Friday, July 31, 2009

PARTY GIRLS!!!!

On Tuesday night Julia and I were honored to attended a party in honor of Justin's aunt Kathy! She is getting married at the end of August to a great guy, and we are all very excited for her!!! The woman at her church wanted to have a little party in celebration of her upcoming wedding....we had a good time!
They had her all dolled up...don't miss the great "Bling Ring" she is sporting on her left hand....it even lit up....she said her actual wedding isn't quite as big as this one but it will do.
Well I guess not many people can say they took their two year old daughter to a Bachlorette party. Then again not many people probably have such parties in the church basement with friends and family snacking on yummy food, and playing some fun family-friendly games. Julia felt very "cool" that she got to go to a party with mommy...NO boys allowed!
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quilt Giveaway!


Want to win this quilt? Well head over here to enter!! I think it would great on my little Julia's bed!!!!




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Another Week...More Flowers in Bloom

I know it is a bit hard to see, but when we were camping for the Bluegrass Festival they had used this old ladder to display some hanging baskets. I thought that was a cute original idea!



I love the hot pink color of this Bee Balm!!! Gifted to me from my mil...

I am excited to share that I am getting together with my neighbor, Rita, to discuss planning a perennial flower swap for this fall!!! I have all these fun ideas swirling around in my head...but I am not sure how to work out some of the details. For instance, how do you decide who swaps with whom, when, and what about those who attend that are just getting starting with perennial flowers and really have nothing to swap. Those are just some of the details who need to figure out yet.....THEME COLORS....Who exactly who do we want to invite...a community thing...or perhaps just woman from our church......

I would love to hear your input on this idea!!! Have you ever been to a perennial flower party? What would you expect if you attended one? An educational class put on by a garden nursery....or local garden masters association?

I would just be delighted if you flooded my comment box with your input.....email me if you feel more comfortable........

Would you come if you heard about it and you were within reasonable driving distant?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seeking Financial Freedom Part 14



Welcome if you are visiting us for the first time here on Wednesdays!! If you want to start at the beginning of this series click on Seeking Financial Freedom on the right hand side of the screen..you will have to scroll down a bit to find it....

BUDGET is the word this week!! Okay so maybe that is too scary of a word.....so if you can't talk "budget" then let's talk about a SPENDING PLAN........whatever you call...it means making a plan on how you will spend your money which will enable you to stretch your dollar even farther!

Here is what the book has to say: (p130)

Why BUDGET?
Budgeting is not always fun, but it is the only way to follow through and apply what has been learned about getting out of debt, saving and giving while still meeting basic needs. Regardless of income, most of us have difficulty making ends meet unless there is a plan for spending. Expenses always tend to rise just a little higher than income.

Budgeting provides an opportunity to pray about spending decisions.

How to Budget (p. 131-138)

Step One: Begin where you are today

Developing a budget must begin with the current situation. Determine precisely how much money is earned and spent. Most people do not know what they are actually earning and spending. For this reason it is essential to keep a record of every penny for a month to get an accurate picture in order to complete an estimated budget.
I would recommend that you buy a little notebook (one that is small enough to fit in your purse or your pocket)
one for you and one for your spouse. Each time you spend any money write is down. When Justin and I did this we would write what we bought and how much we spent....it helped us to know exactly where we could be better stewards...(aka: figure out where we were throwing away our money)


If your wages are not the same each month ( like with a commissioned income), make a conservative estimate on your annual income and divide by 12 to establish a working figure for your monthly budget. The same goes for things like real estate taxes, insurance, vacations...estimate how much you spend on each, then divide by 12 to determine your monthly cost.



Step Two: The solution is where you want to be

To solve the problem of spending more than you earn, you must either increase your income or reduce your expenditures. It is that simple: Either earn more or spend less.

Adding to your income

A part-time job, or better yet, a project that would involve the whole family are ways of increasing your income. The ever-present danger of increasing income is the tendency for expenses also to rise. To avoid this problem agree ahead of time to apply any extra income to balancing the budget the budget. Another potential problem is that a family member may sacrifice relationships in order to earn extra money.





