Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My new Year Resolutions for 2015

Hey all! Its that time of year again.  The time where we all try to think of things we want to accomplish over the next year.  I am normally not a big advocate for New Year's resolution because we all break them anyway. We make promises to ourselves that we end up not keeping. But I thought I would try to change that this year.

Last year, I didn't really make any resolutions at all. I knew that 2014 was going to be changes and challenges to our lives that we might not have control of. And I was soooo right about that. But I decided that we can't wallow in our own pitty this year. We are better then that. And we need to move ahead.

So I did make a resolution list this year. It's not a long one, because well....I just won't remember it all and I am not going to refer to some list somewhere all the time.

1 - The age old LOSE WEIGHT resolution. We all do this every year. But last year, I got myself back to the gym only 2 times...all year long.  And I've still been paying the monthly fee. UGH. But I keep paying that fee, so the option is there for me anytime and I have NO excuse. I really need to utilize it. I am not looking to lose tons, but my goal is about 30 lbs. for the year. That will be bring me below that dreaded number I still can't believe I ever went over. Very disappointed in myself about that.

2 - Start a VLOG. Yes, I want to start a vlog that rides along with this blog. I am an avid YouTube follower, and it looks like it can be fun. Like a new hobby to keep me occupied. I never did in the past because the house was always a mess behind me, or I was afraid my hubby would make fun of me. But I would like to do it. Whenever I talk about couponing, I get people interested and asking me questions, so I thought I could better SHOW them. I also have a few other ideas I would like to do and I see these fun tags all the why not?

3 - Start seriously Couponing again. I got away from this for a while because I realized, I was probably spending more money, to have a stockpile I really didn't need. husband has been forced to cut back his hours at work, due to his health.  And its very possible that he might end up having to stop working all together soon.  So the more I can stock up now, while we can, the more we will have to fall back on when that time comes.  And...getting a really good deal is a high for me.

4 - Find that new thing in our life, to help us make some extra money. (like a craft or hobby)  Again, hubby has to cut back at work.  And I added him to my insurance, which is hitting my income more then I would like as well. So its going to be back to tight budgets and having to say NO a lot again.(not that we ever were able to really splurge, but you know..) I really would like to be able to allow the girls to keep going to dance next year.

5 - Lastly, I just want to really get into a daily cleaning routine. I try to do this all the time, and it will last about 3 days, then I get annoyed because I am just cleaning everyone else's crap, and I go on strike and give up. Right now, we pretty much do dishes and pick up every day, then just clean other stuff/rooms as they need it. I think if I could just get in a routine, where twice a day, I run through the entire house and do this & that quickly, it might not always look so messy all the time. I did start, last year, with organizing. I like everything to be neat and have its place, but my family just won't follow that, so I started getting bins and baskets.  That way, they can throw it in the bin it goes in, and you can't see how messy it is, but it has a place (and it looks more like a decoration then a mess hider). So I will be continuing with that process as well.

That's it. And that is even more then I usually give myself, but I really want this year to be a better one. A time to get on track with our new lifestyle, and get used to it, so its not a major change in our lives.

Happy New Year to you all!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Sandwich Maker creations

If you are like me, with picky eaters for children, you are always looking for new and fun things to try to feed them. Well, the other night we didn't have a lot of time, so I suggested grilled cheese to the kids, and they Boo'd the idea. One of them suggested pizza. So I compromised and offered up pizza pockets ala sandwich maker. They were a hit!

So this got my creative mind flowing and I thought of a few other ideas to try and wanted to share them with you.  So I listed below, a few ideas. Have fun, enjoy, and please feel free to share any creations you have thought of and tried yourselves!

1 - grilled cheese
2 - pizza -- pizza sauce and cheese, extras if you choose
3 - peanut butter & jelly
4 - peanut butter and fluff ... or even Nutella
5 - ham & cheese
6 - fruit & cream (mix cream cheese with powdered sugar for the cream)
7 - eggs & cheese
8 - scramble the eggs and carefully pour them right into the maker, no bread.
9 - pour waffle mix in for quick waffles. its the same as a waffle maker, just different shape
10 - mini fruit pies - just place canned (or homemade) fruit pie filling on bread and close the lid

I hope some of these inspire you to get creative with your sandwich maker, and our meals for the kiddies!

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Crafts for kids

We all have those times where we end of having to stay home with our children on New Year's Eve. Its not the like old days when we would go out and party with friend until the middle of the night. And some of us even have those kids that actually like to stay up until midnight.

So instead of just letting the kids stay up and periodically cry that they are bored, give them something fun to do, that is related to the holiday event. 

Paper plate noise makers.
Have the kids decorate the outside of 2 paper plates. Then you staple the plates together, all the way around, so there are not any openings, but leave a small space open. Pour popping corn or beads into the plates and finish stapling up the hole. If you want to take it a bit further, you can add tassels with yarn and a stick for a handle.

