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Category: Organization

No-Spend November

Happy First Monday in November! We’re running a challenge from our Hail Marry Hangout Facebook group this month designed to help you struggle less with the trappings of money in advance of Advent.

If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know that we did something similar this past Lent.

What Is It?

A No-Spend month is exactly as it sounds, with a caveat. It isn’t talking about shirking all responsibility to pay bills. It’s about freezing all unnecessary and discretionary spending. 

Essentially, you will pay only your bills and what you decide is a line item for this month’s budget. I mentioned in Friday’s podcast that were moving, so we have some moving expenses as a line item. We’re already done Christmas shopping, so that isn’t on there for me, but it is for some of the ladies in the challenge group.

Why?

This looks different for everyone. We all have our reasons and shared them (as well as potential pitfalls) in our group.

We just started Week 2 today, so you can still join us if you’d like! We’d love to have you. You can join us here on Facebook.

If the timing is just terrible for you right now, being so close to the holidays, we get it. We anticipate running another No-Spend Lent challenge as well, if you want to plan ahead!

In the comments, let us know what your why for a spending freeze is or…head on over to the group and tell us there! 

Survival Mode

Maybe you’ve been here, too. Maybe you haven’t ever traversed this road, paved with jagged stones and puddles. I’m in a weird season right now. It’s one that I know will be brief, but I have to be honest: I’m in survival mode.

For reasons that will become clear in the coming days (so keep reading, friends!), I am exhausted. I am short on time. We’re dealing with a slew of new things: jobs, schedules, responsibilities, people.

But I’m surviving.

How? By also surrounding myself with the familiar. Friends, family, church, my Bible study and mom’s group.

Survival mode is a brief period. Fleeting. But in the thick of it, it can be easy to lose sight of that. So on the chance that you, too, are just surviving, remember that it does get better. And it will end. Until then, solidarity. ♡

FIAT: Faith in All Things Family Organization

Hello, friends! Welcome to this edition of FIAT!

In today’s podcast, we wrap up our podcast series on Building Your Family Culture. You can catch the other podcasts in this series here:

To close us out on this series, we’re chatting about organization. Let us know what your tips are! Next week we tackle the topic of sleep!

If the media player doesn’t load, you can download the podcast directly on Libsyn or listen on iTunes.

Have an awesome weekend and week!

Frugal Décor and Crafting: 8 Tips for Getting Started for Less

I am addicted to decorating, interior design magazines, decor websites, and Pinterest.  When the Scientist and I bought our home, I was ecstatic that I could finally decorate and craft my home into awesomeness. Yet when I looked into our wallets we didn’t have the money for my major overhaul. I put my mind to work: “How can I decorate my home the way I envisioned?” The Scientist and I sat down and discussed what was necessary to update and what could wait. My heart was broken, but I made it through by being creative and started to look in unusual places to get the look we wanted.  I am going to share with you my 8 tips on how to craft and decorate your home for less.

  1. Simple and less is more. Having simple decorations will make your home look bigger. Not only will it look bigger, it will look clean all the time. Less stuff will give your life a peace that is amazing. We started by picking different colors that we knew that we could keep on our walls for a long time without going out of style.  We stuck with grays and a lot of neutrals. It’s easier when we switch our furniture. We know that it will match automatically. We looked for sales and discounts when we painted; we never paid full price for any of the paint. We also talked about a theme; we didn’t want a lot of different ideals on our walls.  We kept it simple and it looks homey and cozy. Just the feeling I like to have when I walk into my home.
  2. Map out your decor ideas and crafts before you start your project. I am obsessed with Pinterest. I like to map out what I want to do first, and then I start to price out the project. When you plan your project ahead of time, you will save the most money.  You will have the time to get all of your items for your project at the lowest price.
  3. There are many places I like to shop for home decor and crafting supplies. Thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, and online websites. You can find a great amount lamps, picture frames, dishes, casserole dishes, glasses, mirrors etc, for the lowest price ever.
  4. I love looking on Craigslist for furniture. We like to buy tables, night stands, chairs, and other furniture items to refresh to put in our homes. I also like to do this and resell these items on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. So not only am I buying at a low price, I am making money on the side.
  5. The other thing that I do that people might look at me weird is Dumpster Diving. Dumpster Diving is finding free things on side of the road. I take the things that I find and clean it up and resell or use.
  6. The one store that I can get into trouble going into is Dollar Tree. You can find awesome crafting supplies, decor signs, bags, wrapping paper, candle sticks, dishes, frames, dry flowers, etc. You can’t go wrong in there, it’s only a dollar. Just be careful. I have to go in with a budgeted amount of money so I don’t go crazy.
  7. Google how to make things or do things like home improvement. Learning new skills will help you in the long run. The more you can fix or make the more money you will save. A great place to look for supplies is at clearance warehouses in your city or clearance sites online.
  8. Watching You Tube, frugal videos, and other online tutorials help save money and inspire to save money and make money from your new skills.

