Change and such

So here’s what’s up. I’ve been a little MIA. And no, I did not die. Thanks for your concern though. 😉

For three months, I blogged EVERY day. Now I’m lucky if I blog once every couple weeks. The reason? I’m moving on. I reevaluated how I am approaching this whole ‘running your own business” thing. I feel like I’m breaking up with MD… I guess I kinda am.

“Sorry, Motivated Decor,” (like it’s a person) “you’re just not what I’m looking for in a business. I need a little bit more passion in my relationships – and your just not doing it for me.”

A little dramatic? Yes. Cheesy? Definitely. But I came to realize that the posts I love doing the most are family related. I don’t blog about design and fashion and home decor. I blog about life. I blog about my family. I like to associate with blogs that do the same. I tried really hard not to fall into the “Mommy blogger” category – but that’s what I am. And that’s what I love. So, I’m changing some things. Here’s why:

1. The stuff I write about would not be what most people would expect when they go to what they think is a home decor blog. My business/blog name is holding me back from reaching out to all the awesome women out there.

2. I don’t really have a target market. When asked “What kind of readers/customers do you have?” I cannot answer that question. I don’t know anything about the people that read this blog. I don’t have relationships with my customers. Mainly because I don’t have a general point of interest with most of them.

3. When I try to market my products, it feels forced. Like I’m a creepy salesman. I don’t use my products. I just design them and expect people to buy them. How can I sell things I don’t use? It’s impractical. And stupid. Don’t forget stupid.

4. My passion is my family. When I’m at work, I don’t fantasize about home decor and design. I wish I was home, playing with my little and cleaning my ridiculously messy house.

Motivated Decor was founded with good intentions, but not with passion. Passion drives all things. MD does not have passion. That’s why after 3 months of it, I started making some changes. “So then what the heck are you going to do, Amanda?” Good question! I’m still designing things. But not home decor. I’m designing things like meal planners, budget forms, blog planners, home management binders, to do lists, organization logs and shopping lists! These are all stuff I use! Stuff I can make changes to and adjust as I get feedback. Stuff other moms use. I’m really excited about it. So excited that I wanted to keep it a surprise. I’ve been working on this since December 2013. I’m getting all my products ready so my shop is stocked once I open it. I’m getting my blog designed so it looks good from the get go. I’m doing everything differently than how I did MD. I’ve learned some things. 🙂 So hang in there, I’ll make an announcement (with links and such) on my new stuff as soon as I’m ready.

Just know that I didn’t die.

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Women and the 2nd Amendment

My husband and I have recently felt the need to have guns and Concealed Carry Permits. There are so many awful stories on the news. I can’t even watch it any more. I am absolutely terrified that I will be attacked in the parking lot. Every time I go to the store, I constantly think that will happen. But honestly, I’m more afraid of what will happen if I don’t have the protection that I need. I am worried that I will not be able to protect my self or my kids. I cannot control what others do, but I can control my end. If I’m going to be attacked, I can control how I handle the situation. I can practice with my fire arm. I can take self defense courses. I can learn the laws and appropriately enforce my rights.

We are getting guns and taking the CCW course.

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This is the gun that I am getting. Ruger SP 101. We went shooting on Saturday and I shot so many guns. This one was by far my favorite. It fit my hand so perfectly and was a clean smooth shot. The recoil was not bad at all. I am excited to get it and practice as much as possible.

Learning self defense does not stop when you get a gun. That is actually the beginning. You need to practice withdrawing your fire arm. You need to safely role-play with your instructor or family members. You need to learn how to escape life threatening situations. Owning a gun irresponsibly is worse than not having one at all. If you do not arm your self with knowledge, you put your self at higher risk.

Also with owning a gun, you need to appropriately teach your kids gun safety. I’m not an expert on how to do this yet. But I can refer you to my new favorite website: The Well Armed Women. I will also read so many books on this! My daughter is only one year old, so I intend to knock the curiosity right out of her. I will teach her and show it to her. I will  learn as much as I can about children and gun safety before she gets old enough to do any thing with it.

