Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Debt Dumping 101- The End

Happy Tuesday morning ya'll and I am so happy that tomorrow is the last day of my NSM!

First off a little weekend review:

  • Started the weekend with play time at the park with friends

  • There was finally enough leaves for the kiddos to play in and they loved it!

  • The lovely hubs rans in the Zombie race because I'm a big fat chicken...seriously haven't figured out why is the world I signed up for that thing!

He's having fun...I would have been having a break down!

  • Continuing progress of the Toy Room...it's a LONG work in progress but I think we are still on track to have it finished by Christmas

  • Another Amazing service at church...more on that to follow
Now to finish out my NSM Posts

This month has been 10times harder than what I thought it would be. Just taught me how easily I could let myself back into major spending mode if I didn't practice discipline everyday.

I have learned alot this month like how we really can only eat out twice in one month but I also learned that I do not like to cook that much!

I have seen how, when we truely set our minds on a goal we can do it and make it work.

We were able to save a nice chunk of money this month and with Christmas right around the corner it couldn't have been more perfect.

I know now esactly how much money we need in our GAS fund and that I can def feed my family of 4 for under $500 for the whole month. Prob a little less if I was a creative cooker and could look at my pantry and come up with tasty, satisfying meals...but I'm not!

I have to tell you though God has used this month to speak to me in ways I would have never imagined and although I was doing this for me and us I see now that he is using it to teach me how to handle His money!

I have alway said that God works in mysterious ways and will show us things when we least expect it and I don't think I have every felt his presence in my life as much as what I have felt in the past 3 months. Starting back in August I had prayed every since Laniebug was born that God would provide a good babysitter for her and a good job for my husband. It seemed like every lead for both was always a fail. To make a long story short God delivered Louise to us is August. She is truly amazing and we are so blessed to have her.

A week after we found her the hubs got a job offer. Really?? I have always said "If one of us could stay home with the baby until she was atleast a year old that would make me so happy". Well Laniebug was 2 weeks past her first birthday when all this went down.

God you are AMAZING

Then September was a major readjustment month for us but we managed and moved on to October.

As we end our NSM I have been thinking and praying about how I should do our next month budget.

My church yesterday started a 4 week series on GIVING and what God says we should do with (our) His money. Holy Moly...I swear I think God and I are having our own little coversation.

I ask...He answers...once again...I'm AMAZED!

If you would like to listen to this series please do. It is about 30 min and man is it good! I can't wait to see what the next 3 weeks holds. Click Here to listen or watch the sermon. It is "BECAUSE" by Tim Miller, Oct 28th.

I hope this month has inspired you to get a hold of your finances, take control of your spending and now start learning what God calls us as Christians to do with the money that he has provided us with. I know first hand that although I might work this job for this money...he has provided this job for me and he can take it away just as fast! Praise be to HIM that I am finally seeing the light (and some green)!

If you are just joining us you can read back through the posts this months for more tips, tricks and information! DEBT DUMPING 101

If you are just joining me be sure to go get entered in the $30 Girls Crochet Headbands gift certificate GIVEAWAY going on NOW HERE!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ribbons & Bows from her Head to her Toes

I am SUPER excited to share this with you all!! Who loves bows as much as I do?? From the moment I found out Laniebug was a girl I started buying bows...it was actually my first purchase for my precious little girl and I haven't stopped since!

Laniebug at 2 months old sportin' her Halloween bow!

Now if you have been reading my blog for a while you know I am fairly frugal and don't like to just blow money on random stuff so with having a girl I knew this would become rather difficult but then I found them, with their large selection of bows, colors, flowers, headbands, It was LOVE at first click! GIRLS CROCHET HEADBANDS Just typing their name puts a smile on my face because they ROCK!

Since I was pregnant with Lanie, 18months ago, this little family owned business has grew tremendously and I got to watch it and participate in it. When I started shopping you could buy, flowers, bows and headbands, not long after they added bloomers like these!

