Monday, December 28, 2009

End of a year, End of a decade.

I must admit that I am not too sad to say goodbye to 2009. It wasn't the kindest year for our family. The brightest spot was Jeff landing a permanent job. While we're so very thankful for that, we are still deep in debt and being hounded by collectors from the 12 months he was un and under employed. Here's to hoping 2010 is a better year for us financially.

Saying goodbye to a decade that has had so very many changes for us. 2000 brought the birth of Gabby. 2002 we purchased our first house. 2003 we welcomed Natalie and 3 of our 4 cats. It has definitely been a decade of additions and life changing events. I look forward to the next decade and hope we can be as blessed in our family.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brrrrr.

It's officially a blizzard out there, and it is forecast to be one for the next 24+ hours. 2nd snow day of the season for the kids today and I am almost 100% positive there will be another one tomorrow too. I've spent the morning shoveling the slush from overnight before it could refreeze and make a chunky mess at the end of the driveway. I expect several inches (or feet??) to shovel by the morning too. Welcome to winter (and it is still technically fall for another week or so).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poor Blog

Oh, poor little blog. Someday soon I'll hopefully remember to update you on a more frequent basis. You must feel so neglected. ;)

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Can't Believe It

Another school year starts on Tuesday! Seriously, what happened to summer? I must have blinked and missed it. I look forward to the start of the school year and I don't. It means time to myself, but it also means being by myself. It means my girls are growing up, but then again, it means my girls are growing up too fast. Natalie will be in school all day now. I hope I can keep it together on the first day of school. Kindergarten was a little tough but I think 1st grade might be a little harder since I won't see her until 3:15. I also have Gabby who is starting to grow and change (and ask LOTS of questions every day).

We've had a murderer in our house too. Scratches found it necessary to end the lives of a bird and a mouse this week and last week. The mouse I can handle, better she get it outside than it make its way inside. I wish she'd leave the birds alone though, or that they would fly higher. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Almost Done

With BTS shopping that is. Gabby needs 1 more notebook and another pair of jeans, then I just need the classroom basics for donation - tissue, paper towel, band aids. I still need to get them winter boots but those can wait a couple months.

Speaking of winter, today we are finally getting a taste of real summer - hot, sunny, humid, and in the 90s. Ahhhhhhh.....yucky! I think it is only supposed to last 2 days, then a short break, then back to summer again. I just might have to get out the pool for the kids, but that would require I mow, which I don't want to do in the heat. The slip n slide sprung a big leak so that is shot for the summer. Maybe I'll go invest in a new sprinkler for the kids and see if that tides them over.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why Me?

I seem to have this thought go through my mind on a daily basis. Why is my life so shitty? Why are we always on the losing end? When is it our turn to breathe easy? I'm beginning to think it will never happen. I am not the type of person that wants or needs "things" but damn it, I sure would like to just have enough. I would love for my kids to just once in their childhood, be able to take a family vacation (for more than just one day driving across state). I feel like all we do is get kicked while we're down. We have a crap load of medical bills for Natalie's eyes, Gabby's teeth, and Jeff's arm. Of course everything always happens after we lose insurance. It sucks!!!!! We never seem to qualify for much help either. Today in the mail I get a $200 tax bill from fricken 2005 due to a mortgage company screw up. Nice. They get billions of govt. bail out money and we get screwed again.

I try to remind myself God doesn't burden us with more than we can handle but my goodness, can't someone else get dumped on for a change? I get so disheartened when I see others that get to take fun vacations, can afford to make home improvements, can throw big birthday parties for their kids. Again, I don't want brand new things, I'm fine driving used cars and shopping second hand for clothes and such, but sometimes it would be really nice to have money to just go to a store and buy one outfit without worrying about taking that money away from a bill.

I guess I just needed to vent some frustrations. I am just waiting for the tide to turn and things to start looking up, but it just seems to only get darker here lately and we fall deeper and deeper.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's a Zoo in Here

Well, as if 4 cats, 3 rats, 2 crazy kids and a dwarf hamster weren't enough, now we have a dog. The dog is only temporary, I hope. My crazy MIL went and bought herself a Boston Terrier late December even though her townhouse complex doesn't allow it. She's been caught a few times and the dog would stay with us during the day - I was doggy daycare. Well I get a call last night saying I needed to keep the do for her for at least a week. Oh Joy! Don't get me wrong, I like dogs - other peoples dogs. We are just not a dog household. I like the cats, they know to pee and poo in the litter box. With a dog I have to pay attention to when it ate and when it needs to go out to do business. She also isn't vocal, which is good and bad. She doesn't bark much but that means she doesn't tell me she needs to go out. So far there's only been one piddle today though, and it is pretty easy to clean up the wood floors with spritz instead of it stinking up carpet. We'll see what the rest of the week brings.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Motivation, where are you?

