Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cloth Gift Bags

I had a bright idea a few years back when wrapping a bunch of gifts for Christmas that wasting all that paper to wrap gifts was horrible for the environment and my wallet. I talked to my mom and asked her if she would be willing to make me some gift bags as a gift for Christmas. She did over the past couple years. I now have bags for Christmas in holiday/winter prints and birthday bags with birthday/party prints. I love them. They almost completely eliminate the waste of wrapping paper and tape. It helps keep our garbage can free for other household waste and I love all the different prints. The design is pretty simple. It is basically a pillow case with a drawstring. A little tip for keeping your bags though is to either make a special bag for the receiving person to keep or let them know before handing over their gift that you will need your bag to be able to reuse. I have found that adults are OK giving the bags back but children like to have a bag they can keep. Depending on the size the drawstring can be removed and used as a pillow case or the drawstring can be left in and the bag used for kids carrying around their prized possessions.

These are also a great money saver. If you buy your fabrics after the holidays when the prints go on sale or use a coupon you can get the fabrics for just a couple dollars a yard at most fabric stores. A yard of fabric can make a few different sized bags. Also watch for different types of yarn, ribbon, or cording to go on sale and pair it with your fabric. Right now is the perfect time to look for clearance holiday fabric to start on bags for next year.

I store all my bags in a Rubbermaid type container in the storage closet. This keeps them all together and makes for easy access. I haven't sorted mind into size differences yet but you could always do that inside your box as well.

  If you do not have a sewing machine or would just rather buy bags they sell these WrapSacks online for ease. You could also buy reusable shopping bags or tote bags to use as cute gift bags.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frugal and Fun Holiday Ideas

I have noticed as an adult Christmas is different for me than it was when I was a child. I LOVE buying my children gifts and seeing their smiles when they open them. It just seems that some of the things I did as a child just are not the same for me. We are living far away from all of our family and we will not see any of them for the holidays so I have decided that we just have to create our own memories. Here are a few of the ideas that we have come up with so far to keep the children entertained and decorate our home for the holidays.

- Paper crafts. They are simple cheap and easy. We used cookie cutters to trace holiday shapes on construction paper, cut them out, and the kids colored them. I preserved them by laminating them and put them on our tree so they could see their work displayed. These will last for years and I can give them to them when they are adults if they want them.

- Popcorn or noodle garland. I do not like the metallic garland for the tree as it seems to get all over the place even when it is supposed to be on its own strand. Last year we had popcorn garland and this year we have dyed noodle garland. The noodles were much more child friendly as it was just noodles and yarn. We dyed the noodles red, blue and green and strung them on yarn. it was simple, fun and more decoration for our tree. This is safe for the children and the pets if it were to get on my floor on accident.

- Sugar cookies and frosting. This one is a bit messy but a fun way to spend a few hours. It also is a delicious treat at the end of a fun project. We are planning to do these this weekend as our fun holiday craft. We will make the sugar cookie dough and have the kids help cut the shapes out with our holiday cutters. After we bake them and they cool we will make several colors of frosting and let them help us decorate the cookies. We did this last year as well and the kids were so excited about getting to eat their own special treats.

- Glitter pine cones. We went outside and collected some pine cones. Ours were a bit wet so we put them in the oven at 200 degrees for a little while to dry them out. Then we painted them with cheap glitter glue. When they dried we strung them up in groups of 3-4 and hung them around the house.

What other fun, frugal holiday ideas do you have that are kid friendly?

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Laundry Accomplishment

This is the closet that usually houses our mountain of dirty clothes that I try to get through constantly. I am the only person in my house who washes and dries clothes and getting through all of them seems to be a never ending challenge. I not only have clothes for 5 people but also all the bedding and cloth diapers to keep up on as well. I decided last Sunday to have everybody gather all of the dirty laundry they had in their baskets and put them in this closet and then I would do my best to manage to get through all of the clothes in the closet by this Sunday when I would have everybody bring their clothes down again. Well, I am happy to share with you that not only did I manage to get through all of the clothes I also vacuumed the closet out as well. Then we as a family all folded and put away all our clothes in the correct spots. It feel super nice to get through all of those clothes. I think we might just all have too many clothes. I am going to try to make this closet look like this every Friday. I am not sure I am that good though because when I have a day that I dont feel the greatest I seem to get behind on everything and then it takes me forever to get caught up. I did it and I feel great!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!!

This was the first year that The Man and I have been married that we cooked our own Thanksgiving dinner. The first two years The Man was deployed. The second two we ate at my mom's house. Last year my parents were here visiting and I didn't want to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We chose to go to the local pub and have dinner and watch and Elvis impersonator. It was a great evening and the kids were amazing listening to the music. This year I finally decided that we were going to make our own Thanksgivng meal and it turned out great. We had a chicken breast, homemade jellied cranberry sauce, homemade hawaiian type bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli, gravy, sweet potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie. I did pretty well. I did make a few of the items homemade because their canned/store bought counterparts had high fructose corn syrup in them. I did cheat with the stuffing, potatoes and sweet potatoes due to the quality of the fresh items at the store and having to store them for more than a week before cooking. It all turned out great and we are all super stuffed now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday K!! Today is my sweet little guy, K's, birthday. I can't believe how fast time goes when you have kids. I love this little guy he is sweet and cuddly and most definately a mama's boy. He still is very needy of my time, attention, and affection but that is part of what makes him special. He makes me smile every day watching him learn new things. Tonight we will celebrate with some cake and his few presents from us and his grandparents after dinner. Maybe this weekend if the weather will cooperate we can go to a park or something fun. Happy Birthday K!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meal Planning

I find that it is hard for me to figure out what to make for dinner every night. On a few of the thrifty blogs I read they make out a meal plan for a week to a month at a time. A lot of their meal plans seem to be very detailed including all three meals and snacks. I have decided to try figuring out dinners for a pay period at a time. I found that when I tried to make it specific to a day that on that day I did not want to eat what I had planned. I then decided it was better if I just came up with the 15 or so meals on a list to choose from each morning. This worked better for me since I don't like to eat things too similar two nights in a row but also want to be able to use up leftovers before they go bad. I have done this for 3 pay periods now. Not only is it saving a little bit of money because I am not stressed out trying to figure dinner and end up going out to eat but also I have been able to get the majority of our groceries in one shopping trip per pay period. I get everything to make those planned meals and a few extra items that may be on a great sale or for lunches, breakfasts, or snacks. I only have to go back to the store for milk, bread, and produce. It is working well so far. Here is my list for this pay period.

