Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Home Tour

I love Christmas. I wait all year long for it, and I start early. David doesn't understand why I start decorating so early and even though I've tried to explain, it's just something he doesn't agree with me on. I justify it by saying that I pay a lot for my Christmas things and I want to get the most out of them. But the truth is that I love to be surrounded by the lights, smells, colors, and emotions of Christmas. I love the glow of a Christmas tree and the joy in Christmas carols. I was blessed to grow up in a happy home where Christmas was special and family was the most important thing. That has carried over into my adult life, as well as the appreciation for those traditions. I love having people in our home to enjoy the season with us. All that being said we finished up our decorations tonight and I have very happy with the outcome. It's our second Christmas here, so we kept things pretty much the same.

My tree is mainly red and gold and some ambers and greens. I like traditional, rich colors and lots of shimmer. I have poinsettia picks stuck in randomly, and I love the look it gives.
I love this little shelf, it's full of all kinds of my favorite things. I think I bought it used about 4 years ago for $50. Probably one of my best finds!

I love the white and black look. This is our upstairs Den, and I like that it can have a different color scheme and modern look, so unlike the rest of my house, without clashing. It's like it's own little living room off of the bedrooms.


This us the entry, I LOVE this picture. I loved it so much that I bought one for my mom, too.

I have more of the outside, but I need to upload them so I'll make another post. Hope you enjoyed our "2009 Home Tour".

11/29-12/5 Menu

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time at my parents house. So many laughs and so much good food, but I am glad to be back at home and back to a (somewhat) normal routine.
I have a feeling this week will go by fast. In fact, I think the rest of 2009 will fly by. Here's this weeks menu:

Sunday: Dinner out with friends.

Monday: Taco Pizza

Tuesday: David has Duty at work, I'll have soup and a sandwich.

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Rice and Broccoli, Carrots

Thursday: Spaghetti, Yeast Rolls

Friday: Waffles, Bacon

Saturday: FOOTBALL!!! Pizza and Wings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15-21 Menu and To Do's

Last week felt so "off" to me. David didn't have to work on Wednesday (Veteran's Day) and we went out a lot with friends to celebrate. Now it's weekend and he's working, so it doesn't even feel like a real weekend. But I guess that's the way it will be from now until the beginning of the new year. With all the holidays, parties, traveling, and work functions time just speeds by. I know for me, it's very important to schedule and make lists this time of year. It's so easy for spending to get out of control with all the business of the next couple months. Last year at this time we were half heartedly following the budget and basically just treading water. What a difference a year makes! So...on to this week!

Sunday: Cube Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Monday: Homemade Pizza

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Rice, Carrots

Wednesday: Breakfast (Grits, Eggs, Bacon)

Thursday: Meatball Subs

Friday: Beef Stroganoff

Saturday: David has a Motorcycle "Poker Run", so I'll probably have leftovers or a salad.

TO DO's:
This week I need to get my house ready for Christmas decorations!!! And we'll be leaving on the 21st for a week, so I need to get packed and get the house ready for us to leave.

1. Vacuum Baseboards
2. Dust Ceiling Fans and Air Vents
3. Vacuum Truck
4. Return Halloween things to my neighbors house.
5. Organize Office Closet

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day and Happy Marine Corps Birthday

My husband, David, before he left for Iraq in 2007.
"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past." Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC

My sister, my brother and I at my brother's Navy Boot Camp Graduation. January 2009

"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: "I served in the United States Navy""-John F. Kennedy (JFK)

November 8-14 Menu

Last week went by really fast! It seems like September on just flies by and then it's a new year! We don't have too much going this week, but it's definitely the calm before the storm. Literally, there is a tiny hurricane headed this way. But like I was telling a friend early-this ain't my first rodeo. Growing up in Panama City, Florida I've seen my share and they don't scare me in the least. In fact, I love a good storm! So I'm not planning too much for this week, since it will likely be raining for a couple days. David is off Wednesday for the Marine Corps Birthday (which is the 10th) , and Veteran's Day. Then he has duty again on Saturday, so I don't have to cook either of those nights. Here's the menu:

Sunday: Meatball Soup

Monday: Hotdogs and Tater Tots (We have SO many hot dogs left over from the Halloween party, well be eating them once a week for a while yet!)

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Bread

Wednesday: Out to dinner, probably Applebee's since they are doing a free meal for Veteran's (YAY! Thanks Applebee's!)

Thursday: Pizza (I got a new bread recipe from here: and it makes a great pizza crust. I'm thinking of trying a new pizza each week!

Friday: Beef Stroganoff

Saturday: David has duty, I'll eat left overs or canned soup.

