Froggy Girl Designs

A glimpse into my daily life of crafting, frugal living, and being a mom!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It was the night before Halloween..

And all through the house,
too many creatures were stirring
but hopefully not a mouse.

The Trick or Treat bags hung on the door knob with care,
with hope that lots of treats
soon will be there.

Mom is still sewing
up most of the night,
while the kids keep on chattering
and won't say "Good night!"

3 costumes down,
only one more to go,
back to the sewing machine
I must go!

Have a Happy Halloween ya'll! I'll post pictures soon of my little monsters in action! Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Fall Ya'll: Bloggy Giveaway!

**This is closed now...check the new posts for the winner! ***

OK, I had to jump on the bandwagon for this one! Shannon (ya I suck for those of you who saw what I had here previously lol) of Rocks in my Dryer fame, is running another great giveaway in honor of fall. I know last time she did this I added quite a few blogs to my daily RSS reading list, so I'm hoping to find some more goodies this week! So here's how it works, I'm opening the contest now (well, as soon as I post this!), and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post to enter (no duplicate comments please, I'm easy enough to confuse on my own!).
Oh, and you probably want to know what you'll win eh? How about one of my brand spankin new, barely made it into the shop Froggy Fix-It rice warmer bags? These are awesome ya'll. Measuring appx. 5" x 20" and filled with rice, you throw it in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute then you can put it on your feet, around your neck, across your lap, wherever it will keep you warm. You can also use them to help relieve muscle tension. It has a small pocket on the inner bag that you can put a cotton ball with a few drops of your favorite essential oil on it, or even a small bunch of herbs to do your own "spa" thing. The winner will also choose their own fabric from my "fabric gallery" for their own custom slipcover. Designed with practicality in mind, the slipcover is removable and fully machine washable (since you can't wash the inside bag-ew soggy rice!).

So leave a comment here to be entered to win! And if you don't want to wait and see if you win, visit my shop or shoot me an email to get your own now!

***Blogger is apparently having massive photo uploading issues this morning, so I'll try to add photos again later. There is a picture of a Froggy Fix-It bag here.
****Blogger is behaving better now, I had to edit my moron mistake anyway lol.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Frugal Friday: Sewing on a Budget Part 3

This will be the last post in this series, and I certainly hope you have found some useful tips from the previous installments which you can find here and here. Today, I'm doing a "tip roundup". There were some great tips left by readers in the comments on previous posts and I want to make sure they don't get lost!

  • Quinn said - "Homeschoolers can sign up for a Joann's teacher discount card through PEAH. You don't have to be a PEAH member either - gives instructions. The card will give you an extra 15% off anything you purchase in the store. You'll also be signed up for their flyer that has at least a 40% off coupon off any item, or 5 off 35. " (I am not familiar with PEAH, so if someone would enlighten me or leave a link I'll edit and add that to this as well, thanks!)
  • Sunshine said - "...I am going to take a sewing class for beginners through our local 4H. It's $10 and personally I think that's a bargain since no one in our area (major city) even gives lessons to adults anymore. I wanted something to pass onto help them when they are living on their own." (So check around what's available locally, you might be surprised. I'm going to find out if our 4H offers anything like this!)
  • Elaine made sure to let us know "One thing I would like to add is that if you buy a basic mechanical machine the odds are very great that you will have a machine for years to come and all you will have to do is to oil it and take the lint brush out and clean it now and then. The reason is that the mechanical have METAL gears which don't break down like the plastic gears, which are costly to replace!" (which is great advice!)
  • Aine mentioned one source that I completely forgot in last weeks post - Craigslist! I haven't had much luck with ours locally, but I'll admit I'm not as good about checking there as I could be!
Another thing I am checking out today is that I heard that Joann's also offers a small business discount of 15% if you can provide documentation of your business. I'm going today and going to check it out since I now have all my official paperwork in hand.

While sewing is a very enjoyable hobby for many people, it's very easy to get caught up in the buying of pretty fabric, nice machines, and the latest notions. Maintaining our frugal ways can still be done though, with the same discipline we apply to other areas of our life. Using those skills not only to create new items, but mend and maintain the ones we have is just good stewardship. I really hope you've liked this series, and will come back next week for more Frugal Friday!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

7 Random Things about me...

That you may or may not want to know:
1. Getting up at 6am is not my idea of a good time-but Wyatt and hubby conspired against me this morning, so I made hubby breakfast before he left and made him turn on the furnace.
2. Yes, I'm a winter weenie. I hate the cold but so far, convincing my husband that a move to a more southern climate is a good idea hasn't worked.
3. I've sang in Carnegie Hall, the San Antonio Astrodome and various other arenas starting in my freshman year in highschool (gasp, 14 years ago!).
4. My dream was to be a singer when I got out of highschool.
5. I became a wife and mother instead.
6. Now I only sing in the car or silly songs with my kids.
7. I suffer from chronic depression, and anxiety becomes more of an issue the older I get-I've had panic attacks during the birth of my youngest two children.

Pretty boring huh? But Noodle tagged me, and what Noodle wants Noodle gets! The kids are up now and ready for breakfast so it's time to put on my mommy hat. Have a wonderful day ya'll!

