Monday, November 28, 2011


Just a short note to say I won't be able to post some blogs for a few days.  Maybe Thursday, but might not be till next week.  Had a lot of stuff come up.  We also just got home yesterday and Chad and I are leaving again friday for four days, to celebrate our 1 year anniversary!!!

When I do return:

I will have Frames Part 2 ready... our picture arrived today and I am going to try and finish the magnetic frame this wednesday.
I will have our advent calendar done, going to work on it tonight while I wait for Chad to get home from work.
I also hope to have the Thanks board done, a little late, but at least it will be ready for next Thanksgiving.
Also, we received our first Christmas card (the ones we are sending out also arrived today) so I am going to get the wreath done too.
I also want to share about our Thanksgiving in Branson- wonderful time with family, some shopping, and 2 fun days at Silver Dollar City!
And in honor of our 1 year anniversary, I want to write about our wedding, lots of wonderful DIY ideas included!
Also, still need to write the posts from my devotional book.

Ahh, so much crazyness... I love this time of year... but I still can't believe I was crazy enough to have my wedding in the middle of holiday crazyness!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So in the last 24 hours, my pageview number has jumped from 415 to 530.  Wow.  I had actually a giveaway planned for when it hit 500 and was going to post the entry about it as soon as I got back into town on sunday (thinking it would take that long to get to 500) and now its come and gone!  I am honored!  I didn't start this blog wanting to hit a certain number or anything, it was mainly a place for my musings.  I subscribed to over 30 other blogs (and more are added everyday as I find them) and I get a lot of great ideas from these blogs.  Craft projects I never thought to do (which is all of them, since I never think of doing craft projects), recipes to try (although those get dumped on the food blog), organization ideas (small space=little room for stuff) and so much more.  Without these blogs, I wouldn't get these ideas.  If I can help some else have that "I should of thought of that, it will benefit me so much" moment all the better. And everything I post about I am usually pretty excited about (whether it's because I finally did a craft project without giving up or finally found a space for that item or whatever).  While most of these posts are still my musings (it's is my blog after all) I have tried to include more posts that other people might find enjoyable and interesting (not that my normal life isn't enjoyable and interesting... it is... at least to me.... wait you mean it's not to you?  oh, oh well ;-)).  And as always I hope everyone finds something here for them.  Again, I am honored by the pageviews!  Without you, it would just be me talking to myself (and I do that more than enough).

I do have some giveaways planned (my first!)... more info coming after the holiday. (Happy Thanksgiving everyone).
I also have my first reviews coming up too (more firsts).
The food blog will get updated (it's been awhile!)
Also, part 2 of the Frames Project will be posted (sorry, won't get to it before we leave!)/
Along with 3 other projects I am almost done with.
I have also finished more of my devotional notes that I would love to share with you.
Plus so much more.

I hope you all will continue to follow what I got going on.  I welcome any comments, inputs, or ideas you have. 

Again, HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL.... see you next week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Kits

Just a quick post for you a lot on my to do list before we head out of town on Wednesday.   Going to try and get the frames done and update the food blog before I leave... can't guarantee much else.

Here are just a few tips for you if you are wanting to start an emergency preparedness kit... (and it is a good thing for everyone to have!)

This week/weekend as you do laundry (and every week after that till you have enough).... instead of throwing away the lint from the lint trap... store it in a qallon sized ziplock bag.  Once your bag is full its ready to be added to your kit.  Have one bag for each kit (which you should have one kit for each family member).  Why?  Easy, Free Fire Starter Help!  Thanks to my dad for this tip (I think he got it from one of his safety magazines at work, but he didn't pass on the copyright info to me).

Also, I saw Hand Warmers in Target's dollar bins last week.  You know those things that you just squeeze, they pop and ta da Instant Heat...

Even better I saw a bigger package of the same Hand Warmers at Home Depot for like $1.50.  Pick some up while you are out doing some shopping and set them aside (maybe in one of those big shipping boxes the UPS brings some of your christmas presents in...) till you are ready to make your kits.

As soon as you can, sit down and write a list of everything you need for the kits (sometime soon I will be providing such a list) and keep it in your wallet... this way when you are out shopping you can check the sales racks and pick up some stuff on the list (You can find a lot of what you need at dollar stores too!).  As you get items, just keep adding them to your box.  Once your list is done (or at least done enough that you can go shopping and get the rest of it one day) set aside a day to actually pack the kits. 

Stay tuned for more Emergency Preparedness Tips!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frames Part 1

Here is another DIY project.  I only have part of it done, but thought I would share with you what I have....

Part 1: Dry Erase Frames
Part 2: Magnetic Frame and Frame Display (coming soon in Frames Part 2!!)
First gather your supplies: Frames with Glass (we got ours from Michaels).  We picked out 12x12 frames, but you can get anything you like.  Paper to match the size of your frame.  My sister had 1 sheet in each frame.  I bought an All Seasons pack, because I wanted to change mine each season.  You will also need either Alpha stickers or you card stock if you plan to use a Cricuit or other way of getting cardstock letters. (sorry for the bad photo... i forgot my camera and had to use my phone).
Our supervisor for the project (phone pic)
This project is fairly easy... First, just pick out your paper.  This frame has 12 pieces in it, 1 for each month.  This frame is actually done... Since it has the months written on each page, I didn't add stickers.  This is my Monthly Events Frame.  I will write any important dates we need to know for the month (birthdays, holidays, etc.) (phone pic)
My sister bought stickers and put them on her pages before sticking them in the frames. (phone pic)
Here is one of her finished frames! The other frame is going to be a Notes board.  She used stickers to put her and her husbands name at the top and the boys names at the bottom.  It is a red wine color paper.  She has them side by side near her kitchen phone.

