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31 December 2012

2013~Finances

How many of us hate talking about, or even thinking about finances?!
It's not a FUN thing for sure. And for a lot of us it's stressful! 
We are always trying to do our best and make the best choices financially 
but also give our kids fun experiences without spoiling them. Sometimes that is hard to juggle.


Our goals for this year 

Finances
~GIVE UP COFFEE! (well paying for it anyway)
~Keep chugging along on Dave Ramsey's Snowball Plan
~Look for a part time, temporary job that fits our schedule
~Keep up with meal planning (avoiding buying things we don't need, or are not on sale)
~STOP going to Target as often, cause I have NO willpower there!
~SEW more clothes!
~Love our library even more


Plan
~Giving up coffee has been a multi year struggle for me. Starbucks just makes it SO easy! I have been getting decaf when I have been getting it hoping I can cut ties easier. But I won't be giving it up entirely. If I have to go into town for grocery shopping I think 2 a month will be fine. But no more trips INTO town for coffee. I also started using my coffee maker instead.

~We have slowly been using Dave Ramsey's Financial Freedom plan and it feels like we will be on step 2 forever some days. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel! 
We haven't been good with the envelope system, going to re instate that this year, like now.

~ I am looking for a super part time job. One close to home for a few hours after hubby gets home and maybe a little weekends. Wish me luck!

~Meal planning is usually easy enough for me. I do 2 weeks worth after checking the ads and our stock. I don't want to spend more than we need to or do more work than I need to. And living out of town makes forgetting something or changing the meal plan expensive by either having to drive into town or paying way too much at our local market.

~Oh Target we have an unhealthy relationship! Not only is it kinda far away, there really are few times we actually NEED something from there. So just planning on avoiding unless we absolutely need to go and taking all the kids with me, that makes me want to rush a bit more and shop less!

 ~I have a sewing machine and all kinds of patterns just lacking confidence. I have to get over that. My plan is to make a dress or pants (for either my mini or I) when hubby is out of town. I have all kinds of free nights and NO reason not to, especially since I already have a bunch of fabric too!

~Library love.. well I started these goals BEFORE Christmas and my birthday, but hubby and the kids got me a nook, so while I probably won't be visiting the library as much, I will sure download all the free books I can. This will save us some money. I usually read a book or 2 a week, that can add up!






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30 December 2012

2013 Goals~Self

Self

Probably THE hardest one for me, and also the most important for me to
 be at my best in other aspects of life too!

Here is my list. Although I am sure there are many many more I should add!

~Get back to the gym a couple times a week
~Spend more time reading, less time on Pinterest
~Lose that last 15 pounds
~Apologize more, forgive more
~Put myself together more often
~Drink more water
~Get involved with my new group of girls for Bible Study (SUPER excited about this!)
~Spend more time on relationships that are good for me (stop feeling guilty about letting ones go that aren't)

And what are goals without plans?
 Not much. So here are my plans

~For the Gym.. stop stressing about gas money (its like 25 miles round trip but worth it) and just GO!
No more trips into town for coffee, saving the gas for the gym.

~Reading, I am happy to read, just need to limit my Pinterest time to 15 minutes a couple times a day!  
Using a timer on my phone.

~15 pounds really doesn't seem like it should be THAT hard! I am sure the gym will help, start using myfitnesspal.com again and tracking everything. Focusing on my protein and fresh produce.

~Apologize and forgive. I have NO idea what I can do to plan for this other than talking to the kids and asking them to TELL me when they think I need to apologize or forgive. I am around them more than anyone else and they will be honest about it!

~Put myself together more often. Ok really I think I have a whole page on this.. so watch for that soon! 

~I got a new 20oz cup, my last one broke and I got off track. 
I am aiming for 100 oz a day. That's only 5 little fill ups!

~The last 2 go together for me and while 1 will be easy because I am excited about it the other is just plain hard! I have a number of people in my life that I probably don't need, 1 way relationships where I am their friend all the time, and they are my friend when they need something. I also have some who just want to whine and complain to me all the time. Don't get me wrong venting is a necessity sometimes and I get that. But when I have something to talk to them about that isn't about THEM it just doesn't happen. Their opinions of how I am doing things is NEVER good enough. It's hard for me to like and want to be around people that just cannot be happy with what they have when they really have things great. The whole misery loves company thing does not work for me.  So to remind myself that I do NOT have to spend any of my few 24 hours in a day on people who don't care I am printing these!



So that is the plan to work on ME, other than a whole post that I can't wait to share about getting ready everyday!

