Archive for December, 2008

My Goals and Plans for 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot about the different goals and such I want to set for the new year. I don’t feel like I have everything nailed down just yet, but I do have a couple. I’m not going to call these resolutions, but goals. I like the idea of having a goal or a theme or whatever for the year.

One thing I plan on doing is trying very, very hard to keep grocery spending to $80 or less a week. That includes toiletries, paper and cleaning products, and pet supplies. (Except the flea control, since I get that online.)

I did a trial run sotospeak today. I planned out a menu for the next week…

Wed- hamburger helper, leftover veggies
Thurs- blackeyed peas, beans, cornbread
Fri- ground beef stew
Sat- creamy chicken casserole
Sun- crockpot potato soup
Mon- chicken/veggie/rice bake
Tues- pizzas
Wed- grilled cheese and tater tots

…and went to the store to pick up the things I’d need to accomplish this. I also had to make sure I got stuff for lunches both here at home and then Mon-Wed of next week school lunches.

I also needed to get sponges, scrubbies, and rinse aid for the dishwasher if I had enough $ leftover.

I was pretty sure I’d make it this week since I already had ground beef, bread, and almost 2 gallons of milk.

I also had a bunch of coupons, some of which were expiring within the next week, so IF I was going to have enough leftover and IF it would be a good deal (i.e. something we would actually use or would be buying later), I wanted to add a few things that weren’t on my list.

I did it! =) I got everything on my have-to-get list and more for $71!!

Some of the better highlights…

I bought 10lb of potatoes instead of 5lb, so they’ll go twice as far. I got a one-load package of Tide and a bottle of Suave hairspray for free. I got 4 cans of soup, and 4 packages of rice that weren’t on the list, so that’s a decent start towards next weeks’ groceries.

I did actually spend more than the $80 today, though. I went to the dollar store and spent $20 on Christmas decorations (LOTS, plus 4 matching Christmas dinner plates), and I also spent $15 on Christmas stuff at WalMart (mostly tins for giving away fudge or cookies next year).

The only things I didn’t pick up (yet) are carrots which go on sale tomorrow, and another gallon of milk which Mike can pick up on his way home from work Saturday for cheaper than I could get it here.

Not too bad for a first go! I even had room to get some crockpot liners and shampoo!

Another thing I’m going to try to do in 2009 is finish up a BUNCH of little projects and also start and finish some bigger ones.

I’ll be updating my projects page to the new 2009 goals tonight or tomorrow.

I’m hoping that the projects I want/plan to do will be at least partially funded by ‘leftover’ grocery $. That’s a pretty tall order considering I’ve set a limit of $80 a week and I’ve been averaging around $180 a week. It’s going to be hard enough to keep it under the $180 consistently, let alone enough under $80 that I have leftovers! We’ll see.

I told the kids what I plan on doing and told them that anything leftover up to the $80 mark gets put into a project/goody fund. I’m hoping they will help me out and then we’ll be able to buy stuff like paint and lamps for their room, maybe a new Wii game, or just a trip to the ice cream shop.

Lots of gifts this year, plus a BIG one from God

This is going to be my Christmas post. Ok so it’s a couple of days late, but I’ve been busy!

Christmas morning we were awakened at 4am by our oh-so-lovely children. We made them go back to bed, of course.

Around 7am or so, back in they came and we all went out to see what Santa and his elves had left under the tree.

We were informed (before we’d ever left the bedroom) by Matthew that Santa brought us a Wii!

Woohoo! We have a Wii! =)

The stockings for all (even the kitties!) were plum full of treats to eat and toys to play with. Hair pretties, keychains that beep when you whistle, tops that jump 8ft in the air, and lots of chocolate.

The kids then proceeded to unwrap the rest of their loot in 2.9 seconds flat. A new record!

Meagan got a pretty fairy water globe, a backpack, a GameCube controller, and a Mermaidia Gazebo, Barbecue Grill, and patio furniture for her Barbies, and Matthew got a RC helicopter, a GameCube controller, a Spiderman puzzle, and a giant book of Snoopy cartoons, a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows, and an Indiana Jones LEGO set. Then they both opened the box from Mom and Dad (actually that was the first one they opened after the stockings, but whatever). I had been collecting up desk ‘stuff’ for them for a couple of months, and so I wrapped each piece individually (magnet clip by itself, memo pad by itself, calendar by itself, pkg of pens by itself, etc) and then put them all in a big box and wrapped that up nice and pretty.

