Tough day

For the first time in a long time, I am not looking forward to this Sunday.

Today is going to be a tough day.

It's been a long time coming, and I'm dreading every second.

I'm putting all my trust in God, that he knows what He's doing and will make the best of this situation.

Please send prayers for peace, direction, discernment, and guidance.

Thank you.


Budgeting with integrity

We have now completed 8 weeks of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University:

I have to tell you - I know there are a lot of people who hate this program. There are some people that are Nazi's about it. However, the concepts are simple they just don't come for free. You gotta work for it. I've learned that I've gotta work hard to undo the financial mess I've made. It sometimes means making commitments that friends and family don't agree with or appreciate, or not participating in certain things. But it's YOUR financial life, not theirs. Make the sacrifice now so you can really enjoy life later. As Dave says "Live like no one else, so later you can LIVE like no one else." That's so true.

Anyway, these past few months have been a struggle financially, to say the least. It is frustrating to be equip with all this new information and tools that we're so excited about implementing, and not actually having the means to do it. But little by little, we're working our way through it. At the very least, this course has given me the insight into doing extra things to earn/save money - I would have never made all the phone calls a few weeks ago, saving me almost $475 a month!

This past week's lesson was 'Buy Only Big, Big Bargains.' It was a great lesson, but there was something that really stuck with me. He quoted a book called 'Millionaire Mind' by Thomas Stanley which was a compilation of top 50 character qualities found in Millionaires and what they have in common. The #1 character quality that EVERY self-made millionaire shared was integrity. After interviewing family, friends, and employees they discovered that they possessed incredible amounts of integrity in every aspect of their lives.

How many times do we sell our integrity for the easy road? Do we return extra cash when our change is counted wrong? Do we mention something when we're not charged for something? Do we withhold information when we're trying to sell something? No matter the facet of our life we're talking about: spiritual, financial, family, friends, etc - Integrity ALWAYS pays off in the end.

Do you have any stories about Integrity? How has it paid off for you?


Weight Loss Wednesday

Finally....another installment of Weight Loss Wednesdays!

I know, I know....it's been awhile since I've updated on my journey. I'm tellin' ya...I knew this would be a tough road, but I didn't expect it to take this long for as hard as I've worked for it. I think it's God's way of telling me I really DO have to stick it out if I want this to be a lifestyle change. It doesn't come for free.

As you all know, I started working out with Jillian Michael's The Shred last week to replaced my cancelled gym membership:

Today marks DAY 8 of my 30 days. The first week was actually a breeze. Level 1 was probably too easy for me but it was comfortable/fun and got my heart rate up. I looked forward to getting up every morning this week. Today, I stepped up it up. Level 2 is significantly more challenging than Level 1, I was panting like crazy! But, that's a good thing right?!?

I have to tell you, as much as I've enjoyed this workout so far, it's been really frustrating that I still have not lost ANY WEIGHT. Seriously?!? I know I'm building muscle, and I know the first week's workouts were fairly easy for me, but come on! I'm not fat, but I am still pretty significantly over weight and over my target weight, I'd like to budge a little! 

GRRR....right now, I need some encouragement. I will continue doing The Shred. I've committed to at least 30 days. But can y'all please share any stories about breaking through plateaus? How did you get through it? What did you have to do? Any suggestions for me? I'm desperate!

Until next week...


Happy Birthday to my Love

Just want to take some time out today to wish the hubs a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Ironically, we got a snow day today - and he had to go in on his day off to plow snow. He's not very happy about it. And I wish he were home so we could celebrate.

But, Happy Birthday to my best friend, the best man I know:

To the guy that gives me reason to wake up in the morning

To the man who sticks by my side no matter what

To the goof ball who always makes me smile.

To my partner in crime that always makes life a little more, um, entertaining

To the love of my life, I thank God for the man that you are every day.

Happy Birthday!!!


Parenting with Relevance

Yesterday, the hubs and I attending this seminar held at our congregation called "Parenting with Relevance." Our minister, Patrick Mead, was the keynote for the day, and he's nothing short of amazing (plus, his kids have grown up to be amazing as well, so he's a great guy to get parenting advice from). I will never forget hearing him speak as a guest in my Marriage and Family course in college, and lingering on every word he said, even before I had kids. I've heard him talk about parenting before, but I wanted to share a few things that really stuck with me yesterday:

1. The biggest message I took home with me was that our children our designed to be different than us. We're not called to raise carbon copies of ourselves, so we should never expect our kids to be like us, act like us, think like us. They're unique and different because God needed them to be. Let them be who they are. Love who they are and where they are.

