Sunday, August 26, 2012


So when we bought our house in 2010 we were excited, nervous, overwhelmed, and naive. When I say naive I don't mean only about the responsibility of a house, that we partly knew.  What I am talking about is HOA's and neighbors. I guess I remember (or choose to remember) back in the day when people had great relationships with their neighbors and there was an unspoken code of respect.

For instance, everyone knew not to mow their lawns or use loud lawn machinery after 8pm. People (kids) knew that they had to respect other peoples lawns and property. That if and when kids were outside at 10pm they knew to be respectful and quiet. They knew that you don't use someones brick house to practice catching your lacrosse ball, at least not without asking first.  Most of my neighbors I have never even seen, no one comes outside...ever. I know a few of our neighbors, the ones I know are wonderful. Not to mention we pay them $700 a year for a pool, tennis court, and two play grounds.

With HOA's its a different ball game. I understand rules about keeping your lawn mowed and flowerbeds weed free. I understand keeping your house pressure washed and mail box fresh looking. For instance, we have a retractable clothes line. It is a small device that is attached to the side of our house it is about 8 inches by 6 inches. You cant see it from the street. The white line pulls out and you hook it to the tree across the yard, which is on our property. I used it once a week to hang dry cloth diapers. I hang dry them in the sun, because the sun has a natural bleaching effect that takes any #2 stains out.

This picture is the before picture when the diapers are still can see a little staining, but 2 hours in the sun and the stains are gone! 

Anyway, I sent an email to our HOA asking polity if they could send an email to our residents of other subdivision if they could try and not use leaf blowers and lawn mowers after 8pm. The HOA contact agreed, that after 8pm since school was in session again was to late for loud lawn care. He sent out a very polite email and made a status on the HOA Facebook wall. He emailed me today and said he had to take the comment down because people were "very mad" at my request. He said he did not understand the "hostility" but he apologized and wished me good luck.  Just the day before I got a written notice from our HOA saying that there is a bi-law stating that no clothing item is allowed to be hung outside and that clothes lines of any kind were not permitted. 

We are a corner house (and bus stop), and we let a few girls use the corner of our yard for a lemonade stand in the summer. Usually, they are good about cleaning up. Then today, Aaron walked inside and said go out and look at the yard. I walked out and pretended to be locking my car doors. I looked at the yard and there were Styrofoam cups and pieces of styrofoam cups all over our yard, not to mention two half eaten balonge and cheese sandwiches which were swarming with bugs. 

I don't mind letting parents and kids use our yard and driveway to play and be safe. I do expect them to be respectful. I do expect them to pick up their trash and to be mindful of our property. I know they are kids, but there is a certain level of respect I think I (or society) should expect from a community.

It breaks my heart when I hear these elementary school and middle school kids "playing" with each other. Racist comments come out of their mouths left and right. "well you wouldn't know because your Asian" "hey Indian,..why don't you make us some curry" "Hey potato head, whats that stupid towel you wear on your head" 

So after the hostile comments about lawn work late at night, my clothes line and total disaster of my yard. I had half a mind to write a letter and stick it on all of our neighbors mail boxes and ask them to remind there kids to be respectful of other peoples property. To be tolerant of other peoples beliefs and that other kids skin color/accent is not important. Then again who am I to govern the way other kids act.

All I know is Aaron and I are going to do our best to make sure Parson and all of our kids understand they need to respect their planet, their friends, and other peoples property.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Meal planning

I started  meal planning as soon as we got married. This has saved us soo much money on groceries. I usually plan for 1-2 weeks depending on our budget that month.

I have been reading the Blissful and Domestic blog and she inspires me! She plans and shops for a whole month! I am really amazed and challenged by this...I pay just write out a menu and shopping list for a month and give it a shot in September....


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A day in the life of Parson

Stopping to smell the flowers...well pick up my toy

Really with the pictures Mom!

My name is cowboy Parson

Ma! Look I found Dads wallet

Ill take the company can have the rest.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

$31.58 = 2 weeks of groceries

Aaron and I are making up for daycare costs from when I was working outside the home. Because of this our budget is tight and we are living the Dave Ramsey way. If you don't have the cash then you don't get it. After I paid our tithe and mortgage last week...I had a $10 bill left for two weeks. I know this seems crazy, but our bills were paid and they only thing I had to figure out was enough gas to get us to church and to the grocery store.

I thought, Googled, and read a million blogs on money saving menus, less expensive grocery lists, and on and on. I could not figure out a way to feed my family on $10 let alone get gas to. For whatever reason...I was not worried at all. God and I have been spending a lot of quality time together and I have yet to feel worry about anything going on in our lives right now, this to did not worry me. I knew that God was going to provide.

I woke up the next morning and spent some great time with Parson. When Parson went down for his morning nap I got out my devotional, journal, and bible. I read the daily devotional, two Psalms and then I wrote out my prayer. My prayer included "Lord, thy will be done. Please provide the money we need to put the food we need on our table. I trust you." I finished writing out the rest of my prayer and closed my journal.

