Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We had a great time tonight hoarding as much candy as two small boys can carry. Considering we have a "one treat a day" rule, it is going to take us half a year to make it through their loot!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fort Akers

Look what a couple cheap shower curtain rods and a fabric shower curtain liner can make! The kids are ecstatic! How cool would it have been to have a fort like this to sleep in?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron, Andy, and Henry

Even if you don't agree with the message, it is neat to see the characters again:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hair a la Ruth

Okay. I have a friend at church who is a wonderful, sweet, kind, gentle, and strong Christian woman. She has a beautiful voice and is always one of the most friendly people in any room.

That being said, because she is always so "put together", I usually feel like a shlep when I see her. Or as Oprah calls it, a "shlumpadinka" :) She dresses, every day, as if she has a photo shoot that evening. She accessorizes. Her mascara is never working it's way down her face.

But the real kicker... her hair. Ruth has perfect hair.

Every Wednesday evening when she walks into church choir, her hair is in an up-do. And not just any up-do (because I too wear an up-do almost everyday, it's called a ponytail), she has the kind of hair that I would pay someone to do when I need to go to a formal event. She has this hair on choir night! Doesn't she realize that it is Wednesday?! And it is night? She has been taking care of her two young children all day and then she shows up looking like that?! It should be illegal.

So, one night, I cornered her to ask how she does her hair. She proceeds to tell me, and then demonstrate on my hair, that what she does takes her 5 minutes and she just uses bobby pins and hair spray. So, she does 1/4 of my hair in about 1.5 minutes and it looks beautiful.

So, I am all gung-ho and buy pins and spray. Then, when I had a few moments today to play around, I thought I would give it a go. After 2 hours of trying, much searching on the internet for instructions, time spent with hot rollers in my hair, much teasing and scrunching, and using about 1 whole bottle of hair spray, I have hair that is comparable to Ruth's. It is nowhere near as tidy, and my head looks like it is made of metal with bobby pins sticking out every which-a-way, but I can see how this could one day become somewhat *easy*.

Now, the only problem is, I usually wear jeans and casual shirts... not quite the look I was going for! Oh well, I will have to work on that, too!

Ruth, if you are reading this, I love you to death! Thanks for the inspiration to get out of shlumpadinka. And choir ladies, am I right? Or am I right? :)

Quality Time

Last night, after both kids were in bed, Kurt and I sat down in our family room... and played a game together, Scattergories. I love it! :) One day down with no TV, and we're still alive and kicking!

New Halloween Decoration

I hate spiders. I know that lots of people hate spiders, but I seriously have an affliction. I seem to be getting better as I get older, but as my great friend JoEllen can attest, I panic... which isn't good when there is one on your windshield... on the inside of your windshield... and you are driving 65 miles per hour on the highway... with a bunch of girls in your car... but that is another story, right Jo?

On the other hand, I DO HAVE an incredible fascination with spiders once they get to a certain size... small ones, just creepy and annoying, but big ones with lots of colors and huge webs, amazing!

So, this is in our bushes in front of our house. I tried to get a photo of it next to a cell phone to show you that, including his legs, he is about the size of a call phone. He truly is awesome. But I still wish he wasn't there.

Looks like this is what he is: Common Yellow and Black Writing Spider

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Center

So, take a look at this picture and tell me what is NOT the focus of the room?

Answer: THE TV!

The TV is no longer the center, focus, main attraction in our family room! The new focus... FAMILY! :)

I am actually REALLY excited about this!

Just Like the Wise Men


Christmas is almost upon us. I know, I know, get through Halloween first... but I like to get things done early. My goal each year is to be decorated, shopped, wrapped, cards made and sent by Dec 1st. Then, all I have to do is enjoy the season!

Anywho, to cut back on costs, and to ensure that our children appreciate and respect the gifts that they receive, we have decided to give each child Three gifts for Christmas, symbolizing the Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold that were given go the Christ Child. This will also keep our focus on our Lord.

Also, we would like to institute a "Gift for Jesus", where we all commit to giving a gift of our time to Christ sometime throughout the year... this could be something like working with Habitat for Humanity, at a soup kitchen, Toys for Tots, donating items to a homeless shelter, making cards and taking gifts to sick kids in the hospital, etc... If anyone would like to send suggestions of things to do with small children, I would greatly appreciate it!

