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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: November 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

December Giveaway ~ Free Pampered Chef Recipe Book!

Ok faithful readers (and guests)... it's time for December's giveaway! In honor of the season for celebrating Christ's birth and all the fun gatherings we have, I am giving away Pampered Chef's Celebrate! cookbook. I've looked and it doesn't look like it is available anymore... so this could be your one chance to add it to your library! I just flipped through it and I'm almost ready to change my mind... everything looks so yummy! It is a gently used book that I just haven't used since being married... so I want one of you to get some use out of it!

Ok... so this is how we are going to do things (thanks to Molly-Coddled for the idea in her giveaway last month). If you want to be entered for the Pampered Chef cookbook (full of all the wonderful Pampered Chef recipes!), leave a comment on this post AND make a post of your own about this giveaway on your blog linking back here! This way lots of people can have a chance! What if you don't have a blog??? That is fine too... please just send an email out to a few people you know might be interested and let me know you did that in your comment! :) I trust you!

Friday night (December 7th) I will close the contest and sometime Saturday I will post the winner! :) I hope you can all have fun with this!

Blessings!

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What do you think so far?

Ok... so I totally thrive on feedback and I'm not ashamed to outright ask for it! :)

So, tell me... if you have the time... what do you think about the look of my blog face lift? I have decided to go with the decorate for the season approach for now. I am getting help from Tricks for New Bloggers, but other than that I'm on my own, so a lot of what is happening is trial and error, and therefore very slow going.

Anyway... I'm off for now. I smell a not pleasant smell (which does not make me happy because I changed a wet only diaper 5 minutes ago!)

Hope your day is bright... whether the weather is or not! :)

Pride and Submissiveness

Still this morning the ugly scene of last nights shopping trip is running through my mind. I was actually fighting my husband for the shopping cart. In slow motion I could see myself doing it, but not with enough time to stop it. Before the event was even completed I knew my sin and was asking forgiveness of my husband. But what started it? Why did it happen in the first place? Allow me to paint the ugly picture for you.

Background… I am a sinner… a saved sinner, but a sinner all the same. And one of my particular sins of struggle? Pride! It has taken me a long time to really see this because my pride does not manifest itself the way I always expected pride to manifest itself in a person’s life. When I think of a proud person, I picture someone “puffing himself up” in the sight of others. I think of telling others how great you are, or deliberately doing things to catch attention for yourself. While it is possible I may do this from time to time, this is not the kind of pride I experience on a daily basis. In my life pride manifests itself through fear of man, or, as in last nights ugly display, an “I’m not doing anything wrong”/ “Don’t try to control me” attitude. (Yeah… I told you it was ugly!)

So we were doing our weekly (usually Monday night) grocery shopping and I tend (apparently) to stop in the middle of everything, therefore getting in the way. At this particular place of stopping, I evidentially didn’t think I was in the way, and when my sweet husband began to move the cart (with the baby in it I may add ~ hey… why hide any of the details now?) I fought him (literally trying to pull it away from him and put it where I wanted it) for control of the cart (or buggie, or basket ~ whatever you call it). Like I said, I could see myself doing it and I was disgusted… yet somehow still unable to stop myself.

So why am I sharing this embarrassing story with you? While I was laying awake in bed last night, in part dwelling on this unfortunate event and in part formulating this post in my head, I was thinking of how pride is a destroyer of a submissive spirit! Really it is a destroyer of so many things. I was reading in my Bible study time this morning (from Beth Moore’s Living Free) how pride is still Satan’s main weapon in the lives of both believers and unbelievers alike! Truly it robs us of more than laziness does.

Back on topic, how can I be submissive to my husband, humbling myself and placing myself beneath his headship if I let pride rule in my heart? Short answer??? I can’t! This is a major issue!!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Incomplete Housework is Still be a Blessing!

Housework, among other things, can be difficult for the perfectionist to accomplish! We don’t want to start a project unless there is time to do it all… so we don’t ever start. (Worse, we don’t have time, but we won’t let anyone [especially our babies] help because they won’t do it right!)

I know some of you are familiar with Flylady. I don't always recommend her because I haven't been happy with her FLY motto of “finally loving yourself”. I am a strong believer that the Bible teaches how we all naturally love ourselves, and that we need to work on being less self-centered, not more, but she does have a lot of good to say about cleaning and if that will help you I encourage you to check out http://www.flylady.net/.

Anyway, the reason I brought her up at all is that she has this saying... "Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family!" (This may not be an exact quote, but it's the right idea.) I don't know if she says this one or not, but I like to add that *Housework done INCOMPLETELY still blesses your family!*

A perfect example? Well... I decluttered today... but I didn't get it all done. It looks so much better though. Last night while my son was in the bath, I cleaned the bathroom...except for the floor (I still smile when I go in, even though the floor still needs to be done). If I were to take my own advice and wipe down the kitchen floor (even for 2 minutes a day), it would eventually look nice and I would love the parts that were done. :) On really crazy days, I am tempted to continue to let the dishes pile up in the sink because there isn't time to do them. I am sooo thankful for the days I think to just do as many as I have time for. It is nice later to have less to do. :)

I hope this encourages you! I too can be perfectionistic (though I am truly a lazy perfectionist by birth), but I have been learning that one cupboard door wiped clean each day will eventually get the job done. :) (Now if only I’d do that one cupboard door, but this post touches on that topic!)

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Laziness ~ A Thief!

I was thinking today about laziness (my own specifically) and how it is a robber of so many joys. It is my own laziness that prevents me from feeling accomplished at the end of the day. My own laziness that prevents me (and my family) from enjoying a sparkly clean home. My own laziness that keeps me from the fun of sewing a project or working on a quilt. It is my own laziness that robs me of the joy of treating my darling husband to an apple pie (his favorite) or his favorite meal (because I didn’t start it in time).

It is amazing how much tidying I got done around the house today (not that I’m finished) because I just did it. I could have enjoyed the (somewhat) uncluttered look days ago had I just done it. More than that I could have enjoyed the fun inner feeling of joy when my darling husband came home and said how nice the house looks… if I had just done it. Instead I found something more fun or easier to do. Likely… I probably floated around on blogs (being encouraged to do something… yet not actually doing it).

I am tired of laziness! The sad thing is that this isn’t the first time I’ve said that. My heart’s desire is to be a clear reflection of the woman described in Proverbs 31. What is it that keeps me from working toward that? Laziness! Proverbs 31:27 (I know it so well that I even know exactly where it is) says, “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Several things stand out to me about this verse. First, “she looks well to the ways of her household.” “Well”… as in completely or does a good job (I haven’t looked into the Hebrew, so if anyone senses that I have misinterpreted this word I would love to be corrected!) Second, she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” I need to be reminded that aimlessly clicking around the internet because I’m bored is the same as eating the bread of idleness! I have more than enough around here that can be done… even if I’ve finished all my chores for the day!

There is always something that can be done! I could work on the sewing project I am figuring out for children’s Christmas gifts. I could finally (4 years later) put the backing on my snowman quilt so that we can actually enjoy it this year. I could clean windows, or remove cobwebs, or dust! I could make ahead batters for breakfast this week, or prepare dough for Christmas cookies and freeze it, or go through that stack of paper that has been making me (and my darling husband) crazy for more than a week!

I think my point is that the laziness has got to stop! I don’t want to let it rob me, and especially my darling husband and son, of anymore joy! I think I will find a way to decorate my kitchen with Proverbs 31:27! But that isn’t enough… it is not the hearers of the Word, but the doers of the Word that God is pleased with!

Do any of you need to join me in working toward being a doer of Proverbs 31:27??? Or am I the only one?

