January 29, 2014

Wednesday Randoms

It's hump day already? I hope you all are staying warm and safe. This Polar Vortex thing is out of control. I don't know about you but I'm praying for a warm (and uneventful) Spring and Summer.

I've been lazy this week. The girls and I haven't left the apartment except to do house checks. I kind of like not having a busy schedule but not having anywhere to be tends to make me a little lazy. It's a slippery slope.

Speaking of lazy, I've also been doing the bare minimum with chores. I'd rather be spending my time space planning for the new house. However, this is kind of hard to do not knowing what I have as far as content. If it were warmer, I'd be sorting through boxes.

We have two more days until payday and we are out of beverages (milk, iced coffee, creamer etc.) This could be a problem with the toddlers (Don't worry, they don't get iced coffee).

We STILL have our Christmas tree up. Since the girls like the lights so much, I bought heart lights to lessen the blow of taking down the tree but the tree still remains. I'll get to it eventually.

The girls toy's continue to invade the entire apartment. I SO want to pack up 75% of them but their closet is already full (full of donated diapers, toys and clothes that are either out of season or no longer fit) and I have no where else to put them. I will be doing a huge purge when we move.

I'm hoping to have a BIG rebuild update this weekend. Let's just hope things happen according to plan.


heather

 

January 28, 2014

TnT: 30 Months

We are in a phase where there is always a little frustration each day but the good moments/days are outweighing the bad.

Sleeping and eating are our biggest issues. Getting them to eat is such a battle. They have even started not eating the things they used to love like pb&j and spaghetti. It's maddening! Nap time and bed time are hard right now too. It is very apparent that they still need naps but yet they often refuse to settle down and go to sleep. I don't really enforce the sleeping part. I just want them to be quiet and rest. Instead, they are often giggling and playing until they finally pass out about 20 minutes before I have to wake them up. (I don't let them sleep late into the afternoon or they really won't sleep at night!)

They are getting along really well. Sure, they have little tiffs here and there but what sisters don't? They are inseparable. Fits are had if they are ever separated. Even if I'm trying to get one on one time with them….they want nothing of it. They just want each other.

They are rambunctious little girls. Very entertaining but boy can they get pretty wild.

We are working on cleaning up the toys. They are both pretty good at it…when they want to be. When we move back home, a lot of the toys will be put away and rotated out. It's just hard to do that here in the apartment because we have no free space.

T1 30 Months

Tillie

  • Full of sass
  • Loves to cheese for the camera
  • Talking like she's five.
  • Likes to boss her sister around
  • Is very polite…says, "peassss" or "pitty peassssss" "tank ewe" and "you wecome"
  • Is very much a rule follower. She always asks if it's ok for her to do anything before she does it.
  • Dramatic. She can fake a fit like no body's business. She thinks it will get her whatever she wants. I've caught on….daddy is just now on to her antics. :)
  • Loves her bows and clothes.
  • Counts to three and can count by two's "2, 4, 6"
  • Loves music

T2 30 Months

Tensley

  • Quiet and Curious
  • Hates the camera (I have to take pics of her when she's not expecting it)
  • Just now starting to talk where we can understand her. Tillie seems to understand her most of the time but doesn't really talk for her.
  • Has a little bit of a temper. Hitting, biting and growling are her vices. I really think it's frustration of not being able to communicate what she wants just yet.
  • Is very sensitive. Doesn't like getting in trouble and when she does, most of the time she covers her face like she's embarrassed or something (when she's not growling).
  • Totally not a rule follower and very good at throwing the infamous 2 year old tantrum.
  • She's a runner….as in runs away from me any chance she gets when we are out.
  • Loves to read books, color, and studies every detail of things.
  • Is a shoe girl (like her mommy). Can put her shoes on by herself.
  • Serenades me all the time.

 

January 27, 2014

Menu Monday: Two weeks of meal plans

Since I failed to post last week's meal plan, I thought I'd go ahead and share it with this week's meal plan. Hubby actually said he was ok with eating sandwiches a couple times a week (he used to not want sandwiches for dinner) so there will be more of that on my meal plans going forward!

Last week we had a couple of really yummy meals with enough left over to have leftovers for 2-3 meals! I have been tired of throwing out so much food so from now on, we will be having left over nights…if not during the week then on the weekends.

Jan 20-14 2013 Meal Plan

Because there's been so much work going on at our house again, we've started back on our daily house checks when JMac (AKA hubby) gets home from work. With this added back to our daily schedule, I am starting to plan even easier & quicker meals (including the leftovers & sandwiches) for dinner. Let's just say my crock pot will be getting a good workout. ;)

Jan 27-13 2013 Meal Plan

I'm so excited about the sandwiches and leftovers! That means an even lower grocery bill!!

