Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eva's Biggest Loser Year: Week 4

      Goals for Week 4
  • Drink at least 80 oz of water/clear liquids per day. Record food and keep calories @ 1,200.
  • This week is crazy with doctor's appointments, 2 nursing home music sessions, and a birthday party for my mom, so I am not making an exercise goal except to do it as possible.
  • Go to bed by 11PM each night.
  • Lose 3 lbs. I am hoping to lose the 2 I gained plus at least 1 more.
This has been one of the those weeks.  I did drink at least 70 oz for the first 4 days of the week.  As for the rest, it was around 50.  I also didn't keep my food calories.  I really need to enter it on the website before I eat it.  I always think, "Oh, I will enter this in a few minutes.  Several hours later I am having a hard time remembering what I ate, or regetting eating something unplanned.  Bed time has also been hard.  I am such a night person.  I have been able to sleep in though so I have gotten at least 7hours sleep. So are you wondering how I did on the scale?

I met my goal! Woohoo! I lost the 2 I had gained and 1 more!  I know this seems kind of trivial to celebrate, but I am looking at the big picture.  Even if I gain 2 and lose 3 every other week, in a year I will have lost 26 pounds! LOL  I haven't lost that much in several years.  Also I know that many weeks I will do better than that. 

One of my down falls with eating has been emotional eating.  I want to eat when I am happy or something particulary nice is happening, and I want to eat when life is stressful or sad.  Learning to control those urges and pray, read my Bible, play piano or just talk about the emotions with someone are some of  the ways I break the snacking habit.

This week has been one of those weeks.  My mom had a birthday party on Friday and we had a wonderful day celebrating with her.  I did pretty well curbing my appetite, but I was sure glad I didn't bring home any of that butterfinger cake. I would have continued a party of one!

Then on Saturday I get a notice in the mail about substituting for the local schools.  We have been seeking God over our finances and feel that now is the time for me to go back to work outside the home in order to get out of our debt, but it has been stressful waiting for all the events to unfold.  Now I have a list of items I have to complete and more forms to fill out and the stress of it makes me want to calm myself with food. 

Typing here or writing in my journal helps me get a better grip on those urges, but I can't always write when I have the urge to eat.  I find that at least thinking about writing this down helps me fight those urges. Praying has also been so helpful.  I know that it sounds cliche but God does want me to remember to lean on His strength for all things.  The girls and I are reading Hinds Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard.  One of the parts that resonates with me is how long Much-Afraid suffers from her fears and those trying to lead her away from the Good Shepherd before she finally calls on him.  She knows He will come immediately.  She has called on Him before, but she always waits longer than she should to call him.  She begins to be plagued with her doubts and fears.  I relate to that.  When I am tempted to eat or skip exercise,  I often try to rationalize it.  Really, I just need to immediately seek God's help in prayer.  I am too weak.  I fail to easily.  I need the One who is so much greater than I am.

So my goals for Week 5:
  • Pray every time I have the urge to eat. Ask for guidance and help.  Pray for help to mortify my fleshly desires.  Pray for peace to enjoy that which is good for me.  Food is not bad.  Eating to take away fear or even to make the joyful feelings of a celebration last longer is wrong.  My peace and joy must come from God.  Anything else is just false, won't last, and has terrible side effects!
  • Write down my food before eating.
  • Drink 80-96 oz of clear liquids.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

From the time I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom.  I attribute this to the fact that I have a great one!  I wish I could go back in time and see all the things she did for me.  I know I would see lots of love and sacrifice.  I wish I could see her giving me baths and reading to me.  Or hear her telling me no or encouraging me to try harder.  I wish I could see her pray for me and check on me after I was alseep.  They say if you have had a happy childhood you don't remember it as well.  I will have to accept that as why I can't remember more of the special things Mom did for me. 

I am thankful for the mother she has been to me since my youth and adulthood.  She has been so helpful; such a source of guidance and encouragement.  I thank God for each memory we make now and the many ways I have for recording them. 

Maybe in Heaven, when we know all things, I will be able to remember everything from my childhood.  I like to think that.  But even if I don't, I am so thankful to know that we will be together forever. 

