Friday, December 23, 2011

Fall Reading Wrap Up

Happy Winter! I didn't start the Fall Reading challenge on time, no reason to end on time. My list for fall reading was very short (two books) and I finished them pretty early. Honey and I started reading the Steve Jobs book, Honey finished, I'm going to wait for the movie.
Here's a wrap up of the books I did finish...

A Voice in the Wind and An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers - loved 'em!
Grave Yard Games by Sheri Leigh - this one was ok, not great but it was free.
The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang - also free and pretty good.
Pig Island by Mo Hayden - free, that's good because I didn't like it, I kept thinking this has got to get better, not so much.
The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson - this would make a great Lifetime Christmas movie, short and feel good.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett - loved it! Pie!

I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. I have a long "To Be Read" list maybe I should pick something from there rather than check out what's new on the shelves. But it's not to early to start my list for the Spring Reading thing. Thanks to Katrina at Callapidder Days for hosting these challenges! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rant and a Challenge

The post-Halloween sugar crash just hit and my kids are already dreaming of sugar plums. The Star and the Bullseye stores are opening at midnight on Black Friday. But what about this guy?

Have we completely forgotten about Tom Turkey? Poor guy. I know he's not as cute as little ghosts and goblins and not as jolly as St. Nick but doesn't he still have a place on our calendar? We're done buying the costumes and candy, now on to garland and lights. I love Christmas as much as much as anyone else, my family might say more (I have been know to start watching White Christmas in August). Are we so busy planning and doing that we just don't take the time to be thankful? How can we appreciate what we will get for Christmas if we don't appreciate what we already have?

No, I won't be getting up at the crack of you-have-got-to-be-kidding to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I've done that. I just don't think the deals are worth fighting the crowds, hoping the store has what I went for, and standing in line for hours to pay. Have we forgotten the reasons for the holidays? Really, is all about who's getting what, who has the best costume, decoration, candy, football? Have we forgotten that holidays are about more? They are about family, friends, laughter and love. I'm done ranting now.

So, my Thanksgiving challenge for all of us is to post, tweet, facebook, write on the calendar, on a post-it note on the fridge, one thing we are thankful for everyday from now until Thanksgiving Day. That's 24 days, I know you can do it! Leave me a comment to let me know you are going to play along!

Today I am Thankful for my family; the one I was born into, the one Honey and I have created, our extended family and the friends who have become family.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Reading Challenge

It's one month into the Fall Reading Challenge (although I didn't officially join this year) and I finished my list! Yes, the list only had two books on it but I really didn't think I'd be able to "get into" them.

Both are by Francine Rivers the first was A Voice in the Wind. My friends kept telling me to "just keep reading, it gets better after chapter seven". It took me until chapter 11 to be able to read more than a page at a time. By the time I got to chapter 17, I couldn't put it down! It only took two and a half months and starting it three times to finish. The second book was An Echo in the Darkness. I finished that one in a week! They were great! As Sure as the Dawn is the third in the series. I'm not sure if I'm going to jump right into that one.

Honey and I just started reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. He's reading it on his iPad, I'm reading it on my Kindle. This is the first book we've tried to read together, should be interesting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Puppy's Tail

Yes, I'm a dog person. I don't have anything against cats as a species, but when it comes to a companion, yep, it's a dog.

Max is my furry little companion animal. Honey is pretty sure I'd give him away before I'd give my dog away. comment.

Max was a puppy mill rescue, he was suppose to be put down but was saved along with 15 other puppies. It's been six years since Max adopted us. I found the rescue through I took both kids to visit two puppies the rescuers thought would work for our family. I told Honey we were just going to look, of course he knew better, I was bringing home a puppy.

When we arrived this little white fuzzy bundle of excitement met us at the door I couldn't get the Bean down to the floor fast enough for the loving to begin. Stumpy, as he was called, was all over us, jumping, wagging, wiggling, giggling (the Bean) and kissing. The puppy wasn't afraid of Bean grabbing at him or the noise a 2 1/2 year old can make. We visited with the other puppy too, he was a little smaller and a bit timid. I'm sure he would have worked for our family when he got comfortable with us, but Stumpy was a better match for our busy young family. So Maxwell Edison became part of our family.

Max had a few fears to over come, going through doors, walking in the grass and he was afraid of people in baseball caps. With patients, time and gentle guidance he's gotten over most of his fears one step at a time. I know, just like Max, with patients and time I can get over my fears and short comings too. It just takes one step of faith at a time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September Project Wrap Up

Wow! I can't believe it's October already! I've been tracking my trips to the Stuff Mart for nine months now. I'm surprised I've stuck with it this long.

