Monday, January 31, 2011

Gratitude 462-477

My list goes on...................

hot tea on a cold day

gloves to keep my hands warm

bacon - Mmmmmmmm, I love bacon!

slippers to keep my feet warm from a cold floor

warm cozy fireplace

kisses goodnight

each breath that I take is a gift from God

watching a movie with my husband

steamy bathroom after a hot shower

how Alex always hops and skips everywhere

children shoveling

watching Brad and the kids shovel together

helping others

trim in my bathroom after 7 years without it

door handles on my pantry closet (it has also been a couple years without those)

a new chair

What about you? What are you thankful for as you look around you. May you be thankful today for every good gift that you have received from your heavenly Father.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Frugal Friday - Budgeting

Last year I had this whole plan to do a series of posts on budgeting and saving money. As I started to research the topics I wanted to cover, I became so overwhelmed because there is SOOOOO much material out there. I became a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to cover everything or even be able to do it well.

I have to admit that we became a little lax in our budgeting towards the end of the year. With the new year starting, I was determined to get us back on track and with that came new spreadsheets, financial goals, savings plans and a whole new excitement again.

It's been awhile since I've done Frugal Fridays, so I thought I would bring them back with a series of posts on Money and hope that I get you all excited! Maybe some of you don't budget or maybe some of you just need someone to get you excited about it again. I am going to try and tackle this huge subject as best I can. I truly feel that everyone should budget regardless of how much money you make or how many 0's are in your salary. Especially as Christians we have a duty to be good stewards of what God has given to us.

Here are some of the things I plan to address and if you have more ideas of things you'd like me to cover please let me know.

1. What led us to budgeting and some of our financial mistakes.

2. What the Bible says about money.

3. Why we should budget.

4. Different ways we are able to save on expenses.

5. What it accomplishes in your life when you tell your money where to go instead of letting your money control you.

6. Paying cash for ALMOST everything!

I am by no means an expert in the area of finances and do not claim to be one as I share all of these things with you over the next several weeks. I am simply a housewife that loves to budget, clip coupons, and learn more about how God wants our family to be better stewards of the gifts He has given us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's Happening?

I feel like I haven't bored you all with a post recently, so thought I'd share a few very uneventful things that have happened around our house.

1~ Today I totally messed up 2 batches of brownies. They were supposed to taste really good but I didn't add the right amount of one ingredient. Soon I will be sharing this awesome recipe with you. The correct one that is, not my messed up one.

2~ Just finished Day 2 of The Shred and I am sore. Glad tomorrow I have an excuse to not exercise.

3~ Have been slowly working on organizing my house. I can now see my desk and the girls room got lots of stuff thrown into the garbage. The sad thing is, I think their toys are already unorganized.

4~ Going out for breakfast with a friend and no kids is very exciting and now that I have learned this I think I will be planning lots of breakfast dates.

5~ I now have trim in my bathroom after not having it for 7 years. I also have trim in other places that has been missing for years. I finally have some furniture in my living room besides a couch and I have window treatments after not having them for years! Now I just wait on the painter.

6~ It's only the last week of January but after much procrastination, I finally finished my new and revised 2011 budget.

I've now run out of things to tell you about in my super exciting life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


A few months ago I was reading an article online about Prince Williams engagement to Kate Middleton. About halfway through the article, I realized that I had been reading the whole thing with a British accent. Weird, huh? The even stranger thing was, I couldn't stop.

Have you ever had that? When what you are reading changes the tone of how you read it?
(or am I just really strange? you don't have to answer that.)

I actually had this recently with a book I read. The book is called Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller. Every time I picked the book up, this amazing rest came over me. I felt so relaxed. A calm feeling came over me. I entered into a time of Sabbath.

I'm not sure if you have ever heard of Bloom. Bloom is an online book club started by Angie Smith and Jessica Turner. You can now find them over at (in) courage. Although I have never participated in their book club, I have read 3 of their 4 selections and even wrote reviews on a couple of them. On a side note, I am so excited about their 5th selection and can't wait to order it!  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. If that sounds familiar, it's because her blog is that one that started me on my gratitude list. (Do you think I can get anymore links in this paragraph? if you actually clicked on all of them, you have too much time on your hands!)

