Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Boys'/Guest Bathroom Makeover Sneak Preview

Ok, I know it's been a while since I posted, but come on... if you know me, this is no surprise. I got tired of my guest bathroom, well, as soon as I saw it, but I've been dealing with it. Too long. It's way past time to tackle the horrible striped walls that absolutely NOTHING matches. Let me show you the pictures of the wallpaper that was so ugly that, let's face it, should be OUTLAWED!

This picture was an afterthought, so it's taken under my sink, where I didn't bother to paint.

Ugly, huh? I honestly don't know how I lived with it as long as I did. Funds and other, more important projects did play a huge role in it, though. Okay, here's the semi-finished project:

Dad and I built this cabinet a couple years ago as the first attempt to make a difference on this space. The shelf turned out great, and was made with scrap wood & paint we already had on hand, so it was budget friendly. I designed it, but can't take credit for the weird angles and cuts we had to make. Couldn't have done it without Dad!

The paint was some I bought with this project in mind (got it super cheap from the "OOPS" section in Walmart). I wanted something like a dark grey, and apparently, there were LOTS of people not pleased with their grey, so there were several gallons to choose from in the color pallette I was looking for. Lucky me! With the prices of the oops cans, I was able to get more then one gallon, just in case I didn't like my first choice. I simply added 1x4's to the walls to give it the wainescotting look, primed and painted those and the walls between. I have some vintage signs and frames I have made, and need to hang, and others in the works. Hopefully the simple touches I add at the end will pull my whole room together.

Here's a pic of the sign I've already made (yet to hang), a clock I made, and one of the small frames. One problem... what color towels should I buy? Thoughts or ideas please!

Metal sign attached to a salvaged piece of plywood (natural aging on the wood).

Cute circular sign I bought, drilled a center hole, and added a simple clock kit from Hobby Lobby.
B&W pics of my boys in their overalls when they were each 2 yrs old. Pic in middle says "Not only my brother... but my best friend."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Show me the bacon!

I am a firm believer that a certain crispy, yet slightly chewy, and salty piece of meat makes every dish just a little bit better. Yes, I'm talking about BACON! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Maybe I'm just a little hungry this morning, but that little strip of heavenly pork is just amazing. I keep bacon in my house, whether it be fresh bacon ready to fry in my fridge, frozen bacon staring at me every time I open my freezer, just wanting to be thawed to awe, OR this unbelievably convenient and easy precooked bacon you can get just about anywhere. While I definitely don't discriminate as to which kind to use (cause come on, they're all amazing in their own way), I actually use the precooked variety most. (FYI: I have tried name brand and store brand and can't tell a bit of difference, so save a little green, in my opinion.) The mess is avoidable since it's already cooked, and if you want to heat it up, place it on a plate with a paper towel and in just a few seconds, yes SECONDS, you have wonderfully crisp, yet chewy bacon to devour. If you're using it in a recipe, which is my favorite way to use the precooked kind, cut it up with kitchen shears straight into the pan, or just tear it! How easy can you get, right?! So in my ode to bacon, I thought I'd share just one of the many family favorites for this household. I actually got the base of this creamy corn and bacon recipe from Sandra Lee, I believe, but with all my recipes, I tweak it until it's perfect for our tastes, so tweak away and let me know what you think when you try it!

Creamy Corn and Bacon

  • 2 TB butter
  • one medium yellow onion, diced
  • about 8 slices precooked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cans sweet whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth, optional
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup green onions, diced, optional
  • about 1/2-1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet on medium heat, melt butter and add yellow onion and saute until opaque. Add bacon (adding more slices if desired) and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add drained corn to skillet and stir. If chicken broth is desired, add now and cook until almost all liquid is gone. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook corn mixture for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Add green onion, if desired. Add heavy cream, stir well, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. After cream has a chance to warm and thicken slightly, add Parmesan cheese, and remove from heat. Cream will thicken very slightly as it cools. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe actually tastes better as leftovers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Great Product

Here's another product review for you guys. I am hooked on my new digital camcorder that my wonderful hubby bought over the weekend. I have been using a very outdated camcorder that took the Hi-8 tapes (a dinosaur, I know). I got my old camera back in 2003, so it was about time to upgrade. A little past time, if you ask me. We are planning a trip for this summer, and we really wanted a camcorder that wasn't bulky and don't use those horrible Hi-8 tapes. I mean, they're so outdated my seven year old son had no idea what a tape was! Anyway, we needed something durable because we plan on using it when we go on our four-wheeler trip. So we were off to Best Buy, and this is what we decided on: the Kodak play>sport. It's shockproof, dustproof, and completely waterproof in up to 10' of water. I like that it's about the same size as my cell phone, which will come in handy when space, or holding on to the four wheeler, is an issue. We've been playing with it today, and we love it. Here's our new toy:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is it flooding?

