Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mountains and Molehills

I've been thinking of one of my "sins" lately... fear. And I've come to some realizations that I thought I'd write about.

I am the type of person who doesn't fear the "big" stuff as much as the "little" stuff. For example, when I started out on the adoption journey, I didn't question that the journey was right or what I needed to do (prayer and my relationship with God gave me the confidence). I went to another country, sight unseen, and picked up my daughter who I knew VERY little about and brought her home with me. In the big picture, I knew this was the right thing for me.

The little picture, however, completely consumed me. I worried and feared everything. Not that she would be healthy, that was out of my control. But would she love me? Would she attach to me as Mommy? Would she have issues that I couldn't deal with? Would she sleep? Eat? Be too clingy, or completely deny me? Could I be a "Mom"? Could I keep up with everything? What about work? What would I do when they started treating me as a Mom and not a Professional (which did happen)?? How would I know when she was hungry? Tired? Angry? Teething?

Looking back... I just did what I had to do to get through the fears I had - I took it one day, one step at a time.

The same thing goes for me for lots of things.

Heights is one example, I'm more afraid to get on a Horse 4 ft off the ground than to stand on the side of a cliff. Why? Because I know that if I fall off the horse I will likely break something and really hurt. If I fall off a cliff... well. It's over. That's huge.

Let's see, what else. I came up with several examples the other day and now I can't think of any others! ha.

I guess my point is that I haven't always been afraid of a big leap, but when it comes to the small stuff, that's where it gets me sometimes. This seems contradictory when I look at other people and how they live. So, in this new foster/adoption journey, I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. I'm praying about not being bogged down by the overwhelming LITTLE fears. Or the big ones. :)

Sorry for the rambling. I am not sure this made total sense, but I felt like I needed to put it out there. :)


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WFMW - hodge podge

I've been looking forward to sharing in this week's Works For Me Wednesday... and now I can't think of what I wanted to share!! haha. So, here's a hodge-podge of thoughts for this week.

One thing I forgot to mention before, in the potty training area, that I do different that anyone I know, is that since Lil M wants to wear her big girl undies and doesn't want to wear anything that resembles a diaper (even pull-up), I put the pull-up or plastic pants OVER her underwear and pants at night. It looks funny, yes. But, it does help a bit when she has an accident. This way, Lil M feels like she's still a big girl with her normal routine, but the mess is a bit more contained.

Let's see... a frugal tip that I've been using lately and has worked quite well is the extra bar towels in the kitchen instead of using paper towels. I have 2 dogs, a cat and Lil M. So, there are quite a few messes... if they are too gross, then I use the paper towels, or use something I know I can throw away. But for almost everything, I can use these towels. I even put them in their own drawer in the kitchen, so they are accessible, but not out on the counter.

Another thing I do is I have a TON of cup lids in the kitchen from all my coffee mugs and plastic cups and such. I used to put them in a drawer. Now, I put them in their own basket, and put it on the counter. That way they are easily accessible. Then, when I have company I can just slip the basket in the cabinet and it is out of the way!! :)

Oh, and I used to use wash clothes in the kitchen for wiping things down and what not. Well, they would smell gross... when I used just regular dish soap on them and they'd get too wet and not dry fast enough... (yes, I'd wring them out). Anyway, instead of using dish soap on them to wipe the counters down, I use either the Vinegar/Water solution (spray bottle), or a commercial spray cleaner. I spray the counters with the spray, and wipe them off with the cloth. I use the type that doesn't have to be rinsed. That way, the cloth doesn't get gross, I'm using less water, and I'm still able to use the cloths, instead of buying commercial throw-away cleaning cloths. :) Hope I explained that right! haha

So, those are my ideas for this week. Go check out my other friends' ideas at We Are That Family!!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Motivation - Beautiful Weather

This morning as I think about what might motivate me this week, it occurred to me that the beautiful weather this weekend and this morning really helped. I find that is the case more than I'd care to admit, even. When it is beautiful outside, I feel like being a part of whatever is going on! When it is dreary, rainy, cold, etc, I feel like snuggling on the couch and being lazy.

So, since this week is starting out pretty, I'm going to try to use that to my advantage for my motivation this week.

I hate yard work, but I got out last night and cut the grass. I know I didn't *have* to, 'cause Scott would have come and helped, but I felt like I should get out and do it. I'm allergic to the grass, so it makes me pretty miserable, but this morning when I looked out I had that sense of accomplishment. And, next are the bulbs I want to get planted this week. The ground is quite dry right now, so I might wait until the rain has come this week to soften the ground... so, that means I might actually look forward to the rain this time!! haha.

I felt this same way on Saturday. We got up and got motivated and went to Sis' house to go garage saling with her and my nephew. We had a very nice, relaxing day. I got some more cloth napkins, which is what I was looking for, and she got a coat rack. We do this every year, and it's one of our "bonding" activities, so it helps to keep me in a good mood, too.