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Christmas Clothes for Baby

What do your children wear for Christmas? Maybe on Christmas Day? Or on Christmas Eve? How about to church the Sunday before Christmas? Or to a Christmas party? Do they wear the same special outfit? Do you get a special outfit?

Growing up we always had something new and special for Christmas. We would wear it Christmas Day when we went to my grandparent’s house for the afternoon and evening. Christmas Eve we celebrated too, but it was a casual evening. Christmas morning we went to my dad’s parents for breakfast and presents in our pajamas! Then, after opening presents we would get ready for the more formal Christmas celebration at my mom’s parents house.

Now it’s my turn to dress my own children. This year it is only my son. He will be one in another week. These days he doesn’t stay in one size very long. So what does he wear? Where does he wear it? And how many times?

I’ll tell you, as a photographer (much to my husbands dislike) Christmas portraits are a must for me. :) So that is one time he can wear something special. He *should* have a special outfit for his Christmas portraits! :) Our Christmas Day celebration is going to be low key. My mom will be in town and my sister is coming up (at least this is the way I think it will go). We will have yummy food, but it will be casual. :) The Christmas Eve service at church could be another time he could wear his special Christmas clothes… or even the last Sunday before Christmas. I don’t know.

The point is… he won’t get to wear them very many times ~ 2… maybe 3 tops! And since we are expecting a little girl in March instead of a boy, this outfit may never be worn again.

My suggestion for finding frugal Christmas clothes… Wal-Mart! :) You can find lots of different baby clothes for relatively inexpensive! There are other ways of course for the truly frugal. You can find all sorts of great things at thrift stores or in hand-me-downs from friends or relatives. Keep your eyes out all year long for next year’s!

The most frugal way I have found… let the grandparents gift it to you. You may find me shameless, but I had a feeling my mom, or my grandmother, would send some cute thing along. :) DH was worried when I dragged him through the baby section looking at all the cute baby clothes our son would wear once or twice, but I just wanted to look. I had a feeling grandma would be sending something… and surprise! There it was. She was so excited to do it that I just couldn’t find it in my heart not to let her. :)

Hey, it works for me!

And for more frugal tips, visit Crytal!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Making Changes!

As you may notice, I'm working on changing the look of my blog a little. I would love any input from all of you, my readers, as well as from some of you who are more experienced with this blog changing thing. :) I will have specific questions for you in the weeks to come I'm sure! So if you love to put in your 2 cents, come back. :)

Some things I'm considering:
  • Changing the name (oooh, this one's tough... what do you think? Do I dare, or do you like this one?)
  • A new header (maybe custom designed with pictures etc?)
  • Any ideas for others?

Giveaway Coming! ~ Pampered Chef

That's right... with the first days of December will come another giveaway from my Pampered Chef Cookbook collection. In honor of the season of celebration, I will be giving away Pampered Chef's Celebrations Cookbook! :) There are some yummy things in there you can incorporate in your Christmas Celebrations!

Check back next week to enter!

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Ministering Together with Your Husband

There has been some talk over at Biblical Womanhood about a woman’s ministry verses her place in the home. I think this is a common question/concern for many women. I too often feel like I wish I could do more… but when I am doing more, I feel the need to be at home. What is the answer?

I think you will find that the answer for you and your family is different than the answer for me, or for the family in the pew next to you, or the family across town. The reason for this is that God has a different plan for each of you.

I am a dreamer… I have big dreams for all the things I want to accomplish or have my hands in. I make big plans (often bigger than I am capable of accomplishing) and get all excited about them. I want to be a part of everything and to do it all up huge. The problem is that none of these things fall anywhere near the top of my priority list. In September when I announced to my husband that I wanted to be a part of the church’s Christmas Cantata he just looked at me. Instead of what I deserved… an “are you kidding me?!?,” he very gently and graciously mentioned that he didn’t think it was a great idea with all the other things we are involved in, and that maybe next year would be better. He is so very wise (of coarse next year I will have another new baby)!

This brings to the forefront a very important principle. As we seek which ministry opportunities we can stretch our hands out to participate in, we should be seeking our husband’s input. Then, hands down, if he says he doesn’t want you to participate, or even if he hints that he doesn’t think it is the best idea, honor your husband! Honor his place as head over you and graciously accept his advice. This won’t mean you can never participate, and it doesn’t have to mean you can’t do anything.

My husband and I love to do everything together! We love to work together, play together, and minister together. From the very beginning of our marriage (almost 3 years now) we have made ministry decisions based on whether or not we could do them together. There are things we do separately as well. When our pastor asked DH if he would take the ministry of being the church’s “Computer Guy”, he didn’t say no because I couldn’t help. He has taken on that ministry. And tonight, it is my plan to help decorate the church for Christmas. Overall, though, our regular ministry is something we can do together.

My husband and I have the opportunity to lead the Children’s Choir and Drama together on Sunday nights. There are a couple other ladies without whom we could not survive, but our names are on the “leaders” list. This is our second year to do it, and this year we have taken on the huge project of a Christmas musical that we will perform as part of the Sunday morning service on December 9th!

Each Sunday evening we drag ourselves out of the house (why is it we never want to go… even when we enjoy it so much once we are there?) to spend the hour plus of the Sunday evening service with the church’s 3-11 year olds.

Last night I was struck by what a special blessing it is to minister alongside my husband. When it comes to these children, I take the lead. I wrote the music and dialog for our musical, therefore I am the director. It also helps that I have the loud voice and a (eh em) control issue. J My sweet husband has never been intimidated by this however and the system works quite nicely. He is so good at filling all my gaps. He notices the details I miss when distracted by other things. He tells me which kids aren’t participating, which songs need to be gone over again, and a multitude of other little details that need fixing. He is happy to sit next to a child who needs “special” attention, or to remove a distracting toy from another. But my favorite part is when he stands up there with me, when he holds my hand for a minute, or when he just smiles from the side of the room!

I have the opportunity to minister in our church and to spend quality and quantity time with my husband at the same time! I am so very blessed!

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Perk for Planning Ahead

Yesterday I painstakingly sat down to figure out our meal plan for this week. It wasn't easy and, let's face it... I didn't want to do it! But what if I hadn't. It's possible I would have had a plan for today, but it is likely that, though I do have all the ingredients, I would have had no idea what to make and would have completely forgotten my options. That would have been very sad!

Why sad you ask? Inconvenient yes, but sad? Yes... this morning at my ladies Bible Study I learned that a woman in our church who has been hospitalized has taken a turn for the worse. After resuscitating her this morning and putting her on a ventilator, they are now running tests to find out if she is getting any blood to her brain at all. I hurt with my whole being... not for her (as she is safe in the arms of our Father in His perfect timing whatever may happen), but for her husband and family. My first thought when I heard all this was that I had the perfect meal on menu for tonight and that, since I was just going to freeze half of it anyway, I could provide a meal for this family.

Had I not made my weeks plans last night I wouldn't have been able to easily fill this need. Praise the Lord for helping me grow in this area these past couple months!

By the way... please be praying for Kate (in the hospital) and her husband Bob, and their children and grandchildren at this time! Thanks!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Turning Toward Christmas ~ Decorating

With the world's eye turned toward Christmas (ok... the Christian world at least), I am starting to wonder... what is the best time to decorate?

