Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spaghetti Night(mare?)

We don't have spaghetti night very often.

Because it can get hectic.

You see, I have to prepare THREE different types of noodles!

*Noodles that are wheat free.

*Noodles that are low-carb

*And "normal" noodles for those that can eat wheat without massive tummy-aches and don't care about carbs expanding their thighs.

Why don't I eliminate the "normal" ones and just serve the wheat-fee ones to those that don't care what they eat?
Because wheat-free noodles are pricey! That's why.

In one pot goes these:

In one pot goes these:

And then I get out my peeler and turn these into low-carb noodles:

Yes. I know that's a zucchini.
No. I'm not deranged. (Well, maybe a little. But not about the zucchini.)

That's right folks, slivers of zucchini makes some downright amazing tasting noodles! If you've never tried it, you're missing out!

And you don't have to cook it, which saves you a pot to wash. Which I like since I've already got two pots on the stove cooking two different noodles and one pot cooking sauce. :-(

All you have to do is grab a zuchinni, chop off the ends, peel off the skin...and start peeling you some noodles.

Do this until you have enough for each person. (Adults use about 1 small zucchini, children about half of one. Unless they are my kids and are eating everything in sight. Then they eat 1 or 2!) (This is a great way to use up all that zucchini in your garden.) (Or your in-law's garden if  you're too lazy you don't have enough space to grow your own.)

Your plate should now look like this. (Remember you don't have to cook them as they taste great raw, your hot sauce will warm them up.)

Then just top them with your homemade sauce and serve with a side salad and you've got yourself one really yummy low-carb dinner!

This is one of my all time favorite meals!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Unexpected surprises are always nice!

Remember that bag of clothes I mentioned, the one I got at the bag sale?

As I was walking toward the desk to pay I saw a black and pink dress on the floor, it had fallen off a table so I reached down to pick it up and as I did I saw that I loved the dress....but there was no size tag and it looked too small for me. For some reason though I went ahead and threw it in my bag. I guess I was thinking that it was only a few pennies and if it didn't fit I could give it away to someone else. Or maybe I was just too lazy to fold it and put it back on the table. I'm not a folder. Or an ironer. ( I think I just made that word up.) (I don't iron because of a traumatic iron incidence as a kid. Seriously. If I even smell an iron I start to sweat. I've never owned one. My kids have never made those wax paper melting crafts that use an iron. They are so deprived. )  I hang all my clothes up or shove them in a drawer. (I didn't have a traumatic folding incidence as a kid....I just think it's silly to fold clothes that will get unfolded the first time you have to pull a shirt out from the bottom.) You can tell which is which pretty easy by the wrinkles. Drawer clothes are only for around the house though, luckily no one in my family cares. In fact they like the system because they always know when I'm going somewhere...."Mom's got her wrinkle free clothes on! Ask her if we can go too!"

Today Jason said he was taking me to a romantic picnic at the lake! (Gyros from a scary roadside stand...it doesn't get more romantic than that!)

So I decided to try it on......and........ it fit!!!! (Thanks P90X!)

I asked Rebecca to take a photo of the dress and Alex ran up to me just as she snapped it, gave me a huge hug, and said "You so purty mama." Awwwww

I love my boys!
And I love cute dresses that only cost a few pennies!

***Don't forget to sign up to win a $40 gift care HERE!***

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eatting money would be cheaper

My two older kids are eating so much this summer! Anyone else having this problem? I just keep shoveling it in and they still say they are hungry! Is it because they are more active with school out? Perhaps they get bored at time?  During the school year I could barely get them to eat at times, so I really am glad they are making up for it...but man, my food budget is going to explode!

Because I have children with food allergies and sensitivities (Alex gets ear infections if he has milk, Rebecca gets severely grumpy and loses her impulse control if she eats sugar, and Jarod has physical reactions to wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and any food additives) (I myself do not do good with dairy and sugar), so I log what we eat. It's not only handy for determining what is causing their reactions but is also a good reference for what meals they like or dislike. So here is what we ate today and they are still hanging around the kitchen browsing for a bedtime snack. lol
And they had huge portion sizes of this stuff too and seconds, I was hoping for leftovers for tomorrow but nope....all gone!

B: Eggs, steak, peaches
Jarod and Alex liked.
Rebecca ate it but didn't look overly thrilled.

Snack: Watermelon
Everyone liked, made the mistake of cutting one too many pieces and all three kids fought over it.
So I ate it. 
Problem solved. 

