Saturday, December 31, 2011

Living on a Dime's E-book Collection Sale

    Living on a Dime is having a New Year sale on a collection of 18 of their best-selling e-books. It is $20 for the set, but, like I said, 18 books are included. There are too many to list, but you can see which ones are included here or read the titles in the pic below. 

      I just promote these books because I think they have a lot of really great tips and advice, especially for those who don't know where to begin organizing. 
     As we approach the time most people make "New Year's" resolutions, here is an article by Jill from Living on a Dime on some tips for losing weight and saving money. All of these may not work for everybody, but chances are, you're bound to find a couple you can use!

10 Ways to Lose Weight and Gain Money
by Jill Cooper
LivingonaDime.com
  1. Eat smaller portions. The less food you eat, the less food you have to buy which means you spend less money on food.
  2. Walk more. I have a grocery store 2 1/2 blocks from me. Shame on me for driving there, especially when I only need one or two items. I can't even use being in a hurry as an excuse because it takes me the same amount of time to walk as to drive. Stop complaining about gas prices and start walking.
  3. Stop paying someone else to do your work. Start doing your own yard work and housecleaning. You don't think you have time to clean? Use that hour you would have worked out at the gym each morning to do your house work or yard work. Not only do you save the money you are paying someone to do these things, but you don't have to pay to go to the gym. Don't think you can lose weight cleaning your house? Trust me. If you are doing these things properly you will lose weight. You can clean and organize in five minutes.
  4. Stop going out to eat as much. Not only does it cost so much less to eat at home but you can control how much you eat and what you are eating better. How often do you eat everything they give you in a restaurant just because you don't want to waste money? Make easy meals at home and save money.
  5. Take the kids to the park instead of the movies. It doesn't cost a thing to go to the park and you get exercise. Plus there is the added benefit of actually talking and playing with you kids instead sitting staring at a movie.
  6. Drink water and not pop (or sodas). We all know it. Pop is just empty calories with no benefit. Why spend the money or pack on the extra weight?
    That goes for Lattes too. It costs much less to just have a regular cup of coffee from home and is much less fattening. Save the lattes for a special treat or dessert.
  7. Reduce excess scheduled activities. Many of us are just too busy with things that are often not really that important because we think that's the way it should be. Eliminating some of your excess commitments will save on gas and will reduce stress, which will make it less tempting to eat or spend as a stress reliever.
  8. You don't need to bring out the fatted calf to entertain or impress people. Have simple cake and punch at your child's birthday party instead of going to Chucky Cheese's. It's funny how the expensive flashy things are rarely the things the kids remember fondly when they grow up.
    If you're having people over for dinner, keep the food simple. You don't need a 10 course meal that includes everything from lobster to an expensive cheesecake. There are very few people who wouldn't enjoy roast chicken with fresh fruit for dessert just as much, especially if the company is good.
  9. Stop shopping and start exercising. When under stress there are two things at the top of the list that people do. Shopping and eating. Have a plan of attack so that when you start feeling stressed instead of grabbing your purse (or wallet) and heading for the mall you hit the yoga mat, hop on your bike or just start walking.
    Do you know how much money you would save if you exercised instead of shopping? Not to mention you probably would rid yourself of a lot of your stress. If you don't have as many money problems from over spending you wouldn't feel the need to go shopping or over eat and you would eventually break the cycle.
  10. Drive quickly by fast food joints. Don't even drive by them. Don't drive on the same street where they are. If you have a big problem with this, don't drive in the section of town where they are. And if you have any in your town then move to another town! (This was my favorite son-in-law's idea. Guess where his weakness lies! HA! HA!)

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.livingonadime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more! 
 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Water Was Out Last Night :-(

     I thought I was going to be home last night writing my first blog post from home in about two weeks, but it was not to be. We got home around 6:30 pm only to find that our water had been turned off. Now, there was the notice we get on our door every month and a half or so about how they're going to turn the water off for a few hours the next day (which was today), but that didn't explain why the water was off yesterday evening. So, we ended up spending the night with some friends. 
     My husband called the office this morning to ask what the deal was, and apparantly some people on the bottom floor (of different buildings) had experienced flooding related to the plumbing, so the administration shut the water off from the whole complex and supposedly it was on at 10:30 pm last night. But how were we supposed to know what was going on? 
     Now it is Friday evening and we are finally at home, with water. I am so drained, mentally and physically, and I feel like I have this whole pile of stuff to do. Oh where will I find the energy? But I finally get to sleep in my own bed tonight. Hopefully I will wake up ready to be more productive tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Day on the Road

    Well, I was not able to get online at all on Sunday or Monday. Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first day on the road on our way back home. We stopped in the Biloxi, MS area after driving about 9 hours. The hassle to use the internet was horrible. It was "sponsored" by Google music, or something like that and it made me watch an ad, "agree" to terms of use, then "connect" and it made me repeat this process several times throughout the course of the evening and when  I was finally ready to post what I had written last night, the connection "reset" and I lost everything. So I gave up after that. It was late and we needed to get up this morning. So now I am writing this in the car and will post when I get access to another interenet connection.
    We are driving through Lousiana now and my husband is looking for alligator tail meat for a friend back home. We found some gator meat at a small seafood store in Slidell, right over the Lousiana border that one of the ladies at the Lousiana welcome center told us about. But if we can find some alligator tail meat, we might get a couple pounds of that too. And apparantly my husband has decided he wants some andoille sausage as well. Next thing you know, he'll be wanting to make him red beans and rice when we get home. Haha.
    Well, we had a pretty good Christmas, in case anyone was wondering. I can say it's a good thing we upgraded to a minivan, because there is no way all this stuff would fit in our old Ford. Among our little girl's presents were a Radio Flyer wagon and a little rocking chair, both of which were things we kind of wanted for her anyway. But they do take up space! Now the question is where we'll put this stuff when we get home. Our little apartment is filling up with stuff (my husband and I are as bad as the grandparents) and she's not even two yet. But she had good time, and that is what it's all about.
    I hope everyone had a good holiday and had lots of good food and family time. I will try to write again soon, though you never have any idea how the day will go. Every day is an adventure.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day Trip to Sarasota

