Monday, February 28, 2011

February in Review

Fantastic February!

Now that February is all but gone I thought I'd take a little time to review my progress thus far.  It's only been a month since I've been blogging so here's a quick snapshot (not in any particular order):

1.  Started a blog, faced fear of the unknown, risked vulnerability, learned how to upload photos, how to add a link, how to leave comments on other blogs, and all kinds of other techie stuff that I've been wanting to learn. Woo Hoo!

2.  Stayed on budget- was able to tweak and cut back as necessary since a few unexpected expenses came up.  Did not live beyond my means.  However was not able to save, but I'm hoping to be able to soon.

2.  Remade our existing patio furniture for $35 and a lot of elbow grease

3.  Spray painted the numbers on our house, several planters, a mirror, a picture frame and made a cute little framed chalkboard.

4. Reorganized my pantry, complete with cute little chalkboard labels I made.

5. Recovered our dining room chairs and made slipcovers for the backs.  All  for next to nothing since I had the fabric that I had gotten at a steal at a store that was closing.

6. Kept up my fitness routine of walking 30 minutes a day, eating well and taking my vitamins.

7. Took care of my family: fed them well, cheered them on, loved them lots, spent time with them.

8.  Worked my "regular job" which provides a much needed paycheck.  Gave it my all, did my best, enough said.

9.  Paid attention to things that I'm doing well in addition to areas in which I need to improve.  Tried not to be so hard on myself nor push my self too hard.

10.  Remained open to any promptings of the Holy Spirit and carried a conscious spirit of gratitude regarding my blessings.

In summary I'd like to say that's quite a lot of progress!  Talk about moving forward! No wonder I've been feeling wiped out.  Perhaps I should slow down a bit.  Maybe I'll add that to my next list (I do better at getting things done if I put them on a list- I know what your thinking- seems I like to make a job out of everything I do.  I really need to try to tame my inner overachiever self.)

How about you?  How was your month?  Did you move forward?

With loving thoughts and warm wishes,

Elizabeth at Home

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dancing Feet

I like to dance.  But sometimes I don't feel like dancing.

With the dog barking, children squabbling, dishes to wash, bills to pay and budgets to balance I sometimes get lost in the noise and busyness of life.  I find myself caught up in things, with no room to breathe, let alone dance.

When this happens I close my eyes.  I do my best to quiet my mind and still my soul.   I go to a place where the dancing never stops.  I go to a place where I can breathe.  I go home.

And after a while I can start to hear the music playing.

With a smile on my face I'm dancing and twirling like never before.  I'm so light on my feet I haven't a care in the world.

My dance partner leads me.  He knows all the steps.  With strong hands he pulls me close and guides me.

Sometimes the music plays slow and the steps are easy and familiar.  I follow right along.

Other times the tempo is fast, the steps become more complicated and I do my best to just keep up.

The music plays on.

When I grow weak, my tireless partner lifts me up and He carries me.  And we continue to dance.

Every once in a while I fumble and misstep, and occasionally even step on His toes.
But He doesn't seem to mind.  It's then I'm thankful that He's such a forgiving dance partner.

I open my eyes and I realize I've been dancing all along.

Listen for the music and enjoy the dance,


Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park

The other day I took a walk in the park.  An ordinary everyday walk.

It was a chilly afternoon and the wind started to pick up.  I pulled my coat tight around me and then something special happened.  I met God.  Only I didn't know it was him at first.  (No I haven't gone off the deep end- give me a break and just go with me here okay).

He ran out to greet me, smile on his face.  Only He wasn't a he, He was a she.  She was about seven and had stringy brown hair and big dark eyes.  She approached me and immediately struck up a lively conversation.  She told me how she thought that particular park was boring and explained how she had to be there that day because she lives in her motorhome and they have to move it everyday.  I looked down at her and noticed her barefeet.  Her eyes then lit up as she looked at me and shared how soon she'd be moving into a real apartment with her family.  Then she waved at me and glanced back over her shoulder as she ran off towards her motorhome with her sisters.  Laughing.

Back at home, my house was warm, a fire blazed in the hearth.  My family and I sat down at the table and had pot roast with potatoes and carrots and big hunks of warm bread slathered with butter.

And we shared and talked.  And we loved.

