Monday, November 23, 2009

My Middle Name is Frugal.

So, today I've been taking down pictures, clearing off the mantel, putting away accessories and trying to figure out where to put my two huge heavy sets of curtains while we sand, putty, sand and paint over the next couple of weeks. My dining room is a wreck and now my bedroom is, too. I cannot wait for order to be restored to my home! It will be so nice to live in peace again. So, while I was frantically cleaning my kitchen and clearing more clutter from the countertops (see this post on my kitchen clutter dilemma) and getting ready to cook a pot of chili, my doorbell rang. It wasn't a one ding-dong kind of ring like our neighbor's child does. It was a double ding-dong ring so I knew it was someone else. Should I answer it or should I pretend like I am not here even though the lights were on in the kitchen? Well, before I could decide what to do, my kids ran to the front window which happens to be right beside the door. Oh well. That answered that question! I went and opened the door slightly to see who it was. No JW's this time, it was a couple of salesmen. Immediately I was skeptical and ready to shut them down and say no to whatever it was. But this guy was good. He wanted to demonstrate his Kirby vacuum. I have a vacuum. And I have a steam cleaner. Both of them are by Hoover and I like them. When I told him I wasn't interested because we're in the process of sanding trim and painting, he said, "Can you help me out just by letting me demonstrate it? It will help me out right here before the holidays." So, I said, "I'm not buying anything. Will that still help you?" Long story short, he came back with his equipment 15 minutes later and began showing me how this vacuum works. I couldn't believe all the dirt and dust coming up out of the carpet that I had just vacuumed. It was disgusting. While this was going on I happened to look at the price sheet he laid on my kitchen table and I about dropped my teeth. $2495. WHEW! So, the whole time I'm agreeing with him I'm telling him that I would never pay that much for a vacuum. He tried every trick in the book while he vacuumed and then shampooed my entire living room floor. When he was finished, he called his manager (who happened to be in the neighborhood) to come over and try and make a deal with me by trading in my two vacuums and my wallet for this one vacuum. They came down $1500 by the last deal and I still told them no. He said, "Wouldn't your husband want you to make a good investment like this that would save you time and keep your carpets clean and last longer?" I almost laughed out loud. My husband would pass out if I told him I paid that much for a vac without talking to him first. He didn't know who he was talking to. I am frugal by nature. My parents taught me the value of money and how to manage money and be a good steward of what God has entrusted me with. I could never pay for that kind of priceless advice. They were not happy when they realized I was not going to sign my life over to them. At one point, he told me he's had people in trailers write him a check. I told him I didn't believe that for one minute. He even tried dumping baking soda on my carpet and rubbing it in with his shoe then had me vacuum it up with my vac so he could go back over it with his and show me how bad my vac is. Well, that kind of backfired. My vac got nearly all of it up. I don't doubt that his vac is a very nice one, but I could never pay that much money for a vacuum, esp when we're planning to rip our carpet up and do hardwoods in the not-so-distant future. After they left (over an hour later - even though it was suppose to take 20 min) I shut all the curtains in the front window so they couldn't see in if they decided to come back. Well, they came back and rang the bell a few times. I wouldn't answer it. I was a little nervous because they weren't too happy when they left and Hubs wasn't home yet, not to mention they didn't seem to understand the word 'No'. So, finally they left, but not before the man asked me for a tip for doing this presentation since I wasn't buying anything. If I had thought fast enough, I would have given him a tip that my Papaw would have been proud of - 'Never take a wooden nickel.' But I don't think that is the kind of tip he was looking for. I was happy to see Hubs when he got home - and he was happy to have clean carpet for free! ha Oh - and the funniest part of the whole thing is that #3 kept making him read books to her during this big presentation. She thinks anyone that is kneeling, sitting or remotely close to the floor is only there because they want to read to her. She doesn't take no for an answer very easily. I think he met his match. Then, when he was vacuuming, she got her little talking vacuum and followed him around the room. ha
Then, I was checking my email while the chili was simmering and found out I won a giveaway!!! New Every Morning entered my giveaway last week and in her comment invited me to enter hers. I was so surprised to win!!! I never win!! And this is what I won!! I picked the Pimento color. =] Exciting!!
Last, but not least, I'll leave you with a few principles of finance that my dad has taught me.
  1. Always give back to God first. (Tithe) You can never outgive God. I've seen this lived out my entire life. It's not mine anyway, everything I have is only mine because God has given it to me. The least I can do is give him a portion back.
  2. Be a good steward. Budget, use your money wisely (don't buy expensive vacuum cleaners,etc).
  3. Live within your means. If you don't have the money in the bank, don't buy it.
  4. Save money. Make it a priority. When I lived on my own as a single gal, I was not making a lot of money - probably $360 a week take-home - rent was $480, I had to pay car insurance, utilities, etc. and I still managed to save $300/month. God met every need and I did not go in debt. I was amazed by God's provision - and I still am!