1-chicken broccoli rice casserole
2-crockpot chicken pot pie
3-impossibly easy cheeseburger pie
4-teriyaki chcken and rice
5-stir fry
7-Thanksgiving turkey dinner
8-chili & cornbread or rice
9-chili dogs
12-homemade pizza
13-chicken noodle soup & grilled cheese
14-slop and rice
15-mini meatloaves, corn, mashed potatoes

Tonight we are having chili.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10 Free Books For Military Members or Spouses

Another military wife on a board that I am part of shared with me that you can get 10 free books/playaway audio books from Military One Source per year. If you would like to order go here and check out their list of books. I ordered our books for this year and hope they get some other options next year to order. Shipping was also free.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Holiday Spending

Every year I hear how many people go in debt to buy their children/family gifts for the holidays. It is really sad knowing that they are going to be paying for months to come for just a day or two of happiness. I used to do this but about 3-4 years ago I had a brilliant idea. Instead of waiting until the last minute to buy gifts and spend money I opened a special savings account. We have $50 dollars a month deposited automatically so we do not miss the money from our spending/ bills money. This gives us a total of $600 for the year. Another nice part of having this account dedicated to this purpose is that if I find a great deal that one of my kids would love in June I have the extra money already set aside to buy the gift to put up.

Since I started this holiday account I have also limited the number of gifts my children recieve. I cut this down to one gift per child from the parents and one gift from the jolly man in red. There might be a few extra gifts for the whole family like movies or games but limiting the gifts has made for a much more pleasureable experience for everybody in my family. Since limiting the gifts I find that we do not spend the $600 just on the holidays, now it even includes the kids birthdays. I am so glad that I started this gift fund so that I am not one of the people going into more debt just for the holidays. I have recommended this option to some of my friends who do stress about the money at the holiday times but none of them has yet to do it. I will continue to try to give my advice when they are complaining about how to pay for the holidays but, you know no body will listen until they are ready for the help.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Overseas Commissary Score - Quaker Products

Today I went to the commissary to get some milk and as I walked in I got a great deal on some fruit and Quaker products. They had the Quaker chewy granola bars 10 count on sale for $1.50 a box with $1.00 off two coupons. Next to them they had buy 5 Quaker items and get $3.00 off produce. The strawberries were marked down to $2.09 a pound. If you buy 10 boxes of granola bars and 3 containers of strawberries with 5 granola bar coupons and 2 produce coupons the total was $10.27 plus the checkout fees.

You could also do this with the Quaker instant oatmeal for a little bit more. The oatmeal was on sale for $1.79 a box. If you buy 10 of these and 3 containers of strawberries with 5 $1.00 off 2 oatmeal coupons and 2 produce coupons the total would be $13.17 plus the check out fees.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My One August Post

Oops. I guess I have been too busy and tired to update my blog so I figured I should at least get one post in. Now that I am 12 weeks along will share the good news that we are expecting baby#4. Baby#4 is due March 14, 2011. I am still extremely tired all the time and have the worst case of morning sickness of all my pregnancies. I thought that the morning sickness should have calmed by now but I think it is getting worse the further along I get.

Once I get The Man to take the pics off his camera I will share our fun vacation with my parents with you. My parents were here for 12 days the begining of this month and we saw a bunch. We went to 3 amusement parks, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and 2 SeaLife aquariums. It was very busy but it was a great experience for all of us.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where Has The Time Gone??

S turned 10 on July 19th. Wow!! Where has the time gone? It surely doesn't seem like it has been 10 years since I was 20 and having my first baby boy. That time in my life was definitely not a great time for me to be having a baby, but I did it. I chose to continue on and have him and what a great choice that was. I grew up pretty quickly once I had him because I knew I had to give him a place to live and clothes and food. I ended up having a c-section with him because they induced me due to "low fluids". I tried hard to breast feed him but I failed miserably. I managed to "nurse" him for 3 days and then continued to pump for a month til my milk production was almost nonexistent.

I lived with my parents for almost the first year of his life. That was very hard because even though I was his Mom I still had my Mom trying to dictate my life. I was so relieved when I moved out on my own. We had a rough couple of years financially, but we made it. He always had a roof over his head, clothes on his body, food in his tummy, and most of all he was loved. I married The Man when S was 5 and our lives have improved and become more comfortable. I am able to be a stay at home mom now and am always here when he or his brothers need me.

S just finished 4th grade and he made the A-B Honor roll all 4 quarters. He also excelled in math. He started the year in 4th grade level math and the last week of school tested to a 7th grade level math. He LOVES math and would do no other work ever again if he could just do math. Just like me while I was in school. ;)

This past year he started playing soccer. He is really doing well at it since this is his first year in sports. He loves it and I think it is good for him to run like that all the time. The sign-ups for soccer should be starting again soon. I think it would be nice to try to get him involved with a local British team but they have games on Saturdays almost all year round. We are trying to walk the fine line of sports and traveling England while we are here. He is still young and has plenty of time to practice soccer when we are stateside again.

Wow!! Happy birthday S!!! I hope you have a great 10th year.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Garden

As I posted before this is my first year attempting a garden and it has made me proud. Some of our plants we bought as baby plants and the rest we started from seeds. To save on money for the cost of plants or seeds my friend B and I each bought different seeds to share or split the cost of plants. This worked out well for us because we were able to save some money but also use more seeds before the expiration date on the packages. We are in the process of trying to grow potatoes in a bag, marigolds for pest control, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, a couple different types of peppers, cucumber, pumpkin, chocolate peppermint, strawberries, carrots, chives, coriander, parsley, onions, and garlic. It has been a pretty chilly spring/summer up until this past week and suddenly with the warm weather the plants have grown quite a bit.

The cauliflower was bought at a local market as baby plants. My friend B and I bought a container with 9 plants to share. She took 5 for her garden and I took 4 for mine. All 4 of mine have grown very well so far and we got to eat our first one this past weekend. It was so fulfilling to eat something that came from the garden that I have been tending for several months now.

The broccoli was started from seed and wow did it take well. I planted about 12 seeds and 10 made it to the garden. Since then I lost one of the plants that was planted in the garden but all of the others seem to be doing really well.

Our lettuce, spinach, and herbs other than the chocolate peppermint were started from seed and have taken off really well. We have had salads and spinach in our crock pot lasagna. The Man's favorite part of the garden is the herbs because he loves to experiment in the kitchen. He loves to cook on the weekends and try to get creative to help everybody learn to eat different food options.

