Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting Ready for Back to School

I am just a couple of days away from getting back into my classroom to set up for the new year. This time of year is bitter sweet for me because I have to go back to "work", but I also get to meet a whole new group of little people. I am excited and sad all at the same time. It is a little silly, but it is what it is. I love my summers because I really get to be a stay at home mom, but I love teaching too.

The last few days I have been working on things around the house to make our transition back to school easier. I am restocking our freezer pancakes and muffins for those busy mornings and all of our lunch supplies are refilled. I have gotten the monkeys' lunch bags ordered, socks and undies are new for the year, and dressers have been cleaned out and clothes are ready to be passed down. I am trying my best to make sure everyone is back on an early wake up schedule too, not an easy task with an almost teenager!

I have also been working on things for my classroom that make my life easier and more organized. Binders are ready, folders are ready, plan book is dated, grade book is ready, but I still have to go through my classroom library books. UGH! I need to weed out the books, but let me tell you I have a lot of books. I am a book junkie, just kidding, but I do love having a big library for my students to enjoy. Well this year I decided I really need to have just books the kids can take quizzes on through Accelerated Reader. So over the next couple of days I will be sorting and purging my books.

I am so glad I have been working on little projects here and there all summer, it's really going to make that last days before school starts back up much easier for all of us! To me being prepared for any upcoming event is definitely a Finer Thing.

Head on over to Amy's to see what Finer Things everyone else is celebrating as our summer is winding down.

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Security When Traveling

I always liked dressing the boys in matching shirts when they were little (ahem-shh don't tell-I still like it when they match at 7, 8, and 11 years old). It was something my mom did with my sister and I, so it was pretty natural to me (HI MA!).

Fast forward to traveling with little people and I decided that the boys all had to wear the same shirt when we were going to any kind of fair or amusement park. My husband said it was absolutely for security.

We can spot our monkeys in a crowd because of what they are wearing that day. Heaven forbid if any of them were ever lost or taken we would know exactly what they were wearing just by looking at the brothers.

It was pretty easy to do this for our last trip because I was able to go to Michaels (during their sale) and get them each matching t-shirts. Another tip is to let each of them pick a color, so they all feel like they have some control over what their wearing especially as they get older.

This really Works for Me! Head on over to We Are That Family to see what everyone else is up to on this WFMW!

Until next time,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Seeing My Boys HAPPY!

It's Gratituesday time and I am still in post trip mode right now, but one thing keeps running through my boys had a really great time at Legoland! They are usually pretty happy kids, but they were SUPER happy kids last week! I am so grateful that we were able to take them to a place they love and experience things we missed on our last trip. So I'll leave you today with pictures of my monkeys...and gratitude in my heart for our wonderful little trip!

Trying to spin the wheel and make dad sick!

Mr. L in his cool kid pose!

N is ready to battle alongside the Bionicles!

Big Z humoring his mama and posing for a picture!

All three in their natural habitat...a place for BUILDING!

Head on over to Laura's at Heavenly Homemakers and see what everyone else is grateful for today!

Until next time,

A "Thrifty Home" Giveaway

I was just visiting over at Thrifty Home and Jen is hosting a giveaway! The giveaway is for a $25 gift certificate to Ecostore USA. This company is dedicated to making cleaners and personal care products WITHOUT harmful chemicals! YAY! This company sounds like it is right up my alley!

A little bit from their site:

Our eco friendly, plant-based household cleaning products are as effective as the leading supermarket brands, and our body and baby care ranges are gentle on your skin and are simply beautiful to use. Our pet care products let you spoil your pets with our nourishing, rich blends of ingredients and show them how much you care by reducing their exposure to unhealthy chemicals.

All of our products are made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients, free of toxic chemicals that bring people closer to nature with non-toxic, environmentally safe solutions that also help to reduce our carbon footprint.

So head on over to Jen's for a chance to win the gift certificate (I already did)! Good luck!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Menu Plan for the Week

Well we're back to a normal summer schedule this week! We had to eat out a couple of times last week because of a very disappointing "continental breakfast" at our hotel. For the most part our plan to eat what we brought with us worked out great! This week we should be right where we like to be...eating at HOME!

