Frugal Weekend Shopping from Your Sofa

A friend of mine shared a gift card with me to ThredUp.  I’ve been hearing about them, but never checked it out before now.  I looked around their site and was amazed at the selection of stylish stuff for thrift store prices.  Some of the items are brand new, some are gently used.  Each description is clear on what you are buying.  If there is a flaw, it’s clearly described so you can make an informed decision.

I picked out 2 dresses, a pair of studded skinny corduroy jeans, and a tunic top with a fun leaf print.  After my gift card savings it was shipped to my door for around $35.

Now here’s the part I wasn’t expecting:

polka dot box

Polka Dot Box

Polka Dot Promise

Cute little note on the inside flap.

Enjoy sticker

Tissue gift wrapped and sealed with an enjoy sticker.

Stuff Thred Up

There’s my stuff–it’s clean, inspected, and tagged.  Definitely not a thrift store shopping experience. (Ever feel like you need a good hand washing and maybe a shower after shopping at a thrift store?)

Thred up Tag

Thred Up Tag Back

Part of the reason why I ordered a few new clothing items is I’ve gained 20 pounds since I became ill last December.   I chose things that would fit me now and still look nice when I find healing and get my body under control.

Black Lace Dress

This is a stretch black dress (I brightened it and messed up the color so you could see the cool detail.)  The star burst style is Very figure flattering and the stretchy fit means it will still look great even if I get smaller again.

Studded Courderoys

Navy Blue Studded Corduroys.  I heart studs right now.  The low rise cut means they still fit in my old size (because of my hormone imbalance I’m only gaining weight in my middle area and my thighs and hips are staying the same size.) These are probably the highest quality pair of pants I’ve ever owned.


This leaf top was listed as a dress, but it is just a few inches longer than my bum.  It is an adorable tunic top to wear with my white skinny jeans and a belt to accentuate what’s left of my waist.

Sun dress with yellow belt

The last item I bought was this yellow belted strappy dress.  I thought I would be a safe choice since it is an empire waist, but it wouldn’t zip :(.  This is tucked in the back of my closet as inspiration to keep making healthy food choices.  Heidi might borrow it while I’m working towards being able to wear it.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my whole experience with ThredUp and will definitely shop there again.  If you’d like to try it, here’s a $10 gift card to get you started.  If you shop with that link, not only will you get $10, but they’ll send me $10 too :).

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Are you Cheap?



Growing up, I didn’t know that word was an insult.  If someone said, “I like your shoes?”  I’d reply, “Thanks, and they were cheap!” Like it was the their best feature.  And if you looked interested, I’d probably tell you how much they cost and where you could snag your own deal.

It wasn’t until I became part of Mary Kay that I learned that telling people how much an item cost was not very classy.   Not that they wanted us to pay a lot for stuff, just to make it our secret.  I’m destined to be unclassy.  It’s hard to break a long standing habit, especially when I think I’m really just helping people with good info, lol.

When Extreme Cheapskates called me up to do the show (which you can see on Netflix if you missed it,) I didn’t think much about the name. Then I watched the first episode.  Oh My!  They really went out of their way to emphasize the extreme, no?  They were making fun of us a little.  I’ve heard of some of the other people on the show. (The guy on after me was a famous NY Times best selling author.) They made him look a lot weirder than he really is. Shocking to me, there’s a culture out there that looks down on frugal people and values paying lots of money for stuff….go figure.

I think there’s a difference though between cheap and frugal.  I didn’t look this up; I’m making this up. Both words mean not spending a lot of money, but in addition they might mean:

Cheap: Poor quality, low class, low value, breaks easily, loose morals, trashy, stingy

Frugal: Hard working, savvy, patient, responsible, DIY, generous, faithful, conservative

Retail industry has a vested interest in making us love spending and judge quality by price.  When you think about it, their advertisements run our newspapers, magazines, TV, radio… the media that is shaping our culture. They tell us our clothes are out of style the minute we cut the tags off; our homes should be redone every season; and everything is subject to fad,  even our food.

It’s gotten so bad that people are drawing their personal worth from what they drive, where they live, and what they wear.  Some even measure other’s peoples love for them by the price of their gifts. Let me tell you something.  You are valuable.  And worth just as much even dirty, naked and homeless.  Simply because you are created in the image of God.  He paid a dear price for you and you belong to him.  And then, He set you free.  If your house is a mess or decorated in some other fashion than blogger style, so what?  If you rock mom jeans, no worries.  If you have peanut butter on the front windows of your door–it doesn’t change anything. You are priceless.  And when you look in the mirror you see a piece of God staring back at you—You are in his image!  Don’t tell me THAT isn’t beautiful.

What do you think?  Is there a difference between cheap and frugal?  Are they both bad, both good?  Is your favorite color blue? (Just to see if you’re still reading….)

