Sunday, October 21, 2012

“True love stories never have endings” - Richard Bach

It's been a crazy two weeks. I had a health scare and I've been distracted with life around me. So I'm trying to refocus.

I started this blog because I am a single mom and just looking to connect with others who may feel the same way about life, or experiencing something similar. I wanted those people to know, they aren't alone. I know how lonely life can be sometimes.

So tonight, I wanted to start what will hopefully become my weekly Sunday night single parent topic.  Which reminds me....I need a catchy title. Please feel free to suggest! If I choose your title, I'll redo a piece of furniture for you as a prize!!! Ok, don't you all go typing at once! :)

Ok, back to the blog of the evening ... Some of the distracting things these last two weeks have been helping friends and loved ones through some tough times they are having. Whenever I do that, it reminds me of how lucky I am for my daughter.

I always tell her, and she loves to hear it, that she saved me. She saved me from myself, who was lost, lonely, and insecure. I've never felt love like I did when she was born.

This year while surfing through Pinterest, I found a pin that described a way to focus on the good in your life for the year. (You can see that site here) Any time Grace or I have a memory we want to remember, we write it down and put it in the jar. On New Year's Day we will read the great memories we have had during the year before. It helps me focus on the good things in my life. I can't wait to read them New Year's Day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tonight is a pity party night. Does any one HATE them as much as I do?!?! I feel like yelling at myself, "Get over it!!! You chose this life! Look at all that is good!!" But there is that pity party planner in my head saying, "Yeah, I know, but I don't care. I'm sad, I'm lonely, I don't know how I got here! Plus, I already made the party plans of eating chips and watching Lifetime Movies!"

It's funny, beause I started this blog to help oither single parents know they aren't alone. If you know me, you know I'm not one to share my feelings. So letting people know I'm having a pity party right now, is not like me. My friends know I'm a control feak, and blogging about this makes me feel vunerable. But I want to be able to connect with others. Maybe another single parent out there is feeling the way I do.

So tonight I'll have my party. (Sorry you're all not invited.) And tomorrow when I wake up, I'll be back to my normal mom/teacherness. It's just tonight....that's normal, right?

Friday, October 12, 2012

"All you see, I owe to spaghetti." - Sophia Loren

That quote describes my learned cooking skills perfectly! Seriously, spaghetti and scrambled eggs (which I once made via microwave only) were what I survived on in my adult life before Grace was born. Once she ate solid foods, we added microwaveable pancakes to the menu! My lucky kid, right?!?!
My friend Karen's amazing meals began to inspire me to want to branch out. Plus she has the patience of a saint with me! So, I desperately tried to make her fried chicken, because who doesn't LOVE fried chicken?!?! Ummmm, yea....EPIC FAIL!!! Three times in a row now.
So I've finally come to terms with not being able to make fried chicken (my new plan is trying to get invited to Karen's house instead when she makes it). Instead, I've been scoping Pinterest (of course!) for recipes. I discovered a site where I found what we had for dinner tonight.... Cheeseburger Pie!
When Grace asked me what was for dinner tonight, and I replied, "Cheeseburger Pie" with excitement.... well let's just say I could hear her thoughts, "Oh God Mom! Another Pinterest meal. UGH!"
I thought it was a perfect meal because neither of us like the bun when we eat burgers, so a thin "crust" was a perfect solution. Of course Grace hears the word "pie" and immediately cringes. (She doesn't like pie) But here's the recipe and some of our photos to go along with it.
Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, OR 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped dill pickle slices
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups shredded American cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Unroll crescent rolls and press into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch pie pan.
  3. Cook ground beef in a skillet until browned. Drain well.
  4. Stir in onion, chopped pickle, ketchup and mustard.
  5. Sprinkle with flour and add pickle juice and milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  6. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  7. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and top with remaining cup of cheese. Let stand until cheese melts.
  9. Garnish with extra ketchup, mustard and pickle slices.

Here's what it looked like before going into the oven.
And here is the completed dinner.... waaaahhh laaaahhhh

 Grace only wanted ketchup on her piece and I had ketchup and mustard on mine ....


 And the final judgement.... all fingers were crossed!! Here's my critic mid first bite. (Posting pics like these is why I'm collecting her therapy fund!)

AND THE VERDICT IS................
(she's so cute, isn't she?!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"I started out with nothing and I've got most of it left." - Groucho Marx

I soooooo feel like that's my life most of the time! Which is why I came up with this "crafty" way of solving a problem I had .... HANGERS!

I know what you are thinking...Ummm Kate, you can get hangers at the Dollar Store! Get a grip. I'm not talking about normal hangers though, I'm talking about hangers for doll clothes. I made that cute little wardrobe for Grace's American Girl Doll clothes, but she has more clothes than hangers! (No, I have no idea how that happened. All I can say is "Grace" happened!)

