Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Aaron turns 2!

His brothers and sister made him a crown!

Yes, I cheated on the cake and I don't feel bad either.

Our big 2 year old!

He LOVES his firefly (and puzzles and everything else that was sent).

Monday, May 06, 2013

Our DVD Books

The other day,  I spent the afternoon reorganizing our dvd collection into these 4 books according to category: Chick Flicks- drama & comedy, Guy Movies- action & adventure, Disney, and kids non-Disney. I had a big dilemma though~ finding a good label for each book. I didn't want anything hanging off or getting snagged and the label maker labels wouldn't stick to the woven covers. 

Saturday, May 04, 2013

This is Me Being Humble

I really wanted to share this post for a long time, but it's been a pretty emotional issue for me. I don't even like to talk about it, but I've also learned so much that I couldn't help but blog about it.

This post is about my vehicle. It's a minivan. From 1997.  

We bought this Plymouth Voyager in 2003, a few months before Dabney was born. We brought each of our babies home from the hospital in this van. It has taken us to North Dakota, Texas, North Carolina, Utah and through all of those states inbetween. 

The odometer shows it.

As the years went by and we needed more leg room for the kids, I figured we needed a bigger car. 
When we hit 150,000 miles, I figured we definitely had car shopping in out near future. 
When we couldn't fit all the Costco groceries and all the family members in the van at the same time, I knew we needed a new car.

 As our babies grew in number, I always figured we'd get a new car because we needed one. Especially when I was pregnant with Aaron. We needed another seat and seatbelt! Hurray! We need another car! PLEASE! Imagine my reaction when my creative and incredibly thrifty husband went to the salvage yard 2 days later and found a 3 seat belt minivan bench seat to replace the 2 seat belt bench seat so we "don't need to buy a new car"! Yeah, imagine my pregnancy hormone induced reaction. Not. Pretty.

Buying a car is not a big deal for most Americans. You pick the car you like, go down to the lot, get a good interest rate, sign the papers and drive away on your merry way. And you pay for it for at least the next 4+ years. And you also pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest. We don't want to go that route. A few years ago, thanks to Dave Ramsey, we decided that we would not be borrowing any more money, and especially not for a car payment. 

With a growing family and 5 kids and one income, saving money is not easy. We have been saving money for a car inconsistently for 3 years. It has been such a long, long road. I've been dreaming of a newer car for much longer than 3 years. 

I've dreamed so much about our future vehicle, that I've even bought a few little accessories for it. My little dream car stock pile is only stash of little clearance items I've picked up along the journey: a new key chain, a down mitten ice scraper,  a coffee sleeve to keep in the car, a packable shopping bag to stow in the back for the shopping trips in the vehicle that will fit my kids and giant packages of toilet paper (not that the bag will fit the toilet paper...), and my favorite scent from Yankee Candle (Ocean Water!) in a car air freshener. Ironically, buying these little treats have kept me motivated to save money for the big purchase. They remind me why our budget has been so tight for so long.  

God has been gracious to us in the last few months and we've been saving money like never before. He's granted us an opportunity to earn money for our savings specifically and we are so grateful. To be completely honest, I don't know when this vehicle will be moving into our garage, but I'm pretty sure it will be quite soon. We're still waiting on God's perfect timing and a perfect deal. In the meantime, we're amazed at God's provision and we're filled with hope.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Vacation Binder and Exercise Log

 If you've spoken to me at all in the last 5 months, chances are that I've mentioned my latest obsession. It's a blog called A Bowl Full of Lemons . This lady is who I want to be when I grow up. She is completely and totally organized and I've been studying her every move and implementing many things in my own home. Something Toni is big on is binders for corralling paper. She has budget binders, planning binders, cleaning binders, etc. This week I instituted my own binders and I wanted to show them to you. The first one is my exercise log. I found a great printable online here and I printed out many copies on cardstock and I've found them to be simple and really all I need.  

Every day I log my miles, calories, time and incline on the treadmill in the basement.

  Here's the sheet where I can see how many days in a row I've exercised. I love checking off the day on this sheet post-workout!

 I hauled out my 1" wide label tape for the binder spine.

I got my binders at Staples (because I had a coupon) and while I was there, I found this handy thing. It's like a wall pocket for binders and office papers, but it's smaller than letter size. It's called a supply organizer.  It fits my mini binder perfectly! My treadmill is set up in the basement next to the heater and all of it's duct work, so the magnetic mount organizer is just what I needed! I throw in my favorite mechanical pencil and I'm good to go. Tracking my cardio consistency is such a motivation for me!

