25 Meals From Aldi For Less Than $150 (+ Gluten Free & Slow Cooker Options!)

 

 

I’m so excited about this new printable offer available, especially since I know so many of you are looking to start putting together menu plans each week now that school’s back in session! Right now you can learn how to make some incredible menu plans from Aldi, all for $150 or less. Here’s what’s being offered right now Lauren at I Am That Lady:

If you don’t have tons of time to clip coupons and menu plan, this is for you. Just print your list, head to your local Aldi, and you’ll have as many as 25 recipes ready to go without much planning on your part. Included in the system are recipe cards, a shopping list, and a calendar to last for one full month. Love that!

Here are just a few of the recipes included in the lists. . .

  • Honey Garlic Chicken
  • Chicken Piccata
  • Crockpot Lasagna
  • Korean Pork Tacos
  • Blackened Tilapia
  • Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
  • Caramel Apple Pork Chops
  • Turkey Chili
  • Black Beans & Rice
  • Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
  • And so many more . . .
You can also just check out the recipes for FREE, even without purchasing the printable packet. But, for $1.97, you’ll get all the printables, including recipes cards, grocery shopping list, and meal plan calendar. Go HERE to take a peek, and let me know what you think!

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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Burlap Wreath

I’m loving this week’s Friday Fluff Up project! I’d really hoped to finish up the bathroom (the wallpaper’s done ~ now I’m just waiting on my hubby to finish the trim work . . .hopefully that will get done this weekend?) But, I’ve been wanting a new wreath for our front door, and this morning after looking around Michaels (and seeing prices upwards of $50), I decided to try my hand at making a burlap wreath. I’m so glad I did!

 

 

It was a little more work for than I anticipated, however burlap is very, forgiving so if you make a mistake or two as you go it’s not the end of the world.  Here’s what I used . . .

  • 3 Burlap 6″ Ribbon Bolts on sale $4.99 at Michaels (I think I could have maybe just used 2, but did need a bit of that third roll)
  • 1 wire wreath frame $3.99
  • Used 10% off coupon 
  • Total =  $15.56

I followed the instructions over HERE and HERE, and my best tip is to twist the burlap well between each loop. 

I already had the blue chevron ribbon at home, but ended up using another bit of yellow chevron instead because it felt a little more summer-early-fall-ish. ;)  I did use a bit of wire to attach that onto the wreath, but that’s about it!

I’m not sure that I’m going to leave just the Chevron ribbon (it was all I had on hand, and matches our local high school colors so I think it’s kind of fun for football season?)  I really do love the ribbon on this one, so the next time I’m at the craft store that’s what I’m going to look for. ;)
It wasn’t quite as simple as this Christmas Wreath (those were so easy!), but it’s definitely doable, and so much smarter than paying for one. (I saw them priced at up to $85 on Etsy. YIKES!)

Here are a few more easy wreath ideas if you’re looking for a way to inexpensively fluff up your home too . . .

This post is linked to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday - thanks for the opportunity to link up!  I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

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Easily Organize Kids School Outfits

I’m hoping to have an update next Friday with more woodwork and wallpaper in our powder room, but in the meantime thought I’d show you my quick (easy!) solution for organizing my kids’ clothes for the school year! While my older children usually pick out their outfits each day on their own, my youngest always begs for me to help, and since her room is upstairs I’m always behind getting ready for school.   So, I decided this year that I’m going to set out a week’s worth of clothing over the weekend, and she’ll be all ready to go!

 

There are so many cute ways to do this (I love this idea and this one), but since we already had clothespins I decided to keep it simple.   I’d planned on just folding the outfits in her drawers (like this), but since Reagan noticed these white hooks that haven’t been re-hung from our old laundry room, they were the perfect easy answer.

 

(I’m in love with the orange top in the middle that I found at Gymboree for $4.99 last week. Apparently it was left over from last year’s sales and was the only thing like it.  She’s not as in love with it as I am, but I’m crossing my fingers she’ll wear it next week!)

