High Five for Monday!

Last week was an absolutely crazy week. It seems like each week is crazier than the next!

1. We found out Monday around 4pm that we had a deadline of Tuesday at 5pm to get our loan papers filed and our final offer on the house submitted. Tuesday morning I hadn't heard anything (we didn't even have a loan officer yet) so I called to check on things at 2pm. Unfortunately it hadn't even started the process. I was defeated and frustrated. Fortunately we have an amazing bank with some amazing people who pushed the loan to underwriting for preapproval by 6pm. What should have taken 3-5 days was pushed through in 3 hours. It was amazing. LOVE Navy Federal! Although we were an hour late with our offer, it was better than nothing and THEY ACCEPTED OUR OFFER (on Friday)!!

2. I worked at a local consignment sale. Sunday was drop off and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were filled with working to get it set up, the volunteer sale, and the public sale. It was a blast and because I worked 3 shifts and I worked the volunteer presale, I was able to get into the "pre-pre sale"! You can bet I had my list ready to go. I'll share my finds next week. Saturday was pickup. I feel like I made 100 trips there!

3. Mom and I went to a Ladies' Conference Saturday. It was refreshing to break away for a little while.

4. This stay at home mom thing is fun, and exhausting. It's weird to have to schedule my showers so I don't end up in my pajamas all day. The only way I've stayed sane this week is to get up 2 hours before the kids. I have time with Josh, time to eat breakfast, and time to enjoy my coffee.

5. Luke will start pre-school Tuesday. I'm nervous and excited for him! He says he misses his friends so I'll be so happy for him to make new ones and to challenge that little mind!

Recipe Rut

I have always been pretty good about meal planning/cooking ahead/freezing/etc. I had to have a plan when I was a full time working mama. It was the last thing I wanted to do when I got home from work was figure out what to have for dinner. Now that I'm at home I still want those precious minutes spent doing other things- not prepping for dinner.

This is the first time I have ever attempted a prep this large! I planned 25+ meals to freeze so they would be ready to pull out at any moment.

I must say that I was a little inspired by my future SIL Fallon. She runs her own business that's a casserole/take and bake business. She has a little cafe for lunch specials and she caters, but I love the casserole side of her business!

I'm not a HUGE fan of crockpot meals. Of course they are convenient, and I can handle them once a week or so, but I wanted to go a different direction with these meals. Many of the items are raw meat that has a simple marinade. I also wanted to try different recipes. Don't we all get in a recipe rut?

I started on Pinterest. I scoured so many sites that I have no idea where many of these recipes came from. I don't think I am but my husband says I'm a picky eater so I had to search through recipe after recipe finding something that sounded half good. We don't eat onions at all so any recipe that included them was changed.

I wrote everything thing down. I wrote down the old faithful meals and the new recipes I found. I decided how many meals each recipe would yield. Many times people post recipes that 4 chicken breasts=1 meal. For us 4 chicken breasts=2 meals. I figured out if the food would be frozen in a Ziploc bag or a casserole dish. Most importantly I shopped our pantry. Since we're at my parents house we are really trying to eat through all our "Toccoa" food so this was the perfect way to use through that stuff. After seeing what we already had and pulling it all out, I made my shopping list. This is what we already had:
I mainly hit Sam's for my ingredients. YES it's typically cheaper to find meat on sale at your local grocery store. YES I could wait for sales and score some of this stuff cheaper than I got it. BUT most of the ingredients I already had were free or very cheap (that's why I had a surplus). I did get my chicken and pork on markdown. I was going to pick up the chicken and an older man told me they were about to mark down. I came back 15 minutes later and he was right! I saved about $12 just for waiting for the markdowns! I counted my other losses and decided I have the time NOW to do this, so it's worth it to me to buy the rest at regular price. Did I mention free babysitting? check.

Next was prep. I pretty much used my mom's whole kitchen. I made sure the sink was empty and the counters clear. Then I started my assembling marathon. It was actually kind of fun! I was armed with my recipes and I just kind of went for it.
If 2 recipes had the same ingredients, I did them together (like greek chicken and cilantro lime chicken and taco soup and chili). I followed my notes and some recipes went in a Ziploc and some went in a foil casserole dish.
It was critical that each bag was frozen flat. This makes storing a breeze after everything is frozen. Make sure your freezer shelf is FLAT. Alot of freezers have wire shelves and the liquid can seep through them and freeze around them in the bag. It's a pain to get off if that happens. I learned the hard way. My freezer had wire shelves but I popped a flat box in there so there was no wonky freezing.
Baggies with alot of liquid can freeze almost like a bubble. Sticking it in a cereal box allows it to freeze into a rectangle which makes it easier to stack bags once it's frozen.
Probably the most important part of this whole process is labeling. I labeled what each item is, the date, how to cook it (crock pot? low or high? time? stove temp. and any ingredients that needed to be added at cooking).
All total I made 29 meals in just under 5 hours. #yesitimedit

I still have ingredients left to make some marinades to freeze. I will be back with another post of the recipes I used!

