October 1, 2015

Random Thursday!

It's been kind of a crazy week. My dad's surgery went well on Tuesday. He is home recovering right now. Thanks so much for all of the prayers and well wishes. We are kind of in the waiting game again for another few months as he heals before he does the radiation pill, but his surgeon was very positive and said he has a good prognosis. So I'm going to hang on to that.

Yesterday I just needed to go get out some energy. So after I dropped the boys at school, I went to my favorite running spot, turned the music up and just ran. I couldn't believe it, but I ran my fastest miles since my pre-knee surgery, college days. And it felt great.

My Grandma has been here with us for a few days and the boys basically think its the best thing ever.

She's done crafts with them and read to them and sang to them and watched iPad and tv with them. I need her around more often!! I love it when she's here! 

And... it's October. I love October. I love the cool air and the scent of Fall. My allergies don't love Fall so much though.
And lastly for today...
My team is starting something brand new in a few weeks! We are combining {FAITH} with {FITNESS} and we are SO excited about it. We will be combing 6 weeks of working out and eating healthy with 6 weeks of studying Jen Hatmaker's new book "For The Love" together. There are a couple of different ways to join us-- one of which being FREE-- so I would love to email you details if you're interested. You can email me here for more info.

Happy Thursday and Happy October! 

September 30, 2015

Really, Really Tasty!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin.
 You all know that I am a busy momma of little boys! I am constantly on the look out for quick meals that my boys (and Bryan and I) will enjoy that aren’t hard on the budget or the tummy. My boys are also SO picky which makes feeding them less than fun most days. I can’t tell you the amount of things we try that they don’t like. It’s frustrating sometimes!

The first time we tried Sandwich Bros.™ sandwiches we were hooked! We picked up this box at our local big box store in the freezer section and had them for dinner the same night! With soccer practices and running from here to there, they’re the perfect sandwich to pair with a fruit and veggie for a complete meal in less then 2 minutes. And no lie, my boys gobbled them right down! Hudson even asked for another one the next night!

Sandwich Bros. sandwiches are really, really tasty. A delicious choice for the whole family, from young kids to teens to adults. The protein keeps you fuller longer; these aren’t just empty calories. The handheld size makes it easy to control portion sizes. A single portion is great for kids; teens and adults can have more than one. Sandwich Bros. uses quality ingredients. The secret: Kangaroo flatbread pocket sandwiches, baked fresh daily.

Sandwich Bros. sandwiches are a convenient meal option. They heat up quickly and are an easy, simple meal for those with busy schedules. Kangaroo Brands is a family company with family values. Founded by two brothers, Kangaroo Brands has been family-owned and operated in Wisconsin since 1979; it’s not part of a huge multinational food company.

Do you like quick and easy meals for school nights for the whole family?! You can also sign up for a coupon for Sandwich Bros. sandwiches.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin.

September 29, 2015

Small Changes that make a Big Impact!

I brainstormed as soon as I had read total money makeover of ways to reduce our spending and pay off debt faster. I looked at our accounts and where I could cut some spending and this is what I came up with...

We started by checking all of the "little" monthly expenses. Things that were being auto drafted every month that we either weren't using any more or that we'd forgotten to cancel. One Saturday morning we sat down and cancelled EVERYTHING that was being auto drafted that were "little" expenses but that weren't necessary (an old photo editting program, Hulu that I haven't watched in ages... stuff like that). That alone saved us almost $100/mo.

I decided I'd make the next year a little challenge for myself. I have tons of hair and make up products in my drawers and cabinets that are just waiting to be used up. I've claimed the next year, until Sept. 1, 2016, to be the year that I don't buy any more hair and make up products. I love getting my nails done, I'm going to do my own. For awhile I was getting my nails done twice a month and a pedicure once a month. Doing my own will save $100/mo. I don't know exactly how much I'll save by not buying hair and make up products but I am estimating I spend about $50/mo. I will throw a lipgloss in the cart here, nail polish there, make an every few months trip to Ulta or Sephora and spend $100. In the olden days I couponed and I still have quite the stash of lotions and shampoo and stuff... I should be totally fine to USE UP WHAT WE HAVE. It will create more space in my house, declutter, decrease waste and increase money in my pocket. I am sliiiiightly worried about running out of foundation. If that happens I may have to ask for it as a "gift" for Christmas or Mother's Day. But I'm a month in and doing good! I'm also thinking about extending it to cleaning products. I have a ton of half used bottles and concentrates that will last us a while! Plus I love "homemade" cleaners...

