Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Snow Storm That Hit The Southeast

Okay, those of you know me understand that I have a servere allergic reactions when it comes to snow and cold weather.  Really, I do!

Okay, maybe not really but I might as well.  God created me to live in warm climates and that was just the way I popped onto this earth.  I can't help it.  (Ironically I was stationed in Grand Forks, ND while in the Air Force, hows that for karma?)

Anyway, if you've all been watching the news the last couple of days you are aware we got a snow/ice storm here.  We obviously did not move far enough south.  Global warming anyone?  Where is the global warming I was promised?  I demand to see my share of it.

Oh well.

So the snow began and this is what I woke up to yesterday morning.

Ken, being the smart man he is, illegally parked his van at the top of the hill in front of the house instead of leaving it in the garage.  Last year he almost didn't make it up the hill.  No worries this year, he just played hooky from work.  Shhh, don't tell his boss.

I took Lego and for his morning duty...
...and that's me in by pajama bottoms and snow boots I've had for over a decade and probably will have the rest of my life because they see so little action.
It was a dreary overcast day - aaaallll day!

I swear I would go bloody mad as our British friends like to say if I had to live in cold dreary climates for more than one day at a time.

So to occupy my mind and ward of the crazies, I baked.
I baked bread.
Then I made a Coconut Cream Pie - trust me when I say it was delicious!!!
Oh - I also started on an apron I should finish up soon.  I'll show you the pics and how-to when I'm done.

Today, thankfully we awoke to a more humane greeting with the sun shining.
So we took a walk...

And this is where we walked to.

As long is there is a Starbucks open I know a hint of civilization still exists in a land of frozen tundra.

Thank God for small miracles.  Jamie

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Studying Our Solar System

In science class Ethan has been studying our solar system for a few weeks now.  Although with all the Science Channel watching he does he schooled me in a few concepts as well.  One of the great benefits of homeschooling - we get to learn (or relearn) right along with our kids.

There is this great teachers store in Raleigh that I absolutely love called The Teach me Store.  We found this Solar System there.

Using clay that is like Model Magic ( if you've never heard of it it is this foam like clay that dries fast,) he shaped it around foam balls...

...then we strung it all together...

...for our end result.

I taught Ethan this mnemonic to remember the order of the planets:

My - Mercury
Violin - Venus
Eeeks - Earth
Music - Mars
Just - Jupitar
So - Saturn
U - Uranus
No (know) - Neptune

If you didn't know Pluto is no longer a planet it is classified as a "Plutoid" which means tiny planet. (So doesn't that still make it a planet?)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get Out Of Debt - Part 1

Would you like to be debt-free?

How about mortgage-free as well?

Many people have been emailing me since I have made some references to the fact that Ken and I are not only on a mission to become debt free but also mortgage free.  While this certainly is not a fact I've been hiding, it took me some time to think about if it was a topic I wanted to go into.

So I listened to you all and got the message loud and clear, you want to know the what, where, when and how's of what we are doing.

Therefore I now declare Wednesdays (for as long as I have something to say about it) my "Get Out Of Debt" day.

That means that every Wednesday for a while I will tell you step by step what we are doing and let you know how it is working.

I would love for you all to follow along and get out of debt with me.  If you're not in debt first let me say "congratulations."  Hopefully I'll still be able to add some ideas that you haven't heard of yet that will help you even further along in you financial mission.

Today let me just begin with a quick synopsis of The Mori's Financial Story.

Ken and I have now been married for twenty years.  In that time for the most part he has made a great living and I have made an okay one from time to time when I wasn't being a stay-at-home-homeschooling mom.

Unfortunately we made a big mistake in our finances.  Note I said big but not obvious.  What was it?  We simply weren't paying attention.  It happens and it happened to us.  What do I mean?  Well, we paid our bills just fine, put some money in investments just fine and then had fun with the rest.  Fun came in the forms of vacations, cars, boats, clothing ,eating out and just an all around wonderful lifestyle that we all seem to aspire to.

Still we thought we were doing fine planning for our future. 

Then along came our beautiful son Ethan.

Again, we thought we were doing right by him and ourselves by immediately setting him up a college fund.

