recipes. whatever is true. adoption. whatever is just. redemption. whatever is honorable. modesty. whatever is pure. motherhood. whatever is lovely. think about it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I have received a few emails and comments regarding the implementation of our new budget. It has been one full week since we started our cash/envelope system, meal plan menu, and overall radical spending changes.

I'm here to tell you that it has been a great week! Having every meal already planned has taken the guesswork and stress out of those last minute food fixing challenges.

As far as the grocery list goes, I am still working out the kinks. I ran out of eggs early- basically because we made some spontaneous brownies Friday night and that threw off the scrambled eggs breakfast Saturday a.m. No biggie- we can settle for cereal and toast as a backup. I'm officially out of butter as of this afternoon due to all the 'made from scratch' baking. I suppose I should have used more shortening, but was trying for a healthier option.

The juice and milk lasted up until this morning by rationing the portions to breakfast time only. I ran out of cheese Thursday night- basically because they were out of stock of all the sale cheese I had allotted for on my list and I had to buy less of the brand name because it was too expensive.

So, in retrospect, it's the dairy that's bogging us down. All in all everything was fabulous and I'm excited for this week! I look forward to your encouraging comments and ideas!

We are going to go out to eat with some friends tomorrow so my budget for the week will be at least $25 less than normal. Oh, the joy of a challenge! I'll post this week's meal plan soon!

Friday, December 28, 2007

One More Thing

I wanted to mention that I am adding a link to to my sidebar favorites. I think I visit this site daily. It has an abundance of recipes submitted from about everywhere in the world! The best part is that if I am running out of ideas for meals, I simply type in the search engine the ingredients I have available and hit 'go'! And Tada! It comes back with all the recipes that include those items!

Keeping Track

I was encouraged by Tracy to start tracking my miles in 2008! You'll notice in my sidebar that I'm all ready to start adding the numbers beginning January 1st! I'm super excited about doing this- basically because I'm a numbers freak and love to see progress!

Notice that there are three parts to this 'diary' of exercise: walking, running, and biking. Please make a mental note now, I do not bike. I would like to do a triathlon sprint this summer and I am told this involves biking... *grin* So, perhaps the miles may or may not increase on that little tab. We shall see.

I had dinner with my running team a couple weeks ago and we all decided to run another 1/2 marathon this spring. We'll do most of our personal runs indoors at the gym, but every weekend is our long run...come rain, sleet, snow or ice! Very "postal" of us. *smile*

I'm hoping to do at least six 5k's this year and planning on running the Columbus marathon again in October. Granted, I'll most likely do the 1/2 again, but this time my goal is not to end up in the med tent afterwards. Oh, the joy of a full year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Proof & the Potatoes: Meal Plan (Pt. 3)

The following is our 10 day meal plan. Please scroll down to the other two posts to see the grocery list and the method behind the budget mania! If you like what you see and would like recipes, please let me know!

There will be certain items that you find yourself making almost daily from scratch. If you have not yet memorized the measurements, print or write out the recipes on one page and have on your refrigerator next to your meal plan. (This should also be printed out and hanging on your fridge or another spot that is easily accessible)

If you are packing a lunch for your husband, as we do, plan to set aside some of the meal from the night before for his portion the next day. I also add some fruit, tea bags/mug, and cut up veggies. Since we homeschool, the lunches mentioned are provided for them and myself during the day.






















The Proof & the Potatoes: Grocery List (Pt 2)

The following was our 10 day shopping plan that included both Christmas & New Years. I allotted $100 for this plan, but our budget calls for a weekly shopping trip. Therefore, I have the ability (only if needed) to add some items such as fresh produce or dairy after the first seven days. Again, keep in mind that this was a holiday week. I am hoping to get the budget to around $75 weekly as time goes on.


EGGS (2 dozen)








































The Battle & the Budget (Pt. 1)

"The Kitchen Battle Plan"

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was going 'green' when it came to our grocery budget. I wanted to share with some of you who might be in need of a little encouragement in this area!

Our goal is a $100 weekly budget on all food spending for our family of four. This includes all grocery shopping (food & kitchen related items), eating out, and all other food/snack related purchases. For some of you this may seem extreme spending and others it may seem unrealistic.

