Category Archives: clothes


Today is my 39th birthday.

This morning I was booted from the house so my kids could “surprise” me with baking me a birthday cake. Surprise is in quotes because I’m the one that set out the cake box and frosting a few days ago. I also made sure to leave 3 eggs in the fridge. 🙂

While they baked a cake, made cards, and wrapped gifts, I wondered around my favorite thrift stores.

Between Veteran’s Day sales (50% entire store) and price tag color mark down (one store had 3 colors at 75% off) I found some fantastic deals.

I found a couple of my brand, my size jeans.

I also found some wonderful old books. (Such as a lovely 2 volume set of “The Outline of History” by H. G. Wells. I’m aware some of its content is not congruent with a Biblical Worldview but I’m still interested in reading the books.)

I think we are ending the day with my choice of dinner (wings?), cake & cards. I love celebrating my birthday and being that I almost didn’t live through my first day, I’ll never be ashamed of my age.


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Filed under birthday, books, clothes, literature

Thread on our Lower-Middle Class Family

It’s been a while. We added a new child to the family in October so I’ve haven’t had much time to blog. The following is actually a series of tweets from yesterday. I did make a few small grammatical/clarifying/organizational edits, but it’s basically a series of 15 tweets:

Looking at our income and all these tax numbers…

We are basically lower-middle class. A one income family with 3 kids.

From all the talk, one would think we are dirt poor and cannot survive. Yet we do. Pretty comfortably, I might add. Here are a few thought as to why.

  1. The only thing we owe on is our house.
    1. It’s descent size but not massive. Two kids will share a room until one of the 3 move out. *gasp* And we prefer it that way, shocking I know.
    2. We only have a house because my husband (as a single man) purchased a town home way below his means. And we lived in that “semi-inconvenient” town home until we had 2 kids and the profit of a sale would cover a house down payment.
    3. We also don’t owe on school loans because we bought nothing but needs for several years. (All extra money went to pay them all off.) Not having those helps tremendously.
    4. We drive 2007 & 2008 vehicles. No loans on those. One was bought used, with cash (other is a hold over from single days)
    5. While we use credit cards for convenience, we never carry a balance.
    6. Having little to no debt (just the house remember) frees up a lot of money every month. Less locked in payments and less waste to interest
  2. Having only one income provides opportunity for saving money
    1. I cook most of our food (healthier and cheaper). I have the time to clip coupons, find the best sales, and make meals from scratch. It’s a lot more difficult to do this when time is limited
    2. Our monthly budget for gas and clothing is lower than most. Not only do we drive less, we don’t need work clothes (helps that our one income earner also works from home)
    3. We don’t pay for any child care (except an occasional date night)
  3. Probably the most significant, we define “comfortable living” very different than most
    1. All of our needs are met (first!) Food, clothing, shelter, water, power, transportation, these items are always covered. We recognize this and are extremely grateful that our income covers the basics. Some are not as fortunate.
    2. We have such great peace of mind that the basics are covered, we get to really enjoy when there is extra to cover the fun stuff.
    3. We value getting a deal. We truly enjoy finding deals and bargains. We love shopping thrift stores. We love store brands. It doesn’t make us feel “less than” because we don’t value the pride attached to brand-name or new. The reverse is actually true. It makes us feel like we are smarter than others wasting money.
    4. We get to live our value of people & quality time over stuff. We trade money and a second income (which buys nicer stuff) for what we really want – joy, peace, love, less stress.
    5. Our idea of fun is different. We do lots of free activities with the kids. We drive for vacation and have adventures on our journey (see things you miss on a plane)
  4. For me, growing up as a preacher’s kid has impacted my world view in regards to money
    1. I trust God will provide for my needs. First and foremost, spiritual needs, but also physical needs.
    2. We (similar to my upbringing) have a wonderful community and support system. Should something terrible happen financially – we know our God provided support system would step up. And we do the same for others.
    3. Not having much money as a kid, I saw my parents work to cover needs and then some. We were loved and didn’t feel like we missed out.

In summary, our world view regarding money is very different than most.

Because of that, we can live comfortably with less. Practically speaking, we work hard to live this way. (Physically, emotionally, and intellectually)

The resulting freedom: Absolutely Worth it.

