Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shop at home...

Times are tough out there but that doesn't mean we don't like a new look in our homes every now and then. I like to think that I am pretty good at re-purposing things around the house. A coat of paint can change everything. Sometimes you don't even need that.

When I bought this barn star @ my favorite store it was cream. I painted it blue (Sea Breath by Valspar @ Lowes) and hung it on the brown wall in my kitchen. I then moved it about 6 feet to the white wall between the kitchen & dining area (pictured below).

Yesterday morning I got the urge to move it to the hallway/entryway on a beige wall. I quite like it. A lot.

I pondered painting it black and putting it in the newly painted, light blue hallway (I have yet to show you that but promise to once I get things put back on the wall) & still may do that. So forget Target, Michaels, even a garage sale. Shop at home...
I am linking up to Wendy's Frugal Friday again. It doesn't get much more frugal than free!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All That Candy...

It's that time of year when all parents ask 'What do we do with all that candy?'

We don't want to let the kids eat it all (or eat it all ourselves) & I feel horribly guilty tossing it out too soon. I have heard of people who let their kids eat all the candy they want for a couple of days and then pitch everything else. I haven't done that one yet.

I heard of a great idea this year. It's called Halloween Candy Buyback. Dentists buy back the candy from kids (I have heard some are giving $1 for each pound of candy but the amount may be different for some dentists) and donate the candy to Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude then sends the candy to US Military serving in harm's way. Go to the Halloween Candy Buyback website, put in your zip code and a list of dentists close to you will pop up. Drop off the candy there and they take care of the rest. What a great way to get rid of the sugar and do a good thing at the same time. It sets a great example for your kids, too.

Don't forget the tried and true uses for the candy either:

  • Use the candy for Gingerbread Houses and cookie decorations at Christmas time.

  • Use it for ice cream toppings.

  • Package it up in cellophane bags with cute ribbons and tags to give as gifts for teachers, coaches, friends, etc.

Don't forget to check the candy your kids receive thoroughly and toss the stuff that's unwrapped, homemade or just plain suspicious or yucky looking.

And remember, they don't have to eat it all...

Monday, October 25, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year...

Yes, it's that time of year when Starbucks has their fabulous Pumpkin Spice Latte's. I had my first one last year and fell in love. The calorie count is insane, like a meal. But totally worth it on some days. I don't do whipped cream so that helps and if I remember to ask for non-fat milk that lops off a few more calories. If you want to see the calorie counts you can go to the Starbucks website. But is that really necessary? Maybe we should just enjoy it!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Yes, I am....

I am totally in love with Nate Berkus. We go way back. I was beyond thrilled when his new show started this season. I have to confess that it was not quite what I expected and I wasn't sure if I would love the show as much as I love him. Well, after being on the air for a month or so I have decided that, yes, I do like it but it's just not what I thought it would be. If the producers had only called me for advice...

One day last week Jenny McCarthy was on. I have a love/hate relationship with her. She is a little (a lot) crass for me which is the hate part. However, I love what she has done as a mom for her son, who has autism. She has been a champion for him and other kids with autism. I was totally impressed with her dedication to making his life better. You have to respect a woman who will risk everything for her child. I'd like to think all moms would do that - I know I would. I just didn't know she had it in her. (disclaimer: I don't agree with how she went about everything and this is not meant to be a platform on vaccinating vs. not vaccinating - or anything else.)

When Jenny walked out on the stage Nate said, 'You look beautiful'(she did). Her response was 'Yes, I am.' That caught me off guard as I would have said 'thank you', so I was back to the hate part. But she went on and said something like, 'I don't like it when people don't take a compliment - just brush it off or say no I don't - so I decided that I would agree with the beautiful comment.'

That got me thinking about how hard it seems for people to take compliments from others gracefully. Most of us work hard to look nice each day. Or be nice. Or helpful. Or good moms. Or good wives. Or good co-workers. Some days 'good' is easier than others. I don't think most people would compliment us if they didn't really believe what they were saying. So why to we brush off those compliments as not accurate?

I am on a mission to accept any compliment gracefully. Are you in?

Monday, October 18, 2010


So, I say to my husband the other day, 'what is the possibility of you taking down the fan in the dining room this winter and putting up a chandelier, then putting the fan back up next summer?' I wasn't expecting much, I thought he would look at me like I was crazy and that would be the end of it.

'That shouldn't be a problem,' he says.

