Wednesday, March 31, 2010

@Home Today

I took a vacation day today! Its wonderful to stay at home and rest work on the house. Seriously though, I do enjoy working on things here and its even more fun with Marcie back from MI. We put one coat of paint on the wainscoting upstairs and are about to put a second coat. Then, the plan is to rent from Food Lion those water vacs and really clean the carpets. I hear they work really well and are a lot cheaper then paying some one to clean them for you. I had that done one time and it was $200 after the discounts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Town of Brantley

Did you know that the town of Brantley is the "Front Porch Capital of the South?"

Also, click HERE if you want a bird's eye view of Brantley.

Back at our house

Finally, in the driveway, we're up to 21.5 mpg since my last fill. What a difference between city driving. That is one good reason to install round-abouts and fix the timing on stop lights.

Second stop back from Andy's

And it goes up to 21.4 this time.

Frist stop on the way back from Andy's

It went up to 21.3 miles per a gallon since my last fill.

Before driving to Andy's house

You're looking at 20.8 average MPG since last fill.

Harris Teeter Triples

So we went to Harris Teeter the other night. It ended up being just an OK trip. The items to my left rang up for $44 after VIC and coupon savings. I think it was something like $108 off so that is fun to see but I don't know that I saved that much compared to shopping at Wal-Mart. I didn't have to deal with the line so even if I pay more, it is still worth it to avoid Wallyworld.

A lot of the price here was from the meat. We've got a lot of meat stocked up so I could probably have not bought any however it was a decent deal. For nine large boneless, skinless chicken breasts and three bags of chicken strips, it was under $20. Not bad considering how many meals we can make out of it.

I lost

So Baylor couldn't pull it out last night so I didn't win. Oh well. You win some you lose some.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Go Baylor!!!

I'm currently in 4th place in Ateb's brackets. If Baylor beats Duke, I'll be in 2nd. If Baylor goes to the final game, I'll win it all. To answer your question, no, I don't have Baylor going that far. Just to the final four. I have a Kansas versus West Virginia in the final game but one guy has West Virgina going all the way. We can't have that. Everyone close to me has Duke winning this next game so pretty much its all up to this one game for me. Lets hope the zone is as tough as they say it is. I don't have a lot of hope though. Duke has had a lot of time to plan for this one game. Everyone knows the zone is the toughest part about Baylor and they are talking about it being another upset. That's enough to get those kids in Durham to play like I know they can. For that reason, I don't think I'll win... but a guy can hope.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Malicious SQL Plate

I don't know if it would work but how awesome would it be if this caused the database to drop. Hopefully they would use a parameter instead of a string in the sql command to avoid such a problem. Then again, its a government run program so you never know.

Match update

We had another game last night. It was a 9:45 game so we didn't have any subs. People always skip late games which is why I love them. I could have used a sub and I was walking towards the end more then I should but it was super fun. The game was played fair and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

On a side note, I got our team's two goals to bring us a tie. We had other unlucky opportunities and Mark especially had some really nice shots on goal. That was until he got clocked in the eye. He had to step out of the game because his brow was bleeding. He was saying he was thinking about stopping by and getting stitches but I don't know if he did that or not. I need to call him later and see how he's doing.

My play was better this game. I didn't have any Pele moments but my shot is getting harder again. Now that I can finally kick it strait, I need to work on my aim. I had two shots from outside the 18 that hit the upper crossbar. The funny thing is, the goals I made were both lefties. Although there isn't as much power power, for whatever reason most of my left footed shots tend to be more accurate then my right. Well, that concludes this week's match report.

Peach tree also growing

It looks like our peach tree is also budding. This is so exciting to see it growing!!! I would love to plant apply trees all the way down the side of our house. Also, Our grass is really growing as well. Hopefully pretty soon that will be thick.

Monday, March 22, 2010

First cut

We cut the grass for the first time ever. Most of our grass is still dormant but the Bermuda grass is really shooting up. I cut it for the first time with my new $25 lawnmower. It worked pretty well however because it doesn't have the fan sucking up the grass as it cuts, some of the longer blades that aren't going strait up were missed. As the Bermuda thickens, this won't be as much of a problem.

