Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Project 64: Spring Green #13

Yes, I skipped #12 Tickle Me Pink.  Yes, I'll come back to it this weekend before it's due.  In the mean time I thought I'd get #13 out of the way because it's evidently a hard color to find.

I love all shades of green.  And I love the beginning of Spring when all the flowers and trees are breaking free from Winter.  But, and this is the same problem I had last week, I didn't want to take a pic of a random tree or flower.

I was driving through a neighborhood for work yesterday and noticed this mossy retaining wall.



Of course, I'll keep looking.  Maybe something more exciting will jump out at me next week.  Until then, enjoy more Tickle Me Pink and Spring Green over at Project 64.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cheap and Simple Stuff: Monday Menu 3*28

Kristy over at MommyHatesCooking.com has a really neat menu plan every Monday.  She matches up her menus with current supermarket match-ups and coupons (found at MoneySavingQueen.com) to produce super cheap meals.  Unfortunately, my family won't eat some of her meals (they look SO GOOD too!).  So, I've decided to start sharing my version of our menu plan for the coming weeks.  I explained a little bit about how I choose our menu a couple of weeks ago.  You can check that out here.  If nothing else, this might give you a couple of new meals to try!

On to the menu!

Monday - Spaghetti and steamed broccoli

Tuesday - Hamburgers and sweet potato fries

Wednesday - Tacos with leftover hamburger from Chili last week

Thursday - Stuffed Shells with sneaky spinach

Friday - Fish with some sort of vegetable

Saturday - Classic Club Sandwiches

Sunday - Dinner at Grandma's

Monday - Beans & Cornbread

Tuesday - Cheesy Chicken (what my kids call King Ranch Chicken)

Wednesday - Breakfast Casserole with leftover bacon from club sandwiches

Thursday - Slow Cooker BBQ chicken sandwiches

Friday - pay day/go out to dinner :)

Menu is subject to change according to how I feel at any given moment and we have a frozen DiGiorno Pizza and Wyngz in case something goes terribly wrong with one of these recipes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheap and Simple Stuff: Shopping the Sales!

I love to shop.  I hate to shop for clothes for myself, but other than that, I love to shop.  A lot.  I love to buy cereal, crayons, shoes, cute boxes, picture frames, clothes for the girls, clothes for the hubby, flowers and plants, and so on and so on.  When we learned we were having twins, we knew we had to tame a lot of our habits.  My biggest one being shopping.  Enter the MoneySavingQueen, Sarah Roe.  Sarah and her MoneySaving gals have taught me SO MUCH.  I highly, highly recommend visiting the forums at moneysavingqueen.com and also reading and watching Sarah's tutorials.  Great information!

One of the biggest tips I've learned along the way is to shop sales.  This is a hard concept for some people to get, including my hubby.  I think people just don't realize how MUCH food and household items their families actually use.  My dainty little girls can eat an entire package of cookies in 2 days (they might have had help from mommy and daddy).  So, when cookies are on sale, I buy 3-4 packages at a time.  And hide 2 of them.  I could buy one package at a time at regular price $3.  Or I could buy 4 packages on sale for $2.50 and use a $1 off 2 pkg coupon to get them for $2 each.  A savings of $4 on 4 pkgs.  See?  (P.S.  We'll talk about coupons, double coupons, price matching, and store coupons another time.)

When I first started couponing and stockpiling (the term for stocking up during sales), I would right the date I opened a product on the product with a marker.  That way I knew exactly how long a product would last in our home.  Laundry soap was lasting about a month.  So if laundry soap goes on sale every 3 months like the experts say, I need to buy 3 bottles at a time.  That way I have enough to last until it's on sale again.

And it doesn't only apply to grocery items.  The past two days I have gotten two AMAZING deals on household items.  At Hobby Lobby yesterday I was checking to see if photo boxes were on sale.  They were not.  But I can't leave a store without checking out the clearance section.  90% off!  woohooo!  I picked up 4 medium and 1 large picture frames for $9 total.  Why do I need 5 picture frames?  I have been planning a bulletin board project for quite some time and thought maybe the large one would work for it.  And the medium frames were $1 each.  They could also work for bulletin boards.  These frames were regularly $10 and $50 (!) each.  Do I need them right now?  Probably not.  The large one wasn't even big enough for what I had planned.  But I will use them to make bulletin boards, or whatever, and won't have to buy them at full price when I'm ready to use them.



Then, today at Target I picked up a set of Kitchen-Aid knives for $6.24...regularly $49.99!!!  I've had my eye on a set of these for YEARS!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Twin Things: Do twins run in your family?

