Thursday, January 20, 2011

Real Homes, Real Messes, Real Life…Link Party!

  Show me YOURS and I'll show you MINE....Okay, you convinced me.  I'll go first.

So I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon it, but I am so glad that I did, and it was PERFECT timing too!  Just when I was feeling about this big for not having our house completely decorated, completely organized, and completely on routine after having moved in about 5 months ago.

It's nice to know that so many others fall somewhere between compulsive OCD perfectionist overachiever and being a feature presentation on some psychological phenomenon show about hoarders.  I am not alone!  I have one room in the house that I keep perfect.  I love it.  If I'm feeling overwhelmed, I just sit there in that room sipping my coffee and thinking, "I LOVE this room!"  The rest of the house, not so much...but it's OKAY!

So join the link party!  Here are my messy pictures, and I threw in one of my favorite still needs some accessories, but I am on the right track with it, and it makes me happy.  Too bad it was a very cloudy day, and I couldn't get a good picture of it!  Check out my pictures and link up your own!

Here's where I found the party.

Such a terrible picture on such a gloomy day, but this is the room I love <3


 My side of the master bedroom...I need a small dresser for a nightstand!  I have nowhere to put my clothes!  Also notice the paper "blinds" still in the windows :-(

Front of the master bedroom.  I have managed to get all that stuff on the floor picked up!

 Steve's side of the balls, of course, and those are two boxes that STILL need to be unpacked.

 This is my workspace that is constantly covered in unfinished projects so that I can never actually use it for "work".

 I'm trying to keep that little baker's rack a craft-free zone so that there's at least one pretty space (except for the printer).

 The bed/backup workspace.

 Pile of stuff that still needs a home.

Hopefully this will help some of you feel better about your messes, and hopefully I'll have some awesome "after" pictures to share sometime in the near future, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't!  Please don't leave me hangin' out here alone!  Let's see your mess!

Perceptions and Decorations

I've always been quite entertained by the little glimpses life gives me of how I am perceived by others.  Some are funny; others are quite puzzling.  I feel like a scatter-brained mess most of the time and live in a constant state of inner disarray.  I CANNOT BELIEVE how many times people have told me things like, "Wow!  You are so organized!" and "You always seem to have everything all together."  I didn't even get Christmas cards out this year, so I intended to send New Year's cards instead, but I missed that too.  I have a stack of Christmas gifts, some from PAST YEARS that probably will not be mailed any time soon.  I mailed my sister-in-law's birthday gift from September in her Christmas package at the beginning of December.  I just found last year's Father's Day card for my dad while cleaning out the drawer the other day.  My craft room is FULL of unfinished projects...fabrics full of pins, scrapbook pages waiting for pictures, half painted canvases, to name a few.  "Organized" and "together" are NOT words I would ever in a million years use to describe myself.  This is just one of many examples of how others perceive me dose not match my own reality.

Apparently, to some--and I can't explain why--I seem like the kind of person who would have a beautifully decorated home for Christmas.  We just moved into our new house in the middle of August, and we literally had only a matter of hours to empty the moving trucks before they had to be returned.  My house is not put together much at all...I still need some key pieces of furniture like a coffee table, for example, and there are still LOTS of projects in the making (hopefully ones that will actually come to fruition).  That being said, for some reason, I've had several requests from friends for pictures of my house with the Christmas decorations up, and since we've all pretty much cleared our heads of the ghosts Christmas past, I thought I'd better go ahead and do that! it is!  Come on in, prop your feet up, have some coffee, and take a peek around!

 Dining room centerpiece...No, I didn't burn the candles like that on purpose.  I can only suppose there was some kind of draft that created this inadvertent Cingular ad.

 My living room with "my" tree.  The candles are way too small for those candle holders, I know.  The fabric in the chair on the left will someday be the new seat covers for two more of those cane back chairs.  I still need to fix the medallion that fell out of the credenza door.

 I "made" these curtains out of tablecloths.  I say "made" with quotation marks because really all I had to do was decide how high I wanted to hang them, make a fold, sew the fold in place, and hang from clips.  I probably could have even skipped the sewing part, and just clipped them up there!

 On the left is a chess table.  There are four "flaps" that flip down and expose the chess board, and the drawer holds the pieces.  Through that walk way is the kitchen on the left, the breakfast nook and the play room in the back.

Our card display on the bar.  I have lots of pine cones gathered from walks with the kids and trips to the park.  The munchkins get so excited about finding them, so I try to find places for them throughout our home.  We often stuff them with tissue papers that coordinate with the seasonal colors and fill baskets with them or just set them around here and there.
 Looking into the play room from the living room.

 Breakfast nook.

 Back of the play room complete with kids playing! 

 Looking towards the front of the play room.

 Entry way.  I can't seem to keep this area clear of things that collect under that bench!

 From the entry way looking into the dining room.

 Top of my china cabinet.

 Some of my precious things.

 Oops, these got out of order!  
Anyway, this is the top of one of the windows in the play room.  I change out the scenes each season and try to keep it sort of whimsical and child like without being tacky.

 Top of the other window in the play room and the kids' and hubby's tree.

This is the "classroom closet".  All of our school supplies and educational toys/games/activities are stored inside.  I use books to change out the scene on the top with the seasons and holidays and to coordinate with our lessons.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Digging In

So it's the second day of my quest to read the Bible in 1 year, and I'm caught up through day 3 (I started on the 6th, so I have a week to make up; so far I've made up one day!).  I can tell this is going to be life-changing.  I was born into a Christian family, went to a Christian high school, went to a Christian college, and have been attending church for my entire life, and in 3 days I think I've had more insight into God's being, Christ's sacrifice, and my own life than I've experienced in my lifetime!  God is truly blessing me.  Satan, on the other hand, is digging in.  I can tell he is going to try to make this difficult.  Sending up, and asking for, prayers that I can dig in my heels, stand up to temptation, and complete this journey and that God could find it in His heart to command the one who seeks to crush my head (Gen. 3:15) to stand down, and let me pass quietly through this valley.  However, if God sees fit to allow Satan to test me, please instill in me the fighting spirit not to become beaten down during this battle. 