Hopefully doing this will keep the HOA from whacking the grass on my hill to the dirt. Not even weeds can recover from that leaving erosion at its worst.

Chainmail

While Marcie and I were at Glenwood South, we saw this hippie thrift store. One of the things they had was this super cool chain mail you could buy. It was a bit on the expensive side but it looked awesome. If anyone wanted to be Red Sonja for Halloween this year, there's your costume. Then again, you really couldn't go out in public with it on as its going more for looking secksee then protective.

Cherry Tree

My cherry tree is starting to bud! This is so exciting. Hopefully all the rain this week will make 'em a big strong tree. It might have been a mistake but I pulled a few of the lower buds off so hopefully only the upper ones will get the growth hormones.

Friday, March 19, 2010

H&M opens - Yawn

Why in the world would anyone stand in line for hours to shop at H&M? I don't understand it. Its not like you can't buy online. The store will be there next week. They are not going to run out of clothes. I just don't get it. In case you haven't heard, H&M opened today and there was quite a few people waiting in line to be one of the first to give H&M their hard earned money.

Can't wait to sleep in Saturday

This has been one rough week. Aside from having to wake up an hour earlier this week, I've had three very late nights and one super early morning. Combine that with starting soccer again and I am a walking zombie. I really can't wait to sleep in Saturday. I feel I could sleep a week.

Harris Teeter Savings

Another good day at Harris Teeter. What would of been a $81.91 bill ended up being $24.38. That was around $35 of vic and e-vic savings combined with around $20 worth of coupons. That's around a 70% savings on a normal grocery bill. We picked up some fresh fruit, a few cans of soup, some pizza bites, a ton of yogurt, and several other items.

Its much easier to save big when you shop every week. Almost all we bought was on sale because we were stocked up already. We could have done a little better but there are some items you just need to buy. Next week should be about the same. Small grocery list and big savings assuming they have decent sales again. Remember, most of your savings always comes from the grocery store and not your coupons. Coupons just help to increase your savings that much more.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grass to cut

It looks like its almost time to cut the grass. Did I tell anyone I bought one of those reel lawnmowers for $25? That's $104 off regular price. Boy am I glad I waited.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

My grandparents grow sweet potatoes or at least know some one who does. In any case, we tend to have more then we know what to do with. My mom gave me about 50 a while back and they've been sitting in a cooler in my back yard to stay dark and cool so they don't sprout.

Last night, I had the urge for sweet potato gnocchi and so we decided to make it. Gnocchi is actually really easy to make. Its basically take any kind of mashed potatoes that you want and mix in egg and flour. Portions are typically one cup of potatoes, one egg, and one cup of flour (plus 1 tsp salt & and a pinch of pepper -> pinch = 1/8th tsp). We ended up with three cups so we mixed in three eggs and then kept adding flour till it had the consistency of dough. Being potato of the sweet variety, I also added some cinnamon and brown sugar since I like that sort of thing. You can see our results to the left.

Once that was done, you roll the dough in balls and drop it in boiling water till it floats on its own. The results are home made gnocchi. I set them out on wax paper to cool off and dry and then we mixed it with our super meaty sauce that you can see in the top left of the picture on the right.

Since this was an experiment, you may be wondering how it tasted. It was actually really good. We even have enough left over to bring to Thomas & Kathy so they can have some more rest time (we've yet to deliver but hope to soon). On that note, if you have time to make a meal a little larger then you would normally. And if that meal freezes well, I'm sure they would appreciate it. Recovering from a baby takes time plus waking up every two hours really drains your energy. I know I don't like cooking when I'm tired.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Boots

My Copas had seen better days. The right shoe had a busted shoe lace and the left had a blow on the toe. They were still usable but somehow in the many trips to Goodwill, one of them ended up in the boxes. You can't really do that much with one shoe so I had to go buy some more.