Happy Monday to all!

heather

January 25, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 23-Doors, Trim & Tile

New Mills Rebuild Logo

It's been a busy, busy week at the house this week!

Doors

We finally got our garage doors installed….the correct garage doors that is.

Our interior doors were supposed to be delivered this week but there are a couple of doors that were backordered or something so they haven't delivered any of the doors. A little frustrating if you ask me. The trim carpenter told me there were like 27 doors in our house and they are anxious to get them hung. I mean seriously, deliver the ones you have already!

This sort of relates to doors….we are now to the point where the house is locked down every night! This means we are just that much closer to being done!

Trim

The trim is coming along wonderfully! They've started the baseboards and casings for the openings, most of the closets are done, the crown molding in the Master bedroom is done, the wainscoting in the dining room is done. OH! And my mantle is done and I L-O-V-E it!!!!

Week 23-Wainscoting
Week 23-Closet Week 23-Door Casing Week 23-Linen Closet Week 23-Master Trim
Week 23-Mantle

Tile

The tile is a little slow moving. It was supposed to be done last week but they needed electricity to the house in order to grind down the old grout & glue from the yucky linoleum we had before. The electric company was dragging their feet until hubby called and used his stern voice. We had electricity by the end of that day, LOL. Anyway, with the trim guys working in the house, it's been hard for the tile guys to lay tile so they've been laying a little at a time. As of today, the laundry room, kitchen, mud and main bathrooms have been tiled (but not grouted).

Week 23-Kitchen & Tile


If everything goes as planned, we'll have cabinets by the end of next week. That's a big "if" in my book because almost nothing in regards to this house has been on schedule. :)

I can't believe we're getting so close! Like less than 8 weeks (hopefully)!!


heather

January 24, 2014

Baked Spaghetti

If you have a Cheddar's in your area, you might be familiar with their Baked Spasagna. It's one of my favorite dishes and I get it almost every time I go.

I have been searching for a recipe that is similar but easy to make and I think I finally found one!

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Adapted from Plain Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Spaghetti
  • 2 Cans Tomato Sauce
  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 3 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use frozen)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet, brown the ground beef and onion until cooked through. Add tomato sauce, 2 tsp of the Italian Seasoning and garlic powder (you can add additional seasonings to taste). Let simmer on low heat.

While sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti according to directions on the package (I suggest breaking up the spaghetti). Drain and place cooked spaghetti in a bowl. Stir in cream cheese and 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning until spaghetti is thoroughly coated.

In a 9x13" pan, spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the dish. Put coated spaghetti in dish and top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until brown & bubbly.

Enjoy!

heather

P.S. I promise to post better pictures soon!

January 22, 2014

Wednesday Randoms

It's been a while since I've done this. I usually have so many things going through my head but when I sit down to type them out, I go blank!

  • Our Crazy 8 is having a huge sale right now. They had several pieces for $3.99 and under so I stocked up on some summer outfits for the girls! I scored 22 pieces for less than $85!! I think they're having a pretty good sale on their website too!

  • We are buying a small fridge tonight. We will use it in the apartment for the items I've been stocking up on due to the awesome sales at the grocery store where I make my coupon trips but then we'll use it in our media room in the house.

  • We are up-cycling the chandelier that was in my craft room before the tornado. It was black but we painted it with a chrome paint and I'm loving how it turned out! I'm hoping to use it above the tub in our master bath. Question though….should I put the crystals back on it or leave them off?

photo (48)

  • I can't get this song out of my head. I've been playing it on repeat all day. Also, it has inspired me in other ways….maybe a future printable? Or print?

photo (49)

  • With the house getting closer to being done (but still several weeks away) I've started thinking about packing and where things are going in the new house. Every time I clean the apartment, I dream about the day I clean it for the last time. I've never been so excited about cleaning! Ha!

January 21, 2014

This is Real Life Y'all.

I decided early on that I was not going to just stay at home with the girls all day. While I was working, I always dreamt about being able to get out and run my errands during the day when there were less crowds to fight. So, at around 8-10 weeks old, the girls went with me to run my errands.

When you leave the house with twins there's always 2 carriers to unload & carry, or 2 car seats to load and buckle up, double strollers to maneuver in and out of narrow isles, pushing one shopping cart and pulling another one (when they were still in carriers) when going to the grocery store (and it always made my carpal tunnel flare up). It's always a challenge to leave the house with twins but I do it anyway.

