Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monk Costumes, Wearing Fancy Purple Dresses by Yourself, and a Reformation Party

We went to our 2nd Annual Reformation Party tonight that a family from church started last year. We were new to church and they invited us on a whim kind of last minute, we went without costumes, and this year we decided we needed to have costumes also if we were going to be doing this every year.

Poor Chatty. She ended up sick today with a fever and couldn't go. She was bummed because she'd been looking forward to wearing her fancy purple dress for weeks. Sparky was bummed because now she'd be the only one wearing a fancy purple dress.

I made the boys' monk costumes. My friend from church had some ideas for simple costumes, and this happened to be one of them. I purchased the fabric half price at Joann's last night. It's moleskin or muleskin or something like that. It's kind of like microsuede, but isn't, and it was less expensive than microsuede too.

I didn't finish off the sides since they were the edges of the fabric that weren't going to fray anyway. I did a double-rolled hem on the bottom since they were the cut edges of the fabric. I folded the fabric and cut a quarter-circle out of the center for the neck hole (easier than cutting a full or half-circle freehand). Finishing the neck off was a little tricky, but the easiest thing was when I did Caboose's second and put black double folded bias tape around it (I didn't plan ahead and didn't have any brown, and I did it today). We finished them off with rope tied around the waist.

I told my friend on the phone last night what I was planning, so she went and got fabric and did the same thing today too. All the boys were monks at the Reformation Party (the girls in black are nuns).

Here's our family, missing one purple dressed girl.

It was a fun night and a fun tradition!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Target Gift Card Giveaway

Two $10 Target gift cards are up for grabs. Tardy me. I said I was going to do this weeks ago.

Here is the picture:

But before you guess, let me tell you how this will work, because I don't want people to get all upset with me. I don't like people mad at me. I like to be liked.

For me, part of the fun is seeing what you guess. I don't care if you are right or wrong. It's almost more fun if you are wrong, because those can be funny!

I also don't like to decide whether someone is right in their guess or not. Take these two pictures as an example, the first of which was originally going to be the picture I was going to have you guess, but I changed my mind.

Now someone might guess leaf, which would not be wrong. Then someone might guess a leaf on a tree, which is not correct, because it is a leaf on a bush, so do I exclude that? Then someone might actually guess leaf on a bush in your yard, which is exactly correct. But is the first person who said leaf the first correct guess? See, I could argue for either side.

So all that crazy stuff said, I don't want to have to decide who is right. That is what it boils down to. I don't want anyone mad at me for not picking their answer.

So this is what I will do. If someone, or more than one person, gets the right answer (please, please, please don't make it hard for me to determine), then I will draw one of the gift card winners from that group of people. Then I will put all the names (including the correct guesses not chosen) in to draw for the second gift card.

Happy? Please say yes or don't say no.

Once again, it's this picture, not the two in the middle.

I'll keep this open until 10 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 3rd. Can't wait to see what you guess!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Williamsburg Pottery

I've made no secret that Virginia was not one of our favorite military assignments. It was also our last one, the one Hubby retired from, and where we moved from on our way here to Michigan.

There were several things that we did love about it. A few people that will be part of our extended family forever, and then there is Williamsburg, probably our favorite place in Virginia.

Just prior to leaving Virginia we had some good friends visit us from our previous assignment in Illinois. One of the days they were there we visited Williamsburg. Of course we had already been there many times. While we were visiting some of the little shops in Colonial Williamsburg, I decided to buy this little set of blue and white pottery as a memory of the place and day.

Plus blue is my favorite color and I love pottery, but I don't love lots of clutter and these little pots were just right.

Right now they are inside my glass bookshelf in my bedroom and there isn't a thing in them. Someday I might bring them out and put them on my dresser, but I love not having anything but a lamp and one little dish on it right now.

I actually bought an unexpected item from Williamsburg that day that I'll share another day with you. I think I'll just have to do a three- or four-part series on my Williamsburg goodies!

