Friday, July 31, 2009

Convenience Factor - What I Learned This Week

Our family has decided to make an effort to be better stewards of our money and be on a little tighter budget. To say that we are being affected by the recession would be an understatement. I'm not going to go into that too much because my husband would not be a happy camper with me telling cyberspace our financial state and all. Let's just say, we really have needed to re-think the way we live our life. It's not necessarily been such a bad thing, though.

We decided that we waste a lot of money on things that provide us convenience. While they do free up some time for us, we also find that they don't add much benefit to our life. One question I asked myself a lot is, "What are my kids learning by the fact that we pay someone else to do so much for us?"

We've done a lot of cutting back in small areas but just this last week we've done the following:

First, we let our lawn service go.
Now, before you go and laugh at how much this is not a sacrifice (you are probably right), let me tell you that for Hubby - it really is. He has about 1 full day off a week and we spend most of that day at church. So, he really doesn't have much time to do yardwork. I could not use our old mower because I could never get it started (I know, I know), so eventually we just hired someone to do it. The opportunity cost at the time just made sense. We've had the same lawn service for a pretty low cost for almost 10 years. I hated to cancel it because we love the guy so much. But we did - it just makes sense now. So, Hubby went to Sears and got himself a fancy push mower that was a floor model and one I can work if I need to. Which I'm hoping I don't.

That hubby of mine can certainly work a deal. He got a the mower for more than 50% off. I think he actually is enjoying mowing the lawn which I did not think I would ever see.

Second, we let our housecleaning service go.
Yes, I cried.

Again, you might be saying, "no big sacrifice, Janel." Yeah, well you are right. Many women clean their own homes, so why can't I? Now I do have to say that I have only had a cleaning service because she is part of a barter program in which we belong. I have not paid her cash in 2 years. But again, we decided we need to save the bartering dollars for more important things like vet bills and the dentist. Yes, we barter those things - it's a beautiful thing.

Third, we decided to eat out for dinner only once a week. We sell an amazing line of premium cookware for crying out loud. Why are we going to out dinner so much? Weight gain, stomach issues all spending money all say we shouldn't be eating out so much - enough said. So, I've been cooking every night this week. I actually baked, too! I enjoy cooking so much and really find that the more of a habit I make it, the more I can easily throw a meal together faster than going out to eat. Also, I feel so much better about what I'm feeding my kids because I have control over what goes into the food.

Last but not least, I am looking for part-time income now that both of my kids are in school. So, I started looking for a job outside the home only to realize a couple things:

1. I have not been in the actual workforce for almost 10 years and people are not so much interested in me compared to the other thousand people that are out of work that actually do have skills they need.

2. I am on my computer a lot. And there are ways to generate income by being on my computer. One thing I like to do is encourage and promote other people. There are actually ways that I can generate income by doing just that in the online world. I've had some amazing opportunities this week in this area and I am very excited.

Needless to say, the first week without the many conveniences has been busy.
Busy but good.
It feels good to make an effort to take care of our own stuff and also save money.

In my mind, it's a positive way the recession has affected us. It's made us more aware of what we really don't need and what we can do ourselves.

How about you? What positive affect has the recession had on you, if any?

For more lessons learned this week you can head over to Musings of a Housewife. She's been talking a lot about eating more whole foods and less processed. Good stuff over there.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Whew! It Went Well - A Thousand Words Thursday

It went well.
Yay!!! I could say so much about this right now but...later.

For more A Thousand Words Thursday head on over to Jen's Cheaper Than Therapy.

Cheaper Than Therapy

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chic Critique is on Facebook!

Find Chic Critique on Facebook now! You can start a discussion, post something you would like to be reviewed, ask questions and be a part of a group of women that are just like you!!!

But with different skin types.

So if you are on Facebook - you can find the Chic Critique Group HERE.
Or follow Chic Critique as a friend HERE.

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First Day of Kindergarten - Wordless Wednesday

Bubby heading into school behind Big Sis. Or should I say Mother Hen. More about this in a later post. Honestly, I'm a little emotional today.

Head to 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Free Mocha Monday and Dell on Twitter

Don't forget to get your FREE Mocha sample at McDonald's today! Free Mocha Monday

Follow Dell on Twitter and enter to win a mini laptop! I want a pink one!!!
Go here to Dell Twitter.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Red Yummy

Bubby: "Mom, can I have a Red Yummy apple?"

B: " Do you mean a Red Delicious apple?"

Bubby: "Yeah, whatever - can I have one?"

Me: " Absolutely."