(FYI if you want that shirt it’s for sale on zazzle.  Click the photo to go there.  But I’ll have to warn you–it’s not cheap….)

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How to Get Your Husband to Budget with You

couple calculating their domestic bills at home

Hi Ladies! Long time no see. I’ve been back in bed for a bit, except to teach choir and maybe another hour or two.  Technically I could blog from bed (like I’m doing now) but sometimes even that takes too much energy. I don’t want to dwell on that, though.

I want to talk about manipulation.  Wait.  What?  What I mean is getting your husband to do something he really doesn’t want to do.   We should call it motivation instead.  That sounds better.

Sometimes we get on the saving money kick and our other half doesn’t get it.  If we save money while he spends it.  That can make for a rough relationship.  So how do you get a reluctant husband to budget with you?

1.  Budget naked.  Put the kids to bed.  Find a location behind a locked door and have a naked budget meeting.  He’ll show up at least, and that’s the first step.

2.  Have snacks.  Good ones.

3.  Do most of the work ahead of time.  Draw up a rough draft budget and have a short explanation of each category.  Then ask for his input.  Let him change stuff and don’t get your feelings all hurt if he does.

4.  Talk less than you want to.

5.  Make the budget meeting a safe place.  He needs to be confident you will not yell, cry, or question his manhood or his character.

6.  Cheer him on.  Tell him all the things he does that you appreciate and never follow up with BUT.

7.  Have a common goal together.  When you both believe in the destination, you’ll both be willing to sacrifice to get there.

8.  If all else fails, let Dave Ramsey tell him what needs to be done.  That’s easiest done at  Financial Peace University class.  If he doesn’t want to go, do your own class at home….naked.

My husband does most of the budgeting (being an accountant and all) but sometimes it’s hard for him to set the time aside and get it done or include me in the process.  Seriously, the naked tip is the only one I need to motivate him, lol.  The keep it short and talk less than you want to, is what makes me show up.

What about you?  Does your husband like to budget?  Do you have any tips for making the budget meeting more fun (or at least happen?)

And yes the alternate title of this post was “Budget Naked.”

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Free Printable Lunch Planner

Free printable Lunch menu planner

How do you feel about school starting again?  I love my hour I spend with the High School choir every day, and I love that my kids go to school in a place with small classes where the scriptures are woven into every subject.  One the other hand, we trade a little bit of peace and calm in the mornings and evenings for that privilege (vs homeschooling), and all day alone with a 3 year old is harder than it sounds.  Last year was so stressful and the summer was so awesome, that I’m not ready to let go of that yet.

Part of what made last year so hard was our level of disorganization at home.  I love being organized, but half of last year we didn’t have a functioning kitchen.  There wasn’t a room in our house untouched by the chaos of remodeling. The kids were going in all different directions and every night had an activity of some sort. I craved a quiet evening at home. We were often late or forgot to show up places, stayed up all night to finish assignments that were assigned long before, tried to dress when there were few clean clothes (We own 10 red ties and you can’t even find ONE?!!!), and THIS:

“Ring, ring”

“Hello, This is Angela.”

“Um, Mom…..Were you going to pick me up?”

I became “That Mom.”

So instead of freaking out about doing that again, I’m getting organized.  I <3 labels.  I just bought these from Amazon, and have been using Power Point to print Business Card Size labels on cardstock to slip inside.  Here they are in action.

Labeled Laundry Basket

Next I will be putting labels on each shelf so the baskets end up in the right spot. Don’t hate me because it’s beautiful.

And yes, we labeled both sides, so no matter which way you put the laundry basket away, it’s still labeled.

In honor of not freaking out because school is starting, I made a little printable lunch planner gift for us.  I printed mine out on cardstock and then laminated it to use over and over with a dry erase marker.  You can download your own here: Brown Bag Lunch Plan.

Lunch Planner collage


It comes with several different background choices.  But they all have cupcakes and cookies (over the top of headings like produce and protein) just because I’d rather look at a cupcake than a carrot–true story.


The one thing we did well last year was the kids made their own lunches every day.  It’s the only way we got out the door on time.  Even my kindergartener made his own lunch.   The only thing more stressful than packing 5 lunches every day is paying an extra $300 a month to buy them, lol.

Sometimes the kids are late/lazy or forget their lunch in the car.  Then they borrow money to eat a school lunch and pay back the cafeteria from their own piggy bank.  Yes, it feels really mean and I’m sad when this happens.  But if I helicopter mom in every time my kids are irresponsible, they’ll never stand on their own.  (Ok, I did go back a couple of times when I saw it in the car before getting all the way home.)

