January 31, 2013


Posted by Lori~

Ethne and I both like to hit thrift stores, but I would probably say I enjoy it more (or at least do it more).  Right—Ethne?!?  

I don’t think I am at the hoarding stage yet, however I do like to look around and see what kind of deals I can find.

And of course, the MACKLEMORE THRIFT SHOP CHALLENGE courtesy of John and Sherri at YHL, “required” a trip to the local thrift store.

I had $20.00 in my pocket (and I took a photo to prove it!)

Mur-Man, Lisa, Justine, and I hit the Salvation Army in my little city, ND town. 

And I found lots…definitely enough to add up to $20.00.

I of course took a photo of the keyboard.  And better yet, a $20.00 eraser…how perfect!

And look at the mother-load $20.00 bought (OR A LITTLE MORE)!  A WIDE VARIETY….


Clothes for Mur-Man that included gloves, shoes, wool pea coat, shirt, pants, etc.

A light sabre sword.

A white vase.

A cat card tin.

A butterfly coin purse.

And a watch for Mur-Man.   

January 30, 2013

Crash My Pantry (again)~ Kitchen Organization Time!

Posted by Ethne~

I determined that my pantry had had it.  Or…I had had enough of my pantry.  Either way.

This is a DRAMATIC REENACTMENT of me being totally over my messy pantry.  {It's actually me waiting for the girls to fall asleep on Christmas Eve.  I was totally over that as well.  KD said she was going to sit up with Shaun's phone Santa-tracker app and a flashlight to catch Santa in our house.  No dear.}

Shaun and I live in a great rambler that was completely gutted a few years ago, and the guy who re-did it DIY’d the whole thing himself.  The only thing Shaun and I have done is add on a deck, and I really haven’t wanted to do another thing besides art and family stuff.  I like the wood floors, the carpet, the tile, the paint colors.  I really wouldn’t change a thing.
The VERY BEST PART is the entire house has awesome storage space, which is unheard-of for ramblers of the 1950’s and 1960’s era.  At least in big city, MN.  It was bizarre the thinking back then.  Anyway, I have super storage, including my largest of 3 pantries in the kitchen (I know, it’s out of control). 
But the thing is, when you have that much storage, you can take it for granted.  Shaun and I kinda-sorta put things in certain spots when we unpacked groceries, but kinda not.  And pretty soon, the pantry was a mess, with cereal and chips here, there and everywhere, and my candy stash right where the girls could get at it – OY-VEY!  (That’s German to the Norwegian UFF-DA!)
Here’s a picture of the mess as I began to take it all out of the pantry.

Stuff here, there and everywhere - and snacks right at kid-grabbing level.  I had lost control.

And then here are all the pull-out drawers (I know, ROCK ON) now.
Snacks, chips, crackers, candy and granola bars on top – the hardest place to reach for the girls.  I put the candy in a snapware plastic container, in the back, so the girls really can’t see or get at that at all.  For a while at least.

The view from up top - my candy is sealed tight in the top left corner.

Next shelf down has bread, cereal, oatmeal, my cork jar (where Shaun and I collect our wine corks), sugar, flour, a spare bag of chips (since it was jumbo) and goldfish (I don't mind if the girls snatch those).

The third shelf down has our dried goods like pasta, mac-n-cheese, couscous and so on.  It also has my Sodastream drink flavorings which I put in a heart-shaped tin that Shaun had given chocolates to me in a long time back and I found in my office at work, collecting dust.  That is also Shaun’s keurig coffee pod shelf, but he was really low on the day I took these pictures, so there weren’t many to see.

The back right snapware container has rice, ramen, Mrs. Grass soup and similar items.

At the bottom, there are paper plates, cups, napkins and the like (let's face it, I only keep the mini Dixie cups around for Jello shots, but who can dispose of such a useful item?!).  We don’t use them often, but want them accessible when we do.  We mostly use cloth napkins which I’m a big proponent of.  Also down there are potatoes, onions and a miscellaneous item or two.

Room to spare!

Now since I did the organization, I could pretty easily keep this sorted out.  But Shaun wouldn’t do as well; not for lack of intention, but it just would fall apart after a while.  I’ve discovered that on the whole, Shaun is a far better and more frequent cleaner in our marriage, but when I clean, I tend to be a better and more thorough organizer.  As in, when he cleans up the girls toys, he throws them in the toy box.  Sure, this cleans the space up; but when I clean the girls’ toys up, I sort the toys into their respective stations, like Barbies, babydolls, kitchenwares, books, drawing/crayons, and then only the random miscellaneous leftover stuff goes into the toy box.  But I love him for cleaning up after us.  I’ll just keep organizing up after us.

I made this baby station (which extends to the left) for the girls, so there is a specific spot to put baby stuff.

ANYWAY, in order to keep this new pantry organization going for as long as possible, what I did was use the new (to me) 3M post-it labels that are sticky across the back of the entire label.  How awesome is that???  I labeled each shelf twice, and hope it does the trick!

