Tag Archives: Dollar Tree

So here’s how my “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions” are going

I didn’t expect to weigh in on my “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions” this soon but I’ve made progress and I feel like writing about it. These ” resolutions ” tie in with a renewed effort on focusing where I put my attention. I became more conscious about how much of my attention and mental energy I was permitting to go to less-than-worthy sources. I said it felt like my life was this huge ship whose direction needed slight correcting. I felt the creaking and heaving of the effort. Here’s what I’m thinking. The older you are and/or the longer you’ve been doing things certain ways, the more it takes to change course. So even if the changes you might wish to undertake aren’t HUGE or even a PARTICULARLY BIG DEAL – as is the case with me – it still takes more effort to get things going (as with even a slight turn on a big, ole ship).

Let me jump in on my specific goals. In 2018 I want to read 20 books, make 10 visits to our local lake, and make 10 new recipes. None of these are monumental but they were all things I considered worthwhile that I was not doing or not doing much. (Yet I seemed to have time for less worthy endeavors or things that just weren’t terribly satisfying.) There is something motivating about getting to make a new entry of my goals list.

I’ve made 13 new recipes! Standouts include Jessica Seinfeld’s Potato, Cauliflower, and Carrot cream soup and Easy, healthy Walnut, Date, Coconut Treats. Not-so-successful recipes were an oatmeal whole wheat bread and gumbo (I never realized gumbo was okra and tomatoes – I love both okra and tomatoes, how could it miss? It missed.) I feel more excited about cooking again, putting in the time and effort to make new things, not just “sure things.”

This year I’ve cut back on cheese – there are actual days when I eat no cheese – and kicked up my vegetable eating. I had to rethink vegetables, to prioritize them, because although I eat HUGE salads and like certain vegetables A LOT, normally they aren’t the first thing I think of and they definitely haven’t been my emphasis.

I’ve visited the local lake six times already. To be honest, my community has added a clothing dropoff box adjacent to the lake area so I’ve used the opportunity to drop off clothes I no longer want as an incentive to head to the lake. Once there, I walk around and such. Accomplishing a small task in the deal makes it easier for me to plan to go there.

Books. I have read six books. My pace here isn’t stellar though because two of the books were short. Also, I have started but not finished three books – I made myself a deal that I wouldn’t force myself to read anything. I got halfway through both Chris Kyle’s American Sniper and Stephen King’s The Dead Zone before quitting. I just didn’t want to devote more time to either. I also started Alice Sebold’s Almost Moon (having really liked The Lovely Bones and Lucky) but realized I’d either started it or read it before and wasn’t so wild about it.

I feel almost ashamed by how far “behind” I let myself get reading-wise. I have much catching up to do but the real point is I am making reading more of a priority again, recouping my ability to sit down and stay put with a book. They aren’t all going to be great but I know by keeping at it, I’ll find ones that are.

So not only have I made a point to do these good things, I’ve cut back on things I felt wasted my time or made me feel not right. There are a couple TV shows I have not watched at all this year, shows that weren’t really adding much to my life. I also stopped reading a community Facebook page, one that often aggravated me with the content and regular vitriol by some of its partipants. I checked back in this week and among the more normal posts – lost cats, community events, etc – was a lengthy “conversation” on hot-button topics that got ugly. I felt myself getting upset. I guess maybe I needed confirmation that staying away is best for me. See, my fear is I’ll miss out (FOMO) on something important. What that “something” is I don’t really know. The reality is my life has gone on, been better even, since staying away. I remind myself I had a life before social media.

