November 29, 2012

Christmas PJs

Allison's shirt says "what Santa doesn't bring me Grandma will". The tree is up and we are ready for Christmas.

November 28, 2012

Overheard at the Playground

Two interesting things happened at the playground today:

A family was on their way out as we walked into the playground. The two children (5 and 3 estimated) took an interest in Allison and came over. I thought it was cute until the younger one said "She's too little to play here, she can't be here" and his big sister agreed.  I think their mom could see the look in my eyes, apologized and dragged them out as fast as she could.  

On a happier note another family came by with their dog while we were playing and Allison went right up and introduced herself. . . to the dog (the kid was already on the swings).  She said "hi big dog, I'm Allison."  

November 23, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Allison had an early morning breakfast of eggs then had a second breakfast with her Aunt Stacey. Breakfast number two consisted of birthday cake and a waffle. So goes life of a two year old at grandma's house.

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 We are having a great week in Lufkin with family.  More posts to come on the weeks activities, but I wanted to share a couple photos from today.  After getting the turkey in the oven we took Allison to a nearby playground.  She surprised us all with her ability to climb ladders and other equipment.  The weather was fantastic and so much fun to play outside.
Today was Allison's first Thanksgiving dinner.  The last two years she's fallen asleep right before we sat down to eat.  Allison didnt make it through the entire meal at the table, but it was still special.  She loved the rolls and stuffing best.
I hope everyone is spending today with family and friends and takes the opportunity to reflect on all we have to be thankful for.  I know my family has been truly blessed.

November 17, 2012

Aggies and Owls

Allison wore her maroon shirt today for the aggie game, but tonight she has owl jammies (my Rice mascot). It's so much fun putting her in college colors and wondering were she will go.

November 10, 2012

Grapevine Botanical Garden

We had a great morning at the Grapevine Botanical Garden and playground. I'm pretty sure we were the only family there not taking professional photos. Saw lots of Christmas cards in progress. Guess we need to get ours scheduled.

November 9, 2012

Family Day at the Zoo

We took our coin jar money and had a fantastic family outing Sunday.  We were at the zoo when it opened at 10.  The crisp weather meant lots of active animals.  Allison's favorite were the elephants, penguins and (much to my dismay) the crocodiles.   Then we headed to Chuys for our favorite Mexican food.  We all love their creamy jalepeno dip - we are trying to teach Allison it's not polite to drink salsa through her straw.   It would help if daddy wasn't trying to do it too.  After lunch we had a few dollars left so spent them at Barnes and Noble on a new book for Allison.  Then home for naps, pretty much a perfect day.
Counting the elephants with Daddy
Allison was so excited about this elephant
Kevin & Allison in the bird enclosure

November 8, 2012

My little girl

Today Allison picked out a pink Darth Vader tshirt, black tutu skirt with matching bow, her princess shoes and of course her princess cup. I'm not sure what this says about her or us, but the overall effect is precious.

November 3, 2012

Pecan Picking

Kevin and Allison had a daddy-daughter adventure this morning while I worked on house projects. They ended up in Alvord at Brushy Creek Vineyards. The owners let them pick pecans and take their golf cart for a drive to explore the property. Our next project will be shelling all these pecans.

November 1, 2012


Our coin sorting system
Rolled and Done!
In the last year I re-organized my wallet and started using an envelope system for my cash (the Dave Ramsey method). Keeping change for each of those envelopes became annoying and heavy - not good. So Kevin and I decided to start putting all our coins in one place. We didn't have a clear plan on what to do with them, just to get it out of our wallets. Kevin kept coins in a beer stein on his dresser so we just stuck with that. As it started adding up, every month or so I would pour it out and sort it. I keep snack sized Ziploc bags at the bottom sorted by denomination. Recently the stein threatened to overflow, so it's time to clear it out. I called my bank to ask how I could deposit or cash it out. Wells Fargo said they would give cash on the spot for rolled coins.  If I didn't roll they could send it to be counted and deposited however it wouldn't clear to my account for roughly 10 days. We have a bag of coin roll papers that Kevin's probably had longer than I've been around, but now it's finally dwindling down. Since the coins were already sorted it only took 10-15 minutes to count and roll (hint - stack them in groups of 5 or 10, then figure out how many little stacks go in each roll). I ended up with $61.50 in rolled coins, and another $10 still loose.

We decided to use the money for a family day out this weekend to the zoo and our favorite mexican restaurant.  Here is a collection of ideas on how to use the coins - all of which I love and hope to use in the future.

Family Outing - Zoo, museum, theme park, concert tickets - whatever your family can all enjoy together.  You purchase board games, a cookbook - anything that you can all play/do/use for family time.

Vacation Fund - On your next vacation have a little extra money just for splurges.  We love to research trips before we go, so find something your wouldn't have otherwise done or might have been out of the budget.

Big Item Fund (car, college, wedding) - Coins aren't going to foot the bill for college, but every little bit helps.  Once or twice a year cash out the coins and put the money into a 529 or other interest earning account - that way it has a chance to grow and go even further.  If kids are participating this money could go towards their activity/sports costs or be savings for summer camp.

Gift Fund - I absolutely love to give gifts.  I enjoy thinking about what people want, shopping for them, wrapping.  Seeing the look on someones face when they receive a gift is so precious to me.  It's also a great way to not blow your budget when an unexpected or extra gift event comes up (weddings, baby showers, hostess gifts).

Giving Fund - One of the best blessings is the ability to bless others.  Consider saving coins all year and adopting a family at Christmas, or donating it anonymously to a family in need.  You could also decide as a family on a charity to donate it to.  This can be a great teachable moment with kids.
Here is a link with more information on donating a jar to others:

There are tons of great ideas out there, these are just a few of my favorites.  I hope you are inspired ~ Lindsay