I've noticed the boys' appetites getting bigger and bigger. They usually hit growth spurts here and there, but never at the same time, and they don't last too long before they're eating like birds again. The last two weeks, with the exception of a day or two, they've eat like little pigs! I can't keep them full. Well, I know where it's going! They both got a few pairs of jeans from Santa for Christmas, and now they're getting short. Their play clothes are so short, they look like they're ready for a flood! I guess, even though I HATE shopping, it's time to "bite the bullet" as the saying goes, and go shop. The thing is, I don't know if I need to buy jeans or shorts! I mean, I'm definitely not complaining, because this weather is GOR-GEOUS gorgeous, but I want it to stay this beautiful. Summer will be here one day. It's coming, I just know it. One day...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Busy Bee

I'm the type that finds my favorite food at a restaurant and gets that same thing over and over again. I rarely try new things because I'm afraid that I won't like what I try and wish I had gotten "old faithful," whatever that may be at that particular restaurant. When it comes to decor, I'm the complete opposite. I am constantly wanting to paint, just to get a fresh background. I don't go all out and completely redo furniture, because I get attached to that, too. It takes a lot for me to let go of furniture, or anything for that matter, because I give everything sentimental value. It aggravates my husband to no end. He likes getting rid of everything. He'd rather throw something away than to clean it up. Not that he minds cleaning, he just don't see the need in having furniture that has no purpose. So far, we've put hardwood floors in the living room and hallway, and painted the kitchen, master bathroom, and the nursery twice.
I said all that to say that I have so many projects going right now: wainscoting in the second bathroom with a fresh coat of paint all over, repurpose Tucker's table and chairs, new furniture in the boys' bedroom, new artwork in the making for the bathroom, getting rid of all baby items (or at least all that I can stand to turn loose of), organizing and scaling down the amount of toys in the toy room, and getting items ready for my first try at a yard sale. All this on top of the normal day-to-day chores and bills, school plays and field trips, planning vacations, tax season, and the start of baseball season. This is a true example of a normal day in the life of a stay-at-home-mom. I think I stay busier now than I did when I worked!
Anyway, if I remembered to take "before" pictures, I'll try to post before/after pics. More than likely I forgot to do that, so I may just post "after" pics and leave the rest to your imagination, but believe me when I say, it was bad before.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh, my baby's not a baby anymore...

It's hitting me really hard lately how big my baby is getting. It seems like it happened over night! Ian brought home his report card this week with all A's and we couldn't be more proud. Not only that, but I've noticed him caring for Tucker a lot. Doing things like getting him a snack, finding him a toy, helping him clean up a mess that he didn't even help make, holding his hand to walk down steps, getting him paper towels (he needs a lot of those), and lots more. The best part of it all, nobody even asks him to do these things before he does them and he doesn't come back expecting praise or a pat on the back.


This is one proud momma, but sad at the same time. I've been able to be home with him since he was one year old, but even though I was here, he grew up so fast I feel like I missed most of it. Did I blink a really long time? Where did all the time go? We're so proud of him for how he's doing at school and at home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Frustrated Couponer

My last trip to "that big supercenter" in my local town was successful, as far as savings is concerned, and was a success in lessons learned, as well. As I stated in an earlier post, I saved over $200 at a certain supercenter, but those savings also came with a priceless lesson: you'll most likely have the easiest, most enjoyable experience if you choose a checkout line that is NOT being occupied by an older woman. I'm not really sure why this rule is a fact, because you (or at least I) would think that a woman, mainly middle-aged or older, that normally would be the main grocery shopper in her household in my area, would want and even encourage saving money at the grocery store!! So when I read this rule, was told by a friend, and even a couple strangers in the store that also coupon, I didn't really take it seriously. Oh boy, I will now!!!

First of all, when I go shopping, it takes a really long time. I have to be organized, have my list of coupons, a list of items to buy and how many of each with regular price and sale price (for comp. purposes), and my huge binder that takes up the top part of the buggy. I'm constantly checking to be sure I'm buying the correct amount and size of each item. A normal trip for me is around 3 hours. A LONG time to be in one store!!

