What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Friday, December 29, 2006

After Christmas Finds

I am trying to be good this year and not fall victim to any cuteness that might lie in wait at Clearance prices in the stores. I have done pretty well. But, stuff is still siting at 50 off. Things look a whole lot different at 75% and even better at 90% off.

I did find this at Wal-Mart and was quite frankly shocked to see it sitting on a shelf. In blogworld, everyone has a cloche. It was the THING to have this year. I hadn't even looked in the Christmas Department this year because I have so much stuff. Too much stuff. Plus, I prefer thrift stores for old vintage items these days. So, to find this vintage looking item on a retail shelf was wuite a surprise.

I think it could use a drop of color somewhere in there, but will think about that next year. Maybe even just some little people milling about. Something. I paid $10.00 for this after looking at it three times and thhen finally deciding to spring for it. $10.00 is a lot of money to me. But, if I had seen it at the thrift for $10.00, I probably would have jumped right on it. I am so odd.

I also found this for my Grocery Store, General Store only village that I have amassed over the years. DH and I met while working in a grocery store, so it seemed only fitting that we buy a Grocery Store as our first village piece. Then it just grew from there. It gets harder to find one each year. Since I am here all the time and this is DH's main money stop on his bread route - it seemed appropriate to join our village this year.

I had spotted these for $15.00 before Christmas, but I knew there would be plenty left after Christmas. I was right and it was only $4.00. It even has a fully stocked produce department in the window which is an added feature as my Dad was in the produce business for about 45 years.

We are headed off to grocery shop in preparation of a possible snowfall and the upcoming New Year's festivities. Must resist temptation.......

Growing Up Is Hard

Christmas Eve 9:00 pm - DS and Daddy decide to wrap the presents for me. They disappear into the bedroom with rolls of paper, tape and some bows.

9:30 pm - DS comes skidding into the bathroom so fast he nearly falls since he is wearing only socks on the hardwood floors. I hear him say, very excitedly, "Look what I made!"

When I turn to look at him, I see that he has fashioned himself a sort of a Super Hero mask out of wrapping paper. He wass so proud that he made it and got it on right and that he can SEE through it. He was just beaming.

The thing is, DS is very tall for his age. He is only 11, but he is 5'3". When he was two people would ask how he liked Kindergarten. Resturants have been charging him adult prices since he was seven. He wears a size 9 Men's shoe. But, in his head - he is about six or seven in the way he plays. He has a very active imagination - he still likes to role play with his toys. He doesn't want to dress like a Power Ranger or play with the little figures, but he still likes the morphers and things that MAKE him a Power Ranger. He still has a big plastic steering wheel and a set of real keys and he often sits on the couch and "drives" it. Although now he goes more grown up places on his trips and not just to Chuck E. Cheese or the toy store. I think it's just fine that he plays hand has an active imagination. Being a grown up is hard, why not be a kid as long as you can be a kid??????

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Catch-Up On The Last Few Days

My Dad got to go home Thursday afternoon. He is now a Diabetic and on heart medication, but seems to be feeling fine. He was out of the hospital less than 24 hours and he had already made a trip to the casino. So, I guess I won't worry about him too much. Well, try to anyway...
On the way home from taking him home, I passed a thrift that I never visit. I had been there one time and it was very high priced. Since it isn't in my thrifting area, I just don't go. But, you never know - so I stopped. We were about to leave empty handed when I spotted a piece of MacKenzie Childs pottery. Well, at least what I thought looked like MacKenzie Childs pottery - I had been keeping my eyes peeled for this for about a year, but had never found any. I picked it up and flipped it over - MacKenzie Childs! Score! Then I looked at the price - $5.00. A bit high for a piece of random pottery at most thrift stores, but actually not too over priced for this particular thrift. I decided I would buy it since I know MacKenzie Childs Pottery is a very hot ebay item. That's when I noticed another piece sitting near it...then another and then another! Holy Cow. I have been looking for this stuff for a year and now I find four pieces at one time!

I ended up spending $20.00 for all four pieces. This thirft took Debit Cards, which I have never encountered at a thrift! Some won't even take checks anymore.

Friday I went to Wal-Mart to do my grocery shopping. I was expecting rude hurried shoppers and tired empolyees. Instead, I was told Merry Christmas but three different shoppers and everyone was so polite, friendly and in a good mood. I usually enjoy a last minute trip to a store where everyone is really grouchy. As they dart out in front of me with their cart and give me a dirty look I say loudy, "AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU TOO!" Last year a lady charged out in front of mea nearly driving over my son. I said, "Oh, no, excuse ME," after she said nothing. She stopped and looked at me and started to laugh. She said, that I really put her in her place and she had forgotten her manners and she was sorry and wouldn't forget this anytime soon. The funny thing was, I hadn't really even realized that I had said that out loud!

On the way home we stopped at the Salvation Army. DS found a stuffed Dragon from Shrek. He was carrying it around and these other customers came over to see if he wanted the Shrek and Donkey they had in their cart, but had decided not to buy. I thought that was very thoughtful of them. We already have Shrek and Donkey at home, so, we declined and wished them a Mery Christmas. I walked past the toy bin and noticed a mass of brightly colored plastic and fake hair. My Little Ponys! I dug through the bin and found 27 MLP's. After I got home I discovered a few are knock-offs, but for the most part they are My Little Pony's. I will list these next week.

Today I will make meat and cheese trays, veggie platters, two Sugar Free Chocolate pies, clean the house and finish wrapping a few presents. Sunday afternoon we will go see my Grandmother and take her presents. Christmas Eve night we will have Christmas with my Mom and Step Dad at my house. Christmas Day my Dad will come here in the afternoon.

