Friday, April 30, 2010

Easter bargains

The post-Easter bargain hunting haul from a couple weeks ago:

Hy-Vee's post-Easter clearance (my best score):
  • 1 large bag jelly beans - 50c
  • 2 small bags jelly beans - 25c each
  • 3 marshmallow bunnies - 25c each
  • 4 boxes of Peeps (one not shown - I ate it!) - 25c each
  • 3 cartons of Whoppers - 25c each
  • 2 cartons Reese's eggs - 25 c each
  • Snickers egg - 25c
Hy-Vee doesn't show the original price on the tags or receipts. I do know the Whoppers were $1 each regular price, the Reese's were probably the same, and 99c seems to be the standard price for the small Peeps boxes. I'm pretty sure all this was at least 75% off.

I almost forgot the best deals from Hy-Vee: their clearanced books. I got two hardcovers:
  • Mr. Monk in Outer Space - $1.25, list price 29.95
  • Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon - $1.75, list price 27.95
They were 75% off the Hy-Vee price, which makes them more than 90% off.

Target clearance:
  • Puzzle - 30% off, originally 3.99, I think
  • Cars toy keychain with sound effects - $2.81, regular $3.99

  • Walmart Clearance - Easter was 50% off, I think. Most had no original price marked.
    • Inkjet iron-on paper - $7.00, no original price listed
    • Inkjet iron-on paper for cotton - $2.50, no original price listed
    • Cars mini set - $3.00, no original price listed
    • Peeps - 49c each, original price 98c
    • Paas set - 36c, originally 1.44
    • Egg cup dye sets - 47c, originally 1.88
    • bag of Reese's cups - $1.50, originally $3.00
    • Egg full of Reese's eggs - $1.75, originally $3.50

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some days, I find the lightbulb

Today's little lightbulb moment:

I want to record PBS' broadcast of Hamlet (with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart) this week, so I need to set the machine. Which means finding enough recording space.

Side note: we've got a Panasonic combo DVR/VCR that uses blank DVDs. Including DVD-RAM discs, which are killer awesome, since you can keep part of a recording instead of the all or nothing Tivo capabilities. I LOVE that option.

So, I planned to watch part of the Olympics closing ceremonies that I recorded, then delete most of that and free up some space. (I may keep the opening bit with the mime and the malfunctioning torch, even though having Red Green do it would have been funnier.) Got up this morning intending to do t his before El Burrito woke up.

Hit the power on the TV and DVR, and the DVR is having issues. Claims it's recording something - which turned out to be In Plain Sight from 8 hours ago and probably isn't really recorded - and wouldn't power down or stop this so-called recording. No problem, I say. I know where the Reset button is. That led to an Error code (F03, for the record), and of course I can't find the lousy manual. Sure, I can download the manual online, but it's a 3-hour download. Joy.

A little more Googling - complicated by the stupid *&*&%^ Google redirect virus thing that I can't get rid of - led to one comment about someone getting this error and finding a toothbrush in the VCR compartment.

Hmmm, I said, and went to find the flashlight. Yep, there it was - a crumpled coupon, stuck in the VCR door by someone who shall remain nameless.

The trick was getting it out. My hand wasn't long enough, and I managed to nudge it farther in. Ditto for chopsticks, although I came close, and if I was chopstick-literate, probably could have done it. Turning the DVR sideways and letting gravity help wouldn't work without unplugging everything, thus upsetting Mr. Drama Queen, who was still upset about wearing a short-sleeved shirt!! With a tag!!!! And having to take his pink medicine!!!!!!!

Lightbulb brainstorm MacGyver moment: I found a piece of square wood dowel and some tape. Made sure to put one layer of tape sticky-side-in, because losing tape inside the machine would just make things worse. And the sticky-side-out layer worked like a charm.

One more round of Reset button, and we seem to be back on track.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More house hunting

We just put in an offer on our plan-B house. It's lower than the asking price, so we'll see what their counteroffer is.

It's a nice house, very big. The yard is fenced already, but not as big as I'd like. There is room for a small garden, and play space for El Burrito. Bonus: it's not far from where we are now, so commute times won't change much.

How small is the yard? A decent size, but small enough that I may really consider a reel-type mower. If not, then a push-mower, because it's not big enough to justify any kind of riding mower.

Oy. The down payment check will probably make me a bit nauseous, but then I was a tiny bit shaky when I paid the down payment on my car (a very small car, $3,000 down).

Monday, April 26, 2010

House Hunting update


After viewing 10 homes in 8 hours (with about 150 miles total driving), we've moved to Plan B - find something in town that will be adequate for 1-2 years (*), until we can find some ground and have a house built.

(*) Give our motivation levels, I won't be surprised if 1-2 years turns into 5 or so. Hell, we started house-hunting about 8 years ago, intending to be in a house before we had any kids. Uh huh. El Burrito is going to be 4 pretty soon.

We'd planned to park El B at Grandma & Grandpa's house over this past weekend, while we looked at homes. So of course, El B spent Friday puking (all over me!), and we didn't think he or his grandparents needed the hassle. I stayed home with Mr No Longer Throwing Up, and DH went with the realtor to look at 10 or so houses. In a drenching downpour most of the day - which demonstrated drainage/gutter issues at one house, and meant that another house wasn't viewable because of road/water problems.

Three of those made the short-list, so we're both going for another look this week, plus a visit with the mortgage people.

And on top of that, El B is still under the weather (although thankfully no longer vomiting), and the HVAC checkup on Friday revealed that our AC's issue earlier this month was a severe lack of freon. They came back today and took care of things, and wonder of wonders, it was all covered by the warranty. Yay!