At the beginning of the week I took a couple of hours to plan out all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) for the next ten days. This included all holiday eating, packed lunches for hubby's work, and hosting friends and family for guest dinners. We like to eat and I've not skimped on any portions, but have made sure they are also healthy and food group appropriate for my growing boys.

My grocery list assumes I already have in my pantry items such as flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortning, dry milk, oats and other misc seasonings. These items are essential to making most of your breads, breakfast foods, cookies, etc from scratch. The plan is laid out with B: (Breakfast) L: (Lunch) & D: (Dinner). Snack items are small portions of yogurt, fruit, or cookies that have been made. We do not use paper products (such as paper towels or napkins, but rather linen napkins, washcloths and towels that can be washed re-used easily.

Also, keep in mind that the cost of drinks can consume one's budget very quickly. Make the healthy change to drinking mostly water or hot tea and saving the milk/juice for breakfast only. (1/2 cup for kids & 1 cup for adults) The kids will get their nutrition as needed throughout the day from other sources.

After the meal plan came the shopping list. I researched a little online at weekly market ads and looked back at my receipts for averages of our usual purchases. If you have an Aldi in your area, I encourage you to shop there for certain items. You will save abundantly and I guarantee that you will enjoy the food! (Aldi guarantees it too...100% satisfaction or your full refund and replacement of the item).

After I had everything listed out I took off for the ATM. I withdrew the $100 in cash, because once it's gone for the's gone. No debit card usage for "extra" purchases. If it wasn't already budgeted in, it needs to wait until the next week. Spontaneity may be a good idea in some cases, but not when it comes to money.

I have been amazed at how easy this week has been in the kitchen. Each morning I wake up and just take one glance at the menu to see what I'll be preparing for breakfast. I glance down to dinner to see if anything needs thawed or prepared for later. It has taken all of that "Daddy's coming home in 30 minutes....what's for dinner?!?!" There is no need to go running at the last minute to the grocery for 'missing ingredients'. Truly, I can't tell you what a burden has been lifted for the preparation and planning of all meals!

I will be posting the 10 day meal plan and shopping list soon! Be on the lookout! Also, please feel free to email me with any questions or ideas of your own!



Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookie Decorating

Mommy & the boys pose for picture time

Surprise! Lil' Bub enjoys spreading the sprinkles in an eight foot diameter

Daddy gets in on the decorating action!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Story of the "Manger"

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Luke 2:8-14

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to share a cute little exchange between my two year old and myself last night.

Mommy: Let's talk about the Christmas story... What do you know about the angels?

Lil' Bub: They came to tell the shepherds not to be 'fraid

Mommy: Good! Tell me about the animals...

Lil' Bub: They were stinky.

Mommy: Good! What about the star?

Lil' Bub: It shined on baby Jesus so that the wise men could find Him.

Mommy: Good! Where was baby Jesus at?

Lil' Bub: Meijer

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Budget

I Timothy 6:17-19

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."

If you've read my profile you know that besides running shoes, my favorite attire of choice is an apron. I love my kitchen and spend 80% of my time in here. So, grocery shopping is quite the outing for me. I enjoy browsing all the produce, snacking in the bakery department and as of late have made friends with the butcher. I love sales and usually only purchase what is on clearance for that week. Still, I knew I was going over my spending amount from our budget when it came to the checkout line 'total'.

I was shocked, however, to realize after some calculations that I was almost spending twice my allotted amount in the food category! I have made my New Years resolution early this year and am going to start planning out meals and shopping lists to make sure we are disciplined to our budget! Although we are blessed to not have car payments or credit card debt, it is still so easy to find myself spending above and beyond.

I wanted to bring your attention to some great websites that I have on my 'favorites'. All three have a Biblical perspective on stewardship. I've spent most of the afternoon working on our new plan and these sites were very helpful!

The first is the "Hillbilly Housewife". It is a fabulous free site that lists menu options, shopping lists, tips, and more for the the money conscious family.

