Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Honesty is Not Dead!

In so many ways it seems, this world just gets darker and darker. I hear about all the evil that runs rampant in this world and it sometimes makes me long for the time when Christ returns and we can move on from the world as it is. Hearing the news and knowing what goes on in the world makes it easy to not trust anyone and to sometimes assume the worst. I feel that I have lost some faith in humanity over the years. However, two recent incidents have made me regain a little faith in humanity and gives me a little bit of hope.

First of all, several months ago, I went to the bank to deposit money (about $300!) in the ATM. Aaron had done a job in the garage and so the money needed deposited so we could pay for the parts he used as well as pay a couple of household bills with it. It was one of those fancy new ATM's where you deposit the cash with no envelope or anything. Well, these machines don't always work as they should and it would not accept a couple of the bills. I became very frustrated and drove off with the unaccepted bills so I could deposit them through the regular drive thru. It didn't occur to me until several MINUTES later (yes, I am blonde...) that I had not completed the deposit for the money that was accepted! I knew at least one car had already gone through that ATM. I was horrified at what I had done and KNEW the money had been taken. My thoughts centered around what I was going to do to cover the lost money. Later that day, when I calmed down a little, I thought I would call the bank on the off chance the money had been turned in. It was!! The next car went through and the machine spit my cash out at them and they turned it in! I was soooo grateful!

Then, last night, Aaron and I went to dinner and movie. We had a gift card for that particular restaurant and a movie theater. I knew I had put both gift cards in the outside pocket of my purse. But, when we went to pay for our dinner, the restaurant gift card was GONE! Not in my purse, not on the floor- we even checked the car and the ground between but never found it. I assumed the worst (considering it was tucked into the pocket and the other gift card was still there). The restaurant was packed and we had to wait 20 minutes for a table- shoulder to shoulder with the other waiting crowd. I came to the conclusion that it must have been swiped from my purse. I was so upset. In my panic, we just paid for our dinner and left. I didn't think until this morning that maybe- just maybe- the card had been dropped and someone turned it in. I figured it wouldn't hurt to call so I did. They had it- it had been turned in!! I went and picked it up! So, I am a little bummed that I paid for dinner when if I had just asked, we would have had the card back- but at least we get to go out again sometime!!

It is so reassuring to know there are still honest people in the world. I know if it had been me that had an ATM spit money out at me or to find a lost gift card, I would have turned it in- absolutely no question. But, I was so sure that most people would not that in both cases my first instinct was to assume the money was gone. I was wrong. There are still good, honest people out there! May loads of blessings and good karma fall on those people who chose to do the right thing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

While I Was Sleeping.....

Now that my girls are nearing their 4th birthday, they can be a little more independent in the morning. Now that my boys are on Christmas break, I have been taking advantage of the fact that I don't HAVE to get up with them. All 4 of them are good about coming out and turning on cartoons while I snooze a little longer- of course, sleeping with one ear open so I can hear any problems. Well..... this is what I found this morning when I got up....
Note the chair pushed up to the refrigerator, step stool balanced on top, and the two pen cups teetering on the edge of the fridge. When I asked who did that, Meghan said, "We wanted to color!" (Never mind the bucket full of crayons in their room...)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homemade Hairbows

As mentioned previously, I do a monthly post for my Mothers of Twins club blog on saving money doing things homemade. This is my December post....

With Christmas just around the corner, as does everyone, I have a list to fulfill but a very limited budget. I like to look for simple homemade ideas for gifts. I do some baking every year and this year, I found a really neat and easy gift I can make for the young girls on my list- such as my 3 young nieces. Every little girl loves hairbows! Before I even get started, let me tell you how completely NOT CRAFTY I am. I don't like crafts and I am not good at them. But, even I was able to easily learn how to make these bows and was surprised how easy they are! Here is a picture of the first one I made:

I had never done these before but within a few minutes, I made this adorable bow! I will show you how to make 3 different but similar bows. They were really fun to make and I have two adorable little almost 4 year olds that were happy to model!

To get started:

Here is a sampling of the ribbon I bought:

I didn't pay more than a dollar for any single spool. I bought a lot more than this- this is just a few! I found some in the dollar bins at JoAnns as well as in the dollar section of Target. Dollar stores also have them sometimes. You will also need:

- a few dowel rods (costs less than a dollar each)- you can get thin or fatter- depending on how big you want the curls in your ribbon. I also cut them in half.
- a few wooden clothespins
- plain hair clips ( I found them in the homemade jewelry section at JoAnns- I got snap-shut clips and alligator clips)
- glue gun
- thin thread

To get started, wrap the ribbon around the dowel rods, held on with clothespins.