     I'm just sitting here at my computer, not sure what to do next. I'm in one of those modes where I've been going going going so long that now that I have nothing to do for a little while and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself! 
     Yesterday we went down to Sarasota for the day to visit some friends we haven't seen since we moved away in May. One of my best friends spent the day with us and we met one group of people for lunch at Troyer's Dutch Heritage. It is a restaurant and gift shop in the mennonite community of Sarasota. I didn't venture to the upstairs section this time, which is mainly things like purses, jewelry and other crafts and collectibles. 
     The restaurant has a buffet, though they also have a menu. I really like the apple butter and peanut butter spread they have that you can put on their rolls. I think the peanut butter spread is a mixture of peanut butter and honey and it is a little more liquid than regular peanut butter. You can buy a lot of their baked goods and jams and such in their downstairs shop, which is more edible items. They have bread, cookies, fudge, donuts, candy, cheeses, jellies, etc. It would be too easy to get carried away with all the good stuff they have in there. I managed to get away with a couple pieces of fudge and a donut (which I still haven't eaten). 
     After lunch, we went over to the Sarasota Square Mall where there is a Yoder's deli that we used to like to eat at. I really love their chicken salad, so I had to get a little container of that and I also got a jar of apple butter. As soon as I figure out how to replicate the chicken salad, I will let you know!
     For dinner we went over to the home of some other friends in the area. It was a nice visit, but we got away kind of late and still had an hour and a half drive back to Tampa! So we didn't get back until after midnight. We were definitely tired when we got back and weren't in a hurry to get up this morning! 
     I seem to be coming down with a cold and the sinus pressure has been giving me a headache all day. And I am still drained for the rest of the week. I feel ready to go to bed, but it is still too early. Normally we like to go look at Christmas lights on Christmas eve, but I think we are all just feeling too drained. We will probably look at some tomorrow, though.
     Hopefully I will be able to post tomorrow, but it will be pretty busy, so I may not. Either way, I hope you all have a great holiday! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Travelling for the Holidays

     Well, this is the third day we've been on the road and we're all getting a little stressed out and cranky. Monday and yesterday were both really long days and I haven't posted in my blog. Last night I didn't even turn on my computer at all when we got to the hotel because I knew if I did, I would get to bed later than I needed to. So I didn't get online at all--even to check my email (which I know must be packed by now).
     We've had some pretty nasty weather the last couple days as well. Monday morning we woke up to a clap of thunder about 20 minutes before I actually had my alarm set for. Wouldn't you know--in west Texas, where it hardly ever rains, it decided to rain right when we needed to be loading up the car. So my husband tried to load the car when the rain let up a little bit.
     So we finally got out the door and drove in a consistent drizzle pretty much all day. Sometimes the rain was really nasty, sometimes it stopped for a little while. We stopped at J Gilligan's in Arlington for lunch. We wanted to try their "Irish nachos" after seeing the restaurant featured on a show on the travel channel. We had intended to make it to Shreveport, but ended stopping about 45 miles west of there in Marshall.
     We expected to see less rain yesterday and at first the weather was dreary, but not rainy. But after we cut down south on I-49 in Louisiana, we went through the worst weather ever. It was NASTY. My husband said it was the worst he's ever driven through. The only thing that kept him able to drive was watching the tail lights in front of him. It was raining buckets and the wind was blowing hard. But we survived.
     We stopped in Baton Rouge and ate at Copeland's. It was a little on the expensive side, but my husband remembered liking the seafood gumbo and since we were going through Louisiana, it was the thing to do. There was not much on the menu that wasn't fish or seafood, and I can't stand either. So I got sausage and red beans and rice. My husband said he actually liked mine better, mostly because it was warmer than his. So, he got it out of his system.
     We finally made it to Pensacola last night and we were completely exhausted. I was ready to go straight to bed. We had to get up early again because of time constraints and my little girl was really ornery at breakfast. She didn't sleep too well last night and isn't really feeling great today. But hopefully we'll get to rest up tomorrow and maybe we'll all be feeling a little better.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coconut Bon bons and White Chocolate Pretzels

     This past week I've been working on all kinds of goodies, most of which have been given away (or eaten :-P). But I saved the best for last, since these are what we're taking with us to Florida. On Friday I made coconut bonbons and yesterday I made white chocolate covered pretzels and these are super-important holiday traditions for us. :-D Don't they look yummy, all ready to go? Put them in a nice little tin or colorful container and they make great, inexpensive gifts, too, and I don't know who doesn't love receiving them!
Coconut Bon Bons
     These are great for that chocolate craving. Yes, it had coconut in it, but even my dad, who hates coconut, got convinced to try one and said it was pretty good. I'm not a huge fan of coconut in general, but I love these (as does everyone who's tried them...). Here is the recipe if you would like to try it out. 
Mix together: 
     2 lbs of powdered sugar
     1/2 cup (1 stick) of melted butter
     1 can of sweetened condensed milk
     2 cups of shredded coconut (I actually just used 1 14 oz package) 
     This will make a sticky mixture and you will need to chill it (preferably overnight) before rolling it into little balls. Even after chilling, your hands will get sticky when handling it. Place the balls on cookie sheets covered with wax paper. I also put each batch in the freezer for a few minutes before dipping chocolate. I'm usually multi-tasking in the kitchen. 
     Melt a box (8 oz) of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate on low heat with a 1 x 1 1/2 inch square piece of parafin wax, cut up or shredded for better melting. Roll the coconut balls one by one in the melted chocolate, coating the whole thing with chocolate then return it to the wax paper. You can use a toothpick or a utensil made for dipping chocolates. You may find you need to add more chocolate if you find you are running out. If you need to thin the chocolate a little, add Crisco, 1 teaspoon at a time till you reach the desired consistency. Don't add to much or it will be too runny! When the chocolates are cooled and the chocolate has firmed up, they are ready to serve! 
White Chocolate Pretzels
     These are even easier to make than the coconut bon bons and are perfect for that salty-sweet combo you sometimes crave. 
     All you need to do is melt one or 2 packages of Baker's white chocolate and dip small pretzels into it and lay it on wax paper to cool. You can add a little parafin wax to it to make it dry harder, if you like. Just like with regular chocolate, use Crisco if you need to thin it up. And keep an eye on it, because it tends to scorch more quickly than the semi-sweet chocolate. But it is pretty simple to do. Try it out and let me know what you think. :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Touring the Labor and Delivery Unit

