Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Come Hell Or High Water!

Well of course we made goals and plan on sticking to them and then we were tested. And really don't feel like the testing is over. I feel like the testing is just beginning.
We plan on taking 2014 one day at a time. Aiming to pay down the Mortgage, save a wee bit of money.
The Mortgage challenge is starting. But first we were hit yesterday with a truck that broke down on the way to get hay. Hay guy towed hubby to his farm and then home. Luckily we don't live far apart. They got as far as the neighbors yard before quitting.
We then took the battery up for testing and really it's not that. Something could have jarred loose during hubby's ditch diving. I'm curious on the alternator, car guy thinks other things. But hubby installed the battery back in, had to go and get a new battery cable and with that it started right up. Then died. Then started, then died. Any who he made it to our driveway.
So hubby is having issues, working on the truck, we decided to call car guy and see if he will follow hubby to the shop and see what he can do with it. So that will come later in the week.
So I need to come up with money to pay for all of this.
Hit 2 came that night, when mother in law called and demanded hubby come up and help her take down Christmas. She wouldn't except another day, she wouldn't work around our schedule. So with our lack of gas in the van, I had to give up my Christmas money and put gas in the van for hubby to head north and help mom.
But I'm not letting all this stop us. I logged in and made not only the monthly payment but the extra on the Mortgage.
So I have 21 days to get the truck fixed and come up with money for that. And if not we are walking to the fed store and back and fourth with hay. I'm not caving right now the extra money for the house will not go towards the truck.
On a side note have you noticed all the top something of 2013? Lordy blog after blog. Well I's not one for looking back. I'm looking forward. I'm looking forward to Thursday night and having new Mortgage numbers. I'm looking forward to Friday and not only sticking to the budget, but slicing it. The more I get the food costs under control the more I can put towards the truck. I slacked off during the holiday's. I'm looking forward to finding time to blog about the new spice mixes I made. OH I'm in heaven. I've been using them and loving them. I need to make up more batches. I'm looking forward to blogging about a new pizza recipe. Came across it Monday and thought what the hell I will try pizza again, but it was a pizza roll, yeah that dough won't roll so we had pizza. Now I am NOT a gf fan, but dang it was so good. It was so good we did it again tonight.
I'm looking forward to cleaning out my freezers, my boys are so in love with zucchini bread lately. I'm doing a loaf a day to keep up with the boys. At this rate I will be out of zucchini in about two months.
I'm looking forward to starting second grade math with Cole next week. And the dang boy started reading. We went to the library yesterday well in town and we found him some books. So the boy who didn't think he couldn't read, the boy who would spend hours and hours reading Bob Books. Opened a book on the way home from the library and read it. He then read it over and over and over again. He then came home and read it to anything that would sit still long enough. What he doesn't know is I used some swag bucks and he has a copy of this book coming.
I'm looking forward to tearing apart the front garden and installing new beds. With a watering system, hopefully on timers. We will see how that goes. I'm looking forward to a great garden season. I'm looking forward (God help me) to a bigger canning season. As I'm hitting goodwill after goodwill and stocking up on jars. Two new totes of jars so far. I'm also toying with getting yet another dehydrator. Because I fear Big Daddy is really gone this time and I really don't have the time to try and fix it. So looking for one that shoots air from the bottom verses the back. And my commercial one the racks have big slots. We are also going to get liners for the commercial dryer. As fruit roll ups were a BIG hit this year and we have ten tons of strawberries to work with next year. With herbs you can't open a dryer with the air shooting from the back. But it's a debate with myself as I hate spending money.
I'm actually looking forward to taxes. This year it will be a safety net for us to get through the year. Right now we are flying without a net and it's scary. I'm praying this will be the first year we will do without medical bills. Well after I pay off this last one. 
So 2014 is set to be busy. I hope it's peaceful around here. Hope mom and I don't end up in a major fight. I'm sure trying to be civil. Hope the in laws last another year, not ready to deal with that yet.
So hoping the boys stop growing and we just have peace. But yeah, I have three boys, 5 dogs, 3 cats, 9 goats, and one very blind bunny. I don't see peace anywhere in that?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Goals and Upcoming 2014

