Friday, November 19, 2010

Struggling

I am struggling for content. I thought when I started blogging again I would have TONS to talk about because well I hadn't blogged in 3 months. But I am feeling STUCK.

So I am asking you to ASK ME! :) Ask me a question. Give me a blog topic you wanna hear about. I am open to any and everything.

Getting back in the swing of blogging is harder than I thought. I have the time and I actually suit down at my computer and then go blank.

I have at least a million thoughts run through my head a day that are probably good blog material but when I go to blog, I go blank.

My life is so different than it was when I was a "blogaholic."

I am a married, stay at home mom to a 1 year old, living on a budget. My life got busier yet slowed down at the same time.

So anyway... I am begging you. Help this mama with her blogging block.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Here's to me coming back next week with some good material thanks to you girls!

HUGS!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love/ Hate with Dave Ramsey

Early this fall, our church offered Dave Ramsey as part of it's Sunday night "Deeper Roots" classes. Adam and I had been introduced to Dave by Amy and Dusty. We had talked about the basics of it, but Adam and I were longing for a deeper understanding of Dave's "Financial Peace."

I didn't discuss it much on my blog (if at all) but earlier this year, Adam and I had some serious financial difficulty. It came right at the time that I was about to resign from my job to stay at home full time with Addison. I look back now and realize that was Satan attacking us FULL FORCE! And it was rough. But we prayed, sat down made some changes to out life style, began tithing what God asks of us and I can't begin to tell you the blessing we have seen since.

Once you truly rely on God to take care of you. WOW, what a deeper faith you will get!

If you aren't familiar with Dave Ramsey or his Financial Peace University... click on the links to learn more. Dave has an amazing story... in a nutshell, he came from nothing and by 26 he was making over $250,000 a year. Within 2 years, he lost everything. He then went on a "quest to find out how money really worked."

And now he offers "Financial Peace University" as a 14 week study to show you how you can be debt free and begin saving for your future.

Let me tell you... I do not have a financial mind. AT ALL. Until this study, I didn't know what an IRA, 401K or mutual fund was. Seriously. I have never taken the time to learn and I was a Public Relations major in the College of Liberal Arts. I was required to take ONE math class and that is IT! I have never wanted to know about things like that... until now. I realize the importance of it all.

We have one week left of our FPU classes and although I am glad they are over, our journey to saving and getting our financial life right is just beginning. Adam and I started last March working really hard to pay off small debts we had here and there. And I am proud to say that we now only have a small amount left on ONE credit card, my student loans and our house. Other than that... we are debt free.

Dave's goal is for you to get debt free except for your house. His basic outline in FPU is 7 baby steps. These are from the link above:

Baby Step 1
$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life that
you can’t plan for: the loss of a job, an unexpected pregnancy, a faulty
car transmission, and the list goes on and on. It’s not a matter of if
these events will happen; it’s simply a matter of when they will happen.

Baby Step 2
Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball

List your debts, excluding the house, in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt
first.

Baby Step 3
3 to 6 months of expenses in savings

Once you complete the first two baby steps, you will have built serious momentum. But don’t start throwing all your “extra” money into investments quite yet. It’s time to build your full emergency fund.

Baby Step 4
Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

When you reach this step, you’ll have no payments—except the house—and a fully funded emergency fund. Now it’s time to get serious about building wealth.

Baby Step 5
College funding for children

By this point, you should have already started Baby Step 4—investing 15% of your income—before saving for college. Whether you are saving for you or your child to go to college, you need to start now.

Baby Step 6

Pay off home early
Now it’s time to begin chunking all of your extra money toward the mortgage. You are getting closer to realizing the dream of a life with no house payments.

Baby Step 7
Build wealth and give!

It’s time to build wealth and give like never before. Leave an inheritance for future generations, and bless others now with your excess.


So, we are still working on Baby Step 1. If I have learned anything, it's that this is a SLOW process, but it's never too soon to start. I wish I had known this right out of college. Or heck, even when I was 17 or 18. My view of money and debt is completely different. I am so thankful for that. Because we are educating ourselves on these topics, Adam and I will be able to retire very comfortably one day. I find great PEACE in that.

Dave says throughout FPU... "Live like no one else today so that later you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!" I have to remind myself of that statement OFTEN. It's tough when friends all around me are buying new LV bags, going on nice vacays and getting new cars. But God has provided for me GREATLY. It's an everyday struggle for me, but I am reminded everyday that I am richly blessed by God. And I am grateful for everything I have.

If you feel like you are "drowning" in debt or just want to plan for your future... check out Dave's FPU. I am confident that one day... Adam and I will be able to say "WE ARE COMPLETELY DEBT FREE!!!!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Addison's Candyland

It didn't take me long to decide on Addison's theme for her 1st birthday party. I knew I didn't want to do a "princess-y" theme and Candyland was one of my favorite games as a kid so it only seemed fitting.

Now I didn't spend $60,000 like Taylor did on RHOBH 9absolutely insane), but it was certainly a lot of fun and pretty dang cute!!!!

