Monday, December 28, 2009


It's our first night 'relaxing' after our many Christmas travels. We're parked in front of our tv watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Well, hubs is watching it, I'm listening to it for the 4th time.

I always forget how much trash Christmas creates. Wrappings and boxes and all those things, they have to go somewhere. But I got a bit frustrated today when everywhere I turned there was more junk! I'm on a mission to organize.

Tomorrow, besides going in to work for a little while, we're going through our clothes-what we wear and don't, organizing the closets and laundry room, and then making piles of things to donate. We do have a new consignment store in town so I might try to take some things there. We could use the cash.

Just thought you should know...ya know?

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I'm thankful this evening for many things. These are in no particular order-I tend to be very stream of consciousness.

My MacBook, which is now back in MY possession. We had been separated so long (um, a week and a half?) that I was beginning to learn to deal without it. However, having it back means I get to blog again. Yippee.

My family. We had a great Christmas together. Two days of it in fact. Yesterday was more low-key and today brought lots of people together.
Mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, hubby, moi, aunt d, uncle j, uncle t, cousins t, l, h, j and nieces and nephews k, j, e, c, e, and most importantly my spunky grandmother who recently turned 96. She rocks.

My presents! A new skillet, stew pot, pyrex measuring bowls and storage bowls, kitchen towels, cookbook...see the theme yet? I can't wait to get them into the kitchen and go to town with them.

And even more fantabulous-it's my blog, I get to make up words-was the huge present my parents got the kids. Airfare and hotel to the Grand Canyon as a family this spring. Wow!!! The hubs and I never got to take a honeymoon so we're thinking this will be more than enough to make up for that.

I'm starting a special fund for this venture because I think we owe them a super nice dinner or two hundred for this.

And last, but not least, for tonight is the Shred video I purchased via Amazon this evening. It's about time I got off my lazy duff and was proud of this bod again. Oh wait, was I ever? Well, it's about time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Feeling Salty


‘Tis the season and I’m feeling salty. Ever get that way? I’m not sure why now, maybe it’s all the emotion of the holiday? But here’s what happened.

Friends of ours found out a while back they were pregnant. We knew this early on ONLY because we live very close to each other and there was a panicked miscarriage moment* and we were called to babysit their other child while they rushed to the ER (turned out finejust a little issue).

But only recently did they find out the gender of this child. They were very secretive about the whole thing but I don’t disagree with them, it’s their personal business. What bothers me is this. When they finally knew the gender they had a whole list of people to call to tell the news to personally. Doesn’t that sound nice? Yeah. We were day two of calls. Now before you judge me too harshly, listen to this.

I asked hubby, hypothetically of course, if we were to get pregnant who would we tell first?

“Your parents. My family.”

“Yes, and then who?”

“Mickey and Mable*.” (*Both fictitious names, well sort of. They were the names of the first birds my brother and I owned as children. Mine lived about a week. But I digress.)

Exactly. They would be on our first page, right near the top of people we would call with the good news.

We are their ‘day two’ people.

More than anything it hurt my feelings. I’m not so sure my husband actually put any amount of thought into it all. Leave that bit to me.

We’ve lived in this place just over four years and Mickey and Mable* (remember, pseudonyms-those names for people would be ridiculous) are about the closest friends we have, I thought. We did have another set of friends, who definitely made the top of the call list but they had to get on with their lives and enroll in med school in a far away country. No joke. They’re back around town actually after a year hiatus and we’re geeked. But that’s it.

So, that makes me salty but more so sad. It’s that family and friends time of year and I find myself, in the beginning of my thirties, wondering what I have to show for myself? I think of how my family was growing up. My parents had great friends, mostly from our neighborhood, who always got together to celebrate this and that. And now it’s Christmas-the perfect time for getting togetheryet I’m making cookies alone.

I don’t want encouragement or prayers, I just want to be salty and to get it out there. I think it flipping* sucks (*was this close to using another word, but I refrained) what I’ve made of my personal life. I know it’s my fault. I’m too picky and love being home too much and blah blah blah blah blah. Why is it when you’re a child making friends is so easy and you could change at the ding of the recess bell who was your best friend? But as an adult it’s seemingly near impossible. Or is it just me?

Thursday, December 17, 2009



I was running through our local grocery store for a few necessities and I made a stop in our International aisle this evening. Today at work a friend had told me about “Nice Cookies”actual product. She briefly described them, including they were British, and tucked in a cute story about wrapping these cookies up as presents with a note that included something along the lines of naughty or

I scanned the aisle but to no avail. I checked Scandinavian, French, Kosher, and even peeked into the Asian section (as it attaches to the British section) but no. I swung my body back around to face the British section and sighed.

