Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily. Well, yeah, it is a bad thing.
Last night, I literally spent all night scrolling and scrolling through pinned ideas: crafts, recipes, home school organization tips, clothes, hair styles, and the list goes on. You name it, I probably read about it. ......And then....... I saw a picture of a piece of wall art made out of a fence board and that's when things really kicked up a notch! We have had a stack of wooden fence boards sitting in the back yard ever since we moved in. They were left there by the previous owners and we have just never been bothered enough by them to move them. So right away I ran out, grabbed a fence board and immediately began tearing apart the cabinets trying to find everything I needed to create my own.
Believe it or not, I had all the necessary supplies to make this cute table top or hanging welcome sign. I'm thinking of whether or not I want to drill a couple of holes in it and add some thick twine to hang it from or to get an easel to put it on. What do you think?
Not too shabby for a late night project after putting the kids to bed. Of course, I had to let the paint dry before I sanded and applied the vinyl so it was not finished until today. Totally worth the wait. And now, I'm no longer "on the fence" about pinterest. No, my friends, I'm hooked!
Thanks for stopping by! Y'all have a great night!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Several days ago, I logged in to my computer to find the results of a google search for "what to do when bored" displayed on the screen. I will admit, a teensy, tinsy bit of my heart was saddened at the thought that I was boring someone in my pack to the point of googling a solution. Wow!
Before I decided to investigate further to find out which one of my babies is bored to the point of internet research, I decided to go ahead and read through a few of the top hits on the search. Some of the articles were quite interesting, but really offered no practical advice. However, one of the blog posts really caught my attention mainly because it was written by a mother who decided recently to homeschool her children so that they would be bored. I promise I could not make this stuff up. Go ahead! Google it! Anyhow, after I read the article I noticed that she had something like 50 comments and I thought, "Who in the world would have something to say about a mom who has chosen to school her own children so that they would be able to experience boredom?" My curiosity got the best of me and I ended up spending quite some time on her blog reading through the comments and one of the comments recommended she check out Kelly Kits for her kids on days they did not welcome the boredom.
Kelly Kits? I had never heard of Kelly Kits. So when I visited their website I was quite impressed with what I saw! So much so, that I was just about to sign myself up for a membership when I came to my senses and thought: "We can't afford this!" Don't get me wrong, I think Kelly has come up with a brilliant, unique idea to market, and if we had the expendable income that we could spend $20 a month so that each child could do an art project I very well might do that. The fact is that we simply cannot.
What I can afford to do is put together a few little kits myself for my children, which is exactly what I did this past Thursday. I gave each of the kids a piece of construction paper that was pre-cut into the shape of a face and several different crafting supplies that we had on hand here at our boring ol' house along with and a stick of glue. Their instructions were to make a face using only the paper they had and the supplies they were given. The only restriction was that they could not use any drawing tools (crayons, pencils, pens, markers, etc.) They strictly had to collage the supplies they had onto the face.
The project went remarkably well! The kids were very creative with their faces, kind with sharing their supplies with one another and thankful when it was finished that they had the opportunity to do something different in class that day.
Bryan even told me "That was really fun Mommy!" which restored me to a sense of ease, because well, who really wants the "Boring Mom of the Year" award?
Here is a picture of each of the kids with their finished faces:
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Tonight while I was looking through commentaries on this verse, I stumbled upon a sermon by a Pastor and fellow homeschooler, Keith Krell who described the meaning of this verse as:
This proverb criticizes those who are overly cautious. The farmer who waits for the most opportune moment to plant, when there is no wind to blow away the seed, and to reap, when there is no rain to ruin a ripe harvest, will never do anything but sit around waiting for the right moment. And so, the seed stays in the barn. Solomon exhorts us not to be like this farmer. Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect, because that will never happen. It is true that the wind and rain might come and destroy the harvest. Today’s work might be ruined and you might have to do it over again tomorrow. But that’s okay. Today’s work might succeed as well as tomorrow’s. And if so, then you will be able to reap the rewards for both. Don’t play it safe—take risks. There is no time better than the present to step out in faith.And that is exactly where David and I stood 6 weeks ago when I walked away from my full time career where I worked for 10 years and 9 months, with a little over 14 years left of service before I could retire and draw a nice little government pension at the ripe old age of 46. But we were forced with a decision: put the kids back in government-run public institutions and continue to work or give up the job for the opportunity to invest in the lives of my children. Obviously, we chose the latter with the confidence that God would provide. He has provided so many times for us before it would have been foolish not to rely on His provisions in this matter as well. It would have been counter to our testimony of His goodness.
