Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Things

Happy New Year's Eve!  I hope everyone spends some time tonight recalling the good things of the past year.  We all know there have been bad things as well.  But life is simply better when we are grateful for the good things!
I am thankful for hitting my goal of running one mile by my birthday this year!  My knee is still healing slowly, but it has come a long way!
I am thankful for my family hitting it's financial goal of completing Step #2 with Dave Ramsey's plan for Financial Peace!  2017 will be exciting to see what we can do!  I can't wait for the day when all chains of debt are gone and we are free!!
I am thankful for a year of growth and health!  There have been some rough moments; but these children keep growing and thriving!  I am thankful for the opportunity in life to be mother to pretty some amazing children :)
I hope you all have a safe and wonderful time ringing in the New Year!  And I pray for a blessed 2017 for all!
Tonight I am thankful for a year of good things!  I am thankful for a year of wonderful readers of this blog!  And I am thankful for the chance tomorrow to start a new year of being thankful for the simple and good things in life.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Patient for the Sun

Our family likes to go to the movies at the Sun Theater in Williamston.  Maybe once or twice a year we take the kids to the big theater.  We love the small town theater!
Tonight on the way to the theater, I was explaining to the kids why we wait for the movies to get to the Sun.  Just from our estimated calculations, going to the Sun Theater saves us close to $50 when our family goes to the movies!  That includes ticket prices, popcorn, and pop.  That is a pretty big savings in my book, when the movie is exactly the same!
This week, the kids have been waiting all week for to go to the movies!  I had first talked about taking them last Friday, if I remember right.  But this darn body of mine.  Pneumonia, to bronchitis, to a really bad cold has left my body completely and entirely exhausted.  I spent a good part of yesterday in bed . . . again.  I told the kids when I left this morning that I wasn't even promising that we could go tonight.  I had a lot of work to do today.  And I knew that by the time I got home, I would be barely awake . . . again.
I was correct.  I got home and went right to bed.  After a not long enough nap, I donned a hat to hide my tired sickly eyeballs and off we went.
I am happy to report that Muana was way better than the previews!  I didn't think the previews were bad, but they certainly didn't sell the movie for me.  All my kidings agreed too.
Tonight I am thankful for a fun night out with my kiddos at the movies!  I am glad I didn't fall asleep in the theater too!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Just Like 6th Grade

I remember when I was in 6th grade.  Everyone in the grade got a notebook.  I think it was a notebook anyway, maybe it was a folder.  Anyway, it was black and there were letters spelling out the school name in white.  It was pretty standard and basic.
One day I was sitting in class and I saw another girl had colored the white letters in with highlighters.  It was bright and colorful and I liked it.  I wanted to do it to my own.  But, I was in 6th grade.  The girl herself was nice.  I didn't think she would say anything.  But what about the other kids?  They would know that I copied her idea.  They would tease me for copying her.  So I didn't do it.
I waited at least two weeks.  It may have been longer, I don't remember.  But then one day, I did it.  I colored in my letters with colorful highlighters too.  And suddenly my plain black and white cover was alive and bright.  I loved it!  I went in to school ready to be ridiculed.  And guess what?  No one ever said a thing about it . . to my face anyway.
Do you want to know what I learned from that?  Well nothing right at first, I was just so relieved that no one teased me!  I got teased a lot that year; but not that day.  Later on when I thought about that cover though, I thought about the weeks that I wasted not doing what I wanted out of fear of being called a copy-cat.  What a waste!
I shared this story today with my child who was afraid to do something that they liked for fear of what others would say; since there was already someone else who had done the same thing.  There is so much pressure sometimes to be be "an original" that we forget that not everything in life should be original.  There is so much to learn from watching others.  I mean, hey, everything we learn in school is new to us, but someone else knows it and does it.  Everything we learn, we see, and we do has most likely been done.  That doesn't make it any less ours when we take it in as a part of ourselves.
Such a fitting lesson at times I believe.
I've spent a good part of this last year with goals to make some business plans originally mine.  I have learned in this past year that I don't know enough to make my own original success story here.  As I mentioned in last night's blog, I have ordered some books from people who have had success in what I want to do.  What am I planning on doing here?  I want to learn and copy some of their ideas.  I won't be a true copy cat though.  I'll be incorporating their ideas in to what works for me.  When I colored my cover with highlighters back in middle school, I didn't copy her exact color scheme; but I liked her idea.  Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  It is also a good way to learn from others without having to have every single idea be an original in life.  If I had to learn everything in life by myself, on my own, I wouldn't be where I am today by any means.  And where I want to be in five years is not somewhere I can be by myself, with my own limited original ideas.
Tonight I am thankful for the ideas and knowledge that is to be gained by others in life.  Whether it be a pretty 6th grade colorful cover or ideas to grow a business in an untapped market; there are ideas out there just waiting to be heard and utilized!  Sometimes my adult life and my childrens' lives are going thru similar things, on different levels.  So we rally together!  I will learn and emulate good business plans and my child will embrace the style that draws them in!  And we will both be happier with our lives and with ourselves for making decisions that are true to ourselves!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Measurable

Let's talk about resolutions.  New Years is approaching fast.  I was curious, so I looked up the actual definition.  The internet offers 1) a firm decision to do or not to do something and 2) the action of solving a problem.
Well . . . neither of those work for the goals I'm setting for next year.
I've had a long standing New Year's tradition of not only planning some big goals for the next year, but also recapping the previous year.  I don't know, maybe I like closure.  Or maybe I feel more prepared to make new goals after measuring the old ones.
So in 2016 (and 2015) I've worked my butt off!!!  Not literally, I wasn't in the gym or anything.  I had made huge financial goals to get out of debt and we have done awesome with that.  I am very proud of how far we've come!  I don't have regrets because I see how much this hard work has paid off.  But I'm definitely ready to change some things.
This Christmas season I had made several plans to try and do things and bless others.  And lots of doors were closed when I tried to go thru them.  To this, I am admitting that "to everything there is a season".  This is a time for me to rest.  My body needs to rest.  My mind needs to rest.  I have pushed very hard, for very long, with very good reason.  And now I rest for a time.
Then, after the resting, I have some new goals.  Goals are measurable.  They are a bit different than resolutions.  Goals are made up of lots of little decisions, every single day, to keep going, to keep working towards the finish line, and to celebrate milestones along the way.  My goals for 2017 include quite a bit of learning.
I am going to work on switching some gears in my life.  To go in a new direction, and do it well, it is best to see what lies on the road of the new direction!  For this I am thankful for amazon and ebay.  I've ordered a few good books written by people who have "been there and done that".  I want to hear what they have to say.  I don't have all the measurable steps yet for my new goals.  I don't know what they should be yet.  So I must learn.
I'm excited!
For 2017 my resolution won't be a one statement thing.  But my 2017 goals are going to be awesome!  I may not be ready to lay out the goal plan until mid-January.  But I'm excited to change gears!  And I think the best part is that I feel I've reached my 2016 goals pretty well.  Reaching one goal helps fuel a person on to the next goal, so here I come!
Tonight I am thankful for the reflective and hopeful spirit of New Years!  I hope you can look back on your 2016 and find things that you are proud of . . . sometimes that is just survival.  And if it is, be proud you survived!!  I hope you can make some good goals for 2017 to keep you fueled, on fire, and living life!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

$35.86

This Christmas we added another cell phone to our family.  *sigh*
It was time.  But, really, I'd be ok if the kids didn't have cell phones at all.
I've been looking at charging stations designed for multiple devices for just a little bit.  And I've been pretty shocked by the prices on the things.  I want something that I won't have to replace once all the kids have cell phones and possibly have tablets, etc.  For what I'm looking at, prices are all above $60.  The majority of them, that have the speed and features I want, are a bit above that.
Last week I ordered a USB 10-port fast charger from amazon - $27.99.  Today I bought a dish drainer at Walmart for $7.87.  -
BAM!  I now have a charging system for up to 10 devices, all divided and organized in their stations for a total of $35.86.  I don't need a set up for 10 devices yet, so I could have went a bit cheaper.  But, I'm looking down the next few years here.
Tonight I am thankful for a nice, organized charging station for all present and future household devices at a discount from online prices!

