living life, choosing joy

Goal Update {July Edition}

Goals PhotoI have been remiss in my goal updates for the past few months, and I am officially blaming the heat and the pregnancy! But I figured it’s about time to get back to it and at least update on my {little} progress this past month {or three}. So here goes…

My word for the year: YES

I chose this as my word because I really want to be more open to: change, trying new things, and to what God has in store for my life as I transition from student/employee in to staying home with the Benjamin full-time. So, when I want to say NO, but I don’t really know why (Comfort? Laziness? Close-minded-ness??) then I’m going to try and say YES instead…and see what happens. I’m kinda scared…but kinda excited too…to dare that I could be something or someone else, and NOT always be who I am right now…

{July Update: No real update here…I have let myself get wrapped up in little things and self-imposed drama and stress these past few months and have been neglecting saying “yes” to anything. I can make excuses, but it’s just me being “me”-centered, instead of allowing God to do a work in me and change that tendency of self….Wow, hopefully I will have a better update for August!}.

The rest of my goals…

Spiritual

1. Make Reading the Bible a priority EVERYDAY { My plan for succeeding has helped me a lot…but I got put of the habit in July, so I’m not doing too great right now…}

2. Prayerfully find a cause that breaks my heart {Ongoing…}

Family/Marriage

1. Take a Sabbath once a week {After writing out my plan to observe a Sabbath, I did very well at this one…at first. The first two Sundays in May were very successful while the last two Sunday’s were rather almost observed (we went to the store both weeks). Then…I completely fell off the wagon (so to speak) and stopped observing a Sabbath all together for the past two months. <sigh>. It’s hard to do it, but so worth it for the rest…and one I have been missing these past few weeks months.}

2. Plan Monthly Date Nights Out with Nathan {We went out once in July}

3. Be more intentional about mothering {After the morning sickness/nausea/near-death finally passed (yay!), I have been much more excited to play and read with Benjamin and keep up with him a little better. He has been enjoying our story times together, which is nice for both of us}.

Personal

1. Complete 1 Project per month (from my list, found here) {Worked on more homemade cleaners, including hand soap and glass cleaner; the dining room is mid “re-decoration” (hope to share some pictures soon!); and…that’s about as far as I’ve gotten :)}

2. Start & Maintain a Blog {still doing it!}

3. Generate Additional Monthly Income {I have been working at church the past few months, and definitely in July, helping with VBS and a few other special projects, so it was a good month for my additional income contribution!}

Financial

1. Pay off our current car payment {DONE!!!!}

2. Purchase a 2nd Car with cash {DONE!!!! FINALLY!!! I am so excited about this one!!!!}

3. Pay off Nathan’s student Loan {ongoing}

Educational

1. Learn How to Can {ongoing…I did can some Applesauce a few months ago…but I was still pretty confused about what I was doing…}.

2. Read 24 Books (see list here) that will improve my life {Completed 3 books from my list!}

How have you been doing on your goals for this year??

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CVS Trip: $72 worth of product for $7. 41 OOP!

So I had another fantastic CVS shopping trip this week. I have a had a few in the past couple months and just haven’t bothered to share. But I was really excited about this one! $7.41 out of pocket + $5 in Extra Care Bucks back for buying diapers! What’s not to celebrate?

CVS 7.7.13

Here’s what I got:

Transaction #1

2 Cover Girl Eyeshadows

2 Dawn Dish Soap

2 Crest Mouthwash

2 Pantene (1 Shampoo & 1 Conditioner)

1 Oral B Toothbrush

1 Crest Toothpaste

Total after coupons and extra bucks (from 2 weeks ago): $6.43 OOP, got $10 ECB’s

Transaction #2

1 Huggies Swaddlers, Size 1 (for my little one on the way :))  – I’m really excited about this deal since the diapers came out to only $0.024 each!!!

1 Huggies Little Swimmers (for my current little swimmer)

Total after coupons and extra bucks (from transaction #1): $1.98, got $5 ECB’s

So really, after ECB’s, it was like spending $2.41 for all of that! WOOHOO!!!

Have you gotten any great deals lately??

 

I’m Back! + Clutter-Busting Challenge {Day 20}

I’m participating in the Clutter-Busting Challenge  over at Money Saving Mom. The challenge: Donate, Trash or otherwise get rid if 7 things in your home each week day in May. Wanna join in? Check out the challenge on the Money Saving Mom site, or post a comment below with what you got rid of today!

Well, I’ve been bad this month – not participating in the challenge like I wanted to…

BUT, I think I have a really good excuse!

We are pregnant!! YAY!!!!! We are all very excited 🙂

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This is how we “announced” it to our families on Mother’s Day {my sister took the photos of Benjamin — and made sure to sneak in one of them too!}

I have been having mostly bad days of nausea, etc., and just haven’t felt up for clutter-busting or blogging. But I have really missed it! I’m still not feeling great, but I’ve been better at managing it for the past few days.

