Day 285 – Revamping a Birthday Candle

Tomorrow is my favorite niece’s birthday party and I have been commissioned to make her cake. Usually I am not in charge of supplying the candle, and perhaps there are already candle plans in the works, but I couldn’t pass up a Pinterest project, so I went for it anyway.

I bought this candle at Walmart for $1:


I started by covering the red stripe with purple glitter. My plan was to add sequins like they did in the picture, but as I started to place them, I felt it was beginning to look gaudy. I only had primary colors and silver and gold. The silver pieces were too big for that small of an area and the other colors just did not fit. I was beginning to like the look of the painted stars in conjunction with the glitter. Any other things that I tried to do to it just seemed overdone.

Sometimes less is more…


Total cost: $1


Day 284 – Scrapbook Paper on Nails

When I was in New York this past weekend, I bought 3 nail polishes for $5. They are smaller than the usual sized Essie brand bottles, so I was able to get a selection of colors. To buy Essie at Target, it costs around $8, but I love how long it lasts without chipping. I only had one bottle up until now, so when I saw these, even though they are small ones, I knew I could not pass it up.

One of the colors I got was a very light, almost white, pink color. I have never had anything like this color, and since it was only $1.67, I figured it was the best time to try it.

And now that I have tried it, I am ready to get it off my fingers. It is very light, and sometimes I think it looks almost white-ish. I go through moments in the day when I think, “I’m rocking this color!” and then the majority of the time I am thinking, “What was I thinking?!” But it is Essie, and therefore, 2 days later, it is still completely perfectly on my nails. I hate the thought of wiping it off when it is doing so well, so I decided to improve it instead.

A long long time ago, I pinned this idea where you soak your fingers in alcohol and then press it onto scrapbook paper. The color from the paper is supposed to transfer onto the nail, and then you seal it in with clear nail polish.

You can see from this picture just how successful this project was:


I am pretty disappointed. I was really hoping this would be a success. I even followed all of the directions!

Total cost: $0

Day 283 – Rita’s Gelati

I needed a new bathing suit for this weekend, so tonight we headed to Dover, DE for some tax free mid-week shopping and we decided to treat ourselves to Rita’s. I was really interested in their vanilla custard tonight, and I was pretty sure that was what I was going to get.
And then the most amazing thing happened…
A man from Med Express (a local walk-in clinic) gave us a flyer and said he was paying for one item per person…our dessert would be free.
With that fortunate news, I decided that I did not need just a measly cup of custard. I needed a gelati, which I almost never get. I got strawberry colada ice with vanilla custard. The husband got Swedish fish with vanilla custard. Both were delicious, but mine was better. We were going to get regular sized gelatis, but the guy at the counter was pretty convincing that we should get larges because they were free. I am easily swayed, so I did.

Total cost: $0 (wahoo for good timing)

Day 282 – Bat Dogs


The Original Pin

A few weeks ago, while scanning through some pins, I found a really adorable dog with really big ears. For some unknown reason, I did not pin it, and once you pass over something, it may never be found again. I was ok with it because my dog doesn’t really have Bat Dog kind of ears, and I didn’t really know anyone who did.

And then my sister-in-law decided to foster a Pitt mix whose ears are perfect Bat Dog ears.


And then, as if there wasn’t enough cuteness in that household, I went over there today and was greeted by this fluffbug. She is a 3 month old yorkiepoo with the most perfect Bat Dog ears I could imagine.

I almost stuffed her in my pocket and took her home with me.


Total cost: $0

It’s not her fault she doesn’t have Bat Dog ears…


Day 281 – NYC Tips

I feel like I’ve got the touring New York thing down pretty well these days, but I thought it might be a good idea to look up some tips in case there was anything I would find helpful. I found this site that had a few good ones…

Tip number 1 was Go Walking…check!

It recommended walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, and I would love to say that we did that just because these blog people told us to, but that would just not be truthful. The truth is that we walked A LOT and the Brooklyn Bridge just happened to be in our walking path today! We calculated our trek on the website Map My Run and it appears that on Sunday we walked more than 13 miles and today (we had tired feet) we walked more than 6 miles. That is nearly 20 miles in just 2 days!

Tip two said Central Park is a Must. We went there yesterday for a tiny bit. It wasn’t happening today!

Tip three said Walk from east to west and north to south. Did you notice that I said we walked 20 miles in 2 days? I would say we accomplished this one too.

