Showing posts from 2009

New Year's Eve

I can't believe that 2009 has already gone. It just doesn't seem possible. I had so many BIG plans for this year. Some have come to fruition and some haven't.

The one's that have:
A half bath added in our finished basement.A major redo of our main (and only other) bath completed (the studs and the original cast iron tub are all that's left from before!).My sinus problem diagnosed, treated and finally taken care of through surgery.The one's that didn't:Finishing my PhD - I WILL finish it in 2010 (even if I have to follow a certain committee member around daily!)Cleaning out all the extra stuff in my house.Finishing off our hardwood floors and doors and getting new trim for our main floor.Finishing all the half-finished projects I have started that are lurking in my sewing/craft area. I've made progress on cleaning out the stuff and the projects and am determined to get those and the PhD done in 2010. John and I are going to take some time after the kids go…

Christmas Prep - Fall to Christmas Decorating

Okay, I've said I'd post this stuff for a while but, well, I've been too busy enjoying my family and Christmas and all that stuff!

I love, love, LOVE decorating for Christmas! I grew up with a Mom who literally decorated every room in the house except the ugly concrete utility room - even the laundry room got decorated! And it was a big deal. We had a special day for the Christmas Tree and the Nativity with music, cookies, cocoa and lots of exclaiming over the ornaments.
The rest of the house was no different - a couple boxes each Saturday starting after Thanksgiving. Exclaiming and excitement.
Since I'm in school and the kids are little, we don't do as much as my Mom did (plus I need a few more years to acquire all the "stuff" that she has!). I also try to make the transition from fall to winter fairly easy since I don't have much time. So what did we do?
Here's my sofa end tables:
Fall:Potpourri and cinnamon scented pine cones.

Christmas: Pine and Van…

Freezer and Pantry Inventory

Uff da! Mom and I inventoried my deep freeze downstairs and I inventoried my pantry, kitchen cupboards, and my fridge/freezer. Nothing really exciting, surprising or shocking except the Tupperware container full of rhubarb sauce with a sticker on it from 1995 that I inherited from my Aunt when she moved west. I think I stuck it in the freezer so that it wouldn't stink up my garbage until it was taken outside. And it got buried. More than once. (Note: my Aunt moved west in 2005, so she'd had it in HER freezer for 10 years first - I was just playing copycat! :) )

Possible Challenges?
26 10oz steaks from our 1/4 cow. What on earth was I thinking when I got that many?
7 sticks of unsalted butter, supposedly for baking, but I'm not sure.
4 1/2 lbs of Chicken Leg Quarters that need to be used somehow.
1 ham bone that I'd saved to make split pea with ham soup for my folks but didn't this time around (John doesn't like that so I can't make it for us) and I should…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 27th

Can you believe 2009 is almost gone? I'm having trouble with that! It's been an amazing year and I'm still struggling with finishing up a few things that we need to get done before the year ends (or rather, SHOULD get done before the year ends). Sigh.

Also, my folks head back home on Wednesday and I'm home all week this week. I love having them here and will definitely miss them! The kids usually start asking when they're coming back before they've been gone an hour. I like that! :)

So, what are we eating?

Here it is!

Brunch: Out
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Rice, Steamed Green Beans, Fruit

Breakfast: Waffles with Fruit
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash, Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls, Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner: Homemade Chicken Calzones, Lettuce Salad, Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Bananas
Lunch: Gri…

Accepting the Challenge!

I was pleasantly surprised when I read Money Saving Mom this morning! I had been planning on doing an eating from the pantry month in January, so this fits right in with what Crystal is doing with Fish Mama from Life as Mom. I guess a lot of us have the same idea here this year and I'm excited to be able to join in!

So, what are my rules for my family? I don't have many...

The biggie:
$50 for the whole month! Yes, folks, that's $12.50 each week!

How? I went through my cupboards, fridge/freezer combo and pantry tonight and will go through the deep freeze tomorrow AM with the help of my Mom (who leaves for home on Wednesday). I have a list of what we have and will be planning meals from that. I have a preliminary plan for the whole month outlined and hope to have it completely filled out by January 1 so we can jump right in. I'm planning to buy milk, a bag of salad greens and fresh fruit each week. I'll also need to buy some fresh veggies occasionally and might go…

Almost there...

This paper is ALMOST done...

It been a tough one - one I'm not particularly happy with but will be soon.

Then I can relax - the presents are bought/made and wrapped (except for one that may end up being a birthday gift!), the cookies are made (thank you Grandma!), the tree up and decorated, and we even have snow.

