Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Buns

One of my favorite things to do is cook and feed people. I especially love to make homemade from scratch items. Soups and breads are my favorite. I was inspired by Kristen from the Frugal Girl blog. This is her recipe, and the link to her very detailed photographed instructions to make them.Click here.

If you have not tried to make homemade buns they are so simple and delicious. They save money because we are more likely to heatup leftovers and make sandwiches having homemade hamburger  “buns”. Yum.

I agree with Kristen they are really yummy warm with jam or butter. Sorry Paleo eaters – I made mine with white flour! Still doesn’t compare to my MIL Evelyn’s bread but, what does?

I have made these twice and the time is cut in half after your first attempt.

Pretty simple. Just have to have time to let the dough raise. They have yet to last more than 4 days. Of course I gave away some of the first batch. random thought in my head there I go again, loving to feed people. 

Sorry for the iphone photography. They look so much more delicious on Kristen’s site. Here.

Let me know what you think.

homemade buns1 IMG_7197 IMG_7196

5 Frugal Things…

5 Frugal Things

Frugal Girl inspired me to share -5 frugal things.  Well, first it is important to say that she is the “queen” of frugal. If you haven’t checked out her blog- click here. But here goes…

1. We buy packaged Ceasar salads from Costco.

One bag will feed the 3 of us. ($4.27) (sniff, with DD off to college it is no longer 4). We like to add Chicken or serve with some type of quality meat protein. When you compare it to buying 3 salads, buying all the ingredients and making them yourself, or ordering out on impulse–  it saves money. (I work more than full time – time and convenience are important). random thought in my head - this is the lunch I packed this summer for a group of us to go to the WaterWorld amusement park, using the ceasar salad package. ceasar salad

2. We buy things from Craigslist. Even big items.

We bought this “pit couch” for our great room for $375.00 dollars. The previous owners had it for 5 months and were unhappy with how large it was for their space. We saw the original sales receipt- $3400.00 couch.  I dress it up with my own pillows.  It is large and comfy. Nice for entertaining or family time. It provides alot of needed seating. thought rambling through my head. The one I was shopping for from Arhaus was a small fortune. As much as I loved that couch, I just couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger. My hubby was great, he didn’t care either way since we had saved cash for it. I am so glad I went the frugal route.     sectionalIf you missed my post on our sectional click here.

3. Do it myself decorating.

Spray painted garage sale and pre-owned miscellaneous frames to create our Family Legacy collage on stair wall. The cost :  1 can of  spray paint. not bad..Spray paint can save you money- if you missed my refurbished house lighting post click here.


photo wall photo wall 2

4. This is a “silly” one- Toothpaste.

I cut open the toothpaste tube when it is flat and “out of paste”. When you cut it open, there is another couple weeks of paste. thought rambling through my head Kind of cool, I am so clever.  Not for an OCD clean freak–it can be a little messy and you have to store in a ziplock baggie.

5. We eat leftovers.

I know this seems like a “no brainer”. But you would be surprised how many people don’t eat leftovers. We eat them for lunches the next day mainly, and if I know I will be going out of town, my DH, dear hubby and DS, dear son- will eat them for dinner. Add a fresh salad and they are set. Saves time and money!! Besides some foods are even better heated up the second time!  thought rambling through my head – I have had people look “down” on us for taking our leftovers home. My response to that? to each his own. But, I am on the better half of that situation, when I am not having to spend money on the meal that we eat leftovers. Sounds smart to me. Just add a fresh salad.  Click to get  10 Leftover Foods that are better the second day. Here is an egg sandwich made with homemade hamburger buns.

Egg Sandwich

 

Bucket List Found…

I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic when I look at this picture of our chalkboard that I found this morning.

Chalkboard  Bucketlist

Garrett’s Bucket List

It is a bucket list written out on our kitchen chalkboard that my DS, dear son made.  I am estimating it was probably when he was 8-9 years old. I need to remember to do this the beginning of every season. This would be a great tool when we are trying to figure out what to do on a weekend or when we have some spare family time. Delete the need for the question- “what do you want to do today?”… or the response ” I don’t know what do you wanna do?is a great

Great site that has Bucket List ideas from the Blog Daring to Live Life Fully.

he getting so big…sniff sniff…

Craft Room Studio Makeover – Continued

My Dream Space- Craft room studio makeover

It is finally time to makeover my craft room/studio. I am so excited! After redoing all of our bedrooms in the house ( DD,  DS and mine and my DH’s)  I am finally in a place to rework my studio/crafting space. There are so many wonderful rooms out there in blog land that I am amazed by. I would have to say my favorite it would be Raising up Rubies.  She turned her dining room into a crafting sewing studio and it is marvelous. I love the non traditional use of her space.  She didn’t have a dining room in the space because that is what the space was desgnated for she used the space for what was best for her family. A wonderul inspiration.