The most significant change I've noticed, is that I don't automatically think "I need to run to Stuff Mart and get that". Sissy still thinks we should run up there every time she has a "need" but I'm getting better at telling her "not tonight". On those occasions she really needs something she's big enough to go in by herself. One less trip for me. She can only buy something if she has enough cash (because Mom's not there to buy her other stuff).

The Bean is a little better about saying "next time we go to Stuff Mart can we look at..". He has also found out you can check prices on the computer, so he knows how much money he has to save. Sometimes things are cheaper on Amazon, saves me another trip.

I have four more months of limiting my trips to Stuff Mart, I think after the first of the year it will continue to be more natural to just not go. In September I made 8 trips, the total for the year so far is 48, average of 5.3 trips per month! At this rate I'll be under 70 trips for the year! When I looked at that number I was surprised! I was sure we were going just as much as we did last year. Our monthly average spending is down by 40% for September! Now that doesn't mean we're saving that much, but we are spending less at the Stuff Mart and I hope supporting smaller local businesses more.

I've very excited to see how the last 4 months of this project will go. Wonder how I can save and track the money I don't spend at Stuff Mart next year?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Reading

Happy Fall! OK, I know I missed the first day of fall and the official start of Fall Into Reading hosted by Katrina at Calladidder Days. I'm not officially joining but I do like making my list and seeing what happens to it by the end of fall. I have a very short list, again but they're long (really long) books.

I was told that The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers is very good and I should read it. My friend loaned me the first two books and warned me that it takes awhile to "get into the story". I started A Voice in the Wind in August, then read a couple other books (one I requested from the library so I had to read it). I started it again at the beginning of September, and decided that I really just needed a lighter read. I read a couple more books. Now it's the end of September and after some friendly guilt, oops I mean, encouragement I'm starting again. Third time is a charm, right?

So without further explanation, here is my reading list.
A Voice in the Wind
An Echo in the Darkness
As Sure as the Dawn (well, maybe) All by Francine Rivers.

If I read those three then I can choose from one of these. I think that will keep my busy well into next fall, unless I find something else I just have to read.

Thank you Katrina for hosting the reading challenges and encouraging us to just keep reading!

Time for hot cocoa, my blanket and A Voice in the Wind. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The "J" List

The "J" list is like Oprah's "O List" only cheaper, much much cheaper! It's some of my new or new to me favorite things!

On the left is "The Green Album" cd! It's Muppet songs, sung by current popular artists! How can you not have a good day when you start it listening to Mahna Mahna? Bean thinks we should listen to it every day on the way to school and Sissy already has it on her iPod! (It's not on mom's iPod but that's a post for another day.) There's also a "Kermit Unpigged" cd!

The odd pink thing is a poo bag holder. I saw a diaper bag dispenser (just like this one just labeled differently) on Another Ten Miles blog. Heather pictured it on her "Baby Must Haves" post. I saw that and thought perfect "in the car" trash bags! They're small, contained and refillable! No more hunting under the seat for a stuff mart bag! Woo hoo! I found the pet version in pink at Target! Thanks Heather!

Turtle Wax Bug and Tar remover! We have big bugs and they leave big squish marks on the car. No more squish spots!

Greeting cards from the Dollar store! My friend Laurie told me about them! I'm very excited! I spent $14 on 3 greeting cards! That's crazy! I really want to be able to make card and have them ready on time (ha) but just in case that doesn't work out...Dollar store here I come!

Monday, August 15, 2011


I've learned a lot from my kids, for example don't say "yes" to a child if you don't fully understand the question, toddlers like to color with lipstick, more about Polly Pockets and Clone Troopers than I ever wanted to know. I've learned about fashion, when Sissy says "that's kind of Mom-ish" I should put it down and walk away, she doesn't mean it as a compliment.

Yesterday I was listening to the loving sounds of my children interacting, oh no, wait that was Leave it to Beaver. I was listening to my kids argue on the way to church. Anyway, Sissy started to lisp when she wants to be cute. I find it less than adorable coming from a 16 year old. Bean likes to talk "baby talk" to the dog. Sissy finds this less than adorable coming from her brother. She told him to quit because it annoyed her. Strangely, I told her the same thing about her "lisp" just the other day.

Tonight, Sissy yelled at Bean because he didn't put his cup in the dishwasher. Her rant went something like "He's 8! He should be able to put the cup in the dishwasher! It's not that hard!" I told her "I know, I thought the same thing this morning when I asked you to put the cutting board in the dishwasher."

I was told once when you point a finger at others you have three fingers pointing back at yourself. I've learned that's true, the behaviors we dislike in others are often things we do ourselves. The next time I have the urge to complain about someone else I'm going to make sure I don't do the same thing. Then I'm going to keep my mouth shut.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where Did Summer Go?