So... this brings me to my exciting news... I am done shopping for the boys! We will need to buy one gift from SA**A, but have to wait and hear what our boys ask for from him.

I feel fantastic knowing that they will be receiving gifts that they will REALLY like, they won't be overwhelmed with *stuff*, and the focus will be on the nativity story as we open our gifts! AND, it is costing us a LOT LESS than in previous years! :)

Let me know your thoughts, your traditions, etc... I would love any ideas you can give me!

Just in the Nick of Time

Well, I have decided who to vote for. After much deliberation and praying, I am going Democratic this election. :)

I have always voted Democratic, so I am not sure why this election was not a "given" for me, but it truly wasn't. After all the debates, the campaigning, and the issues with the economy, I find myself more comfortable voting for Obama.

That being said, there are concerns that I have with our National Security and with Abortion. I will pray for our leaders and our citizens to make informed and wise choices in those respects.

Thanks to everyone for sharing all of your opinions with me, and Praise God that we live in a country where we can talk feely about these issues. I can't imagine not having a "say" about who runs my country, and not being able to express my beliefs and opinions.

And, may the best man win! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saving Big Bucks

So, I have started something called The Grocery Game. It is a website where you sign up to receive lists from the grocery stores that you shop at most. This list tells you what will be on sale that week, where you can find coupons for those sale items, and then you can print out the list with just the items you plan on purchasing.

I went to Walgreens and Food Lion today. I bought mostly body/hair/home care stuff at Walgreens, and then bought groceries at Food Lion.

My total amount saved today by using The Grocery Game...

Drum Roll Please...


FANTASTIC! It only took a little planning last night and this morning, then driving to both places to buy the stuff I wanted. I even gotjavascript:void(0) 3 items for FREE! INCREDIBLE! I am loving it!

We figure if we can do just that each week, we will save almost 250 a month in groceries, and it will only get better as I start to accumulate more coupon circulars and stockpiling goods when they are super cheap/free!

Woo Hoo!


Well, we did it. The little black box no longer receives a feed from DirecTV. We are WITHOUT TY! I will keep you posted as to how I make it through. Everyone tells me that we will all get used to it and will LOVE all the free time that it will allow us!

Wish us luck!

Financial Peace... Here We Come!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sitting on the Porch just Watching All The World Go By

Brody and I had a nice moment today on the front porch, just eating Popsicles and watching the sun slowly move it's way down in the sky. Very nice memory that was made today.

Note to self: I don't take enough time to just sit and enjoy my kids. Do it more often.

Getting Down with my Crafty Self

Every now and then, I fantasize myself as a seamstress and make a little something with my sewing machine. Today, it was little pillow cases for Seth's *pillow*. His pillow does not have a removable cover and he takes it everywhere, sleeps with it, etc... so it is extremely filthy and not very washable. So, I made removable covers. It will take him a little while to get used to them, but hopefully this will help prevent a little disease spreading this season!

Oh, and not to leave Poochie out, with the remnants, Poochie is now SOOPER POOCHIE!

Backways, Sideways, and Every Which-a-ways

As adults, there are very few sleep positions. Left Side, Right Side, Back, Stomach. Kids blow all of those rules out the window...

Head on pillow, Head under pillow, feet on pillow, Lengthways across 2 pillows, Spread Eagle in Center of Bed, Feet Hanging Off Bed, etc...

This is a photo taken this morning after Seth crawled into bed with me while Kurt was at the gym. The sad thing, he is on MY PILLOW (as is the cat, who sleeps there every night). There is just nothing like waking up in the morning with 4 square inches of pillow and bed space!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finally ! What We Have All Been Waiting For!

We got this fee sample in the mail today. Finally! Someone is looking out for those of use who have noticed that BETWEEN our teeth is just not as bright and shiny as we would like.

Crest has created Whitening Dental Floss. We can all rest easy now, knowing that hidden down in the depths between our pearly whites is a glimmering, glowing shade of white! *Huge Sigh of Relief*

Just for the Record, I am a Jenny Craig Supporter

Okay. I have lost almost 25 pounds doing Jenny Craig. I support the program. I am all for it.

