Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September - Beginning the New Thriftier Me


We renewed something at our house this week.

We have renewed my son's allowance. When we moved to Arizona we just kind of stopped with that. My son always did extra work around the house when he needed money, and that was enough, but lately, I have been thinking how important it is to get him to learn how to handle his own money and budget. He is a sophmore in high school, and he goes off campus every day and occasionally he wants to buy a snack. I am not going to bankroll off-campus snacks.

Alex (my son) and I discussed what kinds of chores he can do around the house that I am willing to pay for. Bedroom cleaning and playroom tidying do not count. Those are his spaces, and he should make his own effort to keep things clean. Afterall, no one is going to pay him to keep his own home clean someday. The criteria for me was basically what load can he take off of my shoulders since this money is coming from my wallet. We decided on vacuuming, sweeping, and landscaping. Twice a week, my son will vacuum the living room, sweep kitchen, vacuum the bedrooms (there are two), sweep the hallways, and vacuum the playroom. He has early days on Wednesdays so he will vacuum on then and the other day will be Saturday or Sunday. Landscaping really involves weed pulling right now and other yard maintenance for two hours on Saturday or Sunday.

I have a dual purpose on the yard work. I hate the weeds, but more than that I want him to spend more time outside. Vacuuming is something he really might as well get accustomed to as well. He was already vacuuming his room, but now he is learning about moving the furniture, edging along the wallAs for a rate, we agreed on paying him his age in cash. He is 15 so he will be making $15 a week.

Out of that $15, he needs to pay for his texting. He wanted this extended texting plan which is an additional $10 a month from what we pay. So he will be taking care of his texting plan. We also agreed that he needs to put money away. He figured that since he is already putting roughly $2.50 a week towards his text plan that it would be a decent idea to put $2.50 away in savings.

We are only a week in, but I have to say things are looking good!

Now my big concern is budgeting his allowance into my budget. I figure I will work it out in the next three months because in the next three months I will be writing down every dime I spend. Not easy to do but necessary. It is totally time to figure out where everything is going. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some Freebies


Just wanted to quickly share.

I love Kashi products. One of my favorites is their GoLean Crunch cereal. I love combining it with fruit and yogurt for a tasty parfait. GoLean Crunch tastes good enough for a snack, but Kashi has many different snacks too. You can get your choice of a sample of one of three of Kashi's fabulous snacks: TLC Cereal Bar - in Ripe Strawberry, TLC Chewy Granola Bar - Trail Mix, and TLC Crackers - Original 7 Grain.

Offer is valid until 9/19 or while supplies last.

LINK: Kashi Snack Drive

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Struggles - Oh I Hate Struggles


I have been entirely struggling lately. Seriously there is little in my life that isn't driving me batty right now. I feel like my flesh is entirely willing to make changes in my life but at the same time it is beyond weak. Sometimes I feel like I am treading water with a suitcase on my head. My ship isn't sinking, but I am afraid it is sailing away without me. I don't want that. I want to move forward in my life. I want to take positive steps and improve, learn, and grow.

One of the things I would like to work on is my relationship with God. I feel like I am missing out. I want to be one of those ladies who can get up early and take some time alone to study God's word, but I am sooooo tired. And even if I do get myself up. What do I study? How do these lovely ladies know where to begin. It isn't like I haven't read the Bible. I want to go beyond that. I want to go beyond just reading my Bible. I want to have recall, perspective, and I want to see how His word applies to my life. I want to get it. I want to share it. I want to live it. Truly I just don't know where to begin. I keep praying that maybe God would just give me a quick pop on the forehead and I would at least know where to begin.

Now my prayer life is pretty good. Notice I didn't say great, but I at least do pray and communicate with God. Prayer for me has always been just a conversation with my Heavenly Father, and it has always been good. I have seen God work through my prayer life. Again though, I want to go further. For one I want to pray more effectively for my son and my husband. I want to be more consistent in praying for others.