My other new binder is a vacation planner. We'll be traveling this summer and as I was printing out itineraries and flight confirmations, I was trying to find a place for all of my paperwork.

 I made a quick binder cover with old scrapbook paper and brought out my handy label maker again to print out the necessary divider labels. My labels are Transportation, Accommodations, Packing, Itinerary, Calendar, Food and Maps. 

 Now I have one place to stash all of my packing lists, mapquest routes, hotel confirmations, maps, brochures, EVERYTHING!

 I also bought the Vacation Planning Kit for CleanMama on Etsy. I love her printables, but I haven't filled these out yet. That's one fanstastic thing about printables~ once I buy and save them to my computer, I can print these out for as many trips as I'll ever need.

 In the "Maps" divider, I have a clear plastic binder pocket where I keep road maps and brochures.

 Here's the "Calendar" tab. I have a few months included (even before and after vacation) so I can be fully prepared and see more of the big picture of how vacation fits into our life.

 I get excited to add all the goodies like travel details to my vacation binder! Summer just can't get here fast enough.

Overall, I love these binders and how they are working out for me. I'm pretty sure that's the key to organizing well~ finding what works for you and fits into your life.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

My New Charging Station

Here is our old charging station. I bought it quite a few years back and it has definitely seen better times. I don't like it because the cords never stay where they should be, and it's ugly and its in the way all the time.

Here are the end tables that I bought off Craigslist last year. I really love them. They are exactly the right height and style that I wanted.I think they were $45 for the set of 2. The only down side was that it looked like they had been used as coasters for crazy people who had been doing shots of turpentine. There were small circles all over the top where the finish was completely gone.

  I knew they were solid wood and good construction and it wasn't any surprise when my husband brought these home (good husband that he is) and I opened up the first drawer and saw this:

          I refinished the tops last month and the idea for a charging drawer hit me just last week.
I drilled a hole to fit the plugs in the back of the drawer and in the back of the unit itself.

(Note to self: get some drawer liners before you take pictures!)

And there you have it. A spare drawer turned into a designated charging place. Now I know where my Kindle and phone are and still they are out of sight leave my countertops and tabletops clear.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Very Expensive T-Shirt

So, I almost ran a race. An official-type, wear a number, cross an actual finish line race. Almost. I signed up for it back in February. About a week before the race, I found out that it was just not going to work out for me to do the night run in Denver. I picked up my racing stuff (above) in the middle of crazy Metro Denver a few days before in the hopes of selling my packet to someone who didn't sign up before it sold out. I had 3 Craigslist people fall through. 

I won't deny it, I was pretty disappointed. I had been training for this one race and it didn't happen. 

Last week, I did what I didn't want to do and got back on my treadmill. I haven't signed up for any more races (more local this time) but when I do, I'll be ready. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my cool, unearned, very expensive t-shirt.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Banana Splits

Ok, so the stars practically aligned the other day when we just happened to have neopolitan ice cream, cool whip, bananas, and hot fudge in the house all at the same time.

Please forgive the poor lighting~ I really need personal lessons on how to use my camera. Or how to edit pics.

The kids thought this was the best thing ever.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This May Be the Easiest Dinner Ever

Quick recipe for the fastest dinner ever. 
Grab your biggest crockpot. Add a ham bone (you never throw those away, right?) and add split peas according to your family's size and water to cover the peas by at least 1 inch. You may need to add water halfway through the day depending on the heat of your slowcooker.

By the day's end, those peas will be nice and tender and the ham bone will have given your soup tons of flavor and you'll have those delicious bits of ham floating in your soup that my kids practically fight over.

We LOVE this really cheap meal on cold, blustery nights topped with a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Someone had a birthday...

Yep. It happened. I am officially 34. 

Pay no attention to John Adams behind me.

 My kind and sweet husband actually took pictures of me this year! (This is why my birthday even made it to the blogosphere.)

Tim went all out for my birthday~ he took us all out to Carrabba's for lunch and he picked up a strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Strawberry cheesecake was Dabney's idea. And, you guys, he got me the best, prettiest present EVER. I can't wait to show it to you! (It only came this past Saturday.)

 I had a fantabulous birthday. I got to talk to far away family, hug my closest family, eat delicious food, see friends, worship our risen Lord, and feel very loved by my husband and my slew of children who showered me with homemade cards and my very own starter collection of Matchbox cars.

I don't know why people are so down on birthdays. I don't feel any older than 17 (except when Tim works late) and I always feel like my birthday is the best day of the year. Maybe I am just especially blessed.

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