Laniebug at 7months Bloomers and Bow from GCH
 Now you can get Leg Warmers, Tutus, Rompers, Hair Bows and Headbands which start as low at .38each...Yes you read that right .38ea!!!

Also if you like to make your own they sell a number of supplies for you to make your own Hair Creations!

When I started this blog I new I wanted to offer my followers something from this fantastic company. Every woman with a daughter needs to know about this site!

I was delighted to find that Girls Crochet Headbands would be sponsoring a giveaway! I was hoping for a bow or two to giveaway but nope they blew my mind again. They are giving one of my readers a $30 Gift Certificate to their store!!! Do you know how much that can buy on their website?? A TON with hairbows starting @ $1.50, headbands @ .38 and Rompers less than $10!

Then came even better news...

They sent me 5 items of my choice to review for the post!! WHAT? HOLY COW I love them even more now!!

Here are the 5 items I picked out!!

   A-DOR-ABLE  Leg Warmers!! You can get the HERE for only $2.99!!

Next up was this Floral Satin Romper if this isn't perfect for picutres then I don't know what is! You can get it HERE for WAIT FOR IT....$9.99!!!

She was over the bow at this point! hehe

Then I got the Ivory Maggie Flower to match and it went perfectly one one of the many crochet headbands I already had! Get it HERE for $1.79!!

Next up was this cute little Halloween Costume inspired by Snow White!!
You're gonna LOVE this....Get it HERE for...$3.99, YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT!!!!

The last thing I just had to have was this super cute OWL BOW and you should have seen me chasing this child around trying to get a good picture...I almost put it on my head to take a picture!
Get it HERE for $2.98

These are the items they sent me to review and I don't have one negative thing to say. 
There is no gimmicks, no tricks, just adorable stuff at fantastic prices! Go Check It Out NOW!

If you can't wait for the giveaway to see if you win of if it isn't your name that is picked they are giving all of my readers 20% off your total order with this coupon code: SweetMel20 exp. in 30days

Once again...AWESOME!! Enter this contest below in the Rafflecopter box. You must click Login (which you can do with your facebook account, don't worry it's doesn't effect your fb one bit) then follow each step. Make sure that your number of entries on the right hand side goes up to match the number of available entries so you can get entered as many times as possible!! 

REQUIRED FOR ENTRY - Visit Girls Crochet Headbands Pick out your favorite item then come back here and tell me what it is in the comments below- 2 Entries

  • LIKE GCH on Facebook- 1 Entry
  • FOLLOW GCH on Pinterest- 1 Entry
  • FOLLOW GCH on TWITTER- 1 Entry
  • FOLLOW ME on Facebook- 2 Entry
  • SHARE This Giveaway on Facebook and tag SweetSouthernMel in it-5 Entries
  • Follow This Blog via GFC for 3 Entries

    PLEASE READ- ALL ENTRIES MUST BE ENTERED THROUGH RAFFLECOPTER (if you have any problems figuring this out then please send me a message and I will walk you through it)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So that's a total of 15 Possible entries per person!

Good Luck Ladies and Happy Shopping!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Addition to our Family

For a while I have been praying about one specific thing. Something I have felt led to do but been waiting until the time was right. Well last month the time was right and we welcomed DAVID into our family.

I could kiss that face off!! He is so serious in his pictures but this shows me that there is a deeper pain. One that I hope I can ease by our letters, prayers and love that we are sending him half way around to world. He might not be my blood but he is my child and I will pray for him as I do my own.

David lives with his mother right now but hopefully will go into the orphanage soon where he will be in a much better christian environment. I sponsor David through "The Orbit Village Project". This project touches my heart because I have sat down with the owner/operator and heard her stories. Seen how she loves each one of these children as her own and every penny paid goes to feed, clothe and take care of those kids.

I have been a sucker for those sad commercials on tv and all the while I wanted to sponsor I always questioned in the back of my mind how much of my money was going to that child. Cyndy doesn't do advertising, she only does word of mouth and some local activities. She is from Sevierville and still lives in the area when she is not at Orbit.