I love the dynamics of my kids. My 5 year old son (Bubby) is so cute mixing up words to describe what he wants. My 8 year old daughter (B), Miss smarty pants, always there to correct and teach him. He really doesn't care so much about what she wants to teach him but really just wants to get what he wants. She is pretty bothered by that. And on and on...

Isn't it fun to watch little people grow?
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Win Tickets to the Sound of Music

Win 4 tickets to the Sound of Music in Raleigh, NC.

Enter this contest at Triangle TRACKs by listing a few of your favorite things! There are very few entries so your chances are good for winning!!!! C'mon everyone - I can't win everything on this site. Easy entry - BIG payoff for you and your family.

Triangle TRACKs - A Few of My Favorite Things Contest

Are you using this site on a regular basis, by the way? If you live in the Raleigh/Durham area this is your one-stop shop for kids activities.

In the Charlotte area? Check out Charlotte TRACKs - same thing, different town.
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Calling All Curly Haired Girls!

***UPDATED with winners! Congrats to my friends Kristee and Kathy!***

Got curly hair? Naturally wavy? Frizzy?
You need to read my post over at Chic Critique -Curly Girl

Fantastic tips for styling naturally curly hair. I promise!

If you live locally and have naturally curly hair then you must visit Hair, Body and Sole Salon and Spa. The owner, Cheri, has naturally curly hair and her stylists are trained to work with your curls! They, of course, do an amazing job with color and straight styles as well. I LOVE this salon. Really, I do.

I'm giving away 2 - $25 gift certificates to Hair, Body, and Sole Salon and Spa in Apex, NC. The first two local gals to email me get them. norose(at)dandeliondayz(dot)com

Gift Certificates are for Jennifer and first time clients only.

Okay, hop on over to my post at Chic Critique now.
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The Calm After The Storm

We had the most amazing thunderstorm here last night. It was LOUD - almost as if it were actually in our house. The lightning was everywhere. I stayed awake much of the night just listening to it and watching the light show outside my window.

Inside I was safe, snuggled in close to Hubby and the two dogs. I have to say that I am surprised that the kids did not end up in my bed.

It was a loud but peaceful storm in a weird way. I never felt in danger or threatened.

Anyway, this morning, the sky was clear and blue as the sun broke through and I was reminded that my house, in a thunderstorm, acts like God's love in the storms of life.

In my house, I am not consumed by the pelting rain and dangerous lightning but safe in the arms of my husband...and dogs...and sometimes my kids.

In the morning, I wake to the sunshine - a bright new day. The ground is fresh and watered to continue to give life to the plants whose roots are running through it.

In the storms of life, while I can hear the issues pelting and see the flashes of pain and turmoil caused, I feel peace. I don't feel threatened by them or in danger from what this world has to throw at me.

And when the storm is over, I am fresh and watered because my roots are grounded in the right place - with a loving and powerfully protective God. I keep moving along and grow from the storm, stronger for the next one.

Lamentations 3: 22-24 The Message

God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Consignment Sales - WFMW, WW

Here are some photos of our third floor attic right now. That is not the worst of it actually but I'm too embarrassed to show you the rest. I have just finished sorting through about 1/4 of the attic that you cannot see.

I decided that since I am running out of storage space in said attic that it might be time to clean it out. I still have baby clothes and my kid's bedding from their cribs, monitors and everything in between. My oldest is 8 - you do the math how much stuff is in there.

Today, I took about a ton of clothes and toys to a kid's consignment sale. Local moms check that out here at Kid's Exchange and go shop! Really - there are some GREAT deals there. I was in complete and total awe at the amount of stuff for sale. I bet there is an acre or two of strollers alone. Seriously. The clothes - OhmiGAP! It is unbelievable. I'm hoping I can make a little cash back on all of the things I have purchased over the years. Works for Me!

To find your own local consignment sales check your fairgrounds schedule or with your Chamber of Commerce. Or your local Yellow Pages for consignment shops. It's a great way to recycle kid's clothes and toys and also put a little money back in your pocket...for more kid's clothes and toys!

I do have a couple tips for consigning.

  • Only consign what you would pay for again.
  • As you clean out your kids closets: clean, repair and neatly fold all items you want to sell. Put them in a box with the season and age. It will be much easier to organize later.
  • Find somewhere to hang special items so they won't get wrinkled.
  • Place bigger items in a sealed trash bag so they will not get dusty
  • Clean them before consigning them. Would you buy something dirty?
  • Price them fairly so they will sell (if you have control over this part - most shops do their own pricing. Big sales usually let you price) The goal is to sell them. If you price them too high, they will not sell and you will either have to pick them up again or they will be donated.
  • I keep a section in my closet for clothes that I want to consign. As I decide I don't like an item or see I've grown out of it (you know how clothes shrink), I place it in this section - clean and ironed, of course. Each season, I make an appointment with my favorite women's consignment shop and take those items in. It makes it so much easier.
Anyway, only one quarter of the attic stuff is gone. That leaves the other 3/4 to through and get rid of! How do we get this much stuff?