Growing up we weren't allowed to even start talking about Christmas, let alone decorate, until after my sister's birthday (December 8th). That seems a little harsh, and it was awful to wait those extra days, but you see, my mom made a promise! My uncle's birthday is a couple days after Christmas and she saw, as she was growing up, how his birthday just got lumped in with Christmas. Because of this she promised herself (and I'm sure my newly born sister) that wouldn't happen to her! So, what do you do to make sure it doesn't... you ban Christmas until after the birthday! It wasn't until late in our teen years my sister finally convinced my mom that it was ok... that she really wanted to decorate etc... and that she wouldn't feel less special. :)

In college, being far from home, it was tradition to bring out the Christmas decorations the Friday after Thanksgiving. In fact, I would invite a few close friends to my dorm room (when my roommates were out) and we would have a tree trimming party! I bought cocoa and snacks and we decorated my little 1 foot Christmas tree. It was more ceremonious than anything else as it took longer to boil the water for the cocoa than to "decorate" my room. :) Then we would play games and listen to Christmas music!

I carried this tradition beyond college to some extent. The Friday after Thanksgiving I pulled out my adult sized decoration box (still not huge) and would decorate my apartment along with my roommate/s. Christmas music would play and cocoa would be plentiful! Perhaps even a Christmas movie on the TV. Then after a couple weeks we would add the Christmas tree (don't want it dying before Christmas actually arrived after all.

Since being married, things are a little different. DH doesn't like crazy decorations like I do. :) Nor is he fond of most Christmas music (too bell ridden I think). Don't get me wrong... he is not Scrooge like, just doesn't make big deals out of things and definitely doesn't see the reason for all the "clutter" (you know decorations). :) So... in the spirit of compromise, and pleasing him... I hold off a little bit. I try to wait for Advent.

In past years Advent has been the same weekend of Thanksgiving, so it doesn't help much. This year, I am determined to give my husband the week off. :) I think that means I will be decorating this next weekend (or perhaps Friday while he is at work). There still aren't many decorations, which is good because we have a small home. If we get a tree at all (we skipped this last year as we had a very newborn in the house) it won't be for a couple more weeks.

But then... the question arose in my head and heart. What about my child's birthday (December 4th)? Should I be waiting too like my mother did??? But what about Advent? I may have to adjust with each new year as our son gets old enough to care what's going on, but for this year... we aren't waiting.

What do you all do? When do the decorations come out? When do you get your tree? (For a great article on real or fake for the frugally minded visit here.)

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CVS Printable Coupon

Get your $4 off $20 purchase of Essence of Beauty products at CVS before December 9th! Print coupon here! :)

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Meal Plan Monday

This weeks menu was tough to put together for some reason. I don't know if it is because this weeks sales seem weaker than normal, or if I'm just uninspired today. Here is what I came up with though. We are starting with Tuesday and going through Monday because Monday is our shopping day, so I have to plan for it. :)

Tuesday
Pizza Casserole (yeah, we didn't get to that last week)

Wednesday
Grilled Chicken, Salad, Homemade Bread

Thursday
Meatloaf (I'll get you guys the recipe... it's really good!)

Friday
Favorite Meatball Stew (new recipe for me... from Pampered Chef. I promised DH I would try to make Soup/Stew one night a week through the winter. He is very excited!)

Saturday and Sunday
Busy days for us... thankfully we will have plenty leftovers this week to help us out!

Monday
Taco Salad and fixins! :)


There you have it... for more ideas and inspiration visit MPM hosted at Orgjunkie.com

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Party Invitations

I spent this evening filling out 1st Birthday Party invitations! So fun... my little boy is having his first birthday! It's a little stressful too though. We aren't intending to have a huge party... just a little something to make up for the fact that we don't live near any family (well... my sister will be driving the 2 hours to be with us if she can). Our church really has become important family, but I am trying to keep things small (DH said I could have the party, but that I couldn't have a budget for the party... One might think I could then spend anything I want... but alas, it means I'm not supposed to spend anything). Small means I can't open things up to the whole church (300 plus people).

I am sure our wonderful friends (who are allowing us to use their home for this party) are glad it's not for that many people, but still it leaves me with the stressful job of making out invitations. There is a list of the no brainers. I included all the couples in our Sunday School class... then the families who have kids in the infant nursery with our DS. Then the list gets a little stickier... the guys (and their families) that DH works closely with (many of them are at our church also, but others are just so close to us that we wouldn't ever not invite them)... then a few families that have taken special interest in us or our son... then that leads to others. But if we invite those others, it lead to others... and so on. I finally drew a line in the sand, but I'm not sure I drew it in the right place.

Struggle number 2... gifts. We really don't need much... but a few things would be helpful... but I don't need people to bring gifts, nor do I want them to feel they need to (I understand not having money for such things). Really we (OK, I... DH would rather shop Black Friday than have this party [ok, maybe that is a little overboard, but you get my point]) don't have room for much more than we have, nor need... but I know some people will want to bring something and would love guidance.

So... I left a little note on the back of each invitation (yes, I wrote the same thing 18ish times) saying how gifts are not necessary, but if they must...

Anyway, now that I have done it and there is no going back... I'm wondering what you would have done? Or what you have done in the past? How do you attack the gift thing? Or the deciding who to invite thing?

Perhaps I'll try to tackle some posts on planning a party on a $0 budget this next couple weeks till the party (Dec. 4th for those of you who are just dying to know). :)

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It's Quiet Around Here

It seems I am one of the few who is around for the holiday weekend. The Blogosphere is relatively quiet (at least my little corner). With very few around posting and reading, I find it difficult to motivate myself to post. I do have several things in the works... including my great CVS purchase from Thursday morning! $106 worth of stuff for $10... and generated a bunch of ECBs! I will get the details on here soon!

In the mean time... I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories

Happy Thanksgiving to all... and to all a good night! Oh wait... that's not the way it goes! :)

I've been very busy these last couple days. Today was partly doing things and partly eating Thanksgiving yummies with friends! What a joy for us to enjoy our meal in the home of friends from church. Delicious food! And way more options than there would have been if I'd cooked this year! :)

I hope all of you had as enjoyable a Thanksgiving as we did. Our "dinner" was at 1... at least that is when we arrived. We enjoyed fellowship and fun, dinner and dessert, and then headed home around 4:30 to put the baby down for a much needed nap. :) After getting him settled, DH said he really wanted to sit outside on the deck by the fire pit (we have a creek just outside). I very rarely want to do this, but it sounded like fun. I wasn't in the "just sit around" mood (rarely am I ever), but I mentioned the idea of playing a game out by the fire listening to the creek. :) We had a fun time playing chess on the back deck... by the fire... listening to the creek... while the baby napped! :) Oh, and did I mention the cocoa? It was soooo fun! We haven't played chess in a while!

After the baby is back in bed for the night (not long now) I think we are going to round out the evening with a viewing of Casablanca... DH has never seen it, so we got it from the library. :)

I think the best way to spend Thanksgiving is spending time with those you are most thankful for... I am thankful to have gotten to spend special one on one time with my precious Love!... and our little boy while he's been awake. :)

I hope you had a chance to spend your Thanksgiving in a special way too!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Head over for a Giveaway

There is a Give Thanks giveaway over at Not a DIY Life! I found it today and wanted to share! It's just like Christmas, but it's Thanksgiving instead! :)

Heather is giving away a set of Satin Hands from Mary Kay! I LOVE Satin Hands and recommend it completely. I haven't had it in a while, but the last time I did I had... Satiny hands. :) Go figure! Boy would it be fun to win this giveaway and have satiny hands through the DRY cracky-skin winter!

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Organizing/Frugal Tip: Toy-Cycling!

I’ve visited many homes with children over the years. Sometimes I was there on business, other times as a friend, and yet other times I was there to baby sit or help around the house. In all those visits, I have seen different approaches to toys. Some homes are scattered with them (nice way of saying it was a mess), while others had an orderly place for each toy. Some homes had relatively few toys while others were full to the brim with toys (many of which were barely if ever used).

