Saturday, October 31, 2009

Emergency Appendectomy...

Just when I thought it was ok to breathe a sigh of relief, College Diva had what we thought was a relapse from her dreaded ***** flu.  No, appendicitis.  Thank the lord her suite mate Amy had the perserverence to push College Diva into going to the ER.  I had a feeling it might be appendicitis, but CD didn't want to believe it, (my little girl is not a fan of hospitals.)figured it was flu related.  

Amy and the "Twins" (sorority sisters) bundled her up and away they went to the emergency room.  Amy never left her side, the twins only left when she went into surgery.  (not much room in the ER waiting room)

It was her appendix.  Surgeon said it was on verge of rupturing, couldn't figure out why it didn't. 
Can you say the power of prayer?  I prayed all night long, another 2 1/2 drive in less than two hours in the middle of the night.  (strange sense of de ja vu)

She is home now... I will not be alone for Halloween!  Going to watch movies and eat soup...Any good soup recipes?  Send me a link or email a recipe as we will be eating soup for the next few days!

Thankful we love soup!

Joyeux Halloween, mes amies!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Awesome Thift Store Finds 10/29

While waiting for the Reluctant Teenager to get his hair cut (buzz cut!) I passed time strolling around a Savers Thrift Store.  I have put myself on restriction on purchasing items until I clear out the stuff cluttering my life.  I was doing great, passing up knick-knacks, bric-a-brac,tchotchkes,and the likes.   Until. I . Spied. This.

It appears to be depickting "Day of The Dead.  Day of the Dead, El Día de los Muertos or All Souls' Day is a holiday celebrated in Mexico focusing on prayer and remembrance of friends and family who have departed.The celebrations in Mexico can be traced as far back as the Aztec and Mayans.  I was captivated the artists rendition and use of colors on this plate.  I turned it over to check the price and saw the back side is painted as well.  Isn't this perfect for Halloween?  The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st, just 3 short days away. 

Back of plate

I checked the price...Uh, $5.99, a bit past my flinching point, but where was I going to find another plate like this?  I had to get it.  I discovered that it's hand made with the signature Ketchum 88 on the back.  Nothing came up on Ketchum when I googled it, except Hal Ketchum.  I am sure he didn't make this plate...

I also spied this little apothecary jar!  Perfect to add to my collection, just needs a clean up.  Bliss.

As I headed over to the check stand I saw a chocolate bunny sitting on a shelf.

Closer inspection, not Chocolate, (maybe I should tell you I love, love, love Chocolate!) but resin painted to look like my favorite flavor in the world Chocolate!  

As the cashier rings up my order, I notice the prices aren't scanning right.  He tells me that BLUE tags are 50% off today and the bunny and apothecary jar are blue tags.  SCORE!  Then he asks me if I got the plate from Halloween shelf.  I replied that I did, so he gave me 50% off as well because all Halloween decor was on Sale.  Sweet! 

I would have happy danced my way out the door, except the Reluctant Teenager was coming out of the barber shop and would have "died" from the embarrassment!

Joyeux Halloween,


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Frugal Luxuries Book Give Away

All you frugal ladies, stand up and pay attention!  The wonderful Tracey McBride is sponsoring a book give away on both of her blogs Frugal Luxuries and Frugal Luxuries By The Season.  I know I could hardly contain my joy when I found out she is giving away a copy of each of her books.  You know I squeeled with unbridled happiness, oh yes, I felt the happy dance coming on! 

I am the proud owner of Frugal Luxuries, a book that has an honored place in my library.  I was raised frugally, fell off the frugal wagon during my twenties and thirties only to find my way back to the fold in the past few years.  I have learned to embrace frugality as my mother did and find ways to enjoy the smallest of pleasures just as my mother did.  This book is like having my mother back with me, reminding me to enjoy my tea from a porcelien tea cup, use the silver for every day dinners and when eating off of china EVERYTHING tastes better and candle light saves energy and makes EVERYTHING look better!

If you don't have these books and would love to enter the give away, be sure to head over to Frugal Luxuries  scroll down the Friday, October 23rd post, then head over to Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons
to enter to win that book.  While you are there, browse through Tracey's postings!  She has a wealth of knowledge and she is just so down to earth friendly!

