Friday, May 31, 2013

My Summer with Thirty-One!!!

Becoming a Thirty-One Consultant was one of the best decisions I've ever made! I do Scentsy (to support my Scentsy habit), and can see how a direct selling opportunity can really benefit me and my family. While I love Scentsy and believe in the value of the product, for me it just isn't a huge financial help. Yes, I support my habit, and yes I sometimes have a little extra, but that is where it ends. Thirty-One is a completely different business plan though and I believe the opportunity is much bigger than Scentsy. I don't think I'm going to get rich quick, nor do I believe overnight I will see a difference in my bank account, but it has been financially beneficial. Financial benefits are not what really makes it one of the best decisions I've made though. It is a faith based company named for Proverbs 31 and the company motto is Celebrate, Encourage, and Reward. I love that we pray at Celebrate & Connect meetings and do devotionals. I love that I have met an awesome group of women I would have never otherwise come into contact with and had the opportunity to get to know them. I love that it allows me some me time, but also that I can have another way to share my faith. On a whole notha level, I love the products!!! I'm what I refer to as a "bagaholic"...yes, it's a very technical term. Some of you may be scratching your heads, others are nodding them :). I got tired of my bags from anywhere I bought them only lasting one season, or breaking after 6 weeks. At first I wasn't sure how I would use some of the Thirty-One products, but the more time I spent looking at the catalog, or actually getting my hands on the products the more uses I came up with for all of them. I love pretty things, but for me I need something that is durable and functional. Thirty-One bags, totes, and organizing solutions meet all of my needs! Whether I'm carrying around an inside out bag with all me and my kids things, the easy breezy tote headed to the pool, or my kids are pulling themselves around in a large utility tote making car noises I'm set! Thirty-One has brought so much into my life, and I'm loving it! If you want more information on the products, the business opportunity, or partying with Thirty-One just let me know!

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Christian" actually means....

Yesterday was an amazing day to be alive, but then again so is today. Each morning that I rise I thank God for blessing me with another day. I thank him for all of my blessings as I look at my children, my home, etc. I realize that I have far more than so many and I try, I mean REALLY try not to take the small things for granted. Yesterday while I was sitting in an amazing church service given by Pastor Steve Woody at FUMC Livingston (which I would love to invite each of you to attend if you don't have a church home or are looking for somewhere to feel at home), I had so many thoughts going through my mind. The title of the sermon was "Importance: of a Name". The passage to go along with yesterday's sermon was Mark 8:27-38. I am not going to post the whole thing here so you may want to look it up on your own. The whole sermon really made me think about how people think of "Christians". Being a Christian isn't a "Sunday" thing. Being a "Christian" isn't about being better than anyone. It doesn't mean that you have the right to judge, or determine what is in someone's heart. "Christian" translated means "little Christ". We were created in His image as humans. In the passage from yesterday in Mark 8:34 Jesus calls the crowd to "deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." This means we should turn away from the worldly and instead turn to cross. Taking up the cross and following Jesus should not be something anyone is ashamed of. I am not ashamed of the fact that Jesus Christ is MY Savior! I am not ashamed to say that I'm sold out for Christ! By denying ourselves Jesus calls us to leave ourselves behind and instead try to be more like him. In Mark 8:35 Jesus tells the crowd "for whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." While we live in a different world from 100 or 200 years ago, or even 2000 years ago for that matter there are still religious prejudices, and persecutions happening. Being a Christian isn't easy, or trivial. Pastor Woody shared a saying, it was that "anything worth having comes with a cost, you have to give things up for things to get better." There is a price to pay if we are to be called Christians. Whether the cost is by being looked at a certain way by people, or if you are called to actually give something up there is a cost. I'm not afraid of being called a Christian. Being called a Christian to me doesn't mean I am perfect. I am a human, which means I am imperfect and sin. God knows this and yet he loves me anyways. I try to be as much like Christ as I can though. I try to forgive, to not harbor ill feelings towards others. I ignore the gossip and make every effort to not participate by also having a tongue that licks out and causes hurt for others. I rebuke the devil for trying to win me over to his fight against Christ. I share my faith, and am never ashamed to tell people how Jesus is in my heart. I know that there are times when you are in the valley and you can't even imagine light at the end of the tunnel, but God can lift you out of that valley. It is a misconception to think that it will be instantaneous or that he will instantly fill your wallet with riches. It is important to remember that God has a plan for each of us. Whether we follow it or not He loves us. If you will turn to Him, pray and be faithful then He will show us the path He wants us to take. I will be the first to say that I am not perfect, but there is no better feeling than to experience God's love. So whether you are being called to "give up" that grudge or bad habit, or whether you are just denying the cross, know that He still loves you. It is a love that is unconditional and never wavering. We are all children of God, and I personally am proud to be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graduation Time Again

Well it is that time of year again. The time when all the kids are starting to get anxious because they know summer vacation is just around the corner. It is also the time that all those High School seniors are preparing for the end of their high school career. For some it is a relief, others it is bittersweet. For some it has been the "best 4 years of their lives". In retrospect there are so many memories that I still hold from high school that are very meaningful to me even now. I hope that all those seniors are making sure to capture those memories and hold them tight. I recently did some senior pictures for AJ, and created his graduation announcements and thought I would share.
Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.
Remember all of you 2012 graduates, this is a huge accomplishment, and I hope you made the most of the last 4 years of your lives. Enjoy what is yet to come and continue to make the most of it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kroger Savings - Unadvertised & Advertised Great Deals!

