Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How a Cheap Mama Saves on Diapers

Diapering our children for the first few years of their lives can be extremely costly.  With my first child, Superman, I would never have dreamed of putting his delicate tushy in anything other than brand name diapers.  I quietly suspected that the generic diapers were probably just fine but all of that marketing really had me believing that more expensive = better product.  So I grabbed the brand name box of diapers each time I was at the store, trying to ignore the fact they they were significantly more expensive and trying not to add up what the cost difference would be if multiplied over the lifetime of my diapering days.

The second time around, though, things were different.  I was a full-fledged Cheap Mama and determined to save money on this baby expenditure.  I'll never forget the first time I bought a pack of generic diapers.  I actually felt like a bad mother; like I had just committed a mortal mothering sin by buying something other than the best for my child.  Even my husband balked at the idea of putting our precious angel's skin next to anything other than the brand name stuff.  I can now say that after 18 months and about a million diapers later, generic diapers are just fine! 

That's not to say one generic brand may not work for a particular baby but I guarantee that you would be able to find another generic brand that would work just fine.  My SIL who has 4 children uses generic diapers on her baby boy but has found that the Target brand UP & Up won't work because they don't fit my nephew's body correctly.  (This is my personal opinion but I think boys are harder to diaper than girls.  It's a trajectory thing and some diapers just won't fit right to contain the fountain.  But I found that to be true even with the brand name diapers!)

My advice, if you're trying to be a Cheap Mama too, would be to go ahead and take the plunge!  Buy the generic!  Give it a try and you'll find that they are not composed of wood chips, are soft and absorbent and even have cute little pictures just like the brand name ones.  You will also be skipping torward the checkout lane knowing that you just cut your diaper spending in half!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Comparing Mommy

Comparing.  We all do it as moms.  We compare parenting styles, post-baby fashion, children's clothing, children's educations, birthdays, Christmas traditions, blogs.  And on and on and on.  Well, today I found myself comparing my delinquency as a parent according to the time at which I dropped off my son at his Montessori school.  Morning drop-off runs from 8:05 a.m. to 8:25 a.m.  You would think that as a SAHM I could get myself semi-dressed and out the door with my 4 year old and baby in time for drop-off.  More often than not, though, we're rounding the corner on two wheels praying that the gate isn't closed - a sign that I'm a delinquent mother and we will have to take the walk of shame through the school all the way to his classroom.

This morning we were running late as usual and we played the game "Open or Shut" to see if the tell-tale gate was open, indicating I was a Good Mom or closed, indicating I was a Bad Mom.  Once the car dropped back onto all 4 wheels we saw that the gate was indeed OPEN!  Yay!  I was a good Mommy!  I dropped of my little Superman and as I was pulling away I looked in the rearview mirror and caught my friend Scarlett, dropping off her daughter.  I yelled "YES!" and probably scared the baby half to death with my joy that someone else was even later than I was.  I felt good.  Vindicated.  I wasn't the worst mommy that morning at drop-off!

Why do I do that?  Is it because as women we're almost programmed to always compare?  Does it really mean I'm a Bad Mom if I'm running late?  Or buy his clothes from Wal Mart?  Or don't send him to the best school in town but rather a really good school just with less prestige?  I know in my heart that this isn't true but it sure is hard to quiet the little voice inside me that is always making me compare myself to other moms.

As I grow and learn in this role of Mommy I hope that little voice gets quieter and quieter and that I learn to be the best I can be and to be content with who I am as a mother.  That's one of the reasons I love blogging and reading other blog posts.  I realize we're all messy, imperfect women who love our children fiercely and are doing the best we can with what God has given us.  I love to learn from other moms, laugh at their travails and find examples from their own lives to help me be the best I can be.   And in doing so, I hope to quit comparing and start just enjoying this journey called life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Reluctant Cheapskate

The word budget isn't a bad word.  It's telling your money what to do, instead of your money telling you what to do.