I'm looking forward to about a week of Christmas movies, board games, reading for fun, and sewing for fun.

How about you? Are you ready for Christmas? Are you going to enjoy it like it is - whatever it is?

My other goal for today with this blog - post our Christmas preparations and a new "Favorite Things" entry about Christmas as well.

Hope you're enjoying the preparation as much as I am, even if this paper is taking a LONG time!

3 more days to go...

Well, actually in our house, 2 since everything starts on Christmas Eve at our place!

Thank heavens my folks are here! Mom doesn't mind making cookies or lefse and that's a really good thing.


I'm still writing this paper...and I will be this afternoon as well.

Life happens.
I have to roll with it!

At least I have a public library to hide away in...and a laptop to work on...and a flexible professor who will take this thing up through 4pm tomorrow (the 23rd!).
I'm thankful for all of that.. what more can I ask for?

Menu Plan Monday - Christmas Edition!

It's Christmas this week! Whoo hoo! Can I tell you how excited my kids are? We caught Missy trying to sneak presents yesterday...and the ornaments on the tree keep re-arranging themselves...and cookie sprinkles have turned into a food group... it's definitely Christmas at our house!

Here's what we're eating:

Brunch: Pancakes with Fruit
Dinner: Beef tacos, Fruit

Dinner: Spaghetti with Meatballs, Salad, Fruit

Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Kabobs with Veggies, Couscous, and Fruit

Dinner: Chicken Calzones, Salad, Fruit

Thursday (Christmas Eve!):
Dinner: Swedish Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn, Lefse, Fruit (Our Traditional

Friday (Christmas Day!):
Brunch: Baked Eggs, Hashed Brown Potatoes, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Bacon, Fruit (This
is traditional too!)
Dinner: Steak, Steamed Broccoli, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Fruit, Lefse

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Banana/Strawberry Smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Leftovers

Baking this Week: Gingerbread C…

Healthy Habits in 2010

I see so many people writing about losing weight, both in the blogosphere and in other media. Advertisements and programs like The Biggest Loser tout losing weight fast and in huge amounts and can easily make the rest of us feel like a failure when we can't produce results in kind.

I've never been what you would call 'thin' (thank you large bone physique!) but I've also only had a brief time when I could be called more than 'chubby'. Right now I'm between a good weight and 'chubby' - about 5lbs over what my personal ideal body weight is. For me this is the weight that keeps both myself and my doctors happy without having to either deprive myself of food that I enjoy or exercise like mad 7 days a week. It's also the weight where I keep my body fat percentage in a healthy range without going crazy. Yes, I currently need to lose 5-8 lbs to get there.

I have two chronic medical conditions - one that is effected by diet, exercise and, ultimatel…

A Day of Treats!

My folks are here visiting for Christmas and it has been a day of treats for me today!

First - John, Buddy, Missy and my folks all went to a pancake fundraiser for breakfast. My mom was going to stay home and we were going to go get coffee and then run errands, but Buddy decided he wasn't going to go without Grandma. So I had the house to myself AND got to sleep in an extra hour today! Boy, was that nice!

Second - my Mom bought groceries today! I spent a total of right about $12 for 2 packs of Kotex pads, 2 boxes of Ziplocs, and a tube of toothpaste at Walgreens. She bought the rest. That was really nice - including a few 'special' items we don't usually buy (i.e. junk food - like Fritos and Peppermint ice cream!).

Third - John and I get to go on an honest to goodness date tonight - Dinner out at a lovely restaurant. Where, we don't know yet exactly (we have it narrowed down to 2!) but I'm excited since it's been a while for us to just go out for dinner or any…

November Blessings

I realized I hadn't written about our November blessings yet! Here we are 10 days from Christmas - I've been slacking! :)

So what were the blessings in November? I need to wrack my brain, but here's what I remember:

Return of 2 overpaid funds. One was from dance class and one was a doctor bill, but it's always a nice surprise when they return the funds. Not to mention that the one from dance class was for a costume that hadn't been finalized yet. We will probably have to pay for a costume, but they wanted to refund the money until they knew how much it would actually cost - which is likely a lot less than what we had been initially charged.A black cardigan sweater for me. I mentioned in passing to my SIL that I'd love to buy a black cardigan sweater. She said not to buy one because she might have one that she didn't wear. I didn't think much of it, since she's a LOT thinner than I am (and about 13 years younger - ahem). The sweater fit perfectly…


I took today off so that I could work in the quiet and comfort of my own home and get my papers done for tomorrow. There's something lovely about sitting my kitchen table with candles burning, a hot cup of Chai latte, and my laptop and papers writing about things I'm interested in.

