October 30, 2008

More Saving Money

I've talked about menu planning before and I tried some of the websites that I mentioned in that post. Honestly, I was pretty overwhelmed and barely got started.
But now I am checking out e-mealz.com. I haven't gotten started yet but I think it might work. They actually have plans that are diet-specific (including weight watchers points!) or based on store sales. They also have different menus based on how many people you are planning for and the shopping list is made for you too! Can't beat that! Its only $1.25 a week so I think we'll start next week and I'll get back to you on how it works for us!

A Lesson Learned

Yesterday my daughter came home with her first school pictures. I remember how fun it was as a kid to get those pictures and then share them with parents and grandparents and even great grandparents, friends and aunts and uncles. When you get your little package at school the first thing you do is analyze the picture. Are you smiling? Are your clothes straight? Is your hair just right? Is there a booger hanging out? :-) There is a lot that has to go right!

Well for my little kindergartner, these pictures brought disappointment. At least at first. She bounced into my car yesterday afternoon and the first thing she did was take out these pictures and point to the blaring red eye in her picture. Picture day happened to land smack in the middle of a terrible eye infection. In fact, the infection lasted almost two months and is finally gone due to antibiotics. Her eye, red and shiny from the first medication we attempted, stuck out in the picture and matched the red shirt she had chosen for picture day. She was also disappointed that she didn't smile.

I wish I could say that I reacted perfectly right away. That I immediately made a big deal about how much I loved the picture just because it was her. I was sad for her and wanted to make her feel better and told her that we could see if we could get retakes. The rest of the afternoon, weather it was due to the photo fiasco or not, she was a little monster. She spent the entire afternoon being nasty to her little sister and to me. Well it took me all night (and a reminder from my husband) to figure out that I really needed to focus on helping her realize that what is important is that it is her, not the eye or the smile, in the picture that I love. So this morning I told her that I Love the picture because it reminds me of how strong and brave she has been to go to school even when she wasn't feeling great. Whew! Almost missed that opportunity to build up what is important in her and remind her that It's what is on the inside that counts! Why can't these things come to my mind right away, instead of hours later?

October 27, 2008

Ideas needed!

Ok so I am a first time room mom for my daughter's kindergarten class. We are having a "Storybook Character Day" (also known as Halloween) on Friday and all I ever remember about school parties is out the window because we are living in quite a different world now. We have to be sensitive to those who don't celebrate Halloween, we can't make any of the snacks (they must be pre-packaged), and the snacks have to be healthy. So I am trying to come up with something creative to do with all of these rules on my head. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Potty Training, Revisited

One of my very first posts was on potty training. And at the time, I was feeling pretty good about my success with my first born daughter. She was easy. We were really laid back about it, she nearly trained herself and a week after starting, she was accident and diaper free! So my plan with the second daughter was to be the same laid back mom I was with the first. Sometimes being laid back is really difficult!
It was about 2 weeks after she turned 3 that our second oldest started showing interest. And it wasn't long until she had a day without an accident. This joy didn't last too long. She would have several days without an accident, then #2 would come! Then we would have several days where I was wondering if I needed to go get diapers. Anyway, 3 months later, we still can't declare our 3 year old potty trained. She wears panties every day but usually doesn't make it through the day with the same pair. She doesn't seem to be afraid of going #2 in the potty, she's done it a couple of times. But now that she has gone so much in her pants I think she actually thinks you go in your pants then put it in the potty. One day I found her in the bathroom and she said she needed to go poop, when I started to help her with her pants she said "no! I haven't gone yet!" I refuse to put pressure on her but It is hard when I am cleaning poop out of her underwear daily and we usually have one day a week that she runs out of pants and panties thanks to tinkle accidents.
So my next plan of attack is bribery. It worked to get our older daughter off of the thumb sucking, maybe it will work for this one and her potty problem. I've decided to make a chart and when she fills the chart with 7 no accident days in a row, she will get a gift. I think that the only way this will work is if I take her to the store and let her pick it out so she has some idea of the goal.

Well, wish me luck!

