Friday, October 30, 2009

God Is Good

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 6:26

Whew what a week.... I say with a sigh of relief
Whew what a week!! I say in a praise to the Lord.

We had our first crisis, if you will, since I have been home. This is only my second week home. We were having plumbing problems, now typically Brian is my Mr. Fix It guy, buuuuuut (no pun intended - ok I had to say that!) plumbing is not his thing. I mean he can plunge and even snake, but when you have stuff coming up your bathtub when you do laundry. no not his thing. He did have a pretty good idea of what it was, tree roots. We had this problem a couple of years ago and it ran us about $200-$250 to take care of it. Ugh... not yet, I didn't want to have to use any of our emergency money yet.. I have only been home two weeks!
So we call the same people as before, they send someone out and within thirty minutes he is done. Not the good done, the done where he comes and tells us, he has hit a brick wall, doesn't think it is tree roots, possible pipe collapse, etc.
He goes on to tell us that they will need to send someone out with a camera ($$), that we are possibly looking at needing to dig up our front yard and have pipes replaced (even more $$)... at this point I am thinking..hmmmm wonder if I can get my old job back..
I cannot even imagine how much it would be to get a back hoe or whatever it is they use to dig up your yard, I am just positive it would cost A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY!
Don't worry, since he couldn't fix anything he didn't make us pay the full $194, he only made us pay $124 for the half hour he worked.

Note to self...become a plumber.

He leaves and Brian and I start talking.. Brian didn't have a good feeling about this guy from the beginning, felt like he gave up too soon, didn't seem to put any effort in fixing the problem. So we decided to yellow page it and find us a new plumber on a wing and a prayer..more prayer than anything.
We pick one, no answer, left message.
Call plumber #2, he answers and Brian relays what is going on.
He proceeds to tell us that he often goes behind above plumber to fix what they couldn't or didn't. Given what Brian had told him, he too felt that it was tree roots. We decide to go with him. Within fifteen minutes he was here and within another fifteen minutes he fixed our problem for only $85. No colapsed pipes either!!!!
All good news...except we were a little upset that we paid the previous plumber for nothing. All we could do was cancel the appt. for the camera and let them know that we were disappointed in the service. Brian calls, lets them know what is going on and without even asking, they tell us they are refunding our money!!!! Yeah!!!
So what we originally thought would cost us min. $200-$250 ended up only costing us $85.

God is soooo good!!!

As if that wasn't enough for one week, Ashlyn's glasses broke, she has to have them of course. I took them in to Clarkson EyeCare where we had purchased them. I waited for them to tell me how long it would take for them to be fixed and how much it would cost, praying that it would only be a fraction of the cost of new frames.
Well.... they had an extra frame in stock exactly like the ones she had so they fixed them right then and there and the charge...NO CHARGE!!!!

Say it with me... GOD IS GOOD

Cost to fix daughter's broken glasses: $0
Having tree roots removed from your pipes: $85
Having a Heavenly Father who is always taking care of you: PRICELESS
A Finer Thing!

Visit Amy's Finer Things for more finer things!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


To celebrate the new Kodak Gallery, Kodak is giving away one million free gifts in the form of $15 gift codes to be used on their website. There are many things to be had for $15 or less at Kodak's online store, you will just have to pay shipping. With Christmas coming up this promotion is perfect timing!!! They are giving the codes away in three phases, I missed the first one and today starts the second. Be sure to check it out here and get your code!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lasagna Gardening...

If you are like me, you love fresh fruits and vegetables, would love to grow your own, but somehow the spring comes and goes and you are still buying your fruits and vegetables from the grocery store or the local farmers market.
Before I go on, I do need to give props to my husband and my "future farmer" son, every year they plant something, sometimes it grows, sometimes not, but they sure give it a shot.

