Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekend #25 - Thanksgiving

We didn't do much around the house.  It was Thanksgiving!  KT and I usually have our home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday, before the multifamily Thanksgiving meals on Thursday.  This year, KT and I had our Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day!  What a concept.  haha.

I love corn muffins.  Seriously, so good.

KT made wasabi mashed potato.  From scratch!  And he sprinkled in a lot of our home grown chives.  =)

And our turkey.  KT made the turkey for the last three years so this year I made it.  It's been a while.  Next year, I don't think I'll flip the turkey like the instructions directed.  It only made it messy and dried out the thighs.

We also had a little visitor on Thanksgiving night.  Here's Jack Daniels from the neighborhood.  His parents weren't home so we kept him for the night.  He and Sugar loves playing together but even Sugar doesn't have enough stamina to keep up with this little guy.  Jack was chasing her in circles for the longest time.  Finally, Sugar had to take a break. Jack was standing by, ready to play again.

KT brought in this kennel so Jack has a place to sleep.  Once KT set it down, Sugar darted inside the kennel to get away from Jack.  I guess she was tired of him wanting to play nonstop.  

The next morning, we put them outside to play.  It was like this all morning.  Monster follows Jack.  Jack follows Sugar.

For the rest of the weekend, we started putting out Christmas decorations.  That is until Monster decided to climb into one of the holiday boxes for a nap.

I think he just wanted some attention.  Cute little baby.

We left him in there since he was sleeping so soundly.

Days 1-7 #mileaday

Elise, one of the blogger I've been following, shared with her readers that she will be challenging herself again this year to run a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year.  She invited her readers to join her.  So I did.

A little background - I've been a runner throughout my high school years but was advised to stop because of joint pain.  Yea, at my age.  Anyhow, it was suggested that I stick to bicycling and swimming (no impact exercises).  So I decided to do the elliptical machine instead.  Ha-ha.  I figured there's no impact on my joints on that machine, and it is the closest to running that I can get.  It was going well for a period of time but then before I know it, the last two years of gym membership went down the drain.  Honestly, I'm not much of a gym rat.  I love running outdoors.

Anyhow, one mile a day can't be that bad...  I'm also committed to three days a week at the gym for weight training so my muscles will be better toned to handle the impact of pounding the pavement, and hopefully lessening any joint pain.  

Day 1 - I didn't start until Saturday after Thanksgiving.  #sugarbear is happily my running buddy.  #monsterbaby has his own joint pain so he's going to be sitting out on this for a while. Forgot to take a picture. =/

Day 2 - Look at her taking in the fresh morning air. I swear, she's So So So cute.  =) I gotta get a picture of her smelling the flowers to share.  She really does that.

Day 3 - I was worried I wouldn't be able to make it out of bed this morning to run before work.  But we did it!

Day 4 - We're getting into our strides.  

Day 5 - Hump Day. I decided to use a filter on instagram for this picture.  It was such a gloomy day so I wanted to lighten it up.  Rain was predicted for this day but luckily it held out until the evening time.  Sugar was excited to see our neighbor, the German Shepherd, ahead of us.  

Day 6 - Thursday.  It's still raining.  But we found a nice patch of fallen maple leaves to brighten up our wet morning. 

Day 7 - Happy Friday.  We stopped to admire the reflection of the tree in the puddle of rain. =) 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheap Produce at the OC Market Place

Last Sunday, we decided to use our free passes to the OC Market Place.  I love that place.  It's fun to just walk around in the nice weather and check out all the vendors.  For the fifteen or so years that I've been going there, I really took notice on how much the place has changed.  It's not as crowded as it used to be, both in terms of customers and vendors.  It used to be so lively that I couldn't see past the crowd of people right in front of me.  Some of the long time vendors are no longer there.  But one thing hasn't changed - the produce vendors!

Here's the tip: go at the end of the day on Sunday and all of the food vendors will drop their prices so they don't have to bring the food home and let it rot until the next weekend.

We bought this whole box of produce and the watermelon on the left for eleven dollars.

All the produce here was a bag for a dollar.  All the cucumbers, a dollar.  The three bell peppers for a dollar.  Bag of brocolli for a dollar.

A bag of tomatos, a dollar.

The seedless watermelon was a dollar. The strawberries wasn't that cheap, but it was a box for a dollar fifty. I forgot already, but I think the asparagus was 75 cents and the celery was 50 cents.

