Oat Almond Spelt Pancakes

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Almond Flour (I used sprouted almonds that I got from the farmers market + ground them in the blender until finely ground. You can try it with regular almonds too)
  • 1 3/4 Cup Oat Flour (Take rolled oats and grind them in the blender until finely ground)
  • 1/2 Cup Sprouted Spelt Flour ( I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt (Like this one)
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • dash of cinnamon (optional)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 3 Organic Eggs
  • 1 Tbs Real Maple Syrup (Like this kind)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk ( I used Hemp Milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Heat up your griddle (I use this one). Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with a whisk. Make a well then add the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour batter onto griddle. Wait til it bubbles before flipping! Serve warm topped with real maple syrup, honey or fresh fruit.

ENJOY!

 

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favorite lunch supplies

So my son just started elementary school last week! I can’t believe he is in TK! I don’t know if I will cry or be happy. haha He is very excited about school and I guess I can’t wait to see how he likes it and how he does. I’m going to be making lunches for him so I wanted to share with you some of my favorite finds! I have been making lunches for about a week now and it’s been much easier then I thought! I will be sharing some lunch and snack ideas over on my instagram and my private group on facebook. Head on over and check it out! Hope everyone has a great school year!!

Lunch Boxes

This is by far my favorite lunch box! It’s a bit pricey but with all that you get I think its worth the investment! It is super easy to open making it easy for my son to enjoy his lunch!

I sometimes use this lunch bag if If I am giving an odd sized or packaged item like seaweed, an apple or banana. You can still use the planetbox if you have ONE of those items by placing it in the front pocket of the bag where the water would go, but if it’s more then one of those type of  odd size item then this bag is great for that. I like that you can easily clip it on the backpack or fit it nicely inside the backpack.

I like this lunchbots lunch box  too. It has great compartments to fill with all kind  of yummy food. The only thing is its a little hard for my 5 year old to open so I use this one when I make lunches on the weekends and will save it for when he is a bit older.

This lunchbots lunch bag is a perfect companion to any of your lunchbots stainless lunchboxes (Like the one I shared above).

For Snacks

I pretty much use this Itzy Ritzy sandwich bag along with the 2 extra compartments that came with the planetbox lunch box for snacks every day. It has worked great!


This one is great for on the go snacks. I use it mostly for my toddler. Once Nico can open this one on his open will be perfect to take with him to school for his snacks.

Water Bottles

I love this straw sippy cup because it is insulated, doesn’t leak and is easy to use! It does have a few parts that go with it, but you can easily replace the straws if you need to in the future.

I just spied this water bottle and will be getting it soon to try out! Love that it is all stainless steel and insulated as well!

Extras

This thermos insulated container is perfect for warm food that you will send for your kid to school. Think soups, rice, lentils, noodles, oatmeal, or anything that you want to keep warm.

Love these utensils to send along with my son to eat his food.

Another great option for utensils are these bamboo ones!

I definitely like to send my son with a reusable napkin. These ones looks super cute and are affordable.

I’m going to be using these molds to put green smoothies in and freeze. You can also use these to put yogurt in if you like!

You will need one of these ice packs for your planet box lunch box!

These are great to have as well to help keep lunches and snacks cool.

These are cute sandwich cutters. I have the train one and my son loves it when I cut his sandwich out with it. Makes it fun for them when they are young.

These look so cute they are going on my wish list!

These are super cute and you can use them to cut out some fruits and veggies for lunches!

