Friday, January 29, 2010

Make your home a haven: Time to plan

I have to plan out everything. We have pretty crazy schedules.

**First I always look at our family calendar. I keep everything on it. What nights Mike Refs, Courtney's volleyball practices and tournaments, Alyssa's game nights at college, Ryans sports and when things are due since he is a senior. Just anything.

**After I look at the calendar I can make my meal plan for the week. I try to have things that are in the crock pot when we are going to have different dinner schedules. Having a meal plan helps me so much when I come home from preschool exhausted. I don't have to give any thought to dinner. I just have to have the energy to make it.

**Our grocery adds usually come out on Wednesday's so I start on Wednesday matching coupons and sale adds and finish up on Thursdays. Then I usually go to the store on Fridays. We only have classes in the morning so that leaves me the afternoons to get errands done while the kids are in school.

**Laundry I seem to always do on Saturday and Wednesday or Thursday. That just seems to be when someone needs something. And the loads are large ones so I don't feel like I am wasting energy doing a tiny load.

**Dusting, moping and general cleaning I usually do also on Fridays or Saturdays. It depends what our weekends look like. Every week I try to clean one drawer or cabinet. It just makes me feel better.

**That is what works for me. I really think the key is just being organized. Of course things change with the seasons also. I just love to be outside in the spring and summer. Maybe the key really is being organized and flexible.

Happy Friday


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just Thursday

Where I would like to be: At the beach with my family. I am tired of the cold.
What I hear: Ryan fixing a burrito because he does not want what we are having for dinner.
What things are on my mind right now: Meeting Alyssa's boyfriend tomorrow; Ryan and college, Courtney and the cold and cough she has.
How was my day at preschool: Loud but fun. It was pajama day. Love it, so comfortable
What's the weather here: Cold and is suppose to snow again :(
What I am wondering right now: What time Mike will be home from refing basketball
What my devotion was about today: God's faithfullness
What I did when I got home from work: Cleaned the bathrooms. yuck

What I am greatfull for: My cozy home.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making the Ordinary Special in Our Home

Today I was encouraged to make an ordinary day special in some way. There are so many things you could do to make this happen. Bake cookies for or with someone, visit a friend you have not for a while, play with your kids a little longer today. I chose to write each of my kids a note. Well, Ryan and Courtney I wrote a note. Alyssa I e-mailed since she is so far away. I then turned back their beds for them and put the notes on their pillows. Courtney of course came out with a big smile and sat down by me. Her way of saying thanks mom and Ryan came and gave me a big hug and said I love you to mom. Alyssa had a game tonight and she has a paper due so I am not sure when she will see her e-mail but I know her she will let me know when she sees it. I hope that will be a special memory for my kids. It was for me. The thank you and that smile brought tears to my eyes. So what could you do to make the day special for someone. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentine Tree

Courtney and I did the Valentine tree. I know the picture is not very good, sorry. We made hearts out of paper, some we decorated with glitter. It looks pretty cute. It is so nice to have a craft to do with just her. It did not cost much money. I had all the paper and glitter and the lights were $1.00 after Christmas. Hope you had a great Tuesday.


