Oh Nuts

So cute… Drew and the boys are watching GI Joe cartoons and eating pistachios. Like father like son! LOL.

Things are busy here. As usual I am just trying to keep up with everything: writing, cleaning, cooking, tending to the wee ones… I have several ideas for interesting blog posts. I just have to find the time to write them. Lately when I’m writing it’s freelance work, so that’s great because it’s extra money, but it does eat up a good bit of my time. I’m working on a schedule to help organize my day better. Once Noah starts pre-school on the 12th and I’ll have to shuttle him back and forth I will certainly need extra structure.

Can you believe tomorrow is September? My goodness, it feel like I was just in the hospital having Laura. The weather today is hinting that fall is coming. I’m enjoying that but dreading the winter. But I know to just take each day as it comes!

Hope you all are well!

Carolina on My Mind

Our trip to Raleigh last week was such fun! My brother-in-law and his girlfriend J. recently bought a home down there and we drove down so that Drew could help him set some things up. J.’s parents will use it as a winter home and other family members can enjoy it as well.

I’d been to Florida (Miami and Orlando) and Washington, D.C. (for a tradeshow) before, as well as Baltimore (also for a tradeshow), but I can’t say that I ever really got a feel for the south, so I was looking forward to this trip. I was not, however, looking forward to the extremely long drive down there. I can take three hours in a car, max, so this was a real challenge for me. But I managed 😉 We saw plenty of broken down cars, and plenty of RVs, including one that seemed like it was having some major issues. I wonder if there are special trucks for rv towing? There has to be, I guess.

Although we didn’t do too much exploring this time, I did get to finally go to a Chick-Fil-A. I’ve heard about this fast-food restaurant from bloggers living in the south and the midwest. I have to say… it was really good! The chicken sandwich was so much better than McDonald’s or Burger King, and the peach shake I had was so yummy. I also liked that the toys in the kids’ meals were actually activity books — not something associated with a movie or TV show. That was refreshing.

We spent time swimming, hanging out at the playground, and visiting with a family friend who lives in the same housing development. And what’s a vacation without a trip to urgent care? Jake was roughousing with our friend’s son and he got headbutted in the eybrow. Boys will be boys, right? Luckily, it didn’t require stitches, just some superglue. He made out with late-night McD’s and a set of three new Bakugan toys, so he felt better really fast.

We also had breakfast at the State Farmer’s Market. Drew was in biscuit and molasses heaven! My omelet was really good, too. The omelet itself was cooked paper-thin so I really got to enjoy the filling. Next time I’ll remember the stroller when we go so that we can check out the booths. I had no idea how huge it would be.

All in all the trip was quite fun. Everyone down there is so nice. It was a bit like culture-shock for me, LOL! Looking forward to going back down later this year 🙂

Quick & Easy Meal Plan

Hey y’all 🙂 (Hee hee hee). We were in North Carolina for a few days so I have lots to blog about from our trip! We got back last night so I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things. A menu plan was topping my list, but I didn’t want to do anything too ambitious after being lazy for several days, so this week’s meals will be quick & easy!

M: Tacos
T: Hot dogs, potato puffs, veggies
W: Chicken curry, bharta, rice
Th: Ham steaks, potatoes au gratin, veggies
F: Dinner out @ Chili’s (yay for gift cards!)
S: Manicotti, green salad

Maybe It’s Me

At this point in the summer, I am very eager for school to start again. Summer vacation is so long. I wish they did year-round school here, with a couple weeks off every few months. I feel like that would be better for retaining everything they’re learning, and better for my sanity, LOL! At any rate, I’m waiting for the packages from both the elementary school and the nursery school. There’s always a meeting before nursery school starts (it’s a co-op), and I don’t want to miss it. Not to mention I’m not even sure of the first day of school. So I’m getting stressed about that.

Then, I’m waiting for the package from Jake’s school with the year’s calendar, school lunch info, etc. I just want to be able to get everything organized. I still can’t believe Jake’s going to be in second grade. I wonder if the room will be much different from first grade. Last year all the classroom chairs were arranged around tables. I wonder if they’ll have desks this year since I expect it to be more “academic.” I’ll find out soon enough.

