Thursday, February 25, 2010

Super Mario Bros

Can you do this?

Homemade Gnocchi

Marcie and I made gnocchi last night from scratch. Actually, we used instant potatoes so it wasn't fully from scratch but the taste was pretty good. She cooked the chicken that we got for almost free at Harris Teeter with asparagus and mushrooms then added alfredo sauce. Aside from the alfredo, it was a pretty healthy meal and was really delicious on top of the gnocchi. I should have taken a picture of it since it looked pretty cool.

The gnocchi started out just being clumps but then I started making them into smooth balls. Then I got a little creative and made them into hearts and other shapes. You'll have to ask Marcie about that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CVS EB

Did pretty good last night at CVS. I bought four 12 packs of Dr Pepper and the ear rinse that was free after extra bucks. While I was in there, I went to the coupon scanner and got a $5 off a $15 order coupon.

At checkout, my total would have been $32 and some change but I had my coupons. First I used the $5 off your bill since the total has to be over $15 to use it. Next I had $12 extra bucks from last week that took off a good portion of my bill. I also had a $1 off Dr Pepper coupon for a total of $18 worth of free money. Then combine that with the Dr Pepper being on sale brought the total down to $4.23. That's about an 80% discount.

I don't plan on drinking all of those sodas. I plan on selling them for $.50 each which actually makes the total into the negative. Like all purchases at CVS, I buy things because they give you extra bucks back. This time, I got the $8 back for the ear rinse (making it free) and $3 for the Dr Pepper. That's $11 Extra Bucks that I can spend on my next purchase. Since I started out with $12 extra bucks, I feel good about this purchase. I'm almost in the same place I was before and I got all that stuff for under five bucks.

Oh! I also filled out a coupon that will email me a $4 coupon off my next purchase if you provide them your email address.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eggplant and other Super Doubles

Eggplant was on sale at Harris Teeter the other day or was at least a reasonable price. We bought one (a very large one) and first made eggplant burgers. That was actually really good and we put it on our free Kings Hawaiian sweet rolls that we picked up from Harris Teeter also. Marcie spiced them up slightly and grilled them to perfection. It was delicious. I'm surprised at how good it was and how I really didn't miss the meat.

On our second dish, we had some Ragu sauce we needed to use up. Marcie had the idea to make eggplant Parmesan. Luckily we had 3 eggs, a little bit of cheese, some breadcrumbs, and the sauce needed for the dish. We dipped the eggplant in the egg and then into the breadcrumbs (which we added lots of spices too for more flavor). Those were baked for 5 minutes on either side and placed on a bed of sauce. That can be seen in the upper left here. Add some cheese then start over with another layer of sauce, eggplant, then cheese for the final product. To the right, you'll see we didn't have any provolone or parmesan so we just added swiss and cheddar. Although parmesan would be better, this turned out pretty good. We were satisfied with our dish and since it made quite a bit, we'll have leftovers for the next two days as well.

I love eating healthy home cooked meals. Have I said that before? I feel so much better when I'm eating right and have so much more energy. I'm going to need it with soccer starting up next week so I'm going to try my best to keep it up. It seems as long as the kitchen is stocked, good fresh food will keep on coming. Staying stocked lately hasn't been that hard since as long as I shop every week for the for weeks at the new Harris Teeter, they will give me $10 off my bill. Combine that with the Super Doubles and we're racking up some savings. The only thing now is we've stocked almost everything and we're running out of things we need. The usual things like milk and produce are always needed but there is only two of us. We can only eat so much.

I can't complain though. Aside from last week, we haven't eaten out at all and are only spending $40 a week for both of us. When you do the math, that's $20 per a person divided by seven days. That's less then $3 a day for food and we're eating good healthy meals. Now some weeks we spend more then that. Last week we spent around $70 because of Super Doubles and we just needed produce. Even $70 a week isn't that bad though. That would only be $35 per a person which is only $5 a day. That's equivalent to a $1 breakfast, $1.75 lunch, and a $2.25 dinner every day. I can live with that.

PS, you can see our last grocery bill. Its funny when you look at your bill and are disappointed with it only being half off. Only getting $60.07 off leaving a total of $54.70 is terrible for Super Doubles but we at least got fresh quality foods for a great price. I'd rather spend the money on good food then sodas and other things that are going to harm me.

