Friday, July 31, 2009

Home Improvements Stink!

I have had nothing but trouble with my latest home improvement changes. My first major issue is the installation of our granite counter tops. One piece of our counter was not measured correctly so it is not installed correctly. We're now waiting on the company to find another slab to replace this piece. Unknowingly, I managed to select the hardest to find granite. Why is it in the showroom if it's so illusive?!
I understand people make mistakes but I was not happy with the service we received. Above is a photo of the mess they left under the sink. They didn't even bother to wipe down the counters. I expected higher quality results from a company that only does granite.
In addition, I've recently learned that we cannot move onto the back splash project until the counters are done. I could turn into the Hulk if I spend any more time thinking about this. Onto another maddening project.
I special ordered a light fixture for the living room from Home Depot with the understanding that I would have it in one week. After I paid and left the store there was a message waiting for me that the fixture was on back order and would not be in for a month. It's been a month and Chuck was able to install it this week. I won't get into the boring details but it was a lot more trouble than expected.
I've learned that I really don't have the temperament for this and it's a good thing I don't drink. Here's a shout out to my relaxed smooth husband, you're awesome.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chasing Fireflies

Chasing Fireflies is a ridiculously priced catalog for children that came in our mail last week. Let us pretend for a minute that I lack good sense and shop! Katherine wants the peacock costume at $78. This does not include the headpiece or leggings those are another $38. The reversible smock and adorable mermaid towel could be mine for $48 a piece.And I must have a "prima pettiskirt" in blue for $80.
My total is $292 before shipping. What a bummer! But it was fun flipping through the pages and dreaming.

HGTV's Design Star

I absolutely love this show. The designer who wins gets their own show on HGTV. They are put through grueling time crunches and difficult situations and then judged. Two past winners that you may know are Kim Myles and David Bromstad. This season there are 2 new judges, Candice Olson and Genevieve Gorder. These two are hilarious! After hearing that two contestants spent $700 for an AstroTurf rug (shown below) Genevieve shouted "you're fools" and Candice raised a polished eyebrow. I'm sure Vern Yip said his usual something snotty but he's not as funny as the girls.
This is now season 4 and this coming week's challenge is called the white walls. The designers will work on their own designing a living room with only items found from a grocery story. I haven't picked my favorite contestant yet as they've only worked in groups. This Sunday's show will give us a chance to see who's got IT.
My favorite contestant from the past was "Sparkle Josh" (as seen smoldering below). There were two contestants named Josh so he earned the nickname "Sparkle" with his uhhm flamboyance. He loved everything glittery, mirrored, and glamorous. I loved all his projects but alas he did not win. Sparkle Josh has a very interesting website if you're in need of entertainment but you musn't skip the intro it's the best part! I don't think he intended it to be funny but it was, sorry Josh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scenes from the local Salvation Army

My trips to this thrift store never fail to entertain or aggravate me. It's full of curious folk, some work there and some just hang out. I'm not terribly fond of the old bat who runs the register, she tore off a $5 price sticker and replaced it with $15 on a fantastic lamp I brought to the counter. She voiced that it was too great of a lamp for so low of a price. I refused to buy it and stomped out in a huff. My pride prevented my going back for it so my mother went in and bought it for me a day later. I'm sorry that I don't have a "before" to show you but it did turn out pretty good. I painted the white parts (they were originally gold) and covered the shade with fabric. It is truly an original.

The Old Bat also refused to sell me a vintage Christmas sprig because it is taped to her pen. I really hate her.
There are always quite a few old people milling around. One couple comes in frequently and argue the entire time. He leans onto the tables and shouts across the aisle "now put that down, we don't need another one of those". She fiercely clutches her "precious" and he ends up buying it anyway.
The older ladies are the best. One regular never fails to mention how beautiful Charlie is and how his hair looks just like her Mitch. The older men say "that baby sure looks taken care of, look at those legs!". They are very sweet to him and he always rewards them with a huge smile.
A very weathered man is always there and helps out with the furniture when he's not occupying it. The Old Bat gets onto him continually for leaving coffee rings on the merchandise. He recognizes me now and thinks I'm some sort of expert on all things child related. I just go with it.
Maybe he'll put in a good word for me the next time The Old Bat gives me a hard time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

This is one of my all time favorite books to read in the Fall. Okay I'm a bit early but I do so love Fall. I read all of the Ramona Quimby series in elementary school. I discovered how great the audio books (read by Stockard Channing) were as an adult. This particular book has Ramona entering kindergarten so we've been reading it to Katherine as she is going herself in 2 weeks. Beverly Cleary has such talent into taking you right back to seeing the world as a child. One of my favorite scenes has Ramona getting wild with frustration at her friend Howie who never gets excited and when she pulls a classmate's curls just to see it bounce back (BOING). If you haven't discovered Ramona you're in for a treat! However, I'm disappointed in the new illustrations. Doesn't she look much more interesting in the 1968 version?! Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sale Dates

For all my local friends the dates for the Fall 2009 consignment sales! The list starts from the earliest sale to the last. These dates are for the first day of the public sale, if you consign to any of these you get to shop earlier. The photos are from Kids Carousel who are the only sale with a 75% off day, worth your time to go.

