Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Hunger Games

Certain books just captivate the reader and you can't put it down. The Hunger Games is one of those books. Marcie and I both read it based on the glowing reviews of everyone who read it. Like everyone else, we finished it in mere days and can't wait to read the last two books in the series. The story is about a girl who has to survive against incredible odds including fighting to avoid poverty, fighting to survive in the wilderness, and fighting to avoid being killed by those who would see her fail. The author puts you in her shoes as she quickly sweeps from scene to scene. By the end, you're caught: hook, line, and sinker.

We're leaving just after lunch time Wednesday for MI. Luckily, the last two books we were able to find on mp3 from the library. Per the agreement, we could burn a cd so we can listen on the way down and back up. Both book 2 & book 3 are around 10 hours so that leaves only 5 hours each way of down time... much better then the 15 we're used to.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cheese Ball Igloo

How cool is THIS? It's all edible and looks pretty cool... get it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Toy Story 3 On Ice

We went to see Toy Story 3 on ice last weekend with my sister's family. As you may be able to see, the costumes were pretty good and we all had a fun time. If you have kids that enjoyed the movie, I would really suggest you take them to see one of the Disney on ice productions. It's worth the money.

Beautiful Egg

Yet another interesting item at Williams & Sonoma. We bought these daisy shaped egg frying rings there and gave them a try. If you decide to buy them also, make sure you really grease the side of the rings so the egg doesn't stick. Also, a toothpick works good to unstick any parts you missed.

New Calphalon Pan

This isn't a great picture but we just bought another Calphalon pan. It's the slide nonstick which means you can bake in the oven up to 550 degrees as well as put it on the burners on high to sear meat. On top of that, it's dishwasher safe.

You probably know how much Calphalon pans run if you've read this far. This one 12 inch frying pan with lid would typically run around $150 if I had to guess. Because this is an "introduction" offer, it was only $60 and Williams & Sonoma had an additional 20% off that. It came out to only $51 and some change. We did the same thing last year also. Last year the deal was an 8 & 10 inch pan set for around the same price. Most of our cooking is done on the range so we've really gotten good use out of those. Calphalon makes a great product and we look forward to December because they always have one product on sale. Ten years from now, we will hopefully have the full set. Until then, we're happy with the pampered chef pots we're using.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to tip teachers

I was looking at the tipping guide in THIS article and saw what it said about teachers. It made me laugh because I know first hand how excited Marcie gets about gift cards her kids give her.

Aspirin the Wonder Drug

You've heard about aspirin being good for your heart. THIS article also claims it can lower your risk for cancer. They suggest everyone over 40 should be taking this wonder drug.

Ice Luminary

Here is an easy way to make this.

Inexpensive Christmas Gifts

How do you show people you care about them when you're on a budget. Here are a few ideas I've read on the internet on how to give gifts on a budget. I thought I'd pass this along in case someone needs some ideas.

1) Food basket - you can get a wooden basket from the thrift store for no more then a dollar or so. If you're couponing regularly, you should have a surplus. Tie a ribbon around the basket and stock with some of those items.

2) Sprite Gift - This makes a great house warming gift. Some bring fruitcake or a bottle of red, you can wish their Christmas to be merry and sprite.

3) Canned Goods - Thanks to Crate & Barrel, Smith & Hawking, and a variety of other stores like that, canned goods mean more then just the food inside. Cut out a circle of fabric, put that under the cap and tie a ribbon around the top.

4) Mailed Card - Cards through mail are timeless and let others know you're thinking about them. Using cards people sent you last year, cut out the picture and glue them in the corner of a blank piece of colored paper. Voila! You've got a new Christmas card. Cut pieces from last year's cards also make good gift tags for your presents.

5) Mulling Spice - If you know how to sew, wrap cheese cloth over 2-3 times and sew it into a bag. We found a triangle shaped bag looks pretty good. If you attach a cork to the top, it keeps the bag floating in the cider and looks pretty cool too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Nook is Awesome!

Marcie and I jumped on the eBook bandwagon. We were going to purchase the Kindle since it has a little better resolution and faster page turning. We're so glad we didn't. In addition to the Nook's touch screen and increased speed (recent software update), it has the feature to view ePub books like those at the public library.

Now, we can check out for up to 21 days ebooks and for up to 14 days books on mp3. Marcie and I read quite a few books so being able to pull books from the library whenever we want is a huge advantage. Those books and mp3s can be viewed on our Nook or burnt to a cd to play in my car. Obviously we can also read them on our PC but the lcd refresh isn't that great for your eyes compared to the eInk technology on the Sony, B&N, and Amazon readers.

Fast Food and Fountain Drinks

Not all Cokes are equal. That is to say, some are flat and others are too sweet or not sweet enough. Others just taste weird. If you don't know what to expect, I always default to Dr Pepper. That typically is pretty decent even if the concoction isn't perfect. Here, however, are general expectations I've developed over the years.

Chic-fil-a: Coke here is terrible as are all of their fountain drinks. I stick with their lemonade which is actually really good.

