Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life Around the Dinner Table

My family knows..because I told them..that dinner time is my favorite part of the day. And yes, I do enjoy eating, but that is not my reason for loving this time of the day. After we give thanks we always ask the kids what their favorite part of the day was and what their least favorite part of their day was. Let me tell you that is very enlightening. Dinner time around here is more than eating the last meal of the day, it is where we learn about each other, we learn the latest jokes, we share our joys, we ask questions, etc. The dinner table isn't just for eating either, we craft, we play games, we carve pumpkins, we sit and talk while drinking hot cocoa and more.

The best thing is that it doesn't just have to be our dinner table..it can be Grandma's (my mom) dinner table, where we all get together, we reminisce, laugh and share. My brother, sister, mom and I have talked hours about our memories with my dad, we have cried at the dinner table too. Over the holidays we learned things about our family that were funny and some that were sad. We have enjoyed my mom's awesome cooking and baking... all around the dinner table.

I have also come to love my in-laws dinner table too. German immigrants they are, I love to hear the stories of the most amazing courage that my husband's grandparents had. Coming to the US by boat with their two young daughters, wanting a better life for them and doing what was necessary to make that happen. Their story is AMAZING!!

While the food around the dinner table will be changing soon ( healthier eating in the New Year..try, try again..isn't that what they say?), the conversation, the the laughter and the knowledge gained around the table, I pray will be unchanging!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buffalo Wild Wings - Party of Chaos

It has been a long time since we (my husband, kids and myself)have gone out to eat together. At a restaurant. A sit down, have a person come take your order, then deliver your food, refill your drinks kind of restaurant.

Since I had not gone to the grocery store and really had no desire to rummage through the fridge or freezer to make a mod podge dinner for my family, I decided to check to see if any local restaurants were having "kids night".

Unfortunately most of the restaurants near us had their "kid nights" on other nights. Tuesday and Thursdays seem to be a big night for those who live near me...

However, Buffalo Wild Wings have their night on Mondays. Perfect. $1.99 per kid and that included drink. Even more perfect. The age limit for BWW is 12...well, color me happy...all my kids were eating...and drinking...for $1.99 each!

So I go tell the kids to get there shoes on because we were going out to eat, totally expecting them to be excited since this is a rare thing.


They were playing and didn't want to go out to eat.

Not a one of them.

After some time convincing them that this would be just as much fun as staying home and for sure a better dinner than what would otherwise be headed their way, they obliged.

Upon arrival to a pretty desolate BWW, which really surprised us since not only was it kids night, but it was also Monday Night Football. We really expected more people to be there. We were seated right away and were able to order our food right away, always a good thing.

I know you are wondering where the chaos is..I am getting to it.

While waiting for our food, Brian took the kids to look at the video games, only returning for me to fish through my purse for as many quarters as possible. BTW, we are proud owners of three very new and expensive bouncy balls. I sense your jealousy. At one point I hear workers gushing over a child that had apparently fallen. Oh yeah, it was one of ours. Our youngest who may have happened to wear her new dress up play, princess high heels out to dinner tonight. Only a little embarrassing. Not as embarrassing though as apparently our 11 year old was when she found out she would be ordering from the kids menu. I mean, really, if she ever won the clean plate award, we probably would have considered letting her order from the adult menu, but it is for kids 12 and under, it was only $1.99 with drink..ok so maybe we wouldn't have considered it. For the record, she did not finish her meal. In fact not a one of them did.

Not one.

Even my 8 year old who is the world's best eater, did not finish her meal. In fact about half way through she threw down her sandwich, tells me she needed to go to the bathroom...I look up at her and she was as white as a ghost. The prayers began for me, "Lord, please don't let her throw up, please...but if she has to, please, let her make it to the bathroom, please"Then the fears from the other kids begin.."Is Ash, sick, is she going to throw up?"

The kids are not as quiet as I am when I am saying my prayers.Thus the bold italics above!

Hearing that someone could possibly be vomiting, is not want the patrons of a restaurant want to hear..

She didn't get sick..thankfully. We asked for our check and some to go boxes and as quietly as a brood of six can be, we left.

I am pretty sure I heard applause upon our departure!!

