Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Taking a Break From Chips

After the who knows how many gigantic boxes of those snack pack chips I bought at Costco I finally decided it was time to TAKE A BREAK.  About two months ago I took a break from buying those little snack bags of chips.  40 bags gone in a week [okay I'm exaggerating] but my kids are chip hounds!  

Like Dr. Suess would say, chips here, chips there, chips everywhere!  Instead of more chips for the month I splurged on a new kids bento to motivate myself to pack healthier snacks and lunches, chip free.  I've always loved this particular bento with its cute little slots and design.  I am happy to report that I love YUM BOX even more than I thought I would and so did the kids. 

It's just so cute and really fun.  I've been more intentional about packing fresh food and less bagged.  A little bento encouragement to eat a little healthier.  This is a breakfast for lunch.  Actually it was her left over sausage and egg burrito.   Ended up being a great lunch idea.  You can find the grocery list before.  

Grocery List
Tortillas
Eggs 
Sausages
Cheese 
Salsa 
Gogurt 
Baby Bell cheese
Gogurt 
Fruit (grapes, blueberries, strawberry) 
Marshmallows 
Celery & Peanut Butter

Now you should know, I'm not against chips and one day I'll buy some snack bags again, but this chip break and bento has really inspired me to create some fun fresh food combinations.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hello 30!

I joke about dreading 30 but I actually welcome it with open arms.  HELLO 30!!  
[starbucks and a birthday dress, silliness in the dressing room is my yearly tradition]

 This last year,  God held up a mirror and I saw myself.  Defined by no one but Him; in that mirror I saw me as He sees me.  My strengths and imperfection.  I could see the person that he is shaping me to be.  It became my reality that he loves me just the way I am no more no less The biggest lesson learned was that good or bad, each day is a new day to learn and lean on God. 

That mama in the mirror is redeemed, a daughter of the king of kings, full of life, hope and purpose.  My confidence is found in who He says I am.  I lack nothing because time and time again I've seen God provide physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know he always will.  I continue to see the power of the word and it's truth.  I know I cannot live on bread alone but in every word that comes from the mouth of God.  

For the first time ever I haven't felt guilty about my occupation.  I haven't felt the need to do more, be more.  I am fully enjoyed every fleeting moment of being at home.  Nothing makes me more proud than to say I am a stay at home wife to the best husband, a stay at home mom to these crazy kids.  


And with that I leave you with the top 7 things I learned and have told myself this year: 

1.  Don't be so defensive and easily angered.  Crazy angry outbursts... not cute. 

2.  Be faithful in the little things. 

3.  Stop trying to change people or make them better.  Love them for who they are.  

4.  Don't live life based on how you feel.  Do what is RIGHT and what you need to do even if you don't feel like it.   

5.  Verbalize expectations or don't have them at all.  

6.  Without focus you'll go in a million different directions accomplishing nothing but a little of everything.  Set goals and aim for them.  STOP starting projects and not finishing them.  

7.  You can't give your family what you don't have.  You can't teach them what you haven't learned.  So never stop learning! 

Here's to another wonderful year full of new lessons!  As Joyce would say, I may not be where I need to be but thank God I'm not where I use to be

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alphabet Letter Sliders

Don't you love the things you find when you're looking for a last minute activity for the littles?

  I found two awesome websites with treasures...  free printables to use for learning at home.  This letter slider for the little men found HERE was perfect for assessing which letters they knew.  I called our a letter and they put it on the bunny's belly.  

 Would also be fun for learning letters, letter sounds, beginning letter sounds, or assessing. 

It was so cute I also let my little lady use it to practice some kid spelling and writing.  

With each letter she wrote a word that started with that letter.  Because I spent a little extra time browsing I also found these word family sliders for the little lady for this summer from HERE.

What is or was your kiddos favorite letter activity?  This mama needs some suggestions! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Our First Valentines Day

Do you remember your first Valentines Day with your love?  

I was the ripe old age of 16 and that morning at school I was greeted with a teeny tiny box of chocolates, a tiny little bear, and one yellow rose from my boyfriend of one month.  It was the sweetest little gift and I loved it!  I was already on cloud nine but that little stinker had more up his sleeve.  When the bell rang at the end of school, we walked together to our car and there in my silver Hyundai was the biggest bear, a dozen roses, a big box of chocolates, and the sweetest note.  You bet I was over the moon that day... best boyfriend  EVER.

