I have found that I get more views on this blog when I write about what other people apparently read. The response to “Pray the Gay Away” that I was so proud of writing? 2 views. The piece on “Feeling Sexy, 365 Days a Year?” Tons of views. Hunger Games? Lots of views too. So to try and get a few more readers, I’m going to put a few words in to bring in some traffic. Sex. Books. Fights to the death. Diaper Cakes. There, we’ll see how that goes.

PS – Jesus loves you.

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Teaching Kids Money Values

About two years ago, my husband and I took the Financial Peace University class at our church. It was a really great class to get us back on track with our money, and we actually did pretty good with some of the principles for about a year. It was nice to not have to scramble for money for our yearly trip to Michigan or Christmas since we had planned ahead. Sadly, we have not kept it up, but we are hoping to start again and get back on track.

A friend of mine told me how she gave her five and four-year-old allowance for doing daily chores around the house. They were expected to clean out the silverware from the dishwasher every day, empty the trashcans from the bathrooms, and I think something else, but I can’t remember. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we need to start teaching our kids healthy money principles right now. My husband was pretty good with money when we got married, and I was not. Unfortunately my habits have trickled to my husband and we are not good about saving or budgeting. We want our kids to understand how to save and tithe at an early age to get used to it.

We both agreed that just giving them money was not okay, they needed to earn it. Both of their rooms are usually an explosion of toys, and they often didn’t play in them because it was so hard to navigate around. I have stubbed my toe or stepped on toys more than once while putting a sleeping child to bed, and I knew that the first thing they needed to do was keep their rooms clean. Plus, with all the money parents spend on cool bedding for their kids, they might as well make their beds every day too. I felt though, that even though this was enough for our 2 year old, it wasn’t quite enough for our 4 year old. I decided the idea of him emptying the trash from the bathroom was a good idea (I HATE doing that job and never do it!) and he should also feed and water the dog every day, which would end the daily conversation of “Did you feed the dog today? Nope. You? Nope. Well, I guess we better feed her.” I whipped up charts for both kids, superhero for the boy and Dora for the girl. We decided on a rate of 50 cents per year of age, so my girl gets $1 each week and my boy gets $2. We snagged the idea from my friend of using dimes to pay them instead of dollars. It feels like more money to them, and it makes it so easy to tithe and save! They each have a bank now, and extra jars that say “tithe” and “savings” on them, and we count out their money with them and every time they get to 10 they put 1 dime in the tithe jar and 1 in the savings jar.

I was a little worried about how my boy would react to having to put 20% of his money in places he couldn’t spend, but he reacted surprisingly well. (The 2 year old girl could care less, she just has money now!) I remember in psychology class learning about good habits and how they take 28 days straight to build. Well, we are on day 14 of clean rooms (which, by the way, they clean right before bed. I don’t care what they get out and make a mess of during the day, as long as they clean it up before bed. Talk about bringing peace into my house!), made beds, and a fed dog. The trash in the bathrooms has been emptied 2 weeks in a row, and the kids are still loving this process. I haven’t stubbed my toes putting kids to bed in a long time, and  it is so nice to have a least 2 rooms clean in the house all the time. Plus, I love having them be excited about giving money to the church already and saving money for “when they are grownups.” I hope this trend can continue, and maybe my husband and I will take some lessons from them and start saving again too.   🙂

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The Hunger Games

Holy shit. I just finished The Hunger Games series. Fights to the death. Post-apocalyptic craziness. Love triangles that are WAY better than stupid Twilight. Maybe all of the drama in this series has something to do with the recent depression? Who knows. It’s done now. I’m going to go cry in my pillow a bit.

Click here to buy it at Barnes and Noble.

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Dueling Depression

Well, I wish I could say that I have gotten farther on my organization project. I wish I could say that I have gotten tons of scrapbooking done (though I am still caught up on Project Life!) and am moving forward in life with zeal and hope. I wish I could say I have been a good friend to my best friend, who is finally going to have the baby she and her husband have been dreaming of adopting later this month and need help getting ready. I wish I could look at the possibility of my moms group at church possibly not having a coordinator and raise my hand saying “I’ll do it!” But sadly, none of these things is happening right now.

I haven’t really battled depression since shortly after the birth of my second child. I went through some pretty severe postpartum depression, and along with a friendship quickly going sour I pretty much just check out of the world. I talked to my counselor about it back then and we decided to start with antidepressants. When I took them, though, I felt like I was incapable of feeling anything at all; never happy, never sad. It just made it easier for me to check out for awhile, a zombie only doing what needed to be done to keep my family going, and sometimes not even that, leaving my husband to pick up the pieces and change the diapers that hadn’t been changed all day. I decided to stop taking the drugs and over time I slowly began to come out of it. Since then, I feel like I had a pretty positive outlook on life. I worked hard at building true friendships (though most of those fizzled eventually too) and getting out of my home and into the social world again.