The problem?

I'm struggling.

I'm struggling with what to write.
I'm struggling with adequately supporting what I'm writing with appropriate literature.
I'm struggling with keeping myself on task.
I'm struggling with getting all the things done that I need to get done before tomorrow.
I'm struggling with this huge issue at church that keeps sneaking into my thoughts when I don't want it to be there or when I want to concentrate on something else.
I'm struggling with wrestling with my thoughts on all the things I've been sinfully neglecting this year - promises I haven't kept, things I need to do for my spiritual welfare and the welfare of my family, relationships I…


Okay, so I'm rushing around like the proverbial chicken with it's head cut off trying to get everything done before my folks get here on Thursday and my 2 big papers are due, also on Thursday. I'm feeling a bit like tearing my hair out right now. And this doesn't help...

Yesterday my washing machine was having a canary and decided that it wasn't going to spin the clothes efficiently - I ran it on spin FOUR times and the clothes were still sopping wet. Since that wasn't going so well, I thought I'd take the 10 minutes or so that it needs to spin yet one more time and sew the pinned-together quilt back onto one of two baby quilts I'd like to mail out tomorrow. And sew I did.

The clothes were still sopping wet.

So that took another hour to dry instead of the usual 20-30 minutes.

And I had pinned the layers in the wrong order on the quilt so the batting was on the outside back instead of in the middle where it should be.

So, I have to rip out the sewing that…

Menu Plan Monday: December 14th, 2009

This week my folks arrive on Thursday for their Christmas visit and we have the kids' Preschool Christmas Program on Friday. Plus, finals for me start on Thursday and both John's and my semester end next week! Whew! That means there's a lot going on! We have a freezer overflowing with a lot of beef and a little chicken, a couple of turkeys and a few other random things, so I'm trying to be creative and give us some variety too.

Breakfasts: Oatmeal or cinnamon toast with a banana unless otherwise stated.
Lunches: Leftovers or sandwiches with fruit unless otherwise stated.
Drinks: Milk, Water, 100% Cranberry-Pomegranate Juice, 100% Apple Juice, Homemade Lemonade, Black Coffee, Hot Tea, Hot Cider, or Chai Latte.
Snacks: Christmas Cookies (from a friend), Pretzels, Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins with Fruit
Lunch: Crescent Rolls, Turkey, Cheese, Apples, Oranges, Chips and Salsa
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Steamed Green Beans and Rice

Dinner: Onion, Mushroom…

Goals Update

Reading back through my posts for November, I thought I should probably update my goals!

I'm doing better at getting to bed and getting up when I want to. I'm hitting about 4 out of 5 days during the work week, which I'm happy with. I'd like it to be all 5, but I can handle 4. :) Saturday and Sunday are easier because they're slower and we don't usually get up until 630/7am-ish. I'm also still getting stuff crossed off my to-do list: more than half of the stack of boxes left from moving in are gone (only 3 more to go - whoohoo!), I only have one 'catch-all basket' to clean out left (I had 3!), I cleaned out part of the furnace room, the office and our bedroom plus one of the two bookcases in the living room. I have a huge pile of stuff to sell on Craig's List. I've made progress on my partially done sewing list - I'll post pics as soon as things settle down a bit - which is always neat and makes me feel like I've really accomplished s…

BUSY with a Capital B!

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth or anything. I've just been super busy!

We were at my in-laws for Thanksgiving and had a FABULOUS time - everything went really well, both with the weather and the family. The kids always love swimming in the hotel pool and John's youngest 3 siblings love it too. We got to see almost everyone which was a treat too. My daughter and her cousin - the only other little girl in the family - got into more trouble than the 4 little boys combined (which is saying something). Fortunately, her cousin is only 2 and that limited what they could get into. I think in a year or two, though, we're really going to have to watch them!

Then we came back and both John and I dived into the last 3 weeks of the term at school, not to mention getting ready for Christmas and all that that brings. I have 2 projects, 3 papers and the final (God willing!) edit on my Written Exam to turn in by the 23rd, which is the end of finals week. I am hoping to…

New Schedule Implementation Update

So, last week I put together a new schedule that was supposed to help me complete what I need to complete without being overwhelmed. I was going to start it on Tuesday, since I had to take the kids to the Eye Doctor on Monday afternoon - eating up the whole afternoon.