Breakfasts- oatmeal, cereal, french toast, pancakes (freezer stash- I may need to make more this week), omelets

Lunches- ham sandwiches, summer sausage and crackers, PB & J sandwiches, fruit, carrots with ranch, celery with peanut butter


Sunday- Roasted Whole Chicken, steamed red potatoes, steamed summer squash (This chicken turned out great- I was trying to get it to taste like Costco's rotisserie chicken- I didn't prep it overnight and it was still very tasty and moist!)

Monday- Grilled Cheese and veggies

Tuesday- Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad

Wednesday- Chicken Salad (using leftover chicken from Sunday) and Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Homemade Sourdough Bread, fruit, salad

Thursday- K's Birthday so Homemade Pizza Night!

Friday- Yoyo Leftovers

Saturday- Hamburgers, fries, grilled squash, fries, salad

So there you have it! Head on over to Laura's at Organizing Junkie to see what everyone else is planning for the week!

Until next time,

Yard Sale Finds

I headed out Friday morning after being gone for a few days to have some "mom" time. I found a few great yard sales right away! The first sale was not far from my house, I thought the address was one I had been to last weekend, but it was a new one! I found several "I Spy" books for the boys, a great wall frame (it will be painted soon), and a little water cooler (after our trip I thought it would have been nice to have a second one). All of that goodness for a mere $2! I thought for sure she'd ask for more!

I had been looking for some of those little decorative balls to put in a bowl I found for my entry, but the prices were WAY too high at Micheals and Joanns. I made a note to keep an eye out and I scored this weekend! I got 2 gallon sized bags overflowing with the balls for a whopping $1!!! I was so excited, it was way more than I needed, but the fruit ones will make for great fall decorations!

The second sale I found was also full of great treasures! I resisted things that were cute, but not needed until I saw a tote on the other side of the yard. Someone had written "Legos" on top of it, but I didn't think it had anything in it until I removed the lid. HOLY COW! It was full of Legos and the tag said $5. I asked if that was for the whole tote and she said yes! You don't have to tell me twice, especially after seeing set after set at Legoland with their price tags. As N said, "You made a wise choice mom!" Don't you just love him! We did have to weed out the megablocks (true Lego fans cannot have megablocks mixed in with real Legos-it's a rule I think ;0), but is was still a lot of pieces.

You can see all 4 boys got to them before I got to my camera! Hehehe!

On Saturday morning I headed back over to the first sale I had seen on Friday. There was a little chair that I could not get out of my head, so I decided to go see if it was still there. Sure enough it was sitting right out front. I asked how much and then bartered a little to get it down to $7. I love that it is black, paint worn, and has little painted flowers. I'm not sure where its final home will be, but I know it will be in the living room or nook.

Close up of the great detail!

I also scored some great clothes this weekend! I hit a sale with great long skirts, perfect for school in the winter. I love wearing skirts, but yard duty in the winter keeps me from wearing them more often. Now that problem is solved.

This gray skirt is an Ann Taylor Loft wrap around. It is heavy material and lined so it will be great this winter! It didn't have a size tag, but I figured I could just move the buttons if it didn't fit right.

This black skirt has great thin pin-stripes. Love it!

The last skirt is a great knee length denim. I think it will be super cute with the boots I found last weekend! The cost for each skirt was only $2. Not to bad for school clothes!

After yard saling I decided to head out to the thrift stores. I found a couple of things first was another long sleeve white t-shirt, great for layering during cold weather.

The cutest clothing item I found this weekend was this great brown sweater! I wish it would photograph better! It ties in the front has a little flare from the bust and from the elbows on the sleeves. It still had the store tags on it! I got them for $5.50.

So I think I made out very well this weekend! Head on over to Rhoda's at Southern Hospitality to see what everyone else found!

Until next time,

Friday, July 24, 2009


There is just something so sweet about being home after a few days of traveling! If you all remember we were given a chance to take the boys to their beloved Legoland this week.

I love taking my boys to experience things they love, but boy oh boy do I miss my house! There is just something comforting about being in your own space with your own stuff. We had a fabulous time and the boys were great, but a little hotel room is not a place for busy boys! So today I think one of the finer things in life is coming home from a trip safe and sound and sleeping in your own bed!

Head on over to Amy's to see what others are happy about on this Finer Things Friday.

Until next time...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Bloggy World

I have been wanting to write about you all in the bloggy world for a while now. I have always loved surfing the net, but when I discovered this whole wonderful world of women out there I was overjoyed! I have found a community of wonderful, strong, smart women out there sharing their days, recipes, suggestions, family happenings and their faith. Today I wanted to share my gratitude for all of you! I try to visit as many as I can, but I have a few favorites that I found first when I began this adventure. So I wanted to share with you some of my frequent bloggy stops.

