Friday, January 21, 2011

More Valentine Crafting

I know February isn't even here yet but I have been in a crafty mood lately. This is ONE of this week's projects, the other project still needs a coat of paint or two. I found the printable template for the "Be Mine" banner on Ruffled's blog. The hearts I just cut out from some cute scrap-booking paper, punched holes, and stung it with a ribbon I had laying around. Next I want to fill the little glass containers on the shelf with conversation hearts. I will have to make a stop at the dollar store I guess. Happy early Valentines Day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Muffin recipe

Soaked Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Some mornings as I make my husband’s lunch I start to feel sorry for him because often it’s the same old thing. This week I am making up some muffins to bag up for one week worth of lunches. The recipe I used is from Nourishing Traditions with a couple added ingredients. I started Sunday night for the soaking process and then finished it up Monday morning.
2 cups of oats soaked with 1 cup of vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup white flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour soaked with buttermilk
Let both soak in a warm place 12-24 hours.
The next morning I added the remaining ingredients
2 fresh eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons raw melted butter
1 cup organic chocolate chips
1 cup organic blueberries
Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. And wala some healthy treats for the hubby’s lunch and a little bonus treat for me to enjoy with my frilly coffee made with fresh RAW milk.
Ready to eat with a little decoration I had made from my sister's 50's housewife shower.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be Mine

It is pretty much freezing outside and trying to find ways to keep toddlers occupied inside is sometimes challenging. I hear the phrase "I am hungry" every ten minutes, not because he is actually hungry but because he is bored. Today we made valentines to pass some of the hungry moments. I found the hand idea on martha stewart.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baby Dedication

Plans do not always go how we image them to and I am graciously reminded that I am not in control. The day of the scheduled baby dedication a big storm hit our county and a white blanket of snow covered the ground. Power was lost to many and one of those places happen to be our church. Everyone bundled up and worshiped God as the snow softly fell outside and candles lit the front of the church.  It was not a packed house at church that day due to the road conditions, there was no heat or power, and we were not dressed for the occasion but none of that mattered. All that mattered is we were there in the Lords presence dedicating our little gifts to him. God could not have created a more perfect day.

Violet Riley Rivera dedicated to the Lord December 12, 2010

Ryden Anthony Rivera dedicated to the Lord December 12, 2010

A little worship

Grammie and Papa faithfully serving always

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The heart of worship.

Do you remember your first kiss with your husband? I do and no matter what my husband may say he WAS 18. You see we met in August of 2004 and he turned 18 in September, he loves to tell people that when we first met he was 17 and I was 21. It sounds so good for him but not so good for me:) My babe and I crossed paths at our town’s community college and this is where our story began. Along the way our relationship hit some pot holes but in the end “God blessed the broken road” and we are now happily married, raising a family, and serving GOD.
Seven years have passed since we first met and we now have two sweet babies and everyday I strive to be a better wife. I must admit there are days that I could probably serve him better (my husband and the Lord) but with each passing day my love grows deeper and stronger. I know I need to encourage him more in what the Lord ordained him to be, the leader and the provider. Providing for our family comes as second nature to him, he is a very hard worker just as he was raised to be. The leader role has opened my eyes and heart these past few weeks. I am in awe over the gifts the Lord has given to my husband and how he is using them to serve God. This past Sunday he lead worship at our church but I missed it because I was serving my time by working down in the nursery. Sunday was kind of long crazy day to say the least and when Monday rolled around I was still exhausted from the day before and had little sleep. As I got in the truck to take my husband his lunch one kid was crying while the other was whining about something. Then the phone rings, it was my husband calling just to say hello and see how our morning was going. My heart is now HAPPY, I love it when he takes time out of his day to let me know he is thinking of us. Next I pop in the cd from Sunday and both kids instantly stop crying and whining as their Daddy’s voice comes through the speakers. My spirits were lifted and my mind was re directed to the Lord. Its funny how music can change your thoughts so quickly. 
That night as we lay in bed I told my husband he was lucky to have so many wonderful gifts, he is very talented musically.  I pondered the thought as I lay there and thought wow not only is he lucky but this is also a huge responsibility. A husband is appointed to Lead his family to the Lord but God has given him gifts to Lead so many others to the Lord through the heart of worship. The next morning while reading  my daily devotional it had this verse; Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3. This was the moment I realized that my role as his wife needs to be 100% supportive and I must surrender my life to God. I need to pay more attention to the ends that need to be met on my side of this relationship between the three of us. The heart of worship is to surrender!!!!!!!!!!!!! The verse in Romans 6:13 says “ surrender your whole being to him and be used for righteous purposes.” I want to surrender my all to God and my husband. I believe by doing this great things are bound to happen. For two musical instruments to have complete unison there must be constant adjusting and tuning. The same must be done with a marriage. For perfect harmony to take place we need to be willing to adjust things as the Lord opens closes new doors in our marriage and life. I pray for souls to be saved and our purpose here on earth be met according to Gods will. I strive to serve God, support and love my husband unconditionally, and raise up healthy happy children that love Jesus. The gifts that my husband have been given have changed my heart and mind this week in many ways. I must have listened to that cd 20 times and each time surrendered my heart to God a little more.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A two wheeler for a two year old.

