Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Piece of My Heart

Two weeks ago was Puguh's Birthday! I first started sponsoring Puguh when he was only 6 years old. I can't believe he just turned 12. I remember the first letter and picture I got from this sweet little boy telling me all about himself.

It has truly been such a blessing to watch him grow into such smart, talented young man with a heart for Jesus. I am so excited whenever I get a letter or an update in the mail from him. I can't wait for when my son is a little older and I can share all of this with him and have him write Puguh a letter. Puguh feels like a part of our family even though we have never met him. He will always hold a special place in my heart. I pray that one day I will get to meet him and his family.

Making the decision to sponsor a child has truly been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. Knowing that I am able to help a life grow in the knowledge of Christ and help provide for his education fills me with such great joy. I have been blessed beyond measure during this journey!

Maybe you are feeling led to sponsor a child too. For only $38 dollars a month you can, through Compassion International. This organization is truly amazing in so many ways. They truly live up to their name and put every effort into helping release children from poverty all over the world.

Here is a short clip of my Compassion notebook that I made. It has all of Puguh's letters and pictures that I have received from him over the last 6 years.

Here is the link to their website if you would like more information on sponsoring a child of your own --> www.compassion.com

And from the bottom of my heart and with all the love I can give, I wish Puguh the Happiest of Birthdays!

Many Blessings,

Monday, July 27, 2015

When You Don't Know What Else To Do

My son has never been a good sleeper. I can probably count on both hands the number of times he has actually slept through the night, since he was born. He is almost two now. There were periods of time when he did really well sleeping at night and napping during the day. He was only waking up once a night and I was fine with that. I'm not one who has a problem falling back to sleep, so I didn't really mind waking up once or twice in the night with him.

That has changed however. Within the last month, for whatever reason, it has gotten a lot worse. Maybe it's because he is getting older, maybe it's because we are not in our own house right now, I don't know really know why, but I wish I did. He wakes up at least once a night, sometimes 2 or 3 times. Sometimes he will go back down easily, other times I have to sleep with him on the chaise lounge, because he is screaming and nothing else that I do works. Some days he takes naps in the car, (this actually went on for two weeks straight), now it's only once in awhile. Thank God! There is not much to do in a car other than read while your son is napping. Some days he naps on our bed and we nap with him because both my husband and I are just as tired as he is. On the occasion, he will nap in his crib without any problems, but I couldn't tell you why he won't do it every day.

Believe me, we have tried everything in the book. At night we have a routine that has never really been broken, except for nights when we have gone away. It goes something like this: dinner, relax, take a bath, drink our milk, go up and read a book, lay down and say our prayers, and that's it. He had no problem with us leaving the room after we laid him down and said prayers with him. He was still awake and would fall asleep on his own.

I have no idea why he now screams when I leave the room. I have to stand by his bed until he falls asleep and then slowly creep out of his room, hoping the doesn't here me and wake back up. It is the same way for naps too, hence the napping in cars and on our bed with us. I have gone through things over and over again to try and remember if something has changed that could have thrown him off. I have questioned where I went wrong that has caused me to allow it to get to this point. I pray all the time for God to help him get back into a routine, because I don't know what else to do and my son needs his rest! It is so exhausting and I can only hold it together for so long.

And do you know what a woman who is constantly exhausted and can't hold it together any longer looks like? A sad human being who is robbed of joy, cries over everything, and doesn't feel like doing anything, at all!! And all you moms out there, I am sure you know that there is always plenty of things that need to be done, every single day!

Yesterday, I was in church, and let me tell you, I am so glad I went, because I was so close to staying home after the night I had with my son. It is so amazing that God knows just what I need, exactly when I need it! The message was about Joy. True, everlasting joy, that can only be found in our heavenly Father. There were so many good points that were touched upon during the message, but the one that thing that really stood out, was the fact that true Joy comes from the Lord. We receive this joy when we give thanks. Thanks for what He has already blessed us with. Thanks for my health, thanks for my son's health, thanks for not having to work during the summer, thanks for everything!!