I started doing crossword puzzles again this winter, another thing I used to do. As my attention became scattery from time spent online, I found I lacked the stick-to-it-ness required to do a puzzle. It would get hard and I’d quit. I began making myself stick with it and get more done. The more I did the sharper I felt. I found this little book of 88 puzzles at Dollar Tree. I love it! They are all written by different puzzle makers. They challenge me but don’t make me feel like I’m way out of my depth.
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When I get a clue answer I feel a little endorphin surge, especially those I struggled with or took awhile to guess. I find that I have a broader body of knowledge than I (consciously) realize and at the same time the puzzles force me to accesss different ways of thinking. My initial thoughts aren’t always right and I need to approach the clue from a different angle. For examples: the answer to the clue House calls? was “votes”, Back biter? was ” molar”, Singer who’s an actress was “Lori”, my mind went a number of places before it went the right way. I need this kind of intellectual challenge; my life doesn’t automatically provide it.

I have not yet checked out The New York Times puzzles which I understand are considered the best. I watched a DVD of Wordplay, the 2006 documentary on the Times puzzle and its followers, who have an annual competition, and it did make me curious. I always figured I’d find their puzzles kind of dry and boring but maybe I’m wrong.

From 2015-2017 I lost a lot of my energy to an ongoing problem in my life. I spent a lot of energy fighting it and, for a time, trying to get the people who SHOULD help, to actually help. I had a sea change in attitude starting last summer. In a way, I gave up, which doesn’t necessarily seem like the ideal or right course, but it has helped me. Instead I am focusing on those actions and responses within my control. I stopped focusing so much on the problem and as I’ve been saying, started putting my energy back into me. It is too easy for me at to get overly caught up in problems, be they mine or someone else’s. I totally get that there is a choice in this and I can choose otherwise. The ship is turning.

NOTE: Please forgive a delay in responding to comments; I do want to hear them!

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Dollar Tree at the Holidays, fa, la, la

So I went into Dollar Tree yesterday. Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near a store like that the week before Christmas but in this case, I stopped in because I didn’t have to and knew I could leave immediately if the atmosphere irritated the hell out of me. Surprisingly, while the shelves, particularly in the Christmas section, were a bit picked over, the store wasn’t bad. They had several registers open (this store almost NEVER does that), shoppers seemed to be in decent spirits, and even the employees didn’t look as if they wanted to throttle anybody. Not right then anyway.

I assure you I was NOT there to buy Christmas presents (ahem) although I did look at the decorations. I wanted a big red bow but the ones they had looked a bit shabby so I passed. I got a pack of twenty little red bows from there not long ago and have used them to decorate, including myself (I tuck one into a hat band for instance).

 

While in the Christmas section I saw something I felt I must share. The sight of the hard candies brought back old memories from childhood, nice ones. These candies however, were not quite the same. Yes, the canister is festive, although that “artificially flavored” business doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart.

 

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For whatever reason I flipped the can over and saw something I’ve never seen printed on a food item before. I knew I must share these words with you.

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Do I even WANT to know what part??

 

After returning the scrumptious, partially genetically engineered treats to the shelf I ccontinued on to my favorite section, the FOOD aisle. If you’ve never been to a Dollar Tree or checked out the dry foods available, you might want to if you have any interest in cutting food costs. There are excellent deals to be had. Some of the stock stays the same but a number of items come and go so you never know what you might find. (If you don’t have a Dollar Tree, there’s a website and I noticed they occasionally do special discounts on shipping costs which might otherwise eat too far into any potential savings.) Here are the few things I bought yesterday.

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The “Made in Mexico” taco shells, which I’ve purchased several times before contain only yellow corn flour, yellow precooked corn flour and corn oil, no weird additives or extraneous junk. I like ’em a lot.

I used the lasagna noodles to make a favorite dish last night, Spanish Lasagne, a meatless entree which features artichokes and black olives. It is TO DIE FOR if you are a rabid fan of pasta, cheese, tomato sauce, artichoke hearts and black olives as I am. In a nod to health, I use part skim ricotta and part skim mozzarella, and not as much of the latter as the recipe says. I freeze several slices on a pie plate and then wrap them in foil so I don’t just eat it all up in a few days. (At the time I made this dish last night I wasn’t thinking about including photos in the blog so they aren’t as blog-ready, aesthetically, as I might prefer. But I can’t cheat you out of photos so I fished these slices out of the fridge & freezer for photos.)