At this point we figured life was great.  House, check.  Good income, check.  College fund, check.  Retirement investment, check.  Sounds picture-perfect and exactly what we are all told we're supposed to be doing right?

So where did the mistake come in?

Well, like I said we weren't paying attention.  We weren't paying attention to where our everyday spending cash was going.  We weren't paying attention to what each other was spending (I'll explain later,) we weren't paying attention to what we were spending to run our household.  We weren't paying attention to all the money we were thowing away on interest.  And the biggest one of all we weren't paying attention to our financial future.  We were living in the moment and the moment caught up with us in our early 40's.

Fast forward to when our son was about five.  Still good income by my husband.  I was earning a good part-time income as an adjunct professor and things were great.  Until my husband and his business partner unexpectedly ended their relationship in a nasty and expensive legal battle.

If you've ever had the misfortune of going through one of those I'm sorry.

However, no crying over the proverbial spilled milk as they say.  We moved on, literally, and life has actually been even better so no harm done. But what this event did do was it did us a huge favor.  It made us reasses where we were in life.  When you get the opportunity to "start over" with an older version of yourself as we did, the now hopefully wiser you thinks it through a little bit more.  It was time for us to take a long and trust me when I say very, very painful look at our financial situation and the repercussions of the egregious mistake of simply not paying attention.  We had to take the shiny new designer blinders off and see the very real ugly ogre of a financial life we had created.

It took us almost two and a half years after our life changing event that we got to this point.  I know, I know, it should have happened right away but it didn't and for that there is no excuse.  But thankfully it eventually did.

Last May my husband and I had one of those heart to heart talks that can either break or make a marriage.  We soulfully realized that while income wise we were right back to where we had left off before the nasty business "divorce" with his partner, we were in our early 40's and no where near ever being able to retire.  Now for me, since I don't work outside the home that didn't seem like as big a deal, but for my beloved Ken who works six days a week, every week, ten to twelve hours a day this was an incredibly huge deal.  I felt his pain as if it were my own.

What happened to those dreams of retiring early and traveling around the world?  I wanted to hang out on the beach while I still looked good in a bikini.  We wanted to be able to spend our later years in life with our grown son and future grandchildren.  Not working and worrying about surviving.

Trust me when I say it is a sad day when reality slaps you in the face.

So what did we do?

Well, we took the advice of  what Dave Ramsey was teaching, embraced it and ran with it whole-heartedly.  And the amazing thing is now just eight months later we have made such a monumental turn around in our financial life that we now see the reality of all those dreams that had only recently started to fade away into the mist.

Over the following weeks (on Wednesdays) I'll chronical exactly what he says to do, step-by-step, what we did and how it is working for us.

I hope you come along for the journey, this has made a huge difference not only in our lives but marriage and I hope it will help you even in some small (hopefully large) way as well.

Click Here for part two of "Get Out of Debt".

Live a Delicious Life,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids Exchange Event

Sunday my husband, son and I decided we were going over to the fair grounds and check out the flea market again.  Unfortunatley because of the weather there weren't a lot of vendors there.  So once we finished checking out the few who were, I remembered that I had read something about a "Kids Exchange" going on that weekend in one of the main building.  Always looking for a bargain I asked Ken if he wanted to check it and and he said sure - so we tramped across the fair grounds.  Once inside I could never have prepared myself for what we found.

It was the biggest and I mean biggest yard sale for kid items I had ever seen, jam packed with hundreds maybe thousands of people.  The place had to be as big as two Sam's clubs put together.  There were clothing, toys, books, shoes, furniture and vendors.  You could easily have outfitted an entire nursery or kids room from that place.

If you live near the Raleigh area and are interested to find out more about the next one you can check it out at Kids Exchange.

So after about 15 minutes of shopping, the entire time Ethan repeating the statement "I am not wearing used clothes," both the wonderful men in my life grew weary.  In the hopes of buying myself some uninterrupted shopping time I told them to go over to the toys and see if they could find any Legos.  In the meantime I did some quick shopping in the boys department sizes 8-10.  Within a few short minutes they had returned claiming their were no Legos.  I suspect it was more the case of dad not wanting to bother looking.  Either way I decided to go ahead and check out.