McDonalds: Coke here is really good. It's tied for the best out there.

Wedys: Coke here is also really good. It's tied for the best out there.

Bojangles: Sodas don't stand out here but it's Bo's. Why would you get anything but sweet tea?

Do you agree or would you add other locations to the list?

Headed to the mitten today! Safe travels to all, and enjoy friends and family! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Garden Stragglers

We decided to have a salad with our meal last night so I yanked a head for dinner. The green onion, carrot, soy beans, bell peppers, and rosemary were a few of the stragglers we had still left outside. All here's about all we have left.

  • Around 5 bell peppers
  • Around 6 lettuce heads
  • Maybe 3 carrots that will be big enough
  • 2-3 green onions and a few smaller onions
  • 1 piece of broccoli
  • 2 pumpkins 1/2 size (hoping frost won't kill them)
  • Frost bitten basil (bottom still good)
  • Small rosemary bush
I can't wait till February. The new garden starts (indoors obviously) and we added a few more spots to plant.

Friday, November 5, 2010


So I learned about this cool website at a tech training last week and tried it out with a lesson I am doing in class with my third graders. I have yet to edit more, but its a lot of fun to work with! You should try it out!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Frost Warning

If you have any potted plants, make sure you bring them inside before this weekend. Starting Friday, you've got freezing temperatures at night.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Piper - Free eBooks

Click HERE if you want to download some free eBooks by John Piper and others.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Candy now on sale

For the procrastinators and the bargain hunters alike, Halloween candy is finally on sale. WRAL posted a great list of good buys HERE for those still needing to stock up.

Welcome fall, stay a while

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. You no longer feel the heat from the 100 degree 100% humidity days and there are so many things to look forward to. You've got the State Fair, chicken pastry and pumpkin carving, Halloween costumes and parties, Thanksgiving, and Christmas right around the corner. The leaves turn a beautiful array of colors and, if there's time, there will also be snowboarding trips and new years celebrations after December. It takes a little longer for Raleigh to see the fall but I love it all the same.

Waiting for Superman

The author of an inconvenient truth has done it again. This time for the school system. I wonder though how much time the director spent in the classroom teaching. They'd quickly see that the problem isn't in the teaching but in the students. I haven't seen the movie but I bet they're calling for more money and placing blame in the wrong place.

I posted a comic strip a while back showing parents upset with a failing grade their kid got. Thirty years ago, they would yell at their kid. Ten years ago, they yell at their teacher. Now, they don't know about their kids grades or care if they did. I've experienced that first hand in my semester of teaching high school math. This isn't the case for all students or parents but it's becoming really common.

The solution to this problem is simple. Start giving failing grades. If they don't do the work or they're not listening, let their grades show. We're not entitled to a diploma. It should be a result of the effort put into your school work. Kids who don't make the grade get held back (*Gasp*) and are forced to try again.

Some may drop out and that would be unfortunate... sort of. The overcrowded classrooms would have one less disruption harming the education of the rest of the students. The teachers start to feel like they can make a difference in the classroom because they have the power to enforce the rules necessary for real learning. Who knows, those who do drop out might encourage their kids to be quiet in school and work hard after seeing how hard life is without an education.

Some kids have a harder time learning even though their trying. Those kids are easy to spot and help if you had the resources available. That is, if you're not dealing with discipline the whole class period, you can work one on one with that kid and not worry about the rest of the class going out of control.

I would reform some things though. Pay should be higher for teachers in lower income neighborhoods where the kids aren't exposed to the resources that high income earners have. Likewise, those schools should have higher budgets. Schools with an active PTA that brings in all the money they need can deal with a smaller budget. Also, all the classes teachers have to take to stay "highly qualified" should not be considered personal time. It should be considered a teacher work day.

I would also implement "neighborhood schools" and later start time so 5 year olds aren't having to be on the bus at 6:00 am. Since kids that young typically need at least 10 hours of sleep a night and it takes at least an hour (often 2) to get them ready in the morning, they're having to go to bed at 6:30 or 7. Parents barely have time to prepare dinner and get them washed up before it's bed time. Forget about allowing play time, there just isn't time for them to be kids.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gardening Year One

We've learned a lot over this year. Mostly we've learned there is a lot more to try and much more to learn. Here are a few things we found useful.