Enjoy ma cheries!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Super Frugal Halloween Trees

These past few weeks have been hectic so I haven't completed my decorating for Halloween.  Inspired by all of the spooky Halloween trees I have seen around the blogosphere (sorry I forgot to save the links so I could give you credit!) I decided to give it a try.

First I needed twigs...uh, having desert landscaping doesn't yield many twisty branches, although I did think about spray painting the cactus black!  (bet the HOA would fine me for a life time!)  I located a great source for these branches,one itsy-bitsy-tiney-tiny problem.  Still attached to the tree and about 9 feet off of the ground.  I am only 5'3 ish so...not happening.

While visiting family in Northern Arizona, inspiration hit me like a MAC Truck!  I didn't need to forage for my branches, my uncle had trimmed the trees on his property and had TONS of branches just waiting to be burned.  Selecting a few promising ones I stuffed them in my car and headed home.

I took a pile of branches....

and turned them into THESE!

I should have taken pictures of the steps in the middle,  but my camera was in need of a charge.  Here's a list of what I used:

Three cans of cheapo Walmart spray paint ($3.00)
One Dollar Store Floral Foam Brick cut in half ($1.00)
A tiny bit of Spider web floss ($1.00 for the bag)
Repurposed Spanish Moss from a floral display I saved from the office trash (FREE) 
Urns ($4.00 for the pair at a yard sale)
Spiders/Rats (FREE from my stash of stuff)
Skeleton heads (Free..sort of, they came from the insert from BONES Season 4)
Table Scarf (FREE! a wool scarf I was given as a gift several years ago!)

Voila!  Not to shabby for my first attempt! They are really impressive when you walk in the door!  

Did I mention the Mister doesn't like HATES Spiders? Sorry honey!

This tree is ready for it's close up...

Remember these guys?  Found them at a yard sale.  

With the left over branches, I crafted another "tree", for this pesky fella.

Another yard sale urn and a few landscape rocks from the yard.  The vulture came from a yard sale...I think he was $3.00.  Kind of spooky, but the Mister loves it!

I hope you enjoyed my trees.  I got to get busy and finish decorating! I am linking up with Kimba at A Soft Place To Land DIY Day and Reinvented: Trash to Treasure Tuesday.

Ta-Ta For Now....


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sorry I Haven't Written....

Things have been hectic here at La Maison.  I have been out of bloggerville while taking care of College Diva who was terribly ill with H1N1 also known as Swine Flu.  I got a call on Monday that she was in the Infirmary and they wanted to send her by ambulance to Flagstaff Regional Medical Center.  I drove the normally 2 1/2 hour drive in less than 1 hour and 45 minutes without a ticket.

She was released to me and I brought her back home to recuperate.  Very frightening as she suffers from Chronic EBV or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  She is on the mend after a few days with high fevers and a rash that covered her torso.  She slept a lot, a bit cranky and not wanting to drink, however I managed to get fluids down her.  Her cough is almost gone and she should be able to return to class on Tuesday if she is up to it.  However she will be unable to return to work until next week due to "precautions" put in place at the office.  

Thankful she is doing better and I can get back into the swing of things.



Monday, October 19, 2009

A Few Of My Favorite Things....

As I go through my house paring down the excess and re-discovering items I have packed away and forgotten, I realize I am fortunate to live in a state where we can yard sale year round.  I have been blessed to pick up some wonderful items for little out of pocket cost.

Here are a few of my favorite things in the kitchen and all of them were five dollars or less. 

Spice cabinet.  Picked up at a yard sale for $5.00.  I saw potential, the seller thought it was ugly and asked what I was going to do with it.  Put on the spot I said, "Spices" and as I walked off she remarked to her friend "I should have thought of that!".   Sorry for the glare, couldn't figure out how not to get that in the picture!

Still the same blue as when I bought it, maybe I will paint it, maybe not.  Perfect size for several of my spices. 

Next up is the FREE Cookie Jar my friend Sandra gave to me.  She had it in her kitchen and I admired it, saying how similar the colors of my kitchen were to this.  She said "Take It, I am not using it". 

  What a great friend, what an amazing jar!