Another paper plate craft is to have the kids make a countdown clock. Pretty simple. Again, grab a paper plate and have them make a clock. You can use stencils or freehand the numbers.
New Years party hats.
Form a sheet of construction paper into a cone, and staple closed. Allow the kids to decorate using markers or paints. And they can glue on pom poms or sequins to jazz it up a bit.

Don't forget those fancy drinking glasses. You can get some plastic champagne flutes from a dollar store or party store, and allow the kids to decorate those as well. You can use glitter, stickers, jewels, whatever you would like.

Hope you all have a safe and fun New Years!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Christmas House Tour

Hey all!

All the house decorating is finally done. So I thought I would take you on a tour of all the decorations we have up this year.
Just a note, all of these decorations were created or purchased last year in 2013. So if you see things you might want to find in stores now, I'm sorry, you most likely won't find it.

Let's begin!

Starting at the front door, we have this little wreath that I quickly put together last year. My sister is a florist and had some plain green wreaths she let me have and I just added some cute bows I found at the Dollar Tree (last year).

Next, we have our interior front door. I just hung some glittery decorations on each of the window panes. Also, we have this cute little bell door hanger that I found at Dollar Tree, this year. (I guess I DID do a little shopping this year, he he.)
We have a very large TV that is its own entertainment center. So I am always decorating the top of it. Last year I bought this cheap garland and fake berries & flowers all from Dollar Tree, and with a little help, created this garland.  behind that, we have my 3 vases that I use for each season, simply filled with smaller Christmas balls.
Then on each side of the TV, we have 2 of our 4 homemade snowflakes that we created last year as well. Just Popsicle sticks and paint. (it was NOT as easy as it looks)

On the opposite wall, we have out tree. And on each side, are just 2 little cute signs I got at Dollar Tree last year.

We have our stockings in between our 2 tall window.  (yes, they are un even, but I'm short)
Moving onto our dining area/my office.
The archway between the two rooms, has a bundle of balls handing from the middle. I did eventually add the same garland to the archway, as is on the TV, but didn't get a chance to take a picture of it all together.

 I have decorated the shelf over my desk with some items I found at the Dollar Tree last year.

On the other wall in the same room, we have a couple more of the home made snowflakes, but most of all, we have my new prized possession for the season. The homemade tree of my kids handprints. I saw this on Pintrest last year and now I can't fathom getting rid of it.

Oh but that's not it, I also have the kitchen decorated! Again, ribbon and bows fromthe Dollar Tree. And the wreath...i'mnot sure where I got it, but I jazzed it up with some bows last year.
And we also have a few signs hanging as well.

Last but not least....we have 2 of these little white trees that we decorate in pink, and put on the front porch each year. This year, i decided to allow the girls to have them in their rooms. They like falling asleep to the tree lights each night.

Would love to see all of your ideas as well!
Have a safe and happy holiday!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas filled weekend

Hey all!

I know its been a few days, but it was a long, busy eventful weekend. And then I took off on Monday to get some "Santa" stuff done, so I was pretty busy when I got back to normal life on Tuesday. Whew!
 However, I thought I would share all of the Christmas Spirit fun we had this weekend.

Friday, we headed to my hometown's Light parade. We usually always meet my one friend there, but this year, we met up with a few others as well. Some we haven't' seen in years. It was like a mini reunion. And my kids had a bunch of other kids to hang out with as well. It was just a fun time all around.

Saturday, Brian worked an early shift and got home at 1pm, so I was able to get out and hit a few sales that were one day only. Got some stuff checked off my list. Then came home to the girls baking cookies with my sister. A yearly tradition they do.

Sunday, we went to church. We don't go often, but my husband's family, goes to a local church around here. Small crowd. And they put on this holiday type service each year, that is directed by his cute little Aunt Roxene. We have missed the last few years due to illnesses that pop up, but we made it this year! Our cousin's kids were doing the bells and in the choir. It was really cute. And I like to expose the kids to church at least that one time a year, so they get a knowledge of what its about, without me forcing them.  
Later that night, we all met up to do some Christmas light hunting. We did hit a couple of really good houses.
This one was in Sewell, NJ. Not a walk through, but a lot to look at. The owner even came out and talked with us for a few minutes about it.

The next one we hit was in Pitman, NJ. Apparently its this family that sets up this huge walk through. They continue the tradition for their father who passed away. Its like an entire block. I included a link below, that is an article that was done about it a couple years ago.

 We have been very good girls this year!!!
 We just wanted to take a pic real fast, but asked the kids to take the picture for us. moms should know better!

 This is the memoriam notice they have hanging up, for their father, who started it all.

Hagerty Christmas Lights, Pitman, NJ

All in all it was a very nice weekend, celebrating the spirit of Christmas with my kids.  And if you are from the area, I hope you can take the time to stop in Pitman and check out the Hagerty display.
Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Just trying to get by

Hey all. Just wanted to pop in here and say that if my blogs have not been what was expected lately, I'm sorry. Things have just really been weighing on me lately and my mind is just not able to be focused on anything else except for money issues. I have a real test coming up in the next few days and I'm stressing about it.

