Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Goals

-Daily time with God in prayer, Bible reading, and meditation on His word
-Sleep 8 hours each night
-Be asleep each night by 12am
-Wake up at 8am each day
-Lose 10 pounds by end of April
-Lose 30 pound by Oct. 3rd
-Exercise 45-60 min. 5 days a week
-Improve my very limited sewing skills
-Get out of debt. (except mortgage)
-Read 26 books
-Drink enough water each day
-Four no drive days a month
-I also want to be a better steward of everything God has given me, and will probably set mini goals each month to aid in this, such as trying to reduce our garbage, spending, etc.

Are you setting any goals for 2012? If yes, what are your plans to accomplish? For example my goal to lose weight will be accomplished with weekly exercise and Wellness week trip for me in April.


2011 Goals and Progress

Some of the goals I set in 2011:

Declutter 365 items from my home - I was able to complete this goal
Read 14 books (my summer goal) - I was able to complete and exceed this goal
Walk at least 5,000 steps a day - I started this in Oct. and do it most days
Walk at least 15 min. at one time each day - I do this about 4 days a week
Drink 8 glasses water daily - Not there yet
Do not eat past 8pm - Do this about half the time
4 no drive days a month - I have done this about 90% of the time
Stay out of debt (except mortgage) - Did not succeed

I also have lost about 5 lbs. (I know not huge, but a victory all the same.)

Did you set goals in 2011? If so how did you do?


Extreme or Practical?

The other night I watched the show Extreme Cheapskates. I do many of the things the people on the show do. But the premise on the show is that these people are crazy, and the producers will find those who are not the norm. But is it really extreme to do some of these things?

Before WWII most of the things I do (homemade cleaners and laundry soap, no paper products, etc.) were the norm. You would be extreme if you bought paper towels or store bought window cleaner.

Somewhere along the way we became a wasteful society. We waste so much. We waste our natural resources (trees to make paper, oil to make plastic, etc.) We waste our time. We waste our money.

We have to realize that these things are not limitless. Eventually we will run out of trees, and oil, and money. Actually we already have run out of money as our country is in extreme debt.

Nothing I say will make people start conserving, however I can live my life trying to do all I can.

I need to make good use of the time, money, and resources God has given to me.

In 2008 I decided to stop buying paper products (except toilet paper for Jason and guests.) It has been 4 years since I bought paper towels, napkins, tissues, or sanitary products. I have not missed them (except when my dog was sick, so I admit I used some of the paper towels my mom left here to clean that mess up.) I prefer hand towels and rags to paper towels. I prefer washcloths to napkins. I prefer soft fabric to paper tissues. I am so happy with cloth menstrual pads over the disposables.

In addition to that I like them better I have kept approximately:
200 rolls paper towels out of landfills (at 1 roll per week)
6,000 napkins out of landfills (at about 5 a day)
2,000 tissues out of landfills (at about 2 per day)
2,000 sanitary pads out of landfills (6 a day X 7 days X 12 months x 4 years)
200 rolls of toilet paper out of landfills (at 1 roll a week)
all the plastic these items would have been wrapped in

Also before these would have made it to landfill, and made into disposable products, they were trees and other resources. So not sure how many trees were saved, but even one makes it worth it.

In addition to saving trees and space in landfills, I also have saved money
$200 on paper towels (at $1 a roll)
$ 25 on napkins (at $2 a package of 500)
$ 60 on tissues (at $3 a box)
$300 on sanitary products (after spending about $300 on cloth pads)
$100 on toilet paper (at .50 cents a roll.)

About $700 saved, if you subtract extra loads of laundry, I probably have saved about $500 or $125 a year. Not a huge savings, but since I feel the cloth products are superior and I also am saving trees, other resources, and space in landfills I think it is so worth it.

I don't necessarily think we all have to give up paper products (but please buy 100% recycled, so you are not cutting down another tree.) But we do all have to do something. We all have to live within our means with all our resources. Dare I even say we live below our means. Maybe if we can do so we will influence others to do so, and so on right up to those in positions of authority, especially within the government.

As 2012 is approaching in just a few hours I ask you to commit one resource in your control, be it time, or money, or anything, and set a goal to reduce it.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I just made a yummy, super simple butternut squash soup.

