Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DO YOU HAVE WISHES OR GOALS?

When I was younger I wrote out New Year's Resolutions every year, then I either forgot about them or faithfully broke every one, or was mad at myself for breaking them. Sometimes I was amazingly unrealistic.

Years ago I stopped writing New Year's Resolutions but I did not stop making goals. Goals can happen anytime. You don't have to limit yourself to once a year.

Resolutions or goals make us think about things we'd like to do differently, changes we want or need to make. But the thing is, we have to want to change. We have to want to do things differently.

All the grand resolutions in the world are not going to do a bit of good if I know in my heart that I am not willing to stand by them. If I am unwilling to take that first step to make them happen.

The word resolution comes from the word resolute, which according to the dictionary means "...characterized by firmness, determination and often loyalty."

The definition of a goal is "...a desired result or purpose; objective, the finish line of a race..."

So it seems to me that we need to be resolute in our goals. We need to have an objective, a purpose, a finish line; then we need to be firm, focused, and determined to reach our goal.

How do we do that? Well, I am not an expert but it seems to me that it would help to look back on the year and examine how things went. What worked? What didn't? What things caused us alot of stress and are these things that we can change and make better? What will enable us to reach our goal?

We need to look to our future. What is important to us? What do we hope to accomplish? What do we value?

For example, what are the values I want to instill in my child? What can I do or what am I already doing to reach those goals? Am I doing anything to hinder those goals?

Some goals may be to broad, to general to reach. Some may not actually reflect our true desire. For instance, someone could list "become a millionaire" as a goal, when all they really want and need is enough money to pay their monthly bills.

I think goals are more reachable if we truly want to reach them. For years I wanted to lose twenty pounds, but at first I didn't want it bad enough to set goals to reach it. I kept saying "I want to lose weight" as if just by saying the words it would somehow make it happen. But I never said "this is how I am going to lose weight." I never had a plan.

Do you have a plan for your goals? Do you have an idea of how you are going to make them happen? Do you have the desire? Do you want to reach a goal so badly that you are willing to take steps to reach it? Or are you just sitting there, hoping you can wish your goals into existence. Do you have wishes or goals?

The true measure of a goal isn't the goal itself, it's what steps we are willing to take to reach the goal. That is when we know we're serious. When we move from wishing to working toward it.

I think goals are just a bunch of little steps, one foot at a time. Then they are less intimidating. Then change is less scary.

The wonderful thing about setting goals is that we can prayerfully submit them to God. We want our goals to line up with God's word and His will for us. We can trust Him to lead us and guide us. We can know that He is there to give us direction along the way. As we seek His will, He is faithful to lead us as we follow Him.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GOING ON A FINANCIAL "DIET" - PART TWO




I am editing this AGAIN because I forgot to mention that you need to go over to "here" to check out all the other great frugal posts from other blogs. You will gets lots of great ideas, I am sure!


I am editing this to correct an error I previously posted. I previously posted that we paid $20 a month for cell phones. That is incorrect, sorry. We pay a total of $20 every THREE months for our cell phones. You can look in the comment section for more information on this.

Recently I did a post on the need for a financial "diet." Well, in order to do that you need a plan.

If I were going to go on a regular diet, I would start by examining my eating habits. I would try to eat healthy foods and not put a lot of extra, empty calories into my body.

I would watch my eating and I would exercise. The key is to not consume more calories than you can burn. You want to consume less.

I think that is the key with a financial diet as well. If I am able to live on what my husband earns, that is awesome. That means we will be living within our means and not adding up debt. But we're not getting ahead either.

But what if we live on less than what he earns? What if we live beneath our means? That is the key, I think. That is the way to get ahead on financial dieting.

I am not a financial expert. But I think it makes sense to live beneath your means. Many people live right up to their means, and some even live beyond. You can live within your means and still live paycheck to paycheck, because there just isn't any extra "elbow" room in the budget. Living below your means is a way of having a little more flexibility (and money) in the budget.

Going on a food diet usually involves a plan. You have a certain amount of calories you are allowed to consume each day, and you shouldn't go over it. You make food substitutions. Whereas you used to drink regular pop, maybe now you drink diet, or better yet, water. Where you used to eat fried chicken, now you grill it. I could go on but I am not a dietitian and I am really stretching myself here, folks. You get the idea though, right?

Anyway, for a financial diet you would need to set up a budget. You need to make a plan. There are tons of websites out there to help you and I am not a financial whiz anyway. But I do know that a plan is good.

I think one of the first things you need to do is examine your spending habits. Have you been adding a lot of extra, empty calories into your financial "body?" Things like eating out, pop and chips, new clothes that you really don't need, cable, lots of convenience foods, yet another pair of black shoes, expensive "toys," etc. Have you been consuming things that do not help contribute to a healthy financial "diet?"

What about looking into substitutions? Water for pop (oh my word, I can't believe that I just said that.....somebody pick me up off the floor), homemade instead of store bought, cooking from scratch instead of convenience foods, substituting a couple of meatless meals into your weekly plan, using powdered milk instead of regular milk when baking, bringing coffee from home instead of buying it at Starbucks, "taking pop from home instead of buying it at the store," etc.

Another thing you need to do, along with watching your spending, is to exercise your frugal "muscles." Every time you go to the grocery store, go with a list and a plan, and stick to your list. Use a calculator to keep track of what you're spending and pay for your purchases with cash, that will help keep you from overspending.

Do all the little things (like using a "pricebook," menu planning, coupons, paying with cash, using cloth napkins instead of paper, rags instead of paper towels, cooking more meatless meals, cooking more from scratch instead of using convenience foods, don't shop when hungry, etc.) that strengthen and build your frugal muscles.

Currently we are exercising some of our "muscles." For years and years we went without cable t.v. We have it now because my mom lives with us and she wanted it so she offered to pay for it. We do not have long distance on our phone, we use a phone card that costs about $25.00 a year. That covers all of our long distance calling.

Our cell phones cost about $10.00 every three months each, $20 total. So we pay a total of $20 every three months for two cell phones. Look in my comment section if you want more of an explanation on this. We use them for emergencies, not for social calls. My husband gets free cell phone minutes by watching ads online and then giving his opinion. We don't take the newspaper, it can be read online and weekly ads come in the mail. We rarely go to movies and if we do, it's the $2.00 movie deal. Well, my hubby and boys go. I haven't been to a movie theater in years.

We must not consume more debt "calories" than we can burn. We want to consume less. If we keep consuming more and more bills than what we can pay for, this will only succeed in getting us deeper into debt.

If we can pay for the bills, and we are living within our budget that is awesome. But again, if we are only living within our means, we are not getting ahead. We are only staying afloat.

In "part one" of this series I expressed my desire to go on a financial diet and my reasons for doing so. So I pretty much wrote this post for myself. I use paper napkins, I pay for my groceries with my debit card, I buy clothes that I like but don't really need, I buy pop and chips and convenience foods....blah, blah, blah. I have lots of room for improvement.

But years from now, when my husband has retired and we are living on less, I don't want to think back to today, and tomorrow, and the day after, and think about all the things I could have done NOW (of course, it will be then, by then...makes your head spin doesn't it) in order to have made our retirement much easier.

I want to take advantage of the opportunity now to make things better for tomorrow. I want to build for our future. It's easy to think back to our early marriage, and all the money we wasted, and think about how we could have done things differently then. We can still do things differently NOW, it's not to late. The Lord wants us to be good stewards of our money and I know that we can do better. Come on, get excited with me! We can do this!

Monday, December 29, 2008

PRAY FOR BABY STELLAN PLEASE


Please pray for precious little Stellan. He is Mckmama's baby boy and he is in PICU with RSV. He is very sick and in need of our prayers. You can go "here" to read more about him.

SOMEBODY HELP THIS BLOG...PLEASE!

It's kind of funny because I started this blog with the intent of posting my "frugal" journey, and then I started posting on other topics as well. It took on a life of it's own, lol! It's been fun. But I am thinking of maybe starting another blog just to post the frugal things I will be doing on my frugal "diet." It's not something I would be posting every day, just as I have time. Either that or I will continue to post them on here since it wouldn't be like an everyday thing. I just don't want to bore any of you. I am concerned about having the time to do two blogs, however, which is why I am considering just keeping it to one blog. Don't you love how I think aloud when I type and end up pretty much contradicting myself???

