Category: Crafting

February Reading

Actually managed to get all my goal reading for February done!  Since having a kid, I never seem to have any reading time, but I’m trying to make a change.  To start, we’ve cut down our TV time and are no longer watching any in the evening until after Autumn is in bed.  As a result, we’re reading aloud almost every single night.  I made a list of books I would like to read each month, along with a read-aloud.  So far, we have done the read-aloud books for February, March, April, and have started May’s!

What did I read?

Organized Simplicity – I’ve got to admit that after the first couple chapters I was ready to lay this one aside.  It seemed a bit over the top, but I kept reading.  Largely because I was on the treadmill at the gym with nothing else to read on my new Kindle.  And as I continued to read, I not only started to appreciate the writing more, I also started to feel convicted and get some good direction.  We’re slowly trying to work through some of the activities and challenges presented in the book.  (While I can’t take off 10 days to completely declutter and clean my house, I am trying to get it done…just in baby steps.)

The Billionaire’s Vinegar – This is one of those books that I’ve been “in the middle of” for a long long time.   I decided this was the month to finish it.  A fascinating non-fiction story of people with ridiculously large amounts of money that are willing to spend huge amounts on very old wine…and the man who takes them all in with fakes.  I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had known a little more about the subject of rare wines, but the plot was compelling, if at times a bit long.  And, hey, it’s finished!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – This was the book group pick for this month. I did enjoy this book, but it is not one of my favorites.  While the mystery and story were fun, unexpected, and well-written, I had a very hard time liking ANY of the characters involved.  I assumed from the beginning of the book that the protagonist, an 11-year-old girl, had Asperger’s or something similar, but maybe not?  She was obsessed with chemistry and, while her character was very interesting, I couldn’t really identify with her. The family was very dysfunctional and the sisters treated each other very poorly.

Homer Price – Our read aloud for this month. This is just a fun book that I loved as a kid.  Funny, charming, off-the-wall adventures of a boy growing up.  DH read parts of this to Autumn as well, and I have to say his version (with voices) was a lot better than mine.  He also caught a lot more of the jokes dealing with classical characters than I did. 🙂





We have been enjoying plenty of produce from the garden lately!  To be honest, the cherry tomatoes rarely stay around for more than a few minutes, as Autumn LOVES them, and steals them off the vine and gobbles them up before they even get inside. We’re also getting random late asparagus and yard-long beans which are delicious!  FIL gave us a bucket of small peaches which are quite yummy, but most of them were very buggy, so ended up in the compost.


A new grocery store opened up in our town and was running several in-store specials.  I stocked up on brick and string cheese, as they were .75 cents each.  I’ve been waiting for a cheese sale for MONTHS.  Also, brats and sausage for .99 cents a pack. Great for the grill. 🙂


Oh, and markdown ground beef and .99 cent cantaloupe, too!


We also got quite a bit of produce from the farmer’s market.  As mentioned before, I don’t calculate this in, as it’s more of a barter system.


Strawberries and blueberries got eaten up before I could get a picture. 😉


Harvested white carrots from our raised beds this week.


And garlic, too!


And some more yard-long beans.  Will definitely plant these again next year- so so good!

Unfortunately, all this stocking up on cheese means I went way over budget this week.  Leaving me only $8 in the budget for next week.  Can I do it?















Thanks to Matt for grabbing the camera and snapping a few pictures or I wouldn’t have any this year!

A couple days before Easter I decided we needed a day off from school and we headed outside in the morning.  Autumn played in the sprinkler (which was also watering the garden)…

…while I played around with some vintage sheet music…

But then she saw all the gluey mess and had to get in on the fun too!

So we made nests and eggs out of vintage sheet music and bits of paper lunch sacks.  And, of course, lots of messy glue.

And the nests made the perfect candy and egg bowls for our Easter celebration!

Okay, so I see these all over etsy and love the look, but not so much the price.  I ran across some rolls of birch bark at a park store on clearance and snatched them up.  This birch bark is NOT as pretty as the vases you can get on etsy, since it’s made of bits and pieces of birch bark glued to fabric.  If it were a whole piece of birch bark I would be happier, but these will work. 🙂

I used some cylindrical bottles and an old straight-sided vase, but wanted a shorter vase, too.  So I used some tin cans!

Cleaned and peeled off the label, then used some tape to completely cover the sharp top edges.

Then I cut out felt circles and glued them to the bottom so they wouldn’t scratch any surfaces.

Then I got out the glue gun and got started attaching the roll of birch bark.


