Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fun (Frugal) Summer Ideas

I'm so excited to be guest posting this weekend at 3 Moms in 1!  I hope you'll check out her awesome blog and my post on fun (and frugal) ideas for summer fun.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Featured Working Mom

I'm so excited to be today's featured working mom at PDX Momma!  Jenn has a great series of interviews with working moms who share how they make it all work for them.  I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Something Cute AND a Great Deal, Too!

If you've visited my resource page, you know I LOVE Design Her Gals!  This awesome website lets you design yourself and your friends, then use the images to create personalized stationary and gift items.  Design Her Gals graciously gifted me with a print at home membership so I can show you how great their products are!

I am very proud to present my hot-off-the-press business cards!  I will be using these when I start dental hygiene school.  Since I have to find my own patients, I have to get the word out - and these cards are perfect for it. 

Excuse the slips of paper on the card...that's for the sake of privacy.  I didn't want my school name displayed (although I'm very proud of it).

AND, as if showing off these adorable cards isn't enough, Design Her Gals is also offering a special deal right can get your own print at home subscription for just $14.95!  What are you waiting for?  Check them out now!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things I Spend Too Much Time On

Top Ten {Tuesday}
  1. Procrastinating
  2. Stressing
  3. Worrying
  4. Facebook
  5. Cityville
  6. Bejeweled
  7. Looking for things I've lost
  8. Planning to clean the house (rather than actually cleaning it)
  9. Reading mystery novels
  10. Watching crime shows (Any other Castle, Rizzoli and Isles, or Psych fans out there?)

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Coupon Queen in the Making?

A few weeks ago, when I was talking about my goals for the early part of summer, I mentioned that I wanted to start couponing.  I've been at it for a few weeks now, and although I'm certainly not an expert, I've learned a lot.  It's getting addicting fast!  Every experienced couponer I talked to told me it would take a few weeks for the savings to start kicking in, and this week I really started to notice a difference.

I found the local paper with the best coupons, and I buy two papers a week.  I also have 7 or 8 friends and coworkers who are saving their coupons for me.  I'm checking out coupon sites weekly.  I'm making detailed shopping lists and carrying around envelopes with dozens of paper-clipped coupons.  My kids are even checking food packages for coupons before they throw them away.  It's becoming a way of life for our whole family.

My stockpile is growing.  I only plan to have a 3-6 month stockpile, not the 3 year ones that you see on Extreme Couponing.  So far I've stockpiled basics that I didn't pay a dime for after coupons, such as laundry detergent, pasta, floss, and toothpaste.  I've also got a huge stash of cereal that I got really cheap.  I'm learning what rock bottom prices are and when to buy stuff.

I'm so glad I decided to start this!  It's work, and it's overwhelming at first, but when you see your total at Kroger drop from $80 to $25 on one trip, it's worth it.  When you see your weekly budget stretching further and further, it's worth the extra effort.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm Guest Posting Today!

I'm so excited to be guest posting today at Musing Mom!  I'm sharing tips for moms who are getting ready to make the transition from a stay at home mom to a work from home mom.  Stop by and check it out!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

10 Things I Need

Top Ten {Tuesday}

10 Things I Need To Get Through My Day
  1. My morning time with God
  2. My morning coffee
  3. My day planner
  4. Post-It notes
  5. Highlighters (If you sense some OCD're right.)
  6. My Miche purse
  7. Hand sanitizer
  8. My Droid X phone
  9. Crystal Light
  10. My afternoon coffee (ok, maybe not every day)

Monday, May 16, 2011

When It All Crashes Down

I haven't done a Working with Delight post the past couple of weeks.  I could give you a lot of reasons why, but it really boils down to just one.  I've been feeling completely and totally overwhelmed.  It's hard to write a post that's supposed to help other working moms when you feel like you're drowning yourself.

Everything college is starting to press in on me.  It's time to start buying books and ordering supplies.  I'm seeing hard numbers now on just how much this is going to cost us, and I'm terrified.  I'm finishing financial aid paperwork and praying I get some grants.  I'm trying to balance my work schedule and get my home organized.  I'm couponing and trying to save money wherever I can for school.  I'm scared out of my mind.

This weekend, I had to remind myself to stop and put it all in perspective.  The timing of the new Hello Mornings challenge at Inspired to Action couldn't have been better.  I did the challenge earlier this year, and it was life changing.  I desperately need my morning times with God.  It's where I draw my strength for the day ahead.

My morning time was born out of complete desperation.  My world was crushing in all around me as I faced a possible job loss, my parents extremely troubled marriage, and juggling college with work and family.  I knew that I could not find the strength I needed with a two minute devotional and a quick "Lord, watch over my family," prayer time.  So I found the challenge, along with other great resources, and I threw myself at the feet of God in a desperate plea for strength.

