Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Missing It

I feel like I am missing something. Like He is trying to show/teach me something and I just can't see/understand it. It's frustrating because I'm pretty sure it is starring me in the face and yet I can't get it. I know that He isn't frustrated with me, but I think I would feel better if He would (even though I know He won't). I don't even have any idea what I am missing, but I know I am missing something. I've prayed, talked, doodled, gotten mad, etc. I don't think He is teaching me patience because I see Him doing that in other areas of my life (work).

I'm aggravated because I know it's just out of my grasp, yet even with all my stretching I can't even get a finger on it. Sometimes I wish I could just wake up and find an email from Him and that email would tell me what is expected of me and what I am supposed to be doing here, that would simplify a lot of things!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Coupons, Cutouts, and Creativity (How I save)

I have had several people ask me how I save so much money when I go grocery shopping. It is a multi-step system that I use, and it does take some planning, but I like know that I am saving $!

First, we are attempting to grow our own garden this year, so that works out well for fresh produce. It is expensive to eat healthy food, so we decided to attempt some home grown goodness.
I hate grocery shopping, so I try to do one big trip a month and be done with it. I started by getting organized. Since we do a majority of our shopping at Wal-Mart I created a chart based on the Auburn store lay out. I then created half an envelope for each category on my chart. I labeled each envelope with the same heading from my chart (see pictures below). I hang an empty chart on the fridge after each trip and if we run out of something, I add it to the chart/list.
I then go coupon crazy. I clip every coupon I see. You just never know. It may be something I don't use, but I'm more than happy to pass the savings along to a friend who does use that product. I also use the following sites to gather coupons.

http://www.couponloop.com/ is one of my favorites.

http://www.couponmom.com/ is another good one.

http://www.coolsavings.com/ not really my favorite, but I find some good coupons every once in awhile.
http://www.kraft.com/ I use this a lot too.

If I am looking for a coupon for a specific item, I will search that makers website. If you are looking for a dog food coupon, go to the company site that makes the food your dog eats, etc.
I then organize my coupons by putting them in the corresponding envelopes. Coupons for cheese, milk, etc, go in the "dairy" envelope. Coupons for cereal and granola bars goes in the "cereal, Syrup, Pop Tarts, Granola Bars" envelope. Easy enough to understand right?
I then gather the local "in store" ads. Since I work in Angola, I make a point to run out to Meijer and grab an ad. The Kroger ad comes in the mail. I will look for items that we like that are on sale as well as items that we want to try that I already have a coupon for. If I want to try something new, and it's on sale at Kroger, I'll get on line and search for a coupon as well. I cut out the ad and take the clippings with me. Trust me, I know cashiers hate this. I used to be a cashier and I am now the type of customer I hated. It is there job to take care of you at check out, so just pretend to be happy and apologize for the cut outs. When I unload my cart I attempt to put all of the items I have a cut out for at the start of the line. It makes it easier for the cashier. They can get all of the price changes out of the way at first and then fly through the rest. If I have a "buy one, get one" coupon I also hand that to the cashier first so they can remember to write down the amount.

The next step is to plan your meals. I print out a monthly calendar and plan meals based on what is on sale and what I plan to buy. The key to this is flexibility. Who knows what you are going to be craving in two weeks! I allow us to swap nights. Often Ayron will call and say, "I looked at the menu this morning and pasta doesn't sound good. Can we trade tonight for Thursday's meal?" This works really well for us. As I am getting breakfast around, I can glance at the calendar and I immediately know what I need to get around for dinner. If I need chicken, I know to pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw while I am at work. Saves a ton of time! I also build in "fun" meals. Saturday night we always "eat out with the gang" after church. Sunday is always "leftovers or pizza" night. If there aren't any left overs, then we make our own pizza. We'll do breakfast type foods for dinner, or a picnic dinner the park, etc.

After I make my calendar, I double check my chart/list to make sure I have all the ingredients and food needed to make all the meals on the calendar. I will sometimes wait to buy the fresh produce till closer to the night we are eating it. I then pull all the coupons I plan on using and paper clip them to my chart. I always take along all my coupons, but pulling out the ones you already plan on using in advance saves time.