I can understand the fun of new toys. I love to watch my little boy playing with something that is new to him. His eyes light up if it plays music or does something else unexpected. He just stares at it for a minute, then looks to me to see my reaction to the new thing. It is so cute… very precious! But buying new toys all the time (and storing them) can get very expensive (even when you get them the most frugal way possible, it is still money that could be used in some other way). And it is a mess to try to keep all those toys organized!

I recently had the joy of watching my baby boy experience “new” toys without having to spend a penny (in fact, no one did). I “Toy-cycled” his toys. We don’t have many toys in our home (although my DH would disagree… and the number does seem to grow every now and then). I keep most of them in two fabric baskets we got at Walmart for under 10 dollars. For a long time both baskets of toys lived underneath the coffee table in the living room. But a month or so ago, I divvied up all the toys in to the 2 baskets (with some favorites in each one) and then tucked one of them away to be forgotten. Several weeks later, I switched baskets and it was like watching DS on Christmas morning (only without the boxes!) :)

Try it yourself… your kids won’t even notice (at least not after the first day). Pack up half (or more) of the toys into bags or boxes and then stow them away for a while (2 weeks, 2 months, 6 months ~ a lot will depend on how old your children are). Not only will you reduce clutter in your home, but the toys can be loved fresh and new again when you switch things around without spending any additional money! :)

For more tips, vitit Works for Me Wednesday!

For more frugal tips, visit Crystal's blog!

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Thanksgiving Sale! $2 blow out!

Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood is having a $2 blowout sale through the end of the week. I'm not exactly sure when it's ending, so get over there right now!!! Oh, and if you go through the button in this post, or the one with yellow flowers to the right, I'll get a little something too! :)

I hope you find something you really like... I love all the products I've gotten so far! Oh, to get to all of them click the "Black Friday $2 Bargain Bin" on the left!!!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankful ~ Part 2

It is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I have yet to really sit down and delve into what I am truly thankful for this year. Never, in all the words I could possibly type here, could I even think I can do justice to everything. Despite my desire to share all... this will still be just a glimmer of what I have to be thankful for!

  • My Lord! ~ Many of you have said the same thing. Of course it is the "right" response, but truly, I am thankful for who He is! I am thankful for his long suffering patience with me (reiteration deliberate... he is really patient!) I am thankful that I can fail and not loose any of His love. I am thankful that He is right there to help pick me back up when I am again ready to admit that I NEED Him to accomplish anything!
  • My husband! ~ Again, a no brainer... but specifically, how he appreciates me and the things I do whether I deserve the appreciation or not. I am not a very good housewife (there, I've said it!), and it's not because I am unable, but in many cases because I lack the organization or am forgetful. (I've been working on the organization thing... the forgetful thing I am shamelessly blaming on pregnancy and motherhood of small child!) Still, he is ever loving and patient, and appreciates what I do accomplish.
  • My son! ~ What a blessing it is to be a mother. My husband (precious as he is with our little boy) just doesn't understand it. I love to watch DS learn and play and whatever! I love when he lays his head on my shoulder, or looks to me to see if everything is ok. I love the feeling of his hands on my pants pulling himself up on me. I love how watching him laugh can make me laugh (thus making him laugh... and the cycle goes on). Motherhood is a blessing I never expected last Thanksgiving (I was reallllly uncomfortable last Thanksgiving!)
  • Our home! ~ This one will come as a bit of a shock when DH reads it because he knows better than anyone else all of the little details I can't stand about our little home (i.e. size, storage space, curvy walls, warped floors, un-weatherstripped doors, non-padded carpet, leaky sink, etc.) Truly the list does go on and on. But in the last 6 months plus, I have really learned to appreciate this great little home the Lord has provided for us (for a GREAT price) since we were married almost 3 years ago. We have a great view, comfortable home, wonderful rent, lovely landlord, nice neighbors, etc. We are happy here. Though I dream of the day we are in a home of our own, I also no longer count the days until we can leave here. I am quite comfortable here. Praise the Lord for HIS contentment in my heart!

I'll let my thankfulness rest here for now! If I never get back to it, at least I focused and shared the key things!

Take a few moments to focus on what you are thankful for this year!

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Clap your hands!

Yesterday morning DS clapped for the first time! It was soooo cute! I wasn't really sure what was happening at first. I had taken my spot opposite him on the floor to play. He was practicing his latest trick of placing his graduating star/ring things on the tower (you know what I mean right? They used to make them as air filled rings... now they are stars and a noise and light thing happens every time you put one on the pillar). He is really good at this now. Usually when he does it, I clap and say "Yey!", or one or the other.

Yesterday morning, he put one on and I clapped and said yey... then he did it again and began flailing his arms. I watched and thought... "hmmm... was that what I think it was?" So we did it some more and some more and some more. Each time it resembled clapping more and more... he even got so far as to make his hands meet in the middle. By the end of the day he was doing it alone (I was across the room doing something else when he was putting the stars on, clapping and looking over at me as if to say either "look mom" or "are you clapping too?". So cute!!! Also by the end of the day I could hear little clapping noises. Not anything you would be able to hear, but as his mother I am listening real close. :)

And I was worried because other babies were clapping already. :)

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4 o'clock Prayer Time

I met God this morning for prayer. It wasn't planned (not by me anyway), but it was a sweet time of lifting up those people who were heavy on my heart at the time. I awoke at 4 a.m. this morning the same way I always do once or twice a night (I'm pregnant you know, I get up often), but this time I didn't just cuddle back up to DH and fall back to sleep. I did cuddle back up to DH, but then I rolled over to a different position... then to a different position. Then I cuddled up to him again... this went on for a long time... at least 5-10 minutes (isn't it amazing how long everything feels when it is the middle of the night?) Through all this rolling around (an amazing feat for one who is large and round in the middle) my mind was racing about this thing or that thing, this person and that person. Finally, after I decided I wasn't going to be sleeping anyway, I decided to pray. Instead of thinking and dwelling on all the things and people I was "worrying" about, I decided to pray for them.

I prayed for my DH and son, that they would get well soon, and that they would be able to rest comfortably in spite of their coughs and congestion. I prayed that I would stop in the process of getting what they have and just start getting better from where I am now. I prayed for my responsibilities and duties this week (and over all). I prayed for my parents, as a couple and individually, and for my sister. I know I prayed for other things as well, but I just prayed and took all these things to God.

I have read of people who would wake up in the night and spend their times with God, and I used to think, "wow, I wish I could do that!" Well, I don't know why I can't (or don't) just calm my heart enough to talk to God of these things during daylight hours, but I am thankful for the opportunity God gave last night to just lay in his presence, lifting up the things on my heart!

The last time I remember seeing the clock was just before 5, and I don't remember officially ending my prayer, so my assumption is that I had prayed all the things God had planned for me to pray last night and allowed me to fall back to sleep. Unfortunately, I am extra tired this morning, but I think it was well worth it!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving week Menu

It's nothing particularly Thanksgivingy... but it is Thanksgiving week. :)

Monday
  • Meatballs with Cram Sauce from my Taste of Home Cookbook (yes, this is the same thing from last week... we sort of scratched it at the last minute because life is crazy and meat didn't come out of the freezer... have I mentioned that my DH and DS have been sick?)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Salad
  • Bread

Tuesday

  • Chili (Also a Taste of Home Recipe)
    Corn Bread

Wednesday

Thursday: Thanksgiving Feast with Friends!!

Friday: still a bit in the air, we may be in NJ making up our engagement session with the clients we were supposed to be with this last weekend (I mentioned sickness right?)

Saturday

  • Potato and Brocolli Soup
  • Bread

Sunday

  • Left overs or breakfast

There you have it... nothing to extreme... other than the new recipes I'm trying! :) Already have the ingredients for tonight and tomorrow because I was supposed to make them last week, and we're not having Thanksgiving here after all, so this weeks budget should be really easy to make. :) Good thing because we need non food staples like TP! :)

Visit OrgJunkie for more meal plans!!!

