Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Day One Year Ago Today...

This day, one year ago today, I was admitted into the hospital with H1N1.  I am still learning new things about my stay that I was unaware of.  I knew that H1N1 nearly took my life, but what I was unaware of is that there were a couple of nights that they (meaning the doctors) didn’t expect for me to live through.

As I’ve mentioned before, every day for the past year, I’ve thought about my hospital in one way or another.  I met so many great people (the nurses/doctors), and my family came together for me.  The prayers for me from people I didn’t even know (those my step-father worked with at a hospital hundreds of miles away along with several prayer-chains) that got me through this.

I am so thankful to be here today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Craft Shows!

I am now registered for 4 craft shows!!!
I cant wait to set up a table and get started! :-)
Today, I am taking a half of a day off of work and choosing what items I want to purchase from the wholesaler down the road.  I dont want to spend too much money, but the way I see it, the more my name gets out there, the more I can sell.  I love the products and I think alot of others will as well!

Wish me luck!

Pie Crust

I have 52 lbs of apples that I am cutting up and freezing for future pies throughout the Winter.  I went to the store and bought pie crust for the first time ever and couldn’t believe how expensive they were!  $1.89 for 2 shells (from Aldi’s!)  So…my quest is to make my own.

Do you make your own pie crust?
Is it really as difficult to make as everyone says it is?

People say that they are OK with paying $2.00+ for pie shells because of the hassle to make their own.  I dont believe that it is THAT much of a pain.  It cant be any more of a pain than peeling, coring and slicing 52 lbs of apples, right? J

I suppose I will soon find out.

Weekly Weigh-In

This week I thought I did really well.  I watched my portion size, walked Lana every day this week, and stayed away from the sweets for the most part.  However, I didnt lose even a pound!  I am blaming Todd's super-salty chicken we had last night, and the fact that "Aunt Flo" is due to arrive.  I have even been drinking my water daily.

So...lets try again next week.

Weight Loss this week: 0
Total Weight Loss: 6 lbs
14 lbs to go to hit my goal of 20 lbs by Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One of Two Businesses

I am an entrepreneur at heart.  I have always wanted to own my own business.  I have tried several, but never kept up with them.  Todd and I are working on one that we can do together, but it will take a bit of marketing to find the right market.  It is a higher-end service we would be providing.

Where we live, there is a distributor that purchases products from overseas and sells them to wholesalers and resellers around the country.  Their warehouse is a few minutes away from where we live.  I met the Sales Rep’s wife (Debbie) a month or two back (she does home parties with some of their items), and I thought maybe I could sell the items they have available.

I already have a Vendor’s license for the state of Ohio to sell products and services, along with an EIN number.  All I would need to get the special pricing from this distributor.

Todd and I went to the warehouse on Friday before our trip to New York.  We loved the items they offered.  It was like a very large Kirkland’s (one of my favorite stores!), but I got to see what wholesale pricing looks like!   The only downfall with me being a reseller of their items is that I would have to purchase products by the case.

I went online to see if there were any upcoming craft shows in the area that I could apply for, and there were plenty!  I called several people yesterday.  Two shows had no more tables available, one did not return my call, and the last had tables available.  I have already filled out and sent back my application to reserve a table!

So, it looks like I will be a vendor at our first craft show on November 6th.  I am so excited.  So far, we are out $35 (the price of the application fee for the table & advertising.)  My next step is that I have to go back to the warehouse and choose which items I’d like to take to the show and purchase them.  The problem with this warehouse is that their hours are 9-5 Monday – Friday.  I work 9-5:30 an hour away from home.  So, I am going to be taking a half day off of work to go choose the items and to set up our account with the distributor.  We did not do this the other day because we were in a hurry to get on the road. 

According to my calculations, we will need to sell $75** worth of product at this show in order to break even.  Depending on how much product we get, we will be out that money until the items sell.  I am nervous that I may not choose the right items to sell.  I want to find items that fly off the tables and are “too good to pass up.”  Todd and I have talked about it, and we’d like to get the items that are less than $5 at first.  Yes, we’d have to sell many of them to make up for our costs, but we would have a smaller start-up in doing so.  I am thinking Americana themed items as well as inspirational.

I asked Debbie if she wanted me to take some of her inventory with me to the show.  This way, our table does not look bare, I can help her unload some of her stock (and hopefully get a percentage of the sales) without having to purchase the master cartons myself.  She has not agreed to it yet, but we are working on it.

So that is one of our businesses that we are trying to get started.
I want to get this going so that we can make an additional $150/month to pay towards our mortgage so that it will be paid off within 10 years.  Proceeds from the craft shows and bazaar’s will go towards purchasing new product and toward the early payoff of our home.