Monday, December 26, 2016

What He's Done To You

I know how you are feeling.  I want you to know that I see you there.  And I know how you feel.
You feel so many things right now: hurt, anger, sadness, and questions, so many questions that you can't even phrase them all.
There are people in your life that should care and that should love you above all else.  The words are there, you hear the words.  "I love you" is nice to hear.  But it is empty when you don't feel it.
You question yourself.  Why aren't you loved more?  How could he leave?  He says you are loved.  If he loved you, like he should love you; then this wouldn't have happened.  He wouldn't be so far away.  He wouldn't have a new family again.  You wouldn't feel replaced, unvalued, unspecial, and unloved.  You wonder why you aren't enough for him to love you like he should.
I want to tell you right now that it is not you.  It is not you at all dear girl.  I've been where you are.  I've felt what you are feeling.  And I hope you learn that it is not you.
You are told to be understanding.  That people make these decisions in life and that you have to accept it.  But it doesn't make sense to your heart.  Your heart doesn't want to understand it.  And it shouldn't make sense to your heart.  Your heart is not wrong to be broken.  He should not be so selfish.  And that is what it is my dear girl.  He thinks of himself first.  He puts himself before you.  This is his problem.  This is not your problem and not your fault.  He hides from his mistakes and looks only inside.  If he's looking at himself, then he can't look right at you, and then he doesn't feel as bad.  He does what makes himself happy for the moment instead of picking the right road, the harder road in life.  And you see dear girl, you see how much pain this kind of living puts on those who love him.  He makes his decisions and you are the one that hurts.  You suffer.  He says he misses you and that he understands.  But he doesn't.  He could.  But, he won't. He won't put himself in your shoes because he doesn't want to own the hurt he's caused.  And he doesn't want to work to fix it.  He doesn't want to because it is not easy.  Please know that this weakness is his shortcoming and not your own.
You will see it one day.  And you will be mad.  You will be even madder than you are now.  You will be mad at the man that he isn't.  And you will be mad at the pain he inflicted.  And you will be mad at yourself for loving someone so nearsighted in life.  And this is when you can start to heal dear girl.  You can heal because next you learn to forgive.
You forgive yourself for loving someone that has broken your heart.  You were meant to love him.  You are not wrong for loving him.  And you can learn how to love someone while keeping boundaries with them.  A person doesn't have to be of the best character for you to love them.  But it is important to keep yourself from being so close where there is just hurting and hurting and hurting; you stand away.  You draw a line in the sand and you say, Yes I love you.  I will always love you.  But you can't keep hurting me like this.  Then dear girl, you decide how much distance you need and you keep that distance.  It isn't cold.  It isn't evil.  And he may say that you are the bad one for doing this.  You are not.  You can not change him.  You cannot make him love you selflessly, like he should.  So you love him how you can, without letting it destroy you.
Then you forgive him.  You forgive him for who he is.  You forgive him for not loving you before himself, like a parent should.  You forgive him for not seeing how much you hurt; maybe even if you tell him.  Sometimes the words just can't get thru, I know.  I've tried this too.  You forgive him.  You learn to do this.  And then you find some peace.  I prayed.  I still pray.  So much.  It is easy sometimes to let the anger or the hurt feelings win.  But, your peace is more important.  Your precious, precious heart is more important.
I wish I could save you.  I wish I could shake him and make him see what he is doing.  He is breaking pieces of your heart that he can't ever fix again.  The empty words, the broken promises, the silence, his absence; they are breaking the trust and the reliance that you should be able to have with him.  But it isn't you.  Don't ever believe that it is you.  You see that he chose walking away over standing in life.  And you remember this.  Because you decide who you will become when you grow up.  And you can remember what things in life you should work to fix and what things you should hang on to.  And you will be stronger.
Tonight I will be thankful if you read this and it helps you.  It took me many years, many tears, and many moments by myself trying to keep things straight.  He loves you as much as he can, always know that.  But he is broken.  And he chooses not to fix what is broken.  And that brokenness is breaking you.  But you can heal.  You can see what is broken and you can choose to fix it.  I have so much faith in you, that you can do the things he can't.  I love you so much.  I hope you know that . . always.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

7:02

I hope everyone has had a very Merry Christmas!
My kiddos continued their tradition that they started last year.  They like to wake up at crazy hours on Christmas morning.  But we set a time that they are actually allowed to come downstairs.  Last year they set up a little fake tree upstairs in the boys' room and they put their gifts to each other there.  They they could wake up early and open presents to play with.  That was a brilliant idea of theirs!  And it worked well again this year.
7:02 am there were kids at my door.  They had been up for awhile and they were ready to go!  The hubster and I stumbled out to the living room and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas morning!!
I have found out that a person recovering from all the crap I've had going on should not over-do things.  But, I had overdone things for the past couple days.  So I ended up having to come back to bed.  I've spent a good part of Christmas day laying down today.  But, it was worth it!
The kiddos all had a good Christmas :)  Now I'm back in bed and I'm listening to my family watching Christmas movies and playing with their gifts in the living room.  My heart is full even if my body is weak.
Tonight I am thankful for a wonderful Christmas with my family!  The house is a mess and everyone has had too much sugar; but it has been a great day!

Merry Christmas!

The hubster and I just finished our annual Christmas wrapping for the kids.  Every year we decide that we will wrap the items as they enter the house.  And every year the UPS man comes and I'm shoving boxes all over the house.
Tonight I am thankful for all the presents being wrapped so we can go to sleep!  I am thankful for a wonderful Christmas Eve party with my parents and my Grandma.  I am thankful for the anticipation of a wonderful Christmas tomorrow!  And I wish all of you a day full of love and happiness tomorrow!

Friday, December 23, 2016

All Hands On Deck Holiday Emergency!!

A couple weeks ago I posted about the quilt that I had wanted to make for my Grandma for Christmas.  And how the quilt idea didn't really work out.  But, that weekend I brainstormed and transformed the idea a bit, in to something I could handle on my own.
It was the day after that day when I started getting really sick.  It was two days after that that my temperature was a little shy of 103 degrees (I honestly don't remember exactly what it was, I was a bit out of it at the time).  It was three days after that when I went in to the doctor and got the pneumonia diagnosis.
Fast forward two weeks of trying to keep up with work, kids, and minimal holiday plans while trying to rest and keep my temperature below 100, when it really wanted to NOT be below 100; and the blanket still sits where it was that fateful day.  Alright, so I don't even know what plan I'm up to on this thing, maybe Plan G or H?  I'm Not Giving Up!  And, it is obvious that I could not get this thing done how I had planned by the Christmas party at 4 pm tomorrow.
This morning I was scouring the different types of fabric adhesive available at WalMart.  I found the best one for my project, and brought home two cans.  It has taken four hours to properly glue, heat, and attach the photo fabric and ribbons.  This stuff is supposed to be good in the washing machine and dryer.  But I still don't trust it completely.  I mean, come on, this is for my Grandma!  I have to KNOW that it will be good for her!
Tomorrow I will enlist my children that know how to sew, and we are all going to do some re-enforcement stitches in the corners.  I think we can pull it off and make it look decorative.  Then I plan on writing every one's names on the ribbon photo frames.  Of course Grandma knows who we all are!  But some of the photos are a little fuzzy and I don't want her to wonder who she is looking at if she can't find her glasses at night!
Tonight I am thankful for fabric adhesive which should be long-lasting help for my last-minute dilemma!  And I am thankful that two of my children can sew confidently!  The younger two might be getting some crash courses tomorrow morning!  I think this is going to be an all-hands-on-deck situation to get done in time!  But, We Will Get Done In Time!
Merry Christmas Eve, Eve Everyone!
P.S.  The photo isn't the best.  It looks better in person!  :)


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Crabby

So here is a day where this blog comes in handy.  A mood like right now is one of the reasons this "experiment" of writing something to be thankful for every day for one year has turned in to many, many years of being thankful!
I am feeling fairly defeated right now.  It has been 10 days since being diagnosed with pneumonia, which makes it a few more days than 10 of feeling like crap.  I've finished all my medication.  I've been diffusing different oils.  I've been taking extra vitamins.  I've been trying to rest more (although that part has been difficult).  So why?  Why have I been going downhill the last few days?  I've been trying so hard to be good.
Doctor says that the pneumonia has cleared up.  Yay!  Now there is bronchitis and who knows what else. Here, have some more medicines to help, was the good doctor's advice.  *sigh*  Christmas is in 3 days.  I have so much to do.  But I'm barking like a dog and getting as tired as a toddler.
This all makes me a bit of a crabby person.
Now is not a good time to be a crabby person.
So, it is time to get rid of the crabbies.
Here I go.  I am thankful that the pneumonia is gone.  I am thankful for medicines to keep me from being contagious so I don't get my family sick.  I am thankful for forceful rest . . because I rarely rest voluntarily.  I am thankful for Christmas time.  I have our special holiday movies to enjoy while I rest.  I am thankful for kiddos home who are trying their best to be good so Mom can get better.  I am thankful that it is me who is not well, and not the children.  I am thankful that bronchitis is as bad as it is.  I am very curable and that is a big blessing!  I am thankful for doctors who are there to help.  And I am thankful for all that I have to be thankful for, so I remember not to stay crabby!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Vision

I can report that after two weeks with my glasses and no contacts, an eye dilation isn't as horrible as it normally is.  It still is NOT fun for me though!
But, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade!  So, with my inability to focus on things and see correctly, we took our annual family trip to Jackson tonight to see their drive-thru light display!
We are a Pizza Hut loving family for sure!  Sadly, all the Pizza Huts that were located close to us have closed.  So last year we incorporated Pizza Hut in to our light night!  We order when we leave home, the pizza is ready when we get to Jackson, and we munch while we admire the lights!  It is a very enjoyable time!  My kids even did their chores fairly well today to be able to leave as soon as the hubster got home!
Tonight I am thankful for a night of pretty Christmas lights!
P.S. If you have never been to the Jackson Fairgrounds for the drive thru light displays, I highly recommend it!  The program said it took 5 people a total of 12 weeks to set up all the lights!  For only $20/vehicle, it is also a family friendly cost!



