Friday, February 28, 2014

Freebie Friday: Daily Planner

So, in working to keep up my blog on a regular basis, I have decided to make Fridays a Freebie day and will offer something different every week for free. An original work done by me!

In keeping with the theme that ended up over this week, I designed a printable planner full of different sheets to help keep your day organized! There are two different versions that you may choose from, a pink, wheat one and a grey arrow one. If you download, please share on Pinterest, Google+, wherever you may be to promote it to others!

 Pink Wheat Planner Printable by Life in a Field Branding & Designs

 Grey Arrow Planner Printable by Life in a Field Branding & Designs

So, there you have it! Please let me know if they don't work, I haven't worked a lot with Google Drive yet, but they should be easily accessible there. Any feedback you have on them is more than welcome too, I would love to hear what you liked, disliked, what you feel should be adjusted, helpful etc.

Thanks for stopping by!
Enjoy your weekend,

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Overview Thursday

Good Thursday to you! I hope your day is progressing nicely. Only one more day until the weekend, woohoo! So, I was going to do a book review for you today but I haven't heard back from the author yet and I wanted to make sure everything was good with her and possibly give the book away so I will save it for another day.

So for today I decided to just give you an overview of the goals for my blog and a glimpse at the schedule for each day. Here goes:

I really want to reach out and connect with young moms (in their 20's) and encourage them in their day to day lives. I know a lot of blogs out there are DIY, homemaking and kid-focused, which is FANTASTIC! I am glad those are out there because I enjoy keeping up with those ones myself. However, I feel drawn in a different direction. My life, short as it has been, has held some major issues and obstacles that my husband and I have faced together. While I love being a mom and love my boys, I just don't feel called to share them. They have been easy for the most part and just little troopers. I feel that I need to share what Andrew and I have faced together. The difficulties that cause strife, the unmasked moments in my life. The imperfect, un-Pinterest-esque times. So that is what I will do.

The schedule of posts will look like this:

Monday - Struggle (fitting for Mondays, right?!)

Tuesday - Kiddos - something applicable to children

Wednesday - Clean / Organize - something that I have always struggled with and am finally conquering!

Thursday - a Book Review or recommendation of some kind

Friday - Freebie Friday - because let's face it, what's better than a Friday? A Friday with something FREEEE! I also might add in some design-ish tutorials and or tips on Fridays.

Saturday - a family post - an activity idea, a meal idea, a verse to memorize, etc.

Sunday - a Heart Post - Sundays will be off and on. When there is really something pressing on my heart I will share it on Sunday otherwise Sunday will probably not have a post.

As a kicker, have a free March calendar printable...

 a Flower of the Field printable 5x7 March calendar

So, there it is. Enjoy it! If for some reason you have problems with it or can't access it, please feel free to let me know. Also, if you have any post requests, questions or would like to guest post, by all means, please email me. I would love to hear what you have to say!!!
Blessings to your Thursday!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

As Organized As Pinterest

Ah, if only it was as easy to organize your home as it is to organize your Pinterest boards, am I right?! My husband and I will be married for five years this coming September. Let me tell you, my housekeeping skills have been less than desirable for the last four years...Poor man. I have just STRUGGLED to get myself in order. It is still a work in progress but I finally have the hang of it. 

Since making our move in August 2013, I chose to really step up my homemaking and organizing game and actually use the resources that Pinterest offers rather than just pin like a fiend and do my very best to organize my home. My mom gave me the book, Organized Simplicity for Christmas a couple of years ago and I started to read it and had to stop. I couldn't face the fact that there were things I needed to get rid of. I set the book down and didn't pick it up again for a while... 

Personally, I am into watching documentaries and reality shows like the A&E show, Hoarders. Our pastor showed a clip of an episode a few years ago and it really got me hooked on it. It is so intriguing to me to see the struggle that people go through holding on to just garbage. I watched a few of the really "dirty" episodes where people hoard food and garbage and then I came to the more "tame" episodes of people holding onto things. As I watched, judging them for not caring enough about their families to let go, it hit me...I have hoarding tendencies...I was shocked! All my life, I have held onto just senseless things. I had papers from my elementary school days, why I was keeping them, I wasn't sure. Most of it had already been scrapbooked, I had no idea why I was holding onto the rest of it. Silly things like rocks that little kids would find and give to me, craft supplies that I found at garage sales that I just COULD NOT get rid of even though I would never use it for anything...

I was a hoarder.

No wonder our home was so full and there was no room for anyone to walk around, no surface space left. It was so frustrating, the anger that I was struggling with was just sparked by the small amounts of living space that we had. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have stuff piled from floor to ceiling or anything crazy like that. I had just garage saled so much that I thought we needed we didn't have storage space for everything. Not to mention that our home had nothing for storage space, we had two closets in the whole house and the basement was dingy and wet. I just couldn't grasp the concept of organizing and getting rid of unnecessary things.