 
Hopefully I’ll stay on top of this to make school mornings go a wee bit more smoothly, and it was so easy to add. I’ll let you know how we do! ;)

 

And, since we were in her room anyways, I thought you might enjoy a peek of her room in our new house. (Remember her tiny room in Alabama that we just loved? She has a normal sized room now, and it really is so nice for her to have a little more space!)   I haven’t done much yet to fluff it up, so she’s just enjoying some great deals we;ve picked up here and there, and while it’s far from a very Pinterested room, it’s working for her just fine right now. ;)

Here’s what’s in her room right now (in addition to a small dresser that we’d already had):

  1. We ordered the bookshelf from Amazon a few weeks ago using Swagbucks. So far we’ve been very pleased with it and I would highly recommend this one!
  2. The bed was a hand-me-down Ethan Allen bed from my sister-in-law Yvonne, and the Pottery Barn lamp was a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law Terri. (There are benefits to having the youngest kids in the family by a few years!)  I’ve had the Mary Engelbreit print for years but the frame was brass, so I spray painted it in silver while working on our breakfast nook to match the new colors in her room. I bought the bedding at TJMaxx a few weeks ago which work great for summer, but she’ll need a heavier comforter this winter (if you know of any great deals on those, I’d love to hear them as I’ve been struggling to find one!) And her monogrammed throw pillow was a baby gift for her (probably one of my all time favorite baby gifts because we still enjoy it.)
  3. I found the lamp for my older daughter at a consignment sale – I’d seen the same lamp new in a store priced at $50, but snagged that one for $10. Love it!
  4. The pink trunk that holds her American Girl treasures (all received as gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles) was from Hobby Lobby and was also a gift. (Asking family members to give your kids great items to fluff up their rooms is such a good way to save on things they’ll actually use!)
  5. Goodness, my favorite deal I post each year is when American Girl puts out their special sale one time only in November or early December. We bought both the bed and American Girl doll for Reagan as Christmas gifts two years ago – definitely one of my all time favorite deals (I think they were priced at $50 – and she still loves them!)

 

The only thing I forgot to take a picture of was a great soft pink throw rug that’s just feels yummy on your feet. I found it for $20 at Maple Rugs in Scottsboro, Alabama (it’s about a 5×7 rug), and it’s just the coolest thing. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture. . .

 

So, there you have it! Have you come up with a great way to organize your child’s outfits for the school year? I’d love to hear any other recommendations, for whatever reason this is something I always struggle with, but I’m determined to be on top of it this  year!

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

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How to Save on Medical Expenses

 

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to save on medical expenses, here are a few ideas worth trying out! Just last month as I was picking up a prescription I reminded myself that I needed to try a few of these out again as well, and I’d love to here your suggestions also.  Here are a few ideas:

 

  1. Use generic prescriptions when you can. Many prescription medications are available in a generic form, and it can help you pinch quite a few pennies by opting to use the generic form instead of the brand name prescription.
  2. Search the internet for coupons on regular (non-generic) prescriptions. Just this morning I googled one of the prescriptions we regularly purchase, and found a coupon for $15 off each prescription for the next six times I pick up this certain medication. While that doesn’t sound all that exciting, that’s a whopping $90 off ~ not too shabby for two minutes worth of searching!
  3. Find which stores offer your prescription at the most discounted rate. Some medications are less expensive at warehouse stores such as Sam’s or Costco, so it’s worth finding what the price is on your medications there rather than overpaying at a local pharmacy.
  4. Consider trying out CVS. Right now CVS has some fantastic bonuses for filling your prescriptions there, and if you’re a regular CVS shopper you can really benefit from these since you’re filling prescriptions anyways.  Basically, fill 10 prescriptions at CVS and get $5 ECBs, plus find out more ways to earn extra care bucks which are definitely worth checking out.
  5. Ask for a discount on your bill when you pay it off in full. I received this great tip from a reader yesterday who had to pay a fairly large medical bill to her local doctor’s office. Oh a whim, instead of just paying the amount, she asked if they would give her a discount for paying it in full immediately when calling to make her payment. Sure enough, they gave her a 10% discount which saved $50. It never hurts to ask, and it might help you save a little extra money!