 

Awhile ago I thought I’d do a post on the variety of foods I’ve found at Dollar Tree. I never wrote that post so I’m going to just throw in the picture now. Again, you can’t just walk into a Dollar Tree and find all of these; some I never saw again. Not only are the prices good, some of the foods are sold in larger packages, for instance spaghetti usually is sold in 1.5 lb boxes. Brown rice is sold in a two pound bag and so are pinto beans. All for a dollar apiece. The way I figure certain costs in life are nonnegotiable – rents, mortgages, car payments, electric bills, etc – but expenses like food are variable, so why not save where you can?

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Cheap food, yay!

 

 

“Things I will not be buying from the dollar store”

 

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Creating clothes & accessories storage in my (small) bedroom

Last March (man, that sounds LONG ago now for some reason) I did a post about making my bedroom a cheerful sanctuary. I’ve been steadily improving the space over many years and it keeps getting better. It’s a small room and that forces me to get creative about decorating and storage, without feeling cramped. I want it to be cheerful and organized.

People’s closets are rather personal spaces and there’s several euphemisms to illustrate as much (“skeletons in the closet”, “coming out of the closet” and so on come to mind) and maybe I wasn’t quite ready to “show you my closet” before this but I must be feeling frisky now, friends.

My closet is 5′ long and 2′ wide. I hang most of my clothes on the over-worked rod, which is especially packed now because 1) in between seasons calls for both warm and cool weather clothes to be on-hand and 2) I bought a bunch of beautiful new-to-me tops this summer when the local church thrift store marked down their summer clothes to $1 apiece, and further marked them down to $3 and then $1 a bag. When things were a $1 I found many tops I liked (somewhere down the line I’d like to share them here on the blog) and now the rod is stuffed. 

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Curtain covers closet

I am unorthodox I expect in that I keep boots on two shelves above the clothes but that has worked best. The closet initially had just one shelf but I’d often peer up into the ceiling area eyeing all that excess space up there just doing nuthin’. With trial and error, I figured that the upper shelf I put in needed to be more shallow than the lower or a) I couldn’t see what the hell was on it and b) I couldn’t get whatever that stuff was down.

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Shoes go on a rack below. It’s pretty packed now too because of the changing season (I’m still wearing “fashion sneakers” but have also begun to wear short boots). You’ll notice the absence of “dress shoes”. My footwear has grown increasingly lower heeled/casual but I am making moves to bring in dressy, low-heeled shoes that aren’t boots (I just bought saddle shoes! Sure to be seen in an future post).

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I make use of two multi-hangers to make more space in the closet.

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I like short black skirts what can I say

I put two large green Dollar Tree fabric bins on a shelf over the closet (that you can see in the first picture above). They hold “overflow”, in this case athletic and warm winter socks in one and my purses in the other. I move things in or out depending on the season.

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I’d like my closet to be prettier inside but I need to figure out how to best do that (wallpaper on the back wall behind the clothes? A runner rug on the floor?)  but at least it’s going the right direction. I did put in a prettier shelf with a nice scalloped edge as well as a new closet rod. I moved/attached that rod up a little higher than normal because I’m tall enough to see it and it gave me more room for the shoes below.

I’ve posted about these tall IKEA cabinets I found early in 2016 and how I use one for clothes storage like socks, jeans, leggings, and scarves. Here’s the one in my room with a couple close-ups. (I took ALL the shelves from both units to use in just this one so I have tons of adjustable shelves.)

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I fold my socks in half to store them.

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Tights

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Thinner dress scarves

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Thicker dress scarves

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Fabric bin for pajamas and “cozy footies”

Last week I found a terrific deal on Amazon for a set of 4 5-drawer small Sterlite plastic drawers. I already had a 3-drawer unit that I keep make-up in (I don’t have a lot of makeup so 3 tiny drawers are fine). There was a crack in one of the new drawers so I got it marked down. Until I saw these 20 drawers, I hadn’t known that was what I wanted but it gave me an idea! I’d put everything small in tiny drawers. Hoo baby, there was no stopping me now!