Christmas morning Santa will have arrived, leaving big snowy footprints across the living room floor. He eats a few cookies, drinks some milk, fills the stocking and leaves a specially wrapped package in red foil gift wrap. When DS was tiny we bought him a HUGE stocking nearly 3 feet tall. (Boy, Santa wishes we wouldn't have gotten such a big one as it is costly to fill!) DS is old enough to know the truth about Santa, but hasn't admitted it yet. So, I'm not going to split the show. I'll be on my hands and knees in the middle of the night sprinking Baking Soda out with my foot shaped stencil, scattering carrots on the front porch and biting of chunks of cookies. Oh, the things a Mother does for the imagination of a child.

Merry Christmas to everyone out in Blogland. Have a wonderful and safe Holiday!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

(Heart) Trouble

Yesterday my Dad was scheduled for a follow up procedure for his cataract surgery. When he got there, they took his pulse, heart rate and blood pressure and it was through the roof. His heart rate was 177 beats per minute. They called an ambulance and took him straight to the hospital. His friend had taken him since it was in a town opposite of where I live and was a quick in and out procedure. Meanwhile, I was at the thrift store when the phone rang. I assumed it was my Dad telling me he was home. Instead it was his friend, "Eye surgery...heart rate...ambulance...hospital..." and the phone went dead. I didn't know what was going on! My husband called and said they had called him first and that he was at the hospital. I ran home and found the number and called. They found him in the ER and put him on the phone. He said he felt just fine and didn't understand what was going on.

It turns out, he has a heart condition and will need to take medicine to control it. And he is a diabetic which is news to us, so he will need to take medication to control that too. If he wouldn't have been at the eye clinic having his heart rate tested, he most likely would have had a stroke. So, it is a blessing that he was where he was when he was. I will take him home tomorrow. And he will be very happy to be there. And, so will I.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More Candy...

Thought I would share a sweet of a different type today. I made this wreath several years ago, but each year I doctor it up a bit. I found the ribbon last year and was so excited. Before I had a plain red bow on it - but the Ribbon Cndy ribbon just made it perfect for me. This hangs on the front door. I bought lots of candy garlands at the Dollar Tree and cut the candy and lollipops off them, then hot glued them all over a straw wreath. It's nothing fancy, but I think it's sweet. Ha!

DS is still home with the stomach crud. But, I have got to run an errand or two. I have been home with him for five days straight. I need make-up and clothes that aren't stained - I need to see people over the age of 11 - I need to see that Christmas is coming- I have got to get OUT OF THIS HOUSE. I have a zillion gifts to wrap and no paper. Must get out.......(glazed over zombie look on face....)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What's In That Basket?

Lot's of yummy stuff, that's what!

*Thrifty Note: The tins were purchase new at the Salvation Army. Small ones were 25¢, Large ones were 50¢. I bought the basket this week at the thrift for $1.00. It was pure luck that the tins fit perfectly in the basket. Vintage Christmas Napkins were a yard sale find - 8/$1.00.

White Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Talk about an easy thing to make, but it just doesn't get any tastier. I love sweet and salt.

*Thrifty Note: The parchment paper was an after Christams find last year for 31¢. I bought 6 rolls, so I am set for awhile!

Peppermint Crunch Clusters
Everyone is always so impressed with these. I'm embarrased to admit how incredibly easy they are to make. Melted chocolate chips, some peppermint extract and crushed up candy cane. Mix it up and spoon it into a mini cupcake liner. I enjoy making these because I get to work out my agressions and beat the holy hell out of a huge candy cane with a rolling pin!

*Thrifty Note: The liners were purchased new in package at the thrift this week for 5¢.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Made especailly for DH. It is smooth and creamy and delicious. Every time he goes to a craft fair or somewhere they are selling fudge by the pound he gets a big slab of Peanut Butter Fudge. That usually coasts about $5.00. I made all this for less than $1.50.

*Thrifty Note: I found the Peanut Butter Chips on Clearance at Walgreen's for 29¢.

Cherry-Almond Vanilla Fudge
Oh, this is a tasty one. It was nearly 75 degrees and very humid the day that I made all these goodies. That's isn't ideal Candy making weather to say the least. This is still a bit soft, so we keep it in the fridge. I think it tastes best cold anyway.

*Thrifty Note: The Cherries are from Dillion's Close-Out Clearance - $1.00 for a jar so big I'll never find a use for it all.

Butter Toffee

Left: Butter Almond Toffee with Chocolate/Right: Butter Almond Toffee sans Chocolate
This is my personal favorite. It is so easy to make. I prefer it without the chocolate - the men in the house prefer it with chocolate. So, I make a double batch and put chocolate on half of it. This only requires sugar, butter and corn syrup. The almonds and chocolate are tasty additions, but not really necessary. I don't own a candy thermometer so I rely on the old cold-water hardcrack test and it works perfectly every time.

*Thrifty Note: The chocolate is three Hershey's Special Dark candy bars that I got for FREE with the Sunday insert coupon in November.

Decorations (Check)
Candy Made (Check)
Gifts Bought (Check)
Gifts Wrapped

Uh-oh - time to wrap the gifts. The hardest job of all. I wrap a lovely most beautiful Birthday gift because there is only one of those. But there are piles of Christmnas gifts to be wrapped. Mountains, I tell you.

It's the thought that count's right?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Goodies, Goodies, Goodies

I received my Vintage Christmas Swap box from the very talented Lynne. I read lots of other blogs by people that do swaps. They always photograph their boxes unopened and at various stages of opening. How do they do that? I just wanted to RIP it open. but, I did manage to take one photo of the box as I opened it. But, then *RIP*!!! Oh and the charming things it did hold!

I am so in awe of these "Melodee Bells". Each one is made of bright colored aluminum. They look exactly like those aluminum tumblers from the 1950's that hurt your teeth when you drank from them. I love the graphics on the box. After admiring them for three days I finally removed them from the box and put them on my vintage tree.