You see, for a short while I had the absolute pleasure of living in Britain. In total about nine monthsthree months first and then back again for six months. It was literally one of the best times of my life. I loved everything about British life and culture. I adored the mass transportation, the cobblestone streets, the quaint coffee shops and pubs, the beautiful sights, oh, and the accent. I can’t leave out the accent.

And as I stood there tonight in the grocery store I reminisced about those lovely times; my eyes fixated on a bottle of Lucozade. Strange as it might sound but that stuff was always hanging around--in shop windows, on adverts, rolling around the tube stops.

I sighed again for how much I miss that place. If I could swoop up my whole family and resettle us there I would. I don’t care if there are rainy days, long walks with arms full of finger-numbing groceries, and just-missed trains I’ll take them any day.

Maybe if I was happier with where we settled our family I wouldn’t be so nostalgic? I’ve been told I should stop fortune telling and just live in the now. Okay, I’ll just make sure to spend extra time in the International aisle at least once a week.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Busiest Week of the Year

It seemed as though I was on a roll. Really, lots of posts. Then what happened? Not only did we slide into the busiest week of the year-Christmas approaching and school about to dismiss for Winter Break-but then the unthinkable happened.

Long story short. We love our iMac. We love it so much we talked my parents into getting one. And guess what? They've had problems from day one. Sooo, a year later the thing finally, basically, stopped working. And my husband, who every time he looked at their computer seemed to harm it more, felt really guilty. So when all four of us met at the Apple store yesterday I very begrudgingly handed over my MacBook to my mom so they wouldn't have to go without a computer for too much longer.

I think I'm having withdrawals. Seriously. I miss my MacBook. Really.

That's so sad, isn't it?

I'll be back soon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I cannot stand

I cannot stand

When I’m lounging around and the house is all quiet and I’m reading blogs. Then, I click on one blog, I begin to read, and BAM, there’s that darn music that just starts playing by itself, loudly. I. Cannot. Stand. That.

Irrational? Yes. But I can’t help that it bugs me to the core. If I wanted to listen to music I would turn it on myself.

Okay, I’m over it now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Budget, pt 2

Grocery Budget Reform, Week 2

Okay, so you may not give a rat’s, you know what (where did that saying come from?!) about the budget, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

So, week two rolls in at..............22.71

And this time I saved (insert even louder drum roll) 24.53!

Granted, I wasn’t able to buy meat like I was last week-although I did buy Tilapia. But I totally stocked up on frozen veggies (insert summertime remorseful blegh) for a really great deal.

Meijer had Green Giant boxed frozen veggies on sale 10 for 10 bucks, get the 11th free, and I had a coupon for saving 50 cents off two. Meijer doubles coupons so I basically did a BOGO.

I also had a coupon for other Green Giant Frozen Steamers. They were on sale for 1.54 and I had a 50 cent (1.00) coupon, so I only spent 54 cents a bag. Now we have a nice assortment of veggies to choose from (brussel sprouts, beans, pea pods, broccoli, broccoli with rice and cheese, red potatoes with green beans, and sweet corn).

The menu we have planned so far-and really not yet in order-is Chili Mac (leftover chili from last week), Tilapia fillets, Crockpot Lasagna, Grilled Pork Chops (in the freezer), and I wanted to do a chicken but Meijer was out of their sale chicken.

It’s still early but I’m left with 2.29 for the remainder of the week.

Getting To Know...

Getting to know YOU.

This is from Keely’s blog, MannLand5.
It’s Sunday, a lazy day, so what better way to pass some time.

From Keely, “So if you want, I thought it would be fun to make it a MckLinky so that we can all get to know each other better. A little Sunday Funday or somethin' and if you don't have a post for today, well, now ya do! All you have to do is copy and paste the questions and link up or just answer the questions in the comments section...

How old are you?

31-although I am sticking at 28, so technically it’s 28 plus 3.

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born and raised in Michigan, although I have done my fair share of extended-stay traveling. I have also “lived” in Boise, Idaho, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Kingston, England, and a few various places in Michigan (Grand Rapids
[3 or 4 different places], Wyoming, Haslett, and now Grand Ledge).

What music have you been diggin lately?

Holiday music. Gene Autry, Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney

Favorite food(s)?

