Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blessings Abundant

Multitude Monday 97-109

Cucumber Sandwiches

God provides for some extra, unexpected expenses

Listening to Isaac have a pretend phone conversation about working

Listening to my children's petitions to God (I love to hear what they tell God they are thankful for)

Canned Peaches

Corn to freeze

Little Helpers

Eating a warm blueberry muffin

Stopping by my sister's house right after she baked some chocolate chip cookies

A blooming Hibiscus that reminds me of my mom

My husband helping me clear the table after supper

and for taking all the kids outside to play so I could finish cleaning up in peace

A night out with a friend

"Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever." Psalm 106:1

Change your life and join the Gratitude Community in counting the blessings that God has given to you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever!

Every Week I make some sort of home baked item for our Sunday breakfast. On Friday I decided I would make some Blueberry Muffins and some Banana Muffins and we could have half on Sunday morning and I could freeze the other half for the following Sunday. As I went to make them I realized I only had 7 paper baking cups.

At supper I told my husband that I needed to run real quick to the grocery store to get some more and he replied, "Can't you make cinnamon rolls for Sunday?" I told him my reasoning for making the muffins and that I would make them the following week and that I didn't have enough yeast. He of course said, we might not make it that long and pointed out how I was going to the grocery store already. I told him that they were "Cinnabon - Buns from Heaven" so if we didn't make it a couple weeks he would probably be able to get them there. Well, needless to say, he did end up winning. I made my muffins on Friday night and we had them this morning for breakfast and then I froze the rest. I spent this morning making these wonderful "Buns from Heaven".

They are a lot of work, but so worth it. I will enjoy tomorrow morning as everyone scarfs these down. I thought I would share the recipe for these with you all so you can make them. If you like butter and sugar, you will love these! There is a lot of both!

The only thing I do differently is that the recipe tells you to put them in a 9x13 pan and a 9x9. I actually cut them a little smaller so that I can make two 9x13 pans and put one in the freezer for another week.

And yes, there are 3 missing from this pan. It is hard to not eat one right out of the oven. My sister was over, so we both had one and so did my husband.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Surgery and More

This morning we had the pleasure of waking up at 5:30am to take Isaac to have surgery. If you remember a while back I posted this about why he had to have surgery but I'll tell you again anyway. He has 2 extra teeth and so he needed to have them removed. He did so good. I snapped this picture of him while we were waiting. I would have gotten more but husband started giving me dirty looks. He loved the ride he got in the bed as they wheeled him into surgery.

He did way better than when he had surgery about a year and a half ago for his strabismus. Thankfully this time they took his IV out before we got there and before he fully woke up. Which is what the problem was with his last surgery, they wouldn't take it out and he didn't like that. He came home and didn't even want to sleep. I had to finally make him take a nap at 3:00. He never really complained about pain, but I think the stitches were bothering him because he kept asking when they could come out.


This afternoon I hear these 3 cute kids yelling to me. "MOM, Come here!" I look out the window and they say, "Mom, don't we look cute? Do you want to take a picture?" Ever since I've started blogging I've been taking more pictures of them so I guess they just want to find reasons for me.

They had to pull different faces for each photo. This was the cute pose.

This is a silly pose.

This is another silly pose.

This is the sad pose.

We joined the Sox Kids Club and everyone got their own sheet of tattoos. So this is tattoo day.

My Counting Continues

The Lord continues to bless us with many good things and I continue to count and to appreciate them as He does.

85~ 9 years of marriage

86~ 4 years with our son Isaac

87~ cousins who play well together

88~ an afternoon relaxing outside with my sisters

89~ a much needed rain

90~ A family walk

91~ swinging on the swings with my daughter

92~ a free babysitter

93~ which resulted in dinner alone with my husband

94~ answered prayers for a friend

95~ God's word which speaks to me daily

96~ a surgery gone well
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frugal Friday - Why I shop my small, local grocery store?

I am thankful that I live in an area that is close to a lot of stores. For me, driving more than 3 minutes to a grocery store seems like a long time just because I have so many stores that are close to me. I've tried them all and if you don't know this about me I shop sales and I coupon. I try to stick to about $75 a week for groceries.

