About Me

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Wife to Adam, mommy to Alexa & Adlee Grace, Christ follower, owner at NewSpring Church, lover of Clemson football, and all things monogrammed. Looking for ways to simplify, serve, and teach my girls what life is all about.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday...success or failure??!!

I didn't do much venturing on Black Friday...I had really planned to, but ultimately it just wasn't worth it! Lindsey and I originally planned to hit Gaffney @ midnight, however, there wasn't anything specific we wanted there, so after seeing the crowds, we thought better of it! Then she wanted to go to Target and Wal-Mart at 6 and 5 respectively, so I said I would go with her...again, in true Autumn fashion I fell asleep and when 3am rolled around I just couldn't motivate myself when I knew there wasn't anything I really needed or wanted! We did end up going back to Wal-Mart around 4 that afternoon, and the crowd was pretty much gone...it was still busy, but no busier than any other day. I got a few things, but once again, there wasn't much I really needed or wanted to buy.

How is your Christmas shopping going? I have to say, I honestly don't know what I should get almost everyone for Christmas, including Alexa. She has so many toys already, and there isn't anything she really 'wants' b/c she doesn't know to ask for things yet. I already know of one present she is getting, and it is so cute...I really can't wait!

I did however go CVSing on Thanksgiving...while I find it a bit odd to shop in Thanksgiving, I have to say the lack of a crowd was really nice! Jodi and I both got some GREAT deals! The whole concept of CVSing is new to me, but it's a great concept and a great way to save money. Most weeks they offer items that are free after ECBs (Extra Care Bucks) and we stocked up! Let me give you a run down of what I got...

1 Maybelline Mineral Makeup $8.99 Free after ECBs
1 L'Oreal Colour Juice LipStick $6.99 Free plus overage after ECBs and $1/1 coupon
1 Colgate Total $2.99 Free plus overage after ECBs and $1.50/1 coupon
2 Aussie shampoo and conditioner $2.99 (each) Free after ECBs

I also got some face wash $3.29 and blistex $2.19, neither of these were on sale, but there were necessary at the time, so this is how it all totaled up. My first transaction I got the first two listed above plus face wash and blistex...now normally if you are just starting out and trying to spend the least OOP (out of pocket) I would recommend splitting your transactions up into smaller amounts so you can flip your ECBs onto the next purchase. The reason I didn't do this was because of a $4/20 coupon I had that expired today, and I really wanted to use it. My first transaction came to $17.51, and then my second transaction included the toothpaste and the shampoo and conditioner, it came to $0.60! So, that means I spent a total of $18.11 and got a total of $31.23 in products with $17.86 left in ECBs to spend on my next purchase. So while I had a little more money OOP, I really only spent $.025 when you consider the ECBs I have left. So, while I spent a little more than desireable for OOP, for my first transaction I thought it was awesome...and since I plan to roll my ECBs on my next transaction and come out ahead again (with the use of coupons) I shouldn't have to pay anything other than a little tax from here on out.

So, how did you do on your Black Friday shopping? Did you score any awesome deals? If you did tell me about them, or head over to Money Saving Mom and post a link there for others to check out what you got. Happy shopping! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful

There are not words to express how thankful I am for everything God has blessed me with. I am thankful for Alexa, she is such a sweet child, and a constant reminder to me of how much God loves me. I am thankful for my family, I don't know where I would be if it weren't for them. I am thankful for a church like NewSpring where I can go and grow in my walk with Jesus, and where Alexa can learn more about Jesus and how much He loves her! I am thankful for my job...there are so many people who are jobless right now, and it's only by God's grace that I am not one of them. I am thankful for my home group, they are such awesome girls and I look forward to getting to know them better in the days to come. I am most thankful that God sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, and that I'm forgiven. What an amazing gift that way...we are all so blessed! As we approach this Thanksgiving season, what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Great way to Give!

I was reading here today and I couldn't help but to click on over and donate. I am such a shoe fanatic I can't imagine going a day without a cute pair of shoes, much less any shoes at all! I am so blessed to be able to give to others, and I hope in the future I will be able to give even more. So, take a few minutes and head on over to soles4souls and donate...I mean really, I know all of us have $5 we can spare to give the gift of shoes to another person. We are all so blessed, isn't it time we bless someone else?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look Out!

Tomorrow I am posting some new items in my Etsy store. Check back tomorrow afternoon to see what's new! I have several new journals that are soooo cute, and some new jewelry as well. Looks like my creativity is starting to come back, and I am definitely excited about that!