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Christmas Gift Idea for a Mom in your life (ok... or for you!)

I just love some of the designs I've seen (ok, I haven't seen all of them, but I like what I have seen) of Karla's Mommy Cards! Take a look! What are they??? You'll have to look... I didn't know either until I saw them here. Aren't they fun!?!

Way to go Karla!

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Countdown to Thanksgiving... for Sunday

Ok, so with sick DH and son, and the semi normal craziness of Sunday, I missed my Thanksgiving countdown from yesterday. So today I will post 2 things.

First this morning, I would like to share how thankful I am for the husband God gave me. There are soooo many things I am thankful for... I could really go crazy and tell you all of them, but I do need to get the baby up some time soon. I was reminded of one specific one last night on our way home from church.

While working on the Christmas Play (which I have written and am directing), we were unaware that the rain had turned to more of a slush, and then a very wet snow! Once the kids were released, it was hard to miss the "IT'S SNOWING!" being shouted down the halls. :) I didn't give it a second thought... nor did I ever wonder what it would mean for our travels home.

When it was time to leave, I simply wrapped DS in a blanket (his jacket didn't make it with us) and headed out to the car. We loaded up and departed. My husband is an excellent driver and has trained himself over the years to be able to drive in any weather condition. This makes us very safe (unless near someone else who is not) on yucky roads. I don't even worry about it anymore. This said, I didn't think twice when he made the turn to go home the normal way (in these conditions I would have totally taken the highway... it takes a bit longer, but there is no hill and it is more highly traveled).

Well, it was very slippery, and not only did DH not yell at me (he never has) or even calmly ask me to stop talking or asking him questions, but he very carefully navigated the really bad road. We were almost to the top of the steep hill (I omitted "very" for Kacie's sake... visit her new blog location here) when it became obvious to me that we weren't going to make it.

So... long story short, (we turned around and slowly made our way home safely) I am so thankful to have a husband who is so careful with us. He takes such good care of us on and off the road that I never have to worry. I am thankful for his knowledge, his ability, HIS PATIENCE, and his carefulness!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Healthy "Dessert" for Little Ones

I was talking to my mom this morning about some of the "desserts" and special snacks she used to feed my sister and I when we were little. They remained favorites for a long time and I look forward to introducing them to my little ones as they get old enough to want something special. I thought I would share the recipes with you!

Banana Pudding
Mash up a banana (ripe ones work well for this, but any is fine).
Add colored sprinkles to the top.
Serve with a spoon.

Apple Surprise
Add 1-2 drops of food color (change color based on your own whim) to bottom of a small bowl.
Pour or spoon apple sauce into bowl.
Add sprinkles to top (optional)
Serve with a spoon for dessert.
(Your child will love the surprise as they stir up their Apple Surprise to discover what color it turns!)

Apple Snacks
Cut apple into small pieced (size depends on your child's age)
Put in a small sandwich bag and add a little bit of sugar and a bunch of Cinnamon.
Hold bag closed and shake until well coated.
Can be eaten out of the bag or put onto a plate or in a bowl.


Mom says that she used to offer us bananas or apples as snacks and we would say no... but when she then said, "do you want apple snacks?" we would be very excited! :) (Note... calling it by it's "dessert" name is very important!)

She was also telling me that she would serve plain applesauce with lunch and it was just applesauce, but when she made it "Apple Surprise" it was wildly accepted as dessert after dinner!

Any more little ideas to share???

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Year-Round Spirit of Thankfulness!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner... 5 days to go in our countdown! I'm so looking forward to the opportunity to be thankful on Thursday... I've been waiting for it all year! Wait, no... that's not how it works!

How often does Thanksgiving get treated like this though? We fuss (a word that seems appropriate with an 11 month old in my home) all year long about the things we wish we had. We cultivate hearts of discontent in our children and in ourselves (that is after all what Christmas is about right??? We may visit that in another post closer to Chrsitmas.) Then, as Thanksgiving Day draws near, we focus on what really matters... the food! No wait... that's wrong too!

It's true though... we work painstakingly to get our homes spotlessly clean so the family and friends who come will think we always live that way. We plan elaborate Thanksgiving Feasts. We fight with our husbands, yell at our children, and yell out to God "why is it always like this?!?"

Then it's here... we are all sitting around the Thanksgiving table and someone says "grace". Maybe we each go around the table saying what we are most thankful for. For 5 minutes, we celebrate hearts of thankfulness to God! Then the eating and clean up begin... the naps and football games... then all the left overs... then the stress of Christmas!

What is thanksgiving really supposed to be??

Scripture is full of examples:


"I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1

“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name. Psalm 30:4

“With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.” Psalm 54:6

“I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100:4


This is just a tiny list of verses from Psalms on thanksgiving!

As believers, our whole lives should be filled with thanksgiving! What a special opportunity we have each year to really focus our minds and hearts on thankfulness to our Heavenly Father, but if we don’t continue in that spirit throughout the rest of the year, we have missed our mark!

I am as guilty at this as you may be. Not that I am not thankful throughout the year, but I loose my focus! I challenge you, with me, to focus this year on strategies to maintain our thankfulness
focus throughout this next year!
Today's the last day to visit Kelli for more Thanksgiving thoughts and fun, but I'll be continuing my countdown toward Thanksgiving! Come join me for more this week!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Adding a Hyperlink to your Blog Post

April, over at Simplicity Concepts was asking how to add a hyperlink to the text in a blog post without having to type in the actual web address into the body of the post. (Did that make sense?... I swear it did when she said it!)

Since anytime one person has a question about something there is sure to be at least 2 (hundred) people out there with the same question (I learned that in school), I thought I'd post my answer here!

Unfortunately, I can only answer this for those of you using Blogger because... basically, I don't know anything else. If any of you know how to do it in your system, please throw a comment on here!
  • Step 1 ~ Type in your post
  • Step 2 ~ Select the text you want your hyperlink added to
  • Step 3 ~ Click the "Link" icon in the toolbar (your toolbar should be made up of the font, text size, bold, italic, text color, link....) It looks like a world with a chain link at the top of it.
  • Step 4 ~ Type in the address for the webpage you want to link to (or paste it in... this is what I do. To limit errors I open the page I want to link to and copy the url line [the http://www...whatever at the top of your screen])
  • Step 5 ~ Click ok.

(Edited: Note when you put the address into the "Link" box in step 4 that you only have "http://" in there once. :) I should have said that before. When you open the box the "http://" is already there. When I copy and paste in the address I want to link to, I first highlight what is already in the box so there are no errors.) :)

This should do it for you. Your text should now be underlined and blue (or purple or whatever color it is when you do it on your computer.)

Hope this helps! Let me know if it is unclear... or, for those of you who really know what you are doing (this is my only real trick), fix me if I did it wrong or explained it badly! :)

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Choc. Chip Cookies... Prep time: 90 minutes!

