Monday, December 22, 2008
In the meantime, I had to enter this contest for a beautiful organic Ergo. I don't have one of these, but I wouldn't mind winning this one. No, I wouldn't mind at all!
Win a Free Organic Embroidered Ergo Baby Carrier Hands Free System
from Along for the Ride
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Yes, the pharmacy. I've just discovered an insane, obsessed cult of crazed penny-pinchers that shop at CVS for pennies on the dollar. And I've joined them.
Would have been $16.14
Would have been $28.26
Saved $ 31.09
Would have been $36.21
Would have been $29.60
Would have been $24.50
I've got it all entered into a spreadsheet. That's how nuts this is. I'm getting stuff nearly for free after coupons and Extra Bucks. And not crap either -- name brand toothpaste, lotion, diapers, batteries, pantyliners, ibuprofen, hair care, the list goes on. Stuff we use.
Get started here. Follow along here. These ladies plan out your shopping for you!
Let me know if you get hooked too. We can swap coupons.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Silly me. I filled out the parent volunteer form and checked all the boxes that appealed to my crafty side -- sewing, scrapbooking, cutting stuff up. Since I don't expect to be able to help out in class (infant siblings are quite a distraction), I thought I could do my volunteer stuff at home. Later in the year. After my freelance job is done. I didn't realize that it would be this soon. Oops.
Last week, I was asked to help sew W.E.B. bags. These are book bags that carry the little readers' "Wonderfully Exciting Books," a beginning reading program that the kids use both in the classroom and at home. Each day, the student chooses a book in their reading level (A-J) to practice reading themselves, and a storybook that they read with an adult. These books, along with a reading journal that that parents and teachers use to track the minutes read, go in the W.E.B. bags back and forth to school.
On the supply lists, the teacher asked for 1/2 yard of fabric. Eight pieces of fabric were sent home in my kid's backpack, along with instructions for the bags. I just finished them tonight. They are very simple, and stitched up quickly. The bags are held closed with velcro strips and feature a nameplate on the front (I'm gonna let the teacher use her pretty handwriting to put their names on -- I am not to be trusted with a Sharpie).
So, I took a needed break from the freelancing to get this sewing done. I think they came out fine. I hope the kids like them!
(NB: the Hannah Montana bag does not belong to my child. Although I did hide it from her while I was working on it, because she would want it for herself!)
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Yet each week for the last several months, the $5 coupons have entered my home, and left in the recycle bin, expired and unused.
Each week, I would see the coupon, tell myself that it was time to visit, and then forget. A couple of weeks later, I was lamenting the expiration date. Meanwhile, my friends raved about the store, making it a regular destination. I was still clueless. Until today.
Wow. I was impressed. I had heard that they have next-t0-the-door family parking spaces, good prices on organics, a nice variety of store-brand items, and yummy bottled dressings. I had also heard about over-packaged meat and produce wasting plastic, and an excess of prepared meals for lazy, I mean, busy people. What I found was an orderly store, with all the basics at eye level and good prices. The lack of visual clutter makes most other grocery stores look like gimmicky one-ride theme parks designed by Kraft & Kellogg's marketers.
They seemed to have everything we needed today. Plus lots of stuff that the kids tried to sneak into the cart but got caught and vetoed (gummi bears, chocolate powder, corn dogs). There were some protests, but we bought other stuff they like, so everyone was satisfied.
Finally, we found that all the checkouts are self-service. The girls loved helping bag the groceries, and an employee came by to give us additional coupons. I can't believe I bought seven bags of groceries for $42!
We will definitely be going back. If it weren't for the cubhouse, I might not have to shop at Basha's any more. (Well, except our Basha's has a Starbucks too. I still have priorities.)
Monday, July 28, 2008
A beloved family member who is staying with us was cooking dinner while I was feeding the baby. After the baby was done, I went to serve dinner to the kids -- spaghetti with meat sauce, their favorite. It looked odd, but I didn't think anything of it, because I trust her cooking.
A moment after diving into the spaghetti, M commented, "This is hot." E started waving her hand wildly at her face and motioning for something to drink. I was looking at the sauce in the pot, confused. Why did she put peppers in it? Are those... jalapeno seeds?
Then it dawned on me. She didn't use the jar of spaghetti sauce I bought the other day. I peeked into the recycling bin.
There was an empty jar of Pace Picante Sauce at the bottom of the bin I had just emptied this morning.
After I picked myself up off the floor and found my breath from laughing hysterically, I served the girls plain noodles and put aside the meat sauce. Needless to say, we're having tacos tomorrow.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
But we did not choose these mangoes. They chose us, by virtue of leaping themselves into our co-op basket.
There were these beautiful mangoes on my counter this afternoon, begging to be put to proper use and not be left to over-ripen (as their sad tropical kitchen neighbors, the black bananas, had). My oldest child came to me with sagging shoulders and a wanting expression. "Mom, can I have a snaaaaaack?"
