Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santa Pup

Poor little forlorn puppy. It's just too much fun to dress him up. I sure couldn't do this with a Rottweiler! The candy buttons are from 3 Scrapateers December kit. If you haven't been there, you should go--a freebie every day! The striped paper is by Pillowgirl, part of her adorable (and free!) Peppermint Stick Kit. The title is Creating Keepsakes "Good Dog." And "Ho, Ho, Ho" is by Kathryn over at Gotta Pixel, part of a Daily Download kit. (I'm having trouble getting the links to print, but here's one:)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Spritz Cookies

I hope this is readable. Sorry it's crooked--that's how I put it in the scanner. You need a cookie press for this recipe. Mine broke--the thing that makes the ratchet 'ratchet' popped out. So I'm going to get myself (or ask Santa for) a new one--maybe even a battery-powered one. Note: for a funny story about the cranberry meatballs, read my previous blog entry!

They're supposed to be MEAT balls

A cyber friend from Pennsylvania calls me on the phone last night and tells me the cranberry meatballs are terrible. She said they were very runny, so she kept adding breadcrumbs to them. She said they were so bad, even the dog wouldn't eat them. So I say, "What kind of meat did you use?" A pause. "Meat? There's nothing about meat in the recipe." So I get the card to check it--yep, there's meat. Turns out the entire card didn't show up on her screen, so she left out the main ingredient! I had a hard time to stop laughing.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cranberry Meatballs

I believe this recipe came either from "Taste of Home" or "Quick Cooking" magazine. I hope you can read the card. The original recipe has you cooking the meatballs in the microwave, but I find it easier to put them in a big pan and brown them off in the oven--about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. You can freeze the meatballs for a few weeks and make the sauce when you need it. Oh, and I don't bother chopping the dried cranberries...too much work. Next blog: spritz cookies!

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm still here

Just haven't felt like blogging. Nick got his cast off today. The doctor says his x-ray looks 'superb.' While we were waiting, Nick started a conversation with me on grammar mistakes people make--like mixing effect and affect, or it's and its. Being a writer, it was fun to be able to help him. But I honestly couldn't give him an example of irony! I'll have to look that up myself. Update on cookies: I made the rolled cookie dough, rolled it out, and it's in bags in the freezer all flat and ready to go. Last night I made my spritz cookies--about 7 dozen. Some for the freezer for Christmas eve, and some to enjoy now. I'm bringing a small box of them to my boss. She's a doctor who runs between two offices--I doubt she has much time to bake! I also made and froze cranberry meatballs for Christmas eve. I'll make the sauce the day or so before. It's a tradition to have those as an appetizer. I'll have to be sure to print out recipes next time I feel like blogging--which I hope won't be too long!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Getting ready for baking

I'm planning to start my holiday baking right after Thanksgiving. I mostly do cookies, and a favorite is spritz cookies. I want everything ready and waiting for me when the mood strikes to get out that cookie gun. So this is what I did: I got out a gallon bag and some smaller bags. In the gallon bag, I measured out my flour, baking soda and salt. In one of the smaller bags, I put my sugar, brown sugar and two unwrapped sticks of unsalted butter. This little bag went right down into the flour bag. I put an egg into a small bag and put it in with the sugar and the dry ingredients. The only thing I left out was the vanilla and almond extracts, which are in my pantry--I checked, LOL! (Being frugal--I bought 2 bottles of vanilla from the Kosher aisle after Passover this year! At 80% savings!) I'm not sure it is okay to put extracts in the fridge. But everything is ready and waiting--and the colored sugar is all nicely contained in a metal 'shoe box' I've had for years. By the way, do you (my few and wonderful readers) know why sugar is a 'wet' ingredient, even though it's dry! Because it turns into a liquid when you heat it, LOL!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Saving Pennies Julie Bo Boolie inspired this blog today. One way I save pennies is with deposit cans and bottles. I resisted this for a long time. Bottles and cans take up a lot of room. They are sticky. But then I realized...I was throwing away 'treat' money. I mean...if Hershey Bars go on sale 3/$1...if I cash in 20 bottles (okay, 22 for the tax)...I get 3 free candy bars! Or any number of things. Heck, 22 or so bottles/cans is worth one freebie from the dollar store! Think of the candy canes you could buy for Christmas! (Or the marshmallow Santas!)
So...I have a bin right outside the back door into which I can toss the bottles. The current stash is up to 75 cents. I figure I'll cash it in when I hit that dollar. I go to the grocery at least once a week, anyway, so it isn't out of the way.
The only complaint I have is that all deposit containers get you a nickel each. If you're as old as I am, you'll remember that small bottles were 2 cents and big bottles (we didn't know what a liter was back then, let alone a 2-liter bottle) got you a nickel. So...with inflation...shouldn't we get 5 cents for small bottles and cans and at least 8 cents for the big, bulky ones?
Here's a memory: trading a small glass Coke bottle in for two cents...and buying a pretzel rod from a big, tin drum! Alas, that was sssoooooo 1960s!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My daughter at 22

Katherine had her 22nd birthday last week. Here she is with 2 of her gifts--a book about the Long Island Rail Road and a book called "Weird New York. " Katherine is really into the history of Long Island and NYC. I also gave her the blue box next to her and a set of flannel sheets for her bed with a sock monkey design all over. She likes monkeys. She also got a Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits CD--I'll have to borrow that one. My youngest saw the CD and asked if "Thriller" was a good song. He was born in 1990, way past the "Thriller" era, LOL! Katherine manages the floral department of a store. Her arrangements are amazing--she even does weddings. She hopes to be a cop someday and is finishing off classes in Criminal Justice. As for me...I can't believe I have 3 kids in their 20s now!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Halloween Puppy

Katherine wants to be a cop someday. She wanted to dress Shadow up like a police officer (complete with tiny handcuffs and gun) but we couldn't find a costume. So she settled for the next best thing...a prisoner! Shadow seems to be thinking: "I didn't do it! I was framed!" I am scrapping these photos with this title: "Pawshank Redemption!" (Get it?)

Friday, November 03, 2006

My 16 year old

Nicky fractured his wrist in school on Halloween. He came home and said it hurt, but it wasn't swollen and he could move it. So I gave him an ice pack and said 'let's see.' The next day he still hurt. I brought him with me to work (how convenient that my job is at a pediatric office!) and the doctor felt he had an 80% chance it was broken. We went over to the emergency room and sat for four hours. The x-ray didn't seem to show much. The doctor put it in a splint and said to see a hand doctor in 2 days. But I told the doctor I work for and she said she was still convinced there was something going on there. She called radiology. Radiology called me the next day and said yes, it was a slight fracture. The hand doctor saw him after school and put him in a cast. He did this during gym class. Our insurance will cover most of it, and the school's insurance should cover the rest. Thank God because the visit to the hand doctor alone was nearly $2,000. Not very frugal, LOL! BTW, Nick isn't in much pain. He didn't even ask for Tylenol. He thinks his cast is cool and is very happy with all the chores he won't be able to do for 5 weeks.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween, Long ago, 2

I titled the last entry Halloween, 1991. Then I found this picture. Nicky was born in 1990, so he's at least 3 in this picture. That would make this and the last photo entry from at least 1993. I'm too lazy to plow through the photo album to check the date. Michael, my oldest, is a zombie here. Check out the white 'bone' showing through the rip in his shirt. It's a stick he painted white. Katherine is a witch and Nicky is a baby dinosaur. Other than Michael's costume, which he did himself, I made the other three. Check my last entry for a better picture of Jamie as a Jurassic Park worker!

Halloween, long ago

My son James will be 20 years old tomorrow. When he was little, he was really into Jurassic Park. So I dressed him up like a JP worker for Halloween. I don't know what became of that shirt, but I did the embroidered emblem on the front myself. It's a matter of drawing the picture, then lowering the feed dogs on your sewing machine and letting the machine stitch in many different directions until you 'fill in' the design. I'm not so sure I'd be so ambitious in this day and age, LOL!
Alas, no more trick-or-treaters in my house. The youngest is 16, the oldest 24. But they sure were cute back in the day, LOL!
We still, however, carve pumpkins! And we're dressing up the to come later!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A necklace I made

I was 'into' beading a long time ago but gave up the hobby. Well, lately I've been wanting some costume jewelry to wear to work. Have you priced that stuff lately? A simple beaded necklace can run you $20! Well, I remembered I still had beads and string at home. All I needed to buy were the clasps and jump rings. There are enough of those (and enough beads) to make more necklaces. I also found the coolest clasp. It's magnetic! You bring the necklace around the back of your neck and it just pops together. The magnet is very strong. That actually made it a little difficult to put on the jump rings because the rings and the pliers kept wanting to stick to the magnets. It was also a bit of a pain trying to coordinate the beads so they were symmetrical (the colors match--they just look faded in the picture). I know there are these things you can buy to line up beads, but I don't feel like paying for something like that. I think I'm going to have to find a way to do it on my own. Maybe a piece of styrofoam with a groove cut into it. Anyway, this was fun to make and it was sorta frugal, too. Makes me wonder what other old crafts supplies I have laying around from back in the day, when I really used to do more crafty things. Anyone know an article with a title like "New Uses for Old Crafty Things"?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How much more do you need?

