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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 To Dos


I want to post a list of things I would like to do this year to keep me accountable and ensure that I have plenty of projects if I ever get lazy. So here goes with the projects I have been considering…

-          Start an herb garden (again…)
I would like to hang some planters on my patio after they grow. I am thinking of using paint cans hung on my fence, or something else to bring color. Hopefully I can learn how to keep them alive this time around. Last year the only thing that lived was chives, but I left them with my mom. Right now I only have Green Onions.
Along these same lines, I need to distribute the Lilly bulbs that I missed last year and I would like to plant garlic in the fall.
-          Make homemade shampoo & Rinse.
Depending on how this works I would like to use it on an ongoing basis. After reading about some recipes online, I am optimistic. I will have to figure out what works best for us and post the recipe.  
-          Make homemade Soap
-          Make homemade Pop Tarts
-          Organize my kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
 This includes labeling and containing. I have a start on my kitchen, but I have a long way to go! I will most likely have to wait until the summer to buy some containers since I found out a couple months ago that the Rubbermaid ones I have decided to use are seasonal… who knew?! Depending on how this goes I might go so far as to organize the freezer – maybe.
-          Learn how to use my new sewing machine to do basic projects and Halloween costumes.
-          Continuing with my Sauce Project, I would like to make my own Caesar Dressing and Mustard
-     Create art on my bedroom wall

Monthly:
-          I have to get on top of my filing! So… I think it is fitting to make this an official goal to schedule time on a monthly basis to file all the papers that are building up in my office.
-          Read two books minimum. This usually isn’t a problem, but sometimes it is tough not to get distracted by other things.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting ready for Holidays

My Halls are decked. Half of my house is blue and white, and the other half is Red and White. I am officially finished with all of my shopping and some of my projects. I have even decided what to make Christmas Morning and what treats to make the first and last nights of Chanukah. Good right. I am giving myself a pat on the back.

I wanted to post the "craft" that I made today because I want to remember it for next year. I think it will be a hit on Christmas morning! My son is 4 so he is really into Santa, Rudolf, the Polar Express and our house elf. I have to be very careful that I do Santa right, or my smart cookie will ask me "Mommy, How come....?" so to keep the magic alive I am trying to stretch my creativity: Santa has his own wrapping paper and his own gift tags.

The tags are from Avery that I bought at staples and I used Silver marker and red glitter glue to write SC.

NOTE: my kids aren't the only ones who get Santa gifts. Any visiting family also get a little something from SC.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Countdown


Since my kids are still little, now is the time to create memories and new traditions. We began the Elf on a Shelf two years ago, but Connor was still a bit young to get it until this year. And I was thinking of a fun way to count down the month rather than a Chocolate advent calendar. Those, of course, do not include Chanukah. I was looking at other blogs and there are some good ideas that people have come up with to create their own. I thought I would do the same, but start out simple. Maybe I will exert more energy before December begins next year to come up with another way of doing it.

That being said, I am very happy with my chain. Connor (refusing to take a nap) “helped” by cutting up some paper with the paper cutter when I was finished. That was fun for him! Maybe next year he can help even more with this project – or better yet, make one at school that we can use ;)

Part of my Christmas Room,
the other side is Chanukah :D
I decided to count down to the New Year. I cut paper a little over 1 inch thick and numbered them. On the back, I wrote a little question or activity to do. I thought this would be something fun to discuss it during dinner or right before bed.
These ideas include:
  • Everyone deserves a compliment. Give one to each person.
  • It isn’t good to be wasteful. How can we reuse something we already have?
  • What is a miracle? Have you ever seen a miracle?
  • If you were a superhero, what super-power would you have?
  • What does it mean to be polite?
Obviously all of these are geared toward my little kids. But it is a really easy activity. That can be customized toward the people in your family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yea shopping!

I felt the need to pat myself on the back, so I wanted to write about it.
I bought a pair of gloves (the same pair I bought myself last year that was stolen a week later) and a pair of pants for Connor at JCPenny.com. And I paid almost nothing!