Lettuce (leaf)
  • Seeds are cheap
  • Easy to grow
  • Suggestion: Watch your spacing so the leaves have room to get big
  • High yealding
  • Once established, you can not kill it unless you're trying
  • Used in almost everything
  • Suggestion: Start in pot then plant outside once it's 3 inches tall or higher
  • Suggestion: One bunch is enough.. it gets huge
  • Used in almost everything
  • Easy to grow
  • Suggestion: every time you start a new clove, plant two pieces of it
  • Used in almost everything
  • Easy to grow
  • Suggestion: Remember to space your onions so the bulbs have room to grow (they just stop growing in tight spaces)
Bell Peppers
  • High yielding
  • Easy to grow once established
  • Suggestion: buy 1 red & 1 green bell pepper plant from farmers market ($1 each). That's all you'll need.
  • Plant once and grows year round
  • After 3 years, has good yield
  • Suggestion: Pick up 2-3 year old plants from walmart or farmer's market so your time till harvest is less
Soy Beans
  • Fast growers
  • Good yield
  • Easy to grow
Planting Tips
  • Forget row planting, plant in clusters (squares) to prevent weeds
  • Don't forget to rotate your crops
  • 7 dust is awesome!
  • You don't have to water every day. You'd probably be better of watering fewer days for longer periods of time.
Plants that didn't work
  • Carrots: hard to get started. Next year we will try using sand/ash combo in pots then transplant
  • Celery: Also wouldn't start. We probably waited too long between watering and killed it.
  • Cilantro: Seeds molded before they germinated
  • Pumpkins: Easy to grow but we planted 2 months too late. We'll plant in July next year.
  • Spinach: Didn't work for some reason. We probably killed that when we killed the celery.
  • Chives: Didn't grow for some reason.
There you have it. Nice and simple what worked for us. Anything that is high yielding is perfect for home growing because the price of the seeds and dirt are quickly recovered by the product produced. If you don't have a lot of time, you'll want something that survives event NC heat. If you stick to the plants above, you'll have a nice first year garden. Use that as a base and add one or two plants a year after that. next year we plan to add melons, squash/zucchini, tomatoes. I hear they're all easy to grow.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

That was one nice butt

A couple of months ago, Harris Teeter had butt roast on sale for cheap. When we got there, they were sold out so we picked up a couple of rain checks. A couple of weeks ago, we finally bought it. Well... we used two quarters of the butt in the crock pot. The first quarter I covered in brown sugar and cinnamon. The second was covered in honey. Both were good but the brown sugar was better imo. It had the typical things on the side (red potatoes from Kroger and bell peppers from our garden).

I've been craving Mexican for a while now so we decided to use the rest for pork tacos. Marcie cut the meat up in small chunks and blended in the food processor. That was cooked and mixed in with fajita spices. Now here is the best part. We are growing leaf lettuce so we just walked outside and pulled up a head. Then we picked the four nicest red bell peppers and a green onion. For a little more flavor, we also mixed in a few basil leaves which grows faster then we can ever use. I wish it was all fresh but there was some store bought stuff. Obviously the sour cream and cheese came from Kroger (on sale). We also used an onion and a can of diced tomatoes. The goal was to use some dried beans we had but that didn't quite work out. Even after soaking for 10 hours and then cooking them for an hour, they were still not Moe's consistency. We left those out. It was delicious and smelled great. I joked with Marcie about being able to smell butt all over the house.

Here is yet another reason Marcie is awesome! She rarely uses a recipe and meals always cost less then $2.00 a person (often under $1.00). That one pork butt (which I'm thinking only cost $7.50) made 6 meals for two. Nothing was processed and a lot came fresh from our garden. In addition, it takes less time to make these meals then it does to make a self rising frozen pizza. Sometimes it's nice to have an elaborate meal but everyday cooking should be fast, easy, and cheap. We've learned a lot this past year and a half about what works in a small garden and how to cook with less.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Marcie and I are looking for a keg. We have this great idea of making ice cream floats from kegged root beer. It's going to be delicious! Now we just need to find a place that sells kegs. Greenshields in downtown closed down a long time ago so we're having to look at party beverage stores. Marcie noticed a place next to her old house called kegs & kans. I'll call them when they open... hopefully they'll be priced well. I wonder if it pays to shop around.

Update: Kegs & Kans didn't have root beer and the other places we checked were not a good value. Looks like we'll have to go with normal 2 liters.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dirty Jobs

Marcie and I could have been featured on that tv show about the jobs that are pretty dirty. We found our sewer line had been cracked and a section was missing. It had been like this for years and luckily our ground perks otherwise it would have been a mess. In any case, We decided we should fix the issue rather then leave it.

It was actually quite amazing that all this time, we had an earth made septic tank down there. It was a little cavern where water and other things could wash out to break down into the soil. We had to dig around the pipe and then using a hack saw, cut it off. Once the edges were smooth and no longer chipped, we were able to attach the new pipe. I'm not sure how much money we saved but I wonder if it was worth it. Marcie started feeling sick and couldn't help till the very end and I didn't much like it either. We finished so we can start using water again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blueberry Bushes

I just got an email letting me know my blueberry bushes are being shipped now. Now that the worst of the heat is over, I guess now is the time to plant. We're thinking about hiding our electrical box in the front of the yard with the bushes but that's not set in stone yet. We'll find a place for them soon enough.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Last Thursday we had a soccer game at 9:45. The grass was turf and slick from dew so the ball really moved. We looked awful at first and by the half, we were down 3-0. Second half was a different story. We were able to make some traps despite the slick ball and our passing became better.