     This morning we went to check out the new labor and delivery unit at one of the local hospitals. They are opening a brand new unit in January and are currently giving "sneak peeks" so we thought we would check it out (since we're due in Feb.). Well, first of all, we parked on the wrong of the hospital. They are still constructing the back entrance near the parking garage, so it was blocked off. So we went in the main hospital entrance thinking it was all connected. 
     We meandered all the way around to the emergency room and asked the ladies there and they told us to go outside around to the front entrance. So we finally made it and it looks like they still have quite a bit of work to do before it's done. But there were people there to greet us at the door and show us to the elevator, so we knew we were finally in the right place.
     We filled out our "registration cards" then we were shown around the labor and delivery and post-partum units. The rooms aren't completely furnished yet, but they were a good size. There were couches and chairs in the rooms, but the beds hadn't been put in yet. So the nurses just told us where they will be and we had to use our imagination. 
     At the end of the tour they had cupcakes, punch, coffee and water available, as well as information about the labor and delivery unit and bags for expectant moms that even included a cute little onesie. Mine was blue (since we're expecting a boy) and said "Mommy's New Little Man." I finally got to have my chocolate cupcake I've been craving all week and the punch was pretty good too. 
     A few minutes after we left and were trying to decide what to have for lunch, I got a call from one of the nurses telling me I had won a door prize. So we went back to get it and it was a little bottle of lotion. Yippee. I thought it was kind of funny. There was a guy shuttling people back and forth from the parking lot to the front entrance of the mother baby unit, so I got a ride with him while my husband waited in the car with the baby. After that, we came home and scrounged around for lunch. 
     Overall the unit seems like it will be really nice. We still plan to check out the other hospital too, but that probably won't happen until January. Anyway, it looks like we have some decent options and I'm definitely looking forward to February for more reasons than one!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busy Week

     It has been a pretty busy week for us so far. On Monday morning the washing machine would not drain.I was stressed about the hassle of having someone from the office sent up and my husband's cheerful observation was that we would have to move everything out of the room if they had to replace the washer. So he wanted to what he could do first.
     We have kind of an awkward set up. Whoever owns the apartment thought the walk-in closet would make a good laundry room, so that is where our washer and dryer is. It makes a pretty cramped laundry room. Especially when it has to share space with hanging clothes, as there is no other closet in the room. But we make do. And I'm just happy we have a washer and dryer at all. 
     So, we borrowed a shop vac from a friend and I emptied the sopping wet clothes from the washer and my husband proceeded to start sucking water from the washer drain. The culprit? A baby sock! Needless to say that sock is not usable anymore and we're thrilled that's all it took to get the washer working again. 
     Also Monday afternoon I called the doctor to get the results of my 3 hour glucose test and they called me back with the wonderful news that I do not have gestational diabetes. So I celebrated by immediately eating a whole box of Oreos. Haha. Just kidding. I did not do that or anything like that. I'm still aware of needing to make good choices.
     Much of yesterday (Tuesday) was spent making cookies to take to some of the older people at church. I made rolled sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies, and I am definitely feeling the effects today because my wrists have been aching all day. So everything I've done today that requires the least amount of force has been kind of painful. 
     It's amazing, the little things we take for granted. Like the use of our hands. It's not until we hurt something that we realize just how much we use it without even thinking about it. But anyway, by the time I got all those cookies rolled out and baked, I didn't have it in me to ice them last night. I had already been on my feet all day and I was just achy all over.
     This morning one of the moms from my little girl's Bible class invited the moms and kids from class over for crafts and lunch. Before lunch the kids did a book exchange and we made "snow globes" and Christmas tree door hangers.
     After lunch we (meaning the moms!) decorated sugar cookies while the kids ran around and watched Cars 2. What can you expect when you try to get 2 year olds to sit down to do anything? But it was fun, though I must admit I was tired when I got home!
     So, I anticipate being pretty busy the rest of the week as well. We plan to go pass out our cookies tomorrow and on Saturday morning one of the hospitals in town is having a preview tour of a new mother and baby unit opening in January. So we might go check that out. And of course other various things to get ready for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Homemade for the Holidays e-book Sale

     Well, our snow has been gradually melting the last day or two, so now we're at the drippy, browning stage where you just see patches of snow on the grass here and there. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. We've been informed by friends from here we shouldn't expect to see such a nice snow around here again this winter. And being in west Texas, the odds of having the temperature cold enough and enough moisture in the air are not too great, I must admit. 
     I got up this morning not feeling too wonderful and my general mood was not improved by going to the doctor ad being reminded that I need to take the 3 hour glucose test tomorrow. Yuck! I have not been told yet that I have gestational diabetes, but today I've been eating like I have. I had carrot sticks with ranch and deviled eggs for lunch. My appetite has just not been to great since leaving the doctor. Otherwise everything with baby seems to be fine. 
     This week (until next Tuesday, the 13th) Living on a Dime is having a special on their Homemade for the Holidays e-book collection. For just $10, this set includes 3 e-books. Christmas on a Dime has ideas for spending less on gifts and decorations and some Christmas recipes. Country Christmas Recipes and Gifts Cookbook has recipes for edible homemade gifts. Traditional Holiday Meals And Menus includes recipes and menus for traditional holiday meals. 
     In addition to the 3 e-books, the Homemade for Holidays set includes the following bonus downloads: Christmas Card Planner, Christmas Meal Planner, Christmas Cookie/Candy Planner, Christmas Wish List, Christmas Gift Planner and Gift Ideas. All-in-all, a pretty good deal! Remember, this sale only goes on through December 13th, then the price will go back up. 
    

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Got Snow!

