Thursday, December 29, 2011

Start the New Year back on budget pt 1

The new year, a perfect time to get back on track with our finanical stewardship plan. We totally stunk up our Dave Ramsey's plan the past 6 months. Sad, we worked so diligently for several months, got completely debt-free(except our house), and then backslid. Our emergency savings is nearly obliterated and we crept back into a little bit of debt. UGH! You know why don't you?? We abandoned our budget and flew by the seat of our pants. Bad bad idea. Where there is no plan, there is a plan to fail. So, I've filled in a beautiful and detailed cash flow plan(sounds nicer than budget). My youngest sister, Katy and her hubby Kyle, are a jillion times smarter than Mike and I were at their ages. They made a gorgeous Excel spreadsheet complete with sums formulas for their cash plan. I borrowed it, added many new rows to reflect our family, and man am I super proud of this baby! Nerd--why yes. I've also made all our new envelopes to return to the cash system. Forking over the hard earned greenbacks is so much more painful than a swipe of a debit card. Once again, Katy outdid me. She's a creative designer type--I'm your plain vanilla, whole house is tan type.

And here are hers.

My envelopes are plain white with black letters.  I have one for:
groceries and household items
Minivan gas and maintainence
Mike's gas
Eat out as family
Mike's on the job eat out
Christmas fund
Offerings and gifts above tithe

The ideas is that you calculate your monthly cash needs, withdraw that amount when you get paid, and take the cash out to pay for the items.  Only pay cash!  We use automatic bank draft for a lot of our bills so that they are deducted from our checking account.

Let this soak in a few days, go check out Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and then we'll chat more.  Off to work!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 wrap up

I know many of you will proceed to roll your eyes when I say this, but....

It is over!!
Christmas was great, but I'm glad it is over for another year.  My house is a wreck, there are items that need a place in the kids' rooms and the kids' rooms are already too full(I get a nervous twitch in response to clutter and mess--I'm an organized neat freak, yes I am!).  But, back to the fun part. Christmas Eve was my mother's extended family annual get together.  They ate snacks and sang carols.  I'd asked Carter to take his guitar for the sing-a-long as I knew it would thrill my 95 year old grandparents to have Carter accompany the traditional singing.  However, the crowd didn't exaclty follow along with the music.  Carter texted me at one point saying "This family doesn't know how to sing!"  That is one of my yearly favorite traditions.  My uncle belts out "5 Goooold Reeeeings" and we all sing parts of the 12 Days of Christmas. I missed it due to working.  That night, we put the kids to bed at 9:30.  The little ones all wanted to sleep in together  in Abby's room.  At 11:07pm I went to make sure Carter's XBOX was off and his light was off.  In the hall I heard frantic whispering.  A peek in Abby's room revealed Hudson lying next to her in bed, telling her all about how "tomorrow will be Christmas and Santa is coming."  Funny thing is, she was fast asleep!  I was a bit tired and exasparated and told him to hurry up and go to sleep or Santa wouldn't come :)
No worries, Santa came.

 He brought Carter a punching bag and boxing gloves.  I am soooo sore from punching the bag a few times.  It seems I don't use those muscle groups often.
 Precious Dillon and I(when the HECK did I get so many wrinkles, especially on my neck???) on the couch while Abby's reads us the story of baby Jesus:  so simple and humbl, so unexpected, so completely unmerited!  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice, love, and life.
 Shocker, Hudson is thrilled with more Thomas paraphnalia.  Side note here:  you can see the Operation Christmas Child shoebox behind him.  No, he wasn't a shoebox recipient and no, we didn't hijack a shoebox from the truck we helped load to go to the processing center back in November and then regift it to our kids.  I happened to have 4 extra empty boxes and they fit some of our gifts beautifully.

 Abby was thrilled to death with her iPod Touch.  No, it isn't new.  I'm a huge fan of the 3 Rs:  Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.  We bought it from a good friend whose daughter isn't using hers anymore.  Abby knows it was Faith's and is pleased as punch :)

We then loaded up and went to Mike's folks.  Nice and sweet little Christmas gathering with tons of delish homemade food.  The cousins played all day.  My mother-in-law spoiled me greatly!  Carter was sick with wheezing, fever, and coughing.  Thank you Jesus for our nebulizer that we don't leave home without. We spent the night and drove home today--minus the 3 younger ones--they stayed to play at Nana's another 2 days.  Carter just got 2 shots and should be better by tomorrow.  I'm painting our cheap and plain metal front door today...Hunter Green.  Can't wait to see the wow factor from the street!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last time (I hope)

I hope this is my last holiday season to work at the bedside in acute care.  After 15.5years, I'm pretty well done.  Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I love being a critical care/cardiac nurse, I love the sick patients, the monitors and labs and the iv's, the rapport I have built up with the docs, the other staff members, the adorable old people, the scared young people and everyone else in between.  But, alas, it is enough.  I'm ready for a steady, predictable job(yes, boring) where I work 3 8hour shifts or 2 12hr shifts and no weekends or holidays, no calls at 4:30 asking if I can come in extra due to short-staffing, no staying over until 8pm after leaving my house at 5:50am because a patient coded at 6pm and we are running around the unit trying to catch up, no more days of coming home late and kissing my little ones goodnight without seeing them at all that day. I'm not in a hurry or desperate, so I'm waiting and praying for the right position to come along.  Hopefully, this is my last Christmas Eve to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fun Christmas weekend

These pics are all out of order and it requires too much time and effort to rearrange them.  So, we shall reminisce in random order

Above you have my side of the fam.  We all gathered at my parents for a lovely Christmas dinner and present opening.  Fun and wild, that is the standard for us :)
 And above is a awesome picture I snapped of Hudson loving every minute of a train exhibit that my mom and 2 of my sisters went to see last week.  He, as you all know, is obsessed with Thomas the Tank. 
Above are the grandkids on Mike's side of the fam.  We spent Saturday at Mike's grandmother's home.  We had lots of fun playing Dillon's Michael Jackson Wii game.  You try to dance along with Micheal and his sidekicks and it is hilarious(not to mention hard and a good aerobic workout).