It came time for our move and there was NO WAY I was going to be able to fit EVERYTHING into our new townhome. I HAD to get rid of some things. I was able to let some things go and we made our move but there was still so much overflow. We even lost things to the foreclosure and we still had an overflowing garage.

Since then, I have been working really hard to get rid of our extras. The boys were blessed with an OVERABUNDANCE of toys for their birthdays (what wonderful friends and family we have) and I decided to get rid of a lot of the toys that they just don't play with anymore since they received so many new, exciting toys.  Christmas time was a good time for me to rethink the things that we have and changed my heart to getting rid of even more. 

We have been blessed with so many hand-me-downs for the boys, toys, clothes and everything else you need for little ones and I was holding on to ALL of it. In January I picked up the book (Organized Simplicity) again and was inspired to get rid of a lot of the things I was holding onto. Since then I have gotten rid of a lot of the big HUGE toys that we've had for the boys, a lot of clothes that the boys just don't wear, things that I don't put them in and things they just don't need. I have cleared out my closet and gotten rid of the shoes that I never wear, the bathroom products that I don't like anymore and the games that we don't seem to play. Not to mention nick-nacks that hang around, cards that I've had for the last ten years and craft supplies that I really will never use. It has been quite a project, one that has taken many months, but it's finally coming into being a normal thing that my home is tidy when people come over. We have a kitchen table to use, I still can't seem to keep my counters clean, there are ALWAYS dishes there but it's getting better.

Spending so much time on Pinterest has really helped me to understand organized, and made me see what things would be good for me. I have printed a lot of the helpful schedules and ideas that I have pinned and worked them into the way that I clean and organize my home. Another helpful resource for me is the book Get It Together by Cindi Ferrini. It is a very, very simple way of making a daily schedule, planning a cleaning schedule and more! I highly recommend it!
 Get It Together book by Cindi Ferrini
I hope this was helpful and that through my rambling you were encouraged. I really feel satisfied with my progress and I know that it is honoring Christ to get rid of the excess things since in the end, the things will waste away and be no more but the things that I teach my children and how I raise my boys will be what lives on. I don't want to leave a legacy of clutter and things for the next generation to deal with, rather of simplicity, and God-honoring hearts.

Have a blessed day,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Dreaded Potty Training...

"WiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEpE please mama!" Ah, potty training. I was DREADING it when it came time for Bennett to be potty trained. I took him in to the doctor for a check up and she asked me if I had begun potty training yet. I had not and she said, "well, spring is a good time for that." Really, it doesn't matter when you potty train your child. It just so happened with Bennett, he potty trained himself. I knew I didn't want to PUSH him, I didn't want to have the impending FIGHT on my hands of trying to get him to train when he wasn't ready. I decided to just wait and feel him out as we had done with everything else. For me, that worked with Bennett. Will I do the same thing with Parker? Probably. Will it be as easy? I don't know. It might, it might not, it might be easier since he wants to do EVERYTHING his big brother does. The point is, it is different for every child.

Bennett started showing interest in potty training after we made our big move in August 2013. He was almost three then. I had people that were shocked that I wasn't working with him, and I know that some people judged me but I was confident in the fact that I was doing the best possible for who Bennett is. And guess what, it worked. He is now potty trained! We still have struggles, there are days that we go through three or four pairs of undies, but accidents happen, growing up and testing happens, but he is fully aware and uses the potty like a big boy!

So, how exactly did my potty training method work?

Step 1. Wait for the signs.
Bennett gave me clear signs that he was ready to be potty trained. He began to show an interest in "big boy undies" - always a winner! He began wanting to sit on his little potty, he started trying for chocolate chips ;).

Step 2. Practice, practice, practice!
Potty training won't happen over night, or the very first time. At least not for everyone. I know that some children are that easy, but Bennett was not. We had to continue to practice. For Bennett practicing took about a week and then he was ready to wear big boy undies full-time. I had to force him to stay dry over night by letting him wear undies over night. For Bennett, he knew that he had a diaper or a pull-up on over night so he would let himself go. If he had undies on, he would stay dry and wake up if he needed to go. Awesome! Made my job easier!

That's it. Like I said, I just really felt Bennett out. I used the fact that I knew his personality and learning method well enough to be able to let him learn on his own. I encouraged him and let him know how proud I was of him whenever he went. There were frustrating days, of course, but for us, letting him work at his own pace was very successful.

What method did you use to potty train? How is it going?