I am planning on listing some of the items on,, and the like.  I hope to have a website created by the end of this year, and enough sales to go to a very large craft show in Cleveland, OH that would cost $450 for the table.  This first show will be a test and to get our feet wet… I cant wait!

**Update.  I purchased business cards as well as a domain name for the business.  I will have to sell $120 worth of product to break even now.  However, I do not expect to have any other expenses than buying products to sell.

Do you have a business?
If so, what do you do?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Husband Quiz

I saw the "Husband Quiz" on Our Cozy Robbins Nest and had to put it on my blog.  I love these types of things.  Todd and I have the DVD game of "The Newlywed Game" and we take it everytime we go to another couple's house.  So far, we are undefeated!

Husband Quiz
1. She’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?
Jersey Shore
(yup, but I'm getting kind of sick of it.  This may be my last season watching it.)

2. You’re out to eat, what kind of dressing does she get on her salad?


3. What’s one food she doesn’t like?

That's a hard one...
(He's right! I love most all food! I was having a hard time answering this one too!)

4. You go out to eat and have a drink, what does she order?
Georgia Peach
(equal parts peach schnapps, OJ & cranberry juice.  Sometimes, I double up on the schnapps - oh so good!)

5. What shirt size does she have?
Extra Big Boobs
(HA! I was hoping he wouldnt say my size!  But he's right - anything that will fit over my extra large boobies! )

6. What shoe size does she have?
8 1/2

7. What’s her favorite type of sandwich?
(He is good!!)

8. What would she eat everyday if she could?
Handels Ice Cream
(again - correct!)

9. What is her favorite cereal?
(Whatever is in the cupboard - he said he was going to say that too!)

10. What would she never wear?
String Bikini
(You got that right!)

11. What is her favorite sports team?
(He's right...but not anymore because of LeBron! Dont get me started.)

12. Who did she vote for?
(I was going to say that I didnt vote - I didnt register in time.)

13. Who is her best friend?
(Oh, he's good...but my best human friend is Missy from when I was 2!)

14. What is something she does that you wish she wouldn’t do?
(I did not know he felt this way.)

15. What is her heritage?
New Yorker
(WRONG! He really is not this d-u-m dumb.  But I'm Heinz 57 - a little bit of everything)

16. You bake her a cake, what kind of cake?
(you betcha! With chocolate frosting!)

17. Did she play sports in high school?
(softball - he couldnt remember which sport)

18. What could she spend hours doing?
Reading or internet
(reading? not-so-much.  Internet...yup!)

19. What is the unique talent that she has?
*laugh* Is this G-rated?
Oh...she is a lover of all animals.

20. What is her type of coffee?
(That's exactly what I was going to say!)

"I admire you for your entrepreneurial desires, but it's a little stressful sometimes."
(He's trying to dig himself out of the hole right now.)

That was alot of fun.
Will you do the same?!?

Recipe: Apple Pie Filling

I still have a good 25-30 lbs of apples left from the large box we bought a couple of weeks ago.  I need to use them up before they go bad.  There is nothing I hate more than wasting food.  BUT...we dont really "waste" food.  It goes to Squiggy as a treat.  And he LOVES apples.

I found this recipe and tried it out.  Oh my goodness!  Never again will I pay $2 for a can of apples.  This recipe is AMAZING!!!

  • 6 Granny Smith Apples (I used the assorted apples that came in the box - so yummy!) 

  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed Lemon Juice

  • 1 Cup White Sugar

  • 3 tbsp Cornstarch

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg

  • 1 1/2 Cups Water

  • The only problem with this filling is that it may not last until I get it into a pie crust!!!  I keep saying, "Oh, I'll just take ONE MORE."  If I dont stop, there wont be enough to fill the pie shell.  My next quest one of these days is trying to make my own pie crust. 

    Wordless Wednesday

    This is from a man who said he was never really a dog person.  Can you say daddy's little girl?

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Book Review: Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges

    Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges is a book that instructs how to grow in your walk with the Lord.  Topics include discipline, praying, humility, accountability, praying with others, saying no, and trusting God among many other subjects.

    The first couple of chapters did not entice me to continue.  I was extremely tempted to give up on the book.  I decided to set it aside and come back to see how I felt about continuing.  I cannot pinpoint what it was about the book that did not grab my attention.  Maybe it was my inability to absorb the information effectively.  When I came back to the book the next day, I very much enjoyed the book.  It was very refreshing.

    I am glad that God opened my eyes to absorb the information provided within the pages after the second try.  I think we all want to strengthen our walk, and this book helps to give us the tools to do just that.

    I received this book free from NavPress as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    Update on "New Way of Life!"

