Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Struggle

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of All opinions are 100% mine.

A few weeks ago, I decided that my family was going to start eating better. I started with portion control, and let me tell you, the kids were not happy. I made the same foods I normally do, but instead of everyone loading up their plates, and then going back for seconds, I gave each of us a proper sized portion, and that was it. Ryan about had a fit when one night when I threw away the extra garlic toast instead of letting him eat it. I also learned that night to only prepare what we are going to eat. Had I thought ahead, I would not have had any to throw away.

This change is only the beginning, though. With the help of, I am finding other ways to help us get to healthy weights. I signed up for a free account, which gave me access to all types of resources that can help me in my quest. I found many articles related to portion control. They also link to blogs written by people who are living healthy lifestyles, and to me, they are an inspiration. I know what I want for myself and my family, and knowing where to find motivation is key. I struggle. I struggle every day. I know the choices I make impact my children, and I want, desperately, to be an inspiration to them. If I eat healthy, they will eat healthy. It's nice having somewhere I can go where I can find everything I am looking for in one place.

Sign up for yourself now, and you might be one of the 25,000 people that Jennie-O Turkey Store, sponsor of, gives a rebate for the purchase price of any one product (up to $5.00).

I sure hope I am one of those people!
Visit my sponsor: Attention all you health enthusiasts!

Happy Birthday Colleen!

My mom made this cake for my sister's 30th birthday. I did take pictures of her blowing out the candles, but I was threatened about posting them. I think my mom did an excellent job! She also made a chocolate cake for the guys (Junior and my brother-in-law Mike) birthdays. The picture I took of that was completely blurred, and I don't know why. But trust me when I say it was delicious!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Camera Critters ~ 45

Last weekend, we were at my dad's house, and he lives on a lake. The kids convinced him to take the boat out, so off we went. There were these power towers, and last year a crane made a nest on one of them. This year, there were two nests, and two cranes.
The next shot was taken about three minutes after the one up top, but we had moved a little closer on the other side. One of the cranes got spooked by the boat, and flew up a little. If you look close, you can barely see it right above the other one, on the next bar up. I just love the way the sky looks in this one.
Join in the fun and play camera critters too!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break Next Week

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

The kids are out of school next week for Spring break. Junior took a his vacation that week too, so everyone will be home, and there will be no alarm clocks blaring at 2:15 and 5:15 every morning. It's going to be so nice to get more than three hours sleep at a time. We don't really have anything planned, because we weren't sure if Junior's vacation days would be approved. If we had known a few weeks ago, I would have planned a trip to Branson, and stayed at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing.

Why Branson? Because it is close to Silver Dollar City, and this weekend is one of their Family Spring Break Days. This part is family friendly everyday, and I know this because I saw a television show about the Duggars, and this is somewhere they enjoy going, and we all know that they have very strict requirement about what they do with their family.

I also wanted to try out this new ride they have called RiverBlast. Just look at how much fun the kids are having in the picture, and we all know that I am a huge kid at heart, and that I would love something like this.

I should probably also point out that there are lots of stores and boutiques for those who prefer to shop over going to amusement parks, and golf for the men who find that an enjoyable sport. All of these things are within driving, or walking, distance of the Hilton Branson Convention Center, which makes this hotel the perfect place to stay.

But, since I couldn't plan ahead, we are going to spend next week close to home, maybe taking a day trip to the mountains. I will, however, be planning a trip to Branson soon. That water ride is calling my name!
Visit my sponsor: Spring has sprung in Branson, Missouri!

Sneaky, Sneaky

I love Chinese food. In fact, I could move to China and live out the rest of my life quite happily.

But, I do have one little pet peeve when it comes to Chinese restaurants. I know that different restaurants use different recipes, but i would think that a spring roll would be a spring roll, no matter where you get it. But no. That's not the case.

My favorites are the ones that have only vegetables in them, but these are hard to find. I will eat the ones that have some type of ground beef (I'm hoping it's beef) in them without complaining, but I draw the line when I find seafood in there.

