Friday, October 31, 2008

LOVE IS AN ACTION

I remember when my children were little and I was going through a difficult time. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and struggling. I wanted so much to be a good wife and mother. But it was a lot harder than I had thought.

One evening, many months after my youngest was born, I tearfully confessed to my husband “I don’t feel like I’m in love with you anymore. I know I love you, but I don’t feel in love with you and this scares me.” These feelings frightened me so much, but I felt such a relief in sharing them. I had no doubt I loved him, but I was just so wrapped up in being a mom, it took practically all my time and energy. Dear husband got the leftovers. And there wasn’t much left…..

God has blessed me so much with my wonderful husband. My sweet, loving, patient husband looked me in the eyes, and gently spoke words I needed to hear. He told me that it was o.k. He told me to remember that I had just had another child several months ago. He told me that I was tired, and working so hard, and how much he appreciated it. He also apologized to me and said that he had not been doing his part by being romantic and showing me how much he loved me. He said we had been so busy with the kids that we had failed to spend time together as a couple. We were so busy being “mom and dad” we were neglecting being husband and wife.

I don’t remember much of what happened in the days after that. I do remember that my sweet husband would leave me “love” notes…he even wrote a poem! (I think it’s the first and the last poem he ever wrote, lol!). I also remember praying a lot.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know. I just think that sometimes we need to be reminded that love is not a feeling, it is an action. Just like the action our Lord took, when He gave His life for us. He didn’t just say He loved us, He showed it by His actions.

When we step out on faith, and choose the action of showing love, the "feeling" will follow. Love doesn’t come from us, it comes from God, and He has an unlimited supply of it.

The Lord showed me how to love my husband, without depending on a feeling to validate it. He showed me that I did love my husband, more than I knew. He showed me that we don’t look to our feelings, we look to our faith….faith in Him.

It’s been about 15 years since that conversation. I can honestly say that I am deeply in love with my husband, now more than when I married him twenty-five years ago (and I thought I loved him alot then, lol!). It is so easy to give and give to our children, and neglect our relationship with our husbands. We need to protect, cherish, and nurture our relationship with our husbands, just as we protect, cherish and nurture the relationships with our children. Relationships grow as we spend time with one another. Spend time with your husband. Spend time with your children. Spend time with God.

MY CAR, A GARBAGE CAN ON FOUR WHEELS

Today I noticed how messy the inside of my car is. I am embarrassed to admit it, but it is pretty messy in there. My husband once jokingly asked me, “How come you can keep the house so clean and yet your car is such a mess inside?” Beats me!

I live in my house, but I really live in my car. It’s my kitchen, my office, my family room, my entertainment room….I bet you thought I was going to say my bathroom or my bedroom, didn’t you? Well, sorry to disappoint you but I have not gone there yet.

However, when the kids were little, it was my diaper-changing room, my nurse’s office (don’t you love it when they throw up in the car?), my toy room, kid's nap room, and occasionally, my homeschooling room. As a matter of fact, it still is my homeschooling room sometimes. My fifteen year old has been known to bring a science or history book along with him on occasion.

I don’t like to just leave on an errand empty-handed. I almost always bring along my book bag whenever I leave the house. It’s usually filled with my household notebook, a couple of books that I am either interested in reading, or in the process of reading, my Bible and sometimes a Bible study book, and a sweatshirt or sweater in case I get cold. You never known when you may have to sit in the car and wait for someone and I like to be prepared! I also encourage my kids to bring a book or two along. I encourage them to bring a sweatshirt or jacket too, but they rarely do it……teenagers!

So, you can look in my car and most certainly find a book or two lying around on the seat. On the floor you may also find candy wrappers, pop cans (waiting to be recycled so why are they still in the car?), and a couple of forlorn-looking pencils that somebody cast aside. We do have a garbage sack down there, so I don’t understand why the food wrappers and McDonald’s cups are not finding their way in there. Far be it from me to actually remove the junk from my car and dispose of it! Oh no, that would make to much sense. I do try and toss it in the garbage sack in the car but it falls out when I drive, I guess. Also, my kids seem to think the side pockets are perfect for stashing empty candy wrappers, pop cans or whatever.