Until then, Mom, I am storing up these times in my computer and my memory.  I love you Mommy!  Happy Birthday!  Praying your day and coming year are filled with God's peace and joy!

With All My Heart~

Art Day with Homeschool Advantages

I love art days!  I still find it very theraputic to color pictures with my children.  I also love watching my girls create their own art pieces.  I never was very crafty as a child.  I laugh at what I used to think were good drawings from my childhood.  My children have far exceeded me!  I think there are some basic reasons why, and they are directly related to homeschooling.

Variety is the spice of art class!
First of all, my only experience, other than coloring at home, was all done at school.  School projects tend to be cookie cutter projects where everyone uses the same materials and ends up with a product very similar to everyone elses.  This kind of art is not bad, and even in homeschool I tend to teach this way myself.  I am just saying that at school students were not allowed much room for personal preferences. 

We have an "art dresser" where a multitude of art supplies, from pastels, paints, play dough, foam, tissue paper, glitter, yarn and so on are stored. The girls know that during free time they are allowed to use these materials as long as they stay at the school table and clean up their own mess.  So many days I will find various  art pieces in stages of process. This allows the children to practice using different mediums and their imaginations.

Non-judgmental appreciation of anyone's work!
I don't think that teachers in school intended for anyone's work to be ridiculed, but kids are kids.  Unless it is made very clear and enforced children naturally compare to find the "best" one.  This leaves the rest of us who aren't very crafty to feel deflated when we look at the other  people's work and hear unkind comments.  This then leads to less effort in the future, for we have now learned that we are not very artistic.  I have tried to teach the girls that art comes in many different forms and shouldn't really be compared.  We relate it to food tastes.  Just because Daddy hates peas doesn't mean that the girls should not like peas, and just because Mommy loves peas doesn't mean all the girls have to love them too.  We can each share our personal tastes.  We have studied a variety of paintings by famous artists.  I have shared with the girls that I don't care for Jackson Pollock, but obviously many people did.  I like more realistic paintings, but can still appreciate a Van Gogh or Monet.  So the girls are learning to enjoy art more for the experience than attaining some level of praise.  This has made art less scary for those who are sensitive to criticism.  And really, who isn't?

Opportunity increases interest!
I remember the few art projects that we did in elementary and middle school.  I remember them because they were very rare.  It is understandable, if you have 20 students!  I look at the mess we create in twenty short minutes with just 4 little girls!  Art is messy and time consuming and this significantly decreases its likelihood of being done in a school setting.  At home we have more time for clean up. Also we can postpone clean up if we want to leave a project out for a few days.  This is not typically possible in a school setting because you either have other subjects that must be covered in the area so you have to clean up, or you have other kids coming in and it would be to chaotic to leave out every classes' works in progress.

Now I certainly hope you aren't looking for some master pieces of art here as I share our creations from today's art time.  I am not claiming that homeschool art makes master pieces.  Only that each of my girls reaches a higher level of creativity and happiness than I ever did in art class.  I am so glad to share this time with them and see their creativity.  Hannah, being the oldest and most naturally inclined to all things artsy, is a natural leader in our art class.  The younger girls often look to her work for inspiration and technique.  But they also go out on their own as you will see by the samples today.

We are using an Evan-Moor art book that my dear friend, Maralena, gave me years ago. 

We have done it each year in Kindergarten so this is our third time using it.  The big girls don't have to participate but they always do.  Hannah even said today, "Mom, I feel like I am back in elementary school again!"  This from a 6th grader who has always schooled at home! LOL  For two weeks we have been studying the habits and characterisitics of caterpillars.  Last week Lydia drew a caterpillar in her art/nature journal. 

Here is one of all the girls and their creations after we had cleaned up! :)

Here is Hannah's creation. 

Hannah added the legs holding the leaf to her caterpillar.  We used an egg carton cut apart for the bodies.  The girls had pipe cleaners, pom poms, markers, googly eyes and glitter among their selection for decorating.

Here is Sarah's creation.

Sarah was the first to cut the pipe cleaners into small little spikes for the body of her caterpillar.  We had the book out for inspiration and there are many caterpillars with spikes on their bodies.  There is even one that appears to be furry with fake spidery legs as one of its defenses!

