First of all

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Christmas Mission: Operation Preowned Xmas

I've been mulling something over, and I am ready to commit.  As you all know, I'm like super green.  Neon Green, so green the Sierra Club calls me for advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint.  In all fairness though, my greenness is, in a large part, due to a lack of green backs!

What I have decided to do, as part of my green initiative, is not purchase anything new for Christmas.  Everything we give this year will be preowned/used/swapped for/crafted. I will be going to resale shops, hanging on etsy, ebay, paperback swap, thredup and so forth.   To keep me on track and on target, I am setting down some for my challenge and will post updates and picks on how it goes. 

What about the people I give gifts to this year?  How are they going to take getting someone else's treasures as a gift?  Good point.  On my side of the family, they won't mind--they are all pretty crunchy. My kids?  To be honest, let's see if they notice!  The man?  really he shouldn't get any gifts anyway as he has a well documented history of buying everything he wants and then asking me to return whatever I get him. For everyone else, I will have to make sure to put more time and effort into picking a gift than I would normally and that is why this is a challenge, right?  Can't make it too easy.

1. Buy no new stuff for Christmas.  Would something NIB purchased off Ebay be OK?  I say yes because it isn't new from the store.  It is still preowned.
2. What about crafts?  If it is a craft that is primarily re purposed then yes it is OK.
3. What about making a craft?  Same as purchasing a complete craft.
4. What about like giving cookies?  This is a great question, I am going to say that if I am making cookies to send to school or b/cause I am going somewhere this isn't a 'gift' and doesn't count.

Am I missing anything?  Let me know!  Do you know of a great resale shop?  Brick & Mortar or Virtual?  LMK!

The hardest part will be not doing Black Friday.  Oh I am so going to miss BF this year.  :-(

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And so how was your Tuesday?

If I was a crafty sort of girl, I would make a couple of these and use them around the house.  This was the featured craft project in my Martha Stewart email today.  Everyday there is some amazing and allegedly 'easy' craft.  Easy for Martha Stewart perhaps.  For me, no so much. 

Today I was mentally exhausted all day from the pleading, bargaining, and crying from Miss. Anna who was not happy about her consequences from the scratches all over the TV incident of yesterday.  According to Anna, who's story changed several time over the course of the evening and today, she didn't draw on the TV.  Anna was frustrated with some part of the Wii game she was playing on Sunday and scratched the Wii remote on the TV.  According to her, we never told her not to take objects and scrape/rub them against the TV screen. 

Long night, and Anna was one sad panda

The weather was meh again, so I went for a run and enjoyed the cool weather.  On my run I made a mental note to go check out the local resale (and antiques) shop. I've been making said mental note for about 8 years now. Today was different!  I actually went it, it was a perfect storm.  I had dropped Anna off at Brownies and the store was opened and as I drove by, debating on stopping, I saw people walking into the store.  So I figured, I could go in and check it out, without being the only shopper in the store, less pressure, since I have no extra money to purchase anything. 

I thought of it more as a nice opportunity to daydream about my Coffee Shop/Thrift Store.  What I learned was, as far as I could tell a bunch of different people have a small section of the resale shop and what they resale varies widely.  I also came to the conclusion that the owners of the shop should not smoke in or near the store for a couple of reasons:
1. It's tacky and doesn't speak highly of the goods in the store if you have a few large ashtrays on a ledge at eye level right outside the door to the business.
2. Used stuff is already not going to have the brand new smell, why compound it with the smell of cigarettes.

I still enjoyed my store daydreaming and came up with a few notes for my store.
1. no cigarette smells.
2. Unlike this location, I will allow returns for store credit.
3. I will have a public bathroom.* 
*not that I needed to use one,I am just of the opinion that if you are going to have a store, I am sure the store has a bathroom, so why not keep it decent enough for shoppers to use.

There were also many notices that the store employees hidden cameras to deter thieves. As a potential shopper, after 3 notices, I'm just starting to think you don't trust me.

Did I find any of my garage sale items at the local shop?  Not yet, though I wouldn't be surprised!  I practically gave away some items that would definitely have fit right in with the shop.