So, how did it go this week?

Truthfully, not so hot. For several reasons.

What didn't work:
* I have yet to get up with John this week. I used to do this all the time, but this week, not so much.
* I haven't been getting to bed on time either. So, this is tied to getting up too. Going to bed at midnight or later does not make it easy to get up at 530am! Not to mention what it does for being coherent when I am awake at that hour....
* Tuesday we had the broken window at the dance studio, so I got home at 1230pm, instead of 11am as I'd planned. I was able to shift things, but lost an hour I had for working on presents and another hour on housework.
* Getting up late, means I get in to school later, and the res…

Making Progress....

This has been a good week productivity speaking. I've gotten about half the stuff on my to-do list crossed off and I'm close on a few other things. For a while there, I was starting to think I was seriously productivity-challenged.

Still up this weekend is getting some review for my preliminary oral exam done (I'm trying to do a little each day so I'm not overwhelmed and my mind has time to organize 3 1/2 years + worth of information), finishing making and buying the Christmas presents and 5 birthday presents we need to take down to Iowa next weekend, buying, wrapping and mailing a baby gift, a birthday party for my children's' friend, my monthly Bible Study, trimming back the roses and putting the rose cones on them, cleaning out the last flower bed, at home date night for John and me, and our normal weekend worship (with choir this week), errands and housework.

My plan for grocery shopping this weekend is to make my menu for the 3 days we'll be here this ne…

Finances in Line: Getting Out of a Budget Funk

It's been 3 1/2 years since I went back to school to get this PhD. At that time we cut back to 1 income (John's) for living expenses, daycare and household repairs, etc. with my 'second' smaller salary covering tuition, parking, books, etc. This is the third (non-consecutive) semester in those 7 semesters plus 4 summer sessions that I've not had an income.

For some reason this time it's harder than before. Maybe because we have preschool tuition to pay on top of daycare. Maybe because we have more medical expenses than we've had other times. Maybe because we have a different budget worked out.

Maybe because things we've had for a while are starting to wear out. I'm noticing that things I thought were 'new' really aren't any more. For example, I was all bummed that a set of our towels was too worn to use for effective drying not to mention they were stained and had bleach spots. I said to John "Would you look at this! They're pract…

More Excitement Than I Needed

I got to the dance studio where our Jazzercise franchise rents space for class this morning to find the front window (next to the front door) broken.

I looked at it for a minute and thought "Um, I really don't think that's supposed to be like that!" and called my franchise owner. I did not have the studio owner's numbers so she was going to contact them. They came at the end of our class along with the building owner.

Just the outer pane was broken in a double-pane window, so no glass on the floor. If someone tried to break in it was a pretty sad attempt from looking at the whole thing. (If it had been a break in I would have high-tailed it outside or to the neighboring business and called 911 first, don't worry!) The authorities believe from looking at it was just a random act of vandalism - someone trying to break a door or window just to make a mess and cause trouble.

Still, it was way more excitement than I needed for the day!

Now, it's back to less e…

Menu Plan Monday - November 16th

I'm working from home today since the kids have an eye doctor appointment in the middle of the day. By the time I got in, I'd have to turn around and come home. Not to mention that they would have spent a grand total of about 30 minutes at daycare - in 2 15-minute chunks, no less! So I'm dropping them off and picking them up from preschool and then we're heading out to the eye doctor. I contemplated picking up something for lunch, but our budget was short this pay period, so pb&j at home it is!

So, here's what we're eating this week!

Breakfasts are oatmeal or yogurt with a banana unless otherwise stated.
Lunches are leftovers unless otherwise stated.
We drink skim milk, 100% apple juice, homemade lemonade, or water. I also drink black coffee.

Sunday, November 15:
Breakfast: Cheerios with Banana
Lunch: Peanut Butter Pancakes with Strawberries and Walnuts
Dinner: Hot Chicken Sandwiches, Mashed Potatoes (John's request), Steamed Carrots, Fruit


Yummy One-on-One Time

I bought cake mix today - something I rarely do (I can't even remember the last time I made a cake from a mix it's been that long!). Missy asked if we could make a cake after we got home today.

So we did! I poured it into two round pans - the kind you stack to make a two-layer cake. We're eating one and I'm sending the other one to work with John on Monday. I remember now why people prefer to use a mix - we had the whole thing mixed up in about 5 minutes! I think I need to make up some mixes of my own. I'm almost out of biscuit, cornbread, and muffin mixes that I'd made before and should probably add cookies since we're getting toward Christmas. Hrmm - something to do with the kids tomorrow!

