Merry Early Christmas to ME!

January will mark four years since the day my husband proposed……without a ring. I am surprised by the overwhelming amount of people who are blown away by this statement. Yes. He proposed. Without a ring. And I said YES! Call me crazy, right?!

The explanation was simple. We were poor. Living in a one bedroom duplex the size of my mom’s living room and working at a bar, we could hardly buy the things we need. Much less any “extras”.

It just didn’t matter to me. I knew I loved Clay & that I wanted to spend the rest if my life with him. A ring didn’t make that, or my marriage vows any more true. A ring didn’t determine the amount of worth I was to my husband. And a RING wasn’t worth starting off our lives together living underneath debt, or developing spending habits that could destroy us later.

We went out, with the tips from the previous nights shift, to buy a ring. And so we did. From Walmart with the price totaling $498, for the set. And I have worn that ring with just as much pride & attachment as anyone else’s 10k piece of jewelry.

A wedding ring is just a symbol of a MARRIAGE. If you marriage is falling apart, than that ring basically becomes worthless. And besides who really cares about the clarity and the color of a freaking diamond. You aren’t going to be able to tell unless you pull out your special travel-sized diamond tools. If more people strived to have a valuable and irreplaceable marriage, and put less emphasis on the “ring” & other materialistic things, I’m convinced the divorce rate would take a slight drop.

I knew that my relationship with my husband was priceless and irreplaceable, so why should I be worried about a ring?

Is it because I just don’t want nice things or because I felt I didn’t deserve them? NO. I just knew what the smart and reasonable thing for us to do at that stage of lives was. We both did. And we didn’t want to wait until we were able to afford a nice ring, to start our lives together.

It’s just so sad how things operate in today’s world. Two people love each other, and they know that they want to be married. The girl is going crazy, wondering if he will ever pop the question. At the same time, the guy is freaking out because he’s under pressure to be able to purchase the $15k ring he knows his girlfriend covets. Although he wants to propose, he can’t afford that ring. So he waits. And the girl continues to pressure him about marriage and rings. HOW SCREWED UP IS THAT??!!!!

I am so glad, that I never made my husband think I needed anything, other than his commitment, to make me love him. I am so glad he didn’t wait to ask. He promised me that one day, when he could, he would get me the ring he always thought I deserved.

Today was that day. Nearly four years later my husband gave me a ring that I couldn’t have even dreamed about before. The ring I would have never let him give to me 4 years ago.

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These rings will never completely replace my first set. Instead, they will not only be worn as a symbol of commitment to my husband & my children, but also as a reminder of where we came from. Together, we have come so far & grown so much. It will be a way for the rest of the world to see how much my husband loves me, or at least see our love measured in society’s standards. Because we waited until it was feasible, we can feel nothing but joy having purchased these rings.

More than anything they are a reminder of just how lucky I am to have snagged such an amazing man. A man who’s happiness is obtained by mine. A man who would sacrifice anything in the world for me. Just because we couldn’t afford a nice ring back then, didn’t mean he didn’t want me to have the nicest things in the world. It didn’t mean he though I didn’t deserve them.

So, as astonishingly beautiful & and breathtaking as it is, as shocked as I was to receive it, and as proud as I am to display it on my finger; it could never take the place of my most valued possession……… My husband. The only thing I’ll ever need. The man who really is responsible for my happiness.

****in no way is this to be taken as me not liking or wanting the ring…… Because it’s absolutely amazing & and I’m still kinda freaking out about it!!!! Lol :)*****

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Mommy Headquarters……

Our old house came with a built in desk. It was mostly a home for neglected items. Yet, it was still a desk. And it was always a disaster. So when we moved I found myself desk-less & in need of a lifestyle change when it came to managing my home.

With my husband being gone six months out of the year, all responsibility has fallen on me. In the beginning, I really struggled to feel as if I had things under control. Kids. Bills. Dinner. Laundry. Church. Tires. It came to a point where it was sink or swim……things were gonna fall apart if I didn’t CHANGE something.Change was my only option.

