31 Days Series Launch

Okay, so here we go.  I have decided to take The Nester’s challenge and choose one topic to blog about for 31 days.  There were a lot of topics that I bounced around in my head and in my heart.  But, there was one thing that stuck out, something that has been on my brain for a while now.  I know there are many other people that are thinking on this topic too.  I will tell you many times this month I’m sure that I am FAR from an expert on this subject.  But I have gleaned some knowledge over the past several years, that I wish someone would have told me in the beginning, so I am going to share with you what I know.  I will also be passing on information from people whom I respect, that know more than I do, and together we will learn more.  

My topic for the month:


If you miss a day or two you can always come back here.  I will keep an updated index on this page of all the posts in the series.

Day 1: Why WE Chose to Budget
Day 2:  Why Budget?
Day 3:  Where Does The Money Go?
Day 4: The Budget Meeting
Day 5:  Keys to Making it Work
Day 6:  God Provides
Day 7:  Emergency Spending
Day 8:  Cash, Cash, Cash
Day 9:  Record Keeping {Budget Binder}
Day 10:  The Envelope System {for the cash}
Day 11:  Bargain Hunting
Day 12:  My Experience With Coupons
Day 13:  God Is In Charge
Day 14:  Top 5 Budget Busters
Day 15:  Meal Planning Basics
Day 16:  Destroying Your Debt
Day 17:  Blow Money
Day 18:  The Benefit of Organization
Day 19:  Keeping Up With Who?
Day 20:  Giving Back to God
Day 21:  Kids and Money
Day 22:  Get The Kids On Board
Day 23:  How Do Kids Get Their Own Money {Commission vs. Allowance}
Day 24:  Teaching Kids About Budgeting and Saving
Day 25:  What Do Kids Need to Understand About Debt
Day 26:  What Kids Need to Know About Money Before College
Day 27:  I Hope To Be A Good Steward
Day 28:  Saving And Investing
Day 29:  Saving For a Rainy Day
Day 30:  Investing In Your Future
Day 31:  31 Days Recap

Thanks for joining me!!  Come back everyday for a new tidbit of something budget/money related.  Fun times ahead!!  

Just a bye-the-bye – I am kicking off this series on my 100th post 🙂

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How’d We Do? {No Spend September in Review}

No Spend September -how’d we do??  Well, I was feeling a little down about the whole thing, and I didn’t really want to write this post, cuz the truth is we did spend.  I felt like we had failed, but the balance in the bank was showing a pretty good front.  So, I thought – how can I determine how we really did??  I decided to look back through our bank statement, (and a couple of credit card statements) from August, and tally up what I would consider to be “extra” spending, and then do the same for September.  And here was the shocking, albeit, good news!!


I’m amazed at how we can so easily squander money out the window.  So much so that I don’t even notice. {I honestly cannot believe I’m sharing these numbers with you, but I know that you guys will not judge me in my excess.  :)}    
We had spent a little over $900 less in “extras” for September!! Wow.

I did hold to my “no-spend month” in my home projects this month.  I kinda shared my list of freebie projects to get done with you in my first post, and here it was it looks like now.  I didn’t get it all done, and a couple of things managed to get added to the bottom, but I feel really good about what I got done!!  


Aren’t lists great that way?  I know I am not the only one that puts things on the list just so you can cross them off.  You know those things that weren’t originally on the list, but you did them anyway.  Ya, I see your hands ;).

So, I would say that No-Spend September was overall a success in that it helped me to alter my mindset about spending and shopping in a way.  It caused me to think a little outside the box, to check my resources before running to the store, to stay away from the temptation of the store :), and mostly to evaluate purchases more by need than want.  Peeps, I love buying new things just as you do.  I love being able to text my hubby and say “I’m too tired to make dinner”, and him sweetly saying “I’m on it” without hesitation.  But, I also understand that there are times in all our lives when we must curb our habits and keep our money in our pockets.  

