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Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

some good….. one not so good.

Burnng computer….not good.

sewingmaching-015  I was burning a candle and I guess one of the boys pushed it a little too close to the computer… so when I pushed the monitor back to take the glare off the screen, I pushed it right over the flame… not long after I smelled something.  Strange, but it registered really fast what it was.  Thankfully, nothing on the computer, aside from the case was damaged. OOPS!

Sewing….good…

sewingmaching-001     sewingmaching-003

Feeling crafty… I had decided early in October that a couple of the gifts I wanted to give this year were going to need to be sewn.  I don’t have a sewing machine so I planned to use my friend Jenn’s.  But when I was looking for something in one of the closets in our basement home, I noticed a couple sewing machines tucked away. I asked Diane if I could use one.  I need to stop here and tell you that I have only sewn a few times in my life and always with my mom’s help.  She would always wind the bobbin and thread the machine for me so all I had to do was point and sew.  Well, this sewing maching had no thread on the bobbins and the machine itself wasn’t threaded.  So I found the manual online and following the directions I wound the bobbin and threaded the machine myself…. and it even worked.  You would be proud mom. I didn’t even get frustrated.  I didn’t have a pattern for my project ( a couple of bags to hold the gifts I am giving my nephews) so I started out and just did it.  Each one is different and imperfect (hopefully no one looks closely) but it sure felt good to get it done.  It was fast too.  There really is something about successfully tackling something you have always felt really incompetent at.  Lots of things that my mom had told me during our brief sewing sessions came back and I created something out of nothing.

sewingmaching-007  Didn’t realize that the pattern was  going the wrong way until I was already done, but it was so easy I may get some more material and start again, but then again maybe not.  Don’t judge.

sewingmaching-008  Large bag to hold the duplo legos we bought for Sean for Christmas off of ebay… cheap, but with no lego container.

Frugal Dinner……good

I have been really working on cutting back our food budget and trying to use things we have on hand to create our meals.  This months experiment was to make a menu plan for the month shop once and live off of the food for the month.  It worked pretty well and ultimately I think I saved money, but I did have to go to the store every week for things like fruit/veggies and milk.  I didn’t keep track of the specifics so I can’t say for sure about the savings.  I will probably do this again (plan for the month) but I will keep out some money so that each week I can buy the fresh stuff we need.  I really enjoyed having all the meals planned out (I planned 19 dinners, froze some breakfast items, planned lunches) and having all the ingredients on hand allowed me to pick what sounded good that day.  Keep in mind that pretty much all I planned had to be cooked in an electric skillet or in the crockpot.  Having the menu planned kept the stress off of daily needing to come up with something to cook, which is often the worst part of cooking in general.

So on to tonight’s dinner….

sewingmaching-013      BBQ beef sandwiches-  roast was buy one get one free and I cut them in half and frozen them.  Probably 2.00 a half.  BBQ sauce- Free (part of a white elephant gift from B’s christmas party)

sewingmaching-014  Rolls- .89 clearance after Turkey day- frozen/then thawed- still good

sewingmaching-012  2 Cans of green beans- .39 a piece- like my hot plate?

sewingmaching-010  Jello singles with little M&Ms- yes they are in repurposed yogurt containers (I don’t have very many bowls and cups out) – .50 I had a coupon-  M&Ms about .97.  The boys thought it was a fun treat.  Except for Eyob who wouldn’t eat his beans and so didn’t get the dessert.  So that was a pretty cheap and tasty dinner.  Sure it lacked the fresh veggies, but you win some and you lose some. 

All in all, it was a productive day, except for the computer.  See you tomorrow!

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Are you surprised? 

Thought I would catch you up on some of the missing months of our lives.  Let’s start with July and August

We left Utah the first week of July and arrived back in Shelton after the fourth.  On our drive here our living situation changed and we ended up staying with some friends of my parents.  Brandon jumped back into his job.. he had to renew his insurance licenses, reconnect with old contacts, and basically figure out how to sell insurance again.  It was a pretty stressful time for him.  He needed to make money quick but had to do all these other things first.  He spent a lot of time at work.  The other 4 of us (me and the boys) tried to find some normalcy living in someone else’s house and fitting back into a community where many of our relationships had changed and disappeared.  It was a really trying time.  I was stressed, sad, maybe even a little depressed and didn’t quite know how or what to do about it.  Basically, I look back at July and August and don’t remember much but that it was a very dark time.  We were stressed to the max, tired and sick.  All of us!!  Glad those two months are over with.  There is a lot I could say about July and August… but none of it has any real value to anyone and honestly it makes me kind of sick to my stomach remembering. Looking back I think that is why I disappeared from my blog…..  Aren’t you glad I showed back up with this lame post?