The blog that got me to all of the others Laura at Orgjunkie! She is so sweet and loves order as much as I do!

Toni at Happy Housewife was the second blog I think I ran across. She is awesome and has so much great information to share about a lot of things!

If I need a recipe or to laugh about something silly I head over to see Laura at Heavenly Homemakers. I want to be like her when I grow up! She has given me a lot to think about on a multitude of topics.

Some other moms that I count on all the time are Amy at The Finer Things in Life, Kate at A Simple Walk, Beth at Raising Three Sons-Not a Bow in Sight and Sherry at Lamp Unto My Feet. These ladies are sources of encouragement to me every week!

My two natural living, wise beyond their years blogs are Keeper of the Home with Stephanie and Passionate Homemaking with Lindsay. These two ladies are my wholistic go-to girls when I have a question about keeping my home free of junk!

Decorating and fashion gurus Rhoda at Southern Hospitality, Nester at Nesting Place, Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, and Melissa at 320 * Sycamore. WOW is all I have to say about their talent and creativity!

I am going to stop now or I'll be typing about all of the wonderful ladies I have encountered for the rest of the night! To everyone I didn't have time to mention-THANK YOU for all you do!

To see what everyone else is grateful for on this Gratituesday head on over to Heavenly Homemakers.

Until next time,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Menu Plan for the Week

It's going to be a busy week, so we'll be trying to have bigger breakfasts and easier lunches and dinners...

eggs, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, bacon, sausage, omelets

PB&J sandwiches, ham & cheese sandwiches, fruit, leftovers

Sunday- Leftovers

Monday- Tri-tip, pork chop (need to cook it since I defrosted it), asparagus, steamed red potatoes

Tuesday- Summer Sausage, cheese, crackers, and fruit

Wednesday- Roast Chicken (from Costco, shhh-don't tell), raw veggies, fruit

Thursday- Chicken Soup, grilled cheese, salad

Friday- Homemade Pizza, salad, Root Beer :D

Saturday- Tacos, K's Refried Beans, salad

So that's us for the week, nothing fancy :) Head on over to see Laura at Organizing Junkie to see what everyone else has on the menu this week!

Until next time,

Not Much This Week...

Well I was all excited to go out this weekend because of some Craigslist ads that had been hyping their sale ALL week. Oh my goodness is all I have to say! Yuck, nada, nilch, nothin' worth anything to me. I was so bummed! I mean really if you're going to advertise please be honest! Enough of my soap box! Ahem. Ok. Now back to business!

I did find a couple of unadvertised sales and they turned up a couple of little things I had been looking for on my list. The first real sale was a fundraiser for a missionary group in Africa. A bunch of older ladies were running it and boy were they EXCITED! They were so cute and just having a ball trying to sort out all of the stuff they had gathered for the sale. I found 2 shirts and 2 boxes of the Dryel laundry products for $5. If you use the Dryel stuff you know one box is about $10, so I snatched them up when I saw them for 2 bucks each. Not exciting, but definitely a savings for me. I had been putting off buying any, so my procrastination turned out to be for the best! The first shirt I found was a little sleeveless tunic, so cute! The second was a darling white t-shirt with a little cut-out button hole at the neckline. I had made a mental note to find a couple of white shirts to go with my skirts from last week. Check, mission accomplished!
I also found more Legos. The lady at that sale actually went and found more for me when she saw what I had picked up! Too funny!

The next sale I found was close to my house so I stopped by to have a look. I am glad I did! I found a cute, cute skirt and a second white button-up shirt for $1 each. The best find was a pair of black knee-high leather boots for $2. I had just been pricing some out for the fall and at $80 I decided to wait, I am so glad I did!

It wasn't a great week, but I still had fun! Now you can head over to Rhoda's at Southern Hospitality to see what everyone else scored this weekend!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What a Surprise!

I have a very sneaky husband! He volunteered to run to Costco to get more root beer for our pizza night last week. I was thankful he didn't want me to go because I was getting everything ready ahead of time since Grandma and Papa were coming over. He came back home pretty quickly with the root beer in hand. What I didn't know is what he hid in the garage later that night. Sneaky boy bought me an anniversary present that I had been eying and trying to justify for a long time...a Cuisinart 11 cup food processor!

