Archive for August, 2008

Little Diapers

My laugh for this morning:

Me:  “Madalyn, can you go get me a diaper please?”
Madalyn, back from the bathroom with a pack of Stayfree pads in her hands:  “This is little diapers, Mommy.”

LOL.  Little diapers.  Well, she’s got a point.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Since it’s midnight and I am nowhere near sleepy I thought I’d post again.  Haven’t shared favorite things in awhile, so here we go.

Burt’s Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser

I have mentioned this one before, but it’s so great I wanted to mention it again!  Not only does it wake me up in the morning with a wonderful citrus smell but it’s a great cleanser.  My face has been really clear since I switched to organic products. 

Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste

Someone recommended that I also switch to organic toothpaste to help with breakouts on my chin.  So now I use Tom’s of Maine.  It was really working and I got out of the habit of using it and guess what?  Breakouts like crazy again.  So I guess it was a good test and it passed the test . Back to the Tom’s for m!  

Flip Camcorder

OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  How I LOVE this thing!  I just got it Friday night.  I had some crazy overtime hours last week and I have been wanting one of these for a long time so I bit the bullet and got it.  I am always complaining that we don’t take videos of our kids.  I don’t have any of our kid’s birthdays, or Christmases or anything on video.  We technically don’t even own a video camera–we use our church camera on those rare occasions that we want to video something.  Enter the FLIP camera. 

This magnificent little thing will record for up to 60 minutes.  It has no memory card–you simply plug it in to your USB port and away you go!  It takes 2 AA batteries.  It is shear genius.  Now I can pop that thing right in my pocketbook and go.  I’ll never have to complain again about lack of videos.  The resolution is better than a cell phone camera.  It’s not as great as a ‘real’ camcorder, but for what we want it for it’s fine.  It even has cables so you can hook it directly to your t.v.  And it has a thing on the bottom for a tripod.  I’m telling you, it’s amazing and it is completely and totally worth every penny spent on it.  Add this to your Christmas list.  Seriously!  You will not be disappointed!!!

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

What person with a child doesn’t love these things?  They have been a gift from God.  I have used them on so many things.  Just tonight I noticed that my very artistic six year old had decided it would be a good idea to use crayon to draw on her white metal frame bed.  Magic Erasers saved the day.  I use them on my stovetop too–nothing else gets them that clean.  I don’t know what is in them.  It could be some toxic chemical and one day when the next generation of clean freaks all have 3 eyes we will find out.  But for now, it makes my life a little bit easier!  You can get a free one HERE.

Dymo LetraTag

I had one of these about two years ago.  (I love organizing things–it’s just not always easy for me to keep things that way!)  Unfortunately, Annagrace broke my first one beyond repair.  I had been putting off buying another one but decided today was the day.  Annagrace and I bought ten plastic storage containers to use in her’s and Madalyn’s room to organize their toys.  I decided I just had to have another label maker.  So there ya go.  And now all the toys are neatly organized in their little boxes and they all have sweet little labels on them.  (I’ll add a photo later this week).  The refills come in white paper, white plastic and clear.  I personally prefer the white plastic ones.    

So those are my current “don’t think I can live without it” products!

ORAM: Office/Guest Room

So Tara Whitney, a photographer whose blog I faithfully read, has what she calls “One Project a Month”–or OPAM.  I love what she did in May–I will totally be copying that when we move!  So I decided since we have sooooo much to do to get our home ready to sell I would start ORAM–“One Room a Month”.  Some rooms just need paint, some need more major stuff (carpet).  Here is my game plan:

August:  Office/Guest Room
September:  Girls’ Room
October:  Work on curb appeal outside and paint upstairs bedroom
November:  Kitchen/Dining Room
December:  Living Room/Total house cleaning

We finished our first room on Friday.  I love decorating, painting, fixing stuff up.  I also love any show on HGTV–particularly “Secrets That Sell” and “Designed to Sell”!  I have read a lot of books on staging homes–I think it would be a fun career.  So here is my humble attempt at staging this home to sell. 

First, the before.  I didn’t clean or straighten it up at all before taking these–I wanted you to get the full effect of the mess that was this room!

  As you can see, it was a disaster!  Aaron loved the Hershey chocolate colored walls.  I hated them.  This is a tiny room with only one north facing window.  It gets very little sunlight and it was so dark even during the day.  The trim was also the wrong color–for some stupid reason I chose an ostrich egg color instead of bright white.  I neglected to take a before pic of the ceiling and the fan.  The ceiling was an off white color and the fan had those fake dark wood grain blades. 

This is the hallway looking in.  We had to get the piano out of there so for now it is in the living room.  (Notice all that lovely junk in the background!)

