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September 11, 2001- Never Forget

11 Sep

Today, hug your loved ones. And remember, there are those, who cannot. Play outside with your children, today. And remember, there are those, who cannot. Turn the TV off and sit with your family, for dinner, tonight. And remember, there are those, who cannot. Give in to the “One more story”, at bedtime. Kiss your babies and snuggle with them a little bit longer, tonight. And remember, there are those, who cannot. 

911-tribute-plaque

            GenX Mama

GenX Mama

Wordless Wednesday 

9 Sep

It’s coming… 

 

My AWESOME DIY, New to Me, Ceiling Fan Redo

8 Sep

         I LOVE DIY projects! I have literally, THOUSANDS, of pins on my Pinterest page. Meals, party planning, renovation ideas, etc. Of course, like many people, I’m pinning many of these projects to do when hell freezes over on a rainy day. But, I had to share with y’all, my latest project, that I am quite pleased with myself about! 

The ceiling fan in the master bedroom was a joke. It came with the house. The light fixture had 3 lights that had a globe cover to it and did not put out much light. Our room always felt dark. The fan itself was horrible. It was set on high speed, but the motor was starting to crap out, making high speed look and feel like low speed. Seriously. Molassis dripped faster than this fan went! The Dude and I knew we had to replace it. Several weeks ago, we went to one of the big box home improvement stores to window shop for a new fan. We found one we liked, to the tune of $110.00. It was pretty, shiny and new. But, for now, outside our budget. We figured, now that we found one we liked, we could start saving for it and maybe get it in a month or so. 

I belong to several local classified FB pages. I am a big believer of one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. And you can find some great deals!  A few days after our shopping trip, someone posted an ad of a ceiling fan they were getting rid of. Nothing wrong with it, they upgrading to a different style. This is the picture that was posted with the ad:

The ad read: 52 inch pewter ceilling fan. Works great just upgraded to something bigger.

          The ad read: 52 inch pewter ceilling fan. Works great just upgraded to something bigger.

Beautiful, right? Best part? THEY WERE ONLY ASKING $40.00!!!! $40.00 PEOPLE! I was the first to respond, sent a PM and picked it up a few hours later. The only problem with it was the pewter color. Our room decor is cherry furniture, wrought iron, style. While the style would look great, the pewter color would not work. Well, there’s nothing that a good ole’ can of spray paint won’t fix! 

I love spray paint. Seriously. Love it. It’s an inexpensive, easy fix to many things. I knew I could spray paint it with my fav color, Oil Rubbed Bronze. Rustoleum has a great line of spray paints, with tons of colors to choose from. I especially love their Universal Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze. I’ve used this on many projects over the years. Works great and has a nice finish to it. Even better, it has primer and paint in one.

Rustoleum Universal Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze

Rustoleum Universal Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze

I set to work on my project. I already had a spare can of spray paint at home, so that saved about $6.00! First, I removed all the globe lights off, (well, for the sake of honesty, The Dude did this for me. I could have, but he was being a sweetie and helped me out). There is a large, surround light globe on it, but that would have required taking apart the entire fan, so to save time, I covered that part with newspaper and painters tape. IMG_7874

Next, I covered the electrical sockets and wires with painters tape. Make sure to do this! You don’t want any paint messing up the electrical parts. Also, make sure to remove any stickers that are on the fixture. Then I started spraying! Making sure to to light, even sprays, to avoid any drips. You don’t want to spray heavily. This can make it look uneven. Keep a light finger on the trigger. Let it dry. You may have to do a couple of coats, but when I looked carefully, I only found a couple areas that I had missed, so a full second coat was not needed. 

Looking good!

                          Looking good!

We ended up waiting about a week before putting installing it. I wanted to make sure that it was fully dry. And it was also just finding the time for The Dude to hang it. Oh, but it was worth the wait! Check it out!

LOVE IT!

                                                                   LOVE IT!

PERFECTION!

                                                         PERFECTION!