Later when it was time for bed, after bedtime prayers and goodnight kisses, I curled up my underneath my nice warm blankets.  And in the quiet of the night I closed my eyes and remembered Him.

You see- sometimes when you meet God you don't know it's him at first.  But when He makes himself known to you, His presence lingers and He drifts back to you in your thoughts, and your eyes are opened.  And you remember.

Because He's unforgettable.

Keep your eyes open and keep moving forward.

With loving thoughts,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Budget Part 2 -Down the Drain

Is this what you feel like is happening with your money?

I know it's been the case for me more times than I care to admit.  So I'm trying my best to not let this happen anymore.  I've been following a budget designed to eliminate consumer debt and assist me with saving an emergency fund along with funding other savings accounts.

In a previous post I outlined a couple of super simple starting points for taking control of your money:

1. List your expenses

2. Track your spending.

Now as promised I'll cover a couple more points:

3.  List your Net Income  (Take Home Pay)- Be sure to include all sources of income.

4.  Subtract your monthly expenses from your Income.

Do you have enough? If Yes then Yeah for you! (I'd pat you on the back if I could, but I can't so let's just pretend I did.)  If you don't have enough then you need to look at where you can cut or you need to generate more income.  I'll be sure to share more about this in future posts.  If you have extra then you pay more on any debts you have and you can begin savings.  Your right on track.  If you don't have extra and "just make it" then be sure to stay tuned for future posts on cutting back, because you know you need to get rid of that debt and should start saving.

5.  Make some decisions on where/how to cut back.  (I'll give you tips on what I do in a future post.)

6.  Begin to create a year-long monthly budget.  This will help you plan for things that come up throughout the year that we tend to forget about till they're due then we suffer through those months.  For example budget in the months when your car registration is due, budget in for the months when you have birthdays for those in your household (kids & spouse), when your kids have school or sports registration fees, back to school expenditures, Christmas, Mortgage Insurance etc.  That way you won't be hit by surprise with a super tight month. (Nobody likes those kinds of surprises.)
Now I know all this is super basic and simple.  It really is.  The hard part is getting motivated to do it and then remaining committed.  It's gonna take changes and sacrifices.  That's really hard, especially in the beginning.

Your going to have to say "No" sometimes, to yourself, your kids and your spouse.  We don't like saying "No".  Cuz yes is so much funner.  Yes, yes it is.  We like "Yes".  We no like "No".  But the hardest part is in the beginning.  It does get easier and once your on track you'll be able to come up with lifestyle changes that you can live with long term.  That's the ultimate goal.

I'm up for it.  Are you?

Let's keep moving forward.

Warm Wishes,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

I hate to admit it but it's true, sometimes I suffer from tunnel vision.  When I get started on something like a project that I'm all fired up about there's practically nothing that can tear me away from it. 

Having tunnel vision can sometimes get in the way if I've got other things tend to (like a family and a home).  But having tunnel vision has certainly served me well in my life time.  I'm goal oriented, results minded, and a hard worker.  So yes I like to think that my tunnel vision has had a purpose.  

I know these qualities have definitely made me into a great student, an excellent employee and most importantly the best home manager I can be.  

But over the past few rainy day days- being cooped up in the garage, working on my projects like some bleary eyed like a maniac, has got me rethinking my innate tendency to be driven.

Being ultra focused on the end result can make us unconscious of the "process."  It can make us sloppy, especially if we work ourselves to the point of exhaustion.  And it can lead us to ignore other responsibilities and relationships.

I have a problem with leaving things undone.  Yes I do.  I want them finished so I can move on to the next thing, and the next and the next (you get the picture).  Not so good.

Thinking about this got me wondering about me and how I'm still "undone"- How I'm a work in progress.  Hmmmm.... Seems like God takes his time with important jobs.   I could learn a few things from him.

Maybe I'll start taking my time a bit more and really enjoy how this whole thing unfolds.  Oh I'm still gonna be working on my projects, but perhaps I'll approach them a little differently.  Taking my time on the larger projects, breaking them down into smaller chunks of time, sprinkling in few smaller projects here and there and keeping up with all the other demands all without wearing myself out.

So I'll be making little mental shift.  That's progress for you.

