Archive | April 2014

Our Living Room Redo

Our living room is a normal sized room, but seems small when you put 9 people into it regularly.¬† I am not a fashion designer (I don’t have a designer bone in my body) but a friend from our kids school is helping me with ideas and walking me through the uncomfortable stuff, like actually making a decision and going with it ūüôā

I can’t blame it on my husband.¬† He has told me over and over that I can improve the house.¬† It’s just that I didn’t know what to do.¬† Again and again, I would start on one thing and hit a road block because I didn’t want to spend the money or didn’t know what to buy so I’d get discouraged and not move forward with the project.¬† Over and over again.

Pulling the trigger on purchasing something is super hard for me.¬† I don’t want to waste my money.¬† I want to make a wise purchase, so I put things off thinking the decision will get easier or more clear if I wait, but it never does.

I decided (after a mini breakdown with my husband) that I wanted to update and make the house nicer that it has been.  With seven kids and no decorating skills, it was okay at best, and I never invited people over because I was embarrassed about how it looked.

Finally after our last home decorating discussion, I asked a lady a school to help.¬† She has been wonderful.¬† She loves to paint and had a home decorating business before she had kids.¬† Now, she just has fun with it.¬† She has been my go to lady to bounce ideas off of, she has guided me gently to where I wanted to be.¬† She has given me advice without being pushy.¬† I feel like she has drawn out of me what I like and don’t like.¬† She has been a true blessing.

Anyway, here are the before pictures.

Front corner to opposite corner.

Left front corner to opposite rear corner.

Picture taken from the entry of our living room.

Picture taken from the entry of our living room.

From the far corner looking at the entrance of the living room.

From the far right corner looking at the entrance of the living room.

Picture from the middle of the living room.

Picture from the middle of the living room.

 

Here are the after pictures.

Living room from the entrance from hallway.

Living room from the entrance from hallway.

Living room from my chair.

Living room from my chair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living room from the loveseat.

Living room from the loveseat.

I purchased 2 Billy Bookshelves plus the extra shelves to make them extra tall from Ikea.  I bought 2 corner shelves at Hobby Lobby.  I purchased the couch, loveseat and chair from Ikea.  Our entertainment center is a few years old and I got it at Target.  We have a flat screen television that is a few years old.  My husband loves electronics, so we have had that for a while.

I really love all that we have done in here.  It is like a whole new house.  The only thing left to do in here is flooring.  I am still considering my options but am leaning towards laminate or some type of hard surface.  No more carpet on the first floor except for the bedrooms.

How about you, have you improved anything lately?

Ann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Belated Easter

We had a fabulous weekend.¬† My parents were here, and on Saturday we colored eggs, we chatted, we took a tour around our house and checked all of the plants coming up this spring.¬† We ate and ate and ate, it was wonderful.¬†¬† On Sunday morning we did church and then the kids found their Easter baskets, we had an egg hunt (with $ in the eggs), and we had our feast at 1pm.¬† It¬† was a very busy, but wonderful day.¬† Sometimes it works out like this, and other times it doesn’t.¬† I’m really glad this was an up year, it seems as if they have been mediocre lately.

Here are some photos of our weekend.

L's first time coloring eggs.  She loved it!

L’s first time coloring eggs. She loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T is getting too big to color a lot of eggs, but he did dip a couple :)

T is getting too big to color a lot of eggs, but he did dip a couple ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S with his favorite egg.

S with his favorite egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A with her favorite colored egg.

A with her favorite colored egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L with her colored hands.  I just love the green and yellow hands !

L with her colored hands. I just love the green and yellow hands !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and my husband on Easter Sunday.

My husband and me on Easter Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, my mom, and the girls.

Me, my mom, and the girls.

A and L easter 2014

Easter Day with 2 beautiful girls.

kids sharing candy

The kids enjoying some Easter candy after finding their baskets.

marg easter 2014

My mother-in-law enjoying a cup of coffee after dinner.

leo easter 2014

My father-in-law eating Easter dinner.

 

I hope you all had a glorious Easter, we did!

5 Frugal Things That I Did This Week

1. I executed my well thought out plan for what we needed. I had it all written out and waiting for my hubby to get paid. No spur of the moment shopping. That is what kills me.

2. I got the new shades for our windows. I have been wanting them for the kids windows for a long time. I got them at Lowe’s where they cut them to fit. They look great! And no custom orders for me! I hate to ask for help at the home improvement places because I only need little things and feel like I am wasting their time. Yes, I have issues ūüôā

3. I kept the credit card bill under budget for the first time in a VERY long time. This is why I had everything written out for # 1. (We pay it off every month whether I stay on budget or not.)

4. We ate at home and we froze the leftovers that we wouldn’t be able to eat quickly with Easter approaching.

5. I did all of my grocery shopping at Aldi.  They even had a nice spiral sliced ham and a shrimp ring that my family will enjoy for Easter.