High Five for Friday!

Oh my I'm exhausted. Like worse than 9 months pregnant exhausted. More like 2 children and seeing 9 houses in 2 days exhausted. So here goes my top 5 highlights of the week:

1. We're getting a feel for this real estate market. It's fast paced and cut throat. A house we were ready to put an offer on was snatched up less than 24 hours after we walked through. Outside Toccoa is a whole different world!

2. This was Josh's last week home. As excited as we both are about him starting his new job, it's going to be weird not having him around!

3. We desperately want the new iPhones! But we desperately want a house more. So iPhones will have to wait!

4. Emberly has been sleeping! Go girl go! 10-12 hours a night and I am totally knocking on wood right now.

5. Luke is just becoming a little man. I just can't believe how fast he is growing. And how amazing it is watching him take in the world around him!!

Hoping to maybe continue our house hunt tomorrow! For every 2 houses that are "closed doors", 5 more open.

On the Ombre Train

toot toot!

I'm still not sure how I feel about ombre. It took alot of soul searching to decide whether or not ombre was even something I wanted to try.

One of the fun things about living at my parents house again (almost 10 years after I left the first time), is to come across pieces of my childhood. 

I really liked getting wooden stuff- drawers, shelves, and little things to put my little stuff in. I've come back to this stuff with a new set of eyes. Pieces that have been neglected in a corner can suddenly become an art piece to display in our new house. 

This was the small set of drawers I had my eye on. I always like to decide on project and then sit on it for a few days. I mulled over what I wanted to do. This piece stayed in the living room for almost a week just so I could keep coming back to it, deciding what exactly I wanted to make of it. 
Let's just say that I was into stencils. And bows. And greenery? Glad that's a thing of the past. 

But omitting the paint job, the bones of this piece are great! Solid wood. And can't you see little girl accessories fitting perfectly here?
yes even the inside is blue.

Part of me secretly loves when people paint dressers in ombre. I do think it's a trend that will be a thing of the past so I don't know that I'd ever have the guts to paint a whole dresser.

This was my inspiration (or pinspiration if you will):
I've heard of different ways of finding the perfect shades. In my opinion, in the inspiration picture there isn't enough definition between drawers 2-3 for my liking. I've heard of getting paint mixed all the way down a paint chip (so 4-5 different colors). I've also heard of starting with a dark color and progressively adding white to lighten it.

Since I was covering such a small surface area it seemed silly to get paint mixed at the store. Instead I started with the color of Emberly's old room (which will carry into her new room).

I plopped down 3 globs on my paper plate:
My plan was to make the glob on the left darker and the glob on the right lighter. Then the glob at the top in the middle was just to show me what my original color was. It was going to go:
Bottom: dark (glob on the left)
Next Up: the original pink (glob in the middle)
2nd to Top: light (glob on right)
Top: white
Except when I got all the paint mixed and got 2 of the drawer fronts painted I didn't like it. Just like the inspiration photo there wasn't enough contrast between drawer 2-3 (see the tiny little test patch on drawer 3?).
So back to paint mixing square 1. By the way I mixed RED with the pink to come up with that rosy hue. I liked the dark pink on the bottom so it stayed.

To get drawers 2-3 figured out I painted:
2nd to Top drawer- the original pink (this was on drawer 3 in the original order)
2nd to Bottom drawer- the original pink and added a tiny bit of red. Waaaaay less than I had used for the bottom drawer.

Here you can see the 2 darker pinks- along with the too light pink on the right and the original pink at the top right.
As soon as it was painted I was thrilled! It was exactly what I had envisioned.
As much as I wanted to rush the whole watching paint dry process I knew better. The light pink and white needed 2-3 extra coats than the darker drawers. So once the bottom 2 were dried I put the handles back on. I thought about switching those out too with some crystal pulls, but I decided to keep this project simple and easy. Maybe that's something I'll do down the line.

2-3 days to cure and it was ready for some accessories (small hairbows and headbands). Just to preserve the nostalgia I kept the inside drawers blue. I like remembering what it was in its previous life. It perfectly holds her barrettes and small bows. The other drawers hold her various headbands.

and in typical girl fashion this girl's hairbow collection is only growing!

