Friday, November 07, 2008

To Do Today

1. Unload dishwasher

2. Reload dishwasher and run it

3. Take out garbage and recycling

4. Wash dishes

5. Clean off counters and scrub sink

6. Scrub toilet

7. Clean tub

8. Sweep kitchen and bathroom

9. Start laundry

10. Make beds

11. Mop kitchen and bathroom

12. Switch out laundry

13. Check on finances

14. Pay bills

15. Put away scrapbook stuff

16. Put away sewing stuff

17. Make dinner

18. Tidy up living room

19. Switch out laundry

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordy Wednesday


Well, I am back and I have a book review for you! My reading goes in spurts. I've been on one of my reading spurts lately.For some weeks, I'll read 3 books per week and then I can go several more weeks without reading anything.

The book I have chosen for this review is Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter by Nancy Atherton.  Sounds perfect for the season-huh? This was the 13th book in a series. I've previously read the first book, Aunt Dimity's Death and the 12th, Aunt Dimity Goes West.

The series has kind of a weird premise. The main character, Lori Shepard is an American living in Britain. She inherited a cottage and fortune from her "Aunt" Dimity-a friend of her mother's whom Lori has never met.  In fact, Lori didn't even know that Aunt Dimity was a real person. She thought she was just a character in stories her mother used to tell. The weird part is that Lori can communicate with the dear, departed Aunt Dimity through an old journal. Lori talks to the journal and Aunt Dimity responds by writing in it.

In this installment in the series, Lori is certain that a vampire is lurking in the forest near the riding school her twin sons attend. The twins insist they have seen Rendor-a vampire in a comic book. Lori and Kit Smith (her friend and the boys' riding instructor) helps her hunt down the mysterious monster.

In their investigating, they stumble across a 40 year-old murder, a newcomer who is camping out in the rain, and a cranky old woman who seems to know a lot about the unexplained events in the village's past. Through it all, Aunt Dimity helps out by offering explanations and acts as a sounding board for Lori's speculations.

The story wraps up a little too neatly and predictably, but I still liked it.  It's a cute, cozy mystery that's quite entertaining. I'm always amazed when I finish one of Atherton's books. I fully intend to dislike them, but they seems to hook me with their likable characters and fun plotlines.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Life has been busy for me lately. I'm trying to get into a regular schedule here at home. I've been exploring ideas for earning some money, I've been cooking a lot more, I'm in the process of renovating a closet into my creative space and working on my finances.

My hope is to post a little more this week. See ya soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Playing Catch up

house-clipart-2 I really wanted to stick to the blog schedule I had planned, but life has a way of messing up all of my planning! *smile* It's ok, my life is good.

Last Friday, The Man went out of town for the weekend. He had the opportunity to meet up with a bunch of college friends in Denver. He had a great time! I'm so glad he was able to go. He returned home Sunday night. The Kidlet and I had a nice weekend-just the two of us. We bought his Halloween costume, had a dinner date, went on a five mile hike with the boy scouts, and snuggled a whole bunch. It was great! Unfortunately, I had to deal with some family drama and that has had me a little bit preoccupied.  I am doing a lot of praying and trying to accept that there are some things that I am unable to control. We will be ok.

I hope to be back tomorrow with a book review. The plan for Thursday is to show you the extra little fall decorating touches I have added to our house in the past week. See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thrifty Thursday

drawing-pages-3 It's time for another Thrifty Thursday post! With the economy in the toilet and all of the hoopla over the world's financial situation, thriftiness is more a necessity than ever. So what have I done this week to save some cash?

1. I made a menu plan and (for the most part) we've stuck to it. We haven't been out to dinner (except when planned). I am notorious for being too tired to cook or plan and then we end up going out or ordering take-out. We have not done that this week. Score!

2. I've been redecorating. But I haven't spent a dime! Yay! I have such a stash of stuff and I've been perusing old magazines to get ideas. On Saturday, we tore out the carpet in the Kidlet's room to reveal beautiful hardwood floors. We rearranged furniture in the living room and I hung new and different items on the walls. I hope to show off some of my new arrangements in tomorrow's blog post.

3. I've resisted the urge to go shop. It's totally crazy, but I get a huge urge to shop when I know I need to not do so. It's like shooting myself in the foot. I really, really wanted to go to the thrift store today. Thrifting is thrifty-right? Sure, but do I need anything? Nope. I took a nap instead.