Good thing I’d managed (with help from Mom and Mike) to get their desks functional (not finished, but functional) just before Christmas!

I got Mike a game called Pharoah for the computer. I’ve played it before and he wanted to play it then, so I think he’ll like it. The kids picked out some movies and candy for him, too. They picked out some pretty knick-knacks for me and Mike got me an Irish Tin Whistle and some books to learn to play! =) I can’t wait to learn. It’s not my beloved clarinet, but since I don’t foresee getting my teeth fixed any time in the near future, I guess the tin whistle will have to suffice. Mike also got a bunch of brain teasers for the computer and a car charger for his cell phone. My mom painted me this so cool Coca-Cola bucket (I WILL get a pic!) and bought me a previous edition of an Oxford medical textbook (I am so excited to get started reading it!! Yes, I know. I am weird!). My brother got me SimCity4 for the computer and a memory card reader so that I can put pics on here a lot easier.

My parents and Bros 4-6 all came out for the big Christmas surprise. That being the fact that Bro4 (27y) bought souped-up-decked-out computers for both Bro5 (16y) and Bro6 (15y). We cooked a ham and heated up some veggies, but mostly filled up on candy.

Everyone had a blast (and got a workout) playing on the Wii and then the boys loaded up their computer bits and went home. The next day Mike took Matthew over to my mom’s to stay the night. I have no idea why he wanted to do that with a brand new WII sitting here, but oh well.

Saturday we went to my grandparents where we played a silly game to exchange gifts and then the whole gang (well the 40 or so of us that were there…) went up to the hospital to carol for my uncle who was recovering from an angioplasty. I think we kinda freaked the security out when we entered en masse, then split up and basically filled 4 elevators and 2 stairwells, then reconvened in my uncle’s room!

Meagan scored a new tent, backpack, and sleeping bag, a movie and some popcorn. Matthew came home with a Spiderman car and 2 movies. I made a haul, too. I got 6 flashlights, a box of truffles, a travel mug, and Sodoku keychain.

The kids and I are all a year older now, too. Meagan turned 11, I turned 30, and Matthew turned 10. Mike and I had our 12th anniversary, too. That all means more goodies! Meagan asked for (and got) preschool toys from us for her birthday. She wanted play food and a tea set with plates. $10! SCORE! =) She also got a Barbie movie from one aunt and was supposed to get a video game from the other, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Matthew got 3 books from one aunt, Battleship from the other, and then we got him a big box of crayons and several super hero coloring books and put them in a Spiderman binder he’d seen at the dollar store and wanted. I got exactly what I asked for too… a black collage frame and a bottle of Lady Stetson. I picked out a nice sweater at the resale shop for Mike. He hasn’t worn it yet, but that could be because of the 70+ temperatures the last few days.

So we had a full gift load even before God gave us His gift this year. I’m not talking about Jesus or salvation right now either. That is of course the biggest and best gift. We received those gifts quite awhile ago and they are still oh-so-very precious! Every year God gives us the gift of family and friends and the like at Christmas time, but this year He gave us something more.

Yesterday I got a call from a friend of mine asking if we could use a new refridgerator. Well, she said, actually she knew we could, the question was whether we wanted one/would take one. Her parents had just gotten a new fridge and were offering their old one to us. And by old I mean AN INFANT compared to our tired, worn-out old fridge. Seriously. Their ‘old’ fridge is all of 4yr old. I think our fridge was probably vintage before theirs was even born. HAHA

So anyway. We got a new(to us!) fridge! =) Just like that. They brought it over and helped Mike get it in the house yesterday afternoon. God is SO good! I thank Him and our friends so much! My new fridge looks so pretty in my ugly kitchen (one of my goals for 2009, btw! lol). It’s a side-by-side and if we had a water line (we don’t, but if we did…) it would give us water and 2 different kinds of ice through the door! How cool is that?! Plus? It can hold gallonS (plural!!) of milk in the DOOR! WOOHOO!