Oh wait, tags: Hmm....Ema, Lera, Angie (I lost your link! Post it in the comments for me?), Hunnybunny and um, those are the only readers of my blog I if you're lurking, drop me a line and let me know!!!!!! Oh, and then consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thoughts & Prayers for Southern California fire victims

These Southern California fires have been weighing on me the last few days. I lived in SoCal for 5 years when I was married to my first husband, and the area we lived in is burning as I type. I had to call him last night and make sure all was well with him and his, he lives in Temecula currently and is stationed at Camp Pendleton. There are fires burning on Camp Pendleton, the interstates are closed down, thousands of homes and businesses have burned.
As of last night, his area was unevacuated, but they were preparing just in case. I let the boys all talk to him for a few minutes so they could be sure he was ok, they are little worry warts when it comes to their daddy being so far away and things they see on the news. He just returned from Iraq recently, so this isn't a great thing for him to come back too.
I've been keeping tabs on internet friends as well who live in the area, as much as I can of course, and trying to think of what I can do to help. I know the Red Cross and Salvation Army will be collection donations for those affected, so once I track down information on where to send things I'll be packing up boxes to send. I've been there, and lost everything to a house fire, so I will be happy to deplete my stockpile to help these poor people. They are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Spice is the variety of life...

Otherwise known as, random happenings at my place!

My son Alex did it again. Drove me crazy then made me laugh till I peed my pants that is. He's working on number families in math class. Well, he was having issues with it tonight, and I sat and worked with him on it for oh, about an hour before I started getting frustrated (it was a 2 problem worksheet) told him to go sit down, pay attention, and let me breathe for 5 minutes. He says, "I'm sorry mommy, I got stupid on my way to the table." Yes, that's right, his brain fell right out and he "got stupid". Let me first say, stupid is a word that is very rarely heard in our house. I think it comes from my own parents, if they heard me or my sister say the word stupid, we were in trouble. So it's not something he's gotten from here-I had in fact been telling him I know that he's smart and that he understands this, because we've been working on it for quite awhile, tonight's homework was review. But I guess we have a strange force field in our home tonight that causes intelligent children to "get stupid" in less than 5 minutes flat.

I've been crafting up a storm over here the last few days. I finally finished a few pairs of boxer shorts for Jacob, after a week of him asking if I had done them yet. I have 4 more pairs cut out, just need to NOT procrastinate getting them done. I finished a rice bag today, and I love it. I've gotten rave reviews from the recipient with urgings to list them on Etsy, so I put one up today and we'll see what happens! I made them with a slipcover that can be washed, and the inside is unbleached muslin. I'm lovin' em! See that little pocket? That's for putting in either a little bunch of herbs, or a cottonball that has a few drops of essential oil on it, that way you can change up your scent to match your mood. What do you guys think?

I also made a quickie quilt for Wyatt. The temperatures dropped here the other day (Hello Fall!), and I realized the poor guy didn't have any blankets of adequate warmth that would be safe for him to sleep with. I don't like really thick blankets on my babies due to SIDS risks, so I did a simple block out of a super soft flannel, thin layer of batting and backed with the same flannel, then tied. I love it, and am completely jealous of his blankie (bad mommy!), but he adores it and is constantly grabbing for it when he sees it. Excuse the horrid picture, hard as heck to get a decent one!

I'm sure there's more, but it's been a long day, and I've bored ya'll enough for today! Tomorrow-more random and a meme I got tagged with!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Money Making Monday: Turn Your Hobby Into Cash

Taking something you love to do as a hobby and turning it into something you can make a little cash out of is something that many people talk about, but how does that translate to YOUR life? Well, with a little work, you can do it. This is something I'm still learning about myself, so if you have tips, as always, please leave them in the comments!
The first step is to look at your talents-are you a good seamstress or do you love to sew? How about baking or jam making? Cutting hair? Woodworking? Any of these-and many more-are valuable skills, and there are multiple ways to go about using them to your families advantage. There are small scale and larger scale options, so I'm just going to focus on a couple.
Small scale-using your skills within your neighborhood and local area. You can create some flyers advertising your services and put them up in local grocery stores, on bulletin boards, etc. with your phone number listed for people to call you. Also, spread the word to friends and family that you are available to make their next pie for dinner, for a small fee of course! Going to a larger scale, say you make gorgeous wooden shelves, or beautiful quilts and you want to access a bigger audience for your wares. Go global and start poking around the Internet! Etsy is a website devoted to the small artist, open a shop up there and your products will be out there for all to see. I've read many, many, positive things about Etsy, and my own store has been open for a few months. I'm just starting to stock it more, and promote it a bit as I get serious about my business, but so far I'm happy with it!
Going to craft fairs and the like is another way to attract a larger audience. They are alot of work, but if you want to make a little more money, and don't mind the time outside of the house it may be worth it to you. You could even approach local small store owners about selling your items in their shops. The worst they can say is no, but one yes is all it takes! That can be applied to anything you make-how many stores can you think of off the top of your head that sell everything from jelly to handmade clay figurines to wooden items to quilts? It may be that I live in a relatively "artsy fartsy" area, but there are two towns within an hours drive that have at least 100 of those little shops in them that I will be approaching in the next few months with my products, and I bet if you think about it you have at least one locally (or semi-locally) that you can check out.
This is just a starting point to get you thinking outside of the box on ways to get your services and products out there to bring in a little extra cash for your family. What ways have you used to get a little cash for your favorite hobby?


Friday, October 19, 2007

Frugal Friday: Sewing on a Budget Part 2

Some of my recent fabric acquisitions.