I have committed myself 100% to making over that part of my lifestyle; to improving the skills that make me a good wife & mother; to getting a strong grip on my responsibilities & everyday tasks instead of running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

So I started my journey to improvement & with rapid speed my life has changed!

Which brings me to the subject of “Mommy Headquarters”! This is the first in a series of blogs to be written about projects throughout my
“transformation” into the mother & wife of a happy & organized home. Enjoy!

My wonderful mother in law gave me this really cool antique secretary’s desk, that she was no longer able to use. I thought it was a really cool piece of furniture, and knew that there was a better way that I could be using it. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, out of nowhere one day a lightbulb went off! And BOOM! I embarked on my project to turn this old desk into Mommy HQ.

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You may be wondering what the hell a Mommy HQ is. In our house, it is basically the motherboard of all things important. Bills, budgets, coupons, mail, important number, recipes, meal plans, calendars, chargers, keys, & the diaper bag will all be found in my Mommy HQ. Some people may call an area like this a “drop zone”, but something about Headquarters just makes it sound important. Lol.

Here’s what I used to get started

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And here is my finished project:

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The aloe vera plant has been looking for a new home since we moved, and the lamp is great because of it storage & extra electrical outlet it provides. I use the outlet for my printer when I'm working.

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This silver bowl is a gift from our wedding. It is perfect right at the door for tossing in keys & change.

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I was really digging the hot pink! When I got married I silently agreed to give up pink. No man wants to live in a house full of pink. But since this is Mommy HQ, & I AM the mommy……. This hot pink charging station caught my eye at target. It works perfectly for storing chargers for my phone, nook, and laptop. The small lower drawer is where I keep a quick list of emergency numbers.
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Both the right & left sides hold all sorts of important things! My Home Management Binders, Banking Binder, recipes, & you basic desk “tools”.

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The built in mail slots are amazing. I made labels for them to assist in organization. The fact the whole thing closes up and isn’t an eye sore makes it even sweeter!

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And so there it is! Talk about a major improvement! WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR METHODS OF KEEPING YOUR FAMILY ORGANIZED????

Be sure to check in soon for more posts about being organized and keeping a happy home!

November….. A Month of Thanks…..Bargain Hunter

I absolutely LOVE a good bargain. My motto basically sounds something like this: If it’s not on sale, and I mean 50% or more, I don’t buy it. Obviously, certain things like food and baby products don’t fall into this category. Although I do try to use coupons and club store’s weekly sales as much as possible. When it comes to clothes, shoes, or any sort of household item; I stand firm in my beliefs. And just so you know, I am still wearing designer clothes and shoes, and my home DOES NOT look like a collection of everyone’s discarded hand me downs.

Some of you may be asking, “How can that be possible?”. My answer is simple. Thrift Shops, Salvage Stores, and Clearance Racks. I try my best to stay away from anything hanging in a regular priced section of a store.

It must be a gene I inherited at birth. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t searching for the best “bang for my buck”. And that is what I am thankful for today; my ability & desire to get the best deal no matter what.

Let me go into detail a little more by starting with thrift shops. Everyday, in every city in America, people are getting rid of stuff. And a large percentage of those things are in perfectly usable condition. Those items typically wind up in a thrift store somewhere.

I walked into a thrift store not long ago. My daughter was about 4 months old, I had lost a good bit of weight, and I was looking for some nursing friendly clothes to wear until I got back to my pre-pregnancy size. I walked over to the dress rack, and walked out with two maxi dresses, totaling less than $7. When I got home I noticed that one of the dresses still had the original store tags attached. After some inspection, I realized I had paid $3 for a brand new, 100% pure silk Nicole Miller maxi dress with a retail value of $475. $475 for someone else = $3 for me This wasn’t just a one time luck kind of thing. I find very expensive, name brand items, just about every time I go.