Another day is over, The Man is snoring, and all the kids are asleep. What's on the agenda tomorrow?  I'm doing a secret shop at a local sandwich chain!

This picture has nothing to do with anything above, I'm still reading the latest from George RR Martin and Jaime Lannister is my current favorite redemptive character. :-D 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Man Sometimes being the Mom Sucks

Someone in my house drew on the TV screen with a pencil.  I spent a few minutes searching my brain trying to recall when we had a preschooler visiting because surely no child in this house still draws on surfaces that are clearly not for drawing upon.

Yet someone did draw on the TV screen.  The not cheap old school TV but a TV with some sort of matte looking screen.  I bet you are wondering why would a second grader deface the awesome magical device that bring in to our home such amazing shows as Victorious, iCarly, and Dan the Dino.  You are no alone.  I don't know either.

I do know that someone who is in 2nd grade, knows better than to scribble on a TV or a wall or a table or in books.  So that someone is going to have to learn about the sort of consequences one might face when one decides to engage in property defacing.

Most unfortunately for both of us today, I am well aware of what the most effective consequence is for this behavior. The 2nd grader in question, who has been writing lists and using a calculator to figure out exactly how many books she can get with her $18 at the book fair this week, is not going to go to the book fair.

Some people are going to be miserable today.  The second grader who is going to miss the bookfair and me, I know this must be done and we'll both be better for it in the long run. 

It still sucks. 

  1. With that, I'm heading out for  run in the rain because I can!  And then I will have to head over to the Jewel and figure out what I'm making for dinner.  I'm feeling like a pork & root veggie stew would be quite nice today!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Garage Sale! Everything Must Go!

The theme of this summer for me was Reduce/Recycle/Get Rid.  I have ebay'd what we had that was of value.  I craigslisted the boys outgrown bikes.  I thred'd up boxes of kids clothes and I am now on the last day of Garage Sale-ing.

The Man just came back from his parents house.  He went over there to get a few boxes of items for the garage sale, to sell.  However what is happening right now is that he is going through said boxes and picking out items he thinks we can use.  Which is the complete opposite of my purpose.

Just between you and me, whatever he is putting in our house will be going into a box when he is at work next week.  Then that box will go to Amvets, Purple Heart or Goodwill.  I really should have made sure The Man was golfing.  I broke my own rules.  You can see my handy rules for reducing junk in your house below:

My patent pending rules to getting stuff out of my house:
Step 1:
1. While cleaning cull items to be re purposed. When I say re purposed I mean:
A. Can I sell it as part of an ebay lot?
B. Can I swap it on Paperback Swap or on thred up ?
C. It is a potential Garage Sale Item?
D. Decent enough to donate?

NOTE: very important to do while kids are at school and spouse at work.

Step 2:
Put items in boxes organized by if it is an ABC or D item.

Step 3: Leave items in my office.  Garage Sale stuff is usually in my office for 4-6 month before it is actually sold.  So, if anyone has a need or attachment to the item they have had a good several months to take it out of the box. 

Step 4: Have a garage sale. We are only allowed to have one garage sale per year in Hickory Hills.  So in this area it does make sense to consider a flea market space for say $20 if you have a fair amount of quality stuff.  Of course, it can be hard to know if you do have 'quality' stuff.  One mans treasure is another's trash!

Step 5: This one is key.  To make your life easier and to help ensure family doesn't start  secreting junk back into the house, try to have your garage sale when family members are not home!

Here is hoping that the sun shines for another couple hours! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bee Invasion at the Little Red Schoolhouse

By the time the second graders from Anna's class and another class whose teacher's name I don't know were done squirming on wooden benches listening to a naturalist give very brief history of the Little Red Schoolhouse the sun was out. My group of Anna, girl S and boy J and Lucy's Mom's group of three quickly blazed through the Nature Center and were ready for  hike.

Unfortunately, the gate to Black Oak Trail (aka the long trail)  was locked.  Apparently, road construction occurs in nature as well as on all our highways. So we hiked (aka the kids ran ahead and used their outside voices)  on the White Oak Trail (aka the trail not long enough to tucker out those kids). Sixty kids on two trails on a goregeous almost fall day.  From time to time, I was able to hold their attention with my limited and slighly embellished knowledge of Nature.  Other times I could have used an Advil--or two. Overall, I thought it was a great day for a hike, the kids enjoyed the Little Red Schoolhouse and I made plans to return for  long myself.

