Thursday, May 27, 2010

My New Love - The Flea Market

Another way I have found to save money is to buy second hand. I'm a novice at this, I must admit. In fact, I was a flea market/second hand virgin until this past weekend. Now I cannot wait until next month when its flea market time again!!! Unfortunately it's the day we come back from vacay...I might have to use some persuasion techniques to talk my husband into it, but I'm game for sure!

So why all the excitement??? I got this dining room table for $75!!!

Isn't that awesome? Now you see why I have to go back....I need chairs before the holidays. If I hadn't found this and had to buy it new with chairs it probably would have cost me at least $1,500 and let's fact it, with a baby on the way that room was going to be sitting empty for a couple years and that was going to drive me insane!

Okay onto the whole reason I wanted to go to the flea market in the first place....a dresser for the nursery. I've had qualms about spending money on the nursery for whatever reason and the best thing I found dresser wise was going to cost me $330 from Ikea with shipping included (we don't have one here) otherwise everything was about $500 and up.

I found this lovely piece for $175! So excited. And I promise it looks better in person than it does in this picture. Please excuse the pink walls (this is going to be our nursery room and the previous owner had girls) they will be some point!

Here is a close up of the dresser. It's a Henry Link dresser from either the 60's or 70's that has been refinished shabby chic style. It has a blue underlay then white crackle painted over top. I may keep it as is or paint it...I haven't decided.

I just love all the personality this piece has and it has totally turned my ideas for the nursery upside down. In fact I've given up on the crib search entirely for now. Now I'm onto the bedding. We will see what happens. I can't wait for it to all come together.

And it better come together fast....I might seriously lose it if one more person asks me what colors I'm doing in the nursery. I just found out the sex a week ago...........I DON'T KNOW!!! I'm working as fast as possible to figure it out though...I promise! (Shew...I feel better now.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What's to Eat? Wednesday - Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I have been in money saving mode lately. Recently we switched strictly to cash and lowered our budget when it came to food. After looking at places we could make cuts in our life, food seemed to be where it was most needed.

This was our first month of trying it this way and so far so good. We've cut our food costs by $100 a month so far and I keep finding new ways to save. One way is making our own Raisin Bread. Sometimes you can find it on sale 2 for 5 which is a good price...most of the times though it is around $4.19 a loaf.

This recipe lets me make 3 loafs a batch which is just about enough to last us a month. I just simply freeze the extra loaves and take them out when we need them. It's quite a process and does take up a lot of time, but it's not too bad when you only have to do it once a month.

I found this recipe on and read all 95 reviews. I went against my normal rule of always trying a recipe as written first and went ahead and made some changes that were suggested from other reviewers. It's not my normal Sunmaid Raisin Bread, but it's a keeper.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread


1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)

2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 1/4 cups raisins

8 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Warm the milk and raisins in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from heat.

3. Let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees.

4. Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so (make sure your water is at the correct temperature or the yeast won't activate.) Then mix in eggs, sugar, cinnamon, butter, salt and 2 1/4 cups raisins (stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don't cook the eggs.) FYI - the butter looks funky, like it won't mix in...the kneading will take care of it. Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough.

5. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. ( I did start off in the stand mixer, but there is just too's easier to do it by hand.)

6. Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough.

7. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise (I like to let my bread rise in the oven with the light on. It has just the right amount of heat and keeps the bread out of drafts.) Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1 1/2 hours.

8. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick.

9. Moisten the dough with 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon melted butter and rub all over the dough with your hands.

10. Mix together 2/3 cup brown sugar (packed), 2/3 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup cinnamon and 3/4 cup raisins and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough.

11. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter.

12. Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together.

13. Place loaves into well greased 9x5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves.

14. Let rise in a warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour.

15. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped.

16. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.

17. Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves.

18. After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans.

19. Allow to cool before slicing.

20. To freeze...let loaves cool overnight. Place in ziplock bags making sure to squeeze out all the air and date them. They can be frozen for 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Garden is a Growing

There's been a mass amount of growth in my garden over the past month. Some of the plants have come from seed and some were purchased plants that have taken off a little faster.

Our trellises are up which are helping to support our growing tomato plants and the beans have started climbing...seriously on their own! I'm afraid our 6 foot support won't be tall enough.