This is a continuation of last weeks post, where I covered acquiring a sewing machine. And I want to welcome again readers from Biblicial Womanhood. This week I'm going to cover buying fabric and notions for CHEAP!

First I want to say I got some GREAT comments with tips for sewing on a budget. PLEASE keep them coming I'll do a compilation post at the end and would love to include a bunch more tips! So on with the series...

What are the main things you use when making a project? Fabric of course, thread, and needles. Fabric will always be your main expense, and getting it frugally can be daunting when you walk into your local Jo-Ann's, Hancock or the like and it seems like everything is $4 or more per yard, and you know you need 2, 3 or 4 yards for a project. Let's start small, I have various sources I use for acquiring fabric for everything from small projects like wallets and headbands to bigger projects like quilts.

  • Yard Sales-always a biggie with any frugalista. It's spotty, and never guaranteed, just like finding anything else, but I've gotten lucky 3 times this summer with fabric finds. I didn't hit nearly as many yard sales this year as I normally do either between moving and a new baby it just hasn't been possible. The first time was a HUGE bin of vintage fabric for $15, you can read about it here. Then I found a sale where someone was getting rid of a quite large fabric collection for very reasonable prices, I spent $10 on about 20 yards of various fabrics, mostly 1-2 yard pieces but some a bit smaller as well. Then a couple weeks ago, I got about 4 yards of fabric, plus a pattern and some felt for .50 (yes, 50 CENTS!). It's hit or miss, but when you hit, you usually hit good!
  • Thrift Stores-Can be a treasure trove. Check out my previous post on this one here.
  • Retail Stores-we all know most Wal-Mart's are phasing out their fabric departments which is super disappointing. Their $1 table can't be beat for finding fabric to do mockups cheap and sometimes you can find really nice fabric on there for projects. Other than that..make use of remnant bins, sign up for store mailing lists so you'll get flyers and coupons in the mail. Joann's for example is having a really good sale this coming week on fabrics and notions, I found that out when I got the flyer today which included 2 50% off an item coupons and one 40% off coupon.
  • Fabric Coops- Didn't see that one coming did you? There are groups online at yahoogroups that work similarly to any other coop. They take group buying power to get things cheaper, in this case, fabric. On average, you'll get fabrics from Robert Kaufman, Alexander Henry, Amy Butler and the like for $5.50-$7 a yard. Much better than retail. I know I couldn't afford the variety I've been getting if I had to pay retail! If you want more information on these, please email me at bokamo at gmail dot com as I don't want to post all the information here.

As you can see, there are lots of options for acquiring fabric and notions inexpensively. What are your best ways of getting them for cheap? Leave 'em in the comments so we all can learn!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Fall break for oldest two kids + shots for youngest two kids + blogger being a pain in the patoot + me organizing new business materials and projects (I'm now an LLC!!!!) + husband working lots of late nights = no new posts this week and one momma badly in need of a straitjacket. I did want to show off my new logo though, designed by the wonderful Twoluvcats. I absolutely love it!

I will have my Frugal Friday post up tomorrow, I'm working on it in bits and spurts. It's been a rough week ya'll!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Future Notre Dame Quarterback

It was a running joke between my husband and our doctor while I was pregnant with Wyatt that he would eventually be the star quarterback at Notre Dame in college. So Bobby picked him up a hat this week. Introducing..future football star...Wyatt Mosier!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I got tagged! And...I apparently ROCK!

Always late to the party..that's me! A week (or uh, maybe two) ago, Hunny Bunny tagged me for the middle name meme that's floating around. I keep meaning to respond and here goes:
D-disheveled..the state of my house, and generally my person at any given time. What can I say, I have 4 boys, a husband, a fledgling business and a major procrastination streak!
A-assinine...most of my jokes. I have a very strange sense of humor that I inherited from my dad, although not quite as dry as his. I usually think I'm pretty funny though.
W-(this is a hard one!). Um, know, kinda daydreamy (ahem, spacey has also been used), and tend to get caught in the "coulda, shoulda, woulda's" of life. I'm a constant WIP (heh..that's a W too!)
N-nostalgic...I yearn for "the olden days". Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of electricity, indoor plumbing, and the internet-but I'm an old country girl at heart. I want to live on a farm, raise chickens and cows and horses, tend my garden and my children, and make a home for my family. All are attainable in the current world, yes, but we no longer have the simplicity of life as a hundred years ago.

And, Noodle nominated me for the Rockin' Girl Blogger award too! I'm so excited, seriously...I think I may canter occasionally, but rock? Thank you Noodle! pass it on. This is hard, because most of the people that I think rock have either already received this award, or have no clue my blog exists, so....I'm going to do this. If you read my blog, consider yourself rockin' and awarded! Oh ya, but you need to be a girl lol.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Frugal Friday: Sewing on a Budget Part 1