I can happily tell you that my boyfriend now husband still exceeds my expectations and makes my dreams come true.  We may have been together for almost half our lives, married, and run around with rug rats but that doesn't mean romance gets put on the back burner.  Coexisting doesn't produce a strong relationship.  Love is a verb; it's thoughtful and intention.   There are always new ways to learn to show love and that is what the 14 Day Romance Challenge is all about.  

The chapter Speaking His Love Language encouraged me to show my love using all the languages. I challenge you to do the same.  One act for every language.  Like Sharon does at the end of each chapter, I will give you some ideas. 

Words of Affirmation
With the comfort of our relationship I sometimes assume that he already knows how I feel about him. This is the easiest language to speak but one I sometimes forget to express.  
Telling him how handsome he looks in the morning, thank him for being a good provider after he gets home from work.  Sending him a text or email during the day letting him know you are thinking of him.  Taking post its and writing all the reasons why you love him and put it on his mirror.   

Gifts
I confess that I am the worst gift giver.  During this challenge I wanted to treat him to lunch so I packed some cash in his lunch bag.  It doesn't have to be a big gift to be special.  
Get him a book he's been wanting to read, a gift card to a food place so he can go out for lunch or a coffee.  Buy him something from his Amazon wish list.  Bring home his favorite candy or dessert.  

Quality Time
Find something your hubby likes to do and do it with him, without being distracted and without any negative comments.  
Sitting with him during sports games, news, or boy shows.  Going to the gym, going on hikes. 

Acts of Service
For me this comes natural because it is the number one way I show love.  Think of things you can do for your hubby that he would love and do them!
Coming home to clean quiet house, breakfast in bed, pack his lunch for the whole week, clean the cars, organize the garage.  

Physical Touch
I'll leave you in suspense and you'll have to get Sharon's book and read her ideas.  This love language is pretty self explanatory.

It doesn't matter if you've only been married for a year or married for 50, A 14 Day Romance Challenge  is a great book full of ideas on how to be thoughtful and intentional with your love. It reminded me that he wants to feel as important as the items on my to do list and the kids.  As much as women like to be romanced, men do too!  During this challenge I was showing him how much I cared and in return I could feel him doing the same. 

Happy Valentines Day!



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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Birthday Compromise

When it comes to celebrating birthdays we don't always see eye to eye.  I'm a huge party with all the trimmings kind of gal and my hubby is more about the experience.  We made a compromise last year and her 5th birthday was extra special for all of us thanks to him.  He opened my eyes to see the value of birthday experiences.  He gave us the best of both worlds.

 I planned a little birthday bash at home.  A few friends came after school.  No venue, candy bar, guest list, elaborate decorations.  

A Barbie theme was requested by the birthday girl and she picked every little detail out from the fabric on the dress to the cake to the decorations.

 I made the little dresses [one for Reese too].

We did our annual photo shoot. 

Cake was of course crafted in moms kitchen and she asked me to make my favorite one, the Barbie Cake [tutorial HERE].

How cute is it that she picked the Barbie that looked like her?!

They made jewelry, did a little face painting and tattoos.

Presents was the cherry on top.  It was the perfect little party.

That weekend my sister flew in, we drove into the city and took her to see Disney on Ice.

Disney never disappoints.  Even this little nugget sat through the entire thing.

What an awesome show and we ALL loved it!  We have that handsome man to thank for it.  

Last year showed me that every birthday doesn't have to be grand to be special.  Celebrating the birth of our little lady with a family adventure into the city for a show was just as memorable if not more so.  I still love parties but I'm open to making birthday's special with outings like this.

Thanks for stopping by!




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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Saving for a Car One Quarter at a Time

Hard to believe that it has almost been a year since I shared the money series.  It's a huge accomplishment for me to actually stick to something that long.  Ha!  Though we tweaked our system and paydays were not always consistent 2016 paved her foundation in finance Dave Ramsey style. 

  Even at five going on six this little lady is well on her way.  I shared with you the reasons why we give our kids an allowance.  We want them to learn firsthand the purpose of money; to give, to spend, to save.  I shared our chore system.  One quarter per chore, paychecks split into the three categories.  

