Sunday's Getting to Know You

I want to participate in a fun game from a brand new blogger friend
To play..Grab the questions..copy them onto your blog..answer them..come back here..put your link in and let the Sunday Fun begin!
Let's get this party started!!

The questions..

1. Do you iron your sheets?
Excuse me, I have a life. No I do NOT iron my sheets...who has time to do that?!?

2. Your dream car is....?
When I was young, it was a Yellow Ford Mustang Convertible. And I don't know why. I actually love the newer mustang models, but I think I'd love a nice SUV to tote around the fam. I'm practical like that.

3. Do you have an innie or an outie belly button?
Innie =]

4. What meal do you look forward to the most..breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Depends on the day. Most days it's dinner, cause we try to do that as a family. But I LOVE doing Sunday lunch with friends after church.

5. Favorite mascara?
I don't even know the name...it's the pink and green one. I've used it since day 1 (of me wearing make up, that is)

6. What would you say your decorating style is..traditional, modern, eclectic, country, french country, shabby chic, etc..?
I would say I have an eclectic mix, but I'm definitely a Pottery Barn lover, with a little shabby chic thrown in. Is that traditional?

7. Have you ever been skinny dipping?
Yes. In 8th grade. With two girls. We thought we were getting away with murder, lol

8. I hate the smell of...?
Ketchup (especially when mixed with mac and cheese), Love Spell by Victoria Secret, and Dog Food Factories.

Daddy says the darndest things

Okay, so yesterday while I was writing about the funny things my kids say, I was thinking about all the crazy things my husband has said to them. Mostly joking, sometimes inappropriate, he comes up with the craziest things! Here's just a few things I've caught him saying that had milk shooting out of my nose:

1. "I just asked you to clean up your playroom....it's not like I'm asking you to shoot a puppy!"

2. "If you don't knock it off, I'm gonna kill Santa." (LOL, seriously?)

3. "If you're not smart enough to NOT eat the paint, then you're not smart enough to use the paint."

Have you ever caught yourself saying any of these things? What's the craziest thing you've caught yourself saying to your kids?

And just for good measure....

Because he really is a pretty great dad...


Kids say the darndest things...

Another installment of 'Kids Say the Darndest Things' and the last bullet point I wanted to cover here. First, let me remind you how cute my kids are:

I actually think they were a few I wanted to remember, but didn't. I need to start writing them down as soon as they happen, but these are the ones fresh in my mind:

1. Last week, I was helping the Dude go potty. I thought he needed to go #2, but he did not. Finally, he got off and I was pulling his pants up, he said "Mommy, I think I just need to toot." and he proceeded to tooting away. I said 'Buddy, are you sure you don't have to go poop?' To which he replied "Nope, I'm just nasty." !!! That's what we say to daddy when he rudely interrupts us with his gastric musical interpretations. Like father, like son.

2. My kids call people 'Silly Goose Pigs'. I'm not sure why, but it's spread like wild fire. While I was at Gulf Coast Getaway, I received this text message from my dear friend Sarah who was selflessly watching my kids for the weekend: "So, Faith just called me a silly goose pig, and I totally thought she called me a silly douche bag!" I have accidentally taught my kids things I'm not proud of, but I don't think that is one of them!

3. This one is hilarious but hard to describe in writing: I'll do my best. Last week at the end of the school day, I had one of the girls come up to me to angrily tell me "Miss Veronica, Faith keeps spitting in my face!" Obviously appalled, cause my kids would never do something like that, I marched right over to her and started accusing her. "Who on earth would you spit in someone's face?" Well, Faith got just as angry back and declared "I was NOT spitting in her face, I was just trying to show her THIS: (this is the part I would love to demonstrate for you, cause I can't really describe it, but Faith proceeded to beat box). If you need the background to this, we've recently released our Praise team CD from church, with is Acappella, so there is some vocal percussion. The hubs also travels in a group, DeeperStill, an Acappella group with vocal percussion. Faith is a big fan. And since the release of our new CD, she has been practicing along! The funniest part was listening to her beat box with an angry face in hopes to describe what she was doing was clearly not spitting! I will have to get her on tape ASAP.

4. I love the mispronunciation of words by toddlers. My current favorites are Caleb's recent discovery of his "Niffles" and Faith's wiping her "prilates" - about the only way to make those two words cute!

My fabulously inappropriate children - You. Are. Welcome.


