Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Simple Life

I don’t even know how to begin this post or where it’s really going to go, but I wanted to write something on my journey over the last year or so.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’ve posted financial tips for a while.  Tips that helped us pay off debt.  I’m assuming many readers think I’m a frugal person and our budget is perfect.  Well, no and no!  Like many women, I want want want.  It takes work for me to be frugal.  And our budget is always being adjusted.

 Thoreau was a smart guy. (Free Printable)

About a year ago, I started getting greedy.  Always finding myself throwing a pity party for myself because I couldn’t buy this or that, couldn’t get a new car when I needed wanted it, couldn’t move into a bigger home, couldn’t remodel something in our house, etc.  I was making “my own” money now with my Etsy shop, so I justified spending more.  And I did.  But guess what?  I still wanted more and still felt the same things I just mentioned above.

Project Simplify   Free Printable

I have since realized my need for greed was spurred a lot by social media, blogs, and Pinterest.  And of course my weakness to overcome these desires (lack of getting in the Word).  I was wanting what others had.  Totally ignoring what enormous blessings I already have. 

Large Wood Sign - Live Simply, Remain Grateful - Subway Sign
(click on picture for link to sign)

I’m in charge of documenting expenses in our budget since I do majority of the spending.  I noticed each month over this year’s time got worse and worse.  We spent more and more.  I know we just had a baby and that’s going to incur some additional costs, but those expenses were not that big.  It was just the other day that I was going over our October budget with Ryan and he started asking what he thinks have caused the increases.  I started looking over past months and tried to notice any changes.  To be honest, it was basically a little bit here and a little bit there.  More costs in our house budget, shopping budget, eating out budget, etc.  I think I have also felt more entitled to spend more since I’m now contributing financially while staying at home as well.  It’s definitely lifted some pressure off our backs, but by no means frees me up to spend when I want because “everyone else does.”  Do you ever feel that way?  Like everyone is spending money and you’re not.  Therefore you justify your spending?  Maybe I’m the only one.  My increased spending was/is very much tied to comparison – doing it because someone else has it and they’re happy with it.

Once I talked to Ryan and had him explain why so much of our budget goes to retirement (I do this all the time to talk me off the ledge), it brought me back to reality.  We are living OUR life.  Spending what WE make.  We are called to be good stewards of the money God GIVES us.  Why in the world would I spend like someone else does?  Plus, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  As a matter of fact, it rarely is.  And then I read this…

Ecc 5 10

It was a like a huge slap in my face.  Me? Love money?  Me? Love wealth?  Yikes.  God says, the love of money is the root of all evil. As a Christian, this is not what I want.  This is not how God has designed me to live.  How he wants me to witness to others.  Plus, all this is “meaningless.”  And it’s so true.  I want to store up treasures IN HEAVEN, not here on Earth.  There’s nothing wrong with having nice things and having goals for better things, but when it becomes similar to this verse above, it’s gone too far.

 .Too many disappointments are usually a sign of too many expectations. So let's be simple. Low our expectation!

We’ve always lived a pretty simple life, but I feel like I’ve been trying to be someone I’m not financially.  And quite frankly, it’s wasting my time.  Trying to keep up with the Jones’s is tiring :)  We still will spend more money as we get older (higher costs, kids getting older, acquiring new things), but I hope I keep my eye on the (real) prize as we do.


I was driving around yesterday in the midst of my mom and I decorating for Christmas when I thought, I actually want to live a simple life.  Decorating for Christmas makes me extremely happy.  I rarely buy new d├ęcor for Christmas, yet I love it each year.  And much of it is hand me downs from my mom or Goodwill finds.  Simplicity is sometimes comforting.  Accumulate less.  Spend less (plus it’s more confusing to write down every expense when you have a lot).  Be happy with what I have.  Find the joy in the blessings I’ve been given.  Prioritize what is worth spending money on and what is not during this time in my life.