We cleaned out our closets and pulled stuff out of the attic that we needed to sell. So far we've made around $700 that all went toward paying off debt. The rest of my clothes that haven't sold are going to the resale shop tomorrow. 

We are limiting our eating out and random trips to sonic/starbucks.... On days when we are running errands I love to grab myself a Starbucks and get the boys something to eat from Sonic. I know this isn't healthy OR good on our budget. I am loading $20 on our Starbucks card every month (that I get from Sams Club at a discount). Once it's gone, it's gone. Considering I just looked and we spent $80 at Starbucks last month (and there are still two days left) that will save us AT LEAST $60/mo. That will also keep me getting the cheaper drinks! And my goal is to not get any fast food for the boys. I am estimating this will save us around $100/mo AT LEAST. Bryan has been coming home every day for lunch and we have been eating left overs... what the what?! We usually don't like left overs but it also reduces waste and increases the money in our pockets!

As for grocery shopping, I use apps like Ibotta (you can sign up here: www.ibotta.com/r/bvswfw), Checkout 51, Shopmium (referral code: GHUMKEWP for a FREE Lindt Chocolate bar!) and Walmart Savings Catcher. Every little bit back helps! Then I can redeem the money I save for gift cards or money back into my account. I also like to price match produce at Walmart from Aldi. Aldi is a far drive from my house, but I live about 3 minutes from Walmart on each side of me. This saves me at least $10 per month. I'm also limiting myself to ONE trip, without the boys, per week, WITH A PLAN. I can't even tell you how much this will save me by not having to buy special things they see and want or popcorn chicken that they end up throwing on the floor. But I'll go with the low end and say $15/mo just on the popcorn chicken alone. I'm also using the reusable k-cup vs buying the individual pods. This is saving me a lot too!

I am on a clothes spending freeze. I don't even want to disclose how much I was spending on clothes per month... but it was TOO much. And I have more than enough. So no new clothes for anyone in my family until they're necessary. The boys are stocked up for fall/winter so we should be good until spring. Then Rhett will have Hudson's hand me downs so I will just need to buy new for Hudson and I'll do that at a consignment store like I did this year. I'm estimating I'll save $200 minimum per month while on my spending freeze. 

As for the boys, we don't have cable so they watch Netflix. If there is a certain show they want sometimes I'll buy it on iTunes. Lately Hudson has been asking for all of the Lego Ninjago shows. He used some of his birthday to buy them. I'm trying to teach him the value of money. I was probably spending $15/mo on iTunes. So there is another savings!

Also with driving, I am trying to be more intentional with my trips. Lumping places I need to go in the same area at the same time to save myself time and on gas. I'm also going to the library and checking books out instead of buying them. Listening to free podcasts instead of paying for audiobooks... and we have an old yonky antenna that we use to watch football instead of paying for cable or a $100 subscription on the apple tv. 

These are just some simple changes we made that have saved us over $650/mo minimum. We also made around $700 extra from selling things that were laying around that went towards debt too. I got the email that I had successfully paid off all of our credit card balances and had started working on Student Loans. When I decide to do something, I do it ALL the WAY! Those are just some of my tips. What are yours?!

September 28, 2015

Weekend In Review! And prayers please!

Friday night we went to Shogun with my parents and grandpa. Rhett had never been and we weren't sure how he would do. He was pretty good except terrified when they did the big fire. It was fun...

Saturday morning Hudson had his second soccer game. He scored a goal and was so excited. I wasn't sure how I would feel about going to games every week, etc... but I really love watching him play! Good thing since I have two little boys who will probably play lots of different sports growing up.

