Category Archives: Money

Thank you, Dave Ramsey!

We are officially up to Baby Step Three – saving for our six month emergency fund.  Our baby fund of $1,000 is done and our debt is all paid off.  Granted, we didn’t have much and we used our tax refund to pay it off, but it feels good just the same.  Our six month fund will be at least $10,000 and it does feel a little bit daunting, but it’s good to have a plan.  With the raise Mike got last month, we should reach this goal within a year or so.  We will have to use some money to fix things around the house, but we will be sticking to our fairly strict written budget without a lot of luxuries.  We agreed to $50 spending money for each of us per month and I fully intend to use the first $10 or so on going for sushi by myself sometime soon.  After going two months without much in the way of “me-money”, I’m ready for just a little bit of fun.  We will try to stick to one date night a month and no other meals out, but we may use our personal spending for going out on our own or pooling it together if we haven’t used it already by the end of the month.  Dave Ramsey stresses the importance of using a little bit of your money for fun and I know how important this is.  It doesn’t mean using much, just having a bit that I can use to buy a coffee now and again or enjoy a small meal on my own when Jenny goes to kids club on Wednesday nights.

Anyway, YAY for being debt free and planning to stay that way!!

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Filed under Life, in general, Money

Almost time for a break

I think for old time’s sake, I’ll go back and talk about what started this blog.  Housekeeping.  And my complete and utter loathing of it.

But first, I have THREE more sleeps before our trip!!  Woohoo!  It’s been a tiring week already and I’m so looking forward to the break from the kids, from housework (YAY!), cooking, etc.  We’ve been very disciplined with our money so we’ve eaten at home all month unless someone took us out for a meal or had us over.  That is since we read Dave Ramsey’s book, anyway.  We decided not to be too strict with an actual budget this month, though, because of our trip.  It wasn’t budgeted for so we’ve been skimping on everything to pay for the weekend in cash.  We may have to dip into our savings to help us out, but we’d rather do that than have more debt to deal with.  The hardest time with this plan seems to be the transition from using credit cards to using cash.   When you use a credit card, you’re buying things with next months money; when you use cash, it’s (obviously) this months money.  So we made the decision to pay for our credit card bill from last month with our line of credit and then transfer the whole thing to a 0% interest credit card.  I know it seems like going backwards by getting another credit card, but it seems to be the best plan because of the amount of money we’re paying in interest on the line of credit.  We’ll be able to pay the whole amount off in a few months with our tax refund anyway, so after that the card will be cancelled.

Anyway, back to the H word. 

My house is a wreck.  I wonder how many times I’ve said that on this blog?  I’m guessing at least a dozen times in those exact words.  Hard to say, though.  I could also say, “My house is a disaster.”  “My house is a gigantic pig sty.”  “My house is beyond all help.”  There are just so many options.  I know the reasons for a lot of it – my kids have too many toys and too many clothes and I haven’t taken the recycling in so they keep pulling paper and cardboard out and dragging it around the house.  When the floor is covered in clutter, it makes it pretty hard to sweep/vacuum/mop.  And to top it all off, I’ve been immersed in thoughts of money and crafts all month and cleaning just has not been my priority.  But here’s the thing: I DO NOT want to come home to a house that looks like this.  Generally after a weekend or longer away from home, I’m looking forward to coming home.  I won’t feel so great about it if I know that it’s a wreck/disaster/gigantic pig sty/beyond all help.  So clean I must.  But packing must also be done.  And the swap package I’m bringing with me has to be done since it’s all going to my partner on Monday (in person!).  So I have to fit things in where I can.  I’m doing fairly good keeping up with the laundry and dishes, although there are more dishes than normal thanks to eating all our meals at home.  The main issue is the clutter accumulating on the floors and any open surface.  If it can be cleared, it will be that much easier to do the actual cleaning.  Not that it will be any more fun, but I will admit a certain satisfaction comes about from scrubbing floors or vacuuming carpet.  Finding a place for all the junk is the part I enjoy the least.

Anyway, I’m going to make an attempt at it this week – in fact, in the next three days since that’s all I’ve got.  If I can leave the floors clean and the kitchen counters wiped down I’ll be pretty happy.  If the piles of clutter on the entryway table and desk are cleared up, even better!