So, I posted on facebook asking for help looking for doll clothes hangers. All wonderful suggestions! I searched everywhere people suggested ... AC Moore, Toys 'R Us, Walmart, Target, and Michaels Crafts. I even searched online. I found them online for $8 for four hangers, $8 for eight hangers. WHAT?!?!?! Are you friggin' kidding me??? My big butt clothes hang on hangers for less than that!!! AC Moore, Walmart, and Target didn't have any, but Michaels did. Unfortunately, they were too small.
My friend Leslie even suggested baby clothes hangers. Some how, I actually had a few here, even though my daughter is 9 years old and I swore I got rid them all. Unfortunately, they were too big. But after all this searching I got an idea!!

And that idea was ...... PIPE CLEANERS!!! I knew going to college for teaching would come in handy some day! :)
So, I was going to go to the Dollar Store and pick some up. (Or possibly ask fellow teachers to "donate" to my "Keep Kate Sane" fund!) But by the act of the power from the "other side" ...... SURPRISE!!!

What is that you ask?!?!?! My grandmother from the "other side" had me open a box in an old container that I have of hers that was filled with material. And look what I found!!! PIPE CLEANERS!!! Can I get an AMEN?!?!?!
Of course she had them cut up, and twisted as petals for flowers...but who cares?! My heart was doing the FREE FREE FREE dance! (Thanks Mommom!!!)
So I untwisted 3 "petals" and put them together as one. I began to think that just one long pipe cleaner would not be sturdy enough, so I decided to use two and then twist them together.
I took the twisted one and twisted one end about one quarter of the way down from the other end like so.....

And then I shaped it to look like a hanger, like so.....
And WAH LAH!!! Doll clothes hangers!!! If there was a high market for this, I'd so be rich by now! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." - Phyllis Diller

My daughter has this on again off again love affair with her American Girl dolls. She will go through phases where she plays with them and even sleeps with them 24/7....then there are those times she doesn't even know they exist. When she "cleans" up her room, the $40 outfits for a $100 doll get thrown in the bottom of her closet. Can you hear the heart attack I have when I see that??
So since I have this thing about redoing furniture, I was on a mission to find a piece that I could transform into a semi wardrobe for the American Girl doll items. Goodwill is one of my favorite places to look for such pieces. I looked for months....I found nothing that would work in the limited space she has in her room.
One day about a month or two ago, mom and I (and Grace too) were out antiquing. We were driving by a street where I saw a piece that someone had at the end of their driveway to throw out that would be perfect!! So we stopped. Mom knocked on the door and asked if we could take it. It was generously given to us for free by the homeowner, who also tried to convince us to take the other two pieces. Turns out these pieces were kitchen cabinets that he had torn out. Here's what it looked like only I turned it upside down.
Yea I know....hard to see any kind of prettiness in this, but I saw it's potential! So I striped the nasty dirty brown plastic covering off of it, and sanded it down. (Side note - I got to use my new electric sander which was a lot of fun! However, if you look close at this piece, you can tell I was an electric sander virgin on this project!!!)
Took the doors off, then I filled in the holes with wood putty and sanded again (by hand this time). I painted it with a white paint that also had white primer in it.


 My daughter's room is in the beginning stages of changing over from polka dots to a zebra theme. So once everything dried after THREE coats, (dDefinitely not what I expected. Thought it would be much less than that.) I wanted to trim the doors in zebra to give it some character. Well, we had left over zebra duct tape from Grace's duct tape bracelet making party in August, so I used it to trim the doors.

I also bought little white door knobs to put on the doors to help Grace open them easily. They were plain white plastic. I painted little zebra lines on them with black paint.

 (Sorry this pic is being a pain!!)
As you can see on the outside of left door, I ran out of duct tape!! Seriously, only about 12 more inches needed!! I wanted to scream!!! So the project was put off yet another day (it had already been two weeks of working on it a little at a time). But no fear! I got more tape and finished! I also decided to trim the little baskets I got for 90 cents at Target on my couponing deal! (see earlier posts)
(The labels were made out of zebra scrap booking paper.)
I thought I was finished but then realized that  the top was just too plain. So I decided I wanted to make a zebra runner for the top, which would also help protect it from the wrath of my daughter! :) My mom had extra zebra material from a project that she and Grace did this summer, so I "sewed" it with my magic tape and iron! It's a little wide, but it works for now.

We used a spring rod inside to hang the clothes. And now I'm on a mission to find doll clothes hangers because we have more clothes than hangers. Of course I forgot to take a pic of the inside. I'll try to remember to take one later.
So, after several months of this big ugly cabinet sitting in my living room collecting dust, it is FINALLY finished and in Grace's room for use! It was a fun project and Grace loves it. So all in all, it was a success and cost me a total of $28 for paint, more duct tape, spring rod and door knobs. Not a bad deal, huh?!




