Saturday, August 27, 2011

I love a good deal! (or I'm a cheapskate!)

I have never been one to (want to) pay full price for clothes. I think it comes partly from growing up in a blue collar family of 6 and partly from being super poor in college because I hadn't been very wise in my finances. I just don't like to spend money. And I have never been a huge fan of shopping (which definitely shows in my wardrobe). Anyhow, after Evie was born and I was staying a home with her, I decided to try garage sale shopping when they started the spring after she was born. I will tell you that Ankeny has some killer sales with nice clothes at really cheap prices (they have really overpriced ones too). It didn't take me long to be addicted to getting great deals! Every week I would plan ahead searching Craigslist for Ankeny garage sales, got my list all together with directions and a game plan then set out with my little passenger in search of great deals. It became my way of "creating" more money for us by not spending so much on her clothes. Truth be told, a lot of the time I became more attached to the 2nd hand clothes than to the brand new ones I did buy. I just don't see the point of buying brand new clothes that will either get ruined or she will only wear once. Even Evie got into the spirit of finding good deals and the summer after she turned 1 she started finding items that she wanted me to buy for her too :) There was a tiny baby she found for 10 cents and a pull behind fisher price puppy for 50 cents and then people started giving her things that she found to keep herself busy while I browsed because "she was so cute!" My husband used to joke that I should be a personal garage sale shopper for people because I found such great stuff :)

My most recent venture today was pretty small because it is getting to the end of the season but I did find a Gap down winter jacket for $5! And a pair of classic teva sandals for $1 and a couple other pieces for 50 cents each.

So we are pretty set for the next size. I have 2 tubs of 4t clothes from garage sales, plus the coat and a jean jacket and shoes (including some pink low top converse in perfect shape, a couple pairs of cloth mary janes, classic crocs and mary jane crocs). There are like 6 stacks of long sleeve shirts, then holiday shirts for Halloween/Christmas, jeans, colored corderoys, sweaters, sweatshirst, skirts and dresses, tights, knit pants. One of my favorites is an adorable purple sweater dress <3 hopefully I can get her to wear some dresses this year!

I also have a partial tub of 4T summer clothes (in the background) and I have to admit there are probably close to 10 swim suits in there... but at 50 cents a piece for new looking suits I had trouble turning them down :) Then I also have a tub full of 5T/6/xs stuff that was just too great of a deal and too cute to pass up! Seriously, old navy 5slim girlfriend jeans for 50 cents? Um, yes please!

This summer I have also had fun shopping for my sis-in-law who is due with her 3rd baby at the end of September (she has 2 boys already). After we found out it was a girl (yay!) I started keeping my eye out for good deals, because they live in Washington and we either have to take them with us when we go visit (hopefully) in October or ship them. Boy, did I find some good great deals! All this for less than $25! There are 3 jammies, 2 sleep sacks, 6 2 pc outfits, 2 4pc outfits, 8 pairs knit pants, 12 onsies, hooded zip up sweater, 6 shirts, 1 dress, insulated bib overalls, jeanskirt overall, pink polka dot sweater vest, a load of itty bitty socks, soft purple blanket, a few burp cloths, 2 or 3 pairs of jeans, 4 bibs, 4 tiny pairs of shoes, haba wood ring rattle, old navy black puffy vest (new looking for 50 cents!), camo columbia fleece pullover (also 50 cents) and some Cars jammies. The last 3 are for our nephews but for 1.25 total I couldn't resist! Now, the trick will be getting everything out to Washington! My mother in law is going out right before the sheduled c-section so I might try to send some with her if she has room. Then we are waiting to see if we can afford to go out but hoping to go late October. Paying for the 3rd ticket for Evie really adds up! But we wouldn't have to pay for a place to stay which helps ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A day at the beach... er, I mean park

I meant to post the pics from this sooner but I was hoping our desktop computer would be fixed sooner (its still in the shop) so I wouldn't have to use our ancient laptop.
Last week we went to a park to meet up with some moms from my Titus2 womens group from church since we took the summer off. It made me excited for our regular meetings to start again after Labor Day. It was a couple of gals from this group that really helped me out by praying for me and sending me Bible verses to meditate on when I was so anxious about leaving Evie for our Bahamas trip back in April. I don't know what I would have done without their counsel. Evie just loves any time she can get together with other kids too so she looks forward to the meetings as much as I do!

with her buddy Zack, whose mommy is Kristy from Fried Kristy

when it was time to go feed the geese and ducks, Evie grabbed Zack's hand and shockingly, instead of pulling away, he just readjusted it and ran off with her (so persistence DOES pay off)

up close and personal

just got her finger nibbled

apparently, she climbs trees

not too far off the ground... yet

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trainland USA

Today started out like most Sundays in our house, we woke up went to church, had some lunch at our favorite mexican restaurant, took a lovely nap.... then woke up and had a surprise visit from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Joyce on the Harley. They also had a little t-shirt for Evie from Trainland USA, where they had stopped out on their scenic drive to check it out before our trip originally planned for Wednesday of this week. Then, they figured since they were so close, why don't they just swing on over and deliver the shirt :) Well, since it was just after 2pm and they are open until 6pm why don't we all just head over today? Okay, I think we will! It was neat and fun, although not something I would do regularly, and now we have been there, done that, so to speak. Evie's favorite part was a coin operated choo choo ;) 

Thanks Grandpa and Grandma!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chalk Drawings, Harvesting and Homemade Pie Filling

It has been a long, crazy, stressful last month here. We've had injury, illness, our computer decided to die... so thankful we had GeekSquad Black Tie Protection on it because the motherboard was done for. So it got sent off to be fixed and we are making due with our not so smart phones and our crippled laptop. Both are desperately in need of replacing. Also, in the middle of it all, I had my grandmother come stay with us for 4 days and then at the beginning of this week D had a work function over in Cedar Rapids, so Evie and I tagged along and went to my parents while he was "working". Then, just to make sure we weren't bored we decided to rearrange our basement living room/computer/sewing/workout space.
Now, on to the good stuff!
Chalk drawing with Evie turned into Evie telling me what to draw and picking out the colors. And its probably just me, but I love this "family portrait"

Then, the artist in me clawed its way out and I spent a good portion of the time doing this and it turned out pretty good. Then, it rained later that day. Boooo!

Homemade pie filling, cherry on the left and rhubarb(from my patch) on the right. Basic recipe would be about 2 1/2 c of rhubarb or 1 sm bag of frozen pie cherries (about 2-3 cups I think), mix together 1 cup sugar with 5 tablespoons of flour then mix into fruit and cook on low heat with lid on stirring often to keep sugar from burning until liquid from fruit mixes with sugar/flour and thickens... its not an exact science :)

lavendar from my herb garden

trial run of hand pies made from uncooked tortillas

almost forgot to take a picture before they were gone! it turned out okay with the tortilla, i think it was just so flat pressed that it didn't have any of the normal flakiness of regular pie crust even though it was basically the same ingredients. they were still yummy though :)

my rhubarb is getting to the end of the season so it is drier and a lot less sweet (even for rhubarb) but it still is yummy with the right amount of sugar ;) and I don't want to waste it so I have started slowly harvesting it, cleaning, cutting and freezing it

To make it easier to use out of the freezer, I lay the pieces out on foil on a cookie sheet in the freezer till frozen and then put in freezer bags.