Saturday, December 28, 2013

Money Saving Ideas

Hey there friends!  Have you made any New Years Resolutions yet?  Well, mine is to be better at managing our budget.  A few unexpected bills can really put a damper on things, but I've recently been amazed at how much I am saving just by changing a few things around.  

At the grocery store: 
  • Clipping coupons really helps especially if the store has the product on sale already
  • Looking for buy one get one free sales 
  • Opt for frozen veggies when possible - as long as you know you'll eat them
  • Don't buy more than you really need.  If you don't really think you will use a large quantity of a product before the expiration date, then don't buy it. 
  • Closely examine the price each, or the price per ounce 
Example:  I recently bought dryer sheets.  The name brand was six cents per sheet, the store brand was two cents per sheet.  I was really glad I looked at them closely!
   
Around the house: 
  • Turn off lights in rooms that are not occupied 
  • Use the plastic bags from the grocery store as your garbage bags, and then throw everything in one big bag when you take it out
  • Only use recommended amount of laundry detergent
Example:  The laundry detergent thing sounds funny, but I used to be in a hurry and just pour in however much detergent I thought I needed.  When I started measuring out each cap full instead (at the measuring line), I was amazed at how much longer the bottle of detergent lasted!

Cooking: 
  • Make a recipe your own - I usually use half the sugar called for in most dessert recipes
  • Freeze leftovers 
  • Occasionally substitute black beans in a recipe for meat
  • Use plenty of rice and pasta - they are both very affordable

Example:  I make Rice and Broccoli Cheese Casserole pretty often.  It is affordable, and I just love it!

Out and about: 
  • Drink water at restaurants
  • Parks and libraries are free - and fun!
  • Cruise the thrift stores - they are a great source of clothes and toys

I make sure I don't get too excited about saving though.  I still have to buy groceries that I know we will actually eat, and buy clothes that I know I will actually wear.  Let me know if you have any tips to offer also.  I would love to hear them!     


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Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas everyone!  Did you know that the Christmas season actually goes on into the first week of January?  I learned that from attending a Lutheran church in which we would sing Joy to the World on the Sunday after Christmas.  Well, here is how our season is going...

Lance's Santa picture
(over at the neighbors yard)

Christmas shopping
  
Matt's parents and my mom came over on the Saturday before Christmas.  We had so much stuff in the front yard, it looked like we were having a yard sale.  Someone actually slowed down to look when they drove by!

Matt's mom found a slide that someone threw out, and the men built a platform for it.

Lance and I watched It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.

Then we went over to my brother's house on Christmas day.
Hope you all enjoy the rest of the season!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Remembering the few at Christmastime

Many people will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow.  There will be hymns to be sung, prayers to be said, embraces to be held, casseroles to be eaten, and many presents to be opened.  However the day won't be so merry and bright for a few, and for those I want to stop and remember. 

Even on Christmas day, a few must make the world continue to run.  There are streets that need policed, fires to be put out, offices and centers to be run, phones to be answered, and front desks to be manned (hey, Aunt B.!).  

Even among the revelers on Christmas day there are those who still face loss on a daily basis.  They wonder with a touch of justified bitterness how the world can still go on without their lost loved ones. 

Let's all say a prayer for these folks.  Christmastime isn't easy for a few, but we can let then know that they are not forgotten.   

  

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Good News!

Hey there everyone!  Matt and I are excited to announce that we are going to have another baby...yeah!  We feel so happy and blessed!  I'll know more exact dates at my next visit.  I am probably due in August. It is so fun to think that Lance is going to have a baby brother or sister.

We are going to try to be a little more easy going this time and not expect everything to be perfect.  I was such a nervous wreck when we first had Lance, that I probably made things harder for us than they should have been.

Thankfully I have only had just a few days of being really sick.  Lots of rest and Ginger Ale seemed to help a lot.  I should have known something was up when I just wanted to lay in bed the past few Sundays...here is a picture of Lance and I reading our books in bed...

    
Hope to talk to you soon!

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Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Christmas Parade


Hey y'all, sorry about the blog post overload today.  I'm just having so much fun with this new photo collage maker by Fotor.  Anyway, me and my good friend Elizabeth went to our local Christmas Parade this past Saturday.  I took a few pictures while I could still feel my fingers.  It was about fifty degrees, and we were out there for about two hours.  It was so much fun though!  