Monday, January 25, 2010

What a Sunday Morning

That is what we woke up to Sunday morning about 6:30 a.m. My husband thought he saw head lights out by our sons car so he peeked out the window. Then he saw someone reaching out their car window to write with chalk on Ryans window. We went out to see what they wrote and this is what they actually did. I was so upset. Why would anyone do that? So, of course we call the police and they take a report. After the police leave we notice the same car keeps driving by the house so we keep a watch and tell the police they keep driving by Ryan's car. At this point we are thinking maybe they are going to steel Ryans stereo or maybe his subs. All stuff he bought with his summer job money. The police proceed to drive and look for the car but I guess they can't find it. So here comes the car again but this time Ryan and Mike get the tag number, make and model and we turn it into the police. The police say they know who it is. OK, well. Ryan and Mike are outside later cleaning up the mess and putting a bag on the window and the policeman drives up and talks to them a bit. He kind of suggest Ryan is hiding something from us. So of course we talk to Ryan and tell him if there is any thing he needs to come clean with do it now. He says no. I was a little upset with the policeman. It was our sons car that had the damage done and now it is also his fault that it happen. That does not make since. Mike suggested to the policeman to call and ask the Chief of Police here in town what kind of boy our son is because our sons are best friends. We all know teenagers can get themselves into trouble but we don't think Ryan had any thing to do with this. We are definitely parents who know our kids are not perfect. Boy if they were it would make this parent job so much easier. We think it was a random act. Ryan has no idea who they are when he saw them and they look like boys who are out of high school. It is just so hard to believe that people would do this. I can not even imagine doing this to someone and it makes me so upset with the boys that did it. Yes it is just a car and it will be fixed this week but Mike, Ryan and I have to pay for it now. It is hard enough to stay on track and reach your money goals without the help of senseless acts. I am upset with the boys who did it but I will put that anger into prayer where it should be. I think these young men need it more than ever.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Make Your Home A Haven: Morning Routine

I was reading a blog I really like, it is She was talking about having a morning routine. Yes my children are older 20, and away at college, 17 a senior in high school and 13 and in middle school. But since my children were born I have always had a morning routine. I know it is sometimes hard to get out of bed and get your day started when you were up most the night with a baby or sick child. But, it is so important to keep on a routine. It makes for a more peaceful and enjoyable morning. My kids are still kind of on a routine. They get up the same time everyday. They know when they wake I will be up and ready for our day. Alyssa always knows she can call bright and early because I will be up. Our days usually go a little like this:

4:45 ~ wake; devotions

5:15 ~ check e-mail; look at favorite blogs; start laundry

5:45 ~ make bed; pick up house

6:00 ~ shower ready for work

6:30 ~ fix breakfast for Courtney and Ryan

6:45 ~ Wake Courtney; Ryan up on own

7:20 ~ Kids off to school

7:20 ~ Finish picking up house; clean the kitchen

7:45 ~ I walk to work

That is pretty much it. No matter what age your children are it is nice to have a routine. It makes mornings run so much nicer. So that is one thing I do to keep our home running smoothly.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alyssa and College

Alyssa is taking a Sociology course at school called Death and Dying. She has to write her own obituary. Can you imagine writing your own obituary? She says she dies tomorrow, January 21st. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow and you had to write your own obituary would you be ready? I don't think we ever accomplish everything we would like to in life but are you proud of the accomplishments you have made? How will people remember you? Are you right with the Lord? Are you proud and more important is the Lord proud of the way you have lived your life. We never know what life has in store for us and we should try to treat everyday like it were our last. Something to think about. Maybe writing your own obituary is an eye opener. Alyssa really got me thinking.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ryan and Homecoming

Ryan comes home from school today has a short conversation with me and then heads downstairs to the man cave. I am on the phone with a friend when he yells oh yea mom I am a Homecoming candidate. I said "Really that is so cool are you so excited?" He says yea I guess. I asked him when homecoming was so we could get him a new shirt to go with his black pants and of course he does not know. Boys, those things just are not important to them. I think it is wonderful he is up. I think it says he is friendly and treats people with respect. I don't think you are nominated for something like this if you are not respected by your peers. He won his freshman year also. Weather he wins the title or not I think it is an honor for him to be nominated. I am very proud of the young man he is turning out to be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nice Long Weekend Rambling

