We caught the Rug Bug

The other day I was listening to the Chris Loves Julia podcast and Julia mentioned RugsUSA has a rug sale usually around Labor Day. Low and behold this is Labor Day weekend! -side bar, if you’re reading this and it’s not Labor Day weekend be sure you put on you calendar to visit RugsUSA around Labor Day next year.

Having the original real hardwood floors in our house (so cool, I know!) we are in need of some warmth and ways to separate the living spaces. I went to RugsUSA (btw this is not a sponsored post, I’m just a new fan of their sale) looking for a rug at the entrance of our front door. Right now we have a scrap piece of the old orange 70’s carpet we pulled out of the back closet. It is not functional because it has no grip so it slips from underneath you when you wipe your feet. It’s thin and doesn’t catch dirt or water the way a good rug should. Plus I was looking for something to define the our home as a first impression. Continue reading

Loving Young House Love Podcast

John and Sherry over at Young House Love have a podcast! In all honesty I never really took to them as bloggers. Hard to believe, I’m sure.  Their DIY style was too modern for me, they are really wordy and they seemed incredibly unrealistic (I’ll touch on more of that in a bit). But it turns out all those words typed out on a blog are much easier to enjoy when spoken through their podcast. Sherry’s voice is perfect for audio and she rambles on, like me, so I can totally relate to her thinking out loud moments.

YHL Podcast

So about their being unrealistic…this is in no way hating on them. It’s more of an astonishment and ignorance on my end.

They made a career out of blogging at a time no one was doing it. They share in their podcast episode #8 that they have never and will never do sponsored posts. They worked in the marketing profession and didn’t want to come home and keep “working” on a blog. They found other avenues to monetize their blog (by using their professional marketing know-how) and became widely successful just being themselves. Even the bloggers they interview in episode #8 couldn’t believe they never did sponsored posts.

Everything is picture perfect. I don’t have a designer’s eye. I’m more practical and analytical in my home decor. I’m sure John and Sherry are too. But they also have a way of picking things that are beautiful to look at too. They shop at hip stores (with coupons) and have that design background giving them the I-know-where-to-place-what for the perfect photo. I’m sure they hide clutter behind the couch for their picture perfect family room photo…but at first glance their life seemed nothing like mine.

Okay, enough negative. I love so much about this podcast I just binge-listened last week and I’m so sad I now have to wait a whole week for the next podcast. Let me share what I’m loving about their podcast

They are the perfect couple. My husband and I have been married less than 5 years and we’re still figuring how we “work” as a couple. It’s an uphill battle but when we have those moments, days or weekends when we succeed it’s amazing. But dare I say John and Sherry have the whole marriage thing down. They click so well, they know each other so well, and they still surprise each other and keep things lighthearted and fun. I love the one podcast when they both said “I’m Ron Burgandy?” and then went into a giggle fit because they didn’t know the other one was going to say it.

They are a great team. Sounds like the above, but bear with me. After DIYing, blogging, traveling and building a family for years together they know how the other one works. Sherry and John explain how they respect each other and the mutual living space they build together in episode #11 “When Design Styles Collide at Home”. Hint: Don’t come home with a wagon wheel coffee table. (That was a When Harry Met Sally reference, gold star if you got that!)

They are honest. While everything on their blog seemed picture picture to readers (or maybe just me), they admit on their podcast it isn’t. In episode #13 they talk about how they tackle overwhelming house projects. Their authenticity in explaining how they aren’t perfect was like a slap in the face for me. Like, “Hello! They never said they were perfect, you only assumed they were because you aren’t!” Ya, I’ve got some personal stuff I’m working through…haha.

They’ve got the hook up. Genevieve Gorder, Tiffani Thiessen, Jenni Pulos and other DIY Stars are interviewed on their show. Not to mention questions answered by designers such as Jonathan Adler. I get my HGTV shows on Netflix, I am no longer inspired by the outdated design and just watch for the how-to projects. However, after visiting the YHL Show Notes page (where they have links to everything mentioned in the podcast), I have visited websites and seen interior designs that are new-to-me and I’m loving it! I hope Johnathan Adler gives them a percentage of my purchase from his website.