So here is what I got rid of today:

IMG_13682 shirts that Benjamin has outgrown

2 bottles of lotion

1 tube chapstick

1 necklace

1 pile of papers to shred

Benjamin was being so cute today. He brought me his shoes which usually means he wants to go out. So I helped him put them on {even though he wasn’t dressed} and let him run around the house. I just couldn’t resist snapping a picture!

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Oh, to be a baby again!

What did you get rid of today?

Clutter-Busting Challenge {Day 4}

I’m participating in the Clutter-Busting Challenge  over at Money Saving Mom. The challenge: Donate, Trash or otherwise get rid if 7 things in your home each week day in May. Wanna join in? Check out the challenge on the Money Saving Mom site, or post a comment below with what you got rid of today!

I took the opportunity to weed out Benjamin’s clothes this morning, and here’s what we will be getting rid of:

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11 items of outgrown clothing – only 3 of which will be put away for a future child. The rest will be taken to the Mom’s group I attend at my church. We have a “Take It or Leave It” Table (started by yours truly) where moms can bring in any baby or kid stuff they don’t want anymore (Leave It), and take something else that they can use or need (Take It). So far it has been successful, with lots of coupons, toddler shoes, baby food, and formula being “exchanged”. The clothes seem to be moving slowly, so if they aren’t moving in a few weeks I think I will find a new home for them.

What are you getting rid of today?

Clutter-Busting Challenge {Day 3}

I’m participating in the Clutter-Busting Challenge  over at Money Saving Mom. The challenge: Donate, Trash or otherwise get rid if 7 things in your home each week day in May. Wanna join in? Check out the challenge on the Money Saving Mom site, or post a comment below with what you got rid of today!

I got a rare opportunity today to get some stuff done today. My sweet angel of a child took a THREE HOUR NAP!!! Hallelujah! I took the opportunity to get A LOT done around the house and clean through a box of papers.

Here’s what I am getting rid of today:

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1 stack of papers to shred

4 sets of earrings (actually 3 1/2, but I’m counting them as 4)

1 earring card

1 empty rubber stamp package

Not as impressive as yesterday, but I’m happy to have found at least 7 things to purge.

And after I was done, here’s what else I found…

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my sweet little guy waiting patiently in his crib after taking a 3 hour snooze 🙂

Did you purge anything today?

{working on} another goal

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Creating a plan to achieve my goal of daily Bible reading was immensely helpful last month. So I decided to outline a similar plan for another goal that I have been struggling with:  Taking a Sabbath.

Why do I want to take a Sabbath?

I want to take a Sabbath because I want a time to have quite and calm and REST! I want to enjoy my family and not always be on the go. And I want to be stable and healthy both physically and mentally, both of which are achieved by getting proper rest. I tend to run myself hard for a few weeks and then inevitably have a breakdown from improper rest. And does it really matter if I do 100 things this week if I’m too tired to enjoy them? I don’t think so. My husband frequently reminds me that life is about quality, not quantity of years.

Sabbath, defined.

For me, a Sabbath is one day where I don’t have any “have-to’s”, only “get-to’s”. I get to go to church, spend time with family, enjoy nature, take a nap, see friends, read, and generally enjoy restful activities.

I want this. I think about enjoying a Sabbath during the week and actually look forward to it. But then I get to Sunday…and I don’t allow myself to actually observe my Sabbath. {Note: a Sabbath doesn’t have to be Sunday, but it is the day that works best for me and our family schedule so that is why I chose it}.

Right now, I think I struggle with actually taking and enjoying a Sabbath for 3 reasons.

1. I feel obligated to shop the sales.

This one is crazy, I know. But Sunday’s are when the new ads for Target and the drugstores come out, and since I’m always looking for a great deal, I really want to jump on them. The best time to go is Sunday morning (usually before church if I can manage it).  But wait — I’m waking up EARLY on my only Sabbath of the week…to go score an awesome tampon deal that I probably don’t even really need?? Hmm…

2. I let technology control what I do.

I turn on the computer for “just a minute to check something” and end up spending time floating around the blogs and before I know it, 2 hours is gone. I do collect a lot of sales and organize my deals, but do I really need to do this today?

3. I inevitably have to do all those things I “forgot” to do on Saturday.

“Oh shoot!  I need to bake cookies for Monday!”,  “Great, I forgot to finish my Bible study homework for tomorrow”,  “Wait, did we have anything planned for dinner tonight?” Usually right around 6pm on Sunday night I have one (or more) of these thoughts. Can anyone else relate??

And these are all things that end up robbing me of my Sabbath.

So here’s my plan for the month of May

1. No deal shopping on Sunday.

{This one is going to hurt!}. I will wait until I have the car on Thursday and take care of any shopping and deal hunting then. If I miss the deal, oh well. There WILL be another deal again — I have seen it happen!