There are way too many. The one I love but don’t get very often is sushi. Anything spicy tuna, yum!

Single, married, divorced?

I am married to the Hubs-2
½ years now.

Kids? If so, how many and how old?

No kiddos yet (sigh) but we have a very active puppy dog who turned one in September.

What are 3 blogs you read daily?

Yes, I know that that is four but I really could keep naming themI sacrificed with four.

What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday tradition?

Spending Christmas with my immediate family. My grandma’s cooking-salty French toast (don’t knock it, it’s amazing), black walnut coffee cake, etc.

Lastly, if you're a blogger, how long have you been blogging and if you don't have one
how long have you been reading blogs?
Only since April. I was involved in a tech thing this year where I explored a lot of new things and discovered how easy Blogspot was. And so it begun. That’s about the same time I started reading other blogs too.

It’s your turn. You can McLinky through Keely’s blog. Have fun!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The First Snow

Coffee Cake

I dub this Pantry Coffee Cake.

You see, I hate feeling like we’re “doing without”. Yes, I’m sure that sounds absurd but it’s hard to make sacrifices and stick with them. So, I raided the pantry this morning and then got on the Internet. I found this recipe for Breakfast Cake. And well, two of my favorite words combinedcould I really go wrong?

However, I didn’t have vanilla pudding mix but I did have a cheesecake pudding. Then, the size I had was too small so I doubled it by using a chocolate pudding too. Hrmthis could go terribly wrong. I also didn’t have “Butter Flavoring”-that sounds nasty to me anyway. But I reminded myself I’m making sacrifices, er, substitutions.

I wanted to make a treat because hubby worked really hard all week, wasn’t feeling well, and had a corporate gig last night that didn’t get him home until 4:30 am.

Anyhow, as I’m slaving away (ha!) in the kitchen, hubs got up and got ready to leave! He apparently has a roof job this morning so I’m literally eating this cake all by my lonesome, which turned out okay. I wouldn’t crave making it again. This is probably due to my substitutions and lack of nuts (hubs isn’t a big fan-but it could certainly use nuts). It does have a delightful texture that I’m sure is the pudding mix. And I can definitely taste the yellow cake mix-not sure if I care for that. Ah well, I tried.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Let it snow

The forecast has predicted our first snowfall for tonight. I am excited. Well, mostly excited. I think the first snowfall is beautiful and magical. I wish I could stay home and watch it fall all day. What doesn’t excite me is the 30-minute drive I have to work in the morning that turns into a 45-60 minute drive in the snow.

But I won’t think about that now. For now I am anxiously watching the outdoor light for signs of precipitation falling through its path.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree

Tree Time

I finally lugged the 200 lbs tree home in its decrepit box yesterday. Okay, okay, it wasn’t really that heavy but it was awkward and definitely not light.

This will be our first Christmas without a real tree (which I’m allergic a side note!). Does that sound stupid or what? But here’s the thing, it’s not so much about the tree being real or fake it’s about a missed opportunity to drive all over tar nation with my husband looking for just the right one. And when we actually find thee one, bringing it home and having to chop off another 2 feet from the trunk because we, again, got one way too tall for our 9 ft ceiling. There will be no sap mark on the ceiling this year like our first two Christmas’ because a boxed tree doesn’t bleed.

So, is this our new tradition? Hubby sets up the “trunk” and inserts the branches then I come along and unfurl the needles and make the tree look full? It makes me sad, to leave behind our shenanigans, I mean tradition. But alas, to new traditions and a Happy(er) New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Tale of Two Tomatoes

A Tale of Two Tomatoes

All in one day I started our new weekly grocery budget and broke a rule. When I informed the husband of our new weekly grocery budget, 25 dollars, he literally replied, “Oh, there’s no way!”

If you’re like me, you see that statement as a challenge. But that’s not what I’m writing about today. This evening I made out our list based on what we have in our pantry and what was on sale at the store and then also came up with our menu.

Sunday-Homemade Macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and green beans.

Monday-Meatloaf and mashed potatoes (mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving) with gravy (who knew you could make gravy from meatloaf, but it was good!!!) and green beans.

Tuesday- Smoked turkey sausage, macaroni and cheese (see Sunday), and brussel sprouts.

Wednesday-Chili topped with cheese, if you please.

Thursday-Roasted pork loin, mashed potatoes (from a box, oy-but they’re two packages for a dollar)

Friday-leftovers for me. Hubs has a gig so I’m on my own. Plus there’s a doggy get together I might attend-no time to cook.

