Friday, January 31, 2014

Spring. Oh Spring. When shall thou art appear?

Okay friends, I am in a little bit of a dorky mood today.

I logged onto blogger to take a look at a picture from  this post on Mrs. Teresa Kasner's blog. If you scroll a bit you will see a picture of a very cute crocheted bit. It is white and between the white were beautiful little crocheted flowers. I am sure I have worked out how to do the pattern so I wanted to take another look just to be sure.

Anyway, as I was scrolling through my reading list I noticed pictures of flower and foliage. 
Now that made me think about long for my garden so I thought I would update everyone on the plans for my garden this year.

At the end of last growing season we tore apart my garden beds. When we built them we could not use treated wood because of the leaching of chemicals into my veggies SO we used untreated wood. I did get a good 4-5 years out of those beds but the wood was practically falling apart so we had to tear it all up.

I have big plans for my new garden and luckily, this year, we will be able to move forward with those plans. 
Here is the plan.

First for my garden beds. Instead of using wood I will be using cinder blocks to hold all the dirt in my beds. I am so excited with this idea! I will be able to plant in the holes of the blocks AND in my garden beds. I will still have 3 beds that go down the side of my house. I will be using the mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, and compost as outlined in the book The All New Square Foot Gardening Book. This is the method I have been using to grow loads of veggies. I will also be revamping my trellis system by using conduit for the frames. I plan on using either mulch or rocks around my garden beds to cut down on mowing and finally I will take the kiddos to the hardware store and let them pick out a couple paint colors each to paint my new garden beds.

On top of that, my hubby will be building me a raised herb garden at the end of our back deck. That way I don't have to worry about my herbs being in pots and getting blown around by summer storms.

Finally, we have two whisky barrels that we will be putting miniature fruit trees in. I was thinking a dwarf lemon and a dwarf orange. I would also love to plant a couple of apple trees in my yard. I don't remember which company has them but there is a company that had dwarf apple trees that only get 5-6 feet tall. I would like to have a honey crisp and a gala apple tree.

Other than those I would love to have a couple blueberry bushes to go with my blackberry bushes AND maybe just maybe a grape vine or two. All in good time though.

Maybe I should make a deep bed to grow sweet's just a thought.

Anyway, we plan on getting all the things we need once we get our income taxes back which should be anytime now. I'm super excited and I cannot wait to share the results with all of you!

Many warm hugs from me to you
Be Blessed,


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Getting Healthy/Weight loss: Week 4~ 1 month update.

Hello again my friends.
This month has been a roller coaster ride!
Especially for my hubby and my weight loss journey.

Hubby has pretty much quit on this journey. He hasn't been working out. I'm not sure about his eating since he has been working a lot. I know he hasn't been tracking his progress on my fitness pal. So I just dunno where he stands at the moment.

I have to tell you, in typical Erin style, I went hard the first week of this challenge. I lost 3 pounds. I was determined to reach my goals and I pushed myself.

Week 2. Well it sucked. My eating was all over the place. I worked out but not as much or with the ferocity I had been working out.

Week 3. Lets just say it didn't get any better. Week 3 was pms week. I always have horrible cramps. I always feel so weak and tired. I don't want to move during that week. Should I even tell you guys about the cravings? Anything sweet, fried, salty, you name it I craved it. AND yes I caved in and ate it. I did manage to do a few workouts that week. I did a little zumba and some treadmill work but that was it.

Week 4: My eating was better. I still didn't work out as much as I should have. However, this week saw a mile stone for me. I decided one night (i didn't really want to do anything but I did) to get on the treadmill. I started out at a slow 2.5 mph pace..just to warm up. Then I did 15 minutes at 3.0 mph. Then I did 15 minutes at 3.5 mph. Now usually 3.5 is my limit because if I go any faster I have to jog and I couldn't even jog for a full minute! However, I upped my speed to 4.0 mph and jogged for a whole 5 minutes!! I probably could have gone longer but I started crying at the realization that I was actually JOGGING! Then I slowed back down to 3.0 for another 15 minutes. THEN at the very end of my session I bumped that speed up to 6.5 mph. I jogged at that speed for a whole minute!! That speed is a 9 minute mile! How about that!!! Let me tell you I was on cloud 9! I also did some zumba this week.

