Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Fleeting Moment

Sometimes the smallest things catch me off guard and really make me ______. Fill in the blank with: wonder, think, sad - in this particular case all of those words would apply.

This morning I had a student come into the office. She handed me an envelope and said that her mother was coming in to sign the document inside; after it was signed she asked that I put it in her teacher's mailbox. I told her I'd be happy to. She left the office and a moment later, came right back in and looked at me sheepishly. She looked kind of sad and asked if, when her mother got there, I would call her to the office. We normally don't do that, but before I could say anything, she said "I just want to see her."

My heart just broke. This young girl is the product of a divorced family. She lives with her father and her step-mother who is less than gracious towards her biological mother. I could see how anxious she was about asking and her eyes were pleading with me to not say 'no'. How could I? She's 11. She desperately wants to see her mom. Who could say no to that?

Her mom came in a few hours later and I called the girl to the office. You've never seen two eyes so full of joy! Four, really. Her mother was just as thrilled to see her as she was to see her mother. They hugged and talked for a few minutes, and all too soon, the girl went back to class and mom left to go on to her own class. I felt so sad when they parted. I wondered when they'd see each other again. Not soon enough, I'm guessing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Pantry and Freezer are Full!

Currently, several of our grocery stores are having 'grocery wars'. I love it when that happens! I get to cherry-pick the best items to stock the pantry and freezer. I grocery shopped today at a store I rarely go to; I used to shop there all the time, but their prices sky-rocketed and, even though it's the closest grocery store, I hardly ever shop there. However, today they had a great flyer in the Sunday paper with lots of their own coupons, so I went there instead of our usual store. I'm glad I did! Our pantry and freezer are stocked! Here's what I bought:

6 cans of Green Giant Niblets corn
6 jars of Skippy peanut butter
2 large chuck roasts
3 whole chickens
6 boxes of assorted flavors of Rice-a-Roni
2 large jars of Light Miracle Whip
2 bags of Lays Kettle Cooked potato chips
6 jars Classico pasta sauce
2 bags of Ritz chips
2 packages of Mission tortillas
8 packages of assorted pasta
4 cans of Pillsbury Grands biscuits
1 package Philly Cooking Creme
2 large packages Kraft Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 packages store brand sharp cheddar cheese singles
3 packages Athenos greek yogurt
1 bottle Tropicana orange juice
2 gallons 1% milk
1 loaf of whole wheat bread
2 pounds of fuji apples
2 pounds ground beef
4 containers of Oscar Mayer Deli Selects lunch meat

I bought a total of 79 items for grand total of $104.33 which breaks down to just $1.32 per item! For this area, those are really great deals. DH and I spent some time this morning straightening up our two pantries and the freezer to accommodate everything. It's packed, but we did manage to fit everything where it needed to go.

I'm in the process of looking for a long, low bookshelf to add to our outdoor (enclosed) pantry area. I'd love to find one soon so that I can stock even more great deals - and jam making time is just around the corner!

Now *THIS* is an Estate Sale

Yesterday after our investment club meeting, mom told me they were having an "Estate Sale" (a REAL one this time, not a yard sale like last week's adventure!) at a house not far from theirs. She described the location and I knew exactly which house she was talking about - it's a house that, having grown up there, I've driven by at least a million times. I've always loved this particular house. The front is now a bit overgrown by shrubs (for that matter, I guess it always has been - to some degree at least), but the shrubs don't overshadow the beauty of the house. It's a two story brick colonial with window boxes outside the rows of upstairs windows. I've always wanted to go through that house and yesterday I finally had my chance.

As much as I love estate sales, there is one thing I really don't like about them: it typically means that someone has passed away. It always makes me feel a bit guilty - not to mention melancholy - to walk through a home watching people paw through things that someone took a whole lifetime to collect. There's just something about it that makes me really sad. When I do go to them, I'm always very careful to treat both the home and the items being sold with a great deal of respect. I go through the home slowly, trying to imagine the family that lived there - who they were, how they lived their lives, celebrations they had - and I'm very careful when picking up items for sale. I treat them very gingerly and only touch things I'm really interested in buying.

Yesterday's sale was a big one. Lots of cars parked along the street and lots of people mulling around the house. And what a house it is! It's even more beautiful on the inside than I'd imagined. Several of the rooms were closed off, but the most of them were open and had lots of things for sale. I was talking to a guy who was helping to run the sale and I told him that I'd grown up in the area and had always admired the house. He told me that it had been in the same family since it was built in 1936. How cool is that?! I mentioned that the home had clearly been lovingly maintained and he countered with the fact that it was desperately in need of some upgrades: the home still has STEAM heat! Oh my. I do hope that whomever ends up buying the house maintains the integrity of it's vintage. Something tells me they will ;o)

Anyway --- on to my finds. I picked up a bag of assorted flatware (remember last week's fiasco?), a darling pair of vintage women's gloves with sweet little bead and pearl details, an aqua celluloid vanity box and a charming little vintage Baby Ben windup alarm clock. As I was at the sale on the second day and they were getting ready to wind down, I asked the man if he was able to give me a better price. He added everything up - for a total of $28.00 - and said 'How about $20.00 for everything?' DEAL! 'Wow!', I thought to myself 'This is exactly what I tried to accomplish at last week's sale, but no dice.' Funny - it's definitely one of those times where fate stepped right in and did it's thing.