 

Your turn now! What tips do you have for saving money on medical expenses? I’d love to hear your ideas, so take a minute and leave a comment to share what’s worked for you.

 

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Small Bathroom DIY (I’m So Excited!)

My rock star husband started working on fluffing up the powder room on our main floor, and I’m so stinkin’ excited about it! Remember when I shared how he encouraged me to dream big? Well, I started rounding up my “big” dreams for this tiny room over on Pinterest, and he’s started working on the trim work. The project’s still in process this week, but hopefully in the next few weeks I can show you the finished results.

 

We had just a basic powder room to start with – here in Ohio trim fancy trim work is hard to come by (although our home has more than some, it’s still not in most of the rooms like we were lucky enough to have in Alabama.) Because we had so much pretty molding there, we knew the minute we closed on this house it was something we’d like to add, and I’m so glad I have a husband who has the patience to work at it. (It is not as easy as it looks, but he stuck with it.  I keep telling him he’ll be an old pro by the time he finishes all the projects I have lined up for him!)

(Here’s the molding that was throughout our home in Alabama – he’s got quite a bit of work ahead of him! See how we furnished that dining room ~ including curtains ~ for $150. One of my favorite projects ever.) ;)

Here’s the before picture of the bathroom before he started (I was in a hurry and just snapped these with my iPhone, sorry they’re pretty blurry but you get the idea!).

To add bulk to the molding, James put in traditional crown molding at the top of the ceiling, then added an extra piece of trim 4 inches below the molding, and painted the drywall in between.

 

It gives the appearance of being incredibly thick molding, but saves on material, and was the same way that our molding was hung down South.

I found this wallpaper over on Amazon (I haven’t hung wallpaper in years, but just love the look of it in a small bathroom!) It will go above the wainscoting we’re adding to the bottom half of the room (hopefully will look like these when it’s done.)

Already I’m in love with that paper, and can’t wait to see it all finished! 

Here’s what we’ve spent so far:

  • Trim wood = $51
  • Nails & caulk = $10
  • Wallpaper = $96
  • Total = $157

 

If I’d chosen to use paint we could have saved a bunch (and I’m betting I could have found more discounted paper if I’d looked harder for it, but this was easy and during this season of our lives I’m going for easy!) What helped so much is that my husband has been collecting tools as birthday and Christmas gifts since we were in our first apartment eighteen years ago, which definitely keeps our cost down.

 

So, that’s all for now! I absolutely can’t wait to see it all done, and am so glad I have a husband who enjoys this stuff with me. (He’s always happier when he has a project in the works – I’m so lucky!)

 

Are you working on any fun projects in your home? I’d love to hear what you’re working on! And, if you’re going through a difficult season in your life right now, I can’t tell you how much just dreaming about what we really want has helped us in our move. Check this out if you need some encouragement in that area too. ;)

Love seeing penny pinched decorating ideas? Here are a few more to check out . . .

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Ohio State Fair Fun

We had so much fun this week at the Ohio State Fair, and I thought you all might enjoy a peek! We haven’t gone to a state fair since living in Kentucky almost ten years ago, so it was fun to check out the food, rides, and (my favorite!) the exhibits. (I’m telling you what, next year I’m coming up with a recipe to enter in the fair – my family’s already debating what they want me to bake so that at least once a month for the next year they get to test it!)


I will tell you that the fair is far from penny pinched. If you have little ones, try to steer far from the rides (which is tough to do!), because just the exhibits are neat to see and don’t cost anything more than the fair’s admission. (We found discounted tickets at our local Kroger store.) We ended up purchasing $45 in ride tickets which was more than enough for my kids (thankfully they’re not big riders), and I kind of wish we encouraged them to just pick a ride or two, because they really would have been content with that.