Now for some results. Our "official" weigh in is tomorrow but I went ahead and weighed in this morning just so I can compare for my journal, my fitness pal, and this blog post.

On January 1st my weight was 163. Today my weight is 158. That is 5 pounds lost this month!

On January 1st my chest was 41.5 inches. Today it is 40.5 inches. One inch gone!

On January 1st my waist at it's smallest part (where you bend) was 34 inches. Today it is 33 inches. One inch gone!

On January 1st my waist around my belly button was 39 inches (yikes!). Today it is 37 inches. Two inches GONE!

On January 1st my hips were 42 inches. Today they are 40.5 inches. One and one half inches gone.

On January 1st my thighs were 25.5 inches. Today they were 24.5 inches.  One inch gone!

So I have lost 5 pounds and 7.5 inches gone from my body in ONE MONTH!

Now I can only imagine what those results would be if I had been as diligent in weeks 2, 3, and 4 as I was in week 1. I bet I would have lost twice as much.

My goal is to reach 130-135 pounds. I remember on my 26th birthday I weighed 125 pounds (size 7) and I felt my best. I felt confident and beautiful. I am not putting too much into what my goal is at the moment. I know I will begin the maintaining phase when I get my body where I envision it.

The things that really bother me are the way my belly pokes out in front, the little love handles I have, and the weird back fat. I want to tone up my arms and my thighs but honestly those are the only things I have in mind. My tummy is my biggest issue. Some days (before I started) I honestly looked like I was pregnant because of how my tummy poked out. That is my main goal. I want a flatter tummy.

So my goals for February is to be more diligent on my eating and on my workouts. I have to get myself into a rhythm. I would like to lose 8 pounds in February. However, I will be glad for any amount I lose. 

I also hope the cold weather breaks soon! I know if I can get outside and walk or work in the yard or even do a workout outside I will do better. I can't stand being cooped up in this house. It saps all my energy!

Well, I honestly can't think of anything else to write. If anyone out there has any suggestions for me please feel free to comment. 

Sending many warm hugs to you,
Be Blessed,

Monday, January 27, 2014

Couponing: 1/27/14 54% savings

Hello again my friends.
I just got all my groceries put away.
I love shopping. Especially when I can get a deal.
Today I went to two stores. I went to the Kroger in Washington Court House, which still doubles coupons who's value is 99 cents or less and I went to Community Market. 

The picture above is my 6 person dining room table FULL of the foods and other items I bought.

So let me jump right into the deets!

My total before coupons and my Kroger card was $234.34. After all my coupons I only paid $109.42. I saved 53% at Kroger.

At my local Community Markets my total before coupons was $17.03. After coupons I paid only $10.03.
Not too shabby huh?

Here is what I ended up getting at Kroger:
2 boneless chuck roasts. They were buy one get one free. So I got 5.5 pounds of roast for $17
Chicken was $1.99 per lb so I got 7 pounds of chicken and spent around $15
4 boxes of Cheerios ($0.49 each with coupon)
1 package baby carrots $1
2 lbs celery $1
1 lb broccoli $1
2 packages Sargento Shredded Cheese ($1.59 each with coupon)
8 Muller corner to corner yogurts ($0.50 each withcoupon)
2 packages Oscar Meyer Bologna ($1 each)
2 Gallons of milk ($2.69 each)
1- 10 lb bag potatoes ($3.49)
6 cans Campbell's Homestyle soup ($0.75 cents each with coupon)
8 pouches starkist tuna (($0.49 cents each with coupon)
4 Yakisoba noodles (FREE with coupon)
4 Del Monte Canned veggies ($0.69 each)
8 jars Ragu pasta sauces ($0.54 cents each with coupon)
2 packages hamburger buns ($1.50 each)
2 loaves bread ($1.50 each)
4 All detergents ($1.99 each with coupon)
4 Suave Deodorants ($0.57 each with coupon)
6 Boxes Kleenex Tissues ($0.66 each with coupon)
2- 12 double roll Cottonelle Toilet paper ($3.99 each with coupon)
2- 24 pack water ($2.89 each)