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I’m so thankful for my mom who instilled this message in me. She always encouraged me to follow my passions and supported whatever it was that I wanted to follow. From playing volleyball, basketball, dancing to becoming a Christian, and even to moving away for college she allowed me to experience and go through things to help me be who I am today. As we experience life from college, to career life, to becoming a wife and then a mother we will be tossed back and forth a few times as we make decisions and figure out what it is we ultimately want to do with our life. It can become confusing at times. I remember when I first became a mom and realized how many different parenting philosophies and ways of raising our children there are. It confused me and drove me nuts! I am not a fan of labels and I think its because I don’t believe there is ONE way of doing something. Ultimately, it was when I searched from within and looked to God, and remembered who I am, where I found peace in knowing that I am doing a great job regardless of what anyone else was doing. We are all different as human beings and as mothers. Embrace those differences and encourage one another to be the best version of yourself you can be!  We need to unite as mothers, because it surely does “take a village.” I never really understood that message until I became a parent. I am so thankful for all of my friends who have helped me! There are also so many that have gone before us who we can learn from. So take advantage of that!! Never hesitate to talk to other mothers who you respect and look up to so they can help you in this wild ride called motherhood. There are also lots of great blogs, websites, and books who have helped shape the way I do things. But ultimately, the #1 peice of advice I can give you is to dig deep inside of who you are and listen to that motherly instinct when making decisions for your family. Realize that you WILL make mistakes, but be gentle and patient with yourself and know that YOU are a GREAT mother! BE YOU! This goes for all aspects of life. The way you eat, the clothes you wear, the job you have, the house you live in, the traditions you create with your family and so on. When we are totally consumed by social media we can become way too influenced by others that we can forget who WE are. It can be good and bad. Good because you can see there are some ways you can improve who you are. But you will drive yourself crazy trying to be all sorts of people or change all sorts of things about yourself. Of course we can always improve and become better, but go easy on yourself. Love yourself.  Take it one step at a time and don’t forget to see the great and unique qualities that you can offer the world. Be confident in who you are. That is when you will begin to truly find your passion and what you want to put out in the world. BE YOURSELF. BE YOU! You may go through some challenges, discover new ideas, learn new things and that is great! Be humble! That is where you will grow into the person God has created you to be and you will find your ultimate purpose. I feel so fulfilled doing what I do, and that is sharing my passion of helping families live happier and healthier. I have created a private Facebook group called WHOLE FAMILIES LA for anyone who wants to join. I absolutely love connecting with people and the group is a great way to do just that. The purpose of the group is to build a POSITIVE support community for parents and caregivers to give and get advice for all areas of parenthood as well as to provide resources and tips for living a happy, healthy lifestyle. I will be sharing my blog posts there as well as other tips and resources for families and would love to learn from you as well!! Let’s continue to grow, learn and become the BEST version of ourselves that we can be! xo

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Whole Families LA

I wanted to invite all of my wonderful readers to a new group that I created. It is a private Facebook group called WHOLE FAMILIES LA and I am very excited about it!! It will be a great community for families of all ages to give and get support. This group was created to build a POSITIVE support community for parents and caregivers to give and get advice for all areas of parenthood as well as to provide resources and tips for living a happy, healthy lifestyle. You can read the full description of the group and join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WholeFamiliesLA/

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“We are told that if we are beautiful, if we are skinny, if we are successful, famous, if we fit in, if everyone loves us then we will be happy…but that is not entirely true. The most important journey I think all of us will go through is the journey within ourselves, to find our truth, to find who we are and what makes us happy.”

This weekend I went on an amazing women’s retreat with my church. It was an inspiring time full of laughter, tears, inspiration and bonding. I always love going to these events because it helps rejuvenate me and draw me closer to God. When I saw the video above it reminded me of my time there. The theme was called “Empowered” and one of the lessons taught by our amazing elder Erlyn Sugarman talked about how we need to be empowered through surrender. She talked about how many times we can have pity parties with ourselves. Whether it be us feeling we aren’t pretty enough, tall enough, or skinny enough. Or maybe we are going through a health challenge and just feeling down. Whatever it may be we need to accept it and surrender it to God. How do we do that? By daily “pep talks” with God through our daily quiet times with him. He is the one who can give us strength to change what we need to and if it is something we cannot change (like our height! lol) the ability to accept that is how he created us. Pray for God to change your perspective!! How wondrous life can be seen though heavens eyes rather then earthly eyes. How long has it been since you picked up your bible and prayed? As busy moms we can sometimes be so rushed and busy that we forget to have our daily times with God and rely on our own strength to get through the day. It’s challenging enough being a mom. We need to call on God for our strength and encouragement to help us fight those daily battles. The scriptures teach us what God’s purpose is for our life and teaches us how to truly be happy. Fame, beauty, success, wealth… none of these things will truly fulfill the longing in your heart. But God… He can do that! Let us fix our eyes on him and be content in whatever circumstances we are in. Let us remember that God created us for a wonderful purpose. Think about what your talents and passions are and use those to glorify Him rather then our own selfish ambitions. God can use us to do incredible things and can use EVERYONE! Never be defined by your past. Be DONE with it! “What to be is up to ME!”