L: Sweet &; Sour Stir Fry (snap peas, carrots, red pepper, pineapple, chicken breast cubes, homemade sweet & sour sauce)
Jarod and Rebecca liked.
Alex did not. He just ate the pineapple and chicken.

Snack: Smoothie (rice milk, banana, strawberries, mango, pineapple, peaches)
Everyone liked.

Dinner: Beef patty, guacamole (avocado, garlic), black beans, onion, mushrooms, natural bacon, spinach
Jarod and Rebecca liked.
Alex did not. He just ate the beans and guacamole.

Snack: Grilled pineapple with glaze (molasses, honey, olive oil, cinnamon), and rice ice cream
Everyone liked, except Alex didn’t want his grilled.
* Everyone in a good mood all day. Jarod had no tummy aches and was very coherent.
* Find a cure for picky toddlers
* Get another job to pay for all this food.

My new best friend

I made grilled pineapple today on my electric grill!

I'm so in love with this grill! For dinner I was able to fit 5 burger patties on it perfectly, one for each of us. :-P
Since we are wheat free and low-carb, we love bunless burger night and not with my grill it's even easier! While I was making them I asked Jason "Why was someone getting rid of this at a yard sale!?" lol The burgers were done in 5 minutes! And the grill is so easy to clean! Did I mention that I love it? :-)

Tonight we topped them with homemade guacamole, marinated tomatoes, sauteed onions & mushroom, and black beans! Was the best meal I've had in a while! Next time we are going to try some pizza or taco burgers. Yum! They go great with a fresh garden salad.

Then Jason cut up a fresh pineapple and I coated the slices with a mixture of honey, olive oil, molasses, and cinnamon, and grilled those. Then I topped them with rice icecream (Yep, we are dairy-free too, having children with allergies means we have really great meals because we don't want them to feel deprived!) and drizzled with the leftover mixture.

Don't forget to sign up for my $40 gift card giveaway!  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"...and in the morning, I'm making waffles!" (Donkey from Shrek)

Don't forget to sign up for my $40 gift card giveaway!  

I've been hitting some pretty bad yard sales lately, went to quite a few where I didn't buy a single thing. Which is sometimes awkward...."Yeah sorry, I don't like any of your junk. I can see why you're trying to get rid of it....Have a nice day though."

Today was better and for five dollars I got:

A race track for the kids!

Some pillows for my ugly couch, made her feel special. 

A massive pretty wall hanging for above the couch, to distract your eyes from the ugliness below.

A waffle maker for Jason! He LOVES to make (and eat!) waffles. We haven't had a waffle maker since Arkansas. I bet he'll be making some tomorrow!

An electric grill! I just used it to make lunch for the kids and it works perfect! A lot cheaper than heating up the whole oven. I'm so in love with it!

I also got a roasting pan , a set of cookies sheets, and a bag of clothes! (Sorry, forgot to take photos of those as I was washing it all.)

Not bad at all for a fiver. :-P

Thursday, June 24, 2010

*ENDED* CSN Stores Giveaway!

**********************THIS CONTEST IS OVER*******************

I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway for CSN stores! One lucky winner will receive a $40 gift card that can be used at any of their 200+ sites! This is a wonderful opportunity for the lucky winner because they carry everything! Whether you're looking for Lights, Cookware, Bedroom Furniture, Home Theater Seating, Kids Rugs, ShedsFitness Equipment, or anything in-between...they are sure to have it! In fact, I'm not even sure how the lucky winner will choose what they want because there are too many options! They also advertise hassle free returns and free shipping on lots of their products, which is a huge positive for me as I hate dealing with sites that have inadequate return polices. 

I spent a long time browsing their amazing fitness site and day dreaming about how Jason and I could fill our bedroom up with all sorts of workout supplies and be buff in no time. :-)
Given our current "lack of a chin up bar because our doorways are weird so normal bars will not work" issue we have been giving some thought to either purchasing or building a freestanding chin up bar, of which they have a variety. They also carry resistance bands, weights, and yoga mats if you're ready to get hard core with your P90X workout!

How to enter for chances to win this gift certificate:

*MANDATORY entry: Visit CSN Stores and browse any of their 200+ stores. Leave a comment here telling me what you would buy if you win.