Yesterday, I was craving a spring roll, so when we ran to the grocery store, I ran into the Chinese food restaurant in the same strip mall to get one. I took one bite and almost threw up. You see, I HATE seafood, and there was big ole shrimp in my spring roll. I would think that they would have to have some kind of disclaimer on their menu...I mean, what if I was allergic to shellfish? Wait, is shrimp a shellfish? No, I don't think so...but you get what I mean.

Now I know not to eat there anymore...I mean, if there is shrimp in their spring roll, who knows what's in their egg rolls!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Decorating Junior's Birthday Cake

The girls and I baked a cake for Junior's birthday last Sunday. I know it's weird that a grown man's cake is pink, but his favorite cake is strawberry, so it is what it is. Brandi wrote on the cake...I'm not too sure why Kasi didn't help...and it came out great. It was delicious, too, or so I was told. I don't like strawberry cake, so I didn't have any myself. It's Tuesday, though, and there is only one small piece left, so I guess it was pretty yummy...

Buying Our First Home

It's no secret that Junior and I moved into a new home last month. I wish it was a house that we are buying, but as luck would have it, we are renting yet again. In fact, we have rented for the entire 15 years we have been married, except for the time we were "renting to own" from his dad, and you all know how that ended. It is just not in the cards for us to be homeowners right now, and I can not tell you how much I wish that wasn't true. I am hoping that within the next couple of years, we will be buying first home. This is the first time we have laid out a plan for accomplishing this, and it will be a wonderful day when we will be putting our hard earned money towards something that will be ours.

I wish we were able to get a house last year, so we could have qualified for one of those awesome tax credits. Check out this video, which explains everything.

This guys explained things so much better than I could have, that's for sure. The only thing I really know is that last year was the perfect time to buy our first home, and we couldn't do it. I guess it will continue to be a dream of ours, and hopefully, someday, it will become a reality.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cold And Wet

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.

~Author Unknown

I love rain when I do not have to go out in it. Sure, when I was younger, it was fun to get wet. In fact, there may have been a time or two where I have danced in the rain. There was even a time I walked a few miles in the rain in the middle of the night, but that's another story.

That said, I am ready for this yucky weather to go away. We had a beautiful day on Saturday, complete with fishing and a boat ride. Then yesterday, it poured. All day. Today, it is windy and cold. Cold enough that I had to put the heat on to warm up this morning.

I want the 75 degree weather back. For good.

Please, Mother Nature?

Between 9 And 11

I love my husband. I really do. But he has a tendency to break things.

Tonight he broke my cable box.

He broke it bad enough that they couldn't troubleshoot it over the phone, so I have to have a technician come out and look at it tomorrow.

He'll be here between 9 and 11 am.

When I am normally sleeping.

Hopefully he will show up closer to 9, and I can still get a couple of hours sleep before the kids get home from school.

YoVille Or Casinos?

My son is obsessed with playing YoVille online. I set up a game for myself, but never really got into it. So I did what any good mother would do. I let him use my game to get ahead in his game. I prefer to stick with my cat and fish games. What can I say? I'm an animal lover.

It could be worse, though. Ryan could be playing casino games online. I am glad he would rather spend time in a virtual town than in a virtual casino, because those online casinos can become addicting.

Awesome Little Elephant

I can't think of another word to describe how I feel about this little guy...he is just awesome! I found him in highveld's etsy shop.

This sculpture only stands about 3 1/2 inches tall, and I want him.

I want him bad!

But, he costs $35, which is a little more than I am willing to spend to add to my collection.

Had I found this a month ago when we had our tax money, I might have splurged a little. If you are a hippo, rhino, or ladybug fan (Boo loved ladybugs!) check out this etsy shop.

These sculptures are truly awesome!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Camera Critters ~ 44

Can you spot the critter?
Here's a's my daughters hamster, princess.

It's been a while since I have participated in camera critters, and I've missed it.
Hopefully I am back for good!

Fun For Everyone

What is your favorite vacation activity to do with your kids?

I know some of you will say amusement parks, especially if your kids are older, like mine. I was about 16, I think, the first time I went to a real amusement park, and it took all my courage to get in line for that huge roller coaster. In fact, it was the first summer that particular ride was open, and it was great! We went back several times over the next few years, and I always made sure I rode that ride.

