Friday, July 24, 2009

The 23rd Psalm of School Supplies

School supplies are my addiction;
I shall want them on sale.
They lead me to park far out in lots.
They leadeth me beside the sale endcaps.
They restoreth my diminished supply:
They leadeth me in the paths of the sales ads, for the comics needn't matter.
Yea, though I walk through the aisles of Staples and Walgreen's, I will fear no empty shelf: for there are rain checks;
Thy crayons and thy glue sticks they comfort me.
Thou preparest a kindergartner before me in the presence her schoolmates:
Thou payest my bill with quarters and pennies;
My drawer runneth over.
Surely sharing with family and those in need shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will be well stocked in cheap school supplies forever.

The drawer.

Peeking inside said drawer. The pencils, the highlighters, the many, many boxes of cap erasers!

The folders, all 1 cent a piece over the last few years.

Spiral bound notebooks.

Crayons. A box that doesn't fit into the drawer anymore.

Liquid glue and glue sticks. Again, it had to break away and form its own state.




Smiles in my day:
- Getting the laundry done AND put away all in the same day.
- Making a sock puppet with K-.
- Hubs getting home early yesterday.
- A clean bathroom.
- Rain to keep our garden growing. One of my tomato plants is taller than me! Too bad I don't have heat to get the tomatoes to turn! (An AP report today said that NE Ohio is experiencing probably the coldest July in 109 years. A positive note is that energy consumption is down 34% because of it.)
- A trip to the local children's consignment store didn't pay out tons, but it did pretty much cover a stainless steel drinking bottle for K- for her lunch. No juice boxes here! We also have a stainless steel thermal food container (to send nice, hot food) and cloth napkins. We're trying to cut waste in our child's lunch! Look!

Don't forget to stop by my Blog Hop giveaway post. I have a $10.00 gift card for Target up for grabs!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blog Hop '09- A Target Gift Card Giveaway Treat!

Hey! Thanks for visiting! So, you want to know a few things about me? Well, I was a dork (and tired), jumped the gun a bit and posted my Blog Hop thingy early this morning. Oh, don't worry! I've linked it right here. (You don't have to read it to enter.) Truly, I'm an artist mommy and wife who earns a living by wiping a variety of kid parts, cookin', cleanin' and that whole bit, working at an art gallery for a little bit of pay for doing what I love, loving on and being loved on by my people, Hubs and K-, without whom I wouldn't know what to do with myself. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways! Take a spin through the archives one day. They will make you laugh, cry, scratch your head and wonder why! But, because y'all have been so nice to stop in at my little ole blog, I'd like to reward someone with a treat! I'll send a $10.00 Target gift card to one person just for commenting ON THIS POST, please. One entry per person. And yes, if I know you, it is fine to enter. United States only. Sorry! My only request is to tell me something more than "Enter me" or a canned generic response. I'll delete you for that. (Mean, but true.) Did you have a good day? When's the last that you cleaned your bathroom? Are you wrestling up some school supplies for kiddies to go back soon? Have you stubbed your toe recently? Do you camp? What things do you like to read? (Yes, package labels count!) What do you like to eat? Anything! Just tell me anything! (Not offensive, please.) I'd love to hear about you! Oh, and don't forget to give me your e-mail, please (or that your blog has it linked in somewhere.) It's hard to give y'all a prize if I can't actually contact you. Comments will close on July 29 at 9:00 PM. Winner to be chosen by random number generator. Now, go forth and comment! :)

Comments are officially closed. Thank you for stopping by!

Blog Hop '09

Welcome! I admit that I've participated in Bloggy Giveaways before, but never in the Blog Hop. I decided that I would repost a list of 35 things about me that I posted 10/26/08.

In a nutshell, I'm a wife, mommy, daughter, friend and all kinds of other titles too many to list here. I have a love for the Lord and my family and just try to do the best that I can. Wanna know more? Check out my list or feel free to browse through the archives. Thanks for stopping in!