(Please make sure that you leave your email address in your comment or have it available on your profile.)
Extra Entries: (must do main entry above first) You will receive an extra entry for each of the following that you complete.
* Become my Facebook fan, if you have a facebook account go to my page, "like" me, and leave a comment here telling me that you are now a fan. (If you are already a fan, leave a comment here and let me know.)

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* Become a CSN facebook fan and leave a comment here telling me that you now "like" them.

* Follow CSN Stores on Twitter. Leave a comment here and include your Twitter ID.

* Subscribe to my blog. See right sidebar. Leave a comment here letting me know you subscribe.

*  Tweet about this giveaway. Leave a comment here and include a link to your tweet each time you tweet about this give-a-way. (Maximum of one tweet per day.)

Bonus Entries!
You will receive 3 bonus entries if you mention this giveaway on your blog/site. Leave three comments here and include a link to your post.

Remember to leave a comment for each task you complete. Please make sure I can contact you if you win, I can't contact you if I don't have your email! One winner will be chosen by Random.org. This giveaway will start today (6/24) and will end Wednesday (6/30)  Winner will be announced Thursday (7/1).
(Open to US and Canadian residents.)

Good Luck!

**********************THIS CONTEST IS OVER*******************

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

$15 Summer Tween Wardrobe

My 12 year old needed summer clothes badly!!!!! "Like, right now mom!"
Not sure why this was soooo important since you know.....it's been raining or snowing non-stop for 8 months but I never say no to a trip to the thrift store.

Yes. You can get kewl clothes at your local Goodwill. There are actually a lot of name brand clothing on the racks that your tween will love.

So, Rebecca said she wanted "Shirts with sayings on them and some shoes."

Were we able to find what she wanted for a reasonable price?

You Betcha! (See...I can fit in with the locals.)

4 shirts with "sayings"
1 dress
2 pairs of shorts
and 3 pairs of shoes New w/ tags!

For only $15!!!

I had one very happy tween on my hands! :-)
Her shirts say:
"I'm out of bed, what more do you want?"
"I didn't do it."
"Dear Dorothy, Hate Oz, Took the shoes, Find your own way home!" (Which she is thinking of wearing the next time we go to the Judy Garland museum.)
And "Don't Bug Me" 

What's really neat is that the bug me shirt is from.....Holywood!!!!!!!!
Why is that so special? 

Because it's where I was BORN!

 Yup, I was born in Hollywood and Pat Boone delivered me.
(Granted it was Hollywood FL (not CA), and it was a midwife named Pat Boone but it’s still a good conversation starter.)

Anyway, yay for a happy tween!

Friday, June 18, 2010

5 minute rule does not apply here

There are times that I really wish I was back in the UK, oh yes there sure are. After waiting over an hour and  a half in the waiting room at the clinic...today was one of those moments.

Now, I understand why there are such long waits, I know it's a business and it's more profitable to line up a bunch of patients in little rooms so the doctor can zip in and out of them so there is no wasted time, on the doctor's end anyways....lots of wasted time on my end.

But man....I sure like the National Health Care's way better. Since it wasn't a business they didn't have to try to cram as many visits in each day as they could. They only scheduled what they could reasonably handle and there was never any waiting. Instead of a bunch of tiny little rooms, the doctor just had his one office and you walked into the clinic 1 minute before your appointment, sat down for 1 minute, and then the doctor came out and invited you into his office. I never saw a nurse in my time there at the clinics, I think they mostly worked in the hospitals. And one time, my visit went a lot quicker than anyone thought so when we left I saw that the doctor had 15 minutes before his next appointment....as I was leaving I saw him settling down in his chair with a cup of hot tea and a smile. lol
In fact in all the waiting rooms there were signs all over that said "If it is 5 minutes past your appointment PLEASE inform the desk so we can accommodate you." This never happened to us, as we were ALWAYS seen right on time, but it was a nice feeling to know that if something had happened it would be taken care of.

The first time I went to the doctor in the UK I was so confused...I arrived early becuase I thought there would be paperwork. I walked in and the clerk was so flustered and said "Love, your appointment isn't for 15 minutes, would you like to take a wee walk around outside."
Um, isn't there some papers I need to fill out? Do I need to sign anything?
"Uh, noooo. All we need is your National Insurance Number so you are good to go."
Is was such a weird feeling...but I guesss if there are no bills...there's much less paperwork.

So anyway, today Rebecca and I were waiting for her appointment...and it was so funny because Rebecca came up to me and said "Mom, it's 5 past! You better go tell someone!"  Hah, she soon learned that it's different here in the US....an hour later and she was begging to go back to the UK too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Snatcher

Melissa and family arrived today!!