Place the ribbon covered dowels across a cookie sheet and put in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Take out of oven and unclip the pins and let ribbon slide off- it will be curled!

To Make the bows:
1) First I will show the process for a large clip, similar to the one shown above:

This bow, like the first, is a little thicker and bigger. After curling the ribbon, cut 6-8 pieces about the same length. Take a long piece of thread, folded in half and lay across the table. Lay the pieces of ribbon in the middle of thread as shown below:

Gather the string around the ribbon and tie tightly into a knot (Don't worry about the ribbon staying perfectly aligned- you can adjust it). Then just fluff and pull the ribbon around until it looks right!

To get the clip ready, lay out a piece of ribbon that will match the bow and put a strip of blue from the glue gone on it. Place the clip on top of the glue.

Put a little more glue on the clip and wrap the ribbon over it.

Put a dab of glue gun glue on the ribbon where it is tied together and attach to the clip! Allow to dry and it is done!

2) Here is a smaller version of the same style:

To make is smaller, just cut the pieces smaller and maybe use fewer pieces. (on the ribbon above, I used 8 pieces, for this one, I used 5). You tie it and attach it just the same way:

3) Long curly pony holder:

Cut 4 longer pieces of curled ribbon (approximately 6 inches or so)

Gather them together in the center and put a single stitch through it to hold them together in that spot

After putting in the stitch, take a small piece of ribbon (an inch or less) and put glue from the glue gun on it. Wrap the small piece of ribbon around the middle of the bow and an elastic pony holder to attach them together and you are done! You may need to trim the ribbon a little to make it all the same length. (instead of long ribbons, it would work too with shorter ones- however you want to do it!)

These bows are fun to do and easy and cheap! As I mentioned before, I didn't pay more than a dollar for a spool of ribbon- some were only 50 cents! I paid a total of about $20 for ALL supplies (the dowel rods and clips included!) and got enough supplies to make dozens of hairbows. This works out to be less than a dollar a bow. These would cost $5 or more for a single hairbow in any store.

Obviously, the options are endless. You are limited only by your imagination! If you are good at tying bows, you could tie a bow with straight ribbon and glue to the clip. JoAnns also had a huge assortment of little flowers and such- all you would need to do would be glue those on a clip and be done. Definitely a low cost way to give a beautiful gift with a personal touch!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Titanic: The Story....In Pictures

Kenny has a notebook that he uses to doodle/write in during church. Yesterday, I looked through it and found- page by page- his pictorial telling of the tragic story of the Titanic. Here it is for everyone's viewing pleasure:

Beginning: In the quotation marks, "Ice Burge ahead" (his spelling)

Before: Note the ship already hit the ice burg and the water gathering under the ship. He also included a key to help decipher the drawings....

Middle: The ship has started to sink!

Later: The ship has now broken in half and pieces of it are laying on the ocean floor while the second half still floats!

Before the end: Oh, there goes the second half....

Oh, now it has completely sunk... but don't forget:

After- several are left floating in the water while a few ride away in life boats!

And there is the complete history of the Titanic. Now we are all experts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Introducing: The Newest Member of our Family!

I recently realized that I have neglected to introduce you to the newest member of our family! Knurren (German for growl- the sound the car makes). Here he is:

Now, you may find it odd that I am showing a car- namely a VW Jetta wagon- and introducing it as part of our family. I find it odd too.... but to my husband, a VW nut, it is a valued member of the family. For a few years, we had this:A VW golf (named Matrix- due to the pattern on the seats- yes, my husband names his cars....). This was Aaron's baby for a long time. He would care for it, wash it, take pictures of it, brag about it online and adore it. Then one day, he saw an add on the online VW community he is a member of that the above wagon was for sale. He has always loved wagons. He got really excited and begged me to let him get it. Knowing we could not afford another car payment, I told him that if he wanted to wagon, that the following conditions must be met:

1) the golf had to go- we couldn't afford to keep it.
2) the money had to work out the same- owing the same or less then we already owed on his car.