We had bad luck starting peppers this year. Out of probably 10 different seed pots we managed to get one plant. We decided to buy 4 pre-started plants to add to our one and see how it goes. They are all pretty small but seem to be doing OK so far.

Cucumber is another one that I have had a hard time growing from seed. I had big dreams to learn how to can pickles this year but out of about 10 seed pots I managed to get 2 plants and they are still quite small. I am quite sad about this because I do not think that I will have enough cucumbers to try pickling this year. Oh well I will not get discouraged and try again next year but probably using a different type of cucumber. Any suggestions?

Tomatoes seem to grow quite well here. We bought 2 pre-started plants and then have 3 others in the garden that I got from seed. I still have a couple started plants in the mini greenhouse waiting for either more space in the garden or some more pots to grow them in. The two pre-started plants have started to flower and get small tomatoes on them but the seeds I started are a little behind on that. The warmer weather this past week has really helped my seed tomatoes grow better.

My strawberries have proven to be the kids' favorite but they have become the beetles' favorite plant to attack as well. The kids love when there are red strawberries and they can pick them and eat them. We had quite a few strawberries ripen before the beetles came and now there are quite a few less. It is sad to lose them to the beetles. They started eating the leaves and my plants look quite pitiful now. i am hoping that they didn't actually burrow and place their eggs below my plants to kill them off totally.

The onions and garlic was started in the fall and were supposed to be ready by now but I think with the cold weather just have not gotten to their full potential yet so I am keeping a close eye on them. Neither of them have produced a full sized product yet. The onions had a really bad growing rate. Out of 24 onions I planted I have 8 that have kept alive. I am not quite sure if it was just a bad set of onions or if it was the huge pigeons. Which ever it was it was disappointing. The garlic was great. Every single clove of garlic I planted grew. Now just to let them mature enough so I can have garlic to eat. I will also reuse one of the cloves to replant for next year if they give quality cloves.

Gardening has proven to not only help save money on fruits and vegetables but to also give me something to occupy my time and teach my children about growing food. I am hoping they will take these lessons on with them and start them out earlier in their life than 30. The things I have learned in the past few years to save money would have been nice to figure out when I was a single mom. It really helps now though for me to be able to stay home and stretch The Man's paycheck.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Enter To Win A Free Ergo Baby Carrier

I have dreamed of having one of these Ergo baby carriers since I got pregnant with T but have not been able to shell out the money for one yet. If you are having a baby, have a baby, or know someone who has or having a baby head on over to Takin' Care Of Twins and enter their free giveaway of an absolutely wonderful carrier. Please let them know that Andrea from Striving for Peace sent you.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Audley End House

Yesterday we decided to buy an English Heritage pass and find a place to go visit. The Man picked out the Audley End House and Gardens. I really didn't know what to expect other than a day out away from the house exploring something of England's history. The day was gorgeous and the time out with the family was amazing.

This was part of the laundry rooms and I fell in LOVE with the clothes drying racks. They are on pulley systems so they could be lowered to hang the clothes and then raised out of the way while drying. I had The Man take a picture of it because it is my ultimate dream of a drying rack. Living in military housing we have our washer and dryer in the kitchen and I do not like it one bit. One day when we are able to buy a house I aim for having something like this to hang my clothes on in an actual laundry room.

We got to watch a show of horses and riders. There were 6 riders, 3 male and 3 female. Each team consisted of one female and one male rider. They did a relay race showing how they could take items like champagne glasses filled with champagne or tea kettles back and forth while galloping and jumping over small gates. The men also demonstrated how they play polo. I know I would for sure fall off a horse doing the things they were doing. I was amazed at the ladies riding side saddle and how fast the horses could go without them falling off.

It was a great day and now we have a year pass to many different historical sites here around England.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dietary Changes

The Man and I are both over weight so I decided that some dietary changes were in order. We are making them slowly but I have noticed a change already. Our first step is to eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from our food and eat more fruits and vegetables. Shopping for food without HFCS is interesting to say the least. Many foods have HFCS in it. I have done pretty good at finding replacements for many things that we eat on a normal basis. I buy my Coke off base on the economy. British Coke is made with sugar and not HFCS. I have found that several of the foods that I can buy at the commissary that are without the HFCS are organic. We havent bought many organic items in the past due to cost but I have decided that losing weight and being healthier is more important than the increased cost of food. Also since cutting out the HFCS I have noticed that I feel fuller, longer. I am not sure if this is a mental thing due to knowing that the food is more expensive or if it is an effect of eating foods made with sugars rather than the HFCS. I guess time will tell this one. I also have noticed less cravings for candies/chocolates. My scale has been teasing me for a couple days now. I havent been under 200lbs since my second was born over 3 years ago. The scale for the past couple days has been teetering between 199 and 200. I think it knows how much I really want to get under 200 again. It will happen slowly but surely. My next step is going to be dramatically reducing the amount of food with soybean oil.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's My Anniversary

Today is our 5th anniversary! When I met The Man I was at a point in my life when I had been divorced from a loser, had declared bankruptcy, and just wasnt sure that my happily ever after was meant to happen. I knew what I wanted in a man but had yet to find the one who fit in all my crazy criteria. The Man fit perfectly. He was tall and amazingly gorgeous. He had a decent job, an apartment of his own and paid his bills. He had his own car and knew how to keep his home tidy. He was amazingly sweet with flowers and opening doors. I was in awe of him. I had gotten to the point in my life when I was happy with being alone and raising S by myself. I had originally agreed to go on a date with him because he was HOT and I was game for a free meal. After our first date when he spoke to my face all night and not to my chest I was sold. We went to dinner and then sat in the parking lot talking until almost 2 am when we got asked to leave by the night security for the parking lot. I went home and thought to myself 'wow if he calls me he is the one'. He did call. He called as soon as he got home to check and make sure I had made it home ok.