I cut a butternut squash in half (long way.) I baked in oven for about an hour (with cut side up.)
I put cut up onion and half a stick unsalted organic butter in a pot. I sauteed onions. Then I added about 4 cups veggie broth (I had it frozen in freezer, I added it right from freezer.) I added sea salt and pepper. Once broth melted I added butternut squash (that is scooped out and cut into small even chunks. I cooked between medium and high with no lid (to evaporate some of the water.) I did this about 30 min. Then I put whole thing in blender. I hit pulse for about a minute. Yum! Looks like I have about 5 servings.

This soup cost about $2.50. The butter and butternut squash was organic. The veggie broth was made from the ends of mostly organic veggie scraps that would usually just go in compost (including carrot tops.) The onion I got for free. The pepper was also organic. So for about .50 cents a serving we have an almost entirely organic soup, made with no preservatives, and stock full of vitamins.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas spending and gifts bought

I spent and bought for gifts this year:

$9.25-for mom- hat scarf brand new in thrift shop for $3.50, my mom is always bundled up outside so she will really use this, pictures $5.50, magnet .25 cents

$10.00-for stepfather-fireman travel mug (bought new at thrift shop for .50 cents), he works outside so this will be used (plus he is a volunteer fireman), hot chocolate, marshmallows, and candy cane at Wholefoods $9.50

$8.00-for sister- jewelry she picked in thrift shop $2, jewelry box $1, pictures $5

$12.00-for Jason's grandparents- Christmas ornament and photo book $12

$80.00-for my nephew- the $10 toy kitchen and $70 on pjs and blues clues toys (I went overboard on him)

$175-for my boys- $100 chip in towards there ps3 (they saved the other $300 them selves.) expensive but I am proud of them for working together to save up money all year, $20 2 puzzles, $10 stocking stuffers, $15 Lego clock, $10 Lego calendars, $20 DVDs

$12.00-for Jason's grandfather- picture book of kids $12

$5.00-library staff- hot chocolate mix and marshmallows $5

$5.00-boys therapist- $5 toys for her office

-neighbors- homemade chicken soup

$2.00-aunt- book and candle $2 at thrift shop (her daughter died, so I get a gift that she would have gotten from my cousin)

$15- niece Wii game she wanted

$22-pj's for needy family (got matching for the two daughters, had a coupon) and a dvd girls wanted

$10.00-kids I babysit- $10 bracelets made by lady at my church (so I blessed her with sale too)

$10.00-Christmas photos $10

$30.00-stamps and envelopes for Christmas letters $30

$10.00-for my brother-$5 ornaments from movie we loved as kids, $5 frames

$20.00-sponsor child- $20

$50.00*- Christmas brunch, all bought at Wholefoods (White organic bread $4, 2 dozen organic eggs $6, organic oj $6, organic strawberry banana juice $3, organic milk $5, 3 lbs. bacon $12, plastic recycled cutlery $5, organic yogurt $5, organic cream cheese $4.)

$50.00*-supplies for dye and high fructose free gingerbread houses

$535.25 total
*$100.00 used Wholefoods gift card that I got as a gift
$435.25 my cost

I spent all this in Dec. even though I said I wasn't going to spend anything. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I just love giving gifts. Plus so many people bless us with gifts.

Now to work on getting all 2011 bills paid in full asap!


Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa then and now

Kaiden with Santa 2010

Jason with Santa 2010

Josh refused to take a picture with Santa last year

Kaiden, Jason, & Josh with Santa this year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


As seen in previous post, yes my kids do chores.

They will one day be grown men, and I want them to be able to take care of themselves.

The way we are doing chores this year is sort of working.
Each week each child has their own room and either the bathroom or living room. I have my room and kitchen.
They have chores that need to be done every day in each room, and some that only need to be done once that week. So they do they everyday chores and a few of the once a week chores as well. It should take them no more than 30 min. in each room. Or one hour a day.

During the entire day the have the opportunity to earn up to 40 min. of video game time daily (from scvhoolwork, chores, etc.) Regular chores are worth 10 min. But they can only play video games if all schoolwork and chores are complete.

I also have extra chores like the hallways, stairs, shoe area, etc., that are worth extra video game minutes. These extra chores are about 20 min.more playing time. I made these worth 20 minutes so they get done, the boys want extra minutes so it works. They can only do extra minutes after all regular schoolwork and chores are done.)