High Five for Friday!

It's really a high five Friday! Instead of doing 5 points I'm just going to stick with one long important one!

Josh got a job, Josh got a job, JOSH GOT A JOB!!! Wahoooo! We found out Wednesday (September 11th seems to be a big day in our family) and have been over the moon. He will begin in 2 weeks as a correctional officer (CO) at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta. It's a great job with awesome benefits and just a great move overall for our family. He had a couple other leads that seemed hopeful (applied to be a police officer, had an interview yesterday for an assistant manager at Chick-fil-A), but this was the one he applied for back in MAY. It's taken this long and 3 interviews, super intensive background checks, and this much dedication to get where we are. We moved out of our house, 2 hours from our "home" with no promise of a job, and we are very thankful that it has all come together.

Many people asked me- aren't you worried about income? What are you going to do?! It was simple- trust and obey. We actually won't have a break in income which is awesome with our house hunt. Also his health insurance will pretty much pick up where mine left off. We sold Josh's truck back in June to give us some "cush" cash hoping we wouldn't have to dip into it. The amazing thing? We haven't had to touch it. That was a super smart move with us looking at a down payment on a house (more on that in a minute).

There were days and weeks that seemed endless. I won't sugarcoat it- it wasn't easy. I never panicked over our situation, but I did get a little frazzled over health insurance. Luke has been uninsured since July and that made my mama heart nervous. But we knew we were doing the right thing and we had to believe that the Lord would provide. And He did and is continuing to do so.

The next step is to find somewhere to live. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but we were blown away at the price of apartments. $1,000 for a 2 bedroom? yeahno. After coming from a 3 bedroom HOUSE and paying almost half of that for a MORTGAGE it just seems absurd to sink that into renting. Although we're not sure if we'll qualify for a loan with me not working, we have committed to at least trying. The worst they can say is no. We can more easily carry 2 mortgages than we can a mortgage and renting an apartment. So let the house hunting begin! We've found a real estate agent and we are going through listing after listing narrowing down our wants and needs.

Although we were pretty set on getting an apartment, part of me is giddy excited about a new house! Oh the possibilities with a new space!! We will probably end up with a fixer-upper/foreclosure/shortsale which is totally ok. I'd rather choose the finishes and colors than pay more upfront and have someone else choose them for me.

I'm still committed to staying home with my babies. I've put applications out and registered on care.com but I'm really only looking at petsitting/tutoring jobs. Something that allows me to still be home. Josh will have to work every shift at the prison over the next year so I can't commit my hours to anyone. And I absolutely refuse to work full time only to pay daycare and a mortgage. I have also taken on a small writing job. Maybe something will come from that?

So here goes the next step! Yay! Thanks for lifting us up in prayer during this incredibly nerve wracking, exciting time!

Stevie B's

One of the things we want to take full advantage of after our move to the "city" was the variety in restaurants. Goodbye Zaxbys, Subway, and Los Primos- hello local places!

We really don't eat out alot, but when we do we have made a commitment to going to smaller local places, or places we've never been to before. The fun part? I'll blog about it! The pros and the cons.

So to start this little project we went to Stevie B's pizza buffet. It's not "local" in the sense that it's one of a kind- they have franchises all over. What we liked is it was a more upscale, cleaner version of Cici's pizza.

To start off the amazing-ness, they offered a Veteran's Discount which included free drinks! We try to just drink water because of the ridiculous prices of drinks- but free is free. The buffet was $6 and kids under 3 ate free. Luke technically would have been free but I didn't catch that until after we paid. Oh well.

What I really loved was how they labeled their buffet. They had signs on the top of the buffet line which made it super clear to show which pizza was which. That's the one thing I can't stand about Cici's is just having to guess at what each pizza is. See those red tags?
I was blown away at the types of pizza they had- loaded baked potato, hot wing, and an amazing greek thin crust pizza. For dessert? A pumpkin pie and s'more pizza. The hot wing was my favorite. Luke's vote was for plain cheese (he's a pretty picky eater), and Josh loved the chicken pesto thin crust. Yum. Josh also said the s'more pizza was better than the pumpkin. (I don't touch anything pumpkin).

Also they offered whole wheat dough and take out of 6 slices plus a salad for $5.50. Not bad.

Overall we were totally impressed! The workers were friendly and it just had a chilled, laid back vibe while being extremely clean at the same time!

High Five for Friday!