Instead of figuring out how to make ends meet, work on having fewer ends. - bemorewithless.com

It’s always kind of a challenge too.  And I love a challenge.  I guess this post serves as a way for me to reveal my honesty on this blog, as well as encourage those who beat themselves up about budgeting.  It IS hard.  I’m preaching to the choir here when I say, find joy in the journey! 

 & Honest Teal to boot!


In researching some quotes for this post, I came across some cool links on Pinterest about simplicity.  Click on the picture for more information.

9 Websites To Help You Live Simply -- this is a great list if you're interested in simple living inspiration and tips.
7 keys
10 Simple Steps to Make the Most of Every Day  1. Rise early 2. Eat right 3. Exercise 4. Accomplish one big task 5. Do one thing that you love 6. Rest effectively 7. Be present with others 8. Give to someone else 9. Nurture your soul10. Reset
^^^ 10 Simple Steps to make the most of every day. ^^^

Amen

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Busy Week/Weekend: Birthday Party, Thanksgiving Party and Dedication

Brace yourself, this is a long post!

Wow, I’m so behind on posts as evidence from ZERO posts last week. But I guess that means I was living it…and kind of surviving each day!  Last week, my little baby boy turned 3 years old!  This seems so old to me.  He has grown up so much in the last few months.  Look how much he’s changed from the day he turned 2 to his last day as a 2 year old…
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A throwback to the day he was born!  I can’t believe it!
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Ryan and I wanted to get him a train table for his birthday or Christmas, so we went ahead and got it to have ready for him when he woke up on Wednesday!  Ryan put the base together and then realized there were a million other pieces to put together that went on top of the table.  So I jumped in and started helping.  We finished around 2:00am.  No biggy for me, but Ryan was hurting the next day.  We got it HERE for a really good deal, considering all that came with it and that most tables I saw were $150+.  I was able to pick it up the day I ordered it…which was the day before his birthday (because that’s how I roll these days).
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It was all worth it, when he woke up and came in the room.  I video taped it and it’s priceless!  I told him to show me he was excited and this is what he gave me…look, bunny even went to the floor!
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Y’all, he has NOT stopped playing with this train set.  He LOVES it and it’s probably the BEST “toy” we have purchased to date.  I know it will wear off, but I’m loving this independent play time right now :)  I’m keeping it in the living room for now since we’re all out there together.  Eventually, we’ll move it to his bedroom since there is not enough space in the playroom.

I made him cinnamon toast for breakfast!  My mom always used to make this for us, so it makes me think of my childhood. 

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Then we headed to the doctor’s office for a check-up!  We have been talking about this visit and how his Dr. was going to tell him he needed to do two things: Stop sucking his thumb and go potty on the potty seat.  Sure enough, doc had a good conversation with him about these two things.  What is he still doing?  Sucking his thumb and could care less about the potty seat.  Thumb sucking is all associated with bunny, so I can help eliminate that eventually, but the potty stuff…ugh!  Totally capable, but has no desire.  Here he is having trouble standing straight against the wall.  This boy is the most athletic 3 year old ever and yet, he can’t stand against the wall???

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Then we headed to Chick-fil-a for lunch.  We were supposed to meet daddy, but we got out of our appointment too late.  We saw some friends there, so it was all good.  I forgot to take any pics.

He played on his train table the rest of the afternoon and then we all went to Fudruckers for dinner!  We had planned to take him to Gattitown, but we pulled up and they had shut down.  So we headed here.  He’s watching his reaction to the train table on video with daddy in this picture.  Maddox slept the whole time, so it was not as stressful.

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Beckham had his Thanksgiving party the next day at preschool.  They had a little breakfast at drop-off and sang us a Fall song.  I love seeing him in his classroom.  I made these little bags of trail mix for Beckham to give each kid.  And I brought juice for the party, so I made them into turkeys to make it more Thanksgiving-y! 
 