This particular trip was super annoying, because the checkout line I chose had a lady in her, ummm, let's say late 50's to early 60's, whom has never had a personality, good or bad, in the past, but has never bothered me. I'm not there to make friends, anyway. Just check me out and I'll be on my way. I'm busy, they're busy, and I understand that. I've been there. This woman did a price inquiry on every single item in my buggy before getting the comp. price from me and determining if she wanted to take my word on it! I know some people take advantage of the store's price-match guarantee, but their corporate policy clearly states that they won't question you and you don't have to bring the ad with you. Luckily, I brought them for my own reference, and had to show her nearly every ad for nearly every item's comp. price, for over six different store's ads! After calling the CSM several times, for permission to give me discounts, her manager even got aggravated and said, "just give it to her!" It took her over 1 1/2 hours to check me out! Add that to my already 3 hour shopping experience, and the fact that I had a 2-year-old with me, ready to eat when we got to the cashier, and you have some ill people!!

So, I can't stress enough: if and when you get ready to start this, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you pay attention to the cashier you are about to spend a lot of time with. I have my favorites already at my local store, and you will, too, whether intentionally or not.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Local Deals

I'll be completely honest with you. I could barely tell you what day we received our local Piggly Wiggly's weekly ad paper in the mail. I would either throw it away immediately (as in standing directly over the trash can as I was going through our mail from that day), or sit it on the counter for a while before throwing it away without ever opening it. I usually only saw the ad on the front cover, and even then only saw half of it, since it was folded in half to fit in the mailbox. I figured I was gonna have to have certain products at a certain time, regardless of price, so why should I keep up with the sales? I thought it was a waste of time. How much could you really save, anyway? Well, I have definitely eat my words!! I had to go get a few things at Piggly Wiggly tonight (I'll total up my savings and post it later).
There were a lot more sales going on in the store, as well, that are not in their sale paper. I stocked up on my canned goods while I was there. Piggly Wiggly brand creamed corn, whole kernel corn, cut green beans, and french style green beans were all $0.59 each. I thought that was a great deal. Some of the items, like the "name-brand" items, had coupons, so I took advantage of the sale price, then used the coupon on top of that to come out even cheaper.
The Hamburger Helper is normally (It is either $2.71 or $2.17 each, so I may be a few cents off) $2.71 each + 9 percent tax. I bought six boxes, which would've been $17.72 without any sales or coupons. I bought them for $0.99 each, used two "$0.75 off three boxes" coupons which brought my total, including tax, to $4.84 for six boxes!! That's only $0.81 per box, including tax! I saved $12.88 on Hamburger Helper alone!

Did you see that?

Well, my oldest had his eyes checked at school, and they suggested I take him to an optometrist for a re-evaluation, just as a precaution. I figured there was nothing to worry about, but went ahead with making the appointment. I mean, that's why we have the insurance, right? And if he does need glasses, how horrible would I feel for knowing and brushing it aside? Anyway, we went, they dilated his eyes, checked, and double-checked and luckily, found no problems. While I was making his appointment for this check, I decided since I've never had more than the eye chart test they give you with a sports physical, I might need to get checked as well. I mean, my eyes have always been good, never had any problems at all in that area, but what the heck? I'll go, let him tell me the same, and not have to go back. That's one less thing to be on my mind. So a few weeks after Ian was seen, I saw the same doctor (he's great, by the way). He did the routine check, dilated my eyes, and found out that I need glasses!!! I was so shocked! My eyes aren't bad at all, but one eye is far-sighted with an astigmatism and the other eye is near-sighted. On their on, neither would require the aid of glasses or contacts, but since they're completely opposite in problems, they're constantly "fighting" each other to focus, causing them to never be at rest. Therefore, I've been having slight headaches for a while now that have been blamed on just being tired or on sinuses. Now I know the real reason. I guess I'm glad I went, now. My headaches have nearly all gone, and I can definitely tell a difference when I wear my glasses. I don't have to wear them all the time, but I do need them when I drive, read, write, work on the computer, or just need my eyes to focus on something specific. Just around the house cleaning, playing with the boys, or out riding around, I don't have to have them, but the doctor did say he would suggest me getting contacts when I start back to work. We'll have to see about that. I don't know if I want to stick my eyes every day, twice a day or more. I may stick with the glasses, if they hold up to my abuse.

