Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Thrift Shop Challenge (in which my soul apparently longeth after secondhand mammals)

When J-Boom and $herdog of Young House Love challenged the internet to a thrift store challenge, I immediately (basically) began combing the G-Rap thrift stores for some sweet finds to share. And they did not disappoint.

Before I dive in and share my spoils, however, allow me to explain (or, you could just read their post on the challenge here).

The challenge was issued because of a little song that’s become popular lately…Thrift Shop by Macklemore. It’s a really catchy song, which is somewhat unfortunate since it is pretty salty (don’t worry; I linked to the clean version).

Anyway, I had “$20 dolla in my pocket,” I dressed in traditional thrifting garb, and I headed out on a mission with cameraman Ken.

$20 in my pocket

Apparently traditional thrifting garb includes an eskimo coat and shades.

Here is spoil #1. Mercury glass? Only $2? With the original $19.99 pricetag still on the bottom? You had better believe I ran shrieking and flailing to the cash register (much to Ken’s chagrin at my antics).

mercury glass

And then, at the next thrift store, I adopted a whole herd of these young fawns. You can already tell that one of them has been pretty mischievous, given the placement of his pricetag. The cost for these guys? Well, $.99 for the one in the back, obviously; her fraternal twin brother was also $.99 and that larger one was a $2.99 splurge. I’m going to let Kenny name them since he put up with all of my recent antics.

herd of...fawns

I peeled off the stickery-goodness and gave them a place near some realistic-looking flora…I figured they’d be at home there since they’re fauna…or “fawna”…

fawns in their new home

The more mature one got a spraypaint makeover with some glossy Krylon and has taken up residence near our TV.

spraypainted deer

Oh, and let’s not forget the other part of the challenge…to find something referenced in the “Thrift Shop” song:

thrifted fringe

Yeah. Fringe. “I look in-cred-a-buuul…”

Ken was so embarrassed to be the designated photographer at this point, but since he took the picture anyway, I think he really loves me. And sadly, the fringe-y poncho stayed at the thrift store for some other lucky shopper to find. Ken would probably never have spoken to me again if that thing had come home with us.

Bonus points to whoever name the very vaguely referenced song in this post title. And no, I never should have paired these two songs. I realize that, but I did it anyway.



The Anatomy of a Thursday Night (in which I make the case for a cat)

My law-student husband “has” to go to class an hour away 2 days a week. Apparently they encourage attendance in law school too. And on Thursday nights, he usually doesn’t get home until 9:00ish.

I usually leave work around 4:30pm, which means on Thursday nights, I have 4.5 hours of free time before I have to fall back into my role as wife. But free time isn’t actually as glamorous as it sounds. Here, for posterity, I’d like to document my actions of last week Thursday night. This is also going to be a record that I can look back on fondly and LAUUUGGGGHHH at (maniacally, I can only imagine) once we have kids. “Free time? AHAHAHA! I remember that.”

Anyway, we’ll begin from the time when I leave work…after lingering for 10-15 extra minutes just because I know 4.5 hours is a lot of time to kill. But then I can’t take it anymore and jet on out. I grab a handful of cookies before I leave for some added sustenance for the hours ahead.

I head to uh, an unnamed location to pick up a Christmas present for Ken. While I am there, the nice salesman and the great deals lure me in and I purchase 2 more unplanned gifts. (At least there are rebates for them!). Impulse purchases are VERY unheard of for me, but I guess I just got a wild hair or something.

I next head to Meijer, where I work at redeeming a ton of coupons for free stuff. I make the mistake of picking up a 2-liter of Pepsi early on into the trip, and my arm gets tired of lugging the basketful of very heavy groceries, but I surf the clearance racks anyway. Including the kids bikes. Even though I don’t know of anyone who needs a bike, especially one from Meijer. Clearance shopping unfruitful, I take one last lap around the store and head to the check-out. SUCCESS: I spend less than $3 for $11 worth of groceries, including some needed cheese.