I love kitchen toys. I crave kitchen toys the way some women crave chocolate. Oh...for the record, I actually use them, too. But it gets to the point you have to ask yourself when to say 'enough.' Okay, last week CVS had this great deal where you got full price back on several items via extra care bucks. It was a double-good deal for me because I also had coupons for these items. So the next visit, I got about $15 in coupons to use on anything at all at CVS. I was going to get myself a massager, but after 4 trips around the store I couldn't find it. That would have been practical with my back problems. But when I finally did locate it, I didn't like it. So I start looking at other interesting things. ECBs are found money, after all. My eyes were drawn to one thing in particular: a contraption that makes frothy cocoa or coffee. I love coffee. Frothy coffee would be cool. The thingie would have been free to me. Then I started thinking of all the other toys I have on my counter: toaster, vaccuum sealer, Kitchenaid Mixer, blender, etc. etc. etc. And that's just one counter. I thought of my cabinets, which are running out of room. (Crockpots take up a LOT of space, LOL!) I thought how I've been perfectly content with unfrothy chocolate and coffee for decades. So I put away 2 of the coupons and kept out one $5 one. I bought detergent, deodorant (with a free soap!) and a small package of chewable Tylenol. I had coupons for all 3. Combined with the ECB coupon, I paid just a little over $2 for everything! And the detergent was a big one! The satisfaction of walking out with 3 things for less than I'd pay for one item at full price was much more satisfying than a coffee frother thing. And I still have $10 in coupons.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My son is 24 today!

My oldest son is 24 years old today. Hard to believe that 7 lb. 11 oz. kid is about 6 feet tall, LOL! He's a great kid. So smart it's scary. And the first one to offer help before you ask him. Mom-and-son activities these days are either watching Alton Brown, of "Good Eats," or playing Scrabble. I'm happy to say the win-win ratio on the game is about even. His taste in music is closer to his father's--heavy metal, dark and brooding stuff. (Me, I'm into just about anything that sounds good, but Ella and Nat top my list.) I have two books on order for him, both of which are funny. Michael has a great sense of humor, a little on the edgy side but not mean-spirited. We are going to his favorite restaurant for dinner--Catfish Annie's. And everyone is off from either school or work so all 7 of us get to go! Oh...and I made him a popcorn cake. That's basically a popcorn ball recipe pressed into a buttered cake pan, then turned out onto a tray. I haven't had one in years. My mother used to make them. Boy, did the smell bring back memories of my own childhood! I hope Michael likes his cake!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Coupons in surprising places

When I got to Ohio last week, I was waiting (forever) for my bag to show up on the carousel. Okay, so about 8 million black bags go by and I don't see mine. I have a red ribbon on the handle. Do you know how many people put red ribbons on their black backs? I was beginning to think my bag hadn't made it off the connecting flight in Baltimore. The carousel stops and the lights go out. I'm tired of standing...well, my back is killing me. So I decide to sit down and wait until the bags start coming around again. I spot a Sunday paper scattered over some seats. And I'm looking...and I'm wondering if...and I think people will think I'm nuts...and I decide I don't care. So I walk over to the scattered paper and...find THREE coupon inserts!!!! So, not only do I have the ones back in New York, and the ones my mom will give me from her paper...I have a 3rd set. Talk about serendipity! Dang, I think I'll have to travel on Sunday more often and do a treasure hunt through the airport to see if anyone else left the paper, with its coupons, behind! Sometimes, I'm more than...sorta frugal.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'm baaaacck

Not that anyone even notices that I've gone. I experienced my first real hailstorm and tornado warning in Ohio. It was so cool! I was reading in my room (my mother's guest room, I mean) when I heard something like rocks hitting the house. So I go out and tell my mom I think we're having hail. Suddenly, these big chunks of ice--about the size of golf balls--come pouring out of the sky. Thousands of them! BOOM BOOM BOOM! The wind picks up like nuts and trees start bending. We were watching the news and a tornado alert comes for the area. We actually went down into her basement (which is finished) and watched TV there for a while. Then we went back upstairs when the sirens stopped. Except they kept starting and stopping. It was kind of annoying. My mother's grass was completely covered with hailstones and you can't see the lawn for the leaves that fell off the trees. Boy, it's times like this you're glad you're safe inside your home. I felt sorry for people driving--it was about the end of rush hour. Even more, I feel sorry for anyone who was walking. OUCH--imagine getting hit by hundreds of golf balls!I remember one small hailstorm on Long Island when I was a kid, but nothing like this. And it's my first experience with a real tornado warning. I thought it was pretty cool, but of course we also took precautions. Anyway, the next day they said a county to the south and east of where my mom lives was hit pretty hard with a lot of bad damage, including flash floods that almost buried cars in the streets. Anyway, it was an interesting experience...noisy, too!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Off to Ohio

I'm leaving in about an hour and a half to visit my mother in Ohio. I've been nervous about the trip because I'm always afraid I'm going to forget something important. Nothing like my toothbrush or shampoo; my mother sells Avon, LOL! I'm talking about my prescription stomach meds, or my heat pads (for my back) or my wallet. Or I'll forget to leave instructions for my daughter on how to take care of my animals while I'm gone. This is why I love this: For the past month I've been adding things to the list as I think of them, some vital, some just things I want to bring. I just printed it up and I can check things off as I go along. I've written about this site before (it's free, of course!) but I can't say enough about how much it has helped me. Like everyone else, I have 18 projects going on, on top of just life itself. My mind seems to be going in 2,000 different directions. These lists help me focus and stay on target. I have one for cleaning every room of my house, LOL! Well...I'll be back in a week. Mom's got homemade vegetable soup for dinner tonight. Trust me, nobody makes vegetable soup like my mom! Boy, am I looking forward to that! Have a great week, you few and wonderful faithful readers!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Thanks to everyone for the encouraging comments yesterday! I went to get my blood test today. I didn't go yesterday while I was at the doctor because I had a b*t*h of a headache all day. You know the kind I matter what you take, it doesn't go away. Danged sinuses. I feel much better today so I hiked over there. (Okay, I drove.) I got lucky--found a place to park right away and I only had to wait about 15 minutes to get the test done! (This is New York--every place is crowded, usually.)I'm not sure what they're looking for, but my doctor wants to rule out all possibilities before assuming the hot flashes/attacks/whatevers were caused by the onset of real menopause. (As opposed to the perio kind, which I've been having fun with for about 5 years now.) Totally off topic, I noticed my word verification was turned off for blogger! I wonder how that happened? So, I turned it back on again. If I get comments, I want to hear from real people, not some machine trying to show me how to make a million bucks! (I wish!)

WFMW Strikes Again

This is my favorite WFMW tip that I have offered. It has saved me a lot of money because socks are expensive! Just use a binder clip (sometimes called a bull clip) to keep socks together when you wash and dry them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

What I'm tackling these days is the start of menopause. Not fun, I tell you. It hit me big time this weekend. At least, I think that's what it was! On Saturday evening, I started feeling this tingling in my arm, like hot electricity. Suddenly, my joints started going numb and this wave of terrible heat washed through me. My heart started beating really hard and I started to hyperventilate. My husband took me to the emergency room, where they determined I had had a panic attack. Don't ask me why--I was just sitting in my living room, doing nothing in particular. The doctor thought I was afraid I was having a heart attack. (My heart and lungs are fine, btw.) I told him I thought the stinging pain was from a bug bite and I was reacting to that. But there is no bite mark. He thought it might have been some tendon pain. Well, this whole thing happened to me 3 times that night. It was awful. They gave me some Xanax, which helped.
The whole heat-wave thing made me think of hot flashes. So I did some research and found that everything that happened to me is symptomatic of hot flashes. Somehow, a drop in estrogen screws up your hypothalmus (I think!) which is what regulates body temperature. I'm 50, just the right age to start this menopause crap. So what I'm tackling is to do all the research I can. You know how it goes: "I have menopause, menopause doesn't have me." I want to know what vitamins to take, what exercises to do, etc. etc. I'm going to see my doctor today.
I woke up with a headache last night and have been very, very restless. I got up and dressed by 7 this morning and went for a walk around my back yard. 12 laps=about 1080 steps. Oh, and I actually did tackle a cleaning project yesterday. I dusted off the shelves where I keep my photo boxes.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I was pretty happy to say that I had gone without a bad cold for almost three years. Almost. But I've got one this weekend. I forgot how awful they make you feel. I've also got a slight stomach ache. Stomach problems terrify me because I was very, very sick for 8 months a few years ago. I keep telling myself this will go away, it's just part of the cold. It's hard to get comfortable. One moment I want to fall down and sleep and the next I want to be moving around. The moving around part makes my stomach feel better. The sleeping part makes the cold feel better. The kicker is that I have work tonight and might have to call in sick if I don't pick up a little before the end of the day. (I go in at 4.) I wouldn't care except my boss is leaving for India tomorrow and I feel bad leaving her with a very busy office. Still, I'm sick. What can I do?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tag, I'm it!