I don't know what the deal with me has been lately but I just lack any sort of motivation what-so-ever. I have superb thoughts of doing things in my head on Sunday nights, and before you know it, it's Thursday and the only thing I've done that is helpful is a few loads of laundry (which are not even folded yet, by the way).

I did manage to rearrange Natalie's bedroom in hopes of keeping her in it at night. So far so good on that battle.

We found out on Monday that we will be getting about 10" worth of insulation blown in to the walls and attic in a month or so. We won't be getting the living room windows replaced though, Boo!

I'm still plugging away to sell my way to earn the kids a party spot. I've enlisted the help of a Blogger who I teamed up with in the spring. She placed a small order but her readers so far have not jumped on the bandwagon of ordering for extra entries and a possible 2nd prize. It's been less than 24 hours since she posted it though. I still have hope I'll make it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shameless Plug

I'm here to shamelessly plug my Tupperware business. If I reach a minimum of $500 in sales for the month by July 31, my kids will earn tickets to be able to go the the Kids Rally for our Tupperware Unit. They'll have games, prizes, food, etc. and the only way kids are able to go is if their parent earns it for them by selling a minimum of $500. Go to http://my.tupperware.com/jlcook to see what there is and if you feel so inclined, you can place an order (and just know it is going to earn a special evening for my kids). Thank you!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's a Tradition

I got my annual 4th of July burn. The worst part is though, that my daughters now seem to be following in my footsteps. Seriously, the sun was out for 5 minutes while we were in the pool at a friends house and we all got fried. Natalie's was cleared up mostly the next day, Gabby's is much better today, and mine is still flaming on. Will I ever learn? Probably not. We got some good excitement when one of their neighbors shot off some illegal fireworks and set the brush in the woods behind the friends house on fire. We grabbed a hose and hooked up some extra lines and had enough to stretch across their yard to spray it to keep it contained. We had to call the fire department to come make sure there were no hot spots left (which there actually were so it was good to call them).

Sunday was a nice day with visiting my parentals. They called and invited the girls and I up to their camp site for the day. Jeff got to play mechanic and help his brother change brakes so he didn't go. I took them to the lake to put their feet in and Natalie ended up losing her balance and falling all the way in. She had to ride home in a wet sundress and undies since I didn't pack extra clothes. Next weekend if we go visit, we'll bring a bag of extras along for everyone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Welcome to July

It's already July! Now it will really feel like the summer is flying by. Tomorrow I have to go fill in at BNI (a business network) for my Tupperware director who is on vacation. I always get so nervous before it and it's over in 90 minutes. I just get worked up about public speaking even though I only have to talk for 30 seconds and listen the rest of the time. I still have to get a sitter for the early morning too. Guess I should've thought of that sooner.

Why does my darling 6 year old think that 4am is a fine time to be awake and be scared, thus waking the rest of the house? Thanks to a YouTube video with the seemingly innocent start but has the scary face that pops out and screams, she is scared of everything. She has even had 2 accidents in her pants since Saturday because she is afraid to go to the bathroom alone. Grrrrrr.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strawberries

There is nothing on earth like a fresh Michigan strawberry. Yummmy. The girls and I got up early this morning to go to the local u-pick and we brought home 13 pounds. I flash froze 2 large containers, mashed and added sugar to 2 more 2 lb. containers and the rest are hulled and stored in the fridge. Oh, we also made some popsicles in the Tupperware Ice tups and I made a bowl of sorbet for Gabby to munch on. I would love to make some jam but know that I'd be the only one eating it since everyone else is strictly grape for their PBJ's. Oh, a fabulous though just came to me. We WILL be having pancakes with pureed strawberries this weekend. I even have some whip topping! If it wasn't still so blasted hot and humid in my home I'd make some right now.

