Sunday, December 28, 2008

The trauma of being off line

We were offline for 4 and half days and we survived! Of course, we turned on the computer as soon as we got home, but honestly, we were too busy to get online while we were gone. We could have gotten online, but the hotel would have charged us $9.95 (or was it $9.99?) for 24 hours. Totally not worth it since we were out and about for most of the day, not getting back in until after dinner. It was good to be disconnected for a while.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Suicide tomatoes

I enjoy watching the growth in my garden. In the spring and summer, there's enough daylight that I can check in the morning or evening, whichever is more convenient. During the winter, there isn't as much to see, which is good since I usually only have time on weekends. But, this year, I'm going out more often because of an oddity. Every few days, I find an unripe tomato lying on the ground. I wonder why they're falling off the bush. They ripen just fine in the house and are very tasty. Are they trying to escape being picked and eaten? I've taken to calling them "suicide tomatoes."

Just a few gifts

I finally got all the shopping and gift wrapping done. Seems like an awful lot considering we're not exchanging gifts with one side of the family and it is just "token" gifts for the other side. Add in a few other relatives and friends and there you have it. BTW, the bags are color coded, but I will also be adding labels to make sure Mr. Fix-it grabs the right bag for the right people.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fun times at the mall

I decided to brave the mall today. I ended up buying one last gift at a great price so it was worth the trip. I also bought a dress for my nephew's wedding, though I haven't decided if I'm going to keep it. Nothing like trying on a couple dozen dresses to make you feel like you have no style and no shape. I was desperate enough to browse the Junior dresses; not surprisingly, nothing caught my eye. But I am feeling desperate about what to wear to the wedding. Maybe I can lose five pounds in the next couple weeks and wear a dress I have the closet from a couple years ago.

The mall was crowded; people were circling for parking spaces. Almost everyone was carrying multiple bags and there were long lines at most registers so maybe people are finally shopping. Hope this bodes well for the economy.

$1.75

Oh no! Gas prices are creeping up again!

Almost ready for Christmas

Just a few more cards to go. Should I brave the bad weather and take these to the post office myself?

Found some gifts in my gift closet so now I only have one more gift to buy, which I may forego since none of the stores half dozen stores I went to have what I want (yeah Dad, like I'm going to be able to find you another shirt like I bought you eight years ago...sorry, you didn't really think I got finally found the Christmas spirit, did you?). Still gotta wrap, still gotta clean house, still wanna take advantage of the sales for ME (again, no Christmas spirit)! Ack, I really do dislike the holidays.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Money musings

With the poor economy, I've really held back on my shopping these past several months. My holiday gift from work was significantly less this year, but I'm grateful to even receive the gift and have a job. And lest I get the lecture that a gift is a gift and a bonus is a bonus and should not be counted on and I'm lucky to get them, note that they are a significant part of my income and this year the two are less than what I received in 2001. Add in that my salary increase percent is usually less than what my mom gets for social security COLA and I get pretty depressed with my lack of buying power.

Friday, December 19, 2008

$1 soup

I made an incredibly cheap soup the other night. I had saved the water from cooking beans to make soup. Maybe it sounds cheap, but honestly, the water is flavorful and makes the soup creamier without adding any fattening ingredients. I had some leftover chicken bones from another dish so I simmered those in the bean water, along with some leftover chopped onion. Picked the meat off the bones, added a can of mixed veggies and some leftover cilantro, and voila, soup! I figure it costs about $2 (probably a little less) to make, so $1 per very large serving.

After so many years together, I'm finally figuring out some of our different food preferences. I like broth-based soups. Mr. Fix-it likes thicker soups. A couple of my coworkers finally clued me in that this could be cultural. Doh! I grew up with soups made with clear chicken or pork stocks. Mr. Fix-it had soups that were thick, full of pasta and beans and topped with shredded Parmesan. He loved the soup! Too bad I won't be able to duplicate it exactly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Healthy and mad about it

Truthfully, I'm not mad, just annoyed that I had to go to the doctors (yes, plural) and have a bunch of tests done at the end of year when 1) I haven't met my deductible (which is something to be thankful for actually), 2) I don't have any more FSA money (thank goodness I have savings to pay for this), and 3) we're incredibly busy at work so it was inconvenient for me to leave early today for tests.

I passed with flying colors, but there are no answers as to what caused my symptoms in the first place. The symptoms are gone now. Should I be worried or not? This is so frustrating!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A litany of gluttony

Two chocolate balls, lasagna (made with homemade noodles), corn casserole, enchiladas, injera (Ethiopian bread), doro wat (Ethiopian chicken stew), siga alicha (Ethiopian beef dish), Ayib (Ethiopian cottage cheese), Ethiopian lentils, salad nicoise, lumpia (Filipino egg rolls), brie, other cheeses, blueberries, toasted pecans, potato salad, Fumi salad (ramen and cabbage), couscous salad, stir-fried noodles, chicken alfredo, french fry (yes, only one), chocolate pie, lemon pound cake, shortbread, lemon cookie, chocolate peanut butter ball, sugar cookies. That's not everything we had at our work potluck today, but it was all I could fit in, lol.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cookie Day

Today I joined some friends for our annual cookie baking day, a variation of the season's traditional cookie exchange. One friend generously opens her house and we all bake there. We each make a variety or two and bring home several dozen cookies. There's flour and sugar and nuts and butter and chocolate everywhere, lol, plus a line for the oven.

Each year, we get a little more organized and of course, there's a few surprises. Sometimes we bake old favorites, but usually, we try new recipes. I decided to make Hyacinth’s “Everything Cookies” from The Pioneer Woman. I heard some favorable reports from some LMers, plus favorable comments on the original cookie recipe post, so I decided to try it. Note that it isn't a cheap recipe to make, but I got over 9 dozen cookies out of it. I highly recommend using a stand mixer to mix the dough. There's no way a hand mixer could handle the dough and it sure would be tiring to mix it by hand. They are sweet and chewy (from the dried fruit), and crunchy (from the oatmeal and granola). Definitely a hit!

As I was browsing Tastespotting.com last week, I noticed an abundance of snickerdoodle recipes (was there some sort of web contest going on?) and went with this classic. Another hit!

We also had thumbprint cookies, macaroons topped with chocolate and macadamia nuts, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (a classic for us), and a couple others. This is one of few years I didn't make some sort of shortbread cookies. And I even bought a pastry blender (finally) for the event. Maybe I'll make use of it next year.

If you have a few friends who like to bake, this is a fun gathering. With a little planning, it is fun (but exhausting) day. Here are some tips if you decide to try this.
* Communicate ahead of time so you don't end up with all chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal cookies, lol.
* Have plenty of room to work. My friend borrows a six foot table for added workspace and uses her dining room table for cooling cookies (and we need all that space).
* Avoid delicate cookies or those that take more than 15 minutes to bake.
* Decide if everyone should bring their own ingredients or just their own specialty ingredients.
* If people bring their own tools, mark them so they get them back. We finally wised up and wrote our initials on our cookie sheets. Have a couple of sets of mixing bowls and measuring utensils.
* Bring lots of Tupperware to carry the cookies home.
* Have fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bah humbug!

Argghhhhh! I had started a post about the commercialism of Christmas and accidentally closed my browser, so poof! it's gone. :( Now I have something else to vent about, lol.

I'm not looking forward to sending Christmas cards (I want to include a photo, but we don't have any good ones of the two of us). I really hate addressing them, but I love getting them so I guess I better get going (though the reality is I probably won't be sending my cards until the 22nd). And shopping. Yuck. Black Friday really turned me off. In fact, I really haven't enjoyed shopping for the past few years. We're not exchanging gifts this year on one side of the family and are not sure about the other side. I'm just not in the mood to shop. Probably because I need to buy a new dress for my nephew's wedding and am carrying a little too much weight right now. And I doubt I'll be able to take much off in the next month.

All the cookies and candy that show up this time of year aren't welcome since I need to loose weight. I expect to see a couple pounds of See's candy in the next week (we already devoured one pound today), plus an abundance of cookies. I'm going a cookie exchange this weekend and will bring in the goodies to work so as not to tempt myself at home. Maybe we'll get some vendor gifts this year (usually we get food though sometimes we get calendars). Or maybe not with the bad economy.

I really hate the commercialism and money grab this time of the year. Shouldn't we be giving year round? Please remember to donate to the food banks in February/March. That's when they run of the food and funds from the Thanksgiving/Christmas donations. Though it might be sooner since they've gotten fewer donations this year.

If you enjoy the holidays, I salute you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

$1.73

That's what I paid for gas yesterday. You may have noticed I haven't been posting gas prices as often. That's because 1) I have another carpool partner so I've been carpooling more and 2) I drive our other car when it is my turn to drive because my carpooler is a big guy and fits better in our other car, lol.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm so tired of trying to save money

A few weeks ago, our grocery store was having mix and match buy 10 and get an extra $5 off your grocery bill. Some of the items were already on sale for a good price, then add in my coupons and the $5 and some of the stuff was free or practically free. Although you were supposedly limited to three deals, I went back on a different day to try again. And it worked! The bad thing is, both times, a couple items did not ring up as part of the deal even though they were so I had to go back and ask the cashier to adjust the price. Grrrrr.

