Welcome to my little spot of the internet!

Hi! I'm Lacey!

I am a full-time working mom from North Alabama. I love my family, my friends, and my God!

Follow by Email

Followers

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Let's Talk Budgets

I know for many of my once a month paycheck friends, today is the best day of the month=== Pay Day!  So I am writing this post mainly for them (and myself) as we start over this month thinking "I am going to do better with my money this time".

First of all ... it is sooo important to make a budget each month but even more important to stick to it!  Trust me, I have learned the hard way on this too many times.  I would often find myself thinking where in the world did all our money go?  Too many times, I made a budget but never stuck to it.  It's always good to have a plan but if you never follow your plan, what good does that plan do you?

So I compiled a few budgeting tools that have helped me out tremendously!  It is very important for me to pay off my debts and build a good savings.  These are just a few tools that I have found to really help me with my monthly budgets.  I have other worksheets for paying off my debt and savings but I will save those for another post.

I created this budget sheet that I love!
 
First I add up the total of all our paychecks for the month.  We get paid differently so it is easier for me to look at it as a total first and then split among paychecks later. 
 
In the purple home box, I list the things such as the mortgage, utilities, cable, and internet as well as my house cleaner and improvement projects.  In the orange transportation box, I list things such as car payments, insurance, and gas.  The yellow other box is for things such as daycare, preschool, and dance class tuition as well as extra savings.  In the pink debt box, list any debts you may have such as credit cards or any other item you may have financed.  In the blue special events box, I budget for any extra things coming up in the month such as showers and parties, trips, and other events that might cost a little extra. 
 
In the green box, I just list the amount for each of those things.  Giving and grocery are exactly that.  I always try to put giving on top because I believe it should be the most important part of our budget (more on that later).  Jarrod and I both get a set amount of spending money to do whatever we want to do with each month whether it be a new shirt, a hunting toy, or a girl's date!  Everything that we regularly spend money on each month such as eating out, doctor trips, medicines, and just all the stuff besides grocery we tend to buy on a regular basis go into this category.  I found a great blog that I has a great envelope system and explains this a little better.  I stole several budgeting ideas from her!
 
A few other tools I use each month that I love I found at the One Beautiful Home Blog are this bill pay worksheet and this $25 a week savings worksheet she created that I think is a wonderful idea.  You can find all of her budget tools here but these are my favorites!
 
I know this is a long post but I figured since this is the last day of the month, it would be a great time to get ready for a more financially fit March!


Friday, February 27, 2015

What I Read- Pastors' Wives

My friend loaned me Pastor Wives by  Lisa Takeuchi Cullen to read. 

She thought being a typical southern Baptist lady, that I would enjoy it.  And I did!  It was just a light and fun story that focuses on three pastors' wives at a megachurch in Georgia.  Each lady comes from very different backgrounds and struggle with their role they have been given when their husbands decided to join the ministry.  In the book, each lady faces real life trials and have to overcome the demands and stress they face. Candace, the head pastor's wife and former preacher's daughter, is a strong little woman with a lot of power and poise.  Her daughter-in-law, Ginger, is a young mother of two little ones with an interesting past.  The other lady, Ruthie, is a Catholic raised lady who has just been thrown into the role as a pastor's wife when her husband decides to join the ministry and she quickly becomes friends with both Ginger and Candace but has trouble finding her place while fighting the doubts she is facing with her own faith.  It was a pretty good story with some humor, suspense, and romance.  A good little read for the good ole southern church girl!     

You can check it out for yourself here!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Do you want to build a snowman?

Very rarely do we get this much snow in Alabama!  But when we do, the world pretty much shuts down so we all get to stay home and play!  The girls were so excited that the snow  was still here this morning when they woke up and couldn't wait to get out and play.  After about 20 minutes of wrestling on about 95 layers of clothes, we finally made it out to the 7.5 inches of snow!

Hadley jumped right in!
 