I have been thinking about taking my kids to ride some NJ Amusement Rides this spring, and I heard a rumor that there will be a new ride at Morey's Piers. I am not sure if it is a roller coaster or not, but I am sure the kids will enjoy whatever it is.

I like the fact that I can save 35% during their Spring Sale. I know it will not be cheap for the five of us to go, so saving any amount of money is a blessing. It also helps that my sister lives in New Jersey, so we can crash at her house instead of a hotel.

I mean, how can she turn away family?

The Phone

As most of you know, I have two daughters. Kasi is going to be 13 in a couple of months, and Brandi Rose is 8.

One of them spends every waking moment on the phone. Her friends call here, or she calls them. All the time. It's insane!

The funny thing's Brandi! Kasi hates using the phone...she's like me...but Brandi loves it! She will literally spend hours talking to her little friends.

I am not looking forward to her teen aged years...if she's this bad now...

The Sun Is Shining!

Yesterday was a beautiful day! The sun was shining, the kids were happy to be out of school, and they played outside for most of the morning. I love living where we do now, because they are excited about getting out in the fresh air every day. There are tons of kids around, and Ryan especially is having fun playing football and basketball with the neighborhood kids.

Today is supposed to be just as nice as yesterday. We are heading to my dad's in a little while to celebrate all the march birthdays...there are a lot in my family...and the kids are looking forward to fishing for the first time this year.

It's going to be a great day!

San Francisco

When ever I see pictures like this, I think of the television show Full House. I love these three story houses, nestled so close together. If I ever visit San Francisco, this is definitely something I want to see for myself.

My mom visited San Francisco when my brother graduated from college. She loved it. They did a lot of site seeing, checking out San Francisco Hotels and the Golden Gate Bridge. That's another thing I would love to see if I were ever to visit there.

Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, what are the best places to visit? You know, the "must see" tourist attractions? I wouldn't want to miss a thing.

My New Favorite Etsy Shop

Last night, I was browsing through etsy, trying to find some new magnets for my fridge. I only have a million already, but I love them.

Anyway, I came across this adorable little lollipop being eaten by a worm...and it's purple! I love it! It is in Clayful Creations by Becky's shop, and there are so many cute things. She has a bunch of Easter stuff, too, so if you are looking for Holiday stuff, this is definitely the place to go.

Trust me when I say that she is extremely talented and creative! And you all know that I can not pass up an elephant, so this little guy, who is in her shop, too, is waiting for me to buy him.

Soon, little elephant. Soon

Friday, March 19, 2010

Start Here Giveaway At Anna's

Start Here
Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are
by Alex & Brett Harris

You want to do hard things.
But you don’t know where to start.

You are changing the world around you.
But you are tired and burned out.

You feel called to do the extraordinary for God.
But you feel stuck in the ordinary.

Do Hard Things inspired thousands of young people around the world to make the most of the teen years. Now Alex and Brett Harris are back and ready to tackle the questions that Do Hard Things inspired: How do I get started? What do I do when I get discouraged? What’s the best way to inspire others? Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide to doing hard things, right where you are.

Are you ready to take the next step and blast past mediocrity for the glory of God?


Sounds like a great book, right? Anna is giving away a copy, and I would love to win it for my kids to read. If you want a chance to win, head over to Beth & Cory's Mom and enter for yourself!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The City Of Love

I was researching vacation destinations, again, and this time I was focusing on Paris. I have always heard that this is the city of love, where you can take moonlit strolls and enjoy romantic meals. I know girls dream of having their significant others propose to them in this city. When I think of Paris, I think of love.

That said, I think this would be the perfect place for Junior and I to go to for a second honeymoon. We could stay in different Paris Hotels and take in all the sights. Of course, this would have to be a virtual second honeymoon, because we do not have the money, or the time, to take such a luxurious vacation. Plus, I am still afraid of flying.

All you men out there should consider taking the loves of your lives there if you are planning a proposal. I bet it would be really hard for her to say no.

Happy Games

I love all the games on Facebook. I have a farm, and a cafe, and an aquarium, and an island....wait...I have two different islands. I also have pets. Kitties. Lots of them in all different colors. The past few days, as I have logged into different games, I get messages saying that they have improved the games, making it easier to level up.