When they first posted about the book Sabbath, they had described it as life changing. As a busy mom that always has my long "to do" lists, I was very excited to order it and couldn't wait to read it!

Although, I didn't find it as life-changing as they did, I did really enjoy it. First, for the reason that I described earlier. I just felt rested and relaxed as I read it. I also really enjoyed some of his practical tips and lastly, it was just a good reminder to slow down.

One thing I did find odd about the book was that he kept mentioning different religions. I'm not really sure why he did this but I just learned to skim over it.

I know many of you who read my blog have different views on the Sabbath and I'm not going to debate the issue nor give my view on it. Wayne takes it from the perspective of Sabbath time can be an afternoon, an hour, or a day. As busy moms, I think it is safe to say taking a Sabbath is hard at anytime. We are on the clock 7 days a week, there is always something that needs to be picked up and someone who needs to fed. We need to take time out to rest. God made us this way. So, no matter what your view is, Sabbath is a necessity.

I want to share with you a few quotes from the book that really spoke to me.

Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop--because our work is never completely done. With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility. Every swept floor invites another sweeping, every child bathed invites another bathing. When all life moves in such cycles, what is ever finished? The sun goes round, the moon goes round, the tides and seasons go round, people are born and die, and when are we finished? If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.
In our spiritual life we need to listen to the God who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear in our hurried deafness.
If we surrender fully into Sabbath time, we can slowly move from a life so filled with noisy worries that we are deaf to the gifts and blessings of our life, to a life in which we can listen to God....who seeks to guide and teach us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Praying for Joanne

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I have a new button on my sidebar. This beautiful woman suffered a stroke last Tuesday, I have not been able to get her off my mind and have been in much prayer for her.

I was reading a blog that I often follow and she had posted about Joanne. I have never met Joanne nor had I ever been to her blog before last Wednesday. She is a sister in Christ that needs prayer right now.

I could tell you some of her story but you would probably get it better by just hopping on over to her blog and reading the updates that her husband writes. Just click on Joanne's picture and it will bring you there.

Please be in prayer for her and her family!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Photo Shoot

Last week my sister called me and said, "Melissa, you are so talented, will you PLEASE come over and take pictures of my daughter with your new camera?"

OK, so that is a complete lie.

She actually texted me and asked if it would work a day to come over and take pictures of her daughter. I actually called her back and asked if she wanted to do it that week or the next. To which she replied, "This week but if it doesn't work for you I can just do it with my camera, I just thought maybe you would want to with your new camera b/c we had talked about it." (That is not word for word, my memory is not that good but it is close)

Really? Could she have not just tried to butter me up a little instead of pretty much admitting that she just wanted my camera?

Just joking Beth! You know I was happy to do it and we had a lot of fun!

I thought I would share a few of my favorites with all of you.

I have now learned that a baby is way easier to photograph than 5 and 6 year olds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sickness and Obedience Charts

I had such high hopes for this week. As I looked at my calendar for the week, there was not much on it and so I was so excited to start my organizing of the house!

Well, it was a good thing that there was much on it because what little was on there was soon to be cleared because of.....



After church on Sunday, Isaac began complaining of a headache which later in the day turned into complaining of a sore throat.

Yep, you guessed it. Strep throat had hit our house again! I have had it twice this year, Brad has had it once and now Isaac. I took him to the Dr. on Monday morning to confirm and start the antibiotics. Now I am just waiting to get it, since apparently this is my year for all that is strep throat!

But don't worry, the story doesn't end there.

I awoke on Monday morning not feeling the best but wasn't sure if it was because of my lack of sleep because Isaac decided to sleep in our bed Sunday night poking me in the back every 30 seconds leaving me with little sleep or if I wasn't feeling good because I was coming down with something.

Later in the day after having a queasy stomach most of the day, I learned that it was not my lack of sleep but due to the flu. So me and Isaac hung out a lot this week with two different sicknesses. Now we just wait and see if anyone comes down with one of them and which one they will get. I did a lot of praying while in bed that this does not get passed along.

