Friday, July 31, 2009

Foto Friday!

I blog about Cari a lot. Well, probably more than any other one person out there. But you know, not incessantly.

Yesterday she brought over her sweet baby for some newborn pictures and, my goodness, was he perfect! Here's one of my favorites from our session, but you should really go check out the rest! :)

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Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blame It On The Pregnancy

Yesterday was a bad day. And when I say bad, I mean, like....REALLY bad. And when I say REALLY bad....I mean, yes, of course it would pale in comparison to anyone living in a third-world country, anyone who has recently lost a loved one, or anyone who has any number of serious problems to deal with. But for me and my comfortable American way of was bad.

I was hardly functional. Like, if there was such a thing as pre-partum depression and if this state of mind lasted for more than a week, I'd consider drugs. The legal kind, of course. But, be things as they are, I'm pretty sure I can just chalk this one up to the pregnancy.

I'm not really sure what the deal was, to be honest. I was processing some news I had recently learned about from a friend (really terrible news, mind you), realizing that I have absolutely nothing ready for this baby whenever he or she makes her entrance (all the while knowing full well that babies don't really need anything), thanking the Lord that my work schedule is almost complete for this summer (but wondering what I'll actually do with my time until I pick back up this fall), and dealing with a lot of screaming children....and little sleep on both my part AND theirs. And my feet were swollen. I hate that feeling.

It was a bad day.

When my husband got home, I told him I was sure I was on the verge of some sort of emotional breakdown. Not that I'm entirely sure what an emotional breakdown actually is. But I was sure.

And as we were tag-teaming dinner, the tears began to flow. I normally lock myself away somewhere so my children don't have to wonder "what's wrong with Mommy" but yesterday I just didn't have the energy to move. I cried in the middle of the living room floor. Then next to the Kleenex box. Then in the kitchen.

My middle child, Sienna, was thankfully the only one who seemed to notice.




....she kept saying with a very concerned look on her face. I couldn't bear to respond because, honestly, I had no idea how to sum up into words what was actually wrong. Finally at the dinner table, she got out, "Why were you sad, Mommy?" at which point I still didn't really know, so I just asked her to finish her dinner.

It's hard explaining things to kids. It really is. Especially when you're having a bad day.

As I was getting ready for bed last night, I read the daily Proverb, chapter 29. As I oftentimes am when reading the book of Proverbs, I was struck with how straightforward (and truthful) the writer is.

"A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back." (v 11)

"A child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother." (v 15)

"When a wicked man rules, people groan." (v 2)

And the selfishness of the day came back to me. Is it okay to have a bad day? Sure, sometimes it's unavoidable. Is it okay to cry in front of your kids? Hey, sometimes it happens. But feeling overwhelmed is simply a lack of trust in God. And yesterday, I was seriously lacking in that area. So today my verse to remember is this:

Philippians 4.6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - Homemade No-Bake Cheesecake


Some people ONLY like baked cheesecake. Some ONLY like what I prefer to call cream cheese pie - which is technically unbaked cheesecake. I happen to be a fan of both. But there is one particular restaurant who has a cheesecake that I just absolutely LOVE. Fortunately for my figure, the restaurant is located where my parents live and not here in Indy. Nevertheless, I've been wondering for years what sort of recipe they use for their cheesecake.

While browsing cheesecake recipes the other day (why yes, that is my idea of fun), I discovered this one.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This is almost identical to the restaurant cheesecake that I love so dearly except for one tiny discrepancy. I think this one is actually a little bit better. Yes, better!

It's easy, it's delicious, and it's oh so fattening! So give it a try. I bet you'll love it! (Even my husband who doesn't care much for unbaked cheesecake thought this stuff was amazing.)

10-lb Cheesecake

  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  1. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until well blended and smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Pour filling into crust and smooth the top.
  3. Refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Once this baby is firm (or before that, if you prefer), top it with fruit if you'd like. Personally, I like it just the way it is, but I may try some raspberry mixture and whipped cream next time. (They have this variation at the restaurant I spoke of earlier and it is DEEE-LISH!)

Man, now I really wish I had some cream cheese in the house....