I wear so many hats in a day.  I'm a wife, a mom, a manager of a women's fitness center, a college student, a pastor's wife, a daughter, a friend...but when I come to Jesus every morning, I'm just Amanda.  I don't have to have it all together, I don't have to fill any role, and I don't have to live up to any expectations.  I just have to pour out my soul, my fears, and my failures and throw myself into my Daddy's arms so He can comfort me and give me strength.  When it all comes crashing down, He's there to pick up the pieces and hold me in His arms.  He's never let me go.  Even though I'm terrified of how much I'm taking on, I'm so glad that He's never let me go, and He never will.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sabrina Fair

Mama’s Losin’ It

If you could go back to high school, what would you do differently?

I love the movie Sabrina...not the original (its okay) but the 1995 version with Harrison Ford, Greg Kinear, and Julia Ormond.  It's probably my all-time favorite movie.  The newer version came out while I was in high school, and I fell in love with it!  Most people who know me know how much I love it...few know why.  I love it because dreamed of being Sabrina.

High school was not a good time for me.  My naturally curly hair was naturally wild and frizzy most days.  As most of my classmates were getting their braces taken off, I was just getting mine put on.  I had no fashion sense.  I was painfully shy, awkward, and unsure of myself.  I was drifting away from my best friend since 6th grade.  On top of everything else, my faith was deepening, but with no youth group in the tiny church I grew up in, I felt isolated.  I think I went home crying almost every day after school.  I dreamed of being Sabrina, of growing from the ugly duckling to the graceful and beautiful swan. 

If I could do it all over, there is so much I would do differently.  I would loosen up, be myself, and put myself out there more.  I would push myself more.  I would take the A.P. classes I didn't take for fear of pulling my GPA down.  I would try out for drill team (even though I can't dance).  I wouldn't compare myself to everyone else.  I would stand up for myself more.  I would apply to be an exchange student.  I would plan to go away to college and get my own apartment.  Most of all, I wouldn't care what anyone else thought, because in the end, those high school relationships are so insignificant.  I would tell myself that while I not be Sabrina Fairchild, years after graduation, I would be a much different person and a much better person.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Top 10 Signs You're Not a "Traditional" College Student (a.k.a. Signs You're Too Old for College)

Top Ten {Tuesday}
  1. You ask if you have the right classroom, and the kid who answers calls you "ma'am."
  2. You wonder who has more gray hair - you or your professor.
  3. You feel awkward calling your professor "Mr." because he's the same age as you.
  4. While the other students talk about tanning and their weekend plans, you find other moms and discuss breastfeeding and tee ball games.
  5. The students around you put their assignments into their iPads, while you pull out your paper day planner.
  6. You cringe when you write your tuition check.
  7. You have to call tech support to be able to check your student email account.
  8. Your car is older than some of the students on campus.
  9. You realize that when you got married, most of your classmates were in elementary school.
  10. Reality hits when you realize that in just a few years, your own children could be sittting in the same classroom you're in.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Things I Wish They'd Told Me

This is a re-post of something I originally wrote in April 2010, but I couldn't resist sharing it today in honor of Mother's Day...

What are 10 things you wish you would have known before you became a mother?

Oh, wow...I was only 22 when I became a mom, so there were a lot of things I didn't know!

1. Motherhood is 90% guilt!

Those words from my former boss have helped me so much! As a working mom - well, really as a mom, period - guilt is part of the game. Just knowing that I'm not the only one who feels guilty about stuff helps relieve a little of the guilt.

2. No matter what you do, someone is going to criticize you for it.

Case in point...our pediatrician wanted us to wait until our oldest son was four months old to start giving him infant cereal. By the time he was two months old, he weighed 14 pounds. I called him my sumo baby...he had so many rolls of baby fat he resembled the Michelin Man. One day a church member came up to me, asking if he'd started cereal. I explained our pediatrican's views, and she replied - with a straight face - "You're going to starve that child if you don't start him on cereal." Really? Someone's always going to disagree with your just have to do what's best for your family and let the critics say what they will...sometimes you'll even get a good laugh about it!

3. Sleep deprivation is brutal - but it won't last forever.

Those first three months were tough, especially for a nursing mom. No one else can take care of those midnight feedings! I fell asleep in our big oversized living room chair, cradling a baby in my arms, more nights than I want to admit.

4. Watching your husband as a father will make you see him in a whole new light and love him even more.

My husband is an amazing dad! Watching him with our boys, seeing his absolute adoration of them, just makes me fall more in love with him. I am so blessed!

5. You will be amazed at how much you can do one-handed while cradling a baby on your hip.

Type, cook, do laundry, clean, write notes, shop for groceries...the list goes on. A mom's multi-tasking skills are amazing!

6. One small child multiplies your laundry by at least 10 times it's normal amount.

Clothes changes are numerous...and it's amazing how much stuff such a tiny little person needs.