Happy Veteran's Day!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 1-7 Spending:

$10 Burger King-Breakfast
$5 Target-Halloween Clearance
$12 Marshall's-Halloween Clearance
$13 Kirkland's-Halloween Clearance

$9 Heros-lunch with BFF

$9 Dog Food
$14 Candles, Soda, Chips, TP
$1 McD's Burger

$5 Coupon Order

$3 SnoBalls

$7 Cracker Barrel
$10 Walmart
$20 Gas

$4 Target
$14 Walmart
$5 Dollar Tree
$20 Hero's

This week I spent $137 on things that we didn't NEED. Ugh, that's a lot. In red are the things that were wants and could have been avoided. Technically all but about $50 were within budget because we used cash. But lately I've been wondering if we spend the cash because we have it. Just because I have $10 left in my Blow Money, doesn't mean I need to go to Target and see what I can buy for $10. I need to really work on that! Hopefully this week will be better. My weakness is seasonal clearance, I've spend a lot on marked down Halloween stuff. Which is fine if it's stuff I'll actually need and use next year. But naturally I get sucked into buying crap just because it's 75% off. Another weakness if boredom. I want to try to stay out of stores more this week. Last week I went shopping almost everyday just because I could. But again-that doesn't mean I SHOULD. If I stay out of stores and busy doing something else then I can't spend any money, right!? I'll check back in next week.

A Plateau?

I think I've hit one. Lately I've just felt like I'm barely treading water. In some ways it doesn't make sense because we're still plugging along, working the budget and paying off debt. But in other ways I feel like we should be doing MORE. I kind of feel like we're doing just enough to make progress, and that we've gotten complacent over the last 6 months. Part of it could be the New Year getting closer, and the anticipation of what we can and will do in 2010. I definitely haven't lost motivation, if anything I have more and don't know what to do with it!

I went over last months numbers and here's is what I think I should focus on in November:

1. Sticking to the menu:
A. Cutting back on the fast food/dinning out.
B. Stop running to the store for chips, soda, eggs, etc., and plan better when I do go.
C. Using what we have in the freezer, and using up leftovers.

2. Using less gas:
A. Make sure I budget enough for the pay period based on that weeks activities.
B. Cutting down on MY driving, and planning lots of errands in one day.
C. Cut back on the trips to the commissary. (100 miles round trip!!)

Ok, so that the game plan for November! Maybe what I need is to get back to the basics and focus on the areas that NEED the most work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Par-tay!

I love Halloween!!! It's so fun and festive, I love the colors and the costumes. Some great friends and neighbors helped me host the party this year. It was a blast! David was a good sport and helped me transform the garage into a "cave". I bought several black table clothes from the Dollar Tree and David was great enough to thumb tack them to the ceiling of the garage. It was a little time consuming, but was only about $12 and made a huge impact on the decorations!

The final product!

Our friends Monica and Travis made a "Mystery Box" game that was a huge hit! The boxes had slits cut in the top and each player had to stick their hand in and try and guess what body part was inside. The boxes were actually filled with things like pasta, peeled grapes and jello! FUN! Here is David after sticking his hand in.

We also had a "Witch's Broom Race". I made brooms out of paper bags, and each player had to "sweep" their balled up newspaper across the finish line. It was hilarious to watch.

And finally-all the food!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

11/1-11/7 Weekly To Do List

Well, last night was the big Halloween bash and I think it went very well. I have some pictures but I'll make another post about that. I got everything on my To Do List done, since it was all party prep. But this week I need to start getting ready for the Holidays, since they are right around the corner. I love this time change, I feel so much more productive when I get up early, and being an hour ahead is nice!
I also wanted to mention that I've been a fan of for years, and she's started her annual "Cruising Through the Holidays", so be sure to check that out. Over the years I've adapted it to help me with my household management. I've never had a problem with clutter, so I don't need that aspect of her plan, but I follow her routines and daily missions to help me stay on top of my housework. She also has a Blog Talk Radio show here Those ladies are so insightful and practical!

This week I need to:

1. Clean out and vacuum the truck.

2. Clean out and inventory the chest freezer.

3. Wash and vacuum couch cushions.

4. Go to the DMV and have the motorcycle registered.

5. Spend an hour working on my recipe and idea binders. (I probably should do a post about this, too!)

So, that's want I want to get done this week, along with all the general daily cleaning.

November 1-7 Menu

Hello November! These next few weeks will be the calm before the Holiday storm. We don't have much planned this week, just resting up from the Halloween party, and getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Sunday: Grilled Chicken, Rice, Green Beans
Monday: Stromboli's
Tuesday: Cube Steak, Potatoes, Carrots
Wednesday: Leftovers, or Sandwiches
Thursday: Breakfast
Friday: Chicken and Rice, Peas, Biscuits
Saturday: Meatball Soup

Have a wonderful week!