Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Thanks to all of you who entered my very first giveaway, an item of your choice from KDG Design Co!  I used to determine the winner....

Congratulations to Maney, who said...

Maney, I will be contacting you via email!

I wish everyone who entered could have won ~ but I do have the next best thing for you!  Katie has offered FREE SHIPPING to anyone (from the US or Canada) who makes a purchase from her Etsy shop in the next week!!!  From now until next Thursday, 7/7, you can get FREE SHIPPING on your order with promo code CELLARDOOR.

Thanks again everyone, and thanks to Katie for providing this great giveaway!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

4th of July Decor on the Cheap: Pinwheels

Like I said in yesterday's post, I haven't typically decorated for the 4th of July and I wanted to show a little patriotism this year, but I wanted to do it CHEAP.  Here's another super easy, super frugal idea to add a little 4th of July spirit to your home....Dollar Store Pinwheels.

I bought 2 packs of red, white, and blue pinwheels at the Dollar Tree.  I used one set outside as planter decorations on my front porch....

Need a closer look?

With the other set of pinwheels, I grabbed a metal tin from Target's Dollar section, stuffed it with some cotton batting (the foamy stuff for floral arrangements would be a much better solution, but I didn't have any), topped it with a little red burlap and just stuck in the pinwheels!

It's sitting pretty in one of my latest yard sale finds, our new 7-Up Crate, keeping one of the remotes company (the other is still missing.)

On to the checklist...
Patriotic?  Red, White and Blue....check.
Easy?  Buy pinwheels.  Stick them in something.  Check.
Cheap?  $1/set, for a total of $2...(plus $1 for the bucket, but I already had that).  Check.

I think it's cute, but next year I'm definitely going to "splurge" and get some of the floral foam!

**Don't forget...tomorrow is the last day to end my first ever giveaway!!**

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4th of July Decor on the Cheap: Wreath

For some reason, I have never decorated much for the 4th of July, and this year I wanted to start remedying that.  Since I don't exactly devote a large portion of our budget to seasonal decorating, I needed to come up with some cheap ideas to make our home a little more festive and patriotic.  I turned to the blogosphere and found this cutey wreath from The Creative Imperative.

I loved the idea, wanted to come up with something similar, and here's what I ended up with....

Looking back, I think I should have made the stripes a little thinner so they looked more American Flag-like and not so much like a candy cane, but that's ok.  Please note there are exactly 13 buttons ~ how very colonial of me!

Patriotic?  It's a wreath version of an American flag.  Check.
Easy?  A little time consuming, but my 5 year old probably could have done it, so Check.
Cheap?  I already had the yarn and buttons, so all I needed was the wreath form.  I bought a straw wreath for under $3 at Joann's ~ Check!

As a bonus, I finally took my Spring Wreath off the front door!  Yep, now that it's officially summer, bird's nests were officially starting to look weird and out of place.

**Don't forget to enter my very first giveaway, ending 6/30......check it out ~ there's new stuff in Katie's shop!**

Linking up to a few of my favorites!

It's always such an honor to be featured!  Thanks to the following...

Just Pleased as PunchNightOwlCrafting
Modern Wivelyhood

Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Yard Sale Finds of the Season (so far)

Oh how I love yard sale season!  There's nothing quite like digging through junk no one wants anymore to find something salvageable to bring home.  Sure I typically feel like I need another shower after a morning of yard sales....but ahhh, the thrill of the hunt!  Here's some of our latest finds....

The first picture is comprised of things we found at a nearby neighborhood that has a "junk day" where everyone puts their junk out on the curb, and anyone can take what they want for free (umm, and also a lot of other random stuff from our messy garage).  Ok, ok, so the old window and one side table were actually not on the curb.  They were found .....ahem...... in a dumpster.  But I should note that they were on top and no one actually had to climb in the dumpster to get them :)  So I guess I technically still can't call myself a dumpster diver.....yet.