Ghirardelli Chocolate for Free

What's better then good chocolate? Chocolate for Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Thanks to a $1.00 off coupon that doubled, the two pieces of the bar of chocolate you can see melting to the left was practically free. That's 140 calories in two squares of pure chocolate for my beautiful wife. I don't like chocolate so this was actually her bowl. I hope you loved it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trees!

I just purchased a cherry tree and a peach tree for our yard. I'll have to post pictures when they finally come in but the plan is to put the cherry tree in the front and the peach tree in the back. In two years or so, the tree should start producing fruit but its still fun to have in the meantime.

If you were ever thinking about buying trees, check on line before you spend a couple hundred dollars on something that could be bought for around $30. For both trees and two lbs of mulch, I only paid $70. That wasn't for the normal peach and cherry tree. I ordered the dark sweet cherry from Canada and the Saturn peach that in my opinion tastes much better then the normal one you see in the grocery store.

Wonderful Weather

This is perfect weather for me. If it could be 60 degrees year round I would be perfectly happy. The best thing about this weather however is watching my miles per a gallon climb in my car. The past two weeks, no matter how much I attempt to feather the gas, my mileage was still around 18 mpg. That's down right painful. I have since stopped using the heater in this wonderful weather and today my mpg has finally climbed over 20. After a while, it'll make it up to around 23.5 only to drop to 22 once I start using A/C.

On another note, the electricity bill will be going down soon. Having bills over $100 is never fun and now that I want to make my wife comfortable, the number of those bills are increasing since my thermostat is no longer at 68. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Green Lantern Fan Made Trailer

Coupons Tendered

Just for kicks, I figured I would show the coupon portion of the receipt. Its not bad is it? Look at all those Multiplied Coupons. That's free money right there. And the best thing is that its tax free.

By the way, I found a $1.00 off your grocery bill of $5 or more tag on a wine bottle that I used (no wine purchase necessary). Lol, because it doubled, they gave me $2.00 off my bill for nothing.

Super Doubles Receipt

So last night we went to Harris Teeter again. You have to get there pretty early to get the really good deals. Several of the things we wanted were already gone but we still did pretty good. Also, we picked up some things that we just needed and were not really on sale. That's ok though. I'm still happy with the result.

So what did we get for all our clipping? Well, what would have been a bill of over $100 ended up being $28.94. That is a $75 savings as you can see from the receipt on the left. On the right, you can see what we purchased. Again, we could have done better had we not picked up a few of those things or had we gotten there yesterday when the super double started but I can't complain about getting a weeks worth of food for two for $30.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Had Bruce Wayne had a normal childhood

First Game of Season

This just in: Our first game of the season will be March 4th! I can't wait!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just married!!! - 6 months ago

We finally cut out pictures for our "just married" frame. We're so excited.

Half Bath - Shelves hung

Don't let this pictures fool you, that room is big bird yellow. While its really not that bad, yellow is just one of those colors that jumps out at you no matter how many times you look at it. I really think this bathroom defines us however. Its bold and has our unique style written all over it. Also, the shelves I hung hold our Mayan mask, Mayan panther, Guatemalan picture, and Johnston County cotton. The cotton we picked on they way home from Four Oaks. We need around six more heads however. We only had 3 and that just isn't enough to fill those bottles.

Thanks Ashely

While we pretty much broke even on our savings here, that isn't what makes me happy about this receipt. We saved $21.32 off a $44 order making the total $22.39 but what I love so much about this order was that it was free. Ashely got us tickets to the N&O coupon 101 class by Sue Stockton and we won a $50 gift card to Lowes Foods. Since we only buy maybe $5-$10 at a time, that card is lasting forever. To the left is our biggest purchase there ever but we still had money left on that card from way back then. The only think I love more then a great discount on things you need is to get it free! Thank you Ashely & thank you Sue.

Kroger rewards pay off

Ok, here you can see our great savings. While our bill was $5.18, our savings were $28.91. Majority of that came from our Kroger rewards even with out that, we would still have had a some great savings. Isn't this so much fun? I love saving money.