One final thought: Some of my favorite, most vivid and crisp shows that are in HD were awesome before... now they just plain ROCK!!! Can't wait for some of my fall favorites to come back on.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Second Trip as a "Couponer"

I'm still riding the couponing train! I went shopping for the second time since I started doing this, and did wind up spending a little more this time than last, mainly because I am currently attempting to stockpile items like laundry detergent, body wash, bar soap, shampoo, and other things that don't have to be replaced often. I can now say that I think I have enough of all those items to last me SEVERAL months, if not a year. Of course, if I come across a "killer-of-a-deal" I will not hesitate to add to my collection, if I can find room for it all.
That brings me to my next topic (don't worry, I'll share my savings in a minute). SHELVES!!!! I've GOT to have some shelves. My small pantry is overflowing, the cabinets under my kitchen sink and bathroom sink, as well as one of my linen cabinets, and shelf in the laundry room are busting at the seams, and I'm not done shopping! My medicine cabinet is well on it's way to needing reworked because I just added eight large bottles of NYQUIL to our stock. I've already bought the brackets; I just have to get the shelving boards and I'm ready to install. I'm sure I'll get right on that. (HA HA!)
Okay, so for the biggest deal I've gotten as a couponer...
Like I said, I did spend a little more this time (a little over $300 on this bill), but I saved a whopping $276.26!!! That's right, I SAVED almost as much as I spent. It's not a 100 percent savings like some you see on T.V., but I'll take it!! What would've cost me nearly $600 dollars only cost me a little over $300 is not that bad, in my opinion, but I won't be spending that much on a regular basis, or my "saving money" will wind up costing more upfront. I'm wondering how often I'll have to go shopping to keep my shelves stocked... Guess we'll see.

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages..."

I am (shhh, don't tell anybody this next part) 30 (cough to cover it up) years old. I had never witnessed "The Greatest Show on Earth" before last Friday, and let me tell you, it was WON-DER-FULLLLLL!!!! I had the most amazing time at the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus with the boys and Mom. I am a little on the frugile side (hear my husband laughing and then correcting me to "a lot on the frugile side?"), so when the tickets were gonna be $25 per person, even for my 2-year-old, I had a hard time letting go of that money, but I sure am glad I did! They don't call it "The Greatest Show on Earth" for no reason. I was in awe at the amount of talent those fearlessly amazing people have! Other than a short intermission, there was no stopping the show. With something constantly happening, there was never a dull moment. The boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves and of course had lots of stories, and a few souveniers to share with their Daddy when they got home.

I'll try to post pics later...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Couponing 101

I have jumped on the band wagon of couponing. A really good friend brought me into the loop, and I am officially addicted!!

I wasn't sure I would be able to understand it all, I didn't know if I'd be able to stick with it, and I was so afraid I would wind up spending more money than I would be able to save. I figured I would clip a few coupons, buy some things I didn't normally use just because it was "too good of a deal" to pass up, and leave the store with a doubled grocery bill. I'm just being honest.

My friend sat down and showed me all her coupons, her filing system, how she makes her grocery list, and gave me numerous websites for information and coupons, and she even started me off with a few of her coupons. She answered all my questions, and gave me a few tips that she's picked up on since she started it. Her stockpile of coupons, circulars, and products were amazing, and a little bit overwhelming. What if I didn't find all those good deals? What if I cost us more money? What in the world am I gonna do with all those products? This was going through my head constantly while I was getting organized, researching websites, learning the "coupon lingo."

I finally decided to "bite the bullet" and go shopping. As long as I stick to my list, I should do fine. So I headed to my local Walmart. They match prices from other stores, and allow coupons on top of those deals. Not to mention that's where I get my groceries, anyway, so going there was an easy decision. And the result (for my first try at this):

I SAVED A TOTAL OF $95.21!!!!!

Not the "Extreme" savings you see on t.v., but it's a pretty good start, if I may say so. I'm loving this so far, and could not wait for the hubs to get home to share my savings news!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kodak? More Like Ko-DON'T!!

