Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saving Money

So I have been (along with my husband) consumed this week (well the last few weeks) with hunting down land to build our home on.
After so much of going here, going there, meeting with land owners, I was starting to feel quite overwhelmed!
My husband new that I was, but I was in denial, because when I get my mind set on something, I want it to happen NOW.'s not something I was blessed with. It's something that I struggle with.

Some people might say it's a good thing (not having patience), being a 'go getter' or stubborn, not letting anything get in my way. I struggle with this too. I want to think that it's a good thing that I am this way, but really it's not. Having Patience is a good thing. I pray often that I am granted more patience. It's not going to just be handed to me, though. Patience comes with practice and lots of self-discipline AND God's help.

After my husband and I talked it over, we realized that the best thing to do would be to hold off on buying any land until the end of the year, *sigh* (not exactly what I wanted to do) It's neccessary, because we apparently have expensive taste in property and it would benefit us greatly to save a little more money for a down payment.

As much as I hate this and want to buy NOW, I realize that being patient will pay off in the end, when I can get exactly what I want. Waiting till the end of the year can't be that bad. Can it?

After us making this decision, I felt like I could breathe a little easier. Obviously, I had been feeling overwhelmed. Saving some extra money will help us out.

So now until the end of the year, we made a decision to Not Eat Out (unless invited, so please don't tempt us!) at all until the end of the year. I'll let you know how this goes. We are going to be penny pinchers for a while.

Honestly, we don't eat out all that often, but we realize we do it more than we should, when we sit down to balance the checkbook and add it all up (and believe me, it does add up!)

So that's the not eat out until January of 2011! Wow, this might be harder than I thought.

Anyone else want to join in? The power of support goes a long way! :)

Wish us luck!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Funny Photo Friday - A Croc In The Water!

We were visiting the Tyler Zoo a few weeks back and as we walked on ahead of my husband, he stopped and said, "Hey look! There's a Croc in the water!" So everyone turned around and walked back to have a look and this is what we saw.......................... 

Lol! There WAS a Croc in the water, just not the kind we were expecting to see! :)
Ok, so maybe you had to be there for this one, but it was funny at the time!

Have a GREAT Friday, everyone!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is It Rude To Open Birthday Gifts After The Guests Leave?

Reagan @ Where Is The Me In Mommy? wrote in to Real Simple Magazine asking this question -
 Q. Should a child open presents at his or her birthday party or wait until everyone has gone home?

A. I feel strongly that no gifts should be opened at any party, regardless of the age of the guest of honor. When little kids are in attendance, they’re going to go bonkers—wanting their own Zhu Zhu Pet or Lego set and feeling badly if the present they brought isn’t well received. And if that’s not reason enough, delaying gift opening teaches the birthday kid to focus on the fun of the party itself—not the loot she’s going to bag. As for adults, I stand by my no-opening-gifts-in-public policy (that goes not just for birthdays but showers and anniversary parties, too). It’s a bore to watch someone else open presents, and it’s just as agonizing for the recipient, who has to ooh and aah at the right decibel over and over again. And then there’s always someone who is going to feel self-conscious about what she brought once she sees everyone else’s offerings. Who needs it? A personalized thank-you note will tell the gift giver everything she needs to know.

This is one of the comments left below by someone -
My jaw absolutely dropped on this one. The arrogance of someone to accept a gift at a party and then deny the giver the pleasure of watching them open the gift is enough to make me turn and walk right out the door. As for your reasoning that "its a bore" perhaps you need to learn to exercise a little maturity when it comes to manners. Meetings are dull. Church is dull. But it is an exercise in self discipline to accept the fact that your entertainment doesn't always come first-especially in the name of etiquette.

This bothered me. Meetings are dull. Church is dull. What, so our kids birthday parties should be dull? And they should just deal with it? 

First of all, my church is not dull, and I don't attend just for etiquette purposes. If you are attending church just to keep up appearances, you might want to rethink some things. I also don't attend church because that's what's expected of me. I actually enjoy my church, I don't just deal with it to practice self-discipline.

