Sunday, December 28, 2008

CT SCANS for my Leiomyosarcoma

Well, everyone say a little prayer for me! I have my CT scans tomorrow at 11:30am. Not my favorite thing to do but I'm hoping to hear CLEAR.....still in remission!

LEIOMYOSARCOMA really should be a four letter word..... ughhhhhh....

Thinking positive..... going to go take a soak in the tub, try to get some tension out of my back and neck muscles.

Thanks for the prayers I know you will be sending my way.


Chores for children

We started a chore chart. It's based on COMMISSION as apposed to just getting an allowance. The reason for this is to show them you get paid for the job that is completed. You don't just get a set amount of money each week and end up skipping chores.

It was actually pretty funny. I ordered it from "Dave Ramsey" and when Kayla opened it she started reading the box and said "Dave Ramsey.... MOM!!!" And Katie grabbed her same size box and said "Well, here is my Dave Ramsey!" and put it to the side. They tease me because I listen to him so much.

They went on to play with their new toys/games and then Friday they were so excited to get there chore charts up and asking questions about the giving, saving and spending envelopes. We made the list of commissionable chores for them and days there were to do them and went over the "offenses" there would be fines for. Example- missing homework assignment, not feeding the dogs and your brother does pay your brother.

There are chores on the chart (as a reminder for them) but have pay at $0 because they do these chores because they are a member of our family. (make bed, do homework, laundry to hamper, etc.)

They have done the dishes twice already, made sure the animals were fed. And then come to us to have us check off the list.

This will be something we will have to stay on top of but it is important to me to teach them responsibility with helping in the family, start forming a work ethic and responsibility with money.

They will put 10% in their giving envelope, 10% in their savings envelope and the remaining 80% goes in their spending envelope.

We have another chart they can draw a picture on that goes next to the chore chart. The picture is of what they are saving for..... Can be something big or small.

We are doing something similar with our older son Kevin. He has bigger chores, gets paid more for them and they will be on the weekends instead of during the week like the girls. Reason for this is because of his wrestling practice schedule and homework load he really doesn't have time for much else during the week.

I'll keep you posted as to how it continues to go and any "tweaking" we may end up doing!

Can you believe the New Year is almost here!?!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Grocery Challenge!!!

Ok, I'm doing the grocery challenge again! We have soooooooo much food in the house now from the holiday's PLUS all the meat in the freezer from my Hubby and his hunting. I'm going to try for one month to spend $10 a week at the grocery store. Basically purchasing milk. I'm going to make bread in my bread machine and try to get by on what we have in our cabinets and fridge/freezer. I plan to do many crock pot meals because of our schedule.

After this month I will see where I'm at with food and possible go to the $25 a week challenge for the next month, depending on how much I have left.

I know a few of my friends joined me in the past, please LET ME KNOW if you are joining in again!

It is so wasteful to have this much food and continue to purchase more food just because I don't FEEL like what we have in the cabinets. So this is my mission and I"ll keep you posted!

We may go to our beach house this week for a few days so this will be when I will be tested big time. I need to pack the car with our food from our home if we go! No clam chowder...waaaaa No "Cracked Crab" . How will be survive? LOL

I'm determined to get out of debt and to build my savings account back up. So this is one of my first baby steps in getting there.

I'll keep you posted!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kevin's very 1st Wrestling Tournament

Ok, 5 million pictures coming up. Again, a lot of photos didn't come out because of my little tiny FLASH... Can't wait for my big flash to get here. =)

This was Kevin's very first wrestling match and it was a TOURNAMENT. He had to be at the bus stop at 5:20am to head to the tournament. We got home at 5pm. Needless to say it was a very long day.... but it was fun. This is Kevin's first year of wrestling and he only got to practice for about 1.5 weeks and got a hernia..... had of for a few weeks. Practiced 3 days and went to a tournament. He was a bit nervous and he had a "buy" for one match, wrestled two matches (I'm only showing one the other one was too blury, terrible photos....come on flash!!)..... He lost both matches, but he learned and hopefully got some of the jitters out. I'm so proud of him for going out there and doing this! It is hard work. They do major training, I had no idea. The best part is he is LOVING it..... Though he was sad he lost.

