Monday, August 22, 2011

Another cool video

I am officially a Vlogger!!

So, this video will officially make me a vlogger!! I am so excited to use this!!

P.s. I'm not saying it's the MOST exciting video ever, I'm simply saying it's a video...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Office/Craftroom Project Part 1

I have finally started my Office/Craftroom Project!! It has been waiting since we moved in, in February. And as most spaces with undefined purposes tend to do, it was really piling up the mess!! I decided to share my before photos and the process I go through to get where I want it. Hopefully, this will be an encouragement for anyone else who has been procrastinating on any of their big projects. With no further ado, here are my before pics:

As you can see, it is going to be quite the process. No matter, I am taking this bull by the horns, and starting my fight. I got paper, tape, and a sharpy, and started categorizing all the stuff lurking in my space:

Let the work Begin. I will check in as I go to let you know how it is going. Back to work for me!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How we're crushing the summer dulldrums!!

Do you get tired of hearing your children complain, “I’M BORED”, a million times throughout the summer? Why not create a day camp environment for your kids at home. I decided to do this, because my kids do much better with some structure. There are many themes that you could do each week that will allow for experiments, crafts, and places we visit (Just Google: ”summer day camp themes”. My favorite are: Parks and Recreation’s Camp Catalog, OMSI’s camp catalog. I got plenty of ideas from these two.)
I’ve chosen not to necessarily do a theme, but have a similar schedule each week, that will look something like this:
Monday: Smaller Activity.
Tuesday: $1 Movie
Wednesday: Larger Activity
Thursday: Possible Second $1 Movie, or Smaller Activity, plus Library Visit
Friday: Garage Selling
Smaller Activities: We will visit different parks around Vancouver, the Water Resource Center, & Blue Lake park, bowling, berry picking, etc. .
Larger Activities: We will be visiting places such as JJ Jumps, North Clackamas Aquatic Center, the Zoo, OMSI, Kid’s Club, Oaks Park, Enchanted Forest, , Bullwinkle’s Fun Center, Golden Skate, Ice Skating, Big Al’s Happy hour arcade games.

We’ll be trying to finish most of our activities right around lunch time. After lunch we read for half hour to ourselves, and then I’m reading out loud for a half hour while they color, or play with something quietly. Then the kids can have a half hour of video game time followed by free time to play whatever they wish.
On days that we're staying home, I'm giving them guidance as well. If we're not working in the yard or doing chores, or projects around the house, I've been giving them "playing tasks". They get to choose, they can either help with chores or do the next task. Total "no brainer" on which they pick, but this way if the task is one that they don't totally want to do, but I know they would enjoy, they're going to do the task. The way that I give these to them is in the form of riddles. For Example: "These have been made for girls and for boys, you sometimes forget to play with your ________" (toys). I keep them simple, and have them do them for about an hour, and then they can move onto the next task. I give them specific board games to play, movies to watch, places to go like the park, backyard games to play, etc. I keep it specific, so they don't end up spending an hour arguing over which board game to play, which is what happens when they are completely free to pick all the time.

I’ve got lots of incentives for the kids. I am giving the kids a roll of dimes each week (only ends up being $5). When they have bad attitudes or are complaining, I take one away. They can earn them back by participating and getting along. At the end of the week, we’ll cash in their leftover coins, and that is their money for garage selling. Of course I’ve also signed the kids up for the library’s summer reading program, and since we’re doing a lot of reading, they will be able to get lots of prizes from that.

I’m making sure to simplify as much as I can. I made out a meal plan for each week that we will follow throughout the summer. This will help my grocery shopping to be easy, and the kids will know what we’re having, and will hopefully keep the “I’m hungry”,” what are we having for lunch” comments at a minimum.
Lastly, I will be having the kids scrapbook our summer. I noticed last year that my kids quickly forgot what we did last summer, even though I was very purposeful in making sure that we did a lot!! So, I am going to be better about taking a ton of pictures, and letting them put together their own journals about our summer together. I am very excited about our time together.
These are my ideas for the summer, I would love to hear more ideas and thoughts about what your family will be doing. Thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garage Sale Projects!!

I was able to go garage selling with some great ladies this weekend. Because of that, I was able to redo my lime green wall, adding more to it!! Yay!! It feels much more complete now.

Amongst my many finds, I found this perfect, behind the couch, table. I'm actually going to use it as our dining table though, because we don't have a dedicated area for eating, so this is perfect since it won't take up too much space. The best part was painting it though. Here's what I did:
I drew my design on freezer paper, and cut that out. Then I ironed (on a very low setting) the paper onto the table. I then silver leafed the design using the silver leaf adhesive and silver leaves. It was fun to work with.
I have several more projects underway, and will show them once they are done. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Decoupaged Bike!!


Step 1
Take bike apart completely (I had my hubby do this, as it seemed too complex to me)
Step 2
Decide which parts you want covered with fabric; use those parts to help measure out the width and length of your strips (Do this along with step 3 as you go. This way you don’t have to try to remember where each strip goes on the bike).

Step 3
With a foam brush, cover back of fabric with mod podge, and cover the corresponding bike part with mod podge. Lay the fabric on the bike part, playing with it as you put it on. Use your fingers to get out any air holes.
Step 4
Once you have covered the bike parts you want covered, spray all decoupaged parts with 2-3 coats of sealant, allowing it to dry in between each application. You may want more layers; I am finding that I might not mind a few more myself. So, just cover it until you get the desired effect.
Step 5
Put bike back together.
Last Step
Enjoy your beautiful new bike!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Debt Free Story

Alex and I have a very long story, and I would love to tell it to you sometime, but my real purpose today is to tell you our debt free story. I do have to give a little background, because otherwise it will seem like we’re just some people who got out of some debt. Truly, it wasn’t even that much debt to begin with, we really had some bad habits and an entitled mentality we needed to change. A lot of people already know, that we started out our lives together as pregnant teenagers, and honestly, we couldn’t even get into debt at first. However, we really had it in our heads that we wouldn’t be able to get started with our lives unless we could get credit, somehow. I expected a pretty high lifestyle from the word “go”, and was frustrated that we just couldn’t seem to get there. I think Alex was much more practical in this, yet he loved to spend just as much as I did. That was 12 years ago.

