My Cup Runneth Over

When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, I locked myself in the bathroom for maybe an hour or more. As my husband explains it, it was exactly what happened with the first. That is how he knew the test was positive.

With the first child you’re scared. It’s all new, and now everyone you know is going to start trying to tell you their ways on how to raise your children, lol. With a third on the way, you probably know a thing or two, but if it has been 10 years since your last, well then…….it’s like a first all over again!! At least to me.

After two kids I was saying the same things that I said with my first which I had 13 years ago. “We’re not ready.”, “I don’t know what to do.”, “Can we even afford this?”, “What about work. School?”, and on and on! I look at this blessing now, and think what did we even do before her? The other two kids were excited about the news. They understood that a baby would take a lot of the adults time. They were great with helping with everything, and playing with her. Now that she’s 1, they have even more fun because she is a dare devil- scared of nothing- knows she’s protected.

It has been an amazing journey. We weren’t ready, but who ever is…actually READY? I knew what to do because I had to do whatever it took to provide for my family. We could afford it because I have learned how to save A LOT of money on items and necessities for the family. I work at home and no longer have side jobs because I learned how to build my online business and even took on a network marketing “job” helping others feel their absolute BEST.

I love that I’m able to stay home with Bentlie and work on my businesses now. She lights up our lives and gives us a chance to share things that we went through to help others who may be going through similar situations. I just love that.

I snapped these pics of Bentlie a couple of weeks ago because I couldn’t get over how adorable and sweet she is. I’m truly blessed more than words can tell you <3.

 

See how we saved with this outfit!

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Those toes though!!! Stay this sweet forever my love.

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Pastels with bold colors is where its at ;).

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The back of this shirt is to die for <3.

The pieces we buy are usually bought at different times and then we mix and match throughout the time she wears them. Not many outfits are set with specific pieces. This top was given to her by a long time friend, Lanika Abbott at Bentlies one year birthday party in March with a pair of abstract printed harem shorts in pastel colors. The cutest outfits ever!

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The cutest!! Thank you Lanika. These were given to Bentlie at her 1 year birthday party in March. 18 mo sizing. She was able to wear the outfit on the right immediately, but the shorts on the left were a bit big then. Now, she can wear them both just fine. This is why we always size UP!!

I thought the black and white was SO cute with the pastel pink <3.

ABOUT THE OUTFIT:

Top: Maggie & Zoe: Birthday gift- 0.00

Tribal shorts: Garanimals: Walmart- $2.00 Clearance

Headband: Hobby Lobby Clearance- 1.00 (I make headbands but it was super cute and only a buck, so why not?)

 

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Stretch your dollar or two

Babies grow so fast so after my first few months with my 1st child I was done with full price department store clothing. At that time Macys had some amazing clearance sales for toddler clothes. About $4 dollars a piece for items that normally cost about $20 and even some dresses that were $60 was saving me a fortune, but now, I can do better than $4 most of the time!!

All it takes is a little bit of leaving the pride at the stores door!

Even prices have gone up at thrift stores, especially Goodwill, but that is why our thrifting game got stepped up a few notches. This hurt my Goodwill splurges, but it only helped me be more disciplined with the tag color changes!!! That’s a positive!! My daughter has fun with this as well, but we’re still working on her discipline, lol. Watch for our post on how to work Goodwill colors, days, and coupons!

This outfit includes NWT pieces but without the new with tag prices!! We snagged this cute ensemble for less than two dollars!

We found these pieces at two different stores. Both pieces were NWT (new with tags), but not from department stores!

About the outfit:

Pink top: Carter’s: Goodwill- 1.00

White shorts: Circo: Dirt Cheap- .90 (pack of two/ white & pink 1.80)

CUTE AS A BUTTON!!

I’ll explain the “Dirt Cheap” store in another post. I had never seen anything like it until I got to TN. It has taken some getting used to but once in a while it turns out to be great!

What are some neat stores that you have in your town that allow you to save more?

Staying UPbeat during the LOWs

A few years ago we were in LOVE with deals and all about finding new things or nearly new things for nearly nothing…in price. It was a game, and a fun one my kids got into which made me thrilled that they were learning about saving, and budgeting. We didn’t take away from trends, popular toys, the “lit” things everyone had or brands that were already loved, but we did learn and teach about priorities.

During our last stream of blogs about saving, no one knew that we had ended up homeless. I continued these blogs through that time and after. Now, why would someone homeless be talking about clothes, and saving when they were in such a womp womp situation? Well, that’s exactly why. We never think that WE will be in that situation until its knocking on our door. One thing led to another and then we were standing underneath a landslide of things. We turned those situations into POSITIVE situations for our family, and looked at it as obviously a way to start fresh because there was a reason we went through everything.

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We didn’t look like we were homeless. We didn’t look like we were in a shelter for 9 months. Even when we were back on our feet in another home, no one knew what we had just overcome.

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The point of those blogs was just that. No one has to know what you’re going through. No one has to know you’re homeless, and you most certainly don’t have to look like you are…even if you’re not!! I’m not judging anyone but I do pride myself in having a decent family no matter what we’re going through. That is how I was raised, and that is how I will raise my family. Don’t talk about the struggles. Don’t look like the struggles. Is that fake? Absolutely not. Its pushing through and knowing you can make it without having a pity party or expecting one from others.

