Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Traditions?

What's your favorite Christmas Tradition(s)? 

I have many traditions that center around Christmas that I love.  I'll just share one for now.  I've always loved watching the Christmas specials on TV.  You know the ones...Frosy, Rudolph, etc.  When my kids were little I bought VHS copies of my favorites.  Every year we make cookies and watch those specials together while eating our warm cookies and drinking a glass of milk.  Now that they are getting older they aren't really into as much.  *Sigh!*  I guess that's what happens when they start to grow up. 

I'd love to hear about your family traditions! 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simply Sunday Check In

We are having internet issues at my house so I haven't been able to check in lately.  We had a wonderful holiday.  Our church served over 400 dinners Thursday.  After that I was able to travel to my aunts house and spend some time with my family.  Some how they talked me into getting up at the crack of dawn to do some black Friday shopping even though I had no plans to go this year.  It was fun and I did find a few deals of my own.  Now the long weekend is coming to an end and it will soon be time to get back into the routine.  Not looking forward to getting back to the grind, but I LOVE having a routine to follow.  Just makes life go more smoothly.  It's time to go and get ready for worship.  Hope everyone has a Simply Wonderful Sunday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Card Preview

Here's a sneak peak at our Christmas photo card....

I couldn't pick just one.  What do you think?

Looks like I'll be doing what most others are doing today.  Cleaning and cooking top the list.  Guess that means I better get off of here and get moving.  What are YOU doing today??

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know )

Lots of people have asked about where I got my tips for taking family photos.  I got tips from lots of different sources and I promise that when I get a little time (possibly tomorrow) I will hunt up links to all of the ones that I used and maybe even add in a couple of my own and post them for you.

For now I'm hoping that you will help me out.  I've been looking at our grocery budget for quite some time.  Trying to figure out ways to shave some off of my grocery bill.  With price of groceries rising every day, it's difficult.  I joined E-Mealz (recommended by Dave Ramsey).  I really have enjoyed having everything pre-planned for me and I have also saved some money along the way.  BUT, I am still left wondering if there are some other ways we could still cut back.  That's where YOU come in.  Please share your tips with me.  How do you make feeding your family more affordable?

One question in particular that I would be interested in hearing the answer to is this...What is a reasonable amount to spend on a family of five for a dinner time meal?  Is it $10? $5? Along this line, I would also love for you to share one (or more) of your family's favorite & cheapest recipes.

I'll start...

Macaroni Soup 
(This is what my grandmother called it, some other people call it Goulash)

1 box of elbow macaroni ($1.00)
1/2 pound ground beef (<$1.00)

2 cans tomato paste ($1.00)
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (<$1.00)

Salt, pepper, & onion powder 

In a large pot brown ground beef after seasoning with salt, pepper, & onion powder.  Add in water (enough to cover macaroni - more if you like it soupier), macaroni, tomato paste, and salt & pepper (to taste).  Cook until noodles are tender.  Serve sprinkled with cheddar cheese.  My kids also like to add in nature's seasoning for their own added flavor. 

We hardly ever have leftovers of this recipe. Cost of entire recipe = less than $4.

Ok, now it's your turn.  Help a sister out!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Family Pictures

Using lots of tips I found online and thanks to my blogfrog community friends we took some family pictures yesterday.  Here are some of my favorites.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Question Friday 11/20

 This is my first Five Question Friday.  I'm looking forward to partcipating and hopping on around to other blogs curteousy of Mama M and I hope you do the same.   

Here are the questions for today...

1. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

What was your favorite childhood toy? (Think Easy Bake Oven, Cabbage Patch Kid, Shrinky Dinks, etc.)

Favorite Christmas movie?

What is the "must have" item on your Christmas list this year?

Do you go all out with decorations or do you keep it simple and classy?

1. Are you a Black Friday shopper?   
Yes, normally, but this year is not normal.   Let me explain.  My daughter has a birthday in mid November.  Our usually tradition is to go shopping on black Friday and let her spend her birthday money (and hopefully get some awesome deals).  This year she had her eye on a big ticket item an all her shopping is already done.  So instead of fighting the crowds I will be relaxing with some of my family.

2. What was your favorite childhood toy? (Think Easy Bake Oven, Cabbage Patch Kid, Shrinky Dinks, etc.)  Oh my goodness!  I have to choose just one??  I loved so many toys growing up!  How can a person have just one?  If I had to narrow it down I'd have to say the Easy Bake Oven was probably my favorite.  Although my mom hated it and all the mess and work involved so I didn't get to play with mine too much.  Guess I know what I'll be doing with my grandkids some day in the far, far away future.

3. Favorite Christmas movie?The Jim Carey version of the "The Grinch."  I absolutely love it!  Of course every year I MUST watch Frosty & Rudolph.  Those aren't really considered movies are they? They are only 30 minutes long.

