Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Conversations

I'm at the point where my to do list is so long that I give up and I'm going to take a nap! lol

Short and sweet Christmas Conversation today! Brought to you from The Inspired Apple! I love her blog! She has got quite an array of topics she covers and the cutest little family ever!

Have a great weekend! I'm off to power nap then tackle everything I've got going on!! See you Monday!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

I've mentioned a few times that we are driving home for Christmas! Super excited since it has been FIVE years since we last spend Christmas with our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles! What I'm not excited about is the drive. It's at least 18 hours one way to drive from our house to the town we call home! We've made the trip twice before, so the kids know what to expect and we've discovered a few of the best and worse places to stop along the way. But that's over 36 hours of driving to get there and back, which means a lot could happen along the way. To make sure we've got a few things we might need I put together a Winter Driving Emergency Kit.

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

This kit is not a full on zombie apocalypse emergency kit. It's just a few things to hold us over if something comes up that slows our drive down. I'm not an expert in emergency preparedness, I just packed what I thought would be best for my family and I'm sharing it with you for your own ideas!!

Here's how I pulled it all together:

First, I gathered all the random first aid kits I have around my house.

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

Then, I picked which container would work best for travel. I also looked at Target and Walmart for a container but never saw one that I thought would work better than this kit that I bought several years ago. I wanted something that wouldn't take up a lot of space and flat enough that it would fit under the back seats of my Explorer when they were folded down flat. The contents of that kit though were really picked through so I laid out all the supplies I had and decided what was needed. 

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

The Items I included and why I included them:

  • Ice pack - if we are in an accident it might be useful
  • Plastic grocery bags - trash bags, kid puking, dirty many uses. To save space, I folded them the way my Japanese friends taught me, into a neat triangle.  Click here to see how.  
  • Hot Hands Hand Warmers - if it gets cold these will come in handy, picked them up in the dollar spot at Target but you can buy large quantities on Amazon.
  • Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers and Beef Jerky- just some snacks to hold someone over if we can get to an exit right away or are waiting on help
  • Glow Sticks - will help if we are stuck in the dark
  • Wet Ones - cleaning up messes
  • Gloves and ear warmer - it's winter if there's something to do outside the car it'll be cold bought red ones in hopes that it helps to be seen if we are on the side of the road. They were $2 each from Walmart.
  • Keychain flash light - helpful in the dark
  • Small container filled with bandages and gauze - hopefully if we get in an accident it will be small injuries 
  • Tylenol To Go and Chewable Pepto - headaches and upset stomachs always happen when you are stuck in a car for 2 days
  • Hand sanitizer - cleanliness
  • Emergency sign - one of the kits I had bought had a sign to put in your car for emergencies so I swapped the kit it was in and included it in this one
  • Whistle - great for emergencies to signal for help
  • Charmin to go - with 3 kids you never know
  • Klennex - winter equals running noses
  • Emergency blankets - will help if we are stuck or waiting on help
  • Emergency first aid guide - in case of an accident
  • Gloves - in case of an accident
  • Ziploc bags of various sizes - containing messes, dirty clothes, snack bags
  • Accident Report Forms - found at I've had copies of these in my car for a while but I printed extra for this kit
I organized everything in the case the best I could, trying to put the items I thought might be of most importance (like wet ones, tylenol and plastic bags) on top. 

When I'm driving during the winter I also always make sure to have an ice scraper in my car, bring our coats and wear shoes. Short trip or long trip those are important to have! Since we are traveling for a while we'll also have extra clothes packed in our suitcases and the kids will have their backpacks full of stuff to keep them entertained for the drive. 

After I decided what would go in this Winter Driving Emergency Kit, in true blogger fashion I made it pretty with a cute little graphic and some washi tape! 

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

One thing out of a thousand is prepped and ready for the road trip at least! And I know if we get into any trouble we will have few extra supplies to help us out. The best part, most of these things I already had so I don't think I spend more than $8 to pull all of this Winter Driving Emergency Kit and now I can feel a little more at ease during our trip. 

