Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Frugal and Healthy!

Healthy and frugal?! Can the two go together? Lol! I am on a journey to do just that! I have made a couple of changes in our household.
Change #1: I have started making my own laundry detergent. It is all natural and CHEAP!!! Love it!!! It is easy to make too!
Change #2: I am cutting down on my cleaning products and trying out natural non-toxic ones. Borax, baking soda and vinegar has become my new best friends!! They are also CHEAP!! I have started cleaning my counter tops, toilets, tubs, stove top and microwave with them.
Change #3: I have changed our soap to Ivory (99.44/100 pure) and it's also CHEAP!
Change #4: I have changed my facial cleanser to an all natural oatmeal soap that is about the same price as what I was using.
Change #5: I have slowed way down on my coffee intake. Yep, you heard right. I went from 8 to 10 cups a day down to 3 cups a day. I am now drinking green tea (chocolate mint flavor) and drinking a detox tea.

Other small changes have been that I am cutting back on meat (even chicken and ground turkey) and started plugging in fresh veggies. The cost is around the same. I have cut waaaaayyyyy back on sweets!! I used to have some sweet things around for the kids and hubby to snack on. Now it's fruit, pretzels, granola bars, cheese, and popcorn. Not saying that with the holidays coming up that I won't make a batch of cookies or make some homemade candy...but, for the most part we have very little sweets.

This may totally sound weird, but for a while I have been wanting to make things "simpler". Sometimes, it may mean a little extra work for me...like making my own detergent. But, really I have become quite spoiled. I started thinking about my grandmother (who was debt-free!) and what she used to do. She was very creative and did not waste a thing. She lived through the depression and knew how to stretch things out and how to make do. If only I would have paid attention more!! Ugh!
And completely and totally off the subject....BUT, I was speaking with a lady at a local charity trying to figure out how I could help and she was telling me that people were calling and actually complaining and asking for help to buy Christmas because they were not able to spend $500 a child like they did last year...they could ONLY spend $200! Are you kidding me?!? My two kids will be lucky if they get that much spent together!!!! How spoiled have we become as a society!!! We are all about the material things!! As a recovering materialistic girl...I am so thankful that I'm not there anymore. Yes, I still want...desire...whine...and even complain that I don't have, but praise God that I am slowly finding the true value of life. It's not about the brand names that you wear, or the size of your TV or having the latest greatest cell phone...but it's about God, family, health, spending those precious moments with those that you love!!! Those things truly matter!! Those things will make you happy!!

Okay, off my soap box....I am going to continue to post about things that I am changing to be more frugal and hopefully more healthy in the process!! I look forward to the journey!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Something more.....

Have you ever looked at your life and thought...there must be something more? That is where I'm at. I enjoy being a wife and mother. But, there has to be something more. What am I missing? And how can I fit that something more into my life as a wife and mother?
I know that God wants me to take care of my family and to do it well. I strive to be that Proverbs 31 woman. But, somehow, I feel like I should be doing more...
This feeling won't leave! I feel so frustrated!
What's even more frustrating is that when I try to plug in and become more...I get shot down by others. You know the ones...they want your creativity and input but then don't use it or pass it off as their own. Or they take advantage of your desire to become more and abuse that willingness to serve by you becoming their own personal "servant". And heaven forbid that you stand up for your self, because then you get completely cut off and the cold shoulder and treated even worse! Taking a deep breath! Whew! What's a girl to do?!
It seems like I'm fighting the same old battles over and over again...just add a different person or a different situation to it...but it's the same feelings, the same insecurities, the same distrust of people, the same let down of thinking that this time it will be different. Where do I fit in God's plan? Am I trying to make myself fit where I don't belong? Am I doing what God wants me to do and just letting myself feel doubt and frustration? So many questions rolling around in my head!
I do wish that God would give me a huge bright neon sign telling me exactly what He wants me to do!! I know my gifting, but where do I plug in? I know what my passion is, but where do I use it?
I guess I will keep praying for wisdom and discernment. And keep praising God for allowing me to see situations and people for what they are...something a couple of years ago I wasn't able to do. At least the blinders have been removed in that area, now to know how to deal with the truth that I see. I know that every situation and every trial only perfects me to be the person that my Lord wants me to be. So, I'm trying to seek His wisdom in all of this and instead of wishing others to change, I am focusing on how I need to change. I am searching for His peace, His wisdom and His plan in all of this...now only if I could find that blasted neon sign!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Financial update...

