National Quilting Day

I thought it was today, but I just realized it is actually next Saturday. Bummer! The last couple years I forgot about it until it was too late; this year I was too early. How very funny.

At least I was finally able to participate in a small way! A few years ago, someone sent me a box with quilt blocks, batting, and enough fabric for backing. I just needed to assemble the top and then quilt and baste it. Still a lot of work, but at least the blocks were already complete. The box has been sitting in my closet for awhile but I’ve been pulling it out recently. For this season in my life, a quilt kit is exactly what I need.

Today I sewed the second row of blocks together. It’s finally starting to look like a quilt top!

Maybe next week I can sew these two rows together. If I remember National Quilting Day…

Deep cleaning and self-care

I have always wanted to have a spotless house on New Year’s Eve. That way I can usher in the new year with a perfectly clean home. For various reasons, this has never happened. This year, I shrunk my goal down to manageable size – a perfectly clean bedroom.

Two weeks ago, I was talking to my husband about self-care and how important it is. We talked about how, due to my eldest daughter’s rages, no single place in our home feels safe. Every inch of our home has memories associated with various meltdowns and rages. A few months ago, we made our bedroom off limits during rages. She is no longer allowed in our bedroom if she’s raging. We need a safe space to retreat to if necessary and we also need a place that isn’t full of the negative emotions surrounding the raging.

So we decided that it was time to deep clean our bedroom and then focus on decorating it so that it feels cozy. Our room feels very sterile right now, due to the bright white walls, Pergo flooring, complete lack of bedroom furniture, and no decorations on the walls. When I mentioned this idea to the therapist, she heartily agreed that it was a good idea to focus on our bedroom. This is especially important because I use the bedroom during my quiet time each day. I need a place that feels relaxing.

I’ve spent most of my alone time the past two weeks deep cleaning the bedroom. It is spotless! I completely stripped the bed and washed everything from mattress cover to blankets. I pulled everything off the bookcases and sorted through it all, pulling out what we didn’t want and organizing the rest. I mopped the floor, scrubbed off the heater vents, and finally cleaned the glass patio doors (yuck!).

Our room still doesn’t feel cozy. We still have no bedroom furniture, other than the two cheap bookcases, our bed on rails, and a rickety folding table that I use as a desk. We still have nothing on the walls. But it’s clean! And that makes me feel so much better. Now that everything is clean, I can start focusing on ways to make the room feel more cozy. I have ideas but can’t implement many of them just yet. We’re still trying to pay off credit card debt that was accrued for our adoption trip to China. Until that is paid off, we can’t invest in bedroom furniture. But maybe I can find some small touches to help the room feel better.

Deep cleaning, for me, equals self-care. And just in time for New Years.

Cooking adventures

I finally finished deep cleaning my kitchen. It took way too long because I kept getting distracted by plane tickets, hotel reservations, shopping for our trip, and Candy Crush. Whoops! But I’m thrilled with the results.

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before

The entire kitchen has now been KonMarie’d, scrubbed, and organized.

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after

My husband was hankering after baked macaroni and cheese so I found a new recipe online and baked up a pan.

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It was so good!! I used panko instead of bread crumbs and it baked perfectly.

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We’ll definitely make the recipe again.

One small financial step at a time

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about our financial journey. In the past two years, we’ve been focusing on adoption. Let’s face it – adoption is expensive. But we haven’t given up on finding financial freedom!

A quick back story – my husband and I both made some really stupid financial decisions after turning 18. We both attended private college and paid for our tuition and living expenses with student loans. We both racked up credit card debt. I bought a brand new car. Both of us spent money with no regard to the future.

After we got married, we realized just how buried we were in debt and monthly payments. When we combined our finances, we discovered that we owed a whopping total of $95,856.02. I don’t know exactly how much we were paying every month, but I know it was at least $1,300. That was just to cover the minimum payments.

We were so frustrated, completely broke, and had no idea what to do in order to climb out of the hole we’d buried ourselves in. Thankfully, and I believe it’s a God thing, a coworker introduced us to Dave Ramsey’s financial principles. That was seven years ago. We put together a budget, cut all unnecessary expenses, and starting sending every extra penny to our debt.

We are not completely out of debt but we are so much closer. We have an emergency fund in place, no car payments, and no credit card debt. We’ve paid cash for one and a half adoptions, moved to Washington, and ended up with me as a full time homemaker after a job layoff. I’m not saying any of this to brag, just showing how we changed our financial lives.

Today we reached another small milestone. I love celebrating the milestones because it encourages me to keep making forward progress. After paying our student loans, we finally dropped below $30,000 owed. We are finally in the twenties instead of being in the thirties. I’m so excited! This month’s payment dropped my husband’s student loan below $10,000 so his debt is now four digit debt instead of five. And my biggest student loan is now under $15,000. We still have a long way to go but we’re climbing out one step at a time. I cannot wait until the day we can finally yell, “we’re free!!!!”

Once we get back from Taiwan, we get to make the next big financial decision. Do we attack the rest of the student loans so that we can get out of debt completely? Do we save up a down payment so that we can buy a house instead of wasting our money renting? Or do we see about starting another adoption so that we can bring home a second daughter? We are praying about it! I can’t wait to see which direction God points us.