The highlight of the entire event was our newest Honorary member of the Covington Police Department, Officer Morgan Steward.  The five year old sweet baby led the parade.  Everyone was cheering for him...it was just tear-jerkingly cute!!

Hope you all have a great rest of the week! 
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"Raking" the fall leaves

I put raking in quotation marks in the title as a joke...sort of like the Opera "Singer" in the movie Citizen Kane...ha!  Lance and I did some yard work together last week.  A toddler doesn't yet get the concept of raking them into one area.  They think the leaves should be raked and the re-scattered...which is actually a lot more fun!  And, as a blogger, I was thinking this would make for a cute post.  



Sometimes when I'm taking pictures, I'll ask Lance to come give mama kisses...


We didn't accomplish much other than being silly and taking cute pictures!  Do any of you have "help" around the house or yard?


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A Fun Day at Lake Varner



OK, I've been playing around with a free online photo collage called Fotor Photo.  I'm always so envious of people who can put those together, so I thought I'd give it a try.  It was pretty easy.  Of course this is coming from someone who still has trouble using their new smart phone.  Ha!

Lance and I went to Lake Varner a few weeks ago.  It was a cold Saturday, and we had the whole place to ourselves.  I even got to read a book for a little while as Lance played.  Here is another one of Lance as we walked down to the lake...

  
Don't worry, I kept a really close eye on him.  As we got down there, we realized we didn't have the whole place to ourselves.  There were a few fishermen.  I had to get Lance back over to the park area so he didn't scare all the fish away.  It was a really fun day.  We will probably be going back there soon...maybe to even have a picnic...well, maybe when the weather gets a little  nicer.  : )


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Friday, December 6, 2013

A Porterdale Christmas

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Faith Friday to bring you...A Porterdale Christmas!  Last night Lance and I went on an unexpected adventure into Porterdale which is a small town that is just a few miles away.  I was able to take a few pictures as we enjoyed the Holiday festivities.  


We stopped off at a BBQ place and had dinner.  I was happy that they  had Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer playing on a big screen TV.  It kept Lance entertained for a little while.

 
Then we strolled over to a large brick stadium that is currently being remodeled.  It actually doesn't even have a roof on it right now.  They had some local folks showing off their musical talents.

 


Hope you all have a good weekend.  Talk to you soon!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rainy Day Fun

Lance and I have adjusted well to our new morning schedule.  The only real challenge now is figuring out what to do the rest of the day.  We've had some rain this week which I really am happy about.  Here is a picture of Lance playing around in the driveway...


Later that afternoon, we went inside and watched movies.  Lance made this cute little Cookie Train...


I'm so thankful for my healthy baby boy!  Whatever the weather wants to do, we'll find a way to have fun.  : )

 

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Rainy and Gray Georgia Day

Hey there friends!  The temperature here in Georgia is fifty three degrees today, and it is rainy and gray.  Even though it sounds a little strange, I really like weather like this.  I hope you all have a great week!





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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving in Virginia

Our family spent Thanksgiving in Virginia this year.  Matt's parents drove Lance up there on Tuesday, and then Matt and I flew up there on Thursday.  I was a little worried because I usually don't travel well, and I rarely ever travel around the holidays.  

We flew from Atlanta to Charlotte, NC, and then on to Charlottesville, VA.  The Atlanta flight was delayed, so Matt and I had to run (yes, run) to our connecting gate.  It turned out that boarding that plane took place outside instead of walking through the tunnel.  I recognized the rare opportunity, and even though there were people waiting behind us, I told Matt to look "presidential" as I quickly snapped this first picture...



It was nice being out in the country in Virginia, and getting to see Matt's side of the family.  We enjoyed taking walks up to the barn to feed the cats... although Lance preferred to ride on daddy, and then when we got there he wanted to eat the cat food himself...



In an effort to not watch too much TV, we bellied up to the ping-pong table... Matt had a bit of a handicap on his side of the table...




The house we were staying at was three stories.  My calve muscles in my legs constantly reminded me of how forgetful I am.  It isn't a big deal if you have a small one story house and forget something on the other end... ha!  I took this cute picture of Matt giving Lance belly-button time when he woke up from a nap...



