Friday, July 15, 2011

I love this kid

This past weekend, my grandma (who from here forward, will be called Mimi, because that's her grandma-name) had a family birthday party for Kemi, my godson, and my aunt.  We got to spend lots of quality time with this little ham:
This was all her, by the way.  She stood up on the chairs, one arm around Kemi, one arm around me. Sophia is truly one of my favorite people. Not kids, just people.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Week of 7/3 Coupon Shopping

I thought I'd give you guys a peek into my coupon shopping this week.  Overall, I'd say it wasn't my greatest week ever, but not bad.  I don't always have coupons for every food item I need to buy, but I use coupons on whatever food items I can, and try to not buy "convenience" foods or impulse items.  I save the most money each week on non-food items, such as toiletries, paper products, and cleaning supplies, but you can't eat toothpaste, so until I figure out new uses for toothpaste, I have to spend money on food. Boo. We have approximately twenty tubes of free toothpaste. Anyway, here's my shopping for the week:

Overall, I spent $20.57 for $52.86 worth of products, a savings of 62%

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

His and Hers Design Style

Last night I was looking through my "inspiration living rooms" file and showed Kemi a few rooms to see what he liked and didn't like about each room.  Men's and women's styles are so different! Here's what he had to say about each:

Me: "What do you think about this one?"
Kemi: "I like that one."
Me: "What do you like? What don't you like?"
Kemi: "I like the pictures."
Me: "Gallery wall?"
Kemi: "Sure. And I like the coffee table. The chairs look uncomfortable. And I don't like glass lights."
Me: "Lamps?"
Kemi: "Ok."

Me: "What do you think of this room?"
Kemi: "I don't like the big piece of wood."
Me: "The side table?"
Kemi: "Ya."
Me: "Oh. That's my favorite part."
Kemi: "And I don't like the tiles."
Me: "Oh, that's a rug that looks like tiles."
Kemi: "Even worse."

Haha! Sometimes our tastes are so different.

Me: "What about this one?"
Kemi: "I hate all the furniture. I like the wood floors, I like the ladder as a decoration. I like the fireplace."
Me: "So you don't like the sofa?"
Kemi: "Hate it."
Me: {sad face}

Kemi: "Ok! Now we're getting somewhere! Sofa: love! Painting: love! Bookcases? Ladder? Framed art? Love!
Me {Smiling}
Kemi: "Orange chair? HATE! Ottoman legs? HATE! Rug? HATE! Wicker chair? HATE! I'd light it on fire."

Kemi: "Uhhhhhh...I like the sofa, but not the arms."
Me: "The nailhead trim?"
Kemi: "Yes. I like the chairs because they match the couch. I hate the rug. I hate the coffee table. I hate that weird basketball."
Me: "The footstool?"
Kemi: "Yes. I don't like the naked art."
Me: "Do you like the color scheme?"
Kemi: "No."
Me: "The big throw pillows?"
Kemi: "No."
Me: "But you love the deer, right?"
Kemi: }Laughing and returns to his Gun Bros. game}

Monday, July 4, 2011

Break Our Hearts For What Breaks Yours: Thoughts on Adoption

Thinking about planning our family has gotten me thinking a lot about family in general and what it means.  Before God created the heavens and the earth, there was family.  Before the first man, there was family.  This is because our God has perfect communion within himself, in the three persons of the trinity.  God did not need to create human beings to worship him and validate his Godness. He did not create human beings to fill His loneliness. No. God in His great love for us chose to adopt us as sons and daughters of Christ. As a family. Each of us, not the only child, not more loved than any other, but adopted; heirs to all that is Christ's kingdom.

In the past few months, Kemi and I have been hearing/reading/thinking/ a lot about adoption.  Maybe the Lord has put this on our hearts because He desires for us to pray for those that are considering adoption, or are in the process of adoption. Maybe we are to be praying for the fatherless.  No matter what, we remain open to what God seeks to do in our lives. We believe His plans for our life are more than we could ever plan for ourselves.  God knew our future children before the foundation of the world, and planned them for us. All we can do is pray to be able to say yes when He calls us to.

Recently, we read something that truly shocked us.  What we read said that there are three times more Christian congregations than there are children in the U.S. foster care system.  We re-read that over and over, thinking that it couldn't be possible.  That is to say that if one family from every Christian congregation in the U.S. adopted one American child, there would be no more orphans in the United States.  God gave the Church instructions to care for the fatherless, but it seems we are allowing the government to do our job.  Life is valuable in the womb, and that life is just as valuable at one, ten, or eighteen years.

Adopting a child can't be easy. That child will grow up and they will have questions. But responding to the call of our faith is not always easy and requires being pushed and stepping outside of what is comfortable.  The following video really convicted me.  If we pray about this calling, we will all come up with a lengthy list of objections.  If you cross off all the objections that have to do with you, there likely won't be any left. Don't underestimate what God can do!

While I don't mean to imply that every family is called to adopt, I do think many are called that do not heed the call.  For families that are not called to this special vocation, there are many, many other ways to support those that are being called.  Kemi and I couldn't believe this statistic and spent most of the evening talking about ways that the Church could better encourage families discerning this calling.  We are personally so thankful that God has truly broken our hearts for the things that break His.  "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27
I believe God calls looking after orphans and widows "pure and faultless religion" because it is a direct imitation of what God the father does for us in adopting us as His sons and daughters.