That is how I do it. It takes some time and planning, but I think it take a lot of headache out of the "What am I going to cook for dinner?" situation that would happen every night if I didn't do it.
Here are some other tips that I have.

* Buy generic. It won't kill you to buy the store brand. Now I break this rule when it comes to certain types of foods. I can't eat cheap mac and cheese, I just can't. It's Kraft or nothing! Some of the store brand foods I like better than the name brand. Taylor loves the generic version of "Nutragrain" bars, but will not eat the actual brand kind!
* Ladies, if you can help it, DO NOT TAKE THE KIDS OR YOUR HUSBAND to the store with you!! It's just easier and you're not constantly saying, "Put that back."

* Eat a meal right before you go, that way if you have to take the kids and hubby, they aren't as hungry and they don't start suddenly craving everything they see!

* Take your own bags. I LOVE MY REUSABLE BAGS FROM ALDI'S! If you are buy an Aldi's stop in and get their cloth bags (have a cardboard insert in the bottom). I think I paid $2 for each of them, but they are HUGE and they hold so much more than the reusable Wal-Mart bags!

* Buy in bulk when possible. We have a Sam's Club membership and we buy some things in bulk. I also take this approach when buying meat and cheese. We get a lot of our meat from Albrights. The "Fill the Freezer" pack lasts us forever! We also bought a pork loin (that was already cut into about 20 chops) last night for $10. Tonight I will repackage those into serving sizes and freeze them! We also bought a sirloin roast that was on sale. Ayron will cut it into sirloin steaks, and ta da...We'll get about 8-10 steaks out of it for a total of $10. We eat a lot of cheese, so we buy the GIANT bags at Sam's Club, and then I repackage them into 2 cup sizes (baggies are our friends!) and put them in the freezer.
*Create connections to farmers! We are lucky enough that Ayron's brother does some "mini" farming. They have taken an interest in chicken farming. We recently got 5 chickens for $4 a piece. Can't beat that! In about another two weeks we will get another 10 chickens. They raise them, and then Ayron goes out and helps with the processing. We plan on giving some away as gifts. I have a friend who we are going to quarter at least 1, if not 2 up, and give them to her (pss..Evil Poptart, I'm talking about you!). We also have an Uncle who raises cows and once a year, we all pitch in and buy cow and process it our self. We split the meat up, and that fills our freezer (It helps that we have a HUGE deep freeze) too. We also know a hog farmer who will sell us hogs for cheap. When the fire department is getting ready for a hog roast, we might purchase another one (he sells them to us for cheap since Ayron's brother is a firefighter) and butcher it ourselves. We make roasts, ham, chops, bacon, sausage links, sausage patties, etc. All of this takes some time and effort and the ability to get your hands dirty, but if you have the connections, use them!

So there you have it, that is how I save! Hope it helps all of you out there. If you want my chart for the Auburn Wal-Mart let me know and I will be happy to email it to you!

A pic (taken w/ my phone so the quality is crap) of my chart.

My coupon envelopes. They are just a sealed envelope cut in half.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Plenty of Notice

I require plenty of notice, especially when it comes to work issues. I have a family and several other outside (of work) commitments. My boss is a single guy (lives with girlfriend) who can pick up and go with the drop of a hat. I can't do that. He has, once again, dropped a bomb on me with all of like 1 1/2 notice. He has signed me up for training in Elkhart. It's a week long training. I am going to have to explain to him tomorrow that I cannot go for several reasons.

A.) Short notice
B.) Only one car in our household and if I take it to Elkart, how will Ayron get around?
C.) With Ayron's crazy work schedule, who would take care of TJ?
D.) I don't believe in this training. I don't believe in the effectiveness of the program. I think it is a program the state created to make themselves feel good, but I have yet to see it work. Having this feeling, makes it hard to be excited about going to this training.

So how do I approach with subject with my boss? I plan on asking him if we can meet and I am going to tell him the following: In order for me to attend training I need AT LEAST a month notice. If Ayron is out of town or has an in town auction, I will be unavailable. I will try to remember to up date my schedule on the officer calendar so that he is aware of my schedule. It is very difficult to plan time for me to be away from Auburn due to my other commitments. I would also appreciate being asked if I would like to attend training. I have several things due to state that week and would rather have the time in my office to proof read the final drafts and collect official signatures.

