Friday, July 29, 2011

too many green beans...

I never thought I would say those words!
I adore green beans, so when given the opportunity to pick fresh ones from a friend's garden, I jumped at it!
Over a week ago I picked one little bucket full of beans, some cucumbers, and some herbs. I finally got all the beans strung and frozen yesterday...right before heading out to pick more! (Did I mentioned I might be a little crazy about my beans?)

last week's treasures!

Mike went with me last night, and even though we were in a hurry and only had 30 minutes to pick, we cleared an entire row and got this huge bag full!!
I strung another bowl full last night, but haven't yet gotten around to doing anything with them.

Like I said, I froze the first batch in individual servings (well, enough for one dinner for Mike and I). Should I freeze these as well?
I'm giving some to a friend who is very eager to take them off my hands, but the ones that I've kept are just waiting patiently in the bowl on the counter to be cooked, eaten, frozen, or ????

One thing I love is supplementing our food budget with free veggies like these!! That's one of the best parts of summer!

Any helpful advice or tips for what to do with tons (and I mean tons) of green beans would be helpful! Recipes (other than just your typical green bean side dish) would be amazing as well! If all else fails, Little E will be eating green beans for the next 6 months! :)

Enjoy your weekend!!
With love,
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Friday, July 22, 2011

sewing day!

Yesterday was a sewing day!

While I did do other things, I was able to get a good amount of sewing done yesterday, for which I am thankful!

I made some coffee cozies for Bolsa Boutique! They are stylish, and eco-friendly! I tried mine out yesterday and it looked adorable on my little white starbucks cup :)

I also made Eliyah a bag after taking her to the library and realizing I didn't have a bag to carry the books home in! It turned out pretty stinkin' cute! Now she has her very own "library bag"!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

bolsa boutique

Since the blog has taken on a different direction, I am also taking a more pointed direction in the shop!

Welcome to Bolsa Boutique!
Helping you carry life's accessories in style!

Bolsa is the Spanish word for pouch/small bag & at Bolsa Boutique that is what you will find! Most recently I have made a few Kindle Cases, as well as a pacifier pouch that hooks on to just about anything (bag, purse, belt loop, etc). The burp cloths are still up (even though they aren't pouches or bags of any time) because I still have them, and hopefully someone wants/needs them :)

Since this is the GRAND OPENING or the LAUNCH of this new and improved shop, I will give a coupon code for 10% off any item to anyone who comments on this post telling which item is their favorite! But, you have to hurry, the code will only last this week (through Friday).

Only one photo this week because I'm so forgetful when it comes to this, but better than last week! :)
Another reason for lack of photos--it has been so extremely hot and humid here that I don't really feel like getting all dressed up just to sweat! Hopefully with cooler temps my motivation will return!

I was headed out to Bible study last night and had Mike snap a quick picture!

Dress- my sister's closet
Sandals- GAP
Headband- my mother's creation
Earrings- birthday gift from my granny


Sunday, July 17, 2011

now in the shop!!

The Kindle case from the previous post is now listed in the shop!!

Just though some of you might want to know!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend--its back to the grind tomorrow! I'm looking forward to what this week will hold for this little space. Check in every few days to see what's new!

I'm thinking about posting a few things this week:
*my homemade laundry detergent recipe
*my thoughts on couponing
*veggie picking this weekend (pics included) :)


Thursday, July 14, 2011

new kindle=sewing bug!

Last week Michael's sister so graciously gave us her slightly used Kindle! She had gotten a new one, and thought we might enjoy using her old one...and boy was she right! --Thanks Alicia! We love it!

I had seen some Kindle cases on a blog somewhere (The Pleated Poppy has some in her shop, but the other ones I saw were different). The day we got the Kindle was the day I got a sewing bug! I couldn't wait to try my hand at making a case for it! So, its been over a week, and I am finally getting around to making my case. It took a whole lot less time than I anticipated (partly because Eliyah behaved so well and I was able to do it without many interruptions). I made the pattern myself, and was afraid it was going to be too small, but I made some minor adjustments and it turned out perfect!