I couldn't believe it! I have wanted one for a looooonnnnggg time, but I could never let myself buy it (even when it was on sale). I was so happy that I started crying, can you believe it? Such a silly girl! K wanted me to have it so it will be easier to make all the healthy foods for his boys. Isn't he the best!
So on this Finer Things Friday I am so happy to have a husband who knows me so well. That's just one of the finer things about marrying your best friend!

For more finer things join Amy at Finer Things Friday...

Until next time,

Just in case anyone was wondering...I got K a Lego set he has been eying FOREVER. He was so excited he got out of bed and started putting it together. He cracks me up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Anniversary

Wow time flies! Our wedding seems like it was just the other day!
I am so excited everyday to wake up to this amazing man, husband, daddy, and friend. We have such a wonderful relationship that is so strong! We've been through a lot during our time together, but I truly believe it's made us stronger for it. Things don't always work out the way we planned, but they do work out for the best. K always tells me, "If you want to hear the sound of God's laughter tell him your plans!"

I look so very forward to spending the rest of our lives together. It is sure to be one interesting ride!
Happy anniversary Babe! Love you always!

Taking a Mom Day

Today is a rarity for me, I am going out for the whole day A-L-O-N-E. This is big for me because for a LONG time I would not go anywhere without the monkeys. I felt guilty if I wanted to just be by myself. I know I am not the only mom with that struggle. I had to really work to accept that I needed time away in order for me to regroup and be a better moma to my boys and wife to K. I am not usually gone more than a day when I do go off on a "mom day", but those hours are a necessary retreat.

I hadn't originally planned to go anywhere, but a teacher store in the city is having a 20% off everything teacher appreciation day. This store to me is like Legoland to my boys. I just L-O-V-E being in there! I get inspired and pumped for the new year as I begin gathering my supplies and wondering who will fill my desks this year. I do not have a big list of things I need from them this year, but the local store doesn't have the plan book or desk name tags I use so I am going to take advantage of the sale in the city. I thought about going digital with my plan book this year, but there is just something about actually hand writing my plans...anyway back to my post.

Normally everyone would come with me (it is not really their idea of a good time), but K decided I should go by myself and hit Trader Joe's while I am up there. I asked if he would mind if I was gone most of the day and of course he said no problem. So I decided I would get my must do stores out of the way and then hit the thrift stores around the city. I think I'll pack a lunch so I don't have to eat any junk food while I'm out and about. I don't know if I'll find any other baragins out there, but I know I will have a day to kind of regroup and just be me for a while...

This time works for me. So what do you all do when you take time for yourselves?

Join Works for Me Wednesday to see what everyone else is up to today!

Monday, July 13, 2009


I mentioned yesterday that we are now planning a trip to Legoland next week. We took the boys last summer and they have not quit talking about it since then. In case you're new here my boys (all 4) are LEGO MANIACS! They love all things Lego, so the park is like a little piece of heaven on Earth for them.

My Boys last summer.

K and I had settled that we should not go this summer (due to K's work issues and not wanting to spend our savings quite yet), but K's mom and dad (AKA grandma and papa) weren't having any of that talk. They are generous people and after a conversation with K and the boys last weekend grandma gave me a check that will more than cover all of costs for a 3 day trip to Legoland. I was reluctant to accept such a gift, but K put it to me this way, "If it were your grand kids wouldn't you do the same thing?" Of course I would!

The boys are beyond excited and I am so happy they don't have to wait until this fall. We will get to enjoy the rides, the water activities, and the brand new aquarium! We are going to be making our own lunches and dinners, so we can stretch the gift as far as possible! I love the challenge of trying to get the best deals on everything! Costco had the best ticket prices and we found a great rate on a hotel (with continental breakfast), so we're off to a great start for our frugal trip!

So on this Gratituesday I am so very thankful for the generosity of Grandma and Papa! You both rock!