If you're coming over from Biblical Womanhood-welcome! I hope this post is useful for you! And to my regular readers, I hope you can glean some tips as well! I'm going to break this series up over the course of a few weeks because WOW it's alot of information (either that or I just talk too much, which is very possible!), so come back next week for Part 2.
I started sewing about a year ago now, and while I am no expert, I think we can all agree that most times, making clothing for yourself or your family isn't always the most frugal way to clothe your family. Buying from yard sales, thrift stores, even retail clearance racks is generally cheaper than paying $8 a yard for fabric, plus whatever notions you need for each particular garment. I completely agree. But! It doesn't have to be that way. I know most Wal-Mart's have discontinued their fabric sections at this point, but I'm lucky to live within an hour of 3 that still haven't, as well as a Joann's Fabric and Hancock's. But the tips I've got for you today will help you even if you don't live near any of those.
First, the main expense is a sewing machine, at least starting off. My first machine was a Brother that I got off of Freecycle. It was a very standard machine which did a straight stitch and zig zag and that was it. But that is more than enough for most simple sewing and mending. I used that until about a month ago when Bobby (my husband) got me a higher end machine for my birthday and business use. More on that in a second. ALWAYS check Freecycle before making purchases of really any amount. Everything from dishes, to clothing, to cars are all things I've seen posted for free on our local list. Especially if you're a novice sewer, start simple, 9 times out of 10 a straight stitch is all you need, so get a decent machine without the 50 decorative stitches. My recommendation if you can't find one on Freecycle is your local sewing machine shop. My reason for that is two fold-1) you can get a better machine for your money and 2) you will always have someone you can call with questions.

When I bought my new machine, I started out buying one from Wal-Mart, thinking it was cheaper and would work fine. After less than 2 weeks, I was having problems with the tension and things, and had no one to call. So I started calling local sewing stores. I knew I couldn't afford any of the really awesome machines which often start at $1,000 and go UP from there, but one local store also carries the "lower-end" Singer machines. So I went in to check them out. They offered new owner classes with machine purchase for free to help you learn how to use the machine, as well as a trade-in program. When you trade in your machine within one year of date of purchase to a higher end model, you receive the full purchase price of the first machine as a credit towards the second. Now, to the average sewer, that's not generally a benefit, but for me since I am starting a business where my machine is my #1 tool, that's really great, since as my skills and business grow I will most likely need a better machine and this way, I can get the most "bang for my buck" so to speak, without being overwhelmed at first by features I don't know how to use.
They had 2 options within my budget, both were Singer Touch N Sew models. One was $249 (the same price I had paid for the Wal-Mart machine) and the other was $329. I was going to get the cheaper of the two, because it still did all I needed at this point, when the salesgirl let me know they had actually received a trade in of the higher end model if I was interested in that. Of course I was-they clean and service all trade in machines before offering them back up, so I knew it was in perfect working order already. The price? $239. Yup, $10 cheaper than the brand new lower end model. And I love this machine. Not an ounce of trouble with it so far, and if I do, I can call the store and get it fixed right away for nothing. It also came with 4 bobbins, a package of basic needles, 5 different feet, plus some little do dads for cleaning the machine and the like. I'm still learning how to use some of the features, but that is exactly what I planned, I wanted a machine that would enable me to learn how to do things like installing a zipper (done), making buttonholes (haven't tried), overlocking (done), and more.
The moral of the story is this, cheaper isn't always better as we all know. Sometimes paying a higher price is well worth the benefits you receive. In the case of the Wal-mart machine, which was also a Singer, but it was made by a specific division which doesn't make the good quality machines. The Singer dealer isn't even able to get parts to fix those machines, and if you're going to invest a couple hundred dollars in ANYTHING you want to be able to get it fixed if something breaks. Do your research before randomly buying a machine, find out what your local sewing shops offer and go from there.
Next week I'll cover getting fabric and notions CHEAP, and I mean CHEAP. So come back then for more great tips!

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mastering the Pencil Roll

What, more crafting you say? Why yes I have been thank you very much!

I'm really trying to push myself to get some things out of my head and into fabric. I tried to find a pattern online for a pencil roll for a birthday gift for a friends' little girl with no luck. I found where someone had mentioned very basic dimensions, so I took those and started tweaking. The initial design I wanted to do isn't perfect yet, but will be with some more tweaking. It's not something I've seen done in blog-land as of yet, even though pencil rolls are ever popular. I used fusible fleece for the interfacing on mine as opposed to traditional batting for a little less poof, but still some stability. As you can see I also quilted the lines all the way up for a bit more visual interest and stability.
The aforementioned little girl loves some butterflies, so I took two colorways of the same print for this. I LOVE the way it turned out and I so hope she does too! I attached the ribbon to the back fabric and triple sewed it for strength, then later noticed most of the time people actually attach the ribbon in the side seam. Does anyone know if that would be stronger? I definitely want these to be sturdy for little hands! I also tied a loose knot with the ribbon since she hasn't mastered bows yet. I love these, and can't wait to make more!!!! The matching crayon roll is just a shortened version of the pencil roll. Does anyone have anymore great ideas for quick crafts to do like this? I'm always willing to try new things.
Oh, and another question for my lovely readers. I want to use snaps! Does anyone have recommendations for me? Bobby has ok'd the purchase of a drill press so I have the option of using that with a set of dies and snaps, which would be more useful than just a snap press, but I've also seen the Snap Setter tools online. I've tried the hammer and tools trick with NO success, so that may be user error but I'm not thrilled in the least with that method. How do you set your snaps (if you use them!)?

Milestone Reached!

Guess who reached his first major milestone this morning? Wyatt of course!

