Thursday, December 30, 2010

In My Next 25 Years

I just realized that I will be 25 in about a month!  I am getting so old.  I look around noticing how blessed I have been in my first 25 years of life (well ALMOST 25 years for me ;)  ).  I wont look in the past thinking of mistakes I have made or things I would have changed, because all the choices I have made have made me who I am.  I wouldn't be ME without my past though. 

In 25 years from now, I hope I look back and am happy with where I am.  In 25 years I will be 50.  That sounds sooooooooo OLD!  That Tim McGraw song runs through my head in my next ___ years. 

In my next 25 years, I hope for many changes in my life. 
  • I hope to be happily married to Mr. Right.  :)  Let's hope at least
  • I hope to be a stay at home mommy.  Maybe having grandbabies by then.  Who knows. 
  • I hope to be happy and content.
  • I hope to be healthy.
  • I hope to have many friends
  • I hope I will still be close to my family.
  • Above all things, I hope my kids are happy and well.  That is what I live for.  THEM.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Year, A New Me

I would be lying if I said that 2010 has been a good year for me.  At the beginning of the year, I was let go from my job due to "reduction in force".  I had my sister renting a room from me and worked the figures out with how much I would be getting for unemployment and figured that we could make it.  She was paying part of utilities, groceries and her share of rent.  Deep down I thought it would be kind of fun to get a chance to stay home with my kids.  However, those 6 months were so stressful for me.  I was so beyond sad and depressed.  I would spend hours upon hours sending my resume all over the place, including other states.  A draw back to losing my job was I didn't really know myself.  You see at the time, my work was my identity.  Everyone knew me from that company and the crazy hours I would work.  Heck, I knew me from that job.  I didn't know me without my job.  I didn't really know my kids as much as I thought I did.  It took a lot of adjusting.  I was used to going to sleep early and waking up really early.  I fell out of that habit.  I would stay up sending my resume around, online and just mindlessly watching movies upon movies. 

On June 15th my cousin passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident while he was driving to work.  I was so crushed and sad.  I just couldn't believe that he was gone.  My son looked up to him and was really close to him.  At my cousin's viewing, he told me, "When 'Tavis' wakes up we are going to play!"  I couldn't stop crying.  The tears just kept flowing.  My son thought he was just sleeping and would wake up to play soon.  It was so hard on him.  It was even harder for me to watch my son going through that.  It was a painful time for us.  My son would go to my grandma's house thinking that Travis would come around the corner at any time.  That was his buddy.

In the midst of this time frame, my sister completely stopped paying me rent.  She just stopped.  There was always an excuse.  Her check hadn't been that much.  She had bounced this.  Something.  I let her stay there with the promise of her paying on the next check.  She never did.  I had to tell her it was time for her to move.  I was really counting on that rent money, especially with being unemployed.  In the end, she left without even packing her stuff.  My daugther and I packed it all up and cleaned the room out.  I was so disappointed to see the mess she had left.  I had asked her numerous times to clean up her room and she never had.  There was candy and food just sitting on the carpet, broken dishes and everything else.  It took us a long time to get that room cleaned out.  She came to pick everything up and told me she would be paying me $50 a paycheck until she was all caught up.  I haven't seen a penny.  She owes me $800.

When I got the job i found I was so relieved.  That would be short lived.  Instead of focusing on the blessings we have received, I started thinking so negatively.  How I wished we could afford _______________.  Seeing those around me embarking on such luxuries, and I couldn't because I had taken a paycut from my last job.  I missed my old job.  Then I wished I was home again.  After not working for 6 months, it takes some adjusting to.  When you aren't used to someone's personality and you are working for someone who has to be in complete and total control, it can be hard.  I was only trained in 2 days before the girl left.  2 days!  The manager expected me to have it down and I didn't.  I didn't know contacts, companies, or anything.  It had taken the other girl 2 years to be at the point she was at.  How could he expect that in 2 days from me?  In the time I have been here, it has taken some patience, and learning to deal with his personality.  It has been an adjustment. 

As the end of this year approaches, I am letting go of some things.  First, I am letting go of such negativity.  Life isn't for being miserable.  Yes, trials occur.  They make us who we are.  Embrace the trials and enjoy the ride.  Second, I am forgiving my sister for stiffing me.  Things happen and I know I have to forgive her.  This has taken a great deal of time to let this go, but I am.  I wont hold such resentment and horrible feelings for her.  It isn't worth spending my days miserable and hateful.  Next, I am going to start being a better cleaner at home.  I just put it off so much.  I am going to get rid of more "STUFF" at home.  Less clutter means a happier me.  I am going to cook more and enjoy better/healthier foods.  I am going to stop comparing myself to others around me.  I am going to work on being more satisfied.
Out with the old me, in with the new HAPPIER me.  I am thankful for all that we have been blessed with.  I am so thankful for my adorable children.  They are such blessings in my life. I am thankful for a supportive family.  I don't know what I would do without them.  I adore our ward and how loving and accepting they are.  I am so thankful for good, loving friends. 

I will leave you with a quote:  "What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise” - Oscar Wilde

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm Back

My kids were so excited Christmas morning and it really was nice.  We had a great holiday together filled with lots of family and fun.  I definitely enjoyed it.  Sadly I am sitting at work today.  Being at home sounds like much more fun that being here.  **grin 

New Years Eve is coming up.  What fun things do you have planned?  I think I want to have a fun night with the kids.  Pizza, movies, candy, games and just hanging out together.  I think it would be a lot of fun.  Maybe we will invite some others over to make it more magical.  I have had invitations to do things for the holiday and asked to find a sitter, but I don't want to.  I simply want to spend time with my kids and enjoy the time I have with them.  Truth of the matter, I don't even usually stay up the whole time.  Call me crazy but I like my sleep a little too much, hahaha.  I guess we will have to see how I am feeling at the end of the week.

I am currently fighting a cold and it isn't fun.  Let's hope my kids don't get this.  Last night I looked at my house and all the mess.  I walked away.  I didn't even bother with it.  I take that back.  I had the kids clean their rooms and I kindly helped them, but other than that, our house is a complete and total mess.  I will be handling that this week for sure. 

I got such a great present for Christmas.  Something I have been wanting for years now.  I GOT A KITCHENAID MIXER!!!  I am so excited to start using it.  First things first, the house MUST be thoroughly cleaned. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

48 Hour Giveaway: Pillow Pet

You guys know how much my daughter wants a Magical Unicorn Pillow Pet.  She has been begging for one from Santa.  Right now Kostiuk Crew is having a 48 hour giveaway.  Check it out here :

As I have blogged previously, Pillow Pets are awesome.  They have a great variety of different characters.  I hope my daughter finally wins a Magical Unicorn.  She has been wanting one for such a long time.  Check out the blog and enjoy.  :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Healthier Eating

In an effort to stretch dollars, and obviously for convenience reasons, we don't eat the healthiest.  We were eating dinner last night at the table.  My daughter was playing with her noodles as she slowly ate.  Truth of the matter, we were eating Ramen noodles.  I am not better than eating cheap foods.  Some people refuse to touch the stuff.  I am perfectly fine with it. 

It got me thinking last night though.  I need to focus on feeding my kids better food.  The problem is:  MONEY.  Is it just me, or is all healthy food expensive?  It just seems that prices just keep increasing on everything.  I need to focus more on feeding my kids healthy and filling foods, while keeping our food budget down.  What a toss up this is.  Yes, it is very important to feed them healthier foods.  But when it is just you providing for the family, it sure is hard spending more on food.  How do you stretch a dollar and feed your family heatlhy meals?  How much do you spend on average per month on groceries?  What do you tend to feed your family?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Little Things

I am so thankful for all the wonderous blessings I hae been given.  Sometimes it takes you hitting rock bottom and being so beyond down in the dumps to realize just how good you have it.  The past couple months I have been miserable.  It just seems that everything is going wrong.  I try so hard to have a positive outlook on things and hope for the best, but I clearly haven't had that mentality lately.

I could go ranting about how terrible life is, but it isn't.  I am blessed to have two healthy and loving kids, a safe roof over our heads, food to eat, transportation, feedom of speech, freedom of religion, job, clothes on our backs, having been taught frugality at a young age, a high school education, and numerous other things. 

It really is about the little things in life.  At times we might not care to remember that, but it is sooo true.  The other night I was thinking how grateful I was for my bathroom.  Now to someone that might just sound stupid to be thankful for a bathrobe.  When you aren't running the heat in your home, and you get out of the shower and have a nice, thick bathrobe to cover your cold body, that IS something to be thankful for. 

