Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Journey of Money- Psalm 40


"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the Lord!" As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer, do not delay, o my God!" Psalm 40:16-17

Psalm 40 is really speaking to me today. Lately God is doing a work in me....a difficult one. I have asked Him to...this is what I get! Haha. It's amazing how after almost 5 years of marriage I still battle with insecurities such as money. Heck, I battle with a lot, just ask my family. lol. I battle with projecting my frustrations of money onto others, being prideful, too opinionated about certain subjects, and wanting to change others how I think they need to be changed. At this moment in time I wish we were the ones looking to buy a house because we could sit down and change things. Thus comes strong opinions onto friends and family who are looking to buy houses. ha! But I don't think that's what God wants. I think He wants to change us, not our circumstances...such a hard pill to swallow sometimes.

It's been a struggle for me lately (can you tell?!). Being the wife of an entrepreneur, well it's tough at this stage in the game. Not enough income to live off of but so much time devoted into the business. Payment doesn't come every 2 weeks. Sometimes it's hard when the business is getting attention but the regular day job isn't because I don't know what this week's paycheck will look like for bills. It can just be tough. The instability is hard for trying to have a budget because the income isn't the same every month.

Don't get me wrong, we are still paying our bills. I may make things out worse than they are on here...I am not really sure. We are still living, eating, breathing, and paying the mortgage. God is still providing for us. He is still doing awesome things with Kyle's business that I am not even mentioning. It's just difficult to swallow the reality of  no "flexibility" in our budget at this point. Not having money to save for things we need to be saving for, etc. Or taking a vacation not even once every other year!

Whoever is reading this, please just pray for me. Hormones have been tugging at my emotions lately and since I have asked God this request (ohh), I am struggling (I really hope I don't regret these posts later). I need His help more than ever right now emotionally. So thank you for those that are :)

But.......I got my wipes today!! Love it. I am doing all I can to save money on my end. I put the wipes in my wipe warmer with water, bath soap, and a drop or two of melaleuca oil (tee tree oil). Already used one on Abby and it was soft! By the way, I have not forgotten about the table. There is no movement on it and the chairs currently. Since we are being extra careful, I have not bought more spray paint to finish the chairs. I will be able to soon though! Then I can do a post with the finished look. It will be good :) Thank you for your prayers and reading my rants lately.

"As for you, o Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!" Psalm 40:11

Friday, April 20, 2012

Money-Saving Journey...cloth diapers day 1


Alright, so one way to save money...big time....is switching to cloth diapers. Yes, now! It's fantastic. Apparently there's a lot of women that cloth diaper around here and as kids are getting older and potty trained, mom's are selling their used diapers. What a great alternative to buying full price diapers (which can get expensive). So I now have a good stash that will hopefully last me a while. Here are a few :)

I have bought 16 diapers. Now here comes the money-saving part....I spent $72 on them!!!

PLUS, this diaper pail cover (blue sticking out the trash can) came with the diapers. More money saving right here.

I'm going full force with this cloth diaper situation so why not cloth wipes?! Well, Diaperhq has a deal on cloth wipes right now so I got buy 1 get 1 50% off!! 20 wipes for $13.50. Amazing! So how much have I invested into this scheme? $72 for diapers and pail insert, $10 for trash can, $14 (with tax and no charge for shipping) for wipes, and $13 for a HUGE thing of detergent safe for cloth diapers/wipes. That's $109!!!!!! Wow. That's amazing to me. I thought this venture might be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Nope. This is really going to save us money, and we'll make it up fast. 

So I've invested this money...the question is...success or fail to switch? Well, today was the first day and it was a SUCCESS. Abby did fine with them. I did have 2 that leaked on the sides but I looked up possible problems and tried something different. I snapped a couple of the snaps to make the diaper more snug on her and no more leaking! She even had a big poop before bed and zero leaking. I didn't even know she had pooped until I was taking it off. Praise the Lord! And it really wasn't bad to rinse it off. I have to go outside at the moment and use the hose but it's not like there are that many poopy diapers from her at this age. 