Tidbits

  • I really hate plumbers. Our central air is still not running correctly. Someone was supposed to show up between 4 and 5. It is now nearly 7 and I am still sweating my balls off. He might want to look into insurance online because this time I think I really might punch him.
  • Because of the freaking heat and humidity I am absolutely miserable. Everything is pissing me off.
  • The party this weekend was OK. I am now partied out. I think people enjoyed themselves, but honestly I couldn’t tell. I hope they did.
  • I really don’t have much to say. Been busy writing and taking care of the usual things around the house.
  • Ready for the fall. Ready for school to start. Ready for cooler weather. Just… ready.

Spongebob Birthdaypants

Spongebob Rice Krispie treats

First, let me say that I am no cake decorator by any means. My skills are incredibly lacking in this area. Second, let me say that my boys have no shortage of cakes for their birthday. OK, now that we’ve cleared it up, I’ll continue 😉

Months ago, the boys said they wanted a Spongebob birthday this year. I actually enjoy Spongebob quite a bit and honestly, there are some good lessons in the show. Yeah, there’s some crude humor, but that aside, it’s really not bad. I was excited about making a Spongebob Squarepants cake, mostly because there would be no cutting or modeling (like the train cake I made for Jake’s 3rd birthday).

At that point I didn’t even consider that we’d do one celebration for the boys’ birthdays and Laura’s christening, which is what we’re doing. We wanted to have a cake for the christening, so what was I going to do about the birthdays? At first I considered making two cupcakes. I could have taken the easy way out and just got SB cupcake liners and those rock-hard candy cake decorations. I considered that strongly, believe me. But I have guilt about lumping everything together this year so I wanted to do something better. Decorating a cupcake didn’t quite make sense because cupcakes are, obviously, round. Then it occured to me, as I looked at a coupon for a free box of Rice Krispies.  Rice Krispies Treats!!!

Basically, I cut out two large RK Treats and stuck a popsicle stick in each one. Then, I melted some yellow chocolate and “frosted” the treats with it. While I was at Michael’s buying the candy melts, I saw some old-fashioned button candy. I thought the yellow ones would work to give that “spongey” look. (But now I think they kind of look like zits. Maybe Spongebob needs an acne treatment). Anyway… While the chocolate was still soft, I arranged those. Then I put them in the fridge to harden. After that, I just used decorating gel to draw the features and I used a blue candy buttons for SB’s eyes.

While I certainly wouldn’t make honor role in a Wilton cake decorating class, this is probably the best I’ve ever done, LOL! Hopefully the boys will get a kick out them and enjoy their special treats tomorrow.

Busy, Busy

The last week has just flown by. We’ve been keeping busy over here, thus the lack of blogging. Let’s see…

  • Sunday we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday with brunch at Crabtree’s Kittle House. It was fun visiting with everyone, but I think it is way overpriced. While I enjoyed everything, I have to say that I think I enjoy brunch at our nearby Double O Grill just as much (and it’s less than half the price). I would not have minded paying that kind of money for a fancy dinner, but… brunch? However, the point was to celebrate Drew’s mom and she enjoyed herself so that’s really all that matters.
  • DSC_0010

  • Drew and I saw G.I. Joe and Transformers 2 at the drive-in on Tuesday. Well, I fell asleep during T2, but… G.I. Joe  was entertaining. Poorly written, but fun anyway. I forgot to bring insect repellent, though, and just about got eaten alive by mosquitoes. You should see my feet and legs! Oh, the itching is awful. I bought some Calamine lotion today, hoping it will help.
  • I’ve had the hiccups all day. As I type, this is the fourth time they’ve returned.
  • We had a leak in our bedroom. The plumber finally sent someone over to fix our central air, and naturally we ran it because it’s been so freaking hot & humid. That night we got some nasty thunderstorms so we turned the unit off. The next morning we put it back on because we were told to run it for a while. That afternoon Drew went upstairs and then I heard him come running down. He’d heard a noise in our bedroom, looked in, and saw this:

    DSC_0023

    It was dripping onto the bed. Onto my side of the bed. Quickly, we turned off the A/C and called the contractor. They fixed it yesterday and so far so good. Turns out he never sealed the joint on a pipe. Sigh… At any rate at least it’s all working again.