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Dating is pressure and tension. What is a date, really, but a job interview that lasts all night?"- Jerry Seinfeld

Any of you ever feel that way? Dating before having my daughter was one thing, but it's so much harder now.

The bottom line is, I don't want men in and out of her life. I'll already be paying for enough therapy just for her being an only child of a single mom as well as the racial differences! I don't need to add more drama to her life!

I keep thinking I'm choosing someone better than the last one, but in the end they all seem similar. When it comes to the end of your relationship with a person, does anyone else hear Dr. Phil say something like, "If you throw enough rocks up in the air, eventually one of
them is going to hit you on the head.”??? (I don't even know what that means!) Am I the only one hearing he good doctor? Maybe I'm a little crazy....

I just recently ended the third somewhat serious relationship I've had in the past 9 years. As my daughter gets older, it's getting even harder to date and explain why things don't always work out, especially when she really likes him, like the last one.

How do you handle this with your kids? My immediate jerk reaction is to stop dating all together and just focus on her and I until she is in high school and doesn't even want to spend time with me any more. But is this realistic?

Of course I've been searching blogs for any answers to these questions from other single parents. I've discovered there is no real concrete answer. Every circumstance is different, as is how each child may handle it. I was disappointed there was no cut and dry answer.

However, after reflecting a bit, I did discover a silver lining..... I'm not alone. Single parents everywhere are doing the best they can just as I am. One. day. at. a. time.

And that is comforting....

Now, if anyone would like to contribute to Grace's future therapy fund, please email me directly! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you." - Erma Bombeck

I thought I'd discuss a blog that my assistant at school has me addicted to. My assistant has many obsessions (don't get her started on her Congressman obsession). Most I don't understand, but this one I'm so glad she introduced me to!

The blog is called The Lettered Cottage. It's a blog on interior design, but most of their stuff they refurbish/redo to decorate a room. Layla and Kev are a friggin' adorable couple that create such beautiful rooms! You have to check them out!

They even have step by step instrutions on how to make things like the pictures below.

DIY_Mirror  Mirror Rosette  Fireplace thumb

I love there stuff! They have such great ideas! I can only dream of having a blog like this. I wish I were THAT creative!

You have to check out one of their recent posts on a fall mantle. If you find these letters somewhere in the area, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY!!! I've been looking everywhere for them!

If you are into home design, this is definitely a blog you want to bookmark. You can also friend them on facebook! Happy decorating!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"I'm so poor I can't even pay attention." -Ron Kittle

Is that not the truth these days! In this economy, everyone is looking to save a buck. Especially me!! As a single mom with a kid who's passion is horseback riding (not a cheap activity), I'm looking for any deal I can get!!!

I LOVE the show Extreme Couponing. However, I think those people are a little crazy. Buying diapers and having a stock pile of them in your basement when you have no babies, or even kids for that matter.... that borders on insanity a bit.

However, thanks to my amazing couponing coach Janet, I've done my own version of extreme couponing...a more realistic one. You know getting the things you actually need, maybe one or two extras.

So, my first attempt was at Rite Aid. I'll never forget the cashier's face. She didn't believe it was real. I got 4 bottles of Pantene which are normally $19.96 for a grand total of $2.12. For me this is a great deal because it's the only shampoo and the BEST conditioner for my daughter's hair.

The next deal I got was on Bayer aspirin. Again , this was at Rite Aid. Normally four bottles of Bayer is $17.96. My total was $0.00!!!!!! That was awesome! I walked out with such a high! :)

My third deal was on vinegar. If you are an avid Pinterester (yes, I made up that word), you use vinegar for EVERYTHING! From cooking to cleaning!! This was a Target deal. Normally $3.71, my total...FREE!!

This next one was my big whammy! A Target deal that I got because I happened to walk into Target on the right day! Items in the dollar isle were 70% off. So things that were normally $1 were only $0.30. Things that were normally $3.00 were $0.90. Now I will say I used  $20 gift card, but hey! Free is free for me! I don't even know what the grand total should have been, but I do know how much I spent on all of this stuff out of my pocket.... $3.71!! :-)

The last deal I've made so far, was literally yesterday at Rite Aid! Two bottles of Pantene and Carefree pantie liners normally a total of $11.98 for only $2.00!!!!

How do I get these deals??? I stalk two websites in and They explain the deals and give you the best up to date deals. These two sites are great, but there are SOOOOO many out there. I also save coupons each week from the Daily Local and Philly Inquire. I save them by date in a hanging file. (see below)

It's time consuming to look through, but always worth the deal!! Happy shopping!