We ran off to Vegas and eloped on April 18, 2005. There have been ups and downs but mostly ups. I feel absolutely blessed that we found each other. He is a wonderful dad and husband and I cherish each and every day we have together. I love you Hubby xoxoxo

Friday, April 16, 2010

It Has Been A Little While

Well I haven't updated in a while. I have been busy and been trying to fight off a small bout of the blues. S is in soccer now and that is taking up 2-3 nights a week. He loves his sports and I am proud to watch him do something that he loves so much. I am still trying to get T potty trained but it is not going so well. He was day time potty trained before we left Tucson to come here but since the move has resorted back to diapers. He just has no interest and fights going on the toilet or potty chair. K is a big boy. He weighs in at 30lbs at 16 months. No wonder I have a hard time carrying him around for very long. We have a new male member in our family now. We adopted a 4.5 month old shih tzu. His name is bear. Of course I wanted the small dog and the dog loves The Man. I find it very cute to see the puppy curled up on The Man's lap watching TV. Angel is loving having another dog around as she thinks that all other dogs and people should play with her and pet her all the time. That might be a bit of my fault since I spoil her.

The blues I am having are quite frustrating. While I love being here and don't mind being away from the rest of my family I do miss my friends in the states and being able to shop very cheaply. My grocery budget here has at least doubled as I don't have more than a few options for stores and double/triple coupons are nonexistent. Spring is here and the weather is getting nice so I was hoping for some chances to explore but the money just seems to be a bit tighter. I am still paying off the last two credit cards and those should be done by the end of this year or the beginning of next year and that will free up some money but right now it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I am also missing the me time. I feel extremely selfish for wanting me time but I really feel that it has been too long since I got to go out and be myself without all the worries of the house. I would go out alone but I am too nervous to be out by myself for safety sake.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

He's Home!!!

YAY!! After 3 weeks of The Man being gone and the kids driving me batty the entire time he is finally home. I am so glad for him to be home. I missed him terribly. The kids missed his terribly. T would cry almost every night about how he missed his daddy. This made me sad because there was nothing I could do to make him happy at that point. This is the first time daddy has been gone that it really affected him and it made it harder for me. He has even asked daddy to make sure he is going to be home when he wakes up before he goes to bed the past couple of nights. I hope that he can get enough comfort in the fact that daddy is home by the time daddy has to go back to work next week so that the break downs do not start over again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Grump Of The Day

I am going to preface my grump today with the parts I do like about being a military wife. I do like the military because we have a steady paycheck. We get dental and medical benefits. We also get housing benefits and retirement options. And I must say The Man looks amazing in his uniform. But besides all those good things there are a few bad things. Next month I will have been married for 5 years and The Man has been deployed, at school, or TDY for about half of that time. The time he has been home we have had to struggle through constantly changing work shifts. I have been lucky enough to have The Man work the day shift for approximately 1.5 month total in the time we have been together. Most of the time he is either working the 3p - 11p shift never being home for homework, dinner or bedtimes or he is working the 11p - 7a shift attempting to sleep during the day and being extremely grumpy while he is awake. He has been gone for 3 weeks now fixing a broken airplane and this has been a rough 3 weeks for me. We are in a foreign country with no family and I have all of 1 friend here. Of course as my luck would have it that he would be gone while my 1 friend's family was visiting and I couldnt just call her and whine when my children were misbehaving. The rest of my friends are in several different states and of course different time zones which I still have not figured out. It is quite lonely not having anybody to talk to other than my children. When I married The Man I never figured this would be an issue. I had one son and worked a full time job. I had plenty of stimulation throughout my days. Now I have three sons and am a stay at home mom and feel like I do not get enough stimulation in my day any more. I love the fact that we can manage to make ends meet with me being home but I really want to be one of those super moms. You know the kind who have nice clean houses all the time, their children listen perfectly and they always look put together. Sorry for my grump of the day but I am feeling pretty sorry for myself today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ebates Headache

So as I mentioned about buying the soccer shoes for my son and going through ebates to get the deal, it has been nothing but a headache. I did not get any money back from them when I shopped through their site because I used the "we miss you" coupon that adidas sent to my email. Well apparently you cannot use a coupon found elsewhere when you are using ebates. This is not the first time I have been denied the money for some reason or another but this time I was able to at least get an explanation. At the moment I am waiting on the money sitting in my ebates account to be deposited into my Paypal account and then I will not be using them any more because I feel like I can earn money faster with Mypoints and Swagbucks as they have other ways of earning the points than just shopping online.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Other Female In My House

My dog is a big huge baby. She is a labrador-bullmastiff mix weighing in at 120 lbs. She was a $100.00 mutt that I finally convinced The Man to let me get after I was gifted $100.00 in a tip for doing my friend's hair for her wedding. She was a tiny little thing when we got her and she was squirmy but loved her cuddles. We drove almost an hour to go pick her up. She was the only chocolate female puppy left. The others were all solid black and most were boys. I have always had a soft spot for a chocolate labs and I wanted a girl puppy since at that point I was outnumbered 2 to 1. We drove her home and I got to be the one to take care of her every deed. The Man deployed for a few months 2 weeks after she came to live with us. I was pregnant with son #2 and I managed to successfully potty train her and make sure that she didnt chew up anything other than her toys before he got back and I had the baby. I was a sucker and let her sleep with me while he was gone that time and several others. I found that she is a huge comfort to me. She hogs the bed like The Man. She farts like The Man. And she snores just like The Man. She is almost 4 years old now and I cannot get her on the bed anymore. She doesnt have the spring in her to get up there by herself anymore and she weighs too much for me to lift her up there. It makes me sad so I try to lay on ther floor or her bed as much as I can so that she still gets the spoiled cuddles that she deserves. She is awesome with the boys. She lets them play all over her and she just lays there. I almost wish there was a way to recreate her so that I could have her forever. I love the dog. We girls stick together.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My House Is Relaxing Now

It is amazing how relaxing a clean house is. Since The Man and I got married almost 5 years ago we have just had too much stuff. Even though our house wasnt messy it was most definatly cluttered and unorganized. I decided this is my year of change since this year started a new decade in my life. I was not going to keep looking at the clutter and keep getting frustrated because I felt that my house was a pig sty no matter how much I cleaned. I have been going through room after room and trying to figure out if the things we have are things we need or actually use. If it is not in one of those two categories it must go. My house over the last week or so has finally started to feel like a comfortable place to be for me. It is still a work in progress and probably always will be but my hope is that if I can keep one step ahead of the clutter I will not dislike being in my own home. Do you have any tips for keeping the house clutter free?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Half A Pork