Here is the finished Menu board... I chose not to put the days of the week on mine.
I also did a Countdown board!

And a To Do Board

Use some Dry Erase Markers and write right on the glass.  Easily wipes up with a towel!
Here you can see the countdown board has been temporarily changed to a special Christmas countdown.  This was a page in my All Seasons pack and I thought it was cute.  Next year during November the countdown board will be changed to a I am Thankful for... page.  That is the great thing about these frames... you can change them out.  The possibilities are endless.
These two boards will go in the middle of the other four.  The top one will be a picture of Chad and I.  I just ordered a picture from our wedding for it... although it won't stay that for long.  Each year on our anniversary we are going to take a picture with us holding the picture from the year before.  That picture will be in that frame.  The bottom frame will become a magnetic board (coming soon).

Here is how they will be set up.  I am waiting till all 6 are done before I put them on the wall.

 Stay tuned for Part 2 of the project.  The estimated delivery date for the picture is 12/1 (Just in time for our anniversary picture on 12/4!).  But I want to get the magnetic board done before we leave out of town Wednesday afternoon and the frames on the wall... so we will see.

I still have 3 projects to finish in the next few week... I am waiting for pieces for all 3 still.  One is the Give Thanks board, I am waiting for the envelopes I ordered to arrive (supposed to be by Tuesday).  The second is my Christmas card wreath.  I am waiting for the clothespins to arrive (supposed to be by Wednesday).  The last one is my advent calendar... the box apparently shipped but the tracking feature isn't working...  Hopefully it comes tomorrow.

I would like to get 1 or 2 of these done before we leave Wednesday... but I have an expressive test in ASL 1 Tuesday night... so most of Tuesday will be spent practicing for that.  Monday I am watching Dvan.  Plus, I still need to finish the laundry and cleaning that didn't get done today because I was wrapped up in my craft projects.  Also got to pack, not only everything I need for our trip (we are going to Branson with my father in laws family for Thanksgiving and won't be back till Sunday) but also the food we need... If it sounds like I have a busy few days this week... I do... which was why i wanted to get these projects done and posted today!

Hope you have enjoyed them... if you attempt them I would love to see your pictures!  I don't think I will be attempting any more craft projects this year, but would love your ideas for some simple (still learning) DIY projects for the new year.  I still have to finish getting all my new systems ready for the New Year... can't believe 2011 is almost over!

I have been getting a lot of pageviews for my craft projects... I would love some comments from you all... Even if you just say "hi!"

Tip Junkie handmade projects

DIY Snowflake Wreath

Last year, for my wedding,  we bought these plastic snowflake ornaments to decorate the christmas tress already up at the church:

Chad watching his bride walk down the aisle... and one of my nephews.
The snowflakes and the white lights we put on the trees really added some light and color.
After the wedding, we split up the ornaments to whoever wanted them.  I ended up with 2 boxes.  I knew I probably wouldn't put them on my tree, but knew I wanted to do something with them... Here is what I came up with:

You need a white, flat foam wreath.  Some plastic snowflakes (you can get them at the dollar store or craft stores).  And a hot glue gun.

Just start gluing the snowflakes around the wreath

After you go all the way around once, start a second row that is off center from the first row.

Keep going around till you either run out of snowflakes or like how it looks.

One side complete!  You can either stop here (skip the next step) or flip it over and add more.  I had two different snowflake designs and didn't want to mix them, so I did one design on one side and one on the other... One of them is more shiny than the other and depending on where I display the wreath, I can choose the side that looks better.

Side 2 complete.

Tie a ribbon around it.  I cut a slit in the top of the ribbon so it would lay flat. 

 This is the first time I have made a wreath.  I have another wreath project to do, but I am having trouble finding one of the parts of it, so stay tuned for that. Tip Junkie handmade projects

Jesse Tree

I finished a project!!!  One of many I am working on finishing this weekend.  The best part of this project.... it cost me $0 dollars to do.  All it took was time.

First of all if you don't know what a Jesse Tree is... check this page out or this one!

Chad and I have been looking into some traditions to start for our family, this is one we are looking into.

Here is our advent center.  It is on a nightstand in our bedroom.  You can see we have our advent wreath and a little nativity.  The tree has colored lights, but next year I might buy some white ones.  But since I spent $0 I couldn't buy some this year.

I got the pages with these on them from this site.  I colored them with colored pencils and then cut them out.  They provide shapes to help you cut them out, but I didn't take the time to fit them up, I just cut them freehand.
Then I hole punched each one.

Then I added some ribbon that I got from my mother.  You can use whatever you want to hang them.  I don't like using a lot of hooks on our tree, because of the cats.  So I usually use ribbon so I can hang them on the branches.

I don't think they turned out bad considering I am not very good at coloring, cutting, or craftyness in general.