I’ll let you know how it turns out…maybe. 😉

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Filed under Holidays, Money, The H Word

The prodigal blogger returns

Yes, it’s been awhile.  I didn’t even give you a little post to say Happy New Year.  My apologies.  I hope you don’t want excuses.  I’m sure I have some, but it actually kind of annoys me when bloggers give a list of excuses when they don’t write.  I mean, are we paid to do this (I mean, most of us)?  Anyway, I’m not going to go there.  I will, however, fill you in on 2010 so far in our home.

New Years was uneventful – the older we get and the more kids we have, the more I would just rather go to bed on New Years Eve than stay up forever.  This year was probably the earliest we’ve gotten home in years.  It might be different if we had a babysitter or could leave the kids with their grandparents, but we can only keep them up so long.  We came home around one and Mike and I got to bed around two.  Thankfully the kids slept in until around ten that day, so we managed to get seven or eight hours of sleep.

It’s only the sixth of January now, but it feels like weeks since New Years Eve.  I got a box from my dad that day and in it were four different books.  I started reading one but quickly gave into the temptation to read another one before I was done with the first.  The tempting book was Dave Ramsey‘s The Total Money Makeover.  I read it whenever I had time, until yesterday, when I finished it.  And I’m blown away.  I really, honestly thought that there was no way to change our circumstances financially and was always saying we “couldn’t afford” things.  But it’s not about that.  It’s either, “we shouldn’t afford it” as in, we don’t need it, or “we need to save towards it”.  Such as a larger house.  If we had no debt, no payments, money in savings and some being invested, we would certainly be able to “afford” a larger house.  I’ve been basing it all on how much Mike makes each month, and while our current payment on the house (plus property taxes) is what it should be – roughly 25% of our income – this does not mean that we can’t afford something else.  The timing may not be right for some time – maybe more than a year from now – but if we get our finances on track, we’ll be much more likely to be ready when the time is right.

Dave’s plan is pretty simple; he uses seven baby steps and explains it all in easy to understand English.  Baby step number one is to get $1,000 into an emergency fund as quickly as you can.  The reason he advises doing this before paying off debt is because if you attempt to pay off debt and then suddenly have a $500 emergency (the furnace breaks, transmission goes out on your vehicle, etc), you will have to go into more debt to pay for it.  If you have an emergency fund, you may have to put your debt-clearing on hold, but you won’t be acquiring more debt.  Then the only rule is that you fill up the fund again before you go back to paying off debt. 

Baby step two is, of course, paying off your debt.  He suggests paying them off one at a time from the smallest to the largest.  This means if you have ten dollars in library fees, pay them first and then move onto the credit card bills.  Keep on paying the minimums on the other bills while you work on the smallest, but keep going in order to feel your success each time you pay one debt off.  For us, that means this months credit card bill which is just over $2,000 and our line of credit which has a little over $3,000 on it.  Mind you, we paid for everything last month on our credit card which is how we typically do it and typically we pay it all off at once.  We will do the same thing this month, but it will be a challenge because we have decided not to use our credit cards anymore.  At all.  Not even for air miles.  We will pay as much as we can on the credit card from our checking account and then use the line of credit to pay off the rest.  This may not typically be the recommendation, but for us it makes the most sense.  Our credit card interest rate is upwards of 18% while our line of credit interest is around 10%.  At that point, we will have one debt to pay off instead of two.  We are very fortunate in that our decisions have not put us in a terrible place – there are stories in Dave’s book about people who had $30,000 in credit card debt when they started this plan.  We only have one income to pay ours with and it’s not huge, but at least we only have around $5,000 to pay off.  We had planned to pay everything off with our tax refund in April or May, but we will instead try to pay as much as we can before then.  Of course, we will first get our emergency fund ready – so far, we have $300 in it. 

Baby step three is finishing your emergency fund, which should be equal to three to six months of expenses.  We will make ours a six month fund and aim for $10,000.  This is slightly less than six months of income, but if Mike were out of work and we had to pull from the fund, we would certainly be watching our spending and eating lots of cheap food until he had a new job.  It seems as though it could take ages to get our fund that big, but when I think about it and plan for it, I know we can do it, even if it takes a year or two.

Baby step four is putting 15% of your income into investments for retirement.  An astounding number of people are not prepared for retirement and we don’t want to be part of that number.  We both have grandparents on fixed incomes and their lives are not always easy. 

Baby step five is saving for your kids’ college education.  We have been doing this on a small scale since Elias was born but once we reach this step, we may add to what we’ve already been doing.