I was looking on our local ad list yesterday and noticed a local farmer selling half a pig for 75 Brittish Pounds (or about $115). This is an extremely great deal because it works up to less than $2.50 a pound of meat which is considerably less than the commissary. I wrote to the farmer and asked him what all this included since I have never ordered directly from a farmer before. He said it would include all the meat from your half of the pig (approx. 50 lbs) already cut up and bagged including pork sausages from the excess. Once The Man gets home from his TDY we are going to do this as I would love to have a ham, pork chop, or ribs since we havent been able to swallow the price of pork here.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Yesterday was a really bad day. The Man has been gone TDY for over a week and for some reason this trip has been very hard on me. I have been through deployments, deployments during pregnancy, TDYs, and training making him gone for a good portion of our marriage. I think I have dealt pretty well on all of them except the first one after we got married til this trip. We got paid and so I decided it was time to go grocery shopping which being the weekend meant I had to take all three boys. I decided since most times they are in great moods in the morning I would take them after breakfast before they got hungry and tired. This logics did not work for me. A trip to the store that probably should have taken me about 30 minutes took me over an hour. I was all prepared with my shopping list and coupons knowing I was going to be bringing them along. The two older ones decided to fight and pick on each other and run through the store like maniacs. This made me crazy. I was so upset when I left the store I broke down and cried a bit. This attitude from the two older ones continued through the rest of the day.

The baby was pretty good during shopping but he is a needy child. He constantly needs me near him. He cries a lot and for reasons I dont understand. I make sure he is fed, clean diaper, drink and cuddles and sometime this just doesnt make him stop crying. The only other thing I can think of is he is teething again. I do not know what to do about teething besides give him some tylenol which I dont like to do since the teething neclace broke. I really believe that necklace worked miracles but havent been able to replace it as of yet.

I also decided I needed to shampoo my carpets since someone spilled something purplish on it. I tried to get my kids to help me pick up their clothes and toys and this just led to more fighting. I cant imagine how hard it is to pick up about 10 items that belong to you when someone takes care of almost all of your other needs. Everytime I ask for one of them to do something I seem to always get the "but why?" or just flat out ignored. I would really LOVE to know the secret behind a mid to large size family and their tricks of getting the children to help and being able to keep things in order.

I am so glad yesterday is done!! Today was much better and I hope tomorrow will be even better.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today was not a great day. I am off to bed. Tomorrow has to be better.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Family Movie Night

On most Fridays we pick a family movie, eat dinner in the living room and enjoy each other's company. This week The Man is gone so it is just me and the boys. They wanted to watch Where The Wild Things Are. I have never actually read the book even though it came out when I was a kid. Not knowing what the movie was about I found it a bit confusing but love the characters.I can relate with Max on his feeling of running away when it feels like someone who it supposed to love you doesn't want to pay attention to you. It is also very hard to fit in and make everybody happy sometimes. I think the ending is beautiful in the fact that Max goes back home and you can see the love between mother and son. I think I will try to get the book for the family once I get enough swagbucks for more amazon gift cards.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Am A Chicken...

There are days, like today, that I feel I have accomplished nothing but running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I spent all day cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my children but my house looks no better than it did before I tried cleaning it more. The reality is there are two or three (when oldest is out of school) little ones that run behind one of me and make more messes while I am still cleaning up the one they just got done making. Then when I go in the kitchen to make dinner or any other meal, they seem to feel they have free reign to make even more messes. I will never lay claim to being the world's best housekeeper but I don't think I am horrible at it either. The three of them seem to know just how to do it so that I feel I am NEVER done. I never remember my house being this hard to keep up when I was working. I think it is probably because I was gone too much for it to ever have a chance to get really messy. I love my boys but man I sure would love it even more if they liked cleaning as much as they like making messes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Classico Pasta Sauce

I am amazed at this pasta sauce. I have been buying the cheapest kinds in the cans but decided to try something new when I found a coupon to make this sauce about 20 cents more than the cheap brand. I was excited to pick up the jar and see the pieces of garlic in the sauce. We love garlic in our house. Then I read the ingredients and there is no added preservatives and I can understand all the ingredients in the jar. This is a plus since we are trying to be thriftier and healthier. The jar is unique in the fact it is a mason jar although the company says not to reuse them for canning. It would be really nice if they would make them in actual jars that could be reused to do home canning.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Preparing For A Garden

The weather today was gorgeous. It was a high of about 48-50 degrees and sunny. The Man and I took full advantage of this and started preparing for a garden. The Man told me when we got orders to England that we would be able to have a garden since it wasn't too hot like Tucson was. We dug out our area and took all the weeds and branches to the compost bin. We then mixed in 7 bags of soil. I will have to get more soil because this was not nearly enough. We already have winter onions and garlic in the ground which should be ready in June. My garlic looks wonderful. My onions look pitiful. We shall see how they turn out soon enough. I also planted my first potato grow bag today. I have three of these bags and will plant them about 6 weeks apart so that we have potatoes longer. In our new dug out garden area we have planned to grow tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. We would like to grow more but jsut are not sure what to try. I also have two strawberry bags. In one I will grow herbs and I think I will try strawberries in the other. This is my first full year attempting a garden. A few years ago I would not have thought gardening was for me but I realized just with the few things and short growing time last year that gardening is almost theriputic to me.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

29 Reasons To Love Life

Today is the last day before I turn the big 3-0. I have a wonderful life and thought I would share 29 reasons I love my life (not in particular order).

1. I get to wake up to hugs and kisses everyday
2. I have an amazing husband
3. I have 3 awesome boys
4. I see the sun poking through the clouds today
5. Mmmm yummy chocolate chip pankcake muffins for breakfast
6. My doggie loves me
7. I have a roof over my head
8. I have great food in my cupboards
9. Cast iron pans make me happy
10. I get to watch The Man play rugby today
11. I have an end in sight til I have no more debt
12. I didn't have to do the dishes yesterday
13. I have a great wardrobe of clothes
14. I am enjoying a 4 year trip living in England
15. I have wonderful friends both in the USA and England
16. I have a reliable car
17. Chocolate
18. Flowers
19. Online shopping
20. The crockpot makes my life easier
21. Home cooked meals
22. My pink laptop
23. Snuggling on the fold out couch for movie night with the family
24. Ed Hardy perfume
25. Brittish Coca Cola
26. Being a MOM
27. Being a WIFE
28. Being alive and healthy
29. This is the last day til I turn 30 and start a new decade of my life

Friday, February 26, 2010

Homemade Iced Coffee

I dont drink coffee on a daily basis because I do not like hot coffee and I am too cheap to buy an iced coffee at the store so I decided to figure out a cheap way to make it at home. For the coffee I use The Mans left over coffee from the morning when he is done drinking what he will and then put the rest in ice cube trays and freeze. I made a vanilla simple syrup from 1 part sugar, 1 part water and a vanilla bean for flavoring. I mixed the frozen coffee cubes with a bit of the vanilla syrup and some milk in the blender and it is almost as tasty as buying a $4 coffee at the store. I have to say I like it much better because it is a tasty treat for me and not a hit in the pocket.