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The New Place

Last week my littlest had a cavity filled at their new dentist.  The kids' new dentist is my dentist.  And I have to say, they did such a good job that I was wishing I had moved the kids there awhile ago!  Even the kids have mentioned how much they like the new dentist better and the actual tooth care is gentler.
Today was the last test from this dentist move.  Today was two more kids getting fillings.  One of the kids today has only had one filling before.  And it did not go so well at the old place.  So I was pretty nervous for today.
I am happy to report that it went well today!  Hooray!!  Now all the kids have had cleanings and three kids have had fillings at their new dentist.  And all four kids state that they would gladly return to this dentist office in the future!
Tonight I am thankful that even the less desirable fillings have gone over well at the new dentist office!  Dentists can be scary and shots can be nerve wrecking.  But now the kids know that they are safe and cared for at the new office!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Scribes

I am still trying to rest.  I'm still not doing so well at it.  This was just seriously, not a good time for pneumonia.  When is there a good time?  I don't know.  But certainly it is not before Christmas!
I am getting better at asking for help though!  Tonight, the children were each given a writing test.  It doesn't take much to write better than I do, but I wanted to give them a test anyway.  Everyone got approved to be Christmas card writers!  Hooray!
I'm wishing I've taught them to sew better.  I need help with the Christmas blanket present this week . .
Tonight I am thankful for my little scribes who have lightened the holiday load this year with the Christmas card assistance!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Making Plans

I've been thinking about 2017 already!  Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying today!  I am looking forward to Christmas and New Years and some fun times with the family!
It is good to have a current plan, a short term plan, and a long term plan!  With my first year of Ethos Real Estate West almost in the books, I'm ready to make some concrete, measurable goals for 2017!
This first year was my get-your-feet-wet year.  I've learned a bit about running the brokerage.  I've had some good ideas and some not-so-great ideas.  The biggest hurdle for me personally has been trying to balance the real estate brokerage and my appraisal business together.  I am blessed with working with wonderful people in both businesses!  And this helps immensely!  But I definitely need some improvement with my personal time spent on both businesses.
Balance . . . yes, this is a biggie on the list for 2017.  2016 was the year for just smashing our financial goals!  Gazelle Intense was running thru my mind as I worked, worked, worked!  And now, Baby Step 2 is done and gone.  Woo Hoo!
Baby Step 3 is slated to be done by March or sooner.  Once that one is done, I'm kicking it down a gear.  That will be fun!  Then I will have more time to invest in the brokerage plans I'm working on now!
There has been a big part of life that I have had goals; although not usually regularly measurable goals.  Mostly this is because I'm not the best at details.  So I set these big goals and then just head in that direction.  This approach has worked for some things in life.  But not all.
I've really noticed this year that I am in an area of life that has required more measurable goals to keep moving forward.  There is a saying, "a goal without a plan is just a dream".  And like all my other plans in life, it is good to have a plan A, plan B, etc. until there is a plan that works!  When plan A doesn't work, it doesn't mean that the whole thing is a failure . . . it just means that it is time to move to plan B!
Tonight I am thankful for setting some good goals for 2017!  The plans are still a work in progress, but I am optimistic!!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Suck

I knew I overdid it yesterday.  I knew when I woke up that I was way to tired.  But I already had the day planned.  A pneumonia diagnosis on Tuesday did not automatically clear my calendar.  My job does not have sick days.  I have no back up.  And my clients can offer sympathies but no real extensions of the days needed for rest.  Thursday was really packed, which made no time for rest.  This made waking up Friday a slow under taking.
Alright, but no time for a pity party, so I was off.  I had to get my morning appointments done in time to be at the school for the kids' Christmas stuff.  I was getting very sleepy driving around.  But a crank of the radio and a large coke from a drive thru and I hung in there.  The kids' school Christmas celebrations were fun!  I love the all school sing along :)  I think that is my favorite :)  Back home I had more reports to finish, so I just kept plugging along.  Finally I was falling asleep at my desk, so I went to bed.
I actually slept good last night.  Most of this week I've not been sleeping good.  I was relieved to have slept in until 8.  I was not so relieved that I woke up because a child came in and said "Time to wake up!".  Grrrr.  Anyway, I was only up for about 2 hours and had to go back to bed.  I slept about 3 or 4 more hours.  Then was up for another hour.  Then back to bed.  And there was my day, Up, Bed, Up, Bed, Up, Bed, Up, Bed.  I am trying really hard not to be cranky.  I have so much to do.  Christmas is in one week.  I feel behind on work from being so tired.
I suck at resting.  I simply do.
Of course I know pneumonia is a serious thing.  But I guess I didn't realize that over-doing it one day would completely wipe out the next day.  Grumble, grumble, grumble.  Lesson learned.
I'm hoping for a much better tomorrow.  I should definitely be well rested.  I did some research today on some natural things that help with pneumonia too.  So I've taken some garlic, vitamin C, cayenne pepper, and turmeric.  There were some other things suggested that I don't have here.
Tonight I am thankful for a day with nothing actually written on the calendar.  I still have a lot on my to-do list, but there was no where that I had to be today, except my bed.  And with that, I'm off to sleep some more.  I think this is the most I have slept in a 24 hour period in at least 5 years, maybe even 10.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shining Defining Moments

Every now and then on this parenting road, there are defining moments that shine thru letting a person know that these children are growing in to good people.  This week, I was blessed with these moments.
My son came up to me after watching Willy Wonka for the billionth time (ok, maybe not really that many times, but it is a favorite in my living room).  He said, "that movie makes me realize how much we have".  I asked, "What do you mean?"  He told me that for their birthdays they get a cake and presents and a fun day for them.  On the movie, Charlie got a scarf that his mom made him and one candy bar from all four grandparents.  I told my son today now, days later, that I am really proud of him for noticing that.  And that I wanted him to notice that Charlie's scarf and candy bar meant a lot to him, because that was all they could afford to give him.  Charlie was happy because he knew his gifts came from their heart; just like the celebrations in this house - and we are blessed to be able to have birthdays like we do.
Another child of mine has spent weeks thinking of heartfelt gifts for her friends.  And she has spent countless hours on these gifts.  As she told me her ideas, I thought they were good.  But watching her put in the time for the gifts was beyond heartwarming.  She wanted to brighten everyone's day.  And she poured her heart in to that task!
Have you ever seen that saying about treating a janitor the same as you treat a CEO?  I've seen that saying a few different ways.  I don't think I've ever made a point to the children of titles; but we've definitely discussed treating everyone the same.  As the kids made goodie bags to take to the adults at school, my daughter showed me the one that she was going to give to the janitor; and all I could think about was that saying of treating everyone with the same respect.  I am beyond honored that my children see people for people and not for titles.
I have one child in particular that I've been working on with not thinking of himself first in all his thoughts.  As rest has been hard to come by in my rambunctious house, I had a talk with the kids today about letting me rest.  Yesterday my temperature had gone down, today it was going back up.  I explained what would happen if I did not rest.  Now, I know that I am Mom, so I am already in the kids' hearts.  But when hearing more about this pneumonia stuff and how people go to the hospital that don't take care of this, my boy cried.  I assured him that I had no intention of going to the hospital, and that is why it was important that I rested.  But his heart was crushed seeing where his lack of conscious consideration could lead.  He apologized and he tried a bit harder tonight.
Tonight I am thankful for my children.  They are growing, and will continue to grow, in to good people.  I am proud to be their mother for so many reasons.  This week and always, their wonderful hearts are at the top of that list.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

PART-AY

Tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas break.
My house has been a buzz of excitement!  One child has been making her friends the most heartfelt, homemade gifts.  One child has been working hard and saving up to buy a few special items.
All the children were looking forward to baking special treats to bring in.  But, since today was the first day my temperature was below 100 degrees all week, baking has been postponed and the Hershey company was happy to step in and provide goodies for goody bags.
Special Christmas outfits are planned for some of the kids.  They are looking forward to a Christmas concert by the band!  Class Christmas parties!  And the Elementary gets to do their annual sing-a-long!
Tonight I am thankful for an exciting day tomorrow for the kiddos.  This should make them getting up in the morning very easy too!!  Mommy Bonus!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Eyeballs (To Be Continued in January)