Keep moving forward,


Monday, February 21, 2011


Eyes.  My eyes have been tired over the past couple of days.  Most likely from a bit of overuse, the reading. blogging and sewing have taken it's toll.  I'll even be starting a new project soon and tell you all about it later.  Anyhow, my eyes being so tired got me thinking. (I know I'm funny that way- it doesn't take much to get these old wheels a turning.)

Our eyes our so important.  They help us see even the tiniest of things.  We use them to take in our world.

My husband has the most beautiful eyes.  He really does.  They're striking and are framed with long beautiful lashes.  Most people recognize him because of his eyes.  They're unforgettable.  (No ladies you can't have his cell number.  Don't ask, just forget about it.  He's taken.)

Anyhow, his eyes were one of the first things I fell in love with.  Funny thing is he's told me on more than one occasion how as a kid he was teased and made fun of because of his eyes.  It wasn't until he was an adult that he realized his eyes had become magnetic, something that made women fall out of their seats.  And eventually became the very thing that drew me in.

See- sometimes we fail to see the big picture.  When we're in the midst of our suffering we don't understand it.  We don't know what lies up ahead.  We don't know how the thing that we think is so bad is truly a blessing.

Love, warm wishes and
always keep moving forward,


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dining Re-do Reveal

The chairs are finished!

This is the old fabric.  

It doesn't look so bad in this photo, but trust me it's been scratched to death, and was full of fuzz balls and had threads sticking up all over the place.

So after I removed the fabric I laid down the seats and went to work.  Safety goggles included, just in case the staple gun went crazy- wouldn't want to "shoot my eye out."

This is the finished seat cover.

Here's photos of me starting the second project (slipcovers).

This is how I laid the chair down to trace the back to make a pattern for the back slipcovers.

Then I cut out the fabric.

And here's how the whole thing turned out.

I'm pretty happy with it.  I only used about three yards for recovering the 6 seats.  So I had a ton of fabric left over.  Well, remember how I told you that I went ahead and bought about 10 yards of fabric cuz it was discounted to $3.00 per yard and that I had an idea swirling around in my head for what to do with the remaining fabric?  I decided to attempt to make slip covers for the back of the chairs.  I was more than a bit hesitant at first because that would mean I'd have to take out my sewing machine, which hasn't seen the light of day for about eight years.

I am not a seamstress, but I do possess some basic sewing skills.  I pretty much taught myself to sew years ago when my girls were little.  I stuck to simple things, like curtains, pillows and eventually I branched out into making simple clothing, like pull on skirts and shorts for the girls.  Needless to say that they weren't perfect, but since the girls were little they didn't seem to care.  I even tried my hand on a few quilts.  After it became too frustrating and time consuming to further my sewing skills on my own and I didn't have time for classes, I put my sewing machines (yes I have two, one is a traditional one and one is a serger) in the bottom of the closet, where they've stayed until now.

Well for those of you that know how to sew and even those who are like me and just have some basic skills you know that it ain't "Sew" easy.  it can be really frustrating, especially if you don't have someone there that you can go to when you have questions.

So after I made the decision to go for it and make the slip covers, I dove right in.

Not so smart.  I didn't plan ahead, I didn't do the necessary prep work such as making sure I had all the things I'd need all together and handy.

For example:
1. You need to have the Ironing board and iron plugged in and set up close by.
2. Get out your scissors, big and small, the more pairs of scissors the better cuz them little buggers like to hide (I think they are related to the Christmas tape and my reading glasses)
3.  Have your glasses (more than one pair is good- they hide they really do)
4.  Fill a couple of bobbins with thread before you start so you don't have to stop mid project
5.  All fabric washed, dried and ironed
6.  Seam Ripper- You need this, yes you do- for ripping out all those mistakes- I know it sucks

So all this stuff needs to be set up before you can even start.  So people who are used to instant gratification will find this tough.  And people who like me can't wait to start a project won't do any of the above and spend nearly all day running around looking for this junk.  Yes, that's what I did.

Anyhow I lived through it (barely) and I was able to sew those babies up!

I didn't have a pattern so I laid the backs of the chairs down on some butcher paper and traced them in order to make the pattern.  Then I cut out all the fabric and sewed my heart out.

