Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trader Joe's for the win


I went to Trader Joe's for the first time,
the first time I went to visit Tony and Kacy in California.

It was pretty much love at first sight.

Followed by sadness.
Because,
no Trader Joe's...

Then our friends moved from Maryland to Texas,
the drive was pretty excruciating
(especially the way home - it's always twice as long...).
But Texas.
Texas we could handle.

We've been extra busy the past year,
but we still managed to visit 3 times since they moved south
(plus Tyler popped in when he went on his Dallas business trip)
and every time we visit,
we go to Trader Joe's.

(And every time we go to Trader Joe's,
we find more favorites...)

On arriving home from our last trip,
I set about putting away our treasures.

When I lifted one of my packages of almond flour/meal
out of the bag,
I saw there was a hole in the seam
and flour was spilling.

If I lived near a TJ, it'd be no big deal;
I'd just exchange it,
but since we don't,
I had a dilemma.

It was probably perfectly fine.
But,
we do live in an age when people are mean,
and that open seal,
though likely an in-the-factory oopsie,
could mean that somebody'd tampered with my flour.
So I really shouldn't feed it to my family.

Darn it.
I really wanted that flour.

So.
I wrote a short book note to Trader Joe's
and explained the situation,
and asked if,
by chance,
they could maybe reimburse my card
Or even just send me a coupon 
(with a long-off expiration date) 
for a free bag.
Or better yet - they could build a store in FSM,
and I could just exchange it there 😁

Yesterday,
I got a call from Desiree,
the manager (or maybe assistant manager?) of the McKinney store,
telling me she was so sorry that had happened,
and could they please send me some almond flour.

Well, sure!

That was more than I'd expected,
but it was so kind.
And I really did want the flour
more than I wanted my $6 back,
so I was pretty tickled.

I gave her our address 
and she told me was going to send four bags of  almond flour,
plus a few seasonal items too,
to make up for all my trouble.
And she apologized again
for the inconvenience.

I told her,
"We already loved Trader Joe's,
but now we love you even more!"
(Tyler said exactly the same thing when I told him about the call)

I talked to Desiree yesterday afternoon
and today, around 9:30 this morning,
Fed-ex brought my package.


Customer service at its finest!

Two(huge) thumbs up for Trader Joe's!!
Especially the McKinney store.
If ya'll go in there, tell Desiree I say
howdy
and
thanks again!!

~

I figure maybe you're wondering what our TJ staples are:

butter.
their butter is the creamiest, butteriest butter ever.
It used to also be the cheapest,
but they've raised the price from $1.99 /lb to $2.99
still worth it,
but I'm even more selective in what it gets used for.
(Josiah thinks I should allow us 2 sticks per week
and if we run out before the week is over, too bad.
That way, we'd be able to ration it until it expires in May)
(kid totally understands budgeting 😋)

creamy (or maybe they call it smooth) unsalted peanut butter.
(nothing but peanuts!)
least expensive, most delicious creamy unsalted pb you'll  ever find.

almond meal/flour
(um. obviously...)

white modena vinegar
(Tyler loves to add this to his salads)

dark chocolate almonds
(the bags are the cheapest way to buy these)

This time, I snagged a couple of cans of coconut milk
and coconut cream,
so those will likely be added to the list as well.,

They have good prices on grass fed ground beef,
and their produce always looks great,
but we didn't get any since the car was already pretty full
and we had an almost 5 hr drive.

~
So ~ do you have a Trader Joe's??
What are your TJ favorite, must buy items?


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Little House in the Big Woods (in fabric)



A few weeks ago, 
I stumbled upon
something I'd been looking for
for several months.


she's wanted to make another one.

Since I have a gift for complicating things,
I thought it would be amazing if I could find 
a block of the month type of quilt-a-long for her.
Something that she could work on 
here and there, over the course of  month,
mostly on her own,
and increase her skills.

Problem was,
everything I found
even for beginners,
was too advanced for an 8 year old.

She'd ask every few weeks
if I'd found one for her yet,
so this wasn't just a passing thought.....