"Living on a Dime" is also a great site to get inexpensive e-books on money management, debt, grocery tips, cleaning & household ideas, and much more! There are no shipping fees since the downloads are immediate to your computer.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to listen to Dave Ramsey during his radio broadcasts, I encourage you to click on the link in my sidebar to hear some of his wisdom on money management and debt. He is the foremost authority on the 'plastectomy' (aka: cutting up your credit cards!)

I look forward to hearing your ideas of stewardship for your family! I find that it is important all year round, but especially during this season of gift giving, parties, and reunion style family dinners!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

"The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

I have just posted a YouTube video on my sidebar about a little baby boy named Eliot. Warning; prepare the kleenex before watching. My heart was not only touched by the story itself, but moreover by the parents who know that God is unfailing. No matter what our circumstances and pain- if it can serve to glorify the magnitude of our God- then let it be. They have discovered the ultimate truth and rest in the peace of Christ.

The following is an excerpt from Igniter Media Group who originally hosted this documentary.

"Eliot was born with an undeveloped lung, a heart with a hole in it and DNA that placed faulty information into each and every cell of his body. However, that could not stop the living God from proclaiming Himself through this boy who never uttered a word.

In the midst of heartbreaking tragedy, the Mooney family found the presence of God strengthening, comforting, and guiding them. Their story reminds us to seek God and endure our struggles rather than blame Him for our hardships."

"Eliot- isn't he a sweetheart?"

"99 balloons were released in memory of Eliot's 99 days of life- To the Glory of God"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Claus and the Three Bears

I've been wanting to write a post about the 'Great Santa Debate', but seeing how some of the discussions in blog land have became downright dirty, I've avoided it. I do want to share, however, a story regarding my oldest son's perception of Santa Claus that I felt was worthy of telling.

First, let me share a little background on the matter of SC. I personally was never raised with the tradition of Santa Claus. I knew who he was. I knew who other people thought he was. I wasn't deprived of any gifts, holiday cheer, or childhood memories for the sake of not being a believer. He was just never 'celebrated' in our family as 'magical'. My husband and I have passed along the same concept to our children. We probably have stronger views on it for this reason, alongside of others.

The boys know who Santa is from simply taking a cart ride through the local grocery store. He is as 'real' to them as Bob the Builder or Dora the Explorer...a friendly character that is fun to see a show about or sing a song about, but nothing more. We haven't "evangelized" our children against Santa as some might put it, but rather decided not to teach that he is anything "more". We don't go out of our way to avoid the 9 foot inflatable Santa like the plague, but we also don't stand and stare.

The other night during our bedtime routine, my oldest son asked for a story. We've been going through different heroes of the Bible and stories of history. I decided that the story of St. Nicholas of Nicea (aka: Santa Claus) might be fun- tis the season, right? I went through my entire story and at the end I talked about 'his memory' still thought of today. (Since have dealt with the passing of a dear Grandpa already- my son is aware what the reference of a 'memory' means).

With the most shocked look on his face, he turned to me and exclaimed, "Santa Claus is dead?!?!" Ok, moms- how do you respond to that one even if you don't believe that Santa is real? It's like telling him that 'Blue had kicked the bucket'!

I pulled him into my arms with a smile and reminded him gently that the man who lived so long ago loved Jesus very much and is alive in Heaven with Him today just like Papa D. is. The idea that Santa and Papa are hanging out in Heaven was just about too much excitement for one evening. I'm just waiting now for him to announce to someone that Santa is dead. Oh, the joy of parenting!

Monday, December 17, 2007

'O, Holy Night'

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; ...and he is named...Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

O Holy NightThe words and lyrics of the old carol 'O Holy Night' were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. Cappeau was a wine seller by trade but was asked by the parish priest to write a poem for Christmas. He obliged and wrote the beautiful words of the hymn. He then realised that it should have music to accompany the words and he approached his friend Adolphe Charles Adams(1803-1856). He agreed and the music for the poem was therefore composed by Adolphe Charles Adams. Adolphe had attended the Paris conservatoire and forged a brilliant career as a composer. It was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born; O night, O holy night, O night divine! O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming, Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land. The King of kings lay thus lowly manger; In all our trials born to be our friends. He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King! Before him lowly bend! Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, His power and glory ever more proclaim! His power and glory ever more proclaim!

