Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hamilton Beach has AWESOME customer service

So about 3 weeks ago I was using my faithful Hamilton Beach crockpot that my Mother-In-Law had given us when we got our house to make us something scrumptious. As I went to stir whatever it was that was in there the crockpot slumped over and almost fell off of the counter. After further review I realized that one of the legs broke off my poor crockpot. Needless to say I was pizzed. I wrote them an email letting them know what happened and that it wasn't under warantee but how disappointed I was that it happened to begin with. They wrote me back within a day and enclosed a Fed-Ex label to send it back to the company. Coming home today I found a brand new crockpot that is nicer than the one we sent in on my front doorstep. I'm so impressed with their customer service on this, they went above and beyond what was necessary to make sure I was happy. Now I have a bright shiny new crockpot to play with! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

So you guys all know I'm a fan of all things green.  The further I've gone on this green journey the more I see how it fits so well in with my faith journey and my frugal journey; making three seemingly different pursuits merge into one.  I believe that this earth was created by God and as a worshipper of God I should be doing my best to take care of this great gift that we have been given.

 The same holds true for my finances, my money is not my own but has been entrusted to me to utilize to the best of my ability.  Many "green" choices are also very frugal choices some of them that I've noticed are cloth napkins, cloth rags for cleaning, using all natural cleaners (vinegar, baking soda are my main cleaners), gardening, cloth bags (some grocery stores pay you .05 cents every time you use them), thrift store shopping and so many more.  

I encourage all of you to take a small step today to take care of the earth that we've been entrusted with.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

With a side of insomnia thrown in for fun

When we were getting married I was adamant about not having a t.v. in our bedroom. One way or another when we were moving in one made its way up there. Over two years later we've had one there the whole time, oops. I've noticed recently that my sleep has been affected. I'll stay up watching dumb sitcoms and have a hard time falling asleep then will wake up in the middle of the night because I forgot to turn it off. The hubs doesn't want it in there either. Last night we tried just leaving it off, it took me over two hours to fall asleep, I ended up going downstairs and grabbing my ipod and listening to praise music. This worked and I soon fell asleep and was listening to something positive. So today we're going to remove the tv and put one of our stereos in its place. With the insomnia I've been really reflecting on what I allow time in my life. I've realized that I haven't been watchful over many things I've allowed to give influence.  I'm paying attention now and removing things that don't need to be given my time.  Spring cleaning my brain :)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phillipians 4:8

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quick Fix

I've been going crazy the past couple years because we have about 30 frames in our back room of all different colors, materials, sizes and shapes. Every time I went into that room it bothered me a little bit. Well I found a cheap quick fix, I bought a can of flat black spray paint and painted all of our frames the same color. Not only is this employing what I have already instead of spending $10 + each on new frames. I also never have to worry about getting matching frames. I can pick up frames from the thrift stores or yard sales for .50c to a couple dollars and have them fit perfectly into my room.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Wow, just wow.
If you haven't seen Susan Boyle then you need to watch this.
All I can say is wow. Definitely goes to show you should never give up on your dreams no matter how unlikely they may seem.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I fought the sap and the sap won

I've been working the past few weeks on my garden.  I tripled the size from last year and we're almost ready for planting.  I had a 4 foot square garden last year, this year I have 3 of them.  While I've been out in the yard I realized that our back yard looks so sad!  So I took my scrub brush and bucket out and went to town.  The backyard looks significantly better especially the crawl space door(which was crazy mildewy).  Our outside furniture has been scrubbed now but there is sap all over it, blech.  I cleaned off the benches on our back deck but now realize that we need to put a fresh coat of paint on.  Two steps forward one steps back is ok we're slowly getting the things done around here that need to be done.  No matter what things I see that need doing it still looks better than it did a few weeks ago!

Anyone have a suggestion for removing sap?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Exciting things

I've been working really hard on getting my doula business going.  I have my website very close to launching, I'm just waiting on getting my new business cards and some promotional materials in hand.  The website looks great if I do say so myself, Its definitely still a work in process.  I am really excited for the La Leche League conference in New Jersey and finally getting to hear a woman with whom I hold a great respect for, Ina May Gaskin.  This month I've picked up a few more clients so I'm really happy things seem to be moving with this as its such an amazing "job" to have.

