Wednesday, May 29, 2013

learning to live life unplugged


So, this post is written to me.
If you happen to glean anything from it, that's just a bonus.

Background:
I love technology.
(but not as much as you, you see).

But seriously. 
I love me some gadgets.

I love my iPhone.
I love my iPad.
I love my Macbook.
iHeart them.

But....it's becoming a problem.
I'm always on my phone.
There is always someone to text, a facebook status to write, a pin to "pin" and a blog to write.
I love current events, socializing and learning new things.
And my phone helps me do that to the max.
I love it for that.

It records videos of my sweet little boy.
It contains my recipes that I use often.
It tracks my weight watcher points.
It gives me directions to a new place.
It tells me anything I need to know via Google.

But it's a time waster.
It's a life sucker.

Have you had those moments where you are driving somewhere and realized you left your phone at home?
And you panicked?
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Yeah, I've had those.
And miraciously, I survived to tell about it.

But as I strive to live simpler, and enjoy a more quality life, I've realized I have to unplug.

Multi-tasking with my technology in hand is robbing with of the true moment.
I am now putting some restricitons on my technology time.
They include:
 
 Because it's at the point, that I think if Levi were to draw a picture of his Mama, it would include a phone in her hand.
Not cool, mama.

So I have to remind myself
 So I am vowing to unplug just a bit.
Technlogoy is a part of our everyday life, but in order to live my life to its fullest and most joyfyl, I have to learn to unplug.
 Is anyone with me?
Anyone else addicted to the iLife? (phones, ipads, laptops)
How have you beaten the technology addiction?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

books to grow as a christian woman, wife & mother


I'm a reader...but a very particular reader.
I only like to read non-fiction.

Particularly non-fiction that benefits myself, my family or my home.

I like to learn.
I like to better myself.

So for Mother's Day, Mr. Free & Levi gave me a big ol' stack of books.
I've started most of them so thought I would pass along some recommendations.
I am also going to recommend some tried and true books I have loved and read over the years.

All of these books are encouraging in my walk with the Lord and are applicable to whatever season of life God may have you in.



We read through this while we were engaged.
A good read understanding how you feel loved, and if you are in a relationship, how your partner feels loved.
A good, eye-opening read on relationships.

I love this book.
It isn't a christian book, however, so note that as you read.
But the basis of this book is fantastic.
I loved the tips that are shared on how we all need to slow down and simplify our lives with our children.
I highly recommend it...just be forewarned on the worldly view that it is evident during some parts of the book.

I fell in love with this book in college.
I was (is) obsessed with Mrs. Proverbs 31 and this book breaks down each verse.
It is daunting, and at times may seem unrealistic, but it is fabulous.
I was unmarried at the time and gleaned so much.
I have re-read it many times during changing seasons and find new application.

I love anything by Elizabeth George.
Many of her books have a similar theme, but are grounded in scripture.
This book is great on prioritizing what is important during busy seasons of life.

I read this book while really struggling with anxiety.
It is a great, encouraging read whenever life is a bit challenging.

 This book is very similar to Beautiful in God's Eyes, but with a different format.
It isn't solely based on Proverbs 31, rather using the entire Bible for helpful insight on what it means to be a godly woman.
 OK, I may be tarred and feathered, but this book isn't my favorite.
People are in LOVE with this book, but I can't say that I am.
I am, however, in love with her insight.
I just found the book to be a bit too detailed and wordy.
I love her premise of looking for the blessings in each day and to be grateful for all life's simple gifts.

This book is divided into 40 tiny chapters.
Perfect to read one a day before bed or with your daily devotional.
This is a very practical, easy read on how to make each day flow and be intentional as you raise your children for the Lord and manage your home.
Love this.


 This book is amazing.
My favorite mothering book by far.
Sally Clarkson has such an amazing heart for motherhood, that it is completely contagious.
The way she describes this important role of mothering completely affects your outlook on even the littlest tasks in child rearing.
It is convicting and inspiring.
Definitely read this.

This book is interesting.
It is about how our homes are the most important place on earth.
How they should minister to our family, brothers and sisters in Christ and the community.
The truly interesting thing about this is that it is written by a man.
He talks a lot about his childhood home and how it was a loving, nurturing place.
He takes those memories and applies them to his own home and how we can as well.


This book is a must-read no matter what season of life you are in.
I wish I would've read it sooner.
If you are in a relationship, read it together.
Make financial commitments together.
It truly makes a huge difference in your overall well-being.

So that's my list.
What would you add to your must-have books to help you grow?

Monday, May 27, 2013

celebration


Running this tiny little business has been a tremendous blessing to myself and my family.
I have learned a lot.
I've been learning new techniques and items to sew.
I've been learning how to manage a business.
I've been learning how to advertise and manage graphics and a brand.
I've been learning how to balance my time.

