Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Excellent Groupon!

For those mommies living in the Colorado Springs area (specifically North), this is an awesome deal.  Tastes as great as Starbucks, and for 80 cents a coffee, a MUCH better deal!  Three days left!

Mini-Devo...Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6

I loved reading this verse this morning and sharing it with each of you. Typically, to be a stay-at-home mom, you have to give up many material things in order to make it work. As moms, we need to constantly strive to keep ourselves free from the love of money. I was always taught that money itself isn't evil, but the love of money is where the problems begin. If the Lord has blessed you with financial prosperity, praise Him for it! But remember, it can all be gone in an instant. It is not wise for us as mothers, wives, and the primary examples for our children to show a strong dependence on and love for money. Look above at God's promise for us if we choose to follow Him, and not the love of money...
  • He will not ever leave us
  • He will not ever forsake us
  • He will help us
  • He will teach us how to not be afraid
  • He will protect us from all schemes of man
Sounds good to me! Be blessed today, mommies. Focus on Him, not money!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rest, Mommies!

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul..." Psalm 23:1-3

Today, let the Lord lead you to your "green pastures" and "quiet waters." He knows mommies need rest and rejuvenation. Take Him up on it whenever He so sweetly offers it...even if your "green pasture" is the couch while your kids are napping! Praise Him for rest. Be blessed today, mommies!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Do What is Good!

Happy Friday! To make you smile today, it's not so much a story, but a delightfully hilarious picture taken of my son earlier this week for his 1-year-old pictures. While a lot of children are wary of the camera, Caleb seems to have come out of the womb ready to perform. Without further ado, my son...

Pardon the screen shot from my phone (such a cool trick I just learned!), but I just had to share. It makes me laugh every time I see it, and I thought it would possibly give you the idea of teaching your toddler to growl and snort over the weekend. Maybe you can even catch it on camera! Ah...isn't motherhood a trip?!?

In my devotional time this morning, the book that I use led me to Titus. Close to the end of the New Testament and not more than three chapters on two pages, I don't often read out of this book. But this morning, I got a LOT out of Titus! The following really jumped out at me as a mother and as a daughter of Christ...

"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men." Titus 3:1-2 (emphasis added)

"...And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3:8 (emphasis added)

Before I stepped out of bed this morning, I reached for my phone and saw an extremely emotional, angry, and attacking post on my Facebook wall from my cousin. The short story is that he and I differ completely on many views and beliefs, including Christianity. I posted something on my wall last night that really angered him, and he felt compelled to counteract my view with a barrage of angry words. At his core, he was hurt. And for that, I felt terrible. My goal was never to hurt him, but to simply take a stance on something that I believed in. Needless to say, I was sad and upset and asked for guidance on where to go for some spiritual encouragement. The tiny book of Titus provided just that!

Honestly, my flesh had a few choice words to fire back at him, but then I stopped, and I asked God what to say. I feel good about my response. It wasn't originally what I was going to say, but I felt like it was the Godly thing to say, and I attempted to speak it in love. To bring this story and the above verses back around to mommyhood, I thought about the many things that Caleb does that make me a little bit crazy (handfuls of food being catapulted towards the sliding glass door is just one of them...), and how I am having to work on how to discipline my son on a daily basis to teach him how "...to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men." We have all agreed that the best way to teach is by example. Therefore, I must make it my mantra to live by the commands of our Lord and Savior so that Caleb will learn to live by His commands, as well.

My mind then went to the very real possibility that Caleb won't agree with everything I try and teach him. Wait, not a possibility...a fact! What if some of his viewpoints were like those of my cousin some day? While he will always be my son, we could potentially enter into very difficult territory and mommy feelings of inadequacy after I have "raised" him. I don't say this to be fearful. I say it to be mindful. It is never too early for me to set an example for Caleb of "doing what is good." Not simply saying and doing what we want and what we feel like is right, but truly asking God to lead our words and our actions, even on Facebook :-)

I praised Him for helping me deal with this very difficult, and somewhat public, situation this morning, and I vow to praise Him when he helps me through difficult situations with my son. We are our children's number one influence, even more so if we are staying at home. Let's promise to not take that for granted, and seek after Him to learn how to do this crazy thing called life. In the mean time, please let me know what discipline tactics have worked for your little one while throwing food all over your kitchen :-) Be blessed today and everyday, mommies!

MMSM #37
When we are craving some take-out pizza, we typically will hit up Domino's. They have awesome coupon deals that will come in your weekly mail circulars, and if you simply ask what their specials are when you call, sometimes you can get an even better deal. We'll always do take-out to avoid a delivery cost, and it makes great leftovers for my hubby to take to work. For those watching your mommy figure, their thin-crust and gluten-free crusts are super yummy! Happy pizza eating!

Tip #25

I admit it. I'm a bag-hoarder. No, not the fancy purses that I use to strut around with before kids and a strict budget, but gift bags! Those things are not cheap! I am now a proud gift bag re-user. Don't worry, I make sure they are free of tears and wrinkles, but if you receive a present from me, the wrapping is usually recycled! I will be the first one to volunteer for clean-up after Christmas morning, birthdays, and any other gift-giving holiday! I use a large Rubbermaid container to sort my bags into three categories...birthday, Christmas, and plain/other. I have one basket for cloth ribbon (LOVE to use this, and you can get great deals on this post-holidays at Hobby Lobby), one basket for curling ribbon, and one box to the side of tissue paper. I refer to it as my wrapping station in the basement. No need to spend $5 on your kid's friend's birthday bag...just visit your own store!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Proverbs 23:4-5

On days when I am unable to write, I will simply post a verse that has spoken to me or I feel led to share with others. This verse was one that helped affirm my staying at home, rather than working to make more money. I hope it can be a blessing to you, whatever your situation!

"Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich; restrain yourself! Riches disappear in the blink of an eye; wealth sprouts wings and flies off into the wild blue yonder." Proverbs 23:4-5 (The Message)

Sometimes, I will ask the Lord to bring a verse back to my mind as I go throughout my day. Perhaps, we can all pray that over this verse. Today, let's ask Him to remind us of the most important things in our lives...Him, our husbands, and our children. Not money. Be blessed today, mommies!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lord, Are You Sure???

Greetings, mommies! I hope you enjoyed the scripture discussion from 1 Timothy the past two days. I love when God gives you a verse to think about, and you learn a novel's worth of information from one sentence. So cool! Today, I feel led to talk a little bit about trusting God in our decision-making. Look at this passage...

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. "You of little faith," He said, "why did you doubt?"
Matthew 14:28-31

I originally thought about writing on this verse when we were on our pre-evacuation trip to Kansas a few weeks ago. Like many of you, I've heard this story time and time again, but I felt that on that trip, I got a refreshed meaning of the passage. Here's my thought:

Peter is so confident in his request and his trust in Jesus at the beginning of the story. Clearly you would have to be, if you're contemplating walking on water in the middle of a crazy storm. Jesus wholeheartedly engages with Peter and gives Him a command. But then, just as strong as his confidence was, fear overpowered Peter as he started to walk. The verse says that immediately the Lord offered His hand to Peter, but then gently reminded him that he need not doubt his trust in God.

How often do we confidently begin a new adventure in life, make a change, or jump into a ministry fully knowing that we have the 100% backing and support of our Lord and Savior, only to lose nearly all of our faith shortly into the process? I find that I am often quick to forget confirmations I have received from God on a step of faith. Example? Nearly two years ago, my husband and I both felt like it was time to start a family. I was insanely excited to be pregnant and become a mommy. I had verse after verse in my journal validating our desire from the Lord, yet as soon as that little stick had two lines on it, my thoughts went from elation to...oh no, what if I miscarry? What if my husband really isn't ready to be a dad? What if I'm too sick to continue working? What if something is wrong with our baby? What if this is the wrong time? Silly, right?!? Actually, more like ridiculous. Just as in the story with Peter, God immediately came to my side and started offering words of comfort through scripture and impressing upon my thoughts during my quiet times. I also felt Him continually say to trust him and have faith that it was the right time, He did choose the right baby to come to us, and He would prepare my husband and I to be the parents our son needed. 

Often times, Satan will try and steal our joy in an adventure that is truly ordained by the Lord. Perhaps for you, it is the adventure of staying at home. Believe me when I say there could be difficult days with finances, you could have melt down after melt down due to the lack of adult interaction, you could even doubt your ability to care full-time for your children. But if you know that you and your husband made this decision after counsel with the Lord and affirmation from Him, there is nothing to fear! Maybe you and your family are considering a move. Moves are exciting, but they are also very scary and stressful. When you get to those points, take my advice in remembering and dwelling on what got you to that confident decision in the first place. For me, I sometimes doubt this blog! Am I doing the right thing with my morning time? Is this helping anyone? Do I look silly for attempting something like this? Then, I remember the absolute certainty I had from the Lord when I started writing. Truly, if I even reach one person for Christ, then it is more than worth it. That is an exciting thought!

Because our Jesus loves each of us so much, He won't be mean to us or chastise us for losing faith in Him on our current adventure. I'm sure it hurts him, though. How many times has He faithfully provided all we could need and far more than we could want, but we continually have our blinders on and forget to look in the rear view mirror at all He has done. The new motto for our family? Remember the track record He has continually shown over and over again to be good, and right, and true. Why would He fail us now? He wouldn't, and he won't.

Whatever your new adventure, life change, or calling from God is right now, trust that if you had enough Godly confidence to start it, it's most likely from Him. Just like Peter on the water, He won't leave us out there to sink. He'll offer His hand whenever needed, but let's see how long we can go simply focusing our eyes on Him and trusting he will support us through and through. Be blessed, mommies!

MMSM #36
Want to know a product we love and use? All Free & Clear laundry detergent. I started buying Dreft when Caleb was first born, but that stuff is expensive! Then, I switched to the generic, but it was still too expensive. All detergent has has a fragrance-free (and mostly natural) formula that is way cheaper, and you can often find it on sale. Pair it with a coupon, which are very popular for this item, and you just scored a sweet deal for your little one's laundry!

Tip #24

Keeping a calendar is a favorite past-time of mine. Feel free to laugh now :-) I've tried many different methods...on the fridge, carrying a day planner with me, and using my phone. I am now a huge fan of the Google Gmail calendar. It links to your Gmail email account, so it's always accessible wherever you can get email. Plus, my husband can access it as well, and it will send us both text message updates about upcoming events. It also syncs with any iPhone or Droid. Just sign up for Gmail email, and click on the "Calendar" link at the top to get started. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

1 Timothy 4:12, part 2

Welcome back! Yesterday, I started discussing 1 Timothy 4:12. As a reminder, the verse is:

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."