Financial update....well, really, there isn't much to update. We are currently enrolled in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I LOVE it!! I just thought I was on a budget! One thing you realize when taking his class is that you HAVE to be organized and prepared! I discovered that we were just floating through life. No savings, no emergency fund, no car repair fund, no vacation fund...the list goes on and on! Thus, this is one reason we got ourselves in MAJOR credit card debt! Now we are actually trying to get organized and prepared. EVERY dollar is accounted for! It's time consuming and stressful (for me anyhow), but it's well worth the benefits.

So, this morning I have been working on the budget and tweaking amounts. Did I mention it was stressful?! Christmas coming up, bills behind, Senior pictures to buy, winter clothes to replace....UGH!!!! I am struggling with not allowing this to steal my joy...I MUST trust my Heavenly Father!! I worry! I stress!! I try to figure things out and plan...and it does nothing but add to my stress level! I become depressed and discouraged! Realistically, it took almost 3 years to get us into this debt mess, so I can't just wave a magic wand and get out of it. I know this is a growing season for me! Trust has always been a huge issue for me! So, to trust God to bring me through this is HUGE! I know silly, right? I trust Him to save my soul, but not help me with my finances.

Okay, thinking positively...we are on a budget...a STRICT budget. We are becoming organized and prepared. We ARE trusting our Heavenly Father to bring us through this!!!

Now, I am trying to think creatively about Christmas. I am clueless! I have no ideas! I'm frustrated! Ugh! I am running into issues finding winter clothes at Goodwill too! I think more people are shopping at Goodwill, so the selection has went way down. Jeff's compressor in his car has went out (no money saved for that yet). We are STILL waiting to see if our mortgage company will approve us for a loan modification (it's been almost 4 months). Hmmmm, let's see and gas is going up in price, and winter is coming so the electric bill will most likely go up. And to top it all off....Jeff's overtime hours have been reduced and possibly discontinued until Spring. Wow!! I'm just spreading the joy and happiness, huh?

On to the positive,taking Dave Ramsey's class, doing budget and menu plan, and we are enjoying simple and fun family times!

So, there is the update....it is what it is. Depressing...but hopeful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One of those mornings....

5:45 am Woke up and let the dogs out
5:47 am Made coffee!!
5:50 am Packed lunches and snacks
6:00 am Folded a load of clothes and started washing another
6:10 am Put away towels and emptied dishwasher
6:20 am Dogs are fed, coffee poured and Fox news on
6:30 am Wake kids up and start getting clothes ironed
6:35 am Wake kids up again
6:40 am Listen to the whining of kids having to get up!
6:45 am Fuss at kids for not getting ready
6:50 am Trent still trying to figure out what to wear for wacky tacky day
6:52 am Autumn still wanting to play with the dogs instead of getting ready
6:55 am Kids still not ready...the yelling starts!
7:00 am Autumn and Trent finally dressed...but breakfast not ate
7:05 am A fight with Autumn about what she is allowed to eat for breakfast
7:07 am Trent watching the news instead of brushing teeth and finishing up
7:10 am Autumn finally decides what she wants for breakfast
7:12 am Trent makes a change in wacky tacky outfit again!!
7:15 am Autumn finally brushing teeth and I am fixing her hair at the same time!
7:17 am Trent didn't have back pack ready or his cross country bag!!
7:18 am I start sweeping the kitchen just so I won't blow my top waiting!
7:19 am Lights off, tv off, dogs in crate, coffee in hand, ready to go
7:21 am Finally out the door!!
7:24 am Fights start in the car between the kids...not even sure what started it!
7:26 am Kids yelled at and Prayer started
7:35 am Prayer ends
7:37 am Trent dropped off at school
7:38 am Autumn talks all the way to school about being able to snap now.
7:41 am Autumn dropped off at school
7:42 am Get a much needed text from a dear friend wishing my a blessed day!!
7:45 am Prayed while driving home
8:00 am Home Finally!! Another cup of coffee and devotional!!

Whew! And what's ironic is my hubby just doesn't understand why I get so frustrated in the mornings! Ugh!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Overwhelmed by His Love!

