Friday, April 28, 2017

You do what? As a SAHM!

What? you have more to your life than being a SAHM?

Yes I do and I think I am very talented in my Niche. Wait! What?

what seems to be the story of my life!

You went to school to become a ______ (fill in the blank with your experience) and you Stay at home?


You response: I ask that question every day of my life and I still haven’t found the right answer.  Right? You have had those conversations too right?  

So what the world sometimes see’s is a “waste” of talent, or a waste of time to nurture kids SAHMS see it as an opportunity to make the world a better place because we know that to raise good people it takes a mother with some sort of talent to cultivate a growing community.
My background is in photography and art. I left a Paper Crafting career when I had my first child.

Because I have a love affair with paper and L-O-V-E cutting things out, I became a couponer, among other reasons (like having only $300 left in our budget for food at the time we had our first child.) That is my contribution to the cause that is our family.

Let’s think about our contribution in another way:
We are the emotional support system of the family: so add in some sort of therapist cost:
my cost is $200 a month add in the extra stuff you do: a maid, early childhood education specialist, add another $200, plus I am a built-in chef, (in my mind things are not that expensive.) so another $200 per month, you get the idea, it's super expensive to have a Stay at Home Mom if you were to "pay" her right?

Ok you get the idea, once you can embrace your god given talents you are able to justify your contribution to the Family. Wait you don’t like to cook? Then replace that with, secretary for your husband, or a content marketer for your daughter’s little free library you just got, oh wait that’s me, You get the idea! It takes a lot of work to run a family and we are worth our weight in gold when it comes down to it.

The more common ways to contribute to the finances without working:

Do more of what you love to help save money:
Becoming more self-sufficient, like gardening, or canning. For example, I absolutely can not garden but I love to can tomatoes, apples, and peaches. So I ask all my gardening friends that have too many tomatoes If I can take some produce off of their hands. When you add the cost of what organic apple sauce or pizza sauce, and all you had was time invested it’s worth it if you like doing it.

Try new things, something will make you have an AHH HAA moment! Other ideas may include, gardening, organizing, crafting, researching ways to save money, learning about ingredients and products to get the best quality without spending a lot of money. (I think of trendy sauces that are marketed differently and toys.)

Have a price point for things you regularly purchase, I have a price point for shoes, clothing, groceries, So I know when something is a good deal or if it’s not. The best way to do this follows the sales cycle, and mentally keep notes, or keep a price point list on an excel sheet like I use to do. This helps you understand when stuff is a good deal and when you should buy it or not.

The one thing that is on our side is Time, we may not always get big chunks of time, but we can wonder around the grocery store and look at prices and see what's being "pushed" to sell, I can't tell you how often I get meat on sale for over 70% off because I was there at the right time and stocked up and froze it!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Teaching Food and STEM together

What? you don't let your kids play with food? I love letting my kids play with their food if it's a learning opportunity, I think you will agree, MY KIDS LOVE THIS activity!  It's a two materials activity that you most likely have on hand!

Are your kids like mine and cheese balls are the first and only thing they want to eat right now? I thought so! I came up with a way to "teach" my kids while they eat their cheese balls. All you need is toothpicks, cheese balls and, some engineering skills and you got yourself a fun playful snack, We had fun building a little house, but I like using this as a way to teach math and shapes, and curiosity: how long is the table with cheese balls and toothpicks? You get the idea, the sky's the limit with cheeseballs and toothpicks! We also like to make shapes and talk about the shape.

I get my toothpicks and cheese balls at our local Hy-Vee. ( I have a love obsession with finding stuff at the grocery store that makes for fun toys for my kids.

Enjoy creating and playing with your food!

Friday, April 21, 2017

How 2 B A SAHM: Crunch those numbers!

Once you know that this SAHM thing could be for you how do you logistically make this work?

If you knew that you wanted to be a SAHM before you started a family you would save money… kids are expensive, the more money you can save the better your life will be. Since no family I know had $20,000 in a bank account when they became a SAHM I will guess that you are trying to crunch the numbers and see how it works for so many mothers to stay at home with one income.