Here is Mary's creation.

I love the big pom-pom tail on this one!  So cute!  I didn't really see one like this in the book, but isn't it great that she used her imagination and had fun!  She used markers to color along the side which you can't really see here.  I love the pipe cleaner smile! :)  Mary had used a popsicle and piece of paper to make a sign to be held by the caterpillar.  It said, "I love caterpillars!"  I am not sure why she didn't want it in the picture though.

Lydia made this one especially for Memaw!
Lydia loved the pom pom idea and I tried to show the little pom poms she put between the body joints!  She used quite a bit of silver glitter, but it isn't showing up well in my photo.  She also loved to tell me about using patterns in her design. 

I wish I had pictures of the caterpillars from years past.  I have learned so much about letting them do their own work and giving them more materials for working!  But they were still cute to me then!:)

Now you may be thinking, "Wait, these all look the same to me."  Yes, they are all made with similar materials, but only because the girls tended to copy from each others good ideas.  The point is to give them the most options and then let them do what they like.

So if you homeschool and art isn't part of your week, because you were like me and didn't think art was your thing: Give it a try this way!  Your kids will thank you for it!

If your children go to another place for school, even if they have art classes:  Provide the material and time for kids to explore at home too.  Your kids will thank you for it!

With All My Heart~

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eva's Biggest Loser Year: Week 3

Goals for Week 3:
Drink more water and measure it for an average of 40 oz. per day.
Walk 2.5mi each day and bike 5 mi on 2 of the 4 days.
Go to bed by 11PM each night.
Lose 3lbs.

I did well on the first two goals.  I also made it to bed by 12AM at the latest.  However, I certainly did not make the 3lb loss.  As a matter of fact, I gained 2 pounds this week.  That really stinks.  I don't know if it was from the medicine from the kidney stones or not.  I hope so.  I didn't even eat for nearly 24 hours and have been trying to eat less all week.  I didn't take the time to record it though.

Goals for Week 4:
Drink at least 80 oz of water/clear liquids per day. Record food and keep calories @ 1,200.
This week is crazy with doctor's appointments, 2 nursing home music sessions, and a birthday party for my mom, so I am not making an exercise goal except to do it as possible.
Go to bed by 11PM each night.
Lose 3 lbs.  I am hoping to lose the 2 I gained plus at least 1 more.

I appreciate your prayers for me.  I know stress can make you gain weight or at least not lose it.  I am just trying to remember that this is only 1 week out of a entire year.  It will get better!

Congrats to Leah for losing 2 pounds this week!  I haven't heard from partner 3 and 4 this week!  Let me know how you are doing ladies and I will update your ticker! :)
With All My Heart~

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Free Time Activity

One of the blessings of being home altogether for most of the time is to do fun things together.  One of my fondest memories of childhood is playing games with my mom and siblings or playing in the lake or yard with my family.  As a stay home family we get to do this more often. 

Our favorite game right now is Blockus! Rose bought this for the whole family at Christmas and we love it! 

Here is Hannah working on her first sewing lesson.  She was experimenting with the stitch width and length and turning corners.  She is excited because her Aunt Lorilyn is sharing a sewing video with her. 

Here is the first doll pillow she made.

Sarah working with her science kit.  We were doing step 1 of an experiment and discovered that we had to wait 24 hours to do part 2.  That was a bummer!  Finally getting to part 2 today! Btw, Sarah is going to save up to buy cooler safety glasses, but I think she adorable!

 Alpheus was playing guitar and the cat took advantage of this opportunity to nestle in the guitar case!  Notice Alpheus large pile of thick books by the bed!  We love books around here, especially old, thick books written by dead guys! :)  That is a joke for all the Puritan book lovers!

Mary making a dalmation doggy from the craft box.  This girl loves animals!

Lydia is not pictured, but this was her free time activity one day.  She asked for a Minnie look-a-like Webkinz fo Christmas.  She borrowed a fancy doll dress to make her Minnie look like the actual Minnie dressed in pink for the day! ;)  Can you tell Minnie was a reluctant model! ;)  She was a good girl even if she did make a face.