This post is just a reminder of how awesome our God is! Today during our worship service to be able just to close my eyes, lift my hand and sing to my Heavenly Father was completely and totally humbling! My Lord and Savior who sits on His throne allows me to openly and confidently come and worship Him! The feeling is totally indescribable. Once I enter into His throne room nothing else matters. All the stress, the worries, the failures, and insecurities all melt away. He loves me so completely! He is faithful and loyal! He knows me...knows my faults, knows my heart and still chooses to love me! He is in control! He is working in my life! Even when I can't see it, even when I don't feel it...He is there.
I think sometimes that people forget...I forget, just how wonderful it is to be able to come before our Heavenly Father...Our Holy, Righteous and Sovereign Father. To think about who I am, how sinful, how filthy I am and He stills allows me...ME to come before Him! To know that Jesus went through the most horrible and painful death imaginable for ME...so I could be forgiven, so I could come to my Father and worship...so I could speak to Him, so He would hear my prayers...is overwhelming. How could one not worship Him in awe!! His love is incomprehensible!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Menu Plan

I'm starting back to my menu planning. It truly does help to have this list on the refrigerator for all those busy nights. And it also helps you to stick to the grocery list and budget.

Mexican casserole
Smoked Sausage with potatoes
Breakfast casserole
Homemade Pizza
Baked chicken
Pinto Beans
Shepherds Pie
Garlic and Herb Tuna Cakes
Potato Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
Shrimp Scampi
Baked ziti

Those are just the main dishes. I have frozen veggies to serve also.

So, now that I am back on board with the menu planning, I also want to get back to freezer meals. I am getting my next shopping list together to include some freezer meals. Cooler weather means soups and stews can be added! :-)

Now I just need to figure out the coupon game and I will feel really frugal!! Lol!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Financial Peace

For years I have been listening to Dave Ramsey. But, now I am actually enrolled in his Financial Peace University. Not only are Jeff and I going thru this class, but they have allowed Trent to sit in it as well. This is HUGE! I don't want Trent making the mistakes we made! I feel like this will give him a good foundation to go with the example Jeff and I are trying to set.
We have been serious about getting out of debt for approximately 2 years now...but, taking this class we feel more empowered and more equipped to do so. I'm excited...well, as excited as you can be about pinching pennies and trying to get out of debt.
Now on to the pinching penny part.
1. I have switched banks for my checking account. This bank offers 3% interest for my checking account. Huge difference from old bank of .054%!
2. Made a "Quickie Budget". This is the first budget that Dave wants a family to make. Next will be a more detailed budget...but for now the quickie one is what we are going on until we get more data on our actual expenses.
3. Back on a menu plan. Over the summer I kinda got out of this. I wasn't as organized and I really didn't take the time that I needed to do the best in this area.
4. Reading Dave's book Financial Peace.

Small steps, but steps all the same. This is the easy part for me...the hard part is people and relationships!
People don't understand the word budget or choose not to understand. We have been made fun of, belittled and talked about behind our backs...yep, I can assure you people are more than willing to tell you what your "friends" or acquiantances say about you behind your back. I truly do not understand why this is a source of ridicule. I do not find it shameful to want to be a good steward of what the Lord has blessed us with nor do I find it disgusting or awful to be debt-free. If it's between going out to eat or putting money in our emergency fund...guess what?! Emergency fund ranks higher in importance! It's not that we are being "unsocialable" or I think the best remarks I have heard made were, "We think we are better than them and don't want to hang out." or "They thought we wanted to be friends...we lied."
Can you believe those comments?! I just have to shake my head.
I just got out of a toxic and dangerous relationship a couple of years ago...I have no intention of being pressured or manipulated into doing something or spending money that I do not have. I will not allow anyone to have that control over me any more. Now, I must admit that I have slipped up a couple of times and given in to peer pressure. But, with God's help, wisdom and discernment I will not go back into a people pleasing mentality!!! That's how I got myself into this mess!! Really when you think about it...why would you want to be "friends" or hang out with someone who does not value or respect you. If they did, they would be supportive...not ridicule you. So, all that said to say this....penny pinching is not fun, doing without is not easy, saving money is hard, making a budget and sticking to it is a lot of work, ridicule and belittling from others is not easy to take, BUT being debt free and having that security is soooooo worth it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What's been going on....

