The Thing I’ll Miss the Most

My husband was offered the perfect job!

(Insert party here)

It’s perfect for him, not because there is more money, but he will be doing what he loves!

I should be ecstatic.

I should be over the moon.

But I am going to miss having him around all of the time.

We will have had 3 months together…24 hours a day…7 days a week. He did not sit around all day watching TV and playing Spider Solitaire on the computer. He helped out around the house. (I never would have been able to wash the windows in an hour without his help.)

What will I miss the most?

Breakfast.

Many days, he made breakfast and it was not pouring cereal! He even experimented with new recipes. One recipe I plan to repeat is his Vanilla Pancakes!

Vanilla Pancakes

1 Egg

1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Milk

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1/4 Cup Vanilla Yogurt

3 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Mix all ingredients together. Cook pancakes on griddle until puffed and dry around the edges. Turn and cook other side until golden brown. They are really thick. You can add more milk to thin the batter.

Mr. Frugalfish's Vanilla Pancakes.

Mr. Frugalfish’s Vanilla Pancakes.

My Shopping Gene is Broken

It has never happened before…I went away for the weekend…went shopping…and came home with nothing.

I used to be an expert shopper. I remember going to one retreat with $5.00 and coming home with a swimming suit from a clearance rack. I wore the belt from the suit as a scarf on the second day.

I really tried. We went to all the stores from Von Maur to Wal-Mart! I tried things on, but didn’t buy anything.

My sister-in-law was with me and she found all sorts of things.

What happened?

I blame missussmartypants.com. She taught me to ask several questions before I purchased an item.

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Does it flatter my figure?
  3. Do I have three other items in my closet I can wear with it?
  4. Do I need it?
  5. Do I really have a place to wear it?

Obviously, I don’t need a prom dress! But I also don’t need those earrings that look so heavy they would be uncomfortable…or that hat that was a little too big…or that blouse in the right style, but wrong color!

I didn’t just settle. It wasn’t even about the cost. Why spend $3.00 on something I will send to Goodwill in the next year anyway.

Oddly enough, the last time I found something that was perfect was at Goodwill. It was a red jacket that was the right size, color, something I will wear often, and the price tags were still on it. I wore it to the retreat. In fact, my sister-in-law kept referring to me as “the lady in the red jacket.”

What’s my point?

I had fun last weekend…without retail therapy.

My sister-in-law guarding the men's room at Ladies Retreat. Don't judge...you all have done it!

My sister-in-law guarding the men’s room at Ladies Retreat. Don’t judge…you all have done it!

Bounce That Light Around

When we bought our home, there were seven lights installed:

  • One in the kitchen
  • One in the hall
  • One in the bathroom
  • One in each room of the basement

We had to rely on lamps in all of the other rooms. Over the years we have added light fixtures and a ceiling fan, but we still have the original medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

When I switched from incandescent light bulbs, the bathroom was noticeably darker. In order to brighten the space, I placed two small, oval mirrors under each light bulb. It reflects the light up to the ceiling, where it bounces around the room.

It really helped.

Use mirrors under light fixtures to increase light.

Use mirrors under light fixtures to increase light.

Irish Update

Last spring, I shared how I painted my St. Patrick’s Day Flag, see http://wp.me/pKNzn-vO. I was so pleased with the results that I decided to paint my Easter flag also.

It did not end well.

My St. Patrick’s Day flag was made of plastic. My Easter flag was made of cloth. I painted the first color and it soaked through the cloth adhering to the newspaper I had spread out to protect the table. When I tried to remove the bits of newspaper, the paint bled. I knew it would not survive the first rainfall.

I had to throw it away…and no, I will not be posting a picture!

“Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

My one-of-a-kind, hand-painted St, Patrick's Day flag!

My one-of-a-kind, hand-painted, plastic, St, Patrick’s Day flag!

In Honor of My Son’s Birthday

I thought the happiest day of my life was the day I married David.

I was wrong.

The happiest day was when our son, Luke, was born. I never thought I would feel more content.

Then my daughter, Laura, was born and little baby girls are so sweet. It couldn’t get any better. Right?

Nope, when our youngest son, Derek, was born there was such a feeling of satisfaction…our family was complete.

Or so we thought.

Then Luke married Bethany. It was the best party I have ever attended and such a sweet day for David and I to share.

It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Wrong again.

I watched Luke walk on air right after his daughter, Olivia, was born and in that little bundle of pink was happiness, joy, and contentment like I have never experienced before. People try to explain it, but until you become a grandparent you just can’t understand.

You get all of the wonderful things a child brings…plus you can send them home and go to sleep!