I also have a surprise up my sleeve next week...be on the look out for that!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Home Economist

As most of you know, I am a single mom, and I am doing my best to use everything God has blessed me with to the best of my abilities. My most recent endeavor thanks to Money Saving Mom is becoming a home economist. I have recently set up a budget after starting a study by Joe Sangl. My home group at NewSpring is participating in a 6 week by Joe on getting our money in order so we can live the life we were born to live. This is where my journey began...

After looking at my budget (and realizing just how TIGHT it is) I decided it was time to take action. My first step was to start the envelope system Joe recommends. The premise behind this is one my dad has always told me works...if you don't have the cash, you don't get to buy it! I think one problem the credit card, (or even debit card for that matter) creates is making spending easier. I don't know about you, but for me it is much easier to swipe my card than it is to break a $20 bill! Anything larger than a $20 I can pretty much hold onto forever. Ok, not FOREVER, but you know what I mean. I think twice about the frappe I want at Starbucks when I know I am actually going to part with the cash. This is where the rubber meets the road!

Since I started my budget on 10-31, I have only spent $$ on gas!! Just as an aside...can I say how thankful I am that gas prices are dropping so much! Ok, back on point...the best way I have of being accountable to myself for what I spend is by writing it down. I have my budget broken down into categories, and some stay in the bank (if I pay them online) and others come out into envelopes. When I spend $$ from an envelope, I write on it the amount I spent, and the date. Now, for the gas envelope I don't write down what it was for, but other categories that are a bit broader I do. Otherwise I look back at the end of the month and think, where did my money go??!! This way I have no excuse, I can see it in black and white. For someone like me, this is very helpful.

The next step I am looking into thanks to Money Saving Mom, is coupons, and bargain shopping. Crystal is beyond amazing! She feeds a family of 4, 3 meals a day plus snacks on $40 a week. Yep, you heard me right...and she doesn't only feed them ramen noodles either. If you need some ideas for how to save money I would definitely recommend heading over to her site...I was amazed by everything I learned. I have also started clipping coupons...so if you take the paper and don't use yours, PLEASE save them for me.

My budget is definitely helping me save my money because I can physically see where it is going. I know this might seem silly to some, but although I could see my spending online, it wasn't real like cash is. Spending my money on paper before I have it definitely opened my eyes, and now I am equipped to make the most of my money. So, after budgeting, envelopes, and coupons I am looking for other ways to stretch my $$. What do you do to stretch your $$? I would love to hear some ideas from other moms trying to take on the job of home economizing!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baby Weekend

Last night Walker came to stay with us, and as always A & W had a great time playing together. Granted it looks like a grenade went off in here today, but what is a little mess when it means so much fun for them! I tried to get them to clean up after themselves, but they are easily distracted. Alexa did clean up a few things after we got home, but most of the work is left for me. I guess that's what mommy is for...at least at this age :)

Mimi and Pop went to a football game today, and they aren't coming back until tomorrow. We didn't have anything else on the agenda for today, so when Jodi called this morning to discuss plans for W going home it made perfect sense to head to their house. After I did some laundry this morning we packed up and went for a little trip. A & W have so much fun when they are together, and it just seemed ashame to split them up so quickly. We ate a quick lunch when we got there, and then put both babies to bed.

While they were sleeping Jodi and I looked at a few things while we waited on the Clemson game to start, and then we watched that. I was sad that they lost, but since it's Bobby Bowden's birthday I was glad for him.

After the game we ate dinner, and then Jodi and I talked for a while. Baby names were a big topic today...I am so excited at the thought of having 2 new babies in the family. A & W are at such a fun age, but babies are wonderful too! Then we spent a few minutes downstairs planning the next custom t-shirts for A & W. I have to say that A's holiday shirt is going to be SOOOO cute! I can't wait for it to be ready...and for it to be time to wear a Christmas shirt! :)

We are back home now, and A was totally wiped out! I am getting ready to do a bit of straightening up before I head to bed. Can't wait for NewSpring tomorrow...it's going to be AWESOME as always! Hope you all had a great weekend and got to spend some quality time with your family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Digs

I just felt it was time for a change, and since it's autumn I thought this was PERFECT!

Can I just take a minute to say that God is SO SO SO good! I know that most of you already know that, and for those of you who don't, I would HIGHLY recommend checking into it. As we embark on the holiday season that is upcoming, I challenge all of you to examine your life and remind yourself of the things that are most precious to you. As you are thinking over these things, realize that God is ultimately the giver of everything we have. I am so thankful for everything He has given me!