Baby step six is paying off the mortgage.  This part sounded too good to be true, but there are many stories of people who have managed it in five years or so.  We don’t have a huge mortgage so it shouldn’t take us too long once we get there, but by the time we reach this step, we may be in a larger house with a slightly larger mortgage.  But again, this is a long way off so we won’t worry too much about it now.

Baby step seven is building wealth.  Dave suggests having fun with your money (reasonably), investing it and giving it.  The part that gets me is the thought of having enough money to really be able to help people.  We give our ten percent tithe and sponsor two World Vision kids, but I would so love to be able to do more.

So, this is the start of our journey.  Mike is still reading the book so we won’t fully begin until he’s finished.  However, we will attempt to live on a rough budget and we will also be using cash or debit rather than our credit cards.  We have a weekend in Edmonton at the end of the month and as of now, our plan is to really start going in February when we get home.  A written budget is obviously a very important part of this process as is sticking to it.  One great feeling is that we will be at the start of baby step three by the time we get our tax refund back.  For many people, the first two steps take a year or so, but because our debts are not wildly out of control, we will finish paying them with our refund this spring.

As I’m writing this, I’m hoping that it’s not a bad thing to be listing the steps here on my blog.  I will say that reading this isn’t enough if you’re interested in trying this program out.  Get the book – buy it, borrow it, check it out at the library, but read it.  Even if you don’t have any debt, it’s a good plan (in fact, you’re in a great place if you have no debt because you can skip straight to step three). 

Anyway, that’s the big happening of this year.   Aside from that, I’m in two more swaps – one that I have a partner for already and one I’m waiting until Saturday to get.  I suspect that in order to really watch my spending I may have to take a long term break from swaps until I can fit them into my budget, but I had signed up for these two before I read the book.  The irony is that the bigger swap is a frugal living swap.  I’m crafting out of my stash and meeting my partner in Edmonton when we’re there to exchange packages rather than paying the shipping.  So it shouldn’t actually cost me much (if anything).  The other swap is a bookmark swap and I will attempt to craft from my stash on this one as well.  Even if I’m assigned a group (which means making and sending four bookmarks), the postage will be minimal as they can be mailed in standard envelopes.  If my partner(s) are in Canada or the US, I have enough stamps to send them already and won’t have to pay anything more than what I’ve already spent.

Was that enough catching up for the year?  I hope so because my brain is starting to hurt. 🙂

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Filed under Holidays, Money

Happy Birthday to me!

Yes, my birthday was a month ago.  I’m aware of that.  But, today I bought my birthday present!  When family members asked what I wanted for my birthday, I requested financial contributions to buy a netbook.  And after Mike checked with a guy he knows that sells them, we went with one online from Future Shop.  I got a great deal on a very small netbook – which is what I wanted – and in the end, we only have to pay $11 of our own money for it, even with taxes.  Shipping was free, which made it even better.

So, very soon, I will be able to pack up my netbook when I take Jenny to kids club, and I can go down to Starbucks or even just stay there at the church and WRITE!  Hopefully without major distractions.  Or, if I’m at home and Mike is using the computer and an idea strikes, I’ll be able to take it into my room and write in peace. 

I have been wanting a netbook for quite a long time and thought I’d be buying one with our tax refund next year, but with this deal and $214 in birthday money (thanks to parents, grandparents and siblings) I can have it now!!  If it was our money, I would feel guilty right now about using it, but since I asked for it instead of other gifts, it would actually be worse to use it for other purposes.  It has been my experience that birthday money not used for specific items for myself within one month of my birthday, gets directed into the bill-paying fund and disappears forever.  Sad, but true.  And sometimes not such a bad thing when we’ve really been in need and the money wasn’t given for a certain purpose.  But if I did that with this money, the whole family (or those who contributed) would be asking all the time when I was going to get that computer.  So, yay!  I got it! 🙂

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Filed under Happiness, Money

Facing facts

It is never fun to realize in the middle of the night that your checking account will be overdrawn in the morning.  Just as I was drifting off, I remembered our mortgage coming out today and the fact that we did not have enough money in our account to cover it or the life insurance premium coming out in the next few days, either.  This does not mean anything dreadful for us, just a transfer from our line of credit to cover it.  But it was while I listened to account balances that it suddenly dawned on me – we’re well on our way to having a very large amount of money owed.  If we had no plans for the next few years regarding our home, it may not matter, but as it is, there are many repairs and replacements to be made.  Not only that, but we have no money in savings, which means that our tax refund this next year needs to be devoted to that so that we have money for a down payment on another house.  The thought of bringing another baby into this 800 square foot home is a bit scary to me, at least in the long term view of things.