Was it peaceful?  No, not with me looking for my glasses, my sissors, the iron etc and not with a screeching bird (yes we've got a parrot) and remember how it is raining here this weekend- well we're dog sitting so I had a total of four wet dogs in the garage with me (where my sewing station is set up)  The wet dog smell was so strong I nearly passed out.  But I didn't.

So was it worth it?  I'd say so.  I have a new look for my dining room that only cost me $30 dollars in farbic (I still have a lot left over too) and nearly cost me my sanity.  Not bad I say!

I'd do it again- but I'd prepar a bit more first.  I guess that's the lesson I  learned from this project and I think it's a good one.

Here' the annoying bird.

I also learned that I should put all pets outdoors when doing projects or I'll want to pull my hair out!

Keep moving forward,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do Not Pass

Do Not Pass

We don't like signs like this.

When we see signs like this one of the first things we say to ourselves is "Hey, I want to pass!  I should be allowed to pass!" or "That's not fair, they shouldn't be alowed to go ahead of me!"

We want to get ahead.  We don't want to be left behind.  We don't want others to pass us up.  And we don't like having any limitations put on us.  No we don't.

We may not like signs like these, but they serve a purpose.  They are there for our safety.  If we ignore them we can get hurt and we can get into trouble.

We encounter these signs all over the place.  They're not always in black and white but they are there just the same.  On the sides of the road, on the highway, even in the workplace and in our personal lives.  We get passed over for promotions, our friends buy bigger houses than us and drive better cars.  We get passed up and we don't like it.  No Sir.

We don't like these signs.

We want what we want.  However we can't always have our way and that's the Truth.  Sometimes it's the One who has power over all things putting this sign up in front of us.  Deep down we know this but we don't like it one bit.

We can get so caught up in being bothered by others passing us up that we fail to see the other sign that He is holding out to us.

The one that says:   


So in the end you may have to just let them pass, because maybe you're going another Way.

It's best to look around for the other sign.  Trust Him.  It's there you just have to look for it.

Today I'll be working on putting the finishing touches on my dining redo and then starting on another indoor project.  Tell you all about it later and show you pics too!

Keep moving forward,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dining Re-do


Bring on the rain.

Rain can be a bummer sometimes, but on the other hand rain can bring opportunities....

It's supposed to rain all weekend.  That means for the most part I'll be indoors working on a project I've been trying to get to.

Since I'm not wanting to spend money, this will be a no-cost redo.

My dining room set is an old hand me down.  When I aquired it about 12 years ago one of the first things I did was to recover the seats.  This is so easy to do.  Just turn the chair over, unscrew the seat, take the seat off and place it face down over your fabric (pre-cut it to size first) and pull it tight as you staple it on.  Put the screws back in and Wa-La! Done.

Anyhow, needless to say the seats are tired and worn now.  Largely in part due to a little kitty cat who used to like to dig her claws into those seats.  (Naughty little kitty!)  Well little Miss Kitty Cat now prefers to spend her days out on our front lawn lazily sunning herself (lucky girl) so I thought it was time to recover the chairs.

So that's what I'm going to do. 

I already have the fabric- I bought it several weeks ago from a store that was closing.  It's not what I initially wanted, but the fabric that I wanted was $16.99 a yard and I didn't want to spend that much (for 6 chairs I'll need 3-4 yards), anyhow the fabric I bought was discounted to $3.00 per yard.  I went ahead and bought 10 yards because at that price they were practically giving it away and I already had an idea swirling around in my head for what I'll do with the rest of the fabric. I'll show you that in a future post.

I'll be posting the chair pics soon as I get 'em done.

What will you be doing?  Moving forward I hope.

Always make the most out of any rain that comes your way.

Warm wishes,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Attention to Detail

I'm a perfectionist by nature.  If something is not perfect it can drive me nuts.  A chair left pulled away from the table, a wallet on the countertop, or a crooked picture frame can make me go bonkers.

Being a perfectionist has it's perks but it definitely has it's drawbacks.   It can be exhausting running around picking up after others who are not Type A or you can sound like a real nag always pointing out things that are not in their proper place. And if your partner is not Type A it can leave you both frustrated and often becomes the source of conflict.

See my husband's not a perfectionist.  Little things out of place don't even phase him.  They go unnoticed.  He's usually okay with how things are.  He sees the big picture, while I zero in on the details.