I knew that I waned to buy some things as JCPenny so I went to GiftCardRescue.com and I found a JCPenny gift card for 15% off the card value. It took almost 2 weeks to get it, but just in time for the good sales.
Today and tomorrow the store is having a big sale like they do every year. I looked at Ebates.com and Shopathome.com to see where the greatest discount is. Timing is everything. Shopathome is having a bonus day and giving a rebate of 6%. Naturally I went to JCPenny though their link, chose my items then used the coupon code HUGENESS online to get $10 off any $25 order plus free shipping to my local store.


This seems like a good deal to purchase this way... until you add up the numbers and figure out that it was AWESOME!


Here is what I bought:
Gloves (originally $45) bought for $23.99
Pants (originally $20) bought for $11.99 
   with $5 shipping and 1.89 tax =  TOTAL $42.87
   subtract shipping for code = $37.87 
   subtract $10 for the hugeness code = $27.87
   subtract 15% for giftcardrescue = $23.69
   subtract 6% for shopathome rebate = $22.27


So I saved (if everything was at full price): $49.62 
Ho-ray for the Internet!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ketchup at last

 So after making my spaghetti sauce I mentioned that I still had tomatoes left for Ketchup, or Catsup if you prefer. I was very excited about that since it forced me to make it sooner rather than later. This was super simple to make. I left the skins on the tomatoes, through the ingredients in the slow cooker (see a pattern here? Everything goes into the slow cooker!), and 8 hours later I had lumpy Ketchup.
The only down side about making this myself would be the ketchup smell that permeated the air in my house. But it made me confident that I was making what I set out to make. It was also very messy to use my blender because my blender doesn’t work as well as it should - the top shot off when I turned it on and made a mess everywhere! I think Santa should get me a hand immersion blender for Christmas so I can leave it in the pot when I blend. (... update: I couldn't wait for Santa. I had a store credit at bed bath and beyond and went over there to pick out my new toy which I've used a couple times in the last week since its purchase ;)...)

I really like that there is very little salt in this recipe. I tried to cut down on the amount of blending I had to do when the ketchup was finished by pureeing everything before I started the cooker. I am sure that this helped but I still had to puree in the end.

I still have a little ketchup in the refrigerator, so I just canned all of it. This made 4 pints.

Slow Cooker Ketchup

15 tomatoes (about 3lbs), chopped
1 can (15.5 oz) tomato paste
1 onion white or purple, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup red wine or apple cider vinegar (I used vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of dried red chili flakes

Put all of the ingredients into a large Crock Pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally. Puree when done.
Add spices to suite your taste—cinnamon, cloves, paprika, celery seed, peppercorns, bay leaves and basil are commonly simmered into homemade ketchup.


Also found at Linky Party
This can store in the fridge for up to two weeks or freeze for up to six months. I canned and sealed them so they would last a little longer in the cabinet. So far the kids don't know the difference. But I know it is sooo much better for them!


Learned from the Ranch Dressing, and put my Ketchup in an empty bottle when it was finished. My son didn't say a word and asked for more and more as if it was the other Ketchup. ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Marinara Sauce


The other day, my mom and I were riding past a tomato field to get back to the ranch. “Those tomatoes look so good! Too bad we don’t have a bag to pick any” Mom said… well then I got a text the next day that the farmer was going to level the field with all those ripe tomatoes so we needed to get our butts over there and get picking. I wasn’t able to, but my dad went and got a whole bunch. Mom got enough to make tomato soup for an army (it was GOOD!) and I got a whole bag too. Nice!

Continuing with my “sauce project” I was going to try my hand at catsup. But my husband requested marinara sauce, which I was thinking about – until I went to make pizzas and realized we didn’t have any pasta sauce. Well, that convinced me. I went online and took the best ingredients from a couple recipes. My Mom has a recipe, but I really wanted to add veggies.

So I did it! I decided to put it in the crock pot overnight so it would be ready to can after I dropped Connor off at school.

Jeremy reluctantly helped me chop vegetables after trick-or-treating. If I was using canned tomatoes & tomato sauce, this would be a really fast prep. But since I was using fresh tomatoes, it took a while. I boiled water and added a couple tomatoes at a time, took them out of the water, and allowed them to cool so I could take the skin off and deseed them. I ended up using about 25ish tomatoes (I lost count). I cut up the firm tomatoes and tossed them into the crock pot, while I pureed the squishier tomatoes.