Snow Downtown

For Valentines day, Marcie and I went down town to look at some of the local art galleries. It ended up being a beautiful day as the roads were clear but the grass had fresh snow everywhere. As you can see to the left, Moore Square downtown was just beautiful. It was just enough of a dusting to make everything look clean. I love this part of down town as most do and it makes a great place to meet up. You've got the IMAX theater across the street, City Market Square on the other side, and Fayetteville Street Mall close to boot. Perhaps the most known thing in the area is the New Years Acorn seen to the right. First night Raleigh hoists that acorn up on a some construction equipment and counts down with a high school score board. They may be more tech savvy this year but in any case, it is pretty fun.

After our short walk around Moore Square, we headed over to Artspace in City Market to look at the local artist work. They had some really cool art there but perhaps our favorite was the stamped art (I don't know the correct name) where different colors were etched out of metal with acid. There was this squid in some plant-life that looked amazing. It would have matched our bathroom perfect and we would have bought it had it not been so expensive. There were several other cool artist work there but I didn't take pictures of that. Raleigh really is getting some character. From the cobble stones streets to First Friday which goes through out the year. Albeit small, its becoming more of a metropolitan each and every year.

Tax refund

Marcie and I are getting a large sum of money back this year. A large sum. Its actually pretty painful to watch that money come in since after all, that was my money to begin with. I effectively gave the Federal government a interest free loan for a year to do with what they want. At the very least, I could have put that money in a money market and gotten interest from it. I'm going to have to switch up my tax info with HR to add myself as a dependent. Claiming zero is just too much.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Harris Teeter

Being somewhat close to the new Harris Teeter, I got a mailing for coupons to the store. Each week I get $10 off my bill assuming I spend $40 there. That's not so easy to do since we shop around a lot but we'll make it work. Also, as it turns out, they have some pretty decent deals this week. Marcie and I plan on heading out there this afternoon to rack up on the savings.

On a side note, my mom gave me some pretty good coupons so I'll be able to save a dollar on milk and other items thanks to her.

Kroger also sent me their latest statement. In the past, we always got $22 with out fail. Now that we're shopping around, we still get a $19 check but that was thanks to my brother and sister using my shopping card. Three to four times a year, they send these packets out with coupons for items I buy a lot and as you can see to the right, my rewards certificate. I love the sound of saving money.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender

This is looking better and better all the time. I just wish they would have broken it up into three books (3 movies) like they did in the Anime. There is so much there they could work with and quite the moneymaker with the following Avatar has.

Busing Kids

Public education like most Government run programs (please no gov health care) is actually harming our kids when it comes to busing. Lets look at the facts.
  • Kids who could walk to school are now riding on a bus for two hours both ways
  • Kids who could do after school programs now have no way to get to and from those programs
  • Kids who need more sleep then adults are having to get up two hours earlier to get on the bus
Picture a kindegardner who is going to school for the first time. They have never used scissors before or glue. They may or may not even know how to write their name. They're scared and just want to be done with this school thing.

These kids get on a bus for two hours by themselves while it is still dark. They have two hours each day to stress out before they arrive. Since they're so far away, their parents can't be there to help them transition so they do it on their own.

Now they sit for 7 hours knowing their parents are what seems like worlds away. Somehow they make it through the day hearing about all these cool after school programs. They take their 2 hour bus ride home excited about the things they can get involved with.

At home, their parents have to tell them they can't because school is too far away for them to pick them up and they'll have to go strait home from school every day. Forget about sports, clubs, and friends. They are just too far.

On top of that, can you imagine what a bus that gets 4 miles per a gallon does to the State's budget and ozone driving four hours every day?

Lets let kids go to schools near them. That is the best option if you have the kids in mind. Just give more money to schools that have lower income students to keep the education equal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Table Setting - February

Its a new month and that means a new table setting. Being the month of love, we decided to with a candy theme. The napkins have conversation hearts on them and you can see the kissing frogs salt and pepper shaker. Their lips are magnetically attracted to each other. CVS had M&Ms with extra bucks back and a $1.00 off coupon so that was an easy decoration. The flowers are from the plant my brother gave me. On the very end, you can see the heart shaped bowl I got for free from Wilton Anette for registering for their products at Bed Bath and Beyond. Even though we didn't get any of their products (and that's what we were hoping) they still sent us the plate/bowl... whatever it is. Marcie is so creative. The M&M holders are actually part of our veggie platter tray. As she was taught in Apples of Gold, don't buy table settings but use what you have around the house. That cuts back on storage and allows you to get creative.

