March 31, 2011


Posted by Ethne~

MISSION: I had the girls home with colds recently, but they still get stir crazy.  And I needed a minute to take a shower….

We’ve got Play-doh, paints, markers, crayons and the like, but I needed to be able to check on them from behind the curtain in a blink, so I pulled out the big guns: make-up!

Le make-up

There is nothing they love better than to do what Mommy does, and they watch me put on my own make-up whenever they can.  It’s messy, for sure (tho less so than finger paints), but it’s also something they love to do – why suppress their creativity?

Make-up Master - click here for tutorial
Auntie Whit gave the girls their own inexpensive multi-color palettes of shadow, blush and lipstick a while back.  I sat them down, gave them a brush, and hopped into the shower.

THRIFTY TIP:  These small palettes of make-up from the grocery or cosmetic store are pretty inexpensive, and there are multiple uses, so you get a lot of bang for your buck and a great play kit.

WARNING:  Learn from my mistake of allowing them to have access to the lipstick level of the compact made for a gooey mess – lipstick eyebrows – take it from me, taping that shut is a good idea (the girls’ palette has a shadow level and beneath it, a blush/lipstick level).  Or buy a shadow-only compact.

We love to pose!

ALLERGY DISCLAIMER:  I made sure my girls were not allergic to the make-up in the kit before allowing them to use it.  You must too.

So back to my shower mission.

The girls were occupied for enough time for me to shower and get dressed, and I kept a very close eye on the play-time so that there could be no funny-business or finger-painting the walls.  Plus, they LOVED IT, and felt like such big girls.

So happy and proud!  Guess who's my wild hair?!?

And, great photo ops!  Their creative genius might produce Elvira, red carpet, or showgirl - it's a total surprise!

Literal red carpet - some spilled on the rug
[Different day - Easy Mac painted her own nails]
Easy-Mac went for the brown tones
KD has some FLAIR!

EASY OFF:  A gentle cleanser like Cetaphil, baby shampoo, or safe eye-make-up remover takes the shadow right off.



Posted by Ethne~


I am so excited!  Guess why?  Shaun and I finally finished our island project, which was technically finished a year ago.  What?!?  Well, the island was finished and AWESOME last February, but getting all the other stuff put fully away wasn’t quite done.

My Love

We had a metal rack where we stored baby bottles, sippy cups, snacks, appliances and such in the old kitchen pre-island, and it got 90% cleaned off, but it wasn’t GONE.  So it got stashed this past year in the dining room, obscuring the art we have on the wall, collecting junk, and looking out of place.  BARF.

Look behind me to the left.
Clutter - Ick!

Well, Shaun and I have given lip-service to making either our coat closet or our entryway (which is at the top of the stairs to our condo) into a pantry.  We wanted to put an armoire of sorts in the entryway to hold the coats, then put shelving for a pantry in the coat closet.  But that required a trip to IKEA which we never quite got around to.

Instead, we came home from the grocery store Sunday and Shaun said, “That’s it, we’re getting this metal rack out of here!”  I did a cheer (remember, former cheerleader!)  So we unpacked our groceries and got to work.

In no time at all we had the junk cleared off the rack in the dining room, rolled it by the door (it’s on wheels – ROCK ON!) and started organizing.  We had a bookcase in the entryway, as well as our shoe rack and other miscellaneous things; we cleared it off, organized all of our snacks, baking items, canned goods, wine (yum!) my breadmaker and sewing machine (I like to have it close at all times!) on the newly-positioned rack.

It's full - but it's organized!
And everything right at my fingertips.

Then we moved the bookcase to the landing of our steps and I actually got to put my books on it again, which used to be stashed all over the house!  It looks so great!  Check out my beloved Twilight and cookbooks!

All of my books in one place!
Except the ones in storage from college and such.
'Deceptively Delicious' and 'Better Homes and Gardens' - faves!
'Twilight' next to Tom Clancy next to 'D-Day' - go figure!

Best of all, I have my dining room back.  J

Yeah!  I put my table linens away after I took this picture too. :)

Sorry I don’t have in-process pics.  I was so excited that I didn’t remember to take pictures before and during the work.  Fortunately I have numerous shots of the dining room so you can see the rack in there.