Before getting on the bus to go over to the picnic grove for lunch, we went into the Vistor Center for a pitstop.  A group was crowded around the help desk and one of the teachers was on the phone. A couple of boys had their shirts off, a couple of girls had ice packs.  My first thought was that someone must have fell on the trail and tripped the kids behind them causing a kid/wildlife trail pile up on the White Oak Trail. 

Nope.  A couple of the groups were at a small pond across from the beehives (the white boxy manmade kinds) and the scoop is a little swarm of bees came along and blamo! Parents and kids running willy-nilly swatting screaming and getting stung. Luckily no one was allergic, and all the stingees were troopers.  They dried their tears and everyone got on the buses and we headed over to the picnic for lunch.

The kids were starving, the sun was shining, and the picnic area was shaded.  The kids were skipping with joy.  Everyone sat down to tuck into lunch.  I brought a lunch for Anna and I to share.  We had yogurts and no spoons, carrots, crackers with cheese, and pretzels & cut up apples with caramel sauce.  The kids I was chapareoning had their lunches, J had some pringles and S had a cheese pizza lunchable.  S was just putting together her little pizza and J had eaten 1 pringle when the Bees Attacked!

Fresh on the heels of kids (and parents) getting bee stung--Bees descended everywhere.  You couldn't sit and eat. The poor kids who'd already been stung were crying, Anna was being over-the-top dramatic.  S tried leaving part of he food at the end of the table as an offering for the bees.   J packed his lunch up and ran around with other boys.  We loaded up the buses after a short lunch filled with bee-dodging and headed back to the school.  As Oragami Yoda would say: Comical it was.

Those kids won't forget that field trip.  Neither will the teachers.  Heck the bees might not forgot today for a while.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Emmylicious Cooking Day

For the last 1/2 hour I have been going through old blog posts trying to find my favourite soup recipe: Golden Winter Soup.  There has to be a way to search my blog w/o paging down all the posts right?  Well whatever that is, I don't know it.

So below you will find the recipe.  It's all made right now and so so good.  It's part of my Emmylicious cooking today.  Can you guess what show inspires Golden Winter Soup? 

Right! Game of Thrones.  "Winter is Coming"  for the Starks of Winterfell and Golden for the Lannisters of Casterly Rock!

Next I am making Cabbage Soup, that is a play on the required super thin figures actresses and actors have to keep in order to stay employable.  The recipe I found at all recipes required a bunch of stuff I didn't have like french onion soup mix, tomato juice, but I forged ahead anyway see below.

I also made Cabbage Rolls, why two cabbage dishes?  That is because 2 cabbages were included in our organic food delivery from Timber Creek Farms  !  I have no Emmy tie in for the Cabbage Rolls.  Wait, I am making one up right now. During Prohibition, cabbage rolls were a popular dish.  Boardwalk Empire on HBO is nominated for some Emmys!

Next up I am making Nana's Apple Cake.  Nana's Apple Cake is an ode to Mags Bennett on Justified--cake because I don't have any moonshine on hand to make Apple Pie Shots.

Lastly I am making Bountiful Corn Bread because it calls for creamed corn and I accidently purchased a can of Green Giant Creamed Corn instead of reg. corn when they were on sale last week at Jewel.  Corn bread matches the tone of my formerly fav. show True Blood which was ridiculously corny this season.

Golden Winter Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups sliced leek (about 2 medium)
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 12 ounces baguette, cut into 16 slices
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  • Preheat broiler.
  • Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.
  • Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil bread slices 2 minutes or until golden. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 1 teaspoon chives. Serve 2 bread slices with each serving. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
  • Wine note: This is one vegetable soup that can easily handle a lighter red wine. Stick with the French theme and look for bargains from Burgundy, like Louis Jadot Pinot Noir 2005 ($20). This wine has pretty red berry fruit, great balance, and gentle tannins that make it ideal for lower-fat dishes. The underlying earthy, leathery flavors bring out the rustic nuances of the potatoes and squash. —Jeffery Lindenmuth