Winter Driving Emergency Kit

Are you traveling this holiday season? How far is your trip? Did I forget anything? What else would you include? 

*affiliate links included in this post* 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Whoa! It's already Monday again some how! Last week got thrown off track a bit while I was busy with other things and dealing with a sore throat and cough. Having meals planned for the week was a LOT of help though, since I wasn't feeling 100%. So helpful, that I planned this week AND the week after that AND bought all the groceries for now until we leave on our Christmas vacation!!

Menu Plan Monday

Here's this week's Menu Plan:

Monday: Chili and Cornbread
   Another storm is blowing through so we are going to warm up with this!!

Tuesday: One Pan Chicken Alfredo
   Girl Scouts - so this will be pretty quick before me and L leave for the evening

Wednesday: Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes
   I've got the pork chops in the freezer so I might as well use them

Thursday: Tacos/Burritos
   Taco Thursday doesn't have the same ring to it as Taco Tuesday but they'll still taste good

Friday: Pizza
   maybe Homemade or maybe Pizza Hut, probably Pizza Hut! lol

Saturday: Tater Tot Casserole
   Something easy on a Saturday night

Sunday: Spaghetti
   I have all the items, so it made it on the list

Simple and easy! Lots of our favorites! I'm trying to use up the food we have in the freezer and pantry before we head out of town for Christmas!

I'm so glad to be feeling better and motivated for all I have to do before Christmas!!

Coming up soon on the blog: 
Winter Emergency Car Kit
How I Pack for My Three Kids for a Long Road Trip
Easy Party Appetizer
A Planner Review
Holiday Traditions
and more!!!

Can you believe there is only just over two weeks until Christmas???!?!??!

I've linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Menu Plan Monday + Holiday Weekend Recap

Somehow it's already Monday again! But it's the 1st and it makes my planning OCD happy. So here's my meal plan for the week...

Monday: Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta - trying something new, it sounds good

Chef in Training
Tuesday: Potato Soup - It's going to be a cold and rainy day! Soup from the crock pot sounds just right.

Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour
Wednesday: Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes

Thursday: Sandwiches or leftovers - we've got somewhere to be right after school so we'll eat something fast then head to our event.

Friday: Homemade Pizza - I think I'll test out this dough recipe.

Snail Pace Transformations
Saturday: I bought a gift card a while back I think we'll use it after we spend the afternoon at a birthday party.

Sunday: Goulash - simple, easy, yummy and all my kids eat it!

This past weekend was extra long thanks to the Thanksgiving Break! It was really nice to hang out with the kids for a couple of extra days. Wednesday, we went out to lunch with Michelle and her kids, then they all came over and hung out for a while. We search the internet and planned some things, watch out for what we've got coming up!! Then I baked the rest of the evening. Thursday, I woke up early and cooked, cooked then cooked some more!! We hosted five Sailors from my husband's class for Thanksgiving dinner! I made so much food! Then Michelle convinced me to go Black Friday shopping with her. We left at 9:30pm Thursday night and hit up Old Navy, Target and Walmart. Shopped until 6am on Friday morning! We found some good deals though. I got a lot of new clothes, working towards that goal of a closet of clothes I like to wear. Friday, I slept a good part of the day but we also celebrated my youngest 2nd birthday!

Saturday, I went to work! Gotta earn that money since I shopped so much Thursday night! lol Sunday, we slept in, then I took my son to a birthday party. Home for another nap and then dinner and my middle child lost her front tooth! The other one is loose and all she's going to want for Christmas is her two front teeth!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you find any Black Friday deals? What's on your menu for the week?

Thanks for listening to me ramble! =)

I've linked up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eat, Drink and Give Thanks!

Last Thursday, I went out to dinner and shopping with my friend Michelle.  The last store we went to ended up being Home Goods. It was so nice to just walk around and browse. I  usually end up there with my husband and he's over the place in 2.5 seconds. While browsing, I found the most perfect Thanksgiving plates ever.