If I had heard those words two years ago they probably wouldn't have meant the same thing to me then that they do now. The title of this post is really the inspiration behind my entire blog.  I'm a Cheap Mama because I have to be, not because I want to be.  I think most of us fall into that category although I know there are the few who enjoy washing and reusing ziploc baggies for the thrill of saving money.  However, my reasons for being a Cheap Mama have nothing to do with Cheap thrills and everything to do with striving to live within our means while doing it as chic as possible.  I don't like living within a budget - who does?  But when I heard the quote above I realized that the word "budget" really isn't as scary as I had made it out to be.  We all have a budget, right?  Some may have a bigger budget than others but unless you are independently wealthy there is a finite amount of money to cover expenses each month and those of us who are in charge of making sure that there's not more month than money are given a big job of figuring out how and where to spend that hard earned money.

That's why I began this blog and why I read other blogs like mine.  I love finding other ideas on how to live a fabulous, frugal life.  I really try to make my blog posts worth the time and effort by giving ideas on how I have found a way to be a Cheap Mama in the year that I have spent learning to whittle down our expenses.  To give you an idea of why I had to become a Cheap Mama, when I was working I was making almost the same amount that my husband makes now.  So, when I quit we basically took a 45% household pay cut!  We kept the same house, had the same monthly bills and still had to feed and clothe the children.  Needless to say I knew things had to change and I put myself in charge of figuring out just how much we could squeeze out of our new monthly budget.

This blog is what I have learned from my own experiences and from other sources such as books and blogs and I hope that it's at least somewhat helpful to those of you who take time out of your day to visit me!  I look forward to sharing some of those sources in future posts because they have been a tremendous help to me.  In the meantime, if you find yourself reading this post please realize that you are not alone in striving to manage your finances!  We all have to do and hopefully we can all share ideas and ways in which to live a chic, cheap life!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Cheap Mama Uniform

A year ago I quit my full-time job to be a SAHM.  When I was working I basically had two types of clothing in my closet.  Work clothes and pajama-esque clothing.  Those of you who work will know exactly what I'm talking about.  If I ever went on vacation or needed to dress cute but casual on the weekends I was usually at a loss because I didn't have any "in between" clothing.  At the time I quit I was 5 months pregnant so I started wearing the casual maternity clothes that I had inherited from friends.  It was only after the birth of my daughter that I realized what a serious clothing quandry I was in!  None of my pre-baby clothes fit but it didn't matter because they were all my old work clothes.  Or my old pajamas.  This is when I found myself in an identity crisis.  Who would I be as this new SAHM?  How would I dress everyday when most days were spent at home?  I didn't want to be a slob but I wanted to be comfortable and, let's face it, a little cute.  I don't know how it happened but I began migrating to zip up hoodies over a coordinating tank top with cotton bottoms.  I would have been in yoga pants (you know - to make everyone think I was actually working out) but my post-baby booty wasn't exactly yoga pant material so I stuck to the looser, athletic looking ones.  I wondered if this new look was going to work and then I caught an episode of Desperate Housewives.  There was cute Eva Longoria as Gaby Solis dressed in her coordinating zip up hoodies and pants!  I decided that character would be my inspiration.  Now all I needed was beautiful long flowing hair.  But that's another post.

The great thing about this new "uniform" was that I now could focus on dressing cheaply as well!  I started comparing prices of my "uniform" pieces at different stores and found that I could really whittle down my clothing budget by shopping savvy and knowing when a price was good enough for me to spend our hard-earned money.  If anyone is looking to manage their clothing budget I would suggest a CHEAP uniform!  Of course, I'm not saying to buy ill-fitting, poorly made clothing but for those of us who are at home most of the day inexpensive clothing from places like, oh, say, the store with the big red bullseye are usually just fine for our purposes.  So, get a uniform!  Maybe your style isn't mine...or Gaby Solis' but I have a friend who rocks skinny jeans and cardigans over tees all the time and she looks fabulous!  She says if you take a peek inside of her closet you will see a row of different colored cardigans (that she found for CHEAP) next to tee and jeans and she always looks great.  She's usually also wearing a great pair of earrings which is part of her signature style as well.

My "uniform" has served me well throughout the fall and winter seasons but now as temperatures are starting to warm up here in south Louisiana I am in need of a new uniform.  This means the next few weeks will find me looking at other chic SAHMs and in magazines for a new look that I can acquire for CHEAP.  I'll keep you updated on what I find...