This week, Kmart is doubling coupons so off we went to pick up some things. Since their shelves are not well stocked and all mixed up, it took a while to match my coupons to the item. Then there was the fun at the checkout. I purchased multiple items of the same brand and since they had different SKUs, the cashier had to match each coupon to each item so I had to keep fishing things out of my bag so she could match them. In the mean time, there were five people in line who wised up and moved to different lines. Then, one coupon still didn't match an item according to the computer so we had to wait for an overide from a supervisor. All that to save $28. Never again.

I'm not ready to join the CVS crowd since I have enough trouble tracking the coupons for stuff I want, much less stuff I'd buy just to get a deal. But I may have to resort to that if it is the best way to get stuff cheap.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

No good deed goes unpunished

Per the previous post, I decided to walk(!) to the grocery store to buy some food to donate. I bought 10 one pound bags of rice and a case of canned corn. I was planning on dropping the food directly in the donation barrel, but I didn't see it. I thought I had seen a donation barrel there, but perhaps it was at the grocery store across the street (we had been to both this morning). In any case, no donation barrel and I didn't want to walk across the (very busy) street in case it wasn't there either. So I walked home with over 20 pounds of food, sigh. I'll try to find a place to drop it off later today.

Guilty and grateful

I've been feeling down in the dumps for the past day or so; I'm not sure why. The ebates thing was bothering me. All the crazy Black Friday shoppers were bothering me (did you hear about the poor Walmart employee that was trampled to death?). I was trying to fill a box to donate to the food bank and I felt guilty that I didn't want to give up the food in my cupboards. How selfish is that??? So to make up for that, I'm going to go to the grocery store and buy some stuff to give. Also, I took two minutes and wrote down some things I'm grateful for. Some of the items surprised me. Here they are, in no particular order of importance:

Hot water, especially for showers, whenever I want
Able to get network broadcasts clearly (thus no need for cable)
NPR
Fresh vegetables and meat year round
Friends
The internet
Free long distance on my cell phone
Debt-free (except for our mortgage)
My dependable 14 year old car
My health
My family
Mr. Fix-it
Safe roads
Public transportation

Interesting mix, isn't it? What are you grateful for?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Kicking myself

I ordered my nephew's wedding present online. Found an online coupon which saved 20%, but forgot to go through ebates which would have gotten me $20 in my account. Argghhhhh!

What down economy?

I can't believe we braved the Black Friday crowds. Mr. Fix-it never shops on Black Friday and for the past few years, I've been lukewarm about it. After perusing the ads yesterday, we decided to go for it. I guess it would have been better if we had gotten up early, but I slept in...til 6:15, lol. Mr. Fix-it was already at Lowes picking up some tool thingie (that's the technical term) and then made a stop at Target (if I had known he was going to Target, I might have gotten up earlier). Then he came home to enjoy some coffee and pick me up for the next round: Walmart, the mall, and the grocery store. Yes, Walmart, please don't judge me. We can discuss the merits and problems of Walmart some other time.

Walmart had a full parking lot and was a zoo. I picked up some jeans for $8 and a crockpot for $15. Note to shoppers: If you fold the clothing up and put it back approximately where you got it, it would make shopping so much easier for the next person. I'm not asking for perfection. I just think it is rude for you to grab a pair of jeans, look at them, toss them randomly back on the shelf and then repeat the process several times. Walmart had one girl there just refolding jeans. She did that the entire time we were there (the jeans were the first thing I looked for and we passed her on the way to the checkstand).

The mall wasn't any better. We were shocked at how full the parking lot was. On top of that, everyone had several shopping bags, though most were from toy stores and major retailers rather than independent or high-end stores. There were huge lines in all the stores we visited. All we ended up with was two pairs of shoes for me. $46 for two pairs, not bad. It was crazy trying to get out of the parking lot. We went out the "back" and drove several blocks to a different freeway onramp that was farther away, but ultimately, I think it probably saved us at least 15 minutes.

Our best deals were at the grocery store. As I suspected, there were lots of foods marked down half price (this particular store is famous for doing that and I figured it would be even better the day after a holiday) so we ended up with three bags of groceries. We'll still need to get some fresh stuff at the regular grocery store, but I'm happy with our haul.

The retail stores were just crazy! The grocery store was empty. I didn't attempt to go to Michaels, even though there's stuff I want. There's limits to Mr. Fix-it's patience, lol. Maybe I'll go tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The down economy hasn't hit everyone

Mr. Fix-it has a side job as an agent for an auto appraisal group. They appraise old, new, vintage, any car really, for sales or insurance purposes (if you watch Antiques Roadshow, you know the sale value is different from insurance value). Last week, he did a pre-sales appraisal on a car worth over $100,000. Nope, I didn't make a mistake in the number of zeros. In some parts of the country, you could buy a house for $100K. Or pay for a couple years of college at a private school. Isn't it amazing that a car can sell for that much? I guess if you can afford to spend $100,000 on a collector car that needs extra insurance and special housing, you aren't really worried about your finances.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toot! Toot!

I'm so excited! I just received my first request for publication so I had to take remove my card from my online gallery and put this up instead.


Note that I have no idea why scrapbookers use the term "toot" to announce they're being published. Maybe it comes from "tooting your own horn."

I won't be making any $ from this, but you never know what will happen in the future. Did I mention that I'm excited, lol?

$2.33

Less than $20 to fill my (not quite empty) tank. Now that's exciting!

Contest

Head on over to Steamy Kitchen for your chance to win an awesome kitchen knife. Jaden has posted some great knife sharpening tips, plus a giveaway. Then, if you like Asian cooking, check out the rest of her blog for some quick and easy recipes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Queen of leftovers

Good thing Mr. Fix-it likes leftovers since I like to cook in large quantities and then eat the leftovers throughout the week. My maximum tolerance used to be eight meals (lunch and dinner) in row, but now it's about four meals. Last week, I made a huge pot of chicken stew. Had that for dinner and then lunch for the rest of the week. Of course, I didn't want to have chicken stew for dinner every night so I had to start getting creative. I turned some into matzo ball soup one night and I used some of the chicken to make a casserole another night. In between, we had some other things so we wouldn't get burnt out on chicken. (Obviously, I don't have any issues with keeping food in the fridge for several days.)

Yesterday, I made a small roast and I was surprised at how little was left. Enough for a couple more meals, but still, not as much as I thought. I took the bones and made soup tonight. Then it's back to the roast for a couple days.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Saving pennies - books

I took advantage of having the day off and took a pile of books to the used book store. I thought about selling them on half.com, but would have gotten even less than what the book store offered (if they even sold). And I thought about paperbackswap.com, but that meant keeping the books around and also taking the time to send them out. So I've got $16 in credit to use (I did end up finding one book I liked). If J comes to visit, she can use it (hint, hint).

Actually, I'm happiest that the books are gone, gone, gone! We've got waaaay too many books and magazines around here and it is so difficult to part with them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Not feeling the blogging mojo

A week without posting, ack! Not a good way to keep my readers engaged. Sorry.

I could have posted about the election, our politic process, the hypocrites out there, but this isn't a political blog and I'm no expert on the subject. I don't even have very strong opinions on the subject, if you can believe that. Hopefully, I'll be posting more soon.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rainmaker

Yep, you can blame me for the rain. I watered one of the vegetable beds yesterday, forgot and left the water on all night (but it was set to a trickle so I really didn't waste too much water), and then watered the rest of the yard this morning. Now it's pouring. Surprise! Ahh, the first rain of the season and it smells wonderful!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

$2.89

Even lower than the price I saw earlier this week. Woo hoo! Can I hope for under $2/gallon someday again?

Monday, October 27, 2008

$2.97

I actually gasped when I saw the gas price, lol. I didn't buy gas today, but will later this week. I'm so excited to see it under $3/gallon.

Saving pennies - coupons

Last week, the weekly freebie paper had a $1 coupon for the coffee we liked. Woo hoo! So the next time we went for a walk around the neighborhood, we picked up the newspapers that had been sitting on driveways for a couple of days. The interesting thing was the houses that looked empty didn't have any papers; the few we picked up all had cars in the driveway. Was it stealing? I don't think so. The papers are free and I'm probably saving them from being washed down the storm drain. Anyway, a little walk to save a few bucks is worth it to me.

Are you a coupon clipper? I'm not so much anymore since our local store changed their doubling policy. Even though I keep my coupon box stuffed, there's really only a few things I regularly use coupons for (like our favorite coffee). It's harder to get good deals if you're not a CVSer or you don't have stores that double coupons.

I've been sending coupons to a few friends and acquaintances and that was getting to be a hassle (even though I'm the one who offered to send them). Then out of the blue, I got a wonderful surprise. One of my friends sent me an envelope full of envelopes and stamps. I was running out of envelopes so both were appreciated. But nicest of all was the note she enclosed. K, thanks! You didn't have to, but I sure appreciate it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saving pennies - green onions

I heard that you if put the root ends of green onions back in the ground, they'll grow back. So I did. And now I've got little green shoots so it looks like it is working. Actually, I'm not doing this to save money. I'm doing it because it will be so much more convenient to go out in the backyard and pick what I need rather than buying a bunch and trying to use them before they go bad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Parlez-vous fran├žais ?