Anyway, again, since I am no longer working, we really need to cut corners where we can and well, cutting out fruits and vegetables is just not an option. So we have been thinking that a serious garden next year will be a must.
Since a green thumb I do not have, I have been doing research on what exactly it takes to have a decent crop.... good soil, seeds needing to be planted a certain depth, needing plenty of water, yet not too much. You know the basics that I probably learned in my 3rd grade science class, a mere 26 years ago, but have long forgotten. Upon my research, I stumbled upon several articles about having a lasagna garden, a no tilling, no digging way of growing your garden. Did you get that? The hardest physical part of a garden is eliminated using this method AND it is a very green way of growing your garden.

In a nutshell lasagna gardening involves layering compost, such as leaves, grass, twigs and some food scraps in such a way that when it comes time to plant your garden in the spring you will have nice soft, very fertilized soil to plant your garden, making digging and tilling non-essential. By doing this now, it will have several months to "cook down" and create perfect soil for gardening.

If interested in this method of gardening check it out here for a much more detailed instructions.

Here are some pics of my "gonna be a farmer when I grow up" son helping me getting the lasagna garden going....

The first layer believe it or not is newspaper... told you it was a green garden

The next layer is leaves, twigs and all that good stuff you can find outside...

More leaves and stuff...

After this picture we put down a bunch of table scraps we have been composting and mixed it real good. Everyday we will add more to it, including shredded newspaper, until it is about two feet tall or so....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Operation Organization Resumes....

This week it is the bedrooms. I am starting with our bedroom... should be interesting - I am on a mission to minimize what we have, so our bedroom will be a challenge. I have a tendacy to store things in there when I am not sure where I should put them..... not a good idea.

Limiting myself on computer time today, my bedroom alone will take a while and plus we are going to finish getting our lasagna garden ready... no, we are not growing lasagna LOL!! Once finished I will post about what exactly this is and why we are doing it now in the middle of fall.

Happy Monday!

Quote of the day: Being kind is more important than being right. Unknown

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Mini Eclairs.....

In our other life, the one with two incomes, we treated ourselves to dinner out every Friday evening. It ranged as to where we would go, but even at the cheapest fast food places such as McDonalds or Taco Bell our total would be close to $25. Multiply that by 4 and we have spent $100 in a month on eating out one day a week, add more for those weeks when we went someplace nicer. $100 is almost two weeks of my new grocery budget - yikes!!!

Today as I was waiting to pick up the kids I had pretty much talked myself into letting this tradition continue until I reminded myself that if we are going to make it on one income then some things have to change and this was going to have to be one of those things. We can make the same memories at home eating store bought or homemade food just as well as sitting at a restaurant, actually better, because there will be no memeories of being glared at because your 2 year old is having a hard time sitting still or feeling guilty because as you are leaving you glance down at the floor under where your kids were sitting only to see that all the food that fell to the floor is equivalent to an entree at least... which means that hardly any food made it to the mouth and as soon as we walk in the door there will be cries of hunger. I digress..... I do that alot, don't I?

Kids picked up and off to Aldis we go. I decided this week I was going to do our grocery shopping there since we didn't need a whole lot, mainly fresh fruits and veggies. Wanting to find something easy for us to eat tonight was on the agenda too, since up until then I had thought we would be going out. Kirkwood southern style chicken, fries, mac & cheese and applesauce. Settled - that is what we would have....

Then we passed them, the mini eclairs..

The BEST mini eclairs...

I tried to resist, I promise I did, but something stronger than me made me pick them up...

Then a little voice in my head told me it was alright, no guilt needed. I traded in a $25 meal out for a $5 box of mini eclairs.

Dining out with family.......$25 or more

Southern style chicken, fries, mac & cheese & applesauce.... $7.62 (see, you can eat just as unhealthy at home and for a lot cheaper!!!)

Mini Eclairs with no guilt attached......PRICELESS

That my friend is a finer thing in life!

Visit Amy here for Finer Things Friday!

Happy Friday all!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We are THAT Family....