Other take aways from the lessons shared over the weekend:

  • Don’t let other peoples opinion of you define you.
  • Don’t sell your identity for compliments from others.
  • Look to the higher source for our definition of worth.
  • God sometimes closes doors on us, but with a plan! (Think Hannah)
  • Be willing to go the long haul in prayer.
  • Pray earnestly, fervently and transparent in prayer.
  • Prayer is essential to the survival of our marriages and relationships.
  • Change YOU first. Don’t look at others to blame.
  • Prayer teaches us to be JOYFUL always.
  • The message of the cross is love and forgiveness. It gives you the power to overcome.
  • God wants us to develop and reach or fullest potential to make a difference.
  • There are certain things only YOU can do and only certain people YOU can reach out to.
  • Let your light shine!

*Proverbs 14:30* “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Thank you to Erlyn, Jennifer  and all of the other women who shared from their lives and have called me to be empowered through surrender, prayer, and purpose!! Be YOU and be the best version of YOU that you possibly can. Allow God to use you in powerful ways and don’t allow Satan to steal your joy and rob you of the beautiful life He wants you to live.

Here is a beautiful video that some lovely women from our church created!

2016 EmPOWERed Retreat from OneTwenty on Vimeo.

 

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Move Why excercise is important

GET MOVING! This is #3 of my top tips for living a healthier, happier and longer life. This is probably one of the most that people struggle with, because they have NO TIME. How many of you can relate!? I can!! There are times when this gets forgotten due to appointments, getting the kids to school, volunteering and work. Maybe you are a busy stay at home mom with a toddler, or maybe you work full time. Whatever the reason you feel you don’t have time to work out is, I encourage you to think of creative ways to get at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity worked into your every day life. Get creative and multi task if needed. For stay at home moms take your baby out on a nice stroller ride to a nearby park or around the block. For full time employees if it’s possible ride your bike to work to get your exercise in, or work out during your break for 15min. If you have a desk job it’s even more important for you to get up out of your seat for at least 2 minutes every 30min to stand and move a bit. Check out this study where it shows that lowering your physical activity had a direct correlation with blood sugar levels spiking after meals. Spikes and swings in blood sugar after meals have been linked to the development of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. So think about ways you can make movement a priority in your life.

Movement facilitates the development of increased blood vessels that carry learning-essential water, oxygen and nutrients to the brain. By moving your body each day you will improve your mood, boost energy levels, fight heart disease and stroke, look and feel better, manage stress, lose weight, and have better chances of a low risk and natural pregnancy.

It’s also important for our children! Check out this article that shows how movement is essential to learning. It demonstrates that movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to (1) strengthen learning, (2) improve memory and retrieval, and (3) enhance learner motivation and morale. Currently, the MEDLINE database shows more than 33,000 scientific articles on the topic of exercise, and the vast majority of them confirm its value. One study showed that people who exercise have far more cortical mass than those who don’t (Anderson, Eckburg, & Relucio, 2002). Simple biology supports an obvious link between movement and learning. Oxygen is essential for brain function, and enhanced blood flow increases the amount of oxygen transported to the brain. Physical activity is a reliable way to increase blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain. These are just a few reasons play, recess, and physical education in schools are essential for all children.

 Where do I start?
Get up and Move by doing things you enjoy!! Lets face it. Many of us are busy moms. Maybe we don’t have the time or energy to get to the gym. Or maybe you aren’t a fan of the gym (like me!) Trust me, you do not have to spend countless hours at the gym running on the treadmill if you hate it. The point here is to find something that is going to get you up and moving! I always encourage others to incorporate physical activity into their everyday lifestyle. For example: Carrying or wearing your baby, stroller walking or jogging, if you enjoy being in the outdoors go on a hike! Physical activity does not have to be boring!

How often?
Experts recommend 20-30min of aerobic activity 3 or more times a week along with muscle strengthening and flexibility training at least twice a week. To make it easy do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day.

Tips:
If you have been inactive for a while, don’t fret! You can do it!! Start at a slow pace and begin incorporating physical activity such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. As your body gets in shape and becomes stronger you can increase your level of activity and efforts.

 For Pregnant Mothers:
Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. Don’t try to exercise at your former level; instead, do what’s most comfortable for you now. Low impact aerobics are encouraged versus high impact.

Pregnancy Tools and Tips
The pregnant competitive athlete should be closely followed by an obstetrician.