I can't believe my kids go back to school in one week! I'm wondering what happened to our summer? Apparently we have been very busy. I took Bean shopping to finish up his school supply shopping and was surprised at how few supplies were left. I don't know what I'm going to do about Sissy's. She doesn't find out what she needs for her classes until school starts. Yikes!

Summer has passed with a blur of activity! June was spent at karate, karate camp and play group for the Bean. Marching band practice for Sissy and a road trip to my nephew's High School Graduation. Whew!

We were home two week (more band and karate) and left the beginning of July for a vacation in Texas. We went to visit Honey's brother and his wife. Honey's mom flew down to join us. We went to the Johnson Space Center, the Gulf at Galveston and did a little shopping. Texas has a lot of outlet malls! Bean's favorite thing, his uncle's magnetic toy and cable tv. Sissy's favorite was shopping. (Pictured in front Bean, L to R Sis-in-law, Honey, me, Sissy, Bro-in-law and Mom-in-law)

We left Texas and drove around the Gulf to visit my friend and her family! We met them at the Gulf in Florida for breakfast. The kids got to try out a boogie board and we saw dolphins! We visited some more, had lunch, said our good-byes and headed home. Honey was on vacation the whole week after we got back from TX/FL. I had no idea what day it was for those two weeks. We didn't have a schedule, no band practice, no routine.

August started out with an impromptu trip "home" for the weekend to the fist annual Homecoming. Honey left Sunday, Bean and I stayed so my sister and I could help my dad with some organize/purge projects he'd been putting off. The "girls" also went to do a little shopping at a flea market/craft sale/Amish market. That was a lot of fun, HOT but fun! All my "finds" fit in my trunk. Woo hoo!

The first week of August was band camp for Sissy. Our brave band director loads the kids up on a bus and takes them to a college campus for a week. They come home hot and tired but they learn a lot and really become a cohesive unit. Honey went for part of the week to be a chaperon, he came home hot and tired too.

This is our last week of summer, Sissy is volunteering at the hospital, Bean is squeezing in a little more play time with his friends. I'm just hoping I can get them back in routine with as few melt downs next week as possible.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stuff Mart Project

I can't believe it's the end of June already! I didn't think summer would ever get here and now the first month has passed too quickly with all the activities. The end of June is also the half way point of my Stuff Mart Project! I'm not seeing the results I thought I would but I am learning somethings from this project.

Some of the lessons I've learned are common sense or should be. Starting with the shopping lists, they do help when I'm shopping. They keep me focused and out of the clearance isle! The list also keeps me from making so many "oh, I forgot trips back to the store". The less time I spend in the Stuff Mart the less I wonder around "just looking". That just looking always costs extra! (Duh!) The time I spend in the Stuff mart is proportionate to the patients I have for being there, less time = less patients.

Location, location, location also applies to the Stuff Mart. When I go to a different Stuff Mart, I find things to look at, "oh, that's not at my store!". Item are not located in the same place in different stores (again, Duh!). It saves me time and frustration to just shop where I know where the stuff is located.

The most important lesson, DO NOT take all of my family to the Stuff Mart AT THE SAME TIME! 'Nuff said.

No drum roll here, my totals weren't as dramatic as I had hoped. The trips I made to Stuff Mart for the first six months are 27, total trips (sometimes Honey goes without me) 42. That's about half the amount we made in the same period last year. The cash out flow was the disappointing part, we are only down $200 from last years average. We are going less but spending more.

On to the next six months. I see some mindless shopping still going on, that's what I want to work on. I can already see that it will be a challenge with back to school and Christmas, but I'm ready for it!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Summer is here and it's time for Spring Reading Thing '11 wrap-up! I posted an update about the books I added to my list, but when I went back to review it, it was gone! It's still missing in the blogosphere somewhere.
The one book I didn't finish (or really start) was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak . I started it and decided it's going to take more concentration that I'll have with the kids home for the summer.

I only read two non-fiction books.
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield was short, simple, to the point, and didn't apply to my life at all. Good thing it was free.
One Simple Act by Debbie Macomber was okay. I don't believe I was in the right frame of mind to receive the book the way it was intended.

Now for fiction!
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf was a good book and a new author for me
Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
Lady in Waiting by Susan Messiner loved it!
One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz
Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen wasn't as intense as I thought it would be after reading Water for Elephants, but it was still a good story and I really enjoyed it.

These fiction books were added because they were free for a limited time on the kindle.
The Heart of Memory: A Novel by Alison Strobel and
Getting Away is Deadly by Sara Rosett were good stories, a little on the light side but still fun to read.
Thicker Than Blood by CJ Darlington I really liked the characters in this book and I wanted to get to know them better but I felt like a lot of details were left out. The story seemed a little flat and ended without really tying up the loose ends.