In the meantime - from One Cheap Mama to another - find your own uniform and rock it mama!

Monday, February 14, 2011

How Pregnancy Changed My Body

A head to toe inventory of how lugging around another human being (twice) changed my body.

Hair: I was one of the lucky ones (sarcasm intended) who experienced post partum hair loss.  My hair loss was limited to the periphery of my face and now, almost 8 months later, I'm sporting hairs about 2 inches in length which stick STRAIGHT OUT from my head no matter what I do.  Maybe somebody I'll look like a Breck girl but it ain't happening any time soon.

Eyes:  I woke up one day in the third trimester of my second pregnancy and BOOM! Dark circles.  Since then I've become an expert in concealer.  I could have done without the new knowledge of cream vs powder and the correct dabbing technique to make me look like I don't belong in Night of the Living Dead.

Arms: Evidently those toned arms I sported pre-kids weren't in it for the long haul.  My arms became squishy after having kids and now I have to actually pay attention to all of those arm exercises.

Stomach:  Other than the fact that my stomach was stretched beyond all imaginable girth which caused changes you can imagine for yourself, I used to have a perfectly round belly button.  It was the cutest little 'O'.  Now, that 'O' looks like an eyelid that's been caught in mid-blink and it looks like it's here to stay.

Thighs: Before kids- no cellulite.  After kids - cellulite.  'Nuf said.

But oh, how these children have changes my body in so many other ways as well.

Heart: My heart now walks around outside of my body playing, laughing, singing and smiling.

Eyes: My eyes watch in amazement as these little beings run and roll around my house and I have to pinch myself that they're mine.

Arms: My arms have held, rocked, and carried these children.

Hands: They might not be the hands of a young girl anymore but these hands have brushed away tears, caressed sleeping faces and held hands in the parking lot to keep a little one safe.

My body has been the warm home needed as my babies grew and developed.  It has provided a loving embrace, a lap on which to hear a story, a nose for Eskimo kisses and arms and legs to carry them when they couldn't do it themselves.

Some days I wish for the body I had in my early 20's but with all I've gained, I'll keep my changed body.

Now I'm off to go kiss some sleeping babies...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cheap Mama Homemade Baby Food

One of the things I was excited about trying with Baby #2, Sidekick, was homemade baby food.  When I was pregnant with my first child I had purchased a simple recipe book of baby foods but due to the demands of being a working mommy I never did get around to using it.  So around the time Sidekick turned 4 months old I blew the dust off the cookbook and started reading the recipes and making my shopping list.  People make their own baby food for various reason but my main two reasons were 1) Cost and 2) Health.  In that order.  I have to be honest, I know that health should have been first and foremost but I was already nursing exclusively so I wasn't as worried about the health aspect as much as I was about seeing how much money I could save by making my own baby food.  I figured if child #1, Superman, had eaten store bought baby food and survived to tell the tale, it couldn't be all bad.  I just wanted to figure out a way to make it conducive to my new Cheap Mama lifestyle.

Here are some of the prices of fruits and vegetables in my area compared to the most inexpensive store baby food I have been able to find.

I have discovered that you can find most store baby food at around $1.60/lb or $0.10/oz.  If the produce costs more than $1.60/lb then you're losing money by making it yourself and if the store baby food costs more than $0.10/oz you are losing money by not making your own.  I usually have my phone calculator handy when trying to figure out the price of a new food I'm going to make.  In general, these are my big money makers, items where it is much cheaper to make my own.

Money Makers: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Bananas, Butternut Squash, Yellow Squash.  Frozen Vegetables are also good as long as I check the price per pound.

I don't have any fancy culinary equipment to make my own baby food.  All I use is a peeler, knife, cutting board, saucepan, plastic icecube trays and possibly the world's smallest food processor.

I can't stress the importance of using proper freezer quality plastic bags.  After going through the time and effort of making your own baby food you're not going to want it to go bad because of freezer burn.  I just about jumped for joy when I found freezer bags for cheap at my local Dollar General.  (Look for the DG brand.  The price per bag kicks the pants off the price of brand name or even store brands.)
Label and date each bag so that you know when you cooked it and what it was (is that carrots? butternut squash? sweet potatoes?) to ensure that you're using the FIFO method for your little sweet pea.  Use as many cubes as necessary to satisfy your little hungry hippo and smile knowing you're saving money and feeding your baby foods fresh from the produce section.