  • We’re gearing up for the big birthday/baptism weekend. Tomorrow is Jake’s birthday. Sunday is Laura’s baptism. Monday is Noah’s birthday. We’re having our family up on Sunday for the baptism, obviously, and we’ll celebrate the boys’ birthdays as well. Of course I’ve also got some special stuff in the work for their actual birth days.
  • Because of the influx of cake, ice cream, and food that might not be the healthiest, I got a copy of the infamous 30 Day Shred. I’m going to start it in September after all the parties are done. I think I’ll stick to exercise and correcting my eating habits rather than investigating fat burner supplements.
  • I guess that’s about it. Or at least all I can think of right now. It might be slow here over the next couple of weeks as summer winds down. School doesn’t start until Sept. 9th, so we want to pack in a bunch of things before then.
  • And last, but certainly not least, a very happy birthday to my mom today. I love you!
  • My Mommy :-)

That’s How I Roll (My Coupons)

My dad get a kick out of his cheap frugal daughter so again I am participating in Super Savings Saturday so he can see how I raked in the deals. I love the weeks when I barely spend any money grocery shopping. Thanks to a well-stocked freezer and a fresh farm share this week, we barely had to buy anything. I took advantage of another Shop Rite sale, though and I’m rather pleased with myself!

I purchased $73.29 worth of groceries for $6.97, counting all coupons and Catalinas!
i am a frugalista

The original total was $73.29. I used the $18 in Catalina coupons I got last week. I had $3.11 in Shop Rite store coupons. On sale I save $23.37. My Price Plus card savings was $7.59. My manufacturer’s coupons totalled $9.25 and a few were doubled saving me $2.25. Then I got another $5 Catalina coupon to use on my next order. Unfortunately, Dollar Days are now over so I won’t be getting the dollars-off Catalina coupons, but it was good while it lasted and helped me save a bunch of money!

CSA 2009: Sixth Share

CSA 2009: Sixth Share

Finally, a Tuesday when it didn’t rain! Farm share day has become my little escape. I go by myself and become immersed in the colors, the sights, and the scents of the farm. When I drove over to the field to gather the PYO goodies, I was the only person there (I went especially early this week), and it was so beautiful, so relaxing. I wish I could bottle the sweet smells of flowers and growing vegetables. Alas, my peace only lasted for a few minutes before other CSA members started making their way in and asking me if I knew where the parsley was. Sigh…

Anyway. Look at all these yummy veggies! I’m so excited. Here’s the rundown: three heads of lettuce, two fennel bulbs (yay!), three leeks (more yay!), two eggplants, a bunch of beets, carrots, green beans, zucchini, a cucumber, garlic, onions, dill, basil, PYO scallions, PYO parsley, PYO flowers. Did I get everything? I haven’t really thought too much about what to do with all of this. I’m thinking about some bharta, some beet cake, some green bean salad… Today I need to sort through all of my recipes and figure it out.

Kid’s Nightlight Review

019When Jake and Noah got their own rooms, Noah suddenly decided he wanted a nightlight. Yes, there was one in the room the boys shared, but when Jake was sleeping over at one of his grandmothers’ houses, Noah never wanted the nightlight on. So that was kind of a surprise. I’ve found it hard to find kids nightlights that aren’t terribly bright. I mean — the child is supposed to be sleeping. I don’t want his room lit up like a runway!

I was offered the chance to review a night light from Lights in the Night by Seasons of Cannon Falls. I was sent this funny monkey face night light. It looks great against the red walls in Noah’s room! At first I thought the night light was a little big, but when I plugged it in I thought it looked just fine. I love that it’s not terribly bright, but I noticed that the bulb got really hot really fast. I might switch it out with another night light bulb and see if it makes a difference. The on/off switch is sturdy, which is good. I’ve bought nightlights with flimsy switches in the past. This one seems like it will hold up well. It also has a swivel base that should fit any plug.

The monkey face is made of glass and does not seem like it would break easily, but obviously you don’t want to drop it on a tile floor or anything. The nightlight retails for around $16 and it has Noah’s seal of approval 🙂