Funny story...remember how I spoke about setting a Christ-like example for others in speech? Well, not a few hours after writing that, my son and I were grocery shopping, and the woman working in the deli nearly pushed me over the edge. I will spare you the specifics, but she was not being polite or helpful, and I started to get very cranky. Gently, as He always does, God reminded me of my post. I took a deep breath, kept smiling, and thanked her sweetly for her time. The situation did get resolved, but not without a strong lesson taught to me. Even when you're in the best mood, someone can come along and tick you off. It's not our job to react on emotion, He spoke to me, it's our job to set an example. Just thought you all would enjoy that story!

So today, I want to focus on setting an example in love, in faith, and in purity. It is never, and will never be, the goal of this blog to get political. But often as Christians, I see that we are tipped way too far on the "judgement" side of the scale than the "love" side. God appointed each of us to set an example, but He did not appoint each of us to be his little earthly, Bible-thumping judges. What is His ultimate request in being a Christ-follower?

He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind," and, "love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27

That's it. That's the whole verse. Trust that I come from experience when I write this. I use to be one of the little earthly judges. Thankfully, God is putting those days behind me. With age, He is giving me a huge dose of compassion. Because I have the opportunity to know Christ, that does not mean I have the opportunity to look down on someone else because they don't. I have the chance to love them. This lesson has been magnified since becoming a mother. I have a new compassion on mothers of all kinds and in all walks of life. Mommyhood isn't an easy job, and it is much more difficult to get comfortable with than some would like to admit. Again, it isn't our job to judge, ever. He has taught and is continuing to teach me that it is our job to set a Christ-like example and to love. Our husbands, our children, our family, and our friends.

Faith. I firmly believe that nothing puts faith to the test than a pregnancy. I had a very real and paralyzing fear of miscarriage during my whole pregnancy. I saw it happen time and time again with my own mother, and I assumed this baby that we had deeply prayed for would be lost to my incapable body. When Caleb was born on July 21, 2011, my faith in God increased a thousand fold. The miracle of conception, pregnancy, and delivery is mind-blowing! Followed immediately by the faith that God will give you all you need to provide for this tiny, helpless life and you have just catapulted into a whole new kind of faith. Praise God for making us mothers and allowing us to see Him work in a way that only another mommy could ever understand. I'm finding that I have to be careful not to let my faith wane. Just as He brought me through my life to this point, and just as He brought my sweet son forth healthy and perfect, He will continue to lead me through this crazy life. Dictionary.com says that FAITH is belief in something not based on proof. That's right...it's based on God!

Finally, God asks us to set an example to others in purity. Immediately, your mind may go towards staying pure towards marriage. He speaks to us however we need to hear it out of His word. So, many women reading this may find purity means all sorts of different things to them. For me, purity means living a life with a pure and undivided heart for the Lord. There are no other gods that I desire to follow. There are no other gods I put my faith or trust in. I simply want to learn how to live better for the Lord each day, and I want to share what I've learned with others. The fact that He has used motherhood to so quickly grow me in my spiritual walk is a true blessing. I love that He finds whatever method works the best for us. Isn't He incredible?!

And, isn't it incredible how He can speak to you so much through one verse. I love our God! Be blessed today, mommies, and as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments or email :-)

MMSM #35
Going on a road trip? My husband and I love to listen to mystery/thriller novels while we travel. It really makes the time pass quickly, and it's fun to do something together. You can check-out books on CD from the library, but if you're taking an extended trip, you could miss the due date and be charged a fortune. Cracker Barrel has a great option! Each store has a variety of books on CD on all types of subjects available to rent for $3-$4 per week. When you're finished, return them to any Cracker Barrel. You don't have to take them back to the one where it was originally rented. Cool, huh?! Happy traveling!

Tip #23

Before my son, I was one of those women who would ride in a mom friend's car and think, wow...my car will never look like this. Guess what?! My car sorta looks like that :-( Perhaps I shouldn't let my son snack on animal crackers and cereal in the car, but then I wouldn't have anything to pick out of the crevices later! I have implemented a trash bag/can where all trash must be thrown and a toy box/bag that sits right next to his car seat. When we get home from wherever we've been, I try and take time to put his toys away and check for trash. No, my car will probably never look like it did pre-kids, but at least I feel slightly more in control with this method!

Monday, July 23, 2012

1 Timothy 4:12, part 1

Welcome to another week in this crazy life phase called mommyhood! I pray that each of your weekends was rejuvenating and restful, or at the very least enjoyable :-) I want to start with a Word of encouragement for each mommy reading this blog. The Lord led me to this scripture this morning, and it was such an affirming Word to accept into my life today. I will discuss the first part of the verse today, and follow up with a discussion on the second part tomorrow. 1 Timothy 4:12 says...

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believer in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."

Love that! Maybe some of you are like me in that many times, I question my authority to speak about the Lord, share the things I have learned through life, and my ability to be a spiritually sound wife to my husband and a strong and loving mother for my son. Clearly, though, this Word from God not only asks us to be Christ-like examples to others, but to also not accept any discouragement from anyone because we are young. 