I'd like to thank B for the idea to freeze the coffee itself as I used to just pour the cold coffee in the blender with ice, milk, and flavoring. The coffee ice cubes are so much better because they do not water the flavor down.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Money Back For Shopping Online

I signed up S for outdoor soccer through the youth center. He needs some soccer shoes and the selection is limited for my price range around here. The store on the base usually only gets one option and they sell out quick. I have found that shopping online if they will ship to an APO is cheaper and a lot less stressful. I found that through adidas.com I could order a pair of soccer shoes for $28 + $5 shipping. Adidas.com had sent me a coupon code for 15% off because I had not shopped on their site in a while which brought my total down to $28.80. I combined this with Ebates to get 6% of my total back as well. Ebates cash back will be $1.19 if shipping is not included or $1.44 if they include the shipping in the cost. This is quite reasonable to me and their shipping is quite fast. I should have the shoes in a week or two.

Sign up with Ebates today and after your first qualifying purchase of $20 or more you will get a $5 bonus.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Decluttering. Hmm that is a great word. It makes me feel great to rid my house of useless to me things and free up more space.

I am in the process of decluttering my house. It is interesting how many "cool treasures" (according to my mother in law) one family of 5 can collect. I have been through the closets and managed to donate 3 trash bags of clothes. I could probably get rid of another one or two but The Man refuses to get rid of any of his too-small-haven't-been-worn-in-10-years shirts. I am convinced now I am going to find someone who can make a quilt out of these shirts so atleast they might be useful. I am hoping I can find someone to do it for a reasonable amount too since I will have to ship them off and pay to have them shipped back too.

Toys. Oh My Goodness Toys. With 3 boys we have quite the collection of toys. I cant remember ever having 1/3rd of the toys these boys have. I managed to donate about 4 full trash bags of toys and they still have enough to have an entire cluttered playroom full of toys. I have tried and tried to convince the grandparents to only send one toy per child per occasion but I have figured out I can tell them til I am blue in the face and they will never listen. I think I am going to try again this year to enforce that, even if they dont listen I wont feel as bad donating the toys they send. I just cannot replace the good quality toys that all three of the boys play with to keep some random new toy that will be broken or forgotten about in a matter of weeks.

I have managed to get the kitchen and living room in pretty tidy order but the one place I am having a HUGE issue with is the "room of doom". This room of doom is a tiny bedroom that is full of stuff. I am not sure there is much stuff that is worth keeping in there but I have tried to convince The Man to clean it out and he will not part with anything. We have an old xbox and playstation in there that have not been played with in the almost 5 years we have been married but he will not part with them. We have the new versions of each so there really is no reason not to donate them and let some other family get some good use out of them. There are also many random computer parts in there. I do not understand the logics of keeping so many parts that probably havent been used in a few years either. Aside from all of the electronic treasures I couldn't even start to tell you what else is in this room. This room is going to be the last of my decluttering effort as it is going to be the most stressful. I am still trying to figure out how to convince The Man to get rid of his "cool treasures".

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Like Candy..... A Lot

One thing I like about holidays is that after the holidays the candy goes on sale. Living overseas the candy doesn't get as cheap as it does in the states but it still goes on sale. My middle son and I took a little trip to the store today and bought a bunch of marked down Valentine's Day candies. They were all marked 50% or more off the original price. Now to figure out where to hide it so that the kids don't try to eat it all in one sitting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Today is a day to celebrate the things you love in life. For me the most important, lovable things are not things at all but people. They are my wonderful family.

The Man- I married The Man almost 5 years ago. Our love has grown tons since we said I DO in Vegas. We had a rough first year trying to settle in to a new life together. After the first year life has been absolutely AMAZING. He is the most sweet, kind, caring, handsome husband I could have ever asked for. I LOVE THE MAN!!!

S- S is my oldest son. He is 9 years old and has been a great gift in my life. He was born to me, a poor, single mother at 20 years old. I had no clue what it would be like to be a mother. I was scared and lost in life. I chose to have him and figure it out anyway. We had some rough patches but he has been a great part of my life. We always made it out alive and ahead. I watch him grow and mature every day and cannot figure out where the time has gone. I am very proud of how well he does in school. He is also an awesome big brother. He begged for a brother or sister since he was about 2 or 3. I couldn't give him that luxury because I was alone. Once T was born he just immediately took to him and has watched over him since. I LOVE S!!!

T- T is the middle child. He is 3 years old. He is a love and joy and another one of the sweetest boys ever. He was the first child that The Man and I tried for. We tried many cycles to get pregnant with him. He is a bright child as well. He is doing well on learning his colors, numbers, and letters. He gets a little jealous of K sometimes but I am glad to have a big enough lap that I can cuddle them both and get lots of loves. I LOVE T!!!

K- K is the baby at the moment. He is almost 15 months old. He is by far my neediest child yet. He is very sweet in his own little way though. He needs to be held and cuddled a lot. He will give wide open mouth kisses and forehead. Forehead is where he gives this devilish look and then put his forehead to yours and then smile happily. I LOVE K!!!

My boys all make my life more complete. I am blessed everyday by the miracles I was given. I couldn't imagine my life with a better family. I am extremely happy and proud of my great little family. I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful family!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yay One Better On Our Credit Debt

When we paid some debt off with our tax return we paid off two of our credit cards. I wasn't sure that we were going to keep these cards open since they were charging a $39 per year membership fee. I called today to ask them to remove the fee and they did without any fight. It is only for one year but I can call again next year and ask them to waive the fees too. If they don't waive the fees then we can close the accounts but for now they are just in case of an emergency. We shouldn't have to use them because we have also put a little money in savings in case of life's little emergencies. I spent a total of 15 minutes on the phone and I saved us $78.00 this year. Yay I can put that money towards some other debt.

Friday, February 12, 2010

So Proud!!!