I'd like to say that his being this way hasn't bothered me, but I'd be lying.  Truth is I've found myself wishing on more than one occasion that he gave more attention to detail, was more organized, that things would bother him more, etc.. That was until one day....

I was looking in the mirror, the kind that magnifies things by a million and to put it nicely I was not happy with what I saw.  Brown spots, red dots, fine lines (when did those appear?) and then those pesky gray hairs that like to pop up right at the hairline where I usually part my hair. Arggh!  And right when I was there criticizing my imperfections I remembered my husband and I smiled.

In that instant I realized that he doesn't zero in on my imperfections like I do.  When he looks at me he sees the big picture.  There's no criticism in his eyes.  And for the first time I was grateful he wasn't Type A like me.  It was as if a light bulb went on right then and there.

Ever since then instead of getting irritated w/him when things aren't just so, I remember how God nudged me and let me know that there can be an upside to things that drive us nuts.  And that being a perfectionist isn't always perfect.

Oh, and by the way, I think those mirrors should be outlawed. :)

Let's keep moving forward,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sometimes we can feel like this.... Tired, rusty and just plain run down.

I don't know if its cuz it's Wednesday or because I've been tackling a rather frustrating project (I'll tell you more about this later, in a future post) or because there are still nearly two weeks till payday and I've gotta make the budget stretch a bit more than I had planned. Bummer.

Anyhow when we feel like this it's easy to forget that this is just a temporary feeling.  It won't last.

When were feeling a bit run down it's easy to forget that we are a gem, special, valuable and unique.  And how with a little TLC we can really shine!

But there is someone who can see past the rust, the dents and busted windows.  Someone that can see the real you deep inside.  And He likes what He sees.  Yes, He really does!

And he gives out the TLC like no one else.

So let's keep that in mind the next time we're feeling a little rusty.

Keep moving forward,


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Budget Basics

I guess the word of the day is the B word.  "Budget".  Yes it seems like many people from Obama down to little old me and a whole bunch of folks in between are talking "Budget".

The B word can cause a visceral reaction in some.  Stomachs tightens, lips curl and shoulders slump.

This doesn't have to be the case though.

If you learn to take control of your money instead of it controlling you, you can face your budget head on and not even flinch.

People that stick to a budget and plan their purchases, even budgeting in for fun, vacations and stuff, feel good about the B word.  They know it's a tool  A tool that can help them stay out of debt and begin to build savings.

I'm not going to go in depth here and I'm no financial guru but I've learned a few things over the last couple of years and I'm just gonna share what works for me.  (For those of you that have been following a budget and have no issues with debt- Hooray for you! I'm so happy for you!- (I'm clapping right now, you just can't see me)- then you don't need any of these simple guidelines)  For those of you who are interested or may be struggling with this issue read on.

I'll begin by covering a couple basic principals:

1.  Start by finding out what all your expenses and debts are.  You can use a simple spreadsheet or any of a number of programs available for this.  You may have done this before- felt sick and shoved it in a drawer.  If that's the case then do it again.  I list mine beginning with the biggest debt, the mortgage, then I list the next one, for us it's our children's school (it's equal to our mortgage- ouch!)  Then I list the next, going from any credit card debt, food, fixed expenses like cell phone bills or cable, internet services, gas, electricity, water, trash.  You get it.  Just list them.  List every little thing.  Be as precise as possible.  You may need to pull out old statements to do this or if you pay your bills on line (like I do) you can just pull up this info and enter it onto your spreadsheet. Oh, and if you have any unsettled personal debts that you owe to friends or relatives, list those too.  You need a plan.  So many relationships are ruined over unpaid debt- you don't want that.

2.  Track your spending for at least a month.  Save the receipts.  Later you will analyze what it is your buying.  Look at how many times you are going into the stores.  Little trips to Target, Walmart etc. really add up fast. Analyzing your spending will help you later when you are looking for areas that you can cut expenses.  We'll get into this more in a future post.  We'll look at how to control those variable expenses and more importantly how to control ourselves!

Good Luck and Warm Wishes!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Fear of Failure


Sometimes we dream big.  Sometimes we dream small.

Then again sometimes we are so afraid to fail that we don't dream at all.
(No ryhme intended- really)

We're afraid of failure. We're afraid of what others think. And we're afraid of the pain that comes with disappointment.