Since I'm stuck with a sleeping puppy, thought it was time to write this post.
I'm praying that 2014 is a much better year then 2013. 2013 was just full of stress, it was long and never ending, and brought us our first broken bone. It also brought us two puppies.
I for one have felt lost. A lot going on, ever so busy. We had started the year wanting to do a Mortgage Challenge. Well all that was changed when hubby decided a truck was MORE important. I didn't find that the case. BUT I let it go, because after the truck was bought, we were suppose to start back in on paying down the Mortgage. Well except we had never ending medical bills that needed money. And then came a broken arm, that we are still paying on. From 2k down to about 400ish. Not bad. BUT.
Hubby got his truck, and he is happy. But the gas mileage SUCKS. So he is still stuck taking my van to work and back.
So now that 2014 is starting and I'm so praying it's a better year. We start up the Mortgage Challenge once again on the first Friday of the year. I will be updating as we go. I'm so excited. Why? Well we can't afford our mortgage as it is. BUT we love our house. And, yes we may want to move someday, because honestly we need more land. But having money in the house will really help down the road. I also see it as part of our retirement. Life will be much better if we don't have a Mortgage payment in the future. I'm hoping to get our Mortgage low enough to do one final re-fi get rid of mip and have a payment we can afford. Although I worry about all the new rules. I haven't sat down to really read them.
We have three months of mortgage payments saved up. Of course in order to save we have to hand money over to someone. But I'm hoping to have about 5 months worth by the end of next year.
We finally opened a Roth IRA this year. We do have a 401k through work and it's a matching so we have been putting our money there. And building it up there. So far it's a 100% match. Of course we can't put much away so that may change as we change stuff in the future.
Our 401k loan will be paid off in March. YEAH! And since we live without that money anyway we will change it right over to retirement putting about 50 away a week and if that is matching that is 400 a month, plus the 100 we give our investment lady. Finally retirement is starting to look like something we can actually do in the future. WAY down the road.
We are gutting the front yard garden beds. All the wood is nearly bought. So next month we will start gutting, setting up new beds and more beds.
We need to finish the kids new play area. I'm also working on one of their houses out there. More on that later.
I'm hoping for a BIG garden year. Working my tail off to use up the food in the house so I'm ready for next years harvest.
And as I have felt lost looking for something to do with me. I don't want to spend tons of time on the computer and making money on my blog and this and that. No that isn't me. Sure I could do sewing and have plans there. Back before kids and hubby and work. I was making crafts and doing a craft show every weekend to make rent. I did that some as I had Ethan, when Tucker came along it was too much. But yet messing with Ebay I wasn't happy with them much. Yeah the money was good. On a good week made 1-500 bucks. But yeah I've done it I want to do something new.
Well I found it, I am SOOOOOOOo excited and I will be blogging coming up once I have one made. I'm hoping "hoping" that it goes well and I really like it. That I can do between 10-20 and hit the local craft show. This is the show to sell at. I know the lady that runs it and I would sell something that isn't sold there and she is always looking for different.
Although I found out my mother went to the last sale. The one I couldn't make because medical bills were killing us. Thinking wouldn't it be a hoot if I'm selling there and she shows up?
So now I need to think of a business name? I have a business license, so I need to go and look on that at what names we put down. Although looking for something new and fresh. One that comes to mind because we know it won't be long before Ethan joins me. is ME designs. Standing for Marcie Ethan Designs. But really don't know need to think on things?
Hoping with keeping myself busy, it will lesson stress. Stops me from thinking about the Mortgage Challenge.
I want to spend more time off the computer and away from TV. TV is all ready off all day as it is. I'm sure not in it for the money. It's more about letting me be creative. I think that is my biggest problem. I have so many ideas and thoughts stuck in me and I need to let them out. So wait for that upcoming post. I'm excited that I found something and was like THATS IT!
I'm hoping in laws make it another year. I hope things with mom are civil. They will never be perfect. BUT, I'll take civil. I hope the Mortgage Challenge goes well. I hope for no more puppies! Well or goats for that fact! I hope the garden is well this year. I hope I can have sanity 60% of the time this year? I hope to be hit with nothing major. I hope no more broken bones or medical issues. I hope the family reunion goes well, I worry that many of the older ones won't be there this year. As they are getting older. And getting old sucks.
I just want a good quiet year. A year that lets me get back to my roots of being really creative. I want to use my boundless energy.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Survived Christmas