I LOVE it! :)

I am actually considering putting some in my etsy shop in the next week or so. If you are interested let me know, because it might be too much work if no one wants one :)

two "new" pieces

There are several (no, many) things I have been wanting to do to make our apartment feel more like ours! I am finally (4 months after Eliyah's birth) getting around to doing some of those things. Just thought I would share the newest additions to our place--although the pieces themselves are rather old.

The first is an old jelly jar cabinet that we purchased at a yard sale a few weeks back. Actually, we weren't even planning to go to any yard sales, but we were staying at my mother-in-law's house while she was away and took our dog for a walk on Saturday morning. We came across this sale that looked great, so we hurried Zoe back to the house so we could go to the sale. The first thing I saw was an old, dirty, white jelly jar cabinet that I fell in love with. It doesn't usually happen like this, but I could just see the potential it had! We talked to the man about it and he sold it to us for $20! It has only taken me about a month, but I finally got it painted the way I wanted it!

The color is from Lowe's (I purchased the sample can for $2.94 and I still have some left over)--it is Green Supreme, but its more like an aqua, a very light aqua. The chalk board paint was left over from another project. So the total cost of this new-to-me piece was roughly $23! Not to shabby, and it provides a ton of extra storage that I need so much in this tiny place!

The second piece is not quite finished, but its basically there. I still need to paint the legs...and will get around to it sometime in the near future ;)

This is my "new" coffee table! I bought it last summer at a yard sale for $10. It was plain wood and had lots of rings on it, as well as some paper stuck to it--don't ask I have no idea how that happened! Anyway, I was getting really tired of looking at it, so I picked up a second can of paint while I was at Lowe's--"Brisk Olive" and I love it! It matched the roman shades in this room almost exactly! I painted it and then took a dark stain we already had in the cabinet from a different project and "antiqued" it. I absolutely adore it!
You can see the coasters that I made in one of the photos. I decided that I didn't want any rings forming on my "new" table, so I sewed up some fabric coasters using material from an old pillow case. I only have 2 right now, but I'm working on making more (it is hard when you don't have your sewing machine at your house)! I feel like the coasters add a nice cottage-y touch!

It really is amazing what a few coats of paint can do! I absolutely LOVE my new pieces and feel like I am becoming more at home with this apartment. I told Michael last night that the dining room (where the jelly jar cabinet is) is easily becoming my favorite room in the house!

My next project is working on some things for our bedroom--the walls are really bare in there! I have some things in the works for art work and such.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Sorry, but I will not be posting a WIWW this week!
I really am sad about it, considering I was aiming at doing it every week and its only week 3 and I am already slacking! :) We were out of town this weekend, so I was busy enjoying my family and relaxing!

I'll be back at WIWW next week though! (I hope)!


Friday, July 8, 2011

roman shades

We have these great little windows about our fireplace in the living room! When we moved in they had these horrible blinds on them (the type you would use for french doors in like the 80's)! Those came down rather quickly, but I never put anything else up. Partly because I didn't know what I wanted and partly because I love the character of the windows and I really didn't want to cover them up!
It wasn't long into this summer that I realized I had to have something on the windows. They are on the side of the house that gets the most sun in the late afternoon and it made it really hot in our apartment. I found a tutorial for making roman shades from mini blinds. It seemed easy enough so I decided to go for it!
I got 2 sets of mini blinds at Big Lots for $3.50 each. My fabric was 2 window panels that I found at Goodwill for $4. I also had to purchase the glue, but had a 50% off coupon on got the glue for $4! Grand Total for 2 shades was $15! Can't beat that! Granted, I haven't embellished them at all yet because I needed to get them up quick! I have some ideas for adding some trim to them eventually!
They were super easy to make (ok, so the first one...not so much, but the second one was a breeze). I could have never purchased a shade for the price I paid to make these! I was very happy with how they turned out, and I've gotten many compliments on them!

And the great thing is, I can pull them up in the mornings to let in the morning light and enjoy the look of the windows (that I adore!). Then close them in the afternoon to keep out the sun! Very functional, cute, and simple...and don't I just love simplicity?!? :)

grocery shop

Ok, so I promised in a post yesterday that I would give the details of our glorious grocery shop the other day! I hope I don't bore you, but oh well if I do!

