Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mmm, Mmm, Good.

I'm not a "fancy" eater.  Never have been.  I'm usually O.K. with plain and ordinary (I'm not proud of this- it's just part of who I am.)  Once in a while I like to kick things up a bit though.

It's totally a homemade soup kind of day around here (since we're all a bit under the weather), so I decided to make some ranch oyster crackers to go with our pasta fagioli.  They are the EASIEST (and yummiest) things ever.
Hidden Valley Ranch Oyster Crackers:
12 - 16 oz. bag plain oyster crackers
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Recipe Original Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 - 1 c. salad oil
Combine Hidden Valley Ranch mix and oil. Add dill weed, garlic powder and lemon pepper.  Pour over crackers- stir to coat.
Place on baking sheet in warm oven for 15 -  20 minutes.
warning-- these are seriously addicting!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

I think I need a new pharmacy.

So here's what I'm dealing with today.  He looks so peaceful.  He deserved it after last night.
Cole sick with his second ear infection in two weeks.

Two weeks ago we took him to the doctor for a "severe ear infection" in his left ear.  The doctor took one look in his ear and said "whoa!".  Insert super mother's guilt here.  So we were given a 10 day prescription for Amoxicillin.  That ended this past Sunday.

Last night we were up all night again with a screaming child who first mentioned his ear hurting at dinner time.  Let's just say by 9:30pm we were ready to take him to the emergency room because of the way he was writhing in pain and screaming.  Luckily the doctor's answering service nurse talked us down and we just made a late night trip to CVS instead for some children's Motrin (they said it would probably work better than the tylenol we were giving him.  They were right!)

So today's doctor appointment started with the doctor seeming to question me a bit about it being another ear infection so quickly after finishing his medicine for the previous infection.  And yet, one look in the OTHER ear and he saw BLISTERS!!!  WHAT?!  How could my child have a blistering ear infection when he JUST mentioned his ear hurting at dinner time the night before?!   So his left ear is now fine, but the right ear has the kind of ear infection that doctor's only see once in every 20 or so ear infections.  (ps-- there's a story about this at the end if you care to hear more about ear infections- and learn how I'm not such a bad mom after all).

So... this time it's a prescription for a more potent antibiotic-- Augmentin.  Off to the pharmacy we go.  We just have our prescriptions sent to the Target pharmacy since it is literally right across the street from the doctor's office.  I think this is a mistake because it's Target and I can't go in there without buying something that I don't need!
See that rubbery dinosaur on the floor near the bottom of Cole's "nest"? (that's what he called the little place we made for him to nap in today-- he couldn't get comfortable anywhere except on the living room floor- go figure)... that's the kind of stuff that happens when I go into Target.  I nickel and dime my way to a bill that was twice the cost of the prescription.  Granted, our grand total today was only $21, but our prescription- which was the only thing we went there for, was only $10.  Insert cheapskate's guilt here.

OK-- quick ear infection story (if you care to keep reading).  I think the doctor could tell that I was feeling pretty bad about having missed a SECOND ear infection (maybe it was the tears welling up in my eyes-- whatever.  If you have a child, you TOTALLY know what I'm talking about.)  So he told me a story of a little girl who came into his office for a routine 3-year old well visit check-up.  He took care to thoroughly examine the child-- including looking in her ears.  The appointment ended around 11:10 a.m.  At 3:30 p.m. the mother called the doctor saying she thought her daughter needed a prescription because she was in a lot of pain in her ears.  The doctor having JUST seen the girl asked the mother to bring her back in so that he could show her through the otoscope that her daughter was just fine.  The mother obliged and brought the girl in.  Though it had only been 4 hours since the doctor gave the girl a clean bill of health, to the doctor's surprise the young girl had a full blown ear infection!  He said he'd never seen anything like it, but that he has since learned that ear infections can (at times) come on so quickly that they go from not there to severe in a matter of hours.  So... I guess I feel a little bit better.  And I hope this story makes some other mothers who have been in similar situations with their children feel a little better too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Easiest "Artwork" Ever!

I can't remember exactly where I first saw this, but as soon as I did I began my search to find the perfect "frames".    It's the EASIEST way to add a little something to the walls and pull a room together.

Embroidery hoops with patterned fabric.  (please ignore the striped one that looks wrinkled-- I took it down to take photos of the backside of it and hung it back up to take photos without taking another look at it - until now of course.  I can assure it was straightened out as soon as I noticed it in these pictures-- like I stopped what I was doing mid-blog post and went and straightened it out.  I'm a little compulsive like that.)

When I covered the paper mache letters of Cole's name for his nursery seen here,  I made sure to buy extra for, well... I didn't exactly know what, but I figured I'd want to use it somehow to coordinate parts of his room.  I was thinking maybe pillows BUT, I don't sew... yet.   (I WILL learn to sew though... soon!)  Aannnnyyyyywaaayyy.....