My original SRT list was three books. After two rounds of additions I read a total of 11 books for the challenge! Two non-fiction, 9 fiction and 6 were new authors.

Thank you Katrina at Callapidder Days for hosting the reading challenge!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Money Monday

It's time for my April Project wrap up and budget update. What I've noticed this past month is that our shopping list is much shorter. I don't know if that's because the weather is finally getting warmer or because we aren't just wondering the isles at Stuff Mart we don't feel like we "need" as much stuff. Whatever the reason, I like the results - Saving! One area that less whats are obvious is the number of trips to Stuff Mart and the amount spent there. In April I went to Stuff Mart 4 times and spend 50% less than last years monthly average!

I was also $15 under our grocery budget for April. My goal in cutting back our grocery budget is to build up an overage so when I find a great deal (like skinless, boneless chicken breast for $1.39 a pound!) I can really stock up. So far in May I am $12 under budget.

Now for the bad news, May is the time to pay for Beans summer camps and Sissy's marching band supplies add that to Mother's day and graduations, oh my! This is why we have a budget and put a little away each month for one time activity expenses! I've heard this called a sinking fund. I don't like that name! I like to think of these funds as lifesavers! They help keeps us afloat when extra expenses pop up!

The progress each month is keeping me motivated to just keep working on it. Over all I am very happy with how we are doing on our budget! I know our budget will always be evolving because life changes. I hope budgeting and saving help us prepare for those changes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Remember Mom

The sun is shining, the temperature is rising and I'm thinking about my Mom. Yesterday was Mother's Day so many people are thinking about their mom's but that's not why I'm thinking about mine. The windows are open and the shears are blowing in the breeze. A storm is about to arrive, soon I run around the house closing windows just like when I was a kid. Growing up in the mid-west we really only had two seasons, shovel and sweat. A cool spring breeze blowing through the second floor bedrooms was a welcome sign of spring. It also meant that when a storm came in quickly, we had many windows to close.

The spring breezes slowly gave way to the hot humid days of late summer. We didn't have air conditioning in the house, not even a window AC unit. We would sleep in front of the open sliding door on the living room floor, with a fan pulling in the cool night air. In the morning we'd wake up the heavy drapes would still be closed, we knew it was going to get hot that day. We'd spend the day at the pool (we had to be home in time to get cleaned up for dinner). On those mornings Mom would be up early making dinner, so she didn't have to heat the house up later.

Mom would make tuna salad with pasta shells for dinner, raw vegetables, (I remember a lot of cucumbers) watermelon, cantaloup and ritz crackers. It wasn't fancy, it wasn't special, Mom made it often as the summer days dragged on. I remember it well not because it was special or fancy but because it was a dinner that tied the summers of my childhood together. When got the tuna and pasta out for dinner tonight that was when I started thinking about my Mom.

Mom's been gone 11 years now but that simple meal keeps me tied to her. I wonder if she had any idea that something so ordinary would be such a special memory for me? I wonder too, now that I'm the mom, if I put too much effort it the "special" things? Maybe I should put more "special" in the every day.

Me, my Mom and Baby Sissy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Craft Project

It's a craft! It's an organizer!
It's finished!

My necklace holder ended up being a bit of a group project, Honey had to help me find the right size screws for the knobs and drill the holes. I'm not allowed to use his power tools, I have enough trouble with my kitchen appliances.
Cute and functional! Love it!

Friday, April 29, 2011


The big living room decorating project is finished! I had been planning and re-planning that project for years and now it's Done. Over. Finished. It's left me with a bad case of Post-Project Crash. A lot of energy and creativity went into decorating to the exclusion of other creative hobbies. So now what do I do? I don't have any other craft projects underway, or even planned, and the scrapbooks are so far behind it's overwhelming. One of my favorites quotes is "Where you mind goes your butt follows". My mind was creatively empty, stuck in a rut and so was my behind. The only thing I was creating was a dent in the couch!