World According to Julie Oh, boy, I got tagged by Julie to tell you the first words that come to my mind after reading the following list.

Bright...and shining

I don't know what a brain trust is. I've just heard the word before.

Blooming Idiot sounds kind of Monty-Pythonish, doesn't it?

Slow Cooker Thursday Here's my contribution to "Slow Cooking Thursday," hosted by "Diary of a Stay at Home Mom." We are having it with buttery corn bread and some kind of vegetable--as in, what I pull from my freezer. I love this theme--it will get me to make more use of my crockpot. And boy, are there some gooooood recipes over there! BTW, I had bought the cranberry juice earlier in the week and it's already gone. I also didn't want a lot of sauce because we're using cornbread, not rice or noodles. So I am skipping the cornstarch and water part. I needed something tart to cut the sweetness, so I added a dash of lemon juice instead of the cranberry juice--just a dash, not a half cup, LOL! I also used honey instead of sugar. I've made this recipe in the regular way many times so I feel confident experimenting with it. Oh...and I'm using pork tenderloin. It is my pork of choice and I always stock up when it is BOGO.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

A number of bloggers have posted tips on prepping food ahead of time. I do that. I like to cut things up in the afternoon while watching TV, so it's all ready to go at dinner time. But...where to store it until you need it? A bowl or a dish is just another thing to wash. A zip-top bag is money down the drain, since they can't be washed if you put raw meat in them. Well, maybe they can...but if I wanted to treat my family to e coli I would buy spinach this week. Okay, so...I use a plastic grocery bag! Why not? They are made to carry food. They are free. You can tie a knot in them and nothing leaks out. And they are disposable. And if you have a lot of food to a bunch of vegetables...they hold a huge amount of food!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

Nothing really exciting today. I just got back to my coupon drawer again. I tend to just throw them in there willy-nilly. So of course, when I'm off to the grocery, I can't find what I need. So I sorted them into their proper files and got rid of a few things. I also took out all the recipes I've been clipping. I need to transfer those to recipe cards, and I did 4 today. (I like reading from a 4x6 inch card better than a magazine page.) That's the link for the recipe card program I use. It costs $25/year, which isn't too bad if you cook a lot. Basically, you type your recipe onto a template (there are lots of cute designs) and it prints out in the size you want.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

About time, too! I just never got around to it today, but here goes: Monday--Teriyaki Ribs, Fried Rice and Broccoli. Tuesday: Maple Mustard Drumsticks*, muffins*, broccoli in mustard sauce*. Wednesday: Hungarian Goulash*, Noodles and salad. Thursday: Cranberry Pork Roast (never made it last week), corn bread, broccoli cranberry slaw*. Friday: Grilled Ham and Jack cheese sandwiches*, Parmesan vegetable toss*. Starred items are new recipes I hope to try. We'll see how the week works out. For the muffins, I'm going to try to sub maple syrup for some of the liquid or sugar (if there is any) so they go with the rest of the dinner. Oh, and btw, check out my baby dress post, too! And the pineapple puppy post! But beware...the cute-o-meter is off the scale.

The baby dress

Here is my friend's grandbaby, Ada, in a dress I made for her. I started it when she was little, but made it big on purpose in the hopes that, by the time I finally finished it--she wouldn't have outgrown it. As you can see, it's a perfect fit! I'm so glad because I put a lot of work into it. It just takes me a long time to finish a project (several months for this one), and half-cutting-off my thumb didn't help speed up the process, LOL! And isn't Ada a button?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pineapple Puppy

A while back my daughter came in with the puppy, cracking up. She has this poor little guy dressed up like a pineapple. Okay, it is pretty funny. But I still feel for the dog. (She also has a sailor outfit for him. Don't have pictures of that yet.) The little girl here is my daughter's friend's daughter, Angelina. As far as the scrapping elements, some come from a kit called "Midsummer Swelter" by a lady named Rina. I don't know where I got it from. The elements are from a kit by JTWOK, from In either case, it was free stuff. BTW, if you've heard about the puppy chewing up the wire that connects the camera to the computer, you'll be happy to know I can load pictures again. I didn't get a wire, though. I bought a memory card reader for $20. It will save battery power in the camera and I can use it with any memory card.

Friday, September 15, 2006

You know what I wish?

I wish that, when they tell you to get more fish into your diet, they'd realize that most of us can't afford 7.99/lb. Which is about what I paid for the swordfish we had tonight. I also paid $12.99/lb for sea scallops as a treat for my husband. Of course, not a whole pound, LOL! But even flounder is pricey. Same with tilapia, which is really, really good. (My most favorite fish is striped bass. I haven't had it since I was a child. They banned it for a while because of mercury. Now it is $17.99 a pound. Alas, I guess I won't be having it any time soon.) This is why we limit ourselves to having a fish dinner maybe once a month. It runs me over $20 to feed us all--but still cheaper than going out, right? And the only reason I can swing it is because I am frugal in other areas. I mean, isn't that what being frugal is all about--saving money on things you need so you can splurge once in a while on things you want? (What I really want is lobster. I'm lucky to get it once a year. $9.99 average per pound, but if you calculate how much of it you throw away (the shell)--I'd venture it's closer to $25/lb. for the actual meat.) I made my swordfish with olive oil, onion powder, dill, seasoned salt and fresh lime juice. Everything for the scallops was the same...except I added a touch of butter. Mike really enjoyed it. A pricey dinner...but ooooohhh sooooo gooooood!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

Well, this is more of an ongoing project because it is so huge. But having "Tackle It Tuesday" got me up there working for a bit today. I'm talking about my attic, of course! You know, that realm of holiday decorations, old clothes and toys? I've been trying to tackle one box at a time. My idea has been to get rid of all the ugly, ripped old cardboard boxes and transfer the things I really want to keep to good plastic boxes. (And boy, have I gotten rid of a lot of stuff!) I had just recently bought two cute storage crates from CVS at 75% off (because they are summer-themed). I used one for my daughter's old Barbies and another for her old toy horses. I was also able to incorporate papers from one big, ripped box into a basket that already had some papers--so I got to throw that box away. That box was taking up about 6 square feet of room up there.
I don't suppose I'll ever be completely done, but at this point at least I have a general idea where things are. Each category has its own section. One thing I don't have up there now is boy clothes. My youngest has outgrown everything, including things left from his oldest brother (same body type). BTW, do you ever go through old things and find something that really makes you sentimental? For me it is an old stuffed clown my mom gave my son when he was born. Clownie is 23 years old--and if I wind him up, it still makes me teary-eyed to remember that little baby. (Michael, of course, is also 23. He has a hard time believing he was ever 'cute.')

Dorito Chicken

I had a few requests, so here goes...(I'm sorry, but for some reason this danged thing won't let me paragraph!) DORITO CHICKEN: 1) 2 C cubed, cooked chicken; 2)8 oz sour cream 3)1/2 onion, chopped*; 4)1 T chili powder 5)1 medium bag Doritos, crushed; 6)1/2 t salt; 7)1/2 t pepper; 8)1 C grated cheese 9)1 can diced tomatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2-quart casserole dish with non-stick spray and sprinkle on half of the Doritos. Mix the rest of the ingredients together except for the cheese and place on Doritos. Put remaining Doritos on top and cover with cheese. Cover with foil (Reynold's no-stick is great here) and bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. A couple of notes and a confession: *I use onion powder because I can't eat real onions. Ground turkey works really well here. Now, the confession: I made this last night for the second time and I couldn't put my finger on why it didn't turn out right. The chicken was tender and delicious, but the chips were kind of 'over crunchy.' I can't really describe it. I guess I was okay because Mike came back for seconds. But it bugged me. Until I started typing the recipe this morning! Duh! I forgot to put the tomatoes in! Oh, well, live and learn!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

This is what I hope to make this week:

Tonight: Dorito Chicken, Chunky Guacamole and chips

Tuesday: Beef and Pasta Casserole and Delicious Vegetable Salad

Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Italian Tomato Salad

Thursday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Friday: Some kind of fish, if I can afford it, with Buttery Corn Bread and Brocolli-Cranberry Slaw. (Or Cranberry Pork Roast)


They are reading the names of the victims on TV. Names of regular, every day people who were just minding their own business on September 11. People just following a routine, expecting an ordinary day in the office, on a flight, at the Pentagon. People killed by monsters for no other reason than that they are Americans. Those jealous bastards thought they could bring us down. Jealous, and stupid. They just plain don't get what freedom means to us. There is nothing that will make us bow down to them. Alas, I don't think they will give up...but neither will we. History has shown us that evil wins many battles...but isn't it always good that wins the war? And we will win this one!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Million Dollar Savings Club


That's how fast your money grows in 30 days if you save just 3 dollars a day! Go check out the Million Dollar Savings Club at Bryan C. Flemings blog!