Any advice?

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I am currently experiencing marriage in every phase of it's existence. I have two friends who are engaged and getting married within 3 weeks of each other (and I'm in both!) at opposite ends of the country! Ayron and I are coming up on our 4 year wedding anniversary (been together 8 1/2 years). I am also experiencing the heartache of a marriage ending. I find myself experiencing all the emotions of each stage and it makes me wonder and appreciate my husband all the more.

I have two friends who are getting married this fall and it's fun to watch the planning and be apart of the planning. T and C are getting married Oct. 10th in the Seattle area, and although I've only met her once, I know C is the right one for T. This wedding strikes me as particularly cool for two reasons: we get to travel (actually kind of nervous about that part) to the wedding and I get to stand up front on T's side! Yeppers, I will be standing up with the guys. I think that is cool! D and K are recently engaged and getting married Nov. 7. I will also be upfront (a part of the "fruit salad" of bridesmaids / inside joke). We recently went dress shopping and it was fun to watch D try on all types of dresses. You could tell when she found the one because her demeanor changed, she became quiet and D is not quiet.

It's fun to watch these couples get excited about marriage, about finding their life partner. I get to relive all of those emotions without the stress (no bridezilla freak outs or anything!). I get to be apart of their happiest day and I will do my part to make it a happy day for all! It's fun to see the loving look in their eyes and see how they can't get enough of each other.

Ayron and I are coming up on our 4th anniversary and I tend to find myself looking back in time. I never planned on getting married. I was gonna move to Austria and become a nun (yet another inside joke). I can't believe that in the span of 4 years, we have accomplished and survived so much! We have a house in a great neighborhood (minus the random act of juvenile delinquency), have a dog, and the most surprising thing...a child! It's so cool to know that we created that life and now he is a human. It's just fascinating.

We've survived so many obstacles and it has only made us stronger. We lived with his parents while I finished up student teaching, dealt with a job loss and promotions, the agony of house shopping and the joy of signing the closing paperwork, and we are both now in jobs that we love that allow us to live a comfortable life. Life is good and I am glad that I have a wonderful partner to share it with.

I also have a friend dealing with a not so good side of marriage, a divorce. I know the Bible is against divorce, but I see so many situations where both individuals would be better off if they went their separate ways. I didn't say it would be easy, and it should not be taken lightly, but I feel that in some situations, it is the best option.

I was at my friends house the other day when her soon to be ex came over to get some of his things. I swear I could feel her heart break. I felt like my chest was going to explode with sadness. I just wanted to hold her and tell her it would all be ok. Eventually it will be ok, but right now it is difficult for all involved. I also felt the anger her father was feeling. He was there with us as well and you could read the frustration of his face. I also wonder if he felt some what heartbroken because he wasn't able to protect his baby girl from experiencing this tragic situation.

She has a great out look on life and knows she will eventually find someone who loves her for her and I admire her for that. She has so much more strength than she knows and I pray for her, and him, daily. Just sitting here thinking about the situation, I find myself experiencing some of the emotions she must deal with (no where near to the extent she does) on a daily basis. I just want to wisk her away from this situation and make it all better, but I can't. I have to keep reminding myself that God will use this as a learning experience for all involved.

I will say that after being at her house the other night, I did appreciate my marriage and Ayron a lot more. Living in these stages of marriage (vicariously through my friends) has allowed me to remember how I once felt and deepen my love for Ayron.

Grow Up

I logged onto my blog this morning to moderate comments and found a rather stupid comment from an "anonymous" reader calling my child "fugly." Wow, really mature. Nothing says, "I'm an ignorant moron" than insulting someones child publicly. Grow up! I love the ability to moderate comments and decide to "REJECT" such immature comments from people who don't even have the guts to own up to their idiotic thoughts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mystery Gift

Last Thursday I came home to find a HUGE box sitting in front of my door. The box weighed 28lbs! Inside the mystery box was a fantastic pedal car, yet no clue as to who sent it. I was still in my detective mode (since my purse had been stolen) so I decided to look up the company on the return address. I then gave Mr. Dixey a call and told him that we had no clue who sent the package and would like to know so we could send a thank you card. Turns out, my mom's cousin Dan saw it in a catalogue and decided that TJ needed one since Ayron now works with classic cars.

