Category Archives: Cheap Thrills

It’s the most! Wonderful time! Of the year….


In general I tend to think Little Debbies are vile (no offense to my Little-Debbie-snarfing pals). However, they make two seasonal items to which I look forward every year. This is the first to show up. I’m too lazy to get up and check on their proper name. Shiny Happy Vaguely Pumpkin-Shaped and Sorta Creepy Patties or something.

Om nom nom.

The other item? It won’t show up until Christmastime.

Like Moon Pies, only not disgusting.

All this is is merely a way of saying how thrilled I am about the season. September through December is my absolute favorite time of year, for reasons far too many to enumerate. Suffice it to say they are not all snack food related, despite what my outward appearance may attest.


Frites, ahoy!


Belgian fries tossed with Parmesan and herbs de Provence. Multiple dipping sauces including jalapeño mayo, spicy ketchup and dill creme fraiche.

Life. It doesn’t suck.

It’s the little things


We stopped at Dollar General tonight for something I needed and I let the kids pick out a coloring book each (Eliza also got a board book). The kids chattered excitedly all the way home about which pages they were going to color and they are now coloring away happily, singing as they do (their last number was “Come and Get It” by Badfinger). The grand total for all this fun? $7.
Some day, folks, I will not only realize but continue to remember and embrace that less is sometimes more.
(Incidentally, the coloring book choices were as follows: Eliza – Sesame Street (“Elmo!!!!”), John-Zachary – Littlest Pet Shop, Madalyn – generic cats & dogs.)

Technology is cool.


So we got our Directv installed yesterday. We got two brand-new receivers (one Hi-Def) rather than using our old ones, which we’d had probably three years. As you may or may not know, Directv receivers plug into not only the satellite hookup but also your phone line, so that it can call once a day and download information. I was watching t.v. just now and the phone rang, and I jumped up to go check the caller i.d. It was no one I wanted to talk to so I sat back down and I noticed a weird message in the bottom corner of the t.v. screen. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was telling me who was calling! It said “Name unavailable” and then showed the phone number, which is exactly the same info the caller i.d. on the phone gave me. How awesome is that?? I don’t know if our old receiver had that capability because, at our last house, there was no phone jack in the living room so the receiver was never hooked up to a phone line continuously. Or maybe it’s a fairly recent addition. Whatever. It totally rocks.

This is going to actually come in very handy for me because of the Eliza factor. Before she was mobile I would just keep the cordless phone on the couch with me for easy access. Well, now I can’t do that because she is on that thing like a rat on a Cheeto. She is absolutely obsessed and has accidentally placed calls before. So, for my sanity, I keep the phone on its charger, up where she can’t reach it. Unfortunately that means it’s also out of my immediate reach and when it rings I have to put down what I’m doing and dash to the phone to check who’s calling. Now when I’m sitting here watching t.v. and the phone rings I’ll know if I need to bother getting up and running to get the phone or not.

Doesn’t take much to make me happy, folks.

Snack day


Behold my awesomeness:
This was for Madalyn’s class. It was her turn to bring snacks today. JZ is usually the one who gets the fancy stuff for snack because it’s not a problem for me to bring the snacks to the class when it’s time to eat them. Therefore I often make things that need to be put together and then eaten immediately, which I then deliver to the class at snack time. I’m not really able to just drop in to Madalyn’s class and hang around so she usually gets the prepackaged snacks that don’t need any special care. I saw this idea on the Jet-Puffed display at the store, though, and had to give it a whirl. Usually when I make things like this I’m disappointed with how it turns out, since it never looks anywhere near as nice as the picture. These, however, didn’t end up half bad. There was some labor involved, being that I had to wash and de-leaf the strawberries but it was all pretty straightforward. The chocolate was even easy because I bought the Baker’s tub that you just pop in the microwave to melt. I made enough for everyone in class to have two with strawberries and then I also made a third skewer that had two marshmallows (not pictured).
It was quite a bit of work for something as simple as marshmallows and strawberries on sticks, but the “wow” factor is considerable. The arrangement got lots of attention when I carried it into the school, and when Madalyn’s teacher carried it to the refrigerator in the teachers’ lounge. I’m not sure I’d go to all the trouble again for a school snack but certainly for a party or other event, just because it looks so festive (and impressive).
Editing later to add: I forgot to say that is not Easter grass on top of the sugar in the bowl. It’s coconut flakes dyed with food coloring. Also, this would make a great treat for a Valentine’s party. You could do white chocolate and pink/red/white sprinkles, and make the coconut pink.

I may pull a muscle but I have to pat myself on the back


My regular readers will know that I usually have more bad to say about myself than good but today I’m feeling quite studly so I’m going to give myself props. I got a lot accomplished this morning, and all on my own, of course.
This morning I:
*Packed two lunches
*Made two lunches
*Took a shower
*Gave JZ a shower
*Rinsed Madalyn from the neck down in the shower
*Got all four of us dressed and groomed to walk out the door
*Took the trash out to the curb
This was all before we left the house at 8:40 a.m. Then I:
*Got both kids to school on time.
*Went to the health department and got Eliza’s shots (which I hate and dread doing).
*Went to my FIL’s house and borrowed some money so I now have cash to get snacks for JZ’s class on Wednesday, pick up my drycleaning and various other things. (We have bunches of money due to come in over the next couple of weeks but, while we’re waiting, I’m a bit short).
*Picked myself up some breakfast.
Now I’m back home. I’ve eaten and changed into comfy clothes. Eliza has had her Tylenol and is sleeping off the trauma of being stabbed in the leg three times and I’m feeling smugly self-satisfied. It’s not really the quantity of things I got done, since I know lots of people do that much stuff every morning; it’s the fact that I did it all by myself and did it pretty well. A lot of the time I feel like I’m in survival mode around here, where I’m just doing the absolute basics to get us through the week till Robert comes home. So when I break out of that it reminds me that I truly am self-sufficient and that I CAN do this, and I feel pretty proud of myself. And since I can’t often say that I have to revel in it when it does happen. I think I do a pretty good job around here handling things on my own.