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Do people still think we are crazy because we budget or scour the internet until we find something at a better deal than our friend got? Absolutely, but they don’t pay my bills either. I say that in the most bubbly, and most polite way possible!! Even if I don’t have to search for a deal, I do because there are some pretty important things coming up in our lives that I want to put money away for. Extra cars, school, school trips, outings with friends for the kids, college, and so much more for 3 kids.

Even though I have found a fabulous opportunity that will help with much of the financial portions and am building an empire with my own dream business, it is so they will be prepared for their kids as well. I’m not here to impress anyone intentionally, but to live happily on my terms, with my family, help others, and live for no one else but God and fam.

she is clothed in strength

 

Struggles haven’t disappeared but how we handle them has improved tremendously. That’s the key in everything….now we are thriving through life!!

What I love about this group of photos is that it shows a small timeline of where our lives were in different situations, but in my opinion, there is no hint that any tragedy fell anywhere between these lines. Id say our family did very well and is very strong. I am blessed to have them by my side.

The family photo on the steps in coral was a family photo taken by a passerby while we were out walking in downtown Fort Myers on Easter of 2014. At that time we lived in the shelter (the photos before that one were from that time period). The next family group photo in pink and black was one from family photos we had taken after we moved into our home in 2015 (the ones after that photo are from that time period). This was our baby girl announcement! We were blessed with our 3rd child who was born in 2016!!

It took a long time to talk about what we had gone through and even now, only some things are mentioned, but we get stronger by the day. Talking about these things will not only help others who may be experiencing similar situations, but it also helps the person talking about it heal in numerous ways.

I have no doubt that we are destined for great things, and I am grateful for every trial that God has pulled us out of. I look forward to the future, for what he has in store for us, and how he will allow us to help others.

Have a blessed day!

 

Giving Friends Part 2

This post will be a little continuation of the “Thats what friends are for” post from a bit ago. Am I the only one that thinks of Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne singing that song in Bridesmaids??? Hahaha.

Here is a second piece that was in the bag I got from a good friend a couple of weeks ago!! This top was NWT (new with tags attached), and I was able to make it work with my maternity style for the moment.

When I first pulled it out of the bag I was excited because I love all things sparkly, and this top has a nice amount of gold shimmer threaded throughout the pale pink/ blush fabric!! Love. Short and sweet, lets get to it!

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Straight out of the shower and into clothes look.

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Still just a big ‘ol ball, but it sure is getting heavier ;).

My husband said he liked these because I wasn’t ready for the picture. Also, this is the bag I talk about in the other friends post that my friend had the clothes she gave me in! It does look bigger here, but I love its raw cut edges and sleek look.

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I actually took a few seconds to put some accessories on. Watch out now.

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The adorable shimmering fabric!

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Top: New York & Co.- a friend- $0 (NWT)

Tank: Gap- Goodwill- 1.99

Jeans: Oh Baby by Motherhood- $5 (included in a $10 bundle of two pants on Poshmark) Paid $0 (using credits)

Shoes: Calvin Klein- Goodwill- 4.99 (NWOT)

Necklace: Loft- 4.99 (clx)

Bracelet: Bealls Outlet (I think)- 3.99

Shoulder bag: Saks Fifth Ave- a friend- $0

See, name brands without the name brand hits to my bank account!

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Don’t forget to visit one of my previous blogs titled “FREE CLOTHES” to find out how you can get your own free orders on gently used clothes and brand new clothes 😀.

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Love my family. Love my life.

Love, The Family Coleition

Feel free to post photos of your amazing finds!!!

Be sure to look back at our other cuties.

Social Network Shopping

SNS? Whaaaat is that? This is when you search on Facebook for local community pages where the surrounding areas post items for sale. Yardsale/ garage sale titled pages, Mom pages, and other specifically titled pages are considered “seller” pages on Facebook. You can join these groups for free, obviously, and watch for posts of items for sale that you may need. Sometimes individuals on these pages give items away for FREE because they do not want the hassle of trying to sell it or maybe it needs some work, and they are not worried about making money off of it.

There are many “Pay it Forward” titled pages in your areas as well. These pages are strictly for giving away items. You are welcome to claim an item that you may need (not too many or too often), but if you truly are not in need then perhaps it would be best to let someone else claim the item, especially if they have been searching or asking about the items on previous posts :). Giving your old items away on these PIF pages is also wonderful so have fun Paying it Forward!

This post will be brief in explaining this post as it is very basic, and explained above! YAY!!!

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It has been weather crazy in SWFL lately with one day being freezing cold, the next day pouring rain with flooded parking lots, the next day kind of cold, but not really, then really cold, and then the next day being a breezy, warm day again!!!!

I chose this day to make my husband pit stop and take a photo of this shirt while we were sprinkled on, haha. I love you, Jason!