By this time next week, we may have a house under contract. Our mortgage right now is seriously low, so the new mortgage could be 3x to 4x of the current one. I may get a little nauseous when I write the mortgage checks for a while.


I actually cooked dinner Sunday night. Shock, shock. Cooking lately has been iffy - DH is on Byetta for his diabetes, which has done some strange (and crummy) things to his appetite. Things he used to love, he now can't choke down. The chicken fingers that El Burrito loves, make DH nauseous. And sometimes, it seems like most of what I can cook also makes him green around the gills. I'm hoping that after we move (see future post), we'll get a treadmill, he can drop some weight again, and maybe, hopefully, the Byetta can either be decreased or dropped altogether.

So, my cooking. It was a serendipitous thing - I went to the library and grocery shopping, since El Burrito has been sick since Friday. At the library, I picked up some books I had on hold, and one happened to be the America's Test Kitchen Best 30-Minute Meals cookbook. I looked through it after I got home, and found a recipe for Pineapple-glazed Chicken that seemed (a) pretty simple and (b) didn't turn DH green. And, we had almost all of the ingredients (we have no cayenne, and no cider vinegar).

So, I went for it. And other than flunking out on reading comprehension and starting off with a lidless skillet, it came out pretty good. Next time, I'm adding more pineapple juice, though - the glaze was kind of skimpy, especially since the recipe was for 4 people and I only cooked 2 chicken breasts. With four, the glaze would have been almost non-existent. Another surprise - it didn't take me much longer than the 30 minutes they estimated, if you don't count waiting for the slightly-freezer burnt chicken to thaw.

I served it up with a box of Uncle Ben's wild rice, plus the leftover sides from the macaroni takeout meal I got at Hyvee to tempt El Burrito into eating (which didn't really work).

I've gotta say, I love the America's Test Kitchen cookbooks. I may have to hunt down copies, or use some of my Amazon certificates to buy some. Their explanations are interesting, educational, and helpful. (Alton Brown's Good Eats is the same way - I like to know the whys behind the methods.) Plus, Christopher Kimball, the host of ATC, rides horses, which gets him bonus points with me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's Alive!!

I was evicting the houseplant jungle today (off to a summer on the porch) and saw this:

One of my purple oxalis (shamrocks) is still alive! Sure, only one sprig so far, but I expect more to show up, especially after some regular watering and a shot of fertilizer. I'd given up on them, there are two pots of them and both have been dormant for months now. I bought the bulbs/corms online about two years ago, when I couldn't find the purple form at a decent (to me) price around St. Patrick's Day. They looked so-so for a while, then went dormant, as oxalis do, but stayed that way longer than my green oxalis.

And then this year, Hy-Vee had 4-inch pots of purple oxalis for $5. I restrained myself and only bought two. They tend to multiply well, so I'll be able to divide the Hy-Vee pots in a year or two. I believe I started out wtih two pots of green oxalis (from Ace Hardware's post-St. Pat's sale), and I think I'm up to four now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gardening - Better late than never

I finally got some seeds started today: Sunflowers, sweet pepper mix, ornamental peppers, shamrocks (trifolium, not oxalis), 4-o-clocks, and catnip. Plus, my purple oxalis shamrocks are in real pots now.

And in my sort-of-garden outside are a six-pack of marigolds, plus a pack of marigold seed, the rest of the 4-o-clock pack, and most of a pack of portulaca from 2005. We'll see what - if anything - comes up. The portulaca all ended up in the same spot, so I raked it to stir things up. Not sure anything got planted at the right depth, but oh well.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yard sale loot

I managed to go to two big yard sales last weekend, both fundraisers - one Habitat for Humanity, one for a local school. I like it - one stop shopping, lots of parking.

For a whopping $25.85 total, I got:

  • one yellow Japanese Iris start
  • large plastic flowerpot
  • gallon Ziploc with 4 spools of crochet thread
  • 2 Nestle Tollhouse tins, one round, one square, for 75c. Saw 2 similar ones at a thrift store today, priced at $10 each.
  • dinosaur tray-puzzle
  • large 1000-piece puzzle, not sure if it's all there
  • red, white, and blue Beanie horse
  • a 10,000 Maniacs CD for DH that he doesn't have already ($1.00)
  • 2 Johnny Carson DVDs, $3 each (I think their prices are a bit high)
  • a like-new hardcover copy of Tolkien's Sigurd and Gudrun, although it's a book-club edition, for $1
  • assorted other paperbacks, including an Asimov that I didn't have already
  • Sesame Street English/Spanish memory card game, with all the cards
  • Disney Scene It game, mostly complete
  • Pooh memory card game
  • stuffed penguin puppet (sort of - the hole goes from the feet up through the back, not sure what it really was, but now it's a puppet)
  • 6 Viewmaster reels
  • 9 books
  • 3 coloring books
  • 1 pair of DisneyStore Incredibles pajamas
  • a few magazines
  • one country music VHS
and I think that's it. Not as good as finding the Puzz3D Titanic for $2, but still pretty good finds.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Allergies suck. 'Nuf said.

I'm taking generic Zyrtec, plus Target's form of Nephcon-A or some such, just to keep from scratching my eyes out. We turned the AC on tonight - 80 degrees inside, lovely temps outside but I can't bring myself to open the doors and let some more pollen or whatever it is come in the house.

I really hope this blows over (literally) in another week or so. Everything's blooming outside, and I can't go out to enjoy it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Strange associations

I'm way way behind on Lost, but no matter how often I saw Keamy being wicked on the Island, I always said"Hey, it's Zippy!!" every time Kevin Durand's face popped up on-screen.

Yes, I'm a bit of a Stargate geek. Zippy was Jack's nickname for the Goa'uld Lord Zipacna, named for a Mayan god.