You save 3 one-dollars bills each day, one each to a pile labeled either "Save," "Invest," or "Give Away." 3 dollars is easy for most any of us. I just started a few days ago and I'm having so much fun with this. I had gone to CVS yesterday and spotted a garage sale on my way home. I put aside my 3 singles before I even got out of the car to see what goodies she had. (Bought 2 shoe trees and a set of pretty oriental vases for $1.50.) The idea isn't that you're going to be a millionaire if you save $3/day. It's a fun way to get you into a savings habit. You start looking at your dollars and saying: "I need 3 singles for tomorrow. I won't buy that (insert frivolous thing here) so I have the money for my club!"

So, go look, and have fun!

Oh, btw, I found this via another really cool blog:
Which I got to from here:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Frugal Friday

How much fun is this?
We have a new theme day! I just love these--you get to learn so many new things. I have a feeling this one is really, really gonna take off! So let's see...what can I contribute for this first round? Oh, here you go. There are a lot of recipes that call for buttermilk, but since I don't use it very often, I don't always have it on hand. Here's a substitute: 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar (white or cider) plus enough milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5-10 minutes). I've done this several times and it really works.

That was close!

I only shop at 2 supermarkets. (I keep wanting to call them 'grocery stores,' which shows my age. When was the last time you saw a 'grocery' store, rather than a mega-super-collosal mart?) After doing price comparisons, I've found these two to be consistently lower priced. Today, I went to Waldbaum's in particular because canned tomatoes (crushed in puree) and Barilla pasta were on sale cheaper than I have seen them in ages. Fat lot of good that would have done me, if I'd walked out without showing the cashier my club card. Trouble with Waldbaum's is that they don't take the card until after they've rung you up. Which is dumb. I was so busy packing cans I almost forgot. And when I handed it over, I ended up saving $10. Ten Dollars! Geesh. This is why Stop and Shop is my preferred store. I use self-check there and then I am in total control.
I would have gone back in to customer service with my receipt to get my $10, but who needs one more thing to do in their day?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Kim over at Life in a Shoe has tagged anyone who's name begins with a letter in the word 'Chocolate.' Mine begins with C. (If you want to's a county in Ireland).

Here are the questions and my answers:

1. Are you craving anything, and if so, what?

Not at the moment. Already had my caffeine fix this morning, LOL!

2. What is the weather outside, and do you wish it would change?

The weather here has been amazing for the past few days--blue skies, cool temps. It's like early fall--the only thing missing is the changing leaves. Nope, wouldn't change a thing. (I do love a good thunderstorm, though!)

3.What two websites do you think you will go to next after you are finished here?

I better get up off my dupa and do some housework, really. But I've book marked a few frugal sites I want to check out. One is called The Cheap Chap and the other is Frugal Duchess.

4. Do you wish you were somewhere else and if so, where?

In an ideal world, I'd be able to afford my own island. I would have raised my family there...away from all the annoying liberals. Although sometimes, they are kind of funny. Hilary is always good for a laugh.
In reality--I'm happy where I am, at home, with my husband and kids.

5. Do you wish you were someone else, and if so, who?

Oh, gosh, not in a million years. I love being my weird, flaky self. The only thing I would change, if I could, is to be exactly me without 24/7 back pain. It is more annoying than even the liberals are.

6. Tag?

I'm not sure how this works but if I can pick my own tagees--I pick anyone of Irish descent! Or anyone who wishes he/she was Irish. Or...anyone wearing green today!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday

I was sitting in my living room last week, looking into the clutter of my dining room and wondering what to do about it. Some of it I can't touch--it's my husband's at-home-office area, too. But the cookbooks set alongside the pretty blue-and-white plates on the white hutch bothered me. They just didn't look right. But there was no place else to put them. The two cabinets in my dining room are full of bowls, baking supplies, etc. Then I got a bolt-out-of-the-blue idea. I got it the way we always get them: when thinking of something totally unrelated. The unrelated thing was what a mess my pantry is becoming (again). I suddenly realized I had a lot of wasted space up in the back of the top shelf. (Top shelf is for breakfast items). So...why not move the bowls I rarely use back there? And open up some space in the dining room cabinet? I did this and tackled a few things: 1)moved the books 2)sorted out bowls I'll never use and can get rid of and 3)cleaned the top shelf of the pantry while I was at it.
You'll have to take my word for it, as I can't connect my camera to the computer. If you've been paying attention, you know my bad puppy chewed the wire. And I haven't yet gotten over to Best Buy to see if I can replace it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

I posted a few days ago that I actually used everything on my menu last week, a first for me! I hope I can do the same this week!
Monday: Barbecue: steak, cheese and parsley sausage, hamburgers, hot dogs
Fruit salad
Tuesday: Chicken Enchilada Bake
Wednesday: Salisbury Steak
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Friday: Grilled Pork
Potato bread

Can you tell we're big salad eaters? Any day, though, I can substitute regular vegetables. I see frozen ones are on sale at either Stop and Shop or Waldbaum's this week. I'm going to be stocking up my freezer because when the weather starts getting yucky, and I don't want to drive, it's always nice to be able to pull frozen broccoli from my freezer to round out a meal.
But what I'm really hoping is that roast beef and Oven Stuffers start going on sale, too! And turkey!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Storing Summer Clothes

I tend to put up and take down clothes from my attic in stages. This morning, I brought up all my sleeveless tops. At least, the ones that aren't currently in the laundry. I figure, with outside temps hitting the 60s and low 70s these days (probably thanks to Ernesto), I won't have much use for sleeveless tops. (No need to store bathing suits or shorts--I wouldn't be caught dead in either.) Next things to go up will be short-sleeved t-shirts, in a few weeks. What's coming down now is long-sleeved tops that are light in weight, and later on I'll bring down heavier sweatshirts and sweaters. So for a little while, my drawers are ready for two different seasons. In the meantime, I also intended to bring down all the boy clothes up there. Nicky has grown from the young boys' to the men's department and I was going to systematically go through old clothes to see if anything would fit him. I must have done that last year--I didn't find a single thing. What I did find is that my daughter needs to go through her things to see what she wants and doesn't want. Sounds like a project to do in front of the TV on a day off! (I have a feeling some young girl somewhere is going to inherit a lot of really nice things. My daughter has excellent fashion sense. She didn't get it from me--I have no fashion sense at all. If it's clean and it matches, I'm good to go. Katherine, who is 21, and my mom, who is 83, have infinitely more fashion sense than me!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baby Love:a layout

Here is another layout I did. That's Michael when he was 2 1/2 and Katherine at about 6 months old. Years ago I had made a collage for my in-laws. This was one of the pictures. Mom P and Dad P have passed away, and I got the collage back. I realized that there were a lot of cute pictures in there. (The collage happened before my scrapbooking days.) So I've been cropped out my favorite ones and making layouts, using the Creating Keepsakes scrapbooking program (one of my gifts for my 50th last January). Of course, collage photos are oddly cut, so I've also had to do some 'repair' work. If you look closely at the gray area, you'll see 'stripes' where I copied one part to cover over an area that belonged to another photo. The kit here is from RAK Scraps, by Christy Heins, I believe. It was part of their free April Mega Kit. The butterflies and bears come from PC Hugclub. I had belonged to that for a while but quit because a)I didn't always like the kits each month and b)it costs about $8. I have better things to spend $8 on. If I used the kits even 80% of the time, I'd be fine with it. But I really only use less than 50%. RAK Scraps, on the other hand, puts out a monthly kit that is totally free! (I've posted about them before.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Menu Plan Monday...Friday

Wow, I did it. I actually stuck to my menu and made everything on it this week! Right down to the meatloaf, which I wasn't sure I'd make. (It came out really good, btw.) Tonight we are having ciabatta pizza. Let me tell you, this is NOT frugal. Not by the time I bought the ciabatta bread and mozzarella! However, there was one frugal aspect that came as a nice surprise. I only needed a little pepperoni, since not all of us like it. Whether you buy the sticks or slices in a package, that stuff is expensive. Salad Bar to the rescue! Sure, it costs 3.99 a pound. But I'm not buying a pound of pepperoni! I only needed enough for 2 or 3 people. Just a 'scoopful.' Do you want to know how much it cost me? Honestly, truthfully...8 cents. I hit the "Salad Bar" button on the self-scanner screen and that is exactly what came up. So next time you need just a little of something, try buying it from the salad bar. It might only cost you pennies! (BTW, I'm eating the pizza right now. Yummy! I like it enough that when mozzarella is actually on sale, I'd definitely make it again.)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just too corny for me

I'm all for convenience, if it's at a reasonable price. I don't like making pizza--it never comes out right--so if I want pizza, I get it from a pizza parlor, for example. But sometimes the cost differential between 'convenience' and 'do it yourself' is so ridiculous I don't know why anyone would be so lazy. Today I went to the grocery and I picked up an 8-pack of nicely shucked ears of corn. Then I turned it over to get a price. Almost $7!!!!! Almost a dollar an ear! The shuck-it-yourself corn? Five ears for $2. Almost a dollar vs. 40 cents. Hmmmmmm...let me think on this one! Duh! If I bought the convenient corn, it would be like paying someone almost 50 cents to do a 2 second job. How hard is it to shuck corn? This is right up there with those hot dogs that already come in a bun.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WFMW: New Uses for Old Tablecloths!