Snack Baskets

Here’s how we do it: After dinner I pack leftovers into lunch containers and stick the in the fridge..  In the morning, the kids choose from those or make a peanut butter or meat sandwich instead, then choose a couple of side dishes from their snack basket.  They drink water, so no juice boxes for us, unless it’s a special occasion.  The school provides silverware and napkins and has a couple of microwaves to use.  Though sometimes the line is so long, there’s no time to eat once they get their food warmed up.

This year, I plan to cook the packable lunch dishes from the GSP menu with Grant at noon.  He and I can eat together and then have the leftovers ready to go for everyone else the next day.

How do you stay organized for the school year?  Seriously, I need ideas, (especially if they involve labels.)

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A Look at Contentment Part 1

you'll have what you want

During a long illness last winter, I watched every episode of “Say Yes to the Dress.”  It was shocking.  I couldn’t look away.  These brides willingly dropped half an annual salary on a dress they would wear once, for a marriage that was likely to end in divorce within the next 5 years.


Many girls would turn down beautiful dress after beautiful dress only to see a dress across the store that they had to try on.  Their consultant would discourage them.  “Don’t do it; It’s not in your price range…”  The determined bride would try it on anyway, and then nothing else would do.  Any sacrifice necessary to have that dress was made, or the bride went home disappointed, unable to settle for less once she tasted real luxury.

It’s easy for me to look at this situation and see the utter ridiculousness of it all.  In my sub-culture weddings were about the marriage.  The months of planning before the ceremony centered on pre-marriage counseling and preparation for a commitment that would last a lifetime. We had cake and punch receptions; a modest dress, often handmade bridesmaid’s dresses and pew bows crafted in the maid of honor’s basement.  A friend of the family sang a song or maybe played an instrument.  It was simple, affordable.  No one was trying to prove anything.

“Say Yes to the Dress,” kind of ridiculousness can bleed into many areas of life:  Our cars; clothing; home decor; schools.  At the end of the day, being content with what we can afford to have is what brings happiness.  And here’s how we get it:

1. Being grateful.  Recognizing our immense blessings.
2.Not comparing. What someone else has doesn’t minimize what we have.
3.Putting value on eternal things: Our faith; our family; our friends
4.Knowing where our value comes from:  We are valuable because we are created in the image of God.  He valued us enough to sacrifice His Son’s life for ours.  Careers, the car we drive, cool clothes, a fancy house… nothing can change our inherent worth.

I’ll be honest, I’ve caught myself getting sucked into the trap.  We are remodeling a house that was barely inhabitable, and I find myself wanting to use this ONE shot to make it as stylish and trendy and beautiful as possible.  When, really, it’s all fleeting.  Styles change; stuff gets “broken in.” Things get dirty.  Wanting to do a good job with the remodel isn’t wrong, but what is wrong is getting so caught up in the decisions and slowness of it all that I let it steal my peace.   In the midst of it all, I’m learning a deeper lesson in contentment.

How about you?  How have you been learning contentment? Has it helped you stick to the budget?

P.S.  There’s still 2 days left to enter the Plexus giveaway.


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Plexus Giveaway

Have you been hearing about an amazing pink drink?  I was curious about the reports of energy, weight loss and better sleep from those taking it, so when Laurell offered me a trial week’s supply in exchange for a review, I was pumped.

When she gave me the sample I was in a downward health spiral into adrenal fatigue from stress.  I volunteered for too much this summer right after a very stressful school year.  My body just couldn’t handle it.  I gained 6 pounds in 10 days at the height of the problem.  I was so exhausted I spent 18-20 hours a day in bed and was constantly sick.


I started taking the drink and the accelerator the week I taught music at Bible school.  I was expecting it to be like a protein shake, but it isn’t at all.  It’s more like a Crystal light packet that you pour into a bottle of water, except it is sweetened with stevia and colored with beet juice, nothing artificial.  It tasted fabulous like pomegranate juice and had a slight aftertaste of chocolate.

The first day, I didn’t notice much.  The second day, I noticed a significant decrease in my morning appetite.  The Bible school staff brought me MM trail mix for snacks, and I didn’t care much about it.  That was a definite change in normal behavior.  My afternoon appetite was still pretty strong and I felt like a second pink drink would have helped with that.  The company does say it’s ok to take a second drink then if you need it.

I finished the whole week sample without any weight loss to report.  That’s not abnormal since it can take more than one week to see results, and my body was fighting a major system error that was blocking weight loss anyway.  It is going to have to heal before it will be willing to let go of fat.

BUT the next week after taking Plexus I went outside with a chainsaw and cleared a forest out of the last 20 feet of my backyard.

From this:

Backyard before

To this:

Clearing brush

That was significant.