I absolutely loved my Kodak Easyshare digital camera and Kodak Easyshare All-in-One Printer when I got it a few years ago. Of course, they were the "things to have" at the time, and after using them, and buying ink for the printer, I understood what all the buzz was about. They were SUPER easy to hook up and use, and the ink... can't beat those prices! If you had asked me anytime between when I got them and 8 months later how I liked the camera & printer, I would've had nothing but good to say. BUT...
After having the printer for only 8 months, it started "acting up" and not wanting to print. I called Kodak, and was told to purchase and replace the printhead. Which I did. Then the printer kept telling me to "Replace the color ink cartridge." After buying an embarassing amount of ink cartridges (all new, all Kodak brand, and all for my model printer), I contacted Kodak again with the same problem. They suggested I buy more ink. What? I had well over $100 worth of new ink cartridges laying around and they want me to buy more! I don't think so! So they offered to send me an ink cartridge, because they could send me the "correct ink cartridge" for my printer and they could insure me that it would be new. Come on. Don't insult my intelligence, people. I know what kind of ink to buy for my printer, and I also know that paying full price for a new cartridge in the manufacturer's packaging BETTER have insured me that I bought a new cartridge!
Well, then the guy at Kodak tells me that it's my printhead again. Also, "have you downloaded the newest firmware." Yes, via instructions from their website, and I will not buy another printhead for it not to fix the problem. Could they assure me that it indeed would fix my printer? Well, maybe "you just need to buy a new printer." "I can offer you a 30 percent discount on the purchase of a new Kodak All-in-One printer/copier/scanner." Hummm...
I'll have to think hard about purchasing another Kodak. I've put more money in trying to fix my printer than I actually paid for it brand new. I mean, if I buy a new Kodak printer, I will have an enormous stockpile of ink for it. Not to mention two printheads that are perfectly fine.
When I mentioned my printer woes to Mom, and offered her lots of unused ink for her Kodak printer, she remembered having another Kodak printer in her basement that wasn't being used, if I wanted to give it a try. So I did. And guess what... "Replace color ink cartridge." I can't make this stuff up. I have the worst luck with these printers! So, I research their website once again. I have found numerous cases from other customers stating they're on their second or third Kodak printer because of similar problems. I just can't see me buying another Kodak printer if I'm gonna have to fix it before it goes out of warranty. It doesn't matter how cheap the printer or replacement ink cartridges are, if you have to buy them more frequently, it's not really as financially friendly as they advertise in the long run. I think I'm going with an HP printer.
After saying all this, I have a coupon for 30 percent off the purchase of a new Kodak All-in-One printer if anyone's interested. It expires 30 days from yesterday. No takers? I don't blame you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

It's so hard to remember sometimes, especially with me being female (obvious, I know), that boys are so completely and utterly different than girls. I have the awesome, God-given blessing of being the mother of two wonderful little boys; 7 yrs. and 2 yrs. They're your typical boys: so sweet, full of love, tempers that I swear is from their daddy's side of the family but know that they get their fair share from mine, usually covered in dirt and whatever messy food they've eaten that day (even though I'm constantly washing hands and mouths), full of surprises that only boys can think of (like flowers in their pockets picked just for me), and most importantly, they both have the biggest hearts in such small people.
I've been inspired by a blog post I read that has circulated through Facebook and Pinterest. It's called (Team Studer). If you haven't read it and have boys, nephews, grandsons, or have friends with boys, I strongly encourage you to read her post.
Every night at bedtime, we're starting "favorite time of today" by all saying what our favorite part of that particular day was. Whether it was spending time with someone special, going to a new or favorite place, helping a friend, or simply having pancakes for breakfast, I feel like saying these out loud gives us all a chance to think back on all the positives for that day and makes going to bed a lot easier for little ones. And it's not a bad idea for us adults, either, because when I'm having a not-so-good day, and hear my little ones say their favorite part of the day was spending time with me, it makes my heart just melt! It instantly turns my day into one of my best ever.
Tonight's Favorites of the Day:
Ian: "spending the afternoon with you and Tucker riding the four wheelers"
Tucker: "Chocka!!!" (from Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost) Haha!
I thought I'd share what Ian wrote at school when he was in first grade (winter of 2010):
It reads: "I am just like a snow flake Beecos I am deferent Than everyone else! I am deferent becos some harts are big and my hart is biger!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Whatcha Got Cookin?