I am overwhelmed! The tale told so many years ago about our King that came in such a lowly way. Together with the melody it is one of my favorite Christmas songs! Read the words and be aware of their truth in light of scripture! Praise His holy name; He came in the flesh and knows our daily needs. Indeed, what a Holy night!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"The End"

Have you ever watched a movie that was going absolutely no where, but you still finished it? Or perhaps drudged through the longest novel just waiting for the final chapter? Maybe you sat through hours of a Broadway play in order to see the 'ending'... Why is that? Aside from sheer boredom or entertainment purposes, there is indeed a deeper reason.

I was reminded during my quiet time this morning that God has given us within our hearts the desire for resolution and reconciliation. We want there to be a 'happy' ending. Something within us cries for justice. That wasn't by mistake! Think about God's plan through his Son, our atonement, so that we could be 'reconciled' back to Him. God created us to know that something was lacking so that we would one day turn to Him. Praise the Lord for His mercy and compassion!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Trip to the Fire Station!

The boys and I went on a field trip to our local fire house a few days ago. Enjoy the pics!

A Fireman shows us the gear needed to fight fires!

Mommy & the boys in front of the ladder truck

Lil' Bub on the front of the truck!

Drive away, lil' fireman!

My oldest poses on the top while lil' bub climbs down from the cab

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations goes out to Leslie! You are the December giveaway winner for "Christmas Child" DVD! Please contact me via email to obtain shipping instructions!

Click here to visit her wonderful blog and congratulate my newest winner!

Check back next month for another fun freebie! Merry Christmas everyone!

The Fruit of God's Spirit: A Look at 'Self Control'

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
Galatians 5:22-25

Last night I was the 'guest speaker' at a church I used to attend for their ladies Christmas gathering. Women of the church hosted tables that they decorated, purchased gifts for, and invited friends to dine with them for the evening. The spread of food was overwhelming and was followed by games and a gift exchange as well! A special 'thank you' to my dear table hostess, Chloris, for her kindness!

I wanted to share on the topic I spoke on briefly to encourage and challenge you. I asked my husband a week ago, when I was still considering what I should talk on, what topics he thought would be beneficial. He said, "Whatever is on your heart right now...whatever you are dealing with personally...someone else is there too".

A few days ago I decided to combine the boy's art and Bible lesson into the theme of 'The Fruit of God's Spirit'. We cut out colorful construction paper into the shapes of all kinds of fruit and wrote out all nine spiritual 'fruit' names. We made a large tree and decorated the wall above our pantry. Each time one of the boys would disobey or hurt his brother, we would walk over to the wall hand in hand, read the verse, and then they would be asked to point out which fruit they were lacking. We would then pray together that God's Spirit would grant them the ability to gain where needed.

As the day went on we all noticed that their was one fruit in particular that our carnal/sin nature was having more problems with than the others. The watermelon, also known as self-control, was tripping us up each time. Webster's defines self-control as, "restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions or desires. And we (meaning me and the boys) we greatly lacking in that area.

Paul was speaking to the church when he writes in Galatians 5:16-18, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law."

He goes onto say in the following verses of chapter 5:22-25, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

Restraint over my emotions and desires?! I’m here to tell you that ain’t gonna happen without the Holy Spirit! As Paul said, 'our sinful nature does that which is contrary to the Spirit of God and they are in conflict with one another!' Remember, this is not a battle which you should try to fight on your own! These fruits are an evidence of our growth in Christ. Those of us who have chosen to trust in Jesus for our salvation have the ability to rely on His Spirit to apply this fruit in our daily life.

I have to laugh at myself or other mom’s when we talk about ‘jr’ and the mother says “how bad they are; they aren’t thoughtful of others, they won’t share; they are back-talking…etc.' Why? We act so confused- yet the WORD reminds us that it is Our sinful nature! It is within us from birth. Have you heard the toddler’s creed? Let me remind you..