Since my oldest moved into 4th grade they have been giving out A-F grades at school. I got to go to the honor roll assembly at the school today. My oldest was on the A/B honor roll for the second time this school year. I am extremely proud of his accomplishments and hard work. I being the proud mommy that I am tried to take pictures of him but the way the children were situated on the podium there was a girl in front of him that was much taller than my son and I was only able to capture the top of his head. I will take pictures tonight to send to the grandparents so they can relish in the moment too. Great Job S!!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Struggle As A Stay At Home Mom/Housewife

I struggle almost daily with being a stay at home mom/housewife. Before I was a stay at home mom I worked in a hair salon 5 days a week and my oldest son had to go to daycare or an after school program when I worked. I actually enjoyed working other than the old lady boss who needed to retire. I would see probably between 10 and 30 customers per shift. It was always something different. I always had immediate feedback and I would get compliments on my quality of work often. I knew I was good at what I did. When The Man asked me to stay home when I was pregnant with number 2 I fought with the idea in my head and in my heart. I wouldn't have to miss my kids milestones or most of their days any more but I would have to have more duties in the house and not very many opportunities for adult interaction. I reluctantly agreed with The Man after talking to him about my concerns. I am not the perfect housekeeper and I can be quite unorganized at times. I find I will start one task and half way through sometimes I will walk away to do something else and totally forget what I was originally doing. It really takes a toll on me because I really cant figure out a GOOD daily routine that allows me to get everything done and entertain the kids all day as well. One thing I discussed with The Man before I started staying home was that I knew I wasn't going to be great at the housework and that I could not be the only one responsible for all of the housework alone. I understand that The Man works hard and brings home the money but I don't think he understands how hard it is entertaining, trying to teach the kids, and cleaning house all day. He thinks that I get to sit and watch TV and play on the computer all day. I rarely ever have the TV on since I find most of the shows a little absurd and the extra noise is just a headache waiting to happen. The Man used to be a real huge help around the house when I first started staying home but recently has started to lay more in my lap. It is difficult for me to confront him about this issue as I get quite angry and lose my words easily and cannot explain my feelings eloquently. I feel strongly about helping my two little ones learn the basics they would learn if they were attending a preschool since they are home with me all day and do not have the option of daycare to help them learn. I love watching them learn new things everyday. There are days like today when I really would like to scream at The Man and put the kids in daycare and go back to work but, where would that get me? Not very far as the daycare here is quite expensive and I most likely couldn't make up the cost of daycare as well as my cost of clothing and other job related expenses like new tools and such. I really do try to cherish each and every moment at home but today I am having a hard time with that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Meatloaf- The Bombdiggity

Before The Man and I got married I was a single mom living on not much money and barely made ends meet. Because of this I find that I am a crazy woman when it comes to keeping my pantry stocked and having tons of food in my house. I stock up on sales and use coupons as best as I can. I have a tiny pantry closet in the kitchen as well as one cupboard I dedicate to food storage. This was not enough so we went to Costco (yes, they have Costco in England) and bought a freestanding shelving unit. The man put it upstairs in our one decent sized storage closet and I use that area for stocking up on food as well. I also realized that the price of meat here is OUTRAGEOUS. I had to figure something out to help with our grocery budget. I have found a new love for lentils. I have found I can hide them in a few meals and am always looking for more. So far I have managed to hide them in meatloaf, chili, and taco meat. The kids have not even known they were in there. This helps to extend my grocery budget and meat filled meals. Last night I wanted meatloaf for dinner. I decided to try to hide some lentils in it to see if I could get the kids to eat it. I mixed 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork, 1 egg, old fashioned oatmeal, about 2 cups of cooked lentils, diced onion, garlic salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. I cooked this on 350 for about 40 minutes then spread ketchup over the top and cooked for about another 15-20 minutes. I loved this mix, the boys loved this mix and then after The Man got home from work in the middle of the night he came to bed and told me my meatloaf was the bombdiggity. I had to laugh half asleep because he eats almost everything that is served to him but this one was something new and something that was good enough for a compliment.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tax Return- Debt Repayment

Being of a lower income and having 3 children we have been getting some pretty hefty tax returns since we have been married. We enjoy this extra money because it helps us get closer to our goals. With this tax return we were able to pay off 2 of our 4 credit cards and pay my mother back. Paying off the credit cards is nice but paying my mother off money that I borrowed more than 5 years ago feels even better. I feel so lucky to be able to repay her and not owe her anything any more. We have two more credit cards and our van to pay off to be completely debt free. I figure that the other two credit cards will take about a year to pay off and the van should be within the year following that. I really wanted to be debt free by January 2011 but I have come to more of a realization that while we are living in England we need to experience the country as well as repay our debts. With our enjoying England and repaying what we owe I think It should only add about 6-9 months of payments to my original January 2011 date. This will also be paying our van off about 3 years prior to the original payoff. I must say I feel really blessed that life is going great and that even though I was scared England was going to leave us totally broke, it hasn't and we actually have more now and new experiences.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

Today my oldest son had out of school for a teacher workday. We took the opportunity to watch Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. The movie is very cute and definitely worth the time to sit and watch. I thought it taught some good lessons such as "never give up on your dreams" and "being greedy and getting everything you want isn't always best." I don't generally let the boys watch a whole lot of TV but this movie was such a good one and they were being good so I let them watch it twice when they asked to watch it again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Since When Is My Time Less Important Than Yours?

Today is the first time I have had to have a military provider appointment and man am I disappointed. In the States I used Tricare standard so I could pick and choose my doctors and if I didn't like my care then I could switch without the headache of referrals. Being overseas I do not have that much luxury. I have to be seen at the Military Treatment Facility. I arrived for my 12:45 appointment at 12:25 knowing that I would have to fill out some paperwork since I haven't been seen there. I filled out the papers and was called back to a room promptly. Yay, I am going to be seen like a normal human. WRONG!!!! After sitting in the little room alone for 30 minutes someone finally came and said it would only be a few more minutes. Yeah right a few more minutes. It was almost 15 minutes later when the doctor would finally walk in. I was there for my annual pap and to get my IUD removed. I had originally tried to get an appointment in the OBGYN clinic as that is what I would have done in the States. I was denied and told to go to the Family Practice clinic. Guess what?? They couldn't take care of my IUD removal so now here I wait for who knows how many days to get a referral and then who knows how much longer to get an actual appointment. This is definitely not my ideal heath care system.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Free Store

