Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Anniversary Day!!

Today is my one year blog anniversary! I have been doing this for 1 year, it's hard to believe!! It is so much fun to look back over the posts from the past year!! I just love blogging and I hope you enjoy reading too!!

Today is also our 2 1/2 year anniversary!! It has been an amazing 2 1/2 years! Sometimes it is hard to believe that we have been married this long and on the other hand it seems like we have been married FOREVER, which is a wonderful thing!! I love him more today than I did on May 27, 2006 and I look forward to many more anniversaries and half anniversaries!!

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Our giving thanks started yesterday, we loaded up John David's Ranger to go to my parents house, we finally finished loading up and were ready to hit the road. We backed out of the driveway and the clutch went out in the truck! We were so thankful it happened in our driveway and not while we were out on the road. So, we got the truck back in the driveway and started moving everything into the Escape! That took about 10 more minutes and then we were really on the road. Our trip home was uneventful! When we arrived home we had barbeque with my mom, dad, and sister! We met Beka's new puppy who is a doll and he slept with us last night, he is such a cutie and a sweet little mild-mannered dog!

We slept until 9 this morning!! It is so nice to sleep in with my hubby! When we got up I tried to do what I could do to help mom with cooking and Beka made us blueberry muffins for breakfast! At 12 mom's family came down for dinner! Mom's dressing and hash brown casserole were amazing!!!

So now we are sitting in front of the TV (we've been watching HGTV which is a treat since we don't have cable!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Episode 10: Pumpkin Pie



In honor of Thanksgiving, in this show I make homemade Pumpkin Pie! It is easy and delicious!!

Click for recipes:

Pie Crust*

Pumpkin Pie Filling

*In the show I only make a half batch of crust for one pie!

Filled with Faith Friday

We have had another blessed week!

*We traveled to Louisville on Monday and came back Wednesday! God blessed us with safe travel!!

*Wednesday we had a speaker from The Voice of the Martyrs and that really put life in perspective. We worry about so many silly things here in America and really take for granted our freedom, we have no fear of being killed for what we believe or fear of the government interrupting our worship services and taking us to prison. The speaker told us that the number one request of the persecuted church is prayer. If you are a Christian reading this, I ask you to take time to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus, please.

*God has been with us through some decisions we have been making lately and we are confident that he will take care of us in the future!

I hope God has filled you with faith this week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beautiful Flowers from My Sweet Husband



John David came home today with these lovely carnations! I was surprised and they are so beautiful! They fit perfectly in my milk bottle and are beautiful on our dresser!
















Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



Meals for the Week:

Mexican Casserole
Potato Soup
Alfredo Pizza
Lemon Pepper Fish with Broccoli & Corn Muffins
Pintos & Cornbread

Nothing fancy just good filling meals!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Filled with Faith Friday

Once again we have been blessed with another good week. Everything has went well and we are healthy...I have had a few bouts with the sniffles but nothing bad praise the Lord! My work is going well, I am enjoying it as well as enjoying my time at home. This week we had dinner with friends from church and enjoyed spending time with them and their children. Tonight I co-hosted with Katie, Heather, and Bonnie (the bridesmaids) a a shower for my friend Kara in Murfreesboro and John David went with Adam and Daniel (Katie & Heather's husbands) to a prayer conference and heard Henry Blackaby speak. He shared some things with me on the way home and we discussed just how awesome God is and how he works in our lives through prayer! I am so thankful for the ability to pray to my creator, we really should be in awe every time we bow our heads to pray because God is listening to us! These are the things I am thankful for this week!

Episode 9: Going Green the Frugal Way



Green & Frugal Tips

*Recycle
*Use compact fluorescents
*Use cloth napkins
*Use kitchen towels and dish cloths and rags instead of paper towels
*Turn off lights when you leave a room
*Turn off printer when it is not in use
*Unplug electronics when you go out of town
*Unplug kitchen appliances when you aren't using them
*Shop at thrift stores
*Donate unwanted items instead of throwing them away
*Run all errands for the week in one day
*Use a programmable thermostat

My Cooking Day

I have been cooking (and cleaning the kitchen) since 10 a.m. and have quite a bit to show for it!!

Chili:

Last night I cooked up some ground meat that had been in my fridge a few days. Today I took that meat and made a pot of chili. We will get three meals out of it!! There is some in the fridge for tomorrow night's dinner and I filled up 2 containers with chili to freeze for busy nights...nice homemade convenience foods!!