The old chair needs a seat...which I'm not sure exactly how to remedy yet.  I'll take any suggestions you can give!  There are two side tables there, the one on legs I am planning to paint white and use as a night stand in our guest room.  The old window I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to put yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something and be sure to let you know!

Ok, so technically this isn't a real yard sale deal either - I found it at my favorite local thrift store.  It was marked $8.99 but was half price that day ~ so only $4.50!  I've already taken a can of spray paint to this cute little table, so once I decide what to put on top of it, I'll share it's transformation.

Ok, the next yard sale deals are really from yard sales, I promise.  First, this kid's rocking chair was a great deal at $3 for our little girl who literally loves anything she can sit on.  The paint job was a little scary, but nothing a can of spraypaint can't fix, so it's also currently undergoing a makeover.

I love vintage boxes and crates, and found this 7-Up crate for only $3.  I love that it's divided in the middle and plan to use it on our coffee table to corral the remotes....maybe then I won't have to be continually searching for them??

 We have also found a ton of cheap brand name clothes for our kids (mostly's getting hard to find Jackson good clothes at yard sales lately).  And we even picked up a (free) tray table over the weekend at a yard sale that had ended.  With all these great deals, I still haven't shared our best most exciting find of the season.  Wait for it...............wait for it......

Ohhhhh yeah!  A genuine Steve Urkel doll!  When we spotted this (at a sale that had a garage FULL of dolls ~ it was actually somewhat creepy) we laughed and when they told us we could have it for $1, I knew it was destiny.  Steven Q. Urkel would be coming home with me that day.  Because who doesn't need a daily reminder to "do the the Ur-ur-ur-urkle"?  Meanwhile, Carly is scared to death of the thing and starts trembling when it gets near.  I think it's the stonewashed jeans - she's never seen anything like them.  I might be having a little too much fun with it....Jackson told me yesterday, "Mommy, if you say 'Got any cheese?' one more time, I'm going to have nightmares!"

Hope you enjoyed seeing our newest treasures!

PS...Don't forget to enter my very first item of your choice from KDG Design Co!!

Friday, June 24, 2011's what's for Dinner.

It's been a long time since my last post on freezer meals/OAMC.  My freezer had been looking pretty sparse, but a sale on boneless skinless chicken tenders at our local grocery store and a post on freezer cooking by my bloggy friend Natalie gave me the incentive (aka:  kick in the behind) I needed to do another round of freezer cooking!

This time I focused solely on on chicken meals, since that's what was on sale ($1.59/lb).  I packed the kiddos in the car one morning and headed out to the store, and came home with over 20 pounds of chicken.  I might have told the wide-eyed cashier that we "were just hungry for chicken".  I paid $32.45, made 18 meals (9 different kinds to be sure we had a lot of variety), and froze 1.5 lbs of chicken plain, because after doing all the other meals, I was pooped.  Oh, and no....this does not mean my family will be eating only chicken for the next 19 days.  I will definitely space these out over the course of a two or three months!

19 meals for a total of $32.45 (chicken price only)....averages $1.71/meal for a family of 4!  Not too shabby!  Ok, so the actual meal costs a little more....these are only the main dish, so I will add veggies, fruit, rice, etc to balance it out a little.  And yes, there are ingredients in those bags along with the chicken....but they are mostly marinades or other inexpensive things like beans in the chicken the overall cost for the amount of food in each bag is still definitely less than $2 each.  Even if it wasn't a money saver already, it ends up being a huge time saver and soooo convenient!

Again, the book I typically use is Once-A-Month Cooking and it's one I definitely recommend, especially if you are new to freezer meals.  If you already have the book and are curious, here's the names of the recipes I made this round....  Mandarin Orange Chicken, Herbed Chicken, Chicken Chili, Chile Verde, Karen's BBQ Chicken, Sweet Soy Chicken, Cranberry Chicken, Asian Chicken, and Southwestern Chicken Soup.  My favorites are the ones like Sweet Soy Chicken, which is a "dump recipe," meaning you just dump all the ingredients in the bag.  The chicken marinates as you freeze and then thaw it out, and when it's ready to cook, it's already soaked up lots of deliciousness!!