/End of Tweets

***Long time readers will know this, but I’ve blogged extensively on how we got out of debt. Starting in Jan 2012. We paid off 46K in 22 months. If you want to read about that, look for the “by the number’s” posts. To be fair, we were dual income for most of that time, pre-kids.

*PS: In the blog post editing page, I got the code to do a nice ordered alphabet list nested in an ordered numbered list. (Point 1. A, B, C, Point 2. A, B, C etc.) It’s driving me crazy that the actual post isn’t reading the code correctly but I don’t have time to fix it. Sorry. “Hashtag Three Kids” ;-p

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Filed under budget, car, clothes, debt, family, food, politics, writing

Making progress

I’m making progress – slowly but surely.

Yesterday and today, I was able to very slowly do my own hair, which means use a blow dryer and a comb. I tipped my head over so as to not need to lift anything too high in the air.

I’m also able to wear larger t-shirts, so I’ve been able to set aside JJ’s button up shirts. This is very nice because I’m tired of switching between a bright orange shirt and a loud red, Hawaiian shirt. 🙂

And today, I was able to take an almost “normal” shower with just a little assistance.—> This one is huge because it finally feels good to stand in the warm water and let it loosen up my back muscles.

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Filed under clothes, health

Baby Stuff

Wow.  Baby stuff is expensive. But then, I already knew that.

Last week I spent several hours compiling a list of all the remaining items we needed and where the best deals could be found when it comes to completing our registries.

We went to one store and finish most of the items on the list. My hours of work ahead of time helped us head to the store with a plan – so we didn’t make any emotional, impulse buys. If it wasn’t on  the list, we didn’t get it. Plans are necessary to stay on budget.

Even though we spent a good chunk of change, I was so encouraged that this was really the first time we’ve bought anything brand new for the baby (other than some shelving for the baby’s room).  To this point, everything has been gifts or second hand. I know how much of a fortune we would have spent, had we needed (or wanted) to buy everything new.

Plus, it was wonderful that we have received a few gift cards and had at least one duplicate gift that we returned for store credit – so even that helped this weekend when we bought a bunch of things.

Now I’m up to my elbows in washing baby clothes and boiling bottles and pacifiers. Our living room has now been taken over by a stack of boxes full of diapers. At 34 weeks… this is getting real. 🙂

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How Goes the Planning?

Well, We have a date and a location.

oh, and I have my shoes. 🙂

There are a lot of things partly done (guest list, invites, place to get cake, some of the registering).

There are several things that have at least been thought about and discussed, and maybe even a little researched.

But I must say, who ever says planning a wedding is ‘fun’ – that is not the word I would use. Maybe this has to do with I’ve never been one of those girls who had her entire wedding planned out… Most items I’m pretty apathetic. As long as it gets done, and done well – I don’t have huge opinions on what the cake looks and tastes like – I don’t have an already thought out high concept for the  centerpieces. My bouquet? I don’t know, just need a couple of flowers tied together with ribbon I guess…if I have too… 🙂

The important things are already in place. The Bride & the Groom. The fact that we intend on honoring God with our ceremony and even more so with our marriage.  And that we want dear friends and family there to celebrate with us.

Thats it… and technically, we could do that in Jeans and a t-shirt. And we could all eat pizza after… What’s everyone doing this weekend. 😀

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Filed under clothes, family, food, friends, wedding

Pretty in Pink (or at least I would have been)

A dear friend of mine was getting married in Portland. Because of the importance of this wedding, I invested time prior to the trip to find the most amazing outfit to wear. While looking for a sweater to spruce up an older dress, I came across the most amazing, cute, affordable, pretty dress I have ever seen. I don’t typically buy dresses, but this one was incredible.

And to top it off, I found the perfect pair of matching shoes.

We got ready for the wedding at my parents house, me wearing the dress, and set out for the three hour trip to Portland.

Two hours into our trip, we stopped at a rest stop to take a quick break and switch drivers. As I got back into the vehicle, I noticed that my slightly snug dress was less snug than it was a second ago. I did not hear it rip, but fear still gripped me as I turned around for my mom to look at it. The nylon zipper had pulled apart! Not just a little, and not just “slide the zipper down past the breakage point and it will fix itself.” NO the entire length of the back of the dress had split open along the zipper. After several minutes trying to fix it, and even fearing that we would have to rip the dress so I could get out of it, the zipper completely separated from one side of the dress. Here we were, 40 minutes to our destination with the wedding starting in jus t under 2 hours, and I no longer had anything to wear but some ratty old clothes I brought for the ride home.

