Friday, October 31, 2008


This is my 3rd post today, LOL! Here are some Halloween photos:

When we were in Ohio, we dressed up my mother's 'goose' in a Groucho Marx Mask. (That's Katherine, my daughter.)
Angelina in costume...dont' know if you can see the green teeth.

Shadow loves to dress up, but as you can see, he does NOT like hats!

My son Jamie, who will be 22 tomorrow. Yes, that's a real flak jacket. And yes, he really is a NICE kid. Really!

Here's our pumpkin...Katherine did the carving.
Have a happy and safe Halloween.

My husband rocks friday

I remembered this week! Read all about "My Husband Rocks Friday" over at Katie Lin's blog:

I'm a great lover of animals. Right now, I've only got a dog, 2 cats and 2 ferrets, but I've had rats, guinea pigs, birds, hamsters, lizards and more. Once, two of my guinea pigs had litters, making a total of 12 (including the papa)!

My mother says to me, "what does Mike think of all those animals?"

I don't know that he'd have any if he was single, except maybe for a cat. Cats are easy. But he's come to love my furbabies, even the outdoor ones. I said to my mother, "who do you think buys all the peanuts for the squirrels?"

So that is another way my husband rocks...he shares my love of animals, even the wild ones!

Two Frugal Thoughts

Edited to join "Financially Free Friday" over at "Not So Perfect." Here's the link!

First thought: generic packaging that looks almost exactly like the brand name stuff is annoying. Really annoying. Almost as annoying as the little sales stickers they put right under the generic stuff when what you want is the real thing. You need the 'real thing' to get your ECBs back at CVS.

Can you tell I picked up generic 'Nyquil' and didn't realize it until after my transaction was finished and there was no ECB? It was a ten-minute production to get it straightened out, but I think that's because the guy behind the register was inexperienced. (And I'm talking about a man pushing 60, not some kid.) I got the money back in cash, and I'm still not 100% sure I wasn't stiffed somehow.

Warning: Take a good look at what you pick up off the shelf--pay no attention to little yellow stickers on the edge!

You can also imagine how p*s*ed I was when he insisted I gave him a five, not a twenty. ("I gave you a twenty. I don't HAVE any fives.") Thank goodness, he put that twenty in with the fives.

Second thought: while I'm so happy I have a well-stocked pantry, it's been a while since I even looked at the price of mayo and I almost had a heart attack when I saw Walgreen's had it on sale at 2 for 5.99--half price. Mayo is up to 5.99 now???? Okay, maybe Walgreen's is pricey, but I think I'd better start working on a little price book again. Last I paid for mayo, it cost me about $2 with a coupon. I know prices are going up, but this is ridiculous. What kind of eggs are they using for the stuff--golden ones from that famous goose? I sure think I'm going to treat my last jar and a half of mayo like gold!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mystery Solved!

My wonderful Halloween Swap box came from Kat Ray, also known as Aurora, of "Touch the Spindle." I'm so happy to be able to give credit for such a nice present. Thanks, Kat!

PS--I'm back in New York again. It was a nice flight, although the 3-hour layover in Baltimore got a little boring. Then again, a straight flight between NYC and Columbus might have meant a 2-hour drive home from the airport in traffic. (We flew out of Islip, a much, much smaller and more convenient airport). If I have to be 'stuck' for a few hours, I'd rather it be in a place where I can get up and move around!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm in Ohio

My two older kids, Michael and Katherine, are with me visiting their grandma (my mom) in Ohio. We flew in on Saturday. The ride was a little bit bumpy due to rain, but not bad at all. We took Southwest. It's cheap and flies out of a local airport--much nicer than one of the NYC airports! The only thing I don't like about Southwest is that there are no assigned seats. You have to call 24 hours in advance to get your boarding pass, then they let you go on by category--A, B or C. I was mad because I called 23 hours in advance and ended up with B passes. But...they subdivide now (I don't think they used to do that), so we were at the front of the Bs. We got window seats from Long Island to Baltimore and then from Baltimore to Columbus. So it wasn't bad at all.

