Archive | January, 2011

Fake House Hunting

31 Jan

Good afternoon! I hope you had a great weekend! Wow. Look at me, two exclamation points in two sentences. I hope you share my (attempts at) enthusiasm this fine Monday. Anyway as always, Ike and I were looking for fun and mostly free things to do this weekend. We found a great pastime on Sunday afternoon – Open House hopping. It is a no pressure way to see inside a sampling of houses, and it gives us a better idea of different neighborhoods and districts in the city. And just as importantly, it helps us see in person what we like and don’t like in a home (much better than just clicking through MLS listing photos). All it costs is a little gas and 2 hours of your life. Not so bad by my estimation. Also, we have an impressive collection of realtor business cards going. Jealous? After testing the waters in the surrounding ‘burbs for the last few weeks, we decided to focus on Little Rock Houses yesterday. The vast majority of Little Rock houses are older and some even date back to the early 1900s. So I’d venture to say, although we probably wouldn’t get all the modern amenities in an older home, we would get more personality and cool status with a craftsman style house. See below the break for a few houses we toured yesterday. Let me know what you think!

Continue reading

Food Solutions

28 Jan

Tonight Ike is going cold weather camping with a group of guys. For those of you who know Ike, I’ll give you a moment to let this sink in. Ok, moment over. I’m joking, he likes camping, and I’m willing to camp (only if Smores are involved) too, but it is not the average Peters family activity. Anyway, the ladies those guys are leaving behind are meeting up for dinner tonight.  I love going out, but I always hate the money aspect of it. That sinking feeling inspired me to share my restaurant money saving tips. We all have this pesky need to eat, but (thankfully) it is not necessary to spend a fortune to nourish ourselves even when going out. Here are some quick tips to streamline your food spending. You can put these savings straight toward bigger purchases, vacations, or even a house or car. Start small and think big, my friends.

Continue reading

Haircut Thoughts

27 Jan

Today I’m getting my first haircut in Arkansas. Exciting, but daunting. One of the downsides of moving? Finding a new EVERYTHING. Things like a grocery store, a church home, an apartment, a doctor and more must be located ASAP. Not to mention, the fun, yet challenging task of making new friends. In Texas we had just nailed down all those favorites and made some wonderful friends, just to move and start the process all over again. It is kind of like finding that perfect snoozing position just before the alarm rings. Don’t get me wrong. I also see moving as an adventure, and a chance to break away from the complacent aspects in my life. For instance, I’ve taken the opportunity to turn my career in a writing centric direction. I am thrilled that I have gotten a chance to start over in this way. But do I really have to find a new favorite Mexican restaurant? Ugh. I miss La Finca! All this to share what makes me nervous about trying out a new stylist.

Continue reading

Homemade Pizza*

26 Jan

* = With whole wheat crust and spicy marinara

Homemade pizza is one of my favorite new endeavors. Pizza is a staple in the Peters house. I’m willing to admit it appears on the menu nearly every week. With all the topping varieties, who could blame us? I sincerely hope it’s not you! Anyway, with all the pizza eating, I got tired of repeatedly buying pre-made crust and sauce. Then the obvious solution hit me. Why not make those on my own? I have to say that was a great idea. For a little more time investment I get a cheaper and, in my opinion, superior product.  Plus, each time I make it I get a little closer to the ultimate pizza. Last week, I was nearly there and I’m willing to share. You ready? Let the pizza making begin.

Continue reading

2011 Oscar Noms

25 Jan

As I was walking Buster this chilly morning, I decided that it was time for a movie post. So the universe (or the Academy) presented me with the perfect topic for today, the 2011 Oscar Nominations hot off the presses. Of course, my post is joining the legions of articles filled with predictions and such on this very topic. So I’m not going to pretend to give anything other than my opinion on the movies that I’ve actually seen and my thoughts on the set up in general. I’m also not going to pretend that award shows actually mean anything .If I think about it too hard, I realize it is just a small group of rich people giving each other statues. But I also can’t help getting swept away and excited by it all, too. I love movies. I just can’t help myself. And maybe, just maybe, each year I imagine my own frazzled acceptance speech, for what I don’t know. But I do know that I would be wearing a fabulous (and tasteful) dress. Ok, on to my thoughts on the 2011 noms!

