Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Low Down on Februray No Spend Month

My February No Spend Month starts next week. 
I'm nervous excited.  I love how when I posted about it a few weeks back everyone was asking me the "rules".  Basically, last year I was winging it and trying to save money so my man and I could go on a trip-a.l.o.n.e.-somewhere with sunshine.  

  But I really enjoyed appreciated the challenge.  We live on a rather tight budget but it was amazing to see how all the little things add up when you take them all away.   This year I want to add in a "Simply my Life" factor, which is really more like an escape from consumerism.  After reading the book "7"  which I talked about HERE, I realize that there is always room to cut out the excesses.  I really want to stay away from the vicious consumer cycle as much as I can and February is my chance to put things in perspective.  So here is what I am doing this month and a few of my lessons learned or cheat strategies I learned from last year.  

Every penny of our spendable cash for the month of February will be monitored very closely.  So we will still be paying our mortgage, electric bill and all that jazz.   I will only spend money on MUST haves like milk, fresh produce, gas and doctor visits...but those purchases will be tracked. 
  What I learned from last year is to plan for the expected.  Last year I got caught off guard by Valentine's Day.  I don't know why but I didn't even think about it and I ended up resenting having to spend $60 on trashy candy and valentines for the kids to take to their school and little gifts for my kids that day.  This year I am proclaiming myself a planner and picking those things up this week so I don't have to use my February budget money.   So think of birthdays or other times you may know of in advance and take care of them this week. 
  Also, I know I will have a few more days of down time since I will be slashing a lot of my errands... I want to paint one of my bathrooms so I bought paint yesterday and I will paint in February.  I guess you could call that cheating but I'm not using February money to do it, so I am just calling myself a planner. 
 If you want to stop here, I get it...but this year I am taking it a step further

Now for the Simply my Life (Escape from Consumerism) factor: 
 I know this will put me in a whole new league of crazy for a lot of people but I am up for the challenge.  Especially because I am an all or nothing kind of girl.  
I am going to use my time away from consumerism to PURGE!  I want/need to have less stuff to have to keep track of.  We do NOT need 1700 different clothing options in this house when there are so many people in this world who have so little.  We will be purging everything that we do not absolutely LOVE!  And to make this hit home a little better...we are all going to pick out our 7 favorite outfits and wear them once a week for 4 weeks.  I am not a clothes loving girly girl so this will probably be very easy and actually refreshing to me.  It will also cut out a lot of stress with the kids getting ready in the morning.  I doubt my husband will join in on this part of the crazy, as he actually has to look presentable everyday... I ,on the other hand do not, and it won't be a stretch for me to be wearing my favorite jeans or yoga pants nearly every day.  And maybe I will actually learn to appreciate my closet full of clothes :) 
I am also planning on making the same 7 dinners for the month... so the same 7 meals for 4 weeks.  This will REALLY simplify things around here.  I surely won't be stressing what to make for dinner every night.  And maybe, just maybe we will learn to appreciate that we have so many options and luxuries when so many do not.  Another benefit to this one is that I can go shopping now for the basic items so my February grocery bill will be much lower and I will only have to purchase the fresh necessities!  Score.  So far my menu is spaghetti, stir fry, chicken tacos, breakfast for dinner, and soup..  I still have a day or two to come up with the last two :) Any ideas on budget friendly meals is appreciated.  

So if you didn't think I was crazy before I surely just sealed the deal.  Is anyone still with me?  Is anyone intrigued?  Anyone? 

  All in all there are no "rules"... you can do it however you would like...or not at all.   I decided to start a F@cebook page for anyone who wants to join in and add to the conversation.  I would be so fun to commiserate, share tips, goals and the ups and downs of it all.  The FB link is up at the top of my blog for the month... come join in :)   

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oh the Drama...
Even though no one would ever believe me... I really want a simple life.  A quiet life.  An easy life.  Problem is, I don't seem to know how to make any decisions that would lead my crew down a simple path.  Chaos. Absolute complete and utter chaos is always the choice we make.   I'm not exactly sure why and I would probably need a psychotherapist to help me figure it out but I don't have time for such luxuries :)   
So with the stage set of my madness...

I'm not the kind of mom that just signs her kid up for horse lessons, drops her off and picks her up an hour later. 

 I'm the kind of mom that realizes her kid likes horses, signs kid up for lessons, finds a horse farm for the in-laws to purchase (how convenient), finds someone who will give us a few horses, and then goes on a mad search for our own horse.  All in the matter of weeks....And the kicker...I'm scared of horses, like as of a few months ago you couldn't pay me to pet one... Psychotic.   (I'm also the kind of Mom that has 3 kids and decides to adopt 3 more in a 2 1/2 year time span)  Patience is not my friend.  

So, now that my dirty little secrets are out in the wide open....Let me just tell you why I have been so absent around here. 

These stinking horses are a bunch of D.R.A.M.A....but secretly I'm really starting to love them...  

This is my daughters face a few weeks ago when we told her we bought her her very own first horse.....
Keep in mind this sweet child would never ask for such a gift...she's never asked for anything...she knew we were considering...knew we were looking but never once asked or begged or pleaded (she's weird, I know)  

 So we went to see this guy and we fell in love, the story goes something like this..

