Friday, December 31, 2010

The end of 2010.

So today is the last day of 2010. I've gotten bold enough to use my sewing machine a little. I can definitely see how people fall in love with it. Now if I can just get over my fear of cutting into fabric. Oh but that is to come! I don't have a bunch of "resolutions". I think I'll follow my friend Kellie is doing. It's a bunch of what I WON'T be continuing into the new year.

1.) I'm going to stop hating on myself. This includes loving myself with stretches and exercises. This is taking just as much care of me as I do Mr. V and Lil Mr. V. This also includes getting back in track with Sparkpeople. There are some awesome people there that can help me on my path of loving myself.

2.) I'm going to stop being so last minute and disorganized. Ms. Flylady will become one of my best friends. :) Their new motto is 7 in 2011! So I'm going to work on getting my house in better order through her tips and tricks. They really do work. Even if you have to chase a toddler!

3.) I'm going stop putting everyone's everything ahead of me. I put off anything that I need or want to do because it inconveniences someone else, this includes showering sometimes, y'all! That's how horrible it's gotten. So I'm going to have to start putting my foot down and demanding some time for myself to take care of myself. Other people will just have to deal with it.

4.) I'm not going to buy as much this year. Well, really, I don't buy much anyway. However, if it's not second hand or meant to be used in a craft, I'm not buying it. (This does not include needed things, but extraneous spending is done.) This includes presents. Which I did VERY well this year. Most all my gifts were homemade (if not by me, by another local crafter) or they were second hand. A few things were re-gifted and even less was brand new. This year I plan on making most of my major presents.

5.) This is my one do. I will be making more crafts this year. I'm hoping to complete at least 1 project per month. The size of these projects will be determined by me, but I do plan on finishing at least 1 per month, I'm hoping to bring down my stash of unfinished projects down. Some are sewn, some are crocheted and some are cross stitched. Wish me much luck with this one. :)

This past year introduced me to several wonderful people who triggered my creative side. Something I was convinced didn't exist. So for that I'm grateful! I wished I could spend more time with my sewing buddies. Maybe I'll be able to soon enough. We'll see how this new year treats us all. :)

Take care everyone. Be safe. Remember to call taxis if you need to. I'm going to be ringing in the new year quite possibly sleeping, but maybe playing Wii with my favorite fella.

Giveaways. :)

There are a couple of blogs that I follow that are giving away some pretty great giveaways that I just had to share.

There's Linda at Stray Stitches. She is giving away a pattern of a gorgeous quilt and some BEAUTIFUL fabric for the quilt. :) She's celebrating a milestone of having 300 followers and starting off her New Year with a bang...or is it ending this year with a bang? :)

And Vicki at The Pickledish Patch is giving away a VERY nice group of things. There's a crocheted sachet of lavender, some coasters, an embroidered hanger, some fabric, thread snips....etc. :) It's a VERY nice bundling. This is to celebrate her blogs name change. It was Tozz's Corner.

Look around on both of these blogs. Linda makes some of the cleanest and prettiest hexi flowers I've ever seen among her quilts and Vicki makes all sorts of things, such as aprons, bags, wristlets, quilts, etc.

Monday, December 27, 2010

7 Yard giveaway!

That's right, a FULL 7 yards. And it's not just ANY fabric, it's Dr. Seuss fabric! Dawn's Quilt Corner  is giving away 7 yards of Robert Kaufman's "Cat in the Hat" and "Celebrate Seuss" fabric lines. OH and did I mention it was a FULL SEVEN YARDS?!?!?! Awwwww yeah....... So head over and check out her blog. There's some quilty goodness over there! :)

And now we can breathe....

December is a very busy month here. Mr. V's birthday, Lil Mr. V's birthday, Christmas, my brother's birthday. So much to get ready for and so much to do. BUT it all went down very well. I decorated my very first cake. Not bad. Lil Mr. V is in love with the movie "Cars" and a friend got a Lightening McQueen mold. So I did it! I'll post pictures later when I get all of them uploaded onto my computer. I made out like a bandit on his room too. I decorated it with the posters and "Cars" bedding. I got "OH WOW! a LOT! :) Yay, go Mommy!

For our Christmas dinner we had lasagna and garlic pull-apart bread. I'm always very nervous when dealing with yeast. I've had some bad experiences in the past. But they turned out wonderfully. And we had more desserts than I know what to do with. However, I made these for my brother. We used to eat them all the time when we lived in Germany, and I was sure they would bring back some memories for him. :) I liked them so much, I bought the book. My sister-in-law was looking for a Pfeffernüsse cookie recipe that her gramma would make, and this book had a recipe. Hopefully it's close enough to her gramma's and she can surprise her Mom with them. :)

Now that my kitchen is back to order, it's time to take the Christmas decorations down and get the rest of my house back in order.

So how was everyone else' holidays?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day in the life of Mom - really a random post

Lil Mr. V is starting to talk more. Let me correct that. I'm beginning to understand him better. The words I could understand before are more clear and he's working on simple 2 word sentences. He still will babble like crazy as if he's really telling you a story. But interspersed in there are words that I do understand. We had a toddler bed and a low futon in his room, and since he slept on the futon more than he did his toddler bed, we just moved the toddler bed out. And now, he's not necessarily excited about going to bed, but it is easier. He talks about how he's such a big boy. YAY! Anymore if we say "big boy" it's immediately followed by YAY!

For the few that read my blog and are crafty or like crafty goodness, Sew Mama Sew is still having their giveaway. There are a gazillion blogs listed and they have a lot of wonderful things. So if you like paper work (cards and scrapbook stuffs) that's there, knitting and crocheting, sewing, pretty much everything except the kitchen sink. And I think there were a few of those even in some of the blogs. This giveaway is still good until tomorrow night. Each blog is a little different on time, because these are blogs from around the world. And more importantly, these blogs are available to you to see and I'm 100% sure that you'll find at least one blog that you'll want to follow. Or if you're like me a GAZILLION new blogs to follow.

As far as my crafty goodness, I'm still working on my afghan. It's coming along nicely. I work on it a little bit every day. I'm trying to hold off on sewing until I can get this finished. Because starting 25 projects doesn't help me finish any of them. But boy howdy! I have a LOT of ideas!

Next week is Lil Mr. V's birthday as well as Christmas. So if I don't blog before then, every have a very Merry and Safe Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway at Stray Stitches

I've been reading this blog for a little while now. She's so down to earth, I really love reading her blog. She's a part of the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day today. And she's got a lovely giveaway of some pretty fat quarters. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving (First official Christmas shopping weekend)

So, starting the night of Thanksgiving (what's up with that!??!) stores start their "Black Friday" sales. Black Friday....commercial-mas' favorite day. It's the day to put ultra chinzy stuff on deep discount in decent quantity and to give a deep discount on a FEW draw items (of decent quality) in LIMITED quantity, to entice customers in. This is to give people the IDEA that THEY could be one of the few lucky enough to get one of the rare, good quality items at dirt cheap prices. Which is good IF you can be that lucky, but for every 1 lucky person, there are plenty of unlucky people. When it comes to frugality, THIS is an awesome day. No doubt. Who wouldn't want to get Rocky Rocket for less than $10 when it is normally closer to $20, and your son is driving you CRAZY for it. It's the only thing he's asked Santa for Christmas. It's the ONLY thing on his Christmas list. He even mumbles about it in his sleep. So sure, you REALLY, R-E-A-L-L-Y want Rocky Rocket. The store only gets 6, and the sale starts at 5am. Is it worth getting up at 2am to be there at 3, to stand in line and wait and PRAY that those in line ahead of you don't get it first. And that's IF you have an organized store and kind and considerate fellow shoppers. This doesn't exist in the real world. I used to work this day. And I hate what Christmas has turned into. RARELY do you see the genuine Christmas "spirit". RARELY do you see people trying to help their fellow man or in this case "shopper". It's all elbows and grabbing and pulling and rushing and cursing....oh my goodness the cursing. Some of the nicest people you'll meet at any other time seem to be possessed during their Black Friday shopping spree. And I had decided that I was never going to participate in this ruckus. Dealing with the negativity and the hatefulness just isn't my bag of tea. Getting up so early in the morning, to stress about spending money, and to fight the crowd, only to not get the stuff that I had come for just doesn't seem worth it to me. So, how do I handle such purchases then, and manage to do things frugally. Well, I put money aside during the year and buy some gifts during the year, so I'm not hurting this time of year. I'm not against purchasing used books that are in good shape. I'm not against re-purposing some things for people. Which will require me to make some stuff, but really, that doesn't bother me. If my son HAD to have Rocky Rocket, I might give him less gifts to offset the cost of the toy he so desperately desired. And that's ok. That's how things go. And he has to realize that sometimes in order to get what you really want, you have to sacrifice some other things. The sooner that her learns that sort of fiscal responsibility, the better he'll be in the future when he makes his own purchases.

So this first week of Commercial-mas, we'll be doing business as usual. Except we'll be sending out our Christmas cards. We'll go to the grocery, pay bills, and continue about life like normal people. We do still have a few Christmas gifts to get/make and then they are all complete. The bulk of our Christmas gift getting/making is finished and was finished before Halloween.

I would rather spend this time unstressed and feeling joyful. For me, this is the season to spend with my family playing and enjoying each other and creating memories. And that's exactly how I'm going to spend it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's that time of year again! Time to sit back and reflect on your life and be grateful that you have a life to look back on. So, since this is the day set aside for such tasks, what am I grateful for today?

*I'm GRATEFUL for my FAMILY. They are loving and supportive and wonderful. We spat and we get cranky with one another, however, I wouldn't rather be in any other family. I see so many of my friends and loved ones that have such distant relationships with their family that though they care about each other, there's no genuine fondness. Or they have treated each other so poorly and so callously that there are walls placed so they can't get close.

