Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY - ball maze box

here is my version of a ball maze box that i originally found in pinterest. i used a medium sized box for this project. for the maze, i cut the sides of two cereal boxes. then, i attached each one diagonally inside the box using a glue gun. finally, i cut a hole above the maze. done!
she played with dad's golf balls. it is pretty much what i can think of when i made this. but when she's older, marbles will also be good. [i found a bag full of marbles in one of hubby's boxes of keepsake].
yes, it does not take much to entertain her. but i have to make sure that i watch her playing all the time. she is such a destructiod. she throws, tramples or tears anything. 
oh well, it is part of learning and growing up [for both of us].

Thursday, October 20, 2011

DIY - customized birthday gift wrap

i love giving gifts. but what i love more is how it was wrapped. since i was younger, i always put my own "special touch" in the box or bag. each one is unique. gift wrapping brings out a lot of my imagination & creativity in the process. most often than not, it takes me awhile to figure out how to wrap it. that is why i buy the gift ahead of time.

so here is a customized gift box for my friend's son's 4th birthday. it was all about trains. i simply used construction paper with different colors to cut the train. then glued it to the box. it makes the gift extra special & more personalized. {don't you think?}

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

an eye for bargain (12)

another fun two weeks of bargain hunting & coupon shopping.  looking back, i wish i could have done this sooner.  i thought i was a cheap shopper before.  i think i am definitely much cheaper & smarter now.  i try my very best to use a coupon in almost all my purchases & always find items in the clearance department.

so here are all the stuff from my trips....

20 4x6 photos = free [after $2 tpc]
2 gerber box meals = $0.83 each [after $1/1 mic]
1 gerber graduate meal = $0.34 [after $0.55/1 mic]
2 up & up facial tissue 100 ct = $0.49 each [after $0.50/1 tpc]
1 up & up dryer sheets 40 ct = $0.62 [after $0.75/1 tpc]
1 up & up all purpose cleaner = $1.14 [after $0.75/1 tpc]
1 up & up mouth wash = $2.29 [after $1/1 tpc]
2 up & up antacid = $1.04 each [after $1/1 tpc]
2 merona women's tops = $0.74 each [after $3/1 tpc]
20 4x6 photos = free [after $2 tpc]
2 up & up facial tissue 100 ct = $0.49 each [after $0.50/1 tpc]
2 aquafresh fluoride free toothpaste for kids = $1.94 each [after $0.75 $0.75/1 mic]
1 bar keeper = $1.20 [after $0.55/1 mic]
1 lysol XL disinfectant wipes = $1.49 [after $1/1 mic]
1 up & up bathroom cleaner spray = $0.97 [after $1/1 tpc]
1 johnson's baby head to toe wash = $0.69 [after $1/1 mic & $0.75 tc]
3 pack up & up baby wipes = $3.99 [after $1/1 tpc]
1 liz lange women's tank top = free [after $3/1 tpc]
2 merona women's tops = free [after $3/1 tpc]
2 up & up cotton rounds = $0.24 each [after $0.75/1 tpc]
1 scrubbing bubbles one step toilet bowl cleaner = free [after $4/1 mic & price matched from walmart ad for the week]

1 8 pack AA energizer max batteries = $0.97 [after $3/1 mic]
1 8 pack AAA energizer max batteries = $0.97 [after $3/1 mic]
2 aquafresh travel size toothpaste = free with $0.03 overage [after $1/1 mic]
2 12 packs schick disposable razors = free with $2.06 overage [after $6/2 mic]
3 packs of baby wipes 80 ct  = $0.82 [used $2.12 overage]

4 12 packs schick disposable razors = free with $2.06 overage [after $6/2 mic]
2 aquafresh travel size toothpaste = free with $0.03 overage [after $1/1 mic]
3 aquafresh training toothbrush = $0.26 [used $4.18 overage]

2 12 packs schick disposable razors = free with $2.06 overage [after $6/2 mic]
2 listerine total care mouthwash travel size = free with $0.28 overage [after $2/1 mic]
2 parents choice baby wipes 40 & 80 ct = $0.14 [used $2.62 overage]


junior knit dress = $4.24


2 junior tunic tops = $3.97 each

and my lucky find...girl birthday tutu for $3.97!  yes, yes...just in time for her 2nd birthday.

mic > manufacturer's internet coupon
tpc > target printable coupon
mc > manufacturer's coupon
tc > target coupon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

photo gallery wall

i finally found an inspiration for arranging our photo frames in the styleberry blog.
once i got started, a lot of ideas were popping up in my head. {think...multiple light bulbs!} i plan on painting the three wooden frames on the right side but hubby does not like the idea at all. so i will leave it as it is.
i hang all the frames above our living room couch. this is pretty much where i wanted them all to be in the first place. most days, the lower frames tilt because our little girl climbs up the couch & points at the pictures.
i will have to hold off on the paint job project until next summer. but for now, its just nice to see this photo gallery wall everyday.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

cooking for two

every time i tell somebody that we go fishing, the next question is always: "how do you cook 'em?"

and here is my fish.

