Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tips To Get Over a Cold Quickly and Naturally: The Journey to Wellness

Good Afternoon!  Today is a beeeeautiful spring day.  I am one of the few who get to actually enjoy the spectacular springs in South Carolina.  A lot people around here are shut indoors with seasonal allergies because the pollen is pretty intense.  Anyways, I'm loving this time of year.  It has inspired me to get some outside projects started.  I'm working on making over my front porch area soon.  It's currently pretty sad.  Stay tuned for those projects.  I'm also slowly chipping away on finishing my fireplace, so that will be a pretty big reveal coming up pretty soon too.

Today I'm going to share an article from another blog.





 The article is called Natural Remedies for the Common Cold. and it is written by Joi from The Journey to Wellness.  I read this post this morning and, Let me tell ya....I was very impressed.  These are some very helpful tips on how to ward off a cold using natural remedies....and why some of the over the counter remedies are doing more harm than good.   I just had to share with you guys.   I've always been interested in health and wellness and have actually done a lot of research on it myself.  Everything she says here is spot on with what I've read before, and also....it's SO SIMPLE.  My eight year old could read this and understand it completely.  She has a knack for taking a complicated topic and breaking it down very simply for you.  It's a very easy read and you come away with a bunch of information that makes you go...."oh, wow, I didn't know that...that's good to know."  like this little excerpt:

"9.Stay away from refined sugar. Refined sugars like margarine or white flour can actually repress your immune system and reduce the action of your white blood cells. Not to mention, it also feeds bacteria and viruses, and has absolutely no nutritional value. I know it is hard not to grab for the ice cream when you're feeling under the weather, but resist, and you will feel so much better!"

I hope you go check out this brand new blog, show her some love, and educate yourself to a better way of living and eating.

Okay....and I do have one more little thing to say
Joi from The Journey to Wellness is also my little sis!



I didn't want to start off with that because I didn't want people to think that my raving review of her blog was just because she's my sister.  My review is based solely on my true opinion.  In fact, she asked me to share her blog a week ago, and (even though I liked it) I told her I was going to wait until she had more content because it is so brand new.....but when I read this post, I liked it so much, I just had to share!

There you have it, go visit my sis at The Journey to Wellness and you can follow her facebook page here and her google plus page here.

Here are some obligatory cute pictures of my sis and I



 With our mom


Hugging my cute kids

 It was the 80s!  I'm holding her as a baby. 




Hope you all have a lovely spring day :)
xoxo
Anna

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Budgeting Ideas and DIY Spending Priority Command Post

Hey guys!  Hope everyone had a great Easter!

 Today.....I'm going to talk MONEY ;)   I made a quick, fun little DIY craft yesterday to help us keep our spending in check and I thought I would go over how we balance and maintain our meager little budget.....and a few tips I have for keeping things in check.


Let me start off by saying that we don't use credit cards.  The only debt we have is our mortgage and usually a car payment.....we did have a car payment until we paid it off with our tax return a month ago (YEAH!).  We tried the whole credit card/random loan thing back when we first got married and the results were disastrous.  So, we save up for every big purchase we have.  A lot of big big things end up coming out of our tax return, since we are lucky enough to get a decent one each year.

Here's what ends up happening though.....we go through lean times and really buckle down and budget the heck out of ourselves and get creative with money saving techniques and really save every penny....this in turn results in more prosperous times....then, because we feel like we have plenty of "extra" money, we lose our minds a little bit and overspend....sending us back to the scrimping and saving.  Am I alone in the cycle?  I doubt I am.


Usually what I do is lay out a budget for each pay day.  I list all of the things I've allocated to be paid with the first pay check under it's date.  Then I move on to the next pay day (we have two a month) and lay out the rest of the things for the month under that date. I include all bills, tithing, savings and I always budget a specific amount for groceries and gas.  Anything misc usually gets included in the grocery budget if it's small.  Then what I do is I go to the bank on pay day and pull out our grocery money, gas money and any money that is left over after all of the bills are paid in CASH.  I get the bank to give me extra little envelopes to separate it out.  :)  Doing this helps me to not swipe my "magic card" and unknowingly spend the money that's already allocated for something else....or it keeps the hubs and I from both spending the same money....we both think we have the same amount, and we both spend it on different things (this totally happens when we leave money in our account).  If you pull out everything extra in cash, then you can see what you have in front of you and you are less likely to mindlessly spend.  Now, one problem you can have with cash is how quickly it can go once you break a big bill.  The envelopes help with this.....and my new DIY project below will help with this as well.   
You know, they say that no matter how much money you have, you will never get ahead until you can learn to live beneath your means.  Spend less than you bring in, whether you have a small income or a large one, you can accomplish your goals if you are strict on yourself.....it'll just take you a lot longer the less you have (sigh....I'm in that boat, lol) 