This post is linked to Show and Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Families, Budgets, and Groceries...Oh, My!

That is a cheesy title if I ever saw one, but by golly, I'm leaving it.

I've been keeping track of my grocery receipts for a couple of months now. I've been writing them down in a notebook and keeping track of my savings with coupons, in-store non-coupon savings, etc. I've usually always gone to the store with a list, but I've been very specific about it, including the things that I needed for the week's menu plan and then the other things I needed to buy for the week. Sometimes I would buy things that we eat or use but were not out of because I had a coupon for it and/or it was on sale.

I would still like to reduce our grocery budget and I think there are a lot of ways I can do it. I just recently purchased the book Family Feasts for $75 a Week (written by Owlhaven blogger Mary Ostyn). I've skimmed it and I'm excited about it. It has some great ideas for stocking your own pantry (seasoning, soup, and baking mixes) and lots of recipes. It also tells you how to make a pricing book so you know which stores typically have the best prices on the items you purchase most. I think that's another area that will be really helpful for me, especially as I'm trying out the CVS ECB program, trying to figure out if I should use the double coupon at the grocery store or buy the item cheaper with only the single coupon value elsewhere...stuff like that.

So, I'm curious what other people are spending and how you are making your dollars stretch. I'm going to put a few surveys on my sidebar after I finish up this post so we can all see how we compare to each other.

Here are my results from the last seven weeks (with a week skipped twice, once because I didn't have to go to the store and the other I'm not sure because it was so long ago, so in my averages I'm counting this as 8 weeks since the food covered that period of time and I didn't have to shop again). When non-food purchases are listed, they were usually toilet paper or other paper products or laundry products.

$115.88 less $14.25 coupons = $101.63 total
includes non-coupon savings of $5.36, non-food purchases of $7.17, and $10.17 of very unnecessary items (read candy, gum, and a soda at check-out for Hubby and me)

$142.93 less $15.81 coupons and $5.20 bottle refund = $121.92 total
includes non-coupon savings of $34.65

$146.32 less $21.25 coupons = $125.07 total
includes non-coupon savings of $10.98 and non-food purchases of $22.35

$168.08 less $15.90 coupons = $152.18 total
includes non-coupon savings of $15.34 and non-food purchases of $4.99

$185.75 less $26.90 coupons = $158.85 total
includes non-coupon savings of $17.55 and non-food purchases of $3.99

$120.45 less $10.07 coupons = $110.38 total
includes non-coupon savings of $11.3536, non-food purchases of $13.67, small group purchases of $31.88, and $9.06 of very unnecessary items (read candy, gum, and a soda at check-out for Hubby and me)

$73.25 less $12.65 coupons = $60.60 total
includes non-coupon savings of $3.34

Total coupon savings were $116.83
Total non-coupon savings were $98.57 (my store prints this at the top of the receipt)
Total before coupons was $952.66
Total after coupons (and the bottle refund) was $830.63

My coupon savings as a percentage of the original total was 12.26% (coupons/total amount before coupons).
My non-coupon savings was 10.35%.

We do have to go back to the store for milk during the week and sometimes a few other (minimal) things. We do sometimes buy at Sam's Club also, which is not figured into this. I'll give an allowance for it after this initial calculation.

Weekly amount spent $830.63/8 weeks = $103.83.....divided up between 6 people is $17.30 per person per week.

Weekly amount spent w/out the non-food items purchased at the grocery store figured in $778.46/8 weeks = $97.31.....divided up between 6 people is $16.22 per person per week.

I have no idea how much extra to figure in for the additional milk, Sam's Club, etc. One of my goals is to start keeping track of that also. But to just add in a rough $50 a week more, that would change the average per person for 6 people to $24.55 per week. Still not too bad I don't think.

I know you might not have all your details like I do, being the little bit OCD I am. But I'd love to know what you're doing with grocery spending and all. I think we can all learn from each other, so spill the beans.

I mean, please.

This post is linked to Works-for-me-Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

Anybody Want a Sparky?

