Sunday, January 19, 2014

R is for Ratledge - DIY Chevron Front Door Sign

When I was younger I wanted to marry someone
with a simple last name, preferably starting with the letter A
My maiden name is White
I hated always being the last in school because everything goes in alphabetical order!

So I was certain I would marry an "A"

Whoops, I fell head-over-heels, madly in love with an "R"
An "R" that belong to a name I had never heard of before
Who comes up with these names anyways?

My goodness, I never knew I could be more proud of a name.
It's the Army, people don't know your first name, they know your last name.
First I was "Ratledge's Girlfriend"
then "Ratledge's Fiance"
now I am "Ratledge's Wife"
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
If something can be personalized or monogrammed... It's going to be done.

So here is it, my FIRST DIY "Ratledge Thing" for our future home:

I even impressed myself with this one
and now I will never drive past my house because I forgot which one was mine
(believe me, that's something I would do)
I plan to hang it right outside my door and pray the weather won't destroy it!
To make your own Front Door Sign you will need
  • Giant Wood Letter
  •  Smaller Wood Letters (FYI if your name is longer than 8 letters you will need teeny letters)
  • 2 Colors of Acrylic Paints
  • 1 Color light colored spray paint (such as a white, beige, etc)
  • Wide Brushes with Flat Ends
  • Clear Coat to protect your letter
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • String or wire to hang it
  • A bow or other little embellishment if you wish to use one
 I got all of my supplies from Hobby Lobby!

Let me tell you my first mistake... using spray paint for the stripes.
Don't do it.
Use your spray paint to paint the entire letter, this is your base color, it's basically
so the sides aren't the wood color anymore
(unless you want the wood to show, then don't bother with the spray paint at all.)

Using a wide ruler draw a grid on your letter like the black lines show
and make the chevrons by connected where the red lines are
(use a light pencil so you can paint over this)

 The ruler I used to get straight lines was about 1.5 inches wide, so I used that width to make it easy, no measuring involved and each square was exactly the same!

After you have your grid drawn paint away (using your 2 acrylic paints)!!  
I like to paint the light color first because it's easier to cover up by the darker color.

While you're waiting for your paint to dry on your big letter, start painting your little letters!

Once the Large and Small letters are dry give them a few clear coats, especially if
you are going to hang this outside like I plan to do!

When everything is dry line up your letters, adjust them until they are exactly where
you want and glue them on using a hot glue gun!

I then added the string, hung it outside and gave it about 10 more coats of clear coat!
(I hope nothing can get past my clear coat lol!)

After it dries completely add a little embellishment.
I made the bow out of leftover ribbon from my wedding!
I attached it to a lighter ribbon of the same shade and glued it only on the back of my big "R"
that way I can remove it and change it without damaging the chevron!

Other cute additions would be a pretty flower, a wooden heart glued on, a picture (if you keep it indoors), wooden state shapes, etc!

I hope y'all enjoyed my first DIY post, there will be many more to come!!
This lady is EXCITED for her house, if you couldn't tell ;)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Housing and a DIY Addiction

If you read my 'About Me' you will know that
my wonderful husband is deployed
He left so soon after we got married that it made no sense
for me to move into a house to live by myself for that long.

I've been staying at my parents so we can save money.
I went to the housing office on post and got us put on the list
but I said our availability was April...
That would give us plenty of time to save and plenty of time
for me to set up before Jaime gets home!

A couple weeks ago I received a call from the housing office...
A house that had everything I asked for (I am picky picky!!)
is going to be available and it's our for the taking!
But I would have to sign in February...
I talked to my hubby and we decided we couldn't pass it up!
I get to go look at our house in February and if we love it I will
sign for it the 28th and FINALLY have a house of our own!!

Now time is going EXTREMELY slow.
Seriously, I feel like it's been a month since I got that call
but really, its been like a week and a half.
I am trying to stay really busy this next month, in hopes that time will go faster!