Sure, I thought. I could whip up a lovely banana frappe with fresh mango. However, the bananas were beyond rescue. Poor things.
The mango, on the other hand, was juicy, succulent, and in season somewhere in the world (I've heard that you can't give away mangoes in Hawaii in the summer, they are so plentiful that they drip from the trees and no one wants more). We even have a relative with a mango farm in Mexico... however, lacking an import license, they can't bring them over the border.
Then the light bulb turned on: sorbet!
Here's the recipe that my kids liked so much that it's just about gone already. In one afternoon, we have each had three bowls. That's why it’s called "Disappearing" – if you have mangoes to make disappear, this will help.
(I adapted this recipe from Cuisinart's cookbook and cut the sugar in half—if your mangoes are ripe, this is sweet enough.)
Disappearing Mango Sorbet
2 cups mango chunks (approx 3-4 mangoes)
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water (you could substitute mango nectar or pineapple juice and leave out the sugar)
juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
Process ingredients down to a puree in a food processor or blender. Add to ice cream maker and freeze according to machine’s directions. Serve immediately and ENJOY!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Amanda Soule, you inspire and humble the rest of us!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
(Left to right) Front row: felted pincushion and pins accentuated with shrinky-dink decorations; felt needle book; another felt needle book; pincushion in a hand-painted wooden box. Back row: hand-dyed gold playsilk; homemade lavendar and olive oil bath fizzies in a cute box; decoupage vase. Not pictured: my own craft, a crocheted Java Jammie (oops, forgot to take a picture--I will next time I make another).
I love this new tradition in our tribe!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Yesterday, while Baby C was taking one of his long naps to recover from an outing (after we had a shopping misadventure at the children's resale shop... more on that later), I decided to sew up a clothespin bag for my outdoor clothesline. Desperate times call for crafty solutions, and I had scored the last package of clothespins at the 99-Cent Store (there was a run on the clothespins while we were there, with three other customers and two employees involved, racing around the store to find them--who got to them first? My smart but rambling grandmother-in-law!)
Anyways, with Grandma watching intently, I got out some fabric, and tried to wing it through a clothespin bag, which I immediately screwed up. She asked, "What are you trying to make?" I told her, then she quietly came over and showed me how.
Man, I love her!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I also made a crazy banana, but it is already lost in the house somewhere. I think I'm going to try to make an eggplant, bunch of grapes and a carrot next. The string bag was also very quick to make but it didn't come out as big as I had visualized.
I think I know what I will make for Christmas presents for our nieces!
The most recent event that filled my kitchen with smoke (it was supposed to be key lime pie).
Something about how my kids are still talking about the burned pizza (and telling EVERYONE. Repeatedly.)
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
This is what we got in our Bountiful Basket two weeks ago.
It's gone... we ate it all. Really. (Okay, except for half of the cabbage... I don't like cabbage and have had a hard time cooking with it.)
That's an amazing accomplishment for our family. We eat well, but I tend to overbuy veggies from the supermarket and end up tossing half in the trash because they spoil too soon to be used or too late from being forgotten. Now that we are buying from this co-op, it's really transformed our meals.
Some of you may scoff and say, "Geez, that's not all that much to use up, we go through twice as many fruits and veggies in two weeks!" Well, you're way ahead of me on the green-wagon train. I start meal-planning with lots of ideas that fizzle out when it gets to five o'clock and I realize I forgot to defrost meat that day. As much as I want to eliminate convenience food from our pantry (and arteries), I still have a schedule that often puts me in front of the freezer digging for breaded fish bits or TJ's meatballs to put on top of 10 minute pasta.
This month, however, has nearly transformed my cooking routines. Now that I am not shopping for veggies on the spur of the moment, but rather forced to plan meals that take advantage of this new bounty, I have been more creative with my feeble attempts at culinary genius (or rather, competence), have wasted much less in the process from storing to leftovers, and have served meals that are more fresh and more homemade-from-scratch than ever before.
I'm still not always successful at these attempts (see above comments about cabbage--the pathetic "slaw" served to my family was met with thumbs-down, tongues-out reviews and afterwards dumped in the trash). However, the other things that came out of my kitchen this month--from the assortment of carrots, potatoes, onions, lettuces, corn, apples, citrus and berries--were all approved and requested again. My personal favorite so far was a Chicken Pot Pie. Mmmm, comfort food, soooo good.
Tomorrow's basket order will include three pounds of heirloom tomatoes and a half-pound of aged white cheddar cheese. Hubby has already put in a request for homemade tomato soup and a cheese sandwich. I hope I get this one right!
Any suggestions for canning tomatoes would be welcome. May your weekend also include a bounty!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
A fancy-schmancy sewing cabinet
Prenatal Yoga cards
A new 12" covered chef's pan
$35 Joann's Gift Card
A box of used items from my mom's kitchen* - a stained coffee mug, a trivet, a pair of Christmas ornaments, a spatula (all in her latest "theme" obsession -- gingerbread men) and a three-in-one peeler. At least the peeler is cool.