I got out of bed earlier, turned around to get him and he was mid-roll. He's been trying for a week or so now, but this morning he did it! Then he laid there like, "Wait, what happened, why am I looking at the mattress?", but he did it! 2 days shy of 4 months old. That's my boy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One of THOSE days

You know the're exhausted from 30 minutes of sleep all night because of a cranky baby, said cranky baby is STILL cranky all day so you can't get anything done but carry the sweet little thing around (and yes, even though he's hollerin' at me he's still sweet!), and by the end of the day, you can't wait to just fall asleep and try again tomorrow. That was my day yesterday. I got a little more sleep last night, but he's still been pretty cranky today. I'm guessing teeth are the culprit. Regardless, I've at least managed to get some laundry done and my living room vacuumed. Plus I got some SUPER yummy fabric in the mail today! Gah those pictures turned out big. But those are only 3 of the different ones I got, I'm really digging those chickens on blue for some reason. It's all washed, ready to be ironed and put into projects.

Speaking of, I'm getting ready to try my hand at bag making. I have another swap to finish up, and a pencil roll to make for a special little girls' birthday coming up, then it's time for "me". Time to start getting some of my designs really into production. Taking the plunge so to speak. Still terrified, but there it is. I ordered the Crafts, Inc. book from Amazon today. I've heard some decent reviews on it, and figure any information is pretty much new information so I bought it. Has anyone else read it yet? What did you think? For those who own their own business, do you have any suggestions or tips for me? Thanks so much for stopping by!

Oh, and tomorrow a meme I got tagged for! (Me! A meme! WOW!)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Another wonderful giveway! *LONG*

Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood is giving away 10 TEN copies of a book that I really want. I don't talk about my faith here really, I feel that religion is something very private and personal. I'm going to talk about it a little bit in accordance with this give away, but will probably speak about it a little more at a later date. *Note: this is turning out longer than I intended...I have a point, promise!
I was born and raised a Lutheran. Went to church every Sunday, parochial schools, all of it. I HATED the schools I went to. I never fit in, was always made fun of, etc. And then, I started "living life". At the age of 12 I was raped, at the age of 18 I married a man who was a complete monster and who belittled me and beat me at every opportunity. Those are my two biggies. I'm not saying those to garner sympathy, far from it, just as a matter of reference.
The first event is what really started me questioning my faith-why would God let that happen to me? I didn't tell my parents it had even happened for 5 years, so I couldn't go to them for the spiritual guidance I so desperately needed. It started a downward spiral in my life that continued until after my first husband divorced me. Then I had a house fire.
I was 3 months pregnant with my now 3 year old son. I was single, he was being born out of wedlock, and I also had two other small children to raise. I was lost. The fire occured on a Sunday morning at 6 am. I lost everything but my 3 beautiful boys and their blankies, as well as the pajamas on our backs. Once everything had settled and I was deemed ok by the doctors, it was almost 9 am. I felt a huge need to go to my childhood church. The service started at 10. Just enough time to go with my parents to their home, change into borrowed clothes from my mother and make the first hymn. I sat there that day, covered in soot, with tears streaming down my face-wondering what I was doing with my life, where I was supposed to be heading and what direction God wanted me to take. I prayed that day for the first time in I don't even know how long. I didn't pray for a house, or "things", I prayed for direction. I prayed that God would show me the path he had in mind for me.
Fast forward to a little more than 2 years later. I met my husband. At first glance, you wouldn't think he's the religious type, doesn't go to church every Sunday, he curses, he's not perfect. But he was raised with a grandfather who was a preacher and his reasoning for not going to church-because he feels like a hypocrite. He's lost his way as well. He has faith in his heart, but his-like mine, is hidden by years of discontent, mistreatment, and lack of guidance. Over the last 2 1/2 years since we met, we are both slowly finding our way back. I say slowly, because it's almost...embarassment? I'm ashamed to say, that keeps us from letting it all out. Even now, posting this, I think..well I can just delete it. But...I don't think I will. I need my faith, I need to thank God for leading me to this life I have now where I am cherished and blessed beyond measure.
My point in this LENGTHY post (and thank you so much if you've gotten this far in my ramblings), is that finding the Biblical Womanhood blog really started opening my eyes. Showing me that there are women who live the life that deep in my heart I WANT to live. I want to be a helpmeet to my husband, and have been in my own way, since before Bobby and I even got married. But I want to do better, and more, and ANY hints and tips you other ladies may have are more than welcome in the comments or via email.
Now....Crystal is giving away 10 copies of the book 'Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God'. I NEED this book lol. I'm entering the giveaway of course, and if I don't win it, I will buy it and read it with Bobby. Thank you, again for reading this post if you've gotten this far. This is something that was VERY hard for me to post, and I sincerely hope you aren't annoyed or disenheartened that I posted a brief synopsis of my story. Now go over there and enter it yourself!