Her heart is huge but her drive to provide for these children is even bigger! She will go head to head with the African government when trying to pass laws and make better lives for the children at her school and orphanage. She teaches them Christ and shows them the love of God daily.

Please, I encourage you to read more about the Orbit Village Project. If you would decide to sponsor a child you can become one of Cyndy's facebook friends, she is continuously posting pictures of the children at Orbit. You DO NOT have to sponsor though to become one of her fb friends. She will post needs that the school might have and you could provide/donate that way. Or you can just enjoy the beautiful pictures that she posts. Sometimes there will be pictures of them with the gifts you send, things you donate or letters you write. You will have such a close relationship with your sponsored child that you and them will be moved by it!

I'm not downing other companies out there but this is the one God used to really touch me, move me and hopefully mold me into what He wants me to be.

Here are some of the beautiful faces at Orbit. Please pray that if God would use you to help take care of one of His children then you will be moved to do so!

New Shoes!!

The Twins in their new shoes!

A very happy little boy getting a package and letter from his sponsor

More New Shoes!

This is one class during Zawadi!
I love being able to see these pictures. Last year after winter while in Wal-Mart I came across toboggans for .25each. I bought every single one that they had and sent them to Cyndy. See those blue boggans? Those are the ones I purchased and it brought tears to my eyes to see all those children so excited, over a simple .25 toboggan.

If you have any questions about Orbit please contact me or Cyndy. Share this post with your friends and just pray the the Lord will work in your heart and show you a way to help The Orbit Village Project.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Annual Cobb Family Pumpkin Party

So I am finally getting around to sharing with you our Second Annual Pumpkin Party! This year rocked, we had so many people at our home and I loved getting to spend time with each and everyone of them. If only they knew what a blessing each them are to our family. It is so wonderful to have so many friends to spend time with.

This is the first party I have planned where I didn't end of up grouchy and stressed for the week prior too. I had a lot to do but everyone brought a side dish and the stuff I made was able to be done a day or two in advanced so that helped a lot!

I created these bad boys the day before!

Not to mention the morning of our Pumpkin Party I ran in my first ever Color Me Rad race in Knoxville. It was a BLAST and I will do it again each year. I hadn't ran in over a month but was able to complete the 5k in 32minutes which I didn't consider to be bad from this girl who didn't train at all.

Here I am Pre-Party, Post-Race

Once I was home I stood in the shower and watched the color run off my body...seriously I had color coming from places I would have never dreamed!  It did all come off though!

The only bit of stress I felt was that day around 2 when I was supposed to be outside decorating and it was raining. We had over 40ppl RSVP...my house is not that big so I was starting to freak a bit but luckily it never poured and I was able to get everything fixed up perfectly right before the party began!

The party took place in my driveway and backyard

I had to figure out a way to keep the littles ones away from the fire so this worked perfect
plus added alot more seating for everyone!

Pumpkin Bowling! Kids Loved it and super cheap and easy to do!

We also had face painting which the kiddos loved!

We let all the kids paint their pumpkins!
I forgot to take a picture but the kids also kid a cake walk and I just baked little mini cinnamon strusel cakes for them to win (plus I figured it helped the parents out for breakfast the next morning) 

I think she ended up with more paint on her face than her pumpkin!
The guys who entered the pumpkin carving contest!
So the pumpkin carving contest had a time limit. They were allowed to cut the top off first but that was it. They could start gutting it once the time started. One of our neighbors had never carved a pumpkin before so he was sure what to do so he showed up with his already gutted and outlined...he had a time penalty! lol
I think they had fun and we let the kids vote on the winner...I have to say my brother won and his pumpkin impressed me! 15min is not alot of time!
The winner!
Pumpkin Hunting
The last thing we did with the kids who remained was let them go on a pumpkin hunt after dark. I got these mini pumpkins at Michaels. I bought each bag separately and used a 50% off coupon so I only paid $1 for 6. I then bought glow sticks from the Dollar tree and slide them inside the pumpkins and hid them. The kids loved running around the yard collecting the pumpkins. I think we hid them 3 or 4 times that night!