 

My husband and I have always loved visiting the fair for the people-watching, to see what kind of ridiculous food’s being concocted, and I love checking out the cake competitions and handwork items. It’s just fun to see what people can do!  Okie dokie . . . here’s what we saw ~ on what had to be the prettiest night I’ve ever seen in July. ;)

 

 Tried out Fried Buckeyes – they were so good! Fried Grilled Cheese . . . um, not so good ;)

Noticed the Sloppy Donuts ~  yikes ;)

My Reagan who’s always been fascinated by pigs (hence the pig overalls her Uncle Jack got for her) got to see her first piggies up close and personal. 

After petting this one, she said “They’re so sort ~ that makes me love piggies even more!”

 Then we saw this monster boar~ at 1440 pounds, it was not what we think of when Reagan says she loves piggies!

We also checked out a few pigs and bunnies (and made those goofy faces for some reason?)

Saw huge tractors . . .

and a few little ones too.

Checked out some fantastic train sets, 

milked Buckeye Bessie,

 and loved seeing the cookies, cakes and mode towns on display.

My son is convinced I’m making him that cake next year for his birthday (I promise to post pics when I do . . . ) :)

 And I loved looking at the quilts and handiwork on display.

All in all it was a fun but-not-so-penny-pinched afternoon, and we loved seeing all Ohio has to offer! Hope you’ve been able to do something extra fun this week with your family too. ;)

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Pantry Organizing {At The Dollar Tree}

 

I’m so excited about today’s not-all-that-exciting Friday Fluff Up! But, every time I open my pantry door things are so nice and peaceful, and I’m loving that. ;)

 

(Clearly that wasn’t the case when I started . . .)

In our old house we had a huge set of deep cabinets as our pantry, and I couldn’t imagine we’d ever be able to fit as much in our new pantry. But, with a little organizing I was able to get even more in than I ever expected! My husband added an extra shelf way up high last weekend . . .

perfect for things like our bread machine, iced tea maker, and some of the kids crafting stuff that I like to keep in the kitchen.

We had Dollar Tree bins that I’d used in our last house to organize our play room as well as a few more I found here at our store yesterday to organize most of the items we had – goodness I love the Dollar Tree for organizing on the cheap!

I’m still using a plain cardboard magazine file that my kids brought home from school several years ago to store our pasta in (I love how easy that makes things!)

And am tickled to have a spot for school supplies close by.

But the thing I’m most excited about is there’s now room on the floor to (easily) store our donation bag. We didn’t have space before for that in our pantry, so I was constantly hauling it back to our guest bedroom closet until it was time to donate everything. I’m tickled to have an easy place to store stuff in easy reach!

Do you have any other tips on organizing your pantry? When I went yesterday our Dollar Tree had a ton of great organizing items, so this would be a great way to save if you’ve got some organizing to do too! And, if your pantry could use a little tidying, determine to tackle that over the next few weeks. I promise you’ll be so glad you did. ;)

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Mod Podge Monogram

 

My girls and I had so much fun fluffing up their bathroom this week with Mod Podge monogram letters! I’ve always thought a jack-and-jill bathroom for them would be so fun, so when my husband picked this house where they had their rooms joined by a bath I was pretty excited to fluff it up.  (They sleep so that they can see each other through the bathroom each night – I love that!)

When we were picking colors for our new house I stuck with Sherwin Williams Rice Grain throughout most of the house, and picked this Sherwin Williams Sea Salt in our office and dining room, our bedroom, and their bedrooms and bathroom. I love the Sea Salt color, and almost wish I’d painted it throughout the entire house!

 

Starting with basically good bones for this room made my job way more penny pinched. (If you’ve got a bathroom that needs some TLC, just a little paint on the walls and even the cupboards can make such a difference!)

Here’s our before pic (taken from my iPhone so that I could stand far enough away!)