Raising up RubiesPlease visit her site. She is very inspirational. There are tons of other blogs that I are AMAZZZZZING as well but, her studio struck a core in me.  Because the story behind it is so inspirational.

So here is a sneak peak of the before: (I realized that I never posted before pictures of my space). I don’t have an overall view of the room. Not sure what I was thinking.

craft room collage before picture

Here is a teaser on what the carpet will be changed out for…

wood f

 

 

Outdoor Lighting Upgrade

House Lighting Update

When it is time for an Outdoor Lighting upgrade–it is time… Ours was overdue. This is the lighting that came with our home. They looked pretty good with the original paint. We painted our house, Khaki – with white trim and black shutters and doors. I love the colors! The only thing left to add some pop was to get black outdoor lights to match.  To be honest I went on a shopping for black lights. Wow!  I surprised at the price and I could not find any that really liked.
OUtdoor lightinI set out to spray paint ours and make the old look new. Enter the spray paint. Hint: Make sure you get outdoor and rust resistant paint. I love this brand.

Spray paint outdoor lights

You can see the cost $39.40. This purchase included an attachment for the can to spray easier, and some blue tape. The spray paint itself only cost 23.04 for 3 cans. I only needed 2 for all 5 lights. I bought the paint at Home Depot.

 

Outdoor Lighting 2

How does this compare to purchasing new lights? We have 5 lights and to replace the same lights (to be fair). Would be $378.45.
This is with free shipping. Click here to view.  That is a good savings. $15.00 vs $378.45!

lights

 

Here was our process:

Outdoor Lighting Collage

 

Outdoor lights Collage 2

 

Here is how great they look. Lighting Finished

My “New” Used Sectional

Our “New” Used Sofa from CL (craigslist)

I had this post in archieves for way too long, the story behind Our “New” Used Sectional from craiglist.  One of the things that was on my “wish” list for our home was to have a large kitchen that opened up to an even larger family room. It has been a wish come true- this area is my favorite part of our house.  We spend a lot of time in this main area of our home.The one challenge was fitting furniture into the space.  The first reason is the lack of real walls in the space. We have:
A stairway, a sliding glass door, a opening to the kitchen, a fireplace in the corner, and a row of large windows. Not one plain wall…CRAZY RIGHT?

We took furniture we had from our old house and crammed it all into the great room.  It worked good for awhile. It wasn’t what I wanted but, what we could afford at the time.  So we have waited and saved….fast forward to Nov 2012…six  years later…we saved enough in our “house” account to purchase my dream sofa.

I was so excited. Here is my dream couch from Arhaus Furniture.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Add another piece on the end and upgrade the fabric to leather and you have it! (This is the small version).

I am not sure if the DR (Dave Ramsey) mentality was getting to me or what but, I could not pull the trigger. I went back 7 times!! It was just so much money. Funny how when you save and are paying CASH it is so much harder to purchase. I kept thinking of all the things I could do with the money.
My DH encouraged me to do what I wanted. When we were discussing my lack of being able to pull the trigger he said,” It just doesn’t seem like you, you always find great stuff for less.” That was all it took. I took his challenge and started hunting on Craigslist. For our new used sectional.

I cannot believe what I found: A sectional sofa that is perfect for our space.

It was only a year old, the couple who we bought it from realized it was too big for their room. There were compromises and a little bit of elbow grease on my part. I recovered the pillows. They were so f-ugly.  I used the backing and zipper from the original pillows and used it as a pattern.

Don’t you like it? Okay it isn’t the Arhaus sofa but it is 12 year old boy/teenager and friend proof.

Here it is today (we bought it two years ago) with pillows that I purchased on sale over time to give it a more updated look than the pillows I recovered.   I am pleased with how it has held up, and someday I will find my leather sectional on CL for a great price!

sectional

Pictures can give us so much insight on what we need to change in a room. Looking at these pictures, my mind races with things I need to do. Like refinish/paint our coffee table. It is 9 years old and needs some TLC.