Aren't you jealous of these little jewels? I wrote and asked Lynne how she could bear to part with these sweet litle guys. Her secret? She bought TWO and kept one for herself! Now there's a gal with a head on her shoulders!
The first Santa is wooden and was hand painted by Lynne herself. The second Santa is a celluloid ornament - I think a Christmas light tucks into the bag on the back, but I am hesitant to try it for fear I will melt him! The third Santa is a wonderful old cupcake or floral pick with a tiny wooden face. So divine!

This fabulous little card holds a secret. The litle girl slips out of her airplane and is a paper doll! There are various clothes included in the card. She will most surely become a part of my yearly decor!

Here's a fun rubber faced Santa for my collection too. He is so funny! I also received a knitted stocking, three vintage glass bells and a set of six linen napkins embroidered with Christmas trees and snowflakes. There was also a wonderufl hardbound book entitled, "The Autobiograpy of Santa Claus" which looks wonderful!

I was at home all day yesterday due to my son's unexpected bout of stomach flu. It was not a pretty sight on Thursday night and much of Friday morning. He stayed on the couch under a blanket clutching a coffee can (you know why!). I stayed in the kitchen and did all my holdiay candy making. I wasn't sure when I was going to get that done, but now it is all done.

I did get one more thing thrown on to my plate this week. I have to make 150 goody bags for all the teachers from 5th grade to 12th grade by Wednesday. I decided on a Hostess cake, a packet of hot chocotale and a candy cane all in a colorful Christmas gift bag with a note that says "The PTSA thinks you are SWEET! Happy Holidays!" or something along those lines.

I'll pot photos ofthe candy tomorrow. I don't think DH will ever get used to me photgraphing everything I do!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Busy Week

First off, today is my Mom's birthday.


She is on her way over for a birthday party with me . WARNING: We, here at monkeybox and all members of the monkeybox family like REAL birthday cake with REAL buttercream icing. And lots of it. The more the better. So what if some of might be diabetic or might need to watch what we eat better. It is a BIRTHDAY. No time to be worried about sutff like that. *Disclaimer: We only have real birthday cake with buttercream icing three times a year, so we indulge. The rest of the year we TRY to behave pretty well. Unless we get invited to a wedding. Because, let's face it, there isn't anything on the planet as good as wedding cake! But, I digress..... Today is also DH's grandmother's 89th birthday.

I have a busy week ahead of me. And if Christmastime isn't a busy enought time, I seen to have all these extra things thrown in to add difficulties. Tommorow I have to take our Saturn in to be serviced. I hate dealing with car maintenance. (Isn't that supposed to be the man's job?) A few months ago we had a computer board replaced. When they replaced it, the mileage suddenly jumped up 2,500 miles. So, they are going to replace it and another board again and that should fix it. Our warranty is based on mileage so it is important to get the mileage corrected. We only have 20,000 miles on it. I will be there 3-4 hours waiting. Luckily, there is a Tuesday Mornings and Hobby Lobby next door so I can roam around there. I do not like to hang out in the "lounge"!

Wednesday is DH's day off so I get to work him like a horse. The hanging rod on one side of our closet has broken off the wall so all the clothes are in a huge heap. DH needs to fix it. He is not handy. Not one itty bity bit. He installed out TP holder with double stick tape when we moved in here. So, I am the handy-gal around here. But, I am not very strong and I am rather short, so I need help with this one. So, since all the clothes are out of the closet, we might as well get rid of the junk we never wear. So, that means......a trip to the THRIFT STORE to donate! Yeah!

Thursday I am going Christams shopping with my Dad. He never knows what to get for my family, so I go and pick things out. He pays, takes it home, wraps it up and I act surprised on Christmas Day. He also goes to Sam's Club and buys us odd things like barrels of peanuts, mounds of Rocher Chocolates and giant cans of Nacho Cheese Sauce. It makes for a rather interesting Christmas! Thursday is also Volunteer day at school to do my weekly copying.

Friday brings make up time for the laundry that didn't get done and the grocery shopping. I wil also buy groceries from my Grandmother. She is extremely picky and buys things that I do not - butternut squash, heavy cream, buttermilk, couscous and other oddities that I have trouble selecting. She needs me to buy meat this week, but since I don't eat it, I won't buy it. Sorry, Grammy. My Uncle is coming in to town for the weekend, so that always means fun times.

So, what's up with you this week?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Secret Pal Goodies

I received a fun package today from my Secret Pal. She lives in Illinois, but that is all I know about her. Tody I got a lovely wooden shelf full of lots of pumice stones, masagers, back brushes, loofahs and all sort so nice things. Plus several bottles of Bath & Bodyworks lotions, scrubs and sprays to boot. Then there was a huge bag of Hershey's Miniatures, a fun pair of pink striped socks, a glass snowflake votive holder and two gardenia candles. Also, a wire wreath with a red cardinal on it that just so happens to be our school mascot. I'm not done yet - she also sent DS two different games and a fat bubble gum candy cane. It was such a nice heavy box of goodies. So, thank you Peaches.