Next I amble on over (but in my car) to Target, where I do the whole “surf the clearance rack” thing all over again. And again don’t really buy anything, though I do grab some gorgeous napkins I’ve been eyeing and some coffee creamer for a friend. And spend $.20 total.

target haul

I then text said friend re: dropping off the coffee creamer with the hopes of interacting with another human tonight. She’s not at home, so I head to Home Depot because I have a coupon I’ve been trying to spend since BEFORE HALLOWEEN. It’s for $5 off anything in the lawn and garden part of the store, which is perhaps the most boring part of that place. And besides, I’ve already been to HD about 4 times in the past month trying to spend the same coupon but I’m STILL surprised when there is nothing really new.

After contemplating an axe or machete for a Christmas gift for Kenny (bad idea, I know), I settle on two small succulents to replant my succulent terrarium oh, say, the fourth time? I only spend $.72 though, so my bad gardening skills have yet to put a large dent in the budget. I set them on the backseat of the car and say a little prayer that they’ll be okay on the ride home, not even noticing the conveniently located cup holders, which would have worked perfectly for transporting these guys.

meijer and home depot haul

I then realize that I’ve created a WHOLE bunch of work for myself. I not only have to wrap the 3! gifts I got for Kenny before he gets home (after cutting out the UPCs for the rebate…is that tacky?), but I also have to plant these dear little succulents. I zoom onto the highway with then intention of heading straight home. It’s around 7pm at this point, so can we just pause and ponder the fact that I spent the last 2.5 hours in 4 stores? I’m a master at wasting time.

Oh, but then I remember that the thrift store that is right on the way home is open late on Thursdays in December, so I get lured in to that too. I consider purchasing several things, but in the end leave emptyhanded after lingering awhile.

I finally arrive home and have to make 3! trips to get everything I’ve accumulated over the day inside. Luckily, I get the closest parking spot, so it’s not horrible. But I do have to clean dirt out of the back seat, because surprise! the succulents had the nerve to tip over and roll around a bit.

I check the mail on my last trip in to the apartment and am pleasantly surprised to find an unexpected package. I open it to find this little guy, which I ordered for free from a recent Hip2Save/Zulily deal. I had intended to give this as a gift to someone for Christmas, but selfishness won over and I’m totally going to keep this planner for myself.

mailbox freebie!

I then look up to find my kitchen looking like this:

chaos kitchen

Not really enjoying the fact that I can’t see my counters, I buckle down and unload all of the groceries and then get really excited about replanting the terrarium.

Halfway through the replantage with my hands covered in dirt, I realize I’m still dressed to the nines in my work clothes but there is no stopping me for that minor inconvenience of changing my clothes. Gardening in work clothes it is.

succulent terrarium shenanagins

Oh, yes, I did wear striped socks to work. No one sees my socks, so that’s fine, right?

I make short work of the terrarium and admire it for a few seconds before clean up the dirt and drop the spoon I used as a shovel into the dishwasher (eh, shouldn’t have admitted that on the internet). I then change into my nightly uniform of yoga pants and remember that I wanted to turn on some Christmas music the moment I got home. Better late than never, right?

succulent terrarium with rocks and bark!

I next tackle the wrapping of Christmas gifts. I get distracted halfway through by the internet, but when Kenny calls to say he’s on his way home, I leap into action once again.

I also realize I’ve eaten nothing for dinner, so I snag another cookie and put it off for a little bit longer. I’m in the wrapping ZONE and get about 7 gifts wrapped.

But then I realize that the apartment is a disaster and that Kenny will be home in about 15 minutes. I make haste to tidy up the bathroom (still messy from the morning) and wrapping zone, and then I quickly make the bed so I’ll look like an awesome wife when he gets home.

I finish cleaning in about 7 minutes, so I have a few spare seconds to read, but I run into a dilemma. Do I continue the juvenile science fiction book I’ve begun (Ender’s Shadow)? or do I switch to something more…socially acceptable, like Godric by Buechner? I obviously settle on sci-fi, because, well, Godric is written in iambic pentameter, and you can’t just start a book like that with only 5 minutes to devote to reading it.