I am already obsessed...did they really need to make it easier to play?
I seriously lose too much time out of my day to these games as it is.

What Is My Biggest Regret?

Ryan asked Junior and I this question the other night. Junior was quick to answer, saying he wished he had done better in school, that way he would have a better job right now.

I couldn't answer. I told Ryan that every decision I ever made has made me the person I am today, so how could I regret becoming who I am? He seemed to take that as an answer, and off he went.

But I can't stop thinking about that question. What is my biggest regret? It has been weighing heavily on my mind, and I don't know why. Maybe it's because I think I should have an answer.

I just don't.

Are there decisions I wish I had made differently in the past? Sure.

Do I wish I had quit smoking before I was pregnant? Sure.

Do I wonder what life would have been like if I had never moved down South? Sure.

But do I regret any of it? No, I don't think so.

Can you answer this question?

Out Of The Way Getaways

I know I have been talking a lot lately about getting away from the everyday, mundane things and hitting the road for a nice little getaway. I have been researching different destinations online, and have come to realize that I really do not want to visit a major city. I am sure that all the Hotels In Rome are wonderfully luxurious, but I want something more than a nice hotel room.

I want an experience I will remember.

When Junior and I went on our honeymoon, we had no destination in mind. We just packed a few days worth of clothes and hit the road. We ended up in the mountains of North Carolina, visiting every little hole in the wall place we could find. Our greatest find was a tour of an underground cavern. At one point I was scared to death, because we were on this tiny little metal walkway that went over a bottomless pit, and there was no where to turn around, and we were stuck while the guy spoke about what was beneath us. I about had a panic attack! But, it was an awesome experience, and I don't think we would have found this place if we had a moment by moment itinerary.

Sometimes spontaneity is the way to go.

Part Smurf?

A guy that works with Junior gave Ryan a bed for his room. It is a bunk bed, with a twin on the top, and a full on the bottom. It came complete with mattresses, which is awesome. The only thing it cost Junior is doing a tune up on the guys car.

Not a bad deal.

The only thing is that the bed is metal, painted blue, which Ryan hates. He wants it black. So last weekend, him and Kasi started sanding off the blue paint so he can spray paint it black. As you can see, Kasi got a little one her face.

When she came in the house, I told her she looked like she was part Smurf. She looked at me like I had lost my mind, then shook her head and walked away.

I guess I kind of dated myself, and she had no idea what I was talking about. But, I hear there is a Smurf movie in the works, so maybe when it comes out, she will understand what I said.

Keith And The Dixie Chicks

I just read online that Keith Urban and The Dixie Chicks are going on tour together.


I find this a little odd. I used to love the Dixie Chicks. I even enjoyed their last album, where they sang about not being sorry for the things they have done. They have one song on there, called I Hope, that I really like.

But, they have been shunned by the country music industry for so long, I just don't see them as being a good fit for Keith Urban.

That's just my opinion.

I'm A Food Junkie

What makes a vacation memorable? Is it the excitement of visiting a new place? Is it the comfort of re-visiting a favorite destination? Is it the food?

Okay, for me it would be the food. What else would you expect from this girl? Whether it is staying in New York Hotels or fancy foreign places, if the food is bad, I will not remember that vacation fondly. It's no secret that I like to eat, and that most of my memories revolve around food. Of course. most of our vacations have been local, because we can only afford to go for a few days at a time. I would love to taste foreign cuisine, and I have been reading a lot about traveling on a tight schedule. If we planned right, we could fit a lot into a one week vacation.

I bet the food in Southeast Asia is amazing. I just hope they don't serve cat. Those rumors aren't true, are they?

Check This Out

These ice cubes came from my freezer. Ever since we moved, it has been making hollow ice cubes. It's so weird! I asked Junior if maybe he switched a setting or something when he hooked it back up, and he said it doesn't have setting. Then I got to thinking that maybe since the fridge is not level, it only fills the tray to a certain point, but that wouldn't make them hollow, would it?

What do you think?

Do You Know What's Nice?

