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Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

OnlyKeepStuffYouLoveI’ve learned a lot this week, but the best thing so far – it’s ok to throw stuff away.  Really, it’s ok.  Even if that stuff is a gift from someone you love.  It may be a wonderful gift that had great intentions, but over the years, that gift sat on a shelf and collected dust.  It’s taken up a piece of real estate in your house and over the years you can’t seem to part with it since it was a gift.

You know what I’m talking about – that candle that you burned a few times and then you stuffed it in the very back of your kitchen cabinet because you got another one you liked better.  Or, it’s the quilt that someone made you as a wedding present.  While the quilt is lovely, it doesn’t match the decor of your house, or even of your guest room, so it’s been sitting in a box for 15 years.  Or, maybe it’s that collection of items from your favorite sports team – the mugs, light-up beer steins (and you don’t even drink beer), hats, coasters, posters, soda can cozies, tickets from games you have attended, and on and on – while you love this sports team, you may not love all the gifts you are given year after year with their logo plastered on it.

I know how you feel though – being stuck with a gift and feeling like you have to keep it just because you love the person who gave it to you.  In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she says, “Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need ‘just because.’”  Most people have no idea how much space these things are taking up in their homes.

For me, I’ve seen this truth to be true – I can’t believe that in my already orderly (or so I thought) house I found 16 bags of things just taking up space that I didn’t want anymore, and I’m only just beginning.  The question to ask yourself when sorting through gifts is “Does this spark joy?”   Simple as that.  You have to remember that gifts are just things that are used to convey someone’s feelings for you – and after they have given you the gift, the gift’s purpose has been fulfilled.  Think about that.  It’s so true and my mind is blown.  This makes me think about gifts in a whole new light – both gifts I receive and gifts I give – honestly, it makes me want to try a lot harder when I’m giving a gift to someone.

While some gifts are hard to part with, others are easy to discard.  You can part with that engraved china plate you got as a wedding gift that has sat in a box for your entire marriage.  Yes, it was a gift, but do you even remember who gave it to you?  This happened to me yesterday.  We tackled our storage room.  This room holds a giant pile of boxes that are old grade school papers, trophies from Awana, diplomas and awards from DECA and FBLA, Coca-Cola collections, M & M collections of everything you can dream of shaped, stuffed or imprinted with an M & M on it, wedding gifts, old cards and letters, etc.  It was intense.  I can’t believe how much we threw away!  We had so many empty boxes that we had saved and intended to use for shipping gifts to people.  Silliest thing ever, because we maybe ship 3-4 boxes a year!  We had enough boxes and shipping materials to ship boxes for the next 20 years or more!  Not only were these boxes taking up a ton of space, so were all the boxes of momentos.

We spent 5 hours working on this room and have made some great progress, but we still have a long way to go.  The funny thing, I noticed my attitude change over the course of the day.  I was super excited to get started on the room – I loved seeing all the things we were able to discard and haul to the trash.  Once we started unpacking my M & M collection and my box of unexpected photos from college, I started to get really stressed.  I didn’t know what to do with this stuff.  I panicked.  We kept going and I had to walk away for awhile.  I was getting totally overwhelmed.  There were boxes overflowing with packing peanuts,  piles of sorted item we were going to donate, and piles of discarded items.  Just walking from the storage room to the the stairs was like walking through a mine field.  We cleared a path and I set aside all my momentos to deal with at a later time.  The photos and special memory items are the items you sort through last.  Thank goodness, because I like to take photos of everything!

I unpacked boxes that have been packed since I moved into my house 10 years ago.  I had boxes of decor items that don’t match my current house and honestly I didn’t even remember I had them.  I found a really cool set of metal lamps that I really like, but have no problem selling instead of keeping.  In fact, I’m not only donating items, but finding a lot that I can sell on VarageSale.  I have listed over 100 items since I’ve begun my tidying journey and I’m loving the extra money that I’m making.

I’m super proud of my husband as well, he loves to collect stuff and tends to have multiple collections of things,  let’s see, there is the Coca-Cola collection, the Star Wars Lego collection, and the Broncos collection.  I tend to look at these things as ways to collect dust, which drives him crazy.  He thinks I’m boring because I don’t really collect anything.  Yep, we are a perfect match!  He did make some great decisions on things he was willing to part with and we have big plans for our storage room.  We are going to add some shelves and I’m so excited!  Our compromise, I have to find a place to display his Coke collection because he unpacked it all!  I still have to figure this one out.  :)

Needless to say, I survived the day, we still have a ton to do, but we made a huge dent in our stuff that I’m super proud and excited.  As I work through the whole house, I’m finding that I have a ton of storage totes and bins that I no longer need – as I’ve discarded most of the items that used to be in them.  I’m also loving reading Marie Kondo’s book because there are just times in your life when you just need someone to tell you it’s ok to throw stuff away.  I also feel relieved that you really only need to keep stuff that you truly love.  How is your tidying journey going?

OnlyKeepStuffYouLove

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January 16, 20170 commentsRead More
Time to Tidy Up: Tackling My Closet

Time to Tidy Up: Tackling My Closet

ClosetMarie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, says the best place to start tidying in your home is your closet.  Well, I did it.  Oh-my-goodness.  That was a HUGE job, but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.  Phew.  I’m glad it’s over and I can’t believe how clean I feel – not just because my closet is clean, but my overall life is starting to feel cleaner, and I love it!