This week has been nice and sunny and we have be able to get out and enjoy some vitamin D. Ryden was able to play on his big boy bike which only has two wheels although if you look closely it also has no pedals. Some clever person invented a balance bike for little ones. They use their feet to push them along and once they are confident can pull their feet up on the pegs. It looks like a dirt bike only the motor noise comes from his mouth as he cruises around our driveway.  A two wheeler for a two year old. Love ya buddy and your dirt bike noises.

7 Months and counting.

I always said with Ryden that 7 months was one of my favorite ages while watching him grow. I kind of forgot why this was my favorite month and as Violet turned 7 months I am reminded. For some reason both of my children learn, change, and interact so much at this age. Violet can finally say her first word and guess what it is????? Dada. All day long even when he is not around the sweet word Dada Dada Dada is used. While saying her new favorite word she scoots around the house trying to crawl, time for the baby gate again. Accompanying the crawling is her first tooth and lots of sleepless nights but a tooth is always exciting.  As her teeth decide to come in she gets more and more interested in food. Last night as I prepared dinner she took part in a nice fresh avocado as I was chopping it for the salad. This morning my breakfast was some fresh healthy eggs from a loving source; Violet is always in the bumbo as I cook the meals and is starting to be my little taste tester.  Bright orange egg yolks from my over easy egg covered her face this morning. And finally her new trick of the month is clapping, mostly at her brother who she never takes her eyes off of. Jezz little Violet you are growing before my eyes and I am amazed by you. I love you so much and your sweet little spirit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baby Step #3 "You can get anywhere if you simply go one step at a time."

It's the first Monday of 2011 and it's time to get back to routines again. I will admit I was a little grumpy this morning because my sleep was interrupted every hour due to a teething little girl. Although I remind myself this is only a short phase and God has appointed me to sooth my little one as she encounters great pain while a tooth pops in. After the mood change I forced upon myself I cheerfully made my husbands lunch and decided to redo our budget while moving on to BABY step #3. I had almost forgotten that there are 7 baby steps in the Dave Ramsey budget. It took so long to get through the second step that I kind of was a free spirit for the past month.


1. The first step is to put 1000 dollars away for an emergency fund. We have done this a couple times, filling our envelop then emptying it again. Its nice to have a cushion though.

