Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

Category Archives: Save the money

I’ve been hanging on to this SpareOne emergency phone trying to figure out how to review a product that I hope I never have to use. This week with all the tragedy surrounding the Oklahoma tornado damage is a great time to think about emergency preparedness. I grew up in a household that planned for emergencies. We had backpacks under our beds with clothing, non-perishable food and water and basic first aid kits. We also stored extra food and water in case of hard times (which we ended up using during a time my dad was out of work for a year) and we gardened to have healthy foods to store.

As I think about how my life and technology have changed over the years, I am happy that I have kept the habit of preparing for the future. In my own home, I store extra supplies, water, food and keep a store of first aid supplies. Now, I also keep a SpareOne emergency phone. It’s quite a neat idea – a battery operated phone whose battery lasts for 15 years. The packaging is waterproof, floats and the phone is operable through the bag. Knowing that we are covered for emergency phone calls in the event of a disaster is a great feeling. Although we all have cell phones, having a waterproof, cold temperature proof phone offers more peace of mind.

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Yesterday, I was contacted with a special offer in relation to SpareOne and the Oklahoma disaster. Right now at SpareOne.com you can buy a SpareOne emergency phone at a discount and an additional phone will be donated to people in tornado stricken areas. Anyone using the code BUYGIVE04 will receive a $20 discount on each phone purchased, a SpareOne phone will be donated and SpareOne will track buyers coming from WindyLou.com!

This is a small way to help the recent Oklahoma tornado victims and first responders, and at the same time, prepare your own family.

 

DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a SpareOne phone for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review/article and all opinions are my own and honest. This review is provided as part of my relationship with itsaglamthing.com


Today is my chicken baby girl’s birthday. She decided on a room makeover. Now, I don’t know how most people go about a room makeover, but I don’t have a few grand to throw at a 14 year old’s room, so we started small. I bought a few thrifted and clearance items to get us started – wall art, an ottoman and a set of letters that spell her name. With those things out of the way, I had to start thinking bigger. It will be up to her to decide on paint, so I didn’t tackle that for her. Instead I DIYed a bedspread.

As we were talking about how she wants her room to look, I directed her to Pinterest for some eye candy. Of course she found an amazing bedspread from Urban Outfitters that was completely and utterly out of the budget. (I didn’t even spend that much on my own bedding!)

Here’s the inspiration bedding:

urban outfitters ruffle

Now, this puppy retails at over $150. Nuh-uh. No way, no how. So I set about to recreate this as best I could with thrifted materials. I knew that I would have to buy yards and yards of fabric, which wasn’t in the budget either, so I went a hunting for a blanket and sheets that I could dye. My girl asked for charcoal gray. Baby I tried my best, but apparently my fabric dying skills aren’t up to snuff.

 

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Turns out that when you want dark gray or black fabric from white fabric, you don’t actually use black dye. I got a gorgeous purple. Three times. Then I started adding other color dye to see what I could come up with. Long story short, I ended up with a slightly green tinted gray! Success! (sort of!) The blanket and one sheet were the same color, and the other sheet came out light gray. And not a nice matchy combo. So, I ditched the light gray sheet in favor of coordinating the ruffles and blanket.

I bought a gathering foot for my machine and ruffled the heck outta those ripped strips! For a bit of interest, I added a trim of grosgrain ribbon to separate the ruffles from the rest of the blanket, and with the left over sheeting, made a pillowcase with ribbon trim! She likes it!

Here’s my handiwork, with some improvisation thrown in. It’s not a copy, but I kind of like that it isn’t exactly like what we could buy in a store.

 

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We’ve got some work ahead of us, but I think we are off to a great bedroom makeover start! Stay tuned for more progress.


If I could rip out walls and windows and re-do my entire kitchen I would. But I can’t, so I won’t. The next best thing is messing around with what I have. So be it.

When we bought our house there was no hardware on any of the cabinets. Still isn’t. I’m going to change that with some cute DIY   cabinet knobs in the kitchen!

I got started this weekend, so here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on!

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I have a love hate relationship with laundry. Often I find the rhythmic back and forth of sorting, transferring from washer to dryer soothing. Somehow the love doesn’t extend to my large collection of blankets. I’ve found that a weekly (or so) trip to the local laundromat is a nice break for me. In an awesome turn of fortune, my closest laundromat is next door to a Goodwill store!

Now, it’s no secret that I love finding a good deal, and that I have passed many a deal along through my eBay sales. Every time I go to the laundromat I pop in the Goodwill to see what I can see. Some of my most fun and amazing finds have come from this once a week or so pop in. All of that is to say: look what I found today!