PERCENTAGE GUIDELINE FOR EXPENSES: (after giving & taxes)



Housing********** 25-38%



Food*************10-15%



Transportation**10-15%



Insurance********3-7%



Debts************0-10%



Entertainment***4-7%



Clothing*********4-6%



Savings**********5-10%



Medical/Dental** 4-8%



Miscellaneous***4-8%



School/Child Care*5-10%



Investments*******0-15%

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Estimated monthly Budget




Gross monthly income:_________________ 8. Entertainment_________


Salary:______________________________ Babysitters___________


Interest:_____________________________Vacation:____________


Dividends:____________________________ Pets:______________


Other Income:_________________________ Other:______________


LESS:============================== 9. Clothing:_____________


1. Giving:___________________________ 10. Savings:______________


2. Taxes:___________________________ 11. Medical Expenses:_____________


NET SPENDABLE INCOME:________________Doctor:_____________


==================================== Prescriptions:____________


LIVING EXPENSES Other:_______________


3. Housing:__________________________ 12. Miscellaneous:_______________


Mortagage/Rent:_________________________ Toiletries/Cosmetics:__________


Insurance:_____________________________ Cleaning/Laundry:____________


Property Taxes:_________________________ Allowances:____________


Electricity:_____________________________ Subscriptions:___________


Heating/Cooling:________________________ Birthdays/Anniver:_________


Water:_______________________________ Weddings/Showers:___________


Garbage Service:________________________ Christmas:________________


Telephone home:________ cell_____________ Postage:______________


Maintaince:____________________________ Other:___________


Other:_____________________________ 13. School/Child Care:____________


4.FOOD ______________________________Tuition:___________


5.TRANSPORTATION:___________________ Day Care:_________


Payments:____________________________ Other:___________


Gas & Oil:__________________________ 14. Investments:__________


Insurance:__________________


Maint./Repair:______________


6. INSURANCE:_________________


Life:___________


Medical:_____________


Other:_____________


7.DEBTS:______________


(excluding auto & house payments)


=====================================TOTAL LIVING EXPENSES:_________


INCOME vs LINVING EXPENSES:




Net Spendable Income:________________


Less TOTAL Expenses:_______________


SURPLUS or DEFICIT:_______________




Step Three: DO NOT STOP!!!!!


The most common temptation is to stop budgeting......Remember that a budget is your plan on how to spend your money...it shoud be reviewed on a regular basis.


PROVERS 24:3-4 "Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts. (LB)




COMMITMENT


Keep a careful record of all spending for the next 30 days to determine you rsurrent situation. After that, plan a budget suited to your income and personal goals. Put the budget into practice!




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All Children's Furniture Review!




I was blessed to get to review one of the many great products that ALL CHILDREN'S FURNITURE has to offer! I picked the Physics workshop kit....made by Thames & Kosmos to review. For those who don't know...My Lance is very logical thinking child who loves nothing more than to invent things, and figure out how they work. So I knew he would be thrilled with this kit! I was sooo right! The first night the "workshop" left the box, Dad was with them going through the book (that comes along with the physics workshop) and teaching them about gravity and force. All three of the boys loved experimenting with dad and learning all these fun new facts! The next day Lance moved on in the book all by himself and appeared to be beaming with his "simple machine creation! (pictured above) I was so impressed he did all of it by himself!


In detail here is what the kits includes: recommended for ages 8+


*64 page book


*305 pieces


*36 building projects


*37 experiments




Here are a few things you can build with this kit:


*wind power generator


*crane


*pendulum clock


*sail car


*mars robot


*pin ball game


*hammer machine


*centrifuge


*force scale




Experiment with:


*gears


*levers


*screws


*inclined planes


*pulleys


*wheels


*axles


The Children's Furniture Company offers several different types of kits for you to choose from if this sounds like something your children would love to do. Be sure to check out all the great beds, bookshelves, and toys they have to offer!




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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am AUNT again!!!