My bathrobe was found at that Catholic Church rummage sale a couple months ago.  They informed us that you could take an entire bag or box of stuff for $5.00  You better believe I wanted to make my money stretch.  I was intently looking for hoodies and such when I found the robe.  It is thick and nice.  XL size, so it is nice and big.  Really, it is perfect.  I definitely brought it home and ran it through the washer (2 cycles if you must know the truth).  Had I not found it there, at such a great price, I wouldn't own a Bathrobe. 

I don't know how much they usually run for, but this isn't made of flimsy material.  This is thick, towel material.  I do enjoy being satisfied with the little things in life.  Remember that someone always has it worse off than you. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekend Yard Sale Finds

I was driving down the street this morning and spotted a yard sale.  Yes, I am a complete sucker when it comes to yard sales, thrift stores and garage sales, as you should probably be able to tell by now.  Typically, I drive by a yard sale and scope it out through the window and see if there is anything worthwhile for me to get my lazy butt out of the car.  If I think the yard sale is worth actually checking out, then I get out.  So I decided it looked worth me getting out of the car to check out.  I am so excited that I did get out. 

The first thing I saw, which made me want to jump and down for complete and udder joy, was this: 

 Pucci Pup
You have to know that my daughter has been eyeing these at the stores for a while now.  When we go to the stores, I let them look at the toy section, knowing that it is only to look, not purchase.  This is the first thing she goes and looks at.  If I hadn't told my kids ahead of time that they could only ask Santa for 2 presents from Santa, I am definitely sure she would have asked for one.  They go for about $20-$22 plus tax at the stores.  It comes complete with a bag to carry the puppy, a pink leash, and a fake bone thingy.  I scored this baby for only $2!!! Needless to say, I was extremely excited with my find.  The best part of all is my kids were at Grandpapa's house, so I was able to purchase it without my daughter knowing it.  I can already imagine her face when she receives this.  Knowing that she has been eagerly eyeing a Pucci Pup for a while now, I am extremely happy that I found this. 

Next I found a Barbie Horse.  

They let me have this for $1. Definitely a great buy if you ask me. My daughter will be happy with this. It doesn't look very played with, just like the Pucci Pup. You see I had a discussion with the guy selling this stuff. He informed me that his daughter is 11 and doesn't believe in Santa anymore. He also said how his kids get bored too easily with toys and items. Knowing that these are hardly even used or loved, made them that more wanted by me. hahaha Not that that typically makes a difference to me, but they really are in awesome condition.

What kind of Mommy would I be without scoring an awesome deal for my Little Man? 

He loves Nerf guns. He's definitely a boy, through and through. This was complete with some of the shooter bullet thingamajiggers. What better price than $1.00??? That is a great price if you ask me. I'm sure he is going to be excited and knowing my luck, I will get shot at when I am least expecting it.

All in a days' work.  $4 total for all 3 of these items.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


We came home to a suprise today.  I won something for my daughter from New Age Mama for my daughter as I told you guys before.  If you haven't checked her blog out, do it!!!  ;)  She really does have a great blog that I personally follow  

As you can see, my daughter was and still is so excited.  She loves princesses.  What did I think of this item?  I think it is really cute and fun.   It gives a little girl plenty of opportunities to use her imagination.  I like things that are fun and creative.  She is currently changing the outfits and scenes and really enjoying this. 

Here is the final result of one of her favorite scenes. 

Thank you so much, New Age Mama.  My daughter is extremely excited and happy. I really was debating whether to hold this until Christmas or give it ahead of time.  I am glad I let her have it now.  The perfect gift to give her for such a great report card.  She got 4 A's and 1 B.  I was so thrilled.  What a great reward for her  :)

The Weekend Is Almost Here....

So close yet so far away  :)  The weekend is almost here.  I can't tell you how happy I feel knowing this.  My kids are happily going to Grandpapa's house to spend with him.  They really wanted to go last weekend after our family Christmas party, but they didn't have church outfits with them.  I have decided without kids, I will be able to tackle more of the house.  Going through and donating more things.  Happily going through it all and not having to deal with it.  I'll also be able to clean.  I just hope I keep the motivation and do it all.  Most weekends I just don't want to do anything, but I always have so many things planned and never enough time. 

I also think I need some me time.  A chick flick, yummy food, and fun.  Hmmmmm what should I do?  Sounds boring all by yourself.  hahahaha  It might be a little weird having a quiet house without two fighting kids.  "Mommy he touched _____".  "  Ahhhhhhhhhhh  she has my _____________" 

Is it just me, or is it weird that I can't even think what to do by myself?  Sounds weird that I just don't know what to do for me.  I am not used to not having my kids with me.  Last time I didn't have them, I enjoyed a fun night at my friend's house for her birthday.  And I haven't planned anything for this weekend, so I will have to think of something. 
After all that stress and worry about having my cousin and her family stay with us right after Christmas, they called and informed us that they would not be staying with us after all. 

Truth be told, we still have not put the heater on at our house.  When you are at work all day and the kids aren't at home due to being babysat until I get off work, it just seems so wasteful to turn it on.  We dress warmly in the house, and of course cuddle up in the blankets.  When I was young, that is what I remember about Wintertime.  Granted my parents did turn the heater on, but it wasn't really warm in the house.  They would keep it down, so you still needed a sweatshirt or blanket on inside.  I am still alive, aren't I?  We have lots of nice, warm blankets at the house.  At nighttime we bundle up, and we are just fine. 

I informed my cousin prior to them agreeing to stay with us, that we don't turn the heater on at our house.  She was just fine with it and said they would just bring extra blankets and dress warmly as we do.  I have been thinking the past few weeks about all the preparation I needed to do so they could stay with us.  In addition, I factored in additional food costs to feed them for about 4 days (all 3 meals, of course).  That might not sound like much to someone, but when you are used to only feeding 3 people it is a change.  You see, my daughter gets free breakfast and lunch at school, my son eats breakfast and lunch at Grandma's house, so I only make dinner and snacks... other than on the weekends, of course.  I also thought of all the cleaning and rearranging I would need to partake in to prepare for their stay.  Many thoughts and a great deal of stress have been added to me lately.

You have to know the truth, I haven't been in much of a Christmas spirit lately.  In fact I have just been down right sad, bummed, down and not happy.  That in addition to the stress of having 6 more people staying at our house right after the holidays wasn't helping any.  Don't get me wrong please.  I love family and friends.  I love company and enjoying each other.  I love this cousin to death and think that she is awesome.  I just haven't been in the best mood with life. 

As you can imagine, when I received a voicemail from my cousin informing me that they would not be staying with us since we don't turn our heater on, I was a bit relieved.  I am sure that sounds really evil and vain of me.  It has just been weighing down on me a bit about all the preparation that goes into having house guests, especially 4 little ones. 

I am sure my cousin expected me to say that I would turn the heater on for them, but right now money is really tight, as I have mentioned.  Even when I have turned my A/C on during summer, I keep it at a very warm temperature as a result of the Power bill.  As well during the wintertime in past years, the heater is kept at a low enough temperature that I still would need a blanket or sweatshirt.  When you aren't used to living in a house where the temperatures aren't significantly altered due to utilities, I am sure you would probably touch the thermostat and adjust it to your prefered temperature.  I will admit that I was afraid that they would do that if I did agree to turn it on.  This family keeps their house cold in the summer and very warm in the winter.  They aren't used to feeling unpleasant or not as warm/cold as they would like to feel.  I was afraid of it all being changed when I came home.  Also, I was afraid of that LARGE bill after they were already gone. 

It feels like a big weight was lifted from my shoulders after I heard the voicemail.  I messaged her back and  told her that I completely understand them not staying with us.  We will definitely go over and spend time with them, wherever they are staying, and let the kids play during their visit here.  It will be nice to catch up and get together. 

In the future, I have learned that if I am ever asked during the holidays if someone can stay with me, I think I will be saying no.  Well, unless it is my parents or something to that nature.  I just think it is too much stress to add to someone during the holiday season.  I have never been away from my home during the holidays, so I don't know how that would feel, but I surely hope not to ever have to stay at someone elses during Christmastime. 

I asked my hometeachers to come over and give me a blessing last night, and I am so glad that I did.  It was EXACTLY what I needed.  I can't even put into words what a difference it has made. 

I hope you are enjoying your family and friends during this great time of the year.  I feel so blessed beyond words.  Remember the reason for the Season.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Lately I feel like I have been robbed.  Robbed of the little things.  Is it just me or do you realize how everyone is in such a hurry?  And it isn't just lately.  It is all the time.  I feel like I am running and running, with no success of getting ahead.  I am so stressed out and it isn't as a result of anything big.  It is the daily things that just keep amounting. 

