Showing posts from November, 2009

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…