The Day Martha Stewart Died in the Gulf of Mexico

Well, okay, the Martha Stewart didn't really die but the one who lives inside of me did.  It was the summer of 2008 and she died off the coast of Florida during a family vacation.  Looking back it was the perfect storm of marital discord, whiney ungrateful children and a family vacation gone awry that led to her eventual downfall.  Here in south Louisiana, everyone goes to the Gulf Coast for fun-filled family vacations on white sandy beaches.  They come back with amazing tans and post smiling photos on Facebook.  I had lived here for four years at the time and I was ready for my turn!  My son had been born 2 years earlier and I felt that it was high time we got in on the family vacation action now that we weren't burdened with a newborn.  So we packed up the car and headed east to sunny Florida.  My hopes were high.

After being led astray by our GPS, lovingly named "Tammy" (we put Tammy in time-out after this trip), we pulled up to our hotel a little bit grouchy but excited to see where our perfect family vacation would unfold.  Let's just say that internet photos don't always tell the whole story.  The hotel was nice, clean and right on the beach but it wasn't the swanky joints we were used to so I could see by the look on my husband's face that this wasn't exactly what he had in mind when I told him we would be sunning ourselves on the white shores of Panama City, Florida.  I told myself to take deep breath, that it would be OKAY.  You see, my inner Martha Stewart had just popped up and pointed out that this was not a perfect place for a family vacation.  No problem, I told myself.  Mommy will still make this the perfect family vacation!  It wasn't long after we got settled in our hotel suite that the little cloud of doom that would follow us around all week started to form above us.  Nothing went right.  The kids hated the sun in their eyes, the sand on their bodies, the salt-water in their eyes.  The husband still wasn't jazzed about the accomodations or the "budget-friendly" food I had brought to cook in our little kitchen in the hotel room and I was starting to crack under the strain.  This is where Martha Stewart began to slip away.

As I was listening to the kids complain yet again about spending their day on the beach (the 2 year old was crying more than complaining but annoying all the same) I distinctly remember asking my husband to take over while I took a dip in the ocean.  As I was bobbing up and down looking back at my family on the shore I knew that if something didn't give, I was either going to explode or strangle someone in their sleep.  I didn't know how this was going to be accomplished but I knew it needed to happen and quick.

The vacation never got better and we ended up coming home two days early.  Almost immediately I sought out a therapist that I knew some of my friends had been to see and scheduled an appointment.  (I'm not ashamed of admitting to counseling.  I think everyone should go at least once in their life and it's the reason that strangling thing never happened.)  Within my first session, my therapist pointed out that I had used the word perfect one too many times and recommended some reading material.  Turns out, I thought I was Martha Stewart and I found out that I'm not.  And that little bit of understanding completely changed my world.  Instead of bothering me like I thought it would, it was utterly and completely liberating.  I came home and told my family "Martha Stewart has died!"  That meant that no more would I worry that the house was a mess, that I still didn't have a rug in the dining room after 3 years, that my photos were still in boxes at the bottom of a closet instead of chronologically placed in albums or that no matter how hard I tried my life never seemed to look like a Pottery Barn catalog.  I was FREE!

To this day, I still run into other Martha Stewarts.  They are my friends, family members, fellow moms in the trenches.  And I'm not sure if they are as stressed as I was at trying to keep all of the plates spinning but I know that I am a better person for having hung up my apron, so to speak.  The house is sometimes a mess, and sometimes it's chili out of a can for supper but I am happy.  And when Mama is happy, ain't everybody happy. 

Pottery Barn Inspired Artwork for a Boys Room Done Cheap!

