TMR Gets a Long Overdue Facelift

So I haven’t posted in over two months. I know it’s terrible, but life has really gotten in the way since last year. I finally gave my blog a long overdue face lift. I hope everyone likes it. I’m not sure if I’m happy with all the text colors but it will do for now. I’m pleased with the template design, and I find it a little whimsical. It fits with my blog perfectly I think. So let me know what you think.

I had posted an update in February about how things were going for my family. If you had read then you know that I had a lot going on between my son and myself. I am happy to post that things are so much better for both of us. He finished the 2nd grade making straight A’s most of the year with only 2 B’s on his report cards. He finished the year very strong and should have a much easier time in 3rd grade. I’m very hopeful and just extremely grateful we found some wonderful people to help us.

I had decided to start losing weight at the end of last August. I had tried several times in the past, but I would never stick with it. I would quit all my bad habits at once which would overwhelm me. Then I would completely quit and undo any bad habits I had stopped. I decided to try a different approach by doing it with baby steps. My first step was to quit drinking soft drinks. I thought I had acid reflux, and I was drinking alka-seltzer 3-5x a week. Some days twice a day! It was craziness and I had to stop. I switched to sweet iced tea so no caffeine withdrawls or headaches. I would make a gallon of tea and put 1/2 cup of sugar so it wasn’t very sweet at all. When I got used to that, then a couple of weeks later I cut it down to a 1/4c. Then I finally got used to drinking it without any sugar. I drank more water and I lost 6 pounds in 10 days! That was amazing and 2 weeks later I noticed that I wasn’t having heartburn anymore. It finally dawned on me that the soft drinks were causing my heartburn. Once I quit drinking them it magically went away! That saved me lots of money as soft drinks are expensive. Then I was able to take another step by watching my calorie intake. I made switches from honey wheat bread to dark German bread. I also quit eating white rice by switching to brown. All of these small changes made big impacts on my appetite. I started walking with my Leslie Walk-Away-The-Pounds DVD’s at the end of December. I began slowly and kept challenging myself with slightly harder workouts. I was out of breath but I never quit. I also didn’t berate myself if I had to modify or quit. I just told myself tomorrow you will do better and I did.

I will say that my biggest motivator came in October. I got my prescription for Zoloft and my doctor ran a blood test on me. The results came back that my sugar level was elevated (126) and my cholesterol was 190. The worst part was she wanted me to take Glucophage since I was pre-diabetic! I was shocked and refused it. I had already lost 17 pounds at that point, and was committed to losing this weight on my own. I knew I could do it and I would prove to her that I didn’t need a diabetic medicine when I wasn’t truly diabetic. I had talked to a good friend of mine who is a diabetic and former nurse. She was also shocked and told me no way. She advised me to get a glucose meter and just check my blood after eating to see what would trigger it. I learned a lot by talking with her and really changed my eating habits more than I had. My blood sugar level went to normal quickly and has stayed that way since. I haven’t had a formal blood test but am planning one soon.

We finally got to Disney World at the end of April. I was down 65 pounds and it felt wonderful. I got to a size 16 in bottoms and XL in tops. I had prepared myself for all the walking before we went. Walking around WDW was a piece of cake. We also hit the beach in Panama City. It was a very long overdue vacation and our first family trip ever. I wasn’t even worried too much about the long drive. It was fine and we saved a lot of money by driving instead of flying. We broke up the drive by spending the night in Tallahassee. My husband and son have never been outside of MS or TX so it was a great experience for them. We had a wonderful time and didn’t want to leave. We can’t wait for our next family trip which we hope will be next year. I’m going to wrap up this super long post soon. I am down 75 pounds as of today. I have lost 10 dress sizes and am currently wearing a LG in tops/14-16 in bottoms. I still have another 55 pounds to go but I know I will get there.

I have also started working part-time again as a merchandiser/mystery shopper/demonstrator. It’s not really steady right now, but it’s harder with the summer. My son is home with me so I can’t really dive into it like I want. I did just pick up a great job that has wonderful hours and nice pay. Once he’s back in school, then I’m sure work will pick up for me. I’m going to try really hard not to neglect this blog anymore and adding posts regularly. Thanks for letting me share. I’m not planning on leaving for long periods of time anymore. I will make this blog more of a priority again. I really enjoy having it to share my good deals, thrifty tips, and even about my family.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #73

Today’s thrifty living tip is use cheap hairspray, in a can, to stun roaches. We get the big tree ones in the house, and sometimes they move too fast before I get a chance to smack them. I use a can of cheap dollar store hairspray which stuns them so I can smack them. It’s cheaper than roach spray but probably not better chemical wise. Of course you can buy an all natural roach spray that is good for the environment. I also use a very heavy coffee table book that I bought at a yard sale for 50 cents to smack them. I am squeamish about seeing them so I cover the book in plastic grocery bags and tie them at the end. When I see a roach crawling on the floor, I just drop the book on it. I then let hubby deal with cleaning it up.

My Spring Garden has Sprung


I didn’t get any fall planting done last year since we had some unusually cold weather early in winter. Our last few winters have been very mild so I guess it was time for colder weather. Spring usually arrives in early February, but this year it waited until late March into early April. We got a late start on getting the garden tilled and amended. I also had to buy tomato and bell pepper transplants at my local nursery. We expanded the garden by several rows and planted new seeds this year. I finished planting all the April crops on Friday evening. Here is what we have planted this year: roma tomatoes, cucumbers, green/red/orange bell peppers, black beans, bush snap beans, zucchini, cow peas (similar to black eyed peas), sugar baby watermelons, and cantaloupe. I already see lots of cucumbers popping up. I also planted marigolds in between the tomato rows which helps to ward off caterpillars. I shall see how this does. I bought three more blueberry bushes which are all flowering. I will have lots of blackberries this year from all the buds and flowering on the bush. I’m very excited about my garden and very hopeful it will be plentiful. I included pictures below.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #72: Cut Face Wipes in Half!

