In the Kitchen

Kate at One More Thing is doing a weekly carnival of sorts, choosing a topic for other bloggers to write about.  This week’s topic is “In the Kitchen”.

Being a lifelong picky eater,  and having been single until age 37, I’m not known for my culinary skills.  I can follow a recipe, but spent most of my life thinking, “Why bother?”  It’s much easier to go through a fast food drive-thru than to take the time and energy to cook a healthy meal.

Hmmm.  Could that be part of the reason for my life-long weight struggle?  Ya think?

Because I cooked so little I would get completely stressed out when we would – very occasionally – invite company to share a meal.  Since marrying and having a son I’d definitely expanded my culinary horizons, but had never really entertained at home before.  Our last home was small enough that these visits were few and far between, thank goodness.  I would stress about every aspect of the visit – from the cleanliness of the house to the menu to cooking each item.  Trying to coordinate the meal so that everything was hot and ready at the same time caused me enough stress to send Husband to the garage to look for the wing nut from his 1977 Schwinn, which suddenly became of the utmost importance.

Since we moved into the new house I have room to spare.  We’ve had company every weekend, and sometimes during the week.  This past weekend I’d planned a Father’s Day Brunch, and even though I was sick we went ahead with our plans.

As I was cleaning up I noticed that I hadn’t gotten nervous or stressed this t ime.  In fact, I don’t think I’d gotten nervous or stressed about entertaining since we’d moved to the new house.

Could be maturity, could be that I’ve gotten enough of these visits under my belt to make it that much less a foreign enterprise.

Could be that I love my new kitchen.  Then again, who wouldn’t? At this point I could just link to the post about my kitchen, but I think I’ll just repeat it here:

I posted about the bold paint choices we made for our kitchen, and I finally have some photos to show…

Here’s what the kitchen looked like before we began:
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That’s Son in the last shot.  Always happy!

I already had this print hanging in the kitchen in my old house.  That kitchen was painted the same yellow that most of the rest of that house, which is the same color we used to paint over the paneling in Son’s playroom.  It is one of my inspirations for the new kitchen, and this time I wanted to go bolder/  This print isn’t short on bold colors!

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Then I found some inexpensive wood bowls (vases?) in Homegoods, and I knew I had my kitchen color – Volcanic Blast by Behr.  Well, at least one of them…

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Too bright for the entire kitchen, I decided on green to ground the orange.  I picked the green in 5 seconds on the first green color page on Behr’s color wheel.  It’s Herbal Garden…

Here is the kitchen today…

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See the table and chairs I got for a net $125 on Craigslist?  I’ll post about that coup and why it’s a “net $125” later this week…  And after seeing this photo that red bag is no longer hanging from that drawer pull.  🙂

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Those plants were free, and the pots were 99 cents at Ikea.  I was going to paint some regular clay pots using the paint from the walls, but I like the white – and they have cool textures you can’t see in the photo.  And that’s an apple I was cutting up for Son.  Whoops…

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The original plan was to paint the inside of the bar area the orange-red, but I changed my mind.  I’m so glad – I just love the way the green looks with the off-white cabinets and the black granite!

This entire room makeover cost under $200, and that includes the table and 6 chairs, the paint and a few accessories.  That’s bang for my buck!

So, yeah, I have a great kitchen.  And I love entertaining in it and from it and around it.

After all, it’s where I now spend most of my waking hours.

Who wouldn’t?


Frugal Lemon Leads to Frugal Lemonade

Frugal flops.  We’ve all had them, haven’t we?

I’ve probably had more than my fair share.   Mostly because I love a deal, and I’ve been known to overbuy a time or twelve.  Now that I am packing and reaching into every nook and cranny the sheer numbers of deals purchased and quickly forgotten are embarrassing.  I’ve filled an entire closet at the new house.  And I’m not done yet.

But this latest frugal lemon wasn’t about a deal, or overbuying.  In this case my eagerness and excitement spurred me to make a bad choice…

See, we’ve been planning to move since before Son was born.  As a result I never really decorated Son’s room the way I wanted to- though I wanted to desperately.  But why would I when we were about to move?  His furniture is my pre-marriage master bedroom furniture – whitewashed wicker.  Using the dresser as a changing table was a frugal choice that worked  perfectly well, and placing the full-sized bed in his room so guests would have a place to  sleep wasn’t a pretty choice, but who cared?  We were  moving! I did manage to put some picitures on the wall and an alphabet rug, but it wasn’t the room I’d dreamed to give him.  Not even close.

Well,  we didn’t move.  And then we didn’t  move.  And then we did not move.  For 4 and 3/4 years.

Now we finally are.  And now Son will have a room that’s just his, decorated for just him.  And I’m so frickin’ happy and excited about that.    A little too happy and excited…

I chose a really bright green paint for the room, but only put it on 1 wall.  I went to Ikea and chose curtains and accessories and built more new ideas.  With the paint I’ve spent about $100 so far.  Woo hoo!

The furniture in his room now will go in the guest room at the new house, so I decided he needed a new dresser and a desk.  New to us, at least.  So I looked on Craigslist for a wood dresser and desk that I could paint either white or bright green or blue – I hadn’t decided yet.  And I saw something that could be perfect – it had a really nice whimsical shape – and it was only $40 for the dresser AND the desk.  And it came with a headboard with cubbies (which I didn’t need so I was either going to re-sell it or saw off the bottom and hang it on the wall as a shelf).

I went to go see it and was disappointed to see that it wasn’t in great shape.  The headboard was in fine, but the dresser was scratched quite a bit.  The desk had water damage at the bottom (water and fiberboard don’t mix) and the fiberboard top was worn away in one corner.