October 23, 2008

To tired to blog

This week has been long and tiring. I feel like it should be Saturday! I am really tired of looking at the computer screen and nothing coming to mind to blog about. I have a whole list of topics on my white board but nothing is sparking me this morning. So, I thought I would take a break. Then I thought, "I can blog about taking a break!" Ha! So take a break! You have my permission, I have my permission. Here are some things we can do on our break from the computer:

1) take a bubble bath
2) drink a cup of coffee or hot chocolate (in the bubble bath!!)
3) play a game with the kids
4) read a book
5) go to the library to get a new book
6) take a walk (when it gets warmer, brr its cold!)
7) listen to music
8) scrapbook
9) go to Hobby Lobby to get more scrapbook stuff!
10) take a nap!

October 21, 2008

Christmas Gift Idea For Your Kids

This time of the year grandparents are probably asking for Christmas present ideas for your kids. This can be hard to come up with as you look at your house/playroom/kids rooms and you see gifts from Christmas past strewn about the floor in disaray sometimes even broken. What could they possibly need? I think it would be good to start with trying to get the grandparents on your side. Of course they want to get your child something they will appreciate and that will make their dreams come true, but does it have to be in the form of a toy or some other item that will become part of the chaos in your home? How about something expendable. Gift cards will only put off the mess and they aren't much fun for the grandparents. How about classes? How many times have you put off getting your little one into dance, music, art, gymnastics because of the cost? Wouldn't it be a great gift for Christmas? It's easy to ship. Doesn't take up room in the toybox. Doesn't require batteries. Doesn't break. Doesn't get fought over. Grandparents can see the joy they have provided by attending recitals in person or via video. It enriches your child's life and therefore is the perfect gift! Big hint to our kids's grandparents!

PS- Sports would be great too (they are so expensive these days!).

October 20, 2008

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

The latest Grosgrain giveaway! I am just in awe of what she does!

3 year Texaversary!

Today is what we consider our Texas-anniversary or Texaversary (a term I just coined myself). 3 years ago today my husband set out for this vast land in the southwest. At the time, it was frightening and exciting all at once. We hadn't sold our house yet in Washington so I stayed back for a while with a very young infant and a 2 year old. Whew! I can't believe what we have been through since then. Since moving here, it seems like we've been trying to get back to Washington where all of our family and closest friends are. But, we have learned, our plans are not what is important. Sometimes it feels like God has his thumb on us holding us down like kicking and screaming children. And as it turns out Texas has been a huge blessing to us. And though our hearts are always pulling us back to the Northwest and all it's mountains, we have to admit we are growing to love Texas. If God ever has us headed back to Washington, we will truly have a hard time leaving! From the job that Lance would never have dreamed of to a wonderful community and school for our little girls to grow in and new friends (the silver type), we have been blessed here. And if we ever go back, we will leave a piece of ourselves behind.

October 17, 2008

Funny Friday

Yeah! Its Friday! I thought I would do a quick post because I have a TON of things to do today. Can I buy an extra hour or two? Anyway my Funny Friday quote came from my 5 year old yesterday. Sorry if it's too, um, gross for you.

She was having a little "soft poop" as she calls it and well, I think is a pretty accurate description. So her question was this, "Mom, what do we call soft poop if we call hard poop #2? Maybe we should call it #3?" I guess she answered her own question. Makes sense to me!

Enjoy your Friday!

October 15, 2008

I've been Tagged!

Thanks to Journey 2 Learn for tagging me and challenging me to be transparent and to try to remember these things!

1) I wrote 3 encyclopedia entries for a Biographical Encyclopedia in College. This was pre-wiki and probably nobody reads it anymore. But I can say that I'm published!!

2) I was a little tour guide from 2nd to 6th grade at our local historical home. I gave tours by complete memorization through the house by myself. I loved it when an aunt or uncle or grandparents came to visit and take one of my guided tours. It brings tears to my eyes now to remember my Grammie and Auntie Sharon, who are in Heaven now, coming to take a tour from me.

3) A victorian homes magazine from San Fransisco interviewed me and featured me in an article about "wee tour guides." It was published a couple of years later and some of the facts were way off but it was about me!

4) I only had one small grammatical revision to do when I turned my Masters thesis in for the first time. I was totally shocked and felt so guilty that my friends' thesis were being torn apart that I didn't tell any of them.

5) Before I married my husband, I had only been to 6 states, now I have been to too many to count. And I love it!! My most favorite thing in the world is to take a road trip with our family, whining and all! Which brings me to #6

6) My dream is to home school the girls for a year and live in an RV traveling all over the continent doing mission services in each place. I can't tell you how much I want to do this!! I think about it all the time and hope to start planning out some of the trip soon. My goal is to take the trip when our girls are in Junior high. I actually believe that it will happen.