Chicken Dip:

I spent quite a bit of time preparing this chicken dip! It is a yummy (and expensive) dip with chunks of chicken, cream cheese, and cheddar and it is served with Fritos! I made this for a shower tonight for one of my dear friends! Now, I just have to bake it and put the cheddar cheese on top!!

Chicken Broth:

Since I had to boil chicken breasts to make the chicken dip, I saved the broth from the chicken!! I added salt and pepper and now I have frugal (and free) chicken broth to add to soups and casseroles!! I measured out 1 cup of broth for each container.

No-Bake Cookies:

Since I had all the ingredients on hand I decided to make a small batch of no-bake cookies for the shower tonight! I just love these and so does the bride!!

I feel very productive and it's only 2:30!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven: Fun


The Homespun Heart is continuing Making Your Home a Haven and the focus of today is fun!

Today is the day that I go to work so I won't be back home until 5:30 but we can still have fun tonight because all the chores are done and I have dinner planned and the meat already laid out!!

Here is my fun list for the evening:

*Cook dinner!

*Film 2 episodes of Life:Frugal and Simple (this is family fun because hubby loves video and editing and I love coming up with show content!)

*Play Yahtzee

I am anxious already about the fun that awaits me this evening!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Cared For Haven

I had yet another successful day and accomplished everything on my list!

The first project I tackled was to finish sewing my pinwheel blocks which I did!!


All the pieces laid out!!


Close up!

Now I am trying to decide whether I want to sew these together and make a small baby quilt or if I should add some white blocks to break up the pinwheels and make a larger quilt! (I am open to suggestions!!)


The next thing I did was organize the office and studio. It wasn't in bad shape today, it just needed a little maintenance. I don't have before pictures from today but this is an idea of the typical chaos! (Since these pictures were taken we have moved my desk into this space!)


My desk


Cameras tucked in their respective boxes!!


Hubby's desk!

I also prepared for the next two shows of Life:Frugal and Simple! We are planning on filming 2 episodes tomorrow night after I get off work!

And the other thing on my list was to make a plan to work on our chair that has been untouched since July. It needs to be stripped and stained! I decided that Saturday morning would be lovely for working on the chair and if it rains, we will try the next Saturday! I would love to have the chair finished so we can use it!!

Making Your Home a Haven: Cared For


Today the focus of Making Your Home a Haven at The Homespun Heart is a cared for home. This involves getting things done that need to be done, like those projects that just keep getting put off!

Of course it didn't take me too long to come up with a list! Here is my list of tasks to accomplish today:

* Finish pinwheel blocks

*Organize studio/office

*Fully prepare for filming next episode of Life:Frugal and Simple tomorrow

*Make a plan to work on this chair(I need my hubby's help in getting the paint off!) It has been 4 months since we last touched it! We need to get the paint off so we can stain it and use it!!

Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Crescent Rolls (since we didn't have it last night!!)

I will be back this evening, hopefully with positive results from my day of hard work!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Clean Haven

This morning I posted my plans for the day and I accomplished everything on my list!

I washed a load of whites:


I ironed hubby's work shirts:


I also vacuummed the entire house, cleaned out my icky microwave, and cleaned our bathroom. I made napkins and finished a few quilt patches! I worked a little on Life:Frugal and Simple and prepped dinner and since we ate dinner with friends tonight, tomorrow night's meatloaf is ready to go in the oven!

Making Your Home a Haven: Clean


Monica at The Homespun Heart is hosting Making Your Home a Haven this week and the focus of today is cleaning!

Here are my plans for today:

Wash clothes
Iron
Vacuum
Clean Microwave
Sew for 1 hour
Clean our bathroom
Prepare 2 scripts for Life:Frugal and Simple
Begin dinner before hubby gets home: Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes with Crescent Rolls

I will feel very accomplished when all of this is finished by 4:30!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



*Chicken Parmesan with Green Beans and Crescent Rolls
*Homemade Pepperoni Pizza
*Beef Stroganoff with Broccoli
*Potato Soup
*Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Crescent Rolls

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ready to start sewing...



I started making patches for a pinwheel quilt a month ago and then stopped! The past few evenings I have been cutting out triangles for the quilt! I am planning on starting back on it tomorrow!

Hot Cocoa for a Chilly Night


Yummy!

My sweet hubby made me gourmet hot cocoa tonight! He used milk and cocoa mix and then shaved dark chocolate into the cocoa mix and some more over the hot cocoa! It looked amazing and tasted wonderful!!


Family & Football


Ready for a Saturday drive...