* I'm GRATEFUL for my HOME. I don't own it, and it by far isn't large enough or even as nice as I'd like it to be, but it provides us with warmth in winter, air conditioning in summer and we are able to stay dry. But most of all, we can afford to live here with only one income.

*I'm GRATEFUL for Mr. V. He's an amazing man who's been through some really rough times, but his heart is good and he's gentle. He's an amazing father and he is a hard worker. He has similar values as I do so rearing our son is an easy task with him, because we don't have disagreements with how we're going to handle him.

*I'm GRATEFUL for Lil Mr. V. Though at this very moment, he's just awakened and he's fussy, he is the light of my life. Ok, now that I have him up and taken care of. :) He really is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

*I'm GRATEFUL for my FRIENDS. These people are my chosen family. I would consider my Thanksgiving/Christmas table complete with these people sitting at it. I hope that all through the year that I'm able to show it to each of them.

*I'm GRATEFUL for Mr. V's JOB. He has one. And though it really stinks in more ways than one, it is enough to provide us our home and groceries and other necessities. It's also enough so that I don't have to work and I can concentrate on school and taking care of our son.

*I'm GRATEFUL for SCHOOL. Education is so critical anymore and I've been able to attend school for such a long time. I'm glad that I can dedicate the time to go back. It's not perfect, but it will pay off in the end and that's what is important. That's why this is called an investment.

*I'm GRATEFUL that I live where I live. Even though I might complain that there isn't much to do or that we lack some things. Which is all true. However, it is safe. I don't have to worry about someone shooting my son accidentally because he's outside playing and there is a gang nearby. I don't have to worry about needing to keep him strapped to me because someone might steal him. We have trees and grass and there are farms nearby so he can learn about animals and plants without learning about them only from a book.

There's so much more that I'm thankful for. However, it is time for me to get back to my pie/bread baking. That's my contribution to our family Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house. Oh that reminds me....I'm GRATEFUL for her because we can split such responsibilities and she's such a great woman. She works hard and she loves my brother to pieces. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Time

It is that time of year. The time where people get all grateful for what they do have and what they were able to get through. I think that gratitude should be something that you do every day, not just something that you do once a year. I think in turn it helps a person remain more humble, but it also keeps you in a more positive frame of mind. Which considering how stressful people make Christmas, maybe it is a good thing that Thanksgiving is right before.

Thanksgiving day is on Thursday, and we're not having it at my house this year. My sister-in-law wants to have it at her house this year. She did Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. We're splitting them this year. So we're going to have Christmas at our house. She is having a turkey and a ham and all the usual trimmings. And I'm looking forward to having a meal with everyone, my family and hers included. I miss the big family gatherings we used to have when my Gramma was still alive. But as with all families, unless they are all close throughout the year, when the Gramma passes away, holidays will be infinitely smaller. 

Lil Mr. V will be 2 next month. The time really is flying by so quickly. I'm still trying to figure how he could be 2 already.  I'm excited for his birthday and Christmas. Last Christmas, he could really care less about things, but this year, he'll be so excited and it'll be hard to keep him from tearing everything up. :) But I am so excited. I'm also happy that I've gotten almost all the shopping finished. Mr. V has to get his family and closest friends something, and I have to get my brother and his wife something. Which really, I'm making their present, so it's not so bad. I also have get my brother his birthday present.

Why do people choose to stress so hard over the holidays? Is perfection that important? For me, I'd rather spend the time with my family with a few gifts and decorations and a typical dinner than to break myself and my bank account for everything to be perfect. Just the other day, I received some junk mail from a loan company asking me to take out a loan for Christmas. Is that what this world has come to? Let's put ourselves in debt just so Jr can have better toys than his friends and that my house could be the prettiest on the block and that my dinner is bigger and better than whoever threw it last year. No thank you. I like knowing that Christmas will come and go and I'll be in the same position financially.

This is a rather random post. And for that I apologize. It's just what comes off the top of my head. I guess we need these purging sessions every now and again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Crafty news front

This may or may not come as a shock to everyone, but I FINALLY learned how to use my sewing machine. I learned how to thread it and everything. Now, I'm FAR from a master at anything, but it's a start in the right direction. :) YAY! So I have some scrappy material, I'm going to do a 9x9 block quilt. And for those not sure what that is. There are 9 blocks and each block contains 9 squares of fabric. I have scrappy material and a powder blue sheet that I'm cutting up to make up the blocks, and I have this deep burgundy sheet that I'll be making the sashing. I think I'll stop at that. I'm not going to quilt these with this machine. I'm definitely NOT to that level. I'll get someone else to do that for me. I have my around the world quilt top that I'll be making next. Then I'll be tackling Lil Mr. V's GI Joe quilt. THEN I'll have to get someone to quilt all three for me. :) But it'll all be worth it. :)

I'm also still working on my crocheted granny square afghan. It's made out of this cotton yarn and it's coming along nicely. :) It's something else that will probably go in the living room or in Lil man's room. He's already grabbed it up several times today to rub it on his face.

Well, that's all that's going on here as far as the craft stuff goes. I work on things as I can. Lil man doesn't afford me much time to do a whole lot. He's one of those non-sleeping children. Naps are rare and short and bedtime is after I'm passed out and as soon as my feet hit the floor he's gibbering away at me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - Day in the life of a Mom.

Happy Halloween! Our town had our trick or treating last night. Lil Mr. V is still so small that we didn't do much in the way of trick or treating. We went to his Uncle DonBob's house and to my Mom's house. But that's what happens when he's not yet 2. He was so cute as the zombie army guy. :) Then today we went to see the Veggie Tales Sing Yourself Silly Live show. :) It was fun! And he wasn't afraid at all. He fell asleep for the last few songs, but other than that, he was up and dancing and trying to sing along. He came home and his Dad gave him some Powerade, and he got all wild and crazy, screaming and yelling and shaking his fists at the TV. So we know to not give him Powerade any longer. Also, his Dad has been working his new job long enough that now when Lil man goes to bed, his Daddy has to be here. Sometimes his Daddy is in bed before he goes to bed, however, he ALWAYS gets hugs and kisses night night. Well, tonight his Dad left to a friend's house since he's having a long weekend. I had to call and get him to come home, because Lil Mr. V wasn't going to bed until his Daddy came home. So thankfully his friend lives just across the street and he can come over and tuck Lil man in bed. Now he's sleeping peacefully. :) The past few weekends it's been go go go go go go for Lil Mr. V. And next weekend he is having an early birthday party. Since his birthday is a couple of days before Christmas, we're having it early so we don't have to worry with the Christmas brewhaha. We'll still throw him a private family party ON his birthday. But I hope he enjoys his party next weekend. :) I hope his friends do as well. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Something that I'm working on...

My friend Kellie has made a pledge to show her quilts in progress. I thought it would be a good idea as well, and though I'm not the quilter that she is. I do want to try my hand at it. I know that Christmas is rounding the corner quickly and I wanted to make my son a quilt for Christmas. I'll admit...I'm daunted. I have ideas though for how I wanted it to look. Yay! But I wanted to sew something up first before I tackle that. So I purchased a 5" square stack for $2. I'm not going to cut down the blocks, I'm just going to get comfy working with my machine. So yesterday while wee man was sleeping, I took out my squares and started playing with a design. And this is what I have come up with.

That's only half of it, because the largest available space I had was my coffee table. But the dark purple squares are to make an "x" on the quilt. Now all I have to do is go to my local fabric store and get some border fabric, backing and binding. Then I will need to sew it all together. Yay! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

You got to know when to hold 'em...

...know when to fold 'em
know when to walk away
and know when to run...
-Kenny Rogers "The Gambler"

So, that's the premise here in this post. That stands for more than just poker or rummy or whatever game you're playing. This also applies to appliances and other things around the house. When something gets a hole or messes up, we have to determine if we can repair it, have it repaired, re-purpose it or send it on to the garbage. And there is a difference in repairing something yourself or sending it out for repair. There is a financial difference and paying for someone else' expertise. A few days ago, my washing machine exploded and water poured from it. And since I'm one of those that does laundry on one day I had piles in the floor where I was sorting the clothes. Needless to say, all these clothes got soaking wet while we were trying to shut down the water to the washing machine. It hadn't been turned in so long, it was quite stuck. We were stuck with the idea of possibly having to replace the washing machine. So since it was messed up, and after the initial stressful moment, we could evaluate the situation better. No one in my family has experience fixing plumbing or washing machines. Especially those that are post-80s models. We weren't comfortable taking the body off of the machine and we couldn't get the back to come off easily. So we called a repair company to ascertain if it would be cheaper to fix or if we should just buy a new one. Thankfully, this is an old enough model that we don't have motherboards and thousands of bells and whistles to fix. It was a simple valve that broke in two. Which since the cold water valve is the one that broke, but is attached to the hot water valve, they have to replace both. Overall it is still much more than I like spending, however, it's MUCH cheaper than the cost of a new one. And finding a new one that doesn't have a motherboard is pretty hard to find.

Found out something interesting from the repair man. His washer died last night and he has one of the top of the line fancy washing machines. He said he was buying a new one instead of fixing it because it was going to cost more to repair than to replace. Sad to me. But it confirmed my views on simplicity is truly better.  And sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and pay for the repair or the replacement.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New bed and colds - Day in the Life of a Mom

So this past weekend, Lil Mr. V ran a fever and on Sunday night was up all night long with some complaint that I'll never understand. On Tuesday I was at the doctors office because I was so sick, and I walked out with a zpac because I had a double ear infection and sinus infection. That very same day Mr. V goes to the doctor because he was having the stomach bug that Lil Mr. V and I had the day before. Because he works with raw foods, he had to miss work and go to the doctor. He has a very bad upper respiratory infection. And on Wednesday we had Lil Mr. V at the doctor because he was real wheezy and was coughing. Since he has asthma we try to catch this as soon as it shows itself. He got a zpac and inhalers. So this week has been  healing week for the lot of us. He also moved from his crib to a toddler bed. The first night he was up all night long wanting to play. Eventually he found his way to his bed and passed out. Last night though, he was so good, he was in his bed, and other than getting up once, he crawled in bed and fell asleep. :) So this week has been full of meltdowns and temper tantrums and lots of medicine. I hope over the next week, it all calms down, so that when I come back from fall break I'll be feeling better.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day in the life of a Mom - Birthday parties and fevers...