I planned a shopping trip to Kroger today to stock up on a few things and get groceries for the next 2 weeks for my household. I'm definitely a couponer, but not an "extreme" couponer like you see on TLC. Of course, every now and then I make "extreme" trips. Today was a general trip and I hoped to save 30%+ on the entire trip. I had Connor in tow and really just wanted to get everything in 1 stop. There were some really great deals I was planning on picking up, but when I got to the store some unadvertised deals that rocked! I wanted to share a few of those.

-Hormel Canned Chili $.99 ea with card
There is a tear off coupon at the store for $1.00/2
Final Price: $.49 ea

-Kingsford Charcoal $4.49 ea with card
If you managed to snag the coupon for $5.00/1 the other day this item is FREE

-Doritos are on sale for $2.50 a bag. On the display there are tear off coupons for $1.00/2
Final Price: $4.00 wyb 2

-Check out the clearance this week!
Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal Packs in various flavors $1.29
Swiss Miss Boxed (I think 6-8 ct) cocoa mix pouches with marshmallows $.79
Kroger Individually packaged 8ct rice crispie treats $1.09

-Horizon 3pk Individual Organic Drinks $2.79 with card
There was a printable $.55/1 3pk earlier this week from, but my chocolate 3pk rang up for only $1.05!!! Then I had the additional couponing making this as low as $.50 for a 3pk!

-If you haven't checked out the 4 day sale then go to or on ads on your Kroger app and look at the specially marked items. Kroger shredded cheese is just $1.25 each with card!

-Huggies Slip-On Diapers $9.49 with card
There is a $3/1 ecoupon available
There was a $3/1 coupon available on a WalMart advertisement a couple of weeks ago but these are MANUFACTURER coupons and can be used anywhere!
Final Price: $6.49 ea

-Oscar Mayer Variety Lunch Meat 10oz $2.00
Printable coupon available for $1/2 (this coupon has a picture of carving board but clearly reads on 2 carving board or other cold cuts)
Final Price: $3.00 wyb 2

-Up 2 U Gum in the checkout aisles $1.00 each
$1.00/1 coupon in previous insert
Final Price: FREE

-Softsoap Hand Soap $.88 ea
Manufacturer Coupon for $.40/1
Final Price: $.44 each

-Charmin Basic 16 ct Mega/Double Rolls $7.97
Previous packages of this same toilet paper had $1.00/1 coupon &
Buy Charmin dry bath tissue get Charmin Freshmates FREE
Some of these packages STILL have coupon booklets worth $22 in coupons available, just dig to the bottom/back and it will be clearly marked on the package.
Final Price: Free Freshmates + TP for $6.97 (w/possible $22 in coupons)

There are lots of really great deals this week, check out the ones for Post cereal which have coupons available. Hunts Tomatoes on sale too with coupons available from Hope you can get some good deals!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Life sure does smell good!!!

So it is summer in East Texas again. While there is no ecaping the heat and humidity, it never fails that I forget just how miserable it is. So school is out now, and I am trying to fit as much stuff into Levi's schedule as I can without personally losing my sanity. He has VBS, and then he goes to summer camp for a week. He is a bit anxious about going away for a week to summer camp. None of his little friends are going and I am sooo excited that he is going to have the opportunity to spread his wings a little. He finished the year with Teacher's Honor Roll for the ENTIRE year (all A's and B's). On a slightly different note he was diagnosed with a type of dyslexia and has to use overlays to read now. Makes me pretty bad that, even though mild, a disability, academically he did so well. We have the overlays now though so hopefully that will help him with his reading. Maybe I'm a mean momma but he will be reading 30 minutes a day each weekday every weekday! I have 3 books for him to read already. Connor is just Connor. Same as ever. Cody is working a new job and though it is hard work he seems to really be enjoying it. Rather than counting the days to retirement (like at the prison), he is actually talking about where he can be with the company in 3, 5, 7, etc years. I figure that is a good sign. Overall I feel pretty blessed!!! I also signed up as an independent consultant with Scentsy and I'm pretty excited about that!!! I had my launch party today, and though small, it was a great success! Any support in this area would be greatly appreciated as well! If you go to my website you can order on the same party order as the launch party today which will give you free shipping, but you will have to pay your own sales tax. The link is If you get with me personally and place your order I will cover the sales tax as well!!! I also really want to get some parties on my calendar, so if you are interested PLEASE let me know. It isn't hard to earn hostess rewards, and I will help you make your party as successful as possible. I'm really looking forward to getting this off the ground. I love the product and for some reason am really excited about it. Right now my house smells like coconut yeah, it smells pretty good in my life right now!!!If you want any more details about the special offers that I have for this party order (by Friday, 06-17-11, at 8:00pm), or about hosting a party just email me! Hope everyone else is having a great summer so far!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The times they are a changin'....