This is as close as I could find on the 3M website - same brand, mine just must not be online.
Of course I did not dispense with my candy...just hid it better.
I keep my bread & cake flour in there - Shaun could go blind rolling his eyes that we have: regular flour, whole wheat flour, cake flour and bread flour.
Candy = for me; Chips = for Shaun; Fruit bars = for the kids.  Life isn't fair.

I’m impressed with myself anyway.  And best of all, no little KD or Easy-Mac have been sneaking candy from the pantry either.

January 29, 2013


Posted by Lori~
I actually have one final birthday post for you from Mur-Man's party.  It's the actual thank you card.  I am BIG TIME into creating a card with his photo and the BEST PART is that the card can be re-used for MANY THINGS.  SUPER THRIFTY AND SUPER FUN!

You can read all about his party here.  You can read about his invite here.  You can read about the micro-phone cupcakes here.  And, you can check-out his comic book page here.

January 28, 2013


Posted by Lori~

Wow!  My card drawer looked like a massive explosion.  No sort of order….cards with envelopes, cards without envelopes.  Basically a total unorganized NIGHTMARE!

I got motivated and got my greeting card crash on!  First up, I took a container courtesy of Crafty G-Ma (my ma).  I believe it was originally a CD holder in her elementary school classroom. The best part was that it came with pre-made hard plastic dividers.

So, I went to town.  First up, sorting my cards into categories:
Birthday Cards
Sympathy/get well
Thank you/blank cards
Congratulations:  Mother’s Day, New House, Wedding, etc.
Christmas/holiday cards

From there, I went through the cards and determined cards to keep and cards to donate.  My supply was way too big and I want to give a card I personally like.  Besides the local thrift store will appreciate the remaining stash.

Next up, I made sure that I had appropriate sized envelopes for the keep pile.
I then made labels for my card areas and sorted the cards appropriately. 

It fits perfectly in my craft-storage you read about here.  And, it frees up a drawer in my desk.

And, remember a stockpile of cards saves time!

MAKE-IT BLOG SHARE: Homemade Leg Wax

Posted by Ethne~

As I referenced in Friday’s post here, Whit and I made our own leg wax this weekend and tried it out on ourselves.  The timing worked out perfectly because one of Lor’s and my fave blogs here (our fifth house) is having a blog sharing party and the theme is “make it”.  So here was my stab at making something.

Is it leg wax or is it maple syrup?  Read and find out.

Yeah right.

Whit works at a beauty store and one of her customers told her about this recipe and said she’d been waxing her legs this way for 40 years.  Okee-dokey.  Here’s what she said to do, and we trusted her COMPLETELY, I guarantee.

Mix one cup sugar with two cups lemon juice, bring it just to a rolling boil, stirring frequently, then turn the temperature down to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, still stirring regularly.  I would’ve stirred regularly anyway, just to check for no mishaps since one time I heated up official eyebrow wax in high school because my Grandma W and I were going to wax our eye brows and we forgot about the wax on the stove burner and it burned to a crisp and there was floating char all over half of our house.  Most of the time I did it just right and waxed all of my friends’ eyebrows.  This is all true.

So we did it all EXACTLY as we were instructed.  The ‘wax’ turned a chocolate brown color, just like it was supposed to, but it didn’t really thicken.  Red flag.  So, conveniently, it was freezing outside, so we put the pot out on my deck for about 20 minutes to thicken.

After over 30 minutes, you're a tad bit runny
So outside you go.  See the snow in the upper left for proof it's cold out.

This is the other stuff we needed.

In the meantime, we heated up official leg wax since we decided we would do a ‘control’ leg; and also because I had spent a long time growing out my leg hair and if the homemade leg wax was a bust, I would’ve been ticked that my hard work would’ve been for naught.

It's a lovely bubble gum color.

Here are fun shots of me getting my control leg waxed.  It worked like it should and my leg is nice and smooth.  Even when I shiver – no stubble!  Sorry my legs look like nasty, baby-powder-covered chicken skin (the baby powder prevents us from ripping our skin off with the wax – fun) – you know how I feel about my purple people eater legs from this post here.  And it didn’t hurt AT ALL.  Joking.  It hurt a little.  And Whit almost gave me a black eye which would’ve totally been worth it in the name of science.

No more explanation needed to my sweet hubby when I told him the hair was for a blog test.

Look at the hair in there!!!

It is rather sticky.

Then to my homemade wax leg.  After it had thickened outside and was down to a nice warm temperature, we discovered it was NOT THICKER AT ALL.  But, we were determined to test this through to the end.  I smoothed on nicely, albeit sketchily more nicely than the official pink stuff, which is kinda like smearing liquid bubble gum down your legs.

One more time so you don't have to scroll back up: yes, maple syrup it is - do not try this at home.