Would you like to try it for a week yourself?  Laurell is giving that opportunity away to one lucky reader.  You can enter through rafflecopter below.  If you are too excited to wait on the 7 day trial, you can Sign up as a preferred customer here and order the plexus slim. Then you will be entered into an extra giveaway to win a month supply of plexus boost or accelerator to accompany it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s Laurell’s personal story.

Ogle family

This is my Plexus story – I’m going to step WAY outside my comfort zone and share about how I’m feeling. It’s not really my cup of tea but here it goes… I got stuck, I lost the baby weight and stopped losing weight. I added in some awesome workouts and tracked my food and still nothing, the scale would not budge more than 3 lbs one way or another. To be honest, it’s been this way forever. I weighed this after getting married, before getting pregnant with baby #1, lost all that baby weight (55lbs) but got stuck at this weight, repeated that process with baby #2 and stayed stuck at this weight. I also felt constantly tired and irritable and kind of sad – I chalked that up to having a baby who got up 6+ times a night and a mommy who never got a full night’s sleep but once 9 months hit, that sweet little boy started sleeping through the night but this mommy didn’t feel any better. So I drank more coffee and still felt exhausted and then I read an article on The Better Mom called “I don’t want to be an angry mom, so I threw away my coffee pot”, so for no real good reason other than I read an article about a mom that threw away her coffee pot.

Fast forward a couple weeks, a friend from High School posted on her facebook about Plexus, it wasn’t a meal replacement or a miracle pill (I don’t believe it those anyways), it was a drink that helped stabilize blood sugar levels, helped decrease sugar cravings, and helped people have more energy and lose weight, so I thought sign me up!! Okay, so not really – I was actually very skeptical, we had really changed our diet over the past year and I did not want to go back to artificial fake stuff so I did a little reading on it because I felt like I was at a point of desperation with feeling stuck and I read literally hundreds of personal experiences, read some independent studies, went through the ingredient list and thought so what do I have to lose? And I decided I’m going to make my husband take it with me and give it a try (I made my husband take it because I read a handful of testimonies where it helped people with pain and inflammation – He will come home at night from a 12 hour shift and be limping from wearing 30 lbs of gear on his waist and his knee and joints will hurt) so we decided to take plexus slim and the accelerator (to speed up weight loss) and in two weeks, I was down about 6 lbs, which is amazing because I had been stuck here for almost 6 months with no scale changes! So to see those numbers on the scale move was huge! But – bigger than that is the way I feel. I can’t even put it into words but I felt like a new person (and a better mom). My biggest testimony to plexus is that I feel like myself again, happy, healthy, and full of energy. I’m even sleeping better at night and waking up refreshed in the morning and feeling fantastic. But my favorite part of all of this was that husband’s chronic pain was significantly reduced within 3 days. In all seriousness, three days into drinking plexus – he said, “I don’t hurt at the end of my shifts”. This is a guy that was in constant pain that pain relievers, ice and oils didn’t help much (and I LOVE my essential oils) I have NEVER seen anything work like this for him before.

So this is me being real – I wanted to share because it has literally made me feel like a new person. And I’ll say it again, I don’t believe in a “skinny pill” and I believe that health and weight loss are achieved through a healthy lifestyle including good food, exercise and…now plexus. And I am excited about it, just plain excited because we are real testimonies to how Plexus has helped us feel better!


*Plexus update – So here is another BIG step outside my comfort zone! Not a big fan of personal pictures but here is the difference in me from April to June…I’ve lost pounds and inches but some the most important things are what you can’t see on the outside which is that I feel amazing! I have lots of energy with no crash! I’m getting up in the mornings to work out and sleeping better than I have in years! I don’t have these crazy sugar cravings anymore, the awful “mommy brain” or brain fog I used to get is so much better and for the first time in forever I have clear skin (and that’s what happens when you get your gut healthy) I am loving this journey I’m on!

What is Plexus Slim?

Plexus Slim is a drink mix that was originally designed to help people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar. When it was originally being tested it was noted that all the subjects also lost weight and had significant improvements in other areas of health. The pink powdered drink mix comes in individual serving packages. You mix it in a glass or bottle of water, drink it once a day and that’s it! This is something that can be a snowball to good health. There are no stimulants or addictive factors in Slim.


What does Plexus Slim do?

Plexus Slim is the most natural, healthy solution to help you lose weight and inches by burning fat, no muscle. Slim also helps keep blood sugar, cholesterol and lipids at healthy levels. In addition, Slim helps reduce binge eating and increases your willpower over food. Simply pour into a bottle of water 30 minutes before a meal, drink, and enjoy the results!


Who have I observed that seems to benefit the most from Plexus Slim?

*Those with blood sugar control problems (diabetics and pre-diabetics)

*Attention/focus problems

*Those with fatigue (very connected to blood sugar balance)

*Folks who want to lose weight

*People with low energy

*Anyone with inflammation issues

*Ladies with low thyroid issues

*People who want help with cholesterol and blood pressure issues


What is in Plexus Slim?

