Monday, March 25, 2013

My Mission Statement

It is....inspiring. Hence the name.
Kat has amazing resources, e-books and podcasts to encourage your walk with Christ and growth as a woman, wife and mother.

Not going to first impression was kind of an eye roll.
I remember spending an entire day of professional development last summer coming up with our school's mission statement.
Did I really need one as a mom?

But as I read the ebook, I saw the need.

If my main priorities in life (being a believer, wife, mother, homemaker and employee) really were priorities, then they needed a vision and a goal!

So definitely, go download her e-book and brainstorm your priorities and actions you will choose to do daily to grow in those roles.

I sat down this evening with pen in hand and got to work.

And here is what I came up with:

It's pretty darn wordy, and I know it will be tweaked over time.
But for now, it will help focus my oh-so-precious time and be a constant reminder of my purpose God has called me to do.

I plan to print this off and put it in areas where I need this focus
(my work area, home binder, etc.)

One thing I love that Kat mentioned is that our own unique mission statement helps us from comparing ourselves to others or that "perfect" mom we imagine. As we pray over our roles, God gives us a direct purpose that only we can do.

Have you made your own mission statement? Is it something you plan to do in the future?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Salad Dressing Wood Refresher

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share some Spring Cleaning tips.
{My house oh-so desperately needs it!}

I found this awesome tip from Pinterest (surprise!) and the original source is from here.
It is amazing!
2 ingredients you have in your kitchen cabinets can refresh the wood in your home!

Here's all you need:
Then, mix a rag into the mixture and rub onto your wood!

Let me show you the base of our living room coffee table.
After 5 years of basset hounds and a year of Levi, the wood was all scratched up.

After one coat of the "salad dressing", it looks nearly like new!
All the small scratches are gone and the wood looks conditioned and new!
I was so excited with the results, I went around and "refreshed" all the wood in our home!
Such great results for only pennies!

{Any spring cleaning tips you have to share?}

Saturday, March 23, 2013

DIY photo frame

I was perusing Pinterest today and came across a pin for an InstaFrame (frame for your instagrams).

Here's how I did it.
This was a $0 project for I already had the materials at home!

You'll need:
-A frame
-Jute twine
- Staple gun
- Mini clothes pins

My favorite place for empty frames isn't thrift's Hobby Lobby.
They often have them 90% off.
 Here's all you need:
 All you need to do, is flip the frame over. Measure the spacing you'd like for each row of pictures, and staple the jute into the frame!
So easy!

I love how the pictures are easily change-able!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The challenges of early rising {Maximize Mornings Challenge}

Now that Levi is older, and we are more set into our routines, it is time for me to make the most of my mornings.

Since in the past, I used to be up with Levi during the night, I would just wake up for the day when he would.

Now that I am not up all night (thank you Lord!), it is time for me to be back in the habit of earlier rising and making the most of that sweet time.

How early are we talking here?
It all depends on your schedule!
For me...Levi is usually awake around 8:30, so 7:30 will give me a good hour.
You need to have the kids out the door at 6?
Consider waking earlier, maybe around 5.
Start with an hour before the "day starts" and see if you have plenty of time to accomplish what you'd like.

Why are mornings important?

Whether you stay at home, work out of the home, or work from home... it's all true that once the family is up and running, the day easily gets away from us.
New things come up... new challenges arise...
and soon Plan A for the day has become Plan B.

The mornings, before the rest of the family is awake and no pressing responsibilities arise, you can have sweet peaceful time to be the best woman you can be for your family, and ensure a smoother day and a more calm spirit.

The Bible is also pretty clear on the importance of early rising.
If you do a simple google search on 'morning bible verses' there are many more than I realized!

My favorite one (and my inspiration)

I want the morning to set the tone for a day of joy and gladness.
This starts with time with the Lord.

What will I do with this extra time?

