Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving

Hello Friends. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We hosted as we have done 4 times in the last 5 years. The Hubs and I love to host, and love to cook. We baked a bird and smoked a ham. Everything was delish! I hope yours was too.

We tried taking the Cap to see Batman Live! on Saturday. What a production – the music and lighting was very dramatic, and in all a really top notch production.. but maybe not for a 2.5 almost 3 year old. It totally freaked him out and he kept saying I don’t want this movie, and I go home.. it was sad. We left at intermission.

I am working, working, working, on lots of Christmas cards, Holiday invitations and some stationary.. plus I am getting ready to launch a new project. Please stay tuned as I hope to announce a launch this week!

There is still time to get holiday orders in, shoot me an email or make a comment and I will contact you.

Happy Holiday Season.. it’s upon us, whether we want it here or not.. it’s here. Hope it’s stress free for you!

xoxo –

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Toddlers act like little drunk people..or..OH THE HORROR..Pants!

Seriously, I hit an all time low this morning.

I locked myself in my closet!

I wanted to cry, although I knew I didn’t have time too because it was 7:30 and I wasn’t dressed and needed to leave my house to get to work on time… so I just stood there taking deep breaths and counting to 10. When I came out, the Captain had removed his pants (he doesn’t particularly care for pants..), put under ware over his pull-ups and put his rain boots on. This all after I wrestled him to the ground and forced pants and a clean shirt on him. You would think I was force feeding something nasty to him all the while flailing about, screaming NO PANTS..

oh the horror .. PANTS!

So what do you do? The Hubs and I are constantly reminding each other to pick our battles. Today, I picked it – and I’m not sure that I won. Shouldn’t moms win.. I mean, he went to school with pants on .. but no coat – bc he refused, no socks, and his cape. I am at a total loss with my little monster right now. He’s extremely stubborn (so is his dad.. I am not at all… wink wink) and hard headed.. but the sweetest little monkey ever.

I googled “Raising a toddler is hard.” It’s what I was feeling, and wondered if anyone else felt this way – all the while, knowing EVERY parent feels this at some point. I read this article on Parenting.com called Reality Check: Raising a Difficult Toddler – she makes some really good points:

  1. there is nothing funny about the mix of worry, anger, guilt, and frustration you feel as the parent of a difficult child. (But I ask.. Is the Captain truely a difficult child? Who measures that?)
  2. You must realize that he is not doing it to you (Yes, I think I said today – I do everything for him and sacrifice for anything he needs or wants.. and he doesn’t listen, and doesn’t respect.. oh yeah, he’s 2)
  3. He is not out to get you (I’m not sure about this one..I think he’s working on something with the dog)
  4. Step one is to accept that, for better and worse, this is just your son’s personality, steps two and three are to notice which situations set him off (sensory overload, transitions, not being asked what he wants to do) and teach him how to manage his own intensity (by getting lots of exercise, having quiet book times, being given choices).

It all boils down to wanting to do the right thing, wanting the Captain to turn out to be a good person, who loves and lives and has many friends.. who loves his parents and siblings (god willing) and DOES NOT TURN OUT TO BE A SERIAL KILLER. So if there is some magical math problem that can ensure that.. could someone PLEASE clue me in?

Sometimes, I have to go to one of my happy places…

The mall!

Oak Park Mall! Boo Yeah!

Love these fools

The beach early in the morning

This is Mindy Clarke, and I approve this message!

What does your perfect 12 hours look like? An exercise

Have you heard of Danielle LaPorte and her White Hot Truth? Or better yet, The Fire Starter Sessions? I’ve just subscribed to her blog and am currently reading (the actual book) The Fire Starter Sessions. It makes me feel like it’s ok to have my dreams, no matter how silly or unattainable they might be.

Isn’t that crazy, I have dreams that I KNOW are unattainable – but have never been able to let go of. I know I have spoken of this dream before. Unattainable based on our current financial situation, or risk taking tendencies. If you know me well enough my dream, professionally, has always been to own my own… Sometimes it’s a coffee shop, a store, a design business, a bookstore.