Proprietary health blend consisting of: Chlorogenic Acid (plant extract), Citrin K (Garcinia Cambodia), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Chromium (Amino Nicotinate GTF), Polydextrose, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors (pomegranate), Beet Root and Grape Skin Extract, Stevia Extract, Lo Han Extract.

Plexus Slim has no added caffeine and other stimulants.


60 day money back guarantee! So, you have nothing to lose by trying 2 months’ supply of Slim. On the other hand, you have everything to gain! You and YOUR health are worth it! Just visit my website to order. In addition, Plexus offers a few other products to promote good health. You can learn more on my website. Feel free to call, email, or text me with any questions! I am here to help you improve your health.

Laurell Ogle

Independent Plexus Ambassador #264707






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Teaching Kids to Handle Money: The Trip Envelope

My parents have 8 grandchildren. Two years ago, they started an annual tradition to build personal relationships with each of the kids in small groups. Every year, they take 2 of the kids on a road trip to see some national treasure like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Pike’s Peak.

Lion Country Safari


For the year leading up to the trip they have those 2 kids over for trip planning meetings to involve them in the process. Every meeting builds anticipation and excitement. Also during that year, my parents host several work days. Heidi and Caleb painted the fence (a LOT of fence.) The next year, Heather and Dub did yard work. Because of the rough, long lasting winter, they didn’t get quite as many work days in. My parents paid them in cash in an envelope for their trip.  It worked so well, that my folks recommended we do the same thing for our kids on our drive to Florida.

Lion Country Safari 2

We had envelopes for each of them with 20 crisp new one dollar bills. I forgot to pass them out at first so when we stopped for gas I gathered them around in the filling station for a chat. “I have an envelope for each of you,” I said. Their eyes got wide as they saw me take out the bills from one envelope and spread them. “Everyone has the same amount to last for the entire trip. You can spend them any way you want, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. We will provide the food for your meals, your clothing, and pay to get you into Lion Country Safari, but if you want snacks or souvenirs, it comes out of this envelope. Whatever you don’t spend is yours to keep when we get home.”


Brandon, who is 6, took his envelope from me with a knowing look. He elbowed his brother, Dub, and said, “It’s a money test. They want to see if we are going to be wasters.” I heard a snicker and looked up at the cashier who quickly turned away and pretended to be uninterested.

A few of the children chose a frozen drink and timidly handed their money to the cashier. He paid the sales tax for them from his own pocket so they wouldn’t have to break a second precious dollar.


It was interesting to watch the different personalities of the kids. My oldest, Heidi, saved her money and when it came time to buy a souvenir she left the store empty handed. On the way back to the car she mentioned there was a shirt that was really cute that she loved. “Why didn’t you buy it?” I asked. She shrugged. I dragged her back to the store so she could show me the shirt. It was on the clearance rack for $7 and was adorable! It was a flattering feminine cut in her favorite color and had the name of the park down the side in a tasteful but not typical fashion. “You are a super shopper, girl. Buy the shirt.” There’s a personality type that can feel guilty spending ANY money at all, even when it’s a time they should spend. Part of parenting our kids to be smart with money, is to help them find that balance.


My second oldest was always thinking of others. He would look for packages of things that he could share with the group and rarely bought something just for himself.

All of my kids saved most of their money for their trip out and bought tasteful souvenirs at the park. But on the way home some of them went crazy with spending. It was like they thought the money would self destruct if there was any left when they got home. We had several whispering gas station conversations that sounded like this, “That $2 piece of candy is only $1 at Dollar Tree at home. Are you sure you want to spend your money that way?” Usually those kids made good choices, but when we got home, they begged for a trip to Dollar Tree to spend the rest of their money. My older ones set theirs aside for future possibilities. When the younger ones think of something they’d really like to buy in the future, they’ll get a lesson in opportunity cost (now that their money is gone) and the value of hard work.   Those lessons are harder to learn from a lecture.

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What You’ve Wanted to Know About MomCEO…

..but been afraid to ask.

Let’s talk a little about the MOMCEO ad button in the right hand side bar.  The one that looks like this:


Some of you have clicked it and some of you have been curious but afraid to click.

I want you to know that I personally just signed up with Sandi, the Mom behind MOMCEO. I took a few years to think about it, but it just makes sense for me right now.

It all started with a box in the mail that Sandi sent me awhile back as a thank you for allowing her to be an advertiser on my blog.  I was making my own cleaning products at the time, but gave hers a try and they worked.  In fact, they worked better than my homemade ones.


Here’s Sandi and her children.