By the time I go back to work on Mondays, it seems like I never had a weekend, since I have to cram so many things into my weekend schedule since that is the only time I am able to do things due to working.  You would think that my house would be nice and clean by Monday.  hahahahahahahahaha  **Okay I can't stop laughing at that thought.  I only wish that was true.

Even though I have sworn that I don't want to be stressed out and have a hectic Holiday season, why am I so stressed out anyways?  This weekend I did take one more load of stuff to donate at the thrift store. 

Get those rooms and closets cleaned out now before Christmas.  You don't want to deal with more stuff in your house after Santa has come.  Wouldn't it be better to tackle some of that clutter NOW???  :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who Wants A Pillow Pet?

New Age Mama is giving away a Pillow Pet.  She is giving away the Snuggly Puppy.  Have you seen these in the stores or on commercials?  They are absolutely adorable.  They are soft and cuddly.  My daughter is begging for a Unicorn Pillow Pet for Christmas, while my son LOVES the Puppy.  Every time we go into Walgreens, they run to see them and my son pets the puppy.  I think it would be so fun for him to win this. 

Have you been to New Age Mama's blog yet?  If not, you should!  Check her out:  I personally follow her on Friend Connect.  She has a great blog.  Enter her giveaways while you are at it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I WON!!!!!!  This week I have won two online giveaways. 

One is from New Age Mama at  I won a Mud Puppy Princess Magnetic Figures.  My daughter is absolutley going to LOVE this!  :)  I can just imagine her face now.  She is so into Princesses, Unicorns and fun girly things. 

The next win is from Outnumbered 3 to 1 at  I won a Christmas movie that I am really excited about receiving.  At our house during Christmastime, we watch a lot of Christmas movies on tv.  They tend to ask to play a movie over again and we obviously can't because it is on tv, not a movie.  They are going to absolutley LOVE this I am sure.  I love movie time with them, especially Christmas ones  :) 

Thank you so much New Age Mama and Outnumbered 3 to 1.  I follow both and absolutely love their blogs.  If you don't already follow them, do so.  Check out their blogs and enjoy.  I can't wait til our fun items arrive.  Thanks, again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

To Turn It On Or Keep It Off.... THAT Is The Question

Okay so I must be a desert rat.  I am used to the heat.  What can I say?  When you live in the desert in the heat, cold just isn't part of life.  Well, with the weather surely cooling down lately, it is really cold here  (at least to me).  We haven't turned the heater on yet.  We have been bundling under the piles of blankets.  I have been sleeping with 4 of them to myself.  ;)  I could easily turn the heat on, but I just don't want to deal with a high gas bill. 

I was at the store black friday in the freezing cold, and I realized how blessed we are to have a safe roof over our heads to protect us from the extreme cold.  I have seen homeless individuals at the side of the freeways and I am just in awe that they are out there in the cold.  I am so greatful that we have been provided with the opportunity to have a home.  Yes, our home might be cold, but it is much warmer than being out on the streets without a bed or blankets to warm us.  So I have been keeping it cold and not turning the heat on to save and make do with what we have right now.  

I am sure I will end up turning it on during the month of December!  Have you tried getting out of bed when it is cold and still dark outside during winter?  Now imagine it without having the heater even running. 
I thought more about my kids and Christmas.  I thought long and hard about the gifts that I intend to give to my children for Christmas.  I am extremely happy about most of the decisions, but I did decide to hold off on giving one of the gifts to my son.  The legos will have to be held for him til next year.  The problem I am running into is, he is starting to put the little Barbie items in his mouth lately.  My daughter absolutely freaks out over it, and they end up fighting.  I got to thinking more about the legos and thought of him putting those in his mouth, and I just decided that maybe he is too young for it.  And I caught him with other little things in his mouth this weekend.  He thinks it is humorous and funny when I catch him.  It is soooo not fun.  I don't know if this is just a phase he is going through or what, but I don't want to chance him putting all those in his mouth. 

My boss was really sweet and gave everyone $100 for our Thanksgiving meals right before Thanksgiving.  Since we spend Thanksgiving at my grandma's and I already had purchased what I was planning to bring, I decided to use some of it toward Christmas.  I ended up waiting in line at Toys R Us on Black Friday.  Thank goodness my sister and her boyfriend were in line there and I met up with them.  If not, I wouldn't have stayed.  The line was insane!  All the way out to the freeway.  I scored a Transformer mask for only $10 and a shooter for $10 as well.  I think this is more age appropriate for him right now than the legos.  Yes, it is more expensive than I was planning to spend, but I do believe it will be well loved.  He loves Transformers and especially loves Bumblebee!! 

I was very choosey about what I purchased.  These are quality items and not cheapo junk.  The original price was $50 just for the mask.  I'm happy to have scored these.  I hope he appreciates these as much as I appreciate having scored such awesome buys. 


This weekend I taught my children about being appreciative and giving to those in need.  We went in the garage and started going through things more thoroughly.  I came up with a pile of things that they just don't play with.  We had a long talk about donating items to those in need.  I explained how some kids don't have any toys or fun things to play with because their parents don't have the means to pay for those items.  I also explained that Santa couldn't bring more things for them without giving some things away.  We had a long talk and I told the kids to each go get X amount of items from their room to give to thoes in need.  It was tough for my daughter, not wanting to get rid of anything.  It took some time, but somehow that amount of items turned up in a pile.  We then took the car load to Goodwill and donated them.  I explained to the worker what we were doing and he told the kids how happy other kids would be to get these.  The kids sure brightened up about it.  They were HAPPY to be giving these beloved toys and clothes away.  When we pulled away, my daugther started asking who I thought would get some of the items.  She got all excited thinking about another little girl playing with "her" toy. 

I thought it was so adorable and loving that my kids could freely give these things away.  I also gave away some clothes and such.  I felt so accomplished to have done all this.  Last night when looking around, I noticed some other items that need to go.  It felt so freeing. 

So tonight I will be at it again.  I love getting organized and donating items to others or thrift stores.  What better time to do it than before Christmas?  I have a ways to go, but I am getting there. 

Frugality and Contentment

The past few months I have noticed a big issue with my dishwasher.  The problem: it doesn't seem to clean anything.  I have rinsed, scrubbed, and all that fun stuff.  It just doesn't work.  Yes, I have tried to clean it with vinegar, baking powder and the like.  It just doesn't want to work for me.  Last night I got in this crazy cleaning mood and decided to finally tackle the dishes.  I scrubbed and got really into it.  I could have shelled out the money to get it fixed/services, but something magical happened when I was doing dishes.  I was actually happy.  It brought back so many memories of when I was young and helping my grandma do dishes. 

My grandparents have never had a dishwasher.  Dishes have always been hand washed and dried.  I always thought that was really odd growing up.  I thought how weird and old they must be.  I HATED doing dishes, but when Grandma was in the kitchen helping, it sure made it more enjoyable.  We would talk and catch up on life.  Dishes came out much cleaner than if you threw it in a dishwasher. 

They were cleaned with hard working hands.  Grandma made sure to teach you not to use too much soap, dry them to avoid water spots, scrubbing the correct way, and how to put it all away in order.  Larger plates always on bottom.  By the end of doing dishes, always get a clean cup out and drink some water.  It always happened!  It wasn't even intentional.  :) 

Last night I thought long and hard after seeing all my trully clean dishes in the correct spots in the cupboards.  I realized that hand washing dishes can be just fine for me for a bit.  My dishes are MUCH cleaner being cleaned by hand.  I will choose the frugal road here on this one. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Do You Get Something Back That Was Never Yours To Begin With?

Ok I have been sitting here thinking more about Christmas and what to get some dear people who have everything they need.  When your grandparents have 20 grandkids and they have a large family, they do tend to get a bunch of stuff at Christmas.  I love my grandparents to death and don't want to buy some mindless gift.  I was thinking long and hard today when it hit me!!  I figured out what I want to get them.  But it isn't something you can just buy.

You see, when my grandparents were married, my grandma was 16 years old and my grandpa was in the military.  One day when I was younger I asked to see their wedding photos just to see how they looked when they were young.  My grandma informed me that they didn't have any.  Now you would have to know my grandpa to know that he likes to take lots of pictures.  My grandma continued to tell me that when they got married, a good friend of my grandpa's took their pictures with his camera.  He told them that he would get them printed and get them to my grandparents.  To this day, he hasn't done so.  The friend married a lady who simply didn't like my grandpa because he took attention away from her (from my grandma's mouth not mine  ;)  ).  My grandpa's friend passed away years ago and my grandma asked the wife if they could get those pictures from her, and the wife just didn't want to talk to my grandma about it. 