We aren't sure if Taylor likes his gift, what do you think?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


(This is my "letter" to the morons who decided to break into cars on IWO street during the early morning hours of June 10, 2009).

Dear Idiots,

I bet you think you are pretty slick. Breaking into several cars, stealing money and a pocket knife. I would like to inform you that you are not slick, you are slimy as well as stupid. I don't know much about stealing, seeing as how I've never done it and never will do it, but I know more than you do.

For instance, if you are going to pick a street to burglarize, don't pick the street that the sheriff, ex sheriff, head of dispatch, 2 local police, 2 sheriff deputies, and 1 state police officer live on. We don't take crime lying down in our town, let alone our street.

I have to wonder why you only took a pocket knife from Mr. M's truck. Were you too blind to see the 4 guns in his backseat and the boxes of ammunition (He had gone to the shooting range that day)? If you wanted to be "armed" so badly that you broke into vehicles, why only take a pocket knife.

Secondly, you used my stolen credit card at 2 gas stations, McDonalds, and two Meijer stores. Let me tell you something....ALL OF THOSE PLACES HAVE CAMERAS. Here is another hint, when someone reports a card stolen and you try to use it, it comes up on the Meijer computer as STOLEN CARD. I bet you didn't know that the Angola Meijer has THE BEST security cameras in the area. Thanks for being dumb enough to steal my card and then use it at the place with the best cameras!

Thank you for ditching my ATM card RIGHT NEXT TO MY BANK. You are moronic. You made me wonder, "Did they try to use my card at the ATM machine? I called the bank and they are running the card now and pulling the video as I type this.

I bet you didn't know that the two police officers they assigned to this case are friends of my husband. One went to high school with Ayron and the other one does some part time security work for the company my husband works for. Thanks! It has been nice catching back up with them as they work to NAIL YOUR BUTT TO THE WALL!!!

Did you know you were robbing someone who works for community corrections and knows the law? Were you expecting me to shrug my shoulders and say "Oh well." I won't! You may have gotten some cash and bought some crap at Meijer, but in the end, JUSTICE WILL WIN. I will not be made to feel insecure and violated in my own home. I will not allow you to make my safe neighborhood feel corrupt. I have talked to all my neighbors, we all know. You better believe when we have a name to match with your slimy face I will tell everyone your name too.


Carma "I'm not afraid of you and your slimy ways" Reeves

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stolen Purse

I woke up this morning to see a police officer talking to a couple who lives across the street. All of the truck doors were open and I told Ayron, "I think someone broke into Meyer's truck."

We piled in the car and got ready to take TJ to the sitter and noticed that some things from the glove box were sitting on the passenger seat. Then I realized that I left my purse in the car last night. I panicked. (Let me backtrack. When I got home yesterday TJ was fussing and I just grabbed him and came into the house. I forgot to go back out and get my purse or lock the car).

I ran across the street and Mr. Meyers met me and we talked. He said he became suspicious when he found a set of keys and small pouch on his wife's car (my keys and my pouch of medicine). I called the police and Officer Fuller came out to my house. He had my keys and my pouch.

When Mr. Meyers gave him the keys, the officer took them out to BP and scanned my reward points tag and discovered they belonged to me. He knew who we were because he went to school with Ayron.

After talking with the police officer, we discovered another car a couple houses down had been broken into as well. I then talked to another neighbor and had them check their car and it was apparent someone had gone through it. We weren't the only one, but we did lose the most. They think it happened between 2 - 4am. The crazy thing is our neighborhood is FULL or barking dogs who go psycho is a leaf moves, yet none of them barked last night.

We immediately called the credit card company and had that card closed. Turns out they used the card at Speedway, McDonalds, the Angola Meijer, a Marathon gas station, and attempted to use it at Mejier on Lima road (by that time we had cancelled the card). We called Speedway and they pulled a tape (who really buys gas at 4:30am?) and the police are reviewing it. They are also reviewing a tape from McDonalds and attempting to get a tape from the Marathon gas station.

