February 25, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 27-Concrete & Cabinets!

New Mills Rebuild Logo

Finally, the over due (yet again) update. There has been quite a bit of progress this past week.


The concrete crew came out and set the forms for the porch, driveway, sidewalks and back patios.


The concrete was laid for the front porch & driveway.

 photo 2 (55) photo 1 (59)


MY CABINETS WERE DELIVERED!!! I am SO happy with my cabinets. They were definitely worth the wait! Our cabinet maker thought of everything! I, of course, had a list of things I wanted but he went above and beyond and added things I didn't think of….like rollouts on every lower cabinet (well, except for two cabinets where rollouts didn't really make much sense).


Installing cabinet continues.


Cabinet install is complete and all the trim was finished!

photo 1 (60) photo 3 (35) photo 2 (56)


This morning I met our builder at the house to go over a couple of things and when I pulled up, there were people everywhere! Trim carpenters were doing some last minute finishes on the cabinets before the door/drawer fronts were delivered. Shutters were being constructed, the last of the concrete work was being done and the granite people were out doing measurements.

photo 3 (34) 

We also went to the granite shop to finalize our choices and I changed my sink choice from a 60/40 stainless steel sink to a Silgranit single basin sink. I helped my best friend move into her house this past weekend and she has a single basin sink that I fell in love with so after going through the pros and cons for both, I decided to upgrade to the single basin. There's that 'upgrade' word again. Is it sad that I don't even flinch now when I'm told, "that'll be an upgrade"? I think I might be immune to it now.


February 20, 2014

5 Simple Ways to Save on Your Grocery Bill

In reading comments on my couponing posts, I've noticed that a lot of people tend to be intimidated by couponing. So for those who aren't ready to jump into the couponing game just yet, I thought I'd share 5 ways to save on your grocery bill.

5 Simple Ways to Save Money on your Grocery Bill

Meal Plan

You'd be amazed at how much money you'll save when you meal plan and make your grocery list from that meal plan. A tip on meal planning: meal plan by shopping your pantry first. If you use what you already have that's less you have to buy and more money you save!

Shop the Sales

Most grocery stores have sales flyers so making your grocery list from the sales flyer will help save you money. You could also meal plan based on what's on sale and if you have already meal planned by what you already have, you'll save lots of money on your grocery bill!

Shop at Aldi and/or Outlets

I often buy my bread and fresh produce at Aldi. Their bread, buns & rolls are always cheaper than grocery stores and the quality is just as good. If you don't have an Aldi in your area, check to see if you have a bakery outlet. Bakery outlets often carry brand name products at a reduced price.

Save money on meat

Sometimes buying meat at the butcher counter rather than pre-packaged can save you money. When buying beef, I often save anywhere from $0.25-$0.50 per pound when buying it from the butcher counter. You will also most likely pay less per pound when you buy meat from warehouse stores like Sam's Club or Costco.

Reward Codes and apps

Use those reward codes that come on the packages. I can save quite a bit on my grocery bill when I redeem the Kellogg reward codes for high value coupons.

Here are the top brands I know of that use reward codes:

The Ibotta app is another simple way to save money on groceries. All you have to do is download the app and chose the offers you want (sometimes you have to watch a very short video or read info on the product). Then to redeem your offers you can scan the receipt or if your store had a rewards card, link it up and your offers are redeemed as soon as you make the purchase!

I guarantee if you just use one of these tips, you will save money on your grocery bill.

Happy Shopping!


February 18, 2014

A Proud Mom-mom Moment

Do you see anything out of the ordinary in this picture?

Surviving the Terrible Two's

That would be Tensley posing….and smiling for a picture! I think I've mentioned before how this girl NEVER stays still when I'm trying to take a picture…or any other time, really.

Granted she didn't pose for me.

My father-in-law wanted a picture of the two of them and when Tensley saw him with the camera she immediately walked over to Tillie, leaned her head in and said, "Cheese!"

I was in shock.

She never poses for me. She'll say "cheese" but she never stands still long enough for me to get a pic. Even with my DSLR and a fast shutter speed, I can't seem to get a non-blurry picture of her.

I hope this means we've turned a corner on the photography front. Please, please let this be a new thing for her.

I was a little jealous that she posed for my FIL but at the same time I had never been more proud. :)


February 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: February Week 3

Today is grocery shopping day so our meals this week are based off what I already have…which isn't much.

Last night I made Bean & Cheese Burritos. I've never made them before…I don't know why, they were so easy and tasted very yummy! And the best part? They cost me less than $2.00 to make!

Feb 17-22 2014 Meal Plan

I didn't plan anything for Saturday because we are helping my best friend and her family move into their new home.