     Today we had our first snow here. It was kind of exciting. It actually started snowing last night and my husband and I just watched it for a little while. It might sound anti-climatic if you live in the north and snow in the wintertime is a given, but I've spent much of the last decade in Florida where it is quite a rarity. I did see snow when I lived in Europe as a teenager, but it's been a long time. 
     So, when we got up this morning, the ground was covered in snow, so we bundled up our little girl and took her down to play. She was fascinated, of course, and not quite sure what to think. In fact, when she first saw the snow from the window, she said "messes!" which, of course, we thought was funny. While we were outside, it started snowing again, so we decided to come inside and warm up, and she did not want to come inside! 
     We ended up spending much of the day out, so I didn't actually get as much done today as I was planning. But we had a nice little family day out and got to see the Texas mesquites covered in snow (which made them more attractive than usual!) There is nothing quite like seeing the landscape covered in fresh snow. I'm sure I will think differently as it starts melting and gets dirt and sloshy, but for today it looked nice. 
     We did have one exciting (and gross) incident today. We were in Hancock's (a fabric store) when the Kay-kay quite an "accident" that made it through a few layers of clothes. To make matters more fun, there was no changing table in the restroom, so we managed to find a table in the store that had been mostly cleared off. Not an ideal situation, but when you have an emergency, you gotta do what you gotta do. We had to completely change her clothes. 
     Now we are back home, the baby is in bed after her long day and we have a fire in the fireplace. We got one of those logs that are ready to just set in the fireplace and light on fire. it just seemed appropriate to us to have a fire in the fireplace since we have snow outside, and I made cookies and we're going to have hot chocolate. You know, the "traditional" winter stuff. 
     So, while today was an "off" day because of the extra excitement, tomorrow I hope to get back into my routine and do better with my meal planning and grocery shopping. And speaking of grocery shopping, I've had a new e-book recommended to me. It's called the 2012 Guide to Groceries under $250 a Month. I haven't read it yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to checking it out!

Visit Budget101.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Trying to Get My "Mode" Back

     Well, we got back from our trip Tuesday afternoon, sick and worn out (at least some of us). I meant to post yesterday, but I was in that mode of "I just got back in town and I just can't make myself do anything but the bare minimum." Also, I felt kind of lousy because of whatever sickness I have. Sore throat, sneezing, headache. Plus I was really tired and my back was/is getting more achy. I just felt like a lead weight. I still do, kind of, but it's not quite so bad today. 
     I am really trying to get back into my mode of getting more done. I did manage to finally unpack our big suitcase today and I have a load of laundry in the wash. It is a constant battle trying to keep the living room floor clear of clutter, though. Anyone with toddlers knows this. Kay-Kay wants to bring her toys and books, a couple at a time, from her room into the living room. And then she will get a hold of a piece of junk mail, or some other paper product, and tear it into pieces. 
     So when I finally get around to "pickup" mode, I usually have a couple of books, a few random toys (like dolls/stuffed animal, a couple of blocks), pages from toy catalog mailer and a few pieces of napkin. And of course I have to move her tricycle from the middle of the room, because it always somehow makes it there, whether she was riding it or not. 
     Now she is finally taking a nap (I'd like to do that myself) so I have a few minutes of quiet. I still have more to do. There is always more to do. I'm just lacking motivation. I run out of energy and it's getting harder to bend over to pick stuff up. I don't like to feel like I'm being lazy, so I will probably make myself do it anyway, but I don't want to overdo it, either.
     The thing about going on vacation is you get out of your "mode" and when you come back it is hard to get back into it! Of course, getting sick (or pregnant) doesn't help with that, either. And we are going down to Florida for Christmas, to see my husband's folks in about two and a half weeks, so by the time I get back into my "mode" I will have to get out of it again! And when we get back, I will be a month more pregnant than I am now. 
     So, I will just have to manage the best I can until I just can't anymore. And I'm sure I will get there at some point. Maybe the "nesting" syndrome will come in about then and help me out. LOL But seriously, I was starting to do pretty good. I really don't want to slip back down the slope. But, thankfully, I have a supportive husband who will help me out if I need it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Going Home from Arkansas

     Here I am, on the road again, on the way back home from visiting Mom and Dad in Arkansas. We had a really good visit. We caught a cold sometime in the course of the visit, so I currently have a bit of a sore throat, the sniffles and an occasional cough. My poor little girl has had some congestion for a couple of days and nasty sounding cough. Other than that she seems perfectly normal and has no fever.
     On Tuesday evening we went to Larry’s Pizza for dinner. If you’re ever in the Little Rock/Bryant, AR area, I highly recommend you check it out if you like pizza. We go to the original, which is in Bryant, but I think there are a few locations in Little Rock as well. Larry’s only does the pizza buffet two nights a week (Tuesday and Friday), and that is when you really want to go. Just a warning though—it gets pretty crowded and you will most likely have to wait at least 20 minutes to get your seat. But it’s worth it.
     There is a salad bar and a pizza bar, but the cool thing is the pizza buffet pretty much comes to you at your table. So while you may grab a piece or two from the bar just to get you started, the really good stuff will be brought around by the servers. They just walk around with trays of pizza, announce what they have, and if you want some, just raise your hand and let them know.
     They have a board near the front with a list of their popular pizzas and if you want to request it, you can write your table number under the pizza you want, and when one is ready, yours will be one of the first tables they bring it to. Some pizzas (like their baked potato pizza) may sound kind of odd at first, but they are pretty good.
     Another thing I like is the dessert pizzas. They have more than the typical cinnamon apple pizza (though they have that too). They have chocolate chip cookie pizza, peanut butter cookie pizza and chocolate peanut butter pizza. They also have really good cinnamon sticks. Trust me, there will be more pizza than you know what to do with!
     There is also a game room with games like ski-ball, air hockey and others and some of them give out tickets (kind of like Chuck E. Cheese’s) which you can turn in for little prizes. I’m a little old to be impressed by the offerings there, but it’s great for the kids. All-in-all, Larry’s pizza is a great, family friendly place to go, so if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend you check it out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Yard Sale Jackpot

     Well Kay-Kay was sick this weekend. I thought she was getting better, since her cold seemed to be clearing up, but she got a fever on Saturday and even threw up late Saturday night (TMI, I know). I had to stay in with her all day yesterday. She didn't have a fever this morning, so it seems she's getting better now. 
     I did get to go yard saleing Saturday morning, while my husband kept the baby in and had a pretty good run. I spent under $30 and got a train table with train tracks, a pile of little boy clothes for my bundle of joy coming in February and this adorable hooded cape for my daughter. 


     I had a hard time getting her to stand still, so this was the best pic I could get of her in it. But she looks even more adorable in real life. And she loves Mickey and Minnie, so it's an added bonus that there's a Minnie Mouse head on it. And she seems to like wearing it and likes to look at herself in the mirror. 
     The train table was also an awesome deal. I never see train tables on craigslist for less than $50 and usually more. New these things cost in the neighborhood of $150 for the table alone (forget tracks). So when I heard they were asking $25 for the table and tracks, that was a pretty good deal. Even better, I managed to get it for $20. It has removable panels on top, so I was thinking about getting a piece of plexiglass to fit into the same place to make my own lightbox, something I had not heard of until I read about it on the blog The Mommies Made Me Do It. But it looks like there are all kinds of neat things to do with it and I can't wait to try some out with my little girl.
     Meanwhile, here's an article from Living on a Dime including a few ideas and recipes from their e-books Dining on a Dime and Gifts in a Jar. The Mint Chocolate Cookies in particular look especially yummy! I love mint and chocolate together.

