Friday, November 14, 2014

Farewell my friend.....

This essay is actually the work of Lori Borgman and was first published in the Indianapolis Star on 15 March 1998. 

"Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or plaster to a pupil, but could not inform the parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and your own.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized that he was gone."

Friday, November 7, 2014

Quick Neighbor Gifts for Christmastime for about $1.50 per neighbor

a blogger i follow for deals, Raining Hot Coupons sent out a great one today, and it let me assemble some handy neighbor gifts for the holidays, for about $1.50 each (3.04 / 4 pack tape, .70 final price by stacking coupons for the on sale gift wrap). The deal expires tomorrow (Nov 8th) so you can still snag it too- just follow the link on her post.

Combined with a bit of curling ribbon that i had on hand, and some cards that took all of about 10 minutes to print and cut and glue to backer cardstock cut just slightly bigger, well, that was right in my happy zone of super easy, practical, and fits with my goal of interacting with the neighbors more in positive ways :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Easily save the rest of the can when your recipe only uses a bit of tomato paste

You know how every recipe ever that uses tomato paste only calls for 2 tablespoons? Maybe 4 if you're lucky? And those pesky cans come in the 6 ounce variety...which is 12 tablespoons, by the way. Not terribly handy. My personal favorite is the pizza sauce one that calls for 8 ounces. Grr.

So here's the easy way to keep the paste on hand, pre-measured and ready to use:
just freeze it. But don't just chuck the can in there like Martha says, that means you will have to try and saw a frozen lump apart, or even worse, try to pry a frozen lump out of a frozen can.

Take your handy dandy tablespoon measuring spoon, and make some glops on wax paper. 2 tablespoons is one ounce of paste, so make sure you have room in your freezer to lay a decent sized sheet out for a good minute. Ok, an hour, but who's counting? I, being very organized, forgot, and did the packaging part a day later. Or two. Close enough. Once they're frozen through (or once you remember that you're doing stuff and get back to it) pry them off the wax paper (it's easy don't worry) and either pack them two by two with a foodsaver, or wrap in wax paper and put them all in a ziploc. (Wrapping is essential if you aren't vacuum sealing as they'll stick together far too easily).
Label, pop them in the freezer, and use one or more as needed. They thaw in just moments since the paste has a very low water content and they never get that hard frozen state going.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm getting brave...

Well, either it's bravery, or insanity, I'm not sure!

I have a coupon binder. I've got my ads in full sized clear sleeves in with my coupons, so I can sort it all out. Right now, I just have a stack that needs sorted & a budget to stick to!

I'm not out of much, so do I stock up & push the budget so that later it's available when the budget is tight? Or do I only get what I need & miss out on a good deal for something I don't need NOW, but WILL need.

I'm not intending to become one of those extreme coupon ladies with stashes & stashes of stuff. Mainly because my local stores won't allow coupon stacking. I can only combine deals & sales, so it means if I miss out, I miss out.

But I do have the space to stock pile a little bit of each. Joys of a pantry & full basement! Decisions, decisions, any opinions?

since amii can't comment on our own blog....
stock up only on one thing at a time, this way your budget doesn't get strained, and you can slowly work out the storage. Especially if you can use the seasonal lists of what goes down to the lowest prices of the year when such as here: What's on sale?

Also, don't do what I did and lose half your TP stash when a drain decides to back up by storing it (even if it's in the wrappers, they're not fully sealed) on the floor- mine is now up by the ceiling in the laundry room.

Some things store better than others- like dry pasta and beans- and with all the concerns over BPA, storing tomato anything for a longer period is generally a bad idea, so watch out for things in commercial metal cans. You're fortunate to have someone that cans green beans handy, as that is one of the worst veggies for absorbing BPA out of the lining of metal cans.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friendship bracelets.

     So I have decided to sell my friendship bracelets to make some extra cash (basically enough money to buy more string for more bracelets). I have been coming up with different designs instead of the normal ones that can be found any where and in any book. So far I have the awareness ribbons like I used at Relay for Life and DC comic inspired bracelets. Here are some pictures of what I have.