Thanks for reading, I wish you all the best on your potty adventure!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Twists and Turns

It's so easy to let life take us for a ride and to get so caught up in it that we forget to slow down and just soak it in. Since my last post, the foreclosure was finalized and we made the move across the street and have squeezed into a nice town home. So much has changed since the move, it's hard to remember all of the emotion and turmoil I was in then. Things are far from perfect still, but they are better. Ever day there is progress in myself, in my boys, in my marriage and in my home.

It is so wonderful to look back and see the blessing among the hardships. There are a few things that I need to update since July, 2013. Firstly, yes, we lost our home to foreclosure and made a move. It was quite a job to pack up and transfer everything and we did end up losing quite a bit of possessions because there just wasn't room here and we don't have budget for a storage garage. Some things were easy to lose - there was lumber in the shed, my old bike with a flat tire, Andrew's non-working chain saws... There were some things that for me, were not easy to lose. We had several things still in the basement that for the longest time just made me sick to know that we had lost, a couple of those things being a small, wooden doll bed that my dad hand-made for me, a drink bucket that Andrew and I had at our wedding, some craft projects that I had done and so on. Every time that those things would come to mind though, I would remind myself, "they are just things, replaceable things. Jesus knows they are worth nothing and they just take up space. He can replace them if they mean that much" and I would just rest in peace knowing that they ARE just things. Things that don't matter. They can be replaced. They just take up space if they aren't useful or currently being used. So, I am at peace with that and actually thankful to have been relieved of a bunch of STUFF.

Losing the house was a huge blow and blessing at the same time. I took a hit on my credit, obviously. I can't even open a savings account at a bank because of how low my credit score is right now. But that's ok. Andrew has our joint accounts, we don't need more than that. It was hard to let go of the place that we called home for our first four years. The place that we began building our family in and the place that I was taking so much pride in. At the same time, what a relief not to have the weight of that hanging over my head. We have a comfortable  place to live now, a place without spiders and ear-wigs (yes, they are a real bug - see for yourself here...gross!), a place without mold in the walls, on the ceiling, and a place that doesn't cost $500 during the winter to heat.

Sorry for the poor quality, I am not an interior photographer and I don't do well for styling those types of photos. These are simple, phone and instagram photos. Deal with it. :)

The more I look back and examine our past at that house the more I see strongholds that built up there. Things that we couldn't break out of without losing the place. Things so dark they hang there like a cloud. The stronghold of laziness was woven throughout our whole relationship there. The stronghold of anger was looming in every room of that place and the stronghold of suspicion and deceit. All of which I struggled to no end to deal with, trying to conquer on my own only to fail miserably which made me ANGRY. I had a stronghold of self-doubt, self-reliance and worry chained around my every move. I wanted nothing more than to hide from everything and everyone.

Moving out of our home of strongholds has been such a blessing. Sure, it was disguised at first, but all is clear and apparent now. Sure, we are thankful to have had the place for as long as we did and it definitely was a blessing to be able to begin our marriage in a little home like that but after a while because we took it for granted it just became such a burden Jesus said, "Here little ones, this will hurt but I need to take this from you to do something even better." || insert OUCH and then sigh of relief here || What peace we can have when we rest in His timing, His control and His love for us. I am so thankful for HIM.

I received a text message from my mom about a month ago. She informed me that her and my dad were going to come over and watch the boys so Andrew and I could go get coffee together. GREAT! We headed to the local Micky D's and had some nicely fattening mochas and chatted. We were reminiscing about the past of our marriage and the growth and hardships and so on that we have endured and conquered. I can't remember quite what he had said, but I came to realization that if it weren't for the hand of Jesus on our lives and our life together we didn't think that we would still be together today. Life has thrown us so many hardships in our short four and a half years together that were it not for our strong conviction to stay together and the peace, confidence and love that we can give because Jesus gives it to us, we probably would have separated long ago. What a wonderful God we serve to bring unity even through the toughest of times. Now, I know that the things that we have faced can be compared to other's sufferings as nothing and I give huge amounts of credit to anyone that has endured struggles in their marriage and come out on top, but I also know Andrew and I know myself and the kind of people that we are, the struggles that we have faced and endured are nothing small to us.

Since losing our house, Andrew and I have grown closer together, as a couple, as a team and in our relationships with Jesus. We have made a church home here at Faith Community and gotten ourselves plugged into a Bible Study. Myself personally, I have grown so much closer to Jesus, I still have to work hard every day to keep Him front and center but my character has definitely improved. The anger that I struggled with (related post here) has subsided so incredibly that I have a hard time believing it could be true...

We continue to have our struggles and deal with things as life throws them at us, but we are doing a much better job of centering our responses on Jesus and trusting in His greatness and power to come through for us. What more is there?!

I hope you have a blessed day!
Thanks for reading,