Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 recap

2011 is almost on the books as done-so, finito, and c'ya! So WHAT exactly did I do in 2011?...hmmmm

Lots o' birthdays including mine
Recovered from my daughters December wedding
Whacked 12 inches off my hair for Locks for Love
Dug out from the snow

19th wedding anniversary
Dug out from the snow
Water connections made for upstairs bathroom
Lamented the closing of Borders bookstore

Ordered about a kazillion seeds from some of my favorite online nurseries
Dug out from the snow
Watched the news coverage in horror at the Japan earthquake/ Tsunami
Braved the cold and did some much needed garden clean up
Celebrated our son-in-law's birthday

Set up my cold frame in the garden
Set up my mini portable greenhouse
Started my seedlings
Cleaned up the garden on the 2 days between wintery mix and rain
Muttered and cursed about my taxes
Celebrated the Hubb's birthday
Attended the Spring garden fair and ended up wind burnt and chapped
Seriously thought of building an ark due to torrential rains
Formally changed the name of my back yard to Dog-Doo Swamp
Lamented my never ending bathroom remodel (Installed bathtub)

Really wished I would have had an ark  because it was still raining
Watched my back garden wash out
STILL working on the bathroom (drywall and backer board installed)
Celebrated my daughter's Birthday
Added 2 new pets to my animal menagerie (Guinea Pigs)

Yep still working on the bathroom
Bathroom walls taped, mudded and skim coated
Bathroom floor tiled

Hot! (and the central air died)
New central air ($$$)
I hate this bathroom remodel
FINALLY found a bathroom vanity that would fit!

Weeds everywhere
To hot to care
Bathtub surround tiled
Massive Ikea shopping trip (woo-hoo!)

9/11 (in our hearts forever)
RIP my little Elby cat
Painted dressing room
Built drawers and racks for dressing room
Apple festival

New Kitty!
Painted the living room (including crown molding)
Painted the (now) spare bedroom
Carpet installed in both bedrooms and living room
Painted the bathroom ceiling and walls
Installed bathroom lighting fixture
Toilet and vanity installed

Still trying to reorganize all the furniture and crap from the carpet install
Fired up my blog!
FULL on Christmas shopping
Commence the eating season

Made a list of things to do for 2012 --put a fork in 2011 'cause 2012 is done!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Frugal find of the week

I don't normally purchase things like this. I typically take pictures so I can re-create (at a more cost effective price) later but in this case this cost me $0. MINE!

Front of sign. Love the quote. And it's green--one of my fave colors!

back of sign
Not sure why they are reading as different shades of green. But the backside (ha-ha no pun intended) is the accurate color.

Marked down to $10 and I had $10 in TJMaxx rewards cash. So my cost was nada! Gotta love that math!

If this was a project you want to do it is a simple DIY.  This is a 1x6 board painted and a stenciled quote. Personally I like to use the leftover house paint for larger DIY crafts. It's frugal (use what you have people) and the colors will blend because you already have it in your home.

The hanger was included so no assembly on my part. Hang it and enjoy. I luuurve me some instant gratification!

My most pressing dilemma? Where to hang it? Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Technicolor daydreams

The weather has been gray, overcast, cold, dreary and drizzly. It is winter in the Midwest afterall. Everything is wet, muddy and gross. Sooo I decided to brighten my perspective and look towards Spring!

Besides counting down the days until Spring here are the 2012 Color Trends! I mean how can you be sad  when you see colors like this?

You know what's awesome? I already have Margarita PANTONE 14-0116, Solar Power PANTONE 13-0759, Cockatoo PANTONE 14-5420, Starfish PANTONE 16-1120 and Driftwood PANTONE 18-1210 incorporated in my house. Woo-hoo I am ahead of the design curve!

The mustard yellow, minty-green, aqua and  taupe are in my living room via art and accessories. These colors are carried into my dining room and there even maybe a smidge of orange in some of the art. 
If you look at the color chart (above) you have bright saturated colors (purple and fuchsia), the pastel sherbet colors (green and lilac), beach inspired colors (aqua-blue and driftwood) classic jewel-tone (royal blue) and earth tones (orange and starfish). There is something for everyone. I am not sure I want to see the room all the colors are displayed (sort of like a big-top in blender, eh?) But can envision how some of these combinations could work together?