And the first thing I did was kidnap her kids!(I had an excuse...someone had to watch them while everyone else was helping unpack. I might have pushed a few people out of the way to get to the baby first though....)

Little Gabe is my new best buddy. I got to hold him for hours and he's just so sweet, I fell in love right away. I didn't want to give him back! Alex loved him too and kept asking to hold him, it was so cute.

Rebecca asked to be in charge of Ariana, 2 years, and our 4 year old Alex. She just completed a babysitting course and was really looking forward to testing out her new skills.

It was sooooo funny though. I left them playing games and later I checked on them and she looked at me in a panic and said "Mom, they did NOT teach me how to handle TWO toddlers in class, they are crazy and I need to go to the bathroom but I can't leave them alone for even a second!!" LOL

I'm thrilled to death to have more family close by!!!!!

Thrifty Fashion Thursday: 50 cent summer dress

So....you need a short, adorable dress. You want something like these.
(I think that might be the most anorexic looking mannequin I've ever seen.)

But the only dressy item in your closet is a long skirt, that you found at a yard sale for 50 cents.
What do you do?

First you try on your skirt so you can stare in the mirror and see if any ideas pop to mind.

"Hmmm, yes. If I pull it back right here and hike it up here...yes I think it just might do. Now...where are Cinderella's mice when I need them?"

Ok, so with this skirt I found that it had a lot of extra material that I could pull back and gather behind me. So I pulled it up, like a tube shirt, and then took a bit on each side, pulled it back and used a safety pin in the back. Then I put a belt around my waist, with the belt buckle in the back, to give it a little more color. It also had a string it the front that I tied around my neck.

Much more flirty and cute, perfect for summer! (If summer ever gets here!)

And then you twirl.
At least, that's what I always do when I have a new dress.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Free Funny Dresser for $0.00!!!

I have two boys.
They are a bit destructive.
They don't mean to be, they just play rough at times, as most boys tend to do.
I have 7 brothers so it's not new to me but you can bet I'm not going to spend a bunch of money on their bedroom since it's possible their furniture will end up being taken apart to build a raft or castle during one of their "It's raining, we can't go outside, so we must breakdown and rebuild everything we see while mom naps" episodes.

They have a dresser. A dresser that was given to me by a kind woman off freecycle. It's perfect for them because it press board, so I don't have to worry about them ruining a perfectly good wood dresser, and it came already broken in (a middle bracket is missing). At first I had given thought to painting it all neat with a few different paints, each drawer a different color. But then I realized that I'd have to buy all that paint. And I'm not going to spend money on a press board dresser that probably won't last to our next move. So...I decided I'd have to make them an awesome dresser using what I already had on hand.

I had black paint so that part was easy....but what to do with the drawers?? Then it hit me....comics! I have tons of comics because I save them to use as wrapping paper.

So...I took out the drawers, hauled it outside, and sanded it down.

Then I got out my Kilz and black paint I already had, leftover from Rebecca's room.

I did one coat of kilz, let it dry...

And then did a coat of black, let it dry...

And then did a final coat of black. Looking good. One of these days I might try to fix that missing bar in the middle.

While the coats were drying I got out my Mod Podge and my comics.

And glued the comics on the drawers, and all over my clothes, and my hair too. That stuff is sticky!

While those were drying I got a little crazy and took these two photo frames, that Aunt Alice gave us...

And filled them with comics too! You can't have too many comics.

And this is what it looks like when you put it all together, along with a freecycled lamp!
(I'm thinking this would look a lot better if I framed the comics in somehow...I might have to get some crown molding or such and try to frame each drawer.) (I still have to put the drawer pulls in too, just have to figure out how to paint brass first.) (I also left the comic whole so the kids could read them...but now I'm thinking it might look better to do more of a collage, like we did Rebecca's....I might do that the next sunny day we have.) (But for now it works just fine!)

The boys now have a fun dresser, one that maybe they won't destroy, but it they do somehow crash into it and it breaks into a million pieces...as least it cost me ZERO dollars to make!

Missing Arkansas

I'm missing summer in Arkansas. It's been over two years since I've had an Arkansas Summer. Oh sure everyone in Arkansas will complain about the heat but if it wasn't there you'd miss it. Our summer in N. Ireland was amazing and new and different...but not hot. And summer here hasn't hit yet, still in the 50s and tons of rain. I'm not sure it even gets over 70 here. For all I know it still snows here in summer. Wouldn't surprise me.