The summer has been slammed with activity!
1. Running and training for the Sourwood 5k.
2. Taking Trent to Cross Country practice.
3. Working and Volunteering at the church.
4. Cleaning house.
5. Montreat Student Move-in.
6. Media fast...only the news and Joyce Meyer was watched on television.
7. Jeff and Trent going to Panama City for "BigStuf" youth camp.
8. Taking our family on the Parkway hiking trips.
9. Community VBS at the local school...preparation and painting of back drops.
10.Spending time studying and soaking in the Word of God!!

Maybe not a terribly exciting summer...but I have no regrets!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stepping out of the box...

What I am about to type may sound so silly for most...but for me, it has been life changing!
Sunday I had the honor of serving the vets dinner at the ABCCM Vet Quarters. Now, I have served before...but, only in a church setting. I can hear my Pastor preach about getting out of our 4 walls and ministering to others. I'm not sure how I thought I was doing that, but honestly, I thought I was. Then Sunday evening I woke up! My life has been sheltered and naive! I realize that now.
I was nervous about going to the vets quarters. It was an unknown envirnoment with unknown people who suffered unknown things. Now for me to step out of my box is one thing but to take my entire family to the unknown is another. I was honestly a little scared. All those fears instantly went away as soon as I walked in the lobby! The greeting we received was that of such appreciation and love it was overwhelming! We were immediately accepted, the men there were so gracious and filled with joy and appreciation. We went to bless them, but they blessed us! My whole family enjoyed our time there. It was only an hour and a half, but that hour and a half was life changing. How silly I was to be afraid! Now the most ironic part...Pastor Kevin preached on fear that morning! Yep, God was preparing me and speaking to me...He knew that I was nervous. For some reason I don't have a problem stepping out of my box to do new things...but when my kids are involved, I get nervous and I have anxiety over it. But, God has been faithful and so good....and patient. He is stretching me and shaping me. Things I have never thought of and never considered are now possibilities. So, all of this said...to say that I am excited to see where God is taking me. To see God in action in my life and my family's life. And most of all...I'm excited to see how God is going to use me!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New for us

Good Morning! Or should I say, as I'm typing this it is morning. A couple more cups of coffee and it will be better. I have done a load of laundry, swept the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and have it running, cooking chicken leftovers in the crockpot to make some chicken broth, and just got finished eating a bowl of cream of wheat. Now it's time to go to my real paying job.
But, I just wanted to share that Jeff and I got a new used car. We traded in the van...which was on it's last leg and got a Hyundai Santa Fe (used of course). It was a turned in lease...it is a 2009 and is still under warranty!! The cool part is we got it for just a little over what we were paying for our van. We got a better interest rate for less years than the van. Wow! I was freaking out because I knew the van was getting ready to "go" in several areas...and I was adding up all the repairs in my mind and then this fell into our laps. It was MORE than I had hoped for in a used car...more than I expected. I feel so blessed and I thank God for sending this our way. So, now we continue to plug away at kicking all this debt out of our lives with a car still under warranty that is dependable. Wow! That's really a piece of mind for me!

Monday, April 26, 2010

This and that...

As usual I start this post out with an apology for not posting in a while. I must confess that I have become quite addicted to facebook. The time I would usually spend updating my blog, I now spend on facebook. I hope to change all of that. Less time on facebook and more time to blog. But, I won't increase the time that I spend on the computer, so if I slip up and spend more time on facebook, then no updating blog. I refuse to increase my time on computer to do both. It's a personal decision that I had to make. I do not want my time with the Lord or with my family to suffer.
Now, with all that said...this morning I made my menu plan for dinners. I have went online to find different ideas. I tend to get stuck in a rut when cooking dinners. At the end of the day the last thing I want to do is think too hard about dinner. I like to pre-plan and have everything together where it's a no brainer. The dinners need to be cheap but healthy...hmmm, that's not always easy. But, I am very excited with garden season coming up! The down side is I only have room for a small garden, the good news is...fresh fruits and veggies are a lot cheaper during this time! I am on the lookout for meatless recipes where I can utitlize all those veggies!
This year I would also like to learn how to can. I have wanted to do this for a couple of years now...maybe this is the year! Fingers crossed! But, of course I will be freezing some fresh fruits and veggies, starting with strawberries! They are in season now....but keeping my family from devouring them before I can freeze them is a different story! Lol!
My stockpiling of food is going pretty well. I still have a long way to go, but I am doing a lot better than I used to. My goal of having 3 to 6 months of food on hand is still not met...I guess I have maybe 3 weeks worth stockpiled. But, I am still plugging away at it...slowly!
This weekend I was able to go to GW boutique (GoodWill)and find some great things. I found Autumn 2 shirts(one from Izod and the other from Children's Place)and a pair of jeans and capris from Old Navy. I even found Trent 2 pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans...I can't remember the brand of those. And lastly, I found Jeff a pair of Lee brand shorts. All of this for $24!! Love GW!!
Little things like this make a huge impact on your budget. If I was to go to a store and buy this...could you imagine how much I would spend?!
So, there you go a quick update. Hopefully I will stay on top of my blogging!! Until next time.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

