Tuesday, June 29, 2010

U-Pick Peaches

We picked two buckets of peaches:

The awkward self-photo (I'm trying to get myself in more photos):

The price on the peaches was fairly comparable to what I've seen in the store (unlike the cherries and strawberries we picked), and I even scored some half-price seconds (bruised fruit).

I blended up the seconds for fruit leather, we ate some of the ones we picked, and the rest I cut up and froze for smoothies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

So, I have not idea what kind of butterfly this is (anyone?), but I saw it this morning while I was mowing the lawn, and thought it was so cool.

It startled me a bit, actually- it was hanging under the elevated screened-in porch behind our house (about 2 feet off the ground) and I caught the movement out of the corner of my eye.

It must have just come out of the cocoon, since it just sat there, moving its wings to dry them.
Anyone else caught a butterfly (or other critter) just out of its cocoon?

Saturday, June 26, 2010


They've finally taken form!
These are the two cubbie bases. I'll be building some organizational cubbies to go on top of the bases.

They have drawers! With real slides!

Puttied and caulked, waiting to dry so I can sand them down prior to painting them.

I'm happy with how they turned out, and can't wait to try out the paint attachment for our air compressor :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today a friend mentioned that all the Land's End swim suits at Sears are on sale for half off.

I've been searching for a long sleeve rash guard for LMS, and I need a new suit, so we stopped by.

I only found short sleeve rash guards for LMS, and I wasn't super-interested in the suits in my size, so we left and  looked in a few more stores.

I found a long sleeve rash guard at Gap Kids (on sale!), then wandered over to the Gap to see if they had anything good. It's been years since I was last in a Gap store. Is it me or are their clothes looking a tad too unisex?

I had a hard time figuring out which side of the store I should be looking on.

Needless to say, I didn't find anything I was interested in.

don't forget to stop by my other blog to enter my giveaways!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making money when filling prescriptions

I had to fill a few prescriptions last week (allergy meds- I finally went to the dr!), but before I did, I checked around to see where I could get the best deal.

In the past, I've found coupons for Target in my in-laws' Sunday paper. You present the coupon when you fill or transfer a prescription, and you get a $10 Target gift card. I really like this deal, but we don't get the Sunday paper, so I never see this coupon anymore.

This time, I went to Harris Teeter, a local grocery store. They're running a promotion right now where they give you a $20 store credit for each new or transferred prescription. You do have to have an e-vic card (their rewards card) because the credit is put on your card like a coupon, you have to spend at least $20 for the credit to be applied to your purchase, and you can only use one credit per transaction. This is good for up to 5 prescriptions, so you could receive up to $100 in free groceries.

You do need to factor in the cost of your prescription, but you should be able to make money off this kind of deal. The prescriptions I filled were generics that I paid $3 each for, so I made $17 off each prescription I filled!

Do other grocery stores or drug stores run similar promotions?

don't forget to stop by my other blog to enter my giveaways!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another sneek peak...

It's not quite finished, but this is the color.

It's a nice lavender to match LMS's bedding.

Don't forget to visit my other blog to enter my giveaways!
I'm giving away 5 of my favorite things, one per day, so come back every day to find out what some of my favorite things are.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A sneak peak...

at my current project.

I should be able to share more on Monday or Tuesday. It's turning out great!

Don't forget to visit my other blog on Monday to enter my giveaway!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Since moving here, I've been having more headaches and migraines- a lot more. I used to get them a lot when we lived in Ohio when I was a teenager, but then I moved west for school and stayed there for the last 15+ years and I didn't have as many headaches. We've only been here two and a half months, and the headaches are back with a vengeance. Painkillers don't work, so I finally decided to go to Mr S's chiropractor.

He took some x-rays, and my second cervical vertebrae is tweaked. He showed me a normally aligned neck, and then showed me mine, and wow! My neck is out of line front-to-back and left-to-right. He asked if I'd ever been in a car accident, and I said no.