We printed out the devotionals to go along with the ornaments.  The plan is to spend a few minutes before bed going lighting the advent candle, going through the devotional, and hanging the ornament... I will tell you how it goes after Christmas.

Remember advent starts November 27th.... are you ready?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We ordered our christmas card today!

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

So much done, but so much to go....

This weekend was/is a plan, clean, organize, finish projects weekend.... and a keurig drinking weekend....

Looking at this picture, you would think i was almost done.  Nice, clean, organized, everything where it supposed to be (although in that file storage there is the paper for my xmas letter, which is not done yet.)  See my coffee cup?  Right now it has Hot Apple Cider made with my Keurig.  We bought some new Kcups this week and I cleaned out the Keurig yesterday and I have been enjoying it since.  Last night I had some Sleepytime Herbal Tea.  This morning some Gloria Jeans Mudslide Coffee.  This afternoon some Pomegranate Green Tea and now the Hot Apple Cider... What's your favorite Kcup?  We are trying to taste them all!

However, here you see the rest!  Yes, we have our Christmas decorations up.  That was last weekends project.  We have the tree up, with lights and ornaments.  Lights around the windows, across the ceiling, and around 2 of the 3 doors in our living space (the bathroom door does not have any there isn't enough room.)  The 3 stockings are even hung (Chads, mine and the cats).  What you don't see is the advent table, which is in our bedroom.  I will show these later.  But we have a little tree with lights.  This is our Jesse Tree, which won't have ornaments on it till advent starts (and till I finish them!)  We also have our advent wreath, with 4 of the 5 candles needed (I can't find our white pillar, will need to buy a new one this week), which will be lit during our advent devotion time.  By the way... advent starts November 27th, a week from tomorrow... are you ready?  Besides the two advent activities mentioned above, we will have an advent calendar with activities in each box.  (which I also haven't finished, waiting for part of it to arrive.)

Back to the photo..... You can't tell, but the rest of the living space is picked up.  I had bags and projects to do everywhere.  Tomorrow, I will do the actually cleaning-dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, etc.  But today I went through and straightened and picked up.  This was my first week actually working (I nanny my adorable 3 month old nephew) 3 days a week... Gonna have to tweak my schedules and todo list to match my new busyness.  Anyways, alot of stuff didn't get done because I just didn't have the time I normally do.  So today I went through and emptied and put away stuff from my errand runs.  Our table (that is thankfully blocked by my file organizer) is where I moved the Keurig too.  It was up on the fridge, but that has now been blocked by the Christmas tree.  Along with our mugs and fixings, so we can enjoy it.  And all my craft projects I am working on are there too.  This is tomorrows project as well, to finish what I can and straightened what I am still missing pieces too.  On my desk is what I am hoping to get through with my remaining 2 hours of "work" time today.  Most of it I just need to put where it belongs. 

I did finally order our wedding picture.... we are going to take a picture each anniversary holding the one from the year before... so I need it to get here before we go out of town for our anniversary.  And our christmas cards are on the way.  I am going to try and have the labels, the letter, and the stamps all ready so that as soon they arrive I can finish them and be ready to mail them when the time comes.

Got some good posts coming, so stay tuned!!


Please read the original post this entry refers to...I won't be sharing this post on facebook, like I normally do.  I linked to it from the post it refereed to... I just wanted to make some additional comments and didn't want to clog up that blogs page.

here was my comment.. "You know I used to really thing that this “what were you thinking” attitude was how everyone would view me when my husband and I have kids (we are waiting till he has kids so I can stay at home and I leave the workforce. I mean that is the idea that seems to be everywhere in our culture…. however, when I actually TALK to people that is not at all the response I get. Generally, people are actually jealous. I went to a liberal college for my undergrad and graduate work. And yes I got a few people who would look at me like I was crazy when I would say “I am only working till I have kids.” Why spend all that money on education if I don’t plan to use it? But most people would say “oh that’s neat, it would be great to stay home with the kids” or “i wish we would of been able to do that.” Even my sister wishes she could stay at home with the kids, and her family has way different views on raising children than we do (they are not religious and very liberal… we are religious and pretty conservative). I am finding that people would rather stay at home…. whether its to be able to spend time raising their children or just because they don’t want to work, I don’t really know. However… many people just aren’t willing to make the sacrifices it takes to be a one-income family. They like their “toys.” When you have one income, you don’t have as much money (most times) so you might not have the nicest and greatest things… To us, the sacrifice is easily worth it. To be able to get to spend that extra time with our children is so much more desirable and important to us. Me staying home was something we talked about before we were married…. We both have student loans like crazy and my husband got seriously ill a few years before I knew him, so he has medical bills too. We just set our budget so we can work on paying these off very aggressively, so that when I do stay home it won’t be such a stress on our income. We have zero credit cards too… we saved and paid cash for our new car too… These are just things you need to be willing to do if you base your budget on 1 income, so that you don’t have the financial stress of debt and bills and can really be comfortable with your decision."

Here are my additional comments....