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28 December 2012

2013!!


I don't know why but I LOVE the new year and all the freshness it can bring. Sometimes a fresh start here and there just makes everything feel better. I am not making any resolutions though. Just sharing my goals! Putting them out there and hoping it will help with some accountability.  I have a LOT of goals, I like to have a bunch going on, it means I will always have something I can be working on! I broke them down into a few categories because I could make 1 HUGE list. Probably too long for 1 post. Today I am sharing the first which is Family, the others are Self, Finances and Home.


 Family
~make it to church together more often
~eat together at the table more often (I have been bad at this lately)
~take more pictures, and stop worrying if they aren't perfect!
~More family game nights, cause our biggins are starting to LOVE games!
~Once it's not freezing out, more bike rides and walks and family exercise!

Plan
~The only way we will make it more often is if I stop sleeping in and keep up my morning plans
 through the weekend!

~Eating at the table is something we used to do ALL the time, but as I was eating differently than the rest of the fam it made it easier to eat separate and not be tempted by what they were having and I just haven't gotten out of that habit. Setting the table (one of the kids chores) I think will help!

~As far as taking pictures goes. Our oldest LOVES to make goofy faces and I feel like I kind of just gave up on getting a REAL smile out of him for pictures for me. But I guess with as much as he purposely makes goofy smiles those are just as real and I need to just get over this perfection thing and take more pictures!

~Well game night should be a little easier, I think we got 4 or 5 games that we can play and I like that there will be something else that is NOT the TV!

~Our little one got a balance bike so now all 5 of us have something to do and our neighborhood has a cute little path. Even if we only get to this once or twice a week until spring I'll be happy!


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21 December 2012

My Detailed Daily Schedule

I posted my shortened list yesterday but thought I would confirm how crazy I really am and share my detailed list today.

I only use this for the week, weekends are a lot more relaxed in the morning around here.
And some days the only thing that works is the time I get up and the time I go to bed.
I'll probably be re-making my Weekly Chores so they all look pretty together, cause that's important right?

And I am told these are printing out the right size for a page protector if you right click and save.. not that I would expect anyone else's schedule to be exactly like mine.
I made this using MyMemoriesSuite with NO extra add ons, just the basic program. It's inexpensive and I have a coupon code if anyone wants to use it!
You can get the program here.
and the coupon code is STMMMS87586 



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20 December 2012

Making a daily schedule

Who has a daily schedule? Who loves them? Who wants one?
I LOVE having a plan and knowing what my day will (hopefully) hold!

I'm working on revamping my HMB for the new year. I think I'll add a few more things to it,
 including a reusable daily schedule.
Having a morning plan and daily schedule that we follow loosely helps us make sure we get everything done we need to and out the door in time for school in the mornings and dinner on the table before 8pm.

I have my schedule broken up into 3 sections. Before School, during school and after school.

I have my own schedule, it's kinda crazy and not nearly as free as the kids routine but it helps me make sure I stay on task and get everything done! I think it took me just about a year of tweaking it to get it right and some days it just doesn't happen, like now, during Christmas break when no one but hubby is going anywhere there are a few things we skip and we do breakfast a little later, no homework, lots of free time!

I made mine by thinking about how my perfect, average day would go.
I made lists of
 ~Things I would want to get done before the kids were up
~Things I needed to do with and for the kids between waking up and getting them out the door
~The things I wanted to do when it was just the baby and I (I can still call him a baby even if he is 3 right?!)
~Then the after school business of homework, playtime and getting dinner ready.

I ended up with a detailed, every 15-30 min in the morning list (this is an abbreviated list).  Because I know what they are after doing them a while. But I still like the action of crossing something off a list. I made this and will keep a few days worth in a page protector in my HMB and use wet erase markers.  

By now I am SURE 90% of y'all think I am a nutter and the rest might understand how much easier it can make this type A's day go!

I know these types of schedules aren't for everyone, but for me they work. I like seeing everything I've done that day and know that even when I feel like I can look around and not see anything I have done there is a whole list of things I did do.

I'll share my detailed morning to do list soon.
This all goes along with my Weekly Cleaning Schedule too!
And if anyone can share how to make this a "printable" I'd be happy to share :)
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18 December 2012

It's hard to be a parent

Sometimes we have choices and they are hard to make, I am absolutely not putting anyone who would do/does things differently than us down. We all know our own kids best and what they can handle. But seeing this come up SO much since Friday made me think I should share my thoughts.

Why I'd let my kids skip school right now!