Here is the recipe that I used as a guide:

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Marinara Sauce

5 tomatoes, chopped
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste (I didn’t need this)
2 small onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 1 tbsp of crushed)
1 bell pepper, chopped
12 mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
¼ cup red wine (I used a sterling that was open ;D)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black pepper
¾ tbsp basil
½ tbsp oregano
¼ tsp sage
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp  red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar

Put all of the ingredients into a large Crock Pot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Stir occasionally.


Towards the end of the 10 hours I had it cooking, it looked to me like there was a little too much water, so I uncovered the pot for an hour and that did the trick so I didn’t have to add the tomato paste. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to. When it was finished, it resembled a thick and chunky soup, so I took out a couple ladlefuls to puree. I wanted it to have a thick consistency, but still act as a sauce.

This smelled and tasted amazing! It ended up making 5 pint jars that I canned, sealed and labeled so they wouldn’t need to be kept in the refrigerator. When canning, you need to first sterilize the jars, submerge the jars and lids in boiling water, then fill the jars with sauce and cover asap. The top of the lid should be sealed under pressure so that air is not getting in. This process was quick since my 4 year old was at school, but I had to step over my 1 year old and keep her out of my sandwich bag drawer – which presented a different challenge.

Next time I cook spaghetti sauce, I don’t think I will cook it overnight – it made the house smell so good that it distracted our sleep. My husband is so excited to try it and is feeling particularly spoiled; I am thinking that I am going to have to make up another batch when this one is consumed. 

And I’m sure you won’t believe it, but I still have enough tomatoes left for a batch of catsup!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Perfect Wheat Grain Bread


I mentioned earlier that I have been working on the perfect bread recipes. I have already posted my favorite combination of White Bread ingredients. So now for the wheat. They say that third time is a charm – it was in my case. I’m afraid that I had to tweak the recipe slightly and figure out the sweetener that worked best.

Bread #1 – was really thick and didn’t rise much
Bread #2 – while good tasting, it fell in the middle before it was done cooking. I also learned that if I leave the house before the bread is done and neglect to take the bread out of the machine right when it is finished, the bread continues to cook in the heat and gets a little too crunchy.
Bread #3 – Perfect. Tastes fantastic. Toasts to perfection and raised twice the size as bread #1.

For the grains I used what I had. I had old fashioned oats and flax seeds. I put the 1/4 in my bullet and ground them so it would mix into the bread and not be obvious (didn't want to give my son a reason why not to eat it). 

Here it is:

Wheat Grain Bread - FOR 1 1/2 LB. BREAD MACHINE

1 1/2 cups       water
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup            honey
2 1/2 cups       white whole wheat or whole wheat flour
1 cup                unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup            sunflower, oats, sesame and/or flax seeds
1 tablespoon   vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon   wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp         salt
1 1/2 tsp         yeast

Put all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order listed. Program for basic bread, and press Start.

Take a look at the dough after it's kneaded for about 10 to 12 minutes or so; it should be smooth, not sticky (too little flour) or lumpy (too little liquid), forming a nice ball. If the dough looks good at this point, you're all set.


  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Best Basic White Bread Recipe


I mentioned in a previous post that I was trying to eliminate the preservatives from our food. I also said that I had begun to make my own bread. There is nothing like home made bread – especially really good bread!

After a couple of not-so-fluffy loaves, I have done it, by george. This recipe is great for sandwiches and toast. I adapted it from a recipe from King Aurthor’s Flour website. I have also figured out a great wheat bread recipe that I will post later.

This bread may be prepared and baked right in the machine (1 1/2-pound or larger models), or prepared in the machine, then given a final rise and baked in a conventional oven. I just threw everything in the machine and let it do the work. Easy.

Basic White Bread

1 1/3 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon (1 1/8 ounces) honey or sugar (1/2 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk granules
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Bread Flour
1 tablespoon wheat germ

Place the ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, and program the machine for white or basic bread, or for the dough cycle if you want to bake in the oven. Press Start.

If you're using the dough cycle, after the cycle is complete, allow the dough to continue to rise in the machine until it has really doubled in bulk. Remove the dough, shape it into a loaf, and place it in an 9" x 5" loaf pan. Let it rise until almost doubled. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kitchen Organization Idea



While surfing the web the other day, I came across something called a Kitchen Folio on mamagenda.com. Great Idea! I have a corner by my microwave that is devoted to the catch alls that I need close at hand – but this little area can easily get out of hand! I love the idea of organizing these important papers and saving some money by using supplies that I already had and really making it personal to my needs. So... Here is what I did.

