My Binder, upclose and personal

My Binder, upclose and personal

I love my binder. It keeps me on track, or at least reminds me of the things that I am not doing. There are very few MANDATORY items, well 1 actually. I HAVE to remember to take my meds. 7 in the morning, 9 at night. Too many, but it keeps my ticker ticking, and that’s what it’s all about. Perhaps along with the Hokey Pokey.

I posted a pic of my binder a couple weeks ago, with my plan on how to use it, but I wanted to show it off a little.

There were a number of different binders that I looked at before purchasing this one. They were all similarly priced, quite reasonable, I thought. I just had a hard time picking a verse that best fit what I wanted for myself in the coming year. Jeremiah 29:11 fit perfectly. I also really liked the turquoise one with Matthew 19:26, but ultimately stuck with Jeremiah. The big pluses to this one are the zipper that holds my pen pack in quite well, the different inspirational verses and quotes on every page, a weekly and monthly priority list, and prayer list each week. These keep me intentional with my praying and what I want to accomplish in my life.


I also got this amazing pen set from Staedtler. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, 10 color pack. It’s a fineliner, almost like a felt tip, but a very small one for precision writing. The colors are awesome, and I love love love it. One of my favorite things about it is the case. It’s a hard case that snaps closed, or you can snap a different way and it stands up on it’s own for easier color access.

Do you use a binder to keep you organized? I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them! I just wish that I were half as creative as some of the folks on there!


Another “Cook” Day


I went to the meat market again, and spent about $124, and another $75 at the regular grocery. I made 8 meals for the freezer, and still had a ton of groceries left over. I probably used about $100 on these meals. Not too shabby!

Here is the list of what I made:

Beef & Lime Chili From New Leaf Wellness. I used 2 little limes.

Honey Garlic Chicken from Who Needs a Cape

Easy Chicken Pot Pie from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness. I add the potatoes on the cook day so that they don’t turn black.

Cheese Tortellini with beef from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness. I didn’t add the milk, mainly because I didn’t have enough! I’ll add that on cook day. Next time, I will not add the tater tots to the bag, and just keep them in the freezer in their own bag until cook day. They were a bit unwieldy to zip up!

Turkey & Black Bean Chili from New Leaf Wellness

Chicken Curry from New Leaf Wellness Kid Friendly Meals at New Leaf Wellness.

Maple Dijon Chicken from Six Sisters Stuff

It was a little slower going than I expected, however I think it was worth it. My husband says he doesn’t want to eat from the crock pot every night, and has limited me to 2-3 nights a week. I can work with that. He even helped me a little with today’s “cooking”.

As with last time, all of these meals require no pre-cooking, and minimal prep time. 2 carrots grated, 4 onions diced, 13 cloves of garlic minced, a few chicken breasts cut up. Easy Peasy! If you make any, please let me know how they turn out!


Coupon cards


I have a couple of organizational problems. I’m trying really hard to get back into couponing so that I can help my family save money, and also, I have so many greeting cards from my wedding, my Mom’s passing, and my birthday that they are getting out of control. I love the sentiments inside each one, and they all meant so much to me to receive. However, I just don’t have the room to store them.

Insert brilliant idea! Use the cards as coupon dividers. So, I grabbed my trusty scissors and sharpie, and went to cutting the fronts, and sometimes the backs, of these beautiful cards. And what I ended up with is a huge pile of beautiful, meaningful coupon dividers.

Good things.


I was telling my mother-in-law last night that I was looking for a new desk for my room. The one I have is tiny. As in I can’t type with my hands on the desk or write anything down while I’m on the computer tiny. Teeny Tiny.

Anywho, I asked her to be on the lookout for one that would suit my needs. On our way home, I checked craigslist for curb alerts and found a listing for a whole bunch of stuff from 3 hours prior exactly 4 blocks from our house. I didn’t actually think anything would be left after 3 hours, but we drove by, and it had a desk! Perfect for my needs – shelving up top, nice wide and deep desk, and a drawer! It does have a keyboard shelf that needs a little fixing, but I’m stoked! Ask and ye shall receive, I suppose!