So the party was a complete success, we had 47people at our home and loved every minute of it!! By far the biggest party we have had yet and I think next year it will only be bigger!

The best thing about this party is I did it all for under $100!! I had the decorations and alot more was given to me by a friend from when her family did Halloween parties! A neighbor let me borrow the bales of hay and another good friend helped out by bringing me some pumpkins for decor! I only had to buy the food I cooked, Chili (see my freezer food post for this awesome chili recipe here), Pumpkin Fudge and Hot Caramel Apple Spice drink and Orange kool-aid!

Oh and this $100 was budgeted into my NSM so it was complete accounted for!!

Happy Pumpkins Ya'll!!


Monday, October 15, 2012

The W's of Debt Dumping and end of Week 2

Well we finished up our second week of the NSM.
The second week was a bit more difficult than the first. The first run tot he grocery store for the week put us at $89. This is only $11 under the weekly grocery budget and didn't leave much play room for fruit, bread and milk but luckily we didn't run out of any of those things and only had to make one more short run for a few small things so we stayed right at our budget for this week.

I started to get the shopping itch this week, like I needed to buy something, not sure why I get these but man it's stinks when it hits and I can't shop. I managed to spend enough money though on dr visits and meds this week though to calm that itch a bit. With L-bug being sick and all the pedialite, culturelle and Gatorade would have broke me but we have a designated "DR" budget that rolls over each month so whatever is not used goes into the next month and just sits there waiting to be used. This has been excellant for us. I never have to worry about getting a dr bill and where the money is coming from because at all time we have roughly $300-400 sitting there only to be used for Dr's and meds.

I went out to eat for a baby shower last week so the last bit of my blow money went there and trust me it was hard not to save that blow money for something else and just swipe my card but I didn't...small steps make HUGE STRIDES!!

We are doing well to be half way through the month today. Out budget is staying where I want it to and we are being very disciplined when it comes to spending. WE ARE ROCKING THIS NSM!!

So I want to share with you a few of the reasons we have made October our No Spend Month (or NSM for short if you are just now tuning in). I like to call it the W's of debt dumping.

Ok so I think I have established what a no spend month is but just wanted to share with you where my inspiration for this NSM came from. I got the idea from the girl over at Small Notebook. After reading her post of their families NSM I was discouraged...complete opposite of what I should have felt. But after some time thinking about it I realized that no two people's finances are the same and what works for some families doesn't for others. I went back and re read her post and instead of focusing on the fact that her family can get by on 1 fill up of gas in a month and mine spend $350 a month on gas, I focused on her drive and her person cut backs. I encourage you to read this and to not get discouraged but encouraged by the fact that there are so many people out there striving toward one goal. The goal of becoming debt free!


There are so many reasons why getting rid of your debt is a good thing.
Eliminate Stress from yourself and your household
Teach our children how to live within their means and not above
Have money to buy things we want without the guilt of it every month when the credit card statement rolls in
You can negotiate more with cash in hand opposed to a credit card so you will get better deals once your debt is gone and you can save up for those expenses
Be able to build a nest of wealth and then pay it forward
Save your marriage...did you know that most marital argument are over finances? Why would we let money, something we have complete control of, ruin or marriage...are we really that selfish that what we buy is more important than the person we vowed to love for the rest of our life?? BAM What do you have to say about that?!

These are just a few of the millions of reasons why you should take control over your debt now and not wait until later. You will not believe the weight that will be lifted when that last payment in full is mailed in. It is amazing!


I know this doesn't sound like a  logical question but it is. Where is the first place to start taking control of your debt? Did you know it was "YOUR HEART"?  In order to really tackle your debt you have to have a change of heart. You have to evaluate yourself, your WANTS VS. NEEDS, how you think about money and what your true loves are. If you LOVE to be the person who has all the newest things out (Iphone, IPad, brand new car, New computer, etc.) then that is where your money will go. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with any of these but if you have thousands in debt and you own all these things then your HEART needs to be changed before you can take control over your debt.

