Bargain shopping is a family tradition

I’ve never cared very much about owning specific brand names.  Even as a kid, I chose comfort and personal style over the latest fad.  I can only remember 2 times that I asked my parents for something brand-name specific.  Once I really wanted a pair of Guess Jeans (remember that little triangle on the back?), and another time I really wanted a pair of Z. Cavaricci pants. 

Remember these?

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Looking back, that was a time my parents should have said “NO!”.  Really, what was I thinking? That I could FLY with those wings?  At the time, I’m sure I thought I was cool. 

As an adult, I pay a little bit more attention to brand names.  I have come to learn that certain brands can be trusted for quality or customer service, while others are known for the opposite – especially when it comes to electronics or appliances.  However, I will still always choose comfort and personal preference over trying to follow the latest fads. 

No matter what I’m buying, I want a good deal. 

I credit my mom for instilling in me a love for bargains.  I grew up going to thrift stores and garage sales.  When we went shopping, we always looked for the clearance rack.  Mom and I still joke that for years I didn’t even know that stores had anything but sales racks because when she took me shopping, we went straight to the back of the store in search of the big red SALE signs.  I think she feels bad about not being able to buy more things “straight off the rack”, but I am thankful that she raised me to appreciate a good deal.  In fact, if you talk to people that have lots of money – millionaires even – you will find that they are big fans of finding the bargain, shopping yard sales, and taking home “doggy bags” from restaurants.  That’s HOW they hold on to so much money!

I figure why pay retail if I can get it on sale?  If I have a coupon good only for a certain day – that is when I will make the purchase.  If I can get it as a hand-me-down from a friend or second-hand from a thrift store, I get excited!  Between the grandparents and hand-me-downs from friends, I don’t think we bought more than a handful of outfits for Emily before she was 2 years old.  We loved it!  To this day she always prefers the hand-me-down clothes from friends that are already soft and broken in over the brand new, store bought clothes.

Emily is also a huge fan of yard sales, and it has become quite the weekend tradition for us to see what treasures we can find.  She gets excited when she can buy a toy for 50 cents or a dollar instead of paying full price at the store.  She also knows the benefit of selling the things she no longer wants or needs.  

As a wife and a mom who does not work outside the home, this is a small way that I can help our family be better stewards of our money.  After all, all that we have belongs to God and we are merely caretakers.  If I can make a few bucks holding a yard sale then I can contribute to our family income.  Sometimes I can even buy something at such a bargain that I can turn around and resell it for a profit!  If I can save a few dollars at a time buying things we need second-hand or on sale – that helps our family. 

Recently, I found 2 sets of sheets in perfect condition at a garage sale for $3.00 each.  We really needed sheets for our bed, and queen size sheets can run $50-100 easily so I’d been holding off making the purchase and was waiting to spot a good sale.  I’m so glad I waited!  $6 for 2 sets – what a deal!  I’ve also found several picture frames for 50 cents that needed nothing but a little paint to make them go with our décor – a great way to liven up our home inexpensively.

Today was another great bargain day!

This morning I went shopping for some t-shirts, tank tops and shorts.  I found the shirts easily enough (on sale!), but I was having a hard time finding the shorts I wanted.  They were either the wrong kind, the wrong size, too short, or too expensive.

By the way, what IS it with all the SHORT-SHORTS these days?  You would think that as a society, we are all shrinking in height at the way these shorts are shrinking.  I would really like some things left to the imagination (or to my husband), thank you very much!  Yikes!  This is a huge problem in the children’s department too – but that’s a pet peeve for another post.

Anyway, as I was leaving the store without purchasing any shorts, I remembered the thrift store near our house that I had been meaning to check out.  I’ve always loved going to Goodwill Stores, so I was interested to see what goodies I would find and just maybe I could find a pair of jeans that I could turn into shorts with my trusty sewing machine. 

5 minutes later – SUCCESS!

Almost immediately I had 3 pair of jeans picked out, tried on, and ready to purchase.   I ended up only getting 2 pair this time because I found a couple other things I wanted and had a limited amount of cash on hand.  The jeans were only $3.39 each and in like-new condition – what a bargain!

After a little cutting & hemming, I’ll have my cute denim summer shorts – and I get to choose the length!

The military does not cause poverty

This may not be a popular post, but I feel like writing it, so bear with me while I express my opinion.

