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Jan 30, 2009

A Challenge

The husband and I were looking at our finances the other day. Something we do every so often. We did all the math to see how much we were bringing in and how much we were spending. We added up all our bills and all that fun stuff. After all the important things are paid and our money goes to it's proper places, we still have a significant amount of money left over. But it got me thinking, where exactly is our money going?? I want to know how much we are spending a month on food, on diapers, on clothing, on every thing! Of course I have an estimate on how much we spend, but I want to know down to our last penny.


I've tried in the past to keep every single receipt for that month so I could see what we were buying. I've even tried writing every thing down in a notebook and it didn't work. I would always lose a receipt or two and just give up. It's hard when you have to remember to get the receipts from the hubby, too. I could go online and check, but that would only tell me how much we spent and not on what. But after looking at our budget today, I am motivated to find out. It's going to be a lot of work, but it needs to be done. A trip to DisneyWorld is a big motivater, too!! ;)

Last night, we were talking to our friends and we decided to have a little challenge. Absolutely no eating out for the month of February. No quick stops through the drive-thru. No more being lazy --start packing a lunch every night for the husband. Not only will it be healthier for us, but I want to see if there is a drastic change in our checking accounts. The winner of the challenge has to buy dinner at a Japanese restaurant on the 1st of March! Pretty good incentive, right? =)

If anybody has a better, easier way to track spending your spending, I'd love to hear it!

Jan 29, 2009

Things I love Thursday - Heavenly by VS



I'll just come right out and say it. I love Victoria's Secret. I do. I know some people think that they are over-priced. Others think that their clothes are too revealing. And that their catalogs aren't very family-friendly. I pretty much agree with all of that.

I do think that their stuff is pricey. But, if you know me at all, you know that I never pay full price for ANYTHING. During the holidays you can score some pretty sweet deals from VS. They also pretty much always have coupon codes to use, and you can almost always get stuff for free with certain purchases.

I don't buy their clothes, only undergarments and pajamas (I was going to use their pj's for my things i love thursday post, but the ones I love are only sold during early winter). But, you are going to find not-so-modest clothing at any store you go to.

All that to say, I love VS's perfumes. Heavenly is my all-time favorite though. It just smells great and I always, always get compliments on it! :) People can't stop sniffing me, hehe. I first got a sample of it with one of my purchases and fell in love. I told my sister about the perfume and she just so happened to have a huge bottle of it... that she didn't care for! Score!

If you'd like to participate in Things I love Thursday, go on over to The Diaper Diaperies and add your link to Mr. Linky :) Or just go over to read what other people love!


Jan 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Sunset

To participate in Wordless Wednesday, go on over to 5minutesformom!

Jan 26, 2009

She wants to be fit, too!


It has been almost 2 weeks since I have started working out again. How am I doing? Great! This week I am bumping my exercise routine up to 4x a week! Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays! I am addicted!!
In addition to working out, I am trying (key word = trying) to eat better.. but it's so hard! I am a huge desserts/sweets girl. I'm also a huge baker and it's killing me not to bake any goodies. I could just bake something and send it off with the husband to work ----- but I know I won't be able to resist any fresh, warm cookies straight from the oven. I'm not that strong yet, haha.
You know, I thought I drank a lot of water, because that's pretty much all I like to drink. But once I started actually counting how many fluid ounces I was drinking.. yeah, not even close to what is recommened!! So, I have been working on that.

How is everyone else doing with their diets and exercise routines? Hopefully well! Let's keep on motivating each other, k? =)
--Sorry the pictures are so large, but I am too lazy to go back and re-upload them to a smaller size. I guess it's a good thing Leah is just so stinkin' cute, right? hehe--

Jan 21, 2009

Jan 20, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday


Our closet next to the front door was a disaster! It needed to be cleaned out and organized. This closet held mainly my hubby's work gear, so I was a little apprehensive to touch anything! I guess that's what took me so long to get in there and clean it up. But, I did it!


Here are the before pictures.






Half-way point!




All done! I even arranged our jackets.. mine and Leah's are on the left side, and Brandon and Kyle's are on the right. I took a photo with and without my exercise ball. I have nowhere else to store that thing, so it has to go in there. But, the ball just makes the closet appear messy. *sigh*




If you'd like to participate in Tackle it Tuesday or just want to browse, head on over to 5minutesformom!

Jan 19, 2009

Close to 30

Wondering what the title means? Today is my dear hubby's 26th birthday!! So, he is closer to 30 than he is 20!! (hahaha, love you, babe!) For about a month, the husband and I are only three years apart, but now we're back to four! Unfortunately, Brandon is feeling really really sick, so he's in bed trying to get better! What a way to celebrate your birthday, huh!? He did get a super nice birthday present though. A brand new grill!! The one we had was given to us by friends of a friend's.. and they got it from one of my sister's friends! How confusing is that? Needless to say, it was time for that thing to go! Here's the new grill, isn't it a beauty!?

