Monday, January 31, 2011

Tater Tot Surprise!

Ok, this meal is very easy and very "gross" looking to cook!  HA!  But, the end result is fun and tasty.
*ground beef
*bag of frozen tater tots
*2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
*1 small sour cream
*shredded cheese

You place the frozen tater tots in the casserole dish, cover it with the cooked and drained meat, then cover that with two cans of cream of mushroom soup and the sour cream (mix those together and then poor over) then I like to pour a cup of milk over the entire dish for something wet (i don't know why i do, i just add milk) lol!  Then cover with cheese and some salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350. 

I didn't take a picture because we all dove in.  but i promise it was yummy and fun.

you could also take out the sour cream and cream of mushroom soup and add a few cans of chili instead.  VERY YUMMY as well.

This is Me, Then.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Easy Valentine's Gift with Heart! (REPOST from 2010)

2010 Has Brought me to a Place I kind of like!
A simpler, homemade type place!  This year for Valentine's Day I wanted to make gifts from my heart!  I also want to express how happy I am being me, then!  Yesterday I wanted to show you my burlap clipboards, but today I feel I must show you this gift I found on Tater Tots and Jello instead.
(go search her blog for the post and a link to download the coupons.  I would give you the exact link but you MUST look at her blog!  It's amazing! She is so talented and inspires me.)
I printed coupons out for both of my kids and my hubby
(note, DO NOTE get the coupons mixed up.  My kids would not want to read a few for their dad! HA!)

Then I glued them on to old playing cards we had.  You could easily run to the Dollar Tree and pick up a new deck.
I punched a hole in the corner of each one!
Then I used some paper flowers, brads and ribbon.  You can use ANYTHING you want!  Key rings, stickers, glue buttons, or just use them as is!
I am SWEETLY surprised by this craft!
I am thinking of stocking stuffers, Birthday gifts, party favors, recipe cards!
I mean the sky is the limit!
Enjoy and come up with your own ideas that fit your family!  OH, and they can redeem 1 ticket a week!  Make sure you say that up front!  HA!
I had to close with the cutest couple of the year!
My son and B.Jane Brewing's Daughter! 
I see my future Daughter in Law! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Valentine Family Craft

I found this awesome stand at Archivers for $30.  Then I bought a package of the flexible chipboard squares that will last for many more projects.  I decorated each page w fun scrapbooking papers and accessories.  Then after Valentines I will take this set and hang it in my craft shack and make an Easter one.  I plan to make a book out of them all through the years. 

This is Me, Then.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Working Moms

This picture caught my eye for SO many reasons.  One is because my office looks like this.  Two because if I could, I would hide under my desk and let my children do our home bookkeeping, business bookkeeping, my college work and even check my facebook for me.  LOL!  Now I suddenly have this bright idea to go back to work after a TEN year absence.  Yes, its only subbing two days a week, but WOW!  What am I thinking? 

As scary as it all sounds I cant wait to begin this new adventure of substitute teaching, helping my husband run our business, being a fulltime college student and being a wife and mother.

What scary thing have you done lately?

This is Me, Then.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter/Spring Schedule

Not many people know this about me but I truly want to stay at home and be a "50's Housewife" I do, I really do!  I will put the pearls on and wear the apron and high heels.  I just love to be home.  With that said, another part of me wants to bring in a little money and feel like I am contributing to society and one way I can do that and still be the best wife and mother is by teaching.  I am about to start my junior year and believe I have found an online program through a great school that will allow me to take all my classes from home and start to substitute teach.  This will allow me a little money to help pay off some debt and give me the flexibility to be there for my children.  This semester I will be subbing 2 days a week while my son is at school and hopefully I will get called and stay busy!  I am BLESSED w my mom and my hubby that will make sure my son gets to and from preschool on those days. 

SOOOOOOOO, this means I need to get on a schedule/routine around here.  Now, you may not agree with this but I enjoy cleaning on the weekends when my husband is 100 percent free to help keep the kids occupied and I am not sidetracked with pickups and dropoffs.  I am going to be breaking the house up into zones so I can do some deep cleaning but until then I am going to get this house under control! 

