Monday, April 21, 2014

A Birthday (and graduation) Party...



So it was Andrew's Birthday this past weekend.  We celebrated by eating mexican, desserts and having a game night.
I made these delicious strawberry cupcakes.  The recipe can be found here.  I used regular flour and regular milk (I am just not that fancy) and they turned out great.  I don't usually care for strawberry cake… but LOVED this!  I think it was the almond extract and the REAL strawberries.
Andrew got to wear a somber… it was pretty cool...
Then a couple of stunt decided to shove sour cream or maybe it was sip cream in his face… it was amazing! :)
I decided to add a little extra celebration for his graduation from seminary… a year ago.  See, because of some circumstances only BD and I were able to attend Andrew's graduation.  
Somehow I juggled this little bundle through the long graduation ceremony...

I think the only pic I got of Andrew during the ceremony… I had no free hands :(
Here are some of the fun things to celebrate graduation… they are a little silly I know! :)
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Friday, April 18, 2014

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Secret church tonight!  Have you ever done this?  David Platt is a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama and he does an all night simulcast from time to time.  This was birthed out of when he was in other countries people were so hungry for The Word that they wanted him to tell them about it, even if it meant they stayed up all night.  I want to hunger for The Word in that way!  This year the focus is 
the Cross and Everyday Life



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This guy… 


is turning ahem {29} this Saturday {just one year until 30 babe} get excited!  Can't wait to celebrate him this weekend!



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One of the reasons I love blogging… connecting and learning from other people!  Two of my favorite bloggers are Leslie and Jillian.  
I am not sure how Leslie and I connected, but I am glad we did.  She did a guest post on right here this week!
Our Joy His Glory
Jillian is someone I knew from college, but through blogging and the fact that our daughters were born around the same time we have reconnected.  Hopefully Jillian will do a guest post in the coming weeks!



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Bailey Drew learned to take off her own diaper (may be time to only use snap diapers) and pooped in the bathtub (I know TMI… and sorry BD if you are reading this in the future :)) all in one week.  This girl is so crazy!



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It was spring break this week for BD and I!  We had some fun adventures and got stuff done.  Here is some of what we did this week…

Wildlife Center!

Strawberry picking!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guest Post From: Our Joy, His Glory

What is one of the best parts of blogging?  Connecting with other bloggers and learning from them.  I am so excited to introduce you to Leslie from Our Joy, His Glory!  She is going to tell you a little about herself today… I hope you will check her out on
Blogger
Pinterest
Instagram
Facebook
Hey y'all!  I'm Leslie from Our Joy...His Glory.  

That's me when I was about 7 months pregnant with baby no. last (3)!

I've been blogging for over six years.  In that time, my blog has gone from posts strictly about my kiddo(s) to all sorts of things.   I enjoy writing about my three girls, homeschooling, crafting, photography, decorating, family life, and my Savior.  I love how blogging connects people.  It's my favorite form of social media *ahem* with Instagram in close second! *Click over to my blog and follow my Instagram! Just kidding...maybe?...no pressure.*

My husband, Graham, and I have been married for nearly 11 years.  We have three little girls! THREE GIRLS!  Yes, our hands are full!   Ava Grace is 6.5, Edy Rose is 4, and my little Joy Tatum will be a year next month.   In my former life, I taught 5th and 6th grade so I'm putting that to good use and homeschooling my beauties! *Wow!  That's something I never thought I'd say!*  It's a new adventure and I'm learning a lot.  My poor AG is the guinea pig child so hopefully all the kinks will be worked out by girl no. 3!  I jest!

 left to right: Ava Grace, Joy Tatum, and Edy Rose

We are native Arkansans, but now call the Lonestar State home.  We have been here for close to four years and I have been fixing up our house as we have the money.   I blog about home updates nearly every week or so.  It's fun to see our house transform into a home that we truly enjoy.  

Since I am a SAHM, I find that blogging is a special sort of outlet.  It's a way for me to talk about Jesus and to give Him the glory publicly.  I am so thankful for His Word!  He is teaching me daily to be the wife, mama, teacher, and friend that He has called me to be.  I screw up a lot, but I'm thankful for His grace, His patience, and His guidance.

I love to make little graphics!  Feel free to steal this one!

About the name of my blog--OUR JOY...HIS GLORY:

No matter the circumstances, I have JOY because of my relationship with God through Christ. No matter what, I want to give Him all the gloryWhatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  I Corinthians 10: 31

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever.  Psalm 16:11

Thanks for taking a little time to get to know me! Feel free to hop over to my blog and look around! 