So last Sunday, Lil Mr. V and I went to our cousin's 4th birthday party. Lil Mr. C's Mom and I are first cousins, and even though our sons are pretty far removed, they look like brothers. It's uncanny! They had a pony, a HUGE blow up slide and they grilled out and had Halloween bags for all the kids (Lil Mr. C wanted a Halloween birthday.) Lil Mr. V had a good time. :) He played with the kids and enjoyed riding the pony. He liked the slide until he went down it. This week was an exciting week for him, there was that birthday and he had a play date with Lil Mr. B and Lil Miss B. They played at the park. There he discovered his love of swings and slides.

I guess all this excitement has caught up with him because suddenly last night with no warning he started to run a fever. For a child who's normal temp is between 96-97°, running a temp of around 101° is very high. As a matter of fact, this is the highest his fever has ever been. It's never went over 100° before. So we're piggy backing motrin and tylenol and making sure he's as naked as he can get without getting chilled. I still have no idea what's going on with him. He's napping right now. Which is good, sleep is healing and that's what he needs.

I just love how sudden this stuff can come on with no forewarning.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Learning the letter P- Day in the life of a Mom

Lil' Mr. V is closing in really fast on the big number 2. He's picking up words at an alarming rate. And I was worried earlier because we were lucky to hear Mama and Daddy from him. Now he's saying "dinner" "goober" and speaking in small sentences, like "Mine chair!". I've been trying to teach him his ABC's. Not visual recognition. I think we should learn how to say them first. It started out he could say "b" and "d". Now he can say A-F. Yay....and he can say P. He's been following us to the bathroom and when I tell him that I'm going to potty he instantly says "Mama pee!". Yesterday was a band competition at a local high school and my niece is the only middle school kid in the high school marching band and we went to see her perform. Afterward I took her and Lil Mr. V out for chinese. Goob (my niece) had to go to the restroom, and lil man was hollering for her to not go, so I explained to him that she had to go potty. Suddenly in the loud and clear voices that only children get when they say something when and/or where they shouldn't, he pipes up with "Ooober go PEE!" Yup...that caused some looks...

And later, I was having a moment and posting how awesome I thought my family was on facebook. JUST as I was finishing it up with just how great and wonderful I thought my son was, how much he made me laugh and how much awe he fills my life...he hands me his diaper and says "DONE!"....then takes off running as naked as he arrived into this world, giggling all the way. 

Yup...he sure makes me giggle and fills my world with awe. *L*

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Day in the life of a Mom...

The other day my Mom was over watching my son while I was in class. After I got in from class, Lil Mr. V wanted to do something I wasn't allowing him to do, and he got mad and started to huff and stomp around. He paces angrily back and forth from his room to the coffee table. This crosses my path because I'm sitting between them. And he's angry with me and he's stomping around. Oh and did I mention before that he really has no grace. None. I am clumsy. Mr. V is clumsy. Poor Lil Mr. V hasn't a hope of being graceful. That being said, he tripped over his feet just as he got near the coffee table and he fell. His head cracked into the table. He started to cry as I ran to him. I kissed his head and cuddled him close. And within the minute he had a bluish purple mark show up on his forehead. So today, two days later, he's running crazy around the house with this purple dot between his eyes, but he slows down and walks gingerly around the coffee table.

He's growing by leaps and bounds. He's developing his own tastes. He has a favorite movie. A favorite song. A favorite book. He has favorite toys and shoes. He takes his inhaler like a big boy and counts to six with me. And he knows he has to do it twice. He doesn't like eggs and he doesn't like to take naps, though he will sometimes. He's getting so independent and he's growing up already. For someone who never wanted to have kids, I'm enjoying myself so much right now with him. :) 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Inexpensive fun times.

This being Labor Day weekend, most people like to leave town and go to Kentucky Lake or some such. Which is all good. However, I tend to not like doing that. Because before it's all over, you've spent more money than you should to get eaten by bugs and sleep in the heat. (which this year, it's been beautiful) I really want to check out our states resorts and parks and historic sites. Normally anything I want to see is several hours away. However, yesterday at the Jefferson Davis Historic Site they had a bunch of reproduction flags both Confederate and Union. Mr. V needed some "me" time, so Lil Mr. V, a friend and I took off. This place is about 30 minutes away. To view the flags was free. To view the museum and the obelisk was only $5. The obelisk is 350 feet in the air and there is an elevator that takes you to the top and you can look out a few windows. It was really interesting to go up there. Our tour guide explained that Jefferson Davis was born there, however, his birth home was sold to a church in 1880. According to her, the state had his home and Lincoln's home (another Kentucky born guy) and both historic sites wanted their own respective cabin re-assembled at their home location. The timber from both homes was in such bad shape, that combined they only had enough to rebuild one. So Lincoln's home cabin stands and Jefferson Davis is not. Now for me...I find it perversely funny that Lincoln's, the President of the United States during the Civil War, birth home is re-built with timber from Davis', the ONLY President of the Confederate States of America, birth home. Now it should be said that he came from a line of Revolutionary War heroes. His father was known in battle for his bravery.  His brothers fought in the War of 1812. And when Jefferson Davis graduated from West Point, he went out west. His uncles thought he would be better served in civil service and after having met and falling in love with Zachary Taylor's daughter, did he agree with his uncles. He settled down and eventually became a Senator of Mississippi. And though HE didn't want to secede, when the state of Mississippi as a whole decided to part ways with the United States and join the Confederate States, he followed through and left the Senate. We all know what happens next. He was elected President of the Confederacy and lost the Civil War. And though he was bad mouthed, he genuinely wanted what was best for the state he represented and he wanted to represent their wishes, even if it went against his own. If only we had more politicians that would do that.

Anyways, it was interesting, informative and fun. And it wasn't expensive at all. So check out the historic sites that are near where you live and visit them. :) You might find out something new.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday's Hearth...Cooler days are here again...

So the last time I wrote on Wednesday, I was talking about the start of summer. And boy did it come. And am I glad to see it go. We saw some days that were over 100 degrees with heat indexes over 15 degrees hotter than even that. It really stinks for it to be 100 degrees with a relative humidity of 87%. It's so hot that the air can hold so much moisture, but not enough moisture to rain. And over the summer when it would rain, it wouldn't last long and it was blistering hot again. However, it has cooled off considerably. Though we're still seeing temps over 90, the humidity isn't bad.

There is no recipe today. I promise Grace that I'll find that funnel cake recipe and I'll post it. I will tell you that I tried Alton Brown's recipe and it is GOOD, but it's a bit involved for my tastes. The one I have isn't as involved. So I'll have to find that one. Because if you're anything like me, funnel cakes are a craving thing and I don't have the patience for involved.

Today we're discussing cleaning. As I've mentioned in a previous post, we recently discovered that my son has an allergy to dust mites. And no matter how clean you are, you will always ALWAYS have dust mites. There are ways of killing them. You can freeze them. You can expose them to sunlight/UV light. The best weapon you have are removing anything that will hang on to dust. Removing cloth furniture, carpets, stuffed animals, and bulky comforters. Mini blinds need to be changed to a pull shade, that can be wiped down, not cloth. There is no dry dusting. Everything needs to be wiped down with a damp cloth.  Curtains are best removed. OR if you MUST have them, they should be washed weekly with the bed linen. All bed linens need to be washed in HOT water. And bed covers and pillow covers are a great thing because your face is closest to them than any other surface.

So, we've been washing every article of clothing. Removing curtains from his room and washing them from the rest of the rooms. Changing his blind to a shade. Wiping down his bed and covering all the pillows. This weekend since Mr. V actually has the days off (he's been pulling a LOT of overtime at work) he's going to be vacuuming out the AC vents and I'll be taking care of the floors. THEN it's a matter of wiping down the walls and all the toys in his room. Then we can start working on the rest of house. This is going to be a slow, long process of getting it down pat. But once we get it, it should run like clock work. It's just a whole new and very detailed process.

We still haven't gotten all of our donate stuff together in one spot. When we do, I'm sure a good chunk of our house will be cleared out. The less stuff you have...the less that is there to collect dust. And right now...I hate dust.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Triple "R" Tuesday

Recently, we had to take Lil Mr. V to the allergist because he's had several asthma attacks. We found out that he's allergic to dust mites. No matter how clean you keep your house, you will have dust mites. So we have to reduce the things that will collect dust. That is all things fabric or furry. So, we've frozen his stuffed animals and put them in a plastic tub. We are in the process of reducing the amount of big fuzzy things in his floor. PLUS we are vacuuming out our AC duct work, especially since our vents are in the ceiling. After we take care of that and the floors we're going to be washing down the walls. While we're doing all this we're transitioning from 12mo to 18/24month clothes. So we have our donate boxes and bags, and I have a friend who's getting his 12 month clothes. We are also ready to recycle our cans. I have a couple of sheets to cut up and get started on sewing together this patchwork quilt. This one I might be brave enough to quilt by hand, but honestly, I doubt it. That's such a pain in the tookus. I know this should have been posted this morning. And I do apologize. I had class first thing this morning and we were busy playing with cars and counting this morning.

