Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Garden VIDEO

Pardon abundant weeds. This area has only been cultivated for 0-2 years in the near to recent past, depending on the area so it is certainly still a work in progress! My goal (still going strong) is to avoid using any kind of fertilizer, pesticide, or chemicals.

Pride Post: Stromboli

Just have to start that this was made a few days after da' bike crash and therefore was done with one arm. Solo. It took a while but man...just imagine what I can cook with 2 arms!
Saute veggies for traditional one.
Meat, veggies, cheese, meat.
Pizza/calzone variety. Basically added tomato sauce.
Fresh out of the oven with gooey goodness.
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Free is Free

Wahoo! Last week in the mail I got this for free. One of the frugal blogs I frequent had this sign up, and I signed up and I guess it worked. Sure beats bills and junk mail!
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Office: Pranks

Love it!

Beets, Bears, Battlestar Galatica...

Monday, July 26, 2010

How To Be Frugal II

Being that I broke 2 things, (well, fractured my arm) and rule #10 of my "How to Be Frugal" post recently I'm taking another look at how to sustain some of those frugal goals.

  1. Stay healthy. I am still waiting to see how the bills add up for this crazy bike/arm accident, but I know it will be more than $0, which is what I would have preferred.

  2. Increase freezer emergency meals. Cooking with 1 arm, or when busy is NOT fun. (I'm able, but I prefer not to!) When the school year starts I'd like to know I've got x..y..z.. in the freezer ready to go.

  3. Use the garden. The zucchini are about to take off, green peppers & jalapeno are ready, as well as the 2nd batch of lettuce. I've spent so much time in this garden, I better be ready to use it. Recipes need to be ready, companion ingredients purchased, and any surplus frozen. And those bloomin' sunflowers sure bring in cheer!

  4. Take more pictures. For life, good. For blogging, good. For not wanting to type, BEST!

CSA Farm Box & Creative Cooking

While visiting my sister earlier in July I got to see her CSA farm box that she is splitting with a friend each week. You buy a farm share (hers is Earth Dance Farms in MN) and get their produce all summer. I think it is a fabulous idea and you get fresh local produce.

That being said some weeks are a lot harder to stomach than others. Pictured is the whole box, and usually they split it with a friend that went in on the share so it is only about 1/2 as...interesting. Beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, butterhead lettuce, kale, raspberries, basil, and wa...something (the white things in the middle). Let's just say the beets didn't work out well. At all.

One tricky ingredient that they got every week for at least a month was kale. She had a hard time figuring out what to make so we found a recipe for kale chips. Kale + olive oil + kosher salt + chili powder.

Actually a crunchy and surprisingly delicious snack. I don't know how healthy because of the oil, but it was etible.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

When Calling the Company Works

Shiny new pastry blender!

I love when things work!

One strategy to save money is to call companies that you use their services for to see if they can give you a better deal.

A while ago (year or more, but relevant to this post) my tea kettle broke that was 3 years old. Not a big deal but didn't seem like the whistle pour cover should have cracked. Emailed the company and they sent me a new teapot! Working item #1

I called our Internet provider recently to complain about dropped service we had been experiencing. I wasn't exactly wanting to drop the company but did want some compensation / better deal. Twelve dollars per month off was their offer which works for me. Working item #2.

While making a quiche my pastry blender had one of the 'blades' snap off and out of the handle. Another not that old product led me to the manufacture website where they had a form to fill out and (not so great, I have to mail in the product, good thing this wasn't the teapot) get a replacement. Postage to ship it was $1.90.

July = Garden Progress

1 of about 9 pumpkins I can see so far. The pumpkin patch has arrived!
2nd planting of butter lettuce, basil, and weeds. (oh the shame!)

Corn tassels

basil - probably by far one of my favorite things to grow

Jalapeno bloom. We ate our 1st one last night, as well as our first green pepper.

Here is a garden update:

Growth has been amazing! Days have been hot but there has been an unusually large amount of rain for Colorado so everything has been thriving. With a 10 day trip resulting in coming home with a slinged arm (or is that slung, or arm in sling) I've had to rely on some family to help catch up on weeding, tying up the tomatoes, etc.
Tomatoes, cilantro, zucchini, cucumbers, sunflowers, corn, rhubarb, dill, etc. is all doing so well. I think my next goal is garden video!

Computer Cord Organization

Saw this on another blog and loved it! I can't wait to try it at work or home.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Book: The Glass Castle

Recommended by: coworker and boss
Found book at garage sale for a quarter.
Read book while flight was delayed 4 hours.