Thank you, Stasia, for allowing me to guest post on your blog!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A year of cloth diapering…

We've made it a year in cloth diapers… and still going strong!!!  I even get the privilege of helping other families get started with cloth on a regular basis.  Feel free to be in touch if you have any cloth diapering questions.
A while back I wrote a post about our first 6 months using cloth, thought it was about time for an update!  

Here are my suggestions for a successful first year in cloth...

1. Establish support...

Cloth is easy… but there is still a lot to learn.  Try to find a couple friends (or you could always contact me ;)) that you can call or text as you go.

2. Start with a simple stash and then add to it...

Pick a system or two and go with it.  This keeps things easy in the beginning.  You will probably add to it here and there, as you find out what you like best.  For us, we love pockets, but I have other friends that don't, so you just have to see what works for you!

3. Don't let others get you down...

When we were babies, almost nobody cloth diapered… it just wasn't the thing to do.  As friends of mine are choosing cloth more and more, it is there parents that tend to be most opposed to the idea.  My suggestion- show them how easy the new cloth diapers are, show them how much money it will save and show them how much waste it saves.  
As for others that think I am crazy, I see it as a time to educate!  And for you working mamas out there, there are many daycares that take cloth diapers now, we just have to start asking and insisting!

4. Trouble shoot...

 There will probably be a time that the washing doesn't go quite as planned, your diapers aren't fitting quite right, or your diapers are not working for night time.  That's what the support is for, there is help out there for figuring things out!

5. Enjoy all the benefits of cloth... 

*Cuter than disposables
*Work as bloomers
*Save tons of money
*Save tons of waste
*Never emergency trips to the store to pick up diapers
*Better for your baby's skin

What have you learned about cloth diapering?  What do you still want to know? 


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting Rid of Stuff: Garage Sale

Since January we have been trying to simplify.  But not just simplify, redirect that attention to God.  One thing we discovered is we have too much stuff, plain and simple.  
Stuff shoved in closets.
Stuff under beds. 
Stuff covering every square inch of our house.
So after gathering a bunch that we did not need, we decided to do 4 different things with the stuff…
1. Give it away.
2. Sell it on Ebay.
3. Sell it on online Garage Sale pages on Facebook.
4. Have a garage sale.
Each had its pluses and minuses.  But I think the biggest plus of all is that we don't have so much stuff in our lives to distract us from God :).
For the next few weeks I am going to share a post on our experience with each… and I highly encourage you to simplify too, it has been a great experience!
So let's get down to it…. the weather is nice and it is
Garage Sale Season!
This was *by far* my favorite sales method, easily trumping eBay and Facebook.  There was just something about how quick it happened- Saturday 7-12, boom a bunch of stuff is gone, boom you have made a chunk of change.  Also it just felt so much more personal.  I loved talking to our customers and to family as we organized and executed the day.  So here are my pointers…



Before the Garage Sale…

*Okay, I am just going to go out on a limb and say this, even though every other site and blog says the opposite… you just don't need to spend that much time preparing.  We didn't really until the night before and the morning of, and our sale was still really successful!  I think this really saves you on the time investment.

*In the weeks leading up to the sale put stuff aside in a specified area that you plan to sell.  What should you sell?  Really anything.  You would be surprised what people buy!

*Create an easy pricing system by color like the one we did
This way you are not writing on every sticker for every item.  Quick, easy, painless way to price things.

*In the days leading up to the sale post your garage sale on Craig's list and garage sale finder pages online.  We started about a week before and reposted every couple days.

*Do a little research on your big ticket items (furniture, interments etc), and decide on a price for those. Posts those on Craig's list the day or two before.  We were not willing to meet up with people (this saved time and brought them to our garage sale).  This just brings people in that are willing to pay full price for your big ticket items.

*You might want to put an ad in the paper.  This may seem a little old school, but ours came with some price stickers and a few signs.  The price was worth it just for the signs themselves!

*The night before and the morning of (or you could do it in advance, but we didn't find that necessary) price everything.  To be honest, we actually did not price everything.  All the sites tell you to, but I didn't find it that inconvenient to throw a price on items we did not have time to put tags on.  I found people still picked them up (sometimes even before asking the price!).  

