Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday's To-Do

I updated my to-do list on the sidebar. I have a bunch of chores calling my name and I really should get my bottom off my chair and go work on them!
Jeff just left for work and the boys are watching a move. Ashleigh is practicing her guitar and the puppies are both sleeping. I should take advantage of the peace to get a few things done before the chaos begins again!

My blog has been dead!

I think I spend too much time reading other people's blogs and not enough time posting here! I need to kick it up!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Mom is coming!!!

I am so excited! We were able to get her a plane ticket with sme unused points on our one credit card!
She missed her flight this morning, but is still on her way. It just gives me a few extra hours to spiff up the house!
She is coming to see Ryne off on his first day of school, something she has done for all of her grandkids.
I also have a pretty long list of projects for her to help me with, so its really a working vacation!
She'll be here in 6 hours!!!! Yay!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It only took a few days!

Blanket Chest - Before

Blanket Chest - After

Buffet - Before

Buffet - After

Now off to the bookshelves!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Before and After

Here are the three things (other than work and the kiddos) that I am going to work on today. It shouldn't take me too long, but you all know how the day can fly by when your to-do list is long!

My blanket chest
This piece of furniture has lived in about every room of our home. It is now in a nook in the kitchen and it houses my placemats, table clothes and I use the top for some indoor plants and other pretties. Unfortunately, it looks like this right now:

My buffet
I picked this up at an antique store that was going out of business. I wanted something to hold my dishes and serving pieces since we don't have a dining room set. It has two drawers, one for silverware and another for placemats. I do keep some placemats and table clothes in here as well as all of our dishes and silverware. The top is supposed to showcase my "funky chicken" that was the inspiration for my kitchen as well as some other decorative pieces. Right now, it looks like this:

We have three in our library and they all need help! This one holds my collection of Anne Rice, Stephen King and Marion Zimmer-Bradley as well as our collection of Star Wars books. The bottom two shelves are kid's books and as you can see, they haven't been good about putting them away nicely.

Wish me luck!

One project at a time

I am posting my to-do list on my sidebar to try and keep me accountable for what I need to get done this week.
I have really let me housework slide since I started working. Jeff has been great about keeping up with the dishes and laundry - he is awesome! BUT - it seems like all of my horizontal surfaces are just crammed with STUFF!
I know this might be crazy, but I am going to post before and after pictures here to show that YES! I did accomplish something today - and to share a little of my house with you!

Getting Overwhelmed!

Things have been crazy around here this summer - and school starts back up in just 3 weeks!
Ashleigh is going to a summer day camp run by our local community college. The class "teachers" are all volunteers from the area and I would say that at least 50% of them are high school students. I think that it is really neat that these older kids would give up part of their summer to teach younger children about topics they are passionate about!
Ryne is counting down to kindergarten. He wasn't too thrilled about the idea until we bought his backpack! He was so excited to get a new "big boy" backpack that I keep having to hide it from him so that it stays in one piece before school starts! It is huge on him and makes this momma a little teary-eyed that her little man is ready for school.
Sean is just being himself - a ball of energy. We had a trip to the ER a few days ago to get him bandaged up. Let's just say that top bunk + ceiling fan + a little monkey jumping on the bed = 4 steri strips and some surgical glue on the noggin. Never a dull moment when Sean is around. I think he is looking forward to having me to himself once the older two go back to school.
I am working! I got a job doing admin work from home for a local business. It is difficult right now, not the work but figuring out a new schedule to accommodate everyone in my house and the work and my other outside commitments. It will take some getting used to, but I'll get it figured out.
Jeff is now working two jobs. He still works for the Mouse, but on his days off he is working for the same company I am. I know it sounds crazy, but we have a plan!
I have a massive to-do list today, so I need to get going! More on that later...

