Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Start of the Great Clothing Purge 2011

I have too many clothes.
How do I know?
I know this because tonight I folded/hung three laundry baskets of just MY clothes.
And, I couldn't put two entire baskets of them away, there was no room in my closets, or drawers, or under the bed storage containers, or seasonal clothing racks.

So, I decided to do a mini purge!

I limited myself to 1 hour, and this was my technique:

1) I opened each of the 6 drawers in my bedroom  that have folded shirts, and pulled out any shirts that I know that I haven't worn in at least the last two years. If I didn't like the way that the shirts made me feel, or the color, or the style, or the fit, they went into either the donation pile or the pass along pile. If I was on the edge, they went back in the drawer
 (for the present time.)

2) Then, I went through my "short sleeve" closet, followed by my "long sleeve" and work clothes closet with the same technique.

The work/dress clothes were harder to part with, so I tried things on that I couldn't make a decision on while it was hanging on the hanger. I modeled it for Scott and E and their opinions decided the fate of the item.

I found a dry cleaning bag containing two shirts in the back of one of the closets. Can you see the date on this dry cleaning ticket?? Look close, it says 10/14/2005!!

2005, REALLY??

These two blouses have been in my closet in the dry cleaning bag, untouched for 5-1/2 years!!!

I haven't gone through all of my shoes, pants or skirts,or purses yet, but this was a successful purge.

I managed to part with 27 shirts, 1 sweater, 1 cardigan, 2 skirts, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of flip flops, 1 bra, and a partridge in a pear tree!!

The shoes were just casualties that I found on the bottom of my closet, I haven't even started purging my shoe collection yet ,and the lace bra, although a sexy beauty,that I paid way too much money for, (probably 5 years ago) was soo uncomfortable!

And, I have realized that I need to do this on seasonal basis. This was just a quick purge, but I plan to do a more thorough job very soon!

I could not believe some of the clothes that I found, shirts that I wore prior to having my son, who is now 7, a skirt that I wore to my senior music concert (in 1994), jackets with shoulder pads, REALLY???!!

Now that I have started this, I can't wait to take a "real" look at my wardrobe. I feel like I need Stacy and Clinton from "What not to Wear" to provide some intervention! (If you feel the urge to nominate me, I really do need new clothes! ) JUST SAYIN' joke

Seriously, what are the odds of something from 7 years ago still being stylish today?? And why do I have a container of maternity clothes from 2003 in a container in the basement?? Can you say Hoarder??

Not for long!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mail- the kind that shows up in a "real" Mailbox


I love getting mail!
I love all types of mail! (Except bills)
 I love coming home opening my mail box and finding envelopes with
 "my" name on it!
 I especially love unexpected mail.

When I got home from work yesterday I had a lot of mail!
A couple of bills (Boo!),
a new Mini Boden Catalog (love Boden),
a Baby shower invitation,
a "thinking of you" card
(very random- and very LOVED-thank you, you know who you are even though you are not a follower on my blog, and I think that you may still read it- STALKER!),
a box from WALMART (What the heck?),
and a box from Valspar!

(OMG, how many times can I possibly type "mail?")

I don't typically shop at Walmart, so I had no idea what could be in the box! My dogs seemed to be overly helpful while I opened the package, to find sample Dog biscuits and a $1.00 coupon for the product!
Yay me, I love freebies more then I love mail. So to get a freebie in the mail= Winner!!

The dog treats are very cool..
1) Because it was a free treat for my 4 legged babies
 2) Because it was a breath freshening bone, and my pups def have bad breath, 3) It was shaped like a star- cool!
 4)It came with a coupon,
5) I don't recall requesting it!!

I also received my Free Valspar Paint Sample Kit today!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bella Bella Bella

There is a store, about thirty minutes from my house that I have been wanting to visit for over six months.
It just has never been convenient, since they are closed when I  get home from work, and the weekends have been crazy with the holidays, and events. So this weekend, was a perfect time to visit.

The store is called Belle Patri, which translates to "Beautiful home" They sell new, antique, refurbished, and consignment furniture and accessories. They also sell home furnishings that were used in model homes and staged condos.

I love this store, and it is one of my new "must visit WEEKLY once a month" places.

They have the most adorable "gift items" for hostesses, and girlfriends, and neighbors, and I loved all of the home decor accessories. I was talking with the ladies that work at Belle Patri, and they said that they are very particular about the consigned pieces that they accept, and that a lot of the large furniture pieces are treasures that the owner has collected, refinished, and finds on her own.

We fell in love with this little desk and chair, and it is now a new fixture in our kitchen!
We paid a fair price, not a Goodwill price, but not an antique price. It was $81 for both pieces.
What do you think?

Here is a sample of some of the current inventory in the store...be prepared to drool!!