It's Friday again! These weeks are all running together. Most days I don't even know what the date is. It feels strange to not be living day by day, hour by hour from my planner. It's also really freeing to just love on my babies, pray for new news, and cook dinner.

Here were this week's highlights:

1. After not hearing about anything on the job front in nearly 3 weeks we got 2 phone calls this week. It's really nice to be kept in the loop and know that progress is being made! Also I registered on care.com to take on some tutoring jobs. Excited about all that!

2. I really think Emberly is teething. I didn't know 3 month olds could teethe, but she is showing the signs. That combined with waking up every 1.5-2 hours makes perfect sense. Seriously don't know what I would do if I had a full time job. Be a zombie? My night owlish tendencies are not being used to my advantage. I'm not even tired until 1am- but come 7:30am? I can't even see straight. I used to be at work at 7:30am!
**I posted this post last night and she slept for 12 hours straight! No peeps! I frantically got up at 5:30 thinking something was wrong :)

3. We are tossing around the idea of buying another house. This is in the REALLY EARLY planning stages- obviously- Josh doesn't have a job yet. But we are trying to get our ducks in a row for when he does. A mortgage would be $150-300 less than apartment rent (we're talking an extra bedroom and about 1,000 more square feet). Just that fact alone put the fire under us. Not even sure we would qualify for a loan (since we already have a mortgage in Toccoa), but we have been driving around checking out neighborhoods. It doesn't hurt to be educated! Is it bad that Josh and I compete for the higher credit score and we get giddy excited to check our report? He beat me by 5 points- womp. We are seriously nerdy.

4. Luke attended AWANA and memorized his Bible verse. Oh my that boy is smart. He seriously needs to be challenged.

5. I mentioned this on Facebook- I got an unexpected paycheck this month! Since teachers are paid on a year round schedule, it was my last paycheck from last year. They told me I would have pay through the end of August and health insurance through the end of September. I thought pay through the end of August meant a July pay check that would last us through August. It actually meant an August paycheck that would last through September! Although I'm not worried about finances because of how we planned our savings, it's always nice to get an unexpected blessing. That combined with the generosity of my parents letting us crash their place, and great renters in our Toccoa house- I'm feeling pretty darn blessed. And it feels great to be saving $!

This was a good week! Looking forward to a nice weekend and a little relaxation maybe?

Moving tips

I am far from an expert in this area, and this is really only the second time I've (we've) moved (I don't count college, because I could fit everything in my car). But after going through this, we definitely fell into a groove.

The most obvious part of packing are finding boxes. We had a bunch from the last time we moved, and we kept them in the attic, but I had no idea we would need as many as we did. I guess we HAVE doubled our family in the past 5 years! Our boxes filled a 10x10 storage unit (no furniture except some bookshelves). After quickly blowing through the cardboard boxes we had and using all the rubbermaid boxes we had, we decided to order some boxes. We jumped on U-haul's website and ordered $66 in boxes. After I clicked "submit order" I smacked my forehead. WHY DIDN'T WE ASK PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK!? We received a TON of ideas, and between our friends who run the local Little Caesars, to a convenience store owner, and someone who works at the poultry farm (those boxes were brand new- no ick factor there) we were able to round up plenty.
Fortunately U-haul accepts all unused boxes for 100% money back. All $66 worth was returned. Lesson learned! Turn to your friends first! An extra bonus? U-haul refunded the $66 plus $10 in tax. We didn't pay tax online, but they returned it with tax. Josh questioned it but they said there wasn't anything they could do. Since the U-haul store was 45 minutes away I considered it gas money!

Also conveniently the week that we needed newspaper to wrap fragile stuff in was the week my newspaper membership ran out. Obviously I'm not renewing since we are moving, but it would have been nice to have that. Instead I turned to our closets. Josh had started packing his clothes and they quickly began filling up a big box. I started grabbing T-shirts to wrap platters, dishes, and glasses. They worked like a charm! And we were able to completely empty the box so we had an extra box to pack stuff in!

We kept a plethora of boxes in our attic of things that still have warranties. Although some of the boxes were used to house their original items (my sewing machine, stand mixer, and Silhouette), most weren't going to be used for that. So we used them to pack other things! We'll still be able to keep the boxes with the warranties, and they double as packing space.
Also, I have an over-abundance of flat rate boxes from the post office. I use them to ship sewing orders, but since I haven't been sewing much, I haven't needed to ship much. The medium flat rate boxes were perfect between fragile frames! I am in NO WAY saying to go out an get these boxes to move-- that would be wrong. But since I had them, and I plan to use them after we move, they did double duty (they moved to our new place and they helped protect fragile things).