If you have never exercised regularly before, you can safely begin an exercise program during pregnancy after consulting with your health care provider, but do not try a new, strenuous activity. Walking is considered safe to initiate when pregnant.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication. Source 

Postpartum

It’s important to rest and heal for at least the first 30 days postpartum. It is a huge adjustment and this is the period where you bond with your baby, get your nursing relationship established and heal from your birth. Please take it easy! It took you 9 months to have your beautiful baby and it will take some time for you to get back into your the body you desire. But don’t worry! You will get there eventually.

For Kids:
Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:

Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test. Source 

Everyone can benefit from exercise! I personally love taking my kids on scooter rides, bike rides, hiking, and walks. These are just a few fun ways to get your family involved. So what kind of ways will you be moving YOUR body this week!?

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the best decision I ever made

Ok, so I could have given this title to a few life events, but today I wanted to talk with you all about my decision to become a stay at home mom. It has truly been one of the best decisions I have ever made! I have learned so much about myself, have grown tremendously and have seen God bless us in incredible ways I would have never imagined. For those of you who want to become a stay at home mom in the future, I hope these tips + resources can help you achieve this goal. And even if you don’t want to be a stay at home mom these tips can still be useful in helping you achieve some of your financial goals. First, let me tell you my backstory. I’ll try and keep this as short and concise as I can.

BACKSTORY:

Before having kids I had NO idea I wanted to be a stay at home mom. In fact I used to laugh thinking, “What in the world do they do all day? Stare at a baby!?” Boy was I wrong about that! Have you watched this video where they hold fake interviews called “the worlds toughest job?” Check it out! It’s not to discourage you from becoming a mom, but to encourage you and let you know how important your role is whether you stay at home or not. It’s definitely the hardest job I have ever had, but one of the most rewarding.

So here’s my story: After I had my first son I had a urge to want to stay at home, but my husband wasn’t too sure of that decision for me. lol I had an amazing job as a Physical Education teacher at a distinguished private school in Los Angeles. I loved it there! And we loved our lifestyle! We didn’t have to worry about anything. We went on so many fun vacations, were excited about the potential of maybe buying another bigger house, we had a really nice car, I was able to pretty much buy any and everything that I wanted. It’s such a shame, but I literally had amazon packages arriving to my house daily. We also had the Verizon phone plan with iphones (of course!) because that was the best service and phone out there, and we spent lots of money on food, because that was also very important to us. The positive in all that was that we were still being “responsible” and didn’t go into debt for that! Now, I am not saying having these things is wrong at all. That’s not what I am trying to say. But I want to give you a different perspective and share with you my personal experience of what I learned. I can tell you that if I knew then what I know now I would have totally done things differently. So anyway, after my mother in law offered to help take care of Nico I decided I would go back to work and see how I felt about it. So for 2 more years I worked my butt off and was a full time working mama. Oh the memories of pumping at work, rushing home to see my baby, make dinner and then also serve in our youth and family ministry, and of course don’t forget all the money I spent because I felt like, “if I am working then I am going to reward myself!” It was a crazy schedule let me tell you. But I made it work! After having my second baby the desire to stay at home became even stronger, and that is when I began having talks again with my husband and many wise woman around me. We knew that it would be a sacrifice financially (especially living in California), that we may have to give up some of those “things” and “dreams,” for the time being,  but we decided that it was going to be the best decision for our family. I really wanted to be there at home with them all day long, to see all of their stages, to not have to pump, to be able to instill and teach them principles and things that I wanted to, to not have to have crazy rushed mornings driving in traffic to get to work, to be home and take care of them if they were sick. So many reasons. So we made it happen and I officially made the decision to be a stay at home mom just a couple weeks before I was due to return to work from my maternity leave.

MY LIFE NOW:

I can’t believe it has been a little over 2 years since my second son was was born and I  have been at home with my boys! Wow! Time sure does fly! I told you that I have learned SO much (like being more patient), but what I didn’t expect from staying at home was to grow SO much in the area of my finances. Hopefully this info will help you get to your goal of being a stay at home mom or at least be able to make some changes to your lifestyle to help you hit some financial goals.