Calm before the storm

Bullet point #4 that I am suppose to cover, as promised here, is the hardest to write. Mostly, cause I don't know where to start or even how to talk about it without talking about everything at the same time.

Basically it's along these lines: God has been workin' on my heart a lot lately.

These last few months, I've just had a lot going on. I mean, I always have a lot going on, but I've been convicted to find joy in the midst. Ironically, trying to find it was causing discontent and frustration in my life. I'm ready to move on. I'm struggling through financial hardship right now, but I'm confident that God will provide, as He always does. I'm frustrated with the plateau I've hit in my weight loss, but I know that it's about balance and taking care of myself to live my best life. I get down on myself that I'm not always being the best parent I can be, but then I realize I'm raising some pretty fantastic kids.

This is the lesson I'm learning: I am blessed. Yes, I knew this already, but I didn't really know it. Ya know? My weekend at Gulf Coast Getaway was the first time in a long time that I sat back and listened to God and what He had to say. I never stop long enough to listen. Being away from my kids for 5 days was the hardest thing, but I have been a better parent since. I've been cherishing every moment with them, and keeping my cool when little meltdowns don't matter.

This is the other lesson I'm in the middle of learning: I don't know what's ahead. It's scary, unsettling, frustrating, and down right aggravating, but the only thing I can count on is change. There are a lot of possibilities in my future, and I have no idea the path that God will lead us through. I just know I'm ready. I literally feel like I'm sitting in the calm before the storm.

Something big's a comin' - are you ready?


Project ideas

Back to the bullet point updates I wanted to get through from this post. Bullet point #3: Projects around the house.

Okay, since I've finally started connecting with other bloggers and trying to actually do something with mine, I've been so inspired by so many talented women out there! It's insane how many unique ideas I see on a daily basis...it totally has me itchin' to get my hands on something and transform it! Also, being featured yesterday on BetterAfter has me excited to get more BEFORE and AFTER photos going!

So the wheels have been churning. I, of course, barely have the money to look at buying stuff, let alone do a huge makeover, so this is all brainstorming....for now....

1. I have been wanting to paint like nobody's business.  I painted a few rooms when we moved into our house, but I'm still itching to paint this:

My bathroom needs a facelift. I'm thinkin' a burnt orange/copper color.

2. I also want to paint my livingroom:

This neutral gray/beige was easy to work with when we moved in, but I'm over it! It's too dull for me. I want something a little warmer....but I'm not sure on the color yet.

3. The next project is actually two parts, and I've been dreaming about it for over a year now: 

Because I don't technically have a 'dining room' in my house and it's such a small space, I wanted to create something to make this feel like another space. I really want to paint the back wall a different color (maybe the chocolate brown left over from my bedroom makeover). I also want to put up curtains to add some drama and warmth. The second thing I really want to do is re-finish the table and chairs (now that my kids are out of highchairs). It's a cheap set we got when we were married and since I don't see the budget for what I really want in the near future, I'm gonna make this one the best it can be, and I have a really cool idea for it!

4. I would LOVE to get into to buying and repurposing furniture, maybe sell some on Craig's List or my own store. I always see potential in great pieces when I thrift shop, I just need to start doing it.  (oh, and find some space for it!) Where there's a will, there's a way, right?!?

Well, what do you think? Any suggestions before I get my hands dirty?


Featured on Better After!

I am taking some time out from my bullet point updates (and writing 2 blogs in one day!) to brag.

I was featured on Better After, one of my FAVORITE blogs! =]
So excited, especially since it was such a measly project compared to some of the amazing makeovers I see on her page. But, it was Scrapbook chair makeover I did over the summer. Check out my original post here.

Okay, carry on....

Gulf Coast Getaway

As promised here, I'm giving you updated of my life over the last few weeks, when I slipped away from blogging. Bullet point #3: Gulf Coast Getaway

Last weekend, I had the privilege of leading worship and event in Panama City, FL for around 2,000 college students. There are really no words to describe the experience I had. But you know me, I use 12 words when probably only 1 will do, so here goes:

First of all, let me start off by saying this was my first time flying since my honeymoon...6 1/2 years ago. This was also my first time away with my hubby since we had kids. So, even though I was there with a job to do - this was a vacation for me. It was cold and rainy while we were there, but it wasn't snowing. I'll take it. We stayed at the Edgewater Beach Resort in a beautiful condo with a master suite, and of course, a King sized bed.

Oh yeah, and this was the view from our room....

Okay, on to the good stuff (yes, it actually got better than this)...