I have been following Kristen's blog over at We Are THAT Family for awhile now. I love the way she shares her family's experiences that leaves you thinking.."Whew, I am glad it is not just our family that experiences more than their fair share of THAT family moments!!!" You know those moments...

** when you call the dr. on the weekend because you think your 7 month old has thrush when really it is just crackers stuck to the roof of her mouth (in my defense I didn't know someone had given her crackers in the nursery at church)

** or when you have to pay out of pocket $60 dr. fee to have a piece of styrofoam removed from your son's ear,

**or you come home from work to see your preschool daughter in the cheerleading sleeveless outfit, complete with cable tights and sandals that daddy let her go to school in,

You get the picture, right?

A Christian mom, Kristen always puts a positive spin on things and keeps it all in perspective. Today is her 2nd anniversary in blogging and to celebrate she has asked other bloggers to share their "THAT" family moments. I submitted our most recent, which surprisingly has been a couple months ago.. yikes, I am nervous now!! Check out my family's most recent "THAT" family moment and be sure to visit Kristen's blog at We Are THAT Family today and read other bloggers "THAT" family moments... trust me it will make you feel good about your own!!!

Enjoy reading!

Check List

Living room cleaned and decluttered.... check

Coat closet organized and decluttered..... check

Hallway corner shelving decluttered and windexed.....check

Hallway closet organized....check

Bathroom cabinet cleaned, decluttered and organized..... check

ahhhhhhhhhhh that feels good

The past two days in between doing the above, I have also been doing my endless mount of laundry. Let me tell you, a family of 6 sure can accumulate the laundry. So in my effort to decrease my laundry loads and to declutter our closets, I am going through everyone's clothes and eliminating those clothes that we do not want... (we meaning me... sorry, family, I do the laundry, I get to choose, right?!) Anyway, Goodwill will be getting quite the donation from us by the time I am done. Another win win!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Operation Organization 10/21/09

The battle of the living room rages on, although it appears I am ahead. Honestly, I could have won the battle yesterday, but I had this 2 year old little girl, who came up to me and in the sweetest tone ever said "mommy, wanna mmball wif me" that translates, to "mommy, wanna play ball with me" which means she wanted to toss the ball to each other for a




I couldn't resist, I just couldn't. She has spent 5 out of 7 days a week with someone other than me while I was at work for the past two years, right now I cannot get enough of her!!! I digress...
Anyway, once I finish up the living room, my army of two, literally my two arms and I will move to the hallway.. don't laugh, seriously the hallway. I have a corner shelving that has managed to capture many things a hostage, I will free them today.
I also have a hall closet that is in dire need of my attention, it is currently holding my stockpile of hygiene products, towels, toilet paper, anything that would typically be used in the bathroom. Oh the organization that awaits!
And being the ever optimist, the battle of the bathroom will result in a victory today as well. We have ONE very small bathroom, while it itself is clean, what is under the bathroom sink I cannot attest to..bad, so bad.

Since the living room and hallway come together, I will post pics once they are both done.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Operation Organization 10/20/09

The living room will be my first battle in this war against clutter...

In reality it shouldn't take me long, the only real major thing that needs to be decluttered is our coat closet, aka, Brian's closet - closet space in this house is very minimal. However, I tend to sidetracked very easily.. hence I am posting right now... Anyway, once it is done and I have it decorated the way I want it I will post pics.

Off to battle......

Have a great day everybody!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do you shop online?

If the answer is yes, then before you ever hit the "proceed to checkout" button, you must visit Coupon Chief. It is an online shopping community that has coupon codes to more than 8000 online stores. The coupon codes range from $ amounts off, % off to discounted shipping. Most seem to have more than one online code and I have noticed over the past few years of online shopping that alot of online retailers will allow you to stack coupones...Ladies, Victorias Secret being one.
Before using the coupon you can read if others have used the code, if there were any problems with it, etc. Once you use the coupon code I would encourage you to go back and leave a review.