First off I apologize for the way the blog is written today. For the life of me I could not get it to do new paragraphs.
I found another huge deal. I bought 15 packages of cheese. Hy-Vee had cheese on sale 5 for $6.00. Then they would give you $5.00 back so with tax the cheese only cost $1.43. I paid $2.86 for 10 packages of cheese an on the other 5 I used one of the $5.00 coupons. We go through a lot of cheese in our house so this was such a great find. I stuck it all in the freezer so it will be there whenever I need it. You gotta love it.
Today we donated money to Haiti through the 90999 text method. It was not a lot but I know anything can help. I hope you were able to do something weather it is the gift of money, items or prayers.
Courtney had a volleyball tournament this last Saturday again. She did such a wonderful job. The team took 2nd again. In one match Courtney had 9 serves all in a row. That was huge and it help them win and put them in first place going into tournament play. The girls on the team are great girls and she has such a good time with them.
I actually sat down and watch Oprah today and WOW. It was all about texting and talking on your cell phone while driving. I cried when I saw some of the stories. I am so guilty of doing that and I need to put a stop to it. You can go to and take the pledge for the no phone zone in your car while driving. It could be a life saving thing.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend. We did.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Ok, So I know a lot of people are eating from the pantry in January. But for us we do that in December. It is kind of out with the old in December and in with the new in January for us. Also eating from the pantry in December really helps us with the extra expenses in the month. No matter how well I plan other things always come up. There were some really great things on sale and with my coupons I was able to get get a lot of great deals. I was out of everything from flour to meat. Some of the great deals were chicken for $1.68 a pound, hamburger for .99 a pound, 5# bag of potatoes for .79. I also bought fruit but forgot to put it in the picture. I went to Sam's Club I needed flour along with a few other things. I always get flour in a 25# bag for $6.00. I then bag it up and stick it in the freezer. I know I bake a lot and that might not work out for you if you don't but what a great price. I was able to buy one get one free on laundry soap and fabric softener. I bought Alyssa a few things to take back to her apartment with her next time she comes home. I did use this weeks grocery allowance and next weeks but the sales were just to good to pass up when we needed everything. Now I need to finish baking cookies for Courtney's volleyball tournament tomorrow since I have ingredients to do so. Hope you can finds a few great bargains. It is just a thrill when you do.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why me?


Well yesterday I had one of those, WHY ME?, days. With Alyssa's car needing to be fixed so she could get back to school. I was asking that question. WHY ME? Why does this stuff always happen to me, (actually us). Well her car was done by 8:30 a.m. but the mechanic said the tread was coming off one of her tires and it needed replaced. He proceeded to tell me he did not have one so he could not help out with that. I hurried and called around and finally found the size she needed on my last call to a mechanic in town. You have to remember we live in a small town so there are not a lot of choices. All the mechanics were saying, "Sorry I don't have it in stock but I can get it by Thursday". Well that was not working out since she had to leave to get back to school today. So again I was asking WHY ME? Why does this stuff always happen when we can't afford it or have the time to deal with it? Then later in my day I had one of my preschool parents tell us about a tragedy in their family they are going through right now and she said at first we were asking WHY ME? Why is this happening to me? Then she proceeded to say we thought about it and thought Why not me? What makes me so special that things can't happen to me? So, why not me? That really got me thinking Why not me? I am not any more special than any one else in this world. Maybe my mechanic really needed the money and I just helped him out. Or the mechanic I just bought the tire from maybe he really needed that $72.00. Maybe you are asking that question in your life about something you are going through. Car troubles is nothing compared to what some people are going through but at the time you go through it, it feels like the weight of the world. Maybe you are going through cancer, have lost a loved one, have money trouble, what ever it is do you ask the question, WHY ME? Well, Why not you? The young mom of a preschooler will never really know how much she really got me thinking. I hope it does you also.


Monday, January 11, 2010


Well it was back to school and work after having a few snow days. We had Thursday and Friday off so it made for a nice, long, wonderful weekend. I love to stay home with the family. We don't get to all be home to often together any more with Alyssa away at college. But back to the real world we all went today. Mike just did not have time to change the oil in Alyssa's car before she goes back to school tomorrow. Between working his regular job, referring, the weather, a few kid activities and actually spending a little time with the family he did not have time to get it squeezed in. So he told me to call around town and find out how much an oil change is and have it done. So I did, a whopping $30.00 to have her oil changed. That is just crazy. I thought Mike was going to hit the fan but told me to go ahead we just don't have a choice. So Alyssa took her car and had the oil done and the mechanic (a man who attends our church and we trust) said she needed an intake manifold gasket. I said OK well what will that cost? He says it is costly about $700.00. Are you kidding me so now the $30.00 oil change is going to total $730.00. Well, she has to go back to school tomorrow can you have it done by then I ask him? He says yes I will stay late and get most of it done so she can have it by lunch. I tell him I will have to call him back I have to call Mike. I call Mike, I tell him the story and he says, "You have got to be kidding me"? Oh he is not happy but said what choice do we have she needs to be safe when she drives to and from Emporia. So her car is at the shop getting fixed. I know I need to be thankful the mechanic caught it and could get it fixed so quickly but that is not one of the things you want to hear on a Monday or really any day of the week. Remember my word this year Believe. Well right now I need to Believe, Believe, Believe the lords timing is perfect.

