Top 10 Superficial Things I’m Thankful For

When I think about Thanksgiving and the act of giving thanks I immediately think about my family, my friends, and my knee’s healing progress.  Sure, if you ask anyone they’d probably tell you the same thing.  It would probably boil down to family, friends, health, or maybe even home and food.

I’m here to be real.  So here is my:

Top 10 List of Superficial Things I’m Thankful For:

10.  Coupons.  Without them I wouldn’t find the hot deals that allow my family to eat highly nutritious meals involving Totino’s Pizza Rolls.

9.  My bra.  Do you know how many women around the world don’t use bras?!  No?  Well… I don’t either.  But I’m glad I have them.

8.  Underwear.  See #9 take out the word bras insert the word underwear.  Yup, I’m just not a going-commando kind of girl.

7.  Books.  It’s an obsession.  I decorate with them because I started to run out of bookshelf space.

6.  Radio.  It’s music, news, and sports for free and it’s on 24 hours per day seven days per week.  You don’t need pictures, just use your imagination.

5.  Facebook and Twitter.  Don’t judge me.

4.  My Android Smartphone.  Even with a crack across the screen.

3.  Sugar.  Mary Poppins was right.  It does make the medicine go down.  And it makes all my favorite treats sweet and tasty.

2.  My 2005 Mazda Tribute.  Last Thanksgiving my Tribute broke down.  The engine went bad.  We didn’t have the money to fix it until about a month ago.  I am so glad to have it back!

1.  My Netbook.  It’s a laptop that fits in my purse!  What’s not to love?!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

love DB

DIY: Icing Cup Pencil Cup

Ask anyone of my friends or my husband and kids… they’ll tell you I HATE to throw things away.  I’m ok if I know it’s going to biodegrade without issue but I know most plastics won’t.  And don’t even get me started about Styrofoam!

If you’re like me (trying to save money and keep above water in this messed up economy) then you bake your own cake from a box (which has been purchased with coupons) when you need a cake.  I also use pre-made icing (purchased with coupons).

But what do you do with those tubs when they’re empty of all icing?  You could recycle them and then go about your business OR you could make something cool for a friend, family member, or (if you’re like me) YOURSELF!

Here’s how I made an awesome icing cup pencil cup.

1. (This is the most important step.)  Remove the icing cup’s outer paper and then wash it.  You don’t want hungry ants coming to call.

2. Pick a favorite paper.  It could be left over wrapping paper, something your kids designed, newspaper with a rubber stamp design.  I picked some scrap-booking paper that I loved when I saw it.


 3. On one side of the paper.  Align the icing cup along the edge of the paper and make a mark.

 4. Repeat step 3 at the opposite end of the paper.


 5. Take a ruler and draw a line connecting your two marks.

 6. Cut along the line you just created.  You should have a strip like the one in the picture to the left.

 7.  Apply craft glue to the inside of the paper strip.


8. Align the paper strip directly under the lip of the cup and begin to slowly put the paper strip in place.  Make sure to rub the paper as you go to prevent any lumpiness in the paper.


9. When you have finished placing paper strip on the icing cup, dab a bit of glue over the seam and smooth with either your finger, a paint brush, or sponge.  This will ensure a seam that stays flat.


10. (optional) You can leave your pen cup as is if you like or you can brush all over with Mod Podge to create a hard shiny surface that looks more finished.  Mod Podge comes in several varieties.  If you want to add a little something extra you can use sparkly or glow in the dark Mod Podge.

Here’s my finished cup:



This project isn’t only for pens and pencils.  Make a series of 3 canisters (by keeping the lids) for organizing your desk, work station, or kitchen.

Happy Upcycling!


Pity: Party of One

I’m throwing myself a party today… a pity party.

A couple of weeks ago I went for blood work and a MRI because my knee pain never resolved itself after the lateral release surgery I had a year ago.