At Community Market I bought:
2 small packages hamburger meat ($3.50 each)
3 bags Birds eye frozen vegetables ($0.25 each after coupon)
8 bags Chex Mix ($0.50 cents each with coupon)

And there you have it! That is my complete list! Loads of good deals. Especially the tissues, toilet paper, and detergents. Those are all stock up prices. So are the frozen veggies.

As you can see I don't do "extreme" couponing. I just get what I need and if there is a good deal I will snag them as well. I didn't need the toilet paper or tissues but they were a good deal so I got some. 

I hope this helps some of you beginning "real world" couponers out there.

Sending Many hugs to you
Be Blessed,

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Couponing: My real world approach to organization and grabbing those deals.

Hello again my friends.
I am posting a video, a list and a few pictures on how I coupon. 
I hope it all works.

Something I forgot to mention in my video is after I make my lists and gather my coupons they go into my little coupon organizer I bought at the dollar store. Each tab has a store name on it so the list and the coupons for that store goes in that little organizer and then I put my little organizer, my sales ads, my scissors, a calculator and pens and pencils in my coupon tote and take it all to the store with me.

Here is the inside of my organizer

The outside of my organizer.

As promised, here is a list of my coupon categories and sub categories.
The subcategories are on the index cards in my little folders. The main categories are in bold. The subcategories will have a dash in front of it.

Blank tabbed folder (for the I don't know where these go coupons)
Categories/Subcategories (my running list of my organization)
Free items
-Community Market
-Save a lot
-Rite Aid
-Baking chocolate
-Oils & Sprays
-Sugars/Sugar subs
-Yeast/ flour
-bagels/English Muffins
-Sandwich bread
-cereal bars/poptarts
-frozen breakfast
-Oatmeal/hot cereal
-Pancake & syrup
Breakfast Cereal
Canned/Jarred Items
-canned milk
-pasta sauce/tomatoes
-canned sauces
-vegetables/ beans
Coffee/Creamers/Hot Cocoa
-hot cocoa
-k cups
Condiments/Salad dressing
-peanut butter/jelly/ jam
-salad dressing & toppings
-seasoning packets/Spices/vinegars
-dips/sour cream
-half & half/ Whipping cream
-whipped toppings
-meal replacement
-milk/milk subs
Dry/Boxed Goods
-dried fruits/veggies
-prepared meals
-side dishes
Fresh Meat/Produce
Frozen Food
-ice cream
Frozen: Meals/Pizza
Salty Snacks
Yogurt/Pudding/Fruit cups
-fruit cups
Store: Department
-dollar general
-Family Dollar
-Hobby Lobby
-Tanger Outlets
Air fresheners
-Beauty tools
-Wet n Wild
-lip moisturizer
Canning/Food Saver
-cleaning tools
-all purpose
Dish Washing
Eye care
Face cleaners/moisturizers
Feminine Hygiene
First Aid/ Pain relievers
-pain relievers
Hair Care
Hair Color
-Bug Spray
-Light Bulbs
-Storage containers
-Throw away baking
-cold sores
Nail Care
Office supplies
Oral Care
-Bug repellents
Paper Products
-Paper plates/Utensils/ cups
-Paper towels/ Napkins
-Toilet paper
-foil/cling wrap/ wax paper/ parchment
-storage bags
-trash bags
-body wash/bars
-hand soap
-hand sanitizer
Paperwork (coupon policies)

And there you have it. Those are all of my categories and sub-categories in my coupon tote.

I hope this helps someone out there.
All I can say is just start. Even if you just save a few dollars, that is a few dollars you wouldn't have otherwise. Those few dollars add up.