That's right ladies... I tried this new recipe from my Taste of Home Cookbook and the prep time was 90 minutes. (Don't worry, it made more than this... they are still baking.) :)
Here's the step by step:
  1. Find that recipe I saw last time I was looking through the cookbook
  2. Take cold butter out of fridge to soften on pre-heating oven
  3. Measure sugars
  4. Baby is hungry, put him in the high chair, find something for him to have for dinner, warm said dinner, and feed baby.
  5. Clean baby up and return to toy pile in living room with sick daddy.
  6. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy (hmmm... what exactly is fluffy)
  7. Hold and calm crying baby (who has had a runny nose for 2 days and has come to be known as "giant heap of a mess")
  8. Add vanilla and eggs and mix
  9. Measure most of a cup of flour
  10. Gather up Giant Heap of a Mess from the living room floor where he has been pathetically crying for a couple minutes (I was really hoping he would find something to distract himself)
  11. Hold Giant Heap of a Mess while rocking and bouncing, rubbing his back and settling his head on my shoulder.
  12. Distract GHoaM with sippy cup and head back to the kitchen
  13. Listen to sick DH while measuring remaining flour
  14. Pour all flour back into flour canister to be remeasured
  15. Measure out flour (this time we counted the cups outloud for accountability)
  16. Add flour (gradually) to "wet" ingredients and mix
  17. Pause after each mixing to calm GHoaM (because he is afraid of the noisy mixer)
  18. Give up on the mixer and begin hand mixing
  19. Take GHoaM's temp (yeah... this involves removing the diaper) because sick DH thinks he's warm (and DH has a fever himself, so that should tell us something)
  20. Add Choc. Chips and mix (while GHoaM is with DH)
  21. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet while holding GHoaM (because DH is too weak to do it anymore)

Add to this any and all nose wiping and hand washing!

Is it any wonder! I'm now suprised it only took 90 minutes. They are yummy though! Another successful recipe from Taste of Home! (no, they are not paying me for this!)

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Black Friday Sales Information

Just passing this along... my husband just mentioned this site for all your Black Friday planning! I'd love to know if you find anything through it, and how your shopping day goes!

I won't be shopping Black Friday. I've always wanted to, but my DH would rather pay extra than go out with all those people... not to mention having to wake up early! Not going to happen. :)

Don't forget, Crystal has more money saving ideas!

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Sick Day

My sweet husband is home sick from work today. It's always amazing how such a thing will shake up a normal schedule. :) I don't know, maybe I've accomplished more today, though I don't feel like it. Getting ready to put DS back down for his afternoon nap. Sort of feel like I need to nap at the same time. We'll see! :)

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Frugal and Creative Hostess Gift

I thought I would post on the hostess gift I am planning to take with us (if family doesn't come into town and we spend Thanksgiving with the friends that invited us). Hostess gifts are not something I am very good at remembering. Whenever I see or hear of someone doing it, I always think to myself how I wish I'd thought to do the same. I am excited to have a plan this time!

Now I don't think she reads my blog (as only a handful of locals know I even participate in one), so I think it is safe to tell you that I will be making leaf people napkin rings. I got this idea from Like Merchant Ships who used it as a game for kids ~ Thanks for the inspiration!)

Things to gather:

  • Old fashioned clothespins (pretty inexpensive I understand)
  • Fall leaves (either real ones from your yard [free] or purchased from the craft store (hopefully they aren't out yet, because I don't have mine already)
  • acorn tops (gather these from your yard if you are lucky enough to live where they fall ~ I am, but we were all sick through prime gathering time, so my mom is sending some)
  • Raffia or ribbon
  • glue (a glue gun is what I will be using, but I'm sure glue like Alene's Tacky Glue would work too if you are working with children)
  • other accents as desired

Instructions: (note that I have never made these... if I do get a chance like I plan, I will update the instructions and post pictures to represent what I actually did)

  1. Glue one acorn top to the top of each clothespin (I'm picturing it crooked like a french hat)
  2. Wrap raffia or ribbon around the "legs" of the clothes pin at the center and glue or knot to hold.
  3. Glue a leaf to the front (over the raffia) of each clothes pin (make sure the "legs" are side by side)
  4. Embellish as desired.
  5. Tie with raffia or ribbon around a napkin and set your table!

Let me know if you have any ideas or have done this in the past. It sounds really cute and if I can find the stuff for them, I'll probably make a few regardless of whether or not we need the hostess gift. If I'm the hostess I'll just gift them to my own table. :)

Visit Kelli for more Thanksgiving ideas! Or Crystal for more frugal ones!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Simple Appetizers

A fellow blogger over at Someone being me was looking for quick and easy appetizers. I thought I would share with all of you. These are strait from my mom's kitchen!


Blue Cheese Bites
1 8oz. pk. refrigerated biscuits
¼ c. butter
3 tbl. crumbled blue cheese

Cut biscuits in quarters. Arrange in an 8” baking dish. Pour melted butter and cheese over biscuits. Bake at 400˚ for 12 to 15 min.


Crab Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
½ c. mayo
2 green onions—chopped
1 can crab
2 T. white wine (optional)
1 T horseradish
¼ t. Worcestershire sauce

Microwave cream cheese for 2 min. on 80 % power. Add all ingredients and microwave 4-5 min. on 80% power. Serve warm with crackers. (If you are taking this somewhere else, I recommend mixing it up and doing the heating when you get there.)


The down side to these recipes is that most of the time I don't have these things on hand... but, if you've time to run to the store real quick, they are super simple to make and sooooo yummy!

I haven't made the Blue Cheese Bites in years, but it was an old family favorite growing up. If I made them these days I'd make my own biscuits because of the partially hydrogenated oil in refrigerated ones. Pair up this recipe with this one and you're all set (it just takes a little more pre-planning this way).

Enjoy!

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The Made Bed

There isn't anything nicer than a made bed... oh yeah there is! One you didn't make! :) DH and I were joking around last night (while putting the freshly washed sheets on the bed) about making the bed in the morning. I have not been great at doing this these last couple weeks, as I've been getting up and ready before him and I just don't make it back in there. I teased back and said something about how I'm not the last one out of the bed. :) I believe that's called shameless! :) Many mornings, DH will make the bed, at least pulling all the covers up nice.

This morning, long after he left for the day, I headed in to the bedroom to "get ready" (i.e. changing robe for comfy shirt and leaving the sweats on) when I noticed this beautiful site!
A freshly made bed... complete with pillows and the top blanket (which doesn't match and is only being used because it keeps me sooooo toasty) nicely folded at the bottom!

It's amazing what a made bed can do for a room. I couldn't bring myself to include the dresser and my night stand in the picture (let alone the pile on the floor), but even with all those other things, the room just looks so nice when the bed is made.

Have you made yours yet? If you haven't, take a moment to go and do it... I'll bet you will smile the next time you go in there. :)

Now I'm on a quest to see what sorts of fun things I can do to bless my DH today the way he blessed me! I think I'll start with a cute love email! :)

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SIMPLE Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

I have to admit, my first inclination regarding Thanksgiving is to make one of everything that "should" be on the table! Really though, that is a lot of food for 4 people, and it's not very frugal! I don't even know yet if we are having Thanksgiving here or not (we may be at a friends, but if family comes in last minute, I want to be prepared!) If they do come... this is what we will be having:

Simple Thanksgiving Menu for 2007
  • Turkey Breast (I may cook it, or I may get it from Honey Baked Ham [again this year]) They do a really good job and we don't end up with more turkey that we can eat. If I make my own, I could/would freeze leftovers etc, but pregnant with a 1 year old (almost), we may just buy one ready. :)
  • Mashed Potatoes (made from scratch [I never knew how easy this was until recently] ~ we have cut all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils out of our diet... this means most potato flake boxes.)
  • Gravy (Honey Baked Ham has the best in the world!... though if I make my own turkey, I may be using some of your recipes for this!)
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • These yummy looking Refridgerator Dinner Rolls from Seasonal Delights! Thanks for the recipe Kelli! (I've never made them, but after seeing the pictures, how can I not try?!?)
  • Apple Pie with Butter Crust ~ DH loves apple pie, so although Pumpkin "should" be the pie I make in my mind, I'm following the "to please your husband" guidelines! :) (I'll be using a recipe from my new Taste of Home Cookbook this year, but the butter crust is a recipe I've used a bunch of times! ~ shortening has partially hydrogenated oils in it)

Like I said, if we do it at all, we'll be keeping it simple!