But honestly, my dream has always been, and will always be to own a store with a lovely window, that’s decorated seasonally, that when you come in you instantly feel like you’ve come home. There’s coffee brewing, lovely things to purchase for your home, and in the back a little area to sit and plan a party or wedding or design fantasical pieces of stationary. With wood shelves, and nooks to sit and look at a book or two. A whole wall of candles, and lovely napkin rings and bird dishes. Random, I know! This unnamed store is my elusive diamond.

My ambition is not be extremely wealthy, but to be able to provide for my family financially, creatively and spiritually, and honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing any of these very well right now. So I read a review of this book, The Fire Starter Sessions, and it started a fire back up of wanting this perfect store, to go along with my lovely husband and generally perfect, terrifying, hilarious little Captain.

So, I decided to sit, in a quiet room for a little bit, and think about what my perfect 12 hours would be. Ms. LaPorte askes that you think about 12 hours at home (or realistic) and 12 hours away (or fantasy). I immediately began wondering what other peoples ideas were.. But I resisted .. So here we go. 

Realistic (part fantasy.. Yes I’ve already started cheating..) My morning would start off with everyone home and waking up in good moods. Making coffee, feeding the pup, making breakfast – waffles and turkey sausage for Hubs and the Cap, oatmeal and turkey saus for me. It’s fall. Showering, getting ready, and heading into the store (that’s what I’d call it, the store.. As in, going to my store, or oh.. Yeah – come by the store..), opening it up- turning on the star that hangs in the corner, flipping on the coffee pot and turning the sign that says open. I’d work and dust and tulle around  while ringing customers, having some creative sessions with a bride and mom, or helping to plan a 1st birthday for a friend (my customers are friends, sure!). Lunch would be lovely with PB&J in the back with Hubs and the Cap. Home for dinner, something cooked perfectly in the crock pot and Hubs loved it. Served with Red wine (or white.. Or rum & diets, whatever). Bath time for Alex, and bedtime was EASY.PEASY.. (this never happens.. Fantasy)… the day would end with Hubs and me on the deck talking about nothing but something all at the same time, laughing, listening to the Scarlet Pimpernel or Wicked or something broadway. I picture us on our old deck – I think because some of my favorite nights happened on that deck.. And bc we need speakers on our “new” deck.

So the realistic part that’s not fantasy based (owning my store). My morning would start off with everyone home and waking up in good moods. Making coffee, feeding the pup, making breakfast – waffles and turkey sausage for Hubs and the Cap, oatmeal and turkey saus for me. It’s fall. Showering, getting ready, and heading to Columbia for football with everyone! The St. Louis and Indy Clarke’s all come, we tailgate, eat dinner at Murray’s and all stay at a hotel where the Cap is up super late and we all are sitting around watching the kids play.. Lovely!

Fantasy. Breakfast on a beach with eggs and fresh oj. Taking Alex to the Beach. Some spa time. Lunch somewhere yummy. Playing at the pool with Alex, nap time for everyone! Reading Alex books and snuggle time. Babysitter comes. The Hubs and I go to dinner dressed to the nines – drink wine, have apps, perfectly cooked scallops or salmon, dessert.. Yum chocolate! Stroll on the beach. Kissing.

Home to Alex.

So what do your Perfect 12 hours look like? Do you have dreams that you can’t let go of??

xoxo,

Mindy’s cause..

Ray and Mindy ClarkeWe recently had our family pictures taken.. and although I totally hated my hair in them – I loved the pictures so much. This one, of the hubs and I makes me smile, ear to ear.

If you are needing someone to take pics of you or your littles, you should check out Nicki Griffith. She’s a doll. Seriously, coolest lady, coolest job, mega talent!  There are LOTS of amazing ladies (and some gents) right here in KC that do amazing work… we are so fortunate to have so much talent in our little cow town.