Not having to bomb for bugs.

Junior and I are seasoned renters. In the 14 years we have been married, we have lived in several rental places. Most of the time, within a few days of moving, we find out that the new place is infested with creepy crawlies. It happened with the apartment, and with several places before that.

It's been a month since we have moved in here, and I have only seen one spider. Thankfully, I haven't seen any roaches. Those are the worst! One time, I made Junior move us out after two weeks because the bugs were so bad. I was afraid to turn the lights off at night and go to sleep. The landlord, of course, wouldn't do a thing about it, so we left. Thankfully, we hadn't signed a lease, so we didn't owe them any money.

It's so nice living in a pretty, clean house.


We love cheese.

That's a funny statement to make, I know, but it's the truth. I love any white cheese, especially mozzarella. In fact, it is one of the things I can not keep in the house, because I will eat it all. It's in the same category as chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter ice cream; I only buy it on special occasions.

Junior is a huge Cheddar fan. Sharp, extra sharp, mild, it doesn't matter. He loves them all. I can buy a one pound block when I grocery shop, and it will be gone in a day or two. This love of cheddar cheese led me to look into places we could go where he could enjoy the best cheddar in the world. I did not know it, but staying in London Hotels puts us close to the perfect place to sample some of the best cheddar in the world, Somerset, England.

I think Junior would enjoy that more than a week of fishing!

The Girl's Room ~ Part One

If you read my post yesterday, you'll remember I mentioned the circle stickers on the walls in my girls room. The above picture shows what they look like right now. I really like them, but I think I might need to get another package. I want to put some a little lower, and also on the walls below. The girls have so much stuff, and right now it is boxed up and piled along the wall. I don't know what else to do with it. I am hoping to get a few of them into their closet, but first I have to rearrange their clothes. As mush as we are settled into this new place, I still feel like I have so much to do!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Finished The Mirror

You can see the before picture here.

It doesn't really look that much different, just a little less shiny. I hung it back in the girls room, and it looks really good with all the other brown.

I will try and get a picture of their room posted a little later. I have been doing a bunch of posts today, and right now my brain is fried.

I think I might go take a bath and relax for a little while...

New York, New York

Have you ever taken a walking tour?

I have been reading about these, and I am liking what I have discovered. Basically, you meet up with a guide, and together you walk around a major city, taking in the sites. From what I understand, these are one on one tours, so you are not required to keep up with a group. If you want to stop and have lunch at a little cafe you just passed, you can. If you want to take 20 pictures in front of a beautiful church or garden, you can. If you want to skip something that doesn't interest you, you can. In fact, you can do just about whatever you want to. These tours start outside of New York Hotels, or San Fransisco Hotels, and they are a great way to discover a city. I wouldn't mind doing a walking tour of New York the next time I am visiting up there. I have been in the city so many times, especially around Christmas time, but I always feel like there is so much more to the city that I have yet to discover.

And I want to discover it at my own pace.

Facebook Is Messing With Me

Today I got an email from Facebook. It said I had a friend request. I clicked on the link, and it took me to my profile.

The old profile that Facebook denied me access to in December. All of a sudden I had access. I was excited! I could finally delete some of the pages I joined, and join them with my new profile I had to set up because I couldn't get on the other one, the one I suddenly had access to today.

Did you follow that?

I updated my status, checked on my pets in Happy Pets, and then clicked on a link to something else...I don't remember what...and all of a sudden it asked me to login.

Hmmm....I tried logging in with the old info...and it took me to a different profile. You see, back in December, I tried logging in, and it wouldn't go. Somehow, I ended up creating another account with that email address, and that is where I am being directed now.

That is not where I want to be.

I tried going back to the email they sent me the friend request in, and going in that way, but it asks me to log in now. This is so weird!

I think Facebook is just trying to mess with my mind...and it is working!

Guessing Game

Mariuca is giving away entrecard credits, and it is really easy to get in on the fun.

Recently, entrecard announced that members couldn't have more than 100,000 credits in their accounts. Apparently, Mariuca has more than that, and decided that hosting a contest was a great way to get rid of those extra credits. To enter, all you have to do is guess how many credits she has in her account. You get three guesses, and as a hint, she let us know that those guesses should be within the 100,000 to 150,000 range.