Bloglovin adds posts to my feed
that bloggers I follow
 have 'liked'.
I forget who liked it,
well, I clicked on the link real quick.
And I was delighted to find

Two years ago,
in an effort to get her (then 8 yr old) daughter 
to read the Little House books,
Amy bribed her 
by telling her she could make a quilt block or two 
for each book in the series.



Now, she has another 8 yr old daughter,
so they are sewing along again,
and Lily and Lex will be reading and sewing along, too!

They've been chomping at the bit to start sewing just as soon as we started reading.
(the three of us are reading the books together.
Sometimes we snuggle on the bed,
and sometimes, 
I sit on the couch and read,
while they lay on the floor.
Yesterday, while they listened,
Lexi played with our new patchwork design tiles
(a generous gift from a super thoughtful quilt-blogging friend :-)
and Lily built a bunkbed for Titus and Amanda
(who have yet to be photographed)
out of cardboard, skewers, and masking tape.
Other times one of them reads,
and I practice my knitting.)

I was a little slow to get started with the sewing bit,
because I still haven't got my fabric mess put away from Jordan's quilt,
and the whole fabric choosing overwhelmed me.
But,
we finished the first book,
Little House in the Big Woods,
yesterday,
so I had to bite the bullet.

Lily was starting to get sick yesterday,
so after picking out about 5 fabrics,
she was done.
Lex', on the other hand,
chose 18, 
which we then whittled down to 13,
and she determined what would go where in the block.


I cut the fabric for her last night
(no way are my babies using a rotary cutter yet!)
and she got started
- and finished -
today,
though she had to take a break part way through
cuz she was getting worn. out.
(so was Momma.
There is really no such thing as 'on her own'
when the sew-er is only 8...)

She did all of the sewing and pressing and thread snipping,
but I pinned for her.

She was quite purposeful with most of her fabric choices:
the dark blue with dots is a starry sky,
and the light blue with white is a summer sky with clouds.
Obviously, the bottom grassy green - is grass,
and the red above it is for leaves in the fall.
The fabric with deer on it was a charm square 
that I got as a sample with a fabric order
(though sadly I can't remember from where)
so there were only a few spots it would work.
(Deer came up multiple times in the book)
The Heather Ross fabric had to be in the block,
because it had Laura, Mary, and Black Susan
and of course a tree (tree /  big woods...)
(never mind that Mary would never climb a tree ;-)
The gold above the 'hearth' square is for the wheat and oats
that Pa and his helpers harvest,
and the fabric on the right is just because she loves it ;-)

 

I'm so glad to have found a quilt a long that is perfect for Lexi,
and the fact that Lily wants to join in, 
and we can all read the series together,
is a fantastic bonus.



Speaking of houses - 
when we were walking back to the house after taking pictures,
we (of course) walked by the new house.
I said, "Just think, Lex'!
Soon, when we're going back in the house 
after taking pictures,
we'll walk right up those steps,
and in that door." 
💙


linking up with AmandaJean,
because a single block is a big finish when you're just 8!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday snippets - on a Monday



Continuing on the subject of sleep:

Normally,
Tyler and the kids head out for Sunday school 
somewhere between 8:30 and 8:40.

I lay in bed another few minutes, 
then go to the kitchen,
and hit the 'small cup' option on the Keurig,
where Tyler has already got my fixin's in my cup.

I enjoy my coffee
(it's always so much better when he makes it)
and browse blogs
until 9:00,
when I need to start getting ready for church myself.

This morning, yesterday morning,
they left,
and I promptly fell asleep
and didn't wake up until 9:57
😳
I texted Tyler
then promptly fell asleep
again
and woke up at 12:05.

I guess I was even more tired than I knew...

~

Tyler and the girls had a Daddy-Daughter dance Saturday.
no pictures, sadly,
except for the one itty bitty poorly lit one they brought home,
but they all looked lovely
and they had a great time,
and Lily even won the daughter dance-off.

~

We bought the tub surround for the upstairs bathroom
this weekend.
It was on sale,
plus Lowe's gives Veteran's a 10% discount,
so we got it for $188 plus tax (reg price $239)

While at Lowe's 
we also found a custom counter top/ integrated sink
on clearance for $200 ((originally $583).
It isn't exactly the size we need,
and I forget the name of the material it's made from,
but Tyler did a quick search in the store
and found that we should be able to cut it to size
with just a circular saw.

The counter was kinda bowed,
but we both thought it looked as though it would level out once installed,
but $200 seemed a bit pricey
since there was a risk that it wouldn't,
so we asked if they might come down a bit more
and they dropped the price to $150 for us,
so we bought it.

We had a sink picked out already that I loved,
but I was really concerned about what I would use to waterproof
- really waterproof -
the top of the credenza,
so this seemed like a really great solution
and I'm quite pleased with it.
(hopefully it really will cut easily and neatly...)

~

My elbow is a smidge better.
I can hold my coffee cup now with my left hand,
and sometimes even lift it to my lips.
My 30 oz water cup is still too heavy though.

I was talking with my dad yesterday,
and he suggested a Tennis Elbow brace,
so as soon as we got off the phone
I ordered one from Amazon.
(after making sure that it wouldn't be less expensive at Walmart)

Maybe I will be functioning better soon??

I do hope so.
I've grown pretty weary of this nonsense
and I am quite ready to lift weights
and be a contributing member of the building team again.

Surprisingly,
the one thing I was very worried about
- machine quilting -
hasn't been too terrible,
but hand-quilting 
(which I wasn't concerned about at all)
has been especially painful.

I had estimated about 6 weeks for the quilting,
but it's going to take more like 8,
I think.

Of course, it doesn't help 
that I've decided I don't like the micro quilting
I did on a couple of stars,
so some of my hand-quilting time has been spent
unsewing
instead.

I'm ahead of schedule so no worries.

~

Tyler brought these home for me the other day.


They aren't potato chip clones, mind you,
but they actually quite satisfying.

~
We recently went to Texas again to see our good friends/adopted family.
We had a nice visit,
but Brandon had to stay home to work on school work,
which was kinda bummy.

We got home just in time for me to start cooking 
our Super Bowl snacky-dinner.

~

Oh.
speaking of snacky dinners.
Last night,
I cut up a few sweet potatoes for Tyler to cook up 
in his new little fryer.

I'd recently bought some beautiful dark reddish/purplish 
sweet potatoes,
and decided I'd cut one of those up too.
I was excited at how pretty the two colors would look together.
Plus, more color = more nutrition, right?

I ran the peeler over the potato,
and was shocked to discover
that the inside was white, not red.

I felt robbed.

~

Talk to me about carpet in bedrooms.
(please...)

We'd been thinking not,
but upon discovering that carpet is actually the least expensive flooring option
(excepting perhaps a super cheap laminate, which is not in the consideration)
we are reconsidering.

Right now,
we are thinking to carpet the upstairs.

It will be more comfy for the kids 
and will create a sound barrier,
and most of the dirt that they bring in the house
will be left downstairs,
so that isn't as big of an issue...

What I'm having trouble with is our bedroom.
Going with hardwood and throw rugs would be gorgeous,
but carpet would be a little more comfortable
and a little cheaper.
(and let's be realistic, easier, 
since we wouldn't install it ourselves
but that doesn't factor terribly much into the decision)

Another consideration - 
we have an exterior door in our bedroom,
so if we went with carpet,
would we need to have a different floor covering in front of it??

Also - Tyler does have allergies,
which is one of the reasons we were thinking no carpet.
But - the foam insulation is supposed to cut down drastically on dust,
so that may not be much of an issue.

So - care to help me think through this??


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

sweet dreams


I had 2 girls up
around 11:30 last night,
hungry.

I gave them a glass of milk
and a few crackers,
and then I pulled out a book about other little girls,
and read a chapter and a half
in an attempt to fill 
more than just their bellies.

Ever since I've been a mom
(going on 30 years!)
it's been my habit to spend special time
with kiddos who couldn't sleep.
I gotta tell ya,
I battle (with myself)
pretty much every time;
I really like sleep!

But I also really like my kids...

Sweet dreams, Baby Girls.
Momma loves you.