Tuesday, July 31, 2012

At our house…..

We play and learn…IMG_4608
We try new things …IMG_4644
We take photos…IMG_4689
We have special treats…IMG_4596
We share…IMG_4428
We work…IMG_4746IMG_4619
We share meals… IMG_4715
And most of all, we love each other and make memories!IMG_4720

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last name or no last name?

Ok, so I need opinions.
Since I started this blog, I’ve worked to keep our last name from being broadcast on this blog. Call it my way of trying to keep things a little safer. I’m sure if you really wanted, you could do some digging and figure it out.
But now I’m at a point where I’m changing things up on the blog. We’re getting an updated look, and it’s time for a new name. One of my top two choices was suggested by my SIL and I LOVE it! But it has our last name in it. I have one other option and it is really cute too and it doesn’t have our last name, but it’s not my favorite.
So? Do you let your last name be known? If so, have you had any weird happenings because of it? Does it concern you regarding safety of your kids?
If you don’t, what are the reasons you’ve chosen to keep it a secret? Do you feel like it’s truly a secret or that people know, or do you feel secure that you keeping it a secret is protection for your family.
I’d really appreciate any thoughts you have – maybe it will help me make this hard decision!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Spend Month

A couple of months ago, I came across a pin for a No Spend Month. I was definitely intrigued by this so I pinned and later went and read it. This family of three lived on a budget of $250 for a month, after their bills. While that is incredible, I knew that there was no way that would fund us for a month. For us, not having gasoline in our car isn’t an option because we have to go to work.

That being said, we sat down on June 28 and decided to re-analyze our budget. Our budget month is set based on our pay periods, so it’s not a true month. For this experiment, our month started on Friday, June 29, and ended on Thursday, July 26.
 
We talked and came up with what we felt was a reasonable amount for us to live on for a month and then divided that by 4 weeks. This became an exercise of needs vs wants.
 
Week 1: We finished the week with $0.05 to spare! It can become very easy to justify things we need when in reality, we don’t. This week was an adjustment in rearranging our thinking. Of course, the third day we did this, my car got a screw in the tire. Unfortunately, we had to buy a new tire. But, this is what our emergency fund is for so we didn’t put that into our budget. More on this later.
 
Week 2: We went over by $3.44. While I was disappointed in this, Reed needed teething tablets. I didn’t want him suffering one more night for the sake of $3.44. During this week, we got pretty excited because we could really see what this was doing for our bank account.
 
Week 3: We spent $9.00 more than we budgeted. We also deposited an additional $95.00 to our account from lessons that Zach does that we didn’t need for anything else. The $9.00 overage was spent on two uniform shirts for Ava. I came across two red shirts that were the right color red (they have to be specific) and there were two left in her size. Not buying them that day meant I risked going back and them not being there and buying them later for more.
 
Week 4: This week. I won’t lie. We got a little lazy and went to dinner Wednesday evening. We’d had a long day, we were tired and just didn’t feel like cooking. We ate for $16. I also had to buy a wedding gift. So, we went over by $34.00. And really, I’m ok with that.
 
Even though we had one week where we actually stayed under the amount we set, I think just the practice of this was incredibly beneficial for us. We didn’t know at what amount we would need so it was a guess. It seemed pretty close! And while in a way, I feel as though we failed, I am SO PROUD of us for being so diligent.  And truthfully, counting the deposits made from additional income we don’t count on, we finished $49.00 under the target we set for the month!!!
 
At the end of the month, we had an extra $450.54. Awesome! The amount we budgeted to live on didn’t include the money we put into savings or investments or any of our monthly bills like our house payments, tithe, and utilities. It did include our groceries, gas, diapers, etc. So that $450.54 is extra money we have to put somewhere else. Part of it will go for the tire we had to buy for my vehicle which means we aren’t dipping into our emergency fund.
 
All in all, I have to say this was an extremely successful project. In fact, we have already decided we are going to live like this from now on.
 
Doing it the way we did, we didn’t feel deprived. We still lived our life and still had fun, just cut out unnecessary spending. We went through our freezer and pantry and basically cleaned it out! We had one week where we didn’t go to the store at all!
 
One thing I’ve seen from this – as the month went on, I saw things I wanted. And in the past, I probably would have purchased some of them. None of them were necessities. It’s funny. My birthday is coming up in about a month and usually Zach asks me what I want and I always tell him I don’t really need anything or I don’t really want anything. Well, I have a list this year! :) Funny how that works!
 
We are definitely going to re-work our actual budget to incorporate our new limits and I’m excited to see how this extra money will help us meet our financial goals. If you feel like you can make changes, I encourage you to give this a shot. Any little bit saved will help! I’m by no means an expert but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Out of the mouth of Ava – part II