So on to happier things I started making meal plans for a week at a time. I can not believe how much I love it. I don't have to come home from an exhausting day of preschool and decide what's for dinner. I already have the week planned. Tonight, since it is Monday, we are having meatless Monday. Tonight it is salad, loaded bake potato's and peaches. I will have a little crumbled bacon to put on the potato's but not much so pretty much still meatless. I bought the salad on sale for $1.00. I don't usually buy bag salad but it was on sale at a good price and the potato's I bought on sale a 10 pound bag for $2.00 and the peaches were free. They were given to us this last summer and I canned a bunch of them. So I know this meal is well under $5.00. Can't beat that.

Well I hope you had a marvelous Monday. Mine could have been better but could have always been a lot worse.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lots of Volleyball

Yesterday was a full day of volleyball. We left the house at 6:30 a.m. and returned home about 8:30 p.m. Courtney played 12 games of volleyball which is 6 matches. The team she is on took 2nd place. That is really awesome for their first tournament of the year. We love to watch her play. She is a setter on the team and she did a great job. She was so lucky she did not have to sit at all so she played all 12 games. She said she is a little sore today but off to practice she went. That was where she was off to when I took the above picture. Without the medal of course. She loves it.

I went to Lowes and bought two new Brita pitchers. I found and printed two $5.00 off coupons. The pitchers were $8.00 so after the coupons I spent $3.00 on each pitcher. Pretty good don't you think. Now I need to weed out all those water bottles in the frig. I will keep a few for Mike so he will have them when he refs but for the most part I am done buying water bottles. Trying to do our little part for the environment. I don't know if it will be more economical but I am going to try to look for coupons for the filters and keep the cost down. We will see how it goes. What are you doing to help our environment for your children and grandchildren.


Friday, January 8, 2010

2nd Snow Day

Well you might think this is odd but Courtney and I decided to keep one of our Christmas trees up all year. We chose the one down stairs in the family room because it is a lot smaller. Also, it is not right by the front window where everyone can see it and wonder why those wierd people still have a Christmas tree up. We have themes planned for most of the months. Right now we have snowmen on it. It is pretty cute. Since we were home from school on a snow day we decided to get things made for February. We decorated some simple hearts. It was fun to this with her. We bought some tree lights in all different colors for a $1.00 a box after Christmas. We plan to use red for Valentines Day. I will take a picture of it when we get it together in a week or so. We will see if we can keep up the themes or will it just get to be to much. Maybe I will just get tired of looking at a Christmas tree all year.

It is so very cold here today. Just miserable. It felt like -30 at times today. I am so thankful I have a warm home. Say a prayer for the people who are not as lucky as we are and that they are able to find some where to go while it is so cold outside.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Football Book

Ryan came home the other day with this Panther Football Book. It is really neat. It has all the newspaper articles from the season and all the team stats. Ryans stats were awesome. You know it was a lot of work on the part of his coaches who were the ones to put it together. With Ryan being a Senior I know he will really treasure this book. He had so much fun learning and playing the game. I know he will miss it. Mike and I will sure miss watching him. It is a game that makes me nervous because it is so rough but he really showed me how tough he is. One more semester for him in high school. He is doing so well in school and taking a few college courses also. He is our only boy and we could not be more proud of him and the choices he makes. Such a good kid. As with any parent I could go on and on about our kids. I thank the lord everyday for the 3 wonderful children he has given us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Great Days Back

Today was a great first day back to school for all. At preschool today we played with Insta-Snow. That stuff is pretty fun. The kids loved putting there hands in it and drawing pictures. They could not believe it was cold just like the real stuff. We only had one little one try to taste it. Even after being told a thousand times not to taste it, it will not taste good. Luckily we sit there with them so he did not get to much in there. Bless his heart. We would rather take the little ones outside but this Kansas weather. It is just so cold. Not very fun to play in the snow. Maybe next time we will try giving them their own bowl of real snow. Surely it will last long enough for them to play in it for centers. The kids were all so excited to tell us what toy was their favorite they received. Feels good to be back.