As they get older, the challenges become greater, like how do I get them to sit still and behave? I'll try anything just to get my errands done. I've taken lots of snacks, books and coloring books. Sometimes I let them walk instead of ride in the basket (which I rarely do because I have a runner). Sometimes my ideas work and other times they don't. For example, let's talk about a recent trip to Target.

The girls have been on a popcorn kick lately so I've been using it to bribe them to behave. This past Sunday, I needed a few things so off to Target we went. My first stop was at the snack bar to get the little monkeys some popcorn. I got them all settled in the basket with their popcorn and then we were off to shopping!

photo 1 (53)

Aren't their pigtails just the cutest? I don't do them often because getting a straight part on a moving target…..

Anyway, my first mistake was not sticking to the list. Against my better judgment, I made a pit stop in the clearance section of the clothing department. About 10 minutes into our shopping trip, they start giggling and playing. Which wasn't bad but they kept standing up.

And then they started doing this….

photo 2 (49)

Yes, that is them wrestling IN. THE. BASKET.

Now when you picture mom's having a hard time shopping with their children, you imagine whining and begging and fit throwing, right? Well thankfully, my girls don't do that very often but the giggling and carrying on can be just as frustrating. Especially when they are on the verge of falling out of the basket on their heads and you have to tell them 12,893 times to sit down. For the love, please sit down!

After about 20 more minutes of this (yes, I endured this for another 20 minutes) and seeing people staring and smiling at me (I got no sympathy for my rambunctious girls….but I guess I should just be thankful they weren't giving me the stink eye.) I grabbed the diapers that I absolutely needed and we left.

I was so flustered and tired that I didn't even say a word all the way to the car. I loaded up the girls and before I got out of the parking lot, I looked back and saw this….

photo 3 (34)

I SO wished I could have joined them. A nap would have been awesome that day.

So this is real life for me right now. I am loving that they are getting along so well right now but boy is it exhausting being their mother. Regardless, I don't for a minute take for granted what I have and how much I've been blessed.

P.S. Aren't sleeping babies just the best & cutest thing ever?!


heather

January 20, 2014

My Goals for 2014

When I sat down to write out my goals for 2014, I knew I wanted to keep my list short and sweet. Some of these goals I can start now and some I won't be able to start working on until we move back into our new & improved {re}built house. Also, the new year, in my mind, doesn't start until we move back home. :)

Organization

This is my biggest goal and I hope it will be the foundation for achieving my other goals. I have put a lot of time and research and thought into this new house when it comes to organization. It is because of this process that we are over budget on cabinetry (thank goodness for contingency!) but you know what? Everything already has a place. My hope is that in having an organized house, it will be easier to maintain thus allowing more time for my other goals.

Along the same lines as organization, I have made a goal for myself to keep our house tidy (not necessarily sparkling clean, just tidy) and stay on top of the laundry. :)

Tot School

I have been seriously considering and praying about homeschooling the girls.  I am currently undecided but am leaning toward homeschooling. In the new house, we will have the perfect space for homeschooling and I love the idea of having flexibility in our day to day schedule. Not to mention the one on one attention they will get. I plan to start Tot School with them in the Fall to help me make a decision.

Have a Daily Quiet Time

I have been better about this in the past few months but I still have a few days to a week or two here and there where I skip it (not necessarily on purpose) and I miss it. My days go so much better when I start them in prayer and in the Word.

Work Out

I lost a bunch of weight after the tornado and I loved it! However, once the stress of everything settled down, I have let that weight slowly creep back. I'm not back to where I was but I'm definitely not as small as I was. Which is too bad because all those clothes I bought to fit my new, smaller body are starting to get a little snug. We will have a workout area in the new house so my goal is to workout at least 3 times per week. This is not only to lose some weight but to just be healthier overall. I mean, I do have 2 two year old toddlers to keep up with!

grow my business

My blog and my Etsy shop are passions of mine. They are the things I go to when I need some stress relief. I have wanted to grow both of them but having such young children, it has been difficult to keep a consistent schedule allowing me to work (thus the reason this is being posted half-way into January). My goal for this year is to "work" 8-10 hours per week. Any extra will just be icing on the cake.