I had also cancelled cable and it was supposed to be gone as of Sunday, but thankfully the kind folks at Direct TV gave us a few extra days because they must have known we were going to be sick and needed some TV. It's gone now though and the kids keep asking when it's coming back.

During this (the sickness, not the cable cancellation) I learned that my mattress stinks and we need a new one because my back and neck are aching from all that laying around or maybe I'm just getting old. If you said old, you are completely wrong and I'm getting a new mattress soon!

Now onto the second part of my title. Last week the kids were learning about obeying their parents in their Sparks book and they had an obedience chart. We had wrapped that up, which I loved by the way. Anytime they would start to question me on something, I would say, "You are very close to losing that check on your obedience chart."  It worked like a charm.

Well, they must have loved this chart because tonight they all made their own. If I wasn't so lazy I would probably take a picture of them and post for you to see. Maybe I will at some point, just not today. 

They have it set up in code though. Since they can't write out everything yet, they made numbers and each number is a different thing that have to obey me. For instance, putting their clothes away, putting their toys away. Of course, on this obedience chart they put it in their room and they get to decide when they get a check. When I questioned Joshua on something tonight he said, "But mom, it's my obedience chart." I guess he gets to decide if he is obedient or not. Hmmm, something doesn't seem quite right about this but either way their charts were very cute.

(Please pardon all of the run on sentences and rambliness that this post as has brought, I promise to sound much more intelligent next post.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Baking Together

As I already shared with you that Alex and Amanda got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, I thought I'd share with you our first baking experience.

First they mixed the cookie dough.

Then pressed it in the pan.

While we waited for it to bake, we made the frosting and the best part of baking
...............licking the bowl!

When it was done we put the frosting on the cookie.

They were kind enough to share it with their brothers. It was gone very quickly!
Joshua and Isaac thought their sisters were very good bakers.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

They Are Watching

These are a few of the things that Amanda and Alex requested and received for Christmas.

As they walk around the house setting things up to take pictures of, as they are so excited to use their new EasyBake oven and as they always want to wear their new boots (especially Amanda who insists on wearing them over her jeans just like I do) it reminds me that they are watching me. They want to be like me.

It reminds me of the great responsibility God has given me in raising these 2 girls and how important it is that they see Jesus in me. As they want to model me in my hobbies, they will also model me in my actions and in my speech.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Toy

Brad got me this awesome new toy for Christmas.

I am absolutely in love with it. Of course now I have to learn how to use it. If anyone has any suggestions of where I can take a good class, please pass along the information.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all! Hope you had a fun night.

We went away for the night to a hotel with a majority of our small group from church. The kids had fun swimming and now we are home and everyone is napping. I think I might do the same pretty soon, the alternative is laundry. Nap sounds way better!
I've been a little busy the last month and so I haven't been around here much. So many things to get done and so many blog posts were swirling around in my head, with no time to write them. Of course they are all gone now because that is how my brain works. Sometimes I wonder if I should walk around with one of those tape recorder things but then again, nothing I have to say is all that interesting anyway so it might all be better off swirling off into the wild blue yonder or something.

I have a very exciting year  nothing planned yet for this year at my blog (except for maybe sharing some pictures from the holidays- aren't you excited!) but I thought maybe you would all like to help me out. What are your favorite posts of mine? You can email me, comment here, or write to me on facebook.

My recipes seem to get the most response but I think I may have shared all 15 of my recipes with you. Since Brad now works evenings and the kids prefer chicken nuggets and corn dogs for supper (no use messing with that one) I'm guessing I won't be trying out too many new recipes soon. If I do, I'll let you know.

So, recipes aside, what do you like the most here? Or maybe you like my variety? That's nice to know too.

How about New Year's Resolutions? Anybody have any good ones. I don't really have any, just maybe some goals for the new year. I would like to get my house completely organized. Hope my kids are ready because I am going to be taking a big garbage bag to every room. I would also like to try to simplify life and try to enjoy my family more.

I'll be back soon with lots of pictures from Christmas and New Years. I'm sure you can hardly contain your excitement!