One of my favorite childhood memories was when we lived in town, on a paved road. It would get so hot in the summer that we could get a spoon and peel up balls of tar off the road, as it would melt a little. Of course we were banned from doing this because our mother was tired of all her spoons being ruined so we each had a spoon that we kept hidden in the shrubbery around the house, you can hide a great many items in a shrubbery...mothers never look there you know. As soon as that hot noon sun shone overhead and we could see the road top start to glisten we would run out and start peeling up balls of gluey tar, running back to our yard if we ever heard a car. I had weak arms so mine were always small and paled in comparison to my siblings but I was still proud of them and would hide them with pride next to my spoon. I have no memory of what came next, did we ever do anything with our tar balls or was the fun in just collecting them? Did I mention we didn't have a TV...we had a lot of time to kill. lol

I'm sure the kids and I will find lots of fun things to do this summer...but alas there will be no tar balls.

My best friend sent this to me today. :-)


There are 5,000 types of snakes on earth and 4,998 live in Arkansas
There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Arkansas , plus a couple no one's seen before.
If it grows, it's a stick; if it crawls, it bites.
'Twiced' is a word.
People actually grow and eat okra
'Fixinto' is one word.
There is no such thing as 'lunch.'
There is only dinner and then supper.
Iced tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you're two.
'Backwards and forwards' means I know everything about you!
Djeet is actually a phrase meaning 'Did you eat?'
You don't PUSH buttons, you MASH them..
You measure distance in hours. Like its 3 hours from Fayetteville  to Little Rock.
'Fix' is a verb. Example: 'I'm fixing to go to the store.
There are only four spices: salt, pepper, ranch dressing, and ketchup.
100 degrees Fahrenheit is 'a little warm.'
We have four seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, still Summer and Christmas.
Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as 'goin' to Wally-World.'
A cool snap (below 70 degrees) is good pinto-bean weather.

A few of those made me blush.....but most are true!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm scared

I think my eggs were trying to tell me something this morning....

Monday, June 14, 2010

So Excited!

My SIL, Melissa, is moving to Tiny Town!

I'm so excited that I'll have a friend near by, the kids will have cousins to play with, and Jason is thrilled to be close to his sister again! My SIL, BIL, thier toddler, and their baby will be here on Thursday!!

And I'm gonna steal her baby away for awhile! Yes I am. My baby is now a four year old so I don't get as many cuddles and baby kisses as I need so I'm going to "adopt" my SIL's baby every chance I can...until she figures it out and gets too scared to bring him over anymore. :-p

Tiny Town is getting more interesting everyday!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

5 Steps to a Thrifty Face

I have really nice skin, I can proudly say that now because I used to have horrible problems with it - terrible acne that covered my whole face and lots of flaking and oil and well...you get the idea. I tried all sorts of expensive products and crazy routines. (At one point I was smearing my face with toothpaste and espon salts every night.) Then I became a hippy and found that the simple, least expensive items worked the best! :-P

This is what I've been doing for years and my face really has never looked better, it's rare that I get a blemish. Of course this is just what works for me, every face and body is different but don't be scared to try a really simple routine.

Step One: Throw your make-up away! 
Ok, ok you don't really have to throw it away* but give some thought to trying to go all natural as much as you can. Make-up is hard on the face! And, this is just my opinion, but it's not needed. Women are beautiful all on their own and I don't think they need to cover their face to look attractive. I used to slather that stuff on every single morning but one day I was looking at my husband and just realized "Hey, he looks fine. In fact all men look fine with a bare face. And you know what...thinking of all my female friends...they all look fine with out makeup too." So I really did throw it all away and never looked back. I honestly find women with a bare face more attractive than ones with a bunch of make-up. A bare face is real. Of course if you are going out on a date or to a special event there are better options if you want to dress up your face once in a while.
Mineral Makeup being what all my friends have been raving about of late.

Step Two: Wash you face less.
Again this is what works for me but I've found that by only washing my face when I shower makes my face happy. I usually shower every night because I work out at night, so my face is washed once a day only, any more than that and it will dry out and get red spots. I don't wash my face when I wake up or if I shower in the morning I don't wash is again at night, since I don't have to worry about washing off make-up this is easy to do.It's not like I'm rolling around in the mud all day and have a layer of grime to wash off and in fact washing your face too often strips away the natural oil your face produces and causes it to dry out, which causes your face to produce more oil to try to fix the problem, and then your face breaks out even more! Give your face a break from harsh washings!