We are raising little people who will be big people before I am even ready to believe it. 
With all the events going on in the world right now and all the fear, I feel like what they really need is love and their parents. What they will miss while not in class for 6 hours with 20ish other kids today and the next few days is not nearly as important as what I am hoping to avoid altogether, 2nd hand fear! Sometimes I don't think we give these little ones credit for what they pick up on. During election season our 2nd grader and Kindergartner came home multiple times with stories about the President, and Romney and gas prices and troops and unemployment! All things other classmates heard their parents say and they repeat, they may not know what it means but they sure like to sound like they do. Some were horrible things for 2nd graders to say/hear.  I'm just not willing to expose them to the fear most of us have as parents about the recent events. I can understand the fear but I also understand that fear can be a horrible thing for children and for parents to deal with. With all this gun control talk driven by fear and blame based on tragedy and fear on top of the fear of "what could happen" I just don't think it's healthy for our littles right now. We do our best to keep them naive and unaware of things like what happened on Friday. I feel pretty lucky I didn't have to explain to them them why they were missing a few days of school, because we are already on break. But it makes me sad for all these parents who are posting on facebook how sad/scared/upset they are they HAVE to send their kids to school yesterday and today. Don't they know that they are in charge and not the school?! We make the final choice for when our kids attend school and if right now your kids need to be home for whatever reason you feel, keep them home. I am sure you won't be the only one, and even if you are the only one you are the only one with JUST your childrens best interest in mind.  And if we are sending them to school just so we aren't breaking the rules, that just seems crazy to me, these are the school districts rules. Not mine, I don't report to the school district. My main job as a mama is to keep them healthy, raise them to make good choices, even if those choices aren't what everyone else is doing. 


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17 December 2012

Our Christmas Decorations

Sorry for all the photos but I am hanging with our babes today (they are eating breakfast), so not a lot of details! We kept it simple this year, things are kinda crazy here and I am just happy as can be to keep things a little more mellow!










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16 December 2012

Almost Monday!

Not doing a plan for the week this week because I am 
only planning on staying home with our babes!

Snuggles, multiple games of Sorry, snowman cookies and hot coco. Wrapping gifts and making plans for the next week when hubby is off all week! Listening to the Little House on the Prairie series on audio book. My favorite saying from Laura Ingalls Wilder.. and SUCH a cute sign! We might need this one from etsy!

Listening to the stories really makes me appreciate some of our modern conveniences and also makes me realize how much more I SHOULD learn how to do!





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13 December 2012

Kid Closets.. I need ideas!



The closets here are ever changing! Maybe once we get them just right they will stick around a while.
#1

See, I AM doing better about not overbuying! He only has 4 or 5 dressy shirts instead of the 20 he used to!

#2

And Carsyn doesn't even have her own, she just invades the boys! We like to keep some of the toys off the floor and walls and we use the closet for that. Finding the right balance of clothes/toys/storage and looking good is NOT an easy task.
Searching for ideas online and found these HERE, with sources! Gotta love Pinterest!

This one looks like more than we want to spend, but perfect with shelves and drawers and hanging areas

This would be perfect if we had a smaller dresser, his dresser is pretty deep. We still might end up this way for Ramsey, but with different closet doors!

If we didn't need clothes storage I would turn his closet into a cute little reading area and toy storage!

Simple, effective and for sure a possibility!

And there is just too much cuteness here. I think I was drawn to the pattern on those bags!

I like the rustic look here but I don't think we would want to build that much in a closet!


We aren't 100% sold on anything yet but I think we will be replacing sliding doors with regular doors, seem like that would lead to more options!

Anyone feel like sharing their kids closets?! I need ideas 






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10 December 2012

Last Monday before Christmas break!

And I am hoping to make this week as easy as I can!
I am SO ready for some time off from driving all day, some fun things with the kids and enjoying just being home more!

Meals
Monday~Chicken and wild rice with veggies
Tuesday~Chilli and Cornbread
Wednesday~Spaghetti
Thursday~Pork Tenderloin Roast
Friday~Leftover Pork Sandwiches 

Housework
~Keep up with the usual weekly chores
~Move furniture to accommodate family event this weekend
~Finish up wrapping
~Finish touching up paint 


Reading
~The Trylle series, it's young adult and a good way to keep my mind off stress!
~I'm mid book on about 4 other books too
~Also reading up on blogs for Home Management Binders, bout that time to evaluate what's in mine!


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12 November 2012

Monday again

We have a school break here today. I didn't realize that not all states observed Veterans Day today.
So we have a little bit more of a relaxed day, no rushing around to and from school 3 times!

