Friday, March 27, 2009

Frugal Fridays: The Yard Sale

This Frugal Friday tip may be a "no-brainer" for some of you. Even so, I think it stands to be repeated because I'm always amazed at how much money I make when I have one: The Yard Sale (or Garage Sale, if you prefer).
Last weekend I dropped the kids off at the in-laws and proceeded begrudgingly to take my cast-offs out to the garage. My neighbor across the street wanted to have one... and we usually try to have at least one a year together to share in the sign making and such... but I just wasn't in the mood. Boy am I glad I did!
Figuring I had already pared down to the basics from my last yard sale, and after making a donation from my garage to a local charity only 2 weeks earlier, my expectations were low. My local die-hard yard sale patrons did not disappoint, however! I made a whopping $302 profit and was only open from 6:30 a.m. until around 11:00 a.m. And the most expensive thing I sold was my husband's old golf clubs for $35 (with his permission of course!:) ). I've used this money to start an "emergency fund" for us to help us get out of the habit of using those evil credit cards. What could be more frugal than that? Maybe this will inspire you to get out those ill-fitting clothes from your closet, those dusty knick-knacks you can't stand anymore, and those kid's toys that seem to multiply on their own while we sleep, and turn them in to some cold hard cash you could use! Stay tuned for more details on how to have a successful yard sale.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Schick Quattro Razors

My dear husband has given me lots of advice over the years. Silly as it sounds, one of the smartest things he's told me was to not skimp when it comes to razors. RAZORS? Oh, he's said lots of smart and profound things, but this week, as I continued to hack up my legs with a sub-par grooming device... his advice on razors was ringing in my ears.

Y'all know that I love a deal! I take great pride in my bargain hunting skills, but some things, as my husband states, are worth coughing up the extra cash for. Case in point: I have sensitive skin. I haven't always... but the older I get, the more sensitive my skin gets. Within the last couple of years I've had to change lotion, soap, and now razors. Not that I was using the cheapest ones out there, mind you, but I just had a hard time coming off my pocketbook for RAZORS. With warm weather on it's way here to the sunny south, I've been doing a little more personal grooming and the razor burn was out of control. That's why I'm LOVING the Schick Quattro Razor for women. Oh yeah, I bought the fancy one with the refillable cartridges. And you know what? NO razor burn and NO stubble. Perhaps I'll have to skimp somewhere else in the budget... cuz these razors are keepers! Head on over to to see what else YOU may fall in love with!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The List

I'm always curious about other people's schedules. I've spent A LOT of time surfing blogs to see how other wives and moms spend their day and how they can make it all "fit in" to the 24 hours we're all given each day. Let me be the first to admit that I fall WAY short on the scheduling front. Don't get me wrong... I'm a list maker from way back. I get such a rush and sense of accomplishment from crossing something off my endless list of things to do. Keeping a tight schedule is another thing. I long to have days that follow a particular regime, but then life happens: kids get sick, I get sick, Spring Break comes along... you name it and then the well intentioned schedule falls to the way side. Lately I've decided to take my mothering and wifely duties up a notch (we ALL could, right?). The only way I can see to get to it all is by once again putting pen to paper and making myself a schedule. And here it is:

First, let me address a cleaning schedule. I would rather clean all in one day and have the whole house all clean at once. But, after several attempts to do this, I've relented to a "clean one room a day" plan.

Monday- Guest Bath

Tuesday- Master Bath

Wednesday- Master Bedroom

Thursday- Other Bedrooms

Friday- Living Area (sweep/ mop/ vacuum)

As for the details: Cleaning the bathrooms, I'd say, is pretty self-explanatory. All the usual plus sweeping and mopping. The Master Bedroom gets a full day because it somehow seems to end up as the "drop-off zone" for everything that doesn't yet have a home. The computer and computer desk also reside here. Cleaning this room entails picking up, changing sheets, dusting and vacuuming. Ditto for the other two bedrooms. The Living Area includes the living room and dining area which are open to each other. Cleaning these rooms entails picking up, dusting, vacuuming area rug, sweeping and mopping the hardwood floors, wiping down the table and chairs. You may have noticed that I left out a very important room: The Kitchen. That's because I'll be cleaning it daily: washing dishes, wiping counter tops and appliances and sweeping. Mopping will be as necessary... or at least with the rest of the hardwood floors on Friday. :)

Now for the daily chores:

This is where I think my list will come in handy the most. Right now I've written it on a jr. legal pad to check off each task (some of which might seem silly to actually include, but hey, why not?). I'm thinking of putting it behind a sheet protector so I can use a dry erase marker to cross things off and I won't have to make new lists all the time. The list might seem a little long, but it's what I do. Here it goes:

* Wake up

* Get Anna dressed

* Anna's medicines/ fed

* Anna to school

* Breakfast

* Laundry

* Jamie Ruth to school

* Clean kitchen

* Room of the day

* Choose from the "others" list

* Get JR from school

* Lunch

* Rest

* Get Anna from school

* Laundry

* Supper prep

* Supper

* Family time

* Get ready for tomorrow

- bath for girls

- pick out clothes for tomorrow

- get book bags ready for tomorrow

* Get ready for bed

* Bible/ reading/ computer

I put Laundry on the list twice because I need to do 2 loads a day to keep caught up. I'm hoping to fold and put away as I do it too. We'll see how THAT turns out. :) I also made a list of "other" things to do while the kids are at school according to what needs to be done. Each day I'll choose at least one:

* menu plan

* clean out the van

* pay bills

* grocery shopping

* errands

* ironing

Well, I'm hoping that this will help me out and get my house in order as well as provide some sense of order to our wild and woolly days. How about the rest of you? Do you work off of a schedule? Do you need to start? Let me know. I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"You Tell on Yourself"

I've been doing a little introspection lately and I love how God gives me a good word when I'm seeking answers from him.I found this little poem while reading "A Woman's High Calling" by Elizabeth George. Does it speak to you like it did to me?