This first photo is of Big Brother Kyle giving him advice. Kyle was right there by his side the whole tournament (when he was allowed to be) and you could tell he was proud that his brother is wrestling. What a great Big Brother, I was a proud Mommy of both my boys.

Kevin heading down for his first match. And poor thing, they sent him to the wrong mat! And thent hey were calling "Kevin Howell, Last call for Mat 5!" He had NO CLUE where mat 5 was...he was running all over back and forth to find out, I felt so badly for him. He didnt' have time to get ready to go because he had to run to the "correct mat" and immiately start wrestling. Not the best way (to add to the already nervous stomach) to start your very first match. But he got there and did his best. =)

Kevin talking to one of his coaches. He actually does UFC(is that the right letters) Cage fighting. No thanks! LOL

Kevin waiting for his turn......talking to the coaches, not knowing they moved him to another mat.

Another coach giving Kevin and one of his teammates some advice.

He found the mat and got his shirt off.

Secure his head gear so he doesn't get yucky ears.

Shake hands before the match begins..........

He went straight in to try to take him down but................

didn't work so well, he got on him...... little more experience and a bit more muscular, but Kevie was in there doing his proud!....

Kevin was flipping all over, doing back summersault type rolls, trying to keep from being pinned....I was like WOW........

This doesn't look comfortable at all.....

He's sooooooooooooooooo trying to get up...... Go baby go!!

Hurry Kevin go!!! We are all chanting in the stands. Kyle yelling "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO KEVIN!!!!" Mike yelling, me yelling from beind the camera, his friend mom yelling. Go Kevin, Go!

And he's back on him again......... ughhhhh

And he's PINNED........ over and out....... But he gave it his all........

And they shake hands, the match is over.

And this was my sons very first ever wrestling match!! Love you Kevin! Very proud of you son.

And his coach Sammy shows him how to get out of the holds this guy was putting on him.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh that was nerve wracking! LOL And we are off to practice this morning. He has practice all week except for Christmas day and Christmas eve. So M-T-F-Sat. This should help him, but then they have the next week off for the Holiday.
Have a great day!

Katie's Band Concert Christmas 2008

This is photo's of Katie's very first Band Performance. It was a Christmas Concert put on to raise money for World Hunger. She looked so beautiful. She did a great job!! It was dark and my new flash (like my little Sis told me was good to get) hasn't come in yet. And I've needed it for the last 3 events! It is supposed to be here today. (Fingers Crossed).. This is Katie before the olders girls sat in front of her. =) She had stayed home sick in the morning and felt better and better as the day went on, and she BEGGED, called her band teacher to make sure it was ok.........and she got to go!. So proud!!

Christmas Program 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Here are some photo's from Katie's Christmas program. In the group photo she is turned around talkign to a friend. (She is next to Santa). It was such a great performance by all the children!!

TADA!!!!!!!! The boys are UPS delivery guys. It was too cute!

She is looking for us out in the audience in this photos. =)

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Around the house #2

This is the back part of our house down by the waters edge. Same spot we were clearing brush. I had to make a 2nd post as it wouldn't allow me to upload photos (again). It is so peaceful to sit and look at the wildlife on the lake.

My hunny is doing his tractor work. He is pulling out the brush (leaving all the trees) and putting it in a big burn pile. Poor thing got Poison Oak on his face while doing this. It's been bothering him all week. I was able to find some soap at the local market that is for poison oak, he says it has been helping.