And now for a couple of "fun" goals…

Read More

When I was a kid, I LOVED reading. I was usually the kid in my class that read the most books every semester. However, when I got to college, there was no time to read for fun because the textbooks I had to read had like 39489834 pages and my love of reading started to diminish. Then, as I transitioned into adult life, there was just no time to read for fun. I think the only books I've read from start to finish since college were the Stephanie Plum books and now I'm even behind on that series. So this year, I have set a realistic goal (realistic for me) of reading 5 books this year (maybe I'll get caught up on what Stephanie Plum is up to).

{Re}Learn to Crochet

I learned to crochet from my grandmother in my early teens. I have not crocheted since she passed away my freshman year in high school (which was actually junior high for me). Since Tillie has developed an attachment to crocheted blankies, I'd love to be able to make at least one for her. Something she can have as a keepsake.

So those are my goals for 2014. What do you think? Do they seem doable? What are your goals for 2014?

heather

January 18, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 22-Flooring

New Mills Rebuild Logo

It seemed like a lot happened this week but in preparing for this post it actually wasn't that much. I guess it was just that I was busy this week.

Our wood floors went in Tuesday and Wednesday. They're pretty now but they're going to be even prettier when they are stained (I may be a little biased).

Week 22-Wood Floors
Yes, that is Tensley wearing white patent shoes. She insisted and I chose not to fight that battle.

We are now able to let the girls run free in the house and they go CA-RA-ZY! They run in circles through the bathroom to the guest bedroom and up and down the hall…squealing and laughing the whole time. Sometimes we lose them & eventually find them hiding in a closet. I think they approve of the new layout. :) 

On Wednesday, I stopped by the house after some errands and ran into the trim carpenter. He was there to meet our builder to go over a materials list. Since I was there too we just decided to go over the closets and pantry so I got to choose my designs for them right then and there! Trim work is supposed to start next week! NEXT WEEK!!!!

Also this week:

  • The texture in the stairway was finished. Texture is done!
  • The electric meter was put in. We officially have power to the house!
  • We finalized our cabinetry plans (we only had a couple of changes)
  • Paint colors were somewhat finalized (I requested to see the paint swatches on the wall)
  • I changed our selection for the cabinetry hardware.
  • We finalized our choice for the fireplace surround…sort of. Ha!
  • I requested yet another light to be put in….over the kitchen sink.

There are lots of things scheduled for next week. I'd tell you what they are but I'm afraid I'd jinx us! ;) You'll just have to wait until next week to find out.


heather

January 17, 2014

Ten Minute Beef Stroganoff

I used to work with a woman who was from Russia. It was she who informed be that beef stroganoff is actually made with tomato sauce as opposed to my way of making it with a brown gravy sauce. The "Russian" version sounded more like my version of Swiss Steak (recipe will be posted at a later date).

photo (48)


Anyway, beef stroganoff is one of my go to quick and easy meals. I always have the ingredients on hand and when I'm in a hurry to get dinner on the table, it comes together fast.

Beef Stroganoff

Serve with a side of your choice and enjoy!


January 14, 2014

Why you shouldn't take your toddler(s) grocery shopping.

I don't mind going grocery shopping…especially if I go by myself. However, I prefer going during a weekday when the store is less busy. This means I have to take the girls with me.

This week I was really brave and let them walk instead of ride in the cart. Considering I have a runner, most people who know us are probably thinking I was crazy for doing so. However, it was a fairly quick trip and they did pretty well.

Now to the reason why you shouldn't take your toddlers with you. Because the girls did so well, I let them pick one flavor of Pop-tarts. Because of this, I didn't pay attention and realize that the flavor they chose was NOT on sale and therefore I spent more than I should have.

Total Spent $4.85 copy

Here is the breakdown of what I spent on the items in the picture above:

(1) Eckridge Smoked Sausage – $1.89
     On sale for $2.99, used a $0.55 coupon that doubled to $1.10

(2) Knorr Rice Sides – $0.50/each
     On sale for $1.00/each, used a $0.50 coupon that doubled to $1.00

(2) Pop-Tarts, Frosted Strawberry – $0.16/each
     On sale for $1.66/each, used (2) $0.75 coupons* that each doubled to $1.50
    
(1) Pop-Tarts, Confetti Cupcake – $0.99
     On sale for $2.49, used (1) $0.75 coupon* that doubled to $1.50
     (This is the flavor that wasn't on sale. Otherwise they would have been $0.16 as well)

So I spent $4.85 saving 71%!!

*Coupons were "purchased" from Kelloggs Family Rewards with points I received from entering codes off product packaging.

To learn how to coupon, check out my Non-Extreme Couponing Series.


heather

January 13, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

I've had a request to bring back Meal Plan Monday so I'm bringing it back….this week. I may or may not have one for next week. ;)

I actually made my meal plan last week but it was more of a list of meals than a well planned out meal plan. I went ahead and scheduled the meals out for this week.