That would be the knee surgery that got rid of my weirdo cyst but that also caused me to be unable to stand for extended periods.  It pretty much ended my career in retail.  Bye-bye, assistant manager job that pays the bills.  Hello, disability that runs out this month!

no money

The results came back.  They can’t explain my knee pain.  Everything looks great as far as the lateral release is concerned.  I do have a small cyst growing on the back of my knee now.  I’ve never had one there before.  I also have a severe vitamin D deficiency.  The doc thinks my body doesn’t absorb it correctly.  Awesome… So the plan is physical therapy and vitamin D and see if I can get back on my feet… literally.

Ok… God doesn’t give us anything that we can’t get through, right?  I’m going to keep telling myself that.  Why?  I asked the doc if I’d ever be able to run again… he made a face that I can only describe as biting into a lemon and being highly suspect of something at the same time.  I said how about lightly jog again.  He made a less severe face and said “Maybe… if you work really hard at it.”  Yes, that’s exactly what I want to be doing… working REALLY hard at being able to jog lightly.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.  An intense job hunt and intense physical therapy.  Yeah… my life’s awesome.

If you’re sitting around your house bored out of your mind, wondering what to do with yourself.  Think of the chick from Myself Better and offer up a prayer.  I could use it.

Ok.  Pity party’s over.  Time to get down to work.


First Day of School 2011

I saw The Mysterious to the bus this morning for his first day of 3rd grade.  I told him I’d upload the pictures so he’d get to see them if he checks MyselfBetter at school.

Have a great day today, buddy!

100_0348  100_0347

DIY: Make a Summer Dress Last Longer

Do you wish you could make summer last a little longer?  I may not be able to guarantee that but I can guarantee that you can take your daughter’s summer fashions well into the chillier months with a few simple snips and stitches AND at the same time get more use out of that long sleeved tee or onesie that she grew out of last year.

What you need to get started to make a summer dress last longer:

  • straight pins
  • thread to match your dress
  • sharp scissors
  • thimble
  • sewing needle
  • seam ripper
  • beeswax or old candle
  • a just outgrown long sleeved onesie or tee shirt (Since we’re adding the sleeves to a garment that already has short sleeves, what didn’t fit before will be the perfect size now.)
  • summer dress (This can also be outgrown if it has an empire waist.  In which case it can be used as a tunic style shirt.)
dressproject2 dressproject1 dressproject12 

How to make your dress last:



1.  Use the seam ripper to remove sleeves from the onesie or tee.


2.  Turn dress and sleeve inside out and pin long sleeve in place over the short sleeve with at least 3/4 inch of overlap.


3.  Take your threaded sewing needle through your beeswax or candle to make it a bit easier to sew.  Begin to make small stitches along the seam line at the edge of the short sleeve of the dress.


4.  Use scissors to remove the excess fabric from the sleeve.


5.  Repeat step #2.  Fold garment in half to ensure the sleeves are even.  Repeat step #3 and step #4.


6.  Sew around the edge of your seam to hem fabric that may fray.  If you have a serger sewing machine at home, this is a great time to bring it out.  If you don’t, whip out your thimble because sometimes you need that extra umph to get through the fabric.  In the picture, the seam on the left is finished off and the seam on the right still needs to be finished.

dressproject9  7.  Once both seams are finished, turn dress right side out, dress up your munchkin and get ready for Fall!**


**This can also work with t-shirts for boys and girls.  I also chose to hand stitch this because I wanted to watch some Star Trek at the same time, but it can easily be accomplished using a sewing machine, as well.





Proud of My Kiddos

We’re having our final yard sale of the season this weekend.  Yard sales are a way we both pare down our possessions and make a bit of extra cash every summer.  Our family tries for at least 3 every summer.  The leftovers are then sent to benefit our local elementary school and fire station at their annual yard sale.

In the past, I’ve suggested to my kids that they should try and sell some things to make a bit of extra room AND money.  I’ve always been met with whines and complaints… that is, until this year.

Both The Mysterious (age 9) AND The Adventure (age 3) were able to get reasonable boxes of JUNK (er… uhhh… I mean useful items) out of their rooms to be sold on Saturday.  Below is what they’re getting rid of.  I’m so proud of how easily this went with BOTH of them.