You Tell on Yourself
You tell on yourself by the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of a dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear,
By the spirit in which your burdens bear,
By the kind of things at which you laugh,
By the records you play on the phonograph,
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things in which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from the well-filled shelf:
In these ways and more, you tell on yourself.

Elizabeth George even admits that this poem may be dated (seriously, a phonograph?), but all of us probably have watched a favorite TV show and thought, "Is this appropriate?" If you have to ask... it probably isn't.

Most of you know already how I feel about how our daughters should dress. How long has it been since you've taken stock of what you are wearing? Sure, it may not be revealing (or maybe it is!) but is it appropriate? Listen up all you SAHMs! Finding it hard to get out of those ratty sweats and stained t-shirts? I have struggled with this for years. I hate to put "good" clothes on when I'm just going to be cleaning the house and getting dirty myself. But then I got to thinking... my poor husband and kids have to look at me like this ALL THE TIME. And what a ridiculously hot mess it can be depending on the day. Then it occurred to me: I need to have some "work" clothes that I can put on and do my "work" in besides the worst of the worst in my closet. So now I'm setting a few clothes aside to do just that. And since I LOVE LOVE LOVE aprons, I'm going to put them to use every day to help keep the clothes I've chosen from getting ruined.

And then there's how I speak... YOWZA!! Chuck and I really don't fight. But the arguments that we do have most of the time have to do with not what I say but how I say them. I'll be the first to admit to it too. I use the excuse that I'm tired or hormonal (both legitimate!) but it really is just an excuse. I'm asking God for help on this one.

Lastly, I'm the person who takes care of the finances in our household. Chuck brings it in... and I see that it gets to where it needs to go. Since having to "retire" from my job to stay home with the kids I have wished that I could do something that could bring in extra cash. I have felt that I wasn't really a contributor to our finances since I wasn't bringing in any of the money anymore. (I have to take a minute and say this thinking was ALL ME. My sweet husband has from the beginning of our marriage wanted me to be a SAHM. I'm a daughter of that bra-burning generation that urged it's female offspring to get out there and do your equal part. Some things run deep.) All that being said I have realized only recently that MY equal part of managing the money IS just as important as his is by bringing it in. And sadly... I might not have been doing such a bang-up job.

The winds of change are here, dear friends, and I'm on a mission from God! Literally. In these tough economic times I have made a vow to do my equal and very important job as manager of the home and make SURE that especially in the area of finances that I treat that responsibility like it is...a job. This is very helpful for me because never did I work harder than when I owned my own business and worked for myself. And frankly, working for you family IS working for yourself, and more importantly, for God. Who would like a performance review from the Almighty? Scary, right?

And for the rest, I feel nothing is more important than becoming the type of woman God wants me to be, so I'll be tackling those other areas as well. Apparently I'm telling on myself all over the place and I'm not exactly thrilled with what I'm hearing! I've heard admitting a problem is the first step in overcoming it. Looks to me like this might be a marathon! Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Special Mother

My sweet husband e-mailed this to me a while back. While going through my stack of papers and coupons I've printed from the Internet, I found it and wanted to share it. Pass it along to a mom you know with a special child... it's a treasure.

The Special Mother

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressure, and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments of propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take note in a giant ledger. "Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew." "Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia." "Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity." Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel." "But does she have patience?" asked the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. this one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?" God nods. "If she can't separate herself from her child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, Here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see... ignorance, cruelty, prejudice... and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side." "And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Things I love Thursday: Zim's Crack Creme

After a short blogging hiatus, I'm back with another "Things I Love Thursday" post. I'm a little OCD about hand washing, among other things, and winter time wreaks havoc on my hands anyway. To combat super dry hands (and cracked fingers... I know, OUCH!) my mom told me about Zim's Crack Creme Liquid Skin Care. It's an herbal formula that you can spray on your hands, feet, and elbows to soften and heal dry, cracked, thickened skin. And it is miraculous! It's non-greasy and it absorbs quickly and you can apply as often as needed. There is also a "daytime" formula which is actually more like a cream or hand lotion and, of course, I have both! Where can you find such a wonder? I used to be able to find them both at Wal-Mart, but am having a hard time as of late. I've also seen them at CVS and Walgreens and I've also ordered them both from It also works great on your heels if you need to buy some time between pedicures! This stuff is one of my all time favorite products! Try it... you won't be disappointed. It's a silly name, sure, but it delivers super serious results! Don't forget to check out for other products to fall in love with!