My family has been blessed through this venture.
It has been able to help us financially when times have been lean.
It has allowed me to bless my family with a few "wants" along the way.
It has helped me bless my home with handmade items to decorate it frugally.

It has been a tremendous creative outlet for me.
I love fabrics, and I love creating.

Thank you to each and every one of you that have supported me. Whether as a customer, admirer, Facebook friend or prayer warrior.

I sincerely thank you.

To celebrate this accomplishment, I have a few goodies for you!
This week, through the 31st receive 15% off your entire order with coupon code: 1YEARCELEBRATION



So thank you again, and I hope you snag a few deals this week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Fun Weekly Activities Calendar + {free printable}

I also included some great ideas for toddlers and young kiddos!

Basically, each day of the week we will have a themed activity in the mornings.
I thought to help keep things organized, to make a printable weekly calendar.
I'm going to print it, put it in a plastic sleeve and put on the fridge.
Then each week, I can write our activities with a dry erase marker.
This is perfect if you have reading kiddos so they can see all the fun in store for them for the week!

So go ahead, right +click that image and print it off for yourself!

{2.5 days til Summer Break!}

Thursday, May 16, 2013

daily count your blessings {with free printable}



I am currently reading this book

It is a fantastic book.
Mr. Free and Levi got me a huge stack of books that I had been wanting for Mother's Day.
This was one of them and I've been making it a point to read each evening before bed.

This book has 40 chapters, but each are only a couple of pages.
It makes it easy to digest and she gives so many great ideas.

One of the suggestions Jamie has in her book is to record your steady blessings.
That each day you {and your kids} simply reflect on the blessings that that day held.
I love this idea.
It helps our families focus on how blessed we are.
It helps us see how the simple things are truly magnificent.

I highly suggest that at the end of the day, simply write the blessings you had that day.
I guarantee it will begin to change your perspective and you'll start to see the joy in the little simple blessings we so often ignore and miss.

I made a free printable that you can simple right-click, save and print.





I highly encourage you to add it to your Personal Growth Binder and take the time to really reflect on the ways God has blessed you.
Imagine the impact it will have on your children, your spouse and others.

So at the end of a long day, pull out your sheet and a pen, light a candle, sip a warm drink and reflect on how good God was today.

Do you take the time to reflect and count your blessings each day?
I know I am purposely going to be making this a habit.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Creating A Summer Routine



Summer vacation is officially 7 days away.
{But who is counting...right?!}

As I've mentioned previously, both Mr. Free and I are teachers.
That means 11 weeks of family time.
I.cant.wait.

Before the Little One came along, summers were pretty aimless.
Sleep in.
Go shop.
Grab a Starbucks.
Take a nap.
Maybe a chore or two.

Now that Mr. Levi is around, and I see just how precious each moment is with him.

No more mindless shopping.
No more random Target trips.

Why?
Because a routine is best for my child, and myself.
Being at home will help me with contentment in not wanting more.
Being at home will help me be a blessing to my family.
Because it will help me live at a slower pace.

I decided to take our normal schedule and tweak it for the summer.
Now...I've rephrased it.
It is our "routine" as opposed to a "schedule".

Summer is meant to be laid back.
Summer needs flexibility.
Summer is fun.

So, instead of a certain time each day an item needs to be done...it is just a general routine.

Here is how ours is currently looking.


My goal is to make memories.
To be intentional.
To enjoy each moment.
To be flexible.
To relax.

Mamas, if you are going to be home this summer with your littles...I encourage you to put some thought into creating your own routine!

Think about the non-negiotables each day (meals, naps, bedtime) and then plan some fun interactive and independent play time in there! May as well sneak in a little learning too!

Make sure to leave some room for yourself. Wake up early before the kids and start your day off with your Bible and some quiet.

During naptime, take a nap yourself! Read a book! Savor those moments!

Plan fun outings that you and the kids will always remember. There are fabulous day trips that can cost next to nothing!

For some of you, summer doesn't look a whole lot different than any other season.
Work is still the same, kids routines are still the same.
But why not add a little summer fun?

Maybe stay up a little later than normal and catch fireflies in the backyard.
Treat the kids to ice cream from the ice cream truck after daycare.
Build a fort in front of the TV and watch a movie.

There is something magical about summer time.
I can't wait.

P.S. I have a great idea for budgeting activities for your family for the summer. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

learning to let go


I'm going to give you a little peek into how my mind works.
Proceed with caution.

I'm not a naturally organized person.
I don't enjoy cleaning.
{I do enjoy the affects of such efforts though!}

I have many-a-times beat myself up for not being Perfect Mrs. Susie Homemaker.
I try, I really do. 
But it's not natural for me.