To help our family prioritize our spending, I made a list.....I have made this list a hundred times before.   I Guess it wasn't working since I've had to make my list over and over again.  I have trouble remembering what I've put on my list when my list is put away in my notebook.  I decided we needed a big, visible, board that I will see constantly.  The problem was that I knew it wasn't going to be pretty (or so I thought)  and I didn't want guests to see all of our financial business posted all over our walls.  I decided to go ahead and see what I could come up with. 

 What I wanted was to force us to narrow down our top five priorities, and focus on paying for those things first.  I'm talking big ticket items, small things and medium things.  Basically anything, big or small, that we need to pay for or want to buy that isn't included in our monthly budget.  

Here's what I made:  
It's a dry erase board made out of a large frame, and some pretty scrap book paper.  


 

Ok....laugh at me....I spray painted our yard.  I was in a hurry.  It will wash away. 

 
 

To miter the edges of the paper, I folded like so....and cut. 


I put it all together with spray adhesive.  I glued it all to the random piece of card board that came between the backing and the glass in the frame.  

 
 

I trimmed the edges and put it in the frame.  Easy peasy. 


In case you can't see what this says (it's blurry no matter what I do, since the glass is reflecting back the dry erase marker)  The top says: Budget Priorities.  Then the pink words are "top 5 priorities," "cost", and "$ allocated."   The blue words at the bottom say "amount in reserve" and "notes."  

Basically, we list off our top five spending priorities.  We made sure to include one big ticket item, two small trivial things, and two medium priced things.  As we pull out any extra cash we have on paydays, we go and decide what to allocate it to.  It may cover the entire thing or we may slowly chip away at it.  As new things come up, there's a space to jot them down at the bottom, so we re-evaluate what is most important considering the new items.  The amount in reserve section is just a total of the amount of money we are holding as we are saving up for these things.  

Here's an example of it all filled out.  These are dummy ideas, and money amounts....as much as I love getting personal with y'all,  I'll probably refrain from showing you exactly what's in our budget if you don't mind ;)  .....I WISH we were saving up for Disney....but we aren't.... won't be long with this new system though! 


I really wish I could get a good picture of this.  I tried like crazy to get a good one of it hanging on the wall, but those were even worse.  Here's the best I could get.  This really is one of those things that is WAY cuter in person.  


It's hanging on the wall in the hallway across from my bedroom door.  I can't miss it.  This is one spot that you can see from most of the house.  It has been a bright blue reminder to keep ourselves in check and work toward the goals that really matter, instead of buying trivial stuff, nickeling and diming ourselves into oblivion.  


I have more plans to come up with something very cool to cover this when we have company over, so I'll probably do a second blog post when I have that finished.  

Hope you all have a great day!  

xoxo! 
Anna




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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone! 

I am posting this from my cellphone as we head from church over across town to our annual easter celebration with the family. Everyone looks so cute with their coordinating easter outfits on.  We'll do pictures first, then pig out on delicious food, then we'll have an easter egg hunt. I'll post our Easter pictures later on, but I took a few shots with my phone in the car.
Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Frozen Inspired Painted Door. Elsa's Bedroom Door.

Hey everyone!  Today we are smack in the middle of spring break.  All of my kids have been home for a few days and we have had absolutely nothing planned.  We have literally done...nothing.  I have slept in until 10 every day this week.  I feel like I'm in high school...haha.  My oldest is finally old enough to watch the youngest when she wakes up, so I don't have to.  They are currently having "game day" (board games) on the kitchen table right now....and my two little girls have been assigned the cleverly chosen job of "cheerleader."  My son is quite crafty when it comes to both appeasing and deflecting his little sisters.  I did miss my Monday post because we were SUPER busy over the weekend, so sorry for that.  I'm trying so hard to stick to a schedule.  I am going to do a post on Friday and I'll tell you about our awesome weekend.