If I want it, it's mine.
If I give it to you and change my mind later, it's mine.
If I can take it away from you, it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
If it's mine, it will never belong to anybody else, no matter what.
If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

Only with age have most of us learned manners and enough political correctness, to not say in public what is “on our minds”. You may be smiling into the sunshine, when your boss is ‘givin’ it to you’, but underneath those pearly whites you may be thinking a few choice words. Whether you are 1 or 100- we all still deal with it. Self control! The ability only through the Holy Spirit to show restraint over my emotions, my desires, and my impulses.

Let me share a true story about my lack of self-control from a very short time ago. The boys and I were in Meijer. It was right before Daddy was to come home for dinner and I decided we needed french bread baguettes to go with our Italian dinner that evening. The boys- let me tell you- were DONE! They were done! They had a long day and had no desire to go trapsing into Meijer for baguettes. I was stressed and frankly- not a good combination.

So, here we are in the self-checkout lane (between you and me- not a big fan of them!) I had one hand on the bread scanning it and another on my lil's bub's pants trying to hold him in the cart. My oldest was rolling around the floor and I was about to lose my mind. Nothing was scanning correctly and I was ticked. Then I did something that will remain to this day a complete surprise to even me. I began to beat the self-checkout machine with the baguette. After one solid punch to the fiesty machine, I heard a sweet voice behind me say, “Angel? Is that you?” I turned around to see our pastor's daughter-in-law standing behind me! Not only was I embarressed, but I was reminded that even when we think no one is watching...someone always is.

Who are the people that see you daily and intimately? Wife- your husband? Mother- your children? Daughter- your parent? Sister- your sibling? Do they see the working of the Holy Spirit in you-? Do they see the evidence of growth in your walk with the Lord? How easy is it to lose control of our emotions and impulses around those who will forgive us because of their love for us. Are we disrespecting our husband our breaking the spirit of our child because of our lack of control? Sister, brother in Christ- let us forsake the old sin nature and desire the freedom of Christ and His Spirit.

Most of the time it is easier to show restraint in public places. We know that the public is watching and something in us doesn't want our reputation to be tarnished in the light of those strangers among us. The real evidence, however, of your growth will be seen around those who you are “yourself” with- in the private of your home…in the darkness of your minivan's tinted windows.

I pray that you would desire wisdom and guidance so that through the Holy Spirit you may have...

Love (even when there is hate in your heart)
Joy (even in the grief of losing a loved one)
Peace (in the conflict of a rocky marriage or an abusive husband)
Patience (even when your children have pushed you to the edge)
Kindness (to the abrasive and rude boss or co-worker)
Goodness ( to the parent who has always been critical or judgemental)
Faithfulness (to continue to pray in spite of apathy)
Gentleness (to the driver in front of you that insists on going 20 miles an hour on the freeway when you are late)
And, finally, self-control, in the most private of your heart- when only God is watching.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Helpful Hardware Folk (aka: not me)

We have been through three microwaves since my husband and I were married 7 years ago. The first was given to me by my fabulous boss as a wedding present. It stayed with us for a very long time. Unfortunately, it met its untimely demise during a water damage incident this past year. My mother wrangled a wonderful deal on our second microwave at a garage sale this past summer. It was small and snuggled nicely on our countertop.

Well, about three weeks ago my hubby informed me that our range hood was 'cooked' and we were going to need another one. The wheels began turning... "Oh, the counterspace I could inherit if we could just put an 'over the range' microwave in." So, let the price comparisons begin! Well, I was as pleased as punch when I found a fabulous deal- and I mean 'bottom bargain basement' price for a beautiful Maytag!

I brougt it home and lugged it onto our island with complete satisfaction. My husband just stared from the dining room table, "It's huge!" was about 3 times the size of our current one.

Let the installation begin! My husband took one look at the instructions and realized that we needed to put in an electric outlet. My dad, aka "master electrician" came to the rescue! We started the job around 8 pm (ish) and called it complete around 12 midnight. (nothing is as ever easy as it seems) Thank you Dad & Hubby for getting the job done! Now...what to do with all that empty counterspace?!

"Bubby helps Grandpa by holding the flashlight. (Keep in mind- we had the electric off and it was pretty dark in camera flash makes it seem bright as day!)
Grandpa's Little Helper!
"Look! The outlet is installed!" (Notice Lil' Bub's 'drill')
"Ta-da! Completion! Ain't it beautiful?!"