Cuz it hurts. Man Oh Man does it hurt.

It can feel safer not to dream. To shove those dreams down into some dark place where we can pretend that they don't exist.

But when we do that we go through life, but don't feel ALIVE.

What if we looked at failure as an opportunity to grow? As a gift.
Because that is exactly what it is, a gift. But it hurts. Yes, yes it does.

Those are growing pains.

If we don't succeed at our dreams it doesn't mean that we've failed. It means that we've learned. We've learned a hard lesson. So that's good. When we learn we grow. Our true self is being shaped and molded, we're becoming who we are truly meant to be.

The only real failure is the failure to accept the gift that we are being offered in our failure. If we don't get anything out of our failure then yes we've failed. Missing the opportunity to grow is the only real failure.

So let's keep dreaming.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sometimes we can get started on a project only to find that we're interrupted time and time again.

We can choose to respond by becoming frustrated, angry and irritated with those little interruptions. (which by the way is the easiest, quickest response)

But then our discontent will fill the air and affect those around.

Or we can forget about ourselves for a while, put aside what we're working on, help those that need us and feel good about that opportunity.

See- the project at hand may not be what really needs working on at the moment. We have to remember who is in charge and keep that in perspective.

You've probably guessed by now that I didn't get much of my projects done this weekend. And you're right.

You see there was this Masquarade Ball, and all the princesses were invited. (Not me- I needed to assist the princesses as they got ready, then I had to welcome them home and as you know princess can get very hungry after a night of dancing so they had to be fed before they went to bed and then again as soon as they awoke.

But there are only so many Masquarade Balls in one's lifetime.....So my projects can wait for now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Message

I'm loved.  And so are you.  You may not know it or even think about it, but it's truth.  YOU ARE LOVED!  Believe it!

Every once in a while we need reminders of this.  This morning I got one.  I woke up to this:

My girls put this message on the chalkboard and didn't mention it to me. They just waited till I noticed. How sweet!

Our Heavenly Father sends us these messages all the time and waits for us to notice. I feel bad that He has to wait so long sometimes. Perhaps He put this idea into my girls hearts to do this for me- cuz He knew I'd look at the chalkboard- it's what I do. He didn't want me to miss it.

He doesn't want you to miss it either. So I guess this message was meant for you too. After all He is the One who put it on my heart to share it with you.  How special -we all just got a Valentine's message from God!  That is a cool valentine's gift don't you think?

Have a great day and remember that even if no one tells you they love you He is telling you that He loves you all the time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patio Furniture Makeover

Makes you want to sit outside and relax, doesn't it?

Looks pretty good huh?  But check out the before- they didn't look this way until I put a little bit of elbow grease into them.

Ok I thought I'd show you a makeover I did a couple of weeks ago, before the paint and money ran out.  See those picnic tables and benches above.  A little weathered huh?  I know you'll agree that this patio furniture has seen better days.  Yes, yes it has.

It has served our family well.  In fact it's over 16 years old.  Lately I've been eyeing all those new outdoor furniture sets.  It seems they are everywhere I go and all for thousands of dollars.  Well I'm not interested in spending thousands of dollars.  So  I took a good look at these guys again.  And you can see what I decided to do.  Paint!  yep.. I sanded them down.  Dusted them off.  And painted them chocolate brown.

Not bad.  Considering I only spent $35 on a can of top quality paint with primer mixed in.  So easy that way.  One can was all it took to paint 2 love seats, 4 chairs, 2 picnic tables, 4 benches and one coffee table.

I think these guys may have a few more good years left.  Just like me:)  He he.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lacing Up

Well it's official, I've been putting on these.

And hopping on these.....

And lifting these little guys.

All in the name of staying fit and being physically healthy. 

I've been averaging about 30 minutes per day.  Not much I know.  At first I started with just 15 (really just to trick myself into doing it) I found I wanted to do a little more so I've been sticking with 30.  I'm trying to do what fits me best.  In the past when I worked out an hour a day I lost a ton of weight.  But in order to keep it off I had to work out at least an hour a day.  No fun.  The minute I stopped my hour long daily workouts the weight started creeping back up. 

Presently I consider myself to be at a healthy weight.  No I'm not going to be giving out any numbers.  So don't ask.  Enough said.