The Mysterious with his box.


The Adventure with her box.


Good job guys!

How does your family pare down on possessions?

Well… Poop!


NOTE: For those of you who have sensitive stomachs… don’t read any further.  You can see what today’s topic is in the title.


I am awakened to my daughter, The Adventure, saying “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy.”  This isn’t anything new.  I look at her and ask her what she needs.  She replies in the tattle-tale voice she likes to use, “Mmmoooommmmmmmyyy [The Mysterious] pee-peed in front of the poooottttyyyyyy… on the flllooooorrrr.”  I proceed to tell her that I need to pee-pee and then I’ll go clean it up.  Then she tells me “It’s ok… go back to sleep.”

My demanding 3 year-old is telling me to go back to sleep?  I think to myself… hmmm… something’s up.

When I get to the kiddo bathroom, it is definitely NOT pee-pee I see on the floor.

Apparently, The Mysterious, caught some kind of tummy bug at Lego Camp, yesterday.

When I say there was poop everywhere…. well… I don’t think it’s much of exaggeration.  It made me very happy that I purchase the majority of our clothes second hand because he exploded all over the open laundry hamper.  I ended up throwing out a completely saturated pair of pajama pants, underwear and a t-shirt.  But, hey, at least he made it to the bathroom!

After an hour and a half of laundry, bathroom scrubbing, and kiddo bathing, it was over.

What a way to start the day.  Ah, the joys of being a mom.

Happy 60th Anniversary

A month ago my husband, Kirk, and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary.  You can read about it here.

This week my grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Am I not the only one here who is going, “HOLY CRAP!”?

I’m so proud of them because they’ve been through some S#$%! together.  Let’s face it folks… their relationship has spanned more than a half century!  How could they not have gone through some S#$%! together?

There was a time that I was sure that they weren’t going to make it.  Sometimes I’m still not sure they’re going to make it.  They, both, love each other AND get on each other’s nerves.  A couple decades ago they figured out sleeping in separate bedrooms would help them… and it did.

They fight, they hug, they love, they glare… they’re fun to watch… I love them.

I love my grandmother’s spunk, fight, and stubbornness.  I love my grandfather’s tenderness, sensitivity, and stubbornness.

I guess stubbornness is what they share and what has made their relationship strong.  They have the stubbornness and the will to fight the good fight.  They enjoyed the good times and stuck it through the bad times and have come out the other end at 60 years of marriage.

I’m proud of them and I hope one day to join them in achieving such a mile stone.  But that’s in God’s hands.



The Compromise

Lately, my darling daughter, the Adventure, has taken to two annoying little habits:

  1. Playing in both her drink and other people’s drinks.
  2. Refusing to eat her applesauce on her own… ie “Feed me mom!”  By the way, this ONLY happens with applesauce.  She’ll happily scoop up yogurt, soup, jello, or anything else with a spoon.
Last night, she was playing in her water at the dinner table asking me to feed her the applesauce in front of her.
I simply told her.  Miss… I will let you play in your water until the cows come home if you eat your applesauce all by yourself.
There was a pause…
… then, in a blink of an eye, her applesauce was gone.
I said a deal was a deal and told her to commence table top water play in her cup.
My little Adventure happily played in her water cup until it was time for her tub.
Lesson learned?
Sometimes you have to give some to get some.

Compost Cab


We all know about Cash Cab

… the cab that goes around New York and Chicago and picks folks up and has them answer questions for cash.

Well, meet Compost Cab!

If you live in the Washington DC metro area meet your new best friend to sustainable living.  The Compost Cab will come to your home or business, drop off a bucket, and later pick up your compostable scraps.  Then they will bring you ready-to-use compost.  They take out the middle man.

What an awesome way to help the earth and help yourself!

I live about 37 miles away from Washington DC, how the crow flies.  They don’t pick up in my area yet, but I’m eagerly anticipating expansion to the rest of Northern Virginia.  I currently bin compost on my own but I’d love to compost more items that take longer and are more of a sanitary concern so close to my home like dog poo.