Well let me set this for you. My mother called me on Christmas Eve after not calling me for over two months. And fully expected me up there for Christmas dinner. Really? you don't call me for two months. You want me to come home, and slave all night making dinner for us to take up and eat up there. Hum no. WHAT? NO.
Let me tell ya someone was PISSED and it wasn't me. No, I'm holding my ground of I right now fed my kids every meal and we don't eat out anywhere! I'm not pulling a dinner out of thin air. The boys want to be home.
My parents house, my cluttered parents house, you open gifts, then you sit around for hours on end well my mother keeps drinking and the tv is very loud and dad is snoring away.
Nope done.
Ethan opening the checker set. Love that face.
And then he opened Monopoly. The boy is a Monopoly FREAK. (so is his mother, he hasn't seen the cross stitch yet)
Tucker and two new babies.
Tucker is maybe an inch taller then this monkey. Santa brought him.
Cole scored ten tons of Little Pet Shop Stuff.
No name monkey yet.
So Stars and Cole has named this little lady Flower. Cole is over the moon with his new baby.
So my mother came down today gifts and all. I guess she has calmed down. And I held my temper when I saw all the gifts. See I put my foot down a few months ago, no more then three each. As my mother LOVES to shop Wal Mart Clearance. Nope done. Get them three good gifts each, put some thought into it. I don't care if you only spend ten dollars each, but think about your gifts. My house is so small, I don't need more clutter.
But of course my mother had to get around my new rule right? Oh the boys got three gifts each. BUT then she had three gifts for The Boys, as a group gift. Good Lord.
Christmas day here was nothing but quiet. As the kids played with the new toys from the in laws and from what we got them. They love being home and just playing, so glad I didn't take that away from them. Now that I have kids it's all about the kids. Back in the day I folded because it would just be me. But now with kids, it's all about them. And really don't care who I piss off in the process. 

Monday, December 23, 2013


Nothing but seeds in my mail box today! No bills, no nothing, but seeds. LOVE seeds. Seeds of the month came. It was a great month this month. How I LOVE tomatoes and dill and I needed cabbage. I have also been buying from Baker Creek, some great pumpkins and tomatoes as budget allows.
Ethan was like a Blue Pumpkin? Blue? It's going to be an interesting garden next year.
Oh little does he know?

Hope Ethan Likes It?

So this is what Tucker and I made for Ethan for Christmas. No pattern, not rhyme or reason. I got out one of my square templates. It's a 4 inch square. Just cut out 32 yellow, we placed them as so and sewed them down. Used a canning top for the checkers. And there you go. It's big, but I think it's very cool. 

Friday, December 20, 2013


Stinking Cute Puppy
Yeah, we are all praying around here!
Cole is all done with first grade math. We learned how to borrow and carry and fractions this week. I also got the joy of teaching Ethan looooooong division this week. And Magically Tuck forgot how to borrow. huh? spent a whole evening working on that with him. We were both in tears but I think we will be ok?
Below freezing on Thursday BUT we got our new window. I'm really enjoying it.
Blind bunny snuck out and meet puppy. Dang bunny is bigger then the puppy.

