Let's say I try and bite you. How much is it gonna hurt? I'm...

October 6, 2013

Why I Love My Husband

I am so twitterpated with my husband right now. Here are some reasons why

  • He's so cute
  • He's kind
  • He puts family first
  • He has juicy lips! Wowza!
  • He plans for the future

That's just a few. I'm sure I will post more sometime soon.

October 5, 2013

What are my skills?

Does my inability to find a Work at Home job mean that I have a lack of skills? Some of the websites I have found encourage me to turn my passion into a job. Is there a job that pays you to watch daytime TLC and eat Funyuns? I seriously doubt it. Besides, Funyuns have MSG in them, and everyone knows that eating MSG will make you fat.

But, I digress... (yay I got to use the word 'digress'). What are my talents, my skills? I am mildly entertaining, but not really in a written format. I make my husband laugh a lot, but he is usually laughing AT me and he's not offering any pay for that. I can type pretty quickly which made me think that I could get a transcription job. Did you know that those are very competitive and hard to get into? There are also a lot of scams out there as well. I'm an okay listener and I'm pretty decent at getting a word in edgewise, but I don't think anyone is hiring for a best friend.

I took a career exploration class in college and there were a lot of suggestions from the personality tests that we took. Here are the top 3.

  1. Faller
    • The person who yells "Timber" from the top of a giant tree
    • Con: High fatality rate
    • Pro: Dead coworkers mean lots of room for upward mobility (pun totally intended).
  2. Choreographer
    • Let's not get too excited about this one because I cannot dance
  3. Wildlife Game Warden
    • Pro: You get to work outside
    • Con: It rains outside
    • Pro: You get to carry a gun
    • ConL You carry that gun because both poachers and bears are going to try to kill you.

I'm not trying to be too picky, but I don't think that these choices are conducive to my life or my lifestyle. So the search continues.

October 4, 2013

Make Your Own Hours Jobs

In a previous post Work at Home Mom I went over the lists of jobs that allow you to make your own hours or work from home and all of the issues that I have with each one. I realized today that all of these lists were missing something.

Hair Stylist

That seems like a great idea! Of course, one would have to go to cosmetology school or whatever it's called and get a license, but that seems easy. After that you can work from home (I know someone who does), or lease a chair and make your own hours (I know someone who does that, too). You can work your dream hours of while the kiddos are at school, and in this case it's not so bad because that's when all the other mommies have the time to get their haircuts.

of course, you'd have to work at it. It is a job after all and that kind of spells out work. You'd have to build your client base and then keep up with them so that they don't run off to supercuts when you're not looking. You'd have to be available and competitive, and that might be hard if you're leasing a chair or running a business out of your home.

I think it's doable though and I can't figure out why it wasn't on the list. It's a job that a lot of people are very successful at and I think it would work out well for anyone who is self motivated and is able to manage a business.

So, I am adding my own little item to the list of things you can do at home, or do on your own time and that is cutting hair. So there, internet!

October 3, 2013


My son is loving Jewel's Lullabye CD. We play it over the iPod at night and he hums along until he drifts off to sleep. My husband isn't much of a Jewel fan, but I think she has a very soothing voice. I imagine that if I grew up with a mom who had a singing voice like Jewel, it would be so nice to be sung to sleep. Then I think of what it would be like if my mom had a really powerful voice, like Adele or Tina Turner. Can they even whisper.

My mom's singing voice is... what is a nice way to say grating? Just kidding (kinda!). No matter how my mom's singing voice sounds to me now, when I was a kid I loved it when she sung me to sleep. I don't think it was so much the sweet sound of her voice as it was the attention I was getting.

Excuse me, I'm going to go and sing Caleb to sleep now.

Government Shutdown Puts America in Danger From The Queen

Extravagant derby hats off to the creator of this Meme. When I saw it, I just had to share it!

October 2, 2013

Adventures in Couponing

At the advice of the totally rude Lysol company who stingily refused to send me a single coupon when I took the time to write to them, I got the Sunday paper and clipped some coupons of my own. The first thing that I looked for was a coupon for a Lysol product, since advertising in the Sunday paper was the reason they refused to send me a coupon in the first place. I will confidently tell you that there were NONE. No manufacturers coupon from Lysol, and no store ad containing a Lysol product. So take that!

