Rachel's random ramblings and a little survey check in

Hi friends! It's been awhile since I've done a Rachel's random ramblings post {pretty sure I say that every.single.time}, so I thought I would check in with some random things that are rambling around in my head.
About 6 months ago, my then 16 year old son told me that the only thing he wanted for his birthday was to go to The Gentleman of the Road concert with me. Not his friends, but me. Now, he could have been saying that because none of his friends could afford the steep ticket price and the long weekend away on the other side of the state, but what I heard was I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU. So, I bought overpriced concert tickets and we had our best time spending the weekend together.

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How we make our rewards program work for us


There are a lot of credit card rewards programs out there. So how do you choose the right program for you?

I've had this conversation with friends (because man, when you are an adult you talk about what mattress you should get and what rewards programs you should be a part of. This whole adult thing is exciting stuff!)  and so I've compiled a list of things that people want from their rewards program.

People want a rewards program that will work for them.  One that has benefits that they want to use. One that won't make you jump through hoops to redeem those benefits and one that doesn't limit what you purchase or how you purchase.  They want to be part of a program that rewards them for buying things they are already buying.  If that sounds good, I have the rewards program for you!
We've been a member of the same rewards program for over 10 years and I think we have found the secret to making our rewards work for us.


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Sophie's birthday! How we celebrate with a puppy party.





Did you know that this week is National Dog Week? You know what else it is? It's also Sophie's birthday! Sophie is our 5 year old golden retriever that is everyone's favorite furry member of the family. I love that we get to celebrate both this week!

I wanted to share a little bit about Sophie with you.



We love spending time with Sophie and like to include her in everything that we do. The picture above was from a recent beach vacation to the Washington coast. She had her best time running in the sand and chasing seagulls! If there is one thing that Sophie loves, it's being at the beach.  Pretty sure she gets that from me!




We are capping off National Dog week and Sophie's birthday week with a dog food cake. How fun is this?! I made it using a can of wet dog food and sprinkled it with some dry dog food.  The candle is made from a treat and it's resting on a pretty awesome Frisbee she can play with later.



Since mealtime is her favorite time, I think she likes her birthday cake!


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3 words I hate to hear at a garage sale

I go to a lot of garage sales.  I've been going to them for the better part of 35 years and would like to consider myself to be a garage sale expert.  

Like nails on a chalkboard, there are 3 words that I hate to hear at a garage sale.  Perhaps you feel the same way? 


Any guesses as to what those three words are?

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The 5 love languages for dogs


I'm a dog lover. I know there are cat people and dog people in this world. I am a dog person. Our golden retriever Sophie came into our lives almost five years ago. We adopted her as a 12 week old puppy the week after we moved into our new home. Our kids were all switching schools mid year and we all had to make the transition to a new home and to a new town. I had no idea how much it would help to have Sophie as an ice breaker.

We moved less than a mile from the elementary school, so when classes resumed after the Christmas break holiday, the kids and I started walking to school. People stopped to ooh and ahh over how darn cute she was, and we had a chance to meet so many new friends because of her.

Sophie continues to make friends everywhere she goes because of her constant smile and her sweet personality. She is such a treasured loyal companion to all of us which is why we like to do what we can as her dog family to speak her love language.



Back a zillion years ago when my husband and I were first married, we did a book study by Gary Chapman together called The 5 Love Languages.  It was a fantastic book for us as newlyweds.  One I have referenced many times in our nearly two decades of marriage. The author went on to write a book that looked at the 5 love languages as they relate to children. 

We all know how our sweet fur babies become like one of our children {though Sophie keeps me up far less and is the most low maintenance of all the ladies in our home} so I thought I would write a spin off myself and create the 5 love languages for dogs.


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Going beyond "fine" how to get your kids to really talk

So your kid walks in the door after school and the first thing out of your mouth is "how was your day." It's instinctual.  My guess is the response you get is "fine." No long deep discussion and no clue as to what happened during those six plus hours that they were away from you.
My oldest son is a senior this year. Everyday this is our conversation when he walks in the door.
Mom: How was school today?
Aidan: Fine.
Mom: What did you do?
Aidan: Oh, you know things.
Mom: What kind of things?
Aidan: Stuff.
It's sort of our little running joke now. Things and stuff are his one word responses to anything that I ask about school. I guess it could be worse.
There are times when we all fall into the "I'm fine" trap for an answer, but there are days when we know our kids have a little bit more going on in their head than they are letting on to. I've found some surefire ways to get kids to talk after school so that we can open up the lines of communication with them and get just a little glimpse into their day.
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Garage Sale Finds Friday-American Pickers style





Welcome back to another garage sale finds Friday, where I share with you some of my favorite garage sale finds.  This week, things are going to be a little bit different.  

My husband and I have been watching the first season of American Pickers on Netflix, and since so many of the items that I find each week end up for sale, I thought I would do a fun little follow up on the items that I have found this summer, the price I paid for them and {here's the fun part!} the price I have sold them for and the profit that I have made.



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How to save hundreds of dollars at the salon and color your hair at home-a step by step guide

It all started when I was 15. I was out with my best friend shopping at Target with money to burn{those were the glory days!}. Somehow I ended up in the hair dye section and picked up a box. 