I took a project folder with pockets that I had in my stash of office supplies (this was probably left over from college or even high school or days.

The pockets will be perfect for take-out menus (we don’t use them often, but handy to have on hand), and random to-do’s that I get in the mail or maybe new recipes that I am trying that week.

I printed off pages that will help keep my life a little less crazy since everything will be in one place rather than scattered in my kitchen or office. But it was really important to me to keep it simple so it gets used.

Printed pages include:
·        Goals for month and year
·        Important phone numbers for quick reference & Babysitter use
·        Freezer Meal inventory (laminated)
·        Weekly menu plan (laminated)
·        Medical information
·        Running To Do list
·        Gym class schedule for a quick reference
·        Extra pages for projects, ideas & notes

I didn’t want to do anything too fancy, because this should be an evolving folder. As the family changes and grows – so does this. I used some fun stationary that I had in the closet. I sent my husband to work with the menu planner to have laminated, that way I can use a dry-erase marker and save paper. I thought about doing the same thing with the Freezer inventory.

You can also add other pages like important dates, calendar, gift ideas or grocery list. But this was not important for us. My husband and I have a synced google calendar and my grocery list is on my phone (I love it!) and it is synced with my husband’s phone, in case he goes to the store or needs to add to the list. For gifts I have a running spreadsheet so I have something to reference and plan, after all I don’t want to repeat presents from last year.

For me this project was 100% free. And I think that it is working out really well so far!



Friday, October 21, 2011

Sauce Project #1

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I have made the first preservative-free dip today. I am very happy with the results and how easy it was to make. It tastes great, but I tweaked a few ingredients for the future. I think there was a little too much parsley for one batch in the original recipe. I used fresh crushed garlic (yum!) and organic mayonnaise that I had in my fridge.
One batch was enough to fill up a 12 oz bottle ¾ of the way. This will not last long in my house. Next time I will make a double batch for sure! Here is the recipe:


Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced dried onion
2 clove garlic, minced or ½ tsp of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients except buttermilk in a small bowl. While stirring, slowly blend in buttermilk. Chill at least 2 hours before using.


(This recipe is low in sodium and low in carbs.)

The real test:         Kid approved? YES 
                        +  Does Sarah’s skin react? NO
                        = A Winner!


UPDATE: This recipe was really yummy, but more like a dip than a salad dressing. The other issue I had is that it didn't look like Hidden Valley Ranch, so my son wouldn't eat it. What I changed:


Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing - take 2
2 cup mayonnaise
2 cup sour cream
2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon minced dried onion
2 tablespoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

I put it in a Ranch container to "fool" the kids.
MUCH Better!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Morning Online Shopping Trip


I have to go out later for milk and whatnot. But I love looking around online to see if there are any great deals. Especially with the holidays coming up, my brain is thinking about all sorts of creative ways to save money and get what I need for less than if I just went shopping.

Well, I have a bunch of psycho-deal-searching-bloggers on my facebook in a “deal” category so I can click over there and basically spend 30seconds looking it over and deciding whether there is a deal worth my time. Some days there is nothing and some days there are a lot of promotions going on. I was so excited about it, I wanted to share (this worked out really well since my kids are occupied for the moment).

·        20 custom photo holiday cards for $1.49 from SeeHere
·        $12 cookie scoop (Xmas present!!) for the cost of tax at One Kings Lane
·        12 Custom Thank You Notes for my son’s b-day for the cost of tax (Last year I realized that these were not cheep. $11 for 8 cards is just insane)