The first goal came while I had the ball in the box. I was able to dribble around a couple of people and had just enough time to get off a lefty. There were several people around me so the keeper's vision was obstructed till it was too late.

The second goal was a breakaway. John I believe it was beat the defender around 25 yards out and dribbled the ball in for a 1v1 against the keeper.

The final goal of the game came from a penalty kick. I had just received the ball and beaten a guy. I was dribbling inside the 18 and was about to shoot when a guy came plowing through. I'm not really sure what happened with the ball but he cracked me pretty good. Something, probably his knee, hit my quad and I went down. It was a nice little charlie horse that lasted till Sunday. Matt took the pk and scored.

It was a fun game and I'm really glad I got to play even if yard work Saturday became difficult the next day. On that note, we converted a hill to four plant beds. The wall is up and the ground is level. Now all we have to do is fill in some dirt behind each edge and dig out middle to replace with decent soil. There also may be an issue with our septic line that goes under there that we might have to fix. We may end up working on that tomorrow if there is time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

DIY Huricane Vase

We saw this online and just had to both try it and share it.

DIY Hurricane Vase - More DIY How To Projects

Friday, October 1, 2010

DIY Wedding- UPDATE!

We won a first prize spot!!! :) Yay I get a t-shirt!!! and we get a juice mixer thingy- not as exciting, but we won!

__old news___

We made it as a finalist for the DIY wedding contest on Instructables.com!!! On Monday morning (or Sunday at midnight if we aren't patient enough) we will find out if we placed! :)

Check out our instructable here!

We're Dorks

I was at BSF when they came so Marcie sent me a picture text so I could see what they look like. They look much better on her. Kind of like Uma Thurman in My Super Ex-Girlfriend secret identity look but she is the fairer sex so I'm ok with that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Katy's playdate cut short

Sesame Street cuts a clip of Katy Perry from the show because of parent's concern over her attire.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Unemployment rate still rising

Some people are saying the recession ended June 2009. Check this out and give me your opinion.

Can't see it, go HERE.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Marcie and I went to the mall last Friday. With all the home repairs and things starting up (coaching, BSF, gym classes, art club, etc) we haven't been on a date in a while. Triangle Town Center has "music by the pond" on Friday and Saturday nights so we decided to re-implement date night. Using a BOGO coupon, we bought gyros and listened to music. That was pretty cool but the highlight for me was feeding the fish in the pond. If you've been to barefoot landing in Myrtle Beach, you know the fish I'm talking about. Huge fish that swarm anytime you throw french fries into the pond. I tossed my fries bit by bit over the edge then took Marcie's also (she was finished so no harm there).

Anyways, we're ready to move on so we decide to walk around the mall a little longer. We get to the door and are stopped by the security guard asking for our ID. Evidently you have to be eighteen years old to enter the mall by yourself on Friday and Saturday night. Seriously? I'm thirty years old and wearing a wedding band. I agree I'll always look younger then I am... That's a Blanchard trait. I just don't know if I'd go as far as to say I look 17. Then again, Marcie also looks really young and she was with me. I'm going with they were carding her not me.

We got in the mall in case you were wondering. Saw some cool things. Hallmark has a book that you can record page by page what is said. As soon as you turn to lets say page 4, the book plays whatever you have recorded for that page. What a good idea we thought for a kid who loves to have books read to them. Christopher just had a birthday party Saturday so we almost bought it for him. The book was a little too old we thought and we already bought him a book so we didn't buy it. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blueberry Bushes and Glasses

Marcie and I bought three blueberry bushes the other day. We bought them online and used a $20 off a $50 order. The total order was $57 so we ended up playing just under $40 for three bushes. At the farmer's market, they were $15-$20 each so we're better off any way you look at it. We bought three different varieties so that should help with cross pollination providing a better yield. One of them has a peach like taste according to the magazine while another has a very sweet blueberry taste. Our last bush was the red and yellow blueberry which I bought because it looks cool more so then for it's taste. I can't wait to plant them.

I also bought some glasses online. I was shocked at how much glasses were at the store so I settled on paying $16 to make and ship a cheap pair of prescription glasses. If they work as described, I'll probably buy a few more to keep at work, the car, and my nightstand for reading. They are the nerdy glasses Marcie didn't like but I'm not worried about style so much as price. This is a test run. If they're good, I told her she can pick out my next frames.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Car Buying

I recently read an article in CNN money talking about the way to buy a car. The main lesson was to do your research on the internet first. Pretty much the whole process can be done on the internet minus the signature.

If you're planning to buy a car in the future but not right now, go to TrueCar and find out when is the best time of the year to buy. For my Mustang, sales are slowest in May so the prices are lowest at that point in time. It shows you how much the car costs, how much it costs after the dealer pays all their fees, and how much is considered a good deal (always under MSRP). It gives you a suggestion on where you can expect to end up in the long run.

Edmunds is a great place to find out if prices of your car is going up or down and get info about the dealer you're thinking about buying from.

