Monday, February 24, 2014


Luke is at preschool and Livi has been napping and my house is so. quiet.




It is blissful...I can’t lie.  I just made a delicious salad and quietly sat and read my favorite blogs while I ate lunch.  I can actually *hear* the refrigerator humming right now…imagine that?!  

My days {and nights!} are so long and very loud and chaotic with a toddler into everything and walking all around the house and a very precious active little boy who has more energy than…I don’t know what.

So for right now…I SO enjoy the peace when it comes unexpectedly.

But I think the true reason I enjoy the peace so much is because it’s such a contrast to the loudness and the noisiness of my kiddos when they’re awake and around me.

So much of life can be appreciated because it is The Opposite, you know? You appreciate your health so much more after you’ve just gotten over a cold….you appreciate dinner so much more when someone else has made it for you…you appreciate an anonymous gift of $10 so much more when you’re on a month of not spending {yes, that just happened to us.}

And it just occurred to me that someday all the noise will be gone and my precious kids will be grown up and won’t need me in the every moment like they do right now.

So thank you, Jesus, for the chance to raise these precious kids.

And thank you for the blessed noise and the blessed gift of quiet when it comes. 

They’re both gifts in different forms, after all. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

No-Spend Month {Round 2}: Week 3 Check-In

No-Spend Month {February 2014} 012


IS IT MARCH YET?!!! Hahaha kidding….sorta.

I have to be honest, this week was made a LOT easier by some gift cards and birthday/Christmas gifts that finally arrived.  Meaning…it *felt* like I got to spend money but I really didn’t.  Ummm…love it when that happens! :)

After a super long wait and lots of issues with getting lost in the mail, I finally got two monogrammed items I’d bought back in December and January with birthday and Christmas money: a monogrammed straw drinking tumbler and my custom Otterbox case for my phone.  Hooray!  I am in LOVE with them!




I also mentioned last week that I’d bought a Thirty-One bag for Olivia for use as a diaper bag because it was such a great deal this month I couldn’t pass it up.  How cute is this?!  {It’s the new zip-top organizing utility tote.} I love that she can use it on our road trips to PA long after she’s outgrown the need for a diaper bag. 



To pay for it I sold a print from Kohl’s I’d bought for our room but never used {$8), $5 worth of Luke’s old clothes, and used $5 of a PayPal refund I received after my tumbler got lost in the mail and the seller very kindly refunded me shipping costs.  Love that I have a brand new bag for Liv and it didn’t cost my family anything! :)



We also finally got to use our Christmas gift from my in-laws: a Cheesecake Factory gift card!  We meant to go last week for Valentine’s but we got snowed out so we went up this week.  We had a great time {KID FREE, HALLELUJAH!} and spent some time eating and then walking around the mall a little bit.  Although we did get stuck in about 30 minutes of traffic on the way up, which was a little depressing…apparently this blurry selfie in bumper-to-bumper traffic is how we feel about being stuck in the car when we’re hungry.  lol





I also used a gift card to Francesca’s I’d had in my purse for over a year!  I love that store but it is so hard to get in there with kids so I never get a chance to pop in alone.  I had  bought jewelry for a friend’s wedding and didn’t love it and got merchandise credit forever ago.  I got this beautiful scarf and yes, a fall print.  In February. And no, it wasn’t even on clearance!!  Do you guys understand my obsession with the fall now?!  LOL But how could I pass it up for “free?”  I mean…it has orange, polka dots, and fall words.  I mean really. ;)




I also managed to stay in the grocery budget {whoo hoo!}.  usually I take out cash but last week I didn’t have the chance to go to the bank….so we just kept a careful tally of the grocery budget on the debit card.  I could have sworn Chris told me I had $6.97 left for the week, and when I did a desperate grocery run on Wednesday I was so excited I literally took a photo of my self-checkout screen…only to find out from him later that we actually only had $6.93 left….so technically I *did* go over by three cents.  HAHA!  Oh well!




Oh and while I was there I happened to run into Katie – our families went to the same church when we were kids and she happens to read my blog now.  She stopped me in the store and gave me this Starbucks card since she had some money left on it and knows from reading my blog how much I love me some Starbucks!  Thanks again, Katie!!!  See, apparently it pays to mention once or twice or a hundred times the things you’re obsessed with on your blog! ;)

I immediately went home and transferred it to my gold card so I can keep earning rewards on it.  So fun!!




I haven’t had much luck selling kids’ clothes on Facebook {I think because we’re in a weird month of the year where nobody’s really buying summer or winter right now.}  So the kids’ Consignment Fund tally is still the same…but I’m hoping after I call the shop next week they’ll tell me I’ve earned some money over the month!



Grocery/Household budget: – $.03 {Does that really even count?!}
Consignment Fund tally: $58 {$42 left to fund}



Saturday, February 15, 2014

No-Spend Month {Round 2}: Week 2 Check-In

No-Spend Month {February 2014} 012


Chris and I had plans all set to go out tonight {with gift cards!!} to the Cheesecake Factory for our Valentine's date….instead we are snowed in with yet another (!!!!) blizzard and I’m writing a blog post in my jammies instead.  Oh, life! lol!