Do you have an old holiday tablecloth that has too many stains to use on your table? Instead of turning it into rags, why not cut out the nice parts and make some new things? For example, my mil had a Christmas tablecloth she used for years. It had holes in it and too many stains for good use. So I found enough unstained parts on it, where there were pretty Christmas designs, and made 4 Christmas stockings for my kids. I had a Thanksgiving tablecloth that had outlived its original usefulness...I made both an apron and some decorate pillows out of that. Aprons, napkins, pillows--if you can make it with a piece of cotton fabric, you can make it with a tablecloth!

Monday, August 28, 2006

This Week's Menu, I hope

Seems every week I improvise! Well, here's what I hope to make this week.
Monday: Chili. I already have the meat cut up and browned since I didn't make it last week! I'll be having a taco, myself, since I don't eat chili. I'll just take out a little of the meat. We'll have chips and salsa, too.
Tuesday: Mahogany Chicken Tenders, Peanut Butter Spaghetti and salad with Mandarin Orange dressing.
Wednesday: Homemade Pasta sauce with rigatoni and salad. I will have my husband put the sauce together for me, since it involves opening cans. Can lids and I don't mix...
Thursday: Haven't decided yet, but it will probably involve ground beef since I have a lot of that. I have a meatloaf recipe I'd like to try. I would make it with those danged biscuits I meant to make 2 weeks ago...the dry ingredients are still sitting in a plastic bag, in my mixer!
And if I'm really, really, really ambitious...I'm going to make Tollhouse cookies this week.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My first Meme Organized Junkie has tagged anyone who wants to play to do this meme. I've never done a meme before. At least, not on purpose. So here are my answers to the questions in her list. (Actually, she got them from "Kisses of Sunshine.")1. What was your favorite thing of being a kid?
I wouldn't be a kid again for the world, but one of my fondest memories is sitting with my dad in a little room in our basement, where he had his ham radio set up. I can still remember his call number: WB2MBU. You are talking about 40 years ago, btw!
2. What was your favorite subject in school? I loved high school biology. I really loved anything to do with science. English would be next.
3. Who was your best friend when you were 10? Betty and Stephanie. I've long since lost contact with them, alas!
4. If you could be any animal what would you be? A cat. Specifically, a cat who lives with someone like me. What a life my Nutmeg and Melody have. I want that life: to sleep 20 hours a day, eat, torment squirrels, bother humans to scratch my ears...5. What would you change about your school, occupation or life right now? I would like to not be in pain most of the time (back problems). I would like to be totally out of debt. I'd like to sleep at night.
.6. What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is red, then purple, then blue.
7. What is your favorite type of crust and favorite topping on a pizza?
I like any kind of crust. I only like cheese on my pizza, since my stomach can't take anything too spicy. I used to love pepperoni!

Friday, August 25, 2006


The menu plan I post as part of Menu Plan Monday never seems to go exactly as planned. I never made the potato bread. I was going to make the clam chowder tonight until I added up what it would cost. The cream alone would be about $4, let alone the clams, etc. I'm glad I didn't make it though, because I ended up with enough mussels (made in a white wine marinara I sort of did impromptu) to feed 12 people, let alone 6. (I don't eat them.) The broccoli au gratin that was supposed to be with one meal ended up being tonight's vegetable. I changed the recipe to use mozzarella instead of cheddar cheese. As my daughter put it, it was 'mad good.' I keep pushing seconds on everyone, LOL! I think, in the long run, there won't be much left. I'm not sure if mussels reheat well, and I really hate leftovers. But I've got cold shrimp (we like it cocktail style) I can turn into shrimp salad, or still eat with cocktail sauce, for lunch tomorrow. Now, that kind of leftovers, I can live with.

A layout I did

Here is a layout I did of my daughter and her boyfriend. Aren't they cute together? He is the nicest kid. I wouldn't mind having him for a about 5 years! (My daughter is in no rush to get married, believe me. She's only 21 and he's only 23--way too early in my book!)

The blue parts are by Sue Jones--I'm sorry I don't remember where I got the kit from. The hearts and bears are from PC Hugclub. I decided that this is going to be one of the last layouts I do that I print completely. Ink cartridges are just too expensive. (I've tried those ones you refill--I hate them.) I get 98% of my scrapping supplies for free from different sites on line, but when you pay $25 for a cartridge and it disappears pretty fast...time to rethink how you do things. So I'll have to print out elements and use paper I already have for the backgrounds. A little bit here and there always helps, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another spelling lesson Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer worries about being a grammar snob--even a little bit. She's got a great tip to remember it's from its. But I don't think she needs to worry! I think we need more grammar snobs! People might say that in the Big Picture of Life, who cares if you use it's or its, lose or loose, etc. But you know what I think? I think that all these little things add up to make the Big Picture of Life! If you make a mosaic with a lot of dull or broken tiles...won't your final product be unpleasant? You might not notice one tissue dropped by one person...but multiply that by a million, and...well, you get it. So, so, so...what is my "Works for Me Wednesday" tip? I'm not going to write about my absolute pet peeve of spelling, loose and lose. Part II of today's spelling lesson (Shannon must have been up early for part I!) is "affect and effect." This one is so easy it's silly. "Effect" is a noun. You often use 'the' with nouns. (The cat, the ferret, the backyard.) "The" ends in "E," and "effect" begins with "E." Just match them up! "What is the effect of reading Shannon's blog each day?" "Affect" is a verb, an Action word. It does something to something else. "How will that affect me?" Now, if you don't have a 'the,' just try to change the sentence to use one and see if it works: "What effect does blog hopping have on you?" Change to "What is the effect that blog hopping has on you?" Capisci?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes...

This is for Jenny over at Blogolicious (I might have spelled it wrong). Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 medium shallot, sliced thin
1/4 C olive oil
3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 1/2 t sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin

In a small bowl, toss shallots with 1 t oil; set aside. In a medium bowl, gently toss tomatoes with remaining olive oil. Add other ingredients. Spread over a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter shallots on top. Roast until shallots begin to brown and tomato skins are slightly shriveled, about 35-40 minutes. Do not stir! Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve over pasta or as a side dish. (PS...don't tell anyone, but I use garlic powder. My stomach can't take the real stuff, alas. And frankly, a handful of nicely chopped onion--think Vidalia!--would be just as nice as shallots.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Strawberry Jam Part Deux

My menu plan for the week is in the previous post. Which is where I also did some b*t*hing about making strawberry jam. Good suggestions to try freezer jam. Next time, believe me, I will. I've made it before. I thought maybe this would be a way to learn the actual canning/processing method. I gave up. Well, partly. I just decided there was no way I wanted to be canning at 9:30 tonight after work. So I finished off the recipe and put it in jars without processing it. The recipe book is for 'small batch canning.' They aren't kidding. I only got 2 pint jars out of it. Which is good because a lot of strawberries would have gone bad. At least I know this much will get eaten quickly. And what do you know? I looked up recipes on line and found one that uses the exact same ingredients, including the amount. And it takes 40 minutes from start to finish. So what's up with this 'let the strawberries and sugar sit for 8 hours' and (after cooking) 'let sit for 24 hours'?????? I admit to having a reading comprehension problem. My eyes probably just skimmed those parts. If I'd been paying attention, I would have looked for another recipe. Next time I'm gonna try salsa. But if I can't make it within an hour from start to finish...I'll buy Old El Paso.

Menu Plan Monday Well, I don't see any menus up yet, but here goes mine. At least, I hope--experience has taught me nothing about a weekly menu is carved in stone.

