Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions or Broken Promises: Let's Set Some Goals

Well, it's that time again.  Another year has flown by quicker than we wanted it to or not quickly enough. 
So everyone is making resolutions hopefully to keep them.  2014 is a new year and another opportunity for a new you. Just as Jesus has wiped our slates free of our past and made us new, that's exactly what the new year presents.  Don't take all that old stressful crap into the new year.  Let it go.  Now.
 I did try and set a few goals for this year.  Hopefully, they're not forgotten by March.  That's about the time when mine start fading off.
So A Few For 2014:
1.  Stay Organized.

  I have absolutely no problem with getting organized.  That's easy.  Staying organized when you're constantly running in and out the door, just too tired to care,  and are just like just "Throw it down and come on.  We're late." -  That's clearly the problem. 
How:  Simplify our stuff.  Create a specific place for EVERYTHING.  Please try to put everything back at the end of the day.  Create a specific time of the week to sort, purge, organize something.  (Especially the paper demons)  Shred.  Shred. Shred.
2.  Trust God. 
 I would say this is a continuing thing.  With so much going on, it's easy to be like "God, umm..what's up?"  I ask this question regularly.  My mother in law is at the hospital right now as I'm writing this.  Someone was on their cell phone, clearly not paying attention, ran the red light and hit her.  She was released but felt worse later tonight and my husband took her back.  Hopefully, she recovers from this well and it doesn't affect her prior recovery.
How:  Keep building a relationship with him.  Reading.  Studying.  Praying.
3.  Get more serious about writing. 
 I love writing not just blogging.  This year I've written a couple of songs, two dramatic plays in need of actors for a black history skit, and actually started on again off again not again writing a book.  Yeah, I didn't quite stick with that one.
How:  I'm thinking about doing the Project 365 challenge just writing something everyday for a year.  I wanted to do the photo thing but I figured this was something I probably needed to do for myself.
4.  Spend more one on one time with the kids. 

 Since Caleb has arrived this has been harder and because it's usually just me and the kids most days.
How:  Try to do a specific thing together even if it's just talking while washing the dishes.  That might have to be our "thing."
5.  Date my husband more. 
 our anniversary this month - Never got around to writing a post on that
We're oldies.  My husband and I have been together since I was in the 9th grade and just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  You know, we're that couple that everybody loves or either wants to punch in the face.  Yep, that's us. 
However, usually by the end of the day we're exhausted, and usually asleep on sofa or floor- Just wherever we I happen to be. lol. Completely drained with no energy. 
(Yall I drank my first energy drink ever yesterday.  I was walking around like I had pneumonia.  It's 50 degrees and I'm walking around with short sleeves, no jacket, turning the heat off because I'm about to burn up.  Is that what drinking coffee feels like?)
How :  We really need to plan date nights ( of course with low cost and inexpensive ideas)
6.   Take more steps to be financially fit.  ( rid ourselves of debt)
This is also a work in process as we are trying to rapidly eliminate our debt.  I've also decided that in 2014 I would be sharing more of my cheap frugal living ways on the blog and on facebook to encourage, inspire and/or help others. 
How:   budget, eliminate expenses, save more,
What are your goals for the new year?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

For The Love of Christmas

We had a great Christmas!  Both my husband's parents were out of the hospital for Christmas and are recovering well.  Caleb's eye is looking a little less black and I hope it hurries up and heals.

Christmas Eve we drove out to see the Christmas lights and displays.

My husband on Christmas morning annoyed with Caleb's train set.
In awe

We bought AJ his first bb gun, opened it up, and it won't get any power.  He just pumped and pumped and it didn't get any stronger.  Now the most I know about bb guns and hunting is watching Duck Dynasty, so that should tell you a whole lot about my experience.  However, the husband says we have to take it back.  The closest store - 3 counties away where we bought it.


At mama's
After crashing into the wall, falling into the trash, being back handed down the hall, taking a joy ride on the scooter and  being nearly eaten by the ducks, she finally got her flutterbye fairy flying license. 
Aj is busy playing with his new kreo legos.  They move!  Just got myself coolest mom of the year award for that one.
He'll  add those to his half- ton collection. 
 I think I might plan a surprise trip to LEGO LAND in the spring.
They loved the play dough.  They've been making all kinds of things!
We didn't have time to do our annual play this year of the story of baby Jesus.  Our "baby Jesus" has gotten too big for his part but he was adamant that he NEEDED to be Baby Jesus and not some old angel. lol  We're going to give a try today when daddy gets home.
Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Trips from Bi-Lo's Triple Couponing Event