I'm enjoying these easier meals that I am planning but I still dream about the day I can go back to making nicer meals in my new kitchen. When I do finally get settled in my kitchen, I plan to do some experimenting and get some recipes posted here on the blog.

Is there anything else I could post that would help you with meal planning?


February 15, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 26-Completion Date

New Mills Rebuild Logo

We're finally warming up around here with no chance of rain or snow in the next week. I hope this means lots of stuff starts happening at the house because it's been sitting for two and a half weeks now with no progress.

That long with no progress means our completion date has been moved. I kind of expected to hear that we would go a week or so past our completion date but to hear it would be another month just devastated me. Our new completion date is now the end of April instead of end of March.

To say we were bummed was an understatement. I may have had a major pout fest for a day or two. Two more months in this apartment just seems like an eternity but I've made it this long, I can hang in there for a couple more months…..I think. (Although I'm hanging on by a thread right now.)

Right now the hold up is cabinets. Still. The new new new delivery date is next Wednesday. I'm really hoping to see cabinets then. Our builder tells me it's all hands on deck when the cabinets are delivered so hopefully, they'll be done quickly.

Hubby didn't like watching my pout fest so he tried to distract me with some retail therapy. I have to say, it worked. He was off on Thursday and Friday of this week so he suggested we go ahead and start couch hunting for the family room (we've been waiting until we were about a month out since we have little storage space left). We narrowed it down to a couple of sectionals but decided to sleep on it.

Instead of buying a couch that night, we ordered my new bed! I've had my eye on one for about 3-4 months so when we saw it was still available, we decided to go ahead and order it! It's a special order bed that takes 8-12 weeks so the timing of delivery, hopefully, will be perfect!

Bed for Master

After talking about it, we decided on a couch and so on Friday, we went back and bought our couch and ordered an ottoman to go with it. Thankfully, the store will hold the couch for us for about 6-8 weeks or until the ottoman is ready.

Here's a sneak peek of the couch.

Sectional for Family Room

Retail therapy is exhausting! After two days of shopping, I had had enough but thankfully, our two biggest purchases are out of the way.

Ok, now I have a favor to ask….Please, please, please pray that I have a good progress report for next week. Hopefully we'll at least have cabinets!


February 11, 2014

That time I did a shoulder stand

Before the tornado (seems like I type that statement a lot) I would do yoga frequently. It was the yoga poses on the Wii so it was a very watered down version of yoga but it worked for me.

I've tried regular yoga and I can never get through the first five minutes. The transitions are what's hard for me. My body is not flexible at all and even though I think I have some strength from lugging around twins and all their stuff, I'm really not that strong either.

Anyway, I no longer have the Wii (it may be in storage or it may be in Kansas…I won't know until we move back home) but I like to do some of the poses just for stretching. Well, last night as I was browsing Pinterest, I came across a pin that told all the benefits of a shoulder stand.

photo (52)



Some of the benefits that stood out to me were…

  • Balances hormones – I have a non-functioning thyroid gland so anything I can do to help the processing of hormones is a good thing in my book.
  • Soothes the nervous system – I have 2 1/2 year old twins. Enough said.
  • Increased strength and flexibility – see above.
  • Aides in restful sleep – my sleep is definitely off with this winter weather. Many nights I have trouble falling asleep and sometimes I wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all.
  • Strengthens the heart and respiratory system – this is where it all went wrong……continue reading.

So after reading this late last night I thought to myself, I need to do this before I head to bed. So I did. I pushed all the toys aside to clear a spot on the living room floor, laid down and assumed the position.

It wasn't a hard position for me to do yet it was somewhat uncomfortable and I'll explain why. The description for the benefit of "Strengthens the heart and respiratory system" is as follows,

"Due to the fact that the body is in an inverted position, shoulderstand reduces strain on the heart. Healthy blood can easily circulate around the neck and chest, and as a result, people with asthma, bronchitis and throat ailments may get relief."

So as I'm laying there with my legs straight up in the air, I realize I'm having a hard time breathing and I feel like my head is about to explode.

After doing a quick check of my body, I realized that all my fat had traveled down around my neck therefore cutting off the blood flow and what felt like my airway.

I tried to adjust my position. Maybe I wasn't straight enough or needed to adjust the position of my head some way.

It didn't work. I still felt like my head was about to explode and like I was about to pass out from lack of oxygen.

I gave up, turned off all the lights, and headed to bed.

When I went into the bathroom for my bed time routine, I looked in the mirror and noticed a spot on my chin. It was a bruise. Apparently, the fat put so much pressure on my neck/head that it caused some blood vessels to bust therefore giving me a nice bright red and purple spot on my chin! Not sure I'll be doing that move again anytime soon.

