Friday, February 27, 2015

5 Exciting Things

Linking up with Karli and Amy as always this beautiful Friday morning.

I will write a more in depth post about this next week, but we have paid off major debt this month and we are soooooo excited about it.  Look for that soon.

I finished the Serial Podcast yesterday and it had me hooked.  It took me less than a week to listen to all 12 episodes and I kept wanting more.  I will say - without spoiling it, although I'm pretty sure I am one of the last people to listen to it - that I was a little disappointed with how it ended.  I wanted more!  I had questions that I feel as though I need to email Sarah with so that she can try and answer them for me.  LOL.  Did you like it?

We are almost a week and a half into Lent and giving up soda is hard.  I knew it would be, but I am tempted daily.  On the plus side?  I've lost 2 pounds since I stopped drinking them!  Whoot! Whoot!

Last Thursday I got rear-ended on my way to work and this week we finally heard that the other party does have insurance and is accepting full liability!  Thank goodness!  My car needs to be repaired and I didn't want to have to pay my deductible for something that wasn't my fault.

We are done with our first week of letting Hank out later in the morning because we have an awesome family that lives next to us.  We haven't gotten any more complaints about his barking and as annoying as it is, I'm glad that I don't feel worried about it anymore.  Plus I'm pretty sure Hank likes the extra attention during the day and snuggling in his kennel while it is still a little chilly in the morning.

Overall, we had a great week this week.  I have some exciting posts coming next week - hopefully, if I can find the time this weekend to write them.  

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Can you believe it is almost March already???

PS!!!!  Don't forget to enter this awesome giveaway!!!
penny | sara | meagan

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do You Wanna Win Some Mooooooolah?!?

How about some free cash on this glorious hump day, mmmk?
There are so many things that I can think of to spend $80 on.
clothes for me
clothes for caleb
date night :)
The options are endless.
How about you?

Check out these beauties, and then get entered below!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

So The Cops Were Called

Before I tell you all about the title, let me first say that I am in no way blind to the problem, I just think it was taken too far.

Hank Hughes.  You know, that giant yellow lab of ours?  The biggest lover in the world.  Well Saturday night we received a text message from our neighbor stating that the cops were at our house and shinning their flashlights inside my car.

Let's set the scene shall we?  I live in a town with a population of 3000.  3000!  We have a police department with about 5 deputies.  We don't have a lot of crime, most of the calls are for drunk drivers that are driving on the highway that cuts through the middle of town.  We are surrounded by farms and it is a quiet town.

So while we are driving home and receive this text we call the police department and see what is going on.  If there was a conflict or something wrong with our house we wanted them to be there with us when we arrived home, since we had Caleb and all.  We were informed that an officer would meet us at our house to discuss the issue at hand.

We show up and so did the cops.  We find out that they were there because they received complaints about Hank's barking.  WHAT?!?  Seriously?

About 3 weeks ago we received an anonymous note on our door stating that Hank's barking was waking their children up too early and we needed to take care of it.  We talked to both of our direct neighbors and neither of them claimed the note.  We talked it over and decided that we would try to do something about it, but we have to go to work.

Now, 3 weeks later, after no other forms of communication, we have the cops at our house warning us about our dog.  To say we were upset is an understatement.

Now let me explain.  I understand that barking dogs are annoying.  Trust me, we don't want Hank barking either.  But we are pretty sure we know what is happening.  I leave for work Tuesday - Friday between 5:15 and 5:30.  I put Hank out in the backyard with his breakfast, water and toys - a.k.a our backyard because he is still a puppy and is chewing and digging right now.  Our neighbors put their two Boston Terriers outside to go potty around 5:45 and I assume that the doggies say "Good morning!" to each other.  We assume that this sets another neighboring dog off and that dog starts to bark, but that dog is inside their owners' room and not outside, thus waking them up.

I don't understand how this is a major crime?  Aren't there bigger issues that the police should be looking into?  Apparently not in our small quiet town.