Anyhow I'd like to maintain this weight and am hoping 30 minutes a day will do it.  Oh sure I like the way I look when I'm 10 pounds thinner.  But I don't like how I feel...  I find that I am too focused on my appearance and afraid to gain the weight back.  All vanity.  Not mentally healthy.  Focusing on that would be taking a step backward in life.  So I think moving forward in this area for me means to maintain a fitness regimen aimed at staying healthy and keeping a healthy weight.  It's that simple and so freeing....

Pantry Peek

Well I managed to complete my pantry reorganization.  Not a fun way to spend my day at home- but it felt so good afterward.  It went from this chaos.


This.  Organized, Clean and Labeled.  I made little chalkboard labels and attached them to the pantry shelves with little pieces of wire.  Unfortunately I ran out of labels.  I need to make a few more.   I'm hoping this will encourage the girls to put things back in their correct places.  I can hope, can't I?

Mission Accomplished!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Waiting for Wiggle Room

I can't wait until there's a little wiggle room in the budget.  I'm hoping that'll be in the next couple of months.  Cuz I'm itching to tackle some bigger projects.

Things are so tight right now because of several visits from Murphy over the last six months- while we were in the process of paying off our consumer debt.

A little recap of Murphy's visits:

August: Repair Daughter's car: $1200
September:  Repair Daughter's convertible top: $300 (even though Hubby did it himself and saved us$)
October: Oven repair: $200
October: Pool Pump Replacement: $1600
October: New Tires for Daughter's car (Yeah I know not unexpected but we didn't plan for it) $600
November: Repair my Car: $2000 (Ouch!)
December: Hubby got into an accident and we had to pay the deductible: $300
January: Unplanned Trip for Hubby to visit nephew who's being deployed: $450

Total:$6,650! Yikes!
I don't want to see Mr. Murphy for a long time.  He is not welcome here!

Good news is... We managed to pay for all of the above with hard earned cash!  We didn't rack up credit like we may have done in the past.  Instead I budgeted the best I could, we cut way back and faced Mr. Murphy head on.

Sad news is nothing's been saved, no extra dinero for fun projects.  Boo Hoo.
I'm not really complaining.  I'm hoping for a little extra real soon.... :)  It's just around the corner.

Meanwhile I'll tackle some not so fun projects like organizing the pantry...  It has to be done so I'll do it and I'll show you pics later.

The Paint is Gone!

I painted anything I could over the weekend.  Using up what spray paint I had left.  The numbers above became...

Much better!!

I also spray painted a couple of pots.....

That there is my little friend "Charlie".  He's a miniature horse and is just like a toddler, always trying to get into things when I'm out in the yard doing my projects.  He's very sweet though, so I put up with it.  I'm a sucker for sweet:)  The other guy in the picture above is my hubby and the same goes for him.

Here's a mirror I painted white...

And those plates that I told you about a couple of posts ago.

My youngest, Abbey and I even found time for this...

And finally I took a stroll around the yard to see if any thing was in bloom.  Then I picked what I could and brought them indoors.

Home Sweet Home.

Super Finish!

Well the weekend was a success.  As you all know the Packers won and that means my husband (A Steelers fan) has to feed the animals for the next two days.  See, he and my 10 year old daughter Abbey made a bet and you know how things turned out.  Sometimes having a little competition in the room makes for a very lively game.  

By the way, notice the little chalkboard?  Yeah baby that's what I'm talking about.  Made that beauty this weekend.  My daughter wrote on it (as you may have guessed) and displayed it proudly in our family room during the game.  

It looks like I am in the process of learning how to post pics.  Yeah! for Progress!  Yeah for learning something new!  Yeah for moving forward!  That's what we all want isn't it?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

1st Half is a Winner!

So far the first half of this weekend has been productive and peaceful, at home, my favorite place.  What we (my Hubby and I) accomplished was:
  1.  Hung up three pretty plates in the kitchen: Cost $0 since I already had the plates and the hardware.  
  2.  Took down the numbers from our house, painted them OIL RUBBED BRONZE, and rehung them in a new location directly above the door.  Cost $0.  I already had the paint.  Beautiful.
  3.  Painted an old framed picture (black) still waiting for it to dry.  Cost $0- old paint.  Already Love it!
All three projects look fabulous and best of all they were FREE!
Now I know you want some pics, but since I'm still new to this blogging thing, you'll have to wait till I learn how to do that, which will be soon, I hope.