I don’t know why I can feel myself slipping back into that mode again. I really noticed it start about April 2nd. Awhile ago I took my birthday off of public information on facebook because I feel like the “Happy Birthday” comments people leave are annoying and not really heartfelt. My birthday was April 4th, and I received a few texts from some close friends and one “happy birthday” comment from my mother-in-law, and that was it except for my family, and I was really and truly okay with that. Normally I love my birthday, but this year I pretty much wanted zero attention for it. My mom asked me what I wanted to do for our family celebration, and I said nothing. No special dinner out, no specific dinner made, nothing. We spent the Sunday before at my mom’s house eating a normal dinner and watching Black Swan. My husband and sisters had presents for me (including a Nook which I am now addicted to) and they all had a cake, but that was it. And even then it felt like more than enough. I’m not afraid of getting older; in fact, I look forward to turning 30 and feeling more like my age fits my current stage of life. Since then I have been having a hard time enjoying anything. Usually being around people energizes me and makes me happy; lately though it just exhausts me, and I just want to stay home and snuggle with my kids, or spend the evening at my parents house if I need to get out. I have a few projects I have been working on, like a recipe binder that is sorted by meats (so I can put my meal plans together faster) and the challenge I wrote for Deviantly Domesticated (so far I’m 1 for 1 in sending cards. The rest are made and ready to send). I’m not sitting around idle all the time, and even clean my kitchen at least once a week. But I’m having a hard time being motivated to do anything. My best friend’s new adopted baby will be here by Easter, and instead of being so excited and helping getting the room ready, I never call her or try to get together, and sometimes go over to her house even when I just really want to be at home with just my family. I feel like a bad friend. It’s not that I don’t want to help her, it’s just I don’t feel emotionally capable of it for some awful reason. Laying in bed when I can’t sleep leads to visions of my children getting run over by a car, and I’ve had a couple of times when I’ve had to sneak into their rooms when they are sleeping and just hold them to feel better. I always feel a sense of foreboding, like something terrible is going to happen. I’m hoping I can get out of this rut soon. I loved feeling confident and capable just a few weeks ago, knowing everything I was doing was benefiting my family. Now I just want to watch tv and read and sit on the computer, closed off and by myself, and obviously those are not good and healthy for myself or my family. Soon, I hope.

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Gettin’ Creative

I finally did some papercrafting this week! I haven’t done anything like this in months since over the past 8 months or so my paper crafting world has been totally devoted to wedding stationery on my Etsy shop. About a month ago I closed down the entire shop and decided to take a break from that world for awhile. I wasn’t charging enough money and my house was always destroyed, plus I was really sick and didn’t know if/when I could work and get jobs done. It was so wonderful to do some scrapbooking and gift-making this week! Here is a diaper cake I made for my sister-in-law-in-law. (No, that’s not a typo. It’s my sister’s sister-in-law, so that’s what we have dubbed each other.)

Her name is Felicia and her brother and friends call her “Fish” for short, so they named the baby “Baby Fish.” We don’t know what the gender is, so I tried to make it pretty gender-neutral. I used my Cricut (gasp! Amazement!) with the Create A Critter cartridge for the fish and the Plantin’ Schoolbook cartridge for the letters. Pretty simple. I used a white paint pen to draw stitching embellishments all over. I’m so happy with how it turned out! (PS, this is not my messy table. It’s my mom’s. My table was much messier that day.)

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21 Day Organization Challenge – Days 5 and 7

Wow, what a week it has been! My goal for the rest of this month was to “wrap up” unfinished projects. I am well on my way! So far I have finished the linen closet, continued in the organization challenge, caught up on Project Life, scrapbooked a few pages from our trip to Harry Potter World in Florida, and finished the baby shower gift for last weekend. I plan to finish another baby shower gift this weekend (even though it’s technically not in the same month), clean up the back yard a bit, turn in our tax stuff to the tax lady, and continue organizing. Yes, this challenge is definitely taking longer than expected, but it’s because it’s going so well! Not only are the things she suggests getting organized, but everything around them too! The tupperware cabinet led to the other cabinets getting redone, the tops of the cabinets are now clear and washed, and even my scrapbooking is getting more organized. The best part was this last weekend when my kids dumped out a ton of stuff from the pantry all over the living room floor on Saturday morning. My husband knew I would be upset at the GIANT mess they made (it turns out they were setting up a “feast” for their stuffed animals; I wish we had a picture!) so he and the kids made it “their project” to empty out the pantry. It became an all-day ordeal with my husband and I working on throwing out all the expired food and wiping everything down and making tons of new room. Hubby also emptied out the lazy Susan and we got to work putting everything back. I finally picked up the pantry organizer and bins I wanted today, so now the pantry is complete!

I’m not completely sold on this organizer yet. I bought it without checking the reviews, which weren’t good. But I figure I will just keep the packaging and receipt and hopefully I won’t have to return it…

Isn’t it pretty? The best idea was hubby’s, which was to put the cereal and snacks for kids where they could actually reach it. Now they get their own cereal in the morning while mommy and daddy get some more sleep. Aaaahhhhh….

We switched use of the lazy Susan to be for cans. Hubby labeled all of the cans on the top with a permanent marker to make it easier to see what each can is. The entire bottom is Progresso Soup. I guess I don’t need to get more any time soon!

Also cleaned out this week was under the kitchen sink. It’s not great, as there are still lots of chemicals under here that I would like to eventually get rid of. I really want to try Shaklee stuff, but I am waiting to hear back from a rep on what the specials are. In the meantime, we’ll keep using these until they run out and replace them with more natural cleaners.

I wish I had “before” shots of these areas in my home, because they were so bad that it would show how far we’ve come. But of course I forgot. There was definite spillage going on everywhere though, along with lost items, open bags of sugar, and a bag of brown sugar that had wrapped around the center of the Lazy Susan. I didn’t know that could happen!

It has been such a wonderful week. I feel very empowered right now at making my home run more smoothly. My plan is to reward myself when I finish organizing my house by painting my living room. I’m working on colors right now, and I’m so excited! Have a blessed week everyone.

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March Challenge – Tying Up Loose Ends

We are doing a really fun challenge at Deviantly Domesticated this month called “Tying Up Loose Ends.” It’s all about finishing those projects that you started, but just haven’t finished them yet. Here is a really fun video Stephanie posted on her options:

This challenge is meant to be really fun and help “lighten the load” a little bit in our lives. It feels so good to finally get a project done!! Please come visit Deviantly Domesticated and join our challenge. You can participate in several different ways for this one! If you blog about it, be sure to link it up to the Linky Tools on the bottom so we can all cheer you on!

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