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I found/painted this shelf unit a few years back. With the shelves removed the Sterlite drawers fit perfectly.

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Thin dress socks

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I got the tiny plastic containers (a 10 pack) from Dollar Tree

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I’m delighted with all these little drawers for storage – I have to SEE what I own or the things cease to exist; that’s something I’ve figured out about myself. It all needs to be visible and accessible.

 

NOTE: still having internet issues and may not respond to any comments right away but I still like them!

Dollar Tree yard decor (plus one fix-it-up project)

Yard decorations can be expensive and since they take a pounding outdoors from the elements they don’t always last. So over recent years – with most this year – I’ve picked up several cute seasonal decorations from Dollar Tree. Please don’t think they will have these particular items if you go to a Dollar Tree – their stock varies and things they have one year they might never have again. I got lucky I expect.

The earliest pieces I got faded in the sun so I’ve hit upon a way to make them last longer. I touched up the paint myself on two and followed that up with a coat of clear gloss spray paint. It seemed worth a try and this year when I bought a few new pieces I sprayed the clear gloss immediately.

I touched up the paint on these two after it faded.

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Here they are in context today.

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ASIDE: This isn’t a Dollar Tree thing but since I showed you the shed picture, I want to share a recent project, the little shelves on the door. They were on the curb, headed for the landfill. I didn’t need metal bathroom shelves but they were solidly built and I thought maybe I could do something with them.

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Hum-drum right?

A little paint later…

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All I did was get a few clay pots I wasn’t using and voilà! Art!

Back to our Dollar Tree program. Also in the shed door photo was this wonderful sun image (in the pot on the ground in the lower right corner). I moved it there because it got “lost” in other locations; but with the white background it shows up.

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Isn’t this great? That’s real glass. I sprayed all of the bird with clear gloss

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Out of the corner of my eye – and from a little distance – sometimes I think I’m seeing a real bird – especially when I hung it by the bird feeder

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I always like spinners in OTHER people’s yards – it was high time I had one.

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I was so smitten I went back for another. (Maybe I can paint them when they invariably fade…)

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I got two of the flower chime thingees but they were only painted on one side which looked stupid when they spun in the breeze…

…So I painted the “plain” sides myself using random colors I had. I didn’t worry about a “perfect” job for these. Nobody will see them closeup.

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Can you tell I like sun imagery?!

think* that’s everything.

(p.s. I’m having internet issues so if I don’t respond in a timely way, that is why. Not because I don’t love you.)

Short Thought 186 (Dollar Tree)

Maybe I go to Dollar Tree too much a lot.

I was in a Ross Dress store this week when a random woman in the kitchen gadgets aisle said that she was looking for plastic fruit and thought she’d seen it previously in Ross. Well, I didn’t know about any plastic fruit in Ross but I could tell her Dollar Tree had plastic fruit like limes and lemons. Not only could I tell her that Dollar Tree had them but I knew what aisle she could find them in (the one with the bags of rocks for sale).

For the record I have never purchased the plastic fruit at Dollar Tree. I merely admire them.

Making my bedroom a cheerful sanctuary

My bedroom has been evolving (no, not revolving) over a period of years. While I was good at decorating other parts of the home, I seemed blocked on my room (compounded by the fact I didn’t want to spend money). That all changed when I found this Target (I think it’s Target, because when I say “found” I mean literally) lamp several years ago.

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BAM! This lamp “spoke” to me

I remember how excited I was as I carried the lamp home. Suddenly I had vision for my room. Now I’m not religious, not whatsoever, but it did feel like the skies opened and dropped this wondrous lamp in my path. Am I waxing too poetic for you? I shall wax philosophical instead. For me, my home and immediate environment are reflections or manifestations of me; how I feel about myself, how I see myself, and importantly, what I think – in my realest self – I deserve. Well HOT DAMN, I deserved, warranted, and wanted this beautiful lamp. About f’ing time too.