I've been singing for most of my life. Specifically Acappella music. I've worshipped in many places and lead worship at a lot of places, but very few came close to my experience this weekend. It was a fairly large event, which always helps. But these college kids came ready to worship. It was heartfelt, emotional, and captivating. A few times during the weekend, I had to stop singing just to listen. I held back tears almost every time we got up to sing. I felt God's presence in that place, He moved in me. It was so encouraging to hear the kids come up afterward to say how uplifting the worship was and how blessed they were by it, but hands down, being up on the stage was the most powerful point in the whole room, hearing praise to God coming right at you.

And man, was it fun. Hangin' out with some of my best friends, meeting new people, singin', dancin', chillin' with Sean Algaier from Biggest Loser for awhile, late night runs to the Waffle House....it was one of the best weekends ever.


Debt free, here I come!

Bullet point # 2: Better Budgeting

Well, it's been 3 weeks now since we've started the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course, and I finally feel like it's taking us somewhere. The first two weeks just makes you realize all the things you could and should be doing with your money, without telling you how. This week, however, we got to make our budget for the month.

Before I delve into this, I'd like to point out that I love budgets. I do them in my sleep. I balance my checkbook a few times a week...I know, I'm weird. The funny thing is that even though I'm pretty on top of knowing where our money goes, I'm never in control of where it goes. The hubs and I did a financial course when I was pregnant with Faith, called Common Sense, and it was great. I've been using the 'spending plan' sheets since then, every month. We were doing great for awhile, then somehow got off course (ok, not somehow - our student loans went back into repayment and are kicking our butts). So, we need to change something.

Here's the biggest difference I've noticed: Dave's budget requires you to spend your money on paper before the month even begins. What a novel idea! All this time, I write every single dollar spent down, added up at the end of the month and think, "What the heck?!? How did that happen?!?" But deciding where my money is going to go BEFORE it gets there allows me to see where I need to cut back, which bills I can pay in what week, etc. It was really like this light bulb came on in my head. It also allows me to look forward to things, like going out to eat, instead of being depressed that we don't have the money to go, then go anyway.

So, my entire attitude toward money changed when I wrote out that budget. Let the penny pinchin' begin!! I'm ok with it, because I am building a better future for myself and my family. We started a chore chart for the kids (yes, even though they're 2 and 3) just to give them a better understanding of helping out as a part of the family, as well as doing extra work to earn money. We gave Faith 3 chores a week and Caleb 2 (according to their age - simple things like picking up books). Each week, they can mark off what they helped with and earn $1. Once we fill our jar, we'll separate the money for giving, saving, and spending. It's something simple, but so vital to their understanding about money and working hard.

Sitting down and figuring all that out and doing the 'snowball' chart for debt made me realize that we could be debt free WAY sooner than I ever imagined!!! What a great feeling!

This week is 'Dumping Debt'.....I can't wait.....


Weight Loss Wednesday (I know it's Friday!)

I usually do Weight Loss Wednesdays, but I'm trying to keep you posted, one major event at a time, so I'm going in order. Besides, it's been ages since I've posted about my weight loss journey.

I will tell you there is not much to report weight wise. Since last month, I haven't lost any weight. But I should be thankful that between the Holidays and not getting to the gym as much due to travel, I haven't gained any either.

Here's the good news: This month, I went through some old clothes I had stored away, and found probably 8+ pairs of pants that fit me before I had kids and put them back in my drawers! YAY It's also good news that even though I've lost a little weight, I am not satisfied staying at the weight I'm at now. I want to keep going. I've lost about 25lbs, I would still love to lose about 30lbs more. It's a high goal, but I think know I can do it.

Here's the bad news: I've really gotten frustrated with this plateau I've hit. I'm hoping that now I'm back into my regularly scheduled life, I can break through it. Since we've started our Dave Ramsey program (which I will update on later), a lot of my goals have shifted to taking care of my financial life. Food wise, though, I'm even more committed to eating wiser, spending less money out to eat, and eating what I already have. Sometimes that means we're eating Ramen for dinner. The other really bad news is that I have to cancel my gym membership. *tear* I'm super sad about this, but since we're down an income, that's the easiest thing to let go of to free up some money each month. So I have til the end of February with my membership - and you'd better believe I'm going to get my money's worth out of it.

This is what a need: YOU 

I need some people to keep me accountable, to encourage, to pray. I know it's a lot easier to stay on track when I have people to answer to, even if it is via blog. Tell me your success stories, what keeps you on track? How did you break through your plateau? (I'm dying for advice on that one). Let's lift each other up and lose together!