Being a part of a military family does have a few perks. Most bases have some kind of help for families in need. Here they have a free store commonly referred to as the Airman's Attic or Community Closet. This is like a free thrift store. Being overseas this is open to all ranks but I believe that in the States it is usually limited to E4 and below. You can go in and find clothes, housewares, books, toys and more. The only rule is that nothing there is for resale. This has been a great resource for us since we have 3 growing boys who always seem to need clothes. The best part about it is that when my boys are done with the clothes or shoes or toys we can bag them up and take them back to help out another family. We also take in stuff that we have bought ourselves to help replenish their stock. I find great joy taking a bag of stuff in to help others. It really helps me in reducing clutter and it definitely helps in my debt plan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Free $5 Gift Card

Today I got another $5 amazon gift card from Swagbucks!!! Swagbucks is a search engine that you can earn points for searching anything that you can imagine. Once you get enough points you can cash in your points for prizes. They have lots of prizes but I usually choose to get the Amazon.com gift card since I shop on there all the time anyway. This is very helpful at helping my budget.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Usborne Books & More

So I decided to become a consultant for Usborne books and more so that I could get some great learning books for my boys but also to help earn a few dollars extra towards paying off debt. I am still waiting on my kit as mail can be goofy coming from stateside to the APO address. Once I get my kit I will spend time learning all about the company and hopefully it will give me some ideas on how to host home shows. I am hosting my own eshow right now but so far I am the only person who has placed an order. Hopefully just one of my friends will place one so I don't feel like a total loser. If you would like to look at my website you can find it here. If you find something you would like to buy you can do that through the website and it will be sent straight to your house. If you just browse at the selection please take a minute to at least sign up for the monthly drawing for $50 in books. I think this is a great incentive from the company. I cannot wait to get my package in the mail. Even though the books will be for the kids for fun and to learn from I am like a kid in the candy store when I get packages in my mail box.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How do you do it??

I would LOVE to know some tips on how large families make everything work. How do you manage to take care of all the kids and make sure all the housework gets done and from scratch home meals? If you have some wisdom to share with me I would be eternally grateful.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Life

I have a great life. It has not always been that way as I had a terrible time the first half of my 20's with bad luck. I try to not dwell on those awful things that happened to be but rather give credit to them for making my life the great life that it is now. I have a great family. My husband has got to be a rare breed since I dated many guys before my husband and NEVER did even one come close to being as perfect as he is for me. I have 3 awesome children. S is 9 and poor guy had to go through the rough part of my 20's with me as I had him when I was only 20. He is growing up rather nicely despite the yuk that we went through. He does well in school and strives to be the best in math in his class. He will do something great someday. T is 3 and he is quite the spitfire. He is me when I was 3, looks and attitude. I can tell he is going to be a handful always but I cannot imagine my life without him. K my little guy is almost 14 months and he is so cute and funny and watching his personality develop is fun. He has learned to crawl up the stairs so he can go play with the big boys. He thinks this is the best part of life right now. Oh to be so innocent. My D.O.G. Angel I could never forget her. She is my rock when my husband is gone for work. She knows when I am upset and need comforting or when I just need a slobbery doggie kiss. She is the most expensive cheap dog I could have ever imagined. She was $100 when we got her and between all of her food, shots, her spay, her doggie spa days, and her the expensive trip to England she has cost us well over $3000 in the past 4 years. We are pretty financially secure. We do have some debt but we have an end in site to being debt free. We have a small savings to help deal with emergencies like tires or whatever so that we don't have to put them on our credit cards. We also have a tiny savings that is started for the farm fund. I have to say this is never where I pictured my life to be when I was young but I can say honestly without any doubt in my mind that this is WAY better than any life I had pictured. I LOVE MY LIFE!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Farm Fund

We are working our tails off to be debt free. I figure it will be the first quarter of 2011 when we will have all our credit cards and our van paid off. After we pay all of this off our money goal will be to put money away in our "farm fund" savings. The farm fund is to help us in the future to buy a house on some property and to be able to have what I am referring to as a mini farm. We hope to have a medium to large garden, some chickens, and possibly a cow or two. The mini farm will not be able to be started until my husband retires from the military in 8-10 years unless we manage to get stationed somewhere we love when we go back stateside and find a killer deal on a property. Currently we are learning about gardening through books and trial and error. I hope to learn some canning skills as well this year so that we can preserve the garden bounty. Right now we have some winter onions and garlic in the ground that should be ready to harvest in June. We tried to grow some tomatoes and eggplant this past year but we got started a bit too late and only ended up with one tomato that was edible. The beginning of February we are going to order our plants and seeds for our garden this spring. We would love to have a couple of chickens but due to us living in military housing right now it is not possible. I am a planner so I have this all laid out on a spreadsheet so that I can see the end result. I figure if we play our cards right we should be able to live on The Man's retirement check and part time jobs. This is definitely not most people's ideal living but this is our dream.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A You're Adorable

We picked this book up the other day and my two youngest are in love with it. It is a very easy quick read for young children. It has the A You're Adorable song in the front and back and the whole book is written out with pictures depicting the song. I would definitely recommend this book for helping young kids to read the alphabet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Wow 2009 is done and we are now into 2010. What a wonderful year I am hoping this to be. I am still working towards my goals at being debt free. I have made up a bills plan and hope to have 3 out of the 4 remaining credit cards paid off by May. The final credit card is going to be a little tougher but I think with being strict maybe it can be paid off by December 15, 2010. I will still have about a year to pay on our van and then we will be totally debt free and never to have debt like that again. After we pay off our credit cards we are going to start putting money away in what I have named "farm fund". I am hoping to have enough money to either be able to pay cash for or only accumulate a small mortgage to buy a house with 5+ acres so that we can work at making a mini farm. I want to be able to raise some chickens and have a garden and maybe if we feel brave enough raise a cow or two.

This year I will also turn 30. I am not dreading turning 30 at all. I am actually very excited about it. I had quite a rough start to my 20's that I am convinced now that I have the life I love I most certainly am going to have an awesome 30's. I must credit The Man though for helping to make my life so wonderful now. He is a very sweet loving husband that supports me in all that I do. He also helped bring some very wonderful children into this world and who couldn't love him for that.

This year also will be The Man and I's 5th wedding anniversary. I am thrilled to have made it so far and still so happily. We had a bit of a rough start but we have settled into a great groove and I couldn't ask for a better husband.

My goal this year other than paying off debt like a crazy woman is to try making more of our food from scratch. I don't mind cooking or baking I just despise dishes and a dirty kitchen. My good friend B showed me how easy and yummy homemade bagels are and that is going to be my next new adventure.
I hope everyone is looking forward to 2010 as happily as I am. Happy New Year!!!!