She pulled the old gum-in-the-pocket made-it-through-the wash look-what-I-found-in-my-dryer again.

At least I know how to take care of it after last time.

You play ball, Sparky, so three strikes and you're out! Which means no more gum for you if it happens again!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday — October 26

This week I'm going to try for some meatless (or more meatless than usual) dishes as well as some new recipes. My boys especially are going to go down kicking and screaming with that one, but that's how we find new things we like. It's like the old adage, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Well, in our case, you have to try a lot of new recipes to find one your whole family (or at least a strong majority) loves.

MondayBaked Potatoes with the fixings. We haven't had these for a while and the cool weather is just beckoning.

TuesdayHam and Beans. I haven't made these for an absolute eternity. It's probably been since Hubby's gout was so horrible when we lived in Illinois. It is under control fairly well now, so I think I'll give it a go. I use pinto beans, will fix Jiffy cornbread on the side (with about 1/3 cup sugar per box added to sweeten it up), and will try to find some ham piece to throw in for flavor. I will make it in my Crock Pot too. This will be the first time I've made it in a gargantuan one. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday — I need some Cooked Ham for a recipe I'm making on Thursday, and we love it and haven't had it since probably Easter, so we're having Cooked Ham. It takes a long time to cook, so I always have to plan well for it.

Thursday — To stick with the potato and bean and ham theme that you didn't know was going on, I'm going to try a new recipe for Black Bean and Potato Soup. If you click on the link it will take you to Recipe Lion's 33 Hearty Slow Cooker Recipes eCookbook. You can download it and just look at it or save it to your computer (which is what I did). The recipe for this soup is on page 27. I'll probably triple this recipe, and when I do I may possibly cut down on the ham and increase the potatoes.

FridayLeftovers. I think we will probably have some from Wednesday and Thursday, and if we don't, I'll have to scramble and figure something out.

Saturday — Either Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or Breakfast for Dinner. We're going over to a friend's house for a Reformation Party in the evening and I know we'll have some apple cider donuts, so I want to leave plenty of room.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week!

Find all the best menu plans and recipe ideas at The Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nancy Drew Postcards

I'm not even sure when I bought my first package of Nancy Drew postcards (although I can narrow it down to when I lived in Illinois). They are super thick, much thicker than your typical postcard, and attached in a flip-book style format where they are bound at the top with adhesive gum. There are (now were) 12 included.

The second set of Nancy Drew postcards came in a boxed set of 30 and are your typical style postcard. These postcards, as well as the thicker ones, are all reproductions of different Nancy Drew book covers.

I love Nancy Drew. I have the complete yellow matte collection. I had over half of them from when I was growing up and completed the rest thanks to ebay several years ago. I still want to be Nancy Drew when I grow up.

But this is about my postcards and what I did with them.

I purchased three ready-made frames from Wal-Mart.

Figuring out which ones I wanted to include was probably the hardest thing I did.

The pictures on identical titles changed over the decades, so some of the postcard pictures were a little more antiquated than others (think hairstyles and clothing).

I tried to be sort of consistent in the style I was picking, and they were the ones that would usually be found on the yellow matte covers like I have. Many of the older ones were from when the books had dust jackets.

It's hard to take a picture of something with a glass front and not get a glare!

They are hanging up in my personal scrapbooking/crafting area. Yes, which is still builder beige along with the rest of the house.

Maybe someday I'll have a little detective office up there, too!

This post is linked to Show and Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Steak Burritos

I got this recipe for Steak Burritos from my friend Mari over at My Little Corner of the World. It was a hit with my family and I would recommend it. Thanks, Mari!

Steak Burritos

2 flank steaks (about 1 pound each)
2 envelopes taco seasoning (I used my homemade)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 flour tortillas (7 inches)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped, seeded plum tomatoes
3/4 cup sour cream

Cut steaks in half; rub with taco seasoning. Place in 4 quart slow cooker which has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with onions, chilies and vinegar. Cover and cook for 9 hours on low, until meat is tender. Remove steaks and cool slightly; shred meat with 2 forks.