These are the canisters I found for $3.00 at a yard sale a few months back.  The price tag on the bottom read $87.50.  Talk about STICKER SHOCK.  I love them and the fruit motif goes with my kitchen.  Forgive the missing outlet plate, I am about to start the THIRD coat of paint in this kitchen.  Dark Bordeaux.  I love it!

Portuguese Majolica plates and bowl I picked up for $5.00 from an Estate Sale, most of the items were WAY out of my league however I spotted these and grabbed them up!  WOOT WOOT!

Small Crock found at yard sale for $1.00!  Perfect holder for cooking utensils.  I just love yard sales, don't you!

I had to show you a portion of my cookbook collection.  Most of these have been purchased for $2.00 or less at various yard sales and the likes.  I lurve cookbooks!

When looking about my home I realize that very little has been purchased at retail stores or for retail prices.  I love yard sales and the thrill of the hunt.  No matter what my budget is, I love the hunt and you never know what you might find.  Like this darling "caddy" I picked up last weekend while out of town visiting my family. 

 Here it is with a few glasses in it.  Both my Aunt and the lady hosting the yard sale wanted to know what I planned to do with it...I said,"Uh, put in glasses or condiments when I serve dinner on the patio".  The next thing they wanted to know if I was going to paint it.  QUEL HORROR!  SACRILEGE!  I shelled out .75 cents for this beauty!


I love the chippy green, it has character and a history not found in retail items.

Thanks for viewing a few of my favorite things.  I am linking this post to Chari's site.  Stop by and see what others have found, repurposed, reclaimed and loved.  Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shoes, Shoes, I must have those shoes!

I love shoes, always have, always will. The higher the heel, the pointer the toe the strappier the sandal, I love shoes.  I am not ashamed to admit that at one time I owned 110 pairs of shoes! 

A few years ago,  I  broke my right foot and ankle in a car accident.  NASTY Business having a broken anything especially a foot.  When I was able to wear shoes again, Fly Guy purchased  a pair of  sensible Born shoes.  I took one look at and shuddered....they were the most GRANONLA shoes I had ever seen.  I stuck my feet in them, couldn't get past the Sunshine Family/Birkenstock look of these shoes and stuck them in my closet for two years until I felt I could pawn them at a yard sale to some unsuspecting woman.  (Shame on me!)

Fast forward to three years laterm I broke my foot again (Twelve bones) and that was the end of my high heel, pointy shoes wearing days.  I was delegated to flats and comfortable shoes much to my heart break.

The Mister came through again, bought me another pair of Born shoes, this time a brown sandal with a kicky heal and brass colored buckle.  What could I do....?  I tried them on, wore them and fell in love with these shoes.  I held out for a while because the shoes are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, but pricey.  (interject stoopid girl here for getting rid of the other pair!)  I noticed a wide variety of these shoes in yard sales and thrift stores.  I started looking in earnest for another pair.

While "killing" time in a Goodwill in another part of town with I spied the most darling shoes.  Imagine my glee when I discovered they were BORN CROWN and they were in my size!  Further investigation revealed another pair of BC shoes.  They were brand new and priced $6.99 each.  I had to bring them home along with another pair of shoes without a name brand (someone put cushioned insoles in them) that feel like buttah.  Total Investement $18.00 for over $300.00 worth of shoes.

I have decided to make it my goal to own several pair of these lovely shoes as they are hip, funky and do not look "Granny".  This is what the BORN CROWN site had to say about the shoes. 

A little sleeker and smoother. Decidedly more structured and modern. And ultimately more refined. Our signature Børn Crown Collection is classic Børn infused with a higher degree of sophistication, style and craftsmanship. Exquisite in every detail, these authentic Børn Crown designs are wrapped in the softest, most luxurious leathers and meticulously handcrafted to exacting standards. Luminous finishes and artful touches complete the signature look, a study in timeless sophistication.

I am sure you will agree with me that these shoes as well as the shoes from the BORN site
are beautiful, fun and functional without sacrificing comfort.  I am a convert, I love, love, LOVE Born shoes.

Here is my collection for your review..... The first two pair are pump style heels.  Goodwill $6.99 each Hardly worn!