Monday, July 27, 2009

"Not Me!" Monday

Since I didn't participate in "Not Me!" Monday last week and since last week MckMama hosted a "Not My Child!" Monday instead of the regular "Not Me!" Monday, this week will be a combination of both.

(And, sidenote: While we're talking about MckMama, please pray for her son Stellan. I've posted about him in the past and the 'Pray for Stellan' button in my sidebar is devoted to him. He has been out of the hospital for a few months now but went back in for some experimental drug treatment since the combination of drugs he has been on doesn't seem to be working any longer. Since being admitted, his condition has gone downhill. Way downhill. Please pray for him and his family. You can find details on his mommy's blog.)

Ok, now back to "Not Me!" Monday....

After spending the morning at the park one day and doing laundry the next, I most certainly did not find a small pile of pebbles at the bottom of my washing machine. My children would never steal rocks from the park and then keep them in their pockets for me to later find in the washer.

I definitely did not burst out laughing when my son exclaimed yesterday on the way home from church, "Hey, look at those hot dogs growing over there!" while pointing at the cattails in a nearby ditch. I would never harm my child's self-esteem by laughing directly in front of them at something they don't know about yet.

I did not fret and hide my left hand all weekend (or be sure to explain the situation to all within hearing range) because I was sure I looked like a statistic (single pregnant mom) everywhere I went without my rings on. While dropping them off at the jeweler's to get a new layer of rhodium (shiny stuff) on them, I did not consider asking the jeweler why they don't offer one-size-bigger-than-normal "loaners" to pregnant moms, so they could still appear married even if their fingers were each the size of a small boulder. Or if they just wanted to send their rings in to get shiny-ized again. I am not that concerned about my image!

My husband and I certainly did not take advantage of my mom's babysitting offer and leave the kids with her all day long on Saturday. Just because we could. We also did not go out to lunch, then get ice cream at Coldstone, and then buy popcorn and soda for our movie because we are not gluttons. We always stop eating as soon as we are full and never spend money on "date food" three times in one day. That would just be wasteful! And speaking of wasteful, we definitely didn't stop and get more popcorn on the way out of the theater just because there were free refills. And even if we had, we certainly would have eaten it all right away and not left it on our counter for 2 days until it got stale.

While stopping by Motherhood Maternity the other day and attempting to purchase a few nursing bras before the baby actually arrives, when the very young, obviously-never-had-children attendant asked how they fit, I did not go into a lengthy dissortation about how frustrating it is that bra companies can't seem to figure out that you can't use the same pattern for a size A cup as you can for a size E cup. I did not feel the need to tell her that making the pattern bigger is not the answer but rather making an entirely different cut might solve the problem. I never offer my full range of thoughts on issues when asked a simple question because I know there are boundaries. And therefore, the very young, obviously-never-had-children attendant who was now looking rather sheepish did not feel the need to mention that another woman said she had found a better bra at Walmart. (Go figure.)

And finally... there is no way I completely forgot to attend a party for a friend of mine who is in town from Brazil for a few weeks. I am always tack sharp when it comes to things like that! Oh, and did I mention that I always write everything on my calendar? Yep, cuz I don't want to miss a thing!

Normally, this is where I'd link you over to MckMama's "Not Me!" Monday post but considering she is spending time in the hospital with her sweet baby right now, I don't know if she'll be posting an edition this week or not. But you can always check here and if I see a post, I'll link to it later.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Absolutely Nothing

Nothing but laundry and cleaning and feeding my children, that is. That's what's on the agenda for today.

After spending last week dropping my two older kids off at VBS every single day, running various errands every single day, going out on a date with my hubby on Saturday (thanks, Mom!), going to church yesterday, and working 2 days last week...I am utterly wiped.

Last night I was so tired I cried. Just from being tired. I told my husband I was so glad this is my last week of working until the baby comes. I honestly have no idea how people work a full-time job until their due date. Maybe they're superwoman. Or maybe they don't already have 3 toddlers at home. Either way, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am SO blessed to be able to stay at home with my children.

