Monday, January 31, 2011

More with Less Monday: Inspiration

I came across a quote by Mother Theresa in my third year of college as I was preparing a persuasive speech for my public speaking class.  I was trying to convince people to give at least some of their money.  I probably didn't convince anyone of anything, but the quote I stumbled upon through it has never left me.

"It is a poverty that a child should die so you can live as you want."

Wow.  I hope to make every decision in light of that perspective.  I rarely do, but it's always an inspiration. 

Before you read on in this post, go to this link and have your wealth really put into perspective.  The Global Rich list will tell you how you fit into the world's economy.  We are in the top .95% of the world.

Think about what you could do what your money:

It costs $38/month to support a child through Compassion.
You can support a national missionary for $30/month through Gospel for Asia.
And you can give up even less or more for any number of causes that matter.  Places like Samaritan's Purse, Blood:Water Mission, International Justice Mission, and many, many more organizations are changing the world through providing clean water, safe medical care, freedom from slavery, and the hope of Christ.  

Think about how much you spend on your cell phone*, internet*, TV*, groceries/eating out, Starbucks, new shoes, decorating your house, your gym membership. 

Where else could that money go? Is it worth it to you?  Does anyone else have ideas of how to give sacrificially?

*These will all be their own posts eventually!

Monday, January 24, 2011

More With Less Monday: Cloth Diapers

*Whoops! This was scheduled to post on Monday, but didn't!*

If you've talked to us at all about babies, you know we ADORE using cloth diapers.   They're cute, colorful, don't smell like disposable diapers, don't fill up landfills, cheaper than disposable diapers, and all around awesome.

Honestly, I can't really remember our exact motivation for deciding to use cloth diapers.  I guess it was mostly the idea of filling up landfills and spending money on things we would throw away after 2 hours.

So anyway, here's the breakdown of what we do and how we do it.  (If you're not remotely interested in babies or cloth diapers, I'd go ahead and just stop reading now...cause it's going to bore you to tears.)

The Specs:
Altogether we have around 20ish diapers, 10ish Fuzzibunz One Size Pocket Diapers and 8ish Flip One Size Diapers (with extra inserts).  We also have about 35 8x8in pieces of flannel that we store in a wipe warmer for wipes.

Waste: Nada. 
    Pascuals: 1
    Landfills: 0

Pre-wash Cleaning: None!!!!  I just drop them in a trashbin with a lid and wait to stick them in the washer.
    Grossness: 0

Washing:  Every other day or so.  It would be less, but I need to make sure we have enough Fuzzibunz diapers for Rory's daycare, because they're easier to use.  (Let me stop you there.  Did you hear me say that I send cloth diapers to daycare with Rory?  I do!  I had to call around and get permission ahead of time, but it's totally doable!)  I soak them in cold water without detergent.  Then, I wash them in hot water for the longest cycle with 1/2 of the recommended amount of All: Free and Clear.  (I can't use my homemade detergent for these because lots of laundry soaps ruin the diaper's absorbency.)  The wipes are washed along with the diapers.
    Stains on diapers: 0

Drying: On a drying rack of course!  I wash them at night and let them air dry overnight.  When I forget to wash them, they dry in under an hour in the dryer.
   Energy Bill: 0

Time Spent: Not nearly as much time as it takes to find and print some coupons to make the diapers more affordable, get in my car, drive to the store, walk a mile from the parking lot to the store, find the best deal, stand in line and pay for the diapers, walk a mile back through the parking lot to my car, drive home, put the diapers away. 
   Pascuals: 5
   Time Wasted: 0

 ***Already bored?  Let's take a break and consider all the ridiculous brand names of cloth diapers. My personal favorites are: Fuzzibunz, BumGenius, Econobum, Happy Heinys, Kissaluvs, Knickernappies, Thirsties, and  Rumparooz.  Really people?

Ease of the Diapers: Rory has never not leaked out of a disposable diaper.  Her daycare says her diaper needs changing way less than the kids with disposable diapers because hers are so absorbent.  They're not the original prefold and safety pin diapers.  Take a look.  They're an engineering miracle!  I have a hunch that the same people who designed these diapers are also the ones who build spaceships and develop alternative forms of fuel. 