How did I go about getting out of my rut? I did some immersion therapy at Hobby Lobby! Hallelujah! Ah (sigh) the inspiration! Just looking at the craft supplies, baskets, and flowers got my creative juices flowing. I came home with the supplies to start a necklace holder and a list of other ideas! No more putting all my creative eggs in one basket. When I clean up the craft area all the pretty things that inspire my creativity are out of sight. Not a good situation for a visual person. If that means my craft area stays cluttered with the things that spark my imagination, I'm ok with that! I hope Honey's ok with it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Money (Not) Saving Monday

I don't know how I could have forgotten this but I did. To save money Do Not Take BOTH Children shopping! It must have been the movie popcorn induced haze that lead me to take the kids (mistake #1) to the book store. Bean had a gift card from his birthday, Sissy didn't have any money, we know where this is going. Bean picked out his books, so did Sissy. Yes you guessed it mom was expected to pay for hers. I couldn't buy her a book without getting one for him. I know some moms can,k I'm not that good at turning off the mommy guilt. After that we went (mistake #2) to the shoe store, just to pick up a pair I saw last time we were there. While we're here we'll look at shoes to go with the (gulp) prom dress. Bean wanted to go look at the shoes in his size (mistake #3) I let him. A minute later he comes running back to me bare foot, saying "Mom you should see all the cool shoes in my size!" Twenty minutes later, 3 pairs of shoes and earrings to go with the prom dress we head home. Lesson learned.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Money Saving Monday

I can't believe it's April already! April is a busy (and expensive) month for us. Bean and Honey have birthdays at the beginning of the month. That means gifts and party supplies hit at the end of March. I wasn't very optimistic about the March Project wrap up. When I looked at my totals I was surprised! I made four trips to the Stuff Mart and spent $100 less than last years' average! Pretty good for a pre-birthday month!

I have other spending/saving habits I'm trying to improve. I started coupon at the beginning of February and jumped in with both feet! I did fall into the trap of "chasing the deal" a little. Some deals were worth chasing, some weren't. In March my couponing mellowed out and focused more on getting what we used for less. That's working much better.

Another goal I have is to grow our savings. I haven't felt like this was going very well, new glasses, contact, tires...Oh My! I gathered my courage, covered my eyes, crossed my fingers and peeked at my savings. Woo hoo! The piggy banks are gaining weight! Not very fast but the numbers are going up! Progress!

My project for April is to make laundry soap! My friend Laurie gave me the recipe. If it works that will free up grocery cash (still working on cutting that by 10%). The Simple Dollar made a very similar recipe and figured the cost at 2 1/4 cents per load! They also compared the homemade detergent to a name brand and were please with the results. I can't wait to see how well it works for us!

My little steps are starting to pay off. I'm energized to keep making my lists and clipping coupons! If you have any more money saving tips, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fave Five and Coffee 4.1.11

Happy Friday! It's time to look back at the week and pick some favorite things. Visit Susanne at Living To Tell The Story for the details. I'm also joining the Company Girls Coffee blog hop hosted by Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary.

Here are the highlights from my week.

Time to read. I finished lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner. She is a new to me author, I heard good reviews about this book and I wasn't disappointed. It was really good!

Girl talk! My
friend Michelle from The Writtings on the Wallflowers came over for a visit. She brought this to show me. Michelle hand painted it! She also had a bird's nest and a flower! Amazing!

My furry friend. Max has me well trained. I was putting on my shoes to walk on the treadmill yesterday and he started whining at me. I asked him if he wanted to go outside and went to the back door.
He stopped at his toy box, where we keep his leash. I asked again, he didn't move. I told him I wasn't walking outside but he started prancing around and went to the front door. We walked outside. After one lap around the block I brought him back to the drive way to take him in the house. He wouldn't walk up to the house. At the end of the second lap he planted his feet and pulled backward as we turned up our street. We finally made it to the drive way, got half way to the house before he used all 20 pounds of his little body to delay going into the house. Yep, Max has me trained well.

Crossing things off the to do list. I didn't finish the projects, I just decided they didn't need to be done. The first was knitted net scrubbies. I used to find them at craft fairs and loved them. I thought I can make those, yes I can, but I don't want to any more. The other was re-hemming the living room shears. They don't hang perfectly in the window. By the time the kids and the dog push them aside to look out they aren't ever going to hang "perfectly" anyway, so I'm moving on.

Journals. I have had a journal sporadically for as long as I can remember. Sometimes more sporadically than others, but I made time this week to do some writing. Nothing important really, kind of like my blog. I enjoy physically writing in the journal, it's calming for me, helps me think through whatever is going on and I have a record of progress I've made with struggles.

Those are my favorite things from the past week! What were your highlights from the past week?

Thanks to Rachel and Susanne for hosting the fun!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


When I got up this morning I really hoped one of these would have shown up,

or maybe this guy.

But no luck, just me. There is laundry to do, bathrooms to clean, party preparations to be made, bills to pay...The list goes on and just about the time I think I'm caught up, there is more.

I believe where your mind goes your behind follow. What I focus on I see, the good and the bad. This isn't new I heard a speaker talk about the same thing. His example was to have the audience close their eyes and asked them how much red was in the room. They said not much. When they opened their eyes and looked around there was a lot of red. They saw it because they were looking for it. When I remember where I heard that I'll pass it along. I think it was a Getting Things Done seminar Honey and I listened to.