But I do have to say, that the Marketing Department at Jenny Craig is really getting the job done. I mean, looking at the picture on the front of the box below, who wouldn't want to sample their Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice?

I opened the package to make my lunch and this is what I got. It wasn't my favorite meal so far, but really, it didn't taste half as bad as it looked!

Is this a case of false advertising? Do you think they'd sell as many products if they actually took a picture of what the food actually looked like? I'm not even going to repeat what Kurt said it looked like. :)

Just Like Old Times

Kurt got free tickets to go to the Norfolk Virginia Wine Festival this weekend. In fact, he got valet parking, tickets, and access to a VIP tent (that we never found). We were feeling rather important.

As we walked around, we had this feeling like we had "been there before". And I mean, by that, that we used to go out as a couple and do "adult" things (like tasting wine) on a regular basis before we had our kids. I miss it. I wouldn't change any of it, but it was nice to get back to "Jen & Kurt basics".

It was a rainy, cold, and windy day, but we still enjoyed tasting wine from our favorite vineyard (Cardinal Point) and buying a few bottles to enjoy later!

Friday, October 17, 2008

TWO years longer!

According to, by shaving off 23.6 pounds (GO ME!), I have added exactly 2 years onto my lifespan!!!

So, for those of you who haven't seen me in a while, and we keep putting off getting together again, make sure we make plans to do so before

October 14, 2049!

It's Grammy Day!

Happy Birthday, Grammy! In honor of your birthday, my kids have decided to be over-the-top crazy. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Keith Hinton Group website redesign

The new website is live! I have been working on it for a few months now. When you get the chance, check it out and see what you think. Send along any constructive criticism! I would love to hear opinions!

Oh, and if you know of anyone who needs to sell or buy a home in Hampton Roads (Suffolk, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Smithfield, Franklin, etc...) send them my way! We do a GREAT JOB, if I do say so myself!


My Advice for Parents of 4 and 2 year olds...

In through the nose... Out through the mouth.

Yay Yay Yay! And another yay!

Schools pictures came back today!!!

These are photos of the prints since my scanner isn't working, but you can see just how incredibly great these photos are! HUGE sigh of relief!


This is for you, Pa Chuck!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Glasses

I have let everyone down, but nobody more than myself.

*sigh* Please forgive me.

I thank all of you for voting on which glasses I should buy. I was SO EXCITED, as were many of you!

Well, on further inspection, I realized that my new prescription for glasses was nothing but new. It was for the exact same prescription. Nothing had changed in over 7 years.

Well, most of you who read my blog regularly know that we are trying to live as frugally as possible right now. So... as of right now... I am stuck with old, boring, lifeless, out of date, not so cute glasses.

Now, if any of you wanted to take up a collection for me to buy one of the pairs that you all voted on, feel free! :)

AND... I haven't given up! I am still trying to figure out a way to get those cutie patootie glasses. Anybody know a cheap way to get some cute frames? I thought of buying them online from a cheaper source, but I just can't get past the fact that you can't try them on and see them before hand!

Who knows, maybe my fantastic hubby and I can come to some sort of agreement and I can get new ones.

Stupid economy.

New Poll

So, I am just curious... I have a new poll on the right side of my blog. Be honest. If you had to trim your budget, would you cut back on groceries before cutting out TV from your life?

Monday, October 13, 2008

To TV or not to TV, that is the BIG question

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."
-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

Kurt and I have been slashing our budget since March. We have made HUGE changes in the way we live. We have sacrificed quite a bit to work on getting rid of our debt and save comfortably.

With the economy being absolutely loopy, we decided to look at the budget AGAIN and make more changes.

We are getting rid of our gym membership (Kurt will still get a free one because he is an instructor). We got rid of the DirecTV upstairs in the kids playroom. We are changing our Life Insurance to Term instead of Whole Life. We are pondering getting rid of the home phone land line. We aren't using the air conditioner or heating AT ALL and are just opening windows, using fans, etc... as needed.

So, there are lots of things that have been *relatively easy* for us to decide to cut out.

THAT BEING SAID... we are having a REAL HARD TIME deciding to get rid of television all together. We've been here before, in fact I think I even made a post about it. Yep, I did... on March 24th, here is the link if you want to read it but it says the exact same thing. So, here we are 7 months later still trying to decide!

