The Cat Ate My Plant

Musings from a woman, wife, and mother

Decorating for Beginners: Office Edition August 14, 2012

Filed under: Deal Shopping,decorating — thecatatemyplant @ 10:54 am
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Paneling, primed

Among all the other things I’m doing, I’m trying to learn how to decorate. Oh, boy! The pace has accelerated with my mom moving in. We are relocating our office to a basement room downstairs, and then preparing the third bedroom for her…in two weeks.

My decorating tastes have never been considered country or shabby chic, but I can appreciate the beauty of that genre. My husband’s family is very good at decorating in both genres and so we frequently get beautiful, meaningful gifts from them that reflect this. I’ve previously incorporated them into our everyday living spaces because I didn’t know what to do with them. But with our new house, I’ve decided it’s time for me to learn how to decorate, work on my ‘style’ and stop having my house look like a mix n’ mash of Goodwill and gifts.  Though, I’ll be doing all of my shopping at Goodwill, thrift stores, and Craigslist!

The basement room is dark. There is no windows, a drop ceiling with ugly fluorescent lights, and dark paneling. I don’t think it’s been touched since the 70s when it was built. This, I’ve decided, will be our country room. I’ve got to paint it anyways, I think the wood paneling would go great with that theme, and I need a place to display all those beautiful things.

With our landlord’s blessing, the first step is to paint the paneling. After two coats of primer taking approximately 7 hours to put on, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to touch another can of paint for a while, even though I know that is unrealistic. But now I don’t know where to take it! I bought two cans of tan oops paint the other day ($5, each – score!) but Hubs thinks the primer looks great as is because it looks like an old whitewashed barn.

Paneling, up close

I feel like you can still see some dark/yellow coming through. So, what would you do. Leave it, paint it, prime again?

 

Changes Are A-Coming! August 6, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Deal Shopping,Goals,kids,Meal Plan Monday,recipes,What's for dinner — thecatatemyplant @ 2:08 pm

In addition to moving, there have been a lot of other things going on in our lives. I’m desperately trying to finish a Medical Transcription course so that I can finally start working from home (for reals, not that mothering/housekeeping stuff j/k)!

There have also been quite a few diet changes. Shortly after I moved, I joined (well, re-joined) Weight Watchers (WW). I lost the weight that I put on while pregnant with C pretty easily, but I’ve been carrying around an extra 50lbs that I gained shortly after I was married…10 years ago. I figure it’s time for it to come off once and for all. So, I’m trying. And since most fruits and veggies are ‘free’ on WW, we’ve been eating a lot more. Probably something close to what MyPlate.gov would recommend. Making Michelle Obama proud!

In addition to WW, we ran out of meat at our house. And by meat, I mean the beef we purchased in the fall. We’ve got a few months before our next share of beef is ready and I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money on meat.  I was able to convince Hubs that we would go mostly meatless! Shopping for organic, humanely treated, locally raised meats when we can fit it in our budget, and the rest of the time getting our protein from other sources. This has been very challenging for me!!! It has to be in my cooking skill level (low, unless there is a microwave involved) and it has to taste good for my meat-lover hubs. HELP!

Also, we are preparing for my mother to move in with us. We haven’t lived together for 12 years! I’m nervous about this. Excited, scared. A whole plethora of emotions. Of course, the last time we lived together I was a teenager so I also appreciate that this is going to be wildly different. Have you ever dealt with this? Tips? Advice? Feedback? Should I buy stock in Patron now or later? 🙂

And finally, Hubs and I have decided E is ready for some pre-schooling. We’ve been flirting with this for months now, doing things here & there, but he’s definitely craving more! So, I’ve got one month to plan a curriculum and then we are off! Wish me luck.

 

What’s For Dinner? The 12/3/11 Edition December 4, 2011

Filed under: Deal Shopping,recipes,What's for dinner — thecatatemyplant @ 7:34 pm
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Dinners have been pretty boring over here. Not only a lot of repeats, but a lot of leftovers!

The other day, I was watching The Chew on ABC and Michael Symon made something that really caught my eye! He called it Bacon Noodle Surprise and I thought anything with bacon can’t be so bad!

