Category Archives: Family life



Aw crap!

Before I get into the meat of this post, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to all the lovely folks at for hooking me up with an awesome blogging buddy group! They’ve been awesome and supportive for the whole 24 or so hours I’ve been part of it! You may notice some changes in the upcoming days and weeks as per their great suggestions {Do you see the buttons on the right? Recommended by my group and graciously created by Craftiments} and I expect this will eventually start looking beautiful and professional in no time! Anyway, onto the crap… literally. :-/

I’ve been absent from the blog for the last two weeks as I was preparing for “The Wedding Reunion: First Anniversary.” Apparently my family and friends liked each other so much and enjoyed hanging out with each other both in pre-wedding preparations and the reception that they couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing each other again! So sweet! But that left hubby and me to clean for the whole week up to the weekend of the 22nd, prepare, cook, bake, etc for the whole weekend while entertaining a huge number of people, and then clean up the aftermath!

But it was SOOOOO worth it! El Señor {my dad} paid for the food, my brother and his girlfriend bought the booze, hubby prepared everything {with a little help from the little wifey}, Melissa brought delicious homemade peach cobbler, Blake and Natalie brought margarita mix and cutlery, and El Señor made his FAMOUS Apple Krinkle! Only family can have this recipe, except he gave it to an extended-family member once and has been in the doghouse ever since. At our most occupied, our apartment living room had 15 people crammed into it, plus two dogs, and everyone was teasing each other and loving on each other and it was great!


But you better believe that there was some serious cleaning up to do afterward! Having that many people in our home may have made Erda nervous, maybe someone gave her something she shouldn’t have eaten, maybe she wanted to cover the smell of strangers with her own smell. I don’t know. All I know is that little miss Erda crapped all over the living room rug! UGH!

01 Carpet

You know I’m all about frugal, being one half of a poor-college-student-newlywedded couple, but I do have two tools that I felt were worth it to buy. We got a Bissell Carpet Shampooer a while back to help with Charlie’s messes, and we recently purchased a Bissell Vacuum Cleaner to help mitigate Erda’s destruction. We didn’t necessarily mean to purchase two Bissell products, they were just both available around 11 pm at our local Walmart for a reasonable price.

02 Tools

Let’s talk about what to put in the carpet shampooer. The manual says to never put any liquid other than Bissell approved shampoos in it. POPPYCOCK! While you probably shouldn’t load it up with straight bleach or anything like that, you absolutely can put other cleaning fluids into the water chamber that work better than their expensive carpet shampoo formulas.

My main concoction is 1/2 cup white vinegar and fill the rest of the tank with HOT water from the tap. BOOM! You will be amazed! My carpet has never been cleaner! And it will save you so much money! A gallon of vinegar is $2.88, while a quart of cleaning fluid is anywhere from $8-20. I’ll just let that sink in…

04 vacuumed

I began by vacuuming up all the bigger bits. This included dog hair, craps of paper, and any chunks of crap {gag} that the vacuum could pull up. A little better, right?

05 gross

Gross. Just so very gross. I swear we don’t live like this.

06 Cleaner

I went a little bit further with my cleaning supplies this time, since I was so grossed out. I combined in a plastic tub {A plastic drawer! Ha! Told you I’m cheap!} a quarter cup of Gain {almost any laundry detergent should be fine}, a whole cup of Extra Strength White Vinegar, and hot water. Mix that up and you are ready to go!

The Diet Coke was just for me. Don’t put in on your carpet.

Onto the first spot…

07 spot  08 cleaning

Dip your scrub brush in the water, place it over the offending spot, and scrub!

10 clean!

CLEAN! Well… cleaner.

11 further in

And one you are done with one spot, look up in despair at how much is left! JUST KIDDING! It went a lot quicker than I anticipated. This concoction took the stains and crusties {gag} right out of the carpet with almost no effort! There will be the occasional bigger chunks {so much GAG!} where you may have to pull it up with your fingers so as to not risk grinding it into the carpet. But the hot water mix helps it release its hold on the carpet.

14 picking

Are we having fun yet? Nope? Didn’t think so.

Once I got a goodly amount of area wet, I used my carpet shampooer filled with the mixture I mentioned above {1/2 cup white vinegar and fill the rest of the tank with HOT water} and sucked that soapy mess right out of the carpet! See?

15b divide

I failed to get a good picture of the carpet post-trouble spots or a picture of the dirty shampooer water {gag}, but I did get a bad shot of the pile of crap that I pulled out of the carpet. NICE!

16 crap

Because I know you wanted to see it. There are also a couple strands of carpet yarn segments that I pulled out on accident. But all of it is safely in the dumpster.

Total price: $0.40

1/4 c. of Gain – $0.221 c. of Vinegar – $0.18
Hot water – Free (sorta)


I swear I haven’t forgotten you!

I’m sure this happens to you. You’re going along in life and all of a sudden BAM! And then you’re running like a scalded dog for 17 hours out of the day.