Hurray for me. I spent about $5 this morning for things that I need anyway. Here is how I did it:
-         At SeeHere.com: Create a 4×8 photo card and choose to purchase 20 copies, use promo code 25cards at checkout. By ordering the 25 cards the promo is for, you end up spending $2 more, so I just purchased 20. I usually purchase 50 cards at Costco for $15, so if I can get all my cards for less than that… I am doing pretty good.
-         Onekingslane.com is giving away a $15 credit for people who sign up for an account (or refer a friend who makes a purchase). I signed up for an account and TA DA! One King’s Lane is a designer discount site. If you go there and see something you like, get it! Their sales are only up for 24 hours and things tend to sell out before then.
-         I used the $13 coupon code ForFree at Ink Garden. You can choose from several customizable products until 12/31 if you are a new customer. I went through ShopAtHome.com (6% cash back) before I went to the Ink Garden. Don’t forget to go to ShopatHome first especially if you want to buy more than the coupon is for.
Comment if you have found any great deals you are proud of.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Sauce Project


The other day, an interesting thing happened. My baby had a skin reaction to Ranch Dressing. OK. This might not seem like a problem to most people, the simple solution would be to stop giving it to her. But my children are dippers. They will eat twice as much food if they have a sauce to dip it in. My son alone goes through a bottle… well, in not a lot of time.

Since the baby didn’t have an allergic reaction, only a skin reaction, I came to the conclusion that all the chemicals in the dip had to go. So the project… Making my own dips and sauces. I found some recipes that were highly rated by other people and put them in a file to print so I can try one at a time.

The goal: Cut out preservatives and save money while I’m at it. (I am just taking this a bit farther since I have already started making my own bread and freezer cooking as much as will fit in my freezer.)

Here is what I want to make:
  1. Catsup
  2. Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  3. BBQ Sauce

These are the essential condiments in my refrigerator. My kids go through the Ranch and Catsup like there is no tomorrow. The BBQ Sauce, that one is my preferred sauce to dip. After I try these out, I will post the results… I’m super excited. I might even add a couple more to the list if it turns out well!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Online Saving Game

With the holidays coming up I am always learning new ways and sharing my secrets on how to save money on everyday needs and gifts. Well, I have given so many of the same recommendations that I thought I would blog about it in case other people are looking for the same type of information. So here goes…

When I am looking to purchase things, I like to do some research first to find the best place to get it and maybe look for coupons if I don’t have one (even for eating out. A lot of restaurants have coupons available online). In most cases you can get items online for less money and have it shipped free – saving the gas and time. And in other instances you can actually earn money on purchases you were going to make anyway!

First let’s discuss rebate sites. There are two sites that I like to look at and they are both similar in nature.
Both contain store coupons, online coupon codes, (and best of all) links to the websites that give you a % of money back on your total purchase. That is awesome! Last holiday season I made about $40 back from the gifts I was going to purchase anyway. These sites are always updating their information and have regular specials that give extra cash back for a period of time.

Here is how it works. I was talking to a friend who was looking to purchase a Nook Color. If he were to purchase that online by clicking to Barnes & Noble through either one of these websites today, he is eligible for the free shipping coupon plus the 2% (or more) that the rebate is (the rebate may change, which is why it is good to be a part of both sites to check out which one is higher). These sites mail a rebate check quarterly.

Restaurants are pricey. Especially when you have kids to buy for too (and if you are like me you end up buying a regular entree for your kids so they get a more rounded meal). Sometimes I just don't have time or energy to cook at home so I have figured out how to save a little by examining the menu closely and sniffing out the deals from other sources. If you like Costco, there are some restaurants you can get $100 worth of gift card money for $80 - 20% off isn't bad and if you have a coupon for that restaurant too then the meal can be much more affordable. There is also Restaurant.com.

There are a few different sites that specialize in eating out. Through ShopAtHome.com or RetailMeNot.com, you can get coupons to print out. But Restaurant.com is different in that you can purchase gift certificates to eat out. If you just visit the website, they advertise a $25 gift certificate for $10. BUT if you have a coupon code that they email you or that the rebate sites have available, you can get that at up to 90% off – that’s $25 to spend on food for $1 upfront! Awesome! BUT say you go through ShopAtHome.com to get to Restauant.com and you get 25% cash back for the certificate purchase… nice right?!


This is actually just a rewards site. Some “swagbucks” are like a game to get, some are super easy. It is also a search engine where you can get random rewards by using it. So I switched my browser preferred search engine to Swagbucks. I have cashed my rewards in for Amazon.com gift cards. You can also save up for raffles, and other material things worth a few bucks (like digital pictures) or a lot of bucks (like a 32 inch HDTV).