The nice thing was that the ingredients I needed from the store just happened to be on sale! Cabbage for $0.39/lb and sour cream and pasta for $1 works for me!  I will say I didn’t use bacon because I was out, but I figured ham would be an acceptable substitute. I’d say it was! I used about 1/2C of ham and if I did anything differently it would be to use more ham. The recipe calls for 1/2 package of bacon and I’m pretty sure that’s more than 1/2C. Just sayin’…

It turns out this was a hit with everybody but Hubs. He’s not a huge fan of cabbage. He said he’d eat it if there wasn’t cabbage in there and I said what’s the point? But E (my two-year-old) and my mom who was visiting all thought it was delicious. Mark that one in the WIN category.

What did you have for dinner?

 

The Day After November 25, 2011

It is the day after Thanksgiving. This is the first time in maybe five years that I didn’t go Black Friday shopping. With trying to get out of debt and promising to watch my friend’s one-year-old, I was not in the mood.

We still scoured all of the ads and tortured ourselves with all the things we wanted to buy. An immersion blender and food processor would make my cooking adventures so much easier! And new pillows… Have I mentioned I have a thing about buying new sheets? I like to get new sheets. And cream sweaters. I have about five cream sweaters (that’s just the non-maternity wardrobe).

I don’t get it either.

Back to today…

So last night after dinner I threw the turkey carcass in a pot and started on stock. I am in love with homemade stock! I first tried making stock a few months ago and it was wonderful. I didn’t use it in soups, but definitely in cooking and I truly felt like there was a difference in flavor.

I ran out of stock a few weeks ago but didn’t want to get a bird just for stock purposes, knowing Thanksgiving was just around the corner. And yes, I do have three turkey/chicken carcasses in my freezer that I could have used, but that’s just too logical.

It took me a while to settle on a stock recipe, but I found this one from Kitchen Stewardship and I really like it! It’s easy, and I can start it at night so all the ‘hard’ work is done while the kiddos are in bed. I don’t remember reading this on her site, but I do end up adding a lot of extra water. By the morning when I wake up, it’s boiled down pretty low. I’d guess that I add an extra three quarts of water throughout the cooking process. Just a guess!

Do you make your own stock? And if so, how? I’m always looking for new ideas!!!

 

 

Grocery Shopping November 18, 2011

Filed under: Deal Shopping — thecatatemyplant @ 3:05 pm
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In our quest to financial freedom, one of the things I have been working diligently on is reducing our monthly grocery budget. I’m guessing that’s why this blog is mainly about food; I spend a lot of time planning & preparing it!

Just about every Tuesday (and sometimes other days) I go shopping looking for deals & steals. Mainly on groceries, but I like deals for household & clothing items too. A girl’s gotta look good, right?  This last Tuesday was all about groceries. I mean, we are preparing for Thanksgiving!

Aldi Trip

All of this was $13.89. And I’m so excited with what I’m going to do with it!

The carrots & celery& onions are for stuffing the bird this year. And, making stock afterwards. I made stock for the first time a few months ago, and now I won’t stop. I’m constantly scooping up leftover bones from chicken & turkeys and freezing them for the big stock day. You can do this with beef too, but I haven’t tackled that mountain yet.

I’m also planning on making a huge batch of red sauce with the onions. Hopefully tomorrow, because I’ve been planning it for a couple of days and it just keeps getting pushed back. It’s a crockpot recipe, so I only need about 20 min. in the morning and then everything else can be done after the kid’s bedtime. So, why am I procrastinating?

The squash is going to be baked. I’m thinking of adding some maple syrup & nuts in the middle. Sound yummy?

And finally, the mushrooms. I hate mushrooms! But, they were on clearance for $0.10 a package and I just read a great blog post on making your own cream of mushroom soup. We use a lot of cream of mushroom soup. So, right now I’m going to freeze them, but I’ll hopefully make the soup soon. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

I also went to Walgreens this week. There were some awesome sales! I didn’t get a good picture of  the goodies from that trip (thanks kids for not napping! 🙂  ) but I’ll let you know, it was great. I’m stocked up with crackers and sparkling grape juice for the next few months! I got my deal ideas from Common Sense With Money. I signed up for their blog and in the daily email and she told me how to get bottles of sparkling grape juice for $1.50 per bottle, Nabisco crackers for $1.50 per box, and Ziploc bags for $1.50 per box. I go through a lot of Ziploc bags with all the freezing I do, so this one was especially exciting. So much so, I got four boxes: 2 gallon size and 2 quart size! I spent about $47.23 which is a lot, but there was also children & infant’s tylenol in there, but I didn’t have coupons. With the medicine, I saved about 50%. If you take away what I bought without coupons, I’m looking at about 70%!

Did you get any good deals this week?