So right now...I'm now going to bed. I have to head to Salvation Army and Goodwill tomorrow to give some of this stuff away and get it out of my house.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Money Mondays

Today's topic is holiday/birthday shopping. I know it seems a little early to be talking about shopping for Christmas but if you've not started already, you're already a little late, in my house. I like to be finished by Black Friday. I absolutely HATE shopping during the 4 weeks prior to Christmas. I get very stressed out over money or whether or not I'll be able to get what I want. I think I'd rather pull my teeth with a rusty set of pliers than shop during that time. Some people put money back in a Christmas club account and can't touch it until November. And that's a good idea for those that put back money and spend that. I would forget to put the money in the bank. So my return on that would be very small.

To save money for Christmas or birthday shopping is to figure out a spending limit and stick strictly to that. For me it's hard because Mr. V's birthday and my brother's birthday and my son's birthday are all in December. My son's being two days before Christmas and my brother's being two days after. So, I start early instead of doing a Christmas club account. I make a list of people that I'm going to buy/make gifts for. And I'm a firm believer in making gifts as well. One it's not nearly as expensive and sometimes it's more appreciated. I also have friends who LOVE to read. I can go to goodwill or my local salvation army and get really good books, in great shape for really cheap. And my friends who read LOVE it. Sometimes you can find really good book sales at the local library.  Like for instance, for Father's day, Mr. V got several books that he really liked and a cup that Lil Mr. V decorated for him. The cup was on Mother's Day clearance for $2, and two of the books were found at the Salvation army and cost all of $1.50 and one book purchased at Barnes & Noble for nothing because it was on a "Buy 2 get 1 free" table. I found two books I wanted to read anyways, and got his free. So for Father's Day he got things that he loved for $3.50 plus he got a big breakfast and to spend time with us.

So, you can find some really great deals if you know where to look and how to look. You really need to know the person you're getting the gift for. I already have presents for most of the people on my gift giving list. I have a little bit more to get, but that's all coming. I am going to be making some of my gifts. Like I'm making my son a G.I. Joe quilt for Christmas. I'm going to be making bread recipe jars filled with the dry ingredients for those friends that really like my bread. I have books for my friends that love to read. All found at closeouts or second hand bookstores. I also have some jewelry that I'm going to be passing on to my niece. She's older now and more responsible. This jewelry will fit her hands now too. So far, I've spent $15 on Christmas. I expect to spend around $50 more before I'm completely finished.

So my advice is, set your limits. And work whatever method works for you. If it is spending a little here and there as you find great deals, do it that way. If you can't squirrel something away for that long because of lack of space or because you get too excited and give it away too soon. Then get the Christmas club account and buy later. Make use of layaway programs if the stores that you frequent offer it. But the MOST important thing is, set the limit, and don't over buy. I know that's hard when you have kids, but don't forget that others are buying for them too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day in the life of a Mom....

My son is 20 months old. He's walking well. He's running constantly. He's learning to walk backward. He's learning new words every day. We're in the process of teaching him his colors and how to count. I stay home with him. With the exception of times when I'm in class, I'm here and I'm playing with him, watching "Cars" with him, reading to him, fighting him out of the bathroom and trying to keep him from smacking the television. I go to bed tired every night, but I'm not exhausted. I wake up with him in the morning and we spend time cuddling before breakfast. Generally while he's eating breakfast, I take that time to check emails and take care of some stuff online. This morning, he got curious about putting things in orifices of his. So far today, I've saved his nose and ears from cheerios. I've had to convince him that HIS pants are not the same as MY pants. While we were shopping he decided that he needed more lemonade, even though we have LOTS of stuff to make lemonade here at home. Now he's napping. I'm writing this up quickly before moving into the kitchen to get everything set up for supper tonight and get started on some laundry.

The amazing thing is. I love my life. I love how unpredictable he makes it. Though at the same time I want to pull my hair out. The most amazing part is, I never wanted children. I never entertained the idea of children. I even have a fertility problem, so I shouldn't have had children. But I have one and every day is a new adventure!

Summer in review...

I haven't been very faithful here. And I apologize. I haven't forgotten about you. I promise. Life has gotten in the way. We're in the process of changing our schedule and in the change, I've been having zero alone time. I haven't been to a sewing club meeting in around a month. I miss my ladies dearly. Mr. V. has gotten a new job and it's a day shift job rather than the third shift that he normally works. So this has all of us up earlier than normal, but little man still doesn't want to go to bed before 10-11pm, nap or no nap. So I wake up with him and pretty much go to sleep with him. And because Mr. V's new job is a good distance away he doesn't get home in time for me to go to my sewing group. Even if he gets off on time. If he works late, he doesn't get home until the meeting is over. I haven't done as much sewing as I'd have liked this summer. I will blame part of that on not having any time to myself. During this time we found out that Lil Mr. V has an allergy to dust mites. This is causing us to go through our entire house and to get rid of what we don't need donate all that we can. Anything that is a dust collector gets seriously looked at. While we're scrubbing everything down we're also re-arranging the house so that lil man has all his own stuff in his room. So it's taking up a lot of our free time. It SEEMS like it would be easy, but when Lil Mr. V is allergic to dust mites you can't have him around when the dust is getting stirred up. So someone has to constantly be with him, either out of the house, or in another room of the house. Makes me wish I could just split and be in multiple places at one time. We're still recycling cans and plastic bags when we actually get them. We're using cloth bags for groceries and transporting stuff. We're donating old clothes of his, knick knacks that we're doing without and some of his old toys and a few of his plushies. I'm still cooking and trying new recipes all the time. I really need to write a few down here on Wednesdays. And all while this is going on, I've been fighting with colleges about my financial aid and my status as a student. However, that's now completely taken care of. Thank goodness! So my bachelors program has started! And I'm so excited. I've already been to a few observations and being in the classrooms felt almost like going home. :)

However, tonight, this is it. I really should be spending these few moments alone doing my history homework and quizzes, however, my eyes are too droopy. I'm going to drink some water, enjoy the cool night air and get some sleep. Tomorrow will start bright and early!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And so it has been a while. Far too long to be honest...

I think graduating fried my brains. Then there was the muck that happened with Lil Mr. V. And then my Uncle had to have a stint put in his heart. Then my other Uncle died of heart failure. Then things started to calm down. Mr. V started a new job. On a better schedule than thirds. Which is lovely, but requires getting accustomed to, as well as getting Lil Mr. V accustomed to. Something we've not gotten down yet. He and I still require extra sleep during the day. :) So today is Thimble Thursday, and what have I done. Well, I've helped my Mom alter a pattern. We have everything cut out, but now we're waiting to get together to sew it up as she had to have a heart cath this week, and everything is as clean as a whistle. (thank goodness!) I still haven't made my bookmarks yet. But I shall! Dagnabit! I shall! I'm still trying to find some decent davy board. I don't think I'll find anything, so I'm just going to find some of the sturdiest boxes around and cut out my own pattern for my niece's kindle cover. I feel so out of the loop. Trust me, I will be back, and I will be going strong, I just have to work out the cobwebs in my fingers and get things moving again.

OH and C.Michele I think you should add a day of book reviews. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thimble gathering

So yesterday we had to make a run to Evansville, IN. They have a Michael's, Hobby Lobby and a JoAnn's fabric there. Here we have Notions and Whims (AWESOME little shop!) and Wal-Mart (they're closing their fabric department, I'll have to check out some of their sales...). However, there was some things I needed to get that I couldn't get in either place, and I went ahead and got some things there since I was there. We went to JoAnn's since I hadn't been there yet. I needed to get a set of pinking shears and a rotary cutter. (This I CAN get locally, but figured while I was there, go on and get them there.) I found a kit there that had the cutting board, rotary cutter and clear grid ruler. I also, got some more bobbins and thread. I found an awesome set of thread knife scissors for my Mom, but that would be a birthday present. They were a wee bit pricey. Mr. V found a nice artist tablet for his friend who loves to draw, and Mr. Mike found some nice pencils for that same friend. I do think that they'll make him happy. The thing I was looking for that couldn't be found in town, I found for Ms. Lisa. :) She'll be happy to know I found her #3 round icing tip. And it was a steal at $.99. I hope she doesn't get upset at how much I spent on it. So for Goob's corner bookmarks, I need to find some adhesive backed magnetic strips. That was the ONE thing that I forgot. OH well. Her birthday isn't until September. And Mom and I are going fabric shopping for some fabric for some skirts for me for school when she comes back from Florida. Which will be at the end of the month. Woot. I'm getting pretty excited. :) This is finally starting to come together. YEEHAW!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday's Hearth...feels like summer is comin!

You can always tell summer time is coming around here because you can smell the outdoor grills in the late afternoon on the weekends. And it's no exception at our house. Only our weekends are on Tuesday and Wednesday. Generally, on Tuesday Mr. V grills burgers and brats and whatnot on the grill and I'm making baked fries and baked beans. One day soon we're going to have bbq chicken on the grill. There is something about outdoor grilling you cannot recreate on an inside grill. Those flame charred marks that you get on the outsides of your meat. Sometimes, those are the best parts. This is also the time of year that I crave bbq pulled pork. This is just something easy that I make at home. It's not fancy, or full of my own secret ingredients. I'll be honest, other than the seasoning that I do before hand, it's from a bottle. I know I should be shamed. I'm working on a bbq recipe. And when I get it JUST right, I'll start using it, but right now, it's just not RIGHT. So until then, I'll survive on the bottle types. So this past week I found a rather large boston butt on sale for for less than $1.50/lb. I thawed it out, rubbed it down with some crushed red peppers, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and pepper. Let it rest for about 20 minutes, then I put it in my crockpot. Left it there on high for about 7 hours. When I got back to it, it was falling off the bone. I used my huge grilling spatula and a fork to get it out and put it on this huge platter. Then after de-fatting it, I used two forks to shred the meat up. After shredding it, I added a little more chili powder and a touch of brown sugar, then I added the bottled bbq sauce. I let it set a little longer, then we made sandwiches and ate it. I have some in the fridge for leftovers at lunchtime, and I have a large bowl in the freezer for another day. Yay, for huge meat sales!