*oh and my frugal living has taken a DRAMATIC turn in the right direction.  We have stopped all eating out and eat all 3 meals a day at home.  No more running to Chick Fil A for a tea.  I have been making my own!

*I plan on posting pics of my stocked pantry soon.  I have been organizing it and I also want to make a "Jackson Family Menu" so I have a place to look at our favorite meals and the items it takes to make them!  Gotta get organized so on the days I work we don't miss a beat!

*What will I do with my extra money!  Tithe and pay of debt!

This is Me, Then.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, we managed 4 years!

well, we managed 4 years of no organized sports! yes, we have not done one organized sport in 4 whole years!  YES YES YES it has been so nice!  LOL!  Let me give you a run down of what our 12 year old daughter has done since she was born. not many people know she did all this!
  • beauty pageants:birth-2
  • ballet and tap: 3-5
  • competition cheer:4-5
  • softball:3-6
  • swim team:6-8
  • basketball:7-8
  • soccer:5-8
this is just sports!  the girl has done SO many other activities!

right before she turned 9 she said NO MORE!  she was done and we didn't fight her.  she now competes academically each year and has taken piano lessons off and on and is just an all around AMAZING little lady!

NOW, why did i bring this up? we sign my 5 year old son up for baseball today. 
i am SO not into bickering baseball park drama or coaches SCREAMING at 5 year olds because they arent winning.  so if thats you and you are a coach, don't draft my child.  HA!

This is Me, Then.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frugal Living

I am SO tired of the weather around here in Texas. Its cold, grey, damp and depressing! BUT it sure has kept me in the house and saving money. HA!

I feel so fullfilled now that we have decided to take control of our lives.  My husband and I are grabbing our finances by the reigns and never letting go again.  I just wish we would have decided this 9 years ago when we started our business. But, I know God has his plan for us and we just needed to make those mistakes to learn and grow.

Things that have changed:
*I have lost 7 lbs now in less than two weeks. Why? not eating out anymore changes you.
*In just two weeks I have fully stocked our freezers w easy meals for those 
"I don't feel like cooking"
nights. That way we can easily pop something "healthy" in the oven or microwave and add a salad or fruit.  
*We have already found $100 a month between two bills that we can save. Not finished going through and calling all our bills to try and save more.
*found a discount grocery store to start purchasing many of my staples.

This is Me, Then.   

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fun with Vinyl

I found some vinyl mailbox numbers in my office today while cleaning.  I couldn't resist some FUN with my rocking chairs.

This is Me, Then.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


this week my husband and i had a "come to Jesus" meeting as he likes to call it.  we really sat down and looked at our goals and our wants and our needs.  to achieve the things we have set out in front of us we need to get in control.  we need to be in control of our health, our spiritual life, our finances and more. 

we decided to achieve those dreams we must get real, real quick.  we want to be financially debt free except our home in the next 2-3 years.  then in the next 6 years we want to have our home paid off, our daughters college fund saved in full, our sons at least half way there and find our retirement home/farm and purchase it with the intent of having it paid off by the time we are 50. 

WOOSH!  to do ALL this we need to get with it!  Dave Ramsey here we come! 

changes we have made this week, small, but a start.

  1. i brought my own water bottle to the movie theater.
  2. we STOPPED eating out or buying drinks on the go, ex. Sonic and Chick Fil A teas.
  3. we ate out after church today w gift cards from Christmas and only spent $11.00 in tip and video games.
  4. i have lost 5 lbs. just buy watching what i eat and choosing healthier options at home. ex. soups, salads, meats w low or no carbs.
  5. called our cable company and knocked $65 a month from our bill.
  6. stopped renting movies off the tv. Netflix only, or we don't watch it!
I will try and post once a week about any changes we have made. 

This is Me, Then.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Weight of the World

Old North Church in Boston

I am just feeling BLAH today.  I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I want to go back to being a young 20something with no cares!  I feel so overwhelmed with the economy and we are staying afloat but its hard and scary at times.  I feel like as soon as I get my head out of the sand another bucket of sand gets dumped on me again. 
 I feel like running away!

