Thursday, April 30, 2015

May 2015 Goals – Get Your Rear Into Gear Edition

I have a busy month ahead!  Ryan and my brother have birthdays this month, Mother’s Day of course, Ryan goes out of town one weekend, preschool ends this month, and I have a special 1 year old’s party to plan (I’m trying to plan ahead since we might have to have it early because Ryan is out of town two weekends in June).  Plus, my to-do list is LONG!  I have some good goals for May, but first I like taking a look at how I did on my April goals and some self discoveries along the way.

april goals

April was an eye opening month for me.  I learned a lot of things, but one thing I learned that I’m now determined to do, is take care of myself, specifically, sleep.  Like most moms, I put myself last.  And while I do think that is part of the nature of being a stay at home mom (you can’t deny that young children are dependent on you, so naturally, your needs come next), there are some things I can do to better take care of myself, while still taking care of my family. 

You want to know my problem?  I have too many passions.  I want to do it all.  I want to run my house like a preschool, having the perfect lesson plans for a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old (don’t laugh), all while loving on my kids all day long.  I want to cook/bake like the Pioneer Woman.  I want a Pinterest clean and decorated house (seriously y’all this is about to throw me over the edge).  I’d like to be organized, you know, like a professional organizer.  I want to study my Bible and talk with Jesus like Mother Theresa.  I want to have girls night often.  I want to host craft nights.  I want to challenge my mind and read daily, cuddled up in my non-existent reading corner with a cup of coffee.  I want to grow my Etsy shop and design all day long.  I want to build my blog and make it so much more than it currently is.  And I’d like to workout at the gym like a fitness model.

See?  I have a problem.  Some of these things could be full time 8-5 jobs.  It’s just physically not possible, especially with my boys so young.  And I don’t want to do these things necessarily to keep up with the Joneses, but I truly enjoy each one of these things (well, maybe some of the DIY projects are influenced by others).  I’ve gotten to the point that I’m so overwhelmed that I’m paralyzed.  I’ve come into my kitchen office when I have a moment to work, sat down and asked myself what I should do and drawn a blank.  And sometimes I spend so much time trying to come up with the perfect plan to actually do all the things I want to do instead of just doing them.

I think God gives us passions for a reason and we should explore them.  But when it starts to paralyze you, you have to ask yourself, WHY do I want to do these things (to make sure your motive is not sinful…ex. envy) and harness your passions wisely for the particular season of your life.  For me that means prioritizing what our family needs, recognizing that my job as a mom and home manager is my ministry right now and currently takes a little more time and energy, and continue to make goals, but realize that is exactly what they are…goals: an aim or desired result.  I may not reach or check off each goal, but at least I have them.

Speaking of, here’s my recap on my April goals:

1. DE-CLUTTER – I have definitely decluttered some areas in our house and will continue to do this each month!  I got rid of a lot of kitchen stuff and opened up a new shelf for the boys’ dishes. 
2. SLEEP – Fail.  I’ll address this later.  I’m probably averaging 5-6 hours a night. 
3. HEALTH – I didn’t get to the gym, but I honestly am okay with that.  Remember, I can’t do it all.  And for some reason, I feel bad dropping off Maddox to workout.  I know he’ll cry and I’ll feel horrible.  I don’t think it’s wrong to workout a couple days a week at the gym, so I really need to get over this.  I still need to work on drinking more water, but I was much more aware of it this month.  My body “yelled” at me in the form of cramps from depriving it of water (this happens to me when I’m dehydrated).
4. READ MORE OF THE BIBLE – I read a lot about money in the Bible.  This will definitely slap the “I want a bigger, newer house,” right out of me. 
5. RELATIONSHIPS – I hate asking my parents or Ryan’s parents to babysit often.  Young kids are hard to take care of, and I feel bad asking them to do it.  But I felt a much needed date night with my husband was lacking, so I texted my mom and asked her if she’d watch the boys one night.  She did and our night out was ENJOYED so much. Both of our parents are always willing to watch them if they can, but I never want to abuse that.
6. MY BLOG – Okay, so this was a big one for me this month.  I’d love to monetize my blog as I spend a lot of time writing.  I LOVE it and love the relationships through it.  Running a successful blog is much harder than it looks, especially if you’re not tech-savvy.  And there is so much legal mumbo jumbo that comes along with it.  I know how much work it is to run the finances of my Etsy shop, so I don’t want to dive too deep into it before knowing if the IRS is going to show up at my door.  Long story short, I am continuing to learn the ins and outs of this, but I think it’s best if I take my time with it and let the cards fall where they may.  If I had more time, sure.  But I don’t.  My shop earns great money right now so that’s what I have to focus on.   But I did do good on my goals for this.  I learned a lot, have some new opportunities, and made a few changes that I hope make a better blog, especially for readers.