4. I used coupons and a list when I shopped for groceries this week. I belong to a coupon train and the grocery game. I am able to save a bunch of money this way. I only bought what I needed for this week, too.

5. I love Olay Cleansing cloths. They make my face feel really good and clean and they don't dry out my skin. But the cloths are so big. I cut them in half and now rather than one months worth, I have two months worth of facial cloths!

6. This one is kind of silly and self-evident, but this finally dawned on me. When I make a pot of tea, I use the leftover tea that I don't drink hot for iced tea. I just pour it into a container and throw it into the fridge for later.

7. I'm drinking more water and much less soda. I'm urging the Man to do so, as well. (He can get all the soda pop he wants for free at work).

8. I'm praying for strength and counting my blessings. Today during my morning walk, I spent my time noticing the beauty around me and talking with God. It was beautiful.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wednesday Whining

(I skipped Tackle-It-Tuesday yesterday. I did do some errands-grocery shopping, etc. It was a busy day nevertheless).

Today, I am replacing "Wordy Wednesday" with Wednesday Whining. I haven't finished the book I wanted to review and I've got a bunch to whine about. Hopefully, once I get my thoughts down, I can adjust my attitude and improve my outlook. (Hope springs eternal-right?) *grin*

Yesterday, The Man had his worst day of work in 9 years. His company is cutting back in order to insure they don't have major fiscal losses this year. This means no gain share for employees. It means raises will be low or non-existent. No travel. No extraneous expenses. Of course, The Man has to deal with all of the fall out from his employees. He remains optimistic. His perspective is positive, but it's not easy to have to cope with the negativity and endeavor to keep morale from slipping too far.

Not only does this make The Man's work environment difficult, it also means that we will be losing some income. His raise will not be substantial and he won't be getting a gain share check. I HAVE to do a better job of economizing. We can live within our means, but I'd really like to be able to save some, as well. I am going to have work harder. I can do it, but it won't be easy. I'm thinking about ways to cut costs and maybe some ways that I can earn a little bit, as well.

The Kidlet had a very difficult evening, as well. Last night was the school Open House and he was just so excited to show us all around. He was so cute, but so wound up. He had trouble holding himself together. The place was a zoo. So many people. He had a bit of a meltdown. We took him home and he went to bed early.

I have woken up in the middle of the night for the past two nights. I couldn't get back to sleep for at least an hour or more. UGH. I am so tired. I can't believe how much I have to do around this house. I am having a hard time keeping up. It's ridiculous. I have all day, but I cannot stay ahead. URGH.

OK. Attitude change. No more whining. I have challenges, but I have so many blessings! I am going to focus on the positive elements and create a beautiful life for my family.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Miscellanea-Halloween Decorating

Welcome to my Halloween home! I am participating in Kimba's (from A Soft Place to Land) Halloween Party! I'm really excited to see all of the wonderful ideas out there in blogland. Let's get started.

This year, I decided to tone down my Halloween decor this year. I've been really feeling a need for some simplicity, so my decor for this holiday is a bit pared back.

First, my living room:

IMG_0056 One of my many ravens perching in a cactus.

Some of my beautiful IMG_0059milk glass collection. It's hard to tell, but there's a large raven sitting in there.

A shot of the top of my armoire. Just some big glass jars filled with Indian corn and a raven, faux leaves and some wheat. (I have to IMG_0058keep it up out of the reach of the cat!)

A cute little spooky kitty out for a fun night of tricking and treating.IMG_0062

A cute little Jack-O-Lantern.


And another sweetie. (Sorry for the pic quality. No natural light here today).


The top pf my antique dresser. There's a tag with a raven, one with Edgar Allen Poe and the third with a Poe quote.

IMG_0066 IMG_0065

My final little Jack-O-Lantern with a "nevermore" tag made by me.

IMG_0069 IMG_0070

A little hanging plaque I made with a sweet little vintage image.


The "BOO" hanging on the linen closet door.


The entryway from our garage. Frames purchased from the dollar store and painted. Vintage images printed from the internet.



Finally, my favorite new item which resides above my refrigerator. It's a plate with a rub on! Also shown is a creepy little basket full of apples.

IMG_0067 IMG_0068

That's it! I hope you enjoyed the tour! I am looking forward to checking out all of your ideas. Thanks for stopping by.


Monday Miscellanea-Menu Planning

mpmfall This week is going to be a little bit busier than usual, so a menu is imperative. I also have to do a much better job of eating properly for breakfast and lunch. The Kidlet and The Man do ok, but I tend to just grab whatever is easy and that's not always healthy.