I could go on with more I love about the podcast (and I might do a second blog post just for that) but the final love would be:

RESPECT. I’ve got mad respect for audio and video production. I considered a career in television production after being the producer of my high school TV station. But holy-deadline that stress is unbelievable! I knew if I went into the broadcast world I would have a heart attack by age 30… So kudos to John and Sherry and the amount of effort it takes to produce a weekly podcast. Your hard work is WELL worth it!

Now that they have this podcast I find myself visiting their blog, with Sherry’s spunky voice in my head, reading along with their DIY and young family adventures. Turns out they were admitting their failures on the blog, I was just to rushed to read all that detail. The podcast, however, is a fun 30 minutes that is perfect for bluetoothing while putting a newborn baby to sleep. (Bluetoothing is a verb, right?)

So ya’ll go check out YoungHouseLove Has a Podcast on  iTunesGoogle Play, Stitcher and TuneIn Radio – or even on their website.

High Heels!

Why I blog

I write for a living and sometimes it gets to be too much. My profession can be very structured and overwhelming during deadlines.

However, blogging is more than writing

BLOGGING 

  • is sharing a piece of me with you
  • is a community
  • is a support group
  • is an alternate reality that is unreal but so real at the same time
  • is inspirational
  • memorializes my life
  • lifts me up
  • connect me with people, ideas, new products, etc
  • never ends
  • helps me reach out to you
  • helps me help you
  • is addicting
  • is empowering
  • requires dedication and motivation

I’m at the end of a deadline and I can finally get my head above water. Where did I retreat to? My blog! Miss you and talk to you soon!

Christmas Bucket List

Christmas Bucket List

 

Download the PDF Version of the Christmas Bucket List

Then, check out these holiday helpers:

Storage Tip for Wrapping Paper at thechicsite.com

12 ways to Organize your Christmas Cards at Organizing Made Fun

I finally found some time to read my December Real Simple magazine and I took away the following:

– You can’t do it all this Christmas. No one is Pinterest Perfect. #letitgo

– So that you can please everyone, ask your family what “makes” their Christmas? The parade? decorating the tree? whatever it is, write it down and be sure you do it! Then everyone WILL have the perfect Christmas

– Another tip: when storing Christmas decor and supplies. Don’t put all the lights in one box and then have to figure out what went where. Put all tree items in a box, all mantle items in a box, all front porch items together.

 

No Spending Month Week 4

No Spending Month. A month of no spending for a family of three at highheelsandgrits.comWeek 4 and therefore the end of No Spending Month

Total money spent this month (give or take a little)

  • Bills: $1700
  • Groceries $378.29
  • Gas: $283.86
  • Medical Expenses: $250
  • DIY: Gift $14
  • Gifts: $134.53
  • Entertainment: $33
  • Dining Out: $288.88

How we survived week 4

  • Week 4 was a mess. We woke up late every day, I rarely made my lunch and things just didn’t go well for the budget.
  • I wouldn’t say we survived week 4, we covered our faces and sneaked out the back door of week 4.

#FAIL week 4

  • $93.88 dining out. $40+ of which was my buying lunch for the week. FORTY DOLLARS! total #fail
  • I also had to go to our small town grocery store because I didn’t plan ahead and go to the bigger stores “in town” so I over spent on groceries.

 

Total EXTRA money spent this month: $25 (week 1) + $41 (week 2) + $130 (week 3) + $93 (week 4) = $388

Nobody is perfect…

Money Saved

Week 4 I’m being hard on myself and saying we didn’t save any money.No Spending Month week 4 www.highheelsandgrits.com

Read Week 3, Week 2 and Week 1 of No Spending Month

What happens during a No Spending Month

  • pay all bills
  • buy groceries
  • buy toilet paper
  • buy gas
  • cut costs on household items (DIY!)
  • trade and barter
  • track temptations

No Spending Month Week 3 Wrap Up

No Spending Month. A month of no spending for a family of three at highheelsandgrits.comWeek 3 of No Spending Month COMPLETE & We fell off the wagon

Well let me start with what our bank account looked like after the bills were paid this month. $900 in the GREEN BABY!! All the bills were paid (car, credit card, department store credit, doctor, phone, daycare) and we were in the green halfway through the month!

Too bad we felt invincible and considered that money fun-money for the next week. It did rain again and Jethro was getting cabin fever being stuck in the house and not on a tractor. So he came to town a few times during the week and over the weekend we were BAD.