The mustardy-yellow has been predominantly featured for the last year (paired with grey) as shown here
But what happens when you pair it with a classic traditional navy blue? Something completely unexpected. What was once staid and boring is now vibrant and fresh.
This little girl room in aqua and mustard yellow is a sophisticated combination. I love the modern lines of the lamp and headboard. The bamboo screen really warms the space up and is a nice texture.
Here is a Navy blue and lilac living room. I think it is still feminine but the blue really brings the room down from being over the top sugary-sweet.
Here is a living room which combines the deep purple, lilac and taupe. Although not my taste it is very well done.  
Now what if you wanted to combine aqua and orange? (stop making the crinkle nose icky face) How cute is this boys room? Notice the color isn't overwhelming because the room is grounded with black, charcoal and wood tones.
Okay- big finish. Fuchsia--looks great on roses. And little baby girls. And for a brief moment in the 80's it was lipstick, spandex clothing and hair color. (Hey--I said it was the 80's).  

Modern and retro at the same time. Very cool vibe!
Think Fuchsia can't be sexy and glamorous? It's like a dark chocolate covered raspberry.  This room is sexy and sophisticated. Love this!
Me personally, I like to keep my furniture and walls neutral and bring in pillows, curtains  and accessories for pops of color. It is much more cost effective and well we know I am all about the cheap frugal.  And while I don't typically follow all the fads and trends for color and prints the designers push every year, it is still nice to know that I am not so out of touch. Although my house is antique my design sensibility is not (or so I like to think). Hopefully these colors have awakened your dormant winter brain and has given you something to consider.

I don't plan on having all these colors in my house, but look around my gardens when they are in glorious bloom and all those colors will be there in some form. Siiigh, I really want spring to be here. At least I have the nifty little widget to count the days for me. Happy technicolor daydreams!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sassy,sweets and a toddler toy

Christmas eve is the night my family (myself, the hubbs, my daughter and her hubbs) typically celebrate and open presents. This year was a little more non traditional since we had to wait until 11 pm to open presents. My daughter works 1st shift and her hubbs works second. My daughter came to my house to pass the time until operation openourchristmaspresents would commence. Translated that means she hollered MOOOOMMM about every 5 minutes, was eating and playing on my laptop while I was trying to do my chores.  In other-words nothing has changed since she lived at home, haha. She did manage to wrap some presents while here but ran me ragged asking for tissue  paper, gift bags, boxes, and scissors.

Later in the evening, one of her friends stopped by for hot cocoa and to help with making fudge and gingerbread. (I am known as mom#2 in this case). And of course both girls were being sassy and giving me a hard time. Case in point:

Daughter's friend (DF): "Mom-I have a joke for you"
Me: "ok"
DF: "knock knock"
Me: "who's there?"
DF: "Ismell"
Me: "Ismell who"
this exchange was followed by raucous laughter...get it? Ismellwho...Ismellpoo DANG IT!! I can't believe I fell for that. Those damn kids...

The gingerbread was made using a silicone mold.

 This was a my first time using one. Not sure if I like it or not. During the baking process the gingerbread people looked like a scene from ALIEN (chests bursting open). The girls found this funny as well....sigh

Upon cooling they were more presentable than expected. I can frost them to fill in the crevices or flip them over to the smoother side for a better presentation. Regardless of appearance they are spicy, moist and delicious....mmmm

The fudge turned out good but has a few bumps  lumps in the beginning. The trick is to use a very heavy pan. I use my vintage bean-pot which is enameled cast iron.

  I let the milk, sugar, salt and butter come to a  rapid boil for 2 minutes while I stirred constantly. There were a few large sugar particles that wouldn't break down so I used a mesh cup and filtered the hot solution into a large glass measuring cup. Once I was convinced there were no more lumps I returned the mixture to the pot. Return to a rapid boil for 4 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, stir, stir, stir. Add the marshmallows stir, stir, stir, add vanilla and stir VIGOUROUSLY. Do NOT stop stirring for 1 minute . You will feel the burn and swear you are gonna have Popeye arms. Transfer the thickened and cooling mixture to a pre-lined pan. (*Note I use waxed paper because it is easier to peel off ) The result is a super creamy perfect fudge. Firm, glossy and not gritty. (Because there is nothing worse than gritty fudge--bleh)


Christmas day was action packed  as we headed over to the hubb's moms' house. It was hodgepodge of finger foods and traditional dinner food served buffet style). We sat around catching up, eating and having a good time. Funniest moment of of the day was after all the babies opened their presents. We had given our  10 month old great-niece a Fisher Price flip phone. This was kind of a perfect-funny present because her mom is majorly attached to her cell phone. Anyway, my niece was telling how perfect this toy is and how much the baby loved it already.