One of my best friends in my hometown also used the products and shared a few more with me.  Everything I tried was impressive.  For example, I’m a lazy cook.  I’ll put a pot of noodles boiling in milk and water on the stove and walk away.  It usually boils over and burns on the stove top and the bottom of the pan.  Cleaning that up was really hard until I tried one of these products.

This summer I had a chance to try a product I had never used before.  I was teaching the children’s choir at reunion “camp meeting” and it was the night for all the children to bring their special music. My daughter, Heather, dressed up in her brand new pure white dress, which matched her friend, Colette. They went into dinner together for the early shift with the other choir members.   Our campground has an ice-cream machine with 3 different flavors.  That night Heather chose a chocolate cone and enjoyed it outside.  By the time I caught up with her most of the chocolate ice-cream had dripped all over the front of her white dress while she was blissfully unaware.

white sundress

There were tears when she realized what had happened.  It was her only dress.  She was embarrassed to show up to sing in front of hundreds of people dressed inappropriately.  I helped her back to the room to find her dressiest pair of shorts and t-shirt, reassured her that she was more important than any dress,  promised to seat her towards the back and we headed out to our final rehearsal.

That night a little girl knocked on our door.  She had a bottle in her hand with a note attached.  I thanked her and read the note:  “I heard what happened and thought you could use this.”  It was a bottle of gel stain remover that happened to be from the same company that Sandi represents.  I rubbed it into the stains. Mind you this was HOURS after the accident and with our responsibilities and time constraints we hadn’t even soaked the dress in water yet. We had just counted it as a total loss. The next afternoon I decided to run a load of laundry and threw the dress in with the rest.  I hadn’t done anything besides the pretreatment the night before.

When it was time to switch everything to the dryer I checked the dress carefully so I wouldn’t set in the remaining stains. To my shock and delight the dress was SPOTLESS!  I was blown away.  As a result, I’ve signed up so I can keep this product on hand at all times along with all of the other products that I’ve learned to love.

The best part is that most of the cleaners come in concentrate bottles and have spray bottles with the appropriate mixing lines on them so the cost of the products is less than what you would pay for a similar but inferior product from Wal-mart.  The product line isn’t limited to cleaners though, they have health items, food items, cosmetics too.

Of course, there is a personal business side to this as well.  If people you come into contact with fall in love with the products or business opportunity there’s money in it for you.  Several of the readers here have already contributed to their family income by taking advantage of this opportunity.  Of course, it’s not for everyone.  If you are curious, Sandi is the perfect person to talk to, to find out if it’s right for you.


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House Remodel Update

Have you ever been pregnant almost 2 weeks past your due date and someone asked, “Have you had that baby yet?”

“Um, look at me.  Do I look like I’ve had this baby?”

I know people are just trying to reach out, to make conversation and say “I care about you.” What an overdue mama really needs to hear is,”You are beautiful.” “Can I bring you a meal?  Can I scrub your kitchen floor?  Are your kids available to come over and play? I’m dying to scrub someone’s toilet besides mine….can I come over?” “Have you had that baby yet?” makes her feel like she messed up or something.

I feel like that whenever anyone asks me about my house progress. Only, the kitchen is not 2 weeks past it’s due date, it’s a year past, lol.  That’s how remodeling goes sometimes.  But I do have some progress to show you.  The last update was here.  We were getting ready to paint our countertops gray and still had some hardwood floor to finish on the kitchen side.  The counters now look like this:

Insert the picture here, if you ever get your counters clean enough to photograph

DSC_3205 DSC_3206 DSC_3208

They work really well.  I wish I had just painted them and not tried to stain the wood, that I had sealed the seams ahead of time with paintable caulk and then sealed the whole thing with Annie’s soft wax.  We used marine sealer which added a yellow cast to the color that I’m not a big fan off.   I plan to sand, caulk, paint another layer and reseal, but I’m not in any hurry.

The kitchen floor is done, and we (and by we I mean, Darren) still need to finish the floor on the family room side.

Darren leveling family room floor

That part of the huge room as been especially difficult since the floor was so unlevel.  Nailing hardwood to unlevel floor can cause splitting and cracking and squeaky floors.  He has been creating an intricate puzzle of shims, wood shingles and plywood to get as perfect a level as a perfectionist can get. Darren promises it will be all done by the end of August and I’m super excited to put a rug and furniture in that room and reclaim the other rooms that have been storing it all.

Insert Current Pantry Photo here if you ever get all your laundry folded

The pantry has been framed in and painted and our carpenter is coming back this week to put in the plywood countertops.  I plan to finish those the way I wish I had done the kitchen ones and see if I like it better–only with gel stain instead of paint. Here’s an inspiration photo:

pantry inspiration


The two BIGGEST updates to my kitchen are our new fridge and dishwashers.

all fridge

It’s just a fridge, no freezer, so we have more space for food for our big family.  We have a chest freezer in a built in closet right across the room and we love everything about the arrangement, EXCEPT we miss the ice machine. We are saving up money to put an ice machine in our island which will be built right across from the sink. For now we keep a pitcher of water in the fridge, but it’s really not the same.