 But Hunter Claire wasn't so sure about it.  She kept saying "I'm tuck! I'm tuck!"
 
 But then she figured out she could eat it and all was good!
 
Dad helped us build a snowman.  He may have gotten a little carried away on the base!
 
 And we impressively propped the camera on the mailbox to get a family selfie!  Surprisingly, there was NO ONE around! 

Isabelle had to put on her ice skates and check it out... in her mini skirt of course!

And no snow day is complete without a snow angel!

Big Sis had to help HC walk through the snow so she didn't get "tuck" again! 
 
 
Dad rigged them up this awesome garbage can lid sled and dog leash since I am not wasting my money on a sled for one day a year!
 
 And we toppled over... oops! I promised they laughed though!

I just love our house in the snow!  As much as I hate the cold and wet, I really love how beautiful it makes everything!
 
Okay so now we have had our snow day fun for the year so please hurry up spring!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let It Go

We finally got a good snow in Alabama and so I just couldn't resist capturing my little Elsa out in the snow! 



Messed Up Chicken, Pancakes, and Markers

I had a little get together the other night and was going to make a dip but I totally messed it up so I hid it away in the fridge because I am too cheap to throw it out.  The dip was supposed to be a can of pinto beans, a can of drained niblet corn, and a half jar of salsa.  But I accidently bought creamed corn and forgot to drain it so after I poured it in the bowl with the salsa and beans it resembled something along the lines of baby poop.

But last night I needed something quick and easy to fix for dinner so I got this great idea to pour my disgusting looking dip on top of some thinly sliced chicken breasts and bake it all together in the oven.  I topped it with a little shredded cheese and OH MY WORD it was sooooo good!!!!  I baked it all in a baking dish on 425 for about 20 minutes and it was a huge success!  Definitely will fix this messed up chicken again soon! (Sorry forgot to take a picture... but it wasn't very pretty anyways).

And since today is another snow day at home, I got up and made some super good chocolate chip banana pancakes!  I love this pancake mix that you just mix with water and voila- healthier pancakes! I mixed in a couple of bananas and a few chocolate chips and topped with some fat free cool whip! Sooo good!!

And on another note... my children have decided to write on anything and everything... clothes, walls, toys, skin, furniture.  It is driving me nuts! I try to hide the markers and crayons in the house but they seem to find one lone little marker every single time I think I have them all stashed away.  However, I found a pin on Pinterest that said to mix baking soda with water and it would get it out.  I had to scrub a pretty good bit and it made my hands turn to sandpaper but I did somewhat cure Cailou's new makeover and erase Hadley's DIY wall monogram with it.
 
Today we are having a lazy play day inside waiting on the snow.  Hadley has had on her bathing suit all day long!  Hurry up summer!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Rattlesnake Saloon

A couple of weeks ago, we got to enjoy a date night with some friends.  I had read in an article about a place in Tuscumbia called the the Rattlesnake Saloon.  It's a little bar and grill with live music that is built into the side of a cave and was listed on one of the best places to visit in Alabama so of course we had to go! I mean check out these cool pictures of the place! And even better, another friend of ours was scheduled to play there so we went to check it out.  It was actually a very neat place.  Considering it was a cold weekend in February, it was a little chilly but they had little heaters set up outside so that helped.  We had a great time and will definitely be going back again when it warms up some.

The music was great, the food was good, and the people watching entertainment was pretty interesting to!   

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Skinny Chicken Fried Rice

I love Chinese food.  I could probably live off it everyday except for the fact that I would weigh 8000 pounds!  So I was excited when I found this recipe for weight watcher friendly fried rice.  But as usual, I didn't have all the right ingredients so I tweaked it a little.  I replaced the scallions and peas with some stir fry veggies that I bought a huge bag of at Costco, used whole grain brown riced that I cooked in my pressure cooker in about 15 minutes, and replaced the soy sauce with Braggs Liquid Aminos All Purpose Seasoning.
 