(SIDE NOTE) I did get to see Sean Algaier from Biggest Loser season 8 the last two weekends while traveling (he's an old friend and we run in the same church circles - pictures to come) Singing with him, listening to his talk, and talking with him one-on-one has been SO inspiring! He's definitely one of my huge inspirations!


Where do I begin?

Well, I took a little break from the blog world. It was not my intent, but I've had a lot going on since Christmas and have been doing quite a bit of traveling. There are so many things I want to tell you about:

-I want to update you on my weight loss journey, talk about what's going on there.

-I want to tell you how our Dave Ramsey class is going, and what the hubs and I are doing to save money and worked toward getting debt free.

-I want to tell you about my AMAZING trip to Panama City Florida this past weekend to lead worship at an event of about 2,000 college students. (Includes lot of pictures)

-I want to update you on some little projects I would like to accomplish around the house

-I want to share a few pieces of my heart that are slowly molding into something different.

-I also have some funny and touching stories to share about my babies, who are growing up WAY too fast.

So many things going on, just not enough time to write about it all. But, this is a good place to start. Next blog, I will actually start filling you in on some of these things!


A Decade in Review

First of all, thank you for all the encouragement from my last post. I am definitely inspired and already feel God's peace about the whole thing. And I loved reading all your ideas on how to save money!

Well, I thought I'd take a break from the heavy posts for a bit and just do something silly/fun. So, stealing an idea from Lucy, here are the highlight of the last 10 years of my life:


-Rang in the new year with my parents and BFF Sarah @ the Elk's club - what a night!
-Finishing out my junior year, starting my senior year of high school.
-My dear friends threw me a surprise 17th birthday party.
-I don't remember much else about this year, not a whole lot going on.


-Graduated from Hartland High School
-Started dating my first serious boyfriend
-Broke up from my first serious relationship (guess it wasn't that serious!)
-Auditioned for Acappella group 'Autumn' from Rochester College and made it!
-Met my future hubby for the first time, thought he was adorable.
-Started school @ Rochester College
-Started dating second serious boyfriend (not my future hubby, unfortunately)
-Hubby started dating someone else, too.


-Best/worst year of my life
-Had a great summer traveling with an Acappella/Drama group
-Broke up with serious boyfriend after 11 months, things got a little crazy.
-Great friendship with my future hubby started turning into something more.
-Started my sophomore year with an awesome roomie!
-Continued another year with an all girl's Acappella group
-Drama, drama, and more drama
-Ending the year convinced I found the man of my dreams.


-Got engaged to the man of my dreams.
-Married the man of my dreams (yes, it happened this quickly!)
-Honeymooned in Florida
-Moved into married housing on campus
-Took a step back from choir/groups to focus on first year of marriage
-Ended up taking a billion credits/working my tail off instead.
-Started a waitressing job


-Started to feel really cramped in married housing (aka dorm room)
-The hubs got a potential lead for a job as youth minister
-Finally move out of married housing into a townhouse
-Hubby graduates from college Dec. 18th (don't know why I remember that date of all things)


-The hubs get hired as youth minister
-I am still working/going to school full time.
-Take a field placement trip to Oklahoma, where the hubs tells me over the phone he wants to start a family with me! (Longest week of my life, BTW)
-Find out I'm pregnant two months later (July 9)
-Start my student teaching early so I can graduate before baby


-Graduate from college with a degree in Elementary Education/Language Arts
-Two weeks later, deliver our precious daughter (March 12)
-Lovin' life as a stay-at-home mom
-Lose my wedding ring while boating over 4th of July weekend @ Houghton Lake. worst. thing. ever.
-The hubs surprises me with a new wedding band! (Oct 1)
-I surprise the hubs (and myself) with a positive pregnancy test! (Oct 1)


-The hubs took a mutual step back from youth ministry, working part time
-I went back to work waitressing while pregnancy with baby #2
-The hubs gets a new job @ Gander Mountain
-We part ways with our congregation, go back to our college church
-My beautiful son was born (June 5)
-End of year, offered a position as bartender in the same restaurant


-The hubs got a new job working for our Alma Mater, Rochester College
-Lovin' my job as bartender (and the money)
-Figuring out life as mom of two
-Started the tradition of 'Girls Day Out' with my daughter
-Participated in the Imagine Christmas program at our church, had a blast


-Started a membership at Lifetime Fitness
-Had a flood in our kitchen, which led to a complete kitchen overhaul
-Finished my Scrapbook room
-My baby girl turned 3!!
-We placed membership (finally) at our church!
-Wrote my first song
-The hubs got pretty sick, spent some time in the hospital
-Got a new job teaching preschool!
-Started a weight loss journey

Wow, I surprised at how little I remembered! But that's the last decade for me summed up pretty much. What was the last decade like for you?