We had a small family wedding with a pay-for-yourself dining experience afterwards ($57). Then we were hoping to go to the fair but it looked like rain so we went to the mall (because if you’re doing a “no spending month” you should definitely go to the mall!) I got my eyebrows threaded ($13) and almost bought a pair of shoes but I was good. We just headed home.

Come Sunday we went to Church, gave our tithe, had lunch with my Father-In-Law and the boss man and then headed to Lubbock for the fair. We got to the fair grounds and it was raining and they wouldn’t let us in! We waited for the rain to let up and tested out mattresses at a mattress store. New (sleep deprived) parents + comfortable mattresses = FINANCIAL MISTAKE!!!! When I laid down on one of those mattresses I told Jethro “I want this mattress delivered tonight!” The mattress I wanted was $750 which we could pay for in cash right then. But Jethro wanted a $2400 foam mattress. Because we couldn’t decide and because I was hungry we left without buying a mattress. Thank goodness! That would have been a HUGE blow to our financial goals this month.

We did eat at Wingstop ($48 includes leftovers for Tuesday’s lunch). And then we FINALLY made it into the fair. $5 parking + $18 entrance fee (I know I could have gotten free tickets somehow, but this was a spontaneous trip) I pulled out $100 from an ATM but luckily we didn’t spend it all. Instead we spent maybe $10 on food for me. Jethro was still full from the wings.

Total money spent weeks 1-3

  • Bills: $1000
  • Groceries $285.32
  • Gas: $203.99
  • Medical Expenses: $100 ($75 nebulizer, $25 co-pay)
  • DIY: Gift $14
  • Gifts: $100 (flower for bride and gift for friend with new house)
  • Entertainment: $33
  • Dining Out: $195

How we survived week 3

  • By saying “no” we could have walked away with new shoes, a new mattress and ridiculous fair prizes if we didn’t know how to say no.

#FAIL

  • $57 eating out for wedding
  • $48 Wingstop
  • $57 eating out again!
  • $33 at the Fair

No Spending month week 3 high heels and grits

Total EXTRA money spent this month: $25 (week 1) + $41 (week 2) + $130 (week 3) = $295

Nobody is perfect…

Money Saved

$900 – $295.
I’m saying we started this week $900 in the green, spent $295 and therefore, having paid all our bills, saved $605. I have spent part of that. I paid way over the minimum on our department store credit card and way over on our other credit card. Wouldn’t it be cool if those were paid off by Christmas???

Catch Up on Week 2 and Week 1 of No Spending Month

What happens during a No Spending Month

  • pay all bills
  • buy groceries
  • buy toilet paper
  • buy gas
  • cut costs on household items (DIY!)
  • trade and barter
  • track temptations

No Spending Month Week 2 Wrap Up

No Spending Month. A month of no spending for a family of three at highheelsandgrits.comWeek 2 of No Spending Month COMPLETE! Halfway there!

It rained on Thursday. It was so tempting to go out on the town! But we stayed home.

Friday we did go to the doctor in the morning and ended up spending $75 on a nebulizer. Read about that here. I had brought my lunch, but Jethro came to town for the doctor appointment so we ended up eating out. We went to Chuy’s a mexican restaurant he had never been to before. He enjoyed it!

Saturday my Father-in-law slash next door neighbor came over to tell us he and his wife would be going out of town. See? the rain gives farmers so much free time! Knowing that they would be gone and Jethro and I would have the whole “homestead” to ourselves for the week brought a sense of peace and warmth over the weekend. Well, for me at least. I got to organizing my desk, mopping the floor and other regular chores all by noon! Around noon Jethro’s brother called and my dream of enjoying time as a family of three was shot out the window. We were heading to Lubbock to hang out with his brother.

I only agreed to the trip if:

  • it was in the work truck (free gas)
  • if his brother paid for dinner (we usually pay for them so he was happy to return the favor). Remember, this is no spending September!

Sunday we continued the breathing treatments for baby, went to Church, and had a family birthday party for Jethro’s OTHER brother and nephew. If you’ve been to our house you know we have a lot of stuff. So much that hasn’t been touched in years. So for the birthday gifts I challenged Jethro to find gifts among his stuff. Especially the unopened, nicer items. Guess what- he did! He gave an axe to his brother (it was a huge hit) and a football to our nephew (not so much a huge hit because the nephew received 2 other footballs before opening ours!)