When I came across the idea of "framing" fabric, I thought it was brilliant. Then I came across an ever better/easier/cheaper way to "frame" leftover pieces of fabric (and I'm all about a better/easier/cheaper way to do just about anything!).  The answer was clear--stretch it through an embroidery hoop.

So I set out to find round embroidery hoops.  I found oval embroidery hoops -- $.25 a piece, at a local thrift store (if you're in the Central New York area check out the Thrifty Shopper).  I wasn't sure I liked the oval hoops, but they totally grew on me... and then I stopped looking for round hoops.

If however, I ever find some (by happenstance) I will most likely pick them up to create something like this:
image credit: candidlyred
or this:
image credit:  apartment therapy
or this:
image credit:  apartment therapy
ps- on this website I do NOT like the embroidery hoops on the ceiling thing-- that's just odd.
AND another great feature-- they are SUPER lightweight so if you don't want to put excessive holes in your walls (or you can't because you're in an apartment)  you can use those 3M removable wall hooks with no problem!

Why are these placed so off centered-ly on the wall?  (yes, that was off centered-ly)

because I needed room for the door to open too -- which it is most of the time anyway.
How cute!  (and cheap and easy)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm THAT kind of cheapskate.

I'm NOT a "don't tip because we got bad service" type cheapskate -- I'm more a ...."why would I spend more on that when I can make it work like this" type cheapskate.

I'm THIS kind of cheapskate.

Yep-- I buy 2L soda bottles and transfer the contents into one 20oz. bottle that I wash out and reuse.
Clarification--I only do this on weekdays when I need to bring my caffine with me.
Yes, I have cute reusable plastic bottles and I have a whole collection of aluminum bottles (in all sizes), but when it comes to my Diet Coke obsession, I have very specific ways I like my Diet Coke (based on the circumstance that my Diet Coke and I find ourselves in).  Cute reusable plastic and aluminum bottles just don't do it -  for any scenario.  I'll spare you the details, but sometimes I prefer my Diet Coke as fountain soda, sometimes in a can (mostly in the summertime), sometimes in a glass with LOTS of ice, and when traveling (near or far)- in a single serve size bottle.  It's all very scientific I assure you.

I've tried buying cans to just grab and go too, but the problem lies mostly when I get to work and have to run up a bagillion (OK 3, but it FEELS like a bagillion) flights of stairs to the office.   I don't want to risk spilling a single drop!  It is afterall my coffee (and I DESERVE it after all those stairs).
PLUS -- the savings is big See chart below (nerd alert): 

Using a local grocery store's REGULAR prices- not on-sale prices -- the math:

20 oz. single    (20 oz. total)         = $ .75 /oz.
6 pk. bottles     (101.4 oz. total)    = $ .39/oz.
12 pk. cans      (144 oz. total)       = $ .35/oz.
2L bottle          (67.6 oz. total)      = $ .26/oz. 

SO... for 144 oz. of soda (the largest qty you can buy as indicated above).

When purchased as ____  you spend____.

20 oz. singles     $ 10.73
6pk bottles         $ 5.67
12 pk. cans        $ 4.99
2 L bottles          $ 3.81

Oh, and I totally stock up when they are on sale for $1 a 2L.

Yep-- I'm THAT kind of cheapskate (and nerd), and I don't care who knows it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentime's Day! (as Cole would say)

Yep!  We're classy like that.

With a little more strawberry juice wouldn't this also be cute for a Twilight party?!

ps-- If you want to try this sometime (because, let's be real-- you KNOW you want to), remember that each "heart" takes 2 twinkies,  but 2 twinkies makes 2 hearts  (because of the angular cuts).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday!

I just have one thing to say today....
Go Steelers!!  

We're kinda fans.  Can you tell?

FYI-- this photo was actually taken 2 weeks ago during the Steelers v. Jets game.

ps-- I'm predicting a win!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cole's Room

OK people- let's be honest.  Who doesn't love peeking inside other people's homes?  Right?!   

Because the correct answer is "EVERYONE likes to peek in other people's homes", I decided to share today.  Except, it's not our home as we live currently.  As I've mentioned before, we recently moved to CT from Syracuse, NY, so this is Cole's nursery from back in our Syracuse days (plus Cole doesn't have a "nursery" anymore-- he's now got a "big boy" room).  

I thought I'd do a post about the nursery that we set up for Cole when he was born (3.5 years ago) because we DIYed a few things in his room that we really liked.  First though-- a  quick tour of the room is in order.  The good, the bad and the ugly (and some of it's kinda ugly).  We actually spent very little money putting together his room (as any good cheapskate would do), and we're pretty pleased with how it came out.  Now--- on with the show!
The house that we bought in Syracuse was built in 1920-- it was an old house and we inherited some "interesting" old house-isms.  Neither of us are all that home improvement handy so some of these things were "worked around" instead of fixed.  Case in point, the cords behind the crib.  There was an old phone jack, a cable cord, and some other cord extruding from the wall-- we're still unsure of what it was.  Instead of tearing them out and patching things up (especially since the next owners might WANT a cable hook-up in this room), we set-up the room so that they were not reachable by a small child.  Oh, and the "boom box" was there for function, not style-- I should have moved it before snapping pictures, but.... I didn't.
The rug was left over from my old apartment.  It was really girly in that apartment, but somehow it still seemed to work in this space too.