When I had my daughter we did a bit of musical rooms and ended up moving my son into my step-son's room.  The step-son went into the guest room and the daughter went into my son's old room... well you get the picture.  With the move, I decided to make my son's room a little more appropriate for a preschooler rather than a toddler but I of course wanted to do it as cheaply as possible and still make it look great.  I always look in magazines for ideas and inspiration and shortly after I decided on the re-do, the Pottery Barn catalog arrived.  Bingo!  I pored over each page trying to see what they were using to make the boy rooms look so good.  I kept seeing these great pieces of wall art that weren't available for purchase, they were just using them in addition to their own merchandise.  As I peered closer I realized that this great art was simply a shape cut out of an interesting type of paper (newspaper, scrapbook paper) placed on a neutral background and framed with or without a mat.  Lightbulb! I decided to make my own using the sports theme I already had going in his room and headed off to my local craft superstore.  Here is what I used to make the wall art.

White frames with mat for 8x10 photo
Tan scrapbook paper for background
Printed scrapbook paper for the objects
Razor blade with cutting board
Computer (for image ideas)

I used 5 styles of scrapbook paper and used 7 sheets total.  I used a plain tan for the background (1 for each picture so 3 total), a soccer sheet (I lucked out with this one because I didn't have to create a soccer ball - I just cut out the largest soccer ball from the center of the paper), a brown "woodgrain" style for the bat, a white with red laces border for the baseball and a red/white stripe with brown smudges for the football helmet.  I basically did a freehand drawing of each on the BACK of each sheet drawing and re-drawing the lines until I got it exactly how I wanted it.  I then used the razor blade to cut out the drawings.  The football helmet actually proved to be the biggest challenge but I googled "football helmet image/s" until I found one that I liked and then looking back and forth from the computer screen to my paper, I did the same draw and re-draw process until I got it the way I wanted.  The irony is, that in my opinion the football helmet turned out to be the best!

I chose sports but this could work using ANY theme, colors, frames, etc to fit a girl or boy room.
I could kick myself for not keeping my receipts but I've added up the total and I believe I spent around $10-$12 per picture.  Of course, I chose to do 3 which made the cost somewhere between $30-$36 but I could have chosen to do 1 or 2 and still have had the same impact for less money.
I love them and think they will be on his wall for a long time!  Or, at least until I get another idea...

My Search for the Best, CHEAPest HE Washer...