Do you know, it was 50 dollars cheaper per person to fly on Saturday as opposed to Friday or Sunday? What a difference a day makes!

I saw the weirdest phenomenon in the air, one I may never see again. Dang, if only I'd had a memory card in my camera! It was a circular rainbow! Somehow, the angle of the sun against the airplane made a reflection on the clouds. It started as a bright, white disk with a weird shape in the middle. As the plane went up, the disk grew and became surrounded with rainbow colors. And that weird shape turned out to be the shadow of the plane! So, there on the clouds was a beautiful, round rainbow with a perfect silhouette of the plane in the middle. It was so cool!

So we're here until Wednesday getting fat on Mom's cooking. We had baked macaroni on Saturday. There is homemade vegetable soup, and last night we had beef stroganoff. Michael loves stroganoff, and he helped grandma cook--and got some good pointers! I was armed with the camera then--I'd bought a memory card at CVS. (Ha, ha, frugal to the last--there was a five dollar ECB with it. I gave it to my mom, because I used her card.)

Mom made an angel's food cake to celebrate the kids' birthdays. I wish I could make cake like that. It was always a tradition to have angel's food cake on birthdays when I was growing up, and I'm glad Michael and Katherine had the fun of sharing that.

Today we are going to a cool restaurant called Der Dutchmann. Good food and a killer boutique--I save up to have fun there! Not sure what I'll get, but I know I'll come home with a few neat goodies. Oh! And down the block is an awesome Amish grocery store, where I will buy some spices to bring home. It has a little consignment shop next door that I'll browse. The prices are so reasonable (as compared to New York) that I'm sure I'll find something to bring home.

This is too long and I don't know if anyone actually reads this much text, but if you got this far...hi, hope all is well, wish you were here to have some of my mom's amazing food.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Costume I made

If Sew Crafty Friday was up and running, this would be my 'donation.' I hope all is well with Shereen and family!
Angelina wanted to be a 'spooky bride' for Halloween. She's got her Halloween Dance tonight. So...despite having yet another flippin' sinus headache...I finished it up today. (I also had to get it done anyway...I'm leaving for Ohio tomorrow.) I bought the fabric at a discount store, so it only cost a dollar a yard! But don't laugh about that eyelet ruffle around the comes from an old tablecloth. But hey, it works!
There is tulle around the neck that is held in place with little charms. The bow in the back is tulle as well.
I made this from the ground up--drafted the pattern myself. Basically, I used some exam table paper from work and held it up against Angelina and traced a bodice. I made a 'muslin' to check the fit, and it worked fine. The sleeves are a real pattern, adapted from a sweatshirt pattern.
P.S.--She'll use her first communion veil, wear creepy black nails, and of course she'll ditch the jeans, LOL! (She's wearing creepy lipstick here. Frankly...I made the gown 'pretty' so she could go either way with it...sweet or scary!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Halloween Swap Partner...

...remains an enigma. You forgot to put a card in the box with your name! So...WHO are you?????

Anyhoo, behold the cuteness! An awesome cup, bowl and plate in a Halloween theme...and the spider isn't scary. He's silly and adorable.
And behold the awesomeness...I opened up a red drawstring bag decorated with bats to find some hand made napkins! I love using cloth napkins. Isn't the skull one the best???? I like it so much I hung it on the bottom half of my kitchen cafe curtains, which are black and white gingham. So the skull napkin looks really cool there.

Thanks so much for making me smile today, mystery partner! It will make me even happier to have a name for you!
And thanks to Susan at Blackberry Creek for hosting this fun little swap!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

CVS Today

I walked into CVS today with $9 in ECBs and bought:

1 Schick Quattro for Women razor 9.99-$2 mfr coupon=$7.99-- received $3in cost 4.99

1 Twin Pack G.U.M. toothbrushes-3.99--received $3.99 in cost FREE!

2 Cans Maxwell House--BOGO--final cost 4.99 for 2

Tootsie Pops (for work, I'll get reimbursed) 1.99 (orig. 2.49)

A little bag of sunflower seeds $1 (original price 1.69)

So, basically, I got over $29 worth of stuff for about $11.