This little guy is a very fast learner. After two nights whining at bedtime, that has stopped and he allows us to sleep at night. He is probably 90% peeing outside. Yesterday he actually ran to the door and asked to go out. But then today and with the storm be is refusing to pee outside. ARGGGGGG But we finally caught him in the act and was able to tap the butt and say NO and put him outside, so hopefully he gets it again? Just wish we could catch him pooping. We are on a schedule that when he wakes up from a nap he goes straight outside. But yeah doing really well.
Hubby and I are about to sit down and really work out a budget for the upcoming year. We really want to pay down the house and get to a point we can do a final re-fi and then have a payment we can actually afford. Although I worry I'm going too tight on budget and should back off a bit? Our to buy/fix list is ever so long. I still have medical to pay off. I am re-doing the front yard garden beds. Our windshield cracked on the way up to get the new tires we just saved for. Our TV is just about dead. Not only is this TV long before flat screens came out. But it's now b/w and the lines are sideways and moving. The last time we had it fixed the guy was like yea, I wouldn't bring it back. It's so old, no one might be able to fix it next time. And that was a few years ago.
Not to mention I have two dogs to fix. I would like a few dollars in the bank, just in case. And we have two birthdays coming up. So yeah need to sit down and take everything in and figure it all out. 


So do you buy/give used items? Or are you someone who would NEVER dream of buying something at Goodwill and giving it to someone?
The two monkey's above are from Goodwill. Paid about 3 bucks for both. The one on the right, is a Build A Bear. You know someone spent a pretty penny for that monkey. I know this because this will be Tucker's second Build A Bear Monkey, and I paid a pretty penny for his back in the day. Although today is a different day in our lives. And wouldn't dream of paying that out of pocket again. Ethan got these for Tuck for Christmas.
My kids don't mind used. In fact at times they prefer it. Why? They get more, or they get stuff not in stores today. For Example today. We stopped at Goodwill as I'm looking for something and Cole found a Little Pet Shop thingy he doesn't have. He knows I will pay 2 dollars for this building as that is a steal. I couldn't pry it from his hands if I tried. He LOVES it, this is not sold in stores. And he comes home and spends hours and hours playing Little Pet Shop.
It's to the point, I'm nearly done buying new. Not only budget I can't afford it. But I think it's from China, and you have all this plastic packaging that can't be recycled. I'm tired of being part of the problem. We have been going more and more plastic free around here. I don't mind buying second hand. It keeps it out of the landfill. It helps the budget. And there is nothing wrong with it. I also LOVE buying sheets. Often paying 1-2 dollars each, You can't buy fabric for that. So I have lots of fabric, I pay very little for it, and get a lot from each sheet.
To me some get too hung up on Christmas. Case in Point my mother. So a few years ago my sister and I decided she would buy for dad I would buy for mom. Except for the fact our parents need NOTHING. And honestly won't come to understand that. Last year, not knowing what to get my mother, I had a thought for a quilt. All in my head, I got it out onto fabric. Maybe spent 5 bucks on the whole thing, but it was more my time and effort, I spent hours sewing it. For Christmas we were snowed in so my sister came by and picked up the quilt and took it out to her. It's December 20th nearly a year later and not a peep about the quilt? No Thank You. No OMG A quilt for me? Nothing.
Although this year a slap in the face, as she gave my sister a list of stuff she wants. She then sent my sister another list in a Christmas card. Me nothing. My mother knows I buy for her. My sister caved and bought her two things off her list. My mothers house is stuffed full of crap. She doesn't need more crap, but hasn't come to terms that she needs nothing. To her she needs stuff. She lives for her stuff. Why? I wish I understood her.
For her this year she will be getting a framed photo of her dogs. Mind you how hard it is to make her dogs pose, then blow up the photo and find a frame. But she won't see that. She tires me. She doesn't see our very small budget and thinks I need to be spending money. Well I won't be spending money I don't have. It's why we do a lot of shopping at Goodwill. I bought canning jars there today. For the price of a case in a store, I bought home a couple boxes and will probably go back for more next Friday.
It pains me to see people go into such debt buying Christmas. And then spending months paying it off. I won't go into debt, I will not hurt us to buy stuff for people who don't need it. In return I ask people not to get me anything. Often it's not needed, you add I live in a small house. Case in point the plastic wine bucket my mother got me last year (I don't drink?) went straight to goodwill. I was thinking honestly just give me the buck, why waste it? although I hear all the time she can't afford to give me cash as a gift? WHAT? But yet you gave the store a dollar? Why couldn't you afford to give me that dollar? She makes me want to bang my head against a wall.
So as we head into our very hard year, a lot less new will be bought, and a lot more used, or use what we have and make do.
My kids this year really got into making gifts for each other. Ethan had a rough time and decided a Goodwill monkey will do because every Monkey needs a good home. This was Cole's last year of buying new. Next year he will be making or buying used. I'll do an upcoming post of what Tucker made for Ethan because it's so totally cool. 

