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Showing posts from December, 2011

Happy 2012

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Just wanted to wish all those who read this here blog a very safe, healthy, blessed and wonderful New Year. May 2012 be a year that we meet our goals, that we prosper and that life gets just a little bit easier for everyone. So from my family to yours, heres to a brand new year full of new possibilities and wonders! Happy 2012!

FRIDAY FINANCIAL CHECKUP

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Starting next Friday, January 6, 2012 I would like to start a new series called Financial Friday Checkup. This will be a way for me to track our variable expenses and to see how we are doing financially. I would like to show how much we spend each day and hopefully track our no spend days. (I would like to have a total of 186 NO-Spend days in 2012, which averages to 15.5 a month). I will also use these to show an update on our overall budget and how we are paying down debt. So stay tuned for next Friday.....

FINANCIAL GOALS FOR 2012

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As I look back over the last 10 years of my life, I have come to realize that one of the major sources of stress in my life comes from my and my husband’s financial situation. There are many times where we are living paycheck to paycheck, basically wading in the water without falling more behind but without making leeway either.

Well 2012 is the year that this is going to stop!



This is the first year that I feel I have a solid plan going into the year; a plan that both I and my hubby are on board with. We have made 3 basic financial goals and a plan on how to get there given our current employment statuses and our current living situation.

Our 3 goals are:
1. PAY DOWN DEBT
2. SAVE MORE IN AN EMERGENCY FUND
3. LIVE ON LESS THAN OUR MEANS

I have never really been open about our finances on this blog, due to the fact that I don’t know if any of our family members read this blog or not. Well that is about to change. I may not go into specific numbers for some things, but I will be mor…

Private Selection Frozen Food Review: The Pizza

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Being a BzzAgent has it's perks! For one you get to try out products that are brand new on the market and review them, for FREE!
As a BzzAgent, I get the opportunity to try out new items and to review them. I was delighted to be included in the Kroger's Private Selection bzz campaign to try their new appetizers, pizzas and desserts. I recently reviewed their Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets appetizer.  I found that they were yummy but not worth the price.

This past week, with the busyness of the holidays, I was looking for a quick dinner. I decided to make the Kroger Private Selection Frozen pizza for my dinner. According to bzzagent.com:

Private Selection™ Frozen Pizza (Around $5)Baked in an Italian marble oven to create a thin, flaky base for top-tier ingredients. Mouth-watering offerings include – BBQ Chicken, Margherita, Roasted Vegetable and Pepperoni

I bought the Pepperoni and Roasted Garlic pizza. It was priced at $6.49 at my Kroger's store. That is definitely mo…

Christmas 2011 Review in pictures

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Christmas 2011 consisted of a day spent with the in-laws. First to my Mother-in-law and Father-in-laws house....



Then to my hubby's Aunt and Uncles house for Christmas Eve party....



Then home to find that Santa had left an early present for the kids...



Christmas morning we woke to find LOTS of presents under the tree. 






 Then Christmas afternoon it was off to my parent's house to have dinner and more Christmas fun.





Overall it was a WONDERFUL two days. I hope that your Christmas weekend was lovely as well!

Review: More Lost than Found by Jared Herd

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Recently I was given the opportunity to read and review Jared Herd’s book More Lost than Found: Finding a Way Back to Faith. I was excited to receive and read this book as I am one of many people who sometimes feel like they have lost their connection with God and with what we grew up thinking that our connection had to be.



Herd himself is one of these same people. Herd acknowledges that he has struggled with his faith throughout his life but has come to reengage with it. After reading the first chapter I believed that this book would be about Herd’s own faith journey. However as I read further into the book, it became more of a generalization of why today’s youth may be leaving the church organizations and how they can maybe begin to find their way back to their own definition of faith. Most of the book is based on generalizations geared toward teenagers and young adults (ages 13-29) who are wrestling with their belief in God and/or whom may have had a bad church experience.

Overa…

Menu Plan Monday: The post Christmas edition

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I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas weekend. We had a blast as a family. Saturday was spent with Bill's side of the family and a lot of driving. Sunday morning was spent at home watching the kids open their gifts and just relaxing. And last night was spent at my parent's house doing Christmas dinner and just having fun. Today I went to the grocery store and that was about it. I am so tired. Hubby has the day off, so we are trying to find homes for all the stuff that the kids got for Christmas this year. We put about half of it away, the other half will wait until tomorrow. We are just wiped out. So dinner will be easy, peasy tonight....