I personally feel that if you decide to open gifts at a later time, that's fine. I would not be offended. I think it's fine for children to enjoy the party and guests and not be all consumed with what they got. A thank you note to know the child received my gift would be perfectly fine with me. I personally don't give gifts to children just so I can see their reaction. I give because that's what you do at birthday parties and so the child can be blessed on their birthday. Why kids NOT opening gifts in front of everyone is such a problem for people, I don't understand. Is our gratification really more important on their birthday?

I don't think it teaches manners or etiquette to make children open tons of gifts just so everyone can judge whether or not their gifts were sufficient. Saying "thank you" for a gift that you didn't really like or want teaches manners, and I think this can be done just as easily with a Thank You note.

Another comment from someone:
I just read your answer to whether or not children should open presents at their party and I wholeheartedly disagree. Being able to give and to receive a gift is part of life and children should learn proper etiquette at a young age. Furthermore, my daughter LOVES to give gifts. Nothing excites her more and I don't know anyone who doesn't love to see the look on another's face when you give them something you really think they will enjoy. And yes, we all receive gifts that we don't like or won't ever use, but we need to learn how to accept it gracefully and still make the giftgiver feel special. A well-planned birthday party should leave plenty of time for games, cake AND gift-opening so that the children don't feel overwhelmed. Maybe parents should stop inviting the entire classroom of 25 kids and then the gift-opening process wouldn't be so daunting. I've never thrown a party for my kids with more then 8 friends-there is too much focus in our society on QUANTITY over QUALITY!

I think that whether or not you open gifts before or after the party depends greatly on the age of the child and how many guests are in attendance.

For instance, we didn't invite any "friends" of our 1 yr. old daughter for her first birthday party, it was mostly just family and we still had TONS of gifts to open. We opened every single gift in front of the guests and all this did was bore everyone, including the birthday girl! She was turning 1! She could've cared less about the gifts, she just wanted to run around and play. I would've enjoyed her party so much more had we just taken the gifts home to open for her later and sent out Thank You notes to show our gratitude.

I have been to parties where the gifts weren't opened in front of the guests, they were taken home to be opened later, and I really enjoyed these parties. I was not offended.

Also keep in mind, some people only have so much time allotted for a party if they have rented a place for the party. Who wants to waste all of that time opening gifts? Not me. If I payed for the kids to play, I would want them to play. That's just me.

Bottom line, even though we have never done this, I don't think it's rude to open them privately. Do whatever  works for you.

What do you think?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mommy's In Skirts- What Do You Think?

As a young mommy, I still find myself shopping for the same cute clothes, similar to the things I wore before having kids. Only now when I'm shopping, I have a strange sensation that maybe I shouldn't where things like miniskirts, graphic tees or even skinny jeans for that matter (that is, if I could fit in them).  I feel like maybe I should be shopping for 'Mommy' clothes instead, you know, the clothes that you don't see any of the youth wearing.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? Too old to be wearing something?

Don't get me wrong, I think I have naturally become drawn towards different clothing lately and I don't know if it's from becoming a mother or just simply me getting older. Something in me, though, still wants to be young and get away with wearing clothes that are perhaps too young for me now.

I also don't know if it's that I feel I'm too old for these things or if it's just that because I'm a mommy that I feel like maybe I shouldn't.

I'm dying to put on skirts and tanks this summer because that's what I like.

But how do I know what is classified as 'too young'?

I pride myself on dressing well, so I don't ever want to be one of those mom's who someone sends to "What NOT to wear" because I can't let go of certain clothing styles.

What do you think? Can or Should mom's still wear miniskirts and graphic tees? Do you think it sends a bad message? Or does it mostly depend on HOW you wear it?

P.S. By miniskirts, I don't mean  'showing too much skin, nasty looking' skirts. I just mean a short skirt (something you could picture on someone a bit youger) as opposed to a long ankle length skirt.

The poll is now open and comments are welcomed! :)

Monday, April 19, 2010


Yes, my mind is all so consumed with dreams of our new home right now, that I can't think of anything else, so excuse my 'oh so boring' post today.