I firmly believe in the importance of surrounding yourself and your family with Godly influences and mentors. People you trust who have walked the phase you are currently in are priceless additions to a strong spiritual walk. But, we never know how God is going to work or who he will choose to work through. I assume that many mommies who read this blog are young mothers with young children. Remember, God never makes a mistake. He gave you your children at the precise time that you were ready to accept them, whether that was 15 or 30. Don't let people look down on you, tell you that you don't know what you are doing, or question your ability to lead a Godly life for yourself and for your children. If you are seeking after Him and dutifully trying to learn how to be a good wife and mother, He is faithful to bless you in your journey. Not only that, but be prepared to be amazed at how He can use your life and testimony to bless other mommies who are alongside you or who come after you. Look carefully at how He calls us to be examples:
  • Speech
  • Life
  • Love
  • Faith
  • Purity
The way we speak to one another, and especially to our husbands and children, is a fantastic opportunity to teach others the love of Christ. Many unbelievers will continue to turn away from God simply because of hypocritical talk and actions of those they know to be Christ-followers. I try to remember that I never know who is watching or listening as I'm at the store, the gas station, and my arch-nemesis, Walmart (why I get so cranky in this store, I have no idea?!). There have been many times that I wish I had acted differently in a mundane, everyday situation. I started to pray that God would gently remind me that I am always being watched, especially by my son. I know He has been faithful to bring to mind polite and uplifting words in times of frustration when others are observing my behavior. It's a learning process, but we're working on it!

No one has had a picture-perfect life. We have all made mistakes, we have all had nights we pray to forget (love that Jonny Diaz song), and hopefully, we have learned to keep pulling ourselves out of the current pit and turn our eyes towards Jesus. I have found that the lives evident of true repentance and redemption are the ones that intrigue me most. When God can turn a terribly messy life wrought with poor choices into a life sold out for Him, that is something worth celebrating! When I can share the mistakes I have made in my life followed by the loving way in which the Lord has offered me forgiveness, that is so much more powerful than  "I became a Christian at five years old, and here I am today!" Remember to let others into your story!

Join me tomorrow as I let God lead me in discussing setting an example with love, faith, and purity as mothers. Have a fantastic day with your children! Be blessed, mommies.

MMSM #34

We all love to get pictures taken of our little ones. Unless you have a fancy camera (we don't!), it usually makes the most sense to save up and have your pictures done professionally. I've found that, using coupons, Target gives you the best bang for your buck. We did pictures at 3, 6, and 9 months, and we'll do his 1-year this week. They will try and sell you a lot of products that I think are unnecessary, but you can still get a few great poses and copies for the grandparents for a great deal. Use this website, Target Portrait Studio coupons, and find the deal that works for you! Once you have had pictures done and purchased once, they will mail you even better coupons!

Tip #22

Check out this fantastic organization website...http://getneater.blogspot.com. I love her idea on this page about "Crap Baskets." You can call them whatever you'd like, but it's a great method to combat clutter on the main level of a home. Enjoy checking out this and many other great ideas for home organization.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to the Basics of the Blog

Good morning! You may have noticed that I have not been posting SAHM joys each morning. Honestly, my whole day, everyday, is full of joys with my son, and I know that each of you have them as well. Sometimes, I find that things that make me laugh hysterically are not appreciated quite as much by others. That's okay! We all think our own children are the world's best comic :-) I will post little things every so often that make me smile, but I won't overload you with silly Caleb stories!

Today, I want to remind all of my sweet readers that my simple goal is to provide spiritual encouragement (and things to make you smile!) to all mommies with every post, whether they work outside the home or not.

Do I wholeheartedly and spiritually believe that mommies should make every effort to stay home with their children during the early years? Absolutely. Do I ever want to make someone feel bad or like I'm bragging about the amazing opportunity I have in staying at home? Never. My home situation is a gift from God. I recognize that, and I do not ever lose sight of that.  If you have ever felt that my words have come across in a belittling or judgmental way, please accept my humble apology. I think that when you're passionate about something, especially something you feel like the Lord has called you to do, you can quickly lose sight of other women's feelings and situations. If you have felt that tone from any of my posts, please forgive me.

Therefore, while my stance is firmly in promotion of staying at home and how to make it work for the whole family, I recognize that not everyone is in this same mindset or in a situation where this is currently feasible. My prayer for you is that some practical morsels from this blog may help you, and that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, can speak to you and your husband and guide you toward the direction of staying at home. I simply want to share what the Lord has taught me about this subject, with each of you. I don't ever want to make anyone feel bad.

All of that being said, I feel honored to wholeheartedly celebrate mommyhood with each of you! We have our hard days...you know the ones where you want to run down the street screaming, go hide in the bathroom (speaking of...check out the funny below!), pray for a 5-hour nap, or sell your children on Craig's List (totally joking!). But eventually, when we look back at these years, I imagine that the best and brightest moments will be the ones that God allows to shine through. Regardless of our work situation or the number of hours we spend with your precious ones each day, we get to be mothers!!! Against all odds of conception, pregnancies, intricate births, and the many things that could go wrong from start to finish (let's not go there...), our children are here. God picked each child to be given to each set of parents. It truly is a miracle. On those hard days, or on those days where you have to walk out the door to work again to lovingly provide for your family, this is what we should be mindful of. We get to be mothers. For that, let's all be truly grateful today!

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Thank you for reading. Just now, my little guy is up. Have to run, but I will have a new MMSM and Organizational Tip on Monday. Be blessed!

Oh yes...we can't forget our Friday Funny!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Caleb's 1st Birthday - "Bouncy Ball" Theme

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

While our son's actual birthday is July 21, we joyfully celebrated his birth anniversary with our family and close friends at our home this past weekend. It is amazing to look at him and see how he has changed in twelve short months. He even took his first steps at his party! So cool! I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for him several times during the party...enough that it brought me to tears. Aren't children an absolutely amazing miracle from our Father? I just can't get over it, and I hope I never do :-) I hope you enjoy the post today, and if party-planning isn't your thing, rest assured that I will be back tomorrow with more spiritual encouragement!!