It's finally been hot but I don't want to destroy the yard with the kids pool this year. I got them a Slip N Slide instead and Natalie loves it to death. She is out there at least 2 times a day on it. I'm sure I'll end up caving and putting the pool up again but I am holding the kids off with the excuse that I need to mow first. That will only work for maybe 1 or 2 more days though.

Tomorrow the girls and I get to make some yummies in prep for my Tastefully Simple party I'm hosting. My goal was to get the consultant to trade parties with me but she had excuses for that. Oh well, at least I can earn some goodies by hosting for her. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be convinced that she needs a few items that I plan to pull out to use for the food. That is my hope anyways.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is it really summer?

I would have thought by the weather we've had it was only early May. I have not worn shorts 1 time this year yet, other than boxers to bed. The kids have only asked to go in the sprinkler one time, and that only lasted about 5 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I am not wishing for the 90 degree hot and steamy days, but perhaps we could break the 80 degree mark sometime soon.

Good News! Jeff got a call to start a contract gig for Monday. FINALLY we'll get more than MARVIN. I can't wait! It's only for 2 months but it is a start and fingers crossed, maybe they'll be able to extend it or even find a permanent slot for him somewhere there. I'm just glad I can breathe a small sigh and maybe start to pay a few things on time for a change.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

School's Out!

Another school year is behind us. It's kinda bittersweet. I'm glad it is summer break but sad that my little one is growing up, she'll be in 1st grade in September. I'm also going to really miss Gabby's teachers. They were fantastic!!

This week was horribly busy with all the end of the school year activities and with Grandma still being hospitalized. She was supposed to have come home last Sunday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, and now maybe Monday. We have family coming in from out of state today, earlier than they had planned to come visit this summer. My sister and her family are driving up on Sunday to see her too. Maybe that will perk her up a little to get better. I must admit that she has lived a long and wonderful life for 93 years and we do know that she is ready do be done soon. We were prepared for her passing last year when she got really sick and feel blessed to have gotten more time with her.

Here's to a great summer, now if only the temperature would get with the program and hit 80.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

This week has been nuts, and not always in a good way. Tuesday was my birthday, day to help at school, and for fun, Girl Scouts was thrown in there too. Wednesday I helped at school again, helped set up tables for Marketplace, and had to run some tests to the Dr. for my Grandma. Thursday was Marketplace day for Gabby's class at school, then I had to call the Dr. and ended up taking Grandma to the ER. We sat in ER all night and at 5:30am they took her to have her appendix out. Came home Friday morning to try to sleep, and Natalie also had a friend come over after school. I got up, had to pick up Gabby, then back down to the hospital to check on Grandma. Saturday was busy too with a Girl Scout event in the morning, then a friends birthday party in the afternoon, and a trip to check on Grandma. Sunday I may get to stay home but then again, Grandma may get released so I'll have to pick her up. Next week will be just as bad being the last week of school and full of granduations and field trips. Whew!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Oh May

May is spiraling out of control! What a busy month. Between birthdays and school functions we rarely have a night we aren't busy. Only 3 more weeks left of school. I can't believe it. I'll have a first grader in less than a month. Again, time just goes by to quickly.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mow Town

One of the wonderful joys of spring and all of the April Showers we had to endure is now I have a jungle of a yard. I sent hubby out today to fill the gas can and now I have the pleasure (?) of mowing the lawn. The dandelions are speckling the yard with their yellow and I have patches of grass that are at least an inch taller than other spots. It looks horrible. I'm hoping the weather holds out for tomorrow afternoon to get it done since I have Girl Scouts tonight and I think I would keel over from shock if Jeff actually picked up a finger to help around here. All I can say is this - he can't go back to work soon enough! He may make a call or 2 each day but then he sits around and usually ends up falling asleep. Ahem, there are PLENTY of projects to do around the house and I sure as heck do not curl up and take a daily nap even though I don't work outside the home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Freebies!

I am a free sample hog. If there is something out there for free that I can use, I want to know about it and sign up for it. Just today I got a free sample of body wash. Last week I got a free grocery tote. I get many monthly feminine products for free also. Visit FreeSampleDirect for updates on the latest freebies available out there. No more searching the web for them, just visit FreeSampleDirect to find links to great products.

Sure Would Be Nice

Any day now our luck can turn around. Saturday our water main decided to start leaking. At least I have a friend married to a plumber so he only charged us $50, but it was yet another blow to our already rotten week.