*Set up tables both in and outside your garage.  Tables are MUCH better than putting things on the ground.  We found that people were more likely to buy things on the tables as a general rule.
The first picture is much better than the second… we just ran out of tables.  When we do it again I will borrow from a friend!

*Take out some cash for making change. A couple of $20s, $10s and $5s. 20 $1 bills and a roll of quarters would probably do the trick!
 
*If you can do your garage sale with multiple people or families, this brings more stuff and more business.
*Price things to sell.  You are not out to make a million bucks, you are out to get rid of stuff and make a little money in the process.
*Organize like things together and make signs- home decor, baby, women, books, DVDS, etc.



During the Garage Sale…

* Make a designated pay here area with a person that is just in charge of money.  This made things run so smoothly.  We did not even have seperate areas for the different people to pay.  we just kept track of it on a white board.  This also kept the money safe from anyone who might get "sticky fingers."
 
*Keep an eye on your stuff too. we never had anyone try to take anything, but I hear it happens.
  
*Walk around and be social with your customers.  Ask if they are looking for anything in particular.

*Group things for deals.  If someone is buying a pile of stuff add it up and knock off a dollar or round down to a nearest dollar amount.  This makes them feel like they are getting as deal AND they are more likely to buy more things!
*Decide if you are going to take early birds, because they will show up before your designated start time.  We did just because we were motivated to get rid of stuff, but I know most people don't.
*We keep our hours short and sweet and do a one day sale- 7-12 on Saturday. This ended up being a great profit for the time we spent!
*Keep your sale open for the time you say it will be opened.  You will be crazy busy for the first hour or so.  Literally you will be thinking, "Do people really get up a 6 every weekend to go to garage sales?" But they do .  After that initial rush it is pretty slow and steady.  we found that around 11 it really slowed down and we started to pack up.  We completely shut down just before 12.  We watched at least 5 cars drive up and then drive away.  If we had stayed open a little longer we would have probably made a little more.


After the Garage Sale…

*Stop.  Don't even bring that stuff back in the house.  Give everything left to those in need.  

*It may be beneficial to make a list of all the stuff you end up donating for tax purposes.

*Go ahead and clean up.  It may be tempting to take a break, but the clean up is so quick!  You will be gal d you didm't put it off.

*Consider giving a portion of your profits.  Do you have a friend adopting?  What about a single mom in need?  

*Kick back and relax… you are done! :)

Have you ever had a garage sale?  What suggestions do you have?


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The lost years: wishing I had started blogging sooner

I love blogging. It has turned into a side hobby for me and it is exciting to really begin to see his blog grow!  I have high hopes and goals for the future in growth… but even if I never reach those, I would continue to blog anyways.  Why?  It is the documentation of our life.  I can look back and see picture and thoughts from different stages over the last couple of years.  
As I read others blogs, I often get a little sad… many have documentation of single years and documentation of the earliest years of their marriage.  Those B.B. days (before babies).  I really didn't start blogging until we lost our first child through a miscarriage.  I think it was therapeutic, the writing, the sharing, the connecting.  Then I just kept doing it.

So have you thought about doing it?  Blogging?  I  *REALLY* recommend it.  And start now… you don't have to wait to get to the "next stage."  Just start to share… I think you will be glad you did!:)

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Friday, April 4, 2014

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After a week off I am back… why the week off you may ask…. BD's 1st birthday party!!!  We celebrated with friends and family this past Saturday.  It was amazing to reflect on the gift God has entrusted us with and all that has changed in her in this past year.  

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I almost never complain here… so if you don't want to hear my short rant, skip number two completely.  
  Andrew and I are going on 4 year anniversary… of not having a dishwasher.  At first I was okay with it, even thought "this isn't so bad."  Oh but it is.  I cannot on wait for the day when I do not have to wash and dry EVERY*SINGLE*DISH by hand.  And then this.  The complex game of Jenga aka choosing the correct dish to put away first in order to avoid a cascade of falling dishes.  I know it is not truly necessary… but it feel like it is.  MAybe we will have one in our next place, a girl can dream.

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We have been getting rid of stuff left and right.  This week I wrote about getting rid of stuff on FB garage sale pages.  You can also check out eBay and giving stuff away.

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BD is walking EVERYWHERE now.  I know I was hoping for this, but I did not expect the crawling to just disappear completely. 

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I love teaching preschool… I learn so much and it is fun. We went to a dairy farm this week, enough said :)
 
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