Don't ask me why I thought about this today, but I really want to get these pictures for my grandparents.  I don't even know if the wife is alive now.  I will have to talk to my grandma today about this, but I do believe that this will be the best gift ever... if I can manage to get them from this lady.  If you were in my situation, what would you do?  I need to figure a way to get these and do something incredible for Christmas.  These are priceless items that would mean a great deal to our entire family.  So the big question:  HOW DO YOU GET SOMETHING BACK THAT WAS NEVER YOURS TO BEGIN WITH????  Help!?!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I stumbled upon an interesting article online regarding children and allowances
Do you have allowances in your household?  Does it work?  What is the dollar amount designated for each child?  Do you do it by age?  When I was young, we had a $5 allowance per payday (every two weeks).  So $10 a month.  I remember kids my age getting $30 a month and I thought they were rich.  hahahaa   I know that sounds silly, but I really thought they were so rich and I must not be.  Every household had different amounts, while other households had no allowance at all.  I am thinking of starting an allowance with my kids.  Even though my is extremely tight, hopefully I can stretch it even further to include allowances for each child.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Outnumbered 3 to 1 is hosting a great giveaway right now.  She is giving away a pair of Heelys to one lucky reader.  I don't know about your kids, but my Bug has been asking for a pair of these sweet babies for quite some time.  It would be a great gift for Christmas.  Check out and check out the giveaway.  If you haven't been on Outnumbered 3 to 1's blog before, you should take the time to browse around.  She has some great giveaways and reviews of products.  Check out to review their product line.  I think they are awesome.  I always thought it would be fun to wear a pair even at my age.  I know, crazy huh?  They are fun.  My cousins have owned a few pairs of them.  Check it out and let me know what you think!  :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Nifty Website For Christmas

I found a cute website today.  Check out   You can have your kids send their Christmas list to Santa and he'll respond! There are fun things for your kids to do.  You can do personalized children stories.  I typed it some information and it was fun reading a story with my daugther's name and favorites in there.  Kids can check whether they are on the naughty or nice list after they answer some questions.  It seems like a realy fun website.  I think my kids will love checking it out.

Holidays and Favoritism

Fair warning to those who read, this MIGHT possibly come off as a complaint, though it is not intended to be such.

My two lovable, adorable kids love the holidays.  They love getting together and enjoying family and friends.  When Christmas comes, we typically have such a hectic schedule.  We are running from one place to the next it seems.  But it is Christmas and we do enjoy it  ;)  However, there is one thing that I do despise about the holidays- that is favoritism. 

Maybe it is just how I see it, and I am really NOT trying to be bratty about this subject.  A set of grandparents seems to play favorites when it comes to holidays.  Birthday and Christmas gifts seem to be such a difference between my kids and someone else's kid.  I am not a materialistic person, but I just don't like favoritism.  I will never forget one year for that other child's birthday she wanted this certain designer booster since she was still too small to sit without a car seat/booster.  It was over $200 and was happily purchased for this other child by this said set of grandparents.  My child received an $8 book from WalMart for her birthday. 

I tried to just brush this off and not think much of it.  However, there is a difference when your children start to realize that there is such distinct favoritism when it comes to presents.  The above mentioned example is clearly not the only example, as you can tell ;).  I am not unappreciative or have unappreciative children when it comes to gifts.  My kids are extremely thankful for everything. 

Last year I was a bit disappointed when the other child received a designer doll clothing set from said grandparents and my kids literally got dollar store toys that ended up in the trash the same day the first time they were playing with them.  Obviously, I wasn't the only one disappointed.  You should have seen my daughter's expression.  There was clear disappointment on her face.  Sure every child has disappointing/ envious moments in their life, but I am sure my daughter was thinking, "Wow, how it the world does she always get these awesome gifts and we always receive something dramatically less?"  No, this other child is not from a family living at poverty and said grandparents don't feel that they are helping someone in need.  This is clearly the way it goes every birthday or Christmas.  What if I added this fact: It isn't even their grandchild.  It is their neice.  And the worst part is, it isn't just the mentioned grandparents who do it.  The great-grandparents do it, too. 

I understand purchasing things specifically with a certain person in mind.  I really do.  I understand the joy of seeing someone open a gift and having an awesome reaction.  However, I don't think it is right that everyone seems to always go all out for this person every time.  With my children getting older and starting to notice the truth and reality of the situation, I know there have been hurt feelings felt.  It isn't just gifts purchased.  It is everything.  When said child is over, my child is not included in plans.  For instance, all the girls in the family were going somewhere and the little girl was included (she is only two years older than my daughter and it wasn't some exotic place that they were going).  The ONLY girl not included was my daughter.  She was left behind to stay with the guys.  Again, the only girl I must add. 

Chalk it all up to how I was raised.  I was raised to always include everyone.  It isn't kind to exclude people.  When you are part of a large extended family, there were always calls or mention to include everyone.  When I was at my Grandma's house for the day hanging out, two cousins started to plan a spend the night at one of the cousin's house.  Of course I was included.  That is just how it was.  Yes, people did good things for holidays but it clearly wasn't like this.  Not even close. 

Is it so wrong of me not to want to be around this Christmas when that child is around?  I just don't like to be filled with bitter thoughts about the favoritism going on.  I don't like seeing the favoritism going on.  I would much rather not know what they got her.  I don't like seeing the disappointment on my little girl's face.  I am torn on what to do.  All this time I have hinted about it with said grandma, but nothing has come of it.  If you were in my situation, what would you do?  Would you just tough it out and attend, after all it is the holidays and I just need to accept it?  Would you purposely not attend?  Give me your honest opinion about how you would handle this.


So plans have been all worked out for my cousin visiting for Christmas.  She will, in fact, be staying with us for some of the time she is in town.  She will be at our house for 4 days.  Her and her family will be staying for one day less than two weeks.  She requested that she stay at our house from the 23rd of December til the 27th, but I asked that she not stay at our house for that time. 

I explained to her the truth of the matter.  I am concerned that Santa will bring her children much better and bigger things.  No, I am not materialistic and don't care about her kids getting better things.  I am concerned with my kids comparing things that her kids get compared to mine and feeling like they received less.  From experience in the past, this awesome cousin of mine has spent a great deal on Christmas for her kids and getting big items for her kids while coming in town to visit.  Of course that is fun for Christmas. 

I love my cousin and understand that we are at much different income.  I did converse my limited means this year.  I told her how Santa is bring yard sale and thrift store finds for my babies (well, with the exception of the Pillow Pet and Toy Story 3 movie which my kids have specifically stated they want). 

Do I feel that my kids are getting less than anyone else?  Truthfully, I don't.  If a child is so concerned about an item being in the box and new, that is a significant price to pay just for cardboard and plastic.  My kids have never seen a difference in items being new or gently used.  I, or I mean Santa  ;) , knows the difference.  The price!  If I can purchase a Barbie horse for $1.00 which is gently used compared to a brand new, in the box Barbie horse for $20.00, that is a huge difference. 

So this year the following will be given to my kids by Santa:

Bug- A Barbie VW Van (bought for $5 at a thrift store), Barbie Babies (purchased on Ebay for $15 since it was soooo hard to locate any at yard sales or thrift stores, and this was specifically requested), Baby in My Pocket set (bought new on clearance at TJ Maxx for $7 ), 2 Kelly dolls with little horses ($10 on clearance at TJ Maxx), and a Pillow Pet (I will buy for $20 since she so desperately wants this, the beloved Magical Unicorn ). 
Stocking: Barbie Horse ($1 yard sale), Tinker Bell VMotion game ($5 at Target on clearance) and candy (whatever odd candy I purchase)

JackJack- 2 buckets of Legos ($2 gotta love yard sales), small shoe box of toy cars ($2 at yard sales), McDonalds playset ($8 picked up at Ross during the year), and I plan on purchasing Toy Story 3 (I will buy for $20 at WalMart since he has specifically requested this movie from Santa).  My friend said she would let us have her sons outgrown Hot Wheels Truck for JackJack since it just sits in their garage unplayed with, but I don't know how certain that is.  It was purchased on Black friday at WalMart last year and was already too small for her son as he was already 4 1/2 or so.  (If we end up getting this, free.  If not, oh well.)
Stocking: Cowboy, Indian with Soldiers set, complete with tanks, huts and everything ($1 yard sale), Carz VMotion game ($5 at Target on clearance) and candy (whatever odd candy I purchase)

Anyways, I informed my cousin that I wished her family to not be there Christmas morning, and she was completely understanding.  So the plan is for them to stay with us the 28th-31st.  I hope I didn't offend her by this request.  I just wanted to make sure my kids didn't feel like they were lacking because of the difference in gifts that Santa delivers them compared to her kids. 