I did clip $10.50 worth of usable coupons from the paper. That was nothing compared to the over $300.00 in savings that was advertised on the front page, but I am being careful to only clip coupons for things that I might want or need before the expiration date. There is no point in spending money to save a portion on it while buying something that I don't need or won't use.

The first shopping trip after the clipping saved me $5.50. I (very smartly) planned my weekly meals around the coupons that I had clipped to maximize their value. The next shopping trip I save the remaining $5.00. Not bad for a $2.00 investment.

One thing that I noticed, and this might be coincidental, but it seemed as though the Oregonian had better Coupons than the Columbian. The next week, I bought the Columbian newspaper to check out the coupons and there was ONLY ONE for $.50 that was anything I might remotely need. I'm not sure if the two papers run the same coupon ads or not, but there was a definite lack of manufacturers coupons - the kind you can use in any store.

I also noticed that most supermarkets have coupons that work exclusively for their store, but that the ad for Rite Aid usually contains at least one manufacturers coupon. They have the Rite Aid logo on them, but they do say "Manufacturers Coupon" which means that almost any place which accepts coupons will take them.

Another thing I learned is that not every store has to accept coupons. Some just don't! I had no idea! I haven't run into this problem yet, but it's good to be aware that some businesses do not accept coupons, manufacturer or otherwise.

October 1, 2013

What I Want

Maybe I should have titled this post "What WE Want" since today is my 2 year anniversary of falling in love with my newlywed husband. We celebrated with my little son and had a family meal and chocolate cake for dessert. This weekend we are hoping to get in some Honeymoon 2.0. Our "Honeymoon" was just 3 days at the beach 2 hours from our house because we didn't want to leave Caleb for too long, and we are hoping to be able to get away a little longer here and there. Not a bad way to stretch out the vacation.

We did have other things in mind at first. We found a Groupon for a trip to Ireland that was really affordable, but we didn't have time to take off of work. Ireland is somewhere Travis has always wanted to go. Also, England, Japan, and Scotland, but most of all New Zealand.

Travis is a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan and he wants to go to New Zealand and stay for most of forever. He really wants to visit the set of the movies - Hobbiton

I, on the other hand have a more cozy version of our vacation. I imagine our extended stay being in one of the Holiday Homes Auckland has to offer. From what I have seen of it there is a great mixture of city and rural scenes. You can stay in your own quiet rental island retreat for a week or so, and then switch to something downtown for a more exciting time.

I would love both of those kinds of vacations. The serenity of the island, the connection with nature, the beautiful scenery. And I also love the hustle and bustle of the city, being able to meet new people and try new things and feel the heart of the culture.

Before I met Travis, New Zealand wasn't ever a place I considered visiting, but he has really made me fall in love with the idea. The more he talked about it the more I thought about it, the more I thought about it the more I talked about it and the more I talked about it the more I met people who had been there. I found out that one of my customers splits his time between mainland US, Hawaii, and New Zealand because he is constantly bouncing around between family members. Not like he can complain! Talk about paradise. He probably only ever comes back to the rainy PNW for some perspective on how great Hawaii and New Zealand are!

After hearing about how wonderful New Zealand is, I have to say that I checked out Home Loans Christchurch. Moving to New Zealand really isn't a realistic option for us. I don't think we have the kinds of jobs that are in high demand there, but it is nice to dream, isn't it. Now if only I could find some Cavoodle Puppies for SaleI'd be all set.

Work at Home Mom

I'm still in the process of trying to find a job I can do from home where I can make my own hours. I'm not object to working outside of the home as long as I get to make my own hours but I'm pretty sure the chances of finding that are slim to none. I have been scouring the internet, which we all know is the end all be all of information - right? But I have yet to find something that is going to work for me. In fact, it seems like I am finding the same list on every website I checkout. Whether it's the Huffington Post, a grandparents' website, or an independent blogger, they are all saying the same things. And I have issue with most of them.

Get Paid to Surf the Web - If you have a college degree.

Be a Personal Shopper - Although no one can tell you how to start or how to contact someone who might need that service. Hopefully, you've been networking with your local movie star who is too busy to go out and get their own things.