Once you do decide it's time to buy, DO NOT GO TO THE DEALER. They will try to lock you down for two hours and twist your arm to buy. First go to Zag.com and get several quotes for the car you want. Doing that over the net lets you shop around for a good price with out being a pro haggler. Also, call the dealers. If they won't give you a price over the phone, hang up and call someone else. I wouldn't trust a dealer that won't give you a strait up price.

Finally, decide on a price, get it in writing, and make sure you're pre-financed. Dealers make money buy selling your loan. They do that by selling you a 6% loan even though you qualify for a 5% loan. You're better off going through your bank majority of the time.

Check your contract before signing. The monthly payments shouldn't matter. What matters is the final cost. If the final cost is correct, the monthly payments work themselves out. If they are too much, you can always re-finance.

So there you go. That's how I plan to buy my next car so I don't get scammed like I did at Tom Smith Ford.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

eat pray love

While I was in MI over the past few days I froze, and went to a movie. My mom and I went to see 'Eat Pray Love'. I was disappointed and left feeling empty. There were a few things that really bugged me too. I guess that it was my fault for not getting a rating of the film prior to viewing.

Rating from Plugged In Movie Reviews(focus on the family)

First she gets divorced even though her husband still loves her. I hate when movies give divorce, created by man(yes there are clauses for divorce but 90% of people do not follow them and if they did I bet A LOT of people wouldn't be getting divorced), as the easy answer to your happiness. The institute of marriage, God ordained, shouldn't be tossed to the wind. What does 'till death do us part' mean to you?

She jumps into another relationship on a whim and lives with the guy(and has a fling with another guy later). I don't support living with the one you are pursuing until you take your vows. I suppose I may be old fashion but it keeps you out of sooo much trouble and forces you to get to know and understand the other person really well, which is more important than figuring out if they leave the toilet seat up or squeeze the toothpaste tube wrong, or snore or whatever else people use as excuses. Those are all things you can talk about and know without living together. :) Anyway, I just don't like it.

I also didn't like the various religions she choose to explore at random, weather she truly believed in them or not. I wish more people took time to get to know God.

I did enjoy seeing all the culture and different settings. And I wish I could up and leave and eat my way through place after place 'finding myself'. It would be nice.

These are just my opinions based on my beliefs. I should also mention that I am a hypocrite, I have seen movies that have all these same qualities that I don't complain so much about, and should not tolerate. When I think about the world around me and I watch other people and hear their beliefs I get upset and just want to tune it all out, I see the things I don't like and don't agree with more and more in life and it bothers me that people can be so oblivious or resenting of God and Christianity. I can't imagine they feel happy with life as is. The other day I saw on a morning show that Stephen Hawking has stated that "science makes God unnecessary". I can't wait until judgment day and to see the look on his face when he understands he was wrong. This has made me so glad that Brantley didn't want to pay for cable TV. Why waste my time with all this junk in the world.

We are called to be in the world not of the world.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Home Construction

Here you can see our house as we went through our phases of construction. Marcie was lucky to be gone for part of it. It's not easy living in one room and having to climb over your couch to get to your fridge.

A barrier was set up to keep mold or anything harmful from spreading to the other side of the house.

We had to move furniture so they would have working space.

Removal has been done and the boards have been treated (that's why they are green).

New carpet and paint has been applied. We're ready to start moving furniture back in.

Because we bough remnant, it was 1/3 of the cost. We were able to get quality carpet at a reasonable cost.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Four Eyes

My vision has slowly been getting worse. Now that I'm thirty, I guess it's about that time to start buying the glasses, the walker and the prune juice. Kidding aside, even though it's only a -.5 (up from -.25 when I was 28), glasses will probably help a lot while I'm working on a computer all day. If the store's open and I can find a pair that is decent looking, I might bring it home.

There was an interesting pair I found with thick black rims all the way around. I felt it made me look smart and cool in a "hi I'm a mac"(guy from the apple commercial) or an indie rocker kind of way but she disagreed. She said I just looked like a dork so I guess I'll go with the thinner frame... unless they're on sale. Then I might have to pull the guitar from the attic and start a garage band... If only I had a garage.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Good news

I was for some reason under the impression that Marcie would be gone till Thursday. This is the first time we've been away from each other for this long and I miss her. When you're in the honeymoon phase, you realize how lucky you are to get to spend your life with someone. I assume with time, companionship will become the norm and it will take one person leaving for a few days to remind you how lucky you are. Still being new to the marriage thing, I don't think I needed that reminder so soon.

Because Marcie's awesome, she did everything she could to leave me prepared. She cooked large meals each night before she left so that i would have leftovers for every meal and did all sorts of things to make her absence easier. We've been doing some major construction in the house so I've had plenty to keep me busy but I'll be glad when she's back. I just realized today that I was thinking wrong and that she will in fact be back Tuesday. That will be perfect since Monday I'll be busy with carpet and Tuesday I'll be at work then coaching soccer. Once that is over, I can pick her up from the airport. I'm hoping the carpet will be done and she'll come back to a put together house (cause now it's a wreck). I know she'll love the new carpet and wall color. It's going to look great.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For Sale: Fabric

For Sale: Lots of Fabric with different prints and materials.

