Admitting I Have a Problem… and Praising God for His Solution!

I never realized how much I spent money until I made a conscientious decision to NOT spend money.  Oh. My. Lanta.  Every day I caught myself thinking how I needed to go to Walmart for this or to the grocery store for that.  I had no idea that the reason we couldn’t save any money, living paycheck to paycheck, was because I was spending it all!

Kids

I realize now that in my mind I justified my spending because I wasn’t buying anything specifically for me.  Like I wasn’t going out getting my hair and nails done and buying myself clothes and makeup. I was buying things for the house or buying more groceries for the week – so spending money was OK.  But we haven’t been able to pay the mortgage  or some bills, we live paycheck to paycheck and have nothing in savings.  Until this week.

Jalapenos

I decided that for 2013 I was going to be more frugal and be on a strict budget and use what I have in the house instead of going out and buying more things (my pantry is full of cans and boxes!).  And lo and behold, we had money at the end of the week!  We even sent out a check for the mortgage and paid three bills WITH ONE PAYCHECK!  And still had some money left over to last us until the next paycheck (hubby is paid biweekly).  My husband is a truck driver and doesn’t make great money, but his pay wasn’t the problem.  It was my spending!

Sam Window

I praise God that He has put on my heart to be more frugal this year and to use what we have.  To not throw so much away this year.  He has opened my eyes and our family is better for it.  My goal is to be a permanent homemaker and I pray that if we continue this route, I can be that.  My husband has plans for me to go back to work (at least part time) when our youngest goes to school full time in a few years.  I pray that by then we will be caught up on bills and not living paycheck to paycheck.  With the Lord’s help I think we can do it!

All this goes perfectly with my word and Bible verse for the year:

Intentional

To be intentional means to be deliberate or on purpose.  That’s how the Proverbs 31 woman lived – with intention, with a purpose.  According to Proverbs 31:27, she watched over the affairs of her household and didn’t eat from the bread of idleness.  I pray that’s how the Lord grows me this year: to be a woman of intention.

In Christ,

Yasmin

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New Year’s Resolutions… {Goals}

Yeah, I know I’m a little late on writing this but you know the old saying: better late than – OK, OK, you get my point.

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I had actually written down my resolutions the day after New Years.  I really wouldn’t even call them resolutions, they really are goals; things in my life that I want to accomplish and grow in.  You know, growing into the Proverbs 31 woman that the Lord made me to be!  I also wrote down the various areas of my life and my 2013 word.  I also have a 2013 verse (Proverbs 31:27) and a song (The More I Seek You), but that’s a blog post for another day.

Overall, this year is really about me growing into being a true homemaker.  Taking care of my home and making it a place where my family is comfortable being.  No clutter, nice decor, peaceful atmosphere, homemade meals, and lots of love!

I don’t know, but I feel real excited about 2013 – like God has so much in store for me and my family.  He has definitely been giving me a heart for homemaking like never before and I’m putting my all into it.  My husband will tell you there’s a huge difference in our home now than just a month ago.  Little changes, but I’m getting there.

I’m definitely excited to be blogging through my experience.

In Christ,

Yasmin

Dollar Tree Find: Magnetic Caddy

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Hi all!  I wasn’t planning on writing a post today, but I just had to share my great find at the Dollar Tree!  I went there this morning with Sam (my 18 month old) to get some paper for tomorrow’s craft (part of my New Years

Resolution of crafting more and decorating my house to a theme each month).  Tomorrow we are cutting snowflakes and hanging them on our windows.

Anywho…

Image At the store I found these great little caddies with a magnetic strip on the back! They are AWESOME! I bought one for my fridge, but think I might go back and purchase a few more (one more for me and maybe some to give as gifts! I mean they’re only $1!!).  I only bought one since I didn’t know how much it would hold up, but I have to say these things are pretty strong for a Dollar Tree purchase!  I put my In Touch magazine devotional, and two note pads and it’s holding up fine. I love it.

I also bought a little plastic caddy that I have a specific plan for – but more on that in a few weeks.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Yasmin

If you suck at cleaning your home, this post is for you {free giveaway!}…

OK, so I have to admit, I’m not good at keeping the house clean and in order. I’m just not.  I wish I was, with all my heart and soul, I really wish I was one of those women who could not go to sleep unless every inch of the house was clean – and then some!

My mom is one of those ladies! She can clean… and she LIKES it!!  My mom loves coming to my house and cleaning my kitchen (she loves cleaning kitchens).  I come into my kitchen and clean. But my mom’s clean looks so much better than mine – and I really don’t get it.  I just don’t know how to clean.

When I see a big mess, I get overwhelmed and I don’t want to attack it.  I’m the type of person that needs to start in a little corner, clean all that up, and then move on to the next piece.  But one big job?  My brain can’t handle it – I actually get upset and cranky and have a meltdown. I’m serious. My family can testify under oath to that fact.