While my rice cooked in my pressure cooker, I cooked my egg whites and sautéed the chicken and veggies on the stove.  

Once they all got finished. I simply just mixed them all together with the soy sauce and let cook on the stove for a few minutes.  Quick and easy and super easy to clean up as well! 



Plus it was super pretty and colorful and that just seems to make it even better!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow Snow Snow

Last week was a super cold and yucky week for us.  Temps were in the teens and 20s just about all week.  I do not like the cold at all and am really not a big fan of playing in the snow either so it was pretty miserable for the most part.  However, we did get delayed a few days so got to sleep in a little longer. 

We went to our regular Friday Lunch on Friday and then the real snow (well the half inch or so) finally came Friday afternoon.  To me, it was a perfect excuse to waste an afternoon napping, drinking coffee in my sweats, reading my book.  Hadley finally convinced me to let her go out and play so we did for a whole 5 minutes so I could snap a few pictures before we got too cold and came back inside!  I am sooooo ready for spring!!!




Friday, February 20, 2015

Got My Goals Straighened Out

So I finally sat down and got all my to do lists and goals all figured out and organized.  I took several of the organizers I found when I googled and kinda combined and tweaked them to make it just what I needed and I came up with
 
 

I made one for the overall year and then one for each month to help break down all the things I want to do.  I also broke them out by home and family (which I should have titled personal but I didn't think of that until after I printed everything), financial, spiritual, social, and health and wellness.  I only put 3-4 places to jot down my goals in each category so I couldn't allow myself to make everything that I think would be a good project a goal and instead really focus on the major goals for me.  It makes everything a lot less overwhelming when focusing on things in smaller units than all on one huge to-do list.  I didn't include my daily to-dos on here because I like to keep a running list of those in my Moleskine I keep in my purse to jot down and scratch off on a daily basis. This is just for my big goals and projects. 
 
I was so super excited to sit down and fill out my goals for 2015 as well as for the rest of February.  A few of mine for the year are to read the New Testament chronologically, run a half marathon, read 50 books, and pay off a specific debt.  A few for the month are finish my book (which I accomplished today!), get everything together for a baby shower I am planning, and get caught up on my Sunday School notes. Nothing major - but enough motivation to write it down on paper and actually get it done without becoming overwhelmed and bogged down!
 
I didn't put a place on here but I also wrote dates or time frames for each goal as well.  I think that is one of the most important parts of setting goals.  I also believe your goals should be specific and realistic goals that you actually would like to accomplish -- meaning I didn't put on here as a goal to not eat cake or bench press 100 pounds because one, while it sounds like a good idea, I really don't care to do that, and two, its not realistic for me at all.  I feel so much better about my goals now and am looking forward to scratching each one off my list!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Comfort

What a comforting passage from Habakkuk chapter 3! My God is my strength no matter what may come my way!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Too Much on my To Do

I am the world's worst about putting things on my to do list and not ever doing them.  I think the main reason is because I put all my goals on one list with no prioritizing or timeline associated with each individual goal.  I want everything done today, right now, and all at the same time... therefore, I get extremely overwhelmed and give up on it all or just half way commit to any of them and things never really get marked off my list.  I really just waste a lot of time planning things that never happen.

So what do I do about it? Well I Google cute printable goal organizers of course!  And I found only about a billion goal lists, plans, and organizers and automatically become completely overwhelmed with how I am going to organize my life!  So I am currently still trying to find the perfect one but in the mean time I have started this...

Organize my goals by this week, this month, this year, and later on.
Put a completion date with each goal!
Categorize my goals (money, health, family, etc.)
Prioritize them by importance.

Once I get this done with my good ole paper and pencil, I will find a cute little printable notebook and put them together all cute to share with the world.... maybe.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentines Party!

I took off today to go to Hadley's Valentine's party at school and spend some time with her! 