Now, as I said, I've tried all the stores. I have 2 big chains close by to me that have insane sales that try to get you in the door but then I find all their other items are so overpriced! I don't like to have to go to more than one store a week so I've found that my local, small grocery store works the best for me and the best part about it is that it's only a block away! Here are my reasons for a small store as opposed to a big store.

1~ Small! takes me less time. I get so lost in the big stores and feel like by the time I'm done and bring the groceries home and put them away, it has become a 3 hour ordeal.

2~ There sale items seem to be pretty comparable to the bigger chains.

3~ My store has $.99 isle. It takes up about half the isle and I can find some pretty good things there like generic Teddy Grahams, salad dressing, spices, and other Misc. items that don't go on sale too often or that you might only need for a recipe and you need it now!

4~ My store also has half price bins. They have them in the meat section and dairy section. I can find a lot of items that I usually just throw in the freezer anyway or that we would eat in a few days. Like hot dogs which I have a ton of in the freezer, Oscar Mayer Bacon (the only kind we'll buy), yogurt, orange juice, Pillsbury rolls and the list goes on. I especially like to look for those items that I can use coupons with too.

5~ Store coupons. They have store coupons that I can find in the paper that I can stack with manufacturer coupons, plus they have a couple online coupons each week too. I've gotten Velveeta cheese for super cheap this way!

I'm sure there are many more reasons, but these are the main ones. I also only buy things on sale unless I absolutely need it for a recipe. That means I buy the fruit that is on sale, I buy the meat that is on sale and the snacks. If it's not on sale we do without.

Now I have to admit that I do shop the big chains occasionally, like last night. I went because they had buy $25 of a certain list of items and get $5 back and a $20 rebate, plus I used coupons so they actually paid me $4.50 for $25 worth of groceries. But this too had it's downside. It took me 40 minutes (b/c of some technical difficulties and I didn't know where everything was) to do this from the time I left my house til the time I got home and because of the rebate I wanted to do 2 separate transactions which I didn't have enough time for, so now I have to go back for the second half of my list. But thankfully, as I said, I have so many stores close to me I can do this occasionally and I can wait til my husband is home so I don't have to go with kids.

I also am an Aldi lover. I have certain items that I know are cheaper there and I will try to go there once a month to stock up.

Now as far as my $75 a week goes, I will spend more in one week but then I take from the week after that. It ends up being one week I only have $$$ leftover for milk and produce. These are just some of my tips but I'm a firm believer that in saving money, we all have to keep experimenting and find what works best for our families and our lifestyle.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Baby is 4

It's hard to believe that my little Isaac is already 4! He was born by C-section at 10:42 am and was 8 lbs 14 oz and 21 inches long. He was the size of of Amanda and Joshua put together when they were born! He had tons of really blond hair and had very big hands and long fingers.

I just had to include a picture of him on his 1st birthday. We were camping and he picked up the whole cake and just started eating it!

He had his cousins (and aunts) over for a party today for some swimming, lunch, cake and of course presents! He was so excited yesterday when I was getting everything ready, he would randomly come up to me and want to give me a hug and a kiss. I love how boys always make up for their mischievous ways by being so loving and cute.

Tonight we went out for supper to Texas Roadhouse with Grandpa Eriks and Grandpa & Grandma Vis where he got more presents! And he got to sit on this saddle as they yelled happy birthday to him.

Presents he got included Noclears (Binoculars), Walkie Talkies, sidewalk chalk, pool and sand toys, golf clubs, and a White Sox shirt. He sure was tired out at the end of the day, so I taking that as a sign that it was a good day!

9 Years

Although my husband and I went to the same high school I never really knew him, just knew of him. At the young age of 19 was when I really "met" him but at that time I was dating someone else, 6 months later God brought us together again. This time I was 20 and I was single. It was early on that I knew he was the man I was going to marry and I even suspected it on our first date.

We married 4 1/2 years later and today we've been married for 9 years. I've learned a lot from my husband and each day I continue to grow to love him more and it becomes clearer and clearer to me why God brought us together. Sure we've had our rough patches and our knock down fights (don't worry, no one really got knocked down!) but I'm pretty sure most marriages have that.