My oldest also left the stand that holds his electronic keyboard in the trunk. Isn’t that special? You never know when that’s going to come in handy. Maybe I can use it to prop up the car if I ever need to change a tire.

So there you have it, the truth about my messy car. Aren't you glad you know that? Won't you just sleep better tonight knowing that? LOL! I guess I know what I'll be cleaning today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GETTING UP AND GETTING OUT

Whenever you’re preparing to leave the house in the morning, are you hurrying around and stressing yourself (and others) out? Do you find yourself snapping orders at your husband, the kids, the dog? Do you have to come back in once or twice because you forgot something? I have to leave the house early tomorrow…well, early for me. So I thought I’d post some tips on how to make your morning run more smoothly.

Begin to get ready the night before. Plan ahead. Make a to-do list for things you need to do before you leave the house in the morning. Put your list somewhere where you’ll see it. Tape it to the bathroom mirror, set it on your keys or near the coffee pot, or tape it to the outside door (or do all of the above if you’re not very alert in the morning!). Decide what time you need to leave and set your alarm to allow plenty of time to get ready.

Select or lay out your clothes the night before. If you’re wearing a skirt, for instance, make sure you have a clean blouse that matches it. Check for stains or rips tonight so you’re not making last minute changes tomorrow. Do you know where your shoes, purse and keys are? If you don’t have a special place for them already, now would be a good time to create one. That way, you’ll always be able to find them.

Load up the car the night before, if possible. Obviously you can’t load up the kids the night before….but you can load the car with library books or items that need to be returned, donations to the thrift store, things you borrowed from someone and are returning, and any number of things. Even the diaper bag!

Decide what you’re making for dinner. This will enable you to avoid the desperate 5:00 p.m. dash to the grocery store, madly running around and grabbing whatever you can find to feed your hungry family. Easier on the budget too.

Start dinner before you leave. Take something out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. Throw some frozen chicken and a couple of cans of cream soup (or make your own) in the crockpot. If you have time, cut up some vegetables or prepare a dessert. Better yet, start earlier in the day or week and have veggies already cut up or dessert already prepared. All you need to do is set them out later.

Throw a load of laundry in the washer the night before. The next morning, all you need to do is toss the load in the dryer. By the time you’re done with your morning routine, it will probably be dry. I do not recommend leaving the washer or the dryer running when you’re away from home, however. You never know when a fire may start or a hose may break.

Pick up the house before you go to bed. There’s nothing like coming home to a clean, orderly home after a long day out…or even a short day! Do a quick ten-minute-tidy (TMT) in each room as part of your bedtime routine. You will thank yourself later.

Clean up the kitchen before you leave in the morning. Load the dishwasher, wipe up the counters, put the cereal box back in the cupboard. Returning home to a clean kitchen will put a smile on your face. Also, starting dinner will be a lot easier if you don’t have to clean the kitchen first.

What tips do you have to make leaving the house a lot easier and less stressful? Please share them!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

OUR NEW PUPPY



There’s a new baby in the family. Isn’t she sweet? She weighs in at a whoppin’ 3 lbs. (well, almost). When we got her, she weighed about 1 ½ lbs. and she was even smaller than she is now. She really is a lot smaller underneath all that fluffy hair.

Her favorite thing to do is chew, and chew, and chew. And might I add, one of us is having trouble with potty training….but you didn’t hear it from me. One of my friends has offered to groom her for me. That’s a good thing and she has no idea how many bad hair days she will be spared.

When my son was around three I tried to cut his hair. Oh my! I started cutting it shorter and shorter, trying to “even” it out. Not happening. I even tried "blending" it. Again, not happening. It was not attractive and so I took him in to see if a hairdresser could do anything with it. She went on and on in dismay about his bad haircut and and what "they" did to it, saying something like "they 'butchered’ it.” ….Tell me something I don’t know. Needless to say, my career as a hairstylist was over before it began. We discovered the "Flowbee" and have been using it on his hair ever since. Holding something that hooks up to a vacuum cleaner? That I can do!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

YOU ARE SPECIAL TO THE LORD

Do you know how very special you are to our Lord? The Bible says in Psalm 119:14 that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God made you just as you are, and He is pleased with His work.