The one thing that SAHMS have in common is they budget really well, I think SAHMS can be a great example to the finance industry, and we are.

So what my husband and I do is we look at our cost of living, (mortgage, utilities, insurance,) all the not fun stuff that we have to live on. Then we calculate what a good number for clothing and cell phone and my craft/art supplies are, that expense is also included in our total budget number. Then we see how much extra money we have left over and we live within our means with one income. It’s as simple and complicated as that.

It’s simple because numbers never lie, it’s so hard because: Ouch you mean we only have $300 left over for everything else that might happen this month? I hope and pray our vehicles and health are good. (Thank god that for the most part, we don't’ have added expenses.) That extra $300 that we didn't spend goes into a savings account.

The reality is that for SAHMS, we like to stretch our dollar as far as possible. We love going out to eat as long as the food is worth the money, which most times I don’t think it is. We use our god given common sense to manage our household, we research the crap out of things, and then we lay awake sometimes at night wondering what we would do with an extra $500. That’s the reality, but I love it and I wouldn't want it any other way. (btw, we just got back from Disney World because we finally managed to save enough, so there is fun to be had, it’s all on perspective.)

If you are accustomed to having two incomes and need to condense it to one income you may have to cut back some expenditures. It’s a sacrifice, that as a couple you have to decide. For us, we sacrificed cable, my beloved Sirius XM for a couple years, and a bigger house and a nicer/better/bigger vehicle. My thoughts on the house is this: the more room you have the more you have to clean and the more stuff you have to deal with… it’ just goes with the territory I can only clean so much... so a smaller house is better for our family.

My point: is that becoming a SAHM is a sacrifice, but all the silver and gold in the world can’t replace the nurturing power that a mom has on her child, if there is a will there is a way. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has come home and said he got a small raise in the middle of the year. The universe is on your side when it comes to finances. I will say that your husband will be able to do his job better when he doesn’t have to worry about his kids because they are in your capable hands, (that’s where raises can come into play.)

I don’t know all the tips to budgeting money, this is what has worked well for us, I have another post that will be added soon about how to contribute to the family as a SAHM and the flip side to having a SAHM in my next blog post.

I would love to hear about how you were able to become a SAHM and how you work with your finances to live the life you love! Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

watercolor spring Edition

Watercolor can be very therapeutic for me and my art. I am enjoying the medium. The best thing about watercolor is that there isn't any rules as long as you are enjoying the outcome.
 An Abstract painting of some flowers can really make you smile when it's all done! This was inspired by Yao Cheng's class on CreativeBug Get 1 Month of Creativebug For Just $1

This painting was traced by a digital stamp I found, I printed the outline drawing and traced it! I love how it turned out!

I am loving tulips! can't you just see this in a frame in your bedroom? I love how the water makes the flowers look alive!

Get 1 Month of Creativebug For Just $1

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring flowers to make you smile

Still working on some cards that make the maker (me) and the card giver and receiver smile! (you and someone you love)

I loved how stamping and masking really add to the depth of watercolor cards! it's so fun to play with on stamp and make a bunch of watercolor cards with one stamp with different stamping techniques. 
masking and watercolor
water resistance and watercolor

Watercolor fussy cutting 3d technique.

If you would like to see the other posts on how I made these soft beautiful watercolor cards visit this post.

Happy Spring!

If you like any of these cards feel free to contact me and I can get you set up

Friday, April 14, 2017

Stay at home mom needed!

Wanted: a Mother as she is, that is willing to learn and grow and make lots of mistakes as she grows and nurtures a family.  She will need humor for those hard days when she has to clean up vomit from a sick child at 3 am, Teaching abilities is a must, after all; we are trying to raise a family with well educated and well-rounded children. Her attention to her family’s details must be spot on, and her willingness to serve her children on a daily basis is an utmost importance to the family and the well-being of her children. Love and respect is a trait that must be apparent in the house most of the time, even in the hardest part of the day (supper time.)