Yes, kids do need to deal with life and learn lessons in disappointment but trust me, when it comes to holidays, they already deal with that (but more on that subject for the next post).  If you were in this same position, what would you have done?  Would you not have said anything and just gone with the flow, letting family come and visit, dealing with any hurt feelings or shock from what Santa brought them? 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

She's Done It Again :)

Michelle has edited and posted some more pictures from our photo session.  I absolutely love her work.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE <3 the picture of the three of us by that old wheel.  It is so great.  What a great effect that picture has to it.  She did such a great job as you can tell.  What do you girls think? 

Doing Buisness with Family

Money.  Family.  Business.  Do they merge?  I received a phone call last night from a family member wanting to borrow money from me.  First, I don't have money to loan.  Second, would I ever see it back?  Third, isn't that the worst thing to do? 

Here is the scoop: I love my family to death.  I would do anything for them.  But where do you draw the line?  I would happily loan money to certain members of my family if I had the means to do so.  However, what do you do when you don't approve of the way someone else in your family spends their money and then turns around asking to borrow money from you?  The above referenced family member claims that they are broke all the time, but when Christmas rolls around, Santa sure had the means to provide an abundant holiday for their family!  Someone can easily point out that their Santa could have put it all on credit and such. 

This family member refuses to clothe their children in hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, used anything.  I have happily tried passing on my kids' clothes to them with no acceptance.  I am extremely frugal and watch every penny.  This family member claims that they are always broke and struggling, yet their are two incomes in their house, live in an apartment with limited utilities, and just somehow seem to have all this money to spend.  They purchase every movie new when it comes out, the day it comes out  from what I understand.  They have every game imagined for their video game consoles/systems. 

Yes, I know everyone has different priorities.  I know no one is alike.  I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio one night and he specifically said how family and business clearly don't mix.  He said that you shouldn't loan money to family and that so much drama can be caused due to this.  A few callers called in telling stories about how family members owed them all this money and they never saw it back.  Dave just said you should chalk it up to experience and let it go.

It got me to thinking.  If someone you held dear to you asked to borrow money and you had the means to loan it to them, would you?  If so, would it bother you if you knew they happily spent money stupidly?  If you wouldn't loan them money, why?  Just curious as to everyone else's opinions. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do you frequent thrift stores?  As you all know, I do.  I find great deals for me and my family.  I just love the thrill of the find.  I know some people have just recently joined the frugality thing.  I, however, have always had the frugality gene.  ;)  When I was a teen, I worked at a thrift store.  I used to find the coolest clothes ever!  People would pry and ask where I got things because they wanted something I had on.  Now when you are a teen and trying to fit in, most would have said they had purchased the items at some big store so as to not be embarrassed at the place they purchased them.  I didn't.  I told the truth.  Seeing the difference in facially expressions about my nifty clothes, I knew they thought less of thrift stores.  I obviously didn't care.  I was happy with the great buys I found.  The thrift store would get sooooo much stuff coming in on a constant and consistent basis.  I loved that I got a 25% employee discount on top of the incredible tag price.   I remember finding the COOLEST pants I had ever laid my eyes on, and they were only $5!  Scoring them for only $3.75 was incredible.  I would constantly come home with new to me clothes.  At that price, you couldn't beat them. 

I'll never forget hearing a classmate had begged her parents to buy some designer pants at some specialty store, and they willingly spent over $80.00 on them!  I immediately thought of how many pairs of pants and items I could buy with that amount of money at "my" thrift store.  I just couldn't believe that they happily spent that and she was bragging over her pants, which truth be told, didn't seem so different than everyone's pants.  They were blue jeans.  Nothing too special, other than some fancy "designer name brand".  Of course all sorts of girls wanted the designer pants after that and hoped they could talk their parents into buying them.  I, however, didn't even think twice about it. 

I was happy and content with my thrift store clothes.  A lot of the clothes coming in looked like they were in awesome condition.  On top of my satisfaction for the clothes I had, I didn't have the luxury of my parents offering to give me money to pay for clothes.  They established a specified amount for allowance and that was it.  The money I got from my job was my spending and food money.  Right before school started, my parents set up a certain amount of money for school shopping.  This money was to cover our clothes, supplies and the like.  I could have gone to the mall and gotten designer name brand items, but I thought carefully about my purchases.  At that time, a lot of teens wouldn't be caught dead in a thrift store.  Shopping for USED clothes?!?  Oh my goodness, how could someone even possibly think of doing such a thing  ;)  *grin. 

Now that so many people in our nation are pinching their pennies and trying to stretch a buck, things have significantly changed.  The thrift store I used to work at doesn't get as many donations I think.  The conditions of clothes are much less than they were.  People are simply making the things they have on hand work for them.  They are using things for longer than they did in the past.  Spending money on unneccessary items isn't as easy as it was before for some. 

I still enjoy thrift storing.  It is fun.  Some stores tend to be better than others.  What is your favorite thrift store and why?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I was watching Confessions of  a Shopaholic the other day, and I just love that movie.  Don't ask me why, but it is such a funny movie.  But it got me to thinking about our shopping habits.  I clearly am not a shopaholic.  Yes, I love to grab a good buy at a steal, but I don't use a credit card to do so, and I know I have boundaries.  Intead of just spending everything I have and having a roommate who rips up my rent check... not just once but twice, yes (2) times, I spend wisely and know where my money is going.  Some people have no remorse for living beyond their means, and that is their personal choice. 

How in the world she justified spending so much on a green scarf, I have no clue.  It was funny at the scene where the manican is talking to her and tells her to use some old jeans, that is what her mother would do.  I am so that mother.  I can't justify spending so much on stuff that I don't see as a smart and productive buy.  Maybe that is the reason why I have been so wishy washy about the item my daughter wants so badly for Christmas.  I just think it isn't a wise buy.  I think that she could get something cooler for a better buy, but I need to realize that this is what she REALLY wants.  Now if it was my last $20 would I buy it... I doubt it.  But if this is what she really wants from Santa, I need to let her have that magic. 

"When I was a little girl, there were real prices and mom prices.  Real prices got you *shiny, sparkly things* that lasted three weeks, and mom prices got you brown things...... that lasted *forever* ."  I was thinking about this very quote from the movie, and it reminded me of myself.  No, I am not going to buy her any little thing on the whim of her asking for it.  I am, however, going to participate in this one piece of magic while she still believes in Santa.  Who am I to ruin this for her? 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gotta Love Amazon

With the holidays fast approaching and our already stretched funds, I would love to get a little help on my Christmas shopping.  hahaha  :)  Right now Living on Love and Giveaways is giving away one hot Amazon gift card in the amount of $50.  If you haven't checked her blog out yet, you should.  What would I buy with an Amazon gift card?  Well, if I don't win a Pillow Pet on the blogs I entered for my daughter, I would snag her one.  In addition I would buy the Laura Ingal Wilder book set.  I think it would be neat to start reading those with my kids at night.  I always loved those books growing up and it made me realize how blessed we are.  I remember the Christmas book where they got something so completely common and were so thankful.  If not those, I would snag my Little Man this hot little baby:  He LOVES Batman and this seems so fun.  Anyway, check out Living on Love and Giveaway's blog :

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I really want to Win a Pillow Pet For Bug

I reeeeeeeeeally want to win a pillow pet for my daughter.  Call me crazy, but I found another great blog.  Man, do I love finding new, fun blogs.  I found
She is holding a Pillow Pet Giveaway.  I know that the pillow pets are supposed to be the big Christmas want for this year.  Check them out and let me know what you think.  What would you choose if you won one?

An Online Sweepstakes and A Winner

I finally won something online!  Yay!!!!  I checked my mail today and had a key left in my box to open the large box for something didn't fit in my box.  This is what I won:

It is a signed copy of the book by Aubrey Niffenegger.  Aubrey Niffenegger is the same author of The Time Traveler's Wife.  I look forward to reading this.  So excited to have finally won something.  :)

Toy Exchanges

A friend of mine was telling me that her daughter wanted material for sewing and such for Christmas.  I just so happened to have a bunch of fabric sitting in a box unused.  I immediately told her she could have it all.  She told me she would exchange _____ toys that her kids don't play with anymore knowing that my kids would put them to good use.  I immediately told her she didn't need to do that and could just have the fabric.  She said she would rather my kids have them.  It brought up a good idea for Christmas.  If you and your friends have kids with lots of toys that they get bored of, what about having a toy exchange for Christmas?  A toy that was previously lightly enjoyed by Bobby will be just as great as a toy from Target.  A kid shouldn't enjoy a gift any less just because it isn't brand new. 

