Live a Creative Life

“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful; yourself.”
~Alan Alda (1936 – )

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2017 – The Year of Nothing New

Okay. Okay. I said that there wouldn’t be any new year resolutions from me… I’m going to stay the same awkward, sarcastic, foul-mouthed delight that you’ve all come to know and love…

However, in an effort to get my consumer purchasing under control and maybe complete some projects that have been started (or for which the supplies have already been purchased for) we’re undertaking a year-long challenge to buy nothing new (receiving as gifts is okay).

We can buy used items: thrifted, Craigslisted, consignment, etc… but nothing new, never used by anyone else before… with a few exceptions, as this is a 12 month-long project.

Exceptions* include:

  • Groceries (includes necessitous toiletries)
  • Medications
  • Pet food & consumable supplies
  • Fuel for vehicles
  • Kids shoes, only to replace necessitous ones
  • Socks & underwear, if needed
  • Dinner out once a month (includes fast food)
  • Hair dye (but only once I’ve gone through what we have on hand already)
  • Dirt/Soil, preferably in bulk, but a bag or two would be okay if we run just a little low
  • Seeds for the garden
  • Well cistern … IF one goes on a really good sale price. (500-1000 gallons appears to be $400-$600 regular price)
*I reserve the right to add to this list until 2017 begins.
Posted in Challenges, Frugality, Non Consumerism, Saving Money | 1 Comment

Patriotic Picnic Safe Brownie “Ice Cream” Cones

Inspired by Noble Pig’s Patriotic ConesHalf Baked Harvest’s Hot Fudge Brownie and Double Scooped Ice Cream Sundae High Hat Cupcakes…in a Cone!

I kind of mixed and matched and came up with this!2016-07-02 06.41.47

There are many methods out there for keeping sugar cones upright, I had a couple of spare cupcake pans so I went with this route.


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Measuring the size hole I needed for the cones to rest on the bottom of the “just in case” cookie sheet.
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Using a Forstner drill bit to drill the appropriate sized hole (this will vary based on your cupcake tin and support/drip pan.2016-06-29 20.07.33

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If you’re like me a couple of weeks ago, someone who had no idea what a Forstner bit was until I need one to build a murphy bed… this is a Forstner bit.

All ready for the brownie mix.I started by putting a drop of Hershey’s Hot Fudge Topping in the bottom, so the brownie mix at the bottom wouldn’t become rock like.

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Then I just mixed up Ghirardelli’s Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, with an extra egg and poured it in. This first batch was a bit overfull and had dollar store cones. And I followed the brownie mix baking guidelines.

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I had overflow and explosions. Thank goodness for the “just in case” cookie sheet. 🙂

The second batch used store generic cones and left about a ¼” of head room.

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I set the oven at 350 deg and the timer for 30 minutes.

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This batch and the following one, came out perfectly.

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Next up, the frosting. After allowing everything to sit for 24 hours (work and kids call, afterall), I made a basic batch of royal icing (powdered sugar and pasteurized liquid egg whites to consistency).

I didn’t get photos here as my fingers were too sticky, but I dipped the top of the cones in the frosting bowl, carefully trying to keep the mess in the bowl as I lifted it back out, then sprinkled with red, blue, and gold sprinkles.

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Using available containers for drip stands (I only destroyed one cupcake tin. 🙂 )
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The next morning, my first to awaken, youngest kidlet, got an extra special taste test breakfast. 😀

2016-07-02 06.41.39 2016-07-02 06.41.41

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The Third Birthday Bug Ball

The "spread" (Ignore the weird paint job on the house... we're debating colors. :D )

The “spread”
(Ignore the weird paint job on the house… we’re debating colors. 😀 )

I learned how to make and decorate with royal icing (amateurly, but good enough for little kids)! Among other fun projects.

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Cheddar & Olive Bumblebees, stingers up (toothpicks through a paper plate), surrounded by sweet cherry tomatoes (to hid the edge of the paper plate. 🙂 )

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Deviled eggs with olive and tomato ladybugs. A little edible ink made spots on the back. Although I’m not sure how I feel about the look they’re all giving the baby carrot & tomato flower in the center.

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My husband's aunt sent us this amazing mold, which was my little Love Bug's inspiration for the Bug Ball party. <3

My husband’s aunt sent us this amazing mold, which was my little Love Bug’s inspiration for the Bug Ball party. <3

They come out like this. I made chocolate, strawberry, and lemon.

They come out like this. I made chocolate, strawberry, and lemon.

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The night before… ladybugs & bumblebees

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Covered in simple royal icing (pasteurized liquid egg whites, powdered sugar, and color), with candy eyes.

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Leftover strawberry & lemon batters went into heart shaped pans & bumbled about. 😛

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Grape caterpillars, with a touch of edible ink for eyes, were a big hit

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“Bug Juice” (cranberry, orange, strawberry lemonade, with a bit of lemon-lime soda) with gummy worm infested ice cubes.

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Kid craft: organza bags (from the wedding section of the dollar store) to be filled with candy & chocolate covered raisins , pipe cleaners, google eyes, and a clothespin made a great craft/party favor… especially for the older siblings.


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Day 30 of 31 of the No Spend Challenge

How’d we do?

Pretty good. Daina did choose to go out for pizza for her birthday dinner and chose a store bought cake mix for her cake.