 This is how the pets of the house spend their free time!  Minnie loves to get as close to the wood stove as she can, even if it means lying on wood chips and the dust pan! LOL Marshall loves to lie under the clothes drying racks. 

I'll sum it up to say that Memaw was probably cooking or cleaning during this free time because she just loves that kitchen.  Of course she might also be watching a video on netflix!  I think we are finally getting our money's worth out of that subscription!  I was probably blogging or helping the girls as needed! :)

So thankful for our free time to do fun things together!

With All My Heart~

Monday, January 16, 2012

Eva's Biggest Loser Year: Week 2

My motivations for this week are God, my family and friends encouraging me, and a special little encouragement from my baby girl, Lydia.  She brought me a note on a hello kitty paper that Memaw wrote as she dictated it.  This is what it said:

to Biggest Loser!

You can get your hair fixed.

To get your hair fixed
you have to go the room
with the door with the castle on it, Eva

She said I could turn it in whenever I was ready!  I told her Makeover week is usually week 12 or so! :)

Goal:  Average of 1,100 calories per day
Tuesday = 1503
Wednesday = 1161
Thursday= 1258
Friday= 1544
Saturday= 1423
Sunday= 1466
Average per day = 1,401

I feel better about this after I read an article on finding your Active Metabolic Rate.  An average of 1300 calories per day should result in 2lbs. lost a week, at least.  I am happy with this for this week.  I am setting my goal for next week at 1300 and want to be more consistent. 

I also did better with exercising this week.  I am able to walk longer and faster and I even biked 5 miles one day when I had already walked 2mi.  This is what I was hoping to do after I got my cast off!  I am so thankful that God has helped me to heal and get better day. 

So I was very pleased when I lost 3 pounds this week! 

Goals for Week 3: 
Drink more water and measure it for an average of 40 oz. per day. 
Walk 2.5mi each day and bike 5 mi on 2 of the 4 days.
Go to bed by 11PM each night.
Lose 3lbs.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Telling the Story of Jesus

This is a picture of one of our "God book" shelves.  When the girls were little we made a rule that on Sundays we would focus our reading or video time on godly books and movies.  I use to tell them, "Let's read one of these books.  It is God's day, so we will read a God book."  That has stuck!  We call these picture books God books because they are all about Him or living like Him! We have added chapter books and devotionals to our bookshelves as the kids have gotten older in order to strengthen our children's understanding of the Bible and the gospel message. 
Yes, we are book junkies! ;)

This past week friends asked me for a book recommendation.  They wanted to give their 5yo niece a book about Jesus.  They were looking for a fairly simply written book that presented the gospel without watering it down.   So I began rummaging through our shelves and found many different options.  I thought I might share these on the blog for anyone interested.  

Make your plan!
Before making a selection, it is important to think about what the reading setting will be.  If you are going to be reading to multiple ages (such as in family worship) then you may want a more difficult book that will speak to the oldest, but can still be helpful to the youngest.  When we had the first 3 girls they were all within three years of each other.  Once they were all above age 3 it was pretty easy to find a book that they could all relate too.  Then God gave us our baby girl.  She is four years younger than the youngest "older girl."  There is eight years between the baby and the oldest "older girl" so it can be hard to find one that challenges Hannah and still helps Lydia.  I keep reminding myself that we will repeat many of these books for Lydia so I try do not feel too bad for her.  So what we try to do is have a varitey for our children.  Some days we read short stories with a godly moral.  Other times we read a biography for the older ones.  Also a few nights a week we read right out of the Bible.

Choose the best style!
How often you read will also influence what type of book you pick.  We do family worship at least 3 times a week.  We usually read a biography one night, a short story another night and then the Bible then next night or two.  We also sing 3 songs before reading and end with prayer, if you were wondering.  If you are looking for something to read off and on when you get a chance before bed, you may consider a short story book where it won't matter if it has been two weeks since you read it.  If you are more interested in a book to be read in one sitting, then you would probably want a picture book.  Your child may request it often or you may make a habit of reading it every month or so. 