Do you ever feel like maybe you got the short end of the stick? That somehow, God made you in a hurry, and then set you on a shelf somewhere, abandoned and forgotten, while He hurried on to make someone better? That maybe you were the “rough” draft and everyone else is the final product?

Well, my dear sister, that just isn’t so. He didn’t just spend 30 seconds making you, and then spent a lavish 3 days making sweet “Suzy” over there. He spent as much time and thought on creating you as He did on her. He loves you both equally.

Sometimes it’s easy to be jealous of the Holy Spirit working in someone else’s life. You can look at someone like “Suzy” and she just seems to glow and shine for the Lord. She just seems to have it altogether, whereas you’re wondering where you put it! You just know that she never yells at her kids, snips at her husband, and there isn’t a messy spot to be found in her home.

And there you are, feeling inadequate and lacking because this morning you ran out of milk, your baby still needs a diaper change, you raised your voice to your toddler and stepped on the cat’s tail as you tripped over clothes and toys on the floor. And that was all before breakfast….you can only imagine how the rest of this discouraging day is going to go.

Like a clay pot in the hands of it’s maker, God has molded and shaped us according to His will for us. That means He has a wonderful plan for your life, and who are you or I to argue with Him and say “Why did you make me this way? I’m just not good enough, God!” (Romans 9:20 & 21)

Our value, our worth lies in the fact that God created us, and He loved us enough to send His only Son to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). When you are feeling unlovely, inadequate, or feel like you’re failing at being the wife and mother that you desire to be…just remember that you are still in process and God is continually working in you (Phil 1:6). He won’t abandon you!

FREE TACO AT TACO BELL

Today, (Tuesday, Oct. 28), Taco Bell is giving away a “free taco” (see their terms and conditions for details) from 2-6 p.m. local time. This is for “Steal a Base. Steal a Taco.” You can thank Jason Bartlett for stealing a base in the World Series.

I don’t plan on making an extra trip just to go. It would cost money in gas to go get my "free" taco, and then, I probably wouldn’t want to eat just a taco. I would at least want a pop to go with it. Then it really wouldn’t be free anymore. I’d be buying extra stuff just to get something for free.

So, if my son talks me into it, I will combine it with my regular errands (we drive right by there). I will also bring a pop or water from home to drink with it. That way, it really is “free.”

Sunday, October 26, 2008



It all started innocently, with just six little words: “Do we have any extension cords?” With utmost confidence I directed my husband to the “junk” drawer.

Do you have a “junk” drawer? Do you even know what I’m talking about? When I was little, that’s where I’d look whenever I needed something small enough to fit in a drawer. And most of the time, that’s where I’d find it. Pens, pencils, nails, string, extension cords, even lightbulbs. My mom’s “junk” drawer was big and could hold lots of stuff!

So my dear husband, in his complete trust and innocence, faithfully went to the “junk” drawer. And that is what he saw….

Now I ask you, could you find anything in that? Seriously, I don’t even know what’s in there anymore. The sad thing is, underneath all that mess is a plastic organizational system, with dividers and even labels to label each spot if you want it.

I am determined to clean that thing out and organize it. If I’m not back in thirty days, please send a search party! So tell me, what’s in your “junk” drawer? Do you have more than one?

You know, sometimes my life might look like that from the outside, when I’m busy and running around like crazy. The top layer is busy, a bit disorganized, and not everything is in it’s proper “box.” But underneath all that “chaos” is a bottom layer that holds me together, and that is my Lord. He brings order, calm, strength, joy, stability, focus and direction to my life, and I am so thankful every day for His grace!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DO I REALLY NEED THIS?

