Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An 8 year old's Take on Christmas Spending

Caiden: "Christmas saves you a lot of money."

Daniel: "Oh yea? How do you figure?"

Caiden: "Well Santa brings all the presents....you don't have to do a thing!"

Oh, the innocence of youth!!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My New Year's Resolution(s), and Why :)

This morning, I realized that Christmas has left me broke (as it does every year...) and beginning Jan 1st, I am going to really set my mind to saving my family money. What set me on this {MISSION} was the fact that I am in a panic as to how in the world I am going to pay my car payment this month. I called to see if they could possibly defer this month's payment and they told me that they "are not granting any deferments at this time". (Just a note, this REALLY ticked me off...I have never asked for a deferment, my payments are ALWAYS on time and I usually pay more than the regular monthly payment. My point is, I am a perfect customer, and they were unwilling to make an exception. How rude!) So, I pulled money from my savings to make the payment, and I noticed that my savings account is rapidly dwindling down to nothing. And to add fuel to this fire, Daniel called me to tell me that our health insurance is going to be $100 a week. We need insurance (obviously), so I told him just to do it, and I'll figure out later how in the world we'll pay for it. So anyway, here is my plan for becoming more frugal and (hopefully) decreasing the financial stress we have (and the weekly "oh lord, I have to pay bills" heart attack). 

First and foremost, I HAVE to cut my grocery bill. When I first started staying home with the boys, I did a great job of shopping only once every two weeks, and only buying the necessities. Over the past year, however, I have gotten back in the habit of going to Wal-Mart several times a week and buying on impulse. My goal is to keep our grocery bill under $100 per week. Right now, I would say we have doubled, if not tripled on some weeks, that amount. I am also going to take the advice of a very sweet lady at Wal-Mart and cut the hell out of coupons. I am also going to keep a price book so I know who has the cheapest prices, when to buy on sale, etc. 

Next on my list is to quit smoking. Daniel and I both smoke, which costs us about $70 a week. RIDICULOUS!! If Daniel and I quit smoking, we can almost pay for our health insurance, which would probably end up paying for our oxygen tanks down the road :) I have so many reasons to quit, and not any good ones not to. My only excuse is that I really do enjoy smoking, and I know it will be hard to quit. One reason that I (hope) will keep me on the right track is that my brother kicked his heroin habit cold turkey. If he managed that, I think I can manage quitting smoking. Hopefully Daniel and I will avoid a divorce...he's a total ass when he doesn't smoke. :) I know my smoking buddy (this means you, Manni!) is going to be lost without me, but I've got to do it!!

In February, Daniel and I are going to get a big chunk of money back on our taxes since we purchased our first home this year. We are going to pay off the majority of our credit card debt, which will be a big load off our shoulders. 

I am going to get Levi potty trained. (AHHH!!!) He seems to have a big interest in the potty, and I am going to take advantage of it. I already buy the cheapest diapers (Parent's Choice @ Wal-Mart which cost me about $6.97 a week), but every penny counts.

If I can get my husband to hang my clothesline (this has been a "I'll do it this weekend, honey" thing for about 2 years!), I am going to hopefully reduce my energy bill by hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. 

Lastly, I am going to do my best to cut out all of the "extras". No more $1.50 drinks at the gas station, ordering pizza because I don't feel like cooking (ok...maybe occasionally I'll splurge), or buying random unneeded things at the store. 

If anyone has any suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!! Wish me luck!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let it Sleet, Let it Sleet, Let it Sleet!

Just don't let me slip!! It is sleeting like crazy outside. I made a mad dash to the grocery store for a few meals and snacks (Yes, I'm one of THOSE people!), then to the post office to put Chris' Christmas card in the mail, then I picked Caiden up a little bit early because I didn't want him riding the bus in this weather (again...yes, I am one of THOSE parents!). I came home to find that my Christmas tree is dying!! I am so upset...it is turning brown and drooping. Ugh! What am I going to do!? We are having Christmas here this year, and I really can't afford to buy another tree. Yes, I have kept it watered. I guess I might have to pull an Eric and Amanda and go running out the day or so before Christmas to get a new tree to replace my delapitated one. How sad. :(

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

End of the semester...finally!