Non. Nope. I've pretty much forgotten the two years of high school French I had. Even so, I spent part of today and will spend tomorrow morning inputting an index into a French language manual. Talented aren't I? How do I do it? I look at the English version of the manual, see what the French translation of the section says, then look at the index for a similar product and match up the words. It helps that I know the product and DTP software. Don't worry, our French editor will check my work. Yes, it is taking me about ten times longer than it would take her, but since she's got a million and one projects on her plate and I don't, I volunteered to help. It's a fun distraction from my usual work.

Saving pennies - soap

Whenever we stay at a hotel, I bring home the used little bottles of shampoo or the bars of soap. I figure the hotel is just going to throw them away so why not bring them home and get more use out of them? I'm still using the bar soap from our hotel stay last month and I expect it to last a couple months more. I just use the soap to wash my hands, which is why it lasts so long.

Mr. Fix-it prefers liquid hand soap so I buy that for him and for the guest bathroom. Good thing it's on sale this week. With coupons, I should be able to get the bottles for less then 50 cents each. Not as good as how you CVSers do, but still, a good deal.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The gluttony season has started

People have been bringing in Halloween candy all month. Then it was chocolate chip cookies (and ice cream) over the weekend. Yesterday, a coworker brought in shortbread cookies and chocolate. And there were cream puffs in another department; I was invited to partake so I couldn't be rude and turn them down, right? Today, a coworker brought in donuts. What will tomorrow bring, lol?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Meat+Tofu+Veggie+Oyster Sauce


(This is a repost from my food blog. The photo and instructions have been updated.)
I have no idea what to call this dish and its various variations, hence the odd title. This is one of those homey dishes that you won't find in cookbooks. I never measure anything when I make this so I'm just estimating the proportions. The great thing about this dish is that you can modify it to your tastes, plus it is cheap. I use anywhere from 1/4 lb to 1 and 1/4 pound of meat. Just depends on how "meaty" you want the dish to be. It makes 3 to 6 servings (maybe more), depending on ingredients and appetites.

Ingredients
1/4 to 1 pound of ground pork or beef or turkey. I prefer beef or pork.
1 cube of firm tofu, cut into small squares or small cubes. The kind at my grocery store is 14 or 15 oz.
1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
some sort of veggie. I suggest two bundles of Chinese long beans (put your thumb and forefinger together, that's about a bundle), cut into tiny rounds or 1/2 head cabbage, shredded (I suppose you could chop it also)
Optional: Chinese mushrooms, reconstituted and finely chopped

Sauce
cornstarch
water
soy sauce
oyster sauce (regular or vegetarian, I like a mix of the two)
white pepper
salt (optional, I usually don't add salt, but you might like your food saltier than I do. I figure the oyster sauce and soy sauce have enough salt)

Optional garnish: Sliced green onion or cilantro

Directions
1. Brown the meat and chopped onions. If you're using mushrooms, cook them with the meat and onions.
2. Add the tofu till heated through
3. Add the veggies (I suppose you can stir fry them first, but why dirty another pan?) and cook till almost done.
4. As the veggies are cooking, make the sauce. Start with about two teaspoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water. When the cornstarch is dissolved, add several shakes of oyster sauce, a dash of soy sauce, and a dash of white pepper. Stir to blend, then add another 3/4 cup of water. (By shake, I mean you shake the bottle and whatever comes out is what you use, lol. If you're not sure if you like oyster sauce, I'd go really light on it.)
5. When the veggies are done cooking and everything is simmering, stir in the sauce. It should thicken immediately. If it is too thick, immediately add some water.
6. Bring the everything back to a simmer and it's done.
7. Serve over rice with the optional garnish.

Other variations
* Add minced garlic to the meat or garlic powder to the sauce
* Brown the tofu first (before the meat). If you do this, use a non-stick pan. Cut the tofu into squares about 1/2 x 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches. Place them in the pan and turn after they brown; then brown the other side. The tofu gets chewy and more meat-like. After browning the tofu, remove it from the pan and start with step 1 above. Note that the tofu doesn't get really brown, more like a golden yellow.
* Use bean sauce in addition to or instead of the oyster sauce.

Notes
The dish in the above photo included 1/4 of ground pork, about 10 small Chinese mushrooms, 1 huge bunch of Chinese string beans, and then the usual ingredients. There was enough for three (large) dinners and two lunches (with rice) so this is one way to stretch your meat/protein dollars.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The result of being bored

This weekend, I was bored so I baked some chocolate chip cookies. I substituted 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour and decreased the sugar by a scant 1/2 cup. That was probably too much. The cookies taste a little too healthy, despite containing 1/2 cup of butter (that's two sticks for those of you who don't bake). Then I was out of butter and low on sugar so it's a good thing we went grocery shopping the next day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Saving pennies, making pennies

In my quest to save money, I've started saving veggies trimmings in the freezer. Stuff like celery leaves, the last bit of tomato leftover after making a sandwich, stuff that used to get tossed. I plan on making some vegetable stock with it. I already make chicken stock so why not? Oh you might be asking why I don't put the veggies in with the chicken stock. Because I don't want those flavors if I'm making Chinese soup. My chicken stock is chicken only.

And we're making a bit of $ on ebay. I've sold some Quickutz dies. I'm not making a killing ($3 on the last item I sold), but I'm not losing money either. Well, I am if you count our time, but I have one less thing in the house and more $ in my account so thus far it is worth it to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Could you be any cuter?

Over at Linnecards, we had an Inspiration Relay Challenge. That means person #1 makes a layout and emails it to person #2. Then person #2 uses that layout as inspiration (design, color, embellishments, whatever) and makes her own layout. Repeat for person #3, #4, and so on. No one sees all the layouts together until we're done. Here's mine. I had been looking for a chance to scrap this photo and the challenge came just at the right time.
You can see all the layouts (in reverse order) here. This was great fun and easy too. You could easily set this up among a group of scrapping friends. You don't have to be on the same message board; you could do it all by e-mail.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm torturing myself

I've been checking my retirement and savings accounts almost daily and the steady decline is unsettling, to say the least. I suppose I should be happy that I have savings to lose, well, not to lose, but that I actually have savings, you know what I mean.

Mr. Fix-it and I have sacrificed a lot in order to have a cushion. Unfortunately, it looks like we're going to have to start dipping into it. Work has been slow for him and my salary increases for the past few years haven't kept up with inflation. So we're making fewer real dollars than we were four years ago. Plus expensese are going up. And then there are the surprises.

Okay, this one wasn't a surprise, but I had hoped it wouldn't happen for a long time and that our financial outlook would be a little brighter. Dad's retirement doesn't cover his assisted living expenses and his cushion is long gone. Of course we'll contribute. But it sure is painful in this economy.

$3.37

I hope this downward trend continues.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Linnecards sale

In case you're not at work today (unlike me) and need to do some scrapbook shopping, Linnecards is having a Columbus Day sale.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Great Escape

One of the fun things about babysitting is you get these great photos of the kids. I'm still trying to a confirmation from the parents as to which twin this is. Not that they can ID the kids from a butt shot; I do have photos from that day that show their faces.
Don't worry, she didn't get all the way out and in fact, once she hit the second flap of the doggie door, she lost all interest in further exploration.

Ungrateful scrapbooker

That's what I'm calling myself at the moment. I had a few packs of American Crafts Foam Thickers lose their stickiness (they are supposed to be self-adhesive) so I wrote the company. They asked me to send the Thickers back and they would replace them and also reimburse me for the postage with AC product. They replaced the Thickers no problem, but for the reimbursement, they sent me a huge pack of paper. The problem is, it is a cheap version of their regular paper. Their regular paper is a much heavier weight and usually has a cut off strip with their name/pattern listed. This paper is see through. Maybe that's why they didn't print their name on the back of it. It would have shown through. So, while I like the designs, I won't be using much of it. I would have been much happier with an extra set of Thickers. It would have cost the company a whole heck of a lot less in postage. Anyway, that's why I'm saying I'm ungrateful.

P.S. If you are looking for a Christmas present for me, I like any of the AC Foam or Puffy Thickers. Forget about the chipboard, felt, or vinyl versions. The chipboard doesn't stick either and the latter two are gross (adhesive stains and the vinyl stinks).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It's World Card Making Day

I'm off to a crop at my friend Y's. She's always so generous opening her home to us. Hope I get lots done.

For inspiration and lots of contests, head on over to Linnecards.com. There's at least eight prizes up for grabs, maybe more!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That was depressing

I just checked the balance in my 401k. At least it isn't as far down as my other investments.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I just need to wait for the market to stabilize. In the meantime, do I continue to contribute to my 401k? Or should I just take that money and bury it in the backyard, as I mentioned previously.

Retirement just doesn't seem possible.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rolling, rolling, rolling

This is what Mr. Fix-it and I did this weekend. I was a little nervous getting started on the Segway, but after I got used to it, it was great fun. We had to stay below 6 MPH for a bit, then got to speed up to 10 MPH. Here we're going down a slope which was also fun. The machine doesn't let you go over the top speed and in fact it "pushes" against you when you approach it, which is a little disconcerting. All in all, quite fun and I wouldn't mind having one myself, though I'm not sure where I would ride it.