@Emma.  Ultimately it comes down to what you and your husband believe God is calling you to do.  I am not sure if you are familiar with the wife of noble character discussed in Proverbs 31… If not… I encourage you to pick up a devotional about it.  But, many of the traits of this woman deal with working….. (v 13, 17, 18,24 to name a few).  This woman does work!  After going through numerous studies about this chapter (I am even now redoing one I did as a single woman) I don’t think working outside the home is against God’s will.  I am not a scholar in this area, and I am sure many people could offer me evidence on the contrary, but again, ultimately it comes down to what you feel God is telling you.  If you haven’t already… pray about it.  Have your husband pray about it.  Your parents… Your church, your friends… etc. All I know is that in my studies… this P31 woman works.  Whether that is in the home (she is also creative and makes things- maybe she sells those) or outside of the home, she works with “eager hands.”  God will lead you to what he wishes for you and your family.  But what are your reasons to work? Because of the money or because it is God’s plan for you and your family and you are doing it to provide for your family’s needs.  To often, we focus on the money and not on the fact that it allows our children to be fed and clothed and a roof over their heads.  And, yes it is useful for woman to pursue demanding careers… God might be calling them to work in those careers and if we are following God’s plan… he will find a way for those debts to be paid. 
@ Susan.  I agree that before we are married, it is important for woman to pursue an education and possibly a career.  Attending college (and paying for it myself since my parents were unable to pay for it) taught me a lot of skills that will benefit my children one day… managing money, meeting deadlines, creativity.  I also learned many things about what I liked and didn’t like.  And I didn’t get married till my mid-20s… was I supposed to sit at home and wait for a husband to appear?  No, God called me to be active, to better myself and that is what college did for me.  And for many years I felt God was calling me to a life of singlehood and he was for that period of time.  When he did drop my husband into my life I was a totally different person.  My time of singlehood forced me to learn the skills of cleaning the house, paying bills, planning meals and grocery trips, managing schedules, etc…. I didn’t need these skills living under my parents roof---they did most of this for me.  While they taught me how to do it… Until you actually have to do these skills on a daily basis you really don’t learn them.  Living on my own, I learned these skills, so that when my husband came into the picture, I didn’t struggle with managing our household… It was a role I fell naturally into it.  And what if my husband wouldn’t of followed God’s plan to be single for awhile?  He was 33 when we got married!  If he would of ignores God’s call I never would of met him and we wouldn’t be together.

@ Willie.  Being a homemaker is not a first century idea!  Do you know what homemakers actually do?  God’s call for us as woman is to become like the P31 woman…. And have you ever studied that?  This woman does everything.  She is superwoman.  My husband and I had a long discussion about what this woman is and isn’t.  This woman WILLINGLY does what she does so that her husband is blessed and doesn’t have to worry about that stuff so he can focus on what God calls him to do.  After talking about different traits of this woman… my husband turned to me and said “you know I want to thank you.  I was feeling a little like you got the easy part in this marriage, you get to stay at home (someday) and spend all day with our children and not worry about a thing while I work all day long and come home to tired to do anything at home, but now… well I am not sure I can ever thank you for everything you do for us and will do for us.  I changed my focus to thinking about what you actual do and it’s a relief to know that I can focus on working hard at my job and not have to worry about things falling apart at home.  Even now, without children, you do so much.  Even on days you do work… I come home and the clothes are washed, the house is cleaned, all my meals are there, the bills are paid.  No wonder you always look so tired.”  I do work (just recently found a job after being laidoff… work 3 or 4 days outside the home) yet, I haven’t onced ask my husband to take on any of my roles.  He goes to school twice a week and works twice a week.  I still do everything for our family I have done the last year we have been married.  I actually do more because I am studying about the P31 woman and finding some areas I have neglected (I am not the most creative woman, yet we are called to be craft and creative and make things).  Do you know why I (we as P31 woman) do these things for our families?  Not because the Bible tells us so… but because God calls us to and we want to live God’s plan for our lives…  And we do it because we love our families.  We love our children.  We love our husband.  And we want to work our butts off for them, so that they can focusing on living out God’s plans for their lives.  And as I said before, yes we work (as you pointed out the P31 woman women works).  But where we work, that’s between us, our husbands, and God.  For some… it means selling things from the home (my mother bought an embroidery machine and embroiders stuff to sell to other people,  my neighbor opens her home to other working mothers and watches and teaches their children while at work, I work 3 to 4 days outside the home… and once we have children I will work in other ways).  For some woman they WORK by making sure they don’t waste their husbands income.  Their work is clipping coupons, watching for sales, watching for ways to save money, cooking, cleaning, planting and tending a garden for food for the family.  Not all JOBS have a tangible currency.  And as already mentioned.  What a woman does (or a man for that matter) is between them and God.  And how is raising children not cultural? 

@ Lily… again its between you, your husband and God.  If God is calling you to work outside the home, I don’t think this interferes with God’s design for your life.  In the post it talks about how we were meant to be helpers for our mates… working outside the home might just be one way you help your husband.

@Mindy… I am finding that as my husband is in school to be a nurse… that I actually wish I had some nursing/medical background.   I am actually picking up some books about this stuff, because I don’t feel I can really help him in those areas, like he needs.  Like today he said “I need a few more video clips for my Miller’s wheel presentation.  What is Miller’s wheel?  So today I plan to research what it is so I can find some clips for him… so that when he comes home from work today, he has what he needs to finish his project. 

