DIY, Holidays, Other, Parenting

My favorite Valentine Ideas!!

I don’t get all wrapped up in Valentine’s Day and the big deal the world makes it out to be.  It has become a day to spend a lot of money and as a mother of four I don’t like spending a lot of money.  But I do like making special gifts for others and expressing my affection towards the ones I love. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Valentine’s Day.  I just don’t understand why only one day should be allotted for showing our love to others.

With that said, there are so many resources and great DIY projects out there but how do you pick which ones to do.  I have been on the look out for some really easy, inexpensive ideas for the big day.  As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching I want to share some of my favorite new finds.

1.     First and foremost, Who loves Big Hero 6??  Baymax is a huge hit especially at my house.  My younger three kiddos LOVED the movie!  We don’t go to the movie theatre very often but my husband and I thought the kids would like it.

Guess what?

They did and so did Mom and Dad!!

One of my new favorite blogs, Shortcut Saver, has a very cool idea for a Baymax valentine to share with others.  Check it out here!

Baymax Valentine's

2.     What do you do when sending just one valentine message to your loved ones just doesn’t feel like enough?

Then you create some very special “Open When…” letters.  This is such a cool idea.  I think I am going to try and do this for each of my children in their birth month.  I am really loving how you can change it up to fit your personality!  A big thanks goes to the very awesome blog, Bravely!!!

Open When...Letters

3.     Valentine’s Day appears to be mostly geared toward the female gender.  But we don’t want to forget the men in our lives, whether that be our dad, brother, boyfriend, husband, best bud or any other guy in your life!!  Here are some practical ideas for the boys for valentine’s day from Bravely!

10 mens valentine's gifts

4.     Since having children and being a mother for the past 15 years I know how much kids love valentine’s day.  My kids like making gifts for others instead of buying the pre-made cards to hand out.  We have purchased them in the past to use but they enjoy making things for others much more than just buying for others.  I really like these Valentine’s Day Magnets from The Life You Live!

Valentine's Magnet

5.     How about a gift the kids can make all by them selves and you only need two inexpensive ingredients?  That is right up my alley.  Check out the Glue Valentine Cards from Sarah Titus at Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style!  These are very cute and you can let your creative side come out to make them your own.

Glue Valentine Cards

 

So there you go.  When you don’t know what to get that special valentine and you want to something different check these out.  I want to thank all the creative folks that came up with these ideas!!!!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

God Bless,

Crystal

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Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 1: My Consistent Plan

Day 1 of the 31 Days of Consistency & Children is here!

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My goal for this challenge is to become consistent with my children.  My husband and I have four children and we are very busy.  I work two part time jobs outside of the home, I have a home based craft business, I am working on building my blog so I can work from home full time, I have little ones to take care of and run all over and I try to keep the house in order.  My husband works full time outside of the home and is self employed with a scrap metal business that he runs from our home.  We also have an outdoor wood burner which means we cut a LOT of wood to keep us warm in the winter.  We live in Iowa so the winters can be pretty chilly!  We seem to stay very busy and at times that is not good when one is trying to create consistency or routines.

I am not, nor have I ever been, good with setting routines. I can picture in my mind they way a morning or evening routine should go but then I get home to the chaos and out the window that thought goes!!

From everything I have read, heard and been told you must have a plan first and foremost.  Lets get a plan in place!

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I love books even though I don’t get a lot of time to read.  One of my current favorite books (I am not finished with it yet, but almost) is Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Pain.  I am a very huge fan of hers and I have been following her blog for about a year now.  She is all about living intentional, saving money and building a business from home.  You can check her out at Money Saving Mom.  This is truly one of the most amazing blogs I have seen!!

I don’t want to give away what’s in her book because I really believe you should just go out an get your own copy, but I will lay out a few things I have learned and started to implement along with other things I have done.

The best place to start is to figure out what your priorities are.  What are the most important things to you?  What do you want out of your day or routine?  How do you envision your day going?  What part of the day is the most chaotic?  Lay it all out on paper and then put them in order from the most important to the least important.  Now this might be hard (as it was for me) but it is a crucial step.

Once you have that all laid out it will give you an idea of what to concentrate on.  I would suggest that you just add one small change to your day at first which is where I am going to start.  I always say “I don’t have time to do that!” or “when will I find the time to do that?”  Once I laid my priorities out and could see what I actually spend my time doing I realized that I do have time.  Which brings me to the next step.

What do you want to add or change to your daily routine?  I want to add a morning routine!  After listing my priorities and figuring out what I want to see added this is what I cam up with for a morning routine.

1.Get Up/Pray/Bible Time

2. Exercise/Shower/Get Dressed

3.Check Email/Blog

4.  Get Kids Up and Dressed

5. Get Kids on Bus!

Now I know that most of that list is about me but in order to become consistent with my kids and set routines for them I have to start with me first.  I am going to continue to read Crystal Paine’s book for more great ideas and help on getting things in order!

Stay tuned for tomorrows post.

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I want to hear about your plans and how you get your priorities and routines lined up!!!

Other, Parenting

To Stay Home or Not

Stay at home mom

To stay at home or not?

That is the million dollar question.

I know what my heart says and I think I know what God is telling me.  Signs just keep pointing in the same direction.

To stay at home it is…right?  Why is that easier said than done?

So let me fill you in on my issue. My husband and I have been trying to figure out for the past 2 years how to get me home with the kids full time versus working outside of the home. We have kind of chatted about it and we have thought about it but we have not really “talked” about it.  The biggest hurdle is going from a two person income to a one person income.

I will have to supplement at least some of the income that I will lose.  So I have been doing my research and crunching numbers and I must say that is not a fun job.  Anyone want to do it for me?  But for free of course because I can’t afford to pay you!!  Fine, I guess I will do the dirty work:(

There are more work at home jobs than I thought. I guess in this day and age with all the technology the opportunities are endless!

Just to give you a little background on my career path.  I graduated from high school in May of 1999.  We had our first daughter in August of 1999.  Since I was a mother, a young one at that, I couldn’t go to college. Well that was what my silly 18 year old brain told me anyway! So I worked a few dead end jobs until I realized I really could go to school and make a better life for us. My husband worked a lot and was gone all week so my idea was going to be an interesting journey.

In 2002 I signed up to become a college student!! That was exciting but not exactly the college experience I had dreamed about. Not many other students my age had a three year old and a husband at home.

I ended up graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work in 2007. I had always longed to help people. This was the perfect field for me!

My first job in the social work field became mine right after graduation. The sad news about this field of study in a rural midwest state is that the travel is profound. I found myself working 14 hours a day in which half of that time was traveling. With a family of little ones this was getting very hard to manage. I loved my job and the foster families I worked with but I was drowning so I ended up taking a job for a small law office which is only 3 miles from my house. I work 30-40 hours a week and it is flexible. I enjoy working there and I have made some amazing friends.

BUT…with four children ranging in age from 14 to 2, I am needed at home much more than I am there.

Now that you know my story have a good evening!

Just kidding! We decided that We will try it and see how it goes. The law firm I work at does Income Tax preparation which goes until mid April so I will work until taxes are over. I actually talked to my boss yesterday and my co-worker today about my decision.

Now the transition begins:) Stay tuned to hear more as the stories developes!!