So today, in honor of me, I'm doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Nothing but laundry and cleaning and feeding my children, that is. You know, the normal we're-staying-home-and-not-going-anywhere-because-the-weekend-just-ended kind of Monday.

And I'm very happy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Foto Friday!

I know I've been touch and go on Foto Friday as of late, but since I had a super sweet little newborn in here this week, I really want to show him off. I know I already put a plug in for him earlier this week, but hey...I'm a sucker for the little guys. What can I say?

wm e DSC_0067 collage

Ok, now...again, I beg you....go see the rest!

In Anticipation Of Something Great

I'd like to proudly announce that it took me less than the anticipated 4-6 weeks for all of the wedding photos from my last wedding to be sorted, processed, resized, and uploaded to an online gallery. Perhaps your wedding photographer had your pictures to you in three days and you're, like, totally unimpressed. Perhaps your photographer took something more like three months and you, like, can't believe how fast I am. Either way you look at it, for a frazzled mom with (almost) 4 kids under 5...personally, I'm impressed.

So there.

I'd also like to proudly announce that I made it to the grocery store this morning! I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that the last time I went grocery shopping was (gulp) on July 3rd. Yes, the July 3rd that was X'd off the calendar a whopping THREE weeks ago. But I am so thankful that we are capable of keeping, and do keep our home fairly well stocked with the essentials.

So no, my children were not living on Raman noodles and Kraft mac 'n cheese. And no, we weren't drinking powdered milk and Tang.

It's extremely rare that I make it to the grocery store midweek in the morning, but when I do, I love how many markdowns I find. I also get a kick out of the fact that they call all that nearly expired stuff the "Manager's Special". I mean, really. We all know the only reason it's "special" is because if nobody buys it today, it's going to go into the trash.

Anyway, I scored some yummy OJ and some organic yogurts for a pretty sweet price. So I was happy about that. And while I'm talking about good deals, let me just rant and rave for one tiny second about something that is NOT a good deal.


Who does Huggies think they are kidding?? Like I'm not going to notice the fact that there are now 36 diapers per package instead of 42?? Oh, and also the fact that the price has not gone down, not stayed the same, but has actually risen?? Oh man, don't even get me started!!

Seriously. I don't want to talk about it. So drop it already.

Moving on....

Tomorrow is Friday and I'm very happy about that. I know lots of people love Saturdays, but I think I must just thrive on the anticipation of something great - or something like that - because I love knowing that Fridays bring about the anticipation of Saturday. Once we actually reach a Saturday, I can no longer be anticipatory because thinking of Sunday only leads me to think of Monday. And well, I'm not a big Monday fan. I mean, I don't use the word "hate" too often, but...if I did....well, I'm just sayin'.


Fridays are good. And if you didn't follow anything I just said in that last paragraph, go back and read it again. Eh, you know what? Nevermind. Don't even bother. It probably doesn't make a lick of sense anyway.

Happy (almost) Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Only 8 Weeks To Go

My goodness, is it Wednesday already??

I'm totally slacking in the blogosphere right now. I have a whole slew of post ideas but none of them seem to be at the top of my priority list. In real life, I'm in the midst of processing lots of pictures and picture orders, keeping my house clean, helping organize a school supply drive, trying to keep my children in their rooms at naptime, watching our new grass grow, being kicked in the cervix, cleaning my kitchen five times a day, taking my kids to VBS every morning this week, and you know...all that other normal stuff.

I'm pretty wiped out and am definitely feeling very pregnant. My mom is visiting this week, so that's offering me a nice break from doing all the kid things. But there are still things I have to get done. Namely, grocery shopping. UGH.

I had great intentions of making a lot of freezer meals before this little one arrived, but I just don't know if I'm going to have the energy for that. I hardly have the energy to make one meal for each day of the week. How on earth would I have the energy to make 4 or 5 at a time??

If you're bored and would like something to do, you should really go look at Gretchen's adorable baby boy over on my photography blog. I took his newborn pictures this week and he was so precious and cute and squishy! So you should go look at them. It'll make you smile. I promise.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sucker Punched

Warning: Graphic pregnancy speech ahead.