Here is my beautiful new niece, Maggie Ann Keefer, born this morning at 7:02AM.
She weighed in at 8-8 and is 21 inches long! We are so excited your here Maggie, although we know mommy is really glad you here since you made her wait a few extra days to see you!!!!
Here is the BIG brother, my nephew Ben,he was so sweet looking her over for the first time. He is excited to have her here and we are sure he will be a BIG "help" to mommy and daddy.
Just in case you care, I enjoyed cuddling with her for some time this morning as well! OHHH it felt so great to have a baby in my arms again.......I look forward to snatching her up any time I get the chance!!!
CONGRATS Bob & Janelle.......WELCOME Maggie!!!!
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Daddy's Love of Music

Not this past weekend, but the previous one the Gaertegang loaded up and headed out for a weekend of camping at a Bluegrass Gospel Festival only about 1/2 from our house....were The Blue River Boys we putting on four great shows (2 on Sat. and 2 on Sun.) of Bluegrass gospel music. I would have to honestly say I think they did a great job and they were the best "shows" they had done...For some reason most of my pics of them playing turned out a bit dark...so here is one of Jessica (Justin's sister) and Justin singing together.
As you can see some little member of the Gaertegang was so excited to go camping he wore himself out before we even got there. (Zach)

I wish they always liked each other this much......
Julia hanging out on the church pew listening to Daddy play some music...


This shot I totally love! I think it would be even better in black and white!! I was happy that I was able to get some great group photos of the kids!
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Garden Update!

Well I have harvested some lettuce, green beans, and also cabbage from the garden thus far!!! Our tomatoes, as well as the corn, is coming on in full force...how exciting....but lots of work go along with that bountiful harvest! I am so pleased with how the whole process has went this year with restarting our veggie garden again, and I am even more thankful for those special moments I have has together with the kids in the garden. Teaching them how to plant seeds, nourish and water the plants...teaching them about commitment, and all the hard work of weeding that goes along with a garden. I love those special one on one talks that I have been able to have with my boys while they help me when no one else is around! I am especially thankful for the great times we have spent in prayer together giving thanks for the veggies God has blessed us with.....we do this right after we harvest the veggies in our basket...and again before we get ready to eat them at the table.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and having your own special moments to cherish!
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Hip-T Winner!

CONGRATS to Amanda!!! Entry number 50! You get to choose the Hip-T of your choice....I emailed you with all the details you have 48 hours to reply!
Thanks to all who entered!! Be sure to enter my New Giveaway....Think in INK!!!!
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Think in Ink Review/Giveaway

I was so excited to get these goodies in the mail from Alice at THINK IN INK!!!! Ever heard of this company? Let me tell you about, the company offers these fantastic professionally illustrated wordless book kits that allow your child to write and publish their own book. Included in the kits is a pad of sticky lined paper (so the kids can jot down there ideas...brainstorm), a pencil, and the book of your choice. The books gives lots of great suggestions on what makes a great story, questions you might want to ask your little author (to help develop the story). In the back of the book it gives great suggestions on words the kids can use to add variety to their word choices. After the child finishes the story, you go back through what the child has wrote and help them proof read it. Now this would also be opportunity to help them add in more details to there story.......Then when the creation is complete and proof read you can actually have these books made into an actual book, hard cover and all!

I loved everything about this company! I love that I could sit and do this project with my kids and hear all of their imaginative ideas . I think it is great that this company is offering a project that really bring you into your child's world,while you help them to create something they can be very proud of.

THINK IN INK products would make a great addition to anyone's homeschooling items, a great gift for that creative and imaginative little person in your life.....a nice change from the toys they don't need anyway.....

I hope all this FUN sounds like something you would interested in having for your self!
THINK IN INK is giving one of my great readers the book kit of your choosing!
Here is what you can do to WIN ONE FOR YOURSELF!!!!
Open to Us residents only...Deadline is August 4th 2009 at NOON!

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry....(up to five entries!)