I did, however, sleep really well last night.


February 10, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Not feeling the meal planning much this week. We had some expenses that dipped into my grocery budget so we are eating "light" this week.

I had originally planned to carry over a couple meals from last week that we didn't have then fill in with sandwiches but when I went to the store today for some staples like milk and coffee (Yes, coffee is too a staple! Especially when you have 2 two year old toddlers that are suffering from major cabin fever.) and they were having a pretty good sale on some items. And actually, some of the items I bought today will go on next week's menu.

I was shocked, no appalled at the price of ground beef! I usually buy it at the butcher counter rather than pre-packaged because it's usually cheaper but today it was over a dollar more per pound than what I usually pay! And the pre-packaged stuff was even more! I ended up purchasing ground chicken as a substitute. The bright side is it's healthier, right?

Feb 9-15 2014 Meal Plan

Last night (Sunday), we had Chicken Enchilada Casserole and Black Beans. We had plenty left over so that is what we will have tomorrow night (Tuesday). I haven't planned anything for this coming Saturday yet but I'm thinking since I got Taco Shells and Refried beans today for $0.50/each (without coupons), we might be having Baked Tacos.


February 8, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 25

New Mills Rebuild Logo

No update for this week because nothing happened.






The crazy weather is killing us.

Cabinets are now 2 weeks behind schedule.

I'm getting a little worried.

We only have 7 weeks until we are supposed to be done.

I hope our builder has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Check back next week……


February 6, 2014

Patience is not a virtue I currently possess…

Ever since the news of our delay on the house I have been a little bit of a slump.

I am so anxious to get out of this apartment. We are on top of each other here. There's no space to run, to have quiet time to yourself. Every nook and cranny is filled with stuff…and not even stuff that needs to be purged, it's stuff we use often.

I don't even care to try to clean or organize here. I do the bare minimum.

I have even started talking about packing. Like NOW. Surely we can live with even less?

Or maybe not.

Old Man Winter isn't helping either. He's super cranky this year. The cold and the snow and the ice are keeping us prisoner in this second story apartment. It sucks and I'm over it.

In my boredom and lack of motivation to clean, I escape to Pinterest and Houzz where I dream about decorating our new house.

I'm chomping at the bit to go buy a new couch for the family room.

I'm dying to try a bunch of new recipes. Recipes I don't dare to attempt here because I don't have the room nor do I have all the supplies. Our kitchen here is equipped with the bare essentials. I mean, until I went on the hunt and dug my Pampered Chef batter bowl out of storage, I was using my crock pot insert as a mixing bowl.

Keeping the girls busy so they will stay out of trouble has been a HUGE challenge. Every time I find a craft or activity that I want to do with them I am suddenly snapped back into reality and remember that I don't have the necessary supplies or the space to do them.

So we color. A LOT.

And do a lot of Target dollar spot crafts.

And after those five minutes are over, they are climbing the walls…and getting into stuff they don't need to be in….and destroying things.

We have 9 weeks until our contract closing date. It seems so close yet so far away.

We have been without a home for eight months. Approximately ten months (or more) by the time we move back home. Yes, we have a roof over our heads and we are thankful for that but it's just not home.

What little patience I do have is starting to wear thin. I'm hanging on by a thread.


February 5, 2014

Wednesday Randoms

Snow & cold go away. AND DON'T COME BACK!

I'm so over it. We're supposed to get snow storm #3 of 5 tonight. I'm ready to move South….like equator south.

Ok, moving on…..

I've been working on trying to get my shop re-stocked. I don't have an official "re-opening" date yet. (I say re-opening because it's been empty since before Christmas).

2013 Shop Banner

I sent a text to a good friend today telling her how I hadn't done anything all day. Only I sent it to hubby instead of her…. Nothing like big fat text fail to get your rear in gear to do the things you said you were going to do.

Due to the extreme cold and snow, I haven't been out of the house since Saturday. The girls haven't been out since Thursday. We've done ok but I'm thinking we may have to somehow escape soon.

Gone Fishin'

The girls have been requesting pony tails lately. I've been happy to oblige because their hair in their face drives me nuts…especially when they get sticky food all in it. However, Tillie, I believe, has been using it as a delay tactic for bedtime. We'll get the all settled in bed and as soon as we shut the door to their room, she starts crying. When we go in to see what's wrong, she asks for a "pun tae" (It took us FOREVER to figure out what she was saying!).

Pony Tails

Despite the weather, I'm still being told we should have our cabinets end of this week. I'm not holding my breath but it would be awesome if that's the case! I was looking over my kitchen cabinet drawings again last night and realized that I have rollouts in every lower cabinet except for one. I am VERY excited about that! In our house before, I hated having to get on the floor and practically crawl into the lower cabinets to reach stuff at the back.


