selamat petang (good evening)

We have a lovely couchsurfing family from Canada this weekend. Actually they are from Malaysia and recently moved to Canada. Couchsurfing has been such a fun experience for us, giving us the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

I finally snapped a pic of our “couch.” I wish we had another room for bigger families.

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Lotus is having fun playing with her cousin, Icen, today. She’s seven weeks older and a full head taller…he’s a cute little peanut, isn’t he? Jason is “reading” to them. Way to put the smallest amount of energy possible into it, Babe! hahaha!

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Luke’s birthday today!

Our dog friend, Luke, is 12 today!

He’s older and a little crotchety at times but he’s still our little buddy. Jason and I chose him together before we married and he’s been by our side ever since.

It cracks me up remembering how we used to “share custody.” Jason and I didn’t live together (and lived about a 2.5 hour drive apart) until we married, several months later, so we would take week long turns with our baby. I’m pretty sure speaker-phone-babytalk was involved;)

He’s not sure about the new sweater…or me asking him to sit for a picture. “Sit? what does that mean?”

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Also, our two week spending freeze is over and it was TOUGH! We did end up grocery shopping a little after the first week (which was really two weeks post-grocery shopping). Who knew I could really use up all the we-don’t-have-any-food food. I whittled down to just the dry goods and continued to cook. I used all the flour, all the rice, all the oats, all the pasta, all the split peas and nearly all the beans.

We did good though and continue to make progress toward our 2012 goals. Yea!

spending freeze/detox = staying home

Cozy, pajama days spent lazing about and watching the snow coming down (but not sticking). A baked bean recipe is in the crock pot for dinner. The only downside is we have no wood for a fire in the fireplace. Gah!

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Two week challenge

After the first crazy high, winter heating bill we turned the thermostat way down and layered up on clothing. I’m curious to see what difference it makes on the bill next month.

Look at everyone bundled up…

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Isaac seems to appreciate the “gaming mitts” I knit them all for Christmas the most. He wears them every day!

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In keeping with our 2012 financial goals, we have a TWO WEEK no spending challenge going on, starting today. It’s going to be tough! Some might think two weeks is nothing but this is without any preparation. I’m forcing myself to work with the “we-don’t-have-any-food” food.

We are kicking it off with a full tank of gas, 1.5 gallons of milk, leftover homemade pizza and a hearty amount of peasoup prepping in the crockpot. I have several bags of beans, a big container of rice, oats, lentils, masa harina, etc. We should do fine theoretically.

I’ll need to get past the lazy, Jason will need to get past the soda addiction and the kids will need to get past the picky eating. SCARY!

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Note for next Christmas

In my attempts to be financially fit this year I’m already thinking about Christmas 2012(!!!) and birthdays throughout the year. I saw so many handmade items that would have been wonderful and cost effective had I allowed myself the time.

With our attempts to limit the number of gifts the past few years, it still seems like they get a lot of plastic that gets assembled and set aside. This plastic is what they asked for, of course, but even they agree it is a short lived “high” and maybe they didn’t need this or that.

My friend Valerie mentioned a tradition of limiting kids to four gifts:

Something they want, something they need,

something to wear and something to read.

I love it! I did a web search and this practice comes up a lot. How did I miss this until now? What I like about it is the single “want” gift. It will make them think and be more selective in choosing. It will certainly help organize the shopping process.

If you think this seems Scrooge-like, trust me, the kids are not for want;) Christmas is for fun and the element of surprise.


A little late…

Xander’s birthday was on the 7th and we had cake yesterday, on the 9th.

The boy is EIGHT years old!

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I spy with my little eye

I would not even have known this clutter was here if I didn’t take a picture of it. That is how sloppy our family room has gotten. I’m feeling a major PURGE coming on.

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Are you with me?

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Lotus sleeping and Simon trying to convince us he is asleep too;)

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Hello, 2012!

2012 goals are all about finances. Have I mentioned how much I love finances? I love reading about finances, paying bills, setting goals and stretching our dollar.

Jason and I were motivated by the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover book just after we married and eliminated all non-mortgage debt. We downsized to one car and have been living well on these principals ever since.


However, we did get off track from our long term goal of eliminating mortgage debt and that is what the 2012 focus will be. The smaller mortgage is my first goal and I’ve already thrown my first “extra to principal” at it. Woot!

It’s going to be tough this time because we have four kids sharing our love for weekend trips, movies and dining out. I’m just going to have to be creative with saving money and still keeping the fun.

Goodbye, 2011. It was fun!

It was a fantastic year filled with:

First year with Lotus,

new niece and nephew,

lots of hikes and weekend tent and cabin trips,

Couchsurfing guests,

Sewing and (LOTS of) knitting,

and best of all, our EPIC cross-country road trip.

It was a fantastic year, spent savoring the moments with our kids. Life is good!