So that's it for today we'll see what tomorrow will bring.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Back on Track

Well it seems as if my little lesson in lamps has helped to reignite my commitment to learning to live within or below my means.  I've been thinking about how far my husband and I have come in paying off our consumer debt (I'll tell you more later but it hasn't been easy- he's a teacher, I work part time and we have a commitment to keep our three girls in private school).  All this has got me thinking of how far we still have to go.  I thought I'd share a peek into some of our goals:

1.  Live within or below our means (As a lifestyle choice- not for short term savings)
2.  Do not use credit/debt (requires living within budget constraints)
3.  Build up an emergency fund (currently we have $0 in our emergency fund- at this point if an emergency should arise we'd have to use credit- not good.
4.  Save for our daughters College Fund.  To date we do not have anything saved for them.  Our oldest is 16! YIKES! There is not much time left!  This makes me sad and remorseful over not beginning this lifestyle sooner. (Although we've never been wasteful with our money we could have been a bit more conscious with our spending and more focused on saving for the future.)
5.  Build savings for the future: Retirement, Vacations, Replacement Vehicles, Household Maintenance and Repair.
These sound like hefty goals, especially since there isn't a lot of wiggle room in our budget.  But since I've learned some creative ways to cut back over the last year and a half that helped us pay down our consumer debt, I'm confident if we keep on track we can begin to save!  Yeah.
Now what am I to do with all the creative ideas I have swirling around in my head??  Creativity can be expensive especially if I think I need to satisfy it by buying something new (like lamps) but what if I see what I can do to make something beautiful for free??  That's what I'm planning on doing this weekend.  Stay tuned and I'll let you know what fabulous things God has planned.
Bye for now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Little Closer to Home

Today was a quiet one on this journey toward home.  No major catastrophies, no cute lamps winking at me, trying to derail me.  Just odds and ends- the stuff of life.  Daily chores, a trip to the grocery store with list in hand, cooking dinner for the family.  Peaceful.

I did quite a bit of thinking.  I really like the feeling of being home.  I want to take this feeling with me wherever I go.  I want to feel at home in my skin, at home when I'm with my husband, with my children and even at work (yes I do work- a very stressful career that I've been in for over 16 years- thank God I only have to work there 3 days a week) I'll tell you more about that later.  But back to feeling at home.  I guess that is really where I'm headed.  I'm headed home.  We are all on this journey toward home and every once in a while God gives us a taste of it in the here and now.  It's delicious and leaves me wanting more.  How about you?

Lesson in Lamps

It all started innocently enough, after dropping my daughter off at school my car seemed to be on autopilot, heading toward Marshall's.  In the parking lot I began to tell myself  I was "just going to look" yeah I know, I know, I should have known better. 

I was able to resist the pretty bowls and plates, the down duvet that I'd been wanting, and then like two beacons in the night I was drawn to two beautiful lamps.  My internal dialogue went something like this:  These are perfect!  Do I need lamps? Yes.  Are they a good deal? Yes.  Before I knew it they were in my cart and I was out the door.  After carefully situating those beauties behind the driver's and passengers seats I began the drive home.

It was only then that I heard the third and most important question?  Is there room in the budget? No.  I tried hard to shut out that annoying voice.  I went home and played house.  I put up my lamps.  LOVE!   I rearranged them.  They looked good anywhere, in my bedroom or in the living room.

But that voice.  It was now reminding me of how hard we've worked to get out of debt (I'll tell you more about that journey later) It kept telling me that there would be other lamps.  That I needed to wait.  I wasn't feeling so good about the lamps anymore.  That voice was a fun sucker.  The lamps had to go back.  In my quest to move forward and have a pretty home I got ahead of myself and became lost.  After my hubby came home I shared with him the Lamp lesson and asked him to go with me to return them.  I knew with him by my side I wouldn't get lost again, we'd just go in there and return them, there'd be no "looking".  So my moving forward for the day was a lesson in my weakness for beautiful things but also in regaining my strength and ability to wait.  That's progress for you!   What about you?  Have you had a messy complicated moving forward moment?