How about you, what have you done to be frugal this week?

Ann

Updating Our House

I have been updating our house.¬† I don’t think I put the living room¬†update on the blog, so I will have to do that.¬† Today I got new carpet on the stairs and the hallway upstairs.¬† I have been wanting to do it for a long time, but with all of the kids etc. you wonder if it will be worth it.

Anyway, I  love, love, love it!

We are turning this area into a mini media room for the kids.¬† We have already put up 2 flat screen TVs.¬†¬†My husband is¬†working on making the wires disappear into the walls.¬† ¬†I am super excited to give this area a purpose.¬† I haven’t known what to do up there for 15+ years.¬† A friend who is helping me decorate came up with this idea and I love it.¬† To be fair to my husband, he did tell me to use the space, but I didn’t have any idea how to pull it off.¬† Sometimes all you need a fresh pair of CREATIVE eyes.¬† Creative eyes that¬†are able to see the big picture.¬† Those are not my talents, to say the least!

Here are some pictures of the before and the current.¬† I can’t do the after…well, until after… and that may be a little while ūüôā

Steps before

Steps before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallway before

Hallway before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old padding

Old padding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old padding removed

Old padding removed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New padding

New padding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New padding in hallway

New padding in hallway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New padding on steps

New padding on steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New carpet being installed on the steps

New carpet being installed on the steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steps again

Steps again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallway after

Hallway after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steps after

Steps after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, if you made it this far, you must be bored out of your head.  I am using this as a diary of sorts.  Thanks for your understanding!

Ann

 

 

 

 

 

A Savings Update

money

Christmas savings is still the same at $705.  We are having a lean couple of weeks as we owe on taxes this year.  I will continue to save as I am able.  I am on track at this point.

Cruise savings update.¬† I have $550 saved for our future cruise.¬† We had a savings account that had $150 in it that we didn’t contribute to regularly.¬† My husband¬†said I could¬†start the cruise account with that¬†$150¬†and we updated it so that we could transfer online (We have had it for years.¬† Maybe before we were married?¬† I don’t remember.)¬† I have been trying to trim down my grocery budget and put any leftover grocery money in there.¬† Having this cruise as a goal has really helped me to want to save money.¬† It has made me really think about what I am spending my money on.¬† I have been a much wiser shopper and I have been able to keep more of my money in my pocket that may have gone out to various stores.¬† Also, if we were good with our money I do try to slide a little extra into that account.¬† It will take a while to save for a cruise for 9 people.

Cash money in the safe.¬† We have $320.¬† I am trying to put aside some money in our safe.¬† I read a book about the depression recently and it had lots of different people’s stories in the book.¬† One common theme was that a lot, not all, but a lot of people had some money in the bank during the depression.¬† When the banks closed, they were unable to get to their money.¬† This concerns me.¬† The banks were closed for a few months where people couldn’t access their very own money.¬† I want to be prepared in case something like that happens.

This book taught me a lot of things.  Nowadays, our country and our people have too much.  We have too much stuff and too much debt.  I want to be a good example to my children to have a budget and stick to it.

I want them to realize all of the “stuff” that we have, and how that “stuff” can be taken away very quickly with no income or savings.¬† During the depression people were willing to work, but there were no jobs.¬† People were hungry and cold.¬† The adults were eating only one meal a day so that their kids could have more food.¬† They were desperate.¬† But they worked anywhere doing any job.¬† They weren’t too good to do a hard days work.¬† I want my children to be willing to do whatever is necessary to provide for their family.

Also, I came to understand a little about how the communities worked together as best as they could to meet each others needs.¬† The bartering system was a big help to get goods and services from one family to another.¬† I want them to think about what skills might be valuable in desperate times.¬†¬†¬†Skills that aren’t common right now may make life easier in hard times.¬† For example, a butcher to prepare wild game that is¬†killed.¬†¬†¬†I want them to consider what items would be good for trading.¬† For example firewood for people in subdivisions with¬†little access¬†to¬†trees.¬†I want them to imagine¬†what someone would be willing¬†to trade for that is readily available now, but may not be available in hard times.¬† For example sweets.¬†¬†Having bees and honey may be valuable.¬† When times are tough, it’s the¬†basics that count.¬† All of the things that we think are luxuries, like big houses, may be a detriment in harder times.

I want them to work towards spending and savings goals.  I want them to have to wait to get some of the things that they want to purchase.  I want them to do the hard things that are required to be debt free.

I understand that there are times when debt must be incurred,¬†especially when they are young and starting out in the world,¬†but I don’t want them to take debt lightly.¬† It is a big deal to have to pay back money that you don’t have.¬† It is a headache that stays with you until it is gone.

