Sunday, February 10, 2013

A whole lotta love

With Valentine's Day looming in the near future, I thought I'd share some of the ways we celebrate, even though they are not anything extreme, I still like to do a few small things to share the love this time of year.

Of course, there is always the class Valentines to hand out. Last year, we took a nod from Pinterest (I believe the idea originated here but who knows).

This year we made these and Dylan is so excited to hand them out to his friends.

I went the inexpensive route for decorating my ledge in honor of the holiday:

Basically, I found a valentine kit at Michael's on clearance for $2.99 that included the felt hearts. They had designs on them but I just flipped them over, and hot-glued to string I had leftover from previous garlands. I got the template for the XO banner from here, (pinned here) and used red cardstock I already had to create that. The 'Love' framed print was free here, and for $2.89 I printed it at Target's photo center. I added in a handmade 'I Toadally love you' clothespin craft Dylan had made years ago, and another touch of red with the Audrey Hepburn quote print, that reads:

The best thing to hold onto in life is eachother.

The print was purchased here earlier in the year, as a fundraiser for Sandy Hook. I loved it and had it for awhile, then realizing it was a perfect sentiment and touch of red for my love-themed display. 

We are looking forward to a simple celebration of the day on Thursday, with heart-shaped pizza, a little surprise treat for Dylan and another surprise I am thinking of doing that involves lots and lots of balloons.. hmm. 

We have another event to celebrate this week, which takes precedence over the Hallmark holiday on Thursday: Justin's birthday! We will be going out with his work friends on Monday (his birthday) and celebrating with family friends by bowling on Saturday. Phew, the pace that January held is not slowing down, but I am thankful the calendar is filled with celebrations in addition to our obligations. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Three things.

This week has been crazy-busy filled. I'm trying not to start off every sentence with "OH It's so busy." But January has been my most-full month since moving this summer and I kinda-sorta-want a break. Despite the chaos fullness of this month, there's not much to write home about but more like a few little going-ons and sweet nothings.

  • We started Financial Peace University, thanks to Sarah a.k.a. Thrifty Decor Chick. She so graciously offered a giveaway on her blog with the prize being enrollment in FPU (as she also has had a wonderful outcome with it) and I was shocked that I won! Justin has been "preaching" the word of debt-free living and Dave Ramsey's ways for a long, long (long) time but I'm very thankful because his financial planning, budgeting and paying-off-debtedness has literally saved our behinds. I don't like to talk about financial specifics, but I would like to say that we both brought a lot of debt to our marriage (and I continued creating debt with my stupid decision to go to grad school [SIDE NOTE: DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH GRAD SCHOOL COSTS? Geeze.]) and we reached a place where there was no way to make the minimum payments on our debt, even after moving back in with my parents, and getting rid of a car which we so desperately needed at the time, and in fact on our salaries today would continue to be unable to make those payments. I'm talking not being able to make loan and credit card payments that did not even touch the principal.  I can't think about that time without being very sad but also extremely thankful that life threw us a few opportunities (cough, Saudi Arabia, cough) and Justin's ability to plan and budget (and basically follow the FPU ideas) that let us climb back from there. I'm not trying to write a sob story here, since uh, the debt was our fault, but rather a success story to let others know there is hope even when you are that in debt. I can't believe this enormous bullet we dodged and will never be stupid with money again. Although I don't espouse Dave's religious views, the beauty of the program is to live debt-free and build wealth so that you can give back, which is where our hearts lie as well. We are so, SO thrilled to be able to take the class and continue to fine-tune our financial planning and hear Dave's entertaining teachings to keep us on track. I don't mean to sound all cult-member-ish, but I'm just excited that this solid and logical financial advice helped bring us back from a very low point to a very, very relieved and enjoyable one. It is truly peaceful living. 
  • This:

          was the temperature Wednesday. And also why I'm okay with the higher cost of living here.  
         (Rest assured, it did snow today).

  • Dylan and I are reading the Harry Potter series together (Hey- I'm only a decade behind the times here, and in my defense, I have seen and enjoyed all of the movies). It has become a really enjoyable bonding experience for us- each night Dylan will ask, "Are you going to read with me tonight?" and asks me not to stop when we conclude a chapter. Last night, he decided he was going to write a story entitled, Mama and the Chamber of Reading. I love that boy, and our nightly reading sessions.