I guess I will have a Tackle It Tuesday post coming up soon, eh?

For more Wordless Wednesday go to 5 Minutes for Mom. I know this is not too wordless today but I am hoping my photos will make someone feel good about their house today since mine is such a mess!

For more Works for Me Wednesday go to We are THAT Family - she's got travel tips today!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something Out of Nothing - What I Learned This Week

The other day I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine and she was saying how she would love one of those cute beach cottage types of home. You know the ones that just fell into the owner's lap from a great aunt or something. And where they make a kitchen table out of an old front door they found on the side of the road. The ones where they just happened to have antique knotty pine floors under that old shag carpet and it was just waiting for a good buff to make it's charm come alive.

Yeah, you know the ones.

I told her I didn't think I could ever have a house like that because I'm not one that can make something out of nothing.

Again, you know someone who can make what looks like nothing to one person a work of art to another. The ones that have 4 beads and a piece of yarn one minute and finials for their lamps the next. The ones that have an old table from Gramma laying around in the attic and the next thing you know it is the showpiece side table in their living room. " Just a little elbow grease and some white paint..."

Yeah, you know them. Or you are one of them.

To be perfectly honest, I am so completely jealous of this attribute. I wish beyond measure I could take a little something and make it ooze with charm. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I can copy something someone has done and it works out.

Flash forward to dinner last night. Mondays often come when I realize that I have not been to the grocery store over the weekend or since the Tuesday before. Pickin's are slim, to say the least. This was definitely the case last night when I realized it was about 5:45 and not enough time to go to the store. Now while I could have easily eaten a bowl of cereal, I have this little family here that requires a little more than my old college stand-by meal.

So, I had 8 frozen chicken tenders, a fresh green pepper, pasta sauce and pesto sauce frozen in the freezer, a half of box of penne pasta and a bit of mozzarella cheese. (I always forget about the things I have tucked away in the freezer).

I made up this Cheesy Chicken Pasta Dish that my kids said was one the best dinners EVAH!

Making something out of nothing. Well, I guess I know someone like that, too.

So, that's what I learned this week - not to sell myself so short. For more lessons learned this week head on over to Musings of a Housewife and visit some of those ladies. You won't be disappointed!

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Monday, July 20, 2009


It's a sad day here.

It has come to my attention that one of the hermit crabs died.

I'm pretty sure it was Sandy. Well, the kids are pretty sure.

I think he was molting and we just could not leave him alone. He seemed so sleepy and we just wanted him to play. Apparently, they don't like to play during molting.

Apparently, they like to dig themselves into the sand and kind of hibernate while they shed their old exoskeleton.

Researching molting would have been a good idea BEFORE we sprayed him with water, gave him a bath and let him to play with the dog on the deck.

I guess seeing some of his old legs laying around in the tank should have also been a sign. Not a good one but also one that we would have know about had I researched it a little more. Apparently, they lose limbs during this process. Yuck.

Apparently, you are supposed to leave them alone during this process because it is extremely stressful on their little crab bodies. Bothering them can encourage a quicker demise.

And it this case it did. Apparently.

Because this morning when I went to check in on them?

The smell.

Was, well...really really really bad. Like dead fish.

Which is the only way you can tell a molting hermit crab from a dead hermit crab.


So it goes. I guess we are off to PetSmart to purchase a new crab. Which I said I would not do. But I feel if I would have researched, I could have been a better crab mom. So, I need a second chance. Well, a third chance and the other crab needs a playmate. Right?

Check out more stories from moms over at My Cup 2 Yours for Mom-Monday.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Linked Up

Check out this great discussion in the comments with Busted author, Fred von Kamecke over at - Busting some myths of Christianity. Ten of his books are being given away on her site and the author is actually answering questions in the comments of this Q & A!

Confused about how to have your family eat healthier? Want to eat more whole foods?
Check out this post at Kelly the Kitchen Kop. It's a very comprehensive list of simple ways you can change your families diet for the better.

Get the skinny on what wild Salmon is in season this summer and some great recipes at Whole Foods Market. I love wild Salmon and Whole Foods carries some of the best!

Shop at "those stores" for your teens and need a good laugh? Read this post from Darcie at Such the Spot about her recent trip to the mall with all four kids. I just laughed out loud at this post.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer in Swing

It's a hot one here in the Carolina of the North, people. So, we are going to slather ourselves up with some SPF 50 and head to the pool.

