Sunday, August 21, 2011


I looove to go garage sale-ing! I'm fortunate to live in an area that has many high end neighborhoods, and let me tell you, rich people have GREAT stuff! This is one of my best scores ever. The first stop at this sale I bought the khaki skirt (Ann Taylor), the red sweater (Van Heusen), the denim jacket (Coldwater Creek) and the two blue and white blouses (Liz Claiborne and Style & Co). After a little negotiating I paid $12 for all. Yes, $12 for these gorgeous, like-brand new clothes!
It was only our third stop so I had to walk away from many other pieces. I have to pace my carefully allotted spending money, but boy did I love these clothes. What are the odds of finding clothes exactly my style and IN MY SIZE!!

Fast forward to on our way home. Flock Warden says "let's stop back at that sale where you found all those clothes you liked". Now I am not one to ever say no to a garage sale, but I was tired and only had $3 left. "No, I'm happy with what I got earlier and we're about out of money." You know what he does? (I adore this man for so many reasons, this is just one) He pulls out two five dollar bills that he has squirreled away in his wallet and tells me to go get some more of those beautiful clothes!
Three embroidered skirts and the burgundy jacket later, I am one happy girl!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Going, Going, GONE!

I feel like I've just lost about 100 pounds! There's nothing like cleaning out to make a girl feel like she's got a good excuse to go (or keep) shopping. We had a huge garage sale a few weeks ago. We spent weeks unpacking boxes and boxes of stuff that head been packed away in our garage for the last three years. Hundreds of items were cleaned, and priced then brought out, placed on tables, tarps and anything else we could find. Signs were made, ads were placed and our hopes were high. After nearly four hours, we had made a fistful of money but had only sold about 1/10th of everything. Lord, please don't make me have to pack this stuff up again. We couldn't even get it all to Goodwill in one truckload! Prayers answered, a lovely lady from a local church asked if we would be willing to donate the leftovers and they would pick them up. Yes, yes, YES!! Turns out this is the church that has the absolute biggest and best sale every year (I go at least twice each year!), so let's hope I don't end up re-buying my own stuff!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mother's Day, Father's Day and a Couple of New Additions

Summer is HERE. We're on our lazy day, don't have to be anywhere schedule! I haven't sewn very much these last few weeks but I think I have a good excuse, or a couple of good excuses actually. I finished the coupon organizers for my mom and sister for Mother's Day and a few heat rice bags for the men in our family for Father's Day by the last day of school (my goal!) and that's been it.

As for my newest distractions, meet Olive and Lily. Olive came to us from my beloved nieces. Yes, the same ones who gave us Lila (see If You Give Your Aunt a Goldfish post.) Olive came out of the woods during the girls' horse lesson. Quite a miracle considering her dark coloring and the fact that she only weighed 13 ounces! The girls searched for a home for a few days until I saw that she was a black kitten. (I have a soft spot for all black animals, they have always been my best pets.) Well, I just had to have her! Needless to say she is the center of attention around here. There's nothing like a new baby in the house!
Lily is another story. We were garage sale-ing a couple of Saturdays ago, on our way home, when we decided to follow one last sign. The nice family was already packing up for the day. Then I saw it...

'Free bunny to good home. Cage, food, bedding all included'

"Did you find  a home for your bunny?" Please say yes, please say yes...I think you can see how that turned out! Lily now lives in our family room, gets fresh fruits and greens and has a built in playmate in Olive!

The menagerie grows again!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Extreme Baking, Eating and Pretty Good Couponing

There's been a lot of buzzing lately about TLC's Extreme Couponing, a show all about families who use hundreds of coupons to get groceries for mere pennies on the dollar. While I do enjoy the entertainment factor of this show, it's not very realistic for my family. My boys (Flock Warden included) would be extremely disappointed if I came home with 40 bottles of mustard and 110 bags of croutons for the week, even if I only spent $2.30! I am getting better at this couponing game, but not at the expense of our true passion around here, extreme eating! In the last ten days I have made a key lime pie, a tray of peanut butter cup brownies, two homemade pizzas and an apple pie. The key lime was not a huge hit. I used regular limes and it was very, well, lime-y. Fortunately our little flock of hens, a.k.a. 'the girls' had no objections at all, finishing a half of pie in less than 10 minutes. The tray of brownies on the other hand were a bigger success. Two teenage boys, one pan of fudgy brownies loaded with their favorite candy, you do the math. Gone in a day. Homemade white pizza with spinach was not a hit with the kids, they got their own plain cheese. Flock Warden and I on the other hand really liked it. Gone in one sitting. Extreme eating? I think so. Maybe TLC has a slot open for us?!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If You Give Your Aunt A Goldfish....

