Monday, August 26, 2013

Finances, Provision & Baskets!

My first year as a stay at home mommy has come and gone. I can go on and on about all that I've learned and even more on all that I need to work on but we'll save that for another day! What has struck me the most and has been such a huge impact in my life is how the Lord has provided for us financially and how we have survived our first year living off one income!

The decision was not easy, we went back and forth with the idea through my pregnancy with Luke. I knew in my heart that the Lord was calling me to stay home but our finances showed otherwise. Fred and I prayed about it and the Lord confirmed it by also putting it in Fred's heart and giving us peace about it. We weren't sure how it was going to work or if we were going to have enough but we felt that if we were faithful to go in the direction the Lord was calling us to he would be faithful to provide for us.

Luke came along and we decided to go for it and take the plunge! Fred began a part time job serving at a restaurant apart from his full time teaching salary in order to help ends meet. We knew it obviously meant less eating out and less shopping but I wasn't prepared for the changes the Lord was going to do in my heart and what he was going to teach me through this season.

Having worked since a teenager I grew up with pride of being self sufficient. I paid my own way through community college, I was responsible for my gas, insurance and car repairs. Most of my check always went towards clothes, shoes, outings and whatever my little heart desired. Every time I went to the store I had to leave with something, anything! Unfortunately I brought that baggage into marriage, the clothes and the bad habit!

Up to the time Luke was born I was carrying that baggage around. I would buy whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it not putting into consideration our budget or Fred's opinion, why should I? I contribute monthly right? Well this was a big area in my life that the Lord had to change in order to make this me staying home thing work! And I have to say this was a complete work of the Lord because I was so set in my old selfish spending ways! Praise the Lord he has changed my heart and desires and keeps working on me helping me be wise with our finances.

"The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." 
Proverbs 31:11

As I began to study and desire the attributes of a Proverbs 31 woman I realized that many of my spending behaviors didn't align with how the Lord was calling me to live. The Lord repeatedly brings me this verse to mind when I am shopping without Fred. There have been plenty of times when I go back to put whatever I was going to buy back on the shelf or rack because after contemplating we really have no use for it or it can simply wait, I can now comfortably walk out of the store or come home without a single purchase! I know that Fred works so hard to provide for us and he trusts me with the purchases I make for our family. When I am not too sure I'll text Fred and ask him if it's ok if I buy a certain something and I have to be ok with whatever his decision is, a submissive quality I was completely lacking and not practicing before.

I have learned to be wise with our grocery budget; shopping for weekly specials, trying off-brands, price matching at Walmart and being willing to shop at stores that I hated before like Aldi's, can't recognize a single brand but prices can't be beat! I also do a lot of shopping at consignments and resales and find the cutest, newest looking, brand name clothes and I've been able to decorate most of our home from bargain hunting and yard sale finds! When Gap's clearance is and extra 40% off I am totally there! Every time I find a good deal I know it's heaven sent. Many times the thing I was needing or wanting just so happens to be on sale or it just so happens to pop up at the resale for a quarter of the price! Coincidence?

Don't get me wrong, I like every other girl likes to indulge here and there; I loves me some Coach, UGG's and lately I've been dying for leather boots! Fred is gracious to let me have some monthly spending money and I can buy whatever I want with it, but there are days when I've blown through that and I come home with a bag at hand and a grin on my face and my only defense is, "But it was on CLEARANCE!" Oh! And just ask Fred I have a weird obsession and weakness for baskets, candle pillars, and of course Gap! Hey! I didn't claim to be perfect but the Lord is still shaping and molding me!

I've learned and have gotten to experience the beautiful truth about God's provision and faithfulness towards us in this season of me I staying home. Somedays we look at our bank statement and cringe as we countdown the days 'til Fred's next paycheck but we always make it through some way, some how, the Lord always provides! A few months ago we contemplated downsizing our home in order to be less tight and what do you know... Fred is making more this coming school year! I'm always open and offer the option of me going back to work but as of now Fred likes me home and I am ever so grateful I get to be the one to raise and teach our little guy!

It's a scary, humbling and exciting feeling not being in control of our finances but having to rely on the Lord for all that he gives us! No longer I am self sufficient but his grace is sufficient for me! He has never abandoned us and never will!

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tommorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink, or 'What shall we wear?' for the gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:30-33

I wanted to share my obsession with baskets! These have all come from the resale! And I also wanted to share some of my latest bargain finds! Ladies we can still have a beautiful home with beautiful stuff without having to spend a fortune!

William Sonoma cake stand. Got it on clearance for 8.99! It was regularly 39.99! Any time I get something from there I feel like its such a treat!

This whole little set up came from yard sales! The set of chairs was $8 and the table was also $8!

I got these awesome giant bowl platters at Target for less than 2 bucks! I think I bought like 4 of them! Love using them for parties and they make any pasta dish look extra pretty! 

Some of my baskets! I was needing some of these in this exact size for this shelf from Ikea. They sell there for like 12 bucks each, I got the three of them for $10 at a yard sale!

Found this for Luke at a yard sale for 4 bucks! It's going to help the little monkey stay entertained while I watch the other little one!

another basket...

and another!