We were then held to a 20 minute conversation about how we need to do the following to stop him from barking:
||remove the dog from the residence - because he is just a piece of trash that we can move around as we please
||get a bark collar - because we never want him to bark to protect us
||kennel him - because I would love for him to get a bladder infection after being in his kennel for 10 hours 4 days a week
||leave him inside my house - because I don't value any of the things inside my house that he will destroy from boredom
||let him out later in the day - because I just put him out at 5:30 for shits and giggles
||MOVE - because everyone has a disposable income that makes this a possibility

All of their suggestions made me 100 shades of red I'm sure, but they are ridiculous.  I'm sorry officer, but are your pets not part of your family?  Would you just send your pets away?  And better than that, I own my house.  I pay property taxes and help pay your salary, these complainers are renters - if it's who we think it is - and they can move if they don't like it.

I don't understand people.  I understand that you have a problem with my dog.  But did you really think it was at the point where you needed to call the police on us?  I have so many emotions about it.

It must be nice that you don't have to get up and go to work this early.
I am pretty sure that it is your dog that has the barking problem, not my dog.
We live by train tracks, you can sleep through that but not a barking dog?
You left an anonymous note and never came and talked to us yourselves, how old are you?

We have come up with a solution and it makes Ryan angry that he feels as though these jerks are winning.  But when we are getting threatened that Hank will be taken by the Animal Control - which just try and take my dog, I will fight you on that one - we have to figure out something.

We are lucky enough to have one neighbor who is awesome and her oldest daughter has offered to come let Hank out later in the morning after the kids are all in school.  Today will be the first day of this and if it doesn't work then everyone else can just suck it.

We are trying.  We don't want our neighbors to hate us but Hank is part of our family and he isn't going anywhere.

So for now, we have a law breaker living with us.  Poor Yellow! ::his nickname most days::

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Februarys Are For Budget Planning

Now don't ask me why, but for some reason, February is the month that I get on us about our budget.  It is the first month after all the holidays and birthdays and gives me a real slap in the face about our money situation.

Money is stressful.  I don't care who you are, money is stressful.  I have always been in charge of our finances since we became a "we" and moved in together in 2011.  Ryan, self-admittedly, is not good with money, in the sense that he doesn't realize when he is getting low on it and doesn't stress about it.  I, am self-admittedly, a little obsessed with money, in the sense that I stress over every detail of it and freak out each and every month.

I have tried to come up with a way to help myself out this year so that I don't get so stressed and upset about our money situation.

Going into our marriage we had debt.  Ryan had built up a bit himself and I had a credit card that I would love to use when it wasn't maxed out - don't get scared for me just yet, it only has a $500 limit - which I know is still a lot, but at least it wasn't thousands of dollars.  Anyways, we got married, Ryan went overseas and I was left at home to save money and pay off our debt.  I kicked our budget's ASS and got rid of all of our debt and managed to get us a gorgeous savings account.  We managed to pay for our wedding and honeymoon all in cash and still had some left over.  We did well and lived a great life.

When we bought our house we only had our two vehicle loans to pay each month.  Although I was still stressing about money, we were rolling in the dough - if only it could have stayed that way.

We got excited.  We bought a boat - well we are paying the bank for a boat now.  We bought a new couch - the first piece of brand new furniture either of us ever bought for our home.  We got a credit card.  We had a baby.

Now, we are five and a half months into life as a family of 3 and expenses are not going down, they are just increasing.  February Budgeting has been in full force.

Here are some ways that I manage to stay sane in our goal of becoming debt free - once again.