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Had one of those A Ha Moments

Of course Oprah has A Ha moments, I on the other hand, have D'Oh moments a la Homer Simpson. This afternoon in the middle of another day of feeling completely awful even after having taken allergy medicine, I thought, maybe I have a cold.  Maybe, my allergies aren't really this bad, maybe, just maybe, I am sick.  Wouldn't be the first time, this happens..usually around the time the kids go back to school. 
Oh Hell, I have a cold.  So now that I have, changed up my self-medication I feel much better. If you like to know about good deals and giveaways, like I do, you have to check out the site "Deal"icious Mom she has the scoop on lots of good stuff!  So I put a link to her page down on my page if you scrooollllll down.

Last night I watched the series premiere of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I don't know if I am going to watch it this season. I find I can't relate to the RHOBH, which is strange because I've always felt that even though their lives were quite different than mine-I could easily relate to the other Real Housewives.  I've been watching the original housewives (Real Housewives of Orange County) since the first show.  I remember Bethanny before she was 'the' Skinny Girl (Real Housewives of New York).  I went on the crazy ride that was New Jersey the first season.  However when it comes to the RHOBH, something is missing. Are they too slick?  Are the other shows better at acting like they are not acting?  I don't know and the promo showing "Coming up this season..." gave me the feeling the RHOBH don't like each other either.  

The man will be super happy though, not suprisingly he doesn't care for any of the real housewives shows and I do have to catch him on a good day if I plan to watch it while he is in the room!

Storage Wars, on the other hand, is a show we can both agree on watching!  Who knew they could make a show about resale shops so interesting.  Everytime we watch it I start dreaming of my shop.

Trinkets & Treasured Tales.

That's my resale shop that also has new and used books and a small coffee shop where I have coffee shop drinks, yummy pastries and light lunch fare. We live either in a house on the same property or above the shop, and we have a great mountain & lake view.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Upgrades on Labor Day

I don't know if you can tell but, on my end here in the post editor, it's a whole new layout.  It's pretty nice.  How was your labor day?  Mine was a bit sucky.  High Weed Pollen.  Kids were pretty cranky too.  Lastly, it was one of those days where Patrick needed help with a project he should have done a couple days ago, so his deadline became mine.  This involved me nagging him to finish the project and lots of explaining why most of his questions I can't help with because they aren't questions about the project they are him asking me to do the project.  *sigh* homework on a holiday stinks!

Tom just got home a bit ago from taking Anna and Bryce with him up to the hospital to see his dad.  I was very suprised to learn that children are allow to visit at the hospital on Sundays and Holidays.  Who knew. 

Basically today was a very ho-hum kind of day.  The highlight of the day was using the new Tastefully Simple Tender Pot Roast Sauce to make a nice pot roast in the slow cooker.  Yum.  Would have been even yummier accompanied with some nice crusty bread and a glass of Merlot!  To bad for me, yesterday I decided to go back to using sparkpeople to track what I eat and so fun stuff like crusty bread is not in the 'calorie budget'.  Boooorrring Right?  I know! Just a funny kind of day. 

I am looking forward to my Tuesday, I'm going to go out and run even if the weed pollen is high and my office is almost back to usable space after serving as a resting area for potential garage sale items all summer!  Woo Hoo!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

So what is everyone up to this fine day?

Right, I know if you are in Chicagoland, it did rain, and now it's dark so maybe not so much a fine day.  On the other hand, it's Saturday and many people had the day off.

Around here, we have Anna's friend spending the night and the boys had to spend an agonizing amount of time today w/o media.  I know right?  The horror, I made them read and go outside.  I am terrible. 
Hubs spent the early part of the day golfing and then he went up to the hospital to see his dad for several hours.  Now he is on the phone with his mom.  He is now officially part of that tween generation. What's that you say?  Tween Generation?  That is when you have kiddos at home and you are also dealing with parents as well as working full time. Woe is me, how can I whine about the man when he is working hard to help out his parents.  It's not fair I tell you!