I was walking the aisles of my daughter's jr. high a few weeks ago and man, I'm telling you, that time of life is full of experimentation with one's looks.  So it's not surprise, that I started playing around and started changing the color of my hair.

I can remember only two times in my life that I have actually paid someone to dye my hair for me and each of those times I couldn't believe how dang on expensive it was. 

Now instead of experimenting with my look and changing the color of my hair, I am dying my hair to cover the grey. 

Either way, with 22 years of experience and probably thousands of dollars saved, I am here to offer my expertise and give you a step by step guide on how you can dye your hair at home. I promise, it's not that scary!


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Transformation Tuesday

On Friday, I shared with you some of my latest garage sale finds. I left you with the challenge of seeing if you could figure out which item I made over for transformation Tuesday.

Do you think you guessed correctly? I've even already sold the piece and made a tidy little profit on it.


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The Great Craft Swap with Wayfair-patterned cutting board

Recently, I was asked to be part of The Great Craft Swap sponsored by Wayfair and well, to be honest with you, they had me at craft swap. I was in! I was given four super fun products to chose from, and immediately, the ideas started coming with each of them.  I ultimately settled on the 3 piece bamboo cutting board set because I had a plan A and a plan B. 

Can I just tell you, that sometimes things don't go as planned with a project and you need a plan C. That's the fun of the learning process though.  More on that later! 

The fun part of the project was that I wasn't crafting for myself, but instead I was crafting for another crafter who I had never met before. I love that! 


After I finished crafting the cutting boards, I mailed the package off and not even two days later, a package arrived in the mail for me! I love getting mail.  Especially handmade mail. It's the bestest!

Here's a little peek of the boards that I gave and the tea towels that I got.  I love them!


I've even got a full tutorial just for you on how I updated the 3 bamboo cutting boards.


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Garage Sale finds Friday

Welcome back to another week of garage sale finds Friday.  Where I share with you my latest garage sale finds.  This series is starting to wind down for the summer as garage sale season is starting to come to a close. As long as I have finds to share, I will be sharing them with you!  In fact, this weekend is one of my favorite neighborhood sales all year long!  So there is sure to be at least one more good GSFF left in me!

For now, I can't wait to show you what I found!


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It's my birthday! 30 things I learned in my 30's

It's my birthday today! I'm 37 and am happy to enter into my late 30's. I've actually really loved being 30. I spent my 20's having babies and generally making the sacrifices that come with parenting young children. I feel like once I hit my 30's I finally had time to focus on me and start figuring out who I really am. 

Today, I'm sharing with you 30 things that I have learned in my 30's.

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Garage sale season is almost over. Now what? Finding the best deals on clothing and household items during the off months.

Garage sale season is nearly over and instead of scoring deals every weekend, you may be finding yourself wondering what you should be doing now to get the best deals on clothing, shoes and items for your home.  
Our garage sale season usually runs from May-September, which leaves me longing for deals from October-April. I've got a list of the places I frequent to find the best deals on clothing, shoes and household items during those months when there isn't a garage sale in site.
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Road trip in the 2016 Mazda 6

I'm a proud mini van driving mama but our current mini van is nearing it's end of days with nearly 150,000 miles and at the ripe old age of 12 years old.  
I like to joke that large money decisions usually take my husband 1 month for every $1,000 that is involved.  It took us three years to replace our last mini van {yep, my previous ride was a mini van we called the pickle because of it's awesome 90's hunter green color.  Be jealous.}.  Sadly, I'm anticipating the same long process as we prepare to replace my current van and since technology has quickly progressed and there are so many new features on cars {holy cow it's like The Jetson's!  I had no idea you could start a car with a push button!} I've started test driving cars to find out what features are important to me and deciding if now that my kids are all car seat free if my options have opened to allow for an SUV or a sedan. You can read our review from last month of the Mitsubishi Outlander here.
This month, my oldest son Aidan and I test drove a 2016 Mazda 6 {zoom zoom} on a road trip {what better way to break in a car than on a road trip!} to Walla Walla, Washington for The Gentleman of the Road music festival {Foofighters and Mumford and Sons...the perfect mother/son bonding!}.

Because I care less about the nitty gritty of how a car works and more on how easy a car is to drive, Aidan will be writing up his thoughts on the cars features. I will be giving my two cents on what I loved and what I didn't love about this classy sedan after driving it for a week so that you can use our insights in case you find yourself car shopping.  
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How to pack the perfect college care package

My husband and I still reminisce about the days when we were in college.  We lived in the same dorm {boys on one side, girls on the other} and would often run into one another at the common mailboxes that were shared in the center of our H-hall.  Both of us had OMCH--Obsessive mail checking habit for those less informed.  We loved getting mail even if it was just a catalog and because it was the campus mail system, sometimes mail would get delivered more than once a day. 

We've been involved in children's ministry at our church for years so when our first set of "kids" went off to college four years ago, I got in the habit of sending out care packages. I thought if we loved getting mail so much, other people probably like getting mail a lot too. Over the course of the years, I've gotten pretty good about my college care packing abilities.  So much so that I have the goods on how to pack the perfect college care package.


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