Anyway, back to that cake! Missy poured everything into the mixer for me and then even cracked the eggs and put them in to. Apparently my Mom showed her how to do this in May of this year without informing me. She did great - go figure! Then, after pouring both batters in…

Super Savings Saturday - $40

Today we started our $40 grocery budget again, after being at $25 for so many weeks I'm so happy to be back to $40! I can do so much more with that and I think that's a good number for our family of 4 to be at. I'm not sure I could do it with two in diapers again, but for now it's really good.

Here's the Loot!

We got the following:Two gallons skim milk1 lb Roma Tomatoes8 lbs Oranges1 loaf of whole wheat bread10 lbs of Potatoes1 yellow onion1 clove garlic2 cans black beans1 jar Smucker's Red Raspberry Jam5lbs bananas2 12 ct bags Pillsberry Oven Ready Buttermilk Biscuits5lb Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour1 bag Fresh Express Romaine Salad Mix1 bag shredded Kraft Cheddar Cheese 3 lbs Honeycrisp Apples80 oz Enriched White Long-Grain Rice2 boxes Duncan Haines Fudge Swirl Cake Mix1 jar Green Mill Pizza SauceAll for $39 and change! I saved at least $20 in reported savings.I'll post acutal prices either tomorrow or monday! For more shopping inspiration, visit Money S…

Crazy Week

It has been a wild and woolly week around here!

All the usual stuff plus the prayer request for my cousin (who had her baby on Wednesday evening and everyone is doing fine - Praise the Lord! Thank you for prayers!) and a meeting with my advisor and the uproar at church. I also had a headache bordering on a migraine for two days. John had the national inspectors in at work and a co-worker on vacation. That equals long hours for him. I also had to get started on a project for class and finalizing my thesis proposal so I can turn that in and get things rolling with that. Not to mention our friends from church meeting their 3 new daughters and keeping everyone posted on how things are going with their adoption process.

We ended the week today by waking up 2 minutes (literally - 6:58, he needs to be in at 7am) before John had to be at work. He called in, said he was running 15 minutes late (Ha!), took a 2-minute shower, dressed, grabbed the pasta salad I put in a Tupperware bowl for him t…

Amazing Faith

Friends of ours from church are currently in Columbia for adoption. They met their new family yesterday and posted photos on their web site for all of us "back home" to meet the children. I was moved to tears. They are ecstatic, excited, and terrified.

Yes, they are adopting a family, not just a single child. Three sisters, ages 7, 4, and 3.
This couple have been married for longer than 10 years, are at least late-30s in age (I've never asked how old they are specifically!), and are now going from a couple to being a family of 5!

Not only that, the children speak only Spanish and have some continuing medical problems as well. Bringing home a 7 year-old has very different challenges than a newborn or even a 1 year-old. Not to mention a 4 or 3 year-old having different challenges again.

I am overwhelmed and amazed at the faith that it takes to do something like this. To step out on a limb and adopt an older child takes courage. To adopt 3 siblings, takes even more. To adopt th…

Prayer Request

My cousin, who I'll call J.L., is in the hospital with pre-term labor. They're pretty sure everyone will be okay in the long run but if you think about it, can you say a little prayer for her and baby?

She's only 32 weeks, so they're worried about lung development at this point for baby. Plus, they can't figure out why she went into labor and why they can't stop it for more than a few hours. This puts them on the lookout for complications with both baby and mama.

God Bless.

Scripture for Today

We've been going through a tough time at our church. A lot of fighting and disagreement. Actions taken by some with authority that have overstepped the bounds of that authority and without thought to larger ramifications of those actions. It's pitted friends against friends, family against family and members of our congregation against others.


More than that, I'm pretty sure that this type of division is definitely not something God wants for us, no matter where we stand on the issues involved.

I hate going to worship and wondering if the Pastor has an 'ulterior motive' in his sermon.
I hate not knowing what to say to some friends because we stand on opposite sides of the issue and I'm not sure how they'll respond to me about anything.
I hate it that we get a package without a return address and I'm afraid to open it (it turned out to be a lovely thank you gift for John's work on the retreat weekend).
I hate it that I constantly think about it.