Anyway, this week went pretty good but I did go a *little* bit over my cash grocery/household allowance {oops!!}. I’ll explain why in a minute. 

Last Saturday I had some Hobby Lobby returns from Livi’s party and since Trader Joe’s is right across the street, we took a family trip up there.  I LOVE Trader Joe’s but since it’s a solid hour from my house I don’t get to go up there very often.  This week I tried some new foods thanks to suggestions from friends and I was pleased, as usual.  {We haven’t tasted anything from there we haven’t loved!}



{This was the only picture I took of my groceries this week…we most definitely did NOT survive on just this food in case you were wondering! HAHA!}

Since we went up there on Saturday and I don’t get to go up there super often {meaning I put some things in my cart knowing I wouldn’t be back up there again for at least a month} I didn’t leave as much of a “margin” in my grocery budget as I should have. 

Which means that I had to pull out my debit card not once, but twice.  Oops.

The first was to buy Olivia a sippy cup.  Sister is a little DIVA when it comes to her drinking preferences and I have literally tried FIVE different cups with her over the last several months.  Luke? Drinking from a cup by his first birthday, no problem whatsoever.  Not this girl!  Until I FINALLY saw a tip on a forum about these Nuk “Learner” cups so I got myself to Wal-Mart and bought one. 




Best thing ever!!! I wouldn’t say she loves it over her bottles, but she will suck one dry and that has never happened before!  I decided it was better to pay $6.94 now rather than wait until February was over since this was a habit I needed to break as soon as possible.  Money well spent! 


The second time was under $2 at CVS to get Luke some Valentines for his class.  {I paid part cash/part debit}.  We don’t have a color printer and we had no candy in the house, so I literally *had* to buy them for his class party that we didn’t end up having anyway because of all the dang snow but that’s besides the point.  He was pretty thrilled though – we got Monster’s University ones that came with a cute little pencil that slides inside.


One thing that helped keep me sane? A Starbucks run on Tuesday.  We only drink exclusively Starbucks coffee {I’m a big believer in the theory that life’s waaaaay to short to drink coffee that you hate} and I always, always, always save my bags to return them for a free tall coffee.  Did you know you can do that?  As long as it’s no more than 30 days past the expiration!  Both of my local Starbucks will also let me add flavoring for free {bless them!} so I get a tall Pike Place with cream and toffee nut.  YUMMM! 



I popped my little coffee cozy from Lindsay around it and the stars aligned so that when I pulled in my driveway Livi was asleep and Luke would be home in about 15 minutes on the bus.  I just stayed in the warm car and sipped my coffee in the sunshine and quiet and it was BLISS.  :)




Okay wow I gotta wrap this up!!  I did purchase a diaper bag at an amazing, can’t-beat-it price  because I needed an upgrade and a friend was putting in a 31 order and I had to do it this month…but I am slowly selling things around the house to pay for it so I don’t count that because I’m paying it off. After tomorrow afternoon I will only owe $5 more it. :)

Oh and my amazing grandparents sent Luke and Liv each $25 for Valentine’s, which I’m going to add to the Consignment Sale Fund! Yay!


$58 for the Consignment Sale Fund

$42 left to fund it

Oops money: -$8.50 on sippy cup and Valentines for the class

Still need to earn: $5 to make up for the new diaper bag


Not bad….but I am REALLLLLY looking forward to March 1st right now! lol!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

No-Spend Month {Round 2}: Week 1 Check-In

No-Spend Month {February 2014} 012

Well, I’d say this week was a success!  First of all I am happy to report that I actually had TWO dollars left in my grocery budget!  A-mazing!  I was pretty positive I’d be visiting all my friends’ houses and searching their couches for spare change by the end of the week.  So that was happy.  ;)


Here’s what I bought, not including 2 gallons of 2% for Chris and Luke:

IMG_0935   IMG_0937
IMG_0951     IMG_0976
{Chris, Livi and I try to eat almost exclusively whole foods, but you’ll definitely notice some processed foods in these photos.  I’ve touched on it before but Luke has some pretty serious eating issues {enough to warrant therapy with an OT that insurance actually covers} so we buy a LOT of crunchy carbs and things he is safe with.  At this point in my son’s life, doing “food chaining” with him {the process of starting with safe foods and moving to new ones gradually} and getting calories in his body is my top priority…even if that means I cringe every time I have to buy him something that might not be the healthiest. Oh, and the Pringles? Free with 2 boxes of Cheez-Its.  We literally never buy them otherwise but Chris was THRILLED.  haha }
Anyway!  Moving on. :)
You will notice a chocolate bar {part of a gift for a friend} and also a Valentine’s snack cup in the Target picture.  Those cups are only $1.99 at Target {I KNOW!!} and I absolutely could NOT pass one up for my little heart warrior!  I mean I love pink anyway but seriously this could not be more perfect for her Valentine’s gift!  I had money in the budget so I went for it.  :)