One week ago today, I posted on facebook: "It's time to sink or swim! This is our first week without a paycheck. ::takes in slow, deep breath:: This is truly gonna be a test of faith! :)" That was on a Thursday (Oct. 11). To which, many responded with very encouraging comments of support. We knew we would be getting a small severance check, basically a refund of what I had put into my pension account, taxed and fined for early withdrawal. We knew that without that money not only would paying monthly bills be impossible, but with all that debt still piled on top of us I would be forced to go back to work most likely at a job paying a fraction of the pay at hours that were no where near as flexible. And we also knew that the time it took to process that refund was 6-8 weeks. We had braced ourselves to rough out the storm for a few paychecks. We had a little savings in place and we had planned to make some phone calls to debtors to ask for some grace periods while we waited for that check. We discussed our plans Saturday morning since David was off and we were pretty sure of our next courses of action so we decided to take a break to eat lunch. We had corndogs. Did I mention that we were braced for the storm? lol!
After lunch I asked David to check the mail because I was really hoping that some curriculum that I had ordered would arrive so that we could start using it on Monday which was to be our first day back to school since fall break. David came back in but no books. I was bummed, but he was thrilled. There in the stack of mail was an envelope from the "Department of Finance" of my former employer. It was one of those envelopes that you can just tell contains a check. He opened it, I winced at what I thought was going to be painful. And then he announced the amount of the check and immediately I started running the numbers in my head. Then talking with David, who had a pencil and was writing numbers on the back of the envelope it came in. We had not planned for what was about to happen. We had planned for ordinary but what God provided was nothing less than extraordinary! We received more than expected, sooner than expected and as a result, we now get to sit down and re-write our entire monthly budget all over again because we weren't planning for this!
This is where that check left us:
Bank of America: Paid in full. Gone. Forever.
Toyota Sienna: 100% ours.
Loan to Credit Union: Nothing but a memory.
Student Loan 3: History.
Student Loan 2: Total of $2,275 remaining
We also tucked aside just enough into a savings account to pay off that loan, but we didn't want to stretch ourselves that thin, and because we think we may be smacked with having to pay more taxes at the end of the year as a result of having received such a HUGE blessing right here at the end of the year. But we're resting in God's sovereignty in that area as well.
We've been Dave Ramsey-ing our way through this mess since December 2008, when I got so fed up with working 40 hours a week to earn a check that belonged to someone else that I asked for Financial Peace University for Christmas. It has taken us FOUR years just to make our way through the first and second baby step, but we can see the finish line now and it feels AMAZING!
Scripture tells us "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7) and as a slave to these lenders I can not emphasize how true this is! But tonight, I felt like a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. God is Good. He alone is worthy to be praised. He's the one that orchestrated all the minor details that brings things like this together! He has done great things for us and we are filled with JOY!
Monday, October 15, 2012
So, how exactly does that challenge look on paper? Well, because I know that God is still in the business of performing miracles, I will show you exactly what we are dealing with. And, it is my hope, that once every 6 months or so we can revisit this post to see how far we've come and how mighty our God is and Worthy to be praised! Basically I am undressing our finances, leaving nothing off limits, not though, for the sake of gasping and making much of this mess, but more for the sake of setting the stage so that when we are victorious in this area of finances, every single person who reads this blog can also marvel in God's goodness and love.
It took us years to get here, so in order to spare you our life story, we'll just use bullet format to kinda highlight a few items that concern us now that we have decided to cut our income in half. We've been working on knocking out our debt for a while (read: when we also had a second income) so in some areas I might, as a side note, show you how far we've made it on that bill or something. But anyhow, here we go:
- $8,175 - Bank of America credit card. I cannot remember a time in my adult life when I wasn't paying money on this card. When David and I got married, it was maxed out at $32,800!
- $7,097 - Toyota Sienna. Original loan was $8.900.
- $5,661 - Loan to the Credit Union. Originally $7,300.
- $9,500 - Student Loan 3. Original value of loan was 12,100.
- $6,700 - Student Loan 2. I don't even know how much this one started out at, but overall, we owed over $35,000 in student loans in the beginning. (We have thankfully already paid off one of the 3 student loans.)