Return to slow cooker; heat through. Spoon about 1/2 cup of meat mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with cheese, tomato and sour cream. Fold ends and sides over filling.
Yield: 10 servings

If you've read my blog for any time at all you know I never follow a recipe exactly like it's written. It's either because I'm lazy or because I don't like something that's in it, or both.
  1. I doubled the recipe and had 2 pieces of 2 lb. flank steak, but I didn't read the directions well and didn't cut them in half, but I couldn't have if I had, because they were frozen solid since I didn't plan ahead properly. I also used a bigger slow cooker.

  2. I cooked it on high for a few hours since my meat was frozen. I also only put on about half of my taco seasoning to start with. I waited until my flank steak was thawed out and unrolled to put the rest on the other side.
  3. I was rather skeptical about this until about an hour or so before it was finished. I couldn't figure out how it was going to be juicy without having any water or broth or something liquid (other than that little bit of vinegar) added to it. I was pleasantly surprised.
  4. I just used pre-shredded colby-jack cheese.
  5. I did not seed and chop plum tomatoes; I just peeled and chopped up some regular ones. Does anybody really seed their tomatoes? Not a rhetorical question...I'd like to know.
  6. We just scooped sour cream from the container.
  7. I think we used larger tortillas.
  8. I did not shred my meat with two forks and I did not remove it from the crock pot to do it. I just dug at it with my tongs and spatula that had already been in the meat and it was so tender it just shredded apart nicely on its own. Shredded or shred? I've had migraine medicine today and can't figure it out right now.

  9. We used salsa also. I'm using some chili beans next time too. I need to figure out how to roll the burrito so it doesn't drip out the bottom.

  10. The end.
Six pairs of thumbs up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


...pray for Meredith, her family, and the doctor and his team tomorrow. She'll be having her second (more invasive) heart surgery starting at 5:30 in the morning.

If you missed the earlier posts:
Please Pray for Meredith
An Update on Meredith

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday — October 19

I did very well sticking to the menu plan last week, as long as you don't count making the meals on the original nights they were planned for. The only think I didn't make was the Chicken Pot Pie, which will go on this week's menu.

Monday — Clean out the fridge and pantry. We still have some meat left from the Steak Burritos (which I'll probably do a separate post on this week since it was so good). We may have to scrounge around for some other things to go along with it.

TuesdayImpossibly Easy Chicken Pot Pie. We're having small group at our house, so I need quick and easy. I'll have make-your-own sundaes with brownies for everyone afterwards. Oh, and I'm not making them dinner, just us.

Wednesday — There should be some leftover Pot Pie, and if there isn't enough I'll have to figure something else out to add with it.

Thursday — Black-Eyed Peas and Cornbread. This is just plain old comfort food when it starts getting cold. I just do the Jiffy cornbread from the box and add in some sugar to the mix. It really makes it good (there was a drawl to that last word). I'm probably going to have some complainers, so I'll try to make some biscuits or muffins too.

Friday — Sam's Club Pizza, but I won't get to enjoy it. I get to go to the Awana T&T girls' sleepover at church since I'm a leader. No woot, woot here. I'm not a sleepover girl, but I'm doing it anyway and putting on a brave, happy face for my Awana girls. They'll never know.

Saturday — I know it's cold, but I hope I can talk Hubby into grilling hamburgers on the grill. I'm not going to feel like doing much but crawling into my own bed.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week!

Visit The Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Corn Husk Doll

This time of year in Arkansas has fond memories for me. It consists of three words that Lora reminded me of in her post earlier today.

War Eagle Fair.

I've only been three times, but it is the most amazing thing I've been to. It's a shame to call it a craft fair, because it is so much more than that.

You start out by driving over steep, curvy roads to get into the beautiful depths of Arkansas in the middle of fall, just to park in a cow pasture. Then you have to make sure you don't walk through any cow gifts as you head to the four big circus tents that are just the start of your day.