I've been using the fresh herbs pretty regularly, but we have our first sign of real vegetables (or fruit I should say). We have three green tomatoes with lots of flowers promising more to come.
We also have flowering bush beans which I'm assuming will bring bean pods soon enough. Unfortunately I have some sort of bug problem I haven't been able to figure out just yet. See all those lovely little bug in sight.
I think my biggest problem is going to be overcrowding. I went all out and planted to the max in each square (some are still open for later plantings) but I wanted to use my small gardens to their full potential. As you can see the tomato plants and bean plants are overtaking everything. You can't even see the okra, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and squashes that have been planted.
I'm sure many lessons will be learned this season...I'm just along for the ride.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Off Track

Today was hot, really hot and I'm exhausted. I have so many things to tell you all about. Really just small random things, but for some reason I haven't been in the mood to share. I feel like a lot of time gets wasted when I get near my computer and here lately the only thing I've been wanting to do is go, go, go. That's a good thing I suppose. But in the back of my mind I am keeping a log of all the things I need to document and I'm tired of the nagging of it really. I think I need to just take a day and write it all out, get caught up, and feel good about it. Hopefully soon I will find a better routine for myself. One that doesn't involve that guilty feeling for spending a couple hours on the computer.

See you soon...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crib Search

Full on baby mode is here! This weekend we immersed ourselves in the search for baby furniture. It is all so overwhelming and expensive! I went without a plan. I didn't know what I wanted as far as looks or versatility. I thought it might just pop out - it didn't, but a plan did develop.

I think we have decided to get a crib that just simply turns into a toddler bed if needed. We really thought we would go for the lifetime crib that converts to a full size bed, but in the end we decided that would be too expensive. I figure the crib we get this time will be the baby crib for every child we have. Once they grow out of it a twin bed is most likely in their future, not a full size bed, just simply due to space at this time. We stopped by a couple of furniture stores while we were out and found that twin beds just cost about $250 a piece anyways and of course they have the full room package deals that are pretty hard to beat as well.

With that solved, we needed to pick out a style. I had been having a hard time finding anything I liked because if it was going to turn into a full sized bed, I wanted it to have a solid headboard instead of all those slats. Unfortunately I wasn't finding many of those at all, but since we decided to do just the crib it became much simpler!

After looking in stores and online, I think I have decided to go with something like this...with the front and back being even height with taller sides...

or possibly one that has even sides all the ways around that tend to be a bit more modern. As far as color goes, I believe we will be going with a darker shade. I like the white cribs, but I feel like they are more for a girl than for a boy.
Besides the crib, I figure we will need a chair, a dresser, and a nightstand/table. We looked at several package deals and we were having a hard time finding anything under $1000.00 without the chair of course. I've decided to start searching online to see if we can just find random pieces that go together for a cheaper price.
Any helpful tips are much appreciated. Any favorite sites you used? Where did you purchase yours? What did you like or what would you have done differently?
The search continues...

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Results are In!

Yesterday, I was completely unable to concentrate. Really...I did nothing productive at all. I couldn't handle the anticipation. I consumed lots of unneeded calories and laid on the couch with Lola letting Bravo keep my mind semi distracted.

I decided for good luck I would paint my nails in OPI Hopelessly in Love. It's the same color I wore the night Michael proposed and the day we got married. And since the nails were pink I decided I'd throw on a blue shirt, you know, to keep both sides represented.

I was miserable by the time they called me back to the ultrasound room. And the lady tech was actually in shock at how full my bladder was...thankfully she took some quick shots and let me run to the bathroom. She laughed saying no one ever follows the rules....well....I do.

Finally the moment we were waiting for had arrived. She flipped the screen to where Michael and I could see and BAM....boy parts. Right there in my face. My mother's intuition was completely wrong. Nothing pink in our near future. Tonka trucks and BB guns here we come!

It took the rest of the night for it to actually set in...we are having a little boy and I can't wait! Little boys are supposed to love their mama's and hey let's face it, they are so much less expensive!

Now it is time for me to go into full fledged baby mode. Watch out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pink or Blue????

Today is the day! We find out at 4PM whether little Pistachio is a girl or a boy. I seriously can not wait! I've already determined that pretty much nothing is going to get done today because I have the concentration of a goldfish (or whatever animal has no concentration).

I'll be sure to fill you all in tomorrow!

Now I just need to figure out how to drink all this water and manage not pee all over myself. Yay!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's to Eat? Wednesday: Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Bruschetta

All I can say is - yum! These are super easy to do and make a lot so they are perfect for party appetizers. Or you can do like I did and reduce the amount and eat them with your pasta. We can thank Giada from the Food Network for this one.

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Bruschetta
1(32 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large French baguettes, sliced 1-inch thick (about 36 slices)
1.5 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, slice 1/4 inch thick
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor, add 1 cup basil leaves, olive oil and 2 cloves garlic. Pulse until garlic is minced. Add in tomatoes and pulse a couple more times being sure it is left somewhat chunky. Season with salt and pepper.
On a baking sheet, line up baguette slices. Toast in oven for about 3 minutes (mine took a lot longer) or until light golden brown. Working quickly, rub the remaining garlic on the toasted side of each slice and then lay a piece of mozzarella cheese on top. Place bread back in oven and melt cheese slightly, about 45 seconds (again mine took much longer). Remove from oven and spread one tablespoon of the tomato mixture on each piece.
Place bruschetta on a platter and garnish with basil leaves.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Reviews

I have checked two more books off my reading list for this year. The first is Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt which is an autobiography about his life growing up in Ireland. Frank was born in America, but his family left to go back to their native country of Ireland when one of his siblings suddenly dies. His life is hard as he grows up in poverty with a drunkard for a father. He makes a goal to return to America and does what he cans to make that dream come true.