1. I turned 35 last August. I won't be 35 much longer.
2. When I was born, I was a month late. Mom insists. I even gave her a gray streak to prove it.
3. I'm on the cusp of Leo and Virgo. Though I don't believe in the astrological thing, it's still funny to say that those that know and love me would insist without a doubt that I'm a Virgo.
4. The back of my left eye is flat. (Lazy eye.) It's basically there ornamentally. I see on the outer edges, but not in the middle. It's hard to explain other than it's like looking at a big gray bar in the middle. It's a birth defect, so I'm used to it.
5. I got my driver's license the day I started college. I had to hitch a ride there and back.
6. My first car was a 1979 Chevy Berlinetta Camaro that my dad purchased for 50.00 from a guy that he worked with. The guy had just won the lottery and ordered himself a brand spankin' new car.
7. I eat one thing on my plate at a time. All the potatoes, all the meat, all the other whatever stuff. I'm not a mixer flavorer.
8. I don't drink coffee. Love the smell, though.
9. My husband says that I can go into a store that I've never been in before, an invisible antennae pops out of my head, twirls around and directs me straight to the clearance rack.
10. I start Christmas shopping on December 26, the year previous to that the gifts are due.
11. I love Birkenstocks. They are granola, but way comfy.
12. I love jeans.
13. I love the thrift store. Where else can you leave with a full wardrobe of clothes for 15.00 or less?
14. I can drive stick shift. Hubs taught me when we were dating.
15. I'm the Christmas merchandise girl at work. I set 6-7 Christmas trees of a variety of themes and decorate upwards to 9 ceilings. I generally have 3 weeks to do this, at 3 days of work per week.
16. I only take baths. God never intended women to stand and shave their legs.
17. I hate to have my eyelashes wet.
18. Don't touch my nose. Grandpa had a thing for biting noses when we were young and bruised the end of my sister's nose.
19. I'm scared to death of tornadoes, but find the Storm Chaser show on Discovery absolutely fascinating.
20. I line dry our clothes as much as possible to save money. We have a line outside and a 6 line run in our basement.
21. My hair has natural curl. Depending on the day, it'll behave. Mostly, I suffer from a weird frizz. (I'm experimenting with a new shampoo just right now!)
22. I use an electric blanket to heat up my sheets even in the summer.
23. While skiing, I blew my ACL and now have titanium and teflon holding my knee together.
24. I like to do Mork from Ork fingers.
25. I love the old, original Atari. All the other play systems are for the birds. Pitfall isn't Pitfall unless you are running a blocky guy over blocky alligators and blocky swamps to the blocky prize.
26. Typically, I'm not a fan of remakes. Willy Wonka? Oh, I'm a purist. Give me Charlie Bucket in his original version, please.
27. I love to sing in the church choir.
28. I love to bake and can. I like to cook, too. I'm just more creative with the baking and canning thing.
29. I'm trying to teach our 4 year old daughter modesty. She is very long waisted and shirts want to do the Britney Spears on her. I just don't find that appropriate, so her shirts are often a wee big in the shoulders to accommodate for the extra torso length.
30. It bugs the heck out of me when people talk loudly on the cell phones in public.
31. It drives me crazy when people can't use turn signals. They weren't considered optional when the vehicle was made and shouldn't be considered optional for use.
32. I love dark chocolate.
33. I love to garden. Flowers, vegetables-- anything.
34. I majored in printmaking in college and while at the university, I took 2 years of glassblowing and neon.
35. I love that I can share with my daughter that I accepted Christ at Vacation Bible School at the age of 11.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Cheap School Supplies

It's super cheap school supply sale time! I admit that I'm a huge school supply addict. I love a good sharp pencil, love the smell of a box of crayons and think that new glue sticks are just wonderful! I have a school supply drawer that overflows in crayons, folders, rulers, pens (variety of colors), pencils (mechanical and traditional), erasers, glues (liquid and stick), markers (fat, skinny and dry erase), highlighters (long, short, fat, skinny, refillable), colored pencils, and paper (spiral and loose). Don't worry. I share my loot. My nieces and nephew know that Aunt Amy's school supply drawer is open all year long. Do you know what a drag it is to pay full price for school supplies in January? I start all of them out with some basic school supplies at the beginning of the year. Obviously, I tailor their loot bag to what is on their list. My sister has already called to see what she can get from me and skip purchasing altogether!

I stopped by Staples and Walgreen's on my way home from work. Look at what I got! Between the two stores, I got $38.50 worth of school supplies for a whole $4.15. The bottom right three items were rebate things from Staples, but I ran the Easy Rebate already and it is in process. The Papermate pens were 9 cents a package, the Papermate mechanical pencils and rulers were 19 cents each, Bic highlighters and paperclips were 49 cents and the Pentel pens were $1.00 for the package.