Menu Plan Monday - November 9

Here's what we're eating this week:

Breakfast: cereal or oatmeal unless otherwise stated
Lunch: leftovers unless otherwise stated

Sunday, November 8:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins
Lunch: Baked Eggs, Sausage and Apple Crisp
Dinner: Baked Pork Chops, Steamed Broccoli, Rice and Fruit

Monday, November 9:
Dinner: Pot Luck at Church: Bring Fruit Salad

Tuesday, November 10:
Dinner: Baked Ham, Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Green Beans, and Fruit

Wednesday, November 11:
Dinner: Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup and Homemade Bread

Thursday, November 12:
Dinner: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Pasta Salad, and Fruit

Friday, November 13:
Dinner: Leftovers

Saturday, November 14:
Breakfast: Cinnamon Breakfast Biscuits
Lunch: Ham Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks, Lettuce Salad

For more menu inspiration, see Organizing Junkie!

Super Savings Saturday - $65 Haul, Revamping the Budget

Well, John and I are revamping our budget. It's getting almost impossible for us to stay within our $25 budget if we include toiletries and paper products. It was fairly easy over the summer because we could score big time with in-season stuff at the farmer's market and still had a ton of meat from my cousin (venison and elk) and the neighbor (salmon!). We also got cheap or free fruit from friends.

Once we stock up again, we'll probably going to be able to go back to $25/wk for a month or two, but right now meat is a big thing we need plus milk and fruit (we have frozen veggies from summer). So, this month we're up to $40/week, or $80 every two weeks, which is how our budget works.

I spent $22.28 at one store and $42.10 at another for a total of $64.38.

Here's the loot:

Store #1: Cub Foods:* Cheerios $1.88 x 2 = $3.76 - ($0.55 x 2) = $2.66* Kleenex 110 Count $0.99 x 3 = $2.97 - $0.50 = $2.47* Cub Flour $1.47* Cub Apple Juice 2 x $1.89 = $3.76* Starkist Tuna Pouches 4 x…


These last few days have been busy - almost to the point of being hectic.

Choir last night was wonderful - especially after saying some very naughty words at our main desk-top computer as it failed to cooperate at letting me order books for my childrens' November book order 3 times before it finally went through! Uff da. I definately need to work on patience - especially with dumb, inanimate objects! :)

I did get almost everything I wanted to accomplish yesterday accomplished. That makes me happy!

I was just looking at my to-do list for the rest of today.

All I can say is: YIKES!

I have a ton to do and I'm not sure if any of it can get pushed off until tomorrow, though I'm trying to find something to push to tomorrow so my list isn't quite so long.

I guess that means I need to get rolling! God willing, I'll be able to cross everything off my list today. I'm sore from working out twice this week, so I'm hoping that isn't a hindrance. I'm hoping... Hop…

Just Busy....

I've been trying to dig myself out from under the pile of things that I've been getting behind on during the month of October.

So, these last couple of days have been just plain busy.

Throw in school conferences, John's Bible Study, a gut-wrenching 2-hour long meeting at church, our favorite teenager's 17Th birthday party, an eye doctor appointment along with all the usual things this week and it's been officially a busy week.

Still, I'm grateful I have the energy to keep up.
And I'm even more grateful that I've gotten a lot done.

... a Thanksgiving countdown chain up for the kids
...a draft of a paper written for school
...4 papers for school read and notes taken
....ironing almost caught up
...slipcovers, sheets and towels washed
....3 loads of laundry washed, dried and put away
...a birthday gift wrapped and card written
...a letter written to our Compassion International Child
...1 large box and 1 large pile of stuff cleaned out from our stash of stuff left from…

Character Traits in November

The three character traits I'm working on this month are as follows:

* Creativity
* Ordiliness
* Thoroughness

I have a tendency to be messy and half-finishing things, so I'm hoping to use these to get a few things crossed of my to-do list that have been on there! These things include:

* Cleaning out my home office and organizing it (something I've started and stopped about 10 dozen times!)
* Finishing my half-done sewing projects
* Cleaning out the boxes left from when we moved in 10 years ago. Ahem. Yes. There aren't that many of them, but they're there.
* I also have a list of 5 loose ends for school that need to be tied up this semester.

The creativity part, I'm not that worried about, though depending on the context, it could be challenging. I'll write back at the end of the month about how I did with all of these and am hoping to post with my finished to-do list projects along the way.

From last month:
* Thriftiness
* Self-Control
* Eternal Securit…

One Last October Blessing...

We had a surprise blessing on Halloween. Well, two of them actually.