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Turns out that publicly admitting you have no Christmas tree on Dec 10 makes you feel kind of shitty. Normally we put the Christmas tree in the living room. This year the living room is all torn to hell because we’ve ripped out the flooring. With our financial BS going on, we had pretty much decided to skip the tree this year. But then there are the kids. Despite no expectations of santa, and knowing that our Philadelphia trip was THE Christmas present this year, I still had that nagging guilt that we should do something.

Leave it to Pinterest and Instagram to give me a free idea. Behold, the DIY Christmas tree using materials we had on hand:


*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!*

Congratulations to Candace!

Ok, admit it. When you see the word JAWS you think of the shark movie and you immediately hear the dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun music in your head, right? No need to fear, this awesome cleaning system is not gonna bite. I had the opportunity to test out the full JAWS (Just Add Water System) line of non-toxic cleaners in my home over the last few weeks.

First off, I love the minimal packaging. It’s a thing with me. I hate to make extra garbage if I can help it. Now I can finally feel better about buying household cleaners. The Just Add Water System is pretty cool. Each spray bottle can easily be reused because JAWS utilizes a cartridge system. And, when I say easy, I mean I handed the kids each a bottle and cartridge and said “See if you can figure out how this works.” Within a few seconds they read the instructions on the bottle and popped in the cleaning solution cartridge with no help or prompting for me. If they hadn’t been headed to their mom’s house, I would have had them test out cleaning the bathroom! Bwahahahahaha.

The bottles I tried out had an awesome cartridge holder attached to the side of the bottle. Can I get an amen? My OCD loves that the refills are stored ON THE BOTTLE! You always know how many you have. No excuses of “I can’t find the refill!” Having the refill on the bottle also means I don’t have to come up with extra space to store the refill cartridges.

And the best thing? JAWS cleaner actually works. It’s all well and good to have a fun new gadget to try, but if it doesn’t work it ends up as a dust catcher. The degreaser degreases, the bathroom cleaner de-grimes, the all purpose cleaner removed kitty paw prints from my windows. I’m sold.

Now for the good news: JAWS is BOGO at all area Hiller’s stores, from Nov. 12-25. (www.Jawscleans.com).The cleaner line is regularly $4.99 a bottle (with one refill included).

Wanna try before you buy? Enter to win a set of JAWS cleaning products

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find JAWS online, on Twitter and Facebook and in local stores like Hiller’s, Busch’s and BedBathandBeyond

It must be said: JAWS graciously provided me with a full line and refills of their awesome cleaning system. I was not paid for my opinion. Giveaway prize is provided by JAWS. All honest opinions and corny jokes are my own.


For the last several years the Millionaire has traveled on company business over the Thanksgiving holiday. He has been asked to be on-site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday at a client near Philadelphia. This means that he travels on Thanksgiving Day. His company has been flexible enough to allow him to drive on the years the kids are with us so that we can spend the holiday together without having to pay for airfare for 3 extra people. Our traditions are pretty low-key in general and as long as we are all together, it’s actually fun for us to travel. We love that we can eat our Thanksgiving meal at a nice restaurant. The kids especially love that they don’t have to clean up! We ALL love seeing a bigger city and experiencing new adventures in a far away place.

While the Millionaire works on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the rest of the family gets to have a mini vacation! For some time now the Millionaire and I have had those grown-up, serious money talks about how and if we would be able to swing the trip this year. We worried and stewed, cussed and discussed, and planned how we would make it work out. Our budget is going to be a lot smaller than we are used to on vacations, but every penny we have to spend this year came from eBay sales. Money has been pretty tight this year and I am so very thankful to be able to say that my eBay sales will enable the kids and I to have spending money for our trip.

And that makes me happy cry. eBay has saved our bacon on so many occasions I have lost count. Knowing that we have a back-up funding source, sporadic though it can be at times, gives me immeasurable peace of mind. As a woman who wants to help provide for our little family but who also values being available to the kids, I feel like finding eBay as an income stream was a wonderful gift. The fact that I don’t have to choose between staying at home and working lifts an incredible burden off my shoulders. So, as silly as it might sound to some people, one of the things I’m most thankful for this year is eBay.

My Chicken Babies with artist Isaiah Zagar at his Philadelphia  Magic Gardens, Nov 2010

 

This post was written as part of my relationship with eBay, however my  gratitude is real and immense.

 eBay has been a life-saver for our family.


(If you’re looking for the blog hop post featuring the awesome giveaways, go here)

It’s fall. The weather is windy and chilly. And that means one thing to me: nesting. I’m a winter hibernator in general, but one thing I continually enjoy through the cold months is cooking and baking. Posting some of my yummy concoctions has been in my mental to-do list for a long time, so here goes another one.

This “recipe” is particularly timely on Halloween because it is Frankensteinian in nature. I cobbled it together from a handpie recipe and a dish my mom made during one of her visits.  This one is utter genius and the WHOLE FAMILY loves it. The person who loves it the most? The pickiest, moodiest, food-whiner. He requests it more often than I’m willing to make it.