Ava cracks us up so much with some of the things she says and does. I just want to record some of them so that I’ll have a record of them. I’ve been compiling these for a while so some are older than others, but still funny nonetheless. I actually looked back at a previous post like this and it’s crazy how I’ve already forgotten some of the things she used to say that were my favorite. I’m so glad to have these records.
  • I work just a couple blocks from her school so every day she wants to drive by. There is a radio tower next to our parking lot and she thinks it’s my princess tower and that I climb it. Every day we pass it she says “Hi mommy’s work! Hi mommy’s tower!”
  • There is also a daycare across the street from my work with a playground. She thinks that me and my “workin’ friends” as she calls them go over there and play during the day. She asked me “mom, why you have a playground at you work?”
  • She sometimes calls Reed her little sister. She also tells him “no ma’am, little boy.”
  • She also has told Reed when she was little that she was a little boy.
  • She doesn’t say yesterday. Instead, we did things “lasterday”. I secretly hope she says this forever.
  • On the way to school one morning, we were approaching Sonic. She said “Mom, I gettin’ thirsty.” I replied, “You are? What do you need?” “I think we need to stop at Sonic.”
  • When Reed was sick and staying with my grandma, Ava came in and said “Mom, I have a really bad cold.” I asked her what I needed to do for her and she said, “I need to go to Hamaw K’s too.”
  • She calls the weekends stay home days.
  • She wakes up because “the sun waking up”.
  • While my dad is waiting for their house here to sale and my mom to move to OKC, he’s living in an apartment. One night, we were driving by the local college and saw some apartments there and Ava saw them and said, “Look Mom! It’s Oklahoma City!” They did look kinda similar to my dad’s! When we have visited him, she also thinks his apartment complex is OKC. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing there, when she says she wants to go back to OKC, she means his apartment.
  • We got snow cones one night and she turned to Reed in the car and said “Reed, we didn’t get YOU a snow cone.”
  • During our prayers one night, she said “Jesus, I wish you could make me a mermaid.” I said “Jesus is not going to turn you into a mermaid.” She asked “Why not? He has magic.” :) Faith like a child right there.
  • After she ate a PBJ, she said “Mama, you’re the best cooker I ever seen.” She’s so easy to please!
  • When she is frustrated or annoyed, she says “Oh brothers!”
  • She is terrified of giants in her room right now. We use some of my old Bath & Body Works spray as “giant spray” to keep them gone b/c they don’t like the smell. (i came up with this on a whim and am SO glad it  worked!)
Ava is getting close to turning 4. She seems like such a big kid these days. She is so much fun and I know we have lots of fun days ahead, but I miss my baby. How have the past 4 years gone by so quickly? Ava, I love your spunky little spirit. Thank you for making our days more fun! 
IMG_1005  (one of my favorite Ava pictures – August 2010)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Photo booth fun!

One of Ava’s very favorite things to do is take photos of us using Photo Booth on the iPad and then giggle like crazy when she looks at them. It’s a source of great entertainment! Here are some of the silly photos we’ve taken!IMG_0005 IMG_0150IMG_0146 IMG_0144 IMG_0143 IMG_0142IMG_0129IMG_0124 IMG_0122 IMG_0121
If you haven’t tried this, do it and get a good laugh!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Things I’m Lovin’!

Every once in a while I come across new things that I really love! I find things through other people so I like to share things I find so that someone else might find something they love too!
First up!
The Birchbox! This is a service you subscribe to. Every month they send you a box filled with samples of beauty and lifestyle products! It’s $10 and you get approximately 5-7 samples each month. This allows you to try new products and find new things you love for a low price!
Next! Harvey Prince Hello! hp71 A sample of this came in my current month’s Birchbox and I LOVE how it smells. A full size bottle of this is going on my birthday or Christmas list!!! I think some people got the Flirt scent in theirs. If you did, do you like it??
Zach and I are both loving VIGGLE! Have you heard about it?? It’s a program that you use when you download an app to your phone or iPad. You use the app to check in to television shows and you got points once you’ve checked in. Every day, there are opportunities to get bonus points by checking into specific shows for at least 10 minutes.  You can also get points for watching videos, taking surveys, etc. Then you can you redeem your points for FREE STUFF! We’ve been doing this for a little while and Zach has already gotten a free iTunes gift card. We are saving our points now with a certain redemption in mind and we are well on our way! IMG_4604 If you are interested in signing up, you can click here to do so! If you do, we get points once you check in for telling you about it! :)
Smoothies! I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast and Ava and I are both loving them. What’s in your favorite smoothies? I’m always looking to try new ones!
This view! 354_10 We have officially booked our condo for next summer in Florida and this will be the view from our balcony!!!! I just showed Ava this photo and she said “I want to stay there a whole long week, mama!” Me too, sister. And we will!!! Too bad we have to wait a year!!!
And as always… love fun days with my kiddos! :)IMG_4588
What are YOU loving that I should check out??!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Polka Dot Posies

The first time I ordered from Polka Dot Posies in 2011, I was beyond impressed with their customer service. Our bows were delivered TWO days after we ordered them! Then I opened the box, and I was even more impressed! The bows were GREAT quality and I was SO happy with my purchase. Not only that, ALL the bows, ALL of them, are $4 and under!!!! When I was purchasing bows at a local baby boutique, I was paying double that!! I have since made several orders from PDP, and have continued to be impressed!
PDP offers several different sizes of bows and colors (SO many colors!!!). How do you know which one works for you? Ava is almost 4 years old and she modeled some different size bows for you to use as a reference.
 6.5Bow 6.5Pigtails

5.5SpikeyBow
5SpikeyPigtails
 
4.5ABC
4.5ABCPigtails
 
4Solid
4.5SolidPigtails
 
3Pinwheel
3Pinwheels Pigtails
 
For ponytails and half ponies, I like how the bows 4” and above fit Ava at this age. For the pigtails, I like the smaller ones b/c there are two, though I do kinda think the 6.5 inch bows are cute on it too! :)
Not only does PDP carry bows, they also have headbands, flowers, hats, ANYTHING you’d want to put on your child! They are also offering products for older age groups, such as these awesome glitter headbands!!!
Check Polka Dot Posies out for your next bow needs – you will NOT be disappointed!!!!!
Note: These bows were provided by Polka Dot Posies for the purposes of this post. The opinions and words are my own.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dance, Dance, Ava!!!

This past week, I signed up Ava to take a week long dance class. I figured this would be a good way to see if she would enjoy it before making a commitment both of our time and money to enroll her for the fall. She loved it! IMG_4271IMG_4326IMG_4285 IMG_4323
And a little video of all that she learned!

The Edwards Family

The Edwards Family

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