Okay, I am off of the spiritual struggle and onto my least favorite. WEIGHT. BLECH. Oh how I hate my weight. I have ballooned in weight since I got married. The first six to eight months were fine. Then things began to change. It wasn't until we got all the symptoms figured out that I realized I had thyroid problems, but it didn't and doesn't matter to me. I have still gained over 40 pounds (yep) in about two years. That is crazy! That is the nightmare of hypothyroidism. On the bright side, I have an endocrinologist who is working with me, and at least some of the icky symptoms are lessening. My skin is not as dry. I am not exhausted all the time. My nails are growing again. My vision is improving. And I am not living in a pool of depression. Now I just need to work on the weight.

Weight is a struggle too. Weight has always been a struggle. The battle has only changed. When I was younger I watched my mom, grandma and aunts all drink Tab and Diet 7 Up. They consistently were on diets. I learned at a pretty early age that thin was in and being a grown woman meant being on a diet. I felt proud of myself when I could drink a very grown up drink like Tab. I had arrived. I suffered from anorexia in high school and college. I eventually went through treatment and came out on the other side fairly level headed, but with a tendency to overdo working out and watching what I ate. When I had my son, all that took a back seat (at least the overkill). I ate right and was quite active. I was a very fit 123 when I got married four days after my 40th birthday.

Now I am overweight. Combine that with thinning hair (what a fabulous hypothyroid treat!) I never thought I would weigh this much without the help of a baby in my belly. I am not looking to go back to 123 though I wouldn't mind. I just want to lose the weight that my hypothryoidism assisted. I am making steps though. Weight loss steps are some of the easier steps to make. They aren't as effective as they were when I wasn't hypothryoid, but I can definitely do something.

Did I just jump around too much?

Another struggle is blogging. I want to blog more so I can get these issues met. Accountability is really a great way to go. I do think blogging will help me. I need it to help me. This is my mini lifeline right now. This is how I will be measuring my struggles until I hit some success.

I haven't figured out how I will meet all my goals and conquer the things I want to conquer. One thing I am doing is reading Lysa Terkeurst's book Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl. Mind you, I don't think I am a good Bible study girl. I am a pretty rotten Bible study girl. I love Lysa's devotionals from Proverbs 31 Ministries Daily Devotions. I like how she takes the Word and makes it make sense to me. I like how she applies it to life. I figure that even if I am not a good Bible study girl, Lysa can maybe help me get there. We'll see. :) I am hoping to finish the book by the end of this month so I can begin September with a new Bible studying attitude.

The rest of my struggles I'll address later. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

In My Email - God Has a Positive Answer


This came in my email today. Normally I don't go on and on over an email forward, and I don't forward often, because I want people to know that when I do it is because it is something I really want to share.

Lately I have been really wrestling with my walk. I want to be closer to God. I find myself completely in awe of people who can read the Bible and come up with so many awesome truths. I am thoroughly humbled by this. I don't need to write amazing devotions, and I am not looking to, but what I am looking for is a better grasp of the Bible. I want to more than read it. I want to devour it and have the word live inside me. I want to recall God's words in times of joy, sorrow, and trouble.

I have just realized that I am totally going off in a different direction. Here is the email I wanted to share. One of the reasons it really spoke to me was because it gives me scripture verses for those many times that I need God's word.





You say: 'It's impossible'

God says: All things are possible

(Luke 18:27)

You say: 'I'm too tired'

God says: I will give you rest

(Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: 'Nobody really loves me'

God says: I love you

(John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: 'I can't go on'

God says: My grace is sufficient

(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: 'I can't figure things out'

God says: I will direct your steps

(Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: 'I can't do it'

God says: You can do all things

( Philippians 4:13)

You say: 'I'm not able'

God says: I am able

(II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: 'It's not worth it'

God says: It will be worth it

(Roman 8:28 )

You say: 'I can't forgive myself'

God says: I Forgive you

(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: 'I can't manage'

God says: I will supply all your needs

( Philippians 4:19)

You say: 'I'm afraid'

God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear

(II Timothy 1:7)

You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated'

God says: Cast all your cares on ME

(I Peter 5:7)

You say: 'I'm not smart enough'

God says: I give you wisdom

(I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: 'I feel all alone'

God says: I will never leave you or forsake you

(Hebrews 13:5)

Isn't God just absolutely AMAZING?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Something For Nothing


I love freebies and deals, and once a week I scour around looking for a deal or two. I found two really great ones today that I thought I would share quickly because one will probably not last for long.