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What is a "Meme"?

What is a meme?

Okay, so yesterday I was tagged for a Christmas 'meme'. Honestly, I was confused. Did they forget to finish the word? Did somebody accidentally hit the backspace key? What does it mean? to this site I went. Without further ado...

People often ask, "What is a Meme?" so here's a more than a little information on that. I pronounce it so it's rhymes with 'dream'; some pronounce it so it sounds like 'mem' (from mem-ory).

In the context of web logs / 'blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it's some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. I generally consider these to be actual questions and not some multiple choice quizzes that determine some result at the end (what color you are most like, what cartoon character are you, what 80s movie are you).

By some other definitions memes are viral and propagate around sometimes mutating as they propagate. Someone proposed something along the lines of some blog posts are viral, they write about something they see on one blog and the next person does the same sometimes their interpretation varies slightly changing the story (I cannot find this original reference).

Eventually some people decided they were going to creating weekly questionnaires (memes) and post them every week. Some are monthly, a few are daily and some are always there. Some suggest that you get five other people to do the same meme and they have to get five people (and so on), which sometimes increases their propagation. This probably stunts their mutated growth, having a permanent storage place where people go to find them but many people copy them from the site where they see it and they'll still change a bit.

I've Been Tagged...

I've been tagged by Tracy for a Christmas memory game or a "meme" (see previous post)... Enjoy getting to know me a little bit more!

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags?
It's a mix...but one tradition I have is to stay up late on Christmas Eve and wrap all of my gifts. I usually put in a sappy old Christmas movie and wrap away!

2) Real tree or artificial? Fake. Have you ever seen National Lampoon's Christmas & the squirrel episode? Enough said.

3) When do you put up your tree? Usually the day after New Years. (True story: a friend of my aunt leaves hers up year round and just covers it up with a sheet during the 'off' months!)

4) When do you take the tree down? Errr....Valentines Day? Oh, no wait- you were asking me, not my dad. :)

5) Do you like eggnog? Ok, from what I've heard...the only reason you should have eggs in your drink is if you had too much to drink the night before.

6) Favorite gift received as a child? Well, actually, when I was pregnant with our first- we had the doctor right out the gender on a Christmas card. We put it under the tree and opened it as our last gift on Christmas morning. It was so special! We opened up the card to see our first picture of our baby son!

7) Do you have a Nativity scene? Well, it's more of a large ornament, but it gets set up right away!

8) The hardest person to buy for? I have trouble buying for my oldest niece. I'm really good at buying 'boy' items, but have a super hard time finding something for a girly girl.

9) The easiest person to buy for? This year it's been my mom. I just keep finding things for her! (no peeking, mama!)

10) The worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't think I can remember one...maybe I've repressed the memory...

11) Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Although I like to receive mail- at $.41 a stamp- I'll help them save some cash and take email as I get it!

12) Favorite Christmas movie? I have a favorite New Year's movie: "Bachelor Mother" starring Ginger Rogers & David Niven. I've been wanting to buy it for years, but is pretty rare and I didn't want to spend $30 on ebay. I did, however, a few months ago find it at a thrift shop for $.90! Yea!

13) When do you start shopping for Christmas? All year long

14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Well, the story of the porche is a bit of a long one....

15) Favorite things to eat at Christmas? 7 layer cookies...I remember when I was little my aunt would put all the cookies on the back porch to keep cold during the night and I couldn't wait until morning when she'd bring them back in again!

16) Clear lights or colored on the tree? White lights forever

17) Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night & Mary Did You Know

18) Travel at Christmas or stay home? We stay in town, but travel around to family who live within the area.

19) Can you name all Santa's reindeer? "Bashful," "Doc," "Dopey," "Grumpy," "Happy," "Sleepy" and "Sneezy"...oh, wait a minute-that's not right...

20) Angel on the tree top or a star? Currently...a star and a dove.

21) Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Everyone gets to open "one" small one on the eve and the rest in the morning. Then in the afternoon/evening at my in-laws for more giving.