I have really started trying to make more of an effort to support local businesses. I feel like it’s so important to help our community thrive. I pledged to help our community by eating local as much as possible this holiday season. There is a great website, Eat Local KC, that can lead you in the direction of great local Farmer’s Markets, Grocery and Healthy Food Stores, Meat Purveyors, and my personal favorite – Kansas City Restaurants! 2 of my favorite restaurants in KC are listed, Aixios and Blue Bird Bistro.. but sooo many are not…  Do you have favorite local hangouts? Beers? Wines? Meats? We would love to hear what your favorite businesses and restaurants in Kansas City are.

Here is a short list of some of my favorites!

That’s all she wrote folks. I know I have often shared my favorites with you. But I would LOVE to hear some of yours. Won’t you please share them with me!
One place, I’d really love to go is up to Smithville to The Justice Drugstore, I have heard it’s so good.

Here’s a little picture that Nicki let Alex take of his mom and dad.. it’s not the best picture of me.. but I think it’s so cute. I am having one printed and put on a shelf in his room!
Mommy and Daddy by Alex

Bunheads and other thoughts…

Has anyone been watching Bunheads on ABC Family? I really loved this show. The part of me that’s been missing Gilmore Girls really loved this show. There is a lovely airy feeling – Amy Sherman-Palladino (who created both) created a lovely cast of characters — many are her Gilmore Girls alums. There is a sadness that only Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore/Fannie Flowers) can play and still have such a wonderful tone. Alan Ruck plays Fannie’s son and Michelle’s (the wonderfully quirky Sutton Foster) new husband.. But as swiftly as they marry – he passes. The first and second episodes are sad but important for the story. We watch as these 2 women realize they are more alike then they thought, and need each other more then they ever would have imagined. It’s cute, not terribly thought provoking (which lets face it… sometimes that exactly what we need), and a good watch.

If you are watching then you will understand my review of the season finale: if you are not, you should check it out.

Alan Ruck’s appearance in the summer finale made me wish he’d show up more often — a la the dead-but-still-kicking Lynda on Providence? (anyone remember that great show??) And how tempted are you to put together your own “zombie apocalypse Vegas slut bag” — minus the pretty mace? Oh yeah.. And the ballet.. It’s awesome too!

 

 

For those of you that want to poke your eyes out because you had to just read the above.. I thought I would share this as well. I have decided that most people would think I have terrible taste in music, movies and TV shows, and if not terrible – then kind of nerdy taste…. and I am totally ok with that. I enjoy sitcoms, bad rom-com movies, chick-lit books that don’t make me think. General Hospital and Gossip Girl. No, I am not a 25 year old girl (although from that description you might wonder).. My taste just hasn’t gotten older even though I have. There are some aspects in my life that have improved with age – my selection of wine has matured (no more 2 Buck Chuck for me), my idea of a great night has matured (although playing some cards with Kim and Rob still sounds like a good time), my love of cooking (very little Mac and Cheese gets made anymore) as well as my ideas on life and loves.

But the important stuff, music, tv, movies.. still a 25 year old at heart! Chew on that for awhile.

xoxo, Gossip.. .er..

Pretty Darn Perfect…

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So here is something random about me: I love pot racks. I don’t really have a good kitchen for them though.. I could..but I’d have to knock out a some walls – and let’s face it – I am not willing to lose a 1/2 bath and a laundry room upstairs for hanging pot rack. So I will look at pictures and love the look of old farm house kitchens with pot racks… and know it just wasn’t meant to be.

I fell in love with my house when we saw it the first time. I didn’t have to look at the bedrooms or the basement, all I had to look at was the kitchen and dining room and family room – and I was IN LOVE! The fact that the master bedroom had a walk in closet and there was plenty of room for Ray and I to both have our own offices (I do not use mine.. Ray will be the first to tell you that) were the icing on the cake that got the hubs as well.

Alex was 10 months old when we moved.  He won’t remember the home we brought him too after we left the hospital, or the room that I worked so hard to decorate for him. This makes me so sad to think about – because I also loved that house. There is a lot of blood sweat and tears at that old PV house and Charlie is buried (his ashes are buried) in that back yard. It’s where Ray and I fell in love, it’s the house we made all of our “plans.”

But the current house is pretty darn perfect for us..even though, right at this moment, I have plans to change some rooms – to update some colors – or fix some areas that need to be fixed, it’s still pretty darn perfect. 