Here's the super simple "dump recipe" for Sweet Soy Chicken....(I made a few minor adjustments)...
Warm marinade ingredients (1 c honey, 3/4 c low sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp crushed garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger) until honey is melted.  Pour over 2 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken pieces, label and freeze.  When thawed, pour into baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 350.  Uncover, turn chicken, and bake an additional 30 minutes.  I would serve this with rice, some veggies, and applesauce....makes a great meal.

Easy, right??  That amount of chicken is way too much for our family, so I split this and it makes two meals (plus leftovers for the next day's lunch!)  The amount of cooking time seems a little excessive to me, especially if you are using chicken tenders like I do, so you may need to adjust.

Anyway, I heart freezer meals.  I love the feeling of accomplishment and knowing I don't have to take time cooking each afternoon to provide a meal for my family that evening.  This is also a great option if you know of a family in need of a meal....maybe they have been sick, or busy, or you just want to bless them!  Every mom loves a night off from cooking now and then!

Here's a glimpse into my (now packed) freezer...

Ahhh....glorious!  Do you have a go-to freezer recipe you'd like to share?  Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more freezer-friendly recipes?  Check out my other OAMC/freezer cooking posts here!

Linking up to a few of my favorites!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Etsy Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!!!!

My friend Katie is one of the most creative and crafty girls I know (not to mention one of the sweetest)!  We graduated from the same college (I would like to say the same year....but I'll admit I'm older!), and are both transplants to the same area where our husbands grew up.  We get to work together with our church's youth group and I love to be able to see and hear the crafty things she is coming up with!

Lucky for us, Katie just recently opened up an Etsy shop, KDG Design Co!  She is currently featuring some great baby bracelets, key fobs, and dog collars.....and she is giving away an item of your choice to the winner of my very first GIVEAWAY!!!

Her adorable baby bracelets have been appearing on quite a few little cuties I've seen lately.  She uses a lobster claw clasp so no matter how active your little princess is, she won't be able to rip it off :)  The bracelets can be customized with colors you like, Baby's birthstone, or to match a special outfit!  I also love her key fobs....I was just browsing her ribbon collection (which I'm totally jealous of!) in her craft closet last night and I'm trying to decide which key fob to order.  Here's my favorite one in the shop...cute, right?

And finally, the dog collars!  Katie surprised me one day with the perfect collar for our Jakey...Go Steelers!

Not only is the collar cute (at least if you are a Pittsburgh fan), but it is durable and built to last!  Since I know Katie personally, I know she would never sell anything in her store that would be less than perfect!!

*Katie is continually adding new items to her shop, so keep checking back to see what's new!*

Ok, ok, the reason you are here.....the GIVEAWAY!!!  (Open to residents of the US and Canada!)

Katie has offered up ONE ITEM OF YOUR CHOICE from her Etsy shop!  You get to pick!!

To enter, just head over to the shop, come back and tell me in a comment which item is your favorite!  (THIS ENTRY IS MANDATORY).

What's that you say?  You want more chances to win?  Well....ok, you've convinced me!  For additional entries, you can do one or more of the following (please leave a separate comment for EACH).

*Become a PUBLIC FOLLOWER via Google Friend Connect of this blog, The Cellar Door Stories!
*Favorite KDG Design Co on Etsy!
*Facebook, Blog, Tweet about this giveaway (leave the links in your comment).

There's also a chance for BONUS ENTRIES!!!  Yep, that's right!  Order any item from KDG Design Co and get an ADDITIONAL *3* ENTRIES!  (Just leave 3 comments saying what you ordered).

The giveaway will close next Thursday, June 30 at 7PM and the winner will be chosen by  I will announce the winner here on the blog, email you, and you will have until Saturday evening to email me with your choice and mailing information. 


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