Join Laura at Heavenly Homemaker for Gratituesday!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Menu Plan for the Week

Here's what we have on the schedule for this week-

I'll be doing some extra cooking this week to get us ready to head out to Legoland next week for a couple of days. We weren't going to go until the fall, but Grandma and Papa wanted us to take the monkeys earlier so they paid for the tickets, hotel and such. Wow, was I surprised and grateful. Anyway we're trying to be a frugal as possible to make their gift stretch so we'll be bringing food instead of eating out for lunches and dinners (breakfast is complimentary at the hotel). We'd rather eat our own food anyway. All the boys want to do is go on the trip, they could care less about eating out. So, I'm off to a busy week...

cereal, oatmeal, omelets, biscuits, banana nut muffins, Eggos, French Toast

sandwiches, chicken or tuna salad, hot dogs, homemade "lunchables"(crackers & summer sausage), fruit

Sunday- BBQ Pork Ribs, Baked Potatoes, Salad (bumped from last week)

Monday- Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, salad

Tuesday- Sub Sandwiches- homemade rolls, ham and turkey, and all the toppings

Wednesday- Beef & Chicken Quesedillas, Kenny's Refried Beans

Thursday- Spaghetti, Italian sausage, garlic bread, salad

Friday- Homemade Pizza, Salad

Saturday- Pork Chops, scalloped potatoes, asparagus

Find more menu planning inspiration at Organizing Junkie.

Yard Sale Finds

It was a busy week of yard and estate sales around here! We went out Thursday morning to an estate sale. They had beautiful items, but not quite priced in my comfort range. However, if I see that address again I will buzz over to see if any of the prices have gotten any better! I went out on Friday, K couldn't get up so I headed out on my own. Hold me back folks I was OUT. OF. CONTROL. with my spending. When I came home I was stoked because I found another apothecary jar for the boys' bathroom. I knew if I would find one...if I was patient. I also found a couple of flute music books for Z. I headed over to another sale and found 2 quart canning jars, a zester, and some stainless steel measuring spoons (all needing a run through the dishwasher). Now the total for Friday...out of control...ridiculous...K is not letting me go by myself anymore... a whopping $1.20! Heehee I got you! Not bad if I say so myself!

Well it was the second Saturday of the month, so that means one of the local churches has their "Kids Count" sale. An adorable bubbly lady puts it on and sales everything for between $0.25 and $3.00. All the clothes are only $0.50 per piece! First, we hit the tables and found some contact paper and good size box of Legos. I moved on to the books table (what can I say I'm a teacher, they pull me over) and found 4 books. While I started looking at clothes for me K headed over to the boy's clothes table and found a bunch of shorts in great shape. Lucky for us 2 were N's size and one was Z's size. I found two skirts (one of them was a Tommy Hilfiger!), a long sleeve shirt, and a nice pair of slacks. We also found L 2 of those silly saying long sleeve shirts. We were big spenders and got out of there for $6.25!

We headed out to a couple of other sales, nothing there. I drove over to another one on my list and found a man with 50 years of collecting going on. Holy smokes! If we were rich K and I would have gotten a truck and loaded up everything. He had half a dozen old sewing machines, beds, old tools, and a beautiful old apple green stove. It was so neat visiting with him!

After that we headed over to the last one on my list in town. Books, books, books! I was going through boxes and the owner asked immediately if I was a teacher. I guess I'm pretty obvious, hehehe! We found books for school and home, 3 Fiskers fancy edge scissors, and a mini paper trimmer. I bargained a little and got it all for $5!

We took a little break from the sales and took the boys over to the Build and Grow clinic at Lowe's. They got to put to together a pirate's treasure chest. Always fun and always free. What a great combination! We go about every other weekend to do some building and have some fun!

I was determined to find some more plates for the kitchen so I headed out to some of the thrift stores. I scored some more Corelle plates and 2 pairs of Levi's for the little boys. The jeans look like they were never worn and they were the right size for this next school year. Each pair was only $1.49! Compared to what I usually pay I was so happy to get a jump start on their school clothes. I decided I wanted to try making a chalkboard tray, so I grabbed one at SA 50% off EVERYTHING sale. I also found an adorable button up shirt for me too!

I guess I am a yard sale addict because I was at it again this morning. I think I did well, and the boys liked my finds. I got a big box of Duplos, 7 more Corelle plates, and 2 Wilton cakes pans. One is a ninja turtle and the other is a ghost holding the word "BOO!". Everything there was only $2! The last sale I hit had an unopenned box of canning lids and bands, a Pyrex measuring cup and some more books. The total there was $2.50.

Overall I think we had a great weekend again! I love that church sale and look forward to it every month! Now you get to head over to Rhoda's at Southern Hospitality to check out everyone else's great finds!

Until next time,