Kenny arrives, bringing leftover pizza. Putting off dinner worked well in my favor tonight! I’m pretty ravenous so I trade him a slice for a cookie. We discuss our days, watch 2 TV shows, and head to bed. (Wild ones, we aren’t.)

As I lie in bed, I contemplate how awesome it would be to have a cat to keep me company during these long, lonely evenings. Right, Ken? Right?

If someone wants to back me up on this one, that would be great. Oh, and if you want to reassure me that my Thursday night actions are not that of a crazy person, I’d accept that too.

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Delicious Meijer Savings (in which I give unsolicited advice on how you can keep more of your money)

Kenny and I put 45% of our income from November into savings, which we’re pretty proud of.

Don’t worry; because this isn’t a personal finance blog, I won’t break down every last little detail. But, as an aside, I really really love PFBs.  It’s the geeky side of me coming out again.

But since this is the blog about my life, I do occasionally like to share some of the ways I save money without going (too) crazy.

First, though, I’d like to show you what I came home to last night:

Cake from Ken

Yes. My law-school-student husband made this for me. Nevermind that it is exam week. #shakesheadaffectionatelythenchowsdown. He is handsome and he bakes. I am so blessed.

I had just come from Meijer, where I got these delicious foods at great prices. If you’re interested in how, read on. And if you have any holiday entertaining to do, you should be interested and you should read on, because these would be great baked goods to take to a party. I’m not sure if the Red Velvet cupcakes will make it out our door, though. They look scrumptious.


Though these deals are specific to this week (12/9/12-12/15/12) and to Meijer stores, the same principles can be applied to most grocery stores at any time. If Meijer is not your preferred grocery store, Google your store name, the date, and “coupon matchups”–hopefully you’ll find some helpful bloggers out there catered to your store.

Here’s how I saved about 70% on these groceries:

Krusteaz Cookie Mix is on sale for $1.59. The box claims it makes 3 dozen cookies, so it probably makes about 12 Bauman-sized cookies.

Get a $1/1 Krusteaz Cookie Mix printable coupon HERE (when you click on the link on the page). You can usually print 2 coupons from most websites by accessing the link twice, so I did that with this coupon.

Total: $.59! And, when I scanned the boxes at the register, out printed the coupon you see in the picture for another $1 off, so I’ll go back later this week and pick up another one! And Kenny and I will just live happily off baked goods forever!

Duncan Hines Decadent cake mix is on sale for $2.50 (actually 2/$5, but at Meijer that does not mean you have to purchase 2 to get the sale price).

If you have an MPerks account (Meijer’s online coupon clipping program), you can “clip” a buy 1, get 1 free coupon for this product. You’ll type in your MPerks account number on the self scanner or credit card machine at checkout to redeem this.

That in and of itself is a great deal, but it gets better: this week, when you purchase 2 boxes of this cake mix, you can get a FREE 32oz Meijer brand Canola or Vegetable Oil bottle! The savings will come off automatically at the register. Don’t do like I did and accidentally grab the 48oz bottle and have to trek from the cash register across the store in uncomfortable wedges to fetch the right size.

I also picked up 2 frozen Jack’s pizzas (on sale 4/$9 or $2.25) and used 2 $.75 off coupons (that can be printed from here), making each $1.50.

When I got home, I checked my mailbox on the way into our apartment and had a coupon for free Yoplait yogurt waiting in there that I’d signed up for a few weeks ago! Yum.

And then, I went on the internet and discovered that you can get a coupon (actually 2, since you can usually print 2 online coupons each time) for $3 off 3 Smart Balance products here when you send ecards to 3 Facebook friends (send one to me if you want!), and Meijer has Smart Balance Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil on sale for $.99. WHICH MEANS THAT YOU CAN GET 3 FOR FREE. FOR FREE. That is, if you’re not morally opposed to anything that isn’t quite real butter. I love grocery shopping.

If you want to see other Meijer deals for this week, go here.