22) Most annoying thing about this time of year? Greed

23) What is the "corniest" family tradition you do or miss doing? When hubby and I got married 7 years ago it was just 8 weeks before Christmas. So, we received lots of ornaments as wedding gifts. One of my 'favorites' is the Christmas 'pickle'. It is exactly that... and it's very ugly, but we always make a big 'tada' when it goes on the tree every year.

24) Ugliest Christmas decorations ever invented? My mom would say "garland" and I would refer to question #23

25) Which looks the best...theme trees or homey trees? Which looks the best or which do I like the best?! I try to think I have the best of both worlds. We have a theme of colors and ornaments, but we have all of our special ornaments that always go on too.

26) What does Christmas mean to you?
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild--
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th'an-gelic hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Home Is Where The Heart Is

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:15

I am daily amazed at the kindness of our God. He is so good! He has taken care of our family and kept us from making some potentially very bad decisions. It has been one full year now since we sold our first home! Although I miss the memories, I am so grateful for our new home and community!

In October 2006 my husband accepted a position at a University as the Assistant Registrar a little over an hour away. It was a solid sixty plus miles of highway driving at the maximum allowed speed...any traffic congestion and that one hour would quickly turn to two.

We were very excited about his new job and promptly put our house on the market. We had been thinking about moving and this was just the little 'nudge' that we needed! It sold in a record 42 days in the slow and unmoving fall and winter market. Our Realtor, Anita, was a Godly woman of prayer and I know that the Lord used her! After closing, we had not yet found a house and moved in with my parents who were all to kind enough to let us call their house 'ours' for the month.

It became evident to us after months of searching for a home in the rural areas outside of his university that we were not going to find a good match for our family. The stress and painful 12 hour workdays of my husbands job began to wear on us all mentally and physically. So, after much prayer and counsel, we began looking for a home just miles from where we had originally lived. As a family we knew that settling for a home to be close to a job that needed to come to an end was not a wise decision. Oh, how I look back and praise the Lord for His hand on us at that time!

We found a beautiful home in a newer neighborhood nestled right in our local farm community. We were minutes from my parents (they couldn't be more thrilled about that) and closer to my husbands family as well. The price was perfect and the house met our needs beautifully. The sellers were very motivated and excited to work with us! With the help of our family and friends, we moved in just three weeks later. Approximately six months later, with the blessing of his employer and staff at the university, my husband changed positions and is now much closer to home!

I am reminded of the Lord's perfect wisdom and direction. He knew right where we needed to be in all areas; professionally, spiritually, and communally. We are truly blessed and I desire to thank Him daily! Be reminded that as you seek Him for direction, that even in the 'trials', God has His hand on your 'trail'.

"Our Home of Memories"

"Oh, My Growing Babies!"

"Daddy & Mommy say 'Goodbye'!"

"We Loved Our Fabulous Realtor, Anita!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

December Giveaway! "Christmas Child" DVD

December Giveaway: "Christmas Child" DVD
Inspired by storyteller Max Lucado

This Christmas season, enjoy the story of "Christmas Child" on DVD. Actors include Steven Curtis Chapman, Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) and William R. Moses.

To be entered for the drawing, please leave a comment on this posting about your favorite Christmas memory!

Please take a moment to post a link to this giveaway on your blog also. I would be very grateful!

Our family was able to watch and enjoy and now I'd like to share it with you and yours!

Merry Christmas!

This drawing will end on Wednesday December 12th at 2pm.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!"

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:8-14

(Just for the record...the photograph depicts female angels, but the Bible only mentions male angels. I wish I had a true picture! )
"Hark! the Harold Angels Sing" (1855)
Words by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music by Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847
Adapted by William Hayman Cummings
from "Festgesang" (24 Jun 1840)
Tune: Mendelssohn
from the 2nd mvt. of the cantata "Vaterland, in deinen
Gauen brach der gold'ne Tag einst an")

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild--
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th'an-gelic hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ, by highest heav'n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th'incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in His wings.
Mild he lays His glory by.
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of Nations, come!
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman's conq'ring seed,
Bruise in us the serpent's head.
Adam's likeness now efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.

What amazing words! What blessed words! How many times have we bellowed the song or hummed the tune, but ignored those precious words full of life and meaning!?