Now on to my May Goals:


1. Have consistent quiet time in the morning -  This means sitting down with a cup of coffee at my desk and opening up my Jesus Calling devotional before I start anything else.
2. Pray for my children daily – The other night I sat with Maddox in my arms when he wasn’t feeling well and just prayed over him.  I was “stuck” in the recliner with a baby on my chest, just comforting him, when I started praying he get well, which then led to praying for his wife, his future, etc.  Prayer is powerful and I believe God answers pray according to His will.  I MUST pray for my kids.


FAMILY (marriage, kids, friends, family):
1. Teach Beckham how to write his name – My goal is to get him to write the letter B by himself.  May sound simple, but this would be huge.
2. Fully potty train Beckham – He pees in the potty like a pro, but the other…no way!  We had to revert back to pull-ups because I was sick of throwing away good underwear.  I’m going to make a sticker chart to go in the bathroom as an incentive.  I’ll share this soon.  Please pray for me! :)
3. Plan Maddox’s 1st birthday – My goal this month is to create and send out invites.  As well as come up with food, activities for kids, and figure out what items I need to create or buy for the party.  His party is in the middle of June, but I know myself, and I tend to procrastinate.
4. Have family over for Mother’s Day/Ryan’s birthday – I haven’t quite figured this out, but I know we’re doing my side of the family’s Mother’s Day over at my house this year.  Ryan’s birthday is the 12th, so we’ll most likely celebrate that as well.  I’m not sure the logistics, but I need to plan these events.
5. Plan a fun birthday date for my man – Ryan always plans our dates, so I can’t wait to plan one for him.

PERSONAL (health, growth, me):
1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night – As I mentioned above, this is my top goal!  I cannot afford to lose anymore sleep.  I read an article in Experience Life magazine (some random magazine we got in the mail) and it was all about why sleep matters.  Y’all, this was an eye opener!  The stats in this article and the ramifications of not sleeping AT LEAST 7 hours a night are not good.  I tried to find the article to link to, but couldn’t find it.  Basically, your brain gets all jacked up with inadequate sleep, your mood is grumpy, you stress easily and often, you gain weight, your immune system is at risk, you can’t recover properly from exercise, and it ages you.  I have to say that I have experienced ALL of those things and currently still am.  I can’t remember things for the life of me (and get headaches), I am easily pushed over the edge with my kiddos (and sadly, react poorly), I always feel overwhelmed (stress), I’m a good 10 pounds overweight, I definitely do not feel “healthy,” and I can certainly see the affects of not sleeping in my face (I feel like I’ve aged 5 years in the last year).   7-8 hours has to be planned in my daily schedule like I plan anything else.
2. Go to the gym 2X a week with the kids – I’m nervous to make this a goal because it will be hard.  I’m finally a member of the gym I’ve been dreaming about joining since we moved to McKinney, but still have reservations about taking the kids, mainly Maddox.  I don’t want him to cry, which he will, and I don’t want him to put anything in his mouth, which he will.  He’s in the baby area which is separate from Beckham, so that makes me a bit sad too.  I guess I won’t know till I try, but I just feel bad.
3. Read a book – I’ve been pretty good about reading one book a month, which is a big deal if you’re a mom of young kiddos.  That time to sit and read is just so hard to find.  I read when I get in bed (it helps me fall asleep).  I am currently reading Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner.  I bought this book as soon as it was released, but it’s been sitting on my bookshelf until a couple of weeks ago. I’m really enjoying it.  I totally relate to her and her desire to do everything.


