Friday, January 27, 2012

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEO: worst video and song series

I have no words....  just watch....

Oh, Hoff.... you so cheesy!


We never really know where life will take us.  We can plan and plan all we want; but, there are things we just cannot control.

Think of yourself as a writer.... you get to tell the story.... don't let the unknown hinder you.... mold it, shape it, write it.  Give every bump in the road their own chapter in the book of you....

My advice:  Take every day as it comes.  Bask in every ray of goodness.  Jump the hurdles as they arise.  Learn from them and carry on.  In the moment it may be difficult to look ahead; but, don't let that stop you.... YOU are the author...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


 felted wool blanket.... LOVE!  via pinterest

worldwide fred babushkups on pinterest

pretty plates via pinterest

eating a rainbow via pinterest
crochet ripples via pinterest

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: sweater makeover

I've had this sweater for a few years.... it's soft and cottony and I love it.... but.... I never wear it.  One of those items you hang onto in hopes of one day wearing again.... But, honestly, do those days ever come?  Usually not for me....

So, I took this as a sign.... A makeover kinda sign!

Here's what went down:

I took this 100% cotton American Eagle sweater that I bought for the low-low price of $9.99 (I know!)....

And started by doing this....

 Then this....

Then this....

And this....

And this too....

And voila!  A new cardi from a sweater that I loved....


Monday, January 23, 2012

THRIFTY MONDAY: sittin' pretty

It seems like forever that we've been searching for extra chairs to go with our dining room set.  Our set consists of one oak table, four oak chairs and one leaf for the table.  And since we're a family of five, a four seater table just doesn't cut it.... don't get me wrong, we don't have one of the kids sitting on the floor while we eat or anything like that.... we have a little old farmhouse chair (that I love) that the girl-monkey's booster seat sits upon....

So, yes, we do have enough chairs for our family.... But, what a pain when we have guests for dinner....

Well.... pain  no more!

Last wednesday, Mr. Monkey found an ad on Kijiji.... 6 pressed back chairs with newly re-caned seats for $375.  Not a ridiculous price for 6 caned chairs.... but also not truly a thrifty price either.... again, if you know me well, you know how I don't like to part with money, I'm thrifty, cheap, like that :D

Aaaanyway, the chairs were in a little town 15 minutes away.... we bundled the girl-monkey up and off we went. 

Conclusion.  They were nice looking chairs; however, with kids, I don't think caned seats are practical.  Not to say my kids are ram-my or overly rambunctious, they're pretty gentle on our furniture (we've trained them well).... but, they are kids and kids drop food and spill drinks (heck, so do adults) and the thought of trying to clean food and drink out of caning - no thanks.  And - And!  They were wobbly.  And loose.  And not at all the solid and heavy chairs that we were after.

We thanked the lovely gentleman and were on our merry way, sans chairs....

We hopped in the family bus, and decided to head into the city to check out Bibles for Missions.... But, on the way, we stopped at our favourite Antique Shop, Brooks' House.  We've purchased a number of items from this place and have found the prices very fair and reasonable.  The nice lady who owns the store told us long ago when we asked why her prices were so low, that if she priced like other antique stores, she'd never move anything.  Makes sense.  She prices her items so she gets her money back with a little extra for profit.  Pretty fair in my books.

And you can tell, if you visit her store once a week for a month, that her stock changes all the time.  She chooses quality pieces and if they need some TLC, her husband fixes them up in his workshop.  Perfect!

We found a beautiful table and chair set almost immediately when we walked in.... and as luck would have it, it was priced NOT as a set!  The chairs were priced at $196 for 4 solid oak pressed back chairs and the table was $275.

The smarty-pants that Mr. Monkey is, he brought along one of our own kitchen chairs to match up to anything we found.... BRILLIANT!

The height of the pressed back was perfect!  The colour was off; but, seriously, nothing in my house matches anyway and that's just the way we like it.

So, the million-dollar question, asked by the wheeler and dealer, Mr. Monkey, 'What's the best you can do on them?'  And that's the great thing about buying from an independent seller, there's always a deal to be had.... Because they needed a little TLC upon arrival to her shop, she could only do 10% off.  Good enough for us!

These beauties are now a permanent fixture in my home.

We have extra seating for company; of course, our table still only comfortably seats 6, but has fed upwards of 10.... you do what you have to do, right?  The table will be replaced later-later, no rush on that, just gives me time to find something I really-really love.

