Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dollar Tree Fans

To put it mildly, my husband is very picky about the quality of his things. He is definitely a lover of quality over quantity. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him go to a Wal-Mart before we lived here. And I KNOW I've never seen him go into a Dollar Tree before we moved here. I, however, am a big tightwad most of the time. I rarely, pay full price for anything and am known to Nate as his "bargain bloodhound."

However, having limited places to shop here, Dollar Tree has become a weekly hang-out for our family. And Nate has fallen in love. In fact he asked me the other day to try to get things there before going to Wal-Mart.

Rachel, at made a list of her top 10 finds at the Dollar Tree and I thought I would piggy-back off of her and make my own list.

So here goes.

10) Batteries-they are not the strongest batteries...they won't power your digital camera, but they will definitely power all your children's toys that are always needing batteries.

9) Mister Plumber- very similar to Drano, but works just as well.

8) Gift bags-very cute and very affordable.

7) Greeting Cards- 2 for $1 and there are some cute ones. I stocked up on these during Nate's deployments and sent him cards every few days.

6) DVDs/Books- these are hit and miss, but I've found some great finds in this area, including four discs with all the episodes of the classic Davey and Goliath DVD's that I grew up on (shoot, even my mom grew up on them).

5) Stocking Stuffers- come Christmas time, Dollar Tree is a goldmine for stocking stuffers.

4) Home/Office Supplies-cheap and cute pads for shopping lists, mailing envelops, school/toy room decorations, scrapbooking supplies, etc.

3) Fuel Injector Cleaner- (Nate is right beside me and he asked me to put that down along with Italian Ices, but since this is my list, I'll fit his two in one number. :)

2) Household goods- shelf liner here is way cheaper than Wally World, dish rags, dish scrubber wands, pot holders, tupperware containers, baskets for storage, etc.

1) My number one buy at the Dollar Tree is (drum-roll please....) PREGNANCY TESTS!!! That may sound silly but they are VERY accurate (used to determine all of my pregnancies, very early on) and VERY affordable. They cost anywhere from $8 up at any other store and I always feel like I have to *know* I'm pregnant in order to buy one of those expensive puppies, but at only a dollar a pop, I can take one even if I have the slightest scare of being pregnant (like when I cried watching the Gilmore Girls finale on DVD). Please note...I'm not making any subtle announcements here. Corban and Caleb are keeping us plenty busy for now.

Although we are not an official endorsement for The Dollar Tree, (that would be nice!) these are the things that have worked for our family. On the other hand, I will mention a few things that we steer clear from.

1) Most toys- most are made in China and have cheap paint on them...not good for kids who like to put things in their mouth. (Although we have found some great puzzles, kids books, balls, etc.)

2) Products like "namebrand" toothpaste, aspirin, etc. that can't be guaranteed to be from the actual manufacturer of the items. (i.e. Colgate toothpaste made in China)

3) Some cleaners are cheaply made and just don't do the job.

4) Most food items-most we have tried have tasted like "pooeys" (as Corban would say)

So, that's our opinion, take it for what's it worth. I'd love to hear what your opinions on top finds and steer clear items are at your Dollar Tree.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Aunt Ju Ju, A new Choo Choo, and a new Hair Do.

Nate's sister Julie and her husband Kevin made the move from Breckenridge, CO to Memphis, TN this week and decided to take the detour to come visit us for a couple of days on the way. We were SO HAPPY to see them, as we have been aching for family since we've been away. It was so nice to have visitors too! Being that they lived in Breckenridge where there is a population of 3,000 people who live there year round, the population of 18,000 in Altus, seemed big to them. In fact, they kept trying to convince us that it's really not that small of a town, though I'm not buying it. However, I do admit, it did seem bigger on the ten minute tour as we were pointing out all the things that we DO have...
This is Corban with Aunt "Ju Ju". We told him his aunt Ju Ju was coming to our house for a visit and he confused it with a "Choo Choo train" and was so excited running around saying "Choo Choo!!!" He would have been really disappointed, except for the fact that she brought him a choo choo train, hat, and whistle. He now loves his Aunt Ju Ju and his Choo Choo.
Uncle Kevin is always looking out for the little guy and spent a lot of time with Caleb. He's gonna be a great dad someday.
One of the afternoons during their visit, we decided to give Corban his first hair cut. Nate didn't want me to do it because he thinks it's silly that "a woman becomes a mom and all of the sudden she thinks she has the ability to cut boy's hair". The nerve I tell you. Just kidding. I was very glad not to be the one to have to answer to this home job.
It's amazing how much older our buddy looks without his red thick curls. It makes me want to cry. He acts older too. At least we don't have people saying "Oh, what pretty red curls she has" anymore, though how people can confuse a airplane wearing, choo choo train toting, race car sounding boy for a girl is beyond me.

Oh, and here is baby Caleb, chillin' in his favorite outfit, his birthday suit...relaxing after a hard day of crying, eating, pooping, crying, whining, sleeping, crying, and did I mention crying?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Amazing What a Little Paint and Carpet Can Do!!!

I have a feeling that my chances of getting a lot of visitors down here are... well... let's just say I probably have a better chance of a Target, Home Depot, or Old Navy coming here during our stay.


I'm posting pictures of our house and it's progress so you can see our humble abode, without making the adventure to Altus. (although, we would LOVE more visitors...ANYTIME!!!)

