Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Monday's are usually my favorite days. Everyone is back to work and school and I have the morning to gather my thoughts and eat a leisurely breakfast before starting my day. My friend, E, who I carpool with has her husband take the kids to school since he is off on Mondays.

Today, however, has been a bit odd. We had a new dishwasher delivered this morning and my husband uninstalled the old one last night. This morning I wake up to a leak in one of the dishwasher hoses - thankfully just a slow leak but still an inconvenience. My husband had to come home and semi-install the new dishwasher to stop the leak. I have been washing the dishes in the wet bar sink instead of the kitchen sink since something is turned off there and the hubby said not to use it until the new dishwasher is totally installed. I am thankful to have a wet bar sink and not have to resort to washing the dishes in the bathroom - something I am sure we've all had to do at one time.

I have some things in the wash right now (I can still wash clothes, thankfully) and then I am off to do some end of month things for one of my clients and for my husband. Having the last day of the month fall on a Monday makes it a little less serene than I'd like. But I am thankful to have some work even thought I am swamped right now. That's the way it should be I suppose.

As I read the preview of this post I noticed I used the word 'thankful' a lot. I reached for the thesaurus and decided that I would leave it alone. Although redundant, I think it symbolizes this Monday. I should call it 'thankful Monday'.

My family will surely be very thankful if I can get to the grocery store today as well....

While you are upon earth,
enjoy the good things that are here.
~John Selden

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hippity Hoppity...

I was looking at my calendar and realized that Ash Wednesday is in 2 weeks. Which means Easter is in about 8. I usually skip right over St. Patrick's Day ( although I made a really cute, cheap little St. Patty's day 'decoration' which I'll try to show you next week.) and go straight to Easter. I love the 'Easter Bunny' part of Easter ( I love the religious part too but I usually decorate the bunny way). So fresh and bright.

Even though this year spring will officially arrive a month before Easter AND we live in Arizona so it will be getting H.O.T. by the end of April, Easter symbolizes the spring season to me. And after this winter (it was even cold here - actually, it is cold here now) I am more than ready for Spring. I thought it was here last week but apparently I was wrong.

So I will wait for Spring patiently. Planning for the day when I can plant some flowers that will not succumb to the frost of a chilly night. Picking out an Easter dress for my sweet girl to wear to church on Easter and then switch out of quickly into something more suitable to an egg hunt.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

~Anne Bradstreet

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another year?

Well, I am sad to say that I have been watching a bit of American Idol this year. Actually, more than a 'bit'. So much in fact that at the Top 24 I am predicting the Top 2. Like I am an expert or something. As with the past couple of years, I am keeping my predictions top secret so as not to jinx them. 'Cause I have that much power...

I did say to my husband about one of my choices 'if they pick him/her to go to the Top 24 he/she will win the whole thing'. I know, you're on the edge of your seat now aren't you??

Take this all with a grain of salt. Remember, I picked Chris Daughtry to win a few years ago....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cover that window...

I have never been a fan of window treatments. If I had my way all of my windows would be uncovered. But I married a man who would keep the shades closed all day if he could (part vampire, maybe?) so cover the windows I must. Plus in the summer keeping the blinds shut during the day keeps the house a lot cooler.

When we moved into our house all the windows had vertical blinds. I have never been a fan of verticals but I knew it was something that would be easy to change. We have converted most of our windows to 2" faux wood blinds - faux wood works well here in the AZ heat and sun. Our sliding glass doors (another thing I am not a fan of) in our bedroom and playroom have cellular blinds which I quite like. Our bedroom has room darkening ones for the hubby. :)

I got my new Pottery Barn bed & bath catalog yesterday and fell in love with these drapes. The are room darkening bedroom drapes. I don't need them in the bedroom but dream about them in our dining area. But truth be told, I can't imagine every buying them because they are expensive (although I am sure they are worth every penny!) and even if I got a great deal on them they are dry clean and I really like being able to put my drapes in the wash (a chore for tomorrow, actually). So I'll continue to dream about these yummy blue drapes and the day when I am not so practical.

What I really would like to cover my windows with are plantation shutters. I love the clean look of them and how finished windows look with them. We have looked into them and since we have a child to send to college we have decided that the faux wood blinds are just perfect for now.
But it's always nice to have a plan for the future of our windows....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No foyer, no mudroom... problem!

We have virtually no foyer in our house and definitely no mudroom (not much mud in Arizona!) but I wanted some place for backpacks, jackets, shoes, etc.