@Hannah… I had this same miserable time in my marriage.  Our first few months were miserable.  I learned the domestic stuff when I was single… I didn’t learn the Godly marriage stuff.  Our communication skills were horrible.  Neither of us knew our “place” in our marriage.  We hadn’t talked about our ideas for the marriage.  We were both so miserable we wanted out.  Actually, it took me losing my job for things to get better- we were at rock bottom had nowhere else to go but up.  I started focusing on myself and re-read books I read as a single woman, about the P31 woman and I realized I wasn’t being who God was calling me to be…. I never was one to “hear God on a daily basis” but as I was praying one night about becoming the P31 woman I clearly heard God say “this is my plan for you and it brings me such joy that you have finally accepted it.”  Our marriage still isn’t where it needs to be.  But as I move towards becoming this woman and talked to my husband about it, we have had so many conversations about our marriage and hopes/ideas for it.  And we are finding much more common ground then we did before.  And it hasn’t been easy… I had to let go of my pride and admit to my mother (different story) that I needed her help.  She is super crafty and I am not.  And I knew that part of the P31 woman was being crafty, so I have had to actually ask her to help me make some things.  And then when she became suspicious (we don’t have the best relationship, another area to work on), I had to be open with her (and many other people along this journey) why I want to be able to make things.  I don’t want my children to go through these same problems.  I want to prepare them (with both informal and formal education) with the skills they need to be married and have a family- diapers, crafts and all.  As for the sacrifice… maybe try thinking of it as a blessing.  To me, sacrifice still has negative aspects to it.  But a blessing has only positive.  It a BLESSSING you got to quit your job and stay home with your beautiful children.  You didn’t sacrifice anything… you gained so much!

@Amanda… I have told many of liberal teachers and college students alike that I want to be a stay at home mom… many ask why I am at school then… even now I am taking ASL classes and a few have asked why…  Why not?  Who says I can’t better myself by education.   I plan to use my skills by subbing/interpreting every once in a while, but what if I didn’t.  I can teach my children ASL.  I have a psychology/sociology and education degree too… I can definitely use these skills in my home…

@Joleen… Your identity might not be based on your career… but when you’re 90 years old do you really want to be known as a woman who had an “established career?”  Or do you want to be known as a woman who “lived God’s purpose for her life” or “was a blessing to her husband and praised by her children”  I know what I want to be!

@matt…  I actually went to a school where it was often joked about that “people (men and women) go here to find their spouse”  Needless to say I didn’t find my MRS degree at that school, or any other school, since I was in between educational pursuits when I met my husband (I met him at the other place people joke about finding their spouse---church).  But as mentioned, these phrases are usually joked about, there may be some people who goes to these places to find their spouse…. But most people just happen to find their spouse there…. I found my spouse when God dropped him into my life… it was God’s plan for us to meet at church, not mine.  It’s all about focus… are you there to meet a spouse or there to pursue God’s plan?  As for my father… he knows I want to stay at home and even though he also knows I spent 100,000+ on my educational pursuits (which he cosigned for), he doesn’t see it as a waste.  He is proud that I went to college and he will be proud of me no matter what I do… if I am following God’s plan for my life.  He knows my heart…. My heart wants to follow God’s plan and because he knows that… we are able to joke about me getting my MRS degree at church.  Isn’t that what you want for your girls?  For them to follow God’s plan for their life?  If they do go to college and get degrees and then give it up to raise children are you really going to be disappointed?  Or are you going to love and support them-which is what they need!

@Amber… maybe it should of said “It’s God plan for me?”  God speaks to people in more ways that just through the Bible.  Yes, I think if you are going to share your ideas you need to make it apparent that it applies to you and maybe others.  I read my Bible every day.  I also pray.  And in my prayers and time with God is what I get what “God says for me.”  Yes a lot is from the Bible… but I don’t think the Bible provides all the answers… at least not directly… most of it is interpretations (heck unless you read the original language, it’s all interpretation).  We get our views from how we interpret what we read… what God is telling us through what we read.  I believe God also speaks to us through prayer, fellowship with other believers, and daily life.

@Deanna…. Have you prayed about it?  Ask your husband why he wants you to quit… maybe he has been praying about it and it is what he feels God’s plan for your family is.  IF you do quit now, maybe its so you can work on preparing your home for children… being a helper for your husband….  Allowing you time for other pursuits (involvement in church and community).  Maybe you don’t ever have children… only God knows.  Which is why it’s important to talk to him(God).  And yes, others have thought about it.  I am only a final project away from finishing my Masters in Education.  After finishing my student teacher in secondary social studies I discovered that was not for me.  So I didn’t finish.  Then, I got married.  My husband knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but he kept encouraging me to finish.  (you’ve come this far, even if you don’t use it-which I had no plans to at the time- at least you finished).  Flash forward 2 years to now…. I still haven’t finished… but now I have a desire to… God has called me to.  I lost my job in May and we won’t be having (or trying to have) children for at least 2 years.  My husband and I have been praying about what to do… with him in school, finances have been tight…  well, one night during prayer it was like a light bulb went off “finish your degree, then take a second test (all that’s required to get certified in another area) and go get a job teaching elementary students.  You love kids.”  At first I kind of ignored it… till a friend suggested I teach in a different field than my certification.  Second time that idea popped up.  So that’s what I am doing… finishing my masters, then doing what I have to get my certification in a elementary education.  Maybe God isn’t calling you to finish now… but maybe a few years down the road, if you don’t have children he will call you to finish. 