This week starts the season of no full weeks of school through December!
Next week being Thanksgiving means I have this week to get through everything in the house and get the last of it organized before the crazyness of the holidays.

Meals
Chicken and Rice with Veggies
Shepherds Pie
Potato Soup
Grilled Cheese and Soup
Out for Dinner
Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken Tacos

Around the House
Finish up Craigslist Stuff
Keep wrapping gifts during nap times


Fun Stuff
We don't have anything specific planned, just
working on Holiday planning, crafts and testing lots of
hot coco!

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09 November 2012

Is it too early?

To talk Christmas? If not, read on. Or come back in a couple weeks when you are ready!

I usually go crazy on wrapping paper, selecting 1 for each kid so we can skip the tags and the peeking!
But this year I am just wanting everything to be casual and easy and simple (and inexpensive)!
Did you know Dollar Tree has plain ol' brown craft paper in a huge roll?

So I grabbed a few of those and started wrapping everything we have so far. I like to buy on clearance throughout the year so I have a bit already to wrap. 
And instead of the super expensive bows and fancy trim I am doing things a little more homemade and sticking to yarn!
Just plain ol' on sale yarn from the craft store, I picked 3 colors (since we have 3 kids) and I am still skipping the overpriced tags (or I could make some!) But I think some of these big ol' yarn puffs will be perfect.

 Super little tutorial too!
And some big yarn bows too I think, maybe some chipboard letters wrapped in yarn. I think I just love yarn this year!
And to make sure I know what I have and keep it organized, I have a sheet in my HMB and it has each persons name and a spot for their gifts. They are numbered so I know who's is who's before the fluff is added and what is what.

How do you wrap? As you buy or all at once? 
Do you like wrapping? Or prefer bags?
I really don't care for bags at Christmas but I use them cause sometimes it's just easier..

Oh and do you wrap stocking stuffers?
Ok now that I typed all this I DO feel like it was too early!
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08 November 2012

Fall Porch, as good as it's gonna get

In an attempt to make our porch a little more inviting, I cleaned it up and took of the summer stuff, adding some fall and called it good!

Check out the before here








I finished a while ago, just been too busy to share until  now!

That's it, all the little details, and it will probably stay this way through November! I haven't even started to think about Christmas yet and I already feel behind!
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07 November 2012

Room Re-do After

 I shared Ramsey's room a while ago, when we were getting ready to paint and move some stuff around in it. 
Here. The red color was just clashing big time!
Well we have painted (but I need to touch up), and moved stuff around, gone through every bin, every book, every toy and it sure looks different!

He seems like such a big boy now that all he really cares about are his Lego's, DS, books and his desk. No more dress up stuff or other toys really hold his attention, kinda sad!
I need to fix his curtains and try to figure out a way to do a bedskirt still.









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06 November 2012

My Car "Office"

I don't know about y'all but I am in the car FAR too much to not be able to get some stuff done while I am in there, waiting at riding lessons, Kindergarten, big kids pick up and soccer practice.
My stuff was taking over the front seat and middle console too much.
And I can't keep it all in my purse so I had to find something else!
I picked this basket up at Dollar Tree a while ago but they usually have them.

The things I use the most in the car are
~My calendar/Planner EVERYDAY
~Books
~Pens/Pencils
~Stamps
~Notepad.. for those never ending lists.
~E Book/Phone
And for the kids
~a couple of snacks that won't melt
~Books

I've been using this for a week or so and it has helped!
I bring it inside with me and fill it up with returns, library books, outgoing mail, occasionally the phone charger. I feel like I can actually multi task a little and have a few extra minutes to relax!

How do y'all organize your car/mail/in betweens?
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05 November 2012

Wheeew Monday

The last 3 weeks have felt like a year of crazyness!
I don't know about y'all but to me it feels like the Holiday season started with Halloween this year and I am not ready for any of it!

Hope everyone had a good Halloween, ours was not our usual. Hubby ended up having to go out of town for work so everything was a little off.
Our kids still got dressed up to go to Grandma and Poppops though


Now that Halloween is over and all packed away I am working on getting everything back in order.
It's been easier because Hubby has been gone every other week (and will be again) so I am getting more done in the evening.
I've also been working on my attachment to things, especially clothes. Not just mine but mostly the kids. It was out of control! They have always had too many and I had a hard time parting with stuff.  I've gone through all of their clothes, organized them a little more and downsized by about 30%.
Our kids are on the petite side so clothes fit them a lot longer than you would expect, and I was holding on to everything! Since letting some stuff go, there are no clothes under our daughters bed, it was FULL of clothes, 5 under bed bins full.
She is already excited to have more room under there for her Lego's, they were in a crammed bin and she wasn't playing with them as much because it was harder to find certain pieces.