Is anyone else drooling over the awesomeness of these yet?
   Awesomeness: 1
   Leaks and lots of changes: 0

Cost of the Diapers: On first look, these diapers are expensive.  Quality cloth diapers cost anywhere from $15-$25 per diaper.  BUT, these diapers (because they expand as she grows) will fit her until she's potty trained.  That means we only had an upfront expense.  And, everyone likes buying people things for babies before they're born, so we didn't even have to buy any diapers.  Still don't believe me?  Check out this cost calculator.  Go ahead, plug in what you'd want.  According to what we estimated, we'll break even after 8 months. (Remember, we didn't even buy the diapers.)  Then, we'll just be saving money.  And it's not even taking into consideration the cost for buying disposable diapers for a second or third child!
   Pascuals: 6
   Money in the garbage: 0

So, in case I didn't make it clear.  Cloth diapers are awesome.  I'm so passionate about cloth diapering that I am even willing to add extra periods to tell you how. much. I. love. cloth. diapers.

And there you have it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More with Less Monday

This upcoming Wednesday marks our 3 year wedding anniversary.

 Don't you love everything about this picture?  We both look a little bonkers because we're so giddy!

Marriage is the best.  Marriage is different for everyone, but for the record, it doesn't have to be hard.  They say the first 7 years are the hardest.  (They=a psychology professor in college).  And if our first 3 are some of the hardest, we're good to go!  I couldn't have dreamed up a more spectacular man to spend my life with.  Really, I mean it.

Anyway, I can (and probably will) write another post devoted to my habibi at a later date.  Here's how we celebrated our anniversary More With Less (ish) Style.

Dinner: Chilis!  We love Chilis and they had a meal deal too.  Unfortunately we don't have "smart phones" so we weren't able to cash in on the free chips and salsa deal. We talked about going to a nicer restaurant, but we're not really foodies so we figured we'd be just as happy spending $50 less on our meal.
Pre-movie activity:  We didn't plan the time between the dinner/move very well, so in effort to find something to do, we spent an hour wandering around Target.  We each got $15 and had to buy each other a surprise gift by the end of our wandering.  It was a random idea and super fun!  Oddly enough, we both bought each other an item of clothing, a deck of cards, and candy for the movie. 
Movie:  Only the greatest and cheapest theater around!  The Picture Show was no more than $1.75 per ticket.
Babysitter:  Rory's Lola (Grandma).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confessions and/or 11 Quick Takes

I'm following the blog trend and stealing this idea from Loving Dangerously and Making Home.  Ooh, where to start.  Here are 11 things you probably didn't know about me.

1.  My guilty pleasure TV show is America's Next Top Model.  I've seen every season.  All 15 of them.

2.  I am not an animal person.  Nor am I kid person.  Now hear me out.  I'm not saying I don't like kids or that I'm building a gingerbread house to lure little children into.  I'm just saying I'm not a kid person.  I didn't grow up around kids or babysitting and honestly, I just feel really uncomfortable around anyone under the age of 12.  It's really nothing personal.  I actually cried the last time I worked in the nursery at church because I was so uncomfortable.  And of course, it's not your kids that make me feel uncomfortable.  Just everyone else's.

3.  To pass the time during Tuesday's snow day, Jonathan and I took turns pretending we were dead bodies needing to be moved to different places.  I absolutely ADORE my husband.

4.  My favorite foods are coffee, ice cream, and Mongolian chicken.

5.  I tell everyone I grew up in Boulder, but I really only lived there for 9 1/2 years.  The rest of my childhood was spent in Iowa, North Carolina, and Florida.

6.  I eat Kraft Mac and Cheese at least once a week.  I can't get enough of it.  I also remember places and vacations by the food I ate.

7. I'm kind of a pacifist. I'm also sort of vegetarian, slightly environmentally conscious, somewhat democratic, and a little bit minimalistic.  It's hard for me to really stand for a cause because I'm pretty non-committal with all of my ideals.  Really, it's because I want to stand for love and love alone. If certain ideals fall into loving others better, I'll stand for it, but in the name of love.  Not in the name of that specific cause.

8. It really bugs me when people use lots. of. periods. in. a. sentence.  It takes me forever to read those sentences.  Plus, I'm not entirely convinced they know that it's not grammatically correct.  Same goes for the use of the word literally.   Oh, and I HATE it when people say things are retarded or gay.

9.  I tell everyone I ran a half-marathon, but I didn't really.  I trained for it, but ended up having a schedule conflict and didn't run the actual race.

10.  Have I talked about how much I love my job?  I LOVE my job.  I may change my mind tomorrow, but at this point, I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom.  Lots of people aren't okay with that decision, but I am.  I am so glad that I get to spend my days loving anywhere from 20-30 people who need support and encouragement so badly.  Of course I feel guilty that Rory spends 1/2 of her week in daycare, but she knows she's loved by her parents no matter what.  Some of my participants have received less love in their entire lifetime than Rory has experienced in 5 months.  I'm doing a good thing.