I just have to stay focused on God and my family and the blessings that are all around me.  I am truly blessed, stress is stress, it doesn't define me.

This is Me, Then.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Terrific Tuesday Tales...

On any given weekend night you will find my family around a fire waiting for some yummy food my husband has grilled!  I LOVE my family and I LOVE to be home.  Do you know why?  I don't always feel welcome at other people's homes.  I mean, I feel welcome but not "comfy".  My house is comfy.  If I have 20 people coming over there will be chairs for 20. If I am serving dinner inside for 10, there will be places for 10 people to sit even if I pop up a card table in my bedroom or office (which I have done).  There will be candles lit, plenty of ice and cups.  Little touches like my chalkboard may have your name on it, or I remembered you don't like beef, you only eat chicken.  Those kinds of things that sometimes go unnoticed are always covered by me!  I try!  When you get to my house you will have my attention and everything will be ready.  Do I live in a mansion? No.  Does my house built in 1904 need some TLC? yes. Do we only have one bathroom? yes. Does it really suck to only have one bathroom? HA, YES!  But what we have is a home, not a house. But what we have is lived in walls with stories to tell, not brand new brick with nothing to say. But what we have is patience and love instead of so much room no one talks. 

Thank God for what you have and what your sacrifices have done for your family.  My home costs less than HALF of any of the homes around here and its worth MORE than any of them.

This is Me, Then.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Homemaker Wednesday!

The weather in my neck of the woods:

GROSS!  ha!  Got to 70 today and its very overcast and blah.

Things that make me happy:

Doing 10 loads of laundry today at the laundry mat.  Our dryer is broken and I needed to catch up and it feels SO GOOD to have all these clothes done at once!

Book I'm reading:

Absolutely nothing

What's on my TV today:

Not much lately but I am trying to catch the new OWN channel anytime i can!

On the menu for dinner:

Salad, deerburger steaks w a mushroom gravy (aka cream of mushroom soup), whole wheat penne pasta and fresh tea.

On my To Do List:

Take the Christmas decorations down and the tree!  urgh!

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:

I want to make a Julia Child recipe.

In the craft basket:

Going to a scrapbooking retreat this weekend.  I go to one twice a year and it gives me a much needed "short" break from life!

Looking forward to this week:

Getting away!

Tips and Tricks:

Give your home a quick straightening before bedtime, things like empty glasses or bowls or whatever laying around, just take them to the sink, even if you don't get to them that evening, it will make clean up easier in the morning and you won't have to wake up to a disaster house.

My favorite blog post this week:

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):


No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

*apple nachos!  SO GOOD!

This is Me, Then.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Happy New Year everyone! I just wanted to start the new year off with a mission statement. Go a little "Jerry Maguire" on you!

*I have no resolutions this year, nope, not one. But I do want to say that I will live each and every day to its fullest like I have been. I will stretch myself to the limits when it comes to my family and I will bend as much as possible when it comes to my friends. I will keep my eyes on the prize (a degree) and not count the days it takes me to get there (who are we kidding, years it takes me). If I find myself spending more time with neighbors, friends or strangers than I spend with my own family, I will step back and say, "slow down Julie, your family needs you". I will start saying no when I get invited to or expected to throw a party that I truly have no time for and start saying yes when my children beg me to play candy land or watch a movie. I will not judge but try to lead by example in my marriage so I can show my daughter how a strong Christian wife acts and show my son how to treat that wife!

*I do promise to do the following in 2011

1.Get right with God

2.Get right with myself

3.Have Sunday dinners every Sunday with my family of four whether its at our table or a restaurants table. Set the standards HIGH for the future members of this family!

4.and invite my friends and family to those Sunday dinners!

5.Have date night once a month out of this house and once a week in the house (I promise you can have date night once the kids are in bed or tucked away with a new movie)


I posted all of the above last year and loved it so much I wanted to post again.  I am proud to say I have accomplished about 75% of the things I set out to do and I plan on kicking it up a notch in 2011.
This is Me, Then.