7) I wish I had stuck with the violin that I played for only 2 years.

Now, I tag these blogs/people to complete this survey! I cheated and only tagged 4 because I just don't know anymore who I think would complete the survey. Have fun ladies!


Wonderful Wednesday!

The wonderful thing today is Grace. I've been thinking a lot about grace in the last few days. Our pastor preached about grace last Sunday, I guess that's why it is on my mind. Grace defined is undeserved favor. Grace is God's gift to us. The ultimate gift: love, undeserved. Grace seems to be easy for us to accept but hard for us to give. As Christians we should be known for our grace for others. Christian or not, they are all children of God. I hate when I hear of Christians who are unwilling to extend grace to anyone. It makes me sick, and I am pretty sure it makes God sick. Those who have been forgiven much, should forgive much. But sometimes it seems that those who have been forgiven much, find it easier to judge than to forgive. That must truly sadden the heart of the Lord. Grace is impossible without the intervention of God.

And now I step off my soapbox!

I hope that your life is touched by grace.

October 14, 2008

Letting it go on Tuesday 2

Trying to let it go on Tuesday!

I need to let go of trying to keep my house clean.  It never seems clean enough to me anyway.  Maybe not a good thing to let go of but too often I tell my kids no and spend time cleaning when I could spend the time playing.   So today, I am going to spend the time after school playing, not cleaning!  I'm letting it go today.

October 13, 2008

Reducing My Grocery Expenses

I've had a revelation in the last couple of days. I spend way too much on groceries! For the last few years we have been on a pretty tight budget. So, my way of saving was shopping at Walmart and buying generic everything. Doing this I got us down to about $150 each week. This was good for us. Recently, however, I found out that I can be doing much better. I found www.moneysavingmom.com . The mom behind this site spends $35 a week on her family of 4. Seriously! I don't hope to get that good but if I could just cut my spending in 1/2 that would be a great accomplishment. So I have begun the process of educating myself on the system of coupons and store sales. Money Saving Mom has a handy little sidebar that helps you get started. She also breaks it down and makes it understandable. She makes it a game for herself to see how much she can save.
The wonderful thing is that we have something our parents never had. The internet. Where we can find out what the best sales and coupons are. Through Money Saving Mom I found www.pinchingyourpennies.com which has boards with savings listings pertaining to your state (some states are better than others, depending on how active members are from your state). I also found a page on that site that gave me sales according to my zip code and stores I shop at. From there I could even select items and print a shopping list out.
I'm still learning and hope to save lots!! If I achieve my goal that would be $300 a month, like a part time job!

I plan on getting some friends on this with me, I know there are several who could use the extra money. So who will join me?

October 10, 2008

What would you do with this?

Restore the antique or re-purpose the cabinet?

This radio/phonograph was purchased on craigslist for $25. It needs a lot of work no matter what we do with it. I am conflicted though. I am pretty sure that it could be a valuable antique. Do I restore it to it's former glory or do I paint and refinish it in a way that would destroy it's antique value? You can see the phonograph in the drawer and on the other side is a radio dial. It's cool isn't it? What would you do?

Fear Itself

"the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Loving history as I do. These words have been going through my head while watching and reading the news of the last two days. Franklin Roosevelt was addressing a nation stricken by overwhelming poverty. We are not there, by far. Though if you watch and believe the news it doesn't seem like a too far off probability. Blame goes everywhere. People blame the President, Congress, greedy businesses and CEOs, and people who purchase more than they can realistically afford. But today as I watch the market tumble, I wonder what part fear has in it all. After all aren't people selling because they are afraid that they will lose it all? And in turn, causing others to fear and sell as well? And I need to calm my own heart. The reality is, there is not much I can do to change the course of what will happen. But I have to live life and raise my children and take it one day at a time. I have no room to fear for the future. Nor should I because God is ultimately in control.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

October 9, 2008


OK so it's old. We'll call it vintage. Probably older than me. And a little dirty, now that I look at the picture. I had completely forgotten that I had it though and I am very excited to find it. Exactly 2 months ago yesterday, I lost my crock pot to a toddler accident. See the very funny story here. Last night I was going through boxes in the garage while the girls played and discovered the box that held my mom's old Crockpot. The one that she gave me because she doesn't use it but swears she never gave me and now it's in Texas, 2400 miles away, so its mine. (sorry mom) So this pot will have to work for now, I will get a new fancy one with automatic shut off some other day in the future, maybe.