Another fun find from yesterday ... Last week I read a new-to-me book and re-read an old favorite. They're both focused on war time cooking - methods, rationing, etc. The author happened to mention that, during the 1940's, women would triple sift their flour and cake flour. In fact, they made a specific type of sifter - a three screen sifter - specifically for this purpose so that women would only have to sift their flour one time, and it would still be triple sifted. Huh. I'd never heard of such a thing. As luck would have it, I stopped in at the Goodwill store in Pasadena. I walked up and down the housewares aisles and suddenly, something jumped out at me like a beacon in the night: a three screen sifter! Now I ask you, what are the odds??

Here's a look at 'the goods':(49 pieces, all told - and many of them are initialed. What are the initials? W, M, L - too crazy, right?!)

P&D Turn 14

Really? 14? How did that happen so fast? I can hardly believe these are the same two boys who made their debut two months early ... and here they are, one is as tall as me and the other is not far behind. Where does the time go?

Last Sunday we celebrated their birthday. The celebration was at mom and dad's house and we had a feast fit for two kings! ...or at the very least, two 14 year olds. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, homemade potato salad, baked beans, lots of fresh fruit, and cupcakes for dessert. Mmmmmmm ... cupcakes!Lucky boys got all kinds of loot. Drew wanted a Huskies hoodie and a Knicks jersey:
Pat wanted a Celtics jersey (on order, but has not arrived yet), and a pair of Air Jordan shorts:
All of those goodies were from Grandma and Papa. Uncle Kevin and I got them umpire pants (how fitting is that?!), and gift cards to Lids and Game Stop:
WHEW! I'd say these two raked it in!

On Monday, their 'actual' birthday, Deb and Bill took their boys to Famous Dave's BBQ - Pat & Drew's favorite restaurant - to chow down on even more BBQ. Plus, they got new shoes, new cell phones and Pat got earphones, while drew got a new radio.

Hmmm ... kinda makes you want to turn 14 again, eh?


Okay, corny joke but it seemed appropriate since we just celebrated St. Paddy's day =)

Kevin and I have been looking for new patio chair cushions. I have one question: when did these things get so expensive?? Holy smokes, we've been blown away by the cost of them. Each of them. Then, times six cushions ... it seems like a small fortune.

I was walking through Penney's last week and found some cushions I really liked. I was talking to the clerk about them and they were on sale for 40% off. Good deal, right? Well, that's what I thought, too. I asked him to put six of them away and told him that I'd be back in the evening with my hubs and we'd decide if we would take them or not. I Kevin and I returned that night, and Kevin did like them, so we went to the register to pay for them. The clerk (a different clerk) rang them up and the total came to almost $200.00! WHAT? I said to the clerk that I thought that was a mistake - the cushions were on sale for $23.99. He said that price was for a different cushion - these were originally $59.99 and that they were on sale, but the sale price was $36.00. Hmmm ... Clearly the other clerk and I were looking at the wrong cushions =( We decided not to buy them. Since then, we've looked at Walmart, Target, Big Lots, Kohl's, Home Depot, and tons of places online. We've not found them for very much less, and nothing that we liked as well as the cushions from Penney's.

Friday morning I got an email from Penney's about their weekend sale. They showed the cushions we'd looked at, so I clicked the picture to see if they were a different price. THEY WERE! The $59.99 cushions we wanted in the store were now priced at $29.99! (click the link and view the color "Warm Stripe 2") I googled and found a 20% off coupon code and we snagged the cushions for an even better price! They will be here in two weeks - just in time for Spring Break. YAHOO!! Whadya think ... pretty, right?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pic-a-Nic Basket


I was chosen to host a Kraft Ultimate Sandwich Makeover party! What does that mean? It means that I will receive FREE coupons for (5) packages of Oscar Mayer Carving Board lunch meats, (3) bottles of Kraft Sandwich Shop Mayo, and (2) packages of Kraft Natural Cheese. To these items, I will add several types of bread, lots of veggies and 'mix-ins', some chips, maybe a salad and some cupcakes, and I've invited my officemates to 'Have lunch on me!'

I'm very excited about hosting this party - and so are my officemates. The moment they received their E-vites, they RSVP'd "YES!" - well, at least most of them did. I'm still waiting for the last two responses.

I will host this 'shiny-of-dig' in the conference room at the office and decorate it like a picnic. You know - red & white checked table cloth, cute 'lil cut-outs of cartoon-y looking black ants, picnic baskets spilling over with sandwich making supplies, and old fashioned thermoses filled with lemonade. I'll have to think up an activity or two for us to do ... got any ideas? Sounds like fun, right?!

Our big event will take place on Friday, April 15th - TAX DAY! What better day to have a FREE party?! Hopefully it will help ease the pain a little bit ;0) Not to worry - I'll take lots of pictures and post them here. Can't wait!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Isn't that what you do at a YARD sale?

