Thursday, December 27, 2012

I WON!! Third Day Natural Soap

Three weeks ago, I got a really awesome email (Yea, I know I'm really behind in posting about this). 

Like any typical morning, I glanced at all my new email in my inbox and in one swift swoop, selected all the ones I knew were trash and hit delete.  Then I went through and read the rest of my emails. 

I was reading my email subscription from the Frugal Girl, "It’s been a busy couple of giveaway days around here ... The winners are Sam and Sharon. Congrats!  You’ve both been emailed." 

This was my reaction, all in thirty seconds: Sharon? Me? I did enter the sweepstake for Third Day Natural Soaps.  No... I went through my emails, I didn't see anything from Frugal Girl.  OMG, did I delete it thinking it was spam?  No, I wouldn't have.  SPAM FOLDER.  Lemme check.  There it is!!!  OMG, I WON!!  YAY!!!! 

Good thing, as my morning email routine, I would check my inbox and read my emails, before hitting 'Delete All' for my spam folder.   

So here it is, a few days later...

I got to choose two scented soaps from Third Day Natural for winning the sweepstake.  How perfect is that right?  KT and I love collecting handmade natural bar soaps. 

I selected Pink Grapefruit and Peppermint Tea Tree.  These soaps are so fragrant that I was able to smell it through the paper wrapper and distinguish which soap was which.  They smell so good.   

Since it's the holiday season, I decided to try the Peppermint Tea Tree soap first.  The scent is so pleasant and not at all overwhelming.  The soap contains tea tree extract, so it leaves my skin tingling as I'm lathering.  mMmm...  I can't wait to try the pink grapefruit. =) 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secret Santa 2012 - How to Make a Cutting Board

Last year, KT drew me for Secret Santa.  The rule was to make your Secret Santa present, and if you really can't make it, then the budget is $20 value. KT made me a snow globe of us on our wedding day.  It's awesome.  Right right??

This year for Secret Santa, I drew KT.  (Seriously, I think the drawing was rigged.)  KT worked so hard in making my gift last year that I knew I had to make him a gift in return.

We have been shopping for a cutting/serving board for KT for a while now and haven't been able to find something just right.  He wanted one that was unusually shaped. Something small to serve cheese or as a butcher's plate of pate, prosciutto, salami, etc.   So I'm making it with these simple directions.


Use untreated hardwood.  Since we're eating food on this, I want to make sure the wood is au naturel. I picked a red oak plank since it was already cut down the size I wanted.  =P


Sketch the shape of the cutting board.  I considered doing a random odd shape but I decided to give this board a more sentimental value.  I used the shape of Venice, Italy.  It is our favorite city from our honeymoon.  I decided to add the waterways which I will carve out later with a dremel.  We'll be using the blank side (sans canals) for any food cutting so it doesn't mess up the waterways.


Cut out the shape of board with a jigsaw.  I used a jigsaw before to cut out a doggie door a few years ago but we got rid of it because it didn't work so well (we used a Black and decker).

For this project, I (we) invested in a much nicer Bosch jigsaw.  I finally had to send KT to run some errands so I can finish this project.  This jigsaw works like a charm.  I was so happy with how well it cuts that I was grinning cheek to cheek.

I finished cutting out the shape in less than ten minutes.


Sand all sides and round the edges.  Some of the corners that I cut with the jigsaw were really rough so I sanded them down with a 150 grit sand paper.

I rounded the edges with the sand paper to give it a more finished look.


Use a dremel to carve out any special details or grooves.  I used our dremel to carve out the canals/waterways of Venice.  


Sand everything down with a 220 grit sand paper.


Rub mineral oil with a rag all over the wood to bring out the color and grains.  I got the mineral oil from Target for only a buck fifty!  Since this mineral oil is for consumption, it is safe to use on the cutting board.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Collect Charms

This is my travel bracelet.  Now that I'm looking at it more closely, it looks like a few charms might be missing...  I can't remember when exactly I started collecting charms but I like to collect them from places I visit.  I think it's a great reminder to me that life is more than these four walls.  