Keep in mind that Walmart will match a competitors ad pricing at their registers. Make certain to take your ads with you and that it is the exact item pictured, during the same ad week run (sometimes Staples only offers specials through Wednesday) and that you only get the precise limit printed. I've gone to Walmart to ad match when there have been several ads with items (sometimes up to 5 or so.) Kmart is particularly horrible at having items in stock that they have on sale, so most of the time I have Walmart ad match to them. They WILL not ad match coupon sales (like in the Walgreen's ad. They must be an advertised item, not a clip-out coupon item.)

Important to know-- I don't go out of the way to get the cheap school supplies. Sure, I can get supplies sometimes as low as a penny, but it isn't worth it if I've just paid out $5.00 in gas to get there. If I'm in close proximity, I'll stop in. Since Walgreen's is just up the street from us, I'll probably stop in again for some more mechanical pencils.

Places that I've gotten rock bottom school supply items:
Office Max

Happy school supply shopping! May an inexpensive 64 count box of sharp, intoxicating smell filled crayons be in your shopping basket soon! :)

Smiles in my day:
- Cheap school supplies.
- Cooler temperatures.
- Though I was concerned and slightly freaked out at first, the neighbors didn't choose to put an overly bright light over their garage like their neighbors/renters (who are blinding us with the light in a Poltergeist kind of fashion. "Go towards the light Caroline!")

Pick-Up Fairy Count:
- Giraffe book
- Roll of tape gum
- Polly Pocket car
- Musical twirly/clacky instrument
- Rush Hour Game
To my WFMW readers- The Pick-Up Fairy visits our home in the evening after K- falls asleep. Whatever items that she has not picked up, the fairy confiscates for 1 week. Our home has stayed tidier over this past week than it has been in quite a while. Hooray!
Blog Hop '09 Giveaway! From July 23-29, 2009 (at 9:00 PM EST), I'm giving a $10.00 Target gift card away to a lucky winner. Come on by!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Catching up on old business

I've got to wrap up some loose ends. I've said that I've had pictures to share, a recipe request and plant updates. Here is all that you wondered about. Or, at least some of it, right?

I have failed you. I forget to take before and afters (eeek!) except with the driveway. (I'm trying to remember!) Oh, look! Okay, I admit that I should take the same shot, but I'm learning these things, people!

Secondly, I mentioned my vegetables yesterday. Here is what we have.Baby cherry tomatoes in the herb garden. The tomatoes seem to be plugging right along next to the house. The ones in the garden aren't as big. These get more sun and more warmth between being next to the house and driveway, as opposed to near grass and under trees. Little Royal Chicos. Again, next to the house seems to be the place to be. Baby green peppers. I can't wait for these to become bigger. The Pink Surprise flowers from yesterday's post? Here's one. Gorgeous, but not exactly pink-- SURPRISE! (From Baker Creek Seeds.)

The next request came from Rachael when I did the ABC about Me post. Rachael, this is what my scalloped potato recipe looks like. I'm embarrassed. In my family, we cook by looks and by tasting. I'll give you a rough run of what it should be.

Slice up some potatoes. I prefer Yukon Gold. I also leave the skins on. Put those in a pan coated with something non-stick. (Butter, Pam . . .)
Make a rue. (Melt your butter, stir flour in until pastey, thin out with milk, add pepper and salt.) Pour mixture over potatoes. You'll have to judge your sauce according to the number of potatoes you have.
Add some cheese if you'd like, though it isn't necessary. A little extra cracked pepper on top is a good thing. We're cheddar people for this one, though I'm sure others could work really well.
Bake at 350 F until fork tender. I'd give that about an hour or so.

Sorry about not being able to give exact numbers. This recipe is one that you just go by feel.

The linen closet. I have to admit that it itself didn't look that bad. I really weeded out much of the extraneous soap and candle stuff. Lots of soap products that will be in a freebie bin for the family to dig through. My sister has already claimed the Redken Solve Dandruff shampoo and the My Little Pony bubble bath (K- is allergic to it.) The Scope Whitening mouthwash will probably go off to my brother. I have a niece that will be 13 soon, so I think that she'll really enjoy the bath soap petals and fizzy foot soak. This great bag o' candles will be placed in the family White Elephant for our Christmas Eve celebration together. I bagged all of the like votives in the same cellophane bags. The citronella candles I was sure to label, so as not to be burned in the hosue. My cousin knows that I always place a bag of candles in the White Elephant, so she gets there before me and watches me leave my bag(s) o' loot. There is some really great stuff in there, I just don't burn votives that often and this was cluttering one of my linen closet shelves. Gotta let go of it, right?