Aren't these beautiful? I, know, it's not quite what we're building, but I love it!
Just bear with me while I dream about this a little..........

So we finally made the move this weekend to start looking for property to build our dream home. I am super excited about this, although, we will most likely be living in a super small little trailer for about a year before we actually get our nice big house *sigh*

It's all worth it though (being cramped in a trailer, I mean), to be able to let my kids experince the country life. Running through the wooded trees and staying out past dark, catching fireflies (or lightening bugs). Aaah, I can't wait! I've never really been a 'country gal', so to speak, but this is the way I always dreamed of living and raising my the country.

We are those people who have been putting all of our recources into remodeling the home we're in now so that we can put it on the market and reap the benefits. Only problem is that (because of our already super busy life) it's going to take us 10 years to remodel everything. Over the weekend, we decided it would be ok to just go ahead and sell (as is), that is, if we ever want that Dream Home of ours anytime soon.

After looking at some property over the weekend, I am super siked! Lots of trees, great place to build our home. I'm praying that everything goes well and we get this property at a great price.

Anyhow, just sharing a little of our lives. Going to be super busy this week.

Oh, but I would love to know....Anyone ever lived in a trailer, while building their home? Did you almost go nuts being cramped up? Even though I'm excited, I'm a little nervous about the trailer, would love to hear about your experiences.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Funny Photo Friday!

This is so true isn't it? :) I know you've probably seen this passed around through emails, I know I have several times, but it makes me smile every time. I don't know how true it is for all men and women, but for  most of us women at least, I think this is how we see ourselves....never happy with ourselves. Reality isn't always funny, but it's nice to poke fun at ourselves every now and then!
Remember to love what you've got!

Hope everyone has a good Friday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Very First Blog Award!!!

So Lindsay over at Just My Blog surprised me this morning and awarded me with my very first blog award! She made my day! Her blog is delightful and you should go check it out as well! Thank you Lindsay for making my day!!! :)

So, the rules for the award are pretty simple...I need to list 10 things about myself and then pass the award along to 10 friends.

1. I am a Stay At Home Mommy to 3 kids, one of which is school-age. Ariana (11), Ava (2), and my baby boy Spyder (7mo.).

2. I am a wife to an AMAZING man! Anyone who knows his heart, knows what a great guy he really is. We've been together for about 9 years now, married for 5. I feel truly blessed to be married to my best friend.

3. I am NOT rich. I run a daycare in my home to supplement our income, because I want to stay home with my kids. And yes, I do think it is going to make me insane! :) All I can say is, I applaud all of you teachers out there!

4. I love to run. I don't enjoy most any other excercising (that is until I'm done and can feel it) but I LOVE to run, it's my drug of choice!

5. I also LOVE to eat (good thing I like to run!)

6. I admit, I never used to like cooking, but it's growing on me (maybe cause I like to eat?!) :)

7. I don't own any animals (sad, I know) But I'm a germaphobe and don't like the mess. Maybe when we build our dream home someday we will get some dogs, but for now I don't want to clean up after them. I have enough on my plate as it is. That being said, I do love animals, though and want to rescue them all the time. I've brought home strays in the past, but we don't have a place for them really.

8. I want a big family, lots of little ones. There's just something comforting to me about leaving my kids with a good support system for when my husband and I are no longer here.

9. I have 3 siblings, an older sister, the best sister anyone could ask for, and 2 younger brothers, one of which lives in Alaska with his wife and has served a tour in Irag and one in Afgan. and will be going back again sometime soon. My youngest brother is 11 and is very sweet and I hope he stays that way!

10. I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up!!! Exciting! My husband and I will be opening up a teen center in the near future. If you've ever lived in a small town like mine, you'd understand why this is so desperately needed where we live.

So, now I need to pass this award on to ten other fantastic bloggers.

1. Where Is The Me In Mommy?- This is the blogger that I would love to meet, she is a girl after my own heart! She is very real, a good mommy, and a wife that cares deeply about her marriage...something that I don't see often enough. Oh and she has great ideas and thoughts on so many different things. She's amazing, you must go read!!!