Do it together!
I generally don't recommend finding a book the child can read to themselves for a couple of reasons.  For one, it is sometimes hard for parents to determine a reading level.  You may think because the book has primary looking pictures that it is appropriate for a child to try to read.  Even though it may have fairly small words, the syntax (word arrangement) may be too difficult for a young child to read with comprehension.  Second, and more importantly, we are instructed in the Bible to be directly involved in our children's learning about God.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)  If your child has a question you will be there to answer it.  As you see your child living through out the day you can remind them of the things you have been reading.

So here is the short list! ;)

My favorite
picture book is from John MacArthur. It is lovely and very gospel oriented! It would definitely need to be read to the child(ren) by an adult, but it could be finished in one sitting.  There is a Kindle edition, but I would really miss holding the book with my child.  If you buy the hard back then they can flip through the pictures and enjoy that on their own.

Allegory is another wonderful way to teach children truths in a form that will keep their attention.  RC Sproul, Sr. has written this book which we also love!  Our girls often select this book to read during quiet time even though they have read it before.  You can also buy the audio book if you don't have a lot of time to read it yourself.  You could listen to it together in the car possibly.

My last favorite picture book for teaching about the gospel is this large paperback book.  The pages are glossy but the pictures are black and white.  I love the lessons taught in this book.  My only critique is that the little girl asks some pretty deep questions.  They sound more like questions from a youth or adult, but my girls didn't seem to be bothered by that when we read it.  It uses allegory also to help the child understand the grace, mercy and ways of God.

If you are able to do family worship at least once a week, I recommend this chapter book.  There are 35 chapters in this book, but each is only a couple of pages.  There are no pictures, but if your child enjoys being read to it is easy to imagine the story and characters. When you visit the link, you will see that the author is a mother who wrote these to illustrate Biblical truths for her young daughter.  Our big girls all love this book. Actually we will be reading it with Lydia starting next week.

My last recommendation is for an audio book that we have listened to at least 5 times through in the last 4 years since we bought it! 
We have several versions of this wonderful book.  We have the very abridged children's book that is barely recognized as this story; we have the modern language version in comic drawing style that goes with our Pilgrim's Progress board game.  Then we also have a slightly abridged version for adults still with much of the original language.  By far, we all prefer this version.  We have listened to it just before bed for story time.  We have listened to it during the 15 minute drive on the way to church.  Sometimes the girls ask to borrow it and listen to it for an hour or so.  Again the allegoric style is very appealing and leads to some great discussions. 

If you are still reading, thanks for staying with me.  I hope this is helpful to someone.  It has been great for me to look back at some of these books that we need to read again with our girls!

With All My Heart~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tearing Down the High Places

In our homeschool Bible class we have been studying the two kingdoms of Israel before captivity and exile.  It is like watching a movie where the person is in danger and instead of doing the smart thing, they walk right into the pitch dark basement with a bat for defense.  You wish you could stop them.  You might even scream out to try because you already know the danger they are in and how this scenario will play out!

2 Kings 15:1-5
15  In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah became king. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3 He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 4 Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. NASU

Did you hear us scream?  We just want to say to the king, "Go all the way.  Obey God completely!  Tear down those high places!  Stop allowing the people to sacrifice (this was typically children) and burn incense to false gods!"
  Every once in a while we do read the happy ending.  This week we are studying one of the godly kings of Judah. (Israel, the northern tribes, had NONE, ever!)  Anyway, it was so nice to hear that again there was a godly king over Judah.  It makes you look forward to a happier chapter.

2 Kings 18:1-6
Now it came about in the third year of Hoshea, the son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah became king. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3  He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. 4  He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan. 5  He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. 6 For he clung to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.

Now, do you hear us cheering?  We were so pleased to see a godly leader and we could hardly wait to read how God blesses Judah through him.  For the first 14 years there is great blessing.  Then the trouble begins.  The Assyrian king starts trouble.  He takes over the fortified cities of Judah and then requires great tributes (payments) from Hezekiah.  Things don't seem to be going so well for Hezekiah, but Hezekiah again does the right thing!

2 Kings 19:14-19
14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, "O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 " Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 "Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 "Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, OLord, are God." NASU
Did our cheering stop?  No way!  Read this!

2 Kings 19:35-37
35  Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh.

So now you might think all was good for Hezekiah.  Nope!  He becomes deathly ill.  Again, we cheer as he does the right thing again by going straight to prayer!