We went to the bank and had the checking account closed and found out that they didn't attempt to use my debit card, THANK GOD! The new account is set up and all is taken care of.

Basically, they got away with my library card and $100 in cash. It's just a pain because I spent all morning at the BMV and the social security office, etc.

As I was driving Ayron out to work we witnessed an accident. A driver lost control turning (it was raining) and went up over the sidewalk and down into a ditch. When I gave the 911 dispatcher my name she laughed and asked, "Do you have a police fetish today?" She recognized my name from earlier.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am only out $100. I am still just so mad at myself. I also feel violated. I have my keys, I have my health, my child, my family, etc. but the fact that it happened up and down the street right under our nose and no one heard a thing. I am sitting here with the house all locked up and I keep thinking, "Is that truck driving too slow? Have I seen those people before?" I know that I can't do that, it will only drive me crazy, but I still feel violated.

I hope the videos give the police a license plate number. I don't expect to get the $100 back, but I want justice. Here is what really gets me. My neighbor is an avid hunter and had just come back from target practice last night. He had several shot guns and hand guns in his truck along with ammunition. They didn't touch that, but they took his pocket knife from his center console. They were obviously after cash, and I had it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Demolition Begins

For those of you who have never been to our house, we have a "back room" that the previous owner called a "4 Seasons" room. The room is only tolerable about 10 days a year. The window are bad, the screen door has a huge gap at the bottom, etc. It needs some help. We had been using it for storage, and more recently we have been leaving the dog out there during the day so he has more room to stretch out while we are gone. He loves having free reign of the old couch out there and enjoys looking at birds out the window.

We decided, some time ago, to redo the room and make it usable space. We are planning on getting a real door, closing off the door to the garage, taking out most of the windows and putting in REAL windows, adding a heating/cooling duct, etc. The ultimate goal is to make that the "media room."

I have been trying to get Ayron to begin demolition on that room since we got our tax refund. Due to traveling, work, illness, etc., it kept getting put off. Ayron tends to see the finished project and not the steps needed along the way. He wanted to just start ripping stuff out this weekend. I managed to make him realize that we need to get the new windows, door, and siding ordered so that we weren't stuck with an open room while we waited on the door (it is an odd sized door and will probably need to be custom made). As we lay in bed last night we made a plan and decided to contact our window guy about windows this afternoon.

This morning I asked Ayron to check on the dog's food and water. Ayron decided to begin demolition a bit early. His head managed to rip a light out of the ceiling! The light fixtures were these two glass covered bulbs that hung down in the center of the room (one at each end). Ayron has always hit his head on them and always complained, yet never replaced the fixtures with something flatter. I am guessing that when I get home, demolition will begin and the first things to go will be the light fixtures!

I need to take some before and after shots of the room. We talked to our real estate appraiser and he said by just making that livable space, painting the garage and front door and updating the shudders, the value of our house will increase by $20,000! I can't wait to get the updates done on the house, then we will tackle the landscaping!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Nobody told me!

I currently have two friends that are pregnant and due within a week of each other. For "L" it is her second (so she knows what to expect), for "K" it is her first.

A couple of weeks ago we had a shower for "K." They were having us tell her stories. It struck me how many people told "horror stories." Really? We we trying to prepare her or scare her? Lord knows I am just as guilty.

I was talking with L his morning about being pregnant again and all that no one tells you until you are either A: pregnant or B: your figure it out on your own. I was thinking back to 6th grade Health class and that video they show you in 4th (or 5th) grade about your "changes."

I don't mean to scare anyone, these are just things that I wish I had known. Not that knowing any of these things before conceiving would have changed my mind about wanting a child, but knowing them might have lessened my surprise!

* No one tells you will give birth twice. Once for the baby and once for all the other stuff. You are relieved that the baby is out and you can relax and then the doctor looks at you and asks you to push again. Doesn't he/she realize that the baby is already out and you are starting to relax and now they want you start pushing again?

* No one tells you about the lovely fishnet pair of boyshort style underpants you will wear after giving birth.