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Friday we went to the mall and met some friends.  It went pretty well vs. what I had in my mind would happen.  It was our first time in the mall since having Maddox.  I got to use my double stroller.  B sat in the front part, while M hung out in the back. 
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Then Friday night I hung out with some coffee, Christmas music, and laundry once the kids went to bed.  Ryan was reffing a game :(
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Saturday was PARTY DAY!  Let me just say this.  I usually over commit to events like this, thinking I can pull it off, and then get stressed the day before, but then it’s totally worth it.  I loved throwing Beckham a Baseball party and a Fall themed party for his 1st and 2nd birthday, but this year I was SUPER realistic.  4 month old + hubby gone a lot + busy business right now + messy house + 4 month old (did I already say that) = No time to plan a party at my house.

So I left it up to The Little Gym!  Oh my goodness, am I glad I went this route.  I brought cupcakes, drinks, and a couple snacks.  They did everything else.  B had a blast with his friends and I was SO relaxed the entire time.  The biggest difference was not having to plan beforehand and decorate my house.  He’s also at an age now where it’s more about HIM and his friends.  It was a rainy day, but all sunshine indoors at the gym.

Helping set out napkins!
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Umm…adorable!
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I was buying some stuff at Kroger the night before for his party, which included a cupcake mix and icing to make the cupcakes.  Well, as I walked by the bakery, I saw some cupcakes made already and I sure did pop those babies in my cart and move right along.  If you know me at all, you know this is NOT how I roll with baked items, but I figured kids don’t really care as much as I do and will eat it anyway.  So I had these boring cupcakes, BUT…IMG_1860

I didn’t fret too much because I ordered some Bitty cookies from my friend Emily at A Piece A Cake!  She taught Beckham last year and has the cutest business of custom made cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.  She’s amazing and I left the designs up to her!  When I purchased the cupcakes, I had in my mind I would just add a cookie on top of each one and it completely changed the “store-bought” look of the cupcakes.  She also made regular size cookies that I put in each favor bag!  And these cookies aren’t just adorable…they’re SOO good!  Beckham felt so special that Ms. Emily made his cookies.
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The kids played and played and played!  They made it all about Beckham and he had a blast!  He was a little nervous at first (he hates when a lot of people look at him), but opened up as the party went on.
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Then we stopped for some cupcakes, snacks, and a birthday song.  I had to prep him for a month with this song so he wouldn’t hide under a chair when they sang (yes, he did this at a party just a month before).  And he didn’t…he blew the candles out right away. 
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Maddox just hung out with Grampa!
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My car was packed with stuff on the way home and when I opened the door to get Maddox, I saw this…
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Haha…the favor/cookie box fell by him.  He was not amused.
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We headed home with presents in tow and had such a blast opening up all his gifts!  We are so thankful for friends and family who came and celebrated his birthday…each and everyone of them!
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The aftermath…evidence of a good day!  My brother and sister in law came over later that evening (Ryan had a game after the party so he was gone).  We ordered pizza and they helped me take down Fall stuff and put up my Christmas tree.  How great are they?!  It was such a fun day!


PARENT-CHILD DEDICATION:

At our church, they have a yearly parent-child dedication service, where parents can dedicate their child to the Lord.  It’s a public commitment to raise your child to live for Christ.  And a commitment from the members to keep us accountable and help us along the way.  Some people confuse this with baptism.  Baptism is the public confession of your faith AFTER you have committed to Christ.  It’s a choice an individual has to make.  This was simply parents dedicating their child to the Lord.  Each family walks across stage, receive a rose from the pastors, and then are prayed over by a member of the church.  They take photos during the service, so I’ll get those soon.  This was Maddox and I before we headed to church.  I thought he was so cute in his little overalls.
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My dad and Ryan’s mom came to support us (his dad is a music minister and my mom was out of town, so they both couldn’t make it).  We all went to eat afterwards. This is Ryan and his mom with Maddox.
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It has been a busy week and weekend.  Ryan is off this week from school for Thanksgiving break, so it should be a fun week!  And hopefully productive.  My mom is coming over on Tuesday to help me purge some things and decorate for Christmas!  I just love this time of year!