So my question here is, what kinds of stuff do you like to read on here? What kinds of things would you like to see more of? I try to post a little bit of everything, just to keep it interesting and as I think of things to write. Clearly, we can't please everyone, and we do need to kind of do the kinds of blogs we want to write, and I understand that. But I do appreciate all of you so very much and I am sincerely interested on whether you'd like to read more frugal stuff, organization, mothering, homeschooling (which I have done really no posts on, lol!), humor, what????

I am as always interested in frugality and organization. I do homeschool. I am a wife and mother. I love to encourage other women. I do have a strange, working-overtime sense of humor. I clearly can't leave God out of anything as He is what makes it possible for me to live each day.

So any of your thoughts would be much appreciated! Thank you, my friends!!!

I WANT TO BE LUCY RICARDO

I just recently posted my 100th post. Am I supposed to have made a big deal about that? Do I provide cakes and cookies and sparkling cider?

I feel a bit intimidated. Maybe I was supposed to have written about something deeply profound for my 100th post. Profundity just oozes out of my mouth you know.

In my defense, I could not stand the suspense. I could not take the pressure of coming up with something wonderful to say in honor of my 100th post. I could not take the responsibility I tell you!!!!! I couldn't!!!

Since it was my 100th post (and also my goal to see how many times I can say "100th post" in my post today (I count five, so far) I assume you all are supposed to give me presents, right? Right???

O.k., fine....whatever....moving on. Did I mention I recently posted my 100th post (....number 6 and counting)?

In case you were planning on giving me a present here are some ideas:

I want to be Lucy Ricardo. I want to have a crazy friend like Ethel who is up for anything at any time. I want to come up with crazy ideas that get me stuck eating chocolates off a conveyor belt, or wearing a wierd costume on top of a skyscraper, or setting my nose on fire (well, maybe not that one). I want to get stuck on a window ledge (o.k., scratch that idea too)....I want to make a loaf of bread that is so long it pushes me all the way across the kitchen, or put to many suds in my washing maching until it overflows. I want to come up with zany schemes that drive my husband crazy (this one really won't be a problem), I want to wear pretty aprons. I want a laugh track. I want to sing off-key (this one won't really be a problem either....). I want to cry the ugly cry and stamp my foot and get my way....well, it worked for her.

I want to be Doris Day and just sing at the drop of a hat. I want to be inspired to sing no matter what I'm doing, and I want to be accompanied by a full-scale orchestra. I want to be with people that know exactly what song I am going to sing and be able to match my dance moves should I break into a song and dance number. I want to have a coat to match my evening dress...and shoes too. Oh, and a purse! And a hat!!!!! I want to have matching gloves too. For every outfit. Long ones and short ones. I want a blond hairdo just like she had too.....and freckles.

I want to be Donna Reed and have a milkman who brings milk to my door and puts it in my fridge for me. I want to wear Donna Reed dresses and have an immaculate Donna Reed house.

I want to be Beaver's mom and vacuum my rug in a dress, high heels, and a pearl necklace, not to mention a matching sweater.

I want to be Caroline Ingalls and wear a big ole' apron and cook in a log cabin and have tons and tons of patience.

I want to be Ginger Rogers and do everything Fred Astaire did, only do it backwards wearing a dress and high heels.


I want to wear skinny capris like Laura Petrie did and be able to just sing and dance with my husband like she did. I also want my husband not to be mortified if I did that.

I want to have 17 children (and counting) like that homeschooling woman does and seem to handle it all very calmly and easily.

I want to be there when some of you read this and ask yourself "Who is Donna Reed?" or any of the other names.

But alas, we can't have everything we want. And that's o.k! So I will just be very thankful that I'm me, and you're you, and God is God, and that I recently passed my 100th post (number seven, still counting.....) and that you're all still hanging in there with me, my bloggy friends. Thanks for celebrating with me!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'M TO EMBARASSED TO NAME THIS ONE



I suppose you're wondering why I have a picture of this on my blog. That's because I warned you that I have a wierd sense of humor sometimes and just had to share it with you.

When I got my puppy it was highly recommended that I get some of these training pads. I must say that they've worked really, really well. They ARE leakproof just like they said, and they did attract my puppy just like they promised. In fact, I highly recommend them to the potty training public, of pets, that is.

The only thing is I find it extremely funny that the package says that the "new beige color complements every decor." Now, I may not be understanding this right, but once the dog, to put it delicately, does her thing, then I don't care what color the pad is.....you can't possibly complement the decor with something that gross and smelly on it.

I mean seriously, you could have diamonds on that thing and it still wouldn't complement the decor once my puppy has done her business.

And yes, I really DID just do a whole blog dedicated to dog-doo (how many o's in that anyway?). I couldn't resist it. Well, I guess you just had to be there.....

SUNDAYS

Sundays are a great way to start the week. It's funny, because we sometimes can view Monday as the beginning of the week, because Monday is the beginning of the Monday-Friday work week for many people.

But Sunday is a great start to the week. Spending time in the house of the Lord, worshipping Him, spending time with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Getting fed by reading His word and by hearing His word. Listening to other's proclaim God's faithfulness to them. Relaxing later at home with our family or fellowshipping with our friends. Getting rested for the week ahead. Getting built up and encouraged in our faith for the week ahead.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

GOING ON A FINANCIAL "DIET" - PART ONE

When the waistbands of our clothes start to feel a little tight we have a few choices: we can go up one size in our clothes in order to be more comfortable, we can be miserable and in pain as our waist expands but our waistband doesn't, we can buy clothes with elastic waistbands, we can ignore it and hope it will go away, we can choose to examine our eating habits and exercise habits and make some adjustments if we wish to stay in the current size clothing that we are wearing.

The numbers on the scale going up, the waistband being to tight or having to let your belt out a bit are sure signs that you may have put on a few unwanted pounds.

A similar thing can happen to our finances. Suddenly the number of bills start going up. We have to let our financial belt out a notch. We have packed on a few unwanted debts.

We can do several different things. We can go up one size, and be comfortable with the "new" size of our debt. We can choose to accept the new status of things and just continue spending as we always have. The danger with that is debt is likely to keep on growing as we are "comfortable" with it. Plus, we're not actively trying to reduce our debt.

We can be miserable and in pain as our debts continue to grow but our salary doesn't. We can feel overwhelmed, helpless and out of control as our financial belt continues to expand.

We can get yet another credit card in order to enable us to keep on spending. But, like an elastic waistband, it doesn't hide the problem. It only makes you more comfortable but only for a time. You still have to pay for it in the end.

We can ignore our debt and hope it will go away. To my knowledge, that has never worked for anyone.

I have read that one way of maintaining a weight-loss is to weigh yourself a few times a week. As long as your weight gain is between 3-5 pounds it's supposed to be o.k. (some books actually limit it to 1 1/2 - 3 pounds). But after a five pound gain it is suggested that you might want to get more strict with your eating habits and cut back, while keeping up (or stepping up) your exercise habits if you don't want to gain the weight back.

I imagine the idea here is that it is alot easier to lose five pounds than 15 pounds, or 50 pounds. It's alot easier to lose less than more.

It's alot easier to pay off a little debt than alot of debt. It's alot easier to pay off $5.00 than $50.00, or $500.00. Or $5,000.00.

This just leads me to some thoughts. How much is to much? When do you begin to tighten your financial belt? When do you begin to say "enough is enough" and it's time to go on a financial diet?

My husband and I are blessed to have no credit card debt anymore. I am not bragging. We have had our share, believe me. But we have tried very hard to not get back into debt once they were paid off.

But we do have a home mortgage that needs to be paid off. We do have a roof that needs replacing. We have some bathroom repairs that need to be made. We'd like to put some more money in savings. We have one son in college and another one who will be there in a couple of more years.

I feel my debt waistband getting a little tighter as I think of things that need doing around here. And these next several months we are going to be tightening our financial belts and prayerfully going on a "diet" in order to be able to address these needs. Anybody else feeling the need to take a new look at their finances? Anybody else feeling the need for a "diet?" Next week I hope to post part two of this "diet," the Plan.