11.  I have lots of opinions about things.  Surprise, I know.  But, when I share my opinions I don't expect you to conform to them. I'm not trying to convince you of anything.  So, after reading all of my confessions, don't think I have different views of you if we don't see eye to eye on these things.  I really like YOU and I hope our differences in opinions will help us to become more full of love and understanding for each other.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

5 Months

 I do believe that Rory in the bottom left corner is very interested in top right corner's Rory's jazz hands.  You can also tell that Rory is really into drooling these days.  It's all the rage.

I also find it strange that 3 month old Rory looks much, much bigger than 4 month old Rory.  I guess its because the picture is closer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More With Less...Tuesday: December Spending

Can I blame the Atlanta blizzard for my failure to post yesterday?  I mean, it's not like I was stuck at home with nothing to do except for surf the internet or anything...

 December Spending

Food: $249.68
       Groceries: $211.32
       Eating Out: $38.36

Not too bad, considering I made lots of goodies for the holidays and we had my family in visiting. 

Clothing: $2.12*
      Recycled: $2.12
      New: $0

*I do think I bought a  couple of other recycled items, but I did it with cash, so I haven't kept track of    it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

My big problem with making things for people is that I'm a procrastinator.   This means, I have the idea of what I want to do about 45 minutes before I need to complete the project.  I don't want to make birthday gifts or shower gifts or anything until I'm inspired.  And I don't think about inspirations until I don't have enough time to make it.  The same goes for Christmas.  At about 8pm on the 23rd, I decided the sweet ladies at Rory's daycare needed something.  So, with the help of my lovely friend Jess.  Here's what I ended up with. 

How to make the easiest ornaments ever:
1.  Draw a bird pattern and trace it on 2 pieces of fabric and quilt batting.
2.  Sew along the line you traced.
3.  Cut it out with pinking shears.
4.  Get a friend to sew on the eyes.

Oh and sorry for the not-so-awesome pictures.  Another result of doing things last-minute means pictures at 11pm.

Monday, January 03, 2011

More with Less Monday

I've only been doing More with Less Monday for a couple of months.  This morning, as I was thinking about what to write, I got stuck.  I have ideas of more ways to live simply and things that Jonathan and I specifically choose to give up or commit to in order to pursue simplicity.  But, when I think about writing them, it seems ...I don't know...arrogant.  Something doesn't feel right about me announcing to the blogging world the things we do that aren't the norm.  We don't do them to get attention and we especially don't want others to feel guilty if their lifestyle choices are different than ours.

What do you think?  Are you enjoying More with Less Monday or should I come up with some other weekly idea to write about and throw in More with Less ideas every once in awhile?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Rory's 4 Month Pictures

Yes, I know.  We're about 8 days away from Rory's 5 month picture due date.  So...I fell a little behind. But, nevertheless, here you are!
I'll be taking Rory's picture every month for her first two years.  Here are the previous pics.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Jonathan's 11 in 11.

Happy New Year! So there's nothing special about today except for the date, right? But I guess I agree with it being a great excuse for some personal goals for the upcoming year. So here are my own 11 new year's resolutions for 2011:

1. Read Scripture every day.
2. Memorize 5 books of the Bible: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Philippians, Colossians.
3. Run at least one road race.
4. Surprise Sarah with something sweet at least once a week.
5. Start another coffee shop.
6. Start speaking to Rory in Spanish.
7. Pray with Sarah every night before going to sleep.
8. Call Dad in Afghanistan every other week.
9. Journal somewhat regularly.
10. Go on a family walk once a week.
11. Drive more safely (come to complete stops, go no more than 10 mph over speed limit, always check blind spots).

11 in 11.

Here's my list of 11 things I'm going to do in 2011:
1.  Floss daily.
2.  Nurse Rory for a year.  Never buy formula. (Controversial, I know.  Of course I like the antibodies, but it's mostly because I'm cheap.  Plus, if I wean her, I'll actually have to work at losing weight.  Win, win, win.)
3.  Participate in Project ReStyle.  I won't do 52 weeks of it, but I'll definitely do some.
4.  Get pregnant with #2.
5.  Buy a house.
6.  Help plant Resonate.
7.  Get a [super] short haircut.
8.  Continue only buying recycled clothing or new things for less than $5.
9.  Start playing the piano again.
10.  Memorize John 14-17.
11. Surprise Jonathan with something sweet at least once a week.

What do you think?  Doable???