Monday, June 7

menu plan monday

this week is vacation bible school at our church, so my evenings are full. so i planned meals that were easy, quick, & able to be eaten in different shifts & out of the fridge in case shaun & i aren't home at the same times to eat. but it can be done! i am turning to some trusty old "regulars" from the casteel cafe:

monday - turkey burgers, corn, baked sweet potatoes
tuesday - orange chicken salad
wednesday - quesadillas, watermelon
thursday - cuban shrimp & couscous
friday - y.u.m.
saturday - gazpacho, salad
sunday - @ life group

y.u.m. = yesterdays' uneaten meals

Saturday, June 5

saturday series: YARD SALE-ING

01. bountiful harvest

yard sale-ing is one of my favorite hobbies. my grandmother was the queen, & she taught my sister & me well. i love the thrill of the hunt, the haggling, & the transformation of another person's trash into my treasure. when we lived in raleigh, nearly all of our furniture was either given to us, made by us, found on the roadside, or most commonly, from a yard sale! we still have much of it in the casa.

as much as i love going to yard sales, i equally enjoy throwing them. we just put on a church yard sale with our youth group a couple of weeks ago, & i realized just how much information there is to increase the effectiveness of a yard sale. this was the sixth church yard sale i've organized, & i learn something new each time. i've also done a few personal yard sales, but one of my top tactics is "the more, the merrier." if i do a personal yard sale, i always combine with someone else. the more stuff you have, the more customers you will attract. anyways, i'm getting ahead of myself. i'm going to post a "saturday series" on yard sale-ing for a few weeks, including how-to instructions, ideas, & tips for maximizing your profit.

this week, i thought i'd simply give you a taste by showing the bounty we found at the church yard sale we organized. i love repurposing things that have been well-used & well-loved by others!

[galvanized cup set]

i can't wait to use these for flower arranging or for holding utensils at a picnic!

[mini copper salt & pepper shakers]

i love all sorts of metals & finishes: galvanized, copper, cast iron... i use alot of copper in our kitchen & in our bedroom. these are so darling, & i thought they'd work nicely on my kitchen table tray.

[tooled leather messenger bag]

this is probably my favorite find! i've been looking for a satchel-type bag to tote around my laptop & notebooks for various meetings & work. my friend, katy, saw this and said, "this screams danae." boy, was she right! the color also perfectly matches my tooled leather clutch i bought at a local thrift store, & it compliments my tooled leather journal cover & key chain, too. i love when form meets function!

[bar stool]

we want to collect a handful of cheap bar stools for the basement coffeehouse.  we're going to paint the legs all black or chocolate brown, & we're going to cover the tops with padding & red vinyl for a retro look!

[stool-like table]

this looks like a piece of junk right now [& it is], but i'm going to fix it up with shelving & paint, then use it next to my easel to hold my paints, brushes, water jar, etc. it's the right size & height, so i thought it was worth bringing home.

[yellow school desk]

this is my second-favorite find. i love the chipping yellow paint! i almost didn't take it because i don't like to bring things home if i don't know where i'm going to put them or how i'm going to use them. but we use yellow as an accent color in several rooms, & i just couldn't stop thinking about it, so i snagged it anyways!

hope you enjoyed viewing our new-found treasures! you're sure to see them again when i post "after" pictures of their transformations. and i hope you're inspired to do a little yard sale-ing, too!  happy hunting!

next week: TOP 10 REASONS FOR YARD SALE-ING

Friday, June 4

our garden

we've finally planted all our little green seedlings for our 2010 garden! well, all the ones we have so far...  our "menu" this year: eight varieties of tomatoes [better boy, roma, super sweet 100, sungold, carolina gold, thessaloniki, lemon boy, & big beef - we originally only had four varieties but then my sweet father-in-law gave me four more to try out. good thing i LOVE tomatoes!!!], cucumbers, green beans, broccoli, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, & eggplant. i'm also planning on putting in a cantaloupe vine. yum, yum!

[our garden: the beginnings]

[garden layout]

then there's the herb containers: lemonbalm, orange mint, apple mint, & spearmint in container 1; dill, chives, summer savory, greek oregano, & italian oregano in container 2. i still need to get another container for basil & one for cilantro or plant them in the garden space. and i have a rosemary plant to pot, too.

[herb containers 1 & 2]

as for making the garden more presentable & more manageable: we're going to get a load of compost to spread over the top of the garden. then, i want to get square concrete pavers to create the paths by which i get to the plants to water, weed, & harvest. we'll stake the tomatoes & cucumbers when they get a little taller. i'd also like to put up a wooden fence at the end by the extended flower bed to delineate the space. but we'll see how much we actually get done this summer!

next project: creating our own compost bin so we don't have to buy it again!

Thursday, June 3

coupon organizer

i've always liked coupon clipping. the weekly ritual of sitting with the paper, flipping through flyers, cutting on the dotted lines... dorky, i know, but i really do enjoy it. plus, it's a principle of frugality. i'm a big believer in the "every penny counts" & "a penny saved is a penny earned" philosophy. although, being a big practicer of it is a little more difficult sometimes. coupons help alot!

now, i'm not one of those coupon queens who pay $20 for $200-worth of groceries. i'd like to improve my skills, but for the time being, i stick to what coupons i receive in the mail, coupons that i receive from the store, & taking advantage of double/triple deals. we love a bargain around here at the casa, & coupons are like a make-your-own-bargain tool. so, that's a snippet of the frugality side.

then there's the issue of organization because keeping those little pieces of paper straight take serious effort. i separate mine into six categories: restaurants, cleaning, household, food, personal, & miscellaneous. restaurants & cleaning are pretty self-explanatory. household includes paper products, pet supplies, batteries, plastic bags, etc. personal is for toiletries & first aid items. miscellaneous is generally for those fabulous store coupons, like the 20% of one item at beth, bath, & beyond.

one of my pet peeves is organizers that aren't long enough to hold those longer store coupons. i found this perfect organizer at barnes & noble. it's actually a photo album for panoramic pictures turned coupon book. it even has six pockets - perfect for my categories!

[my photo album turned coupon book]

[opened up to the first picture pocket]

[coupons are in the pocket behind the pretty paper label]

[the next pocket & a view of the back of the first]

each pocket has two sides [to put in two back-to-back pictures], but i generally use only the front one. i always keep my coupons in order by expiration date. each week before i run errands, i look through each pocket, with especial focus on the coupons expiring that week, which are in the very front. i also throw out any expired coupons. it takes a little extra time to organize them this way on sunday, but it's well worth the effort come wednesday!

my coupon book worked great as is, but i felt it warranted some jazzing up. insert craftiness! i cut down fun, coordinating scrapbook paper for the front of each pocket & labeled the category with stickers. i also cut down double-sided scrapbook paper for the cover, then i added "to save a buck" to the front with more stickers. i glued it down with tombow permanent scrapbooking adhesive tape from the inside. it's not only functional, but now it's FUN!

i imagine i may need something bigger as my couponing expands [i'm thinking when we have kiddos & need things like diapers...], & i really like the following idea of a coupon BOX with room for a notepad & your wallet!

[don't remember where i found this pic...]

but for now, this is all i need, & it's perfect! when form meets function, life is good...