The author, Jeanette Walls, describes the life of her and her siblings growing up with anything but normal parents. Her mom was a self-absorbed artist who claimed to want to foster her children to be self sufficient while truly she was not interested in taking care of them. Their father was a alcoholic who, though intellectually brilliant, couldn't hold a job or fulfill any of his wild fortune making schemes.

This left their 3 children caring for themselves from a very young age. The book opens by recounting how Jeanette was terribly burned while trying to boil hot dogs for herself and needed to be taken to and admitted to the hospital for six weeks. She was three.

She would have stayed longer in the hospital but her father believed doctors/hospitals/police/teachers/politicians/bosses/and any other variety of people were either run by the mob or so corrupt that they were the mob. So with this the three children and his wife moved around, from trailer park to abandoned train depot to car to shack living a pale shadow of life.

The parents frustrate you. The children inspire you. At a very young age (upper elementary) the children were self sufficient and by the first years in high school they were on paths to take them away from their current life and into a whole different world.

As a teacher this was a humbling and irritating book because of everything the children had to deal with. Lack of food, clothing, warmth, or responsible & traditional adults robbed them of a childhood. The risks beyond just starving were even more horrifying. While the parents claimed they knew their children would figure out how to survive any situation, being sexually assaulted, abused by extended family, and poor living conditions which in turn froze or burned them.

As a teacher, I am glad I read the book to get a glimpse of what chaos some students live with.
As a human, I'm glad to have seen the author overcome so many challenges to become successful. Yet I'm so frustrated that adults calling themselves parents can subject children to these conditions. Yet it seems to be proof that against all odds some people can rise up like a phoenix from their current lives and thrive!

Wanting a Dog

This is not a want ad.

I miss Cookie.

But I miss having a dog in general sometimes too.
Because they make cute faces like this.

And snuggle with you.

And on those blah days they force you to get off the couch to at least let them outside.

Or those big dogs that can play fetch for hours!

Sometime that perfect dog will be in my life. Someday.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh Baby! Garage sale version

I've had some fun shopping for a new genre of garage sale items. Sometwo people I know are expecting and I'm SUPER excited. (note: neither of these people are me!)

As always I'm always looking for anything for school that might be useful as well, so that leaves a pretty open category of items that I might.."need.."

Dollar storage container. For crafts, office, school, or a kid if necessary.

Since starting to write this post I decided to use it for our office. It holds most everything!

Great for school to help with character development in writing lessons. Or for a kid.

Could use these Lincoln Logs for some indoor recess. Or for a kid.

The most adorable hedgehog outfit ever. Didn't know there were hedgehog outfits but this one wins first place. Obviously, for a kid.

CRAZY good deal of baby clothes for $5. Not all for the same kid. Or if the wrong color for no kid.

Clean and airing out clothes. For a kid.

Cantaloupe Catastrophe

Fresh Cantaloupe.
Not my favorite but I could eat some happily.
Not 2 cantaloupes worth.
Thus why a recipe was found online to assist in the consumption of said cantaloupe.
Looked interesting. Had good ingredients.

Could be promising...


I should remember that I don't like cooked fruit of almost any kind. And I certainly don't like cooked cantaloupe. At first it seemed that perhaps the crust would just be edible. But then it tasted like cantaloupe and ruined the buttery sweet flavor. This was not a win!

I refuse to even take the time to write down the recipe here.
Go to if you really need to see for yourself just how much this was not a success!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Keeping your Injury frugal

After flipping over the handlebars of a bicycle, then having it flip on top of me in early July my health-injury-fruigality was put to the test.

This is what worked for might not work for you

  1. Wait to determine if the injury is bumps, bruises, etc. or something that needs treatment. I decided to sleep 1 night and reevaluate in the morning.
  2. Check with your insurance provider if you have a question about treatment. I was out of town and knew that might be more tricky with insurance.
  3. Urgent care or ER? For me the difference was several hundred dollars for what would probably be very similar treatment...a splint, brace, or cast. Urgent care it was.
  4. Keep your priorities straight. I had a helmet on, a bruise on my knee and a throbbing, stiff elbow. For an accident on a road bike on the road at a decently fast speed I am very thankful nothing else was injured. I got hurt near the Mayo Clinic, a highly esteemed hospital. But they don't have an urgent care clinic. So instead I went to a very small county hospital. I was in, seen, x-rayed, treated, wrapped with a splint and out in under an hour and a half. I don't get to say I received treatment at the Mayo Clinic but I did save several hundred dollars with what I can imagine would have been the exact same outcome.
  5. Think ahead. I left the urgent care with copies of my x-rays to take to my doctor back home. I was on the phone a lot with my insurance, doctors offices, etc. to have a treatment plan when I got back home. I also realized I will very likely have a cast on my arm for well over a month and that alters my daily life a lot. Started figuring out how to stock up on big bags for my cast when I shower, meals I CAN cook with one hand to avoid eating out etc.
  6. Do what the doctor says. Adding anything to this injury is the last thing I want to do. Doing it right and following the first time will always save money, time, pain, and frustration.
  7. Don't waste time. Most tasks take me at least twice as long to complete one handed. I'm trying to choose what needs to be done very carefully.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Edit: Typing divided by 2