Is there something that you need to do this week? By trying to remember the beauty outside, I'm hoping that it will motivate me today, tomorrow and get me through the week!! Go check out other Motivate Me Monday ideas. :)


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend pics

Here are some pics from the weekend of Lil M, Sis and my nephew Chase. :)


Friday, April 24, 2009

First Haircut

Last night, Lil M had her First REAL haircut ever... She was cracking me up! I had a hair appointment scheduled, as usual, and she said she wanted her hair cut, too. "I want haircut"... So, Douglas said OK!! She did so, so good, too!

Can you say love? I mean, look at these two!! lolHappy, happy girl!!
Serious play!
Look at THAT FACE!!!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Motivation - Life is Good

Found a blog that does a Motivate Me Monday post. Boy, do I need some motivation today! LOL Actually, all I need to be motivated to do today is go to the bank.

Other than that, the laundry is caught up. Oh, ok... I need to do some more dishes and put some clothes away tonight. But, overall, I was pleased with the housework accomplished this weekend. :)

Mondays are kind of tough, aren't they? Most of the day I usually wish it was Tuesday already! And, I hate to wish my life away like that... so, my motivation today is to remember that saying "Life is Good". It's a sign that a friend of mine got me last year that sits in my office.

Just remember "Life is Good". Right at this very moment in time. It is good. Take a deep breath. Pause. Realize. Your life is good. Sure, there are tough spots. Sure, there are some bad things that happen. But those are things. Try to keep it all in perspective today. There are lots of good moments, too. Especially when we let them in.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Diswasher soap

I'm going to try this dishwasher soap recipe:

1 cup Borax

1 cup washing soda (Arm and Hammer)

1/4 cup salt

Mix all together and fill dispensers before starting. Use vinegar in the rinse agent area.

I already make my own laundry detergent, and that seems to be working pretty well. So, I'm going to give this a try, too! Why not give it a try and let me know what you think. :)

I read that Borax isn't particularly safe around the kitchen (can be harmful to us if ingested). Of course, my thought is that most any cleaning agent in the kitchen is not overly safe around food...



I've been working with Sis on our finances for over 2 years now (because of her ex)... and this month, I shared that I stopped consulting here and just came on full-time with a paycut. Well, Sis got the news today that she is getting a raise and a promotion!!!

Now, she makes crap. I mean, they totally take advantage of her. But in this economy, we NEED our jobs. So, she's staying there. And as I always say... every little bit counts! So, this is a real blessing. Thank You, God! We still need a bit more to make it work... but this is definitely a good move in the right direction.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WFMW - Potty Training

I've read posts and suggestions for how to handle over-night potty issues while potty training little ones. One person suggested layering the bed with a plastic sheet, then a cloth sheet, then plastic then cloth... then you could take one layer off at a time (even overnight) if you needed to. If it comes to that, I'll try that!!

But for me, what works for now is to put those plastic covered portable diaper pads under her sheet. (you know those that you got to lay your baby on when you go out)... I lay 2 of those in the spot where Lil M sleeps, under the sheet. If she moved around more, I'd put more under the sheet. Thankfully, she doesn't. :) Since I have a few of those pads, and they seem to work just as well as if i had bought some type of plastic sheet for the bed, that's what we use! :) And they're a bit cushy too...

Then, in the morning, I take the sheet off and wipe the plastic diaper pads off with Lysol and remake the bed.

We are not currently using pull-ups or diapers at night. I did put plastic pants on her last night... that helps a bit, too. :)

So, that's what works for me!! :) Go check out the other ideas at We are THAT Family!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Out of shape

I got on the treadmill tonight. Oh boy. Actually... O M G. I am out of shape, that's for sure!!! But I started, so that's good. Only 1.2 miles... but, hey, gotta start somewhere.

I also started as a full-time employee today at my current job, instead of being a consultant. Cool. :) Boy, did I take a pay cut. That part sucks. Big time. But the hours are good, the vacation is good, and the people are good. So, let's see if I can make it work. Plus, I can come home and get my butt on the TM!!! Which, I obviously need. ugh.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter (video)

Happy Easter! We had a little Easter Egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa's house... (i apologize for the obnoxious narrating, ugh)

We had a great day!! We started by seeing what the easter bunny brought Lil M and my nephew. That was fun. Then we went to church with Aiyee Mimi, Scott and the grandparents... then Easter dinner. Yum. :) Oh, and the Easter egg hunt.

Sis and Chase coloring Easter eggs last night.

Easter baskets, obviously. :)

Here we are in our church dress.

Hope you had a blessed day.


Friday, April 10, 2009

When I want to hide out...