I’ll redeem myself and give you some pictures…

july2008-224 Riding horses at Brandon’s uncle’s ranch.

july2008-245  That horse wouldn’t leave Eyob’s head alone. 

july2008-319  Sloan turned 4.

july2008-249  My three wannabe cowboys.

july2008-309  Eyob met Great-Grandma Mathis (Meemaw) for the first time.

july2008-341All the Armstrong men (except Brandon).

july2008-262  E thought he was sooo cool driving this little tractor.  Don’t know how he managed to get it all to himself but he did…

augsept2008disneyland-006  Cousins… Sophia and Sloan. They are only 3 months apart.

augsept2008disneyland-004  The boys… you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get all of them to sit still for a picture and forget them all looking at the camera at the same time.

augsept2008disneyland-016 Grandpa Warren (my dad’s dad) came for a visit and we all went to the circus or maybe the circus came to us… wait we are the circus.

augsept2008disneyland-031  Cousin Sage Olivia entered the world…

augsept2008disneyland-034 and we ALL fell…..

augsept2008disneyland-032  in LOVE…

Maybe they weren’t such bad months after all?

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In my quest to become less wasteful, I have stumbled upon frugality and it seems that these two actually go hand in hand.  Dictionary.com describes being frugal as being economical in use or expenditure, prudently saving or sparing…. wait for it…… not wasteful.  I am learning that when you make a decision or commitment to be less wasteful, you also make the decision to be more frugal. 

The first area that I am working on is being frugal with my money and that has led me on an interesting journey into the world of “frugal mommy blogs” and couponing.  So let me just say, I never thought I would EVER clip a coupon let alone use one, but I tell you what ….now that I have started, I almost can’t stop…. the deals are actually quite fun to find. 

 I am also realizing that deal hunting and couponing take some planning and a little work, especially when you are new at it like I am.  But by checking out blogs of women who coupon and doing the “deals” that they do, I am beginning to catch on and I am really enjoying myself.  It is becoming a hobby, it is also causing me to make menus, grocery lists, and to keep track of where my money is going… because I really want to see how little I can spend. 

One of the important things about couponing that I have had to learn is that stockpiling is key… no not planning for the end of the world, but creating a storehouse of supplies so that you are not forced to by products that you need at the store when they are high priced, but actually buying them when they are as cheap as you can get them, even when you may not need them at the time and saving them until you do.  I had never thought about this before but grocery stores make their money when you come into them without a list, looking for that one thing that you “need” and walk out with 50 dollars of stuff you may or may not need just because you saw it.  Usually that thing you needed isn’t on sale when you need it, so not only do you pay full price for it, you also pay full price for the impulse buys you made while in the store to get that one item. I did that so much before.  It is vital to purchase things you may not need at the time for rock bottom prices so that you aren’t paying top dollar later.  I struggled with this at first, especially because I was trying to eliminate “stuff” and wasn’t really sure how that all tied together.  However, as I started to see the concept written out on other peoples blogs and read about their successes in fugality, I have become a believer.  Buying things that you don’t need yet at low prices frees up money to spend on things that aren’t as easy to find a coupon for; things like fruit and veggies.  Understand?

The other thing that I have learned is the importance of planning my meals out of the food I already have and to actually make a menu and a list.  This takes a little more time, but eliminates those wasteful trips to the grocery store two hours before dinner because you forgot one ingredient and end up coming home with a trunk full of stuff.  I don’t know about you but when three o’clock rolls around and I don’t have anything planned for dinner and I am already tired from a day with the boys, I am so tempted to just eat out or just run to the store for something “fast.” 

I could go on and on, but I think I will let some of the blogs that I have come across speak for themselves. The first blog I found was Freebies4mom.  She has lists of things you can get for free, sweepstakes to enter, product reviews, etc.  From there I found, MoneySavingMom.  She also lists out things you can get for free, deals that she has found at grocery or drugstores.  She has a great description or how-to on the drugstore game (more on that in another post).  MoneySavingMom also has a lot of good advice about being frugal in general.  The next blogs that I found are other deal making blogs… The”Cents”ibleSawyer, SisterlySavings, and MommySnacks.  I check these alot for suggestions on what coupons to use and where.  If you are interested in all of this start with some of these sites.  Look around at what they offer and follow their blogrolls to other people who have advise on couponing and being frugal.

  All of the items pictured here were part of one of the first, big frugal shopping trips I took.  I had a list of stores to hit and what to get and what coupons to use.  Everything you see here was either free or under 50 cents.  Yes, it is a lot of non- perishables and not a lot of food, but remember stocking up on things you will need at low low prices allows you to have cash free to buy the things that you need that you really can’t stock up on.  Literally, I paid pennies for this stuff.  All stuff I will use.  Bring on the M&Ms.