A while back I saw a petition going around for people to sign trying to get free internet for deployed soldiers.  As people sign, they can also leave a comment.  I had trouble accepting some of the comments I read, and it just goes along with something I’ve been hearing several people talk about lately.

Please, don’t get me wrong!  It’s not the petition I have a problem with.  I’m not against giving our soldiers free internet or any other privileges.  I would love for them to get free internet in their rooms!  They deserve each and every extra they get for the sacrifice they are making.  Our soldiers make up less than 1% of the population and they step up to a job that many wouldn’t do. 

I get that, I really do. 

I’m also thrilled to accept any and all military discounts that stores want to hand out to us as families.  Who am I to argue if a store wants to give me 10% off, or if the Post Office wants to give us APO boxes that are cheaper than the regular flat rate boxes.  I love free stuff!

However, I have a hard time with people acting like we don’t get anything, that being in the military forces us into a lifetime of poverty or that we can’t afford to buy groceries without food stamps, or that just because we are in the military we are automatically entitled to free handouts of everything.

I hear so many people complain that the military doesn’t pay well.  Do I think they should get paid more for what they do?  Of course!! But I think the same thing about teachers, the police, firefighters and all service workers. 

However, just because you are in the military, does not mean you have to live in poverty.  Even based on an E2 pay, assuming they’ve been in for 2 years or less, and assuming no “extra pay” like being Airborne qualified – it is possible to live with a family well above the poverty level. Especially if you live on post and don’t have to pay electric or water each month.  I did the numbers and it’s enough money to have money for tithe, groceries, gas, cell phone, cable, a little ‘fun’ money, and a little left to put in savings.  Now, that assumes no second income, but it also assumes no credit card bills or other unnecessary debt.  If you have a huge car payment, then maybe you can’t have cable or get your nails done, or save as much, but it can be done.  For those with multiple kids, they probably qualify for WIC or food stamps, which just provides extra money. 

Keep in mind, the military also provides almost-FREE healthcare (we pay a small amount each month for dental), and that includes prescriptions, and free life insurance.  Part of our paycheck that goes toward housing (BAH) and food (BAS) is not even taxable. We have guaranteed retirement if the service member serves 20 years.  There is also the free education, including not only job training but college as well.  We have a PX on post (think of a Walmart type store) and a commissary (grocery) – both of which are tax free.  We have access to several free gyms (some even with rooms for the kids to play while you work out), swimming pools, parks and playgrounds on post as well as a multitude of other recreational activities that are free or super cheap.

That’s a lot to be thankful for!

Now, before you say, “but you don’t know my situation” – you are right.  I don’t.  I don’t claim to.  I’m speaking in generalities. But I do know a bit of what I’m talking about. Hubby and I have been through our share of financial struggles – some that were our own doing, and many that weren’t.  I also know from experience that making more money does not mean the financial problems go away.  People tend to spend more when they make more.  We did learn though.  We made our mistakes and we learned from them.  Hubby and I haven’t used a credit card in 9 years.  We are a cash only family.  We’ve made a 6 figure income combined, and now we make…..well, not even close to 6 figures.  We live by a strict budget and know where every penny goes. 

If you want to learn about living on a budget and getting out of debt, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  It will change your life!

 

Now back to deployment…

First of all, for Hubby’s current deployment, our soldiers over there DO have access to free internet.  They only have to pay a monthly fee if they want to have internet access in their rooms.  While I would love for all of them to have free internet access in their rooms, and I would love to save the $65 a month that we are paying, it is not mandatory that we pay it.  It’s a choice. 

I realize not all soldiers that are deployed have the option to have internet in their rooms, or even at all.  Getting it for “free” would not necessarily change that.  Some of it depends on where they are and the object of their mission.  There is no guarantee that Hubby will have it during his entire deployment either.  In fact, even us paying for it did nothing to stop it from going down for 2.5 days.

In addition, while they are deployed, our soldiers receive extra pay.  There is hostile fire pay, hardship duty pay, family separation pay, a daily per diem, and our entire income while he’s deployed is tax free.

That extra pay more than makes up for the $65/month for internet access in his room.  Maybe a lot of families couldn’t afford the extra $65 normally, but with the extra deployment income there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to pay it.  You are paying for it with money that you normally don’t have anyway.

While the soldier is deployed there is a wealth of other free things available.  Lots of companies provide free items or discounts when a soldier is deployed, including sporting events, the circus, travel, even Disney.  There are even free summer camps for kids.  The Army itself provides us with $400 toward classes and sports for my daughter just because her Daddy is deployed. 