As a matter of fact the baby had already figured how to change the picture. Then my niece tells me I can't figure out how to change the picture. So here we are 2 grown women trying to figure out how to change the picture on a 10 month's old toy (who HAD already done so).  After pushing all the buttons I closed it and it worked. To which we laughed hysterically and I said, "Well I supposed you have to be smarter than the toddler's toy"   derpitty-derp-derp

I mean it's not like I am a scientist or anything...sheesh

Friday, December 23, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Holy Silent Night Kris Kringle! Christmas is less than 2 DAYS away! It seemed like it was taking FOR-EV-UH to be Christmas and BOOM here it is . (Now I have the Whomp! There It Is song stuck it in my head--that's not very Christmas-y, but this may Christmas-fy it a bit.  You can't un-see it and now that song is stuck in your head) Bahahahaha or is it Bahohohohoho? Just a few last minute preparations and let the merriment commence. Bring it on Santa! 

Tonight actually kicks off our festivities for 3 days of Christmas! We have dinner tonight with my family (Mom and siblings). Tomorrow is our Christmas with the hubbs, my daughter and son-in-law.  And Sunday rounds it out with the Hubb's family. 

Tonight I am responsible for bring the mac-n-cheese casserole and glazed carrots. And my car is loaded down with presents for all my nieces, nephews and my siblings. Sheesh--my car was so piled up  I couldn't see out of my rear window.

Tomorrow  in-lieu of the traditional dinner we will nom on some  appetizers since our daughter works first shift and our son-in-law works second shift.  An even more non-traditional twist--we are opening presents at 11pm since that was the only time we could carve out and be together. The things we do for family togetherness!

Sunday I am responsible for yet another mac-n-cheese casserole. What can I say my mac-n-cheese casserole is a gift unto itself. (I am soooo modest, that's just how I roll, ha!)

While our celebration is non-traditional, the one thing that is always consistent is our love for one another. Making time for one another is best present you can receive.

What are some of  your plans, traditional or otherwise?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


1000 views!  Thank you for your continued support. Most of all I would LOVE to hear from you my bloggy readers. So leave comments. What you like. What you don't (if you must -haha). Share your experiences. I am looking forward to talking with you!

Finding inspiration

That is a pretty profound statement. Finding Inspiration. How do you find inspiration? Not just a topic  for a blog post but in life. What inspires you? What is your passion? 

Some people would see this and say there is nothing there. I see this as infinite possibilities.
These are some of the questions I am being forced to ponder as I begin a new chapter in my life. Everyday I wake up and ask myself, "Is today the day I will be inspired?" To create something. To make a difference. To make a choice. (To make the correct choice). To learn. To change. To grow (just not out of my current clothing size). To inspire someone else.

Inspiration comes from many places, things and within. Like the wind you can't see it, but you feel it. Sometimes is frenzied, furious and unrelenting in it's force. Other times it is barely perceptible like a gossamer wisp.

I find inspiration in the most ordinary of moments--the smile of my husband, my daughters laugh, my dog's bark , the purr of my cat, the patter of rain on my metal roof, and the changing of light to dark on the horizon. Sometimes it comes from a snippet of conversation, reading an article, a color, or a fragrance. I often have my most inspired ideals when I allow myself to relax and my mind to wander. Inspiration isn't always about new ideals. Sometimes memories and the emotional response associated with the memory can provide inspiration.

I may not know the final destination but I am looking forward to the journey...

So...WHAT/ WHO/WHERE inspires you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Harried, holi-daze and hungry

Hello all my bloggy friends! Sorry I haven't been writing much lately (or even written much about remodeling), but with the holidays upon us things have been a bit nut-so in my little pocket of the world. I have been so busy and things crazy- hectic--it made me wonder how on earth did I manage to get through the holidays when my daughter was little?  I found that cooking and cleaning suffers immediately when things begin spiraling toward chaos.

Years ago when my daughter was little-- I  HAD to cook and clean because, I  had a little person to take care of. CPS tends to frown on leaving the kids to fend for themselves, haha. Now? I figure the hubbs is a big boy and can look after himself. (Although this can have disastrous effects--say the time my dog Chubs managed to eat an entire FROZEN pizza between grabbing it in the kitchen and running to the living room. To lay on my couch. Which was covered with a cream colored blanket....siiigh, but I digress). Now? now we  are zipping through fast food joints faster than a quickie drive through marriage in Vegas. And I have so many tumble-furs rolling across the floor I hear the theme song from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I am waiting for the missing mouseinmyhouse to come out sporting a steston hat, chaps and spurs.

Time to make some time. For me. Us. The house. New rule! (I know-- I have a RULE for EVERYTHING!) I will spend 30 minutes everyday working on just picking things up, going through mail, putting laundry away, etc. If I can maintain some semblance of order during the week, by the time the weekend rolls around the tasks will be much more manageable. Which means happy me= happy hubby.  I am also going to cook 1 extra meal during the weekend, package it for the freezer for a quick meal during the week.