I do love summer time. I like how alive everything feels in the evening. Now if this summer stays calm and doesn't rain us out or get so blisteringly hot that you can't breathe.

What's your favourite thing about summer?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food Waste Friday

We had some old ravioli and some angel hair with garlic butter sauce that needed to be thrown out. The angel hair was something found in the BACK of the fridge. I really should clean that out every week. This will probably be a much bigger blog entry.

I'm sorry that this entry is late today. I had to take my son to the doctor early this morning for a follow-up from the ER/Hospital stay.  He's still on his breathing treatments every 6 hours and he's now on an antibiotic because she wasn't happy with how his ear was looking. She is also looking for a pediatric allergist to start running tests on him for allergies. She said that since he's been to the doctor/ER 3 times since Christmas for such severe asthma attacks, she wants to find the underlying causes. And that it's protocol to see if there is a pattern, rather than just a single random occurrence.  So with that, it's been a rather busy day. And with him being only 16 months old, on a stronger than usual dose of albuterol, he's quite hyper the rest of the day. So I'm constantly keeping him from killing something because he has more energy than even HE can expend.

I found out yesterday morning that my uncle passed away. My Mom has now lost 2 of her 4 brothers. She's handling it better than I thought, but I'm afraid that will all fall down like a house of cards in a hurricane tomorrow at his wake. I also have a baby shower to attend this weekend. And at any other time, it wouldn't be such a big deal, and I could go to both the shower and the wake. They are actually back to back and in the same small town. However, I refuse to take my son to a funeral just yet, and I can't very well take him to a baby shower while he's this sick. So, I am going to have to beg out of both tomorrow. His father is going to come home as early as possible on Sunday, catch a nap, and get up early enough so I can go to my uncle's funeral. Then when I'm home, go back to sleep. Which I know I'm laying out my plans to everyone. It's just really been heavy on my mind. My uncle was a very sick man. He had had his first heart attack at age 30. He is 54. He would have been 55 come July. His kidneys have been failing him because his heart is so weak, it cannot push the blood through his glomerulus in order to form urine. So output must equal input. If it doesn't, it means that all those toxins are still in the blood. So, needless to say, he was very sick. So this wasn't a surprise. But it still has me thinking about our genetics and our choices in life and how that can affect our outcomes. And this is scary. My uncle wasn't a big man. He ate relatively healthy, he was always active until he had such a hard time breathing (again, weak heart beat means not as much oxygen getting to the cells, causes issues with respiration). And since I have an endocrine issue I get my sugar, thyroid and lipid profiles done every year. I have a poor diet, I don't exercise like I should, and my levels are still perfect. Doesn't mean that I CAN'T have a heart attack tomorrow, however overall, I'm a relatively healthy person. And his dying and his struggles in the last 25 years of his life are making me take issue with my own choices and my own lifestyle. Look for some changes coming soon. Because that very well could be me in 20 years. And honestly, my little boy needs his Mommy a little longer than that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thimble Thursdays...Several things going on.

Sorry for the absence this week. On Monday I had to leave too early and had some errands to run so I wasn't able to post on here. Plus I was still unwinding from graduation and finals. YAY! I'm all graduated. Now on to getting my Bachelors degree, but first, summer break. I haven't had one of these since I was in high school. And trust me, THAT was a VERY long time ago. 1AM Tuesday morning, my son wakes me up having a severe asthma attack. Since his dad works thirds and had the car, and we were out of his albuterol (only used when he was sick, which he wasn't), I had to call an ambulance to come and take us to the ER. The doctor there didn't like how he sounded even after 2 breathing treatments and a dose of steroids. He admitted him overnight. So we head up to the pediatric floor where they put him in a croup (spelling?) tent. He has never slept anywhere overnight other than home in his bed or mine, so needless to say, he didn't sleep and when baby doesn't sleep, Mommy doesn't sleep. His Daddy came as soon as he could from work and spent the night/day with us. It was pretty scary. And I'm so grateful that I have someone to stand with me during such times. BUT, Lil Mr. V is home and he's doing better. He's definitely sleeping better because his neb treatments make him so hyper, then he crashes and sleeps pretty hard.

Now on to the crafty goodness.

So I found some tomatillo plants that Cassie had been wanting to find. And since knowing such a hard time she had been having with it, I bought them for her. The store didn't have many and I was afraid that they would be out. It feels good to do something nice and unexpected for someone. And it really makes the feeling better when they are genuine in their appreciation. And she's such a nice person, giving and giving to so many people, that it's nice to give to someone else for a change. :) Well, she got her plants today. She already had a little bloom already! I hope she has LOTS of fruit so she can make her salsa verde. She said she would let me have a little once she got it made. That's awesome too, because I like salsa verde.

I stopped by our lone fabric store today. I got some remnants and pieces to make my niece some of these for her birthday. I also want to make her one of these but I'm stumped by the book board. I'll find it, it will just take me a little while I think.

I got a camera finally! Yay! So I'll be able to take some pictures. Even BIGGER YAY! I'll have to take some pics of the fabric I got from our little local fabric shop for my niece's birthday present. I might take some tomorrow when I have better light and add it to the post, or even make a separate post later on in the day for it. We'll see.

So what new crafty things are going on your way?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I was going through finals. Well, last night was graduation ceremonies. So I got to turn my tassel from right to left. :) I am not officially a bachelor's student. Yay! 3 more semesters until I graduate with my bachelors degree. Anyways, again I apologize for not having something to post up on Thimble Thursday and Food Waste Friday. So I'll give you the run down here.

On Tuesday we had our sewing circle meeting, and we had a local news guy come and interview us. Can view the Seams to Me website here and the actual article here. So it was neat to have us out there in an article.

 As far as food waste goes, I had to chuck a hand of bananas that started to mold (irksome because I had just bought them) and some leftover spaghetti that was old. Otherwise, not too bad. This week I haven't been cooking as much because of finals and graduation, so there hasn't been much to throwaway.

Anyways, sorry for the short update, I've got to get to the hardware store to battle the ants that set up a nest in my interior wall because of this flooding we've had. And I have to head to our local produce market. I want to get a few plants and some fresh stuffs.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday's Hearth...the gardening edition

So, I've been wanting to plant a few things for us to eat. I wanted to get as local as possible with my food, which is growing it myself. And I wanted to start my garden from seed. Which is a pretty lofty thing for me, because my thumb isn't exactly's not black or dark brown, but kind of muddy coloured. But oh well! I tried. My cucumbers are BURSTING, these babies are doing awesome! My pumpkins, despite the flood waters, seem to be doing awesome. Everything else... the rosemary, the tomatoes, the onions, the parsley and lavender are doing HORRIBLE. They got to the first 2 leaf stage....and that's it. They remained spindly and never got their true leaves. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I'll have to continue trying to figure it out, I know, practice makes perfect. But because of how good my cucumber plants are doing, I HAVE to get other plants now in order to keep them from dying as well. So I'll be heading to the local farmers market soon to pick up some already started veggies and herbs. I will probably pick up some flowers while I'm at it and work on the front yard some. Especially now that I have a whole summer to play in it. :) Yay! I have some weeding and some mulching and stuff to do this next week after finals. I have two more finals remaining and then I have my graduation on Friday. Which is why this blog has been kind of random when it posts. I'm sorry about that. I've been studying like crazy. Two down and two to go. And I think I've done well on both so far. So, no new recipe this week. Maybe next week, I'll post a couple.

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Triple "R" Tuesday...Random rrrrs

I was talking to my friend Ms. Em the other day and it all started with me asking her if she was still having issues with gluten, as I had just gotten a recipe book for gluten free cookies and I was going to pass it on to her. She was telling me of some plans she's made for her life and many of them include learning to sew and living more sustainably on the land. She's actually had a change towards being environmentally friendly around the same time I had. We have both laughed over this coincidence several times over the past week. And really, when you think on it, it is pretty interesting. We are friends, though we live a couple of hours from one another now. We keep in touch via this world wide web. She's "buying the farm" pretty much. Which is awesome. She's moving closer to work, though out of town. She's setting up garden and she's teaching her child(ren) how to live a more sustainable and respectful lifestyle. And I definitely understand and reflect her sentiments. I'm not buying the farm. This isn't in my financial future at the moment. However, one day, I'd like to be able to live outside the city limits with a few acres and have my own garden and such. That's a one day idea.

Today is can crushing day. We've gotten quite the torrential downpour the last few days so our can stash has accumulated to fill one shopping bag. This most definitely cannot do. Which it will only take less than 5 minutes to accomplish. But it's all the closer for getting it to the recycling center.

I found a nice inexpensive, folding clothes drying rack Kmart no less. Whoohoo! Things like t-shirts and light towels, wash rags can all go on this to dry. While I know it won't completely kill my need to dry my clothes in the dryer, it DOES help a little, and a little is better than not at all. I really do want a clothes line. Another reason to move to the country! So I can hang my sheets on the line. I can remember as kids we used to hang clothes on a line to dry. I also remember when my cousin hung a frog up there to see if it would dry too, but we'll not go into that!

So what small ways do you try to help your energy usage? Do you have everything hooked up to a surge protector and have it turned off at the surge when you're not using the stuff? Do you wash with cold water? Line dry? Hand wash? Turn out the lights when you're not using them? Does every light fixture have CFLs in them? Do you have ceiling fans? So what do you do...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Motherhood to me...