As I remember it, there was at least one exhibit hall on this side of the water mill where the circus tents were located. The fair had gotten so large that it had crossed over the little one car bridge (that you walked on en masse with others as single rows of cars occasionally were) to where hundreds of individual exhibitors had their tents set up on the other side.

The first year Hubby and I went was 1990, before kids. I know my grandparents and aunt and uncle were there, but that's all I remember. If I pulled out the pictures I'd remember who else, but I'm too lazy.

My aunt loved Nan's Corn Husk Dolls and specifically took me to her booth in one of the large tents. She had me pick one out for myself. Of course I picked one that had a blue dress and a basket of kittens.

I can't put my hands on the card that came with her, but the part of Nan's story I remember is that her family was having trouble making ends meet and so she started making the corn husk dolls to sell. It was much more successful than they ever imagined.

My doll lives in the cabinet with my other dolls. They are all unique, but she's one of the ones that has a special story.

This post is linked to Show and Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rainbow Cake

First, I have to give credit where credit is due. I first saw this cake over at MckMama's blog. She had a little shindig at her house and someone named Amanda brought the cake, she begged Amanda for the recipe seeing that everyone was begging her to get it, and she shared it. I tried it, it worked, and here it is.

Rainbow Cake

2 boxes of white cake mix
Food Coloring in six colors (I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste)


4-8 oz packages of cream cheese
1 cup butter
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

You might want to have a third box of white cake mix on hand just in case.

To prepare the cake:

Prepare the first mix according to the package. Separate the prepared batter into three separate dishes. I ended up with a little over 1 1/2 cups per bowl with my batter. Add food coloring until you achieve the desired color (purple, blue, and green this time).

I'd recommend doing a really good grease and flour job on your pans, because I did it lightly the first time. I almost lost my first purple cake and I did lose my first green one. It was completely stuck to the bottom of the pan and was destroyed when I tried to get it out.

Cook according to package directions, but remember that you have a little less batter in each pan so you might not need to bake them as long. I almost forgot that part.

During the first box I broke one egg on the floor and one in the sink. Then I ended up destroying the green cake, which I didn't even know yet.

While the first three cakes were cooking I washed up my dishes and started working on the second cake mix. Before I could put the food coloring in I had already destroyed the green cake, so I did one of them green, one yellow, and one orange, although it should have been yellow, orange, and red.

Good thing I did an about-face and picked up that third box of white cake mix as an after thought on Monday night's grocery trip just in case.

(Then I started washing up my dishes again and made the third cake mix. During this wash-and-dry, Sparky dropped one of the heavy stoneware bowls and it broke, plus it nicked up the wood floor pretty good. What can you do but clean it up and keep on going and chalk it up to another Rainbow Cake casualty.)

I went ahead and made two red cakes and left one plain with the last batch. I decided if one red one was damaged I'd have another one to fall back on since I didn't have any more boxes of cake mix. And the red cake was the one that took the most food coloring to get it a deep enough color.

To make the frosting:

Mix your room temperature cream cheese and room temperature butter together well with your mixer. Add in the vanilla. Then slowly add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, up to 5 cups. Taste the frosting and see if it's sweet enough for you, and if it's not, then add the other cup. Personally, I did the requisite tasting knowing all along I'd just add the other cup.

To assemble the cake:

Start by taking a large bread knife and leveling off the tops of the cakes (you can even tell in the picture where I did this). They need to be flat and level for this to work correctly. Then place the purple layer on your cake plate, place frosting on top, and spread it with a flat knife where it runs over the edge a little. Place the blue layer on top of the frosting, spread frosting on top where it runs over the edge, then smooth the frosing all the way around the edges (as if you had a two-layer cake).

You must now refrigerate the cake for about 2 hours for the frosting to set (or put it in the freezer for 1 hour if you have a place big enough). This is very important since the cake is heavy and the frosting is squishy at this point.

