Saturday, February 28, 2015

Minimalism - more than cleaning out your home (part 2)

Here is a quick video that I found, quite interesting to say the least. I know that not all of us live in such a small space but when faced with certain space shortage, one must rethink the volume of their belongings. This goes along with the idea of minimalism...using less whether it be in the way of a smaller home, or simply choosing not to have so much stuff to take up your precious space. There is a before and after thing happening here, once her second child was born they had to rethink the positioning of their belongings. I love the idea of living in a smaller space because it makes you weigh out what is really important to have in your home, necessity or junk.
More than cleaning out your home.....minimalism can do wonders for the family unit. When you don't have a bunch of stuff to get in the way or distract you, there is much more time to spend with those you love. Getting creative, going outdoors, learning more about yourself as an individual. You really do learn more about who you are without the things that take up so much of your valuable time. Things that do not profit you or your family in any way. Just the mental release alone is like a miracle drug. Mental blockage can cause depression.Think about how freed up your mind will be once you let go of all the junk that clouds it. Yes, your stuff can create a mental block.
If you like to read self-help books, if that is your cup of tea then I would recommend reading The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life, by Fracine Jay. It is a place to start, simple, slow, and not overwhelming. This process can be overwhelming, if you let it. We all have to start somewhere, at the beginning. I know that this lifestyle is not for everyone, some are perfectly content to live amongst a ton of stuff. But, if you have come to realize that you are not happy, that your way of life hinders more than helps you, then this process may be for you. Minimalism will look differently for each family, there isn't a certain number of items that we must not surpass. It is simply the process of letting go of things that are really not inspiring or necessary.
The other aspect of this lifestyle is learning to be a minimalist in your spending. If you have put time and thought into de-cluttering your home, why would you want to go back out and spend money on more stuff that will end up doing what all the previous junk did? It just does not make sense! That can free up more of your budget to do fun things, like taking more trips. Making memories that will last for the rest of your life rather than making money to spend on junk that just sits there, collects dust, and makes you unhappy sounds so much more appealing, don't you agree? This forces you to take a look at what you are spending most of your hard earned cash on. As I said before it would surprise some of us to really stop and think about how much we spend on junk.
There are multiple benefits to this lifestyle, but ultimately it is your choice to reap those benefits!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Minimalism - more than cleaning out your home (part 1)

Minimalism: a style or technique that is characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity
This word tends to scare people, especially in terms of letting go of their things.
Over the last couple of years, my husband and I have been paring down our life. Kind of unknowingly, or maybe we knew it all along but on a deeper level of self. Over time certain realizations became very clear to us - Having more stuff did not make us happy! It created clutter, not only around the house but mentally. Have you ever heard that when your house is cluttered your mind tends to be the same?
"Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury - to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind."
- Albert Einstein
Our life is not built upon what we own but what we can do for one another. What you own, inevitably owns you. As we went through our house deciding what we were going to let go of, the thought that stuck in my mind was do I find these things to be useful, meaningful, do they bring joy to our life? If I could honestly answer no, then out it went. Letting go of unnecessary things truly gives you more freedom. The more you have the more you have to keep clean. I noticed that when I would go into my child's room I was constantly stepping over and on toys, 80% of which  he did not play with. Even when his room was "organized" there just didn't seem to be enough room for his things. There really is only a handful of items that he plays with on an almost daily basis. I know that those toys are what he loves and brings him joy.
We live in what is considered a small home by American standards. It is roughly 1,200 sq. ft. about the size of a large apartment. Having only 2 bedrooms made things a bit difficult to have the space for all of our stuff. I would tell myself that we needed a bigger house, we needed more space. With a new baby on the way, we definitely needed more space.... or so I thought. When you use your imagination, and a little ingenuity wonderful things can transpire. Necessity is the mother of all invention.
I will be honest, I love to shop resale and find a good bargain, who doesn't? But I noticed that the items I was buying eventually went into a garage sale pile or a bag headed for the Goodwill. What was the point of shopping for stuff when I would inevitably give it up in some way. This did not make much sense to me nor our pocketbook. It would probably amaze some of you to find out just how much money you are spending on stuff that you will never use, takes up valuable space, and does not bring joy to your life.
We made a conscious decision to take ourselves out of the rat race of thinking we needed more stuff to make us happy. I no longer desire to shop, it doesn't have the same appeal now that my eyes have been open. Our household rule is that if we truly need something then we will make a smart and budget friendly purchase. If the item can be bought secondhand, even better for our budget. I know people that are, sadly, drowning emotionally and don't even realize it, buying more and more thinking it will fill the longing inside. On average most of the American people spend more time maintaining all their stuff that they neglect the most important things in their life. Family.
Family is what makes up a home, not things. Let go and live.

