Thursday, October 31, 2013

Holiday Gift Giving Budget Sheet

Well, our family has been finished with Halloween for exactly 1 hours.  The kiddos are in bed and my mind is in shock that tomorrow is already November 1st.  Where did the months go?  More importantly, why is it still 85 degrees (definitely not a perk to living in South Texas)? Hot or not, I need to get my mind on Christmas gifts.  Last year, was the first year I made myself stick to a really strict budget.  I kept up with Christmas ideas, dollar amounts, stores, etc. using a spreadsheet on my computer.  It was so helpful that I continued it this year.  For the past twelve months I have kept track of gift ideas for my loved ones.  Anytime I think of a great gift, see something on Pinterest or in a store I add it to the spreadsheet.  If I know the dollar amount or store I also add that to the spreadsheet. It is nothing fancy, it is just plain functional.  If you think it is something that might help keep your holiday gift giving on budget and organized please feel free to print. * After clicking (click here to print), you will be sent to a Google Doc page.  From there select "file", then select "download".  The image will download to your computer and then you can print from there.

Let the countdown begin!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sticker Shock & Buyer's Remorse

I remember a day when I got excited about purchasing new clothes, shoes, or household items.  It felt good, there was an adrenaline rush with a good sale, I never gave the purchase a second thought.  Well, today I realized those days are long gone. I am looking forward to some much needed girl time this coming weekend.  Two of my dearest friends and I are meeting each other in San Antonio to spend time together.  I thought it would be fun to run over to the mall and pick out a new pair of shoes or new black leggings to wear with flats or boots (which I don't own).  I had my 3 year old daughter with me.  The shoe department, at this rather large store, made her jump with glee.  She was literally giddy looking at all the shoe options.  She didn't even seem to notice they were way too big for her feet.  I, on the other hand, had feelings of being nervous, overwhelmed, feeling out of place etc.  It was if I became frozen in one spot.  I honestly wanted to leave immediately but decided to stay since she was enjoying herself so much.  I also told myself that it was a math lesson...she was counting all of the shoes! :) As we walked around, I picked up one ballet flat after another, shocked at the prices.  Seriously, $79 for a pair of ballet flats!  They don't even stay flat when you take it off your foot, they roll up!!!  It hit me that I can't remember the last time I bought a pair of shoes other than tennis shoes or Reef flip flops... Ugh!  It is just pathetic. When I found myself getting more and more frustrated with the shoes I decided to hunt for leggings.  That was even worse!  Again, $70 for a pair of black leggings!!!  Now, I know I could find leggings at Wal Mart, but my legs and backside need $70 worth of support.  I don't want to feeling like everything is wiggling all of the place. So, I put back the leggings and wondered back to the shoes department.  The fourth sales lady asked me if I needed any help.  At first, I said no and then asked if I could try on one pair of flats.  She brought them out and unwrapped them for me.  As I slid one on (never got to the second shoe), I decided they were too narrow.  I think she was shocked at my record speed for trying on and making a decision. What is my problem?  Why can't I just enjoy buying something for myself?  I wish I could have been giddy like my three year old, eyes glazed over, and ready to buy.  So this weekend, I will wear the same gold toned sandals I have worn all summer.  Did I mention they use to be my mom's?  She has great taste in shoes and we (thankfully) wear the same size.  Luckily, in Texas you can wear sandals 10 months out of the year.  They will be accompanied by my favorite pair of jeans (which are becoming frayed at the bottom).  I believe I bought those two years ago... I realize this is not an uplifting, feel good post but I just had to get that off my chest.  On the flip side, since I didn't buy anything I don't have to suffer through buyer's remorse. :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stars and Stripes - Cub Scout Cake Auction

Wow!  The last couple of weeks have been insane!  I thought about listing every "extra" activity, fundraiser, field trip, festival, birthday, etc.  but it hurts my brain.  Let's just say I don't want another season like the last two weeks for awhile.  I am a home-body.  I prefer to be in my house with my family having a quiet evening (well as quiet as a family of five can be).  The good news, the end of November is looking promising... :). One of our activities was a cake auction for my oldest son's Cub Scout pack.  This year, all of the proceeds are going to our local children's hospital.  We had 22 cakes entered into the auction and raised a nice amount of money for the hospital. I thought I would share some pictures from the cake we entered.
The boys also dressed in their Halloween costumes.  His just happened to be an astronaut which went great with the Stars and Stripes theme of his cake.

This was our first attempt with fondant.  There were definitely some rookie mistakes, but overall we was pleased.  My son was the brains behind the theme/idea and my husband and I were the manuel labor!

I just think these little eagle cupcakes are the cutest things.  I wish I could remember the exact location of the idea but I know it was Pinterest.  

He was beyond excited when he won Grand Champion, for the cake with the highest bid. :)

Now I am going to take a deep breath and gear up for the next couple of weeks.  Like I said, the end of November looks peaceful...hopefully. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

Life these days is going 100 miles per hour.  I feel like my "to do list" has it's own "to do list".  I am trying to stay focused on the important things and the true blessings of each day.  Yesterday, we had a tiny moment of family time.  We decided on a whim to stop off at the pumpkin patch on our way home from church.  Where we live, pumpkin patches consist of humidity, wind, 80-90 degree weather and pumpkins trucked in from some other place (far away where fall does occur).  I dream of a real pumpkin patch, cider mill, or apple orchard.  :) Since things have been a bit hectic, I did not get a chance to edit the photos.  I figured it was more important that I actually complete the post.  Most years, I spend hours trying to edit out cars, gas stations, etc. from the background.  Not this year!  These are pumpkin patch pictures in their natural state! :)
I think he personally inspected every pumpkin this year. :)

I cannot believe she is this old!  I remember taking her picture at this pumpkin patch before she had all of that hair. :)

I know what you are wish you had that big blue dumpster in the background of your pumpkin patch pictures.




