Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've been in a sort of funk the past few days/weeks. These funks come and go. Usually without any obvious reason. When I get into one, several things change:

-I stop cleaning
- I read a lot
- I take too long of naps
- I don't cook good meals
- I rebel against all items on my to do list
- The laundry starts to pile up
- I spend way too much time on the computer

You get the picture. Is this depression? I don't know. Whenever I'm feeling down, it usually gets a little better if I actually do something productive. If I can just make myself do that load of laundry, or spend some time playing with Ginger, more productive things usually happen. But getting up and doing that, usually doesn't happen.

At least this time around, I have been diligent in keeping up my workout and diet routine. It's a given that I'll workout, so I just tune out how crappy I'm feeling mentally/emotionally. How much longer will this last? I hate feeling like this. I want to want to clean, be productive, and be a fun mom.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Parsimonius Pratt

Craigslist people can be interesting. Case in point: I have an Ikea children's table and chairs for sale with a matching dresser and bookshelves. I was asking $120 for all of the furniture. This cute Mammut furniture would cost you $235 new at Ikea. Mine is almost 5 years old, and it looks brand new. It's good quality!

This one lady asked me whether I would sell them separately. This is the email back and forth between us.

Lady: Do you still have the table and chairs? Would you sell them separately?
Me: I still have them. I would consider selling them separately. What are you interested in?
Lady: The table and chairs. Would you take $15 for them?
Me: I'll take $30, no less (they are worth $85 new)
Lady: Where do you live?
Me: 30 minutes NE of McKinney.
I'll be in Plano tomorrow, and could bring it down, if you are interested
Lady: I'll buy them tomorrow for $20.
Me: no thanks
Lady: thanks and good luck! If you decide you can take $20 please let me know, otherwise I understand. I just can't afford more than that.

4 days later, and I get this email:

Lady: If you still have them I would really like to buy them from you for your asking price of 30.
Me: I still have them, and will sell them to you for $30.
I will be in Plano again on Thursday, or if you would like to come out to Leonard before then, you can come pick them up at my house.
Lady: Thursday works great. Thank you.
Also, are these chairs pretty sturdy?

I think I was pretty courteous to her so far, but I was getting a little tired of her wheeling and dealing.

Thursday, I left home super early, and I forgot the furniture. I offered to bring it down on Sunday, and after being hesitant at first, she agreed.

Skip to today: While trying to figure out where to meet, I suggested 121 and Custer, which is on the way to mom and dad's house. She thought we should meet in the "middle" (even though we had already come 40 miles) between her house and mom's. I finally had Joe call her back to inform her that we didn't want to meet, but she could come to mom's house.

She arrived, and quickly started hemming and hawing, nit-picking, obsessing, and scrutinizing the furniture. She complained that the table was "wobbly" and she was worried about the sturdiness of the chairs. I informed her that I even sit on the chairs, and after 5 years, they are as good as new. What are her kids planning on doing with that stuff anyways? Jump on it? Throw it across the room?

After a good 10 minutes of inspecting, mumbling, and voicing quiet concerns, she asked me if I'd take $20. Now please refer back to the top of this post. I had clearly told her I would take no less than $30, and this was even before I scrubbed it so well that it looked as good as new. She finally caved, and handed me the $30. I was so glad to be done with this lady. But I hadn't seen the last of her. After loading it in the car, and inspecting it some more, she came to inform us that she found a crack in one of the chairs. I was really sick of her by now, so I told her she could either take the furniture, or get her money back. I'm sure she was trying to get her $10 off after all, but I was not caving! What did she think she was doing? Buying a new car? Picking out a baby for adoption? For Pete's sake! This is USED furniture. Kids have been using it for 5 years. It was only $30. Take it or leave. She decided to leave it.......

Friday, September 25, 2009

Garage Sale part 1

What a long day this has been. Let me rephrase; what a long week this has been! I feel like I am seriously sleep deprived. Wednesday night I got 6 hours of sleep, and no nap. Thursday night, only 6 hours of sleep, and no nap, tonight: 7 hours of sleep, and again no nap tomorrow. I don't know how much longer I can do this!