Maybe a month ago or so, my eyes decided that they didn't like my contacts too much.  This was not ok with me.  I do not like my glasses.
A little history - I got glasses in 4th grade.  I was in love with pink then - dusty rose to be exact.  And I got plastic frames in this color.  By the end of 5th grade I still liked pink, but hated that my glasses were that color.  I hated wearing them.  I just hated them!  So I stopped wearing them.  I liked to my mom and said that I could see better.  
For a whole year, no one was the wiser.  I got to be an excellent note taker at school.  I couldn't see the board, but teachers say everything that they write on the board.  All I had to do was pay attention and take good notes, and it didn't matter that I couldn't see.  7th grade, I wanted to play basketball.  I didn't realize a sports physical would test my eye sight.  I was busted.  I cried when I apologized to my mom for lying.  I just hated the glasses so much!  She got me contacts.  
Twenty six years of contacts when I leave the house and glasses just at home.  And it was all coming to an end.  My eyes just couldn't stand the contacts.  My eyes have been so tired.  I put contacts in the morning and it feels like I've had them in for two days.  
Well, that was it.  I still hate my glasses.  I am not going to wear them every day for the rest of my life!  So I got online and looked up Lasik Surgery in Lansing.
Here's what I've learned; There are franchises of Lasik surgery centers.  So when I did an internet search with the word Lasik, all the franchises came up.  This incorrectly led me to believe that there were no Lasik places near me.  Last Tuesday I drove a little over an hour away and had an appointment at a Lasik franchise place.
A few things there didn't sit right with me.  The biggest was that a technician did the eye exam.  Then she dilated my eyes.  After my eyes  were starting to dilate, the doctor did his own exam and wrote down numbers.  I am smart enough to know that my eyes dilated are not the same as my eyes undilated.  Geesh!
I came home and did some more research online.  There were several complaints against the Lasik franchises online.  So I started asking around.  It turns out that a LOT of people that I know have had Lasik done.  And some had it done right here in Lansing.  The place that I called is an actual doctor's office.  I called them with the attitude of "change my mind".  I wasn't wanting to go to Grand Rapids anymore at that point and needed good reason.  And they gave it to me.
They are much more thorough and more concerned about me as a patient.  I went in today for a consultation.  They wanted me to be in my glasses, no contacts, for two weeks before coming in for a consultation.  Since I called them last week, that wasn't possible.  The receptionist told me that was ok, that they would just do some re-measurements before surgery.  When I saw the doctor today, he said no way.  They did a couple tests, but I'm going back in next week.  Contacts can change the shape of your eye and they want to make sure they get the most accurate measurements of my eye.  The Lasik franchise place was not even concerned about that in the least.
So I'll go back next week for the rest of my consultation.  And I'll be having Lasik surgery on January 3rd!  What a great way to start the new year!!
The funny thing about all this is that I'm pretty sure my contact intolerance goes hand in hand with this extremely tired pneumonia-caused stuff.  So if something good comes from pneumonia, it will be me finally overcoming my laser fear and making the decision to have this done.  Now that I am moving in this direction, I am SO excited!  I wish I could do it tomorrow!
Tonight I am thankful for the decision to get this done.  I am thankful for the reassurance of friends and family who shared their stories!  And I am thankful for feeling confident in the doctor and facility that I am trusting with my vision!  It's a pretty important thing!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Promises

Yesterday my temperature was 102.7.  I cancelled my appointments and worked at my desk.  I drank plenty of fluids and truly expected to feel better this morning.  This same thing happened 3 or 4 weeks ago; I had gotten a fever for no apparent reason.  I rested a bit, and the next day it was gone.
Yesterday I promised the hubster that if I had a fever over 100, that I would go see a doctor today.  This morning was 101 something.  I was on the road for 7 1/2 hours today.  I felt completely wiped out when I got home.  I checked my temperature and it was 99.7.  About a half hour later, it was back up over 100.  So I went in.
I felt a little silly.  They asked what was wrong and I said I have a fever.  That's it.  There aren't any other huge symptoms.  I've been pretty tired for weeks, but surely that was just my schedule.
Honestly, I've been pretty proud of myself, I've been sleeping 7/8 hours a night for the past 3 or 4 weeks.  I set out to do it.  One week I was going back to my 4/6 hours and my body did NOT like that at all.  So I figured after all the years of too little sleep, my body had just had enough and I should listen.  And I've done well!  Which made me even more confused that I've been sleeping more and still being so darn tired all the time.
Well, here I am, pneumonia.  I came home and researched it.  I wanted to know how I got this!  Sorry to be "like that", but I didn't think healthy people in their mid 30s got pneumonia.  Well, they can.  A person can be any age and be perfectly healthy and still get it.  This made me feel much better, that there is a possibility that I didn't do this to myself.  I'll never know.  But there's a chance, so I'm leaning that way!
Tonight I am thankful for promising the hubster that I would go in to the doctor today.  I could have just rested a bit more and carried this around for who knows how long!  Now I have my antibiotics, and my instructions to rest a bit more.  Yay for me!  Ok, not really, I'm not good at resting.  But I will.  And I will get better.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Junior

Last week our 70% off Financial Peace Junior came in the mail.  Last night we all sat down together and went over everything.  I'm excited!
We've been trying to change things for the kids for the past couple years, to get them to learn the value of work, earn their own money, and be responsible.  We have had some good ideas and some flops.  And now we have more resources at our disposal!
The kids liked the things we went over.  And the kids' weekly commission logs are now redesigned.  I like the new design better!  They write down weekly what their savings goal is and where there give money is going to go.  Of course the spending is easy, they don't need to write that down.
Tonight I am thankful for Financial Peace Junior.  They have a handful of lessons in the activity book.  And they have some story books to reinforce lessons.  We are going to do one lesson per week.  I think that'll be a great way to go!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Snow

I like snow for Christmas!  I love the beauty of the big, fluff flakes!
And before I hear, "Well you don't have to shovel it".  Actually, yes, I was outside shoveling for quite a bit today.
I have felt very blessed with the warmer weather in November.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I was definitely getting a little concerned with the thought of too much warmth for Christmas though.  I love a white Christmas!  Or at least a white Christmas time!
My first year of college I was in Oklahoma and I'll just never forget the feeling of Christmas shopping in 70 degree weather.  It all seemed very odd to me and I couldn't wait to get home to the snow!  Mind you mid-January, I've usually had my fill.  I've done sledding, snowmen, and all the fun snow stuff by mid-January.  I'm always hoping the groundhog will predict an early spring come February.  But I do love white, fluffy snowflakes in December!
Tonight I am thankful for a beautiful snowfall today!  Everyone drive safe out there!  And a big thank you to those out clearing the roads so that people can get out and about!  Oh yes, and the kids are thankful for no school tomorrow . . . well my band girl is a bit bummed.  She was getting excited about her Christmas band concert.  I was getting excited too.  Hopefully they can reschedule?  Or maybe I'll have her pretend she has a complete percussion set in our living room and make believe she is playing!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Plan C or D . . Maybe E

Have you ever had a brilliant idea that seemed to take a lot of tries to get it right?
Well, that's where I'm at.
Last night I talked a little about a quilt I wanted to make for my Grandma.  This whole thing started shortly after her birthday.  It was so far away from Christmas at that point, that I was just going to make her a quilt with everyone's picture on it and give it to her.  Now we are close to Christmas and it still isn't done.
I had talked to the quilt shop two different times.  I had made two different trips for fabric - the first trip had such a rude store employee that I just left the store.  I spent lots of time sorting thru pictures.  I put the pictures on the fabric.  Today I drove to the quilt shop, to be told that they couldn't help me.  Apparently I didn't have all the details on what they would need to put the quilt together.  And today was their last day to turn in materials to have a quilt by Christmas.
I was obviously unhappy.  So, I thought, I'll just make the quilt myself!  So what if I've never made a quilt before.  I could surely do it.  Oh yeah, except my sewing machine is broke.  I've had it at my mom's house to see if she could fix it and she hasn't found the problem yet.
Ok, maybe I could check with some quilters I know to see if they could help.  Except, come on, it is two weeks before Christmas.  I just don't see that happening.
So then I scratched the idea of a quilt.  A blanket, I'll just make a regular blanket for her.  No, I'll sew the fabric pictures on to a blanket!
So back out to Meijer's I went.  I'd already spent over an hour there earlier today getting groceries.  But, back I went.  I found the perfect comforter in a tan color.  I measured out the area that will actually show on top of her bed.  I don't want to put pictures so people will be hanging off the side of the bed.  Grandma is 90 years old, the blanket should be easy to see everyone.
Alright, I've got a good plan now!  I bought some different colored ribbon to "frame" the pictures on the blanket.  It'll look good.  I pinned all the pictures on the blanket and put the thing away for the night!!  Sheesh!  It was time to rest!
Tonight I am thankful for a plan that will work for Grandma's picture blanket!  Two weeks until Christmas is still plenty of time to sew 30 pictures on to a comforter and frame them in ribbon!  I can do that!  It helps knowing that she is going to absolutely love this gift!  And she will fall asleep every night wrapped in her loving family :)