I tried all different types of cleaning schedules: monthly, weekly, daily – but none of them gave me the individual assignments that I needed to keep me from getting overwhelmed.  It was like Mondays: Kitchen; Tuesdays: Bedrooms; Wednesdays: Living Room… and for some people that works. But not for my brain.  It was too overall, too big.

Then somehow, I came across The Confident Mom‘s webpage.  The name alone really caught my attention because I desperately want to be a confident mom, wife, Godly woman! And that’s exactly what her website is about “empowering moms, strengthening families, and embracing God’s design” – doesn’t that sound awesome?

One of Susan’s great products is her Household Planner.  Now THIS is what saved my household from my lack of knowing how to clean.  I cannot express how much I love this planner and its daily checklist of tasks.  I just look at my task for the day and that’s what I do – I do them, check them off and I’m set!  And its not “Clean the refrigerator” task, no it’s “Clean top shelf of refrigerator”, “clean stovetop”, etc. Specific tasks that I can accomplish and check off. I LOVE IT! Every week I’m cleaning a certain part of my fridge – and so its clean on a weekly basis. I mean, it’s clean! Normally I wouldn’t touch the bottom shelf for months then wear a hospital mask to clean it out (again, my family will testify… under oath).  But with this planner, my fridge is clean on a weekly basis!

I don’t think I’ve EVER really cleaned my oven.  But it was on my checklist one day, so I really got into it and cleaned it.  Then I was able to check it off as being done, and let me tell you that was so gratifying!

Not only does it have weekly tasks, but it has daily task: make beds, clean kitchen sink, do laundry, etc. Things that should be done on a daily basis. It has an area for you to write down your dinner menu, another area for weekly items that can be done on whatever day you choose (pay bills that are due, iron/dry cleaning,etc.), and an area for notes.  I know the planner for 2013 even has a new checklist for your daily intake of water! I mean, this thing couldn’t be more perfect.

If you have a problem cleaning, like I do, then this planner is for you.  And if you don’t have a planner already, then you can win one right here!  Yes! I’m giving away ONE free copy of The Confident Mom’s 2013 Weekly Household Planner (w/Scripture Reading Plan) right here.  You can enter right below – just click on the Rafflecopter link and chose any or all options and you are entered.  The giveaway starts tonight (12/17) and goes through Sunday (12/23).  I will announce the winner on Monday (12/24) – just in time for Christmas!  Just think of it as my Christmas gift to you! What a better way to start the new year but with a cleaning and scripture reading plan.  I pray it’s as much a blessing to you as it truly is to me.

{By the way, if you can’t wait to get your own planner or if you don’t win – you can always use my link to the left to go purchase your own!  It is an affiliate link, so I would appreciate you using it if you plan on purchasing your own copy.  Thanks!}

God bless!

Yasmin

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"The Good Wife’s Guide" Giveaway!

OK Ladies!

I am super excited about this giveaway because this book is so inline with my goal of being a Proverbs 31 woman and the author is one of those Titus 2 women I truly look to as a role model.  The book is called The Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene Schacht over at Time-Warp Wife.

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I was blessed to receive a copy of this new ebook and it really is a treasure of good advice backed by scripture.  Darlene’s writing style draws you in as if you are sitting across the table from her, drinking a cup of coffee with a friend.  Her passion for God and helping wives prioritize His role for us as helpmeets to our husbands and mothers to our children is evident on every page.

And now Darlene will bless three of you with a copy of this new ebook! 

I’m so excited about this as the book was truly a blessing to me and I know it will bless the hearts of three women out there!

To enter, just complete any of the options below in the Rafflecopter! The giveaway ends next Wednesday!

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Where’s the Rice & Beans?

So the first big responsibility that hit me as a new SAHM was that I was going to have to cook dinner every night… every. night. (insert look of terror here)

My husband was out of work for almost 2 years and for most of that time he was the one cooking the dinners.  Once he found a job I was almost at the point of going out on maternity leave (and from leave I never went back to work), so I had to start making dinners once he was back at work.

Needles to say, I grew quite lazy and complacent in those 2 years – nearly forgetting how to cook even the simplest of meals!  So off to the cooking websites and cookbooks I went.  I found wonderful blogs on food and began making many of the meals (can I just say, I love you, Pioneer Woman!!).  My family was having country chicken, Italian pasta & gravy, Asian stir fry… I thought I was the cooking queen!!  But one day hubby looked at another bowl of sausage and pasta that I so loving set down before him and muttered the words that have changed my cooking kitchen…

“Where’s the rice & beans?”  

What?! These meals were coming straight from the Food Network chefs! What are you talking about, rice & beans?  Hubby just looked at me and said “we’re Hispanic… we’re having everything but rice & beans, bistec encebollao, platanos – that’s the food I want.”  Wait… did you hear that?  The sound of my cooking world smashing into bits and pieces…  Well, yeah I know we are Hispanic (my husband is 1/2 Puerto Rican and 1/2 Mexican, I’m 1/2 Puerto Rican and 1/2 Dominican), but I hadn’t realized that he craved the food we grew up with.