As most of you may know, my husband Brian recently had to cut back his hours at work from full time to part time and demoted himself away from manager position, this also came along with a pay cut. now, we knew this was on the horizon, but....we were hoping it wouldn't happen until his child support had been stopped, so the difference in the pay would not be so significant.  Well, his body wasn't waiting any longer and he was forced to go part time right after Thanksgiving...and the child support is still in effect. So he has pretty much been getting paid $25 a week. Which means, all other financial obligations have been completely on me.

Now, I know that I make enough money to have us "get by", barely but we could do it. However, in the next 2 weeks, I have only one of my paychecks to work with. We have no money in the savings account. So for the next 2 weeks, I have one paycheck to -- pay bills, get oil to heat the house, xmas shop for the 3 kids, grocery shop for 2 weeks and Christmas dinner, annnnddddd I have my husbands birthday AND the twins birthday.  I don't make THAT much money. So...I'm sorry, I am having trouble finding things to blog about. Oh and.....because the child support didn't stop yet, and with the part time hours, he hasn't been making enough money to pay it all, so now he is in arrears, and its supposed to stop Dec. 15th. Not sure it will stop now, until we pay the arrears. UGH  All for a 26 yr old man to take 4 classes and not work -- whatever.

But, it is that time of year where a lot of people struggle. I just wish all this stuff didn't happen so soon. And I am trying to not constantly complain about it because I know others might be in worse suituations then us. still sucks! And to try to not make brian feel worse, I keep having the "I got this" attitude, but inside I am freaking out.

We are about to run out of heating oil at anytime now. And I can't figure out what to do. I have $100 to get $100 worth today, but that will only get me about 18 gallons. If I can wait until tomorrow, I can get $200 worth and that would give me about 50 gallons, and I won't have to worry about it until next pay period. BUT....I am scared we might run out of oil tonight...its in the 20s at night. hmmm

Luckily, I do have about half of the girls gifts already, but the few more items I need to get are like another $200, along with finishing up family gifts, and deciding what me and Brian are going to do for each other.

To prevent having to have a party, I decided to take the twins to go see Annie movie for their birthday. We have a $25 gift card that we found from a past gift, and it doesn't expire, so we thought we would use that. Ummmm, tickets are gonna be like $11.50 per person and we have a 5 person family. THIS is why we don't go to the movies. UGH. And, we are just going to invite a few family members over to sing happy birthday and I'll make cupcakes for that, so that will help with cost of cake. But...I am really wondering if I should just have the party now, as it seems like I can do that cheaper then the movies. BUT.....I already promised them. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH

Anyway, sorry for the personal rant, but like I said, that is all that is on my mind right now.

I do plan on cleaning this weekend, so I can take some pics and do a home decorations tour. MAYBE I will get brave and just do a vlog for it.  (if not, that is definitely on my new years resolution list) We'll see, if I can get the place clean enough and get the kids to leave me alone long enough to do it.
 I will also be researching some New Year's Eve party ideas and doing a post about that as well.

Thanks for letting me rant and worry......Until next time........

Oh, below is our Xmas card that I did this year. I think it is perfect for how we will be celebrating our holiday this year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Frizz to straight

Hey all!

I was getting ready to do my hair the other day and I realized how my hair texture has come a long way. I used to have rough texture hair, and then I learned how to take care of it. So i thought I would share with you all, how I do MY hair and what I use to keep it smooth looking and feeling.

First, I am a night time shower person, so my hair doesn't take too long to do.I wash it at night and when I go to do it the next day, its already dry. frizzy...but dry. I have natural wavy hair, that is thick too. I can't just wash my hair and go. I either need to use product on it wet for the curly look, or straighten it. There is no air dying for me. 

DISCLAIMER:  beware of the scary looking no hair done, no make up face.

This is my fresh washed and dried over night hair.


Next I get out all my products and tool. There really is not a lot. Straightener, hair clip, hair spray for the end, and some leave in conditioner. Now that product that was in that bottle is all gone, but I have in there a mixture of Garnier leave in conditioner with water. I use this same mixture on the girls hair in the morning. Its a great detangler and it helps keep my hair soft, if I use it while straightening as well. I just spray the section I am about to do, then straighten it.  There are other products I use as well, either right out of the shower, or pre-straightening. one of Garnier Dry Ends serum. I love that one most, but its hard to find now with new products coming out.

 To start, pull up most of your hair, just leaving a section down. Its easier to straighten in thinner sections, then trying to do thick chunks. You will look like a peacock, but its OK.

  This is a preference, but I mostly like my ends to go under a little. because I run my hairs through my hair a lot, so I find if I put the ends under, it gives it more of a style, then just pin straight. Although, I also like it pin straight at times as well.  Just give the iron a little turn as you get close to the ends.

You can seethe difference between straight and not straight. Much more tamed.

I personally don't like the top of my hair flat against my head. I'm a 90s girl..we used to skinny barrel curl and tease, Hello!  So when I straighten the bangs, or front sections, I pull the straightener UP instead of out to the side or down. Then brush it back and spray a little. Yes this fall through out the day, but it helps it from being ultra flat.

Add a little make up, and you are ready for the day!