'I would want to change it out each season,' I say.

'Sure, it would be fine.'

Okay then, I want a chandelier. I would like it to be up all year long but it is so blazin' hot in the summer it's just not possible. Our 'dining room' is not a separate room at all but really part of the kitchen so it's hot when I cook. And in the summer we need a fan or we will pass out while we're eating.

I found this chandelier pictured above while I was perusing the Pottery Barn catalog. It's what prompted the conversation. And it's on sale until the end of the month.

But it gets better, my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. So I said 'a chandelier'. I am going to look around and see if I find anything I like better but if not, this is it.

Guess I know what hubby will be doing on December 26th...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Potato Famine...

I had to run to the store on Friday to pick up a couple of potatoes for the corn chowder I was making. Easy enough, right? Two potatoes was all I needed.

I entered the produce department and head to the potatoes. Lots of sweet potatoes but someone beat me to the last two russet potatoes. The last two potatoes. I started to wonder if we were having a potato festival this weekend and I just didn't get the message. Luckily, I found a bag of russets on sale so I could still make the chowder.

I wasn't at my usual store. I stopped at this one to also get this beautiful $7 fairy tale pumpkin. I still can't believe it was only $7. I just love it. (Please excuse the half dead plant below!) This wasn't the prettiest pumpkin there but it did have the BEST stem. I really think a pumpkin is all about the stem.

So, the whole potato famine was worth it to get this pretty pumpkin...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pottery Barn knockoff...

I loved these chalkboard rocks I saw in the Pottery Barn catalog. I didn't love the price - $16.00 for four. But I have chalkboard paint and the desert is full of rocks so I thought I'd make my own.

I washed the rocks and let them dry.
I painted them and let them dry. The paint dries pretty quickly.

Above is the completed product. They're not as smooth and polished as the PB ones but I like the rugged look. And the rugged price!

Here they are on the mantle. I am thinking about making more...
I'm joining Wendy today at the Shabby Nest for Frugal Friday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


We spent last weekend in Phoenix so my husband could play in an ice hockey tournament at the arena, home of the Phoenix Coyotes. Kind of a dream come true for a hockey player who didn't quite make it to the big leagues. It was fun as a spectator, too. There weren't too many of us so we had front row seats. We also got a tour of the Coyotes locker room area. This is their workout room. They have inspirational quotes painted all over the room. I love the one below.
'The price of greatness is hard work.'
So true.
Here is LM in front of the doors that lead to the locker room, workout room, trophy case and hot/cold tub area. They had to radio up to have the doors unlocked. I think it looks so sophisticated. I kind of expected some non-descript door.
Here's the hubby in action. He's the one in the red jersey with the orange leg warmers. Apparently, players call them socks although there is no foot in them. Sounds like a leg warmer to me!

Out on the ice skating over the coyotes logo. See how empty it is in the stands?

Here he is in the penalty box. The only place I could get a good close up of him in his uniform.

His team was 2-2 and he scored a goal which was the highlight for him. So it was a pretty good weekend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week in review....

Last week I joined Monica's Make your home a haven week. It should have been more like make your car a haven week here. I was running around all week from one end of town to the other. Not quite what I planned.

But I do think I got a few things accomplished:

~organized the playroom - the garage is full of stuff to take to the goodwill (good bye little people!) We got a new flat screen TV for in there so it looks like there's alot more space and with the big purge there really is. Next 'room' to clear out obviously is the garage!
~I love, love, love my new planner and it is easy to use (a biggie for me) and everyone can see what is going on all week. Since school is back in session this week it will be the true test since everything is much busier this week....
~Had a good week with my morning routine. Again, a school week is the true test. It's a conscious effort to keep it going but when it works life is good and...
~laundry is under control. It's been a while, unfortunately. Not that anyone has a shortage of things to wear but we all have our faves.

This week is going to be absolutely crazy:
  • Monday- work @ my husband's office, scrapbook club (I have my priorities!), take LM to ballet, pick up LM, feed her, hockey board meeting for the hubby and me (hopefully my last one??)
  • Tues - take kids to school, PTA board meeting, payroll for hubby, side job, pick up 6 girls after school and take them to Brownies.
  • Wed- my 'slow day'! Famous last words. LM has CCD after school, that's all.
  • Thurs -dentist, meet with new insurance guy for hubby's life insurance policy, dance class.
  • Friday- No tardy picnic @ LM's school.