Anyways, today was the big day. My very first garage sale. After spending hours and hours pricing stuff, it was all neatly organized in boxes in my newly organized garage. Then what? Joe brakes his truck. So now I had to fit everything in my suburban. I pride myself for being a good packer, but we still couldn't get the crib and changing table in. I really wanted to take a picture of my loaded down suburban, but I left my memory card for my camera at home. What a bummer! Just imagine. A packed suburban, with a little trailer hauler on the back carrying 8 big totes full of clothes. The roof was loaded with ladders and 16' pipe. I seriously doubted that I would get all the way to Bonham without my whole load flying off. All I could think about was how awful that would have been. Baby clothes all over the freeway!

Luckily my worst nightmare didn't come true, and I arrived safely at Dee's house. I got the ladders and pipe set up to hang the clothes from, and by the time I had unloaded the second tote, I was ready to go home. So much work! I could have never imagined just how much work it really is, to set up for a yard sale. We pushed through, and by the time (2 hours later) I had all my crap stuff displayed, the sun was beating down fiercely. So fiercely, that I've got a sunburn to prove it!

Before I was even done setting up, I had made my first sale. Joe had some army ammo boxes, which were gone in a flash. I think I did pretty good with a $94 profit for the day. The biggest seller?? Toothpaste!! Last year when I was couponing like crazy, I started accumulating (free) toothpaste. Sales combined with coupons makes it an easy thing to get. I must have had 50 tubes of paste in my bathroom. They were flying off the table like hot cakes. No one seemed very interested in any of the baby clothes, so I am really hoping we'll get some young moms tomorrow. Speaking of customers; most of them were 60-year old hicks. Sorry, no offense. I guess that's what you can expect in a town like Bonham :)

So after a reasonably good day, I am ready to hit the hay, so I can cringe for another whole day, each time someone scrutinizes my junk. And be elated each time someone wants to hand me cash money for my junk!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I have a strange personality. I go through spurts with hobbies. Sometimes it's photograhpy, other times gardening, harp playing, or sewing. I wanted to make a baptism dress for Winter, but instead bought materials to make night gowns. I finished Winter's a few days ago, and I think it's darling. I'll update with photos later.

Tuesday night I attended a bridal shower at the church, and we did a funny game where you make a bride's dress with toilet paper. I was the mannequin, and had a fabulous 80s dress. (Picture Renee? PLease)

After the shower, some of us went over to Braum's ice cream shop for a girls night. They did this once before, a few weeks ago, but I was watching Grandma that day, so I missed it. It was fun to chat about important things such as Twilight, the upcoming New Moon movie, Jokes etc. We are just about all Twilight fanatics, and are going to the new movie, on the very first day it opens. The minute the day starts. Literally, we are going to a 12.01am showing! I've never done that before, but I figure the experience should be good. Of course we'll have to have a Twilight party before to get off to a good start.

I have also been reading a lot of books. Right now I am reading the "Children of the Earth" series, which is very interesting. Unfortunately I can't really recommend it to anyone, because of the extensive sex scenes. Why do they do that??? The story would be just as good, and I wouldn't have to pass pages and pages at a time. Hmpf.

Another thing that's been keeping me busy is my upcoming garage sale. I have never held a garage sale before, and now I know why. I have spent hours and hours pricing everything. When I did research online, they all recommended pricing each individual item, so people will be more likely to buy it. If it doesn't have a price, and they have to ask, they probably just won't unless they are dying to have it. My garage is nice and clean now, and I still have several boxes to go through in Joe's shop.