On a fellow blog that I follow, the writer asked us to find a picture of our children or our mothers or all of us together that really represents motherhood to us. So I started digging around in my photos. Granted, I don't have many photos. Not having a camera does that. However, on this day, Lil Mr. V and I were running around the house. He with his "cape" that we fashioned out of a little blanket, and me chasing after him. We were having such a good time, we came to the desk and shot a quick webcam photo. For me, THIS is motherhood. He's grinning and having fun. I'm laughing along with him. And though it's FAR from perfect, it is a precious picture because of the memory of him being the "Caped Crusader" before he really even knows what superheros are. Mother's Day is this coming weekend. Just sit back and think of how great it is to be a Mom. Or just how lucky you are to have/had one. I know I'm blessed by having the Mom that I do and by having the son that I have. :)

Money Monday...Goal Setting.

Sorry in advance if my blog entries this week seem a little short or are late in coming or if they seem a little bit scattered. This is finals week, and so my brain is stuck on Spanish, Hitler, Astronomy and dark germination.

Last week I mentioned figuring out where you spend your money. Once you have that figured out, you should have also figured out how to cut out some of that extra spending. Now you need to set yourself some goals. These need to be realistic goals. Like with losing weight, if you set your goals too high too soon, you are more likely to fail because it's too much. So set minor goals. I know you want to save for retirement and for your children's college and you want to save for that brand new car, etc. But start with an emergency fund. Save enough for you to survive on for 6 months. So if you could survive on $3000 in 6 months, then save that amount of money first. That's a finite amount. Much easier to save when you have a finite amount. OR maybe you want to pay off your car. So figure if you could afford a double monthly payment, and have the extra money go towards principle so you can pay less interest in the end. That will free up more money per month that you can save towards your emergency fund, or towards your retirement, etc. Can you afford to add an additional $50 per month toward your car and save $100 per month toward your emergency fund? Once you have a goal in mind, figure out how long it is going to be before you can achieve it. Once that one goal is met, work towards another one. One thing I will say is, try to minimize your credit card debt as soon as possible. If you can consolidate it onto one card, do so. Put it on the card with the least amount of interest and pay it off as quickly as possible. Never pay credit cards with the minimum payment, as this takes a VERY long time. Pay them off monthly if possible. And if not, look at paying them off before any other debt. Unless you have very little in another bill. For instance, your CC debt is $10,000 and your car note is only $2000, pay off the car, and use the car payment toward your CC debt. So that you can pay it off faster. The less debt you have, the more you can save in the end and the less that actually comes out of your pocket when it is all said and done. So first you figure out how you are spending money, then you figure out where you can cut money. Then you pay down your existing debt as quickly as you can comfortably manage and start saving with the finite accounts first. Eventually you'll be able to open an IRA for your retirement and open savings accounts for your children's education. Next week I'll talk more about living beneath your means and making sensible purchases.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Food Waste Friday/Menu

We had some food waste this week as well. Booooo! There was a couple of wasted onions that I didn't get to in time. Also, there was some wasted Spanish Tortilla that I made for my Spanish class. It was interesting. I think there are things I could have done better with it. So I'll have to try it again soon. We also had a couple of bread tragedies here in the land of Tracy. We had the tail end of an Italian loaf go wrong, and we had a few slices of sandwich bread go bad. The sandwich bread was really annoying because it was still well within its expiration date. But oh well. C'est la vive. Sra. J, if you could tell me how to say that in Spanish, I'd use it instead because I really don't know French. I'm working on the now waste. Gotta get back on the no waste Friday!

Now onward to the menu!

Due to some unforeseen events this past week, 2 meals will have to be moved to this week instead.

So, without further ado, here's the menu

Breakfasts will be cereal, muffins, oatmeal, etc.

Lunches will be leftovers, sandwiches, etc.

Suppers are as follows:

*Garlic Bread

*BBQ Ribs (carried over from last week)
*Mashed Potatoes
*Green beans

*Fish fillets
*Baked fries

*complete meal in a bag (Carried over from last week)

*Pizza day!

*Fried Chicken
*Mixed squash

Friday *New Recipe Night*
*Creamy lasagna casserole (Taste of home cookbook)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thimble Thursdays....Patterns

I'm still working on my crocheting and my cross stitch. I've slowed down on those as this week and the first part of next is finals and I've been hitting the books pretty hard. So, I've not been tending to those as much as I would have liked. However, I do have this summer off so I'll be able to accomplish more. On that note, I found some rather interesting patterns the other day at the salvation army that I liked. There is this skirt pattern that is really nice, and I figured that would be something to make for myself. And for those that know me, pick yourself up off the floor. Yes, I know I don't wear skirts, generally I don't LIKE skirts, however, sometimes there is a need for a skirt and I'd like to have one if I need it. Also, found a nice suit pattern. Which I will need a few of these for when I'm teaching. And last but not least there are these flare pant/hoodie type of pattern straight from the 70s. I showed it to my Mom and she was all about making them. (a memory of her youth) So there you have it. :) OH and I will have my bag cut out by the next Seams To Me meeting on the 4th. :D Anyways, good times are ahead!

So, do you guys have any good craft projects you're working on?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday's Hearth...gardening and recipes of all kinds!

Yup, its the middle of the week again and there are a couple of recipes to share with you today. Two are food recipes and one is a cleansing recipe that I found in a book I got from the library, and it is really awesome. But first, lets tackle the garden! This past week my niece, the Goob, and I planted our pumpkins out back. Since then Momma Na decided to bring us lots of cold water, so since today seems like it's the prettiest day, I'm going to go out there and see if they've drown or not. My seedlings aren't flourishing like I would hope that they would, so I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing wrong. I'll have to figure it out. But my cucumbers are awesome! They're thriving in the window sill at the moment. Hurray! I grew something!

Now onward to the recipes. First is the recipe for the cleanser. This is a natural face cleanser. This is a cleanser for those who have dry or sensitive skin.

Oatmeal Cleanser

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup oatmeal (quick cook, plain, not instant)
1 tbsp honey

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
Place in an air tight container.

To use: Place a small amount in your hand and massage onto your face, rinse with tepid water and pat dry.

Oh and cheap and easy eye makeup remover!

(I worked retail and this is always between $4-8 per SMALL bottle. This always amazed me.)

1 tbsp each Canola oil, caster oil, and light olive oil.

Mix together and put into a clean container.

To use: put on a cotton swab and wipe over your lashes and eyelids.

Now onto the food recipes!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins-makes 24 muffins (as gotten from The Frugal Girl

Dry Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon of cloves, ginger, and allspice)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup oil

2 cups peeled, chopped apples

2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

Heat over to 350. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin and oil together. Stir apples into pumpkin mixture. Gently mix pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Spoon batter into 24 greased muffin cups.

Combine streusel ingredients, using a pastry blender. Sprinkle on top of muffins.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.


Beef Tortilla Casserole

2lbs ground beef
1 medium onion
8oz jar of taco sauce
6 corn tortillas cut into 1in strips
16oz sour cream
8oz of cheddar cheese

Cut up onion
Brown ground beef with onion until done.
Mix in taco sauce.
Add tortilla strips

Place half the mixture in a greased casserole dish (2.5 quart dish) and layer 1/2 of the sour cream and half the cheese. Repeat layers. And place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven. Cook until cheese is melty and bubbly.

(this is the basic recipe. Next time I'll probably cook the meat in a taco seasoning and add some salsa to the mix. It's good on its own, but for me, it's missing something texturally, and for Mr. V it's missing a certain "kick" he's used to)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Triple "R" Tuesday...The many uses of Baking Soda...

This week I've done my recycling as well as my reducing (well I'm still working on that one. Another huge run to make to the thrift shops to drop off more stuff) and I'm constantly reusing stuff. That's what you do when you need to be frugal. A shower curtain suddenly becomes a bib, or an older towel suddenly becomes a hand towel and wash cloths. But there is something else that we can do. Take what we have and make multi-purpose cleaners that are not only effective, but also better for the environment.

Really, if you have the time, and the elbow grease, you really only need a few tools to get most of the housework accomplished. Vinegar, sodium bicarbonate aka baking soda, bleach, borax and hydrogen peroxide. And I'll go through all of these throughout the time in this blog. But the first one to mention is baking soda. There are innumerable amount of recipes that this can be used for. All from cooking down to beauty supplies, as well as household cleaners. There is no way I could list everything here. So there will be some simple things you can do for the multi-purpose.


Baking Soda is used in leavening, much like baking powder, but whatever you do, NEVER think that the two are interchangeable. Because they aren't. If your recipe calls for baking POWDER, use baking powder, and if you're out, go buy some because baking soda will not do.

Household cleaner:

You can sprinkle some of this down your sink once a week and pour vinegar afterward. After watching the volcanic eruption for a few minutes, you can rinse it down with HOT water and this will help keep your drain cleared out and smelling better.

Mix it with water to form a paste and you have a soft scrub. This is good for sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, floors...the list goes on and on. Anywhere you need a soft abrasive this is your friend!

You can add some to your existing wash load to help make things brighter and fresher.

You can put a box in any closed off environment and it will help to remove any foul odor.

If you're really adventurous you could make your own homemade laundry soap this includes baking soda or "super washing soda" which is baking soda on steroids. Laundry soap recipe

Beauty products:

This can be used to wash your hair. 1tbsp per cup of water. Mix well and pour over dry hair, rub in well into the scalp and do this for a minute, and rinse. Follow this with an apple cider vinegar rinse (2tbsp acv to 1 cup water) and you have clean hair that doesn't tangle. This helps remove residue from your shampoos, conditioners, gels, hairsprays, etc. If you're really adventurous, you could wash your hair this way indefinitely. No real need to buy shampoo and conditioner. (and what frugalista wouldn't want to save that money!)