Breakfast: oatmeal and coffee or toast w/ homemade bread and peanut butter, coffee and cranberry juice

Lunch: dinner leftovers or veggie bagel sandwich w/ dill pickles or cottage cheese, tossed salad

Now onto the Dinner Menu Plans:

Monday: dinner out (we're attending a Bruce Springsteen concert at an Obama rally-we're really excited!)

Tuesday: bean and veggie tacos w/ beans and margaritas

Wednesday: breaded fish, roasted redskins and caesar salad

Thursday: Olive Garden Chicken Vino Blanco (Idea stolen from Happy Tummies blog), steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Friday: pasta w/ tomato sauce, tossed green salad

Saturday: going out w/ the Kidlet (The Man will be out of town)

Sunday: leftovers


I'm going to try to get to a few blogs today to look at what others have planned. Thank you to Organizing Junkie for hosting this meme week!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fun Friday!

TGIF! It's Fun Friday here at The Simple Things. On Fridays I will post about all of the fun I've had recently. Life is fleeting and I want to celebrate all of my blessings.

What fun things are on tap for today?

1. It's my nephew's 15th Birthday! Happy Birthday A!

2. I made a yummy cinnamon bread in my new breadmaker. I threw in some diced apple. It turned out pretty good. I think I'll make some icing to drizzle on it. YUM!

3.I worked on redesigning my home notebook. I used digital scrapbook papers from Shabby Princess. I haven't done any papercrafting in months. It was really fun to create. Here's the IMG_0052IMG_0054 IMG_0053 IMG_0051 IMG_0050


In order: cover page, back page, insert1, insert2, and insert3.




4. Last evening, I put out all of my Halloween decorations. I'll post pics on Monday.

5. I'm having a drink with my dinner. Maybe a margarita or a glass of white wine. Nothing is more fun than a cocktail!


Have a great weekend! 

Thrifty Thursday

(I'm posting a little bit late, but better late than never!)

Today is Thrifty Thursday! This is the place where I will write about thrifty purchases, methods I've used to pinch a penny, low cost decorating and anything else that has to do with keeping more money in the bank.

I'd like to share a couple of thrifty projects with you. The first photos are of the low cost valance I created for my dining room window.

It's made from 4 kitchen towels that were purchased at the local dollar store. I sewed them together and then sewed a couple of deep pleats into them and attached them with clips. I love how it came out. I adore plaid, so not only was I able to indulge that love, but it only cost me a few bucks to do so.

I am also highlighting the dining table chandelier. (Sorry for the blurry pic!) This light fixture was picked up at the thrift store for around 5 bucks. The Man checked all of the wiring and then we primed and painted it. The little shades cost me 60 cents each and were purchased from another thrift store. (I had to wash them twice to get them clean!). I attached raffia to the top edge of each shade with my glue gun. Easy! The little berry wreaths were repurposed from a piece of fall decor that I bought at Target a few years ago. Cheap and easy, not to mention so pretty! I love it.

Thanks for reading. I'll be back later with a post for Fun Friday.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wordy Wednesday

It's my first Wordy Wednesday! This is the place where I will review a book that I have recently read. Let's get started . . .

I've just finished the book, Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs. The protagonist's name is Theodosia Browning and she is the owner of a tea shop in Charleston. She's a former marketing executive turned small business owner. Her shop is a cozy oasis of calm in an historical area of the city. In this novel, #5 of the Tea Shop series, Theodosia is catering a ghost crawl at the Jasmine Cemetery as part of a fundraiser. Unfortunately, Theo's boyfriend's uncle drops dead right in the middle of the festivities. A needle containing fentanyl lies next to him. Dr. Jasper (the deceased) was a cardiologist who was working on a surgical invention. At the request of Jory (the boyfriend), Theo decides to do a little bit of investigating into Dr. Jasper's death. There's lots of suspects, including Dr. Jasper's colleagues at the medical research lab, his soon-to-be ex-wife, marketing executives who were helping to launch the new invention, and former arts patrons who Dr. Jasper had recently cut off. Theo faces danger on a fox hunt, at a television station, and in the grand historical home she is house sitting. The story is full of likeable characters who support Theo in her quest to find out what really happened to Dr. Jasper. The book includes recipes and tips on enjoying tea.