Friday, December 26, 2008

DRESSED SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BIRTH AND DEATH

Hello everybody! I do hope you all had a blessed Christmas. We had a lovely day filled with lots of love, God's grace, and snow.

Recently I did a post on "dressing for less than success" and that got me to thinking about some shopping moments with my son and my friend and her daughter.

One day, my son....who shall remain nameless, pointed at a sweater and said "Oh, mom, here's something that looks like something you would wear. You should buy that. It's ugly. It would look good on you!"

The thing is, he meant well. As I burst out laughing he turned bright red and tried to backtrack. "I mean...I mean..." Yeah, I know what you mean.

I went shopping recently with my friend and her teenage daughter. I picked up a top and the 17 year old shook her head and said "No. Oh no...." in words that were so heartfelt you would almost have shed a tear. "That's too old-lady."

I asked her if she wanted me to wear what she was wearing. With wide, horrified eyes, she admitted that no, it probably wouldn't look good for me to be wearing what she was wearing.
"But I can't wear 'old lady' clothes either?" I asked. No. So then I asked what I was supposed to wear. If I couldn't wear what she was wearing, and I wasn't allowed to wear what I was wearing....then what am I supposed to wear????

I need somebody to help me with this. Because apparently, I can't wear teen clothes (not that I'd want to) and I can't wear "old-lady" clothes. By the way, the definition of "old-lady" clothes is anything someone over 17 would wear.

I try to avoid shopping in the junior department because it tends to lend itself to youth. And I really don't want to wear a shirt that boldly proclaims that I am trying to pass for a preteen or teenager. I think that would look kind of creepy on someone my age.

However, I just need something to wear, for goodness sake. Where is the clothing department that caters to someone between the age of birth and death?

I am not asking for much. Just some clothes that fit, so I can go out in public and not embarrass myself. And I can't look "my age" apparently. But I can't look "their" age either. Like I said, I need something between birth and death.

For the record, I am usually a step behind the fashion. That's because I can't stand paying out money for something that is only going to be in fashion for a year or two....or three or four or a decade. By the time I finally give in and buy something, it promptly goes out of fashion and something new comes along. I really have quite a talent in that way. I don't set the trends, I end the trends. By the way, I missed the whole layered look entirely.

This year I finally gave in and bought my first "hip" fashion item. I think it went out of style the minute I plunked my cash down. (Please note my choice of the word "hip." Now, I am not sure if hip is hip, so please be patient with me.) I know that I am one outfit away from a "What Not to Wear" show waiting to happen.

Please somebody tell me what to wear so I don't embarrass other people's children....not to mention my own. My dogs, however, wear the same thing every day and noone ever complains.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND ENJOY THIS RECIPE

First, I just want to take this moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas! What a joy to be able to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior.

But, truly, as believers we celebrate Him every day in our hearts and lives. I wish you all a lovely holiday with your loved ones and may you rejoice in Him today and every day.

Now, if you like cheese dip then I have a really yummy one for you. We have been serving this at Christmas and New Years Eve for years and years. It's super easy and tastes sooooo good! It's a dip that is requested year after year.


1 can of refried beans (15 oz.)

2 packages of 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

16 oz. of sour cream

5 tbsp. of taco seasoning

1/2 cup chopped green onions

10 drops of tabasco sauce (or to taste)


Mix together and put into two pie plates. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DRESSING FOR LESS THAN SUCCESS

Back in the day, when I was single and living in an apartment with my best friend, I remember the woman in the pink bathrobe. I don't know if that woman ever got out of that pink bathrobe. I would always see her going out to get her mail wearing that thing. Walking around in the parking lot wearing that thing. I determined never to be her.

But now, I get her. Oh, I would never go to the store wearing my bathrobe. I wouldn't even walk to my mailbox in my bathrobe. But, I get her.

I think it can happen after the kids come along. Suddenly, we don't have as much time as we used to. Something has to give. And it's usually us. The beauty routine that used to take one hour is whittled down to ten seconds, five seconds tops. A quick splashing of water on the face and a swipe of the toothbrush. Put the hair up in a "mom-do" (the ever popular ponytail or just push it out of the way) and you're ready to go.

Our wardrobes change too. Suddenly it's spit-up stained shirts, with a little smell of sour milk thrown in for good measure. Comfort is what we're after. Who has time for fancy clothes? Who cares? It's much easier if I don't have to worry about staining my clothes. "Old" clothes rule!

I think it can also happen when we stay home alot, whether our kids are babies or older. Suddenly, there is "no reason" to fix ourselves up. We're not going anywhere. Who is going to see us? "Just" our husband and the kids. Why knock ourselves out, who cares what we look like?

Many times we might "fix" ourselves up when we leave the home. We're going to church today or running errands so need to fix the hair and make sure our appearance is pleasing to others that will see us. But if we're not leaving the home that day, we won't make the effort. "Noone" but the family is going to see us, right? So, who cares?

We are snowed in today. You don't even want to know what I looked like all day. Anybody else dressing for less than success lately?

Monday, December 22, 2008

"NOT ME" MONDAY



It is time for "Not Me" Monday again. Hosted by MckMama's "blog." This is the time when we all just bare our embarrassed little souls, because it's much more fun to laugh together than alone. And yes, you may quote me.

It was not me who spent four "not me's" describing my adventures in and with puppy poop this week but then decided not to post it. Because after all, you can have to many dog poop stories and I have done my quota, I think. It's also not me that's using that word on my blog. My mother would be mortified. If you absolutely can't stand it and have to hear it let me know and I will email you or something. But seriously, it's not that great.

It was not me who got locked out of the house in the backyard with my dogs during a snowstorm. It wasn’t me who fell off the back step because I didn’t see it because the snow was so high (I’ve been living in this house for how long?). It wasn’t me who knocked on my mom’s bedroom window hoping she’d hear me and let me in. It wasn’t me who shouted my son’s name outside his bedroom window. It wasn’t me who walked around to the sunroom door hoping someone would be in there and let me in and wondered where everybody was. It wasn’t me who tripped over the garbage can (why was it lying on it’s side in the first place???) on my way around the side of the house. It wasn’t me who finally had to ring my own front doorbell in order to be let in to my own house. After I got into the house it wasn’t me who finally remembered we had a doorbell in the backyard and could have avoided all this in the first place.

It wasn’t me who washed and blow-dried my hair so carefully and then ruined it all by playing outside in the snow later.

It wasn't me who fell off the sidewalk while walking (because I didn't see the end of the snow covered curb) and might have fallen except for the fact that my 20 year old was holding my hand to steady me. It wasn't me who later tripped up the stairs and fell in my own home....on carpet no less.

It wasn’t me who played in the street with my kids, and then ran around shouting “Look at me! I’m playing in the street!” No, I would never be so childish and immature.

It wasn’t me who was so excited to have no school for two weeks. It’s not me who homeschools and probably wants a break just as much as the kids do….maybe more.

It’s not me who has great plans for Christmas vacation and will probably accomplish none of them.

It was not me who high-fived my son for bumping my mom back to “start” in a heated game of “Sorry!” It also wasn’t me who high-fived my mom twice for then bumping my son back. It also wasn’t me who did the happy dance when I won the game.

Please go "here" for more of "Not Me" Monday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

SNOW AND OTHER THINGS

We have a ridiculous amount of snow outside. Beautiful but ridiculous. I keep praying that the storm won't cause our power to go out.

Yesterday I had to go out and get my mom her medication. My husband and sons were not home and so off I went to the store.

When I pulled into the parking lot there was actually a line of cars waiting to go in. I parked in the first row I could find. I figured it would be a lot easier to get out that way. I had to walk further to get into the store but it would make getting out easier. Later, I found that I was right. I rock, lol!

I am sure I looked incredibly attractive with my unwashed hair mashed under a knit cap that was really to small for my head (the cap was to small for my head, not my hair). By the way, I was going to wash my hair later. Really, I was. Seriously. My bright red Rudolph nose was certainly a beacon lighting the way, it was so red. The fact that my nose was runny only added to my charm I imagine. I was just thrilling.

