Saturday, August 31, 2013

Quality vs Bargain: Blackout Curtain Purchase Enlightens Me

Quality and Manufacturers

Welcome to Bonham Business! Today I want to talk about my enlightening experience with buying black out curtains and trying to be frugal. Quality is often sacrificed by manufacturers who are trying to be frugal, too. This lesson was really brought home to me when I ordered black out curtains that were $15 a pair.

Our First Blackout Curtain Purchase

Earlier this year, Bill and I purchased a pair of blackout curtains and magnetic rods for the french doors that lead outside to the back deck. The French doors radiate heat during summer months. Bill and I decided that black out/thermal curtains would help reduce the electric bill by keeping the heat outside and help the house stay cooler (which they did). The cost for the two panels was about $46 and the clear magnetic rods were $30. Yes, we paid $76 dollars and my frugal heart was terrifically sad. But, Bill was in charge of this purchase and he is a firm believer in the saying,"You get what you pay for."

My "Bargain" Curtains

Now that you know my experience with the French doors, I will tell you about my "bargain" black out curtains. Bill has trouble sleeping if the room is light, and we have a dusk to dawn light that is interfering with his sleep because it is keeping our bedroom too light. The east window already has a double layer of curtains over it. So, when I saw an ad for black out curtains that cost $15 a pair, my frugal heart beat faster. After carefully reading the ad, I decided that these curtains would be ideal for the bedroom. The curtains could also be bought in gold, which is the color I already have in the bedroom. Bill did ask, "Do you really think these will be that good?" However, my desire to save $8 a pair overcame my common sense. Happily, I went online to the retailer's website and purchased two pairs of "blackout curtains."

 The Bargain Curtains Arrive and Depart

Four days later, our curtains arrived. Bill helped me take down the double curtained rod from over the east facing window. We took the curtain off the rod and replaced it with the new "blackout curtain." You already know what I'm going to say next, don't you? The curtain was no better, than what we already had in place. Yep, frugality actually cost me $8.00 more, because I had to pay postage to return the darn curtains. One bright spot in the whole experience was the fact that the company quickly refunded my $37.43. Okay, my mom was right when she taught me,"If it's sounds too good to be true, it usually is." Pessimistic, but true this time.

Buy One, Get One Free, Baby!

Last night, I repurchased two pairs of blackout curtains. This time, the price was on the low side because of  Labor Day sales. Two pairs of curtains, with shipping, were $44.97.  If you look at the price we paid for the one pair earlier this year,$46, then you know that I just purchased two pairs for the same price. Buy One, Get One Free, baby! They don't come in gold, but espresso is a good color too. My frugal heart is beating an upbeat tempo AND I know that the quality will be great. How do I know this? I bought the same brand that Bill bought.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Waffling Up a Batch of Waffle Iron Cookies

This summer I tried a new recipe for chocolate waffle cookies. The first batch turned out puffy, chocolaty wedges of cocoalicious waffles. Drizzling a simple powdered sugar glaze over them increased the sweet factor, but the best topping was a spoonful of cherry pie filling crowned with a white rosette of whipped cream. The chocolate cherry wedges hit the sweet spot!

Chocolate Waffle Cookies


Electric waffle iron
medium size bowl
measuring spoon set


1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup flour

Cookie Batter Directions

Preheat your waffle iron and lightly spray the cooking surfaces with canola oil cooking spray
  • Place butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with a whisk until light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and eggs. Stir with a whisk until well combined.
  • Add flour and cocoa. Stir until all the flour and cocoa are mixed well.
  • You will now have a nice thick batter that is ready to cook.

Cooking Directions

My waffle iron is round and makes a waffle that can be divided into four quarters, or sections
  • I place a rounded tablespoon of batter toward the center of each waffle section (4 tablespoons of batter).
  •  Close the lid and cook for about three minutes.
  •  Carefully remove the hot waffle cookie to a cooling rack. I use the tines of a fork to gently lift the edge of the waffle so I can remove it to the cooling rack. 
  • Spray the waffle iron cooking surfaces lightly with canola oil cooking spray before placing 4 more tablespoons of batter toward the center of each waffle section.
  • Cook as before and repeat the above steps until you run out of batter.
  •  Divide the waffle cookies into sections after they cool.
  • Top with a powdered sugar glaze, cherry pie filling and whipped cream, or frosting of your choice.

Yield: about a dozen waffle cookies


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wild about Reading Bulletin Board

Window or bulletin board display for elementary school.