If interested, you can find out more HERE.

See other items for sale HERE.

For Sale: Brief Case

For Sale: Wilson Leather Brief Case

Genuine leather briefcase on sale for $30.

If interested, go HERE.

You can see other items we're selling HERE.

For Sale: Suede Chair

For Sale: Suede Chair

Comfortable chair in great shape. Tan suede cloth and black metal legs.

See THIS page if you are interested in buying.

Go HERE to see other items we're selling.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sold: IKEA Billy Bookcase

Sold: IKEA Billy Bookcase

Description: Featuring an optional wrap around design, this bookcase can fit to almost any space. It has a clean white color that matches most all room colors. Adjusts to go around walls, over couches or televisions. Provides much needed storage with the look of custom built book cases.

Ideal for bedrooms, libraries, living rooms, and entertainment rooms.

You can purchase by visiting our craigslist.org page HERE.

To see other items we are selling, click HERE.

Sold: Computer Speaker + Sub

Sold: Computer Speaker with Sub

Description: Stereo sound with sub. Cables included for easy pc install.

Click HERE to purchase from our Craigslist.org page.

Click HERE to see other items we are selling.

For Sale: 5 disk DVD Changer

For Sale: Panasonic DVD-F85 five disk changer.

Purchased this particular model because consumer reports rated it a best buy. It plays dvd, mp3, cd, pictures, etc. With the five disk changer, you can play multiple cds back sequentially and it is smart enough to skip non music disks. Quality is great and has progressive scan. Load time is fast also.

Includes remote and original packaging.

See the Craigslist.org page HERE to buy.

See other things we are selling HERE.

For Sale: Shepard's hooks

For Sale: Shepard's hooks

Metal hooks used once for our wedding.

See our craigslist.org page HERE to buy.

See other things we're selling HERE.

Sold: Sofa

Description: Comfortable couch with reversible pillows. As you can see in the pictures below, this couch is in good condition. There is no smokey smell as we do not smoke.

See other things we are selling HERE.
To purchase, please visit our craigslist.org page HERE.

Sold: Time Machine
It only goes forward in time
and at regular speed.
Also looks a lot like a sofa.

Reversible Pillows

Soccer & Birthday

I found some pictures just now from a while ago. One of our Jiminy Kickit games was on 7/7 which happened to be my brother's birthday. We brought candles and snacks for after the game and the team gave a short Happy Birthday song for him. Cheesy I know but it was fun. Plus, I think we won that game so it was a pretty good day after all.

ps - We brought oranges also. It wasn't all unhealthy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday Flowers

I think Marcie would rather get a bunch of flowers and arrange them herself then me buy some already in a vase. For one, you get more flowers that way but then she can also use her creative side. We had a coupon to get flowers from Harris Teeter for $3.99 but they were out. We picked up a rain check for them and ended up buying them on her birthday week. See to the left her arrangement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amazing Pizza

Marcie and I made the best pizza I've ever had the other night. The crust we made similar to focaccia bread but added a little brown sugar also. Bread is really three things: flour, yeast, and water (and maybe salt). On top of that, you add different things to flavor the bread. Typical things you could add are EVOO, brown sugar, sugar, honey, molasses, herbs, and/or spices.

We bought some really good sausage at Walmart the other day and also got a package of feta for free. We decided to make our pizza a Mediterranean style pizza because of what we had on hand. Instead of sauce, we used EVOO and a lot of basil, oregano, and rosemary. That's a lot thinner then sauce but has a very strong flavor. Then lightly covered that with mozzarella cheese. With the base taken care of, we added cherry tomatoes, olives, that amazing sausage (browned obviously), artichoke (also awesome tasting), and crumbled feta. We baked at 425 for 15-20 minutes till crust turned golden brown. We baked that on our cooking stone which works really well. It cooks very even and never sticks.

That will go down in the record books as a recipe to try again.

Kellogg Sale

Last week Kellogs had a super sale at Harris Teeter. Everything Kellogg was 50% off and we had lots of coupons. We bought 10 Kellogg products which gave us a $10 off coupon on your next order. We went back the next day and that's when we had some super savings. With 50% off, coupons, and the $10 off Catalina deal, our total ended up being $3 on $48 worth of groceries. I guess you can only get the Catalina coupon once a week or once per running so we didn't get another $10 coupon. Oh well. We still did really well by stocking up on our cereal and buying a few produce items that were on sale.