The lamp gave me focus. Prior to this, I felt my room was kind of shabby and mishmash. The Shabby and Mishmash Collection will NOT be featured at Bed Bath & Beyond or Linens n Things or any other fussy home store any time soon. As I say it lacked focus and moreover, when I looked at it objectively I saw it befitted a teenager or maybe young adult, someone just starting out. I am not just starting out. Not even close. I saw that my room featured things the teenage me might have appreciated (and didn’t have then). What it has become I think is whimsical adult.

No sooner than I found this lamp, I went to a yard sale that had cans of paint, one of which exactly matched the lime green of the base. For a quarter. In addition to the lamp colors, I added little touches of orange aided by a can of orange paint also at the yard sale (although I eventually decided a little orange goes a long way and dialed it back). Shades of blues and greens are my favorite colors, so there were lots of possibilities, no need to be too matchy-matchy or even to get everything immediately. A few things took time. Getting focus was the important part.

For the BIG job I painted the walls two tones of green, honestly, because I used free paint and wasn’t sure I had enough of one color! I love the two-tone; it’s polished and grownup but still fun.

Vanbytheriver recently wrote about the complications of modern bedding. I too have been befuddled by bed accoutrements. I’ve only, here in middle age, learned what some of these items are and do, largely thanks to the education I get perusing Amazon.

Okay. Duvet cover. First I had to grasp that duvet is a fancy name for a comforter. Why would it need its own cover then? It’s easier to take off and wash – theoretically – than to wash a bulky, cumbersome comforter duvet. If you never wash your comforter/duvet, I guess this isn’t your problem. Also, a duvet cover let’s you switch up the look of your room, seasonally or whatever, if that’s your thing. My comforter did not go with the color theme(s) so I used an off-white blanket on top of it for a couple years. That was okay but lacked any pizzazz.

I was stymied because the duvet covers or comforters I liked cost way too much. Not gonna happen! My criteria while shopping Amazon were no flowers or floral design, colorful, goes with “my” colors, and inexpensive. (The covers I loved featured large, blue and green color blocks or big circles/dots. They were pricey.)

I finally found something last month, featuring blue, white, and lime green – for $10! Yay! Decent quality too, made for Macy’s. It was coming together. In the fall I treated myself to the lime blanket from Ross for about $11. I love it.

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I previously posted how I made my own headboard. I’ve followed that up with changing the accompanying artwork. Well, as seen above, I swapped pictures yet again because I thought the strong duvet cover needed strong art. One thing I find is that just changing or tweaking what you already have is often a solution to a decorating problem. In this case I swapped picture frames, not just pictures. The picture seen above is now in the black frame (whose 4 plastic side pieces I turned backward for a better effect), and the other picture is now in the light green wood frame.

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Then I decided to switch up my  corner again, adding the green frame picture.

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So the square picture came over to the other side. (Here you also see the scarf added to the headboard too; I thought it went well with the new duvet cover).

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Finally, to give you a more comprehensive look at the space, I give you the opposite wall (photographed in panorama) which I’m really proud of, and which delights me daily. The curtain (a $6 Kate Spade fabric shower curtain from Ross that I sewed a 1 foot addition to so it’d reach the floor) covers the puny closet. Two shelves over the two doorways hold storage. The green fabric bins came from Dollar Tree. The “blue dots” on the middle shelf also came from Dollar Tree.

Art is whatever you think it is. Here the round Native American drum came from a package of fish given to me as a gift (the fish is looong gone but it was tasty). The picture on the left was a greeting card “woman on the beach” that I bought in the nineties because I loved it. I FINALLY framed it (both small white frames were giveaways). The little vases are almost all yard sale & thrift store finds. For covering shallow storage shelves I made, I found the orange curtain – which I think may be a sarong – for $2 at a rummage sale in November. I figure if I ever want to wear it I’ll just borrow it from the wall!

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