If you have issues with deodorant sometimes irritating your underarms, or if you're trying to get away from the aluminum in deodorants, and you're trying to find a more natural way, baking soda dusted on, followed by corn starch is a good way. Or if you need your stick. Mix some baking soda with some oil, (light safflower/olive/almond etc) until you get a somewhat dry paste, and push it into your deodorant container. For the greener people, this is inexpensive, and a healthy way to keep that bacteria from setting up on your skin and causing that bad body odor. Now this doesn't prevent sweating, so don't get too irritated if you find out this isn't an antiperspirant.

There are so many things you can do with baking soda, it's almost limitless what CAN be done. And this is reusable in so many places, that this is a dream for the unclutterer AND the frugalista. And on top of that it's GOOD for the environment! So that gets a little green smile. So if you have any little ones running around, this is by far much better than them getting a hold of your store bought housecleaning chemicals. :D

So how do YOU use baking soda?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Money Mondays...Be aware of what you're spending and where....

It's another Money Monday and no I don't have any great bargains for you, or where to get free stuffs, etc. I won't be putting that stuff in here. There are a WHOLE lot of other blogs out there just for that purpose. Last week, I mentioned living below your means as a way to accomplish debtlessness (is that even a word?). That is SO much easier said than done. Does that mean that you eat only beans and cornbread and bologna all week long? Not in the least. Does that mean that you might not get a new console game every month? More than likely. Most people want to put aside a little money for emergencies, or their children's college tuition, or even for their retirement. Really when you think of it, you will have one savings for retirement, one for emergencies, one for each child's future tuition, before you know it, you'll not have any money for bills. And unfortunately, unless you can afford to do that AND eek out a current living, that's not a very practical stance to take. You might even say that you cannot afford to save any money because your current living expenses out weigh your income. That's when you need to evaluate what's important to you, and what you can let go, and what you can pay off early to relieve yourself of your monthly debt. You might even want to keep an expense journal for 30 days just to see how you DO spend money. But for that 30 days, you should just keep the receipts for all your transactions, and your bank statements as well as your payroll checks. This way you see exactly what you have coming in, and just what you spend going out. This means even that 89cent burrito from Taco Bell. Keep that receipt, because this adds up over a year's time.

After your 30 days is up, go through all those receipts. Get you some envelopes, mark them, "household", "entertainment", "car", "grocery", "eating out", and "misc.". In the "household" envelope put your rent, utilities, and home insurance (if your car insurance is also attached here, that's fine, put it here in the "household" envelope)/renter's insurance, etc. The "entertainment" envelope, will carry your cable, internet, movie stubs, games, rentals, netflix, gamefly, etc. "Car" envelope is car maintenance, car payments, car insurance (if alone), and gas. "Grocery" is just that, groceries, that you purchase at the store. "Eating out" should be self explanatory, and is NOT to be placed in the "groceries" envelope. If you can't cook, there are THOUSANDS of sites on the web that can help you, and this is infinitely cheaper than eating out for a week. The "misc." envelope is for things that don't fit in here like if you pay your health insurance out of pocket, savings, etc. After you separated those receipts, you should tally up each envelope and see where the bulk of your money goes. You might be surprised just how much actually goes to entertaining yourself, or what goes into the "eating out" envelope.

After you figure out HOW you spend your money, next you should look at it and evaluate just what you need to do to lower some of these expenses. Generally, your household and car are pretty fixed. Depending on what's in your misc. on whether or not that's flexible. Otherwise, groceries, entertainment and finally eating out are the most flexible. You could cut out your eating out to just 1 meal a week. Decide how much an average meal is, and put that amount aside. The rest is surplus to go towards groceries, because more than likely, you'll be spending more money here. HOWEVER, with careful planning, and smart shopping, this expenditure could go down as well. I have friends who've given themselves spending limits on the flexible expenses.

One friend uses an envelope system. She allots herself only $"X" for groceries per month. And she splits that over the 4(average) weeks per month, and that's all she takes the store with her. This buys all her groceries as well as her toiletries, etc. And she can adhere to that, because if the cash isn't there, she can't spend it. This same friend also relies upon her menu to help her out. I'll talk more about menu planning next week and how it can greatly save you money.

Just being aware of how you spend your money could greatly reduce how much you actually spend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food Waste Friday/Menu...

As a means of keeping myself accountable for the wasted food in the house, I followed The Frugal Girl's lead. So every week will be a post about how much food was wasted for the week.

Well, this week was not a triumphant week in the land of Tracy. We did have some waste. :( We had about a third of an italian loaf go to waste, a quarter of a sandwich loaf go to waste, and way too much ground beef, that I'd rather not talk about. It makes me WAY too sad to think on it. The italian loaf, I just couldn't figure out what ELSE to do with it. The sandwich loaf bums me because we were about to have some pb &j's when I figured out that the mold monster had gotten it before I could finish it off. So lunch was delayed while I was scrambling about trying to figure what else to have. And again, the ground beef I don't want to discuss...

Now onto the menu for next week. I repeat I absolutely LOVE this new habit of mine. We're fine tuning it. We've realized that breakfast and lunches are pretty much the same all week and are always on the fly/leftovers, etc. But this DOES make supper making so much easier when you know exactly what you're having, so you can make it. PLUS it makes grocery shopping faster and easier. No more going down EACH isle trying to find stuff to eat. YAY! Anyways! ONWARD yon menu!!!

Breakfasts will be the usual cereal, toast, eggs, pancakes. Lunches are leftovers and sandwiches.

*Fried Pork Chops
*Baked Sweet Potatoes

*Complete meal in a bag (need to get it out of the freezer)

*Ribs (bbq/glazed)
*Mashed potatoes
*Green beans

*Grilled burgers and hotdogs

*Pizza Night!!!

*Baked potato

Friday (new recipe night)
*Roasted Italian Chicken w/ veggies (Meals with a Mission Cook Book)

*Garlic bread

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy EARTH Day! :D

Happy Earth Day everyone! Don't forget to drink out of reusable glasses and containers, use glass over plastic (if you can), walk instead of drive (if you can), read outside instead of watch tv or play on the computer (If you can, and BAD me!). Turn off your computer and other electric items, and open those windows! It's a gorgeous day out there in the land of Tracy. We have all our windows open. I went to school, and now I'm home for the day. About to go outside and finish working on my spot and plant some pumpkins and then just enjoy the day with my family, probably outside enjoying this weather while we have it. :)

So what are you guys doing to celebrate Earth Day? What do you do every day that is more Earth friendly? Do you bicycle instead of drive? Do you garden? Do you by local and/or organic? Do you re-purpose things?

Thimble Thursdays...

So today I have a Spanish class, and after my test I was talking with la profesora, Sra. J. We were discussing Spanish Tortillas and I was mentioning bringing one to clase on Monday, when she mentioned that she saw my blog. (Yup, that's right, I'm throwing in some Spanish words now. :P How's that for some Spanglish! ) She also mentioned that she sews also. YAY! I love learning something new about someone, especially if it is a shared interest. It's almost like a bonding over something you never talked about. But there it is, that kinship. I mentioned our sewing circle to her, so hopefully, she'll make it out sometime. If not, maybe she could join online and work it out from there. :) Ms. C.Michele is very easy to work with.

Well, I'm getting my work area cleared and settled away so I can set up my sewing machine. OH my! The nerves get to me. Honestly that machine is daunting with all its levers and spindles and such, and this is an UNcomplicated machine. I will conquer that machine. I won't let it get the best of me! I have some sewing to do and by gollys I'm going to do it!

I have my nieces birthday present all figured out. :) Since she's such a voracious reader, I'm going to make her 5 corner bookmarks and a kindle book-style cover. I have to by a book board for the cover, but that's ok, it'll keep the kindle safer than without it. But I have the patterns and I just need to get some fabric and I'll be all set. I really looked over the bookmarks, those are something I'd feel more comfortable sewing by hand, since there is pretty much only decorative stitching to be done. I know the lady suggests using her machine for the "x", but seriously....I can't sew a line, let alone an "x". Hand-sewing....completely different ballgame. I can have that down pat. I just need to get the calico fabric and magnetic tape, and I'll be in like quinn.

Now, the kindle cover....that's a horse of a different colour. I will need to use the machine for that, if for no other reason than the strength of the stitches. Besides, it's basically all straight lines. Definitely more simple than the curves of the "x". OH and about that purse I'm wanting to make. I JUST about have the pattern figured out. :) Yay! Go me. I'll go over it with Ms. C. Michele on the 4th, and get her take on it and see what she says. :)

So, what are all your hobbies/crafty goodness? Cooking and baking are crafts. Are you able to create new recipes with a few ingredients? Gardening, especially landscape-type gardening is a craft as well. Photography. There are many things that take talent to do. What's yours?

PS. For those that didn't know, you can still post a comment on my blog, even if you aren't a friend of the blog. Just be sure to put your name at the end, so I'll know who you are.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Hearth.... Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake

This week we had a cheeseburger biscuit bake. This is REALLY good for when you don't have a whole lot of time and you need an all in one meal.

This I got from a little Taste of Homes Casserole cookbook . You know the ones that are sitting on the checkout as you are buying your stuff.

Anyways, here is the recipe, and I'll tell you some of the things I've done to modify it to fit my mood.

1lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cups (8oz) shredded chedder cheese, divided
1 tube (12oz) refrigerated biscuits, separated into 10 biscuits
pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion until meat is done. Drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup and pepper. Spoon half of the meat mixture into a greased 8x8x2 baking dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers.

Place bicuits around edges of dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees (f) for 18-22 minutes until the meat mixture is bubbly and biscuits are brown.