Our dogs, Nestlie and Buck, warming themselves by the fire. =)

Put another log on the fire....... Fry me up some bacon and some beans.... Wait is that how that song goes? LOL

I have never noticed this tree on the property before. Now this is determined. The roots are growing right up the side of this big rock. Crazy. The kids kept climbing up the rock. They tied a rope around the tree to use to help them climb up. They were having a blast running around down there. I love fun family days like that.

Dundundunnnnnnnnnnnn that's all (for now) folks!
Have a great day!

Fun around the house.

We worked outside all last weekend clearing brush on the back side of our home, down by the lake. It looks so much better. Afterwards we had a campfire and roasted marshmellows. Made Smores. It was great fun! I took some photos and this is actually the 3rd time I've tried uploading them and it finally worked! Yeah! Something has been wrong with my site and I've not been able to make posts. It looks like (hopefully) the problem is fixed. =)

This is the lake we live on and there is a bald Eagle that keeps flying up and down our lake trying to get the ducks. I got a photo of it swooping down for the kill. I was so upset. I haven't seen him the last couple days so I hope he has moved on.

This is my daughters kitty cat. She was going on an adventure on the property. She is so tiny still. All her brothers and sisters are so much bigger than her. She is adorable!

Our babies! Nestlie and Buck. Nestlie is the Chocolate lab and she is getting so old. It's hard for her to get around much.....but she still tries. Buck was getting up. He was laying by Nestlie but when I called his name so he would look at me for the photo he jumped up to come to me.

We were clearing shrub and looked up and all these deer were gathered across the lake. They came down for a drink of water. Often they swim across the lake. They are so adorable. I love watching all the animals.

Kids, JR elves and random update

Tis the Season to be BUSY....errrrrrrrr. I mean....... JOLLY! Is everyone in full swing with Christmas shopping and baking? I've not hit my hot streak as of yet. Every year I say NEXT YEAR I'll have all my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving! And every year I don't. ugghh... confession time! But this year I'm struggling with getting everything done. I've been so sick sooooooo often and my energy level is in the pooper! But I'm trying. The other night we made hot apple cider and put up the Christmas tree. My house still looks like santa threw up in it, as I've not gotten everything put where it belongs yet. I stayed home this morning to do laundry before I go work in Katie's class (and then go to the office to work). We are reading an incredible book in Literature circle. It's about a bunny named Edward. I'm sucked right into it. I'm excited to go in today because the kids are so excited about the book as well. Kayla called and forgot her spelling book, so I'll be taking that to her. Kevin has tutoring he will be staying after for (in geometry) today and he was released to go back to wrestling (after his hernia surgery). So he is excited about that. The girls have Awana's at the church tonight, and Kayla has soccer practice. Katie took her first Art/Painting class yesterday and she had an incredible time! She LOVED it! I've realized I've bit off a lot for them lately so we'll have to see how it goes, homework is obviously most important so we need to see if we can keep that in check. Monday's both girls have math tutoring (Which Katie's teacher is seeing TONS of improvement, so that is great) for an hour and a half and then (in January) they will go from there to a cooking class (it's right by our house and they are learning to cook different ethnic type foods, table setting, manner, etc...........they are very excited about this! This month (on a Saturday) they are doing a big Christmas cooking class). Then Tuesday's Katie has Art/painting lessons for an hour and a half (right after school) and Wed. is Awana's for both girls and every other Friday (during the school day and until about 6:00pm) Katie is old enough to do the Ski School through school! They will take them to the ski slopes and teach them to ski or snow board. She is very excited about this and I am too. This is the last week of soccer so I guess the 4 days a week of soccer practice is just replaced by cooking and art classes. Kayla didn't want to take art, she said she likes doing it, but pretty much(lol) just on her own, not with a teacher. Fortunately everything they are doing is within 10 minutes of our home, makes it very very very nice that way!
As many of you know I'm a board member of the Pit Board Charity and we are in full swing of working with our adopted Christmas families. It is such a fun time. Jr. Elves is in a week. I'm so sad I can't attend this year. For those of you who don't know, we go every year to North Carolina and we pick a shelter there we will work with. We have a limo go pick up the children from the shelter and we have put together stockings for all of the children. The limo takes them to Jr Motorsports and we have their lunch room all decorated. We bring in Pizza and drinks and serve the children. Dale Jr.s dog "Killer" was there last year to visit with the kids. We have "Santa" come and each of the kids sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas and he gives them a stocking. The limo then takes them to Target, we follow over (along with many Jr Motorsports employees) and we have gift cards for the kids to go shopping (usually they go over the limit on the card and we all enjoy paying the difference). They first buy a gift for their mother and then their siblings and the rest is for them. This year Target is providing gift wrapping for us for them. The limo then takes them back to the shelter. Doing this is the best Christmas gift I've ever received. I'm sad to not be able to attend this year but will make sure I can next!