Joovy Scooter x2, double stroller: $275
My price: $60 at a second hand kids store

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Tag of the Nicole Miller dress I paid $3.00 for

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Next, are salvage stores. There should be more of these. I didn’t even know what a salvage store was until after my husband brought me to his home town of Picayune, MS for the first time. It was called Hudson’s Treasure Hunt. One trip and I was addicted. We recently moved there and it has been awesome. I redecorated almost our whole house with “treasures” from Hudson’s, now known as Dirt Cheap.

•••salvages stores basically buy goods in bulk from other stores that have gone out of business, have been damaged in someway (ex. fire, flood), or overstocked in stores. They in turn stock their shelves and sell these items for fractions of retail value. While some of the things you find there are simply unusable, most of them are in brand new, non-damaged condition.•••••

Since our move, at least 95% of all clothing purchased came from there. I happened to have an entire maternity wardrobe, not one item cost me over $5. Not to mention all the other things I’ve found. When I make my weekly shopping list, I always stop by Dirt Cheap first. I never walk out without being able to cross out two or three items on my list.

Here are some of my most boastful steals, and their retail value compared to what I actually paid.

Charlie Banana Cloth Baby Diapers, a 6 pack of one size = $115, and a 6 pack of xsmall = $95. I paid $12 total.

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An entire sock monkey themed bedroom for my son was purchased there. I got everything for $30. The comforter came from Kohl’s and it alone had a price tag of $198

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And last but not least, clearance racks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something on a full priced rack and lusted after it. After swatting my own hand and telling myself no, I usually wind up finding that exact item 2 or 3 months later ON CLEARANCE. It pays to wait. How many times would you have worn that item in a couple if months? Once? Twice maybe? You can’t beat saving 50-75% just by not wearing something one time.

When we moved we decided to retire our old trusty sofa. Clay and I both agreed a sectional was the route we wanted to take. And it had to be leather, but I still wanted it to be funky and young feeling. What we came a across was a cherry red leather sectional…..price tag = $2,500. There was NO WAY I could ever pay that much for sofa. There is a Rooms To Go Outlet only 20 min from my house. And as luck would have it, they were unloading that exact red leather sofa as I was walking in the door. The only thing wrong with it was a tiny unnoticeable scuff on the backside of the sofa. I got my $2,500 sofa for only $600.

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Whole outfit off clearance rack, shoes & necklace included for less than $15.

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I am so thankful that there are and always will be bargains waiting to be discovered as long as I’m willing to make the effort. I’m also blessed to have a natural desire to always get the best deal.

“Buying something on sale is a very special feeling. In fact, the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me. I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it. I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money?” ~Rita Rudner

November….. a Month of Thanks….. Sawyer Samuel Eastridge

Only a few months after saying “I do”, Clay and I were shocked to find out that we were expecting our first child. Scared of what that meant, and filled with worries about failing our child as parents, no one could have prepared us for just how different our lives would become at 9:10am on the morning of May 10, 2011; only nine days after celebrating our first wedding anniversary. He was four weeks early and only weighed in at 5 lbs 10 oz, but that little tiny baby kicked our parenting genes into action, and we haven’t looked back since.

Taking home the one thing that would change the meaning of our existence forever.

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As he began to grow, so did our love and connection. Life without our son became unfathomable. He was and still is our drive to be the best we can be.

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Every parent has hopes and great expectations for their children. Praying for them every night, to be blessed with intelligence and strength; to stand as great of a chance at being successful in this world as possible. It didn’t take long before Clay and I knew, without a doubt that our son fell nothing short of perfect. We are both so thankful to have been chosen to parent one of the most intelligent, funny, kind hearted and loving little boys I have ever come into contact with.

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It is an unexplainable feeling to have watched him grow from a tiny helpless infant. Into a independent two year old, a big boy, and an great big brother to his little sister!!