I just went and looked at my site stats for today (I tend to check them once a day or so, just out of curiosity) , and I've had a bunch of visitors from over at Money Saving Mom. Welcome ya'll! I'm thrilled that you came by to read some tips, and totally humbled. I hope that some of the stuff I've contained here will help you out. I'm in the process of building a better blog for my readers, so if there's stuff anyone wants to see, please please please leave me a comment or drop me an email and let me know.
I was just sitting here earlier today as I was nursing Wyatt, looking over at my coffeetable at my Tightwad Gazette book, thinking that I need to read it again. Lately, my frugality, while always present, hasn't been at the forefront of my mind. Starting a business, as well as normal family stuff has let it slide. Don't get me wrong, we don't run out and spend money like crazy, but we have been eating out a bit more than normal, and with our increased income have been frittering it away a bit. That needs to stop. Bobby is going to be doing an additional year active duty at this point, and by the end of that time, we want to have a substantial nest egg built up to buy some land and get started building our first home. It's a common goal, so it's time to tighten up the purse strings around here.
I hope to participate in Money Making Monday every week, so come back next week for more tips!
Another big happening for me today-I won a free yard of fabric from the Sew, Mama, Sew blog! They have what they call Free Fabric Friday, and I enter every week when I'm able. I am SO excited, even though the spelled my name wrong. But that's ok, a yard of fabric is worth an extra H!
And in household laundry and dishes are completely done and caught up. Those are 2 areas I definitely lack in (among MANY others), but I've been really making more of an effort in the housekeeping department so I'm excited. It's the little things right? How do all of you "do it all" so to speak. I dream of having one of those houses that's pretty and welcoming, and I try very hard, but never quite manage it (and most of the time don't even come close). Any tips for an insane mother of 4 who likes to procrastinate? I kinda do the Flylady thing, but don't follow it as close as I probably should I'm guessing.
Oh, and the picture above? It's from a quilt shop we visited in Gatlinburg (or somewhere around there, I'm horrid with directions/places). I LOVE it, and took this picture for inspiration. This was one of those shops who got all of their quilts from China, thus the "low low prices". So sad.
Thanks again for visiting, and come back soon!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

One year

I can't believe it's been a year since I married my soulmate. It's been full of ups and downs, as any relationship is, but thankfully, many more ups than downs. We've celebrated the birth of our son, losing a home (through no fault of our own), mobilization with the Army, and learning even more about each other every day. I look forward to many more years with this wonderful man.

We spent the day at home mostly, I had some more things to cross off my to do list, as did he. So I sewed, and he puttered outside. I did manage to finally finish my patchwork apron. I've been working on this for about a week in between other things. First, I sewed the binding on upside down, so more time with my friendly neighborhood seam ripper. But, once I got it all together right, I LOVE it. This is one of those projects that came out exactly like it was in my head. The fabric is from Allspice Tapestry by Fig Tree Quilts, and it's just beautiful. It's over in my shop now.

And look what Wyatt got...his first big boy toy! We've been wanting to get him one of these for awhile, but I just didn't think he was ready yet. We took the plunge last week and ordered this off of And that boy LOVES this thing! He just sits and chills out and graces us all with his cooing and giggling. It's pretty awesome.

Check out that grin...that's my boy!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Running with your creativity

I was supposed to go to an open sew day at the local sewing machine shop today, but I couldn't do it. We lost Lucky this morning, and I was SO sad and so broken hearted, I just couldn't expose other people to my misery. I'm still sad, but I really don't want to dwell on it. We loved the kittens, and did everything we could, but God has his plan right? So I resolved to spend my day doing what makes me happy after Bobby spent a good hour trying to do everything he could to cheer me up. So I took stock of all my "to-sews". I have a block swap I'm late on, and have been working on all week, and I finished about half of what I needed to do for those. This is a sampling of blocks that were supposed to be mailed by the first, but in my head it was the 31st...oops! Luckily all the ladies are very understanding and kind!

I also worked on another swap that I KNOW is due the 31st, and made it about halfway through those as well. I don't have pics of any of that, because I had to spend a very long time with my seam ripper after figuring out I had sewn all the blocks upside down. After that, I took a break and worked on "me" stuff. Not things for myself, but projects I've been working on for various other things. I finally figured out what to do with the little clown embroidery from the other day. This just makes me smile. I have no idea what to do with it, but I love it. Pincushion maybe?

Then I had Bobby nail up my "design wall" (a flannel backed tablecloth I got for a buck on clearance!) so I could lay out some quilt blocks. The woman who runs his unit's Family Readiness Group is wonderful. She has a very aggressive form of Lou Gehrig's Disease, and spends the bulk of her time in a wheelchair. Despite all her struggles, she is one of the most enjoyable people I know. She will do anything for anyone, always has a smile and a kind word for everyone, just all around a huge heart. So, I took the string blocks I've received from the above swap and started a quilt for her. I'm wanting something big enough to cuddle in, but small enough to use on her lap in her chair, so this will end up about throw sized. I didn't get far, but just enough to know it's going to be perfect. Goal date to finish? December 1st...the unit Christmas party which is the day before all of our husband's take off on TDY for 4 months.

The rest of the evening was spent working on an apron that I am SO excited about. Remember this charm pack? It's been sitting on my cutting table for months just looking gorgeous. I haven't been able to bring myself to do anything with it because it was so pretty. Well, a few days ago I started playing around with things, and hopefully tomorrow I'll have a finished product to show off.

Man I've been wordy the last few point today is this though. Everything happens for a reason, no matter how heartbreaking, so embrace your life hardships and all. I am going to bed tonight with light in my heart. I had a day when I could just feel my creative juices flowing and I ran with it. My one year wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I have an amazing husband, 4 gorgeous little boys, a roof over my head, food in my belly, and animals that I love as well. I am blessed.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Another Toy Recall

And this time it's one our family actually was affected by. Kids II recalled this toy due to lead paint being present on the blue block only. It took me literally 3.4 seconds to walk across the living room and snatch that exact block from my 3 year old who has taken it upon himself to test these before the baby plays with them. We've been lucky so far I guess, with all the hundreds of recalls over the last year, including one before this that sent me scrambling in this Thomas obsessed household, that we haven't had any toys affected. I, like all other parents out there I'm sure, am appalled at the rash of recalls that seems to just keep growing. I am not a histrionic mother, if they fall, I don't come running and rush them to the hospital; if they're bleeding I don't automatically assume they will die, but I am still concerned for all 4 of my boys safety.