Today I drove by the thrift store and decided to stop in. Boy, they always have lots of stuff there. I have to admit, though, how nice of people to donate to them, so someone like me can come along and buy it at a cheaper price. Of course, I’ve also donated my share of stuff as well.

I was amazed by the number of ski boots they had there, in good condition mind you….to bad I don’t ski. They had several of those foot-whirlpool things. You know, to soak your aching feet in (always thought that might be fun!). Lots of those. Tons of crockpots, some bread machines, and every toaster known to man.

They had several pieces of exercise equipment, some I recognized, some I didn’t. Dishes, baskets, dvds, videos, clothes, shoes, furniture, and lots and lots of decorative items for your home. Oh, and a bunch of cookbooks and even more “self-help” books.

It’s just amazing when you think of all the money originally spent on those things. By people that, at the time, wanted it enough to spend money on it (unless it was given as a gift). I mean, really, of course they wanted it. How many of us buy things with the sole purpose of donating it to Goodwill?

I wonder how much we’d buy things, if we evaluated them differently. How much money would we save asking ourselves a few questions. Such as, I want this, but do I need it? Do I have a place for it? Where will I put it? Is my other one still good? Can something else I already have do the job instead? Can it be repaired? How many work hours have to be put in, in order to pay for this? Is it worth buying this, if I (or dear hubby) have to work three (or more) hours just to pay for it? Kind of makes you think, huh?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

HERE'S AN EASY, YUMMY RECIPE

I thought you might enjoy this "recipe." My family and I love it (especially my husband). It's from Hunts.com and is a cheesy tomato penne casserole. I love to make a couple and stick them in the freezer. So nice to have one on hand when you're in a hurry or need a quick meal to take over to a friend who's just had surgery.

I use ground turkey (I never use ground beef) and I use two cans of the diced tomatoes (with Basil, Garlic & Oregano) instead of one. I also use a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce instead of the paste. I omit the onion and I also omit the paste and water since I'm using tomato sauce.

In fact, I think I'll add this to my menu plan this week!

MOMS, PLEASE DON'T STOP HUGGING YOUR KIDS!

Moms, please don’t stop hugging your kids! When my oldest was about 14, I walked by him one day, and the Lord put a question on my heart. “Why don’t you cuddle or hug or kiss him like you do his younger brother?” I thought about it, and I realized that while I did say “I love you” and give my oldest a kiss goodnight, I did not treat him with the same loving “cuddle” affection that I did his younger brother during the day.

It’s not because I didn’t love him. I love both my children, they are God’s gracious gift, and I am so thankful for them. But I realized, that while I would grab my younger son for a kiss or a hug or cuddle during the day, I wasn’t doing that with my then-14 year old.

All of a sudden, I saw things through the eyes of my oldest child, and I was afraid that he would think that I loved him less. My heart was broken. Somewhere along the way, I had started to treat him as if he were older than he really was, because he was no longer the baby, I guess.

And as he got older, I thought that maybe he wouldn’t like to cuddle, or be kissed or held because he might think he was “to old” for it, and gradually without even really realizing it, I stopped doing it…and then one day he was fourteen, and suddenly I realized, that my “young man” was really, still a child.

God is so very loving. He gently let me know what I needed to do…what I wanted to do. Honestly, I was a little afraid of rejection or of him pulling away, but I walked over to my teenage son, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I still remember the puzzled look on his face, and his question “What was that for?” And I told him “Because I love you.” After a few days of this, I saw him smile after I kissed him.

That day, and in the days and years after, I would sometime just walk by him and grab him and give him a kiss or hug, or say “I love you.” Now he is nineteen, and his younger brother is fifteen. And I am still at it!

Yesterday, my fifteen year old came up and said “I don’t think I’ve hugged you today.” My nineteen year old recently gave me a card and on it he wrote “Mom, I love showing people how much I love you.” You can imagine how much their hugs mean to me!

I am so very thankful that I have a Heavenly Father who shows me He loves me every day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HOW HIGH ARE YOU WILLING TO CLIMB TO GET OUT OF DEBT, PART 3

O.k., last installment, just like I promised! There are lots of areas that we can save money. And lots of us have areas where we are cutting down, and areas where we’re willing to pay a bit more. But when we want to save even more, then we have to make the tough decisions. And after we make them, we sometimes find that they weren’t so tough after all.