The learning was plenty for the both of us!  We had to be responsible and consistent.  Yes, I said WE.  Most of her chores are contingent on my own so I had to be on top of it.  She learned that her work reflected her pay.  Continually felt the joy of giving.  She LOVED spending.  Evaluated cost of things she wanted and even questioned tithing.  There were lots of great conversations about money.  Paying for chores truly gave her an opportunity to experience money first hand.

I'm most proud that she learned the one thing I failed to in my childhood, the value of saving.  I vow to make sure these kiddos see and experience the importance of planning long term.  One chore, one quarter at a time she saved up $73 towards her future car [her minivan to be specific hehe].  What a testament to turn 16 and be able to buy her own first car with money she saved since she was five.


Every day we have a choice.  We can tell our money where to go or wonder where it went.  We can teach our kiddos about finances or hope they'll figure it out when they get older.  Choose to take action.  If you're interested in Dave Ramsey's plan you can read my reviews HERE and HEREOther posts related to finances including out own debt free story can be found by clicking the images below.  If your resolution in 2017 is to save more money this is a great place to start!
IMG_1977     12528706_10156549384485251_1926199911_o
  why       money1

Thursday, January 12, 2017

FIRST 3 Steps to Getting Organized

Before we start, lets clarify some vocabulary.  Clean VS Tidy.  Tidy means everything is in it's place, no clutter [no junk drawers].  Clean is when you or your cleaning lady get those rubber gloves on and start scrubbing down the dirt in areas of the house.
  
I love organizing and getting the satisfaction of having a neat home. After reading The Secret Magic of Tidying Up I learned oodles about myself and tidying.  I came to realize that it didn't matter what containers I used, how big or small our home was because staying organized starts with this foundation.


1. MENTALITY 
It's not just a saying, it really is true.  There is a place for everything and everything in it's place.  From now on see every item you own with the mentality that it needs its own "home".   Hair accessories, watches, shoes, kitchen items, keys, tools, batteries, every single toy your kids own down to the last Lego.  Yup EVERYTHING!  If it doesn't have a home, it doesn't belong in YOUR HOME. 

Ever wonder why you always misplace your keys, wallet, phone?  It's may be because these items have too many homes.  If you keep everything in the same place you'll always know where it is.  Give it a home and only one home. 

2.  PURGING
 Get those trash bags out because this is where every successful organizing mission starts.  What's the point in organizing items that you don't use or want?!  It's clutter!  PURGE!  Once a purge has happened then you can expand and organize. 

 BUT purging doesn't happen just once, it happens whenever things start to get a little crowded.  Like pruning flowers, our home needs pruning too.  I usually purge twice a year and especially before Christmas when our home is going to expect some new items. 

3. CREATE HABITS
THE SECRET to a tidy house is creating habits.  You may not have the habits yet in order to have a tidy home and that is okay.  A home is not tidy because a person is messy or doesn't know how to organize, it's from a lack of two main habits.

1. You haven't mastered the habit of throwing/giving things away... mail, papers, unused/unwanted items [this is how clutter starts and grows] 
2. You haven't mastered the habit of putting things away [I'm still working on this especially in the laundry department].

 I didn't realize the importance of habits until I stopped having to deal with cleaning out the crazy sticky mess in my purse every few months [thank you Marie for your method].  All my items have a home in the entryway closet.  I choose a purse or bag [left hangy thing], load, grab my shoes [right hangy thing] and leave the house.  As soon as I walk in the house, I put my shoes away, put my keys on the hook, put bag and wallet away [habit number 2] and throw away receipts or junk [habit number 1].  Less than five minutes and ta-da no losing things, no clutter, no mess.  It was a habit worth mastering.

The home may not be perfect or beautifully decorated, but behind every tidy home is an owner who has built this foundation.

REFLECTION
1.  Does every item in your house have a "home"?
2.  Do you need to purge and expand? 
3.  Do you have the two good habits of throwing and putting away?

Think about these questions and let's dig right into taking some action!

Click on the image below to see all the posts related to Operation Organization.
Operation Organization

Hooray for a getting organized! 
  

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