The beloved brown slide my Mister bought me and the new thong style flats I found yesterday at Savers while waiting for The Reluctant Teenager's play practice to end.  I paid $5.00 for the thong/sandals and they are BRAND NEW!  Frugal Score.   The brown shoes are the lovelies my Mister bought me the second time around.


Next up are two pair of shoes both purchased at a yard sale for $1.00 each.  The yellow pair is  from Simple and a bit out of my regular style but they feel like buttah!  The brown pair feel like I am walking on clouds!

The other pair of leather "no name" shoes that feel AMAZING!  $5.00 at Goodwill!

While visiting my sister I stopped at a neighbors yard sale.  NIB Naturalizer black flats.$5.00.They remind me of the ballet flats I use to wear in the 80's!

I know some people are creeped out by purchasing "used" shoes, but I think of it this way.  Every pair of shoes in the store has had someone else's feet in them and the same with the clothes.  I only buy high end leather shoes and I definitely will not buy anything that smells, is dirty or looks bad.  I figure I have over $500.00 worth of shoes here and I paid less than $40.00 for all of them.  

Linking up with Finding Fabulous, Frugalicious Friday and The Shabby Nest Frugal Friday...even if I am a bit late to the Par-Tay!



Friday, October 16, 2009

I am still hanging on....

I have been incognito for most of the week, still trying to recover from the bombshell dropped on me last Friday.  

The rumor mill is churning, people speculating if we will survive, what will be cut next.

Letter in the mail delivered more news, the company sponsored scholarship that the College Diva receives is revoked.  She and countless others receive $1000.00 a year from my company to help with college costs.
Not anymore....

Trying to set up for a fall, or get ready for the worst case senerio.  How do you do that????

I have to let the course run itself and know that I have no control over the actions of others.  I can only control what is in my hands.  

I will be back soon.  Just sorting a few things out.

Thank you all for your support and wonderful comments earlier this week. It helps to have your encouragement as the Mister and I navigate the rough waters, thanking God every day we still are employed.



Monday, October 12, 2009

My weekend away...

Friday was a rough day at work.  

The company I work for is struggling due to excess over the past five or so years and now is in Chapter 11.  In the meeting "they" advised us our family owned grocery store chain is on life support and we are in the fight to keep the company afloat.  I guess they figured that would soften the blow when they separated us into groups, salaried and hourly.  Then the bomb was dropped...
Pay cut...
Cutting your pay 5% for hourly....
10 % for salaried...
2 % for the staff in the stores
20% for the Corporate Officers and Owners....

This on top of taking away our vision coverage, making us pay for dental (77.00 a month), raising the employee contribution another $20.00 a week, now $50.00 a week, raising the deductable, prescription co-pay and stopping contributions to our 401k.  Not to mention that earlier this year they froze the pension plan.  Did I mention they revoked the telecommute days?  Adds another 170 miles to my commute.

I know corners have to be cut, but we are talking about people who have not had a raise in seven years, a cost of living raise in four and now with the MR. and I both employed by the company we are out another $400.00 a month. 

Breathe.... I have a job.  Still employed unlike the other 80 people let go on Thursday and Friday, my boss one of them.

I . AM. STILL. EMPLOYED....For now. 

With a heavy heart and lots of prayers for our company and my family, I headed out of town to Cottonwood.  I grew up here. I graduated High School here, I have roots here.  My Aunt and Uncle have a home near the Verde River and I love to visit.  Nothing fancy, just home.  It's where the Mister and I were married two years ago, in the side yard with the Pecan trees and grape vines.  It's where I feel the closest to my mother, I feel her spirit all around me.

The Reluctant Teenager had the week off last week so I took him up there last Friday on my way to visit my daughter for the Mother's pinning ceremony.  This Friday I headed back up North to pick him up, stay the weekend visiting and enjoying the weather.

How could I be depressed or sad with this view every morning?

Or looking at the tree where my cousins built a tree house, that I spent hours imagining to be a penthouse home, pirate ship, a member of The Swiss Family Robinson or a tower to rival Rapunzel's.  I have memories, fond, loving memories here and this is where I went to lick my wounds.

Visiting with family always does a body good, especially if you can celebrate the one year birthday of a cousins grandson.  Peyton is a bubbly love of a boy and I would have pictures of him but the camera was tired and I forgot the charger!  DANG IT!