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Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord, for choosing me to be this little boys mommy. It’s such a large responsibly, and I will never stop trying to be the very best mommy, the kind he deserves.

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“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new”. ~Rajneesh

November …..A Month of Thanks….Marriage

In a society where marriage seems to have become a ceremony of the past, it is so refreshing to witness two people make promises to one another that they plan to keep for life. I’m am so thankful to have been a part of Corey (my half sister’s half brother) & Julie’s wedding weekend.

I don’t know what happened over the last decade, but people seem to no longer be looking at marriage as something desirable, an important milestone their in adult life. Instead, many individuals choose to avoid marriage and keep a relationship going, wwhile totally evading any sort of commitment. And half of the ones who do take the plunge, weighed lightly on their vows and end up divorced in just a couple years. People have started looking at marriage as nothing more than a legal arrangement, that with the right amount of money can be destroyed just as quickly as it was created. “It’s easier to get a divorce than pass the driving test. Now it’s just a basic form-filling exercise.”

I take my marriage commitment to my husband very seriously and have very strong opinions on the subject of divorce. With that being said, I am so thankful when am able to witness two people pledge their undying love for one another, knowing that to them forever means forever.

I am thankful that The Lord lead me to a man who carries the same amount of importance to the meaning of forever. So very thankful to know that when I go to bed at night, I don’t have to be worried about my partner changing his mind. “It’s easier to get a divorce than pass the driving test. Now it’s just a basic form-filling exercise.

And lastly, I am thankful for the adults who were part of my adolescent life, the ones that showed me through example how important a marriage is. That you don’t give up, you never walk out on the person you love. Thank you for leading me down the right path, so that my children will learn from husband and I just how cherished a loving marriage is.

May 1, 2010…. The day I committed to FOREVER

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My beautiful Niece Lexi and I at this weekend’s wedding!

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November….. a Month of Thanks…. Creativity

Today I am thankful for being blessed with creativity. I have always been artsy, if I can make it myself, I will. My creativity is such a large part of who I am. What would I be without it?

I think I owe a lot of thanks to my mother, who always encouraged my creative side. In fact, her laundry room became the craft storage room when I was a child. We were always painting, gluing, coloring, or making jewelry. And I truly believe that because of her I am able to express this part of me so well.

My mind is constantly looking for projects; things I can make and design. I have been blessed with the ability to not only look at something for what it is, but look at and see what it can become. I call it vision.

When I am stressed or upset about something I am able to throw myself into a project and take out those frustrations on it. Usually ending in some pretty cool thing.

A few days ago, while thrifting, I came across this huge rack of really funky neck ties for CHEAP!!!!! And they were pretty much all awesome prints and colors. You know, the ties us women pick out. The ones that we think are really pretty & stylish, but most members of the male species wouldn’t be caught dead in. So, we buy them for our men, and they wind up at a thrift shop somewhere just waiting to be created into something new. I went ahead and decided to buy a few (ok , a bunch) of them and got to thinking as soon as I got home. I couldn’t wait to get started. I could feel the creative juices pumping through my veins just dying to be released.

What I came up with, was nothing short of what I consider to be pretty freakin awesome!

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I just can’t get enough of it! How cool would it be to take two ties that belonged to someone special to you: grandpa, dad, husband; and turn it into someone beautiful that you can actually wear and keep close to your heart.

Talk about a conversation piece. I’ve only worn it out the house once, but I’ve had at least 10 people stop to ask me about it. It really makes you feel good in your soul when you receive complements on something you created yourself.

“Creativity is not the funding of a thing, but the making of something after it is found.” – James Russell Lowell

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” – Steve Jobs

I will never be able to be thankful enough, for the gift I was created with. It is who I am, burned into my soul, without it I would be lost.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today I am thankful for this bible verse. It helps put into prospective that we should be thankful always. Everything that we’ve been given, both good and bad, has been given to us because it is God’d desire.

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