2. "God didn't create your babies for you, but for HIM. You have simply been entrusted with their care." WOW. Isn't it so true? We are to equip our children to be ready for the world, to make wise decisions and be a light in a dark world, and prepare them to live without you.

3. Why did God make us parents? 1. To teach us the world is not here for us. He gave us someone to depend on us fully, someone we submit to. Family removes you from the center of the universe. 2. To teach about unconditional love and service. We are to lead by example.

4. Our job is NOT to make our kids happy. Our job is to make them good.

There were so many other wonderful points, but it would take me forever to write it all down. I came away feeling empowered to be the best parent I could be, for God. I've got His kids, and I want to take the best care of them I know how. I want to be able to give them back someday. =]


Procrastination in Expensive!

Hello, I'm Vee. And I'm the queen of procrastination:

Am I the only one?

This is one of those times that procrastination has really kicked me in the butt.

The hubs and I tried to make a lot of changes last week to cut our costs after losing an income last month. It's proved to be very challenging, because we simply just aren't making enough anymore to cover our bills, let alone extra expenses. So, I sat down and finally decided to make a few phone calls I had been putting off...

Let me start by saying I hate talking on the phone. But I especially hate talking on the phone to companies. I hate the confrontation, I hate the waiting and automated garbage (90% of the time, I need to talk to a representative anyway, why put me through all that!?!?), I hate the people you can't understand on the phone cause they don't speak clear English, I hate arguing with people who are rude aren't willing to help you.....am I alone in this? Who looks forward to making these phone calls?!?

Well, these phone calls give me anxiety. I sweat, I stutter, my knee starts going like crazy, half the time I end up in tears on the other end....I avoid these phone calls like the plague.

Well, they needed to be made. We made the decision to try and call some of our student loan companies and our one credit card company to see if there were any temporary arrangements we could set up during this difficult financial period in our family. UGH. Last week, I got a hold of one student loan company and they reduced my monthly payment by $200!! And it was the easiest phone call ever, the woman was very helpful and sweet. You'd think this would make the rest of the phone calls easier, but no. So here goes....


I realize now how silly I was. I made 3 phone calls and ended saving myself HUNDREDS of dollars a month, just by asking. What I learned is that as long as you're willing to work with them, and pay something, they're usually pretty willing to work with you in return. If I made the phone call to my credit card company months ago when we started having trouble paying it....I would have saved myself hundreds of dollars. It makes me sick to my stomach.

But, you live, you learn. Then get Luvs. (Oh, wait...wrong saying)...

I'm thankful those phone calls are behind me, and praise God they've freed up some money in our budget to eat this month! HA I'm writing this in hopes to encourage you to make these phone calls as well if you've been putting them off. It never hurts to ask. The worst they could do is say no. If you put it off, be warned:

Procrastination is Expensive.


I got slimed on Nickelodeon

I was cracking up at all the people who wanted to know about my experience of getting slimed on Nickelodeon....so, here's what I remember of it (keep in mind, I was 8 years old)

My parents took my brothers and me to Orlando (my aunt lived there) and to the Universal Orlando theme park, then to Nickelodeon studios where they did all the Nickelodeon game show recordings at the time. Remember that big Slime Geyser that used to be on the all the commercials?!? Yeah, we were there. I do remember that Geyser, it erupted every so often and this big warning bell would ring.

Anyway, they were giving a big group of us a tour before a recording, then asked us all to be audience members. They said they'd choose one person to get 'slimed' - so I started jumping up and down like every other kid there. They walked right past me. So, with an extra shove from my parents, I followed the workers until they stopped again, and jumped up and down in their face. They must have had pity on me or they were just getting annoyed with me - I can't remember - but they picked me. I remember hearing a reference about my short hair....like maybe it would be easier for me to wash out cause I had short hair.

This part of the story may be disappointing, cause I don't really remember it. I couldn't tell you which show we were on. I've looked them all up, and still can't recall. I don't remember ANY of the actual game itself. All I remember was sitting in the middle of the room, and getting dumped on by slime!!!

If any of you are wondering, my slime was green applesauce. I remember that pretty clearly. (They used different slime all the time).