Sectional CollageMy favorite part is when I talk about eventually upgrading the couch my son and daughter argue. They love it. It fits so many kids on it for late movie nights and sleepovers. Sometimes not pulling the trigger and listening to your gut is what is best. I wish I could say I spent the 7K in our house account on tons of cool stuff, but we put it in our emergency fund as an extra budget. So much better…right?

 

Journey to get out of Debt – Part 3

If you have not had a chance to read Part 1 & Part 2 , I would take the time to do that. It helps you understand our journey and may help you in your journey to become debt free. Let’s start of with a visual of how the beginning of this stage felt:

CHICKEN

The company I  worked for was moving towards a substantial set of layoffs. Our industry was hit hard, like many in 2008-2009 timeframe, and the writing was “on the wall”. It was a terrible time, because if you remember, we were back in consumer debt and managed to get ourselves into more “secured” debt with a bigger home and a cabin. I was in a horrible place emotionally. It took it’s toll on us, physically and emotionally.To add to the turmoil,  I had to have surgery during this time and was on a short medical leave. My husband went back to work to make ends meet while my pay was cut. Afterall, we had gotten ourselves into a place where there was no “wiggle” room.  I looked for solutions everywhere, including taking a loan against our 401k plan at my job. (Not a smart move, and especially if you are potentially going to lose your job). Notice I said “I”. hmmm…transparency is key to making sure that you work as a team with your spouse. (more on that later).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a photo of us during the stressful lawsuit and the potential layoff at my job…I look at this picture and remember how hard it was on all of us…I don’t like to look at this picture other than to know it is a great reminder.  The promise we/I made to ourselves to never be in a similar situation again.

I started hunting for a job, while working fulltime.  A very stressful place to be, especially if you have been a loyal employee for 10 years. I wasn’t very successful at first. I look back and see that future employers may have detected my “desparation”.  I kept praying and I found a job posting on Career Builders. It was a position that had a connection with a previous boss, whom was now a Vice President. I applied and started the process.  Our industry was in a downsizing mode, I was only looking to “replace” my current salary and get us back on track.  My prayers were answered and I accepted the position. Our second try at the Dave Ramsey program began… Our first step took place during my job hunt,  we handed the bill paying responsibilities over to my husband, and we started to work together more consistently. No trying to protect each other from stress and hiding financial situations. My husband is home with the kids and it made more sense for him to track our spending and pay our bills. Besides it helped keep me accountable for sticking to our plan and for him to be more aware.

images

 

It was a very slow go but, we followed the babysteps and were very diligent about our spending.  We took every bit of extra, as well as our snowball ,and attacked the smallest to largest debt. Though our smallest debt wasn’t that small. At the same time, we worked to try to refinance out of our current mortgages. To our dismay  we didn’t qualify due to our home value and debt ratio. As hard as it was,  we continued to have tenacity and after 2.1 years we paid off all of our consumer debt.

Sold our rental, paid off the legal bills, paid off any and all credit cards, and fully funded our emergency fund with 3-6 mos of living expenses.

To celebrate we went on an all cash paid vacation to Destin Florida. It felt so good to be free from the consumer debt and pay cash. We had not been on a vacation for 7 years! It was the best vacation ever, because we felt so free from having paid off our debt!  Now it was time to tackle our home and cabin mortgages. More about that in Part 4.

I generalized alot in this post. But, Dave Ramsey’s plan spells out the easy steps. Follow them exactly and you will be well on the road to Financial Freedom.

 

 

 

Gabby.Garrett.Destin.2011

 

 