Visit Karla for more menus and recipes and Kelli for more general Thanksgiving things!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Well... the water's on... but...

Yeah... we got water back yesterday afternoon... but we have to boil it until further notice! (I believe I mentioned that here.) I was under the impression that we would hear something today about the tests they were going to run on the water this morning. Evidently not! :( So, boiling I go. The advisory said all water for brushing teeth, cooking and drinking needed to be boiled, but being pregnant and having a baby I feel as though dish washing should be done with boiled water too. This is a touch more inconvenient than my normal wash by hand routine... and it goes through a LOT of boiled water.

So... that being said I am trying not to use dishes when at all possible. I already had a bunch of them in my sink and on the counter when the water shut off. I finished the second batch of those dishes this morning. Only one more pan to go (and a couple little things I couldn't help but use today.) This makes me really not want to make dinner and mess up my mostly clean kitchen again. Thankfully (and sadly) our company had to cancel tonight (I was pretty sure we were ordering pizza and using paper towels as plates), so I don't have to worry about making all those dishes and re-destroying the kitchen that took me 2 days to recover. :) We'll see when DH gets home... maybe we can still order pizza... though the frugal thing would be to figure something out here and just make due. :) Doesn't pizza sound like lots more fun!?!

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Thankful ~ Part 1

As we count down the last days to Thanksgiving I want to share some of the things I am thankful for!

There are a number of things I am thankful for this year! The first (because I've got a picture and not because it is the most important) is this fun decoration for my front yard. :) I've had it since the tail end of October, but there is more to it than that! Good friends of ours (the kind of friends you can call [or rather that call you] and say "hey, whatcha doing right now??? Wanta come over for dinner... we're putting burgers on." ~ you gotta love that!) were in the market for a bale of hay the whole month of September and we all had our eyes open (ok, Emily wanted it and her DH didn't care one way or the other.) :) Once it was finally found, she headed over to Lancaster for this fun scarecrow and then added the pumpkins etc. to make it even more fun!

It graced their front porch the whole month of October... then God did something amazing (another thing we are all thankful for this year)! These friends have been raising support to be missionaries in Togo, West Africa this next year and things were slow going. They shared in Sunday school at the end of September that they had 60% of their support, and so we prayed as we did each week that the Lord would provide. By that afternoon, 100% of their support had been provided and Monday morning they called their landlord and gave their 30 days notice.

These sweet friends, as they packed up their home in the last days brought this fun decoration to our home to finish out the season! Their budget wasn't as tight as ours generally is and they are always so generous to think of us in all sorts of little ways! I think of and pray for them each day as I smile at my fun scarecrow and hay bale!

I thank God for my fun decoration and (mostly) for the reason I got to have it!

See more Thanksgiving stories and ideas at Kelli's House!

More thankfulness to come in future days of my countdown! Come back soon!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Giving Thanks is Giving Praise!

My husband isn't much for traditions... his thought is that one day is the same as the next, but I love to build traditions and to make days special! Isn't it just more fun that way?!? For our first Thanksgiving in our new, married home, we had a group of friends (who had no family coming into town the same as us) come to join us in our little home. It was one of those small, simple Thanksgivings I mentioned here, but I wanted to start a tradition of singing my favorite Thanksgiving hymn as part of our evening.

There are a number of wonderful songs and hymns that are appropriate around Thanksgiving, but my favorite is "For the Beauty of the Earth". I don't know if it is the tune or the words, but I just love it! I heard it for the first time as a song sung in the film Little Women, but I have enjoyed incorporating it into our family's Thanksgiving.

Here are a couple verses!

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

If you are interested in hearing an instrumental version, you can find it here with more verses of the lyrics typed up. :)

See more Thanksgiving traditions and ideas at There is no place like home!

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving hymn or song???

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Sale on Cloth Diapers!

Need cloth diapers?? I have found that this company is great. When we were useing cloth I used theirs, and good friends of ours who used them longer than we did refered me!

I just got an email from Soft Cloth Bunz about a clearance they are having on Cloth Diapers! The following was the email! I don't know anything about this particular brand... but I thought I'd share anyway!




To make room for the upcoming 3.0 version of bumGenius! one size cloth diaper, we are having a clearance sale on the current 2.0 version. These diapers are priced at $14.95 as compared to the regular retail price of $17.95. Get yours today while supplies last!

Take advantage of our FREE SHIPPING OFFER! Purchase any 3 of the following diapers and receive free shipping on your entire order. Diaper brands, sizes, and color can be mixed and matched.

Tiny Tush Elite Pocket Diaper
Pocket Change
Dream-Eze
Tiny Tush Contour Diaper

After adding any 3 of the above diapers in your cart, enter coupon code: fsdp1130 and you will receive free shipping!


Thank you!
~Bryana
http://www.softclothbunz.com/
http://www.clothdiaperblog.com/


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CVS Savings this week!

Updated with Picture!(This is exactly the way DH set up everything when he took it out of the bag for my picture! :) I love that he participates in my craziness!)

This week's CVS plan was the most intricate I've attempted so far... and for the most part, it worked!

I broke things down into 4 transactions (so I could use ECBs I was earning on this weeks purchases.)

Transaction 1
Purchased 2 Children’s Dimetapp @ $9.98
Purchased 1 Sierra Mist @ $.99 (DH was thirsty)
Use $2/$10 coupon
Use 2 $1.50/1 Dimetapp coupons
Use $4 ECBs
OOP $1.98
Get $5 ECBs

Transaction 2
Purchased 5 Palmolive Dish Soap @ $7.45
Purchased 1 Speedstick 24/7 @ $3.99
Used $2/$10 coupon
Used 2 $1/2 coupons
Used 1 $.40/1 coupon
Used $5 ECBs
OOP $2.16
Get $7 ECBs

Transaction 3
Purchased 4 CVS Cotton Swabs @ $12.76
Purchased 2 Garnier Nutrioniste @ $11.98
Purchased Chapstick @ $1.49
Use $5/$25 beauty coupon
Use $2/$10 coupon
Use 2 $2/1 Garnier coupons
Use $7 ECB
OOP $$8.23
Get $18 ECB

Transaction 4
Purchased 2 Huggies (35 ct.) at $15.98
Use $2/$10 coupon
Use 2 $1/1 Huggies Coupons
Use $10 ECBs
OOP $1.98

Total OOP ~ $14.35
Total ECBs for next week ~ $8


Now, this is more than I ever thought I would spend in a week at CVS when I started, and my husband was a bit concerned (since I told him we'd be able to only ever spend a couple dollars at a time from the beginning), so I found need to look at things before I went through with it and justify my purchases. DH's first question was, do we actually need everything? Ok, let's look at that...
  • Do I need 2000 Q-Tips? Probably won't use all those in a million years, so yes, I will probably donate some of them (unless I find secret storage in our itty bitty home).

  • Do I really need Children's Dimetapp that my son can't even use for another year or more? Perhaps I could have (and most likely would have) waited to purchase these, if we ever were going to. Maybe I will end up giving these away too.

  • The dish soap and deodorant? Yes, that is the only brand of deodorant my husband will use and I will most likely (unless we move and I get to have a dish washer ~ silent prayer offered) use the dish soap eventually. If I find someone who needs some, I will happily share from my surplus.

  • The Garnier Nutritioniste? I'm actually really excited about this now... I didn't even know what sort of product I was going for, but I'm excited about the nice facial cleanser (as I'm trying to take better care of my skin).