...began when my washing machine decided to die two weeks ago.  This was the same washing machine that had flooded our entire downstairs two years ago when it got stuck on "Fill" while my husband was upstairs and I was out of the house.  We kept the machine because we were assured it would never happen again after it received the required maintenance and they were right!  Something completely different went kaput this time and the cost to fix it was going to be about the same as purchasing a new one.  This meant that I was now taxed with researching the best HE washing machine with a price that fit our budget.  As you can imagine, I am always on the hunt for thecheapest item but I didn't think an appliance was where I wanted to skimp considering this would be an investment that I would (hopefully!) have for many years to come andI also didn't want to get dazzled by the sights and sounds of all of the the new hot rod models and make a purchase based on looks and not facts.  I did all of my research online using free sites and here is what I found.
Choosing the Brand
Front-load washing machines tend to do better in reviews and tests than top-load washing machines but they are also more prone to mold and mildew problems and significantly more expensive.  Since I live in southeast Louisiana where we have very high humidity throughout most of the year and since I am One Cheap Mama, I immediately narrowed my search to only top-load washing machines.  However, if I had been in the market for a front-loader it appears that LG products consistently come out on top among the experts.  Plus they come in a lot of great colors and would probably look slick sitting in my laundry room.  But I digress.  After I decided on a top-load washing machine three brands kept coming up as top rated: Maytag, Whirlpool and to a lesser degree GE.  (As full disclosure, I am not affiliated with any of these companies and don't have any friends or family members who are either.)  After reading what the experts had to say I began to read customer reviews.  I find that customer reviews can be extremely helpful when trying to gain information but I have to take each comment with a grain of salt.  A lot of times the people writing the reviews have had a very unique negative experience and are out to vent via a comment and feel vindicated by warning others not to buy the featured item.  Keeping that in mind, I tried to find reviewers who were honest and unbiased in their reviews.  I also talked to friends and family who had just purchased HE washing machines and asked for their input.  Two of these individuals went with the Whirlpool brand and are happy with it.  At the point of purchase I was trying to decide between a Whirlpool model or a Maytag model.  After talking to the salesperson at my home store and decided to go with the Maytag Bravo.  The final decision maker for me was that Maytag offers a 10 year warranty on their motor and basket.  Had I had that warranty on my old washing machine I wouldn't have been in the market for a new washing machine in the first place so that was a big selling point in my book!  I also discovered that Whirlpool purchased Maytag so they are now essentially the same company but sold as two separate brands.
Search For Best Price
Prior to making my purchase at my local home store while I was still trying to decide on which brand to choose, I went online to compare prices.  I looked at,, and  At the time of my purchase the prices were very similar between all of them so I went with the retailer that was closest to my home and one that would provide installation and haul-away of my old machine.  Some websites will offer online deals that are different than the store price but at the home store that I visited they said that they would match their own online price.  I would check with your chosen retailer to see if they will price match or provide deals online or if they provide ship-to-store to minimize any shipping costs.
This is where the Cheap Mama in me had to wrap my head around the fact that I would have to purchase laundry detergent a little more higher priced than what I was used to buying.  Previously, I would buy the cheapest detergent possible knowing that agitation is key when cleaning and a little detergent goes a long way.  However, just when I was feeling bummed about having to purchase more expensive detergent I talked to a friend of mine who assured me that these HE washing machines really require a minimal amount of detergent and using too much is actually detrimental to the machine.  This means that although I won't be able to make my own detergent (something I was looking forward to as a Cheap Mama) I will still be able to stretch my laundry detergent to be as economical as possible while still having clean clothes.
Cheap Mama Conclusion
Although I've had the machine a mere two weeks I've done over a dozen loads of laundry and so far I am very pleased.  I have taken the advice given to me by other HE washing machine owners and the instruction booklet and I use minimal detergent and my clothes are coming out smelling fresher than with my old washing machine!  I leave the lid open when not washing to minimize any mildew problems and so far I have had no problems with mold or mildew.  I place my clothes in "heaps" in a circle around the center of the basket per the instructions, choose my settings carefully and so far have had no problems.  In the spirit of honesty in blogging, though, I promise to update this post should I run into any problems in the future.
I don't wish my experience of a dead washing machine on anyone else but if you, like me, find yourself in need of a new washing machine hopefully my time and effort will help you in your search!

What I've Learned as a SAHM

February marks my one year anniversary as a stay-at-home mom.  It has been everything and nothing that I expected.  Here are a few things I have learned on my journey so far.

*Having kids = having a cluttered house. And that's okay.

*You really can wash your hair every other day and still look great.

*Zip up hoodies can be dressed up or down.

*Quitting high heels will mean that the next time you don them you will be sore the next day and wonder how you ever wore them EVERY DAY.

*You will learn that the grocery store is populated with completely different types of people at 10 a.m. than at 6 p.m.

*When the package says "Sleep N Plays" your baby will both sleep and play in the same one for at least 24 hours.

*Being content with what you have is perhaps the most difficult thing to accomplish but when you arrive there, it is pure bliss.

*Yes you really will have entire discussions with your child over the plot lines of animated movies, how Diego is Dora's cousin and not her brother, and what would happen if babies could drive.

*You will be clipping coupons on a Sunday evening and realize that you did become your mother after all.

*Most of your adult friendships will be conducted over Facebook, Twitter and text messages but it will mean that although you are home, you are still an individual connected to the outside world and will be the way you stay sane most days.

*Going to Wal Mart alone will be akin to a mini vacation.

*Being around other moms without your children present will be like sunshine to your soul.

*There will be days when you wonder, "are these clothes or are these pajamas?"

*You will really learn how to streeeeetch a dollar.

*You will feel a deep connection with the generations of stay at home mothers who have gone before you.  You will marvel at how they kept a home, raised healthy children and stayed happily married with such grace.

*You will re-kindle your relationship that you abandoned in childhood with the public library and ask it to forgive your affair with Barnes & Noble.

*You will be only slightly embarrassed when you get really excited about finding new ways to clean your house.

*At some point you will have to come to peace with the fact that your job is never done, always present and will require the same energy tomorrow that it did today.