Other than that, my life is pretty much uneventful. The kids go to school. I try to keep up with the laundry, shopping, and cleaning. Oh, and the new fall TV season just started again, which means So you think you can dance is on, Yippee!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Low Fat Protein

Today is the first day I've cooked a turkey on a non-thanksgiving day. A while ago I was able to get a free turkey trough my coupon shopping, and it's been filling up my freezer. I have been struggling to get enough protein in my diet, and turkey it a good low fat option. Plus, I just LOVE snacking on cold turkey. So I got out the roasting pan, and pulled the half-defrosted turkey out of the fridge. After a quick rinse, and some seasoning it went into the oven. Man, it's soooo much easier to cook a store bought bird, than having to kill your own, pluck it, gut it, and clean it. Plus, I didn't mess with stuffing so total it only took me like 10 minutes of prep time. The house is filling with sweet aromas, and I can't wait to feast!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yellow Death

Joe's been gone, which means easy/fast meals. Today, the kids were treated to Man n Cheese, also known as yellow death. With my new healthy living/eating plan, that just doesn't work for me. Honestly, the idea of eating that is a little gross to me. Have you ever looked at the "nutrition" label on the side?

So instead of partaking in death, I opted for tofu. Yesterday I was able to go to the Asian World market, when I was looking for sesame seed paste for hummus (I made hummus today!). I wandered over to the produce isle. I am always amazed at the great variety of products. It makes a regular grocery store pale in comparison. I came across the Tofu, and remembered that it's a great source of protein.

I marinaded the tofu in some sweet soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Then, boiled some rice, and steamed some homegrown zucchini. I also found some english cucumber at the asian store, which is, in my opinion, a thousand times better than regular cucumber. Here's the result:Grand total of calories: 250
It totally filled me up, and only took 20 minutes to make. Now that's what I call success

The Plan

I guess I should explain "the plan". For a while, we've have been wanting to make a change. We miss the mountains and green. Our house is too expensive. Joe has wanted to get an MBA to further his career. I have wanted to move to Holland so the kids could learn Dutch (and I realized just how much I wanted to do this, when my friend Jill was sent to Paris, and I was more jealous than I ever want to admit).

As I was commenting to my parents about all the things we want to accomplish, they mentioned we could do 2 of our "to do list" things, by getting an MBA in Holland. What? Really? Holland is a very international country, and has several MBA programs that are taught completely in English. They also have a high percentage of international students. The program is just 1 year. We can do one year! I would have to get a part-time job (while the kids are at school), and hopefully we can sell our house soon, so we can start saving money like crazy.

Another part of the plan, is for us to acquire rental homes. This is something Joe has wanted to do for a while, and we found the perfect way to do it. In Bonham, you can buy a house for $10,000-$15,000 dollars. A whole house! For that little! When you buy a house that cheap, you can easily cover your mortgage cost with rental income.

There are contingents to our plan
1. Sell our house
2. Get a good score on the GMAT
3. Be accepted to a good MBA school

Man do I hate selling houses! It's especially hard with this house, because of its location. You need to find that perfect person, which may come along tomorrow, or next year. Of course before we can even put it on the market, we still have to finish a few projects. Master bathroom, baseboard, painting here and there, etc. All we can do is get it finished, and put it up. Then: wait. And hope. And pray.

Joe has been working soo hard studying for the GMAT! I am so proud of him getting up an hour before work each day, and studying. Especially because he DESPISES math. And math is half of the GMAT! Getting into a good school, is directly correlated with the GMAT score.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today I feel overwhelmed. There are many reasons.

First, my house is a mess. This always sours my mental wellbeing.

Second, my computer is super slow, and I haven't been able to fix it.

Third, I have been out of the house all day, running around, shopping, returning sinks (and getting charged a $30 restocking fee), and going to the library for story time. I didn't get home until just 5 minutes before the kids got off the bus, so I had NO downtime today (or nap of course)

Fourth, my t0 do list is growing WAY too long, and the tasks are daunting. Here's a sample:

-Price all items to be sold in Friday's garage sale. Do I need to explain?
-Sew night gowns. After not having sewn for about 2 years, I headed to get some fabric for a baptism dress I was going to make for Winter. Of course I didn't bring the pattern with me, so I had no idea how much fabric to get. Instead, I bought a night gown pattern, and all the materials to make 2 matching night gowns for the girls. This is the item on my to do list I want to start right now, but I should probably first price stuff for the garage sale.
-clean the house - see first reason above
-Paint the breakfast nook; this is one of those projects that should have been finished 2 years ago. It keeps being put off.....
-Sell stuff on Craigslist. In other words, take pictures, write descriptions, and then deal with the dozens of people writing emails, asking whether I still have the items. Can't they read? I usually explain in the description that I'll delete the ad once the item is gone.
-Feed animals; Joe is out of town, which means I am in charge of making sure the pig and dog don't starve. The farm is a sucking vortex though. As soon as I go out there, many more things beckon me. Like last night: after feeding the piggy smalls and Justin on the 4-wheeler (which it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to get started/drive), Sammy the calf gave a nudging moo. Uh.... I guess he was hungry too. After feeding him, I realized I hadn't checked on my garden for over a week. I pulled 8 or 9 large squashes out of there, and didn't even look at the zucchini plant! After that, I finally just went inside, although there were several more things that really needed to be done. Like feeding the chickens, and making sure they had water, adding chlorine to the pool,... but I digress.
-Sort and cut coupons. During the summer, I pretty much stopped coupon shopping. Which is fine. I had a large enough stockpile to last me through the summer months. I started buying the newspaper again though, so I need to go through the coupons, cut out the ones I'll most likely use, get rid of old expired coupons, organize my binder etc etc.
-Family finances: make sure there are no fraudulent charges on my credit card, organize receipts, update my online database, etc

Whew, so many large/daunting tasks!!!! And all I want to do right now is lay down and take a nap! And did I mention that it's dinner time .... AGAIN?!?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My new Job

For the first time in almost 8 years, I have a regular part-time job again. It's the best job anyone can hope for in my situation. Once a week, I get to hang out with great grandma Helen. Ginger gets to come with me, which really makes the whole thing work.

So Thursday night, I went to bed before 10pm, so I would be able to get up by 5.30. I wasn't sure whether traffic would be bad, so I gave myself an hour to get there (it usually takes 45 min). Well, traffic wasn't bad, and I got there a little early.

When we arrived, grandma was still in bed, so we watched a little bit of TV. After breakfast, grandpa Earl was awake, so Ginger hung out with him for a bit. They watched a movie together, ate a snack together, and had some good bonding time. I woke grandma up for breakfast, and she went back to bed again after that. I read my book, and took a nap. It was nice.

The afternoon was a little more action packed. I curled her hair, and teased it (like her hairdresser does). We had lunch, and filled the rest of the day with 2 games of "hand and foot". Ginger took a nap. Then it was cooking dinner, cleaning up. By the time I left at 7.30pm, it had been a long day, but a good day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I just helped my friend Dee Jordan "purge" 9 boxes of Halloween decorations and costumes into 2. It's easy to help people get rid of their stuff. It's harder when it's your own stuff. Our plan to move to Holland and get an MBA, makes it necessary to consolidate our stuff considerably.

Dee gave me the itch. I want to get started! My garage is a mess, and can sure use being purged. What's in there? Among other things: the baby crib, changing table, maternity and baby clothes. How do I get rid of that stuff? Yes, we feel like we're done having kids at least until we get back from Holland, but getting rid of that stuff makes it so official! Am I ready to let go of that? I think so... but it's hard!

The hardest part is deciding where it will all go. Some can go on craigslist, some on Ebay. I would like to just take it all to Goodwill and be done with it, but that's just not the smartest idea. The idea of a garage sale gives me the shudders. Plus, where we live, I doubt it would very successful anyways.

Any ideas on what would be the best place to resell baby clothes? Used kids clothing stores? Craigslist? Anyone need hand-me-downs?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Picnic at the Park

The Dallas Arboretum puts on a picnic at the park, throughout the summer. At the end, they have a major event, with an orchestra, and a movie. We arrived over an hour before the start of the orchestra performance, and were lucky to get in. It was jammed packed. Literally thousands of people. Everybody had brought blankets and picnic dinners. Some even had center pieces!
I decided this would be the best place to bring our monstrous watermelon. I mean, there was no way we could eat all of that by ourselves! I started cutting it up, and soon realized it would take our 7 people, a month to eat it. So I started handing it out. It was hilarious to see the different reactions. Some looked at me, like I was crazy. Others flat out laughed at me. Others still, eagerly raised their hand to partake of the bounty. Also, it was fun to see the progress of social dynamics. At first, only a few people would say yes. But once a few people had said yes, more were sure to follow. It might have something to do with trust, or the unknown (whether they thought I wanted money for it). After a while, some people even started coming down to where I was cutting the watermelon, and asking for a piece. I must have handed out over 100 pieces! Anyone in the vicinity that wanted a piece, got a piece!