<In Process Pictures Only>



Friday, December 9, 2016

Two

Some nights it gets time to write my blog and it is hard to narrow down just one thing that I am thankful for!  Tonight is such a night! So:
I love the game Family Feud!  I can't wait until the kids are old enough for us to try and get on that game show.  That is really the only game show that I would care to go on.  Even the Price is Right, would not be the show for me.  And I am pretty good at prices!  But no, Family Feud is the only one that I would care to participate in.  Guess how excited I was to find a home game of Family Feud for way cheap in one of the after Thanksgiving sales!?!  It came in the mail the other day and I've been waiting for the official "weekend" to play.  Tonight was the night!  I was the host tonight :)  Then they took turns asking just me the questions and I was rocking them!  I see many, many fun times in our future with that game!!
*No appropriate segway fits here*  I had a brilliant idea back in the summer to make a quilt for my grandma.  She is always cold.  And we have the equipment here to put pictures on fabric.  So, we could make a quilt for grandma with everyone in the family on the squares!  She will love it!  She will stay warm, wrapped up with all her loved ones!  (PS, don't tell grandma about this, she doesn't know!)  Well, I never got around to it in the summer.  So it seemed like it would be perfect to have done by Christmas!  There is a company the next town over that are professional quilters.  That is great, because I've never made a quilt and I don't think two weeks before Christmas is the time for me to start trying.  I called them today and the absolute last day to submit materials and have the quilt done by Christmas is tomorrow.  I've been working most of the night and I finally have all the pictures on the fabric and ready for quilting!  I'll hit the deadline!
Tonight I am thankful for a fun game tonight!  I am thankful that it will provide many more nights of fun in this house too!  And I am thankful for having all the pieces ready to go to the quilter tomorrow!  Whew!  That's a load off, right there!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Burnt

I have made it well known on here that I am a thrifty shopper.  I will admit here and now though . . . I overpay for something twice every month.
See, shortly after we moved in to this house the Schwan's man stopped by.  We chatted for awhile and he left his catalog.  I ordered a few things and they were good.  I wasn't planning at that time on continuing to purchase items.  But, here's the thing . . the guy is so nice.  He's nice to the kids. He's nice to the dogs.  He's nice to my herd of kitties.  He's just one of those really nice, personable people.
So here it is, years later and we keep buying things.  I budget for it.  What we buy from him comes out of the grocery budget.  And we really don't buy a lot.  There are a few items that I get regularly.   When things go on sale, I try new things.  And the last time he was here, I decided to try something new.
We made it tonight.  And the directions may not have been followed to the letter.  I was in my office working and could smell the burning food!  I think the toaster oven time may have been mistaken for the microwave oven time.  Ah well.
Tonight I am thankful for back-up dinner options kept in our freezer!  I don't know yet if the lasagna roll-ups from the Schwan's man are good or not.  And we probably won't find out until they go back on sale.  In the meantime, I am also thankful for our friendly, neighborhood Schwan's delivery man.  I could get some of the things cheaper at Meijer's or Aldi's.  But, they do have fantastic ice cream and French Baguette Bread!!  And the dogs look forward to the treats he brings them every two weeks!

Disclaimer - Lest there be any confusion here, this is not a love letter about the Schwan's man.  This was simply explaining why I still overpay for food.  The man tried to find my husband a job when he was job hunting.  The man still asks about my mother, who he met once several years ago when she was here while he was making a delivery.  My husband and I both feel that the man is just too nice to tell him to go away.  In life, you don't hurt bunnies, you don't slap your grandma, and you don't tell a super nice, caring person to go away when your business helps support his family.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Like Animal Healing

I have two animals in my house right now that have had traumatic things happen to them.  The first is Molly, the pitbull.  She is the one who got shot by a hunter and had an arrow stuck in to her spine.  The second is Mittens, the cat.  She is the one who I found on the side of the road and half of her body was frozen.
I've watched both of these animals heal.  I guess I never really thought deeply about their healing.  Over the weekend, my brother made a comment about Molly and how well she is aging for a dog who was shot with an arrow.  He is very right.  She is doing wonderful.  I told him there was a time that I thought she would always have some issues though.  It was over a year from the arrow incident when she jumped up on her back legs and went down fast with a yelp, a wince, and a quick turn of her body.  She still had some pain now and then.  She doesn't now.  She moves however she wants now and she feels fine.
Mittens is the same way.  It was well over a year and her back legs still gave out on her sometimes.  I would watch her try and jump to high places.  Her front legs would make it, but her back legs wouldn't help at all and she would fall.  But somewhere along the way, she got better.  She kept at it and now she can jump just like any other cat.
The point is that both of these animals took well over a year before they were completely back to "normal".  I'm sure it was frustrating for them at times.  But they kept trying.  They never stopped trying to do the things that they knew they should be able to do.  And even with their traumatic pasts, they both have made it.
I'll tell you it was quite a poignant moment for me in this realization.  I am short on patience with things at time.  I want things fixed that are broken.  I want them fixed now.  And then I want to continue on.  Not only do I want this, I expect it.
I can be patient when I purposely set out to be that way.  But me at my core, wants to get things fixed, done, and move on.  I don't like to dwell on things that are broken or things that need time to heal.  I've had enough hurt in life and I don't wish to stay in that place.  I accept vulnerability as a part of life; I don't run from it.  But I don't indulge extra time for it either.  I push healing too fast at times, maybe most times.
So here I am, learning from my once-injured pets, to slow down and let things heal.  I have a hard time when I can't force something to be better.  I either fix it or move on.  But maybe sometimes I need to let a little time pass and see what healing can do.
Tonight I am thankful for realizing moments on how life needs time, not my timeline, but patient time to let healing and hope happen.  It seems fitting to quote an awesome movie here, “Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”  Hope Floats

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

FREE

I was at my eye appointment today, discussing payment for the Lasik procedure.  They hand out Care Credit applications right with the other paperwork when you first walk in to the entrance there.  I told them that I wouldn't be filling that out.
When I went back and was talking with a lady, she said something else about Care Credit.  I told her, we have just finished paying off all our debt (except for the house) and there was no way we would go in debt for this surgery. We would be paying in cash.
First of all, that is just an absolutely wonderful feeling.
As I was driving home, I thought I should write about how wonderful a moment that was!  Then my thoughts went farther.  So here I've been talking about our journey to become debt free for some time on here.  I've written about Dave Ramsey and his books (p.s. I just ordered Financial Peace Jr on their 10 Days of Christmas sale for the kids 68% off)!
You all have been so wonderful bearing with me and reading my updates!  So, I am going to give a Christmas present to you!  The first 5 people who message me (and I'll check the messages in the morning because I'm tired and going to bed), will receive a copy of Dave's book Financial Peace!  It is the Christmas season and the time for giving!  And this has been such a grueling and rewarding experience for us, that will only keep getting better, that I want to share it with you!
So here we go!  Tonight I am thankful for the chance to spread some wonderful, life changing information to you!  I'll check time stamps on the messages so that I am sure to get the first 5 when I wake up :)  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lasers

There are a handful of things in life that I have once said that I would "never" do.  Here's a lesson that life has taught me . . don't say never.
My latest "never" is considering laser eye surgery.  My eyes have been revolting lately and not liking my contacts.  And I am just not a good glasses person.  I've been wearing them a lot more, but I haven't been liking it.
So tomorrow I am going for a consultation to find out about lasik.  I do know several people who have had it done and love it.  And it certainly wouldn't hurt to find out the particulars.
At this point in our budgeting and debt-free-goal of a lifestyle, the cost is obviously going to be a big factor.  The cost ranges from $250 - $2500 per eye.  So I'll find out a more specific price after they look my eyes over.  I am, of course, hoping that I will be told that my eyes will be easy, peasy and that they'll do them both at a huge discount!  That would be wonderful!!
Tonight I am thankful for a free consultation tomorrow.  This might not be something that I will do.  But it doesn't hurt to find out the particulars.  If this goes well and I do this, I will be able to wake up in the morning, open my eyes and see everything clearly.  That hasn't happened in 26 years!  That thought it pretty exciting!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Getting There

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!!  
We usually get the Christmas decorations out the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This year though, we just didn't get it done.  Then the whole last week . . well, it was busy.  But, this weekend we did it!
We got out all the boxes out and put up decorations inside the house yesterday!  We got the tree today and have that all decorated!  We even put some decorations up outside!  Last year, I don't think we had any outdoor decorations.  Years before we've done some.  And with a  year off, and changing Christmas decoration storage locations, I can't find all my outside stuff!  It'll be time to clean out an attic soon and find the missing garland!
Tonight I am thankful for my Christmas looking house!!  It is so cheery and warm :)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fairy Godmother