Ohh Ahhhh....can't wait to go visit Belle Patri again!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Treasure Hunting

Yay Saturday!! And there were no Birthday parties, holiday celebrations, weddings, sporting events, or appointments. I had absolutely nothing planned for today! Wow! Maybe I should have clean the house...or maybe not!

Sounded like a great day to visit the Goodwill. It's been two weeks since my last visit. and I was Hopeing I didn't miss any treasures!!

My first spotted treasure was this caserole dish with it's lid.

It's not something that I would typically pick up, as I'm not crazy about the off-white color and orange flower combination, but I know that this is called Autumn Leaf. And, I know that the gold that lines the rim of the dish and lid, is real gold. And, I know that it is a highly collectible Antique piece.

I know this because my mother in law spent many many years and many many dollars collecting Autumn leaf.
She would be very proud of my find. (She must have been looking out for me in spirit!)

It is a really great piece, in excellent condition. and, honestly, I think that this was mistakenly put on the regular shelf, as it would have gotton at least $60 in an antique store or if it was inthe auction case.

But, I only paid $6!!

Next, I saw this sewing table. I really liked the lines,and knew that it would/could be a great accent piece, but I didn't buy it, it was marked for $30 and I think that it's too much for Goodwill to charge.

I love globes, and this beauty was sitting on the floor, calling out for me to buy him for $4.50!! It's old, but I don't know how to tell the age of a globe other then by looking to see which countries are missing or called other names.

And, I HAD to buy these kids chairs. They are painted baby blue, but they will be a future project, which will be sanded down and I will custom paint them, and gift them to two very lucky little friends of mine. Not bad for $5 each!

Scott got two vinyl records, for $1 each, and he bought 2 brand new 12 cup muffin
tins for $4 each.

Before we left, I spotted this lamp. (I didn't buy it, but had to take a picture to show my mother) I had this exact lamp in my nursery when I was a baby. The clown should have been holding a bunch of balloons, which were missing but it was identical other then that!! And, it was in great shape.

All in All, it was not a bad day at the Goodwill!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Have a Lucky Day Today!

Happy St. Patty's Day!

(Subway art courtesy of eighteen25)

I think this little guy is pretty cute!
(That thing under his moustache is supposed to be a pipe, but the photo is a weird angle)

I made this leprechaun out of a toilet paper roll and scrap paper last night while watching Million Dollar Listings.
Have you seen this show?

The realtor was 26 years old and sold a house for 16.5 M-I-L-L-I-O-N Dollars
(That's right, say it again, with your best Dr. Evil voice while putting your pinkie finger on your bottom lip)

16.5 MILLLLLLL      ION          Dollars!

Did I mention that the buyers paid Cash for the property?
Did I also mention that the 26 year old realtor made over $450,000 in commission??

I'd say that both parties involved are LUCKY!!

(I on the other hand felt pretty lucky that my toilet paper roll and scrap paper turned into something kinda cute!- Not lucky like I just had 16 million dollars in cash to pay for a home, or lucky like I just showed a house to a client's rep, and sold it site unseen and made $400K for a days work....But lucky all the same!)

I wish you LUCK for today!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Coupons are worth Clipping!

Why in the world have I not been using coupons??!!

Go ahead say it, in your best Homer Simpson voice,


I mean, I use the free item coupon with purchase from Bath and Body Works, and I use the 20% off coupons for Macy's, and the 15% off coupons for The Children's Place, and I use the $5 off coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond, but why have I not been using coupons for regular Everyday purchases?

I have found sooo many money saving techniques, and rituals out there in Blog land, and I'm going to share a couple of tips with you...

Target and BJ's

Did you know that Target and BJ's issue their own coupons to be used in their stores?
If you have not joined their mailing lists, get on them!! Both stores mail coupon booklets to customers, but Target also has printable coupons on their website. Some of the Printable Target coupons are Target use only, but some are Manufacturer's coupons that you can use anywhere.

Also, both of these stores accept Store issued coupons
in addition to Manufacturer's coupons for the same item.

For example,

Glade room spray $1.99
In the Sunday paper, there may be a coupon for:
$1.00 off of Glade Room Spray
Target's website may have a  Target coupon for  $.75 off the same item
you can use BOTH coupons, making your cost $.24

For store coupons, many times, there is no size requirement,
so travel size products can be purchased for free.
Last week I printed a coupon from Target for $2.00 off a "Target Brand" cold/headache relief product.
The 24 count Target Brand Ibuprofen was only $1.97....my cost ZERO FREE NADA  

And, I had a coupon for $1.50 off of Target brand mouthwash.
The small bottle was $1.49
Yet, another FREE product!!!

 And, did you know that coupons can be used on CLEARANCE items???
Always check the end caps at Target, you can get expensive products for pennies when using coupons.
(Esp. on make up/skin care/hair care items)

I also didn't understand the whole DOUBLE COUPON thing at the local grocery stores.