You see, God blesses us with so much joy, that we often miss out because we are so focused on the one negative in our life. Sure, it stinks that I haven't gotten more than 6 hours of sleep every night for the past two weeks, but I'm still here. My son is perfectly healthy and happy. My bills are paid, and I have a place to stay. When I focus on these blessings in my life, and give thanks for them, I am filled with joy, because really, it could be WAY worse! And this... this is my strength.  The joy of the LORD is my strength! The strength that I need when I am up with my son for the third time at night and I don't know what else to do. I will pray and I will give thanks for all that I have and all that He is and He will get me through.

Many Blessings,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Documenting our Summer with Photos

All of these photos were taken with a Sony a5100 Mirrorless digital camera! This camera has been, by far, one of the best items that I have ever purchased! I know absolutely nothing about photography. I just want to be able to point and shoot and let the camera do the work for me. The a5100 does just that. I do plan on ready the manual at some point because I am sure that there are many awesome features, but for now, I am more than pleased with my photographs. If you are looking to purchase a new camera, I highly recommend the a5100!

Many Blessing,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Essentials Series: Week 2

Hey all! Welcome back for week 2 of our Summer Essentials series. I hope that you are all enjoying your summer so far, and that it is not passing by too fast! Here are my summer essential picks for week two.

1. VERSE: This week's verse is probably my favorite verse of all time. I even have it tattooed on my foot! Its comes from Philippians chapter 4, verse 13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". I created a cute little design for you this week to print out and bring with you. Just repeat over and over throughout the day and I promise your strength will be renewed!

2. WORD: Our fun phrase for the week is "Treat Yo Self" I have been reading this everywhere. I believe it came from a Parks and Recreation episode, and I think it's super cute. A little corny, but hey aren't we all? I like the meaning behind it. We all deserve a treat once in awhile without feeling guilty about it, especially if it's been a long hard day! So grab a latte, a donut, cookie, whatever it is you are craving, and "Treat Yo Self".

3. RECIPE: This weeks recipe is something that I drink everyday! My homemade iced coffee! I do love the occasional treat from Starbucks, but I can't afford to buy one everyday. I found the basic recipe on Pinterest, but then I tweaked it a little to make it more of my own recipe. To start, I take one cup of ground coffee and put it in a large bowl with 4-5 cups of cold water. I cover it and let it sit over night. The next morning I use my coffee filter from my coffee maker (you can use a paper one if you don't have a plastic/metal one) to strain the mixture and separate the grounds. In a separate cup, I mix a half cup of sweetened condensed milk with one teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. I then stir in the milk mixture into the pitcher with the coffee and store in the fridge till ready to drink. This makes 4 cups of iced coffee and lasts in the fridge for about a week! Enjoy!

4. BLOGGER: My featured blogger for the week is Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 ministries. There are no words that I could say to describe how amazing of a writer she is. I have read several of her books including, Made to Crave, The Best Yes, & What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. She has so much wisdom and knowledge of the Word and her light for Jesus shines in whatever she does. I am super excited for a whole new way to discover and spend time in the word with her new First Five app, that just launched today. You can download it for free in the app store and join millions of women in spending the first five minutes of your day with God! Such an awesome idea!

5. CLOTHING ITEM: What is the easiest, most comfortable thing you can wear during the summer, that can be casual or dressy?............... the maxi dress! It's probably my favorite of my summer essentials wardrobe, because you really don't have to think about it. I can wear it with flip flops for a casual look, or I can wear it with wedges and some fancy jewelry to dress it up a bit. It's comfortable and best of all there are so many different styles to choose from. Check out my Pin board on Pinterest for some of my favorites!