Well, the past couple of weeks have brought much change in our household and family. Which in turn means huge changes in our schedule (i.e. my schedule). Baseball started, Cody got a new job, I started babysitting a little girl, I am about to finish my first year back to college, and some other miscellaneous things. We have been looking for and praying about Cody getting a new job for the past 6-8 months. I attribute part of the slowness to the slow economy. We were just starting to get accustomed to our budget and make it work. A couple of months ago though I had prayed and did an entire devotional on my own where I just gave it all up to Him where the $$$ stresses were concerned. I prayed and vowed that I would be able to make our dollars stretch as far as they could, that He would show me where to cut, and where to spend, and that He would help show me how to make it all work. Also, as part of my New Year's resolution I had promised myself that I would try to be a better wife. Not that I was a bad one, but there is always room for improvement. I vowed to try to make sure to tell my husband he was appreciated and thank him for providing for the family. I vowed to try to be the wife that God intended me to be. That I would allow Him to work through me. I personally think I have been doing better. I try to be who He created me to be, someone worth dying for. Then almost 3 weeks ago a prayer was answered. Cody received a job offer. It wasn't ideal timing as it was short notice, but it was placed in his lap, answered our prayers, and made me realize that if I follow Him and try to be who He wants me to be it is easier for Him to provide. Everything is working out with the job and we are getting used to the changes. I also received a phone call to start babysitting a little girl. I now am able to help provide for my family a little. With a crazy baseball practice and game schedule, school, a family, house, and many other obligations on my plate I feel at times as if I am a clown juggling at the circus. It will all work out though. I have to just remember to breathe and give all of it up to Him. I am continuing to try to save my family money and hope that we can make a huge dent in all of our financial obligations and debt by the end of the year. I am also faced with other frustrations daily. Today I am trying to get everything I want done, remind the children to play nicely (over and over again while keeping my sanity), juggle all of my other responsibilities, and face the fact that many grown adults need to grow up. If only some people would behave in a way that God intended instead of with their own agendas. As I tell Levi on a daily basis there is nothing to be done but pray for them. So at the end of the day I am going to be praying for my family, friends, town, and nation. Won't you join me by taking up the cross and giving it up to Him? Remember who you have to thank for each of your blessings. Find a way to serve as the hands and feet of Christ.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saving $$$$ 101...

Almost a year ago now our household went from a two to a one income household. At first I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to afford financially for me to stay at home. I applied for jobs, went on interviews, and looked for work. I soon realized that any job currently available to me wouldn't even support me working. By the time we paid private insurance at a higher rate than we currently were for the boys, childcare, additional gas expenses, etc the jobs available wouldn't cover those expenses. At that time we realized we needed to get serious with our finances and find a way to make things work. I went back to school full time taking all online classes. I became a stay at home mom, full time domestic engineer for the first time in my life. Over the past year I have realized that while it is my husband's responsibility to be the bread winner and make the money, it should be my responsibility to try to stretch each dollar as far as it will possibly go. I have evaluated expenses, had many long talks with the husband about areas we can cut back and cut out our spending, and set up a budget. It is still by no means easy, and most days I feel like I'm juggling, but it is completely doable! If you are in a position where financially the outlook is not good, there are a few tips I would suggest.

#1: Set up a worksheet in excel(or equivalent) listing each monthly expense. A monthly budget should truly encompass all expenses. Not only do you need to list your mortgage and car payments, but gas and groceries. Also, if entertainment is a part of your budget you need to allot for that as well.

#2: Be HONEST!!! If you spend $30 a month at Starbucks, you need to list it. If you can't be real about where you are spending your never going to save money.

#3: Go over your budget with your significant other. It is important to be open about spending. Money is the #1 thing that couples fight about. If you are open and honest and feel as if you are both making decisions and equal partners in the finances then it will help to cut down on tension when it comes to money. I am not saying it will solve all of your problems, but secret bank accounts and spending are not the answer to your problems either. HONESTY.

#4: Talk sincerely with your significant other about the true importance of each expense. Prioritize! You and your signifant other each number them (1=most important, 2=2nd most, etc) separately. This will let each other see what each thinks is important.

#5: GROW UP. Sometimes it is hard to give up those frivolous expenses. Realize that you don't NEED to spend $50 on eating out and a movie if you haven't paid the water for the month.

#6: This is the point where you can start cutting expenses. If you are just trying to save money, or make it from paycheck to paycheck this may be necessary. One tip is to look at your cell phone plan. You can look at your history to see how many minutes you are using monthly. If history shows you are under your allowable minutes by a large amount you may be able to save money by going to the next plan down. We did and save $20-$30 a month. Look at your cable you really need the $100 a month plan? (I cut our grocery budget hugely and we eat better now...but that's for another blog).

#7: Be vigilant. Try cutting some expenses. Hold yourself accountable, and re-evaluate after a couple of months. Make sure to plug in your numbers each month on your database. If you know you are going to have an added expense one month it may be important to look at your budget ahead of time so as not to get into a bind.

The important thing with all of this is to be honest with your significant other. Make sure to stick to it. Work with what fits you and your family/household.