To say that I enjoy pushing a theme to its limit is an understatement. My father-in-law lovingly suggested that we have a car theme for Caleb's party, but I regretfully informed him that I could not possibly come up with enough food options that were in a shape of a car. Let's just say it's a good thing that he loves me so much...a less nice person wouldn't put up with my craziness! If you plan to throw a "bouncy ball" party, feel free to use as many of these ideas as you want! I found several ideas on Google, and of course, on Pinterest.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of the back yard. For $10, I bought a bag of ball pit balls at Walmart. I threw them out all over the grass, and the kids loved playing with them. I also bought about 20 10-inch bouncy balls for them to enjoy as well as four 99-cents beach balls. We put outdoor toys in the yard, and they all had a blast!

I also had a Fruit Loop necklace station (buy the cheap brand!), but do make sure that the scissors are out of reach for string-cutting. Ask a parent to help. Finally, I had a sugar cookie decorating station. Put sugar cookies out, with store bought icing (I found some on clearance...woohoo!), and various circle-shaped candies and sprinkles for decorating. The kids loved this!

While this doesn't have to do with the theme, we enjoyed having a slide show going of our favorite pictures of Caleb from the first year. I am not talented enough to set music perfectly with pictures, so I had toddler tunes going in the background. No one noticed :-) Also, I put his photo albums and any birthday cards we had already received out on the bar for guests to look at. Finally, we set this party up as an open house. Guests came and left as they chose from noon to 5pm. This worked great for us! Consider it for your younger one, if you think it may work. This seemed to go over well!

On to the decorations...

Yay for Costco! Their 1/2 sheet cakes are $17.99. Compared to around $16 for a 1/4 sheet cake at the grocery store, you score a deal!!! Plus, they are delish.

Balloons are a natural decoration for parties, especially bouncy ball parties! I used them on the staircase, outside on each of the lights, taped to the ceiling (did not use helium!), on the fan, on either side of the banners, and floating about for the kids.

Packing tape allowed the balloons to stick to the ceiling and fan all day...and, the paint didn't come off!

The banner is made from scrapbook paper using Tupperware lids to cut straight circles. Use a Sharpie to draw the letters, and you can make your banner say whatever you want!

I used a punch bowl to hold the party favors. I bought bags of ball or circle-shaped candy from Walmart along with some gumballs from a party store. Put them in a plastic baggy, tie with a ribbon, and kids (and adults!) will love having treats for the road. I also let each child take home a bouncy ball with them (the ones in the back yard). Lately, I've found them at the grocery store and Walmart for $1.50 to $2.00.

Again, scrapbook paper is amazing! I printed out 30 labels on solid-colored paper, then attached them to the polka-dot (a.k.a. bouncy ball) paper I found at Hobby Lobby for 30 cents a sheet! Keep your eye out for those Hobby Lobby sales!

This mini-cake was $5.99 at King Soopers. You can choose flavor, frosting, colors, words, and design. I told them the theme and let them run with it. You can order a 1/4 sheet cake for about $16 from them and get one of these for free, but I found Costco had a better deal on a 1/2 sheet cake. The hat was a splurge for $2 at the party store :-)

Streamers from the ceiling using thumb tacks (party store) always adds some fun!

I buy some theme plates and napkins and then I buy solid-colored for extras. Stack them every other one, and it looks kinda cute! Use a regular plastic cup to hold utensils, and be sure to pick those up at a dollar store for the best price.

The "bouncy ball" food menu included round tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, mixed melon balls, Oreos, mini PB&J's, cheese balls, olives, baguettes with mozzarella, tomato, and basil leaf with olive oil, mini pizzas with pepperoni, an actual cheese ball with Ritz crackers, and grapes and cherries with fruit dip. 

Another shot of the food table.

My sweet mother-in-law used a wine glass to punch out round sandwiches from PB&J's...way cheaper than Uncrustables!

Like the party favor bags, I made food labels in the same way.

I used bouncy balls in vases with lollipops to add color and fun to the table. I also used brightly colored fabric that I had stashed in the basement for a pillow-making dream that I once had. It worked great for this party!

A family picture...just for giggles!

Happy party planning, mommies!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Hello! Thanks so much for checking in. I pray that all is happy and healthy at your homes with your husbands and your children. My son's 1st birthday party ("bouncy ball" theme) was a huge success, and all of the family has gone while we have cleaned and tried to return to a normal schedule the last two days. What a blast! I'm so tired, but it was so worth it. Can't wait until he turns 2 :-)

I plan to add a "Parties" tab to my home page sometime in the near future. I absolutely loved planning this party, finding ways to save money while preparing, and hosting friends and family in our home. When I was a Mary Kay consultant, I hosted many parties in our home. I also enjoy hosting dinner and game parties with friends, movie nights with girlfriends, and get-togethers for holidays. My hosting duties have waned a bit since having our son, but I'm hoping the happiness of last weekend will remind me to do this more often...while saving money in the process! Check back by the end of the week for that new page with pictures!

On to things that really matter...