I think I may have a fairy godmother :)  Ok, not with all the magical powers . .  or at least that I know of.
Over a year ago I was given my aunt's shoe collection.  And it is quite the collection!  There have been purses, clothes, some jewelry.  It has been amazing!  Today I received her bigger purse collection.  I am blown away!  I felt this way with the shoes too.  I am searching for words to describe this . .  humbled, amazed, and very grateful!
I have always had enough of things in my life.  There have been different times where life got rough and quite hard - but I have never had to go without the essentials in life.  I am very blessed.
I've never really been spoiled with material things.  And that has been ok.  Things are just things.  There has never been "things" in life that I've needed to survive that I haven't had.
I'll tell you though, thanks to my fairy godmother I'm feeling so very spoiled!!!  There are so many wonderful things!  I am feeling so thankful and so blessed!  Wow . . . I'm still in a state of Wow.
Tonight I am thankful for my aunt.  I've always loved her just as she is!!  She has always been a person in my life that is there with love and a smile!  And tonight she is making me feel so very blessed and spoiled!  Thank you!!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Time

We've been a little slacking on the designated one on one time with each parent and each child in this house.  That thought has been in my mind over the past many weeks.  I guess the kids have noticed too.  It was pretty obvious when my youngest wrote "Mom and Cody time -at least a half hour" on the family calendar that hangs in the kitchen!  He wrote this about two weeks ago.
So this evening he came with me to Meijer's to get some groceries.  First of all, they are having an awesome sale!  My kids like grocery shopping.  I've heard of some kids that don't like it.  But my kids do.  They've had to come with me since they were babies.  It's only been more recently, with them being older, that I don't take all four of them with me to get food.  They know about the sales, coupons, mperks, and all that good stuff.  They help look for good clearance items.  And they know they have a better chance of getting that food they really want if they can find it on sale!
Tonight was a more of a stock-up kind of shopping.  I had my coupons.  I had my sale list.  I even had an extra special $50 coupon to use that I got from a recent purchase at Meijer during my last week shopping.
So my son and I chatted and browsed.  We talked about every day stuff.  We searched for our deals.  When we checked out, we were both very pleased!  We had to pay $82 and some change.  But we saved $125!  We were both pretty proud!  He was even bragging about our savings when we got home :)
Tonight I am thankful for our one on one time.  The calendar will be dedicated to one on one time with everyone soon.  Tonight was a wonderful start.  My boy enjoyed our time, as did I :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Poop

Do you want to know what type of a wife I am?  *sigh*  I'll tell ya.
I'm the type of wife that buys fake poop for $1 at Dollar General to surprise her husband.  Yep, that's what I bought last night.  So today, after the hubster left for work, I arranged the poop in this dirty clothes pile that hasn't made it to the laundry hamper ;)  he he he ;)
It was pretty funny when he found it!  He thought the dogs pooped in his clothes!!  He would have believed it for longer, except kiddos knew my secret and started laughing.  Probably good though . . no dogs got incorrectly blamed and in trouble!
Tonight I am thankful for fake poop ;)  It was pretty funny!  I got my dollar's worth!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Powerful Message

A couple weeks ago I heard a commercial on the radio.  I've been listening for it again so that I figure out which car dealership it was for.  It was advertising a few months of new payments on a car purchase.  The kicker part for me was that they had a line in the commercial that you'd be "sticking it to the bank" by not making payments for a few months.
Man, that has just bothered me.  How many people are going to listen to that and believe it?  It isn't mentioned that while you aren't making payments, interest is accruing on your loan . . . your loan on a depreciating car.  So, while you are "sticking it to the bank", you are causing yourself to owe more on an item that is simultaneously worth less.  There is one party here that is being taking advantage of, and it is NOT the bank!
Today I was reading a parent's post about a child's homework assignment concerning writing a budget.  Sadly, this is not the first post of it's kind.  But the homework in question mandated that the student work out a budget with a student loan, car payment, credit card payment, and other things.  There was no option for a person who has done better and paid cash for their lives.
This is the mentality that my children will grow up around.  This is the mentality that I grew up around.  There is this huge message that debt is normal.  Why is this acceptable?  Did anyone ever question where this message started from?  I can guarantee you that "debt is normal" did not start with the people paying interest on the debt.  The "debt is normal" message started with the institutions that profit from your debt.  Why wouldn't they want people to accept debt as normalcy?
I've had this thought for awhile now, that I am going to sit down with the kids sometime soon and show them what our bills looked like 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and then today.  I want to show them how to "budget" when all your money goes to just paying your bills versus how to budget with more responsible actions when debt is being paid off and sinking funds are established to pay for life - instead of credit cards.
I've written a bit about Dave Ramsey in this blog.  And for those who don't know, it isn't just the man himself that I am referring to.  I am referring to his way of thinking.  I'm referring to actually thinking about decisions before making them.  And I mean thinking about the whole picture of a decision, and not just thinking about how well the decision fits for short term.
Tonight I am thankful for a better way of thinking.  I am thankful for a chance to raise my kids with a better way of thinking.  I get so excited thinking of their futures!  They could have lives with no debt  . . . ever!  I imagine them in their adulthood having so much freedom because they've never had to pay any of their hard earned money to pay someone else for having borrowed that someone else's money.  They will be light years ahead of my life!  That is what I want for them!  I want them to have that!  I don't want them to ever think that the mainstream message of debt is "normal".  I want them to strive to be better than normal!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Candy Cane on a Cat

I received a text today that a child of mine "stuck a candy cane to the cat's leg and is attempting to cut it off".
Apparently a child was eating a candy cane and reached for a cat.  The candy cane fell out accidentally.  But, I instructed to wait for me!
P.S. the cat is doing fine.
Another child found some fake glasses and we decorated her with white hair color that I bought on an after Halloween clearance.  She had fun pretending to be an old lady this evening.
Two children got in to a giggle fit while drawing on their selfies on my phone.
Tonight I am thankful for my silly children who keep life interesting to say the least!  My most purest smile happens when they are being their silly selves, just enjoying life!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mediocre

Who else did not feel like working today?  Go ahead, raise your hand . . it's ok.
I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night.  I was setting myself up for an ok Monday.  I was having a bad dream.  And I think maybe I was talking or something, because my cat woke me up.  She usually only wakes me up if I've hit the "snooze" on my alarm.  She doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night.  But she did last night.  Then I couldn't get back to bed.
So I came to my office to do some work.  But I got distracted by cyber Monday online browsing because my sleepy mind didn't want to focus on work.  I went back to bed a few hours later.  Then I woke up even more tired.
Yep, today was a struggle.  I had already planned a long day for myself.  The girls had doctors' appointments today.  So I had to space my work accordingly to take them to that.
I was trying very hard not to be crabby.
My very last appointment was the farthest out that I travel.  And by the time I got there, it was getting fairly dark.  My pictures will all need to be lightened to be visible.  Then I was driving home in the dark and the rain.  And honestly, I was kind of too tired to be truly bothered.
I put on the Christmas radio channel and started singing along.  And there were quite a few Christmas lights on houses on my drive back home.
So although today was a mediocre day, as far as Mondays go; tonight I am thankful for a job that I can move around my kids.  I am thankful to be able to work late so that I can take the kids to their appointments.  I am thankful for Christmas radio channels and Christmas lights on houses.  And I am thankful for being blessed enough to wake up on this Monday to be able to carry out this day . . not everyone is so blessed.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The White Stuff

I've had a problem for a long time.  The earliest I remember was my early teenage years.  At first it was just during winter time, my scalp would get so dry.  Those horrible white flakes would come.  I used to coat my head in lotion at night, hoping it would heal enough to get me thru the next day.
Summer used to be better.  So it had to just be dry skin, right?  I tried dandruff shampoos and conditioner - horrible.  They burned my skin and made everything worse.  There was just nothing I could do.
Recent years have been getting worse it seems.  Over two years ago I stopped using commercial shampoos and conditioners all together.  I would sometimes use a baking soda and water mix for shampoo - not too often though.  It worked good for awhile, then made things worse.  I read that it has to do with pH or acid level or something like that.  It's been awhile since I've read it.  So I would sometimes use a natural baby shampoo.
Using apple cider vinegar and water mixed for conditioner has been good.  It seems to do the best.  But again, summer is better and winter is worse.  Sometimes I put Lavender on my scalp and that helps too.  But, it can also make my hair look oily.
This last time, when I ran out of apple cider vinegar and hadn't made it to the store, I went online and did some more searching.  There had to be something else out there to help me.
I will clarify that I have never went to see a doctor over this.  It just didn't really seem to warrant a doctor visit, then a referral to a specialist, trips and time and just Bleh!  It would be so much put in to something that really is just an irritation in life and lot a huge problem.
Ok, so I was online searching and reading.  Then I found this product called Renpure Cleansing Conditioner with Rosemary and Mint.  I was reading the reviews and one of them mentioned Seborrheic Dermatitis.  It is a form of eczema.  It has flare-ups.  It is better in the summer generally, due to the vitamin D from the sun.  And worse in the winter, due to the lack of sunshine.  I read the 4 paragraphs of reviews that this lady wrote and it sounded like she was writing about my head!!!!
I was so excited to try it!  I zoomed off to Target, where it was said to be located at.  They didn't have any.  They did have other kinds of shampoos and conditioners made by Renpure that all state to not use some of the harsher chemicals in commercial shampoos and conditioners.  I bought some to try off the shelf.  And I went home and bought the Cleansing Conditioner from eBay (from amazon it is an Amazon Pantry item only).
The first week with the Renpure shampoo and conditioner that I had bought was already better.  There was still some irritation, but not near as much.  Then the cleansing conditioner came in the mail.  I LOVE IT!!!!  It works different than shampoos and conditioners.  The directions are different.  But my scalp is loving it!  And my hair likes it too :)
My scalp isn't perfect yet.  But it sure is way better than it has ever been!  I've been using this cleansing conditioner for maybe two weeks now, if that long.  So I can't wait to see my head a few months from now!
Tonight I am thankful for finding something that is working nice with my scalp!  I am thankful for a healing head!  And maybe, just maybe, being able to wear a black shirt without being paranoid this winter!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Found