Here's a couple of recipes that I'd like to share. One that is a regular at the Cordes household, and a newbie that is sure to please the "sweet tooth" in any family.
The first one is what I like to call Breakfast Pizza. Like any pizza, the possibilities of toppings are endless! So please, take this recipe as a base recipe and run with it. Try something different every time, or find one you like and be faithful. You decide.
Breakfast Pizza
1 tube crescent rolls
8 slices precooked bacon, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 bag precooked, crumbled sausage
1 cup shredded cheese
4 large eggs, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Press crescent rolls into bottom of pan and up sides about 1 inch. Be sure to press all edges together in order to seal the crust. Spread sausage and bacon evenly over crust. Top evenly with cheese. In seperate bowl, beat eggs well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour as evenly as possible over cheese (beating the eggs well helps with this step). Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese and crust is brown and eggs are completely cooked. Serve with pancake syrup, if desired.
The second recipe is Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie (a well-known favorite from The Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores, Alabama). I have altered their recipe a little, because I didn't have any Kahlua, but I will put their recipe as they've written it. I actually substituted 1 TB instant espresso + 1 TB water for the Kahlua.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie
8 oz cream cheese
(1) 16-oz tub Whip Topping (thawed)
(1) cup peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Kahlua
8 oz powdered sugar (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
(1) Oreo pie shell
Beat cream cheese until well softened. Mix in peanut butter, Kahlua and powdered sugar, one at a time, until well mixed. Add cool whip and blend well. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into pie shell. Should be mounded high in the middle.
Note: Keep refrigerated. Serve with a dollop of whip cream. If you can't find miniature chocolate chips, freeze regular chocolate chips and chop quickly in processor.
This is what mine actually looked like.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Pepe LePew Here!!

OK. I promised to pass along any product that I find, fall in love with, and can't see myself living without. Here's the most recent.
A little back story: I am obsessed with clean smelling laundry. And if I'm gonna take the time to wash, dry, fold/hang the mounds of laundry a household full of boys can go through, I want it to smell awesome and keep the smell until the next wash (which is not near long enough). I've been using Ultra Downy softener (pink lid, not sure of the name of the scent) for a long time now, and don't mind switching to Snuggle every now and then. But, I have found the most amazing laundry detergent and don't see myself changing products anywhere in the near future.
I am in love (at least as much as you can be in love with detergent). It's made by Arm & Hammer; and as good as the original detergent by them cleans and smells, you can NOT beat the duo of Arm & Hammer PLUS OxiClean in Fresh Scent. OxiClean alone, I am convinced, will get virtually any stain, old or new, out of every type of fabric (leave the garment soaking in OxiClean and water to remove EVERYTHING unwanted from clothes). This marriage of two wonderful products is down-right A-MAZ-ING!! I challenge you to give it a try, or at least a sniff (I know I'm not the only one sniffing the detergent & softener at the store. You're smiling right now because you do it too!). Anyway, happy laundry day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

there is a reason...

Every year, Ian gets creative with his Christmas tree; one year it's all Hot Wheels hanging along the tree, the next it's all kinds of candy. This year was no exception. His Christmas tree is a small pre-lit silver one, with a homemade tree skirt. He is VERY proud of his tree, and Santa even leaves a small present under it every year. It's something that he, and one day his brother, is in charge of. This year's theme: catching Santa. You see, he has these huge red and green bells (kinda like the ones you see people making holiday necklaces out of). They ring really loud and really easy. His creative idea this year was to put them all along the bottom row of limbs. Well, I didn't know this, and when I saw it, I assumed his little brother had been messing with it, and we all know what that means... a mad Ian when he found out. So what do I do? I "fixed" it. When Ian saw it, he told me that Tucker wasn't allowed to decorate his tree anymore because he had moved all his bells! He fixed his bells back, and told me WHY he had them all at the bottom: he was trying to catch Santa! He said when Santa went to put a present under the tree, his hand would hit a bell, make it ring, wake him up, and bingo! Santa...caught! Ha-ha! He's so clever!
Well, the plan didn't work this year. Santa put the present beside the tree. But Ian's not giving up! That's my boy! He already has a plan in mind for next Christmas. He said he's gonna cover the entire surface of his dresser with bells so Santa has no other choice but to touch a bell.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Painting Tip...

In every store I've visited that sells paint, there's an "OOPS" section (or that's what I call it). It's where they put the paint that's already been mixed to specific colors that were either ordered and not picked up, the customer changed their mind on color, or maybe the employee mixed the wrong color. Either way, it means savings, and sometimes new ideas, for you! I'm embarking on a new design for my 2nd bathroom (a.k.a. the boys' bathroom), and have decided on a medium shade of gray. Since gray can be easily mixed, I decided to checkout the "OOPS" section for luck on anything that might work. I found it! Several of them, to be exact. I was able to find a full gallon of white, black, and gray... and all for 50% off!! They were the finish I was looking for, too. How great is that? So now I have enough paint for my entire bathroom walls & trim... wainescotting, too! I'm so excited. Anyway, I bought 3 gallon of paint for the same amount I was planning on spending on just one. Now that's a deal in my book. I'll try to post pics of my remodel's before & after as I have them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

That's how much?