Until next time
Be blessed, 

PS: Here is a link to the mini file folders I used.
Here is a link to the Coupon mom book.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Random: Will They Ever Have School Again?

Hello my faithful followers.

It is freezing here in Ohio today! Right now we are sitting at 8 degrees with wind chills of -2.
That is so stinking cold!!!!!

My kiddos are really enjoying this weather though. They had a long weekend due to MLK day and they have had Tuesday and today off of school due to the weather! Monday we had horrible roads due to snow and today we are closed due to the weather. Tomorrow's forecast looks a lot like today's SO it is possible the kids could be home tomorrow too. 

With the kiddos being home it has been hard for me to blog, keep the house clean, and even get a moment of peace! I don't mind it too much really but I do miss my "me" time I get when they are in school.

We have also ran into another problem. 
My kids eat like a swarm of locusts.

As most of you know we live on a very tight I could say even a strict budget.
We make sure our bills get paid, we tithe, and we try to save.
The saving part has been the hardest!

Anyway, I have a budget for food so when I buy food, I try to get only what we need for lunches, dinners, and snacks for the ones who will be here. So when the kids have calamity days from school, I have to be very inventive after a couple days with what they will be having for lunches and snacks and honestly, I have just about ran out of everything!

Now, I do use coupons which helps my buck go a little further but I do not have the stockpile that most of the people on those coupon shows do. You see, I usually get about 4 papers every week. I have a subscription to the Columbus paper so I know I will have at least one set of coupons every week. Then after church on Sundays I usually buy 3 more papers. So if I find a good deal on something, I only have 4 coupons to match that deal. The people on those shows have tons of inserts. I've seen them use a hundred coupons for the same item. I don't have time for that. So I usually just use my four coupons and be done.
Unfortunately, lately things have been really tight so I haven't been able to get a lot of the extra deals that are out there. BUT that is a whole other post.

Anyway, I have been struggling to keep my kiddos occupied during this inclement weather. So they just want to eat to keep themselves occupied. That is a bad habit for them to get into so I am curbing that option. We have been playing a lot of games. We play video games and watch movies. We even do zumba just to get some exercise in. 

Well I will quit rambling for today. I have to go make some lunch for my kiddos.

Until next time,
Be Blessed

Friday, January 17, 2014

Getting healthy:weigh in 2

Hello again friends.  Today was weigh in number two in hubby and my weigh loss challenge.  Before I get into it i have to tell you about the week.

This  was not a good week for our challenge. Both of us craved sweets.  We caved and bought cookies.  We also had a couple days of very unhealthy meal choiCes this week. It definitely reflected in our weigh in.

We did a pretty good job at keeping up with our workouts. My hubby is still utilizing the treadmill. He does a lot of heavy lifting and walking at his job so he burns a lot more calories than I do. 

I mainly have been doing zumba . I just love it. Not to mention I can burn over 600 in 60 minutes.  I also enjoy walking out side but the weather was very rainy this week and I didn't get a chance to get outside.

Now for our weigh in.  Hubby weighed 295 last week.  He weighed in this morning at 294. I weighed 160 last week and i weighed the same this morning. Hubby won this week! However he decided to call it a draw because he had an unfair advantage over me this week. I have terrible menstrual symptoms including bloating, terrible cramps, and nausea/upset tummy.  That has been my issues the last several days.  Isn't my hubby thoughtful?

I wanted to end this post with a picture of the snow.  It was falling fast and furious earlier. You  can see the dark dots on the picture.

Sending loving hugs
Be blessed

Thursday, January 16, 2014

WIP: diagonal blanket

Hello friends.  I'm posting from my phone so please forgive me if it doesn't turn out quite right.

I wanted to share my latest WIP with you all.  I am making a diagonal blanket for a good friend of mine.  This is the same friend who had been going through so much.  I started this blanket  in November and have been working on it each chance I get. 

It is made from red heart yarn.  I love how quickly this pattern works up. 

I hope to have it finished soon. 

Until we meet again.
Be blessed

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Trying week and it's only Wednesday

Hello again my friends.

