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.

I Need a Maid: Reason # 564

Behold the Laundry Mountain.  This is one of those times when I dream of being a stay-at-home mom.  Now granted, I have an awesome job.  I am blessed that I get to work my full time hours in four days instead of five.  And without my job we’d be living in a cardboard box.  So I am not complaining.  But it would be nice to have a clean house every once in awhile.  And actually have it STAY clean for more than 3.5 hours!  

It’s Official (Very Long Post!)

We are moving to Greenville, NC.  Some of you already know this.  Some of you don’t.  Some of you probably don’t care.  But we have “officially” decided that come next year, our house will go on the market.   We will be finding new jobs, new schools, new doctors, new insurance agents, etc, etc, etc and we will be moving our family of 4 to NC.  It is exciting but overwhelming.  I’m happy but scared all rolled into one.  I thought I’d take a chance to explain our decision and through the next few months I’ll be sharing the journey both here and on my other blog

It all started about 4 months ago.  Well, let me rewind a little further and tell the ‘back story’.  Back in 1998, Aaron and I attended a service at Forefront Church in Virginia Beach.  We were totally shocked because it was not anything like the little country churches that we had grown up in.  The messages were relevant to our lives, the music was loud (and some of it secular) and the people were genuine.  Aaron had a vision of starting a church in his home town that was like Forefront.  A place where people could discover Jesus and be themselves.  It was a long bumpy ride (I could seriously write a book) that lead us to where we are now.  Aaron now leads a network of organic, or home, churches.  We currently have four that meet in various places around the county.

Moving so far away from home was hard for me.  I have been homesick often and as much as I tried to make Rockingham County home, I have realized that it will never be home to me.  I am a Tarheel–born and bred and will always call North Carolina home.  I left family, friends and the comfort of familiarity to move with Aaron.  I knew that at the time it was exactly what God wanted us to do and I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything.  We have been here for 8 1/2 years now.  It still doesn’t really feel like home to me, but I am comfortable here.  I have a job that I love, co-workers who are second to none and an awesome church family.  So why leave? 

Well, back to four months ago.  I traveled home to NC–just me and my two girls–to visit my family for a long weekend.  Unfortunately, due to my work schedule I don’t get to make those trips too much.  (It is about a 5 1/2 hour trip there so to be able to travel down and not have to rush right back I really have to take Friday or Monday off).  It was on that ride back that I felt this heavy urge that I needed to move back home to be closer to my family. 

My mom’s health is not that good.  She has had rheumatoid arthritis for the last 20 years.  Two years ago she became very sick and became septic and honestly, she almost died.  She was in the hospital for two months.  Since that time it has been a roller coaster with her health.  Like anyone with arthritis, she has her good days and her bad days.  The good days are okay, the bad days can be really bad.  My dad is an awesome caregiver for her but I always feel guilty that I can’t be there to help out. 

I cried a lot on that ride back.  I normally get a little teary eyed when I have to leave home and come back to Virginia.  But on that particular trip both I and Madalyn cried a lot.  Madalyn kept saying over and over that she wanted us to go back to Papa and Grammy’s.  The traffic was terrible.  I was agitated, sad, cranky.  I kept saying that this was not fair.  It was not fair that I was so far from my family.  It was a rough trip and at one point this thought popped into my head that we needed to move to Greenville.  Greenville is about 45 minutes from where I grew up.  For some reason I just kept thinking that that was where we needed to go.  And I thought to myself that I had to tell Aaron. 

Over the last 8 years I have told Aaron a lot that I wanted to move home.  Usually it was in response to one of my mom’s health crises.  And during the birth of my children.  And the birth of my nephews.  All of those were times when I was feeling extrememly homesick.  And Aaron’s typical response was always, “and what am I suppose to do?”  Meaning, “how can I leave our church family?  where will I work?  how can we leave something that we started?”.  So I told myself that I was going to chicken out and not say anything and just deal with it for the next oh, 50 or so years of my life.

Then we stopped at Taco Bell.  We were pretty much the only people there and a man walked in and sat directly in front of me.  I remember thinking, “why is he sitting right in front of us when the whole restaurant is empty?”.  I looked up and he had on a Parker’s BBQ t-shirt.  Parker’s BBQ is a restaurant in Greenville NC.  That was the sign I needed that gave me that push to tell Aaron what I was feeling.

So the next morning I told him and for the first time ever he was actually okay with the idea.  We talked and talked and talked about it.  Then we started praying about it.  And then we started getting these little signs from different places that maybe it wasn’t just all about me and being homesick but that this was from God.  That it was something He was wanting us to do.  That He was wanting us to move there to start more organic churches. 

 My feelings went back and forth.  As much as I wanted to be back home in NC, I knew that we were comfortable here.  We were ‘settled’.  Annagrace had a school she loved, I had a job I loved, we love our church family.  I know this area like the back of my hand (thanks to my Home Health job!).  I may not be happy all the time, but I am comfortable.   So after weeks of going back and forth and coming up with excuses as to why we should or shouldn’t move, we finally said “Ok God .  If this is what you want, then we’ll do it.”  After all, God doesn’t call us to be comfortable.

So we have decided to take the plunge and do it.  It is exciting.  It is scary.  We have so much that needs to be done.  Our house has repairs and painting to be done.  Aaron has training to do with the men from church.  We’ll both have to find jobs.  Annagrace will be in a new school.  Madalyn will have to go to daycare for the first time in her life.  We’ll need new doctors, a new dentist.  A home to live in.  I am actually at peace with it and I am not worrying (too much!).  I know it will all work out in the way that God wants it to. 

So G-Vegas, here we come!

Free McDonald’s Chicken Biscuit



Go to THIS LINK to print off a coupon for a free chicken biscuit from McDonald’s (with the purchase of a medium drink).

Have you tried the new McDonald’s Southern Chicken Biscuits?  They are pretty good.  I like the sandwich better.  (Does anyone else think that the chicken has a dill pickle flavor to it?  Even when you get it with no pickles, it still has that flavor.)  Anyway, this coupon makes it free so whatever!

August 2008