So with this eye opening experience comes the death of a dream: our kid-free vacation.  I suddenly realized, at a quarter to one in the morning, that if we took the vacation we’ve been planning, we would be borrowing another large amount of money from our line of credit – probably well over a thousand dollars.  Added to that is the fact that while Mike will have no problem getting time off, his company does not bank vacation hours, so we would have to pay him his missed wages out of our line of credit as well, adding another thousand or more to make our bill payments.  I had been counting on paying off the line of credit in the spring with what will almost undoubtedly be a large tax refund.  When I thought about it, I could hear advice that someone must have given me in the past: don’t spend money you don’t have.  I should be able to count on the tax refund, but I don’t actually know how much it will be, or if there could be unexpected expenses coming up in the new year.

I really did feel like something had died.  I still do.  Mike and I didn’t have a “real” honeymoon and the only trips we’ve taken without any children were before Jenny was born.  With each pregnancy, I committed myself to finding time to take a trip of some sort on our own before the new baby came.  The unfortunate thing is that due to one thing or another, we never took that trip.  This time was no exception to my committment, although the planning had started before I knew I was pregnant.  And this time will apparently be no different from the past – I will have dreamt about this week or so alone with my husband and having a break from my kids – and I will have to give it up.  If the plan was six months away, it might be possible to work our way out of the debt and scrimp and save for this vacation, but as it is, we have a limited window of opportunity.  If we went ahead with our plan to go on a cruise – my ideal vacation as I wouldn’t have to do any work – we would have to go no later than the 3rd of January.  Our latest plan was to go in the middle of December, just before Christmas.  And now that dream must die, for the sake of being good stewards of our money.

This would not be nearly so sad if I thought it was possible to have this vacation sometime after the baby is born.  If I knew that I could go as soon as I was done nursing this baby (after May of 2011), I might be able to wait and not feel this so heavily.  But Mike’s parents were reluctant enough to take three children – I can’t imagine that they would be willing at all to take all four.  We have friends who were going to take our kids for some of the time on this trip, but if we waited, it would be our four kids plus their four and the one or two more that they plan to have in a year or so. 

So last night was spent crying and trying hard to fall asleep, feeling that this thing had died in me.  This dream of having time with Mike and time away from the kids must be buried now.  I don’t know how I’m going to fully give it up and trust God to provide.  I’m trying to talk myself into thinking that it was a selfish and self-centred thought to want this vacation in the first place, that it certainly wasn’t what God would ever want us to do.  That He would frown upon us leaving our children and spending money on something frivolous. 

With all of this comes the sense of responsibility to dig us out of this debt, to work towards fixing the house up to sell (new windows, paint, doors, etc), to save money to go towards another house, to limit our spending considerably in the future.  I keep asking myself where I should draw the line.  Is it so bad that I should stop going to Bible study because I have to pay for childcare each week and gas to get there?  Do I need to get a job?  We lived with a huge amount of money against our line of credit for years because of buying our van and we just paid it off last year – I don’t want to live with a shadow over my head again.  Of course, there are lights of inspiration in my mind – what if we get another low interest credit card and transfer everything over?  But then the answer is still the same – we may not be paying as much interest, but it is still debt.  And the thought that we would somehow get some unexpected financial blessing is foolish to me – God would surely not reward our debt.  Another little problem we’ll soon be facing is that Mike’s paychecks will be going back to normal again.  He has been bringing in an extra five to six  hundred dollars in overtime each paycheck, but the overtime will be gone in a week or two and I’ll be faced with making ends meet and paying off debt with that much less money to work with.

I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I assume that I will cry a bit every day over my lost trip – the lost time.  I spent too much time dreaming about our plan and not enough time looking at reality and now I’m going to pay for it.

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Filed under Life, in general, Melancholy, Money

Making the most of what we have

I am currently working my way through A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn.  It is fantastic so far.  The author is the mother of ten – four biological children and six adopted – and she advocates attachment parenting and co-sleeping andis a Christian to boot.  She also has a very relaxed attitude about her large family.  She obviously takes it seriously, but isn’t uptight about it.  My favourite part so far was when she admitted that she doesn’t make her bed every day.  Ahhh, how nice.  A little reality when it comes to housework.  She talks about the perceptions people have of the mothers of large families – that they are either insane or incredibly organized – and how she is neither. 