After you've waited the appropriate amount of time, put on the green layer, frost, yellow layer, frost, do the sides like before, and stick it in to firm up again for 2 hours. Then do the orange and red layers and you're done.

Except for anything fun you do on the top, like sticking 44 slim candles that leave ash all over the cake and table when Hubby blows them out.

Cut the cake, hopefully get some ooohs and aahs, thankyouverymuches, this is the best cake I've ever hads...

Just enjoy it, because it really is good!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

You finally aren't that icky prime number 43 anymore. You're that nice, round, pretty 44.

Don't worry, I'll be there with you in a couple of months and a half.

Overheard from Hubby at our house tonight:

"That's the tallest cake I've ever seen." (Six inches to be exact.)

"I hope this doesn't set off the smoke detectors."

"Open the back door."

"Oh, I get it, you made this in honor of Jeff Gordon and the Rainbow Warriors." (Who?)

"The next time I'm an increment of 22 I'll be 66, and then 88. And then I'll be..." I piped in probably dead.

I found the recipe for this rainbow cake over at MckMama's blog. I'll share the recipe with you tomorrow along with all the crazy casualties along the way.

If we don't get Hubby an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen I usually make him German Chocolate Cake, which is his favorite. I didn't find this out until we had been married for at least six years, maybe more.

And we had dated since the 9th grade. How could I not know that was his favorite cake? I'd spent lots of birthdays with him, and I have a good memory. I mean, I still remember Mr. Bergman from 9th grade and how he deducted two points from my grade every day I was late to class (and he didn't fall for the excuse that I had to get all the way from typing class at the other end of the 'L' to my locker and then to his class in five minutes), and how he deducted points for a word I used in an essay that wasn't a word (understandingness), but I still thought it was cool because it took up an entire line on wide-ruled paper, and how all these deductions cost me a whole letter grade one semester. Not bitter, just a good memory. So the point is, I don't ever remember having German Chocolate Cake in my life. That is, before I made one for him. You know, when I found out it was his favorite.

So this year when I saw the rainbow cake I knew it was time for something different. It was moist and yummy, and oh, so pretty. Even fun! What more could you ask for than that.

Have another great year, Hubby!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Organization — Fabric Cubes for Ikea Expedit System

If you've read my blog much at all, you know I have a love affair with Ikea.

If you didn't know that and really want to know, you can read about it here.
And here.
And here.
And even here.

I also have a love affair with all things cubbies. Here's a little look at the ones in Caboose's room.

And in sticking with my little theme-o-la, if you want to read about my sickening little thing with cubbies, you can read about them here.
And here.
And here.

Even though Ikea makes the most fantastic Expedit cubbies in the entire world (including wordless, picture-only directions for the entire world!), they do not make fabric cubes for their system. They make a multitude of baskets, plastic boxes, cardboard boxes, and even zippered fabric boxes, but not just plain old fabric cubes.

The cubbies that are sold at Target, Lowe's, Home Depot, etc., that we used to have in our military quarters (most of which were destroyed in this last move or by the rats in the storage facility) have fabric cubes. This is the size they are compared to the Ikea system:

Not such a great fit, but we've been using them in Caboose's room anyway since we had them.

I was looking through the Target ad from Sunday's paper, and I happened to have a $50 Target gift card I won from another blog (I did mention on my Menu Plan Monday post about being lucky lately). I saw these fabric cubes on sale for a plastic system called Itso. They appeared to be the right size, so I picked some up today. Here they are in Caboose's Ikea Expedit system.

The first time I put them in I had to squeeze the sides in on the bottom, but pretty much they are a perfect fit. I had Caboose take them out and put them in after I did, and the second time they went in easily.

I got four blue and two brown. I can't wait to save up and get a few more!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday — October 12

Want to hear the strangest start to a Menu Plan Monday you've probably ever heard?

I love the dentist!