On The Well Armed Women website, I read all of the women survival stories. So many women were able to defend themselves because they had their fire arm. Others wished they would have had it. As my mom always says: I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. If you are considering getting a gun for self defense, I encourage you to read those stories. It can happen to any one, even YOU and your family. Don’t let it. Be the protector of your home. Keep yourself and your family safe from all those crazies out there.

this house is protected by the good lord and a gun

(Click pictures for links)

WM DON'T MESS WITH THIS GIRL

I will read as many books and take as many classes as possible to make sure my family stays safe – at home and in public.

Do not mess with this momma bear.

Period.

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Family Pictures

We took family pictures over Thanksgiving Weekend. I’m in love with them. I’m so lucky to have married into such a wonderful  family. I love every one of these guys so much. 🙂

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Anderson Love. 🙂

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I love this little face.

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He would have done this on the edge of the bridge but the photographer said “Not on my dime”. He does this stuff on the edge of cliffs. Show off. 😉

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I adore this picture of all of the siblings! True smiles.

Good lookin’ group eh? 🙂

Thanks for visiting. See you tomorrow.

-Amanda

Messes < Memories

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I learned something new about my sweet girl recently. SHE IS STILL LEARNING. (Duh, right?) We all know it, but we forget that they are still learning when our littles want to help us. We forget that they have never seen most of the stuff we see or do on a regular basis.

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Lately, I’ve been letting my one year old help me with dinner. She is SUCH a good helper! I show her what to get out of the fridge, she grabs it and puts it down on the floor. I grab the bowl, bring it to the floor and talk her through how we cook and what I’m putting in there. She just LOVES IT! She just sits squats there and watches me. When it is time to mix, I make sure to grab two forks/spoons/whisks. And she helps stir!! I cannot believe how smart she is! You should see how excited she gets when I start getting ready to cook. She knows when I’m going to let her help.

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On Sunday, we made a peanut butter chocolate pie for family dinner. Her favorite part was licking the bowl. 🙂

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Some times it gets messy, but messes can be cleaned up. I’d rather make the memories. 🙂 This girl is my motivation. I ache to be a work at home mom. When I get discouraged with my job, I just have to tell myself “Soon, Amanda. Soon you’ll be home”. Until then, we’ll spend our evenings cooking together. 🙂

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Thanks for visiting. 🙂 See you tomorrow!

-Amanda

The importance of talking to your kids about sex.

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This is always a hard topic to address. Yes, it is an intimate subject – because it’s an intimate and sacred activity to participate in. For some reason, parents are so intimidated to talk to their kids about sex. I’m going to start off by saying: It is no ones job but YOURS to talk to YOUR kids about sex.

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Both my mom and grandma were teenage parents. And in both instances, the biological father did not stick around. Luckily my mom and grandma both later married wonderful men, who I proudly can call my dad and grandpa. Clearly sex wasn’t talked about appropriately in the generations before me.

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(this is my Grandma, Grandpa and mom at my wedding)

I remember when I was about 8 years old, I was at the store with my grandma. Earlier that week, I had heard someone say that you should only have kids when your married. That confused me as a young girl because I knew that my mom was not married when she had me and my older sister. So I asked my grandma “How can people that aren’t married have babies?”. I don’t remember what my Grandma said, but she obviously talked to my mom. I remember my mom bringing up the topic in the car one day. I remember that it was short and sweet and to the point. “People don’t have to be married to have babies, they just have to have sex.” – that might be paraphrased a little but it’s as best as I could remember. But that was all that was said. It didn’t turn into a long conversation of who, what, why, when or how. It was just left at that.

I was in 3rd grade the first time I heard my peers talk about sex. I learned about sex through peers. My mom always said “If you are going to do it, be safe about it!” But I don’t remember ever having a conversation about the different types of contraceptives. I’m pretty sure I learned that in school.