Ok, so it wasn't that bad and pretty sure I was just being paranoid about people hearing us, but at any rate my husband and I did learn that if the kids say that they don't want to go out to eat, we will listen.

PB&J with a big glass of milk can make for a mighty fine dinner!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ebay Does It Again...

Leaves me confused that is.

Hard to believe, I know, right?

So I had a pair of The Limited Stretch corduroy pants that I picked up for a $1.50 at Good Will a while back. I immediately put them on Ebay with a starting price of $4.99 and shipping of $4.95.

Didn't sell.


I waited a week or two and decided to put them back out there with a starting bid of $6.99 and $5.95 shipping. I had to readjust shipping on all of my items. I hadn't realized how much postage has gone up.

Once again...

They didn't sell.

In fact not many of the not many items I had put out there did sell.

Boo again.

But since it costs me nothing to relist and it takes literally two seconds to relist - you just click relist and then one other button in the next page to relist, unless you want to change something - I didn't want to change anything. I relisted these pants.

Guess what?

Yup - you guessed it they sold for $9. Crazy, huh? Other of my items that didn't sell, sold this time around too. So I am happy.

I think part of the problem when I listed them last week was that I had the auction end on the weekend. I am starting to see that I do better when I have the auctions end in the middle of the week, at least for now.

Timing must be everything when it comes to Ebay!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Allowance, Schmollowance...

We have never really done allowances with the kids before..at least consistently. If they needed something we just bought it of course and if they wanted something well it would just depend what it was, how much it was, etc. Unfortunately, the answer most of the time was"no" or "wait", neither of them a bad word, but it got old saying it and I know for them it got old hearing it.

See, when you have four children and you are a fair parent, as we try to be, one $5 little gadget that isn't anything much, turns into $20 and four little gadgets that aren't anything much. If you buy for one, you can't help but buy for all.

I am not trying to brag, but we have pretty well behaved children, they do any chores we ask, and more often than not it is without any whining. I know, right? Blessed we are.

OK, ok back to the whole allowance thing..Brian and I had come to the conclusion that in order to keep our sanity while at a store and to keep from being nickeled and dimed to death, allowances are going to be necessary. I had been reading a thread on a mom's forum I go to regularly about allowances and how different families determine the amount each child receives, so we decided to go with "half their age + $2". Got it? Make any cents sense?

So here is how it goes:

Oldest daughter is 11, she receives $7.50 (half of 11 = $5.50 + $2= $7.50)
Middle daughter is 8, she receives $6 (half of 8 = $4 + $2 = $6)
Son is 6, he receives $5 (half of 6 = $3 + $2 = $5)
Youngest daughter is 3 and she receives $3.50 (half of 3 = $1.50 + $2 = $3.50)

I like this method because they can see that age has its privilege and they know that with each birthday their allowance will increase.

I also like it because I can take them to the store with me now without having to give the "don't ask for anything, we are just running in to get a couple of things, we don't have time to look at toys, I know you just want to look, but really we can't buy anything" speech. They have their own money, to give, to spend and/or to save.

Here goes to teaching some financial responsibility (or at least try)!!!

BTW, we will still provide all their needs, I promise!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ebay? Ebay?? Ebay???

Remember when I said I was too busy to blog?

Remember the part about turning "trash" into treasure over at My Dear Trash?

So I decided to give it a try..

I mean I love a good great deal, but I DO NOT HAVE THE ROOM to keep very many great deals.

Soooo...I decided to see if I could make a profit off of my deals.

I started seeing $$ signs at every yard sale and at every thrift store...even in my own closet (and my husband's too..ssshhh don't tell)

I am still trying to figure out what it is that makes an item sell..is it simply price? Is it shipping costs? Maybe it is all about timing, yes, that must be it..because check these two sales out.

Here we have a ladie's size small Gap Stretch jean jacket.

I purchased it at a yard sale for $1. Listed it on Ebay with a starting bid of $3 and shipping of $5...after a 3 day auction, it did not sell. I immediately relisted it. I changed the starting bid from $3 to $2.99 and the shipping from $5 to $4.95, so a 6¢ difference. It ended up selling for $7.50 + the $4.95 shipping.

Another example that proves it is all about timing..