Strange, I know. But see, a couple of weeks ago we all went to our new dentist for the first time (new because we had to find a dentist since we moved to an entirely new state) and this dentist has a monthly drawing for patient appreciation. One drawing is for the kids and one drawing is for the adults. Last week I got a call and not only did Buddy win the kids' drawing, I won the adult drawing. Weird, I know, and if I did the lottery I'd be all over it, but I don't. So anyway, I got $100 in gift cards to restaurants. $50 was for Cracker Barrel, which we haven't been to since we left Virginia, so we drove the 30 minutes on Friday night to eat there. This of course meant that Friday night's Taco Salad bumped to Saturday and I didn't get to try the Steak Burritos I had originally planned. But Cracker Barrel totally made it worth it.

So see, I love the dentist. Wait until you read Tuesday and you'll see why I love him more.

Monday — Clean out the fridge and pantry, maybe some blt or grilled cheese and soup. It's cold here! It was 31 degrees when I got up on Sunday morning.

Tuesday — It's Hubby's birthday, and that means we eat out and it doesn't count against Sunday! My other $50 in gift cards were for Logan's Steak House, and guess where Hubby usually likes to go eat for his birthday. Yee haw!

WednesdaySteak Burritos. I'm putting them back on the menu for this week.

ThursdayMeat Loaf. This link is almost exactly the recipe from my cookbook, which of course I don't quite follow. When I make it later this week I'll post it exactly how I do it.

Friday — Mini-Meatloaves with Gravy. This is a made up recipe I'm going to try in the crock pot. It's made up only in the sense that my mom doesn't do it quite this way...hers is done in the oven with uncooked mini-meatloaves, and I'm making my mini-meatloaves the night before with my regular meat loaf and then doing it in the crock pot the next day.

SaturdayImpossibly Easy Chicken Pot Pie.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week! Remember, birthdays don't count!

Visit The Organizing Junkie for more great menu plans and recipes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pen & Ink Covered Bridges

When we lived in Illinois while Hubby was stationed at Scott AFB (but remember, he was in the Army), they had a silent auction one day during some special luncheon. I didn't even know about it until Hubby walked through the door with his winning bid.

So some seven or eight years ago a $30 bid won both of these pen & ink drawings by Francis Clark Brown, an Indiana artist.

Until we moved to Michigan a year ago I left them in their original frames, which happened to be professionally done. They were black metal and there was matting around the pictures, although I can't remember if it was black or white anymore.

The framing really wasn't my style and didn't do anything for the drawings, so I purchased these black frames on sale at Michael's and took the drawings out of the original frames (the drawings are 11x14). I put them in without matting since the frame was wider. I'm so happy with them now I just wish I'd done it when Hubby won them. I just liked them so-so then; now I love them.

I haven't been able to find much information online about Francis Clark Brown (1908-1992). I'm sure these bridges are from somewhere in Indiana where he lived, but they aren't marked in any way. I guess I'll just have to be satisfied that the drawings are signed and the artist is not a complete mystery.

This post is linked to Show and Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.

Theme Thursday — Collection

I have had a doll collection since before I knew I had one. My mom started it for me when I was young and it was added to over the years.

She had a few military friends who would send authentic dolls when they were stationed overseas. Plus she picked some up in early travels to Mexico and Hawaii. My grandparents got me a couple when they visited the Holy Lands in the '70s.

As an adult I've added very little to it. The five large porcelain Hummels I've added are the ones from mail-order and they are supposed to be limited edition. I just got them because I liked them, I doubt they have any significant value, and I got them before kids. The one on the far right is actually a plastic Hummel goose girl from Germany that my mom had her friend Pat get me.

Hubby and I also purchased the little miniature painted bronze Hummels. They are somewhere around 3/4 to 1 inch tall. I'm too lazy to get a ruler out just to tell you.

I took this picture right before we packed the boxes in Virginia over a year ago, but my collection hasn't changed so I just used the same pictures. Since we were short on space there, a lot of extra trinkets found their way inside the doll cabinet. You might have noticed them in the pictures. If you didn't, please don't go back and look, and if you did, pretend you didn't.

You can participate in Theme Thursday here.
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