Monday, December 20, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

You might or might not have heard this version of the 12 Days of Christmas. It isn't a song. It's a story. A true story. For me, it's THE REASON I celebrate Christmas. I believe every word to be true. It's contents are pulled from my "guide for life" The Bible. I encourage you to take a minute to read this...even if you have read it before. It's a GREAT reminder of what Christmas is all about: not gifts, not money, not decorations, but it's about our precious, gracious Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST and everything He has done for us! I serve one amazing God who sent his ONLY son (imagine...having a child only to KNOW He will die one day) to die for my sins! And this Christmas... I plan to give Him great thanks and worship Him like never before.


On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
A Partridge in a Pear Tree.

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Two Turtle Doves

The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Three French Hens

The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Four Calling Birds

The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Five Gold Rings

The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Six Geese A-laying

The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven Swans A-swimming

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Eight Maids A-milking

The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Nine Ladies Dancing

The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Ten Lords A-leaping

The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Eleven Pipers Piping

The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Twelve Drummers Drumming

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Friday, December 17, 2010

O Christmas Tree

I thought I would share some of our Christmas decor and traditions with you. As you will see... we went with minimal decor due to the fact that I have a VIBRANT, CURIOUS one year old roaming my house from 8 am - 8 pm everyday.

So we had to "trim down" our decorations for this year...oh who are we kidding...we will have to "trim down" for the next 10 years probably until all of our kids (present and future) are old enough to know what NOT to play with and touch! :)

I call my tree "Whimsy." I like bright greens, red, silver and gold. I have a hodge podge of ornaments. I don't really have a "theme" I like it that way. I buy random ornaments all the time but most always they fit in the "whimsy" family. If I had to choose a decor that's my fave... I would pick "The 12 Days of Christmas." I love it. I have several books, other decor and ornaments. I do have one set of ornaments that isn't whimsy. I got them in 2006. They are from House of Hatten designed by Denise Calla and made in the 80's. They are definitely a vintage item that I will cherish forever and pass down to my children. The no longer make them and you can only find them on Ebay and other auction sites.
11 years ago my mom began giving me a Hallmark Snowman ornament and those are VERY special to me. Each one is a snowman with a different animal on it (fitting for this animal lover? I think so!)
A tradition that my mom used to do for me, that one day I plan to do for Addison, was 12 Days of Christmas gifts. Starting on the 13th she would give me a small gift everyday. It would just be some chapstick, an ornament, lotion, pjs, fingernail polish, etc. Just a small gift. But OH how I looked forward to that. It was so much fun. She started doing it when I was about 16. I plan to start it for Addison when she is about 5. I want her to understand all about the 12 Days of Christmas (post to come on that Monday).

I have my Waterford 12 Days of Christmas crystal champagne glasses out as decor (brave I know). I also have some 12 Days glasses, plates, mugs, napkins and table runner. So yeah, I guess that's my thing :)

ALM's pink tree in her room!

My mantle. I do a little something different every year!

Living room pillows.

Pillows in the sitting room.

Our new tree. We are a fake tree family. Our old one was just too small and skinny! We upgraded!

Some of my favorite ornaments!!! We have one from our honeymoon to St. Lucia. The one with a picture from our wedding. I love sock monkeys. Noah's ark. Two owls. Family snowmen. NOEL. One of my Hallmark snowmen. House of Hatten 12 Days "7 swans a swimmin'".
The sled my MawMaw and PawPaw (both are gone to be with Jesus) game me for Christmas when I was about 10).

Our dining room display! My 12 days glasses. The nativity is the same one from my childhood. I loved it so my mom gave it to me this year. It is as old as me (28)!

My Waterford 12 Days of Christmas crystal champagne glasses. (Yeah I am still missing 2. They came out this year-hopefully a present in my future).

Front door: the wreath I made for mine and Adam's 1st Christmas as husband and wife!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trans Siberian Orchestra

A Christmas tradition my mom and I started four years ago after I stumbled upon an amazing orchestra... continued this year!

This past Saturday my mom and I went to Birmingham to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you haven't heard their music... RUN (do not walk) and download some of their music NOW! And next year... GO to a concert if they come near you. I am telling you, it's the best show I've ever seen. I mean best concert, play, musical... it beats them all. It's crazy good.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a rock opera. I am telling you... your husband, your kids, your parents, your friends, anyone... would love it! These are the most talented artists I have ever seen in person. The whole show is breathtaking and SURE to get you in the Christmas spirit. I'm actually jamming to it as I write this post.

It's a new way to enjoy Christmas music. I start playing their music in my car December 1 and don't stop until Christmas is over. It's so unique and different from any other Christmas music you have heard. I guarantee you that. You can get a little sample of their music and the show here. I HIGHLY recommend you go check them out.

You can download their music on iTunes. Some of my favorites are: Faith Noel, Queen of the Winter Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, A Mad Russian's Christmas, Good King Joy, Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24, Boughs of Holly.