I've been thinking about it since then, trying to remember anything I could have done to tweak my neck that badly. I know I have a bad memory (years of fuzzy brain makes for years of fuzzy memories), but I was fairly certain I'd remember something that traumatic.

I finally remembered that when I was 14 I was hit by a car. I was running along the side of the road, and the side mirror on a big bracket on a van hit me in the shoulder. It spun me around on impact, but I didn't have any broken bones. The van was going 60 or 65 mph, so I'm really lucky blessed that I only had nerve damage in my shoulder (though it took a few pain-filled years to figure that out) and nothing worse happened.

Or maybe not. Maybe all these years of headaches are the result of that accident. Hard to know for sure after all these years.

I put off going to the chiropractor because our insurance won't pay for it, but we learned that our chiropractor is willing to work with us on how much and when we pay. Because we're cash customers we pay a discounted rate, and they're allowing us to take an extra month or so to pay the bill.

If I'd known all this, I would have gone to the chiropractor years ago! Headaches suck and I'm definitely enjoying having fewer headaches.

If you need to go to the chiropractor, don't be afraid to ask about payment plans.

Don't forget to visit my other blog on Monday to enter my giveaway!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exciting news!

My birthday is next week, so I thought I'd celebrate by hosting my first giveaway on my other blog. Check back next week for more details!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gluten Free Choices

I found another resource for gluten free items: You can sign up for email notifications (coupons and such), they have recipes, articles, and so on. The site is run by Hain Celestial, and features the brands they manufacture. It's good to see that the manufacturers are realizing the need for information. I haven't received any coupons from them yet, but hopefully they'll send some soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Outback Steakhouse

We like Outback Steakhouse, but it's expensive enough that we rarely eat there- maybe once a year, though it's actually been a couple years since we last went. We try to go for our birthdays, which are two days apart.

Since going gluten free a year ago, I've researched which restaurants have the best gluten free options, and I have to say that Outback definitely makes an effort to help those with gluten issues. If you go to their website, they even have a gluten free menu, where they tell you which items are safe, and how to order them (no seasonings, substitute this for that, etc).  Such a difference from Applebees! I ate a delicious dinner, and didn't have any issues with cross-contamination.

Since Mr S is on a trip and will be gone for our birthdays, we had an early birthday dinner at Outback. We'd been planning this for a couple weeks, and the week before we went to Outback we got a coupon in the mail. It was for a free appetizer, 1/2 pound of crab legs, or dessert with purchase of an entree. We don't normally pay for dessert when we eat out (they're way overpriced), but if we go the day between our birthdays we can each get free birthday brownies. (At least that's what happened the last time we went, which was like, 3 years ago. Do they still do this?). Since it's not yet our birthdays, we opted to use the coupon for a free dessert.

We ordered the chocolate thunder down under, which just happens to be a flourless brownie. Score! Those things are so huge that the three of us shared it without feeling like we got gypped. It was yummy, but a little thick on walnuts.

We've learned the hard way not to order a separate meal for LMS. We rarely eat out, but on the occasions that we do, we always wonder 'should we get anything for her, or just share?' The times we order a meal for her, she doesn't eat it, and the times we don't order anything for her, she decides she's hungry.

This time we compromised by ordering her a side dish of steamed veggies (she loves broccoli), I shared my dinner with her, and it all worked out well. She ate till she said she was full, and when we mentioned that she didn't need dessert then, she said 'I have some room in my left ear' :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gluten free graham crackers

Last week I made gluten free graham crackers using the recipe found in Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone

They didn't taste exactly like graham crackers, which is too be expected, but the edges definitely had a nice cracker-y crunch. I hadn't realized how much I missed that. I didn't roll them out as evenly as I should have, so I need to work on that next time for more even cooking.

I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top right after I pulled them out of the oven, which added a nice touch. LMS loved them. I think she ended up eating most of them while I was busy doing something else. She keeps asking for more graham crackers. Guess I'm going to have to make them on a regular basis. They're pretty easy, so that won't be a problem.