I was 16 when I lost my virginity. And the guy was a TOTAL jerk. I went to his house “to watch a movie”. He gave me my first beer and… well, you can put the rest of the story together. I struggled a lot after that point. Constantly feeling the need to feel wanted, attractive and loved, I had multiple partners. I just thought that’s what your supposed to do when you are dating. No one ever told me other wise. I didn’t have good quality friends at that time. In fact, the quality friends I had before I had sex, decided that it was best that we weren’t friends any more. I lost sight of my dreams, goals and ambitions. And I was confused with my sexuality. I got into drugs and alcohol. I snuck out at night and wouldn’t come home. I was a mess.

When I was 17, I was with a friend at a party. We were the only two girls there with 7 or 8 guys. We were all intoxicated. My friend went in the back room with one of the guys. I didn’t know any of these boys so I had told another guy that I didn’t want to go back with him. I heard one of the boys say “lets rape her”.

Terrified, I snuck away to my car, locked the doors, drove my car around the block and called any friends that I thought would be up at 2 am. My friend, Jeron came to my rescue. To this day, I am incredibly grateful for his willingness to be there for me at a drop of a hat. He left on his mission shortly after that. I wrote him a lot while he was out. He not only saved me that scary night, but he saved my spirit. In our letters, he never once talked to me about the church. But he treated me like a person, he never judged and he was just there. Always.

In December of 2008 after getting one of his letters, I took a look at my life. I didn’t like where my life was headed. It was a dark scary road that I no longer wanted to be part of.

At the time, I feel like my transformation took FOREVER. But looking back, it was pretty quick. But it was baby steps.

I started by moving back with my dad. I was living in a house with several roommates and there were always parties there. I figured I couldn’t change if I didn’t move. After I moved back with my dad, I said “No more sex, no more alcohol.” I was proud of my self for sticking with it. In June of 2009 I went to church for the first time in YEARS. I went with Jeron’s family before he came home from his mission. Jeron came home from his mission at the end of June and took me to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House on July 9 2009. I remember falling in love with this temple. In 2011 I took my endowments out at this temple. 🙂

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I also approached one of my old friends, Patricia. We had lost contact and our friendship fell apart when I started misbehaving. I apologized to her and asked if we could be friends again.

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I kept going to church. In September of 2009, I went to a Young Single Adult activity with Patricia’s ward. I met my husband there. My husband and I were not sealed when we were married, but we were sealed 13 months after.

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Thinking back on it, I pin point my mess of teenage years to that one summer day. I spent the day a lone with the JERK at his house. I think “If I would have never went there that day, I would have been a perfect teenager”. But that’s not true. If it wasn’t that day, it would have been another. I wasn’t armed with the knowledge that I needed to avoid it. This story is MY story. I may not be proud of my past, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for the mistakes I made.

I do however think this could have been avoided if sex would have been addressed early, often and thoroughly in my home. I will repeat: IT IS NO ONES JOB BUT YOURS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX. If you don’t talk to them about it who will? The boy your daughter has a crush on? Your son’s buddies? Will their curiosity lead them to pornography? Do you really think other children and the media are the most reliable source to teach your kids about sex? Do you really think their sex ed teacher will pull them each a side and tell them how special their purity is? If you think that, you are NAIVE! No wonder babies are having babies. I don’t want my daughter to have the same teen years that I did.

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Talk to your kids! Tell them how special their wedding night will be if they wait. Talk to them about dating and what is appropriate. Be involved in their lives. Make sure they aren’t going to some ones house a lone. Know their friends personally. Group dates are best. Dates should always be in public; group or single. Talk to your daughter about how boys should treat her. Defend her. Demand respect for your daughter. Teach your sons how to treat a lady. Teach them how to open doors. Make sure your son’s don’t honk for their date. In return, make sure your daughters don’t come out if her date does have the edacity to honk! Teach your kids to be respectful. Teach your kids the blessings of following Heavenly Father’s plan. Have a strict curfew. Set rules and follow through with consequences. You are not their friend, you are their parent. Help them feel special, beautiful and loved. Take them to church. Don’t shelter them. Sheltered teens are rebellious teens. Be an example. Dads, hold the door open for women. Moms, dress modestly. Demand respect for your self and your kids. Your kids will do what they see.