Step Thee: Exfoliate
While I am in the shower I place a few tablespoons of baking soda in my wet hands, rub them together, and then lightly scrub my face, lightly! This gets rid of all the dead skin on your face and makes it baby butt smooth. My face loves baking soda but I know lots of women who use sugar instead. Try both and see which one works for you.

Step Four: Cleanse
I know you will laugh at me, everyone does, but I use honey to wash my face! Honey offers incredible antiseptic, antioxidant, and cleansing properties! I love how soft it keeps my skin. And no, it's not sticky, as soon as you put a glob in your hand and start rubbing it all over your wet face in the shower it becomes like a lotion. I keep mine in the shower in a squeeze bottle. You'll have to tell your kids that's it's something else though as they will try to eat it while you are not looking!

Step Five: Moisturize
There are a lot of natural face lotions out there. For this step you will have to find what works best for you but the two most popular ones are coconut oil and jojoba oil. I love coconut oil and use it for just about everything except my face, as it tends to break me out but others swear by it. My face prefers jojoba and it works wonderfully and goes a long ways.

Now smile because you've just saved tons of money because baking soda, honey, and oil are way cheaper than those expensive beauty products you were buying before! And they are better for your face too!

And here's a bonus beauty tip...throw out you deodorant* (I'm not an expert but I've never thought it was a good idea to be rubbing chemicals that close to your breasts.) and get a bottle of Phillips Milk of Magnesia. Yes, the laxative. Get the original kind as the only ingredients are Magnesium Hydroxide and water, you don't want the flavored kind. Now I don't know the science behind why this works, I just read about it in an old folk remedies book, but it's the best deodorant I've ever used - natural or normal. All you do is shake up the bottle (Don't skip this step, you want to make sure your cotton ball gets all those little white bits on it.) and then place a cotton ball over the top and pour a little onto the ball. Then just smear it around under your pits, there will be white bits on your underarms but they will go away after you get dressed. Since I started using this I've never once had a smelly armpit, even if I have to miss a shower for a few days it still works days later! And it's cheap! A bottle is around $7 and lasts for months and months. 

Ok, I'm done talking about thrifty beauty produces now. :-P

*You know I really don't want you to throw usable items away! I'm all about freeing up space in landfills! Instead of throwing out your unwanted make-up or deodorants please take them to a woman's shelter. While you are at it feel free to donate any other supplies that a woman without a home would need.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Too much rain

I've got a lot of unhappy readers.

"Where are all the fixed up items? Why aren't you making stuff cute anymore?"

I'll tell you why...and I'm just as unhappy about it as you are!


Everyday for weeks. We've only had ONE sunny day recently and that was the day we painted Rebecca's stuff.

And the 10 day forecast shows rain every day, so it's not gonna get any better any time soon. Even if I painted inside the humidity is too high so the paint wouldn't stick.

BUT....if it ever does dry up I've got tons of stuff to paint, so just be patient.

And do an anti-rain dance or something.

You could also bake me some brownies.

No that won't cheer you up. But it sure would make my day.

E-Mealz - Week 2

First off I'd like to say I'm feeling a lot better and thanks for all the get well emails! I have a fantastic family who took care of everything for me, Rebecca in the morning, my in-laws in the afternoon, and my hubby in the evening! I got the rest I needed and though a bit weak, was ready to hop back to it. (Whatever it is.)

I took a quick trip to Wal-Mart and did my E-Mealz shopping and it went well. Except that my Wal-Mart does not carry couscous. I think it's too ethnic for this area. They also did not have any zucchini left and I had to go to 3 different stores before I found any. I guess there was either a huge demand for zucchini today or a massive shortage or both. I've found that the price listed on my E-Mealz list for each item is right on, except for produce which is higher in this area. Most states are close to one of the 3 hot climates that grow produce; West (California), South (Mexico), or  East (Florida). Here, Up North, though we're pretty far away from well...anywhere so our produce had to be trucked in from a longs way which seems to rise the price up. It doesn't affect the price too much though, they said it would be $76.20 for this week and my price was $79.26 but I didn't buy the couscous or pork rinds.