I am so going to post pictures of the old and the new, but not tonight since my brand-new memory card reader is not working yet. I think my USB slot on the computer may be fried. =(

Christmas Gift Ideas

Last night’s message at church was really good. The pastor had lots of examples and illustrations and anecdotes, but the message was really quite simple…

What are you willing to give Jesus this CHRISTmas?

Jesus is the reason for the season. We are supposed to keep Christ in CHRISTmas.  I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t recognize and do that more than I do. I’ve been praying and thinking about how I can do a better job at that.

This is what I’m starting with…

I’m going back to (back to because I have done it in the past) baking a birthday cake for Jesus for one. It IS a celebration of His birth, after all.

When we celebrate our children’s births we generally throw them a party complete with balloons, games, cake, and gifts. Our children are very special and dear and their births really are something to celebrate…

Jesus is special and dear and His birth is really something to celebrate, too. And we do. That’s what Christmas is, of course.

We sure do celebrate His birth weird, though. Think about it. When we celebrate our children’s births we have good foods and presents. When we celebrate Jesus’ birth we have the same, but different. For our kids’ birthday celebration, we give gifts to the birthday boy or girl… the one whose birth we are celebrating. Jesus’ birthday celebration?? We give gifts to all the guests, sometimes we give gifts to OURSELVES even, but do we give gifts to the One whose birth we’re celebrating? Nope.

The kids get a cake and presents. What will Jesus get?

Ok, so chances are pretty good Jesus doesn’t really want a Tickle Me Elmo or a Bratz doll. He probably doesn’t need a new cell phone or back massager. While I’m sure He would be polite about receiving a green sweater with a reindeer on it, I don’t think that’s the kind of gift He REALLY wants.

I’m not sure any of the things you can find at the local WalMart or ‘in’ the many online stores are really fit to give the King.

The three wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those gifts are fit for a king, but I’m sure many, many kings have received gifts like that.

Jesus is not just a king, He is THE King of Kings. He doesn’t need any more gold. (Really, it all belongs to Him already anyway.)

So what kinds of gifts are fit for The King? Here are a few suggestions…

  • Give Him your bad habits. No I don’t mean give him a bottle of booze, a pack of smokes, a pile of garbage that you tossed out the car window, or a copy of that TV show you really shouldn’t be watching. I mean GIVE UP (REPENT OF) YOUR SIN! This could really be anything. Just because none of the above habits fit you, doesn’t mean you have none. There’s something you could give up. Ask Him what He’d like you to give up if you can’t think of something. (Don’t we ask our kids what they want for their birthday?)
  • Give Him your time. Just like our kids like spending time with us (going shopping maybe or reading them bedtime stories), so too does Jesus (going soul-winning or reading your bible). Maybe you could spend more time in prayer, bible reading/studying, soul-winning, Sunday School teaching, working on a bus route or VBS…
  • Give Him your service. This could actually be a dual gift with your time. Jesus spent a lot of time here on earth helping others. Caring for them and helping them with whatever they needed help with. Whether it was medical help (healing), physical help (food), emotional help (comforting), or spiritual help. We can do the same thing. We can reach out to our neighbors and give them aid when they’re hurt, we can share our resources (food, clothing, money, shelter, whatever) with those in need, we can certainly be kind (kindness costs nothing), and we can pray for others.
  • Give Him your life. This is all an-encompassing gift. This is the creme-de-le-creme sotospeak. With this gift you will be giving Jesus your repentance of sin, your time, and your service. Considering the gift He has given you**, it’s really not too over-the-top at all.

I think this year I’m going to start a new tradition of being sure to include the One whose birthday we’re celebrating on my gift list. I’m hoping to get the kids to include Him on theirs, too.

And yes, truth be told the cake is more for us than for Jesus. It’s just a little token to REMIND us whose celebration it really is and who should really be getting the gifts and the glory! Plus it’s tasty! =)

** If you’ve never received a gift from Jesus (or you’re not sure if you have), but would like to, or you’re wondering who this Jesus is and why anyone would want to give Him these gifts click here to read about The Gift of God.  Unlike the gifts we give each other, the gift Jesus has for you is not kept under wraps until a specific day. It’s not a secret. It’s guaranteed to not be the wrong size, color, or brand. It’s not cheap or last-minute. It will never break, wear out, or fade. It’s precious, priceless, and perfect. It’s eternal life in Heaven.