My dad has been giving financial advice longer than Dave Ramsey and has kept me from making a lot of financial mistakes. I am so thankful for him and that he cared about me enough to teach me about money matters even while I was young. He's a genius. Hubs and I are trying to instill in our girls financial truths even now while they are young and hope to see them avoid many financial mistakes along the way!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Educational and Lifesaving Tips...

I'm not sure if I've mentioned on this blog the fact that food allergies plague my middle child. She is allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts and because of this our lives are dramatically different than most. I came across this article from Allergy Moms and thought I'd post it just in case any of my readers have loved ones with food allergies. #2 is severly allergic to milk and will be tested again soon to recheck her allergies to egg and peanuts. We know she is still severely allergic to milk because of two recent reactions.
This article includes tips for the holiday season and if you will be around someone with food allergies, please read these and be cautious. You could save a life by following these tips.
Thanks to Allergy Moms for posting this!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Love/Hate Relationship

My sewing addiction continues. Only now it's worse. At first, I was sewing for my shop and I still am, but now I keep finding things that I want to make for myself. If I was overwhelmed and behind on my 'real' To-Do List, then you can imagine what it's like now. I am having to limit my time on the sewing machine and think I have found a nice balance between sewing and doing my daily routine of feeding kids, cleaning, changing diapers, feeding kids, cleaning, and so on. I was really on a roll and loving it....until yesterday. My sewing machine ran out of bobbin thread and recently has begun to cop an attitude with me when it does this. I reload the bobbin, get my fabric back under the presser foot only to find that the thread tension is way out of whack. I do everything I am suppose to do and it still is too loose. I've spent 2.5 hours adjusting the thread tension, adjusting the bobbin, etc. and it is still loose. I think I am ready for a new machine. A nice, shiny, computerized machine. Can I get an Amen? Any suggestions on a specific brand? I have a Kenmore right now and have liked it for these 8 years, but I kind of thought Kenmore should last longer than this.

Update: After another half hour on adjusting the thread tension on my machine, Hubs asked me if I'd like him to take a look at it. The first couple of times he asked me that, I was sure he wouldn't be able to fix it. He doesn't sew. He doesn't even know how the machine is threaded. But the third time he asked, I relented. He said, "I troubleshoot for a living. Let me look at it." So, I showed him the problem, explained how it is suppose to work and after about 5 minutes he fixed it. All I can say is HE'S THE MAN!! He is my hero. I was so excited! I was able to finish the dresses for my three girls so they could wear them to church this morning and made a gift for my niece's birthday (although that didn't involve the sewing machine).

Tomorrow or maybe tonight after church I'll be starting on new stockings for the fam. I cannot wait to show you the finished product - well, if they turn out like I expect them to! I have a couple weeks to make them, though, because we are behind on our deadline of getting the downstairs painted by Thanksgiving. It is a big job and we're just a few days behind, but Hubs has been working a lot and wasn't able to work on the house last week. Looks like I'll be sanding the fireplace surround, baseboards and trim this week so we can be ready to start painting trim next weekend after our Thanksgiving festivities. So, thanks to the painting that is getting ready to happen, Christmas decor will have to wait a little longer this year. I truly don't mind, either, which surprsied even me. I like to have the tree up right after Thanksgiving, but somehow I don't mind waiting longer this year. I am very excited for Christmas, though. It gets more and more fun every year. Our kids are very much looking forward to Christmas and Hubs and I are excited to see how #3 will react. She yells out 'Christmas!' when we see the trees in all the stores so I know when she sees a Christmas tree in our living room, she will be thrilled. Her grammy bought her a book last year about Santa with flip-up pages that she adores. In fact, her first sentence is "No, that's not Santa!" and I just love hearing her say that.

#1 has already been discussing the ever-controversial subject of Santa with her classmates at school. She came home and told me the other day that 'So and So was getting underwear for Christmas because she doesn't believe in Santa.' (She learned this from her Aunt Julie! ha!) Well, to Hubs and I, Santa is very real. WE are Santa and we have no problem letting our kids enjoy the magical side of Christmas along with the most important reality of Christmas and that is celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who is very real and is the focus of our celebration. But, on the subject of Santa, we've told #1 that not everyone believes in Santa and that's okay. She should be nice and not judgemental towards her classmates just like they should be toward her. I believed in Santa when I was young and don't remember when I realized that Santa was just a fun, magical part of Christmas, but I can tell you that I wasn't scarred. I survived and loved to think that Santa was coming on Christmas Eve. My mom still puts 'From:Santa' on some of our gifts and I love that!

So, no matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas, I hope that you remember to celebrate the Reason!

When will you trim your tree this year?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Giveaway Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Jenny @ Home Is Where You Start From ! Winner of My3Chickadees 1st giveaway!

Thanks to all who entered!! Can't wait to see who wins my sister's giveaway tonight! If you haven't entered yet, go to Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss and leave a comment to win a $50 gift certificate to her shop, My Fine Art! You don't want to miss out!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GIVEAWAY FROM MY3CHICKADEES!!!!

Christmas is right around the corner!! Are you looking for a unique, fun gift for someone on your Christmas list?? I have some fun items for sale @ My3Chickadees, my online boutique. Mostly children's items, but there will be more coming soon! Some of my new items include matching girl and doll aprons, crayon cozies, Manners Matter Placemats, etc. If you're on the prowl for some cute gifts, enter my giveaway!!
The Giveaway:

$20 Gift Certificate to My3Chickadees. You can pick from anything in the shop and I will include FREE SHIPPING on your order with that gift certificate! This giveaway ends Thursday, November 19th at 9pm.

How to Enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. If you do not have a blog that I can link back to from your comment, please leave an email address that I can contact you at if you're the winner!
3. Tell ALL of your friends!!


Go to my sister's blog Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss (the link is not working, so go to my sidebar on the right and click on her blog to be linked to her giveaway!)to enter her giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to her online shop My Fine Art! Go check it out!!! Her giveaway will go online Wed, November 18th and end Thursday night!

The latest items available at My3Chickadees:


GOOD LUCK ON THE GIVEAWAYS! HOPE YOU WIN!!!

Life with My 3 Chickadees...

My 3 Chickadees watching their daddy work
So, I was in my local Hobby Lobby yesterday with #s 2 & 3 (#1 was at school) and as I approached the register the cashier said to me, "How old are they?" So, I told her and she asked if I had anymore. When I told her I have 3 girls she said, "Wow, all girls? Their poor dad!" And on at least a weekly basis I get this kind of reaction when I go out in public with the girls. It cracks me up because people are so funny. First of all, their daddy couldn't be more thrilled that he has ALL girls (although, at each ultrasound he was a tad bit disappointed that there was no son in his future). He is loving that he is THE man. Our girls love him to pieces and think that going on a date with their daddy is the greatest thing in the world. When they hear the key in the front door every evening, they all three scream the shrillest screams and run for the door to greet him. He's their hero. He can fix anything that's broken. He plays girl games with them, lets them jump all over him as he pretends to sleep on the living room floor and loves them with all his heart. They love to 'help' him when he's working around the house and in the garage. He lets them play in the pile of sawdust that he just swept up, lets them jump in the leaves that he just raked and lets them play with the (non-dangerous) tools in the garage while he works on our ever-growing To-Do List. Yes, they can be dramatic and very emotional even at their young ages, but we love every minute of it. That's not to say that we aren't both scared to death of them all growing into teenagers, but for now we love it. The two older ones cry during sad parts of movies, #2 gets very emotional if a very calm, peaceful song is playing in the car and I know this because she will inevitably say, "I want Daddy to come home. I miss him." followed by tears. Yes, life with three girls is an emotional rollercoaster, but we love it. Hubs loves that the girls always want to be with him. They love to sit and watch him as he works at home (see pic above). They love the rare occasions that they get to be with him at work. And Hubs has been just waiting and waiting for the girls to become interested in PlayMobil. He still has a set or two from when he was a kid and has been patiently waiting for the girls to become responsible enough to play with them and start collecting them. Everytime we walk through the toy section, he wants to look around the PlayMobil aisle, but the girls have never wanted to do that. They call that 'boy stuff' and they are against all things boy...pretty much. Well, last night #1 found a little 3 piece set of something from PlayMobil and realized that's what it was and begged her daddy to get out his PlayMobil stuff. He was thrilled! However, she is going to have to prove that she can keep her room clean and everything in its place before he will get it out. He doesn't want to lose any of it and right now, you would understand this rule if you saw her room. Our girls are so much fun and bring so much joy to our lives. They are all three so different and are growing up so fast. I'm trying to live in the moment each day because I know it will pass me by so quickly and there will come a day when these precious moments are gone and I will only have my failing memory to remind me of these great years. We can't imagine our lives without all three of our girls. We are so blessed and thankful for them. We know we have our work cut out for us as they get older and even more dramatic and emotional, but we look forward to the task. Yes, life with my 3 chickadees is incredibly grand!
Stay Tuned for a giveaway from My3Chickadees!! Tell all your friends! It will be up sometime tomorrow!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Upon hearing a gun shot and calling 9-1-1

Please don't be shooting off your gun in my front yard especially when my babies are sleeping. Yeah, neighbor-who-now-has-a-rap-sheet - I'm talkin' to you!! This really happened. I'm pretty sure where I live is not considered ghetto, so you can imagine my shock and adrenaline rush when Hubs and I were emptying the dishwasher Sunday night around 9 pm and heard freakish screaming followed by a gun shot only 50 yards in front of our house. I still can't get over that this really happened within my viewing area. Since we've lived here I have seen from my dining room window a couple go from 'normal' to never riding in the same car, to never speaking to each other outside the house, to the hubby being obsessed with a local college sports team and going to every game without the kids or wife, to yelling and fighting in the driveway, to the wife almost running over the ding-bat hubby with her SUV, to wife moving out and then finally hubby moving out. Then, few months later, another couple moved into the house, seemed normal, started noticing that the wife/girlfriend was pregnant, noticed hubby working later and later and even sometimes on weekends, wife/girlfriend had the baby, hubby gone a lot more, couple moves out together with baby, hubby comes back to empty rental house with different lady during the day, in the evening, on Saturdays enough for me to realize an affair was going on right in front of my face until finally the lease was up and the house was empty again. Then, I nearly witnessed 3 weirdos trying to steal the 3 satellite dishes off the same house across the street around 11pm one night. Thankfully, they never came back. A new family lives in the house now and so far, I think they are 'normal'. This brings me to Sunday night. This commotion happened in the house perpendicular to aforementioned house. Hubs said he understood these crazy people when we were eavesdropping on them talking to the police. I did not understand anything but 'My Suh (aka son) ...blah blah blah. He's my suh....' Then I heard the nice policeman say, "I understand he's your son, but you cannot talk to him until ..blah blah blah..and it will be at least 2 hours." Apparently, two teenagers got into some trouble or something at school and one dad confronted the other dad and one decided he just no longer needed to exhibit self-control so he shot off his gun. Why he decided to even carry his gun to this confrontation, and why he thought it would be okay to shoot said gun in my neighborhood, I just don't know. But I don't appreciate it. 6 cop cars, 1 forensics guy & a K9 unit showed up very quickly after Hubs and a couple other neighbors called 9-1-1. And friends of these criminals started coming out the woodwork. This completely shocking and rude episode outside my dining room window caused me to burn my pizza and miss my favorite reality show (The Amazing Race, in case you were wondering.). I'll be keeping a close eye on these people from now on. I feel like Gladys Kravitz - you know the nosy neighbor on Bewitched - but I don't go looking for things like this. They come to me. I'm a freak magnet. What can I say?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cowboys & Bandanas

Crayon Cozy

I am in love - L-U-V - with this little cowboy fabric by Michael Miller! The only problem is that I have no little boys. I have two cute nephews and one of them is going on 13 so I don't think he'd appreciate it. Anyway, I've made two cute things from this fabric, so far, but there will be much more to come. PS - I did find out there is a cowgirl version of this fabric so be looking for that soon.
Cowboys and Bandanas Toddler Backpack/Tote
Back view

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk...

Hi. My name is Mommy and I get some great ideas from other people. Most of them I don't even know. I am still on my sewing kick. This is the longest-running sewing kick I've ever been on and I am actually enjoying myself. Yesterday I copied one of my favorite most practical gifts ever! My aunt L. gave me a cool flip flop for Christmas a couple years ago. It was something she had found while on a trip to Hawaii. I knew this immediately from the Hawaiian pattern on the flip flop and the name 'Kauai' sewn on the top. (I must say I have a keen eye for the obvious....well, sometimes I do.) Anyway, when I saw it I was like, "Oh. How cute! Shouldn't there be two of these?" After laughing her signature laugh she told me it was a Drop It and Mop It. THEN, it made sense. You throw it on the floor (or gently lay it depending on your personality and the nature of the spill) and mop up those pesky spills. I use mine every single day. I just leave it out next to my dishwasher and when I need it, I slip my foot in it and mop away those spills. It is washable and dryable and voila! It's ready to use again. SO, I copied it yesterday and am fighting the urge to keep this new one, but I can always make a new one for myself. I'm thinking this would be a terrific stocking stuffer for someone on your Christmas list. hint hint. I can do a variety of patterned fabrics. So, without further ado....

Say 'Hello, Where have you been all my life?' to the Drop and Mop Flip Flop!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Difficult Door Gets Mistreated

So, I did it. I finally mistreated my sliding door. The 'After' is way better than the 'Before', so I'll just go ahead and show you.
BEFORE:

AFTER:


I used my favorite-fabric-for-now - burlap - for the valance. (I never liked valances before, but now I guess I do since I've recently used a valance on two windows in my downstairs.) Anyway, then I made the straps to hold it up out of the same fabric I used for my kitchen window mistreatment here. I did actually buy the curtain panels from Target, though. I really like them and love how they keep curious eyes out at night and let in just enough light during the day. I love them. The color helps to lighten things up a bit, too, in the midst of all this chocolate brown burlap. Overlook the unpainted crown moulding - it will be painted in 3 weeks or less. In fact, I should be filling nail holes instead of blogging, but blogging is way more fun and easier on the fingertips. I'll put up pics once we add some color to this living room! I can't wait! It will be kind of like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy starts to come out of her house that landed in Oz after the tornado dropped her down and she goes to the door and opens it to find a whole new world of Technicolor. I can't wait for this living room to go from boring to beautiful! But, until then - I have nail holes to fill and crown moulding to sand - then major dust to vacuum up from sanding, etc. etc. Beauty is pain, even in home decorating.