Monday: Chicken and egg salad, green salad with tomatoes, biscuits and leftovers for anyone who doesn't want chicken. My 23-year-old son does not eat chicken. Go figure.

Tuesday: Steak, Potato Bread (new ABM recipe I'm trying) and broccoli au gratin

Wednesday: Chili and bagels and salad

Thursday: Roasted pork tenderloin (BOGO last week--so I bought 4!), Cauliflower Polonaise

Friday: Clam chowder, Grilled Scallops, Whatever fish is cheap (I hope tilipia), roasted cherry tomatoes and shallots

The food highlighted in red is new recipes I'm going to try.
I'm also finishing off my first noble attempt at making strawberry jam tonight. I have to do it after work because it has to sit 24 hours. Believe me, if I'd known it was this much of a production to do canning I wouldn't have done it. My mother cans up a storm, but I have found it tedious. Oh, well.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Who's Way is the Right Way? There is a wonderful discussion going on at this blog regarding homeschool vs. public school. Oh, my goodness, I keep writing and erasing because I do have some opinions (we're all entitled to them) and I don't want to hurt anyone. I could write paragraphs on what I think of the Duggar family (suffice to say I don't 'get' them). Not that I have more than about 5 readers here. But this is my blog and I get to voice my opinions here. I think homeschooling is great. I might have considered it, but things didn't work out that way. And fortunately, our school district is excellent. Nor did it work out that I would have a lot of kids. I love large families. I wish I could have had 8 or 10 kids. But when your last pregnancy is so rough that you literally have to crawl on the floor at times because you are so sick/tired/in pain--it's time to stop. When you can't afford to feed and clothe them (that wasn't me, btw--we were actually quite well off in the 80s, even though the fricking gov't took 75% that in taxes), it's time to stop. You should not have babies for the sake of having babies. You should have them because you want to, and only if you can care for them both spiritually and physically. It isn't just the physical problems that stopped me at 4. It was financial, too. Yeah, I know--you can budget. That's a whole 'nuther topic and in my case it's in the past and gone. People who truly love children should have them in abundance. But we all know there are people out there who shouldn't be near kids, let alone have ones of their own. But that really is a personal choice. The only way to stop those people from having babies makes me think a little too much of a certain fellow named Adolph. So all we can do is pray for those children and let the law step in when necessary. I need to draw this to an end, so I'll say I am SO glad I no longer have to be part of the (take your pick): homeschool/public school, large family/small family/no kids, breast/bottle, scream-it-out/take the kid into bed with you and everything else regarding the raising of children ad infinitum. That is...until my grandchildren come along...

Thursday, August 17, 2006


My weekly menu plan never quite flies exactly the way it is written. The buttermilk chicken tenders I was making on Tuesday turned into a Mexican dinner. My daughter had called to say she was bringing home the provisions to make salsa and quesadillas. So I never made the scalloped apples or the biscuits. I fried up the chicken tenders, but we wrapped them in the quesadillas with the salsa. It was goooooood. Next time you make crispy, boneless chicken, have it that same way. You'll be amazed.
The funny thing is that I have the dry ingredients for the biscuits in a plastic bag, all ready to go for another day. The apples are still waiting, too. I'll have to aim to use them tomorrow night. Tonight we're celebrating back-to-school with a trip to our favorite restaurant, "Catfish Annie's." Which got me thinking why I'd make seafood tomorrow night, too. So...the biscuits and apples will be made to go with something else. Maybe just a simple steak on the barbecue.
Last night I was planning to make turkey cutlets in lemon sauce. I dont' make turkey often and I had no idea it isn't all that readily available this time of year. But I found turkey burgers which were on sale for a good price. So I used those instead and we had them on bagels with the lemon sauce.
I'm glad to have a day off from work where I'm also not cooking, because I have a lot to catch up with. I'm sitting here with "Excellence by L'Oreal" all over my head. I have to finish laundry. We had a new window put in the laundry room that had to dry before the vent could be reattached, so I have been 'sans dryer' for 2 days. I have to get to the post office and mail off a book proposal. That is...if the guy who is supposed to fix the broken door on my dishwasher shows up before the day is over.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday: Paying Debt

My debt story is the same as a lot of people. I'm not frivilous. I didn't max out my cards on silly things. It's more like I was dumb about how they work. There are so many sneaky tricks they play on you! But that's beside the point. I'm slowly paying it off and I like anything that puts me in control. I've read in several places that a good idea is to pay in weekly installments instead of monthly. Just make sure you meet the minimum by the deadline, of course. The idea is that it's easier to pay $25 a week than one big $100. And you can round it up to pay even more without it really hurting too much. In other words, if I'm paying a minimum of $240, instead of paying $60 I'll pay $65 or $70. So how can I make this easier on myself? My WFMW tip is this: Get some blank address labels and use a computer program to make labels addressed to the c.c. companies! I have a whole sheet for Bank of America and another for Capitol One. I made up some form letters that say: "Dear ______, Please accept the enclosed payment for my account ending in 1234. Sincerely, My name, address and phone number." This way all I have to do is stick the label on an envelope, print and sign the letter, write a check and add a stamp. Having the labels means I don't have to hunt down the address! I hope this helps some people. Debt is a nightmare, and any way we have of getting out of it sure 'works for me!'

Monday, August 14, 2006

Menu Plan Monday
Organizing Junkie is hosting another Menu Plan Monday! Here's mine for the week:

Monday: Spaghetti with Meatsauce
Caprese Salad

Tuesday: Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
Butter-dipped biscuits
Scalloped Apples
Tomatoes from my garden

Turkey Cutlets with lemon sauce

Thursday: Dinner out with my family at our favorite restaurant: Catfish Annie's!!!!

Friday: Mussels in wine
Shrimp tartlets
Tomato-basil bruschetta

I go to work at 4 on Saturday and Mike usually makes homemade pasta sauce on Sunday.

All I know about this week is...we're eating a LOT of tomatoes!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Various stuff

I was going to use 'miscellany' as the title, but if I end up spelling it wrong--at least it isn't right there at the top. Today I mixed the mayo for my seafood salad (fake crab) sandwich 3/4 parts fake mayo to 1/4 part real. It tastes just as good. My daughter says she can't tell the difference between the fake stuff and the real stuff. I must have too damned many taste buds, because I can. Speaking of my daughter, we had a wonderful day out yesterday. She's 21. When my kids were younger, I'd take one kid out each Saturday to run errands with me, hit garage sales and have lunch. That got the particular kid out of chores for a day. It got me one-on-one time with one kid. The practice has faded over the years--the older 3 are in college and have jobs, the younger one is too busy with his friends. But when Katherine said, "you know what I'd like to do? I have Saturday off--let's hang out like we did back in the day", I was thrilled. Back in the day is one of her expressions. So we had lunch in Northport, by the water, and talked about this and that. Having lunch with my 21-year-old is like having lunch with a girlfriend. We hit a few garage sales and an antique store. The weather was perfect. Lunch was pricey--we went Dutch on it. I told her next time we'd do hamburgers. I hope it isn't too long until next time!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sewing today

I actually finished a blouse I've been working on...forever. Can't take pictures because the puppy chewed up the wire that connects the camera to the computer. (I have to work on replacing that.) But it's basically just a sleeveless v-neck tunic with an empire waist. I made it in a pretty blue and white fabric. The funny thing is that it was supposed to button up the back. Instead, I sewed a regular seam down the back. The extra I would have folded over for the button and buttonhole facings made it wide enough to just pull on over my head. Besides, who wants to deal with buttoning up a shirt from the back? I finished the edges with bias binding I made myself. You can go online and look up 'continuous bias binding' and get instructions. It's fun to do and it's nice that it matches the outfit exactly. I'm just happy I actually finished something. I also did finish--FINALLY--that baby dress! Now I just have to put it in the mail.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sorta dieting

For the last 2 days I've had my mix of half lowfat/half real cream cheese on my English muffin, with just a little jelly. I usually have butter, so I know I'm saving a bunch of calories there. Once this half/half mix runs out, I'm going to try one quarter real to 3/4 fake stuff. Okay, I know the lowfat stuff isn't 'fake,' but it ain't the way cream cheese was supposed to be, either. Eventually I hope to find the combination that works for me, where you lose most of the calories but you can't tell. I'm off to take my son to summer school. I'm stopping at Waldbaum's (grocery store) to pick up a few things. I found out a few weeks ago that Waldbaum's makes incredible fried chicken. So I had planned to pick some up for my lunch. Then I said to myself this morning...are you nuts? You're trying to lose weight! I had already said I wouldn't give up everything, but I think fried chicken is pushing it. Besides, I'm having pizza for dinner. Yeah, real pizza. I got back from a trip to Pennsylvania a few days ago, and I've cooked every night since. I need a day where food isn't the focus so I can 'catch up' to all the cleaning, etc. that needs done around here. Not to mention time for sewing and scrapbooking. Wish I could crochet...but at the moment the thumb is a little sore and I don't have full use of it yet.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My diet plans