My bedroom, or as I call it, the “disaster” and the “final frontier”, or as Shaun calls it, the “nightmare”, will happen in 2011, I swear!  And the hall closet too – that’s been ignored since 2007 before the girls were born.  Friends, you need to pick something in your house for Mission: Organization too – and email us about it!

March 29, 2011


Posted by Lori~
I know it is officially spring, but it still feels like winter in our part of the country.  And so…my little Mur-Man (who does have a great head of hair)…needs to keep his skull warm.  They say that heat escapes right through the head. 
First, you must know that there are two baby items that I am officially OBSESSED WITH!  Hats and shoes! 
I LOVE SHOES!  I love searching E-Bay for shoes!  And…my favorite (notice things we LOVE) is Robeez (Ethne’s favorite too). 

Look what I found with a quick search for Robeez (I like to search:  ending soonest)

Mur-Man has gone through several pairs, and I still have lots for him to grow into.  Robeez typically retail for around $25.00, but my pocket-book doesn’t pay that much!  I buy them on E-bay for dirt cheap!  Or I frequent my favorite couponing and deal blogs and they fill me in on the sale. 

Mur-Man's current pairs.  The top two were purchased during a sale at
(passionforsavings told me about the sale) JUST OVER $11.00/PAIR
The bottom pair (zap/pow) were purchased full-price!  I know...I COULDN'T RESIST!  I bought them pre-Mur-Man!
Robeez are GREAT because they are leather, comfortable, easy to put on, and they don’t fall off the feet!  And…the best thing is that I get compliments about Mur-Man’s shoes all the time!  SO WOMS AND MOMS—CONSIDER BUYING A PAIR!

Mur-Man will grow into these.  Purchased for around $20.00 for all three!
I love purchasing lots of shoes (versus one pair)
Enough about Robeez!  Now for the OWL HAT!
Don’t forget—Mur-Man had a SUPER POWERED FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY COMPLETE WITH SUPER HERO CAPES FOR ALL HIS FRIENDS!  They were made with solid primary colored fleece and we had a stash of scraps left-over.
During a visit to my hometown, my mom (Crafty G-Ma) and I decided to construct a hat…but I wanted an owl hat.  My girlfriend Stacey (mom of Super C) had a knitted owl hat made for Super C. 


It is ADORABLE, but I unfortunately am not skilled at knitting (something that I would LOVE learn someday!).
And so fleece will do the trick and here it goes…
First cut your fleece to fit.  It may take a few tries to get the right dimensions for your child’s head.  My Mur-Man has a large head (FULL OF BRAINS!).

This was Mur-Man's pattern folded in half.  You would need to cut two.
Keep in mind--you will need to make the pattern to fit your child's head.
Make sure you cut out all parts of the hat:  main hat, brim, eyes (X2), and nose.

Make parts larger or bigger--based on the size of the hat.  You will need two of each circle.
Using a blanket stitch (or a zig zag) sew the hat and the parts on!  Super simple and easy! 

You could add fringes to the ears or pom poms!  Make it your own!
And best of all it cost me practically nothing…I had a stash of fabric ready to use.  But if you have to purchase fabric…you won’t need very much!  People will HOOT when your child enters the room!  SO GO FOR IT!

PS:  A shout-out to Kelly (one of our WOM-MOM followers)!  Thank you for allowing me to "steal" the cute "look hoot's here" line from your baby card!  (At least I think I did!)


Posted by Lori~
I recently got a text from a FAB FRIEND and WOM-MOM follower Kris.  Kris and I go way back to the MSU Moorhead Alumni Office—we both started working there on the same day!  It was an instant friendship. 
So glad that I have a friend like Kris!

