Monday, December 5, 2011

Here come Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus

I absolutely LOVE the Holidays (i.e. the time from Thanksgiving through Christmas). Living in South Florida, we don't get to partake in the lovely experiences of dashing through the snow or watching the leaves change from red to gold. But once in a while we do get to bundle up for the wayward cold snap that brings temperature down into the low 50s. Brrrrrrr!
So yeah, I am totally unabashedly jealous of anyone who gets to experience actual seasons, especially around this time of the year. But I still do my best to deck the halls, even on a tight budget. This year, we got a smaller Christmas tree for $35. But it's actually been the nicest tree we've ever had because it's perfectly symmetrical, and it was so much easier to decorate since I didn't have to get up on a chair to do the lights.

Simple centerpiece made from ornaments

Homemade felt stockings

$3 ceramic candle holder from Goodwill

Bowl of cranberries

$35 worth of Frasier Fir
There were a few projects that I didn't get around to doing this year, like a felt advent calendar, but that will have to wait until next year. I will try to repaint before the 24th comes around though. I've been working so much on redecorating this year that it would be nice if the house could be freshly painted as well.
So, how are your Christmas preparations going? Are you also on a tight budget and making do with what you have around the house?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Toy Purge!

During my daily Apartment Therapy coffee break I came across this post. It's a 7 Day Toy Cure. Count me in! We are overwhelmed with toys, and this will be a great opportunity to get rid of a good part of them. My oldest boy just started Kindergarten and he wont be around to hoard all of the toys that he NEVER uses but can't seem to part with when he sees the garbage bag.
This is what I got rid of today:

 Anyone else in?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A simpler Saturday morning

I've started reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. Written by a former Waldorf teacher, it naturally deals with establishing rhythms ( schedules) and cutting back on tv, toys, and basically anything that can "clutter" a childs mind and soul. I've read a lot of natural parenting books and I love the ideals behind it, but I get frustrated a lot because the reality of my life with kids is not watercolor painting and bread baking but goldfish crackers and Spongebob (on a good day). Of course, a lot of that is my own fault. Oftentimes, it's just easier to let the kids vegetate in front of the TV than to get up, turn it off, and deal with the whining, crying, and fighting that ensues.
But I have been feeling invigorated as of late, and with this new found energy I find myself wanting to break out of the rut and actually try out all the wonderful ideals of natural parenting for real. So, I have turned off Spongebob and we are baking some Swedish sweet buns. We had these a few weeks ago when we had a play date at a Swedish friend's house. The buns are so yummy and delicious, and the boys loved them. They are flavored with cardamom, and remind me so much of crisp December days since I always bake Stollen for Christmas, which also has cardamom.

3 dl milk
100 gram butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
1 dl granulated sugar
1 liter flour (10 dl)
50 gram fresh yeast = 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast

Scald the milk and mix with the melted butter and sugar. Add the yeast and let it proof.
Add the egg and mix.
Add the dry ingredients to the liquids. I usually mix the spices and salt with half of the flour called for in the recipe and then slowly add the rest of the flour until I get the right consistency. If you add the entire flour at once you may end up with too much flour and a dry bread. 
Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
Cover and let rise.
Punch down and divide dough into small buns. Let rise again.
Brush the top of the buns with egg and bake in preheated oven at 225 C until the buns are golden brown.

P.S. While you're checking out the Simplicity Parenting link, make sure to sign up for their free Simplicity Starter Kit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If Money Were No Object 8/17

This is going to be the first of a new installment showcasing the wonderful things I'd be buying if I had the money (and weren't so budget conscious). Decorating a home when you are dirt cheap is no easy feat, but maybe this will serve as a sorts of Windows shopping experience for me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Be Still My Beating Heart!

It was a lazy, hot, and humid Saturday morning. I had nothing to do, and my mom was beyond stressed. I knew she had a penchant for garage sales, so I showed up bright and early at her doorstep to take her "shopping". We went to about 4 houses before the heat and humidity started getting to all of us (my two kids came along). But we stopped at the last garage sale on our list. And thank heavens we did!
When I first saw her I approached her timidly. I knew that she wasn't going to be within my reach. But then I saw the price in bright yellow and orange neon stickers. Thirty Five. I about choked on my own spit. Alrighty then, Dalila, calm down, I said to myself. There's no reason to give away what a freaking steal this is at that price. Take it easy.
"Oh, would you take $30?" I nonchalantly asked. I went from a timid to rabid in about 2 seconds flat.
"Sure" said one of the ladies taking care of the sale. Hmmm. I was silent. "You can take it for $25."
Wowzers. Time to call the man of the house. Because if I bought this baby, the poor guy was going to have to lug this up a very very tall flight of stairs.
So I called, and he wasn't all that happy to hear about my find. He still remembered when nearly threw out his back with our dining room table, a flea market find. But he didn't flat out say no. "Do what you want."
HA! Ok, you said it!
So I went back and my mom, being the haggler that she is, asked if they would take $20. Sure! No problem.
So here she is folks, my wonderful heart stopping totally unexpected yard sale find. She's a 1960s era Danish Modern teak credenza made by Falster in Denmark.

It's basically in pretty good condition, save for two issues. Two drawers have nails through the handles.


And the tambour door has about six wooden panels that are cracked at the top. I will probably have to replace those. I have no idea how to do that, but with such a beautiful piece, I must find a way.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Budget House Makeover

After living at our present house for about 5 years, I feel it's time to finally put some time and effort into making this MY home. I've been using a lot hand me down and borrowed pieces that, while functional, don't reflect my taste. So I am doing a slow makeover. Slow because with two children, one doesn't have a lot of free time and because there isn't a lot of money to buy everything I want at once.
I've gotten a few things done, but today I'm going to focus on the dining room. The star here is a wonderful rustic dining table I scored at a local flea market for $50 about a year and a half ago. It came sans chairs, so I had been using a hodge podge of curbside finds of my mother's.
The chairs weren't ugly, but they were definitely not the look I was going for. I had seen a lot of pictures of rustic wooden tables paired with very modern chairs, and that's the direction I wanted to take. I really liked the Tulip chair, but it was way out of my league, moneywise, especially since I wanted 6 chairs. So I ended up getting the Snille chair from IKEA, at $22 a pop.
Here are the before and after pics:


After 1
After 2

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moneymaker next week at Walgreens on Fish Oil!

Starting 6/5 at Walgreens, Omega Smart Super Critical Fish Oil will be on sale for $10, and you will earn a $10 RR. Make it an even better deal by going here and getting your $2 coupon. Happy Saving!