Also, we will have enough cereal to last several months.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fall Vegetable Garden

We planted our fall plants this weekend. I'm so excited to be growing it all. Lord willing, we'll have broccoli, celery, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, and next week we'll plant soybeans. Needless to say, I did all this without thought to crop rotation. While I'll probably be OK planting some of the same things in the same plot next year, I'll really have to put some thought into where everything will go next time. Bugs and disease build up around plants it like and if you keep the same plant there year round, they can grow out of control. Also, you'll likely deplete certain nutrients that the plant needs from the soil that way. So, being overly excited about the fresh food and money we'll be saving, I planned out our three year rotation. That should be enough for us. As of right now, we only have three places where we can plant. Between the mailboxes, we created a flower garden. We'll still keep the front row flowering for appearance sake but behind that we're going to start planting food. Next, we have a crop circle that we laid out with extra bricks we found. That can hold some of the larger plants such as our peppers, beans, and corn. Finally, we have a small space in front of our cars on the wall. That is raised up so we can't really go too crazy there. It just wouldn't look right. We'll mix in some plants between the flowering ground cover we planted.

Here is our proposed rotation. If you're a farmer or know something about all this stuff, let me know if you think this will work.

Year 1:
Wall - Lettuce
Circle - asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, tomato, Artichoke (center)
Mailbox - Onion, Garlic, leek, shallot, chive, carrot, celery, melons
potted - bell pepper, strawberry, spinach

Year 2:
Wall - parsley, oregano, cilantro
Circle - asparagus, bell pepper, tomato, Soy plant, corn (center)
Mailbox - artichoke, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
potted - strawberry, spinach

Year 3:
Wall - Onion, Garlic, chive, etc.
Circle - asparagus, watermelon, summer squash, cucumber, zucchini, soy (center)
Mailbox - tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, sweet/Irish potato
potted - strawberry, spinach, spices

Also, we have a cherry tree and a peach tree that will hopefully bear next year or the following. We plan to pick up a couple of apple trees as well.

Along the house, we'll likely plant a few bushes as well. We were thinking of doing rosemary, lavender, cranberry, and blueberry bushes. I hear cranberry bushes are hard to find so if you have one and you can get me a cutting, let me know.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Swagbucks - Bonus for signup

If you’ve been considering signing up for Swagbucks, this is the week to do it because you’ll get 70 bonus Swagbucks when you sign up – as opposed to the usual 30 bonus points. Just sign up and use code BackToSchool to get 70 bonus points added to your account.

This code is valid through August 15, 2010.

Super Doubles Wednesday

Break out your $1.50 coupons. It's time to save some money.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Evidently it only takes about a week for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly. Here it has completely emerged from it's chrysalis and is drying it's wings. If a bird hasn't grabbed it, it will probably head strait to our flowers next to the mail box.

Speaking of birds, Marcie and I had butterflies in our wedding. We thought it would make good pictures of them flying around and landing on her. It in fact did make some good pictures but in one of them, you can see some birds in the background. According to my brother, not a single butterfly made it. A bird chomped all of them as soon as they left our area. It's pretty funny to hear my brother and sister describe it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

London Broil

I made dinner for Marcie last night since it's her birthday week. We did our grocery shopping deal at Harris Teeter and spend our $29 for the week. To the left is the London Broil I picked up for half off.

I found a recipe for the easiest london broil you'll ever make. Basically, all you need is london broil, garlic salt, and tomatoes. It is surprisingly really really good. Well, you know me, kitchen sink and all. I decide to mix it up a little. I added italian spices to the meat and soy sauce. To soak up some of the juices, I put some rice on the side. A while back, we got a pineapple on sale so what we couldn't finish, we froze. I added a few slices of that for a little more flavor. That was a good idea. What was a bad idea was to use canned tomatoes that had chillies in there. Who would have thought they would have been that hot.

Marcie doesn't like hot stuff so my dinner for her although it was pretty good was too hot for her to really enjoy. Oh well, it's the thought that counts right?

Note to self: Make again but with regular diced tomatoes

Morning Smoothies

Marcie's car has experienced some major problems the last few weeks. First it was the spark plug cracking. We replaced that but the wires were carbon tracked. Those had to be replaced also. Then in the process of changing them, something broke and we had to have that replaced. That would have been a lot of money but luckily we did the spark plugs and wires ourselves saving $300 or more. The part we broke off we probably could have done but we needed to find it which required a vapor smoke machine. We took the car down to Lillington to Strickland repair shop and ended up spending around $90. Had the dealer done it, the part probably wouldn't have broken off but we still are $200 better off by doing it ourselves. We thought it was all done but the traction control light came on. We dropped it off at the dealer to check it out yesterday so we are now minus one car.

Well... I'm waking up a little earlier in the morning to take her to work. It's kind of nice since I was able to make us smoothies for the road while she watered our plants. And, being her birthday week, she gets to spend more time with me which is of course all she wants. I might get her a card and a present too... maybe. ;)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Black Swallowtail

As I said before, we had an infestation of Black Swallowtail caterpillars. We counted 31 when it was all said and done. Marcie and I packed most of them up and gave them to one of her friends who has a butterfly garden. You might have seen the Monarchs from our wedding photos. We missed three of them so we packed them somehow so we decided to see if we could view it changing stages.