1. Increase sales by 30% – This will require more signs be added to the shop. 
2. Continue to create good content for blog while monetizing when I CAN – This goal will come if it’s supposed to.  I’m not going to stress myself about money or worry about all the different social media outlets, link ups, etc.  If I get to them, great, but if I don’t have time, at least I know I still have good content.  Content always wins…for me at least.

In addition to my goals, I have a ton on my To-Do List.  I’m listing them out, so I can cross them off.  Who doesn’t like crossing things off their list, right?

1. Sign up Beckham for swim lessons.
2. Order play set (we did this, but then it came in damaged, so we had to cancel and now I have to re-order…I’m asking that they ship it to us for free).
3. Get a plan of action going for our patio cover.  Just waiting on our HOA to approve it, which is taking forever.
4. Order a bounce house.  Not sure we’ll be able to afford it this month, but I know we’ll use one for Maddox’s birthday party, so I figured we could buy one and use it a lot this summer.  There have been so many times I’ve wanted to use one, so I think this will be worth the money.
5. Look into car seats for Maddox.  Would love any recommendations.  We have Graco right now for B and love it, but curious about other ones.
6. Find a car.  We’re waiting on some investments to finalize, but would love to find one in the meantime.
7. Get teacher gifts for Beckham’s teachers.
8. Paint under kitchen sink.  We had it majorly reconstructed and need to paint the wood with waterproof paint.
9. Refinish front door while it’s still a little cooler.
10. Re-do playroom.  I know I’m crazy for this, but it’s happening.  I’d like to paint walls gray and get some new storage units in there.  This excites me the most.


As you can see, a lot of things planned, and I’m sure we won’t get them all done, but it’s nice to have them written out. 

I love connecting with y’all.  My Facebook, Instagram(@snyderstellall) and Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Be Saving Money

coins in glass bottle on wooden background

I often wonder how so many people afford the things they do.  Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who is not moving into a brand new house, getting a brand new car, buying name brand clothes, or going on multiple vacations a year.  Anyone else?  I ask my husband all the time how in the world some of the people afford to live in such expensive homes.  His reply is the same every time.  “They can’t.  They’re not saving.” 

I shrug my shoulders and half-heartedly believe him.  I think, “Surely people wouldn’t put expenses on their credit card that they can’t pay off that month.  And surely people save for college and retirement, at least retirement.”  It wasn’t until I read some articles on the astonishing percentage of people who are not prepared for retirement, that I really started to believe him.  Then we visited with our wealth advisor, who counsels hundreds of people regarding their future, when he told us most people are not saving for retirement or for any type of emergencies (or big future purchases).  He recently met with a guy who was making $250,000/year and about to retire.  He only has $40,000/year saved to live on during retirement.  Can you imagine living off less than 1/5 of your income after you retire?  Wow!  I asked him how this was even possible and his reply:  “His lifestyle choices over the last several years. He didn’t save properly.”

Our budget is not perfect, and we’re learning as we grow (that’s why I love this blog…I learn some great tips from you guys), but there are a few things we are adamant about saving for.  I’m like most people, and loathe saving.  I find excuses not to save and “live in the moment.”  But saving is necessary and part of a solid budget.  I thought I’d share 5 reasons why we save money.

1. College
Did you know college is increasing by 5-6% a year?!  It’s projected that a state school will cost $44,000 on average by the time my 3 year old is 18 years old.  And that was projected with a conservative 5% increase.  This means college for ONE of our kids will be over $176,000 for a 4 year term, granted he doesn’t get any scholarships or aide.  Then you add our second son.  Plain and simple, we cannot afford $44,000 a year for college.  That’s basically what a teacher makes in Texas. 