I am so happy that I just submitted my final paper of the semester! Requiring your students to complete finals, papers, and projects this close to Christmastime should be outlawed. Who has time for that?? Then again, if I had my priorities straight and had managed my time a little bit better, I might I have been done a long time ago. But hey, who can blame me? I just got so caught up in the Christmas spirit that I decided to write out Christmas cards instead of complete a paper that's 35% of my grade {Eeek! I am terrible, aren't I?}

But whatever, it's done...now I can concentrate on what's really important this time of year; my family. Amanda and I are still working on finishing up that {top secret} project for {that special someone}. Hopefully it will be finished tomorrow! My dad is coming over Saturday evening for us to celebrate Christmas {yay!}, and hopefully I can con Nana T into letting me come over on Sunday so she can help me wrap presents...I have so many that I just don't know how I'll get them all done by myself! Plus, Nana is AWESOME when it comes to wrapping presents, and she can make mine look super pretty. {Hint Hint Nana...don't act like you didn't see this post! :) }

Next week, I promised Caiden that since I am done with the semester, we will spend all week hanging out, baking Nana's shortbread cookies, reading Christmas books, and watching Christmas movies {A Christmas Story is our favorite!}. I can't wait! Poor Caiden tends to get lost in the mix sometimes since I stress so much about my schoolwork. I hope that the next two weeks will be good for him and I to reconnect.

{Just so you know, I do realize that, for some reason, my words get cut off in the middle and it jumps to the next line...so aggravating, but I've yet to figure out how to fix it!}

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Plans

This weekend is going to be busy, just like almost all our weekends!

Daniel and Eric are hunting, and I am getting ready to take Caiden to basketball practice. It's FREEZING cold outside! Hopefully I can con Taylor into watching Levi for a bit so I don't have to take him out in the cold. He has a pretty bad cold, as do Caiden and I...ugh!

Amanda and I are going to be spending almost all weekend working on a Christmas gift for someone VERY special :) If we don't hurry up it's not going to be finished so we are down to the wire! I wish I could tell you more, but I don't want to give away the surprise!

Sunday afternoon we will be taking our family winter/Christmas pictures. (Family members...be looking for your picture in the mail soon!!) As some of you know, Amanda and I *love* to take pictures and we both bought ourselves nice cameras so that we can take pretty pictures. We decided a long time ago that it is ridiculous to pay someone else 100's of dollars for pictures when we can just take them ourselves! Not only that, but most places charge you an arm and a leg for any kind of editing or touching up, and we can do that for free...duh! We are still learning through a lot of trial and error, but it's still a lot of fun and we get better after every "session". So anywho, Amanda made us a backdrop, and we are borrowing some lights from our wonderful friends Angie and Mike. They were so nice to let us use them, and I think our pictures this year are going to turn out beautifully!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Making Up For Lost Time




Lately, I have been so busy with all of the holiday stuff that I just haven’t had the chance to get a post on here. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while, and I have been so anxious to get this up, because I am so behind! Even right now I shouldn’t be writing this, because I have a final exam to take today that I really should be studying for. But then again, I have never claimed that prioritizing and time management are my best qualities! I am going to try to make this as short as possible, just to get myself caught up so I’ll be back on track. Enjoy!


Thanksgiving

Oh how I love Thanksgiving! I just LOVE to eat (like most of us), and Thanksgiving dinner is by far the best time of the year for stuffing my face. This year, it was extra special because it was my first Thanksgiving at my house. Mom came over the night before and helped me get the turkey ready. Turns out, mom actually did the turkey because I was totally grossed out by the whole ramming veggies into the cavities and massaging the turkey with butter. Uhh...totally “dross!” as Levi would say!! Anyway, Amanda and I spent Thanksgiving morning cooking and getting everything ready. It turned out great! The food was awesome, and we had plenty of leftovers to take on our weekend hunting trip!


The Spread



Daniel pigging out on the pudding.



Taylor, Amanda, and Eric



Pap-paw trying to get Levi to eat.



Junkman trying to get Levi to eat.



Nana and Taylor



Nana chilling out after dinner.


Eric got his first deer Thanksgiving morning! He killed this seven pointer...I am so jealous.