So Saturday morning after the gig, Vicky and I let Kevin sleep in and we headed to an - ahem - "Estate" sale and to Pavilions to pick up a few things for breakfast.

We thought the sale looked promising - there were many cars parked all around and it was early (or at least relatively early, 8:00 a.m.). We hopped out of the car, crossed the street and hunt was on! I quickly gathered a card of vintage buttons, a shoebox with some pieces of mixed flatware (about 40 pieces), a small glass citrus reamer and a foldable yardstick. The shoebox of flatware had a sticker that said $20.00; I thought that was a bit steep and asked the woman running the sale if she would take a bit less. She quickly and abruptly answered 'NO'. Okay. I continued. There wasn't a price on the buttons so I asked about those. As I was considering my purchase, I added everything up and said the amount under my breath 'twenty seven dollars' -- to which she replied "IT'S $27.50". I asked if she would take $25.00 for everything I'd gathered. She looked at me with a cold stare and said "NO!" Ooooooookay. I told her she could keep the whole darn thing! I said to Vicky, isn't that what you do at a YARD sale? Barter? I said it loudly enough for her to hear. ESTATE sale my pitute. It was a bunch of stuff lining the driveway. I've had many a yard sale and called it what it was - a YARD sale.

I should have known even before I asked that she wasn't open to negotiation. Case in point: The sale started Friday morning at 7:00 a.m., so by Saturday morning when we got there, things were mostly picked over. She had several cool vintage hats (think circa 1940's) and a customer asked her how much for the hat? I didn't hear the amount she'd given, but the customer counter-offered another amount. The woman said "NO", to which the customer replied 'Well, this IS a yard sale' as if to remind the woman that you typically barter prices at such a sale. The woman running the sale then replied snarkily 'But the 'VALUE' is still there.' The customer asked if she'd left the items out overnight and the woman said 'Yes'; it was a cool, damp morning with lots of dew and the customer again picked up the limp hat and said 'No value there!' and walked away.

Shoulda known.

I'm a Groupie!!!!

Kevin is in a new band and they had a gig Friday night. COOL!

For those of you who may not know, Kevin is an amazing drummer. He's been drummin' for countless years and has been in several bands. A couple of months ago he went to watch some friends and their band play at a local club. He was invited up on stage to play a few songs. There was a guy there who was literally walking out the door and then heard Kevin start playing. He immediately turned around, sat down and the minute Kevin came off stage, introduced himself and asked if Kevin was currently in a band. As luck would have it, he wasn't so they started talking, and then rehearsing and, well ... Friday night was their debut.

They were fantastic! This particular band has played at this club numerous times and there are a ton of 'regulars' who've seen them many a time, so when Kevin showed up, they were all commenting about the 'new' drummer. I kinda got the impression that they weren't really, ahem, thrilled - until they heard him play. Everyone kept coming up to him all night telling him how great he sounded, what a difference from the last drummer, etc. He was thrilled! And I was thrilled for him =)

Vicky came over and we went down and watched until close to midnight. Linda and Jerry came to watch, too (thanks guys!). It was a fun night and the Frater Band will be having more gigs soon. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Good Saturday morning, all!

I hope everyone is out there having a wonderful Saturday. I've been a busy, busy bee this morning and it's just 10:30! This morning brings abundance to our home.

Sunshine. It's supposed to be 80 degrees today! It's just a gorgeous day outside.

Pink jasmine blooming in the yard and now, in small vials in the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen.

Fresh fruit. This week there were some phenomenal deals at various grocery stores on produce. I thought I'd take advantage of some of the deals and stock our freezer with fruit. It's just about smoothie time and we love them! I bought 5 packages of blueberries, 3 packages of strawberries (some of the berries were just huge!), and six and a half pounds of bananas. This morning I washed and processed all of the fruit and it's now in our freezer. Once everything is frozen solid, I'll put it in freezer bags and wait. But not too long - I want a smoothie soon!
Kevin has two games today, but before he left, he pretty much single-handedly finished the laundry. After processing the fruit, I swept the kitchen, the rugs and Swiffered the rest of the house, so two-thirds of our weekend trifecta is complete. Now we need only pick up a few things at the grocery store, but not too much - it's a light grocery shopping week. Shortly, I'm off to run a few errands and then I'll relax this afternoon with a new book I just received in the mail today. I can't wait to read it! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Life is too short to wear uncomfortable undergarments.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Do you subscribe to Country Living magazine? Oh mercy. In the March issue, I found page after page after page of inspiration!

One of my favorite things was a charm bracelet created by Cathe Holden over at Just Something I Made. I just fell in love with the vintage images she shared for the project - I knew I'd have to make one for myself.

So. I did! It was very easy to do, didn't take long at all, and I think it turned out just adorable. See for yourself:Isn't it cute?!

If you love it, you can find all of the supplies you need on a quick trip to Michael's - and nothing was over $5.00. Plus, the images are downloadable for FREE! Check out Cathe's site or Country Living online for all of the details.

Happy crafting!