Ok so I promised photos! Now I'll post a pic of our dinner but I'm not going to tell you exactly what we had of course, I don't want to break any copyright laws, if you want the menu you'll have to purchase your own. I will tell you that the fish tonight was awesome! It had a crab mixture topping! I never in a million years would have thought to top fish with fish. (Is crab considered a fish? Oh well you get the idea.) It rocked though. Here's proof. (Ours is the Low Carb menu so each night is usually a meat and 2 veggies.)

The fish and two side dishes took me 25 minutes to prepare. And 0 minutes to plan out because it was already all done for me! :-P


Spotlight on the Rapids: Restore Review

Habitat For Humanity Restore 
1336 East Hwy 169
Grand Rapids, MN

 I wouldn't classify this store as a thrift store because they do not have clothing, it's more of a second hand furniture and discount home improvement store in one. It's pretty awesome. The price of their furniture is less than you would pay at the area thrift store but more than you'd pay at a yard sale. Then they have all the doors, window, paint, lights, sinks, and anything else you'd want for your home. I love to just look around and fix things up in my head, "Ooh that would make a great table." or "Hmmmm, I could paint that black and it would be so cool." 

Pros: Lots of room and lighting
         Large varitey
         Great prices

Cons: I had a tiff with them. 
          Because they made a mistake.
           And I wanted a refund.

That's right. I actually stood up for myself. I learned how to do this in Ireland where they have no concept of "The customer is always right" so you have to fight for what you want. Though I didn't have to fight as hard as the locals because I could get far with my cute American accent. :-)

Any way I went in and asked for a queen size bed frame. They said they had one and sold it to me, it was clearly labeled as a queen....in 3 different spots. I had the kids with me so couldn't fit it in the car so my MIL picked it up for me later and I dragged it inside, put it together, took Rebecca's mattresses out of her room, dragged the frame in her room, and then....tired to put the mattress on her bed frame. But it didn't fit! The frame was too small! I got out my measuring tape and measured it and...it was a full size frame! I was frustrated but no big deal as I figured I could just call them and exchange it for a real queen size. 

I called and a really nice man answered and I told him what had happened but he said they did not have any more queen size frames. Well that's fine says I, I'll just take a refund and go get one at the Salvation Army as I need one today. I'm sorry says he, but all sales are final. Well that wasn't acceptable to me so I nicely asked him if he could take my name and number and have someone from the office call me back. He was nice, as all the volunteers who run the check out desk always are. 

So 30 minutes later a woman from the office called and we had a little chat. 

Restore: I'm sorry but we do not offer refunds, all sales are final.
Me: Yes, I understand that and if this was a normal sale I would accept that but the fact is I bought what was supposed to be a queen size bed and it was not.
Restore: We can offer you an instore credit. 
Me: That would be wonderful, IF you had another queen size bed for me, but you don't so I have no need of a store credit at this time. I'm not trying to be difficult but I need a refund so I can go to another store and get a bed frame today. 
Restore: I'm sorry but we have signs posted that say "All Items Are Sold As Is. No Refunds"
Me: Hah, well my item was not sold to me as is...it was sold to me as ISN'T. (I thought this was a funny play on words and giggled. My stupid giggle is always getting me in trouble.)
Restore: (She didn't think that was very funny and got a bit upset with me at this point.) I can't help you, do you want to speak with my manager?
Me:  I would love to. 

So, I was transferred to another man and he was nice. I told him that the Restore had made a mistake on the frame, so it was of no use to me and he sighed and said he'd issue me a refund. (Wish I could have talked to him first....)

So I took the frame apart, dragged it back outside, in the rain, and spent 15 minutes trying to fit it in my car. Then I drove to the Restore, dragged the frame back out of my car in the rain, and lugged it into the building. Where the nice lady at the front said "Oh, you must be The Bed Frame Lady. Greeaaaat,  I have a new nickname. She picked up the phone, pushed a button, and said "The Bed Frame Lady is here." Another woman from the office came down, handed me my refund, and walked back into the office. (I'm really sorry I had to ruin her day but I bet from now on they'll measure those bed frames before tacking on incorrect tags.) 

So in culclusion...Would I shop there again?

It's a great store, with great items and prices, and the front desk staff are always nice and helpful, and in the end, even though I had to fight a little, they did correct their mistake with a refund. 
The only reason I would hesitate about going back would be because I'm afraid their would be an invisible sign on my forehead that says "THAT BED FRAME LADY". lol

And next time I might take a tape measure with me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I woke up last night erupting from both ends....seems I've caught the kids stomach bug. :-(

Is it sad that the first thing I thought of while I was sitting on the pot with my head in the trashcan was "Oh good, now I won't have to do P90X today!"

