If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Monday, July 30, 2012

Frugal doings in July

July has not really seemed like a frugal month with the air conditioner running almost non-stop
and the prices of everything at the store going up .
There were some frugal doings though.  
I've dried  many loads of laundry outside.  I really prefer to finish in the dryer but it is so hot,   I just hate to turn on the clothes dryer.
Most loads are drying outside in about 30 minutes - that is probably faster too.

and you tell I am not running up the water bill by doing much outdoor watering either......

raised by Gavin and Braeden's other grandparents
 it was as delicious as it looks too!

Hand-me-down playhouse that Nina got from another family at church.  They passed it on to us as their children have outgrown it and it was passed to them from another family.
Gavin and Elizabeth are already enjoying it and little Andie says she will be playing in it with them as soon as she can.

I was hoping to find one at a yard sale this summer so I am really happy to have one given to us.  

One of two piles of flower bed pavers we got from a neighbor who was getting rid of them.  

this is one of 3 rose bushes we bought at Aldi 2 springs ago.
It has bloomed like this 3 times,  more than 50 pretty yellow roses each time.
I think the bushes were $3.97.

Several months ago 
I bought 3 different scents of aromatherapy lotions and body sprays at Bath and Body Works,  
I really like 2 of them and noticed that they were 1/2 gone already.  
Since I don't like the 3rd scent and Bath and Body Works has a satisfaction guarantee,  
I returned  that unliked lotion and spray and traded them for a scent I will use.  
 It was a very easy transaction and I am really glad I did it.  

Theo likes a new brand of dog treats called Waggin Train.  
The small bags sell for about $2 and their was a recent news paper coupon on Waggin Train treats for $3 off 2 packs.  
I've already used the coupons from my papers and ordered a dozen more coupons from an Ebay dealer for just about $1.  
I don't seem to use a large number of coupons anymore but when there is a coupon deal like that good on items we use,  I like to look on Ebay for additional coupons.  

We went to Texas for a short trip and I stayed at my parents for a couple days. 
I helped my mom do some cleaning out of her clothes and craft supplies.  
We put a lot of her castoffs in their garage sale and organized everything she did keep. 
 I brought home 4 storage tubs of her unwanted and extra fabric and quilt supplies.

Mom and I also wear the same size shoes.  
She cannot wear the styles she used to so I brought home dozens of pairs of nice shoes and boots.  

I cooked all meals at home this month except for meals we ate on the road.
I really think most eating out is over-rated.  and way too salty!

I continue to clean out cabinets and closets and have another growing pile of stuff to give away 
If none of my friends or family take it all,  
I will be offering it on our local facebook "free" site or taking it to a thrift store.

how about you?  Has July been kind or harsh to your bank account?  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Jeff~

My husband's birthday was the same day as the Olympic opening ceremonies so Nina baked his cake with an Olympic theme.
Isn't it great?
She use edible paper and her silhouette machine to make the decorations.
The sports emblems are Jeff's favorite Olympic events.  

All our children and grands were at Nina and John's Saturday evening for a birthday party for Jeff.

Gavin thinks Aunt Nina's cakes are the best part of birthdays.
Elizabeth likes the present opening part the best.

Grandpa Jeff thinks having all his children and grandchildren together at one time is the best.  

And Zerbie, the worlds largest and sweetest Doberrnan,  thinks sitting on the couch
 just like the other guests is the best.   

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Last week's baking

It is another crazy-hot summer in Oklahoma but I am still doing a little baking.
I do it all the same time so the oven only gets heated up once.

Last week,  I made 3 loaves of banana bread
a pan of brownies - and shhh, don't tell my family but I used a jar of baby food prunes  that I found while cleaning out,  the recipe called for 1/2 cup of butter - I instead used just 1/4 cup of butter and that tiny jar of prunes.  They were delicious too.  

I also made a batch of whole wheat bread dough in the machine and added some of the vital wheat gluten I got from Amazon last week.  They turned out much lighter than 100% whole wheat normally is.  
I am sold on it and will be using it in all my recipes.  

This camera angle  gives a distorted view- 
it makes the hot dog and sandwich buns look bigger than the bread loaves  :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

yet another switch-a-roo that led to another big project

just like that book, 
  if you give a mouse a cookie, 
one thing leads to another 

The computer - craft room before the switching started
but it is a mess because this set up is just not working.
My supplies are mostly in big storage containers and in the closet where it is hard to find and see things.  
guest room as it looked before I started switching things ..

So,  I decided to move all those tall white shelves to the computer room to store fabric and  craft supplies.  

the shelves have been moved but that was the easy part - now I have to organize everything

Nina's old furniture got moved to the guest room
and I am wondering how all those books on will fit on those 2 sets of shelves.