Whit rubbed on the fabricky-paper strip.  Rip.  Nope.  Nothing.  It was as though she were pulling off an application of maple syrup because that would’ve been the EXACT SAME THING, only maybe not even as sticky.  I don’t even have an after picture to show you because there’s nothing.

So we waxed my other leg with the real wax and that’s nice-looking chicken skin now too.

Craft fail, my lovelies, craft fail.

We did let it cool for another couple hours and tried it on Whit’s arm and it was the same result.  I was personally hoping it worked that time because one, she could’ve screamed out “Kelly Clarkson” from the pain (see the movie 40-year-old Virgin if you don’t know what I’m talking about) and two, it would’ve been in an awful spot to have one bald patch. 

January 27, 2013


Posted by Lori~

Each year Steve creates a comic-book (thank you) story line for Mur-Man's birthday party.
He takes photos, designs and creates it, and prints it.  I then mail it out as part of Mur-Man's thank you to all his b-day guests.
This year, is comic book page number three.  You can read about year two here.

Eventually, we plan to make a book out of all these pages.  Our hope is that we can make it until age 10 (before Mur-Man thinks it isn't cool).

January 25, 2013

FRIDAY AT NOON: Ethne hates books today.

Posted by Ethne~

I hate books. 
I hate one book actually.

I read this really great book last night until midnight; the characters were great, it was a love story, and then the ending was crap.  Don’t mess with my tender heart be-atch.

The thing is, I really love literature.  You might remember from here and here where I talked about how even though Lori is ridiculous for not reading Twilight, and I am in love with Christian Grey, it doesn’t matter what books you like.  There is always one out there waiting to gobble you up and transport you away and transform your soul, at least for an hour or a day or a month.  Maybe forever.

I pinned this funny quote on Pinterest.

That's right.  Pretend you didn't read this Shaun, I'm joking.

And this apt one for me when I get my mind blown by a good read.

It reminds me of what Snape says about Lily Evans Potter, but it's totally true about everything.
Ok, maybe one more

So I have been on the hunt for a new good book.  Amazon recommends books for me all the time on my Kindle.  I’m thankful, I really am.  Usually they’re either zombie-related (cuz I recently read World War Z), romances (cuz of 50 Shades and Bared to You) or vampire-related (if you don’t know why, you don’t know me at all – ok, so if you’re new to this blog, I love Twilight and I’ve also read the House of Night series and several others, FYI).  But I am NOT one of those gals who latches on to a Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson.  Those stories don’t turn my crank, no offense.  They’re a tad repetitive to me.  And I don’t particularly like to be inspired by books.  I like to fall in love.  I like to have my insides all twisted up with longing.  And, if it’s zombies, I don’t mind a little blood and guts.

BUT, I can’t spend $10 every other night because I’m an effing fast reader, and I can’t ignore my family, because I pretty much want to pretend I’m lost on a deserted island when I’m falling in love with a book.

So when this book came across my Kindle two nights ago, it was only like $1, and it had lots of GREAT reviews, a pretty cover (yeah, I know) and the author was self-published (which was a roll of the dice, but with a ka-jillion great reviews, which mentioned other books I liked, I thought I’d give this brave author a chance).


I’ll be clear.  I couldn’t put the effer down.  It was FABULOUS.  The characters were awesome and sweet and twisted and broken; the plot was well-developed, which is a fete; and it wasn’t some Nicholas Sparks broken record (again, no offense).  BUT…AND SPOILER ALERT…it was the author who was the twisted manipulator in the end.  She didn’t bring them together!  And up until the last page, she wasn’t clear; and I even had to re-read the last two paragraphs of the epilogue just to make sure.  TORTURE.  And then I couldn’t sleep.  It’s like the classic literature I read in college where the ends weren’t all neat and tidy.  But I like my ends all neat and tidy, so I say, EFF YOU B!T%H.

So, Tarryn Fisher, if you make it big and get published by some big publishing house, and this book gets made into a movie, I am totally not going to see it.  And I am so going to go public with my midnight, January 2013 review entitled “Argh!” which, I just realized in my shock and delirium I gave 5 stars.  Sh!t.

Just so you know, I did get my act together (after I b!tc^ed to Kari about it via text) and go to work and actually get work done, so the book did not take up my whole brain, just a little teeny part that annoyed me and nagged at me.  I’ll think about it more tonight.  And then Whit and I are going to try to wax our legs with homemade leg wax tomorrow, so that’ll be fun.

January 24, 2013


 Posted by Lori~

As you recall here, I had my Christmas card sneak peek several weeks ago!  And now that it is WAY PAST Christmas, I thought I would share the full reveal!  We opted do a CD this year complete with our TOP 25 HIGHLIGHTS!  We even had voice-overs, songs, and Mur-Man singing!


You can see my last year Christmas card here.   Steve says next year's card will be a music video with an original song (composed by me!)...yeah right?!?