Grocery stores will double the amount off on a manufacturer's coupon, usually up to a $1.00 discount
For example, this is the policy for the store that I frequent:
Weis coupon policy as per email from Customer Service 12/09.
  • Weis will double 4 like coupons per order.
  • Coupons are doubled up to $.50 (amount doubled may vary from store to store depending on local competition)
  • Coupons that are $.50 to $.99 will be redeemed for $1.00.
  • Coupons over $1.00 are at face value.
  • Internet coupons are accepted.
  • Free Internet coupons are not accepted.
  • Internet Coupons over $5.00 will not be accepted.
Here are a few great sources for coupon offers:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Did you say, "Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Brownies?"

Disclaimer: Let me start this post by saying that I am not a sweets junkie. I like something sweet every now and then, but my life does not require a daily dose of ice cream, cake or chocolate.

I do love peanut butter, and chocolate plus peanut butter is just pure awesomeness. So, when I saw the recipe for my favorite dessert, Brownies, plus peanut butter, I just had to try it, and let me just say, I Loooove this treat!  It's not super sweet, but hits the spot!

O-M- G!
That's short for Ohhhh Maaaaaaa Gawd! Yum-o (Thanks for that phrase along with EVOO Rachel Ray!)

I found this recipe on the Hannaford Foods Website.

If you like Peanut Butter and chocolate, and Brownies, start printing this recipe now!!

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line an 8" square baking pan with foil so that the foil comes up the sides of the pan and overhangs the dish (see picture below)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. When it's melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the two sugars, then the peanut butter, until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Let stand to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl. whisk the eggs, then whisk in the vanilla. When the peanut butter mixture has cooled, stir it into the eggs until smooth and incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt next, mixing until incorporated. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chunks and peanut butter chips.

Spread the batter in the prepared aluminum foil lined pan, smoothing to the top.

Bake for 35 minutes

Place on a rack to cool.

When brownies are cool, (about 15 minutes after then come out of the oven), turn dish over onto cutting board, and brownies and foil will slide out of  pan.

Remove foil, and slice brownies into 16 squares (or more, depending on the size chunks that you want)


This just begs you to have a nice tall glass of milk along side of it!! Yum!

********PERSONAL TIP*******

I want to offer a personal tip to make cooking, esp. baking easier. Since I am not a cook, and just really learning how to prepare meals, I have learned that the best thing that you can do before starting a recipe, is to not only have all of the ingredients out on the counter in front of you, but to have each item measured out in a separate container ready to be used! I measure all dry ingredients such as flour, sugars, liquid ingredients that are more then a spoon measurement (ie. 1/3 cup of milk, if applicable), and ingredients such as cheese, etc. I also place the measuring tool that will be required for each step out on the counter by the mixing bowls, or spice, or liquid.

This may sound a little OCD or a little overkill, esp when it comes to having to wash the dishes, but for me it works. I never find myself having to rummage through the utensil drawers, or trying to measure something that needs to be added to something simmering on the stove.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday Dinner- Baked Ziti

My grandparents are Italian. When I was a kid I remember them making homemade spaghetti noodles for Sunday dinner. They are in their 80s now, and still make homemade sauce. And boy is it good!!!

It takes the two of them many hours to create their homemade sauce. (And, honestly who has hours to make sauce when you can get carry out or buy it in a jar) They each have their own jobs when it comes to the creation, and they make a huge batch, portion it, and freeze it. I have never tasted sauce as amazing as theirs. (And I have been handed down the recipe- and have actually made it once, but it was time consuming!)

But, this recipe is a Cheaters Italian dinner. Nothing about it was difficult, except going to the grocery store on a Sunday to purchase all of the ingredients!

The recipe that I used/altered is from Joy's Hope blog. And, it is referred to as "Cheater Cheater Baked Ziti"
Sounds like something I can do!!


1 lb of tube pasta
1 lb of lean ground beef
 (I prefer ground turkey, but unfortunately it was not on sale this week, so beef it was)
2 jars of red sauce (I used Hunt's Four Cheese)
1/2 cup Half & Half
Shredded Mozzarella
Parmesan Cheese (I used 3 Cheese Italina Mix, Romano, Par., & Asiago)
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Parsley
Onions (Or Onion Salt)
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Brown & drain Ground Beef. (I use 97% lean ground beef)

Prepare Pasta according to package.(Tip- add a little salt and olive oil into the water)
While beef is browning, and pasta is cooking, put 3/4 of your red sauce in a pot. Add half & half, italian seasoning, Fresh chopped garlic, fresh chopped parsley, Onion or Onion Salt, and a handful of the Parm mixture. Simmer on low heat until your pasta is cooked.

Add drained  ground beef to the sauce mixture, and stir until evenly coated.

Put drained Pasta into a 9X13 baking dish.