2 Kings 20:3-4
3 " Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

God then graciously gives him 15 more years of life and promises to protect his city during that time as well. 

As we were reading this, it made me appreciate many things about God and His faithfulness.  But it also made me want to be like Hezekiah and tear down the high places of sin.  You know, the sins that are hard for others to get to, that few people (except probably your closest family) will see.  But God sees them.  No place is too high, or too low, or too dark, even the sins that are mostly in our heart. 

Help me, God, to tear down the high places of hidden sin in my heart and to obey your precious words, and to go to you in prayer when the enemy is at my door and I am weak and I am sin-sick.  May my legacy to my children be that I was a godly mom!

With All My Heart~

Eva's Biggest Loser Year: Week 1

I had some specific goals for this week.
* No soda at home. 
* 50% of my plate at church dinner would be vegetables
* Exercise at least 4 days of the week. 
* Spend more time standing and walking around during the day.

So how did I do?
* I only had 12 oz one day while we were out running errands.
*I did eat small servings of everything that wasn't vegetable and I had a large salad. 
  I also only ate half servings of dessert, though I did have two types. 
* Walked 1.8 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday, pool on Thursday, and walked 2 mi on Monday
* I made at least twice as many trips up the stairs per day and am trying to do more housework and standing during school time as well.
* I lost 5 lbs. this week !!!

My sister-in-law, Leah, is working on things with me.  She has agreed to a weight loss tracking ticker on my sidebar.  Maybe she will let me put an update picture with it in a month or so!  Also working on some others to join me!  If you want to be a part of my Biggest Loser Circle just let me know your stats and I will be happy to celebrate with you!

Next week I plan to record what I eat and the calories.  My goal is an average of 1,100 calories per day.
This is where I can record and calculate certain factors.  This should result in at least a 2 pound loss this week.  Hoping I can burn more off since I am getting better with my walking.  On Tuesday when I walked it took me an hour to limp around the track for 1.8 miles.  Monday I did the whole 2 mi. in 50 minutes.  Hoping to go longer this week!

Thanks for reading my blog to help hold me accountable.  If you want to leave a message for me here I would appreciate the encouragement!  I thank God and all my family and friends for helping me!

With All My Heart~

Saturday, January 7, 2012


January Goals:
Only $300 for groceries this month - $136.28/$300
Monthly coupon/valued customer savings = $14.08
No wasted food!
Stick to budget!
Track spending DAILY
Get checkbook balanced
Save $200 toward EF: $85/$200

2012 FV Challenges: Try New Recipes Challenge: 2/52, Menu Planning Challenge: 2/52, Grocery Reduction Budget Challenge, Change Jar Challenge: $27.74 as of 1-6-12, Lose A Pound A Week Challenge: 0/48, No Wasted Food Challenge

2012 Goals

1. To pay off CC (only $917.15 left!) and never again charge more than I can pay off each month.
2. Snowball the CC payment into Sears Credit Card bill (no interest) and get it paid off ASAP.
3. Snowball the CC and Sears card payments into hospital bill (due w/ Baby #2 via C-section in mid-January). Pay that off ASAP.
4. Snowball payments into DH's student loan (as of 12/4/11 there's still $4770.84 remaining). Pay off by 12/31/12.
5. Keep our grocery budget to $300 each month.
6. Use Dave Ramsey's budget sheet and get on track with this each pay period.
7. Get and keep checkbook balanced and keep an eye (weekly if not daily) on our e-statements.
8. Get savings account up to $8,000 (incl. emergency fund)
9. Make 2 Christmas gifts per month: 0/24.
10. Get our home organized: use a receipt book, keep my coupon organizer in check, have a touch-once policy for paper (touch once and then file or toss).
11. Achieve "give or get" goal of $1500 for the board I serve on by 9/30/12.
12. Taxes filed by March 17.
AspiringToBeFrugal is online now

Friday, January 6, 2012


When you have children you often measure time by months, years and milestones.  As the baby of the family, Lydia is always striving to reach those goals as soon as possible.  She loves to do whatever her big sisters do, and she has the added advantage (or disadvantage) of a lack of fear.  Most of the time it is wonderful that she is so eager to try new and difficult things.  One goal she has had her sights on is to learn to swim well enough to ride the slide at our local pool.