Here is a YouTube video of a TSO song that someone synchronized with their Christmas lights on their house. ENJOY!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Budget Talk

In February 2009, we kind of revamped our budget because we found out we were pregnant!

In March 2010, we totally revamped our budget due to some financial "surprises."

In August 2010, we fully committed to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

So I think the questions most of you had in this post was just general info about our budget. any tips I have, grocery shopping, etc.

I am going to attempt to be as open as I can about our budget without sharing too much about my hubs salary.

The first thing I need to say is, we have no car payments. Why and how?? Well, when I started dating Adam (summer 2006) I was driving a 2004 Toyota 4-Runner. It only had like 15,000 miles on it. That fall, I traded it in on a 2005 used Nissan Altima with 55,000 miles on it. I actually got the car out right and made money back on it and used that money to pay off a credit card I had run up. Before we got married, Adam traded his car in on a truck. Looking back even he admits that was a bad decision. Well, he drove that truck and made about a $350 car payment for almost 2 years and then he got a job where they give you a company car. We kept the truck for almost a year after he got the job. It sat in our garage and was hardly EVER driven. So in March of this year, we sold it! God blessed us SO in that area. We sold it ourselves and got what we asked for it. So that is the story of how we have no car payment.

The next thing I need to share is, we SACRIFICED! My precious husband had a PAID FOR ski boat. He loved that boat (and so did I). But with a new baby (and hopefully 2 more in the future) we knew we wouldn't be on a ski boat for a while. And without me even asking or pushing, he suggested we sell it. And again, God opened up a door and we got what we asked for it. HE is so good. We used that money to pay off credit cards.
Last summer was the first summer that I can remember EVER that I didn't get to visit the beach. But that was just one more sacrifice that we were willing to make to get out of debt.
My hobby is shopping. It brings me great joy (sad I know). It came to a screeching halt. I learned to get my "fix" from grocery shopping. I am sure people think I am nuts when I say I am excited about going grocery shopping, but it's like a drug addict getting a high... shopping is my high :)
We used to eat out 3 or 4 times a weekend and after adding it up... we were spending $200 + a month eating out... that had to stop. So we went to eating out once a weekend. That is our "treat."

I had felt convicted for a long time about not tithing. And apparently so had Adam even though we never really talked about it. In April 2010 we began tithing our 10% because we wanted to be faithful to our God who had blessed us so much. we both felt very strong about tithing off of what Adam MAKES and not what he brings home. I am not saying that is what is required. I am just saying that is what WE felt like was right for us. And I can't begin to tell you the blessings God has bestowed on us since we began being obedient to what he calls us to do in the Bible.

Grocery shopping is different for us. We set a budget every 2 weeks. And I get cash out and keep it in an envelope. When that cash is gone... then we have to eat whatever is in our house (which is what we are doing this week). Adam gets paid the 1st and the 16th so we budget every 2 weeks for everything. We believe it's important to "rebudget" every two weeks because different things come up all the time...birthdays, doctor appointments, dog stuff, haircuts, etc. Sometimes our grocery budget varies but for the most part, it stays the same every two weeks. I go on one BIG grocery trip and then usually have to go get break and milk and a few other things once or twice. I do use coupons. I signed up for "Southern Savers" and "". I will be honest though, I am not GREAT at it. Sometimes I forget them, or sometimes the coupons just don't "fit" with what I will be buying. I know some of you won't agree with this but I do all of my grocery shopping at Walmart. The prices are by far the cheapest in my town and it's the closest to my house. It's just one stop shopping and with a one year old that is NECESSARY!

There are still some areas we could "trim." Like cable and cell phones. But for now, we are ok without having to trim them. If the time comes, we will gladly do that. We do both have a gym membership that we pay monthly for. I have considered giving mine up but I am afraid if I do that I won't ever workout at home. So for now we are hanging on to those.

What we have taken most from FPU is that if we want something or want to go somewhere, we save to do it. Which requires us to know plans WAY in advance. So that we can save how ever long it takes to be able to go on a trip or buy Addison something BIG. We believe we have established a way of budgeting that is best for our family. Are we following everything Dave Ramsey says to a T?? No. But we are putting things into place where we hope that soon, we will be able to. We were doing NO saving before Dave and we weren't even thinking about retirement, etc. Now we are. It's going to be a LONG process of getting where we want to be... but we are working on it.

I will be honest... when we decided I would stay at home... I had it pictured different. I pictured lots of lunch dates, taking ALM shopping and out and about. In reality... we stay at home, we play outside, we go on walks... that's what our budget allows right now. And I feel so blessed to be able to stay at home. I have my bad days of wanting to "go and do" but then I snap back into reality and remember all that God has done for me and my family so that I can be home with Addison and I am so thankful.

That ladies, is my budget info. If you have specific questions, leave them in a comment with your email and I will be glad to email you back and answer you as openly as I can. Or you can always email me.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Staying at home

When I wrote a post on how I was struggling to find material to blog about, you kind readers gave me some suggestions and so I wanted to FINALLY get to talking about some of the things you inquired about!