Another great site is GiftCardRescue.com and Plastic Jungle
You can sell gift cards that you won’t use and/or buy gift cards for less than the value. Soooo if you shop at Target or Best Buy anyway, it might be nice to get a little extra for your money. You just have to wait for it to come in your mail.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Packing the kids

Me and the kids are hitting the road. I am looking forward to it, but I always dread packing, fearing that I will leave something out. After doing this a couple times, I think I have this down so I thought I would brainstorm and share. If you have any other ideas, let me know!

My biggest issue is organization. I mean, how do you organize a big bag you are planning to live out of? Little kids need so much stuff when we leave town that they have 2 LARGE bags to my 1 medium one (that includes my pillow). My biggest secret is: ziplock bags. I use a ton of them for the kids stuff. But I can use them over and over so it doesn’t seem like such a waste AND it makes life easier.
  • 1 ziplock for each day worth of clothes. This cuts down on over packing or not finding the matching whatever in the bottom of the bag.
  • 1 ziplock for each night worth of clothes.
  • 1 ziplock for toiletries. This is great so shampoo or lotion doesn't explode in the bag.
  • 1 ziplock of snacks. A must for my children. I only had one for an airplane flight, but I will end up bringing more than that this trip because we are driving so there is no limit.
  • 1 ziplock of baby feeding stuff. I won’t need much this trip since my daughter is now over the bottles, jars and formula. But I will need to bring sippy cups, forks and spoons.
Organized Chaos... 
I find disposable baby stuff is great on longer trips and at theme parks. I have only ever bought these things once since I don’t use them often. You can get disposable changing pads, bibs, placemats and washcloths. They don’t take up a lot of space. I also can’t forget the diapers and wipes (which Do take a lot of space.

Case of kid DVDs
1 bag of toys
Portable crib and baby blanket with sleeping animal
Also a couple of extra outfits is a good idea...

The first time I used this method was in August when Jeremy and I went to Mexico - our first time leaving the kids... for a whole week. In the past, when I just made a bag I would come back with my kids wearing the strangest combination of clothing and pajamas. The kids don't seem to care but... anyway, when I used my new ziplock packing with my kids clothing there was no question of what went together or if I packed enough. Mission Completion! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Kitchen Island

I found a great find on Craigslist. I hadn't looked for a kitchen island in a couple of years because the size I needed in an island would cost over $900 new and I couldn't seem to find one used. But my lucky day came when Jeremy and I were waiting for a Shakespeare play to start and I was poking around on my phone trying to find a trundle bed for my son (haven't found one I like yet. Good thing it isn't an urgent matter.). I was able to find this one only a couple miles from my home!

 I was able to pick this up for $100. The problem was that it was definitely not the right color, had paint peeling and also some water damage... I also wasn't thrilled with the country look. While not really into ultra-contemporary styles, I would prefer an updated look. So I got to work...
With a little help with my munchkin. And about $30 in paint and hardware. I had to cut out the damaged wood and fill it in. Take the doors and hardware off. Sand it. Protect what I didn't want to paint with painter's tape. Paint it. I also bought new knobs and a handle to use as a towel rack... and Voila!
I still plan on sanding and refinishing the top. However, I was on a bit of a time limit and didn't want to rent a hand sander. My mother is renovating her garage, so when her things are out of storage, I can borrow hers. I also think I will stain the wood a slight shade before applying polyurethane.

I am very happy with the outcome. And the fact that it isn't white (as my husband really wanted). The last time I refinished furniture I was pregnant and thought it was a lot of work. I now acknowledge that it is a lot of work whether or not you are pregnant. Although, it was much more therapeutic without little kids crying at the window or wanting attention. But whenever I am working in my kitchen I think it was well worth it!

The Beginning

This is my first adventure in Blogging.
I enjoy reading blogs. I read ones about creative home ideas, how to patio garden, how to save money and where, getting creative with kids activities, freezer cooking, and other such such subjects as they pertain to my life at that moment in time.
I have been toying with the idea of bogging myself for some time because I love to write and the thought of sharing what I am doing and learning sounds like a great idea to me! My biggest quandary was what to focus on or name it. But as you can see, I couldn't choose only one subject. I want to write about everything and see where it goes. So here's to the new blog!