Rach

What are some ways that you like save when decorating? Leave us a comment!! Make sure you check out our giveaway post featuring Etsy shop My Little Felt Friends! The giveaway closes Wednesday!

Organization, Part IV: Morning & Evening Routines

This post is Part IV and our final post in our January series on organizing your home. For Part I, entitled Food for Thought: Organization, click here. Part II, The War Zone, which deals with removing clutter, can be found here. For tips on organizing your kitchen and meal planning, Part III is available here. Today we’ll discuss setting up your mornings for success: the morning routine and ending your days peacefully.

Routines

I’m a list and routine kind of girl. While I enjoy occasional spontaneity, I think it’s a fair self-assessment to say that I prefer plans and routines. I never thought this was a bad thing. But then I brought Little Miss into the world. She is so much like me on this, but she takes it even further (though I’m told I was exactly like that at her age…sorry, baby girl!).

This sweet child, with a normally even temper, loses it when transitions are unexpected or if they differ from what’s been stated. She’s extremely bright, so she does well in school, but I think it’s also because she thrives on the consistent routine. That constant expectation and repetition which cycles from day to day soothes her. It’s comforting and dependable.

So, too, is our morning, because otherwise we’d be all over the place and my very limited patience (my poor family) would be gone. Therefore, Superman, Little Miss, and I have developed a wonderful morning routine that leaves us all refreshed in the morning.

My Morning

I wake up at 5:00 a.m. I chart and use the bathroom and get dressed, brush my teeth, and pray. I also make the coffee and bring it to a newly-awakened Superman in bed, where we watch the weather and catch up on headlines while just being in one another’s presence. Then, at 6:00, I wake Little Miss.

I turn on her light and speak softly, gently pull back her covers and sit next to her, kiss her on the head, and wake her up. Then we read from Jesus Calling for Kids by Sarah Young. Then we talk about how she slept, what dreams she had, and what all is coming up at school or after school that day. I help her lay out her clothes, kiss the top of her head, and leave her to order the next twenty minutes of her morning.

We use a Melissa and Doug responsibility chart that she’s had since she was three. She loves it. It’s magnetic, hangs on the wall, and has a dry-erase portion. She checks off her to-do list from making her bed, using the bathroom and brushing her teeth, and getting dressed. She comes into the kitchen to join me and Superman around 6:30.

He and I are packing lunches, getting breakfast wrapped up, making sure her folder was signed and everything is in her backpack, and refilling those coffee cups because coffee is delicious. Then we sit at the table, pray a blessing, and eat. Superman reads to us from the adult version of Jesus Calling (also by Sarah Young) and we discuss the differences. We say what we’re grateful for or offer a special prayer for someone we know, clear our dishes when done, and then we’re out the door, ready to embrace the day.

On the way to school, if Little Miss is riding with Superman, they sing hymns, praise and worship, and little Bible songs. When she rides with me, we listen to Sirius XM Kids Place Live, Sirius XM The Catholic Channel, or a Christian Contemporary CD after we say a prayer for our safety, Superman’s safety, the safety of all drivers on the road with us, thanksgiving for the beautiful day (regardless of the weather) and something positive about the morning. We also include a list of prayer intentions for family and friends.

It’s much better than the days before a routine when we inhaled breakfast in the car on the way and were all gripey and grumpy with hurt feelings and anger.

My Evening

All of us like to cook together. When we’re praying, before we eat, we go around and ask one another to share our favorite part of the day. Then we usually have some sort of game that we play at dinner while eating. We eat as a family (when work schedules allow) regardless of extracurricular activities. Then Little Miss bathes and brushes her teeth and we all change into pajamas.

All three of us then go into her room. I fluff her pillow and Superman tucks her and her bear into the covers. We have a conversation as a family with her stuffed Stitch doll (always hilarious!), and then we read one passage from a devotional. The one we use is God’s Little Princess Bedtime Devotional by Shelia Walsh and we love it because it has activities and a little prayer at the end of the passage.

We begin and end our day with God’s word and reflections, but we also manage to squeeze a lot of traditions and family time in there, too. What are your routines like? Please share—I’d love to tweak ours with your ideas!

Kristi