Anyway, I’ll probably get around to a more detailed book report when I finish the book, but I realized that what I wanted to write about today tied into what I learned reading this book.

One of the things that Mrs. Ostyn advocates is room-sharing between children.  Obviously this is necessary in a family with ten children unless you are millionaires and can afford a house with eleven rooms.  She also encourages readers to change their current space rather than assume they need something bigger when they add to their family. 

I would not be considered the mother of a large family – yet.  I intend to be in that category eventually, but with only three children, I’m not quite “crazy” yet, especially living here, where it is very common to have a minimum of four children per family.  Knowing that I at least hope for more children makes me want to think of myself this way even now and prepare our family for more children even before we are expecting them (yeah, that answers that question – I am not pregnant again…yet). 

We currently live in a two bedroom, one bathroom home with no basement and only about 800 square feet of living space.  We have a shed for storage, but no attic and no garage.  We have three children sharing one room that contains a bunk bed, a toddler bed, a playpen, bookcase, toy box and Little Tikes vanity.  We have a total of two closets in our home.  Yes, two.  No pantry and a minimal amount of kitchen cabinet space.  We currently have over the door hooks or organizers in every room, just for extra space for toys, towels and clothes.  There was a time not too long ago that I looked around this house in despair and wondered how we would manage if we could not move before another baby was born.  I have talked to God about this and asked that He not give us another child until we can move, but now I think He may have other plans for us.  Fifty years ago, families lived in houses the size of ours with four kids – and often more.  They did not have huge television sets, computers or an abundance of modern appliances taking up space.  Their children did not have every new Playskool toy from the Sears Wish Book (was there a Wish Book back then?) and did not need what our children seem to “need” now. 

I will admit that we have too much stuff.  We have more clothing than we need, my children have more toys than they need and we have managed to fill much of our space with other things that we very seldom use. 

While getting rid of at least some of this stuff will help our space issues immensely, adding better storage solutions will help with the things we can’t go without.  One issue I have is running out of places to store food.  It is a huge money saver to buy in bulk and limit your grocery shopping trips as much as possible.  The problem I have is that when I do stock up like this, I end up with food all over my counter tops and even on the floor in my kitchen because there is no cabinet space left for it.  Yesterday while putting something up on the wall in my hallway, I realized that if we put shelves up at the top of the walls in the hallway, they would not be seen by most people (as the hallway is mostly hidden from view when in the living room) and they would hold some of the gadgets I don’t use often, or the bulk foods I don’t have room for in the kitchen.  The size of our house comes in handy here, as the hallway is right outside the kitchen and I wouldn’t have to walk far to get to what I needed.  Yes, it may make our house look a bit cluttered to have shelves all over the walls, but it is a space solution that is relatively cheap and does not require any actual construction. 

I have determined that we could easily sleep four kids in the second bedroom, although the space will get tight when it comes to clothing and toys/books.  Under bed storage will be used under every bed (including the play pen when possible) and whatever isn’t needed in the house will go to the shed.  I am also considering buying a second, smaller shed to go just off the back deck so that the kids’ clothing could be stored there when not being used (i.e. larger and smaller sizes that are being saved for other kids).  In the winter, it is a pain in the neck to have to walk all the way across the back yard to get to the shed for kids and maternity clothes when needed, but there is simply no space in the house for the dozens of bins required to hold all that clothing. 

My hope is that by using our space more efficiently, we will be able to stay in this house much longer than we assumed we would be able to.  We paid $126,000 for this house four years ago and our payments with property taxes are under $900 a month – you cannot beat that without living in a trailer or renting.  Currently, we would have to pay upwards of $250,000 for the size of house we would want to move into – something with a minimum of three bedrooms and a basement.  Staying here a little longer will enable us to save money and build up the equity in our home.  It will also help us down the road to know how to live in somewhat cramped circumstances and know that we can manage it without any trouble (or without much trouble, anyway).

Stay tuned for more on the book in a few days (I’m almost done!).  And if you don’t want to wait, buy the book – or do like I did and check it out at your local library.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Kiddos, Life, in general, Money, Reading

How I came to spend $106 on one item of clothing.

This is one for the ladies.  Sorry, men – if there happen to be any men reading this totally female-centric blog – this one will not apply to you unless you have another life going on…and I’m not going to get into that.