Whisky Pork TenderloinI wasn’t able to make my lunches ahead of time. I did do a crockpot pork tenderloin that I wasn’t crazy about. I warmed it up Monday for dinner in a bath of whiskey which helped with flavoring. Jethro did not complain.

Total money spent week #2

  • Bills: $550
  • Groceries $285.32 (Sam’s Club and neighborhood store)
  • Gas: $116.30
  • Medical Expenses: $100 ($75 nebulizer, $25 co-pay)
  • DIY: Gift $14

How we survived week 2

  • Regifted!
  • Allowed family to pay for our meal (set pride aside ya’ll! Let them repay you)
  • Used available resources (work truck full of gas vs. personal vehicle) – I know this is not always applicable to everyone.
  • Made two crockpot meals to help save time and money! Chili and pork tenderloin

#FAIL

  • $41 eating out Friday for lunch

Total EXTRA money spent this month: $25 (week 1) + $41 (week 2) = $61

Nobody is perfect…

Money Saved

$35 on pizza with brother-in-law
$40 on gifts for family
$75 + $50 (week 1) = $125 saved in two weeks!
It’s not sitting in our savings account but it’s a theoretical save.

No Spending Month week 1

My husband is definitely the type who has cash burning a hole in his pocket. The good news is instead of buying more STUFF. This week and last week he made a larger tithe to the Church. Even I was able to make a donation to the Church this past week. Once the car payment goes through I hope to make another donation.

What happens during a No Spending Month

  • pay all bills
  • buy groceries
  • buy toilet paper
  • buy gas
  • cut costs on household items (DIY!)
  • trade and barter
  • track temptations

Medical Emergency during No Spending Month

This is week 2 of our No Spending Month challenge. So of course we would have a medical “emergency” that causes us to spend out of pocket. Actually the emergency was stupidity on my part…read on.

This Friday it rained. For farmers rain means a day off to thank God and finally get a break. Baby MJ’s 6 month check up was set for the next Tuesday. Jethro asked if we could change the appointment to Friday so that he could be there. We couldn’t change it to Friday, but we did meet the doctor Friday anyways. Baby MJ has been coughing ever since he got to daycare (almost 2 months now). It is understandable that a baby in daycare will get sick, but he can’t seem to shake this cough. He wakes himself up with this cough and he keeps Jethro up all night. I, however, sleep right through it.

So Friday we met with the doctor and he prescribed a nebulizer. A nebulizer is a compressor for indoor home use. You put medication in a chamber and it turns into steam that the patient inhales. We went to the home health store recommended by our doctor store but they didn’t take our insurance. So they sent us to another store. The salesperson there called my insurance to confirm services and then told me he would charge me $200 to bill my insurance or I could “walk out the door with one” for $75. I have a sick baby, I’m a first time mom, I’m willing to pay whatever it takes to help my baby heal. I pay $75 and walk out the door. I will say throughout the entire process I have a bad feeling in my gut. Like, this guy is trying to screw me. But we buy it and head home hoping to help our baby.

Just to confirm my bad feeling, I call the first store and ask them how much it would be for a nebulizer if I didn’t have insurance. They said $49.00. THEN I Facebook message my mommy group and ask them “Has anyone used a nebublizer? If so, what did it cost?” ALL OF THEM said it was covered 100% by their insurance. #fail on not following my gut.

Here’s the kicker. I knew something was up so at the last minute I was like “I’ll just take this prescription, since you’re not filing insurance you won’t need it.” and the sales guy said “Oh, I do need that, for our records.” B.S. He’s going to file an insurance claim too! Needless to say I am not happy. I was telling Jethro I’ve met more crooks in this small town than I ever did in the big city. Obviously there are crooks in big cities, you just don’t run into them or know them by name like you do in a small town.

Tell me, what can I do to right this wrong??? My insurance company isn’t open on the weekends but I don’t see a claim on my insurance yet. I e-mailed them and I look forward to hearing back from them next week.

My husband however has starting calling me “princess” and telling me “welcome to the real world” full of crooks and bad guys. Even a girl on my mom group was like “It’s always good to shop around”. True words. I’d also add to that “verify your OWN insurance. Don’t believe what the doctor, clinic, pharmacy or home health store says.”