Are you ready to begin tidying your life?   Well, here is how you at least tackle your closet.  First of all, Marie says you should gather every last bit of your clothing in your entire house and put it all in one pile on the floor.  I laughed out loud when I first read this.  I remember thinking that I could just leave a few coats and gloves in the downstairs closet and not worry about them, as well as keep my swimsuit in the laundry room –  but the book says to gather every last bit of clothing – gloves, hats, coats, everything.  If you don’t get every last piece you won’t fully immerse yourself in the process…I drug my feet because it seemed like a lot of work, but eventually I grabbed a laundry basket and gathered everything and hauled it upstairs to my room.  I took every single piece of clothing out of my closet – shirts, jeans, fancy dresses, suits, bras, purses, scarves, etc.. – EVERYTHING!!!

I even pulled out my precious tubs of maternity clothes (which I had 3 giant plastic tubs worth) which I swore I would never get rid of.  The dust on top of, behind, and around these maternity tubs was thick, and I was beyond terrified to get rid of any of it.  I’ve had such a journey the last 11 years of being a mom and so many memories are tied to those maternity clothes.  I could not imagine going through them, let alone getting rid of any of them, but I pulled them out of the closet and piled them up with everything else.

After it was all piled up on the floor I sorted it into clothing types and tackled my shirts first.  I was doing great at discarding shirts that were lumpy, stained, pilled, and had holes in them until I found the pink glitter chihuahua shirt.  I got stuck.  I sort of freaked out.  I put it in the discard pile and then I grabbed it back out.  I panicked.  That shirt has such deep memories.  Does is spark joy?  Yes, it does.  It sparks all sorts of memories of a wonderful life I’ve had with my spouse.  I got that shirt while I was dating my husband and was dreaming of marrying him, having kids and of one chihuahuashirtday having a little white chihuahua that I would name Lucy.  For real.  I loved pink, glitter and little dogs and felt like my whole life was ahead of me.   Great memories that make me wish life was simple again.  I cannot part with that shirt, even though I’m fairly positive that I”ll never actually wear it again.

I continued on with my sorting and then my daughter walked in to see what I was up to.  She immediately asked if we could do her room too!  That’s my girl!  Love her!  It’s funny how if you start organizing your own life, that others watching want to do the same thing.  This also applies to my husband.  When he got home that night, he was so amazed at the transformation of my side of the closet that he immediately starting pulling things out of his side of the closet to discard.  :)

Back to my process – I started to fill up bags and bags of clothes to be donated – it’s was liberating and felt wonderful!  When everything else was sorted, I finally tackled the tubs of maternity clothes.  I had to scrape off a layer of dust just opening them.  Ewww.  I plunged ahead and was really surprised when I made it through the first tub and easily discarded all of it.  Nothing sparked joy.  All of the items in the first tub were very  big and out of style – they were 11 years old and from my first pregnancy – I was gigantic when I was pregnant with my oldest.  I hated everything about being pregnant with him.  I was uncomfortable, sick all the time, hungry all the time, wore very big maternity clothes, and when I picked them up and examined them, they gave me a feeling of yuck.

In the donate bag they all went and this process continued until I came to the last tub with all my cute clothes from when I pregnant with my daughter.  I loved being pregnant with her.  I was super thin because she made me sooo terribly sick all the time that I could barely eat, it was summer and I love summer maternity clothes, and overall I felt like a rock-star mommy.  It was one of the best years of my life.  I loved the attention of being pregnant, I felt cute the whole 9 months, and I was elated to be having a girl!  I loved all my maternity clothes I wore during that time – they were colorful, cute, and I would wear them all again if I had another baby.  I even loved my maternity swim suit – and honestly, who can say they love a swim suit?  Needless to say, I kept about 12 items, including my swimsuit and that was all I kept from my 3 big maternity tubs.  These items fit in a small diaper box.

I’m so glad I took the plunge and opened up those bins – because it taught me I was holding onto memories that I didn’t need to hold on to anymore.  I don’t plan to have any more kids, but if I do, then I still have a few cute items that I love dearly.  I’m sure at some point down the road, I will discard that box, but for now, I’m so proud of myself for purging 3/4 of a category of things I had that were not exactly what I thought.  I didn’t need to take up a huge space in my closet holding onto things that I didn’t really even like when I further examined them.  Again, it’s liberating to get rid of them!  I also know that someone else could use all of those clothes that I no longer needed, so I posted 3 garbage bags of maternity clothes size Small, Medium, and Large on a local Free Facebook group that I’m a part of and all 3 were picked up the next day by ladies who needed them.  It’s a win-win!

It only took me 3 hours to complete my closet.  I spent the next hour vacuuming, dusting and cleaning my closet floor which had not seen the light of day in probably 6 years.  When you have so much crammed in a tiny space it’s more effort than it’s worth to clean under and around it.  Right?  I love all the white space on my side of the closet now.  Love it!

I learned a lot about myself by the items I decided to keep.  Sorting through your clothes tells you a lot about who you are.  I discarded a lot of things that I’ve held onto for a long time – fancy dresses, high heels, jeans, suit jackets from my working days, etc.  I held onto my leggings, tunics, yoga pants, athletic gear, and running shoes.  Wow.  It’s weird to even write that.  My fashion sense and lifestyle have changed a lot in the last 20 years (yes, there were things in my closet that I’ve had for 20 years).  Honestly, I’m not sure what this says about me.  I’m still thinking about it and mulling it over in my head.  My husband did comment that I used to dress a lot fancier when he first met me.  Of course I questioned him about that and he just said it was an observation, but it did worry me.  Am I looking to mom-ish?  Just stuff to think about.  Wow, who knew that tidying my home could go so deep?