It's not too late to join me!  Check out the reading schedule here if you're interested!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Read the Bible in a year with me!

Sooooo....I've tried to read the Bible all the way through several times and failed somewhere in the middle of Genesis.  I found a different kind of schedule here, and I think it's one I can stick to.  Read on to see what I like about it.  I'm a little behind since I waited until today to start, but catch up and follow along with me!  I'd love to have company on this new journey!

 Got my new study bible, an empty journal with pages begging to be filled, and my schedule. 

I like this schedule because it is divided into 4 small readings each day, 2 from the New Testament and 2 from the Old Testament.  For me, these are the perks:

1.  You can finish each reading in only a FEW MINUTES.  If you get interrupted, chances are you can quickly finish up the segment you're on, and then when you come back to finish, you don't have to find your place, re-read the last few verses you read to remind yourself of what you were reading, etc...

2.  It LOOKS like less reading.  I was shocked when I opened my Bible to the first reading and saw how little it was!
"I CAN READ THAT!", I thought. 
So I DID!  Then I turned to the next reading... 
"I CAN READ THAT TOO!" on and so forth!  You're not faced with page upon page upon page this way...only little segments of pages!

3.  You know how when you're reading for a while, your mind starts to wander, and then before you even realize it, you have no idea what you're reading about, and then you have to go back and find the last part that you actually remember and start all over from there?  Surely I'm not the only one with that problem!  This schedule prevents just read a few verses in Matthew, flip over to Acts and read a few there; then to Psalms and Genesis!

I covered the genealogy of Christ, the birth of Christ, creation, and blessed righteousness, and I probably remember more about each of them than I would have if I tried to read from cover to cover!

Comment here if you'll follow along with me, and I'll keep in touch throughout the year!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tonight we ate for $2.66 (only 67 cents per person!)

It's 5:30pm.  I'm goofing off on the computer doing nothing of any importance, and my hubby asks, "What's for dinner?"  Dangit!  I realize that I forgot to put the chicken in the crock pot this morning, and it's still in the freezer, solid as a rock.  I know what's NOT for dinner!  Once upon a time this would have resulted in loading the family in the van and heading out to spend too much money on eating out or in ordering a pizza from the cheapest place in town.

Tonight, though, thanks to my nearly 1-year of stockpile shopping, that was not the case!  I simply threw some things together that I had on hand and that I had paid mere pennies for.  Instead of shredded chicken enchiladas, tonight we had Chicken Noodle soup, and it cost only $2.66...that's 67 cents per person for my family of four...and it was G-O-O-D!

 Below is a list of what I used and how much I paid for it.  One perk of stockpile shopping:  There's ALWAYS something to eat!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup for $2.66
2 large chicken breasts; frozen  ($1.49)
2 cans chicken broth  (67 cents each)
1 bag frozen veggies  (50 cents)
1/2 box of spaghetti (free...there was an overage of 7 cents for every 2 boxes I bought)
$2.66 total
Plus I added about 3 cups of water, 1 chicken bouillon, 1 bay leaf, some sage, and salt/pepper to taste.

I put the 2 frozen chicken breasts, broth, water, bouillon, bay leaf, sage, salt and pepper in a large pot to boil.  When chicken was no longer frozen and I could stick a fork all the way through it, I removed it from the pot onto a cutting board.  I broke the spaghetti into thirds to make smaller pieces for the soup, and added it to the broth with the frozen veggies.  I cut the almost-done chicken into little pieces and added it back to the pot.  I cooked it until the chicken was done and the noodles were tender.  I removed the bay leaves before serving.......VOILA!
I could have added a salad and some bread to make a more complete meal, but since this wasn't the meal I had planned on and since it was a little late to be coming up with dinner, I thought that having a grain, a veggie, and a meat was a square enough meal.

The results?  I personally thought it was super yummy...hubby was happy and said he'd like to have it again, and my 4-yr-old-picky-eater-boy said:  "I want you to make these (noodles) every day because they are delicious!"

???????? HOW ???????

Coupon matching and stockpile shopping.  I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I can afford to pay full-price for our groceries.  Most of my hobbies COST me money.  You should see the piles of fabric and drawers upon drawers of scrapbooking, bath tea concocting, hair bow making paraphernalia that litter our spare room.  My husband is the golf coach at the high school, and he gets to golf for free, so his favorite hobby doesn't cost him a thing while my need to create crafty little projects costs us a $$ small fortune $$!  So I was super excited when a friend turned me on to this couponing thing.  I'm not one of those "extremers" as seen recently on TLC, but I would proudly say that I am a crazy coupon lady!  This is not a poverty-driven penny-pinching necessity but a fun...sometimes even competitive...hobby that has many perks one of which is that it doesn't cost me a thing...and actually saves us a ton!

There is no way that I can do this every night, but when time permits and I choose to use that time to do so, I think it would be fun to show you just how little you can spend on your meals when you use the stockpile shopping method.

Studies show that food prices are at an all time high and prices are projected to get even higher in the months ahead!  Check out this article:  Whether you're fighting to save your lifestyle by pinching every penny or if you're just bored and in need of a profitable new hobby, check out to get started on your new coupon adventure for the new year!

I'd love to hear how your hobbies have evolved over the years and especially how you've turned them into money makers!  Happy 2011 all!  God bless!