$3.55

It's been months since I paid that "little;" the last time was probably March. I wonder if prices will go up or down in light of the current economic crisis?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Scrap Pink has started

But it's not too late to sign up! If you need help purchasing your spot, select pay by money order and put your paypal e-mail in the notes so you can be invoiced.

I won't be around much (family stuff and all that), but will check in over there when I can. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scrap Pink

I just want to remind everyone about Scrap Pink this weekend. I can tell you that the challenges are fun, the prizes are huge, and I'm doing a little game with a prize too. If you have trouble purchasing your spot, just e-mail Sharon or post here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Burp!

When it rains, it pours. My friend brought in muffins for her coworker's birthday and I was invited to partake. And someone else brought in dulce de leche croissants so I had to try one of these (yum!!!). And one of my coworkers brought in donuts and another brought in pumpkin oatmeal cookies (those I could pretend were healthy, lol).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Check your toilet paper

Seriously! We just bought some toilet paper and the rolls are 1/4 of an inch narrower than the old ones. Same brand, same style, higher price. Guess this is one way companies can save money.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My new garden enemy

I'm still battling ants, but the aphids seem under control at the moment. Now I'm battling grasshoppers. I'm not sure what's worse, the aphids or the grasshoppers. I think the grasshoppers do more overt damage. They're defoliating the bean plants and are going crazy over the basil. In fact, one of them tried to make it into the pesto tonight (ewwwwww!).

Speaking of pesto, we had it over kelp noodles tonight. A friend gave me some to try and um, I think I'll stick with pasta. The texture was crunchy, like jellyfish or cartilage. I think I would have liked it better in a salad, maybe with an Asian-style dressing. One good thing is it is low in calories, only 6 per serving. My friend is trying out different raw recipes so no pasta for him.

New perspective on garages

When I got home from work last night, a mom was passing by with her little boy. Mr. Fix-it greeted me at the door (how sweet!) and was laughing. I laughed too when he told me what she said. "Yes, some people park their cars in their garages if they have enough room." I guess it was a novelty for her son to see me pull my car into the garage.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The backyard or under the mattress

Those seem like better choices as to where to keep my money. That's what my grandfather did. What's good enough for him is good enough for me, right? Maybe my dollars wouldn't keep up with inflation, but at least I'd still have them.

I'm so angry and frustrated and sad. I feel like I've done all the things you're supposed to do as a responsible citizen. Never invested in get-rich quick schemes. Always purchased health insurance, even when I had to pay for it out of pocket as a poor student. I've always voted, paid my taxes on time, never went into debt except for college and our house and two cars. Since those two cars, we've paid cash for subsequent vehicles. We pay our bills on time, put money away for a rainy day, put money away for retirement, donate to charity. Sacrifice now so no one will have to take care of us later.

Yet, the leaders in finance can't be so careful. And my tax dollars have to prop up a failing system. So what do people learn? You don't have to be responsible. It's okay to risk your money and everyone elses because you've got to get while the getting's good. That irresponsible risk is okay because the government will bail you out.

Okay, maybe this is a simplistic view. I'm not an economist, I'm not a financial guru. I'm just an ordinary citizen who's scared of her economic future.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Scrapping for a cause

Interested in a fun scrapping weekend? How about reserving September 26 through 28 for the Scrap Pink crop over at Linnecards.com? For a mere $10 (all of which goes to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research), you'll have access to a special forum where we'll have fun games, creative challenges, and great prizes! Plus you get a shopping discount! Who wouldn't want all that? Just click on the banner to the right to get started.

I can't tell you what all the challenges are (that would give you an unfair advantage), but let me me just say there's something for everyone!

What, you're not a scrapbooker? You can still partake of the games. Or just come lurk in the forum. It's for a good cause.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hoping for Oregon Spring, Winter Glasnost, and Siberia


I was lucky to find some tomato seedlings at the nursery. Unfortunately, no one there could tell me anything about them so I bought one of each variety. Let's hope I end up with fresh tomatoes all winter. My current plants are on their last legs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Clearing stuff out

I've got a bit more room in my closet since loaned out some clothes. And I'm trying desperately to cut down on the paper (do I really need to keep every pay stub I've ever received?).

There's a small pile of stuff to go to Goodwill. Now I just need to get them in the car and over there. In that pile is 210 pieces of scrapbook paper. Yes, I counted them for the tax deduction. I hate to think how much I paid for all that. But, better to get rid of it now, than to store it for another year. I should have brought them to the crop last week, but I didn't know there would be newbies there. Most of the people I regularly scrap with have already seen my givaway box which is why I didn't feel like hauling it over.

We've been selling a few things on ebay. So far so good (knock on wood). I just sold a couple of QuicKutz for more than I paid so I'm happy for that. More money for my scrapbook addiction (or paying the bills). More important, they are out of the house and I don't have to think about them anymore.

I'm debating whether or not to put some books on half.com or just donate them. Or opening an etsy shop. Maybe sell cards or some of my excess SB stuff? Or would that lead to me buying more stuff? The goal is to get stuff out of the house!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two nights out in a row

I'm just not used to going out on "school" nights, much less two nights in a row. I'm soooo tired. I went to an LSS to meet some friends (and pick up my Stampin Up order, lol) and made the cutest page. Sorry, but I can't post it since it was for a challenge and all the entries will be posted at once.

Then I went to a Pampered Chef party. I like their stuff, but it is rather expensive. So I was cheap and spent only $30 (for two items). I asked Mr. Fix-it about a few other items and when I told him the price, he balked. Good thing we were on the same page.

Boy, I'm feeling old. Out for two nights, and it wasn't even that strenuous and I'm looking forward to the weekend to recover? That's sad!

I remember

and I cried on the way to work this morning whenever I thought about it, when it was mentioned on the radio, and when I saw flags at half mast. Let us remember those who perished and those they left behind. Let us remember those who survived and those who are protecting us now. And let us work together for a world without terrorists, without hate.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Clean or not?

Wow, I'm just full of questions this week, lol. I was in the office breakroom washing out my bowl (I often eat oatmeal in the morning), when someone commented that they wouldn't use the sponge since other people have used it. I've noticed that many people won't use the group sponge and prefer to use a paper towel as their washcloth.

First of all, if you know anything about oatmeal, you know that it is difficult to scrub off if it has had a chance to dry. Although I try to wash my bowl as soon as I'm done eating, sometimes I'm called off to a meeting or get caught in work so there's a delay. Second, I figure that we're all using warm or hot water to clean, along with soap, so there's some sanitation there. Third, we're not dealing with raw food. Fourth, the sponge gets changed out every couple weeks.

So, would using a group sponge gross you out? Am I being too casual about germs?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Am I fat?

One of my coworkers is at that awkward pregnancy stage where her regular clothes are too tight and she's not quite large enough for pregnancy clothes. So since I'm a little larger than she is, I offered to loan her some of my clothes, or at least my "fat" clothes and some of my clothes that are knit or have elastic waists. She's worn a few things to work and commented on others so I'm glad she's getting some use. But I'm a little embarrassed that my regular clothes fit a pregnant woman.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Shallots galore!

This is the first time I've grown shallots. Not bad for a first time effort, eh? I got the bulbs from Uncle B, so these are extra special to me.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Neighbor's house update

We went for a walk tonight and noticed there were for sale flyers available at our neighbor's house, so of course we picked one up (or I did, Mr. Fix-it was too embarrassed to). Be prepared to make a hefty down payment or at least have a good income if you want to buy this house. It is offered at $775,000. Wow! That's a price from a couple years ago. Maybe they aren't serious about selling? Maybe the housing market has turned around in our area? (I don't think so!)

Lest you think I'm rich or something, my house is worth waaaaay less than that.

4 am

Did you know that it is really dark and quiet at 4:00 am? For some reason I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep for the longest time. And then I slept fitfully until I really woke up. Guess we both didn't sleep well since we didn't get up until 7:45 am. That's late for us (well, late for Mr. Fix-it, lol).

Not sure if I've got a lot on my mind or what. Or maybe it is this cold (allergies?) I've been fighting since Tuesday. I even went home early on Tuesday and took a nap. That's soooo not me. Ah well, at least I have the weekend to recover.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Won't you be my neighbor?

It looks like the house next door is for sale. I say "looks like" because there is a realty sign, but no flyers and I can't find the house on the MLS. They've been good neighbors. The bad thing is they smoke and sometimes we can smell it in our house, but overall, they are friendly and quiet. Mr. Fix-it isn't happy about all their cars, but they park most of them in the driveway so it doesn't bother me. Yes, parking can be a bit difficult sometimes, but still, better than our other neighbors who didn't part in their garage or driveway for years. I asked Mr. Fix-it to be nosy and ask about their move, but he hasn't done it yet.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stringbean update

I just wanted to show you how long the string beans can get. I think the longest string bean I've gotten is about 16 inches long. I'm still harvesting them, just not as many.
This is what I'm getting about every other day. Which less than what I was getting every day. Still, that's enough for us and to share since Mr. Fix-it isn't interested in eating these more than twice a week.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The bargin hunters

A couple weeks ago, we went out to breakfast and the department store next to the restaurant just happened to be having a clearance sale. I convinced Mr. Fix-it to make a stop and woo hoo! Jackpot! I got three skirts, two tops (of course, they don't match so I need to do some more shopping ;) ), and Mr. Fix-it got a pair of slacks and a nice shirt. All for $102. Not as cheap as I would like, but I really wanted to update my work wardrobe.