     Andrea says I need to get some Marvel comic inspired bracelets. This is a lot harder than I thought. So far I just have the Hulk. I'm also wanting to do some fairytale themed bracelets, but comic ones first.
     Now I just have to figure out what site to use to sell them, other than Facebook because people have to like the page. So I'm trying to figure out how to get the word out about the bracelets, but I don't really want to use Etsy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Make a magnetic busy box!

So the other day I pinned this gem: Build a Monster free printable and I knew right away that A: I wanted to make that, and B: I wanted it to last longer than plain paper in a zippy bag. Because if I'm going to cut out eleven-billionty pieces, it had better dangnabbit* last. So, laminator, you are my bestie (of the moment).

And the idea to make a busy BOX rather than a busy BAG was born.  A box can hold MANY busy bags' worth of projects, and it can have a magnetic top, and the pieces can have magnets, because magnets are cool, and the Wyoming wind of doom won't be able to scatter those many busy bags' worth of pieces to the  far corners of the Earth in a nanosecond. Little did I know that finding a simple piece of metal to go on the top of the box would be next to never-gonna-happen. 

So, after calling a few metal shops, and realizing that just having a sheet cut to fit (seriously, it's one foot by a foot and a smidge, how bloody hard can that be??) would cost upwards of $30 to $ain't-nobody-got-money-for-that, well, $1 cookie sheet and the thought of "how hard can it be to cut down the edges of a cookie sheet?" got together. The answer to that question brings us to "yeah, you should probably just pay somebody to do that unless you're really good with cutting metal."
this $6 box from the office supplies section is handy, not too big, not too small, the inside edge of the lid lines up real nice with the bottom of a medium cookie sheet....
 The dremel wouldn't cut it, the jig saw with a specialty metal cutting blade wouldn't cut it...

the snips actually cut the sides pretty well, but when it came to going along the bottom, well, that was rough. Then, light bulb! Bandage shears, well, they cut everything! But I cannot stress enough how razor sharp the edges are! I dropped the edge (that i removed in chunks as I went to prevent catching my poor anythings on) and it fell about 2 inches and bounced off my foot.  Did you know that the tops of feet will bleed every bit as horrifically as head wounds? Yeah, me neither. So, this is pretty much me warning you that trying to create your own sheet to go on isn't smart. Cheap? Yes. Smart? Well, you may be nominated for a Darwin Award....  moving on....
is that too much glue? maybe some more...

Line your edges once cut (or if you're smarter than I, once bought from a metal shop) with duct tape, just in case the lil bugger manage to disassemble your completed box, because kids, yo, they take everything apart. Then glue the beejeebus out of it, mostly in a vain attempt to stop them from taking it apart. Smash onto the lid, then pile heavy books on top to sit overnight. 

Taking a $4 roll of magnetic self-adhering tape, from the crafts section, snip little chunks and stick to your many, many  laminated pieces. Did I mention that I had to cut these out, laminate them, and then cut the little %$#%#* out again? Otherwise, you'd have unsealed edges, and no one wants soggy pieces because the sippy cup got knocked over.
 I worried that these might not stick well, but that one over there that I got crooked as all get out? Yeah, it stuck well enough I couldn't adjust it. I think they'll do. 
 But, just in case, they too are getting the heavy books overnight treatment. I'll play with this thing tomorrow and let you know how it ends up- either a complete disaster, or, much like my idea of mixing daiquiri mix and ice cream for a drunk milkshake, pure ossim. (I'm really hoping for the latter as there was entirely too much cutting out of things to give up on this one!)

