October 29, 2014

Halloween All Wrapped Up

Because I'm lazy and pressed for time these past few weeks, I'm combining three Halloween-themed posts into one. You can thank me if you want.

On the right you'll see a wreath I made last month.  The inspiration came from Pinterest, of course.  I used a hay wreath, wrapped it in black satin ribbon, then used furry yarn to wrap around and around and around the wreath until it was covered.  I secured the "Boo" sign using floral picks.  The ghost was kind of pain in the butt. Originally I had plan to use a styrofoam ball but the size ball I needed was too big and wouldn't allow me to close my front door without squishing the styrofoam so I had to improvise. I balled up an old white undershirt. It worked and I'm a genius!  I then added a few finishing touches - the eyes and ribbon - and called it done. I really like the way it turned out!

On the top left you'll see a cauldron of delicious cookies. I ordered them through Cheryl's using an awesome coupon code. I placed 3 orders, sending one to us and the other two to my SIL's. The total cost came in at $64, including shipping. The cookies were delivered on-time and they are fanfreakingtastic!! So good!!  I'm planning to place another order at Christmas time. You can visit their website here:

(and no, no one pays me to say anything about any website!)

And last but not least, the black cat pumpkin. It was a little kit I picked up from Target on clearance last year.  I may have crossed yet another crazy cat lady line but I don't care.  She looks great!

October 28, 2014

Italian Sausage & Pasta Skillet

Dinner inspiration smacked me right in the face while I was looking through the ad for ShopRite over the weekend.  They had the recipe printed right there and all of the ingredients were EASY and some of them were free if you used your store loyalty card. I jumped all over that.

I don't often think of including sausage into our dinner rotation, mostly because I prefer leaner meats and The Husband and I are the only ones who will eat it. Cooking in my house is exhausting. Eating is a battle I refuse to have every night. It's just not worth it in the grand scheme of things to battle over so I happily cook when I want to cook. It's a beautiful thing.

The only thing I did to change up the recipe was I pureed the diced tomatoes. The Husband isn't a fan of tomato chunks in dishes so this solves that problem. Plus, I think it made the sauce cook up a bit thicker, more like a jarred pasta sauce so it was a win-win.

I will make this again! You could substitute chicken or ground beef if sausage isn't your thing. I plan to try that next time.


October 20, 2014

Weeks 4-7 of The Crazy

I've gotten a little lazy. I blame our schedule. I think it's week 7 and I think I haven't done this post since week 3? I've lost track. In my defense, Boo's soccer team had a 2 week game hiatus due to a blip in the schedule and Columbus Day weekend tournaments but we did not participate.

So let's recap:

Fall lacrosse ended yesterday with a "championship" win over an undefeated team. It was a crazy good game. We won 13-7. And it was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g. And I really hate 8am anything on Sunday mornings! Moving on...

Soccer games started back up yesterday and it was not a good day.  There was no practice this past week due to rain and a 5th grade school-sponsored camping trip (Boo had a fantastic time!) so that did not help. We lost 4-1. I hate to pin a loss on our goalie but he literally dropped two caught balls which rolled over the line ... very frustrating the entire team. The current record is 1-3-1, which is crazy after we went undefeated this past Spring. I have so much to say about this soccer team but I'll save it for another time.

Football. The Varsity team is hanging in there (3-3, I think?) and the JV team is undefeated. Last night the Varsity suffered a heart-breaking loss. There was 20 seconds left in the game and we're on the 4 yard line about to score for the win and the ball was stripped away and recovered by the opposing team. It was awful .... 

Now that lacrosse has ended, our weekends are looking a bit lighter. The final Varsity football game will be played this weekend. There is one more game on the schedule but that team was unable to field a team this year so it has been forfeited.  The JV team has a few more games on the schedule, provided they aren't canceled (which is often the case with JV games.) Soccer continues until November! 19th! 

Me? I'm ready to become a lazy, lay-under-a-warm-blanket winter slug!

October 16, 2014

Count Your Pods!

I switched over to solely using laundry detergent pods well over a year ago. I was tired of buying and lugging the heavy liquid containers around, not to mention storing them. And the dripping down the sides of the containers - it's just a mess. The pods are so much easier and ensure you aren't using too much detergent which I'm fairly certain my husband was guilty of all. the. time.  It's amazing to me how long just one package of the pods lasts.