Monday, February 9, 2015

22 Weeks

I am so excited about being only 18 weeks away from meeting our precious little miracle. He or she is kicking and moving around a lot. I love it! Jacob, is still being so affectionate and kissing my tummy and asking where his baby is. Hopefully soon my husband and Jacob will get to feel the baby kick externally, as for now I just feel the movement. I feel so happy to report that I have only gained a total of 5 pounds so far!!! If I can keep that up the rest of the pregnancy I will have done really well with the weight gain. My midwife tells me I am measuring perfectly and all is well, thank you Jesus! This has been a pretty easy pregnancy so far, compared to my first pregnancy with Jacob. We do have names picked out for the baby whether girl or boy, but we are not sharing those names just yet. I want to be sure of my baby names before I make them known. If you are wondering, my dress came from JcPenney's maternity department (online), and my scarf I purchased from a lady whose family had come to our church to minister in song. Hope ya'll had a great weekend!
T. ~

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Loaded Mac and Cheese Chili - Recipe

It feels like spring outside!. The sun is warm and the sky is clear, birds are singing and I have the backdoor open. It is one of those perfect days. Thank you Lord for such a glorious day!
I thought I would share a simple and family pleasing recipe. I love recipes that are budget friendly and can stretch into leftovers the next day. If you like mac and cheese and you like a good bowl of chili then you will definitely like this recipe....
Loaded Mac and Cheese Chili
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1 pound of lean ground beef (you can use ground turkey if you prefer)
- 10oz bag of macaroni noodles
- 1 can of red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can of corn, drained
- 1 can of rotel (do not drain)
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 1/3 cups of beef stock
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 bag of grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet or pot, brown beef with garlic and onions. Once the beef is fully cooked add in beef stock, beans, corn, rotel, chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir until combined. In a separate pot cook the macaroni until al dente. Add your almost cooked macaroni to the beef mixture and cover. Allow to simmer until the macaroni is cooked through. Lastly, add in the grated cheese and stir until melted. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the mac and cheese chili, to taste. Enjoy!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Call To Motherhood

WARNING: this is a very controversial blog post, not meant to offend but to provoke deep thought and self-examination means different things to every mother. I could probably come up with a thousand things that motherhood means to me, and even still it would not sum up the word. When I became a mom my world changed, profoundly. How I viewed the world and how I reacted to the world became so different. I had a little one looking to me for protection, love, comfort, nurturing, etc. I love being a mommy and always will, bad days, good days, I love it. The gift of motherhood is one of the greatest gifts from God, and with each gift comes responsibility for that precious miracle on so many levels. A responsibility that no one can understand until that child arrives into their life. There is a deep rooted connection and love for that child that goes beyond human comprehension. God designed the bond between mother and child to be unbreakable!
 As a stay at home mommy, I feel so blessed to be able to be present in every moment of my child's life. I have had friends and acquaintances ask me how I do it, how do I stay at home with my child day after day, as so many mother's work. My reply always, I would not have it any other way. I do understand that some mothers have to work, depending on their situation and I do not judge. But for me, I feel called to be at home with my child and soon to be children. Motherhood has always been a calling in my life and so early on recognized. As a child me and my friends all had ideas and dreams of what we would be when we grew up. My dream was always to be at home as a wife and mommy, I just never saw myself as anything else. My friends always had dreams of going to college, becoming something great in a big career. A lot of those friends accomplished their desires and are now working mothers.
Largely, in today's world going off to college and having a career takes precedence over a woman being at home to raise her children. The children are usually just sent off to daycare/school to be raised by strangers for so many hours of the day so mom can work. Again, I am not bashing those who have to work due to their dire situation. But if your husband works, and can provide a decent living for your household (and I am not referring to having enough money to buy everything you want or go out to eat all the time or have the nicest of vehicles and name brand clothes), then why as a mother would you want to leave your precious babies in the care of a stranger and miss out on so much of their life??? I am seeing a trend in our world, that if the husband does not bring in a big figure income then mom just "has" to go to work to make more money so they can afford the finer things in life. I am not against having nice things or enjoying shopping, I enjoy those things myself, but when choosing a lifestyle over being at home to raise your babies - there is something desperately wrong with that picture. God gave us our children to raise and nurture, not some stranger, and what a privilege it is.
Am I a perfect mother? By NO means!!!
Do I fail? YES, and sometimes every day.
Motherhood is a journey, a process, step by step, day by day thing. I don't want any one of you to feel that I am saying you love your child less because you do work outside your home, I just pray you will take a deeper look into why you are choosing to work over staying at home with your children. They are only little but for a short while and time with them is far more precious than monetary gain. Regret is a bitter taste!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Product Love

Raise your hand if you like iced latte's...Ok, well I can't see who has their hand raised or not but I certainly love an iced latte. My favorite, from Starbucks, is an iced Caramel Macchiato. YUMMMM!!! I usually get the sugar free one as I am sensitive to sugar in the simple form. If you have ever purchased a drink from Starbucks, then you know how expensive those delicious cups of heaven can be, can I get an Amen. $$$. Well.....I have found the answer to all your expensive coffee/iced latte habits.....
(drum roll)
Hallelujah!!!!! Folgers has put out this wonderful product and it is totally affordable. I think I paid  $4 for this little bottle of Caramel Macchiato flavored iced café. This has12 servings per bottle so really this is an amazing deal. Imagine getting 12 cups of iced latte's at Starbucks for $4!!! The directions say to put in 2 squirts of the iced café into an 8oz glass of milk(I used almond milk), I added ice to mine. Personally two squirts was a bit much.... They have other flavors too, so if you are not a fan of Caramel Macchiato, don't worry. There is only 10 calories per serving in this bottle and only 2 carbs, I think we should stop right here and do a little jig! Whew, so next time you think about stopping at your local Starbucks for an iced latte, go to Walmart instead. This product can be found on the coffee isle next to the flavored coffee syrups and powdered creamers.
Hope ya'll have a great weekend.