painting the dining room wall blue but for now it will wait. That wall is far enough from the blue in the kitchen that it will work for now. Plus you don't see it when you are looking into the kitchen from the living room. I have a couple blue things so far. I want to put picture in the frame - a landscape type of thing - printed in Sepia tones - and
hang the frame on the wall. The wall space is pretty limited, which isn't a bad thing. The area in which I can really make the color pop is on the windows. So I am looking for a fabric to use as a small valance. I fell in love with the plate and bowls a while back at this darling store here called Bella. When I went in to look at them again they were 60% off - SOLD! So here I sit waiting for inspiration, ideas, something to hit me over the head; I don't know what! I have found some cute fabric at Warm Biscuit. I will probably end up going with something there. I just need to think.
We have a playdate today at a friend's home. Every five minutes my daughter asks, "when are we going toTaylor's?" Not until lunch time. I guess they would apprectiate it if I took a shower...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Seems like old times...

This has been the summer of old friends coming back to town. A few years ago, I went through about an 8 month period of friends moving (for various reasons). I was seriously starting to get a complex. This summer I feel better since two good friends have returned. One is here to stay for good, the other has purchased a vacation home. Whatever works, I say. These friends have kids my daughter's age and miraculously, they still seem to get along. They are really good moms who have the same philosophy on raising kids that I do. As my daughter gets older that seems harder to find. It's been fun catching up and getting together just like the 'old days'.

Tonight I took my daughter to the library's reading program finale. It was our first time since it is in the evening and I am such a sleep nazi that I don't, as a general rule, take her out at night. It started at 6:30 and we got home a bit before 8. She was beat but had fun. They had prizes galore, snacks and put on a really cute puppet show. We were able to check out a few books (because, as you can imagine, we don't have enough-haha) and spend some time in "Kid's town". Some of our friends were there so it was a real social activity for my daughter.

Speaking of reading - my daughter will be in 1st grade in August (less than 3 weeks until school starts) and her reading has improved a ton since summer started. I am truly amazed. Even better is that she seems to be comprehending most of what she reads. She is reading the early chapter books (like Junie B. Jones, which I have issues with but they are a good level for her). I saw that they have "Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew" - I had never seen them and I am eager for her to read those (maybe more eager than she is.) She seems to really like reading and is proud of herself. It was just like a light went off for her and she started soaring.

So, we live in Arizona and for some reason unknown to me school starts in early August. Now it is generally still well over 100 degrees in August - usually 110+. So, I ask, why doesn't school run through June (generally a cooler month than August) and start in September (ditto)? I am sure there is some really great reason - I just haven't found out what it is. The school superintendent is on our local radion station every now and then (usually complaining about a lack of $) so I need to call and ask the question. I am sure if they adjusted the schedule they could save ton on A/C plus we wouldn't have to worry about our kids passing out on the playground - yes they have outdoor recess when it's 110.

That being said, it will be nice to get back into the school routine. I enjoy not having to run out every morning but at the same time the routine is nice. My daughter is ready to be back with her friends everyday and to have a jam packed day. Every day she asks "what are we doing today?" Often she doesn't like the answer, "staying home."

Speaking of school, I hear I am the bulletin board coordinator for the PTA. What?? My friend, who is the PTA president, asked if I would do it. She said it 'won't take much time' - famous last words. For some reason, I said yes so I assume that a project is on the horizon.

A countertop update: The wet bar sink is holding things up. Hopefully it will be in this week and we can finish this project. I was hoping for tomorrow but I am not sure it will happen. I am still trying to figure out accessories and trying to decide if I want some sort of window treatment other than blinds. I have time to think about that since the blinds are up so the other treatment would just be an accent. So many little details to think about. I promise when it's all done there will be pictures. Promise.

I am off to work on reading my latest book, "Love the one you're with" by Emily Giffin. It's a library book so I'm on a deadline...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Movie night...

My husband and I watched "Vantage Point" last night after my daughter went to bed. Oh my, the showing of the same thing over and over was irritating to say the least. Luckily, we were able to fast forward it and keep the story going.

The actual storyline was really good but I wish it had been told differently (but then the name of the movie would have to be changed!) Of course, anything with Dennis Quaid can't be too bad. He played a good guy, too. Forrest Whitaker was good, as always. And remember Matthew Fox from "Party of 5"? He played Quaid's colleague and turned out to be a bad guy. I figured this out fairly early on which is unusual for me. :)
All in all it's a pretty good movie. I think if we were prepared for the 'Groundhog Day' -like aspect we might have not been as 'miffed'. But if you're prepared it's worth a watch.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too Young...

The very first thing I heard when I turned on Fox News this morning was about the sad passing of Tony Snow. I knew he had cancer but it still came as a shock to me. I am still trying to digest it.

Anyone who has spent any time watching Fox News will remember him as a wonderful host (the first) of "Fox News Sunday". That voice. It was so distinguishable; you always knew it was him even if you weren't watching.

The world has lost one of the good guys (didn't this happen in June with the passing of Tim Russert, too?). Susan Estrich called Tony Snow a 'gem'. Even though I didn't know him I must agree.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The $10,000 vase...

My uncle used to tell a story about a vase he picked up for my aunt in Italy. It is beautiful, tall and was a perfect fit for the dining room so he thought she would love it. The vase itself cost about $100 or so. The vase arrives at home one day and my aunt loves it BUT... the new vase makes the table look shabby, so, voila they are the proud owners of a new dining room table that seats about 8. With the new table and the new vase the china cabinet looks a little worn. You see where this is going. So the new vase was the inspiration for the new dining room table, the new china cabinet and new carpet. The $100 vase has now cost my uncle $10,000!

This is what we are experiencing here right now. We are getting new countertops, we have to get a new faucet, new R/O dispenser, new sink for the wet bar and possibly a new faucet for the wet bar, as well as paint and a few new pieces of tile for the floor. As if that weren't enough my husband thought we needed a new dining room table. This never crossed my mind, even though our old table is over 10 years old. So the new dining room table was delivered today. It is beautiful I must say. It really does look much better. We got it on sale which is always a plus.

My uncle passed away last year so I know he is looking down at us smiling, I mean laughing!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"It's not horrible"....

After 10 years I have learned that this is a compliment from my husband when he is talking about dinner - particularly something new I made. So it went tonight. I made meatballs - not too challenging for sure but I have never made them before. I got the idea from a friend who was making them not too long ago when I dropped my daughter off for a playdate. I am really trying to expand our dinner selections. It was getting really bad there for a while (quesadillas, tacos, spaghetti, breakfast for dinner, etc) Tonight I made the meatballs, served them with rice and corn.


3/4 lb lean ground beef
1 egg white
4 soda crackers, crushed
1 can cream of mushroom soup made according to soup directions on the can

Mix first 3 ingredients together and form into balls.
Cook in skillet until brown. Mix in soup. Cover & let simmer for as long as needed (I did about 2 hrs), stirring occasionally. Put soup in the same skillet you brown the meat in so any meat 'crumbs' will be in the mushroom gravy.

There is just 3 of us so I am sure you need to adjust everything for a bigger family. But it was good and I basically cooked everything about 4 pm and we ate about 6. I used the Uncle Ben's brown and wild rice combo that comes in the orange packet and cooks in 90 second. Brilliant idea! I find that the rice is usually too expensive but I found it at Super Walmart for much less than the grocery.

I am not sure what I will do tomorrow night to top this...