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This summer the Midwest went through a terrible drought. Our perfect house has many cracks inside and out, and I am so very worried that it’s going to cost us our worth, and we won’t be able to stay. I have started looking into basement fixers and mud jackers and foundation repair dudes, and we will weigh our options and fix it, because that’s what you do when you’re a homeowner – but it all scares me  and makes me so stressed. It makes the hubs so stressed too, and I hate that. I wish I could take that all from him.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:34

My Morning Smoothie… and other tidbits about food.

Well, I took a week off from making my morning smoothie, and it really sucked yesterday morning. Apparently, I forgot something, but for the love of pete… I cannot figure out what I forgot. So I started thinking maybe I need to switch it up – so I am searching for a few new morning smoothie recipes to try. I have to be able to add flax seed to them – and since I purchased 5 bananas yesterday the smoothies need to have bananas.  I am also looking for a good protein powder, if you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them.

Here are 2 recipes that I am going to add into my mornings:

Green Monster Smoothie

1 banana, roughly chopped
4 or 5 strawberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 small peach, peeled and roughly chopped
1 heaping cup (or more) fresh spinach leaves, thoroughly rinsed
splash vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. *this recipe makes a very large smoothie.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

Orange, Banana and Pineapple Smoothie


2 bananas
1 cup of fresh pineapple
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups ice
2 tablespoons of honey
Place all of your ingredients in a blender and blend away until ice is crushed.

I will need to add protein powder to this one I think.. Otherwise all those natural sugars in the fruit will cause me to want to go to sleep at around 2pm!

Pasted from Val So Cal

I have also been really wanting some good make ahead breakfast items.. Last night I wiped up some Egg Muffins. I found a recipe on Kalyns Kitchen and revised it in order to use items in my kitchen.

Egg Muffins (Makes 6-8 muffins)

8 eggs
Montreal Steak Seasoning.. (Like Rachel Ray.. I use this seasoning for just about anything)
1-2 cups grated low fat cheese (I used Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella)
Crumbled Breakfast sausage (I use pre-cooked)
Chopped Spinach
Note: You can add just about anything to these.. Seriously – Onion, Mushroom, Brocolli.. Etc..

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Use regular or silicone muffin pan. If using silicone pan, spray with nonstick spray. If using regular muffin pan, put two paper liners into each slot, then spray liner with nonstick spray.

In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat, if using, vegetables, if using, cheese and green onions. You want the muffin cups to be about 2/3 full, with just enough room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients. Break eggs into large measuring bowl with pour spout, add Spike, and beat well. (I used to add a bit of half and half or milk, but lately I like the way they turn out without it.) Pour egg into each muffin cup until it is 3/4 full. I like to stir slightly with a fork. Bake 25-35 minutes until muffins have risen and are slightly browned and set.

Muffins will keep more than a week in the refrigerator.
Bake for about 15 minutes – keep close watch on these so they don’t get to brown.
Microwave on high about 2 minutes to reheat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love weeks when I feel like I filled my body and the Captains body with good healthy food. I worry constantly about feeding him well and making sure he’s getting all that he needs. And I LOVE being domestic well.. at least in the kitchen. I know the hubs would LOVE if I felt like cleaning and laundry were more domestic jobs…. woops. That’s on the list for later this week. I promise!

This week, I tried making 2 big meals to eat from all week. So last night I made a huge Tuna Noodle Casserole (recipe and pics to come), and tomorrow night I will be making pasta with turkey meatballs. That’s a lot of pasta in a week, and that’s not real normal for us.. but I really tried to choose meals that would be cheap and easy and good to reheat. I am happy to report that the TNC did not disappoint today at lunch – and we will be eating it for dinner too.. however, its going to be more of a side dish tonight and supplement with some left over chicken!

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

Will you share a recipe?

Chao for now!

Gettin’ it done

Sometimes I write when I am happy or sad or feeling creative. When I don’t write, it’s because I have a lot on my plate or am not sure how to put into words what I need to say.