1. Visit THINK IN INK and tell me which book you would pick.
2. Sign up to FOLLOW Gaertegang or tell if you already do!
3. Subscribe to Gaertegang!
4. Blog about the giveaway...leave me the link.
5. Twitter or Facebook about the giveaway

What are waiting for ENTER NOW!!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seeking Financial Freedom Part 13



Welcome if you are visiting us for the first time here on Wednesdays!! If you want to start at the beginning of this series click on Seeking Financial Freedom on the right hand side of the screen..you will have to scroll down a bit to find it....

Hello again and Happy Wednesday!! It's time for gaining some more knowledge on how to be better stewards of the money the Lord has given us!!!

Topic for this week:Children-The ABC's of Money

OHHHH Boy! We are talking about a great topic this week...Teaching our kids the value of a dollar.....listen to what the book wrote (p.118)

Answer this question: When you left home, how well prepared were you to make financial decisions? Parents and teachers spend 18 to 22 years preparing youth for occupations but generally less than a few hours teaching children the value and use of the money they will earn during their careers.
To teach biblical principles of handling money, parents should use three methods: verbal communication, modeling, and practical experience.

Verbal communication: (p118) We are instructed in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 to teach and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. They need more than verbal instruction.....they need a good example!
Modeling:(p.119) Parents need to be models on how to handle their money faithfully.
1 Corinthians 11:1 "Be imitators of me, just as I am in Christ." God gave us His written Word, the Bible, and also sent the perfect model, Jesus Christ, to demonstrate how we should live.
Practical Experiences: (p119)Children need to be given the chance to apply what they have seen and heard. This will benefit the child in money management (the art if wise spending) and money making (the value of work).

Income: As soon as the child is old enough for school is when the book recommends giving an allowance. Of course the amount will vary according to age, the chore lists, and the family budget. You can expect your child to make money handling mistakes at first...they are learning....it is so important that you DO NOT BAIL THEM OUT!!!!! His mistakes will be his best teacher....when he spends all his money in one day!
You do need to make some boundaries and offer some advice along the way.....be sure not to put to many "rules" in place that will limit the learning experience.
We struggled with this at first because we don't feel like we should pay our kids to help do things they should do anyway......but when we got the perspective of letting them earn money for chores so they could be better equipped to handle money we were on board. We also agree with paying our kids to do "extra work". These would be things they are not normally suppose to do........helping to rake leaves in the fall, helping you to clean out the basement...you get the idea....

Budget: Begin with a simple system! GIVE, SAVE, SPEND..you can use three boxes, mason jars....whatever you have on hand...When they see that the SPEND money jar is empty..they know they have no money to spend....simple! As they get older you can expand the "Budget areas".

Giving: Start them while they are young....get them in the frame of mind that giving is IMPORTANT! Make sure they understand the impact their gift has.

SAVING: Make sure your kids understand the importance of compounding money over time. As your child grows establish short-term savings and long-term savings.....to a four year old saving for even a small purchase can seem like forever!

Debt: Teach your children how important it is to avoid debt. Make sure they understand how hard it is to get out of debt!

Crown Financial Ministries has resources for teaching all these principles..WE USE IT!!!! I woudl encourage you to visit them and invest the money in teaching your children...you won't be sorry you did!!! It is worth the money I can personallly testify to it!!!!

Just so there is no confusion....I am not being paid to say any of this....Crown Finanical is unaware that I even exist.....I have many of their books and LOVE to let people know about great resources such as the ones they offer.......


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reminder!!!!

Just in case you forgot!!!!! If you did not win the Gift Certificate (Yahoo Nicole!) that Piggy Paint so generously gave away....Do not depair.....you can still take advantage of the discount they are offering to Gaertegang readers!!


Your coupon code is: GGANG15L Expiration : August 15, 2009
Use that code for 15% off anything you order from their site!!!! Including sale items.

Spend over $25 and domestic shipping is FREE! Yippeeee!!

Visit Piggy Paints now to save some $$$$$



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Piggy Paints Winner is.....

CONGRATS to Nicole for winning a $20 gift certificate to Piggy Paints!!!!!
I am sure your little 1 1/2 year old will look fantastic with her little nails all painted up!!!!!

Thanks to all who entered and be sure to enter my Hip-T giveaway if you haven't already...deadline is FRIDAY at NOON!!!! (click on the pic at the top to enter!)