Christmas On A Budget!
by Tawra Kellam
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Between high gas prices and consumers' sense of a financial squeeze in a struggling economy, many people think that a nice Christmas is out of the picture this year. But I say "Not so!" Here are a few ideas to help make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank!
  • Go Potluck! You buy the turkey -- Have everyone else bring the side dishes and drinks. Turkeys in our area are .59/lb this time of year. If you buy just the turkey, it will only cost you about $10-$15 to feed everyone for a large family gathering.
  • Celebrate Christmas the week after Christmas. Take advantage of the after Christmas sales and plan your large extended family gathering for the week after Christmas. Besides being less expensive, it is unlikely to interfere with anyone else's Christmas plans.
  • Don't give gifts or give inexpensive gifts to hairstylists, babysitters, teachers and others. I found several wonderful small scented jar candles on clearance for .25 each. I will put three of them in a small basket (purchased at the thrift store for .25) with some tissue paper, ribbon and nice note. A great gift for $1.25!
  • Break up gift sets. If you find an item that comes in a gift set at Christmas, give parts of it to different recipients. This is great for bath or perfume sets.
  • Yard sales and thrift stores equal great savings. You can find a lot of new or nearly new items for pennies on the dollar. For our son, we found a working telescope in the box. It cost $1.00, so we saved $24! He got what he wanted and we didn't have to take out a home equity loan!
  • Make memories, not more junk. Most kids get more than plenty for Christmas from grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you can only afford one gift for your child, make it a memory! Wrap a note in a box with instructions for a treasure hunt.. Send your child all over the house with clues and then have the real gift sitting under the tree when they return. Simple, but a great memory for them!

Here are some great recipes to use for Christmas!
Mint Chocolate Cookies
2/3 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Filling:
2-3/4 cups powder sugar
1/4 cup half and half cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Green food coloring
Cream butter, sugar then add milk and eggs. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for 2 hours until firm. Roll dough on floured surface about 1/8 inch thick Cut with 1-1/2 inch cookie cutter and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-6 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Cool on racks. Combine filling and spread on half of the cookies, then top with the other halves. Makes about 7 dozen.

(This recipe may not sound appealing with vinegar in the title but it really is yummy. watch a Christmas movie while eating the candy you made along with popcorn and cookies.)
Vinegar Taffy
2 cups dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
food coloring
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking to 260 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in soda, vanilla and a few drops of food coloring. Beat until smooth and creamy. Pour into a buttered pan. When cool enough to handle butter hands and pull until light in color. Pull into long strips and cut into 1 inch pieces. Makes 8 dozen.
Herbed vinegars make great gifts especially if you want to give something different than the sweets most people get at this time of year. They're also good for those who have to watch their sugar. Don't forget the cooks in your life too!
If you're trying to make it in time for Christmas, you'll want to make it soon as it needs to age before it is used.

Herbed Vinegar
2 cup white vinegar
1 cup fresh herbs: basil, mint, dill, rosemary, chives or oregano (choose one)
Decide which herb you'd like to flavor your vinegar. Place the vinegar in a glass jar or bottle. Add herbs, seal and let steep for 2-4 weeks. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the vinegar. Remove herbs and put in 2 or 3 sprigs of the herb for decoration. Seal bottle with cork and then pour melted paraffin around the top and tie with a ribbon for gift giving. Makes 2 cups.

Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Friday, November 11, 2011

One Step at a Time

     Hello everyone. I'm not getting around to blogging in the mornings because I've been trying to not turn my computer on before lunch, or just before if I need it to make a recipe for lunch. I sometimes find that once I turn my computer on, I tend to spend too much time on it. I won't say exactly how much, but let's just leave it at too much. :-) So, by not turning the computer on until after lunch, I feel like I can get a little more done in the mornings. I do feel like I've been slightly more productive.
     In my last post I talked about becoming more organized, specifically in regards to meal planning and grocery shopping. Well, it's just one aspect of my overall effort to become more productive in general. The last couple days I've really been trying to plan meals at home and clean up afterward. 
     So last night, after I made dinner (chicken fried rice), I was boiling potatoes for the potato salad to have with lunch today, and my husband was like "What are you doing? We just ate." So I told him what I what I was doing and he said "Wow, what's going on?" So I told him I was trying to make more of an effort to plan meals. 
     If we already have the meal planned, and especially if we already have the components of the meal ready to go, we will be less likely to "just go out." So far it's been working, but it's only been a couple days, so perhaps it's too soon to speak. My husband seemed enthusiastic about it and says he is proud of me and I'm doing good. Anyway, it's just one step at a time. 

 KayKay Jiggin' It Up

     Yesterday I had to get up first thing in the morning to take my glucose test, since I'm at 25 weeks. I couldn't have anything but water after midnight the night before and then I had to drink what was like a flat orange soda. Which on an empty stomach isn't great. Then I had to sit in the waiting room for an hour and then get blood drawn. 
     The worst part was I had to drive myself since the baby had a cold, was still sleeping and didn't need to go out in the cold air. But she did seem to feel better yesterday afternoon. Check out this video I took with my webcam yesterday.

video

     I just thought this was so funny. Here she is jiggin' it up to her alphabet toy's music option. She finally noticed herself on the webcam and got sidetracked as you can see toward the end. But I thought it was too cute!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Trivialities of Motherhood