When we added some cabinets in our dining area I asked the cabinet maker to make a little bench with cubbies and some hooks at the end of the wall closest to the front door.

This is it at it's very neatest. It doesn't look like that too often! I am on my 2nd set of canvas bins. They just don't last forever but I have always been able to find great deals on them (both times @ Kmart). If I ever were to find baskets to fit at a great price I would love to have them in the cubbies for some texture.
One cubbie houses LM's shoes, the other one has the a dog leash and gloves (yes, we need them sometimes!) If you have multiple children you could designate a bin per child and make a cute label for the bin.

If you are unable to build a cubbie and only have limited space try a large basket placed on the floor and some hooks on a wall near the door. In other words, make your own 'mudroom'. It's so nice to have a place to keep those shoes and backpacks that keeps your entry way relatively neat.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lost & Found...

Last night when I went to pick LM up from ballet I spent a few minutes talking to her teacher. Before we left she said, "LM only had one ballet shoe today". So I asked LM about it and she said there was only one shoe in her bag. We dug through her ballet bag & the missing shoe bin at the ballet studio but didn't find the match.

I did, however, find her black bolero that I spent forever looking for on Friday night. Amazingly, I never thought to look in her ballet bag for her sweater.
Here's hoping I find that other ballet shoe in an odd spot.
Before next Monday...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Good Morning, Valentine!

(I have no idea why my picture rotated when I downloaded it. It started out with the oj on the top right!)

Since Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year I had to do a quickie breakfast, just like every school day. French toast is always appreciated and quick. A little powdered sugar heart adds just the right touch. The hubby even got a powdered sugar heart on his Ezekiel toast this morning!
I have a special dinner planned for tonight too. Tortellini w/ red sauce, garlic bread and salad. And the Red Velvet cupcakes I made...
Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine Central....

We're getting ready for the 'big' day around here. Finally finished decorating last week - just in the nick of time. The mantle is showing a little love. I know the TV is super romantic. Here's a little color that doesn't shout Valentine but puts me in the spirit a bit. My sister got me the jar for Christmas and I just L O V E it!
Here's LM's Valentine station. Her lucky Valentines will get to enjoy the fun dip - pure sugar. She has ballet on Monday so she will get to exchange Valentine's with those friends as well.

I am off to buy what I need to make some red velvet cupcakes. Thanks for the idea, Laurie!
Love is in the air!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Teacher's Valentine's Day gifts...

Yes, it's that time again. Time to think of teacher's gifts for Valentine's Day. I was in Staples the other day and was perusing their $1 area. I saw small clipboards for $1 each and pads of lined paper for the clipboards for $1 for a 2 pack. Then the light bulb went off! I could decorated the clipboards and use them as teacher gifts. $1.50 for each gift (I don't count the decorations in the cost since I am using paper, ribbons, stickers, etc that I already have-but if you need to buy other things I would add that into the cost.) I gathered all my supplies:
  • Clipboards and pads of paper
  • Mod Podge (I love this stuff!) & foam brush
  • Paper cutter
  • Scrapbooking paper, stickers, ribbon
I cut the scrapbook paper to the size of the clipboard (6"X 9" in this case). I brushed the mod podge on the clipboard and placed the paper on top. I then brushed more mod podge on top of the paper. Then I added stickers and paper shapes and mod podged on top of that. I just kept layering. I added ribbons to the little hole on the top of the clipboard. I used as much ribbon as would fit -about 6 pieces.Here's the pad of paper on the clipboard, ready to use. But all the cuteness is underneath the paper! Below is the back of the clipboard.And here's the front. I wanted them to be for Valentine's but not scream 'Be Mine' so they can be used all year long.

So cute and useful. All for $1.50!

I am linking up to Wendy's Frugal Friday. There are some super cute craft ideas over there.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Old Homestead...

Last night we were watching an episode of House Hunters and the couple was looking for a new house in my husband's hometown, near St Louis. It was fun seeing if we recognized any of the streets or homes. After the show I asked him if he'd ever like to move back there. His response? "I don't have a job there." The man is not a daydreamer. I said, "if we HAD to move back there would you want to live in Webster Groves?" He said, "I don't know."

So, I started thinking what kind of house we could afford there (we are not moving). I logged onto , plugged in Webster Groves, a price range, bedroom & bath criteria, etc. Well, what to my wondering eyes should appear but...... the house my hubby grew up in!