I haven’t updated this blog in about a week but I swear I will soon! In the meantime:

Hubby got a job! He finished training and started this week.

My family and friends are in town for a reunion party. They had so much fun at our wedding a year ago that they wanted to do it again. Since I refused to throw another wedding, they’re just here for the drink and the people.

I’ve finished cleaning the office AND the living room! Next I’ll be working on decorating in the office, living room, and kitchen in as CHEAP and male/female-friendly as possible!

Stay tuned!

Thrifty First Year Anniversary Gift Guide – Paper

I am so excited to tell you all that this Sunday, June 16th, is the Hubby’s and my first year anniversary! I can’t even tell you how excited I am! We have made it one year without killing each other and thankfully it wasn’t that hard.

But of course with each milestone, gifts must be given, especially with a milestone as important and this one. So I take to the internet-machine to figure out what I am supposed to be getting for him. According to, the first anniversary is traditionally paper.


Yes. Paper. What am I supposed do with paper? How am I supposed to give paper? When in doubt, ask Pinterest!


Um… Uh. Okay, so these ideas are fine and dandy if that is what you’re into. This, however, is NOT what hubby is into. These ideas are really cool for the giver, not necessarily the receiver, especially if the receiver is a guy. So what’s a girl to do?

After some thought, I’ve come up with a few hopefully unique and useful ideas for… paper.



I am not even close to kidding. I think that “paper” was designated to anniversary number one because newlyweds are BROKE and money would be the most helpful thing for them. Right? Especially if they are newly wed college students.

But this is a practical gift to give even between certain spouses if given in the right spirit. If the Keeper of the Finances sets aside even just $20 for the spouse to spend on whatever he or she wants, no questions asked, no stipulations, no saving any part of it to put toward bills, especially if the couple hasn’t allowed themselves many {or any} extras in quite a while, then this is a pretty sweet gift! We have a gift card left over from Christmas for $10 at Barnes & Noble and we are so excited to spend it between the two off us. I think if Hubby had $20 all to himself, he’d be so excited!



Who doesn’t love a good wine? Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Zinfandel, oh my goodness when is Sunday going to get here?! And there are plenty, PLENTY of cheap and tasty wines at your local grocery store, unless you’re in a dry county, in which case I am sorry for your loss. I can pick up my favorite cheap bottle of wine at the HEB grocery just up the street for under $5. At 4 pours to the bottle, that comes to $1.25 per glass! That same glass of wine can go for $4 to $7.50 at many local restaurants, so you can already see how much you’ve saved!

What does wine have to do with paper? The label on the bottle is paper, obviously!


Magazine Subscription

I love gifts that keep on giving! Potted plants. Jewelry. Puppies. Any gift that doesn’t get “used up” is excellent. But in my humble opinion, gifts that continually surprise are the best! Of-the-Month Clubs are great! But if you can’t quite afford one of those, magazine subscriptions are a great option for those who want the joy to last through the entire year.

Hubby loves Men’s Health, and at you can get the Print & Kindle combination subscription for $19.95 ($2/issue). What a steal!

If Hubby {or one of our friends} is reading this, he and I would both enjoy a subscription to Opera News, available at for $22.95 ($1.91/issue).


Gift Certificate

If you are poor but like eating out, then this is the website for you! Just type in your ZIP code, hit ‘enter’ and BAM! Food for cheap! Buy your sweetheart a gift certificate at 60% off at, print the certificate, and no body has to cook or do the dishes for a night! And you won’t be put in the poor house over it either! I’m not saying that all the restaurants they will be listing 5-Star dining experiences in your area, but to be fair some of the most romantic and meaningful times I’ve had with my hubby have been at one of the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joints around town. Nothing says romance like ordering a Piña Colada for your hubby so he won’t look like a sissy ordering it for himself. For the record though, he orders his own Piña Coladas now. So proud!

brown butcher paper


Or beef and cheese slices. Pick up some spicy mustard and some marbled rye break. Grab a couple of drinks while you’re at the deli too. Because what could be better than a picnic in a local park! And since it’s wrapped in Butcher PAPER, it’s will totally fit this anniversary’s theme! If you’d rather head home for an indoor meal, grab some steaks {in butcher paper} and let the Hubby do the cooking! Men like to grill. It’s fun for them. And I know I want my Hubby to be in a genuinely good mood instead of just putting up with the romantic pomp and circumstance.


Lottery Tickets

This one is really more for entertainment value than anything else. Be sure to get the one where you pick your own numbers and wait for the announcement, NOT the scratch-offs! And of course the numbers you pick MUST be your anniversary date! It’s surprisingly fun to daydream about what the two of you would buy with all that money if, I mean when, you win!

For the record, when Hubby and I win {we’ve played the lottery exactly once during our entire relationship}, we are going to pay for the renovation of our church’s 60-year-old organ. And probably get the church a new AC unit for the hall.

Has this ever happened to you?

Has this ever happened to you?