Every few weeks I hope to discuss frequently asked questions about twins.  Because, remember, I'm an expert on everything now.  And I feel like the general public is misinformed...or not informed at all...about twin things.
Q: "Do twins run in your family?"
A:  Well, simple answer...yes.  But, if you REALLY, I mean REALLY think about it...they run in yours too.  In order to have twins you have to have two fertilized eggs (fraternal) or one fertilized egg that splits (identical).  Are certain people more likely to have either of these happen?  Maybe.  I'm not really sure.  I kinda think that, anatomically speaking, every woman is as likely to have twins as the next.  And for twins to happen lots of things have to happen all at one time and I don't think one family is more capable of making those things happen over another.  And all of the old wive's tales are not true in our family.  We have twins on all sides, in every generation, in every birth order.  But, back to the simple answer because I'm all about things that are simple.

Here is our family tree.  I didn't specify whether a set of twins was spontaneous or happened because of fertility or IVF out of respect of privacy for those family members.  But here are the stats:

9 total sets of twins (incl. ours)
1 set by egg donor/IVF
1 set IVF
1 set other fertility treatments
1 set identical
all others spontaneous and fraternal



I've never researched farther back than our grandparents.  There may actually be more.  I do notice that twins have become more frequent...like 4 sets in one generation.  But that probably has to do with the addition of other families and fertility treatments.  And there seems to be more on my side.  But that probably has to do with me not knowing some of his side very well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The ZOO!

Today, we went to the zoo.  We met up with my sister and her two kids and our friend Cindy and her son.  We have learned over the years that it's best to get there when the gates open and leave exactly three hours later, take plenty of snacks and drinks, to not bring cash since all those fun little extras cost $5 cash, that one trip through the buildings each year is enough, and that's it's best to visit the zoo when no one else is there (yikes!).  We also decided this time that every once in a while we should visit the zoo kidless so that we actually get to experience the zoo and not play mommy the whole time.


The little girls weren't too sure about this strange creature.  It's a sheep, girls.







No zoo trip is complete without climbing all over the tiger statue and posing for a picture.


Our crazy little friend!


Exactly three hours later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Project 64: Scarlet #11

Project 64...
I've seen lots of Scarlet while driving around this week...flowers, street signs, oil rigs.  But when I pulled up in my current favorite little granny's daughter's driveway today I saw this.  A 1950 something something Chevy.  Don't worry...I got their permission to snap these pics.  In fact, the owner offered to pull it out of the garage for me.  But I wanted it just like it was...with the orange walls reflecting on to it. 


Monday, March 14, 2011

Project 64: Plum #10

Ever try to get the good side of a biscuit?

I looked EVERYWHERE this week for plum but all I could find was random trees or a pair of pants that Kaelyn has.  BORING!  Not sure biscuits are much more exciting but here they are...


I think the last one is my favorite.  I took all these with my iPhone in my kitchen window.  Head over to Project 64 to see all the other Plum finds!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cheap and Simple Stuff: Menu Planning

One of the ways my family saves money is by menu planning.  Since we're paid every 2 weeks our plan is for 2 weeks worth of meals.  Having a plan eliminates that "I spent $400 at Wal Mart and we still don't have anything for dinner" problem.  I also look at the ad and buy up the things on sale that I know we'll use (like cereal and shampoo).  I try to include at least 2 meals that utilize leftovers.  This cuts back on wasting and saves money by not having to buy doubles on things like meat and fresh vegetables.

This week's dinner menu looks like this:

Saturday - Grandma's birthday party.  (yay for not having to cook!)  Just have to bring 1 bottle of pop.
Sunday - Dinner at Mom's.  (yay again for not having to cook!)  We'll just have a sandwich for dinner if anyone is still hungry.
Monday - Beans, Fried potatos, and cornbread.  This is one of the cheapest meals EVER and I try to make it at least once during the 2 weeks.
Tuesday - Spaghetti and vegetable.  This is the girls' favorite and we'll have it 1-2 times during the 2 weeks.  Also very, very cheap.
Wednesday - Potato Soup.  Also one of the girls' favorite.  Also super cheap.
Thursday - Tacos/Burritos.
Friday - Homemade Pizza.
Saturday - Nachos.  Use leftover taco meat, cheese, etc. from Taco night.
Sunday - Dinner at Mom's.
Monday - Pizza Pasta.  Use leftover pizza toppings from Pizza night..  This is our new favorite.  So easy and so yummy!
Tuesday - Spaghetti and vegetable.
Wednesday - Chili
Thursday - ???
Friday - Pay Day!  Go out to eat.  :)

I try not to over-plan.  Things change during the week.  Someone won't want spaghetti so I'll have to cook something else.  We'll go out to eat an extra time because of a school activity or some other evening activity.  I try to keep frozen pizza in the freezer in case we're home more than expected too.  And some of you are noticing there aren't many vegetables.  I try to serve salad or sneak in spinach or carrots when I can.  We also eat steamed broccoli with almost every meal.  And I put fruit on the kids' trays almost every night for dinner and at lunch too.  During the summer we eat lots of garden tomatos, squash, and salad.  The next menu will have different meals like fish, enchiladas, hamburgers.  And as it gets warmer we'll start to grill more often.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dirty Thirty

I know why they call it that now.  And it's not what you think.

I turned thirty this year and have recently realized that being an adult ain't all it's cracked up to be...