Also stop by tomorrow and check out my review from a company called THINK IN INK!!! What a great company...can't wait to share with you what they are all about...PLUS my Seeking Financial Freedom Series continues tomorrow........Lots of fun happening around here....Sign up to Follow or Subscribe so you won't miss anything.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things!

Well today was our first run at how our home school schedule will work this year.
IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW: I am schooling 3 kiddos this year Lance is my 3rd grader, Caleb is a 1st grader, and Zach is my preschooler. Since we started home schooling Lance, we have used ABeka Curriculum. We have continued to use it because we find that it works well for OUR family......so many great options and curriculums to pick from....but for now this is what we are sticking to. I enrolled Lance in the DVD program that Abeka offers for the first time this year.....Basically that means "they do the teaching" instead of me. I felt I needed that this year because I was really wanting to continue working with Caleb on all his foundational learning such as phonics, math, and reading. My little 4year old, Zach, seems to struggle with his pronunciation of sounds......the ENT doctor said it is a result of all the ear infections he has had plus all the fluid on his ears issues....which is also why he has had 2 sets of tubes and his adenoids out......anyway I feel like I need to start with him now on helping to fix these phonic/speech issues.
With all that being said, today was not the day I pictured. I had high expectations of a great day since I was all organized and ready to go.....Well someone forgot to tell my kids that! I felt like we were a house in total disarray at moments...and we were...some moments lasting longer than others. Also my hubby has been working from home today, which translates into also trying to keep everyone semi-quiet so he can talk to customers on the phone. So at times today, I felt like my whole day was completely out of my control! ( Hmmm maybe a lesson here for me......Give it ALL to God!)
Overall I am really pleased with what we got accomplished today...so now I need to go back and maybe assign what order these things should be done it to make it work better for all involved. I find it a challenge to keep the little ones who are not schooling out of the hair of the ones trying to school......One day I hope to have a special space just for schooling (and an office where hubby can close himself off away from where we are trying to conduct normal day business), but for now I am making what we have been blessed with work.
I know I can't be the only one who struggles with "making this all work out", but it is easy to feel that way! So I'm gonna dust myself off and try again tomorrow.....with a few changes....probably some prayers on my behalf will be needed......thanks in advance for praying for me!
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Mommy Moment Monday!

It's been while since I have added in a Mommy Moment Monday, truth be told it is only because my brain has become mush after four children and I just can't remember things long enough to blog about them! Sad, i know, but it's the truth none the less.....So here is a moment that struck me as one I should share.....Last night as we put the kids to bed, Lance asked that someone turn out the night. I said "Well your bed it the one right by the light so you can go ahead and turn it off." Then Caleb said...."Ya now that is a good idea (in a sarcastic tone.....)" Lance replies, "Your gonna pay for that Caleb...." Caleb says "I can't I don't have any money!" This was all followed by a room full of laughter!!!!
I totally love it when they say crazy funny things like that. I only wish I could remember them all so I could write them all in a little book and treasure them all as the years pass me by.......
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Looking for a Button!

I am looking for someone who is willing to make Gaertegang a button....I don't have the "know-how" and I know some of you are blessed with the resources and the know-how....so send me an email if you are interested in whipping on up for me...I would appreciate it so much!!

Have a GREAT weekend!
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday's Gracious Giveaways....

Don't forget to check out Friday's Gracious Giveaways over at "Our Homeschool Fun"....Susana has two giveaways going right now!
1. It's A Girl Thing ends 7/24 2. Wishes and Whimsies ends 7/31
Other bloggers can link up and add their own giveaways as well (see the rules before linking)...FUN! Be sure to add to your list of places to check out each Friday for more giveaways.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Boys Just Wanna Have Fun!!!