And Rachael, it has been a cooler summer here. Dick Goddard, meteorologist extraordinaire (he's on the TV right now!) predicts only four 90 degree days for us all summer. We've used the air very little and definitely wore sweatshirts Friday and Saturday. I wore a spring coat to church on Sunday and K- kept her cardigan on all day at the zoo. Now last year, we had 90 degrees at the end of May (early for us) and the year previous we had a similar situation plus the giant hail storm the took out our roof, gutters and did $4300. damage to my old RAV4 that was totaled 6 months later. I much enjoy the lower temps, but my tomatoes are begging to differ. Mom talked to me tonight and said that they predict rain for the next 10 days. This is a bad thing, because that affects the beetle development for the following year. Rainy July equals big time beetle issues the following year.

Speaking of, they have skeletonized most of the plum. I stopped spraying when Hubs said that he watched them fly from one side of the tree to the other as I was spraying. We actually had a beetle bag that was over the mid-bag fill line in the time span of about a day and a half. The swarm has slowed a bit, but it was so bad that I would have to encourage K- to run through the driveway. She would cry the whole way. I've taken pictures of the swarms around the bags, but I don't think that you can really see them. Hold on. Let me see if I saved or ditched them . . . Nope. You can't see them.

Oh and Hubs? He said that I can post pictures of him. Okay, it's not a full on shot of his gorgeous dark blue eyes, but one day when I track one down, I'll post it here! :) That little girl smackin' a smooch on him? Oh, that would be K-. Of course, y'all knew that!

I think that I caught up on everything.

Smiles in my day:
- A customer thanked me for being so helpful-- several times.
- My boss was thrilled with my idea of doing Christmas tree decorating demo's. I decorate one of our buildings, so I thought that maybe we could have a limited seating event to watch me decorate a tree or two and get tips as we go. I'd have everything prepared, so all I would have to do is demo some pick construction, so some non-traditional decorating techniques and answer questions as I go along. She is excited with the idea, and that makes me feel good.
- I made another appointment to drop by Children's Orchard on Thursday with another batch of items. Grant you, I don't have a ton to drop off-- just a Rubbermaid Tote full and some toys. Still, every little bit counts.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wow Wee!-kend

Wow folks. I'm tired. When last I left you, it was shaping up to be a steady paced weekend. It ended up being pretty busy.

Friday took us out visiting to my sister's house. They are mourning the death of Merlin, her 18 year old loyal companion. Bless his heart, he has been her faithful companion through 2 failed marriages (I have to say that they weren't her fault, she suffered from a bad pick of men), moving multiple times including to Maryland, two separate homes in Pennsylvania and several places in NE Ohio. For years, he was probably the only constant thing in her life. He saw her through the ugly times and onward to times of celebration.

Here's her man. Rest in peace, ole boy.

When visiting at my sister's house, she mentioned that she was scheduling a family garage sale. Now last time a family sale was scheduled, I had done it and they decided to move it when I was in Wisconsin on vacation. Folks, it never happened. This sale has been confirmed. Many people are involved and we all need to unload of things and having extra pocket change isn't going to hurt. Our garage sale money is going into the kitchen spiff project. But, as a result of the pending garage sale, I threw myself into purging the linen closet. It's something that I've wanted to do for a while (as opposed to just straightening it), so I dove right in. Of course, I forgot the before pictures, but just enjoy the afters, 'kay? We'll start with my slumbering child. Friday was chilly and a bit rainy. She decided to snuggle in for a nap as I was doing my Virgoian organization. Hey? Could you ever guess our flu medication of choice? Since there are three of us, K- goes to school, I work retail and Hubs teaches nature programs to a variety of ages, it makes sense to stock up for flu season. (We've found Oscillococinum cheapest at the Vitamin Shoppe. The last time we purchased it, we paid $4.40/box. It can range from $9.00 - $15.00 per box.)