Children's Clothing Exchange
(CCE) Old McLendon Furniture Store, 2505 Eastern Blvd.
Sept. 9th 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sept. 14th 50% off day 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

My Kids Attic Coliseum Blvd, Montgomery
Sept. 12th 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sept. 16th 50% off day 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Kids Carousel Eastern Bypass, Montgomery
Sept. 12th 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sept. 17th 50% off day 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Sept. 19th 75% off day 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Doodle Bugs Hwy. 231, Wetumpka
Sept. 26th 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Oct. 2nd 50% off day 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Mom's Marketplace Hwy. 82 West, Prattville
Oct. 10th 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 14th 50% off day 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Oct. 17th 70% off day 9:00 a.m.-3 p.m.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Barbie Chandelier?

I saw this Barbie chandelier in a design book at Lowe's. I was horrified and strangely intrigued. There are several versions of this idea floating around the web. I've been wanting to replace my daughter's clunky ceiling fan with something fun and current. After hunting for several weeks I finally found a large brass fixture for $20 at a thrift store that I can alter into something cute. My plans don't include screwing hooks into Barbie's head.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy 103rd Birthday!

This past Saturday we celebrated my great grandmother's 103rd birthday! It was my job to make the cake for around 85 people. I did a large cake plus cupcakes last year but this time I decided to do a multilayer cake. I think people enjoyed the cupcakes more. They're so much easier to serve and eat at a pool party. But it was delicious!
Katherine and her cousin Rachel were inseparable the whole weekend. Those lollipops lasted and lasted.

Charlie wasn't much help but he was so cute making a mess!
This is me before it got really hot. I have to take my own photo each year or I end up with a shot of my eyes shut or an exaggerated double chin or my thighs looking incredibly large.
Here's my Grandma wearing a blonde wig given to her as a gift. She would not be convinced to wear it to the party but she did allow me to take the picture.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More on Consignment Sales

Our living room is always a mess around consignment times. I'm always a consignor for at least one sale every Spring and Fall. The process is a bit time consuming but it's a great way to fund my addiction and to make room for more stuff! When you're a consignor you get to shop the day before the public does.
Here's what I've learned about consigning:
  • Shop at least one of the sales to get an idea of what to expect and what to charge for your things.
  • Decide which sale you want to participate in. Compare what they charge and what percentage they are going to pay you. I also recommend the sales that are completely on-line. You're able to make all of your tags with their program instead of hand-writing them. These photos are from one of my fav's, Mom's Marketplace.
  • Go through whatever is taking up precious space in your home first, just in case you run out of steam. For me it's usually my daughter's clothes but sometimes toys have taken over. Don't forget holiday or seasonal items; Halloween costumes, swimsuits, Easter baskets etc.
  • Follow the sale's rules of what they accept and how to tag and price your items.
  • When pricing your items keep in mind you do not want to see these things again. I put $3-5 dollars on most items and donate what doesn't sell. I find that most of my things sell the first few days rather than 1/2 off day. Remember these people are looking for a deal, we do not want to pay full retail or even half retail price on anything, even if it is Gymboree. Every sale contains a consignor who thinks someone is going to pay her $8.00 for a Target t-shirt. You will spot her items at the end of the sale because they're still on the racks and not marked 1/2 price. Sadly, she has wasted her time.
  • Be prepared for a volunteer to look through your items closely at drop-off. I'm sorry to tell you that she's usually the snotty and most fake mother out of the lot. These moms seem to enjoy telling you of a spot on anything that's white or she's "just not sure if it will sell". Try not to smack her. Personally, I consider anything sell-able if it's priced right!
  • Consider volunteering. There are different incentives for volunteers. You may earn more of a percentage on your items or get to shop before the consignors. I always find some treasure that I missed while volunteering, it's rather hard not to shop while "working".

Consignment Sales

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Time for the fall consignment sales! These sales happen in Spring and Fall and sell anything and everything for children at very affordable prices. Our area has 5 different sales and I go to everyone of them. I am also a consignor and volunteer to one of the sales. Below are some of my tips for these awesome sales.
When shopping a sale:
1. Go to the first Public Sale day when it starts. Be sure to use a bathroom before you go, these sales are usually held in rented areas without public restrooms.
2. Bring something to carry your items in. I bought a metal cart with 4 wheels for $20 at Big Lots. It is the best thing to use because it leaves both arms free to shop and can carry a heavy load.
3. If you are looking for specific items like a wagon or train set go to those sections first.
4. Be aware of the rules of the sale. Most sales have a 1/2 off day but not everything will be on sale. There will be a different color or something written on the tag to let you know if it's 1/2 off.
5. There is no such thing as "personal space" particularly in the racks of girls clothing. I grab what interests me and then find a spot to go through everything. A volunteer will happily place back what you don't want.
6. I enjoy these sales without the stress of my children tagging along and although my husband is very tolerant it's best that they don't come.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Let's Be Honest