I know many people poo-poo positive thinking, but some days I have to do whatever it takes! Today is one of those days. It snowed again yesterday, it's gray and dreary today. I'm ready for sunshine and warm days, sadly mother nature is not co-operating with my plan. So, I'm thinking positive! I know my attitude will change for the better!

How this works for me is putting a positive spin on every thing I can. Instead of groaning about the chores, I'm thankful we have clothes to wear, a home to clean and that I have a family to dirty it again. It sounds silly but it works for me! I focus on the finished chore and not the "fun" of doing the laundry.

What do you do to get motivated? What tips or tricks do you have?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fave Five and Coffee 3.25

It's Friday, time for Fave Five and Company Girl Coffee! (I missed all of last week due to the flu, we were all sick.) Time to list some favorite things from the past week and catch up with the Company Girls. Visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for the Fave Five details.

Here are my favorite things from the past two week. The snow falling outside my window is not one of my favorite things.

  • We got a surprise package in the mail! My sister made us St. Patrick's Day goodie bags! The kids were excited about their stickers and gold coins. I got coffee!
  • Warm sunny days! We've had a taste of what is to come and I can't wait! I love sunshine!
  • Everyone is healthy again! It was a very long week with everyone sick, but we are better now, the house has been aired out and disinfected. This is also the reason for my very short SRT list. My TBR list is growing daily!
  • Coffee! I was coffee free for seven days! Only partly by choice, I just couldn't stomach it with the flu. Coffee is back, happy dance!
  • A trip to the craft store! I found some clearance yarn for a scarf. It's a very easy scarf that spirals; I started a purple one and thought it would be pretty in this yarn too. I may even have them done by the time it's cold enough to wear them.
  • Baskets. I replaced basket A with B it was hidden in the closet. Basket A is now a collection point for things that need to be carried to the basement. It looks so much better than a pile of stuff sitting by the steps. The best part…$0!
Please visit Rachel at Home Sanctuary and check out what other Company Girls are up to!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011

Happy Spring! That means warm breezes, sunshine, flowers, and muddy children and…

I'm looking forward to the challenge this year for all the new books I'll find out about. My "to be read" list is pretty empty. I only have 3 books on my list, so far. I am reading two new authors and one old favorite.

Lady in Waiting: A Novel by Susan Meissner

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber

For all the details and to link up visit Katrina at Callapidder Days! Thank you Katrina for hosting! Happy Reading!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Money (Saving) Monday

Today's money saving idea, have a child come down with the stomach flu on the scheduled Stuff Mart day. Add to that snow (yes, snow) and that makes for a stay home day for me! I'm sending Honey! How does this save me money? Well, Honey doesn't have to take the children (the children choose not to go, Dad says "no"), he's better at sticking to the list, and he doesn't "remember" what I forgot to put on the list.

Bean had this on Friday, Punkin started today, wonder who is next? It's all good as long as Honey doesn't get it. He has a BIG, HUGH project at work starting Friday, he can't get sick! So, with Lysol in hand, I'll be couponing, reading, maybe a little knitting and waiting to see what else this first day of Spring Break will bring.

Allowance update, I'm leaning to giving Punkin allowance. Giving her a few "must" do chores tied to privileges not money. That was she has money and we can start to learn some money management skills. I have very low expectations for this project to be successful but I hope to get the skills in there so she can draw on them when she gets older. A big Thank You goes out to Karen at Over the Back Yard Fence for sharing her ideas and kind words of encouragement!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fave Five and Company Girl Coffee

It's finally Friday! The sun is shining and the temp is suppose to go up a little today! Woo hoo!
It's time to link with Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story and have coffee with the Company Girls.
My favorite things this week were...

Today's sunshine! It does this body good!

I got 2 hand lotions and a can of ravioli free with coupons this week! Completely free, no additional purchase required!

Katrina at Callapidder Days is planing to host Spring Reading Thing 2011!
Time to be creative. I finished two shopping bags and have a third cut and ready to sew.

Quilt night. We did a little quilting, a little knitting and had brownies!

What were your favorite things this week?

Stop and have coffee with some other Company Girls! Hosted by Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Money Monday

Allowance, to pay or not to pay? Cash for chores or entitlement? We are currently giving allowance based on chores. I'm question this because my teen is doing just enough chores to get the amount of money she wants in the moment. If she want $3 she'll do just enough chores to earn $3. She has to pay for her texting. When that bill is due she asks if she can do extra chores to pay the bill but often that's all she earns and has no cash for the rest of the week. I know she understands you have to work to earn money. I wonder if that is the lesson I need to be teaching her at 16 or if teaching her budgeting is where my focus should be?

