The Great Shuffle

Big news! We’re putting our house on the market in the spring in hopes of moving south. All of a sudden, finishing the projects we’ve had half finished for so long and clearing out some of the clutter we’ve been too  lazy busy to deal with has become a very high priority. For the next few weeks, there is going to be a massive shuffle as two of the kids change bedrooms, the laundry room goes back down into the basement and I put together a brutally organized couponing/stockpile office, all with the change from the couch cushions a tiny little budget.

I’ll be saving the before pictures for the room reveals, but I will be showing you bits and pieces of what we’re doing over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s tomorrow’s to-do list. Originally I was just making a list for my own use and had no intention of publishing it, but whatever. Full disclosure. Come along for the ride with us.


1. Move desk, printer stand and all office stuff that we will be keeping down to the basement. Find a temporary electrical and lighting solution

2. Remove all baseboards in Dan’s new room

3. Pull out carpet and take out to garage

4. While Allie and Gage cut carpet into strips, I can dust walls and start spackling. Start spackling in basement areas as well.

5. Sand and do second coat of spackle

6. Move Dan’s furniture upstairs

7. Get his clothes put away in his dresser and his t.v. and computer set up

8. Have Zachary move all his belongings into Daniel’s old room and move tv stand from garage into his room

I also need to find time for my p90x workout, to pick up my car from the garage, and to pick up Dan and his friend from their afternoon adventure. Oh, and it’s superintendent’s day in our district, so no school for any of the kids. Yikes.

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Three Envelope Pot Roast

3 envelope slow cooker pot roastFolks, meat and potato dinners do not get much easier than this. Grab a three pound roast on sale and let’s get cooking.

Whisk together one cup of water with one envelope of each of the following: Italian dressing mix, brown gravy, and ranch dip or dressing mix.

mix envelopes and 1 c waterPlace your roast in the bottom of the slowcooker and pour 3/4 of the mixture over the top of it. Throw in your peeled and diced carrots and potatoes and pour on the rest of the liquid.

veggies in slowcooker

Expect your dog to look at you like this, because it smells GOOD.

IMG_6159I heart this goofy dog.

Here’s your finished dinner. I poured all the liquid from the slow cooker into a bowl, added a tablespoon or so of flour and whisked it up for a tasty gravy.

pot roastYou know it’s good stuff when you get the thumbs up from the four year old.


This is a new pot roast recipe for me. The family seems to like it better than the old one, so I think it’s a keeper. We topped it off with some yummy pumpkin apple bread.

pumpkin apple breadYou can find the recipe for that one as well as some really pretty photos on Sand and Sisal.

See you soon!




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Throwback Thursday- Jalapeno Popper Dip

jalapeno popper dipDid you try jalapeno popper dip back in it’s heyday? I may have made it a time or two (or a hundred times, but who’s counting?)

It’s super easy to make.

Soften two blocks of cream cheese in the microwave. Stir in 3/4 cup of mayo. Chop most of a jar of pickled jalapeno peppers and toss in as much or as little as you like. I have found that a heaping half cup is about right for us.

jalapeno popper dipThen throw in 8 ounces of shredded cheddar and about a cup of shredded parmesan. Stir it all together.

jalapeno popper dipSpread all that spicy, cheesy goodness into a 13×9 pan, sprinkle with a little more parm and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

jalapeno popper dipOh, it’s so very good.

jalapeno popper dipWhat IS the trendy new dip now that buffalo chicken and jalapeno popper have been done to death? Do you want to do a guest post for a dip recipe? Don’t be shy!

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New Year’s Resolution- Couponing my Way to a Stockpile


This is my Target haul from last night. 3 boxes of the cereal Maddie has been dying for, free. Toothbrush to add to my backup, free. Lysol wipes $.94 apiece. Mozzarella cheeses, $2.19 apiece, clearance but with dates in May. Block cheddar ( I don’t love orange but will use in casseroles) $1.87 Block pepper jack $1.87. 3 huge bags of candy, usually $5, $.93 a bag- that’s a triple stack coupon deal. 5 packages of mechanical pencils for Mr. I-can’t-do-my-work-because-this-pencil-sharpener-sucks, $.50 each. I also bought three gallons of milk and a quart of half and half. The original bill was $95 and I paid $33. Doing that a couple of times a week at a couple of different stores with all different food and HABA deals is how I have built the stockpile in three months.

Couponing has become a fun hobby for me, and I get better at it every week. Sometimes I miss a good deal, or think something is a good deal when it’s really not, but I’m getting more discerning. And it’s really, really nice that we hardly ever run out of anything and have to go further than the basement storage room to replenish it.

Do you coupon? Will you start this year? You can google “how to coupon” and get tons of tutorials.

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A Life in Pictures- Truce


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DIY Burlap Deer Ornaments

glittered deer ornamentThis was a fun little project made with inexpensive supplies. I bought some printable burlap sheets, gold glitter and Elmer’s glue from Walmart and got right to work.


I found a reindeer silhouette that I liked online, saved the photo and inserted it into a Word document. Then I added circles around each one using the shape art tool, centered them around each reindeer, and printed them. Once I cut them out, I poured some glue on a paper plate and rolled the edges of each circle through the glue.


Then I repeated the process, rolling them through some gold glitter. Et voila! Cute little rustic glam ornaments.

finished ornamentsI tried out another crafty project today too, and I’m loving the way it turned out. Come back tomorrow and visit, so I can show you some DIY coffee mugs that you’ll love working on! See you soon!

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Christmas Tree 2013

treepretty tree

The popsicle stick Christmas tree ornament on the left of the photo was Madeleine’s very first handmade ornament, a surprise from pre-k, so naturally it gets a place of honor.

DIY ornamentsHere are our Nabi inspired ornaments- good morning, red bird. I love these long-tailed red birds from Walmart. The placques are a DIY project, as are the crosses.  The girls and I painted them black, then a layer of white, then sprinkled them with golden glitter while the second coat of white paint was still wet. Then I just handwrote the kids’ names on them and used scraps of a plaid flannel shirt to make hangers.

monogram artJames built these shelves for me. It was originally one long shelf over my sofa, but you know I love to change my mind. Now it’s two. A minor change. The “anniversary” figurine was a gift from my husband. It has special meaning to him (and now to me). The monogram art was created in MS Word and printed on a sheet of burlap. I found the little owl hiding in the lantern at Walmart this past fall, and I spray painted him white. I made the conical Christmas trees from styrofoam forms and yarn last Christmas.shelvesbedecked mirror

I got this beautiful old mirror from an online garage sale site for twenty dollars. She’s framed in solid oak and looks lovely in a coat of dark walnut spray paint. I covered the glass with plastic wrap while I painted and it worked like a charm. You can see our chevron wall monogram reflected in the mirror- that’s going to be getting an update soon.

dining room

The dining room centerpiece was a matter of using things I already had. I love the contrast of the glittered pears with the rustic flannel, wooden beads and mini flower pots.

centerpieceI picked up some apple cider at the commissary today, and we’re going to break out the mulling spices again. The temperature has taken a dip, and we’re going to be warming up our kitchen with some good food and even better company in the next couple of weeks.


Marley would like you to know that the whirring and clicking of the camera seriously interferes with his nap schedule and although he appreciates his bloggy friends, he needs to go back to sleep. I hope you’re getting plenty of rest and keeping a good grip on your holiday spirit as you venture out into the cold. Come back and see us!

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