Therefore, we save for college.  We’re hopeful they will earn some scholarships and financial aide, but are preparing for any costs that will arise.  We have an ESA for Beckham (although we may stop contributing to it…it just can’t make enough for what we’ll need), but we recently are looking at our life insurance to pay for college.  We both do not want our boys taking on huge student loans, if any.  It just doesn’t make sense to us.  We don’t want them to owe money BEFORE they even make money and incur interest as well.  Who knows what college will be like in 15 years, but we’re saving for what we know now.

2. Retirement
This is pretty self explanatory.  You need money when you get old and cannot (or do not want to) work anymore.  The problem isn’t really people not saving, it’s not saving enough.  For us on one teacher income, our TRS (teacher retirement system) just will not pay enough (although still good) when we are older.  Therefore, in addition to that, we fully fund our Roth IRA’s ($917/a month for both of us), as well as having our life insurance plan (this is the big money maker).  If you do the math, this is a a large part of our income, but our goals when we’re retired to have a lot of money to live on and GIVE!  I’m assuming we’ll spend more than we do now because with two people not working, we’ll probably be spending more time on things that cost money (vacations, traveling to see kids, entertainment, eating out, etc.).

3. So we won’t go into debt
We have a savings account so that when emergencies come up that we cannot afford in our regular budget, we won’t go into debt.  We try to under budget to cover unbudgeted expenses since there is always something that comes up, but knowing money is available if we need it is comforting.  We use both a regular savings account and our life insurance fund for these purchases if needed.  The Bible says in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

4. Give, give, give
Another reason we save is to be able to give!  We’ve been on the receiving side and it is such a blessing.  We want to have opportunities to give, especially when we’re older and our children are grown.  We want to leave a legacy for our children’s children.  Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.”  We want to give as stated in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Everyone must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 

5. God says it’s wise
This brings me to the final and most important reason we save money.  God has A LOT to say about saving money and investing it.  So much that I cannot give all the Scripture references here in this post.  God definitely commands us to save our money wisely and shows us the benefits of investing our money.  Matthew  25:14-27, The Parable of the Talents, explains how to save money.  He calls the servant who invested it and made more, “good and faithful.”  But the one who buried it out of fear, he calls, “wicked and slothful.”   Here are some verses that encourage us to save wisely:

-Proverbs 21:10 – There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling, but a foolish man spendeth it up.  Simply put, it is foolish to spend all the money you make.  There is treasure to be found in saving!

-1 Corinthians 16:2 – On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so there will be no collecting when I come.”  Saving money and planning it out allows you to reach your goals.

-Proverbs 13:11 – “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little, makes it grow.”  This verse is very encouraging to me.  Little by little, you can completely change your future and your children’s future.  If you haven’t read The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy" target=_blank>The Millionaire Next Door, I’d recommend checking it out. 

Anything can happen in the future, but I believe God will honor wise choices as he did in the parable of the talents .  Spend frugally, save wisely, and trust God will take care of your future.

coins in glass bottle on wooden background

Link Ups: Thrifty Thursday

Monday, April 27, 2015

Maddox Cade–10 Months

Dear Maddox,
I’m so excited you’re 10 months old!  I love watching you get older and discover so many new things.  You’ve continued your sick streak and are, yet again, sick (as we speak).  I sense an ear infection, but we’ll know today if we go to the doctor.  This is actually your second time to get sick this month.  The first time (a couple of weeks ago), we actually took you to the emergency room at 4:30 in the morning.  You were inconsolable for SEVERAL hours and we finally seceded at 4:30am.  And the verdict was…a cold with a sore throat.  They prescribed some antibiotics and on we went.  The next day?  You were completely normal…a little tired, but not acting sick.  I have never been to the ER with you or Beckham before (except when Beckham got a concussion and threw up), so that’s how bad your crying was.  I thought there was something really wrong with you.  I hope this all ends soon and you are getting all the sicknesses out of you early. 

You are such a happy baby, even when you’re “sick.”  This month you have become much more active, crawling around, pulling yourself up on things, and walking assisted (although you don’t seem interested in using your feet to get places vs. crawling).  You’ve started to throw mini tantrums if Beckham takes something away or you don’t get something you want right away. It’s different since you’ve been such a laid back baby after 6 months. 

maddox 10 months
Measurements: I’m not sure how much you weigh, but I’d assume 21 pounds.  You wear majority 12 month clothes.