I better leave to work in the classroom. But this is my update!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

CHRISTmas time!

Can you believe it is already almost Christmas? This year has gone by sooooo quickly. We had a great Thanksgiving. We went to my sister's in laws home. It was decorated for Christmas already! She said nobody ever sees her Christmas decorations so she did it early so we could all see. It was beautiful. It was nice of them to have us all over. I had a lot of fun visiting.

I came home and was (am) sick now though. My throat hurts and a headcold. But I took down all my harvest decorations yesterday (with the help of a couple of my children) and put a few things up for Christmas. I plan to decorate more for Christmas today (after church). I'll take some pictures to post.

My hubby is up splitting logs for our fire as it is starting to get cold here. (Although I spoke with my sister today and it is snowing there!) Just some rain here so far. The sun is actually back out now.

Just wanted to say hello and let you know I'll be posting photo's later.

Make sure to have your kids write their letters to Santa and mail them to "The North Pole".

Talk to you all soon!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thankful For

I am following suit and listing things (In honor of Thanksgiving) that I am thankful for.

1. I am thankful to be alive this long after being diagnosed with such a rare and aggressive Cancer.

2. I am thankful for my children. Each of them. They are all four a blessing to me in so many ways. I can't imagine my life without them in it.

3. I am thankful my sons surgery went good today.

4. I am thankful that I have a husband who loves me and who is always there for me even when he doesn't agree with me. =)

5. I am thankful for a sister who is also a best friend.

6. I am thankful for parents who are able and willing to help me out with my children and other ways.

7. I am thankful for friends who are so close they are like extended family.

8. I am thankful to Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins and for my church family who is always there for me and willing to help anyway they can when a problem comes along. At the very least they are there to encourage me.

9. I am thankful to live in a country where you have the ability to pursue dreams.

10. I am thankful to have wonderful neighbors on the lake and in the community.

Grocery budget

I didn't stick to my $25 grocery budget when our family was down but I'm back on track again. I've also been packing the girls lunches everyday and making sure they eat breakfast at home (and not at school). It's been an adjustment for them but they are doing good with it overall.

A friend of mine decided to come on board with me and do the $25 a week challenge and she says she is doing well and has about 5 other people who have joined the challenge. Very cool!

A couple tips on stretching your meals is left overs.

1. Make sure to keep your left over vegetables. Even when you only have a few left, place them in a container in the freezer and just add them each night. When you have enough you can pull them out and use them in vegetable soup or stew. Even those small amounts add up pretty quickly.

2. BEANS BEANS BEANS. They are very cheap and they really are so many things you can do with them. You can put them in the crockpot the night before and let them cook all night or you can boil them on the stove. I like to make a large batch of beans so they are already cooked for ease and they freeze well too! You can make beans and ham hock (yum), Chili beans, plain ol' okie beans, Mexican beans that can be left whole or refried (I have a great recipe for this and it is soooo easy). You can make a casserole and add beans (great filler). And using cornmeal and making cornbread from scratch is very easy and very good. I add honey to mine and the kids LOVE it, they prefer my homemade version over the boxed/bagged cornbread I used to buy and it's much cheaper from scratch.