     Oh, the joys of parenthood....My precious bundle of joy has been quite a handful this weekend. Caution: guys and kids, you might find the following info to be TMI as this post does contain "potty talk." Literally. Other moms will probably find it relatable and amusing. 
     Anyway. Last night she was a rascal at church. My husband is the preacher, so I'm pretty much on my own to watch her during services. Lately she has been trying to inch her way out of the pew and into the aisle, and after having been fussy for a few minutes prior, she proceeds to do just that, looking at me with each little step, of course. I tell her in an irate whisper to "get back over here now" and then she says "peepee!" which is what she says both after she has already done it and if she needs to do it. Though I suspect she also just likes the word and also likes to sit on the "potty" whether she needs to or not. 
     So, I wasn't sure whether she really needed to go, or she was just looking for an excuse to get me to take her out of the pew. Then she says "diaper." Or at least that's what it sounded like. Okay, so maybe she had a wet diaper. So I get up with the diaper bag and she takes off running to the back foyer (we sit near the back, so not that far). When I catch up, she is in the men's bathroom standing by the toilet and saying "potty." I tell her several times to come out so I can take her to the nursery (or cry-room) to change her. She ingores me, and when I approach her, she starts shrieking. 
     I finally get her into the nursery and she promptly gets excited one of the other girls there, close to her age, is also there and wants to play. After I finally get her diaper changed, she starts to play in the curtains. I try to grab her hand to take her back out and she protests, sitting on the floor so I can't pull her along. She finally comes along when I step out the door and comes with me, but as we approach our pew, she lays down in the middle of the aisle. So I have to put the diaper bag down on the bench, then pick her up. She was a handful, but I managed to keep her reigned in after that. 
     This morning we had another fun incident. Dear daughter came to me and said "peepee." I felt her diaper and it seemed dry, so I figured she must need to go potty. So to the potty we went. 
     She got on and off the potty about three times, then took off running out of the bathroom. Next thing I know, my husband's saying "she just made a puddle under her highchair. Now she needs a bath!" Great. So into the bathtub she goes. 
     No sooner do I get her hair washed and get her wiped down, she says "peepee" again. So I look to see if that's really what she's doing, and it's worse than that. Yep. She's doing more than peeing in the bathtub. 
     So, out of the tub she comes, while I let out the water and pick up the pieces and throw them in the toilet. New experience for me. Yay. Once that's done, in she goes again for another soap and rinse. I take her out and she immediately pees on the floor! I'm about at my wits' end at this point.
     Anyway, I finally got it cleaned up and everything seems back to normal now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cleaning for the Holidays

     Hi all. Just wanted to share this article from the ladies at Living on a Dime and to go along with all these great tips, they are also offering their very useful Keepin it Clean e-book series at half off through Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 only! Make sure you take advantage of this great offer!
      Keepin it Clean covers laundry, cleaning products, organization and, most of all, saving money! Check out this, and other money-saving e-books through the links on right of my page. And enjoy this article on cleaning for the holidays.

Holiday Cleaning - Preparing Now For The Holidays
by Jill Cooper
http://www.livingonadime.com/
Halloween is over, which means it is now officially time to kick it into gear to get ready for the holidays and to get your house ready for company. It really helps to get your house in order now because if unexpected company comes you won't get caught off guard. Then you can concentrate on baking, finding gifts and organizing activities without having to worry about deep cleaning your house again until after the New Year.
Hopefully by now you have been inspired to start getting things done a little at a time so this won't be too big of a job. Here are a few things to work on:
  • Get your closets in order. Put summer clothes away and take winter clothes out, tossing as you go.
  • Don't forget your linen closets. Get your guest towels, sheets and extra blankets aired out and put the linens in a handy spot so they are easy to grab when you need them.
  • If you have a guest room, get it cleaned and prepare everything for your first guests.
  • Get your holiday linens prepared. Wash them if necessary and make sure they're ready to go.
  • Hopefully you have cleaned your pantry. Now you need to make sure it is stocked with everything you need for your holiday recipes, for some quick and easy to fix snacks and dinners for unexpected company or food to take to social events.
  • Make sure your fridge and freezer are in order. The refrigerator and freezer are going to work overtime for you over the next couple of months so make sure they're cleaned, organized and prepared.
  • I don't worry about cleaning my oven at this time. I use it so much for baking that it's silly for me to clean it right before having a baking fest. I usually wait and give it a good cleaning after the holidays. If it's really bad or you have company coming and it looks awful you may want to go ahead and clean it anyway.
  • This week and next week is the time to do any deep cleaning that you don't want to have to mess with again until after the holidays-- things like washing your windows, deep cleaning rugs and carpets and dusting mirrors, picture frames, lampshades or ceiling fans.
If you have been keeping up with your cleaning you may not have to do any of these. Basically just clean your house enough for company. Then you'll know it's done and you will be prepared for the unexpected.
Part of the stress that comes at the holidays is the result of not being prepared, especially for the unexpected things that always seem to come up. Think of it like being prepared for a disaster. If I have a wood burning stove, firewood, lots of candles, blankets and food prepared, I am not too stressed if we lose power from an ice storm. If I wasn't at all prepared, I would be in a total panic if an ice storm hit.
If you are prepared, you have something you can whip up for company in just a few minutes or if the kids need treats for school, you have dough frozen and ready to be baked in the freezer. I'm not saying that I have everything prepared like Martha Stewart but I do try to have everything together enough so that I'm reasonably prepared for the unexpected. My idea of the perfect woman is a cross between Martha Stewart and Erma Bombeck! Some days I am more one than the other and on other days I totally miss the mark, but that's okay, because I tried. :-)
      -Jill

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Stylefind Bzzcampaign

     So, the latest bzzagent campaign I've joined is for the Stylefind website. Stylefind is a fashion website that boasts clothes, shoes and accessories from over 200 different brands all in one place and at discounts of up to 50% off. It also offers access "exclusive deals" just for members. And membership is free. So if fashion is your thing, feel free to sign up at Stylefind.