My favorite thing:  You have been cuddling me a lot this month at random times.  I’ll be holding you in a store or in the house (cause you always want to be held) and you’ll just rest your head on my chest or shoulder.  I also could listen to you laugh all day. 

Daily Activities: Finding any piece of dirt or bug on the ground and eating it!  I probably have the cleanest floors and you still manage to find it all.  You’re starting to really enjoy the toys the way they’re supposed to be used (vs. putting them all in your mouth).

Eating: You started having a little bit of formula this month.  You drink 1/2 bottle – 1 bottle a day.  You stopped wanting pureed foods and want to pick up food to eat.  I’m not sure if you’re picky or just not sure about it, but you don’t eat a lot of the food.  Every now and then you’ll scarf all of what we give you, but lately you’ve been picky with it.  You love bread and pasta (hmmm I wonder where who you take after)…or anything that is on my plate. 

Sleeping: You still sleep about 11-12 hours at night with two naps.  Your naps are getting shorter and you’re able to stay up longer in the morning.  Almost tempting me to cut the first nap so you’ll sleep really long in the afternoon, but you still need that rest in the morning.  You’re very easy to put down! 

Special Events:
-First Easter
-First haircut

A side by side of your brother and you at 10 months:
B and M 10 months
B and M 10 months no smile

You love your brother! 

Some pictures from this last month!
Eating my food.

First time in the car wagon!

Happy to have daddy home.

You’re so good at restaurants.

Easter service 2015

Always at my lap when there’s food

Opening your Easter basket from Gramma and Grampa

Family – Easter 2015


Hanging with your buddy Henry

Trying to wake up brother for preschool.

Here you are sick (the night we took you to the ER)

Beckham likes to pick you up…you like it too


Trying out the mesh feeder and you LOVED it.

Terrorizing mom!

This picture makes me laugh…hanging out in the cart at the grocery store.

Playing in the water outside

First haircut.  You did great!

Some of my favorite moments right now are when it's just you and I while Beckham is at preschool.  It’s nice to have this one on one time with you since you’re the second kiddo.

You are my sunshine!
Love, Mama

Friday, April 24, 2015

Life Lately in April (Part 1)

I can’t believe I haven’t posted a Life Lately post for April yet.  April has been an easy going, but tiring (for me) month.  Something new going on…I NEED GLASSES!  Like all the time glasses.  I was hoping the doctor was going to tell me I just needed more sleep and it might just be a post partum thing.  But, nope.  My right eye is a lot worse, which was the reason I went in the first place (it’s the one that has been watering a lot too).  I have astigmatism in that eye.  She said pregnancy and nursing could likely have caused my vision changes (started noticing blurry vision right after Maddox was born), but most changes stay.  Although I take this with a grain of salt (I’ve read differing opinions about that).  Ugh. I feel old!  I’m starting to wean from pumping, so I may wait till after to see if it changes any, but it’s pretty bad and annoying.  We’ll see.

Here’s what’s been going on in April.

I did share our Easter weekend HERE and a mini day in the life HERE (my 10 on 10).

Sharing “coffee” with this guy!  I just love him so much!

Easter weekend!

Beckham’s first movie.  Not a fan just yet.

My cuddler.  This kid is so lovey and sweet.

It’s hat season.

Just a couple of weeks ago he started eating solid food, which has been nice.  He’s still pretty sensitive to gagging/choking, but he doesn’t like the pureed food anymore.

Maddox had a little play date with Henry.  One of my good college friends had a baby a month after I did. Isn’t he adorable?!

IMG_0479Trying to wake Beckham up for preschool. 

IMG_0486He also started using a sippy cup.  He took to it really well.

IMG_0496We picked up daddy for a lunch date during the week.  Beckham was excited!

IMG_0500We were waiting for Ryan so we could go out for dinner and playing around with pictures.  I don’t know what my face is doing, but B looks cute.