Our Journey to get out of Debt – Part 2

Our journey was going well and very successful.  We were completely out of debt except for our mortgage and had a fully funded emergency fund. HAPPY DANCE!!!! Then it happened…I found out I was pregnant with our second child. WILDER HAPPY DANCE!!!! It was such a wonderful blessing. I continued to work through my pregnancy. gabgarrettWe realized that we needed to finish our basement- to move my office from our extra bedroom to the basement.  That would be my dear son’s nursery. It didn’t kill us, my husband refinished it and we paid cash as he built it. We were very happy with the rebuild and spent a lot of time as a family in the extra space.  But, I have to admit our starter homes’ walls were starting to cave in on us me.  We needed more room. (Or so we I justified). My DH is the sensible one.  He is happy with whatever he has. He doesn’t have a materialistic bone in his body.  But, I am the driven one and really wanted to move to what I would call our more permanent family home. So…The house hunting began. Model 2   We made a list of our must haves and bought a bigger home. WE were buying when the banks were loaning money like crazy.  My new promotion was bringing in good money so we jumped in head first. and landed pretty well…if we would have been able to stay on track. Something happened when we bought this home. I felt invincible. That we could do and survive anything. A real false sense of everything will work out- no matter what happens. Higher mortgage payment, higher living expenses and we decided to keep the previous home as a rental property. (bad idea- we didn’t own it – it was financed). Whew…I am getting tired just thinking about it all…Of course I left out that we paid cash for a truck and “bought” (financed) a small cabin in the mountains during the good times.

cabin in the woods.pngWe were even making extra payments on the cabin every month… Of course the loan on the cabin was a horrible interest only loan. Yikes…subject for another post. So we went from a small percent of debt to income ratio to a very large one. Thinking as long as we had money in the bank, weren’t using credit cards, had emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and my great job– we were living the life. yeah a life balanced on top the head of a pin. Looking back–the move was a good one. When I see the great neighbors that we have gotten to be close with, and my DS’s neighborhood gang of friends that he hangs around with ( 9 boys- count them- 9) …it is a no brainer and I am glad we made the move.  And of course–  I love our home.  DD was 8.5 and son was 2.5 when we moved here. A lot of great memories…

Neighborhood Gang2.jpg

It spending money on a truck, cabin and keeping the rental that wasn’t smart.  It was weird.  We embraced the debt free life – but only with consumer debt. We never considered the cabin, rental and our home— debt. Normal people mistake number one that will always keep you broke. This is what made our situation so dire when life hit us hard. We moved in and paid cash for all of the extras we bought. We were very committed to staying debt free.

craxy mommy picture

Then the bottom fell out, I hit crisis mode at my job , health issues and a law suit all within a 6-12 month period.  We went through our entire emergency fund- SNAP! (for legal fees-etc).  (Thank God, we had it or we would have had to move).  We went back into debt… about 39 grand…plus our previous homeand cabin debt.  It was was a horrible feeling.  How did we get here again??? I went back to work once my health issues resolved and realized that the foundation of my health problems were the stress from a not so stable work situation. I refocused and worked hard and I found a new job, my health improved and our lawsuit was settled. (that sentence is simple but the process was definately not). The lawsuit was a financial loss and one that you fight because it is the right thing to do, not to become rich. “To be come rich”- that job is for the lawyers (on both sides).  But, I grew more as an individual during that time than I ever did any other time in my life.

MotherTheresa quote don beth

 I learned to be confident and grew in confidence.  I am a great mother, wife and employee.  I know I am willing to do the right thing even when no one is looking.  To do the right thing because – it is the right thing. I have been given more gifts and perspective than a large financial settlement would have ever provided. Ever. I realized during that time that I will do whatever I need to. I am the type of person that never ever gives up. Even when my mind and body was telling me different I rallied on…amazing quality. I am blessed. I got this from my dad. We lost him this year on March 31st. I have his fight.

daddy.garrett

At our lowest point–I will never forget looking out our master bedroom window, and making a vow to myself that we will never be in this situation ever again. I was so overwhelmed. I kept thinking that I had worked my entire life (I am the breadwinner, DH is a stay at home dad) and we were close to being completely broke. BROKEN. How could this be? Granted we live on one income, and have for years, but we made more than enough money- not to be in that situation. What does Dave Ramsey say? We make too much money to be this broke. In the end, Life happens and I could “blame” it on life circumstances, but when I reflect back it was also a lot of STUPID decisions. At that point I realized that we didn’t understand or completely follow “the Debt Free including our mortgage” if we got ourselves back into this place again.

This was the beginning of our second try at the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. More in Part 3.

Craft Room Update – Thrift store craft table

It seems that I am on a mission this year–redoing and updating our home.  My latest project is my Studio/Craft Room. When we moved in about 9 years ago, my DH made wonderful shelves along the wall and built me a pretty cool space.

Our original design was flawed.