Roasted Cauliflower Pie, or for today, Mummified Cauliflower

This recipe will make one “pie” but is easily doubled or tripled. I served this first at a Teacher Appreciation luncheon serving 60 people. Each pie make approximately 4 servings, but can be stretched if served as a side dish or buffet style. Excellent, flavorful vegetarian recipe!

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower chopped

1 red bell pepper and/or 1 yellow bell pepper

1 small onion

1 tube of crescent roll dough (you can get fancy pants and make your own dough if you want, but this makes things quick and easy)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

cavender’s greek seasoning

Pizza stone or baking sheet

Preheated 350 degree oven

 

Chop cauliflower, peppers, and onion. (Quick tip: I pre-chop and freeze onions, peppers and celery to cut down on prep time, so the pictured onions & peppers are frozen.)

Pan roast them in a skillet adding spices to taste. Once softened – cauliflower and onion begin to turn clear, remove cauliflower mixture from heat and set aside.

On the pan or pizza stone rub a few drops of olive oil to slightly grease the pan. Open the crescent roll dough. Begin laying out the triangles wide end to wide end down the middle of the pan, with the points facing out. Lightly press the dough together down the center. It’s perfectly fine to add a second tube of dough if you want a larger pie to fill the pan, a cruster pie, or if you are expanding the recipe for a large function.

Spoon the cauliflower in a pile down the center. Some will spill out, and you may have a spoonful or so left over, depending on the size of your head of cauliflower.

After the dough center is covered alternately wrap the points of the dough over the top of the cauliflower mound and overlap the tips similar to a bread braid.

Bake at 350 until the dough is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve. If you are very lucky, you will even get to eat some.

This is all that was left by the time I got to the kitchen with a camera:

 

As far as I know, this is my original recipe. Feel free to share, but please link back or at least give me credit. If I am mistaken and this is published elsewhere unbeknownst to me, please let me know so I don’t continue to claim it!

 


There are so many blog posts piling up in my head & schedule! I want to get it all out before I forget, but yesterday I tried to copycat an amazing soup from one of our favorite local diners. It turned out so well that we scraped the pot CLEAN! Having mentioned that in various webernet places, so many people have asked for the “recipe” that I thought I’d better post it, er post haste. Many thanks to The Westsider Cafe for all the delicious meals, and the inspiration for my dill pickle soup.

It should be said that I am a very haphazard cook. I like to taste and add a little of this and a little of that. Be warned that my measurements aren’t exactly measurements, but if you know how to make a basic thick soup recipe, this should be easy peasy.

DILL PICKLE SOUP

5 mushy pickles that have been languishing in the back of the fridge

1 cup of pickle juice from the poor jar that was forgotten

6 small potatoes (this is a guess – I bought 4 small red potatoes and threw in 4 tiny fancy pants potatoes that I found at home)

1 stalk of celery chopped very small

1 small onion chopped very small  (I love onion in everything, you might not like as much)

1-2 cups of milk

1 chicken bouillon cube + 1 cup of water OR broth ( you can make this vegetarian by swapping out for a Not-chicken cube)

1 good sized blob of margarine

2 inch chunk of velveeta melted together with milk or cream

Between running to the store and picking up kids from school, the Millionaire peeled and zapped the potatoes in the microwave to get them softened up. Into the pot they went with the butter, onion, celery, pickles and all the liquids except the cheese. I melted the cheese+cream mixture in the microwave so it would more easily mix in with the soup mixture in the pot. My soup was a little on the thin side, so I added a bit of corn starch, however I think this could have been avoided with an extra potato.  For the results similar to the photo above, I let it come to a boil for a little while, mushed all the things with a potato masher. I would have preferred a few less chunks, so next time I will let it cook down more.

Even chunky, this was DEEEEEEEElicious. The whole family raved about it, even my pickiest eater. We will definitely have this again & I hope your family loves it too!


Once in a blue moon I get a hankering for some jewelry. If you’ve ever met or known me IRL, you know that I am not a high-maintenance  make-up and jewels type. It’s a pretty rare thing that I go searching for a piece of jewelry. The last time I got new jewelry was for my birthday back in April – my husband bought me a pair of birthstone (diamond, baby!) earrings. Before that was over a year before when I bought a pair of earrings from an ETSY shop. Those didn’t work out so well….but I digress.

My Pinterest addiction unwittingly exposes me to all sorts of things I’d never go looking for. Most of them I give a glance and then move on, but stackable rings have struck a chord. I’ve seen so many cool iterations, but I keep coming back to simple silver bands. Well, there is an amazing white gold one that I would LOVE to have but it’s something silly like $300 or $600.  Anyway, silver bands. Love them. Need them. Don’t wanna spend the money.  I do visit them from time to time

 

They can be found here.



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