$30.67 spent on dump runs
$85.05 spent on fuel for the vehicles
$137.60 spent on groceries (including Daina’s cake)

“Cheats” included:
$2.53 spent on creamer that I diluted with milk
$30.05 spent on coffees & smoothies
$9.62 spent on a few supplies for the Camp Fire club
$45.00 spent on signing Daina up for Fall soccer before the price went up.
$759.81 spent on a high effiency water heater (original price $1300) that we’ll be getting a $500 refund on, after it’s installed and which will save us an estimated $200-$250 a year on our electricity bill. End price will end up being around $350 once the refund is received and miscellaneous parts needed for install are purchased. So it will pay for itself in less than two years.

That last two fell under the “No Spend Shouldn’t Mean Being Stupid” clause. 😀

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…and so it begins

wallet2Day 1 of no spending and I realize I’m low on my coffee creamer. Guess I’ll relearn how to make my own. 🙂

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July No Spend Challenge

saveFor the month of July, our family is accepting the challenge of not spending any money, with the following exceptions:

  • Mortgage / Utilities  / Insurance
  • Medications & Toilet paper (something I’m never willing to deal without. 🙂 )
  • Perishable grocery items; milk, eggs, cheese, fresh veggies/fruit (no garden yet)
  • Daina’s birthday meal (if she chooses something that we can’t make with supplies on hand)
  • Fuel for vehicles… with the caveat that we’ll be conserving it too, so only if absolutely necessary.

We’re not stocking up ahead of time. That sort of defeats the purpose after all. The goal is to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” and save some money while we’re at it.

If this proves a success, we may do more month long challenges or even… Dun dun dun… a full year (with a slightly longer exception list).

Follow up posts may, or may not, be forthcoming. 😀

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Complete fail

It’s almost a year since I was supposed to have completed a round of 101 in 1001 and I completely failed. I actually just forgot about it.

I started a 2nd round of 101 in 1001 on January 2, 2012. I was supposed to finish up on September 29, 2014.

The things I actually completed:

    • Tip a waitperson 50%
    • Register as a bone marrow donor
    • Ask 20 friends to suggest one book, and read them all many of them
    • Take my parents out to a nice restaurant… and do NOT let them pay
    • Go to bed no later than 10:00pm every day for two weeks.
    • Take vitamins every day for 3 months
    • Buy a house (post challenge timeline)
    • Switch from bank to a credit union
    • Write a personal mission statement
    • Create a compost pile (the first one ended up in a yard waste pile when we had to move in April 2013, but we DID have one… and now a new one)
    • Attend a ballet performance (post challenge timeline)
    • Go camping
    • Fling 10 old kitchen utensils
    • Buy a scanner

Result: 13.5 of 101, 2 of which were completed after the end date.

I could make excuses (a lot of stuff did happen during that time frame) but they’d be excuses. There are a lot of things on that list that I could have done, even with chaos and exhaustion. Instead, I shall just forgive myself and move on. It was a challenge, and a worthy one, but not one that will make or break me and those 2.75 years were hardly wasted. 🙂

On to new things.

Things still on a Bucket / To Do list:

  • Volunteer with the Peninsula Friends of Animals
  • Read 5 pre-1900 bestsellers
  • Read 5 books; one each about 5 different religions
  • Learn to read/write/speak a 2nd language
  • Take new “wedding” photos with original dress
  • Participate in a Zombie/ToughMudder/WarriorRun/etc.
  • Assemble a first aid emergency kits to keep in the vehicles
  • Squat my own weight
  • Update will
  • Revamp websites
  • Reorganize my digital photos
  • Reorganize my prints and negatives
  • Learn how to knit and/or crochet
  • Plant and maintain a garden
  • Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet
  • Take a photo of the same place every month for year and then turn it into a calendar for the next year
  • Make pasta from scratch
  • Get to 101 recipes in Healthy Doesn’t Mean Boring
  • Turn HDMB into a print cookbook
  • Make a Scrapbook for Daina (5 years – 07/24/09 to 07/24/14)… and also for Siannon (06/17/2013 – 06/17/2018)
  • Go on a three day road trip, no destination, no husband, no child… just you, your camera, and the road
  • Travel to one country you’ve never been to before (more than one preferable)
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Take Daina the girls whale watching
  • Get passports for the family
  • Get my totem tatoo
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Dear Marvel &

Captain America is not Captain Marvel

Captain America is not Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is not Captain America either

Captain Marvel is not Captain America either

When I search for Captain Marvel (in Clothing), I do not expect, nor want, to see:   or even worse, when searching for “Captain Marvel” with quotes!: Although, to be fair, at least the second search has some old school Captain Marvel stuff on it.   None the less, I want to see things like this:


or this:


or this:

DIY instructions here:

or this:


or this adorable this:

Found on (made by

Captain Marvel has a long history in the Marvel universe and should be represented as such in merchandise. Bonus, Carol Danvers is a kick-ass superhero our kids could look up to if they could find her.

p.s. Marvel… we’re still waiting on a Captain Marvel movie too. Beat DC to the punch with a high profile female super hero movie! You win!… and so do we.

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*stamping on my forehead*


Posted in Inspirational Quotes | Comments Off on *stamping on my forehead*

Read Creatively

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