Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

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I hope you all have a beautiful and blessed Easter Sunday with your loved ones and friends!!

With love,

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Frugal Fridays.

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Hello, hello!

How was your week? It's time for another Frugal Fridays here :)

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I have to be honest, at first, my week didn't seem very frugal.But after giving it a second look I realized that I was wrong -

  • First, I made my controversial sign using stuff I already had on hand. I was actually surprised at the response this project had received :) It really is interesting to see the cultural differences between many of us, and the diversity that makes life so interesting. Just to answer some of your concerns, I have slippers available for my guests and I rarely point out directly to people to take their shoes off. We do have carpets almost everywhere that keep feet warm but are also  dirt traps. But I hope, the sign will be a polite reminder that that's what we do in our house. And going back to thrifty life, the only thing I had to buy for the sign was a set of stickers :)

  • I made a huge batch of vegetable (not vegetarian) soup that will last us for a few days. Vegetable soup is a great, healthy way to stretch your budget and it can easily be modified to everyone's taste. I actually cooked a piece of meat separately, used some of the broth from it and froze the rest, and now we have the option to use some of that meat in the soup or add it to casseroles or omelets. It will allow us to stretch the piece of meat much further and get a few meals out of it.

  • The gardening season is almost here!!

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I went to my favorite nursery the other day. Unfortunately, I'm way to late to start with our garden this year. I'm ashamed to say but it's still not completely dug up and fertilized (that's why these beautiful plants are still sitting on my kitchen table). Keeping fingers crossed that it doesn't rain tomorrow... But I got some peas for $1/4 (again, not the cheapest price, especially for peas but I'm late to plant them from seeds). I also got cucumbers, including Japanese that are impossible to find at the usual retail stores, kohlrabi that I couldn't buy in seeds and something I'm most happy about - sweet 100 tomato plants! I love them! I bought my first plant three years ago, and my kids eat these tomatoes from the vine. I know, it's a little early for tomatoes but I just couldn't resist. And only 75 c??? Deal! The hardware store charges almost $4 for this tomato, and it's always sold out. I do love my nursery!

  • And the best deal of the week:

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Last Saturday True Value was giving away 1 qt of any color satin paint. I got pure white. I have so many projects that I need it for, so the timing was just perfect. I love me some free :)

So what were your frugal deals and achievements last week? Come, share :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finally a little project to show you :)

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I have a confession to make... I have a big pet peeve! It annoys me so much when people don't take their shoes off at the door when they come to your house. I guess, it's my upbringing speaking... But seriously, I can tolerate when it's sunny and dry outside, so you barely bring any dust in (even though I still don't know where your shoes have been!) but when it's raining and muddy... Really?? I do have children here. And I myself like to run around bare foot...

When the kids were younger, I obsessively wiped the floors after the guests would leave just because...well, babies crawl and eat everything off the floor! I still sometimes grab the broom... And with my closer friends I gently hint. But what to do with other kinds of acquaintances?

A few months ago I saw a similar to this sign on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea behind it. But since I didn't have $40 to pay for it (incl. shipping), I thought I could make something similar, even if it's less fancy.

I used a board I already had and just stained it with leftover stain. I don't have a fancy vinyl cutting machine of any sort, so I had to turn to simple premade letter stickers:

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(by the way, check out the new rug we got for the "dreaded room"! We kind of slowed down working on it because of all the beautiful weather outside and a desperate need to dig my pitiful garden...But I'm just in love with this rug!)

So I just put the stickers on, painted over the whole thing, carefully removed them and slightly distressed the board. I really don't have any step by step pictures because it's just too easy!

But that's what we have hanging in the hall right now :)

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I tried to take a better picture but our hall is really so dark:

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But here's the finished product.

Now am I too blunt? :) Well, you know me well then :)

Does it bother you when people don't take their shoes off when they come to your house, especially when you barely know them?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Food waste and a menu, week 4/14-4/20.

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First, I want to thank each and every one of you who stopped by here yesterday with your kindest comments about my Mom. I seriously have the best blogo-friends in the world!!  We are all excited for her progress and so thankful for it. Thank you, guys, for your sweet wishes and prayers!

This week is all about simplifying in the kitchen! I have so much to do that I just don't have the time to cook.I desperately need to start gardening. Unfortunately, last year I never got to winterize our garden. So it needs a lot more work than I'd like to do... Plus, we got a green house, and it's a bit bigger than the rest of the spot, so we will have to make quite a few changes there. Now keeping fingers crossed that the weather cooperates...

But before the menu, we did have some food waste. There were a couple of things I didn't save. Like this poor potato and zucchini:

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We grilled zucchinis last week but this one, I think, was already going bad when I bought it. I'm not sure how I missed it but, hey, it happens. We also had a bad mango in a bag that I forgot to take a picture of.

And that's what we are eating this week:

Mon.- breakfast for dinner
Tues. - bbq pulled pork sandwiches, salad
Wed.- hot dogs, fries, baked beans, carrots
Thurs.- mashed potatoes, meatballs from the freezer, green beans
Fr.- pasta, steamed broccoli
Sat.- leftovers/TBD
Sun.- Easter dinner with the family

And what's on your menu?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Good news...

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I know I've been a little MIA the last few days. Life has been busy and crazy lately. And I'm so behind on e-mails, it's not even funny. If you happened to e-mail me recently, I'm a bad girl but I promise I will get back to you!!

But today I have something completely different on my mind. My Mom, my sweet, beautiful Mom. I know I haven't given you many updates on her health, especially recently. Honestly, I'm trying to be cautious about the expectations or, maybe, trying to avoid disappointment. Had a fair share of those in the past few months... But the news is too big to hold!

You might remember that she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma back in September of 2013. Since her diagnosis we've learned a lot about her disease, all the good, and the bad, and the ugly. Lots and lots of ugly. I went to be with her when she started chemo treatment.

Fast forward seven months, six rounds of chemo, countless hours in the hospital and on the phone, sharing many cries and laughs, last week my Mom was officially declared in remission!!It's not the end. It's only a step for us but a very exciting one, nonetheless. Remission in patients with multiple myeloma means something a little different. Her next and most important step at this point is a stem cell transplant. And it's not a standard treatment for people over 50 in my country. And Mom is 55...

So on Thursday she got all of her papers and went by herself to Moscow (the only city where they even perform the surgery). She had a great conversation with a doctor at the Hematological Clinic there who gave us hope. The doc told Mom that with her test results, she's a perfect candidate for this treatment! She wants to schedule her for a surgery soon. We should find out more some time next week.

I'm very cautiously hopeful right now. But my heart is also bursting with gratitude. I feel so humbled and thankful!

Yesterday Hubby and I had a chance to go to a Multiple Myeloma conference. I have many questions about Mom's treatment that is different from how it's done here. After the official part of the conference many still went unanswered. But the guest doctor they had to talk there was so much help! He is originally from Germany and moved to the US just a few years prior. Because of that he knows a lot about how the process is done both in Europe and in Russia. He answered so many of my questions and comforted me. He also said something absolutely amazing - that less than 10% of patients go into full remission after just the initial chemo therapy! It makes me even more hopeful!

I don't know what the future holds. And I know that even after the stem cell transplant the disease will eventually come back. But I know that things happen for a reason, the right people appear on our path because there is a higher plan. Again, I don't know what the future holds but I know, God is good...

And news can be good too! :)
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