To the left, you can see the beginning of the caterpillar's conversion to a cocoon. It grabs onto the stick with it's last legs or something down there and then wraps what looks like fishing line around it's back. From there, it hangs out for what seemed like an eternity. We gave it a couple of hours with no change so we finally decided to go to bed. The next morning, we went do expecting to see the cocoon but still no change. We went to work and when we came home, to the right is what we found. I found on YouTube THIS time lapse video of it changing. I wanted to see it first hand but it will have to do.

The next thing is to see it come out. Evidently when it is ready to come out, it shakes around like a cat in a sack. Eventually the chrysalis breaks and it hangs there till the wings dry. If we can catch that, I'll post the picture.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Black Swallowtail Infestation

Guard your parsley! The black swallowtail butterfly is looking for it. We went outside the other day and found almost all of it eaten. One caterpillar can eat a lot but we found 28. One of Marcie's ex-co-workers has a butterfly house so we gave them to her. We went out again today and found three more that we missed. One we saved on purpose so we could see how big it would get. I'll try to get a picture of that today if it's still there.

Five Cheese Baked Ziti

Marcie was feeling like pasta last night. The recipe called for 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese but alas, we only had about a half a cup. We did have about a half a cup of goat cheese left and a quarter block of cheddar so we ended up using that to make our cup and a half. Marcie just got the zucchini and carrots on sale so we cut those up and added them along with our onion and garlic staple. For meat, all we had thawed was peperoni so we cut that up and mixed it in. The Basil was getting a little overgrown outside so we added some of that also. Our sauce we had to open a new jar but since that wasn't enough, we were lucky to find another half used jar in the fridge that needed to be used up. For the top, I added Parmesan cheese and our leftover queso from Moe's (they were giving away cups of free queso the other day). Marcie jokes that anytime I help her cook it becomes a "kitchen sink" meal and laughed that this one was no different. I however liked it a lot and although we could never repeat this exact taste it, the five cheeses and random veggies worked out really well.

We'll be able to eat off of this for a few days and cost wise, it was very humble. I think the pasta was around $1 if not free (triple coupon at HT), the veggies were under $1, and the goat cheese we got for free. The sauce itself was the most expensive part at around $4 for 2.5 jars worth but all in all, I'd estimate the dish at $6-$7. Since it will feed us for at least 3 meals, we're looking at around $1 per a good size serving.

Why I'm not impressed with 3D movies

I read an article by Fortune magazine and it reminded me of the reasons I have not been impressed with 3D films. I remember as a kid going to Orlando and seeing 3D movies with the paper glasses. I would jump as things were thrown out at you and marveled at the technology that made it all possible. Now, as an adult, perhaps I'm just more of a cynic. You see all these previews of movies that look larger then life. The promise amazing adventure, action, and most of all that they will bring you along as the character develops. In reality, what you get is a movie with lots of explosions, characters that despite being in 3D are very flat, and a predictable story. There are a few exceptions but not many. The things I loved about 3D as a kid do not happen here. You never see things come out of the screen and fly past you but rather "real 3D" just adds a little depth to the picture. That little bit of depth comes at a cost though. Because you have a separate image for each eye, each eye only gets half of the light. That means the screen is dark and often less sharp due to our brains attempt to put the two images together. If I have to choose between a dingy slightly more depth or a clear HD quality picture, I think I'll choose HD quality. Nolan in his recent film inception agrees. He refused to jump on the 3D bandwagon saying the quality of the technology just isn't there yet. With that in mind, a same price ticket for both, I might still choose 2D so what about the $4 surcharge 3D tacks on? For me the choice is clear.

Marcie and I are attempting to be more frugal with our money. My Mustang was recently paid off and we hope to have the Torrent paid off by the end of the year. We also want to build up our savings account so paying $26 dollars for two 3D tickets isn't high on our priority list. Blue Ridge's $1.50 tickets and Red Box are about to get a lot more business from us. Two movies we're waiting to see are Inception and Despicable Me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Avatar

No, I'm not talking about skinny naked blue people. I'm talking about the original Avatar, the last air bender. Nickelodeon created a three season series based on a world where the fire nation is attempting to take over the world. It is up to the Avatar to learn all four bending techniques and stop them. Being from the air nomads temple he already knows air so starts with water and works his way through each of the elements.

I don't think I'll be giving away too much when I say he wins but I won't give away any more spoilers. Now, seventy years later (season 4), a southern water tribe girl is the new avatar and is she is looking to learn the last of the bending techniques. The series picks up with her search for Ang's son, one of the few if only air benders. I'm sure they'll travel together in her attempt to master all the elements. Read more about it HERE.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chicken Breasts With Peach and Honey

New recipe tonight. We didn't have drumsticks so we used chicken breasts. Drumsticks tend to be a little more fatty so it's flavor is different then what the author experienced. We're fan of both honey and peaches so this was kind of a goldmine. HERE is the link for the food.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Flower Garden Pics

Marcie shows her talent at arranging flowers from our yard.