Have an online coupon to share? Well at Coupon Chief once you sign up as a member you can participate in their pay to share program. Pay to share allows you to earn money each time someone uses a coupon that you have submitted. It is a win win situation!

With Christmas just around the corner, Coupon Chief is a must add to your favorites. Brian and I have done a lot of our Christmas shopping on line in the past years and will do this year as well. I have already checked out our most frequented online retail stores and was pleased to find them all participants on Coupon Chief's website.

If you are still unsure of just exactly what Coupon Chief is and how it works, they have a great video tutorial that you can find here.

Happy shopping everyone!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do I Get an "A" for effort?

Well, for starters let me do a little happy dance.... yesterday was my last day working outside the home!!!

Ok - so back to what I wanted to post about. I have been mulling over what we should budget weekly for our groceries... the same number pops in my head... $60/week for our family of 6. Soooo, I figured this week I would give that amount a whirl.

The results?

$62.65... not too bad, but still over. In my defense and to my utter shame, that was without coupons......gasp.... This past week was crazy being my last week and Brian's long week, so I didn't get the time or make the time to look over sale ads and match with the coupons.

At any rate though, I did stick to my new rule and that is any meat I purchase must be less than $2/lb. I did fairly well there getting a whole turkey breast for $1.19/lb, porksteaks for $1.69 a pound, pork roast for $1.99/lb and chicken breasts for $1.96/lb. So pork and poultry it is this week!! Maybe not, I do have some beef that I purchased on a previous shopping trip in the freezer, so we will be able to mix it up a bit!

I will update next week with my $60 or less grocery shopping challenge for myself!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cancer.. Death...

I am not sure what is compelling me to write on this topic, maybe it is because tonight as Ashlyn was asking about an afgan that my grandma had crocheted, it got the emotions stirring. Ashlyn wanted to know about her, which prompted questions from my other children as well. I love talking about my grandma, I love talking about my dad, it is just that when it is my children asking about either of them, I get emotional. I don't want to tell stories to them, I want them to meet them, to know them personally, to see first hand the selfless life that they each lived, but alas they won't and my memories will have to do.

Both my dad and my grandma succombed to cancer, such an ugly disease. The physical process of dieing is hard to watch especially in the case of cancer, it wreaks such havoc on a persons body, bringing victims to the brinks of death just in hope of killing these abnormal cells that have taken over their bodies all with just a slim chance of remission or survival... it is disheartening. However, witnessing a person who has given themselves to the Lord depart from this world, brings about peace, brings about hope.

Seemingly a paradox, I was blessed to have been right by their sides when they moved on from this world to the next. Minutes, even hours before each passed it was obvious to those around that they were teetering between this world and the next, it was obvious that the Lord had opened the gates of Heaven for them to catch a glimpse of what was to come, that He was waiting for them to come home. Not one single time did I witness fear fom either of them, I truly believe they had accepted and were at peace with what was to be, long before any of their loved ones were. During my dad's battle with cancer,he had said that he was in a win-win situation, meaning if the Lord would bring him to the state of remission or better yet cured him, then he won, that was extra time on this earth that he would get to spend with us, however, if he that was not the case and he passed away, he won because he would finally meet face to face his Saviour. He did win, but it was our loss. He and my grandma are whole now, they are complete. Our loss is truly heavens gain.

So for now I will share the memories of these two, as well as of my grandpa, he died alone, maybe of a broken heart, shortly after my grandma passed. I will share with my children as vividly as I can my memories so that maybe in the end it will feel as if they did know them personally. Most of all, I will do my best to live out their legacy, the legacy of love, of selflessness and I can only pray that when it is my time that I too can bring about peace and hope in death just as my dad and grandma did for me. I know that I will see them again one day, that knowledge brings peace, that knowledge brings hope.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Apparently this week was baking week in the blogasphere, most of the blogs that I read daily had some sort of baking going on.... Crystal made muffins, waffles, lasanga and a whole lot more on her baking day. She included recipes too... yummy! Amy made some ever so tempting to the tummy cinnamon rolls, that she has promised to post the recipe for soon - I can't wait,although, I am pretty sure that I gained weight just looking at the pics of them! And Jen made some scrumptious looking banana pancakes and muffins.