I finally finished my Christmas cards tonight. I planned on doing photo Christmas cards, but didn't get around to that either. I have never done those before and really didn't know what to do. I will plan on that next year. I did have a photo all picked out:
Dh came home for his Saturday afternoon nap today, so DS and I headed out. We went to two thrifts. The one I mentioned last week with the new low prices was first on the list and then we went to the Salvation Army. At the first thrift store I spent $9.00 on assorted 1/2 price Christmas items and a few other items. I got a Serta Sheep keychain. I know Serta Sheeps sell, but not sure about the keychain. But, at 25¢, it will either sell or go to DS's keychain collection. I also bought a stripey bag purse for $1.00. Any true yard saler or thrift go-er has a stripey bag in their possession. This is a bag made of super strong almost screened wire type of material in bright colors. I have five big stripey bags that I keep in the back of the car for saling emergencies (!). This is a purse made of the very same material. I would never use it for a purse as you can see everything and sometimes you don't really want everything to be seen. But, it will be great for the cellphone, camera, and other assorted items when travelling or on a field trip. Mostly, I had never seen a stripey bag PURSE, so I HAD to have it! It was only a $1.00 and a deal for a sure-fire conversation starter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I've been thrifitng again. Bad, bad, bad. Yesterday I had a decent haul at the City Hospital Thrift. The lady that runs it is always asking me if I could sell certain things on ebay. Yesterday it was three stair stepper machines. I keep telling her that I rarely sell on ebay, but she keeps asking. And, I've noticed that she prices things a bit higher to me. I guess she thinks I am reselling everything. Some things I will, but not everything. Besides, can you imagine shipping a stair stepper??? Eye-yi-yi!
Here's part of my haul from yesterday. Yet another box of red vintage Shiny Brite ornaments. It's funny, I sent my vintage Christmas swap partner a box exactly like these from this exact thrift store. So, I think they had been together and now I have bought them both. The stuffed animal looking things are blank doll forms. Sometimes I get in the crafty mood and like to make a doll or a wreath. So, I thought these looked fun and at only 50¢ each I couldn't lose out. The pile on the bottom left is a bag of different pieces of all sorts of Christmas materials and ribbons. It was 75¢. I think I will use some of these things to make the aforementioned doll. The tin is a Sunshine Biscuit tin in the Wedgewood pattern. It was made as a tribute to the Wedgwood pottery company. I am supposed to refrain from buying any tins since I literally have hundreds of them, but this one was special and it lept into my hands. (And so did another nice old one today, Shhhhh.) In the background you see the fabulous hand quilted and hand tied baby quilt that I scored for a mere $2.00.
This is a nice old soft vintage baby quilt - not a new shiny cotton quilt. And, on the backside it says "Bobbie" on it which I find endearing. I will probably use this in my decorating somewhere and might even use it to cover up on a cold winter night on the couch. I don't normally even look in the area where the baby things are since it is generally just onsies and little outfits. But, you just never know what you might find!

Now that the Christmas decorations are up, I thought I would share some of my favorite things. And, Schnitzel with noodles.... I love Annalee dolls. And I really love them at thrift store and yard sale prices. I got the pink girl and the big reindeer at a big thrift store in a neighboring town about six years ago. I planned on selling them near Christmas, but the longer I had them, the more I fell in love with them. And, as you can see, they didn't get sold. They were $1.00 each. The Santa, according to the tag, is actually just from Wal-Mart in the 1970's. But it certainly is an AnnaLee wannabe. He was 50¢.

These three little Annalee Santas came from the City hospital thrift store last year. I remember seeing them as I entered the door and I almost floated over to them. I only saw one at first, then another and then another. I hesitated before looking at the price because sometimes I am not so pleased to see a price like $10.00 on something cool. I was thrilled to see the magic price of 50¢ on each one. The lttle elf mouse came from a yard sale this summer for $1.00.
More finds tommorrow......

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Surprise #1: I'm always on the lookout for any new and unusual Santas for my collection. I am also always looking for any rubber faced Santas because they sell well in Japan. At the thrift last Wednesday I was shopping very quickly because the place was mobbed and there was a ton of great stuff. If I saw something of interest, I just tosed it in my basket and moved on to the next item. I spotted a rubber faced Santa on the toy shelf and tossed it into my basket. I could see the price was only 50¢ so I figured I would just buy it and check it out later for condition, age, etc.
So, when I got home and pulled THIS out of the bag I totally freaked. This is one sacareee Santa! His giant man head is attached to a plastic baby doll body He is wearing a full Santa suit complete with boots and mittens, so you can't tell it's a baby doll body unless you undress him.
Which I did.

For some reason.

Why was that again?

Surprise #2: After downloading the latest pictures on my memory card to the computer I came across this unexpected photo. Seems I have a budding self portrait photographer in the house. And, yes, those are his teeth. He has good teeth. But this picture makes him look like he bought thema the gumball machine. He often takes photos then he is surprised when I mention them. I think he forgets that I will find them and know he has been playing with Mom's digital camera. When he was little, he used to sneak treats and hide the wrappers under the couch thinking I would never be the wiser. That is, until I vacummed and Kraft Singles wrappers and Hershey's Kisses foil got stuck in the vacuum hose. The jig is up Knucklehead

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rain, Flood, Ice, Sleet, Snow

That's what we had yesterday. First it rained and it rained and it rained some more - nearly 5 inches of the wet stuff. The streets flooded, the creek flooded, the ditches flooded - everything was flooded. Then it got cold and it got cold fast. So, the wet stuff turned to ice. Then it started sleeting. And sometime last night, it all turned to snow. I was on pins and needles all day yeterday knowing DS was at school and an ice storm was being forecasted. Finally, the schools wised up and decided to dismiss at 1:00. All the 5th gaders went to the office to call home. I have never known them to do that before! When I answered the phone and it was DS, I didn't know what was going on. He has never called me from school before so it really threw me for a loop! I went and got him and we came home to hunker down for the worse. But, oddly enough even though the temperatures never got past 25 degrees, it is all nearly melted away. At least he got a snow day out of it since school was cancelled all day today.
I made this wreath last week. Is is covered with all the wonderful vintage Shiny Brite oraments I have been finding at the thrifts lately. The colors don't show as beautiful on the picture as they are in person. I used fucshia, turquoise and green ornaments. I thought about adding a bow, but decided against it. I think that would make it too froo-froo. I put in on the bedroom door just to take this photo. It is in the living room above my little grocery store village.
I am slowly decorating the house. I got a great new tree at the thrift on Wednesday. It is tall and skinny with a real bark trunk. It reminds me of a Victorian tree. So, I spent most of the day sorting my goodies looking for the old glass balls that I have been picking up here and there over the years. I also had a brand new box of "Victorian style" bulbs that look old, so I used them. I had several paper maiche houses to add to it and a bunch of paper maiche people too. I even hid a glass pickle ornament like the Victorians did! I'll post a photo once I move everything around several hundred times because I am crazeeeeee.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Wish I Was Dumbledore

Every time I read Harry Potter or see a Harry Potter movie I say outloud, "I wish I was Dumbledore!" When the Hogswart students are in the great hall - Dumbledore will smoothly glide his wand across the air, say "LET THE FEAST BEGIN" and *POOF* the feast is on the table, the candles are aflame, the fire is blazing and the holiday decorations are complete. Wouldn't it be nice?