I had a great quiet time this morning even though my son was toddling around in his walker "fixing" things with his new plastic wrench. So cute! My devotional led me to a passage in Philippians. It said:

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others." Philippians 2:1-4

I have read this passage before, and I basically thought it was saying to be nice to others and look for ways to make their lives easier over your own. Very applicable to being a wife and mother, right? When I read it this morning, I felt like the Holy Spirit gave me a fresh interpretation of the passage. Notice how the first part says, "if you have any encouragement...if you have any comfort...if any common sharing...if any tenderness or compassion..." I realized that Paul is saying that if I had ever experienced any of these, then I have a spiritual obligation to show these same things to others while putting their interests ahead of my own. I don't know about you, but I have certainly had the amazing opportunity to experience:
  • Encouragement from Christ
  • Comfort from His love
  • Common sharing, or knowledge, in the Holy Spirit
  • Tenderness and compassion from Christ
I pray to experience these things on a daily basis. I specifically prayed for encouragement this morning...I wrote it in my journal! And then, my eyes were opened by the Spirit to this passage. I love how Jesus loves us and how He works :-)

Therefore, I know Jesus is asking us today to give others:
  • Encouragement
  • Comfort
  • Commonality (speaking freely with others about the Lord)
  • Tenderness
  • Compassion
It is a command from Him, but Paul phrases it in a beautiful request. Today, I pray that each of us receive the things listed above from the Lord, and that we can then have opportunities arise that allow us to give these things to others...especially to our husbands and children. Be blessed, mommies!

MMSM #33

Throwing a party? Why not make your own banner(s)? Party store accessories are often horrendously expensive and cheaply made. If you have scrapbook paper, string, a marker, and some extra time, they can turn out really cute! My friend and I made this one for my son's 1st birthday party. Add a balloon on either side, and you have instant cuteness! His theme was "bouncy balls" so we cut the paper in the shape of a circle. We used the lid to two different Tupperware containers to get them round. (Just have to mention that the picture on the slideshow is the very first picture my husband took of our son and I together after he was born. Love it!)

Tip #21

Most of us will have guests stay at our home from time to time. Because things are usually crazy as you are preparing for the next round of guests to arrive, don't add to your to-do list by washing sheets and remaking the bed. Instead, do it the day guests leave, or the day after. Put the pretty pillows on the bed, wipe down the room, vacuum, and it's ready to go for whenever the next guest pops in!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mission Statement

Good morning! I hope you have all had a fantastic week with your families and are looking forward to quality time this weekend. We are celebrating our son's birthday on Sunday, so my house is slowly filling up with family as we prepare for the big par-tay! I decided on a bouncy ball theme, and trust me, I've gone nuts with it :-) Pictures, money-saving craft ideas, and inexpensive menu item ideas will be posted next week!

I wanted to call your attention to my mission statement that I have written at the top of the page. When I started this blog, I really had it on my heart to offer Godly financial counseling advice. As this process has evolved, I've realized that I'm no financial guru, and my best advice is the simple day-to-day practices that we live by. I list these in the McNamee Money-Saving Methods section. Therefore, as to remain accurate to what most of this blog is centered around, I changed the middle statement to:

"It will also give scripture-backed, practical encouragement to help mommies learn to fully enjoy the sweet calling of motherhood."

I hope you find this, and the other two statements, to be an accurate description of what this blog is all about. I'm really trying to allow the Lord to lead my writing where He desires, and I pray that you are encouraged in some way by the various topics I discuss. As always, please feel free to email me with comments or questions, or if you are curious how I tackle a particular topic of mommyhood. Clearly, it's my passion, and I love sharing it with each of you!

I will post another great worship song to be encouraged by tomorrow morning, but for now, let's enjoy this Funny Friday comic. Isn't is so true?! Be blessed today, mommies!

MMSM #32

Today's tip is quite odd, but I feel compelled to share. We've made quite a bit of money off of it! For some reason, strangers like to hit our vehicles while they are parked. Truly, this has happened four times over the course of our 8-year relationship. Thankfully, no one has ever been hurt, but there has been some serious damage to our vehicles. I was always under the assumption that the liable party's insurance would simply pay for car repairs after an accident. We then found out that you may opt to simply collect a check from the insurance and forego fixing the vehicle at that time. Seriously, ladies, we have collected upwards of $5000 over the years by not fixing our cars. Again, I know this sounds odd, but if your husband (or a friend) is handy with body work, spend a bit of money to get the car in good functional condition, swallow the embarrassment of driving a less than perfect car, and put that money towards debt payoff! Now, can you make this a daily financial practice? Of course not. But in the future, if your car is damaged, consider looking at it as an extra pay day instead of immediately running to the mechanic :-)

Tip #20

I thoroughly enjoy doing various projects with scrapbook paper. No, I don't have tons of amazing scrapbooks, but I do other various projects using my imagination. I use to have the paper "neatly" stacked on some shelves, but it inevitably would get mixed up and fall off. I tend to avoid projects when my supplies are unorganized! So, I found a Rubbermaid product that works great. The bottom drawer holds my 8.5x11 paper, the middle drawer holds my 12x12 paper, and the top drawer holds my scraps! Happy paper-crafting :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tough Mommy Award!

Okay ladies, I just have to give a quick shout out to my sweet friend, Lisa. She and I met during our freshman year of college when we pledged the same sorority. I always knew she was a tough (and awesome!) cookie, but she took it to a new level yesterday! After being induced on Tuesday night with her second child, she delivered a beautiful baby boy last night (Wednesday) at 6:47pm. Not only did she have a long labor, but her sweet husband is on assignment with the military and couldn't be there. Thankfully, they were able to Skype the whole time, but I'm sure you can imagine that they both wished they were together.

Way to go, Lisa. You did it! And you have a darling angel to add to your beautiful family after it was all said and done. I'm proud of you, sweet friend! Congratulations!!!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Good day to you, mommies! Lately, a word has kept popping up in all sorts of places. Remain. I have been led to multiple scriptures containing this word, my current reading choice by Lysa TerKeurst has used this word often in her teachings, and I feel compelled to write about it today as I work through my own thoughts. Hopefully, it will be a blessing to you as mothers.