I’m totally embarassing myself now!  We also had our little deep freezer in there because we had nowhere else to put it! 

Again, embarrassed!  Look at all that junk! 

So on to the after.  The major problems with this room were the color (duh!), the carpet, the closet doors and all the junk!  We decided that it needed to be staged as an office/bedroom combo.  We also wanted Madalyn’s bed in a different room from Annagrace because neither of them have been sleeping well and they just keep each other awake at night!  So we moved Madalyn’s bed in and got the piano and the freezer out!

The wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Manchester Tan.  It is a very nice neutral color.  It looks a little more yellow in these photos but if you are wanting to stage your home with a nice neutral, this one is it!  The trim was painted a bright white along with the ceiling.

Carpet will be replaced in the next couple months–gonna wait until we can do it and the girls’ room at the same time. 

As you can see, we also still need to replace the doors.  We just got new 6 panel white doors for the hallway closet so that’s what we are going to get for this room as well.  They are around $60 for the set at Lowe’s.  (Notice beside the window the new addition to my home–my husband’s grandmother’s old manual sewing machine!  My grandma had one just like it and I was happy that Aaron inherited this from his grandma.  It is a beautiful antique and will be a wonderful reminder to Aaron of his grandma and the hours she spent sewing on it!)

Undecided about this armoire.  We may end up moving it to another room just so that this room isn’t so cramped.  (Notice Buddy in the photo!) 

I forgot to get a photo of the fan.  Before it was outdated with those fake dark wood grain blades.  So I took them off and painted them!  It looks like a brand new fan!  It was one of the best ideas I have ever had.  It saved a lot of money that we would have spent to replace the outdated fan.  A little Kilz spray paint and a couple top coats of semi gloss white spray paint and it’s like new! 

So my total spent on this room so far:

Paint, painting supplies, spray paint and joint compound (had some major holes that had to be repaired) was around $110.  Another $60 for the doors and I guesstimate about $250 for the carpet (I have some picked out at Ollie’s Bargain Store) plus some for the installation for an approximate grand total of $500. 

I think that is money well spent!

You better pay those library fines!

Funny story here.  Better pay those fines!

The Cheapest Family in America

Here is a video about ways this family saves money on groceries.  This family of 6 gets their groceries for $350 a month.  I know of people who do a little better than that–Crystal over on Money Saving Mom has a weekly budget of $40–so her monthly budget is around $160 (she has two small children which definitely makes a difference as opposed to having teenagers).  So how much do YOU spend a month?  What is your weekly/monthly budget?

This is something I want to work on–sticking to a budget in this department!  I used to go to the grocery store about every 10 days or so, not pay any attention to sales or prices and would spend around $150-$200.  Which made our grocery budget around $400-500 a month.  Now I go almost weekly, clip coupons and usually spend around $75 a week.  So I’m averaging around $300 a week.  I know I can do better than that! 

Leave me comments and let me know what your budget is!  I’m curious to see  how much different size families spend.

Coming this week . . . I’m gonna start posting about staging and preparing our home to sell.  This will be the second time we have sold a house so we are starting to become ‘experts’ at it!  (Our first home was bought for $85,000 and we sold it three years later for $114,000.  It’s amazing what a little improvements here and there will make!)  We have a goal to have our house on the market around the first part of 2009 so we have a lot to do before then!  I’ll be posting before and after photos of each room and what we do to it.  My goal is to spend as little money as possible and get back as much as possible when we sell it!

First up will be the office/guest room which we just painted last night and Aaron finished up today.  It looks 100% better!

My beef with Discover Card

So last night I saw this commercial from Discover card.  And it made me mad and then it made me sad.  Check it out:

Ahhh . . . consumerism at it’s finest.  This is the crap that the media is feeding to our children.  We parents need to stand up and teach our children that life is not about “cool stuff”.  It’s not about how much you can spend but how much time can you spend serving others.  It’s a lesson we all need to learn actually. 

My hubby is doing a series on his blog about being selfish.  He’s had some really great posts over there the last few weeks.   Check it out HERE!

Tomatoes and the Fair

My two-year old LOVES tomatoes.  I mean really LOVES tomatoes.  She can make a whole meal off of them.  I wasn’t surprised when I opened the fridge the other day and saw this:  

Apparently she has taught herself how to open the refrigerator so she opened it up and helped herself to a few bites!  Oh well, at least it’s something healthy!

And one more sweet thing for today and then I’m off to clean, organize, purge and make a little chaos in the office.  This is a photo of my girls at the county fair.  We didn’t stay long this year but the girls had a good time.  And they actually were willing to pose for a photo together–which doesn’t happen often.

August 2008