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Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Year of Savings

Okay, I didn't post every day, or even catch-up every few days as I'd intended, so I decided I will do an end-of-the-month post to talk about what frugal happenings there were in the previous weeks.

So for January, in addition to my previous posts, we have:

Purchased unfinished cabinetry, stained and finished it ourselves (okay, mostly Greg did it).

Installed said cabinetry ourselves (yeah, Greg again).

Continued using drying rack. Combined small laundry loads in the dryer. (I don't want to wash them together - sorry, Marilynne embedded into me a need to sort my laundry - but I saved several separate usages of the dryer by not being quite so OCD.)

Participated in a pantry/freezer challenge and didn't buy groceries except for milk and lettuce for a few weeks.

Made sure that leftovers from our meals have been packed so they're convenient for Greg to take for his lunches. (You know men, if it's not right there in the front of the frig, all together, then "there isn't anything to take"...)

Signed up for several freebies to be mailed to me at this website. So far I've recieved some free cat food.

Made my own Valentines using some of my scrapbooking "stash".

Signed up to work a few extra hours at the gym to make up for the two days I'll be gone next week.

Used my huge evergreen Christmas wreath with a wooden snowman for a porch decoration instead of tossing it after the holidays. (Let's not talk about how last year's wreath hung on the garage until, um, June...)

Used gift bags from my stash for the twins' birthday gifts. I "stash" these bags, but rarely use them. No, they weren't child-oriented, but they hid the gifts, and Garett loved his with the cars on it. I also used scrapbooking stash to make tags for the gifts, and to scraps of scrapbook paper to make them a "happy birthday" banner.

I'm thinking there were a few other things I had intended to list, but they're not coming to mind and it's time for me to leave for work, so we'll call this good.

My friend PennyAnn Poundwise lists the $$ amount she saves each day - I have no idea what I saved (except that it was $100's on the cabinets), but I will say this challenge makes me think twice - "is there a less expensive way to do this?" - before I spend.

Okay, I'm off to sell some ridiculously overpriced popcorn. LOL.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Sneak Peek

For our Christmas presents to each other, Greg and I decided to add some new cabinets to the sun room, just off the kitchen. A small corner for a "coffee center", then a larger area on the other side for a "wine center".

We purchased a wine frig at Best Buy when we were Christmas shopping, then received a second one as a gift. Now we have one for white wine, and one for red, and since they're kept at different temps, this works great!

The drawer space has doubled from what I had in the kitchen alone, and there are a few new cabinets, too. I'm so excited about 78" more of counter space - sad, I know.
We purchased unfinished cabinets, then Greg and I stained them. Greg did all the rest - finishing the cabinets, installing them, and installing the counter top. My coworkers want me to loan him out. :o)

The wine center

The coffee center (Tucker loves it, too!)

These photos are what they looked Sunday morning. There is still some work to do: finishing the sides and toe kick, installing the rack to hang wine glasses, and the cup hooks for coffee mugs, handles on the doors and drawers, and a little painting, but I really wanted to share this with you.

I wish you all could join us for some refreshment, be it warm or chilled. Consider yourself invited! :o)

A Party Day

Grace and Garett, three years ago:
They had their birthday on January 19th, and we celebrated today. They were so fun! Grace was just giddy, and Garett really got into the presents after having lots of practice at Christmas.

Wyatt was a bit put out, but his Grandma had a gift for him, and I gave him my digital camera and asked him to take photos for me. Here's a sample of what he took:

A good time was had by all, and I know they'll be ready for more fun at the next birthday party!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pay It Forward

I recently signed up for a PIF on my friend Rhonda's blog. "Pay-It-Forward" in blog world is where a blogger offers to send something she has made to three readers who in turn, promise they will offer a pay-it-forward on their blog in the future. The first blogger has one year to send the handmade items.
Rhonda is an empty-nester like me, and is a wonderful seamstress (unlike me). She made me this sweet apron (in my favorite color!) that is reversible. I like to wear aprons when I do "big" cooking, like a holiday meal or a freezer-cooking day. I especially like this kind of apron that goes over my head and covers my entire front. I will get much use out of this gift, and the best part is that I'll think of Rhonda whenever I put it on. :o)
Now for your part. I'm offering to send a handmade item to the first three readers who leave me a comment on this post. In turn, when you recieve my gift, you promise to keep this PIF going and post this offer on your own blog.
C'mon and join the fun!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Front Door Decor

All of the Christmas decor is packed away and the house is clean and fresh-looking. I love/hate the starkness of the house in the aftermath of removing holiday decorations. I love the clean look, but hate the seeming coldness.