Then just a week later, I saw that the same store was having another clearance sale. So we went to a different location and I found a few more things. But what really caught my attention was the skirt I just bought was $6 less than the other skirts I had purchased (they were all the same price originally). So I asked the clerk if I could bring back the other items for a price adjustment, even though I bought them on clearance. Now, if it had been a few weeks, I probably wouldn't have thought about it, but it had only been a week (literally 7 days and two hours) since I purchased the original items. Mr. Fix-it wasn't too thrilled with more shopping and the returns so I went back myself and of course, did even more shopping, lol.

It turns out for the price adjustment, I had to return everything I bought and then repurchase them. Whatever works is okay with me. The new total? $53! So I saved $49; Mr. Fix-it was pretty impressed. Between the two shopping trips that day, I got four more things, which were way less than $49 so I'm still ahead. I'm pretty excited about my new purchases, can you tell?

Then today, we were grocery shopping and got a great deal on meat. The store called it a grill special: 4 hamburger patties, 4 Italian sausage, and 8 pieces of chicken for $4.99. We were going to have it for dinner tonight, but then we got invited to a BBQ tomorrow. Since the meat was such a good deal, we offered to bring the main course, lol.

My latest SB purchase

I know, I know. I really don't need any more Quickutz. But I got a great deal on this set; only $30.99, including shipping! Such a deal! (Now, if only I could get Magnolia for the same price.) I was a little nervous since the ebay seller had some negative feedback. But a DT member over at Linnecards had purchased from them several times without any problems so I decided to go for it. Now I need to figure out how to use this in my Cuttlebug since I don't have any money to spend on a QK Revolution.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Feel like SB shopping this weekend?

Head on over to Linnecards. She's having a sale from Saturday through Monday. 15% off everything not already marked down. And her prices are already discounted. Don't forget free shipping at $35.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New readers?

My counter (at the bottom of the page, in case you didn't notice it) has been increasing faster than it used to. And I noticed a few new locations on the traffic feed.

Don't be shy. Come out and say hello! Leave me a comment (I love comments) or drop me an e-mail or a PM. If you're reading this, you know how to get a hold of me. Let me know who you are so I can say hello.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I feel pretty

Not! I got my hair cut a few weeks ago since I knew we were making a visit home. I wanted something a little trendier than what I had so my hairdresser went waaaaay short, especially in the back (actually, I like that part). But I still can't figure out how to style the front.

I got lots of compliments at work, but it took me about a week to get used to it. Then I saw photos from the banquet and yuck, I hated my hair! Now I'm considering going even shorter to "fix" it, I dunno, maybe a boy cut aka a pixie cut?

But then there were a couple photos from this weekend (an anniversary party for the in-laws' in-laws, got that?) and I liked my hair in those. Hmmmm, don't say it, I will...women are so fickle!

What, no photos??? I'm at that "I don't like photos of myself" stage. I don't mind posing for photos, but I don't like looking at them afterwards, so nope, no photos to share.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Zai jian Beijing

Goodbye Beijing. Sob, I loved the Olympics closing ceremony. Shades of Cirque du Soleil. Mr. Fix-it wants those giant circle bikes and jumping shoes. The ceremoney was beautiful, impressive, moving, fun. I really didn't need to hear Jackie Chan sing though, lol.

Although Mr. Fix-it enjoyed watching the Olympics, I'm sure he won't miss me singing along to the NBC Olympic theme music (dah daah da da da da da), correcting the commentators' pronunciation of Beijing (it's a hard j sound, Cris Collinsworth got it right), or the fist pumping every time there was mention of something the Chinese invented. I think I'll be a little quieter during the London games, actually, the Vancouver games, well, except for singing the Olympic theme music. :)

I was just thinking that in 1984, the Olympics were hosted by the United States in Los Angeles and I was in China, Beijing actually, watching what I could of the Olympics. This year, I'm in the US watching the Olympics from Beijing, China. Some sort of full circle thing going on here.

$3.85

Good price for now, but it sounds prices might go up again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Too bad I can't duplicate this recipe

Sometimes you make something so fantastic and unfortunately, you know you'll never be able to repeat it. I brought some duck and chicken home from the banquet. There wasn't much meat there, you know how all the parts of the bird show up on the plate at Chinese restaurants. So I took that stuff home to make broth, which I did on Tuesday. Then yesterday, I planned to make jook (xi fan, if you're speaking Mandarin) with the broth and add the bean leaves that mom picked for me.

Now, what's this with the bean leaves you ask? That's what I wanted to know. Mom mentioned that Auntie S would make jook with string bean leaves. Huh? How come I never heard of this before? So mom picked some for me to cook at home. But she made a big deal about how I needed to get trim them off the stems/veins and cook the leaves for at least an hour otherwise they would upset my stomach. Hmmm, doesn't sound very appetizing now, lol. (a little vent, she would only tell me how to trim the leaves, she wouldn't show me. like she couldn't spare one lousy leaf? you need to know my mom to understand what the dynamics and why I didn't tear a leaf in front of her.)

Back to cleaning and cooking the leaves. I left work early (as if 5:30 is really early), so I would have time to prep the leaves. After 10 minutes, I was started getting a little sloppy because it was taking longer than I thought. After 30 minutes, I was ready to toss the leaves in as is. After 45 minutes, I told Mr. Fix-it that we were having something else for dinner because I was still cleaning leaves and they still had to cook. So we scrounged up a meal from what we could find in the fridge while the jook (and leaves) simmered.

Finally, tonight, we were able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Yep, it's gone. No picture. Sorry. We're not sure what flavor the leaves added since the duck broth was the predominate flavor. I think the leaves tasted like, darn it, I can't remember what the vegetable is called. I'll have to ask mom and update later. Anyways, Mr. Fix-it thought it was the best jook he ever had. Guess we'll need to buy a roast duck now and then so I can try to repeat this (sans leaves).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grateful

I had a big long post written out, then decided it was a little too personal and perhaps shared too much about my friends and coworkers.

So I'll just share that I'm grateful for friends. I asked a friend to help me buy some stuff and then she gifted it to me. Totally unexpected and very much appreciated. Thank you K for your generosity and brightening my day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A taste of home

We just got back from a quick trip home. Up Friday, back Sunday. Yes, it was a bit rushed, but we also had some free time.

One of my favorite things about going home is the food. Mom really doesn't cook for us any more; we usually go out. The flavors are so familiar, Chinese food like I'm used to. Cantonese, not Mandarin flavors. Roast chicken with salt pepper. Gai lan. Bok choy with black mushrooms. Deep fried flounder. Peking spareribs. Okay, maybe some of these started in the north, but all the Cantonese restaurants back home have been fixing some variation of these for the past twenty years. I can't get anything like this here, certainly not at the same price.

I didn't get any Dim Sum, so I'm a little bummed about that. But I did get some goodies to take home. Mom sent home some joon (Chinese dumplings) and they're in the freezer right now. I'll probably eat one a month, just to make them last longer.

On Saturday, we went to T's to pick fruit. No one has been taking care of the backyard so fruit has been rotting on the trees. We picked boxes, literally, of fruit. Mr. Fix-it estimates we picked between 30 and 50 pounds. I'd guess somewhere in the middle of those. We took more than half to the banquet Saturday night (the original reason for us going up) to share with the family. The rest come home to share down here. Does anyone have any good recipes for peaches?

I did stock up on plastic bags at mom's. She's been collecting/reusing them for years so I knew she had some to spare. I took a bunch so everyone could use them to take home fruit at the banquet.

Mr. Fix-it wanted to know if my family ever goes out for anything other than Chinese food. He remembers going out for steak with Uncle T (but I don't remember that), but that's it. Always, always, always we go out for Chinese food. Both sides of the family. I guess he's still not used to it, lol.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm running out of plastic bags

Can you believe that? I guess using our reusable grocery bags is finally paying off. But the problem is we're running out of plastic bags. We do use them as trash can liners, when we give stuff to people, and to refill my FIL's stash since he hardly shops and thus doesn't collect bags.

We're running out of paper bags too. We use those to bundle paper and other recyclables, carry stuff, you know, the usual.

Such a dilemma. Do I temporarily stop using my reusable bags? Do I ask for plastic? paper? Do I find some creative way to pass things on to others that doesn't involve bags?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

5 minute cards

Okay, these cards took more than five minutes, but you know what I mean. It seems that I've nominated myself to provide birthday cards for the department. I used to go to Hallmark and buy them, but then I had to worry about offending people with my sense of humor and getting reimbursed and all that crap so I thought this would be easier (and a good way to use up some of my stash).

Of course, when the admin asks me to bring in cards for the next birthday celebration, which happens to be the next day, I got a little annoyed. Still I managed to put these together.

I really like how the green card turned out. I finally used my Cuttlebug and it was so easy to make the card. I ran the paper through twice, which is why the bottom numbers are upside down. Then I covered the gap with a scrap of ribbon. The embossing is so impressive and so easy.