     Ok, so much for the introduction. I have to say this website is for fashionistas, not frugalistas. If you are someone who cares about high fashion and brandnames and who doesn't flinch at spending over $100 on an outfit, this site will probably be great for you. However, I am not one of those ladies. I honestly can't afford to be. And I was never taught to put much stock in clothes (they just need to be clean, in good condition and comfortable!). Sure, I look at nice clothes and think "oh, that's pretty" or "I like that." But I'm likely to be just as happy with something I spent $10-20 on. And even that's gotta be something I really like to spend that much on.
     This is probably more than you want to know, but here is a rundown of the most I'm willing to spend on these things (and that's only every so often). Note, I often buy my things on clearance, I don't put much stock in "brand names" and I usually only buy clothes one or two articles at a time. Also, I am talking about shopping new, at retail stores, not thrift shops and yard sales, although sometimes you can find great clothes there too!
     Tops--I don't like to spend more than $5-10 on a top. If it's a "casual" shirt, no more than $5. The most I think I've spent is $15, and then it has to "speak" to me and even so I usually have to be prompted by my husband who would probably like me to update my wardrobe more often. :-) 
     Bottoms--I have spent $30-35 on Levi's jeans. I used to buy $10 brands, but they tend to wear out faster. And since I wear jeans a lot, I'd rather have something that lasts longer. Now, things like skirts and non-jean pants, you probably won't catch me spending more than $10 on them. 
     Dresses--You can rarely buy a decent dress for under $20. So when I do buy dresses (which isn't that often) I may spend $20-50, depending on how nice the dress is, how much wear I expect to get out of it, and what the occasion is.
     Shoes--Okay, some of you ladies might want to prepare for a shock. I only spend $10-15 on a pair of new shoes. And I don't have a ton of different pairs of shoes, either. I have one or two pairs of walking/tennis shoes, 2 pairs of "casual" shoes (one black, one brown), two pairs of "dressy" closed toe shoes (one black, one brown), one pair of black boots and few pairs of nice "flip flops" (white, brown and black). These are about all the shoes I have or need, and even some of those I don't wear all that often. 
     Accessories--Okay, purses/handbags. Purses are not a big deal for me. The two I use now (one black, one brown) I think I spent less than $5 each on. I don't think I've ever spent more than $10 on a purse. I've never understood spending $100+ on a purse either. No offense if you do this! Same thing with jewelry. I have very little "real" jewelry except my wedding rings. And I don't wear jewelry that much anyway. I'm low maintenance. Haha. 
     So, if fashion is your thing, and you can afford to do it, you should definitely check out Stylefind and sign up for a free membership. For myself, I find myself cringing at the prices and thinking "this is a discount?!). The one item I did find on Stylefind that was in my range was a cute dress in the $20 range. But guess what? It was sold out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monahans State Park and Baby's New "Bike"

     Well, our company just left and now we're left with that feeling of not knowing quite what to do with ourselves. We now have a little trike for the baby because grandpa felt compelled to get her one this weekend after letting her ride the neighbor boy's when he took her outside. She had never been on one before and didn't give it a second thought, but after riding it, she never fails to notice it when we take her in or out of the apartment! She has also stared saying the word "bike" a lot. So grandpa felt like he had to get her one since he "started something." 
     So, to Babies R Us we went, and left with a nice, new Thomas the Tank engine tricycle that makes noise when you push the buttons. And believe me, the buttons get pushed! Unfortunately, there is no way to turn the sound off, so we just have to tolerate it, or hide the bike. 
     We went to an ice cream party at the home of one of the families we go to church with and had ice-cream, cookies, cake and brownies. They also had a couple of bounce houses set up for the kids, so my husband and I got into one with our little girl and though she was nervous at first, she really started to have fun, but was ready to get out after about fifteen minutes. She was also entertained by the older girls playing around the bounce house next to us. 
     This morning I was dragged out of bed by my husband (not literally, but you know what I mean) in order to go to Monahans Sandhills State Park with his grandparents before they left to go back to Florida. He used all kinds of bribes (more than necessary, but who's complaining?) to get me up and out the door. 
     The park is about 32 miles from home and is just like the name indicates--a bunch of sandhills. The front office rents out these discs (basically like big frisbees) on which people can slide down the hills. Sort of like sledding, only it's sand instead of snow. It would probably be fun to do if I had more energy. Nobody in our group did that today, but if we ever go back, maybe we'll do it next time. 
     When we left the park, we decided to go into Monahans (the town) to get a drink from DQ and decided instead to try out a restaurant called Pappy's BBQ. We're always looking for a good barbeque place. I must say it was not what I imagined. 
     It was a counter service restaurant where you could either buy your meat buy the pound or get a sandwich or plate. We all ordered sandwich plates. I got a sliced chicken sandwich with potato salad and baked beans. The food wasn't horrible, but it wasn't the best barbeque we'd ever had and I think we were all unanimous in saying it wasn't worth going out of our way for. But we tried it. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fiddlesticks Farm and Michael's Charcoal Grill

     Well it's been another busy weekend, but maybe not quite as busy as last weekend. On Friday we tried to go to a big yard sale with a friend in Midland, TX. It was supposed to be a big, indoor yard sale made up of donated stuff. The only thing is, when we got there, they were charging $3 per person, including babies! So, it would have been $12 for all 4 of us, and $9 for our family alone. And no guarantee that we would find anything we wanted in this garage sale that was probably made up of donations from people who couldn't sell the items in their own yard sales. So, we decided not to go after all. We ended up going to the mall instead. 
     On Saturday we decided to go out to Fiddlesticks Farms, a family-owned farm, also in Midland. We wanted to find a pumpkin patch our little girl could take pictures in. It was $20 for us all to get in and it's still negligible whether it was worth it, but we did get some cute "fall" pictures. 
     There were a few neat things we didn't get to try because it was so hot. There was a corn maze I would have liked to go into, but like I said, it was hot, and I get so easily tired out lately, so I didn't want to risk it. There was a hay-ride out to the pumpkin field, but we didn't do that either. 
     The farm had a little barn that had cows, goats, chickens and pigs (babies and adults), and you could even pet some of them if you wished. Our little girl really had a blast looking at the animals, so maybe it was worth it just for that. They also had milking demonstrations every couple hours in the animal barn, but we didn't stay for that.
     One of the snack stalls had an "old fashioned soda wagon" with five different flavors of soda. I was really tempted to get one, but it was $6 for a tin mug of soda, and the picture on it was really ugly. If it had simply said "Fiddlesticks Farm" it might have made a nice souvenir to keep, but I just could not bring myself to spend that much on a cup I didn't really like. We did, however, get a bag of kettle corn and it was good and fresh and had that just right combination of sweet and salty. Only problem with that kind of stuff is you tend to eat more than you ought to! 
     Overall, we were there about an hour and half. We might have stayed longer if it wasn't quite so hot. Maybe next year we will try to wait till later in the month (though it may be more crowded) and then we went to get lunch at a local hamburger restaurant called Michaels Charcoal Grill. This was a counter-service restaurant, not a sit-down restaurant like we were thinking when we went in. There was plenty of seating though.
     The food was pretty good and they had just about every condiment you could imagine for hamburgers. We did end up spending more than I honestly care to spend on hamburgers. They do have barbeque too, so if we go again, we will have to try something else. 
     The onion rings were huge, though not the most seasoned I've had. But among the huge array of condiments at the counter, there was some horseradish sauce, so we just used some of that. They also had goldfish and animal crackers and that kept the baby happy until the food was ready. So, it was pretty good and we would probably try it again, but next time try something else. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Dr. Visit and Ultrasound

