One of our cars, the one I drive, has decided it needs both a new transmission and radiator. When we lived in the states this wouldn't be as big of an issue as it is here in Germany. See, our extended warranty is only good in the states (gotta love fine print) so we are having to pay 4500 euro out of our savings. That equates to about 6400 US. So yeah, our family is going to have to live extra simple these next few months to not completely deplete our savings.
It won't be easy, especially since our family has all our birthdays and major holidays within a 2 1/2 months span of time. But at the same time I think it will be a fun adventure. As Americans we are used to getting everything we want when we want it. Most of the world doesn't live that way. They have very little and make it work. Now, we will have to learn to make do with what we have and be content with it. This forced simplicity will hopefully bring these lessons home for our kids (and us.)
Some serious changes will have to occur, like not eating out, but making sure our family is secure financially is far more important than not getting to eat at Christoph's or the donner kebab place. But in the end the lessons we will learn during this time will help us and our children to make better decisions about money and not be so tied to material wealth. (Oh, and don't buy ford)
This is linked up with five minute friday over at Gypsy Mama where it's all about relevant. And right now for my life this is what's relevant.
Well, the last couple weeks were more difficult for us to eat completely unprocessed. We had two soccer end of season parties to attend along with a busier than normal schedule. Aside from those few times though we did well.
Taking part in the unprocessed challenge this month has taught me a few lessons. First, cooking from scratch doesn't take too much extra time. We eat pretty much homemade most of the time, but not having the option of going out really made me work at cooking at home and reminded me that a extra five minutes won't kill me.
Second, cooking double (or more) batches saves time and sanity. With three little ones, a busy schedule, and hubby deployed I need to streamline life as much as possible. If I make a double batch then on those nights I really don't want to cook we have an easy meal that is so much healthier than a tv dinner.
Third, eating unprocessed for an entire month really helped boost my energy and health. Not having all the junk in my system honestly gave me more energy and has helped me not get sick when every other person we know has been hit with the first cold of winter. Maybe it was cutting out all the high fructose syrup or preservatives I don't know.
Fourth, it ended up saving us money. Most of the time people think that processed food is cheaper, but with rising food costs companies are lowering the amount of food in a product and increasing the price. It ended up being more cost effective to just buy the basic ingredients and make it myself.
I really enjoyed this challenge and I think I am going to try to continue on with it. Really, with the news we got today we kind of have to, but that is another post.
Our schedule was crazy this past week, but I managed to plug away at both my knitting and reading goals.
Still working on the dolls (need to get some filler material to stuff them with. That would be so much easier if there were a Joann's or something here. Guess I will have to do some exploring to find a craft store here in Germany. Fun.) and the wrap. The yarn for the wrap is so incredibly soft....there are times I get a tad distracted by the softness. Can't wait until it's done so I can wrap myself up in the coziness.
As for the books, The Tehran initiative was finished within a couple days of checking it out. Great read and a nice break from all the non-fiction I've been plowing through. Partway through both Simplicity Parenting and Grace for the Good Girl. Both of these are wonderful books and I am getting so much out of them.
After these are finished I think I am going back to my one book, one project rule. It allows me to focus so much better and retain more of what I am reading or learning. Well, the small man is still sleeping so I am off to hopefully get a couple more rows done on my wrap.
As a stay at home mama stuck with freezing cold weather for the next few months it is difficult to get dressed in much more than cozy sweats every day. It doesn't help that the hubby is deployed so I don't really have the motivation to look nice every day. But I want to set an example for my sweet girl and dress in a way I know pleases my honey.
So, I was super excited when I saw that Sarah Mae was hosting the Get Dressed Challenge. Each day there are motivotionals to encourage you along the way. I so need those. This will definitely be a challenge for me, but if I can pull it off it will be a good change. (Plus, this way I can get used to not just throwing on jeans and a hoodie and putting my hair in a knot. By the time my honey gets home I will be looking fabulous.)
Now I am off to get caught up on the motivotionals since I am a few days behind. :)
Moving to a new country. A husband who is gone more often than not....with limited communication. Homeschooling three little ones. Dealing with the delays of baby boy. Two cars....both broken. Dishwasher....also broken. Not being able to help family in need since they live a world away. Struggling to find community and purpose.
In it all Christ has been present. He has been good. Even in the midst of all the chaos He has provided for, nourished, carried me. Choosing to focus on the good, on His hidden purpose has changed my view on all the disappointment and pain. Digging deep into His Words and pouring my soul out in prayer has brought me closer to my Jesus than I ever was living my happy little life in America.
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"
Waiting, trusting, holding fast in my faith to see what is next on this journey.
This week was a little harder for us in eating unprocessed. Life intervened and so there were a few slips. But I would rather feed my kids a cheeseburger than risk a meltdown in the middle of running a zillion errands. And the chocolate cupcake decorating session with my littles was one I wasn't going to pass up.
So, other than those two times we are doing incredibly well at eating at home and not filling ourselves full of junk. It's given me more energy and it's been so fun to check out some of the recipes that others are making. And the money we save by making it and eating at home is great.
