Brooke Cooks Baked Spaghetti And Mozzarella

I’ve been debating about what direction to take this blog, and I feel the calling to start including my cooking adventures. With my discovery of Pinterest I have vowed to my husband to start trying different recipes. We were getting really sick of running through the same recipes every week! My first new meal was Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella. This was soooo good- definitely not your grandmother’s spaghetti pie! You can find the recipe HERE at Kitchen Corners. This recipe was incredibly easy, required very few ingredients, and was a familiar type of food- perfect way to start our cooking adventures! 



Debt Snowflaking Is On Hold!

Of course it would happen that as soon as we get gazelle intense about eliminating our debt that something would happen to shake that up…that’s how life works, though, right? My husband is a plumber and primarily works in new construction so there isn’t much work during the winter. Usually he’s off from January to early March. Being as it’s already March and he worked straight through the winter we thought that we dodged the bullet this year. WRONG! He was laid off last week and it could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months until there are new projects. While we are more than able to cover our expenses with his unemployment compensation, those payments don’t start for 3 weeks so we are on a spending freeze right now as we want to pull as little from savings as possible. While it kind of stinks to not be able to pay off any debt, we are absolutely having a blast with him home!

Ebay Update

These past couple weeks were a little discouraging for me on Ebay. I knew I was taking a gamble by starting my auctions at $.99, and in the past it has done me well but this week was a different story! I sold 4 items and 2 sold for $.99 and the other 2 sold for less than $2.00 each. 😦 Oh well! You live and you learn! The important thing is that those items are no longer cluttering up our house and any money is better than no money right? 

Yea, Ebay!!!

I have finally jumped on the Ebay train! I am really surprised that this is the first time I have thought to sell on Ebay! I ended up donating a lot of children’s stuff right before the move, but there were a couple nicer pieces I held on to. I sold 3 items last week….and made $16.00! Yea! Obviously $16.00 isn’t enough to do much, but it made me SO happy! I currently have another 4 items listed and have bids on 2, so it looks like I’ll be making a couple dollars this week too! While the profit isn’t huge, it will definitely help with my goal of paying off our debt…just like that penny in the dryer! Suddenly, when you’re not making any money at all, even the smallest amounts earned seem HUGE 🙂


A Big Huge *Sighhhhhh* + An Update

Wellllll what a 2 weeks we have had! Our nice friend ‘Murphy’ decided to pay us 2 consecutive visits. We dealt with 2 family emergencies back to back, each having to do with mine and my husband’s mothers. Everything seems fine for the time being, but those were definitely some doosies! I spent much of the past 2 weeks with my parents so needless to say a lot got abandoned and ignored. *sighhh* Here is an update of what little I did get done.

  • Taxes– Done! I had been so nervous about these for the past few months, as our income was a lot higher than it has been in years past. I’m not exactly sure what the “magic numbers” are, so I was scared we were going to end up owing after years of returns. Thankfully, our withholdings were pretty much dead on and we ended up getting the child credits as a return, which will definitely beef up our emergency fund.
  • Debt Snowballing– I was able to snowflake $50 towards our debt repayment last week. I didn’t meet my goal, but that’s ok. I found a  birthday card (my birthday was in December :0)  with $30 in it and I found $20 folded up so teeny tiny in my purse….I have no idea why it was there! 🙂 
  • Home– All boxes are unpacked except the formal living room (still no furniture in there!) and our bedroom (still purging old clothes!). This feels really good! I have decided not to replace the stove and fridge at this time. They are in perfect working order, the only issues were that the fridge is smaller than I’d like and the stove surface isn’t in great shape- not good reasons to spend $1000+ in my opinion. Maybe those will be celebratory purchases when our debt is gone! We are, however, going to be purchasing a dishwasher this weekend. The one here doesn’t work at all and we recently received a rebate for overpayment of projected property taxes. That was money that went towards the house anyway and we weren’t expecting any of it back, so we might as well put it towards a home improvement. Any money left over from that will go toward repairing our gas fireplace and then if there is any left beyond that we will snowflake it to our debt. 
  • Kids– I am looking into homeschooling my son and daughter for preschool next year! I’m really excited about researching this, I would love to have them here at home with me and I really want to learn certain things that we think are important, yet they don’t teach at traditional school.
  • Mama Makin’ Money– I’m the child of a business man. I got my first job at 13 and worked until this year. I have a mental addiction to making money and staying home with my children isn’t going to squash that. More on what I am doing in another post 😉

Operation Unpack The Dining Room

This is my project today.  Sorry for the awful shot, my cell phone had to do since my camera is somewhere among that mess! Yes, we have been in our new house for a little over two weeks…we are very slowww at unpacking!! I want to have this room as close to completely done as possible by 3:30 because when my husband comes home we are going to reupholster my dining room chairs! Yay! Look out for my documentation of that adventure! 