I know we'll be praying about how God is calling us to respond, and maybe you will too. Consider checking out Mac Powell of Third Day and his wife Aimee's testimony about their son's adoption.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Backyard Reno

The more you hear about the way our house looked when it was bought, the more you'll wonder why we bought it at all. 

Scary, scary backyard pre-landscaping

The backyard was literally a rectangle of dirt with a chainlink fence.  It was something we knew we'd do eventually, and needed to do if we ever wanted to be able to sell the house.  Having so much dust in the backyard was a huge aggravation because of this guy:

Everyday, he'd run outside, get covered in dust, come inside, and shake it all off.  I'd recommend that only those that enjoy profuse cleaning get a 100lb Newfoundland.  I spent the first two years in this house mopping. No joke.  Anyway, I knew the backyard landscaping was a really spendy project and we had to save and save and save!

Finally, after three years in the house, we were able to put a block wall around the backyard.  Then, a brick patio.  Kemi did most of the work preparing the backyard for sod, and we were finally able to have sod and rock installed. Oh happy day.

So this project in it's entirety did cost us a couple pretty, hard earned pennies, but we had prioritized our home projects, and this one was topping the list. We don't make bundles of money, so going into this we knew we had to establish a budget, then figure out a way to come in under that number. We learned that compromise doesn't mean corner cutting. We could have gone with one contractor for the whole sha-bang-a-bang, but that would have cost us more money. Here's the break down of the whole project. The block wall was one company. While the sod, curbing, rock, patio, and sprinkler system were another company. Some of the manual work i enlisted the help of my brother and knocked it out in a couple days. The brick for the patio we found on craigslist. we had to haul them ourselves, but by being patient and diligent in our search, we saved a little over $1000. The manual labor I did myself saved us roughly another $500. And we price matched for the rest of the job. We saved about $5000 total on the whole project. So to sum up: Do as much prep, and grunt work as you can yourself. Work that out with the contractor to save some extra cash. Search for as much of the materials on sale, or at a discount, craigslist, second hand contractor shops, etc. And lastly, negotiate with your contractor. Offer trusted referrals, future work or that you'll write them a sizzling review! Good luck, and happy projecting.

Kemi stitched a few photos of the backyard together

Me and Marley enjoying a dust-free existence

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Well, secrets out. I love coupons saving money.  I saw the women from The Krazy Coupon Lady on TV and checked out their website.  After reading a little bit, I saw that the using the coupons and store promotions that week would yield free toothpaste.  I thought, well that's good! Toothpaste won't go bad! I walked out of the store that day, paying under a dollar for toothpaste and shampoo and I was hooked! 

The way I see it is this: I have no interest in buying items we won't use.  What does make sense to me is using coupons with store sales to get things for 60-100% off retail.  My goal is to have a 3-6 month supply of all the non-perishable products we use so that we're never running to Walgreen's because we're out of something and paying full price! And, as a side bonus, it makes me feel like Super Wife to this cutie:

It's amazing how a few months of couponing changes your whole mindset about your money.  We don't have huge salaries, but we want to be good stewards with what we've been given.  Since we were married, Kemi and I have always been very prudent with our money, and kept a careful budget, both out of necessity and because we've had long-term goals that we knew wouldn't happen if we didn't plan for it in advance.  Being able to complete each little project around the house is so satisfying because it's a representation of careful planning, sacrificing new clothes and eating out, and saving the most we can on our grocery bills!  If cutting coupons and reading grocery ads continues to save us hundreds each month (it is!) then i'm happy to keep at it! So do I have a stockpile? Yes. But when there's a zombie apocalypse, you can count on me.

Laundry Room Renovation

We've recently completed a two month long renovation on our laundry room/pantry.  Originally, the laundry room was in an unfinished room outside.  Kemi was really concerned about it because I had to go outside at night when he was out of town to do laundry.  So, closing in the laundry room and making it a part of the house was really important to him.  It ended up a million times better than I thought it would, and I am so thankful to have the extra storage space! 

This is pretty much what things looked like before.  This is a day or two into the project, so the contractors had already ripped off that wall.

Here it is during the project:

And finally finished:

So much storage...

We love our new front load washer and dryer!

Initially, I scared our contractor. Truly. I had no idea I'd turn into such a CRAZY lady about this renovation.  I guess I felt like, we've worked sooo many extra hours, scrimped and saved to be able to do this, so I want it to be a certain way. 

Anyway, I first thought I wanted the pantry to look exactly like this:
Image via design sponge

But then I realized we are real people who have half eaten bags of chips and jars of pasta sauce and it just isn't going to be pretty. I really had to talk myself down off this one.

Part of the room is the washer/dryer and laundry area and the rest is BIG BEAUTIFUL SHELVES. Just two walls of storage.  Aahhhh. Storage has been a commodity in our little house, but no more. It is so nice! Besides that, I've been learning a lot about couponing through The Krazy Coupon Lady and when I find a great deal on something (like, FREE) I'm stocking up so we don't have to buy that product again for a few months.  Thankfully, I have more shelving and storage now than I can probably fill anytime soon!  Now, back to my domestic duties.