 He was the most mellow, broke, child friendly horse we had found.    And his mane was the exact same color as Kobi's hair (very important when buying an animal that weighs 1000 pounds more that your little girl...sheeeesh)
and he was her same age, like as in born the same week...

and He LOVED LOVED LOVED The kids and a lot of attention (we have attention to spare around these parts :)  )
but there was a problem that we didn't realize until we brought him home... He goes bananas when he isn't with his friends (aka the other horses)  and becomes...uh....dangerous.  Major buyers remorse, wrapped up in a little girls heart.  OUCH! 
 So we had to do the right thing and let him go to live with someone who was going to use him for what he loved the most...  trail riding with his buddies....  Major lesson learned, for all of us.   It wasn't easy, but I promise you that the lesson won't go wasted.  I have already thought of how it will translate well to that first bad boyfriend break-up....something like this-
"Honey, I know you cared for him, I know he was cute, but he wasn't for you, he wasn't any good, there is someone much better out there for you that will take care of you.  yada yada ya.....Remember when you were a little girl and we bought you that beautiful Palomino horse, he was so sweet at first, but then he turned out to be not so great...then remember your favorite pony...the one who replaced him and how good he took care of you..... " Oh yeah I'm already saving that one, it was worth every tear.  Now I just have to find the perfect next horse/pony :)

 Now this is the thing that has really shocked our socks off....guess who else LOVES horses and seems to be a real natural. He could spend hours on this horse and he is doing so well.  You can just see a spark in him that hasn't been there with any other activity.  His confidence has me giddy. 
 Kobi loves to give him pointers :) In three lessons he has come soooo far. I have been leading him around for the past few month, he finally begged enough to turn  him loose and who would have known.  He is doing fabulous.   I feel so blessed. 

We are having a lot of fun figuring out this whole new world but my oh my is it time consuming.  So much for the simple life.  But I love that we are all outside together hanging and learning and squealing and working it all out.  Thank goodness we have some patient horses right now.  Hopefully we will find a new replacement for Kobi and the kids in the next few months.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blackboard quote of the week revisited and winner of "7"

Hmmm. Relieved and convicted at the same time. Can't wait to see how the kids dissect this one over dinner tonight:).

-And congrats Gretchen for winning the copy of my new favorite book "7". I sent you an email:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"7" An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

A couple months ago a friend linked a blog post about adoption aftermath on her FB page.  When I read this post I realized I felt like Jen Hatmaker had crawled inside my head or peered inside my house and leaked out all our dirty little secrets.  Right then and there I became a fan!  Or her BFF that she doesn't even know exists...either way it's all good.  I got the chance to read her newest book "7" An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess...again she must have crawled straight into my brain, figured out that I have all of this uneasiness building up in me, then decided to spend a year of her life working out my junk. She also decided to eloquently and humorously write it all down and put it all out there for everyone to see.   

 I read the book in less one day, (of course I was completely attentive to my rowdy brood the entire time)and let me tell you it is a game changer folks.  I love it!  I can't wait for you all to read it too. You can read some reviews and more about it here.   I am having a giveaway for a copy if you just leave me a comment here or on FB.  It has me all riled up for my 2nd annual February No Spend month this year!  I have some bigger and better ideas as I would love to incorporate some of Jen's ideas of limiting excess into the month as well.   I would so love some of you to join me, let me know what you think!!! Please leave a comment with your email address to be entered into the give-away!!  

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Birthday

As if Christmas week wasn't busy enough already..we celebrate 3 birthdays the week of Christmas....Simple family parties are the only way to go :)
 I can't believe our little girl is 5...seems way too grown up.  I vote we should add a number in there between 4 and 5... just to slow these guys down a bit.   Mina's requested meal was stir-fry and dumplings...and a coconut/chocolate bunny cake...
 She is our only family member who's love language is "gifts"  so Christmas week with a b-day and Christmas....she is beaming from the inside out.

 and here is Ty...I can't even begin to count how many photos I have of this guy posing or jumping into pics...he LOVES to be the center of attention.
 Jack's b-day is next in succession,  I was not in picture taking mode this night but this smile, (an orthodontist dream) melts my heart.
 Can I pause for a moment and ask Mom's of young boys what the heck is up with boys caring so stinkin' much about their clothes and the brand names????  I feel a little ill about it all.  My first and hopefully only kid that wants clothes (very particular clothes) for bday and Christmas.
 And Finn completes our birthday trifecta two days before Christmas .    She starts out her day with birthday french toast.

 I LOVE watching her open gifts... she would be completely satisfied with one thing from the dollar store and she would have just the same expression of JOY on her face.

 If I could capture the look of sheer joy, this would be it..
 and this..
 and this..
 and this..can you tell that this girl is just naturally happy and joyful All.the.time!  How funny that is her middle name...for reals
 and for my keeping it real photo of the week.  This is what envy looks like in photos...envy when your sister is opening gifts and your birthday was 5 days ago and you have to wait 360 more days for your own special day full of attention and presents and ruling the roost...
Happy Birthday could you all just pause for a year or two and let me catch up to you growing up???