This week has been something else! It's only Wednesday. 

First, the past weekend and into this week has been absolutely horrible for my diet.
I haven't ate as well as I should.
I have been craving cookies, chocolate, chips.
Everything that is bad for me.

Unfortunately, I caved in and brought those things into my house.
Luckily, I held myself to portion sizes but I dunno if that is enough.

I did try to keep up with my workouts.
Zumba has been my go to workout.
I can burn up over 600 calories in just an hour.
I love it.

It has been raining here a lot so I haven't been walking outside.
I could use the treadmill but I do prefer to be outside. I find myself going longer and trying harder if I'm outside.

Yesterday was a busy/rough day as well.
A good friend of mine that I have met through church has been going through a lot.
Five years ago she battled Non-Hodskins Lymphoma and beat it. She found out that it came back the end of last year so she is going to chemo treatments and trying to win her battle for a second time.

Her son, who works in another state, has been in the hospital. They thought it was kidney stones (he only has one working kidney) but he actually had pneumonia.

Then on top of everything, her husband decided to take a nap and didn't wake up. 

Now she is very sick with a horrible respiratory illness.

Her husband's funeral was yesterday. Our church members provided food and a meal at the church after the funeral. I helped serve the family. It was a long but very rewarding day as I got to exercise my spiritual gift of serving. I got to spend time with a lot of like minded Christian women who I look up to.

Unfortunately, I wore the wrong shoes and have huge blisters on my toes.

The trying part of the day was seeing this woman that I love so much in so much pain.
She is a very strong Christian woman and I look up to her very much. She is a fine example of what a Christian woman should be. It was just hard to see her so worn down. 

My friends, I am really trying to blog more often. I find that I don't remember to do it.
I have so many blog ideas. I have so much to tell you all but I just cannot remember to write it.

The other problem I have is I get writer's block. I log on and boom everything goes out of my head.

If it doesn't go out of my head, it ends up just a bunch of rambling like this post.

I hope I can get it together for you all. I would love to write at least three times a week. Then maybe once a day if possible.  

Thank you to all who read my blog. Pray for guidance for me.

Big hugs,
Be Blessed,

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Husband and Wife Weight Loss Challenge: Weigh in 1

Hello again!
My friends, I mentioned in my last blog post that my hubby had challenged me to a weight loss competition.
He done this because I mentioned that I wanted to lose this excess weight once and for all but I have a hard time sticking to it because I attempt to do it alone.

Well, the next morning my hubby sent me a text from work challenged me to a weight loss challenge.
It was to begin on the first of January with our first weigh in on the 10th of January.

Here is our backgrounds and goals.

My hubby was an athlete in school. He played football, he was in wrestling, but his favorite sport was baseball. He had several records at our school and in Florida for little league.
He also trained to go into the military. He would run several miles a day. At his fittest he weighted 185 pounds with a 32 inch waist and a 52 inch chest. He was cut!
After a series of events, including his dad having several heart attacks, my hubby just couldn't keep up with his workout and eating. He was helping to take care of his parents (his mom had a debilitating aneurysm when he was 13), and working and didn't have much time for anything else. 
Slowly over the next 25 or so years he put on weight. 
His health has declined. He is on high blood pressure meds and stomach meds. He has Crohns disease.
He has sleep apnea and sleeps with a c-pap machine. 
His beginning weight was 300 pounds.

I was super skinny all my life. In high school I was a size 1/3. I weighed 94-96 pounds. I wasn't sickly skinny. I am only 5'2 and I have small bones. I was proportioned and healthy.
I stayed this weight for a long time. Even after having my 4 kids I dropped back down to 94-96 pounds.

After having my 4th child, my doctor at the time did a test of my thyroid and said it was low so she put me on meds. Well, I later found out I didn't need to be on those meds. However, they did their damage.
I began to gain weight. I remember on my 26th birthday I felt my best. I weight 125 pounds. I looked good, I felt good, I was a size 6/7.

