In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Latest Great Buy


Check out my latest great buy!  I am definitely a girly girl who loves all accessories ~ shoes, purses, coats, scarves, and jewelry ~ but I love it even more when I only have to pay $6.49 to accessorize!  That’s right; I paid less than $7 for this purse on clearance at my local Target store.  I just couldn’t pass it up!  I love the color, and it has several compartments giving it lots of space for all of my stuff.  Now it’s no Coach bag, but it’s cute and trendy and most importantly ~ a great buy!  Target has wonderful clearances.  This time I found a fantastic purse, but I usually find cute shoes on their clearance racks.  In the past, I have purchased some adorable flats from my local store, and I usually pay anywhere from three to seven dollars a pair.  Below are some flats that I have purchased for a fabulous find of about $5.  I have gotten plenty of use out my fabuous finds, as some of the pictures show.  I wear flats almost everyday, so I've gotten my money's worth.  Have you shopped clearance lately?  You may have to wait a little while before the item you want goes on clearance, but it can definitely be worth the wait!






Friday, February 25, 2011

A Snowy but Good Day






              It’s back…..snow, snow and more snow!   The above picture is what I woke up to ~ a beautiful winter mess!  Even though the sun was shining, the spring like weather of a week ago could not be found.  What does that silly groundhog know anyway?  Oh well, I have few complaints, because I didn’t have to drive in this morning’s mess.  Fridays are my day off, so I opted to stay inside and have a snowy but profitable day.  The house has been cleaned and recleaned after my cat made a huge a mess, laundry is done, dinner is made, and I even cracked the books and did some studying.  The day isn’t over, and there is still time to conquer the grocery store.  And even though winter came knocking on my doorstep, it’s only visiting for a little while.  Now, that’s the way I like it ~ a beautiful but short lived morning snowfall that I don’t have to drive in, and a quick warm up that will melt the snow in a day or two!  Yep, there will be no whining and griping about the snow from me, because today was a snowy but good day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Journey to a New Home

The journey began about two years ago when I got married.  Two years prior to our marriage Matt had purchased a foreclosed home with the intent of making profit, so I moved out of my cozy chick apartment and moved into his bachelor pad.  Basically, the house came with the husband.  My job was to turn the man cave he called home into a charming home that we both wanted to live in.  We soon agreed to sell the home, and the journey of finding a new home quickly picked up pace.  By November of 2009 there was a “FOR SALE” sign in the front yard.


What happened in the next year completely tried my patience. Matt and I both wanted the end result of SELLING the old home and BUYING a new home.  How we planned on getting to that end result was very different.  Without losing money, I wanted to sell the house quickly and take advantage of the buyer’s market.  Matt, on the other hand, is far more patient than I.  He decided to price the home high and wait for the right buyer to fall in love with our home.  After a few months on the market, there was little interest in the home, so we pursued the option of renting the house to responsible tenants.  At one time, we actually had renters ready to sign a contract, and a bank had accepted our offer on a foreclosed home that was a fantastic buy in a great neighborhood.  At the last minute, Matt got cold feet about holding two mortgages, and we both agreed to back out of the deal.  I was devastated.  I didn’t think that we were ever going to see a deal like that come our way again.  Boy was I wrong!  God had bigger plans.  God taught us a valuable lesson about communication from that experience.  After it was all said and done, I decided to stop looking at homes, because I was getting too attached to something that God had not yet decided to give me.  The Lord had to bring me to a place of contentment about the home that He had already provided for us.  In time, we agreed to keep the house on the market, but lower it to a more reasonable price.  We also agreed to no longer consider renting; selling was the only option. 
Spring, summer and fall had passed, with little interest in the home.  We were going to take it off the market at the end of the year, but God's plan was so much better than our own. After being on the market for over a year, we finally got an offer!  There are many details that went into the five week process of selling our home and moving into a new home.  Looking back, I can see God working through the entire process.
       