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Jacket: Gap- Goodwill- $4.99 (Was still in retail stores)

Jeans: Oh Baby by Motherhood- $5 (included in a $10 bundle of two pants on Poshmark) Paid $0 (using credits)

Shoes: No brand- Dollar General- $3.00

Top: Worthington- Facebook sellers page- $1 (not a maternity top, but worked for it as well)

Tank: Gap- Goodwill- 1.99

DON’T FORGET: Check out this blog post FREE CLOTHES to find out HOW to get more great deals on clothes!

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Love my family. Love my life.

Love, The Family Coleition

Feel free to post photos of your amazing finds!!!

Be sure to look back at our other cuties.

A day in the park

This day was a random, “Lets go grill in the park!” day. I love these days and it brings our family even closer together, if that is even possible. We don’t have to have a fancy grill and the cool carrier thing on wheels to roll all of our food and gear to the perfect spot or the fine grilling china and other accessories. In fact, we no longer have any of that. We use the grill on the pole in the park and on the beach because for one, that is why they are there, and two, we just don’t care. We wrap it up in tin foil and set it on fire :). Fire kills anything, right? So, we’re good then. Don’t get it twisted, we still have class.

On October 29th of 2014, just 4 days after my husbands birthday, I posted this to Facebook:

“J and I were leaving school and I said, it would be cool to just grill out for lunch in the middle of our convo (Its true that an interruption is a burst of excitement) and hes like now (it was 10am)?? I said well, for lunch so a few minutes later he pulled into the nearest Publix parking lot. I said now? Hes like yeah, we have to have time to cook it. By the time its done, itll be lunch time. YAY!!

My point for this is that even though we could have possibly eaten out for the same price or even less, we prefer the grocery store. We picked up fresh meat (which Publix had just put into patties so we didnt have to form or touch anything), sliced provolone (less waste, cheaper than others and one of our favs), buns (I told J a company needs to make smaller serving sizes of buns, cheese, etc for people like us, HAHA), napkins, and ketchup, mustard and mayo packets from the deli (we asked), a bag of chips (for J), fruit snacks (I stole from the boxes I got the kids for school snacks), a small tub of potato salad and Circle K drinks (SHAME on me) for about $15 total (including the foil and spice).

We then stopped and picked up a dollar box of aluminum foil and seasoning salt (we forgot at Publix and was cheaper here anyway).

On the way to the park, we were driving down McGregor Blvd and stopped to pick up tree limbs for our fire and we had lighters in the trunk!!!

We completely forgot about a spatula, forks, plates and all of that fancy stuff so I made turner sticks out of foil and found packaged forks in my purse (moms have EVERYTHING in their purse).

So were at the park on a beautiful day and J cleans off a grill, I wrapped it with foil and he started a fire with twigs and newspaper, lol. It worked (of course), but it was the perfect little fire. We let the burgers cook and “set the table” with silver place mats (LOL).

While this may seem SO INCREDIBLY ghetto or icky to some, we had a blast and it was delish. So, even though Moes would have been the same or “easier”, we got to spend a lovely noon time lunch together being silly on the spur of the moment and that is what its about. We laughed and laughed at how we must have looked to the business men coming over to sit for lunch and how we made our tools and found everything we needed on us or around us. This is one of the many reasons why we work and I couldnt ask for a better person to spend my days with.

Its not about WHAT you have but WHO you have.”

Here are some photos from that extravaganza.
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We had such a great time with just the two of us, J thought it would be a great idea to do it with the kids and they loved the idea!! We have grilled a lot, but most of the time they aren’t so “unprepared”, haha, as in they are usually planned.
This time we remembered to buy a spatula and plates! Our dinner was only $14 and we played washer toss for hours. These times are what my kids are going to remember, and I can be proud of the way we spent our time. March 21, 2015.
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washer tosswasher toss2 washer toss1 We tried pork burgers this time and it was so juicy and flavorful!! The kids loved them! DuGrei won the washer toss game so I guess Alexis’ reaction says enough ;).
There is never a dull moment during our family gatherings, and I cherish every singly moment.
Alexis stated that she wished we were by some people that needed food, like the homeless that we would give food to at the library. She said if they were here, we would invite them over and grill them up a burger. I mean, how can you not just tear up when a 10 year old says this to you?? I am blessed beyond words with these two.
For this day I changed into an outfit that was light and airy. It’s a good thing because it turned out to be a scorcher!
Bold words are my recent thrift finds.
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Striped top: – Charlotte Russe- Goodwill- 2.00 (half off tag)

Orange tank: Mossimo- Goodwill- 2.00 (half off tag)

Shorts: Rue 21- Goodwill- 2.00 (half off tag)

Sunglasses: Forgot brand from tag- Goodwill- 2.99 (NWT)

Shoes: Shoes- Sperry- Rack Room Shoes- 79.99 (BOGO sale)

The outfits that the kids have on will be a part of another blog :). Stay tuned!

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These are the memories that I hope will be burned into my mind until the end. What are some of your best family time events??

Love my family. Love my life.

Love, The Family Coleition

Feel free to post photos of your amazing finds!!!

Be sure to look back at our other cuties.

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First set of photos: Centennial Park- Fort Myers, FL

Second set of photos: Lakes Park- Fort Myers, FL