Before winter break was officially over, we finally managed to find a pretty sweet spot to take the kids.
And it was free.
Not only free, it was right on the beach.
Am I living in New England, or heaven?
Nah. If this was heaven, it would have been 30 degrees warmer. And I’d be 10 pounds lighter and 20 years younger.
But “free” and “on the beach”? I’ll take it.
Or ‘frugal’ as my husband likes to call it.
In fact, I really do love to spend money. Especially on my kids.
And sometimes, I still do.
But we try to keep that craziness to a controlled minimum.
We’ve had to make some pretty radical lifestyle changes in order to afford the things that were most important to us.
And all the extras, we’ve just had to live without.
But you won’t hear me complaining.
At least not
unless you’re my sister or my husband on most days.
Honestly, I thank God all the time for pricking our hearts a few years ago to change the way we managed our money.
Actually, how we managed His money.
If all blessings come from Him, then certainly Chris’ paycheck is one of those things.
And we determined a few years back that we’d be better stewards with all He has blessed us with, so we could do all the things He wanted us to do.
It’s been an incredibly liberating experience, learning how to take control of our spending.
Learning how to be intentional about buying things instead of accidental. Ever caught yourself standing at the checkout in Target and wonder how the heck you just spent $250?
Learning how to live this way has reaped us some pretty amazing rewards.
So if you were thinking of feeling a bit sad for us because we don’t drive a super sweet uber-van that fits our whole crew…
And our kids don’t get to go to fancy play-places…
And when we eat out it’s fast food instead of posh food…
BEAUTIFUL post, Stefanie!!!
(and what a great beach!!)
AMEN, sister! i sooooo know what you mean. =)
Tara Anderson says
Stefanie, my heart is SO in line with yours on this post!!! God took us through our own readjustment on how we are handling HIS money, and although there are days when I get caught up in the "stuff", I am SO thankful that we're right where we are. There's a peace that comes with knowing you are stewarding God's money the way He wants…and we've had a lot more fun doing the free stuff (and the cheap stuff) than all the expensive stuff. It's life's simple pleasures that spoil us! 🙂
AMEN! Investing in eternity. That's what I call it! 🙂
Fantastic post Stefanie…..
Looks like a place where we will definately see some summer photos this year. We love beach playgrounds!!
Maggie S says
Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you
Blessed indeed! You are investing in priceless, eternal treasures.
Miss Anna B says
You may never know just how inspired you were to post this…on this day…at this time.
Oh Stefanie! What an AMAZING post! I love it!! Eternal investments, for sure! And your return will be FAR MORE than anything this world could offer.
There is something wonderfully liberating about discovering where true happiness comes from! Really nice post.
Amen and Amen!!
What an awesome post! You guys are rich with love! What a beautiful place to take the kids! It looks like your on vacation!
…..and GOD BLESS GOODWILL! 😉
I have many friends who would never, EVER cross the threshold of a Goodwill Store as a customer. They don't know what they're missing!
Great post, Stefanie!
David and Sarah says
The last picture is beautiful!
Colin and Jill Canada says
And your pictures are fabulous.
And your kids, well they are your wealth…and so SO SOOO much more. Think about how they'll treat you in a few years! 🙂
Suh-weet! Well said, my friend!
Mary Beth says
You have such a way with words, and photos. Loved this post.
Well said! 🙂
such sweet pictures and oh how I miss the beach..you lucky duck you!!!! The last picture is just priceless…please tell me your are framing it!!! I love it so much : )
Mei Mei s and Mayhem says
I'll take the free beach any day over anything you have to pay to go too!! I could just pitch a tent on the beach with my hubby and all my kiddos and be perfectly happy!!
Great post and pics.
Football & Fried Rice says
First of all you are RIGHT, you ARE ridiculously spoiled!! (wink!) – I wish more of us in this world just knew it!
And really? Ya flaming me for being a date late on SS? Did you not SEE the time stamp? Sunday, baby – and that's all I've got to say about that 🙂
The last picture is my favorite!! I have a picture of Mya & I's first days together where she let me close enough to kiss her – I treasure the picture, but now looking at it, I can see her flinching in it 🙁 It was all part of breaking down those barriers!
I love LOVE!
It is good to know I am not alone. Now to follow in your footsteps.
you are spoiled indeed. we all are, really. LOVING Dave Ramsey! We are knee deep in a money makeover ourselves and it has been terrific and eye-opening!
Would love to swap squares with you if you decide to get moving on Vivi's quilt!
Yep, yep, and yep!!!!!
I so know what you mean!!!
We, too, are striving to be more intentional with our money and to honor Him as He blesses us!!
And the Target scenario…
That HAS been so me!!!
There are days when I still can NOT believe that I am a mother to five amazing children….
Really, what more could I ask for????
THAT was one BEAUTIFUL post! And that playground on the beach beats ANY fancy playplace. Beautiful!
So true about children being the BEST blessings from God. Thank you for sharing your children and your thoughts. Beautiful children!
So true…great post. We are incredibly blessed. Love that beach playground! We'll have to try to find one near our house. 🙂
Sally- That Girl! says
Couldn't agree with your post more after "living" China(which is way different than adoption pick up trips in nice hotels) for the past week, we all are ridiculously spoiled here. It has been a hard transition back this time because of it! Still trying to make sense of it all.
What gorgeous photos of your beautiful family! It looks warm there!
Great post Setf – and yeah we're spoiled – but when you take money out of the equation then you start 'making fun' – it's called living!
Just one question – how did you get the snow to melt? We haven't seen our grass in weeks and while the piles are about 1/2 as high as they were – there's still a long way to go here in the mid-west!
hugs – aus and co.
Kari Anne says
AMEN!! God is in charge of all we do and we work for Him! He's had all of our lives planned out from before we were even thought of! Well said! I love your blog and your kids are BEAUTIFUL!!! Vivi looks like she's making herself at HOME!!
LOVE this, Stefanie!! What a great perspective, amazingly adorable kiddos, and wonderful photos. Yes, very blessed indeed.
Thanks for a great post! I am a follower of alot of China adoption blogs (we have 2 children from China) and sometimes I find myself a little (maybe more than that)sad and feeling sorry for myself because our house is on the small side, we shop at Wal-Mart, try to find free things to do on the weekends, and my children sometimes have clothes from re-sale. By the way, we're on the "Dave" plan too! It's hard not to covet the lovely houses, expensive clothes and vacations lot of other blogging families have (I struggle with this) and be thankful for the wonderful things our Heavenly Father has blessed us with. Thanks for keeping my heart in the right place today!
Stefanie, we just started the same financial study! We have always been thrifty…but learning so much with the study. I'm excited to be reminded to train our kids in this area..now.
The pictures are beautiful!!
So true…so VERY true!
Can't wait to see all of you on that BEACH in the Summer time!
Brrrrrr its cold here!
3 Peanuts says
It looks gorgeous and I doubt anyone has ever felt bad for you….it is obvious that your life is richly blessed:)
Flamingo Mama says
amen and amen! i'm linking this to my blog sometime this week. i keep trying to encourage everyone to spend money "frugally" because it is more of a spiritual matter than an actual money matter! you are right…you have NO idea what God has up ahead@