Pour sauce/meat mixture onto the pasta,

then sprinkle parm cheese on top. Cover with Mozarella Cheese.
We love Mozarella, so I use a lot!! (But the receipe calls for 2 cups)

Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 35 minutes.
After 35 minutes, remove foil, and cook for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

Mozarella should be slightly brown/golden, and sauce should be bubbling when ready!

Let this cool for about 10 minutes prior to serving.

I always make extra sauce to pour on top of the portions when served. . (I use the remaining 1/4 of the red sauce, add parm cheese mixture and some half and half)

I made homemade Brazilian Cheese Bread with the Ziti. It was just ok, and I am not going to share that recipe, as it cost too much money to make, and didn't turn out as good as expected.

I would serve this with frozen Texas Toast Garlic Bread in the future!


Me- Pros:EASY PEASY recipe, great taste, lots of leftovers
        Cons: Way too much food for 3 of us, I need to adjust portions or have people over for dinner
Scott- Very good taste, "I'm getting used to you cooking on the weekends"
E- "Mommy, can I have more, this is really good!"
J- E's friend was over for dinner..I really like it, I think my mom has made something like this before!

This is a keeper recipe that will be used again!         

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hamburger Sliders- I cooked again!

So, how many Pampered Chef parties have you been to? I've been to a lot. A couple of years ago, I swear I was going to at least one "home party" every two weeks. They were for jewelery, or cooking supplies, or food products, or purses, or cleaning supplies, or home decor, or Tupperware, the list goes on and on.

I have to admit, anything and everything that I've purchased from home parties, I have actually used, except, some of my Pampered Chef items are still in the original boxes. I only buy items that I think that I will actually use, but since I am not really the chef in our family, I guess I tend to buy based on that concept that I will actually cook a meal now and then.

So, it is my goal this year to not only cook more, but to declutter my house of things that I do not use or need. And, with he price of some of the Pampered Chef items, I have decided that I need to find a reason to keep the food prep items that I have purchased..

Today's meal, made by me, with an altered recipe given to me by the Pampered chef rep, was for Hamburger Sliders, French Fries, and my homemade deviled eggs.

Ingredients for sliders
1-1/2 # Lean (97%) ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of fresh parsley (I had to use dried, I thought that I had fresh, but didn't)
garlic cloves
small onion finely chopped
3 slices of cheese
1 pack of potato rolls dinner rolls

Pampered Chef tools to use if you have them:
Large Stonewear Bar Pan (I used)
Food Chopper (I used my own- electric, not a Pamp Chef product)
Garlic Press (I used- I love this Pamp chef item, and use a lot!!)
Cutting Board (not Pamp chef)
Pizza Cutter (not Pamp Chef)

Preheat oven to 450.
Chop Onion and Parsley with food Chopper. Mix together in a bowl ground beef, parsley, salt, onion, and press a couple of cloves of garlic into the mixture.

I had a little helper press the garlic!

I mix this by hand, it seems like it all blends better then by using a spoon.

Then, place the mixture onto the bar pan.

Now, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and spread the beef mixture to cover the pan.

In the meantime, I put a tray of frozen french fries in the oven to start cooking, they usually take 20 minutes to cook.

Take the plastic wrap off of the meat mixture, and place pan into oven and cook for 12 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.

While the meat is cooking, slice your dinner rolls in half.(I always forget that the are not presliced, and rush at the last minute to do this)

During this time, I also cut my American Cheese slices into quarters, and cut hamburger pickle slices in half.

I also whipped up a batch of deviled eggs while the meat was cooking.

Everyone knows how to make deviled eggs, but mine are always a big hit. I have a few basic ingredients, and one "Secret" ingredient. Wanna see??

Yellow Mustard
Dill Pickle juice
OLD BAY!! (It's a Maryland thing!)

Mix all of the above ingredients with the yolks to taste.

I sprinkle OLD BAY on the top for garnish too!

So, after 10-12 minutes, remove your beef from the oven. Be careful, there will be a lot of juice on the tray, and the beef will have shrunk away from the edges.

Drain the liquid off of the pan, and cut the huge burger patty into 12 squares with a pizza cutter.
I trim off the edges to make perfect squares, and save the scraps for my dogs!

Next, place the bottom of the hamburger rolls directly on the bar pan,  top with cheese quarter,place mini burger on next, top with a pickle slice and bun top.

Now, cover tray with aluminum foil, and place back into oven for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve with condiments, and Enjoy!!


Me- I think that these are really good. I ate 2 sliders, a deviled egg, and some fries and was full!!
Scott-  Ate 3, 4 deviled eggs, and french fries.He thought that these were Great, but could use more onion.(I limit the onion because I don't like it)
E- "These don't taste like McDonalds" He barely ate 1 uggh!!


Use the fresh garlic and fresh parsley. If you use dried parsley, use less salt.