Impromptu princess castle



This was  before someone gifted Baby J an actual princess castle (with capacity to expand five rooms, though we barely had room to accommodate it with its actual two).  I found the form in a coloring book and cut it from a diaper box. 

We played with it for two weeks. And by we I mostly mean I.

Have a creative a Wednesday!

Grocery Shopping Tips: 4 Ways to Shop Smarter

A few days ago I was in line to pay for groceries in the store and the woman in front of me noticed the cheese she chose wasn’t the one in the special sale and, instead of paying for it and run out of there (like I would’ve done), she went back inside to get the correct one and save a few bucks.

I thought, good for her!  Also, why did she confused them so easily in the first place?  The one featured in the shopper was noticeably smaller.  In my next visit to the grocery store I found the answer.

I also found four easy ways where you could fall for the pricier item that you are trying to avoid.

So here are four simple ways to help you shop smarter:

1)  Going for the generic-store brand is sometimes the default mode to get a better deal, but it’s not always the way to save!  The generic-store brand doesn’t always mean the cheapest option.  I saw the generic-store brand rice have a higher price than the big brand on the special sale.

2)  Make sure you are getting the article that’s announced in the shopper.  This is why the woman got the wrong cheese:  I saw the big red sign for the special sale cheese but guess what:  the cheese packages right under it were NOT the ones with the discount!  The sign was hanging from the top of the refrigerator and the cheeses were on the bottom.  I’m pretty sure most people would go for the packages closer to the sign and miss the deal.

3)  The special sale sign said “Lotus Juice Variety” and then in the small letters of the product description it specified only two juice flavors.  So much for variety… So, read the entire description!  

4)  The store had huge big red signs for some offers but many of the best deals had smaller, less flashy signs.  If you are looking for the best deal, make sure you scan ALL  products before choosing. 

Something I always do, something so simple that makes a big difference is:  step back and take a minute.  Shopping in a hurry almost guaranties that you are not going to get the best deals.  Whenever I’m going to buy something that I know reasonably varies in price I step as far back as possible and scan the aisle a few seconds to read every sign and check the prices.  There are articles that I buy by brand but mostly I look for good deals so I need the time to look for them.

So there.   Basically all you need is time and awareness to read everything and choose wisely.

Have a great day!

It’s begun


Last week manfriend went and got all the bricks and rods for the construction of his apartment.

Did you hear a cackling laugh in the distance?  It was me.

His father had gifted him with the bricks and the rods several months ago but he only felt the urge to get them to site this week because of the higher local tax (12% – versus the 7% we had been paying) that has been institutionalised this month.

Getting them here before the higher tax was applied meant a lot more materials.  I could get into the political details of this but I don’t want to splatter my blog with all the disappointment and anger  I feel at all the politics involved.  And there are A LOT of politics involved.

Anyway, in one day of work this happened:

And more even!  All the walls around the apartment are basically blocked.  Guys, I look up and there ARE WALLS.  It’s like  YAAAAAAY.

And then I have to say, construction is heavily stressing.

I am equally ecstatic and exhausted.  Manfriend has the same feelings but tripled because he has been working ten hours up there and then he is running his production during the week too. We worked together eight years before we started dating and we work together now, so we know when it’s best to back off from each other’s faces before we blow up and we’ve done that this weekend.  It’s been a great choice because then we can go to bed in harmony and peace.

And even then yesterday I blew up like a C4.

I was in charge of packaging and the guys (I guess you could call them employees, thought they are more like family who help us) would not leave me alone.  It was one of those days when they had jokes for every single thing happening and all the humor had been sucked out of me when I had to wake up at five fifteen AM. I’m also PMSing.  Manfriend came in and added himself to the jokes and  whoa.  The kids almost died when I walked out on them and I think manfriend still has no idea why I got so furious.

To be honest, I was immediately humiliated by my own rage.  I was trembling with anger but it was more because it took me some time to figure out how to calm myself down than how angry I was.  I just had to detonate at some point because on a scale of one to ten my stress level is sixty seven.

I mean, I just drank a root beer.   That’s my equivalent to doing a strong drug.  Have you read the ingredients in that thing?  I think ingesting Sodium Benzoate and Caramel Color – a proven carcinogen – is decently hardcore for a mom who can’t actually get high on anything  else (not that I voluntarily would).

In other notes:  manfriend went for really big windows and changed the position of the living room, the receiving area and the entrance and he worked an extra foot of space in the balcony.   Like a boss.

Have a great day!

Tiny Series: Simple style when you work at home

First of all let me clarify that working from home does not mean you have to spend every day of your life in sweat pants.

It’s an appealing option and you can certainly choose that path but, there is more than sweat pants and that thought alone should stimulate you to try something else.  At least for those days when strangers are going to see you and you want them to think you have it all together.  Working from home?  I totally win at it.  Even though you missed three meals during the past four days because work ate your time.

So, you HAVE to be comfortable, yes, I am with you on that one.  Shirts or blouses that itch somewhere, pants that don’t fit you, shoes that make your back hurt;  get all of those out of the way.   Choose a few items that you feel wonderful in.

Over here I opted for sleeveless shirts with built in bras to use either alone or in layers when it gets chilly.  I got them all in bright colors because then I get an effortless pop in my outfit, I keep everything else  really toned down with gray colors and dark blue jeans.  Very soft, cottony kind of jeans by the way.

I have not been able to shake off sneakers because they are the most comfortable option but my mom gave me a pair of Toms knockoffs that are a good alternative for those moments when I have to run out in something other that sports shoes.