I had student loans and credit card debt when I got out of graduate school.¬† I couldn’t wait for it to be gone.¬† I scrimped and saved and paid every penny I had to get those paid off as quickly as possible.¬† It was a long (3-and-a half-years)¬†and painful process for me.¬† I don’t ever want to forget those lessons.¬† As Dave Ramsey says, “the borrower is the slave to the lender”.¬† I learned that I don’t ever want to face those lessons again.¬† I will wait and save.¬† It is harder, but more rewarding that way.

How about you, do you live by a budget?  How much is too much debt?

Ann

Been Busy…With Pictures

Sorry I’ve been gone, but with my husband gone last week, I’ve been a little lot busy!¬† While he was gone wasn’t too bad, but as soon as he hit the door we have been running!¬† Here is some of the stuff that has been going on in the last few weeks.

A my 7-year-old daughter had her father/daughter dance with AHG.  Here is a picture of them.

2014 AHG dance

 

All of the pictures had the sun in their eyes, so some my husband was smiling, but A, had her eyes closed.   This was the best that I got at home.  They had a great time.  A ate too many sweets and had an upset stomach for some time during the dance.  I need to remind her to limit her sweets next year!

Also, we had 2 birthdays recently.  My husband turned 47!  How can I be married to someone who is 47?  Crazy!

tonys 47th b-day

Right after my husband’s birthday is my son R’s birthday.¬† He turned 15.¬† Wow!

R's 15th birthday with T in the background.

R’s 15th birthday with T in the background.

We have been outside when the weather is cooperating.  L loves being outside.  It should be  a fun summer!

L loving being outside.

L loving being outside.

We got three chicks from a teacher at school.  They are cute!  L loved looking at them.  When my husband took one out of the brooder to show her, she wanted to grab them.  She about ripped the head off of one.  We did want to get a picture of her with the chicks, but she was grabbing at the chicks and we were worried about their safety.  Here she is distressed because she really wanted to hold a chick.

L crying because we wouldn't let her hold the chick.  She about killed it 10 seconds before this picture was taken.

L crying because we wouldn’t let her hold the chick. She about killed it 10 seconds before this picture was taken.

J, our oldest, and a senior in high school was named Salutatorian of his senior class.  We are very excited and proud of his accomplishments!  He should qualify for some additional scholarships because of this achievement.

J was named Salutatorian of his senior class!

J was named Salutatorian of his senior class!

I just love this picture of L eating a muffin, so I had to add it!

 

L eating a muffin.

L eating a muffin.

We had the chess tournament which was a Friday night and Saturday all day.¬† The boys held up great.¬† They didn’t do as well as they hoped, but now they realize that they need to keep practicing so that they improve for next year.

 

 

T and S after finishing up the chess tournament.

T and S after finishing up the chess tournament.

S and A had to dress up as their favorite fictional character for a school assignment.¬† S read Charlotte’s Web and went as Wilbur the pig.¬† A read all of the Fancy Nancy books that our local library had and then dressed up like her.

S as Wilbur the pig for fictional character day

S as Wilbur the pig for fictional character day

A dressed as Fancy Nancy

A dressed as Fancy Nancy.

Here is M being nice and pushing the girls on the swings.  L just loves him.  She calls out his name a million times a day and I have to remind her that he is in school.  He just signed up for PSEO, so he will be taking 2 college classes next year.  He will only be a junior in high school next year, so by the end of his senior year, he will have about a semester of college credits completed!

M being a nice big brother and pushing his sisters on the swings.

M being a nice big brother and pushing his sisters on the swings.

R has been working on his forge.  We recently were able to acquire coal which has really opened up his options as compared to the charcoal which he has been using.  It burns much hotter than the charcoal did.

R working on his forge.

R working on his forge.

Anyway, that is some of the things that we have been up to.  How about you, what have you been up to?

Ann

 

 

 

 

 

5 Frugal Things That I Did This Week

Thanks to Melissa at House Full of Searls for starting these posts.

I shop on Fridays, just so you know.

1.   I went to Costco to get a few supplies and I found low carb bars that I can eat for breakfast for $19.99 for 24 bars.  That is 83 cents per bar. My Adkins bars are $6.96 for 5 bars. That is $1.39 per bar.  I bought them and I will save 56 cents every day!

2.¬† I stayed home all week and didn’t shop at all until payday.

3.  I made all meals at home.  We ate all leftovers too.

4.  My husband ordered a part to fix my Oreck vacuum himself instead of taking it in to the vacuum repair shop.  They vacuum shop quoted me $35 and my husband was able to fix it for $9 (with shipping)!

5.  I planned all of our meals for the next week and shopped minimally to help save money to pay for the upcoming taxes which are due in just a couple of weeks.

How about you, what did you do to save money this week?

Ann