I walk down the aisles, one by one, choosing which category in my head to put groceries: needs, wants, and absolutely not's. I imagine most of you out there do this very thing. This was supposed to be an "in-between" kinda trip, you know, the kind where you have to go back and get those knit-picky items you forgot when you were getting groceries a few days before. Strictly the needs category. My boys were being so good, and hadn't asked for a single thing, so when we were heading to check out and they asked for a soda in their nicest voices and most polite manners, how could I refuse? I decided to pay separately for them (not sure why), and OH MY GOSH!!! Have you ever payed for 3 - 20 oz. drinks by themselves? I'll have you know that 3, YES 3 drinks cost over $5!!! I'm so bad at grabbing a drink at checkout, because they're so convenient, and let's face it, right in your face when your leaving the store. I started thinking of how many 2 liter bottles I could buy for that same amount and how many times I could pour 20 oz. of soda. So I tell you all of this for a reason; not to gripe about money (although I admit, I am pretty frugal), but to say that I am now going to pay closer attention to every item that enters my buggy at the grocery store, and look for ways to cut costs. I have nothing against coupons, and if I was more organized or less forgetful, I'd definitely use them, but I've tried it, and can't seem to get the hang of it. If I find great deals or lots of bang-for-the-buck, I'll pass them along to you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Been a while...

I know it's been FOREVER since I blogged, but I'm back. At least for now. :) I've decided to blog not only about my family, but about EVERYTHING. I want to share moments in my crazy good life, as well as neat ideas, tasty new (or old reliable) recipes, and new products that I now can't live without. So here I go. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Little Fishies

Mom and Dad put in a pool a couple weeks ago. The first few days, Ian wouldn't get off the top two steps... with two arm floaties. Two or three days later, he started jumping in on the sides, and even doing a few flips. He graduated to being thrown, and going under like a fish. He heard one of his buddies talking about swimming with just one floatie, so he thought he'd try it. During one of his flips, he apparently raised his arms, and when he hit the water, his floatie slipped right off his arm. If you know Ian, even a little, you know that this usually means PANIC!! I am so proud... he popped right up, and said calmly, as he was swimming like a little dog, "Uh... excuse me... my floatie... I can't swim, you know." I grabbed him, and a light bulb went off in his head, that he was just swimming! He's everywhere in the pool, now.

And Tucker... he has to do everything "Big Bubba" does, so he'll walk right up to the edge of the pool, and crawl right in. It's so funny. He thinks he's jumping in, and then he has to "go under" so he sticks his whole face in the water. He get strangled every now and then, but that don't stop this determined child! He's definitely one you have to watch all the time.

My boys are getting so big!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Panama City Beach Trip

Our trip to the beach was a total success! We stayed for four nights, and went to Panama City Beach this time, instead of the usual Gulf Shores. We ate some new places, and experienced some new things. I have lots of pictures, but sadly none of the new things we did. We tried canoeing (will try it again, but this time, not with a sleepy 1 yr old), and went on a helicopter ride (it was my second time, but everyone else's first). We all absolutely loved the helicopter ride. We were afraid Tucker would either scream or fall asleep, and he did neither. He clapped and cheered the whole ride! Ian loved it, and thought the headphones were neat, and wouldn't stop talking into the mic. Oh, I wish I had taken pictures of that! We stayed on the 22nd floor (the higher, the better, for me) of The Boardwalk Beach Resort Condos. Our room was super nice, and we loved the view. I have only one complaint: we had Tucker in the carseat so much, when it was time to come home.... well, just look at the last picture. We tried a new place (Sharky's). It was okay, but Tuck loved his noodles! And of course, we played putt-putt golf, and raced go-karts (what's a vacation without putt-putt and go-kart's?) The second day we were there, some friends joined us, so I have a few pics with the kids playing at the condo's splash zone (they all loved it) and racing go-karts.

Kindergarten Graduation, and New Summer Toy

This is our big boy, Ian. We are so proud of him, and he is of himself. Here he stands, proudly displaying his kindergarten diploma. I don't think he understands yet, that when he goes back to school, he'll have a different teacher, and for the most part, different classmates. We'll see how that goes...