 


We have lived in our new home for a little over a month now, and the journey to a new home has come to an end.  The new home met all of our requirements and more: price, location, square footage (3,600 sq. ft. plus a basement), open floor plan, two story entry, huge master suite with a fantastic master bath and closet, huge loft that looked over to the first floor, great lighting, and a basement that could be finished to add value to the home.  It is completely livable for the time being, and with the money we saved on the home we will be able to make the home our own (ie: paint, update light fixtures and hardware, hardwood floors, new bathroom fixtures, and plenty room to express our taste in new furniture and d├ęcor).  Each day we thank the Lord for His goodness to us.  Tonight I needed to remind myself of that goodness.  I needed to remind myself that God could have at any time closed the doors to this house if He didn’t want us to have it.  Through unexpected circumstances that have occurred over the past week involving our home, my humanity has caused me to doubt.  I have doubted and questioned God this week, but who am I to question the creator of the world.  God is faithful, and over the past year He has taught us that His plans are far better than our own.  The journey to our new home may be over, but the Lord has other paths that He wants us to journey in order to grow our faith. Even in the circumstances that occurred this week, I will thank God for all He has done and trust Him to provide all of our needs. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cabin Sweet Cabin







Twenty-seven is a good number, because that is age of which I now am.  Yes, it’s true.  I am twenty-seven, and another year of my life has come and gone.  I had an especially good birthday this year, because I spent it with the one I love.  After a very stressful week (of which I’m sure I will share in a later blog) my husband and I packed up the car, left our worries behind and drove six hours to the mountains of Tennessee where we found a cozy cabin waiting for us.  Due to an extremely chaotic week, this trip almost didn’t happen; but when it came down to it, it was important that we made this trip happen.  The chaotic things in the previous week couldn’t be resolved in a weekend, and we knew they would be waiting for us when we got back.  Not to mention the trip was planned and paid for months ago ~ so to Cabin Sweet Cabin we went.

Any time we plan a vacation or a weekend getaway we try to find an enjoyable location with very comfortable amenities and a great price.  This weekend’s location didn’t disappoint I would definitely recommend it to a friend.  The cabin was very accessible to the local happenings of the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area, and it offered a very cozy but romantic atmosphere.  It had a full kitchen and cooking essentials, fire place with flat screen TV., jacuzzi tub in the master suite, pool table in the loft, and a hot tub on the deck with a beautiful view.  The cabin was smaller than it appeared in the pictures, but in our opinion it was also nicer than it appeared in the pictures.  A trip like this could get pricy if one stayed several nights, but we thought it was a pretty good price for a weekend getaway.  
By now anyone who has read my blog knows Matt and I are careful with our finances, and vacations are no exception.  We took a risk by planning this mountainous trip in the winter, but we were very fortunate and had great weather over the weekend.  For this getaway, we were able to get 50% off the rate of the cabin.  We made great use of the cabin’s kitchen and brought all of our own food, so we didn’t have to spend any additional money on dining out.  We picked a location that was half a day’s drive, so we didn’t have to pay for air fare.  We enjoyed browsing around all of the things the area had to offer, but we put a dollar amount on what we were willing to spend before we ventured out and about.   The more money we save on vacations by taking the time to research and plan vacations, the more vacations we can fit into our yearly vacation budget.  At the end of the weekend, we were pleased with the all we were able to experience and the cost of the experience.  It was definitely a relaxing birthday weekend, and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to spend it with.  Much thanks to my loving husband for making my birthday special.








Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Birthday Getaway




Today is my birthday, and it has been a wonderful day!  My husband really went out of his way to make it special for me.  He took me away for a weekend to Gatlinburg, TN.  We rented a cozy cabin in the mountains, and the entire weekend has just been perfect.  We planned the trip months ago, but my husband has really gone out of his way to make this day special for me.   This is going to be a short blog, so I can get back to my relaxing weekend; but I’m just going to take a few moments to brag on my husband by sharing some ways he made my day special.

1.)   I woke up and had some quiet time out on the deck with coffee and a great view.
2.)   My husband made me breakfast ~ bacon, eggs and cinnamon rolls
3.)   We spent the morning in Gatlinburg.
4.)   We went back to the cabin to make lunch ~ grilled cheese and tomato soup…yum:)
5.)   We went shopping in Pigeon Forge.
6.)   We went back to the cabin to enjoy the hot tub.
7.)   We made dinner and ate birthday cake ~ red velvet…my favorite!
8.)   Did some reading by the fireplace.
9. )  I wrote this quick blog while my husband got caught up on ESPN.
10.) And now I am about to soak in a relaxing bath.

What a fantastic birthday!  God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, and I thank the Lord everyday for bringing him into my life.




Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Green, Green Grass








What’s that I see?  Could it be, could it be! Yes, it is!  I actually see green in my yard.  I can finally see the grass!  To some this may not be very exciting, but to me it is a sign ~ a sign of warmer days ahead.  I hope you are right Punxsutawney Phil, because here in central Indiana, the first snow was December 1.  Since I was on vacation the one week the snow melted in early January, I have been looking at a white mess for two and a half months.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love snow.  I love cuddling up on the couch by candle light with a warm blanket, a cup of coffee and a good book on a cold winter’s day, but I have to say at this point I am kind of over this year’s harsh winter.  I am over the snow, ice, sub zero temperatures, the expensive heating bills, the pot holes….you name it…..if it’s related to winter, I’m kind of over it.  I am soooo ready for spring and the warmer days it will bring.  Now I do understand that I live in the Midwest.  At any point in the next three months it would not be surprising to see more snow, but for now I will rejoice in this week’s warm up.  I will rejoice in the melting of the snow and ice.  I will rejoice in the green, green grass.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Be My Frugal Valentine





My husband and I have always been cautious of our finances and how we spend the money God has blessed us with.  Even when we were both single, we were frugal when it came to spending.  That’s actually a quality that we both find really attractive in one another.  I wouldn’t say we are cheap, because we thoroughly enjoy the fine things of life.  However, we only enjoy those fine things when we know we can afford them.  Since we recently purchased a new home, we have been dealing with all of the added expenses that come with it.  This Valentine’s Day we decided to maintain a strict budget while still making the weekend special.  One way we saved money was with discounted dining, a.k.a. using saved up gift cards.  
Don’t you just love gift cards?  They are such a blessing.  My husband often gets gift certificates throughout the year from his work.    Like many of you, we also get gift cards from family and friends on special occasions.  We even cash in our reward points from credit card purchases (which we only use for essential needs and then pay off at the end of each month if at all possible) for gift cards to stores or restaurants we enjoy.   This Valentines Day, we had a $50 gift certificate to Mo’s Steakhouse.  We’ve had that gift certificate for months now, but we were waiting for a special occasion to use it.  We used the gift certificate for a pre-Valentine dinner, and we had a delightful time out on the town Friday night.  Even though the gift card only took care of a portion the bill, it was still a big blessing to us. 
Now you may not have a stash of gift cards waiting to be used for special occasions, but did you know you can buy gift cards from certain websites to some of your favorite restaurants at a discounted price?  One that I have found useful is http://www.restaurant.com/.  You can get up to $15 off of a $50 gift card for some of the restaurants.  What a deal!  Now that’s better than coupons people!


Monday, February 14, 2011

My Very First Blog

    
             Well after a year of talking about it, it’s finally here – my very first blog post.  I have seriously considered blogging for awhile now, but I have always put it on the back burner.  Today I woke up, and I told my husband today was the day ~ today was the day I was going to begin my life as a blogger.  
            Now, what to blog about?  As I venture into the world of blogging, I plan on writing about the everyday happenings of this wonderful thing called life, but for my first blog, I will briefly describe myself and some important aspects of my life.  I will be twenty-seven in less than one week, and I love my life.  I don’t necessarily love my life because of where I live or who I married or what my vocation is, although those are all things that I do love about my life.  I think I am just at a point in my life where I can truly see God’s hand on it.  I can see how He has opened and closed doors in my life as a part of His plan for me.  I can see the things that at one time in my life I may have thought would have been good for me, yet He had other plans.   As a Christian, I find it difficult to not love life.  God is so good.  He has truly blessed me, and with out Him I am nothing.  He is my redeemer, creator, and Lord.  Life without Him would not be life at all.
            Well if that’s not enough reason to love life, then I don’t know what is.  God has blessed me with so much more than I deserve.  For example, I have been happily married to my wonderful husband for a little less than two years now, and I am loving every bit of married life.  Matt is a hard working bank manager with aspiring goals to work his way up in the banking industry.  We don’t have any children yet.  We just bought a new house that is three times bigger than our last house, and we would really like to furnish and decorate it before we have any little ones running around.
            Before I met my husband, I was enjoying my life as a full-time elementary school teacher, and a part-time nanny.  After Matt and I got married, I chose to take some time away from the classroom to pursue nannying full-time.  Nannying allows me to work fewer hours with better pay.  My flexible schedule has given me the opportunity to work on my masters while still having my evenings free to be a wife.  I love my job, and I love the work schedule it provides.  I currently nanny for a family with two little girls, ages 4 and 6.  I have been with the family for nearly three years now.  They are a big part of my life, and I am truly blessed to be their nanny.
            When I am not spending my spare time with my husband, I love reading, shopping and being creative.  I would definitely consider myself to be thrifty and nothing excites me more than a great buy.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a thrift shop, a garage sale, or a fantastic sale at the local mall – these are all things I find exciting!  Blogging is something I look forward to doing in my spare time now as well.  Whether it is recipes, creative projects or just fun stories about life, I look forward to expressing myself while sharing the things of life with others.