Sunday, June 1, 2008


One of the blogs I read is Homemakers Cottage. In her newsletter this week, Kristy shares an excerpt from Keep A Quiet Heart, by Elisabeth Elliot about complaining.
The story she shares talks about Deuteronomy and how Moses was leading the Isrealites to the Promised Land. When they were fourteen days from the end of their journey, their complaining finally got to Moses and he was so angry, he wished he were dead! When they got there, they didn't believe that this was really the place, so they sent spies to do a little reconnasince. When the spies returned with glowing reports, they weren't believed either.
How often do we ask for God's help in our everyday lives? Then when we receive an answer, we question it or complain about it instead of thanking God for our blessings or trusting him with His plans. More often then I think most of us want to admit.
So I am taking up Kristy's challange. I am going to try to not complain for fourteen days. While I am doing this, I am going to focus on my blessings and dwell on them instead of the negative.
Would you like to join me?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Budget

I have been trying to figure out if I have a theme to my blog. I guess one would show up if I wrote more often wouldn't it??
If you don't know me in real life, my passions (beside my family) is creating a frugal, comfy home where all of my family and friends feel welcome. My Particular Harbor - get it?
So I wanted to share with everyone how I try to do this - not always successfully, but I try!
We have a really tight budget, a mortgage payment and three kids.
My DH brings home about $500 every week after taxes. I am not sharing this to gain sympathy, just trying to be real in what we deal with.
Our mortgage payment is $1200 a month
We pay $368 in utilities. This includes our electric bill, water, phone, DSL and satellite TV
I spend about $75 a week on groceries but I am working on cutting that down.
We used to spend about $80 a week on gas, but that number has been going up!
As you can see, there is little room for extras! We have been contemplating the decision for me to go back to work so that money isn't so tight.
BUT - I feel like going back to work right now is just exchanging one set of stressors for another.
We'll see what happens in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My big boy is 5 today!

Ryne turned five today! Where has the time gone??

It seems like just yesterday, we were waiting for him to hurry up and get here and now he is counting down to kindergarten!

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Donkey Tales

That was the name of tonight's program at church, put on by our Children's Ministry. All three of my kids were in the performance.
Ashleigh loves to perform and does really well. She comes from a line of drama queens, so it is natural to her!
Ryne liked to sing a few of the songs, but he got bored with sitting up on "stage" pretty quicklly!
Sean happened to be sitting front and center in the chorus group and spent 1/2 the time picking his nose, yawning or waving to the audience! What a HAM!!!!
I get to take them back to church in the morning for two more performances. We'll see if we all survive......

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lots Happening!

I have been acting like a hermit for the last two months. I have been overwhelmed by some personal and family stuff - financial and health wise and I am now declaring that time over!

This past week, I kicked my butt out of the house and went to MOPs for the first time in six weeks! We only have one more meeting before we break for summer. I decided to go ahead and volunteer to help with the Steering Committee next year and it looks like I am going to do the finances!

Wednesday, I went to an info meeting about the steering committee and had a chance to get to know some ladies that I have only seen in passing. And I got to spend some time with Kristina - who I think is my long lost twin. She would be the good twin of course!!!

Wednesday night, we started going back to church for the Wednesday night activities. Ashleigh is involved with the dance group and the boys each have a room upstairs where they learn about different bible verses, sing and do crafts. Sean was an angel this week (finally!) but Ryne refused to participate in ANYTHING. he just sat there! Oh well, looks like my Ryno is more of a wallflower than the other two!

Thursday we went to my ILs for a quick visit. Jeff's Grandma was in town for two days and I completely spaced about it on Wednesday! (I am a horrible granddaughter!) So the boys and I went to see her after we took Ashleigh to school. She is 91 and keeps telling me that this will be her last visit, yada yada!

Friday we went back up to the church to attend a Steering team meeting to check out what it was like and to help with summer plans. The boys played in another room with the other Committee members kids. They were some of the older ones there, but they had fun - and were well behaved!!! Yay!

Saturday, I went up to church again for a gathering of the Women's Circles. They are trying to get some "new blood" and start some new circles. They haven't done any new ones in 20 years! I have some ideas of the type of group I would like to see formed and join, but we'll see what others want too!

So I am making an effort to get out there again! And to get on here and write about it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

7 facts about me

I was tagged about a week ago by Candi and I just realized how and what she wanted me to do! Sorry candi! I am a dork and still figuring out the whole meme thing!

Rules are:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here are 7 things about me that you may or may not know:

1. I am the middle child of three kids. I have an older sister and younger brother. And contrary to popular belief, no I did not grow up wanting for attention! I demanded it - I am such a drama magnet.

2. Jeff and I moved our three kids cross country without a job and a house in escrow. One of the scariest and most fun times in our marriage. It has been so worth it!