Yesterday, Jeff drove out to Jenison for an interview. Too bad the guy interviewing him didn't show up. Then he drove back to Mich Works to sit in the meeting for No Worker Left Behind. He was the first one there, signed the sheet they told him too, then went to sit and read a book while waiting. Turns out the person working told him and several others to sign the wrong sheet so they didn't get to get in on the class because the correct sheet filled up in the meantime. I really wish people working for the public could learn to do their jobs correctly.

Today has been so-so. I have a BUNCH of stuff I need to get done for upcoming TW parties, I need to ChaCha, and I want to finish filling out sweeps entries because one of these days, with all the bad luck we've had, we should win something nice and big again, right????

Monday, April 20, 2009

Horrible Day

Well, today actually started off ok. I got busy this morning and logged in and worked some, then went to do the K pick up. I got home and my neighbor asked if Natalie and I wanted to go to lunch with her and the girl she babysits, who Natalie plays with a lot. We ended up at McD's playland and it was nice for the kids to play and she and I got to chat a bit. After that, we left to pick up Gabby. On our way home, my cell starts to ring and I see it was Jeff. I answered it and he asked where we were then proceeded to say he was at home. When I asked why he was home he said, "why do you think, I got fired today." Niiiiiice. Well, this isn't the biggest surprise in the world since he has not been happy at this job since he got it and they were always riding him for one thing or another and nothing he did was ever the way they wanted him to do it. He said around 3 they called him into the conference room and his boss just said they decided to go in a different direction than what they were thinking when they hired him and were letting him go. The the boss walked out and left him there with the HR lady. They are paying him for the rest of the week and keeping our benefits through the month. I'm not heartbroken about it and neither is he but we have NOTHING, not a thing, to live off of. I pray to God we get unemployment because otherwise we literally will lose everything. I sent out several of his resumes (and even one of my own) and he contacted many of his contract contacts and emailed out many updated resumes. The bad part is we live in Michigan where there really is nothing. 12% unemployment rate is not very encouraging. We may have to pack up and just leave our house and move, which sucks and is not at all what I want to do. One tiny bright side - he has a side job lined up for tomorrow morning that will bring in enough money to make his car payment this month. Guess we gotta take what we can get, any way we get it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

6 More Weeks

After tomorrow there is only 6 more weeks of school! Wow, the year has flown by and my baby will soon be a big 1st grader! I can hardly believe it. While I am excited for next year and not having a middle of the day school run, I just can't let her grow up yet.

I've been busy sweeping this week, but have yet to win something for the week. I still have faith though. I'm really hoping for a Clorox Wipes canister because we are out and could really use some. I think I've entered darn near every one I've run across for those.

I had a contest come up courtesy of Eighty MPH Mom to giveaway some of my Tupperware. Visit her link through the button on the side. I've had a bunch of new hits to my website and hope people have bookmarked it for future reference. So far no new sales but there is still a week left of the contest. Plenty of time for people to still see it.

Beth has had a lot of interest in Tupperware from co-workers. One group is doing a fundraiser right now for Relay for Life and another person wants to have a regular party. I can't wait!! Things are starting to fall into place for my home business, at least for this next month. I have one party scheduled, a book party scheduled, and this fundraiser. I also have this new possible party. It couldn't happen in a better month with it being TW Birthday month. I also need the extra sales for my extra May bills (home insurance and car tags).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Paying my taxes

Ugh, had to finally hit the send button on the Turbo Tax today. Now I just need to mail out my check tomorrow.

Had a nice Easter yesterday. I spend the morning in bed watching old 90210 on SoapNet, Jeff helped Gabby make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and then we started our festivities. We completely blanked on stuffing the eggs to hide on Saturday night. We were too busy folding 3 baskets of laundry and watching Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Of course Natalie noticed that we hadn't hidden any eggs - she's already figured out that Mom and Dad hide the eggs after she spied on us 2 years ago. She is so funny though. She said she would help put candy in them and then pretend to be asleep while we hid them. Instead I sent them to Jeff's family while he went and played games. I stuffed and hid the eggs and set out the Easter presents while they were gone. It was perfect timing too because as soon as I had showered and dressed, they were pulling in the driveway to see the eggs scattered about the yard. It was really nice.