I'm a bit crazy and have created a spreadsheet.  On said excel spreadsheet is a tab for each bill we have.  I have a total of 22 tabs - this sounds like a lot but it includes everything like utilities, mortgage, insurances, etc.  On each tab I have it labeled for the business, the link to the website, username, password, account #, due date, interest %, minimum payment, date paid, amount paid and remaining balance.  Each tab has a whole bunch of numbers on it, but in the end it is our life, in bills, in one spot.  I have an "overview" tab at the beginning that shows our monthly income, all bills with minimum payments totaled, bills in interest % ranking order and miscellaneous items that aren't included in the bills section.  I need this.  This is a great way for me to have everything in one spot and be able to show my hubs what is exactly going on.

I still use and I love it!  I have revised our budgets a bit and still work on it weekly.  I love that it uses pie charts and line graphs.  I am a total admin and love all things excel and charts!

Like I mentioned above, our spreadsheet has our bills listed in highest to lowest interest rate and this helps me prioritize our bills.  Of course our main bills - mortgage, utilities and groceries - come first, but after those are paid we still have the rest of those pesky ones.  I have made a goal for us to be "debt" free by the end of 2015.  I want to have no debt except for our house and possibly the cars and boat.  I know that still sounds like a lot of debt, but if we only have those 4 payments per month we will be saving an average of $500/month!  That's huge!

We love to eat out as much as the next person but living 20 minutes from the closest "chain" restaurant also makes it expensive in gas terms.  We are cutting back on spending money by eating in more.  I have gotten us on a schedule of eating out MAX twice a week, including the weekends.  This is huge for us and I have already noticed a difference.  Of course, there are those nights when you just have to eat out, and I make those okay as long as they don't get out of hand.


We are going to achieve our goal of becoming debt free by starting at the top of our interest rate list and working our way down.  We will pay minimum payments to all debts except for the highest one and put as much as possible each month towards it.  We will then work our way down and never decrease the amount of money we are paying until all of our debt is gone.

For Example:
Loan A minimum payment is $25.00.  Loan B minimum payment is $25.00.  We will pay $100.00 to Loan A and only pay $25.00 to Loan B until all of Loan A is gone.  Once Loan A is gone, we will then pay $125.00 to Loan B.  We aren't out any more money than we normally are, but now are paying off Loan B a lot faster then if we were just paying the minimum payment.

We are still in Month 1 of this new process and I hope it works.  I plan on doing a budget update in the next couple of months once we see a difference in our debt.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lent 2015

My whole life we have participated in Lent.  The yearly sacrifice of giving something up for 40 days and 40 nights.  It starts 40 days before Easter, on Ash Wednesday, and this year it starts today and goes until Sunday, April 2nd.

I remember as a kid I despised it.  I hated having to give something up.  I hated going to church most Sundays in fact.  Despite my annoyance to it, I have always done it.  Even now as an adult, even though we don't go to church like we probably should, I still partake.

I make an effort every year to challenge myself with something that I haven't done before.  I have given up so many things for Lent over the years; ice cream, red meat, candy.

This year I am challenging myself even more.  I am vowing to give something up and do something for those 40 days and 40 nights.  Lent 2015 will be the year that I give up soda and vow to work out at least 4 days a week.

Giving up soda is a big thing for me.  I love soda.  If I don't see it, it really isn't that big of a deal to me, but if I do, man oh man, it's all I want.  I went half of my pregnancy without soda and then towards the end I gave in and went for it.  I know I can do it, but it will be a tough one, especially when I am at work.

Vowing to work out 4 days a week is something that I should do anyways, without the encouragement of Lent, but it just isn't happening.  I know that I can do it for the 40 days and am hoping that once I am in the habit of doing it, that it will stick around once Lent is over.

I hope that if you participate in Lent that you succeed this year and try to do something you haven't done before.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pinterest Recipe Challenge - Week 5

So for week 5 of my Pinterest Recipe Challenge 2015, I tried to make a soup in the crock pot.  I love soup and what an easier way to make dinner then in the crock pot?

This recipe was shared by my friend Heather and after trying hers, I wanted to make it myself.