So, without further ado, my guesses are:


I am hoping to win one of these three prizes:

1st Prize 25,000 EC credits
2nd Prize: 15,000 EC credits
3rd Prize: 10,000 EC credits

If you want to enter, go here and give your best guess. Contest ends March 20, so get on over there and join the fun!

When In Rome...

I have a big anniversary coming up this year. In June, Junior and I will be married for fifteen years. Some days it feels like we met yesterday, and some days it feels like we have been married forever. Today is one of those forever days.

I think it might be time for us to take a vacation, just the two of us. We have never been anywhere alone, except for our honeymoon. I would love to check out some Rome hotels for a romantic Italian getaway, but I am clueless about travel. Luckily I read an article that contained a bunch of tips to make an Italian getaway not only easy to plan, but affordable as well. There best tip seems to be booking early, and I am guessing that three months in advance isn't early enough to get a great deal on an awesome hotel room. Besides, I am afraid to fly. This means we would have to go somewhere we can drive to, so I was thinking of maybe booking a room in the hotel where we stayed on our wedding night. The problem there is that the hotel is no longer in business. It is now an apartment complex.

Maybe I'll just ship the kids to my mom's for the night, and Junior and I can enjoy some alone time. It's been a while since we have had some of that, too.

Etsy Elephant...Or Is It?

I love etsy. This is no surprise to you all, my loyal readers. My favorite things to search for are elephants and jewelry.

While searching for elephants today, I came across this one. It's cute...but it's also not handmade. I know this because Junior bought me the same elephant at walmart for about $75. It comes painted, exactly like the picture here shows. The only thing this seller did was attach a ribbon to the back so she could call it a hair bow holder.

And she's selling it for $5, with $2.50 shipping.

I thought the whole point of etsy was that it was all handmade stuff?

Coloring Contest

Brandi's school had a coloring contest, and here she is proudly showing off her entry.

I would think that in second grade they had better things to do, but whatever.

I am just happy that she is loving school right now.

Backpacking Around Europe?

How many of you dreamed of traveling the world after high school? You see it in lots of movies and television shows, where the lead character will put off college for a year or two so they can backpack around the world. My question is, does anyone actually do this?

I ask because I wonder what the experience must be like. Staying in far away places must be so exciting, where you can learn the culture and language of other people. It's probably how foreigners feel when they come to the United States and stay in fancy New York Hotels. I would love to experience the cuisine of different countries. I watch enough Food Network to know that there are some interesting culinary practices around the world.

I guess the big question is whether or not I have the courage to get on the plane and take that first step. Because let's face it, I am not the backpacking type.


Last weekend, I finally got frustrated enough and unpacked the girls room myself. We've been in this place for a month now, and they were still living with everything in boxes, and their room was a mess. I had warned them that if I had to unpack their stuff, I would throw stuff away as I went. You see, they packed their room at the apartment themselves, and took everything, and I mean everything.

Four garbage bags later, their room looks great. When we first moved, I let them decide what color they wanted to accent their room with, and they decided on brown and pink. They found these really cute peel and stick decorations for the walls, and they were perfect since we are not allowed to paint.

I also decided to paint their shelves and things to match their room, which will be quite time consuming. This mirror used to hang in the hallway at the apartment, but there is no hallway here, so Kasi asked if she could have it in her room, since her dresser doesn't have a mirror. It's an old, antique-y looking thing, and it is gold. I want to paint it brown to match her room, but I am not looking forward to it. There are so many little curvy is going to take me forever!

I also want to paint this little shelf brown, with pink hearts. I am not looking forward to painting the spindle thingys, but I am sure it will come out great when it's done. I bought this shelf when Kasi was about a year old, and it has always hung in her bedroom. I wish she would have stayed with the pastel color palate, but I guess a part of growing up is that her tastes will change. At least she didn't want her room black like mine was when I lived at home.

And FYI, my black room was awesome. White walls and everything else was black. My mom decorated it for me for my birthday, and then sold the house a few months later.

I loved it while it lasted, though.