See? Saving lots of money on delicious food is easy. You don’t have to become a crazy coupon lady like me (I place myself into that category because I own and rock a coupon wallet that fastens with velcro)–you can just be awesome and keep more of your own money. And you know I’m all for that.

Now, go forth and save.

Want to learn how we’re saving a BUNCH of money on Christmas presents this year? See this post on using Swagbucks. Also, check out this post if you have a birthday coming up!

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Halloween in November (in which we establish a tradition of celebrating holidays after they occur)

Now that it’s actually over, Halloween has finally arrived for the Bauman household.

Last Thursday, I picked up these for a sweet 50% off. I also had a coupon, so the cake was $.13 and the frosting was $.25. I figured we could afford that.

We embraced the garish sprinkles and are plowing our  way rapidly through this dessert. I may or may not have had this cake for breakfast on Saturday, forgetting that there was perfectly good cereal in the cupboard.

What can I say? The tiny sprinkle bats are mesmerizing. I had to eat them.

We also splurged for my favorite, candy corn, which I spread around the apartment. Now I realize how dangerous a move that was.

It’s tough to resist the snacking urge when they’re so conveniently available, you know?

The terrarium is flourishing (success! I haven’t killed it yet!) because of the company of some more candy corn. Also, the effect of so many sugary sweets on my body makes it hard for me to take a picture that isn’t crooked. Let’s chalk this one up as artsy too.

And finally, there used to be Reese’s in this bowl. That is no longer the case, as they are both Kenny and my favorites.

It also doesn’t help that we both enable each other to devour more chocolate… we tend to “share” with each other to make ourselves feel better about another piece.

So if you were wondering who purchases all that clearance stuff after the holiday–I confess, it’s totally me. I hate paying full price for something, which means that we are a bit behind everyone else on the whole celebrating thing. Which is why we eat candy canes until Easter and Cadbury Eggs until Independence Day…

Who else does this? I KNOW I’m not the only one.


Succulent Terrarium Pinterest Challenge (in which a tiny plastic object scares the living daylights out of me)

For one of my bridal showers before the wedding, my awesome mother-in-law got me a terrarium (possibly because I had been not-so-subtly lusting after hers).

To make a long story short: I killed it. Well, more specifically, I made it move to the garage because some fruit flies had taken up residence in it and would not leave, no matter how I threatened them.

A few weeks ago, I rehabbed the terrarium and bought this lovely succulent guy from the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market.

It stayed like this for a few weeks…and then an opportunity presented itself in the form of killing zombies for Home Depot coupons.

Not to mention that BFF bloggers Sherry and Katie (along with Carmel and Sarah) gave me a good kick in the rear with the Pinterest Challenge.

The goal is to “stop pinning and start doing.”

I’ve been dreaming about all of these succulent terrariums on Pinterest and it was time to make mine a reality.

First, I had to transplant this little bit of moss. In my mind, moss and succulents don’t go together, so I made this other little planter.

I can’t seem to kill this moss, no matter what I do–it’s the greatest. I plucked it from the woods while camping in early September, and it spent the next month in a Ziplock (I am a horrible plant parent) until I plopped it in the terrarium a few weeks ago.

Here’s the lineup of my Home Depot succulents which, after my $10 off coupon, cost me $.46.

Once I planted them, my terrarium looked like this. It still needed a bit of ground cover and a good wipedown of the glass.

Voila! I put down bark on half and stones on half and used Windex on the glass (for those who are interested in the deets).

But the terrarium was not quite finished. Look closely for a little creature that made himself right at home:

Even if I end up killing the succulents, I have high hopes that this little plastic turtle (in the center between the plants) will survive.

I keep forgetting he’s there, though, and the other day when I walked past the terrarium, I nearly jumped out of my skin because there was an ANIMAL in it.

Once I get used to our new pet, all will be well and I’ll be able to finally enjoy this sweet little succulent terrarium.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here on pins and needles worried that this guy is going to jump out and bite me or something.

It’s a hard life.