2. The next baby step is the debt snowball. This step is very challenging and takes lots of dedication. Dave Ramsey says to pay off all of your debt starting with the smallest amount. In order for Jason and I to do this we first decided to sell our toy hauler. Not only was the toy hauler costing us the loan payment but we also had the insurance and registration to pay on it. Dirt biking is one of Jason's favorite hobbies and to sell the trailer was a little sad for him but he did it knowing this was a sacrifice that would help his family in the long run. With the money that we usually used for the trailer payment we started putting it toward our credit card after cutting it up;) The amount we owed on the credit card was less than what we owed on the trailer which isn't how Dave says to do it but this is what worked for us. This debt seemed like it was going to haunt us forever and along the way we had some rough times but did what we needed to in order to get us by.
      Back in October of 2008 we had purchased our first home I believe Ryden was 7 months old. At this time I needed to go back to work so we could afford all of our living expenses and DEBT.  It wasn't until my second pregnancy when things really got tight for us. Due to high blood pressure my doctor ordered me to stop working which wasn't in our plan.  The extra money in tips I brought home was used for food and was paying the insurance for my pregnancy. This is when things really heated up and we started selling our stuff and counting our pennies. By this I mean when we clearly didn't have enough to pay all of our bills one month we had a yard sell. Next we would keep all of our change and turn it in; change really adds up. Every week when we received Jason's paycheck the first envelopes to be filled were our Mortgage envelope, our bills envelope, and grocery envelope. The grocery envelope was a little less full but my husbands hard work still put food on our table. No more spending money on useless things, no dayos; we made our own coffees, no eating out, no movies with our friends, no shopping for clothes. This clothes thing was kind of hard since I was pregnant and growing. To solve that problem I would consign my clothes and earn money.  I bought one pair of jeans during my whole pregnancy at the consignment shop with the money I had earned. The same was done to buy Ryden clothes during this time. It wasn't easy but we made it work and tried to be positive while leaning on GOD. After a couple tight months we finally paid off the prenatal insurance just before Violet arrived in June and the following month we paid off our credit card. It was perfect timing cause debts were being paid off and I was able to continue to stay home with the kids. Even though I stayed home with the kids we still stayed on the road of the debt snowball and decided to sell my car. I think the selling of the car was meant to be because I never posted it for sale and was able to get exactly what I asked for it. Okay Dave Ramsey its my turn to say your famous words "I'M DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
              To some people baby step#2 seems un doable and so depressing but it doesn't have to be. Jason and I found other ways to still enjoy some of our favorite hobbies. Like I said before my husband loves to ride his dirt bike but this can cost a lot of money if you want to travel to different destinations.  He was lucky enough to get asked to come work with Red bull on the weekends to help with dirt bike events. They paid him to go setup the events, provided him with lodging and food, and then he was able to ride tracks and places he had never imagined. On the down side he blew up the motor at one of the events and his bike was done. Welp in order to get a new bike he would have to sell something to come up with the money, mmmmmm what to do. He ended up selling a different toy that he owned fair and square in order to get hard core CASH to buy a new bike. As for me I Love to decorate and craft. I was still able to do so I just had to be thrifty about it. Decorating my little Violets nursery was fun and cheap. Reusing all furniture I already had and having a friend recover used bedding was how I went about the big stuff . Paint and ribbon added character to the rest of the room with my own spin on things. Below are a couple of my other thrifty projects as well

I found this coffee table at a thrift store and was able to talk them down to 15 dollars. I then sanded and painted it.  The curtains in the picture are actually twin size flat sheets from Walmart. They only cost 3 or 4 dollars a piece. Way cheaper than regular curtains. I already had the hard ware.

Next is this dinning room table. I received this set for free and was originally  a cream color with an oak top. The chairs were also cream with stripped stained cushions. I again sanded down the table and chairs then spray painted.  A couple months before I found a whole roll of  cute damask fabric in the five dollar bin at Walmart, it was just sitting in my closet waiting for the perfect project. It worked nicely for recovering the cushions.  So this dinning set cost me about 13$ when you add up the fabric and two cans of spray paint. Oh yea Dave Ramsey style.

Now that baby step two is done and I have shared just some of our journey it is time to move on to BABY step#3. This is 3-6 months of expenses in savings.  As I redid our budget this morning I was able to figure out how much we are able to put away each week and how long it should take us (Goals are good).   I'm excited and motivated to move on to the next step while still being smart with our money. The envelope system still is in effect in our home and mortgage, bills, food, and tithe all come first.  Being debt free we each get a little spending money each week but are still able to move on to the next step with open arms. God is good.  I encourage every one to do Dave Ramsey even if it takes awhile. Saving and getting debt free don't happen over night it takes time and work.  Be patient and wise.


                 -John Wesley