So, what has tidying taught you?  Have you sorted your closet?  How did that go?  Can’t wait to hear all about your tidying journey….

Closet

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January 7, 20170 commentsRead More
Time to Tidy Up: Let The Selling Begin

Time to Tidy Up: Let The Selling Begin

LetSellingBeginI was so excited to get started with my tidying project that I had no problem sorting through stuff in my cabinets and begin the joyful job of discarding.  For me, this job is fun.  I do find joy in discarding objects that no longer serve a purpose or have a use.  You might have a much harder tine discarding items – my husband, for example, has a hard time letting go of things.  Just the other day we were sorting through that big box of cables, cords, old computer parts, etc that everyone has laying around.  We have a pretty big box full of these things to go along with our many other electronic devices and because my husband is a nerd we have a lot!  Yep, I just called him a “nerd” and I mean it totally lovingly.  He’s amazing and I’m so glad he understands computers!

Anyways, since I was dying to get a jump on the discarding process I drug my poor, unsuspecting husband to the basement to begin sorting through the box of cables and then to sort through our big pile of old computers, hard drives, printers, etc that we could recycle and get out of the house!  While I had no problem finding a ton of stuff to discard, my poor husband sorted it all and then sheepishly said he needed to keep most of it!  :)  It was adorable actually!  We had multiple TV cables from DirectTV still in the plastic packaging that were exact duplicates and I was ready to discard every single one, while my husband was worried we might need them ALL someday.  It was cute, and made me giggle.  Somehow I negotiated with him to keep just one of each kind, phew.  I did learn that everyone has a different way of looking at items around the house and the key is identifying it’s purpose and being ok with letting it go if it’s already served it’s purpose.

At least I know that I have no problem letting go of stuff, which I’m happy about considering the journey I’m about to go on, but the best words I’ve read so far into Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,  are “we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”   Like focusing on the good.  I have a very hard time doing this in everyday life.  I tend to focus on the bad in a situation and in people.  Isn’t that awful?!  I love the idea of looking at an object and asking “Does this spark joy?”  If not, discard.  While this sounds simple, I know it’s going to be hard.

I do love this approach for clothing though, a lot.  I still have stuff in my closet that I wore in college, my “cute days,” as I refer to them.  I keep wanting to be the same size as I was in college – you know, long before I had 3 kids.  When I try to remember what I think I looked like back then, I’m not sure it’s all that different than I do now…it’s silly, yes, I was thinner, but I was 18!!!!  Marie also says in her book to thank the item for the role it played in your life and then let it go.

A great example is a pink t-shirt I still have with a glitter chihuahua on it (ohmygoodness…two of my favorite things – glitter and chihuahuas, especially at that time in my life), and it’s a very small t-shirt.  I loved this shirt, I wore it all the time and for some reason I still have it 18 years later!! 18 years?!!! I can’t believe I’ve had it that long! Why in the world have I held on to it this long?  Partly because it has glitter on it (have I mentioned that I LOVE glitter??), and partly because it has a chihuahua on it, and I have 2 chihuahuas (the same 2 chihuahuas who are now 14 and 15 years old).  More importantly, I keep hoping I’ll be able to get skinny enough to wear it again.  I’ve not worn this shirt for probably 12 years – I don’t think I’ve fit into it for the last 13 years and I still have it.  Marie says you should ask this question, “Does it spark joy?”  It sparks really good memories of a time when I was itty -bitty and cute, but it also makes me sad because I don’t look like that anymore.  Can I actually thank this shirt for giving me joy at the time I bought it and wore it, and be ok with letting go of it?  I’m not sure…..  When I really think about it, even if I could fit into it again some day, I’m not sure that I would even wear it, as it’s really short!  :)  20 years ago short shirts were the fashion trend, but not anymore!   I’m still really thinking about this one and I’ve not even started working on going through my closet yet!! My brain gets really far ahead of me sometimes.

Anyways…back to my point – I’m a few days into my tidying journey and I’m selling things like a crazy woman!  It’s nice!  We are saving for a car, so the extra money I make on discarded items around the house all go into a jar sitting on my counter – the official “Car Fund” – hey, you have to start somewhere right?!   I used to be a big fan of having a garage sale, so all year long I would designate a space in my storage room and/or the guest room and collect items we could sell.  Once garage sale season would hit, usually late April, I would drag all my stuff out to the driveway and sell it all.  Whatever was left after 2 days I would donate to Goodwill.  Normally, we would save all that money for something big – one year we used it for a vacation to Legoland!  Now, I’m a more sophisticated seller – I like to use online selling apps to move my stuff and reach a bigger audience, and for some stuff I can charge a higher price than I would get for the item at a garage sale, which is awesome!  My favorite selling app is VarageSale and I also use a few smaller local community Facebook groups.  These groups are great because the seller comes to you to buy your item and for smaller items, I usually leave them outside my front porch with a nice note and the buyer just leaves money under my doormat.  It’s very convenient and easy!  If you get to know me well enough you know that I really love things that make my life easier.  My kids have a snow day today – which means all 3 will be home, but I’m hoping that gives me a good excuse to get more tidying done since I don’t have to run them around.