2. I will disconnect from technology on Sunday.

That means no online browsing, no printing coupons, and it means keeping my laptop put away for 24 hours. It also means not using my iPhone for online purposes – phone calls only (gasp!).

3. I will make a list on Friday of everything that needs to be done for Sunday (or Monday morning).

Do I need to do laundry for the weekend? Plan or prep dinner for Sunday? Anything due or needed on Monday? Do we need anything at the store? Am I going anywhere Monday morning – what do I need to have ready? Then I will tackle this list by Saturday evening so I can enjoy my Sabbath on Sunday.

To some, it may seem like a restrictive list (and to be honest – it kind of seems that way to me too!), but I am willing to try it and see if it sticks. I may end up tweaking it a bit later on, but I think I can try it for a month and see how things go. I just tell myself “I’m not saying forever, I’m just saying for-now”.

And so begins the great experiment!

Do you take a weekly Sabbath? {Or do you need to take one?}. What does a Sabbath look like to you??

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Clutter-Busting Challenge {Day 2}

I’m participating in the Clutter-Busting Challenge  over at Money Saving Mom. The challenge: Donate, Trash or otherwise get rid if 7 things in your home each week day in May. Wanna join in? Check out the challenge on the Money Saving Mom site, or post a comment below with what you got rid of today!

 

I’m a day late getting in on the game, but I decided better late than never :).

I didn’t think I had much to get rid of…I really thought that even SEVEN items would be a challenge. Little did I know, EIGHTY items were lurking in my home!!

Here’s what I’m getting rid of today:

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I am counting the cardboard boxes because they have been lurking for a while. I also purged magazines and a bunch of buttons (of the pin variety), some old makeup and a few toys, etc. Far to much to detail in a list here…you would be very bored reading it if I did!

I thought seriously about saving some to purge tomorrow, but is that cheating?? I wasn’t sure so I decided to count it all for today and try for 7 again tomorrow :).

And here is what Benjamin was doing while I was busy clutter-busting:

photo(12)A true boy, playing a game on the kindle. 🙂

Did you purge anything today?

Goal Update {April Edition}

Goals PhotoSo here’s my goal update for April. I feel good about some parts…not so good about others. I think I will need to start posting my weekly goals on here to help me stay accountable. Because I really DO want to accomplish all of my goals this year. I really did thoughtfully construct these goals in order to make them reasonable and attainable this year. So…here’s how I did in April…(and I;m planning for May to be even better!).

My word for the year: YES

I chose this as my word because I really want to be more open to: change, trying new things, and to what God has in store for my life as I transition from student/employee in to staying home with the Benjamin full-time. So, when I want to say NO, but I don’t really know why (Comfort? Laziness? Close-minded-ness??) then I’m going to try and say YES instead…and see what happens. I’m kinda scared…but kinda excited too…to dare that I could be something or someone else, and NOT always be who I am right now…

{April Update: (I’m really excited about this one!) I said “YES” to…letting go and letting God. I had really been struggling with a particular relationship in my life…lots of hurtful words and anger. But anger is useless and was really only hurting me. I finally gave it up to God and said “Enough!” I asked Him to heal me from this cancerous anger in my body. I said “YES” to accepting His healing of my heart and mind. And you know what happened?? He freed me of it :). And I feel so good! Like a HUGE weight has been lifted off of me. God is so faithful when we just say “YES” to Him. He has so much to give us if we just let Him. 🙂}

The rest of my goals…

Spiritual

1. Make Reading the Bible a priority EVERYDAY {I am doing GREAT at this!! After writing about my plan for succeeding in this area, I have been faithful to read my Bible (almost) every night before bed. I wasn’t able to read every night, but when I missed one, I gave myself grace and just picked it back up the next night. So far its been one chapter each night, and I have really been enjoying my (slow but steady) progress through the New Testament!}

2. Prayerfully find a cause that breaks my heart {Ongoing…}

Family/Marriage

1. Take a Sabbath once a week {Still working through this one…what does a Sabbath look like? Hmm. Perhaps this will be my next goal to tackle with a plan… }

2. Plan Monthly Date Nights Out with Nathan {Missed going out this month 😦 }

3. Be more intentional about mothering {Definitely been spending more time playing with Benjamin, getting down on the floor and being silly with toys and games. Trying to let him be himself and NOT trying to control everything that happens. It’s been fun watching him change and grow. I think talking is right around the corner!}

Personal

1. Complete 1 Project per month (from my list, found here) {I worked on the Garage quite a bit this month and was able to get rid of A LOT…but that’s really the only update so far…}

2. Start & Maintain a Blog {still doing it!}

3. Generate Additional Monthly Income {Still earning some money through Ibotta, worked a few hours from home for church, and worked at a Prom doing clerical for a  photography company that I know. So not too shabby this month!}

Financial

1. Pay off our current car payment {looks like this is going to be MAY!!! But I will keep you posted :)}

2. Purchase a 2nd Car with cash {…June is the word, but…we’ll see ;)}

3. Pay off Nathan’s student Loan {ongoing}

Educational

1. Learn How to Can {I have the pressure canner and the tutorials. Now I just need the jars and some produce! This is another thing that I *think* (read: want) will happen this month}.