This nice Tommy Hilfiger men's jacket was found in the back of our closet, we have no idea where it came from, so decided to throw it out there. Starting bid was $3 with $5.50 shipping, after a 3 day auction..NOTHING. Remembering the Gap jacket, I relisted it. However, this time, I upped the starting bid to $4.99 and lowered the shipping to $4.95.

Yeah, it sold for $10.50 + $4.95 shipping.

BTW, if that was your Tommy Hilfiger jacket..I am so sorry......

So while I am still learning the ins and outs of selling on Ebay, I do remind myself that it is all about timing, just as pretty much everything else in life.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Really Aeropostale???

So this morning my oldest daughter and I were discussing that she needed some new winter clothes...as much as I hate to admit it, she really does, she has grown and needs new clothes.

I really like to shop online, I usually can score really good deals. In the last week or two I have purchased four pairs of shoes..all high quality shoes from JCPenneys and Sears for less than $20 that includes shipping for all four pairs!!

Ok, back to Aeropostale..I get an e-mail saying that for today only FREE SHIPPING..yeah, they usually have good prices in their clearance section. I open up the e-mail and it says..

Free Shipping

Today Only

On all orders

$87 or more

Really Aeropostale??

How nice of you...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So I Turned 35 Last Week...

Yikes! I cannot believe I am old 35 years of age now!

For the past week or so I have been dreaming of writing some nostolgic post..but alas it never came or happened.

I had thought about being coy and tried to come up with 35 things I want to accomplish in the next year of my life, but I only came up with about 5...yeah, I am a pretty motivated gal, I know.

So instead I will share with you how my birthday went down (because, after all, I know that you have been waiting and waiting to hear about this day, right?)...

It actually started the Saturday before my birthday, after a full day at the air show and watching the Blue Angels, we took our oldest daughter to my mom's and the other three were spending the night with my mother-in-law. In case you didn't catch it, let me explain it a little better:

1 child at grandma's + 3 children at oma's = mom and dad alone for the evening!!

So we decided to celebrate my birthday and went to Houlihan's Restaurant. To make it a little more romantic, this happens to be the place where we met almost 15 years ago!! As we were waiting for our food, Brian pointed out where I was sitting the night we met. I was there with a couple of girlfriends and he was our waiter!! He asked for my phone number that night. I didn't give it to him then, but went back the next night and gave it to him. He remembered where I sat that night too!!! Yeah, he so earned some brownie points with all that remembering! Okay, so I am getting a little nostolgic.....

Moving on to the rest of the birthday celebration..Sunday, of course, was church. After church was dinner at my mom's followed by my fave...

chocolate cake.


At this time we didn't have my younger kiddos yet later Sunday evening we went to pick them up. There I was greeted with some very special presents from them..one of kind birthday cards and very rare pieces of literature :) my kids are very crafty and original...

I love that.

They did not get it from me.

On my actual birthday the kids had to go back to school, Brian had to go back to work..my three year old, Miss Lou Lou, as I like to call her, went to Sonic.

That my friends, was my birthday.

Aren't you glad I shared it with you?

Hope you are having a great week!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Am Too Busy To Blog

Yeah...too busy reading everyone else's blog.

I feel really bad, so I figured I would share some of the blogs that I find I must check out...

First up, if you are needing some DIY ideas for your home check out Thrifty Decor Chick.

To learn how to turn "trash" into treasure and make a profit, My Dear Trash is a must read!!

Last but not least for those who like to sew, check out Sutton Grace for some great tutorials!

So now you know where I am at if there's hasn't been a post for awhile!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here I Go Again....

Ok remember when I decided to try to lose weight using the Biggest Loser for the Wii?

I did really good.

For awhile.

Then I quit. (How embarrassing!)

Gained four pounds of what I lost back. (Even more embarrassing)

I am a loser...just not the kind of loser I want to be.

So apparently I was not embarassed enough by my failure, because I am doing it again.

I know, right?!

Here's how it went down...my mother in law and I were talking one night about how fat we are..not a real pleasant conversation to say the least. Neither of us disclosed our actual weight though..I mean, come on, my mother in law and I have a great relationship, but I don't even share that info with my own mom husband!!! Some things are left unknown.

Anyway, we decided right then and there that now is just as good as anytime to do something about it.

So today...September 1, my mother in law and I are going to be working to lose 20 pounds each by December 1.