I've been wanting to post before and after pictures of our house on here for awhile now. I wanted to wait until our house was completely unpacked, arranged, and cleaned to do so. I'm now realizing that it may never ever ever get there. Oh well. So here is Pictures Phase One-The entryway, The dining room, and the living room, and family room. Here are the BEFORE pictures:

Former dining room

Old Family Room

As you can see, the prior owner of our home liked blue. I mean LIKED. Every room sported the color in multiple carpet, blue curtains, blue bathroom countertops, blue walls, blue shelf lining, you. name. it.

Here are the AFTER pictures:

This is our family room, although it looks like you have to climb over the couch to get to that bathroom in the back, in actuality there is a path behind the couches.

I really am amazed at what a difference new paint and carpet can do to a place. And maybe changing out a '70's light fixture or twelve. But alas here we are in our new home with freshly painted walls, clean new carpet, new hardwood floor, and a touch of Tolle all through out. Enjoy the pictures. And if it inspires you to take a trip out to B.F.E. (Is it Christian to use the term B.F.E.?? Probably not, but I can't bring myself to delete it...) then you are more than welcome to come stay at the Tolle Manor.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's a Tragedy...Really

When Nate and I found out that we were assigned to Altus, we spent many hours pulling out our hair, feeling sorry for ourselves and asking "why us?" (only slightly exagerating). However, we were delighted to find out that Altus had gotten a STARBUCKS since we had last been here. We were excited. Altus was moving up in civilization, or so it seemed.

Well...we just found out that after less than a year in business, the Altus Starbucks will be closing...(tear...). I told you it was a tragedy!

Not that we frequent the place. We are not big proponents of spending $4.00 for a cup of joe, no matter how perfect it may be. But it was nice to have the OPTION of going there and treating ourselves to a Java Chip Frappacino every once in awhile (and feeling like we are high society).

Oh Dear Starbucks... YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


So, I didn't get everything on my "To Do" List done. It seems I was a little over ambitious, as always. I did however get a few things done...

1) I got my hair cut. (Ignore the fact that I have no make-up in the picture...I wasn't really planning on going anywhere that day)

It didn't turn out as good as I'd hoped, but with my crazy hair, I should have expected that. But Nate likes it, so that makes it worth it. At least I can't just pull it back in a pony tail anymore. It requires a little more work now.

2) I went to that garage sale that advertised a lot of toddler toys. However, I didn't end up buying any of them. I did however find a great deal on one of those scrapbook supply suitcase bag thingys. I've wanted one of those forever but they cost about $70-$100 new. I got this one, loaded with scrapbooking supplies, for $10.00. So I was happy!!

3) I did get the mound of clothes cleaned from the boys room and just decided to clean the whole room while I was at it. I'm embarrassed to post a "before" picture, lest you think we usually live this disorganized and chaotic (we don't), but I'm gonna go ahead and do it so you can see the progess.


After...(still have some progress to make, but feeling a lot better about least you can see the floor now!)

4) Got the bedding on our bed (again, ignore the boxes surrounding it...)

And still had time to bond with the boys.

It was a good weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Saturday's To Do List

I'm holding myself accountable to my blog readers (all five of you :), hoping that if it is in writing, and I know that you know what I need to get done, it will inspire me to get moving on it. So here is my "To Do" list for Saturday. Hopefully, I will take before and after pictures of my progess.

1) Go to the garage sale that was advertised as having lots of toddler toys

2) Get hair cut and dyed.

3) Get the mound of clothes in the boys room organized and put in drawers.

4) Three loads of laundry washed and put away.

5) Clear off Vanity in Master bedroom and unpack three boxes labled "Master Bathroom Supplies"

6) Put bedding on Master Bed.

7) Set up Toy Area in Family Room

8) Get blinds on the windows and take down the ugly blue curtains.

9) Make up a menu for the upcoming week.

10) Snuggle up with Nate to watch our Netflix movie that we've had for a week and haven't found the time to watch yet. (It's 10,000 B.C. in case you were curious.)

That should do it for one day, since I have two "Mama's boys" who need their mama's CONSTANT attention. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our family just got home from a nice holiday getaway. We went to Kansas for the Fourth of July weekend and just had a relaxing and exhausting time.

Independence Day is Nate's favorite holiday. He has missed two out of the last three years due to deployments, so it was nice to spend the Fourth of July together this year. We chose to celebrate in Hutchinson, because for a small town, they sure do throw a good celebration.

This is a picture of our family on Friday morning. Notice Nate and I have matching shirts, which he would never have agreed to.....I LOVE being in charge of the packing!! HA! And also, he HATES having his picture taken, so this was my lucky day. Matching shirts and a picture to prove it. And the fact that he smiled in the picture is icing on the cake! I LOVE HIM!!

Corban waits patiently for the "fywolks" to go off. This kid is scared of NOTHING, which terrifies his mother. He kept running off into the crowd and wouldn't even look back. The loud bangs from the fireworks didn't even phase him. He forces me to stay on my toes.

Our friend, India, sent us this tent during our long stay in hotel rooms, but we use it all the time now...Corban is a big fan. (Thanks India!!)


My husband put on a late night firework show for us. At the end of the night we were absolutely exhausted. Long day...parade, swimming, barbeque, fireworks, more fireworks, no naps, cranky children. We slept like rocks that night.
What a great celebration of the freedom our country has! Let us not take it for granted! Please remember to keep our troops in prayer as the defend our great country.

We're Back in Business

We got the cable we needed in the wonderful land of Oz, so now we are back in business.

Here is a picture I took this morning, so this is as up-to-date as it gets.
Corban is only smiling this big because he is squeezing the bejeebers out of Caleb (or "K-Love" as many kids here call him, including Nate and I).
Corban gets his hair cut tomorrow so enjoy the wild orange locks while they are there!