I am finally sharing these great "BOY" photos from several weeks ago when we had a few extra of our friends come over and play!!!!! They wore those helmet the ENTIRE day!!!!
From the left Zach, Caleb, Zane and Julia in the back...Lance, Justice, and Josiah in the front!
They had so much fun running around playing together....I think it is funny that I had 3 extra kiddos in my care yet it was EASIER...no fighting....no boredom......Does anyone else ever feel that way? I know it does not always work that way......GREAT TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seeking Financial Freedom Part 12

Welcome if you are visiting us for the first time here on Wednesdays!! If you want to start at the beginning of this series click on Seeking Financial Freedom on the right hand side of the screen..you will have to scroll down a bit to find it....
This week we will be addressing INVESTING....
All of the little details of investing I am pretty uneducated about......I get lost when people start talking about Money market, bonds, stocks, ect, ect....This is actually an area Justin and I are trying to get some counsel. If any of you have a wealth of knowledge, or know a Christian Financial Advisor we could talk with PLEASE feel free to email me and pass along that info.....
Here is a story to open the chapter...FROM THE BOOK:
One problem Allen and Jean wanted to address was their inability to save. "We've never been able to save consistently," Jean admitted. "We realize this has been a mistake, and we've suffered for it." Every time the car broke down or something else went wrong, we ended up going in debt because we didn't have savings to pay for these unexpected expenses. What should we do?"
So this week we will address this question.....But before we do, I thought I'd share this tidbit of info. According to one source, the average person in our nation is three weeks away from bankruptcy. He or she has little or no money saved, significant monthly credit obligations and a total dependence on next week's check to keep the budget afloat.
WOW!!!! We are a nation in trouble!!!! This book was also wrote way before this country was in the economic state we are currently facing. So stay put to get some encouraging advice, and Godly counsel from the author, Howard Dayton.
Proverbs 21:20 "The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets."
The first question you need to be HONEST and ask yourself is....which "man" does my family look like??? The wise man or the foolish man?
~~WARNING~~Answering this question in a very honest way, may cause you to make some remarkable changes in your life.
~~~~~HOW TO SAVE!~~~~~
Justin and I learned this important principle when starting our journey to FINANCIAL FREEDOM: The first thing we do when we get paid is write a check to our church. Then we write a check to the missionaries we support. Second, we pay ourselves. The reason behind this principle for us was knowing that we have given back the FIRST fruits of our income, not what is left over. The other reason is similar for paying ourselves second. We wanted to make sure that we are always adding to our savings. We found that if we waited until after the bills were paid , the cars are full of gas, groceries were bought, and misc. stuff was taken care of WE WERE OUT OF MONEY! By tithing and paying yourself (in that order), you learn what your monthly "spendable income" is and then learn to life within those means if you are not currently doing so.
The book advises "Steady Plodding". This is how they explain it (p 101)...
The fundamental principle you need to practice to become a successful investor is to spend less than you earn. Then save and invest the difference over a long period of time.
Proverbs 21:5 "Steady plodding brings prosperity, hasty speculation brings poverty."

I wanted to share this important piece of the puzzle with you that the book addresses. (p105)
It is scripturally permissible to save and invest ONLY when we are also giving. Jesus told a parable that illustrates the danger of saving without giving.

I won't take the time to type it all out but I strongly suggest you look it up in your Bible and see what Luke 12:16-21,34 has to say.

This chapter about investing talk about so much more: long-term and short-term saving, wills, inheritance, investment goals, avoiding risky investments, unacceptable investment goals.......but I think I will just keep in simple with where we need to start........

COMMITMENT: Establish a pattern of saving. Start with you next paycheck!

Feel free to chime in whenever you like... I love reading your comments and hearing feedback from you more than you know!
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Mid-Week Funny!!!


A funny thing happened last week I thought I would share......I had to get a few things at the store before taking all the kiddos with me to the Pediatrician's office for check ups for Lance and Julia.....Bravely off I went and peanut butter was one of the three things we needed to get. Lance saw this HUGE 6lb canister and said "Mom this baby is what we need!" After looking at the front I saw it read "Great for Daycare (check we meet that requirement), Schools (yep we meet that one too), and Restaurants (yep again)" Well I thought since we met all the standard places that need this HUGE canister we better take it home with us :) Now I smile every time I open the cupboard and see this huge red thing!!!!

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