Paid with lots of hugs, kisses, I love you’s and giggles.

This might not sound much like a trade off, but what I will say is: that realistically if you love the idea of being your own boss, and a good manager of people this job is for you. If you don’t feel like a good manager of little kids, be open minded and read a lot. I had no idea what toddlers were like until I read the Happiest Toddler on the block, and this book has helped me so much with all three of my children. Reading, and learning from the best is key. If you don’t like to read find a friend that you look up to and listen to her and watch what she does, or subscribe to a podcast that sits well with you.

The pay off’s of a SAHM isn’t an instant gratification thing, it’ takes a lot of time… Most of the time our payoffs are in the everyday moments like someone says something like, your kids are always so good, or it looks like you have lots of fun at your house, (we do, we also make a lot of messes too.) You get the idea.

For me the Payoff is totally when I tuck them into their beds at night and think, OMG finally we made it through another day. I can rest, and do some art. The real payoff I think is that this is the only job in the world that we are natural at.  I am not a compassionate person by nature, but I make up for that in creative ways. We all bring something to the table for our family’s growth, even if you don’t see it yet, You will.

The trade off is that we are providing our children with love and respect at a very young age. Our society has so much anger in the world. Here is a way to combat that anger to change the world with one small kiss or hug at a time. Your children will have that nurturing quality with them because you are nurturing them. They are your focus, not a job. (even if you work from home you are “home” for them.)  

Staying at home with your children and running a house is a hard thing.  It may seem like you are barely keeping it together, and that’s ok, it’s a learning curve most of us are barely keeping it together, those that say that they have everything figured out are the ones that have no idea what it’s really all about. I was totally there about 4 years ago, and then God gave me a curve ball that I didn’t see coming. My mother’s death made me realize that I needed to knock my motherhood and SAHM thing out of the park… but first I had to be injured with a broken heart to realized that.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DIY Flower Crown

Every little girl I know dreams of having a flower crown at some point in her life, why buy one when you can make it? I thought I would make my daughter one for the father daughter dance that they attended. I hope that she will also wear this during the summer when we like to play dress up.

I found the instructions on Creativebug with Lia Griffith's class Paper Wedding Crafts. I loved her down to earth tips as she assembled the paper flowers, and I also enjoyed that with her paper flowers you can really use them any way you want, not just for a flower crown.

I love crafts that don't use a lot of materials, this one did that well I thought. I only needed to go to Hobby Lobby and get the brown twine floral wire. This project was fairly inexpensive which helps if you need to make more than just one.

As alway I cut my flowers, then assembled them and then glued them onto the wreath (the floral wire) and then attached the ribbon, there wasn't really anything too hard or special about this project but it was very entertaining to watch Lia Griffith create the flower crown because she had such wonderful tips along the way!

I hope you can find the time to make a flower crown. The project is what I call a no risk craft since you are using materials that don't cost too much just your time the risk of making a mistake and needing more material is low.

Happy Creating!

Monday, April 10, 2017

E-A-S-Y Washi tape thank you note cards

Michaels has a pack of 8 silver foiled thank you cards for $2.50 I love the texture to these not cards, they are already cut and folded for you, and the pack comes with envelopes!

Michaels also has washi tape that coordinates 6-10washi tape rolls in a tube for $10.99 I bought 3 tubes and felt giddy!

The thank you note card set went to a dear friend that is having a baby. I plan on making a set of these for family and friends. You never seem to have enough Thankyou cards right?

The short and sweet of these cards: cut the tape close to the end of the card, make sure your colors and patterns coordinate, and mix big patterns with small patterns and you got a really nice set of cards! No glue or extra tools to use!

Friday, April 7, 2017

How to become a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)

I am so excited to share my experiences with you on how I became a Stay at home mom! I hope this series will inspire and uplift or enrich your life, and your family's life! My hope is that you can find the real potential and the real experience that I have had on staying at home to raise my kids. It's a very persona decision and it's not for everyone but if you try it you may want to continue to stay at home with your children and raise your family!