I haven't decided what route to go..Biggest Loser, C25K, Weight Watchers, etc. maybe it will be a mixture. I will update, but not sure how often we will see.

Wish me luck!!!

Oh and you know the ring I so desprately wanted to be able to wear again..well when I saw that it didn't even fit on my thin 11 year old daughter, I realized that no matter what I do I will never be as thin as I was on my wedding day. Boo. I will just have to have it resized I guess.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rest In Peace...


We had our good times....

and our bad....

We even got a little dirty...

At $35 shipped two years ago, I certainly got my money's worth.

You will be missed (at least until I get a new one), but will (more than likely) never be forgotten.





Thank you (and Meijer's for the great deal!) for the memories!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Only One Week Into School And...

I have a sick kiddo.

We have made it months...seriously all summer and even before that without any contagious ailments (I am specific because my son was diagnosed with psoriasis over the summer).

It started last night with a little bit of a sore throat. This morning it was a fever of 100.4...boo..

I am sure a trip to the doctor will be in order to find out if it is strep or not.

For now I will go baby my baby....my eleven year old baby...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Garage Sales Pet Peeves....

Ok really I only have two pet peeves when it comes to garage sales.

The first one is when there are no prices on anything. If I am at a yard sale and I see no prices on items, I turn around and move on to the next one. I do not want to have to ask for the price everytime I find something that I find interesting...seriously people, if you are taking the time to have a yard sale..PRICE YOUR STUFF!!!!

Whew..I feel better about that!!

My second pet peeve is probably a very common pet peeve among garage sale goers (sorry, I know that is probably not even a word!) anyway, the pet peeve is when things are priced soooooooo high... I walked away from a garage sale the other day because of this. I am pretty sure they must have been trying to make their mortgage payment for the month or something off this garage sale.

Here is just one example of their overpriced stuff junk...

A Fisher Price Chatterbox Phone like this one below

You can purchase it at Toys R Us in brand new packaging and then return it if you decide you really do not need it for about $8, probably even less at Walmart.

At this garage sale you could have purchased it without any packaging, slightly used shape and without the option of returning for..........



What is wrong with people?

I know, I know. I really need to get a life.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Awesome Deals Steals This Weekend

We are in the process of doing some makeovers to some of the rooms in our house, as well as doing some switching of rooms. The bedrooms are on the list of getting a makeover, they are long overdue for one. Inspire by the My Dear Trash blog and the challenges that are always going on, I wanted to give myself my own challenge of doing the makeovers as inexpensively as possible and paying for it as much as possible with money I earn on the side, e.g. Craigslist, Ebay, writing....

Hmmmm...where was I going with this...

Oh yeah!! This weekend I visited a store called Surplus City and scored unbelievable deals for our makeover, including bedding for comforters w/ matching pillowshams for two of the kiddos...

Cute Manly grey and black Batman comforter w/ matching pillowsham for............drumroll please...............$2.49!!!

One of my smart shoppin' lil' ladies found herself a very feminine pink bedspread w/ matching pillowsham for...................wait for it...............................


I know right!!!!

The store was having an awesome sale..all purple stickers were 90% off. The hunt was on for me, I searched high and low for these few and far between purple stickers.

I managed to find another boys comforter w/ sham that I will sell on Craigslis.

I found a set of glasses for a whole $1.69 - we needed these so bad!!! Also found a landline phone with bells and whistles for $2.29 - we currently only have cordless at home, I figured we probably needed a landline too. I found a really pretty ivory window scarf for $1.XX that I am probably going to use to make a couple of throw pillows for the makeover in our family room.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Glasses or No Glasses...UPDATE

***My little man has 20/20 vision!!! It gets better too...my oldest eyes have seem to have corrected themselves and as of right now she does not require glasses!! Only one kiddo in glasses...yeah!!!***

for my little guy..we will find out Thursday.

(hee...hee..I love this pic, can you tell!!)

If he follows in his older sister's footsteps, he will be sporting glasses, however, he insists an eye exam is not necessary, he can see perfectly!! Of course, I am hoping he has 20/20 vision now and forever.....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Summer is Coming to an End..

Only 18 days left of summer for my kiddos. Boo.