So all-in-all, they were a great price for something old and something solid and best of all, something with character.  Less than $50 a chair.... PERFECT!

And, somehow the thrifty-ness must have filtered down to the girl-monkey, she came away with this....

A vintage tin that housed a few vintage buttons for the HUGE price of 50 cents.  And so her button collecting career begins.... I LOVE IT!

Have a lovely January day my dears....   ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEO: worst video and song series

While browsing through some articles on the internet one night, Mr. Monkey happened upon some very bad-bad videos/songs.... and from there, we were inspired to bring you this.... the Worst Video and Song Series.  Totally a humourous look at music and video....

I Don't Wanna Be A Crappy Housewife by Tonja Langeteig .... ENJOY!

Now, I know that just made your friday night!  ;)

RANDOMNESS: working mom

Even though I'm a stay at home mom, and have been for quite some time now, I've always thought of myself as a working mom.  As much fun and as rewarding as it is to be able to be home with my kids, it has been work too, but a type of work that I am completely proud and happy to do.... I love being home, I wouldn't miss seeing my children grow for any amount of money.

But, the time has come to start thinking about working outside of the home again.... Scary?  A little.  Do I have a job to return to?  Not in my field of training - I'm obsolete - DARN COMPUTERS!  Do I have options?  Absolutely!

I have some things in the works that I think I'll find both challenging and rewarding and MOST-MOST importantly, will work within my children's school schedule and around my husband's shifts.  No need to acquaint my children with a sitter.... I don't like that option, and neither do they (actually, they don't even like the idea of me working, but that's another story)....

I'm excited for the prospect of working outside of the house again and to be contributing to our household income again.  I'll keep you posted when I figure everything out.

Have a great day everyone  ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BESTIES OF ETSY: love day is coming

Hammered Heart Necklace, by Juliana W Jewelry

Winnie the Pooh Quote Valentine Cards, by Letter Happy

Linen Lingerie Set, by Sandmaiden

Beautiful Red Valentine Wreath, by Sophie Reena

 Ties for Big and Little Guys, by Me and Matilda

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

REFURB-RECON-REPURPOSE: old suitcase, new doll case

I've always loved the idea of making something old, new again, and when I saw these on Etsy, I knew I could easily do it myself.... and then, the hunt was on for the perfect case....

And, I found one....  

Actually, Mr. Monkey found it on his very first trip with the girl-babe and I, to our nearest Bibles for Missions thrift store.  This pretty blue case was sitting on the floor with a bunch of other sad looking cases.... a diamond in the rough for sure....

The price tag.... a WHOPPING $3.00!  Yes, folks, this was the steal of the day!

So here it is.... the transformation....

original condition, ok, but, not really... and still has it's keys!
let the stripping begin - woo-hoo!!!
interesting.... butter cookie packaging as backing.... repurposing, I LOVE IT!
original lining stuck.... ah, no biggie
completely NAKED!
vintage sheeting fabric, batting, glue gun, and many-many-many glue sticks
pretty trims, not sure what to use just yet....
fitting and gluing the batting, really just winging it....until....
OUCHIE!  why does this ALWAYS happen to me?
burnt fingers forgotten.... bottom lining finito!
glue and press, glue and press.... top lining also finito!
cutting, trimming, fitting and attaching the pretty flowers
oops, forgot to take a shot of the trim being applied, my bad, here it is finished
the monkey-girl throwing in Bear's clothes before I could finish, love her excitement
'take a pitcher of me, mommy!' (heart melting)
I had so much fun whipping up this project!  In total, it took me about 4 and a half hours.... well worth my time and effort just to get that HUGE smile from that BEAUTIFUL girl....

I think, later-later, I'll add some clear pockets to the top to house the socks and shoes, and maybe paint the monkey's name on the outside.... I'll be sure to add that as a REFURB-RECON-REPURPOSE post too!

I hope this inspires you glue-gun toting craft-goddesses to tackle your own repurpose projects.  Have a lovely day my friends  ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: recipe makeover

Who doesn't LOVE brownies?  Chocolate-y, crumbly outside, chewy-ewwie-gooey inside.... and so-so sinfully decadent.... I mean, full of calories.

So, how can you have your favourite chocolate snack and NOT feel guilty after?  Easy.  Makeover your recipe.