Next thing I know, I was in a back room with a shower so that I could clean up. But I'm 8, I don't know anyone around, and my parents and brothers were waiting for me outside, so I showered as quickly as humanly possible. Apparently, it was a little too quickly, cause the other vivid memory I have of the day was having hard, crusty, applesauce-smelling hair the rest of the day because I didn't wash it out good enough. Didn't matter. It was mark of coolness for the day.

Now, they did give me a fancy certificate that said 'I got slimed on Nickelodeon' or something like that. You think I can find it? Of course not. My one big accomplishment in life, and nothing to show for it. Sheesh.

Hope y'all enjoyed that sad excuse of a recollection of the single greatest event in my life. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating.

Have you ever done anything like get slimed/got on the news/been on a show when you were a kid?!?

I should probably point out that on that same trip, we drove down to watch the shuttle take off and also made it on the news. It was my 15 minutes of fame. People were star struck all around me. =]


Beautiful Blogger

Maybe when I'm a blogging veteran, blogger awards won't take over my posts. But for now, in my giddy school girl excitement, I am proud to display my awards...this is only my second:

Thanks to CA Girl for the nomination! Here are the rules:

1. Thank then link to the person that gave you the award
2. Pass this award on to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered & whom you think are fantastic
3. Contact said Blogs to let them know they've won
4. State 7 Things about yourself!
In no particular order.....

Okay, and now 7 things about myself:

1. I was slimed on Nickelodeon when I was 8.
2. I tend to use 12 words where 2 will do.
3. I heart Gerard Butler.
4. Singing is my passion, scrapbooking is my hobby.
5. I pick my wedgies when no one is looking. Or maybe when people are looking. You can't just leave it there.
6. Anyone who knows me know that I HATE fish. Due to a series of unfortunate events in my childhood, I have a very irrational phobia of them...or anything that lives in the water. I'm actually much better than I used to be. 
7. I can beat box. I learned vocal percussion out of necessity when I traveled in an all girl's Acappella group. I likely won't do it for you if you ask, but I promise I can!


Phat Tuesday

Can someone please explain to me what the big deal about 'Fat Tuesday' is?!?

Only once have I ever tried a Paczki  (in college) and I didn't get it. Tasted worse than a donut and worse for your body. I'd take a sour cream glazed donut from Tim Hortons ANY day of the week.

So, today I'm celebrating 'PHAT' Tuesday instead. With the help of my friend, Jillian Micheals:

That's right. I did it. I ordered '30 Day Shred.' Since I had to cancel my membership at the gym, I needed to find something I could do at home that would motivate me....who better than Jillian? I figure if she can change the life of one of my friends enough that he named a child after her, surely she could get my butt in gear! I actually got a great deal on Amazon for three of her DVD's (costing me 1/4 the amount of one month at the gym!!!):

I'm going to start with The Shred. I read a ton of reviews about it, and thanks to a fellow blogger, I was convinced to finally give it a try.

Well, let me tell you....I started Sunday morning, and I was surprised that I actually really loved the workout. It was simple movements, yet really intense. She switched it up enough that it goes by quickly, and it's totally doable. 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs.....times 3.  

I finished feeling refreshed after not having worked out in a few weeks. And the kicker was how unbelievable sore I was the next day. Like, WHOA. I got up early Monday morning and decided between my inability to move, and this funky thing I've got going on with my eye (it's been swollen shut the last three mornings, and leaking at night...WEIRD), and developing strep throat to where I can't swallow anything without severe pain, and the intense migraines I've been getting for a few days - I thought I deserved a break. But, I WILL be using this regularly. I WILL try this for 30 days. I'm totally pumped about it. And Jillian will be my new best friend if she can get me through this plateau and I could lose 20 pounds in 30 days....I'd be so close to my goal weight! =]

I just need to get healthy/feel better first.

Have any of you tried The Shred? There were mixed reviews about it, but I'm pretty sure if it's something you stick to, Jillian really knows her stuff! I'm interested to hear what you think!


A day late and a dollar short

I know the title makes you think this is yet another depressing post from me.

Not today. =]

Just wanted to recap my weekend with my perfect Valentine....a day late. And since we're broke, we didn't celebrate (a dollar short). The kids and I did make this sweet card for him:

 Please excuse the photo quality, this was taken from my camera phone.

We had a very low key day. Just like any other Sunday, really. Church, then lunch with friends (our one treat for ourselves and about the only time we go out to eat anymore). Then, cleaned the house in preparation for friends to come over for Rock Band, then some guitar playing and girl talk (those happened separately, btw). 

