Saturday, February 25, 2012

This is What Youth Ministry is all About

This is how I spent my Friday night/Saturday morning.  Spending quality time with our youth ladies at a girl's sleepover.

What a sweet sight this morning to wake up to 10 girls sleeping on our living room floor.  I couldn't help but just praise God for them and for the opportunity He has given us to make an impact on their lives.  This is what youth ministry is all about.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Unsettle Me

I am 2 chapters away from finishing the book "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst.  It was my book to read for February and it has challenged and encouraged me to live beyond my cravings for food and practice self- discipline not only to become healthy, but to strive towards holiness.  

Sometimes we just need to be unsettled by God.  Unsettled with where we are.  Unsettled with our complacency and compromises.

These words impacted me today and I hope that in some way they will you as well, 

"Yes, indeed, unsettle me Lord.  
Unearth that remnant of unforgiveness.
Shake loose that justification for compromise.
Reveal that broken shard of pride.
Expose that tendency to distrust.
Unsettle me in the best kind of way.  For when I allow Your touch to reach the deepest parts of me- dark and dingy and hidden away too long- suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.

I can delight in forgiveness and love more deeply.
I can discover a discipline that lies beyond what I'm capable of and grab hold of God's strength to bridge the gap.  
I can recognize the beautify of humility and crave the intimacy with God it unleashes.
I can rest assured through harsh winds blow, I will be held.  
Goodbye to my remnants, my rationalizations, shards, and tendencies.  This is not who I am nor who I was created to be.  
Goodbye to shallow love, sharp words, self-pity, and suspicious fears.  I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in your distractions or destructions. 
Welcome deeper love, new possibilities, unleashed intimacy, and the certainty I am held.  
Welcome to the unsettled heart."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our Family Information Area

We use the side of our fridge as the hub of information in our home.  There we post our weekly menus, monthly and weekly calendars, and my cleaning lists. 




Do you have a hub of information in your home?

Printables Sources: Menu Plan   Monthly Calendar   Weekly Calendar   Cleaning List

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Couponing System- At the Grocery Store

Yesterday I showed you my coupon binder where I organize my coupon inserts. 


Today I’ll show you what I take with me to the grocery stores and drugstores. 

After making my shopping list and matching my coupons to store’s deals using Southern Savers, I cut out the coupons I need and put them in my expandable coupon organizer.  I take only the coupons I need for that trip and any that I want to check on a price with. 


I added a couple of tabs for the stores I shop at the most.  I usually shop at multiple stores and that helps me keep my deal coupons for each store separate. 


I keep a small calculator in the very back pocket to use in figuring up the total cost of my items while at the store or the cost of an item with a doubled coupon, etc.

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The most critical item I take with me to the grocery store is my list notebook.  I purchased this notebook at Ollie’s a year ago and got two in a pack for $5.  It is a hard folder that easily sits up in the grocery cart and helps me stay on track in the stores.     


In it I usually keep my store specific grocery list, my menu plan, and any Southern Savers matchup printables.

grocery list folder

Because we have a very tight grocery budget for the month (currently $170 a month)  I have to know exactly how much I am going to spend before I even get into the store.  I use my price sheets that I have previously gathered to write down the price of each item .  While we were living on one salary, we needed to stay on a budget of about $150 a month to make sure we had enough money to cover all our expenses.  Now that we are on two incomes again, we have decided to only slightly raise our budget and continue putting our extra money towards our savings and paying off all debt.  (We’re on the Dave Ramsey plan!)


It is hard to do sometimes, but we usually get out with spending between $25-$50 a week.  To do that I am intentional in planning our menu and using coupons wisely as well as buying at the store with the rock bottom price. 

I have learned through out the past couple of years that couponing has a lot of benefits, but it can be dangerous.  When you’re on a budget, sometimes you just have to let some deals go.  I try to only purchase deals that I can use to make meals for the week or stockpile on personal care items (toothpaste, shampoo, etc)  I also am mindful of not purchasing so many processed foods, even if they are great deals. 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing how I coupon and grocery shop, and hope that it has given you some ideas for yourself.  I’d love for you to share a link in the comments if you have shown your own couponing system on your blog before or share any tips for saving money while grocery shopping!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Couponing System- The Coupon Binder

I love to coupon, save money, and live frugally.  I started couponing when I was in college, and my system has evolved over the past few years.  I changed my system as my needs and our family’s needs changed.  I think that is important to remember when choosing an organization method for your coupons.  What works for you now, may not work two years from now.  Be willing to learn, change, and customize your system.


Here are the basic components of my coupon organization system:

  • A coupon binder
  • An expandable coupon organizer
  • A Grocery List Folder


Let’s start with the…


I bought this binder at Wal-Mart several years ago for around $10.  It has served me well, and has lots of convenient storage areas.

One of my favorite features is the expandable file area on the front.

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Here I keep my sales papers for the week for grocery stores and drug stores.  I also keep my Staples rewards under the “Misc.” tab.

Let’s take a look inside…


There are pockets for pens and markers, my store savings cards, and coupons that I cut but haven’t used yet.  I added a pencil pouch that holds a small notebook, post its, a calculator, and a small pair of scissors.

There are several sections to my coupon binder.

First, I keep a list of the coupon insert schedule handy in the very front.  I can easily look each week to see how many inserts will be in our Sunday paper, or if there are no inserts for the week. 



Second, I have baseball card protector sheets that hold loose coupons that come in the mail with free samples or on products I buy.  I know these coupons are not normally included in the coupon matchups I use online, so I can just flip through them individually to determine if there is a deal for the week with those coupons. 