4. What is the "must have" item on your Christmas list this year? 
The only must have on my Christmas list this year is being with my family.  There are some items I would like to have, but the only MUST have is being together.  Oh, and just in case my husband, or anybody else that might like to buy me gifts for Christmas, is reading the things I would like to have include.... gift cards to Hobby Lobby (to buy painting supplies for my new hobby), Bath & Body Works, Cato, & maybe Wal-Mart.  That would just about cover it! ;)

5. Do you go all out with decorations or do you keep it simple and classy? 
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I do very little (and I do mean VERY little) decorating for Christmas.  I put out a few (and I do mean VERY few) Christmas decorations.  I don’t even put up a tree.  Now, before you guys start calling me the Grinch let me explain.  We live a long way from our family and we always travel back to be with our family for Christmas.  Since we really aren’t home for Christmas we just enjoy everyone else’s decorations.  Another reason we don’t put up a tree is because we don’t have one.  Some parts of ours got lost when we moved and we have yet to invest in a new one (and don’t even get me started about having a real tree).  I am thinking that after Christmas this year I may take advantage of the after Christmas sales and get a good deal on a tree.  The only problem then will be figuring out how to get it back to our house.  

Ok, there you have it.  My first Five Question Friday.  If you'd like to join in just link back here!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thank God For Kids

Went to see the Gaithers last night with a friend.  Had a good time. Lots of songs I grew up on.  Brought up lots of memories.  Especially of my grandparents.  They would have loved it!  One of my favorite songs sang last night was this one...

Thank God For Kids

If it weren't for kids have you ever thought,
There wouldn't be no Santa Claus,
Or look what the stork just brought
Thank God for kids.
And we'd all live in a quiet house
Without Big Bird or a Mickey Mouse
Or Kool-aid on the couch
Thank God for kids.

Thank God for kids there's magic for a while
A special kind of sunshine in a smile
Do you ever stop to think or wonder why
The nearest thing to heaven is a child.

Daddy, how does this thing fly?
And a hundred other where's and why's
I really don't know but I try
Thank God for kids.
When I look down in those trusting eyes
That look to me I realize
There's love that I can't buy
Thank God for kids.

Thank God for kids there's magic for a while
A special kind of sunshine in a smile
Do you ever stop to think or wonder why
The nearest thing to heaven is a child.

When you get down on your knees tonight
And thank the Lord for His guiding light
And pray they turn out right,
Thank God for kids.
Thank God for kids.

I was thankful for the reminder to be thankful for my kids!  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I try to always be thankful for every blessing I have in this life.  I'm hoping that participating in Welcome to the Nut House's "Thankful Thursdays" is going to help me keep my focus.  There couldn't be a better time of the year to get started than right before Thanksgiving. 

Today I'm thankful for...

  • My health
  • My family
  • My job
  • My freedom
  • My salvation
There are so many more, but I'll save those for next week.  Oh, and I'm also thankful that you stopped by!  Hope you'll be back!


I am the proud mom of an orange belt! Way to go Cory!! <3
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Odds N' Ends

Having a hard time believing that Thanksgiving is next week.  This year has flown by!  It's such a busy time of the year!

We are busy trying to get approved for a new health insurance company.   Got our rates for next year from our current company and just like every other year our rates went up exept this year they went up dramatically while our benefits went down dramatically.  So, we began shopping around and trying to find something to fit our needs and our budget.  Think we found something with HumanaOne.  While it is not great coverage it is certainly better than what we have now.  In the meantime we have to jump through all the hoops.  They are busy checking out our medical history with a fine tooth comb.  While we are fairly healthy, it does make me wonder how those with health problems manage to get and afford health coverage.  Our country is in desperate need of health care reform.  Although under this administration I am afraid of what that reform might ending up being.  I miss the days when having health insurance meant that you could afford to get the medical care that you need.  

My oldest son will be taking his driver's education class starting on Saturday.  Hard to believe I have a child old enough to be driving.  He's 16 and technically he could have been driving solo by now, but he put off the driving class a couple of times now because he didn't want to spend his free time going to driving school - lol.  I don't mind that he put it off, but it has been pushed back long enough.

It's time for us to take a new family picture.  I'm looking for creative ideas for backgrounds, colors to wear, etc.  What have you done to make your family pictures unique and fun? 


Check out this awesome giveaway over at Pardon My Dust!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Hobby?

We had a painting class at church today and this is what my finished product looked like.  It was a lot of fun.  I think perhaps I have found a new hobby!  What do you think?

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Today you are fifteen.  You have grown into a beautiful young lady inside and out!  Happy Birthday!  I love you! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Face of Twelve

....This is what the face of twelve looks like. Full of life and very smart.

Today you brought home your report card with straight A's. 4.0 GPA. See... smart!

You are growing into a wonderful, brilliant young man. You are a blessing. I'm so proud of you!

Happy 12th Birthday!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

15 Mile Yard Sale

Every year on the first Saturday in November a local city hold a 15 mile stretch of yard sales.  I've wanted to go every year since we found out about it, but our schedule has never allowed it - until today!  This morning we got up early and hit the trail.  We got some great finds.  Had been needing to replace our VCR (ours broke a little while back and most of my workout videos are on VHS not to mention our home videos) and we found DVD/VCR combo for an awesome price.  I was also able to find 3 dresses, 2 skirts & jackets, a sweater, a duffle bag for my son's karate gear, a George Foreman grill, and my husband and son found a few other small things as well. 

Spent the afternoon cleaning up around the house and now I'm about to cook dinner and the rest of the evening I will spend relaxing and resting.  It's been a good week.  I'm looking forward to worship with my church family tomorrow.