Will you settle for the caauutest home made birthday cake ever?  Ok, maybe I am just a wee bit biased!  

Made with 13 x 9 sheet cake, lamb cake with the face cut off and bagels for the wheels!  Darling little pull toy cake and best of all is it was FREE!  My cousin, her sister, my Aunt and I all had the items needed to make this cake for NADA...No pennies, dollars or cents!   I am linking up with Cheri at It's So Very Cheri Knock Off, Knock Out Party!  I think he is definitely a knock off from a fancy bakery don't you?

It was nummy-yummo and everyone had the best time enjoying the cool air and celebrating Peyton's birthday and his momma engagement to a wonderful young man!  She will also be married in the side yard, just as I did, just as her Aunt did.  Full circle.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I know, I know, the title is a bit "cheesy" but I am thrilled to have found six dozen ORGANIC, CAGE FREE, BROWN, EGGS for .99 a dozen.  The great part was I had two coupons for $1.00 off one dozen making my grand total $4.00 for $24.00 worth of eggs!  I love organic eggs, I haunt the dairy aisle in search for marked down eggs.  I really do, every time I go to the store I am hunting the reduced stickers like a fiend!  If they have them I will buy EVERY marked down package they have.  

Why?  Well...I brown bag the Misters breakfast and his lunch.  Yep...  Every weekend, I scramble eggs for the Misters breakfast burritos, which cost aprox. .50 to .75 cents a piece.  Before we married, he was buying the yucky pre-fabricated burritos from the convience store for $1.69.  Six days a week.  Now I can make ten burritos for less that $6.00.  Two weeks worth of burritos!  WOOT WOOT!

I usually scramble most of the eggs I buy and then freeze them.  I read you can freeze the egg yolks if you put some sugar or salt in them.  Didn't work for me, they were a gelatinous mess, not pretty and what a waste.  So, I scramble the eggs and put them in containers for the next weeks burritos or a quick breakfast sandwich. The remainder of the eggs will be used for weekend breakfasts, cooking, baking and salads.

Store bought tortillas....99 to 1.79 for ten tortillas.  One day soon I will start making my own!  Cut down the cost even more.

Can of green chilies....40 cents.  (I saved my lovely chilies I roasted for my Mexican dishes!)

Cheese....99 to 1.50.  This cheese was on sale for $1.88 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off.  Ordinarily I will just grate cheese I have frozen.

Splash of milk.  Hard to equate cost for a splash...
Dozen eggs, usually .99 to $1.50 a dozen.  
1/2 of chopped onion. .15 to .20 cents.

I like to put left over bacon, sausage, or ham in the burritos, along with fried potatoes if I have some from weekend breakfast.  

I didn't take pictures of my end product as I had already rolled them up and froze them.  This weeks burritos cost me less than $3.00 for ten!  Thirty cents a burrito and they are better for the Mister than the cancer-causing-lizzard-fat convience store wanna be burritos any day!

I love the frugal life and hope I inspire you to try brown bagging the breakfast!



Monday, October 5, 2009

More Halloween Decor and a Wonderful Gift

I am back from a hectic weekend of driving, visiting, driving some more, eating, driving again and finally home.  I was bit burned out today and was feeling down since my company is laying off more people possibly by the end of the week. 

I am not sure if my job is one of those to be cut, so far I have survived three lay offs and pray that both my husband and I make the next cut.  Needless to day, I was down today girls, kind of poured myself out of my car and shuffled to the mail box.  Opened the box and there it was! A KEY!  We got a package, we got a package! This time it was for ME and not FLY GUY!  WOOT WOOT!

Lovely Aubrey from Diary of an army wife, my new dear friend from blog-ville had sent me kombucha starter and a gorgeous hat she made. Check out her hats here and here, she is so creative!  Such a steal at $10.00 for hat and the shipping.  I LOVE IT!  I plunked it on my head and my heart was lifted.  How could I be down when I have such a wonderful friend I have never met? 

I couldn't take a picture of it on me since I am all alone this week with Fly Guy working both jobs and getting home SUPER LATE and The Reluctant Teenager visiting family in Northern Arizona.  Trust me, it is beauteous and best of all, hand made by Aubrey!  Be sure to stop by her blog to check these out!