We have been staying home MUCH more lately and it feels so good to just be home!
I've been able to plan our meals out a little further than a week, but they are still always changing because  hubby keeps getting called to work away from home and I am not about to make his favorite when he is gone when the kids don't care either way. This is the plan for this week

Meals
Monday~Chicken Stir Fry (I will bake all the chicken we need for the week today)
Tuesday~Chicken, rice (or pasta) and veggies with enchilada sauce
Wednesday~Tacos
Thursday~Breakfast for dinner
Friday~Turkey Burgers
Saturday~Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sunday~Pork Tenderloin

Around the House

~List a bunch of stuff on Craigslist
~Get the Fall Decorations out before its too late!
~Usual Weekly Chores
~Work in the boys rooms with extra time

Reading
~Still reading Crazy Love
and added Night Circus for something I don't really have to think about to read


Fun Stuff
We are staying home as much as we can, trying to save as much as we can!
But we do have some craft projects that will be Christmas gifts to work on, I know the kids will love that!
And I think we will start working on some Christmas cookie dough this week!


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31 October 2012

Holiday Prep when you can!

I have been so busy, and a bad blogger lately! Sorry 'bout that.

I know I can't be the only one that is busy, and busy isn't always good. We are finally done with soccer here and I am SO excited to have those 3 days a week back with our littles. 

Halloween is almost here and then the next few weeks will just speed by before Thanksgiving! I am doing what prep I can ahead of time. Last night I was making pepperoni rolls (because the stuff was on sale) and I bought extra and made them all!

They are from Pillsbury.com about 8 years ago and I didn't see them on there today. But they are super easy!
You need 
Canned Crescent Rolls
Cream Cheese
Pepperoni

Heat oven to temp on package
Then
 You just take the crescent rolls, unroll them, push the seem of 2 together so you have a rectangle.
Then spread some cream cheese on the rectangle, not quite to the edges
Layer Pepperoni, (I use 8 pieces for each rectangle)

Then roll them back up and slice into little spirals (I like mine a little hard from the freezer, makes them easier to cut) and bake for time on package.


But since I bought extra I made them all, and rolled each rectangle up in some wax paper 
and put them in a freezer bag.

So now when we have extra company, or a last minute thing to go to, or the game on, I just need to take them out, cut them and let them thaw a few minutes before popping them in the oven. I guess you could also cut them ahead of time, freeze them on a cookie sheet then put them in a bag. One less step later on.
Easy and super yummy appetizer or snack.
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10 October 2012

Reposting

Because I KNOW I need to do it now!
 
 
 
Everyone aound us seems to have some kind of bug!
 
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08 October 2012

Not ready for Monday!

I don't even know how it is Monday again already!
This last weekend was packed full and felt extra long, not in a good way!
I have a bunch to get caught up on and only 3 days of school this week
before the kids have a week off!
 
That means cramming in those 3 days what I do in a week so we can do some fun stuff..
 
 
Meals
Monday~Pork Tenderloin and roasted veggies
Tuesday~Tacos
Wednesday~Chicken, veggies and pasta with some leftover sauce from White Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday~Grilled Cheese and soup
Friday~Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry
 
 
Around the house
~Weekly chores
~Fall cleaning Bedrooms
 
 
Reading
Crazy Love Chapter 2
And not likely anything else!
 
Fun Stuff
Soccer x4
Horse Riding Lessons
Pumpkin Patch
 
 
 

I haven't found any Halloween things I HAVE to make this year, but if I have any downtime this week, I'm on the hunt for some cute fluff!
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03 October 2012

Halloween Fluff!!

It's been out for a few days but we have been non stop go go go and no time to snap pictures!
So here are this years Halloween decorations, always pretty similar, just a little different!
I don't love too much gore or anything too cartoonish. Purple is one of my least favorite colors, I like to keep things simple with black, white
and silver with just a little orange or other color here and there!
 

Love how they look with the new back splash!
 




I love these little cages






Found the black book at a garage sale for a couple bucks, loved the name!


Obviously need to go through the magazines!




Christmas Ornaments, just love them with the Halloween stuff though! 



 
I didn't make any new stuff this year (yet)
But I am pretty much running out of room too!

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