I hesitated, thinking about all of the work that would need to be done.  Then I said to myself, “Well, the scratches don’t matter because I’m going to sand it before I paint it.  And I can put molding at the bottom of the  desk and just attach some 1/4 inch plywood to the top of the desk and viola!  And it’s only $40 for all three peices!!!”

So, I bought it.  And when Husband saw it he was unhappy.  He said it was crap furniture  and that he’d do the work but not be happy about it.   I saw my vision for it in my head and was undeterred.

But he was right.  It was crap.  And it was going to take soooo much work to have it match my vision.

I began to have buyer’s remorse.  My overexcitement led me to a bad decision.  The furniture was CRAP!  What was I thinking???  It was a frugal lemon so big that it took up half my garage.


I began to think about getting him a good piece of furniture.  Maybe even new.  I looked on Craiglist, I went to Ikea.

And I decided to get rid of the crap.

So I listed it on Craigslist.  And I sold it to someone else.  For $50.  Yes, that’s more than what I paid for it.

I still haven’t bought a dresser for Son.  But I’ve calmed down and decided to take my time. There’s no place for emotions in frugality and wise spending.

It was a good lesson.  And I paid myself $10 to learn it.  Not  bad.

Not bad at all…

So much to do!!!! Time for a breather…


This whole moving thing is making me quite busy!  There is so much to do – but the good thing is that I don’t have too little time.  We’ll likely not move until June 1st…

That of course doesn’t make me want to get everything done right away.  I’ve already chosen and bought most of the paint, bought  a dresser, headboard (that I will torn into a shelf) and desk on Craigslist for $40, where I also scored 8 of these brand new chairs for $5 apiece (did I mention there are 4 patios?!!?!!!)!



This is a very exciting time for our family.  Today we went over to  the house and Husband started prepping the walls for paint, not a stress-free experience.   Lots of ugly shelving, old and sticky shelving, painted-over unrepaired damage and inexplicable holes in the wall.   Thirty years of often-shoddy repair work means Husband was promising serious bodily harm to the unknown person or persons if their identity ever becomes known.

Me?   I started prepping the library – soon to be Son’s playroom – to be transformed from 70’s creep to kid-friendly chic:


Son amused himself while I worked, and afterward I let him jump into the pool with all his clothes on. We had fun.

It’s important to me that we enjoy this process as much as possible, and take breathers when needed.   There is still lots to do, and I’ll blog about some of the stuff I’m going through, some of the deals I find and some of the challenges we face.

Won’t this be fun?!!!!

Of Course We’re Going to Decorate!

Every other year we go to Connecticut to spend Christmas at my sister’s house.  I’ve lived in Florida for twenty-five years and before I got married I’d only spent one Christmas in Florida – and that was when I was so desperately sick I didn’t get out of bed for a week, and was out of work for three.  It’s  just not Christmas unless it’s cold, and snow is preferred.

Even though I’d go away for Christmas this  Jewish girl still wanted a tree.  I really prefer live trees, but they were not very practical since I would not be there to water it.  So years ago I bought a small, 4 foot artificial tree for those Christmases I’d be away.  Now that I’m married and only get to go North for Christmases on alternate years the faux tree comes in handy.

Husband, of course, thinks it’s ridiculous that I want to decorate for the holidays at all on those years we head north.  Sill man.  I don’t go all out, but a few favorite decorations go up, and yes, Virginia, there will be a tree.

Husband is a bit of a Scrooge.  He’ll be somewhat less so when we have a home where he doesn’t have to use a ladder to go into the attic to get the decorations down.

Well, I can hope.

Deal of the Day December 13, 2008

More Restoration Hardware deals!

Restoration Hardware’s Friends & Family Sale for December is now in progress with savings of 20% sitewide. Shop online or over the phone to collect your discount on home fashions for every room, toys and more. Simply use coupon code F2HP801 when checking out. Sale ends 12/15/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day December 7, 2008

Buy a dozen donuts at Krispy Kreme by December 25 and get 12 free holiday gift tags.

Certainly free gift tags are nice on their own, but there’s a free donut coupon on the back of each gift tag. Nice! The free donut coupons are valid the entire month of January.

And don’t even THINK about not using those gift tags and keeping those free donut coupons for yourself!

Hee hee.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day November 30, ,2008

I never thought I’d see the day.  But it’s here!

In the first ever discount of it’s kind ever seen for Pottery Barn, this printable coupon knocks 20% off any single item of your choice. Sale items are included in this offer however, gift cards, and gift certificates are excluded. Offer valid for in-store purchases only. Valid through 11/30/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day November 19, 2008

I loveRestoration Hardware.  True, they’re overpriced, but they have some really cool stuff.

Now they’re giving a free $20 gift card for every $100 you spend. So get out there and shop for furniture, lighting, bathware, bath linens, bed linens, hardware and more till your heart’s, or wallet’s, content.  Offer ends 12/24/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day November 12, 2008

Yay!  Another Michael’s 50% off coupon!

Feed your creativity with this printable coupon for Michael’s craft stores. It’ll save you 50% on any one regular price item when surrendered at the check out. Save on floral supplies, home decor, fabric, and much more. Some exclusions may apply, see coupon for complete details. Expires 11/15/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day November 8, 2008

The IKEA near me has been open for a year and despite my post just last month I’ve STILL not yet darkened it’s doorstep.

I KNOW!  I can’t believe it either!!!!!!

I may just go this weekend or Monday, as I can get a free breakfast just for walking in the door.  The offer is good only until 10:30 am, and only November 8-1 1th…

Better get started on my holiday gift list!

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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