I’m thankful for the experience, and may very well try it again and see if I can do even better!! And, I have to admit I am super excited that the pressure to not spend is off!!  HA!!  {someone please keep me away from the stores!!}

As I said yesterday I have decided to participate in The Nester’s 31day blogging challenge.  In a nut shell, you choose one topic to blog about for an entire month – ultimately every day during that month – hence the 31 days.  This is definitely quite a challenge for me, but I am excited to take it on.  I’m not sure there is anything out there that I know enough about to write about it for 31 days, but I am going to go with it and hopefully I can provide some good information, great inspiration, and if nothing else a little bit of fun and grace in the process. Monday evening is the big reveal of the topic.  Check out The Nesting Place then for MANY other bloggers that will be linking up!!  


My hand is cramping, just thinking of all that typing!!  🙂

Blessings to you and thanks for reading along!!

Linking up with Wendy at The Shabby Nest / Jen at Tatertots & Jello / Aimee at It’s Overflowing
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The Liebster Award

A happy surprise came to me last week via Sarah at Church Street Designs.  The Liebster Award!! 


I was instantly excited because seriously, who doesn’t like awards?!?  I have seen this floating around the blog world just a little, but didn’t know much about it. Through doing a little searching I discovered that it is an award given by bloggers to bloggers to encourage one another, and to help us all get to know new people. Usually shared among new bloggers.  This made me even more excited, because who doesn’t like to give and receive encouragement, and who doesn’t like to get to know new people – one of my favorite things about blogging!!  

So, thank you Sarah!!  Part of the fun of accepting the award and passing it on are these questions.  The person nominating you creates 11 questions, and you do the same for those that you nominate.  Just another fun way to get to know one another.  

1. What is your favorite thing to blog about?
Whatever the Lord might bring to my heart to share 🙂 – everyday is different!
2. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Spain with my hubby
3. What is your favorite season, why?
I really like fall and spring, mostly because I don’t like it to be really hot and I don’t like it to be really cold
4. What blog inspired you to blog, or inspires you now as a blogger?
Thrifty Decor Chick was one of the first blogs I ever followed, and my real life friend Dimples and Tangles inspired me as well
5. The Beach or the Mountains?
Beach!!  No question 🙂
6. If all jobs paid the same, which job would you choose to do?
Being a mom is the best job there is!!
7. What is your favorite type of food?
Any kind that I don’t have to cook
8. What is one of your pet peeves?
People who don’t follow rules
9. Are you more of an early bird or night owl?
night owl – but I get cranky if I don’t get enough sleep
10. What are the two most important things to you?
My Lord Jesus and my family
11.  What is something you have never done, but would like to try?
Fly a plane.

I am now happy to pass on this award by nominating these five fun blogs.

A couple of these are real life friends, a couple I have been following for a short time, and one is a brand new find!  Please stop on over and check them out, and please feel free to follow along if you like what you see!!

And here are the rules for accepting the Liebster Award, for all the fabulous blogs I’ve chosen…
1} Write a blog post like this sharing the good news with everyone and link back to the person who nominated you.
2} In that post answer the questions given to you by your nominator.
3} Pick at least 5 bloggers, each with under 200 subscribers, to be nominated for the award.
4} Come up with at least 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5} Go their blogs and notify them of their nomination.
Here are my questions for my nominees:

1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  What blogger inspires you most?
3.  What would you consider your biggest life achievement to date?
4.  What’s your favorite color?
5.  Fall or Spring?
6.  Beach or mountains?
7.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
8.  Introvert or Extrovert?
9.  What is your favorite memory?
10.  What is your biggest pet peeve?

Blessings to you all and thanks again for the encouragement from Sarah!!  Please pass on the love by checking out some of these blogs, and maybe even follow along ;).  
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White Washed Brick {and a battle}

Something about me saying I was going to try to not spend extra money in the month of September must have made the devil mad, cuz he has been throwing all kinds of stuff my way. Ha!  My friend shared this scripture on instagram this morning and yes, this and so many other truths are what I have been leaning on through this mess.  

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2


You may have seen this picture from last week.