The recipe goes as follows:

  • 3 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cans of Rotel (I use original)
  • 2 Cans of Black Beans (drained)
  • 1 Can of Fresh Kernel Corn (drained)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp Chili pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • Suggested Toppings: Tortilla Chip Strips, Mexican Blend Cheese, Sour Cream

I made my changes based on what we like as follows:

  • 6 chicken tenderloins - it's what I had on hand
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth
  • 1 Can of Corn - drained
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1T Cumin
  • 1T Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cups White Rice
I made the recipe just as she did, but cooked the rice separately on the side and added it in 10 minutes before we ate.  I also took corn tortillas and cut them into strips.  I drizzled olive oil on them and put them in the over on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until they were nice and golden.

We loved this soup and it is definitely something we will be making again.  It made a ton and it is so filling.  Next time I make it, I will make homemade pinto beans to add in as well.  I can't wait!!! :)

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Monday, February 16, 2015

February Confessions

This month was full of hilarious - IMO - things.

Let's just jump right in, shall we?

I made sure that for this month I started a list in my Notes section on my phone so I would remember all the things to confess.  Here are my titles to remind myself, I think they are hilarious on their own.

//Spinning in a circle in CVS
So there I was, running into CVS on the way to a birthday party and I got distracted.  I can't help myself.  Caleb was in the car with Ryan and I could move quicker and wanted to check out the pretty nail polish on my way out.  As I'm walking down the aisle I remember that Ryan asked me to pick him up a razor.  I get to the end of the aisle and without realizing it, I spun.  In a complete circle trying to figure out where the razors might be.  I look up and there is an employee, a male employee at that, staring at me and asking so pathetically, "Can I help you find something?"  Oh man!  I could have died.  But oh well.  I'm a mommy and I got distracted, but at least I got the birthday present and the razor!

//Saying dinner without interruption
Now as much as I wanted to remember everything to confess for this month, I wrote this down and now have NO IDEA what it was about.  I'm sure it was hilarious because I can only imagine what it was about.

//Date night/baby sleepover
We spent our first night away from baby and I might have freaked out, just a little bit.  We went to the movies and straight home to bed for a solid night's rest.  When we woke up in the morning it was so weird to just go straight to work and not having to drop baby off at my mom's house.  I didn't like it, but it is necessary.

//SAMs Club family restroom
Okay, so this is more of a pissed off moment, but funny once you hear it.  I have been going to SAMs Club for a while now and ever since I've had Caleb he has been good and things worked out to where I never had to change him while we were there.  Until one day.  I went into the Women's Restroom, into the large stall that usually has the changing stations in them and low and behold, no station!  There is a Koala kid station for you to strap your kid in while you go to the bathroom, but for my infant who couldn't, at the time, sit up yet, it was too big.  What the hell?  Luckily I had the stroller with me and I just changed him in that.  Fast forward to 2 weeks ago and I needed to go to SAMs club.  I get Caleb out and he had pooped!  I, completely forgot that they didn't have a changing station, and marched all the way to the back of the store - which tell me why bathrooms are usually in the back?  I have to pee so bad usually I can't walk that far! I digress - only to get in there and remember that they don't have the changing station.  I run all the way back out to my car, change him and march back inside to pick up the formula that we so desperately needed.  Now fast forward, once again, to one week ago when I went to SAMs club by myself for a couple of items and needed to uses the restroom.  The Women's Restroom was "closed for cleaning, please use Family Restroom"  What the F***???  There is a Family Restroom?!?  Let me tell you, it's nice!  Such a nice changing station and privacy for you and your babes.  Ugh!  At least now I know.

