It's Almost Time To Party

Well, it's almost time to have a debt free party!

As of October 21, 2009 we are officially medical debt free. We own our dear son B, my bed rest, and the remainder of Daniel's back! Now we only have our car left and are trying feverishly to have it paid off by June of 2010. We'll keep you posted as we get closer.

It really is quite amusing and exciting to no longer be sending out loads of money each month to the hospital.

Thank-you God.


Praise The Lord

The Lord's faithfulness is great!

After two plus years of struggling and striving to make sure B is growing strong and healthy we got great news yesterday! He is now officially in the 25th percentile for growth! We've had progress for quite some time now but yesterday's news came as a huge relief to me personally.

See, this is the thing, I've literally busted all out trying to help B get all the best nutrition he can. Researching different foods, reading about kinds of fat, learning cheaper ways to eat these nutrient packed foods, and always keeping a checklist of his calorie intake in the back of my head.

However, the most important thing was prayer. B was never expected to be this high on the percentile chart and never "supposed" to fully potty train before the age of five due to gastrointestinal issues. I am confident the Lord is healing our Little Man. There is your proof. If you ever doubt what the Lord can do just hug B next time you see him and remember.

Trusting the Lord for great and wonderful things in our family's future.


It's The Simple Things

Most of you know we enjoy keeping life simple around here. Most of you also know we're human, we mess up, and we make things complicated that don't need to be.

This past weekend we were blessed by friends to be able to go to Baltimore, Maryland. We decided to devote an entire day to The National Aquarium. We packed up all we'd need, minus the stroller as it's not allowed, and even got permission for B to bring his own lunch. We didn't opt for a lot of the "extra's" at The National Aquarium because we felt our little ones would be entertained by the standard exhibits.

We had a great time! We saw everything from sharks to jellyfish. The kids had great spirits even with no naps that day. Then we went to the hotel to crash. We ate, watched television (which is rare for us), walked around the harbor, ate Twizzlers (which is rare for us too), and hung out as a family.

When we were finally on our way home we asked the kids "What was your favorite part?".
Hint, this is where simplicity comes in.
It wasn't the $80 to get into the aquarium, it wasn't the toys they picked out while we were there, it wasn't the dolphins, or the TV.

A said, "Mama, the hotel was wonderful. The best part was sleeping on the fuzzy blanket with my brother."

B said, "Boats". Perhaps I should elaborate a little on his response. He's referring to the boats we saw out the window of the aquarium in the harbor.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not bummed these were my kids favorite moments. These are precious, I will scrapbook them, and I'm thankful they had a good time. However, maybe next time we'll hang out at the hotel, watch television, swim in the pool, and order room service.


Redefining Our Definition Of Peace

I know all women have days where their expectations are not met. We don't finish our to do list. Our kids dirty the house quicker than we can clean it. Bills need paid at the end of the day. Illness puts our plans on hold. Work is demanding and your weekends are too short. 

Sometimes we handle this with grace and ease. Other times we crumble in defeat. Here's encouragement for the days we feel defeated and discouraged:

"Contrary to [what the media tells us], peace doesn't come in a package of bubble bath. It's not found in a tub or even behind a closed door. Peace comes when we fix our minds on God and on his stability in our chaotic days. No matter who is tromping a mess across our floors or standing impatiently at our doors, the unchangeable God is in charge of our days. Knowing that for a fact is peace." - Mom's Devotional Bible

"You will keep perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down-the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of righteousness is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth."
Isaiah 26:3-7



Things I've considered giving up for the season of Lent...

-junk food, more specifically only eating whole foods, drinking only herbal tea and water
-spending extra money, only spending on food, passing on any item that is a "want"
-saying anything even remotely negative about my hubby, who really, truly is quite wonderful 
-running, I don't think that one counts though
-not meal planning, meaning I would diligently meal plan for the next 4o days
-not being a good steward of my time, forcing myself to better plan every day, even the ones when I stay home all day

What are your thoughts?

The McLaughlin's Economic Plan

Without trying to stir up any financial controversy, I just have to share with you what budget is working for us.

We've gone through seasons of using only cash, using only debit cards, and a mix of the two. However, at the end of the day, what works best for us is cold, hard cash, Baby. You can click on the link to Dave Ramsey if you're unfamiliar with this approach, it's on the right hand side of our blog. Literally, the only downside is the unsightly envelopes that we carry around. Once they finally gave up and fell apart we moved on to a canceled check file. Let's face it though, it's not cute, it's purely functional. While function is the bottom line, let's have some frugal fun in the process...

You can find these beautifully, upgraded files at Etsy.com, keyword MyLilBudgetBook, they start at $14.95. Or if you're blessed like me to have a sister, who prefers to use the right side of her brain, beg her to make you one, two, or even four! That's exactly what I've done! She has joyful agreed! Now as soon as I can pick out my fabric (the best part) she'll make me some. I'll post pictures once I get them back, upgraded of course!


Decorating Ideas

Here are some decorating ideas I'd like to incorporate into our house

Comfy yet beautiful chair

Tuscan Bath Accents

Neutral Bedding


I Took The Winter Off!

Eeek! Our Winter is over! I can hardly believe it! We had great family time and made precious memories. 

A is quite the Daddy's Girl. She loved helping Daddy look for deer and playing Mom. This week she folded an entire load of laundry all by herself! 

B learned to walk this Winter and he has new words everyday! Yesterday was "open" and "off". He's doing very well health wise which is so refreshing.

Daniel and I got away by ourselves twice this Winter! Once for a long weekend marriage retreat and once for a week long, all expenses paid Caribbean Cruise! Thanks Potomac :) 

We finished up at the Baptist church Daniel had been leading at and are now attending a non-denominational church. We've been there since the first of the year. We're quickly falling in love with the church and the people there. 

As always the Lord has been, is, and will be faithful! 

Here's to the end of Winter and the sweet memories we have left to remember it by!