Earlier I had thrown on a sweatshirt (a paint-stained one mind you) because I was doing some stuff around the house. So when I had to go to the store I just grabbed my coat and gloves, tucked my jeans into my boots and off I went. These are the times you hope you don't run into anybody.

The lines inside were really long. I guess everybody and their brother decided to go to the store today. I think people were stocking up for the storm. I saw lots of food in their carts. Imagine, food at a grocery store. What a shock. I was stunned. Seriously though, I do think they were getting prepared for the weather.

I stalked their carts, I mean I looked at their carts and decided that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy some milk and yogurt. We were running low on milk and I love yogurt. I love the yogurt whips. If you haven't ever tried them, run don't walk to the nearest dairy aisle. Try the key lime whips....yummy!

I managed to make my way through the store without having to many people glare at me. Seriously, do I have to watch where I am going? Can't they watch where they're going and let me just do my own thing? Apparently not. I bet if I had to apply for a license to drive a grocery cart.....I wouldn't pass. If you don't believe me just ask my kids. They'll tell ya.

Anyway, so I got what I needed and came outside and noticed it was snowing again. So now we have a ridiculous amount of snow, like I said.

Both my sons and I decided to take a walk in the snow later that night while my hubby fielded some phone calls. You may remember from another post that I mentioned that we like to do that. Crazy I know. We bundled up and braved the blizzard.

My nose and my face will never be the same.

We walked down the middle of the street as there weren't any cars to worry about. At one point, while playing around, we tripped over the sidewalk because the snow was to deep to see it.

What freedom to play in the middle of the street and not have to worry about traffic. Although I have to admit, the mother in me kept checking for it though. I needn't have bothered.

Later, after getting warmed up, I thought about all the people at the store preparing for the storm. Thoughtfully buying all the groceries and things so that they could be prepared for the snow.

It made me wonder if they were as concerned about preparing for where there were going to spend eternity. It made me wonder if they knew Jesus.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

MY FRIDGE DOOR - ROADMAP OF MY LIFE

The front of my fridge looks like it exploded. The sides don't look so hot either. Seriously. I don't know what happened.

One day I had a nice, neat, orderly looking fridge door. Tastefully decorated with some nice magnets that somebody gave us for a wedding present. What on earth was I supposed to do with those? Stick them on the fridge and forget them. The next thing I knew that fridge door became a map of our life.

I'm blaming the kids. I used to put their artwork on the fridge. I used to put small notes and reminders on the fridge so I wouldn't forget anything. I used to put things on the fridge that I wanted to see and remind myself but were high enough so they couldn't reach them.

They grew up and so did my magnet explosion. You know what's on it now?
  • A reminder about a youth ministry coming up at our church
  • The church nursery schedule
  • A 50% off coupon that I know I'll never use but stuck it there anyway
  • Another coupon that's expired already
  • Still another coupon for something at McDonald's that I won't be buying
  • A calendar for yet another ministry at church
  • Some comicstrips I cut out of the paper because they are so me and my family!
  • A couple of books I want to remember to request from the library
  • Some measurements of a room I took (for my mom)
  • Some checks that need depositing
  • The recycling schedule
  • Pizza coupons (for when we don't want homemade, I guess)
  • As if I didn't have enough coupons....still another one
  • Some grocery receipts
  • A note that someone owes us money....whoohooo!
  • Something I wrote down (but don't know what it is because I can't read my own writing)
  • A reminder for the vet visit that my dog's already had
  • A letter from somebody to bring cookies to something
  • A note from somebody else to bring something somewhere
  • A sport's calendar for the local team
  • Several pictures
  • A party invitation
  • The new address and phone number of someone who moved
  • A flyer from a local theater
  • My children's chore schedule
  • An advertisement for something
  • A note of times I took some medicine and wanted to keep track of it
  • Something else but I don't know what it is because it fell between the fridge and the counter

I equate my refrigerator door with the equivalent of sticking something in the back of the fridge. Do you know what I mean? It's like when you have something that is left over (or given to you) and you know, you know, that you are never, ever, ever going to eat that. You know it. But you can't throw it away because it's still good. So you stick it in the back of the fridge. Then, when it's all green and growing things...then and only then can you bring yourself to throw it away.

Really, you've never done that? You don't waste food? well I don't either and I was just testing you, hehehe....

Well, to me, my refrigerator door is the same thing. I stick reminders on it of things I am never going to do. Or things I am never going to remember. It relieves me of my guilt! I can put it on my fridge and happily forget about it forever!

The sad thing is, I actually have a household notebook that's ready, willing, and able to store this information. I actually have a place for grocery receipts. I have a place for checks. I have a place for reminders. I have a place for coupons.

But apparently, I would rather make my fridge look ugly. Go figure.

So, what is on your fridge door today????

Friday, December 19, 2008

MOTHERHOOD - THY NAME IS "GUILT!"

Do you think there is a lot of guilt in motherhood? I do. I had moments of guilt when the kids were little. I loved them so much (still do!). I really did. But sometimes I would just lose my patience with them. Sometimes I couldn't wait for them to go to bed. Sometimes I would show them my "mom" face....you know....the scary mom face you make when you're annoyed or mad?


You don't have a "mom" face like that? Oh wow. Never mind, I didn't either....I don't even know what I was talking about...

There were times when I would just sigh at changing yet another poopy diaper. When I thought I would give anything for a shower. When I wanted to just this once sit down while my dinner was still warm and eat it. When I really, really, really just wanted to go shopping without them. There were some days when I couldn't wait for them to go to bed....oh wait, I said that one already.

I felt guilty for taking time for myself. I felt guilty for not taking time for myself. I felt guilty for cleaning the house and not spending enough time with the children. I felt guilty for spending to much time with the children and not cleaning the house. If I lost my patience that day, I felt like a bad mom. If I got annoyed with the kids or raised my voice (you've never done that? well me neither) then I felt guilty.

Motherhood, thy name is guilt!

There were those times when I just felt like I needed a break. And then there were the other times when I couldn't get enough of them! When I couldn't wait for them to wake up in the morning. When I went shopping without them and couldn't wait to get back home again and see them. When the name "mommy" was music to my ears.

When the kids are little, and it's a never ending day of wiping runny noses and changing diapers those times really do seem like they will last forever. But they won't.

They do grow up. Mine are now 15 and 20. I no longer wipe noses or change diapers. But you know what? I am still needed. You never stop mothering. It just changes. You are still needed, and that is a blessing.

So if you're "in the trenches" with little babies and whining toddlers, it won't always be like that. But know that as they get older, you can still love that time with them. You can still look forward to coming home to them. The name "Mom" can still be music to your ears.

I think it's important to enjoy the NOW with our children, with our family. To embrace the season of life that you are now in. Because it changes all to fast. Tomorrow will come fast enough. Let's all just enjoy today and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

PANTYHOSE ISN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE

Now that we've become so chummy I have to confess a deep, dark secret....but you have to promise not to tell anybody.

When I was a little girl I really, really, really wanted long hair. I longed to have long hair. I dreamed of long hair. But my mom kept my hair short. I can't imagine why. It couldn't possibly have been the fact that I cried and screamed every time she brushed or washed my hair. No, it couldn't have been that.

It couldn't have been the fact that I was a tomboy and followed my big brothers around like a puppy. Nope, it couldn't have been that either. They were always trying to lose me. My mom was always saying "Don't lose your sister" to them. But, as usual, I digress.

So, I decided that I would have pretend long hair. At first, I wrapped a towel around my head and tried that, but that didn't work so well. It kept falling off (the towel, not my head).

Then I hit upon my most excellent idea.....I grabbed a pair of my mother or my sister's pantyhose and pulled the waistband over my forehead and wore it like a cap. Then I had two long legs of "hair" flowing down my back.....Triumphant! Just like the braids the neighbor girl had that I envied so much. I am sure my sister was thrilled but I didn't care. I thought I was beautiful.

Can you picture it? You know, I can hear you laughing......picture the sad little girl with no braids to call her own. Shhhhh! Seriously, you are going to hurt yourself.

Fast forward many years later and I finally had hair long enough to sit on. I finally had the long, long hair that I wanted. Did I braid it or do fancy things with it? Nope. Just pulled it back in a long ponytail or wrapped it around and around on top of my head.