@Valerie thanks for that… I didn’t read the welcome page about Nancy.  If she is an author, then she herself works at a job that brings in income, so she herself does more than just be a mom…. Further support that just because we are called to be mom’s, doesn’t mean we don’t “work at jobs with incomes.” 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What to keep, what to destroy

First of all... here is a great site about 25 Documents you need before you die.  These need to be all in one place and whoever you have given the responsibility of handling your affairs when you die, needs to know where they are.

What about everything else?  Well here is a list (probably not a complete list as everyone has unique items) of papers and when its okay to toss them.

First, what do you keep forever?
-Birth Certificates, Marriage licenses, death certificates, divorce papers, Social security cards, power of attorney, and wills (all of these you should of photocopies of stored elsewhere, as well).
-insurance claims, insurance policies (the most current one only),
-tax returns (with w-2s stapled to them)
-cost basis for investments
-non-deductible IRA contributions
-year end financial statements (good for long-term tracking)
-final records for loan/mortgage repayments (see that 0 :-))

Items that go out with the old (toss, when you are no longer responsible for what they cover)
-house deeds
-car titles
-home improvement records (keep for 7 years after sale of house)
-escrow closing documents
-car purchase papers
-bills for major purchases
-manuals/receipts of purchase for major appliances and furniture
-loan bills (except for that final one that says 0 balance)
-savings bonds

Items to destroy after seven years
-tax write offs, pay check stubs with additional tax deductions (i.e. charity), canceled checks/receipts with tax implications (alimony, charitable contributions, mortgage interests, retirement plan contributions)
-credit card statements if they have tax related expenses

Items you can destroy at the end of the year
-quarterly statements of retirement plans
-bank statements and bills with no long term tax importance
-insurance policies (keep only until the new one arrives)
-receipts (toss after you reconcile your bank statement) (unless you are planning on returning the item or it was for a major appliance or furniture)

Have a piece of paper not on this list? Leave a comment and I will see if I can get your an answer of when to toss it.

Organizing the file cabinet

There are only a few weeks left in the year, which means it is time to go through that file cabinet.  In a separate post I will share a list of document examples along with how long you should keep them before destroying them, but first let me tell you about my filing system (and the changes it will go through over the next few years).

I have two filing cabinets in my house right now. 

The tall, 4 drawer one I have had for many years.  Previously, it had financial records in the top drawer (anything I have kept from previous years, tax documents/reciepts for this year so I have them ready when my dad says its time to come do my taxes, and then other recipets/bills/statements from this year.)  The second drawer, was (is) labeled Family Stuff.  This drawer has anything that relates to both Chad and I.  Everything from Address list, to manuals for items we own, to the cats paperwork, to magazine articles I have collected about different things.  The bottom two drawers were hard copies of articles I(we) have collected throughout the years, whether it be articles I printed for school, or church, or just anything.  When I saw articles, I mean professional journal articles (not articles from magazines and the such). When I was studying for my undergraduate degree I had a class helping in a center.  One of the teachers had me do this to her articles and I liked the idea.  I didn't want to throw away the articles because they take up a lot of paper and you never know when you might need them for research.  I have actually reused many of them for different papers throughout the year.  Right now the files are mainly filled with articles about psychology, sociology, and education articles... although there are a few nursing articles in their now that I have integrated Chad's stuff.  Each letter of the alphabet has its own (or two depending on what's in it) hanging folder and then each article gets its own folder.  I write the title and author name on the lower part of the folder and then key ideas on the tab.

The 2 drawer file cabinet I added after I got married, so there was more room.  The top drawer has stuff that just pertains to me- my school papers, keepsakes, lesson plan ideas, etc.  The bottom drawer is Chad's.... Is school stuff and keepsakes.

Over the next few years the system will be changing.  First of all, I need to go through it again to see if I can toss more stuff.  I did this sort of when I added Chad's stuff in, but not really in depth.  The 4 drawer cabinet will turn into my FCS.  Already you can see 2012 as the label for the bottom drawer.  Each year I will move up a drawer for the FCS.  Once all four are filled I will get rid of the bottom drawer, move everything down, and the top drawer will stay the current year.

So that means I need to find room for everything currently in there......Well Chad and mine individual drawers will vanish.  This stuff will either be tossed, put into our keepsake totes, or integrated elsewhere.  The new two drawer cabinet will have one drawer for Articles.  Which will be gone through to see if I can toss anything (too old to use for research anymore, or something that I printed just for that one assignment and probably won't use again).  Also, articles from magazines will be added, along with book notes I have currently in my drawer.  The other drawer will be for either article overflow (if it doesn't fit in one drawer) or for other items I feel we need to keep.  The manuals from the "Family Stuff" drawer will get their own binder on my binder shelf.  The rest of the papers will be either tossed (according to my list) or moved to the 2 drawer cabinet until they can be tossed.  If they are items I need to keep forever, they will have a spot there two.

You can see this will be a big project.. hence why I am giving myself so much time to go through it... Each year I need to have at least 1 drawer emptied in the 4 drawer file cabinet for the FCS, so that is my goal.  I am thinking it will go faster... because I will probably start the project and then just spend the whole day on it, but we shall see.

Once we have a bigger house.. I think I would like to add another 4 drawer file cabinet....  Then I can have 8 years worth of FCS.... since most documents can be tossed after 7 years, I can keep everything in their weekly folders until after the 7 years, and then just toss most of it, only saving what I really need.