i start out by pouring half a can of a 12 oz beer in a bowl. then i whisk 6-7 tablespoons of flour. this is the tricky part. the batter should not be too thick or runny. i add more flour until i get the right consistency. mix in a teaspoon of cornstarch & season with salt, pepper, dried dill & garlic powder.
it is also good to add salt & pepper to the fish fillets.
in a heated medium pan, pour 1/4 cup of canola oil. when the oil is hot, dip each fillet in the beer batter.
fry for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
surprisingly, hubby was the one who taught me this recipe. serve with tartar sauce & seasoned fries on the side. {very typical american dish}
this was all the fish that we caught from our last fishing trip for the season. i place them in freezer bags. for reheating, i wrap it in aluminum foil & bake for about 15 minutes at 300F. and to make it crispy, open the foil & broil for about 3 minutes at 450F.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

simply delish apple pie

now it feels more like fall again.  i guess indian summer has abandoned us for good. {sigh}

one thing that is pretty cheap this time of the year are apples.  growing up, i never liked apples.  maybe it's because i remembered eating a grainy textured apple when i was a kid.  but all that has changed. i love apples, applesauce & apple pie.

so here is my first ever apple pie adapted from the blog baked bree.
6-7 medium sized apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup brown raw sugar

3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 frozen pie crust {still not confident to make this from scratch}

in a bowl, mix apples with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, butter & vanilla. let it stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
follow instructions of the package for thawing the pie crust.  when ready, fill the crust with the apple mixture.
cover the top with the second crust. pat a little bit of water on the edges of the upper crust to help seal the pie.  using a knife, cut a few slits in the middle.  sprinkle with sugar & cinnamon.
bake for 35-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F.  {i used my toaster oven, so it was longer}
so proud of my first apple pie!  except one of the edges wasn't completely sealed so the sauce was already bubbling out.
other than this minor incident, it was perfect!  if not for portion control, i could have eaten the whole pie on my own.  but we saved half in the fridge for dessert the following night.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

my dearest little girl (22 mos)

where did summer go? warm days are over. but we got lucky this week. it got warm again after a cold september month.

we have been going to the Family Resource Center at the mall for four weeks now. your play group meets every wednesday morning. most of the kids are older than you. i noticed that you're still not used to playing/mingling with others. you always wander away & play by yourself. {hopefully you'll start to socialize more in the weeks to come}.

we had our dinner picnic at phoenix park today.
you just love getting your fingers in between the blocks. my cellphone has become your constant play toy when we're out & about.
thank goodness for strollers! i wouldn't leave our house without it. anytime you get fussy or sleepy i just strap you in it.
and mommy's sidekick for life. =)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

cooking for two

summer may be officially over but im so happy to welcome indian summer! yes! this week we are blessed with perfect weather. lots of sun & temperatures in the mid 70s-80s. the whole month of september was cold. we even experienced freezing temperatures twice.

luckily, we still got a lot of tomatoes in our garden. so here is another quick dinner that i made using our tomatoes.

  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 regular sized red & yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 big boy tomatoes, diced & seeded
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 7 oz whole wheat penne rigate - about half of the package box {or use any pasta}
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • salt & pepper to taste

  • in a non-stick heated pan with medium heat, fry the kielbasa with butter. {i like it a little extra brown}.
    then mix in tomatoes, peppers, onion & garlic. cook on high heat for about 3-5 minutes & stir frequently. {i don't like my tomatoes runny & i like a little crunch in my peppers} season with salt & pepper. meanwhile, cook the penne according to package directions & drain.
    before adding the kielbasa & veggies, i always drizzle olive oil or extra virgin oil over my pasta. {its healthy & keeps the pasta moist}. top with parmesan cheese. dinner served in 30 minutes!

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    an eye for bargain (11)

    extreme couponing is back on TLC! i have to admit that because of this show i was introduced to a lot of coupon websites & blogs. unfortunately our local grocery stores limit the use of coupons per item & they don't double coupons at all.

    i do have a limited coupon selection. {my binder is very small}. i am mostly interested with coupons of brands that we use at home & of items i can get for cheap or free. and one important thing for me is to use the coupons before the expiration dates.

    so for the past two weeks, these were my bargain finds...

    girl's tutu dress = $3.97
    girl's long sleeves shirt = $2.48
    girl's jelly sandals = $2.97 each
    *4 12-pack schick disposable razors = free with $2.06 overage [$6/2 mic]
    *2 girl's tank tops = free [paid from razor overage]
    *desk lamp = $1.48
    *huggies baby wipes = $1.50 [after $0.50 mc]
    *2 up & up cotton rounds = $0.24 each [after $0.75 tpc]
    *sally hansen fingernail clipper = $0.99 [after $1/1 mic & $1/1 tpc]
    *pampers baby diapers = $6.99 [after $1.50/1 mc & $1/1 tc]
    *johnson's baby head to toe wash = $0.24 [after $1/1 mic & $1/1 tc]
    *pool for kids = $4.98
    *xhilliration queen size comforter = $11.24
    *xhilliration window sheer = $3.74
    *sally hansen toenail clipper = $0.99 [after $1/1 mic & $1/1 tpc]
    *nivea body wash = $0.99 [after $2/1 mc & $1/1 tpc]

    and more freebies from target!!!
    *6 400 ml simply orange juice = free [after $1/1 mic]
    *3 mossimo women's denim capris = free [after $5/1 tpc]
    *3 merona women's bermuda shorts = free [after $5/1 tpc]
    *3 merona women's denim capris = free [after $5/1 tpc]
    *2 women's merona tshirts = free [after $3/1 tpc]
    *liz lange tank top = free [after $3/1 tpc]
    *2 scrubbing bubbles one step toilet bowl cleaner = free [after $4/1 mic] the walmart flyer for this week has this item for $3.97. so i did a price match at target.

    tpc = target printable coupon
    mic = manufacturer's internet coupon
    tc = target coupon
    mc = manufacturer's coupon