So money saving project #1 seems to be going well so far! I am super excited about all this...ask my husband :) And here's a picture of my angel at the doctor. She carried along Minnie (Mimi is what she says) and her baby doll. I love her. Honestly, she looks cute in these diapers :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Table Progress


What better way to save money than getting a table for free (from great friends) and turning into what I want for about $30.00 (paint $8, polyurethane $4, spray paint $15 ish)! I have wanted a black table that seats 6 people for a while now. Bam, it's almost a dream come true! Here's the progress on my project...

The table is coming along, but I've had a couple "issues" along the way. Let me share. I spilled 1/4 of the can of paint on the table when I didn't know my MIL had shaken and opened it. So I went to shake it and SPLAT, all over. So we panicked (I panicked) and we started rolling like crazy to cover the table. But once my MIL rolled over it again to make sure it was smooth, the paint started peeling off!! Minor set back. Here's the disaster....

But the next day I sanded it well and applied another coat (using a foam roller). Now it's looking better!!

I sanded again and added a 3rd coat. Beautiful now! The chairs are primed and ready to be painted but I need to get spray paint for them (since we are watching money carefully this probably won't be for another week).

I have applied one coat of Polyurethane to protect it and will be doing probably 2 more coats (I used a foam brush to apply and did long strokes to cover "strips" of the table). See the paint on floor in the bottom left of the picture? That's from my spill. Thank goodness it spilled on the table and not me and the carpet behind me! Stay tuned for more updates!

Abby's Corner


With the basement finished, it was time to put together Abby's corner area of her "school." I have been pretty excited about this. Take a look!

I am starting to teach her the continents and I got these posters at the Dollar Store!

Here are some Bible verses we go over. She really likes them. I like it too cause it helps me remember or learn new ones!

I just printed and laminated these color sheets to help teach her colors

We've been working with these sandpaper letters a lot more. I help her trace her finger over each letter and tell her the sound of the letter. This helps with when she starts writing so her hand already has the concept down.

Here's her shelf of activities. This is good to teach them how to pick it up, carry it to the table, and then put it back in the same place before getting a new one out. This teaches her coordination, motor skills, helps with her memory, and the activities have different goals as well!

That's Abby's Corner! There are more activities we do together but here a few. I'm excited to continue adding new things and seeing her learn. It's great because just love learning so if we as parents harness it and make it fun then it's great for all of us!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Journey of Money-Debt


Money, money, money. It's good and bad. It can be a blessing or a curse! It's such a hard thing to control and manage (in my opinion), especially when you're married because you have 2 different people with 2 different ways of handling it. But somehow you have to become one and handle your finances together. That means make mistakes together, learn to manage it, save it, give it away, spend it on wants, and probably fight over it together. Ha!

Our journey with money has not been the easiest since we got married. We entered marriage young and learned early (thankfully) that we don't want debt. Does this mean we always made the right decisions? Certainly not. We've learned what we don't want through making wrong decisions and living with them. At 19 and 20 we started our marriage with school loans already in our pockets and continued until we figured out what a burden it would be to pay them off and what the real world was like with finding a good paying job (are there still ones out there?? ha). So I got my Associates Degree and Kyle got a Bachelor's through Bethel to spend less money than online through Liberty with a degree he was NEVER going to use. Then God showed me personal training and I pursued that with a MUCH lower cost of education than a traditional 4 year degree and good money making potential. Now, after being married for close to 5 years, I can say that we have a vision for the future and God is the one who directed it. It was hard to go through the years of the unknown career paths and very little income (not that it's TONS better but it is better thankfully).

We decided 3 years ago to not own a credit card and by God's grace, we haven't had to go into any extra debt. We just have student loans (the devil) and our house now. But is it easier? Not really. When we bought our house I thought God really wanted us to have it. That it would partially make me "complete" because I'd be happy to live in it each day. It's an amazing house, in an amazing neighborhood, has what we want, and we did get a pretty good deal on it. But now I have a different opinion. It comes with a price! Did God want us to go to the limit with our budget and be tight each month? No. Did God want us to be stressed out most months about our bills because we have a high house payment? Probably not. I cannot say that God orchestrated this house for us because we also make our own decisions. Decisions that are filled with selfishness, pride, and greed. Could we have bought a $70,000 house without all the exact things we want? Yes! Could we be blessing others instead of scraping for money to pay necessities? You bet. Could we be less stressed and provide more for our daughter and future children as they get older and get more expensive? Man, what a blessing that would be. Could we have more date nights and time together because we'd have flexibility with money? Wow what a dream!