3. I am a Disney freak! And it just keeps getting worse.

4. As a kid, I wanted to be a writer or an archeologist. I am fascinated by history and maybe someday I will write somethign worth publishing!

5. I want to be June Cleaver when I grow up. Did I just set the feminist movement back 50 years???

6. I am a Republican and would probably lean more toward the libertarian side in politics. I think our government is too large and our founding fathers would be spinning in their graves if they saw how monstrous it has become.

7. I loved the Gilmore girls and still watch the reruns on TV.

Now that you know what a complete weirdo I am, I am tagging:
Have fun!

My List

I am in the middle of reviewing the grocery ads and making a list of what I need. My list this week is a little different. We are going out of town for a few days, so I am not buying for a week's worth of menus, but a week's worth of snack and car friendly foods!
In the past year, we have slowly been cutting out alot of the typical snack items and processed food due to budget and health concerns. Well, that will partially be going out the window as we prepare for our Spring Break trip to Macon, GA!
And of course, I found some great stuff on sale this week at Winn-Dixie! They are having a 10 for $10 sale on so many items that I usually have stockpiled, that I am going to buy a few things to put in my pantry!
My list so far:
10 for $10
Coke products (I know these aren't good for me, but it is my last vice) - 2 liters I will buy 10 to have on hand = $10
Winn Dixie Pasta Sauce (I usually make my own, but its good to have in a pinch)I will buy 5 for quick weeknight meals = $5
Nesquick flavored milk (for the road trip) Qty 10 = $10
Pringles (DH's favorite for road trips!)I will get one can per person for the week 5 = $5
Rayovac Batteries - AA and AAA 4 packs (we always need these)Qty 10 = $10
Hormel Little Sizzlers (great for breakfasts - 12 in a box) Qty 10 = $10
Dole Salads I am cooking dinners while we are gone Qty 3 = $3
Gala, Red Delicious or Granny Smith apples ($1 per pound) Qty 3 lbs = $3
Some other good prices:
3 lb bag of honey tangerines - 2 for $4
Cantaloupes - 2 for $3 ( I will buy 1)
So if I get the quantities I want, my total should be $61.50.
I will still need to pack other snacks from my pantry and do some baking, but this will pretty much cover the gaps in our road trip needs!

Grocery Shopping Part 2

I am trying to share some of the things I do to save money at the grocery store.
I've already talked about how I inventory my pantry, refrigerators and freezers. I talked a little about how I plan my menus and make my list. I want to revisit that whole list thing!
I have found that most people fall into one of three categories when it comes to their shopping:
1. They make a list of loss leaders and plan their menus around what is on sale that week.
2. They create a pantry stockpile and plan their menus on what they have on hand and just pick up the items they need to fill in the blanks.
3. They don't do any of the above and just go to the store and throw random stuff in the cart and hope they can do something with it!

I shop with a combination of all of these!!! Well maybe not #3!

The first thing I do is review my stockpile. Thanks to my MIL and my ability to squirrel away food, our pantry stays pretty stocked. If I am low on anything or out of something, I start my list. This also works for toiletry items and cleaning products!
Then I make my menus based on what we have and what sounds good! I also take into consideration what is happening during the week. On Girl Scout nights, for instance, I try to do a crock pot meal or casserole I can make ahead so that dinner is the last thing I need to worry about as I am running out the door! Anything that I need to complete a meal on the menu gets added to the list.
Then I review the ads. I do the bulk of my shopping at Wal-mart. Since they do not publish an ad, I have to keep an idea of what the prices are. I had a price book started, but my computer ate it, so I am re-creating it. I know a lot of people have bad feeling about Wal-mart, so if you don't shop there, find a store in your area that offers the lowest prices on the items you buy most often.
I go through the other stores ads online. Most large grocery chains have their ads available online and you can even sign up to receive them before anyone else! Some also have a handy feature where you can create your list as you are going through the ad. I do this for all the stores in my area and print out the lists I create.
Since Wal-mart is the cheapest place I shop (and the furthest away from my house, I start there. I take all my lists with me. When I come across an item I know is on sale elsewhere, I compare the sale price to the Wal-mart price. If it is lower at Wal-mart, I buy it there and cross it off my list. Most of the time, I can get 95% of my list at Wal-mart cheaper than by going to three different stores and buying all the loss leaders.
When I am done at Wal-mart, if there are still a # of items on my list at another store, I head over there and pick them up. Since the other stores are on my way home from Wal-mart, I am not using any additional gas!
The most important thing to remember is to stick to your list! Yes, there are times when you come across a great deal and you will need to deviate, but more on that later!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Eve