Pantyhose isn't all it's cracked up to be.

And remember.....you promised you wouldn't tell anybody.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DOG TAG

Yes, I am posting twice in one day! Aren't you excited? No? Well, just pretend you are for my sake. Thank you. I do hope you read the beginning of this and realize that it's my dogs posting, not me....although I suppose I could have posted some of them.....

LuLu (a very sweet dog, I am sure) from "Mrs. Not-so-Domesticated" (don't you love that name? I do!) tagged my puppy. Since I don't really know which of you have dogs and which don't I will have my puppy tag you and you can tag your puppy (if you have one). If you have dogs, or indeed if you have a cat or some other pet and want to play, feel free to pick up the tag.

So here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.


From my poodle puppy:

  • I am not potty trained. Instead I have trained my owner to take me out when she thinks I need to go. Sometimes I reward her by going, otherwise I wait until we're back in the house....then I like to leave her with a present.
  • When people come and visit I like to scream hysterically until they pick me up. Then I proceed to lick them to death.
  • I think that I am a princess and I see nothing wrong with that.

These are from our beagle:

  • I am very protective of my family. They took me in when noone else would and I have taken it upon myself to protect them. I am also very protective of my space when I'm sleeping. If you dare to move when I am trying to sleep I will growl at you...that's probably why I am now sleeping in my bed on the floor.....sigh!
  • I like you to pay attention to me. I can never get enough attention. If you show me attention I will happily stay quietly by your side. If you stop showing me attention I will smack you with my paw and whine and whine till you notice me again.
  • I like food....I really, really, really like food. I will eat my food and then go ahead and eat the puppy's food. That is why I now have to eat alone.

CONFESSIONS OF A MESSY HOUSEWIFE

My house is messy. I don't like it when my house is messy.

I don't mind it if your house is messy. I can come to your home and just sit and relax. It doesn't bother me if it's messy because you're the one that has to clean it, not me. So I can just relax and have a good time....because I don't have to clean it.

When my house is messy it bothers me. Because I know that someone, somewhere is going to have to clean it up....and chances are, that someone is going to be me.

The thing is, it's not a huge mess. I know that it wouldn't take long to straighten up the rooms. That's why I'm not doing it. Because it won't take long to straighten it. The problem is, thinking that way can create a problem. The longer I wait the messier it will become. Eventually, if I wait to long, it will be overwhelming. If I wait a week to straighten it, I will have one week's worth of mess to straighten instead of one day's worth (or one hour's worth depending on how long I wait).

That is why I try and make sure I straighten it up every day. If I do that, then it remains manageable. Things don't pile up into overwhelming messes. I don't walk around staring desperately at everything and wonder where on earth I should start to clean first. I have done that in the "past," years ago before I learned how to manage my time and figured out a routine. I felt like a failure because I couldn't manage to keep my house cleaned. I didn't have a clue where to start. I know better now. I know what I need to do. I just need to do it!

When I pick up every day, I start the morning out even. If I don't pick up the night before, I am already behind in my work when I wake up the next morning.

So I am waking up behind in my work today. Because I went and played with my friend and did some other things. I will spare you the details of my mess but I do have a mess. Today I am going to work at getting back into my routine and getting things straightened up around here. I am very blessed because I have a husband and sons that do not complain about it. I'm the one that complains! The funny thing is, it's my mess, my stuff that's out, not theirs (well, except for their shoes....)!

If I knew how to do it, I would take a picture for you. But I can't and you know that because you read my post about "my hubby is cramping my blog," right? (hehehe) So just picture boxes of Christmas stuff that need to be put away, some papers on the kitchen table, laundry that needs to be done, some things lying in the entry hall that need to be put away, and just basic stuff like that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WORKING FOR FREE

Earlier I was talking to my fifteen year old son and we were talking about an item that he wanted. I suggested that he figure out how many hours he would need to work in order to buy that item, and then decide if it would be worth it.

I told him that, in essence, he would be working for free for those hours because he would be working to pay that item off. I then asked him to consider if it was worth it to, in a way, work for free for those hours since he'd never actually be seeing the money. I don't care if he buys the item but I do encourage him to think it through first.

He would have the item, yes...but would it be worth the hours spent earning it? If we evaluated all of our spending that way, I think we'd spend more carefully. We'd probably spend a lot less too, lol! At least if he buys the item he has something to show for it. When I spend money on eating out I don't have anything to show for it....well, nothing that a big ole' shirt can't hide anyway.

My husband is salaried, but if I thought about how much time he'd have to work in order for me to buy something, I imagine I would think alot differently. Unless, of course, I'm annoyed with him or something....in that case, work away, honey! (hehehe...not that I ever get annoyed with anyone or anything, lol!)

It doesn't seem like much when it's something as small as, say, a candy bar. But all those nickels and dimes add up to big dollars. It's the little things. A candy bar here, a diet pepsi there, a bag of chips, a jar of olives, lunch at Costco (gasp! But it's so cheeeeaaaap!). Not that there's anything wrong with chips or pop or the other things, but they all add up. Don't get me wrong, the big things add up too! They are just more obvious....well, hopefully.

If my husband is having to work to pay for all the extras that we buy, then he is, in a sense essentially working for free, because that money is going straight to the bills that I am bringing in by my spending habits. We will never see it. Yes, I know he's getting paid but we won't see that money. It will just disappear, the way that the pop and the chips did. If we don't buy the things, than that money could go into savings, or to pay toward the principal on our mortgage.

When I work hard at keeping the home clean, I know that it would bother me if my family just left all their stuff out and messed it up again. I know that I can get frustrated after working so hard to clean it. I also know that if they thought about it first, maybe they wouldn't leave an item out....because item after item adds up and turns into one big mess.

It reminds me of spending. The little things seem so, well, little. It's only 59 cents. It's only $1.00. It's only $2.99. It's only $9.99 (see how the "it's only" grows?). But, they can add up to one big financial mess.

I would love to take a look at last month's receipts to see how many "luxury" (i.e. unnecessary) little items (and not so little) I bought that honestly, I could have done without. I would love to...but frankly, I don't think my heart could take it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

THIS IS JUST WRONG, VERY WRONG!

You just got to go over to "The Preacher's Wife" and visit her blog right now. Run don't walk. I highly recommend her blog at anytime because I just love it. However, you have to see this ridiculous item that she found....this is something that I guess you would buy your daughter if you wanted to give her nightmares for the rest of her life, lol! Because I have a very warped sense of humor I have to share this marketing nightmare with you all, because I just love you so much and want you to have nightmares too!

"Not Me" Monday




Today "MckMama" is hosting "Not Me Monday" again! This is the time of week when we can confess all the lovely and not so lovely things that we have done during the week. Misery loves company. So does humiliation. Bring it on. We will laugh and cry together, lol! Wooohoo!

It wasn’t my puppy that pooped, pottied, threw up and chewed up one of my cushions while I was trying to welcome our first-time guests to our home. No, she would never do that. She would be nice and polite so that I could make our guests feel at home, instead of making them look at poop, potty, vomit, and shredded stuffing all over the floor.....not to mention me pulling my hair out.


It wasn’t me that practically knocked over my t.v. while trying to get to the dog before she did something else disgusting either....although at that point, I'm not sure what else she could have done.

It wasn't me who wasn't prepared to have company drop by and asked my fifteen year old to help me stash-and-dash so that the house at least looked somewhat clean (as we madly dashed around stashing things). It wasn't me that hoped they wouldn't need to use the bathroom. No, my house is always immaculate. It wasn't me. My house is always ready for company.

It also wasn't me who ate out twice this week....all by myself because my family was gone and I didn't feel like cooking dinner. Nope. Not me because I like to blog about being frugal and I would never eat out twice this week. And if I did, I certainly wouldn't be dumb enough to tell anyone about it.


It wasn't me that got lost while taking my mom to see a play. It wasn't me that barely got us to the curtain on time. It also wasn't me that suggested my mom might want to dive out the window in order to get there faster and save time.


It wasn't me that managed to spill my m&m's all over the floor. It wasn't me that ate them either. Oh! and it wasn't me that was eating m&m's in the first place!!!!