2. Read 24 Books (see list here) that will improve my life {No excuses here…No real good reasons either… I didn’t really read much of anything this month…sad :(}

How have you been doing on your goals for this year??

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Day 30: the FINAL challenge!

msm cleaning

Challenge #30 (the LAST challenge!): Clean all the electronics (computer, TV, iPad, iPod, smartphones, etc.). 

It’s the last day of the challenge, and I can’t say as I was super excited about this task. Not that I don’t think that its something that needs doing, but it just sounded BORING!

But I decided to focus on my laptop anyway and knock out the task quickly. The screen and in between the keys was in need of a cleaning.

Here’s what it looked like in between the keys BEFORE:

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Pretty dusty and yucky.

I would have loved to use some Dust-Off or something, but I didn’t have any. My husband suggested trying q-tips and rubbing alcohol.

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I got each swab moistened in the rubbing alcohol and ran them in between each key.

The computer was off when I started, but then I must have pushed the right combination of buttons (not the power button) and some different screen came up. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I pushed another button and it changed it to a different language!

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I turned off the computer and finished up my cleaning with the q-tips and then wiped everything down with a rag and cleaned the screen too.

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These are the very gross looking q-tips when I was finished – yuck!

And here’s a close up of the keys AFTER:

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Not 100% dust-free/factory new, but still, quite an improvement. And anyway, I’m not really sure how else I could have cleaned between the keys.

In other news…

I stopped at Big Lots today (a new one just opened up nearby) and I found a great deal on some snacks for Benjamin.

IMG_11602 Earth’s Best Organic Happy Snax for $1.00 each! I consider that a deal, so I snapped up two of them.

And he was quite a fan :).

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How did you do on the last task?? Any tips on how to clean your keyboard??

in to the craft cupboard

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Challenge #29: Clean one thing (such as a dresser drawer, microwave, oven, etc).

Today I chose to clean out my craft cupboard. You have already seen the craft suitcases, but there is more (oh so much more!) craft stuff. It’s not really that the cupboard is so large or so badly disorganized. It’s actually the opposite problem. It’s quite small and it doesn’t take much to get it looking bad!

The cupboard does double duty as the changing table in Benjamin’s room.

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In case you are wondering, that’s a monkey pillow pet for him to rest his head. He seems to do much better when it’s there. (Thanks Aunt Lynn!!).

I have the doors secured, but so far he hasn’t seemed interested in getting in to the drawers.

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Inside the cupboard: BEFORE

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Inside the top left drawer: BEFORE

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Inside the top right drawer: BEFORE

The drawers’ “unofficial” main function is basically to hold anything that I’m too lazy to put away in to the proper bin, or something that likely has no home. As such, they are generally a mess.

I didn’t clean through every bin in the cupboard. They are pretty well labeled and organized inside. Instead I tried to stay focused on putting away stray items and cutting out some stuff that either can go back to the suitcases (larger paper scraps and cutouts) or to the bin in the garage (contact paper, old books to be used for a yet-to-be-determined project, and a few empty (but useful) boxes). And I did throw out/put in the donate box a handful of things that I have not used or needed to use in a long time.

So here’s the after (about 30 minutes of sorting):

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AFTER: Labeled bins, photo albums and paper – that’s it!

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AFTER: Top left drawer. I think I might make this my “project in-process” drawer

I put the paper cutter in the drawer because I use it often and wanted to make it easier to grab.  The two packages of felt are (supposed) to be used for busy bags, and the heart picture frame will eventually have a photo (or similar) in it and be hung on the wall in Benjamin’s room because it color-coordinated well.

And those things in the back left….

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A small collection of “lids” from baby wipe packages. I have been saving (some) of them with the intention of doing something. I think maybe a busy bag? All I know is that they are good for something because Benjamin LOVES to open and close them. But for now, they stay in the drawer.

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AFTER: Top Right Drawer – just a glue gun, extra glue stick and a large package of popsicle/craft sticks from Dollar Tree

I am happy with the fruit of my labor. Now the real test will be to see how long I can keep it that way…

In other news, Benjamin got some “new” hand-me-down blocks from a very kind friend, and he LOVES them! If he isn’t dumping and throwing them, he is dragging around the wagon full of them.

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Doesn’t he look happy?? 😉

What did you clean out today? Any ideas on what to use baby wipe lids for??