  Total out of pocket for this…2.48.  Without coupons I would have paid 16.78.  A few of the items actually made me money.

Ok… so… lots of info.  Check out the blogs and keep checking back here as I detail more in upcoming posts.

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CIMG2502
Click on the picture to be taken to flickr….. to see all the pictues in this set, don’t click on the photostream… click on the pictures right below that.  It should say Sayre, Ok set with 76 pictures. 
Thought you might enjoy some more cowboy pics from our trip. 

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One of the great things that I have been learning through these last months is that my Abba Father is a Father of Love. All of my “Christian” life I have been told, or read, or sung about His love but haven’t really understood the depths of it.  I have allowed my own ideas of what love is to represent what my Papa’s love is.  How short my love falls, so I have assumed that His love must fall short as well.  The love that we see around us in this fallen world is so deceiving, so empty, so fickle and when we try to grasp the Father’s love we can only really see it in how we love. But what a mistake that has been for me. 

I have been seeking over the last 6 months to see, not this natural world, but the spiritual world in which I am called to live and I have begun to catch glimpses of the Father, through the Holy Spirit. Glimpses that are transorming me from the inside out.  Seeing God through the eyes of my heart with the Holy Spirit as my guide, I am able to see what I have been missing.  My Father’s love is not conditional, it is not faltering, it doesn’t end even when mine does or should I say especially when mine does.  Infact, when my love begins to fail His love begins to shine.  Seeing Him as He truly is not as my human mind can comprehend, but as the Spirit living in my comprehends, I am changed. 

Oh, how great is the LOVE the Father has poured out on me.  Though my circumstances maybe hard and the path of my life may be taking turns that I had not planned, my Heavenly Father is all about love.  He is not a God of punishment. He is a God of redemption.  I am so greatful that His love is not like mine.  Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you. I want to see you. 

His love reaches into even the smallest areas of my life.  Hence the above picture… this is going to be silly to you I am sure, but oh so meaningful to me.  This little picnic table is a symbol to me right now of God’s interest in my life and His willingness to show me love in the smalles of things.  The story behind the table…..

For a while now I have been wanting to buy a picnic table for the boys, to have a place where they can eat and draw and play with playdough outside… really who thought playdough was a good idea?  Anyway, I haven’t wanted to spend the kind-of money that buying one in a store would cost, so last weekend during Daybreak’s community garage sale, I got the boys in the car, filled them with snacks, and proceeded to drive through the neighborhood looking for a picnic table.  Before I started I said a little prayer and asked God to find us one…and for once truly believing that my Papa would actually LOVE to do this for us and guess what?  He did, not 5 minutes later on the curb sat this beautiful, in prestine condition table with three seats, one for each little boy…..and to top it off, it only cost the cash I had in my purse at the time.  I was so thrilled and touched that God cared enough about me and my boys that He reached down into my small little life and blessed me with what I asked for. 

I know simple things, but you know what?  When we start to attribute the good in our lives to our Heavenly Father it is amazing what we see.  He loves us…me…. you…..

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BackYard Adventures

Here are some pictures of the boys favorite place to play.  This company sells backyard play equipment and they have all of it set up in a large room including huge inflatable dinosaurs that you can slide on and jump around on…. get really tired on and then go home and take great naps….. So for 5 dollars a kid for 1.5 hours you can go and play.  The boys love it… even Eyob.  It has been especially wonderful because living in a townhome we don’t have a yard and because during the winter around here it isn’t as easy to get outside.  Speaking of which it is spring right?  There was snow on the ground when we woke up this morning.  It is supossed to be in the high 70’s tomorrow though.  Go figure!

Seany loves these little slides.  He gets going so fast and lands with such a thud that I am surprised it doesn’t hurt him.  They also love to climb up the big inflatable slides and then slide down over and over.  Forget the ladder…. the slide is better for climbing.  Sloan loves that his brother can do it with him now.

Eyob tries to climb up the slide because his big brothers are doing it.  He doesn’t make it that far but he doesn’t care.

Kind-of a WT hat huh?  I had them going around pretty fast on this, maybe that is why they look a little sick..

The pic of the two blond boys looks sweet, but it was taken right before Sloan gave his brother a nice shove down the slide.  It takes Eyob a while to get up the courage to do things but once he does he is gone.  This is one of the times he wasn’t sure he liked what I was trying to get him to do.

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So Yeah for Backyard adventures!!!

 

 

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Starbucks

As usual, click on the picture to be taken to flickr.  On the right side of the larger picture you will see two smaller pics.  Click on the bottom of the two.  It will say wordless wednesday set.  If you click here you can see a slide show of all these pics.  Once the slide show starts click on the middle of the picture for my comments.  Enjoy!

Pictures

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