Lastly, we hit a lot of traffic when we got back to Hot-Lanta (Atlanta).  We finally succumbed to letting Lance watch the portable DVD player...

  
I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.  We're a little tired, but looking forward to a good week ahead. 



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy Thanksgiving

Hey there folks!  I just wanted to say hello and tell everyone a that I hope you have a Happy, Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!  Some of the many things I'm thankful for this year...

my salvation

my healthy family

being able to stay home with Lance

chocolate milk

Kroger having milk on sale

my baby who loves to go to Kroger and ride around in his race-car


my sweet hubby who makes homemade potato and kale soup

Lance being able to go to Pre-K for free

driving down the road, making a turn and hearing a dozen toys ratteling around in the back floor-board

my baby who is a much, much better traveler than I am!


I hope you all have a great one.  Talk to you next week!


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Saturday, November 23, 2013

I went to the library to read my own book...

OK, I've had some strange blog post titles, but that one takes the cake.  Today is Saturday, and after a challenging, yet really good week, I had a hard time pulling myself away from the warm covers of my bed this morning.  I usually reserve Saturday mornings for myself anyway since I don't get a lot of help during the week.  Sometimes I get up early and run in a local road race, sometimes I just go into town and go jogging and then out to breakfast. 

This morning, with a late start, I skipped exercise alltogether and went straight to breakfast, a yard sale, and now the library.  I sometimes have some interesting conversations with the folks at breakfast.  My family and friends can sometimes be a little strange, which I think is a good thing!  Novels that fly off the shelves and hit the top ten lists usually aren't made up of sunshine and rainbows.  To that end, you don't see people huddled together and whispering softly to talk about how so-and-so is such an upstanding citizen. 

Even with an occasional nugget of gossip my mind will wander off in dark and creppy directions.  Forget the facts.  I could really care less what the neighbor down the street is doing.  I am not the judge or the jury, and I never will be (and I certainly don't talk about people behind their backs).  What I'm concerned with is what the neighbor could be doing.  What is the one small idea that can make me a good writer one day?  What is it that will sell books or short stories?

So, I came up here to the library, logged into my Google account for G-Mail and Google Drive, and started re-reading a book/short story that I had started writing last year.  I was mesmerized.  I was teary-eyed.  I was thinking, 'I really need to get back to writing!'  Then I realized that I'm in a library surrounded by books...oh, the irony...I guess you have to read quite a bit before you ever give writing a shot.  It may come to fruition, it may not.  Maybe I'm too hyped up on sweet tea and being overly optimistic.  We'll shall see!  This new writing outlet will at least give me something to look forward to.           

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Faith Friday - The Cross We Bear

The other day I was driving down the road and I noticed the car following close behind me had a small cross dangling from the rear-view mirror.  I was thinking, 'if you want to make a difference in the world, maybe you should start by getting off my bumper!'



Maybe the driver was a Christian with impolite driving skills, maybe they were some crazy activist who wanted to bring back the most cruel, and imhumane form of capital punishment, I don't know.  With the former option being the most likely, we should all be more mindful of the cross we bear.  

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lunch with Lance and Festival of Trees

Today I got to have lunch with Lance at his school.  Even though I still have some jaw pain, I was still able to scarf down both of our helpings of turkey and dressing...ha!  Lance didn't eat any of his meal, but he did drink his milk.  It was really nice to be in his room and just casually talk with his teacher and just visit.  Lance and I were both so excited, but I was able to take a few quick pictures...



When we got home, I was able to get Lance to wear his little Indian feathered hat while I took a few more pictures...



This evening we drove back into town to go to a Festival of Trees.  We had fun for a little while, but Lance was meeting his expiration date and we had to get out of there...unfortunately that was before the lights show even started...oh well!




Lance crashing someone's family photo...


I'm starting to feel like we're one of those "good on paper" families....with all our cute little photos.  The pictures don't even begin to explain how difficult things can be sometimes.  I've been reminded that the threes are much worse than the twos and it doesn't last forever...here's to hoping. 


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our trip to Athens...Georgia part 2

As the previous post stated, we were having lots of fun exploring Athens, Georgia.  Although we had quite a ways to walk, we finally made ...