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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dave Update

I am always a curious one about other people's finances - it's my love of learning, not nosiness I swear - and as such I figure that it's only fair to keep you updated on our finances as we journey onward and upward.

You'll remember back in July we finally got to the point of putting 15% away for retirement each month....(Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #4)...hooray!

Well now that we've been doing that for about 5 months and I've actually been paid once or twice, we were able this past month to open up a college fund for E.

Let me tell you, that is some adult-stuff right there. I'm not sure anything I've done since high school, including naming another human being and signing on for $170,000+ in debt, (pre-Dave) has made me feel quite so grown-up.

But I think we did all right picking out a 529 plan through the State of Georgia that will hopefully provide a leg-up for the kiddo in about 18 years. It was surprisingly easy to understand how the whole scenario works and because we set our fund up through the state program, all of our (and anyone else's) contributions are tax-deductible on state returns.

So here we are sitting pretty at Step #5. Can't wait to graduate to #6! What do you think? Do you love Dave? Hate Dave? Let me know!

(If you're curious about all this steppin' we're up to...check out Dave's plan at his site here.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year; New Projects!

It's that time of year! The Christmas decorations are coming down slowly but surely. As the week marches on towards 01/01/10, I'm feeling the itch to reinvent my daily grind, my house and my habits.

Is that too much to tackle at once? ...Don't answer that question.

In the DAILY GRIND category my aim is to stop doing things I hate and start doing more of the things I love.

Stuff I hate = asking repeatedly to be paid for a job completed months ago.
Stuff I love = teaching people things. Lots of things. Various and sundry things.

Stuff I hate = UPS-duty at work.
Stuff I love = cooking! Using sharp knives. Cutting onions (really.)

Stuff I hate = not having anything to wear despite a closet full of clothes.
Stuff I love = working out. Usually.

Stuff I hate = laundry.
Stuff I love = taking online personality quizzes.

Okay, so with the exception of that last pairing, I am going to make serious efforts in the New Year to increase the amount of time I devote to the LOVE category while working to eradicate and banish forever those things in the HATE category.

That's the daily grind part of things - stay tuned for the house and habits part of this New Year's resolution trifecta.

And tell me tell me...what are YOUR New Year's resolutions?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Elf Yo-self!

Friday Morning Fun!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thanks Anna for reminding me about these JibJab videos!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

That Time I Met Pioneer Woman and Completely Humiliated Myself

Last Monday's To Do List:

Buy PW's cookbook online and get a smokin' deal - check

Brave rush hour traffic to get to Borders by 9am and get a wristband - check

Pick up several jars of cookies from the office, agonize over which to give PW - check

Dress child in adorable outfit, suitable for meeting the P Dub herself - check

Dress myself in casually cool outfit that will photograph well - check

Brave rush hour traffic again to get to Borders by 6pm - check

Wait in line that is mercifully short thanks to said wristbands - check

Introduce myself to PW, chat gracefully and intelligently about my enjoyment of her blog, create the impression that she does in fact want to be my friend... check? Can I get a check please? Hello? Anyone? Is this thing on?????

Um, no check. Don't pass go and certainly do not collect $200.

Instead it went a little something like this:

A sweaty and disheveled me, child in one arm, 3 cookbooks, purse, diaper bag and half-gallon jar of cookies in the other, approaches the table Pioneer Woman is sitting behind.

Suddenly completely unnerved, I shove the large glass jar across the table with one hand as I approach and declare, "I brought you cookies!"

Not, "Hi, my name is Katie, it's so nice to meet you."
Not, "I really enjoy reading your blog...when does Black Heels to Tractor Wheels come out!?"
Not, "I made your Beef Stew with Mushrooms last week and my husband just loved it."

No no - I come out like a 6 year old and proudly exclaim to Ree and the rest of Borders that I brought cookies.

This is not going at all like I planned.

In spite of the abrupt greeting and unsolicited cookies the lovely and composed Pioneer Woman replies, "Oh, thank you...did you make them yourself?" (Asked in the manner you would ask a 6 year old - clearly the conversational category I belonged to.)

Coming quickly to the realization that this is not in fact a cool way to start a conversation with a total stranger, my mind goes blank.

I mumble something along the lines of, "no, no, my company makes them," to which she asks, "oh and do you sell them locally?"

Instead of answering, "Yes, we actually sell them to boutiques all over - there are several stores in Oklahoma that carry them," (or something resembling a concise and coherent answer) I launch into an explanation of the fact that we are now in national retailers as well as boutiques and that we've really started expanding as of late....

Meanwhile my face is getting hotter and my inner sane and composed-self is screaming, "Shut up! Stop talking! Say something normal! Hand her your baby!"

Things are going downhill abnormally quickly.

Fortunately at this point in time my mother waves my camera wildly at us and the Pioneer Woman graciously cuts me off saying, "did you want a picture?"

By way of reply I begin giggling nervously and turn full-on to the camera to give my best Facebook-worthy smile. I didn't even say good-bye, I just stood up and ran away once Mom snapped the picture...completely mortified by my lack of cool.

I did walk away with one of her gorgeous t-shirts - just for showing up! - and an autographed cookbook that I have already dog-eared and told half a dozen people they MUST buy.

So my dreams of a ranch-invite and a personal tutorial on Photoshop are probably shot. Unless she really likes those cookies...