2. 400 things- If there ever was a Super Mom, she is it! She might disagree with me, but I really admire her for everything she does for her family. This woman does it all, including homeschooling her 4 kids and she is now expecting another one. Congratulations to you and Randy! I get all of my great money saving tips from her and political updates as well...definitely need to check her out!

3. Loud & Proud~M♥nica - I love this lady. She is a mommy and a grandma and she has a great blog! She tells it like it is and I really enjoy go check her out!

4. Should Be Cleaning - What can I say, I love this girl. She is funny and interesting, need I say more?, definitely worth checking out!

5. Peace and Craziness - Reagan from WhereIsTheMeInMommy? recommended this blog and I absolutely love it. She always has a good post, I'm never disappointed, and I promise you won't be either, so go have a look!

6. Life Of This Stay At Home Mom - I enjoy reading this blog, she is a mommy that I can relate to and she is sometimes funny, sometimes just speaking from her heart, I enjoy this one alot, check her out!

7. The Chronicles of a Veteran Kindergarten Teacher - Anyone that has kids or who is or has ever been a teacher will enjoy this blog, or if you just enjoy stories of kids. When I go to her blog, I find it hard to stop reading. I mostly laugh, but she has some tear jerkers as well, go see what I mean!

8. Adventures of a Mom - Love her! She's a mom and I can relate to her as well. I enjoy reading her posts especially when she's just blogging to get it off her chest...go read!

9. Pieces of a Mom - A ray of Sunshine is all I can say! I'm a new follower of hers, but I adore her blog, you must go read!

10. Raising Olives - This woman is amazing! A great blog, great read, go check her out!

Thanks again Lindsay!


Sweet n Spicy Sausage Penne

13.5oz Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
1, 20oz pkg. uncooked Hot (or Mild if you prefer) Italian Sausage Links
4 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 freshly chopped Garlic Cloves
1 large Yellow Onion
1 jar Sweet Roasted Red Peppers (drained and chopped)
1-2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
4 tsp. (or added to taste) Creole Seasoning (this gives it that nice Spicy be generous!)
4 Tbs. (or more if you want it sweeter) Sugar
6 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

*Brown whole sausage links in skillet, then remove and let cool a minute. Then slice.

*Cook and drain pasta according to pkg. directions.
*Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat..
*Add chopped garlic and onion and cook for 1 min.
*Add sausage and roasted red peppers and cook another 4-5 min.
*Add seasonings and sugar, then toss together with pasta and mozzarella cheese.
*Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Serve immediately.

We love, love, love this dish! My husband and I feel differently about whether or not the juice from the sweet pepper jar should be drained or just added right in. I feel that it makes it a bit too watery and he feels it adds more flavor. You can decide for yourself what you like best. We have it both ways....just depends on who cooks that night! Enjoy :)

TIP: We freeze all leftovers, but when heating back up, you may need to add a little more olive oil and a dash of seasonings to livin it up again, or the pasta can be very dry.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Did I Know.......

When I was younger, I dreamed about marrying and having children. I couldn't wait to be able to hold my baby in my arms for the first time. I couldn't wait to dress them up in cute little outfits and play with them. Even as I got older, I realized that there is much more to parenting than that, but I still had no idea what I was in for (although I'd never change a thing).

Ariana is a very calm child and always has been, by nature. Sure, she's acted out like a lot of kids, but she's pretty good for the most part. After Ava was born, I knew I was in for a real treat with her :) She was pretty feisty from birth and hasn't changed much in the last 2 1/2 yrs. She has my husband's head spinning in circles most of the time (not knowing what to do with her) She's very sweet, don't get me wrong, but she definitely has a mind of her own. Spyder, the baby, well he's VERY calm by nature, but he's still a baby that requires much of my time at the moment, which makes dividing my time, a bit more challenging. Parenting 3 kids is amazing and, yes I still want more :)...but being a mom is not quite what I had imagined!