We went to Cookeville this weekend to see Jill cheer and to visit with John David's parents. We left home at 9:30, ate lunch at Cheddar's, went to the game (it was chilly), and headed back home! We had a fun day!




Sweet hubby!


Jill is the 5th from the right in the back...(confusing but that is where she is!)



Me (sporting my goofy sunglasses & jacket from 7th grade), Jill, & John David

Friday, November 7, 2008

Episode 8: Budget Basics



In this show I am explaining how we manage our finances and what works for us!

For printable budget templates like the pages in our budget notebook view the show notes at www.lifefrugalandsimple.com

Filled with Faith Friday

Again we have had another blessed week! Here are some of the things that I have learned & how we have been blessed:

*God really has taught me that he is in control. I was fearing the presidential election but it is comforting to know that God is in control of all things! We need to pray for our leaders!
*It is amazing to see how God can use painful experiences to help others. It is comforting to talk to those who have been in your situation and know feelings that you experience and think are wrong were the same ones they experienced and that JOY and BLESSING comes with time and healing!
*We had the opportunity to babysit/play/hangout with 4 amazing kids! Each of these children are miracles, their parents weren't supposed to have kids yet they had 3 boys (the 2 little boys are twins!!) and were blessed to adopt a little girl!! This reminds me that all children are precious and to God, no child is a "mistake," he has created them to bless others and expand his kingdom!
*We were blessed Wednesday night with leftover soup from the Mid-Week Meal! We had soup for lunch yesterday and I had it for lunch today!

Why do we live frugally?



We live a frugal life. For us, living frugally began as a necessity since we were married so young on a very limited income. Right now, you could argue it is a choice for us, but we feel it is still necessary since we do not own a home and do not want to have any consumer debt. So, if my husband has a pretty good job why do we choose to live frugally?

There are many reasons I can think of. The main reason is because we are Christians. In Matthew 19:16-24 a rich young man asks about eternal life. Jesus responds to "sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." Because the young man was rich he was not willing to give up his wealth on this earth for eternal life and Jesus told His disciples "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Because we live a frugal and simple lifestyle our desire is not for things and accumulating great wealth. If I had to choose all of my possessions or my eternal life, I would chose eternal life! And we have learned in our young lives that the more "stuff" we get, the more "stuff" we want and the accumulation of "stuff" can become consuming.

We plan to live off of one income indefinitely. My husbands income is what we live off of. We don't want to rely on any of the money I make because once we have kids and I am not working it would make that a difficult adjustment. Because we are doing this, anything I earn is saved which is helping to build up our savings and we have no stress about having children, they are not going to be a financial strain to us once they arrive! Since we are content to live off of his income I know that I won't feel any stress of having to go back to work and because of that, I am planning to homeschool our children.

We also don't feel like we deserve things. So many people in our culture feel they are entitled and deserve things they don't work for and can't afford. We don't feel this way. We don't think we have to drive the latest and greatest cars, we are content with my 2002 Ford Escape with 95,000 miles and his 2002 Ford Ranger with 80,000 miles and plan to drive these vehicles to over 200,000 miles and once they are old and unreliable purchase another used car! We also don't shop at the mall. We don't spend outrageous amounts of money on clothing and are content with the clothing we have. Once you get over the need for things and pursuing stuff it is amazing how frugal you are able to live!

We have goals which is a major reason for us choosing to live so frugally. We budget our spending and try to stay within our amounts for gas, groceries and miscellaneous items and try to limit the times we eat out. For the cost for us to go to Cracker Barrel (typically a mere $20 with tip) I can make 3 or 4 meals at home that are just as good! We have really started evaluating this type of spending and reduced it. We are funding an emergency savings and have a lofty goal to have a 20% down payment on a home when we are ready to buy(we anticipate being permanently settled somewhere within the next year). There is no way we could reach this goal without being frugal and watching our spending.

While being frugal we are able to give more to others! This is hard to understand for some but once you get over your desires of having stuff you are more willing to give. We joyfully give more to our church, ministries, purchase Christmas gifts for needy children, and try to bring a bag or two of groceries to our church food pantry once every week or every other week. When I am watching my expenses I am more aware of what it costs to live and the struggles that many Americans have every day about food and other necessities. I can't imagine going to sleep hungry so I try to give a little to help those that are hungry.

Since we are living frugally we plan to have our home paid off before we are 35 and then focus more on retirement savings and children's college. Once these are funded we will have "True Financial Freedom" and will be able to give even more to God's kingdom and giving to those in need around us.

