wfmw: just say no

I had the t-shirt. You know the one, kelly green, big white circle with the words “Just say no.” inside.  I totally wish I still had that shirt, not that it would even come close to fitting, but it would go great on the t-shirt quilt I’ve been working on for 5 years a while. 

More and more though I am realizing the importance of saying, “no,” at the right times and for the right reasons. College was my season of “yes,” I did everything, I went everywhere. It’s midnight and I have a test tomorrow, do I want to play disc golf? “Of course!” ………. Everyone is going out to dinner and I have no money, do I want to go? “Sure”………You get the idea.  In grad school work took precedence and I got better at saying no (though I still couldn’t turn down disc golf at any hour).  Once we were married it got even easier to say no to going out and doing “stuff” all the time, it was great to have time for just the two of us.

I see more now the importance of saying no in so many different areas of my life:

Saying no to things. This covers a huge variety of topics but with increasing gas prices, living on one income, a baby on way, we area learning to say no to a lot of the tangible “stuff” that the world hawks to us. DVDs, expensive foods, fancy new phones every year, fashionable clothes, knick-knacks that clutter up our home, etc. Saying no to these things keeps our budget in check and keeps our lives simpler and free from clutter.

Saying no to “doing.”  I love to go out, Jon is content to stay home and veg pretty much all the time though and this has rubbed off on me some. I’m learning that you don’t have to go to movies or out to dinner or go on a big vacation to have fun, staying at home and being creative can be just as great. Making homemade pizza, renting a movie from the library, reading outloud to each other, going for walks, etc. These are all ways that we avoid the urge to “go and do” and it really gives us more quality time together and keeps life simpler.

Saying no to a spirit of discontent. Sometimes I feel like we say no to everything. Yes, I would love to take an extra trip each month to visit friends or family, but the gas budget doesn’t allow it. Yes, I want that wonderful $5 single scoop of ice cream from the over-priced ice cream shop. Yes, I want to keep that cute little picture even though I have no where to hang it in my home. Sometimes it’s a battle, a fight to be content and happy in saying no, to really remind myself that “things” and events aren’t the makings of a happy life.

On a side note… I am slightly concerned that our child’s first words are going to be “No Finn!” I counted, I’ve told that silly cat “no” 4 times just while sitting here writing this post! Maybe it’s just Finn’s goal in life to give me practice at Just Saying No.

This post is part of Works For Me Wedenesday, hosted by Rocks in my Dryer. Check out more works for me tips.

these make me smile

My Gran used to make dolls and santas and angels to sell at craft shows… I always loved helping her at her shows or visiting her and looking at each of her dolls.  They all had such personality and each of them was unique.

A friend from college is now making dolls that remind me of my Gran’s in a new and modern kind of way. She started making them when she made one for her own daughter and then people kept asking for them! Check out her blog or her store on etsy for more information about how you can get your own rosie posie doll.

frugal summer fun

Money Saving Mom is hosting the question of how to have fun with the family over the summer… frugally. Considering that it’s just the two of us, we have a lot of flexibility now, which probably isn’t the case for everyone. But here are some frugal ideas of things that we like to do for fun:

  • College Town happenings– We are super blessed to always live in college towns due to Jon’s job. If you have a college or university near you I highly recommend looking into what they offer over the summer. At the last school we were at they held an outdoor summer concert series on Friday evenings throughout the summer. Even if there aren’t “special” events planned on-campus, typically campuses are a LOT quieter in the summer with students gone. A lot of schools have some type of garden and other great green spaces that you can utilize without the school year crowd.
  • Walking… don’t underestimate it! We like to go early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler. It’s a great way to unwind and have time to talk.
  • Game Nights– This is really a year-round fun idea.  We love to get together with a few other couples for games and dessert. In the summer you can make strawberry shortcake, homemade ice cream, or other cool desserts! This can easily be adapted for folks with kids of all ages.

keeping our duvet in place- wfmw

So I’m not really the biggest Martha Stewart fan. I mean, I just can’t get excited about someone who goes to jail, gets out, and is instantly famous and loved , there are some issues there for sure. However, I think this idea came from her website… so I must give credit where credit is due… and it WORKS!