Tonight: Spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread (maybe salad)

The rest of the week I am leaving up in the air as to what we eat which day. Here are our choices to choose from:

Chicken, broccoli, pasta alfredo/ kids will have hot dogs and baked beans
Pork chops, green beans, augratin potatoes
Chicken and cheese casserole
Lasagna
Roast…

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 25

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Less we forget what Christmas is all about....

Christmas Greeting

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Merry Christmas!

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 24

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25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 23

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25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 22

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A classic Elvis song updated...

Winter

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HAPPY FIRST DAY OF WINTER!!!!

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 21

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Wordless Wednesday: Some of our Christmas activities....

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25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 20

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The first time I heard this song, I cried like a baby....

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 19

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Another favorite from Dolly Parton...

Menu Plan Monday

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Last week I left our menu plan open-ended as I wasn't sure what would work with each day as our schedules have been wacky. I think that it worked out okay. I definitely didn't feel guilty for not making something on a certain night. I think that this week will be the same, as we have various activities planned....going to see Santa, Rebecca's school's Christmas play, Christmas Eve, etc. So for this week our menu looks a little like this:

Macaroni and cheese and hot dogs
Dinner Out---probably pick up either Wendy's or McDonalds as a treat for the kids
Spaghetti and meatballs
Ham, baked potatoes and green beans
Whole chicken in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn
Christmas Eve appetizers
Christmas Day dinner

So there you have it. I also have to make some sort of cookies or brownies for my hubby's work cookie party on Wednesday and I promised Rebecca we would make cookies once her Christmas break starts.....so I will also be baking I think.

What cooking…

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 18

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25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 17

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While this is not a classic, this is my son Jacob's FAVORITE this year!

Looking back at 2011 goals....

Way back in January, I made some pretty lofty goals for the year. I have since then kind of ignored them, thinking about them only once in a blue moon. I think that I was over ambitious. But with that being said, this is how I stand on them...


PERSONAL GOALS:
Lose 20 lbs. --- Right now I am at 218lbs :( and I would love to be below 200. I was at 199 on the day of our wedding (2005) and I would LOVE to be there again.  Well this is obviously not going to happen as I am now 23 weeks pregnant. It wouldn't be healthy for me to lose that weight. I WILL tackle this again after April 2012, after I have the baby.I will work on drinking more water. I drink way too much soda and need to focus on getting healthier. I am trying on this one. Some days are better than others. Read 26+ books this year.--- One of the passions that I used to have was reading. I LOVE to read. Unfortunately with having 2 young kids and dealing with issues in life, this hobby has been put on the back burner. This year …

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 16

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Another one for the kiddos...this is my daughter's FAVORITE this year!

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 15

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One for the kiddos....

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 14

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25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 13

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One of my favorite versions....

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 12

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Menu Plan for the week

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Here is what we are eating this week. I am keeping it open ended to what day as this is a busy two week stretch for us, so it will depend on the day with what we eat. Here are our choices:

Chicken and broccoli alfredo
Hamburger helper
Chili and grilled cheese
Ham slices, rice and veggies
Pizza
Fish and macaroni and cheese
Christmas party

I am not sure what day will feature what food, but that is okay. I have everything I need for these meals and I can precook them in the morning before work or they take very little time to prepare once I am home.

What are you eating this week?

Check out orgjunkie.com for more great menu ideas!

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 11

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25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 10

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Another classic...

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 9

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Here is one to make you think about the real reason for the season...

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 8

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Another one I love!

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 7

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LOVE this song!

"A date which will live in infamy"

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Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 

On December 7, 1941, the lives of Americans were interrupted as we were attacked on our home soil. Something that most people never dreamed would happen. In that attack over 2,400 Americans were killed and many more were injured. The attack on Pearl Harbor was the first step in the United States becoming involved in World War II.  Today, 70 years later, we stop to think and pray for those lost at Pearl Harbor and those who were affected by the attacks. And as Americans we stand together in remembrance and in strength knowing that we are a strong country capable of overcoming such an instance to be an even stronger nation.

Decorating and Dinner with St. Nick

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We have really gotten into the Christmas spirit around our house.

My dear hubby decorated the outside of our house (for the first time ever) and it looks GREAT!


Rebecca and Bill put up the Christmas tree and decorated it!