Also, thank you to everyone for all your prayers this week, not only for myself but for our dear friends as well. I have felt prayer and it's amazing to have this avenue to connect through prayer with amazing women I would never meet otherwise.

My little dude is feeling much better, praise God! And, I think it's finally safe to say......drum roll please.....HE'S OFFICIALLY POTTY TRAINED!!! I don't know which news I'm happier about!

Like Father, like son.

Hope you all had a fantastic Valentine weekend!!! XOXO


A series of unfortunate events

One step forward, two steps back.

That's how it goes, right?

Well, yesterday was my two steps back. My day just started out rough. I was awaken by a little dude who was ON FIRE with a temperature of 106!!! After going up and down with fevers for the last few days, I woke up the hubs to tell him he needed to get the little guy to the doctor. I wasn't able to go with him, because I was having my preschool Valentine's day party. After running late for work (of course) and getting the kids together, the hubs had to drop me off at work. Realizing that it had snowed overnight and the hubs should have been up bright and early to plow at the college, he ended up taking both kids next door to plow snow while I was at school.

So, I'm scrambled. I'm worried about my chum. My assistant and I were frantically getting things ready. She had a rough start to her day with a leak in her house. We were both not wanting to be there.

Then, one of my students came in with his grandmother. We welcomed him in and knowing that his mom was due any second with her third child, we assumed she must have been in labor since she was not bringing her son to school. After asking him 'Hey buddy, did you mom have the baby yet?' we were met with cautious eyes by the grandmother, who put her hand up to stop us. She leaned forward to tell us,

"The baby died. She delivered yesterday morning."

How gut wrenching. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had just seen her, in her pregnancy glory a few days prior, everything was fine. Emailed back and forth about the baby that week, sending her well wishes. Apparently, she noticed mid afternoon that the baby wasn't making any movement. The chord has wrapped around her neck and had knotted. They went to the hospital only to discover that baby had died, then had to deliver it naturally. She has two boys, and this was her third and final child...a girl.

She has been flashing through my mind constantly since. I can't even begin to imagine what she must be going through. This morning, I sent the grandfather with a lasagna and a card....but it felt so pitiful and insignificant. What can you do for someone who has just lost a child?

Needless to say, it was tough to get through the day. Then we had to take the dude to urgent care after school, only to get antibiotics (he's still been very sick today).

Pray for this family, that God will provide healing and peace that passes understanding for this horrific situation.


Answered prayers and a Scrapbook Event

Thank you to everyone for you kind words, and especially, your prayers.

The power of prayer is awesome. Within hours of asking for prayers, they were being answered. The hubs and I sat down and made a list of things we could do to save money and earn money. This is what we came up with:

Ways to Save Money:

1. Have the hubs stay home in the am on Tues/Thurs and work pm so we can cut out paying the sitter - The hubs is going to discuss this option as a temporary fix with his boss. This will save us apprx. $180 a month.

2. Possibly pull Faith from preschool and see if our dear friend would watch her along with our son (who she is already watching) - This is a last option, but it would save us upwards of $50-80 a month.

3. Ask the director for discount on Faith's tuition, after all....I AM the head teacher there - I will be discussing this option this week.

4. Call Student Loan providers and discuss repayment options - I did this thinking I didn't really qualify for anything, just wanted to see what the options were....turns out, they told me I could pretty much pay back whatever I want per month or not pay anything for a year!!! We dropped our $275 a month loan payment to $75 - saving us $200 a month!!! WHAT A BLESSING.

Ways to Earn Money:

1. Get another job - Last night, I applied for two jobs with Lifetime Fitness in the Child Care Center. This would be an answered prayer, because it's part time, I would never work past 9pm, the kids could come with me to work, AND I'd get a free membership....this would earn and save me tons of money!!

2. Sell some stuff - I am working on putting stuff together for a Mom2Mom sale. This week, we're going through our house and posting stuff on Craigslist to sell. And, I'm hosting a Scrap Swap on Feb. 27th (I just came up with this idea the other day....and I think it will be amazing. Even if it only makes me a few dollars, it's gonna be really fun.

(if you live in the Metro Detroit Area and are interested in this event, please let me know!!!)

God is good. Thank you for your continued prayers as we work on our financial situation.