Today, I have an awesome post to share with you.  This, my friends, is all the proof you need that I am the coolest mom ever!  Ha! Well, at least my kids think so, and that's all that counts...but let me tell you, I scored some major brownie points with this one.  We have been watching quite a bit of Disney's Frozen since it came out.  My little girls are obsessed. (along with the rest of the girls in this country it seems) They know every word to every song (which means so do I) and they have already decided that they will be Elsa and Anna for Halloween this year.  For me, although I do really like the music, the best part of that movie was the lavish, gorgeous detail on EVERYTHING.  It was such eye candy to me.  Every time I watched it, I noticed something new and I would just gawk.  I really loved all of the beautiful hand painted details all over.  I believe they call it rosemaling.  I had never heard of it before this, but I'm well versed now, I tell ya.  One of my favorite things from the movie was Elsa's blue bedroom door...I was just stunned.  I think it's BEAUTIFUL.  I also think it's one of the most recognizable features from the movie as well.  Every little girl that sees it, knows exactly where it is from.  After watching the movie, I kept thinking that I needed to paint some kind of Norwegian style rosemaling on one of our doors somewhere.... but then I though that it wouldn't really "go" with the style I've got going on in here....but I still love it so much! Then one night when I was sitting in my girls' bedroom putting them to sleep, I had the thought to paint Elsa's bedroom door....on their closet! I couldn't hold myself back after that.  It was on.... like Donkey Kong.

I started by looking for pictures of the door.....which were incredibly hard to find! You can find little snap shots, but not full door pictures that were close enough to tell what was painted on it.  I ended up pulling up the video clip of Do You Want To Build a Snowman and freezing the shots where you could see good detail of the door.  You're welcome for doing that for you if you want to recreate this.  It was a big pain it the behind.  Seriously.


Here's the video.







Then I sketched the design on my closet door.  I copied the design exactly, but I changed the scale of it in some places, so that it would fit on my door. It's mostly just squished to be skinnier.  My door is not a "palace door."  I also added a few little design elements of my own for balance.  


This took a lot of patience and quite a lot of erasing, but I eventually got it down.  I think I could draw this in my sleep now.  In hind sight, I think I would have benefited from a ruler or tape measure, but I was impatient and free-handed the whole thing.  


Next I started adding the royal blue paint.  I just used regular craft paint and a tiny paintbrush. 


There were quite a lot of dark eraser smudges.  I ended up finding a big white eraser to get those off.  The darkness came from using one that was on the end of a pencil, instead of a decent one.  



After the royal blue, I added some dark violet purple in a few places and then a light ice blue/lavender in a few others.  It was hard to pinpoint the exact colors of the secondary colors from the video, so I went with what I though would suite the room best, while trying to be as true to the original as possible.  When I was done, I went back with white paint, and covered any smudges or mistakes or wavy, wonky lines to make it all look crisp.  

Here's the finished product.  




I had to paint it over the indentions on the door,so at some angles the lines don't look strait, but they are....it's just an optical illusion.  





I added the design at the top out of my own imagination.  I just needed something to fill that space, proportionately.  


The paint did give a little bit of a painterly effect, although, it's kind of exaggerated a little in this picture.  I like it though.  You can tell it's hand painted and that's ok.  



I wanted to do four of the boxed in patterns like it is in the movie, but it just really wouldn't fit, so I ended up just repeating the flower pattern all the way down instead. 

Sorry about the crazy shadows....I really stink at taking pictures. 


I also added the parts shown above and below to it.  The middle just needed "something" and this is what I came up with. 



I painted the knobs with a little flower pattern as well....not sure if I like it though...



My girls LOVE this....and so do I!  I think whenever we move, this door is coming with us!  

I still have a couple of touch ups to do, and I've thought about giving it a clear coat of poly, so that I can scrub it and keep it clean without having to worry about scrubbing the craft paint off.  I'll let you know how that goes.  For now....I'm totally happy with it!  

Now.....to work up the courage to take care of what's on the other side of that door....it's scary y'all. 

xoxo! 
Anna




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