Yes, the old homestead is on the market! It was neat to see how it's changed. The funny thing is that when my mother-in-law sold the house about six years ago we were under the impression that the new owners were going to tear down the old house and rebuild. It needed ALOT of work at that time. It looks like they just remodeled and finished the basement. It looks really nice.

Where we love is home-

home that our feet may leave,

but not our hearts.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Frugal Friday...

It's time for Frugal Friday again. Okay, so it's Saturday but better late than never, right?

I wanted to share my frugal February idea. This is the 3rd year in a row that we have had a 'no spend' February. I got the idea somewhere on line but don't remember where. The basic premise is that we spend no money in February. Yes, we still buy groceries, although I do tweak the budget down a bit, and any other truly necessary things (like medicine if one of us is sick). But we don't buy anything else - no clothes (we can all make it through the month for sure), no sporting goods, no toys, no gifts, no going out to eat, no home decor (this is sometimes painful for me), no hair cuts. Not much of anything, really. My husband & I still get our 'allowance' each week. I even put back a truly hilarious card (that would be perfect for a friend who just got out of the hospital) when I was at CVS yesterday (waiting for a prescription). It was only $1.99 but it was not a necessity (I sent my friend a nice note just a day before so she knows we're thinking of her.)

Why do I do this? From September - January it is gift giving central around here: my birthday, our anniversary, hubby's birthday, mother-in-law's birthday, my mom's birthday. Add Christmas and LM's birthday in Jan and we are coming off a spending frenzy. February seemed a good time to do this since there's not much going on for us. Kind of like a spending detox. We do have Valentine's day to deal with but I plan ahead for that and we are not big Valentine's day spenders.

My husband was a little leery about this the first year. Frankly, he thought I was losing it. This year he seems on board and even tells his friends about it.

A no spend month makes me realize how much we spend on things that we don't truly need. The money we save usually goes into savings and it's neat to see that balance grow so much between Feb 1 & Mar 1. Some people take the savings and make a donation to a favorite charity. A great idea. Others put it towards a vacation. The fun thing is that there IS extra money and we get to decide what to do with it.

Does anyone else out there do anything like this? I'd love to hear about it....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Back to normal...

My husband went back to work today after being home sick for 2 days. He rarely gets sick but when he does watch out! He even missed hockey on Wed and Thurs - that's how you know it's bad.

Today things are back to normal. Smokey has his chair back and I can vacuum without waking anyone up. I have sheets to wash (an everyday event when the flu hits - I needed to wait the past two days for him to get out of bed for a few minutes so I could change everything out) for what I hope will be the last time this week. I'll just basically be getting back into my routine and doing my thing.

We have had our coldest temps here in the past 25 years. So even though it's balmy compared to some places (my sister called me on Wed from UT where it was -20!) it's cold for us. It was 21 degrees yesterday morning when LM left for school. We don't have to bundle up much so I needed to remember to make sure she had on long pants (not capris), boots, socks and a heavy jacket. Today was a bit warmer- about 30 - and is supposed to warm up to almost 60 so things are getting back to normal here. Hopefully it's warming up for the rest of the country, too!

Well, I am off to take care of that vacuuming...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Now, there's a thought...

Be who you're meant to be,
not what you've become because every one's so busy.
I am not a Glenn Beck fan. No particular reason. He just came along too late to join my talk show party. I have the shows I listen to and LOVE but there just wasn't room for one more. So I never listen or watch.
Until today.
He is on the talk radio station on XM right before Dave Ramsey (who I do have room for). I turned to the station this morning thinking it was time for Dave but it wasn't. Glenn Beck was on talking about stockpiling food for an emergency (I think). As I was getting ready to change the channel I heard him say this:
Be who you're meant to be
not what you've become
because every one's so busy
I thought, 'I have to remember that.' I am not sure if the thought this up on his own or if he was quoting someone else. I am not sure it matters but if someone knows I'd love to give credit where credit is due.
I think alot of folks can (and should) apply this to their lives. To themselves. Hopefully we all know our authentic selves. But how many of us live it everyday with all the hustle and bustle going on? Is is just easier to go with the flow and not worry about who we really are, what's really important, what's right? Sometimes it is. But just because something is easy doesn't mean it's what we should do. Being who we're meant to be takes a little effort, maybe even a little courage sometimes. But that's a good thing. Something to think about...