Too much counter space put not enough workspace. That doesn’t seem to make sense…but it was our reality. It ended up being a dumping ground for anything and everything.  Even though I worked on organizing it…it seemed I was spending more time cleaning and organizing than I was creating in the space. Not good…

My dream was to have wood floored studio.  So if I spill paint or glue–all is good. Squirrel……On to Step 1:

 

Part One of the makeover, is about finding the right type of craft table.  I want a craft table in the middle of the room.  ONe the is not too small but, not too big, round, with a pedestal base, very sturdy and durable. Cute and fun, very inspirational…Oh yeah and did I mention that I don’t want to spend any money?

Yeah…

I downloaded the Craiglist app for my iphone and began to stalk all of the dining tables on CL.  It became an obsession because now their new setup / feature you can star your favorites.  I kept it in a price range of 50-75 dollars. I starred quite a few of them…but nothing hit me just the same.  We spent money on ikea shelves (more on that later) so I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money. 50-75 bucks is alot to spend… Bad enough we I was demolishing the shelving my DH built. 

Then I decided on a whim to hit our local habitat for humanity store.  “Just to look around.” Famous last words… I don’t know..as much fun as I was having hunting through CL. I was losing interest, and not feeling like I have the time to contact someone on CL and coordinate etc… Wow did I make a good move…heading to habitat for humanity store—oh my goodness was that the way to go!!!

Look at this baby that I found for 10.00 dollars.  It is sturdy, just the right size, shape and if you can believe it has a huge heavy piece of beveled glass on top. Thick glass….perfect for projects.  I also donated a box of stuff that we gathered this Saturday so they gave me a 20% coupon. 8 bucks people! 8 bucks.  It is almost silly…yes I know it is formica, and an ugly brown, and it is a little worn…but that is what makes it fun…(I took this at the thrift store on Saturday—please don’t confuse this for my basement…hmmm there is a resemblance…LOL…

I cannot wait to reveal the AFTER.  Here is the BEFORE:

craft table

 

 

 

HomeGoods Haul…

It is kind of ironic that I am placing a shopping haul right after I began documenting our debt free story, but a girl has to have a little pick me up every now and then. Don’t cha think?

I will say that HomeGoods which is the domestic part of TJMaxx store is awesome. Their stuff is trending but, stylish and at a discount price over retail.  I especially love their throw  pillows.  They go very fast but, you can usually get two for the price of one.

I have been trying to update my colors and was inspired by quite a few blogs across the information highway…I love all of the bright colors…

I was on my way home from work and my DH(Dear husband) and DS(dear son) were  at the course- chipping and putting. My rock star DTD, (dear teenage daughter) was at dance…so I didn’t have a reason to rush home.  Figure that.

So I pulled into the HomeGoods parking lot and actually sat there for a moment and smiled.  It has been awhile since I have taken a deep breath and actually got to shop without being in a rush to get a gift, or have a major errand to run.

It was the perfect time to shop…here is my haul:

Home Goods Haul 1

 

1. What did I tell you?  The bright pillow set- was 24.99 for a set of two down pillows.

2. They had the cutest plastic stools that folded up.  I got one for my Diva closet that I have been working on.  (I will post the closet redo soon—I promise). It is such a great addition to our space and it has helped with packing for work trips, and saves me so much time. Who would have thought it would have such a positive impact.  Okay…Only took us 8 years to update it—had to save the CASH —couldn’t charge it. (DEBT free and all…)

Diva Closet Stool

 

3. Thin Velvet hangers to save space in a closet.  I got two packets of them and one for dress pants.  I saw them on line and they are so amazing.  They save space. I will use them and post about it during my DIVA closet reveal.

4. iPad holder for my desk.  I have an iPad for work and we have one at home, and they are constantly “laying around” this holder helps them stand upright on my desk and has a built in speaker. So cool. It was 1/3 the cost of the ones I have looked at on line.

5. I bought 2 ipack coolers. One for my DS lunches.  You just put the entire case in the freezer and pull it out and pack it in the morning.  The one here is a large one I bought for our travels to the cabin. I had already popped my DS’s in the freezer for use- si it isn’t pictured here.

Well, that does it for my HG Haul. What a blast I had and got some fun items.  I don’t shop like I used to unless I am thrifting or on a trip buying Birthday gifts.  I don’t miss it really.  It is more enjoyable now that I don’t go very often.

Please share links to any HG shopping you have done…when you have gotten a break.

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