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Why is it so hard for us (me) to remember this? I just read a blog where a woman said she is convicted by this verse, and I agree. I read it and I am convicted. When I go out and people stare at us (not too bad) or like yesterday when I was singing at work (of all places)... I need to remember it is OK to "let my light shine".

That doesn't mean to be arrogant or that it's all about me. What it means is that it is OK to show your love of life and of God... let that light shine through in your actions, in your life. If that is through your children, great. If it is through music, great. If it is through writing, reading, mentoring... anything that you feel you contribute... don't hide out. Don't be afraid to let your light shine.


Good Friday

Early day for me today... it's sort of aptly rainy today, being Good Friday and all. And I get to go home soon. So, I have a couple errands to run, and then we'll be going to Dayton to see my sister.

I start full-time here at work on Monday, meaning, I won't be a consultant anymore. I'll be an employee with benefits. I'm happy with it (well, the pay could be better) is very close to home, gives me more time with Lil M, and the people are great. Plus, I like what I do for a living. So, I'll take it. :)

May God's peace be with you this weekend, and always. Have a Happy Easter! He's Alive!


ps. I updated my music here on my blog. Added a few songs, and made it so it doesn't automatically play, because that was kind of getting on my nerves. But it's still there!! :) I hope some of it blesses you. I love these songs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Buy what you Need, Need what you Buy

*note, this is likely a boring, long post…*

WFMW - Works for me Wednesday - check out others' ideas, too!!

I've been thinking about what it means to be frugal vs. thrifty lately. I've always considered myself thrifty. I rarely buy anything for full price, unless it is a store brand, like at the grocery. I also go to sales and thrift stores and discount stores. That, in my mind, makes me thrifty.

What is frugal? Well, it is a lifestyle. It is actually finding ways NOT to spend money. How's that for a concept? I mean, there are people who actually have "no spending" days. Some have no spending weeks and months... except for necessities. And I don't mean that new pair of pants you "want". How old are you pants, anyway?

So, I was thinking about food last night. How much does it really cost us to eat every day? How much per person? How much per meal? Have you ever thought of that? If, for example, for two of us, if it cost $1 per meal, for 3 meals a day for 30 days (each)...the total would be 30*3=90 *2 = $180. That's a budget of $180 a month.

Do I budget for that? Does that seem high or low? Some people have meals that cost $2 or $3 or even $10 a MEAL...

Seriously. Think of what you eat in a day.

1. Breakfast, if I eat pop tarts that were 1.99 for a box of 12 (6 packets) and I eat a whole packet a day that's $.33. This is thrifty, IMO. If you eat real, plain oatmeal that’s $1.50 for several cups and break that down per serving, you could get this down to $.15-.25, very easily.

2. Lunch, if I eat out that could be $5-6 average. So, I usually pack. If I get a frozen meal or soup on sale, I could pay $2. If I eat leftovers... of chicken and noodles, for example, the cost would be (chicken $2.50, noodles $1.00, veggie $.75 = 4.25 for the whole thing... this would make 4 servings for us, so that would be approx $1.06. Which would you rather spend $1.06 or $5?

3. Dinner, chicken and noodles, $1.06 or burritos... (wraps $1.99 for 10 wraps, beans $.75, salsa $2.99, cheese $1.99... base it on 2 servings total - wraps $.20 + $.75 + $.49*2 salsa (estimating 6 servings in container), cheese also estimating 6 servings in container $.33*2.

.20 + .75+1.00+.66 = 2.61 / 2 of us = 1.31 each

If you go out, you can spend $10, $20 or more for dinner. And that’s nice, but not an all-the-time thing for us.

So, we've got .33 + 1.06 + 1.31 for the day for one adult equals $2.70 for the day. Multiply that by 30 and you get $81 for the month. EACH. This doesn't include snacks. It doesn't include eating out. That's being frugal. Minimalistic. Lil M’s morning and lunch costs are taken care of at daycare, usually. But I do plan for her to have 2 meals a day at home. So, that’s an extra $1.50 a day, approx. $45 + $81 and you get $126. Without having gone through this exercise, I had already accounted for approx $125 a month in groceries for the two of us. But that includes snacks, cleaning supplies, and dog/cat food stuffs.

For us, this is realistic, it works. For others, maybe not. Being thrifty, I'd get frozen meals from the grocery and soups and such and have that for lunch. That's a good start. That will lower my grocery bill. Being frugal lowers it more. And we're eating healthier. I've done all of what I suggested above. These are actual examples of our meals.

Some meals I consider frugal and weekly for us are:

- Chicken and noodles or rice (which can be more frugal if you by a chicken on sale and cook it... i'm more thrifty here because i used canned chicken. i also use canned soup for this, that i get on sale.) This freezes well for lunches. Already figured this cost at approx $1.06 a serving. Could be even less.