Mrs H said...
I'd love to hear more about what you've learned from having ALM. What your routine is like, how having a child has changed your life, just about what you're up to in general. Also, how you have been creative with your new budget. I would be interested to read all those things.

Since having Addison I have learned so much. I have learned so much about being selfless. Bringing her into this world taught me so much about things I was lacking in life and missing out on. She just opened my eyes so much. In a nutshell, I guess she really made me grow up.

I don't think you can even begin to imagine how a child will change your life until you have one. I mean, I know I would have to give up "me time" and not have as much "us time" with my husband but until you have to actually do it... you can't get it. I won't lie, I struggle sometimes with not having enough "me time" or "us time". Sometimes I need to be alone and sometimes I want to be alone with my husband. But that's the selfish part of me. When Adam and I decided to have a baby we knew we would be giving up a lot of things, but TIME I don't think we really "got it" until she was here. I love every second I spend with Addison. She is an extension of me and I can't imagine life without her. But that's not to say we don't have our bad days. Just like you might have a bad day at work, we have them at home. There are definitely days when I think I need to go back to work, but then I remind myself that when I quit my job I quit because I knew this was God's plan for my life.

There are things I miss about working. I miss the adult interaction. I miss being appreciated (although I know Adam appreciated what I do). I miss accomplishing things. I miss being praised for good work. I liked my job. It was hard to leave. But I felt a calling to be a SAHM. And I feel so very blessed that I am able to stay at home. I know there are a lot of mothers that wish they could. I just never want people to think that being a SAHM is all glamorous and fun ALL THE TIME. It's not. There are days I miss "getting ready." Some days I never get out of my pj's.

Budget... I could do a whole post on this... actually I think I will :) Several of you asked about our budget and I am very open about things in our home so I will be glad to share tips and how we make it work for me to stay home. I promise that I will do a post on budget tomorrow.

Hope you all had a great weekend and have a great week! HUGS!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


We just got Addison's 12 month pictures in. And can I just brag for a moment... these pictures are breathtaking to me. I know she's MY child so I think she is always beautiful but something about these pictures... they show off her sweet vibrant personality and I am telling you... I am just in love!

Enjoy and I hope these brighten up your day as much as they do mine!

This is her 1st year of portraits of my sweet baby!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Itsy Bitty Designs

So, my child rarely is seen (even at home) without a bow in her hair. I was spending a small fortune getting her bows to match all her outfits until I discovered I have a little hobby! What is that hobby... BOW MAKING :)

Turns out, I am not so bad at it. Well I made Addison about 20-25 bows and then said, why can't I sell these on Etsy...

The rest is history. I have officially opened my Etsy store, Itsy Bitty Designs. If you are wondering where the name came from, it's simple. I call Addison "Bitty" all the time and we all know "Itsy Bitsy" so I just changed it a little and TADA!

What am I selling... I am selling handmade bows and flowers (made by ME). I also have baby headbands for sell. I have 60 plus bows on there right now. They range in price from $2.50-4.50. And I will make custom bows at no extra charge. If there's a specific color combo you want let me know and I can do that for you and I will put up a private listing.

I have lots of Christmas bows listed right now so HURRY and get them for your sweet precious girls and contact me if you have any questions.

Here are a few that I have listed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We always spend lunch with Adam's family here in the same town we live in, then we head to AL to eat dinner with my family.

Some people might think that is a lot to handle in one day but I like it because we get to see both of our families and no one has to sacrifice time.

We spent the morning tending to ALM and watching the parade. I absolutely love the parade. My mom and I used to watch it every year when I lived at home and I always wanted to carry that tradition on with my family. Addison wasn't too interested but she did like the singing and the balloons.

We ate lunch with Adam's family. I didn't overindulge because I know I had a dinner to come soon. Thanksgiving and the holidays aren't usually a problem for me when it comes to eating because I am so dang picky. I am strictly a turkey and mac and cheese girl. That's all I eat at the holidays so I usually don't over kill on the calories. I am not a huge fan of cakes/pies/desserts so I can usually keep myself within reason on caloric intake.

I did attempt to make a pecan pie... FAIL! I took it to my moms and it looked SO good but when we cut into it, it was kinda runny. Which is so weird because I followed the instructions to the T. Oh well, I shall try again at Christmas time perhaps.

You all know I love to shop. Haven't done a whole lot since quitting my job but nonetheless I love to shop. My mom and I used to go EARLY every year on black Friday and shop but the past 2 years, Auburn and Alabama decided to play on Friday at 1:30. So, that put a damper on my shopping. Auburn was victorious this year. WHOOOOO! We lost 2 years in a row so we were due. But it was an amazing game to watch. Final score of 28-27 will dang near give you a stroke. We are off to the SEC Championship this Saturday (post to come on that later).

Our Thanksgiving was pretty laid back. No family drama. No crazy shopping. Just an intense football game. That was about it. Here are a few pictures we took Thanksgiving morning.