6. NEW USE FOR SOMETHING OLD: One of my favorite things to use for an up cycling project is an old book. There are so many different things to create with old book pages. My favorite one to do is make a wreath. The end result looks like a big beautiful Dahlia flower, which is one of my favorite flowers. These wreaths are the perfect summer decoration. I first saw this DIY created by Myquillyn Smith. She is one of my favorite bloggers. I will share with you more about her next week! The picture below is just a random photo from Pinterest because this item has become so popular to recreate. Unfortunately, mine is tucked away right now in storage, but it looks very similar to this one. It's actually very easy to make. Head on over to www.thenester.com for the full tutorial.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Many Blessings,

Friday, July 17, 2015

Planner Obsessed

I think that it is safe to say that I have a planner obsession. On second thought, I think a lot of people do, especially women. For some reason we love to write down our to-do's, plan our days, and schedule important dates. I think it makes us feel accomplished, and in control. I know for me, the most important thing is that it keeps me organized.

I probably purchased my first planner back in high school, but only because I had to. At that point in my life the only thing I was scheduling were due dates for homework assignments and tests. Im so glad that the days of writing papers and taking tests is over. The only writing I am doing these days, is for my blog and that is something I enjoy.

Today I want to share with you 3 of my favorite planners. They are all affordable, provide many options, and of course pretty to look at. I have purchased many planners in my day, but I feel that these 3 were definitely the best in terms of quality and functionality.

Erin Condren

#3 ~ Coming in at number 3 is the lovely --> Erin Condren Life Planner. I received one of these beauties for my 30th birthday and I immediately fell in love. There are so many options to choose, from the numerous cover styles, to the layout of your planner, theLife Planner has so much to offer. I wish that I still had mine, so that I could take a picture for you to see, but if you head over to her site, she has everything there for you to view and customize your own.

Why this planner is one of my favorites: This planner is one of my favorites because of the ability to customize it exactly how you want. The options are endless! There are so many beautiful covers, it was so hard for me to choose!

Con: The only thing that I would say is a negative about this planner (and it's not really a negative) is that, while it is worth every penny, it is a little pricey. The cost is $50 plus shipping. We are currently living off of one income this summer and trying to save for a new house, so I can't really justify spending that much on a planner right now. I definitely plan on purchasing one again in the future though.

Plum Paper Designs

#2 for me is the --> Plum Paper Designs Family Planner. I purchased this one for myself last summer. The price is only $35 plus shipping and there are many cover designs to choose from. You can also personalize the cover, which I did, and I loved how it turned out.

Why this planner is one of my favorites: I really loved this planner because I was able to personalize each week with 7 different categories/sections. I had encouragement, to do (2x), work, reminders, dinner, & miscellaneous. See the picture below for a better idea of what I mean about the different sections. I had a spot for everything and I really loved that!

Con: The only negative that I have about this planner was that the boxes for each section were a little too small. As I was planning and writing things in, I started to run out of room. It is still one of my favorites though. Next time I purchase one, I will probably have less sections, so that the boxes will be bigger.

Day Designer for Target

#1 Finally, the winner for me is the Whitney English/Blue Sky Day Designer. I have been wanting a Day Designer for some time now, but just couldn't afford one. I even went as far as printing out the free Day Design pages that Whitney offers and created my own with a black and white binder. It just wasn't the same. A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when I stumbled upon a photo of the Day Designer, but it wasn't actually THE Day Designer. I quickly commented and asked this Instagramer where she got hers. A few minutes later she responded........, Target!!!

What???! I asked my husband to watch my son and told him I would be back in twenty minutes. I quickly drove over to target. Sure enough like she said, there on the end cap as a featured item, were a bunch of different Day Designers. I was so excited! And the best part, the most expensive one was only $20!!! The one I ended up purchasing was only $15. Woo hoo!! I'm so in love with my planner already and I have only had it for 2 weeks!