Tip four is Party New Year’s Eve with a Local, and I think it is obvious why we didn’t do this. We didn’t even meet any locals!

The last tip is New York City Subway. They suggest visiting Harlem, but we went the other direction instead. We wanted to see the new World Trade Center building, so we decided to try our hand at the subway. The husband has never ridden the subway, and I only had with other people who knew more about it than I did, but we figured we were college educated people, we can figure out a little subway map. Also, the concierge at our hotel told us to take the R train down to Cortlandt Street. It looked like a pretty straight shot on the map and the station was right near our hotel. We’ve got this!

Except we didn’t. First off, we went in at the wrong direction and there was no way we could figure out how to get across to the track we needed, so we wasted the first fares we bought. Maybe some people who are more subway smart than we are could tell us how to avoid this, but we didn’t know what to do, so we figured oh well, it was still cheaper than taking a cab. We got ourselves right and (definitely 100% sure) got onto the R train headed toward Cortlandt street. We knew it was the 5th stop and we were mentally marking each one off as we went. After about 3 stops, the driver came on the speaker and said something about a bridge, but it was really hard to hear. Also, we did not know the geography, so telling us we were going to cross a bridge meant pretty much nothing. We were on the R train, so we would be good to go! (Seriously…the side of the train said R – Bay Ridge on it before we got on!) We noticed that we were at DeKalb station, which wasn’t one that was on our projected list to pass (and it also seemed to take much longer to get there than we thought it should). A quick look at our map told us that somehow we had gone into the middle of Brooklyn by accident. I am the kind of person who likes to learn from my mistakes so I don’t make them again, but for the life of me, I don’t know what went wrong. WE TOOK THE R TRAIN!!! The one that goes to Brooklyn was Q or N.

After a bit of perplexed standing around and reevaluating the situation, we found a sign that sent us back to Manhattan and we got out at Canal Street. A few years ago my friends and I went to Chinatown and I hated it so much that I vowed not to go back again…and today we went back. Immediately upon exiting the subway station we were “greeted” by a woman who was whispering to me that she had Chanel and Gucci something-or-others and a man who repeated “What’s up” non-stop until he was out of earshot. We kept on walking until there were fewer and fewer walls covered in graffiti.

This little detour turned out to be quite a blessing because we were able to see some really neat buildings that we hadn’t seen before. Unexpectedly, the Brooklyn Bridge appeared, and I had long been wanting to go across it, so we did. Sort of. It was VERY crowded and we were wearing out more quickly today than we did yesterday, so we went part of the way and turned around and headed toward our original destination, The World Trade Center building.

After an overpriced lunch, we hopped onto the subway and without incident, we made it back to our hotel and headed home.

It was quite a fun spontaneous NYC vacation!

Total cost: Walking costs $0!

Here are some pictures of the sights we saw:
One World Trade Center:

Skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge:

Flatiron Building

Day 280 – Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

In preparation for coming to New York, I found a few pins that would showcase some fun things we may do.
Since it is Memorial Day weekend, there were a few street fairs that we attended. I got a cute pair of earrings for $2.


While walking many blocks across (and up) town to the next street fair, I realized that we were right by the place where I found a pin that showed the Empire State Building at the corner of 5th avenue.


And then later I checked the pin and it was actually the Chrysler Building at the corner of 5th and 42nd. So when we made it there, I took this:


This is theirs:


Eh…kind of similar…

Total cost $0 for entering the street fair and taking pictures.

Day 279 – Raspberry Lemonade Beverage

Lesson learned: Follow directions.

The only problem here was that there weren’t really directions to follow. All I had to guide me were the few words in the bottom of the pin: “raspberry simply lemonade, malibu rum, ice and blend. omgggggg” which is not very descriptive.

I sent the husband to the store and asked him to buy the raspberry lemonade. He called me and asked if I wanted Simply Lemonade or the Tropicana version that had less sugar and calories. I am always up for saving some calories (and some money…this one was cheaper), so I went for the Tropicana.

I am not very experienced with making mixed drinks, so I just kind of guessed. I added a bunch of ice and some rum and poured in some lemonade and gave it a blend. It looked pretty good, but when I tasted it, it seemed watered down. Probably too much ice. Not enough rum. But it wasn’t really good enough for me to want to waste more rum, so I just quit on it and made Pina Coladas. Later in the evening, I tried the raspberry lemonade by itself and realized that that was probably the culprit. That stuff is not really all that good. Give me the sugar and the calories! Perhaps if I had used Simply Lemonade like the pinner suggested, I wouldn’t have needed to dump it down the drain.