Here’s the grocery list or rather a receipt rundown:

1 onion-.91

Ground beef-2.91

Pork loin-5.12

2 Mac and cheese-.88 (we didn’t need them per se, but who could pass that price up?)

kidney beans-.89

frozen brussel sprouts-1.78

frozen green beans-1.78

Smoked turkey sausage-2.19

2 gallons of milk-3.50

2 28 oz cans of tomatoes-3.18

Now we subtract 1.00 for coupons (sigh, that’s all) but also 4.70 for bottle returns.

(Side note, I also spent 5.00 on vitamins for the hubs who is now sick)

Total amount spent-22.44

Amount still available-2.56

So, now we get to the title. The whole tomato thing. I’m not sure what kind of person this makes me. What would you have done or what do you do?

As I stood there in the tomato aisle, baffled, I really was at a loss. This is where I broke my own rule. Not only did I not have a coupon for tomatoes but also none were on sale. But I know how far a batch of chili can go and it seemed like a small expense for what we’d be getting.

So anyway, as I stood there in that aisle of canned tomatoes I realized how many options there were but that I really wasn’t willing to accept all the options. What does that say about me?

Here’s what I had in front of me in the 28 oz options:



Dei Fratelli-1.99

Del Monte 1.59 but for only 14 oz. (so 3.18)

Red Gold-1.69 but for only 14 oz. (so 3.38)


Value Time .65 but for 14 oz. (so 1.30)

Value Time...that’s where I wasn’t willing to go, just yet. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that brand, but it was so underpriced I just felt that the product might not be up to the same standards as the other. Is that wrong? Does anyone buy Value Time?

I did purchase the Spartan Brand. Not so much a compromise as I use other Spartan Brand products but I usually buy Hunt’s, Red Gold, or Delallo.

Week one of the new budget. One rule broken but one budget kept.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Budget Reform

Budget Reform-Family Style

It seems like it’s every year at this time-you’d think I’d get the hint by now. Christmas is around the corner (breathing down my neck), the snow is readying itself to fall, and every single bill we owe is due, now!

Here’s the downfall of a self-employed spouse-getting paid. My husband is a contractor and does remodeling and new construction. He currently has five outstanding invoices and to us, who survive on my teaching salary and his income, that’s huge!

Every time someone mentions Christmas or presents I want to pretend like I didn’t hear them. When I look at our pantry I feel saddened. Although, I could bake my way through the New Year because flour, sugar, and those types of things we have plenty of (used sparingly and cheap to buy).

So, when the hubs mentioned how we needed to come up with “X” amount of money by the beginning of the month, my heart sank but my mind started racing. What could I do now that we weren’t doing before? The last time we were faced with this we cancelled our television service (yay, big blessing in disguise), went down in our cell minutes (we don’t have a home phone), and set a grocery/eating out budget of 50 bucks a week.

Now what? Well, I made myself a little list to help clear my head.

1. Use what we have-food, clothes, misc. This seems simple enough but I wonder how many people out there have things in their pantry they’ve completely forgotten about? I reorganized ours’ this weekend and took stock of what we have. I sure hope we can eat rice for a month.

2. If it’s not on sale and/or I don’t have a coupon, I don’t buy it. Again, easier said than done. But I need to stick with it better.

3. Try bartering goods. I’d have to find other local gals willing to do this but I could easily trade my stick of butter for your can of beans.

4. Sell things we don’t need/use. Thank goodness for Craigslist. Let’s just hope we can find some buyers for our goods.

5. Set a tighter grocery budget. This time what doesn’t get spent goes into savings. It used to roll over to the next week, but that’s not helping us save.

6. Count loose change and deposit it. My hubby has a thing with not using change so it builds up. We have a container (oatmeal container) of change right now.

7. Return bottles and cans-and be on the lookout for them.

Yes, it would be so much easier if the people who owed my husband money would just pay him but that’s not happening, at least not now. And until it does, we have to reform our budget. Let’s just hope we can get through this, again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Oh drat! It only just recently occurred to me that if you’re reading my blog you see lame-o, ugly fonts. So sad. However, if you’d like to see what I see you can download them from here. Not only does she have wonderful FREE fonts she is also very creative. This particular font you’re not seeing is called Jacks n Matty.

While I have you here, I just want to say-for the record-I wish our teenage neighbor would go inside and stop bouncing his basketball at 9 pm...for the second night in a row. Raarr.