So in between all that I will do what needs to be done to keep this house running like a well oiled machine.

I am reading a book now that I am really enjoying and am taking some ideas/advice from. 'Stay Home, Stay Happy' by Rachel Campos-Duffy. I liked the title and she is a mom of 6 so I figured she might have something useful to say - I was a little unsure after I started the book - she's a good writer and easy to read but the first chapter was not the 'help' I was looking for. And then along came the second chapter- which is where I am now- I am liking some of her ideas and will probably implement them.

We were out of town over the weekend for an ice hockey tournament (for my husband) so I hope to post a little about that later this week. But if you don't see my for a few days re-read the bullet points in this post and you'll know why...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Make your home a haven...

Monica is hosting 'Make your home a haven' week this week. I love the weeks she does this and it's perfect timing for me this week.

LM has fall break this week so I am home more than I have been lately and can concentrate more on home when I am here (obvious, I know).

One thing Monica talks about and I love the idea of is a morning routine. We have a routine all right but it's not quite as serene as I would like. Or quite frankly, as serene as it was before LM started school. I often doubt our decision to put her into our local public school and not home school her but I know for her it was the right decision. Maybe not for me, but for her definitely.

Part of the problem really enjoying my morning routine is getting up earlier. I get up between 5:30 and 6. Pretty early, right? The problem is that my husband goes to work between 6:15 and 6:30 and I need to make his breakfast for him to take and then LM usually is up when he leaves. For some reason, she will sleep in for about 30 extra minutes when school is out, so I am loving this week off.

My ideal morning routine is this:

  • Make hubby's breakfast & feed dog (they don't get the same breakfast!)

  • Make a cup of green tea

  • Quiet time

  • News (10-15 min). I like to start the day knowing what is going on out there.

  • Shower

  • Read

Once LM is up things start to move quickly. I usually eat breakfast with her but on school days when my friend E drives the kids to school & I have nowhere to go first thing I will sit with her while she eats and then eat breakfast by myself - that's kind of my quiet time on those days.

Planning- I got this wonderful new dry erase planner the other day. It has all of our names plus a place for family plans and dinner down the side and each day of the week across the top. It is perfect for us and I am loving having one place to write down every one's plans. I have tried many different ways to keep up with our activities but haven't really liked anything. So far so good on this. I have always been one to plan my next day the night before. I am a planner and like to know what I have going on as far in advance as possible.

My plan for this week is to work on my morning routine and see if I can keep it going once school starts next week.

Today I have the following planned:

Morning routine

Breakfast - hopefully outside if it's cool enough.

Start Laundry

Scrapbooking @ my friend H's house. LM is coming too and we're taking a field trip to Michael's! I am glad she is old enough to enjoy doing this with us.

Finish Laundry

Organizing playroom (we sold the TV that was in there last night so I need to do some rearranging)

Quiet time for LM and some computer work for me - pay bills etc.

Dad is home at 4:30 and time to make dinner (pollo asada, salad, corn)

I'll be back and let you know how much I accomplished...

Monday, October 4, 2010


I mentioned the trip we took to Scottsdale over the weekend. Well, it's about a 3 hour trek. Here's what we listened there and back.
Radio Disney overload is what I have. I never realized they play the same songs over and over and over and over - you get the idea. I am well acquainted with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Taio Cruz and MDot and Meaghan Martin to name a few.

Could it be this is how our parents felt about Donny Osmond and David Cassidy?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Skipping winter???

There has been some talk around these parts about skipping winter. Not because we want to, but because it just didn't look like it was coming. They even mentioned it more than once on the nightly news. On Thursday it was a record breaking 107. Friday, 104 - close to a record but not quite. Saturday it looked like Mother Nature had a little change of heart and we got some rain and cooler weather. Today I don't think the thermometer even hit 100. Yippee!

Yesterday we headed out to Scottsdale to get some new ice skates for my husband for the ice hockey tournament he is in next weekend at the arena - where the Phoenix Coyotes play. We had also planned on doing some ice skating while we were there but we got a late start and it took longer than expected to get the skates. Thinking we were skating we got 'all bundled up' in jeans and long sleeve shirts but ended up roasting in the 100+ temps. Last weekend we also went ice skating (which is how we knew hubby could use the new ice skates) and froze. Go figure.

Here's to hoping this cool weather sticks around for a while. I guess there's still a chance of an Indian Summer though...