I'm not too happy with the transparency card, since the colors don't match exactly and I couldn't find my Stickles to add some bling to the embellishments. But when the birthday girl opened the envelope, she said, "Oh, how neat, I love the colors!" So it doesn't matter what I think, as long as the recipient is happy (and I didn't tell her that I didn't make the card specifically for her since I didn't know whose birthdays it was).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Product review: Page Protectors

I've been scrapping enough that I needed more page protectors (or album sleeves). I usually use K&Company, but none of my usual haunts had them in stock. I wanted to try W R Memorykeepers, but I couldn't find any locally except at the overpriced LSS. Sharon over at Linnecards was kind enough to add them to her store. As it turns out, I should have overpaid for them so I could try them out first.

W R Memorykeepers 12x12 3-ring page protectors

Pros: Clear, good quality plastic (as far as I can tell), good value-$9 or $10 for 25 page protectors, 1/4 inch gap at the top to help protect the top of your page

Cons: I can barely slide a flat page into the sleeve. In fact, I can't get some of my pages into the sleeves.

Overall rating? I have to give these a thumbs down. There is no way I'm going to trim my completed pages to fit the sleeves. So what am I supposed to do with the ones I bought? It isn't worth it to sell them on ebay. Or maybe it would be?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I can't fit it all in!

The Olympics are going to take up all my evenings. There's family stuff this weekend and next. But there's also Scrapfest over at LM, which means I HAVE to scrap in order to earn my 200 points for a chance to win $. And I've got DT stuff over at Linnecards so more scrapping. And I signed up to be a cookbook recipe tester, but I haven't done anything with that yet. And I'm still battling aphids. And I'm behind on laundry. Think I can call in sick the rest of the month?

$3.99

So exciting!!! Less than $4/gallon. Hope this trend continues, though I doubt it will.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Aphid update

We sure are enjoying our beans. In case you don't recognize the beans, they are called Chinese long beans, or asparagus beans, or yard-long beans (though they're not that long). So far, we've enjoyed them three times and I took a small bundle into the office. Even so, I think I need to plant more next year. It won't be too much more work (for me, lol, I'll need Mr. Fix-it to build a larger trellis).

I've been out in the garden every day smashing aphids, spraying them with a soap solution, or washing them off with water. I'm finally making some headway (I think). The first soap solution was too light and didn't make any difference. The second solution was too strong I think. It seems to have slowed the ants and aphids, but I think it also burned the leaves; it's pretty warm here and I guess the soap and sun don't mix.

The ladybugs are still hanging out and I noticed a few ladybug larvae so I hope they stick around to help me in my battle. And that the soap solution doesn't hurt them.

I may have another ally. After I "wash" the beans, some little birds hang out in the beans. They're so small, the bean stalks are sturdy enough to hold them. I can't tell what they're eating, but I sure hope it is the ants or aphids. And not being a birder, I have no idea what kind of bird this is.
It was difficult to get a photo (plus my battery died). There's one bird in the middle of this photo in the shadow. Compare it to the leaf size and you can see how small it is.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the games begin!

One of my favorite events started tonight, well, at least the network broadcast started tonight. I'll be glued to the TV until the closing ceremony. Times like this make me wish we had cable and Tivo so I could watch the Olympics live and also see more events. Ah well, maybe we'll dive into the modern age by the next Olympics.

Tonight's opening ceremony was full of symbolism and frankly, a little boring. Impressive technology, impressive coordination of thousands of people, impressive costumes (where did the money for all of this come from???), but overall, it was too slow. Nice fireworks though. What did you think?

Update:
Well, maybe I was just tired and bitchy when I posted the above because I went to bed during the parade of nations. I just finished watching the rest of the opening ceremony and as usual, I cried during the torch lighting. Now that's the sign of a successful opening ceremony! (no, I'm not being sarcastic)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Life Balance advice of the day

Don't read your work e-mail after 6:00 pm or 10 minutes before you plan on leaving, whichever comes first.

Because if you do, you might read a frantic e-mail about a problem with hot project and even though it's not your project and you don't even know if the information is available anywhere, you might still feel compelled to help fix the problem.

Luckily (or maybe not), one of the two people who had the information was available so between the two of us, the problem was solved. Teamwork, yeah! And as soon as the information was sent, we shut down our computers and went home. Any more problems can wait until tomorrow. And do you think anyone will appreciate what we did? I don't think so. Good thing we take pride in our work. Even if it meant getting home at 7:45 pm.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Slow start to the day

I ended up sleeping in today. I didn't mean to, so I guess I needed the sleep. I've been fighting a cold, as is Mr. Fix-it. Work has been stressful. I just finished the antibiotics so maybe I'm still fighting a tooth infection. Who knows.

Anyway, that set the tone for the rest of the day. Since I was already getting a late start, I decided to take a little time to battle the aphids (who are winning at the moment). Then I went to an appointment and of course, my timing was off. I ended up getting there just after a rush of people so waited a half hour, but then everyone after me probably just waited 10 minutes or so. Oh well.

Work was okay. I didn't have to deal with any crisis so that makes it a good day. :)

How was your day?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Attack of the aphids

The aphids are loving my string bean plants. I've out there every day trying to keep them in check. They've completely covered some stems so I basically just smash as many as I can find. Then I take the hose and wash off the remains and any aphids that I missed. Did I mention that I live on an ant hill? At least that's what it feels like. Guess that's why the aphids are doing so well. This is why I don't grow lettuce. Not interested in the "extra protein" in my salad. Got any organic tips for getting rid of aphids or ants?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

$4.09

I came home singing that and Mr. Fix-it thought I lost it, lol. It pays to wait sometimes. I was going to fill up before yoga, but didn't have enough time so I filled my tank after class. And the price had gone down two cents, woo hoo! I've been watching prices drop for the past week. It's so exciting!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm all shook up!

Sang in my best Elvis voice! It was a big one today, 5 point something, with coworkers diving under their desks. Me? I just squeaked a bit when a few things fell over in my coworkers cubicles. I just had a beanie baby fall off my monitor, nothing else out of place.

As soon as the earthquake hit, people were calling home on their cell phones. Of course, service was disrupted and spotty. I couldn't get a hold of Mr. Fix-it for about half an hour. My cell kept dropping the calls. Normally, I wouldn't be too worried, but I knew he was doing some wooodworking today so I wanted to check in with him. It was a relief to finally talk to him. So we're fine. Hopefully, it relieved a lot of pressure and put off the really big one for a few more years.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Adventures in grocery shopping

That's what it's starting to feel like with the rising price of food. Last week, we went to Big Lots because everything was 20% off. I originally went to look for scrapbook supplies (they had Basic Grey!) and some tank tops that they carry sometimes. No luck on either of them, but we ended up getting a lot of groceries. I was thrilled to get canned veggies for 26 to 46 cents each. Some pasta that I like to add to soups for 26 cents. We ended up spending around $30, but now our pantry is even more well stocked. Isn't it crazy to go grocery shopping at Big Lots?

Today, I finally went back to the local chain grocery store. Last month they changed their coupon policy and now will only double coupons up to $1.00 in value. For various reasons, I hadn't been back since the new policy. This week they had another special, buy 10 of certain items and get $5 back. I diligently checked the ad and my coupons, made my list, and off we went. Boy, was it a lot of work. They're advertising their lower prices (to offset the coupon change) with yellow signs. And the buy 10 specials with yellow signs. And the buy 3 specials (which I didn't need) with yellow signs. And their sale prices with yellow signs. Is it any wonder I was confused? I ended up buying only 9 of the 10 needed items, even though I thought I bought 11. I must not have been the only person this happened to because the clerk told me to go ahead and get the other items for the special and she'd adjust my total (this was after I had checked out and realized what happened). She even had a special sheet to scan to fix the difference. That sure was a lot of work to save $15.

I'm going to have rethink our grocery shopping. I got a lot more food at Big Lots for same amount of money, but of course, none of it was fresh. The ethnic markets I like to shop at aren't too convenient. The natural food store doesn't have a huge selection of staples, but the produce section and meat sections are good (though the meat selections are limited). So where should I shop? Do I shop where it is convenient? Where it is cheapest? Right now, I've got enough cucumbers and tomatoes to last another couple weeks. Should I grow more of our food? I really hate this, feeling like I can't afford to eat well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Root canal update 3

I'm on another antibiotic. What fun. Not. The bad news is each antibiotic costs 50% more than the last one. The good news is this last one was still less than $20.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How rude!

My SIL had a "girls night out" dinner party at her place this weekend. I didn't know anyone there except her sister. It seemed that everyone was from her church or MOPS group. Which meant that everyone was a mom...except for me. I can handle that. I'm not as good as handling the rude questions. If you ask someone if they have children and they say no, move on. So when Mrs. Busybody asked me "Was it by choice?" I was going to ask her why she wanted to know. But I was afraid everyone else at the table would think that I was being rude and certainly didn't want people thinking my SIL has rude relatives. And age! That's none of your damn business and my husband's age is also none of your damn business.

And it was pretty obvious to me that some of the ladies were a little put off by how comfortable I was in the house. I guess they couldn't tell if I was the hired help or what, lol. But hey, if C was busy in the other room, shouldn't I try to make people comfortable? Help them put their purses away, get out the drinks?

C made a huge spread, very impressive with two kinds of pork loin, two kinds of lamb chops, risotto, and fish. All in all, it was a very successful evening for C, but not so much for me.

