Monday, July 28, 2014

Does a Hammock Make For Good House Decor?

For Christmas last year, my husband surprised me with a hammock. This was a gift we had talked about for years but never actually took the plunge to buy.

6 months later and it's still in the box! Ugh! Maybe that's why we never purchased it before. We had a subconscious suspicion that may happen.

Well, another month passed us by and we decided we may as well open the box! We put it together in our sitting room on Friday and there it still sits today, which is Monday! I don't want to mislead you, as it isn't just sitting in our house not being used, quite the contrary. Our hammock has received a lot of love over this weekend and now the hubby is trying to convince me to leave it there.

To match the hammock, our weekend was all about lounging and relaxing, which was very much needed for our household. We mostly stayed home. I did meet up with a friend for some sidewalk sales shopping and lunch. My husband and I also took Payton to the pool for the first time. Otherwise, we were at home!

So, my question for you, does the hammock make for good house decor? What are your thoughts?

I also linked up this week to the Life of Faith blog, take a look!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

If You Want to Be Debt-Free

I think we all, to some degree, want to be debt-free, right? Uh, right?!?! It's kind of like asking if you want to win the lottery...

Since buying and moving into our new house (it's outrageous how much moving can cost), I feel I have been less focused on becoming debt-free. So, I made a trip to the library and checked out some motivational books pronto! I was so sucked in, I read all 3 books in about 3 days. 

Need to jump start your motivational drive on becoming debt-free? Here are some books I recommend:

1. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

I think the title says it all! How else can you start getting out of debt and increasing your net worth if you aren't thinking like those who have already done that? This book will change how you think about money!

2. Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey

I talk about him all the time (see here and here for a few examples) so it should go without saying that I am going to recommend his work. Any book by him is a good refresher, but this one focuses on how he got to where he is now. Sometimes, it's just refreshing to know someone has made mistakes financially, too!

3. The Five Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me for Women by Richard Paul Evans

This book is targeted for all the ladies out there wanting financial independence. I am married, but this book really helps me take ownership of our family's money and hold myself accountable to our situation. This book will help you to realize the role you are playing when it comes to money, whether you are single or not!

Now, it's time to start focusing on getting out of debt! More to come on that soon...

What books do you read when you need to get motivated to get back on track with your finances?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Understanding Money

The first step in wanting to become debt-free is to educate yourself on money. The more you understand about finances, money, saving money, etc. the better off you are in making educated decisions for yourself. I am constantly reading articles, blogs, and books that center around money for any extra tips and tricks. Here are some finds from this week that I wanted to share with you:

Do you avoid the grocery store? Why or Why not?

The first read I have is about a family that is going one year without groceries. This is worth reading! I love their reason for making this decision and hearing about how it has changed them already. Could I do it? I think my family does their own version of this (we only go to the store about 1x/month) and we are working towards decreasing the number of grocery store trips (huge garden is planted with the hope to can all extras produced), but I doubt we will ever fully get to this point.

How susceptible are you to marketing and advertising?
So for the many of us who will not be focusing on the goal of going one year without groceries, here are some tips for you while at the store to avoid spending more money. If you say you are not susceptible to marketing, think again! At some point or another, we all fall for a marketing trick. I am not going to lie, I used to buy all 10 items when they were price 10/$10. I stopped when someone explained this trick to me.

At one of our grocery stores in town, if you look under a sale tag to see what regular price was, you will sometimes see that the sale price is actually higher than regular price. So, all you people that buy items because it's on sale (that would be me), take a second to check what regular price was first!

How much do you save each month?
I also came across an interesting blogger who claims to save 85% of his income each month. This is outstanding considering the stats indicate an estimated 75% of Americans don't have enough savings to cover their bills for 3 months. He shares his monthly budget with you so you can have an idea where his money is going.

The one comment I would have is that he doesn't allot any money for gifts/donations. If you follow Dave Ramsey at all, giving back should still be a priority. Regardless of following Dave Ramsey's plan for becoming debt-free, we have made donating a monthly priority, because it just feels good to give back!