The boys don't usually have to do their own laundry as Josh is doing in previous post, but they have to bring down dirty laundry and put away clean laundry. Josh just wanted to do his laundry, so of course I let him.

I have a detailed list printed out for each child each week. If an item such as dust the tv, has 1 line, they do it once that week. If it has 5, like wipe toilet, they do it daily. And then check it off on list. This is really helpful for the kids.

I will say they both are doing great at the living room and bathroom. Their rooms are not so great, but this is because I don't always check their work as often as I should.

Eventually I want to add kitchen to their lists, but not yet.

My boys also do things like help me with baby, take out trash, take out recyclables, bring in trash and recyclable cans. They also feed and water the dog. These few things are not on any list, just get done as needed.

My boys also do cleaning jobs with me on occasion, but if they do they either do instead of that days chores or in exchange for extra video game minutes or something else.

I am very proud of how much my boys can do.

Do your kids do chores? How do you organize them?


Josh doing his own laundry

Youth Pastor Update

Continue to pray for our Youth Pastor, Josh as he was diagnosed with cancer recently. He is back in hospital. He is doing chemo, which exhausts him. Lift up his wife, April, also, and their 4 children, Andrew, Matthew, Molly, & Abbey. Thanks!

This picture was taken in Oct. 2011. Before any knowledge of cancer.

So blessed

We are so blessed. I am so thankful for all my blessings. Here are a few:

God and Jesus
Jason (son age 14)
Joshua (son age 8)
Jeannette (mom)
Scott (stepfather)
Kevin (brother age 30)
Samantha (sister age 22)
Lindsey (sister age 26)
Matthew (brother age 3)
extended family
Lady (our dog)
our church
our church family
Pastor Ken and his family
Youth Pastor Josh and his family
our home and yard
running car
our health
health insurance
ability to work
freedom to live as I please
having all our needs met today and everyday up until today
good healthy food
good books
my comfy bed
our free Christmas tree
calmness in our home yesterday and today
having more than enough


Green Clean Gift Idea

Make a green clean kit for $10 or less.

-Gallon vinegar $2
-Print or write out list of cleaning uses for vinegar
-Baking Soda $2 (2-3 small boxes)
-Print or write out cleaning uses for baking soda
-Spray bottle $1 (or reuse an old spray bottle you have for free)
-Cleaning Cloths Free-$3 (make, sew out of old towels, or buy a package)
-Scrubbies Free (make out of mesh that comes on lemons and other fruit and veggies-fold up and rubber band or knot, these work great)
-Tote bag Free-$1 (recycle one you have at home, sew one with fabric you already have, or buy one, food store ones are about $1)
-Bottle Peroxide $1 (use as you would bleach on stains on counters, in shower, etc., and on clothes)
-If you got tote, cleaning cloths, and spray bottle for free you can also add a gallon of homemade laundry soap as well $2

Make up one for everyone on your list.

I would love this as a gift and it creates no clutter.


Homemade applesauce

Just made some homemade applesauce. So easy and yummy. And it was free. I got some free apples the other day. They were already starting to go bad, so they weren't as tasty just to eat as is. So I cut them up (with the skins) and threw in a pot of water. I boiled until they were soft. Then I strained water (which I saved to drink) and put apples in blender. I pureed and that was it. I didn't add sugar, but I guess if you want it sweeter you can add.

We will all have a healthy snack once it cools a bit.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Health update

Since Oct. 16th (two months ago) I have been walking 2-5 days a week for 30-60 min. I have lost 6 lbs, or 3 lbs. each month. It seems small, but it is something, and I haven't gained so that is good. Also I am walking 3,000-10,000 steps a day. My goal is now up to 6,000 a day.

Now to work on my other goals, of more water, no eating past 8pm, and being in bed and asleep by 12.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 2011

Dear Family & Friends,

Greetings! I pray that you are enjoying this Christmas season. We have just put up our tree this week and are planning on making gingerbread houses on Sunday (complete with dye and high fructose free treats bought at Wholefoods.)

Jason will be 14 on Saturday. He wants to celebrate by spending the day eating his favorite junk food, Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza, and salt and vinegar potato chips; and playing his Wii and laptop. In addition to video games, Jason still really enjoys reading. He also has done horseback riding all year and loves it. He is doing so well he has been upgraded to more difficult lessons. Jason has a natural repoire with animals, and especially with the horses. He has his own pet sitting business. Jason is in 8th grade and his favorite subject is math. He is learning pre-algebra. He also is enjoying studying astronomy, and our monthly visits to the Franklin Institute.