This was my first time reading a story written by Laura Childs. I was all set to dislike it based on the main character's name (it's a little bit strange) and the trite inclusion of recipes. But, I really did enjoy it. The characters are all believable and likable. Ms. Childs' descriptions of tea made me want to learn more about the subject. She did all the right things by staging the murder in the first several pages of the book and keeping the reader guessing. I usually figure out the identity of the murderer early on, but in this case, I didn't figure it out until the nearly the end of the story. I am looking forward to reading other books in the tea shop series, her scrapbook series and her Cackleberry Club books.
You can visit Laura Childs' website here.

I wanted to quickly follow-up on my Tackle-It Tuesday post from yesterday. I was able to complete my tackle and snapped a couple of photos. Unfortunately, later in the day, Kidlet came home with a stack of school papers, I cleaned out a bag (another stack of papers) and the mail included a couple of bills to be paid. So, more filing for me! I made some travel files for Kidlet's school papers and cub scout materials. I was also able to shred a bunch of stuff, too.
Here's the proof:

The Man brought home a bouquet of beautiful fall folders for me. He made sure that mums were included in the mix, as they are the flower that signifies thirteen years of marriage. Am I lucky or what?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Tuesday!

. . . and you know what that means. It's time for Tackle-It Tuesday sponsored by 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I have so many things that could be tackled today, but I decided to work according to my priorities. Priority #1 is getting the bills paid, the accounts reconciled and all my paperwork sorted, filed, and purged. I have a nice cup of coffee, some DVR'ed TV shows to watch and my big pile of papers.


I'll be back later to update on my progress.


I also want to say "Happy Anniversary" to my amazing husband. It's our 13th wedding anniversary, but we have been together for 22 years. He's my soulmate. I want for nothing. I love you, honey.


Monday, September 29, 2008

New Beginnings

It's a brand new week and I'm having some brand new beginnings here on this little ole' blog of mine. I've decided to get back into writing blog posts on a regular schedule. I've come up with a posting plan that I think will really work for me.

Monday Miscellanea - I'll post whatever is rolling through my brain at the moment. My interests are always changing and I think this is an ideal spot to highlight what's going on any given week. I also plan to join in on Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie's blog.

Tackle It Tuesday - This is a great meme at 5 Minutes for Mom. It happens every Tuesday. I'll post pictures and narrative about a challenge I complete.

Wordy Wednesday - I love books. Love them! I also have a secret dream to someday write something that others would like to read. Reading and writing will be the focus for Wordy Wednesdays.

Thrifty Thursday -I'm very attracted to the idea of thriftiness, frugality, and saving lots of money. Unfortunately, I don't always follow through. I'd like to highlight my successes and failures at penny-pinching on Thursdays.

Fun Friday - Fridays posts will be about something fun we've done as a family or a fun idea or craft that I have recently completed.

Weekend Wellness - I am on a health and wellness journey. I simply must make improvements to my health and general well-being. Weekends are where I'll post about my journey.

So, welcome to The Simple Things! I'm looking forward to posting and meeting lots of new friends!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Even though I hardly ever post to this poor blog of mine, I really wanted to join in Nester's blog party today. It's all about making your living space beautiful. Instead of creating window treatments, Nester "mistreats" her windows and oh my goodness, she is amazing!

I love me some interior design. I love it even more when it's cheap! Here's my cheap and cute contribution to the mistreatment party.

First, my living room curtains. These are just plain cotton canvas panels from Martha Stewart Living. I bough them before Alex was born, so they're more than 6 years old. The entire time they've been hanging in this room, I've wanted to embellish them. I finally did it! (Actually, I have another window to do, but I plan to have it done within the next few days. I used canvas drop cloths (painting cloths) that I had in my stash (they were cheap and really useful) and denim from when I sewed the slipcovers for my furniture. I just cut it up, ironed a couple of seams and hot glued the fabric right on to the existing panels, I didn't even take the panels off the window! And, I spent $0!!!! What do you think?

My slipcovers have been bugging me. I made them a couple of years ago and I don't love them. Even though we are in desperate need of new furniture, the cash is not in the budget for it right now. Anyway, I could starch and iron these slipcovers and make them look all crisp and gorgeous, but who wants to do that? The kick pleats at the bottom of the cover gap open and don't hang right and it bugs me to no end. What to do? Hot glue! I took out my trusty, cheapo glue gun and just dotted it on and stuck the fabric where it belongs. Dontcha just love the last photo with my glue gun and cords everywhere? (grin)

Thanks, Nester! I can't wait to peruse all of the blogs to see everyone's creativity.