With a few small changes you can cut the calorie count considerably and still get the fix you were looking for.

Today, I'm going to show you how I made over this recipe, from BAKER'S Chocolate and Kraft Canada.  The original recipe calls for a large amount of both butter and sugar.  By cutting these two ingredients down and adding one other thing, you can save yourself from indiscretion.

Here we go.
Julie's Skinny-ish Brownies

You'll need:
4 squares Baker's Semi-sweet Chocolate
1 tbsp Becel Salt-Free Margarine
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1 ripe mashed banana (or 1 Motts snack cup unsweetened applesauce)
3 whole eggs (or 1 whole and 4 egg whites if you have cholesterol issues)
1tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (white, whole wheat or nutri-blend)

Melt chocolate and margarine in microwave for 1-2 minutes, stir til chocolate is free from lumps.  Add eggs, vanilla and banana and mix well.  Add flour and stir til combined.  If you're not totally counting every calorie, fold in a bunch of chocolate chips too, maybe about a half cup ;)

Pour into a 13x9 greased foil-lined baking dish.  Bake for 25-35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Test the brownie to make sure they're done by inserting a knife or toothpick.... you know the drill.

They should resemble something like this....

Judging by the 'oohs and ahs' I got from the family, I'd say they were a hit.  The banana adds a bit of flavour that melds well with the chocolate and gives that extra hit of sweetness.  Hope you like them too!

Have a fantastically fudge-y day  ;)

Monday, January 16, 2012


While out driving around last tuesday, my husband and I decided to head to one of our favourite Antique-y places.... Southworks.  He was looking for chairs for our dining set.... I was just looking at, well, everything...

The entire upper floor of this building is all antique, nostalgic and vintage treasures....  Now, being the thrifty (cheap) lady that I am, I find a great number of things here are highly overpriced.  That doesn't mean I don't like the hunt, I do.  It's a challenge to find something I like and for a reasonable price (or priced right).... but, I can do it if I'm given the time to really scrutinize what I'm after.

Of course, the prey of the day for me, was Pyrex.... just a little-teeny-tiny piece to quench my thirst, sate my hunger, tide me over til, um, next month (who we kiddin' week)....

Aaaanyway.... While browsing, I heard the man say to the girl-babe, 'Oh, Mommy's gonna be in these booths for hours'.... My interest was piqued.... I knew exactly what he meant, and so, calmly, not too-too hurriedly (I didn't want to look like a total geek!) I headed in the direction of his voice....

Ahhhh!!!!  3.... count 'em.... 3 booths of perfectly pretty Pyrex and fabulously fun Fiesta ware!  WHAT?!  I know!

So once the excitement (that was really only going on internally.... again, the geek in me was caged) was harnessed, I got down to business.

After picking up, turning over and checking for chips on almost every. single. piece.... sadly, only a few were to my liking, which is to say, in almost 100%, A-1, perfect condition.  And those that were, were so over priced, I just couldn't bring myself to drop that kind of money....

But I wasn't sad.... I know where I can find what I like at very thrifty prices.... I went on my way, happy with just browsing at all of the beautiful colours.... and then, I spotted 3 teensy-weeny-little bowls on the floor of a booth that sold almost entirely old paper materials....

I chose this beautiful brown bitty....

Isn't she sweet?  I brought her home, suds-ed her up and she was on the dinner table that night full to the brim with little sweet peas....

:D  That's me.  Smiling cheek-to-cheek.... have a great day  ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

FAMILY DAYS: production line

For Christmas, my middle monkey made me a button bracelet from the pretty buttons in my button stash.  I saw the bracelet about a month before Christmas; but, had no idea it was for me.  He put it together using a caramel coloured pipe cleaner and some shiny metal buttons (his favourites).

On Christmas morning, he handed me a pretty little box that he carefully wrapped himself.  On top was the cutest little tag that was made from a thick piece of golden wrapping paper that he hand cut and folded.... on the inside it simply said, 'To: Mom.  From: Marek' with a sweet happy face.  My heart gushed and I had to hold back the tears.... I mean, really, I hadn't even opened the gift yet; but, I knew I would cherish it forever....

So, in his ultimate wisdom, and I'm sure after days of processing my tearful thank you to him, he came to me and said, 'I want to make button bracelets for our yard sale.  Because if you like yours so much, so will other Mommy's.'  My heart exploded, and I knew, even more than I had ever known before, that these moments were the reason I wanted to be a Mom.