The how:

Maybe you are finally pregnant and are ecstatic to be a  SAHM like I was over 8 years ago. Maybe you just want to stay with your small baby and can’t go back to work because you can’t leave your baby with anyone else OR maybe it’s because you lost your job and you are now wondering how it all works. You came to the right spot.

In my own experience I “put” my husband through school, meaning I supported him financially (I paid for rent, food utilities, and  transportation while he was in school.) For  the rest of the cost of education, we are still paying that off (we are finally on the downhill side of that huge payment.) When I got pregnant, on his last year of his rotations, and became a stay at home mother. I was at that point I was loving the life of being a stay at home mother for two weeks, I was really pregnant and thought OH this is the LIFE. Then my daughter came and I was blindsided for about a year, I realized in like two weeks that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and how to do it… all the other mothers made it look insanely easy to just stay at home and be with their baby! It wasn't like that for me at all. I had meltdowns (the ones that my soon to be toddler will have when their world isn’t right.) Yeah, that was me for 5 years!  

My meltdowns might seem a bit dramatic, they were very much an internal struggle, and I finally realized that it was because I wasn’t spending enough time on myself. It was then That I had to realize and understand that this motherhood thing wasn’t at all what I thought, and maybe this SAHM thing isn’t about me, but about the family as a whole.

The experience of staying at home, nursing my daughter was a huge wake up call, I felt like a piece of meat for this ravenous baby that all she wanted me for was the food, until she looked at me and smiled, and I thought Ahhh ok, life is going to be all right as long as she can smile. That's when I realized that this may be worth it. It is!

My hope is that this blog post series will become a way to uplift and inspire you to become a SAHM. It’s the most beautiful and rewarding job there is, it’s a tough job that not everyone can do, and those that do it well, have a learned one thing: it’s not about them, it’s about the family as a whole.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Purify EO blend

I have a new motivation to clean my house so I can make my house smell AMAZING!  This scent helps me feel peace and security while motivating me to keep my house clean, You have to try this one!

My new favorite room freshener and surface cleaner spray:

Purify: (adapted from Do Terra's Purify.)

in a 2 oz glass spray bottle add:

1.5 oz water
splash of witch hazel
10 drops of grapefruit and lemongrass
5 drops of Cedarwood, lemon Eucalyptus, and cinnamon leaf 

Spray when needed, I have one for the bathrooms upstairs and one bottle for my kitchen! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Perfect Pretty Princess Puffs!

Let's get baking: Snow days are the P-E-F-E-C-T excuse to be in the kitchen with your kids right? these Meringues are a fun way to introduce meringue techniques to your budding baker!

Pretty Princess Puffs Adapted by the Pink Princess cookbook by Barbara Beery

3 Egg Whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (don't forget this)
1/2 tsp vanilla
and sprinkles to top your "puff"


Preheat oven to 250

I taught my daughter to separate the egg whites, I did two, she did one. (we wasted one egg.)

Whip egg whites in your stand mixer on high until small peaks form (about5-7 minutes,)
Then turn your mixer onto a slow mode, add sugar slowly a tablespoon at a time, add cream of tartar, & vanilla.

Spoon about 2 Tablespoons for each cookie onto a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper or foil about 1/2 an inch apart from each other. Then add your sprinkles

Place cookie sheets on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let them stay in the oven for another 10 min.

Remove the cookies from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container

My savings tip: This is a great recipe to use up some of your eggs that might expire soon, with eggs at a good price point, the cost of this recipe for all the ingredients is less than $1 to make! You could make a bunch of cookies for a tiny amount of money. Or once you know that the cost to make these is minimal, you may think twice not spending $5-$10 for a small package of these meringues at the store! I overstock on my eggs all the time, it's hard to beat the price point of eggs with the nutritional value that eggs have.

If you are looking for a perfect Princess cookbook for your budding baker Gibbs Smith, Publisher has a great line of cookbooks, Pink Princess Cookbook or Fairy Princess Cookbook both are a go-to cookbook for her and me!

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