Prayers Needed

I am asking for specific prayer today for 2 major things:

1. As most of you know, I lost an income at the beginning of the year when I quit my job. The hubs and I started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, which has been wonderful. HOWEVER, even though the last few weeks have been the most frugal of our lives, we still just can't cut it on what we make - it doesn't even cover bills right now. So my specific prayer is that God will provide us an opportunity to earn some extra income without having to sacrifice family (it's very hard when we only see each other for a few hours a few nights a week). I am going to put out some applications this week, I've been looking for anything and everything that I can sell in my house, we're talking about the hubs trying to work evenings a few nights a week so we don't have to pay the sitter while I'm teaching. It causes a lot of stress. There's no way around it...we can't just save money at this point. We have to make more money.

2. Tonight, I ask specific prayers for our dear friends. They're facing losing a job tonight as well, and I know they are worried about what the future holds. Ironically, this decision about his job effects our financial life as well (I won't give you the details, just know it's complicated). Through all this, we want to pray only that God's will is done.

Just knowing that people are praying gives you a certain amount of peace. So thank you.


Precious Moments

I was downstairs working while Faith was playing with her magnetic letters on the fridge in the basement. She strung all the letters together and shouted "Mommy, come look what I spelled."

Anxious, I walked over with her and said "Wow, that's a lot of letters baby, can you tell me what it says?"

After naming each individual letter (and number), she replied "It says, Love GOD with all your heart. Matthew 22:23"

How precious is that?!?!? Just FYI, the scripture is actually Matthew 22:37, but this proud Mama couldn't care less. =]


Bathroom Bliss

Since I know it will be quite awhile til I get my hands on redecorating my dining room and painting my bathroom, I'll just continue to daydream.
In searching for bathroom inspirations, I discovered a few things:
1. I am apparently pretty picky about bathrooms, cause I had a hard time being inspired
2. I could not find ANY bathrooms I liked that were in the orange family, so it makes me nervous to venture there.
3. Let's be honest, I have a tiny bathroom with mostly slate tile. Cute, but not much to work with. Basically,  just finding the perfect paint color.

Well, I'll let you be the judge. This is what my bathroom dreams are made of:
Someday, I will have a tub that I'll actually want to spend time in

Love the neutral colors and stripes. Oh, and that mirror.

Spa like effect. I realize this is not happening in my current house. 

I loved this. Simple. Doable. Serene.

I'm not usually drawn to 'everything white' - but these bathrooms are so peaceful and inviting.

This green theme came back up....I'm wondering if I should use the same color in the bathroom as in the dining room.

This is probably the most realistic for me...cause I have the same slate tile. I DO love the green....

I can't wait to change it up. Something fresh. Something calm. I'd soliciting any and all suggestions/comments. Here is a picture of my bathroom (I didn't want to add the eyesore here amongst all these beautiful bathrooms).

And, I will leave you with my very FAVORITE bathroom inspiration of the day: 
If this doesn't make you wanna melt into bathroom bliss, I might judge you a little bit.


My first blogger award

I received an award and Im sharing the sunshine!


I just received my first blogger award from my new friend @ A Daily Scoop of Chaos!
I'm super excited to share my sunshine! Thanks!

Now as a recipient of this award I now have to share it with some other fabulous bloggers.
Here are the rules:
- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 7 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

And the awards go to...

1.  Lucy @ Lucy's Life - One of the first blogs I followed, she has a great writing style, and always have something yummy cookin' up in the kitchen!
2.  My dear friend Katy @ The Travis Family Blog She's always a ball of sunshine, and has recently committed to some amazing frugal challanges
3. Lovely Lupie - My sweet friend from way back talks about her struggle with Lupus (among a billion other complications) and how she manages to stay strong and be a great mom/wife - what a woman! 
4. Room to Inspire - love love LOVE her style and all the cool things she comes up with!
5. My Husband's Watching TV - love her style, she always makes me laugh!
6. CA Girl - Another new blogger friend, her last post cracked my up!
7. Fitness: A Journey not a Destination - LOVE this blog and all it's inspirations...totally little everyday motivations

Share the Sunshine! =]


Dining room inspirations

Today has been a weird and long day for me.
So, I've been daydreaming to keep my mind off of other things...
I was looking at some dining room inspiration for my bland room:

My original idea was to use the dark chocolate brown I had left from my bedroom makeover to paint the one back wall.
However, my second thought is it might be too dark in such a small space. Because all the pictures I was drawn to looked like this:
and this:

And I've noticed I'm really drawn to this green color....
Hmm...the wheels are churning.
What do ya think?


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