First, we got a new camera this spring and didn't have any way to get the pictures off. A friend loaned us their converter thingie (yep, that's the technical term!) to try it out before we bought one. Saturday, they told us we could keep it. Apparently, not having it in the house gave our friend an excuse to 'go looking' and they ended up buying a really nice, much fancier one than the one they loaned us. We were so surprised! And blessed....

Second, I was able to share my faith story of the last few months with someone who really, really, REALLY needed to hear it. Totally unexpectedly we ended up having root beer floats at a friend's house after trick-or-treating on Halloween and I found out a bunch of stuff that had been happening in her life and the life of a friend of her's that was also there. It was such a blessing to be able to share and make a difference in these peoples' liv…

Menu Plan Monday - November 2, 2009

This week's menu plan is a bit odd, even for us - we have several evening things and we have a birthday party to go to as well (Dinner provided at the party!). John is also on call Thursday this week through Monday next week because he co-worker is out of town. Yes, it's officially a busy week!

As usual, breakfast is usually cereal and lunch is usually leftovers, unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, November 1:
Brunch: Pancakes
Dinner: Hamburger Gravy with Noodles, Fruit

Monday, November 2:
Dinner: Cracker Baked Chicken, Roasted Root Vegetables, Lettuce Salad

Tuesday, November 3:
Dinner: Birthday Party - Dinner Provided.
Bible Study Snacks: Cookies, Apples and Oranges, Hot Cocoa, Water

Wednesday, November 4:
Dinner: Chili and Cornbread

Thursday, November 5:
Dinner: Venison Stew in the Crock pot and Homemade Bread

Friday, November 6:
Dinner: Leftovers or Macaroni and Cheese with Fruit

Saturday, November 7:
Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls and Fruit
Lunch: Hot Dogs on th…

Super Savings Saturday - $12 Budget

I Did it! I'm so proud of myself!

I acutally walked into a store, bought nothing that wasn't on my list and walked out WITH CHANGE in my purse! Whoo hoo!!!

Since I had $12 for this week, that's a major feat - considering I needed milk, fruit and baking powder and hoped to score a few other good deals along the way.

So.... here's the loot:

Store #1: Cub Foods Total Spent: $5.96 Kraft Mac and Cheese: 4 boxes x $0.25 = $1 (Store coupon pricing) Green Giant 5lbs Russet Potatoes: 1 x $0.98 = $0.98 (Store coupon pricing) 5lb bag Harlson Apples: 1 x $3.98 Store #2: Rainbow Foods Total Spent: $4.63 Gallon Roundy's Milk: 2 x $2.19 = $4.38 Roundy's Chunk Cheese: 2 x $0.99 = $1.98 Roundy's Chunk Light Tuna in Water: 1 can x $0.79 = $0.79 Roundy's Baking Powder: 1 can x $1.19 = $1.19 2.95 lbs Bananas x $0.55/lb = $1.62 Bar S Franks: 2 x $0.68 = $1.32 - $1/2 coupon = $0.32 Minus Catalina for $3.…

October Blessings

This has been a bumpy month for us.

It started out so good with my surgery going so very, very well and the fridge and pantry being so well stocked by my folks before they headed back home.

...then it seemed like things started to fly apart all at once.

...A broken plate...a broken futon...running out of several things in the cupboard...John not really getting well...Missy getting getting sick...the weather stripping on the van...the water softener having a canary and spewing water all over the floor...finding out we need to buy Buddy yet another pair of Tap Shoes for dance class (his feet just keep growing!)...John having two paychecks this month below our normal 'budgeted' amount due to various reasons...having to somehow pull an additional $1000 out of that monthly budget to pay my tuition...

...and I could continue.

Still, there are many blessings:
Time and a flexible schedule. Far and away the biggest blessing this month is time. My schedule is flexible enough that I …

Easing Back Into The Swing of Things

It's been a whole week now (well, it will be this evening!) since I got my high fever and offically came down with this crud. I'm still tired, but overall feeling MUCH better. I'll take a nap today, tomorrow and Sunday and then hopefully be back to normal.

On the docket for today:
Washing the bedding (almost done with this one!)Grocery store run (busy day tomorrow and I don't want to over-do it!)Paying a couple of billsWorking on my paper for classA little ironing (if I'm really on the ball, but this can wait if need be!)Plus the nap.That's it. Nothing more. I'm still feeling a bit like a slug, but I know what can happen if I over-do it too soon and don't want to end up there. So, taking it easy today still but slowly getting back into the swing of things. It's nice to be feeling the end of the tunnel up ahead. I write "feeling" because that's how I can tell. My head isn't stuffy anymore. My energy is slowly coming back. I&…

Menu Plan Monday 10/26 (Posted on a Wednesday!)