Our duvet was always falling down inside the cover. Each morning I’d make the bed and go to pull up the duvet and my hand would just grab the cover… plus, that thing is heavy! so any effort to actually move it back into place just didn’t happen.

I started searching and found this idea: I sewed a strip of grosgrain ribbon (by hand with doubled over thread so it’d be really strong) into each corner of the duvet cover, then I used the ribbon to tie around each corner of the duvet.  Works like a charm! I’ve had it like this for a few months now and it is working out great, it definitely works for me. For other tips that work check out Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer.

he hearts NASCAR

Backstory… my husband likes NASCAR… somehow it developed while we were in grad school. I thought it was just a phase. So far it’s a pretty long and serious phase. Sometimes I’m okay with that, sometimes not… BUT he is super excited about sitting back in the recliner with the baby napping on his chest while he watches the race on Sunday afternoons. I guess I shouldn’t ruin this fantasy by calculating how many diaper changes he’ll need to make within the period of a 500 lap race.

Anyway, to support his love for NASCAR and devotion to racer Greg Biffle, I made him these for Dad’s Day. Though I must admit that I gave them to him on Friday because I am the worst on being patient when I’m really excited about a gift.

Just a note… the AVERY brand of “stretchable” iron-on printer paper seems to work very well. It hasn’t gone through any wear yet, but you can really tug on these things and the image doesn’t crack! Very handy.

BTW… This idea and step-by-step instructions can be found at Hola, Isabel’s blog, here.

update on my freezer meals

So last week I made Swiss Chicken as a freezer prep meal for when the baby arrives! I froze each chicken breast on a piece of tinfoil on a pan and then when they were frozen wrapped them up real good. No picture, but they turned out GREAT!

This week I made Chicken Tetrazzini (I think I have spelled this about 5 different ways…. but this is the right way according to dictionary.com). I made three of them in tinfoil lined round cake pans and once they froze I popped them out of the cake pans, wrapped them and stacked them in my freezer.

YAY! Two weeks down and I am on track! Recipes are below:

Swiss Chicken

1 can cream of chicken soup and 1/4 c milk, mix
1/2 stick of margarine, melted
place 3 chicken breasts (I used 4) on a pammed piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. Place slices of swiss cheese on top. Spoon soup mixture over each breast. Sprinkle with 2 c herb stuffing mix (the crumbly kind not the cubes). Drizzle with butter. (I decided to wait and will drizzle with butter once they thaw right before cooking. 
Bake 350, 50 – 60 mn, uncovered.

Chicken Tetrazzini

  • 1 whole chicken, cook and save broth
  • 1/2 c. margarine
  • 1/2 c. plain flour
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth (from what you just boiled)
  • 2 1/2 c. milk
  • 8 oz. velveeta type cheese
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • green pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 4 oz. grated cheese (I used cheddar)

Cook noodles in broth from chicken. Drain. Using a large pot melt butter and saute onions and peppers. Add flour to make a paste and slowly add broth until smooth. Add milk and both cheeses. Mix until melted and be careful this is easy to burn! Add chopped chicken and cooked noodles. Pam a 9×13 pan or larger (or split into separate containers for freezing). Top with buttered cracker crumbs (1 sleeve Ritz type crackers and 3/4 stick of butter).

Cook uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes or at 350 for 45 minutes if casserole is cold. If frozen, thaw completely before cooking!

reality check

So the other day I posted about the sauna in our pantry from the broken steam pipe… partly I thought it was funny and partly I was whining… I admit it, I whine sometimes. 

But then last night we were walking back from ice cream (my treat for putting up with the “pssss” sound all day) and we ran into one of the police officers on-campus who Jon has worked with before.  And all of a sudden my little whine from the day got a BIG dose of reality thrown in it’s face. This wasn’t just any police officer… this was the guy who’s home burned to the ground and he and his family lost everything just a little over a week ago. Everything… gone… just like that… with little kids to clothe and feed… and nothing is left.

And I am not exaggerating in the least when I say this has to be one of the friendliest, most sincere people I have ever met. He talked with us a while about the baby coming, and how he loves his job and hopes he gets assigned to a certain area this year because he really feels called to work with the students… and he smiled the whole time.  Before he left he gave me his card… “if you need anything or have any questions give me a call,” he said.

We got home and I was loving my noisy and hot steam pipe leak.