//Not folding and putting Caleb's clothes away for 3+ weeks
This is horrible.  All I can say though is that at least they have been clean?  I always make sure to do Caleb's laundry every weekend before ours.  He goes through a lot of clothes now that he is eating.  They also end up staying in the dryer and I pick his outfits out from there or they get moved to the spare room bed and they lay there.  #mommyproblems

//Folded and arranged Caleb's clothes, but still not put away
I was so proud of myself!  I spent over an hour on a Sunday folding all of Caleb's clothes.  Man does that boy have a ton of cute stuff!  I need to start rotating his outfits better.  I want him to wear them all as much as possible before he grows out of them.  Anyways.  So I spent all this time folding and I was getting ready to move them into his nursery and put them in his dresser when he went down for a nap.  I had plans with my mom and by the time I had to leave he was still sleeping.  I moved the piles to the spare room bed in hopes that I would put them away Monday after work, but no.  They are still laying there.  But on the plus side?  I arranged them by drawer so I just have to take the piles and plop them into the dresser.  Hopefully that has happened by the time you are reading this.  :)

Happy confessions!
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Books, Books, Books

Linking up with Karli and Amy today.

This week I wanted to share five books that I would love to have and read.  I have always liked reading but I don't like being told what to read.  When I do read, I read fast.  I get into the book and can't put it down.  I can honestly say that I haven't completed a book since 2012 and it makes me sad.

This year, I want to try and read at least 10 new books.  Not only start them, but finish them as well.  I have put together a little list of the 5 I would like to start with.


I make Caleb's purees myself and I would love to get a cookbook that shows me the seasonings and combinations that most infants like.  He is doing great with his eating and has gone through all of the common veggies.  We are wanting to try some more unusual veggies before we start fruit.  More of an update on that coming soon.


This is more for Caleb, obviously, but I would like him to start recognizing items and what they are more.  We read every day and more books can never hurt.  Especially fun ones like this :)

I have heard nothing but great things about this book.  I am a super picky eater and I want Caleb to be the complete opposite.  I want him to try everything with an open mind and make his own opinions on food.  I heard that this is really helpful when they start getting little opinions and I want to make sure I give him all the opportunities to be a "foodie" unlike his mama.


I want to read her story.  I can't imagine what it must have been like and I can't wait to read all about her experiences.  I know that it was dark and horrible what happened to her, but to be brave enough to write your story is awesome and it deserves to be read.


I love me some Amy Poehler and I can only imagine how many times I will laugh out loud while reading this.  I love non-fiction from time to time and this is something that I'm sure I can sink my reading eyeballs into. :)

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Am No Longer An Army Wife

You read that correct.  I am no longer an army wife.  As of Monday, 2/9/15, Ryan is out of the United States Army National Guard.

I have mixed emotions about it and I'll tell you why.

Without the military Ryan and I would have never met.  Seems silly considering that we actually have known each other since we were 14, right?  Well we weren't ever friends, in fact, we still tell people to this day that I did not like him because he flipped me off at a pool party in 7th grade.  We fast forward 6 years later and we reconnect.  Ryan was on his first deployment and we became friends.  Friends quickly escalated into more of an exclusive relationship and it seemed even crazier.  We were 8,000+ miles apart from each other and hadn't seen each other since high school, how could this be happening?

Well thank goodness it did.  Ryan came home from deployment, thank the good Lord up above, and we began our relationship.  It had it's ups and downs but in the end we were an us and it was awesome.  We dealt with drill weekends and AT in the summer and 2.5 years later Ryan was going on another deployment.  We were committed to one another but not engaged or married.  Then, of course, he surprised me and we got engaged and married 33 days before he left California.

The Army took care of us for that next year.  I moved back in with my mom so we could save up as much money as possible.  I paid off a ton of debt, saved a ton and planned our perfect big wedding.  I booked us a honeymoon to the Bahamas, which was amazing and we can't wait to go back, and it was all thanks to good ol' Uncle Sam.

Ryan made it home from another deployment, thank goodness!  We had the wedding of our dreams and went on an amazing honeymoon.  We decided that we were ready for a family and started trying.  We found out we were pregnant with our little and decided to buy a house.

We, honestly, could only afford to buy a house because of the Army.  Due to Ryan's service and prior deployments, we were eligible for a VA Loan which doesn't require us to have a 20% down payment.  Without this we wouldn't be where we are.  We got to buy a house and bring our baby home with no worries of having to move again with a newborn.