It wasn't me that forgot I was wearing a verrrrry long winter scarf when I needed to use a public restroom. It's also not me that's leaving the rest up to your imagination.


It wasn't me that couldn't wait to drag my precious puppy out into her first snow to see what she thought of it. It also wasn't me who couldn't wait to get back inside when puppy wanted to play and play.

It wasn't me who was snacking on chips and dip while typing this post. It wasn't me that knocked the plate off my lap and upside down onto the floor. I would never do something as silly and messy as that. I would eat at the table and not sit at the keyboard with messy fingers and a plate on my lap. Seriously, who does that? (blush!)

It wasn't me who called my hair stylist (and friend) and begged her to help my hair because it was in serious need of hairapy because it just wasn't "happening."


It wasn't me who gained ten pounds seemingly overnight either. Nope, not me.....sigh!
For more "Not Me" fun, visit MckMama's blog "here."


Sunday, December 14, 2008

AWARDS



"Stephanie" gave me this award. She is a sweetie who always has the neatest videos/pictures or cutest stories about her children. Go pay her a visit and say "hi!"
The award states "This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
I am going to continue to try and kind of go in order here, so I am going to award this to the next eight bloggers (with the exception of a couple that are either new or I missed last time so I am including this time). If you have already received this award, or don't like to play, then I'm sorry, please don't feel obligated.
Awards are a great way to meet new people and make new friends. So, if you want to meet some new people and/or make some friends, check out the blogs below. I am passing it onto:
and "Phoebe"

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!

I love snow. I absolutely love it. I don't like to be cold, but I do like to walk in the snow. Can't resist it. I love to feel the snowflakes falling on my face and tongue (yes, I stick it out...who can resist?).

I love the crunch, crunch, crunch, of the snow under my boots. I love to slip and slide around, providing I don't get hurt and wind up on crutches. Been there, done that. I love to make footprints in the snow. Snow angels are cool too.

When I was a little girl we made snow ice cream. My dad would send us outside to get some snow (and yes, we made sure it was clean and white......for those of you who, like me, have dogs). I loved it. I have no idea how he made it but I bet I could find it on the internet!

You know what I also love about snow? It forces me to stay home. It forces us to stay home. It creates a deep, dark desire to have hot chocolate...with marshmallows. Maybe play a board game or two, or watch an old movie.

It causes an irresistable desire in me to walk, slip, crawl, or slide down the street just to see what everybody else is doing out there. I can almost always talk my twenty year old into a crazy, wild walk in the snow. I can even usually talk my fifteen year old too. I guilt my husband into it, lol!

That's because it always seems to snow late (as the temperature falls) and my husband isn't so crazy about getting up out of bed and playing in the snow. Especially after he has fallen asleep. The kids, however, don't seem to mind it.

We don't drive in the snow when there's alot of it, not unless we have to. Life stops around here when it snows. At least, for a few hours or a day....or two.

I never liked to drive in the snow, so I just stay home and drink hot chocolate, pop some pop corn, and maybe curl up with a good book or watch a movie with my family. So let it snow!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I HATE HORMONES!!!!!

If you are a man, just put your fingers in your ears (or, in this case, your eyes) and say "LaLaLaLaLaLa" very loudly every time you hear (OR see) the word hormones.

I hate hormones......they make me want to eat anything with chocolate on it, or salt....or both. They make me want to pull my hair out and run around screaming. Or sob hysterically. Or both.
I blame hormones for my ten pound weight gain. I blame hormones because it couldn't possibly have been anything that I did. Absolutely not. What could I have possibly done? Either that or my clothes have shrunk overnight. I hate it when that happens. I also hate that I'm using the word hate. Don't you hate that?

I think there is a person that runs around and gets into our closets and drawers and shrinks our clothes. I really do. There is absolutely no other explanation for it. The only thing I don't understand is, why is it that this sneaky person will shrink my clothes but my shoes always remain the same size.....can't figure that one out.

I hate hormones. They make me look at a messy living room and burst into hysterical tears because I know that it will never be clean again. They take my nice, normal (????) happy personality and turn me into something I don't recognize.

I hate hormones. They make me sob hysterically at sappy t.v. commercials. They make me snap at people that I love (if they were here to snap at but they aren't....pray for them! hehehe). They make me write strange things on blogs to people that have better things to do than listen to me complain that I gained ten pounds....I hate hormones.

I am going to wrap up my hormones and give them as a gift to someone for Christmas. Preferably to a man (lol!). No strings attached. Just a gift from little ole' me who thinks she is going to gnaw somebody's leg off if she doesn't get to have some chocolate or something real soon.

I am so glad that the Lord (and my hubby) loves me, raging hormones and all. Honestly, I pity the poor man who has to deal with the woman who goes from 0-60 in one second flat. Just picture a steamroller.......on hormones. o.k., just kidding I'm not that bad, I hope....Just very thankful for the grace of God (and my husband!).

I'm fine, really! I'm fine. I weigh ten pounds more than I did five minutes ago, but I'm fine. I just hate hormones.....

Friday, December 12, 2008

LOOKIE WHAT I GOT!!!

Now I am sure that there are some of you (if not all of you) out there who think this is hideous. Is that how you spell hideous? It looks like hide-e-us......O.k., anyway, somebody out there is going to think this is uggggllllyyy!
But I love it. Some person out there, God luv 'em, actually took a window frame and painted this picture on it.
I have been looking for a window for quite awhile. I just wanted to mount it on the wall. I'm also looking for a door too, but that's a whole 'nother blog.
Anyway, I found this at the thrift store for $18.99. I snapped it up. I love birdhouses and I've been looking for a window frame, like I said. So hey, we were meant to be together.
Now for the problem. It is H-E-A-V-Y (and it ain't my brother either....) so my hubby is going to have to attach it to the wall stud or something. Right now it's sitting on my floor, and I don't know about you, but I don't think it looks very good there. Besides, you can get one crazy headache trying to look at that thing. Also besides, our big ole' Beagle dog already knocked it over once...fortunately it didn't break. Can you believe it didn't break? God loves me.....
It's also big, as it's the same of an old window frame.
So now I have to find a place for it. I always try and mentally find a place for something before I buy it. I did have a place for this but it was to big so now it's hanging out on my floor.......
My hubby said he didn't think it was hideous (do pastor's lie??????) but my oldest thinks it is. I know he does. He didn't say it but his rolling eyes (and the smirky smile) said it all. In fact, he's probably the one who paid the dog to try and break it.
I live in a family of smirky people.

CHRISTMAS TAG

This was way to much fun. I am drunk with power....or diet pepsi, take your pick. Hey, anybody have any more questions? I am on a roll.......or maybe a cinnamon sugar pretzel. Hehehe~ By the way, noone has bothered to tell me how many "he's" should be in hehehe so I am just going to go with three for now....


"Beth in NC" tagged me with this!


1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate, with marshmallows please! I don't really like hot drinks, so I only drink this at Christmas time (unless it's really cold - the weather, not the drink).

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa does not leave presents at our house. There is no way we were giving him the credit for bringing presents, LOL! However, the presents that we leave are put out on Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed, and they are wrapped. So they don't see the presents until Christmas morning. We've always done it this way.

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? The tree lights are colored. In the past we've had both colored and white lights outside. The lights on our indoor stair railing are white. You should ask "Blurry lights or focused?" because when I don't have my glasses on or my contacts in, the lights look blurry. It's a real cool effect. If you want to see what I see ("do you hear what I hear?" .....oh dear, I feel another song coming on.....)

Ah-hem! Anyway, just walk over to your tree, turn out all the lights but the tree lights, and then squint your eyes until everything blurs....if you can't see anything than you've squeezed them to tight. I said blurry, not blind. If this doesn't work, just hit yourself over the head with a hammer or something until you feel dizzy, then look at the tree. That oughta do it. Just don't come cryin' to me with a headache and medical bills.....

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope, don't need it! (blush!)

5.When do you put your decorations up? O.k., so here's the thing. I make a big deal about having my hubby get them out the day after Thanksgiving, you see? (Insert shameless plug for blog "here.") The day after, that's real important!!!!! Then I let them sit around for a week or two or three so that I look like a complete lazy idiot.....not to mention a nag. (And for the record, they are STILL not up as I write this...sigh!)