Store-bought gluten free crackers are expensive and rarely taste good enough to justify the money spent on them. While gluten free flours aren't cheap, I'm much more willing to to bake a cracker that I know will taste good than waste money buying a cracker that tastes like grainy cardboard.

I've only made a few of the recipes in this cookbook, but I've had good results with all of them and look forward to trying more of the recipes. It's nice to be able to eat 'normal' food again :)  As I searched for a link for the cookbook, I found that Elizabeth has a blog- I'm so excited! I can't wait to go through her past posts and try the recipes she's posted.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Easy Summer Pasta Salad

My first year of college I bought a boxed pasta salad mix. After I mixed it all up, I realized I could easily replicate it, and it would taste better and have bigger chunks of vegetables and meat.

The ingredients:

ranch dressing (I mixed mine from the powder base)
pasta shells (I used gluten free pasta shells)
carrots, cut into small pieces
frozen peas
ham or bacon, cut or crumbled into small pieces
cheese, cut into small pieces (I used colby jack)

After cooking the noodles, rinse them well, making sure they don't stick to each other. Drain and cool. Once cool, throw in the carrots, peas, ham or bacon, and cheese. Mix together, then drizzle dressing over it all. Stir together, adding more dressing if needed. You can always add more, but you don't want so much that it's a sloppy mess. The pasta will absorb some of it, but not a lot. When it looks good, cover and refrigerate for a few hours so the flavors can meld.

The great thing about this recipe is that you don't actually have to measure anything- just add what you have till it looks right. So much better than rehydrated bits of carrots and peas.

Great for hot summer days when you don't want to eat something hot. I like having it on hand for lunches.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Storage Cubby Progress

Two stacks of wood, ready to be put together into drawers and cubbies.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What's in my freezer right now:

Lots of yummy stuff for our smoothies!

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's free entrance weekend at the national parks again

There's one I'd really like to go to this weekend, but we're still on a tight budget and can't afford the gas and hotel stay that would be necessary for Assateague Island National Seashore. It looks like a lot of fun! We'll go there in the fall instead.

I was thinking about going back to Shenandoah for a day hike on the AT, but then I remembered the stack of wood on our back porch. Monday I made good progress on cutting out the wood for the storage cubbies, but I haven't had time since then to work on them. I'd really like to get the cubbies finished so I can move on to my next project, so I think we'll be staying home this weekend.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

U-Pick Cherries

About a month ago we picked our own strawberries. This week we picked some cherries. Yum!
These pictures aren't great, because I took them with my cell phone (forgot my camera), but the countryside surrounding the cherry orchard was quite pretty.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eating out

We don't eat out that often, but because of some activities we had planned, we ended up eating in sit-down restaurants twice last week.

The two experiences were quite different, with the first one definitely being the worst. The lesson we took home from it: Don't be afraid to mention that the food was not up-to-snuff. Now, I'm a very non-confrontational person, and hate doing that type of thing, but there are occasions where it's necessary.

It took forever to receive our food, the potatoes tasted weird, the steamed veggies were practically raw (and I like lightly steamed veggies- these tasted like they'd only been shown the steam), and Mr S's potatoes were stone cold. The only saving grace was that the steaks were pretty good.

When the manager made his rounds, asking if everything was ok, instead of the standard 'sure, it's fine', we told him no, and explained what hadn't been good. He immediately offered to take our bill and bring us a new one. I think he gave us a 10 or 15% discount.

Now, it did help that others had complained before us, and he seemed to be in damage control mode. So it wasn't like we were complaining just to get a discount. Apparently they were short on kitchen staff that night, and the food showed it.

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm normally very non-confrontational, but I had had very little to eat all day, was very hungry, and was not in the mood to be generous and let things slide. We were polite when explaining the problem and made sure to thank the manager when he brought us our discounted check.

I wouldn't make a practice of asking for discounts for frivolous reasons, but if the food was not up to expectations, don't be afraid to say something. Restaurants are a service industry, after all- here to serve us.