Monday, December 29, 2008

Living Rich for Less

Here it is January 1, 2009! People all over the world are making assessments of their lives. How do they want 2009 to be different from 2008. How do they want to better themselves.
*Loose weight?
*Read the Bible through in a year?
*Have a daily quiet time with the Lord?
*Improve some character flaw?
*Eat healthier?
*Live greener?
*Consume less?
*Charge less?
*Pay down debt?
I have read a lot of diet and excersise books, more than I care to admit. They all have the same basic premise, Eat Less. Move More. If you follow those simple rules you will loose weight. There are lots of different combinations of food and movement that you can use to help you attain your goal. Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, The Zone, Curves, Nutisystem, The Biggest Loser Club, Prism, aeobics, biking, walking, running, pilates, yoga, swimming, eliptical...the list can go on and on. The key is finding one that you can live with to help you attain your goal. What works for you may not work for me. If you can't find something that you can live with, you will fail.

Welcome to the Living Rich for Less blog tour!
I just finished this book by Ellie Kay. Ellie Kay has lots of tips to help you succeed in creating a rich lifestyle. The principals in her book apply to the average american household making $48,000 per year.

So what did I learn reading this book? Our finances are not as bad as I thought, but they still need a diet and excersise workout.

I have been encouraged to really work on my grocery budget this year and to learn how to use coupons (Jamie, I might need a personal tutoring session) and to make our savings account a priority (we have really let this go).

Just like trying to loose weight, to change our finances is going to take work and sacrifice. Argh. Not looking forward to that. But I am looking forward to some financial freedom in the future. By our estimates it will take probably three years to attain the kind of freedom we want...just in time for Emma to start college.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

White as snow

Like much of the rest of the country we are covered in snow. We don't get all that much around here so when the white stuff comes we all take notice. It seems you either love it or hate it. I love it! I have a big ol' suburban that drives just fine in the stuff so bring it on.

Something about snow almost mesmerizes me. I love to watch it fall, like a peaceful blanket. I love how it muffles the harsh sounds of the world. And I love how it covers ugliness with it's perfection. That is until the kids wake up and stomp all over my perfectly manicured lawn with their snow boots and try their hands at snowmen, igloos, and snowball fights.

As I was sitting gazing out the window last night the old hymn 'White as Snow' kept running through my thoughts. My neighborhood is not the most beautiful so when snow comes down like this it covers all the ugliness. The cracks in the sidewalks, the dead grass, the empty flower barrels, the oil spots on the street, the leftover dead plants in my garden along with the rotten tomatoes, the leaves that didn't get raked up. It is all covered right now. Not only is it covered, but this time the snow was sparkly. As I watched it snow, with just the light from the street lamp, it shimmered and sparkled amazingly. I don't know if it was from the arctic winds that were blowing or what but it was beautiful to watch. It reminded me of diamonds glistening and made me think of the precious gift Jesus is, covering all our ugliness and imperfections. All the cracks, emptiness, spots, leftovers and dead places in our lives. It reminded me of how much I still need Jesus. How much I fall short. And only in Him will I be covered white as snow and be made perfect in His sight. What a great reminder just days before we celebrate the ultimate gift of Jesus. Jesus let is snow, let it snow, let it snow...on me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Running in place

I have been trying to come up with a good 'Works for me Wednesday' post. I got nothin'. Apparently nothing works for me this week.

I have had more time this week that I had planned on. We were already taking this week to finish up some school things before the break, and we did that on Monday (I thought it would take at least til Wednesday). So Tuesday and Wednesday have been baking and laziness. I feel like I have done a lot of nothin'. I am hoping to enjoy the next week (or two) to the fullest. Catch up on some reading and enjoying the cold weather outside while snuggled inside.
I have been chosen, accepted, asked, whatever, to do a little review of a new book that is coming out soon. It is called Living Rich for Less by Ellie Kay. I will be participating in a blog tour between Dec 29 and Jan 2. I am so looking forward to getting some great information and tools to start the new year off right. I have just read the first chapter and it looks like a great book written by and for a little ol' stay at home momma like me. Not the CEO of some big company wondering where to invest my millions. Just a simple momma wondering how to get a little more bang for her buck. Come by and check it out!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Meme

A little Christmas time questionnaire...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Definitely Hot Chocolate. Especially Ghirardelli's ground sweet chocolate from Cash & Carry

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa puts unwrapped gifts in stockings here.