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Excluding dessert????? Excluding? Are ya kidding me???? How can you exclude dessert???? The dinner is all about the dessert. I don't care what the dinner is....just give me the dessert. Seriously. Just.Give.Me.The.Dessert. and noone will get hurt.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I don't have any one special one. Every Christmas was special. I loved spending it with my family. I love all my memories of all my brothers and sisters together, before we all grew up and some moved away. I loved watching my dad hand out the presents. I loved eating my mom's pumpkin pie (again, it's all about the dessert). I loved singing Christmas carols and driving around with my family and looking at the Christmas lights. We celebrated with our family, our grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles and all of my millions of cousins....

8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I have no idea. I don't ever remember believing in Santa but I probably did. I am from a big family and I'm sure some older sibling spilled the beans. With our kids, we never made Santa a big deal either.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. As a child we always had it on Christmas Eve. We opened all of our presents then. On Christmas day we went over to my grandparents. So when I got married, I wanted to change the celebration to Christmas so my husband and I have always waited till Christmas morning to open gifts.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Our tree is just a beautiful tree with colored lights and funny ornaments. We have snowmen, an ice cream cone (that the dog bit a hole out of the bottom), toys, angels, dolls....just all sorts of things. We also hang ornaments that our children have made over the years. It's very much a children's tree, but we still love it, even thought the children are older now.

11. Snow. Love it or dread it? I always want it to snow. But I don't like driving in it and I don't like having the electricity go out for several days (or longer) either. I love watching the snow fall. One of these days I will find that picture of the toilet my son made out of snow and I will post it (insert another shameless plug for blog "here.")

12. Can you ice skate? Oh, puh-lease! You have got to be kiddin' me. I can barely walk on my own two feet without slipping a pair of ice skates on them.....sheeesh!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The best gift I ever received was the gift of my salvation. After that, I would say my husband and my children. Before you go "awwww! that's so sweet" or gag and throw up on me, let me go grab an old sweater so I don't get my clothes all dirty and gross. Then, throw up to your heart's desire.....

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Jesus!!! It is important to me to remember that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. He truly is the Reason for the season.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? So NOW it's about the dessert, huh?? Whoohooo! Pumpkin pie...with whipped cream. You bring me some of that and I am sooooo your friend for life. I'm not kidding either. Well, that or chocolate. Or diet pepsi. Diet pepsi is good. Hey, what can I say. I am a cheap date!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I love just celebrating the holiday with my family. Decorating the tree with my husband and children and listening to Christmas music. Trying to take the annual picture in front of the Christmas tree. This always involves way to much laughter on our part as my husband sets the timer on the camera and tries to get back into place before it goes off.

We also try to get the dogs to look at the camera instead of my husband. We howl (no pun intended....o.k., pun intended) with laughter so much that we struggle to get a good picture. Take after take after take. We do have lots of great pictures of my husband's backside, however. I also love going as a family and buying gifts to give to a family in the community who isn't as blessed as we are (we get their names thru the local school). I also love looking at the outdoor Christmas lights.

17. What tops your Christmas tree? A paper angel that our youngest made years ago.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I love them both. I love to give, but I also love to watch the faces of my husband and kids when they give me a gift.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Wow. I love so many of the Christmas hymns, like "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night." I also love Bing's rendition of "White Christmas." And I love Amy Grant's Christmas CD (her first one in case there are two).

20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? Well, they're o.k., but they aren't great. This time, it's NOT about the dessert.

21. What do you want for Christmas? I have no idea. I am so blessed. So I guess I just want to remember why I am celebrating that day and keep my focus on Him.

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? We usually attend a party at church.

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's? Well, I am dressed but usually nothing fancy. Usually just jeans, I guess. I guess it depends on my mood!

24. Do you own a Santa hat? No, I don't think so. Unless somebody gave the kids one or something.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? We spend Christmas morning as a family. Then, in the afternoon, my parents would normally come over. Now my dad is with the Lord, and my mom lives with us. We also often have family come over for Christmas, like my sister and her family. Sometimes friends drop by.


O.k., it's done. Now, you didn't seriously think that I could just answer all of these questions, well....seriously, did you? Naaaahhhh!

Now I am supposed to tag some people. I have seen several people do this tag, so I have no idea who has or hasn't done it. So I am leaving this open for anybody who wants to do it to "tag" yourself! If you do it, post your tag in the comments so that anybody who wants to can pop over to your blog! So go ahead, knock yourself out!

Here are the rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Fill out the questions.
3. Tag 5-7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I THINK THIS IS TO FUNNY!

O.k., I think this is hysterically funny. Today, my 20 year old (he had a birthday) had the opportunity to meet the new wife of a dear friend of ours. The wife does not speak English, so our friend had to translate.

So my son was looking forward to meeting her (as we were) because we've "known" her over the phone but not in person. Anyway, so my son finally has an opportunity to meet her, and he was telling her how happy he was to meet her.

Our "dear" friend translated, and while he was translating, my son was looking at the wife and smiling and nodding. Suddenly, the wife gasped, put her hand up to her mouth, gave my son an odd look, looked at her husband and started to smile as her hubby, our now-ex-friend (LOL!) burst out laughing.

Turns out that when translating my son's words about how happy he was to meet her, our friend decided to tease his wife, because what he told her was "He says you're so much uglier in person."

I gotta tell ya, with friends like that....who needs friends, hehehe!

BAD, BAD DOG

So today we had some friends come over that had never been here before. I remember when the kids were young we would instruct them on how to behave when we had guests. We would talk to them about how to be polite, make the guests feel welcome, ask them if they could get them anything.

We would also encourage them to join in the conversation but don't interupt. Now, for a kid, that is like nearly impossible. Join in but don't interupt? How do you do that? Way to funny to watch. Kind of like accidentally spilling gravy all over your dogs' heads and then watch them go nuts because they could smell it but not get to it. O.k., it's really nothing like that at all but it was funny to watch. Not that we accidentally did that on Thanksgiving or anything.

If it was an unexpected drop-in guest and the house was a mess, we might even instruct them to stand guard at all the doors and kick or trip any guests that looked like they were going to venture beyond the living room. You think I'm kidding, don't you?

We entertained the possibility of giving our then-younger-children written notecards to be memorized. We considered having nightly drills on what to say to avoid guests wandering into a messy bathroom. Things like, "The bathroom doesn't work." Also, "There is a big mean dog in the bathroom and he will bite you if you go in there." Another good one was "What's the matter, didn't you go before you left?" Yup, keep them in the living room, that's what I always say.

We also instructed them in the fine art of not interupting, not picking their nose, not burping or making gassy noises, not saying "Why are you bald?" or "Your breath stinks!" or "Do you have any money that I could have?" or my personal favorite "You've been here a loooooong time. Are you ever going to go home?" or any of the other wonderful things that children do or say.

It never occurred to me that I should teach my puppy how to behave. After all, she is just a puppy. So right before they came, literally right before, she decided to relieve herself on the kitchen floor. So I cleaned it up. Then she did it again! I cleaned that up to, this time more frantically and muttering to myself.

Then, while they were here, she managed to entertain them by pottying again, pooping (sorry for being gross but hey, you had to be there), throwing up, and then she chewed the stuffing out of one of my cushions in the sunroom. Isn't that special!

Since we had company nobody thought to take the dog out, and far be it from her to actually ask to go out. Seriously, would it kill her to bark?

I am sure that they had a wonderful time in our home and cannot wait to come back again....sigh! If they do feel brave enough to return I am sure that they will watch where they walk a lot more carefully next time too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FOR THE CURIOUS

Heather of "Want What You Have" is doing a linky on posting your grocery lists. Apparently there is a website out there called "GroceryLists.org" that just for fun publishes people's grocery lists. I haven't checked it out yet but it sounds funny!

Anyway, Heather is having people publish their grocery list and link back to her. So if you want to see what other's are buying (or not buying) go check out her blog "here."