I have decided to make a real effort to lose some weight. I made a fruit salad tonight. It usually has cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and mayonnaise in it--very fattening! I cut everything except the mayo (too lazy to go downstairs to the second fridge and hunt up the lo-fat stuff) half and half with lowfat or non-fat versions, plus the sugar I cut with Splenda. I really hate lowfat stuff, but if you mix it it takes that funny taste away. You can't even tell the difference. Next time I might do 3/4 lowfat to 1/4 regular and see how that goes. Trust me on this, I've tried straight-out low fat or no fat stuff and all Splenda and I can't stand it. No point in making a recipe if I'm not going to eat it. I'm not trying to starve myself, which would be stupid, anyway. I'm trying to see where I can cut calories and still feel satisfied. I'm going to try to get back in the habit of drinking a lot of water again, too. We really went overboard with soda during the heatwave. I didn't care, though. It was only for a few days and it was more important to drink stuff than think about calories. BTW, the recipe is called "Creamy Fruit Salad," and I think you can find it on the Taste of Home website.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Serendipity is the pleasure of finding something nice when you aren't expecting it. I was at CVS today getting a few things for a trip, which included a bottle of store-brand non-aspirin PM medicine. The order was completely rung up before I noticed I'd forgotten to put the box on the counter. So I had to wait for a second order. What do you know? The CVS coupon I got back from the first order included "1.50 off on any pain reliever purchase." forgetting that box saved me a dollar fifty. It was like it was meant to be, LOL! Don't you just love when things like that happen?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WFMW: Extra Ice on Hand

Well, first let me send cool thoughts to all of us suffering in this ridiculous heat wave. Take heart: it's supposed to drop about 20 degrees by tomorrow. Right now, 85 sounds positively arctic. Now, my tip: we all guzzle down a lot of ice cold water and other drinks in the summer. To keep from running out of ice, empty all of your trays into a baggie. Then refill the trays. Repeat as the bag gets empty, and you will always be a 'step ahead' when it comes to having ice on hand!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday: Painting Chairs

Holy cow, everything is running slow today--especially Photobucket. Must be the heat. It's 91 now but we're supposed to get a heat index (whatever that means!) of 105 here on Long Island. Which makes me glad I did these chairs over the weekend, LOL! Here they are partially done--you can see the white on the legs. These are just those cheesey white chairs we all have, which get spotty and ugly after a while. Still, they are structurally sound and it seemed a shame to throw them out. So I revitalized them with a few coats of Krylon Fusion paint. I probably used too much since I went through a can for each chair--but they look brand new! Michael's had the paint on sale for $3 a can, so for $6 I have two 'like-new' chairs.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Garage Sale Haul

Okay, I'd hardly call it a 'haul,' LOL! But I only spent $1.75 for it all--and there are 3 of those muffin tins. They look very old. I think I could fit one in my toaster oven, which means I could make muffins or cupcakes without using the big oven. But all three cost me just a dollar. They have the word "Kreamer" stamped on them. I don't know what that means, except there's a place in Pennsylvania called "Kreamer." Now, the cookie molds were really a buy at 25 cents each. I did some research and they run from about $5 to $15. I think there are collectors out there. I'll probably hang them on my kitchen wall. But it does get you thinking: the thing you 'just have to have' today, for which you will pay $15 to hang on your kitchen wall, may just be the thing that you put out at a garage sale for 25 cents in 10 years. I used to love all that Victorian clutter. Now I'm at a stage where I want to simplify. (Read: I'm at a stage where I don't want to dust it all.) It's a question to ask any time I want to buy something that isn't completely practical: "do I really want to spend this much on something I may not love in five or ten years?"

Menu Plan Monday Hop on over to "I'm An Organizing Junkie" and join in the fun of "Menu Plan Monday!" I, for one, can't wait to see what others are planning to make this week. I'm sure I'll be inspired. As for me...I'm heading off Friday for a long weekend so it's a very short menu. Mike (my husband) already bought hamburgers and hot dogs, so tomorrow's dinner is almost ready to go. Except for the few ingredients listed next to the menu. "Strawberry" is supposed to say "Strawberry Spritzer," btw. I'm lucky in that I have most of my ingredients already. I'll buy everything here in one day, but I have gotten into the habit of dividing my shopping list by what is needed for each meal. That way, if I'm just not up to shopping (back problems), I can get in and out quickly and have what I need for at least one or two meals. If you can read it, (check) written next to parmesan means to check if my husband bought some. Sunday is homemade tomato sauce day, and he usually picks some up if we need it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WFMW:carrying stuff

I bought a few of these little baskets at the dollar store. My pantry is down the hall from my kitchen--because, in truth, it was meant to be a linen closet. With my basket, I can carry 5 or 6 things instead of just one or two. But it isn't too heavy for me. I use these all around the house for transporting things that don't belong in one room to where they should go.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday: Pots

Not a big project--but not a bad one for someone with a thumb that looks like the Bride of Frankenstein! And it took the flash of the camera to realize the cupboard didn't just need straightened needed cleaned! So I am glad to have that done!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Before that rock hit

I had just come home from dropping my daughter off at work (her boyfriend had borrowed her car) and stopping at one garage sale when that damned rock hit my car. I had spent a grand total of $1 on 2 cookbooks at the sale. I love to cook. I love making up menus and finding new recipes to try. So many recipes, so little time. But I think I only have a few cookbooks that I paid full price for on my shelf. One is by Paula Dean, another by Giada DeLaurentis. Others are regional cookbooks from places I've visited. A few came from garage sales. I use the "Food Network" ones frequently. But I have found with the other books I have that I only pick out about 10% of the recipes. To me that is like paying $10 for something and only using $1 worth of it. Same goes for magazines. This is why I love to buy cookbooks really, really cheap at garage sales. For 50 cents or a dollar, even if I only use a handful of recipes, it's a bargain. And a whole book is cheaper than a magazine! Yesterday's books included a 'make ahead' cookbook. I actually made a blueberry coffee cake. You're supposed to make 2 and freeze one, but I didn't have enough sugar for two. It came out really good. I also made two tuna-fish sandwiches. One I ate before heading to work, the other I froze. You use sour cream instead of mayo, and it tasted pretty good. I'm going to keep the sandwich in the fridge a few days before trying it. If I remember, I'll post whether it was good or not. The second one is a brand-name cookbook. I see lots of things to try in there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

If it ain't one damned thing...'s another. Mike was using a weeder and a rock flew up and smashed my driver's side window. Nobody can fix it until Tuesday. The upside is that: a)it didn't hit a person (thank God), b)we have other drivers who can get me to work this evening, c)I hate driving anyway, so this is a good excuse and d)we have full glass coverage in our insurance. But isn't life fun?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I did it, I did it!

I actually figured out how to get links in my side bar! Thanks so much to Jenn over at Frugal Upstate, who told me about Blogrolling. It took an effort to figure out what the heck they were talking about, but see? There's my links--all two of them. Hey, it's a start! Thanks, Jenn!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

WFMW: Finding the end of tape

Doesn't it just bug you when tape sticks to itself and you can't find the end? Here's a tip to prevent that from happening. Save those little rectangular plastic tags from loaves of bread. Pop one of those babies at the end of a roll of tape. When you use the tape, remove it and put it back on before you tear the tape, just behind where you are tearing. That way, if it falls back on itself (and you know tape does that just to annoy you), the little plastic rectangle will keep it from sticking!

Monday, July 17, 2006

More on property tax

First, let me say I'm not a 'reverse snob.' You know what I mean--in the way that some privileged few look down on the 'underclass,' I think there are plenty of 'low man on the totem pole' types that automatically judge those who have a lot more. (Just because it's difficult for a camel to go through that needle eye doesn't mean it's impossible--because with God all things are possible.) I don't begrudge rich people their goodies, just so long as they don't think those goodies make them better. "It's what's inside that counts" is always true. Some of the nicest people I have known drive BMWs. My boss (who drives a Mercedes) works 6 out of 7 days a week. She runs two pediatric offices--one here, one in Brooklyn. That means better than an hour commute between the two on a good day--and you can guess there are few 'good' days when it comes to Long Island traffic, LOL! I've never seen anyone work so hard! She's a real sweetheart. Kids come running to hug her when they see her. You can tell she loves her job. Now, this is what I don't get. All that hard work, all that money for a house and property--when the heck does she get to enjoy her home? Her one day off she has to 'catch up' to house things. You could have a wedding with 200 guests on her lawn, yet I wonder if she's ever out there. Her kids are grown and gone. Mine will be within the next 5-7 years, and you can bet I want a smaller house with smaller property. Just enough to enjoy. Am I making sense? Two people in a huge house on huge property--and barely a few hours a week to enjoy it. Why? Okay, part of the house is the practice (which might also explain the high property taxes), but the rest of the place is so big their voices probably echo. Well, to each his own...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Station Identification

I interrupt my diatribe (I think that's the word) on property tax for station identification. This is MOM2FUR...and here's the picture to prove it. Well, some of the fur, anyway. Shadow the puppy, Nutmeg and Melody the Cats. The layout uses elements from "Dinner Party," a free kit from Shabby Princess. This is one of many sites for free scrapbooking downloads.