My TOP 5 TIPS To Help You Become a Stay at Home Mom or Reach Your Financial Goals:

1. Take a Financial Class + Seek Advice!

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If you have a humble attitude you can ALWAYS learn something!! We took this Dave Ramsey Financial Class called “Financial Peace University,” which was offered to us through our church. It gave us a boost in the right direction and helped us create a better budget that we would stick to and also gave us the desire to become completely debt free. The debt we had was my student loan, car note, and house.  I had just been paying the minimum on my student loan since it was such a low interest rate I didn’t feel the urgency to pay it off. Most people would probably say “that’s not debt! Everyone has that kind of debt. It’s the good debt to have.” But when we learned that we are “slaves to the lender” we changed our view and decided to pay it off right away. We also paid our car note off and have since been able to buy another car cash after my husbands car died. lol It actually felt really great and am so happy we paid them off and were able to have $ saved to pay cash for another car!  We have completed  “baby steps” 1-6 in the Dave Ramsey plan and are currently working on #7 which is paying our home off early. Woo hoo! I encourage you to also seek advice from others who are good examples in the area of finances. We have been able to speak with and get help from several people we look up to in this area and it has been extremely helpful. Being humble and seeking advice pays off big time!

2. Live BELOW your means!

Did you know if you can live on 25% of your income and invest the rest you can retire in 7 years!? TRUTH! We began reading this awesome blog called Mr. Money Mustache. It is a really outside the box financial blog that gives you tips on how to retire early. The writer of the blog is actually a thirty something retiree living his dream and helping others reach theirs. I became addicted to this blog and stayed up many late nights taking it all in. Shaking my head at times wondering how in the world did he do it and WHY!? I have grown to really appreciate the advice given and to take it and apply some of those same principles he teaches. We currently have a goal to retire earlier then the norm, so God willing that will happen in about 15-17 years! We will be about 48! Now when we say “retire” it means having saved up enough money to not HAVE to work if we didn’t want to. Will we continue to work after we “retire?” Probably. But would we need the money? NO! So we can then use that money as we please. We can give more, travel more, and just be financially free to do as we please. We are excited about that, but we know that it will take sacrifice, focus and determination. A huge reason we are able to do this is because we cut down on a lot and are able to live on less. We never thought this was even possible living on one income, but when you prioritize things you may just surprise yourself on what you can do.  In order to calculate how much you would need to have saved up in order to retire is to multiply 25 by how much you want to live on each year. Once you have done that you will know how much money you need to have saved to hit your goal. So depending on how much you are able to save will depend on how many years it will take you to retire.  You can learn more about how to do all that HERE. When you are sacrificing and living on less you can invest the rest and just sit back, and be patient while it grows.

3. Less is MORE

Living with this kind of mindset will naturally help you to save more money and also feel awesome in the process. I used to buy things without really giving it any thought. If I wanted it, then I bought it. This caused me to accumulate a lot of things because I saved EVERYTHING (even things I wasn’t using) thinking, “oh I can use it for this project or that.” I hate wasting anything! My husband would call me bag lady because I kept everything. lol Oh how the times have changed. I thought that if I stayed home I would struggle with wanting more things, but the opposite effect happened. All of these “things” started to drive me a little nuts! haha So I decided to declutter my life. I began going through my things, but got overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin. I had a huge pile of boxes in the corner that I needed to go through that were from my office at school.  I ended up hiring an awesome professional organizer to give me a jumpstart and learn the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
After her visit that corner was all cleaned up, my closet looked great and it gave me the boost of confidence I needed to then continue to declutter on my own. It took me a LONG while to sift through everything, but in the end I was SO very happy I did it and it felt amazing!! I got rid of tons of jewlery, perfume, clothes, toys and went through paperwork that had been sitting there for ages! In the end this has taught me that I really don’t NEED many things and I really don’t NEED as much space as I think I do. So for those of you thinking you need a HUGE house, just go through your things and see how much space pops up! You don’t need to hire a professional organizer to do this (although they are very helpful), you can just get a couple friends who are good with organizing to come over and help you. It can be overwhelming so my suggestion is to just start off with one area of your house and go from there. For those that want to stay home and would like to buy a bigger house,  maybe you can hold off and sacrifice that for now until the kids are in school and you can work a bit. If you already own a large home you may consider renting it out or selling and downgrading if it is truly your desire to stay at home, get out of debt, retire early, or hit other financial goals.