7. Hang on to every moment, because it goes by too fast.

Ok, so they did tell me that...but I didn't realize how true it was. Even when you try to hang on to every moment, it still flies by. Those moments are so precious and so fleeting.

8. You are stronger and tougher than you know.

Childbirth alone proves do all the bumps and bruises, the broken bones and stiches, the fingers getting slammed in the car door...

9. You really can love someone so much it hurts.

Need I say more?

10. Being a mother gives you the greatest understanding you'll ever have of God's love for us.

As much as I love my kids, as much as I would do anything for them, including die for them - how tiny is that love compared to God's love for us?'s breathtaking.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Missing Piece - Hiding His Word

Bible study has been important to me for a very long time.  I enjoy it.  I've found so many wonderful writers and teachers that have helped me grow.  All the while, though, I knew that something was missing.  I wasn't memorizing Scripture.

It wasn't that I didn't want to memorize it.  I just didn't know where to start.  Then I read this post on A Holy Experience, and I jumped in with both feet.  I was so inspired by the story of Ann's grandmother and the legacy she left her family.

The change in my life since I started memorizing Scripture has been amazing.  I find myself thinking about what I'm memorizing, focusing on it, meditating on it.  Finding Do Not Depart helped me tremendously.  I'm finding so many great ideas and techniques to help me memorize God's Word, and the support I've found there is a great motivator!  I'm so glad I started making memorization a part of my daily quiet time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Building Your Prayer Journal

You probably thought this post would never come, didn't you?  It's taken me longer that I anticipated, but I hope you'll enjoy this!  Let me go ahead and say the pictures did not turn out like I expected.  I will try to post better pics later.

Building a prayer journal is really not as intimidating as it sounds.  At first, I was overwhelmed by all the options, but it's really pretty simple and takes just a little bit of time.  My journal is organized in a way that lets me pray for 30 specific needs in 10 different areas each month.  This lets me pray over 300 specific prayers for the most important areas of my life each month!

First, decide on your format.  I use a simple notebook - a Moleskine would be perfect for this.  I use a simple 5" by 7" notebook.  You'll see other ideas in some of the resources I'll post with this, such as using baseball card pages, but I prefer the small notebook because it's portable.

Next, gather your resources and start planning your journal.  Begin with this great post by Lisa Whelchel, which is the idea that started my prayer journal.  List the areas you would like to pray over daily.  I went with 10 areas, but you can do more or less.  My ten are: my husband, my children, myself, power prayers (taken from Beth Moore's book Praying God's Word), family, church, praise, thanksgiving, ministries/personal influence, and America/world.  Here's what a page of my journal looks like...

Then you can go into more detail, listing 30 specific areas to pray over for each category.  I used the Stormie Omartian books The Power of a Praying Wife, The Power of a Praying Parent, and The Power of a Praying Woman.  I highly, highly recommend these books!  They are amazing.  Kat at Inspired to Action also has great prayer calendars for your husband and kids.  Lisa Whelchel had a great list already set up for several of this areas, and I used it to set up my journal.  Unfortunately, it seems to have been pulled from her site.  I will keep looking, and if I'm able to find it, I will link to it later.

Ready to start?  Pick your categories and start listing specific areas for each.  Watch for more next week!

Monday, May 2, 2011

9 Weeks to Get It Together

Nine weeks.  It's all I have left until I start the dental hygiene program and become pretty much a full-time student.  Nine weeks until I juggle being in class or clinicals for 20 hours a week with being at work 30 hours a week, in addition to my family, home, and church.  It's exciting.  It's terrifying. It's overwhelming.

I have so much I want to get done during these next nine weeks.  There are so many things I want to accomplish and so many projects I want to finish.  Here are my goals:
  1. Master the art of couponing - okay, I may not master it, but I'd like to figure it out enough to cut my grocery bill in half every week.  All that extra money can help me pay for books and supplies.
  2. Work through Sarah Mae's "31 Days to Clean" ebook - we're going to have to be super-organized to manage this, and I want my house ready.
  3. Finish the Bible in 90 Days challenge - I am woefully behind, but I know I can still catch up and finish on time.
  4. Read Ted Dekker's new book, The Priest's Graveyard, because he's my favorite author and it will be the last book (other than textbooks) that I'll be able to read for a long time.
  5. Have a yard sale.  It won't be very big, but again, any extra money will help.  My supplies are going to cost double what I expected.
It's going to be a busy nine weeks, but I'm ready.  I'm so excited about my journey that begins in July!

Although this wasn't specifically a Working Mommy Wednesday post, I felt that it went along well with this week's prompts.  I have a lot of goals, but this week my focus is going to be on "31 Days to Clean" and getting my house neat and organized!  My simple goal for the week is to do the challenges each day.

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