Let me just say that I feel a bit scared to ride this slide.   It must look gigantic to her!  But is she scared away from her goal? No.  She sees her sisters do it and we have told her she can too, as soon as she swims well enough to pop back up and paddle over to our waiting arms.  She has been practicing with Memaw and has met the required distance.  So now we were just waiting for a day with Daddy!

Here is Lydia another day practicing her jumping

You know milestones must be reached with family around to help celebrate!  So today, January 5, two months before her 5th birthday, she accomplished her goal.  As we all watched, she placed her trust in our faith in her and Daddy's waiting arms!  When she popped up, we all cheered!  Her first ride was a bit scary.  I forgot to remind her to stay in a sitting position.  She got turned over on her belly coming feet first down.  She was brave though, and gave it another shot.  She went a total of 6 times.  She wanted to go more, and she will on future PE visits! :)

At bedtime, when she was giving Daddy a good night kiss, they were playing a little guessing game they sometimes play.  Daddy pretends not to recognize her and guesses who she is with funny little clues.  Lydia, anticipating where the conversation was going, decided to give Daddy some clues.  He said, "Now, who is this again?" And Lydia replied, "I am 4.  I am Lydia.  I went down the slide!"

Four hours later and she is recognizing that this event helps to identify who she is!  This was a big deal for her.  She was proud.  So were we, and very amused!  :)

So yes, I am the only member of the family who hasn't ridden the slide!  Oh wait, neither has Memaw!  Stay posted.  Maybe we will be as brave as Lydia one day.

With All My Heart~

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Changes

Each new year I always look forward to changes.  I like change.  I regularly move furniture around because I enjoy change.  One of my favorite parts of the year is putting away the past school books and getting out the new ones!  I always have goals and desires for change in the New Year.

One that I always set for myself is to walk more faithfully in the ways of God.  I desire to read my Bible more faithfully, to spend more time in prayer, to do more work for the kingdom of God, to learn more scriptures and doctrine.  I never quite reach my desired walk though.  Why not?  Sin.  Oh to be in the eternal presence of God and absence of sin!  I look forward to that.  Until then, I will continue to try to mortify my laziness and lack of desire to strive for the things of God!  Practically speaking, we have a goal to read through the Old Testament as a family.  Personally, I want to spend my first 15 minutes in prayer and scripture memorization.  There are other goals on my list, but this is an example of some of the ways I want to walk closer to God in 2012!

Another goal I seem to have every year is to lose weight.  I think there were two years of my life since high school where I didn't list this as a goal.  I really need to work off at least 80 pounds.  Oh, it hurts to type that.  But I know that I need prayers of family and friends so I share this with you!  I will be posting my weight loss every Tuesday.  I will also post about my nutrition for the week and exercise goals that I meet.  I really need to have a Biggest Loser year! I hope some of you will help hold me accountable and encourage me.  So look for a post next week on this!

Starting picture 

Another change that we are seeking God for guidance and direction is in our finances.  We want a Biggest Loser year for our debt! We are praying to become better stewards of what God provides and also to work more diligently to pay off the debts we owe.  Again, your prayers would be greatly appreciated!  One goal I have this month is to record what we spend for groceries with a goal of $100 per week and to not eat out AT ALL.  I will let you know how we all do on this one!  Another way we are changing things in order to pay down our debt is for me to go back to teaching in the public school.  This was a difficult decision because I really enjoy spending my days teaching and learning with our girls.  They are going to be doing many subjects without me if I get a job again.  We are thankful that Memaw Rose is here to help us with this.  I can leave the girls at home with their work and she will assist in making sure they stay on task and complete the work.  I am thankful the girls are older now and can do so much on their own.  They are excited about helping the family reach the goal of no debt by doing their part during school!

Just a few pictures from a visit to the park!  Happy Hannah!

Sweet Sarah enjoying the new playground equipment!

Mary, Memaw and Lydia!

Here is a better, well at least closer, view of Mary! :)

So by the grace of God and some hard work I pray I will see many changes for the better in 2012.  I thank God for each day and another opportunity to serve Him in all that I do!

With All My Heart~