4. Prioritze + Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need 

So I just talked about decluttering so the next step will be to Prioritize and STOP buying things you don’t need!  You really don’t need 15 different perfumes or whatever else you have a ton of! Once you have minimized down, how about sell or trade those things for something you can really use? I have heard many great stories of people who paid off tons of debt just by going through their things and selling them! When I went through my things I got rid of about 10 perfumes (mostly unused lol) and traded them in for organic frozen fruit in a trade group I am a part of. True story. lol People got perfume they wanted and I got to save money by not having to buy a gazillion bags of frozen fruit to make smoothies with. I also did the same with most of my items. And I donated a ton too! Once my place was cleared I really began to think more carefully about what I let into my home and realized I could really do without a lot of it. We also don’t NEED manicures and pedicures every week, a designer handbag, $300 pair of shoes, etc. These are things we WANT. Not NEED. Trust me. You will be ok without them. lol Once we were able to really prioritize what was important to us we were able to take that hard earned money and not only use it on the things that truly mattered to us, but also invest the extra money and have a complete mindshift.  In order, here is what we have currently decided to prioritize:

 #1 Giving. We are only care takers of this money God has provided for us and he is the one who has blessed us with this money to begin with! So we made this priority #1. In Malachi 3:10 it says: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” How much should you give? Well, ultimately that is up to you and your heart. The scripture in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7  says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”A tithe is generally a tenth or 10% of your take home pay BEFORE taxes are taken out. You can figure that out by taking 10% of your pay and then dividing by how many weeks are in the year (52) and give that amount weekly. If you do not go to church then you can still give from your heart to various charities, causes or people that are meaningful to you.  The point here is to give! It really does help us stay humble, learn to trust and see God’s blessings, and is good for the heart.

#2 Investing. At minimum you should be putting away 15% of your income for your retirement. If you are not doing this it’s important to really take a look at your finances to see how you can make this happen. You don’t want to be retired and struggle do you!? If you can save more then the 15%, even better! Remember, if you are able to live off of 25% of your income and invest the rest then you can retire in only 7 years!? I know that may seem dramatic, but people have done it!  If you want to retire early or even retire at all take a look at this post from Mr. Money Mustache entitled “The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement” and you can see the percentages that I mentioned there. He says that “simply cutting cable TV and a few lattes would instantly boost their savings to 15%, allowing them to retire 8 years earlier!! Are cable TV and Starbucks worth having two income earners each work an extra eight years for???” Something to really think about, right!? Also, if you will live off of less in retirement then that will also shave years off.

#3 Our Health. I make this one of my top 3 priorities because what is life without health!? I choose to buy the best quality food that I can within my budget. I buy real whole food and Organic whenever possible. We also don’t eat out nearly as often! This will save you lots of money and it’s WAY better for your health too! We also have a great medical team behind us should we need their assistance. I found a great team (naturopath, holistic doctor, holistic dentist for kids + I buy natural remedies to use at home).  Because we choose to use holistic doctors for the most part we do spend a little more up front for that if we visit them. Knock on wood, but I feel like when you take care of your health sooner you will be at the doctors less which has shown to be true in my family! So overall I feel like I am saving money by doing these things. Of course there may be some circumstances you can’t control and if that is the case if you prioritize your finances you will be able to go see the best doctors to help you get through it and recover!  In the end I feel it is worth it and I end up spending less over the long haul. We are going to pay now or pay later so I decide to pay now for our health!

#4 Experiences/Time

Once those things above are taken care of we then like to prioritize experiences, time and travel with our family. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to become a stay at home mom.  I put this BEFORE mortgage because it is more important for us to have more time together then to work more to have a bigger house. This may not be true for everyone and just because you have a bigger house doesn’t mean you don’t spend time with your kids. But when we live in California and send our kids to private school, want to eat good food etc somethings gotta give! If you find yourself really desiring to spend more time with you family see where you can make cuts. At this point we sacrifice buying a bigger house so that I could be a stay at home mom to spend more time with the kids. Another really cool perk is that my husband works close to home and chose a great schedule. He works from 7-4, comes home for lunch most days and is home by 430 to spend time with us. How did we make that happen? By really living below our means and making sacrifices. We decided that the house was last on our list for the time being. Does it mean we will NEVER have a bigger house? I am still debating that one, because I am not sure I want to clean one haha. But for now this is what we choose to do.  We really enjoy travelling with the boys as well. We went on our first family trip to Hawaii this year and created some amazing memories. Experiences and time don’t have to be expensive though. We also love to go on bike rides, hiking, the beach, and exploring our town. If you are working  and feel like you haven’t been spending the quality time with your family that you’d like, maybe you can change your schedule a bit, get a more flexible job, work from home, or cut down on some expenses so you can work less so you can spend more time with your family. These times will fly by before you know it and you don’t want to regret them later.