A series of seemingly random events have occurred in your home. Your brain, filled with a thousand other worries, tries to come up with a reason and ends up with nothing. But somewhere in the back of your mind, you’ve figured it out. You know what you need to do to stop these horrible events from continuing. But you don’t commit to it! Maybe it was too far-fetched. Maybe it was too simple. You let it slip back into the recesses of your mind while you are at school, at work, at the gym, running errands. You come home again and WHAM! It’s happened again! And it all clicks back into place! You could have prevented this new disaster if you’d just believed in the power of your own mind and taken action before now! But it’s too late…


I have lost my favorite wicker laundry hamper!

I’m so sad! And it’s only now, with this final piece of evidence that all the pieces come together. Everything she has destroyed has been right next to the front door and the front window! Other dogs come by and she gets upset and anxious that we aren’t home with her and she destroys whatever is near that wall! She never destroyed the laundry hamper when it was in the bedroom. It’s all to do with that wall and probably what’s on the other side of it. Oh well. It’s only stuff.

Erda, ever ironic

My dear friends and family know that I love irony as much as anyone. A good bit of irony can really make me smile. And while I did chuckle at this, irony is not really something I enjoy in my own home.

Erda, my sweet puppy of two weeks, enjoys making messes. Even as I type this, she’s laying beside me taking turns between chewing up and ripping the stuffing out of her purple monkey and Charlie’s stuffed duck. Charlie is really a good sport about sharing his toys and possessions. Just this past week, I called them over to the kitchen to give them each a steak bone left over from dinner. Chuckster came running, got his bone, and disappeared around the corned.

“Erda!” I called. “Erda, come get a treat!”

And around the corner came Charlie sans his bone. I was not about to give him a second bone so I went to go find Erda, who hasn’t quite gotten the swing of things around here yet. I walked around the corner to see that Charlie had given Erda his bone! How precious is that? Anyway…

We purchased a brand new vacuum, the Bissell Powerforce Helix Upright Vacuum. I love it so far, but I’ll actually review it when I’ve had it for a few months. We bought this to help us clean up Erda’s incredible messes. We didn’t take it out of the box right away, however. We live in an apartment complex and don’t want to be those people who vacuum past 10 pm. So we left it to the next day but that was apparently NOT SOON ENOUGH for little Miss Erda!


Yep, she chewed the box open for us! She’s both helpful and considerate, making a mess on which we would immediately get to test out the vacuum! She’s thoughtful.


Charlie is here telling us, “You see that I didn’t do this, right? I am in no way responsible.”


Erda was so sorry! Can’t you see how sorry she is?


Oh well. She’s just a puppy and she’d doing better every day. She’s destroying fewer and fewer things and we’re getting a better handle on what kind of toys distract her the longest. She’s especially thrilled with a rubber hollowed-out stick that we can cram peanut-butter in either side. She also loves to steal Charlie’s toys. She’s nearly completely murdered Charle’s duck at this point which I suppose it what it’s there for.

Charlie and Erda

Please excuse a mother’s gloating but I really have to introduce you to our newest baby, Erda! She’s a German Shepard mix! Ergo, the German name.


It’s pronounced like “air-da” or [ˈɛr da] for any of you who know IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). I got it from a character in Richard Wagner’s “The Ring Cycle,” a German opera about Brunhilde (“It ain’t over til the fat lady sings” — the one with the horns and hubcaps — that Brunhilde!) and Sigfried. Anyway, Brunhilde comes into being when her father Wotan, king of the gods, had an affair with Erda (ERDA!) the wise mother earth goddess, to create Brunhilde, the leader of the Valkyrie.

“A ha!” you think! “Valkyrie! A word I recognize!” See? You’re far more cultured than you think! But instead of a helmet with horns or wings, she has a cone! Poor baby girl got her “lady-parts” done! And since we can’t have her licking the stitches, she got a cone whenever we couldn’t be around to watch her.


But we do have another dog, Charles Barkey, aka Charlie! And while she can’t lick her stitches with the cone on, he could! So we put her in the bathroom while we went to church that first Sunday. Just for a few hours. She’ll be fine for just a few hours


Well she was fine but the bathroom was not!


How can such a tiny little girl make so much mess?! Not to mention the drapes, the valance, the two pairs of blinds, the door jam, the crotch of my pajamas, Hubby’s shoe, and my shoe. We’ve had her for two weeks at this point. *sigh* Oh well. Things are replaceable and she is so happy to be out of the pound with all the toys (hers and Charlie’s) she can murder. Seriously, our living room looks like a stuffed duck massacre.

Charlie and Erda

But our sweet boy, a two-and-a-half year-old Chocolate Lab/Golden Retriever/Chow-chow mix, weighing in at 130 lbs of solid muscle and teeth, absolutely loves her! And between Charlie (who shows affection by burping in your face), Erda (who makes messes and farts likes a boy) and Hubby (who, let’s face it, is a guy), it’s like living in a frat house! Falling asleep in strange positions, finding weird things stuffed into places they shouldn’t be, and messes every time I turn around, it’s really like my own little slice of Frat-House-Heaven.