After his soccer game I went to a wedding shower for one of my best friends from High School.
I made her a little gift basket with a bunch of the Pioneer Woman stuff from Walmart. I really really want to re-do my kitchen in all of this stuff but I'm pretty sure that's not practical or good for paying off debt. So I picked out the cutest stuff and gave it to her instead.
Stacy, Jackie and I have been friends since 9th grade. We were just missing our 4th, Mickelle, who is in Japan. And yes I am in different clothes than pictured above because it was WAY too warm outside for flannel. A girl can dream of fall, but the weather just wasn't cooperating.
Then Saturday afternoon we hung out on the Patio and let the boys play outside. We got the box of Fall decorations down and I decorated the house while the boys napped. Bryan smoked ribs and brisket all day/night. My parents and grandma came over for dinner and we stayed up late watching the Hogs lose... but at least they played better this week!
Love my pumpkins and burlap
Then yesterday I got up super early and met Rebecca and Katy to run 5 miles. It was dark when I left the house and I got to watch the sunrise while I drove. We had a great run. It really is therapeutic to just be with my friends and talk life several times a week. I am so thankful for these two.

...on that same note, will you please be praying for me and my family, especially my dad, this week? My dad goes back in for his second surgery to remove his thyroid tomorrow. He was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in July and we aren't sure the extent of it... but if you know anything about our past, cancer is not something we want to deal with again OR have our boys (specifically Hudson) deal with... he knows that Pa is having surgery and that he won't be able to play with him for a few days while he has the medicine but we've been very careful to not say the "C" word around him. 5 year olds should have no concept of what cancer is or what it does.... and I am so sad that my son does... but I know my dad is a fighter and so strong-willed and that we serve a big and mighty God who can heal anything and since we don't know the extent of the cancer yet, I have tried to remain positive.

My faith has grown so weary since losing Janet but I know the Bible says that if we even have the faith of a mustard seed that we can move mountains. Today I am just trying to muster up the tiniest amount of faith to sustain us-- I know that God will pick up where I am weak.

Happy Monday.

September 24, 2015

Random Thursday!

Woo Hoo it's Thursday!!! It's been kind of a weird week. Hudson's school called on Monday and he was running a fever so I had to pick him up early. It breaks my heart to see my babies sick. After Monday the fever went away, so Tuesday we just took it easy. I debated keeping him home from school on Wednesday but they had their first field trip (to the library) and he really wanted to go so I let them go for a half day! I dropped them off at 8 and picked them up at 11:30 so they could come home and rest... and it's amazing how much I can accomplish in three hours with no kids!

I did PiYo, showered and got ready and make a Walmart stop. Its SO nice to do those things in peace! Then we got home and Hudson still didn't take a nap... but whatever. HA! In other news, I am super happy with my hair. Bryan loves it long and blonde. In the fall I usually go dark, but I decided to keep it blonde this fall and I'm loving it. Also, never ever cutting it again. It's almost long enough to braid. I can't wait.

Then Bryan surprised us last night and came home early. We went to Cabelas (the boys love seeing the animals), out to eat and then made a stop at Chuck-E-Cheese. Last time we went Rhett was terrified but they had a blast last night. It's amazing how just $10 of coins can be an hour of entertainment!

In other news... today is payday and I officially marked SIX things off of our debt snowball and made a new sheet. It is SO empowering to see progress made. We've sold a lot of stuff (including Bryan's photography gear that's been sitting in the attic for two years) and it was enough to move us to a bigger loan to start working on. Dave Ramsey would be so proud!

I've been thinking about ways to reduce spending and I promised Bryan the other day that for the next year I will not buy hair or makeup products. If you're anything like me you have a cabinet/drawer full of half used products. It's time to reduce spending and reduce WASTE and use what I have. My other goal this week is to finish Seven by Jen Hatmaker (she talks a lot about stuff like this). There are a few things I can see us running out of (shampoo... but I plan to use coupons and all the millions of samples I have to see if i can pair a sale and get a great deal when that time comes). I still have a whole tote of stuff from my couponing days, so those stocked up products will come in super handy. I'm also on a clothes spending freeze. My mom and I are going to Kansas City in a few weeks for a shopping/girls weekend (my birthday present from my parents to see Wicked!!!!) and I will let myself shop a little then for some fall stuff (i.e: new boots! and scarfs! And yay!). I'm still trying to sell the rest of the stuff from my closet. Whatever doesn't sell by next week is going to a resale shop. There's no reason to have things hanging in my closet that can be money going towards debt. If you haven't, you can check out my closet sale on IG here. If you're not on IG and you want something you can email me! And seriously, make me an offer, I want it all to GO!

That's all for today. I'm super sore from my first few days of PiYo and had forgotten what a super workout it really is. Going to run today with my friends for our half marathon training-- it's coming up!