On Friday she had money, by Sunday night she didn't have enough cash to buy a soda. I'm suppose to be preparing her for adulthood. When it comes to money management I'm failing. I know if I give her allowance she won't do chores, she complains about simple chores when she does get paid for them. Do I give up her helping around the house to be able to teacher her how to manage her money?

How do you handle spending money for kids? Do you micro manage how they handle money or let them learn by fire? Is it ever too late to teach money management? I would love to hear how you teach or were taught money management!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February Project Wrap-up

I've survived my second month of not making daily trips to Stuff Mart. I've also learned a few more things this month.

It is possible to run out of Stuff Mart plastic bags.

We can get what we want/need without running out to the store every time we have a need. Bean and I learned this lesson because he can wear sunglasses to school tomorrow. He asked if we could go to the store to get a pair, I told him we could go on Wednesday. Having a plan seemed to defuse the urgency for him, and frustration for me, he didn't ask every day if we could go. Wednesday came, we went to the store got the shades, it's all good!

Using a calculator helps me re-think my need for those extras that run up my total.

Where my butt goes, so does my mind and my money. At home I make the shopping list of what we need and some of our wants. Then when I'm walking around the store, things I didn't know I needed at home end up in the cart. Sometimes I do remember something we need, most of the extras are just that extras.

The total trips to Stuff Mart for February are 4! Honey 1, Me 3! We eliminated 10 trips this month. The store didn't have to close it's doors and I don't feel the pressure to go just because some one wants something.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Money Monday

I've been changing the way my family I shop. I could say it is because of the economy, college, teen driver, rising gas prices any of these reasons would be a good one. The real reason is that after looking at our spending last year, I was shocked. I do most of the shopping so I can't blame anyone else for my habits. I was motivated to make changes, the first was The Project. Then we looked at what we actually spent and up dated our budget. The only reason I wouldn't be able to stay with the guidelines of this budget is mindlessness. That's what I'm working on changing now. It started with fewer trips to Stuff Mart, making lists, grocery shopping once a week and couponing. My goal is to keep us with in our budget, not get 300 toothbrushes for $1.00; I want to work up to coming in under budget.

I just started coupon 3 weeks ago, in the 3 shopping trips this month I got an extra $60 worth of groceries from my coupons. I'm not calling it saving because I'm not to the point where I'm under budget, yet. This is coupon central; I got 2 Sunday news papers, I was given some more coupon inserts, and printed some from the internet. I spent about 3 hours over the month printing, clipping, sorting, and organizing.

I'm using a 3 ring binder with currency protectors to store the coupons. I ordered these from Amazon; they were cheaper than "coupon" organizing pages. I use coupons for items that we use, not buy something just because I have a coupon. I make the grocery list and then find coupons for things I'm going to buy. I also make a list of things that I would like to get if the budget allows. These are the things I can stock up, but until I'm under budget, stocking up only goes as far as the money allows. Yes, I do take the binder with me to the store.

I discovered some bonuses to shopping weekly rather than bi-monthly like I had been doing. We aren't wasting as much food especially fresh food or being completely out of items as often. I also don't seem to be forgetting as many things due in part to a shorter shopping list. This is a work in progress and I'm sure it will evolve as I learn more.

What are your tips and techniques for saving money?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fave Five

Happy Friday! That means it's time for Friday Fave Five! I really enjoy this blog post because it makes me see the good things that happened this week. Not the cold, gray, rainy days or the list of things that hasn't been done. Hop over to Living to Tell the Story for all the details. I'm also joining the Blog Hop at Home Sanctuary for Company Girl Coffee. So grab a cup of (insert favorite beverage here) and let's visit! Don't forget to leave a comment so I can come visit you too!

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#1 Semi-Homemade Chicken and Dumplings. Yesterday was cold and rainy (yuck!). It was a perfect night for comfort food. The chicken simmered most of the afternoon making the house smell wonderful. Bean even helped me with the dumplings!

#2 Quilting. On Thursday nights a few ladies get together to quilt. Some nights we even get some quilting done between the stories, laughing, and encouraging each other.

#3, 4 and 5 Color. The walls are (mostly) painted! The living room finally feels like we live here!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011




The painter will be back on Saturday to finish up!
After 4 1/2 years we are finally moving into our living room!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yikes! It’s Friday

I've had a very busy week; volunteering at school, orthodontist, basketball practice, haircuts, karate, pep band. Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it! That's a mom's life; I wouldn't trade it for anything! Now it's Friday and that means Fave Five hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story and Company Girl Coffee hosted by Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary. This week it's a Blog Hop! Hope I get the hop part to work.

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Without further rambling here are my favorite things for the past week.