There's a weird phenomenon that takes place after you've gotten pregnant and had a child...and specifically after you've done those things multiple times. Your personal life becomes not so personal and you share things with people that the average un-pregnant person would never share. Like for instance, the details of and goings-on which occur near your cervix.

If you've never been pregnant, you'll absolutely in no way be able to understand what I'm about to say.

I hate being punched, kicked, and my cervix. I mean, I know the kid can't help it, but come on.

Early on in the pregnancy it's just kind of a strange feeling but as I near the end, I can't help but wonder what the heck that child is thinking! I literally expect to feel the warm sensation of amniotic fluid running down my legs every time I get sucker punched down there. It's highly uncomfortable and always leaves me wondering when it was that I had all that caffeine. Because surely these things don't just happen.

I have 7 weeks left before I am considered full-term (or 6, in some areas) but I sure feel like I could deliver this child at any moment. I know I've probably said this over and over again, but I seriously feel like I've been pregnant for all of about 12 months. It's totally ridiculous.

I know the baby is not "fully cooked" yet, so I'm trying to be patient, but it would be a whole lot easier if this little one could just stop with the rampant kicking and punching down there.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Than We Bargained For

Yesterday morning while my kids were reading in their rooms, I decided to hop in the shower while I had the chance. When I got out of the shower, I clothed myself in my bath robe and went to my bedroom window to open the blinds. Since our backyard is fairly private and since I typically dress in the bathroom, I generally open the blinds early in the morning. But when I peeked out the window as I began to open them, I saw four men with their backs to me staring into my backyard.

It took me a second to gather my thoughts before I realized that I recognized one of the men as my last bride's father. He's a local landscaper and we bargained a sweet deal for her wedding. He would do some yardwork for us. I would shoot the wedding for about half price.

You see, we'd been wanting to clear our some of the brush behind our lawn for quite some time. In fact, my husband had butchered it several times with his machete, but it kept growing back. Apparently bushes do that sort of thing if they aren't properly dug up.

The land isn't actually ours. It is part of our neighborhood's "protected tree area". But thankfully that area doesn't include protecting bushes, so we decided tearing them out would be a great way to give us a bit more space in the backyard. And also, to keep them from taking over our lawn.

So back to yesterday. The kids and I really enjoyed watching the bushes being dug up, torn down, and pushed aside, the seed being spread, and the - uhh...cover? - being put on top of the seed to help it grow. The area looked relatively larger than I had anticipated, but that was okay with me.

When my husband got home, we had dinner, put the kids to bed, and decided to wander out to the backyard since neither of us had actually been back there to fully evaluate the whole situation. As we walked, the yard seemed to stretch further and further back. I honestly can't believe how much room there is!

As we tried to figure out how we managed to get such a wide open space that was so much larger than we had originally thought it would be, we came to the following conclusion: There was somewhat of a clearing behind some of the bushes. Our theory is that when our landscaper reached the clearing, he just kept pushing the bushes further back so we could use that clearing as part of our yard.

Whether or not that is actually the case, we absolutely can't believe the space back there! "It's like a park," my husband said. And I conquer.

We didn't break any rules, but we sure hope the neighborhood association doesn't mind this extra large clearing in our "backyard". I can't wait for the grass to grow and for the kids to be able to have shade to play in during the day! Our yard is pretty sunny until late in the afternoon, so morning play has always been fairly restrictive due to the risk of sunburn that runs so high in our family. But now we will have an open space, a space to run, a space to live. It's so beautiful.

Oh, what? You can't picture this? Is that what you're saying, Katy? Well, just for are some pictures. (Even though you could totally just run over and view it for yourself.) :)

Here's what our yard looked like shortly after the landscaper arrived yesterday:


And here is what it looks like today:


(And to be fair....the picture really doesn't do it justice. We gained about 10-15 feet of space from our lawn to the big tree in the middle and then at least 25 feet beyond the tree.)

Now grow, grass! Grow!

It Makes Me Laugh

In my absolute delusion of being awake at 4am, I'd like to point you to what may possibly be one of the funniest blogs on the web. If you ever have about 15 hours to waste, this, my friends, is the place to do it. I literally laugh out loud every single time I visit this blog and I can just about guarantee you will too. Unless of course, you have no sense of humor. In which case the guarantee will not apply.