- Beans and rice... beans, beans, beans... i buy dried beans. Soak them overnight and put them in the crockpot to cook all day. i don't always use meat. There are lots of ways to cook beans. add tomatoes, mushrooms, vegetables for soup... this is one of my favorites, because you can use these beans for tacos, burritos... freeze beans and rice meals... don't just stick to the beans your mother or grandmother made. Try all different kinds and see what you like. You can stock up on these when there is a sale, and they keep extremely well.

Beans are pretty frugal, especially dried. I’d say I can make 6 meals, or more, out of a bag of beans, and onion, spices, bouillon, and rice. Rice - $1.50 for a 2 lb bag, beans $1.50 for a small bag. And maybe $.50 for an onion and $.50 for extras. That’s $4.00 for 6 servings. That’s $.67-$.75 each serving!!! J If I add meat, it would bring it up to $.90-1.00 a serving.

- Eggs. I make omelets, egg sandwiches, fried rice... lots of uses for eggs. And they are cheap. They're also a good protein. I don't eat these as leftovers. Well, unless you count boiled eggs. Which I don't make often for some reason. But think about it. If eggs are $1.25 for a dozen and you eat 2 at a time, that’s $.21 a serving. Have that with some toast $.10-.30 and you’ve got a meal for $.50-$.75 per serving (without or with meat)

To me, being thrifty means being more simple with your meals. It doesn’t mean sacrifice taste. It just means don’t go buy the expensive meat or go out all the time. Learn to use a crock pot. Buy things on sale.

Being frugal means that you consider what you are actually eating, and try to find ways to minimalize that. Take the meat out. Make enough to take for lunches. Freeze your own meals. Yes, you can do that! J It also means DON’T buy things when you don’t NEED them. Yes, that sale is good. But if you don’t NEED the item, you’re still spending the money. Why? Sometimes shopping can give us a rush. Or make us feel better about something. Try not to use your money that way. Buy what you need and need what you buy.


Monday, April 6, 2009

It's a Monday...

I got my official job offer on Friday, so I'm looking into working here as a full-time employee instead of a consultant. Woot! Financially, not the best I could do, but it's close... the people are nice, and it's not consulting. All good. If all goes well, the transition will be next week.

Sis got a return this year (taxes), and that will help with the backlog of bills. I'm still keeping an extraordinarily close eye on the budget. I'm happy with the progress so far, and am determined to keep this going until we're both back in the black. :)

I get Lil M's pics back from daycare today or tomorrow. And, I really hope there's a good pic or two!! I'd rather that than to have to go get some pics taken right now... cheaper this way. :) But let's see!! I still can't believe she's already 2.5!

I had to call and cancel our health insurance from my consulting co., today... oh fun. I will likely get charged for the whole month, which sucks. I also called the AT&T store where I got my new cell phone. I was supposed to get a rebate for the phone, and hadn't. So, let's see if they actually come through with this or not. I will be pretty unhappy if it isn't in the mail tomorrow. I'll have to actually go over there and raise some Cain. Ugh. I'd rather not. lol.

I read somewhere the other day where people were putting down 'frugal' tips and living. While I realize that being frugal doesn't build wealth quickly... you need to add to your income or savings to do that... I do think that being frugal in as many areas in your life as possible helps you too. By keeping an eye on even the little things, you are less apt to run out and spend money on the bigger things without giving them some level of thought. IMO. And, that can save you a lot of money over the long haul.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Homestudy, again

So, I've made a decision. I am going to get paper-ready again. I am going through the local SAFY program to get certified to become a foster/adoptive parent here in my state. Which means, I'll get a current homestudy to be able to adopt, if the opportunity presents itself. It gives me options. Later this year, I am going to look into Nepal, Russia and Kaz. But for now, I'm going to see where this leads. :)

The guy who was leading the class last night said that I can choose to make my file foster adopt only, and pick the age(s) I'm interested in. This means I might have to wait longer, but that's perfectly OK with me. So, I've got some praying to do! :) And lots of paperwork to complete! But I've been there, done that, so I think it'll be OK.

Anyone who's gone through their state process... if you could write and let me know how it went, that would be great!!!!!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Foster adopt

I'm looking into foster-care / adoption programs here in my area. I'm going to a SAFY meeting tonight. It is an organization that helps special needs children. I'm not sure what all is involved, so I'm going to check it out. I've also got a call into the local foster/adopt Childrens' center.

That's about all that's on my mind today. :)


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WFMW - Music, BE

Quick one for me today...

I've discovered, like many, Pandora radio. I listen to this at work, and don't have to take my iPod or CD's to listen to. It is commercial free, and I can customize it to what music I like!

Love it. :)

Go check out the other great ideas at wearethatfamily!!

Of course, when you get there you'll see that today is the "Backwords Edition". So, I'm appending a question for you all:

How have you cut back in these financial times? Or have you? I know I have, but I'm always looking for additional ideas!