My pillars on our mantel all together I paid less than $10. White one I found at a yard sale for $4, the brown one was from the resale $3 and the little black one, Big Lots $2 

When I came home from a thrift shop with this it was a hideous bright gold and Fred looked at me like I was crazy! A little spray paint here and there and now it goes great in out fireplace and looks beautiful when the candles are lit! $7!

My dollar find goes great in our bathroom!

This chest, solid wood, used to be some orangey color Fred stained it and we found it on at a yard sale for 12 bucks!

I told you, baskets are every where in my house!

Luke baskets!

Toy baskets! By the way, Pottery Barn! They came with tags and all I found them at the resale for  about $5 each!

Laundry room baskets! 

Little basket cant figure out what to put in it yet!
Bathroom basket! 

And basket full of Luke's old baby clothes waiting for the little brother to arrive! I'm telling you I'm obsessed with baskets! Fred calls me a basket case!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to the grind!

Summer break is officially over! The hubby is back to to work today after being off all summer, we're back to counting down the days 'til the weekend and the next holiday but I love his teacher schedule! Although I'm a SAHM (stay at home mommy:) I also feel like I'm back to the grind! There's tons that I've lacked on during summer break and tons that I need to catch up with!

During summer break it was nice having Fred home and being able to spend all day with him. He blessed me so much by letting me sleep in a few days a week and watching Luke in the afternoon so that I could take naps. He's also mildly OCD and has to the have the house tidy 24/7 so all summer he did a lot of the cleaning that I usually and eventually get done! We also ate out almost every day which was nice because I didn't have to worry about cooking but it wasn't very nice on our budget and not very healthy!  But now he's back to work and I guess I gotta get back to work on our home as well!

Today I spent all morning trying to figure out meal plans, calendars, weekly schedules and so on! I got a lot of ideas off Pinterest so I decided to make my own printable version on Word! And then I decided to write this on got all sidetracked!

Here's what I'm working on!

  1. Weekly Cleaning Schedule
  2. Weekly Dinner Plan
  3. Weekly Lunch Plan for Fred
  4. Activity Calendar for Luke 
  5. Family Monthly Calendar
I'll post some of them up and let you know how it goes! Today I'm reminded: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Summer fun highlights!
Fred's First Father's Day
4 Year Anniversary 
Watching Hubby work on his art! He inspires me!

Our first family Fourth of July!
Luke's First birthday at Chuck E Cheese!
Pool fun!
Beach fun in California!
And now its back to me and the little guy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Happiest Place on Earth

I'm not exaggerating when I say I believe Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth! I always believed it but going for the first time with my son just confirmed it! 

I've always had dear memories of Disneyland; when people ask what I miss most about California I always say Disneyland and the beach. Growing up as a little California girl I remember going with all my family, aunts and cousins, waiting in lines for hours, sitting on the sidewalk watching parades and just having the best time! And it only got better as I grew older.

When Fred and I were dating and had no clue what a mortgage was, what bills looked like and our only responsibilities were going to college, serving at Outback Steakhouse and getting me home on time we decided to get Disney Passes. I kid you not we were at Disneyland like every other weekend! We had some of the best date nights there! 

I took those dates and our days at disneyland for granted! 

So we decided to make Disneyland our top priority and destination on our California vacation! I had gone as a child, a girlfriend and now finally, a mother.

Its crazy how much your perception changes as a parent. I still enjoy the same things as I did before but now I get to enjoy them even more by seeing my son experience those same things. I get to see the world through his eyes! When I used to ride It's a Small World I would marvel at the little dolls dancing and all the cute outfits, this time I got to marvel at Luke's face. Priceless!

It was such a perfect day. We literally walked into most rides, barely any lines. We were done with everything we wanted to do by 3pm but you can't call it a Disneyland trip without staying for the fireworks! So for like 5 hours we just walked around, rode the train a few times, Luke napped and then we picked the perfect spot for Fantasmic! 

All day I fought back tears of joy as I got to experience Disneyland with our little family but as soon as I saw the fireworks boom and shine above the castle I burst into tears! Luke was already knocked out in the stroller but I got to end the night in the arms of my prince charming sharing a true loves kiss just like the old days only better!  

On the tram to Disney!

My first time choking up!

Being goofy!

Walking down Main Street!

Rodriguez Family 

Trying hard to pull the sword out!
In line for his first ride ever! Second time me tearing up!

Excited for the next ride!

Tea time! Too little for teacups still!

Storybook Land

"No Flash!" 

Fun at Pirates of the Caribbean

Haunted Mansion!

It's a Small World after all!

I think this was Luke's favorite ride!

His face when he saw Mickey Mouse!

Being a gentleman with Minnie!

Luke thought he was back in Texas!

The chipmunks loved Luke and Luke loved them!

Dancing with Woody!

Crying because he wants to touch Buzz!

Lunch time at Downtown Disney

Fred teaching Luke about Lego's


Nap time!

"No Flash!" again..
Ride back to the car!
Wiped out after too much Disneyland fun! Sleeping like a baby!