Christmas Monkey's

Well Tuck has been wanting two new girl Monkey's. After birthing these two, he will only be getting one! This Yellow Monkey was nearly the death of my sewing career! She was a pain to put together, then once together I didn't like her face. So tore her all apart. Had major issues putting her back together, including her head was sewn sideways to the body at one point. Along the way the Pink Monkey came together really fast. Well except I sewed the belly to the back of the head. That is NOT recommended!
Tucker doesn't know he is getting a Monkey, But Cole knows he is getting one, he just doesn't know it's done and he is getting her for Christmas. It seems Stars wanted a sister. Cole picked out all the colors from the yellow ears to the dress. I do like the faces this time around. Much happy with the outcome.
This is Tucker's Monkey.

This is Cole's

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Barbie Clothes

So yeah, with three boys, I never thought I would get to make Barbie clothes. Well until I was talking to my sister about what to buy my niece? And she knows I'm cheap and only really get them one gift each. Kids they don't need much of anything. Well she said niece was into Barbie. So I bought a Barbie, and well then I made some clothes. I can not tell ya how easy it was to make the clothes. I actually plan on making a lot more, and maybe mailing her two outfits a month? I used this blog for the dress I highly suggest making one out of scraps first. On mine the top was not big enough. So I added about 1/2 inch and that made it perfect.
I LOVE how they turned out.

And here is the blog on the skirt  This was so beyond easy that I made 5. Kinda went a wee bit crazy. Same thing on the skirt make one out of scraps first. Mine was not long enough so I added about 1/2 inch.
And just to note apparently a naked Barbie freaks out Tucker. huh weird? Freaked him out. My model must where clothes at all times.
I would have died for Barbie clothes like this back in the day. Once we got our Barbie's we never got anything new. So our Barbie's had to where the same ole clothes over and over and over again. Infact all the Barbie stuff is in a box in my shed now. The model is an old Barbie of mine. Well at least I can spoil my niece?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cute Puppy Pictures

Of course I have many cute puppy photos by now. Only the third day we have had him!
So far so good. By the second day he was out of his shock, and running around the house. Playing with anything that moves.
By the third day he now rules the roast! Just look at those teeth.
So here is the tiniest dog and the biggest dog we have. As you can see we still have Vader. Both are settling in and doing ok.

Buddy sleeps in a cage in Ethan's room. Still whining, but it doesn't wake up Ethan and I can sleep through it. We had two big breaks today. He peed and pooped outside. Watch out he will be potty trained before too long! He comes to his name and is now working on being leashed trained. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The New Puppy

Yeah, so a good thing we got the bed all sewed and the cage all ready. This little thing came to live with us early. imagine my surprise when I send the child over to "see" the puppy and he is home minutes later "with" the puppy.
This guy is the tiniest thing ever. I don't know how he will manage in a house full of BIG dogs. He will be sleeping in Ethan's room. He will be cage trained. Honestly in this house he might need a cage between him and the BIG dogs.
His name is Buddy and I don't even think he weighs a pound. So far he has been doing ok here. No whining for mommy. And I don't think he has legs as everyone carries him everywhere. 