I just can't imagine living the next 27 years of our lives stressed each month and barely making ends meet. That's NOT the life God calls us to live with money. It just isn't. You cannot show me in the Bible where it does say that. I will not be convinced that God wants this for ANYONE. And because we've specifically made the choices we have (while God does orchestrate things, we still have free will), I am not going to deny responsibility and demand or expect miracles for poor choices we've made. How does this help my hard working husband? He works his BUTT OFF every single day from sun up to sun down, no vacation time, and no slack. I don't want that for him and us the majority of our lives. How draining and depressing to work multiple jobs to pay the bills. And what good will that do for our kids? Tell them "God wanted this for us" while mommy and daddy are on edge and stressed all the time because of bills? I don't think so. What about when we have to pay for Abigail's wedding or help her out when she is older? I don't want to be selfish with money now and not learn from mistakes we've made and not be able to help our kids. I want to tell them that we made choices and are learning from them. I want to tell them that we changed our patterns and are living with less debt! We WILL teach them to not have student loan debt, how to save for a house, invest money young, and get a 15 year mortgage with a manageable payment.

NOW.....whew, those are the thoughts that I have been mulling over in my head for a week or so because we've been tight on money from finishing the basement. I do believe that IN SPITE of our choices God works. In spite of having a mortgage that we should not have gotten, I know God provides and helps us learn from these mistakes. In spite of our student loans I wish our parents would have warned us about more clearly, we will pay them off. The mountain of debt will be gone someday whether Kyle's businesses are super successful or we have to sell our house and get half the mortgage. One way or the other it will happen because we are committed to being debt free because it's IMPORTANT to God.

So I have committed to finding ways to save us money!!!!! I have been praying about it a lot and asking God to show me how to be a wife and mother that uses resources to the best of my ability, with His help. I plan to share in following posts my journey with changes we make to be a more money conscious family. So I hope my journey helps yours!

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" Proverbs 22:7

"A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn't, and even brags about it!" Proverbs 13:6

"the plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Table and Chairs Makeover


Our basement is done...well, not everything in it. First off, we don't have a couch (we plan to make part of it a theatre area). And I have this great table and chairs set (given by friends) but they are the same color as the floor. So I talked to my mother in-law about painting this bad boy. She loved the idea and we have set out to transform this set! In the end it will be black and the chairs will be a cream color. I wanted to take before pictures...I forgot so here's what you get. The white is primer.

I finished sanding all the chairs today and have to prime them. My MIL is coming Friday and my plan is to have it ready to coat with the final paint colors (black and cream).

Stay tuned to see progress and the final product!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bridal Shower


It was that time.....for a Bridal shower! I had TONS of fun planning, preparing, and seeing this shower through. Take a look!

Here were the invitations I made. This gave me the vision for the shower.

Here's the set up of the shower in my FINISHED basement!!

We used china....much more elegant. I love using china dishes and going fancier :)

I also used a small tea cups on the table as part of the decoration.

Another view.
Here's the BEAUTIFUL cake my mom made. Isn't she amazing?!!

It was perfect for this shower. I couldn't have been more happy.

I made menu's for the table so people knew what we were having. We had a 3 course meal served (me, my MIL, and sister in-laws served) to our guests. The spread was fantastic. 1st course was fruit and yogurt. 2nd course was 3 different egg casseroles, spinach dip muffins, and hash browns. Then of course cake. We also had fresh squeezed juice, ice water, and coffee. Perfect brunch menu.

Here are 2 preggo's at the shower! Kyle's sister, Lindsay, who helped throw the shower and Angie his cousin.

Here's the Bride, her mom, and her sisters!

Here she is with friends
Bride with her cake.

We also did a game, "how well do you know the couple?" Then Rebecca told the story of her and Erik getting together and the engagement story. This was also a Pampered Chef party so we had our lady, Kristen, give a presentation and everyone ordered goodies for the Bride. Very successful shower and I was so honored to help throw it for her. I can't wait for her to be officially part of this family!