I would check this book out if it sounds interesting to you. It took me a little bit to get into the book as I felt he was writing as he saw things at the particular age he was recounting and let's just say a three year old has pretty simplistic thoughts. It picks up fairly quickly though and soon enough you will find yourself having a little Irish accent as you read.

What The Dead Know by Laura Lippman is one of the first mystery/crime novels I've read in a very long time and I need to find more like this. This story is about the disappearance of two sisters set in 1975. A woman claiming to be one of the sisters shows up decades later and is taken into custody after a minor traffic accident. The police then try to figure out whether or not she is telling the truth and just why she is being so secretive about the whole ordeal. Overall it was a quick read, however, I did find myself getting lost a little bit as Lippman skips back and forth in time and from different view points.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day and Pregnancy Update

This weekend was an extremely busy one, but great at the same time. We finished our major projects just in time and I put together a wonderful dinner to honor Michael's mom for Mother's Day and her birthday. It was so much fun getting out all the china and crystal and I think she really enjoyed it.

I was even honored on Mother's Day even though I am just a half-way mom at this point. Michael's mom brought me some beautiful garden roses. I love the white one with the light pink tips.

And my sister sent me these beautiful roses and some chocolates. It was such a surprise and of course this new emotional me cried. It was just so incredibly thoughtful of her. I called her as soon as I got them and she said she wanted to be the first to give me something for Mothers Day. A little bit of jealousy perhaps of my unborn child? I don't know but I love it lol.

Speaking of little Pistachio I am currently 19 weeks. Nothing too much has changed besides my growing stomach! I finally gained. As of my last appointment I'm up 5 pounds. My doctor recommended another vitamin supplement of Omega 3 to subside some of the itchy dry skin I was having as well as he gave me something for my increasing indigestion. I'm suppose to take it 30 minutes before a meal, but I'm not too huge on medication. I'd like to only take it as needed so really I take it only if I know I'm about to have a heavy meal. For now I only get indigestion every now and then, but I suspect it will pick up later on.

As for maternity wear...I'm still not really there yet. I have been looking for some capris (black and jean) to wear soon. I found out that you have to purchase quick when it came to maternity wear on the Old Navy site the hard way. I had found exactly what I wanted but during the hour I continued to search around on other sites they some how sold out of everything I wanted. Major disappointment. So the search continues...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happiness Project - Organizational Tips: Part 2

Continuation from Part 1...

So now that you have everything all dragged out and sorted into like piles it's time to do some de-cluttering. Clutter is seriously my number one enemy. I like "stuff" but "stuff" can get in the way and be extremely frustrating at times. That's why I always find myself reorganizing things and asking myself "Do we really use that anymore?" "Can we make more space by getting rid of this?".

The Happiness Project book goes into a deep explanation of the different types of clutter. It's truly something I've never thought of before and really it helped me see even more things I could get rid of. In fact, in all honesty, there's probably still some things in my closet that I really need to get rid of still...sometimes it's just hard. But oh so gratifying in the end right?

Types of Clutter

Nostalgic Clutter - Things that you hold onto solely for the memories it holds like old T-shirts, movie ticket stubs, memorabilia from trips.

Conservation Clutter - Things you keep that are useful, but not necessarily to you. For example - I have about 20 cozies and we probably only use 4 on a semi regular basis...say goodbye to the rest!

Bargain Clutter - Things you bought just because it was on sale at a great price. Don't fall for the sale should only buy things on sale that you would have bought at normal price. Example: Grocery coupons...seriously should you really buy two packages of Klondike bars to save $1 if you rarely eat them they are just taking up space.

Freebie Clutter - Stuff that family members or friends give you for free because they want to get rid of it and you think you might use it one day. Seriously - just say no unless you have an immediate need for it or a spot for it to put it to use.

Crutch Clutter - This is stuff you use, but truly shouldn't like makeup that you've had for several years. You know it's expired, but you continue to use it anyways (GUILTY!) Throw it out and replace it if you really love it!

Aspirational Clutter - This is stuff you have that you don't use, but want to one day. Like the 3 boxes of paint and two easels I have. I don't see me painting anytime in the near's probably time for it to go or at least get seriously narrowed down.

Buyers Remorse Clutter - Like that pair of nice pants that you bought, but have never worn because they just don't fit exactly right......Goodwill it!