Hunting Trip

So after Thanksgiving dinner, Levi headed home with Nana (Caiden spent the weekend with his Grandparents in the mountains). I was pretty sad at first. I even cried and told Daniel I just wanted to stay home! But alas, I went on our trip without my baby and had an absolute blast. Daniel and his father are members of a hunt club in Columbus county, and they have a camper down there. I was expecting to kill my first buck, but no such luck. I saw a bunch of “not a damn things” as Eric put it. None of us had any luck...but we still had a great time. It was so nice to just relax and not really have a care in the world. We got up every morning around 4:30 and headed out into the woods and got out of our stands around 9:00. Both days I took a long nap (literally like all afternoon) which is a rare luxury for me! We would get back in the stand around 3:30, and get down around dark. It was super cold, but I really did enjoy myself. I wish I could go as much as Daniel does...it’s a totally different world down there. Even if the accomodations aren’t 5 star (see below), I would love to spend more time there! Other than the bone  chilling cold I think I did a pretty good job! 


The Camp (yes, I stayed here.)


And yes, this is the bathroom...


The road leading to the stands.



Me



The field.



The road leading into my stand...pretty creepy at night.



On the road to Daniel's stand. It was so pretty!



Junkman being silly.



I don't know why, but I was obsessed with these boots. I took like 20 pictures of them!



I only posted two :)



Daniel's lane.



My hubby throwing out corn.






Me and my hubby.



Daniel and his Dad.



Me and Junkman



So relaxing...



Me, freezing to death :)



Trying to stay warm in the camper.



Eric



Probably the reason I was obsessed with the snake boots. This snake was killed right outside someone's truck.



EEEEEWWWW!


Our Christmas Tree


We got our Christmas tree! I love Christmas...it is my favorite time of year. I love getting our tree and decorating the house, and watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music makes me super giddy! I always start way too early (like 2 weeks before Thanksgiving) and Daniel can’t stand it. But this year I had to wait due to finals and our hunting trip. Daniel, Caiden, and I had a lot of fun decorating it, and Levi had a lot of fun pulling off the ornaments as we put them on. Stinker. The tree has held up ok, considering the abuse inflicted upon it by the little Tank. Other than a few bare spots, and the fact that all of the ornaments on the bottom have been ripped off, it looks pretty good! :) I took a BUNCH of pictures, but for some reason,I can’t find them anywhere on my computer or my camera. I am so disappointed because I had some really cute ones of the boys looking at the tree once it was finished. Stupid technology...or maybe it’s the operator (I think that’s more like it!)


Caiden’s Birthday

What a blast!! If you don’t know Caiden, he is a sports fanatic. He plays just about everything his school offers...baseball, basketball, and football. For his birthday this year, the whole family chipped in and bought him his very own batting cage! How lucky is this kid?? We got a good deal on it...it was a steal, actually. Eric found it on craigslist and we thought it would be the perfect birthday present! Anywho, so we had a little surprise party for Caiden. I think he was pretty surprised! 


The guys working on the batting cage.



Taylor and Levi



Levi apparently took a tumble...



And ate some grass in the process!



The two Nana's



Summer and Taylor



Nana Weet and Pipaw



Blindfolded waiting for the surprise ("Is it a swingset, mom?")



"Yay!"



Awesome shot taken by "Manni" :)



And another...



Levi






Eric



Pipaw running the machine.



"Manni"



Me and my best bud Amanda



That is supposed to be a kiss...looks like I smell something stinky :)



Me and Lindsay



Summer catching the sun.



Caiden catching the sun.



Caiden opening his cards.



Still trying with a little monkey on his back!



With his new ramp from Nana and Pap-paw, and Pop looking on.



Caiden's army cake!



Today is (hopefully) my last assignment for my cultural studies class. As long as a make an A on the exam that I have to take tonight, I will have an A average in the class which makes me exempt from having to take the final. I am keeping my fingers crossed...

This weekend Amanda and I will be taking our Christmas pictures. I am super excited! We all went out and bought new clothes, and Amanda has created a little studio for us with a backdrop and lights and everything! I can’t wait to see how they turn out...and how Levi decides to act that day. Those of you with toddlers know that it is damn near impossible to get a decent picture of an almost 2 year old!

I am going to finish this post with a few pictures I snapped of Levi the other night...don’t look at me, I look like crap, but Levi is too cute!





What a face!









Ha ha! No caption needed.



"Cheeeeeeeese!!"