I'd also like to say that if I typod every word in this post and my grammar leaves something to be desired, please assert all errors to the time of day this post is being written. Or my pregnancy. But a combination of both would be ideal. You can never have too many outs, right?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Lot of Laundry

Yesterday was one of those days. One of the few days I've had with this pregnancy where I feel alive and capable of doing almost anything. (Anything, that is, except scuba-diving. I have a terrible fear of being eaten by a shark.)

I don't know if I did any laundry last week. Well, okay...I think I remember doing laundry, but I know for certain that I never folded any. I was trying to blame that on the fact that my laundry table had been moved downstairs for our cookout the weekend before, but when my husband brought it back upstairs midweek that kind of ended my excuse. But I still didn't fold it. I just felt so tired.

I remember doing a fairly thorough cleaning before our company arrived on the 4th, so I wasn't too concerned about the bathrooms or floors. But the kitchen....ohhh, the kitchen. It's a place that seems to never be finished. There's always something to do in the kitchen.

Sweeping. Mopping. Dishes. Emptying the dishwasher. Loading the dishwasher. Cleaning the table. Cleaning the countertops. Oh, and who could forget cooking? Which of course, leads back to all of those things again.

Most days I hate the kitchen. Some days I detest it. Last week was a detestable kitchen week. I did manage to load the dishwasher once or twice and I tried to keep everything rinsed after meals, but I admit that my husband was stuck doing a lot of the kitchen work that I should have done myself. Thankfully, he is quite the servant in the kitchen and quietly picked up where I had left off (or rather....not done anything).

This weekend was no better. I continued to stare into the kitchen and hoping that if I wished hard enough the kitchen fairies would appear and put everything in its place.

Unfortunately, no fairies ever came.

Not only could I not find any kitchen fairies, I also couldn't find any vacuuming fairies, laundry fairies, or grocery shopping fairies. WHERE ARE ALL THE FAIRIES?!?!

Eh hem. Sorry.

Anyway, when I woke up yesterday morning I was determined to pick up, clean up, and straighten up the house. I totally pooped out around 1.30pm but made a short comeback after dinner to vacuum the stairs and the upstairs (which only gets done about once a month). All in all, with some help from my children, I managed to:

- wash, dry, and put away 4 loads of laundry
- load and unload the dishwasher
- clean the countertops, sink, and kitchen table
- sweep the kitchen floor
- vacuum 14 stairs + 3 bedrooms + 2 closets + 1 loft
- compose 3 blog posts
- process some wedding pictures
- reorganize our closet shelves
- fill in my business calendar
- research some insurance questions
- pay several bills
- feed my children - twice!
- strip and remake 3 beds and 1 crib
- rearrange (again) the laundry baskets in our quest to find the most efficient way to do laundry in this house
- completely forget about dinner

That's right. In all that work, I totally forgot to plan dinner. But thankfully, the Lord has given me a very forgiving husband. He ran to the bread store, grabbed a few loaves of bread (since we were totally out) and came home to help make our "breakfast dinner": toast, eggs, and sausage.

Um...can we say nesting may have set in? I think so.

Speaking of which...I am 31 weeks this Thursday! On one hand, it seems like I have so far to go. On the other hand, I could be having a baby in 7 weeks! I have about 5,000,009 things I want to do before the little one arrives, but....I'll just stick to doing what I am capable of and the rest will get done eventually.

Today I have a photo shoot with an adorably cute and squishy newborn and I can't wait! Check my photography blog later this week if you'd like to see pictures. :)

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Monday, July 13, 2009

This Post Is For Cari

Ok, that's totally untrue. I was getting ready to write it anyway but since, while I was readying myself, she left a comment asking about it....I'll pretend it's just for her. I mean YOU, Cari. This post is just for YOU.

Last Friday, we did go to Chick-fil-A. Twice. We always go twice because my husband hates to miss out. The funny part is that this year he actually printed out the cow spots from the C.A.D. website and went on his lunch. But he still insisted that we go again for dinner. So we did.

What can I say? He's the boss.