It's not just toys either, as I'm typing this, the news is covering yet another recall, this time for beef. It's been spinach, canned chili and beef stew, ground beef and even pet food. Let alone the cribs that have killed babies by being unsafe, and the myriad of smaller recalls that barely receive a mention. It tells me as a parent, that we, in fact, cannot trust the supposed safeguards our government has in place on items for our children, and we just need to use our brains. Don't give toys with a hundred small magnetic parts to children who aren't old enough to know better, or like in our case, we don't have toys like that here because there are smaller children who don't understand yet and kids will be kids and forget to put away those last 2 pieces. It's easier to deny them that toy, than keep track of 4 million parts and pieces.

But, the blocks? That really surprised me. No sharp edges, nothing that can be pulled off, but they contain lead paint. Way to go China. Another vote for buying secondhand whenever possible to find those items made in America, back when things like that were still made here, and another vote for reading those labels, and at this point being wary of anything that is made over there.

** Please, if you're from China, or are sympathetic to conditions there, etc. please don't take this as "China bashing" because it's not. As I've said above, it's NOT just things from China being recalled lately, but it's alot. I feel for those workers being paid a pittance to work long hours in horrid conditions to make toys that will make my children smile. My point is simply that the standards that are supposed to be in place are too easily bypassed.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Froggy Girl on Vacation: How to do Gatlinburg on a budget

(Told ya'll it was coming! And warning this is long, but hopefully helpful!)

Last weekend, my wonderful husband and I finally got to go on our honeymoon. Almost exactly a year to the date we got married. We went to Gatlinburg, TN for 2 days. Our first thing in preparation was making reservations for a place to stay. Initially, we thought of renting one of the gorgeous cabins, but then decided since it was only 2 nights, and I had never been there before, we would look for something that was closer to the "sights".
We started out by checking the major travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. as well as just putting "Gatlinburg hotels" into Google. Expedia had the best prices overall, without too much digging. We called around a bit to verify prices with a military discount, etc. and settled on the Sidney James Mountain Lodge. The pictures on their website were gorgeous, and when we called, we were told our rate for a creekside room (the view was over the creek) would be $72 a night. Yes, we knew we could stay in some chain hotel for cheaper, but we really wanted it to be special. The email confirmation I received stated $76 as the rate, so I immediately called back and was told that it was in the notes that the rate was $72. OK, sounds good.
Upon arriving, I stayed in the car with Wyatt nursing him while Bobby checked in. He came out and said that the total seemed high. And it did, $171 for 2 nights? So we went up to the room, and realized that we did not, in fact, have a creekside room-we had a lovely view of the parking lot. I went back downstairs and asked the clerk about the charges and found first of all, the tax rate was 12.5%! Nothing we could do about that one, but keep it in mind, but we were also charged $76 each night, for the wrong room. No rectification was offered except to honor the $72 quote we were given with excuses of the reservation service they used making mistakes and causing lots of problems. There were no creekside rooms available, and according to the front desk, there were none available when we made the initial booking either. A little disappointed, I went up to bed, determined to make the most of things.
One tip when vacationing, especially when going to a very touristy area-always look in hotel lobbies, gas stations, information centers and the like for discount booklets. There are usually tons of coupons for restaurants, attractions as well as tips on places to go and stuff. Also check with your hotel's front desk, because many times they will sell attraction tickets for less than you would pay at the gate. We picked up a bunch of those and started planning the following day. Bobby decided he was hungry (at almost one am, he has a really bad habit of that one lol), so we looked through the booklets and found a coupon for a pizza place that delivered until 3, a large pizza and 2 liter of Coke (the room had a mini fridge) for like $13. Good enough, it was late, we were tired.
We went down there specifically to relax, we made no plans prior to arriving other than where to stay, and since we just had the baby with us, that worked. If we had the other 3 boys as well, we probably would have planned things more around meals, etc. As it was, we immediately knew we wanted to visit Ripley's Aquarium of The Smokies. We had asked at the front desk, and they did in fact offer tickets a dollar cheaper than you could get at the aquarium itself, but we wanted to find out about their price with military discount. We went first thing in the morning, around 9 I think it was, no later than 10, and that was PERFECT. Walking up, we saw the prices of $19.99 per adult and kind of gulped. We knew it was something we really wanted to do, and also knew we wouldn't be doing anything else like it, so we forged on. Imagine our surprise when the total was $9.99 for both of us. That's a 75% discount, just for showing our military ID cards. People, this place was HUGE. We were in there for a probably two hours or so. When we got there, it was not crowded at all so we were able to take our time looking at all the exhibits, reading and being amazed at the shark tunnel. We left a little after noon, and realized the parking garage was now almost full, and the grounds were quite crowded.
We decided to walk around a little bit and just see the sights. We went into the Guiness Book of World Records Museum. Price at the door: $9.99 per adult, Price with military discount: $1.99 each. Again, major savings. Next we did what any self respecting frugalista would do on vacation-hit the outlet malls! OK, maybe not the most frugal of things to do, but I had a reason.
This may possibly be TMI, but we're all friends here right? I've been wearing the same two bras in rotation since I was 3 months pregnant with Wyatt. They're Motherhood basic nursing bras (the $12 cheapies that I just LOVE), and the closest outlet to our house is 45 minutes away-not far, but not in an area we go to very often and I hate to go just for something like that. So the point in going to the outlets was to see if they had a Motherhood where I could get a couple of replacements. They didn't, but we did find a few things.
We are not "souvenir" people. There were only two souvenirs purchased the whole trip, a small magnet from the Aquarium for our fridge ($2) and a My First Teddy Bear from one of Dolly Parton's shops for Wyatt ($5). The bear has been named Smoky (for the Smoky Mountains) by my husband. We did make a few purchases of things we were needing here at home and that the prices were very very good on. A couple of glass jars from Old Time Pottery (big ones for my sewing room) for $1.19 each, wooden spoons which were 3/$1 at the Black & decker outlet (my old ones are just ew, and I have been looking at yard sales and the like for months with no success for replacements), coat hooks from the same place that were also 3/$1, and a few manly type tool things for hubby that the prices were better than we had been able to find locally (maybe $40 in all). But we had fun, we held hands, and talked and played with the baby. By the time we went back to the hotel room, we were tired, but had had a great time.
The next day, we wanted to visit The Old Mill Restaurant & General Store before we left. It actually was a little cluster of shops so we walked around a bit before eating. I found one little craft store tucked in there which was mostly patterns with a very small selection of $9 a yard fabric, but they had fat quarters of wool felt for $1.75 a piece which I haven't been able to find locally at all and have been looking for for some projects that were in my head so I bought a few of those. Then we went to eat.
Now, about our meals. We are weird food people, we generally eat one large meal a day and then basically snack the rest of the time, or eat very light meals. On Saturday, we ate at a large buffet restaurant in Pigeon Forge that looked wonderful in the advertisements, but in reality, was quite overpriced and the food was not that good. The name escapes me at the moment, but I'll update with it when I remember. It was $12 a person for brunch, with the military discount it went down to $11, plus $2 a piece for ANY drink (including water!). Late that night, we were walking around Gatlinburg near the hotel looking around in the shops and things (we found a Peacefrogs store!!!!! I haven't seen one in ages and I was in heaven-I LOVE LOVE LOVE Peacefrogs!), and one of the storekeepers recommended a small restaurant which happened to be across the street (again, the name escapes me, will update promise).
We were prepared for more overpriced food, but were pleasantly surprised with average prices, along the lines of Applebee's or something. Two meals (only half eaten, we really should have shared one), after the military discount was $22. Lovely little place with a nice atmosphere and good service, average food.
The Old Mill Restaurant-amazing hush puppies. I could have made my meal those alone they were so good. The rest of the meal, it was ok, nothing to write home about which was a bit disappointing, but that's ok, it was decent fried chicken, just not "spiced" enough for my tastes. The one major disappointment-they had no military discount, and would not accept their coupon from the booklet even though it stated valid until 2008, no daily exclusions or anything. Their reasoning-we have a 30 minute wait for a table right now, so we won't honor it. Customer service at it's finest people.
And that's our weekend. Exciting, huh? All said and done, our costs including the price of gas to get down there (6 hour drive), hotel, food and everything we purchased, was well under $500. I didn't think that was bad for a very tourist driven area that was 2 states away. Could we have done it cheaper? Definitely. Am I disappointed? Not at all-many others would have spent triple that for the same length stay as we had.
Going on any type of vacation is a rarity for our family, but we have decided to make the trip to Gatlinburg a yearly affair (although we won't be staying at the same hotel, reasons for that are a whole 'nother post). Use the internet to your advantage, and exhaust your options. Call hotels directly to inquire as to the best price. Ask for any and all discounts you may qualify for-military, AAA, AARP, membership in your local shoe shine club, you never know unless you ask. You can still save money and have a good time.