    It has been a week since I started to watch what I eat.
    I have been walking with Lana in the mornings as much as I can.  Last week, we walked 6 out of 7 days in the morning.  Each walk is 1.27 miles.
    In the past week, I’ve lost some weight, but the main improvement is that I feel alot better!  These are the benefits I’ve experienced:

    • I’m not hungry all the time!  (hmmm..could my belly be shrinking?)
    • I am not tired throughout the day (maybe because I don’t have a belly full of carbs anymore?!?)
    • I have more energy in the evenings to play with piggy & puppy (consists of throwing sticks or kicking a ball and ME having to go fetch it when Lana gets distracted, and then scratching Squiggy’s belly.  That is his all-time favorite thing in life next to food!)
    • I am more motivated to accomplish things I’ve been procrastinating on!

    Now, I’m not going to say that I’ve completely changed my ways.  We will give it another few weeks to have this “new way of life” become a habbit, but I’m liking the benefits of it already!  And the best part, I have yet to feel deprived!  I am eating “normal” food, increasing my intake of water, and exercising a little more.  6 lbs down, 14 more to go by Thanksgiving!

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Recipe: Pumpkin Ice Cream

    I love ice cream.  My favorite is Handel's Ice Cream!
    They are open year round - so there has been a time or two (or twelve!) that Todd and I could be found in our car with the heat blaring and a cone in our hands.

    This time of year, they have the Pumpkin Ice Cream.  Oh my goodness!!!!  It is SOOO good. But, at $3.10 per waffle cone, I have decided to try to make it myself.  I made some yesterday for Todd for Sweetest Day, and it turned out great!

    The recipe is as follows:

    1 quart vanilla ice cream (which is 4 cups)
    1 c. pumpkin
    1/2 c. brown sugar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ginger
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    I think I got this recipe from either or  Whoever posted it hit it pretty much right on.  When it's time to serve, I like to crumble crushed animal crackers on top.  It tastes just like a pumpkin pie.  AND, what I like about it is that I can get the low fat or fat free ice cream to help save calories!  Yum!

    Who Knows About Your Blog?

    Bloggers nicoleandmaggie asked the question a few weeks ago about whether or not to tell their mother.  For me, no one knows about my blog but two close friends from out of state, and the online blogging community.

    I will admit – I have just 1 follower (thanks Sarah!) on and one other blogger that comments on my blog regularly (thanks nicoleandmaggie!)  My daily views are normally less than 50.  Yes, I could have that increased if I told everyone I know about my blog, but I have decided not to.

    Everyone I know is aware that I’m a little nutty (Bonkers!), but they don’t need to see it in print!! 

    My husband knows that I blog and the name of the blog, but he does not have my URL address.  I think this blog helps our marriage, because quite frankly, I think about money, frugality, simplicity and recipes quite a bit.  By writing down my thoughts, I don’t feel the need to tell him everything going on in my mind (which is a lot – always!)  He cares about “the numbers” about as much as I care about the Cleveland Browns.  I don’t!

    My mother, who is my bestest friend in the whole wide world doesn’t know about the blog. 

    This blog is a muse for me that I can sit and write about all of my rantings whenever I want.  If I want to talk about my friends, I can!  If I have a beef with my husband, you’ll know about it (thanks to counseling, those are becoming few and far between.) 

    So, who knows about your blog?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    When Do I Blog?

    I am going to let you in on a secret… please don’t tell my boss.  I blog when I’m at work.  Why?  Because I think about a lot while I’m at work.

    I put all of my thoughts in a Word document and then take them home on a USB drive.  I then schedule them out throughout the week so that I don’t have to worry about being on a computer at 5AM every morning to post.

    I am normally at least a week ahead on my blogs.  It’s not like there is anything of real importance in my blog.  It is usually pretty random, just like my thoughts. But this works well for me and doesn’t take up the little time I have at home with the hubby and the farm.


    Often times, I joke about Todd and I going to counseling.  Well, the truth of the matter is that we DO go to counseling.  And another truth is that it has helped us out tremendously. 

    We have had “issues” from the get-go when we met face-to-face in January of 2006.  So, why did I marry him?  I love him!  Even though we had our ups and downs, I wanted to be with him.  He makes me laugh (sometimes I get tired of his corniness, but now, I find myself coming up with even CORNIER jokes than his!)  I know that he loves me more than anything else in this world.

    For the first 3 years of our relationship, we had a lot of added stress.  From him moving in and trying to sell his home in another city (thus having two mortgages) to buying a complete fixer-upper home, to at one time owning and owing on 3 homes (my house in Akron, our house in Newton Falls, and the house we bought next door to add to our property.)  Add an adorable 8 lb. pot bellied piglet that was like having a child within 6 months of marriage and renovations to the house at the same time along with running out of money…it was pretty rough.  We didn’t get to enjoy our “honeymoon” period.  We enjoyed our honeymoon…but not the two years after we got back from the honeymoon.