Call Center / Customer Service Rep - Enjoy being on the waiting list IF your state is is one of those which are listed for this employer.

Direct Sales - One forum poster put it this way, "Avon - everyone is selling it and no one is buying it."

Answer questions for ChaCha - Not currently hiring.

I'm not trying to be a sourpuss, but none of these suggestions really work for me. I'm still not sure what I am going to do.

September 30, 2013

Phone call from a Monkey

In the effort to try to get a work from home career off the ground, or at least find a job that will let me make my own hours, I stumbled across Monkeyphonecall.com. You arrange for this business to call someone - a friend, a sibling, a coworker, even yourself - and make monkey noises.

I haven't tried it, I'm not getting paid to tell you about it, but I DO greatly admire whoever created and is running this thing and I definitely wanted to link to it. Perhaps when I get my own creative business up and running the good ju-ju will come back to me.

August 23, 2013

Bill & Ted Movie Night

My sister and I used to have movie nights. I mean some serious movie nights. We would have "Corey Feldman night" or "musical night" when we were younger. We would ride bikes to the movie rental place and get a couple of VHS, pop some popcorn and stay up late watching movies we'd already seen.

As we got older we started having more involved movie nights. We would watch Jaws and eat gourmet tuna salad, some kind of red cocktail that looked like chum, and a fruit salad inside of a watermelon carved to look like a shark.

Our next movie night is Bill & Ted. We plan to watch all of the Bill & Ted movies and eat "foods that are excellent to each other"

Some foods we are considering:

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Peanut butter and Jelly
  • Bangers and mash
  • Chicken and waffles
  • Corned beef and hash
  • Cookies and milk
  • Coffee and doughnuts
  • Pizza and beer

The trick is to not have too many filling foods in big portions. Also, we are going to have to nix the peanut butter and jelly, as my sister is allergic. We may replace it with Almond butter and jelly. Also, she is gluten intolerant, so we are going to have to get gluten-free versions of some foods. Have fun on movie night and remember to Be Excellent to Each Other!

August 19, 2013

Smoke from the fire on government island

Shots traveling South bound on the Glenn Jackson bridge. Smoke billowing from Government Island 8/19/13. 

August 6, 2013

Totally inconsiderate at the Clark county fair

I signed Caleb up for mutton bustin at the Clark county fair today. At sign up, they told us to come back at 1:30. They also told every other family with young children the same thing. So at 1:25 there was a long line of families standing in the blazing heat with no shade waiting at the gate. It was then that we were told that we would have to wait until 1:50. That is way too long for young children to have to wait in fill afternoon sun while the people in charge sip drinks under the shade they set up for themselves. 

Those in charge of the Clark country fair lounge in the shade while families with young children swelter in the heat. 

July 25, 2013

Girl Scout Crunch Bars

I'm going on the record here and saying that these things are good. I can't speak to the other flavors, but the Samoa flavor is rockin. It kinda has the same chewy texture as the cookie. So good!

July 23, 2013

Touch typing

I. Order to prove that I spend way you much time on the iPhone I am going to type this entire post without looking at the key pad. I am going to rely solely in my memorization. If the keyboard and largely the autocorrect feature of the phone. I am going to skip the punctuation however you will still see periods because double tapping the space button adds that in automatically. I am not going to edit this post at all from the original outcome. Unless I are a bad word during the preposterous reading   Wish me luck. 

McNickle & McDime

I was just charged 33 cents for an extra sauce at McDonald's. It's not the fault of the 17 year old kid behind the counter; he's just doing what he's told. It's a flaw in management, and I do mean flaw. 
This particular McD's is a hot spot for teens who love to load up on the (probably) MSG / high fructose corn syrup filled sauces at McDonald's. I'm sure they ask for enough extra condiments to run the business into the ground. As any business owner knows, the little things add up quickly. 