Results: if you hold the lid up on end, some pieces will fall down, but setting it flat in front of the fan at full blast didn't dislodge them- which is the position it will be used in anyhow, and the effect i was going for (no wind! don't take all the pieces!).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Easy-peasy bandana tablecloth

I made this today in under an hour- I went into it knowing we would likely make a mess out of it at the party this weekend, so I wasn't terribly concerned with making my stitches perfectly straight, or having perfectly lined up squares (note to self: if you WANT very neat lines, DO NOT WASH BANDANAS BEFORE YOU SEW THEM!!)  Karen or Ruby can narrate if they feel sparky, but the jist of it is, line your squares up one by one, sew across so you have 3 strips of 3 bandanas, then join those down the long sides. Poof, magic!  Bandanas run about $1 each, and you can do up any color combo you want, so think of avoiding those icky plastic disposables for holidays and birthdays!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

$6 DIY pin boards on a desk

 I love my rolltop desk. That being said, it had a serious flaw: ME. I tend to have lots of small projects going at once, and I make notes for later on small bits of paper, and then stick those bits EVERYWHERE. I knew that pin boards would be a good idea for me to use, but didn't want to take up any more of the limited wall space in the office room (which features Chris's Wall O'Me- his awards and diplomas and such from his military career). Also, I'm lazy, and if that pin board was across the room, I'd likely never look at it, or use it. Let's be honest, lazy wins, every. single. time. And then an idea started fermenting in the back of my brain. I've got these shapely little bits just sitting here all plain and stuff...

and they make thin cork tiles....
yes. Let's hook that puppy up. A quick paper template, some slicing with a razor, double sided sticky squares (which came in the pack of 4 tiles), and suddenly, the little pile o junk building up behind my monitor and taking over my desk now has a home. I even have room to tuck the tape gun out of the way now. And then I started tackling the mess on the TOP of the rolltop desk. Organization? Yeah, I guess that's okay.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birthday Fun

So, my daughter turned 5 last weekend. And she LOVES Princess Sofia. So guess what I had to find?

My mother, THANK GOD, was able to sew her a dress that looked like it would survive more than 5 minutes.

The fun part, I wanted to marble the color of the batter. So I made my batter, split it into two bowls, colored, then alternated pouring them in & ran my spatula through it to make some swirls!

Turned out AWESOME!!
 Of course, I was going with my heart cake plan again. Very simple actually. Take a square cake, turn it at an angle, take a round cake, cut in half, place each half on a side of square & voila...big heart! Then I happen to have a small heart pan, so I just stacked it on top!

She LOVED her cake!!
Now of course, we had to set the theme with more than cake. Thank goodness for Hobby Lobby candy molds & cookie cutters!!
Chocolate Princess Pretzels

Sugar cookies
With buttercream icing & sprinkles

Plain 'ol PB&J!


I was proud of my stands...thank you dollar store candle holders & plates!

Her friends had such a good time & so did she! I think everyone came together on the theme!
Good night little princess

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Last cake for awhile

I enjoyed this one! Coming up with a way to do a creeper (Minecraft) without fondant was a challenge.

I need to work on my straight lines a bit, but I'm pleased!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Smashing Chicken

I had a moment of perfect clarity the other night: I'm a dork. AKA, "this is so freaking obvious, how did I not figure it out WAY before now??"

So, you know how chicken is all germy in a general sort of way, and we've all (hopefully) gotten the message about don't rinse chicken before cooking it because it splashes micro drops of that bacteria EVERYFREAKINGWHERE. Right? Right. But what about when you need to smash it so it is an even thickness? If you pay close attention, even if you've patted it dry with a paper towel, there's still droplets going everywhere when you bust out ye olde meat tenderizer, aka, Momma's big ole stress reducing hammer.

Allow me to just drop this here...

Yep. Just smash it while the bag is sealed. 
Took me years to figure that one out. Durr de durr dur durrr.... 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET TRIAL SIZES OF DR. BRONNER'S AT TARGET??! okay... so maybe  I got a lil excited... okay... maybe a LOT. But now I can try it without worrying that I'm going to be out a bunch if it is, yet again, a case of "nobody is allergic to this", yet I'm the odd duck out.

Monday, March 17, 2014

More cake!!

Got to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of two people who were parents to me when I was a rebellious teenager & wouldn't listen to my own! Love them!
Yes, same shape as last cake, but it's still different!

Had fun with it since their actual anniversary is St Patty's Day!! Took advantage of cookie cutters & sprinkles to give it a fun look!

And I've discovered that spray on coloring REALLY makes life easy for decorating!!

So in love, after so long!