So, who’s used the KonMari Method?  How did you discard items that were hard to get rid of?  Any advice for me and my tidying journey?

Have a great day!  I’m off to try to tidy….

LetSellingBegin

 

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January 5, 20170 commentsRead More
Time To Tidy Up: Hello 2017

Time To Tidy Up: Hello 2017

TimeToTidyUpI’m happier than I should be that 2016 is over.  I have no regrets about leaving that year behind me.  It wasn’t a horrible year, it wasn’t a great year, it was just a year and I’m over it.  I’m happy to welcome 2017 and have high hopes that it’s going to be epic!  While I’m trying not to get ahead of myself or of what the Lord has in store for me this upcoming year, I’m still feeling very intrigued about what lays ahead.  Last year was an “off” year for me.  I struggled a lot with my emotions, my overall body contentment, and mostly with my sense of overall purpose and direction in my life.  Heavy stuff huh?  Yeah, I know, and it was hard to wallow through it all.  I feel like dreams I had built, toiled over, and angrily suffered through were laid to rest, friendships were built and lost, days of pounding my body in the gym were accomplished with not much gain, and I registered defeat in more ways that I want to count.  I learned that God doesn’t always write out His plans for your life on a neon sign, clear as can be, so you don’t mistake it – He just asks that you trust Him even when you have no idea what is going on.  I was in that space so many days this year that I found myself doubting who God is and if He really is there for me – and in all my days on this earth, I have never doubted God’s love for me.  Now do you see why I’m read for this year to be over?

I learned something else about myself that I’ve never seen before – I don’t function well in chaos.  I get stressed out really easy and it doesn’t take much for me to go from “good mommy” to “crazy-stressed-angry mommy” when the situation becomes overly chaotic.  When I get stressed, I instantly go into overdrive of trying to de-stress – I clean my environment, I yell, I get mad at my kids, I start making lists, little things out of place make me yell even louder, I demand that my kids pitch in and help me clean, I just turn into a crazy person trying to tidy up and ultimately calm down.  A classic example is everyday when my older kids get home from school.  They come in the door and set their backpacks in the middle of the floor of the kitchen and start unpacking them, wanting to show me everything inside – the craft they made in class, their math test, the art project they are working on, their spelling homework, etc.  All while my youngest (who has been home with me all day) is vying for my attention as well, wanting a snack, drink and to show me anything he can find at that moment to show me, plus he is usually singing a silly song about stinky farts at the same time (lovely – huh?).  While all this is going on, I usually have music playing in the background (yep, because I’m crazy) and am trying to prepare a snack so we all can re-fuel before starting homework.

This mom does not smile through all of this, nor do I patiently listen as they show me items, or do I calmly ask them all to sit at the table so we can eat a snack.  I try to take a deep breath, then my heart starts to beat faster as I get more and more stressed by all the chaos of kids, dishes, dinner prep, laundry, homework, shoes in the middle of the floor, backpacks not hung up, etc and I end up yelling and throwing a mommy tantrum trying to get everything back to a normal stress level.  This is so dumb.  It usually puts the kids in a bad mood and me too and then we all spend more time trying to repair our attitudes towards each other.  By this time, it’s 5pm, and I’m stressed and starving and all I want to fix my sour mood and chaotic feelings running through me is a brownie.  Yep, I love brownies – but you all know that.  I’ll make dinner and simultaneously whip up a batch of brownies.  You see where I’m going??  It’s a horrible downward spiral.  Chaos and stress are detrimental to me and where I’m going in life.   I know I can’t eliminate all the stress in my life, I mean seriously, I have 3 kids, life is going to be stressful, but I can help identify the stress triggers and work at fixing them.

A very dear friend of mine told me about a book she is reading, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.  This book caught my attention because I love to organize and I love the feeling of a tidy house.  I love to discard stuff, sell it, and move on.  My house is usually very tidy – but it could be so much more simplified.  I’m totally hooked on this book.  I’m only about 40 pages in, but I’m hooked!  I’m going to spend the next couple months reading this book, doing what it says and tidying up my home, heart, and my life, and I plan to blog about as I go.

In her book, Marie asks “Why do you want to tidy?”  When you can answer that question you can begin.  For me, I want to tidy to because I want to have a clean and orderly house so that I don’t feel stressed out by my environment.  If I’m not feeling stressed out by my environment I can pay more attention to trying new things, having more fun with my family, eating healthier foods, getting better sleep, and overall being a better wife and mom.  I do believe that all of these things can be accomplished by having a tidy home, because your home is so much more than just the place to lay your head at night.  As a mom, it’s my work – it’s where I put my time and energy, it’s how I make money, it’s how I prove my worth, it’s who I am at this point in my life.

I’m hopeful that God teaches me a lot about myself and the deep-rooted reasons why I do some of the same things over and over and expect a different result.  I want change, which is really hard to say, because I HATE change, but I’m ready for it.

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book?  What did you think?  What did you learn?