*You will have wonderful plans about keeping a schedule of cleaning, shopping and spending quality time with your children...and then watch those plans fall apart within the first week.

*You will learn to be flexible and take each day as it comes.

*You will covet a mentor mom when you find her.  You'll know she's worth her weight in gold.

*You will go from being irritated that your house looks so "lived in" to reveling in the fact that your house looks so "lived in."

*You will live vicariously through your husband's restaurant lunches.

*You will love your husband even more for trusting that this stay-at-home plan will work out even though you know he's secretly stressed about taking on the financial responsibility alone.

*You will shower and get dressed in something other than sweats and your child will ask "Are we going somewhere Mommy?"

*You will wait for nap time each day like a 5 year old waits for Christmas.

*You will long for time away from your children and then when you get it you will miss them because they're not with you.

*You will thank God for every minute that you get to spend with your children knowing that this time is a blessing.

What I Miss About Oklahoma

After writing my post about the reasons why I love living in the south, I would be remiss if I didn't mention what I miss about my homestate of Oklahoma.  Hope y'all enjoy.

I miss having the almost daily privilege of witnessing some of the most gorgeous sunsets you've ever laid eyes on.

I miss seeing Oklahoma crimson and cream ballcaps, t shirts and flags everywhere you look.

I miss the rivalry between OU and OSU that heats up November like a bonfire.

I miss my grandmother calling it the Wal Marts.  Maybe all grandmothers do this, I don't know, but for some reason it only seems like an Oklahoma grandma kind of thing to say.

I miss the wide open spaces of northwest Oklahoma where a man could have the job description of Doctor/Rancher.

I miss how going to Dallas constitutes a major shopping spree.

I miss how if you mention The City, everyone knows you're talking about Oklahoma City.

I miss having a chance at getting a white Christmas.

I miss not being able to use the phrase I used in high school to remember the streets of Tulsa.  My Sister's Yellow Hair Looks Ugly Pretty Rotten.

I miss using the phrase "in the panhandle" and everyone knowing exactly where you're talking about.

I miss Braum's hamburgers, ice cream and crinkle cut french fries.

I miss the quiet strength of the people.

I miss my family.

I miss Oklahoma.


Why I Love Living in the South

I grew up in Oklahoma but a little over six years ago I moved to Louisiana for love.  My husband, the Georgia boy, had moved here and I was just passing through Texas with my job so we decided to make Louisiana our home.  I grew up watching movies like Steel Magnolias and reading Gone With the Wind so I was tickled pink to be able to live in the south.  As with anything in life, it's never as romantic as the fiction it inspires but I truly love living here.  Here are some of the reasons why I love living in the south.

We monogram anything that will stand still.

We give our girls names like Elizabeth, Mary Frances, Charlotte, Margaret and Caroline.

Our boys have last names as first names such as Bradford, Cooper, Jefferson and Davis.

We make our children say ma'am and sir to anyone over 15 years of age.

We're suckers for anything in toile print...or animal print.  Toile or animal printand monogrammed?  Puh-lease, we'll take it in both colors.

We produce authors who write works like "The Help", "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and the "Sweet Potato Queen" series.

Gravy has its own food group.

Words like "icebox" and "the show" are still alive and well.

If you don't know what going to the show means, you'll need to find a native Southerner.

We use the phrases "might could" and "might should."  Example: I might should go to the store before this storm comes in.

This one only applies to where I live in the New Orleans area but we get the entire week off for Mardi Gras.  How awesome is that?

More than a half inch of snow is reason enough to cancel school and call in absent to work.

We've managed to make "y'all" an almost universally accepted word.

We torture our daughters with events like cotillion and debuts.

We know that any restaurant worth its salt will have sweet tea on the menu.

Our maiden names become our middle names when we get married thereby ensuring that everyone knows who we are and where we came from.

Tailgating for football games is an artform.

But the biggest reason I love living in the south are the people I've met who call this place home.  I'll never be a native southerner, like they are, but they've opened up their hearts and lives to me and my family and become the village that we need as we live our lives and raise our children away from our own families.  No matter where I go in life I'll always treasure the time I spent living in the south.  
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