The other AWESOME addition is a 2nd dishwasher.  After feeding a family of 8 for a year with no kitchen and NO dishwasher I’m really digging having 2.  I think mountains of dishes is the most overwhelming part of a kitchen remodel.    They are both running several times a day. They still need to be framed in and secured but for now they are running great.

My friends at Young House Love do a great job making a list of all the projects they needed to do in their house and then showing where they are in the progress of it all.   (Ok, we’re not friends, I just stalk them via their blog, and pretend.)  So here’s our similar list for the whole house:

Heidi’s Room:

Peel Wallpaper

Paint and Carpet

Sew Duvet 

Sew bed pillows

Create an upholstered corner daybed like this one:

upholstered corner daybed

Improve her picture gallery wall (The frames still have the pictures that came in them….it’s been a year….hanging head in shame.)

Remove popcorn ceiling (At first we decided not to do this and just painted it, but I’m planning to remove all the popcorn in the house eventually. This room will be last.)

Heather’s Room

Heather's Room

This room is done for now.  You can read all about it here.

Family Room:

Finish floor

Paint French Doors

Paint French Door Trim

$$$ Move bedroom door

Repair drywall, paint

Put in floor trim and TV shelf trim

Hang 4 clipboards on other side of mirror

$$ Throw pillows on sectional (navy and spa blue)

Clean and Organize fireplace and TV stand (put back shelves)


Call Cabinet giant about order mix up

Install remaining cabinets

Install fridge surround

Install crown molding on cabinets

Install kick plates

Install floor trim

Frame in dishwashers

$$$ Install microwave

$,$$$ Build Island

$$$ Build deck stairs

$$$ Cut out 3 windows and install sliding glass door


Paint lower shelves

Order 14” board and cut out, sand and paint corbels

Hang upper shelves

Hang wrought iron brackets and shelves over washer and dryer

Install oak countertops

Stain countertops and seal with soft wax

Sew and install curtain (handkerchief?)


Remove Carpet

Sand, stain and seal steps

Paint stair risers, spindles, and trim white

Move armoire into living room trade with console table

Clean and Grout Renew floor

$$$ Paint walls Silver Drop (hire the high parts or buy scaffolding)

$$ Add art

Girl’s Bathroom

Remove popcorn

Mud and repair ceiling

$$ Install new light and exhaust fan

Paint floor trim and vanity

Remove wallpaper

Sand peeling paint off walls and repair cracks

Paint room

Living Room

Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Drywall repair and paint ceiling

Paint walls Behr Silver Drop

Remove carpet

Level floor

Lay underlayment

Lay Hardwood floor

Add Moldings

Caleb’s Room

Strip wallpaper


Remove Popcorn Ceiling

Remove Carpet

Sand down reclaimed wood

Level Floor in Closet

Face Nail Reclaimed wood floor

Use Reclaimed wood scraps into an arrow wall art border

Install roller shade


Install lego organizer

Replace desk with a big boy version

Remove my stuff from his closet

Attic Bedroom for Dub

Rug for under the bed

Navy Dust ruffle

Insulate and cover hole in the wall behind the bed

Paint wall behind bed green

Make navy headboard from foam board and attach with Velcro

Curtain off room to keep it cooler in summer

Turn mini blind into a Roman Shade (I’m thinking white with gray ribbon trim.)

Install lego and desk organizer  in hallway to the left of the bed

Turn pit beside bed into a reading pit with a gigantic beanbag (will order if goes on sale Labor day.)

Bring up dresser and put it in one side of the closet

Put a hanging bar in other side of Closet

$$$ Couch and rug where hope chest is, use hope chest for coffee table (IKEA)

$$$ 2 chairs for other side of sitting area (IKEA)

Move boxed books downstairs and create a library in basement or living room

Use the sitting area shelves to organize Dub’s Toys

Replace bed side lights

Master Bedroom

Move bedroom door from the family room to the entry

Move closet door

Wall off bathroom

Add toilet room

Add tub

Tile shower

Add double vanity

Add sliding barn door with windows to block off bathroom

Paint walls and trim

Replace flooring

Replace ceiling fan

Add lots of recessed lights

Make tufted headboard

Add curtains

Add foot stools at the end of the bed

Replace rocking chair with a chaise lounge

Darren’s Office

Use pine paneling to complete ceiling and walls–or take it all down and drywall

Paint walls silver drop

Paint trim white

Retile hearth in front of fireplace

$,$$$ Lay laminate wood floor in both halves of the basement

$,$$$ Seating area around fireplace (IKEA)