Anyway, our first trip to Chick-fil-A was only mildly terrifying. (My husband thinks it's hilarious that I use the phrase mildly terrifying so often, by the way.) When we arrived, I coerced my children out of the van and immediately locked it so they could not try to get back in. Ok, so I locked it because my camera was in there. But whatever.

There was some whining on the way in, despite the fact that we hadn't actually seen the cow through the window. But I was sure it was there and kept reassuring my children that "even though the cow will be there, you don't have to be afraid". It totally didn't work. But back to the story....

A few of my friends were already there with their children when we arrived, so one of them helped usher us all in. When she announced that there was NO COW in the store, my children relaxed and so did I. A little.

We ordered our food, sat down and began to eat. And then it happened.

Along came Cow. Giant, scary, head-way-too-large-for-its-body cow.

My son actually did quite well. My daugther cried into my shoulder for the next 30 minutes. I know I'm the meanest mom in the world for forcing them to stay inside the restaurant, but hey...I was eating!

The manager stopped by our table shortly after the cow began its rounds on the other end of the restaurant. I mentioned to him that two of my children were pretty scared of the cow and kindly asked him if there was any way he could request that the cow remain a reasonable distance from our table. Since the people who work at Chick-fil-A are the nicest people on earth, of course he complied. But the presence of the cow was still enough to leave my middle child clinging to me for dear life.

After playing in the playplace for a while after eating (or not eating, as my terrified children did), we managed to make it out of the restaurant with minimal psychological damage.

Due to the emotional trauma of the day's events, I was hoping my husband would not be interested in going again, but dreams were dashed to pieces when he said "But I was planning on Chick-fil-A for dinner."

So we set out for the next closest Chick-fil-A. I was already Chick-fil-A'd out and still pretty full from lunch, so I insisted that my husband wear the adult cow suit and I just wore a "Eat Mor Chikin" sign so I could get a little something.

When we arrived, I was SO happy to see a rather empty parking lot and no scary cow in sight. Let's face it....Castleton is just way less cool with the south side of Indy. (Just kidding, Castleton folks.) :)

The cow never did show up, a non-happening for which I was very grateful, and we enjoyed a peaceful (albeit, very familiar) dinner. As we were going outside to get back into the van, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures. So here I give you the one, THE ONLY, picture taken from our Chick-fil-A day:

resize e DSC_0369

I know. The adult cow suit is totally envious. Too bad you can't see the udders in this picture.

And Cari, next year you need to join us so you can see all of this chaos played out LIVE in front of your very own eyes. It's really rather entertaining. You know, if you thrive on the excitement that comes from a small child's tear-filled eyes and screams of horror at the sight of something so scary, so monstrously huge, so terrifyingly awful as THE CHICK-FIL-A COW.

Get Your Finances In Line In 2009: June Recap

June was a fun and kind of crazy month here at the Stone household. We went on vacation and it was fantastic. We spent every penny of our vacation budget and never once felt bad about it! Now I absolutely understand the beauty of going on vacation with cold hard CASH. Noooo stinky credit cards. Pew.

Three members of our family had dentist appointments and....I can't exactly remember what it was but something else happened last month that sort of through a loop in our average monthly expenses. Sadly, we weren't able to contribute any additional funds to our FFEF, but we also didn't have to take any money from it either...which is a blessing!

Last week we got an overpayment from our escrow account (now that the Indiana tax fiasco seems to finally be settling out) so we are planning to use a bit of that for some extra things we've been needing and hopefully we'll stash some of it into our savings in addition to our regular monthly funding.

This month's "update" looks pretty identical to last month....

Goal #1: Save up and pay CASH for our 5-day vacation to Mackinac Island in June! :) ---- 100% completed ----

Goal #2: Fully fund our 6 month emergency fund and put into a money market account to be left UNTOUCHED unless there is an actual emergency. ---- 40.5% completed ----

Goal #3: Save for my husband to get a "new" (that means used) car.

Goal #4: Raise retirement contributions to 12% (with a 4% match).

Goal #5: Open a money market account for each of our children.

Goal #6: Begin paying extra principal on our mortgage.