It was all so surreal. Does this really happen to people in real life? I mean seriously, I can see it as a scene in a movie, but in real life??? Apparently, in my life, it does.

After several panicked phone calls to friends who had computer access, we located some outlet stores near our final destination. If there was ever a fashion emergency, this was it. We arrived at the stores and it was “go” time power-shopping like I had never done before! I went to 3 stores, tried on two shirts, one dress, one pair of pants, all within 30 minutes. Upon entering each store, we cut off the employee from their typical “what’s on sale” spiel to say, “look, I am an hour away from a wedding and my dress just broke, what do you have?”

I had people pulling things off the rack for me, creating possible outfit options, even telling me to check the store down the way because as much as they wanted my business, they all wanted me to find a perfect replacement outfit as fast as possible. I had one lady come track me down in a different store because after I left they found the “perfect dress.” I was heading into the changing room to so my mom ran interference for me and headed back to the old store to check out the dress. After going to Van Heusen, Liz Claiborne, Dress barn, I finally found what would work at the Gap.

I snagged a pair of dark blue jeans and turned around to find a lovely brown sweater. After putting them on in the fitting room, I made a decision that “this was it” knowing that in a west coast wedding, a decent pair of jeans would be acceptable. Because of our hurry, I walked quickly to the register, ripping off tags and size stickers as I went. We handed the tags over, paid, and I walked out of the store wearing the new outfit.

We made it to the wedding on time and at the end of the night, I was kind of thankful that I got to wear comfy jeans rather than a dress, even if the dress was amazing.


Filed under clothes, friends, travel

Columbia Sportswear

I needed a new jacket. (yeah, its hot here, I know.) Because it is hot, and it sometimes rains (hard!) I needed a very light weight jacket with a hood. My one coat with a hood is winter jacket and the one wind breaker thing is a NABC security jacket from my under grad days (and it is huge!).

So I went to the outlet store down the road from my work. I got a great deal on a Columbia Sportswear jacket. AND it was the stores opening weekend, so I got a nice tote bag and two free gifts (both are small things to use while traveling to have easy access to your id and money while still keeping it secure). I was curious to know the value of said free gifts so I checked out the company online.

On the first page of Accessories I discovered a product called the “Puyallup™ Organizer – Stay organized and on the go with this durable bag that protects your electronics. Designed to be comfortable and accommodate all of your gear.” It has ”
*600D polyester. Volume: 245 cubic inches / 4L
*Two compartments are lined and padded
*Zip-open front compartment has multiple organizer, accommodations for credit cards, passport and identification
*Slots for pens and pencils
*Cell phone pocket
*Internal zippered pocket (Click “here” to link to it)

So how do you like that. I bet most in the company have no idea how to say the product’s name. 🙂

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I just got some new shoes. My old Vans were wearing out and letting water in. I can still use them come dry and warm weather this summer, but for the time being, I needed something new.

So I used part of a christmas gift certificate and bought these lovely sneakers.

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One more V-day post

I wore both pink AND red today. And then I proceeded to spill coffee on myself about 15 minutes into my work day. I laughed at the imperfections of reality.

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Filed under clothes, food, holiday

I am a smart person…really I am…

Or at least that is what I tell myself. The last few weeks, I have been in a state of fear every time I go to the grocery store. I am to scared to attempt the Library. Why? Because I keep setting off the “shop lifter detectors” It started a couple of Saturdays ago when, of all places, I walked into the post office. Yeah, a federal building, and set off the alarms. They just told me to come on in. (I guess this happens quite frequently, thus defeating the entire purpose)

After that it was the grocery store on my way into the store. I told the guy at the check out, he said it was probably my phone. Which I found really strange because my phone had never set anything off before.

After at least 4 total times setting off the alarms, I just could not figure out what the problem was.

Then I did my laundry. Turns out I had two relatively new pairs of jeans from the Gap. When I bought them, they deactivated them, but there is this label on the inside that says “please remove before wearing or washing” You are supposed to cut this label off. oops. Turns out I did not and that was the “anti theft” device that was setting off all the alarms.

I was quite relieved because I had started to wonder if it was some kind of medical item that is in me because of my heart surgeries. My roommie & I got a good laugh at me and my anti-theft-alarm-setting-off jeans.


Filed under clothes