February 4, 2014

The Magical Powers of Popcorn

Toddler Snack-Popcorn

I think I have mentioned this before but TnT are the most pickiest toddlers I know.

Yes, I know that's a pretty bold statement since most toddlers are picky but I'm serious here. All the things they used to love they not longer touch. They won't even come near it. I can probably count on one hand the foods they will eat consistently.

One thing they will never refuse? Popcorn. My sister introduced it to them a few months ago. They are obsessed with it. We're talking pushing each other down and literally stepping on/over each other to be the first one to grab their bowl.

I figure it's not too bad for them, right? I mean it's healthier than most of the junk food they tend to gravitate to.

It's also a great bribery tool. If I need 10 minutes of peace & quiet all I have to do is pop (pun intended) a bag in the microwave and in approximately 3 minutes the only sounds I hear are munching sounds from their tiny toddler mouths.

Magical Powers of Popcorn

So tell me, what is the one food that your toddler will never refuse?


February 3, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: Feb 2-8

I'm embracing the less is more idea when it comes to dinners. We are eating more sandwiches and leftovers and wasting less. This method is a lot easier on the grocery budget as well.

Feb 2-8 2014 Meal Plan

With the impending snowmageddon forecasted for this week, I went ahead and planned meals for the weekend. We woke up with our first round of snow yesterday morning, I knew we weren't going to be eating out so we had glazed pork chops.

Next Saturday, I plan to make Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

Budget Friendly Meal Planning

Here are the ingredients I picked up for this weeks meals using coupons. (My grocery store doubles coupons up to $1.00).

  • Little Smokies – On sale for $2.50, used $0.55/1 coupon that doubled to $1.10. Paid $1.40
  • Velveeta Shells & Cheese – On sale for $1.99, used $0.75/1 coupon that doubled to $1.50. Paid $0.49
  • Hinode Rice – Regular price $1.89, used $1.00/1 coupon that doubled to $2.00 that made it FREE!
  • Del Monte Green Beans – On sale for $0.59, used $0.60/3 coupon that doubled to $1.20, Paid $0.19 per can.

Happy meal planning!



February 2, 2014

Rebuild Update: Week 24-Second verse same as the first

New Mills Rebuild Logo

…only with a not so happy ending. More on that later.

Trim work continued this week. They finished out the master closet, the master tub surround, my pantry (OHMYGOSH MY PANTRY!!), the window sills, the fire place mantle (it's truly finished now…trim wise)  and most of the baseboards.

I cannot begin to tell you how exciting it was to customize every closet in this house. I must admit I had a little trouble coming up with what I wanted. The week before I was to meet the trim carpenter, I scoured Houzz for ideas but if you've ever been on Houzz, you know that practical ideas are sometimes hard to find. I was only able to come up with my master closet layout.

My apologies for the bad pictures. It's often just before sunset before we get to the house so it's usually pretty dark.

Master Closet Week 24-Master Closet

We, of course, had to tweak it a little bit because the Houzz closet is a little larger than our closet. Also, the cabinet maker is doing the drawer fronts for the dresser so we're still waiting on those.

The trim carpenter was very helpful and came up with the perfect layouts for the other closets in the house.

They finished all of the door casings. they had most of them done last week but needed to finish them off with the crown molding at the top.

Week 24-Hallway Casing Week 24-Pantry Casing

I was very surprised to see the casing on the doorway to my pantry! I just figured they'd do a regular door casing. I guess since I'm not going to have a door on it, they decided to do it like the others. I'm certainly not complaining. They also installed the rollouts in the center cabinet. Again, the cabinet maker is making the doors to the middle base cabinet so we're waiting on those.

I only thought the fireplace was done. I love how the baseboards just finished it off! They also completed the stairs this week. Complete with handrail.

Week 24-Fireplace Week 24-Stairs

I was happy to finally see that our interior doors were delivered (all except four….we're still waiting on those).

Week 24-Craft Room Doors Week 24-Interior Doors

Now to the not so happy ending to our week. As I stated, a couple times before, we are waiting on the cabinet maker.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Our cabinets were supposed to be done and delivered on Friday but due to circumstances beyond their control, our cabinets have been delayed at least a week. I may have cried a little when I found this out because we are at the point where this pretty much delays everything. To make matters worse? We are expecting round 1 of 3 snowstorms this weekend, the next one is expected Monday*ish and the last one is expected Thursday*ish.

Have I mentioned how I'm SO over this winter? That dang groundhog better not see a shadow!


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