Self evaluation is a hard thing to do but when you want something bad enough, you fight for it and you start with your HEART.

The next place that is almost as important as your heart is  "YOUR HEAD". You have to change how you THINK about money. You have to really make yourself VALUE your money and all the hard work you do for your money. Once you start on the road to financial freedom though your way of thinking changes pretty rapidly and you evaluate every little spending habit you have...you'd be surprised how many bad ones you have too.


The WHO is YOU...liked that rhyme didn't ya? Well it's actually you and your spouse and your kids if they are old enough.

My children were young when we started this process but some of you have teenagers, teenagers who are used to getting anything and everything they ask for...some of them without even working for it?! Oh but that's a whole other topic of conversation.

My point is this is a family ordeal that first you and your spouse need to get on the same page and then if your children are old enough they also need to be brought into the discussion. The family budget meetings need to be a "family" affair. You can't expect them to be cut off without showing them why and what you are doing. Plus by involving them in your budget meetings you are teaching them how to be responsible and how to have alittle more respect for you and the money that YOU earn to put a roof over THEIR head and clothes (that most of which shouldn't be name brand unless you are debt free) on THEIR back. I have very strong opinions on raising children and spoiling children and who knows you might get that very controversial post one of these days but not today.


NOW! Anytime is a good time to start debt dumping but I recommend easing yourself into it so you don't get so overwhelmed that you quit before you even start. I spoke in my first few days about the steps in starting to debt dump so check them out here.

I want to talk alittle about why we chose this month to be our NSM. My husband just went back to work full time a few months ago. This month is our first actually month where we have FULL paychecks from both of us. I was afraid that after so long o counting pennies and selling stuff we might decide to fall back into the spend every cent we make bandwagon. I mean we have extra money! WOO HOO!! It would be so easy to run to the store every other day and shop just because I have money to shop with. I mean we are "debt free besides our home" is what I would tell myself, "I'm putting 12% into my retirement so Dave Ramsey says I'm on the right track". I can justify 3 new bras from VS because I haven't bought ANY since before I got preggo with our first son (who is 4).  However I know that if I start now it will only be a downward spiral.

Our vehicles run great right now but I know it's only a matter of a few years before we will need a new van. I want so badly to walk into a dealership with enough money to pay cash for my new van. If I start spending what I make then I will never do that. I have to keep my heart and mind focused on the future and my ultimate goal of having COMPLETE financial freedom by the age of 38 (that's 10yrs fyi).

I needed this month to be strict so that I could see what we actually had each month and could go from there for planning our future monthly budgets.

I had a few other reasons for picking October as my NSM also.
  • I had a pretty good food stock up month in Sept so I knew I could realistically cut our grocery bill even more.
  • I knew we would close our pool and turn the air off so I figured our electric bill would be drastically lower this month
  • It's only a couple months til Christmas so that extra saved cash will be nice!
You see there is a lot that goes into planning a NSM and I hope that you will start planning one for you and your family. It's amazing what you will end up with at the end!

Hope you all have a blessed week!!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Christmas Time is here...

Yes you read that right...I said Christmas time is here and it's not even Halloween!

About this time every year I start getting the itch. The itch to pull out all of my red and green decor out of the building and starting playing Jingle Bells while I cook but now that we have little ones who look forward to trick or treating I have to refrain for just a bit longer before turning my home into a Winter Wonderland.

On a brighter note there are a few things I can do to get ready for the Season.

First things first I will be setting down tonight and making my Christmas list. Not my list of what I want (that's the second one I make) but my list of who all we buy for and delegating how much money we will spend on each person. This is just another way to keep myself from not going crazy. If there's anything I love more than shopping its shopping for other people. I love to give. God gave me the gift of a  giving heart and I believe I use it very well...sometimes a little too well.

The next and one of my favorite ways to kick off Christmas is by shopping Black Friday.