Yep, sometimes CVS works!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Gift Wrap Idea

I missed both "Sew Crafty Friday" and "My Husband Rocks Friday" due to yet another sinus headache and stomach ache yesterday. Feeling much better today, thanks. I am trying a new homeopathic allergy/sinus medicine, which is made by Zicam. We'll see how it works. I've built up a resistance to Tylenol, I can't take ibuprofen and even though I can tolerate coated aspirin, the long-term damage to my stomach isn't so hot.

Okay, enough about me. I had to wrap a big gift for a little boy's birthday party today. We got him a remote-control truck. I already had some "Hot Wheels" paper on hand, but a plain wrapped box just doesn't do it for me. Neither do ribbons for a boy. So, I thought about the stash of Halloween candy I had and came up with this:

I think it looks like a truck, don't you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whatever Wednesday: Pet Peeves!

Laurie's theme this week is Pet Peeves. (I forgot to link to her last week! Here ya go...)

Okay, pet peeves. First, a definition, if you don't mind. A pet peeve is a little thing that is really, really, really annoying--not a major 'hate' like cruelty to animals or mean people. I guess, basically, it's the things that make less quality of life. Okay, here I go:

SIGNAL, WILL YOU??? People who turn without signalling really annoy me. How hard it is to flick a lever?

Stop tailgating already. Honestly, whether or not you give my exhaust pipe some breathing space...I'm probably going to meet you at the next light, anyway. What's your hurry?

This one really just applies to me: just because Dr. A's office opens at 6 doesn't mean I want you there waiting in the driveway when I arrive. Dr. A doesn't arrive until 7:15. I don't need you under my feet while I'm trying to vacuum. (We do take walk-ins, and most people actually are pretty nice about waiting...or leaving. I usually let them sign in and tell them to come back later. But still, I wish they wouldn't come so early.)

Speaking of Dr. A's office...stop sitting by while your kids trash the front room. It's just a small place. It isn't a park or a gym. I shouldn't have to be the one to tell the kiddies to stop screaming or throwing things. And what is it with kids and breaking off the legs off horses or removing wheels from toy cars?

Okay, enough griping, LOL!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My oldest is 26

Michael turned 26 yesterday! I still can't believe that 26 years ago, I was holding a tiny, 7 lb. 1 oz. baby boy in my arms after 14 hours of labor. I couldn't believe he was real. I thought if I touched him, my hand would go right through him.

We have had our ups and downs like all families, but he has turned into one remarkable kid. We all went out to a favorite seafood restaurant for his birthday dinner. (That was Friday, since I work Saturday.) Michael got a twin lobster dinner--it's cheap at this place and it was part of his gift. Michael had told me a few weeks ago that he doesn't need presents, since he can afford pretty much anything he'd want. Instead, he wanted to go to dinner.

He comes over every Sunday, too. First, Mike picks him up and they go out on the island to visit his uncle and aunt. Then they swing around this way for dinner. We had lobster again! (Well, I didn't have it friday.) James called from the store and told me lobster was only 5.99 a pound today! Wow, it's been up to $15. So, I treated Michael to another one and got one for myself.

Michael not only enjoyed his dinner, he completely cleaned up after--including taking out the trash. He truly is a man now, no longer a little boy. He's just awesome.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday--almost finished

Well, Shereen isn't back with Sew Crafty Friday just yet, so we have to hope she's happily busy in her new home!
Here are my two blouses. As you can see, I chose green buttons after all for the brown one. It is almost done. I just have to sew buttons on the cuffs and do a little sewing at the neckline.
The pink blouse just needs the neckline sewn. I wish I had more of this fabric so I could bind it to match, but I'll probably either make a contrasting facing (it wouldn't show anyway) or just roll it back and stitch it. I think the ribbon trim is wonky, but I already ripped it out once, so it's going to stay this way. I can also see I need to wear one of my better bras under it, LOL!
I posted twice today, so please scroll down and read my other one. Meantime...what have you been up to in the creative world?