So, rather than getting up off my duff and actually decorating right now - here are photos from last year! (I have no idea why the url is showing up in addition to the photo - sometimes blogger is a bear!)

This isn't the best photo of the tree. In fact, I have a new tree this year with a ...remote control. Ooooh! Off to the left you can see my three foot tall 1950's rubber face Santa. I bought him at a yard sale for $2.00. I bought him to sell, but fell in love with him so now he guards the tree every year. This picture must have been taken on Christmas Eve, because we don't put presents under the tree until then.

This is on top of the Entertainment Center. I love my big natural looking Father Christmas in the center. I got him at a thrift store for $2.00. (Hmmmm, I see a theme here!) The trees on either side of him are decorated with little paper mache people that I found at a garage sale in a Russell Stover candy box for 25¢. That was a find. Again, I thought I would sell them, but there they sit on my tree. The little cardboard houses are old light covers that I got at a thrift store for 10¢ each last year. The house on the left is a part of my one of a kind village. Why is it a one of a kind? Because my village is comprised of only General stores and Grocery stores, that's why! DH and I met while working in a grocery store so for our first Christmas we bought a grocery store to start our village. But, the next year we found a different grocery store and suddenly we had a village of gorcery stores. Last year I got a Walton's 5 & 10 (the original Wal-Mart store) and this year I have already spotted a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

This is my ever growing Santa collection. Every year I think I will cull it down and get rid of some, but I never do. I remember where I got each and every one of them! One of them is from my Christmas when I was three years old. I especially like Santas made of other things. I have an acorn, a walnut, a crushed tin can, a paint brush, an okra pod, a golf ball, a gourd and lots of other little oddities painted to look like a Santa. Of couse, I have the paper cup Santa from DS's Kindergarten days in there too. On the back of the chair you can see the giant Santa hat that I picked up at a thrift several years ago for $1.00. I put it on the back of the chair so the chair is "wearing" it. Last year I kept finding it in the middle of the floor. I asked DS if he kept moving it and he denied it. So, I spied around the corner one day and saw our little girl kitty pulling that giant hat across the floor. I don't know what she was thinking!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

I bet I am the only person in America that comes home from a day of Thanksgiving dinners and needs something to eat. I am a bit of a weird eater. I really don't like to eat other people's cooking very much. And I really, really hate creamy gooey things like green bean casserole, creamed corn, gravy, etc. And, I don't like any of my food to touch and I only eat one thing at a time. When I am eating at my house, none of this is a problem. But, when I go to someone's house and see all these casserole dishes full of unidentifable food and no one is even quite sure who made what, it is a problem. I usually eat a big piece of turkey and a roll. And today, even the turkey was problematic as I only eat fish and poultry products and someone had brought a big ham and thrown pieces of the ham on top of the turkey platter covering up most of the turkey. Ham cooties! I fished out a piece from the outer edge at the bottom that I felt was cootie free and ate that. I did eat a small piece of pumpkin spice cake that I took and a small piece of pumpkin pie that DH's grandma had made.

In the afternoon we went to my Dad's house where there was no food at all since he decided he didn't want to do Thanksgiving dinner. So, instead, we went to the lake and walked the shoreline and gathered up rocks and sticks to bring home for the yard.

After we left his house we toured tow different cities and looked at Christmas lights. One town had a huge park fully light up and it was absolutely stunning. We got out and walked the walking trail in and out of the lights. DS really enjoyed it and didn't want to leave. We will go back Saturday night for a Christmas parade and walk the trail again.

We finally got home about 7:00 and I devoured a tureky sandwich. I knew I wouldn't eat much today, so I had baked our very own turkey yesterday so we could eat our fill of it in sandwiches over the next few days. I love turkey sandwiches! I just wish I had a slice of cold pumpkin pie too!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Little of This, A Little of That

Gone, but not forgotten. I have been away for awhile. But, not completely by choice. I swtiched this blog over to the "New and Improved" Beta Blogger and then I couldn't find the darn dashboard again! I think I've finally found it and bookmarked it, so maybe I can post again some time soon!

I am ready to decorate for Christmas even though it is one huge job. I strip my living room, kitchen and bathroom down to basically just furniture and then I decorate. Well, actually, since the rooms are then bare, I sweep the ceiling to get down the dust bunnies, then I move the furniture and vacuum under it all then I dust and clean everything like crazy. THEN I decorate. I have so much Christmas stuff that I have to strip the houe down to the bare bones. But, then it lloks like a Christmas Wonderland and I love it.

Turkey Day in Thursday. We will go to my husband's Aunt and Uncle's for "dinner" which is lunch to you and me city folk. We normally go to my Dad's in the afternoon too. But, he has deemed that "unnecessary" this year and will be going out to eat with his "lady friend" instead. Whatever. Friday my Mom, step father, my family, my grandmother and my great Uncle will get together for a later Thanksgiving dinner.

There will be no Black Friday shopping for me. I hate crowwds and I am about finished shopping anyway. We are in the market for a big TV and there is a 42" plasma on sale, but doubt I can talk DH to get up early and go buy it.