Years ago I had a favorite candy bar.  It was delicious!  Then one day, it was gone!  They just stopped making it.  I was so sad.
At first I thought it was just one store.  But the more I looked, the more it was clear, they were done.  They just stopped making it.  They replaced it with the white chocolate, cookies and cream.  That one was good too.  But it wasn't the best.  It just wasn't the same.
Then yesterday, while I was in the check-out lane from Black Friday shopping, I saw it!!  The candy bar from my dreams!!  It was back!!  I bought four!  I brought them home to share with my family.  The kids should know what the best candy bar in the world tastes like!  It's my duty as a parent to make sure they know!
Tonight I am thankful that the Hershey's Cookies N' Mint candy bar is back in production!!!  I hope it stays around for good this time!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

"Oops!", Says My Inner Nerd

My inner nerd has come out today.  After coming back from shopping, I sat down and entered everything in to my Christmas excel spreadsheet.  There I track what gifts I've gotten, how much I've spent, and how much I've saved.
This year, being now a more seasoned budget conscious person, I have found a flaw in my Christmas spending tracking!  Every year on Black Friday and surrounding sales, I buy things for the house.  Last year, for example, I bought very nice quality towels for less than half price.  No one wants to get towels for Christmas, of course.  But normally I buy cheap towels, it shows in their life span.  There was just never a sale for good towels like last year.  Every year seems to have something different for the household that is just a fantastic deal during these shopping days around Thanksgiving.
I also buy stuff for my business right now, while things are on these great sales.  I have a new external hard drive, a handful of usb drives, and a few other things.  And this is the best time I've found all year to get deals on these things.
Well, the last couple years of really tracking my Christmas spending, I haven't really included household and business purchased made.  Of course these things shouldn't come out of the Christmas budget!!  But I should definitely be budgeting extra money in these areas to spend in this shopping time!
Well now, my Christmas excel sheet has added categories so that I can properly budget for next year!  Because I'll tell you, going out and spending large amounts of cash is absolutely fantastic when you know that cash has been set aside just to be spent for gifts to give!!!  I think of Christmases of years past with credit cards, the following dose of regret, and I declare, NO MORE!!!  Our pre-Dave Ramsey, pre-budgeting days were still good Christmases of course.  But the buying was more stressful.  And the paying of the bills afterwards was more stressful.  I'm glad those days are behind us!!
After some diligent sales searching for the past week or so; after scouring the internet and making lists; and after budgeting, saving, and spending, I am happy to report that probably about 80-90% of my Christmas shopping is done!!!
Tonight I am thankful for a Christmas season on track to be enjoyable and low stress!!  I want to enjoy this time, not worry about it.  There's been a fair amount of preparation to keep stress low and to keep this time wonderful.  This time was meant to be magical; and that can't happen if we are running around, worrying and stressing.  I hope you all get to have an enjoyable season ahead, filled with peaceful, little moments and happy, precious smiles!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
I was up and at 'em at 4:30 this morning!  I bounded out of bed, excited for my own Thanksgiving morning routine!  I quietly went to the basement and got in a quick work-out.  Hopped in the shower, got dressed and ready to go . . . early!  I got online and started checking some online deals.  I got a little distracted there, then hopped in my car and took off to Meijers!!
Ok, now I know some of you are probably against shopping on Thanksgiving.  And you are allowed your opinion.  I am out and back home before anyone misses me.  As for the workers today, I hope that them working did not ruin their day.  And I hope they got paid lots of extra money for working today to help with their own Christmas shopping!!
I got some fantastic deals!!  The first year I did this, I brought back home some donuts for everyone.  Last year I brought home some McDonald's for breakfast and they liked that better.  So this morning I did not buy donuts.  I drove thru town and both McDonald's were closed this morning!  For breakfast, the kids had flavored popcorn from the popcorn tins I bought on sale and ice cream.  They were thankful for that breakfast!!
We made homemade butter while we watched the Macy's parade!  Then it was off to family for Thanksgiving!  We had a wonderful meal!  We enjoyed time with family!  And we planned shopping tomorrow!
Back home we watched Miracle on 34th Street . . . because that is the perfect Thanksgiving to Christmas movie!  Now we are on to A Christmas Story.  I am ready for bed myself.  We'll stay up til the end of the movie though.  Everyone is getting along pretty good :)
Tonight I am thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone enjoyed their day and got to relax with loved ones today!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"Normal"

I was going to write about Thanksgiving tonight.  That was my intention!
But, I've changed my plan.
This has me very excited!
You might not care too much.
And you might get tired of hearing about it.
BUT, guess what?!?!?  Yesterday I did a half hour of Zumba.  I had left my knee brace in the hubby's van.  So I went brace-less.  For those who don't know, there is a lot of twisting at the knee and bending of the knee in Zumba.  I was completely prepared to have a swollen, achy knee today.
But, it didn't happen!!!!  My knee was sore yesterday.  But I don't have the horrible day-after-exercising-swelling!  This is such a HUGE milestone for me!!!!  I am so excited!!!  I see "normal" for my knee just around the bend here!!  I'm finally getting there!!!!!!
Tonight I am thankful for my knee acting like a healthy knee!!!!  :) :)  That is truly something to be thankful for!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Adding On

I wanted to incorporate something selfless in to our Thanksgiving tradition this year.  Don't get me wrong!  I love our Thanksgiving day traditions!  And we have a lot to be thankful for!!  It is always a great day!
Sometimes when a person counts everything they have to be thankful for, they want to give.  And that's where I'm at.  "My cup runneth over".  And guess what that quote is for?  Think about a cup on a saucer.  If the cup runs over, the saucer is there to catch it, so it isn't wasted.  Then the extra can be used.  If a person is blessed with extra in their life, the surplus it to share!!
People may disagree with me here, but I believe that people are made to give.  If you don't believe me, then try it.  Go out and give from your heart to someone who needs whatever you are giving.  It makes you feel a little more alive and gives you a purpose.  It is a part of our make-up.
Well, I think I've come up with a great new thing to add to our Thanksgiving celebration!  When we get back home from Thanksgiving dinner with family, we are going to make up our blessing bags for the winter!  Blessing bags are bags filled with different things to hand out to the homeless.
We are using gallon size bags and filling them with granola bars, water bottles, gloves, a hat, hand warmers, and some tissues.  If we think of anything else, we'll add more too :)  I told the kids and they are excited!
Tonight I am thankful for a good, selfless activity to add to our Thanksgiving day tradition!!  This will be good!

Monday, November 21, 2016

WHERE??