My kids LOVE yard sales and thrift stores.  They don't know any better, because that is how they were raised.  But if I had decided to exchange some toys they didn't play with and get different toys, that would be a great idea.  No, I am not the first one to have thought this up.  Duhhh!  ;)  But if you are tight on money and don't have the means to go all out this year, think of trying a toy exchange. 

The Little Things In Life

We went to a birthday party recently where the Birthday child received lots of presents but didn't seem very happy or satisfied with anything.  The first gift was oh so cool, but they were then urged to open the next.  By the end, it was, "Where is the next gift?"  This was even after being given a brand new, cool bike.  The birthday child is a great kid.  Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say anything ill of them at all.  I love this kid to death.  It just opened my eyes to what I have also done in the past.

If any of you have read The Tightwad Gazette Books, you'll realize this scenary all too well.  Many people think they need to go all out and be extravagant for Birthdays and Christmas.  Sometimes more than other times.  By the end, our kids are sometimes left expecting much more, even after having been so excited and wanting to play with the first item instead of continuing to open the next gift. 

Today I have come to a realization.  I am not by any means saying we don't have a great Christmas.  I am just happy that my kids are excited with the little things in life.  Something as simple as a pillow excites my daughter.  I know lots of kids her age who want HUGE things like video game systems, with all the games, a new tv for their room, huge expensive toys, and everything.  How are we teaching our kids?  I am happy my kids get so excited with little things.  I really am.  It is so fun to see their faces light up with something as little as a book of stickers from the dollar store.  hahaha  I absolutely love it.  It is adorable.  This Christmas I hope we can all scale down a little and teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas, or whatever holiday you and your family celebrates. 

Instead of showering your kids with so many gifts, can you get by with giving less?  Your kids wont appreciate it any less.  At least I know mine wont.  How do you react to life?  Are you appreciative of the little things in life?  Just remember that our kids follow by our examples.  If Mommy or Daddy are excited over something simple, I am sure their kids will as well.

Pillow Pet Frenzy

I stumbled upon another great blog.  Night Owl Mama is currently having a giveaway for a Pillow Pet.  She seems to have had a great experience with a Pillow Pet friend.  Her little boy is soooo cute!  A boy and his best friend ( a dog).  What could be sweeter?  I entered this in hopes of scoring a Purple Unicorn Pillow Pet for Bug since she is so adament that that is what she wants from Santa this year.  I hope I win this for her.  Check out Night Owl Mama's blog.

Also, check out   Here's hoping I win!  Wish me luck everyone!  :)  I may need it.

She Moved!~!

I have been following an awesome blog.  It makes me feel more accountable to my finances.  It is called   She has since moved to  I look forward to continuing following her.  Take a gander at her site, and check it out.  I really have enjoyed her blog.  I highly suggest adding her.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pillow Pets

In an attempt to score my daughter the Christmas gift she so desperately wants (that purple pillow pet), I stumbled upon this blog:

Check it out and enter to score your child their desired pillow pet.  I hope we win.  Check out to see the other kinds. 

Shopping With Little Ones

After one of the birthday parties we attended this weekend, we decided to stop and walk through a strip mall nearby.  I had never been in the area and was surprised with how many businesses they had out there.  We ended up stopping in Big Lots.  Bug immediately shrieked and stopped us to inform us of something she wanted really bad.  It was a Barbie Musketeer Hot Air Baloon for Barbie.  She begged and pleaded.  Mommy's response: Sorry babe.  You don't need that and we aren't going to buy it. 
Bug: But MOM pleeeeeeease! 
Mommy: No.
Bug: Come on!
Mommy: Maybe you can ask Santa for it.
Bug: Good I am going to!
Mommy: But remember you can only ask Santa for 2 things that you really want.
Bug: But Mommy, I already picked out what I am asking Santa for.
Mommy: And what is that? 
Bug: Barbie Babies and a Unicorn Pillow Pet
Mommy: Is that what you really want? 
Bug: YESSSsssssss~ 
Mommy: Then you don't need to ask for the Hot Air Balloon. 
Bug: I could always ask him for three things or more.
Mommy: But what if Santa decides not to get you the thing that you REALLY wanted.
Bug: Uhhhhhhh fine.  I don't want the Balloon. 

Now that you know the conversation, I have a question for all of you.  If your child wants something in an extreme way, and it is something you just don't think is a wise choice, what do you do?  A while back my sister came across a Groupon special for Pillow Pets.  They are normally about $20 each.  She had a Groupon special that made them under $5.  I immediately thought they were absolutely stupid.  So I declined the need to get my kids that.  $20 for a pillow that I was sure wouldn't be fully loved? 

Lo and behold, recently Bug has been so adament about her need for a Unicorn Pillow Pet.  She wants it so badly.  I told her she could ask Santa for Christmas.  Personally, I don't think Santa should bring it to her for Christmas.  What do you guys think?  What would you do?  Just give in and let Santa deliver this? She has pillows on her bed.  There is nothing wrong with them and they are really comfy.  Not that Santa doesn't bring something a child doesn't absolutely need.  I am just curious how other people do Christmas with their kids.  Come on ladies, spill the beans. 

Photo By Michelle

This weekend was an extremely hectic weekend.  I had so much going on.  One of the fun things we did was have our family pictures taken by Photo By Michelle.  I have known "Shelly" since I was like 7 I think.  I was really young and we went to the same church.  She did our pictures on location at a fun museum that I never knew existed.  It was so fun.
My son was easily bribed by Mommy with candy.  ;)  He was tired of taking pictures.  But I think it was so fun.  I look forward to Michelle working on getting her photography business up and going.  She is a natural pro.  Look at the link and see the teaser she posted.  I can't wait to see the rest. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

My name is Sassy and I'm a .......

My name is Sassy and I don't know what to classify myself.  I'm not a hoarder, but I sure like holding onto things sometimes.  I LOVE a good sale.  It does my body good knowing that I got an incredible price on something.  I am filled with inner happiness when I come home with something awesome for a steal.  It is so fun. 

A while back I posted about how I need to be decluttering.  I have so much "stuff" and when I find something i.e., clothing for my kids, for a great deal, I surely get them.  As a result, I will have stuff all over the house.  Up until last night, my dryer has been broken.  Truth be told, it broke back in April I believe.  I have since had to hang up my laundry to dry.  Yes, there are great things about line drying. Reduced utility bills, longer life span on your clothing, etc.  But when you are a single mom, work full time and are truthfully limited on time, the delay of drying clothes has an effect on me.  I don't want to do laundry. 

I am so exctremely grateful that my dryer was fixed last night.  With the cooler weather coming, I didn't think line drying outside/in the garage would be the best alternative. 

But last night I just came to the realization that I need to stop shopping.  Unless I am looking for a specific item, I need to just cut it out.  I was so thrilled about realizing we had too much stuff/enough a few months ago.  But I have been shopping regardless.  And it isn't on big items.  It is the small things. 

With my unemployment happening at the beginning of this year, and being out of work for 6 months, I have worked out the figures and know that I will have made $26,000.00 at the end of the year.  Frankly, money is extremely tight.  I am overall an extremely frugal person, but I need to be watching our money even more.  It is scary how the little things add up.  Instead of shopping, I need to work on getting rid of more things!  I need to just get my butt in gear. 

My son will be having a birthday next month, so I need to work out a birthday budget, on already limited funds.  Some people may say just do without the party, but in our family we have a birthday party every year.  I would find it unfair to do without a party for him.  I like making my kids feel special and having a fun event just for them and our friends/family.  It is fun.  What fun birthday ideas can you guys come up with?  Something extremely frugal?  Something that will keep a 3 year old's attention?  I am glad I already found his birthday gift from me.  It takes a lot of stress off me. 

In addition to the birthday party, Christmas is around the corner.  Although I have bought some gifts throughout the year for my kids, I still have other family members to shop for and such.  The thought of the holidays is starting to stress me out.  On my side of the family, I believe we are not exchanging this year.  But that hasn't been set in stone either.  It is still up in the air.  My ex's family always includes us in their Christmas celebrations.  This year I think I might opt out for the gift exchange.  Last year there was a $50 limit.  To someone else that might sound like nothing, but on me who is already strapped for cash, that is pretty big.  And although the word "limit" is set, that typically means they expect you to spend about that on the gift.  If I drew my kids' grandma or grandpa, I could whip together a scrapbook, which I already purchased ahead of time on an extremely great deal.  I already have the supplies for scrapbooking.  I would just have to purchase pictures.  But knowing my luck, I wouldn't draw one of them.  And i would somehow have to come up with $50.00 for whoever's gift. 

