Monday, August 31, 2009


Last week life handed me lemons.

I was trying to be a caring and supportive friend and went to a funeral. I even went to the graveside service. And karma sent me a non-functioning transmission as a parting gift.

Yep, in the middle of the funeral procession my car (it's the car my husband usually drives) died. So I parked it next to the corn field (this, of course could not have happened in town), hopped into another car and called the hubs. We had an excellent conversation.

It cost $85 to have the car towed to the mechanic in town.
The repair will be at least $1800.


We had planned, for months, to go up to the Upper Peninsula for Labor Day weekend for a college reunion. Not anymore :(

So now my plan for finding money has been kicked into hyper drive. I think it would feel really good if I have a large chunk of cash ready to pay off this bill once the credit card statement comes in (we get cash back, so we put all large expenses on the card).

I just listed a leftover case of diapers and some curtains that we recently replaced (as in we replaced them yesterday) on Craigslist. I'll let you know how it goes...


This weekend was not the greatest.

I was driving J's car and it died. The motor didn't die, but the transmission was doing nothing. I had to leave his car in the middle of nowhere (for real, it was next to a cornfield) and hop a ride with a friend. The tow truck was $85, the low estimate for the transmission work is $1800.

We just canceled our hotel reservations in Houghton.

It makes me feel both incredibly grown up and extremely sad. I feel more adult making this decision than when we were married, or when we bought any of our three homes, or when JJ was born. I'm not sure why.

All I know is that those are costs we were not anticipating. We are fortunate enough to have 8 months of living expenses in the bank, just chilling in case it is needed; I just don't feel comfortable using that money unless it is absolutely necessary. And we won't need to use that money if I cancel our (MY) trip.

I was really looking forward to seeing my girls, and to hanging out in my favorite bars (even if I had to bring my baby with me). If you are headed up, have a Quaalude and play Free Bird on the juke box at the Ambo for me. Eat some gnocchi at Armando's and then hang out on the deck at the DT.

I think I'll make Library soup on Sunday, and make my family wear their Husky gear.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

finding money

I have a wish list of items I would love to buy for our home. Most of them are expensive (at least for us), and I always feel like we should be saving, saving, saving instead of spending.

So I have a plan - I'm going to "find" $1000, and then I can spend it however I want. Maybe I'll convince my husband that I really do need a gazebo in the backyard, or use it to redecorate a room in the house, maybe I'll redecorate me :)

Right now I have $76 in my found money fund; proceeds from a last minute garage sale I had in June. I'm pretty sure I can find enough stuff to list on Craigslist (woefully underused site for our area, but worth a try) and Ebay to make at least $100, and I'm planning to have a more organized garage sale in September. I'm not sure where I'll find the rest of my goal money... coupon clipping? redesigning rooms for the neighbors?

I'm excited for this goal, who doesn't love making money?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

pleasantly surprised

I love to shop at TJ Maxx.
There isn't a lot of decent shopping in my immediate area, but our (tiny) local mall does have a TJ's. Which means I can grab a fun new top or shoes when I feel like it. And today, I felt like shopping :)

I found a pair of shoes, and a new top and then I went back to the food aisle. I just usually browse there, sometimes I'll pick up an interesting candy to add to a gift basket, or I'll find a yummy looking box of tea.

Today I hit gold!

Big bottles (8 oz!) of really good vanilla extract for $12.99 and a large bottle of French sea salt for $3.99.
My pantry needed both.
(I actually put the last of my last bottle of sea salt into my salt pig last night)

Happy day!

Have you been pleasantly surprised during a discount shopping trip?

Friday, August 21, 2009

i love cuppie-cakes

Who doesn't love cupcakes?

I love to read Bakerella. Her photography is inspiring, her content delicious and she's just fun!
I clicked over yesterday and found out I had missed a giveaway (sad face), but she had the yummiest-looking banana cupcake pictures.
And I had two overly ripe bananas.

It was kismet.

the most-perfect banana cupcake I have ever tasted
(and the cream cheese frosting is fab, too)

The recipe called for one banana, but I had two so I added them both and just baked the cakes for a few minutes longer.

Don't you love that cupcake liner?
It came from Bake It Pretty, my most favorite bakery supply shop :)


i've been busy

Eating my delicious fish!

I doubled the recipe (because our fish was frozen in huge amounts) and had to substitute cooking sherry for the white wine. Normally a substitution like that would have made me physically ill, but you can't buy wine on Sunday in our county and every single bottle of white wine in my house was a dessert wine (I have since restocked the cellar), so it was either cooking sherry or super-sweet wine. I cut the sherry with water so the flavor wouldn't be as strong, and all of the ingredients played nicely together in my pan. Since we have a lifetime supply of bow-tie pasta I decided to serve it as a side - I wish I had served it with rice, I think the sauce was much better suited for a grain than a pasta.

Zucchini and summer squash sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and coarsely cracked pepper was a perfect, simple veggie - and since they are currently in season (and from the local farmers!) they were especially delicious.

We had a ton of leftovers, and I have to admit that I gleefully ate them all week long for lunch and never once shared them with my husband :)

we like...


We like to eat eat snacks in our tent...

And pizza for dinner...

Chocolate chip cookies are extra yummy...

And sometimes we even like to lick the beaters :)

cream cheese frosting...goodness..yum!

*I promise I feed my baby more than junk food - I just never seem to pick up the camera when he's eating yogurt, grapes or turkey.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

project: let's eat fish!

In June our little family vacationed with friends in Destin, FL.
We had a great time :)

The guys chartered a deep sea fishing boat for a day.
They had a great time :)

There are approx. 25 lbs of frozen fish in my freezer.

The Proud Fisherman and his Spoils

I love fish, but I really don't cook it all that often. Maybe it's because we live in Ohio (read: land of little water), and I don't trust most of the fish I see at our local grocery. Maybe it's because I'm just lazy when it comes to cooking fish (that's probably it). At any rate I need to start cooking up this fish so that I have room in my freezer again (so I can fill it back up with ice cream).

The Exhaustive Fish List*
(what's chilling in the freezer):
Amber Jack
Red Snapper
Wahoo (I have no clue what that is)
Black Fin Tuna
Trigger Fish

Tomorrow I am cooking Spicy Red Snapper. I'll let you know how it goes!

*the proud fisherman would like you to know that he also caught a barracuda, but they are apparently inedible