Desk and filing system

Find a place for a large glass dry erase board

New door with full glass panel

Under Deck/Backyard

Remove wide walls on deck

Build wooden deck floor

Insulate ceiling and cover, paint

Stain wood

Outdoor furniture—sitting area

Outdoor eating furniture

Remove Rose of Sharon volunteers, dig roots

Mulch play area (get free mulch from Independence)

Build 4 more garden boxes (fill with stuff from the farm)

$$$ Build swing set

$,$$$ Build fort on stilts

Upper Garage

Repair garage door opener

Paint walls, white

New curtains

Move food to pantry

Move metal shelves to basement or lower garage

Remove all storage items—either put away or donate

Build locker system for kids

Put down an outdoor rug, cut into a runner ($17.88 home depot)

Angela’s Office

Paint paneling white or hang new beadboard plywood sheets on ceiling

Remove carpet

Lay laminate floor

Trade desk with sofa

Replace ceiling fan light fixture

Sell cutting table and mat

Sell lots of misc supplies/fabric

Lower Garage

Tear out wood storage in the middle and middle work bench.  Open area up.

Improve lighting

Replace door between two garages

Insulate garage doors

Repair garage door opener

Designated storage areas for:




Wood work



Sports equipment

Lawn mowing equipment

2 Spaces to park cars

Workout Area

Paint paneling

Lay laminate floor

Hang permanent mirrors

Move light switches in storage room

Replace pegboard walls in storage room

Finish bathroom wall

Redo shelves to look more finished

Organize free weights; balls; videos; and other equipment

Make a floating shelf to hold dvd player with Netflix device

Move pool table to garage area

Add a seating area with a pull-out bed for guests to use with the new bathroom

Basement Bathroom

Move wall out to accommodate larger space with sink and toilet

Redo tile work

Redo lights

Redo storage

Make it all very cleanable

Plan a space for massage table


I’m still glad we bought this house, but if we ever move, I’ll never take on a project this big again.

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Every Yes is a No

This basic fact is something my parents taught me when I was young.

I remember wanting a toy at the store….a baby doll care set.  It had a training potty, bottles, bowl and spoon, pretend diapers…everything.  It was beautiful.  I was all about baby dolls at that age. (Which might explain my 6 kids .)  It wasn’t my birthday, not near Christmas.  If I wanted that toy, I was going to have to save up the money and buy it myself.

doll care set

I got a weekly allowance that I could use to buy lunch at school, or I could use the food my folks provided to pack my own lunch and keep the money.  I packed my lunch and saved the money towards the toy.  My parents also paid small sums for odd jobs like lawn care.  Some jobs we did just because we were allowed to live there, but the bigger more strenuous ones came with a financial perk. (Albeit a fraction of what it would have cost to hire an adult to do the job—and rightly so.)

Finally the day came that I had enough money to buy the toy and I realized that if I bought it, I would be completely broke.  So I started saving again.  I decided when I had double the cost of the toy, I would buy it. Then I would have the toy and still a comfortable little nest egg.  The work and saving continued.

By the time I had double the amount to buy the toy, I had a LOT of labor invested.  My mom drove me to the store and we walked together to the doll aisle.  My heart was beating a little faster.  I wondered if they would even still carry the beloved dolly care set. I held my breath as we rounded the corner.

….Shoo, it was still there.

I gripped my little wallet and we stood in the aisle looking at it together.  My Mom said, “Would you rather have that toy, or would you rather have the money?”  It was a simple statement, but I knew she really meant, “Would you rather have that toy right now, or would you rather have the unknown opportunity the money can provide in your future?”

I left the store without the toy, still clutching my full wallet, and I was happy.  My mom never once mentioned that it was a wasted trip.  She was ok with either decision I would make, and either decision would have been a good one.  The important thing was realizing that a yes right then was saying no to something else and making the decision with that knowledge instead of with heated emotion.

Every No is a Yes

When we take the time to write out a budget, we can know whether our latte habit could prevent a summer vacation.  That if we buy these shoes, we will still be able to eat.  It’s freedom from worry.  It’s freedom to spend within boundaries that we set up while considering the cost to our future happiness. While boundaries prevent us from going very far in one direction, they also prevent bad stuff from getting in…like debt or slick sales presentations. The beauty of budgeting is you get to set your own boundaries.

I think the technical term for what we are talking about here is “opportunity cost.”  They talk about it sometimes in economics class, but the best way to learn it is in the toy aisle after a bunch of hard work.

{BTW, this principle is true in more than just money.  When I say “Yes” and overcommit myself, I’m saying No to good health and family time.  When I say Yes to Cake, I say No to energy and a trim waistline….}

What do you think?  Are there any yes’s you made where the resulting No came as a surprise? Any time you changed your choice because you thought about future consequences?


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