Property Tax

First, I didn't get the damned stitches out. The doctor says the wound hasn't healed enough. Maybe Monday. But let's drop that boring topic. I went on to look up home values in the area. We are thinking of moving into a smaller home, but I want to stay in the school district until my youngest graduates. We could move to a house valued about the same as ours, but with reduced property tax. That would save some money. But I told my husband I want to get a cheaper house, too. I want to put a nice chunk of change in the bank to live on. In fact, once Nick graduates (in 3 years) we will probably leave the area. I don't want to leave Long Island. It's fricking expensive to live here, but it is my home, where I have lived for all my 50 years and hope to live forever. I found out we can live in a pretty nice area farther east for about $100,000 less than this house and waaaayy less property tax. So there is hope for the future. I found out my house value has dropped by about $30,000 in just the last month. The Boom is going Bust. Who cares? If my house sells for less, so will everyone else's--it all balances out in the end. Okay, so being nosy, I had to look up the value of my boss's home. It takes me 2 minutes to drive to work, but that's the next town over and a little ritzier. A LOT ritzier. I live on a corner lot of slightly less than a 3rd acre and my taxes are about $6,000/year. Not only is her home on a lot of about 1.5 acres...she pays (don't choke) almost $25,000/year in property tax! Geesh, no wonder the woman works 6 days a week running two pediatric offices! (One here, one in Brooklyn. She must spend 4-6 hours a day commuting.) I have more to say about it, but the thumb is hurting. Enough typing. I'll continue this later. Off to take a walk before it gets too hot.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I'd say it's about 90% better. I can type with two hands if I don't do it too long. Stitches come out tomorrow. I went to the pediatrician I work for and she changed it from a big, bulky wrap to two small Band-aids, which helped immensely. I think most of the pain was caused by having my hand in an unnatural position for almost a week. I can move my hand now--just have to watch I don't press my thumb into anything. I will be glad to be able to tie my hair back, put on an apron, chop an onion, wash my hair with two hands (try doing it with one hand--geesh)...funny how we take something as mundane as a hand for granted. Especially the lowly left hand, LOL!

Monday, July 10, 2006

ouch, pt 2

I can't believe a small injury can hurt this much. Remind me never to break a leg.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Thursday i decided to add an extra can of tomatoes to my pasta sauce. Long story short 'cause it is hard to type: stuck can lid, miscalculation, thumb....ELEVEN STITCHES. No nerve damage, thank goodness. But it hurts a lot. Ultracet is niiiiiicccce stuff. Thank goodness for insurance...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It is most unfrugal...

...when the freezer pops open, no one knows about it...and everything thaws out. Of course, this is the old fridge where I keep my meat to make more room in the freezer half of the fridge upstairs. At least I was running low so there isn't a huge loss. But it's still money down the drain. I can't remember when I last was down there, but it's been a few days and I'm about the only one who uses it. Stupid thing must have popped open. The waffles are okay, but I can't take a chance on the meat. Damn. Oh, similar tales have been told. I think there's a story about freezers over here, but I can't find it. Whoever it was that blogged this, she has a bunch of kids and if anyone uses the freezer they have to call a witness to prove they closed it. But we don't have that many kids and we're all on different no one is home half the time to bear witness. I think I'm going to keep the meat upstairs and the cheap stuff like vegetables downstairs from now on!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

I love this site. You make your own customized to-do lists. I have one for every room of my house, plus one for other things I have to get done. You can edit your lists, too. It's very easy, and it's free!
It's not so much that I need a list to show me what to clean in a room. But a list helps me do it in a more orderly fashion so I'm not zig-zagging back and forth, wasting steps and time. And I hate housework, so anything that helps me with it is great, LOL!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Some Gave All

This is a tribute to one of our fallen heroes, Marine Staff Sergeant Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, of Baltimore, Maryland. Kendall, age 29, was assigned to the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendelton, California. He was killed in a CH-46E helicopter crash in Kuwait, on March 20, 2003. He leaves behind a loving family that includes his wife and a son from a previous marriage.
Rest with the Angels, Marine Staff Sergeant Waters-Bey!

Tackle It Tuesday

I've been meaning to straighten up the two cabinets. Glad to have Tackle It Tuesday to motivate me! (BTW, the hutch is a garage sale goodie. Cost me $40. It was red and blue and it took me a whole summer to paint it--'cause I hate painting, LOL. All the blue and white plates and about 1/3 of the cookbooks are garage sale babies, too.) PS--Sorry the picture is out of focus. I don't know why that happens sometimes. I really need to read my camera's manual a little better.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Last night Mike & I had dinner at another couple's home. Nothing fancy--just hot dogs, hamburgers and salad--just the way I like it. Sue & I were talking about various things and we got on the topic of walking. I used to love to walk before my back problems got worse. Then it started to make me feel bad. The trouble is that, although I play with my dog in the backyard, use the stairs throughout the day and do the general 'life' things that keep you moving, I was still getting pain in my legs. Numbness, I should say. As in, I can't feel my feet. I think what is happening is that I'm 'favoring' my back (it's called "Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction," btw) but the rest of me is going to Hades in a picnic basket. She told me her mother is in a very bad way because she did pretty much the same thing I'm doing--she became more and more sedentary because of pain. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to end up in a wheelchair because my legs decide to stop working one day. Damn it, if I ever had the money--I'd like to do some traveling, and I ain't doing it in a mobile chair. So this morning...I leashed up Shadow Dante and went for a short walk. Now my back and my legs hurt...but at least I did it. I'm going to try, try, try to make the noble effort to do it almost every day! Now...I wish I had a jacuzzi to soak in... (Oh...and obviously Shadow is bigger and has all his shots up to date--so he's street-ready for walking. And at least I don't have to worry about him pulling me too hard.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

It helps to clean out the fridge...

...'cause then you can 'rescue' what is still alive and kicking. I found I had 2 almost-full containers of sour cream. Both are perfectly fine, but by the time I used one or the other, the second one would be in the process of creating its own life forms. to the computer to look up recipes that include sour cream. I used the "Taste of Home" website. I like the advanced serach because you can put in one ingredient and they'll hunt all the recipes that include it. There are ways to narrow that down, too. I picked out "Kitchen Sink Salad," which I assume includes everything but. And Lasagna sandwiches. Imagine a sandwich that tastes like lasagna! Hmmmm...we'll see if that's true. I like the fact neither one involves the oven. And at least I'll get rid of some of the sour cream. Of course, there's always nachos...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

If you had to do it over again

I watched the movie "Butterfly Effect" this afternoon. I don't have any opinion about Ashton Kutcher, except that he's cute and he's a better actor that I realized. The movie is very thought-provoking. It is about a young man who, when he reads the journals he kept as a child, is transported back to whatever incident is indicated on the page he is reading. When he realizes he can do this, he tries to use the book to right numerous wrongs that happened to those he loves--and almost always with disastrous results. It takes a number of tries before he gets everything 'right.' I highly recommend this movie, but a caveat: it is NOT for children. There is some pretty disturbing stuff in this, not to mention some 'adult' stuff (although I give them credit for not really showing anything.) But it gets me thinking: if I could go back in time with complete impunity and change certain things, would I? I mean...if I wouldn't mess up my own personal spot on the space/time continuum and blink my husband and kids out of existence? Oh, you bet I'd take that chance. I'd like to jump on my brother's case about the drugs he was taking...before he even left for Vietnam, where it got worse. Maybe he'd be here today. I'd like to stand up to the various bullies that treated me, and others, like cr*p in school. Who exactly did they think they were? Lots of changes. What I wouldn't change: meeting my husband when I was 15 and he was 17. Getting married. Having four great kids--except, for kids 1 & 2, I'd switch doctors. I would also (and this goes back to very recent history) pay much, much closer attention to the fine print and all the extra fees and expenses they tack on your credit card when you aren't looking. Yeah, so long as no one would get hurt, there's lots of things I'd like to change!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

WFMW: Bug Bites

Next time you have an itchy bug bite...reach for a wet bar of soap. Rub a little of the wet soap on the bite and it will stop itching. I have no idea
why this works, but it does. And it's probably easier to find a bar of soap than that bug spray you bought last summer...that you know is in a drawer of those drawers you plan to tackle on a Tuesday.