I am quitting my job once I move to post
(hello, I'm not driving 30 miles for minimum wage, haha!)
So I am working more to take up my days and to earn extra money for
decorating our wonderful house when we finally have one...
Also, I went to Hobby Lobby and accidentally spent $200 on crafting supplies.
(I swear, it really was an accident, darn clearance aisles)

(PS, I think Hobby Lobby is the best, they have such adorable items and they are a 
Christian ran business, therefore I love them and will always shop there)

I have about a million adorable ideas for my future home and I am starting on them now!!
Another one of my wonderful ways to keep myself busy =D

Good news for this blog, (though not so much for the hubby's wallet),
I have A LOT of DIY crafts coming up!!
I'm determined for us to have the cutest house EVER ;)
In the morning I will be posting my first blog DIY craft! 
Its a super cute name thing for your front door,
because if you haven't noticed....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Debt Free!! Debt Free!!

 Deployment has come with one (and only one) perk....
It is very easy to save a ton of money!!

As of today, my husband and I are officially nearly DEBT FREE!!!

I say nearly, because we haven't paid the car off, but we technically could.
We are weighing our options on that, because its the "Big One"
And taking that much money from our savings all at once seems scary.

Baby steps, y'all.

I am so blessed that I have a husband who understands the importance of
a good budget and big savings account.
I'm one of those people that do not feel secure or happy if I don't have
all of my finances in order and a set plan for every last dollar.
Money stresses me out more than anything.

That is where my love for Dave Ramsey comes in.
He is a financial guru, with strong Christian values, and really knows what he is talking about.
I first heard of Dave Ramsey through my Mom.
She has always been the financial adviser for my family.

When I was younger I shrugged off the 'Dave Advice", as if I
cared about the Envelope System or having this much in savings, or
that much in my checking...

Really, I'm so excited to start budgeting.

Here is my Little List of Budget Tips that have helped us get out debt so quickly...

  • Give up your extra expenses, it is not forever and it won't kill you to paint your own nails
  • Listen to The Dave Ramsey Show - He's a genius, seriously!
  • Write down your budget for every month, every dollar needs a home, EVERY DOLLAR
  • Print This Saving's Plan - I started this shortly after my husband left. It's taped next to a little bank I have, every Sunday I put in the correct amount.  I will have $500 saved to do something special with my husband when he returns home!!
  • Stop going to restaurants.  My husband and I used to spend way too much dining out, which ruins the fun of date nights... If you go out to eat 5 times a week, its not special as a date anymore, save it for special occasions!
  • Same goes for the movie theaters, no one really likes to spend $10 on a bucket of popcorn.

With my husband away it has made it easy for me to learn
a lot about budgeting and to create a plan for us once we get our house 
and actually need to use a budget.
Deployment sucks, so if I can get one positive thing out of it, I'm
glad it is something that will benefit us for the rest of our lives!

Do you have any great money saving tips?  Feel free to leave it in a
comment below, or use the contact box to send me an email!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Best Banana Muffin's Ever

I love baking!
I love trying new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients.
When my friend Kat, from Craving Vegan posted her recipe for 
Banana Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins 
I knew I had to make them. and conveniently I had all the ingredients...
I planned to make them the next day, but woke up and was
sick, and stayed sick for days.
When I finally felt well enough to bake I didn't have all the ingredients
anymore, so I improvised!

First, I only had 3 banana's, so I added an apple. 
Second, I used Kat's suggestion of Coconut Oil, rather than canola.
Third, I had used Fruit Juice in place of almond milk.
Finally, I added a HUGE amount of topping, because that's how I like my muffins!

The result was the most moist and delicious muffins I have ever made in my entire life!
Feel free to print and share this recipe!


Hello, Welcome to My Blog... Finally!

I have been saying I want to start a blog for years.
Literally YEARS.
I've even gone as far designing entire blogs...
And never making a single post.

But, hey!  Here's my first post so I'm already a step ahead!

To summarize my about me (although it would be great for you to read that too :P);

I am a 22 year old Army Wife, married to the most wonderful man, Jaime.  
We have a two year old named Elijah.
We are stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, unfortunately Jaime is currently deployed.
My hubby deployed very shortly after our wedding, leaving me to live at my parents 
house to save money while he is away.

 I created this blog as a place to share....
  • Tips and ideas with fellow MILSO's in regards to
    deployment and other military related issues
  • Budgeting tips
  • DIY Crafts and Home Decor
  • Recipes and Meal Prep
  • Religion and Faith
  • Fun things for Families and Children
  • Reviews on things I like (or don't!)
  • Health and fitness tips
  • And anything else in my life that I feel like sharing ;)

If you have any tips or advice for me, or wish to contribute
in any way, please feel free to contact me!