One huge successful change I made a few months ago towards a better functional style was change my purse.  I used a handbag but noticed that when I went out with Baby J it got in the way all the time.  Instead of being useful it was just something else that blocked my hands and added weight to my arms, when I was already carrying Baby J or her bag, or both!   So for mother’s day I asked for a long strap bag that I could hang on my shoulder and carry on my side (at the hips) leaving both my arms and hands free.   It’s been a life changer!

Another upgrade I did a couple of week’s ago was haircut and color.  There comes a point when no matter how much you try to look put together you can’t because your hair will be doing it’s own thing and that thing is making you look like a crazy person.  Choosing a haircut with low upkeep that will last several months without cutting is key when one is lacking both time and money to spend in the stylist.

A hair color that refreshes your look (lightens your face and possibly makes you look five years younger) but does not weight you down if you show roots is also a good way to maintain a cleaner look for longer.   I went for a color that was three shades lighter than mine, it looks extremely natural and I won’t have to run to get a retouch in months.

Have a great day!

PD:  You can find Simple Makeup Routine for Home and Makeup for Special Occasions on those links from the Tiny Series of Tips for the at-home worker.


Super Mashies easy recipe

Super fast, mega delicious (sorry it IS packed with calories, I don’t consider them junk calories but someone in a restrictive diet might) and easy Super Mashies.  For that day when you just want to eat something different, but not cook so much, like a Saturday!

This measures are for approximately four medium potatoes.

Mash boiled potatoes to your liking (I like little chunks in mine.  Yum chunks.).  Add about an oz of milk.  A tablespoon of mayonnaise.  Mustard until the potatoes turn yellow (yes, that’s how I measure it).  A tablespoon of vinegar.  A bit of olive oil (depends on how much you like olive oil, I like it so my bit is enough to go around all the mixture).  Black ground pepper and salt as you see fit.  Half a teaspoon of Badia complete seasoning or equivalent.

Lots of butter because butter makes everything better.  Dry bacon if you have some laying around.

Swirl all that around.  Enjoy!

Another move. Because I’m trying to make a record or something

I mentioned we had another move, this time a surprise one, to yet someone else’s house.

Well.  How can I put this delicately… manfriend’s brother asked him to evacuate his house?  Except there was not so much asking and we had to move the same day he felt those feelings.  In two days we hauled all our things out and stuck them all (well, nearly all of them, I have a few bags in my car. And by a few bags I mean I can barely fit in there) into one room (manfriend’s old room) of his mother’s house.

There was magic involved.  I’m very glad I am a big Harry Potter fan because without all my wizarding knowledge we had been screwed.  Actually, I should admit that manfriend basically did it all on his own because he’s half super hero.  And wizard.
The magic involved a tractor, two saving lives helpers and the moto of throwing away anything that looked like it hadn’t been used in the past days.

And so here we are.

Everything is pretty tight and uncomfortable (in more than a few ways, and if I go medically crazy you’ll know it’s because I’m living with my mother in law) as you might imagine, but I’m not whining about it.  This is not whining material in my book.  I mean, it sucks but I just keep on going dreaming of the day when we finally have a place of our own.
I have to admit though that moving (specially this harshly) shakes something on the inside. It moves the core a bit.

It all made for a very peculiar way of celebrating the end of the year and the beginning of the new one 🙂

Is there a big change approaching your way this new year?  I’d like to hear about it so I can feel like there’s other people in this boat 🙂

I hope you have a great day!

Tuesdays of Textures

Every Tuesday I post a photo of a texture or the use of a texture.  In hopes of getting to know a bit more about your part of the world, I invite you to join in the fun of sharing an image of the textures around you by including a link to this post in your own Tuesdays of Texture post. You can find an image you like during the week if you don’t have one today 🙂  

(Links to this post will appear as pingbacks.)


Every rose has it’s thorn.

– Bret Michaels


When I moved to the Hardcore Country Life I imagined days filled with quiet walks surrounded by trees, waking up in the morning to a clear sky and an enchanting view of the mountains.

Nobody said the land around us was going to be fumigated and we had to smell that.  FOR THREE DAYS.

Every rose has it’s thorn heh?

Have a great and textured Tuesday!  And remember I’d love to see the textures around YOUR part of the world.

Latest Fita update: gremlin edition

I don’t even know how to fill in the back story for Fita’s latest update.


In fact, I think I’m going to ignore all rules about story telling and good writing and just throw the end in your face.

Fita and her puppies

There.  That happened.  Four females and one male.  Three look just like her (white with black dots) and two black ones.

We don’t know who is/are the father(s), though manfriend is conducting an investigation as this will apparently give him some sort of comfort.  I told him the culprit is him because basic rule of pet owning – NEUTER.   People around here don’t neuter their dogs, males or females they just deal with the pups.  Another thing I will never understand about this Hardcore Country Life of mine since I’ve never had a pet living outside.


Anyway.  They are THE cutest things.  I had never seen/touch puppies that young and now I understand it was for my own good.  I could become addicted to those tiny noses!  I also never imagined such a young creature could be so strong.  When I saw them crawling towards their mother my jaw hanged open.  Those little ones can fight for their lives.


So.  We are on puppy watch over here.  🙂


Have a happy day!


A dot collection

I was going to submit this video I posted yesterday of all the little tadpoles in the fountain, but given that Debbie gave me a little shout out for last week’s submission, I thought I’d follow up accordingly.


Last week manfriend’s father left these four guineafowls in manfriend mother’s balcony, as a … gift?   I think he didn’t even told her, he just left them there.

They are divorced.

View this post on Instagram

Dot detail. #bird #guineafowl

A post shared by @ naramilee on

For the Look Up, Look Down Challenge Week 43.

No animal corpses next week, promise!  🙂