On that day 9 years ago neither one of us had a clue as to what all these years would bring. Trials of infertility, triplets and the birth of another only a year later, job changes, loss of my mom, parenting always brings new challenges in a marriage, changes in church and so many more! Yet God has remained faithful through it all. I can only pray that He blesses us with many more years together and that as He remains faithful to us that we will model that in our marriage and remain faithful to eachother through whatever life may bring.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Temple of God - Multitude Monday

Today as I continue to count the blessings God has given to me I want to focus on something. The body or the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16) or II Cor. 5:1 refers to it as our earthly house and tent. As you go about your day, do you think to thank God for the parts of your body that are allowing you to do the task at hand? I know I forget this, I take it for granted. I just expect that my hand will be able to grab that object and my feet will take me where I need to go or that my heart will keep on beating. Let us remember today that each breath we take is a gift from God.

74~ fingers to finger paint.

75~ hands to serve.

76~ feet to guide me

77~ legs to run

78~ eyes to see the beauty of creation

79~ a nose to smell good food cooking

80~ a tongue to taste that food

81~ ears to hear the singing of God's praises

82~ arms to hug

83~ a heart that keeps on beating

84~ lungs that keep me breathing

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation!" Psalm 68:19

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Fair Day

I'm not sure what happened to "planner" Melissa lately because "spontaneous" Melissa has been taking over. Now, I'm not sure that my name and the word spontaneous have ever been used in the same sentence. I used to like everything to be planned and scheduled but lately I think I'm realizing that my kids are growing just way to stinkin' fast and I need to take every opportunity I can to do things with them. So when my sister Beth called me the other day and asked if I wanted to go to the fair I jumped right on that! Sure my yard needs a lot of work and my van hasn't been washed in about 2 months but it will get done someday.

So before we left we established a "no rides" policy and I had a couple errands to run (I can't drop absolutely everything, I had some free stuff to go get at CVS) and then we headed off. Now I really hope the fair wasn't trying to make $$$ off of us because we were there for about 3 hours and found absolutely everything that we could do for free. We only spent $$$ on some lunch, which it rained on us while we ate it.

In one building there was a table where the kids could spin a wheel and then were asked a question specific to that number. If they answered it correctly they were able to choose a prize of either a tattoo, granola bar, chips, sticker or pencil. Isaac's question was, "What is cheese made from?" His response, "Cheetos!" Well, of course it is! His prize for that answer was none other than a bag of Cheetos.

We also pet some bunnies.

We made some candles.

We looked at the animals.

Here are cousin Eddie and Ellie (my kids have a cousin Eddie and Ellie).

We went to the petting zoo which had a kangaroo, some goats, a water buffalo, a zebra and a camel to name a few.

Isaac enjoyed talking to the animals and tried to feed them wood chips since his mom is too cheap to buy the food to feed them.

And that was our day at the fair.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Continuing to Count My Blessings

As another week has passed I continue to count the blessings I receive from our good and gracious God.

61~ blue skies

62~ family to help watch my kids as I head off for my days of jury duty

63~ daily bread

64~ prayer

65~ new friends

66~ old friends

67~ quiet time

68~ blowing bubbles

69~ freedom to worship

70~ homegrown vegetables

71~ steak on the grill

72~ sound of crickets outside

73~ air conditioning on a hot day

Would you like to start your own list of 1000 Gifts? Grab a pen and paper and start counting your blessings. For more information check out The Gratitude Community.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Because I have multiples I often get questions about it. People are very curious as to what it is like but to be honest, I don't know what it is like to not have multiples so it is hard to answer that question. Just take every thing you do for your 1 child and multiple that. When they were young it was probably a lot different than what the normal parent experiences but now that they are older it seems to me that having my 4 kids all born with in 13 1/2 months doesn't seem like it would be any more work than the average person that has 4 kids all different ages. In some senses I think I probably have it easier.

One question I often get is, "Are their personalities all different?" Yes, God has made them all completely unique! I think so often sisters grow into becoming best friends later in life because of the age gap when they are younger but Alex and Amanda were able to be born with their best friend. They don't need to grow into that but as much as they love each other and play so well together their personalities are completely and utterly different.