Doesn’t it look great!!!!!! The fan is very powerful and our room is so much brighter with the open lights! And it was only $40.00! So, let’s break it down:

Ceiling fan purchased from FB local classified ad – $40.00

Rustoleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint – $0.00 (since we already had a can)

Installation – $0.00 (because The Dude rocks!)

Time for taking apart lights, painting, and installation – About 3 hours total over a 9 day period

Final cost – $40.00 for a beautiful, new to me, ceiling fan

Money saved by doing DIY instead of purchasing new – $70.00

Gen X Mama’s Wallet – HAPPY!

Just shows, with a little time and effort, anything can be made new again! Do you have a DIY project you are particularly proud of? Share it and post a picture in the comments below!

7 Sep

How I (FINALLY) Cut The Cable Cord And Saved

       For YEARS, I have wanted to do away with cable. I mean, YEARS! But, everytime I approached the subject, I was beaten to a pulp talked out of it by The Dude and the X kids. We had 200+ channels, yet only watched a handful of them, most shows being watched on network channels, that would be free anyway. But then, when we got DVR service about 8 or 9 years ago, I fell in love! DVR! I could record HOURS of crap and watch all the time! I was never going to give up cable now! I can record automatically all the Law and Order SVU reruns. All the Friends reruns. It was great! But, man, was I paying for it! To the tune of about $130 a month!! Insane, right? However, we have always had cable and this just was a regular bill we always had to pay. We became numb to it.

When our financial situation started to change a couple of years ago, we started to reevaluate our bills. Cutting costs wherever we could. Groceries, entertainment, etc. I finally started taking a hard look at the cable bill. That $130/month just kept glaring at me. I called the cable demons company to see about lowering the bill. I wanted to cancel the premium movie channels. That would save about $30/month. Then they offered ALL those channels with a special price of $10/month for a year! SOLD! I was saving $20/month but had to commit to another year of service. But, we barely ever watched those channels!

It was in November of 2014 that I really started rethinking the cable thing. Technology has introduced some neat gadgets. I started doing my research and made up my mind that come January, when our contract was up, I was canceling our service. This was the reaction from my family…

NOOOOOOOOOOOO

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Despite their wails and protests, I was determined. I knew there would be some upfront costs, but that we would recoup them within a couple of months. First step was to buy an antennae. Antennas have come a long way since the rabbit ears and freaky metal contraptions on your roof days. We purchased a flat, indoor HDTV antennae from Wal-Mart for $40. It’s signal reaches up to 60 miles. We put this in our attic. Next we needed a streaming device. A streaming device can keep 100’s of apps in one area. There are also Blu Ray players that allow you to stream content, as well as Smart TV’s. With any of these options, you need to connect to the Wifi in your house. We have 3 TVs in our house. Family room, Master bedroom and the kids playroom. You have to have a streaming device for each television. The kids have a Wii in the playroom, that can stream several apps, so I started doing my research for the other two televisions. There are quite a few options. This article, from Digital Trends, lists the best options for steaming media devices. We decided to go with the Roku 3, for our family room television and the Roku Stick, for the master bedroom. Both give you a couple thousand app choices, but the Roku 3 is more powerful, which we thought would be better for the main family television. Plus, the remote has a headphone jack, which is great when you get tired of listening to Pokemon all the time (which is Lil’ E’s fav show). When we purchased the Roku 3, it was $140. A bit steep, but I knew the money would be recouped within 2 months. The Roku Stick was a great deal at $39.99. It is slower than the more powerful Roku 3, but the master tv is not used as often, so it was something I could overlook.