Goal #7: Establish a will and testament. ---- Still thinking about working on this... ----

Goal #8: Get disability insurance for both my husband and me. ---- We're still in the process of finalizing this for my husband. Which really means, I have the paperwork in my email inbox and that's about as far as we've gotten. ----

Since June was so dull, I'm extra excited to see where we'll be by the end of July!

It seems unlikely BUT I'd love to be able to say that we have completed our FFEF by the end of 2009! Doing so would require some extra pay (extra business for me and/or OT or a raise for my hubby) and probably some extra scrimping, but OH MAN would that be fun! We'll see how things go....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's Gonna Be Big

Next to me sits a bag. In that bag is a package of toddler-sized white t-shirts, two toddler-sized white skirts, a toddler-sized pair of black shorts, and 5 sheets of felt. What's going to happen next is going to require a scissors, some safety pins, and way too much creativity for 10 o'clock at night on a Thursday.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I am about to create for my children three very (sarcasm implied) snazzy cow costumes for the big day.

As I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post....tomorrow (Friday, July 10th) is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A. And if you've never been to Chick-fil-A on Cow Appreciation Day before...well, you've just never lived. It's like you've walked into a movie where cows are the only actors. Even the friendly Chick-fil-A employees moo at you and somehow turn their hands into hooves.

Ok, I made up those last two sentences, but here's the deal:

If you dress like a cow from head to toe, you'll get a free meal tomorrow. If you wear a cow accessory (bet you didn't even know cows wore accessories, did ya?), you'll get a free entree.

It's that simple!

Personally, I plan to dig out our adult-sized cow costume and wear that, of course, having in tow my three small calves wearing their very snazzy homemade cow costumes. And we will partake in C.A.D. together as a little cow family (minus daddy cow). It'll be grand.

Oh, except for the part where my 3 and 4-year olds scream at the top of their lungs when they see the giant scary Chick-fil-A cow walking through the restaurant. And especially if he tries to stop at our table or any table with a 10-foot radius of ours.

But I'm just going to pretend that isn't going to happen.

Even totally will.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Don't Want To Go Inside!

Yesterday was totally exhausting. I have no idea what was going on with my body, but I was completely wiped. Even the thought of getting off the couch to sweep the (desperately-in-need-of-being-swept) kitchen floor made me dizzy. So I didn't. I didn't do anything. And I'm not even joking. You should have seen the house when I got up this morning.

Well Maybe it's best that you didn't.

But when I woke up this morning, I was so happy to feel normal again. Whatever 30-weeks-pregnant-with-my-4th-child normal is....that's how I felt. After extensively cleaning the kitchen, I decided it would be fun to make a Chick-fil-A run. I had to go to the bank anyway and I knew Chick-fil-A was giving away free peach milkshake samples so I figured the kids would enjoy those. And playing on the playground there.

But as soon as we arrived I knew it wasn't going to work out.


My two oldest children are terrified of the cow. I mean....really terrified. Keaton is starting to finally get over this (I think) but Sienna was adamant.

"I'm not going inside if the cow is here!"

And I knew she wasn't.

Besides the fact that she was scared out of her mind, I wasn't exactly interested in carrying in two toddlers while they screamed, "I don't like the cow!!!" so I just opted for the drive-thru. It was cheaper that way anyway since I just got myself a meal and then fed the kids at home, but I was kind of looking forward to sitting down, letting them play for a little while, and getting free refills.

Oh well.

Friday is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A and I really want to take the kids, all of us dressed like a cow, to get free meals. BUT....I absolutely know without a doubt that the cow will be there. So now I'm trying to decide what to do.

Anyone have suggestions for how to undo this unnatural fear of the Chick-fil-A cow? In like, two days?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fun, New, and Exciting!

As I said last week, I plan to get back to normal blogging this week. If you've been wondering what I've been up to lately while I've been NOT blogging as regularly, head on over to my photography blog and check out the latest news at the top of the blog!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'm Still Alive

This week has just been very busy. Tomorrow is my husband's birthday (as well as our nation's birthday). We'll be spending the day with friends.

I should be back to normal blogging next week...

