Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Financial Goals Update:March

1. Save 3 months living expenses by December 31. We have added $45 to this...not much but it will help us reach this goal!
2. Pay $3,000 towards our "small loan". We are excited that we have been able to pay off so much in only 3 months! Now we are going to keep paying towards the rest of the loan and it should be completely paid off by the end of the year!!!
3. Make an extra principal payment every month. Since the beginning of the year we have decided to take the Dave Ramsey approach and attack the smallest debt first. With focusing solely on our "small loan" we hope to have it entirely paid off this year and will then focus on principal payments!
4. Keep all Miscellaneous spending (Medicine, Toiletries, Clothing, Gifts, everything but food) under $100 a month. We once again stayed under the $100 mark!!
5. Sell $500 worth of stuff from around our home by July 31. We sold one item for $4 (every little bit counts!) and listed several on Craigslist which we have had a few hits on so hopefully we will get rid of some more & make some more money!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook-March 30

For today...

(we are at the 81st Tennessee FFA Convention in Gatlinburg!)

Outside My Window...it's still dark (which is rare for me to be up this early!)

I am thinking... about the busyness that awaits us today during the sessions while working in production!

I am thankful for...my warm coat! (I almost didn't pack it because it is spring & the forecast said it would be the 60s this week....well it was in the 30s last night & is cold today!!)

From the kitchen...my kitchen is neat & clean waiting for me to get back!

I am wearing... red flannel pajama pants & FFA t-shirt from the 78th State Convention (when I was a state officer!)

I am creating... changes to slides for the 81st Tennessee FFA State Convention!

I am going.. to the convention center!

I am reading... Someday by Karen Kingsbury!

I am hoping... that everything will go smooth during the convention sessions!

I am hearing...the heater in our room!

Around the house...it's nice & clean (so we don't have to come home to a messy home...I hate that!)

One of my favorite things...seeing a couple thousand kids in their blue jackets!!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: do my best running the slides for the convention....(when we get home I will be back to the usual of getting the house in order! Hopefully this weekend we will start seriously tackling our basement!)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Since we're at the FFA Convention here is a picture from 2006....this is my state officer team (the first all-female team in Tennessee!) (I am the 4th from left in the back!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Episode 22: Red Beans & Rice

I'm cooking a very easy & frugal meal, Red Beans & Rice.

Download Recipe Card

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cross-stitch Baby Bib

My latest creation! I just love making cross-stitched baby bibs as gifts! This is the first one that I have done like this with just the name and a border around it. I think it turned out beautiful and I really like the simplicity of it!

Here are two bibs I made last year!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Starting the Garden

We have started our seeds that need to be started 6-8 weeks before the last frost! I was very excited to get these seeds started & I just can't wait until they start growing!!

My trays filled with soil and waiting for seeds!!

The seeds I am starting: Broccoli, Cabbage, Pepper, Cherry Tomatoes, & Beefsteak Tomatoes!

Labeling...so we can remember what is what!!

I was amazed at how small the seeds were!! The only seeds I remember helping Mom & Dad with were beans & bean seeds are huge compared to all these tiny seeds!!

Intense concentration planting each seed 1/4 inch deep!!

Be sure to check back & watch the progress as my seeds turn into plants & later into vegetables!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Basement Update

A few weeks ago I posted about my Basement in Need of Organization. I have spent some time in the basement getting some things done!

My basement to-do list:
*Bring doors upstairs
*Paint the walls
*Sweep and mop basement floor
*Purge "stuff"
*Go through toys & organize
*Organize tools & car stuff & put in garage
*Organize laundry area
*Put up shelves for the stuff we are going to keep

In this corner are the tools and other "garage" things. We haven't decided how to organize it in the garage!

Here is the "stuff." I went through it and organized it into camping things, hunting things, Christmas things, toys, etc.

The laundry area & clean corner!

The corner that we are planning on putting shelves on to organize our things.

Here is what is left on my to-do list:
*Paint the walls
*Mop basement floor
*Go through toys & organize
*Organize tools & car stuff & put in garage
*Organize laundry area
*Put up shelves for the stuff we are going to keep

Our goal is to have everything done by the end of April! I think we will be able to get everything done but we are definitely not looking forward to painting the walls!


I just love the beauty of the Bradford Pears in spring!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Line Dried Jeans

I used my clothesline today for the first time! I don't have any clothespins (on my list to purchase next time I go to town) but I figured the jeans would dry just fine draped over the line! They were dry after a few hours on the line and they are nice and stiff which will give us the nice starched look & feel without using much starch!! So I save money on starch & electricity, a win-win situation for me!