I started a new job. I really like it. It’s giving me the opportunity to be creative and analytical all at once. I believe it’s what I have been looking for, and for that, I am thankful.  I have been unhappy for so long in my career choices, and disappointed in myself for decisions I made when I was too young to make life decisions. .. Coming to terms with that and figuring out a path was a chore all in itself.. But I do believe I found something that will help move me along what until now has been a very stagnant path.  Regret is a funny thing. It’s not something you want to have, I can regret leaving Russell Stovers, but ultimately I formed relationships and had experiences that I wouldn’t have if I would have stayed. When it comes down to it. What makes life good, are the relationships and experiences whether good or bad. I have a good life, one filled with lots of relationships and LOTS of experiences, and that’s really all I can ask for. I also have one heck of a husband and kiddo.. Seriously, if I would have changed one thing from the time I left high school, I may not have met the hubs — just goes to show that everything happens for a reason.

At the beginning of the year – I made a list for myself. A list of Mindy wants, of Mindy needs… not a list to share or to talk about – but a list for me to keep track of my dreams and my desires. I wanted to read more (done.. I have now read more “books” (on my nook) than I have in years past..), I have wanted to make an effort to be more frugal (not done, but still working), I wanted to go back to work full-time (done.. And although I like what I am doing now, I miss my Fridays. Fridays were MY day, now I don’t have that time.. So there’s a struggle in how to have some time for me, and time to clean and cook and all that jazz).  I still very much want to be pregnant again, I took a break for a few months to get myself back in a happy, positive mode, so moving forward I wouldn’t be a crazy nut bag while trying.. I think it worked – I mean sure, there’s a level of crazy.. But that’s only normal!

Have you guys read a blog called, Hey Amber Rae? She’s awesome and her site is a really good read. I subscribe to her feeds, and generally speaking find them inspiring and uplifting.. and extremely thought provoking. My favorite are her Ambergrams… check her out..

We’ve had some fun adventures this summer.. here are some pics!

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You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar…

But what can you clean more with.. Vinegar! Why am I just now discovering the many wonderful uses of vinegar. It amazes me. I am buying this stuff in bulk lately, honestly. The other day, I added a cup of vinegar to a cup of water in a glass measuring cup, and microwaved it.. MY MICROWAVE HAS NEVER BEEN CLEANER! I swear. So this prompted me to make a list of all the wonderful things you can do with Vinegar.. this is what I have come up with..

  1. Adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water when poaching eggs helps the whites stay formed. Add a few tablespoons to the water when boiling eggs, and if any shells crack, the whites won’t leak out.
  2. If your leafy veggies are wilted, soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar can perk them right up.
  3. After chopping an onion, you can eliminate the odor from your hands by rubbing them with a bit of white vinegar.
  4. When cooking any vegetables from the cabbage family (like broccoli or cauliflower), adding a little vinegar to the water will perk up the taste and reduce the gassiness.
  5. Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda and putting it down the drain. After letting this fizzing mixture sit for a few minutes, flush out the drain with warm water for a clean and stink-free sink.
  6. One of my favorite vinegar remedies and my personal weapon against fruit flies is to set out a small dish of white vinegar and some smashed fruit, covered with plastic wrap with some holes in it–the flies crawl into the trap, but can’t get out.
  7. If your stemware is cloudy from the dishwasher, wrap the glasses in paper towels soaked in vinegar, let them sit, and the cloudy deposits will rinse right off.
  8. There’s no need to use bleach on tile grouting when you can let vinegar soak on it and then scrub with a toothbrush.
  9. Bring lightly scuffed or dirty DVDs back to life by wiping them down with some vinegar on a soft cloth
  10. If you have water condensation marks on your wood, just rub the piece of furniture with equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil to remove them. Make sure to rub with the grain, and then invest in a set of coasters.
  11. If a child has an “accident” on a mattress, clean it with a solution of vinegar and water. Afterwards, pour some baking soda onto the mattress, and brush or vacuum the residue once it’s dry.
  12. Spraying vinegar onto deodorant-stained shirts before the wash can remove the discoloration. It’s also great for fighting mustard, tomato sauce, or ketchup stains.
  13. Adding a cupful of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine can freshen up bright colors and give you cleaner laundry. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer, and a mildew-inhibitor.Vinegar will also loosen chewing gum stuck to car upholstery, rugs, and carpeting

The list can LITERALLY go on and on.. It’s an amazing substance. Recently I mixed it with a little Dawn dish soap and some warm water and cleaned the Captains crib.. it cleaned it, deodorized it and didn’t leave a film behind. AWESOME!