Hope you have a great Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Master Grocery List

I had heard of this thing called a "Master Grocery List" before, but it never really seemed like something I'd be all that interested in. Mostly, it just sounded like WAY too much work. The basic idea of a MGL (Master Grocery List) is to write down all the basics that you keep around the house, put them in a spreadsheet (or something comparable), and check the list each time before you go the grocery store.

Way too much work? I thought so too.

But after years of grocery shopping and hundreds of times of forgetting at least one time almost every single time, I finally decided to give it a try. So on Sunday afternoon, I sat down and began writing out all the things we buy. I didn't want my list to be basic. I wanted it to be detailed. Why detailed, you ask? Because sometimes my husband offers to go to the store for me (or sometimes I ask him) and he gets confused about what exactly I need him to buy. And because I wanted to include the strange things that I don't buy often just so I would know that they were things we DO keep in the house from time to time. And because, well....because I just wanted it that way.

After making my list, I visited several other MGL of other bloggers to make sure I hadn't missed anything. And of course, I had missed lots of things. Especially for a detailed list. So I added more things and finally came up with what I think is a complete list.

I separated my list by similar food type/isle and here is what I came up with:

(I'm listing it here because I found it so helpful when others did the same.)



chocolate chips




brown sugar

powdered sugar



canola oil

vegetable oil

olive oil




baking powder

baking soda

evaporated milk

sweet condensed milk


muffin mix

cake mix

brownie mix


cooking spray










seasoned salt



granola bars

boxed cereal







fruit snacks




graham crackers




hot dog buns

hamburger buns

pita bread

French bread


boneless skinless chicken

chicken quarters

whole chicken

turkey breast

whole turkey

summer sausage


sausage links


hot dogs

deli meat

ground beef


beef roast







cottage cheese

ricotta cheese

sour cream

Parmesan cheese

Colby-jack cheese

mozzarella cheese

cheddar cheese

pepper jack cheese

American sliced cheese


cream cheese


ice cream

Cool Whip

ice cream sandwiches




fish sticks

chicken nuggets

garlic toast


pot pie



green peppers





lettuce – head

lettuce – green leaf










green onions




corn on the cob


green beans



sweet potatoes







beef bouillon

chicken bouillon




Lysol aerosol spray

toilet bowl cleaner

kitchen cleaner

window cleaner

wood cleaner

dish soap

dishwasher detergent

laundry soap

floor cleaner

fabric softener sheets

scouring pads


aluminum foil

plastic wrap

waxed paper

sandwich fold-over bags

sandwich zipper bags

gallon zipper bags – freezer

quart zipper bags – freezer


trash bags (13 gallon)

paper plates


paper/Styrofoam cups

paper towels

toilet paper






BBQ sauce

ranch dressing

French dressing

Italian dressing

peanut butter



pancake syrup

chocolate syrup

caramel syrup

hot fudge


white rice


thin spaghetti


angel hair pasta

bowtie pasta



lasagna noodles

egg noodles

macaroni and cheese


tomato paste

tomato sauce

spaghetti sauce

tomatoes – diced

tomatoes – chopped

taco mix

chili mix


razor – mens

razor – womens

razor refills – mens

razor refills – womens



shaving cream – mens

shaving cream – womens

face wash

body wash

bar soap



toothbrush – adult

toothbrush – child


deodorant – womens

deodorant – mens



maxi pads




eye shadow

contact solution

OTC medicine







diaper cream

baby powder

baby food

baby cereal







hot chocolate


bottled water



bug spray


light bulbs


My next part of the plan is to write out, by section, these items on notecards, laminate the cards, and place a few rings in them to keep them together. Then I'll use a dry erase marker to mark what we need and erase it with my finger as I shop. Because that sounds a whole lot easier than making a separate list and trying to cross things off as I buy them...which is what I've been doing for years.

I'll keep you posted on how things go and put up pictures when I finish my "flipbook".

Do you use a MGL? If so, do you have a detailed list or a basic list? Do you take the list with you to the store or do you keep it at home and write out a new list based on the MGL each time you shop? I'd love to know what you've found to be the most efficient way of grocery shopping!