So now I need to get back into the routine of being a working mommy. I got a little spoiled having those 2 weeks off. You would think that as your kids get older it would get easier but that is just not the case. I almost think it was easier when they were small. For dinner tonight I put a Turkey Chowder in the crock pot. I got the recipe from She has some great dinner ideas. I am also hoping to win one of her cookbooks. I bet it has a lot of great ideas in it. You should take a look at it. I thought I should use the turkey up. It has been in the freezer since Thanksgiving but I think I am ready for Turkey again. Thought we would have that and some homemade bread sticks. Those are the kids favorite.

Today, in my spare time I tried to think of a word that would sum up what I want for myself in 2010. I came up with the word Believe. I really need to Believe I can reach my goals, Believe we are raising the kids right, Believe in Gods way even though sometimes I want to go my way. (of course we know he is right). Believe I am making a difference at school when some days I wonder what they got out of today. Believe, Believe, Believe. What would your word be?

Hope you had a great Tuesday.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Productive Monday

Well today was a day I had to get a lot done (or felt like I had to get a lot done. The kids and I go back to school tomorrow. I could always use a few more days. The first thing I accomplished today was I made cute envelopes for my grocery, Wal-Mart and the kids lunch money. Remember I am going to try to use cash for these things. I also made a few for Alyssa to take back to school with her. I just hope she will use them. I got the idea from They turned out so cute. I was planning to show you a picture but my oldest daughter took my camera and has forgotten to give it back. I also made chocolate chip, blueberry, and apple cinnamon muffins for the freezer. We were out of everything. Since I was at it I also decided to make breakfast burritos. I made my meal plan for the week. It was my first time to do this. We will see how it goes. I got the laundry all caught up, cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed the house. Wow, I am wore out. Tonight we are having cornbread and beans. The kids will not like that to much. Well that is all for tonight. Have a great evening with your families.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Fun Few Days

Well yesterday my husband and I got to do something we have not done in about 3 years. We went to the movies. Our sweet son come home one day with a gift certificate to the movies for us. He said, "You guys need to do something together, so here". It was not just a little gift certificate it was a $60.00 gift certificate. WOW huh. So yesterday we went to the Fork and Screen. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is where you get to eat and watch a movie at the same time. We decided on the movie The Blind Side. LOVED IT. It is an awesome, feel good movie. I laughed and cried. We each ordered a flat bread pizza and salad. Man was it good. Well to sum it up we had an amazing time. Just what we needed. Thanks to my wonderful, generous, 17 year old son who saw it in his heart to give up some of his hard earned summer money to his parents.

Today we went to my husbands extended family Christmas. They are wonderful, God fearing, generous, know how to cook, Mennonites. I would guess there were about 50 people there. A lot were missing this time. But there was so much good food and conversation. It was fun. They are such wonderful, simple people. It puts you in your place at times and reminds you what is important. We always learn a lot from them.

Hope you are having a wonderful long weekend. We are.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Goals for the New Year

Goals for the New Year

Can't believe it is 2010. I have been thinking about what kind of goals I would like to set this year. I don't want to set to many that will be to overwhelming and a set up for failure. So, this year I have decided to go with a few financial goals. After talking with Mike I think this is what we have come up with.

1. Pay off our youngest daughters braces.
2. Pay off the Home Depot Credit Card. (Had to buy a new washer and
lawn mower)
3. Start the envelope system for groceries.
4. Only allow $70.00 a week or $280.00 a month on groceries.

Well those are the goals for 2010. The only one I am nervous about is the grocery budget. $70.00 does not seem like enough to feed the 4 of us at home and buy Alyssa food to have at her apartment at school. I will keep you updated on how we are doing. What New Years Goal(s) did you make? I would love to hear them.

Happy New Year!!!!