BEAUTY
Can you give up manicures or pedicures to save money? Or do your own? What about haircuts? Can you learn to cut hair? We use the “Flowbee” to cut my husband’s and my sons’ hair. What is your hair “comfort” level? Originally, I gave up my fancy hair salon for a cheaper salon, but now my friend cuts mine. Will the cheaper makeup do as good a job as the more expensive kind? Can you survive on $5.00 mascara? Can you survive on no mascara?

BOOKS/DVDs,
Can you borrow from the library instead of purchasing? Are you willing to wait a few weeks/months to read that wonderful new book everyone is talking about? What about magazines? DVDs?

CLOTHES/SHOES
Are you buying on sale? Are you wearing the clothes you have, or do you have several with price tags still on them? Can you wait for a sale on that sweater you’re “itching” to buy (sorry, couldn’t resist!). How many shoes do you really need?

Have you thought of looking at a thrift store or yard sale? My friend can’t stand the thought of wearing clothes someone else has worn, even if she washed them first. And yet, she’ll sleep in a hotel bed that other people have slept in (the sheets have been changed but probably not the blankets). And she’ll try on clothes in a store than countless other people have tried on before her. But secondhand is a deal-breaker for her.

If you have children, have you heard of the “Kid Advantage Program” at Sears? (the site is down so I can’t link). It’s an amazing program that will help you save money. If the clothes tear or wear out before your kid outgrows them, they will replace the clothing, free of charge! My kids put holes in their jeans like you’ve never seen, and each time, I would wash the jeans and return them to Sears and exchange them for a brand new pair….free of charge. Also, every time you spend $100 (it accumulates so you don’t have to do it all at once) you get a 15% discount coupon. Check out their program, it’s great. I am still buying/exchanging clothes there.

INTERNET/PHONE/CABLE T.V.
Do you really need that fast, high speed DSL or can you wait for the slower dial-up? Do you need to make that long distance phone call, or will email or snail-mail do? Are you really watching all those channels? Count up all the channels you do watch, and divide your cable bill by that number, to see how much you’re really paying to watch those few channels or shows that you do watch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FUN WITH GETTING OLDER!

Jennifer has a fun blog about "aging" that you can partcipate in, no matter what your age. Try it!

SORRY, TRY THESE LINKS

Let me try these link agains that I mentioned in the post below. For home remedies try "here". For Gayle's Grocery Cart challenge try "this." Sorry, I'm new at this!

HOW HIGH ARE YOU WILLING TO CLIMB TO GET OUT OF DEBT? PART 2

I know that I often throw money away just by doing the same old thing I’ve always done, and not asking myself “Do I really need to do it this way? Is there a better way that will save me money?” I know that when my husband was out of work for a year, we had to take a serious look at how we were managing our money.

Sometimes we “suffer” for beauty (ever plucked an eyebrow or had a wax?). We “suffer” for health (let me tell you, my near daily exercising IS suffering because I can’t stand to exercise). I’m just testing the waters to see where or if we’re willing to “suffer” to save some money. The thing is, if we look at it like it’s suffering, it will be. But if we look at if like it’s something smart we’re doing to save money, our perspective will change. Guess I need to change the way I look at exercising….sigh.

HOUSEHOLD STUFF
Does that spill really need a paper towel? Will a cloth rag work just as well? You were going to do a load of laundry anyway, weren’t you? What about using a cloth napkin instead of a paper one? I confess, I can’t bring myself to use a hanky instead of a tissue. I have got to be able to throw that sucker away after I use it.

Are you going overboard on the stain remover? Can you save money and make your own? What about making your own laundry detergent, cleaning wipes, fabric softener, etc. I haven’t tried making my own home remedies yet, but Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge has some great recipes.