Thank goodness for the cooler weather because I have busted out the crock pot. There is no reason to be spending money for fast food when I can spend 15 minutes to set up the crock pot. Type in crock-pot recipes into the Google search bar...shazam! Lots-o-ideals! Recipes beyond chili, roasts and soups Just last night we had a tried and true crockpot-ful of ham with green, beans, potatoes and onions. I cheated and made Bisquick biscuits instead of from scratch, but it was DEEE-LI-CIOUS! 

Tomorrow I am going to try Asian style shredded pork wraps using the crock pot. I hope it is as delicious as it looks! I will serve it with fried rice or teriyaki noodles. I am kind of excited to try some new recipes. So I can save money by cooking, control the ingredients (way healthier than burger-n-fries) and if I get the hubbs in the kitchen we can spend some time together.

What about you? What are some of your tips and hints to get through the harried holidays? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Glitterati Not-y

I just have to ask. What is up with the glitter-fied and sequin-y Christmas? Everywhere I look (Target, Walmart, Meijers) it is glitter disco town. Don't get me wrong, if I had been there back in the the day I so would have been shaking my groove thing at Club 54. Didn't happen 'cause 1) I'm not a Naw Yawker 2) um-I would have been like 10--that would have been a little to much Pretty Baby-ish

I'm not anti-glitter or anything but I just like my Christmas ornaments a little more traditional  handmade looking.

 Just not handmade by the tween scene. Peruse the Christmas aisles--there are enough sequins, glitter (and feathers) that it looks like there was a Vegas showgirl cat fight backstage.

This looks like something my cat would leave on the doostep
I DO like things that are shiny, sparkly, blingy because contrary to popular belief I on occasion exhibit a girly side. As a matter of fact this would do nicely..hehe

I just don't want to have to clean glitter and sequins from every surface of my house. Not to mention my dog and cats like to ingest the stuff. Then it becomes a special after school special called Kitt-cats digestive disco. Trust me-NO ONE wants to see that.

Although I suppose if you MUST have a glittery ornaments click here for a great  DIY no-mess glitterfying glass ornaments craft session.

Glitter ornaments aren't the worst ornaments I have seen. For those click here, here just plain wrong) annnnd here. Be warned because you can't unsee it once viewed. (Although #10 on the first list still makes me laugh. Maniacally)

Ho Ho Ho ....Noooooo

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Fatmas

Or the alternate titles of  The Eating Season or  Not All Fat People are Jolly could apply. I am almost (notice I said almost) over the edge with the amount of food that has been available. Rather a selfish statement considering there a great deal of people who go to bed hungry every night. ( Hey--I contribute to food pantry's, Round Up for the Hungry and I am not a completely self absorbed foodiefatgirl).  In the past week, my work has had our annual Facility holiday dinner (Wed), our Safety luncheon (Thur) and our Lab Christmas dinner (Fri). Of course there are the social gatherings with friends for dinner and gift exchange, the platters of cookies, bowls of candies...well you get the ideal. 

I know what you are thinking. "Just exercise some self control" BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA...Oh, excuse me. Exercise and self-control in the same sentence? For me? HA! I believe that is what is called an oxy-moron. If I DID exercise and have self control, it wouldn't be an issue....

 Don't get me wrong I luuuurvvve the Christmas season. I get to decorate and set up my Christmas trees. I break out my massive collection of Christmas gift wrap and have pretty presents on display.

 I can listen  and sing along (badly) to Christmas music. I get to go SHOPPING and don't' have to come up with some lame-ass story for the hubbs. It is a sanctioned shopping season. Woo Hoo!! 
(Disclaimer--this is NOT me. I only wish I were that jubilant when shopping. Oh there is the young, attractive and slender thing too--SO...NOT...ME) 

I get to watch all my favorite Christmas movies.

I get to wear warm fuzzy pj's, a cozy robe and reindeer slippers!

I get to drink cocoa, cook, bake and eat all the yummy holiday nom-nom's. Oh yeah-we're back to the eating thing. Maybe if I didn't spend so much time ensconced in the big comfy recliner,  watching movies, loafing around in pj's AND eating I wouldn't feel like this--

Oh well that's what January is for right? New year, not so new resolution to lose weight get in shape, blah, blah, blah.  So for now I am gonna eat, drink (lot's o Pepto)  and be merry, happy, jolly grateful for sweaters and baggy sweatshirts.  I will  not worry about not being a chubby chasers' pin up girl until January. Excuse me because there is plate of sugar cookies calling my name...