Well, I'm fighting the 'crud' again this week, so we're eating pretty simple around here. We have LOTS of food in the house so I'm trying not to buy much and eat from the 'pantry', so to speak.

Breakfast is usually cold cereal or oatmeal, unless otherwise stated, though I'm thinking of trying a new recipe I have for peanut butter and jelly muffins for Thursday morning. We'll see.
Lunch is leftovers or sandwhiches unless otherwise stated.

Monday, 10/26:
Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup and Cornbread

Tuesday, 10/27:
Dinner: Spiced Pancakes with Fruit

Wednesday, 10/28:
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, Steamed Broccoli, and Fruit

Thursday, 10/29:
Dinner: Baked Pork Chops and Acorn Squash, Lettuce Salad, and Fruit

Friday, 10/30:
Dinner: Leftovers or Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, 10/31:
Breakfast: Out for all (Monthly Bible Studies)
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner: Hamburger Gravy with Noodles, Steamed Broccoli, and Fruit

Time for Recovery

Being home last week with Missy should have told me I was going to get sick myself. That's usually what happens.

And it did.

Friday night I came down with a bad fever, shakes like I couldn't believe, and a terrible headache.

Ah yes, the flu.

Probably H1N1 but we don't know. We're now being told that the flu that John and Missy had were most likely this H1N1, after being initially told it wasn't, and that is most likely what I am now getting over too.

So I've been sleeping the last 4 days - or the bulk of it anyway. Starting to feel better today but I'm still tired. I think today is a good day for sleeping and reading and maybe a little embroidery. And that's about it. I folded and put away a basket of laundry Monday and wiped myself out for the rest of the day. Then yesterday was like taking 2 steps backward. Definitely don't want to do that again!

I'm taking this entire week off of everything outside of home - no class, no work, no choir, n…

Class Today For Me

We found out yesterday that Missy can't go back to school until Monday at the earliest, preferrably Wednesday next week. We're hoping it can be Monday since she's obviously better and getting tired of being home with the parents! :) She is so used to having someone her age around to play with that she just gets tired of playing with us or by herself (which she does very well, I might add). I am going to take her in for school pictures tomorrow - I was told I can bring her for that but she can't stay for class.

So, John has the day off and I'm back in class today. There's just enough time to finish my presentation and then go to class tonight. I did a quick run to the local library last night and got my ducks in a row for my presentation today, I just have to tweek it and make sure it makes sense!

We have a busy weekend with company coming up, so I am grateful that Missy is feeling well.
It's amazing how grateful I am for my normal schedule when things …

Another Day at Home...

I had hoped that Missy would feel well enough to send her back to school and daycare today but that's not the case, so we're home again today.

I'm beginning to feel like I've been AWOL from work/school! Yes, I have good reason to be gone (and honestly wouldn't want to be there with a sick child at daycare - if they'd let me send her - or with a sick self either) but I'm starting to feel the responsibilities I have ther piling up on my shoulders.

I discovered yesterday that mornings are better for working on schoolwork with Missy home, rather than afternoons, which had been my original plan. I can sew quilt squares with her wanting to help me or interrupting me every 5 minutes. Reading a 10-page, small-type article from The British Journal of Educational Psychology and actually comprehending it, not to mention taking coherent notes, for a project at school, not so much! :)

So, we'll see how today goes in terms of getting schoolwork done. It frustrates me…

A Day At Home

I got home from school yesterday and had a moment of panic.

Missy had a fever of 101F and that meant I needed to quickly find a sub for my class coordinator position at Jazzercise this AM as well as figure out how on earth I'm going to actually get the schoolwork I need to get done this week done as well as finishing off a couple of birthday presents by this weekend.

Never fear! The good Lord provided - three people to sub for me (my franchise owner got a good laugh out of that!), a daughter who no longer has a fever and is perfectly content eating goldfish crackers, watching movies and dozing on the couch, and the two hours I would have spent at Jazz to cut out quilt squares and sew. I will work on the homework stuff while Missy is sleeping for an afternoon nap today.

We're pretty darn sure that what Missy has is what John had right after my surgery - a nasty, but short-lived virus (about 36 hours) and not the H1N1 that's been running around. If she's feeling a lot be…