Date Night

Have you guys seen the trailer for this movie? If not, you can check it out here. Basically, Steve Carell and Tine Fey play a boring couple, who decide to have a date night. They can't get a table at a ritzy restaurant, so they pretend to be another couple who didn't show up for their reservation. Of course, this couple is into all kinds of crazy stuff, and the bad guys show up at the restaurant for a little payback.

I have got to say, this movie looks so funny! I love Steve Carell movies (but not The Office...go figure) and Tina Fey is a hoot. This is one flick I definitely want to see in the theater.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Postcards And Giveaways

I have seen a ton of giveaways going on these days on people's blogs! I really should start entering them, because I have won a few things in my life. I get discouraged, though, when there are already hundreds of people entered. How do these blogs get so many people to enter? I have tried doing giveaways myself, but they never turn out well. I usually have three people enter, and it's just not fun that way.

The most recent giveaway I have seen is for postcards. I wanted to enter, but one of the requirements was that you had to explain what you would use the postcards for. This stumped me. All I could think of was Christmas cards, but it is only March. I don't need save the date postcards just yet. The girls have a way to go before they will be getting married. Then I was thinking of maybe using them for some kind of promotional thing for my blogs, but what? Could I use them as over sized business cards? Is that a little tacky? Or really tacky? Or maybe I should make them into birthday party invitations, but do I really need 100 invites to a party? Maybe I could make them generic, so I can use them for all the kids?

What would you use postcards for?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brandi's Pony Bank

Brandi got this cute little back for her birthday. It came with a few paint colors, but since we were planning the move back then, I had her put it up. While unpacking a couple of weeks ago, she found it, and was really excited to be able to paint it. I think it looks great. She has two other little figurines that need to be painted, too, but she is saving those for a rainy day.

Maybe when that rainy day comes I can paint with her. It's been a while since I have done anything creative...

Planning A Move?

Are you planning on moving a long distance? Many of my old friends from New York are thinking of making the move down south, hoping to get away from a higher cost of living. When I moved to South Carolina, I was young. I didn't have very many possessions, so I loaded what little I had in my brothers car, and off we went. I would hate to think about moving all my things now. We recently moved across town, and it took us a week, and many, many truck loads to get our stuff to the new place.

If you are planning a big move, consider using U-Pack instead of truck rentals. With U-Pack, you only pay for the truck space that you use, and a driver drives the truck for you. This is a blessing, because it means that you can relax in your own vehicle, while someone else worries about your load. I know from experience that the trip from New York to South Carolina can take over 12 hours, and that is while sticking to the high end of the speed limit.

The best part about U-Pack is that they are comparable price wise to truck rentals, but with them, gas, taxes, and insurance are included in the price, so there are no surprises. So when you decide to move, let U-Pack move you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

We Saved Money!

For the first time since we have been married, Junior and I have set a monthly budget for ourselves. We used a good bit of our tax money to pay off some loans, our van, and some other things. I wanted to get rid of as many monthly expenses as we could, so that we could afford to put more money towards rent, therefor allowing us to find a better place to live. As most of you know, we moved a few weeks ago into a cute little double wide trailer, which I love. It has three bedrooms and two full baths, and is perfect for my little family.

One of the monthly expenses we got rid of was our auto insurance payment. We were paying about $55 a month, which came out to about $660 a year. That's a good chuck of cash. Of course, if we paid for 6 months or a year at a time it would have been cheaper, but we never had the money to do that.

Until this year. Junior went in with $600, hoping he could get a deal for paying for a full year. Our hope was that we would save at least $60. I do not remember who we had our policy with last year, but Progressive beat their price for a full years coverage. When all was said and done, Junior qualified for a bunch of discounts, and he was able to get a years coverage for less than $350. I couldn't believe it! He saved over $300 by paying up front for the entire year! How crazy is that?

All I can say is that every year when we get our tax refund, we are going to pay for a years worth of auto insurance. We would be crazy not to.

Spiral Earrings

I wore these earrings today. I bought them on etsy from DesignsByLorelei. They only cost me $4, and I really like them.

What do you think?

