Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Resolutions

2010 here we come! Last year I did a pretty good job at keeping up with my resolutions. The only problem was that none of them were "measurable" and I feel that since I can't measure them I must have failed. I plan on making at least 3 of my resolutions this year "measurable" so that I can feel differently at the end of 2010. So, here are my resolutions:
*Continue to build my Relationship with God and Jesus Christ
*Have patience with myself and my children everyday
*Pay off Lula Mae and the credit card and continue to work for financial freedom
*Find new ways to save money
*Stick to the budget!!!
*Be the best wife I can be for Charlie
*Learn to let people help me
*Take time out for me so I can be a better person

I hope that I will be able to hold up to these resolutions. I can't wait to enjoy this year with my beautiful family and wonderful friends!

Another Year Has Come And Gone

2009 has been a very eye opening year for me personally. Watching my daughter grow and change has been beyond amazing this year! She has gone from being a cute little baby to a smart little toddler. This year I went from being a mother of one to an expecting mother of one. I have gone from liking the thought that God will take care of us no matter what to KNOWING and truly BELIEVING that God is taking care of us no matter what! My spiritual life has grown the the most this year. I hope that this growth will continue each and every year of my life! Looking back at this year brings nothing but good thoughts to mind. It really has been a great year for Charlie, Lula Mae and I. I am very excited to see what 2010 will bring. It's going to bring us a son which is great! It is also going to bring us one step closer to financial freedom! We will be paying off 2 debts this year! Praise God! 2 debts! As amazing as those things are, this year will also bring us a deployment for Charlie. Even though the deployment is coming we are still positive about what God has in store of us! I pray that God brings everyone a wonderful new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Christmas Gift

This year Charlie and I had a $50 budget for each other. We have found that giving each other a budget is the best way to keep ourselves in control around the holidays. We both like to get practical gifts rather than fancy things that will collect dust. Charlie got me something I have been wanting for a very long time... a steam mop! Yep, a mop! I have been using a Swiffer Sweeper for a long time and was so fed up with buying pads and solution. Not only was it a waste of money but it also was not a very green product. Well I have to say that my steam mop is my new favorite thing! It works GREAT! I can't believe that all it takes is about 8 ounces of water and you are ready to clean your floor! Plus, it didn't leave that sticky residue that the Swiffer would leave after cleaning. It has two machine washable pads that velcrow to the bottom of the mop. I love that I will never have to buy cleaning pads again! This mop will help me save money and the enviroment! Very exciting! I can safely say that my floor is the cleanest that it has ever been!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lula Mae's New Word

Today Lula Mae read a new word... God! Amazing and beautiful! I love to see God working in my daughters life! She loves to "sing" the little song "God Made Me" that is on her bible CD. It brings joy to my heart when I think that I am teaching her to love God. I pray that she will continue to grow and love God and our Lord. I am so blessed to have such an amazing little girl! I adore her innocence and joy!

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
-Matthew 18:2-6

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Laundry Detergent

Today I embarked on a money saving, environmentally friendly project that I have wanted to do for a while... I made my own laundry detergent! Yep! I am very excited about this project and can't wait to do some laundry tomorrow! It was so easy and inexpensive to make... and that thrills me! This is just one more step that will help Charlie and I get closer to our goal of being financial free! Praise God! I really encourage you to try this out and see if you like it! Anything is worth a try when it comes to saving money. If you don't like it you will only be out about $13.00 so you won't have a huge loss there. Okay, here is what you will need to get started:

*Cheese grater, a bar of Ivory soap, 100% sodium carbonate (NOT SODIUM BICARBONATE), borax and a food processor (not pictured)

Here is the recipe that I used:
*1 bar of soap
*1 cup sodium carbonate
*1 cup borax

Measure out the sodium carbonate and borax, mix together in bowl. Grate bar of soap and add to mixture. Put mixture into food processor and blend until soap is powder consistency. Store in an air tight container. Use 1 tablespoon for regular size loads or 2 tablespoons for larger, heavier soiled loads.

My Finished Product!

I made a double batch just to save myself the trouble of making it again in a few weeks. I love bulk! I love the smell of this detergent! It reminds me of being a little kid because we used nothing but Ivory soap growing up! The total cost per batch of this detergent is $2.50! Each batch should wash roughly 65 to 75 loads!

Here are a few things that you may want to know before you get started:

*The purple and white bottle above (sodium carbonate) is a substitute for Arm and Hammer Super Washer Soda. I was unable to find the actual Arm and Hammer brand but they are the exact same thing.
* I used Ivory soap because I love the smell, but here are some alternatives: Fels-Naptha, Zote, Kirks Hardwater Castile. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps.
*Washing Soda and Borax can usually be found on the laundry isle of many stores.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hate In The World

Do you ever wonder if God is pleased with how we as humans are acting towards each other? I do every single time I watch the news or see terrible headlines on the internet. It is amazing to me how much hate is in this world. Recently Michelle Duggar from TLC's "18 Kids and Counting" gave birth to their 19th child through an emergancy C-section. The little girl was born 3 months early due to a condition known as preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure in the mother, which can be dangerous to both mom and baby. The Duggar family is a great bunch of people and really do wish to glorify God in everything that they do. It amazes me how many people are judging this beautiful family just because they are different. There are people saying terrible things about this family when they should be praying for this tiny new life. This is a time when this family needs prayers and uplifting words, not negative thoughts and bashing things written about them. It tears me apart to think that instead of encouraging this family people are breaking them down. So many people are saying things like "Just because you can have 19 kids doesn't mean that you should"... what does that matter to them? The Duggars having more children does not change your life one bit so why are you concerned? If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all! This situation has really gotten to me, and I don't even know the Duggars! I may not know them, but they are Christians like I am and I will defend them in any way that I can! Writing on my blog may not do much, but at least it has been said. I will continue to pray for this family and I hope that you will too.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lula Mae's New Stage