And this is our new summer toy. A 7 hp Manco go-kart. Big enough for me and Jared to ride, and almost small enough for Ian to drive. He does need to grow a little bit more before he can take the pilot's seat all by himself, but we have let him drive a little with one of us in the passenger seat. The seat actually slides forward and backward for short or long legs! So far, we've had a ball on this little thing, and have ridden it nearly every day! Can't wait for the neices and nephews to come enjoy it with us.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A lot of people may argue about the following, but it's true: I have the most stubborn baby ever. Tucker is almost 14 months old, and he absolutely refuses to do certain things. For example, my husband and I, along with a few select others, have witnessed with our own eyes, that this baby is perfectly capable of walking, feeding himself, putting his pacifier in his own mouth, and drinking from a sippy cup all by himself. Yet he refuses to do so! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the fact that he's "milking" this whole baby thing, because he and Ian are the reason I'm a stay-at-home mom. I'm in no rush at all, because when he decides he's ready to walk, he'll run, and if he runs as fast as he crawls, I'm in trouble! He just fed himself french fries all the way from Fayette to home, and when we got home, he would not feed himself green beans (go figure). He will drink from a sippy cup by himself more than he'll do the other things mentioned, but if you ever raise the cup for him, he won't do it all day. He's got this whole thing figured out! Again, I'm not complaining, I just think it's hilarious. Stay a baby as long as you can, Tucker!

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Ride!!!

I finally got my ride back!!! We went yesterday to pick up our vehicle from The Shop in Fayette. We've had it in the shop getting a dent and scratches out of the door. Randall, the owner, had to replace the whole outer skin of the door. He definitely had his work cut out for him, but he did the BEST job. You can't even tell it's ever had any damage! We're so satisfied with the quality of his work, and of course, the customer service was awesome, too. We definitely recommend him to anybody needing work done. Thanks, Randall, and The Shop.

While the vehicle was getting fixed, we had a rental to drive. There was nothing wrong with the rental, but it just wasn't mine, and it definitely wasn't anything to look at. We were in a Chevrolet HHR. If you've never seen one, you're not missing anything. Let's just say, Chevy won't sell them based on their looks! I don't know if it's considered a car, SUV, van, or wagon. I do know it's UGLY! Other than the looks, it wasn't a bad experience. I'm so glad I have my vehicle back!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tucker's 1 Year Checkup

Tucker had to go to the Pediatrician on Wednesday for his 1 year appointment. He had to get two shots in one leg, one shot in both arms, and his toe pricked for a CBC. This is the usual treatment for a one year checkup. He did really well. He didn't even flinch when his toe was pricked, but cried with his shots. Before the nurse left the room, he was done crying. I'm really proud of him. He was such a big boy. He weighed in at 23 lbs. 4 oz. and I don't remember the exact inches long, but he was above the curve for his age. He seems to be really tall for his age. In all, I'm really satisfied with the visit, as usual. Tuscaloosa Pediatrics, Dr. Julie Vaughn and the nurses, have always been really great. He's growing up so fast!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birthdays and Easter

Well, the boys are another year older. Ian is the big 6 tomorrow, and Tucker turned 1 on Friday. I can't believe they're that big already. Their party was a combo deal, so I had to come up with two totally different themes that still could work together. (Those of you with kids who have birthdays close together, I totally recommend a combo party! It kept my family members from being tied up on multiple Saturdays, and the stress on me as a parent wasn't any worse.) Back to the post: I decided on Yoshi for Ian, because of his addiction to Super Mario Brothers games and with some of his Christmas money from family, he bought all Mario Bros. Collectables. So that decision ws pretty easy. Tucker's, on the other hand, was a little challenging. I wanted something cute, and memorable, but nothing to compete with Ian's. I settled on a stacked cake, decorated as a present. I didn't want the same loop bow that you usually see on cakes, so we tried something a little different. Overall, the party went great, we had lots of fun, and it was awesome having distant family visiting. I want to thank all the parents who came and brought the kiddos!
While the whole family was up, we decided it would be a great time to celebrate Easter, because some of our family can't come up on Easter weekend. After the birthday party, we all jumped in the kitchen, done a LOT of chopping, and cooked Chinese food. Yes, Chinese on Easter. It's not your typical Easter meal, but by the time Easter rolls around, we're all tired of ham, turkey, and your usual vegetable sides. I had a ball in the kitchen with the family cooking. It's not often that this happens for us, so I definitely want to do it again soon. We all over-stuffed ourselves and went to the yard for hiding and hunting the eggs. I think we hid 60 eggs, and only found 50-something. They were all plastic, so I guess Granddaddy will find them with the lawn mower when spring rolls around. We had a ball this weekend, and crammed as much as we could in one weekend. Anyway, here's a few pics from the occasions, (and I kinda mixed them up a little):