#5 Mortgage. I put mortgage after health because even though I want a nice roof over my head it is still not more important to me then my health and the health of my family. Because what is a big house if I am struggling to put food on the table or I can’t pay for a good doctor of my choosing? I would rather spend more money on good quality food, doctors etc then a bigger house. Owning a home is not for everyone. It is a major investment and does require some thought. I’m thankful for my husband and the guidance from mentors who really helped us in the purchase of our first home. It’s a small place, but it is well under our means and we don’t have to stress about the $. If you are looking to cut down and are trying to figure out how much you should spend you can ask yourself these questions below before purchasing:

  • Can I make at least a 10% (preferably 20%) down payment?
  • Can I afford a 15-year fixed rate loan?
  • Can I keep the house payments at or below 25% of my monthly take-home pay?

If you answered “yes” to all three questions, then you can afford a house. Otherwise, Dave Ramsey strongly suggests you wait to buy a home.

“You want your new home to be a blessing, not a curse, right? Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll keep Murphy and his 3 cousins Broke, Desperate and Stupid from moving in.” Via Dave Ramsey here.

This is a conservative approach and may be hard if you live in a more expensive city like Los Angeles or New York, but yet still possible to accomplish if you save up enough for the down payment. In another great article (which I highly recommend reading), the author makes a great point about that topic and writes, “While it may be possible to buy a decent home in a small midwestern town for $100,000 (and well within these ratios), workers in New York or San Francisco will need to spend five times that amount just to get a hole in the wall. Yes, people tend to earn more in these high-cost-of-living areas, but not that much more. Does it mean they shouldn’t buy a home? Not necessarily. They’ll simply have to make trade-offs to buy in those areas.

Just remember that when you obtain mortgage pre-approval, lenders will likely approve you for a loan amount with payments of up to 30 or 35 percent of your pretax income. That may tempt you to take on more home than you should. Don’t just assume that just because the bank approved it, you can afford it. They are two very different things.” So really think carefully before you decide how much to spend on a home. Especially if you want to stay at home or retire early.

We can learn a thing or two from Carlo Slim Helu, a Mexican billionaire worth $52.4 billion. He is considered to be the first “world’s richest man from a developing nation.” He has lived in the same modest home for the past 30 years. His wealth is equal to 5% of Mexico’s economic output yet he earns almost $30 million a day!

6. Everything Else

This all leads me to my last point…

5. Stop Caring About What People Think

The last piece of advice I wanted to share on helping you be a stay at home mom or hit your financial goals is to stop caring what people think about you! So much is ingrained in us about what we think “success” looks like.  Most people picture millionaires as the doctors, ceo’s, and actors. In actuality today’s millionaires in the U.S. are made up of managers (17%), educators (12%), corporate executives (7%), entrepreneur/business owners (6%), and attorneys and accountants. The $5 million+ group is made up of corporate executives (17%) and entrepreneurs/owners (12%).c

Common Characteristics of Millionaires h
Live below their means
Lead frugal lifestyles
Are self-employed or own their own business
Plan and study investments
Are not always at the top of their class (some didn’t even go to college)
Are self-made

 

 

If you have read  The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy the book talks about how many times people can put on the fasad of being “rich” just to seem “cool”, when in reality they don’t have much money. Also, many times people who are white collar workers or even professional athletes feel the need to keep up with their colleagues and seem like they have it all, but in reality are in so much debt, miserable, stressed out because they work too much, and not ready for retirement at all! I am not saying money is evil, and people who have nice things or nice houses are bad, because they most certainly are not when done responsibly and sensibly. But many times we can go overboard and really bite off more then we can chew and go into a lot of debt to make ourselves look “successful.” I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t work hard and earn money. In fact, that is the opposite of what I am saying. Find a fulfilling career, do what you love and the money will follow. But don’t let the love of money and things make you work yourself to death. Ya feel me? I actually love working and will definitely be doing a little more of that once I feel ready to. The cool thing now is I will do things much differently. I will honor my hard earned money by using it more wisely. By prioritizing my life and by saving a heck of a lot more so my husband can “retire” early like I got to. Thank you to my incredibly hard working husband for making this possible. I get to do what I love and also spend some extra time with the kiddos.

I hope these tips have helped you begin thinking about what you can do to realize your financial and lifestyle goals. It will take focus and sacrifice, but will be well worth it in the end.

 

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