He immediately put his car for sale on the same forum and it sold within a week. And, we owe a little less on the wagon did we did on the golf. So, a very excited Aaron went and picked up the wagon. I swear I could hear crying sounds coming from the golf. I mean, after all- he was Aaron's baby for so long and now he sat- rejected-replaced- alone.

When the golf's new owner came to pick him up, I swear the car looked sad as it was driven away.

This leaves me with a question in the back of my mind. With the way Aaron loved this car and then so quickly gave it up for something he deemed better- I can't help but wonder- should I be worried???

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blessings in Disguise

The last few weeks have been a little wild around here. Several things happened at once that was making this look like it would be a world record for our most expensive fall. And, with Christmas coming, I was a little stressed about the money flying out of here. However, we have been very blessed that it has turned out to be not as bad as I feared. In fact, in one case, it ended up being an absolute blessing from the beginning!

We had a horrible garage door- I hated it. It was wood and non-insulated. It was old and didn't work well. In fact, it was so out of whack, we could no longer use our garage door opener with it. It had to be opened and closed manually. When we did open it, we had to be sure it would open all the way because our van would barely clear it even then. We had been thinking about replacing it for some time but just simply did not have the money to do it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was rushing out the door (as usual) to get the kids to school. I was babysitting that day so I had the baby I was watching and several things in my arms. I noticed that one of the kids had opened the garage door but had not gotten it all the way up- it was hanging down several inches. I figured I would strap the baby in and unload my arms and then open the garage the rest of the way. Well, in the chaos of loading and strapping and feeling rushed, I forgot to finish opening the door. I backed out quickly and tore off the bottom 6 inches of our garage door! Here is what it looked like when I got done with it- I couldn't even close it- it was now broken and stuck open:I was so mad because now we had to replace our door and where was I going to find the money??? Someone suggested I check if it was covered under homeowners insurance. I was doubtful since it was my own stupid fault but figured it couldn't hurt to ask! Well, shockingly, it is covered!! We have a $500 deductible that would need to be covered. When the insurance adjuster came out to appraise it, he said normally, we would need to replace it with the same- meaning another wood door. But, he knew most people don't buy those now and as long as the money worked out, it didn't matter. He was such an awesome guy and declared our loss to be worth $1500. Subtract our deductible and we received a check for $1000. We had it repaired and guess what it cost.... $1000!! We got our door replaced for FREE! And, it is a way better door- double insulated steel and all! We were also so fortunate that it only took 6 days from the incident until it was replaced. Nothing ever disappeared! Our garage is behind our house and can't really be seen unless you are looking for it. For 6 days our garage was wide open and nothing went missing! Check it out the new door:

It just begs the question...... Why didn't I drive through it sooner?!?!?!

Here are some of the other things that have been going on and how it is working out better than expected....

1) We had major repairs needed in our basement. Everytime I did a washer load, the water would all come up through the drain. Thankfully, it is all cement floor- but still an unwelcome mess. We had pipes underneath our floor that needed replaced. Obviously, this would mean thousands of dollars, right? No- We are very blessed that someone in our church knows how to do this sort of repair and has done it at a FRACTION of the cost- a price more than fair. Here is what it looked like when all torn up:

I had forgotten what what a wonderful luxury it is to do laundry with a dry floor!

2) Our heater died this weekend, and Aaron was out of town. I had three days with no heat and only one space heater and it was just me here with the kids- in the house most of the time. Thankfully, it ended up being a minor issue and was fixed for a total of about $100. We are very grateful for this!

3) My cat has a bizarre open wound on his side. Not sure what caused it but it could have possibly been a scuffle with our other cat. Fearing the vet bill, I have been putting a prescription anti-biotic cream (originally prescribed when Meghan had a staph infection) and it seems to be helping- or at least not getting worse.

4) I was in a minor car accident- my fault- I rear ended someone. It was really stupid and shouldn't have happened. I wasn't paying enough attention. The guy was a jerk about it too. His car got a little scuff on it and mine got a couple thousand worth of damage (because I hit his tow-hitch) and he was whining about his little scuff. No huge blessing/breakthrough here- other than of course no one was hurt. I am going to have to shell out my $500 deductible for repairs on my van. But, I am thankful for insurance and that all of the other craziness is working out okay! It could have all been so much worse!

But, in the meantime, I am still looking for that money tree....anyone know where I might find it?