Amanda looks more like her dad or at least that side of the family but so many of her personality traits are more like me. She likes things more organized and in their place, everything has to be a certain way and gets upset when it's not. Absolutely hates to lose things! She is definitely more of a mommy's girl than a daddy's girl and loves to follow me around, imitate me, she's the mothering one and is always concerned for every one's well being. One thing that she is that I am not really is emotional she will cry at the drop of a hat. She is also more outgoing and will be quick to meet other kids and include them. She loves to sleep and still likes to take naps, that one she gets from her dad.

Now, Alex looks like me but has a lot of her dad's characteristics. She is much more laid back and she is always losing things. We like to play a game every Sunday called "Where did Alex leave her purse?" She either leaves it somewhere in the house and when we get in the car and realize she has left it in the house, it is my job to go through the house and determine exactly where Alex has been and find the purse. If she doesn't leave it in the house, she'll often leave it at church. She is always happy and smiling. A couple ways that she is like her mom, often shy when she doesn't know someone but once she knows them she won't stop talking and she isn't a big sleeper and does not like mornings!

Even when it comes to clothes they are different. I took them shopping for Easter dresses this past Spring. When I asked them if they wanted the same dresses or different dresses they both immediately responded, "DIFFERENT!" A lot of times I don't even bother to buy them matching or coordinating clothes because they won't wear them at the same time anyway.

And there you have it! Two girls, born on the same day who are best friends but couldn't be more different from each other!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Frugal Friday on a Tuesday

I know, I'm getting a little crazy here. Frugalness (this apparently is not a word, that is what my spell check says, but it is now) on a Tuesday and 2 posts in one day. Sometimes I just like to surprise my few faithful followers! But tonight was just so filled with frugalness that I just had to post about it. Now, if I was telling my husband all about this he would probably be rolling his eyes and then tuning me out. You may do that as well, but at least I don't have to see you so I don't know you are doing. So in my mind you are all enjoying this post.

First we started out by heading to our towns national night out which offered free hot dogs, chips and drinks. Then when we got there we also found free pizza, free Coldstone (which I had my favorite Banana), free tattoos for the kids, free games, free jumpy houses. You are getting my drift right, everything was FREE! We also came home with some more junk awesome prizes! Can't wait to throw those away tomorrow. Don't tell my kids! Like a good mommy blogger I forgot my camera so I don't have any pictures to share with you of our free fun. I also had the pleasure of seeing my Congressman Pete Visclosky which I felt like stopping and having a conversation with him but thought it might not go so well since we don't see eye to eye, at least that's what I get from the letters he sends back to me in response to mine.

I then dropped everyone off at home and headed to my 2 favorite stores Walgreens and CVS. This is what I purchased at CVS. Doesn't look like a lot but out of pocket I spent $17.26 in 2 transactions. Basically the skim milk was free, 2% milk $.99, 2 free rulers, Body wash they paid me $1.01, and the rest was for the diapers (not for me! a baby gift) and pull-ups. I also walked out with $5 in Extra Bucks and a coupon for a 4pack of CVS batteries for free for my next visit.

Then I headed off to Walgreens where I spent $10.58 and left with $6 in Register Rewards for my next visit. Hand soap I paid $1 for, 2 free snickers bars, Cereal $2 each but got $2 of RR for that, free shampoo (with RR back), $.29 for both bags of Lifesavers and rulers were .$29 each.

All in all didn't think it was a bad night. Thank you for being excited with me!

Our Living Room Finished

Nine Years ago we bought our first house. It was just a simple Cape Cod built in the 50's. At the time we didn't know what God had in store for our family and just thought it was a starter house. We started some projects, finished some projects. Five years ago we added 3 kids to this house and four years ago we added a 4th kid to this house. It became very small, very quick. So more projects were started. This was our living room 9 years ago. I wish I had a better picture but this is all I have.

This is our living room now. We completely gut it. We have new windows, new trim, took out the plaster and made it drywall. We made our doorways bigger, we've refinished the hardwood floors twice, and added an opening so you can see into the kitchen. A fireplace and bookshelves have been added. Of course, in between these projects this room has taken on a different look from the first picture to the new pictures. It's been filled with baby things and was even our dining room for awhile since our kitchen was so small.

There is a little painting to do yet on the trim, we need window treatments yet and someday I hope to move the piano out of here and get a couple new chairs for more seating. But other than that this room is done.

As we complete projects I will continue to show you before and after pictures around the house for those of you who haven't been able to come over to see them.