We took the kids to "Dinner with St. Nick" at the school that I work at and that Rebecca goes to school at. All the activities and dinner was free with a donation to "Toys for Tots." I love that they joined together with a charity this year. (Last year it was pricier and was a fundraiser for the school.) Rebecca had a BLAST! 
Rebecca and Jacob with St. Nick. Jacob did NOT want to be on his lap!
Playing one of the many games
Beating up his Uncle Josh. My brother's Boy Scout troop helped run some of the games and activities.
There was face painting. My sister was the artist. She painted kids' faces for over 2.5 hours straight with NO break. She was such a trooper.
Rebecca the reindeer and one of her friends from school!
So far, this Christmas …

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 6

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A funny classic....

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 5

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A Classic...

Menu Plan Monday

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This week should be back to normal, after last week where we had birthdays and sicknesses and lots of extra activities. At least I am hopeful that this week is back to normal! I can hope!

Here is what we are eating this week:

Sunday: Baked ham, julienne or baked potatoes, green beans, pears

Monday: Spaghetti

Tuesday: Fish (for Bill), macaroni and cheese, broccoli

Wednesday: Taco pizza for Bill and I, pepperoni pizza for kids

Thursday: Whole chicken in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn

Friday: Grilled cheese and veggies

Saturday: party food

Sunday: pork chops, green beans, salad

That is the plan for what we are eating! Do you know what you are eating? Check out orgjunkie.com for more great menu ideas.

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 4

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One of the few Mariah Carey songs that I like....

Private Selection Frozen Food Review: The Appetizer

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Being a BzzAgent has it's perks! For one you get to try out products that are brand new on the market and review them, for FREE!

This past week, I received a new Bzz package in the mail, that contained not 1, not 2, BUT 3 FREE PRODUCT coupons to try the new line of Kroger's Private Selection Gourmet Frozen Food. I was sent a coupon for a FREE appetizer, FREE pizza, and a FREE dessert. Basically it was enough for a 3 course meal.

However, I did not use them for that. I still have not tried the pizza or the dessert that I chose, however I did try the appetizer. According the bzzagent.com:

Private Selection® Frozen Appetizers ($3 - $7) Individually handcrafted and filled with unique combinations of high-quality, savory ingredients. Hand-crafted offerings include Mediterranean Inspired Hors D'Oeuvres collection, Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets, Mushroom Walnut Profiteroles, Spanakopita.

I find this to be a bit deceiving as all the appetizers at my Kroger store were priced…

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 3

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Another favorite of mine....

"Mary, did you know?" by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd

5 Question Friday

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Here's to another edition of Five Question Friday, where you the reader can learn just a little bit more about me, the author of this here blog.


1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house? I have a lot of favorite decorations, but I think the one that touches my heart the most is a crystal tear-drop ornament that we got the year that our son Travis was born still into Heaven. It has his name on it and his date of birth. It is very special to me. 2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?I typically try to finish early, but this year for whatever reason I am really behind and will probably be more last minute. 3. When do you turn on your heat?When the house gets consistently around 63 degrees or so. I have little ones so I have to keep it somewhat warm. 4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?Nope. I wouldn't have started this blog if I wanted it to be private. 5. Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your s…

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 2

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"I'll be Home for Christmas" by Rascal Flatts

I LOVE this version! Christmas is about being at home and being with family and friends more than the gifts!

GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

Just a short announcement to say that the winner of my 100 Followers giveaway for the fruit and veggie coupons is:
JULIE LEMKE!
Julie, I have emailed you! To everyone else who entered, thank you so much for entering!

25 Days of Christmas Music Videos: Day 1

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One of my favorite Christmas Songs is NOT a traditional one. It is "Where Are You Christmas?" by Faith Hill. This is the song featured in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the one with Jim Carrey). I LOVE the message in the song! Enjoy!

Book Review: The Hour That Matters Most

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Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now is the time of year, where many times we feel like chickens with our heads cut off. We are often going in a million different directions, stressed out over shopping, Christmas parties and activities, and many other holiday happenings. In the midst of all this stress, one thing that is often set aside is our need to connect to our own families with one-on-one time, especially at meal time. It is this time of year that we need to refocus on the reason for the season and recommit to our families. One of the easiest ways to do this is to enjoy a family meal together.
In their new book, The Hour that Matters Most: The Suprising Power of the Family Meal, Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, aim to help the average American family to refocus and reconnect with one another through the sharing of a daily meal together. According to the authors, sharing a meal together is the perfect opportunity for families to recommit to the family un…