TimeToTidyUp

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January 3, 20170 commentsRead More
Why We Didn’t Take Out A Loan For A Car

Why We Didn’t Take Out A Loan For A Car

GreenCarBeing an adult is hard.  So hard.  Here is what happened yesterday – are you ready for this? Here goes:

We need a new car in a bad way.  Check this baby out - this is my Dave Ramsey-mobile.  It’s a 1993 Honda Del Sol convertible- lime green with lime green wheels too, it was a beauty when I got it 20 (gasp) years ago!  Who’s heard of Dave Ramsey?  Love him!  Consider him my uncle – for real.  Around our house we call him ‘Uncle Dave’.  Well, when we first got married someone gifted us with his Total Money Makeover class and our newly married lives were completely changed – in a good way.  We had $90,000 of debt when we got married and after taking his class we were able to pay off ALL of that debt in just over a year.  We got extra jobs, worked out butts off and lived on beans and rice.  Boy was I glad the day we payed the last debt off!  I was so proud of us.  Now, we are 14 years down the road, still living debt-free and we never fight about money – which his a huge plus!  BUT, we really need a new car – this lovely Dave Ramsey-mobile is on it’s last leg.  In fact, this was the first car I ever had – I was given this car when I turned 16 and that was a long time ago.  My poor husband drives it to work every day and has for years and years.  It’s reliable, paid for, and does the job, BUT, we are ready to move on to another vehicle that we can fit our kids in.  As you can see, this car is on a 2-seater, and that’s hard when you have 3 kids.  :)

My husband would like to get a truck.  I would too.  Who knew that trucks hold their value so well?!  Not us.  We know that now.  We have been saving for a few years, anything extra at the end of the month and we have managed to save $10,000 – which is not going to buy much of a truck – we’d need double that to get something that will last us a few years.  The little green car will need some work put into it this fall – and honestly, the repairs are not worth it if we plan to sell it.  Which means, we are in the market for a newer vehicle.  Although my husband would really like a truck, we have decided the ‘adult’ decision would be to get a car instead, as they are cheaper, and we can pass it to our son who will be driving (gasp) in 6 years (ohmygosh, I can’t believe he will be driving soon….ahhh!!!).

With new resolve, we began looking on Craigslist for a 4WD car with lower miles, and only a few years old.  Imagine my luck when not an hour earlier someone had posted a gorgeous sedan, a few years old, with only 30,000 miles on it – asking only $13,800, claiming he was a very motivated seller.  The blue book on this car was mid $14,000′s.  My bargain hunting ears were fully listening.  Just what I like to hear – someone who took really good care of his car and was motivated to sell and offering a deal.  Of course we had to go check it out.  We were the first people to call him and went to go look at it last night.  It was beautiful.  Really – just like his Craigslist post said.  We talked him down to $13,400 – even better deal.  Then we shook hands and said we needed to talk about it first and he said he would hold our place in line, but he did have a handful of others interested.  We talked about it the whole way home.  What would you have done?

It’s now the next day and we don’t have the car.  I’m super sad, but feel like it was the right decision.  I had this crazy dream last night about Dave Ramsey shaking his head at me and saying “When will you learn?” and then right after that the roof was blown off our house.  For those of you who are familiar with Dave Ramsey, he teaches about this thing called ‘Murphy’s Law’ and buying a car that we can’t afford is like asking ‘Murphy’ to move into our spare bedroom.  You see, the only way we could’ve purchased that car with CASH was to take the $10,000 we had saved for it and then dip into our Emergency Fund for the rest.  I don’t care who you ask, buying this car is not an emergency.  Both of us feared that if we did take money from our Emergency Fund that a real emergency would take place and we wouldn’t be able to pay for it because we just bought a new car with the emergency money.  We also had the option of taking out a small loan to pay for the extra, but by the time we paid off the interest this car that was such a ‘great deal’, was not as good of deal anymore.

I’m sad that we missed out on this car and am hoping that when the time is right, we will find another great deal.  BUT, I’m still bummed and hate having to make ‘adult’ decisions.

So, do you drive a Dave Ramsey-mobile?  I’d love to see a photo of it!  You can upload a photo of it on my Katrina’s World Facebook Page  - just tag #DaveRamseyMobile and tell me all about it!

I’d also love to know what you would do in our situation?!  Tell me all about it – whether you agree or not!

GreenCar

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August 25, 20160 commentsRead More
Being A Mom Hurts

Being A Mom Hurts

BeingAMomHurtsWhat is it about a child’s birthday party that can cause so much motherhood turmoil?  Forget about all the stress over color schemes, themes, balloons, food, to make a cake or just provide cupcakes, frosting colors, candles, games, to give out goodie bags or not, and the worst part of all – the guest list.  Serious drama and stress flows out of birthday party planning for me.

Let’s back up a few steps…something you should know about me and my amazing mom.  When I was a kid, my birthday parties were something I looked forward to ALL year long.  My mom would make birthdays super special and over the top!  Plus, she would come up with these amazing themes that she would manage to do on a very tight budget and she always had time to hand make our cakes.  I remember some amazing cakes…there was once an adorable Strawberry Shortcake cake that was a thing of fine art (that cake in the picture is my ACTUAL cake my mom made me when I was 3)!  I also remember the Barbie skirt cake, you know the one, where you stick Barbie on the top of a cake that looks like her skirt.  My mom was doing this 30 years ago, long before this idea was all over Pinterest!  She made birthdays a monumental event that made me feel like the most special kid in the whole world – even if not a soul showed up to it!