The line was all the way to the back of the building.  Yes the back.  But wait, it gets better.  Then once you got up to the front of the building you did this zigzag type of cattle train like the lines you stand in at Disney World.  Yep, those lines.  Deciding  the money I was saving was worth the wait, bless Ken's heart, he agreed to take Ethan outside and walk around while I stood in line.

Thirty-five minutes later I was checking out.  I purchased 9 items for him and they averaged out to just a $1.60 each.  That was thirty-five minutes well spent in my opinion.  I'm looking forward to the next one already.  Next time though, I'll leave Ethan with dad for the day and bring lots and lots of shopping bags!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Retro Metal Coffee Trays from the 60's turned Magnetic Message Board

A week ago Saturday while my husband was in Florida, my son and I took advantage of a beautiful Saturday morning and went to the weekly Flea Market at our states' fair grounds.  I hadn't been there for a good long time, at least eight to ten months so I was very excited to check it out again.

Once I got Ethan set up with a bag of kettle corn and a fresh squeezed lemonade I was ready to hit the booths for treasures.  It was fun to look at a lot of old things that Ethan had never seen before and explain what they used to be used for.

I found a vendor who sells new kitchen equipment, kind of like a Crate and Barrel without being fancy and he carries more obscure things.  I purchased a yellow mustard holder, the one you would see in a cafe because we buy our mustard in these huge 2 quart containers from Sam's, a scoop for all those mixes I made a few blogs ago and a flat wedge scrapper for cleaning dishes since mine disappeared somewhere into never, never land.

I also purchased a lovely lavender Pashmina scarf from a guy who had a boxful at $10 each or 3 for $25.

Finally out among the more traditional type of flea market vendors I found these two amazing trays.  I think they are from the 1960's.

So after taking them home and cleaning them up...

I attached a tooth hanger onto the back with super glue...

...and made these two retro magnetic message boards.  Perfect for a kitchen, sun room, office, porch, wherever.

I then listed them on my Etsy Shop.  You'll notice my Etsy name is Hippie Chick2, so don't freak out if you see that, you're at the right place.

Would love to hear what you think about them.

And don't forget to check out the dishes in the blog below and vote for your favorites at the top of the page.

LOL, Jamie

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Look At These Divine Dishes I Discovered

These are my Rosanna Dishes I've had for quite a number of years now.

I pull them out when someone in the family is having a birthday.

I thought I would give you a preview of the new line of Rosanna dishes coming out next months.  They make me just want to bake and bake.

Take a look and vote for your favorite.

Artist's Loft

Mixing together an eclectic blend of Retro, Baroque, Paisley and Victorian somehow makes these whimsical dishes work.

Buon Viaggio

Inspired by the jet-setting of the 1950's - Bon Voyage!



Decor BonBon - Colors

Love the retro feel from the 1930's.  Where's my apron?

Decor Bon Bon - White

A throw back to the Victorian inspired cake pedestal.  Love the simplicity in the white.

Eat Dessert First

These remind me of the birthday ones I own I showed you at the top.  Perfect for all kinds of festive occasions.

Farmers' Market

Love the fact that this set would be great for everyday dinning.  Reminds me of the Sonoma Valley.


You say Gelato I say Gelatoe...

Ice Cream

Again, the 1950's inspired her whimsical design here.

La Petit Hameau

Named for Marie Antoinette's "little  village" of Versailles, these dishes give way to the splendor of 18th century toile.  Love the pink and chocolate combination.

Les Petit Pois

Wonder Bread meets tea time.  Fun!

Petite  Treat

This my favorite.  Love the little pedestals for the cupcakes.  I most certainly will be getting these.  The only question is how many to order?

All are made of refined procelain and microwave/dishwasher safe.  Although she does recommend hand washing on most.  I always hand wash mine.

Here is the website you can go to to find out more about these dishes or check out the other great collections she has.  Rosanna, Inc.

Okay, time to vote on your favorite.  Feel free to facebook, tweets or just scream across the lawn to your neighbor to check these out and vote.

HINT:  I'm thinking about giving the most popular out next month in my next Giveaway.  So get those votes in. 

Use the poll at the top of this page to give your answers!

Live a Delicious Life,