Now that we had our streaming capabilites, we needed channels to stream. Netflix is a great option, at $7.99 a month. 1000’s of movies and television shows are offered. What’s even better is that there are no commercials! And just to add the cherry on top, Netflix has come out with some fantastic series of their own! Down side is that you have to wait several months for your favorite shows last seasons episodes to be added. Hulu was the next channel we subscribed to. What I love about Hulu is that it airs most of my shows newest episodes the day after they are aired. At $7.99 a month, it is another great option. However, you do have to “suffer” through commercials. Hulu has just rolled out a new commercial free plan for $11.99 a month, but personally, I would rather watch a few minutes of commercials than pay the additional money.We have subscribed to  Amazon Prime for a couple of years, mainly for the free 2 day shipping. The bonus to this membership is the automatic subscription to their Amazon Prime Instant Video. Again, 1000’s of movie and television show options. Amazon Prime membership is $99 a year. Breaking down, that is $8.25 a month. However, since we get the free 2 day shipping option and other perks from the membership, I would calculate that the streaming part breaks down to about $5 a month.

There are a few down sides to cutting the cable cord, of course. CBS has an app but has gotten greedy and requires a $5.99 a month subscription to it. This really bums me out, since there are several shows on CBS that I enjoy. There are quite a few apps that you need a cable company log in, to watch. If you are a huge sports fan, ESPN does have an app. However, you need a cable log in to watch it. There is a way to get these cable log in apps. GENX MAMA CONDONES ANY QUESTIONABLE/ILLEGAL ACTIVITY (I have to put that in there)! If you know someone, family member or friend, who is willing to let you hack into their cable account, share their cable account log in information, you can get all the apps you want.

There is also the DVR issue. TiVo has been a favorite DVR choice for years. Their products run from $49.99-$199.99. There is a $14.99 a month subscription fee for their services. Or, you can pay a 1 time $499.99 fee for life. That’s the life of the product, not your life. I have heard really great things about TiVo, but I’m just not willing to spend the extra money for the subscription. I have another option that I am trying to figure out. We still have a VCR (yeah, you know Gen X Mama likes it old skool!). It is hooked up to the family room television and we can watch movies on it, but I have tried, unsuccessfully, to record shows. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong, if it’s the digital thing or what. I am still trying to figure it out. I’ll keep y’all updated with any success.

So, let’s break it down…

Cable was costing us $130 a month, $1560 a year

Initial investment in equipment (antennae, Roku 3, Roku Streaming Stick), $220. We recouped this initial investment in less than 2 months.

Monthly subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video, $20.98 a month, $251.76 a year.

$130.00 – $20.98 = $109.02/month savings

$1560.00 – $251.76 = $1308.24/yearly savings

WOW! I am quite impressed! There is also the immense satisfaction of not being tethered to the cable cord. It’s quite freeing, actually.

Bottom line, there are so many options now to enjoy tv without the high cost of cable. Better yet, turn the tv off and go enjoy the great outdoors!

GenX Mama

GenX Mama


Wordless Wednesday…Organized Mamas…HELP!

2 Sep
Organizing Mamas...HELP!

Organizing Mamas…HELP!

Epiphany

28 Aug

A little over a year ago, The Dude and I were on our front porch. We were sitting in a double rocking chair, holding hands, rocking away and discussing the changes we were doing to our landscaping in the front yard. It was just like any other day. But all of a sudden, I had a moment of clarity that has rocked my world ever since. My epiphany…

All my adult life, I always strived for bigger and better. The “finer” things in life. A nice, big house. Decorated to the T. The best minivan. My cherubs dressed in the finest clothes. My clothes, purses and shoes (oh, the shoes!), I wanted the best of the best. I wanted THE LABELS. I would swoon and kiss my mailman when he put my happiness in my mailbox. Catalogs. Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Restoration Hardware, Horchow, Land of Nod, etc. I would delight in these days. Pouring over them with the thirst of a lion making it’s kill of the day. I would circle items, tear out pages and walk around my home, decorating in my head and planning where each of these beautiful things would go. I wanted to be the envy of all. A picture perfect, beautiful, modern family. Sounds pretty delicious, right? One problem…

WHO THE HELL CAN AFFORD THIS SHIT?