I seriously love summer. It is so....laid back. We only have a week left because of the year round schedule. Summer is not my favorite time for year-round school but I do love it during other times of the year.

I've also been sleeping late every day for about 3 weeks now and I dread having to change to start getting up for school in a week.

Oh but wait, could I actually go sit by the pool BY MYSELF, WITH A BOOK, without having to throw dive sticks, blow up things and count live bodies? Could it be a dream?

While we were at the pool and I was watching my kids splash around, I wondered to myself what it would be like in a week when they were in school.

I only thought of one word.


And then another came to mind.


I honestly can't even imagine going to the pool by myself. I bet I would go and leave within an hour. It seems so decadent really. How about you? What do you do that seems decadent while your kids are in school or away from you?

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Catchin' A Wave - A Thousand Words Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy

I used to participate in Jen's A Thousand Words Thursday a lot. Then I kinda dropped off with my regular blogging. I love Jen's blog, though and have missed it. I started to follow her on Facebook and of course got hooked again.

So what's A Thousand Words Thursday? Post a picture that's worth a thousand words or none at all. That's it. Post it, tell the story. Or not. Link up to others and check them out at Cheaper Than Therapy.

This is my Bubby at the beach recently. I love the picture because he is having so much fun just trying to catch a wave with his little boogie board. The bigger story behind this is that he was terrified of the ocean last year and he is so excited to let these waves knock him down this year. I cannot keep the kid out of water this year and that is just fine by me!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sandy and Shelly

I think I forgot to tell you about our newest members of the family. Well, really I was just waiting to see if they lived past a week. Because the last time we had a hermit crab, well, he did not live past a week.

But this time they have. So, I am officially introducing you. Actually, right before this post, I checked on them and thought one was dead. But I revived him by spraying him with water. (see comprehensive care list below)

Meet Sandy and Shelly.

'Cause my kids are original if anything.
Sandy like the sand and Shelly like a shell.
You see? Original.

Here is Elmo checking them out. This is pretty fun actually because they hide when he comes near them and when they poke their heads out he runs away. Ahhh... fun times with our critters.

Did you know that hermit crabs should really be called TEMPERAMENTAL little baby crabs?

Seriously, I did not know they required the care that they do. It is no wonder our other one died in a week.

YouTube has videos on how to bathe them. Oh yes, they do.

Really? Give them a bath? Seriously? Who gives them a bath when they living in their natural habitat?

Another tip is to make sure their temperature is between 72 and 82 degrees. Ummm, hello? Like, don't they live by the ocean and doesn't it get above 82 degrees there sometimes?!?!?

Today, I bought them sand and they refuse to sit on it. Guys?!!? (I think they are guys) Remember the beach?!?!? (update: they are burying themselves in it now and seem to love it)

They've changed shells already. How fast do this darn things grow anyway? Will I need a 5 gallon aquarium soon or what? And just where will that go? (update - they have moved up to a 10 gallon tank which now lives in the playroom)

Just two more things for me to keep alive. The fun never ends around here.

Oh, and just in case you would also like to know more about the tempermental baby crabs here is a comprehensive list from a friend who has managed to keep hers alive for almost 3 months now! And I do mean comprehensive.


1. They really need to drink salt water or water that has no chlorine. You can make your own salt water by using 2 heaping tablespoons of sea salt (found in grocery stores) to one gallon of water. Put the water in a mister and mist your crab and its sponge.

2. They really need to move to a bigger "crabitat" then what we bought to be "happy."

3. They are social crabs - they want friends - other crabs - someone to 'crab around with' - (joke).

4. They like to eat fruit (mostly sweet fruit), popcorn, veggies, herbs - parsley,cilantro, rosemary, and basil. They like organic vegetables because they have not been sprayed with pesticides. They need protein - they can eat dog or cat food if soaked in water. They also like small cricket, fish bloodworms, freeze- dried clams, shrimp, plankton, water fleas, eggs, and fish and turtle food. They don't seem to be too picky. yeah, right.

5. When they decide to 'move-up' they want a 'crab-shell' similar to the one they are living in now - and if they don't like their new shell - they will NOT go back in their previous shell - then they will die (sounds picky)

6. If they are aggressive with their crab mates they need to have "time-out" - put the more aggressive one in his own crabitat and turn the lights out and leave him/her in the dark until he calms down. (really)

7. They need a bath in salt water - they need humidity in their crabitat or they will die.

8. They are nocturnal and they don't mate in captivity.

9. They also make noise - a squeaky kind of noise.

10. If a crab gets a hold of you and does not want to let go (fear of falling) put cold or warm water on him/her until they let go.