Now, I grew up on rice & beans. I love my rice & beans.  But my mother never really taught me how to cook the foods of my heritage – it was just something that my husband and I always looked forward to when we went to family parties or get togethers  (especially on my side where we have some awesome Dominican cooks!).  So after I moped around for a few hours, mourning the death of my Food Network recipes, I sat at the computer to see if I could pull some spanish recipes off the web.  I don’t know why I was so surprised, but there are blogs on Hispanic cooking!  I poured over many of them, reminiscing on the smells and tastes of many of the foods that I grew up with.

I started with a delicious bistec encebolloa (steak with onions) recipe that I made with plain white rice and my mother’s red bean recipe (I will post one day) – and it was a hit! Hubby was so happy to come home to this food that it really made my day to see him so happy!  Every day he would call to see what dish I was making – I mean he was excited to come home and eat!!

So I’ve traded my Food Network blogs (I will NEVER trade in Pioneer Woman though, did I mention that I love you Ree?) for my Spanish cooking blogs (I will share those here at some point) and my husband is all the better for it!

I’m so thankful to God that He has allowed me to be home for a season (I pray it’s a permanent season!) and take care of my family. Being able to provide for them and keep them fed is just such a blessing and I pray that our Great Provider will continue helping me in the kitchen!

In Christ,

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"Organic"

I’ve suddenly fallen in love with the word “organic”. I think about it during the day, say it in my mind, and once in awhile I’ll actually say it right outloud… organic. I think I like it so much because work was never “organic”. Work was more… militant, stressful, and… well, non-organic. Now I stay at home and I’m planning my vegetable garden, having church sisters over for canning, and ordering cloth diapers for my 7 week old. I feel organic. Natural, spiritual, earthy… I actually look forward to the day that I’m picking my carrots from my garden and cooking dinner with them for my family that same night… that’s just amazing to me.

Speaking of carrots, I was peeling a few for a pre-snack dinner for the kids and when I looked down into my sink, it just looked… organic!! I loved how the tops of the carrots still had some leaves on them, and the shredded carrots were just such a pretty color… and then my canning jar that once held pickles and was now just soaking in the sink. It was such a beautiful picture… and one day those carrots will be straight from my backyard. How amazing is that?

Meal Planning Monday – July 25 – 29, 2011

So today is my 2nd or 3rd attempt at meal planning. With four kids and an extra hungry husband, planning my meals would really help me out during the week. Meal planning was something I never even heard of while I was a working mom, but now its like an essential part of my week!

So here we go:

Monday – Brown Sugar Butter Roasted Chicken
Tuesday – Italian Pork Chops
Wednesday – Baby Back Ribs & Mashed Potato (no link b/c hubby seasoned the ribs and they sit in the fridge now)
Thursday – Southern Low Country Boil
Friday – Chicken Salad w/Chips

My goal this week is to follow my plan and make sure dinner is prepared every day!

Prayerfully,

Yasmin

Frustration

Today was a busy day for me: the kids started VBS for the first time ever, while they were at VBS I did some food shopping with a sister from church, then we went back to church to pick up our kids (my 4 plus her daughter and two nieces) and went back to my house where we hung out all day until they were all picked up (from 12pm – 4pm).
So there were a total of 7 kids in my not so clean house – a fact that did not escape my husband when he came home and I (mistakenly) complained about my tiresome day. It’s not that the visitors were troublesome – I’m just not used to having people in my home and it’s something I’m hoping to get rid of. I want to open my home to our church family and allow my kids to have fun and enjoy fellowship with others. It’s just hard for me, my first instinct is to be left alone and not have to deal with anyone but my own rugrats. So my mistake was to take my day and turn it into a complaint to my husband instead of turning it into a praise report! I opened our home to another family and the kids had fun and dinner was cooked when you got home! yay!
But no, instead I complained and then my husband began to complain: how could I have ANYone in this messy house! And dinner? Dinner was nothing but spaghetti & sausage thrown together last minute because I didn’t have time to make something better.

Granted, that last argument was very upsetting for me and I responded by taking an hour to buy some breakfast items at our local supermarket. I started out in the car by arguing with God about my insensitive husband but prayed for Him to open my eyes and heart regardless. And slowly my icy heart became warm again and I wasn’t bothered anymore by those words. They are just words and they were probably as a result of my own complaints. How would I feel if, after working a physically exhaustive job, I come home to a complaining spouse? I think I might be annoyed and unintentionally pick at things that my spouse had (or hadn’t) done.
So though I was a bit frustrated and felt underappreciated, I was able to pray through it and see the other side of it.

Lord, please help me clean a little better tomorrow and come up with a meal my hubby would love to come home to!!