Third, I have my weekly coupon inserts from the Sunday papers.  This is the largest section of my binder. 

I do not cut my coupons out of my inserts until I need them!  I plan my grocery trips around what is on sale, and use Southern Savers website to match my coupons with the items I will buy.  She tells you the date of the insert for each coupon matchup and by not cutting them out, I can easily just go through whichever insert I need.  I will also search the coupon database for any items I will be buying that are not part of the store’s weekly sales.


I put each week’s inserts into a separate sheet protector and add a post-it note with the date written on it.  These serve as tabs that I use to find the inserts I am looking for.


Fourth, I have a couple of sheet protectors that I cut and sewed back together to form pockets.  Here I keep coupon booklets that I receive in the mail (mostly P&G or store specific booklets).  I simply cut a slit in the top piece of the sheet protector half way down and then sewed a straight stich across to seal the top pocket on my sewing machine.


Fifth, I keep copies of different stores’ coupon policies.  These are handy to have when you are planning your trips and to take with you to the store in case there is ever any question from the cashier about your coupon usage.  Surprisingly, store clerks often do not know the store’s policies. 

couponpolicy organization

Sixth, I have two pocket folders.  I purchased these from Staples for $1 each and in one I keep retail coupons and in the other I keep coupons I clip from magazines


And last but not least, I keep a copy of Coupon Mom’s Grocery Saving Strategies in the back for reference.


It’s a full load but it helps me keep everything in place and available when I need it.  I use this binder at HOME, not the store.  I have tried to take it to the store with me, but it is just too bulky and is not effective for me. 

I keep it in a pretty file box that I received as a wedding gift when I’m not using it. It normally stays in the office and I get it out when I plan my weekly shopping trips. 


Tomorrow I’ll share what the second part of my coupon organizing system- what I take to the store with me.


Do you coupon?  And if so, how do you keep all of those coupons organized?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Container Vegetable Garden Plan

I've been doing some more research on vegetable gardening in containers.  Here's my plan so far for our summer vegetable garden.  

I will soon be starting seedlings indoors in our laundry room.  That room receives more sunlight than any other room in our house.  We looked at seed starting kits at Lowe's, but I'm just going to to use a combination of newspaper and recycled toilet paper rolls to start our seedlings.  (Why pay $5-$10 for something you already have?)

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I will then transfer the seedlings into containers after the last frost.  

As of right now I plan to use a combination of 5 gallon buckets, and galvanized tubs and pails.  

I have found a lot of valuable information on container gardening from these videos and  this blog.

I am not a fan of the look of these buckets so I will probably cover them with burlap and tie with rope and twine like these:

Clever!  Covering 5 gal buckets with burlap and twine.

tease out roots to help establish chard seedlings

I will also be planting a herb garden and putting that in a galvanized pail and sitting in on our front porch.

So that's the plan for now!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DIY Jewelry Rack

We made this DIY Jewelry rack the same time as our apron rack, but I just hung it up last weekend.  I couldn't decide what I really wanted to use the rack for- it was originally to be for hanging towels but we don't have a place for it in our bathroom.  After realizing that my jewelry box from college (a tackle box) just wasn't cutting it anymore, I decided to hang it in our bedroom for my necklaces.  

The wood was originally one long piece that we cut into two sections for the apron rack and this rack.  


I purchased the wood for $1 at the local Habitat Restore.  We got the hooks for around $3-$4 each from Lowe's.  Jeremy and my dad cut the wood and drilled in the hooks this past summer.

Glad I'm finally putting this one to use!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Linky Followers

Have you heard that Google Friend Connect will be going away for blogs that aren't hosted on blogger soon?  (ie Wordpress blogs, etc.)  Although Faith. Home. Love. is hosted on blogger, I've heard that Google Friend Connect will soon be going away for everyone and they will begin using Google + instead.  

So, like many bloggers are doing already, I've added the Linky Followers beta widget to my sidebar.  Linky Followers is a new and easy way for people to follow your blog and a way for you to easily follow others back (or so I've heard).  And, the best part is that it is FREE!  

I would love for you to follow my blog on Linky Followers!  Just click the link on the sidebar. 

You can sign up for your own blog or just sign up to follow blogs {here}.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Plate Wall Inspiration

I'm collecting white plates and buying some plate hangers to make a plate collage in our kitchen.  Here's what is inspiring me...

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both via The Nester

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What do you think- all white plates or a mix of colors (teals, greens, whites)?  We have off-white walls so my only concern is the white would not stand out very much.  But then again I like white on white.  I'd love your opinions!

Here's a picture as a reminder of what our kitchen looks like- our table is now turned with the short end against the wall, and the plates will be hung directly on the wall above it. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Organizing Your Family Calendar

It wasn't until this month that Jeremy and I felt the need to really have a family calendar.  But with youth events, school events, meetings, and church stuff, it was getting kind of hectic.  Enter in Cozi.

Cozi is a FREE online program that allows you to share family calendars, to do lists, shopping lists, and more.  It is available to use on your computer as well as on a phone.

Jeremy found out about Cozi from one of our youth, whose family uses it to keep track of all their kids events.

We just set up our account this past weekend but so far it is working great.  I put up our weekly menu and Jeremy can access it anytime he is wondering what's for dinner that night- just by looking at his phone.  I can check to see if he has any extracurricular activities he is helping out with after school, and we are always have access to dates and times of youth events now.

We are excited to begin using Cozi, so far we love it! It would be perfect for a family with teens! Do you use something similar to help you organize your family calendar?

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