Cell phone companies will let you put the soldier’s cell phone on hold – saving you the monthly cell phone bill for a phone they can’t use.  Auto insurance companies will often let you lower your rates for the car that isn’t being driven as well if you are a 2 car family. 

Our soldiers can send letters home free of charge.  Packages cost money, but they can send letter envelopes for free.

No amount of money can replace having my husband at home, but I just have a hard time coming up with something to complain about in the money department.  I’ve talked to Hubby’s grandmother about when she was an Army wife, and realizing how far we’ve come puts it all into perspective for sure.  They didn’t get a clothing allowance each year.  They didn’t get issued several uniforms and pairs of boots.  They didn’t even have the option of the internet.  The soldiers then had to wait months and months to *maybe* get a letter from home. 

We have nothing to complain about. 

If your own financial choices are making it impossible to pay your bills each month, then make different choices, but don’t blame the military.  Seek help, learn to live on a budget, do without some extras for a while, shop at thrift stores, embrace frugality, get creative.  You can do it!

Homemade Detective Kit

Since Lovebug’s birthday fell right in the middle of her Science Detective Camp I thought it would be fun to give her a present that went along with the theme.  I didn’t want to spend much money because the camp itself was her main present, but I also wanted something for her to open.  I was thinking something homemade would be great….but what?  Then, one day I was surfing around on the web and I came across this blog post describing a homemade detective kit they had made.  I was so excited and went straight to work making my own for my newest detective!

Here is the end result!

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I used a simple photo storage box that I bought at a local craft store for $2.00.  Then I decorated it myself by drawing footprints, and putting my own fingerprints on it.

 

Inside the box was this note explaining what was inside:

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Here are some close-ups of the items:

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1. Detective badge – I bought a “make your own keychain” from the craft store for $.99 and made my own insert.

2. Journal – Found a cute notebook in the $1 section, and glued my cover over theirs

3. Speciman swaps made from a travel size package of Q-tips

 

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4. Evidence Bags – you can find these little bitty ziploc type bags in the beading section of your local craft store.  They didn’t have any small packages when I went, but I got 250 bags for $5.  I’m sure she’ll use them up!

5. Fingerprint lifting tape – just regular tape. Like I said, this kit requires imagination!  However, if you want REAL lifting tape, I found some here.  Might have to try that sometime!

6. Fingerprinting Kit – a pad of “washable” (but it’s not very washable) ink, and some blank index cards

 

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7. Magnifying glasses – I found a package of 3 for $5.  2 of them are “secret” ones that fold out, adding to the excitement.

8. Brushes – Paint section at the craft store.  I think I paid $1.99 each to get decent ones.

9. Flashlight – already had at home

 

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Everything together!

 

She absolutely LOVED it!! She told me over and over how much she loved this, and immediately got to work looking for fingerprints and collecting evidence.  I did have to make a rule that no food “specimens” could be kept in her room after she used ketchup as fake blood and was planning to keep it forever.

Who says kid’s toys need to be expensive? 

Teaching a child to fish

No, I’m not teaching her to fish for fish – that will be Daddy’s job!

I’m sure you’ve heard the following quote.

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

This concept is a huge part of parenting.  One of my jobs as a mom is to raise my daughter to be a responsible adult.  My primary goal of course is to teach her how to be a disciple for Christ.  In addition, I also want her to be able to take care of herself and her family one day.  When I went to college, I can’t tell you how many people I met who didn’t know how to do a load of laundry, or cook anything that wasn’t a TV dinner.  It was just sad.  As a parent, I would not be doing my job if I sent my child off to live on their own for the first time or to enter into marriage without these basic skills (among many others).  I’m all for letting kids be kids. I actually feel very strongly about not making them grow up too fast.  I think kids should still be able to play more in Kindergarten instead of feeling the pressure to read and write.

However, way before the time they graduate high school, they should know how to do their own laundry and cook!  So, we are starting while she’s young.

Hubby and I have spent some time talking about what goals we have for Lovebug.  What do we want to make sure we teach her before she leaves our home?  One of those things is financial responsibility.  She will go through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as part of her high school education!  She is already practicing these concepts even at the age of 7.  Anytime she receives money – as a gift, or as her salary for doing her household jobs – she tithes on it.  Then she puts some in her savings bank to save for long term, bigger things that she’s wanting, and she puts some in her spending bank to have money to spend right away if she wants.