Later, we went back to the in-laws for a nice ham dinner and the kids played with the dog and outside with some of their new toys. Gabby was ecstatic to receive a bat and ball (thank you Dollar Tree) and Natalie was having fun with her foam sword.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Sun

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. If I could pull myself away from the computer I could go out and enjoy it. I have wasted most of the day when I should have been working for ChaCha earning my dimes. I also need to get a new marketing plan to boost sales to my Tupperware site. I have a fundraiser in the works, a regular party, and a book party for the next month so that is fantastic news and the extra money couldn't come at a better time. Money in May flies out faster than it comes in - house insurance, car tags, and I get to renew my license this year too. Can't wait! There's also Mother's Day and birthday's thrown in there too, but those can wait for another time. I'm a mom every day, I don't need a Hallmark card to remind me of that fact. I'm considering doing a giveaway for my Tupperware, I just need to do more research as to how to go about it. I think I could do one myself from my little 'ol blog or I could check on my mommy boards with some other bloggers and see what they suggest. Anyhoo, have an enjoyable Thursday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good Grief

Well, things today just aren't made the way they used to be. Last week, a wire broke off Gabby's retainer. She already had an appointment scheduled for yesterday so we left it for then. Yesterday she wakes up and tells me a wire broke on the bottom one too. Good thing we were going to the dentist. Well, they have to send in the upper to the lab to be repaired. $100 charge for that. REALLY? On top of the already $2400 we've paid for this? I can see if she would have done something to break it but it just apparently got weak and broke off. He fixed the bottom one in the office but when she was brushing it last night it came undone again. Seems to me that they should hold up longer than 6 months. She just got them in August and is careful with them. Now we wait until Monday to get that one fixed when we go pick up the upper. I'm highly annoyed and will really be ticked if we're charged more for it. I had numerous sets of retainers growing up and never had one break or wires come off.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April Chill

Spring break starts after school today. The kids are looking forward to staying home and being able to ride bikes and play in the ... snow? Yes, that's right folks, accumulating snow is in our forecast for the beginning of the week. What's up with that? I'm ready to pack away the boots, gloves, and snowpants for good.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool

Well, some magical forces were at work in our home some time in the wee hours and they got us pretty good for April Fools. Our alarms did not go off. Now I am pretty sure I remember setting mine. I have no clue if Jeff set his. Either way, they did not go off and I didn't wake up until 7:16 when I heard Natalie talking to Gabby in the monitor. The kids get picked up for school around 7:35. OOPS! Amazingly, they got dressed, ate, and brushed teeth in record speed and were ready to go when their ride got here. I even had time to put crazy pony tails in their hair for Wacky Wednesday at school today. Now, to see what else the day has in store for me...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back in the Sweep of things

I have started to get back into sweeping. I slacked off for a few months and have missed it. Even more, I've missed winning things. Now, I'm not all gung ho with entering everything out there, I just enter the ones I'd want or use. I don't go for the vacations because I know Jeff can't take time off work and I'm afraid of flying. I did have a great surprise in my inbox this morning and I won a $20 gift card and a Tickle Me Plant. Gabby is excited about the plant.

So, March is going out. Not sure if ours came or went as a lion or lamb but it is going. We are down a pet now. Had to put Sandy the rat to sleep last week. Gabby has her heart set on a pair of hairless rats available up north so we may be taking a road trip this weekend if they ever email me back again.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Come On Spring

After enduring 100+ inches of snow over the winter, I am more than ready to welcome in the spring weather with open arms. Today we should be near 50, woohoo! I am sure we will still have more snow in the future, this is Michigan after all, but I am looking forward to the kids being able to go out and play for more than a few minutes before coming in complaining of the cold.

The holidays and birthday have blown by us in a blur. My girls are each another year older already. Jeff's job sucks but at least he has one and we have benefits. We keep submitting resumes in hopes of something more suited to his talents will come up, but I'm sure he gets lost in the sea of 1000 other resumes in this economy. I was hoping we'd qualify for some sort of mortgage assistance since we are negative equity in our house thanks to the 2 forclosures on either side of us and the new one going up across the street. I don't believe our loan is a Fannie or Freddie so we are once again SOL. Our lender said to call them back in a few months and they may have something to help us. Keep fingers crossed! We aren't behind at all but our rate will jump in less than 2 years so I am trying to do something now while the time seems right.