Does that mean that I should get 2 sauces for a total order of 16 nuggets and two orders of fries? That seems a little stingy. I waited until we had depleted our meager rations of sauce before asking for more, when I discovered that I was being charged extra for the third. 
Perhaps it would have made a difference if I had ordered a menu item that doesn't traditionally come with sauce? I doubt it. As a paying customer, I felt very unappreciated when I was charged for my extra sauce. And as any business owner will tell you, unappreciated customers add up quickly. 
I am sure that the pocketbook of McD's falls victim to diners who use their food only as a vessel for getting sauce into their face, but my family are moderate dunkers. Should we be punished because there are little BBQ sauce gluttons out there? How do you find a balance that allows you to treat everyone the same when everyone is not the same, yet has the same level of importance?
To add insult to injury, my son didn't even finish the sauce for which I paid. Evidence that he's not a sauce-hog. 

I Parked in a Loading Zone

Oops. I totally just parked in a loading zone. Fortunately the officer came to find me inside the business I was in before he wrote me a ticket! Yikes! Thanks for the good Samaritan police officer! 

July 20, 2013

Should I Start an In-Home Daycare

I thought about this for just about as long as it took me to type the words into google search and then I closed the internet window. It seems like a great home business. Start an in-home daycare, keep it under so many kids and you don't need a business license, stay home with your kids and make some money.

Then I remembered that for a short time my mother ran an in home daycare and I hated every second of it. Even though all the kids were friends of mine, it was a horrible experience. I had to share my space, my toys, my time, AND my MOTHER with neighborhood kids for several hours every single day. At a day care, kids get snacks, and so my mom purchased snacks especially for day care kids and gave them out at snack time and we were all included... except that I wasn't at daycare... I was at home. I wasn't free to grab a bag of chips and sit in front of the TV because then 5 other kids plus my 3 siblings would want the same thing. I remember it being really limiting.

Plus, there was nowhere to go to just be alone. If I went to my room and shut my door, my girlfriends who were being babysat would feel like I was shunning them and being unsocial. But the truth was, I didn't want to be social all of the time. Sometimes I wanted to take a nap, and I just couldn't.

My school work suffered because instead of spending time on my homework, I spent time playing with my friends in a forced social situation. My mom wasn't able to help me because she was too busy trying to clean up after a house of way too many kids for one person. The rebellious pre-teen loud-mouth anarchist from a couple of doors down would be disrespectful to her, I would lose my mind and we would fight, and then she would attempt to "run away" to her house to which she didn't have a key so she would try to break in. This being someone else's child, neither of my parents were allowed to discipline her in any effective way and so it caused drama and strain. And so to that idea I promptly say NO THANK YOU.

July 19, 2013

Asking for Coupons - Campbell's

I got another response to my coupon request. Campbell's soup company had emailed me and let me know that they are sending me a coupon in the mail. I'm not sure if it is more than one (the email made it sound like a single item) or if it will be for a discount of a free item. I will keep an eye on my mail box and let you know when I find out what kind of goodie they are sending me. In the meantime, I will continue to request coupons from different companies.

Building Credit

I have been working on building my credit for over 2 years and I think it's finally paying off.

Two years ago I bought a car and financed it. I had a down payment of almost 30% and I still had a heck of a time finding a bank that would finance me! I have been paying on time on my car this entire time and it is only just barely starting to pay off.

When I got my car, the only credit card I qualified for was a secure one. I had to make a payment toward the collateral of my account in order to open a credit card. I was using the card to the max and paying it off in full every month. Little did I know this was NOT helping me. Apparently you only want to use 30% of your card every month and pay the entire balance. Since then, I have stopped using my card for purchases. Instead, I signed up with International Children's Fund and set up my donations to automatically come off of my credit card. That way, I know exactly how much will be on my card statement every month (although I still look it over), and I know that it is right around 30% of my limit.

About 6 months ago I was approved for a very high rated and very pricey credit card through a very high risk lender. I politely declined. They called, emailed, and sent letters every two weeks until the offer ran out. It was nice to be wanted, but I really didn't need their services. I had also applied at a couple of department stores because I heard it was easier to get approved through some stores than through banks. No luck.

Today I decided to try my luck at a department store credit card and I did get approved. And it is probably something I will use here and there so I decided to go with it.