The definition of REMAIN, according to dictionary.com is:

  • to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified
  • to stay behind or in the same place
  • to be left after the removal, loss, destruction, etc.
God speaks to all of His daughters and sons in many different ways. He speaks to me in a variety of ways as well, but I know that when one word seemingly won't leave my mind, it's usually from Him, and it needs my attention. Truthfully, I'm a busy girl. What's next? What can I focus on now? What is there to look forward to? How can I change things up and add some new excitement to our lives? Usually, this is fine. It allows me to get a lot done, venture into new opportunities, and make sure that our lives don't become stagnant and ineffective for His kingdom. While visiting the parents last week, I mentioned to my sweet father-in-law that one year, I wish that I had absolutely nothing to write about in our annual Christmas letter. I can sit back and imagine saying something like, "Well, there isn't a lot to report this year. Things are great. We love being a family. We pray all is well with you and yours." In the four years of writing letters, I have had to work tirelessly to omit event after event to even make a concise one-page family description letter. It use to be the joke that we were always on the go, and we often times had odd, and on the flip side, amazing experiences to report each year. While I was saying this to him, and he agreed that a year like that wouldn't be so bad for us, it made me consider that perhaps God was gently prodding me to slow down. Maybe my desire for a calm year wasn't just a flippant comment in the wake of our impromptu vacation. Maybe it was because God is working on a change in my heart, again :-)

As I said earlier, I think it is a good thing to work towards goals, have fun things to look forward to, and always be open to where God may lead us in our lives. But sometimes, always looking towards the future can lead to an ungratefulness for the present. Not an intentional unhappiness for the current situation, but simply a "missing-of-the-moment" attitude that will inevitably lead to regret.

As I approach our son's first birthday, I have marveled at his growth and change, but also yearned for his sweet babyness (yes, that is a made up word!) to remain. Impossible. So, the lesson? Enjoy every moment, cliche as it sounds. We are currently contemplating another baby, downsizing to a smaller house in order to save more money, changing my husband's job so that he can be home more, possibly even moving back to the area where we grew up so that our children can be around their grandparents. That is a lot to be thinking about at once. However, I'm getting clarity slowly but surely. Remain. I feel like the Lord is telling my husband and I:

  • to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified
  • to stay behind or in the same place
As wives and mothers, we can do our best to provide for our families each day, but it is ultimately God who decides what will and will not occur, and where He needs us to be the most effective for Him. I feel that some may read this post today and feel that this does not apply to them at all. That's ok! I also feel that some  of you may read this, and feel a stirring in your hearts to pray about where the Father needs you to remain.

The last definition of REMAIN is so spiritually powerful to me this morning, that I have to share.

  • To be left after the removal, loss, destruction, etc.
As God slowly sanctifies us to become more and more like Christ, and I love how he so poignantly does this through marriage and motherhood, He says that behaviors and character traits that are either not pleasing to Him, or not beneficial for His kingdom will be removed and discarded. Think back to the parable of Christ pruning the vineyards so that only the best part of the plant remains for the next fruit-bearing season. Over the past year, the Lord has worked in overdrive with me in the area of pruning. Quite painful at times, but I am learning to appreciate it all the more. With the constant reminder of the word remain, I feel like He wants me, and all of His daughters, to focus on developing the godly characteristics that exist when the other fleshly junk is stripped away. He created us to be beautiful women of God. We are each individual and unique, and He chose us specifically to be wives to our perfectly picked husbands (notice, I didn't say they are perfect...just perfectly picked for us!) and mothers to our miracle children. I challenge each of us to not only allow the pruning to continuously happen, but to then prayerfully focus on what God has unveiled in each of us during His work. Always remain in Him, and ask Him where you and your family need to physically remain as well. He is always faithful to answer. Be blessed, mommies!

MMSM #31

Women's conferences are a wonderful way to be spiritually encouraged, get some time away from everyday life, and reconnect with the important women in your life while making new friends. Many churches will host conferences, or if you have a favorite women's author or speaker, visit her website to see if she will be speaking somewhere near you in the future. Unfortunately, they can be rather expensive. While the long-term benefit will almost always outweigh the up-front cost, we have to be realistic with our budgets. To bring down costs, why not see if you can volunteer? Do a little digging to find the coordinator in charge and simply explain your tight financial position. Ask if service is needed with cleaning, ticket sales, food preparation, etc. The worse she can say is "no." I know several friends that have done this. They received the benefits of an amazing conference, for free, and they had the opportunity to serve other women. Not a bad deal!

Tip #19

It's no secret that I have a flourishing stock-pile of awesome coupon deals. I use to store my extra products underneath sinks, in cabinets, etc. Eventually, I became overwhelmed with five partially used bottles of Pledge. I now keep only one of each item in the appropriate area of storage. All extra products are kept on a shelf area in our garage. I look at it as my own personal store. When we run out of glass cleaner, I simply visit my store instead of rummaging through the under-the-sink cabinet hoping to find a bottle that will do the trick for the latest mess. Try this at your house! The cabinet areas are clean and organized, and I always know where to go (or where to send my husband) for a re-fill.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Time for Replenishment

Welcome back! Today's SAHM joy is another example of flexibility...
When the fire situation became a little too close to home, literally, my husband and I decided to head out of town for a few days. If I had a job outside the home or a list of responsibilities outside of our family, it would have been extremely difficult to quickly gather what we needed to leave at a moment's notice. Because my job is truly working for my son and my husband, I'm able to completely focus on my them and decide what is best for our family during not-so-normal circumstances. For that, I am grateful!