Even though I didn't get to partake in baking during the week, I am thinking that tomorrow will be a great day to do a little baking...maybe some of those banana pancakes, something with apples... I was able to buy a good deal of apples that were on sale this week at Dierbergs. Hmmmmm... I will see what else I have the ingredients handy for and report back!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On My Way Home...

Wow - I really couldn't have come across Amy's @ Finer Things Mommy Come Home series at a more appropriate time. Several months ago my husband and I decided that it was time for me to "come home". We went back and forth as to when that time would/should/could come, finally making a decision. I am officially coming home October 16th, that is my last day at my current place of employment.

The decision for me to stay home really wasn't hard for my husband, he has been wanting me to quit for awhile, however, I do the bills and budget, so at first I was plain ole scared to not have my income... me of so little faith.

Then my next hurdle was just getting over guilt... the guilt of not being wonder woman. I mean, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get it all done, keep it all together, be suzy homemaker in the evenings and weekends plus hold my 40 hour a week job too!!! Other woman do and do it well, at least that is how it appears. Honestly, I even went to the dr. thinking that maybe I was ADD - I mean there has to be a reason why I couldn't do it all, right? Guess what, I am not ADD. His diagnosis? I have IthinkIcandoitallwonderwoman"itis".
In laymans terms.. I have too much on my plate, working full time, trying maintain an orderly household, while raising four young children, on top of the fact that my husband and I work opposite shifts, (some days we only communicate over the phone - not good for a marriage). He actually suggested that I find a way to cut down on my time away from home. Him telling me that, really helped me get over the guilt of not being able to do it all - I mean afterall, he did go to school for at least eight years, he has to know what he is talking about....right?

So here it is, I have my husband's support ( I am so thankful for that), I have been able to work through the guilt and the discovery with acceptance that I really am only human. So then I prayed and prayed - however, I do recommend that everyone else do this first, I so could have easily skipped all of the above had I done this first. I know that for us to survive on just one income, we will need the Lord's blessing on every.single.penny. that comes into our hands. I am thankful to say that even though next month we will see for the first time a huge cut in the income that will be coming in, I have such peace. I know that we will be alright. I am learning the ropes of cutting expenses, I already love to coupon and am getting really good about deal finding. But you know what the coolest thing is? I am discovering that we are not alone, I have found so many other families / moms, who have chosen the same path that we/I have because that is what is best for our families, for our marriages, for our children, for us. I am so thankful for this blogging community, I have learned so much from reading those who are already home, their tips, advice, etc. As I learn, I will share too.

Whenever I feel any doubt or worry come over me, I am reminded of Matt. 6:26
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than them?

And finally, the best confirmation one could ever ask for came the day we decided to tell our children our plan... the look and excitment that came over them was like we had just told them it was Christmas... priceless.. Mommy is coming home!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I have fallen off the wagon for meal planning, but I am jumping back on... here is our menu for the week. No new exciting recipes this week, those will come here within the next couple of weeks. I told Brian that we are going to have to get creative with our food to keep from having the same ole, same ole. At least once a week (not starting this week! LOL) I am going to have a new to our family recipe. I love checking out everyones meal planning menus over at Organizing Junkie

Monday - leftovers from the weekend, including homemade pizza, yum, yum!!
Tuesday - Pork chops, baked potatos, corn & salad
Wednesday - Roast w/ potatos & carrots
Thursday - grilled cheese & homemade vegetable beef soup
Friday - Probably Little Ceasers $5 pizza - Hubby's weekend off - yeah!!
Saturday - leftovers for lunch & pork steaks for dinner
Sunday - dinner at Grandma's!!!