Speaking of tomorrow, have I ever mentioned that Tuesdays are my craziest day when it comes to school. Mondays are really my only "normal" days. But aside from drama class on Thursdays, basketball on Fridays, and wrapping things up in time to get everyone ready for church on time on Wednesday nights, Tuesdays are really probably my most crazy of days. Tuesdays are ballet day for the girls and due to our extreme perfection
The tough part about Tuesdays is that not only do we lose 2 hours of instruction time, we also are unable to have our morning devotion and prayer time like we do every other school day because we have to begin getting ready much earlier than usual which throws our whole routine off. We do get to devotion and prayer, it is just normally in the afternoon, after ballet but before lunch, which sometimes causes the kids' attention span to shorten and the devotion time to feel rushed. Ah, Tuesdays. I could go on. But alas! I think I have found the answer to my Tuesday troubles. Enter my Pinterest inspired "Tuesday Folders":
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Finding laundry detergent recipes online is as easy as a google search, but I will share with you the recipe we use, mainly because the girls helped me make it today and they are adorably cute, so I look for any opportunity to snap a few pics of them.
Anyhow, the great thing about homemade laundry detergent is that you can add and take away ingredients to your suit family's needs. You can experiment until you find the perfect "recipe" whether you need a little extra stain-fighting power, more fragrance, less scent. Homemade laundry detergent is not an exact science, there really is no "wrong" way to do it.
Initially, our main reason to try making our own detergent was to save a little extra money. And while it does indeed save us quite a bit, I am now determined to use only homemade detergent because it just seems like a fresher clean to me. I love the way my clothes smell when they come out of the dryer!
Basically we started with this recipe and adjusted the amounts to meet our washing preferences. In today's batch we used:
- 1 large box of Borax (4lbs 12oz)
- 1 large box of Super Washing Soda (4lb box)
- 1 large box of Baking Soda (we buy this in bulk because we have a pool, so we use the same amount of Baking Soda as Washing Soda and we get it at a bulk discount rate making our total per batch less than the actual total I quite at the end of this post).
- Oxy-clean as needed to clean tough stains (we usually use an entire 36 oz container of the store-brand that is available, I just happened to have a coupon on the real stuff this time).
- Purex lavender scented crystals (I have only one container of these that I use each time I make the detergent, so the cost for this at the bottom of the post includes what I initially paid for them months ago when we made our first batch. I spent nothing out of pocket to scent today's recipe).
- 2 bars of Fels Naptha soap. (I used 3 this time since I had a smaller container of Oxi-clean than I normally use. See what I mean about it not being an exact science?)
Choose a container large enough to hold all of the ingredients and pour everything together.
Share your money-saving tips with me! Aside from streamlining the obvious monthly bills, what kinds of things do you do to save money?
Friday, September 28, 2012
Speaking of other topics altogether, I am really struggling emotionally with being content where God has me. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely loving our new home, I couldn't be more thrilled that I am now home with the kids all day and that we are homeschooling our happy little hearts out, we have great neighbors, and my husband has been so supportive of our decision to reduce our income by half.
I'm just stuck on one thing.
I want to be pregnant again. I want another little one in the house. I want more noise, more sleepless nights, more memories, more responsibilities, more dirty laundry, more, more, more. Yes, I want all of that and all the other joys that come along with the role of mother-of-an-infant.
This is not a new feeling, see, David and I have been discussing having another child for several months now, but we both were realistic in our expectations when we presented it to our doctor. We both expected a "no, you cannot since you've had x, y & z done to your body. it would be physically impossible." And that is exactly what we were told when we met with the first doctor (not my doctor, but another one in the group.)
But I was not ready to give up the fight. There is a clinic about 12 hours away that specializes in tubal reversals and despite having x, y & z done to my body, Dr. M (one of the surgeons there) had advised me that just because I have had those proceedures does not alone indicate that I would not be a good candidate for a tubal reversal. He recommended we come down and have a hysteroscopy performed that would give a detailed image and report of what my uterine lining looks like now, 2 years post-ablation and 5 years post tubal ligation. After talking to Dr. M, I called and made another appointment with the same office I usually attend, only this one was with my physician.
On the day of my appointment, I fearfully met with Dr. C, the physician who performed my last c-section and ligation, and told her what my husband and I wanted to do. She was excited for us! She immediately scheduled a time for us to do the hysteroscopy which she would forward the results over to Dr. M and let him make the final decision, since that is his specialty.