     Well, I went to the doctor yesterday. My husband had the clever idea to keep the baby out in the van while I went inside and read Twilight while I waited for my name to be called.       
     She watched movies on her dvd player and  actually had free range of the van, so she was fairly content for a while. She finally got fussy enough for my husband to bring her inside for a change. 
     After a total wait time of about an hour and a half, we finally got to see the doctor. I don't think the doctor was necessarily thinking about giving me an ultrasound but we went ahead and asked about it (since I'm at 21 weeks) and he said it was about time for that. So, the ultrasound tech happened to be in yesterday, so he went to ask if she had a free window. He came back and said we could go right now.
     So, in we went. Everything was fine. Baby was holding his hands over his face and kicking his feet. He looked really long limbed, but I'm sure he will plump up before his big entrance. And of course the moment we were waiting for--we found out we're having a little boy! So now we will have our girl and our boy. My husband is, of course, beside himself with excitement. He would have been excited either way, but I think in his heart of hearts, he wanted a boy. 
     Of course, that means we'll have to get a whole new set of clothes, but that's ok. Baby shopping is fun. :-) And I'm sure we'll be assisted by excited grandmothers. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just Catching Up

     Sorry I've missed a few posts. Last week was just so busy with our gospel meeting and lots of extra visiting and being out and about. There's been a lot of stuff going on, but most of it is pretty mundane and not really worth blogging about. But I've been pretty tired lately. 
     I'm about halfway through my pregnancy now. I don't feel so sick now, but I've been sooo tired lately. I don't know if it's a pregnancy thing, or just that I'm out of shape. I'm starting to get achy back and shoulders, too. 
     I have my doctor appointment tomorrow. Hopefully we will get to see an ultrasound again (or at least get an appointment for one). I will be 21 weeks and it seems most people on my "birth board" at baby center have already had theirs. It seems 16-20 weeks is the normal window. But no mention of a separate ultrasound was made at my last appointment...so, we'll see. 
     On another note, I got my free artisan pizza from Domino's yesterday. I chose the spinach alfredo/feta flavor. It had a really, really good flavor, but it was a little on the salty side. I think it might have been the type of cheese, but I'm not 100% sure. It was kinda like cheesy bread with a little more flavor. We happened to have a little tub of marinara sauce from the last time we ordered Papa John's, so my husband used that with his pizza. He seemed to like it. 
     Anyway, I just thought I would "check in" and let you all know I'm still here. I may post tomorrow (my usual day) but I may wait till Thursday. Now, I better go try to get caught up on some stuff. Talk to you again soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Long Weekend

     Well, it's been a long weekend and I'm just worn out. Yesterday (Sunday) in particular was tiring. We had a potluck after church (good food and great visiting with everyone) but we didn't leave until after 2. Then we had to go get gas 'cause we were really on empty, so we went to HEB and parked by the gas station, then walked across the parking lot to the HEB store to get a gift card so we could get our 11 cents off at the pump. 
     Naturally the store was packed, so we went to the customer service line, since we were only getting a gift card. While we were in that line, my toddler started leaking onto the floor. Just what we needed. So, I gave my husband the money and took the cart with my toddler in it all the way back to van across the parking. And what do you know? I realize my husband still has my car key, while his is locked in the van, as is the diaper bag (naturally I didn't take it in, since we were just going in for a minute, right?). 
     So I had to wait for my husband to come back out and unlock the car. Then I got to change my baby's soaking, dirty (yes, it was dirty too!) diaper in the back of the van. That's one nice thing about having a van, though. Emergency changing table. Amazingly the mess missed her dress, since was mostly standing.
     However, her dress didn't escape getting trampled and tripped on by her several times throughout the day. There is a netting trim on the underskirt (see pic below) that is just not strong enough to withstand a toddler stepping on it over and over. So, I've decided I'm just going to cut the netting trim off the skirt. I think the dress will look fine without it. Here's a picture of how much of the trim is already ripped away (probably about 1/3). 




     So, we got home close to 3 and had to leave again around 4:30 because we were having singing at 5 before our actual evening services, which start at 6. So, normally on Sunday afternoons I have time to lay down for awhile, but not yesterday. And after church we went to McDonald's with the preacher who is visiting this week and had a nice visit with him. But, like I said, it was a looong day! Lots of good stuff happened, but man, was I tired!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Living on a Dime: A Great Resource for Frugal Living

     I don't plan to blog too often on "religious" topics, but I am a practicing Christian and God is a part of my life, so it may came out from time to time. 
     That said, I just thought I would share this interesting post from Friday at Living on a Dime about Christians giving to God. Whether you call it "tithing," "contribution" or "offering," it kinda puts things in perspective.

Here are some eye opening facts about tithing:
  • The average Christian spends 98% of their money on themselves and 2% on God.
  • If all Christians tithed, we could educate the whole world.
  • On average, we spend $2,000 a year on interest but can’t tithe.
  • We expect 100% from God but what do we give Him?
  • Any mom or dad will tell you that something isn’t a sacrifice when the object of our sacrifice is what we love. Read Luke 21 about the widow giving her all.
  • Offering – something given as a sign of devotion or sacrifice- most of us aren’t giving our tithe let alone giving a sacrificially offering.
  • You can usually tell what a person loves by what he spends his money on.
      -Jill
     You can view the article here. I also recommend you look around the website Living on a Dime, as the authors, Jill and Tawra, have a lot of great advice about frugal living and getting out of debt. It is amazing how little this lady lived one while raising kids as a single mom and getting out of debt. She shares her whole story in her e-book "How I Lived on a Dime," which you can buy in my link on the right if you're interested. I found it very inspiring! The other "Living on a Dime" e-books I have listed are also full of great advice for living on a small income.
     On another note, in case you haven't noticed, I now have an Amazon store on my site. The link is located on the right. So, if you plan on purchasing on Amazon (no pressure to do anything you weren't already planning to), I would be super-grateful if you would use my link so Amazon knows I referred you! The link will take you away from my page unless you have your browser open the link in a new tab or window. I only have certain categories in my store, but they are probably the ones most relevant to my visitors. Baby, kitchen and housewares, books, DVD's, arts and crafts and toys and games are the categories I've included. So feel free to shop around!