I'm excited that I am able to get credit again, but I MUST SAY THIS: This is not a great way of CHECKING your credit because when you apply for credit it can LOOK BAD on your credit report. I was actively seeking credit at particular places as a way to begin building my credit which was a good plan for ME, but maybe (and probably) not you. The best way to fix your credit is to pay off your old balances. That was out of the way for me and so I needed to rebuild. Since I didn't have old cards to use (old accounts were charged off and closed) I needed new ones. Anyway, it is working for me and I am happy about it!

July 18, 2013

Asking for Coupons - Lysol & Clorox

I got my first answer back!

Lysol told me to check the local paper and magazine ads for coupons.

Nice, Lysol. Thanks a lot. I use Clorox anyway.

Oh, and about Clorox... Their "contact us" web page has a broken link to their email so I wasn't even able to ask them for coupons.

So, I appears that my fist attempt at asking for coupons is a bust, but I think that I will keep trying. Can't hurt, and it only takes a moment of time.

July 17, 2013

Asking for Coupons

In an effort to be frugal and save for our wedding / lives together, Travis and I have decided to use more coupons. The problem with coupons is that they are not very often for things you were going to the store for anyway. In fact, I have spent more on groceries in the past when trying to use coupons than I did when I just stuck to my normal shopping routine. Recently, I have started using coupons ONLY for things I was going to buy anyway, and only using them if any brand switches to accommodate the coupon still prove worth the savings. so far, I have saved $5 over 2 shopping trips. Not bad, as every little bit adds up, but Travis was hoping for more.

Travis has encouraged me to start extreme couponing. First of all I don't think I have the time, nor the resources to take on such an endeavor, secondly, those people rarely seem to come away with anything you can really use to feed your family for a week. What would I do with seven thousand cans of tuna and half a ton of mustard?

"Yeah but you get it for like $17.00" Says Travis.

$17.00 for a lifetime supply of tuna and mustard still doesn't get us very far in life, if my argument.

I've noticed that my grocery bills are higher when I have to restock on cleaning supplies and household items than when I simply buy food. I've decided that in order to try to cut costs I am going to ask for coupons.

I am going to write letters to the companies from which I buy my cleaning supplies and groceries and ask them for coupons to help me in this troubling economic time. The worst that can happen is that they say no. The best that can happen is that I get a crate of bleach on my doorstep - which I will most certainly use faster than half a ton of mustard. I'll keep you updated on what happens next.

July 11, 2013

Wedding in less than 2 months

Can I just say how flipping sick I am of trying find solutions for all the things I need for my wedding and the only thing out there are pictures of $250,000.00 weddings?! How is that helpful to me at all? It seems like every wedding site on the internet is very eager to be liberal with MY money. Watching those wedding TV shows isn't any help either. I just watched an episode where there WAS NO BUDGET. Hello! I'm planning a wedding with a guy who's original budget was FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I think I need it reigned in a little.

Last night I got some catalogue called "Exclusively Weddings" which might as well be titled, "Nothing you actually NEED.' Do I NEED 7 kinds of frosted beer mugs and 23 kinds of totes for my wedding party? DO I NEED IT!?

I'm freaking out here.

June 22, 2013

Casserole for Dinner

Travis likes spam. You would think that he wouldn't, since he's not Hawaiian. You would think that I would, since I grew up in the South and on a budget. But it's the opposite. He likes it so much that he orders it off of menus, and I think it tastes just like it smells, which if you ask me is very reminiscent of cat food.

But a housebear aims to please and so last night I made a new recipe I found in the Costco cookbook called Pizza SPAM Casserole. I believe that this can also be found on the SPAM website.

Pizza SPAM Casserole

  • 16oz (uncooked) elbow macaroni
  • 12oz SPAM® Classic, cubed
  • 4oz Pepperoni, cubed or sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
    • (I only used half an onion and I thought it was the perfect amount)
  • 16oz pizza sauce
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

- Heat oven to 350ºF.
-Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
-In skillet, sauté SPAM® Classic, pepperoni and onion until lightly browned.
-In large bowl, combine cooked macaroni, SPAM® mixture, and pizza sauce. Slowly stir in 3 cups mozzarella cheese.
-In casserole, place macaroni mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Bake 45 minutes.