    January 13th of this year, we hit our breaking point.  After arguing about something stupid (so stupid that I cant even remember what it was), we decided it was best that we both go our separate ways.  I would keep the house because it was “pig friendly,” and he went out and found an apartment.  Luckily, before he signed the lease, we talked and decided that we needed to go see a counselor to see if we could salvage our relationship.  We wanted to do everything we could before dissolving our marriage.  We wanted no regrets if it was to be the case that we would get a divorce.

    Shortly after, we met with our counselor.  At the first meeting, we anxiously went together.  That was probably the worst session ever.  The counselor asked a question about children. I blurted out, “I want children, just not with him!”  Oh my goodness…you could have cut the silence with a knife.  I had felt that way for a few years, but never expressed it to Todd.  I should have never said it…but there was no turning back.

    We then were required to go by ourselves because we were getting nowhere with the two of us arguing back and forth (or him complaining about me the whole time and me not getting two words in.)  After a couple of months, we started meeting together again.  The counselor opened our eyes to things that we did not see at all by ourselves.  The quarks that we both have and the things that we both require in life and in our marriage. 
    The counselor said, “You both need to communicate on a daily basis.”  I openly said that it was impossible for me to communicate because Todd didn’t ever shut up!  That helped Todd see that our relationship was one-sided.  So, we started to communicate.  We started to plan for our future and talking about what we want to do 5 minutes from now…not just 5 years from now.  We opened up and learned to deal with the other’s quarks. 

    It is now to the point that the counselor says he does not feel he needs to see us on a regular basis.  It went from going a couple times a week, to every week, to every 2 weeks, every month, and now every couple of months.  I like to go just to keep us grounded and to remind us that we will be held responsible.  I remember the day when the counselor said, “Are you the same couple that was here in January?”  That was a good day for us.

    So why am I telling you all of this?  Because I wanted to let everyone know that counseling is not a bad thing as many make it out to be.  I wanted everyone to know that we are nowhere near perfect in our relationship (some days, I want to strangle him.)  That it is true that relationships are a lot of work, but are very rewarding.  That there will be bumps in the road that you may not think you could get through, but you can. Communication IS key. 

    I didn’t marry my best friend or my high school sweetheart.  I DID, however, marry the man that I love most of all on this earth.  In sickness and in health (this was tested last year! We succeeded!)  For richer or for poorer (also tested and succeeded!) In good times and bad (check.)  As long as you both shall live (we do!)

    I love one quote that the counselor always said to us: “Plan for tomorrow…you haven’t screwed that up yet!”

    *Gasp* Does This Mean We Are On the Same Page?

    As most of you know, I am a Dave Ramsey follower.  So far this year, we have paid off approximately $15,000 in debts.  In our household, I take care of the finances.  Todd is aware that we are paying down debts rapidly, and he knows how tight our money is this month because we are trying to live off of his income alone (to get closer to his vehicle’s payoff!)  I have mentioned several times before that I do not want to take out another loan for the rest of my life.

    I received a text from Todd while we were both at work last week, and he says, “We should start saving $500 a month so that we will have enough money in a fund to pay for our next vehicles in the next 5 years.”  I about fell over.  Does this mean we are on the same page with our goals of not taking out a loan ever again?!?  It sure does. I let him know that this is the plan, but only when our debts are paid off and after we have a fully funded emergency fund.   The dollar amount he wants to save per month is a bit steep to me.  However, he explained later that in 5 years or so, Bianca  will have over 225,000 miles on her, and his car will have over 150,000 miles.  He assumes that we may need new vehicles around the same time.

    Todd bought his vehicle at a very nice discount from purchasing it from someone who bought it at auction (it was repossessed.)  It was like brand new with only 350 miles on it when he bought it.  He saved over $4,000 by buying it “used.”  It was approximately $12,500.  I bought Bianca brand-spanking new.  I know that Dave Ramsey says that one should not buy a new car unless they are a millionaire, and I may consider that with my next purchase – but no promises are being made.  Our two cars cost us approximately $23,500 total.  I was thinking maybe putting $250/month in an account for the 5 years which would give us $15,000 as a car fund (not including interest.)  I would really like to see Todd’s car hit 200,000+ miles.  Even if that means he gets a new(er) car and I drive his for a few years until it becomes too expensive to repair.

    In the past, Todd has purchased new vehicles every couple of years.  He cannot name all of the vehicles he’s had in his entire life.  The main reason is because he was buying beaters and did his own work on them until they got too expensive to maintain.  I bet my car is the longest he’s ever seen the same vehicle in his garage.  But I think he’s come a long way to thinking out 5+ years in advance for his next purchase.  We are making progress!