I bet your in some crazy suspense waiting on that link to my website, but you'll just have to be patient.. Have a great day!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fun with substitutions

So we had my whole family over for St. Patricks Day to eat some corned beef and cabbage, YUM! Of course I decked the house out to celebrate my favorite holiday.

It was so great having my family over as we usually have the hubs family over just cause they are so close. For my bridal shower the wishing well was decorations for my house which was the best idea since I love decorating for every holiday. So we have a ton of St. Patty's decorations

Well the kids asked for some juice with dinner and since we generally stick to water at home we didn't have any. This auntie felt so bad so we improvised and I taught them how to make lemonade.

Let me just say they loved "squishing" the lemons and tasting to make sure that it was just right. They probably drank 5 glasses each and had a blast. This no-spend month will probably be filled with substitutions and creativity, I've been really taking inventory of what I do have so that I can make the substitutions when the time comes. Hopefully they will be as fun (and as cute) as my lemonade sub :)

I just had to get one of her shirt, says Irish Temper and Italian Attitude, lol, what a pair!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

No Shopping Dinner #2

Tonight I'm using up some of my ridiculous storage of lentils.  I know lentils aren't the dinner of choice for most people but my husband absolutely LOVES them.  He especially loves me to make Dal, which is a great little dish with tons of Indian Spices.  I'm going to pair this with some rice and Samosa's that I just happened to have in the freezer from the last time I made them.  Samosa's are little pastry's filled with potatoes, peas and spices that you fry, I made a whole batch but only fry a couple at a time so I have about a dozen more frozen.

Pile It Up, Pile it In, Let me Begin

One thing that is going to help us with this no-spend month is that we try to have stockpiles of certain things in our house at all times. One thing that we always try to stockpile is gifts.  If I see things at a good price I will pick them up for future gifts.  Some times its for specific people sometimes its just things I enjoy so I get them to give away when things come up.  I have new baby gifts, mens clothes (in sizes that would fit the men in our lives), toys for kids, organic soaps and lotions, candles and more in a basket in the top of my spare closet.  These gifts are often less expensive and more in line with what I like to give rather than a quick trip to Hallmark or Target before a party.  I also try to keep cards for a multitude of different occasions at the ready as well.  This little stash has saved my sanity and my pocketbook when I realize that I forgot a birthday or when I just want to cheer someone up.
 This month I'm going to try to work through those gifts for anything that may come up or make something.  I have a good friends baby shower on Sunday for that I did buy gifts (before April!) but I also grabbed my sewing machine out and made her a mei tai  If she went to buy a Mei Tai it would cost her anywhere from $60 on up but now she has one that was made especially for her.  I have a 30th birthday party tomorrow and I'm going to look around to see what I have on hand or maybe try to make something special for the birthday girl.

If you have any questions on a mei tai there are directions here

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Update on dinner

It was good, my crock pot foot melted off while making it though.  I had to prop a measuring cup under the crock pot to keep it even.  There has been an email to Hamilton Beech to talk about this little foot melting issue, I'll let you know what happens later.

April Challenge

I'm doing a no-spend challenge. I'm putting away my credit cards so they are not even an option. Gas will come out of my debit card. I'm going to try to get through the month without even going grocery shopping. I have a huge stash so I would like to work through it. I will bend the rules if I do need some veggies though as I don't have any onions and I can't go that long without them. I do have a little wiggle room because we just cashed our rewards points from our cc in and have about $125 in gift certificates to fall back on. I've never done this before so I'm not sure how it will work but we shall see.

Generally we rely on a cash system for most things anyway, taking a certain amount out each week for grocery's and entertainment. I think this will be easier for us than it is for most but we'll see.   One exception is for Easter dinner I will be purchasing the ingredients for a family dinner that day.

Tonight I'm making a beef slow cooker recipe. Using 1lb of ground beef, 5 potatoes (cut like french fries), frozen latin mix (onions, peppers, corn and black beans), and 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. I topped this with a couple of cups of salsa, some pats of butter, and whatever spices smelled good to me (including some sweet smoked paprika that I picked up in Lancaster). I layered this all in the crock pot and I'm cooking it on low for about 4-6 hours (pictures and review will come tomorrow.)

Mama K is the one who gave me this idea so check out her April no spend month as well.