I was supposed to do our weekly shopping today  but since I can' get more than 3 seconds from the nearest bathroom that's not going to happen. So we'll just have leftovers today and start E-mealz tomorrow, assuming it's safe for me to venture out tomorrow....

So no P90X or E-Mealz updates today but I'll check back in with ya'll tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

E-Mealz Update- Menu 2

My E-mealz plan comes out on Wednesday so this is our first full week, last week I just had to use half the recipes because I started on a Sunday, and it went really well. The recipe were very easy yet really tasty. The only issue I had was that it had two pork recipes that both called for mustard. I can handle pork two days in a week but both with mustard is pushing it. Actually once with mustard was pushing it because I hate mustard so there was no way it was happening twice. I didn't need the second recipe though so that was fine. One of
the recipes also called for pork rinds....I left those out too.

This week looks good except that one of the recipes also calls for pork rinds! And it says "For those who are new to the “Low Carb World”, pork rinds are a favorite substitute for chips." Gross!
I guess because we aren't trying to eat low carb, just eat more paleolithic (which is healthy whole food such as meat, veggies, nuts, and fruits) we don't really understand the whole "eat anything just because it has no carbs" mindset. The low-carb mean plan was the closet one that had to how we eat though. But that does not mean I'm going to be chowing down on pork rinds every week. Or any week. Or ever. This week you are supposed to dip them in marina sauce! *gags*

Anways, it's not an issue. If there is something I don't like I can just replace it. As a whole the menus are great and it's been really helpful to always have ideas for dinner every day. I'll be going shopping tomorrow for week 2's items and I'm thinking about taking a photo each night of what we have for dinner. Anyone interested in that? I can also post how long it took to cook each meal, right now it's about 30 minutes a night. Except the night I had to pound the chicken....I've never done that before so everyone had to come watch me do it and then they all wanted to take a turn pounding the chicken. That chicken sure got pounded! So it took a little bit longer.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don't bother us nohow

The rain that is. Anyone who has lived a year in N. Ireland should not be bothered by rainy days.

 Can't go outside? Your lawn chairs are all wet and sad? No worries.

We'll hang out on our lovely couch, which makes the couch so happy and loved and feel a little less ugly.

And we'll make rainy day crafts.

And redo Rebecca's curtains. What's that? No...I'm not obsessed with her curtain situation. Ok, maybe just a little. But the good news is I finally figured out what we are going to do with them. But they won't be done for awhile so you'll have to wait a little longer. So I moved her current curtains over to her closet door way and it looked cute, except that the curtain rod was ugly so then we cut up a bunch of black freecycled fabric and made wee bows to cover it and all was well in curtain world.

And make movies with the boys. FBI movies, with hammers... made out of soft toys. 

Then it was time for swimming lessons! (Yes, I just switched tenses in the middle of this post....it's my blog so I can do what I want. So there.) FREE swimming lessons! Because life in tiny town includes lots of free events. Why? I've thought about it a lot and my conclusion is because they are trying to trick you into forgetting about the horrible winter you just went though "Oh sure there was 10 feet of snow and your cat's ears froze off but now it's summer and look at all the free events!" like a toddler and a piece of candy "Ohh see the yummy candy, now stop your crying."

Anyways, the Lion's Club offers the lessons for the local children at the local hotel pool,which is just a few blocks away so we can walk. Yes we walk in the rain....what do you think you do in Ireland when it rains everyday and you don't have a car. While we were there we walked in the rain all the time and it didn't kill us. Alex wasn't old enough to take the lessons but the really sweet instructors said he could play in the toddler pool why the older kids had their lessons! The frog kinda freaked me out but Alex didn't mind sliding down his slimy tongue. They have lessons every day for 2 weeks!

When we got back Jason was home and it was leave mommy alone play with daddy time.

Then is was mommy isn't cooking supper our once a month eat out time! (I made our E-mealz for the day for lunch instead of dinner today, it was yummy!) And this month it was free because our library gave us free meal coupons in our summer reading packs.  What's that? Your library never gives you free meals? That's probably because you don't have to put up with negative 45 degree weather and insane teenagers whizzing over your head on snowmobiles.


Now I think I've got just enough time to sneak in a nap before bedtime mop the floors.
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