Better Budgeting

Today was the first day back I really felt reality setting in.

In light of recent events, my mind has been working overtime trying to figure out little ways to cut down on our budget even more than we already are, and thinking of ways to supplement my lost income. Then I remember this great little website someone had recommended to me years ago called Better Budgeting

This is a wonderful website full of helpful tips, ideas, articles, budget spread sheets, and more to help better budget your money!

So I guess by default, I've found my somewhat cliche New Years resolution: To be more frugal with my money. And the ultimate goal is to be debt free! Kinda bad timing as I just lost a job, but I want to commit to cutting costs where I'm able. I'm trusting God with the rest. I would also try to keep updated on my progress and leave my own tips and ideas that work for me along the way.

I am SUPER excited that the hubs and I committed to start Financial Peace University this year, and our first session is tomorrow! That IS good timing. It's a 12 week program by Dave Ramsey to learn how to get out of debt. I actually am familiar with the program already but needed the hubs to be my partner in this process so we can commit to doing it as a team! I haven't done the entire program so I'm eager to get started. I know it will be difficult but I'm ready to make a change.

Continues prayers are always solicited, as I am still struggling with this whole thing.

But I HAVE to ask.....what are some of the best ways you've found to be frugal at home?!? I'd love some ideas!


Spilling the beans

Okay, so the last two weeks have been absolute MADNESS.

I'm still not even fully 'back' mentally from break, I think cause I'm afraid if I do, reality is going to set in all too quickly.

A lot has happened. Let me give you the highlights:

-Had a great Christmas
-Got to see some wonderful family and spend time together.
-Got sick right as school was ending, still have not recovered. I almost did for a second there last week, but now I'm worse.
-Rang in the new year with some of favorite people (my in-laws). A good time was had by all.

The first of the two weeks was busy, but good. The second week was relaxing, but stressful....and here's why: I quit my part time job as bartender.

It happened while I was out of the country, actually. It's a long story that roots pretty far back but I finally had the courage to quit. I say courage because I've been wanting to quit for about 6 months now and have never been able to do it. I've specifically asked God for signs that it wasn't right for me anymore, and then blatantly ignored them because I was afraid. I was afraid of losing out on money, when we so severely need it right now. Well the circumstances aligned and I was finally able to muster the ability to say "Thanks, but no thanks."

This has been very bitter sweet for me this week. While I'm happy about it and feel a weight lifted because of it, I always feel another weight pushed on me as I realize I won't be able to pay my bills this month. I know I did the right thing. I loved bartending. Loved it. But it wasn't a good fit anymore. The hubs was never too keen on the idea (which I don't blame him - I get hit on every shift), and I didn't like having to put him through that. I loved the people I worked with. It breaks my heart to think that I likely won't see a lot of them much anymore. This was the last 6 years of my life. I loved being a light in a dark place, but the darkness was creeping into my heart, causing discontent and anger. It was subtle, but enough to make me uncomfortable. I know I did the right thing. I just have to keep telling myself that.

So now I have to sit down and take a look at how life is going to work making less money than already barely-enough-to-get-by income. Obviously, the Preschool is good, but it's hardly any pay and what I make is really only supplementing what I'm paying to have the kids taken care of while I work.

I know God has a plan. And I know I worry for nothing, because I'm always taken care of. Somehow, God always provides. But I have been tense and stressed about it all week, crying every other chance I get and I just need some peace about it. And always, prayers. I hate worrying about money, but I also hate being in a harmful environment just to make a buck.

There ya have it. A lot going on. There's more but I can only blog about one stress at a time.

Hope I haven't stressed you out. In all honestly, I'm looking forward to this year and seeing what God has in store for me. I'm ready take it on, it's just harder to walk blindly into something when you don't know where you're going or how you're going to get there.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!


Christmas day in pictures

Working on some photo collages to recap some highlights of the last few weeks and of my life this past year....oh, so much to fill you in on! Just one little tease at a time:

Christmas Day:


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