The corners of my house served the biggest purpose in this whole process. I had a corner for yard sale things, a corner for consignment things, a corner of stuff we were actively packing, and a corner of things going to my parents house. We'll move in with them for a little bit so I had to think through-- "Will I use this in the next month" with every.single.item I packed. But sectioning off everything helped me keep my sanity.
This was my pile that was going to my parent's house:
I kept all the consignment stuff in our bedroom so I made sure I didn't mix it up with anything else!

Yard sale stuff went in another corner by the front door:
My only other saving grace through this process was my index cards- just like my attic storage that I ripped off from Michelle Duggar.

As I packed the boxes, I wrote the general contents on a card. I didn't write everything, just the major things.
I believe we eventually got to box 68. Then I would label the box with a simple number. (instead of writing the contents all over the outside of the box).
All the cards are being stored in the same attic box. The index card box came with us to my parents house. Now we know what's basically in every box in storage.
We filled up 2 10ft.x10ft. storage units total with our stuff. 1 unit was for furniture, the other for boxes.  I'm not even really sure how we fit everything (all our furniture, washer/dryer, etc).

Medallion Earrings

I gushed about my treasures from Dirt Cheap and Treasure Hunt here. One of the things I picked up were the silver medallion earrings from Claires.
I was immediately drawn to them, but as soon as I picked them up I realized they were clip on earrings. womp womp.
I did not pay $3.75 for them. They were $2.

On a whim I grabbed them (I actually picked up 2 pairs) and figured I could run to Hobby Lobby and pick up some pierced earring pieces and fit them together.

Until I spotted these guys:
It hit me that I could take these apart and get the piece I needed for the medallion earrings. After a little surgery they would be good to go.

My goal was to pull the middle ring part apart and pull the clip part off (and then replace it with the pierced part):
So I grabbed my needle-nosed pliers and pulled them off:
I did the same thing to the horribly gaudy Halloween earrings (remember Halloween is my least favorite holiday):
I discarded Halloween ornamentals and used the pierced ear part (I wish I knew the formal name for these) to refashion the medallion earrings!
I love these- more than I ever thought possible!
and they were 10 times easier to fix than I thought!

Here was my discard pile:
and a shot of them in action:

Dirt Cheap & Treasure Hunt

I always have to share when I find good deals. I've done 2 other posts about this store here and here. Unfortunately we don't have a Dirt Cheap or Treasure Hunt in Georgia, so anytime we head to Mississippi I get my fix.

Gulfport has both a Dirt Cheap and a Treasure Hunt. I'm not really sure what the difference is- they have the same tags and the same type of merchandise. I was more impressed by Dirt Cheap's clothes.

I'm just going to apologize ahead of time for the white balance in these pictures. They are reading dark and yellow on my screen. They are taken indoors in terrible light at night. Ce la vive. You get the idea.

I was really impressed by their selection of toddler girls Old Navy swimsuits for $1! You can't beat that price. I bought 3 (the 2 on the right are different sizes).
I went absolutely crazy in the shoe aisle. These tags were coded #129. When I looked at the sheet that decoded all the crazy codes, it meant these were 80% off. All shoes were priced at $8. Yep- each pair of shoes were $1.60. Crazy town.
Most were Circo brand (Target) and Cherokee (Kmart I think?).
Here were my boy finds (they had waaaay more girl than boy shoes):
We actually have the gray shoes on the right (that I bought at full price) in a smaller size. They go with everything.

Gift wrap for 20 cents? Check.
I found these earrings that I'll talk about in another post. I took them from clip on earrings to pierced earrings. For $2 I couldn't walk away. #yesI'm27yesthey'refromclaires
My 2 bigger purchases was a bedspread for Luke's big boy room. I always said that when I found a comforter that I loved I would get it- no questions asked. You can't go wrong with navy and white stripes!
A bonus? It's still sold at stores: check it out here. And I can buy the shams separately! I spent $18 which is around a 40% savings!

And my splurge of the whole day? Melissa and Doug dollhouse furniture. It's been my dream to have a daughter who plays with a dollhouse. This will get us started! It was 50% off so I paid $15. I have a plan to make a dollhouse DIY style!

So there you have it! I am already saving for our trip in November so I can go back! haha. I literally find all our family and friends Christmas gifts there!

Of course we picked up alot more things, but they weren't really picture worthy. Pretty sure no one cares about the myKcup we found or some nail polish. I am still pinching myself after I saw the price of those shoes!