#1 My kids are involved in the same activity! Punkin is the assistant coach for Bean's basketball team, with an eight year age difference, opportunities for them to be in the same activity is limited. Go Cheetahs!

#2 Punkin defended Bean when someone was picking on him. Apparently she is allowed to pick on him but anyone else that picks on Baby Brother BEWARE! Be still my Mommy heart!

#3 Bean was awarded a certificate at school for modeling good listening skills and participating in class. I got to be there when he got his certificate.

#4 Sunshine!

#5 We have finally picked a paint color for our living room!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Project

The Project was going very well until Sunday. Punkin (formerly Sweet Pea, she requested a new nickname) and I went to Stuff Mart. We forgot to make a return and purchase the allergy medicine. Honey said he would take my return and get the medicine for me. We made two trips to Stuff Mart in one day. The goal is to average one trip a week, so we are still on target. I could take advantage of the loop hole, because I didn't go two times in one day, but I'm going to count it. The point of blogging about it is accountability.

Making lists, lots of lists, is helping to cut down our trips to the store. I'm putting things on the list when we open the back-up stock of an item. That way I have some time to get the item before we run out. That also gives me time to look around the house to see if we have something that will work. I was able to cross a few things off the list and before I had to make a trip to Stuff Mart. I went to the grocery store and crossed more items off the list. By the time we did go on Sunday I had one item and a return. The main reason we were going was to get Valentine's gifts for Punkin's friends. Since we were going already we added a few things to the list that we would get there anyway, sweatpants for Bean and allergy medicine, which I forgot. I think Honey needed an excuse to make a trip to the store and I gave it to him. The Stuff Mart list is blank, maybe I won't have to go until March!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday's Fave Five/ Company Girl Coffee

Happy Friday! Today I am participating in two Friday blogs. The first is Friday Fave Five hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story. The idea is to look back over the past week and pick your five favorite things. The second is Company Girl Coffee hosted by Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary. It is an opportunity to meet with other Company Girls and catch up. This is my first coffee so it's a bit more of an introduction for me. For more details just click on the blog titles and visit Suzanne and Rachel Anne. Thank you both for hosting!

This week has just flown by! I'm having a hard time believing it's actually Friday! The weather has been better this week. (#1) The kids went to school 5 days in a row this week. It was pretty quiet here.

(#2) I had 2 "coffee calls" with friends this week. The first was with a friend who used to live a mile away so we would get together for coffee often. Even when we couldn't get together we'd call each other and ask "got time for coffee?" It stuck! Now that she lives a little further away we still have our coffee calls. The next was with a friend I have known since kindergarten or maybe even longer. She provided the winter scene photo for yesterday's post.

The "Project" (#3) is going very well! I haven't been to Stuff Mart since mid-January! Pretty amazing! What am I doing with all the time I'm not at Stuff Mart? (#4) Couponing! I've taken up serious couponing. My previous attempts at using coupons consisted of cutting them out, leaving them at home and finding them under a pile of other papers after they have expired. However, with coupons in hand I cut 12% off my grocery trip this week.

Today is date day! (#5) Honey is off work and we are going to go do something without having to pay a sitter or having Sweet Pea call every 5 minutes asking when we are coming home!

Don't forget to visit Suzanne and Rachel Anne! Have a wonder weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

Just like every where else it's snowy and cold and snowy here. Did I mention cold? I'm tired of it! I would really like to hibernate, snuggle up in my cave and just not go out. With two kids and Honey that's not possible. But I can do the next best thing curl up in my chair, with a blanket, a cup of (insert hot beverage here) and a book (sigh). Katrina at Callapidder Days hosts a fall and spring reading challenge, they are a lot of fun. (I wonder if book sales go up after Katrina starts her challenge?). I know I've found several books to add to my list. I'm looking to Katrina for inspiration for my own "Spring Can't Get Here Soon Enough" reading list. The picture was taken by my very long time friend Monica. It's beautiful!

I trudged through finally just finished American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld. I wouldn't say I disliked the book but, well it wasn't my favorite. I'm going to leave it at that. Now I'm ready to pick some new books, hopefully I'll enjoy my next selections. In no particular order here they are.

Finished A Vintage Affair: A Novel by Isabel Wolff

Lady in Waiting: A Novel by Susan Meissner For a good review check out what Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story has to say about this book.

Finished The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart This is a book about a mom who unplugs her family,it's Non-Fiction, in our house totally fiction!

Finished The Face: A Novel by Dean Koontz

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford

I'm excited to get started on my list. Maybe the weather will cooperate enough to keep my kids in school so I can do some reading. With them trapped stuck spending quality time at home with me it's hard to complete a thought let alone get into a book.

Leave me a comment and tell me what you're reading or how you're surviving until spring. I love comments. Happy Reading!