The Army has its ups and downs, just like any relationship.  We love it some days and hate it the others.  In the end it has helped provide us with an amazing life and one that we are proud to call ours.

While I don't think that our military life is completely over, for now it is.  For now, we will live a "normal" life and see where it takes us.

I am so honored and proud to be married to such a selfless man who was willing to give up his own life for his country.  I know that even if we are out for good, Caleb will grow up knowing what it means to be a proud American and proud of his dad for his service.

Until next time Army.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pinterest Recipe Challenge - Week 4

So for Week 4 of the Pinterest Recipe Challenge I actually remade one of my own recipes.  Not intentionally, but it happened.

I made the dessert casserole and it was a major hit!

I changed it this time by putting chocolate chip cookie on the bottom, oreos in the middle and topped it all off with brownie.  It was rich, but delicious!

For this recipe you make all items as normal and when baking them put them in a 11X13 pan and bake at 350 for 60 minutes, or until brownie is completed.

I hope you try it out one day and love it as much as my hubs does!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jealous Dog Problems

You remember that cute little puppy we got two Christmases ago?

Well he is now over 100 pounds and the big brother, instead of the little brother.

When Hank was 6 months old we sent him to training.  He was in training until he was 9 months old.  When he got home we had moved and I was wayyyyyyy more pregnant.  Everything was fine.  He was our big baby and such a good boy in the new house.

Fast forward to September after Caleb was born, and now we have a very jealous puppy.  Hank was supposed to go back to school the week of my due date and after being there for a week he got injured and had to come back home.  We had planned it so that he wouldn't be there when we were in the hospital so that he didn't feel "abandoned" but he had different plans.  We sent him to my in-laws and they watched him for us until we got home with Caleb.  We brought Hank back home after one day home and everything seemed fine.

Hank is the sweetest dog with Caleb.  Never, ever, has he tried to snap or been too aggressive with him.  He gives him loves all day long and is obsessed with knowing where he is.  When Caleb cries, Hank will come find one of us to make sure we know he is crying - except for in the middle of the night, please, that pup doesn't get so cute from not having his 12 hours of beauty rest each and every night! LOL.  I love how he is with Caleb and I can't wait to watch them grow up together.

Doesn't sound like a jealous dog right?  Well here comes the bad stuff he has done.

Hank is kennel trained but he is such a good boy and sooooo cute we just don't kennel him when we leave.  We trust him did trust him.

Since we have had Caleb and left Hank, inside or out, he has destroyed the following:
Dug a whole, half way to China, in our backyard
Chewed and ruined one Cable remote
Chewed one TV and ANOTHER Cable remote
Eaten one pacifier
Chewed and ruined one baby toy
Chewed and ruined ONE Stiletto
Ate a container of eye drops
Ate a container of travel hand sanitizer
Disabled our automatic sprinklers
Brought all of our recycling cans & bottles from the side yard to the back yard & taken them out of the bags
Dug ANOTHER hole, this time to our sprinkler pipes
Took off the insulation around our outside pipes
Chewed the top off of our hose
Chewed a hole in the hose
Chewed another hole in the hose - bottom line, we need a new hose
Destroyed his 5-gallon bucket for water
Took the firewood that was nicely stacked and distributed it around the yard
Torn up about every inch of nice grass we had in the back
Took all of our shoes from the garage and put them in his favorite spot in the backyard - didn't chew any though

We give him love and attention as much as possible, but during the day, when we are all gone, he has to be outside and be a dog.  He gets mad and destroys things.  Poor guy knows he is in trouble when we get home too and then he is so cute all sad and pathetic looking.

Do you have any suggestions on how to help our poor jealous puppy out?  We don't like him being in trouble and we try to take away all possible items to get him in trouble, but we can't put outside things inside when he is outside... LOL

Help our sweet boy not be in so much trouble so often now that his brother is around.
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