Now y'all, I couldn't believe my news feed when I scrolled down and saw that BI-LO would be TRIPLING coupons for the next four days.  A friend, who knows I'm a couponer, posted it to my timeline.  This was some of the most exciting news all week.  I was like, "Well let me get my pile together. 
I checked with the store to confirm it first before I headed in looking like an episode of extreme couponing.  I would have put absolutely everything back if it didn't triple.  I'll have to get into my cheapskate ways later. 
The event runs from Dec. 18 - Dec. 21.
There are some rules:
1.  You have to have your bonus card.
2.  Limit of 20 coupons tripled per card per day.
3.  No more than 3 of the same coupons used in one transaction.
4.  No cash back or overage given. 
I learned about this on the 17th and I was just scrambling to get my act together. 
Notice our cute little reindeer and Christmas tree in the background. 
First trip - box of Honey Nut Cheerios, Chex mix, Febreeze air effects, rediwhip, Tide to go pen, Oral B toothbrush, 2 Betty crocker icings, 1 McCormick seasoning, 3 green giant steamfresh meals, herbal essence body wash, 2 cans progresso soup, 2 pans sister Schubert rolls, 1 45 oz Marie calendar apple pie
Bonus Card Savings :  14.80
Coupon Savings : 24.75
Total spent : 20.98!!

2nd trip - different store, different county (had to go to moms)
-2 Mazola canola oil, 2 bottles Karo corn syrup, 2 cans cinnamon rolls, 2 progresso chicken broth, 2 progresso soups, 1 honey nut cheerios, 1 chex mix, 1 bag sister Schubert  rolls, 2 febreeze air effects, 2 Gillette shaving creams, herbal essence body wash, bounce dryer sheets, and a tide to go pen
My whopping total here before my bonus card was 71.09
After bonus card - 49.29
(I actually wrote these numbers down this time because I wanted to know.)
Bonus card savings : 15.69
Coupon savings : 36.05
After coupons/ Total spent - 16.58!!!!!
I saved 36.05 on coupons alone!!!
I was ecstatic! 
My little stockpile is growing!  Hopefully, it will be huge soon and I'll be giving half of it away.  After I give to our parents and add to the church pantry, I like to randomly pick people that I've heard could use a lift and show up unannounced to deliver goods.  After they get past the fact that there is some crazy person at their front door, they're usually grateful. lol. 
I honestly think God places things like this in my path so I can bless other people.  There's nothing like hearing that" this was such a blessing" or "I really needed that" from someone. I want to be blessed so I can be a blessing.  I feel like couponing is one of the ways that helps me do that.
There are still two more days left if you want to catch this sale.  I even forgot to buy a newspaper for the past two weeks.  I used coupons I already had and ones printed from coupon mom.  This is the link that was shared with me about this deal. 

Homemade Christmas - Playdough

Well, I haven't been doing much blogging lately, have I?  It has been such a busy hectic time as I mentioned earlier this week.  Despite the month of December slowly turning into a monster, I've been trying to maintain some sort of merry in our Merry Christmas. 

We've had some minor stuff going on like the printer crashing, the laptop monitor busted and Caleb and I having the stomach virus.  This wasn't much to deal with, but then the big stuff happened.  My father n law was airlifted to the hospital and was in ICU, my mother n law had to have a blockage removed in her heart and Caleb ran into the coffee table and got a huge nasty bruise by his eye.  As of today, most everything has or is being resolved.  My husbands parents are both doing much much better and Caleb is doing a lot better, too.  Thank the Lord. 

But on to the Play dough.

I'm finally getting another post up of some of my homemade gifts.  Play dough.  It's one of Caleb's favorite things and I knew this would make a great gift for him.  I'm no longer making the rainbow crayons.  I suppose I must have accidentally thrown all the broken pieces away because I don't know where they got to. 

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp vegetable oil
food coloring

Dump all the ingredients in a pot except the food coloring and mix together. 

Cook over medium heat.  It will start to thicken.

Keep stirring the dough until it forms a ball.  When it is no longer sticky, it's done. 

It's done.  This is one of three balls that I divided the dough into.

I poked my fingers in the middle and added some food coloring.

Next, knead and mix the food coloring in the dough.

Green play dough!

I used an old peanut butter jar that was cleaned out to store the play dough.  I added some cookie cutters to make a finished gift.
I know Caleb is going to love it.  He is always eyeing the play dough in the toy aisles in the store and it's been a good while since we've had some in the house.  Now, finding this smashed into the carpet, I'm probably not going to like that too much. lol

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homemade Christmas - DIY Whipped Body Butter

I feel like I have abandoned my little blog and all my blog reads for the last week or so.  So much has been going on, but I am finally back and finally updating yall on the homemade Christmas gifts.

Well I could barely contain myself when my order finally arrived in the mail.  It didn't come all together but rather three packages at two different times.  Body butter is one of the items that I have on my homemade Christmas to make list.  I thought it would make a perfect gift and of course, I just wanted some for myself. 