Happy Birthday, Honeybuns!!!! I love you and hope to spend many more birthdays with you!!! MWAH!

Jan 17, 2009

Chewy Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

After Christmas, I got a TON of candy on sale for dirt cheap.. as in, like, $.20 a bag! Well, I got a bunch of M&M's not only because those are one of my favorite types of candy, but because you can make some awesome cookies with them. I love, love, love Paula Deen's Monster Cookies, but I decided to try something new with the M&M's. I went to the M&M site and was pretty amazed at all the desserts you can make! I ended up making these cookies and now they rank high on my favorite cookies list .. well, if I had one of those, right? ;)



Ingredients
1 1/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups M&M'S® Brand Milk Chocolate Mini Baking Bits (I just used the regular-sized ones)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. In large bowl cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in M&M'S® Brand Milk Chocolate Mini Baking Bits. Drop by rounded tablespoon about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; transfer and cool completely on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container. MAKES ABOUT 4 DOZEN COOKIES.

Jan 15, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

This is my first participating in Thing I love Thursday, but I am sure it won't be my last! If you'd like to participate, go on over to TheDiaperDiaries!

The thing I am sharing today that I absolutely love is my black Scunci hair clip.. FOR thick hair! One year when my sister came to visit she had one.. and by the time she got on the airplane to go home, that little ole hair clip was in my hair. I have super thick, wavy, mid-length hair, and this clip holds every single piece. No slipping out.. nothing.. it stays put! I love it. It's the only thing I can and will use now. Scunci has a whole line of products made specifically for thick hair. Genius! If you see me in any of my pictures, I pretty much always have this clip in my hair. The only time I really don't have it in.. is in bed! That's it. Who knew something so simple like a hair clip could make me so happy? :)

Here is my clip, but I only have it in black.


Jan 14, 2009

On my way..



to being skinny!! I have been saying (for a really long time) that I would go to the gym and work out. Today I didn't just say I was gonna do it, I actually did it! I dragged my friend Nicole with me and we took our babies. One of the gym's we have on-base has a parent and tot room, they are such great ideas! It's just a room devoted to parents and their kids. There is a sectioned off area for the kids to play in and the equipment out of the gated area. We were the only one's in there, too! I know I am going to wake up in the morning sore, but it's worth it! After I was done working out, I felt great about myself. I don't know why I don't work out more often. My goal is to go to the gym at least 3x a week. Now, if only I could put down the yummy M&M cookies I baked the other day! :-(

Jan 12, 2009

Rodeo

I don't know if I live a sheltered life or what, but ever since I met my husband I have had a lot of firsts. I have done things, went places, and tried things I never thought I would do.

~He got me to try snowboarding (he didn't listen when I told him I would really suck at it, and now he will even tell you it was a bad idea to go! HaHa).

~He's bought/rented movies that I had never seen, like - Jaws, Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - the list goes on.

~He got me to go snorkeling in Jamaica! I don't even know how to swim and am deathly scared of the water. Thinking back on it now, I can't believe I did it. Crazy!

~He's gotten me to shoot his gun (I used to be the girl who would go nowhere near a gun, but I got to the part where I actually enjoy shooting them!).

~My husband even has me hooked on NASCAR. So much that I even watch it when he's not around. LOL. I can see my sister rolling her eyes right now.. she doesn't understand how great it is to watch cars go around and around, hehe ;)

~He's taken me to my first Pro football game, Pro baseball game, and this past weekend he took us to a Rodeo.

We had a blast. I loved it. They only had the bull-riding part.. I guess they do other things at some other bull-riding events, but I wouldn't know. But it still was a lot of fun and I can't wait to go to another one!

Brandon showing Kyle where the bulls are

Leah's 1st pro bull-riding event, too! a video of the clown jump-roping
video
waiting for them to let the bull out...
video
And he fell off right away :(

video

It was so sad seeing some of the guys fall off right away and get soooo upset. They would punch the fence or wall! I felt so bad for the guys! :(

Jan 11, 2009

An Interview!

Alicia over at More than Words gave me these questions to answer. And ya'll know how much I loooooove doing/reading question thingymabobs. Such a cute little idea!

1. Did you know you wanted to marry your spouse when you first met him? Hehe, nope! His friends were actually trying to hook him up with my bestfriend! So, yeah, no!!

2. Have you ever traveled to another country? I was born and raised in Japan. Moved to the United States almost three years ago. I went on a two day cruise to Nova Scotia when I was about 13yrs old. And in August of 2007, my hubby and I went on a cruise to the Grand Cayman Islands and Jamaica (it was for our friend's wedding). So, I've been to a few countries, but there a lot more I would like to visit.

3. Can you speak another language? I am half Japanese, but I can only speak a little Japanese. I understand pretty much all of it though! Oh, I took a year of Spanish in highschool, but the only thing I remember are the Bible verses we had to memorize.