We just returned from church camp, the one I attended as a child. I have not been there in almost 20 years. While they have updated the actual campgrounds, the spiritual feel remains unchanged. The Holy Spirit moved just as always and souls were saved. Our plan is to go back next year. My camera did not work for me properly, I think it was bad batteries, so I only have a few pics from my phone. Another boo.

We still have one more trip planned before the summer ends. We are going to Kentucky for a weekend. We go because of a family reunion that occurs on a Sunday afternoon, but we always go down a day or two earlier for a little shopping and recreation!

Hope everyone is having a great summer!! Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Locks of Love and Other Fun Summer Stuff....

At the start of our summer, my eight year old decided it was not only time to cut her hair, but to cut it short enough to make a donation to Locks of Love



Because she made the donation, her haircut was free!!!

Also at the beginning of our summer we went to the St. Louis Zoo. Never before I had I walked so much in a single day. We were with our family, so we looked at everything, rode the train, saw the sea lion show, petted the sting rays, fed baby goats, you name it we did it and had loads of fun!!!

Here are my four with my neice and nephew..great looking bunch!!

We also had the opportunity to go see Beauty and the Beast performed. Unfortunately, that day we went started off alright, went bad, then was great again, however, during the brief bad time, I forgot my camera..so this is all I have for you!!!

While we still have several things on our plates to do this summer, including trips to Chicago and Kentucky to see family and dare I say, I am working up the courage to take all four of my kiddos to church camp - yikes!! This has been the best summer we have had in a long time..it is all about making memories that will last forever.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Toy Story 3 and Shrek the Final Chapter....

My son had really been looking forward to seeing Toy Story 3. He had received Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (Blu-Ray, nonetheless) for Easter, thanks to a great deal that I, mom, I mean the Easter Bunny found. Each of the dvds came with a free ticket to see Toy Story 3 and an interactive game for the computer. The two tickets were supposed to be for him and dad to have a guys night out.

Well.......what was supposed to be a guys night out, turned into a family night out...

We ended up going to our local drive in and for $18 all six of us saw Toy Story 3 and Shrek 4. If you need help with that, it equals $1.50 per movie for each of us. We made popcorn before we left and brought some other snacks. We also made a big jug of ice sweet tea. The only drawback was that the first movie didn't start until 8:15, but it was a Friday night, so no biggie. It turned out to be a great night. The youngest didn't make it through all of Toy Story 3, our son made it through all of Toy Story and most of Shrek. Our oldest two made it fine through both.

Oh and just so you know son and dad have other things planned to make up for their Toy Story 3 guys night out. They were great sports though and didn't mind us girls tagging along!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kansas City Trip Part 3: Deanna Rose Farmstead

In trying not to be completely waterlogged, we decided to take an afternoon and visit the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park.

"Designed to depict a turn-of-the-century family farm, the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead has almost 200 animals and birds of prey, vegetable and flower gardens, a one-room country schoolhouse, an old-time fishing pond, pony rides and more" .

My kids love this sort of thing. They are nature lovers and animal lovers. My six year old son's dream is to own his own farm or even his own zoo. The girls equally love the outdoors. We have had a variety of animals throughout the years, including a blue haired rat...yes, you read that right and yes, we actually paid for it. It has gone on to rat heaven though..sniff...sniff. (Read that as sarcastically as possible!!) They have even used their saved money to purchase their own plants for the garden. So visiting this Farmstead was a must on our vacation.

This is our oldest enjoying her pony ride...our son also rode a pony, but every picture I took had some little girls head bobbin up...

Our eight year old bottle feeding the goats. This was something all of the kids really enjoyed, even our two year old. I think it was the fact that she was feeding them with a baby bottle, just like she does her babies..well almost.

Pretending to milk a cow...

Sitting on a cow....

This was a fun thing too..here they are mining for gem stones. They were allowed to keep whatever they found...

Our two year old conversing with the chickens...

I definitely recommend visiting the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead if ever in the area. Admission is free. There is a cost to do the various things, but they are very inexpensive - we are talking $3.

It was also very informative. In each area there was a staff member there to give a little history lesson and to answer questions. For instance, did you know that there are really not any wild buffalo in North America? We actually have bison. Buffalo and bison are similar, however, buffalo are native to Asia and Africa, where bison are native to North and South America.

Go ahead google it..you know you want to...I did...LOL