Thursday, May 21, 2009

five dollar date night (sung in the tune of $5 footlongs...)

to continue our money saving plan we've invented $5 date nights where we make a dinner and maybe even dessert that costs less than $5 for the two of us and then we play a game or watch a movie at home. tonight's dinner was actually a double-date with pat & denise and ended up at less than $10 for all four of us and there was enough left over that i can take it for lunch tomorrow and pat and denise will have dessert for tomorrow too, go team! our delicious dinner was chili-cheese dogs with grilled corn on the cob and a chocolate peanut butter torte with peanut butter frosting, yum! here's how the cost brakes down:

chili-cheese dogs:
1 pkg hot dogs (on sale this week at kroger) = $0.77
1 pkg hot dog buns = $0.88
2 cans no-bean chili = $2.00 (total)
4 ears corn = $2 (approx) +butter, salt, seasoning

1 box peanut butter cup brownie mix = $2.00
1/4 c peanut butter, powdered sugar, crisco, butter (to make buttercream icing) = maybe $2 but i already had all of that in the house so there was no additional grocery cost this week!

so i started by heating the chili and seasoning it to make it delicious instead of tasting like the can and lex, my little inspector, helped by monitoring the cookingfor the corn that pat and denise brought over, we soaked the ears with husks on for about 15 minutes, pulled back the husks, removed the silks and replaced the husks. then we put them on the grill and cooked for maybe 10 minutes, rotating them to char evenly on each side, pulled it from the grill, shucked it and it was ready to go. we grilled the hot dogs at the same time so in less than 30 minutes dinner was on the table and it was sooooooo good!
josh and pat, our pickiest eaters, were even satisfied
then after dinner it was on to our free activity for the night, this week's choice: monopoly (i'd forgotten how long it takes to play but still well worth it!)
it was all laughs, even when i bankrupted pat and then josh and finally got bankrupted myself by denise. who knew that having a hotel on indiana avenue would cost the other players $1050 every time they landed on it! another good tip is to trade another player the property they want for not having to pay rent on it when you land on it, josh could probably have stayed in the game longer if i had to pay for the use of his railroads... ha! all in all, we had a great night that cost less than $10 and we were all very full and very tired and we'll be doing this again really soon, thanks pat & denise!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

most memorable anniversary...

our third wedding anniversary was yesterday and it was great. josh and i decided shortly after we were married that instead of shopping for several gifts on birthdays, anniversarys and christmas that we would either pool the money we would normally spend on one joint gift or save it for something bigger in the future. well, three years into it we're still spending money on our house projects and they're still some of the best 'presents' we've 'received' from each other. this year for our anniversary, we decided to finally do the patio project we've been talking about since we bought the house 3 years ago. josh woke me up on tuesday morning to go with him to home depot to pick up everything we'd need and bring it back to the house. we ended up getting nearly 1800 lbs of materials into the back of my truck (a truck that is only supposed to hold about 1000) and it was riding low but we drove carefully and slowly so no damage done (hallelujah!). we got sand, edging, spikes to hold down the edging, pavers, finishing sand, grass seed for other parts of the yard, various weed/bug killers for our several yard problems (those pesky clovers and violets are taking over!) as well as two 4"x4"x12' posts and two bags of concrete to put in a permanent badmitten set for the back yard (much less expensive than i originally thought (about as much as a cheap badmitten set which we have already bought 2 of because they break quickly) and it will be so much easier than trying to untangle the net everytime we want to play. later on i took a trip to menards to got a new hanging basket for my shepherd's hook in the front yard (some of the only 'gardening' i do on my own and it really doesn't count since i just buy it and hang it). in a few short hours we went from patchy, dead, unusable lawn and lots of suppliesto a very rectangular hole in the ground with somewhat flat ground with sand on top
to what is now a very nice patio that just needs chairs and maybe some potted plants
thanks to our very nice across the street neighbor for his help laying the bricks and to my very patient husband that asked for my opinion a couple of times and then when i was wrong showed my why he was doing it his way. Once the rest of the sand is packed down and the grass grows back in you'll never know it was a formerly wasted place only usable only by rocknelou.
our other anniversary 'splurge' was dinner with both sets of parents at hana yori, the very delicious teppan restaurant on grape road (for those of you that don't know, they cook the japanese food right in front of you on a huge flat grill and give you a bit of a show while they're at it). we had a great time with our parents even though i very nearly lost an eyebrow during the show! we had such a good time that i forgot to take pictures (still not sure how that happened) but it is somewhat dark there so the flash may just have blinded the chef who did a great job. our food was plentiful and delicious and my leftover rice and veggies was still good for lunch today. thanks mom & dad and mom & dad for going with it, we had a blast!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

cupcakes, birthdays and some scary news...

this week has been quite difficult. after starting to feel better and getting up and moving on wednesday we got some of the worst news possible from josh's mom. his paternal grandmother was not doing well and not expected to make it though the night. josh's parents were going to drive to indy and wait it out in the hospital with his aunts and cousins that live in indy. thursday morning came and went with no news so around 11 i called sue (my mother-in-law) and asked for an update, she was doing better but didn't recognize anyone (which sucks). needless to say no one slept well in the hospital room and they had returned to aunt barb's house for a bit of rest and some refreshing. once they got back to the hospital she was starting to pull through so they made the decision to come home and that evening we got a call from sue saying that about 1/2 way home aunt barb had called saying she was starting to do worse and the doctor wanted to move her to hospice. they came home not sure if they'd be driving back to indy or not but knew they needed sleep. saturday (yesterday) grandma was taken to hospice and now we're just waiting for the kind of news no one wants to get. please keep the bennett's and especially grandma in your prayers!

saturday was also my sisters-in-law's, becky & sara, birthdays so we went to bruce & sue's for birthday dinner and cake and it was fantastic! sue made chicken tetrazini and sphagetti and salad and an amazing chocolate cake with ganache. even though i didn't get over until after dinner it was sooooo good. we laughed and joked and bruce and josh watched the race. after the presents it was time for sue, josh and tyler (our nephew) to start a fight with the tissue paper. tyler would ball up some tissue, throw it, josh would catch it, ball it up tighter, and throw it back. they had quite the fight going until they got a little to close to the tv and bruce put the kabosh on the paper fight, still good times. after that we went home and while i decorated cupcakes for paige's birthday party today, rockne got a surprise she wasn't expecting, a bone the size of our cat:
she can't really carry it around but she drags it and chews on the knobby ends, i think she's in love. finding this bone in the first place was difficult enough, we've tried the really big rawhide bones and they're gone in a matter of days so according to the lady at pawmart this should last us a couple of weeks. i also got her a new squeaky ball bone and a kong tug toy that she hasn't really noticed because she's so in love with her bone. the bone allowed me to decorate cupcakes, uninterrupted and the job was so much easier than i had anticipated. paige's birthday cake was wizard of oz themed so i made some dog cupcakes that are representative of toto but the candy i got for the noses was really big, but they still look like doggies so it's okay:
i think they're way cute and paige was happy so that's all that matters. i'll post more photos from paige's birthday later. see ya!