Can you do without dryer sheets altogether or use the sheet more than once? Have you tried hanging your clothes out to dry instead of using your dryer? The clothes get a little wrinkled, but the wrinkles come out by wearing them. You can always put them in the dryer for a few minutes if you really want those wrinkles out. If it’s raining outside, no problem, hang clothes inside on a drying rack. Can you cut down on your laundry and hang up your bath towel to dry and use it again tomorrow? For some people, that is the ick! factor. Use a towel more than once?….eeeeew!

What about washing and reusing sandwich and freezer bags or reusing aluminum foil? Word to the wise, don’t reuse bags that have stored meat in them. We have reused our freezer bags but have never reused aluminum foil, though I have friends who do.

Tomorrow I’ll cover beauty, clothes, computers, and a couple of other areas. It will be the last installment of this particular “series.” I promise! I hope I’m not boring you. With the economy the way it is, I have been spending a lot of time doing some “frugal planning” and examining ways that I can manage our finances better and save some money. What are you doing to save money these days? I’d love to hear it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HOW HIGH ARE YOU WILLING TO CLIMB TO GET OUT OF DEBT? PART ONE

I mentioned before that I want to cut down on expenses and save some money. I seem to do much better when I challenge myself and make a game out of something. When you’re trying to save money, you need to make some decisions. You need to decide where you can cut down, what is the lowest rock-bottom that you can go, and what things are a deal-breaker for you. Some examples are:

FOOD/DRINK
You can clip coupons or print them off the internet, but some people don’t like to bother. Store brand is cheaper than name brand, but some people don’t like the taste of the store brand. Many times, the store brand and the name brands are the same, the only difference is the label. I believe you can get used to anything and so using the store brand is one of the ways that we save money. However, pop is the deal-breaker for me. I do not drink store brand pop.

You can take some time and price shop between stores, and record the sales and prices in a Pricebook, and then stockpile when the prices are low. Cooking from scratch saves more money, because you’re not buying all that packaging, but it’s not always as convenient. So, convenience or money? What is the deal-breaker for you?

You can buy fruit when it’s in season and at it’s lowest price. We buy grapes only when they’re in season and less than $1.00 lb. After that, we just do without them and eat other fruit until they’re in season again. Are you willing to do without and wait for your favorite fruit? Also, you can stock up on fresh fruit at the beginning of the month, and then go to your canned fruits (or frozen) when you’ve eaten all the fresh, and there is still plenty of month left. Same with vegetables.

What about giving up pop or juice (don’t ask…I’m not ready yet). Have you ever tried mixing half a gallon of powdered milk with half a gallon of 1% or 2% milk? I did it as an experiment, and my kids drank it without knowing it! In fact, my oldest just assumes he’s drinking milk from Winco or Costco. What about straight powdered milk? ( Personally, we haven’t tried that yet).

It really is the little things that count. The nickel spent here, the dime there, and they all add up and pretty soon we are in debt. Well, the little things can get us out of debt too. We just need to decide how high we want to climb to get out!

Tomorrow I'll talk about Beauty, Household, Internet, and several other things and the decisions and deal-breakers we face on those.

Monday, October 20, 2008

THROWING AWAY MONEY

If you asked me, I would say that I would never take a $1 bill and throw it away in the garbage. Would you? And yet, yesterday, I did. In fact, I have done it several times this last month and not let it bother me at all.

What am I talking about? My habit of buying a bottle of Diet Pepsi when I am out on errands. I have a case of pop here at home that works out to 25 cents per can (or something like that). In fact, these cans are usually waiting eagerly and patiently in my fridge, just waiting for me to need them.

So why, knowing I have them at home, do I give in and buy them when I’m out? In fact, I know that I am going out on errands, and I know that at some point, I am going to be thirsty. And I know exactly what to do about it. I march into the nearest store, and spend about $1.50 on a bottle of Diet Pepsi, knowing that I have cans at home that only cost 25 cents each. Every time I do this, I am just wasting my money. Basically, throwing over $1.00 in the garbage. Worse, I sometimes don’t even finish the bottle!