Scavenger Hunt

Marcie and I had this great idea for an outing with our friends. As soon as it gets warmer, we want to have everyone downtown Raleigh for a pot luck picnic at the acorn. After the picnic, we would break up into teams and start a scavenger hunt. Each team would be given a sheet of paper with every letter of the alphabet on there and a two hour time limit. The team who has the most letters at the end of two hours would win. Ties would be broken with the person who came back the fastest. The quality of the shot should also matter so there would also be a prize for that.

The great thing about this however is that we could compile all the letters onto a CD actually use them afterwards. As you can see on the left, we turned them into wall art spelling our last name. We found the frame at Walmart for very cheap and put the nine pics in there to make a pretty cool image. Wouldn't that be a great gift for some one getting married or some one who just likes unique art? Think about it. City Market Square, Moores Square, Fayetteville Street Mall... all great places to take pictures.

What to bring:
  • blanket
  • covered dish
  • camera
  • change for the parking deck
  • an eye for photography
  • blank cd if you want a copy
After the scavenger hunt, we could go see an IMAX movie or head home. What ever everyone wants. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Be looking for the evite in about a month.

Bathroom Before & After - Vent Fan




We added a light to our vent fan. Not only does it look better IMO but it also allows you to use less lighting while you shower.

Harris Teeter Savings

more savings from Harris Teeter. Almost broke even this time and that was even after buying flowers from Grandma at full price.

Chalk Board - Feb

Can you tell which one in mine and which one is Marcie's? Hopefully soon we'll have a border on the wall for it. That will be the next home improvement project.

V-day

Don't take another little piece of my heart now baby. Seriously, don't. I want to eat that later. My mom made me her annual v-day heart and it is delicious.

Our Snow Creatures

We made our snow creature up in MI. In case you can't tell, this is snow Nessie.

Bowl Trick

It worked... it would have been really funny had I left her like that but considering she would probably kill me in my sleep, I helped her out after a few snickers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Half Bath - Towel Rack

Wall two still needs some work. I've installed the towel rack with the wrought iron look but at some point I need to switch out the outlets for a black version of them. Also, we need to find a light switch cover to match the outlet. That's kind of a minor detail though.

Half Bath - Light installed

As you can see, I've we finished getting the light installed. While the color isn't what we were originally expecting, it looks ok. With the mirror and fixtures covering a lot of the wall, the bright orange/yellow color might have worked.

What you can't see is that it is using the new CFL light bulbs that look exactly like a frosted incandescent. Plus, the new CFLs now feature an instant on unlike older models that take 2-3 seconds to flicker on. The middle bulb is the older style. Not only is it longer but it flickers while coming on. The outer two use 1 watt less electricity, are normal bulb size, and come on instantly with no flicker.

Wall 1 done:
Hang mirror & attach light fixture

Bowl Magic Trick


Bowl Of Water Prank - Watch more Funny Videos

Snow Creatures

Click on the picture to see some one's creative take on Frosty.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

High Yellow Note

Holy brightness batman. The first color was a bit much. We were looking for a yellow and we got an orange. It actually looked really awesome with our fixtures however we're not Hispanic so I don't know that we could pull it off.

I bought a new can with a more yellow tone. Its still bold but not as loud as the last one was. Lol, when I walked into the house, I could see the glow of the bathroom radiating out. You can see from the picture that the old paint is a little brighter. We'll paint over it again tonight so that none of the old color comes through. Then I'll be able to put up the fixtures.

I'm super excited to have the bathroom back again. When you get home from work and you really need to pee, habit is to run to that bathroom. I don't like having to turn around and run upstairs after that. Plus I'm excited to hang the new light. Home improvement is so much fun. Too bad its so expensive. With all the lights, fixtures, and paint, we've spent a few hundred dollars already. Our tax refund better be good because that's where we're we're budgeting the money from.

Narcissus in bloom

They aren't all in bloom yet but most are. Give yourself ten points if you guessed the plant. This was the plant that sprang up after a boy with the same name withered away staring at his reflection. On another note, the flower has a strong ammonia smell. At first it smelled pretty good but then you start to pick up on the ammonia and the experience goes down hill from there. At least they're cool to look at. We're trying to figure out where we want to plant them. Maybe we'll start buying flowers and lining the side of our house with them.

Does anyone know if Narcissus come back each spring or are they one and done?