Hopefully I’ll have time to give you the after pictures of the dining room tonight, and I still owe you an after shot of “taming the paper monster”. Wish me luck 🙂

I Am Taking The Debt Snowflake Challenge!


I am officially joining the Debt Snowflake Challenge created by Melissa from Mom’s Plans! Yes, my penny from this morning was my motivation! I just tallied up our consumer and education debt and the figure stands at $8,688.93- yowza! That is a lot of pennies, however, I honestly expected it to be higher as I haven’t looked closely at my student loan statements for quite some time. It is time to kick that ugly monster out! I want to be free and clear of this debt by this time next year. That gives me 52 weeks to snowflake, meaning I will have to snowflake an average of $167.09 each week. That is actually a pretty scary number, but I have faith that we really can do it. I really love Dave Ramsey, but I am veering from his approach. Just about half of our debt is from one really ugly credit card that we used for wedding expenses. The interest is absolutely ridiculous and the monthly payments kill us, so that is what I will be focusing on first! Follow along as I update my progress every week! 

A Penny In The Dryer

Are you sitting there scratching your head? A penny in the dryer! That is what I found this morning as I was starting my laundry. Had this been the old ‘hurry and get your clothes, I gotta get to work!’ me I probably would have tossed the penny on top of the dryer, where it would have eventually been knocked to the floor never to be seen or thought of again. But today was different. And I don’t know why. I picked the penny up, grabbed a fancy clear beer mug, and dropped the penny inside. The sight of the mug sitting on top of the dryer with one single penny inside made me feel something unrecognizable. That small dryer change mug will become the beginning of snowflaking payments on our debt! 

And as I sit here finishing this post, I reached into my pocket and felt another single penny.

Such a small bliss.

My First Freezer Cooking Hooray!

Last Wednesday I went exploring around one of my “new” grocery stores. At first I wasn’t impressed…it was dark, dirty, and not very inviting. This store happens to be a little private owned store, while what I’m used to shopping at are large chains so I’m sure that has something to do with my ‘perception’. Anyway, I noticed some stickers on the meat that I never saw at my formerly awesome chain store-  markdown stickers!!! Score! That place totally just went up a couple notches! =)

I decided to grab pretty much anything I saw that was significantly marked down- basically out of sheer excitement. I bet it showed- those poor employees probably thought I was nuts! Then the wheels really started turning…my husband would be home early that day, so I could easily prep everything for meals for the next week or so. 

On my very first attempt at freezer cooking I was able to cook and/or assemble 10 dinners! And I only had 1 freezer bag leak everywhere! Double score! =) Tossing my chopped and prepped beef stew into the crock pot this morning took all of 2 minutes….and gave me the world’s biggest smile!

I’m tellin ya, it’s the little things in life! =)

What is your favorite freezer dish?

Taming The Paper Monster Part 1

I am not sure when the paper monster invaded our home, but it sure feels like it happened overnight. For so long our simple one box file system worked perfectly, or maybe it just seemed perfect? We moved last month and the amount of paper that I was finding in the most random of locations was just awful. No, not just awful. It was horrifying. I’ve always been the kind of person who desperately wants to be organized. In fact, I HATE unorganized, cluttered spaces! However, between work and the kids and everything else there was just no time to be organized. Well, now that time is not an issue, I have committed to at least one organizing project a week- starting today with the paper monster. So off to Heaven on Earth…I mean Target…I went! =)

I found the most adorable file boxes ever- a nice vintage green and yellow theme. (Of course it’s Target, so I found a million other things too that I just had to have. Grr.) I have decided that mostly I need to expand our system and break it down into more specific categories. I purchased 3 file boxes- one for myself, one for my husband, and one for our home and cars. I also purchased 2 expandable files to hold my children’s important documents and one binder which will eventually become my home management system. 

With my husband home to occupy the kids, I went to town. Spread out across the floor with a large cup of coffee. Bliss. I actually managed to deal with almost every piece of paper that until then did not have a home. Pretty much all I have left to do is tackle the file box that is already full. *Pat on back

I’m going to give myself until Tuesday night to finish, so look for the final part sometime Wednesday…complete with before and after pictures! What is your best method of wrangling paper?