That would be a free 11 month subscription to Parenting Early Years through ValueMags.com. I am beyond the early years with my feet firmly standing in the teen years (can you imagine I actually once believed the whole terrible twos thing). Whoever coined that phrase forgot about teenagers. Anyway follow the link below.

LINK: Parenting Early Years

I work at a radio station, and one of the things I do is look up music news. While checking out new CD releases I found out that Jars of Clay is now offering a free download of "Out of My Hands" from their upcoming release of "The Shelter." You don't have to just jump on the download either. You can hear it first by clicking the link below the download link right on their website. P.S. They are a Christian group in case you didn't know.

LINK: Jars of Clay

Free CCM has a free download of several songs. They update the possibilities every week. This week they have added the song "Emmanuel" from the Catalyst Music Project performed by Heather Williams. You can also get downloads from The Choir, VOTA, Phillips, Craig & Dean, and Todd Angew. You do have to register.

LINK: Free Music at Free CCM

Get a free Full Version of Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst from Woman's Day and Big Fish Games. You can also get the sequel Return to Ravenhearst for 50% off at just $3.49.

I have no idea how long this deal lasts. Follow the link and find out. :)

LINK: Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I hadn't posted a menu plan last week because I went to California on Sunday and Monday, and basically that threw me off. It was a horrible idea not having a menu plan even if I was starting late, because one day we ended up having frozen pizzas. My son was thrilled, but I really hated doing it. I'd much rather make my own than do the frozen thing.


Shepherd's Pie - I made pork chops on Saturday and plan to use the leftover gravy for this meal.


Eggplant Parmesan Pizza - This week I picked up a nice-sized eggplant from bountiful baskets so I thought this would be a good use. This time we will stay a way from frozen pizza. :)


Leftover shepherd's pie and salad for my husband and me. Hot dogs and salad for my son.


Black Bean Quesadillas


Chicken Fajitas


Getting husband to grill. Plans for steak, corn on the cob, green leaf lettuce salad with cranberries, feta, walnuts and spinache.



Check out some great recipes at the main Menu Plan Monday post at Laura's blog I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last week I was pretty on target with my menu. We did have a slight variation on the schedule.

1. Friday was supposed to be beef enchiladas but I forgot to buy chilis to make the enchilada sauce with so that had to go on the back burner. When I made the pot roast I made extra mashed potatoes and still had tons of gravy so we had shepherd's pie on Friday.

2. Saturday was supposed to be veggie pizza BUT when I took out the frozen hamburger for the shepherd's pie to I took out two bags. I was weighing them to see which was closest to a pound. I kept one out longer than I intended so we had patty melts. This worked out great because I was able to use the extra rye bread that was left over from the beef and gravy over rye bread. I got three beautiful vidalia onions from my fruit and veggie co-op as well as a pile of corn on the cob. So I grilled up half of one of the onions and boiled up some corn.

3. This was supposed to be a left over scavenger hunt kind of day. Since I hadn't made the enchiladas yet, I made that the dinner goal using the leftover roast beef. I also made chilaquiles as I had extra taco meat from Monday (lunch tomorrow for me and my son).

Anyway, those were the changes. Here is what is up for the week.


Veggie Pizza with sorbet and fresh strawberries and blueberries for dessert.


Enchilada leftovers with watermelon for dessert.


Roast Chicken with Lemons
and a green leaf lettuce salad with cantaloupe for dessert.


Garden Rotini with grilled zucchini and chicken (utilizing some of the chicken from Tuesday). I picked up this recipe last week from Eat At Home's Menu Plan Monday link. Yogurt smoothies for dessert.


Garlic chicken lettuce wraps (a favorite way to stretch out the leftover chicken from Tuesday). Pluots for dessert.


Rotini with meat sauce and cucumber salad the recipe I picked up from Tidbits of Happy. Random fruit for dessert. Probably pluots or peaches.


I am heading to California on Sunday, because I have an appointment with my endo. I am not sure what my husband and my son will have. Typically when I am gone they survive on pizza and salad. I plan to take this opportunity to learn some yummy recipes from my sister-in-law.

So that is it for this Monday. It should be a pretty busy week. If you would like to join along or just get some great ideas head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.