Saturday morning started with Hubs announcing that he had a volunteer picnic, but "You don't have to go." I told him I wasn't a volunteer, that I was a wife and that was just a part of the deal. "Nah, you don't have to go." As he repeated that a few times, it kicked in that what he was really saying was, "For the love that is all good and right in the world, come help me please!" I announced that K- and I would be happy to come and Hubs' response was, "Well, it is kind of far out." (25 miles one way.) I told him it wasn't a big deal. "Nah, you don't have to come." Geeze, man! Two minutes later, he handed me directions. When we arrived, Hubs had just arrived. The man didn't know where to start. Regardless to the fact that the pavilion was posted for a program, someone had used the pavilion previously and filled the garbage cans to overflowing. I emptied those last. We got the tables dressed with some lovely picnic table cloths. We set up a beverage station, dessert station and a place for main meal food. We got the frozen food down towards the grill, the ice cream shuttled over to the dessert area and just in time. Hubs' boss, co-hosting the event with Hubs, arrived just as we got the finishing touches handled. Folks started to arrive and we were really hoping that there would be a child to play with K-. As luck would have it, one of Hubs' volunteers had her granddaughter for the evening. K- and S- were just months apart in age and played well together. S-'s grandmother wanted to just farm the kids off to the playground and have them be on their own. The playground, on the other side of a big set of trees and I couldn't see them. Besides, I told her that I wanted to go up and scope out the playground. (As a disguise for me not just wanting to send my child up unattended.) She said, "Oh yes, well we don't want to send S- home broken. I guess I should check and make sure it is safe." I told her that I didn't question the safety of the equipment, but what came to my mind was stranger danger. "Oh yeah." So, the balance of my evening involved watching and providing for 2 girls, as the grandmother had decided that she was out. She didn't know me from Adam, yet didn't even check on S-. Oh well. I kept both kids safe. It was all good.

Sunday came with a pingy-poke in my side. I admit that I pretty much knew what the pain was, but was used to a mid-cycle pain to be in my right (if it was to occur) as opposed to the left. I decided to take some Advil for it, and to go just the regular church service (skip Sunday School) to get the pingy-poke to go away. Hubs came out and suggested that we go to the Cleveland Zoo after church and I didn't want pingy-poke to be in the way. As it turns out, it subsided by early afternoon so it was what I thought it was and we had a really great time. I admit that I was concerned about the potential of all that walking with a pain in my side, but I'm glad that I didn't have to worry about it.

We had a really nice time and K- was picked to be a program helper. She was one of 6 kids picked to hold a really giant boa constrictor. She had such a great time doing it. (Can we say, Naturalist's kid?) She was able to pet a hedgehog, get an up close and personal look at a giraffe that found a child's bubbles to be interesting. (The giraffe was within 2 1/2 - 3 feet away from us.) K-'s favorite thing? There was a flamingo that was sitting on her nest. She seriously loved it so much, that we visited it three times!

They gave us a free kids meal coupon for Bob Evans, so Hubs decided that we would do a rare meal out. K- opted for the grilled cheese sandwich with fruit, Hubs got chicken and noodles and I had the barbecued chicken knife and fork sandwich. Folks, my sandwich wasn't all that. It was okay, but definitely not a repeat. Still, it was a nice time to spend together.

We got home, had a bit of decompression time then set off to weeding and lawn maintenance. K- and I weeded the driveway (with me doing the front beds before she came out) as Hubs was mowing. Folks, I'm embarrassed to admit that the one corner of our driveway was a mat of weeds. (We had some weeds here and there, but that corner was horrible!) Seriously, it looked bad. K- and I pulled at those for over an hour. Hubs came up and told us, "Oh, I'll help you get that done in a few minutes." The man brought out a spade. Oh, it worked like a charm. Seriously, I need to remember that, but let's hope that we don't get the carpeted corner of grass and weeds again. Unfortunately, our grass was a bit longer than what we prefer, but Hubs pulled two 12 hour days this week and worked until 9 or better for 4 of the 5 days that he did work. Mowing just wasn't in the cards until today. I would have provided an after picture, but we were working with the outside lights because the sun set on us.

Officially, I'm tuckered. As is the norm, my side of the bed has laundry for me to put away before settling into bed. And now that I'm thinking about it, I may take a few Advil to offset some weeding soreness.

Smiles in my weekend:
- K- being chosen for the zoo program.
- Spending the day with my people.
- Having my side pain be nothing more than a blip on Mother Nature's radar.
- Tomatoes and peppers are getting big!*
- My pink surprise flower is a surprise all right! It is peach.*
- That I have a home, a wonderful family, a husband who is a great provider and a bed that looks so inviting. So many folks don't have that.

Have a great Monday, my friends!
* I have photos, but I'm too tired to transfer them over! Another day, I promise.