IMG_0505 The following evening on Saturday, Maddox got a high fever and did not want to be put down.  He just laid like this.  We finally got him to sleep around 9:00 and he woke up an hour later SCREAMING his head off.  He would not stop screaming.  We couldn’t console him.  It was a pain cry.  Different than I’ve ever heard with either one of the boys.  Tried feeding him, rocking him, you name it.  Finally at 4:00am, we decided to take him to E-Care.  He fell asleep in the car on the way there (it’s probably 2 minutes away).  So I drove back home and stayed in the garage trying to get some sleep myself.  He woke up 20 minutes later screaming again.  So I backed up and went back.  He screamed the whole way there.  Long story longer, we get checked in (during EMERGENCY hours…aka, a whole lot of money for your visit), see doc, and he has a red throat.  Are you kidding?!  I could not believe it came to that.  We go home at 6:00 am, he falls asleep and wakes up the next day at noon totally normal, just a little groggy.  What a night.

It was pitiful though…this was after his bath on Saturday night. 

Needless to say, we didn’t go to church on Sunday (Ryan let me sleep till 11:00am), but I sure did grab a VENTI latte (I never get larger than a Tall).  On my way there, I got a notification that I had a free drink, which is also why I got a huge cup!  Good timing on my free drink!

This kid…can completely irritate me at times, but totally melts my heart and makes me laugh! 

See?  He’s got a great sense of humor.  We have been doing a lot in the yard lately gearing up for Spring and Summer. 

An awkward selfie, but I’m quite annoyed with these baby hairs coming back in with all that post partum hair loss.   Anyone else lose a ton of hair after a baby?  My hair is crazy right now.

Love being greeted like this.

Beckham is really into picking brother up lately.  I’m just glad this time wasn’t by the neck.  Poor Maddox…he’s his little rag doll.

Matching pajamas after bath time.  Beckham gets really excited to “match brother.”

I started having Beckham trace some letters and when I let him try to draw a B on his own, he drew a ladybug.  ????

I got Beckham a t-ball set and we have been having so much fun playing baseball.  So far he's been swinging left handed (he writes with right).  I blame my husband.  

First time using the mesh eater.  He LOVED it with blueberries!

Always climbing.  Always.  Going for the marshmallows.

I’m trying to declutter some things and when I looked at this, I realized I might have a problem.  I got rid of everything in the bottom right. 

Time at the library.  We've been going a lot lately and this Family room is always empty...they love playing with the toys and puzzles.

We had the best Sunday a few days ago.  Went to church.  Then BBQ.  Sweet tea, okra, mac n cheese, a beef sandwich, and country music playing…doesn’t get more southern than that.  The boys were so good and Ryan and I actually had a conversation (thanks to the iphone and solid food that kept little hands busy).

And then they did this to me that afternoon!  Boys!

This was Maddox during our latest Walmart trip.  Sprawled out, feet in Beckham’s space, just eating a teething cracker!  I’m sorry Maddox, are we inconveniencing you? 

Lots of playing in the water outside. 

Sitting at our dining room table, doing some major financial planning for the future with our wealth adviser!  College, here we come!  Did you know tuition is rising at a 6% rate each year.  And that's for state school.    

Last Wednesday, I took Maddox to get a trim around his ears and neck.  Babies in a smock get me every time.

My absolute favorite flower outside of our house is blooming.  They will die very soon so I’m enjoying them while they last.

Yesterday, Beckham “showed me around Holland.”  Each class at his preschool had a different country they’ve been learning about the past few weeks.  He’s been talking about this for a few weeks now and was excited to show me what he learned…and eat the cookies.

I’ve been enjoying some one on one time with Maddox while Beckham is at school.  Maddox will join the 1 year old class there next year so I can get some work done, so I’m savoring these moments.  He’s really a lot of fun to be with and so easy to make smile.  He loves crawling over me.

After pick-up, we had to run an errand, but we grabbed an ice cream cone on the way.  I’m a sucker for his ice cream pleas.

Sorry for the super long post, but I had a lot to catch up on.  Hope you have a great weekend. 

I love connecting with y’all.  Come visit me on Facebook, Instagram(@snyderstellall) and Pinterest.