Oh yes, I love the thrill of getting a good deal, the one night a year where I'm up all night and love every single minute of it! I love standing in line waiting to rush in (without hurting anyone or fighting...I do draw the line at acting like an immature child in the middle of a store). It is so fun!!

Well this time of the year is when the BF ADs start getting released. I love watching and waiting on the ones I want to see and then comparing as they are released. I just love every minute of it!

I follow one specific site, BFADS, and as they release the ads I will post the links on my facebook page. A small piece of advice, if they release an ad that you really have interest in save it to your desk top. A lot of times they will release one then a day or two later get a letter from that store asking them to take it down so they will have to remove it. It's a real bummer when you go back to look at one and they have had to take it down.

Let's always remember though with all the excitement and joy that...

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What have you done for the past 10yrs?...I invented POST ITS!!

OMG I have been waiting to do this blog since I entered the world of blogging.

Unlike a lot of people I have been looking forward to my 10yr high school reunion since the day I graduated....wait actually since before I graduated! I made sure I was one of the class officers just so I could help plan it. You all know by my blog now that I am a party planner girl, so the chance to help plan an event like a reunion was a dream for me.

Sad to say my 10yr has come and gone but it was one heck of a good time. We had a good turn out for the size of our class but I do wish more would have come. There were a few that I  really wanted to see who didn't make it and only one who I could care less to see and that person wasn't there so it was perfect! Oh don't judge and act like there is not someone you'd like to avoid for the rest of your life. My graduating class had a total of 88 people and we had a turn out of about 20 some. This is considered great!

I am happy to say though that I worked with 4 other amazing women planning this event, who each added something special to the reunion. It's amazing how after 10yrs you could put us all on a conference call together and we would laugh and carry on like not a day had passed since we were hanging out in the halls of LHS. I do miss our phones calls and routinely super long messages on FB.

One of the reasons I wanted to share this blog is also to give others ideas for their reunion. When we started planning I couldn't find any posts on reunions...not even on Pinterest- GASP- I know!

I hope our ideas and special memories help someone else plan for such an important milestone life.

Ok now on to the pictures from the day with alittle info in between. Enjoy! (oh and we all looked pretty amazing)

First we started the day at our local lake with a Family Day Cookout. It was so fun watching the kiddos play and see if you can tell what kids belonged to which classmates.

Really? What is up with my kids and their hands in their mouths??

The kids loved the water play...and who were we to tell them no when only a few short years ago this was us?

Nothing like some WV Corn Hole!!

I love how she adores her daddy as much as I do, melts my heart!

10yrs later and just as close if not closer than we were then, I LOVE this girl!

The family day was followed that evening with an adult only dinner. We were very blessed in the fact that our class president is now a teacher at out old high school so were able to have our dinner in our old high school which was pretty awesome!

This was our memories table where we had our old years books, candle holders with pictures of us from middle school on them.

Sadly we have lost two members of our class. One was two years after we graduated and the other just a few months before the reunion. We set up pictures of them and each classmate light a candle in memory of them both.

We set up a photo booth which was a blast! I got these printables for free from Oh Happy Day

Our Cupcake table was designed and completed by a very talented member of the planning committee. They were deliciously beautiful!

We used round tables for everyone, our class pres designed the center peices and a "Remember When" page that went at each setting. The remember when consisted of Top music, car, gas prices, etc. Around the centerpeice was individual candles that were purchase already in the shot glass size glasses from Wal-Mart. I then made copies of our yearbook pictures from middle school, cut them out and put each indiviual picture on the glasses with modpodge. When the candles were lit your face shined through and these were hysterically cute!

Another picture of our cupcake stand

So wonderful to sit and visit with everyone!

What a fun day that was. I think we sat there until we were all falling a sleep(which was like 11...man we're getting old) telling stories and reminiscing about the old days. I can't express how much fun I had and how happy I was to be able to spend time with so many people who was such a big part of my childhood. I have known some pretty amazing people and so glad to still call most of them friends!

Love you all Class of 02'!

Don't forget I have a GIVEAWAY (<----- click giveaway to be directed to the page) going on right now so get over there and check it out!!