Fast forward 30 years later and my mom has successfully passed the birthday party baton to me.  I LOVE planning their parties, I love making a HUGE mess at them, I love seeing the excitement on their faces when their friends come over and truly enjoy their wacky mom.  I love personally hand-making their invitations, and spending hours and hours researching ideas of fun things to do during their parties.  I start planning their parties right after Christmas – 6 months in advance, and I’m not kidding one bit – this gives me 6 months to fine tune the chaos and find the best deals on all the supplies.  Plus, it takes us a very long time to pick out the cake design – and I’m the luckiest mom in the world because my mom still creates amazing cakes for their parties each year (plus, sometimes I even get to help – but my mom is the true artist for all things cake – I’m better with paper).

As you can see, I’m pretty psychotic about birthdays and I’m learning this year that I care about them so much more than my kids do.  While I’m glad to learn this lesson – talk about huge reality check – it’s still really sad at the same time.  And it should come as no surprise that I care more about who all can come to their parties than they do.  Which is sooooo silly!!!

More experienced moms tell me, “You will hurt so much more than your kids hurt, when they are hurting” – it’s silly, but it’s so true.  Classic example – remember that one time when you were younger and all the other kids got picked for the game of dodgeball and you were the last one chosen?  Ouch.  Or that time you were hoping the really cute boy would ask you to Prom – but he asked your best friend instead?  Or that time you didn’t get invited to that one birthday party that all your other friends got invited to?  (I was there – more times than I would like to admit – break out the Double Stuffed Oreos right now).

I’ve honestly not experienced this whole idea of ‘hurting more than my kids are hurting’ very much yet.  My kids are not that old yet – and my oldest is a boy – he just doesn’t have much drama yet – or maybe he just doesn’t get involved in it, but it’s happened a lot more than I would like lately with my 1st grade daughter.  School is hard for girls and the drama starts at a young age.  She has had a rough year, she tries to act brave when she’s not included with her friends, but I’ve seen the tears that she wipes away when no one is looking, and it totally kills me!

I’m learning that I really do hurt so much more than they do, which makes me feel like a total wimpy mom.  If my daughter can absently brush off not being invited to a birthday party, why can’t I brush off the fact that she was not invited?  I mean seriously, who is the adult here?  This is my time to admit just how human I am.  I’m still that kid who didn’t get invited to the “cool girls’” birthday party because I wasn’t stick thin and didn’t have long hair.  My mom likes to tell me that I was “too cool” for all those girls, but it still hurts when you are left out – and it still hurts you as a mom when your child is left out, not picked, bullied, etc.  I personally think it hurts us as moms so much because it feels like they are not picking us – even though it really has nothing to do with us!

You would think that as a grown woman I would have this figured out and would know not to take things so personally – especially when it’s usually out of no spite at all that our child was not chosen.  It’s just life.  Plain and simple.

My mom gave me some great advice and thoughts to ponder when you find yourself in this situation – because I’m sure if you are not in this situation yet, you will be soon!

  1. Being a mom hurts, but is so joyful too!
  2. God knows what is going on with each situation your child is in.  He is watching and is there for every part of it.
  3. God uses these hard situations to teach us about life and how to personally treat people.  Also how to develop compassion for others that we hurt.
  4. When you kids are hurt it teaches them what real love is, and ugly sorrow lets us learn the true meaning of joy.
  5. Our job as moms is to teach our kids from God’s perspective through these types of situations and at the same time God will use it to teach us moms as well.
  6. God loves you.  Before, during and after anything that happens, He loves you and longs for you to be loved by Him.

Isn’t my mom amazing?!  Now I need to let her advice and words sink in.

Hugs momma!  Praying for you all!

BeingAMomHurts

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May 23, 20162 commentsRead More
Do You Feel Like Giving Up On Your Side Gig? How To Stay Motivated

Do You Feel Like Giving Up On Your Side Gig? How To Stay Motivated

GiveUpSideGigAre you worn out and exhausted and wondering why in the world you keep trying to make money with your side gig when it’s the millionth time that you have hosted a home meeting, brewed the coffee, baked the cookies, spent hours practicing your presentation, prepared handouts, creatively displayed your products, sent out tons of invites, received a long list of RSVP’s, only to have your phone ring over and over with cancellations 10 minutes before the meeting, and then no one shows up at all?

Or here, let me set a different scene – have you spent hours and hours waking up super early each morning to work on your blog – day after day – you are writing for hours and hours and usually that is between a child or two that decide to get up early too?  You write, photograph, design beautiful “pin-worthy” images for every blog post, create catchy slogans, read every book by the famous bloggers who have made it, go to blog conventions, rub shoulders with celebrity bloggers, all to have your latest blog giveaway of a free lunch only have 3 people comments (and it’s a FREE lunch people…free…and you still can’t even get people to enter).

Both of these scenarios are in addition to everything else that is added on top of your regular daily jobs as a mom of cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, soccer practice, grocery shopping, school carpool, etc. – and somehow you are also trying to carve out time to be an entrepreneur and be successful because you have lofty dreams of one day being one of the celebrity bloggers you read devotedly each day, or one of the top level earners who just got a new car!