No, this one is for the girls.  Particularly those who are larger in the chest, due to genetics, pregnancy or breastfeeding.  I will share with you my story, which has just kept getting worse (and yet, suddenly better this year).

I wore a size 36 DD by the time I was fourteen.  I stayed at that size for a while, then put on weight, going up to as big as 42 DD at one point.  I had a bad back through my teenage years and even considered getting a breast reduction.  When I got pregnant and nursed my babies, I wore a 40 DD or bigger, assuming that I had the right fit.  I lost twenty-five pounds on top of my baby weight after I had Elias and it was then that I noticed a difference.  I couldn’t wear underwire anymore!  I…ahem..just fell right out the bottom of my bra if I did.  I assumed that this was due to things being heavier because of milk production.  I stuck to wireless nursing bras and occasionally wore underwire if I had to – for two years. 

Then I went into a very expensive lingerie store in town and asked to try some bras on, stipulating that they had to be soft-cup.  The girl asked my size and I told her I was a 40 DD.  She said she didn’t think so.  I told her my problem with underwire and she said I was probably wearing the wrong band size.  She looked at me and said that while I did need a larger cup size, I was in fact quite “tiny” around the ribs.  Boy, did that make me feel good!  She recommended a much smaller band size and a MUCH larger cup size.  I tried on everything from F to I, and I ended up in a 36 H. Yes, that’s right, H.  And yet as soon as I put the right size on, I felt better.  I looked better.  It was amazing! 

I kept wearing nursing bras from Wal Mart for some time, but only because I was still nursing too much not to.  I wore my nice new yellow lace bra when I knew I wouldn’t need baby access.  When I stopped nursing so much, I started wearing my new bra all the time.  Until it started to look a little worn.  So I went back in to the same store and tried more on.  The one I liked best was plain – smooth cups, no seams, tan, with one tiny little bow.  But, man, did it make me look good!  It managed to make me look two or three sizes smaller than what I am, which is always good in my book.  There was no price tag, but most of the bras I tried on were between forty and sixty dollars.  Expensive (far more expensive than Wal Mart), but worth it.  I asked about the price of this plain-Jane bra….$94!  I knew we couldn’t really afford it then, but figured I’d wait on it and go back. 

So, I went back yesterday and bought it.  With tax, it came to $106, which makes it the most expensive piece of clothing I’ve ever bought (other than my wedding dress).  But it was so worth it.

What women don’t seem to realize is that support is so important!  Particularly when you are nursing a baby and you get heavy chested.  I have so many friends who say their husbands balk at expensive bras and tell them that they can’t spend the money.  Well, sorry, guys, but you don’t have boobs.  We do.  You don’t have an extra five to ten pounds hanging out in front of you, dragging down on your shoulder muscles and pulling on your back.  We do.  And I say we budget in good bras – they will be far cheaper than years of massage, chiropractic work or physiotherapy.  So maybe you wait until the next paycheck – maybe you save the money you make on a yard sale or get for a birthday, but get yourself a good bra!  If you are nursing, get yourself a good nursing bra and a nice one for when you don’t need one anymore.  I have one friend in particular who sags halfway to her belly because she isn’t wearing the right size bra.  She says her husband doesn’t want her spending the money and she doesn’t want to be measured.  I am certainly not telling you to ignore the values of your husband or disrespect his wishes.  But it may help to explain the benefits of a good bra.  It may also help to take him along with you so that he can see the difference a good one makes.  I always take Mike and always get his opinion on one before I buy it.  That way, even though it is more of a utility item for me – one I use every day – it becomes something sexy in his mind.

Anyway, I hope I haven’t gone too far or been too explicit, but there are some things that people (particularly Christians) are afraid to say, and I am just not afraid to say this.  Get a good bra!  It’s worth it!

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Filed under Life, in general, Money, Shop Therapy

Ten Canadian Etsy Shops I love

 
I love Etsy.  I could spend all day browsing shops and spending money left and right (if I had it to spend).  One thing that I’ve found hard is discovering something fantastic, seriously thinking of ordering it, and then finding out that it’s in the US and they won’t ship it to Canada.  So disappointing!  So lately I’ve been browsing by first searching for Canada in the shop local  function on the site.  I have found some real gems, so if you’re a reader living in Canada (or an American who can afford the shipping from Canada), check these shops out and give them some business!
 