I know that the holidays are supposed to be for joyous occasions, but for some reason I just am not feeling joyous about them.  No, I am not a scrooge.  I just am a little stressed and worried over it.  I usually shop Black Friday sales and get great deals on things, but this year I don't think I will be able to.  1) I believe I have to work!  :(  I have NEVER had to work on Black Friday so this will be an adjustment.  I was reading the employee handbook and the day after Thanksgiving is NOT listed as a holiday.  2)  If I chose to take the day off without pay, it still wouldn't solve the issue of my limited funds.  hahahaha  Obviously, it would contribute to me having even less funds! 

On top of all of this, my cousin texted me yesterday asking if her and her family could stay at her house during Christmas break.  Although I love her to death, I am still left with a few fears on this.  First, I have work, so I won't be able to spend a lot of time with them.  Second, while I am at work her and her family will be at my house and I wouldn't want something bad happening at the house with her kids.  Third, if they were at our house on Christmas morning and their kids got "awesome" presents from Santa, and my kids don't think they got as great of gifts, what do I do? Next, feeding 6 extra mouths on my income isn't going to be easy.  Needless to say, I am throwing that idea around in my head on top of everything else.

So now I am left debating what to do for the next couple months.  I didn't mean for this to come off as just a rant about everything.  Sorry guys.  I am just left really debating on what to do. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Finds For The Weekend

My son's birthday is coming up next month.  Instead of finding him a toy that he'll just tire of for his birthday present, I figured out something better for his present.  The other night the kids wanted to have a camp out in the living room in front of the tv.  They had so much fun.  There was only one problem- we only have two girl sleeping bags.  My son had to sleep in the Little Mermaid one.  He said he wants a boy one.  I figured it would be the perfect gift.  I looked online for a Batman one since he loves Batman so much.  No luck.  I looked in stores.  In the end, I went to Savers and found a nice blue sleeping bag that is really nice.  It was listed for $7.00.  Then I looked up at the sign and realized it was half off since the tag was green.  So for only $3.50 he will have a really nice blue sleeping bag. 

I also stopped in really quick at Goodwill and found a Transformers mask that talks and makes noise.  It was really awesome.  It was only $3.00.  Little man spotted it first.  I bought it, but I stuck it in the trunk so he has completely forgotten about it.  I never have luck at Goodwill.  From my experience, the prices are so much higher than other thrift stores.  Maybe that is just my experience.  Maybe some of you have had great experiences finding things at great prices there.  I haven't.

Prior to going out for a search for the sleeping bag, we stopped at a school yard sale.  I found my son a nice, sturdy winter jacket for only $2.00 :)  I found a pair of Carz slippers for my son for only $1.00 also.  I wish my camera was working, so I could post pictures.  We also spotted a nice children's book with great pictures.  It was only 25 cents.  Great buys if you ask me. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giving Back

I am going to be completely straightforward and upfront on this post.  If you agree with me on the subject, that is fine.  If you do not, that is fine too.  This is my personal experience and I am sharing it simply as such.

I posted a while back about the subject of tithing.  Tithing is giving 10% of all you receive back to the Lord.  Different religions or beliefs clarify this as different things.  In my  belief, it is to give 10% to my church.  With those funds, the church is surely able to bless the lives of others.  Be it temples, church buildings, helping struggling families who are deeply in need, and so on. 

Other people believe it is giving 10 % of your income to those around you, not a church.  Others just put whatever they feel into a collection plate.  From what I have been told of the collection plate from a few people I know, it usually is just about $20 or so each time the collection plate goes around.  Typically not 10% of their income.  And that is completely fine!  Whatever you believe is what you should live by. 

In my personal life, I pay 10 % to our church before paying anything.  This 10 % is figured before taxes.  I have paid tithing off and on most of my life.  In the past 2 years, I have paid an honest tithe knowing that if I did, the Lord would keep his promise and provide for our needs.  I have never had an issue paying this- as I know that it is needed, until the past little while.  Lately it seems there is always something coming up and somehow, somewhere we seem to be lacking. 

I will be completely honest and tell you guys that, yes I have been a complainer on this subject recently.  "Why should I be paying x amount in tithing when we are barely getting by?  We can't afford to pay.  I can just use the money I would have paid in tithing and put it to other areas where it is really needed.  Come on, the Lord can understand this.  Can't He?"

I have been praying and pleading.  I have put my needs to Him.  The previous post I mentioned how I had a feeling I was supposed to go to that flea market.  I didn't mention to you that I have been praying for the little things lately.  Shoes for my son.  That was part of my prayers.  The pure chance that I stumbled upon brand new shoes that he really needed, when I have been so desperately praying and pleading for help?  I know it isn't chance. 

Or how about the school lunch program?  I was packing lunch for my daughter the first few weeks of school.  When your budget is already strapped and you add something as simple as lunches for her, it isn't easy.  I was informed that we would qualify for the school lunch program for her.  I applied and never heard back.  Somehow the paper work got lost.  :(  I, of course, complained and whined over it.  I had to fill it all out again.  The next few days we were informed she qualified for reduced lunches.  It was costing me $1.50 to pack and send her lunch with her.  The reduced lunch fee is 40 cents.  So a 90 cent saving a day.  When we went up to pay money on her account, the lunch lady informed us that, though she qualified for the reduced lunch, there would be no fee for her lunches.  She informed us that the school district is doing some random study on lunches and this year if anyone qualifies for reduced lunches, they will be receiving lunch for free.  Someone could easily say that this is just pure luck and it has nothing to do with spirituality or tithing.  I beg to differ. 

When you are praying and pleading for help and guidance in certain areas, and you willingly and happily pay your tithing trusting fully in the Lord, knowing He will provide, and something comes your way, I know it is His work.  Yes, I have been debating on paying tithing lately due to income and things coming up, but I know that the Lord is testing me.  I can't imagine where we would be without me paying an honest tithe.  Surely I know we wouldn't be where we are today. 

To tie into the subject of tithing, the other night I got to thinking how blessed we really are.  I am a single mother with two healthy kids, a safe roof over our heads, two healthy and happy dogs, food to eat, great clothing on our backs, our religion and freedom to worship, a paid off car, and all the things many people take for granted.  Yes, I might complain or wish I had better things sometimes, but I know I am so much better off that someone else might be.  I know that it is thanks to the Lord and my faith in paying tithing.  Yes, I will surely be tested all throughout my life, but do I want to fail?  No.  I want to happily pay my tithing and have faith that He will provide a way for our needs to be met.  I am happy I have been paying my tithing.  :)

I have many other instances where I know that the Lord has provided for my kids and I as a result of paying tithing.  But I will leave this thought with you- If you want to be better provided for and having better faith in your life, I greatly suggest paying tithing.  If you don't belong to a church and have no desire to join any churches, what about giving back to your community?  Ten percent might seem like a lot to someone, but I promise you if you do this, you will be provided for.  And if there comes a time in your life where you really need something and are completely lacking, I am sure beyond any certainty that something will come of it and your needs will be met. 

So sorry....

I am so sorry I haven't posted anything recent.  Truth be told, I have just been so busy lately that posting has been the last thing on my list to do.  My friend questioned when I was going to post something new on here.  Well here it is:

This weekend I had an incredible buy.  I had just cashed my check and was driving to my grandparents' house to pay them for babysitting.  I looked to my left and saw a Catholic Church and a sign that had flea market listed with Saturday's date.  I had never been there before, but something told me I really needed to check it out.  I really didn't want to go, but I surely pulled in the parking lot and ventured in to see what they had.  Man, am I so thankful I did! 

You have to know that my son has been needing new shoes for quite some time.  I have been having him in sandals, but with the weather starting to cool down a little bit, I have been kind of worried about shoes.  You also have to know, that the past two months have been really really really trying on me financially.  So when I saw some brand new pairs of kids shoes in boxes at this flea market, I checked to see if they had my son's size.  They did in fact have his size.  I questioned how much they were, thinking they would be probably too expensive.  I couldn't believe my ears when the guy informed me they were 2/$3.  I asked if he meant a pair for $3, just to be on the safe side.  He said, "No, they are two pairs for $3.00.  If you don't buy two, they are $2.00 a pair."  I was in total shock.  I found two that were my son's size and I was so excited. 

