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Showing posts from October, 2010

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things - Fall

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This was our view last Sunday afternoon, out for a hayride at a local apple orchard.  Our goal: to find at least 4 pumpkins to bring home and carve, toast the seeds, and just plain enjoy.

Goal accomplished! 

And we had a great time.

Fall is my favorite time of year. 

By a long shot.

Oh, I love spring and summer and all the beautiful flowers, and the warm sun, and gardening and swimming and all that sort of stuff.  I love walking barefoot on the beach or in the grass and I love the kids squeals as they play outside together or with their friends.

I love winter too - the white wonderland looking so beautiful. I love sledding and hot cocoa and Christmas lights.  (The cold I can leave behind, if it weren't necessary for snow that is.)

But fall is far and away my favorite.

I absolutely love the leaves painted in their autumn glory.
I love the crisp air.
I love apples and cider and all the trappings of harvest time.
I love pies and cakes and Halloween costumes.

And I love spending t…

Super Savings Saturday - $43 Haul!

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I was a little concerned this week about grocery shopping.  We needed toilet paper desperately, John needed body wash and we always need milk.  Back to our $40 per week budget, after 'splurging' and stocking up for several weeks, I felt like it was going to be tight.  We really didn't need much else since we had stocked up but I still felt like it was tight.   And we had something else too that made me even more concerned about fitting into our budget.

Last week my washing machine decided to have some real issues after complaining and whining for a while.  We needed to replace the motor, which cost more than a new machine.  So then we decided to buy a new washer and dryer.  We had been saving for new machines, knowing that we had that expense coming up sometime in the not so distant future.  Our washer and dryer were 10 years old and had seen some hard use.  So, a new washer and dryer arrived on Thursday this last week.  And then I realized I didn't have any HE soap. …

Frugal Friday - Financially Worth It?

These last two weeks have been completely crazy and I have become more resolved than ever to find myself more time.  Time is what I want to gain, not money.  Really.  

Yet I keep thinking that it would be nice if I could have both.

And I think I can.

Simplifying is definitely the way to go - all the way around.  And it will (and does) save me both time and money.  Both in the short term and the long run.

I was having a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago about money and time.  She orders her groceries through an online delivery service and has babysitters at her beck and call all the time now that her husband is working and not in school.  She routinely buys takeout and uses those come make a certain number of freezer meals in one shot and then eat for a month (or how ever long) places.

She was talking about the cost of these things and I said, "Wow. That sounds like a lot of money."

Her response:  "It is SO worth it for me!"

I guess that's what…

Work Home and Family - A Quick Tidbit About Clutter

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Yep, that's an actual picture of the clutter that has resided in my home in the last year or so.  That was the pile under my desk in our home office.  Yikes!  Most of it had been sitting there for over a year!
In this process of cleaning out my home this year, I've discovered something:
Time is what I want to gain, not stuff.  And cleaning out the clutter earns me time.
How?
I don't have to hunt for things. I don't have to shuffle things in order to use a space. I don't have to shuffle things in order to clean. I don't have to buy a duplicate because I can't find something (and that saves me money too).
It used to take me a while (at least 30 minutes) to set my living room to rights at the end of the day.  
Now I can do it in about 5 minutes, 10 if I want to sweep the energy and dust the surfaces.
I love that.
Now I just have to finish cleaning out the rest of the house.
Five minutes per room I can handle.  This 30 minute stuff is for the birds!
I'm planning on co…

Kid Funny

The hot lunch menu at my children's school occasionally has a small cup of ice cream (vanilla or chocolate) or rainbow sherbert for desert.   Missy thinks the sherbert is the best thing.  Buddy is an all-vanilla kinda kid.

This was the conversation about the hot lunch for tomorrow (Pizza day!) in the car on the way home from school today:

Missy: "Mommy, do you think they will have ice cream or sherbert tomorrow?"

Me: "I don't know. We can check the menu when we get home."

Buddy: "I'm just going to have plain vanilla.  Sherbert is just too wild for me!"


I had to work SO hard not to laugh.

And just for reference, they have vanilla ice cream only tomorrow!  Whew!  That could have been a crazy meal with that wild sherbert there.... :)


What more can I ask for?

Healthy Habits in 2010 - Being Between

I've officially lost enough inches now that I am between clothes sizes!  Whoo hoo!  I haven't actually measured yet because I don't want to be disappointed.  So I'm waiting to measure myself until I've reached that lower size.

The problem is, I have a few 'holes' in my wardrobe that really should be filled so I don't have things sitting around 'idle' in my closet.  Being between sizes means I have to decide if I buy big or small and what I do about that.

I had a fascinating conversation with a friend last week.  Her thought was to buy small and then work extra hard until they pants look great.    I'm not so sure about that. 

See, my pants don't fit around the thigh area.  I guess most people have things not fit around the waist, so they can hide an 'adjusted' waistband with a long top. I hate the thought of buying pants that are too tight in the thigh because I know I will not wear them. 

My solution?  Buy skirts!
I love skirts …

Goals Update - The Everything-Happens-at-Once Around Here Edition

Nothing like having everything happen at once around here.

I have been furiously trying to dig myself out from under a pile of grading for about 2 weeks now.  But I keep giving assignments so it doesn't completely go away.  And just when I started to make progress, life happens. Never mind trying to keep up with everything else that I need to do for work and school.

The kids were sick - with the flu - again.

One of our neighbor's passed away and there was a funeral to attend.   

Some committee work I've been working on for months now fell completely apart.  (ARRGH!)

Missy had a birthday party to attend this weekend.

The kids had their big fall 'homecoming' festival at school - including singing at worship there on Sunday morning.  (During which time I kept telling myself that no, I could not tell that Missy's skirt wasn't faded and that she really didn't need to wear the pleated skirt that has been on back-order for 2 months! Sigh.)