Here’s what we ate for the week:
Saturday – Homemade Pizza {put some dough in freezer}
Sunday – Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Monday – Homemade Meatballs and Spaghetti {put some in freezer}
Tuesday – leftovers
Wednesday – Skillet Fried Rice
Thursday – Frozen Pizza {Since January 1st we’ve been having frozen pizza night once a week – usually on Friday.  BEST THING EVER for my sanity!}
Friday – Homemade Refried Beans and Homemade Quesadillas

Homemade Granola {didn’t turn out well}
Applesauce Bread
Pumpkin Pancakes
Egg Salad for lunches
Yes, I am in my kitchen A LOT!!!!!

On the plus side of money, I brought a big load of clothes to the consignment shop on February 1st, and I also sold $18 worth of items from my house via a Facebook.  $10 of that went toward a Facebook Fitness Challenge I’m participating in {entry fee}, and the other $8 went to my big “Consignment Sale Fund” for April. 

Our oops moment?  When we realized on February 1st {Saturday morning} that we’d promised Luke earlier that week that he could watch Despicable Me with Chris {for the first time ever}.  And people, there was no way I was gonna hear about that for the next 28 days from my four-year-old.  So we DID spend $2.99 on that from Amazon Instant Stream.  And great memories were made. :)

So, to recap:
$2 leftover from groceries {miraculous}

$18 made from selling clothes, leaving $8 toward my consignment fund
{$92 left to fund it}
Oops money: -$2.99
Not bad at all! :)
This week I’m definitely going to try to sell more clothes and chip away at that $100 goal!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My “Done” List {aka: How I Keep My Sanity With Kiddos!}

One thing you should know about me: I am EXTREMELY right-brained.  I literally have to TALK myself through seeing a lot of my tasks through to completion {and putting it all away if there are materials involved!!!} because in my head I’ve already moved on to the next project.  I could happily decorate my house and do craft projects all the live-long day.  I am not OCD in the slightest about my house being picked up {except in my cupboards and drawers…I love organization there}.  It’s not that I *dislike* being organized…it’s just not my spiritual gift.  Haha!


Anyway, while I’m not OCD about it, I still really do like the calm feeling of a picked-up, put-together house.  That’s always my goal.  But with two kiddos running around all day tearing it apart, I often end most days feeling super defeated about my housekeeping.  Livi is in that peak messy toddler stage, so feedings are a total mess of dropped food everywhere and when she’s not eating, she’s ripping Kleenex out of a box and shredding them piece by piece or pulling all the books off the bookshelves or dumping over her entire diaper bag contents…etc.  ;)

There are days when I get to 8 pm and I’m completely exhausted but to look at my house you’d think I did nothing all day long…when that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Every so often I get super depressed about it and maybe cry a lot a little. 

Funny Cry for Help Ecard: Cleaning your house while your children are home is a lot like brushing your teeth with Oreos in your mouth.

And that, my friends, is when I wake up the next morning and start my “Done List.”

Most people work through their days with a “To-Do” list.  I make these often, and they keep me focused, and I am also completely not ashamed to admit that I will write things I’ve already done and then cross them off just to feel accomplished. 

The “Done List,” however, works in reverse.  When I make this list, I don’t start out with goals…I just write down everything I’ve done for the day…as I do it. 

When I do this, I see tangible evidence that I AM working hard, and I AM accomplishing tasks…even though it doesn’t seem like it.  Often I will give myself a little challenge, like “10 tasks before lunch.” 

I write down EVERYTHING.  This list isn’t anything to brag about, because other than right here and now, I’ve never showed my lists to anyone.  It’s merely for my mental state…to see that I DO work hard during the day, and that I am accomplishing things. 

Because things like laundry?  That move from baskets right to dresser drawers?  Or emptying out the dishwasher?  Those are vital, necessary tasks, but your house will still look *just* as messy when they are finished.  Doing them often feels pointless…like there’s nothing to show. 

So my “Done List” reminds me that I am doing worthwhile, productive things with my day. 

Here’s my list from yesterday….yes, it might seem a little silly to write things like “Showered” or even “Moved wash to dryer…” 


The Done List 005


But seriously?  Showering is not a right anymore…it’s a privilege! Lol! And laundry is like a 14-level chore when you have kids that have a crisis like every other second.  Every step deserves a medal. ;) This list is what I was able to accomplish yesterday before I put Luke on the bus at around 12:15.  After that I went to Target with Liv and then came home and got caught up with the dinnertime crazies. :)

Anyway, I hope this crazy little thing I do encourages someone else out there…just try it when you’re having a crazy week and see if it doesn’t perk you right up! :)


Be back on Friday with my No-Spend Month Week 1 Update! :)