Found the prized pumpkin, now lets take it home!

Uninterrupted family time is rare and precious these days.  We only had about 20 minutes to spare at the pumpkin patch but it was the best 20 minutes of my day.

* An unexpected blessing from today:  I can't believe I found time to write a blog post! :)  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's My Choice

It's my choice, happiness and joy or deceit, distrust, guilt, misery etc. Is life really that simple?  Can a person actually make a decision between happiness or misery? It can't possibly be that plain, black and white, simple... I am in the third week of an amazing Bible study by Joyce Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind).  I know this sounds dramatic but it has been life changing! changing! I have always viewed myself as a planner (of every single detail), worrier (of every single detail), controller (of every little detail) to the point of anxiety, stress, and the list goes on.   I have an amazing life with so much to be thankful for but I always struggle with stress, guilt, the feeling that I am not doing enough, etc.  I have actually felt envious of those who seem to be happy all the time.  I have prayed to God that I would be happy and "carefree".  It seems like some people are just born that way?  Why do I have to fret over every little thing while they seem to go through life on a glittering cloud (with a smile on their face).   Now, I do feel some people come by it naturally, but I am learning that the rest of us can have that type of life, too. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Before this Bible study I would have never believed a statement like that, especially from my own thoughts.  I just always figured there were happy people and then there were stressed out people (moi).  I thought God had a reason for both kinds of people and one day I would figure out my reason. *Side Note:  Through this Bible study, I have also learned that reasoning and justifying gets me into more trouble and confusion than you can possible imagine.  Do I really need a reason and a justification or should I just trust God that He knows what He is doing?  :) "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he"  Proverbs 23:7 The way I think (and I have the ability to control my own thoughts) is what I will do and become. Seriously???  Is that right, is it that simple? Y-E-S Thinking good, happy, and praiseworthy thoughts, always thanking God and meditating on his Word, and deciding to live the good life He intended for me to have can and will change my life. Something else to really consider, this will not only change my life but the life of my family.  What kind of legacy do I want to leave for my children and grandchildren.  How I act and respond to life is how my children will act and respond to life as adults.  Now that is a light bulb moment that gets my attention! I am making the choice! I know not every day is going to be easy.  But I know that I have the power to make the choice and above everything else, I know that God is on my side and has an amazing life just for me. If you haven't read Battlefield of the Mind, I highly recommend it. :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

More Than Just a Card

Do you get excited about getting mail?  I don't mean bills or junk mail but instead something that is addressed just to you?  Catalogs are great but my day is made when I find a small piece of stationary with my name on it.  It just makes me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :)

This week I was pleasantly surprised by two pieces of mail!  Two of my dear friends blessed me with lovely hand written cards.  What a special treat!  Both of these ladies are very busy and they took the time out of their schedules to write a note to me.  It made me feel so special.

I want to make others feel the same way.  As women, we should constantly love on one another.  Keeping our daily endurance up is much easier (and pleasant) when we have received a little encouragement and support.  Let's bless one another by taking the time to write a short little note.  An email, text, or phone call is also nice but there is nothing like a handwritten note.  

I am going to make a commitment to write one note a week and send it to a friend, loved one, or any woman I think needs a little love and encouragement.  If you would like to join in the fun that would be amazing.  Just think of how many women we can blessed through small notes of encouragement.  It is the little things that go such a long way. Below are just a few Bible verses I feel are full of encouragement and support for women. "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus."  Romans 15:5 "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."  Proverbs 31:26 "She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."  Proverbs 31:25 "He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul."  Psalm 23: 2-3 "... serve one another in love."  Galatians 5:13 "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4: 19 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28 "The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isaiah 41:28-31 "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
Have a fantastic Friday and be a blessing to someone!

* Keep small note cards / stationary in your purse to use when you have a few moments (ex.  waiting in carline, sitting at a child's rehearsal or practice, etc.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Philippians 4:6-9, Such a Great Reminder

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God will transcend all understanding, will guard your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received from me, or seen in me - put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."  Philippians 4: 6-9 I love this verse.  It has really helped me through stressful moments and transitions in my life.  When I was teaching, I kept this verse taped to my computer.  Whenever the days seemed to be too much, I would read over it.  I would use it as a "check list" to refocus my attention and gain perspective. Yesterday morning at Bible study, we discussed this verse.  It is so important as women (and especially mothers) that we remain focused on what is truly important.  We are currently studying, "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer.  I highly recommend it.  It is a quick read and addresses many of the strongholds we have as women, wives, and mothers.  Joyce Meyer reminds us that God never intended for our mind to be constantly overloaded.  We will not be able to hear what God is trying to reveal to us if our mind is busy and constantly thinking, over analyzing, etc. etc.  We are only a third of the way through the book but it has already been a huge eye opener. Philippians 4: 6-9 is a great part of scripture to memorize.  It really can be used as a check list.  If what is consuming your mind does not fit into this scripture then it needs to be removed from your priorities.  As mothers and wives, we have too much on our plates to also deal with things that are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.  I know it seems so black and white, cut and dry but it really can and should be that way.  God does not want us to worry and fret over things we cannot control or that are not healthy for ourselves or our families. Since I think of this scripture as a check list, I thought it would be fun (and helpful) to make a printable.  Feel free to print your own copy. After clicking (click here to print), you will be sent to a Google Doc page.  From there select "file", then select "download".  The image will download to your computer and then you can print from there.
(The gray background should not print.  This is a 5X7 printable.)