I also crunched up some Ritz crackers for the top so it would have kind of a pizza crust type taste. I imagine using Italian seasoned bread crumbs would be even better. I assembled the casserole ahead of time and popped it in the oven 45 minutes before dinner. It worked wonderfully. Travis and Caleb liked it very much. Travis said he would like another SPAM casserole, but with macaroni and cheese instead of pizza flavor next time. The recipe says it serves six, but the three of us had more than half left over.

June 21, 2013

Wedding Under $2,500.00 - The Caterer

We knew right from the beginning that we wanted to have a BBQ for our wedding menu. At first, looking for a caterer was awesome! We went to every BBQ restaurant and every Hawaiian restaurant and cart within 25 miles of our home. If you're wanting to know which was the best I'll tell you as a side note. Goldies BBQ in Vancouver, WA is the best BBQ. Noho's Hawaiian in Portland, OR and Da Kine Cafe in Vancouver, WA are the best Hawaiian places around.

But I digress. Although they are very affordable places to dine, the catering menus were outside of our budge. I was struggling to get the food that I wanted for under $10 a person. That's when I approached my mom. These were my questions.

Can you make a BBQ dinner for 100 people at or under $10 per person? Are you willing to work the food station for the wedding? Will that ruin your experience of my wedding?"

Mom came back with the answer that she could make a BBQ dinner for 100 people at $6.00 a person, and if she had some help, it would be just fine for her to spend 2 hours of the reception serving food. This was awesome news! And since Travis's mom was the cook at the Police Station, she is just the kind of help my mom was looking for. With their food-service know-how it should be a cinch for them. My Aunt will be visiting for the Summer and she is also willing to help. Everything will be set up buffet style and with all the help everything should go smoothly on the wedding day.

Here is the menu:

  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Hotdogs
  • Coleslaw
  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Baked Beans
  • Sliced Watermelon
  • Iced Tea
  • Punch

It's pretty much the same menu we were going to use when our budget was much higher; slightly tweaked.

For dessert we are using the wedding cake. It seems obvious, but some people don't do that. My sister can make some mini cheesecakes for about $1 each. If we can get the price down to .50 each by buying in bulk, and I have enough left over in my budget, I might add those to the dessert menu.

I am also trying to trim down the cost of the wedding menu by asking a few people to bring menu items as potluck dishes. The punch is being made by my Bridesmaid, and my future mother-in-law is making both the potato salad and the pasta salad. Hopefully that is enough to make a dent in the cost.

June 20, 2013

Wedding Under $2,500.00 - The DJ

I kept holding out hope that I would be able to afford a DJ. Even with the savings I had with the dress and alterations, I still don't have enough for a quality DJ. I have enlisted the help of my youngest brother who is very computer and music savvy - a great combination.

Meet my DJ

I have spent at least 3 days loading this bad boy up with songs and separating them into playlists. My playlists are numbered and labeled so they will be easy for my brother to identify.

  • WED1 - Prelude
    • 5 songs
    • 16 minutes
  • WED2 - Processional
    • 1 song
    • 3 minutes
  • WED3 - Bride Entrance
    • 1 song
    • 4 minutes
  • WED4 - You May Now Kiss The Bride
    • 1 song
    • 4 minutes
  • WED5 - First Dance
    • 1 song
    • To Be Determined
  • WED6 - Reception
    • Currently 39 songs
    • Currently 2.2 hours
    • Needs to be doubled at least

Creating the playlists aren't difficult, but they are time consuming. And since I have been listening to love songs for 3 days straight, and working them into my wedding, I have been nonstop teary-eyed. It turns out that I didn't have enough love songs or wedding appropriate songs in my music collection already and so I have been on the search for songs that I hadn't thought of or don't own. I have been using Pandora internet radio for that. I created a station called "wedding music" and it is working great. Some of the songs are a little sappy for my tastes, but there are a lot of great ideas and wonderful songs that I have either heard for the first time or been reminded of. I wish that I could skip songs more frequently though. I may upgrade to the ad-free version just for a month so I can get through the songs a little faster.

So far this is proving to be a real money saver. By the time we get to the reception, my brother will be able to put the last playlist on shuffle and join the party. Pretty sweet deal!

June 18, 2013

Wedding under $2,500.00 - The dress

I bought my wedding dress! I paid a whopping $89.00 for it. It fits perfect and doesn't need any alterations. I bought it off the rack so it will need a clean and a steam.