Dog Pillow Done

Well we got the dog pillow and cage all done and set up in time. Why? Check out the next post. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Curve Ball

Then life throws us a curve ball. After so many prayers, praying just for a little bit of money to finish getting us over this current bump in the road. Our prayers were answered as I was opening mail Tuesday morning. We received a check from out of the blue. I was in tears knowing it was the answer to my prayers, and we will be over the current bump and this moves us into a good place in life.
So we took back the space heater we brought on Monday. It was ok but not doing what we needed it to do. We in turn was able to buy two wall heaters and after three years our cadet heaters were replaced. The one in the living room burnt out and the one in the dining room was costing a fortune to run.
There was enough money left over for my Christmas Gift. (Food Processor) Had to live without one when you have the garden the size I do.
This now sets us up to a good place. We will be able to pay for the family reunion this week. We will then start to save for the windshield that cracked. We've been able to update and rearrange our to do (to save for) list. Well keep paying down the current medical bill.
My biggest fear is starting the Mortgage Challenge in 2 weeks and 6 days. Although now that we are over this bump we have been stuck on for awhile, things look better.
I can not tell ya after 3 years how good it is to be warm. We were so warm last night I could hardly sleep. Then got up and going this morning because the bed was too warm. I have been moving all day as I'm not curled up in blankets and layers of clothes. Feels good to be up and going.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Two Steps Forward One Step Back

You know the old saying Two Steps Forward and One Step Back. Yeah that was my day today as we headed to town for a heater and tires as we finally saved enough to get both off the list. Well except WAIT the windshield cracked. Has a lovely crack that does have to be replaced. So that was added to the list. We have our window being replaced soon. So we will get a quote then, when they come out. Next up on saving for list is the Family Reunion, would love to reserve our spot before the end of the year. Then a new windshield. Joy.  
I can not tell ya how cold it has been here. Cold is one thing and ok and yes we are not below zero. But our cadet heaters died three years ago and we have only had a space heater. I don't know if it's not throwing out much heat anymore or what, but we are just cold. A heater finally went on sale and I had just enough to purchase it. Suppose to be better and programmable. Although I have to read directions. Crap. But I will have it turn on 2 hours before we get up and shut down about 30 minutes after we go to bed.
Well the heater is going and the house is up to 62 degrees. Progress. It's so bad we have cats snuggling with dogs.
I also took the Christmas Card photo. Had a lot of lovely outtakes.
hum yeah.
The young one cracks me up.
After the photo we played Tie Ethan Up.
Did I tell ya about my three new babies?

I have three orange trees in my kitchen. They are made to live in my area. Although when I plant them next year I will have to make a make shift green house for them. I worry about them.

Monday, December 2, 2013

23 Days and Counting

So before anyone asks about this pie and where is the recipe? You can find it here This is the first pumpkin pie since going dairy and egg free that has turned out. OH and using my own pumpkin. It did take an hour to cook. Normally when I get the 90 minute mark I normally give up.
On the flip side Tucker ate every single bite of this pie. I kid ya not.
So my kids have been counting down to Christmas since we were at the 50 day mark. We are now at 23 days and I'm not freaking out. In fact today we got Christmas all set up. Because we keep it simple in under an hour it was all brought in, set up and empty totes taken out. I love how simple we keep things. When I was growing up it would take a whole weekend and then some. I don't understand the point. And even when my mother moved she didn't downsize her shed and attic full of Christmas. Nope she took it all with her.
So why I'm I not freaking out? Well because I started shopping months ago. I watch things, I wait for sales, I use coupons, store credit, and swagbucks. I have spent very little on Christmas. Although don't get me wrong, my kids do not get a big Christmas. Nor do they need one. They will get 2-3 things each. BUT they get something they really want, verses me just getting something to fill under the tree and over load their bedrooms.
And this will led us until our very simple year next year. No extra buying, we will make do, we will save every penny and pay down the house. If we can hold on for a year to a year and a half and make this work, then we are really setting ourselves up for a great future. Well and if not, then we could use a serious butt kicking. BUT I have to remind myself not to be like my parents. I never want to put my kids through the hell of loosing a house.
Although I have a worry of something major coming up to detour this. Like last year and a broken arm. So anymore broken bones and we will use duct tape and make do (I'M JOKING)