4. Did you grow up in a Christian home? Kinda. My Mom went to church with us for a majority of my childhood, but for some reason just stopped as we got to be teenagers. But, my brother and I kept on attending church services. We even went to a Christian private school that our church in Japan had.

5. Do you keep in touch with any friends from high school? Yes, pretty much all of them actually! I guess it's not that big of a shocker since I only just graduated a few years ago, haha. Oh, and our school was SMALL, so it's easy to stay in touch.

I had so much fun doing this! If any of you would like your own questions to answer, let me know and I'll try to think of some good ones. But, be warned, I am super nosey!!! :~)

Jan 8, 2009

Grilling Goodness



I can't believe another week has gone by. It's Friday already! I love doing surveys and questionaires, so this meme is totally me! If you would like to participate head on over to Tina's where she hosts Grilling Goodness!
  • What's your 'dream machine' - as in vehicle? An Escalade!! Love them!!
    Do you think you'll ever own it? Yes! My hubby is getting a Corvette one day and I'm getting my Escalade. Bling Bling ;)
  • Can you water ski? hahaha, nope! I don't even know how to swim!
  • What kind of milk to you prefer? Well, if I didn't struggle with my weight, I would so drink whole milk. But, I drink 2% most of the time. I'm slowly working on 1% though!
  • Have any of your pet peeves 'gotten your goat' this week? Ummm, I don't know. But, probably so.
  • How do you prepare your taxes? HR Block, Turbo Tax, by hand - or does someone else do it for you? My hubby uses something online, LOL. I think maybe it's Turbo Tax???
  • Did you start a workout program this New Year? Nah, I get in little exercise moods here and there. Some days I'll watch a workout show on TV or I'll get on my treadmill. But, I have a goal to lose a significant amount of weight by June (more on that later!).
  • Do you have a certain meal that you cook each and every week? No, I don't. But we do eat spaghetti at least once or twice a month. And I love me some Tuna Casserole. It's one of my comfort foods, so I make it quite a bit. There's nothing I make every week though.
  • When do you normally write your blog posts? Whenever I get a free moment, haha. Either first thing in the morning while the kids are eating breakfast and watching cartoons, nap time, or late at night.

Slow Cooking Thursday


Decadent Chocolate Delight

Prep time: 5-10mins
Cook time: 6 to 8hrs on Low OR 3 to 4hrs on High

1 package (about 18 ounces) chocolate cake mix
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup water
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 package (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix

1. Grease the inside of the slow cooker stoneware with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients together, mix well, and place in prepared stoneware.
3. Cover and cook. Serve hot or warm with ice cream.

I was going to post a picture of this. But, uh, I couldn't wait long enough to snap a photo and now I'm too embarassed to show just how much of it I ate!!! :( It was delish!!
If you would like to participate in Slow Cooking Thursday, or just want to check out some yummy recipes, go on over to Sandra's blog!!

Jan 4, 2009

Christmas Eve

We don't have a lot of traditions in our little family. But one that we do have is every Christmas Eve we go drive around neighborhoods and look at all the lights and decorations. We enjoy it a lot. We started this tradition on our 2nd Christmas as a married couple. That year my brother tagged along with us since he was visiting. Last year, Arlene's brother, Kennedy, came with us since he was staying at our place while on Christmas break. And now this year, our bestfriends (who are like family) came along!
There was one house that was just unbelievable. The couple told us they have 87,279 lights all together! Can you believe that? They allow people to walk through their front and back yard to check out all the decorations. It really is amazing. They start putting up lights in September/October just to have it done in time for the Christmas season! Check out these pictures. Wouldn't you love to be their neighbor and have to compete with that!? :P

only in Florida would you see this





only in Florida would you be wearing short sleeves on Christmas Eve


our bestfriends Rebekah & Matt



panoramic view of the backyard


** I am a total slacker.. can't believe I'm posting about our Christmas Eve in January! **



Jan 3, 2009

Thankful


A week before Christmas, my vehicle started acting retarded and finally wouldn't start. The hubby couldn't figure the problem out. We changed a few parts and still nothing. On Christmas Eve, my husband talked to a guy at Advance Auto Parts and he told us that he had the same problem with his vehicle. He told Brandon to clean a tube and it should work, if not, replace it. So, Brandon bought a $5 can of cleaning stuff, cleaned the tube and what do you know?. our Blazer started up just fine!!!!!! We probably spent about $100 trying to find the problem! At least now the other parts are brand new, right? I sometimes forget how much I have to be thankful for.

-I am thankful that we didn't end up spending more than $100 to fix the Blazer.
-I am thankful that it wasn't anything serious.
-I am thankful for the man who told my husband what could be the problem.
-I am thankful that we even have two vehicles to drive around in.
-I am thankful for a husband who knows a few things about vehicles and can fix problems when they arise.

God is good. Sometimes we need a problem or two to remind us of that.

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