For the most part, I'm still planning easy and quick meals since I'm still having to cook in #thetinykitchen (If you're on Instagram, you can follow my kitchen adventures using that hashtag). I'm hoping I'll be cooking and baking in my normal sized kitchen in a couple of months!

January Week 3 Meal Plan

The cost for this week's meal plan is minimal. For tonight's meal I only had to buy ground beef and sour cream. For the Indian Tacos I bought ground beef and had coupons for the biscuits so I managed to get 2 cans of biscuits for $0.50 each! The Red beans for Wednesday's meal were part of a gift basket from a group from Louisiana that came to help us with clean up efforts after the tornado and I got the microwavable Hinode rice pouches for FREE with coupons! I will, however, have to buy garlic bread. I already have just about everything for the spicy sausage except the sausage but no worries, I'll be picking that up this week because it's on sale and I have a coupon!

If you want to learn about couponing (the non-extreme kind) you can read my couponing series HERE.

heather

My One Little Word for 2014

One Little Word 2014

I have been contemplating my word for several weeks now. Every time I would choose a word and then start to write about it, another word would come up. Then I'd start to write about that word and yet another word would come up. So now, weeks later, I have come up with a word that pretty much encompasses all the words.

renewv.  To begin (something) again especially with more force or enthusiasm

Renew is my One Little Word for this year, 2014.

For those of you who have been following me these past 7 months, this may come as no surprise to you.

Seven months ago, my world was turned upside down. Again. May family was safe but my home and my things were not.

Since that dreadful day, a lot of last year's goals have been going through my mind and I know where I want to be….where I need to be, I just need to get there. 

When I looked up the word renew, the definition that I came across was perfect! I want to renew my goals from 2013 and I want to set out to achieve them with "more force and/or enthusiasm".

I hope you'll join me on this journey of renewal.

heather

 

January 12, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 21-Brick, Stone & Texture

New Mills Rebuild Logo

We had good progress this week!

Our brick and stone is finished! Well, mostly. The stone mason will come back after the porch and patio concrete is poured and do the stone bases for our posts and the brick layers will come back and do our mailbox.

Week-20-Completed-Brick

The walls have been textured! Ok, everything but the stairway. Honestly, I don't blame them for waiting to do that at the end. I assume they'll finish that tomorrow-ish since there's lots of things scheduled to be done this week.

Week-20-Texture

We are supposed to get our permanent garage doors this week (the wrong ones were ordered so we have temporary doors), texture is supposed to be finished, and the wood and tile floors are supposed to be laid (they have LOTS of cleaning up to do before they can lay floors).

We got our cabinet drawings and renderings this week and ohmygosh I am SO excited! Seeing my cabinets in 3D was the highlight of my week!! And let me just say that I am even more excited about my kitchen than I was before. My craft room is a close 2nd. If you ever come to visit and can't find me, I'll be in one of those rooms. :)

The weather is supposed to be awesome this week (it was 70 degrees today!) so let's hope there's lots of worker bees out there all this week. 


heather

January 4, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 20-Pleasant Surprises

New Mills Rebuild Logo

Well, we made some progress this week then were told to expect some more delays. The freezing temps here are killing us! It is not normal for us to have so many days of below freezing temps here in Oklahoma. It's wreaking havoc on our plumbing.

However, there is some good news…..

Last Monday we were scheduled to get the rest of the insulation. The sub-contractor hired to do the job came out and put in the the insulation bats for the soundproofing and in the garage and installed netting for the blown in insulation. Then they went M.I.A (more bad news). After several phone calls made by our contractor, we finally had insulation on Monday (yay, more good news!)!

photo 2 (41)

We were told that the sheet rock crew had started another job while we were waiting on insulation and would start on our house as soon as they were done (probably Thursday or Friday) but much to our surprise, they showed up on Tuesday and started hanging the dry wall! They pretty much finished the job on New Year's day.

photo 4 (20)
Looking into kitchen and family room.

photo 5 (9)
Formal Dining Room

We were told we were going to be on hold for a few days until we could get heat in the house (so the workers could use the water without it freezing in the lines) but again, much to our surprise, the gas meter was hooked up and they were able to tape and bed yesterday!

photo 1 (47)
Master bedroom

photo 2 (43)
Front Entry

We haven't been out yet today to see if there's been any more progress. Hopefully, we'll be surprised again. ;)


heather

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