I stayed a size 7/8 for a long time...until I got my teeth fixed. I guess I took that as an opportunity to eat everything in sight. I jumped to a size 10 and then to a size 12. Which is where I am now. Sometimes the 12s are tight sometimes not. My weight tends to fluctuate in the 160s alot. At my heaviest I was 168 lbs. My waist at my belly button was 39 inches. That is big for me. Huge.

Both my hubby and I knew it was a time for a change and this little Challenge is just what we needed. 

Now for the rules. There is no time limit on how long it goes on. We will weigh in every Friday.
Whoever loses the largest percentage of weight that week will have to do something special for the other. It could be the other's chores. It could be a back rub. It could be a date out. Just anything.

Hubby's goal for this adventure is to lose 100 pounds.
My goal is to lose 30.

Now for the first weigh in.
Hubby lost 5 pounds for a 1.6% weight loss.
I lost 3 pounds for a 1.8% weight loss.

I won week 1.

I haven't made him do anything special yet. But I'll think of something.

Now for how we are doing it.

We take 1 rest day a week. Usually Sunday. If we aren't feeling well we will take another day as needed.
We try to do some sort of exercising every day.
I love to walk outdoors and on the treadmill but I love to do Zumba. I can burn over 600 calories with 60 mins of Zumba. I also do Yoga. All of these things I do at home with dvds and equipment I already have.

My hubby mostly utilizes the treadmill. He will also do some pushups and stuff like that.

We also watch what we are eating and try to maintain portion control. We use to record all of our foods and exercises for the day.
It gives me only 1200 calories to eat per day so the food choices I make are critical. I can choose high calorie processed foods and eat a tiny bit and not get full OR I can eat high quality real foods and eat more.
It has really made me aware of what I eat and how much!

Neither of us starve ourselves. We really do eat pretty much what we want...we just make sure we are eating a portion, not a whole bag!

Well, that is pretty much it. I am on myfitness pal as snobbytoohottie if anyone wants to friend me and see what I eat a day or what exercises I am doing. Just shoot me a comment here letting me know you are friending me and what your name is.

Other news, I have a lot of activities coming up to tell you about. I also have been crocheting a special blanket for a special lady. 

I will try to write more often since things are finally calming down here!

Sending out loads of love and lots of hugs.

Be Blessed, 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year

I know I am a little late here but

Happy New Year!

A new year means new beginnings. A fresh start and a clean slate.

This year I have made a few resolutions.
1. I want to speak kindly to myself. I am terrible at tearing myself down so I decided to change the way I speak to myself.

2. I will be working toward setting our budget and saving money. We will be doing the 10, 10, 80 method: 10% to God, 10% to savings, and 80% to live on. We automatically have 10% of our pay deposited into our savings account but we have yet to get our budget squared away so we don't have a struggle the off payday week.

3. Hubby and I both vowed to get healthy. He wants to lose 100 pounds and I want to lose 35 pounds. So we are challenging each other to a weight loss challenge. Just like the Biggest Loser show we will be going by percentage lost. The winner each week has to do something special for the other person. (chores, letting the other sleep in, breakfast in bed, back massage, possibilities are endless)

We are very serious about our healthy goals. Both of us have an account on We log everything we eat and all the exercise we do. We also have the runkeeper app on our phones so when we walk or jog around town, we know how far we walked, how long it takes us to do a mile, and how many calories we burned. It is a great app.

I took some pictures from our walk yesterday.
 We walked 2.5 miles yesterday. This was our view down the walking trail in our town. 
Yes that is snow..about 5 inches of snow!

These pictures just do not give the view justice.

 It was a wet, heavy snow..perfect for making snowmen and sledding.

 Hubby trudging through the snow.

Here is my hubby and I. By the time we had got home the temperatures had dropped 10 degrees to only 17 degrees and the wind started blowing hard. I absolutely loved the walk though AND I burned 414 calories from the resistance of walking through the snow and the inclines on the route!! Can't beat that!!

What are some of your resolutions?
Do you stick with them?

Well that is all for today. I hope to  hear from you soon.

Be Blessed,