Lamp Makeover Candidate?

Isn’t it just LOVELY?  Don’t you just LOVE that cracked and broken plastic shade?  And that GORGEOUS faux marble?

Um, no. Makeover coming up.

Spring :-)

The shelf above the couch.  I left up the window frame and wreath because I just love it still and then added a bunch of bits and pieces I’ve collected.  The silvery vine garland is actually a Christmas clearance item, but looks perfect for spring anyway. And super cheap of course. 😉

DH bought me the bird tag and platter for Valentine’s day – he happened to remember that I liked them and they showed up here as a surprise. 🙂

I made the birch bark vases! Not as pretty as I was hoping for, but they work.

DD brought me the little branch of pear blossoms in a mason jar the other day – so sweet!

The birds are spray-painted brown and then cream and I rubbed off the edges to make them worn-looking.  The birds and the moss-covered stones are dollar tree finds from last year. 🙂 Thrifted “eggs” and vintage doilies, too.

Changes for February:

-$25 per week (up from $20) – running low on meats/proteins, so I think we need a little wiggle room

-$10 per week toward garden fund, $15 per week toward beef purchase

-no longer counting dog and cat food in total

-free after rebate items will only count tax (as long as rebate is sent off right away)

How we did this week:

I went over budget this time. 😦  Which means we are on a much stricter budget to make up for it next week.  We ran out of several must-have items this week, so that’s why the total was higher.

Didn’t get pictures of most of it, but here’s what we got this week:

Produce: 1 bag baby purple potatoes(FREE a/c), 2 bags fresh baby spinach, big bunch of markdown bananas, 3-lb bag organic apples, 2 large onions

Drinks: 4 Gatorade (FREE a/c), 6-pk of Pediasure (FREE after rebate)

Dairy: 2 dozen eggs, 4 four-packs yogurt (FREE a/c), sour cream, 2 bottles half&half

Frozen: 2 whole fruit sorbet,  6 ice cream (had to use up drugstore credit before it expired)

Canned: 27 cans ro-tel (FREE a/c)

HBA: 2 toothbrushes(FREE a/c), mineral foundation

Other: 3 bags bagel chips (FREE a/c), 2 bags organic corn chips, 6 balance bars, 4 big bags M&Ms for valentines, baking soda, kitty litter (FREE after rebate)

Total Spent: $30.06

Total Saved: no idea, but it was a lot

Next Week’s Budget: $19.94

Goals for 2011

Okay, so I know this is way later than most people are posting, but with DH’s job, our year tends to start in late January instead of January 1st.  He works a LOT in November and December, since he’s in retail. We take some days off in the middle of the January as our “holiday” and take time then for a mini vacation and usually a nice long planning session with DH.

We planned out a lot of things and made lots of resolutions, but the two I want to share now are:

1) Do/learn a new thing each month. I have way too many projects I want to do and things I want to learn that I never get around to doing.  I think I can handle one thing a month.  The next few months: January – learn to hem pants.  February – sew curtains for kitchen. March – make birch bark vases.

2) Do a “photo shoot” of DD at least once a month.  I’ve found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures lately.  I know I won’t be able to commit to a project 365 or something like that, but I’m  sure I can take a bunch of pictures at least once a month.

And since deciding on those goals I’ve gotten both done for January!  I hemmed five pairs of pants using two different types of hems (all learned from watching youtube videos), so DH has a whole new wardrobe. 🙂  And I got in a little photo shoot of DD the other day at the playground.

So after debating for a while, we decided to take vacation week completely off of the challenge. It was just too much to try to keep track of when out of town. So I’m acting like it never happened.

Didn’t take money out for my goals and didn’t track spending.  So that makes last week #3.  I will be continuing this challenge through the month of February as well, but may change up a few things.

I didn’t get pictures this week at all, but bought the following:

-4 yo-plus yogurt 4-pks

-1 bunch bananas

-8 whole fruit sorbet

-1 coke 12-pk (free item coupon)

– 1 bag organic tortilla chips

-1 bag cat litter

-8 cans rotel tomatoes

-1 big tub plain yogurt

-1 dozen eggs

-3 bags cornmeal

-4 pouches gatorade (DH likes these before long runs)

-1 pack tofu

-1 bag cough drops

-1 cucumber

-1 sweet onion

– 2 heads red/green leaf lettuce

– 1 bottle of hair gel (paid full price because we ran out – yikes!)

Total Spent OOP: $21.02

Total Saved: $52.83

Leaves me with .32 cents left over from last time, so next week’s budget is $20.32