And here’s the after picture, taken this morning again from my phone (the light was bad, but you get the idea!)

Other than the expense of the shutters (we had those put in this week and love them, they’re not all that penny pinched but it’s one of those reasons clipping coupons is worth it to me!), the only other things we changed were adding a few fun crafts. Here’s what we did . . .

At Hobby Lobby, we stocked up on basic supplies to make the monogram letters for the walls. Here’s what we used (I had most of it already at home which definitely helped my cost, but a lot of it goes so far!):

  • Mod Podge
  • White paint so the letters would be white on the sides of the initial 
  • Large wooden letters $9.09 each after 30% off sale at Hobby Lobby
  • Foam Paint Brushes
  • Paper plates for paint
  • Scrapbooking paper (we used this pack – on sale 50% off at Hobby Lobby for $9.99)
  • Large ribbon (we ended up only using the Chevron ribbon pictured above – on sale 50% off at Hobby Lobby for $1.99)
  • Total = $30.16, and I’ll have plenty of scrapbooking paper and ribbon leftover to use for other projects!)
After the girls painted the letters, I traced the letters onto the back side of scrapbook paper so that we could cut out the paper. 

 (I chose a few coordinating papers and then lined them up prior to cutting.)

Once the paper was cut, we double checked to make sure it fit before using mod-podge to adhere it to the initial

Then the girls covered their letters in mod podge

(this was their favorite part) ;)

Then we glued the paper down and let it dry before gluing the ribbon in the middle 

I used some extra scrapbook paper to make these simple pictures to hang ~ I already had the white frames (those frames that I bought years ago on sale were the best purchase!)

 

All done, and so much better for just a few dollars! 

 

Have you done any fun (frugal) fluffing lately in your home? I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment to share! You can also join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!) to find more penny pinched decorating ideas.

 

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

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The Friday Fluff Up: Our Breakfast Nook Gets A (tiny) Facelift

 

I’m so excited to share the first room that’s done (at least for now) in our home! You all know I love pretty things, so having a corner of our home that just feels a wee bit finished makes this momma feel good. (Note, I am not a decorator at all, so I’m sure there are things that aren’t right here but I’m okay with it!)

 

When we moved, I really thought we’d think about getting a new kitchen table and chairs (I love this set that we found on clearance years ago at Lane furniture, but it’s taken a beating from my kids over the years!) However, once we moved in and set the room up, I decided that for now the kitchen table is just fine, we just needed to change out the rug and a few of the decorating items around it.

20140529-092419.jpg

I’d gotten the rug in the picture above at Maple Rugs in Scottsboro (if you’re in North Alabama and need a rug, you’ve got to check them out), but it was too small for the area, and much darker than what I wanted. 

 

 

So, when I saw this rug a few weeks ago on our Cincinnati trip (it was at the Frontgate Outlet), I knew it was perfect! It was a sample rug, and cost right around $120, which while not the most penny pinched deal ever, sure wasn’t a bad price for a rug that large. (It’s an 8’x10′ rug though, and is priced at $229 online, so I’m pleased with my deal!) The only thing bad about it is my (very) messy eaters – so far I’ve had success cleaning up spills with this homemade carpet cleaner but I sure wish I had found something a wee bit darker!

 

The best change we made was this lamp in the corner (I’m so much happier with it!) It originally had this shade on it, but at the Ballard Design Outlet I fell in love with the blue shade above (on sale for $21 ~ had been $69.)  I grabbed it but knew I needed to update the base of the lamp, so grabbed a can of spray paint yesterday at Hobby Lobby and in about five minutes that project was done.

(One good thing about having no grass outside? You can paint right out your back door without having to do any prep work!) ;)

Here are a few other things I added and pictures of the room . . .