3. We are still doing our breakfast for dinner one night a week. The kids love it. Pancakes are a great hit and very cheap.

4. My sister is saving a lot of money using coupons. You can look up the store you go to online and it will show you their sell ads and it will also (many times) give you printable coupons. Some stores have double coupon days, or will match other stores coupons. Great way to cut back if you have more time than money. =-)

My brain is dead today so that is all for now but I will back on more often, things are getting back to normal soon (hopefully). LOL

Take Care!

It's been a long time

Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long. Soooooooo much has been going on around here. We had family in from out of state who stayed with us for one week. They came in for a funeral. I had to let my office girl go and now I'll be in the office everyday (until the kids get out of school, I'll be able to pick them up) and work from home after that. And my son had hernia surgery today. He is home sleeping now and I'm trying to play catch up on laundry etc.

I'll be posting an update on my budget and kid tips as soon as soon as I catch my breath. Was great at the hospital they gave Kevin a board game. I said PERFECT for our family game night. Just love that hospital. Sadly I know it well from the past. But thankful he is doing good today.

I'll write more soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween costumes and school parties

Bam Bam and Pebbles

Bam Bam and her precious little baby kitten.

Don't attack me girl....... LOL

Aw my precious Mary, she forgot her baby Jesus.

Bam Bam beating up her (his) dad.

Last nights projects

Well, I was up until after midnight last night working on the projects for today. Yesterday was so slammed with soccer, Kevin's hair cut, picking up Kevin's wrestling shoes, picking up the girls costumes and family dinner night.......... I was going non stop. Below are some photos of what we worked on. I was really missing my big kitchen when we were baking (I told Mike I was missing my counter space and double ovens and he said we can move back if you want, it's just sitting there..... I said NAH the barn house is fine, I'll deal with the one oven for now, for the view. LOL)

K, so in this photo it looks like a big turkey leg (LOL) but this is Katie.uhumm I mean Bam Bam's Bat. It was white with skulls on it which gives it that bumpy look but Katie didn't want the skulls so she had me get her brown paint and she painted it up herself.
We moved the decorating project to the kitchen table. They had frosted most of these and we had 48 more baking in the oven.

The girls are separating the twizzler into strings and breaking them in to LEGS.

The finished product. Not exactly what we were looking for because they are supposed to have black frosting but I got this spray frosting stuff and it said black but turned out more of a gray color. My cousin had made these in the past and Katie remembered it and told me everything I need to pick up for her.

These are trays of the cupcakes.... I mean SPIDERS.

Andrew's Birthday is TODAY!!!

Isn't he just the most handsome FOUR YEAR OLD you have ever seen? YES he is four TODAY!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Andrew, Happy Birthday to you!!!

If he were typing on Auntie's Blog he would say "It's by birthday! It's my birthday!!, Hey Hey Hey Auntie, It's my Birthday!"

Happy Birthday my precious little nephew! I love you to the moon and stars and back!


Here is to thanking GOD. He has truly blessed me. Today is my four year anniversary of being a Leiomyosarcoma cancer survivor!!

I'm praying for four more! =-)

Wedding Tomorrow

So Christopher, my son Kyle's best friend is getting married TOMORROW. He is marrying his girlfriend Kailey who is Kyle's girlfriend Megan's best friend. Below is a photo of Christopher and another photo of Kailey and Kyle. I don't have a photo of Christopher and Kailey together.
They are getting married at the court house. Chris is in the Army (just graduated boot camp) and they have to leave on Monday so he can get back. He was supposed to be here until December but they called him back early. So now they have pushed the wedding up to tomorrow. Wish they would wait but congratulations to them.

Kyle (being a dork) and Kailey at school last year.
Christopher (I cut Kyle out because they were being too big of dorks in this picture to show him).