Those are just a few reasons I can think of to explain our frugal lifestyle. We are so happy and content and I credit this to living a frugal and simple life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Financial Freedom

In this current economic climate people are focusing more on their money and for many people, their debt. I listen to Dave Ramsey and Money Life and I am sometimes shocked at the amount of debt people have, but at the same time I admire them for working so hard to get themselves out of debt. Being in debt is something I can't understand because I was blessed with financially wise parents who were and are good stewards of the blessings God has given them. (I remember listening to Money Matters with my mom when Larry Burkett was the host and learned about finances even as a small child. I have always been a saver, I always saved over 50% of my babysitting money as a teenager, some of which is still safely tucked away in our down payment savings!) I was blessed to marry a man, who like me, had financially wise parents who modeled a debt free lifestyle also.

When we were married, we were both 19! We probably had $2,000-$3,000 in our savings and checking accounts combined and did not have jobs. Before we were engaged we had a financial discussion and came up with a budget of expected expenses (rent, electric, gas, groceries, etc.) (We both owned our vehicles, thanks to our parents and plan to drive them both until they just can't go anymore...we don't want car payments!) We talked with our parents and showed them the budget to convince them that we were indeed responsible enough to take care of ourselves and not go into debt. We were both blessed with scholarships & financial aid which we lived off of the next 2 years and it wasn't just beans and rice that we lived off of, we lived very comfortably, in fact we ate out and spent more on "miscellaneous" items than we do now!

We now are out of college, John David has a full time job and I am working part-time and are living debt free. We are living off his income and even putting some money into savings and anything that I earn, after tithes, is saved. We currently have savings for a down payment in the near future, our goal is to have 20% down, and we have an emergency fund that has almost 3 months living expenses (in a month and a half this goal should be reached!!) Because we have joint finances we really work as a team on keeping expenses down and saving to reach our goals. We have marital oneness in this area and have never had a fight about money or have ever tried to hide anything that we have bought from each other. I think this is through God's grace that money is not an issue in our marriage like it is in so many.

Over the last few months, since John David graduated and I have been staying home, we have cut back expenses even more. I think the main influence in this is the fact that we are getting closer to being able to purchase a home of our own and that has become a goal.
*Our grocery budget is about the same that it was the first two years but I am able to maximize those dollars even more by using coupons and stocking up on items we frequently use when they are on sale.
*We have cut our miscellaneous spending by $50 which is hard to believe! It has been $125 a month but we are experimenting this month to see if we can only spend $100! This category includes health care, medicine, clothes, gifts, and toiletries. We have been blessed that we have been healthy so we rarely have medical costs, we don't spend much on clothes, try to anticipate gifts and find them on sale or make gifts, and I use coupons and CVS Extra Care Bucks to spend only a couple dollars each month on toiletries. Our biggest help in staying within this amount is staying out of stores, we used to go to Goodwill once or twice a week and now we may go once every month or two and we have noticed the savings...crazy as that sounds!

I don't know if this helps you at all but financial freedom is just that, freedom! If you are in debt, it is worth it to get it paid off...don't eat out so much, watch your "miscellaneous" spending, be content, and sell what you can and apply that to debts...it will be worth it. If you are just graduating high school or in college, avoid credit cards, don't make mistakes that will follow you and be a burden. Parents who are debt free or working your way out of debt, teach your kids about money so they will never have to worry about debt! I know we are enjoying this freedom thanks to our parent's teaching as well as God's blessing!

(Thanks Dad, Mom, David, & Annette for your example to us!!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



Here are my meals for the week:

Dinner:
* Pork and Rice Skillet
* Meatloaf with Sweet and Sour Sauce with Mashed Potatoes
* Chicken Rotel and Rice
* Alfredo Pizza
* Potato Soup
* Chicken Enchiladas

Lunch:
*Leftovers (each of these meals will have leftovers for our lunches!)

Breakfast:
*Cereal
*BLTs
*Oatmeal


For other menus visit Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stuff I've Sold (October)

I have set a goal to sell $500 worth of stuff from around our home in one year beginning August 1 and ending July 31, 2009!

This month I made a little bit selling stuff from around the house! I put a few clothes, some fabric, and other small items in one of my friends yard sales so I got rid of a lot of stuff from around the house and made a little cash!

*Yardsale- $14.65
*Pyrex Casserole Dish- $3.00
*A Doll's House Book- $1.05

Total Sold: $18.70

Remaining to reach goal: $386.43

To reach my goal I need to average $42.90 for the next 9 months...that is a pretty lofty goal! We'll see how it goes!!