Go ahead, laugh a little!
Since I mentioned Dave Ramsey above, I wanted to share with you a read I found today that left my husband and me laughing! Go read this article and don't feel ashamed if you chuckle a little. Yes, Dave Ramsey does make the budget much tighter and yes, we also have to really question every single purchase.

Don't you feel a bit more educated already? 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Independence Day with a Child

Happy 4th of July everyone! This holiday used to be one of my favorites! Note my key word, used to be.

For any of you non-parents out there or any parents that just want to relate. Independence Day (or week as the case is around here) is rough. At night, after my daughter goes to bed, I spend the whole rest of my evening praying she doesn't wake to noisy fireworks. I also pray if she does wake, she doesn't stay awake! Oh, the joys of parenthood!
I actually still enjoy the holiday! Last night we had some friends over for some smoked ribs and watched the city's firework show from our house with a firepit and Dairy Queen ice cream cake (friend's birthday). How cool is it that we can see that show from our country house (our new home)? That wasn't possible when we lived in town. As said before, holidays are made so much more fun (and add more stress) with kids!
Oh yes, someone also had her first ice cream cone! I think she liked it!

Today, we are just going to relax and enjoy the day! Payton is itching to get some swimming in (thank you swim class).

How has you holiday gone?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Infant/Toddler Swimming Lessons

Since the birth of our first child, I have been really gung-ho about enrolling my little in any class she can take. I looked into swimming, gymnastics, tumbling, mommy and me, and Kindermusik. Unfortunately, in our rural area, some of these classes weren't even offered.

I really wanted to get our little involved right away with any and all activities she could, but I wasn't actually signing her up for any classes. For me, change is hard and starting something new that requires walking into a building by myself (technically not true since I would have a toddler in tow) is even harder. I was at a point where I felt like all I did was talk about what I wanted to do, but wasn't actually doing anything to achieve my goals.

Well, I finally took the plunge (literally) and started swimming lessons. Now, let me tell you, this was no easy feat! When I first called to enroll Payton in her class, I asked what would be done during sessions, because, you know a 1-year old won't actually be swimming by the end of the class. The response, "they learn to hold their breath under water." Uh, that's nearly impossible at this age! I couldn't sign her up after hearing that!

After calling back and speaking to a few other employees, I learned the real goal is to assist the child to become familiar and comfortable in water. Much more realistic! We signed up, paid our tuition, and planned for class.

Boy,  was I glad I pushed myself to walk through the door that first day of swim class! We had such a blast!
Since I took Payton solo to swim class, I have no actual pictures of the class! That is a bummer because I would have loved to have some pics!

We had 4 sessions that lasted 30 minutes. I am tempted to sign her up for another round of classes and here is why:

1. We start setting boundaries.

I hadn't really thought about how important it is to start setting water safety boundaries right away. For instance, we would put our kiddos around the ledge and work with them not to get into the water until we reached for them. This class made it so fun! We would sing Humpty Dumpty and pull our kids in as Humpty Dumpty fell.

2. We teach blowing bubbles.

Our little one drinks all water, any water. Swim class focused on parents role modeling not drinking the water but blowing bubbles instead.

3. It's a guaranteed 30 minutes of attention for my little one.

Although I am home most of the time with my child, I am not always 100% checked in 100% of the time. I can get easily distracted by other obligations. During swim time though, I have no phone and no chores staring me down. It's just me, my girl, and swim class. 

4. We work on swimming skills.

We may not have graduated with a 14-month old swimmer, but we did make progress. During class, we focused a lot on getting our children to float on their back comfortably while being held. The first day, no child in the class would do it. By the last day, they all lounged like pros in the water! Amazing!

5. She slept like a champ after class. 

I am not going to lie, Payton slept amazingly well after each swim class. Good naps= happy momma

I recommend taking a swim class this summer! You can typically start classes when your child is 6 months. Call your local pool or Y today!

Have you taken a swim class with your child? How did it go?

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