Here are some pics of the event - it was a packed house.

Babies and kiddos were everywhere.

Ours were clearly the cutest... : )

People bought LOTS of copies. It's wonderful...go get one here.

Ooh ooh, there she is!!!

So sweet! She managed to keep that smile on her face the entire time I babbled away.

I think we were both glad when it was picture time.

My adorable mother

And sister

The moral of the story?
Don't bring people you don't know gifts you didn't make. It starts things off on the wrong foot....well, at least for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Goal Setting

I have two goals today.

In no particular order they are:

1. Leave the house.
2. Take a shower.

It's a tall order but you've got to set your goals high people. Reach for the moon! Don't stop believing! You can doooooo eit!

It's 8am and E isn't up yet. I have no idea what to do with myself and all this free time. I'm guessing you can tell.

Tales of my mortification at PW's book signing still to come...

Monday, December 7, 2009

On Pioneer Woman

PW is coming to town! As in, The Pioneer Woman herself.

For those of you who don't already know who she is... you can go ahead and stop reading right now. Unless of course you are a lover of:

KitchenAid mixers
Harlequin romance novels

Did I mention cowboys?

Anyway, if you love (or even have the littlest bit of like) for any of the above topics, you MUST go check out Ree Drummond's blog over at

I love to read about her ranch life and dream of the day that I too will be renovating my generations-old family lodge and installing a refrigerator dedicated to baking ingredients alone.

Normally I am fairly immune to star-struck awedom. One time my family was eating dinner in a tiny restaurant in Spain when we noticed Sean Connery sitting across the room from us. I said something like, "Cool, Sean's having the chicken too," but I never felt the need to say anything to him, to announce how much I liked his work or how I swoon over his accent.

But with PW it's different. Maybe it's because she is so real with her readers that I feel like I am one of her friends...only the kind of friend she doesn't know from Adam. You remember the scene in Nottinghill when Honey says this:

Oh God, this is one of those key moments in life, when it's possible you can be really, genuinely cool - and I'm failing 100%. I absolutely and totally and utterly adore you and I think you're the most beautiful woman in the world and more importantly I genuinely believe and have believed for some time now that we can be best friends. What do YOU think?

I'm just praying I don't say that out loud. I'm quite sure it's what I'll be thinking.

So the P-dub herself has written a cookbook and is at Borders in Buckhead signing them tonight. My mother, sister and of course the Squirt (she loves babies...maybe she'll take us home to the ranch with her) are going....stay tuned and I'll let you know how badly I embarrass myself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Attic

I confronted a deep-seated fear of mine today.
You see, there is this rickety ladder in our garage.

I don't trust its construction (Jan 1987???) and I don't like the noises it makes.
Therefore, I have actually never been up the ladder.

It only comes down a few times a year anyway. And I usually stand supportively at its base, my heart all a-quiver and shout directives to the more hard-core B Daddy above.

Perhaps it was my embarrassment over Wednesday's incident that emboldened my spirit.
Perhaps I felt the need to prove I am not just a silly girl who loses car keys in my blonder moments.

But most likely it was the lure of these green bins lurking above....

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Have you started decorating yet?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Customer Service with a Side of Southern Charm

Those of you who are on Facebook might have noticed my status update on Monday evening - I somehow managed to lose my car key - my ONLY car key mind you - between the hours of 2pm, when I got home from work, and 4pm, when I wanted to go to the grocery store.

At home. I lost my car key AT HOME. In the span of 2 hours during which I remember feeding my child, checking my email and folding laundry - most of which was done from the couch in my living room.

But somehow my only key just up and ran away on me. A key whose location I have maintained a solid lock on for going on 6 years now - and yet this morning, after 36 hours of searching under the couches, behind the dresser and in the freezer (baby brain?) I called a tow truck to yank my car out of the garage (where it has been mercilessly mocking my foolishness) and drag her to the dealership.

The conversation with North Georgia Towing went a little something like this;

Sweet and very Southern customer service rep: "North Georgia Towing. How may we assist you today?"

Me: "Yes, hi. I need a tow truck at *beep*beep*beep* in Roswell, Georgia."

Sweet and very Southern customer service rep: "Certainly ma'am. Can you first tell me, are you in a safe location?"

A Slightly Embarrassed Me: (glancing around my kitchen) "Um, yes."

Sweet and very Southern customer service rep: "Okay then. Can you tell me why your vehicle needs towing? Has it overheated? Have you been in accident?"

A Definitely Embarrassed Me: "Actually...I sort of.... Well on Monday night...I mean I just had a yeah so... I guess the truth is I really just lost my only car key."

Sweet Southern customer service rep: "So your vehicle is not disabled in any way then?"

A Mortified Me: "No. It's actually parked in my garage."

Sweet Southern customer service rep: "So your key in somewhere in your home?"

A Now Irritated Me: "Well apparently yes it is. But I've looked EVERYWHERE and..."

Sweet Southern customer service rep: "Oh bless your heart! You know I did that with a cell phone two years back! Would you believe it? I looked high and low for a week before buying a new one. Wouldn't you know we even moved and never found it! It just up and walked out on me. Well we'll get someone out to you right away now don't you worry. Tell me, what was your address again?"

God Bless Southern women.

And here's to hoping I don't ever find that key.

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