It was a fairly small room.  We liked to call it "cozy".  It also had to have multiple functions as we had "visitors" often enough that we needed to have extra sleeping spaces for the other 3 kids whenever they were at our house.  
We still wanted it to feel like "Cole's Room" though too.  please ignore the wrinkled bedskirt.  sing it with me-- emmmbaaaarraaassiiiing.
Paper mache letters that I covered with fabric. 

The crib was purchased new.  It was one of the few things we purchased new for this room.  (Allow me to address the pillow in his crib -- I didn't take photos of the room until just before we transformed it into his "big boy" room so he was old enough to safely sleep with a pillow at this point.)
We wanted Cole to get to know his brother and sisters even though they didn't live with us full time, so we took photos of the 3 kids and hung them just above the changing table/dresser so that with each diaper change we could say "hi" to the kids.

The dresser (which I didn't take a before photo of) we purchased for $15 at a thrift store.  It was kind of a "honey" color.  We painted it 'Crisp Linen' and LOVE how it turned out!  We debated changing out the hardware too, but when we put it back together, we decided we actually really liked the old (cleaned up) hardware.
The bed is an antique hand-me-down.  It was my grandmother's bed when she was a young girl which means it's somewhere in the vicinity of 90 years old (depending on exactly when she got it).  She gave it to me when I got my first apartment back in my college days.  It means so much to me. (she also gave Cole that white bear hugging the pink bear--  ummm...such a great-grandma gift).  My mother made the cute knit lion.
We re-used additional pillows from the set we registered for when we were married, but added the fun Dwell Studio dinosaur pillow from Target.  I think I paid $4.98 for it.  It takes the bed from being kinda "stuffy" to being fun for a little boy too.
Years earlier I purchased the "hassock" at an estate sale.  I think it was $25.  It is very vintage and very cool.   Made a great seat when putting on little kid shoes.  The toy basket was a shower gift filled with all kinds of baby goodies..
The rocking chair was my mother's.  She used to rock us kids in it when we were wee ones so it holds a special place for me too.  I debated the plush rockers/nursing chairs that everyone else was getting, but decided to go the sentimental route instead.  I'm really glad I did.  (there are those stupid cords again-- argh)  Elmo came from my mom too.  Of course-- the biggest toys always come from other people.  But he sticks around-- did you spot him in this post?
This piece is also an antique that I scavenged from my parent's basement when I first moved into an apartment of my own.   I always meant to re-finish it, but never got around to it.  Usually I had a plant over that one big water spot.  Eventually, I came to kinda like it like this though-- it has history and character right?  If we use it in our next home however, I will definitely find a way to transform it and get rid of those water stains on the top.  It actually has some cool details in the top that get lost because you get distracted by the water spots.

One of my personal favorite things in his room (also a gift).  It's a Meyda Tiffany turtle light.  We used it as Cole's nighlight in his room.  It's got a really pretty glow when it's turned on. (please excuse the poor photo quality too.)
Both my husband and I worked for our local PBS station at some point in our careers (it's actually where we met), so we amassed a collection of Sesame Street stuffed animals when Cole was born and it only made sense to give them a place in his room-- kind of an om age to his mom and dad.  (The three scruffy ones were actually mine when I was little-- my mom dug them up for me.)
This basket was a shower gift as well.  The safety pins were from a shower game.  We didn't ever use them, but I thought they were a nice symbol of all the love we received from our wonderful family and friends.
What's in our basket?- the usual baby stuff.  Diapers, wipes, lotions, creams, and two glass jars-- one with cotton balls, the other with cotton swabs.  We kept other baby essentials (ie. bulb syringe, baby hair brush, nail clippers etc.)  in one of the top drawers of the dresser.
And we added some unexpected touches as well- like a lizard above the window.
 Cole's first ever stuffed animal which was bigger than him when he was first born.

And I just had to include this last picture because I think it's ADORABLE. 

So there you have it.  Cole's nursery.  I'll be sharing some of the DIY things that we did in the next few days.  Hope you enjoyed our little tour!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day #2 (in a row)!

Know what's really good for a cheapskate like me (with a young son)?  Having an amazing husband that works for a toy company!
Here's how we've been spending our day indoors so far...   (again, please ignore the ugly apartment-ness of our current living situation)

We might not get out of our jammies at all today!!
this was my OCD mom project-- sorting all of the same size bricks by color  :)
Thank you LEGO employee discount!