As part of our homeschooling, I am also teaching her Home Economics.  We work on cleaning the house, laundry, doing the dishes, and cooking.

Some of the things she does:

She can mop the floor and do a great job.  A spray bottle filled with half vinegar-half water makes the perfect non-toxic cleaner.  A wet washcloth under each bare foot makes the perfect mop.  I’ve take to mopping this way myself because it’s easier to rinse out than a regular mop, and I can scrub harder on those tough spots.

She puts away her own clean laundry.

She can empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away.

She sweeps the front porch and sidewalk.

She puts in a clean trash bag after I take out the trash (she stands in the bag to get it open – so cute!).

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She’s learning to cook.  She’s already been doing things like cutting up fruit and vegetables for some time now.  She can help make a smoothie, loves to make fruit salad, makes several of our cookie recipes herself and can make sandwiches by herself.

Now, she can make scrambled eggs too!  Not on the stove…that will come later.  These are made in the microwave!  I taught her how to do this yesterday and she was so excited to make her own breakfast this morning!

Since I know you just can’t wait to learn how to do this, I’ll tell you!

 

Instructions:

First you get a coffee mug

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Then you get an egg and crack it into the cup

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Don’t forget to put the eggs back in the fridge.  Lovebug wanted me to take a picture of her putting the eggs back WHILE holding the egg in her hand – she wanted Daddy to see!

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Beat the egg with a fork or whisk

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Place in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Our microwave even has a 30-second button!

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Stir the egg, and place back in the microwave for 30 more seconds, and wait.

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It’s done and ready to eat! Eat from the cup, or dump into your own bowl. Add a little salt and pepper if you wish to taste, and enjoy!

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Our latest bargain!

We came home with this today!

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I always said I would never get one of these things! But that was mostly because they are crazy expensive and I just don’t think a young child needs to have their own car that costs as much as many people’s car payments!

However…I couldn’t pass up this bargain! 

$25! It comes with a battery that you just plug into the wall and re-charge.

Our next door neighbors have one of these for their 2 year old, but Lovebug and another neighbor (also 6) LOVE to play on it.  Bug still fits in it, and is under the maximum weight….so why not?  Between us and the 2 houses on one side of us, there are usually 5 kids playing outside together.  Sometimes 6 if one of the ladies is babysitting.  So, for $25 it will also help keep the peace when all the kids are fighting to ride on the ONE powerwheel, or they are all sitting on it together and are so heavy it won’t move.  Although, that is pretty funny to watch!

I figure for this price, we’ll enjoy it as long as possible, and then hand it down to one of the younger kids.

She was so excited about it, she wanted to just sit in it even though the battery wasn’t charged yet.  She even ate dinner sitting in it and watching a movie!  Special treat!

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Friday Favorites

I want to share one of my favorite blogs with you all today.  The writer is a dear friend of mine whom I miss very much since we moved away.  She’s super inspiring and has so many tips for staying frugal and healthy at the same time!  She’s also an amazing parent to 3 boys, and has a lot of first hand experience about foster care and adoption. 

Check out this post and this awesome product she’s sharing with us.  This popsicle maker is too cool!  Get it? Cool? Ha Ha!  Ok, *someone* has to make those jokes when Hubby isn’t around!  She’s even giving one away!! But don’t enter…I want a better chance of winning ;)  Just kidding!  Good luck!

Yard Sale Season!

I love a bargain, and do my best to avoid paying full retail for most things.  Thrift stores, flea markets & yard sales are like exciting treasure hunts for me.  This past weekend, there was a post-wide yard sale.  That meant lots and lots of yard sales all over post.  What fun!  Normally, I would have taken Lovebug with me because she loves it as much as I do, but this time I went with some girlfriends instead for some Mommy time. 

I even set my alarm and got up early!  Any one that knows me well will be surprised at that :)  I am so NOT a morning person, but I’m trying hard to become one.  Once I’m out of bed with my face washed and teeth brushed, I can do it, but it’s that getting out of bed part that’s hard.  A cup of coffee is usually needed too!

So, I met my friends around 7:00 and off we went!  After stopping for coffee, we set out to find some bargains.  I was very pleased with my finds!  Although, most of it ended up being for Lovebug.  Why do we moms do that? 🙂

What I got:

* A set of baskets with liners for only $3.  The liners come out for washing, and I know one of these will make a perfect place to store snacks in the pantry.