As you can see, there are lots of opportunities to approach this.  There are so many opportunities and no one takes them these days.

Teen pregnancy is 100% preventable. Guarding your kid’s purity is so so so so important!! If you need help, I’ve provided a few websites for resources. I also LOVE the way this mom talked to her daughter about sex.

www.stayteen.org

http://www.valuesparenting.com/talktokids.php

http://www.parenting.com/article/talking-to-kids-about-sex-21335549

Good luck.

-Amanda.

5 tips to keep your grocery budget low.

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Get this here.

RECAP: Last week I showed you how my family does their budgets. Did you create your fist budget? What did you learn? Have you made your own family budget? Need help? Let me know! I’m an open book! I’ll tell you anything you want to know! Remember to stick to it, it took us six months to get organized! It’s not easy at first, but it is so worth it. When you get your feet planted, and get comfortable with your budget it’s like riding a bike. It just comes naturally after that.

Everyone always asks how we can manage our grocery budget. We spend $40 a week on groceries. That amount will cover me, my husband and our one year old.  I don’t have a family of 12. Nor could I make $40 work for that large of a crowd. But we always have left overs for lunch the next day. That $40 dollars goes a long way.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. We go shopping weekly. If we don’t, food gets wasted and goes bad before we can use it. That is a WASTE of money.
  2. We only buy what we need. Seriously. If our recipe calls for ¼ cup onions, I buy the smallest onion I can find. And I’ll only buy one of them.
  3. We do our weekly menu plan around one kind of meat. Below are some examples of our weekly menu plan.
  4. We portion our meat so it goes further. When we buy large chicken breasts we slice them in half. Our whole family can be fed off of one chicken breast a night! Same with the ground beef! We buy the 10 lb log and can get 12 portions out of it. That $20 log will feed us for 12 nights!
  5. We menu plan by what we already have in the house. If we have 6 lbs of meat, we don’t need to buy any meat that week. We can focus on buying items like noodles, cream of chicken/mushroom soups, spaghetti sauce, and potatoes. You’d be surprised how many meals you can make when you only buy those ingredients. TONS!!
  • Chicken:

Chicken nuggets with homemade French fries

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken fajitas

Chicken Breast and potatoes.

Chicken and rice casserole

  • Ground Beef:

Taco’s

Lasagna

Sheppard’s pie

Stroganoff

Spaghetti

  • Steak:  (We rarely do this one because the variations of what we do with our steaks are limited. But it is my husband’s favorite. A whole week worth of steak dinners?! What man wouldn’t love that?)

Steak Fajita’s

Steak and potatoes

Again, this is just how we do it. We don’t always do $40; sometimes (like this week) we have cleaned out everything that we have in our freezer and pantry so we have to buy meat and the stuff to go with it. So this week we are budgeting $50. Next time I go shopping, I will show you my list and walk through how we do it. Neither our fridge nor pantry is ever stocked with oodles of snacks and junk. Like I said, we only buy what we need. We will buy snacks for our daughter though, like goldfish, pretzels or teddy grahams. Those types of snacks are essential to have in the diaper bag at any given moment. But we don’t overdo it. I can see everything that is in my pantry at all times.

I used to shop at Wal-Mart and do the price matching option that they have, but I have found that Winco is pretty competitive in their pricing. Now it doesn’t take an hour to make a shopping list. Going through all those ads is a lot of work. But Winco made it easier for us so we take our business there.

I hope this helps. Next week I’ll walk you through our shopping process and show you what we buy and what we do.

See you tomorrow!

– Amanda

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

YAY! I made it through week number one as a consistent blogger!! 🙂 Happy day! Last week we talked about finding your passions. Did you dig deep? Have you figured out what it is you want to do with your life? What goal did you set? Did you follow through with it?