I started planning about 5 months out. Seems crazy but I am so glad I did. It was less stress when the party drew near and I already had most of the details all done.

I couldn't have planned or pulled the party off without help from my amazing mother, Erin and Karah! Deets to come. Thank you to you all. You kept me sane during all the crazy (but fun) planning.

One month ago today (Oct. 9th) we celebrated Addison's 1st birthday... here are the details...


Theme: Addison's Candyland


Location: Our home. We decided to have it outside because we have a big backyard that we could utilize.




Invitations: I ordered them from Little Beane Boutique on Etsy. I was beyond pleased with the quality and timing from this shop. They turned out so cute. They even came with pink envelopes and return address labels.






Favors: We had cotton candy and lots of other candy the kids could take away and the bags they candy went in had this sticker on it (or course with Addison's name). They were ordered from Little Beane Boutique too.





Outfit: I ordered her dress on Ebay (thanks to Karah's heads up). The brand is Claire and Charlie. It had smocked bubblegum machines on the top. I made her bow and we got her birthday hat on Etsy from Shop Lissy. I cannot express enough how awesome she was to work with on getting Addison's hat custom made and her prices... ummmm... AMAZING!





Food: We served hot dogs and chili with all the fixins. We had strawberry cupcakes with "1" toppers. Karah made the amazing toppers. My mom had this trash can made for the party!



Decor: The main decor was the table centerpieces, the "take away" candy buffet, homemade poms, about 180 balloons, pinwheels, Candyland games and "candy" hanging from the trees. I borrowed an idea from Kristin, we had a table with a picture from each month Addison has been with us. Karah made the numbers that we stuck in each bucket to coordinate with the pictures. We had two precious banners made by sweet Karah. One hung in the living room and one hung outside. Erin made me an amazing candy wreath that we hung on the back door.



Special tradition started: I borrowed this idea from Kristin also. We bought a tablecloth and had "Happy Birthday Addison" monogrammed on it. Each year we will have the number and the theme monogrammed around the bottom. This year is was (obviously) 1 with a lollipop. We will do it until she is 18.


Smash cake: It was supposed to be a large cupcake but it turned out not quite big enough so we had to run out last minute and grab a chocolate round cake. The only one the store had when we went. Oh well. It was fun anyway to watch her dig in and get so messy!





Presents: I wasn't going to do presents but ultimately we decided to do them.


Guestbook: We had everyone sign a Candyland board game.


There was a lot going on that day but it was so so fun. It was very special to have our friends and family there to celebrate Addison's special day with us. I was so excited to have Amy, Natalie and Jennifer there. Meant so much that they came so far.


We have a lot of great pictures from that day thanks to my friend Amy :) I will cherish these photos forever. This was my 1st baby's 1st birthday! I wasn't as emotional as I thought I would be. I took care of all that on her actual birthday (Oct. 5th). My baby is growing up. She is turning into a toddler right before my very eyes. I love her more everyday and thank God that he blessed me with this amazing child.
If you are curious about anything or have questions, I welcome them!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wanna brigten up your Friday?

If this doesn't brighten up your Friday... I don't know what will.

Today my baby turns 13 months! Crazy how time flies! My baby has grown so much since I took my break. She is no longer a baby... she is officially a toddler. And she even looks the part!

Enjoy and have a happy Friday and great weekend. I will return Monday with her birthday post... it's sure to be loaded down with pictures and lots of details!








Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Realization

You ever just wake up... feel different... and know you need to make a change? That's what happened to me 3 months ago. I needed to focus on God, my family and myself more! So I did just that.

Exactly 3 months ago today was the last time I blogged. I honestly can't believe I went 3 WHOLE MONTHS without blogging but then again, since I had Addison, I haven't had a lot of time for blogging. To be exact... I have only blogged 42 times since my sweet baby was born 13 months ago.

When I became a SAHM in April of 09, things really went down for me on the blog. I no longer had the time I once had when I was working. I was busy being a mommy, wife, friend, daughter, etc. And I neglected my blog. So I wanted to take a break. I need a break. I didn't want to feel like I "had" to post. But honestly during the 3 months I was away from blogging I did miss it. I miss the connection I have with so many of you. I missed sharing.

So I decided a few weeks ago that I would start blogging again in November. I'm ready. I can take the time to blog several times a week. I don't promise a daily post but I am ready to start documenting our lives again.

I went back and forth on changing my blog name. When I started this blog my intention was to blog about "all things" fluffy (because I love me some animals as you know), fashionable (because I am a shopaholic) and famous (because I am obsessed with celebrity life), but now I will mostly be blogging about my sweet daughter and the happenings of our everyday life.

I want my blog to be more of a journal. A very open journal. I am an open and honest person that likes to share. So this time around that's what I will be doing, SHARING! And I look forward to interacting with all of my readers again :)

Things to come on my blog:
- Addison's 1st birthday party
- What I have been doing over the past 3 months
- Knee problems
- Budgeting and Dave Ramsey
- Shopping (or the lack there of)

And of course lots more. Thank you for sticking with me during my break and welcome to you new readers! I promise you... this will not be a boring blog :)