Why this planner is my favorite: I knew from the beginning when I first discovered the Day Designer last year, that I loved it. I loved the classic black and white stripe design on the original so much. I'm really glad they kept that design for this one. The cover and quality are so nice and I absolutely love the layout inside. It is pretty close to the original Day Designer with a few minor differences. The original Day Designer has a page designated for each day. This one is a weekly design, but still has the daily scheduler for each day. There is a section at the top of each day for your top three and section for that night at the bottom. There is also a section on the left for your to do's and a section for gratitude and notes on the right. The best part for me is that it only cost me $15. I could not believe it when I saw it!!! I can't wait to continue planning in my Day Designer!

Con: The only thing that I would change is the inside accent color. I am not really a huge fan of pink. Some of the other planners had a teal accent color which I would have liked better, but it's really not that big of a deal. I still love it so much!

So if you are trying to find a new planner for yourself, any of these three are fabulous, in my opinion. Out of all the planners that I have ever used, these three had the best weekly layout, best overall design look, and were affordably priced for their quality. Happy planning!

Many Blessings,

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Essentials Series: Week 1

Welcome to the first week of my Summer Essentials Series! I am so glad that you are here following along. Each week on Monday, for the next eight weeks I will be sharing with you my favorite summer essentials.

1. VERSE: I want to start you off with a verse that has had such an impact on me especially within the last week. It's Psalm 116:2 and it reads, 'Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath'. I remember seeing this verse some time ago and while every scripture holds great value, it didn't really speak to me at the time. I came across it a few weeks ago again, when I was reading, Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin. It is such a wonderful book. I will talk more about it below in number 4. She is one of my favorite bloggers that I want to share with you. I can't explain how much of an impact this verse had on me this time around. Maybe because I am in the midst of a lot of things, both great and tough, and I am praying constantly throughout the day. This gives me such great encouragement during these times to know that whenever I am praying, He is always there bending down to listen. Below is an art print that I created for you to download with this verse. Print it out and hang it somewhere as a reminder that He is always there listening when we pray!

2. WORD: So, I thought this would be a fun thing to add to my list of summer essentials. Obviously the words you use in your vocabulary are not essential to enjoying your summer, although watching what you say can be important at times, lol. These words or phrases are more just for fun. My first word or phrase that I want to share is, "On Fleek" which refers to something or someone who is on point. This could be an outfit, a style, someones game, etc. You get the idea. I first heard this phrase from a good friend and I laughed. How does a phrase like this actually start and catch on. For some reason, I just sound silly saying it, maybe because I am not cool enough to use the phrase, or maybe just because it's not an actual word in the dictionary. Who knows? Just for fun lets start adding it to our vocabulary  and lets see if we make someone else laugh. 

3. RECIPE: This weeks recipe is something that I make for lunch, because its super easy. They are veggie quesadillas. You can make this for dinner as well, but it is meatless so you may want to add something to it. This meal is the perfect summer meal! I usually try to buy locally so everything is super fresh. You can fry the veggies in the pan with a little salt, pepper, and EVOO, or you can cook them on the grill. This may require a little more work though. I use soft corn tortillas and a light Mexican blend cheese. After you saute the veggies, place two corn tortillas in a pan to warm. Place the veggies on one of the tortilas, add some cheese, and the place the other tortilla on top for a minute or two. Serve immediately and enjoy! I wish I had a photo for you, but I remembered the last time after I had already finished the quesadillas!!

4. BLOGGER: My featured blogger of this week is Brooke McGlothlin from The MOB Society blog. Brooke is such a wonderful writer and her posts are so encouraging. Her blog is all about helping moms raise their boys to become godly men. She is the author of Praying for Boys, which I  am in the middle of reading right now. Both her blog and her book have been such an inspiration to me. One thing that is so important to me is how I raise my son. I want to do my best to discipline him and teach him what the word of God says about being a follower of Christ. This isn't the easiest thing, but I am so thankful to have found Brooke, because she has been such a valuable resource for me when it comes to this area of my life. She admits that she is human just like the rest of us and doesn't claim to know it all. She chooses to share her gift of prayer and knowledge of scripture with us boy moms, in hopes that we are able to do the same for our boys. Thank you Brooke!!