While I hope this hasn’t happened to you, I’m sure it has happened to someone. Anyone want to share an “I got screwed” story?

No Spending Month Week 1 Wrap Up

 

No Spending Month. A month of no spending for a family of three at highheelsandgrits.com

Week 1 of No Spending Month COMPLETE!

We did the photo and frame for my Father-in-Law. $8 frame and $0.42 print of photo (ok, I actually spent $6 on the photo because I couldn’t decide between two shots and I didn’t know what size frame I would find so I printed it in different sizes). Either way, I’m a bad blogger and didn’t take a picture of this gift 🙁

Saturday we went grocery shopping and that’s it! No eating out! And Sunday we did laundry and chores.

Total money spent week #1

  • Bills: $550
  • Groceries $285.32 (Sam’s Club and neighborhood store)
  • Gas: $116.30
  • DIY: Gift $14

#FAIL

  • $60 on bulk diapers and wipes (we do cloth diapers at home but daycare only does disposable)
  • $10 on other baby items
  • $15 chimmichanga night. This was a reward for Jethro administering first aid to my dog Ranger who was hurt. He hates that dog (a lot of people do) but he loves me so he helped me out!

Total EXTRA money spent: $85 or $25

depending on how you look at it. I’ll go with $25 since diapers are a necessity. Here’s hoping in a few years disposable diapers won’t be an expense and baby will be potty trained!

Money Saved

No eating out! No Sonic ice cream snacks!
Last month we spent $100 eating out in the first two weeks of the month.
So we saved about $50!

No Spending Month week 1 highheelsandgrits.com

Did you hear? Why we almost gave up

What happens during a No Spending Month

  • pay all bills
  • buy groceries
  • buy toilet paper
  • buy gas
  • cut costs on household items (DIY!)
  • trade and barter
  • track temptations

Stay tuned for Week 2 results!!

We almost quit No Spending Month the first week

Why we almost gave up on No Spending Month

Sunday afternoon there’s a load of laundry in the wash, Jethro is playing with the baby and I went outside to love on my dogs.

I start petting them and I notice there is exposed skin on Ranger (my crazy rescue).

It’s around his collar and there are gnats and flies hovering close.

Yes, there is that awful smell of dead or decaying skin too
(I am leaving out some details to spare you the trauma).

I fear the worst.

I invite Jethro outside to take a look and he doesn’t look happy.

We start thinking vet visit, emergency care, bills on top of bills on top of bills.
As all good bloggers I’m thinking “Of course this had to happen during my No Spending Month exercise!” haha.

But in all seriousness we were scared.

Scared to lose our pet and scared of what had happened.

At first it seemed like he may have scratched himself raw (he’s done that before) but we would have noticed.

Then we thought it might have been a tick. If it’s a tick it could be a disease with a life or death situation.

I can’t handle the thoughts running through my head so I love on him a little more and head inside.

I wanted to burst into tears and start freaking out. But lately I’ve realized worrying gets me no where. So instead I said a little prayer. I Let Go and Let God handle it. I asked St. Francis to help my puppy and then I searched for peace. Peace in myself telling myself “No, I am not a neglectful dog owner. Dogs can survive in the wild on their own, my baby cannot. I’ve needed to focus on my baby and that’s what I’ve been doing.” “Ranger is a good dog, he has a good life and he’s happy. This is his first illness and we’ll do what we need to do. God, help us with whatever we need to do. This is in Your hands.”

In the meantime Jethro is reaching out to his dad and I go visit Google.

I put together it might be maggot infestation (due to the flies) and start making plans to visit the vet in the morning.

Jethro puts on rubber gloves and gets his hands dirty like only farmers know how.

He diagnoses it as an animal bite. We do have a turtle living in the backyard and we have seen Mr. Turtle with dog hair stuck in his mouth before. And I’ve seen Ranger picking up Mr. Turtle and carrying him around the yard. It’s a love-hate relationship. However, the dogs have been escaping from the yard and running around the house so maybe it was a stray dog who grabbed him.

Either way, Jethro had some ointment to keep the flies away (preventing a larva infestation) and as of day #2 the wound is healing on it’s own.

We have an appointment with the vet to update his shots. Hopefully he didn’t catch anything from whatever decided to attack my pup.

why we almost quit no spending month (AND we didn’t spend a dime so we’re still good on our week 1 No Spending Month results!)