And today, on this frigidly cold Sunday, we decided to start production in the button factory.  I'll I just say this.... I was in my crafty glory, sitting with my three monkeys, working away, watching them sort through the ga-zillions of buttons we have.... These pretty necklaces and bracelets are the fruits of our efforts today....

For girls; pretty ribbon and button necklaces made by the hands of my two boy monkeys, with help picking colours from the girl-babe; and elastic threaded bracelets made by Mommy.  My oldest monkey had the brilliant idea to make army man necklaces for boys.... so this week we'll be taking a trip to the dollar store for some army men and hemp lacing....

I love that they want to have their own sale table for our annual community yard sale.  I love the initiative, and the excitement they feel over doing something for themselves; and the pride they have in their ideas and finished product....

They make me love them more and more every. single. day.

Happy family day everyone  ;)

p.s.  stay tuned, we're back in the swing of things here on the blog.... starting tomorrow!

Friday, January 6, 2012

RANDOMNESS: enjoying my time

I know I said I would be back to the regular schedule once January hit.... I've just been having too much fun with my babes.  They don't go back to school until next week, and it's been nice just spending time....

We visited the library.... we read a TON of books.... we played barbies, nerf guns, learned magic tricks, and packed Christmas away for another year.... we snacked, and snacked.... we laughed, and we chatted a lot!

Only a couple of days left and the boys will be back at school.... the Ham and I will be on our own again.... and Daddy will be with us on the days he's not working....

It's been a very lovely and relaxing start to the year....

See you soon.... promise


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: math helpers

When it comes to homework, I try to find the best ways to help my boys without adding to their frustrations (and mine).... and while math isn't a huge problem for them, I have found that making a set of counting grid cards has helped to make math a snap and a little more fun....

I found a great site,  This is a fantastic site that allows you to generate your own grids, or to print ready-made grids.

I generated my own, without blank spaces (for math helping purposes); counting by 1's, 2's (odds and evens), and 5's.  You can also print 10's and 25's and 100's, but you can also just use your counting by 5's grid for those numbers.

Here are two of ours....

As you can see, they're laminated.  I can't tell you how much fun my guys have had with these being laminated.  The added bonus of paying a little amount of money to do this is that it makes them dry erase.  My guys love writing on white boards! And, you can pick up dry erase markers on the cheap at any dollar store.

Our grids are double-sided.  When you print your grids from, you'll be able to fit one on an 8.5"x11" sheet of printer paper.  To make it double-sided, run your paper back through the printer so that the next grid prints on the backside of the first.  Yeah, it's that easy!

And, here's a hint: for your counting by 5's grid, use a highlighter to colour code all of the counting options on that grid:  5's, 10's, 15's, 20's, 25's, etc, etc....  This should be done before the lamination process.  I only did the 10's on ours, but next time, I'll use highlighter to colour the boxes in completely, and do all of the counting combinations.

So what can your child do with the counting grids?  Well, counting, for one....  And both adding and subtracting.  Predicting (what number comes next).  Sequencing and patterning....  I'm sure as my guys progress through math and graduate into older grades, these grids will find new uses.

Another great little math helper, to assist the emergent adders and subtracters....

This is a blank helper that I made up, it shows the 1's, 10's and 100's columns, there's space at the top for carrying numbers, and space along the left to add your + or - signs....  All you need is a math equation and some dry erase markers.  I'm taking our adding helper to be laminated today so it'll be ready for the boys when they return to school next week.

Please note:  When the lamination process is done, do not cut too close to the paper as you'll create a separation in the laminate, and remember to round and cut corners as they are very, very sharp.

Hopefully these little helpers will aid in making homework time a little less stressful.  Have a great day  ;)

Monday, January 2, 2012

THRIFTY MONDAY: santa's gift to me

Santa must have been watching me for the past few months, because look what I found.... hidden in one of my dresser drawers.... obviously, a-hem, Santa forgot to wrap it and slide it under the tree before Daddy noticed.... Aaaanyway, sometimes Santa slips up too....

This is THE cutest little Spring Blossom bowl, from the original launch in 1972.  It features the same larger patterned flowers as one of my previous finds.

See.... if you're a good girl, sometimes Santa comes through with the gifts that make you smile.

;)  .... that's me.... smiling .... have a lovely day....