This year I'll be married 10 years.  TEN YEARS!  I actually happen to think this is AWESOME!, but wow 10 years.  A lot has happened in those 10 years and it reminds me that I'm a real adult now.

This year I'll be out of high school 12 years.  I'm old enough to be some of those kids mom now.  Creepy.

This year I'll be out of college 7 years.  I have had a REAL career for 7 years now.  I can't play the new grad card anymore.

This year my oldest turned 6.  How in the world did that happen?  Shouldn't she still be, like, 2?

This year my babies will turn 3.  It seems like I should still be miserable pregnant with them.  Those 3 years went by too fast.

This year I realized I'm not the same person I was even a few years ago.  I vote differently, I don't put up with bullcrap, I'm more outspoken about certain things, I'm more laid back about other things.

This year I realized that being some one's friend means something totally different now.  It's not about slumber parties and passing notes anymore.  People have their own agendas now.  It's hard to be friends and I've had to walk away from a few friendships over the past couple of months.

This year I've realized that I value simplicity.  There are some days that I just want to scoop up my little family and move to a cabin in the woods somewhere.  No TV, no mall, no school activities, no WalMart.  I'd be baking bread and the girls would be out catching fish and gathering berries.  Simple.

This year I've seen people I grew up with change, grow apart, die.  It's hard to realize that people that you associate with your hometown and your childhood are different or gone now.

This year I've learned to trust less.  This is really sad for me.  There are very, very few people that you can trust anymore.  It seems like everyone is out to better "me".

This year I've learned that making decisions...even small ones...takes a lot more thought than it used to.  Want to take a road trip?  Now we have to plan where to stop along our way to ensure clean bathrooms and chicken nuggets for the girls.  Want to buy a new toy, or shirt, or candy, or anything?  Have to plan carefully to avoid fights between the girls.

This year I got my first gray hairs.  Like, real ones.

We were planning big things this year in celebration of our 10th anniversary and my 30th birthday.  Renewal of our vows, a trip to Hawaii or Colorado- without kids, a night out with friends, a weekend alone together.  Things don't always work out like we plan - plans change, people change.  Our real plans this year are not renewing our vows (wow, that's a lot of work!), a family trip to Colorado (our kids are too little to stay with someone a week without us), a night out alone (again-the kids), and hopefully one of these days we can coordinate a night out with friends.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cheap and Simple Stuff: Pizza Pasta

One thing I do to try to stretch our groceries a bit is utilize leftovers in another meal.  This week we had homemade pizza and had some bell pepper, onion, pepperoni, spinach, sausage and cheese leftover.  I used these ingredients plus half a box of pasta and a jar of sauce to make Pizza Pasta.  The beauty of using leftovers is you don't have to measure.  You just kinda dump it in there.


I sauted the pepper, onion, and spinach in some oil then added the meats to warm them up a bit.  When the pasta was done, I drained it and added the veggie/meat mixture and the sauce (I used Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo).  Dump it in a pan and top with cheese.  Bake @ 400 for like 20 minutes.


Ok really.  How can you not like something with bubbly cheese on top?


Plate it up with a veggie or salad.  It was SOOO good.  Hubby even liked it and he hates pasta.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Project 64: White #9

Time for another color over at Project 64 (does anyone else want to type Project 86 every time.  No?  Just me?  Love that band.  Look them up.)

I just knew I could find a whole bunch of white on my travels.  Not sure which one I'll pick for the project though.

This is my neighbor's horse.  I love horses.  I love them even more when they belong to my neighbors.  It's like having horses but without all the work.  And all the horses around us are pretty friendly.  They come right up to the fence when we're outside.

This is a barn near Dewey.

This is the Dewey Hotel Museum.  I'm starting to really like Dewey.  Lots of history in this picture.  I think that sign says that's the water well that Tom Mix watered his horses from.  (The Tom Mix museum is across the street by the way)

Dewey water tower

Cemetary near Dewey.

Went driving around the big city of Wann, Oklahoma.  It took about 12 seconds.  Saw this sign in front of the "cowboy church" there (which is the only church, by the way).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Outside my window

I'm one of those "find something good or beautiful in every situation" kind of people.  We live in the middle of an old pasture.  No trees.  Some of the houses around us are a little less than pretty.  But all of them have something interesting or pretty on their properties.  An old rusty barn, horses, ponds, etc.  And they are all super nice people.  Couldn't ask for better neighbors.  And without many trees around us, we get unobstructed views of sunsets and sunrises and thunderstorms moving in and out.  So, here are a few snapshots of what's outside my window...


It was smokey the other morning when the sun was rising.  Made everything pinkish purplish.  Smelled good too.


I'm a nerd and think things like this are neat.  The sun was rising but the moon and one star next to the moon were still really bright.


Thunderstorms + Bright sunshine = Really bright rainbows



And sometimes double rainbows



The sun trying to break through some clouds


A thunderstorm about 10 miles north of us.  It was a pretty big one and I was glad it was over there and not here.

See?  Did you notice anything ugly?