We purchased a retractable clothesline last year at the FFA Alumni Auction but since we have lived in apartments we haven't been able to use it! Since spring is here and we want to save money on our electric bill we put it up!! We decided to put it on the back deck so the laundry will be just out the back door instead of down the stairs and in the yard.
John David putting the clothesline on the post!

The retractable end!

The other end!

My sweetie & me after a day of weeding, picking up rocks, and putting up the clothesline!

Of course we had a little helper outside with us! Here is Mac in his fence off the deck...when we leave the fence he can't stand it and tries to get out!!

Now, I've just have to purchase clothespins so I can actually use my clothesline!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Yardsale Finds

John David called me on the way to work this morning and said there was a yard sale up the road & they had a wheel barrow in the yard and run up there and check on it! Well, unfortunately it wasn't for sale but I managed to find 2 items!

This Lenox expandable trivet was $2 and just happens to be exactly the same as one I received as a wedding gift that I love! I was just thinking that we needed another one because it is so handy to have on the table! I leave mine on the table all the time because it is nice...much better than dragging pot-holders out! And since I am a fan of Little House I couldn't pass up this little book, I ended up just paying $2 for both!

My two trivets that are exactly the same!

The exact trivet sells for $29 at Macy's! I am excited about my $2 finds!!

The Simple Woman's Daybook-March 23

For today...

Outside My Window...birds are flying and my dog is barking at them!

I am thinking... about what to send for lunch for John David since I didn't cook dinner last night & there are no leftovers!

I am thankful for...a wonderful husband who is quite the handyman!!

From the kitchen...muffins are baking.

I am wearing... blue flannel pajama pants & white tank top.

I am creating...slides for the 81st Tennessee FFA State Convention!

I am going.. to stay home...no grocery shopping today (I picked up milk & butter yesterday). Now I have an extra 3-4 hours to tackle projects around the house!

I am reading... The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

I am hoping... to be productive all day & make John David a great dinner!

I am hearing...silence...

Around the house...things are mostly in order! I still have paint in the guest bath from my painting projects this weekend!

One of my favorite things...yardwork!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: finish FFA slides, patch bathroom wall, paint fans, go through stuff in basement to donate to church yard sale, start seeds

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Beautiful Bradford Pear in my backyard!

Menu Plan Monday



Chicken Tacos with Refried Beans & Taco Dip
Country Ham, Pinto & Biscuits
Red Beans & Rice
Cheeseburger Soup
Mexican Casserole
Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Order Restored

My table has been cluttered all weekend since it seems to be the storage place when we are working on projects! However, I was able to clean it off this evening & we finished most of the projects (minus the taxes & wiring!) I just love being productive!!


I had to snap a picture of our horribly cluttered table because the things on it reveal what we have been into this weekend! Electrical switches for an upcoming wiring job in the bathroom. Black/metal thing for my clothesline hubby worked on this weekend. Gardening gloves & small pruners for yard work & gardening! Lowe's bag....trip for clothesline supplies & starting container for vegetables! Computer, folders, papers & calculator for taxes. Cups for drink breaks & phone to check John David's tweets...(I like to know what he is doing even when we are together!! ha ha!!) This is my wonderful & momentarily chaotic life (and table!)

Yard Work: Part 2

The result of Yard Work: Part 1

This past Monday we worked outside and weeded a little in our front flower bed! We got a little bit done but the weeds were taking over! I spent a few hours outside Saturday and pulled several loads of weeds out!


It's far from beautiful but the first step was getting those awful weeds out! There is also a lot of landscape rock in the beds so we will have it to work with!


Everybody needs a big planter with no soil in it!! Now that the weeds are out we have got to get fill dirt and figure out what we are going to do in here!

I feel a small sense of accomplishment now that we are mostly weed free in this bed but as you can tell there is a lot of work left ahead of us and our front yard probably won't be beautiful this year! Slowly we are going to make improvements and hopefully by the end of summer or next spring we will have it looking really nice!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

National Agriculture Day

Today is National Agriculture Day which is celebrated every year on the first day of Spring!! Today we need to recognize and celebrate American Agriculture! As Americans we are so blessed to have an abundance of food and fiber and have the lowest food costs in the world.

I am thankful for farmers like my grandparents Travis & Louise Pittman and John David's grandparents Cecil & Kitty Boreing! My grandparents have a diversified farm in West Tennessee, when I was little they row cropped soybeans and cotton, and now raise beef cattle, goats, strawberries (there is nothing like a farm fresh strawberry!), and many other yummy foods! John David's grandparents have a beef and hay farm in East Tennessee. Tennessee is such a diverse agricultural state from row crops in West Tennessee to dairy and tobacco farms in East Tennessee.