Kris was listening to the radio and heard the song LOVE HURTS!  You see this is an oldie, but a goody and Kris and I share memories of this song! (This song was first recorded by the Everly Brothers, but also became popular in the 70's when it was sung by Nazareth). 
I first sang the song LOVE HURTS in high school girl’s choir.  We sang it and LOVE HURTS became a motto in my life.  I haven’t had a lot of loves in my life and was convinced that I would never find the one.  You see, I loved that song…I loved it through college.  I thought of it when I watched my favorite movie BRIDGET JONE’S DIARY!  I believed that I was Bridget…I could see myself chugging a bottle of vodka and singing “ALL BY MYSELF”!  Yes, LOVE HURT!
LOVE HURTS was one of my go to karaoke songs.  The first time I selected it, I was in for a rude awakening.  They had a dance version of LOVE HURTS?  That’s right…but I must say I ROCKED IT!

Singing karaoke with my grad school friends...who knows maybe we are singing LOVE HURTS!
After college I worked in TV and was a TV news anchor.  I attended a friend’s wedding and they wanted us to sing a song with the word “love” in it to get the bride and groom to kiss.  There was a large gap between the wedding and reception and that meant several cocktails later I had the urge to sign LOVE HURTS (that’s right) LOVE HURTS to get a new bride and groom to kiss!
After my TV job, I went to grad school and continued to sing love hurts for Karaoke…then I got married (LOVE DIDN’T HURT ANYMORE!)  And my lovely bridesmaids (including Ethne) sang LOVE HURTS!  That’s right—we continued the tradition and they continued the tradition.

Steve and I celebrating our LOVE the morning after our engagement
Notice:  Steve's transition lenses
LOVE CAN AND DOES HURT!  But guess what, when you have LOVE, wonderful, fabulous LOVE in your life!  LOVE IS LOVELY!

Kris toasting our engagement!
So belt it…Sing it…but remember it doesn’t always hurt!

March 28, 2011


Posted by Lori~

I was lucky to be in even bigger city, ND where they have one of my shopping FAVES...TARGET!   Guess what?  It’s one of Ethne’s FAVES too.  I love Target, Target coupons, and their awesome deals.  And yes, I rocked this shopping trip!  “I got my coupon on!”

My bill pre-coupon was:  $73.65
My bill after-coupon was:  $40.87
My total savings after coupons was $32.78
I felt great leaving the store!  IT WAS A THRILL!  
It is important when you coupon to know your rights as a customer.  And two of my most frequently shopped stores and favorites are of course Wal-Mart and Target.    
First up…we have Wal-Mart.  I have physically copied and pasted the coupon policy in this post for you to view. 

Wal-Mart accepts
However, there are a few highlight to make you aware of:  Wal-Mart will accept check-out coupons (or Catalina’s) from other store’s registers.  In addition, Wal-Mart will accept competitor’s coupons for a specific price.

Wal-Mart doesn't accept
At Wal-Mart you can ONLY use one coupon/item.   However, Wal-Mart will allow you to use a coupon that exceeds the value of the item.  The additional savings will be applied toward the basket purchase. 

Wal-Mart Limitations and Guidelines

For example, I recently went to Wal-Mart and purchased Gain dryer sheets that cost just under $2.00.  I had a $3.00 off coupon, so I actually got the item for free and had an additional $1.00 off the remainder of my bill.

Next up…we have Target. 

Target Coupon Policy from their website

Target is fabulous because they will actually accept TWO COUPONS PER ITEM.  That’s correct…they will accept a manufactures coupons and a Target coupon (you can print them off for one item.  For example, just yesterday I purchased Huggies diapers for Mur-Man using a $2.50 off Target coupon and an additional $2.50 off manufacturer’s coupon.  Also, Target does not accept competitor’s coupons. 
My advice to you is to know your rights….consider carrying a copy of the policy with you...AND START SAVING!


Posted by Ethne~

It shocks me as I just now realize that I have not yet told you about the cooking genius that is my Aunt Pam (Thrifty Nana’s sister).  Aunt Pam makes the best food ever – and let’s be clear that there are lots of good cooks in my family.  Aunt Pam is passionate about food; I am passionate about eating food.