I’ve been there.  I’m there now.  I’ve been on the upside and have looked down and I’ve been at the very bottom.  It’s all hard.  There are pluses and minuses to both sides.  But I think the biggest thing to remember in all of it is your attitude and how you look at your present circumstances.  These are my top 5 tips on how I stay motivated to keep working towards my dreams:

  1. Remember that being broke is a state of mind.  If you are an entrepreneur and already have a side gig, then you are leaps and bounds ahead of most people – broke people.
  2. Consistency is key – keep at it.  Don’t give up.  Hold on to the reason that you started your side gig to begin with.
  3. Identify your “why” and write it on a sticky note and paste it up on different places in your house to remind you of why you choose the struggle to have a side gig.  If you don’t have a “why” then stop everything and identify it right now.  Focus on it, and keep going.
  4. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to reach your goals – if they don’t get super excited when you are winning than they are not your friends.
  5. Your success is up to you.  If you want to grow your business, it’s up to you – not anyone else.  If you want your blog to be amazing, write amazing blog posts.  If you want to take your business to the next level, then hustle and make it happen.

And finally, moms, give yourself some grace.  If you don’t get it all done in one day, that’s ok.  Like they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Give yourself grace, go to bed, and get up and try again.  Just don’t ever stop trying!

We can do this together – plus I’m praying for you and would love you to pray for me too!  Please feel free to send me an email with how I can be praying for you and your side gig!  If you want to pray for me, please pray that God would direct my side gigs to be whatever He wants them to be and that I would humbly follow His direction.  Hugs momma!

DoYouFeelLikeGivingUpYourSideGig

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March 30, 20162 commentsRead More
Being Ok With Being Average

Being Ok With Being Average

OKWithBeingAverage.jpgI’m an overwhelmed mom.  Each day is a little bit crazier than the one before.  I’m busy, tired, and trying way too hard.  Some days are amazing, I get a lot of things done; I make dinner from scratch and have time to play with the kids, finish all the laundry, and work on my business.  The best days are when my youngest son takes a long afternoon nap allowing me lots of uninterrupted time to work on my business.  Those days are very rare, but when they happen, I feel like I won an “Super-Mommy” award for all the different hats I wore that day.

On all the other days, when life is just normal, and I don’t get the laundry done, and my son gets up too early (even though I got up really early to get stuff done without him) just to hang out with me.   The days when I don’t find more than about 20 minutes to get any work done on my business before I’m fast asleep at night – those are the days when I feel so totally disappointed and wonder what in the world I’m doing and why am I’m trying so hard?

I have a drive to be more than just average.  I want to leave my mark on the world.  I’d like to be known for something.  I want to help people better their lives.  But, I also realized something yesterday – more than anything, I just want to beAlliWantToBe whoever God wants me to be.  For me, it’s as simple as that, even if it’s just average.  Daily, I’m on a journey to understand just what exactly it is that God wants me to be.  I know that focus is wrong when I get caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I’ve failed for the day as a mom because I yelled at my kids too much, or because I didn’t get all the laundry done.

When I start comparing myself to other bloggers who have a much bigger following and get a lot more blog comments than I do, or when I compare my short stubby legs to the mom at school who looks amazing and she just had a baby, that’s when I know I’m not not focusing on the right thing.  When I get really frustrated about work I have to remind myself that God is in control and He knows exactly where I am on my journey.  He reminds me not to compare my beginning to someone else’s middle.

When you feel average, but want to be more, look to God.  Tell Him all about it, then take some time to pray.  Ask Him to guide and direct every step of your day, and to be content with what He gives you that day.  I’m asking Him to change my perspective to see everything inside my day as a way to honor Him.   Also, to be thankful for exactly where He has me on my journey – even if I’d much rather be farther down the road.  The final thing that I’m asking Him is to change my thinking to be content with whatever He wants me to do – that day, that week, that year – trusting that He has it all planned out and even if I never really do anything I think is awesome, amazing, or important with my life, as long as it’s what He wants me to do, then that’s all that really matters.

Jeremiah 29:11-13  “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

I love knowing that God has it all planned out and I don’t need to stress about anything.   I don’t have to worry about the big things in life, like if my business will be successful, or the little things in life, like how will I get my youngest son to listen the first time I ask him to do something.  When you call on God, He does listen.  When you really take the time to seek Him, He will be right there.  Then, you can take a deep breath and rest in knowing you are exactly where He wants you to be.

What do you stress about?OKWithBeingAverage.jpg

Hugs!

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March 1, 20160 commentsRead More
Why My Children Do Chores

Why My Children Do Chores

WhyMyKidsDoChores1Are you one of those moms that does too much because you have children that don’t do very much.  Make it your goal to work yourself out of a job.  If a child can play a game on your iPad, he/she can help with chores.  Now doesn’t that hit you like a ton of bricks?  When I first read this, I was in total agreement.  It’s so true.  Sometimes, we as moms, do way too much for our kids.  You know how it goes, your oldest child might tend to spill too much so it’s easier for you to pour the milk for cereal rather than letting him try, spill, learn, and you’re on your way out of a simple job.  I’m totally guilty of this.  I hate messes, so I tend to do way too many little jobs for my kids just to make sure there is a not a huge mess to clean up afterwards.  But I know I’m just making my job as a mom harder in the long run.  Kids need to learn to help even if it makes a bigger mess.

Confession time…when I was a kid I remember my mom making me and my brother do a lot of chores around the house.  The worst one of all was dusting and I had the lucky job of dusting this curio cabinet that had glass shelves.  I had to take every single little Precious Moments figurine that my mom collected off each shelf and make sure the shelf was dust free.  This job was so awful!  It was meticulous and took what seemed like FOREVER to do.  The worst part to doing a lot of my chores as a child was that even though I ‘thought’ I was doing a really good job as a 10 year old, my mom would always come along after and redo whatever I had just done, because it wasn’t done as good as she would have done it.  It always used to really drive me crazy – I never could figure out why I needed to waste the time doing the chores if she was just going to redo them anyways.  I catch myself doing the same thing to my kids.  Why???  I have no idea, except that I’m a crazy neat freak.  But I’m trying really hard to not redo their work anymore.  I’m trying very hard to remember how old they are and what their actual abilities are and then asses their level of efficiency and effort.  Your kids absolutely should be helping you around your house.  They live there for free – so they should pitch in and help!