I will probably be adding another cabinet anyways... since I am hopefully going to start teaching for a few years so I will need a place for all that stuff.  Also, when we decide to have kids, Chad and I have talked about doing supplement education activities at home (they will still attend public or private schools).  So I will need a place for that stuff.

Obviously this is a work in progress and I would love your suggestions, comments, etc.  What do you do with all your paper?  And, before you ask, no I don't like the idea of scanning it and keeping it on a computer.... I don't like sitting in front of the computer to look at things I need... i would rather take the paper and not worry about it.  Plus, technology is unreliable.  Really the only way I will not have access to my file cabinet is if a disaster hits and I have to either leave my house, or my house is gone... at which point I am not sure I will really care about having access to my menu plans, or my articles.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am not that good at using coupons...  I spend the time to cut them out of the paper, but they were just getting stuffed in a file folder that was very full.  Then I would either not want to take the time to go through them, or I would go through them only to find that the ones I wanted were expired....

Not anymore....

These are all the things that were either expired or I just didn't need anymore.  The envelopes were part of my old system.
First I sorted everything by whatever store it was from or if it was a food coupon.  Then I sorted the food coupons by expiration date.
I got a binder and put some page protectors in it and then slid the coupons in.  Each store got its own page.  The food coupons went in the back by expiration date.
I know some people use business card or sticker holder sheets but I had a huge box of these page protectors so thought I would use them.  I also had the binder, so this project cost me $0.  I don't really have that many coupons that I think I need to spend the money for the other sheets.  I am ok if they slide around a bit in their sheet.

Now I just have to flip through the pages to see the coupons and since I did them by expiration date, once a page expires I can just open the binder and slide the page out and add it to the back.  This whole project took maybe an hour.  I managed to get it done while Donovan (my nephew that I watch 3 days a week) took a nap... along with some other things.

Setting up for the new year continues

I am excited for all the new plans I have for the new year.  I think all the changes will really help me stay organized and get more done.  Why am I waiting till the new year?  Because I wanted to give myself a chance to test out the new ideas to see if they will work and adapt them if necessary.  Today I am going to share with you two new systems under way.  The first is I finally (somewhat) organized the coupons.  That will be in my next post.  Also, I got a new desktop organizer and have finally decided how to use it.

Here is the view from the front.
Here is the view from the side.
Has you can see it has 3 horizontal slots and 3 vertical slot.  I bought this in a kit from Costco and with the exception that it is silver instead of black (all my other filing products are black), I love it.  Maybe I will spray paint it black at some point to match the rest. 

For the vertical files I will be placing my planner when not in use in the front slot.  Behind that will be my weekly folder and anything else I need for the current week.  The last slot will have the folder and items for the following week. 

For the horizontal slots, the top one will be stuff to sort... for instance, my husband can put the mail here if he brings it down, or if I have magazines to read and go through I can put them here.  Or anything else I need to go through and decide what to do with.  The middle slot will have items to put on my blogs- whether it be a menu or recipes for the food blog, or things I want to share here.  The bottom slot is for extra paper for the printer which sits right next to the file.
You will notice two planners here... this years is laying out and next years is sitting in its spot till I need it.  I actually switched what was in the first and second horizontal slots after I took this shot.  The 2 pieces of paper on top are actually recipes to add to my food blog (they have sinced been moved to the middle slot.) All the rest of the papers are items to be filed... since I will be filing things into weekly folders next year, I won't need a to be filed slot (this will be turned into a to be sorted slot when the new year starts.)

You can see a file folder that says "This months bills" behind my planner.  This was my bills system for this year, I had a folder for this months bills and one for future bills... It was too disorganized and I missed a few due dates.  This folder will vanish come the new year.  For now its home is right behind my planner (I have also cleaned it out so I don't miss any more due dates.)  The middle slot looks empty- but it's not.  This has papers and items I need for the rest of the year.  Then you can see my first weekly folder in the very back.

I like where I placed this, because everything is within reach.  I don't have to even turn my head.  I can just reach and grab.  Hopefully, with it being so close, I will have everything I need.

As a side note... i finished my weekly folders for next year this evening as well.  They are all in the bottom drawer of my big file cabinet ready and waiting to be used.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The feeling of Accomplishment and Advent Calendar Help

Wow am I tired.  But the good tired... the "I got so much done today" tired.  And I did.  I think I ran about 15 errands today and got a big chunk of the stuff we needed (and some stuff we didn't....) and I am just exhausted.  But also excited... I have almost everything I need for some projects I am working on. 

I finally got the board for the Thanks board.... just need to find some coin envelopes (hoping the office store has them).  I am trying to get this project done by Sunday.

I couldn't find clothespins already painted.. and I didn't want to have to paint some, so I ordered some green and red ones online...other than that I have everything I need for our Christmas Card Wreath.

I ordered a 3D countdown box for the advent calendar I am making... and I now have the rest of the supplies.

I have everything for the Dry Erase Frames (they are actually all done, except for the letters), Just need to get to my mom's to use her cricuit for the letters.

Bought the rest of the file folders needed for my weekly folders and I also bought an upright file sorter that will sit on my desk. 

I also ordered more sheet protectors for the recipe book so I can get working on those again.