I went about the day cleaning the house, closets, drawers, old purses, ect. Along the way I was able to find about $53. This with my $10 already I had $63! I rolled the coins and turned them in at the bank for bills. This was more than enough to buy food and gas! Then I got to thinking well I owed someone $20 for purchasing something for me. I put that $20 in the mail and I was left with $43 and some change. I  put $10 of that aside for gas. That would get us to and from church and the grocery store no problem. I was left with $33 and some change for groceries. With Dave in the back of my mind I knew I had to focus and make this happen.

I planned a menu as best as I could. Aaron, Parson, and I went to church today. I left the house with my cash and my drivers licence. I kept everything else from my wallet (including my debit card) at home. We sat though church and the whole time I just kept praying "I trust you Lord, thy will be done. Show me how to do this" We left church and we went to two grocery stores...Aldi and Kroger.

Here is what I got for $38.58

1 box of Cheerios
1 box of animal crackers
1 large bag of chicken breast tenderloins
1 package of turkey hot dogs
1 can of sliced peaches
2 dozen eggs
3 pounds of rice
6 packs of Ramen Noodles
1 gallon of milk
4 red onions
3 tomato
3 pounds of bananas
1 package of tortillas
3 zuchinni
3 yellow squash
1 bag of large carrots
2 pounds of dried black beans
1 sweet potato

Now your are you going to feed your family of three for the next 13 days off of this? For starters I had a few groceries at home. Some chicken, half gallon of milk, two small steaks, half a box of fish sticks, cheese, a bag of frozen veggies and about 4 pounds of potatoes. Parson is the only person who really "drinks" milk at our house so the gallon and a half will be more than enough for 13 days. The package of turkey hot dogs had 10 hot dogs, that will be enough for two dinners for us. I make all of our bread items from scratch. That means everything, pancakes, sandwich bread, rolls, buns, brownies, cakes...all of it. I had all the flour and baking essentials at home because I buy those in bulk.

Here is our planned menu starting today:

Breakfast: Toast, eggs, banana bread, pancakes, fruit
Lunch: left overs, grilled cheese, fish sticks, ramen noodles, veggies, and fruit

1.) Steak -Veggie-Apple Sauce
2.) Rice and beans - veggie
3.) Turkey dogs - raw carrots/dip
4.) Grilled chicken - veggie - bread
5.) Pancakes and fruit
6.) Rice and beans - veggie
7.) Italian chicken and rice
8.) Egg and cheese sandwiches - fruit
9.) Potato and chicken casserole
10.) Grilled chicken - veggie
11.) Waffles - fruit
12.) Turkey dogs - veggies/ fruit
13.) Hoge-Podge soup. I take all my left over veggies and chicken and put it in the crockpot with rice, water and seasonings and let it cook all day. Serve with fruit and fresh bread.

See, you can spend less than $40 for two weeks worth of groceries. It may not be organic or name brand and it make take more time because its made from scratch. But its in the budget and its more than enough healthy food for our family.

Pray for the Lord to give you what you need and he always delivers. Even if it does come in pennys and dimes from old purses, couch cushions, and coin jars. He always provides what (more) than what we need.

Happy budgeting and happy praying.

- Patty

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How time flys...

How did this....

Parson at birth 

Get to this...

Parson 16 months old

Just when you think the sleepless nights, constant nursing and diaper changes, and lack of "normal" is going to last ends. Parenting comes in seasons, each season has blessings and trials. Embrace both...before you know it the season is over and the next is here. 

Take in every feeding, diaper change, first word, first step and tantrums...because these "seasons" don't last forever and you will treasure them forever. 



Today I choose to be thankful. I should be thankful every day. I choose to get caught up on the things in life that I cannot control.

Today I am thankful for a  full dishwasher...This means we have food on our table, clean running water, a roof over our heads, and friends and family to break bread with.

When I am busy thinking about everything I don't have...I forget that I have way more then most people on this earth. I forget that God does not need to bless me like He has. I forget that I have way more than possessions,  freedom of speech, and freedom to gather and worship. I have eternal life...I am  a sinner unworthy of this gift. A gift that did not have to be given but was. A gift that cost more than anything in this would could buy.

What are you thankful for?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Two things...

Two exciting things have happened within the last 24 good and one that I am still getting used to.

The first one is about Parson. We had is 15 month baby well check appointment today. Yes, yes he is 16 months old and it is a month late. I was initially going to skip this appointment since I had pushed it back a month, but, after the long vacation and being near lots of germs I figured why not. We got there and the first thing I saw was that there was a Measles outbreak in Atlanta. Now the MMR vaccination that I was going to push till 18 months seemed unnecessary. Anyways, we get checked in and Parson is holding my hand walking down the hall way at the pediatrician. We get to the scale and he steps up.....37... that's right 37 stinking pounds! Now to make that number more "normal" he is 35 inches long. Which in case you were wondering is a tiny bit over 3 feet tall.