Happy Thursday friends!!!

September 22, 2015

It's going down...

Where to start? I finished Focus T25 on Friday... and we did my comparison pictures yesterday. From start to finish I lost about 10 lbs and 10 inches all over. Mainly in my upper body and arms. I lost 3 inches off of my waist. But the down thing is... my pictures don't show a change, at all. I think because the lighting was kind of off and the biggest changes was in my upper body they just weren't as good of pictures as I was hoping. Sooo... I was kind of down about it. No pictures to prove my progress, but I am proud of myself for completing all 15 weeks. I wanted to be honest about that. I've worked hard and I am kind of bummed... but maybe it just wasn't the program for me. I always want to be honest about my results so there you have it! I am SO over it now though and ready to move on! I'm not giving up, I'm just moving on to better things for my body.

So today, I start back with my one true love- PiYo. I haven't completed a round since I lost the first 20 lbs last summer. I am so ready to get back at it and get my flexibility back. I'm also running 3x a week. I am really focusing hard on my nutrition this round too. PiYo is two months long so in two months I hope to have some killer results for you.
This first picture popped up on my time hop the other day. It is so encouraging to look back and see how far I have come in the last few years. Not only am I healthier over all but look at the difference in my complexion (that's thanks to Shakeology and healthy eating FOR sure!)

I also wanted to share this... Healthy is different for everyone. I don't eat clean 100% of the time or workout every day (honestly, I love my off days!). I am working on myself every single day and while yes I would consider myself healthy, my BMI still isn't where it needs to be. As my best friend, Katy always says... "You do You." What works for me isn't always what is best for everyone else.
But if you want to join me in completing two months of PiYo... I'll share our meal plan and get you into our facebook challenge group that's being co-led by one of my coaches who is a PiYo instructor. She's going to be doing live workouts via the internet too. It's going to be SUCH a good time! As much as I love 21 day fix, I love PiYo even more. I love that it's low impact and good on my joints. I love the GREAT workout and sweat I get in with NO jumps, just basic stretches, and I am a BIG fan of the PiYo creator, Chalene Johnson, for 100 different reasons. 

I'd love to share my love of this program with you! There are 16 weeks left in this year, what do you want to feel and look like at the end of this year? Wanting to START a program, or killing it in your journey and already on your way (or AT YOUR GOAL) to looking and feeling better?!

You can email me for any info on this stuff here.

Happiest of Tuesdays!

September 21, 2015

Weekend In Review!

Friday Rhett and I played in the yard and worked on Potty training. It's coming along... and nothing's better for potty training than playing diggies in the dirt in your undies! Then while he napped I tackled my to-do list. I just finished Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Push and it was SO good for me! I loved it. If you're needing something to help you get organized and achieve goals I would highly recommend it!
I love my little space in my house. I feel like this is the only space that is really girly and all mine in a house full of super heroes and boys stuff. It's just one little corner but it's so put together and cute... which brings me to tell you that I'm starting a Glimpse into Coaching group that's no commitment but a chance for you to see what I do and meet some of my team. I'd love for you guys to let me know if you want in and I'll add you! These girls have become some of my best friends... it really is SUCH a fun job! Our team is approaching 100 coaches and I can't believe it! Such a fun group.
Then on Friday night we drove to Joplin to see Tony and CJ's new house! We love it! I see lots of great memories being made there! When we got home Bryan prepped his brisket for our tailgating party on Saturday night.
 Saturday morning Hudson had his first soccer game (He's #5) and they won so it was a fun morning!
Then I met my friends Katy and Rebecca to run 4 miles. We've restarted our half marathon training... We went right after lunch so I just made my Shakeology with the energy boosts! (the new shakeology boosts are AMAZING)
Saturday night our friends came over to watch the Hogs game. We had bbq and just let the kids run wild. I had such a good time chatting and the kids played SO good that I forgot to take a picture! Whoops!

Yesterday we just had a family day. I went through a pulled out a bunch more stuff for my shop page on IG (you can check it out here). I added some of Rhett's stuff, some workout stuff, some boutique stuff never worn or used and some photography stuff AND some "Hudson" monogrammed stuff so check it out if you have a Hudson. Trying to declutter and pay off that debt!

How was your weekend? Hope you're having the happiest of Mondays!

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