I want to give a brief chronological timeline before hand, so things aren’t too confusing:
Alex laid off from first job-April 2006
• Alex got new job, with a ton of overtime-June 2006
• We moved into a house-June 2006
• Byanca broke her arm, while we had no insurance-June 2006
• We needed to move, and we picked an expensive apartment-February 2007
• Overtime stopped-January 2008
• Moved in with my parents-October 2008
• Moved into duplex-February 2009
• Laid off from 2nd job-October 2009
• Got Current job-February 2010
• Out of Debt-January 11, 2011

Alex got laid off from his first job, and we weren’t too worried. He got a severance package, and even though we were moving into a house, we were mostly living pretty cheaply, and thought we had our finances under control. Boy, were we na├»ve. Soon after he got his brand new job, Byanca broke her arm, while we still didn’t have insurance. Plus, we decided to purchase a “high maintenance” vehicle, and we made a lot of really stupid financial decisions. Alex was getting a ton of overtime, but instead of changing how we were managing our money, we grew into that income. We soon needed to move, and moved into an expensive apartment, we would purchase whatever we wanted, and we just didn’t even stop to think about where our money was going.

Then it happened, the economy started to fall. We noticed it pretty quickly, because Alex was working as an environmental engineer in development. Still being somewhat aware of the symptoms of a lay off, we began to notice the signs. Overtime got cut off, and we were starting to struggle, plus on top of that, he was getting less and less hours at work. Alex didn’t tell me just how bad it truly was, until I started asking why he never took time off. I could also sense his stress level rise any time we had bills due. Finally, we had "the talk". He told me that he had been cashing out his Paid Time Off (PTO) just to make ends meet. Clearly, there was no way we would be able to handle a lay off if it came. We had to make some major decisions. So we did.

We broke our lease. We moved in with my parents. We cut our expenses extensively. I’m sure everyone around us thought we were crazy. Of course, we had no desire to do any of these things, but we didn’t have too many options. We are very grateful to my parents for allowing us to intrude in their lives for the three months that we were there. The goal was simple: we needed to have the money to cover the cost of breaking our lease, and save money to rent a cheaper place, which we couldn’t easily do with the move in fees and all the debt we had now racked up. It didn't take us quite as long as we thought it would, and soon after that, we found a cute, but very small duplex, which would fit our temporary needs. It was somewhat easy going into it, knowing that we would only be there for about two years, while we paid off our debt.

Eventually, the inevitable did happen, in fact, exactly one year from our move out of the expensive apartments, Alex got laid off. Luckily, we had scaled our budget down so much, that we were still able to pay off all our bills, including debts, and not be stressed. I’m so glad that we had made these changes, because it helped us to not be in a hurry to get the first job that came along. God blessed us, as we were laid off during the holidays, and many people helped us out. Alex got a job after 3 months, which was a huge blessing, and we were able to keep our expenses way low, which enabled us to really dump money into our debt.

I’m not going to lie to you, and tell you that dumping huge chunks of money into debt is an easy thing to do. I will tell you both sides of the “coin”. In one sense it is great, because you can “knock out” your debts pretty quickly, and if you’re looking to get rid of debt, I would certainly recommend getting rid of it quickly, with “gazelle intensity”, instead of slowly. However, as you get towards the end of the debt snowball, it actually gets difficult, because you are dumping huge amounts of money towards the last debt, and there were many times, when we wanted to go buy a large screen t.v. or a couple of brand new iPhones with that money instead. It took God giving us strength and wisdom to do the right thing, and Him giving us strength, when one of us was being weak. It also took God helping us to let go of the control a bit. There were many times that things came up, and we had to just allow for them to happen and not stress out, because it was going to put us behind in our plan. When it came to our being finished, God really worked it out, when we thought there was no way we would finish on time, and would have to stay in the tiny duplex a bit longer.

Anyways, I could go into the many ways God has blessed us during getting out of debt, and since then, but that really is an entirely different topic. Perhaps, I will share it later. If you’re working on getting out of debt, remember to be disciplined, and get to a point where you do things almost automatically. Also, keeping a prayer/blessing/feelings journal is a wonderful idea. I've done this for a few years now, and appreciate reading through it from time to time, reminiscing about what we were going through at the time. And with each goal that you reach, reward yourself. It doesn't have to be expensive, just something to celebrate your accomplishments. Having a group around you, who is going through the same things you are, is a really great idea too. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself, and give yourself some grace, after all-God does. I pray that this will help anyone who takes the time to read it. Thanks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Have You Ever Seen a More Beautiful Dish Set?

I am completely enthralled with this set!! This is my class basket for the annual Beacon Academy Auction. We are a small private school, who offers a quality education to children who wouldn't otherwise get one, and this fund-raiser is the only one we really do every year to sustain us. Each teacher is required to put together a class basket, containing some kind of sentimental project done by the students.

Anyways, this one was done by my class!! I would love to sell it as a set, but I really don't think it would sell for what it is worth, in my opinion, so we are going to sell it in individual pieces. I really think if someone wanted to donate a large sum of money to our school, I might be willing to part with it as a set. Now, if only I could come up with an obscene amount of money to donate to the school.... :-)

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