This posting has nothing to do with Edward Cullen, and I will NOT be doing another session of the 30 Day Shred. Was it that bad? No. But it's been 2 weeks since I've done it and I don't see myself turning it on again. If any of you would like to pick up the challenge I want to hear all about it! I made it to day 12 or was it 11? Surely I made it to day 11!?
Our evening got off to a bad start. Everyone got home at the same time only to discover our A/C was not working. While the hubby was twiddling with it I proceeded to make dinner. Usually I do not use the oven but I genuinely thought the air would come back on. It's been several stuffy hours and we are waiting on a call from the Home Warranty people. I think it's going to be a long night. We should really go to the Dairy Queen.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Choices, Choices, Choices

Here are some pictures of our kitchen before we bought it. Yes, this hunter green counter top now belongs to me. Guess what, there is a tile "rug" that matches it on the other side of the kitchen. Recognize those ugly cabinets from the bathroom?! We're getting ready to renovate and I'm really excited to change this kitchen into a room we love.

Yesterday we I spent hours in Home Depot and Lowe's pricing items and talking to sales people. I did not wear the appropriate shoes and paid for it later. But the choices we made were good and I am pleased with the progress we had made.

Chuck spent several hours this weekend putting in some much needed under counter lighting. It's looking better already!

I would love to wait and do the painting, lighting, hardware, back splash, and counter tops all in one weekend just like HGTV but it's just not feasible. This project will take us a while.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our 4th of July and a Product Review

This year was Charlie's first 4th of July and he did great! I was a bit worried about his reaction to the loud fireworks but he didn't mind at all. He watched for a minute then went to sleep and stayed asleep until the very end!

Onto the product review. A couple of weeks ago I purchased a wall gallery template from Michael's. The template is supposed to be leveled on the wall to help you hang multiple picture frames. I lucked up and was able to buy all the picture frames for 40% off. They still cost me $170.

My husband hung the template and the frames for me tonight. Despite his handyman skills and cleverness, things did not go as smoothly as we had planned.

Problem 1- the wall anchors that came with the frames were cheap and broke off.
Problem 2- the template could have been reused if we had not screwed holes through it.
Problem 3- this was not a project I could have done alone.

By the end of the project we did have a nice wall gallery in a reasonable amount of time. Overall I give this product a B+.
I haven't filled in all of the frames which explains why there is a sailboat hung sideways.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Patriotic Hair

I've found a few more hair blogs that I love, I've added them to the side. We tried a do from The Story of a Princess and Her Hair. Mine isn't near as lovely as hers but I was happy with the end result. It wasn't as difficult as it looks, but it did take about 30 minutes for me to do.

Yesterday our sunny morning was clouded over when I discovered my front tire was just about flat. Of course I didn't notice this until the children and I were in the car ready to go to a lunch date. Luckily there was a nice gas station on the way to the restaurant that had a user-friendly air pump. I was able to make it to Wal-mart after lunch and decided to have my headlights restored as well. Have you seen this? Unfortunately, I couldn't take a before and after of my own vehicle since this was a spur of the moment decision. But I did find some photos on line. I am so happy with the results. Our car is 6 years old but the headlight restoration made it look quite new. Wal-mart charges about $40.00 for this service it's worth it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chocolate Cake

It turns out that one of my husband's favorite books to read aloud is "The Cat in the Hat". One of my favorites to read is a Little Golden Book called "A Day on the Farm". It follows the day of a family living on a farm and ends with company coming over for dinner and the mom has cooked a homemade chocolate cake. Chuck pointed out that all my fav's involve a chocolate cake somehow. This has escaped me before but he's right! Here are a few of my fav's.

I love the scene in the book "Matilda" where a boy steals a piece of the headmistress's cake and is then forced to eat the entire thing as punishment. And who didn't love the movie "Chocolat" with Johnny Depp?! My favorite scene is the priest climbing into the store front to shove chocolate into his mouth with both hands.

And the idea of finding a golden ticket in the wrapper of a chocolate bar is magical, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". But falling into a flowing river of chocolate and clogging a tube is hilarious!

My brother won a book from a summer reading program many years ago called "Grandfather's Cake". It's a sweet story about two small boys that deliver a piece of grandma's chocolate cake to their grandfather who is up in the hills watching his sheep. They encounter some shady characters on their journey but with the help of Peaches the contrary pony they make it to Grandfather and they all eat the cake together while Peaches munches an apple.

Chocolate cake just adds something special to any story. We love you chocolate cake.