Joshua turned 8 in May. He prefers to be called Josh. He is in the 3rd grade. His favorite subject is spelling. He also really enjoys studying astronomy and that we got to see the sun with special equipment at the Franklin Institute. He loves riding his bike and scooter. Josh did basketball in the winter and will start again this upcoming Jan. He enjoys it. Josh also enjoys video games, especially the Wii. Josh did guitar lessons for 4 months this year, and has switched to keyboard which he enjoys much more. He really has a musical talent, which he certainly did not get from me. Josh also is an amazing big cousin to Kaiden who is now 18 months old. He is constantly playing with him and teaching him new things.

A typical day in our home starts about 8:30am. Josh, Lady (our dog), and I walk with my mom or Jason's grandmother. We try and walk for an hour. While we walk Jason sleeps in. After our walk we all get dressed and eat breakfast. We have formal school lessons from 10:30am-12:30pm. Then we have lunch. After lunch we do more school, and then about 2:00pm Kaiden comes over. We watch him while his mom, Samantha, goes to work and school. From 2:00pm on boys work on independent work, and help out with Kaiden. At some point we all do chores. Kaiden loves to "help" with chores as well (which makes more work for us.) Kaiden leaves about 9:30pm, and then Josh goes to bed. Around 10:00pm I do a quick straighten of house and check over school notes for next day. Jason and I will then usually watch a show together. Jason usually is in bed about 11:30pm, he seems to take after me in being a night owl. I try to read a bit and force myself to fall asleep by 12:30am.

Of course when you throw in Jason's horseback riding, doctor's appointments, Wed. night family church activities, Josh's keyboard lessons, Jason's writing class, and other misc. activities things can get a bit hectic around here. So we make it a priority to have one no drive stay home all day, day each week.

We all still go to Calvary Baptist Church. We go Sunday at 10:30am for worship service and Wed. evening at 5:30pm for dinner with classes following. Jason goes to the youth group Wed. night and Sun. afternoons (4:00pm-6:00pm) as well. Josh goes to the Wed. evening children's class (which I also teach) and Sun. afternoon (4:00pm-5:00pm) chess and checkers club. We will also be there Christmas Eve at 6:00pm; we would love it if you could join us.

As you hustle and bustle about this Christmas season, take some time to really enjoy your family and celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was born in such a humble way so many years ago.

-Becky, Jason, & Josh

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Jason turned 14 on Saturday.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Praising for being back

I am back online. Last month my computer got a virus and I was locked from doing anything on it. Thanks to my new best friend, Darren, at Geek Squad I am up and running again. So happy!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Handwritten, Personalized Letters From Santa

Would you like that special child in your life (child, grandchild, cousin, niece, etc.) to receive a handwritten, personalized letter from Santa?

Please leave a comment with your email address in it for form and payment options. (I will not publish email addresses.) Make sure to include email address, so I can email you form to get info. on child.

$7 includes handwritten, personalized letter, Santa's sugar cookie and frosting recipe, and a special surprise all addressed to the child.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three cuties

Jason is 13
Joshua is 8
Kaiden is 18 months

So cute

Kaiden is now 18 months old. I can't believe how cute he is.


Great analogy

I heard this great analogy once:

"If you hit a parked car, do you drive down the street and hit every parked car or do you stop at one?"

This can apply to overeating, if you eat one snack too many should you keep going or stop?

This can apply to finances, if you buy something you don't need or can not afford, do you keep overspending or do you stop?

This could apply to saying an unkind word, do you keep speaking unkindly, or do you stop?

When I have made a bad choice I try to remember this so I stop instead of making more mistakes.


Verses we are trying to memorize

John 1:12
"To all who received Him to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God"

Matthew 5: 16
"Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven. "

James 1: 10
"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves do what it says."

Colossians 1: 10
"Live a life worthy of the lord and please him in every way bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God"

Ephesians 3: 17-18
"I pray that being rooted and establishd in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is love of Christ"

Ephesians 4: 32
"Be kind and compassionate to one and another forgiveing each other just as christ forgave you"

1 John 3:18
"Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth"

Jeremiah 29:12
"Call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you'"