So... blogging while I have to type with 1 hand is different. As are most other daily tasks now that my left arm is all wrapped up.

Will post picts sometime.

Really excited to get a haircut today...maybe they can cut my hair to make up for not being able to do it beyond a comb or headband!

Also asked a stranger to open a can of tomatoes with a can opener outside today. Just keeps getting more exciting!

The real cast is supposed to happen on Monday.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Free Race = Running Motivation

A Tuesday on Target: I ran twice this week. A tough goal but 2x this week helped me feel like it is possible.

I'm still trying to figure out how to get pictures to load in the order I would prefer in Blogger so this is a bit of a backwards post.

Important information - I ran twice this week. I always don't want to tell people because then they will know that I haven't run at all for a LONG time, am slow, and probably will have a tough time keeping on track to continue running. So this is my accountability. I ran, and would like to keep running a bit more frequently. Then I can have delicious berry, pineapple, yogurt and oat smoothies!

Purple pink awesomeness!
Race Start in MVP

The 1/2 mile turn around. I love running in Monument Valley Park!

The little guy that I ran with for about 1/2 the race. It is always a bit disappointing (like when this picture was taken) that they can be so fast but then my teacher mode kicks in and I'm so proud of kids that work hard and exercise!

My running accountability and smoothie consumer friend. Glad you made me get up on Saturday and run!!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Fun

Time with family on the 4th, fireworks, and of course food were all a part of the day yesterday.

I got to use my new-to-me cake pedestal (which I love because for tarts it collects the crumbs and of course looks amazing) for my browned butter fruit tart. I was aiming for a red-white-and blue theme but the red plums I bought were NOT ripe so I went a colorfully different direction.

The tart tasted great but also had about 3 sticks of butter between the filling and the crust. I don't think the fruit topping covered the fat content. Certainly a recipe to keep in mind for parties that are not at home and where everyone only gets one piece!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Flashback Friday - Water balloons

While cleaning this week I found a package of water balloons, and proceeded to head outside and fill up a bucket of those over sized jelly bean colored balloons of fun. As of yet I haven't had anyone to throw them at (or been willing to risk destroying some one's cell phone) but I'm waiting...

Remember waiting for your mom to fill them up while you stood there in your swimsuit ready to run into the backyard and attack who ever was there? Then we'd have a few hours on our blue slip'n'slide with soap and cold water. My parents have a small well that provided our 'play' water. The well didn't go down very deep and therefore wasn't necessarily pure water that we could drink. I always would end up with water in my mouth and wonder if something might happen to me. That fear was never enough to stop playing in the water.

Ah, fond memories of summertime.

Blog Goals

Nothing fit's every set of rules perfectly. But I like making rules and trying to organize anything I can. So here I go for my blog...

Management Mondays - Keeping life under control and taken care of. AKA the to do list.

Tuesday on target - Setting goals and reaching for the stars. (at least until Thursday)

Wednesday Wins! - Great things can happen on a Wednesday, or any day but I'll write about it on Wednesday.

Thursday's with Thor - Limiting myself to complaining (only if necessary) once a week. Thor is the mythical Norse (you betcha!) god of thunder. His Mjöllnir, was the weapon of choice, while mine will be witty sarcasm or a version of SNL's Really!?!

Flashback Friday - Everyone needs to be reminded of the good ol' days. Or the not so good days. Or a place to capture those flashbacks. Friday's the day!

Smart Move Saturday - Everyone needs to brag once in a while.

Silent Sunday - Everyone needs a day of rest. Hopefully I'll remember to do that.

Miracle of Life - Elephant Style

To all you squeamish people out there, maybe don't push play. Came across this video from another frugal blog (I don't know what this had to do with being frugal, but hey, it's cool!)

I love the nature that God created. It is amazing!!!!

But if you are a little bit curious, here are important words to consider:

  • elephant
  • birth
  • elephant mom's version of the NICU
  • good ending