* A Razor scooter for $5! Bug has one scooter, but at such a great price I thought it would be great to have one on hand when she wants to ride with a friend.

* I scored at one sale (or I guess Bug did) where a young girl was selling her books for 5 cents each!!  That’s 20 books for $1.00!  I ended up with around 30 books I think.

* Bug LOVES to play with Hot Wheels style cars, and I found an entire CASE of them for $5! The case even has wheels and a handle to pull around.

* A large wooden box (that held ammunition) that I plan on re-purposing as shelves with a little paint.

* Oh, and one pair of 4T jeans (for my almost 7 year old) that I will cut off and make into shorts for her.

 

I think that’s it.  My friends got some incredible deals too! 

Unfortunately, a lot of the sales didn’t happen because of the threat of rain (which ended up being a serious tornado!), so I look forward to more yard sales this spring/summer!

 

** What are some of your favorite yard sale finds? **

Unpacking our life

Last night I took 40 empty boxes out to the curb for trash pickup today.  FORTY.  I’m not even done.  I have also taken out a total of 7 very large boxes full of packing paper.  Boy, did those packers use a lot of paper!  I mean, I’m glad because it kept most of our belongings safe from damage, but I think I could circle the earth a couple times if I laid all those sheets of paper end to end.

I did say *most* of our belongings are safe.  I’m not quite finished unpacking, but so far the damage list includes:

* 1 dining chair – the leg is broken

* World globe – the stand is broken

* Wall sign that said “Family” – scratched right on the front

* One $95 martini glass.  Yep $95!  It was a wedding gift, in a set of 2.  Unfortunately, we have no documentation to show the value.  We only know because when we received the gift, in the box with the store name, we went to the store to check.  We could tell it was really nice and wanted to know what we had.

Not too bad in the grand scheme of things, I guess.  I’m looking forward to getting the rest of the boxes (mostly books and clothes) unpacked and put away too.  It’s coming along really well and really starting to feel like home.

Once I get things out of the boxes, and put away, I’ll get started on choosing paint colors!  I’m looking forward to having some color and personality in here.  The only color we’ve had in our home since we’ve been married was Lovebug’s nursery.  Every house or apartment we’ve lived in had white, white, white walls, except for our last home which had sand colored walls – still neutral.  I’m ready for bright and cheerful!  We’re allowed to paint in our homes on post as long as we paint them with a white primer before we move out, so I’m going to take advantage of it!

Now that hard part…choosing the colors!

Too much STUFF!

As our cross country move is approaching, I’m finding myself overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that we have.  I’ve already made several trips to the Salvation Army to purge some of it.  We don’t have any LARGE things to get rid of, and I don’t want to take the time for a yard sale so donating it seems to be the way to go.  I just don’t want to take it all with us.  There are so many things in this house that we haven’t touched in the 4 years we’ve been here.  I seriously doubt we will suddenly need them once we move.

Stuff takes up time and energy when you have to clean it, put it away, then find it again when you want it.  It can also be visually overwhelming as you look around and everything is crowded.  Like walking through the mall on Christmas Eve.

Our income is already less as an Army family, and we already know that our new home will be smaller than this one.  Thankfully, we are in a very modest home now at 1500 square feet, but we will likely be living in something around 900-1000 square feet.  We’ve done quite a bit of research and have a very specific budget that we plan to stay in as we do not want to exceed our BAH (Basic Housing Allowance) that the Army gives us.  Therefore, we will live in a smaller place.

We only have the 3 of us, plus a cat, so it’s totally doable.  I do really hope we are able to find a 3 bedroom house to live in, rather than just 2 so that we can become foster parents in our new state.  We need that 3rd bedroom for that.  I’m leaving that up to God though.  If He is ready for us to continue on our foster parenting journey, then I know He will provide just the house we need.

As I prepare for the movers that will come in a month, I’m planning to follow the advice I’ve received and place like things together around the house (photo frames in one place, linens in another, books all together, etc) so that the movers will pack like things together.  As I’m working on this, I’m having the urge to just get rid of anything that we don’t use regularly.  I don’t need more stuff to keep up with, clean, unpack, and find a home for.  Clutter gives me stress, and a lot of it.  I like things to have a “home”.  The less room we have, the less places we will have to put things.  If the stuff doesn’t have a home, that means it becomes clutter.