Continue reading

VIP* Event

24 Jan

*Vern In Person (clever phrase created by my copywriter husband, Ike Peters)

This last Friday, I had the chance to shake up the normal routine and do something different – wait, not only different, but fun, free AND different. The trifecta of a budgeter’s weekend entertainment. Score! What is this activity I’m building up? Well keep your pants on, and I’ll tell you. This Friday Vern Yip, of Trading Spaces and HGTV fame came to my local IO Metro store. (Ok, if you haven’t heard of either of these entities I’ve provided links if you are curious.) I assure you they both have a validated cool factor (awarded by me). To share my fun Friday entertainment, I’ve summarized Vern’s style tips after the break. How is that for turning Friday fun into Monday’s gain?

Continue reading

Weekend Saving Challenges

21 Jan

We all deserve a gold star for making it through the week. Yay for us! It is Friday! But how do we celebrate without ruining our budget? Well, lucky for you, I’ve got a few ideas to throw out there. You will be enjoying the weekend with style and thriftiness before you know it. And as a bonus all of these are challenges, not just suggestions. So you will get gold stars, sweet victory and of course more savings if you are up to it. Am I appealing to your competitive spirit here? I hope so! Your first challenge? Read the rest of the post.

Continue reading

Why American Idol?

20 Jan

I feel I watch TV with discernment. I’m hooked on Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Dexter. I loved Arrested Development, Freaks & Geeks and Better of Ted (may they rest in peace). I’m all about NBC’s night of comedy (esp. Parks & Rec and 30 Rock) and I love Fox’s Modern Family. Really, I’ve allowed a relatively small amount of reality TV into my watch-worthy fold. Ok, I watched a season of The Mole, but it was a slow summer! Anyway, I compliment my own awesome TV taste to announce (read: defend) my addiction to American Idol. As I sat through the (2 hour, commercial packed) 10th season premiere last night, I tried to figure out why I’m drawn to this televised talent show and less importantly but equally as vexing, why I don’t have a DVR player? Read on to see what I’ve come up with so far.

Continue reading

Cinnamon Streusel Mini Muffins

19 Jan

I’m one of those suckers who squeal with glee when viewing anything smaller than its usual size. Exhibit A: baby rhinos are adorable. So it stands to reason that, for me, mini muffins makes baking and eating that much more fun. This time it literally is the little things. If you are tempted to try these babies out for yourself, this is just a basic muffin recipe (from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook) with a simple cinnamon streusel topping that gives the finished product an extra sugar and spice (and ok, buttery) taste. Forget boxed muffin mixes this weekend and try to make these from scratch! And if you don’t have a fancy mini muffin pan, you can totally make these adult sized. Let’s get baking.

Continue reading

Before Buster

18 Jan

I’ve shared before the innumerable hang-ups of my little Buster. Basically, he gets perturbed with any new loud noise or large and unnaturally moving objects that enter his little world. Some items to add to the growing list of Buster’s annoyances include the heat kicking on in our new apartment, the sound of the dumpster being emptied just outside our place and helicopters whirring overhead. Silly dog!

If that was it, I could live with his ‘issues.’ But my biggest concern on his hang-up list is how he reacts to other dogs. A helicopter or the heater will not bite Buster back despite all his snarls and gruffs. And try as he might, I doubt he could do much damage to either. But obviously, dogs are a different story. They live and breathe and have the ability to hurt and to be hurt by my dog. Not something I want to live with. So in addition to the other great books I plan on reading in 2011, I have added Scaredy Dog! Understanding and Rehabilitating Your Reactive Dog to my reading goals. I ordered it last week with a Barnes and Noble card (generously bestowed on me by the Peters family – thanks!). So as I eagerly wait for it to come in, I thought I’d record a ‘Before’ snapshot of his behavior. If the book’s suggestions really do help rehabilitate my little guy, I will share my success!!

Continue reading