What's my secret for the inexpensive wedding gown? I bought a bridesmaid dress! The consultant at David's Bridal said that it is sold more as a wedding gown than as a bridesmaid dress, and I can see why. It's an ivory color, that most Brides probably wouldn't want their bridesmaids to wear. It's very subtle and informal, which is perfect for our weekday afternoon wedding in the park!

June 16, 2013

Wedding under $2,500 - the venue

It turns out that the $6,000 wedding is a little too rich for my blood. I am scaling it back over 50% and doing the wedding for $2,500.

I have reserved a charming little picnic shelter at a local park for $100. The rental is good from 7am the day of the even until dusk when the park closes. It is in a secluded area, near parking, and it looks like its made of Lincoln logs. I like the look of it a lot more than a grange hall because it gives us the "barn wedding" feel we were looking for without the steep price.

The restrooms are near, but behind a line of trees so they won't be in any of the pictures. And I saved so much on the location that we are getting a bouncy house for the kids!

I am also paying $20 for a permit from the county to have a special event in the park. That covers the wedding, reception, and the bouncy house. It even lets us have a champagne toast when alcohol usually isn't allowed in the park, but we haven't decided if we are begging to take advantage did that yet.

Wedding under $2,500. Oh yes, I think I will.

May 20, 2013

Got my Zzz's with ZzzQuil

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ZzzQuil. All opinions are 100% mine.

With all of the hustle and bustle of moving and vacation planning, not to mention all of my regular duties like mothering and working, I have been getting a little stressed lately.  I was finding that the stress of trying to get as much done in the day as I could left me anxious and unable to sleep soundly at night. My boyfriend, Travis, takes Melatonin as a sleep aid every once in a while, but sometimes he says it doesn't work and I didn't want to take something if it wasn't going to do me any good. 


Enter ZzzQuil! I got a free sample from P&G and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a whole bottle of the sleep aid.  It was easy to see that ZzzQuil is made by the people who bring you the reliable NyQuil, which has always been a staple in my medicine cabinet.  The bottle looks the same; same shap, same size, same font. In fact, I've been so accustomed to seeing NyQuil in my bathroom cabinet for so long that at first that's what I thought it was.  It was almost comforting to see something recognizable and it made me feel like I could really trust this P&G product the same way I trusted their other products. 

Following the instructions, I timed my dosage according to when I had to wake up the next day.  Around 9:00 pm I took the berry flavored drink.   Well, the so-called berry flavored drink.  It tasted like... you guessed it, NyQuil, with (perhaps?) a hint of berry.  Not my favorite flavor, but nothing too terrible.  I sat up and watched TV for about an hour before I started to feel drowsy.  I noticed that it wasn't overwhelming.  It was the kind of drowsy that I could fight and stay awake if I wanted to - no drugged, cloudy-headed feeling. 

I was excited that the ZzzQuil was working and got under my covers and... fell asleep. And stayed asleep. Actually, I stayed asleep until I woke the next morning with sun streaming in my window.  I spent the next day with my family feeling like I had a full night of sleep.  I felt a little drowsy at first, but that went away after I had my morning coffee.  The great thing about ZzzQuil is that is is only for sleep.  You're not taking medicine to treat symptoms you don't have.  You're just getting exactly what you need - rest. 

But, you don't have to take my word for it.  You can try it yourself, or for news about ZzzQuil you can like them on Facebook.  You can also tweet your experience or read others' experiences on twitter using #ZzzQuilNight.

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March 8, 2013

Wedding Under $6,000.00 - The Dress

You get engaged - or in my case - your boyfriend merely mentions the words "marriage" or "wedding" and you lose your flipping mind. You buy a bunch of wedding magazines and flip through the pages over and over and over, just in case you missed something. All the while being bombarded with high end product, some of which you don't even need.

Let's face it, it's hard to shop for a wedding dress when you've been spending months looking at designer gowns worn by models. Can I squeeze my lumpy, stumpy body into a strapless mermaid gown? It's probably physically possible. And while you do want to look beautiful on your wedding day, isn't it possible to do it without spending a few grand? Yes!