Because I clearly have waaaay to much time on my hands (and because I just felt like posting twice today, lol!) I am posting my grocery list! Because, you know, I don't have anything else to do. In my defense, I haven't done any serious shopping for awhile so I needed lots of stuff. I did buy a couple of convenience foods (like pizza because I don't always have time to make a pizza when my 15 year old wants pizza for lunch) to have on hand. I didn't buy any meat because I have it in the freezer.

COSTCO:
Mozarrella cheese
Milk

WINCO:
Frozen broccoli
Combo pizza (I call it "plastic" pizza because it's real cheap)
Bacon
Yogurt
Taquitos
Brummel & Brown Natural Yougurt spread
Classic Ready-made Romaine salad (yeah, I'm to lazy to chop my own)
Lunchmeat
Grapes (on sale .98 a pound. If they aren't under $1.00 a pound, I don't buy them, ever)
Carrots
Cucumber
Tomatoes
Vegie medley (brocc., caulif. and carrots all cut up in a bag. More expensive but at least I eat it that way so I figure it's worth the extra money)
Green peppers
Corn Chex Cereal (with $3.00 off vendor coupon-hey, I do use coupons sometimes!)
apples
oranges
onions
Cream of chicken soup (yes, I have a homemade recipe for it but haven't used it yet)
Dry roasted nuts (a snack!)
Ramen noodles
White cheddar shells boxed pasta (my oldest calls it "comfort" food)
olives (a luxury, along with some of the other convenience luxuries I bought, like Taquitoes!)
asparagus (canned, I only buy fresh on sale...even canned is expensive)
mac and cheese boxes
Tortillas
hand sanitizer for purse
biscuit cutter (got a cheap one)
white vinegar
facial tissue
potatoes
paper towels (have to admit we usually use these instead of rags)
bread
eggs

I am not as frugal with my spending as I'd like to be, but hey, I've got to leave something to aspire too! Like buying boxed mac and cheese (but I buy the cheapest one), or buying the white shells and cheddar. One baby step at a time....

For the most part I buy storebrand. But some things (like the Chex) I buy namebrand.

CHRISTMAS BUDGETING

I don't know about you guys, but at Christmas time, we throw caution to the winds and blow our budget big time....I mean, BIG TIME!!!!! After watching our money pretty carefully throughout the year, we now have the opportunity to make up for all that careful living. We spend thousands of dollars on Christmas presents. NOT!!!!!!!

Whew! Just typing those scary sentences made me break out into a cold sweat. At this time of the year, however, it can be tempting for people to overspend. For one thing, you are probably shopping in bits and pieces, so you're not really aware of how much you're really buying and spending until you get it all home and spread it out before you.

I don't know about you guys, but we buy some Christmas presents throughout the year. Well, my husband does. I leave all that online or ebay shopping stuff to him. There have been times when we have stumbled across forgotten Christmas presents in March when I start cleaning out closets. You've heard about Christmas in July? We have it in March....but, I digress.

For another thing, alot of items are on sale right now, and it's always so exciting to buy something on sale. Hey, this sweater may be $50, but it used to be $100 so it's a "steal" at that price and you save $50 by buying it at half off! But if you were originally budgeting $20 for a sweater, then a sweater for $50 is not a good deal, even if it is on sale.

Sometimes we may be tempted to pay more for something just because it's a more expensive item that's on sale and such a "great deal" and you tell yourself you just saved $50 and when are you ever going to get a _____ (you fill in the fancy label) sweater? You aren't really saving the $50 if you weren't planning on spending it in the first place. You're not even saving $5.00 if you weren't planning on spending it in the first place.

If you're paying more than you expected, or if you are only buying it because it's on sale, or you weren't planning on buying it in the first place, then you have to ask yourself if it's really such a great deal.

Some people may Christmas shop without a budget. They have no idea how much they want to spend. Consequently, because they don't have a plan, and are shopping a little here and a little there, they may be unpleasantly surprised when they sit down and look at the bills.

By the way, I am well aware that some (some?, lol!) people have a lot more money than I do. So, to them, a few hundreds or a few thousands spent is a drop in the bucket. But sometimes people have a tendency to live up to their income. You can have a person who makes $200,00 a year that may not have as much money as you do if they're spending it as fast as it comes in. In fact, they could have less discretionary money than you do. So they may want to do some frugal spending too.

I love giving presents to my children. Always have. I love giving them something that they've wanted. If I didn't have a budget, the temptation to overspend could be tremendous. I also love getting stuff for my husband. Again, the temptation to overbuy could be tremendous.

That's where we have to stop and be intentional. To think about what will happen when January rolls around, and February, and March....we need to ask ourselves how long do we want to be paying for these gifts? Especially since if you're not careful, you'll still be paying for the presents long after your kids stop playing with them, lol!

One thing that some people do is to set up a Christmas fund. They decide an amount of money for a Christmas budget and divide it into twelve months. Starting in January they set aside a certain amount of money each month. By the time Christmas rolls around twelve months later they have their shopping money all ready and waiting for them. Imagine having the money already there in the budget at Christmas time!

Isn't that a great idea?! Yeah, we don't do that.

Some people will buy one big gift and one little gift per child. Isn't that a great idea? Yeah, we don't do that either.

Some people are very creative and make their gifts....do I even need to tell you we don't do that?

Some people give gifts such as one useful item and one fun item...I'll bet you thought I was going to say we do that, didn't you? Actually, I just wanted to type real small just one more time. It's so much fun!!!!! I think I'll do my entire blog this way. You should try it. It's lots of fun. Seriously, this is way to much fun! Again, I digress.....

We do try to set a budget for our Christmas spending, and we try to spend within that budget. When you set a budget, it makes buying decisions so much easier! If it's not within the budget, it's not within the budget! Can't get much simpler than that. We don't like to put our Christmas presents on credit and then pay them off months down the road. We like to buy what we can afford, and we like to give what we can afford.

We can have just as much pleasure giving our children gifts that are within our budget. We can enjoy Christmas just as much. The joy of it is being together and laughing and loving one another. Because the joy of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ. The joy of knowing that He came to earth as a baby to be the Savior of the world. You can't put a price on that.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WHY MY HUSBAND NEVER GETS LOST

I need something brillant to write about. Because I'm tired and I just can't come up with anything to blog about. If you've read me at all, you know that it gets dangerous when I start rambling. I wanted to write something constructive but I got nothin' for ya.

There is one thing that I've often wondered about, though. When I need a drink of water, I won't get it from the bathroom. I will walk all the way into the kitchen to get a drink of water from there. Even if it's in the middle of the night. Even if I'm tired. Even if it's further away.

But, here's the thing.....doesn't the water come from the same pipes? Yeah, I thought so.

Yesterday I had a question so I called my friend's cell phone. She didn't answer so I left a message. Then I called her house and she didn't answer that either....I'm starting to see a pattern here. Anyway, I left another message but this time on her machine at home and said "Hey, I left a message on your cell phone but thought I'd try calling you at home too."

So she calls and tells me that I never actually left a message at her home. Instead, I accidentally called her cell phone both times. The thing was she really wasn't surprised at all. She knows me to well. Somehow I should be disturbed about that, but I find it oddly comforting!

I don't know about you, but whenever we're driving on a trip and my husband gets lost I try and give him directions. But, first off all, I want to add a disclaimer in case he ever reads this. My husband never gets lost. Absolutely never. Nope. He was born with a GPS surgically implanted in his head. So it's not like he ever gets lost or anything. But far be it from him to stop and ask for directions if he were lost. Which he never is, of course. Because of that GPS thing.

O.k., now on with the story. So, whenever my husband doesn't get lost, I try and give him directions, even though I have no idea of what I am talking about. I have never been to that particular city before, so why do I think I know where I am???? And, here's the thing, he believes me!!!!!! So he follows my directions and then we get even more lost. Not that we were ever lost in the first place, because of that GPS thing in his head. Also, is it possible to be even more lost? I mean, once you're lost, you're lost, right? So how can you be even more lost?

Regardless, I have asked him several times, "Why do you listen to me?" and he always answers "Because this time you sounded so convincing. I really thought you knew what you were talking about."

For the record, this has been played out over many, many years of marriage, so it's not like he's ever been lost very often, because he never gets lost...on account of that GPS thing in his head....in case he is reading this.