And then this last …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 17

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Another week come and gone.  Where does that time go?  It seems like things are just speeding up around here.  Anyway, we're back and we do need to eat! 
After several weeks of stocking the pantry - spending roughly $60/week - we have stuffed shelves and a freezer that can't fit anything more!  The kids and John had to eat a half-empty box of ice cream Saturday when I got home with groceries to fit something in. They didn't even complain about it! :)
My goal over the next few weeks is to eat some of this out - and certainly no more freezer cooking for a while!  We have plenty in there!
The kids are at their baby sitter's on Thursday and Friday, since it is MEA weekend here in Minnesota and they don't have school. So, they don't get a sack lunch on those days.  Also, they have pizza for hot lunch on Wednesday (remember those days?), so no lunch then either!
Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday, October 17: Breakfast: Cold Cereal Lunch: Waffles with Straw…

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - New Life

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See this handsome little one?
He's our brand new nephew - now about 2 weeks old.  Cuddled at the moment of the photo in Grandma's loving arms.
John got to see him when he was fresh and new, only hours old.  He's already recovered his birth weight and is doing great.  So is mom.  So is big brother.  So is dad.  And they already got their birth anouncements out and to the respective recipients (how on earth is she that organized?)! :)
I also found out this week that some very dear friends of ours are going to be first-time grandparents in the spring.  They are thrilled!  And so are their daugther and son-in-law!
There's just something so special about new life. 
And we all get a chance to marvel at God's amazing creation and rejoice with others.
What more can I ask for?

In the Refiner's Fire - Loving the Unlovable

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I think everyone has one of those lovely relatives (or friends) that are just more than a bit of a challenge to have in the family.  They are demanding, often unreasonable, and extremely self-centered.  In my case, my difficult relative - my aunt - also has bad hygiene and is very uninformed about many things.  To compound matters, she has a degenerative genetic disorder, that will eventually be fatal and effects her intelligence as it progresses.  Because of the disorder, she is continually throwing a pity party, whether the rest of us want to attend or not.

Just over a year ago, I had to make the decision to take my aunt's only child off life support. Alone. Without her there.  And I couldn't reach her by phone when I needed to either.  Then I had to call her and tell her that her daughter had died.  

I had heaps of anger toward my aunt and did not ever want to see her again, much less talk to her or spend time with her.  I ended up in my pastor's office because I knew…

Healthy Habits in 2010 - Sabotage!

I've discovered something very important about myself: whenever I make progress on my weight loss, I sabotage myself.

How?

Well, last week I definitely noticed my jeans are fitting better and my arms are more muscular than they have been for while. 

What have I done in this last week?

I have eaten a ton of cheese (which I love but don't get often because John is allergic), had a huge bacon cheeseburger and fries for dinner on Saturday night, ate a whole loaf of french bread by myself (yes, yes, I did - over 2 days mind), ate two hot pockets for lunch - a single serving is one and I haven't bought hot pockets since 1997, ate a long john and a cinnamon roll, ate 4 large sugar cookies from the store, and I'm now drinking a cherry coke. 

Any one of those things is fine - and something that done once in a while is perfectly okay (I eat that cheeseburger maybe twice a year).  Ordinarily I wouldn't have even considered getting the long john or the cinnamon roll or the c…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 3, 2010

How on earth did it get to be October already? I don't know about you, but I think I need another month or so before it can be October.  It just seems like September flew by and I still have a ton of stuff that should have been done last month.  Opps. 

Anyway, at least we're set for food!  We had a super busy weekend and John made a quick run to the store (while I watched sick kids!) to buy milk, bread and crackers.  We usually make our bread, but with sick kids and a busy week ahead, it was just easier to buy it this week!  I will probably bake some later this week, but for now I'm happy that we have a bakery in our local grocery store that sells yummy bread without breaking the bank!

What are we eating this week?  Here's what:

Sunday, October 3
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup, French Bread, Grapes

Monday, October 4:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Bananas
Bag Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwiches, applesauce, baby carrots, animal crackers, juice bo…

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - Fall Leaves of Thankfulness

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Ok, so these aren't real leaves, though I love those too!  (And I am going to post on those one of these weeks!).   These are our thankfulness leaves.
Each fall we put something like this on our entry-way coat closet door.  A reminder of all the people and things we're grateful for.  This picture is from 2007. 
In 2008 we ran out of hand leaves before the kids were done saying who they were thankful for.  No things made it on the door that year - just people!  I love that.
And I love that the kids get into this so fast.  Each year we trace hands and Mom (that's me) spends quite a bit of time cutting hands out of several shades of construction paper to get our multi-colored leaves.  John and I and the kids all get to choose what goes on the leaves. I write because John's handwritting is very poor and the kids haven't been old enough to write yet (that might change this year). 
It's a nice way to remember what we're thankful for - we have so much. 
And it makes…

Random Thoughts on Using Time on a Saturday Morning

I have a quiet house this morning. 

John is out of town and the kiddos spent last night with some very dear friends of ours, who are our surrogate family here in the Twin Cities.  Buddy couldn't stand still when he learned they were staying overnight last night!  I told them before they went to school yesterday morning rather than on Thursday night, since I did want them to actually sleep instead of staying awake until the wee hours of the morning due to excitement.  They were excited enough about just visiting (our friends were picking them up from school), and getting them to bed was a 2 hour process as it was. I can't imagine if they had known they were 'having a sleepover' before they went to bed! 

Anyway, I have a quiet house to myself.  And I had one last night. I haven't been 'home alone' in the 5 years since my kids were born so this is a definite treat!

Sleeping in was heavenly.
Sitting in a quiet living room, in my rocking chair with my hot cup …