Little did I know... that I wouldn't be able to just get up in the morning and shower like I always had. No, it can't possibly be that simple! I had no idea that I wouldn't be able to shave my legs whenever I needed or wanted to, without getting out in time to hear that someone had been crying the whole time and feeling guilty just for bathing. Guilt over BATHING.....who knew that was possible! Well, just ask any mom. It's possible. I also had no idea that time alone to myself just to shower would be so desired over so many other things. This is just part of being a mom!

Before I was a mother, I used to judge parents who were shopping with a child who would be screaming for a toy and thought to children will NEVER act like that. HA! What did I know. I sure didn't know that I would someday be walking out of Wal-Mart, leaving a grocery cart full of stuff, because my child wouldn't quit screaming, no matter WHAT I tried. I never thought I would be the kind of mother who would resort to bribery either. Who knew?

Little did I know...I would also never be able to carry on a REAL conversation with my husband until my kids went to bed because there would be constant questions coming from my two year old that would require immediate attention, and because, since becoming a mother, I can't remember from one minute to the next what I was saying. If I'm interrupted, it's over. So as much as I try, I just have to wait till the end of the night to overload my husband with thoughts from my entire day :)

Little did I know...that talking about poop would be such a hot topic around our house (especially at the dinner table), and that this would not bother me in the least :) Something that just comes with being a mom!

I do confess... that I also used to judge parents (who were well dressed) that would allow their children to leave the house looking like rag dolls and had dressed themselves. That is until......we had Ava, who (at one point) refused to wear two matching shoes. They HAD to be different. We would dress her in a matching pair and by the time we would be heading out the door, she would have changed them. Always a different shoe on each foot. We just gave up and let her wear what she wanted. You just have to pick your battles, right?

Little did I know...that wearing heels would no longer be practical. As much as I LOVE to dress up in heels, after becoming a mom and always having a kid on my hip, I've just given in to flats and tennis. I still put on my heels on the very RARE occasion that I go somewhere without the kiddos.

Little did I know....that I would train myself to get dressed, eat, type, cook, etc.... with a baby hanging from my hip.

Little did I know... that I would give in to a name such as, Spyder, for my child and truly fall in love with it! And later laugh, along with my husband, at the scene in Tarzan (which we are forced to watch over and over again by our 2yr. old) where the young gorilla (with the voice of Rosie O'Donnel) says "Whatchya gonna name him?" "Tarzan" "Well, OK, he's YOUR baby"!!! ....... Haha!!!!

Little did I know....that giving birth would deform my body in ways I never imagined, but yet I would still want more!

Little did I know...that (being the germaphobe that I am) I wouldn't 'Freak Out' when my kid picked up an ice-sickle to eat it, but instead I would run for the camera! :)

Little did I know...that I would feel most succesful when....everyone ate good for the day, there were no 'major' accidents, laundry got done, house stayed clean, I was able to actually kiss or hug my husband when he walked through the door (without a million distractions), and find time to exercise and have a little 'me' time.

Little did I know...that laundry would NEVER actually get done!

Little did I know...that I would be able to laugh so hard at my fearful child who was crying in her bath, because she was scared of the bubbles!

But  also had no idea that...

     Even when I would be cleaning up puke in the middle of the night, I would rather be doing that the rest of my life than never get to experience motherhood.

     The worst pain I would ever know would be watching my kids in pain.

     When I held my baby in my arms while he slept, even though my arms would feel like they could collapse, I  would want to cherish every single moment.

     Even when I would be so busy with other things, when my daughter asks "Mommy, I want you lay down with me." I would gladly drop everything (laundry, dishes, etc) for just a few minutes to do what she asks, because I would know that someday she will be too big for me to lay down with her and cuddle on the couch.

     Or that my biggest dreams would turn into dreaming big for my kids.

     Being a mom IS however just as beautiful, and as much fun as I imagined it would be. But even though mommyhood is not QUITE how I imagined it, it's absolutely amazing and I'm grateful for every single moment that I get to experience it!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beauty Tip Tuesday - Brighten Your Nails!

It's almost summer ladies, are your feet ready for it? I know mine need a pampering for sure!

Do you ever remove fingernail polish from your toe nails and wish that bright white nails would appear, only to be disappointed because after having nail polish on them for so long, they are now discolored? Well, I have nails that are not so pretty at the moment and I know exactly what I am going to do!