My Husband Rocks Friday

Katie Lin over at "The Great Adventure" is doing a new weekly 'carnival' dedicated to showing the best of our husbands. I think this is a wonderful idea, especially in this day and age when couples seem to thrive on putting each other down and being mean. You wouldn't speak to your best girlfriend the way some women speak to their husbands. (And it goes for the goose as well as the gander--men are guilty of this, too!) So, with that in mind, pay Katie Lin a visit and see what this is all about:

After almost 4 decades together, there are a million things I can say about Mike. But I'll keep this short and simple and give just one example. My husband rocks because he does what he can to make my life easier, without complaint. He knows that I don't like driving at night. (I only drive home from work, barely a mile from my house.) So, even though he'd probably prefer to be in bed by then, he stays up until ten p.m. on nights that our youngest works so he can pick him up.
And speaking of driving, he'll drive me to work and pick me up if it is snowing outside! As I said in an earlier post, I despise driving, but driving far at night or on snow (or on snow at night--shudder) terrifies me! Mike doesn't make fun of me, he takes care of me.

How cool is that?

Oops--I came back to edit this to add: thanks, Debbie J., for telling me about this!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Whatever Wednesday

I've written 3 posts today, so be sure to scroll down for my other two! Laurie's theme for this week's "Whatever Wednesday" is fall memories. I have so many, since fall is my favorite season. I can remember my mom making us costumes from a trunkful of old clothes she had. One year, I was an angel. My 'gown' had actually been the graduation robe my brother wore when he graduated from kindergarten. (He's 10 years older than me.)
I can remember the smell of burning leaves. Alas, you aren't allowed to do that any more.

I remember being able to go anywhere for Halloween and coming home with a ridiculous amount of candy. We heard all the razors-in-apples stories but it didn't really worry us. My mom used to make bags of popcorn for the neighborhood kids, and they looked forward to it every year. Can you imagine doing that nowadays? (BTW, there have only been about 2 proven cases of candy poisoning, and both were traced to family members.)

We kids used to like to rake leaves into squares and leave part of one 'wall' (actually about 6 inches tall) open for a 'door.' Then we'd play 'house.'

One fall, I was actually a cheerleader for a local football team. Nobody who knows me now would ever believe that, and I only did it 'cause my dad made me. My sister and my friend Betty were better at it. (Yes, I had a friend named Betty--Betty Ann. Am I dating myself?)

The Cost of Groceries

Tyler over at Titus 2: 3-5, who hails from Canada, wants to know what we spend on groceries. I happen to have my receipt from Waldbaum's, one of the groceries at which I shop here on Long Island, New York. (You don't live 'in' Long Island. You live 'on' it. If you were in'd be buried.)

I bought a lot of stuff on sale, with coupons, and I got $114.27 worth for $61.80. I bought some Campbell's microwaveable bowls really cheap. Usually, they run about 2.39 each. Ouch--ridiculous! But...they were on sale for 1.33, and I had a bunch of coupons for 75 cents off two. So they ended up being about 58 cents each. I probably did the math wrong (Tyler did some great math converting Canadian gas prices to Americanese--I'm not that good), but I know I saved a ton.

It was a lucky weekend because the paper guy put extra coupon circulars in the paper. Don't you love it when that happens?

Okay, some regular prices--I bought most of these on sale:

Totino's Pizza Rolls (large) 4.99 (I paid $3 minus a coupon)

Coffeemate Liquid Creamer 2.99 ($2 on sale)

Head of Broccoli 2.99 (1.50 on sale)
Head of Cauliflower 2.99 (1.50 on sale)

Lemon--79 cents

Sorrento Mozzarella (16 oz) 6.49--double OUCH but it was BOGO so a good deal. And hey, this is an Italian family...we NEEEED Mozzarella!

I can also tell you that avocadoes are up to about $2 each now. I didn't buy any this week, but a few weeks ago they were $1 each, so I mushed up a few, mixed 'em with lime juice and froze them for future guacamole.