I went to the soccer trading post near Triangle mall to see what they had. There was a decent selection and obviously they had the Copa Mundial like I have been wearing since before high school. Great shoes but they are still expensive. I was looking around at some of their other options and I found the shoes to my left. A lot of shoes are moving away from the old school stud bottoms and going to the better gripping tracion (spelling?) bottoms. These shoes were like that. They were way too expensive but at a 40% discount they were the same price as the Copas. The guy says they are just as soft and actually have better grip on the inside for some killer spin. He said they would hold up pretty well based on what others have said. That's important since I have a wider foot (more Adidas then Nike). In the past, all my Nikes have blown out because they were so narrow.

I bought them and have worn them twice so far. The first game, I did terrible. I can't blame the shoes however. I haven't played in over a year so you could say "rusty." Game two wasn't much better. It was a rainy day so the ball was super slippery. Luckily, I played sweeper for a while and was able to take some of the goal kicks. That gave me practice kicking strait while kicking hard. Turns out, the inside grip gave way too much spin and was causing a major slice. I started kicking with the "laces" and that seemed to fix the issue.

I'm on a new team so I don't want to push what I want too much but I was able to play striker for a little while. It was so much fun to get up and dribble and take a few shots. I felt like I was back in college while dribbling past the defenders. Both shots were stopped by the keeper but it was a rush none the less. I can't wait till next weeks game!

Kroger Shopping

Last night Marcie and I went to Kroger for a few items. As you probably know if you keep up with this blog, Marcie and I are doing some yardwork. Well, we bought around $32 worth of groceries and after coupons and kroger rewards, that was dropped down to $17. That wasn't too bad. A 50% savings is always something to be happy about but what was so awesome about this trip was we ended up paying an extra $15 (full price of $3 each for 5 flowers). That killed our percentage off but we bought five 4 foot tall flowering bushes (bulb) that we can plant behind the mailbox. That's exciting because even though we didn't have but one $1 coupon for them, buying them as bulbs made them 5 times cheaper then as a bush. We were just at Lowes looking at small bush pricing and found the cheapest you can get is $15 and it only goes up from there. These can be planted in March so we're pretty much ready to go. It will take a couple of months for everything to come up but I have a feeling that once it does, its going to look really nice. If not, it will have to look better then it did. I'll try and post pictures later if I can.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spare bed inspiration

Here was our inspiration for the spare room. We like the green walls because they're neutral but stand out. It would make a great nursery if we're here a few years from now or just a nice office/spare room. In the picture we found however, the room looks so boring. There are no pictures on the walls or anything. Our thought was to make the paint part of the decorations like we did with our chalkboard downstairs. Enter tree mural. You can see to the right some one has painted a tree on the wall. Its fairly easy to do this. All you need is a projection screen and a picture to project. You trace the lines with pencil and then its just a matter of coloring between the lines. The first picture actually looks almost identical to our spare room therefore you can probably get a good picture of what the mural would look like in the room painted above the bed. The only difference really is that we'll have a couch instead of bed (we have a blow up mattress that converts the couch to a bed) and a night stand. The picture will also be slightly different as well. We'll probably do a solo tree slightly to the right or left on the wall and then have three birds flying away from the tree. Depending on how much time we have, we found a great etsy artist that sells stickers for such a project. Their website can be found HERE. Looking at their stickers, you can get several good ideas from them. I like the tree with the moon and birds but there are plenty of options to consider. If we can find room, we might try to incorporate the owl (second picture) as well. They're kind of cool looking we think. We just have to be careful not to do too much. Its easy to make a room too busy when we go crazy on our ideas.

Chalkboard border

Our chalkboard border is finally up. We will still need to putty the holes and then do another coat of paint but its good to be done with it. The picture you see isn't that clear but I like that you can see the borders in contrast with the rest of the room. Notice above the plate on the wall. That is a plate we picked up at Chitzen Itza on our honeymoon.

Let me post another picture of the chalkboard. This month's theme is under the sea. You can tell which ones are mine and which ones are Marcie's animals. Hers look a lot better but my sharks are eating her octopus so really in the end, I win. Right? Ok, the sad attempt at a whale, the two sharks, and the blowfish are mine. The eel, octopus, seahorse, and coral are hers.