Do you ever make a decision for the greater good of the household and have it come back and bite you in the behind?
Well . . . that's me now.
I did a blog awhile back about my uncomfortable living room furniture from the 70's (or maybe 60's).  I loved that it was uncomfortable!  That meant my family of couch-potato inclined people would not want to sit in the living room all day!  Plus the wonderful, wood frame would be very hard for my monkeys to break!  Even now, I do still absolutely love my uncomfortable, retro furniture!!
Tonight though . . . *sigh* tonight I'm going to sleep on it.  The hubster woke up sick this morning.  I do not want the flu this close to Thanksgiving, so I'm not going any where the germ infected man!  This morning I wasn't feeling the best myself.  But I've been Thieve oiling myself all day and I'm doing pretty well!  So I must hide from the germs!
Tonight I am thankful for my uncomfortable, retro furniture.  I really do love it.  I just won't love it tonight.  Or maybe I will, I used to sleep rather well on a firm mattress.  I guess I'll find out tonight.
P.S. I've been saving this picture for just the right time, when my rather pissed-off look would come in handy :)  Tonight works great!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Kitchen and I

I can be a fabulous cook when I set my mind to it!  Unfortunately for my family, almost the entire fall season, my mind was not set to it.  Life just went too fast and spending hours in the kitchen fell pretty low on my list.
Now I've had a few weeks to calm down a bit.  I'm getting life back in order.  And today the kitchen and I got reacquainted!  Breakfast was pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and eggs.  Lunch was snacks, because that was one big breakfast!!  Dinner was turkey, corn, and homemade bread!  Oh and a mixed berry pie for dessert with ice cream!
I also prepped for this week with a fridge full of sandwiches for lunches, hard boiled eggs, and cleaned and portioned fruits.
Tonight I am thankful for some time in the kitchen today!  It felt great just to be in there, unrushed, making yummy food for my family!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rubble

Quite awhile ago someone broke my exercise bike in the basement.  There is someone living in this house named "I don't know".
"I don't know" is a horrible person.  He or she breaks things, leaves dishes out, eats the last cupcake, borrows my clothes on occasion, and basically has no redeeming qualities.  "I don't know" never does the dishes, the laundry, cooks dinner, or cleans anything.  Hmph!
Anyway, I was a little apprehensive to try and fix the bike.  I've never worked on an exercise bike before, not that i expected a huge degree of difficulty.  But I really didn't want to mess up the tension thingy.
The other night I decided it was time.  Armed with my screwdriver and a lack of caring if I ended up with a pile of bike rubble, and I headed off to tackle the bike!  I am happy to report that the time it took me to get the cover off the mechanics off the bike was twice the time it took me to actually fix it!  Yay!
This morning I went down for my first ride.  And my knee said "What are you doing?!?"  This picky, picky knee.  Apparently the bike does something that running, Zumba (limited), and an elliptical don't do.  So, the bike is back in my regiment to keep a happy, healthy knee.
Tonight I am thankful for being able to fix the bike without a huge deal!  And I'm thankful that I have this bike riding back in to my routine.  I will win against this knee!!!  Even if it is still a day or two of rest for every day with a really good effort.  I will win!!!  I still get to do that day of good effort!  That's more than I could do months ago!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Strange but true

Ok, you wonderful people may think that today's blog is silly.  But, it is very truthful!
Yesterday I had an appointment cancel and I got home early.  I've had a project of an additional fence for the animals on my to-do list for awhile.  I thought with the nice weather that I would go get the fence posts in to the ground.  But, I had to do them quickly so I was at the school on time for the kids.
Away I went, boom, boom, boom.  I was feeling pretty confident until I hit the posts where an old drive used to be.  Those gravel pieces buried under the grass put up quite a fight.  I kept on though!
All the posts were in and I was on my way to get the kids on time!!  I found three blisters on my hands.  I wasn't super shocked.
But one blister was on the underside of my right pointer finger.  I type a LOT every day.  And that stupid blister made it darn near impossible to type last night without wanting to cry.  I had some work I was going to stay up and do, but I just couldn't do it last night.  I was getting worried about today!
Thankfully, and totally what I am thankful for today, I woke up and the blister on my finger has shrunk almost all the way away!!  So yes, tonight I am thankful for a shrinking blister on my right hand, pointer finger.  And quite honestly, I never dreamed that this would be a blog topic one day :)


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Welcome!

Ever wonder what happens to the baby animals in a petting zoo?
I've wondered from time to time.  I guess I just figured that they went back home to a big farm to live out the rest of their adult lives.  Hopefully that is the case for most of them.
Tonight we bought one of the baby animals that had grown bigger.  He is the nicest goat!  He was a little confused and upset when we pulled out of his driveway.  But the more we drove, the more relaxed he got.  All the kids went with me to pick him up.  And he loved all the attention on the way home!
Back home, he went in with the sheep.  Our existing goats aren't very friendly with the sheep.  But this goat was perfect since he had grown up around a mix of other animals and people! 
I wish I would have had a camera rolling!  My scaredy sheep jumped and scared the goat.  Then the goat jumped since the sheep scared him.  Then the sheep was scared because the goat jumped.  The goat ran in to the barn and the sheep ran in to the fence.  It was hilarious!!  
Thankfully, they forgave each other quickly and seemed to be getting along good.  It was getting dark pretty quick.  So I'll watch them more tomorrow.
Tonight I am thankful for the newest addition to our little farm!  I think he is the perfect fit so far!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Grrr

I've been a little short on patience lately.  Having a fever for a couple days in a row and keeping up with work has taken everything that I have.
Unfortunately, my world needs more that what I've had to give lately.  I don't think it's all me though.  I think my kids really have been crabby with each other too.  Today I had enough.
My boys were just at each other . ..  again.  I banned them to their room, to stay.  They are allowed to come out to use the bathroom, go to school, and eat.  Other than that they are to stay there.  I told them that they can come out when the room is spotless and when they can get alone with each other.
Dinner was a little better.  Then, when they were done eating, they were back at each other . . grrr.
Tonight I am thankful that this experiment will work.  I have faith.  It has to work!!  We have had so many talks on how to get along with each other.  I think it's time for mom to step out of the picture a little bit and have them figure this out.  Here's to hoping no one ends up getting stitches . . . my first sneaky trip up the stairs had them jumping on the mattresses in their mess of a room.  This could get messy . . . but, I am thankful for standing strong here!  They will get this!!  I know they can!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Getting It

I don't remember exactly when we switched to the envelope system for the kids.  I think it was last winter . .  whenever it was that I started reading Smart Money Smart Kids, a collaboration book with Dave Ramsey and his now-grown up daughter.  Absolutely Wonderful book!!!
Anyway, each kid has three envelopes to sort their money.  They have a "save", "spend", and "give" envelope each.  They earn their money all week, then put a percent in to give, a percent in to save, and they get to spend the rest.
I have encouraged the kids to think of something big that they want to save up for.  Honestly, I've been feeling like the save lesson hasn't really gotten thru to the kids.  And I've  let them dip in to their savings for shopping trips and going to the fair, etc.  I probably need to be a little more strict with this.  Anyway . . . I've got some good news!
One child has been saving up for his very own Nintendo DS.  He picked out the one that he wanted.  He's even been doing extra chores to reach his goal.  Finally, today, he did the last extra chore to give  him enough money!  I've been a bit under the weather, so the hubster and him set out for Meijer.  With his hard earned money in his wallet, my boy was so excited and proud to be reaching his goal!  It was great to see him so proud of himself that he saved enough!!
I instructed the hubster to take pictures of my boy paying at the register for his big purchase.  I was going to put them in this blog.  Unfortunately, the store was out.  :(  All that hard work, and the exciting drive to the store, and it wasn't there.
BUT, I went looking on line and found the same thing for cheaper!!  Ok, so I already knew it was cheaper online, but I didn't want to take the moment of handing over his hard earned cash away from him.  There is something about that physical exchange that makes it even better!
When they get home, we'll go online together and order his hard earned prize!  And, now he'll get to keep about $10 back in to save envelope for his next goal!!  Plus, I'm sure the hubster consoled him with some sugary, check-out treat :)
Tonight I am thankful and proud for the first giant savings goal reached amongst our children!  On to the next!!!  :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Reformed Frugal Shopper

It is no secret that I am frugal, thrifty, a deal chaser even.  Over the years this has been a blessing for our household of 6.  I've also realized that it's been a bit of a curse also.
I'll be out shopping and I'll see something on an awesome clearance and I buy it because we'll need it some day.  Then I forget where I put it and when "some day" comes, I can't find it and go buy another one.  Yep . . . not good.
Christmas shopping is a delightful game of "where can I find the best deals?"  I have made spreadsheets the last couple years to tally how much money I've saved buying things on clearance throughout the year and on deep discounts closer to Christmas.  I have put up some pretty impressive savings!  I've also over-spent in the name of buying deals.  I've bought things that didn't get too much attention when I've bought them because they were cheap and not necessarily because they were what someone really wanted.
Overall I think my thrifty shopping has saved us more than hurt us.  But, in my ongoing attempts to de-clutter and minimize our household, the truth of my over-thrift shopping has been staring me in the face.
As we close in on the holiday shopping season, I have a new plan.  I am still looking for the best deals out there, of course!  But, I am putting a mandatory waiting period in place!!  So far I have already purchased a few items.  But, more impressively for myself, I have not purchased a lot of items also.  I had a few things in my online basket and let it sit there.  When I clicked back, I deleted the whole browser.  I've had a few things in my real shopping cart in a store and put them back after I walked around a bit.
Tonight I am thankful for a new perspective with our holiday shopping!  I have my fully funded Christmas account ready to go.  I have my mandatory waiting period to ensure I am spending my money wisely.  And I have my keen frugal shopping expertise to make the whole thing work swimmingly!  Game On!! :)