As a special treat I bought Chad and I some jumbo stockings... along with some goodies to fill it with.

Today, I also changed the batteries in the christmas ornaments that were dead.  Bought some more poster tape so I can finish putting up the pictures and even bought some little clips to hang lights on our wall.

Oh yes, Chad and I also finally decided on our insurance for next year.

Still need a few things, but I got mostly everything.  Tomorrow's plan is to pay bills and work on the recipe book while watching my nephew and then when I get home to organize and clean my desk.

I do need your help though..... for the advent calendar we want to put pay it forward cards inside... For instance "Do something nice for a stranger today."  "Complete a task for your spouse (that you know they need done) without them asking." "Let someone cut in front of you in line today." "Hold the door open for someone."  "Rake/Shovel a neighbor's yard/driveway." "Send a card to someone going through a hard time."  "Pray"  Things like that.... we are on a very tight budget with no extra money, so things that don't cost are preferred... Anyways, I would like to hear your ideas... we need 25 after all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I love the smell of new planner in the morning....

Okay, not really, but I am excited... all the pieces to my 2012 planner have arrived and I have assembled them how I want them.  If you are not a planning junkie, this post might just prove to you how crazy I am.... Even if you are a planning junkie, this post might just prove to you how crazy I am.

Here is the view from the outside.  My new binder isn't as colorful as this years (which was a beautiful burnt orange color), but I wanted to save some money- since I was replacing my whole system and not just getting refills (also, I wasn't paying).  So I chose this nice, simple black zipper binder.  This is actually the second one I chose... the first one was a snap closure, but it arrived broken and I found the rings weren't big enough for all I would need (the amazing customer service at franklin covey replaced my damaged binder with no fuss ans even sent the new one with express shipping so I didn't have to wait another week for it to arrive). 

Here is the inside... Not sure what I will do with all the pockets... maybe I will actually put all those store cards and business cards that I have just thrown in a dresser drawer in here (because I sure never have them when I need them with the current situation).    And yes, that is a picture of my youngest nephew (he is probably 3 times this size now but still just as cute!)   in the neat little wallet pocket page.

This is the planner I chose from Franklin Covey (love them!)  It has monthly calendar pages and then 2 pages per day.  Each Season the design changes. 

The first few pages in my planner are just general information.  There is a page that you can list the clothing sizes, blood type and other information for each family member.  Then, there are the future planning pages, with calendars, for the next few years.

Next, comes the monthly calendars.  I like the lines- because I am a messy writer!

After the monthly pages there is a Master To Do list (which I have placed a ruler by so I can easily find it).  Next, I inserted a monthly expense tracker (I bought a budget pack to go with my planner).  I like this tracker because I can just enter my expenses here and then add them to the budget a few times a month, instead of updating the budget everytime I spend money. Speaking of budgets....

That is directly behind the expense tracker.  I had to change some things on the budget because we don't have children (that section got changed to pets).  Next comes the fun part...

 As mentioned my calendar has 2 pages per day.  On one page it has a to do list, appointment schedule and then a place where you can note emails, voicemails or other info.  The other page is for notes.  After Jan 31, you get Feb's monthly calendar, expense list, budget and daily pages.... which repeats for every other month.  Right now I only have the daily pages for 2 months, and will add the next months half way through a month.  Behind the calendar are some fun tabs.

First I have a Yearly Finance tab, which I will add the budget info at the end of the month... This is meant to help me track my budget month to month and help with creating 2013 budget.  Next is bills where I can write down my bills and how much was due, what I paid, etc. Next tab is debt elimination where I can list my debt elimination information (will be nice to have this in my planner--- at the moment it is all in a folder and it becomes a mess).  Next is a place where you can list your accounts along with monthly balances.  The next tab is Auto information where we can keep track of our auto servicing (again will be nice to have this in my planner since now it is just thrown in a folder).  Next tab is medical information where we can keep track of our tests results and other medical info.  The last white tab is websites, where I can list websites and passwords.  Behind that is my address book.  Attached into the back cover is a place for note pads, where if I need to add extra notes to sections I can.

I also bought a starter pack which has some great forms in it, including goals and mission statements and stuff like that.  I had that with my planner this year... and I went through and did the personal mission statement and goal stuff, but I didn't do much else with it... I am hoping to make more use of this feature this year.  I haven't decided where this info will go in the planner yet, probably between the website and address book.

I can't wait to start using this planner.  It is definitely more involved than this years planner, which I like because alot of times this year I was wanting more places to keep track of stuff.  Also, I am happy that this year I can move some items that I have in other (less organized) places to my planner.  I love Franklin Covey and all the options they have and I am hoping that each year I can add/take away parts of the planner to make the system work perfectly (or as near as possible) for me.

You might notice one thing that is not here... Menu Planning/Shopping Pages.  I had originally bought some forms for this.  However, in between the time I ordered them and the time they arrived (which was only a week) I came up with another system for both of these.  The menus will stay in my weekly folder till I need them and I have a notebook for shopping pages.  My planner is already pretty full and I am really happy with the system I have come up with for the menu and shopping, so I will be returning those pages.

What kind of planner do you use?  I really would like to hear how some of you use your planners.  Do you buy one, make one?  Do you keep the same system year after year, or do you try new systems to find the best fit?  Please post your comments below!