To warm up the front door, I dug out Dad's old ice skates and hung them up, along with a floral swag. Then I took the big wreath we bought from Hannah (school band fundraiser) and added a large wooden snowman. Right now that hangs on the North end of the deck, in front of the magnolia tree. Makes me smile when I drive by on my way to the Post Office.

I wish I had some history to share with you about the ice skates. They were in a heavy cardboard box, wrapped in newspaper from 1972. I'm pretty sure they haven't been used since before then, but don't really remember any stories about Dad ice skating. Wendell? Eugene? Jan? Any of you have any information?

[The only story I remember about Dad and ice was in a card he got when he was sick, from an old school friend of his. This friend talked about the two of them riding their bikes down the middle of the frozen river, going around a bend and finding the river NOT frozen, and their scramble to keep from riding right into the water. I'm pretty sure Grandma never knew about this! :o) ]

What do you have on your front door/porch to warm up the winter blues?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

So Sweet!

Today on the way to the library for our regular "date":
Grace: "Hey Aunt Tammy?"

Me: "What?"
Grace: "I'm your friend."

Doesn't get any sweeter. At. All.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Year of Savings

I have two words for you, people: silcone caulk. This stuff has been my best friend today as I putter around the house fixing this and that. I have to admit it's even better than hot glue! (Anyone remember when I hot glued all the pictures to my walls in the old house? No nail holes and they mostly just popped off the wall when I was ready to take them down. Or they fell down when they were done being displayed...)
Back to the magic silicone caulk:
First, I was able to seal inside the frame of the kitchen window where I noticed a cold breeze the other day. Easy fix, no more leaking window.

Then I reattached a wooden snowman's wooden nose. He's had a nose attachement problem since I won him at a Mycogen Christmas party years ago. Hot glue didn't work. Silicone caulk has so far (yes, it's only been two hours, but I'm optimistic.)

In the bathroom I have reattached the little rubber thingy that goes on the wall so the doorknob doesn't dent when the kids whip the door open too hard.

There are a few other things I've used it for, but I'll get to the frugal point of this post. Besides the leaky window, which is important, I got the caulk from the garage this morning. It was frozen solid. I dug out the new tube I have in the house, figuring I was going to have to sacrifice more than half a tube of silicone. Then I read the storage directions (yeah, should have done that before I left it in the garage, I know) and the instructions only talked about not storing near heat. Hmmm... So, in the interest of saving $$, I left the tube on the counter for several hours. This afternoon it was thawed and ready to go and has worked great. I will keep it in the house from now on, though, so I don't have to wait for thaw-time.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Google Image Meme

Here's how it works - Google Image your answers to the following topics and post a photo from the first page that comes up. Here goes:
Age on my next birthday -

A place I would like to visit:

One of my favorite places:

My favorite object:My favorite food:My favorite color: My favorite animal: Name of a past pet:Where I live: First grade teacher's last name:
My middle name:
A bad habit of mine:
My college major:
My favorite holiday:

A Year of Savings

My friend Penny has challenged everyone to post each day something they've done to save $$. We'll see how I can do...

January 1 - Hung wet laundry on the drying rack - not only saves running the dryer, it adds moisture to the air in the house.

January 2 - Cleaned and organized the frig and food cupboard, then made this week's menu from what we already have so I can use up a few things and don't have to buy groceries.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Holiday touches

I spent the week before Christmas working a lot and just got photos taken of some of my Christmas decorations. Some new things this year after being inspired by things I saw here. I'll be packing things away during the week, but there will still be a tree. I'll show you when I'm done.

This is a little birdcage from Goodwill that I filled with vintage glass balls. A small apothecary jar loaded with gumdrops.

My collection of Mr. & Mrs. Santa S&P shakers in the kitchen window.

Ornament I made using a photo from 1967, alongside a vintage glass teardrop ornament that was one of Mom's favorites.

Glass topper from my childhood.

Vase filled with nuts and a votive with figurines by Bert Anderson.

Collage frame with photos of the kids when they were little.

This last photo is of the library table and my CHL tree. The ornaments were made by my internet friends for swaps the past three years. The window is from our old house.
On the shelf below I placed a couple of nativities that are child-friendly and a basket of children's Christmas books.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite holiday decorations! I'll be back in a few days with photos of our celebrations.