My goal was to get week number one as a blogger under my belt. And I did it! I want to take a second to congratulate you on accomplishing your goal too! GOOD JOB!

Maybe some of you came a little shy of that goal. No worries. Keep working on it! Tomorrow is a brand new day. Just keep your head up, stay focused and put your heart and soul into what you are doing.

Today, I want to talk about schedules. As I made it through my first week of blogging, I decided that I NEED a schedule! If I don’t stick to it, I will burn my self out! My husband has to be to work at 4am. So I wake up with him at 2:30-3ish every morning. I also get so into blogging and social media and product design that I have been staying up till 11 or 12 at night. You do the math. That is seriously 3 hours of sleep. What am I doing to my self? By day three, I was falling asleep on my desk at work. NOT OK! So after my 10 minute accidental power nap, I said “No more!” I put my self on a schedule and the last 3 or 4 days have went pretty smoothly. Here’s my schedule:

2:30 am – Shower and get ready

3:30 am – get bags packed so Chelae and I are ready to head out the door at 6:35 am.

4:00 am – Blog. Only Blog. No email checking, no social media, just compose a blog.

4:30 am – Product design for the next day.

5:00 am – Social Media – post, share, tweet, pin. Make my self visible.

5:15 am – Maintain the ins and outs of Motivated Decor. This hour can include accounting, marketing, maintaining the website, or preparing products so they are ready for orders. I assign the task before the day begins and I devote that hour to just that task. Today, I will be preparing my products to show to Quilted Bear. I’m going to try to get a booth within their store! 🙂 Wish me luck!

6:15 am – Start closing down the computer and saving any files that I am working on. It often helps to set an alarm for this so I don’t push the limit. I was late to work a couple times last week. NOT OK!

6:20 am – take bags down to the car, get Chelae changed, bottle made, and bundled up.

6:35 am – out the door. Drop Chelae off at day care.

7:00 am to 4:00 pm – Day job. I often work on Motivated Decor related projects on my lunch break. I use this time to check emails, social media and stats of my posts. Or lunch is when I let my self relax and I squeeze in some quality reading time. I get an hour lunch.

4:00 pm to 7:00 pm – Family time. Play, Dinner, Clean

7:00 pm check stats, emails and social media.

7:30 pm Bath time routine.

8:00 pm Bed time. For our entire house. We all wake up early. We all go to bed early.

I have several reasons why I like to operate on a schedule.

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1. My family was suffering. Chelae was not getting the attention she deserved, our house was a mess and I didn’t feel like my husband and I were getting the time that we needed to catch up on things and keep that important marital bond. It’s good to be busy, but I started this with the intention to be able to one day quit my day job and give my family the attention the deserve. That was my driving force for it. Family comes first. Always.

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2. My work (at my day job) was suffering. Coming in late, social media alerts on my phone distracted me (my phone is on silent between the hours of 7am-4pm now) and falling asleep at work. How is that a valuable employee?! It’s not. It only took me one day of this behavior to realize that I should not let MY dream come in between my work. I’m not being paid by my day job to work on my dream job. I felt like I was stealing from my employer. They are paying me to help get things done. Not piddle around and sleep. I’d be pissed if one of my employees pulled that crap. I’m not going to be doing that. PERIOD!

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3. I was getting burnt out. I had to talk my self into doing the stuff that I loved. I was so tired that I just didn’t care. I really didn’t. I had to motivate my self to do something, including eat! I forgot to eat. One day I got really dizzy at work. My friend and co-worker (who I have kept up to date on Motivated Decor) was concerned. She asked if I  needed to eat something. I realized it had been almost 48 hours since I had a real meal. That is dangerous. I didn’t even realize it. Being a wife, mom, a full time employee, a blogger, business owner, designer and house keeper is a lot of work. But you need to take care of yourself! You have to set a schedule and stick to it or you will burn your self out.

Please don’t burn your self out! Be smart with your time. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your life. You only get one to live.

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Get this digital file here.

 

Thanks for visiting! Join me tomorrow for Thrifty Thursdays!

 

-Amanda