If you give your aunt a goldfish she'll probably want a nice big fish tank to keep it in. Once she has the tank, she'll probably decide she wants a nice quiet filter for it. So she'll want to go to Petsmart to get a nice quiet filter. While she's there she'll probably see all the pretty plants and decorations and decide that a fish should have a nice home to live in too. So she'll probably talk your uncle into getting some of the pretty plants and decorations. When she talks to the nice people who work at Petsmart, she'll realize that a goldfish should have water conditioner, special food, fishy vitamins and whole array of other great things!  After all this shopping, she's probably going to want a snack. She'll probably talk your uncle into stopping for ice cream. When she is finished with her ice cream she'll be all excited about getting home to decorate the fish tank. When she feels how cold and deep the water is, she'll probably just want to supervise while your uncle decorates the fish tank. When the tank is suitable for goldfish habitation, she'll move the goldfish in and watch intently to be sure the goldfish is happy.

The next day, your aunt will probably think that having one little goldfish in such a big tank is really kind of silly. So she'll probably decide that the goldfish needs some friends....

Meet Lila, the newest addition to the menagerie. Generously given to me by my beloved nieces, they have no idea the monster they've created!

**This post is a play on one of my favorite children's books, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff.  If you aren't familiar with it, I would highly recommend you get this book and read it to your favorite little people!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fabric Softener GIVEAWAY!

The nice people at Purex have sent me a sample of their new fabric softener Purex Complete Crystals Softener.  Completely different from anything I have used before, they are crystals!  I am really impressed with the performance and that they are 92% natural.  I did not know that most fabric softeners are oil based and leave a residue on your clothes.  They can even make children's sleepwear less flame retardant!  If you would like to give Purex Complete Crystals a try for FREE, visit Purex here then come back and leave me a comment.  I will give away coupons for a free bottle of softener to three lucky people on March 30!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More of the Polly!

Just look at that face!  Isn't she absolutely adorable?  I can't explain why exactly, but I am just smitten with this little creature.  Most nights I bring her into bed with me for a nice relaxing pet session and to tell her how cute she is.  She lays down, stretches out and entertains the Flock Warden and I with her happy noises and an occasional yawn.

During the day while the house is quiet, Polly is happy to have the radio playing softly (we don't want her to be lonely while her human is at school!) but when she hears me coming up the stairs she starts her little wheeking. The books say it's because I'm the chuck wagon and the fruits and vegetables I bring are the cause of her joy, but I choose to believe it's reciprocated adoration! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Something Accomplished FINALLY!

It's taken me five weeks, yes five, to complete these projects.  I 've been in a creative slump I guess.  Today I finally finished and listed these in my Etsy shop.  You would have thought I was giving birth!  Broken needles, shredded thread, fusible web stuck on everything, cutting mistakes and a few minor injuries has made these projects downright painful!
The best part was getting to Bedazzle stuff!  It really is fun, and easy (I am always grateful for anything that's actually easy!) I'm looking around for more stuff to Bedazzle.  I'm thinking headbands, bags and a denim jacket I saw lying around.  Mmm, maybe I'm starting to get my sewing mojo back.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Couponing Part 2...The Drug Store

Tuesday:  I have delayed writing this post, hoping I would have some great story to tell about saving money at the drugstore.  I think I might grow old waiting for that to happen.  I know it's possible, just read what the ladies at Wild for Wags or I Heart CVS have to say.  I try really hard.  I'm organized, I have a list, I have my coupons, I have read and memorized the scenarios these ladies offer, but I just can't seem to get right!  Surly cashiers, beeping computers and empty shelves are just a few of my recent experiences. In theory, Extra Bucks and Register Rewards are like free money, but ONLY if you get it right! 