October 8, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday!

Today's wonderful thing is Ebay. I LOVE Ebay! I started shopping Ebay 3 years ago. I was looking for clothes for my then 2 year old for Christmas. I not only found fun play clothes for cheap but my best buy was CUTE Christmas dresses for both of my girls. I bought Gymboree Christmas dresses new, with tags, for less than $10.00 (including shipping). Yes, it was last years Gymboree but even on clearance those dresses would have been way more than $10. And nobody is going to care if it was this year or last years dress, it's cute! I have found that the prices on Ebay may be more than what you would pay at a garage sale, but the quality is so much better. After spending a little time on the consumer side, I decided that I wanted to make some money for myself. So I began selling this and that. Kids clothes, baby gear, even a dishwasher up on Ebay and out the door. I love using PayPal and getting instant money from my sales. I've used the money to buy more clothes for my girls and to feed my scrapbook addiction. Last Christmas, my husband sold some of his sports memorabilia that included a pair of new in the box Jordan's. We funded our entire Christmas on Ebay sales. At very tight times I've even used the money to pay for food. I've had my good and bad experiences with it, but more good that bad. I'm always looking for things to sell. If it isn't nailed down, watch out! You might find it on Ebay!

October 7, 2008

Read a Book, It'll Make You More Interesting.

Isn't this mommy-ism right?! Unfortunately being a mom makes it hard to read anything more than a paragraph long. But in a mom's world full of baby talk it's really helpful for our own sanity to curl up with a good book every once in a while. Reading can help us combat the ever present "mommy brain." Mommy brain is a proper title for that mushy brain that we seem to get once we become pregnant. Reading gives us something adult to think about. And maybe even talk about when we encounter other adults. Lets get real though, this is easily said but not so easily done. I think I have a list a mile long of what I want to read. Currently I am reading a book for Bible study (only 2 weeks left). I talked about that book in a post last week. And from time to time I actually get a little devotional time in a book called Women of the Bible (I totally recommend it). I've managed to carve some reading time out of my day thanks to the carpool line but I could also do better to turn off the TV and Computer in the evening to get some more reading time. My next step is to add some reading for pleasure. I love history (pre-kids I was a history teacher) so I think I will try to finally pick up my copy of 1776 that I got last Christmas. Wish me luck!

October 6, 2008

Getting Started ~ Frugal In Virginia

Savings Tip Saturday- Getting Started ~ Frugal In Virginia

I'm so excited about this site. I've been looking for someone to give me baby steps to saving money on my everyday grocery shopping. Something other than "going to Walmart" which I HATE by the way. For someone who grew up on name-brand only shopping, being frugal is not second nature and very overwhelming. So I'm excited about learning to be frugal and changing my over-spending ways.

My List Gets Longer!

Joining twittermoms.com has expanded my blog horizons! I just love learning about everything there is to learn through blogs and the real people behind them. And since joining twittermoms only a week ago, my blog list just gets longer and longer! I try to look at 2 or 3 new blogs a day and then do a quick check on any blogs that are on my list and have been updated. It's an obsession but I feel like I learn so much in these quick visits around the world. Take a look at some of my listed blogs. My newest favorite is minnemom.com, this Minnesota mom blogs about her "travels with children." A blog after my own heart. It has inspired me to share my own experience with traveling around the country with our children. My favorite thing to do! Also, check out Today is Fun. Another great blog and an everyday resource for that daily question...what to do with the kids?

October 2, 2008

Mommy tip: Formula Checks

This is a mommy tip from a friend of mine who has a precious little one. Did you know that you can use the formula "checks" at Costco? Those checks that you get as a promotion from companies like Similac and Gerber can be used to go toward your purchase not just in your local grocery store but at the mega one-stop Costco.
Another reason to love Costco!!

October 1, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday!

On this wonderful Wednesday I want to talk about a wonderful book that I am going through in my Wednesday morning Bible study at church. It's called Mom's Everything Book for Daughters. It's a great book with more than just advice for Mom about building relationships with their daughters. The author Becky Freeman includes activities and other suggestions for building a relationship that can withstand the teen years and beyond. Its a must read for any mother with daughters. She also has a book for Mom's with sons, Mom's everything Book for Sons.

For Dads, there is Dad's Everthing Boook for Daughters, and Dad's Everything Book for Sons by John Trent.