Easter is tomorrow and we have been acting like hermits for about a month now. I haven't attended church in that time, barely left the house unless I had to, you get the picture.
I have been overwhelmed and stressed to the max for over a month. Nothing huge, just all of the everyday little things have gotten to me and I have reached a breaking point. I was in denial until I was ambushed by my Girl Scout co-leaders a few weeks ago. Later that same week, at a MOPs meeting, we had a family counselor give us all a "depression test". We had to answer 15 questions and rate them. We added up the points for each question and answer. Everyone had different scores, but the breakdown was: (I am paraphrasing, but you'll get the idea)
1-5 - you are doing well and have few problems
6-11 - you might want to find someone to talk to (pastor or friend)
12-18 - you need to see a professional
19+ - you need HELP!!

My score was .......22!!!!!!!!!!!

The good news is, I am starting to turn a corner. I am working really hard on sharing my burdens with my DH and journaling and I may vent more here. So, starting this week (tomorrow), my hermiting needs to change. I am the kind of person that thrives on being around others and when I get overwhelmed and depressed, I hide. That is exactly what I shouldn't do, but I do.

So if you know me IRL, and have been wondering where I have been, I'll be back!

Monday, March 3, 2008


I am always looking at new ways I can cut our grocery budget. My goal is to spend $75 to $100 per week feeding my family of five, plus our dog. With the prices going up daily (it seems), it is getting harder and harder to do!

This is where I need to get creative and really watch where my pennies go!

Some tips I share here may seem like common sense to you, but they may be new ideas to someone else!

*Inventory your cupboards and refrigerator - I set aside about 15 minutes a week (usually Wednesday) where I go through my pantry, fridges and freezers to take stock of what I have, and I make a list of what is low and what I am out of.

*Plan a menu - nothing can eat up your food budget more than waiting until 5:00 to decide what you are having! Make a plan for a week to 10 days at a time. Just do dinners to start with. Be sure to try and use items that you already have in your "food inventory".

*Make a grocery list - your list should include all of the items you need to make the dinners on your list plus the essentials for breakfast and lunch. Stick to this list as closely as possible!

*Stick to your menu plan! Your meals can be flexible, but try to stick to what you had planned. This will keep you from running to the store to get "just one more thing".

More in another post! There are so many dimensions to this subject! I am still learning and will try to share as much as possible!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This blog is boring!!!

I started this blog with the intention of sharing stuff with friends and making new ones on the internet.
I suck!
I just read through a blog written by someone I know IRL and realized that my blog would probably put her to sleep and not tell her anything about me! Sorry Kristina!
So I am re-commiting to making a post at least three times a week on this blog to try and unload some of the useless stuff that is in my brain and maybe connect with someone out there!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Seven

What's on your mind?
1. I really wish we had won the lottery last night
2. Then I could pay the bills sitting here on my desk.
3. I could buy my daughter that Nintendo DS she wants.
4. I could be debt free
5. I could buy a bigger house for my family, including my parents and siblings
6. I could tithe some real money to our church, instead of my usual thin envelope with $5 in it.
7. I wouldn't need to worry about most of the other crap that is on my mind right now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday - Christmas is still here

For some reason this year, I had a hard time getting into the Christma "spirit".
Maybe it was because the Princess had a solo in our church's pageant and we started listening to Christmas carols in August. Maybe it was because this was the second year that I was away from my siblings and parents. Maybe it was because my DH worked crazy long hours and was never home.
At any rate, I felt like this year, I just went through the motions. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed giving and receiving gifts. I enjoyed going to church on Christmas Eve. I enjoyed inheriting my MIL's nativity stable that her grandfather made her and displaying it in my own home.
It was just lacking something this year, and I can't put my finger on it.

The only problem now is that I can't seem to get my house undecorated and back to normal!!! So, my goal is to de-Christmas the house by the end of the week!!!

Have you put away your holiday decorations yet?