The first goal, should be spending quiet time in God's Word and in prayer and study.
I know for me, if it isn't done at this point of the day, it won't ever get done.
Once Levi is up, there are diapers to do, food to prep, a toddler to chase after, a home to clean, work to go to, etc...

So, first thing...find "your spot".
A spot in your favorite chair, your couch, make "your spot".

Have it equipped with your bible, pens, highlighters, a notebook, book of study, warm drink, etc.
But don't make it too comfy....otherwise you'll be right back to sleep!
Spend as much time as you are able praying and studying.
Listen to worship music on your iPod.
Help gain perspective on what is truly important on this blessed day.

So...I've finished my study time...and still have time...
What a huge blessing!

Here are my remaining goals when I have extra morning Mama time.
Go over my plans for the day.
See what I can do to be an extra blessing to my home or family.
{Extra load of laundry, a snack made, shirt mended, etc.}

I also prep for dinner
{chop the veggies, throw things in the crock pot}

disclaimer: I don't do this...but need to. Early morning is the perfect time to pop in an exercise DVD and start your day healthy.

 Resist the urge to get back in bed.
The best way to resist, is to make the bed as soon as you get out.
You'll be less likely to get back in, seeing how pretty it is. (at least for me!)

If you need to...take a nap when the kids are napping.
And adjust your bedtime so you are getting enough sleep.

Pretty soon, your breakfast date will be awake and your day will be off and running!

 A great additional resource is at Inspired to Action.
Kat has a free e-book all about Maximizing Your Mornings that you can get if you sign up for her email newsletter! It is great!

So ladies, do you maximize your mornings? Have any great tips? Or are you attempting to make a change and make the best of that sweet time, like I am?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easy Plastic Storage Makeover

So, this is something so simple, I debated even sharing it.
But thought...why not!

I've had to recruit some extra storage from around the house to meet my expanding needs for my sewing materials.

I promise there is a method to my madness, but the standard clear-ish bins weren't too nice on the eyes.

How'd I do it?
Easy peasy.
Then added....
 I am way obsessed with everything chalkboard.
Now that I have awesome chalk pens, I have had way too much fun.
I've seen tutorials on plastic storage makeovers that involve modge podge or other messy, permanent solutions.

It's perfect how the scrapbook paper perfectly fits in the groove. Easy, and easily changeable.

What do you think?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I heart washi tape

So, I've seen washi tape on Pinterest, and it had sparked my interest for awhile.

Well, today at Michael's, it was 50% off, so I snagged two packs.

You can do some many awesome things with it!

For those of you who haven't tried it yet...washi tape is a japanese tape that comes in all sorts of colors and patterns. It is re-positionable and you can write on it.

Within an hour of returning home with said product, I had "transformed" many items.
The thing I love is that it isn't permanent. It feels right off. So you can't really go wrong!

Here are 5 things I did with my washi tape to add some color and added organization to my craft area!


Are you a washi tape addict?
What creative things have you done with it?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Simple Ribbon Storage

This may not be a genius idea....but it is for me. Haha.
I was re-arranging some things in our family room and found that I had a round glass vase with no current purpose.

Then I recalled I had several pretty spools of ribbon to store on my sewing table.
Ba da bing, ba da boom.


 Isn't it so cute and colorful?
Perfect for a craft room or sewing space!

Do you have any great craft storage tips?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reorganized Sewing Area

So, with my Etsy business growing, it was time to re-evaluate my work space.
This space is in the corner of our family room, so if I am sewing or working on something, I am right there with my family.

We are on Spring Break this week, so decided to tackle this project and have my work space meet my current needs.

Take a peek...

This little desk top organizer is fabulous. It keeps everything I need within arms reach 
{scissors, pens, seam ripper, tape, pins}
yet, out of Levi's arm reach.
Yes, we are definitely at that phase, folks.
 The desktop organizer and cute little "things" jar were from Michaels.
To the left of my sewing table, I hung my homemade cork board.
I thought this would be perfect to highlight recent projects and fabrics.