Most of the charms are from the trip I took with my friend Vikki three years ago.  We got the Jetblue All You Can Jet pass and we literally jetted all over the map for three weeks.  I think we got together two days before we planned on traveling, decided where we wanted to go, and booked everything in one night.  Two days later, we were off.

Since then, I collected quite a few more charms from our minimoon to Napa and our honeymoon to Europe. Considering how crowded my travel bracelet looks, I decided to make a charm necklace.

I decided to hang the charms in tiers so that they don't all bunch up at one level.  Here you can see the Mouth of Truth from Rome, the Stonehenge from Bath, and the Murano glass heart from Venice.  

In the second tier, I hung a bone shaped living locket that I picked up from a festival.  You can read all about the living locket here.  Also on the same tier are the Statue of David from Florence and the Eiffel Tower from Paris.  

It's a little difficult to see all the charms on the first tier.  Maybe I'll add another tier...  So far, I'm really liking it.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

24, 23, 22,...13 Days Before Christmas






Someone is getting this in their stocking stuffer so I can't show it.





Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekend 27 - Christmas Lights

I've been wanting to put up Christmas lights outside since Thanksgiving weekend but life's been hectic.  We picked up this moose (or reindeer?)  a couple weeks back and it's been standing there on our front porch all by its lonesome. (But cute right???  We got it from Target).  

This past weekend as we were coming home in the evening, I couldn't help admiring all the beautiful Christmas lights in our neighborhood and wished we'll get some lights up soon too.  As I stepped out with Sugar for our #mileaday run, KT sprung into action and put up our Christmas lights with reindeer and all!    

We actually didn't have enough of the icicle lights to go across the wall on the right with the single window.  I thought we can easily pick it up the next day from just about any store.  

First we went to Lowes since we had a couple items to return there.  Not a single box of icicle lights.  So we thought we'll find something at Walmart.  Again, not a single box of icicle lights.  There were plenty of the net lights and single row lights.  KT started wondering if maybe icicle lights are out of style and have been discontinued.  I wasn't ready to believe that.  So I thought they GOTTA have it at Target.  

When Target didn't have a single box of icicle lights too, I decided I better ask an employee.  Turns out these lights are so popular that they have been out of stock for weeks.  Thank goodness! Better to be out of stock because they're popular than to be discontinued.  That means we still might be able to find it at another store.  We stopped at another nearby Walmart - no luck.  Then Home Depot - they had hardly ANY lights left.  Big Lots- that's a no too.  Dollar Tree next door - we wished.  That's seven stores in two hours.  I was exhausted.  

We remembered seeing a Family Dollar store on the way to Big Lots so we thought we'll give it a try.  HOLY COW!!!!  They had a whole shelf of them!!!!!!!  WHOOHOO.  High-Five.  I thought this deserved a second high five so I gave KT another high five.  =))))  We were worried that the color of the lights won't match but as it turned out, they all matched perfectly.  (We bought a couple extra boxes in case a string of lights burns out and we can't find any replacements).  

So PRETTY!!  I LOVE the holidays!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tomato Basil Soup

We had a whole bowl of tomatoes from here and I've been craving tomato basil soup from Corner Bakery (it doesn't have cream!). 

I found this recipe online.  I tweaked it a little to use what we had on hand. 


Halve the tomatoes (I had about 15-18 tomatoes).


Toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper.  Bake in the oven at 425 F for about 30-45 minutes.


In a pot, saute 6 cloves of minced garlic with 1/2 tsp of chili pepper flakes in some olive oil.  Add in 28 oz of canned tomatoes, 1 tsp thyme, 1/3 cup of dried basil  (I didn't have fresh basil - the recipe called for 2 cups fresh basil), and 4 tbsp onion powder (or 2 cups chopped onion sauteed with the the garlic first).  Mush up the canned tomatoes and add 4 cups of chicken stock.  Let it sit over medium heat until the tomatoes in the oven are done roasting (about 20 minutes).  Stir occasionally.


Add the roasted tomatoes and juice into the pot.   Simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.


Puree and serve.