Hobby Lobby had this print on sale for $14 - perfect, don’t you think? The piggy salt & pepper shakers are my daughters’ – the girl loves her pigs and I think they’re pretty cute. ;)

I just re-arranged a few pillows we already have (I’m not sure those will stay, but it’s a start)

(We’re supposed to get landscaping that will hide those electric boxes you see in the window below as well as the house going in next door today – I’m so hoping they get here because it will help out our view so much!) 

Added the large blue plate in the corner (that made such a difference – on sale $20 at Hobby Lobby yesterday too)

Of course, the lamp (a friend told me a few days ago about a cord concealer you can find at Lowe’s – I’ve got to check it out!)

 And we had this chalkboard in our old house – so we just hang it up and my girls did the decorating since I’m no chalkboard artist like my friend Julie is ;)

Here’s the grand total of what I spent to fluff up the room (thankfully we re-used what we had already, which definitely helped):

 

  • Rug $120 at Frontgate Outlet
  • Spray paint for lamp $4
  • New lamp shade $21
  • Dream picture $14
  • Large plate wall hanging $10
  • Total = $169

 

Okie dokie folks, if you’ve got something just begging for a can of spray paint, I’m challenging you this weekend to go tackle that project (you can do it!) And if you’ve done any fun fluffing in your home recently, I’d love to hear about it. ;)

This post is linked to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday – thanks for the opportunity to link up!  I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)
See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 116,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

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How To Make Life More Liveable

Time for a random rambling today ~ pull up a chair and pour a glass of sweet tea – this one just might take awhile. :)

 

As I shared last week, this move has been not-so-easy on our family (or on me.) Thankfully though, this last week things have eased up a bit, and I know with time we’ll find our place here too.  In the midst of it though, there have been things that I’ve noticed have made life a little more liveable each day. The reality is, we all struggle through difficult things in life ~ whether it be a move, an illness, parenting struggles, or the death of someone we love dearly. 

 

Life (at times) is hard. There’s just no way around it. But, choosing to do a few certain things have helped ease a little stress here, and maybe they’ll be helpful for you too.

1. Get dressed, pray, exercise (even if only for a few minutes) and shine your sink, every single day. I don’t know where the magic is in these tricks, but they really do work ~ promise. ;)

 

2. Skype, call, or text a friend. I’ve so missed a few friends from home, but have checked in with them through Skype, by sending a quick text, or calling them while folding laundry. I can’t tell you how much fun I had skyping a friend video of our new home (she even gave me decorating tips while I walked through the house), and just a simple one-sentence text to another friend really brightened my day. It’s amazing what simply connecting with real people who care for you can do to lift your spirits!

 

3.  If you need to, do some tidying. Y’all, last week when I just about lost it, my husband came home and saw me in one mess of an office, and knew something had to be done. I kept telling him that since we didn’t have anywhere for most of the items to go until we had bookshelves, there was no point in tidying so I just needed to live with it. (It may be months or longer before we get those bookshelves as I’m trying to come up with a perfect plan – clearly spending hours each day in an office which is a disaster is not a great plan!)

He enlisted the help of our kids, and in less than 30 minutes the entire room was cleared out to storage in the basement. I had no idea how much the clutter was bothering me, but goodness just having a tidy (albeit empty!) spot to work in has drastically reduced my stress level.  If you’ve got some clutter in your life that’s making a difficult situation even more stressful, determine to take a few hours this weekend to just clean something out. (I promise, you’ll be so glad you did!)

 

4. Watch Facebook less if you need to. Goodness, I love Facebook for keeping up with friends as much as anyone does, but last weekend I realized that watching what my friends were doing in Alabama that our family was missing out on was not helping. More importantly, I realized it was making a challenging situation even more difficult for my kids if they happened to scroll through and see what their friends were up to while we weren’t there.

 

Instead of living the life we’ve been given here in Ohio, Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever it is for you), made us wish for something that couldn’t happen right now. If you’re going through something difficult (especially with a friend), limiting your time on social media and just really living might just change your perspective.

My son took these pictures in our backyard the other night ~ amazing!