These mini pears was a bag for a dollar.

I was hooked on One Hundred Dollars A Month blog by a post about free produce earlier this year.  Mavis at One Hundred Dollars a Month really makes eating frugally fun.  Even though this isn't free, it sure is a whole lot better than even the sales at the supermarket.  Definitely something KT and I high-fived over.  =)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weekend #24 Wine Rack

I was really sick of looking at our bottles of wine sitting in our wine basket on the floor and in wine boxes.

So when there was a break in the rain this weekend, we hustled over to World Market to buy that wine rack we totally fell in love with last time we were there. It was 20% off and we had a coupon for an additional 25% off.

It fits perfectly in front of the cabinet here. Yea, I know it's messy but we'll get around to it.

It's sitting on top of the disfigured floor from here. KT ripped up the layers of plywood to find that there is only more plywood underneath.  I was going to put a big indoor plant right on top of it to hide this hiccup on our otherwise perfectly painted floors.  But this wine rack works just as well.  Oh, maybe we can throw that faux sheepskin under the rack to better hide the problem area.  We picked it up from Ikea when we were shopping for our shag rug.  I'll run it by KT tonight!

I was worried about Monster and Sugar knocking over the wine rack when they're running around playing. And Sugar has a tail that can go into torpedo speed when she's excited. So I made sure to secure it to the side of the cabinet.  It's nice and steady now.

Wah-lah! Feels good to finally have wine stored properly.

...Then KT reminded me that we have more wine in the spare room.  = )

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weekend #23 - Wall Collage

A while back, after we had finished painting our bedroom and moved all the furniture in, I decided to create a wall collage on this big blank wall opposite the bed.  I used to cringe at the sight of wall collages because usually the ones I've seen are busy and overwhelming.  But lately, I've seen a lot of tastefully hung collages that made me believe that it can, in fact, be done tastefully.  

At one of the trips to Ikea, I spotted all these colorful frames (like the ones from their website below).  Since our bedroom walls are white, I thought all these color frames will really add some colors to the space.  I would use black and white photos so we wouldn't be in color overload.  However, the more I thought of it, the more I realized that wasn't the look I wanted for the bedroom.  Also, KT will be doing black and white photos in the living room so I wanted to do something different.  

Flipping that idea around, I can go with muted frames, like black and white, and use color pictures.  I rummaged through all of the framed pictures we had lying around that we haven't found a home for yet and pulled out the ones I thought would work.  We have a lot of black brown frames.  We bought some additional white and black frames to add to them.

I've been waiting to print out pictures for the empty frames before hanging up the wall collage but I finally decided this past weekend that it was time to just hang them already.  Empty frames and all.  

I arranged the frames on the bed to get an idea of how I would hang them.  

With the clock in the center anchoring the whole collage, I just kind of eyeballed where the frames would go in relation to it.  I don't know about the you, but I'm really digging this. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Amazing Breakfast of the Month Club - October

Last Christmas, my sweet sweet husband gave me a one year membership to the Amazing Breakfast of the Month Club.  I am a total morning person and I love breakfast.  Unfortunately, rushing to work Monday to Friday doesn't leave much time to just hang out and cook up some hot breakfast to enjoy in the morning light.  This gift is a great reminder to slow down on a Saturday or Sunday morning to do something that really relaxes me. 

This membership basically entails a monthly shipment of gourmet breakfast items that usually have a few servings.  I've been taking pictures of each box I received every month but never got around to posting them.  August is a good month to start.  I figure when I get to the end of the year and the end of my membership, I can backtrack to this past January-July shipments.  So we're all good. 

The October shipment came a couple of weeks ago.  When I opened the box, the first thing I saw is this apple cinnamon muffin mix.  I couldn't get over how delighted I was about the packaging.  So simple, no plastic.  Yeah, I'm a little weird.

Then I started digging around to see what else is in there, more specifically, if there was anything relating to pumpkin as I had predicted here.

Look! Pumpkin Butter!  I've never had pumpkin butter before so I was really curious to see what it was.  It tastes like puree pumpkin to me.  We had it with the honey biscuits I made.  

More honey. 

A tin can of English Breakfast tea leaves.

Here's the newsletter if you would like some light reading.  

I decided to use the honey biscuits recipe in the newsletter.  

I made the whole box of the cinnamon apple muffins.

It makes about 18 medium muffins.