Wild About Reading and Math Display

  • Green party plates, small, two packs                
  • Monkey party plates, one pack                        
  • Green upper case lettering, one pack                
  • Red lower case lettering, one pack                  
  • Clear double sided tape and/or clear scotch tape

This is an economical and quick display to assemble!
 For the letter tiles, my coworker and I used pieces of scotch tape that we rolled into small cylinders to place the lettering onto the party plates. The plates were placed on the inside of the window with clear double sided tape.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Discovering Cheese Tortellini Salad

A Pasta Salad Lunch

At work today, a coworker brought in three types of pasta salad for a staff lunch donation. I love pasta salad, so I took two big spoonfuls of all three types of salad. Returning to my office, plate in hand, I sat down and started eating. The first two salads were familiar to me and I made short work of eating them. (They were yummy.) The third salad was unfamiliar to me, so I took a half teaspoon bite to sample it. Wow, was that bite a revelation! The cheese tortellini, baby pepperoni, and mozzarella cubes were identified by my mouth after a second and third bite, but I wasn't quite sure what the dressing was. The creamy, rich pasta salad was a meal all by itself. I found myself wishing I had heaped my plate high with just this salad. As soon as I arrived home this afternoon, my misson was to find that recipe. The search for "tortellini pasta salad" quickly yielded the recipe I was searching for, picture and all. How come I have never seen this kind of pasta salad before? I feel cheated. I'm definitely making this salad a one dish meal, over and over.

Click on the link below to find the recipe for mouth pleasing, addictive, cheese tortellini salad.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baby Shower Theme: Noah's Ark

Quarter sheet cake "ocean" with an adorable ark sailing on it.

Noah's Ark Cake Sailing the Ocean Blue

I loved the cake and crafted decorations. Diaper baby tutorial.

 Diaper Babies and Very Hungry Caterpillar Center Pieces

The plant centerpiece was a pink tissue filled jar, foliage ,
and a Noah's ark paper decoration.

Hungry Caterpillar Closeup

Use the instructions as a guideline. Then create your
own version!

Crafted Gifts

Noah's Ark Signs


My friend, Genie, invited me to a  surprise, Noah's ark themed, baby shower a couple of weeks ago. My main motive in attending was to spend some time with Genie and take a short (fifty mile) road trip at the same time. My summer vacation excitement had begun to pale and I was ready for some girl time.

Genie is a crafty, artistic lady who creates jewelry. She and her daughters crafted some really adorable table centerpieces for the party.

Links have been included for tutorials/instructions on how to craft your own version of the diaper babies and caterpillars.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Gasconade River Flooding Article Published On Yahoo Voices

The flooding in the Belle, MO area closed the road I usually take to work, Hwy.42 W. Belle residents who work in Jefferson City, MO also had a longer drive to work when Hwy E was closed at the Hwy. 89 Gasconade River Bridge. My curiosity resulted in a morning spent driving to the two closed roads and viewing the flooding.  Read about my morning investigation and view the pictures by clicking on the link below.

I also recorded two short videos that can be viewed at:

1. Flooded house at Hwy. 89 Bridge before it was destroyed

2. Gasconade River at Hwy. 89 Bridge

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Investigating the Local Flooding: A Personal Point of View 8/8/2013

Destination One - Six Miles from Home

This morning I decided to investigate the flooding surrounding my hometown, Belle, Missouri. In Maries County, Highway 42 West begins on the outskirts of Belle. So, this was my first destination. Road Closed barriers were place within feet of the Hwy. 28 and Hwy. 42 West. intersection. After snapping a picture to share with you, I drove between the two barriers and proceeded to drive another five miles to the first Mill Creek Branch bridge. Another set of Road Closed barriers were placed in the roadway as a notice to local traffic of the flooded roadway immediately ahead.

When I arrived, two local residents were viewing the flooded intersection of County Road 319 - Highway 42 West. Genevieve Cox, a long time resident of the Mill Creek Branch area, told me that she could not remember the second Mill Creek Branch bridge having been submerged before, or the intersection of County Road 319. 

Destination Two - Ten Miles from Home

My second destination was the Highway 89 bridge, ten miles north of Belle, Missouri, in Osage County. Clustered recreational vehicles parked on the hilltop above the bridge served as an advance notice of the flooding I would soon see at the bridge.