5. Find the beauty right where you are. Never (ever) in a million years would we have snapped that picture in the backyard of our home in Alabama, and it truly is beautiful here. We used to walk to Publix (which I miss ~ so much!), but now we can walk to the river. We used to have a back yard full of landscaping, now we have a yard abuzz with thousands of fireflies each night and watch deer from our kitchen window at just about every meal. I’m still praying for grass one of these days (ugh!), but there’s beauty here already, if I just take a moment to open my eyes to see it.

 

If you’re going through something that just hurts so badly, try to find something oh-so-beautiful even in your situation. It might be a special snuggle with a child who’s struggling through a difficult season of their life, or maybe a walk outside to see some flowers in bloom. No matter what your situation, there is something beautiful to be found right where you’re at, so take a second to find it and just drink it in.

 

6. Realize you can’t do it all. I’ve been attending a Bible Study at the church we’ve been visiting here, and the message from Priscilla Schirer last week was on prioritizing. (Yikes!) She shared that a Godly friend encouraged her that she couldn’t do everything during the season of her life when her kids were young, so she needed to focus only on her top priorities.

 

This summer, the only things I can really tackle are making our move as painless for my family as possible, and keeping up (somewhat!) here on PPP. I’ve been convicted that I so often put my business ahead of my family, and right now they need to be first. School will be here before you know it, and I’ll never get back today with my family. I hate that in many ways (because I really do enjoy what I do here so much!), but until at least mid-August, they need a wee bit more attention right now.

 

What that means also is that there are lots of things I’m saying no to. This isn’t a season when I’m going to run 20 miles every week, I’m not going to bake homemade bread for dinner all that often, most of my penny pinching will be done just by shopping Aldi, and my house isn’t going to be perfectly clean even once. If you’re in a stressful season, really consider what your big priorities are, and then give yourself grace for the stuff you just can’t manage.

From my old office  ~ we waited years for that room and I can’t wait to figure out what we’ll do here!
 

7. Dream. Big. Taking the time to dream has undoubtedly been the thing that has helped me to just feel some peace this last week (and even a little excitement as we’re here.)  We’ve always put some effort into dreaming big in our homes, and I think in the midst of the move I’d forgotten how precious it is just to imagine something new for our future, even if we can’t have it all today.

 

Last week my (wise) husband encouraged me to really start thinking about my new office specifically and in general about our home, and to start dreaming about what I really wanted it to be. I hemmed and hawed, and generally felt like I’d come up with the simplest way to tackle what we have, just settling for something that would work.

 

He encouraged me instead to really dream about how I could make this space absolutely perfect – no holding back. Now, we may never get that big ole’ dream I’ve started thinking up, but since my dreams are free, I might just as well imagine ~ and maybe one day those dreams will become a possibility.  We’ve walked around our yard and started planning what we’d like to see in each spot one day. In our last home we did the same thing, even staking out trees that didn’t get planted for years, just to start dreaming. Eventually, much of what we dreamed really did happened, but we would never have gotten there if we didn’t dream big to start with! 

 

If you’re struggling through something that just feels overwhelming, try to look past the mountain in your life right now, and dream of where you may be in a year, two years, or even five years down the road. Dream of what you really want, not just what you’ll settle for. Work towards your dream even in the midst of your struggles, and know that those dreams might just become real for you one day too.

There are seasons of life that just come with so many overwhelming things it’s hard to even see outside right where you are. This week as I’ve struggled to find peace here it hasn’t all been easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. (And it sure doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan right here!) If you’re struggling too, be encouraged that you are not alone, and that God has a perfect plan only for you. 

 

And on a very short side note, I cannot thank you all enough for your kind words, emails, and texts encouraging me through our move after last week’s post (or on this one.) I feel so very blessed to have such kind people cheering for me along the way, and am so very thankful for each of you! If you have any other tips on how to get through something difficult, I’d love for you to share those too. (I really do love hearing from you!) 

 

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