A pair of pretty freshwater pearl and jade earrings from hubby's sweet auntie.
Phone calls from my parents and my sisters (apparently my bro forgot again). An email from "Borders Rewards" with a coupon. Hugs from my daughters, along with a delicious dinner of my mother-in-law's tacos, rice & beans, plus a delicious disaster of a chocolate cake for dessert.
It was a pretty good day.
Here's to my three-dozenth year!
*(I am all for saving the earth by recycling and reusing... however, my mom's gift rubbed me the wrong way. She lies and insists that these items are "new" [so that she doesn't seem as poor as she really is], she buys lavishly for herself [yet complains about not being able to afford to buy presents] and then wraps those things up for other people when she is at a loss for a gift, and expects praise and compliments on her good taste when the stuff comes out of the box dirty, used, dusty and totally ill-suited to the recipient. If I make an off-hand comment about this neurotic behavior, I am then the most ungrateful daughter in the world to not appreciate her "generosity." Huh.)
Better yet, for this type of recipe, use the blender.
In thanks for reading this blog, I will share the recipe that taught me this lesson, created by yours truly.
Created by Your Incompetent Hostess
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup lemonade concentrate
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar
Combine berries with lemonade concentrate in food processor or blender. Chop until smooth. Slowly add in water and sugar. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker. Turn on ice cream maker, for about 25 minutes until mixture is frozen to consistency of soft-serve. Eat immediately. Delicious with a little vodka mixed in at a "Girls' Night In" party (as I was told).
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
My kids think they need:
The Betty Crocker 100-piece Cake Decorating Kit
My kids think I need:
The Craft-Lite Cutter
The Buxton Bag Organizer
Life-Alert (I'm not sure what they are trying to say about my age with this one.)
Maybe since I am an Incompetent Homemaker, I should get my kids the Go-Duster...
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Around 9 am, take an excellent recipe like this one for Oatmeal Sandwich Bread. Load all the ingredients in the bread machine pan (don't leave anything out! whew!). Place the bread machine pan in the bread machine. Set the bread machine cycle to "Dough."
About an hour later, wonder how the bread is doing. Run back to the kitchen and look in the bread machine to find a bubbling mass and notice that you did not yet turn the machine on. Turn machine on.
When the buzzer sounds the end of the rising cycle, open the cover and notice that the bread didn't rise. Warm the oven slightly, place the dough in a bread pan, put the pan in the warm oven and cross your fingers.
Entertain a friend who has stopped by while your dough hangs out in the pan for an extra long period of time in the oven, not rising. Just before the end of the rising time, get ready to leave the house. Ask friend how to rescue this poor loaf that now needs to bake but can't start yet because you have to go pick up a child from school and can't leave the house with the oven on. Friend advises putting the bread outside where it is chilly so that the yeast growth is arrested. Follow her advice and go pick up child.
When arriving back at the house, surmise that you can warm it back up and maybe help it rise a little more by putting back in a warm oven. After another 30 minutes in warm oven, give up and bake the bread according to the original instructions. By dinnertime, remove bread from oven and present it to family as Dense Oatmeal Toasting Loaf for breakfast the next morning.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Today, when sorting through a drawer in the bench seat by our front door, I found 14 (fourteen) bags stuffed in there. Tote bags, mini-backpacks, a discarded purse, accessory bags from various diaper and work bags, even two plastic library promotion bags.
That's just a start. I am afraid to think of how many bags I would find if I go around the house pulling them out of all the other closets and drawers where forgotten or unused bags are stuffed and stashed.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Thanks to the recent purchase(s) you made in the Home and Garden store at Amazon.com, you are eligible to receive a one-year subscription to your choice of "Bon Appetit," "Domino," or "Gourmet" magazine (valued from $10 to $15).
"To receive your one-year subscription, please click the link below, which will direct you to a secure form at Amazon where you can sign in to your Amazon.com account, and sign up for your subscription.
"What's the catch? None. We're happy to provide our customers with the benefits of partnering with great publishers. There is no charge for this offer, and there is no automatic renewal."
I am tempted by all three. Such beauty, creativity, inspiration inside! I can't decide!
Which would you choose? Why?
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
This was a last minute Christmas gift for my second-grader's best friend. I was crazily stitching it up before delivering at the end of the last day of school before Winter Break. I didn't realize the mistake until I was laying it out for the photo! (That's a clue.)
So I ripped out a few inches of sewing, fixed the problem, re-sewed and wrapped it, just in time to take it to school. The look on the little girl's face was worth the rush!
I also made one for my daughter, so she and her BFF have matching tote bags. The inspiration was also from the latest craft swap, courtesy KM-S. Thanks, my friend!
(Here's the tote bag pattern, in case you like it.)