After parking my car at the flooded, private RV park entrance, immediately before the bridge, I sat absorbing the sounds and sights of the flooding river for a moment. The muddy river water roared around the bridge pillars, trees, and any other obstacle that stood in its way. Drivers slowed to a crawl as they viewed the churning, brown water racing under the bridge, a partially submerged river home, and the engulfed fields of the river bottom. On the far side of bridge, Road Closed barriers sat across the beginning of Highway E, which runs through the fertile farmland of the old Gasconade river course to Rich Fountain, Missouri. 

The Gasconade - Rising or Falling?

The Gasconade is one of the few North American rivers that flows north, rather than south. Because of this, The Gasconade may continue to flood as torrential rainfall moves across southern Missouri from Joplin to Popular Bluff. Storms continue to track across Kansas and into Missouri today. As I write this article, rain is falling outside. 

Flooded Private RV Park
Fields and Pasture Underwater

As I sit here typing, my thoughts keep going back to the scene at the Highway 89 bridge. The muted, rumbling roar that dwarfed every other sound. The power of the torrential flood made me feel small and insignificant. The video links help convey the sights and sounds that assaulted my eyes and ears, but the vibrating power that I felt through the soles of my shoes cannot be conveyed by words, by video, or by pictures. I feel like a tiny speck after viewing the raging river in person. 

Sallee's Six: DIY Beauty, Health, and Home

Attention homemakers and DIY'ers, this post contains links to a wealth of information for the frugally minded. Start your online adventure now! Explore the blogs, boards, and websites to discover a treasury of online help for living green and for living frugally.

  • Budget101                      

  • BlogHer                          

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Baby Shower Onesie and Bib Bouquet

I am so excited! My friend Gina sent me an invite to her daughter's baby shower. I have been wanting to make a floral baby bouquet with bibs and onesies ever since I saw a picture of baby boy bouquets on Pinterest. Today I went shopping for my version of the baby shower bouquet.

Shopping for a Gift Bouquet

At the dollar store I bought a four pack of bibs ($5), a three pack of onsies ($4), a swim noodle ($1), a card (.50), and a cute pink gift bag ($1.75). My next stop was a local thrift store, Crazy Lady's Resale Shop, where I purchased the white flower pot with a floral decal ($1.00). Total cost $13.25

Repurposed Materials

A pair of knit slacks provided the green fabric to cover the end of each "flower". The shreds were from wedding centerpieces I purchased at a yard sale and deconstructed for the ivy vases, shreds, flowers, and ribbons. The pink and white ribbons, bamboo skewers, and floral tape are from my craft boxes.

Assembling the Flowers

  • Each stem is wrapped in floral tape like the Spring Flower Bouquet I made for my mom. (PartyTimeBabyCom has a great Candy Bar Bouquet Tutorial that I adapted for my own bouquets.)
  •  Each flower is formed with a bib or onesie in size 3-6 months.
  • The green fabric around the bottom of each blossom was repurposed from a pair of knit slacks. Using pinking shears, I cut the hem off the bottom of one pant leg. Then I cut four, 1.5" horizontal strips from the pant leg forming pant leg loops. I cut the two seams off of each loop, which left me with two rectangles. I basted across the bottom of the wrong side and pulled the thread to form a circle. Then I stitched the two ends of the circle together. I slid the skewer end through the middle of the circle, pulled it over the base of the flower, and tied it in place with a piece of ribbon.

  • The original flower pot did not have a green rim. After sanding the brim with sandpaper, I dabbed leaf green paint onto the rim with a piece of scouring pad cut with pinking shears. (The narrow edge, not the flat, wide side.)
  • Once the paint was dry, I cut a piece of pool noodle to fit horizontally(sideways) across the bottom of the flower pot.
  • I placed shreds on top of the pool noodle piece, until the pot was full.
  • The last step in assembly was arranging the "flowers" in the flowerpot. I centered one of the onesie blooms, then placed the other two on either side of it. The bib blossoms filled in the space between.
  • Isn't the bouquet pretty? I am very happy with the end result of my work. I would be happy to answer any questions for your. Happy crafting!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sallee's Six:Dogs Gone Wild for Homemade Treats!

Bill and I are the neighbors with three house dogs. We are crazy dog people. If you are a crazy dog person, you will appreciate the six links listed below. The links lead to homemade biscuit recipes for your pampered, furry children. Feed your doggie prince or princess the finest home baked Carob Crunchers. They might even learn a new trick or two to earn a bite of Bachelor Dog Treat.

  • Canine Carrot Cookies  This recipe has centigrade and fahrenheit temperatures -  210 degrees C or 370 degrees F