I bought a big cardboard box full of ornaments at the thrift last week for $1.50. I could tell there were a few old glass ornaments in there and some Hallmark ornaments too, so I decided to buy them. When I emptied out the box I found these three sweet little jewels at the bottom of the box. They are hand carved and handpainted and just wonderful. My kitchen is chock full of folk art watermelons so I am happy to have saved them form that box!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gone Thriftin' Again

I headed out to my favortie super cheap thrift store today. They were just putting out the Christmas stuff. I stood there for about 30 minutes looking at every single little item. Plus they kept bringing more out. I found this great old handmade needlepoint tree skirt (cat not included) for $2.00.
I got all this great Christmas stuff for next to nothing too. The bell with the poinsettia on top lights up and cost a mere 45¢. The hand carved reindeer was 45¢, Vintage JAPAN Dog and Cat Salt and Peppers were 30¢, the Hallmark Horse Ornament from 1994 was 25¢, the Music box needs a little work but it was only 45¢, The itty bitty tiny paper mache Santa was 5¢ and matches a bunch of angels I already own, the box of glass ornaments was 55¢, the candy garland was 55¢ and the Santa on a flying pig was 25¢. DS collects pigs so I like to find him a different pig ornament every year.
I got all these things for resell too. Mirro Aluminum Cocktail Shaker 45¢, Bamboo Cup from Aiea, Hawaii 25¢, England Floral Motif Hinged lid tin 25¢( Have I mentioned my tin collection? Oye vey), Rain Gauge from old Feed Store 35¢, Christmas pin that I forgot to put in the other photo 25¢, Aluminum Gingerbread man cookie cutter 5¢, Tupperware Salt and Pepper Set 45¢, Tupperware four piece spice set with hanging rack and spice labels 45¢. I'm not a Tupperware gal - but I think it sells for fairly good $$$.
I also got a set of four cast iron and wooden serving plates for $2.60. These are heavy wooden bases with the cast iron inserts. You put the cast iron insert into the oven to heat it up and then serve a steak on it. The metal inserts on these are shaped like cows and very unique. I really thought I could sell them on ebay, but now that I have them home, I realize they weigh about 15 pounds and shipping will be through the roof. But, I will still list them. If someone wants them badly enough, they will pay the shipping.
I went to a yard sale on Wednesday (weird, huh?) and found this fabulous picture. They had a bunch of picture frames in a box for 25¢ each. I spotted this fabulous picture of a little guy dressed like a cowboy. Too cute! I think it's from the 1950's or so. I need to get a more appropriate frame for it. I hate those tacky cheapy looking gold frames.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Today I sent DS off to school and left DH home and set out on a bargain quest. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular - just a deal. I started off at Target. I knew the Halloweeen merchandise went to 90% off yesterday so I thought I might find a hidden deal somewhere. I didn't go yesterday on purpose, first off, we were sick and secondly, I didn't want to be tempted by any decorations or things we didn't need. I mean, everything looks good at 90% off! When I got there, all the Halloween was gone - Christmas stuff was everywhere! But, I went down the candy aisle and looked for out of place items, items with "FUN SIZE" written on the bags, one of a kind items and bags with fall leaves or Halloween motifs. I took it all to the scanners and price checked it. I ended up with one 1000 Grand bar bag for 21¢, Big bag of Sweetarts for 19¢, Nestle Assortment for 42¢, M&M fun size bag for 21¢, two different Starburst bags for 19¢ each, Snickers with Almonds for 19¢, York Peppermint Pattiesfor 21¢, Kissables for 27¢, Mounds for 21¢ and two bags of Milky Ways for 21¢ each. I bought all that and a deck of cards from the Dollar Spot for a grand total of $4.07. My checker was about as happy as I was to see such a deal! A lot of this will go to school for prizes and auction items. Some will go in the freezer and some will go straight to my rear end!

Then I went to Petsmart for badly needed food for the three kitties. Petsmart sent one of our cats a birthday card yesterday. It had a coupon in it for a free $4.00 cat toy. I got a kick out of that. So, I picked her out a six pack of rattly mice for free. I also used four free coupons for Whiska Lickins cat treats. The free coupons have been in the Tidy Cat bags lately. And I used $8.00 worth of coupons for the cat food. My total dropped $16.00 after coupons. I got some serious eye ball rolling from the chick behind me in line who had to wait while they did my coupons. It only took about a half a minute extra to do them so she didn't have to wait very long. Her main problen was she was buying a 50 lb. bag of dog food and didn't bother to get a cart for it. So, whe had to stand there and hold it. Oh well, it was good for her upper body strength!

Since I was close to Chick-fil-A I snuck up there for a box of nuggets for lunch. I love those things! I've been trying to win a party platter on their website, but no luck. DS and DH love Chick-fil-A too so I had to hide my trash so they wouldn't know where I had been!

After that I went to Hobby Lobby and eh gads, right in front of the door was all the Halloween marked 80% off. Look away! Look away! I did fall for a cool sign to stick in the yard that says "Trick or Treat" with a black cat for $1.99. I also found some scrapbooking items marked down in there, so I got away from Hobby Lobby with a bagful for $8.00.

I hit two thrifts on the way home. At one I spent a whopping 50¢ for a Whitey Herzog Bobble head for DH. The lady that works there sent home a Beanie Baby for DS too. They told me that they would be putting out all the Christmas on Monday so I will be the first one there on Wendesday when they open for the week. At the Salvation Army I got a 1996 Longaberger cracker basket with liner for $1.00, a seagrass basket in the shape of a bird for 50¢ and a "Swinger" for $1.00. What is a "Swinger" you might very well ask? Well, it's a drinking glass on a chain that you where around your neck to "leave your hands free for better things". OMG! The picture on the box shows a guy all hoochy-goo with a lady at a party. It is too funny! The chain is a thick cheesy silver chain. It would be great for a "Tacky Gift Exchange" that I am in on - but I think I will hold on to it for a fun family member gift or maybe ebay.