After the concert was over, they set up the huge screen, and started the movie.Which one? ET! It had been so long since I had seen that, that I barely even remembered what happened in it. By the time we made our way out close to 11pm, we had all had our fill of culture, entertainment, and yummy foods. Thanks mom and dad!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Amazing Jakes

The main fun activity that Joe's parents had planned for the kids this weekend, was going to this place called "amazing Jakes". It's one of those indoor carnival type places, with video games, small rides, tickets, prizes, food court etc. It's the kind of place Joe and I never take our kids. I don't know if it's because we're too cheap, or because there are just tons of "lame" games. Maybe it's because my parents rarely took me to places like this. No matter the reason, I am so glad they took us. The kids had a blast.

Ginger loved the caroussel horses. Or did Joe like them better??
Sterling and Winter both loved the bumper cars.
Sterling rang the chu-chu bell the entire 4 minutes on the train. Is it really big enough for the 2 of them?? (look, Earl is hiding in there)
Kids love this kind of stuff! I have to admit that even I had fun.
The one game I played a few times, and would have played all night, if I could have, is "Dance Dance Revolution". I really sucked at first! But slowly I kind of got the hang of it. What if I could have that at my house?? Would I just become the world champion? I might. I WOULD get addicted!
Some of the games spit out tickets, which then could be used to buy trinkets. Of course, a sticky hand is 100 tickets, so it's really the idea that counts. Amazing Jakes has a bunch of non-responsive, super slow, unenthusiastic teenage employees. Joe stood in line for over 30 minutes, just so the kids could pick out their sticky hands.
Besides all the different activities, there was also an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. Heaven for kids! (and Joe too). I think Joe went back for pizza at least 3 times! We all came away with full bellies and lots of fun memories.


Because we live so close to Joe's parents, we spend a lot of time together. Usually, it's just for a few hours at a time though, so we thought it would be fun to pretend we were visiting from out of town, and spend a whole weekend together.

Joe's grandma, Helen Benac, had a small stroke. We all went over to visit her at the hospital. We made some fun "get well soon" signs, where the kids each decorated a word. Hospitals aren't really kids friendly, so the kids were looking for things to keep them entertained.

Sterling found an empty cupboard, and thought was a perfect little home.
Dad showed Ginger the fun buttons on grandma's bed, and then told her not to touch. (hmm... wonder what would happen) After making the bed go from sitting to laying multiple times, grandma finally had had enough.Mom and Grandma talked about Grandma's doctors and procedures
We love you Great Grandma! And hope you get well soon

Friday, September 4, 2009


Now that we're back into the normal school routine, I find it hard to come up with interesting topics to blog about. I guess I can write about our "normal school routine", but that just seems too boring. Really, not much goes on here. I get the kids ready for school, work out, eat, check my email, clean, play with Ginger, eat , take a nap, do homework with kids, make dinner, eat, read a book, and go to bed. That's pretty much it. I'm not complaining about the routine, it's pretty nice, but it just leaves me without many interesting things to write about. Maybe I'll feel more inspired tomorrow ?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Renee got me hooked on photoshop! Once you start editing pictures, it's so hard to stop. And time flies by too. I am learning fun new trick too, like smoothing out skin, and taking away blemishes.

I know, not perfect, but I'm getting in some good practice.

Tonight, the missionaries came over for dinner, and somehow I totally forgot they were coming (even though they had called earlier to confirm). So we had an interesting dinner of bean burritos, squash, salad, and watermelon.

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