So all together, I ordered Organic raw shea butter, raw cocoa butter, almond oil, and lavender essential oil.  I initially ordered lip balm containers but they wouldn't arrive before Christmas.  I'm still going to make that though.  Everything was ordered through Amazon.
So here is what I used to make my body butter:
1/2 cup shea butter
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup almond oil
1/4 cup of vitamin e oil
measuring cups
ziplock bag
double boiler/ glass bowl/ pot of boiling water to melt butters
jars to put finished product in
* This recipe makes enough to fill one 16oz jar.

1/2 cup Cocoa butter - This cocoa butter is very hard, but it smells delicious like chocolate. 

1/2 cup Shea butter - The shea butter is kind of creamy and not as hard as the cocoa butter.  I had some on my hands and rubbed it in and I was like, "Yeah, this the stuff right here." LOL
I melted the butters down.  I don't have a double boiler so I used a bowl and container over a pot of water. After it melted down some, I let it sit for a few minutes to cool and then placed it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  You want it to harden some but still be sort of soft when you touch it. Make sure you check it because it may freeze fast.  Then put it in a large bowl for mixing.

1/2 cup Coconut oil - Mix it up some before you add it to the butters so it won't be so hard.  Mix the oil and butters together using a hand mixer. Add your almond oil and vitamin E oil.  I decided to use Vitamin E oil at the last minute.
Once it's mixed sit in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes so it can harden a bit just like before. 
It's a little solid but you can still poke your finger in and it's soft in the middle.

Next, take a spoon and chop it up and then mix with your hand mixer until it starts looking whipped and smooth.  This can take a little while.

Whipped butter

I placed a ziplock bag in a cup and scooped the butter in.  I tried to make it look all professional when I added it to my jar.

Failed.  LOL.  This one is mine though.  I'll do a better job with the other jars, hopefully.

This stuff smell delicious. I didn't add any essential oils to it just because I like the smell.   I have been using it for a few days now and I love it.  I even shaved my legs to put this on. 
The hubby is even slathering this on, too and he's  picky about his lotions and stuff.
It looks a bit shiny when you first apply it but you don't look so shiny after a few minutes.  You have a nice little gleam though.

Tips -
 I bought a pound of each butter because I knew I would be making some for gifts and likely other projects.  Unless you're making gifts or plan on using it for a while, you won't need this much.  However, to minimize the cost of this project, try to find a friend or two that wants to make some butter and split the cost.  The cost of the shea butter, cocoa butter and almond oil was $40.21. 
This would also be a cute idea to do a for a girls nigh/spa night/ etc.
Don't forget the cost of containers.  The jars were 5.99 for 4 16oz. jars.  I bought them at Kmart.  You could also buy the ones half this size.  That way you would have made 2 jars of butter instead of one. 
You don't have to use both butters to make the body butter.  You pretty much add what you like, like I did.
Warm a spoon with hot water to make it easier to scoop out the coconut oil.
Be very careful if you put this on like right after the shower.  The oils in it make it super slippery.

Monday, December 9, 2013

6 month Natural Hair Update

I have made it to the six month mark!  Can you believe it?

I'm still pretty much in the low maintenance phase but I feel like I might need to start getting into the twisting it most nights phase.  I really don't want to do that.  It just seems so time consuming.  By the end of the day after I have run around with my three kids and stood in the kitchen looking crazy at all that madness left to clean up, twisting my hair is that last thing on my mind. 

Oh and did I mention, I fell asleep once while twisting my hair.  I woke up, decided bump that and got in the bed.  I woke up with two different hairstyles.  Where's the YouTube video on that?

I've gathered a few pictures from the 3-6 month journey.  In the first three months, I was all over the camera.  I think I might have actually calmed down a bit now.

Not a great picture, but I have one question.  Did I master duck face? HAHA!

Okay if you haven't read me vs the closet part 1  then you may be completely confused by this picture.  However, I think it's a pretty good angle on the hair. 

It is usually always shrunken up into this state unless I do a twist out.

Have no idea how to take selfies- You take 500 pictures and then maybe a half of one from the chest up looks suitable

Twist out with a mix of olive, coconut, and castor oil with cantu shea butter
I didn't wet it beforehand.  It just takes too long to dry.

Contemplating keeping my hair short.

Caleb - twists, Cate- twist out, Me-twist out
Sometimes we have nothing to do waiting on AJ to get out of school

Just washed - no product
Note:  It is a horrible idea to wash your hair an hour before it's time to pick the kids up from school and it's cool outside.

I'm normally abnormal

chunky twists the night before and undid them in the morning
So I had made this little slightly horribly, terrible video for you guys to see me achieve the look below.  However, I am indeed not your video vixen.  You couldn't hear a word of the video AND it goes to YouTube if you post if here.  Whoa!  Ummm,  I don't know what I'm doing like that.  So I decided to make two more slightly horrendous videos about my hair and I posted them here so you can watch.  I know you might hate scrolling unless you're nosey like me, but it's Dec. 6 and Dec. 7.  Let me know what you think. 
Happy 6 Month Hair Anniversary To Me!