Raleigh Pillow Fight


National Pillow Fight Day
April 4th 2009

Just watch it and make plans to participate this year.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Half Bath - This just in

Wow that's bright. It could be the lighting but I'm starting to wonder about our choice. I can't wait to see how it all turns out to see if we need to pick another color. I'll see it in full when I head home.

Half Bath Before

Here is our half bath. As you can see, the walls are pretty bland. We want to really spruce things up. What you can't see is above the mirror is a really ugly light. Its basically a bar with bulbs sticking out. On the right side, I like the towel rack but its not too effective. Around the sink, the paper pulled off the drywall and is pretty bad. On the left, you can see inside the mag rack is the previous hole where towels were held. I'll have to pound those in and patch them up so my fresh coat of paint looks smooth. Also, I'm going to move the rack over to the left some so that its closer to the toilet. The color of the walls will obviously change. Inspired by the black fixtures we bought and Van Gogh's search for the "high yellow note" we will paint the walls a yellow color. You can actually see the toilet pretty good here so you can tell that there is nothing really to them. Marcie found a nice shelf we can hang and we've got some blue bottles we'll probably put cotton in and place on there. It will probably match a picture I bought back from Guatemala of blue mountains and a green field. For the trash can, we found a dark cherry wicker basket that will replace the brushed nickle miniature Simple Human looking trash can. That trash can will be moving upstairs to the spare bath since we don't have one there.

What you can't see is some of the behind the scenes work. The hole for the light was a little too big so I had to do some patching. I used some of the spare drywall from my other project and plastered that there. Since it won't need to be supporting at all, I kind of did a half way job. Its flat but lets hope you don't have some one hanging from the light. It'll rip it right out of the wall. Then again, who hangs from lights. I don't think we'll have that problem.

Eventually we'll replace the trim and 1/4 round but until then, this is our half bath todo list:
paint walls
replace light
replace towel rack
hang shelf
reposition tp/mag rack
possibly hang candle sconce that merely holds a tea light candle

Primary colors are muted gold-ish walls, wrought iron, and blue accents. I'll be sure to post pictures when all is finished. If I get really fancy, I may do a video as that will be easier to capture the whole bathroom.

Air Freshner

I wonder if I'll smell my HVAC with its new vanilla scent when I get home. I was in the house the whole day so there is a good chance the smell grew too slow for me to notice. We thought we would try this out before buying it for a party or something.

Pay no mind to to the dust bunnies on the vent door. They will be cleared when we finish cutting, pulling, sanding, and painting.

TV Cables

I suppose I should show you the original work done. Here you can see I started running wires. Power was not even a concern at this point. Had I known how easy it would be to go through the wall, I would have put it all on the back wall but I digress. I've got a handy little pull tool that collapses into a pen. That made things pretty easy to run.

Actually here you can see me trying to grab it. In case you're wondering, it didn't work. I had to call for backup. Marcie hooked the wire onto my pen and I pulled it down pretty easily. All in all, it went pretty smooth. Once all the wires were run through the holes, I just needed to connect and mount the box. Easy enough with the "old construction" type of boxes. Here you can see my finished product minus the power.

My Problem

Here's the problem I had. I needed to get power to behind the TV but to do that, the only way I could get it there is to tear down the drywall. Where you see the TV and the 3x hole, I've already run RGB RCA cables and two other RCA cables. I've also run two HDMI and a coax cable. Now you won't see any more cables hanging out (actually, my Wii cable will be showing) and everything will be clean. That is my hope at least. So, how did I solve the problem? I probably didn't do it the best way but at least it looks like it is going to work. I'm not done yet. I need to plaster a little more to make the wall flat and then paint again but a picture says a thousand words so let me show you the work in progress.



Here I cut the drywall and drilled through a live box. Smart, I know. It did get me good once. I screamed like a little girl.



Preparing the drywall patch. Left 1 inch of paper on either side.



Applied mud as you would a brick in a wall then plastered the paper to the wall. Let it dry overnight & now need to sand it. From there, I'll be able to see what I need to plaster again to make smooth. Then one final sanding and I'm ready to paint!

I can't wait! It is going to be so nice having everything wired for later. Nothing showing wires is one thing but the ease of leaving the TV wired every time I buy a new component will be awesome!

New Plant a few days after that

Flowers! We've successfully tricked the flower into thinking its spring. I think its ready for the moss to be added and for it to be part of our collection.