For some more inspiration on your unprocessed, whole foods journey check out these great reads....
It was a rough week for our little family (again....that seems to be the theme lately) and there was not much time spent online as I dealt with stress, sadness, and a whole host of other emotions. Most of my time was spent in prayer or taking care of the home and kids. But, a few thoughts inspired me this week and I hope they do you as well. Have a lovely weekend.
All of my lovely new needles and yarn arrived yesterday in the mail. So excited to start playing around. Still a bit nervous about attempting my wrap (with the dreaded increases) but after some practice and video watching I think I will be good to go.
Finished reading Rest and am now on to The Hole in Our Gospel. Rich Stearns makes a great argument that as Christ-followers we are not fully living out the entire Gospel as Christ wanted. Reading this has made contemplate making a few sweaters to send to those who need them. Because really, I have enough sweaters. :)
When life dumps on you it can be difficult to find God's purpose in all of the mess. Finding His goodness is something that at times I have to wait on. Now is one of those times. Between moving overseas, my husband deploying (again), incredible loneliness, and the dailyness of life it's difficult to remember that we have a hope, that God is there.
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God has promised to care for me, to do good, to not harm me. Rather than choose despair, moment by moment I choose to hope in Christ, to wait on Him. Holding on to the hope that life will at some point improve requires me to immerse myself in Christ and His words. To give my anxiety over to Him, to wait on Him. Hoping is never easy, but it's so much easier than giving up and giving in to despair. So daily I am choosing Christ and the hope I have in Him.
This week of the challenge was a grand success. Yay! Soccer was interrupted by weather and I was able to spend a bit of time in the kitchen getting food prepped and in the freezer so that I have easy meals on those crazy days.
Now, I do not expect every week to be as easy (well, in the food department at least). It is going to take some serious thought and planning to accomplish this for a whole month, but I am enjoying the challenge so far.
Deciding what is processed or not has been difficult at times. Eating Rules has a great post up on Defining Unprocessed (Pt. 2). This was so very informative and helpful. And it inspired me to try to make more from scratch.
Well, I'm off to make homemade alfredo with some sauteed veggies for dinner. Yum!
I have been working my way through the book The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting. It is an amazing book packed with so much information. And the directions are so clear and precise. (and as of right now pretty much the only book I am reading. Too many on my booklist and I can't decide which to read now) Now, I love creating and for me knitting is one of the easier, more relaxing ways to do so. Until I saw my next project. This could challenge my very basic skills.
I am making, well will be once my yarn gets here, the most gorgeous urban wrap. But in order to do so I have to increase. The basic stitches I have down. Now there is something new and a bit challenging. What if I completely wreck what I am trying to create? I am going to forge ahead though and just keep practicing. At least by the time my yarn gets here I should be a pro at increasing. Right?
In addition to working on increasing I am going to make super cute knit dolls. The pattern is for beginner knitter's like me so I don't foresee any catastrophes. I am planning on making the whole family of dolls and then sending some off to my little niece for her birthday. Now I just have to be sure to not get distracted by all the other fun crafting ideas over at wee folk art.
Life is hard right now. There is so much that is challenging me and going awry. Yet in it all there are little things that God sends my way to remind me to be grateful. So, I am joining in with Ann and counting the gifts that He has given to me and my family. (even if they don't seem like gifts)
I am a college educated woman. I have the freedom to choose to work or not. I have access to health care. I can vote. I can open a bank account. I can leave my home without my husband's permission. I can wear what I want. I do not live in fear. I am not oppressed.
Unfortunately, these statements are untrue for many, many women around the globe. They have few, if any, rights. Everything from health care to education to money to simple freedoms is limited and decided on by those in power over her (and that could be government, husbands, fathers, culture, etc).
I so want to help these dear women so that they can live a life that brings them joy, that allows them to live fully, to improve themselves and their families. Yet, I don't want to just throw money at the situation (although money at times is very much what is needed) or cause more harm by imposing my western ideas on another culture.
So, with that in mind I am choosing to educate myself on women and their rights around the globe. There are so many resources out there to learn more. Here's just a sampling.....
Read Half the Sky. Seriously. This book is amazing and eye opening. Also, contains a long list of aid groups that you can research and use to educate yourself.
Check out Newsweek's Women in the World. Packed with great information and covers a multitude of areas where women are not empowered. The magazine has also started a foundation, Women in the World, that aims to empower women and bring them out of oppression. Great links to some fabulous aid organizations and ways to help.
Women of Vision (a part of World Vision) is a great way to educate yourself and get involved. You can join a local chapter or if you live in an area (like me) without one you can join the international chapter which is online.
Knowing the why behind women's oppression and understanding the culture will go a long way in helping to effectively eradicate it. This will be an ongoing journey for me as I learn more and do my small part to make a difference.
Our family has been moving towards a more sustainable, healthy life for a while now and at times it has been difficult to sustain (like moving overseas) so I am loving the great ideas to stay motivated in this post.