Total cost: $somewhere around 5 (The lemonade was @2.50 and I used about half, Coconut Rum was $13.99 +$8billion in MD liquor taxes, but there is still a lot of that left, and the ice was $1.50)

Day 278 – Text Dependent Question List

This has been one fancy Friday night in my household. I went to the gym, had dinner at home, got in the shower, did some laundry, and planned a reading lesson.

WARNING: Nerdy Teacher Stuff Ahead…

While I was at the gym, I found this pin that helps guide teachers to think of text dependent questions (TDQ). Since I needed to plan a lesson sometime this weekend, and I wanted to get done before the weekend really started, I decided to use it tonight to help me think of questions to ask the class.

This whole TDQ thing is pretty new to me since Common Core has been introduced, and I think I like it. I will let you know my official opinion once we really get into it…maybe sometime next year. I thought that this list would help me think of questions to go with the difficult novel that we are reading in class, but as it turns out, it is a little easier for me to just think of questions that come to me as I am reading. I tried to read the examples given on the sheet and create questions for my novel, but it was much more time consuming. Many of my own questions fit the categories in some way anyway, and I think it is pretty successful (probably because I have a wonderful Reading Resource Teacher that has really prepared me to teach Common Core!) It was nice to have this list to remind me to have a focus, and it is also nice to know that I am pretty decent at coming up with appropriate questions to ask students while they are reading.

Total cost: $0

Day 277 – Cake Batter Fudge

A few weeks ago, when my mother-in-law was here, I casually mentioned how I could really go for some ice cream. Before I knew it, that lovely lady went out to the store and got me some cookie dough ice cream and it was delicious!

Sadly, the last of that ice cream was eaten last night, leaving today ice creamless. She happened to be coming over tonight, and I thought about casually suggesting how I could really go for some ice cream again, but I decided that I should let that be a once in a lifetime event.

But it did not satisfy my need for ice cream today. So instead, I searched Pinterest for something delicious.


I found this SUPER easy recipe for cake batter fudge. I was willing to do what it takes to make the fudge, which usually entails boiling and stirring and things like that (I think…I have made it once, probably).

This fudge, however, is the easiest thing I may have ever made.

1 cup of cake mix

1 cup of powdered sugar

1/2 stick of butter

1/4 cup of milk

Mix the cake mix and powdered sugar in a microwave safe bowl. Add the butter and milk. Do not stir. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. Add sprinkles. Pour into a greased pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

The original pinner said she took an extra 10 seconds to cut the butter into pieces, so I did that too. Apparently it is not necessary. She also said she poured hers into a plastic container instead of a pan, so I did that too.

This stuff is delicious! Definitely satisfying my sweet needs for the night.

(Darn that running…it seriously makes me want to eat way more than when I don’t run…not the best weight loss plan out there…)


Total cost: $0 (I had all of these materials already. The cake mix is from the previous cake batter recipes I have made and I always have butter, milk and powdered sugar on hand)

Day 276 – The US Mint in Philadelphia

Did you know that coins are not officially coins while they are in the US Mint? While they are there, they are considered “products” and become coins when they arrive at the Federal Reserve.

I had the opportunity to watch a lot of “products” being made today on a field trip with my class. It was very fascinating. The metal that the coins are made out of comes in a 6,000 pound roll. It is spread out and the blank coins are punched into it. The “blanks” are moved on to the pressing process (and some other processes including a cleaning phase) where the design is stamped into it. I don’t remember the exact statistics, but this used to be done one coin at a time by hand during the 1700s. Now they do some million in just 30 minutes.

One of my favorite parts is a little nerdy was seeing the die that was used to create at least 3 of the the Jefferson peace medals that Lewis and Clark took on their expedition. We read about this in a story in 5th grade, and I was amazed to see it in real life. Sadly, photography is not allowed in the Mint, so I just have a picture of it in my mind.

I really recommend this tour if you are in Philadelphia. It can be as quick or as long as you would like it to be. It is really great if you read all of the things there are to read. Sadly, so many of our students just ran through and looked down into the factory from the windows. They had no idea what they were looking at.

Maybe when they are older they will realize how great of an experience that was.



Total cost: $0 (It is free admission. So is Hershey Park’s Chocolate World, but unlike HPCW, there are no free samples at the end of this trip…)