$4.29

Woo hoo! Love this downward trend. This is what I paid on June 2 this year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm being tortured

Mr. Fix-it is eating one of his favorite snacks, sardines. Tonight he's having sardines on Cibatta bread. Usually, he waits till I'm out of town so there isn't any evidence by the time I get home, but I guess he felt the need to eat some tonight since we bought some more tins. I can't describe how gross it smells in here now. So I'll sign off and head to another room.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Root canal update 2

Yesterday, I only took two Tylenol and I ate real food for dinner (instead of pureed soup or jook or yoghurt or cottage cheese). Granted, it was still relatively soft (pasta), but I was thrilled to be actually chewing, lol!

Today, no pain pills in the morning, but by this afternoon, I had a raging headache due to multiple crises so I did end up taking a Motrin. Sigh, I hope tomorrow is better.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Root canal update

I went back to the endodontist this morning, even though the swelling finally went down a tiny bit. Saw someone else since the dentist I saw last week wasn't in. He said I had a classic flare-up which basically means a massive infection occurs a couple days (not immediately) after the root canal. Flare-up, such an appropriate name since I wanted to blow my head off during the height of the pain. I got a perscription for a stronger antibiotic. He said I could have another flare-up so I need to put off the crown for at least another month. I hate waiting. Be assured if the pain increases at all, they will hear from me immediately.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

$4.43

I can't believe I'm thrilled to be paying that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My root canal saga (so far)

A few weeks ago, I lost a bit of tooth; guess the huge old filling had weakened the tooth over the decades. I went to the dentist the next day and it turns out I have an abscess. But, it had to have happened weeks or months earlier because an abscess doesn't develop overnight. I had no idea since there wasn't any pain or swelling. I was a bit nervous about having it done so I went to another dentist for a second opinion and her opinion was don't delay! So I scheduled an appointment with an endodontist. For whatever reason, I was nervous/stressed/uptight/unhappy (pick your favorite negative adjective) about the procedure. Mr. Fix-it kindly offered to drive me, which meant he wouldn't be able work that afternoon. Hmmmm, money vs my emotional state? You know I was uptight since I took him up on his offer.

All in all, it wasn't bad. The staff and dentist were kind, they had good magazines in the waiting room, the procedure took less time than I expected, and it was a couple hundred less than the original estimate. All good things. I was a bit sore that evening (of course!), but the next day (Wednesday), I was fine. I took a couple ibuprofen in the morning and afternoon and that was it. As it turns out, I was overly optimistic.

Thursday, I had to work off site so I filled my little pillbox with ibuprophen, just in case. As it turns out, I was popping them every couple hours and ran out. I called the dental office since I was a little concerned. Since I didn't have any swelling and the pain seemed steady, I was assured this was normal. But later, they called and told me start antibiotics, just in case. Since I wouldn't get home until 8:00 or later that night, I had Mr. Fix-it pick up my perscription. By the time I got home, I was in lots of pain and perscription strength ibuprophen wasn't doing a thing. The pain woke me up every couple hours throughout the night. I was not a happy camper.

Friday morning, I called the office again and was told again that it could take 48 hours for the antibiotics to take effect. But yesterday was just horrible. No matter what pain medicine I took, I'd get relief for about half an hour. Unfortunately, we were at a funeral for Mr. Fix-it's uncle. By the end of the service, I could barely hold it together. At that point, I was taking the max dosage of various pain medicines every two hours. When we got home, I went straight to bed, with the hope that sleep would put me out of my misery.

To my surprise, I slept through the night and woke up with minimum pain. Of course, the new wrinkle is that side of my mouth is terrible swollen. Good thing I started the antibiotics, right? So I decided to start my new "diet" and will be eating only soft foods this weekend. I hope I make it through to Monday. This has not been any fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's a jungle out there

Mr. Fix-it built a trellis thingie for my Chinese string beans because they had no where to go. So far, no beans which is a disappointment. The cucumbers (which you can see at the front of the planter) that I planted at the same time have been producing for a couple of weeks. I called mom to get an estimate of when the beans should start producing. She said when they're about 3-4 feet tall, which mine obviously are. So I'm not sure what the problem is. She plants them closer together than I do so I don't think my plants are overcrowded. Plus I give them a dose of compost every couple weeks. What more could they want?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I know why people keep having babies

There's something so lovable and sweet about babies. Granted, I've never had to get up to feed or comfort a baby all through the night, so my view is biased. But now that the twins are over a year old, eating and drinking by themselves, and walking around, I have to admit they have lost some of their baby cuteness. I miss cuddling them while feeding them their bottles. I miss their simple onesies. I miss their baby smell.

When I was at my scrap getaway, one of the scrappers was still nursing and one day the dad brought the baby in for a feeding. Ohhhhh, was she sweet! She still had that baby smell and the sweetest baby smile. She reminded me again how much I love babies.

Oh the other hand, when the twins are a little older (and potty trained), I can have them over for sleepovers and shopping trips and other fun stuff. Sooo, growing up is a good thing.

Why I can't get rid of any scrapbook supplies

Here's a layout of my SIL meeting my niece for the first time.
I was trying to be all creative with the quote and miscalculated the spacing. Oh well, being that I don't believe in redoing layouts (and I don't have enough of the large rub-on letters to redo it), it stays as is. I still need to add the names/date, but I don't want to do that until I confirm which twin is in the photo. I'm pretty sure it is E, but I want the parents to confirm before I commit pen to paper.

As I was going through my stash trying to choose papers, I was struck by how much I still like a lot of the "old" stuff. These papers are at least three years old, maybe older. All of the embellishments are at least a year old. Actually, the Heidi Swapp rub-ons might be about 10 months old, but still, they're not new. Sometimes, it is a little difficult when I'm doing Design Team stuff since my stash of oldies is so much larger than my stash of new stuff. I don't want to be promoting stuff people can't get from Linnecards. But that's part of the fun: using up my old stuff to make room for more new stuff from Linnecards.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

Happy July 4th to you and yours!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Scrapbook sale!

Linnecards is having an Independence Day Sale! It's Friday July 4 through Sunday July 6. She already discounts everything 10% off MSRP. You get another 15% off of that. Plus free shipping at $35. And you know how easy it is to spend $35.

I've already got my cart loaded up. All of you on the East Coast and Midwest better not buy up what I want before I'm awake!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I'm back!

Did you miss me? I went to my annual scrapping retreat over the weekend and I'm still recovering, lol. More on the retreat later.

Speaking of back, tastespotting is back online. Somehow, it doesn't have quite the same appeal to me. But I'll continue to check it out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Technology woes

Computers are supposed to make our lives easier, right? After being with the company for longer than I care to admit, they finally gave me a new laptop. I was thrilled, though I knew it meant more work for me. Like today.

My carpooler had to leave early so we got in early and were planning on leaving at 4:30. Which means 4:45 to her, lol. I was been waiting all day for files to review and they were sent to me at 4:35. No problem. I'll just check the files at home. Got home and couldn't connect to my home wireless network. I could last week. But this week, IS gave me wireless access at work (which requires a manager's signature) and that obviously messed things up at home. Now I have to lug the laptop back into the office and find out what's wrong. I hooked up a network cable and finally connected to the office and got my files (plus more e-mails than I expected). Now I'm having trouble sending the files back. Could have something to do with their size. Even so, they (finally) arrived okay. Why can't I send them back? Grrrr, life definitely was easier with hard copy. Then all I'd need is my trusty red pen.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

$4.55

And I was happy to pay that price.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cosmo Cricket fun


Cosmo Cricket is having a design team call. I checked the pub boards on a couple of scrapping sites and checked out a few blogs (blogging is one element of the application). There's lots of competition out there. None the less, if you don't try, you can't get selected so here I am.



Let's review the list:
1. People who design really well. I think I do. My style is simple, but I still manage to get a few embellishments on there. ;)
2. People who love posting (this one was starred), maintain blogs (this one was underlined) and are connected with the online scrapping community. Here's the blog and you can read I said over at Linnecards.com and
Lifetimemoments.com.

3. People who love submitting. Yep, gonna send in some stuff this weekend. :)
4. People who are easy to work with, low maintenance and happy. Me again, and I'm totally deadline driven (it's required in my day job).
5. People who love Cosmo Cricket and know how to show it. Here I am again.
6. People who are available to focus on Cosmo Cricket (I don't think she expects exclusivity, but just so you're not spread too thin).Yep, I can prioritize and multitask with the best of them.

Forever 21

This isn't a post about wishful thinking; it's about the clothing store. One of my coworkers, around my age, is a big fan of this store. I guess it is popular with the high school/college crowd (she's got a high schooler), but there's still some stuff suitable for those of us of a more advanced age.

Yesterday, I finally checked out one and everything she said was true. The clothes are colorful, cheap, and trendy. Unfortunately for me, they were a little too trendy (I can't figure out how you're suppose to wear some of the clothes without exposing everything). And most of the things I liked weren't cheap. And if they were cheap (camisoles for under $4, capris for under $5), they were all out of Ls. Now, I'm not a huge person, but I also don't have the figure of a stick. I didn't even bother to try on the Ms because I didn't think they would stretch enough . Maybe super tight clothes don't bother other people because there were girls and women larger than me with armfuls of clothing. Based on their conversations, they were shopping for themselves. Still, I'll have to check it out again. Hopefully, they'll have some Ls in stock.