Yardwork continuted

The overgrown vines are gone and the ground is clear. I pulled out my back in the process but I was able to yank the vine right out of the dirt. Next, we planted the cherry tree in the front yard. It's kind of pathetic looking now as is but soon enough it'll grow into a beautiful fruit producing tree. That is as long as I haven't killed the tree already which is a good possibility. We let it sit in the box way too long at the house.

We are not done yet though. Next we've got the peach tree. That was much easier since there wasn't a tree trunk in the way. I'm super excited about everything but there is a good chance it won't make it either. Its a little early to be planting but and we also didn't plant right away. We'll probably be long gone before we can eat any of the Saturn peaches from the tree so some one will have a nice surprise when they buy the house. Then again, we may stay here for the next four years and get to eat them ourselves.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yardwork

We started out with two bushes so over grown, they looked like one. It was awful. Being spring time and we're into renovating, we decided the bushes (its actually a vine) had to go. Marcie one day went at them till nothing was left. To the left, you can see the big difference between the two. Since the other side wasn't ours, we waited till the lady living there said she didn't care if we got rid of it. Between the mail boxes on the ground, you can also see a stump that has been there for around 2 years. A strong wind took half the tree away so the rest had to come as it just looked terrible. Since then, we've had that stump there slowly rotting away.

Well, that will not do. I bought some fruit trees for the front yard so I needed the ground soft so I could plant them. To the right, you can see we had a guy come and grind that up. It was only $50 which reminds me that we need to pay the guy. Next, time to plant the trees.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Home Improvements - Quarter Round

We're done with our quarter round trim down stairs. It still needs to be painted but its up. yahoo!!! To the left you can see the kitchen in progress. There wasn't much to do there since it was long easy cuts. On the right, the half bathroom. We ran out of quarter round at the very end so I had to use a spare for the last leg. That is shown in the picture. The spare we had was a little long so a little bit was lopped off the end. With a little mud and paint, hopefully you won't be able to tell there is a seam at all.. A very special thanks goes out to my dad for the help. Because of him, it was completed really quickly.

Home Improvements On Spare Bedroom

We're starting our spare room. We've got this picture in our head of a room with easy green walls and white wainscoting. On the back wall, we see a mural of a tree and maybe some birds. Until we finish however, to the left is what we actually see. We've actually finished painting the walls now and are in the middle of the wainscoting.

Wainscoting is super easy to do if you have the right tools. Luckily, we do. A table saw is really nice for corners. I can't imagine not having it. For around the windows, you'll want a jigsaw. For faster strait cuts, a miter saw fits the bill perfect. Finally, for putting up the planks, the air gun really speeds things up.

You can see on the right here that we finished the paint and are now in the process of putting up the paneling. Actually, we've only got about 6 more boards to go before we're done. That is one board cut in half long ways, about 3 full boards, and two boards with 45 degree angles so they are flush on the corner.

Lord willing we'll finish that today, we can start on the chair railing Saturday. Then again, the weather will be nice so we may be looking at lawn work.

Details

Do you notice anything wrong with this picture? hehe...

Progess

In case you were wondering, this is what progress looks like in the Blanchard house. Luckily, three more cuts with the table saw and I should be done with wainscoting. The miter saw will be used for the chair rail and then lots of mud and paint. It'll feel really nice when the house is finished... for now.

NCDL

I had to renew my drivers license the other day. I figured being the middle of the week on the middle of the day, it might not take that long to do. Boy was I wrong. Evidently the N Raleigh DL office is short staffed and they get a lot of traffic. What you can't see by the picture is that the room goes back to the right a ways and all the seats were full of people waiting. What a pain in the neck. Lets hope government run health care doesn't pass so we don't have to put up with this every time we go to the doctor.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coupon Class

For those of you who have been interested in Ashely and my coupon savings. If you've felt like you wanted to get in on the coupon craze, Sue Stockton is running another class. If you are a N&O subscriber, you can use THIS LINK. Otherwise, let me know and I should be able to get you a ticket.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pink Floyd BOGO

The Pink Floyd concert is tonight and tickets are BOGO. Isn't that awesome! I've always wanted to see one of their shows even if it is a cover band. Marcie and I will be going tonight for $40 total.