Thrifty Nana (my mom) & Aunt Pam (TN's sister)

One of Aunt Pam’s specialties: wedding cakes!  I know, how lucky are we, right?  To this day Aunt Pam is disgruntled that my friend, Steph (Special Guest), wasn’t able to have hummingbird cake (her specialty and our favorite) (no hummingbirds are harmed in the making of the cake) at her wedding.

Today, it’s all about Aunt Pam’s ham dip.  The dip is so simple you might think I am insulting your intelligence by offering the recipe up as its own post.  Don’t get caught up in trivialities, my friends.

Do you know what I am referring to when I talk about pickle roll-ups?  Maybe it’s a ND/MN thing, maybe not – I’ve never thought to ask – but it’s a small dill pickle, rolled up with cream cheese in a thin slice of ham deli meat.  Some people leave them as little roll-up logs, some people cut the logs into slices.  Whatever, they’re dalish.  This is a little like that.  (Pretty sure you just got a 2-for-1 post with this extra recipe – you’re welcome.)

What you’ll need:

2 blocks of cream cheese or neufatchel cheese (neufatchel is fat free cream cheese, and I think it works fine here), room temperature
1 clump of green onions
1 package of thin-sliced ham deli meat

Step 1: Wash and thinly slice the whole clump of green onions.  There will be a lot, and that’s fine.

Green goddess

Step 2: Julienne slice (cut into thin strips) the package of deli ham.


Step 3: Stir the ham and green onions into the cream cheese until well blended.

Shaun ate it in two sittings; I helped :)

Serve room temperature or chilled.  I like it best with Wheat Thin crackers.  It’s a thicker consistency, and the Wheat Thins hold up well.  Crackers are really a means to an end, though.  If you are watching your carbs, you can scoop the dip with veggies too.

Store in a covered container in the fridge – it will last several days if kept refrigerated.  It will probably not take that long to eat it.

I am drooling, right here and now.

March 26, 2011


Posted by Lori~
Just two days into spring and my little city, ND town was hit with 11 inches of snow….luckily the sun came out the next day and the snow was a crisp white. 

A view of our backyard! (NOTICE ALL THE SNOW!)

Mur-Man is growing up LOVING the snow!

And so…we took Mur-Man, his new “Mohawk” hat, and his sled (courtesy of Crafty G-Ma and Handy G-Pa (Lori’s Mom and Dad)) out for a spin in the backyard. 

Roger got in on the action!
Notice…Steve’s awesome winter attire!  Mur-Man and Roger had a blast enjoying the white stuff!

I love the shorts and dress shoes look Steve!  Put some pants on!
Also, Mur-Man wanted to show off his standing skills!  It was a GREAT “spring” day!


March 25, 2011


Posted by Ethne~

Now I’m probably not the only person in history who’s had a semi-terrible dye job.  After I had the girls, my blonde hair darkened slightly (the natural blonde highlights kinda disappeared so it was only one color of blonde) – what’s up with that?!?  So when they were about 2 months old, and I was getting my figure back (who’s with me with your baby weight FALLING OFF when you nursed?  I was literally a cow to be milked, but that’s a story for another day), I was in dire need of a little highlight action.

Thrifty Nana and a sweet coupon to the rescue!  I had a $2 or $3 off coupon (can’t remember exactly now) for Garnier Nutrisse home highlight kit, and there was an in-store sale at Super Target which added to the discount.  I literally got the highlight kit for $1.  Anyway, the kit worked great, and the highlight color was fine, but Thifty Nana and I went just a tich too far in applying the cream, so it got a little funny in a few spots.  It was just semi-terrible, and I had it touched up by my super-awesome stylist, Kelsie, soon after. J  No permanent harm done.

But I diverge.

I have been loving Marisa Lynch’s dress re-styles ( for quite a long time now.  She uses a lot of RIT dye in her pieces and I was just itching to dye something.  I finally put words into action and bought a box of powdered RIT dye in Purple at JoAnn for about a buck.  (THRIFTY!)  I decided to use this pink Good Will dress as my guinea pig.

Holy 1991!

This was an odd choice for me, incidentally, since pink is my super fave color.  But this dress, and what I want to do with it, is intended for work, not casual, so I thought pastel pink was not what I wanted.  Just looks too mother-of-the bride with the fabric of the dress.