Next up we have some more of the lovelies I picked up two Fridays ago.  I had been headed back from lunch, when I stopped at this moving sale.  I can't tell you the AMAZING things this woman had for sale and all were in perfect condition with great prices.  I am linking up with The Gypsy's Corner for Three or More Tuesdays, head on over to see what others have brought to the party.

I first saw these and it was love at first sight.  She paid over 20.00 each for them.  I got them for $5.00 for the pair!   My heart pitter-pats every time I look at them. Can't wait to decorate. *sigh*


Love the trick-or-treaters!  Darling looks on their faces.  $4.00 for the pair.


More cats!  I *heart* cats and so did she as she had several cat related items.  
$3.00 for the pair.


This dapper gentleman is quite striking and his head bobs.  It's so freakin' caauute!
$3.00.  Price on the bottom says $25.00!

Love the crow on the painted stuffed pumpkin!  Second thing I grabbed  picked up! $3.00.

Then there was this little bitty thing.  It makes me smile when ever I look at it.  
Can you guess why?


I have a few more thrifty finds to showcase later, but I have got to get busy clearing, cleaning and decorating for fall! 

Thanks for stopping by and thank you to everyone who left comments and especially those who follow my random musings!  




Sunday, October 4, 2009

More to come...

I didn't get a chance to post some more of the lovely items I found for Halloween, before I left for my weekend visit.  Dropped The Reluctant Teenage off to Cottonwood, for his fall break, visiting with his Great Aunt and Uncle.  Saturday I headed to Flagstaff to a Mother's Pinning Ceremony for the College Diva's sorority Alpha Delta Pi.  Not without stopping at a few yard sales on my way through Sedona.  I love the breath taking beauty of Sedona and feel blessed to have been raised in that area.  It never ceases to amaze me with the natural wonders and red rocks.  I hit two sales and found wonderful items I will post tomorrow as well.  Just rushed for time, headed to Flagstaff and had a wonderful visit with the daughter and her sorority sisters and their mothers.

I also was blessed to have time with a dear friend from school.  She and I go back to junior high and reconnected a few times over the past few years.  This time we have a common denominator, location.  She is in Flagstaff and I had the honor to crash at her house and visit with her for the evening.  As time does, it flew by way to fast.  Headed home to the warm weather (I miss FLAGSTAFF!) and the home.

Making dinner for Fly Guy and I, we have the house to ourselves...a rarity.  Will post more tomorrow with the lovelies I found as well as my Mother's Pin.

Much Love...


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thrifty Halloween Decorations

This morning as I stepped out of my house I was struck with the oddest sensation....a cool crisp "AZ FALL" morning greeted me!  That's right, the Sonoran Desert is starting to cool off and I for one could not be more thrilled!  The afternoons may still be in the 90's but the mornings defiantly signal that the hotter-than-you-know-where weather is on it's way out!  WOO HOO.

Today I am linking up with Rhoda at Southern Hospitality, who is hosting "It's Fall Y'all" and of course linking up with Holly at Homebody Holly and Leigh from Tales from Bloggeritaville.  Just want to share the few Halloween decorating items I picked up.  I actually picked up lots last Friday at a sale I stopped by on my way back from lunch. The lady is moving back East and is purging (which is what I should remind myself I am suppose to be doing!) and had LOADS of lovely primitive,country,eclectic Halloween decor!  I just love HALLOWEEN!  I will be setting up my Fall and Halloween decorations this weekend!

Needing a few new things to decorate with I picked up LOTS of pretties and I can't wait to show you.  Here are just a few...

Stuffed pumpkin and crow!  $5.00  Cauldron .50

Wooden Crow on Corn Cob $3.00  Ceramic black candle holders $1.00 each

Cat Tree with Ravens/Crows/Black Birds...$3.00  I also purchased many more items at such eerily fantastic prices.  Will post about those tomorrow!

While College Diva was visiting, a trip to Hobby Lobby was required for craft items for her Sorority...Alpha Delta Pi!  While she shopped, I browsed.  Look what I found!

Black Glitter Sign and Pumkins $6.00 at Hobby Lobby (used remaining credit on gift card!) FREE!