The angel pictured above(not allowed to show her full face) is my sister and brother-in-law's hopefully foverever daughter!!  OH MY WORD, this beautiful child is to die for.  She has been in foster care since birth.  In about 2 weeks, a judge will decide her future.  Brad and Melody, along with the rest of us, are praying for the judge to place "baby sister" with them and their 3 yr old Aspen.

Here we have Dillon opening his birthday gift at my parent's.  He wanted a popcorn maker and, as you can tell by his face, he was thrilled!  It is the air popper kind and we all watched and screamed with joy when the kernels burst forth.  He says he's going to sell popcorn in front of our house!  If you drive by, please by some of Dillon's popcorn :))

Saturday, December 17, 2011


For those of you who've been visiting my blog a while, you know my Christmas cheer is seriously lacking. I seem to have the hardest time reconciling the simple truth of the real Christ story with modern day American Christmas. Grinchy--yes I am.

This year I'm trying to not be grumpy, grinchy, Scroogey, cheap, irritable, judgemental...fill in the blanks.   This morning as I ran in a very crisp 36 degrees I prayed for God to help me chill and enjoy!
It is hard.  This is what I see in my mind....

fyi:  I don't know who to credit this amazing picture for.  It is not my original and kudos to the person who designed it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm now the dumbest mother around

Breaking news:   My kids know everything!  I'm old and stupid and they are much cooler and smarter than I.  Likely, I'm not the only one in this boat.
My 15 yr old told me that his lack of attention to his studies are his problem and not mine.  My 11 yr old gave me an exasperated "What?" when I called her to come pick some toys up.  My 4yr old already says "nuh-uhhh"  when arguing with me.  Really, the only dedicated 100% "moms the greatest" child left is Dillon--who turns 9 today--sweet little blessing.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

North Korean Refugee Adoption Act

First, scroll way down the far right and pause my Music Player so you can hear.  Now then, PLEASE take 1 minute to watch this clip. There are hundreds of thousandsf N. Korean orphans living as refugees, castaways.  What if we could do something and provide a loving forever family??  I think if these children become adoptable, that is the one thing that would cause Mike and I to revisit if our family is really complete.  In 2009 Mike, Abby, and I stood at the DMZ, looking through binoculars into that closed, crazed country, where the people are starving.

 If you are ignorant about what is going on in N. Korea, please educate yourself.  Pray for these children and sign the petition.
James 2:15-17 says If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what [does it] profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

morphed into a new type of family

We've entered a new phase of family life..

We are a No-Leftovers kind of family!  Booohooo.  We eat up every last bit of my meals now.  This is bad people, bad I tell ya.  Do you realize how much I've relied on leftovers through the years?  I only plan a menu and shopping list for 4 dinners a week.  The left overs, occastional trip to Rosa's, and fill-in  meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwhiches finish out the blanks.  My kids are eating so much!  Carter is nearly a grown man, Abby is near my size and we are starting to share a few clothing items, and don't forget little man who has a quite the belly! 
So, for all you No-Leftover Families like ours, do share your smart-shopping, menu and budget stretching ideas.  email  me at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas season starts with a bang

And we're off! 
We pulled decorations out last Sunday afternoon to put up the tree.  Carter wanted everyone in their pj's to decorate.  So, after lugging the loot from the attic, and changing into pj's, we began.  I soon found myself alone.  Everyone conveniently scattered.  I did what any psychologically stable and uplifting mother would do, I yelled.  In fact, I yelled this..."Guys, I don't even like Christmas.  If you want the tree up, YOU get in here and help!".  Oh yes, I did. Of course, the tree is beautiful--complete with all the decorations in the front middle, cause that is where little kids place them(and I wouldn't dare rearrange).  Nothing like a cold evening, wearing flannel, and a lit up Christmas tree! 
 On the shopping note, I'm soooo proud of myself.  I've barely stepped into a store this season.  You can get anything you need from Amazon, and I nearly always get free shipping.  Shop in my jammies, it comes to my door 3 days later.  On the crafting note, remember my plan to make a Menorah?  Didn't happen.  So, I decided on an advent wreath/candle display for the dining table(I got the easy directions and family devo idea from the last book in the Yada Yada Prayer Group Series.  What???  You haven't read it?  MUST read!).  Unfortunately, one cannot locate pink or purple candles anywhere in December.  So, I am stuck with the Christ candle, the tall white one, sitting alone in the greenery.  It is pretty, but lacking the meaning of the full advent.

Thursday was the 4th and 5th grade musical at our school.  I realize I'm biased, but our school has exceptional music/theater talent and the kids put on wonderful shows.  Abby was the lead angel!  She looked stunning and Mike and I projected what it would be like to see her wearing an all white gown on her wedding day(tears!). 

Today Abby and I have a mom/daughter Christmas brunch.  Driving home from work last night I realized "OMGoodness!  We are supposed to bring a gift each for the exchange". So, I woke up early to     1. update this blog 2. run 2 miles 3. wrap the gifts for the angel tree child we shopped for 4. dash out to find something cute to exchange with people who need nothing and have better taste than I do 5. finish my last government chapter and take a test.  This afternoon Carter and the highschool show choir performs at Christmas on the Square.              Whew, in the words of Dori the fish,  just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming!