Monday, January 30, 2012


Debbie from Pink Texas Chick included me in her Tag! You're It! blogger game. I feel kinda honored since I believe that nobody really reads my blog. So thank you Debbie for including me!

The Rules:
  1. You must post the rules.
  2. Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
  4. Tag eleven people and link them on your post.
  5. Let them know you've tagged them!
Now the 11 questions Debbie has for me ...
  1. How long have you been blogging? I just celebrated my one year blogiversary.
  2. What is your guilty pleasure? Diet Coke, dark chocolate and going to the spa.
  3. Mall shopper or online shopper? I enjoy shopping at the mall, but with 2 little kids online shopping is much easier.
  4. What is your dream vacation destination? I want to go to Figi. We looked at places to stay and such for our honeymoon, but it didn't work out. I'd love to go!
  5. Do you miss Oprah?  Do you watch her network OWN? I miss the ah-ha moments, but I haven't gotten hooked on OWN yet. I do enjoy the Susie Orman show that she has on.
  6. How "green" are you? I am big on recycling. My kids know all about it too. I grow my own organic garden and I carpool to work. I guess I skim the surface of being green in all aspects.
  7. What website do you visit daily/weekly? I have a whole list of blogs I check regularly, just check out my blog roll over on the right.
  8. What smartphone app do you use daily? I'm not sure I use any app daily, maybe Facebook (is that bad?). My favorite app is for Allstate (lame I know) because I can pay my bill or pull up proof of insurance within seconds.
  9. Have you been to Disney World or do you plan to visit? We hope to go to Disney World next year!
  10. What is your favorite dish to cook or bake? I love to make muffins. All different kinds of muffins.
  11. Your favorite color? Blue.
11 fun facts about me, this might be tricky ...
  1. I only blog while I'm at work. (I probably shouldn't admit this)
  2. Some people bite their fingernails, but I do one worse. I rip mine off. I do it when I'm bored. I've tried to stop, but I just can't.
  3. I've known my best friend since the 4th grade.
  4. I work in a very small Amish town. Funny thing is, we are a major publishing company for craft patterns. Nobody would ever guess we produce such a large volume of innovative ideas out of this little town.
  5. I wanted to be a fashion designer growing up. I have zero drawing skills so once I visited a few schools I realized it would never work.
  6. I stopped adding friends on Facebook that I knew in high school. I chose to do things much different in my life than what they did and in some ways I'm a little jealous. While they were busy in Japan, Mexico, Europe, etc. I was having kids, being married. I love my life, but I don't want them to rub it in that they got to go vacationing for 2 years while I was working on potty training.
  7. I hate cleaning, like really hate it. Then I watch Hoarders and I can't stop cleaning everything in sight!
  8. I own the world's smallest Pit Bull, she's less than 50 pounds.
  9. I hardly ever wear makeup.
  10. I think I'm stronger than I really am. Move that couch, no problem!
  11. I have to eat chocolate every day, if not I may die. I'm too scared to test this, so I just keep eating chocolate.
Here's the 11 questions for those I've tagged ...
  1. Why do you blog?
  2. What's your biggest fear?
  3. What's your dream job?
  4. Do you believe in miracles?
  5. What's your biggest pet peeve?
  6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
  7. What's your favorite quote/motto/saying?
  8. What's your favorite food?
  9. Are you addicted to Pinterest?
  10. Would you rather go sky diving or scuba diving?
  11. What's something you splurge on for yourself?

Friday, January 27, 2012

A lot harder than it seems ...

I've been trying to work on getting my budget in check. You'd think by this point in my life I wouldn't have this problem. With work, kids, a new car, broken things around the house, home improvement projects we want to do and so much more I knew we needed a plan in place. Our financial situation will look much better once we have our "other" house sold (our rent to own property that will be sold by October, but I'm hoping a whole lot sooner!). 
Last night we went through all our monthly/weekly bills and figured out just how much we have going out the door. Bad news is we have a lot more going out the door than we thought. Good news is we aren't exceeding the amount we are bringing in so we do have a cushion, but not nearly as much of a cushion as we would like. 

I've focused a lot more on couponing and shopping on a budget lately so that should really help out. I've also begun carpooling to work more often (90+ miles round-trip each day is hard on the pocketbook!). Our utilities aren't out of control so I don't feel like we need to cutback on how many appliances are plugged in or take any additional money saving measures there. But I'm still looking for other ways to cut costs. We've talked about seeing if we can refinance our house even though we've only lived there 2 years. The rates are so low it's worth a shot. I've decided to set up an appointment with a financial adviser to see what tips and tricks he has up his sleeve for improving our situation. 

What changes do you suggest to help cut your costs around the house? We are open for ideas!

1 year later

It's been one year since I started my blog and I can't believe it! I look back at some of my first posts and it's a nice reminder of what was happening in my life a year ago. Here's a recap of the past year ...
  • My first blog post was about my DH wanting to buy a dirt bike. I don't think I ever updated this story. He bought the dirt bike and sold it a couple of months later without really riding it. 
  • I finally got my act together and did some crafting. It's something I've been neglecting and I'm so glad I got back into it.
  • I talked about wanting to get back in shape (funny that this is still a goal)
  • I continued my craftiness by working on my first quilt
  • I made a few posts about my cooking adventures
  • I celebrated some success with my goal to get back in shape
  • I made some goals for the end of the year (I think some are still hanging out there! uh-oh)
Overall, it's been a great first year of blogging. I don't really care if anyone reads what I write or comments on any of my posts. I'm just happy to have a creative outlet that is all my own -- where nobody can tell me what to do differently or what I should talk about. Here's to another year of blogging success, in my mind.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Am I a Grinch?

In less than a month it will be Valentine's Day. This is one of those holidays that mystifies me because my DH and I don't really do anything special. Two years ago we bought a water heater for Valentine's Day (how romantic!) and last year we didn't do a darn thing. It's just another day to me. I don't do anything special with the kids (I'm sure this will change once A starts school next year) or expect any type of gifts. I'm not one of those people who calls it a Hallmark Holiday, but do I really need another holiday. Don't get me wrong, I love my DH and don't have a problem telling and showing him all year round. Am I the Grinch of Valentine's Day or are there others that think the same way?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Slow Cooker Potato Soup

I'm not sure where I got the basic recipe at, but here's my version of the tastiest, yet super-easy Potato Soup.

8 potatoes - pared, cut into bite size pieces (8-10)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1 can evapourated milk (13 oz)
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
4 - 5 cups chicken stock OR 4-5 cups water with 4 chicken bouillon cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except evapourated milk. Cook on high 4-5 hours or 10-12 hours on low. Add milk for the last 30 minutes. If you want you can add 1 cup of diced ham or 1/3 cup shredded cheese at this point too. Slightly mash the potatoes before serving. I served mine with a little less than 1/2 Tbsp of shredded cheese on top. You could also add bacon bits if you want.

This was a HUGE hit with the family (including my DH who doesn't like soup). The number one tip I have is not to mash the potatoes too much or your soup will be too runny and you won't have any potato chunks. Unfortuantely, we ate this so quickly that I didn't get to take any pictures, but trust me you'll love it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baking Obsession

I'm not sure if I should call it an obsession, but I'm a little (ok maybe a lot) addicted to baking cupcakes and muffins. You can see from my many posts on the topic such as Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins, Banana MuffinsZucchini Muffins and Strawberry Banana Muffins. Neither of my kids has ever had a cake at their birthday party. I always make cupcakes. Maybe someday I'll travel down the cake baking road for their birthdays, but for right now I'm completely content with my cupcakes. 

I had a bit of a muffin/cupcake break down today. Pick Your Plum had to offer these uber-cute liners. I mean how could I say no?! I was interested because of the large quantity that you get, but then I saw that they were striped and polka dots. I was sold. I can't wait for these babies to be lining my next batch of muffins or cupcakes. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Get it together ...

I've been telling myself that I need to get it together this year. I feel like things are falling out of cabinets and closets and it is driving me NUTS! I made the first move this weekend to start the clean-up of it all. I went through every piece of my clothing and got 2 BIG bags full of stuff to donate and another 2 of stuff I want to try and re-sell. Now I need to work on the rest of the house. I know we have enough space for everything, but it seems that my organization of everything is lacking. I've been browsing Pinterest to get some ideas. Here's some of my favorites.
Create bins for each meal, grab a bin and get cooking! [source]
Secret hiding spot for dirty laundry! [source]
A calendar that gives you a different decluttering activity every day! [source]
What organization or decluttering tips do you have? I'd love to hear them. I'm on a mission this year to get it together!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Off to a good start!

I got this game for Christmas. I wanted a fun way to work out inside because I'm not getting my butt outside in this cold weather! On New Year's Day I started the 7 day challenge where you have to earn 1,000 sweat points (I know it sounds gross) a day. I'm very happy to report that I have exceeded the 1,000 sweat point mark each day. For Christmas, A got the kids version of this game and she loves dancing around with it too. What do you do to stay in shape during the winter when it's cold outside? I have high hopes of getting into better shape this year. I hope this will help me do it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Recipes to Try

I'm no dummy, I joined the Pinterest movement and I haven't looked back! One of my favorite things to do is collect recipes. I have a whole shelf dedicated to cook books at home and I'm also coming across something new to try. I love that I can collect them all in one easy place ... my Recipes to Try board

There are so many delicious options out there. I can't decide what to try first! Please leave me a comment if you have a great food blogger that you follow or if you have a recipe that I must try. Anyone that has "milk free" recipes are a friend of mine since A can't have anything with milk (yes that means milk, butter, etc.).

Side note: Don't look for recipes around lunch time. It just makes you more hungry!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hello 2012!

Well I've made it through another year. It was an enjoyable one, full of ups and downs. Some of my favorite memories of the year were ...
celebrating J's first birthday
going camping
working on my first quilt
celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary 
and of course starting my blog!

2011 ended on a pretty high note too. We finally broke down and got a new car! I have had my car for over 5 years and everyone didn't fit comfortably inside. It was time for a change, time for something new and improved. 
There's my new baby! A 2007 Saturn Outlook and I absolutely love it! Too bad the photo wasn't better. It was pouring rain while we were test driving it so this was the best we could do. I'd take another picture but since I bought it 4 days ago we've gotten about 4 inches of snow! Maybe in the Spring I can take some nice pictures of it :)