I'm sorry I don't have a lot to tell you about. I've been playing "The Grocery Game" for several years now and have a good stockpile, so I don't buy many 'individual' items at the grocery.

Do you want to tell us what groceries cost by you? Here's the link to Tyler's site:

Playing Tag Again

Hayley over at Happy Hawkey Homeschool House, (I feel as if I should take a breath now..., ha, ha) has tagged me for a 7 Random Things About Me meme. Okay, random stuff...

1. I love animals and consider my pets my second set of children. The outdoor animals are my 'wild pets,' including squirrels who will come over to me if I call them. (Some are more shy than others. My favorites are a very young male, a female with a notch bit out of her ear and two pregnant ladies.) I also consider pets cheaper than therapy.

2. I have four kids. I wanted eight, but it didn't work out that way. (In my own family there were 3 boys, then 3 girls. I'm #5.) My youngest is 18, my oldest will be 26 on Saturday. (My daughter will be 24 and my other son 22 in November.)

3. Mike and I celebrate out 28th wedding anniversary on November 29, but we were dating 9 years prior to that, so our total time together as of this November is 37 years. He was 17 and I was 15--wow, that was a long time ago!

4. I am a published author. I haven't published anything in a few years, but I'm working on a mystery story. The last set of books I wrote, which were for middle-grade readers, are under the series title "Journey to America." They are out of print but I think a lot of libraries carry them. One title is "Fiona McGilray's Story: A Voyage from Ireland in 1849." Alas, the market for historical children's fiction has died out so I only wrote 3 of these books.

5. I hate to drive with a passion and will use any excuse not to have to do it--which probably isn't a bad thing in this day and age!

6. My political thoughts are slightly to the right of the middle-of-the-road. I believe in hand-ups, not handouts. I think we should be kind to everyone, but I don't think people breaking the law should get any special privileges. I think people should shut up and take care of themselves as much as possible and quit whining. (Or maybe I'm just bitter because I'm broke, live with chronic pain and nobody's handing me anything.)

7. If I had one secret desire, it would be the ability to ice skate. But I can hardly walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, so there goes that idea.

Now you know more about me than you ever wanted to know! You can visit Hayley here:

I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but I'll just invite anyone who wants to play!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Shereen and her family are safe and sound at their new home, so go over and say 'hi'!
No Sew Crafty Friday yet, but she's eager to get back on line!

I don't have pictures today. Sorry! The memory card to my camera decided to die. I'm glad I already had all my pictures transferred from it.

What I have today is a progress report:

1. Made the buttonholes for the green and brown blouse. I found green buttons that are a great match.

2. Sewed the lining to the brown jacket and have it pinned in place

3. Finished a padded baby hanger.

4. Sewed toppers for Christmas towels--you know, the things that have buttons on them so you can attach the towel to your oven door handle.

5. Crocheted a little jumper for the "American Girl"-type doll Angelina has. I'm making her a little wardrobe for Christmas. The jumper was super-easy and I just have to put buttons on it. I used some turquoise yarn I have.

That's it, I guess! I promise to have pictures soon. Maybe Walgreen's will have a deal on one of those memory cards this weekend. What have you guys been up to this past week?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Whatever Wednesday: Childhood Memories

I'm participating in Whatever Wednesday today at

Laurie's theme this week is Childhood Memories. I have so many, a lot of which I'd like to forget, LOL! But I'll tell you a few that always make me feel good.

The first is that my father had converted a small room in our basement into a sort of ham radio center. I loved to go down there and sit with him as he made his calls over his radio. I'm not sure they even have 'ham' radios any more! (Ham, Dad told me, was a joke word for "amateur.") I can still hear him:
"WB2MBU calling CQ, CQ, CQ!"

My dad used to treat us to Carvel ice cream once in a while, too. It was a lot more special back then because there weren't so many of them around. Nowadays, very little is 'special' because it's so convenient to us! Heck, back then a box of new crayons, or some construction paper or Play-do was like treasure!