The other day, my fifteen year old said to me, “You know, mom, you could save some money if you brought some pop from home instead of buying it at the store.” Out of the mouth of babes….I will confess that I was somewhat annoyed at him, probably because he was right!LOL!

It doesn’t escape me that I could save even more money if I would give up Diet Pepsi and drink water instead. At the very least, I should at least cut down (I really should cut it out, but one step at a time).

I have a friend that spends her extra money on artificial fingernails. She calls it her “only luxury.” I guess I consider soda pop a luxury. Maybe that’s why I have such ugly fingernails.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Daily Schedule

I said I would post a copy of my daily schedule, though I have no idea why I thought anybody would be interested! It’s the whole “loves organization” part of me coming out, I guess. The frugal side of my organizational nature comes out fairly often in the strangest of ways. Like my recent post on being frugal with my time, hence this post.

Anyway, here it is. It’s actually a lot less work than it looks. Basically, it’s just a reminder of what to do in each room. “Clutter patrol” is just what it says, picking up any clutter and putting it away where it belongs. If I have been keeping up with most of the clutter, than it can take only 5-10 minutes to straighten each room and I have a lot more free time. If I have been lazy, then it can take 30 minutes or more to restore a room to order. And if I’ve let the whole house go…goodness!

When I am super busy, I will let some rooms slide for a couple of days, but I keep up with the kitchen and the bathrooms. Everybody uses those the most, and I don’t want them to get away from me.

The thing is, there’s a whole lot of living going on in our homes. People get busy, and something has to give. Let’s see, do I want to go watch my son in a play, or do I want to stay home and clean house….hmmmmm?

I like my home clean and in order, if at all possible, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. For years we lived on the messy side of the scale, then we lived on the “perfect” side of the scale (and it drove my husband nuts), so now we’re kind of right in the middle. Clean enough to make me happy, but messy enough to make my husband happy.

(_) Bible study
(_) Homeschooling
(_) Feed dogs/put away dishes
(_) Exercise: 30 minutes on treadmill OR
(_) DVD workout: strength training, yoga or pilates

Entry
(_) Clutter patrol
(_) Sweep as needed

Living room
(_) Straighten pillows and slipcovers
(_) No clutter on coffee or end tables, furniture or floor
(_) Put newspaper into recycling

Kitchen
(_) Load/reload dishwasher
(_) Put away dishes in drainer
(_) Put out new sponge and dishtowel
(_) No clutter in sink, or on counters or table
(_) Take recycling out
(_) Take out garbage as needed
(_) Sweep as needed

Dining room
(_) No clutter on hutch, table or chairs

Bathrooms (_) (_)
(_) Put away grooming supplies
(_) Put out fresh towels
(_) Swish/swipe sink, counter, mirrors, tub and toilet
(_) Sweep as needed

Master bedroom
(_) Make bed
(_) Hang up/put away clothes
(_) No clutter on bed, dresser, side tables or floor

Sunroom
(_) Clutter patrol

Family room
(_) Clutter patrol

Saturday, October 18, 2008

TIME IS MONEY

If time truly is money, than I have not been very “frugal” with my time lately. I’ve been “spending” it on things that aren’t as valuable as other things. As with grocery shopping, there needs to be a balance between necessities and luxuries, with the most of spending being spent on the necessities. Instead, I’ve been having way to much fun with the “luxuries” and my house shows it. Not that there is anything wrong with watching t.v., reading a book, or spending time with my friends. But usually, I can do that and keep up with the housework too, when I am spending my time wisely, focusing more on the necessities (like house cleaning) and less on the luxuries (like t.v.). How are you spending your time?

I am a detailed oriented person. I like lists, and I like schedules, and I like playing games to motivate myself. When cleaning house I will sometimes set a timer, and then race the timer to see how much I can get done in ten minutes (or whatever time I set). I will sometimes put music on, or I will put a favorite dvd in, and clean the house while listening. It has to be a show that I know well, however, or I will get distracted and start watching the t.v. I will also write a list of to-do things just for the joy of crossing them off

Long ago, I made a housecleaning schedule to keep myself on track, and just because I liked feeling like I was “organized.” I don’t always get everything done every single day though. It is a lot easier to clean a clean house, wouldn’t you agree? If I don’t pick up the house today, then tomorrow I wake up and I’m already behind.