Above my desktop organizer, I have a little white dry erase board to keep a list of my projects and people to contact.
The boxes contain my iron I use as well as fabric scraps.

 Inside the sewing table got a complete overhaul.
The built in little cubbies on the doors now hold my shipping supplies.

For my fabric, I followed a little Pinterest trick and took cardboard and wrapped all my fabrics around them.
It looks so organized now!
The blue basket contains more fabric scraps.
 All done! 
Now just have to get all my projects done!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I heart Dave

So, I know I am totally late in this game.
But I am totally lovin me some Dave Ramsey.

Mr. Free and I have been taking a hard look at our budget and making some big changes.
And this week, I borrowed a copy of The Total Money Makeover and can hardly put it down.
I'm half way through and clinging to each word!

Mr. Free and I have always been pretty responsible financially.
We have avoided consumer debt.
Our only debt is our home and my graduate school.

But I want to change that.
I would love us to be completely debt free.

Here are some changes we have made:
Cash only
We had done this for a long time, but finally we put the credit and debit cards away so they aren't even close.... so no temptation!
Meal planning
Again...have done this before, but now am organized about it...planning 2 weeks at a time and only going to the store twice a more impulse purchases!
Allowing fun
Before, we had put all our money to bills or savings, but we would become frustrated.
Now we have a tiny bit budgeted for us to live a little, but still stay on the course.

To get my student loan paid off
We currently have our Emergency Fund built up, so what is left at the end of the month can go toward that debt.
My Etsy store profits are now going to be going toward paying off that debt too!
I'm praying God uses that extra income to continually bless our family!

Either pay off our current home, or save up a considerable down payment for a future home
The more I think about it, the more content I am in our current home.
Yes, it's small.
No, it's not in the most desirable community.
However, God has placed us here.
It more than meets our needs.
It is close to everything we need.

We don't need granite, a 3rd garage, more toilets to scrub and crown molding.
We need financial peace.
We need to be able to bless our family and others around us.

Who has taken the challenge toward a debt-free life?
We tips and tricks do you have to add?
I am all ears!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You Are Richer Than You Realize...

I am richer than I realized.

Mr. Free and I have been on a quest to be wise stewards of our money.
We have been budgeting down to the cent each month in order to pay off debt and build our savings.

Through out the years, Mr. Free and I have been blessed to always make it financially.
Times have sure been lean.
Often from circumstances, and some with mismanagement of the funds we had been given.
But we've always paid our bills and always had full stomachs.
We often went without our "wants".
Heaven forbid.

I often would whine that we are "poor" to close friends and family.
I didn't get to shop freely each weekend.
We couldn't go out to dinner every week.
Only Netflix.

I felt so deprived.
Sad, huh?

Maybe you've seen it before?

You insert your yearly income and it shows you where you rank financially amongst the world population.

Keep in mind:
I teach part time
Mr. Free is a teacher
We have student loans
We have a small home
We don't have cable

Here's how we ranked:
The top 0.95%.

That sure puts some things in perspective?

I often get caught up in the "American-Keepin-Up-With-The-Joneses-Dream".
I want the McMansion.
I want a new Mac laptop.
I want a new car.
I want, I want, I want.

But even though our home is small.
Our cars are used.
We have one small bathroom.
We buy many things used.

We are so, so rich.

Yes, compared to the people in the suburb next to us, we may live "lean".
But globally? We are so blessed.

I am so thankful for our jobs, educations, our home and vehicles.
I am so thankful for how the Lord has provided for us during each season.
I pray for wisdom in managing what He has blessed me with, so that I may in turn be a blessing to others and glorify Him.

I pray that my perspective will remain on my blessings and not dwell on my wants.

I love the book of Proverbs, and lately these verses have been on my mind:

 give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.
{Proverbs 30:8b-9}

Thank you Lord for providing just what we've needed.

Did you try the calculator?
How did you rank?