I am not picky about my detergent. I'll use whatever is on sale. I've used the more expensive stuff and the cheap stuff and I cannot tell a difference in the way it cleans our clothes. 

This week, Ajax is on sale for $1.99 per pack at my local grocery store. Since my stash of pods was running a bit low, I grabbed 2 packages. Out of boredom (maybe?) I decided to count the pods because surely, I paid for 40 pods so there should be 40 pods in the package, right?


There were 19 pods in each package. Not 20, 19! Seriously, Ajax??  I can possibly forgive being one short in one package, but in both packages I bought?

I called the 1-800 number on the back of the package and was met with a perfectly nice customer service representative who really didn't seem concerned about the issue at all. She did offer to send me a voucher for 1 new package of pods but I got the feeling she thought I was lying or crazy ... but alas, I'm not. I counted them 4 times, took a picture, and even let the 10 year old count them too. I opened the packages on the counter in my kitchen so it would have been easy to see if one dropped to the floor. 

These packages were short 1 pod each, plain and simple.  And now anal me will be counting all the laundry pods when I open the package!  

Thanks for that, Ajax!

October 8, 2014

Soccer Themed Birthday Party

Boo's birthday was this past weekend so we had our normal family dinner celebration. The weather ended up being perfectly chilly for the menu - Chili & Cheesesteaks - so it worked out perfectly!

Appetizers were pretzel bites, tomato-basil-mozzerella on toothpicks drizzled with a balsamic glaze (which we ended up calling them "Tomato People,") and Loaded Baked Potato Bites. Everyone loved them. You can find the recipes here:

TBM Bites

Loaded Baked Potato Bites

I'm proud to say I made this soccer cake myself, using black fondant to make the hexagon shapes. If I had tried to freehand this part, it would have been disastrous.

Speaking of disastrous, my wonderful German Shepherd almost ate the cake. I had just finished cleaning everything up and was in the process of mixing a batch of cornbread when I turned around to see his paws up on the table and he was licking, eating - and oh my god I'm going to kill him - but as I screamed, he jumped back down and he had only licked the chocolate writing off the cardboard. Thank God!! Needless to say, he was banished to the backyard until I was completely done in the kitchen and could place the cake in a safe place.  This dog has such a taste for chocolate it's almost ridiculous, especially since dogs are not supposed to eat chocolate!

Another birthday in the books and this one was bittersweet as my youngest son reached double digits and will ascend into tweendom soon. Give me strength!

October 3, 2014

An eBay Rant

I've been an eBay member for over 14 years. During that time I've bought and sold many things. I consider myself a "seasonal seller," meaning I sell some of the boy's clothing that is in great shape and worthy of reselling during the correct season. Over the past year I've been a bit lazy and I only had one small listing last spring but decided to get my butt in gear this fall and make a little money.

But the funny thing is, making money on eBay isn't what it used to be. They are essentially feeing-out all small sellers!!  The fees are INSANE. Sure you can list for free now and add as many pictures as you want, but why in the world am I charged a fee on what I charge for shipping?  I'm a fair seller and do attempt to not overcharge to ship an item but sometimes it happens. If a buyer isn't happy with what I'm charging for shipping, they don't have to buy it!!

I understand why they did this but they are killing off the small, home-based sellers with all the damn fees. 

Here's an example:

I sold a costume for $8.05 and based upon the seller's zip code, eBay calculated the shipping costs as $6.00, which the buyer paid. The final value fee on the auction was .81 cents. The shipping fee eBay collected from ME was .60 cents.  It cost me $5.35 to ship the item to the buyer while Paypal then charged me another .71 cents to get paid.

So let's add this up:

8.05 + 6.00 - .81 - .60 - 5.35 - .71 = 6.58 profit ... but that's $2.12 in fees, or 26% of the winning bid. 

What I've learned is this:

On average, I will pay almost $2 in fees for each auction I list so it makes no sense to list any item that isn't worth at least $5.

Rip. Off.

October 2, 2014

Caramel Apple Sangria

You seriously have to try this.

I found the concoction on Pinterest and while I drank it like a mixed drink instead of letting it "brew" it was still delicious! And I can't wait to make a giant pitcher of it this weekend!

 For a glass, I mixed:

4oz Pinot Grigio
4oz apple cider
1 shot of caramel vodka