Our family does the bulk of our grocery shopping at Aldi. (If you have no idea what Aldi is, click here) I am not huge on coupon-ing, although I do it for special purchase items like dairy-free ice cream and milk. (I'm planning to write a post on my take on coupons soon)! If you read my menu planning post you know that I compiled a list of everything that I would need for 2 weeks or menus. Let me just say that I only plan my dinners. I typically have sandwiches for lunch with some type of fruit, chips, or a cookie. So lunches are only semi-planned, but dinners are planned in much more detail.

So I took my list and looked at the Aldi website to see some prices (especially on the bigger ticket items like meat). They don't have everything priced on there, but they have some things which kind of helped me get an idea of what I was going to spend. I then loaded up my planner (with the menu plan), grocery list, pen, and calculator. Let me just say now that this is the first time I have ever shopped like this, and it was a blast--really it was! I took Mike with me, which was so much easier! If you have someone who can help you grocery shop, I recommend taking them! He just pushed the cart and took care of Eliyah, but it was a HUGE help!! (Thanks, Babe!)

We have a budget for groceries for the month, a very small budget I might add. We usually don't do very well at sticking to it, but I was determined this time! I could spend roughly half the budget this shopping trip because I will do another one in the middle of the month. EVERY item that went into the cart got punched into the calculator, and I kept a running total of everything. One item in particular wasn't on my list and wasn't really a necessity, so I put it in the cart, typed the price into the calculator, and wrote the price on my list. If that item put us too far over, I would simply take out and remove the price from the total.

We got our cart full, with more than what we expected to buy! I couldn't help it though! They had a huge sale on bread and fruit! I got 2 loaves of wheat bread (which weren't on the list) for $0.50 each! They had bananas for $.022/lb, blueberries for $0.99, and cantaloupe for $0.69!
Our total was $1 over half of the monthly budget, but that is ok! Next shop I will just spend $1 less than half the budget to make up for that!

I was really excited about how it went! I definitely think taking the calculator along really helped me keep on track and keep from buying too many un-needed items! It really was an invigorating experience and I believe keeping keeping track of the amount I was spending helped me to keep it simple--and that's the goal!

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

pamper yourself

Today I'm linking up with Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

The prompt for today--Pamper Yourself.
How do you pamper yourself?

My answer for that?
Yep! You guessed it--Coffee!

Just earlier this week my amazing stud of a husband took our baby girl for the evening and let me go out for a while by myself! And what did I do? I took about 45 minutes at Panera with a cup of coffee and my computer and then headed to Target (who would have guessed?!?). I could spend all day in Target and all of my money too! It was really nice to sip my coffee and browse through the store (even though I only bought household things like soap and dog food).

Pampering myself isn't something that I get to do often, but I love when I do. Different times call for different types of pampering, but this week it was coffee and shopping. What more could a girl want?

menu planning

There are many ladies that I talk to who make comments such as, "I wish I was better about planning dinners for my family".

I was one of the ladies until just a few months ago!
I struggled with finding the time to actually plan meals more than 1 or 2 days in advance, which caused me to be running to the grocery store several times a week to pick up things I could have gotten on previous grocery runs if I had only known I would need them.

Now that money is a bit tight, I can't NOT plan! So just in case you were wondering, here's how I do it!

Monday is typically my menu planning day, although sometimes I just get a bug to start planning and will start on Saturday or Sunday. I chose to use Google Calendar for my planning (that includes more than just menu too, each member of the family has a special color that is for their appointments and such). Google allows me to keep everything in one place and I can even send myself e-mail reminders of appointments, Mike's work schedule, or what I am planning to make for dinner that night. I simply type in what I want to plan for dinner as an "all day event" in my calendar. In the details I will type in the recipe and any side dishes that I plan to make (i.e. Grilled Chicken, Green Beans, and Rice).

I plan for 2 weeks at a time. I used to do 1 week at a time, but then I was running to the grocery store every week, which is difficult to do with a newborn. So after Eliyah was born, I decided that 2 weeks is a good span of time for me to plan. Some people plan a month at a time. That would work well if you have a pretty set schedule. Mike's work schedule changes so much that I wouldn't want to plan a month in advance because chances are my plans would get messed up by his work schedule. So 2 weeks works for me!