Occasionally, our granddaughter will spend the day and I had trouble getting her to take a nap. Then I had a brainstorm.

Since she loves camping, I made her a tent. She loved it. All I did was drape a fitted sheet over 2 chairs at each end of the air mattress.

In fact…her grandpa loved it too! I caught him napping there on the weekends!

Attach a fitted sheet to a chair with clothespins to make an easy tent.

Attach a fitted sheet to a chair with clothespins to make an easy tent.

 

I Did It…Regrew Lettuce

Yes, I’m a salad nut.

Or just a plain nut depending on how well you know me.

I like salad for lunch…even in the winter! I tried eating other things, but I got sick and decided I needed to have raw veggies every day to keep my immune system working well.

If you are what you eat…I’m green.

It’s okay. I’m Irish.

But fresh ingredients can be pretty pricey when the temperature dips below zero.

You know me, I am always looking for ways to save money. When I saw this online, I didn’t think it would work. They showed leaf lettuce regrowing after it was cut. They just stuck the base in water.

I have been trying this over the last few weeks. I have a sunny south window that is ideal for growing things. After tossing a few experiments, I think I finally figured it out.

  1. Cut the leaf lettuce off at about 2/3 of the way down. You will need to leave the tiny center leaves intact.
  2. Cut a thin slice off the bottom and put it in water.
  3. Add water to the glass every few days.
  4. If the outside leaves start to rot, remove them.
  5. When the leaves start growing, pull off some of the tops.
  6. If a stem starts to grow in the middle, the lettuce has bolted (gone to seed) and the leaves will be bitter. Removing leaves will keep it from bolting.

I usually buy lettuce every week, but today I started my salad with just the leaves from the lettuce in my window.

Have you tried this at home?

The plate of lettuce pulled off of lettuce I am regrowing.

The plate of lettuce pulled off of lettuce I am regrowing.

 

Don’t Start Over, Tweak Your Decorating

Last week I put away my Valentine’s Day decorations and pulled out the Shamrocks! Normally, I build a centerpiece from scratch, but I really liked the vignette I created for Valentine’s Day, see http://wp.me/pKNzn-Fr. I decided to remove the Valentine’s and add a little green.

We need to take this approach to all of our decorating. It is tempting to trash everything in a room and start over, but each piece has a story and memories attached to it. It is better to tweak our decorating.

How?

  1.  Remove clutter.
  2. Take out a piece or two.
  3. Replace just one item, i.e. worn out furniture.
  4. Add just one item from another room, i.e. area rug.
  5. Make a replacement from scratch, see Bookshelves to Bookcase http://wp.me/pKNzn-yl.

I was amazed when we moved an area rug from the living room to under the kitchen table. I fell in love with it all over again!

St. Patrick's Day Centerpice

St. Patrick’s Day centerpiece

 

Revive Leftover Oatmeal

We eat oatmeal and Malto Meal about once a week. Usually, we make 4 servings and eat the leftovers the second day. Sadly, the oatmeal looks like this when it comes out of the microwave.

Reheated Oatmeal

Reheated Oatmeal

 

It is not the same consistency as when you make it fresh. If you add milk, you can get it to a nice consistency, but it cools the oatmeal down considerably. I came up with another alternative…

…Add hot coffee!

Oatmeal and Hot Coffe.

Oatmeal and Hot Coffee.

Usually, you are drinking coffee with your oatmeal and you won’t notice a difference in flavor!

Resume Paper Rip-Off

This is week 8 of unemployment.

My husband was looking for ways to stand out in the pile of applicants. He decided to buy heavier paper…resume paper, on which to print his resume. We live in a small town and the only place to get it was Wal-Mart.

I picked up a package of white, 24 lb “resume paper” that cost $8.97 for 100 sheets. My husband said, “No.” He didn’t think it was worth the money.

I started to walk out of the aisle and noticed various reams of paper. There was a ream of white, 24 lb paper for $5.97. That was five times the number of sheets for a little over half price.

It didn’t have a “watermark,” but he managed a lumberyard not a publishing company. It is still heavier and will stand out. We bought it. Sometimes, all you are paying for is a fancy package.

Same paper...different packages.

Same paper…different packages.

 

Bump the Brillo Pad

I used Brillo Pads for years to scrub my pans. They worked better than any other scrubber, but:

  1. They rusted.
  2. Little pieces broke off of them and could pierce your skin.
  3. They didn’t last long.
  4. They were expensive.

I found a frugal alternative..steel wool. That wad of steel wool never rusts and it lasts for a few years. It is just as strong scraping off burned food and much cheaper.

Steel Wool instead of Brillo Pads.

Steel Wool instead of Brillo Pads.