English Breakfast ice tea with a little bit of honey.  

Here's all the bake goods we have left over after breakfast.  Looks like we'll have breakfast for the rest of the week.  =)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Got A Keurig Mini Brewer!

I saw this Kohl's ad a few weeks ago and the color options immediately hooked me.  The Keurig Mini brewer is on sale for $99.99 and you get a $20 mail in rebate.  So that's 80 dollars!! I've been wanting a Keurig because it's so convenient but I couldn't get over how wasteful those little k-cup filters are.  After seeing this ad, KT did a quick online search and found that there are reusable k-cups!  

I was thrilled that my biggest objection to a Keurig was resolved.  However, I still wasn't sure I was ready to  spend 80 dollars to replace a perfectly good coffee maker.  I told KT I'll think about it some more.  

A week later, I found this flyer in our mailing.  It's a Keurig rebate form!  The rebate amount depends on which brewer system is purchased.  For the Keurig Mini, it's a 20 dollar rebate.  

Now, I did consider that this might be the same rebate that Kohl's is offering.  But if it's not, it would be another 20 dollars off, bringing the price down to 60 dollars.  I can really get on board with that.  

As I was sitting on this, I was also receiving emails from Kohl's with their generous coupons.  I recently received a 20% off coupon and it did not exclude sales items.  So that means it is 20% off $100 with coupon, bringing it down to $80.  Then with the 20 dollars rebate from Keurig, it brings the price down even more to $60.  Finally, if the other rebate from Kohl's is not the same as this rebate from Keurig, then that's a final price of $40!  Even if I can't do two rebates, $60 is still pretty awesome.  

KT and I head to Kohl's for a late Friday night shopping adventure.  I know I said what attracted me the Kohl's ad was all the beautiful color options but I decided on white.  I figured I wouldn't want to change out all our colorful appliances if I wanted to change the color of our kitchen.  And even if I did decide to go with a color other than white, I wouldn't know what to choose.  I love the teal.  The yellow was growing on me the longer I stared at it.  And I love the bold statement from the red.  So white it is.  

We use the 20% off coupon so purchase price was $79.99 plus tax.

Then we got the Rebate Form from Kohl's.  

I compared the mailing address for both rebate forms and determined that they are in fact, one and the same.  =/  Oh well.  Again, $60 dollars is still pretty awesome.  

Pretty right??  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend #22 - How to Make Natural Air freshener From Baking Soda

When we were moving back in the summer, KT was cleaning out the fridge and threw out the Arm and Hammer baking soda specially boxed to absorb odor.  You know, something that looks like this (sitting behind and to the left of the gatorade in this person's fridge).  

Since we have been collecting empty jars, KT had the brilliant idea to make our own odor absorber instead of paying three to four dollars for each box of Arm & Hammer Odor Absorber.  Yes, I realized now that it was not a novel idea in the DIY community but it was definitely a novel idea in our home.  = )  

So finally last weekend, I kicked it into high gear.  I had bought a huge bucket of baking soda from Smart & Final for cleaning purposes, and recently I used it for cooking too.  Love the multiple uses of baking soda.


Here's what we need: Empty Jars, baking soda, tissue paper or coffee filters, rubber bands, needle or pin, ribbon, and tape.

STEP TWO  Fill the jar half way full with baking soda.  Optional - add a few drops of essential oil of your preferred scent.  

STEP THREE   Cut a piece of tissue paper or use coffee filter to cover the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band.

I had a glass coaster hanging around, so I grabbed it and traced it over my tissue paper to cut a better shape to cover my jar.

STEP FOUR   Add a decorative ribbon over the rubber band and secure it with tape (or glue).

STEP FIVE   Use a needle or pin to punch holes in the tissue paper so it can breathe.  

The tissue paper should be porous enough but some holes would only help.

Here are a few completed jars.  

For shoes and any other nooks and crannies:

STEP ONE  Put one table spoon of baking soda in a coffee filter and tie it with a ribbon.

We don't need our coffee filters anymore, now that we got ourselves a cool Keurig (tell you more about it later), so I'm glad to have found a new use for them. =)

STEP TWO   Place these pouches of baking soda in shoes, shoe boxes, shoe benches, or hang them inside the car.  

Oh btw, the tin bucket, with all the pouches in it, is from target for $2.50!  I haven't found a permanent use for it yet but so far, it's been handy.