So the next question becomes, what chores should your kids do and should you pay them to do those chores?  Here’s what I think.  Yes, yes, yes!  I’m a big Dave Ramsey follower and we love his ideas on kids and money!  Dave believes that you, as parents, are the boss and your kids are your employees.  As a boss your kids work for you, and they should earn commission.  When they work, they get paid.  When they don’t work, they don’t get paid.  Simple as that.  It works too!  It also teaches kids the value of money.  Rather than just paying them because they breathe, this forces them to equate working hard for the money they want to spend on fun things.  This idea works really well when your children are old enough to really understand what their money can buy them.  We have three kids, ages 4, 6 and 9 right now.  We started doing commission for chores when my oldest was 4.  At that age he did very simple chores and was paid at the end of each week.  From his weekly commission earnings he would then distribute that between three different envelopes for Giving, Saving, and Spending.  We have taught all 3 of our kids these concepts and they each have a list of chores based off their ages and abilities that they earn commission for.  This process forces the kids to see chores not so much as a chore, but as a job they can earn money for.  When there is a special toy they want to buy we often have some requests for extra chores in order to earn bonuses, and sometimes they do business deals with each other - getting paid from a sibling to do their chore!  It’s great! To a mompreneur like me, I love seeing business deals happen with my young children (and so far, they have been very fair)!
Just in case you are wondering what type of chores I have my kids do each week here is a quick list:

9 year old:

  • Undo the dishwasher/Set the table (alternates with 6yr old)
  • Shovel the driveway and back patio (in the summer instead of this he cleans up dog poop)
  • Clean room and make bed
  • Vacuum
  • Take out trash

6 year old:

  • Undo the dishwasher/Set the table (alternates with 9yr old)
  • Dust
  • Clean room and make bed
  • Sharpen pencils (in summer instead of this she waters the flowers)

4 year old:

  • Collects the newspaper from driveway
  • Feed the dogs/let’s them out in morning
  • Make bed
  • Collect trash

Bonuses (when I’m feeling generous… I don’t always pay for these things, but sometimes I do, especially when they help without being asked and without expecting a bonus):

  • Clean the bathroom
  • Sweep/Mop kitchen floor
  • Clean basement toy room
  • Clean glass windows and patio doors
  • “Help” mow the lawn and trim bushes
  • Unpacking groceries and helping put food away
  • Prepping/Washing weekly veggies
  • Cooking
  • Pitching in and helping mom with whatever job she is doing without being asked

Do your kids do chores?  What ages and chores do they do?  Do you pay them?  Would love to hear what you have tried and what works for your family!  Hugs to all!

WhyMyKidsDoChores1

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January 25, 20162 commentsRead More
Comparison Will Kill Your Joy

Comparison Will Kill Your Joy

dawn-nature-sunset-womanDon’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end…

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, it’s that time when all your friends and business associates on Facebook are writing out deep thoughts and aspirations about all the amazing things they plan to do in the new year.  I don’t know about you, but this year I’ve not wanted to think too deeply about goal setting.  I’ve not wanted to jump on the “my plans for the upcoming year” bandwagon, and here’s why.  Last year, not a lot went how I had “planned” it to.  I didn’t reach very many of my big goals, let alone, my easy-to-reach goals.  Which is so not me.  I tend to make big goals and hit them, and if I don’t hit them I absolutely hit a whole bunch of my easier to reach goals on the way.  So this new year, I’m dragging my feet to even think about my goals for the year.

I know that comparison will kill my joy, but gosh it’s really hard to not compare where I’m at with those around me.  I see my happier, healthier, skinnier, wealthier friends around me and I can’t help but compare.  Her smaller waist and brand new SUV, and she just dropped off her well-groomed son at an awesome preschool, to my bed-head mis-matched son who rides in my recently door dinged older SUV, to drop off his siblings at school with a mommy who LOVES chocolate and ate way too much of it over the holidays because she wasn’t feeling all that well….yep, it’s my story.  As you can see comparison is killing all my joy, especially if I don’t look at the whole story.

Who knows where my friend is on her journey.  Maybe she has been starving herself for months just to fit into that new outfit, and maybe her brand new SUV was purchased with money that she’s been saving for years, and maybe her in-laws wrote the check for her son to attend that preschool…who knows what her story is!  The problem is you have no idea where someone else’s story began or how far along they are on their journey.

Your super-skinny friend may not have been that thin a year ago, and your super-successful network marketing friend who is quickly climbing the ranks of her MLM didn’t start out at the top – she started down at level one just like everyone else.  If you are just beginning a new journey, whether to a smaller waist, or a larger paycheck, or to starting a new business – just remember that your journey is YOUR journey and GOD is in control.  He is the author of your life and your plans and instead of comparing your story or lack there of, start focusing on being thankful for what the Lord has given you.  Be willing to learn and grow AND be content at every step of the way.  You do that, and you’ll find joy all along the entire journey.

 

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January 6, 20162 commentsRead More