What was I thinking?!?!

Let me start this post as...if there was any doubt that I loved my family and would do anything for them...this should end all speculation. My family has wanted a dog for quite a while now...I kept saying "no". Well, I finally said "yes". And instead of one...we got two! TWO!! Now I must admit while I was in a full blown panic attack walking out of the shelter...everyone kept reassuring me that two are easier than one.
Night one: three potty accidents! Two on the hard wood floors and one on the carpet! Ugh! But, when they went in the crate together for the night, not a whine or whimper! Yes!
Morning one: She (Ella) peed on him (Nikko)! After walking both of them outside at 5:30 a.m. Both got baths!! Then two potty accidents both on hard wood floors!
Day one: The leash is still tricky, but they are starting to get the hang of it. They were walked 3 times already and it's barely noon. One potty accident on the hard wood floor. Honestly, Ella is the potty bandit! Nikko has done really well. Now they are both asleep in their crate!
Now, I must admit...two are easier than one. They play together and keep each other out of trouble...except when Ella pulled the phone cord off the table! Nikko made sure I was aware it was all her! Lol!
I just keep reminding myself of Trent and Autumn's faces as I clean up each potty accident. Now, I need to keep all my OCD impulses down to a manageable level. How many times do you think a "normal" person would mop the floor?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


In my prayer time this morning I found myself crying out to the Lord for unity in my church body. I must admit that I have neglected praying for my church as a whole. I pray for the leaders...but that is it. I never seem to take the time or effort to pray for the church.
I found myself overwhelmed with grief that we have allowed strife and division to creep into our body. Now, I do want to state that I am involved with a great church! But, what I see is people pushing their own agenda, or trying to be the pastor's "number one" go to person while trashing other ministries and their leaders. I understand we are all human, we all have faults...after all that is exactly why Christ Jesus came to this earth is to save us from our sins. So, my prayers have become focused and specific. No, I'm not praying these people out of our church! I'm praying that my Lord God will change their heart, He will convict them and that they turn from what they are doing and as a last resort remove them if they ignore His instructions. Then I focused on myself....let ME not be part of that problem! Let ME not fall into the gossip mill or judge others. I don't want to trash others to cover my own insecurities. I don't want to belittle other leaders or their ministries because I would do things differently. I must trust that My Lord God is directing my leaders footsteps and I must continue to pray that my leaders will follow my Lord's instructions in all matters. My deepest desire for my church is unity. I have a vision for my church that is earth shattering! A rock your world vision!
My vision is to make a impact on our community. I want to reach out to the homeless by giving out blankets and food, help the elderly with home repairs and yard work, visit nursing homes and hospitals just to encourage, visit prisons to share the gospel and hope, to reach out and help those in financial need by giving them groceries, paying electric bills or giving them gas cards, go to the schools and give out school supplies, jackets and give them a place to go to hang out. Volunteering at animal rescues, homeless shelters or at a home for children. I want my church to be known as the most loving and caring church in Western North Carolina and beyond! I want our church to stop being it's own worst enemy and become one! Think of all the possibilities!
I resolve to pray for my church, the leadership and the whole body that we can become one...united in one accord with "Exalting Christ and Sharing His love!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wow! It's been a long time!

I must confess that I have dropped the ball on my blog. I have went to facebook where I kept it short and simple. Now the blog is calling me back. I look forward to posting more often. So, this new year...I want to start fresh with my blog. Even if no one ever reads this...I do. I have seen the changes, I have went back and read and been amazed that I felt certain ways. I laugh, I cry and I celebrate that I came through things that I couldn't see myself ever conquering.
I can't wait to see where this year takes me and I am trusting my Heavenly Father with every step I take. May He be glorified in all that I do!