I've never been a fan of short wedding dresses. To me, they just don't look like wedding dresses. But then I saw this cute little number and I swear it spoke to me. Maybe I am going a little nut-so from working with the budget all week, but I'm telling ya, this is the one.

This dress is under $600! And I LOVE it... in my HEART. And I can't wait to wear it and dance in it. A great thing about short dresses, I have realized, is that they are a great opportunity to show off your SHOES.

March 7, 2013

Wedding under $6,000.00 - Food and Venue

Although my original wedding budget was $5,000.00 I decided that I would probably need to budget in an extra $1,000.00 for unforeseen circumstances, impulse buying, general loss of mind, and possibly a day of coordinator to hold it all together. I have increased my budget to $6,000.00, but if I can cut savings anywhere, I won't be reallocating them back into the budget.

First off, my mom has agreed to do the food. I'm sure she will enlist some help from friends and family members so she doesn't have to work all day on my wedding day. We decided to have the following menu buffet style:

  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Hot Dogs
  • Baked Beans
  • Potato Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Cornbread
  • Seasonal Fruit Salad
  • Lemonade
  • Southern Sweet Tea

If it sounds a little rustic and down-home; that's because it is. We have been looking around at several BBQ joints for catering. The least expensive we could find was $14.75 a head and it was just for drop off, not full catering. My mom says she can do this for $6.50 a head, but I think that is too good to be true so I budgeted it at $7.75 a head. Again, if I can save anything on it, I won't be reallocating it back into the budget. It will go right back into the savings account from whence it came.

The Marshall Center
An all day event at "Portland's Best New Wedding Venue, 2011", The Foundry At Lake Oswego? Whoa, yeah, that was our first pick. Did we want to have a wedding on a Tuesday in October so we could afford it, or would we rather have our family and friends available to join us? We're going with the guests.

Bouncy Houses, Swimming Pools, and Paddle Boat rides at Alderbrook Park? We wanted all that too. It's not totally un-affordable, if you don't mind sharing the park with a million other people. And hey, for a cool $10,000 you can have the whole park to yourself for the day. I'm unwilling to blow my budget on the place. I decided that a grange hall or community center like The Marshall Center in Vancouver, WA would work just as well and cost a lot less. $120.00 an hour, a refundable deposit and a full kitchen are awesome! Even better is the stage and piano that are included! Perfect wedding venue for us and it fits in our budget.

February 26, 2013

Why I Want to Elope

I don't even have a ring on it yet and I am already calling it quits on wedding planning. I'm a smart girl and capable of planning many a shin-dig, but I just can't deal with this wedding stuff... No matter how casual I try to make it, I just can't stay under $5,000. Just to try to ease my mind I googled "what does the average wedding cost for 100 people". It was my expectation that the average wedding would cost $100 per person and therefore, $10,000. All I would have to do is cut that in half. Boy, was I wrong. After several attempts at rewording my Google search bar the verdict was in. The average person spends $29,000 on their wedding. AVERAGE person. That's the average! I can imagine it. I can certainly imagine having an exquisite wedding of my dreams. A charming barn house wedding with twinkle lights and pony rides and endless food and drink and music and dancing. The problem is that I could barely cover the venue alone with the price range I am working in. So I started to think, what is the most important thing on my wedding day.... Marrying the right person. I have already married the wrong person, and had the wedding with the flowers and the music and the open bar and whatever whatever. It's clear to me that the amount you spend on your wedding in no way reflects the happiness you will have in your marriage. I would rather have a lifetime of happiness with the right person than one fabulous party. That doesn't mean that I don't want a wedding at all. I do. (no pun intended, but well done.)I want to be able to share the beginning of my marriage with my family and my friends. But why do I have to pay so much for it? The minute you start looking for a wedding the price of everything sky rockets. Is it too much to ask that I start my marriage with a little cash left in my pocket? I just want to run away from all this senseless spending! I want to stand on a beach, or in a field, or on a little hill and marry my best friend in front of my closest family and friends. Then I want to eat some BBQ and jump in a pool. Why does that have to cost so much? I wish I knew someone with a BBQ pit and a pool. I could make it well worth their while and still save a big lump of cash.

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