Farm Fresh West Tennessee Strawberries

Mamaw Kitty

My sweet hubby!

We both have Agriculture degrees and met in the FFA, he was the 2004-2005 East Tennessee Vice President and I was the 2005-2006 West Tennessee Vice President! We hope to have our own farm one day (for now we are content with a large garden on our 2 acres....and maybe some chickens soon!)

John David and I after receiving our American FFA Degrees in 2007!

The FFA Creed

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds -achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so--for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

-E.M. Tiffany

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yard Work: Part 1

Monday evening we did some yard work! It was so wonderful being outside in the beautiful weather and getting our hands dirty!!

John David fixed up my rain barrel! We are catching rainwater from the roof to water our vegetable garden!

Last week when it rained the barrel overflowed and we needed some way to carry the excess water away from the house. He fixed this up. The excess water pours over and onto the green grate and then into the pipe to be carried further out in the yard!

A view of the pipe that carries the water into the yard!

While John David fixed up the rain barrel, I was busy tackling the weeds! Our front flower beds are full of weeds and look horrible! I did as much as I could do Monday!

I ended up very messy!! I don't think my hands have been this dirty for a couple of years (what apartment living will do to a person!) It was so nice to be outside and get dirty!!

John David thought this made an interesting photo, the beauty of the rings and the dirty hands!

We did get quite a bit accomplished but we still have a lot of work to do! We probably have about 3-4 hours more in the flower bed pulling up weeds, carrying them off, and pulling out electrical wiring (from the previous owners)! We hope the weather is beautiful this weekend so we can get outside and get more work done!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Working Hands

After a few hours working in the flower beds!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Episode 20: Easy Baby Quilt Part 2

I continue working on the baby quilt. I sew the top, batting and backing together.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Basement in Need of Organization

I really can't believe I am going to be sharing this! I wouldn't let anybody who visits see my basement yet I am going to be publishing these pictures for anybody to see!

However, I am sharing first of all for accountability since we plan to tackle this space and have it completely organized by the end of April. I am also sharing to hopefully motivate you for your own spring cleaning...it couldn't be worse than this daunting task!!

Here is the basement:

To the left is my laundry area which would definitely not be there if I had my choice but that is where the hookups were. I would like to make that space a little nicer! To the right is all our stuff: Christmas decorations, camping supplies, hunting stuff, crafting stuff, boxes, etc. We need to purge some of this but also put up shelves and organize the things we are going to keep on these shelves!

Close up of the stuff! See the awful two-tone walls?? We have purchased some cinder block paint and need to go ahead and paint the walls and have that job over with too!

On this side of the basement is my husbands toy tractors which we need to go through and decide what we are keeping and organize them, there are also piles of tools & car stuff which we need to organize, these things will probably be organized in the garage instead of the basement area. Notice the doors? Well, they have been down there since December...we took a few doors off the hinges to paint & brought them down to the basement...however it is so much easier to just paint them on the hinges! These doors are to the studio closet & guest room....I am sure our guests love that! These need to be moved upstairs and put back where they belong! We also need to sweep and mop the floor!

So here is the basement to-do list:
*Bring doors upstairs
*Paint the walls
*Sweep and mop basement floor
*Purge "stuff"
*Go through toys & organize
*Organize tools & car stuff & put in garage
*Organize laundry area
*Put up shelves for the stuff we are going to keep

Hopefully on or before May 1 we will be able to report that we have accomplished each of these tasks on this list! I definitely think we can do it, it won't necessarily be fun but it will be well worth it in the end!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Our Clean Garage

Wednesday I spent a few hours in my horribly unorganized and cluttered garage (sorry there are no before pictures but believe me it was awful!) I am so glad I did! Since the day we purchased our home, we have just been putting stuff in the garage/basement with no rhyme or reason as to where it went because we were focusing on the upstairs of the house (which is more important). But after almost 3 months of entering the house through the garage and thinking 'I have got to do something about this,' I finally did. I had been dreading this day for months, telling myself we have to do this on a weekend because John David has to help but I finally took action and after just a few hours I felt so much better!

This is where John David parks (it's only a 1 car garage :( but that's better than no garage I suppose!) Notice the hole in the dry wall & the 'A'?? The beautification of this space will come later!

My handy freezer & our old refrigerator that is taking up space...need to do something about that!

My dream for this space is to put up a wall where the columns are and create a mud-room type entry here; paint the walls, paint or carpet the stairs, have a nice tile floor, rugs, a storage bench, coat hanger and place to put our muddy shoes!

Tomorrow I will share what lurks on the other side of the door...the scary basement and our game plan for that space!