We certainly couldn’t! I have always been a frugal gal. I always shopped the sales. Any store I went into, I would immediately walk to the back and pour through the clearance section. In the early 2000’s, eBay was my best friend. I remember the first auction I won. It was for a set of Pottery Barn Kids flannel Christmas Santa sheets for then 2 yr old X Girl. I screamed in delight when I won that auction. Paid $44.00. I became hooked on eBay. Buying “Lots” of name brand clothes. Name brand home decor. NAME BRAND EVERYTHING. LABELS. LABELS. LABELS. I had completely fallen into the “Keeping up with the Joneses” trap. Except, I WANTED TO BE THE JONESES THAT EVERYONE FOLLOWED. Didn’t have the money? Phew, just put that on a credit card, baby! Remember this commercial?

Yeah, this was us for a while. Over the years and with maturity and age, it did get better. But, I still had that yearning. That desire to show off my pretty stuff. Here’s the problem…WHO THE FUCK WAS I TRYING TO SHOW OFF TO? My true friends didn’t care. Acquaintances? Neighbors? Hell, I didn’t even like those people!

Then, about two and a half years ago, the shit got real, y’all…

X Boy has severe ADHD with Asperger Tendencies. His medical bills, which most were not covered by insurance, started going up. At the same time, The Dude’s paychecks started going down. His company started cutting back hours and changing his pay scale. Add that to the fact that he had not had a raise in over 2 years, things started getting VERY tight.

We started making MAJOR lifestyle changes. These changes I will blog about on another day. But, as difficult as it has been, it was a blessing. Let’s go back to the porch…

As we were sitting there talking, my epiphany hit me. THIS is all I want out of life. The Dude and I, sitting on a porch together, holding hands. Hearing our children inside the house, playing together (oh, who am I kidding, they were fighting at the time, but still). What the hell have I been doing and wanting all these years, when what I TRULY wanted was what I already had. A family. A husband who adores me and loves me dearly (still thinking he needs to be mentally checked out at times). A man who is, seriously, the most amazing father, who cherishes his children and family. Three FANTASTIC children, each with their own unique personality, that are growing up healthy, happy and loved. A home that is filled with laughter and love. All of a sudden, the materialistic bullshit slipped away and I was left with a calmness and peace in my soul that I had never known.

This moment changed my life…FOREVER.

Seriously. I walked off that porch a new woman. I could care less about labels. I could care less about THINGS. Because, that’s all they are, THINGSPossessions don’t define who I am, I DOHow I speak to people. How I love those in my life. How I try to care for those I see in pain. How I try to be a friend to all and smile to everyone, hoping that their day is a little brighter. I started telling everyone about my epiphany. I was shouting it from the rooftops! Fuck the Joneses! I don’t care about them! I don’t want to be like everyone else! I am GEN X MAMA! I am my own person! I am my own wacky, silly, goofy, loving, caring, honest, thoughtful, unique individual! The catalogs that come in the mail are thrown into the recycling bin. They don’t define me anymore. I don’t NEED anything in them. All of a sudden, the world around me looked very different.

Now, I crave a life of simplicity. Of calm. Peace. A life filled with family, friends, love and laughter. The Zac Brown Band (love them!),  has a song called Homegrown. There is a part of the song that has become my mantra:

It’s the weight that you carry from the things you think you want

It’s the weight that you carry from the things you think you need

I’ve got everything I need,

And nothing that I don’t.

These lyrics now define me. I don’t need fancy shoes, purses, clothes, NOTHING. I need my family. This amazing family that The Dude and I created. Literally, we created HUMAN BEINGS! NEW PEOPLE! When we met 21 years ago, they didn’t exist!

When you let go of all the bullshit and look around at the most important things in your life, YOUR FAMILY, life gets a lot less complicated. 

It saddens me that it took 38 years for me to realize this, but at the same time, it comforts me that it didn’t take 68 years to realize this! My life is content now. My heart is filled with love and peace. I count my blessings in my life and let me tell you, that number is high!

I’ve got everything I need and nothing that I don’t. 

family

PS The front yard landscaping? Instead of spending thousands of dollars, we simply cleaned out shrubs that were placed too close together, replanted them in other areas and ended up spending about $20. 

Wordless Wednesday

11 Jun

What is this strange artifact, Mom? 

 

photo (1)

 

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