On the day of the hysteroscopy, I was reminded that it was not likely to find the results I wanted to see because the uterine lining had been burned off just two years ago. I was ok with that. At least I would know that it was impossible to conceive rather than always wondering "what if".
Much to the surprise of everyone in the room, the doctor, the assistant, my husband, and myself, Dr. C announced that she saw healthy lining which was a very good indicator that I could in fact carry a term pregnancy but that she would leave the final "decision" to Dr. M. I heard from Dr. M's staff the following day. They said that Dr. M was very pleased with what he saw and that I am clear to schedule the surgery for the reversal whenever I would like.
Unfortunately, money is a major factor here. It is not a proceedure covered by insurance and we would be paying for the travel and the surgery out of pocket. So here I wait. Trying to be patient with where God has me. Knowing that if we never even raise the money to have the proceedure done, He has already shown His glory in giving us something else to testify to of His goodness! Dr. C said she has never seen such a clear hysteroscopy report on a post-ablation patient and that based on the report, she would have to classify the ablation that she performed as a failure! Which is fabulous news to us and we are so honored that God would grant us that exciting testimony.
And then...just like the Israelites, I quickly forget how much God has blessed us anytime another hardship comes our way. So here I sit, curled up in the bed, feeling sick, and trying to be peaceful and content during this season of my life. Because after all, life as a child of the King's does have some pretty sweet
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In September of 2009, the housing market stunk. Not much has changed, but I digress. On a whim, my husband and I decided that if we could sell our house, maybe we could be one of those buyers who could get any house their hearts desired at a low ball offer. So with not much more reasoning than that, we called around and found an agent to put our house on the market, listed higher than others in the neighborhood with the line of thought that "if it doesn't sell, it's no biggie. We like the house, the neighborhood, the neighbors." There was really no reason to leave. I mean, sure, we were a family of 6 living in an 2200 sq. ft. house that could be a little cramped at times, but it was far from an impossible arrangement.
The house sold in 3 weeks.
The offer came in and they wanted us out in 30 days. We had no idea where we were going to move to. So the hunt was on. We looked at several houses and finally decided on this house, which was not covered in snow in August when we moved into it. (It just happens to be one of the only pics we have of the home.)
Monday, September 24, 2012
- The Great House Swap of 2011
- Living the Simple Life
- Dylan, Bryan, Lydia & Elysa-isms
- God's Design for Marriage and our Response as His children
- Debt, getting out of it, avoiding it, and encouraging others to do the same
- Raising Arrows: Biblical Parenting
- Scripture Memorization Techniques we use
- Nightmares of Pool Ownership
- Our Homeschool Days
- Minor Home Improvements
- Quitting Your Job
- Raising a Large Family on a Small-Family Budget
- My Life after Tubal Ligation
- Radical Obedience
- Life Lessons: Advice to Myself
- Having JOY in your Christian Journey
- Some of My Favorite Things
- When Real Life Doesn't Make Sense on Paper
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I am so excited to get started on my journey, but I need your help to make it a success!
First, click on the link to my storefront on the right hand side of the screen and check out the oh-so-cute products.
Then, consider whether or not you would be willing t0 host a show: it could be a catalog party, an online party, or a home party.
Plan to attend my kick-off party on Saturday, February 18 at my home. No pressure to buy anything, and no formal sales pitch. Just come by check out the products, look through the catalogs, and tell me what you think. My home will be open from 2-5pm and snacks will be provided.
Finally, and most importantly, please commit to pray for me as I take on this new business. Specific prayer requests include: 1 - that at all times I would be mindful that I exist to bring glory to God and that I will remember that during every single business transaction and at every party. 2 - that I will not intentionally or unintentionally make my family feel second place to this business. 3 - that God would bless this business as a way for me to ultimately be able to afford to stay home with the kids and be more successful with our homeschooling journey, all of which we pray will glorify Him.
Thank you in advance for loving on me and my family during this uncertain, yet exciting new journey! I appreciate your friendships more than you know!
Monday, February 6, 2012
...to have something spectacular to blog about.
...to change the name of my blog.
...your suggestions about what I could name this blog.
...to be a stay at home mom.
...to be content where God puts me. Even if it means that I have to continue to working for the time being.
...to learn to be thankful for the ONLY 24 hours a day I have to accomplish my tasks rather than thinking God's plan could use a little tweaking (like longer days), because we all know God's plan is always perfect.