When my washer drain backed up all over the floor, and in the kitchen sink.  Well…
The very. next. day. my dryer stopped heating…
 
At this point I was over it.  Not panicked in the least – me and my Lord don’t crumble that easily, but I needed something to distract my attention from the piles of laundry.  So, I dove into a project that has been swimming around in my head for a while.
 

I have never been a fan of painted brick.  I don’t know why, it’s just not my thing. With that said, I do not like the color of the brick on our house.  It has that same orange glow that everything in the house has.  It’s fine outside – I mean I can live with it, we painted the trim in such a way that it seems to tone it down.  But, inside – ick.  I knew I would never paint it, but then over the past year I have seen several white-washed looks floating around.  I was intrigued.  I liked that, depending on how much paint you used, you could still see the brick look.  So, in light of my current circumstances, I decided why not – what else could go wrong- right (never say that by the way ;)).  

I went to the garage and found some leftover white paint I had (the same paint I used in my laundry room), a container, a brush, and a rag.  I decided to try a really small amount of paint at first, knowing I could always make it darker, but never lighter.  So I used a ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts water.  Not enough paint. So I ended up with a 50/50 ratio, and that got me the look that I was after.  I have seen white washes that are really close to just painting, but I really just wanted a cloudy top coat to tone down the color of the brick.  Here are some pictures to see how it went.  

living room fireplace
 
Here’s a before just so you know what we were starting with – orange brick.
white wash
Nope that’s not milk 😉
white washing tools
The tools – a cheap brush, and an old clean rag.  I did dust off the brick before I started, and brushed out the corners, but nothing else needed to prepare the surface.
white washing brick
Just brush the watered down paint on, let it soak in for a little bit (maybe a minute or two), and then wipe it down removing the excess paint.  The longer you let it sit, the more will soak in and the harder you wipe, the more paint you will remove.
white washed brick before and after
Just know – it’s a messy project!!
white washed brick before and after

Here’s a side-by-side before and after.  Just a subtle change, but really exactly what I wanted.  No more orange glow and it seems to make the corner feel a little big bigger.  

white washed brick fireplace surround
I’m really happy with the end product.  The hardest thing about this process was not letting my perfectionist self try to over work it.  Reminding myself frequently that the beauty of it lies in the imperfections.  🙂
Good news!!  As I was writing this post, my handy hubby finished fixing my dryer!!  Now, I have to face the mountain of laundry awaiting me – can’t hide my head in the sand forever…or can I?  🙂
 
Blessings to you and yours!!

Curious to see how this room looks now? Check out this post

painted brick fireplace surround

and this post!

 DIY floating mantel
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Remembering

I know there is an overall awareness of the date as we all begin our day.  Being an Oklahoman makes me hurt a little bit closer today.  I was living in Oklahoma City the day that the Murrah Federal Building was bombed – April 19th.  And the thing is – you can’t forget.  It doesn’t take effort to remember what happened on a tragic days like these – because you saw it, heard it, witnessed it.  When you hear the date your mind automatically goes to that place.  For me it’s the visual images I saw as I watched it all play out on the television.

It’s days like this that make me even more thankful for God’s grace and mercy.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  Romans 8:18


When I was in NYC this summer I was able to visit the memorial and a restaurant that was right across the street from the towers.  Life is about story.  We all have a story, and we should share it so others will know.  The places, these pictures, tell a story.

This sweet, precious man was working in his restaurant on that day and shared with us how the whole back of the restaurant (all windows) was blown out.

There are pictures hanging all over the walls, from families of victims – people who would eat in his place everyday.

The memorial is a sight to be seen.  The new towers are glorious.

We did not go into the museum, but I got this shot through the window of the piece of steel they found that looks like a cross.

One special thing was their survivor tree.  We have a survivor tree in our memorial in Oklahoma City.  Hearing the story seemed to join the two cities together, and made NYC feel closer to home.

But in all these things we overwhelming conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:37-39

Prayers for all those who were directly affected by this tragedy in New York City, as well as DC and Pennsylvania.  And may we all never forget that through it all our God is good.



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