11. They like to climb - so put stuff in their crabitat to climb on. They also need places to hide - so put a broken pot in their bed for them to go in. Petsmart actually sells all kinds of things for these guys.

12. I don't even want to get into 'molting' - it sounds gross.

13. The temp in their tank should be between 76 and 82 degrees - anything above that is too hot (go figure they sit in the sun on the beach but once they move in then they get picky. They actually sell warming mats in Petsmart to warm a part of his tank - so he can go to that side when he needs to warm up.


Well, there you go - EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about how to take care of a hermit crab. If you do want to know more head over to YouTube.

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Free Stonyfield Farms yogurt, a book, movie tickets!

Win Free Stonyfield Farms yogurt, a book, movie tickets to Food, Inc. !!!

You know I love Stonyfield Farms yogurt, don't you? I talk about it all the time on this blog.

No artificial anything.

Anyway, if you are on Facebook and become a fan of Stonyfield, you can quickly enter this contest HERE.
But hurry, it ends July 17!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What I Learned This Week - Puppy Food

Because I'm on a roll with the lists lately. Another one...

  • Stuffed animals including beady eyes
  • Squeaker toys including the actual squeaker
  • Yogurt containers or anything from the trash that ever touched food
  • Dog Beds where he is supposed to sleep
  • Star Wars guys and miscellaneous other toys
  • Sea Shells - yes entire sea shells
  • Aluminum Foil
  • WHOLE rawhide bones

I learned this week that the above list only touches the surface of what my 8 month old dog will eat and that anything he decides to leave behind can be found under my couch.

For more lessons learned this week (lessons that are probably much more important than mine) check out Musings of a Housewife.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

All Without Coffee

1. Popcorn and seesening
2. Awsome pjs
3. LOTS of stuffed animals
4. Blankets
5. BFF
6. Hermit Crabs
7. Dogs
8. Candy
9. Favorite Coloring Book
10. Scary Stories

And there you have it. An 8 year old girl's list for the perfect sleepover on a summer night.

Which we are having tonight. On a Monday night. 'Cause I'm just a cool mom, ya know? Or crazy. Mostly crazy.

Already today, I have watched a Teddy Bear fashion show. A play about a duck, hula girl and kung fu fighter, taken three kids to see the latest Ice Age movie, made PB & J's for lunch, pizza for dinner and cleaned out a hermit crab cage. Not to mention the laundry. Really, let's not mention it.

ALL. Without. Coffee.

Yes, I woke up on a Monday morning with not a speck of coffee in my house and it was down-pouring outside. I thought it would not be worth it to make the trek in the rain so I made a cup of tea instead. Then I stubbed my toe on a chair. And my dog peed inside because he's just too precious to go out in the rain, ya know. The cable was out for a bit this morning so that my son could not watch Cartoon Network (the horror).

ALL. Without. Coffee.

I have proven to myself today that...I.Am. A. Survivor.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Fix Summer-Dry Hair in 5 Minutes.

Okay, so my hair is soooo dry from the summer sun, pool and ocean water. I needed help and tried L'Oreal's Everpure Restorative Masque. You can read my review of it at Chic Critique.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kiss My Face Contest at Chic Critique

Kiss My Face for Kids Contest over at Chic Critique.
Click HERE to go enter. ***link fixed***

Great review on new bath products for kids without harsh chemicals.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

My Effort In Making Myself Not MissThe Beach

No Beach.
Work to be done.
Unpacking to do.
Pink Eye for Bubby.
Errands to run that don't involve finding big shells or eating seafood bisque.


Things to be happy about - this is my effort so as not to miss the beach too much.

Good coffee.
Stonyfield Farm Raspberry Lemonade yogurt.
Time with friends.
Home with my dogs.
My own bed.
Home Sweet Home.

We had a great time at the beach. It really is so amazing to just do nothing, eat what you want, spend time together, read novels and just BE! No doing. No go go go. It makes life a lot more enjoyable to come back to after a break like that. It's just not easy to jump right in. So....working on that today. How about you? Going on vacation anytime soon? What is your favorite thing about vacation? How about coming home?

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Excited Like a Child - What I Learned This Week

I learned that it doesn't matter how many times I come to a beach, that I still get excited like a child at the first glimpse of the ocean.

As we drive closer to our destination, I start to sense the air change. The smell is salty and then...I see it - through the houses, the never-ending vast ocean.

And almost immediately, like waves that wash away footprints in the sand, I am washed over with peace. It is the place I feel closest to God. It reminds me that life goes on and there is something much bigger than myself.

For More What I Learned this Week head over to Musings of Housewife.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

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