Wednesday:  Today I went to my local Walgreens with five items on my list and they were out of two.  I was ready to chalk this up to my typical drugstore experience. I had a few other errands to run so I stopped at another Walgreens that was on my way.  EUREKA!! I hit paydirt with this store!  Orderly, everything in stock and a pleasant cashier!  I spent a total of $12.47 for nearly $60 worth of stuff and I left with $10 in Register Rewards!! Woohoo!  (I actually made $7 in the whole deal!) I will definitely drive the extra miles next time, it beats making two trips. 
So I guess it can be done.  Here's what I've learned:
  • Start small. Get only a few things that are on sale and/or you have coupons for, until you get the hang of Rewards/Bucks.  Then learn to do the multi-transaction deals.
  • Know your prices.  Drugstore prices can be high but they often have great sales. Paired with coupons and Rewards/Bucks you can save a bundle.
  • Know your store.  My experience is that high traffic stores can't keep up the supply-demand thing.
  • Stack your coupons.  The same principle applies here as it does in the grocery store.  Stacking store coupons and manufacturer coupons = big bucks in savings!
  • Register Rewards (Walgreens) are manufacturer coupons that can be used in other stores.  I've used them in Target and Publix, so hold on to them if you don't need anything else in the drugstore.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Money Saving Monday...Cleaning Up for Less

Okay, I admit it.  I'm cheap.  It's true, I cannot bring myself to pay full price for anything or waste anything.  I use coupons for just about everything, stalk items I want until the price is reduced and just generally count each and every penny as if it were my last.  The flip side of this neurotic behavior is that I save a TON of money every year.   Reducing the amount of cleaning products we buy not only saves us money, but keeps our homes free of unwanted chemicals and helps protect our environment.  My mom is queen of dollar stretching (without the neurosis!) and we're always sharing ideas about how to make our dollars go farther.  Recently we discussed using white vinegar for cleaning.  I have always used it to clean my tile and wood floors, but there are a million other uses as well.
  • Dilute 1/2 cup per half gallon of water for floors
  • Use in place of rinse agent in the dishwasher
  • Run through automatic coffee maker on brew, then run another brew cycle with water to remove hard water deposits
  • Mix with equal part of water for general cleaning/deodorizing 
  • In a spray bottle, the half and half solution will help keep mildew and hard water stains out of your shower
  • Two tablespoons to a pint of water to clean fresh fruits and veggies.
A few more ideas for stretching our cleaning supplies: 
  • Use half or a third of a dryer sheet and/or use it twice.
  • Buy 'select-a-size' paper towels.  I love Bounty paper towels!  I can use a half of a 'select-a-size' for almost any small job and I can reuse a towel for covering food in the microwave again and again.  Bargain paper towels are no bargain if you go through a roll a week.
  • Reuse parchment paper, foil, ziplock bags and plastic wrap whenever possible.  Sometimes a quick wipe is all you need to make these good as new again.
These are just a few of the thing I do to save.  What ideas do have for cleaning up for less?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Some of the Menagerie...Meet Ranger!

Ranger is one of the smaller members of our family, although he doesn't think so.  He was a gift from my beloved neighbor and friend.  She had gone to get a puppy and Ranger was going to be left by himself.  He
hadn't been adopted yet (he was at that awkward puppy stage) so they just gave him to her!
Ranger has grown up with all big dogs, including our great dane and our german shepherd.  He has no idea that he is small, NONE.  He has no fear of any other animals with the exception of our matriarch chicken Rosie. He loves to eat, ride in the car, eat, play with our youngest, eat, play with the german shepherd, eat, chase chickens, oh and did I mention he loooooves to eat?  

Before and after his summer haircut!

We don't really let him drive the boat, he hasn't passed the test yet!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Television Worth Watching

It seems today with our hundreds of channels on cable television that there is so little worth watching. When I actually find something enjoyable, I have to talk about it!  Yesterday I recorded a new show on Hallmark Channel called Pet Keeping with Marc Morrone.  We watched one episode during half time of the Orange Bowl (this should give you an idea of who holds the remote around here!)  I have seen Marc on Martha Stewart over the years and liked his natural connection with all kinds of animals.  His pet ferret Splash receives more fan mail than he does. You gotta love a guy who's not afraid to admit that!  I love that he is a shelter adoption advocate and that he lives with all kinds of pets of his own.  This show is geared toward a younger audience but it is entertaining as well as educational.  If you have your own menagerie, would like to or just love animals, this is thirty minutes you won't regret spending in front of the tube.