Okay enough with that sad tale. Since I am on a vacation, a self declared vacation, Tom picked up some Wendy's value menu food items for the kiddos and our sleepover guest and we are trying some chinese food tonight.  Something spicy.  Hopefully it is yummy. Today I had Artichoke & Spinach Dip , from Tastefully Simple, with Pretzel Crisps for lunch.  Two thumbs up on that lunch.  I would have had some watermelon, however all our watermelon was gone due to the kiddos! 

So along with the whole "I had to walk 2 miles to school" thing, recently Patrick was  giving me grief about tiny white seeds in watermelon and how that clearly showed that 'seedless' watermelons were not truly seedless.  I shook my head, he has no idea about what a true watermelon eating experience is at all! '

Now the kids are settling down and soon I will tell them to go to bed.  I know the boys are ready for sleep, they were up at the crack of dawn today, but I imagine it is too early to get Anna and her friend to settle in for the night.  Tomorrow I have no specific plans for the day time --wooo hooo!! The man is going to go golf and hopefully he will make it home in time that we will perhaps be able to go to the Naperville Last Fling!

Still waiting on my Chinese Food!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend.

Before I start typing my upbeat it's the last blast of summer little bloggy thing, can I complain for one moment?
Great thanks!
You know what is annoying?  Many things true.  Here is something I find annoying.  I've been devoting much time to going thru all the misc. stuff around our house and selling off what we don't use that has value left, swapping boxes of gently used stuff via (click this and you'll go there w/my referrer code) as well as boxing up a good 3 cubic yards of misc. stuff for Purple Hearts.  Everyday people who live here, come home to beds that are made, swept floors and laundry that has been put away.  I am sure you can appreciate how lovely that is to come home and see, right?

Ah but what do I get but someone acting a bit huffy about a basket filled with laundry that isn't washed yet.  It's 8pm on Friday night--I'm on my labor day weekend break.

I think I'm going to run with that one. I'm on vaca til Tuesday!  Home Coordination Managers Unite!  We get the weekend off too!

Im done with my whining now--wait, I do have one pretty uncharacteristic thing to say--if you know me you know I highly prefer summer to winter and like to wear flip flops as long as possible.  Nevertheless, this little heat wave we've had around here the past few days has me watching the weather maps and counting down to the  precipitous drop in temps from high 90s to high 60s we have been promised.  Give me that cold snap.  I'll happily throw on a hooodie.  I suppose I would be complaining less about the heat if I had gone ahead and put on the air conditioning....(stop laughing! LOL)

Tomorrow afternoon Al Gore is coming over to give me an award for being super environmentally friendly.  Really, he's because we've been line drying our laundry. And instead of buying new clothes from China for the kids for school, I did swaps via thredup.  And we only have one car instead of 2.  And I gathered up all the unused pencils the kids had all over the house from last year (christmas pencils, halloween pencils, and so on) sharpened those and sent them to school with those.  --funny how being environmentally friendly can be pretty close to the same as being frugal eh? But what has pushed us over the edge from being environmentally friendly to being AWARD Winning Super Environmentally Friendly with the Al Gore seal of approval is our backyard.

Our backyard is home to a very unique Natural Weed Species Refuge and Bug Sanctuary.  How did we achieve this one-of-a-kind landscape feature that balances our suburban aesthetic and forward-thinking?  Well I didn't plant the garden before we went to GA for a couple weeks (back when summer had just begun) because I didn't have anyone to come water while we were gone.  When we got back seemed too hot to start a garden, and the man only mows grass on a very as needed basis, so the garden became filled with native species of many plants AKA weeds.  So there you have it.  We are super green over here.

What's for eats this weekend? I don't know, but the man said something about burgers on the grill and that sounds like a job for me and the Tastefully Simple !!! The rest of the weekend I'll be reading A Dance with Dragons by George R R Martin.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Game of Thrones, Southside Chicago

Anna: ohhh it's hot in here.  It's so hot, it's a heat wave.
Me: It will cool off after tomorrow. What are our words?
Anna: Winter is coming, Go Bears!
Me;  Aye!  Winter is coming.

And speaking of Game of Thrones.  Thanks to the FB group Florish & Botts. for turning me on to this website!

In the Game of Food You Win or You Wash the dishes.... Inn at the Crossroads