I ask because when we were coming out of Walmart before, Ryan noticed them, and told me they were "butt ugly". I thought he was kidding, but he said he was serious. He really thinks they are ugly.

That is why I need you opinion. And be honest. I really don't want to walk around wearing ugly earrings, especially because I think they are cute.

Ryan Bought A Laptop

A couple of weeks ago we bought Ryan a laptop. Well, I say we, but he saved up his own money and paid for half of it, and the rest was his birthday gift from us. We bought it at Best Buy, after I did a lot of checking online to see who had the best deal. You would think that while doing my research it would have occurred to me to look for coupons I could use, but it never did. After all the times I have written about how cheap I am, and how much I love using coupons, I totally flaked out on finding one this time. Let's just say it was a blond moment.

Of course, I found a bunch of Best Buy Coupons after the fact. That's just the way my life goes. I always find a better deal after the fact. But from now on, I am going to try and remember to find coupons for everything I buy, not just my groceries. I think that was my problem. It didn't register with me that all kinds of stores use coupons, not just grocery stores.

Ryan loves his laptop, though, which is the important thing. He even lets me borrow it sometimes. Of course, I usually have to beg a little bit first.

Art Show

Brandi had a performance at school last night, and before it started the parents were invited to the school's "art show". Brandi was so excited to show us the picture she painted! She told us she was the only one to paint bushes with her flowers. I think she did a terrific job! Her performance was pretty cute, too!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Love Etsy!

A couple of weeks ago I splurged a little and ordered a few elephants off of etsy. I also ordered a couple of pairs of earrings. The ones that I am wearing in that picture over there are my favorites. They are made with silver wire, and it's all squiggly at the top, then it has two black beads at the bottom. They hang pretty low, which I really like. Sure, they get stuck on my shirt every once in a while, but that's the price we girls pay, right?

The one thing that all these things that I ordered have in common is that there were business cards inside of each package. There was such a variety of business card designs, with some even being magnetic. (I know these are just regular business cards stuck on magnets) I consider myself pretty crafty, but not enough where I would sell what I make. There have been a couple of times where I have tried to make a buck or two, but nothing ever comes of it. I never had business cards made, and maybe that would have helped me get my name out there. Who knows.

I guess I will just continue to give away my creations, and let the people I love enjoy them.


My girls.

So beautiful.

Yes, I may be biases, but it is what it is.

It's my right as a parent to think my girls are the most beautiful girls in the world.

And I do.

Want To Be A Better Parent?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Raising a Father. All opinions are 100% mine.

Two years ago, when Junior started going to therapy, it was hard for him to admit that he needed help. The main reason he began therapy was to work through some issues he had, and still has, with his family, and how he was raised. He also wanted to make sure that he didn't have the same relationship with our kids that he had with his parents. He has always been a good father, but since therapy, he has become an even better one. He is able to see the situations that bring out the best in him, and also the ones where he is not at his best. I am proud to say that he is doing extremely well learning how to handle the not so good situations, and his relationship with our kids is flourishing.

The trailer above showcases a book, written by a father who also saw the flaws in his parenting. He was spending too much time at work, and his relationship with his daughter was suffering. In fact, he realized that he didn't know his daughter at all. His book, Raising a Father, shares his stories of leaving the corporate world, and building a home based business while spending quality time with his daughter. I know that it is not possible for all father's to do that, but I don't think that is the point. I think the inspiration in the book is how this man came to realize the important things in his life, and he took steps to make those things the center of his life.

I think all fathers should read this book. And mothers. I am sure there are working moms out there who want a better relationship, and more time, with their children. No parent is perfect. I am far from it myself. But having a positive relationship with your children should be a priority in life.

I know it is in mine.
Visit my sponsor: Raising a Father

Kasi's Banana Bread

Yesterday, Kasi decided she wanted to make some banana bread. I had very ripe bananas and a recipe, so I told her to go for it.

Things didn't turn out very well. I think she might have forgotten some key ingredients. The recipe called for both baking powder and baking soda, and I think she left one, if not both, of those ingredients out. As you can see, the bread kind of fell in the middle.

It tasted pretty good, though, so that was a plus, but I think next time, I might offer a little help.