5. CLOTHING ITEM: One of the most essential summer clothing items, in my opinion, is a swimsuit cover up. They are a must! I spend a lot of time out side in the pool with my son, and take a lot of day trips to the beach, so I need something to wear over top of my bathing suit when I am not actually in the water. It so easy to slip on a cover up and move about the rest of your day without having to worry about changing in and out of your bathing suit. I purchased one back in April because we had a destination wedding to go to in May. I absolutely love it! I wear it all the time now around the house when I am not outside in the pool. It's super comfy and very stylish. I purchased mine from a small online boutique, but you can find them basically anywhere. It just depends on what you are look for.

6. NEW USES FOR OLD THINGS: I am always looking for ways to recycle things. Not everything, but anything that has potential to be used for another purpose. I see lots of really great ideas on Pinterest for upcycling old things into new things. One thing that I did see, was people were reusing glass candle jars as containers for other items and that gave me an idea. I made myself a nightstand box. All you need is a round plastic lotion container with a lid that you have used all the lotion from (see the pictures below). I got mine from Trader Joe's but Victoria Secret has them too. I think they are actually used for body butter and not lotion. All you have to do is clean them out, remove all the stickers from the outside, and then decorate them however you like. I have it sitting on my nightstand with my earbuds, chapstick, and Ibuprofen in there. Sometimes I take my earrings off before bed and place them in their too, so I don't loose them. You can use yours for whatever you like, but I really needed something for all of my stuff that I would just throw on there.

See you next Monday for week two of my summer essentials!

Many Blessings,

Friday, July 10, 2015

Easy Teeth Whitening and How to Save Your Hair Dryer

Today, I wanted to share with you two quick tips!!

1. A cheap and easy way to whiten your teeth at home.

2. How to clean out your hair dryer so it works better and doesn't burn out.

Teeth Whitening

Mix together equal parts baking soda and fresh lemon juice in a small dish. I did a a teaspoon of each. The mixer becomes a paste. Using your tooth brush, gently polish your teeth for about a minute. Now, I will admit it's not the greatest taste, but it does work and it only lasts for about a minute. I usually brush my teeth before I polish with the paste, so that my teeth are nice and clean. Here are a before and after shot of my teeth! Please be kind, it's not everyday someone takes a photo of their teeth that close!

I definitely think that my teeth lightened up at least one shade. I love it because it was cheap and all natural. I did this for 6 days in a row along with brushing my teeth twice a day. You can do more if you like, but be careful, because some people say that lemon juice isn't the greatest on tooth enamel. 5-7 days is plenty, in my opinion, and I would recommend doing this every other month to maintain a bright smile.

Cleaning Your Hair Dryer

A few weeks ago I was blow drying my hair, when I noticed the motor seemed to be working overtime and was making a really funny humming noise. I shut off the dryer for a minute to look it over. I noticed that the back portion of the dryer, where it sucks in air, seemed to be covered with a layer of lint. I was able to unscrew the back piece and clean that thin layer of lint (dust, dirt, whatever it was) off of the filter. After I placed that piece back on, I turned the dryer on and it sounded like normal again. I am assuming that over time your dryer sucks in that stuff as its sucking in the air to blow out. After awhile if that filter does not get cleaned, it will become clogged and your dryer won't be able to suck in air. This causes the dryer to over heat and burn out. I believe that if I had not figured this, out my dryer would have burn out that day or soon after that.

So go check your hair dryers and make sure they are clean. Otherwise, you will be spending money on a new one soon.

Many Blessings,

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Series

Hey everybody! I am so excited to tell you about a new summer series that I will be writing about every Monday, starting July 13th. This is an 8 week series, so it will run till the end of summer just about.

I will be sharing with you all of my summer essentials, including: recipes, clothing items, life verses, favorite bloggers to follow and more. I am so excited!!

Make sure that you have signed up to receive my posts delivered right to your email. Click here to ----> sign up.

Many Blessings,