Sweet Canadian Etsy Shops

Black Mustard: fiber arts

My favourite thing: Garden Party brown fabric headband: $10

Cheeky Cosmetics: pure mineral makeup

My favourite thing: Sample pack of five powders: $5.  You pick your own five samples of blushes, eye shadows or liners, foundations or pure pigments.  Shipping is free, too!  This is something I’ll probably be buying soon since it’s so cheap, and would give me a good idea of whether I really like their product before I commit to buying full size.

Dear Sukie: handmade wallets

My favourite thing: Long wallets with zippers: $24.  These are made with paper, then covered in heavy vinyl and sewn – they’re very pretty and have change pockets with zippers and space for cards and bills.

Freckled Nest: albums, accessories, etc.

My favourite thing: Wood grain photo booth album: $15, but I also love her pocket mirrors and pins, which are $5 or under.

Luv2Have: unique handmade jewelry

My favourite thing: Hand-etched tree of live pendants: $18

Northern Warm Things: fabric, iron-ons, pre-cut quilting squares

My favourite thing: Iron-on sock monkey patches: $1-$5.  I have bought fabric sqaures form this seller as well, and have more on the way now – a great way to make patchwork quilts without having to do any cutting!

Pitter Patter Knits: knitted baby accessories

My favourite thing: Black and yellow bumble bee hat: $11

Plum Dust: jewerly design

My favourite thing: Mother of pearl flower necklaces: $18-$30.  This seller is actually right here where I live, which is very cool.

Purpose Design: Gourmet spice kits and homewares

My favourite thing: Large spice kits (Thai, Southeast Asian, Indian, French, Persian, Italian, and everyday spices): $28.  This seems so incredibly reasonable to me – I think I’ll have to buy some soon!

Recupe Fashion: repurposed handmade accessories, crochet, gifts

My favourite thing: Tea wallets: $9.  They will carry up to eight tea packets – I think this is such a great idea for carrying your own teabags with you.

There are so many more shops in Canada and in the states that I like, but I thought I’d stick to listing ten of them from Canada for now.  All prices are actually in U.S. dollars, so in Canada, they are a bit more than what I listed, depending on the exchange rate.

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Aha!

I now have an explanation for why my pain has been so bad for the last few days and why my pain pills haven’t seemed to be working as well.  I have an infection in my throat.  Obviously, this is not great, but it’s nice that I know why I was hurting and now have antibiotics to clear things up.  I should know in twenty-four hours or so how much of the pain is from the infection and how much is just the healing process going on.  I also got another bottle of pills that will definitely last me – there are more pills than the last time, so no worries there as I’m sure I won’t need even half of them (I hope!).

When I went out to get my medication, I stopped in at a kids store to look at premie stuff for Noah – no luck there – and found some very cute rubber boots and a dress for Jenny, both for ten dollars.  I then went and picked up some stuff at the health food store and went next door to the movie store to look at their pre-played DVDs.  They had a whole corner of the store with DVDs that didn’t have covers for $1.99!  I got some chick flicks, a few family-type movies, an action movie and three Sesame Street DVDs for the kids.  The irony of this is that L.H. was just talking about media and taking a break from it…we will someday, but apparently not quite yet. 😉

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Day 24: Psalm 37:16

 

For a reminder of what I’m doing this month, read this post.

Psalm 37:16

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.

There are many times when I think that money would be the answer to every little hiccup in my life, that it would erase my worries and make me perfectly happy. I could have exactly the house I wanted, could afford to go on vacations every year, pay someone to clean my house (and you have to know that would be my favourite part). But then I remember thinking in the past when we’ve had an increase in income that life would be perfect from there on (or at least a bit closer to perfect), and yet we always end up living more or less the same way. This verse is a great reminder that we should be happy with what we have, even if it is very little. It is perhaps easier to fill your life with God when you do not have much materially, whereas with an abundance of money, anything can be bought – time can be filled up with every earthly pleasure.

At the moment, my great desire is a larger house. We live with three small but growing children in a two bedroom, one bathroom home that is around 800 square feet total. I know that God has plans for us and it is best to wait for His timing in this area of my life, but at times, I wish we would somehow acquire enough money to move sooner rather than later. I have to remember that to be righteous, I must seek after what God wants in my life, and not what I want. And when I am looking to Him to satisfy our needs and desires, I find that I am happier with the little that we have. I would rather have righteousness and very little than many riches and a dark and sinful life.

 

This verse of the day comes from VOTD.

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