I also found one pair of dress shoes (brand new in the box) for myself for $2.00.  I have been needing new shoes for work as mine are really old and starting to show wear. 

So I happily grabbed those, thinking wow $5.00 total for 3 brand new pairs of shoes for both of us.  Then I looked behind me and noticed the Parish Hall with its doors open.  They were having a huge flea market there.  I decided to venture inside just to see what they had.  They had tons of stuff there!  I had grabbed just a couple things that I saw as really good buys, when a lady screamed and yelled for everyone's attention.  She informed everyone that they were having a deal.  You could fill an entire big, black trash bag full of stuff and the price would only be $5!!!! 

I decided to search more thoroughly since I knew I could stuff a lot of stuff in a black trash bag, and I am so happy I did so!  The following is what I scored for $5 total:
- 2 great and sturdy jackets for me which I have really been looking hard to find for myself
- a few hoodies for my daughter
- a nice, thick Spiderman blanket set, with the sheets, pillowcases, and everything included
- 4 bath robes (1 my size which is really thick and great quality, 2 my daughter's size, and 1 my son's size)
- a few pairs of pajama pants
- books
- hunting gear jackets (one bright orange one and two camo. styled ones) which I plan to give to my cousin
- some clothes for my daughter to grow into
- two swimming trunks for my son to grow into
- towels and wash cloths

All of those items for $5!?!?  I couldn't believe it.  I know some of you might say or think that it is just a coincidence that I stopped there.  I, on the other hand, know that I was guided to stop there.  :) 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I went to a thrift store yesterday and noticed how prices have increased.  WOW!  It kind of shocked me a little.  When I worked at this thrift stores, women's pants were $3.  Now they are about $5-$6.  That might not sound like much to someone, but that isn't the only thing that has increased.  A lot of items have taken a big jump.  I am not trying to complain, but I just want you to take a look around and see the difference in prices and stores.  Maybe I am just spoiled having received such great hand me downs.  :)

Anyone want some money? Here ya go

I stumbled upon a great giveaway on Living Out Loud.  They are giving away $50 directly to your paypal account.  Who couldn't use $50 toward Christmas with that season coming closely upon up.  I just followed them.  Happy to continue reading.  I would love to receive the $50 toward Christmas.  It surely would help.  :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

T.J. Maxx

You guys know that I love TJ Maxx.  I found a new blog that I have joined.  They are giving away a gift card to TJ Maxx or Marshalls.  Yayyyyy!  Check this blog out ladies.  I have always been a fan of TJ Maxx.  They have great clothes and household goods.  I always have great luck finding things there.  I have to admit that I find humor when I hear people complaining about going to the mall to spend money on clothes.  I think it is ridiculous, when you can simply go to TJ Maxx and find great buys there.  The quality is great too.  Check out the giveaway:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marmaduke Movie Giveaway

I have stumbled on a few giveaways this morning.  Outnumbered 3 to 1 is giving away a Marmaduke movie.  I have heard of this movie a few times.  It looks really fun and entertaining.  I think that George Lopez and Owen Wilson are hillarious!  My children love animals, so of course this sounds like a very great movie.  So excited to have entered.  I surely hope I win.  Everyone should check out this blog.  I decided to follow it.  It looks really great and fun to read.  I am finding myself reading more and more.

"A Fashion Fairy Tale" From Country Girl City Life

As most of you know, my little girl idolizes Barbie.  I stumbled on this blog  The movie looks so cute and cool.  My little girl will totally LOVE this if we win.  This blog looks really cool so I also decided to follow it.  I hope we win!  Check it out and let me know what you guys think.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Furnished Home Part 1

Just yesterday I was walking around my house and realized something that I hadn't realized before.  My entire home is furnished exclusively from hand-me-downs and gifts with the exception of my bed.  It might sound funny, but it is true. 

Walk in our door and you will immediately see the living room.  Our living room has 2 recliners, 1 couch, 2 bookcases, and a tv stand with a tv.  The couch is very worn down, but it still does its function.  I received it from an old family friend who I was renting an apartment from.  It had been used for years, and they decided to redo their furniture in the house.  I don't plan on purchasing a new one until the kids are older and grown out of that "draw on things with markers and crayons" stage.  It is still just fine for now.  The 2 recliners were given by a different friend whose aunt was getting rid of them since she had bought new furniture.  I happily borrowed my dad's truck and drove out there to pick them up.  They are in good condition and perfectly fine.  The bookcases were given to me when I moved into my first apartment.  My friend wanted to buy me something I would use and decided to buy me two bookshelves.  They are great and definitely full of books, magazines, dvds, etc.  I don't plan on getting rid of them any time soon.  The tv stand was also given to me by the friend who gave me the recliner.  I had been looking for a tv stand and she just so happened to have one in her garage that she was looking to get rid of.  Score for Sassy!  ;)  Our tv came from my parents' house.  My dad had put a magnet on top of it while working out and he said the color somehow managed to get all screwed up.  At first it proceeded to look a little funny.  The coloring is all fine now.  It is perfectly fine. 

Step into my scrapbook nook, and you will find my desk, armoire for scrapbook supplies, and my chair.  The desk was given to me by my childrens' grandpa.  He had ordered one for his office at home.  Somehow he was delivered two of them and only charged for the one.  I believe he said he called to return the other, but in the end it was given to me.  It was brand new.  I was so excited.  The armoire was my ex's (baby's daddy ) that he had had when he lived at home with his parents.  His parents were moving and in the process of getting rid of things.  I mentioned that if they were planning on getting rid of the armoires (there were 2 of them), let me know.  Lo and behold, they delivered one to my house.  I immediately filled it with all my wonderous scrapbook supplies.  The chair had been given to me by another ex bf.  He was moving out of his place and in the transitional stage.  He was getting rid of all kinds of things, and I told him I wanted the chair since he had it set aside to get rid of, stating that he just didn't need it anymore.  He brought it right over (we were living in the condo at that time). 

Step into the kitchen directly from the scrapbook nook, and you'll see my great, big kitchen table.  It is such a great size and able to fit many people around it.  I bought it, along with 6 chairs from my parents.  They had purchased a different table and were replacing this one.  I believe I paid $225.00.   It originally had been purchased for $600, just for the table.  The chairs were another $30 each, if I remember correctly.  When dirving around, I spotted a yard sale with another 4 chairs.  I decided to purchase them for when more people were over.  Each chair was only $5!  This was definitely worth the purchase and has already been enjoyed by many.

To be continued....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Being Content and Satisfied

I stumbled upon a great website about why you'll be happier with a smaller house and I have to say that I completely agree with this list.  Check out the website:

I live in a 1600 sq ft home.  To some that might sound large, and to others that might sound tiny.  For me though, I am completely content.  Some might say this is a starter home.  Being a single mother and supporting my kids and I on my own, I see this as our home.  I don't see us leaving this house unless I
a) I lose my job and am unable to afford paying the payments, which I have experienced a layoff and the results of unemployment so though that might not sound like a possibility to some, I know the reality all too well.
b) By some miracle I find employment for a great position in another state.
c)  By some extreme miracle, I find a husband and other arrangements for housing are made?

Our home has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It also has a yard for the kids to play in and enjoy.  Our dogs have a yard to roam around and enjoy.  I have a walk in closeted bedroom, which I do enjoy.  Our dining room is very large and has many a time provided plenty of space for friends and family to gather around the table to enjoy great food, good games and fun.  I even have my scrapbook nook.  A one car garage that has plenty of room.  I trully love my home. 

Of course there are always things that I would love to change up a little.  The front yard, for instance, is just rock and a dried up patch of grass.  We purchased a forclosure so the yard hadn't been touched since it being vacant.  I haven't even bothered with it as of yet, because I don't know what I want to do there, and I don't want to waste money on it. 

Given the space of my home, I do catch myself wishing I had a larger home for various other things, but upon reading this article, I have realized that deep down, I really am content.  Yes, I do have clutter in our house and garage, but I am slowly working on that.  I need to work on that and get a handle on this.

Being a single mom, it occurred to me that "stuff" amounted to wealth.  If I found a great deal on something at the thrift store, I just couldn't resist it.  I would get such a high on getting more stuff, because I felt richer by owning it.  When I moved into our house, I thought I needed to buy more stuff to fill it after moving from a two bedroom apartment.  I scavaged yard sales and purchased all kinds of toys and things.  Now when I look around, I know I need to go through it more thoroughly.

If I lived in a bigger house, I am sure it wouldn't even phase me in the least.  I am thankful for this sized house.  It trully is a great amount of space for us.  I really am satisfied, content and beyond thankful.  We trully have been blessed.