Some things take up a lot of room, but are worth it – like our homeschooling supplies.  Craft supplies, the laminator, books, workbooks, crayons – it all gets used daily, so it stays.    Things like winter jackets and extra blankets take up room but have a purpose.  Even those, I’ve gone through and got down to the basics.

Other things can go!  The glass decanter on top of the cabinets that has never had liquid inside it.  The snowman dishes that my mom bought me a few years ago because I thought they were cute.  They are twice the size of a normal dinner plate, don’t fit in the dishwasher, and are hardly used.  I’m sure they would make someone else very happy.

My cookbooks are another area I could purge again. There are a couple sentimental ones in there from my husband’s childhood, but I’m sure most of them could go.  Otherwise, I get most of my recipes online now.

My other books…that full bookshelf in our bedroom…it hurts to let them go, but I need to.  It’s not like I read the same books over and over.  I just keep them “in case”.  We are regular visitors at the library (as in so regular, I’m surprised they don’t have an air mattress for me to just sleep there!) – so I can usually find what I need there anyway.

Lovebug has been awesome about purging her toys!  We are trying to simplify there too.  She has very specific things that she plays with over and over.  The rest – not so much.  We keep one box out in the shed of toys to rotate in and out with the things she has in her room.  Honestly, so much of it is “out of sight, out of mind” that she never even asks for it.  We recently gave away several toys that she wasn’t playing with and donated them to a small church that was building up their children’s area.

All in all, I’m looking forward to it!  I’m excited about having less stuff to manage, and more time to just spend with my family and building relationships.

This next year is going to be a challenge for me as I attempt to manage our household a lot more simply.  To live on a much smaller budget while still feeding our family natural, organic, healthy foods.  To homeschool our daughter using supplies on hand, or things we can get cheaply to supplement the curriculum we already have.  To entertain our family on outings and adventures by finding the frugal or free things to do in the new city.  To keep our house organized and tidy, and to have dinner prepared most nights in time for us to all sit down together as a family.

It’s going to be a great year!

I want to be independent!

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Rumor has it, when I was a child I often said “I do it myself!”.  I was, and still am, pretty “in-de-pen-dent”.  Just like the misfit dentist on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” movie.

I also grew up hearing “You only fail, if you fail to try”.  Well, the reality is that sometimes you fail even if you try.

Today I failed.

I failed to change my own flat tire.

I sure tried though!  I went out to head to the grocery store this morning while Granny was here watching Lovebug.  I told her if she’d stay here and let me go alone, I’d get her Christmas groceries for her while I was there.  Deal!

Then I pulled out of the driveway and heard it.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.

That didn’t sound right.  I got out and checked and sure enough, my front-right tire was flat.  Seriously FLAT, not just low.  So I backed the van back into the driveway and weighed my options.

I could ask our helpful next door neighbor to do it.  Nope, his truck isn’t there.

I could call USAA.  Hmmm, we DO pay for the service after all.

Or I could do it myself.  I never have changed a tire ALL by myself.  Might be empowering.

Or it might just be amusing.

I went inside to change shirts as I prepared to get messy and win this battle.  Hear me roar!

Or maybe it was a meow.

I had to check the manual to figure out how to get to the jack and to get the spare out from under the vehicle.  Ok, not so bad.  I managed to lower the spare under the car.

The next step was to loosen the lug nuts on the tire before jacking up the vehicle.

Loosen them with WHAT? There wasn’t a tool for that with the jack.  I cheated and sent a txt message to my husband, and when he realized what I was attempting he promptly called me to remind me that I could just call USAA and they would do this for me.

But I wanted to be in-de-pen-dent.  At least, after he told me where to find the tool I needed.

I hung up with him and got back to work.  Now, to loosen those lug nuts.

Grunt!  Groan!  Push!  Pull!  Kick! Stomp!

Did they put these things on with SUPER GLUE?

I tried and tried and managed to get ONE of them loose.  ONE!  That wasn’t going to do it.

If it had just been my arms, I would have keep trying.  I really would have.  But I started to feel it in my back, and I was not about to risk throwing out my back 3 days before I get to see my husband for the first time in a month.  Capiche?

So I marched inside waving my white flag and took Granny’s car to the store.  I called USAA when I got back and a nice gentleman came to change my tire.  He looked normal, but he must have really been a body builder or on steroids because he got those lug nuts off like he was opening a pop-top!

So much for in-de-pen-dent!

Maybe getting help isn’t so bad. At least we are getting our money’s worth from the Roadside Assistance.