So each day, I strive to pick up the rooms in my home. Especially the “public” rooms, you know, the rooms that people see when they come into your home. The daily pickup, which is called “maintenance,” is the key to keeping our homes in order. If I am picking up and putting away on a daily basis, then a room might only take minutes to straighten. However, if I neglect picking up for a few days, then my workload has just tripled, or more.

That said, I have been rather lazy lately on doing my daily pickups. That’s the reason for this post since it’s been on my mind. I really need to get back into my housecleaning routine. Tomorrow I will post my daily schedule, but remember, it’s a goal I aim for. It’s not set in stone.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome!

Welcome to my very first post. I am a homeschooling SAHM of two dsons. I am married to a wonderful man, whom I am still in love with all these years, and who puts up with my many crazy ideas that I come up with. I might add, that even though I homeschool, don't expect perfection in my spelling or grammar, please! For the most part, I will be typing this in a hurry and probably won't be as careful as I should be.

I have been thinking alot, these last few weeks, about ways that we can be more frugal and save money. Let me tell you about us:

1. Generally, we have lived for years without cable. But my ddad passed away, and dmom moved in with us. She wanted cable and offered to pay for it, so now we have cable t.v.

2. We don't eat out at "fancy" restaurants. We usually eat out once a week after church with friends, but only at fast food places. Clearly, this is an area that we could cut out (or back) and save money.

3. I do most of my shopping at Winco and Costco. Several years ago my dh was out of work for almost a year. We lived on his severance, then savings. During that time, I discovered how to use a price book and feverishly went to several stores in the area, comparing their sales and prices. I discovered that Costco and Winco were the best places for me to shop. It was during this time that I realized the difference between a need and a luxury...olives, chips, m&ms and pop were no longer the needs I thought they were!

4. I rarely use coupons. I buy the storebrand at Winco, which is usually cheaper than using a coupon with a namebrand item. However, I really do want to explore this in the weeks to come.

5. My dh and dsons cut their own hair with the www.flowbee.com haircutting system. We started this when the kids were little, and haircuts for the three of them were costing about $50 every six weeks or so. It has saved a ton of money over the years. I have never used the system myself, as my friend cuts my hair.

6. In the past, we have bought a lot of "convenience" foods. I am sure I would save tons of money if I cooked more from scratch. We buy hamburger helper type stuff, RAR boxes (somewhere, some of you thrify people are wincing at this, I know that!) and frozen pizzas. I do make pizza from scratch, but we also buy the $1.00 a box kind for when the kids (and friends) want a quick lunch. I have some recipes for make your own Rice-a-Roni, and things like that, so I will be experimenting with that in these next few weeks.

7. I have no idea how much I spend on groceries each month. Dh does the bills, for which I am ever so grateful. However, I have asked him to figure out a budget for us, so that I can challenge myself to save some money from it. I told him that most husbands would be thrilled to have their wives ask to live on a budget, don't you think? So far, he has been to busy to make one up, so I've been to busy to watch my spending habits...Lol! Seriously, I guess I'll just have to sit down with the bills and figure it out myself.

8. I love to organize and get into the whole organization thing. I don't have as much time as I'd like to get into it, but I do try to keep my home fairly neat and organized. Before the kids were born, my house was always a mess, and dh and I lovingly referred to ourselves as "slobs." My house was rarely neat. We lived out of the laundry basket (instead of putting the clothes away), and lived out of the grocery sack (instead of putting the groceries away). I just had no idea how to manage my home. Thankfully, I read a ton of books and established some habits and we dug ourselves out of the mess we were living in.

9. I know very little about computers. In fact, I have no idea how anybody is every going to find this blog. I also don't know how to do any links or anything. I guess I'll have to learn.

I am looking forward to this journey and hopefully make some friends along the way!