* You can add diced potato or carrots or peas if you'd like. You could add crumble bacon if you'd like for that bacon cheeseburger taste. If you're wanting to go a healthier route, you could lessen the cheese and use ground turkey instead. Nothing really replaces the biscuits on this one, so I guess you COULD leave those off. But then it wouldn't be a biscuit bake. But there's all sorts of ways you could play with this basic recipe. :)

NOTE: I find it better to cook it most of the way BEFORE adding the biscuits. They aren't as mushy on the bottom if you do it that way and they brown up better.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Triple "R" Tuesdays...

For a while now, I've been wanting to and trying to figure out a way from buying sodas. Nothing is working. I am just as much an addict as the next guy. There's just something about the bubbly concoction that just gets my motor revving. Now if that's from caffeine or sugar, I don't know. Either way, it looks as though sodas are here to stay. Ok, that's fine with me. But I'm NOT comfy with all the cans just going into the trash bin. So, Mr. V and I did some talking and we purchased a simple 30 gallon outdoor waste bin, and some thick liners. So, as we are drinking the sodas, we're rinsing them out and then at the end of the day, stomping on them and putting them in the outdoor bin. When it gets full, we're going to take it to a local metal recycling center. Once we get enough money to purchase another 13 gallon bin, we're going to buy one of those, and start recycling our plastic and paper to take to the city. They said if you take it to their office, they'll recycle it for you. My aunt was disappointed that they weren't going to pay you for it, but that part doesn't matter to me. I just want to do it to show responsibility to my son for cleaning up after ourselves. This is more than just inside the home. This is the planet in which we live.

And speaking of the planet in which we live. I've been doing a lot of thinking on sustainability and the whole "green" movement. And really, if you are going to hate washing your windows with vinegar and complain that you miss your windex. Then use windex, pull your sustainability somewhere else. Maybe you are into eating organic, homegrown veggies from your window box. Great! That's what it is all about. You have to be able to maintain your sustainability, otherwise, it's not going to be something you'll do for the rest of your life. Like myself, I'm growing some veggies in a container on my back porch. I am slowly decreasing the amount of crazy cleaners in my house, and I am recycling, and re-purposing some things. Some things that I cannot live without are my Air Conditioning. Because my son gets these crazy asthma attacks when his allergies flair up, I am not willing to risk his comfort for that of saving a few more dollars. Now, this is when it is HOT, while it is breezy and he seems ok, I'll open a window or two and let the breeze pass through my house. And due to the area that I live in (NO public transit), driving in my car is a necessary evil if I'm to go to the college or even the grocery. I even carry my own bags into the grocery store, so I don't have to use the plastic. And what plastic I DO get, I use as garbage bags for my small trash cans. And if I have any surplus of those (I'm REALLY trying to cut THIS down), we take them to the stores for recycling.

So, though it's nice and all to say that we're going to be uber eco-friendly and pee in a bucket and use that refuse as fertilizer for plants, if that's not something you are comfortable with, it isn't something that will work for you. If you can eat alfalfa all day in your weed slacks and live in a house like a hobbit, GREAT! That's truly commendable and awesome. I wished I could, but I can't. I'm trying to do better and learn a more natural way. And that's alright. So long as you know your limits and you try to stretch them just a little, and you try to treat this planet like the home you live in (or better if you live like some people on Hoarders!), then you'll do fine.

I think the worst thing any of us can do, is try to go gung ho on this and gross ourselves out or wear ourselves out by taking on too much. Or by overwhelming ourselves by taking on too much at one time.

So what do you guys do that is sustainable living? What are the limits you draw for your sustainable living? How far are you willing to push yourself?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Money Mondays...

You won't get great investment tips from me or how to get rich quick. This is just a simple matter of living beneath your means, and making your dollars stretch and work for you, rather than against you.

We're really lucky, when you think about it. We don't have much in the way of debt. We aren't buying our home, so we don't have that debt, though we do pay rent. I consider that much like utilities. A necessary evil. We have 2 cars. One is paid for, and the other is almost paid off. So there is THAT debt. We don't have credit cards or any misc. loans. Between the two of us, we have one student loan, which we're hoping to get paid off next year. And that doesn't have to be paid on until I graduate from school, which though, I'll have my associates soon, I'm heading straight into my bachelors program. I'm going to try to not take out another loan on top of that one, but we'll see how that pans out.

For most of my adult life, I've been a single woman with no children. This changed a couple of years ago, when Mr. V and I found out we were expecting. This was a rather large surprise because neither of us were supposed to be able to have children. So, us living in an already crowded duplex, with no means to get anything larger, plus our limited means, really put us in a pinch. So we "tightened" our belts, so to speak, and we started embarking on our trek to financial freedom. Granted, we don't go to the movies as often as we'd like. We don't get video games or trips to see concerts like we used to. However, we are pretty happy in our little space. And we've even knocked things down to only one income. That's right. Only one income. Things are pretty tight. But we figured it out, with daycare, we'd spend more money than I make in a month just for Lil Mr. V's things. And in school my toughest semesters are coming with student teaching and all. So we made the decision for me to quit, and spend the time at home with our little guy and we'd pinch pennies.

Living beneath our means. Seems so simple. Dave Ramsey talks on and on about minding the company you keep, because you're income is going to be much like theirs down the road, etc. And in another blog I read today, she mentions it's more than their salary...look at their attitude towards money. You know those people that seem to accumulate money and yet they can buy things all the time. Makes you wonder how they can do all that, when it seems like all your money goes right out the window. Yeah. Apparently, if you hang around those frugal minded people, you too, will begin to pick up on their habits and you'll start to accumulate money as well.

For me, this is a new adventure. I'm positive I'll make some mistakes along the way. And I'm also positive I'll be making more progress than not. :)

So what are some of your methods of living beneath your means? Do you coupon clip? Go to thrift stores? How about choosing to live in a house that won't break the budget?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food Fridays!

Food Friday! Happy days are here again! As you know Fridays are the days that we look in our fridges and in our fruit baskets and bread bins and onion/potato bins and check to see if we have food a'wastin that needs to be tossed out. This really happens on Thursday for me as my local trash pickup is on Friday. So my city trash bin is at the curb awaiting the city boys arrival. And drum roll please...... No waste this week. :D HURRAY! HURRAY! Too good to be true! :D YAY! My food waste has gone down tremendously since I started making a weekly menu. My grocery bill has gone way down as well! I seem to have more groceries than ever, yet by this time every week, it's getting low. Good thing though. Out of all the changes I've made recently, this one is the simplest, most effective, and already most relied upon habit. I love it, love it, love it!

I think I'm going to combine things on Friday. Food waste as well as my menu for next week. So that way if there is any particular recipes that you want, you can let me know and by Wednesday I can post the recipe on "Wednesday's Hearth". Sound good to you? Sounds good to me!

Anyways, here we go for our menu for the next week. We'll go from Saturday-Friday and I'll give you an idea of every day. Also, if you wanted to check out a good menu planner, to make it simple and sweet go to Econobusters It's an E-book that has printable menu templates and a grocery list as well as recipe cards. Plus she has some menus in the end. I've tried a few and they're pretty good. :)

Ok, on to the Menu!
Since we have such a surplus of cereal in this house, breakfast will be cereal! Yay go Cereal!

Lunches will be a mixture of leftovers, pb&j's, sandwiches, soups, salads, etc. Mostly just for things that are laying around. Chicken nuggets for Lil Mr. V. that sort of thing.


*Beef Stew

*BBQ Ribs

*Leftovers or


*Grilled Pork Chops and Brats
*Baked Beans
*Mashed Potatoes

*Baked Chicken
*Au Gratin Potatoes
*Green Beans

*Burger Tortilla Casserole (new recipe)
*Spanish Rice

So do you guys keep a weekly planned menu? Do you cook whatever you're in the mood for? What is new that you guys have recently made? Willing to swap recipes?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thimble Thursdays

So, it's Thimble Thursday in Tracy Land. Of course the original reason for this blog was because of my desire to learn how to sew and to get back in touch with my crafty self. And I have. In my search for things I can toss I ran across all my old craft supplies. Granted, it was taking up a rather large space in one room. I COULD get rid of it, especially since I hadn't used any of it in years. But, I just joined this awesome sewing circle. And we're more than just sewing. We're all those crafts. Cooking, baking, quilting, sewing, crocheting, knitting, you name it, we have it (pretty much!). And so I didn't want to give that stuff away when I could MAKE something out of it. And since we've gone down to only one income, it would be better on our holiday and birthday budgets if I could make most of our presents. So I took inventory of what I had and I decided that there were several presents there that I could make. A few that I was going to make for the house to increase it's homey factor, but then that's just me. Like there is this cotton worsted weight yarn that I have in white and a pretty yellow/blue. I'm going to make a throw for our living room out of that. I also have this rather chunky yarn in bright pinks and purples and I have that figured out for someone. I have a few cross stitches that I want to make for other people. So since I found my stuff, I've worked on one of the cross stitches and some of the crocheting. I taught my niece how to crochet. She's decided that she's making her Mom a lap throw. She came with me to my last meeting. She's an artistic sort of person, so I'm glad that she's learning how to do stuff like crochet. She wants to learn how to sew. So I had some excess grey false suede material that I'm going to teach her how to sew a pillow out of. And after that if she's still interested in learning how to do stuff, I'll teach her how to cross stitch. I have a few things I want to make for her for her birthday. Which it will be easy material. I just have to get my sewing machine out and the right fabric to do it in. Anyways, I'm getting ahead of myself. Hopefully, I'll have my new camera soon and I'll start posting pictures of my projects as I'm working through them.

So what are some of the projects you're working on? If you're not working on something, what do you want to do? Or what kind of craft would you love to learn? Gardening? Pottery? Jewelry making? The sky is the limit!