* No one tells you how comfortable those above mentioned underpants actually are! Sure, you'll get some waffle weave imprint on your bum, but they are actually very comfy!

* No one tells you that the hospital only uses white towels. When they helped me to the shower after having Taylor I looked at the nurse and was like, "White? Really? I just gave birth and have nastiest all over me and you want me to use a white towel?"

* No one tells you that you will leak like a stuffed pig for 3-6 weeks after giving birth. Not dealing with that monthly issue for 9 months makes you a wuss when it starts happening again!

* No one tells you that after being pregnant, your bladder will never be the same. A coughing or sneezing fit could send you running for the bathroom. I recommend having a spare pair of underpants in the diaper bag.

* No one tells you that your hair will start doing crazy things. If you've had straight hair, prepare for fuzzy or curly hair. Pregnancy and nursing hormones will cause strange changes.

* No one told me about a peribottle or how I would fall in love with it. I have two, heck I think they are still in the cupboard (They are washed so don't get all grossed out!).

* No one can truly explain how instantly in love you will fall with the goopy covered alien looking thing you just gave birth to.

* No one will tell you about the nights you will stay awake because the baby is sleeping in your arms and you just don't want to put the baby down.

* No one will tell you about how excited a BM can be (for the baby) after days of not having one.

* No one will tell you about the strength you find within when you stop questioning yourself and just let your maternal instincts take over.

* No one will tell you (unless you have a GREAT nurse mid-wife like I did) about how your body will do it's own thing during delivery and how it's better to just let your body go. Your body knows what to do.

* No one tells you how your will fall in love all over again with your husband when you see him hold his first born for the first time.

* No one tells you how silly you look in the middle of the grocery store when you are narrating everything you are doing in cartoon voice to keep your baby happy. No one tells you that you really won't care how silly you look because to your child you are wonderful.

* No one tells you that the person you least expected to help you through labor will become your rock! Thanks Natalee for hanging in there with me! I am still surprised that you didn't pass out!

These are just some things that no one told me. Feel free to add your own to my list.


I have never had a garden before. We decided to plant one this year. We bought all sorts of seeds, along with 6 tomato and 2 pepper plants. Before we planted the plants in the garden the tomatoes were growing like crazy. Now, they are hanging on for dear life. I thought transplanting them into a real garden instead of their tiny pot would be a good thing, but apparently they don't like the ground much.

Ayron checked the garden this morning and told me he could see the starts of everything except the carrots. I was going to weed the garden last night, but not being a gardener, I couldn't tell if it was the start of a plant or a weed. The last thing I wanted to do was pull a bunch of young healthy plants out of the ground. I hope today's rain revives our tomato plants. Those were the plants I really wanted to take off and grow.

I guess I shouldn't get our hopes up since this is our first year. Next year we plan to make the garden even bigger! We ran out of room and I wasn't able to plant my herb garden. Oh well. One year at a time I guess. If only I could get the raspberry bushes to take off again and produce viable fruit.....

Fun Trip To The Park

Yesterday my family was helping with a graduation party at the church. I saw that my two younger nieces wanted to help, but were better at being in the way. I decided to take them to the park in Waterloo. When we got there, a birthday party was beginning and the amount of people at the park was rapidly increasing.

I noticed a kid (I'm going to guess around 8 years old) at the top of the play structure shooting at things with a bb gun. He began to shoot at a metal sign and the bbs were flying all over the place. A parent with the party asked the kid to stop, but the kid refused.

I sent a text to Nathan D (1/5 Mayor of Waterloo) and asked him what I should do. I didn't want to call 911 but I don't have the phone number for the Waterloo Marshall memorized (seeing as how I don't live there). Nathan called the Town Marshall and about 3 minutes later 2 police officers showed up. They questioned the boy and his father. Once the police showed up the father suddenly forgot how to speak or understand English (how convenient). The police took the gun away and talked to the father. Once the police had left, the father then proceeded to inform his son about how the "f-ing b*@#%es had called the cops and it was our fault the gun was taken away." He was yelling this in Spanish for the whole playground to hear. I don't speak Spanish, but what I did understand I didn't like! I grabbed the girls and we high tailed it back to the church for the rest of the party!