Thanksgiving Plates

And what was even better, is that the price was amazing!!

Thanksgiving Plates, Home Goods

Only problem was, was that there were only 5 of them. But Michelle talked me in to them. (It wasn't hard!) And this Thanksgiving it was just going to be my family of 5 at home so no big deal.

I went home and right away pulled out all my chargers and other dishes and decorations and set the table!
See the Home Goods bag still on the floor.
thanksgiving plates

The five plates were going to be perfect to fancy up our small family dinner.

pretty thanksgiving plates

Then I found chocolate wishbones at Mary's Cakery and Candy Kitchen.  And they were just the thing to lay in the middle of the plates. The kids are already drooling over them and can't wait to break them apart on Thanksgiving. They make the perfect Thanksgiving favor at each place setting.

Chocolate Wishbone

Chocolate Wishbone

Everything was good to go!

That was until Saturday, when my husband told me he had invited all the students in his class to come over for Thanksgiving dinner!! Luckily, I hadn't bought a turkey yet!! So Monday, I went grocery shopping planning for not just five people now but 14!!

I'm a little bit stressed about cooking for people I've never met before but excited because Thanksgiving is my favorite and I was kind of sad that our home wasn't going to be filled with guests! I've already planned the menu. And I've started pulling out serving dishes!

It won't be a fancy dinner, but we're not super fancy people. It will be just perfect for those Sailors that are living in the barracks this Thanksgiving. It'll be a fun time where we can eat, drink and give thanks for all the great things we have. 

Has your husband ever surprised you by inviting lots of people over? How do you prep for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

30 before 30

I've got some goals! I've posted before about some goals I have.  But this time I'm a little more serious about it all. This coming Friday marks, not only my youngest 2nd birthday but my half birthday. Half way to THIRTY! AHH!! I have no idea why I seem to be so scared about that number! But I am! I guess it just that I don't feel like a grown up yet, but 30 sure sounds like a grown up number! But I've made a list of 30 things I want to accomplish in the next six months. And hopefully checking them off will help me feel better about this whole growing up situation we've got going on here. 

So here's my list, in no particular order:
  1. Kid-free vacation with husband
  2. family pictures
  3. walk/run 260 miles (10 miles a week for 26 weeks)
  4. potty train Katelyn
  5. visit NYC
  6. visit Smithsonian American History Museum
  7. 6 Girl's Nights Out (at least one day a month of mommy/friend time)
  8. have "the talk" with Matt
  9. complete 4 whole 9
  10. create a savings plan and stick to it
  11. family vacation
  12. pay off some of our credit card balance
  13. paint interior of house
  14. build a headboard
  15. visit sister and brother-in-law 
  16. 30 random acts of kindness (5 per month)
  17. journal daily
  18. make the kids some scrapbooks 
  19. build retaining wall in yard, plant flowers
  20. office makeover
  21. build a piece of furniture
  22. update wills
  23. one screen free week
  24. read 30 books
  25. build a grown up wardrobe
  26. blog Monday, Wednesday, Friday every week
  27. Facebook page for blog
  28. offer 10 free printables on the blog
  29. collaborate with other blogs
  30. sew something
Well there it is! 30 things I'm going to finish (hopefully) before I'm 30 years old. Thanks for going on this journey with me!! 

Were you totally freaked out when you turned thirty? Was is just another day? Have you ever made a bucket list? Share with me!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

10 Ways I'm Saving Money This Christmas

Christmas at my house is going to be a little different this year. In the past, we've shopped till we dropped and got the kids everything their little heart desired AND MORE! 

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013 Aftermath

Christmas 2013 Aftermath
We spoil our kids! There's no doubt about it! But, seriously? Half of the stuff in the photos doesn't even get played with regularly! And this year we want to take a big trip, so this year is going to be different. Here are the ten ways I'm saving this Christmas...