I simply log into my Google account (the same one I use for email) and click on "Calendar". I then begin adding my meals to the day that I think I am going to prepare them. Once I get everything the way I want it I write it in my planner that I carry with me. Then, I go through each meal and write down everything I will need to make the meal...EVERYTHING! Once I have that list, I go to my kitchen and begin checking off what I already have.

As for produce, I try to plan according to what is in our garden right now. It looks like we will be having a good amount of squash, zucchini, and eggplant in the next few weeks. Tomatoes will be on the menu in a few weeks as well.

Once I have marked off everything that I have, I create a grocery list of everything that I do not have! I have used a template that I found in Google Documents for my grocery list, but this past week I simply used a hand written copy. Either way is fine, but writing it saves on precious printer ink! :)

When everything is finalized, I print my 2-week calendar and hang it on the inside door of one of the kitchen cabinets. Mike knows it is there, so if he is wondering what's for dinner he can look and see for himself.

One thing I try to keep in mind is that my menu is not set in stone. Many times things come up and the dinner I had planned isn't going to be the best option. For example, if we have an event at church that I forgot about and we need a quicker meal, I might switch up the meals for my week so that I prepare something on that night that is either super quick or that I can make ahead. Also, we do pizza (cheese-less pizza) every Friday evening. I usually do not plan dinners for Saturdays or Sundays because we will have leftovers or many times will go to my mom's or a friend's house for dinner on those nights.

This week's menu planning went great and our grocery shop was pretty amazing too! I will post later about how I grocery shop on a strict budget and stick to it! I'm also contemplating posting a sample of my menu for those of you who are wanting a visual, or who need ideas on recipes. Would that be helpful to you?


mocha chicken

So we tried a new recipe last night for dinner! I had some chicken drumsticks in the freezer and wanted a new dish to try with them so I searched at and this is what I found!

Mocha Chicken!

Sounds a bit strange, but it was very good and pretty inexpensive too! Drumsticks aren't my favorite, but they are a little less expensive and Michael loves them so we eat them occasionally.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Here is this week's "What I Wore Wednesday"
Mike humored me by taking the photos this week! (Thanks Babe!)

Church--Sunday Morning
Dress-GAP (I actually got the dress about 4 years ago!!)
Sandals-Charlotte Russe
Belt-A hand-me-down from my sister!
Just a closer look at my shoes. They were a gift from my mom, and I LOVE them!

A day at the park! We took Eliyah and Zoe for an afternoon at the park, and this is what I wore!
Shirt- Kohl's (several years ago)
Skirt- GAP (gift from Mike on my 21st birthday)
Beads- Uganda
Sun glasses- Charlotte Russe
Flip flops- Old Navy

Monday, July 4, 2011


"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."
Philippians 3:20-21

Happy 4th of July to you!

I'm certain that many of you have plans for today to celebrate America with family and friends. As we do this, let us keep in mind that while we are fortunate to live in this free country, our true citizenship is not on Earth, but in Heaven.


Friday, July 1, 2011

cloth baby wipes

Cloth diapers...when I decided to do cloth diapers on Little E many people were skeptical (to say the least). Let me just say- Cloth diapers aren't what they were when our grandmothers or mothers used them! They are so easy to use, and save tons of money--and land fill space. I am planning to do a post on just how cost effective cloth diapers are next week. So keep your eyes peeled! :)

Along with cloth diapers I wanted to use cloth wipes. They have also been wonderful money saving little things! I do not use cloth wipes when we are out and about, but when we are at home that is all I use!

You can purchase cloth wipes from the same companies that make cloth diapers, but I made my own for a very low cost! I believe there is another post about them on this site somewhere.

So here are my wipes. They are 4X8" and they work great for my baby. Some people prefer them to be 8X8". It is really up to you! I will just take out a wipe and spray it 2-3 times with the wipe solution (that I made) and voila! Wipe away! I have 15 wipes, but they are never all dirty at the same time. Part of that is because I wash diapers/wipes on a daily basis.

I am going to put these up on my etsy shop and they will be available this weekend! AND just for you (my faithful readers) you can get free shipping on a set of 10 wipes by using the coupon code WIPES. The coupon will expire on Tuesday!

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