I looked at all the details and all the amounts and my answer came down to this... First of all, no, we don't need everything, but we end up with more ECBs than we are spending, so we are making money in the long run. Second, (and I believe the real seller point), we used many (and not even all) of the ECBs to get diapers. If we look at all the money spent as though we spent it on the 70 diapers we got, it is still a bargain... so getting 70 diapers (and Huggies to boot... way more exciting than CVS diapers) for my OOP $14 and change... plus having $8 ECBs for next week... we were both sold on the idea! And we still have the cleanser (smile), the deodorant, and the dish soap! I'd say we're justified! Now if only diapers earned ECBs!

See how others saved at Money Saving Mom!

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No water!

Just before DH applied shampoo to his hair this morning (i.e. hair was wet), the water stopped flowing! I can't tell you how thankful I was at that moment that I had disciplined myself to get up before DH and take my shower. :) It is now more than 4 hours later and still... no water. :(

Just a bit ago, the nice man in the water truck (one of those meter reader vans) stopped by to deliver a "Boil Water Advisory Notice". Very helpful... but... we don't have any water at all. "You don't?" He said a little unsure of the situation. That nice man called in and inquired of the situation. Apparently someone hit the water main (somewhere nearby) and they shut it down to do the repairs. The plan is to turn the water back on just as soon as all the notices are delivered (so as not to risk someone using the water without boiling).

Knowing this, I really should have encouraged him to move on and finish then... so we could all have our water back... but I had a couple more questions. He was so nice and patient with me (I really needed that). I wanted to know if I should boil the water for the pile of dishes on my counter and filling my sink, and if he knew how long I would need to go on doing this. I do feel like I have a grasp on the situation now... and hopefully we are going to have water again soon. How long we will have to boil it is another story... we're supposed to get another notice after they test the system tomorrow. :) I guess I will just keep water on the stove much of the day collecting usable water. That way I can keep enough cold for drinking. :)

The silver lining?... (there always is one) DH is going to bring me a Cali Cheese Steak Sub for lunch (since dishes are difficult right now.) :) Yum! Boy am I glad we're eating out with a friend tonight!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

This weeks Menu

Last week's menu definitely had some last minute changes to it, so this week we'll try again. :)

Monday
Beef Stroganoff
Asparagus
Rice

Tuesday
Eating out (on a friend)

Wednesday
Chicken Enchiladas
Re fried Beans
Chips
Salsa

Thursday
Meatballs with Cream Sauce (I'll let you know if it's any good... I'm using my new cookbook again!
Mashed Potatoes
Salad
Homemade Bread

Friday
Chili
Corn Bread

Saturday
Business Trip... eating out with clients!

Sunday
Harvest Soup Dinner at church!

Visit OrgJunkie for more meal ideas!

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$5 off Beauty Products at CVS

I just got this great coupon for CVS (for those of you who have been learning how to make the most for your dollar over there). $5 off a $25 dollar purchase on beauty products. This may seem crazy to you (as it would have to me a month or more ago). When would I ever spend $25 on beauty products at one time... however, with the ECB program and the deals I learn about here it is very possible that I will increase my savings even more... and possibly not spend much at all for all I get... see here and here for examples of this in the past weeks. Use it soon though... it expires the 17th! :)

Hope you can take advantage!

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Simple Thanksgiving Ideas... and frugal too!

Wow... with Thanksgiving only a week and a half away, many people are starting to really focus on it! One blog that's doing this is No Place Like Home. This week she is running a carnival of sorts all focusing on Giving Thanks! Check it out for ideas on decorating, food, traditions and more... then participate by sharing your own!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (one of my favorite holidays) I thought I would try to focus a little on Thanksgiving each day of this 10 days till Thanksgiving!

Today I want to share a Simple Thanksgiving... which also happens to be frugal (isn't that the way it seems to go?) Growing up I had Thanksgiving celebrations like many of you are planning... with no fewer than 10-12 people gathering around the dinning room table (and card tables in the living room etc.) Since moving out on my own (gracious... how many years ago now) and now in the 3 years since we've been married, I have been hostess to a number of very intimate Thanksgiving feasts! In my mind, especially since we've been married, these feasts should be as grand as my grandmothers for 16 people! In reality, we don't need 8 different sides and 3 kinds of bread!

Most years we were a group of 4, maybe 6, gathering in my little home! Each person chooses something that is important. This means involving all your guests in those decisions. One year green beans were the preferred vegetable of one and crescent rolls the preferred bread of another. Turkey was the important part for another guest and I only really cared about the Pumpkin Pie. :)

Another year we had the basics... Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and pie! The traditional elements were there, and there weren't tons of left overs that ended up being thrown away.

Another year we went to Knott's Berry Farm (in Los Angeles) because there was a special deal going on. Just me, a married couple that I'm really good friends with, their little one, and 2 of her young brothers. We found a fun way to incorporate Thanksgiving traditional foods in this too. For our food we packed Pringles (i.e. mashed potatoes), Pumpkin cookies (for our pie substitute) and bought turkey sandwiches for lunch! :)

Be creative... and don't go crazy... these little feasts have made more memories for me over the last years of small gatherings than all the work would have allowed before.

One more frugal idea in the food department... don't get a whole turkey! We had plenty of meat for our feast of 4 with just the turkey breast. It's lots cheaper, easier to prepare and not more food than we needed. One step further... last year I was expecting my son 4 days after Thanksgiving... and the meals was to be hosted in our home (a last minute thing when we found out friends were coming from out of state to the area). I was NOT cooking!... and everyone agreed! They helped cook the sides and we bought a pre-cooked, pre-sliced something from Honey Baked Ham! Yum!

You don't have to cook all day and clean all night for your Thanksgiving meal to be traditional... just keep it simple!

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No Excuse!

Check out this article at The Real Food Revolution! What a challenge against our cultures eating habits! I am thankful that the Lord has blessed us enough that we don't need to be quite so creative, but it is encouraging that He has made way to provide healthy nutritious meals to us whatever our income! :) It also inspires me to be more creative in our own budget!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

My New Cookbook

For those of you who have been around a couple weeks, you may remember this giveaway over at Molly-Coddled, and remember that I won it! Well, early this last week, my wonderful prize arrived via UPS and DH (Dear Husband for those of you who are always trying to figure out what that means like I was before I started using it) and I have been drooling over it ever since. I intended to tell you all about it right after it arrived, but, as I mentioned, I've been busy! :) Then, by the time the end of the week came around, I decided to try one of the recipes so I could show it off to all of you! :)

So... I perused and perused and found a yummy looking Strawberry Shortcake recipe (my husband loves strawberries, so we actually have some in the fridge in November!) So here it is!

I would give you all the recipe, but I try to be very careful about copyright rules (especially since as a photographer, I hope and expect people not to break my copyrights). :) So, I will simply point you to The Taste of Home Cookbook and tell you the changes I made. :)

First change... since I was making this only for DH and myself, I made 2 cakes instead of one big one. After the kneading stage I simply separated the dough into two parts and flattened them each. Second change... one of the resources I had in my fridge already (and the reason we bought the strawberries truth be told) was cool whip, so I didn't make the topping in the cookbook, I simply substituted cool whip (possibly why it was a little runnier). It was really good though... and DH was both surprised and enjoyed it very much! Thanks Molly!

The other part of my prize (I really made out with this contest) is a one year subscription to Taste of Home Magazine. I'll let you know when I get to make my first recipe from that! I'm still waiting to get it... maybe before Christmas! :)

Check back in the next few weeks! I'm having another giveaway on my blog! I had so much fun with the last one that I just can't stop! And... I have more Pampered Chef Cookbooks... I'm thinking I may have to give one away a month (or something like that). Interested??? Let me know in the comments! If there isn't any interest, I may find something else to do with them. :)

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