I  have more work to do and it may get worse before it gets better!

I started this project in June- now it almost the end of July and it is getting close to be finished.  
I've also been ruthlessly decluttering closets and drawers and cabinets.  My friend Terri said she is also cleaning out and pretending to be moving,  asking herself "would I move this?" about everything.
I am not going quite that deep but I am culling out lots.  

and while I was cleaning out,  I found another big project that needs to be done- 

this is just part of 30+ years of family photos,
what a jumbled mess, right?
There is no good way at all to store all those assorted size albums and boxes.
Our wedding photos came in some very nice brown leather albums but that leather has deteriorated and   flaking off onto  whatever it touches.

So for now,  I have been taking all the photos out.
Then I plan to sort them by events, child, family- etc.
I hope to store them in safe storage boxes with dividers but have not gone shopping for these boxes I have dreamed up.

How do you store your photos?  Any suggestions?  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When you can't find what you need locally.....

I've been baking almost all our bread this year.  
I want to start doing more whole wheat and whole grain breads but all the recipes I want to try call for vital wheat gluten.
So,  I shopped at the 2 biggest grocery stores in my town this weekend but neither one had vital wheat gluten.  

Then I turned to Amazon.com.  
I found several sellers with gluten at good prices.  

I ordered this giant can Sunday evening and the friendly UPS delivery man brought it  to my front door Tuesday afternoon.  That is really fast I think.  

Here's my ticket- just $12.59 - no delivery charge as it was covered with our Amazon Prime- for this giant can  about the  same size as a large can of  coffee or  canned fruit.  

I know gluten has a bad reputation and some people are allergic to it with really awful problems if they eat it.  

But if you are not,  then gluten added to your yeast baked goods makes them much lighter.  
Vital wheat gluten also has 35 grams of protein in just a quarter cup.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tasty Lentil Tacos

The name, Tasty Lentil Tacos, may sound at first like an oxymoron.  
But it is not.  
I've been making this thrifty and healthy taco filling for years and we always enjoy it.

This is my plate from tonight.  
The lentils are in the middle with fresh salsa made from our backyard tomatoes.
The chips are Mission extra thin corn tortillas- cut in eighths, lightly brushed with olive oil and baked until crisp.  

Jeff ate his lentils rolled in tortillas with the chips and salsa on the side.

Its a simple recipe,  just lentils cooked in chicken broth seasoned with onions, chili powder, cumin, oregano and a little garlic.  

my copy of the recipe-from AllRecipes.com 
but when I looked for a link to it earlier in the week,  the recipe there was a little different.  
See, this one I printed off was rated 5 out of 5 stars by 63 members.  
We are not the only people who Lentil Tacos are tasty!  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pacifier clips

When we saw grand daughter Andie last week,  she was wearing a patriotic pacifier clip to match her patriotic outfit.  The clip was gift from one of her mom's customers.
The clip is so handy in keeping Andie's pacifier off the floor.
Her parents said they would like to have one "in every color"  

So,  I looked online for instructions to make some.  There are many tutorials out there. 
They are just a short piece of fabric or ribbon with a velcro loop on one end to the pacifier and a clip on the other end to fasten to the baby's clothing.   

I found this pack of ironing board clips at JoAnns for $3.99- with enough clips to make 8
it was the best way  I found to get the most clips for the smallest price  
I made 4
black & white,  green & yellow,  pink and lavender.

They were very quick to make - 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Working my way through a to-do list

Back in April,  I read on Kelly's blog as she worked her way through the Money Saving Mom's 4 week plan for a clean and organized home.  The tasks were things like clean out your fridge and medicine cabinet and air vents and throw away/donate clutter as you find it.

I did many of the things on the list including cleaning all the windows, blinds, ceiling fans and light fixtures.  
But I never did get around to cleaning the tops of the kitchen cabinets.  

While Jeff was home and with lots of help from Gavin,  they took care of the cabinet tops for me. 

I had a lot of stuff up there and man, was it greasy and dusty.  
It is has all been washed but I don't think anything is going back up there for now.  
Jeff is standing on a platform but my almost 6 foot husband is having to stand on his tiptoes to clean the tops of those cabinets.
The upper cabinets have crown molding around them and the shelf part is several inches below that.
So displaying things is tricky as they sit lower than the crown molding and there only about 10 inches between the crown molding and ceiling. 

For now,  the cabinet tops are clean and empty. 
 I've looked around on Pinterest for ideas to decorate them but nothing strikes my fancy just yet.  
Any suggestions?  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Possibly the cutest brother shirts ever

My daughter Nina designed and printed these shirts for her nephews.
She has a Silhouette machine that makes the designs and transfers.
She just got a fancy heat press machine that attaches the designs to the fabric in a professional way.  