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white?
Just white. This year Eli hung the lights. So they are a little...not so perfect ;o)

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but that would be fun!

5.When do you put your decorations up?
The day after Christmas. I am a big of a Scrooge.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

7.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think I was in 4th grade. That seems kinda old now.

8. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yep. We give the kids new jammies on Christmas Eve.

9. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Traditional Hodge Podge. Each one is precious and represents a memory or story. Lots of kid made ornaments.

10. Snow. Love it or dread it?
If it is going to be cold, I want snow. Otherwise I could do without.

11. Can you ice skate?
Definitely not.

12. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Pumpkin Pie

13. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
I enjoy giving much more than receiving.

14. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Carol of the Bells

15. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck?

16. Do you attend an annual Christmas party?
Not usually. Ron has a couple staff things we go to but that is all. Nothing fancy. Every year I think I would love to do this with friends though.

17. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's?
We wear semi-casual to church service and then into the new jammies.

18. Do you own a Santa hat.
Personally? No. But there are several around the house.

19. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
The past couple years we have decided to stay home. We invite all extended family to come if they want to play games and eat.

So play along! This is a fun easy post girls! I am especially tagging Kelly (because she is new and Beth so she will have something to post! But I would love all of you to post.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just in case I was bored

Along with the usual busyness that this time of year brings I have also found myself with a little part time job. After much talk, prayer, thought, prayer, talk, planning and such Ron and I came to the decision that it would be good for me to work a little. Things like the economy, our large family, and some not so wise decisions have led us to this point, so I go to work. And really if I have to go to work, it couldn't be any more ideal than this. I went back to work in the same preschool that I taught at several years ago when Emma was just heading into elementary school. The hours are perfect and very predictable, except for the occasional snow day. And I really do love working with preschool kids. I am hoping that with the Christmas break right around the corner I can get a good handle on the kid's schedule while I am gone in the mornings (just 3 days a week) to where hopefully the new year will start off smoothly.

It has made me realize how very blessed I am to have so much time with my kids. I love them so much and am so blessed to be their mommy and teacher. God is good in providing just what we need in a way that still honors Him and my commitment to my family. What a perfect reminder at this special time of year that God is the giver of all good gifts! ;o)

**Thank you Emma for another lovely blog layout. Your the best!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

This is the first time I have participated in WFMW. I am finding I need a little more help lately getting the to-do list done and managing my home and family. So I am looking for all the help I can get.

What works for me at Christmas is our tradition of giving 3 gifts to each family member. Each person receives a GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MYRRH gift.

The GOLD gift is one that either is the most costly or most desired by the recipient.
The FRANKINCENSE gift is a gift meant to help you in your walk with the Lord. We have bought devotionals, bibles, music, videos and such. Frankincense used in the temples as an act of worship to God.

The MYRRH gift is a gift for the body. We have bought lotions, soaps, clothing, and such for this gift. Myrrh was used in the burial process in bible times.

This gift process has made gift shopping much easier for our family while also helping us keep our eyes on the reason for Christmas.

The family also recieves gifts from siblings and exteneded family and friends, so don't feel sorry for our kids that they only get three gifts. ;o)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Christmas Budget

I don't know about you, but the budget is a little tight at our house. We are making adjustments to both what is coming in and going out. With Christmas right around the corner I am wondering if any of my bloggy friends have money saving tips? How are you spending money this Christmas? How are you pinching your pennies? What are you spending $ on and what are you giving up this year, if anything? I am curious on your Christmas spending perspectives ;o)

Although we know that God holds our future and that we should not be fearful, I think He also wants us to be wise about planning for the future. I want to be wise in 2009. Maybe that means I will have to start reading Dave Ramsey, who knows.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A little reunion

This past Sunday we had a wonderful reunion with some of the families that we traveled to China with two years ago when we adopted our youngest. It was so much fun to see all the girls and how much they had grown and changed.
Two years ago...

This past Sunday...

The bigger girls in the photo are siblings also adopted from China. I am so thankful that we have people in our lives who have gone down the same road we have. We can share in each other's trials and blessings. Ella has the benefit of knowing other families like hers. God is so good!