I was so afraid that the doctor was going to walk in and tell me that Parson was one of the millions of kids who was unhealthy. Instantly I started thinking about what and how much I fed him. Because I am "that Mom" I don't give Parson "junk" food at all, and if I do it is very little and he drinks 2% milk not skim and only twice a day from a sippy cup not a bottle. So now I am freaking out inside waiting and waiting for the doctor to come in and tell me that I am a terrible Mother and that my child needs a diet.

Dr. Carter walked in (who by the way I think is the best pediatrician on the planet) and I think read my mind. He looked down right after he said hello and said his BMI is perfectly healthy and he has been in the 99% precential since birth. He is consistent, proportionate, and healthy. FEW! Parson is perfect in every way shape and form including his ears. That is right folks, for the first time in almost a year Parson has NO fluid in his ears!!! This means the canals in his ears are growing and are curing the fluid problem need for tubs in this little guy. Boy am I thankful that Dr. Carter and myself decided that a little fluid did not hurt Parson and that jumping to surgery was not necessary!! YAHOO!

Now about that second thing. We were in Michigan for 3 weeks. My car sat in our garage for 3 weeks. My car had some "health issues" that we knew were going to need to be fixed within the next 6 months or so. I got in my car to get some finger paint Parson hand prints laminated. I backed out of the garage and my breaks squeaked. I did not think anything of it because the breaks on this car were replaced the same week as my last day of like 3 months ago. Nothing should be wrong with said breaks. I got to Office Max and turned into a parking spot. When I turned I heard a grinding noise of sorts. This is when I knew something was not right. I parked and got what I needed at Office Max. Target is right next door, so I stopped there to get envelopes (I know I should have gotten them at Office Max) Now said grinding noise was happening while I was just driving straight. I called Aaron and he said it was probably the U joint and the bearing...sweet. In my language that means...$$$.

The lack of $$$ means that we have one car right now. Which is totally manageable because Aaron works from home and I stay home most of the week. The is a manual car. I don't know how to drive manual cars. This means that in the very very near future, me, the blue car, and a parking lot are going to have some fun. Err learning time.

Aaron and I are praising the Lord for our sweet, healthy, tantrum throwing, growing, and thriving little(big) boy. Aaron and I are also praising the Lord for one healthy working car, which is a lot more than what most people in this world have.

I saw a quote on Pinterest today and I figured I would share it. I think this is something we all need to pray daily...

"Dear God, thanks for this beautiful life. Forgive me that I don't love it enough"

- Patty

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We're back in the peach state

That's right...we are back in the peach state. We got back to our Georgia home yesterday around 3pm. Parson was a trooper! He is such a great little traveler. We are so thankful that we have such an adaptable little guy.

We had so much fun and enjoyed our families so much I cant even use words to explain. I forgot how much I loved the quaint town, old homes, the lake, and most of all family. When you are away from your family, you learn to function without their immediate support. You learn to rely on those close to you and the Lord. You find some sort of strength to push through the trails.

We were home for three weeks. In those three weeks we experiences what it would be like (almost) living back in Michigan near our family. Lunches together after church, play dates at the park, support, and a break for this Mommy. There is still family drama and those little things that bug you once you are near again, but that is all such a small price to pay.

My Dad is working part time now, this was a huge blessing. He and my Mom got to spend alot of time with Parson. My Dad even babysit for about an hour and he did great! Parson loves his "Bamp-pa" and "Maah-muh" Parson and my Dad loved to play in the pool togeather and Parson loved to run into my parents bedroom and greet his Grandma with a good morning kiss.

Aaron's Mom took Parson for two separate days, all day while we were in Michigan. She and Parson have a special little bond. They came down when Parson was born and she took the first two night shifts, so they did lots of snuggling the first few days of his life. I promise that Parson remembers her so well because of it.

I got to have girl time with my closest girl cousin. We thrift shopped and ate candy like we were little girls again.

My sister in law made dinner one night so Parson and his cousin Charlie could play. The boys were precious and we had such a great time enjoying my brothers, sisters in law and my parents.

We went on a double date with Aarons younger brother and his girlfriend Sarah. We enjoyed dinner, the beach, sunset and ice cream. Not to mention many many laughs.

Even though if we ever did move back to Michigan, all those things are not always going to happen. Its not always going to be fun and games. But we would be surrounded by those who loved us, who cared for us, who would do anything for us...and we would do the same thing for them.

Driving home was hard for me. I did not want to leave. I wanted to be irresponsible and leave it all behind as if GA never happened. This of course we could not do. Not only because we have a home and a cat, but because we have a GA family to. We have friends in GA that have served as our family for the past 4 years. We would miss them terribly to.

So here we are back in GA. Feeling a bit lonely. Relying on the Lord to show us whats next for our family. Weather its Michigan or some other state we are waiting on word from Him on what to do next.

- Patty

Monday, August 6, 2012

We are still enjoying Michigan

We extended our trip with family in Michigan for an extra week. This trip has been wonderful, beautiful, relaxing, and enlightining...

I will share details and pictures when we get back south.

Untill then I am back to enjoying the lake, cool weather, quaint towns and warm coffee.