Yesterday, I discussed calming the always-turning hamster wheel in our head reminding us of what we didn't get done each day, or reminding us of what we could have done better. As I was doing my quiet time this morning, God sweetly led me to a passage that is so applicable to me and, I imagine, to many of you reading this blog. Luke 10:38-42 says...

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed--or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Eeks...that was slightly convicting! How often do I constantly run around like a chicken with my head cut off "distracted by all the preparations that have to be made?" How often do I choose to do mindless busy work instead of focusing on my relationships with Christ? But, here is my conundrum. Someone has to do those things. Someone has to prepare food, clean the house, clean up after the children and the pets, plan and prepare for a first birthday party (so excited!), etc. So, is God saying to not do any of those things and simply read His teachings all day every day while neglecting everything else? I don't think so. He gave us our lives and our responsibilities, and our responsibility to our family is one of His making. 

I think the lesson of this passage is that we must be so spiritually in tune with Him that we must discern correctly when it is time to do our work and when it is time to simply rest in His presence. It's a hard balance, especially for moms. We can get so focused on the following verse:

"Therefore, my dear sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

Yes, being a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, etc. is all work for the Lord. Yes, we should always give our best effort, like I discussed yesterday. But, we must remember that we need our buckets re-filled, too! Our pastor often talks about our spiritual lives being like a leaky bucket. We must be replenished! This week, I challenge you to ask God to give you discernment in deciding when is the proper time for work and when is the proper time for replenishment in Him. After all, we are always more effective in our work when we are full in Him. Be blessed, mommies!

By the way, I've added a few updates to the "Couponing" page. Take a minute to check it out!

MMSM #30

Ordering checks is one of those annoying, but necessary, parts of being a grown-up. I found an awesome online deal! Go to www.4checks.com, browse to find what you like (we always order single checks because they are the cheapest), and then enter code "DE5595" at check out. I just got a whole box of checks and shipping for less than $10. Not a bad deal!

Tip #18

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of schedules. While daily schedules are common around our house, I'm playing with a few weekly schedules that I've been introduced to via friends and Pinterest! Check out this idea from www.somewhatsimple.com. Try changing it up a bit, if necessary, to work for your family, or ask your older children to give their input. I think it's always fun to have something to look forward to, even if it's a trip to the library! Happy scheduling!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Best of Intentions

For those of you still checking the site after my horrendously long and unplanned break, I sincerely appreciate your loyalty! I hope mommy hood has been a blessing to each and every one of you these past two weeks, and I pray that the Lord has met you wherever you might be in your journey with Him. He certainly has at our house.

After a scary few days, I am blessed to report that all is well at our home and in our town. The fire is nearly 100% contained and is no longer doing any damage. While 346 homes were destroyed with countless others damaged, and two people lost their lives, the glory of God has shown through this atrocity brighter than anyone could have imagined. From the officials giving thanks to God on national television, to a newspaper reporter writing that it was ultimately God who protected every person fighting this fire, there is no mistaking that He is the ultimate Protector and our ultimate Ally in any fight that may, and will, come our way.

My post title today is two-fold. While I had the best of intentions to study the Word, spend time in prayer, and write while we were on our impromptu family vacation to Kansas, it simply didn't happen. My husband traveled for work, and I hopped from one parent's house to the next with a toddler and two dogs in tow. I was exhausted, no one was on a routine (unheard of in our house!), and I was doing my best to handle some family drama at home while maintaining some normalcy for our son. I had some fantastic insights and lessons throughout the week that I will discuss eventually, but for now, I unashamedly revel in gratefulness that two weeks that could have been absolutely terrible for my family were honestly, no big deal. That certainly isn't the same for many other families affected by this fire, and for them, my heart breaks. But, He is faithful. He will provide a multitude of resources far beyond those asked, He will provide supernatural strength and courage for those who need it the most, and His glory will shine in this story for years to come. I am absolutely sure of it.

The second reason for my post title is for all of us as mommies, SAHM or otherwise. Isn't it true that almost everyone has the best of intentions each day? Unless you are a seasoned career criminal, I bet you don't wake up and think, "I'm going to try my absolute best to have the worst day ever, get nothing done, be a blessing to no one, serve no one, hate every circumstance about my life, and give absolutely no effort to any challenge or task that comes my way." Am I right? But how often do we, as mommies, lay in bed at night and make a mental list of everything we did wrong or could have done better that day. In mommy hood, there will often be messes that were not cleaned up, friends we didn't call back, lines of tasks that did not get crossed out, husbands left feeling lonely, eating habits that were less than stellar, and children who did not learn quite as much as we would hope. These thoughts equate a mental hamster wheel that will not stop when we should be peacefully entering our precious few hours of dream land. Try meditating on Psalm 46:10...

"Be still, and know that I am God..."

Take the time to be still in Him. He knows that we aren't perfect. He knows that there are plenty of ways that we mess up each day. But, ultimately, He knows that we try. And, He loves us so very much. Focus on the truths that:
  • He made you His daughter
  • He gave you your life, and 
  • He made you a mother. 
Those three gifts are enough to quiet any hamster wheel.

Be blessed, mommies. Check back tomorrow for a new posting and all-new MMSM and Organizational Tips. As always, thank you for reading :-)