I think they are wonderful and the new parents were very excited to get them.

Bubby is what Gavin has called himself since he could talk.
When asked what his new brother's name should be, Gavin said "Baby Bubby"
so that is why the shirts say Bubby.  

the backs of the shirts

Nina is working on an Etsy shop.
I'll post a link when she opens it.  

Backyard improvements

Jeff took some vacation days from his job and spent much of it doing improvements to our back yard.  

Like all of our neighbors, our yard has a 6 foot privacy fence around the back part.
He spent several days converting one of the front sections into a double gate.

Now that we have a gate,  he can drive his pick-up into the back yard .
That is especially handy when he has a load to drop off......

Like this wood he used to put a roof on this pergola that has been in our backyard since we bought the house.

It had slats in the roof part but they gave no shade or protection from rain.
This picture is in the middle of the roof construction.

It is finished now but I am not going to climb up on that ladder to take a picture of it.
just take my word, OK?

He also took apart and cleaned out the Rubbermaid storage building in the back yard.
Then he made a new higher foundation for it and put it all back together.  

The next plan is to do some kind of paved surface under and around that pergola- either poured concrete or maybe pavers.

I only assisted a little - and mostly just kept his Iced Tea mug full.
But I sure am glad to have all these jobs done!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our newest Grandson

Meet baby Braeden
He was born 7/10/2012 and  is Gavin's little brother.

Welcome to the world, baby boy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cookie can + oilcloth = booster chair for a big toddler

Have you been wondering about this project?  
Well,  I finished them and have a grandchild to model for the picture, so here it is!
I am very happy with how they turned out.  

Gavin on one of the new booster seats.  

I started with 2 large cookie cans, 1 yard of oilcloth and it was just about the right  amount  to cover 2.
I also used masking tape, batting and E6000 glue.

In case you are wondering if a cookie can is sturdy enough for a child to sit on,  yes they are!
My fully grown daughter tried sitting on one and it held her just fine,  
Yes,  I should of taken a picture of Nina on the cookie can!
First, I covered the cans with batting scraps and some old baby things that Nina was getting rid of.  (you all know I do things thrifty whenever possible.)
 I am sure there are much better tutorials to upholster at many other blogs, this is just the simple way I did them.  You might want to look into more detailed instructions than mine........
cut 2 circles about an inch bigger than the cans.
Also cut a long piece about an inch bigger on all edges to go around the base.
I used pins but just in the very edge so the pin-holes would not show 

I machine-sewed the first circle to the long piece,  and also used the machine to attach  the 2 ends of the  long piece.
Then I turned it right side out and put it on the cookie can.
I used more masking tape to pull the oilcloth tight around the can.
Then I attached the bottom oilcloth piece with E6000 glue to seal everything in.

a bear tries the chair

just the booster.
My photos are not good but I think you can get the idea.

These are not approved by the child safety commission but I think they are fine for older toddlers .

I got the oilcloth at Joanns Fabric store in my town.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Who thinks up this stuff?

My son went to a convention and got a few goodies there.
He brought this insulated bag to me.
It is a good shape and size.  I think I will use it often to take drinks when we are out doing errands or on trips.

See the pockets on the front?  

The pockets hold a small cutting board, a cheese knife and a cork screw.
I guess it is intended for a French style picnic with cheese,  grapes and a bottle of wine.
The thing is,  the bag is not tall enough to hold a bottle of wine.

It is plenty tall enough for water and soda bottles though.

But I think the wine drinkers may be disappointed when they try to pack their bag for a picnic  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Like Father, Like Daughter

Granddaughter Andie
just about 4 months

These are professional photos by Okie Photo

isn't she just the cutest little 4th of July Sparkler?  

This is Bobby,  Andie's daddy.
In this newest batch of pictures,  I think Andie looks so much like Bobby did at the same age.  

Bobby had some crazy hair
and once he learned to smile,  he pretty much never stopped!  

Crocheted baby pattern

I blogged about these crocheted babies a couple of years ago and still get emails and  comments about them.
Several have asked for the pattern but I did not have it.  

I spent this past weekend at my parents and helped my mom clean out some things,  including a good portion of her craft and sewing supplies.
She found her original pattern for the crocheted dolls in a storage tub of fabric.
It does not make much sense me but she said real crocheters will understand it.
scanned copy of  Mom's instructions

So,  if you want to crochet a blanket baby, hope this helps.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

just a funny

Cartoon from my husband's American Legion magazine.

can anyone relate?