The trick is to soak those feet in lemons!
Slice up some lemons and squeeze them into a basin of hot water to soak your feet. You can even throw in some mint leaves, if you want ( I usually don't. Just the lemons are good enough for me).  Make sure to leave some lemons freshly sliced and un-squeezed to roll around on the nails to brighten and whiten and get rid of that yucky yellow color the polish can leave behind.

You can also exfoliate your hands and feet with lemons by making your own Coconut-Lemon Sugar Scrub. 


Juice of 1 lemon
4oz. coconut oil
4oz. granulated sugar

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Rub the mixture over your hands and feet for at least one minute.

3. Rinse off and apply moisturizing lotion. Alternatively, for an extra special treat, brush off any excess sugar and slide your feet into a pair of socks, leaving them on overnight. The coconut oil will have been absorbed by the morning, leaving your feet smooth, silky and glamorous!

You could also use brown sugar instead or baking soda instead of sugar. Whatever you have available sitting in your cabinet.

You can also find a list of other great uses for lemons here.

Enjoy your beautiful nails!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Clipping Coupons!

I just finished clipping my very first bunch of coupons and I couldn't be more excited! What a waste of time, you say? Yeah well, that's what I used to say, sister and aunt, both joined in the coupon clipping fiasco and peeked my interest a bit.

My sister came to visit on Saturday, toting along with her, her bag of goodies she had just bought from the store for only $18.00! And by goodies, I mean, Body Wash, A brand new Razor, 4 boxes of Cereal, Deoderant, Swiffer Cleaning Wipes, Etc. You get the picture. Her total before coupons was around $90.00 and her total after coupons was just $18.00. Crazy huh? I'd say THAT is definitely worth cutting coupons for, wouldn't you?

Oh, and they are getting a lot of the items for FREE! Now generic items can't beat that now can they?!

Since I'm such a newbie to all of this, I can't really give too much advice on using coupons, but if you are interested you can go here , where my aunt is sharing everything she knows about clipping coupons and how to use them. I promise, it IS worth it!

I promise to share with you what I get out of using coupons. I can't wait!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Funny Photo Friday!!!

I know, I think I'm mean for thinking this is funny, but just so you know this was her 10th birthday and she was this histerical before they ever even touched her ears...that's why I think it's funny. She had worked herself into a frenzy just thinking about it. We told her she didn't have to do it, but she insisted, all the while 'freaking out' about it. I wouldn't dare laugh at my kids pain! :) She is the QUEEN of drauma queens...maybe you had to be there?


Thursday Poll....

Ok, so this is just a random poll for the day. Lets just say, I would like to know what others think the "RIGHT' thing to do (in this situation) would be.

Say a minor (teenager of any age) confides in you about something he or she did or is doing that they should not be doing and then aks that you not tell their parents. What would you do........

1.) Agree not to tell parents, because you feel they should have someone to talk to in confidence?

2.) Call their parents immediately and expose them?

3.) Agree only to tell their parents if questioned about it?

Feel free to post your answers in the comments below as well as taking the poll. I would love to know what everyone's thoughts are on this.

I am asking because, even though I feel the right thing to do, would be to let their parents in on the secret, I can't help but feel torn on this one.

Love to hear your thoughts!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Funny Photo Friday

I have been super stressed busy this week and haven't had time to think, let alone blog, so I decided to start a New Weekly Friday Blog and post funny pics (new and/or old) to make my Friday's a bit more relaxed and start my weekend off right with something funny. Hope you enjoy!

These photos are old ones taken almost a year ago. I found Ava in her room after it got a little too quiet for my liking and (not to my surprise) found her like this.......

And who's the dummy that left the baby powder within reach? That would be Daddy Mommy.
I've decided that when I feel most like crying, I should take photos instead.

What I learned from this.....Baby Powder is NOT easy to clean up.
 Note to self....never underestimate your children.
I had this within reach still because I had NO IDEA she could open those doors. (in my defense, they are very hard to open) Learned my lesson and got some cute pics out of it!