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 I could order a pair of soccer shoes for $28 + $5 shipping. 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.