Christmas Savings

1. Have a Plan
 I'm making a list and checking it twice! I'm going to save this Christmas by not just buying random stuff! The kids have made their lists of the top items they want. I'm narrowing it down and deciding what is realistic and what is not. Then I'm making a list and sticking to it. 

2. Budget
This year I plan on keeping track of my spending. In past years, I've just gone shopping until it felt like I had bought enough and then called it good. In an effort to save some money this Christmas, I'm putting a limit on how much all the kids get. 

3. Memories not things
One of the major reasons we are cutting back on presents this year is because we plan on going home for Christmas. A ten day long vacation and a 36 hour road trip is going to be pretty costly. But you know what, the kids will have the memories. We haven't been home for Christmas in 5 years! My son probably has some vague memories of opening presents at Grandma and Grandpa's houses, but my girls don't have any. Heck, one of them has never even been there for Christmas. But this year, we making a priority to make memories not buy gifts. Make cookies with Grandma, yup! Drive around looking at Christmas lights with Papa, yup! Opening presents by the fire where I sat as a little girl, I can't wait! Too many cousins crammed in a little house and everyone stuffing themselves full of goodies! It's a way better way to spend Christmas than opening another junk toy!

4. Things Out of the Box
My daughter loves to make and send cards. I showed her some of my return address labels the other day and she thought they were so cool! So you know what, I logged on to, found a deal and got her some of her own. They are pink and polka dot and she's going to love them. I also found these cute stamps (affiliate links) and I'm going to pick up some of these white notecard sets. She'll have her own stationary to decorate and send letters to family and friends. 

5. Gift of Time
Much like the making memories, I plan on saving by setting up some extra special parent/kid dates! I headed to Pinterest and found these cute printable Gift Coupons. I plan on filling them out with things like "A night at the batting cages" or "PS3 Family Game Night" for my son. And "Spa Day" or "Lunch and a Movie" with my daughter. Saves me money now by being able to have them use the coupons in the future. They still get a fun activity and I don't get all the toys in my house! Win-Win!

6. Buy Used
She's never going to know that the Barbie Vacation House Santa left for her used to be some other little girls. It's in great condition, has all the furniture and is the number one thing on her list. My bank account will know however because I saved and spent less on Barbie's RV, Vacation Glam House and Car than I could have buying just the RV brand new! Shop around and see what you can find. Some things I'm not willing to buy used, some things are worth searching for and saving money on. 

7. Think Practical
Stocking stuffed with candy, dollar spot toys and cutesy Christmas things. NOT this year! I'm saving money by being practical. They are getting underwear, socks, body soap, new toothbrushes and toothpaste. It's exactly what my Grandma used to do for me and my cousins growing up. Santa still brings them nice new things but it won't cost me more when we visit the dentist again soon. 

8. Pay Cash
To make sure I'm not still paying off Christmas next March (like I've done before) I'm using cash for presents, or at least my debit card. Credit cards aren't getting used! We've worked hard to pay down the balances this year in an effort to be debt free. I'm going to save by making sure I don't end up paying interest on any gifts I do buy. 

9. Handmade
A quiet book for the baby, perfect for a road trip! An On The Go Tic-Tac-Toe board for my son! American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag for my middle! Presents they'd all enjoy with out the big price tag. Saving win for me!! More ideas on my Pinterest, in my Christmas 2014 board.

10. From the Heart
Communication is huge between parents and children. My son turns TEN next year. I want to have him know now that whatever questions might be coming up he can talk to me about. Same for my daughter as she gets bigger. So this Christmas, I'm going to save by buying a cheap composition notebook and decorating them to be our Momma and Me journals. Much like this idea, here.  Cheap gift that will hopefully turn out to be something very great and meaningful. 

What are your plans for Christmas? Are you taking a trip or staying home? Do you have any other tips on how to save this Christmas? Please leave a comment and share them with me, I'd love to know!!