In other news, I made the beef stew from my freezer last night. It. Was Awesome! The only thing I didn’t like was that the potatoes started turning black in the freezer. Next time, I will make up the bag with everything but the potatoes, and just put in the potatoes day of, that will solve that problem!

It was this beef stew from Six Sisters Stuff.

I’ve also tried these from my “cook” day:

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo from Six Sisters, and it was tasty, but needed some salt. It wasn’t pretty, but it was good. I did have the request to add more veg to it next time, like green beans.

I also ate the Beef Strogonoff based off this version of Meatball Strogonoff from Baked in the South. I made it on “cook” day, so it never went into the freezer, however I did put one in there for later. It tasted amazing, but it was so terribly ugly! I’m sure that the meatball version would be better than just the ground beef, but my hubby doesn’t like frozen meatballs; or rather, they don’t like him! I think the problem was that it was too much grease left from the ground beef, so I will try to spoon some off as it’s cooking. That should help a lot.

I’m looking forward to eating the other meals in my freezer, and to my next “cook” day! I found this from Pinterest at New Leaf Wellness. It’s a list of 31 different meal prep sessions with multiple recipes on each, along with shopping lists.

I can’t tell you how great it has been to just dump something in the crock pot and not deal with dinner! On the meal days, I have made 2 pots of pasts, and a tray of crescents. That’s it! Each meal has a little something fresh, but it’s amazing that they have been so good, and SOOOO easy! I’m grateful that Pinterest has so many awesome contributors that have taught me this new way to “cook”!




I woke up this morning and my throat was hurting. Not my throat, exactly, but my neck. I’m not sure what’s going on, but it has been hurting since I stopped taking the antibiotics for the throat infection I had when I was at the hospital. Odd, since it really wasn’t hurting while I was on them.

Anyway, it was a rough start. I ended up sleeping for a couple hours after I got home from taking the kids to school, I was so tired! We were playing a game on the XBox (CSI – I know, silly) and I couldn’t keep my eyes open! It was ridiculous.

I did feel better once I woke up from my nap, and because it was an early school day, I had to get my poop in a group quickly to go pick them back up!

For now, dinner is done, meds are taken, scripture is read, and I did a load of laundry. I also worked on an afghan that was commissioned before the housefire. I feel horrible that I haven’t finished it yet, but I did have to restart it. I have struggled to maintain any level of sanity since the fire on August 1, I wish that I could have a re-do.

That’s the downside of anxiety and depression, though. You never know how it’s going to rear it’s ugly head, who will be in the crosshairs, and what will have to be put aside so that you can just breathe.

And, so, that’s what I will go do now. Just breathe.


Putting the Printer to Work


This morning I got up early, and decided to get some things done. I have been complaining a few things, and it’s time to actually do something about them.

Scripture plan: A friend of mine shared a post on Facebook from Life 88.5, and it was perfect for what I was looking for! This 31 Day Scripture Writing Plan is thoughtful, easy, and beautifully laid out.

I also had a list in my head of projects that need to be done around the house, and I really needed to start writing this stuff down. I found this Project To Do List from My Love For Words that works great! I also did a Workshop from Living Well Spending Less that isn’t available anymore (sorry.), but she has a ton of other great material on her site!

One of the things that is on my list is working on bow orders. I had a huge order that I was waiting on some ribbon to come in for. The rest were already in stock, but I finished these up on Friday. I’m pretty excited about them!

Of course, if you would like to order bows, please visit my FB page Hook N Stick Designs.

Now, it’s time to get the rest of the house up and moving, and get one of my freezer meals in the crock pot. I’m pretty excited about this one!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo from Six Sisters Stuff!



My new planner arrived! I don’t know about you, but a new planner is like a brand new start for me. Fresh, shiny and perfect! I went back and forth about which cover I liked better, and this one won out. I love that it has areas each week for priorities, prayer requests, and notes. There are monthly goals for each month, and I like how the days are separated by AM/PM.