Oops!

I am such a nincompoop! I just wrapped hubby’s anniversary gift. I kinda sorta forgot to take the tag off. The one showing that I am such a cheapskate I shopped the resale shop for his gift. Think he’ll notice? =/

Rustola on the move…yeah right.

Well I didn’t wake up hurting nearly as bad as I thought I would. I wasn’t completely rusted over, in other words. Which is good because I really, really want to get a lot done today.

Which explains why I have been sitting here for almost 2.5hr reading blogs. YIKES!

Ok, so I have gotten a teensy bit done. For instance, the kids? At school, thank ye. The dishwasher? Running.

That’s pretty much it. =(  But hey! It’s cold! It was 22 degrees outside when I took the kids to school yesterday. The temp peaked at 29. Seriously. This morning it was 19! NINETEEN! That’s like a whole lot below freezing.

Since we have such a big house (no really… it’s only a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, but it was built almost 100 yrs ago, these rooms are HUGE), and only one gas space heater (ok, two if you count the one in the bathroom), you can imagine it’s been a bit nippy here.

That said, you would think that when I start emptying the four billion glasses and cups that my TWO children use in the space of nine seconds to load the dishwasher the milk that they swore they were going to drink (and didn’t!) would either clunk into the sink like a giant milk popsicle (because really it feels like the house is a freezer!) or pour out smoothly (because while it FEELS like a freezer, the ambient temperature in the house is probably closer to that of the refridgerator than the freezer…).

So wanna guess what that milk did? Did it clunk or did it pour?

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Schlop! It SCHLOPPED out of those glasses. Like the nasty thick, curdled milk frosties they were!

Dee-squs-ting!! >=Þ

Just call me Queen of Domesticity!

So I’m looking at that column over on the right there and I see “Recent Posts” and laugh out loud. Seriously. Cause while a couple of those listed there are kinda recent, the others most assuredly are NOT.

Guess what! I didn’t get the pics posted yet. And I won’t tonight either! So sue me. I did warn you, after all.

Thing is, while taking pictures is easy enough with the dig cam, getting them on the computer is a little more difficult.

I have to take the card out of the camera and put it into Mike’s computer, download the pics, then come in here to my computer and transfer them from computer to computer. THEN and only then can I crop, lighten, rotate, etc, and then post them on here.

Iit is something that only happens when Mike is at work AND I remember to go do it. What generally happens is that one or the other qualifications fits…but not both.

Will I get the pictures put up tomorrow? Possibly.

Here’s the thing… I am DESPERATELY trying to get the house picked up completely (well as completely as possible with 2 pre-teens, 2 kittens, and 1 husband…lol) and get the laundry and dishes caught up (again with the “as possible” line). That means that I will most likely be running around the house like a rusty tin woman looking for an oilcan. That is I’ll be creaking around as fast as I can but probably not actually achieving much.

I say that because it seems like I can get a fair amount done one day, but not so much two days in a row. Since I managed to get about 6 loads of laundry done, mail several auction sales out at the post office, fax some paperwork to my doctor’s office, dinner cooked, one kid picked up early from school, quick trip to the store for clear soda and packing tape, second kid picked up not-early from school, second coat of Bistro White painted on the little mirror I found at the resale shop a couple of weeks ago, one bill paid online, coatrack and mirror hung in the hall, most of the living room picked up, and most of the dining room table cleared all with only taking 2 doses of tylenol (no pain meds) today…

Yeah, chances are good tomorrow will see me playing the part of Rustola. =/

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to do with this blog in the next year. I’ve been blogging (with no audience except myself, but that’s ok) for almost a year now with really no direction whatsover. On the whole I like the loose, unscripted way of blogging. I’m not sure I want to NEVER have any direction for this thing though.

I’ve got a few ideas percolatin’ in my little pea-pecker. Nothing spectacular, but ideas nevertheless.

I know one thing I want to try and change around here… more pics! =)

Smells Nummy

Daddy took the kids Christmas shopping tonight. Matthew decided he wanted to give me his gift early so I could smell it before Christmas. hehe I lit the huge vanilla candle about 30min ago. Smelling awfully nummy in here now. =) Mmmmmmmm!!!!!


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