That concludes the play by play of my deal hunting day. ;o)

I swear, I get such a high when I find a deal!

Monday, November 06, 2006

An 18 Minute School Day

DS has had a bit of a chest and head cold since Friday. We did our usual thing on Saturday as we had made a commitment, but her lazed around yesterday. He is taking Robitussin Cough Gels (one of the greatest inventions, ever!), a generic cold medication and Muscinex (another fabulous invention) and feels better when he is medicated. So, this morning, we got up and usual and discovered, much to my dismay, that I had the dreaded funk too. We did our usual morning routine, lunch packed, breakfast eaten, clothes on, armpits deodorized, teeth brushed, etc. and went on our way to school. I dropped him off, drove the entire 1.1 miles back to the house, walked in, made the bed and the phone rang. It was the school nurse saying he was sick and needed to go home. He has a very sweet and caring teacher and she noticed him blowing his nose. She sent him to the nurse saying he wasn't the type to complain, so she was sending him home. He was only at school 18 minutes! I really would not have gotten up at 6:00 am and done all of that for 18 minutes! It's nearly 5:00 PM and he seems to be feeling better. He is building a big house out of Lego's and smashing a remote control Hummer into it, so I assume he feels better.

Saturday we had our Harvest Dinner with the White River Band. I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned that part of our lives. We have Cherokee ancestors and belong to the White River Band of the Northern Cherokees of the Cherokee Nation. Not a band like music, (most people assume that) like a band of Indians or a band of brothers. My step father is the Deputy Band Leader, my Mother is the Treasurer and I am the Editor of the Newsletter. There are lots of other people involved, the three of us just happen to have jobs! We have compiled a cookbook of recipes from modern day (no bake cookies, salads, turkey meatloaf and many, many more)) and recipes from our heritage like Baked Racoon and Corn Pudding. It makes for interesting reading and has a lot of good recipes (well, maybe not the Baked Racoon!). It would make a great gift for anyone that likes cookbooks or has Native American Heritage. If anyone is interested, I have them for $12.50 which includes shipping. All the money goes to support the band and help pay for future powwows, supporting the Angel Ministries for underprivileged Cherokees and many other important things. You can emaiil me at the name of this blog @juno.com. (Maybe that will stop some of the spammers) if you are interested and I promise I won't start selling things on here! (Just this once!)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Here's a picture of my thrift finds from yesterday. I notice now that it is a little fuzzy because I sometimes forget to put the camera on Macro setting once I turn it off. Doh! I mentioned the vintage Christmas items yesterday. I love the little porcelain baby. Her little muslin body is handmade and not very professional. Very homemade, but very cute. Her little diaper even has hand crocheted trim. She was a whole quarter. There are a few pieces of costume jewelry -one of which has three little carved figures on the end to it. It is very interesting. I just love cool old vintage jewelry, but don't have the nerve to wear much of it. I am a little gold hoop kind of gal.
This is the jewelry that I wrote about last wekend from my step grandmother's estate. It's like a big box of chocolates looking in at this jewelry. I love the big chunky oranges and green facet cut beads and the red chunky beads too. The pearls are a pearl collar that would go over a plain colored sweater or a nice blouse - It's not me - but it is pretty.
The set in the box is fantastic. It is Aurora Borealis and in brand new condition. All the earrings are clips. She was a collector of elephants so many of the pins and brooches are elephants. There are a few elephant necklaces too. The upper left corner section is full of Christmas pins and matching earrings. I might convert some of them to pierced and wear them this Christmas.

If you have been reading this blog from the start, you might remember that DH forgot a little Halloween "anniversary" of ours last year. This isn't our wedding anniversary - it's the anniversary of the first day we spent together as friends and had a five hour conversation. The first year he brought me flowers on that date because by that time we were a "couple", the second year he brought me flowers on that date because were engaged, then the third year and every year after that, he brought me flowers because we were married. Then last year, nothing. No mention, nothing. I had a card and a gift for him and when I handed it to him, he said, "Oh, I forgot." The next day he vowed over and over that he would NEVER forget again as he handed me a bouquet of flowers (that were from the REDUCED section - but that was a whole 'nother arguement!). So, Tuesday was Halloween and guess what? He forgot again. I had a card and gift for him which he took, with no question or comment about it. Then last night - two days later - he brought me home flowers again. I appreciate the flowers, but it's not necessary. Just say, "I forgot and I'm sorry." I know it sounds silly, but it was just our special little thing and he forgot about it like it never happened. Okay, whine over.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Okay, so I am two months early. But, I saw my first house today completely decorated for Christmas. And, Wal-Mart looks like the North Pole. Even at the thrift today they had the Christmas stuff starting to roll out. Oh, how I love old Christmas decoations. Vintage Santas, old glass ornaments - even tacky stuff like those bendy elves and pipecleaner winged angels. I've signed up for a Vintage Shristmas swap, so I am on the lookout for goodies for that, goodies for ebay and goodies for me! My thrift purchases from today are still in the car, but I know I got three vintage Santa trays and a Mistletoe "Kissing Ball" comprised of plastic mistletoe and a funny little Santa face pin.

I went to Dillon's - it is starting to empty out getting ready for the big change over. I will miss that store. But, they are still having great deals clearing out the Kroger merchandise. I happened to find something for this years Christmas - something to surely make me the envy or the enemy of the neighbohood. I got one of those HUGE obnoxious snow globes for the front yard. It was priced $150.00. I got it for $40.00. I would never find one that cheap - even AFTER Christmas. DS will be sooooooooooooo excited. He loves those things. So, now we will have the big snowglobe, an 8 foot tall Santa and a 6 foot tall penguin. The house next door has been empty for a year- I wonder if the realtor would mind if I took over that yard too?????

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boo yah!

Well, it's Halloween. But you can't really tell it around here. I never did decorate the house. I did put a few things out on the porch to fool my neighbors into thinking that I did decorate. No costume for DS this year. He'll pass out the candy here instead. I got him a Jumbo sized Hershey Bar since that is his favorite, a fallish 500 pc. puzzle of pumpkins and the DVD "Monster House". There's a funny story about that purchase. When I went to buy it at Walmart yesterday they had the movie by itself for $19.96 and the movie in a box with a book, poster and 3-D glasses for $19.96. So, I opted for the bonus pack since it was the same price. When I got home I opened the box to put everything in a trick or treat pumpkin. Much to my surprise, somone at the DVD factory was sleeping on the job because my bonus box had TWO DVD's in the box plus the book, poster and glasses. So, cha-ching. I'll list the other one on half.com or trade it on my refunding board for some gooides of some sort.

I'm on my way to school to prepare for the Red Ribbon Rally. It is 45 degrees and very windy and I get to spend the day out on the football field. So, I will have chapped skin and bone-straight wind-whipped hair by the end of the day and, most likely, bronchitis by the end of the week! I am supposed to blow up 1,000 red helium balloons. Hmmmm, I wonder why I'm not getting dressed and going - could it be that I would rather NOT???? I like to volunteer, but sometimes I get really get the bad jobs.

Here's DS last year as a vampire. He had just gotten his reading glasses and had to wear them every day.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Weekend Notes

Yesterday DS and I went with my Mom and my Stepfather to clean out his Mom's storage unit. He passed away this summer and yesterday was the day that everyone could get together to go through the stuff. I am a step child and don't know the family too well, so I was hesitant to get in there and dig around. I did try to help my Mom and StepDad find some things that I knew they had given her or that they would want for their home. The whole family went through everything then set box after box to the side to go to the Salvation Army. It seemed okay to me at that point, to go through that stuff and get some things. I ended up with some fun things for the yard and the flower garden. I also ended up with her jewelry boxes full of costume jewelry. I have sorted it all out and culled out the newer plasticky stuff. There is some really great crystal and rhinestone jewelry in there. I might send some back to the other girls in the family, but then again, they did deem it junk yesterday so I'm not sure what I will do with it. Right now it is just fun to look at it.

Tuesday is the Red Ribbon Drug Free Rally at school so I will be there most of the day getting ready for that. It is a lot of fun - the University football players and cheerleaders come and talk to the kids and get them all pumped up. Then the kids walk the perimeter of the football field then get free popcorn and cokes. Then they climb up on the bleachers and sit with their friends and listen to a rock band. They have fun and I enjoy getting to be with the kids when they are cutting loose. This is DS and his friend last year at the rally.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A meeting, a thrift stop and a $1.00 pie

I had a two and a half hour meeting this morning. It literally sucked the life out of me and hassmade me bone tired all day. Once the meeting was FINALLY over, I decided to go to the cheap thrift on a hunt. I got a 1903 copy of "Eight Cousins" by Louisa May Alcott. Old books aren't worth big money, but I love the history and the look of them. It was only 15¢. I also bought a historic romance novel based on the Klu Klux Klan from 1920. Not sure how I feel about that book... It was 15¢ too.

After the thrift I went to my Dillon's one last time before it closes. They are starting to mark down lots of stuff in preparation for the new owners. Today the bakery was on clearance. I got a huge coconut cream pie for $1.00 and a nice big party tray with five kids of breads (cranberry, pumpkin, etc.) on it for $1.00. It is in the freezer awaiting a holiday function. So, this won't be my last trip after all if they are giving stuff away at those prices!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mom's Gotta Brag a Bit

Today was the Honor Roll Assembly at my son's school. He has always made A's and B's but since third grade, he has had a C in Math. This year he has a high B in Math and all A's in everything else. So, he made the A/B Honor Roll. The teacher's got up and gave out awards to a few students too. He ended up getting the "Life In The Food Chain" Award for outstanding Science work and the "Reading Award" for outstanding reading (filling out his reading log, reading every day and reading when he has free time and hasn't been told to read). So, needless to say, Mom and Daddy are very proud tonight! Well, and every other day too!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A New Look for monkeybox

I decided to change the look of this blog this morning. I like the parchment look - it ooks like it's my journal. My old template had a lot of pink in it, which I happen to love, but it didn't suit the photos of DS that I post all the time. So, I think I will keep this one......for a while anyway.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Another Saturday Adventure

This week DS and I headed back towards the same little town we went to last weekend. I saw an ad for a Tractor Pull and thought that might be a fun event. I had never been to a Tractor Pull and could have never imagined what I saw! Tons of tractors, souped up racing tractors, glorified garden tractors, kids pedal car tractors and everything in between.

I have such a thing for old rusty stuff. I'm not sure why. I love the architectural lines of it. And the history that made it look the way it does. I don't know that the tall gizmo is or was, but it has a warning on it about keeping "Apendages free of the mechanism". Ouch!

I didn't know there were this many tractors in the whole state, let alone in one place! You can see the pretty scenery that we had to enjoy behind the tractors. Peak season for Fall colors is next week. There are already a few good spots of color.

This tree is in the cemetery across from the school. I have watched this tree for six years as I have taken my son to school. It is the first tree in town to get color and always one of the very most beautiful!

Friday, October 20, 2006

What a SIlly Boy

If you knew my son from school -you would be shocked at these photos. He is Mr. Business, Mr. Serious at school. Mr. Rule-Follower, Mr. Perfect. His teacher's say, "I just wish he would come out of his shell." Well, guess what - he is a crackpot - a nut job- a goofy kid. He just knows he needs to be all business at school. Beisdes, don't the kids that act like THIS (see above photos) get in TROUBLE at school anyway?????

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