When I googled sayings about vinegar – the first one that came up was Full of piss and vinegar.. and although it made me laugh out loud, I didn’t find it terribly appropriate for the title of my post. However, when I went back to see what it exactly meant – I thought it sounded a bit like me: Rowdy, boisterous, full of youthful energy. And because I am a big ol nerd.. here’s the history of the term, Full of piss and vinegar:

Origin

The earliest citation I’ve found is from 1938 in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath:

Grampa walked up and slapped Tom on the chest, and his eyes grinned with affection and pride. “How are ya, Tommy?”
“O.K.,” said Tom. “How ya keepin’ yaself?”
“Full a piss an’ vinegar,” said Grampa.

There are other similar phrases that came before that which may be the source.

In 1922 Joyce has this in Ulysses – “All wind and piss like a tanyard cat.”

As far back as 1602, in Return from Parnassas – “They are pestilent fellowes, they speake nothing but bodkins, and pisse vinegar.”

Those earlier citations appear to indicate a more negative meaning to the phrase. ‘Wind and piss’, or as it is more often given ‘piss and wind’ is usually taken to mean empty talk, full of bombast. Vinegar is associated with sourness and acidity in many other citations. Peter B. Kyne’s 1922 novel They Also Serve includes what seems to be a straightforward polite alternative to ‘piss and vinegar’:

“He’s full of pep and vinegar and wild for exercise.”

Vinegar has been in the language as the name of the familiar liquid since the 12th century. During the 1920s vinegar was used to mean vitality and energy and that’s the meaning in ‘piss and vinegar’ and ‘pep and vinegar’. At that time many phrases indicating a general perkiness and vitality entered the language, often for no other reason than linguistic exuberance. It’s most likely that the phrase originated around then, possibly as an adaptation of the existing ‘vig and vigour’, which means much the same.

man, I am a nerd.

xoxox

It’s Big Boy Bed Day!!

oh me oh my.. it’s big boy bed day!

I have been stressing about this for months. Since the day that the Captain crawled out of his crib, TWICE! And although he has not done it again, it stresses me out every night. I will admit that I realize that there are a whole lot of new stresses that will come with this new bed – but I think in the long run it will be best (oh I hope!!).

So the bed will be delivered today at 4 and when we get home, mommy will make the bed, and make a HUGE deal about sleeping in the big boy bed. There are a couple of books that I came across and wondered if I should buy them.. maybe I will put one on the nook – and start there. I so badly want this transition to go smoothly and him be excited about it. I’m pretty excited about it, although I am not totally sure why!

The Captain is at such a fun age right now. He remembers everything, repeats EVERYTHING, and loves his doggie (he’s sweet, Cole sweet), and outside. It’s so fun to watch him explore. His favorite toy you ask?? A stick. He likes to beat the tree with it. Just one tree. The one on the left – doesn’t pay attention to the other identical trees a foot away to his right..

In other fun news. Some changes are a brewin’.. and I am starting to get real excited. I will fill you in when everything is official. And no.. I am not pregnant!

Also, I am going to start exploring some DIY items featured on Pinterest. I am really interested in the cost comparison and length of time it takes to make some of this stuff. The thing I am having trouble doing is determining how much my time is worth. Meaning I will need to take into account – how much time it takes me to go to the store to purchase the laundry detergent vs. how much time it takes me to make it, plus the cost of everything. Any ideas?

I am going to start with some fun stuff. I really want to try one of the Lemoncello recipes, and the laundry detergent recipes. Is there anything you would like to see me try? I will review everything in detail, and if you suggest one – I will send you a sample!

I am feeling crafty again… more to come!

xoxo