With as busy as our lives are, and everything else wrapped up in the holidays I think we sometimes forget what it is really all about. I don't want to be guilty of that, and most of all I don't want to set that example for Alexa. I want her to always know what is important.

As I finish up my semester, and look into the new year, there are several things I am excited about. In 2 weekends I am headed to the beach with 3 great ladies...and I am SUPER excited about it! Lindsey and I have been friends since the sandbox, and as a result our moms are also close. Since we are all super busy these days, we don't get to hang out much...Linds your location certainly isn't helping this at all! :) So, in an effort to spend some time with just the girls, we planned a girls' weekend and we are all really looking forward to it. Great friends, great times, and great shopping in one of my favorite places...Charleston!

Shortly after that it will be time for my second fave holiday, Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for my family, and this is a time when our whole family comes together to celebrate and be thankful for all that God has done for us. I have the most amazing family, and I don't know what I would do without them. I really don't know how people function without a strong family behind them.

And just around the corner after that is Christmas! Which is my favorite holiday because it's the time when we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior. What could be better than that? We have really enjoyed the last 2 Christmas' with the babies, but this one is certainly going to be the best yet. Alexa is really starting to understand everything, and this year she will know what Christmas is all about! We have already talked about cutting a tree special for her room. She really liked the idea! I think we are also going to decorate a tree in the yard with popcorn and other things for the birds. She is also going to help me pick out gifts from the World Vision gift catalogue for our family members who don't really "need" anything. Not that any of us need anything! World Vision is a great way to give gifts for those on your list that have it all, they will be blessed knowing that their Christmas gift benefitted someone else, and someone much less fortunate will receive something that will change their life. It has been a favorite way to give for our family for years!

Then the new year will be here! I can't believe this year has flown by so fast. This time last year I was planning a trip to Hawaii. I feel like I just got back, and yet it's been almost a year!

Well, time to get back to my holiday planning, they are certainly sneaking up rather quickly! Do you have yours planned? What are your favorite holiday planning tips? I would love to hear them. I would also love to hear your favorite family traditions. We have already established a few since Alexa was born, but I am always looking for fun new things to try! Can't wait to hear what you have to say!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So long?

I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted last! I just don't have the time to keep up with the blog...and apparently there are also computer problems making it difficult. My camera doesn't want to upload my pictures to the computer. I'm going to try another option...but if that doesn't work I'll have to try again another day.

Well, no dice on the pictures for today...and I really don't have the energy to fight with this computer. It needs to have some work done on it, so hopefully when that happens it will work again!

In other news, let me catch you up on what's been going on with us.

We have all been pretty busy around here...Alexa has been taking dance for almost 2 months now and she absolutely LOVES it! I can't wait to go watch her when they have observation day next month. I am still in school, although not really sure where it is going at this point. I had a really hard time finding classes to take this semester that worked with my degree. So hard in fact, that I ended up changing my major. Well, this semester I'm having just as much trouble. I may end up tranferring again...something that I really DON'T want to do, but I also want to hurry up and finish this degree!

I have been focusing more of my time on Alexa, instead of telling the blog world about it. I love spending time with her, and so instead of talking about it, I've been doing it! That's one of the challenges of a single mom who works full time and goes to school full time. Both are certainly due to choices I have made, and I'm not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me, but it does make my time with her all more precious! So, while I apologize for my lack of blogging lately, I think the tradeoff is DEFINITELY worth it.

I am also becoming more involved with NewSpring. I have been volunteering doing check-in for the children's area since the Greenville campus opened in July...but now I have taken on a new role. The current series for the elementary school kids is a "spy" series where an actor (that's me) interacts with videos and the children. Certainly wasn't something I imagined on my own...but I have really enjoyed having more interaction with the kids!

I have also joined a home group for single girls, and so far I am really enjoying it! I have been to 2 different home groups, but this one is definitely the one for me. I can see some great friendships developing there! Right now we are studying financial freedom, and how to manage our money. You can imagine for a bunch of single girls this is certainly a challenge!

Well, it's time to put Alexa to bed...she is currently riding her tricycle around the circle of the den, living room, dining room, and kitchen. It's really pretty funny! She had Jerry guiding her for the first few rounds, and then she decided she could do it on her own! She is growing up so fast.

Have a good night everyone! Ok, here's one pic :)