Well, Charlie and I have finally made it to that not-so-wonderful stage of parenting. We went to bed one night with a daughter who would eat anything and awoke the next morning with a daughter who wouldn't eat ANYTHING! If you are a parent of a child 18 months or older (roughly) you now exactly what I mean. Now when I say anything I am referring to anything healthy. I am an OCD mommy and really LOVED the baby food stage. I knew exactly what veggies and fruits she was eating and was thrilled with that. I do believe that in this new stage Lula Mae would live off of pancakes and bananas if we let her. Oh my! Well, I am doing something that I always said I would NEVER do as a parent... I am hiding veggies anywhere I can. I really dislike having to do this. I feel like when you hide the veggies kids don't learn that you have to eat veggies. Well, when my child went to bed hungry 3 nights in a row after refusing her veggies I knew I had to try another route. So here is what I have been doing to try and keep Lula Mae eating a balanced diet:

-Instead of apple juice or grape juice I dilute V8 Splash (8 oz a day) to give her a full serving of veggies and fruits (she actually loves this more than regulare juice and I feel like it is much better for her)
-I give her the Morningstar Farms chicken nuggets (vegiterian alternative) which somedays she loves and other days she won't touch
-I put pureed veggies in her pancake batter (yummy, I know)
-She loves the Gerber Graduates Pasta Pick-Ups (I try to buy the spinach ones mostly)

So far these are the only places I have been able to sneak things in. She won't eat mac-n-cheese or I would puree carrots to hide there too! She will still eat cheese, eggs, pretty much any fruit, avocado, and whole grain breads. I feel like she is still eating a balanced diet even without the baby food. I don't plan on hiding veggies forever, but for now I am fine with it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa's Little Buddy

Even though this is Lula Mae's second Christmas, this is the first time she has met Santa! She was still too little last year to enjoy it really so we skipped it. Most small kids are terrified of Santa and we expected Lula Mae to be no different. I was fully prepared to get a picture of her screaming on his lap... well this is what we got instead!

She loved him! She does not seem to be afraid of many things, which worries me sometimes. I guess I am lucky to have a very friendly child!

Not So Traditional....

This brings back memories! No, it is not traditional at all... but it is still fun! Hope it makes you smile!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saving Money

I feel like my job as a stay-at-home Mom is to work as hard as I can to save money. My husband works very hard to make money to support our family and I want it to go as far as it possibly can! I have to say that children do not really cost what people tell you they are going to... not around here at least. We don't shower her with new toys and new clothes like most families. We think that gift new toys are for birthdays and other special occasions. New clothes need to be purchased when a new season starts (or if they are outgrown or worn out for whatever reason). We have an 18 month old who can read, recognize her alphabet, is happy and healthy and is just a joy altogether... regardless of what "new" things she has. This is a big money saver for us! Another great money saver is my grocery strategy. I enjoy shopping at Aldi and seeing the money I can save there. That is not to say that every now and again I don't make a major shopping trip to Wal-Mart when we need certain things that can't be found at Aldi.

Typical 2 week trip at Wal-Mart: $130.00

Typical 2 week trip at Aldi: $90.00

It makes me very happy to save that $80.00 a month! When you save $80.00 on things like groceries you can put that money towards paying off debt! I can not wait to be "financially free"! We have a 7 year plan for our family. At the end of that 7 years we will be debt free (other than a mortgage)! What a blessing!!!

There are other small things I do to help our money stretch:
-clip coupons for name brand items that we use (baby wipes, razor blades, etc.)
-take out a certain amount of "out to eat" money and each month and once it's gone, it's gone
-watch our "joy riding" to conserve on gas
-play games and have friends over for games instead of going to a movie or something like that
-shop at Big Lots for bulk items
-make a budget and STICK TO IT
-write out all of our spending to track what type of spending we are doing (misc, necessity, grocery, etc.)

I enjoy sales, second hand shopping and any deals I can find! Saving money can be challenging, fun and rewarding! My goal is to teach my children these foundations so that they can lead a debt free life of their own someday!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting Through Today

When I said "My foot is slipping", your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Psalm 94:18-19

Thursday, December 3, 2009

High Expectations

I believe that if you expect great things, you will get great things! Especially when it comes to children. Charlie and I have been discussing our family a lot lately (possibly because in a few short months it will be growing). We are both very open about how we parent, and we really are in the same boat. I can't imagine trying to parent with someone who was not seeing eye to eye with me... that would be very tough, if not impossible! Charlie and I don't care if our children are rich or famous someday, or if they become the president, a doctor, a lawyer or a an ambassador! Our goal as parents isn't to pick their future for them. We feel that our job is much more important than that! God has a plan for our Children, just like He does for us! Charlie and I want to raise children who love God and want to do things for His glory. We want our children to have good values and beliefs that no one will ever make them question. We want our children to think of other people before they think of themselves. We want our children to be good listeners with open hearts and minds. We want our children to understand that family should be a top priority. We want our children to be true to themselves and others. We want our children to be kind, loving and generous. Sometimes I wonder if we want too much for our children. At the same time I truly believe that if we hold these high standards to our children, they will strive to meet them. Someday I hope to look at all of my children and feel as though we have done a good job for God. He has given us so much and I want to be able to feel as though we have given him something in return!