Today’s thrifty living tip is to use a paste of baking soda to get stains out of plastic containers. It will also get out some funky smells. I use cold water to make a thick paste and let it soak overnight and rinse it out in cool water. You may need to do a second soaking but it usually gets out the stain on the first go rounds. Using hot water sets in the stains just like it will on your clothes. I wash it in warm water if the stain is out or mostly out.

New Year Update!

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve neglected my blog for the last several months. So much has happened that I couldn’t possibly blog about it all. It turns out my son is not bi-polar and we also ruled out several other disorders. Apparently he is now considered PDD (pervasive development disorder), and he does have Sensory Integration Disorder. He is doing much better since his doctor put him on Intuitive. He’s on 3mg daily which has really helped with his anxieties and behavior.

I finally did something about my anxieties in October. I was so ashamed to admit how anxiety ridden I was to my friends and family. A couple of close friends strongly suggested I get on a medicine like Lexapro to help me. I agreed to talk to my doctor and she put me on Zoloft which I’ve been since October. What a difference it has made in my life. I felt so much better after the second week and the worst side effect was being drowsy. A month later that has pretty much went away. I am now in control and have conquered all of the anxieties I was experiencing plus I was able to help my son. I feel like a new woman and like my old self before all this started. I lost my youngest son to Spinal Muscular Atrophy and he was 5 months old when he earned his wings. We decided to stop having more children since it was possible for it occur in the next baby. We had our oldest which is more than many couples. I would have panic attacks in his final weeks and they continued for a few more weeks. It started with one fear that multiplied to several more over the next few years. I kept telling myself it was ok and that I could handle it. But I really couldn’t and became a person who hated leaving the house. I would also stress about having to travel. It was controlling my life, and I even went to therapy which helped some, but the medicine was what I really needed. I’m just glad I stopped ignoring the problem and got the help I desperately needed. My life is so much better, and I love driving again. I enjoy getting out again.

I also started losing weight at the same time. I had really let myself go after I lost our baby. I became depressed and eating was how I comforted myself. I was gaining weight before kids, but I really packed it on after kids. I will write another post about my weight loss journey that I am still on, but I just wanted to write a little about what I’ve been doing the last few months. I plan to write about how eating healthy doesn’t have to be so expensive. I am getting healthier again and exercising daily. It feels good to take care of me first so I can take care of my family. As women we always neglect ourselves and put everyone else first. How can we help others if we don’t help ourselves first? Many of us are also trying to be super woman by doing it all. I can’t and I am no longer ashamed to ask for help when I need it. I enjoy getting some alone time to pamper myself or just go in my bedroom to read quietly. My family knows the rule that when I’m in my bedroom with the door closed it’s my time. If you aren’t bleeding, on fire, or dying then don’t bother me.

Are You Ready for the Winter Heating Blues?

Each year I say I’m going to get my house more energy efficient for winter, but I end up procrastinating and do nothing. Then when I open my heating bills I want to cry. This year I am going to make my house more efficient so I can stop dreading the heating bill. I have a 55 year old house that comes with the original windows and doors which can get drafty. I did take down my doors to re-stain them, and filled in all the tiny hairline cracks. We had a nice cold front but I couldn’t feel any wind coming through like usual. Here is what I’m doing this weekend.

1) I am hanging thermal lined curtains in my living room. I eventually want them in the bedrooms we sleep in.

2) Installing door sweeps for all three doors.

3) Installing foam weather stripping for the windows. I also will caulk around the outside window casings and door frames.

4) I made a door draft guard for all three doors. We only use one of them on a regular basis. I will only put it in front of the door at night.

I spent under $200 for everything including the curtains. That was my biggest expense since I needed 8 panels for my living room. I didn’t want to use caulk on the window sills since we live in a warmer climate. Our winters aren’t very harsh so there are days I want to be able to open the windows to let in any nice air. That’s another reason why we didn’t want to put plastic wrap on the windows. I should be able to save at least 20% off my heating bill just doing these simple steps.

There are lots of ways to winterize your house. I don’t have to wrap or insulate pipes since we don’t get hard freezes and most of the time it’s only a day or two at a time. I don’t have a furnace or boiler so I don’t need to clean it out or make sure it’s in good working condition. I have a forced air natural gas heater so it’s minimal maintenance. Our attic is already well insulated, and we don’t have basements in Louisiana. You need to consider your winterizing needs which will depend on how cold your area gets. There is a lot of great information on the internet. I hope I gave you a few tips to consider so you don’t cry when you open your heating bills this winter.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #71

Today’s thrifty living tip is decrease your amount of laundry. How do you ask? There are two simple tricks I use in my household. First is to use a towel more than once. We don’t use washcloths, but the towel that only dries hands can be used for a week. The same thing for the bath towel. I make sure to hang it so it will dry between uses. We also wear our pajamas for 2-3 nights before calling them dirty. I have 2 pairs that I rotate nightly so I only have to wash 2 each week. I don’t wear my pajamas all day and only for bed. I also don’t wash clothes that I only wore for an hour or two like dress clothes for church. Unless I got sweaty, there is no need to wash them since they aren’t dirty. This has helped cut down on the amount of laundry we do each week.