I have my chore chart and try my darndest to stick to it.

But sometimes, this situation comes up.

Levi is playing in the playroom, and I know I need to sweep and mop all the floors.
I have a choice to make.

Do my chore...or play with my son.

Sometimes I choose one, sometimes I choose the other.
Both bring guilt.

I beat myself up if I don't check off everything on my to-do list for the day.
I put myself down for being such a poor homemaker and wife.

If I have completed each and every task, I have crazy Mama guilt.
Those were precious moments I could've spent snuggling my son, chasing him, etc.

Both mindsets aren't healthy.

I'm learning to simplify and let go.


I take my role as homemaker, mother and wife seriously.
Keeping my home as a safe, healthy, comfortable haven is important.
But at what expense?


I have to change my mindset.

It is OK.

It is OK to skip mopping today to chase Levi around the dining room table.
It is OK to show Levi how to load the dishwasher.
It is OK to let Levi stay up a few extra minutes to finish watching his beloved Elmo.
It is OK to fold that laundry tomorrow when Levi wants Mama to push him in his car.
It is OK to have Levi help him "dust" the furniture.


So I'm ridding myself of the guilt.
I am going to enjoy each and every precious moment with my son, husband, family and friends.
At the end of my life, on my deathbed, will I really regret not scrubbing the bathroom floor in 2014.
No.

I'm simply letting go of the non-essential things.


 So, if you come to my house and my kitchen looks like this

and my family room looks like this
I'm going to welcome you into our well loved home,
offer you a cold drink
and not apologize for how things look.

**********************************

Anyone else ever struggle with this balance?
Whether it is work and family, chores and family?
How have you found a balance?

*******************************************

Monday, May 6, 2013

summer fun ideas for toddlers



2.5 weeks until summer!!!!
YAY!!!!

Our little family is very blessed during the summer.
Mr. Free and I are both teachers, so that means our little family of 3 have 2.5 months of quality time together!
We may not make much money (though the Lord has provided for our every need and many wants!), our time together is absolutely priceless!

With this soon freedom, I knew I wanted to generate some fun ideas to make some memories!

I found this schedule on Pinterest and thought it was a great idea!

Here are some ideas for the different days!

Monday













Tuesday
Water Table
Cozy coupe outside
Dog Park
Zoo
Sand box
Pool
Splash Park
Hike in woods

Wednesday
Help mommy with dinner and special dessert

Thursday
Local library storytime
Pottery Barn Kids storytime

Friday
Zoo
(we have zoo passes, so will do this a lot!)
Pool
Splash Park
Baseball game
Farmer's Market
Mall Play Place (for too hot days)
(or Chick Fil A, McDonald's Etc)
Kids Movie Matinee
Visit local ice cream shop
Visit local dairy farm

We also hope to do a little mini camping trip as a family.
It may just be in the back yard
(or may get adventurous and try and actual camping adventure!)

So we have lots of different options of fun and low-cost things to do.
This schedule will really help us maximize and make a low-stress summer for our family!

What's on your summer bucket list?
Anything you'd add?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

DIY alphabet wall art


This project takes next to no time and for hardly any money.
It would be perfect in a nursery, toddler/preschoolers room or a playroom!

All you need is:
Color printer
Scissors
Washi tape (optional)
Pins
Corkboard (optional)

I knew I wanted to add some more art over Levi's crib.
The past prints he had hanging were too low and he would swing them and tear them down while he was in his crib.
(And yes...our walls took a beating!)

And for some reason I was on a big alphabet kick and decided to do a little educational wall decor.
I googled and googled alphabet printables and first found this one and fell in love.
Totally adorable and I loved the vintage vibe of it.
However....it had too much pink.
Too much for my little man's room.
Sad day.

So, I continued my googling and pinteresting (not sure that those are proper verbs..)
and found these printable flash cards

I liked their simplicity, colors and rounded corners.
So I printed them off and got a'cuttin.

After they were all cut out, I tried to figure out how I wanted to arrange them on the wall.
My first thought was to simply tape them up with Washi tape for a casual look.
But I wasn't completely diggin it.

Then I thought about hanging them in an empty frame clipped to jute twine like my photo display in the living room.

 But I didn't have a frame that would be big enough...

 But I did have a cork board!
 I like the simple look of it.
I simply pinned all the letters to the board.
They fit perfectly!
 The wall definitely needs a bit more to it. It looks kind of bare.
I'm thinking of hanging Levi's HammerPress post cards on either side.

But I am very much enjoying the colorful and fun alphabet with that playful  banner over his crib.
{And I know it's up kinda high, but it's that way to be out of his reach!}

What do you think?
Have any frugal wall decor you've found lately?