I don't know about you, but that list definitely opened my eyes up to some pitfalls of my own. It's crazy how you can find ways to justify the "stuff".

Another tip is to make sure you make keeping things organized something easy to do. If there's not a system that works for the whole family, then things will never get put where they need to go. One very important thing I have found is to make sure you get an especially good system for the dump zones. For example...we have to have some kind of system near our back door. We both are guilty of throwing down our coats, shoes, and bags immediately when we walk in. If you have a place to put that stuff right at the door...problem solved! In fact that's the project we are taking on this weekend.

Focus on a paper system as well. Coupons, bills, paperwork all tends to pile up on kitchen tables and desks. It gets shoved around and things get lost. That's no good. Make an easy system, because as well all know junk just attracts more junk. Something that could have taken 30 seconds to clean up now takes 5 minutes because there are other things piling up around it too.

The best thing about organizing is that even though it might be a pain in the butt and rather a messy job at first, it really pays off. Good luck!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happiness Project - Organizational Tips: Part 1

I've talked about it many times before, but I have to say it again...I love organizing! It is so gratifying to find a place for everything and purge your life a little bit. In fact it makes me happy and happens to be the first place to start on my Happiness Project.

I didn't start this intentionally. In fact, I had told myself I was going to go through the whole book myself then figure out my own way to do it. It just happened that chapter 1 coincided with my life at this point. Before I started reading this book, I couldn't really tell you what exactly made me happy besides the normal stuff of hugs and ice cream and new clothes. Now that I've started getting deeper into this project I am really figuring out just what makes me tick. It's brought a new awareness of myself to me. That sounds silly doesn't it? Out of all the people in the world, shouldn't YOU be the one that knows YOU best? Well I thought so too...turns out I didn't know all that much about myself after all or at least I wasn't completely aware.

The first month of the Happiness Project focuses on boosting energy. There are examples like getting plenty of sleep at night, exercising, and just being outside. Although those are all things I need to work on myself the simplest one to start with for me was getting organized because that's something I love anyways and having a new house with a baby on the way totally calls for it!

Organizational Tips

To get started I began trying to find a place for everything. Maybe not it's perfect home, but at least putting it in the room or closet it belonged in. To get really organized you need to know exactly what you are working with before you start that way you aren't constantly reorganizing things.

For my own sanity, I need to do things one project at a time. My husband and I are notorious for starting a project and getting the bulk of it done then going on to the next one before all the little loose ends are tied up on the last one. It drives me absolutely bonkers! I find my head constantly reminding myself, don't forget we have to put the trellises up for the garden project, we have to return that rod that didn't work in the master closet and replace it with one that does, we need to finish installing that cabinet pull out drawer in the's enough to drive you and your husband crazy because you know what that leads to? NAGGING! That's another topic all in itself that we will discuss later.

So...pick a room to start with...I prefer to go from the back of the house to the front that way you aren't doing all the easy projects first then leaving the big ones to hang over your head at the end. It helps to vary them that way you don't get overwhelmed and just give up. Make a list of every problem in that room and devise a plan.

Focus on the things that get you frustrated when you try to use that room. For example, let's say the bathroom....why is it that every time you try to find a hair tie you have to dig through a whole box of stuff to find one, why is all that old makeup hogging all the space, omg look at all that bath and body works stuff, why is it that you and your husband leave all your stuff on the counter instead of putting it back?

Now you should have a general idea of what it is you need to'll have to wait till Part 2 to find out what to do next!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What's to Eat? Wednesday: Carrabba's Italian Grill Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu

I know the title of this dish sounds like a sneeze, but I swear it is good. Very simple, very clean tasting and worth a shot if you are wanting something low key for dinner. Sometimes I google restaurants to see if I can find a site that lists recipes and luckily for us Carrabba's is one that has been listed. Are they completely authentic? Probably not, but close enough. This and the house salad dressing (which is awesome and I will share later) are the only ones I've tried so far, but I will be trying more in the future and hope you do too.
Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu
1 lb angel hair pasta
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large clove garlic, sliced
16 Roma tomatoes, diced
16 to 24 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, simmer sliced garlic in olive oil over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and stir over medium heat another 2 minutes. Toss with cooked pasta and serve as a side dish for chicken or shrimp.
Serves 4


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Sometimes I get so caught up on the daily things that I forget how truly grateful I should be. My life is so blessed in so many ways and I want nothing more than to recognize these as often as possible.

I want to be more grateful for the little things in life...the everyday. Because in all honesty that is what truly matters in life...the everyday. It's about the hugs from your husband when he gets home, the calls from your family, and the kisses from your puppy. I need to remember to be thankful for these things and to take the time to really soak it all in.

I truly am blessed and would want me life no other way.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Creative Commons License

My Thoughts - Uninterrupted by Laura Sager is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

All images are property of Laura Sager unless otherwise noted.