No more gloom and doom!

As Lera so kindly pointed out yesterday, things have gotten a bit gloomy around here lately. So first, a little silliness to start your day off right:

Mattie decided that the Cat In The Hat needed to be safe in the living room the other day so he strapped him into Wyatt's car seat.

And second, introducing Lucky. He seems to be doing very well at this point, eating well and such, and his gums are pinking up nicely (they were white which is not good in kittens or cats). We are full of hope that he is fine, and was "Lucky" enough to beat whatever it was that got the rest. Isn't he adorable? He's the kitten of the momma who died, so as such, is even more special to us.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm really and truly insane

Lost another kitten this left and doing well it seems. He has been named "Lucky" in Lucky to be alive after whatever it was happened to his brothers and sisters. He has been flea bathed, picked at, combed, wormed, nuzzled, snuggled, fed, fed, fed, and loved. Something seems to be working, so we'll keep it up.

Now, on to the meat of this. I'm nuts. I just signed up to be a part of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. For the month of November, I will be posting every single day. Ya'll are gonna be so sick of me! Basically, it's like this. For a couple of months now I've been meaning to beef things up on my blog a bit more. I'm constantly thinking of things I want to post, then promptly forgetting and before I know it, it's been a week since I posted last. Sigh. So, I'm hoping NaBloPoMo will help me get my behind in gear around here! I have so much I WANT to post about, and hope ya'll want to read, but a months worth?

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it...what do YOU want to hear about? Any questions I can answer, thoughts you want ramblings on, etc. etc.? Let me know, I'm going to do something unheard of, and make a LIST of things I want to write about. Landmark, I know.

And tomorrow, for your reading pleasure...Gatlinburg on a Budget: How to have fun without breaking the bank. Ya, that one I promised oh, a week ago now? It's coming!