Commute costs

I just calculated how much my commute costs me at today's gas prices, just the fuel cost, not the wear and tear on my car. It is about $5.70 if I drive in and about half that if I carpool (I drive to a park and ride and meet my carpooler).

If I took public transportation, it would cost $3.40 each way (less if I bought monthly passes), involve three buses, and take up to two hours. Not really how I want to spend my time or money.

I did have one job where I took the bus. It was convenient, though I did have to make arrangements with my manager to work a half hour more every other day so that I could leave a half hour early every other day to catch the bus. At that time, gas was cheap, but I didn't own a car so I didn't have much choice. I didn't mind taking the bus since the stop was only a couple blocks from my house and it stopped right in front of my workplace. Granted, it took twice as long as driving, but I didn't mind since there were no transfers involved. Like I said, convenient.

Right now, I'm looking into carpooling with more people. My current carpooler's schedule only allows us to carpool one or two days a week. My occassional carpooler just gave notice. With gas prices being what they are (and the whole going green thing), I'd like to be carpooling four or five days a week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Preparing for a crop

I'm going to a crop this weekend and need to prepare some page kits (you know, so I don't bring my entire stash with me). I started printing out photos last night and spent a few minutes at lunch today figuring out what others I wanted. The problem is, the majority of my photos from the past year are of the kids (my BIL's kids) and of those, 90% are of the twins. Granted, the twins are darling (I can hardly wait until they're old enough to come over for sleepovers), but I'm afraid I'm going to be tired of scrapping toddler pics. There's only so much pink and purple and flowers I can take in one sitting (not that little girl pages have to be in those colors, but those are the colors they're usually wearing).

Yeah, yeah, someday I'll scrap my China pics and all my vacation pics. My problem is, "moments" pages are so much faster and easier than "events" pages. That's something I need to work on. Or maybe I should just take fewer photos.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Credit card fun

Yes, fun is the right word. I went to my cc's website and ordered a card with a new design. Yes, it is a bit frivilous, but I think it will save me some headaches. Mr. Fix-it and I have ccs from the same company, but different accounts. He added me to his, but I still have my separate account that I hardly ever use. I guess the company noticed because when they sent me a new card, they also included a bonus. I will get a dollar credit each time I use the card in the next month up to a certain amount. So guess which card I'm using now? But I need to keep it separate from our joint card, hence the new design. So new design and $$, how can you beat that fun?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Frequent flyer miles

I used to belong to just about every plan available. I had accumulated quite a few miles when I flew to Asia. And when DH and I were dating, we lived in different cities so I was always flying to see him (easier for me since I was a student and he was working). I'd choose whoever was cheapest and most convenient so the miles were spread out. After we got married, I'd fly home to see my parents or I'd fly about once a year for work. But for all that flying (which really wasn't that much), I never got enough points for a free ticket. Then with airlines consolidating, my miles would get lost. Sometimes, I'd get free magazines subscriptions, just to get something for my miles.

I used to have enough miles on one airline for a free ticket, but they upped the requirements and I don't anymore (grrrr). I was about to lose my 40,000 miles and these I care about. I'm sooo close! I went shopping on their site to see what I could buy for cheap, but the only thing that remotely appealed to me was a newspaper subscription. But wait! I could donate charity miles. That's a win win. I scrolled through the list of recipients and at first I choose the Red Cross. But then I saw the Shriners Hospital. I know Uncle T donated lots of time and money there and they provide their services for free. While there was no way to formally donate in his honor, I know in my heart I did.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One of my favorite websites is gone

Good-bye Tastespotting.com. You were my favorite food website, my favorite place to check out what other foodies were interested in. Unfortunately, I thought you'd always be around so I didn't save a lot of links from your site. I'll miss you.

(Tastespotting had food porn photos with links to (mostly) food blogs. It was a great resource for recipes. Check out notcot.com, their parent site.)

Miscalcuation on vacation hours

Grrrrr, I received my Earnings Statement aka pay stub and I miscalculated my vacation hours. Remember I took a vacation day earlier this week? I should have taken it last week. I ended up losing around 4 hours. That's half a day I could have used to play. I've redone my spread sheet so hopefully this won't happen again.

How much laundry?

I recently went three weeks without doing any laundry. I'm not sure what is more embarrassing: not doing laundry for so long or that I have enough clothes to last that long. Granted, there wasn't much to choose from towards the end, but it wasn't like I was wearing rags to work. So is it a good or bad thing that I'm trying to thin out my closet? Do I want to be doing laundry more often?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ahhh, technology

I'm writing this from Mr. Fix-it's laptop while lounging in bed. Ahhhh, bliss! He's in the family room watching a movie and that's where the desktop computer is. But I wasn't interested in the movie so here I am. I figured I deserved a break. I cleaned up the kitchen, did laundry, put away some SB supplies, and now I need some me (and you, lol) time. Off to do some surfing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Father's Day card


Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Or maybe I'm in denial that Uncle T is gone. I'm used to making him a Father's Day card too. Or maybe I'm feeling guilty that I'm not going home for Father's Day (not that I usually do) so I didn't want to think about when it is.

Hope Dad likes the card. I used Cosmo Cricket's Cogsmo. I wanted to use one of their robot die cuts, but they were too large for the card. But I did use one of their journaling cards on the inside. It said, "You are out of this world." I thought Dad might appreciate that.

Monday, June 09, 2008

$4.37

It's getting more painful. But less painful than the station across the street from where I filled it. That station was a dime more a gallon.

The best laid plans (or no more cooking for me)

I had all kinds of plans for today. I took the day off; it's a "forced" vacation day because if I don't take a vacation day, I'll stop accruing and we wouldn't want that to happen. I was going to start with yoga, then cook, then scrap, and in between, do a bit of laundry and cleaning. The latter isn't too exciting, but what the heck, I've got the time.

Well, I slept in late, but still managed to get to yoga. It always worries me a bit when I overslept for no discernible reason. It was a good session; maybe the extra sleep gave me more energy for class.

Got home and started some laundry, ate breakfast, then started on the Pioneer Woman's lasagna. I was going to divide the recipe into four small lasagnas, one to eat, one to freeze, and two to give away (aren't I nice?). I was just about ready to start the assembly, when I realized I need to shred or slice the mozzarella. But instead of slicing the mozarella, I sliced my finger. Now it hurts like heck and won't stop bleeding. I sure hope Mr. Fix-it gets home soon because I'm staying out of the kitchen. And no scrapping today either. I'm staying away from all sharp objects.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My face hurts

Yep, I must have bruised my face when I did the face plant, but thank goodness you can't really see the bruise or swelling. Plus my sinuses are hurting; must have something to do with working out in the garden this morning. I think I need a nap, but then I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

He doesn't beat me

Since I bumped my leg on the coffee table last night and I took a face plant with the vacuum cleaner this morning, I'm a colorful sight this morning. I'm hoping my face doesn't swell up or bruise too much. I see a bit of redness and some swelling on my face, but I hope the ice pack did its work and I don't have too much visable damage.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My fashion advice of the day

Black thongs with white/light-colored pants is not acceptable business attire.

If you insist on wearing the above, make sure the pants fabric is heavy enough that your thong won't show through.

If you insist on doing both of the above, don't lean over in public.

If you insist on doing all of the above, tuck in your shirt (but don't tuck it into your thong).

You're welcome.

Monday, June 02, 2008

$4.29

I'm not looking forward to filling up later this week.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Overdoing it

I guess working out in the garden for an hour before yoga was too much because I could hardly get through today's session. I think part of the problem was I was dehydrated, even though I make sure I drank several extra glasses of water before I went outside. I finished all the water I brought to class (which usually doesn't happen) and drank two more glasses as soon as I got home. Or maybe turning 40 gallons of compost was more work than I thought.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Contests

If there's one thing I like, it's winning. I think it is genetic since everyone in my family is always entering contests. To help you out, here's a few contests you might like:

The Pioneer Woman is giving away a Lucky clothes GC. I'm not sure I'm fashionable enough for Lucky clothes, but what the heck. Better hurry though because it ends soon!

If you're a scrapbooker, Luxe Designs is giving away several packages.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mystery box


Guess! Come on, guess! I picked this up at a seminar last week and put it to use immediately. When I saw the flyer for the seminar, I was thrilled. I signed up immediately, but I couldn't convince Mr. Fix-it to attend. Too bad because I went to the wrong place and had to call him to figure out where I was supposed to go. I felt bad for walking in late, but they hadn't started yet and besides, there were other people that came in later than me (not that that excuses me). I actually learned a little at the seminar, but not as much as I had hoped. I thought it was going to be three hours, but it was less than an hour and then about 45 minutes of Q&A. Not quite what was advertised. But the best was yet to come (the box shown above). Some hints? you want some hints? The contents weigh about a pound, it's moist (you might be able to tell from the photo), ummm, it's very useful, I have some already...enough hints?


Have I kept you in suspense long enough? Did you guess? Okay, here it is:

It's the worms for my new vermicomposting system. I was told it would take 30 to 45 days for the worms to digest the first layer of food. That will be just in time to add a boost to all the veggies in the garden. I've very excited about this, can you tell?