We would still be able to watch DVDs, but would get rid of all feed coming into the house. That would save us $39.35 a month (we already have the lowest level with DirecTV, plus the TIVO). That would save us $472.20/year!

Kurt and I just aren't in agreement about it yet. On one hand, it would definitely force us to get things done around the house, get out and go DO STUFF instead of sitting around watching TV, give us time to read more books, do crafts and things with the kids to improve their imaginations. Oh, and I could rearrange the furniture so it isn't all focused on the big black box!

But, on the other hand, there are things that we enjoy together (like The Office and Heroes) that we would really miss (and I KNOW you can watch them online, it just isn't the same.)

So, here we are. Trying to figure this all out.

Let me know what you think... is it just Un-American to not have television? Will we feel cut off from the rest of the world? Would we be outcasts at social functions? Would we be seen as *weird* (not that we aren't already?!)


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Melted Witch Treats

I found these treats online and thought I would make them for Halloween Bunco at my house. They turned out really cute! They are little witch hats in a "puddle of melted witch" with a broom. Too fun.

Here is the link where you can find the recipe and instructions.

Halloween Bunco!

Bunco was at my house last night, and we did a Halloween themed evening. I had a prize for the person that made the "most creative/spookiest/coolest" food item. Our Bunco group is so important to me, as having time with friends seems to be a last priority once you have a husband and kids. Love you Betties!

Should I be concerned?

I used to swing this high as a kid, too. But when you see your own kids do it, the mommy protection instinct kicks into high gear!

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's True. Believe me.

This is a yucky post. If you are not a parent, you will be appalled that I am about to have a whole post dedicated to the following topic. Before I had kids, I thought parents of little kids were demented. If you are a parent, you will *get it*.

Kids bowel movements are just crazy. They aren't like adults. ANYTHING they eat affects their poopies and just makes them crazy/horrifying.

Seth had a *present* for me that was unlike anything I have ever seen. The color was indescribable. I knew that nobody would believe me if I simply told them the color, so I thought I would show it. Don't worry. I know what you are thinking!

I am a graphic designer as well as a parent, so I have something called a Pantone Book, which is a book of colors (kind of like the paint chips you buy at Lowes). So, I took out my handy Pantone book and found the EXACT color of Seth's poop. Yes, I know. I am a tad *odd* at times.

So, here it is... I have named it "BM Green". The really sad thing is that I can't think of anything that would have made his poop this particular shade.

And for those of you who really want to see it, I DID take a photo! I just couldn't resist! Just email me. And if you are interested enough to see a photo of somebody elses child's poop, then you are worse than me!

Now all you non-parents, let's hear a collective

And then, when maybe you are a parent one day, and you pick up your kid to smell their butt, or change a bright green or blue (yes, they happen too!) poopie, then think of me!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Windows a la Fromage

There are things you can never predict having to say to your kids. No book will warn you. No friends will have a story to tell that their kid did the SAME thing. I said one of those things to my kids today...

"Don't rub your cheese on the window."

Good Lordy. How does one stay one step ahead of their children, when window cheese rubbing is the last thing you expect?!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Only a Kid

It would be freeing to be a kid and not have all of the "rules" that we adults make up for ourselves.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Presidential Election has Been Decided

Kurt and I don't talk politics in the house. In fact, we don't even talk politics anywhere, except for this upcoming election. We are having a hard time with this election.

Well, Brody went to school today and they talked about the election and what the president does. Then, they had them *vote*. Look who Brody chose, because McCain is "not kind of handsome at all" and he "really really really likes the bottom man (Obama)."

Just so the republicans who read my blog aren't left out, Brody informed me that "Lake picked the old man on the top, but I don't want him as president."

So, there you have it. Why even bother holding an election in Nov? :)

Snip Snip!

I FINALLY got my hair cut. My hair just kept growing and growing (that seems to happen when you don't cut it for almost 2 years!) and it had really gotten too long. Well, I got it cut today and have decided that this is the best length for me. It just *feels* good.

So, here is my new 'do.

School Picture Day!

Today was Seth's first school picture dayt. Brody's is tomorrow, but I wanted a photo of them together, so I had Brody dress up this morning, too.

So, here they are all dressed up with nice neat hair. Brody looks SO OLD to me in these photos. *sigh*