So I took the plunge.  I followed the directions exactly, except I ignored the part about the dye not being recommended for fabrics that are over 50% polyester – this dress is 60% polyester.  They didn’t explain why, so I guessed I would find out!

Here’s what you do, using the washer method:

FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BOX.  Kidding, I will actually tell you.

STEP 1:  Fill your washer with hot water.  Choose the hottest you can get on your machine, then the water level needs to be high enough that the garment will have room to agitate freely.  I chose my hot-cold setting (the only choice I have for hot water) at medium load size.  Throw in the dress and get it thoroughly wet.

See-ya pink!

STEP 2:  Carefully mix the dye packet in 2 cups of hot water from the sink.  Pour it carefully into the washer, add 1 cup of regular salt and allow the machine to agitate for a few minutes to get it all mixed around.

This ain't no concord grape juice!
Please don't stain my washer!
Don't forget the salt!

STEP 3:  STOP the washer process and allow the dress to sit in the hot dye water for 30 minutes.  When the timer buzzed, re-commence the wash cycle till it’s finished.

Starting to change!

STEP 4:  The box says rinse the garment out until the water runs clear, but I took the easy way out and just ran it through another wash cycle – DUH!  This time I set it for the small load size and did cold-cold setting.  Perfection!

STEP 5:  Inspect your dress – it was like opening a present cuz you don’t know what you’re going to get!  Then put it in the dryer or air dry it.  I opted for the dryer to thoroughly set the color.

I'd say it took!

STEP 6:  To clean out the washer (directions are on the box BTW),  this is what you do:  Start the washer on a new wash cycle – using your hottest water setting at its highest water level; add a normal dose of detergent (it called for liquid and I have it so that’s what I used – I can’t imagine why powdered would make a difference) and a good dose of bleach (I added about 1 cup) and let it go.  I watched when it drained and it totally got all the dye out.  (PS, I felt bad letting a full wash cycle go to waste, so I threw in a few towels and rugs that wouldn’t be harmed if they picked up a little purple – turns out they were just fine.)

That’s all there is to it.  Not scary at all.  If you try some RIT dye jobs of your own, email us – we’d love to see!

The outcome of the 60% polyester appears to be that it didn’t take the dye as well as the other fibers.  Makes the dress fibers look a little blended, but primarily purple in color.  I love the purple color and the blended look will be just fine.  Interestingly, the pink satin buttons and ribbon strips didn’t take the color at all.  That’s ok, I know what I’m going to do with them.

Interesting, huh?

Look for Part Two soon!

March 24, 2011


Posted by Lori~
By now, you all should know that Ethne and I L.O.V.E. a good deal and a steal!  AND SO WE SAY...IT'S TIME TO GET YOUR COUPON ON!  Over the summer, I started couponing.   I started researching and I wanted to learn how to coupon.  I drooled over those experts that could go shopping and make money!  That’s right—they would walk away with money in their pocket.  And so I started.  At first, it took time.  At first, I was stressed.
But then I got it.  Like Oprah always says…I had an “ah-hah” moment.  And so I have started to teach others what I have learned. 
Some of our first coupon class participants! 
Ready to go into the world and SAVE MONEY!

I started by teaching a class (along with my FAB thrifty co-worker Kristi) at the college where I work in little city, North Dakota.  And we plan to take this show on the road.  Be on the lookout for coupon class announcements.

Monica and her brand new COUPON ORGANIZER! 
Monica tells me she is already saving BIG!
Not only that but I have saved money…I recently started tracking my couponing from January 1 to mid-February.  And the savings are GREAT!  Trust—me Steve appreciates it too.

storetotal (pre-coupon)total (after coupons)total savings
So WOM-MOMS the lesson is to start couponing, utilize our favorite blogs,, and  They will tell you how to save, what coupons to use, and where to get the best deals.  Start buying a Sunday paper, clipping, and saving. 
Trust both Ethne and I—the savings versus the time spent are totally worth it!  I roughly get paid $50.00/hour to coupon!  Pretty good—right?