I decided to use the middle bar for my meal plan for the week, and put my 3 top priorities for the month. I also ordered cute little pens, and they zip right into my planner easy peasy. I think I will also add a bit about blogging. I don’t know if I can commit to every day… but at least a few times a week! 

Between choosing a meal plan each week, I’ve found that my biggest challenge is remembering to actually use my planner. I’m trying to actually make it a habit, so that it becomes second nature. I used to be so much better at this!

In other news, I was down for a few hours with a migraine. I feel bad for Dave because he had to referee all the hoodlums, I mean kids, but I couldn’t even get out of bed! Thankfully, it’s down to a dull ache, but at least I have dinner in the oven (Shepherds pie for Grayce’s 10th birthday). It’s starting to smell about done, so I think that’s my cue to be done with my post.

Have a great Saturday night! Hug the ones you love.

Chaos Returns


I love my kids. I love his kids. But holy crap they are chaotic! Just the sheer volume – 7 kids all together, plus 4 (loud) parakeets, a few cats, and a needy dog – whew. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds.

And in general, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I could do without the he said/she said, name calling, and indoors tag games, but I’m trying to mellow myself out and just let them be kids.

The hardest part, I think, is that the way that I raised my boys is different than the way that Dave raised his kids. We value different things as parents, and that’s ok. Rules are different in our home than they are in the other parent’s homes, and even though I disagree with that, it’s ok, too.

My goal as a parent is not to raise “good kids”, but to raise healthy, well adjusted, functioning, kind, loving adults. I want them to do for themselves, think for themselves. I won’t be there to hold their hands when they have to do dishes in their future homes. I don’t intend to vacuum their living rooms when the floors get messy. They will have to cook their own meals, clean their own clothes, shop for their own groceries.

These are things that I can teach when they are young so they don’t turn into a 30 year old still living at home because he can’t balance a checkbook. Grocery stores are teaching moments – how to compare prices, how to use coupons, what to look for in vegetables. But I digress.

These little joys can be trying at times, but they are learning. I just need to learn to lower my expectations until they do learn. They are kids, after all.

Full of Thanks


Football is on in the living room, and I hear my sweet husband snoring away on the couch. We went fishing last night, I came home at 1, he went back out with his son and came home at 6:30. Since we had to be at his folks by 1 with a rice pudding in hand, he only had a few hours of sleep.

The kids are at their other parents houses, and I do miss my boys terribly. We have our big family back together tomorrow evening, and I am looking forward to the chaos. But, for now, I am relishing the silence. And snoring.

I have been accomplishing some of my goals – laundry is mostly caught up, and we have been following a meal plan. I haven’t been doing my devotional, but I have been taking my meds.

I did make a thankful list, though. It’s sarcastic, and pitiful, but absolutely truthful. I’m thankful for the health I have left, the family I have left, and the friends I have left. I vow to make the best of all of them.

So, for now, I bid you Happy Thanksgiving, and may your hearts be as full as your bellies.



I’ve been trying to compile a list in my head of what I am thankful for. It’s hard, it’s been a hard year. It’s been a hard few years, actually. I want to be determined to make the coming year a million times better, but I struggle with the gumption to do anything about it.

Gumption. Funny word, that. My lack of gumption is a combination of lazy, tired, overwhelmed, depressed, poor, and feeling sorry for myself.

Maybe that will be my thing this year. Gumption.

In a spurt of gumption last week, I made a list of goals that I want to accomplish each day. They include at least 1 load of laundry, reading my Bible or doing devotion, take my meds – morning and night, and checking in with the outside world.

Oddly enough, laundry, my arch nemesis in a houseful of so many people, actually calms me. It makes me feel like I’m getting something accomplished. My challenge with it is making sure that the kids put their clean stuff in a dresser or closet instead of on the floor or in the dirty clothes. It’s a learning process.

Gumption, maybe everyone could use a little more of it.