She has the sweetest teacher and just loves all her friends! Her class is mostly girls so that is just perfect to her! I love getting to watch her interact with all of her little friends!
They enjoyed pizza and cupcakes and made sweet little bags for all of their valentines! 



After the party, we went to town and ran our errands, then came home and enjoyed a little Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse marathon on Netflix! Great day with my girl!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lemon Pepper Salmon

One of my favorite foods is salmon! I love it just about any way it can be fixed! Jarrod loves anything lemon pepper so lemon pepper salmon is a pretty regular at our house. I buy the Kirkland brand frozen salmon fillets at Costco. They are huge and one is usually more than enough to eat! I usually rub with a little butter or olive oil and sprinkle with lemon pepper, then bake on an aluminum foil covers baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees.  Quick, easy, and delicious! Pair it with a salad or some veggies!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

60 minutes of Prayer

We have been studying about what the Bible says about prayer lately in our Sunday School class. In that, our teacher has challenged us to strive for at least 60 minutes of prayer each day.. Six 10 minute prayers. He also said that even though 60 may not be achieved each day, even if we can just make time for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed, we will see a difference in our walks with Christ. I am really going to try and achieve this!

It's actually very sad when I think about all of the things I set aside time for throughout my day, yet I far too often let my time with God seem to slip off the radar. I waste time browsing the internet and watching tv as well as the hours I find myself lost in a good novel. I make time for my kids and for my husband and especially for myself, yet I so easily put off precious time with the one who loves me most.. My Heavenly Father! 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Getting Ready for Valentine's

My girls looooove Cuties tangerines so when I found a cute Valentine idea using cuties, I just couldn't help myself from trying it out.  So our Friday night fun consisted of making our Valentine's for our school and daycare friends! 



I made the little tag and printed them and cut them out while Hadley glued them together.  She was so proud of herself for making her cards for her friends and it actually saved me a little time to. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bloglovin

So I just discovered Bloglovin!  It makes it so much easier for my to find all of the blogs I love to read on a regular basis all in one spot!  This may just be my new favorite app on my phone!!

Follow Me on Bloglovin!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I really want to be a runner.

I am not a runner... Honestly, I have never really enjoyee it all that much but for some strange reason I really want to be a runner.  I want to be one of those people that loves to run and run for miles and miles just because.  So this year I am forcing myself to become a runner.  

In my softball days, I was always a fast runner but not a good runner.  I could outrun anyone on the team but long distances got me every time.  I hated when we would have to run long distances.  I would much rather do 1000 sprints to first base than a stinking campus run!  But now I really want to run a half marathon.  I want a 13.1 sticker on my car and the euphoria of knowing that I completed such a huge goal!  I have signed up for a half marathon training program that will take several months to complete but should have me ready for a half by late summer.  I am about 3 weeks in but I am struggling with it a bit because I am one of those people that looks for instant gratification and it is hard for me to be patient and take the plan slowly knowing that it will take me months to get there!  

But for now, I am trying to fall in love with running and hopefully soon I can really consider myself a true runner!     


Monday, February 2, 2015

What I Read - Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


My second book I read this year was yet another sad story of a peculiar Asian American family from Ohio.  The story starts out by letting you know that their prized daughter, Lydia, is dead.  The book then goes back and forth between the past and present to lead you through the lives of the family to solve the real mystery of Lydia's death as well as the strange lives of  the other family members - An American born Asian father who teaches at a local college and suffers from serious social problems, a stay at home mother who always dreamed of being a doctor, a son who doesn't really fit in but is extremely smart and mesmerized with outer space, and a quite young daughter who seems almost forgotten but sees and knows more than she lets on. 
 
The story was good and captivating but the book ended with me feeling sorry for most of the characters, yet relieved in some way as well that the family doesn't completely fall apart after losing their golden child.  However, nobody but the reader ever really gets to learn all of the secrets including what really happened to Lydia!
 
A good mystery story but once again, not a very happy read! I am definitely looking for a happier book for my next read!