I just attended a fantastic Christmas concert performed by a local body of believers. I loved the layout of the program. They emphasized that the baby Jesus not be left in the manger...that the story of "Christmas" is only the beginning of God's plan for mankind. They went on to talk and sing of his life, ministry, death and resurrection. The pastor gave a beautiful evangelistic invitation at the end and reminded us that our eternal destiny was imminent. It was very refreshing and encouraging!

Let us take a moment to look at some outstanding statements in the four stanzas of the song!

1) "Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild-- God and sinners reconciled!" Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With th'an-gelic hosts proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem"

*God and sinners reconciled!*...Oh, goosebumps! Christ was sent so that God could make a way for us to be with Him! He wants us to be with Him! His desire is that we be reconciled to Him! (
To reestablish a close relationship between. 2. To settle or resolve)

2) Christ, by highest heav'n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord; Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin's womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th'incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.

*Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail incarnate Deity*...He was fully God, but yet completely human/flesh. Jesus Christ is our atonement. Our penalty is death. Defined, Christ's death on the cross made amends or reparation for our 'wrong' ..our sin.

3)Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris'n with healing in His wings. Mild he lays His glory by. Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.

*Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth*... Christ's emphasis was on 'being born again'. We must die to self to be able to live fully in Him. Read with me Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus.

John 3:1-7:

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again

4) Come, Desire of Nations, come! Fix in us Thy humble home; Rise, the woman's conq'ring seed, Bruise in us the serpent's head. Adam's likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place; Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love.

*Come, Desire of Nations, Come!"... There is so much to be said in this verse, but I'll just choose a small snapshot. Israel was under such oppression and had been for many years. Driven from their homes for generations, these were a people truly in need of a Savior. Sadly, many still wait for the coming Messiah even today. They wait for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Praise the Lord that we know our Redeemer came 2000 years ago as a baby...humbly... and is now seated next to the right hand of our Father God! We wait for the return of our Messiah as well, but this will be a second coming, unlike the first! Every man will know Him... every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! Hark! I can't wait to hear those angels sing on that glorious day!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The "Perfect" Christmas Picture

Okay, so the goal this year was to avoid spending lots of money at the local portrait studio for the proverbial "perfect" Christmas picture. I love taking pictures around the house of the boys and decided to do it again this year to update all of our friends and family in their cards. Won't this be easier? Allow me to take you through our ten minute ordeal.

Get the boys dressed in adorable matching outfits. Comb and gel the hair. Bring them downstairs to set them up in front of our festive holiday "backdrop": aka- the tree.

Bribe them with 'suckers' for 'smiles'. Turn on the camera. Just as they pose as cute as possible- take the picture. Rats! The batteries just died in the camera. Run to the 'everything' drawer and rummage for a new battery. Yell over your shoulder to 'stay still'...'mommy will be right there'. Keep rummaging. No batteries. Grrrrrr.

Run back to the boys. Remind them that there are suckers coming. Proceed to prepare to take another picture while the batteries charge in the camera 'off' position. Camera back on (for 10 seconds anyway). Suckers! Smile! Click. Camera alert message "Card Full". Grrrrr. Delete Picture. Delete Picture.

Boys! Look at mommy! Hey- SUCKERS are coming! Give hugs- look at mommy! Click. Click. Batteries die again. Let the camera charge. Camera on. Look at mommy- smile! "Card Full". Delete! Delete.

SUCKERS! They're coming! Strawberry or Cherry? Click. Camera completely dead now. Hugs from the boys and the promised candy. Return to the computer to download the pictures. There must be at least one of them sitting still, together, smiling, looking with 'eyes open', at the same time, right? Hmmmm.....

The Jingle Bell Run

"The Jingle Bell Run 2007"

Saturday morning was the 21st annual Jingle Bell 5K for the Arthritis Foundation. Through the generous support of my friends and family I was able to raise over $200 for the event! Thanks to all of you who helped me to meet my goal!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Where Has Carol Gone?

I am very excited to bring to you this Christmas season, a study of the carols! I was reading through some of my favorites with the boys yesterday and tears came to my eyes! The original intent of the authors to shed light on the gospel is overwhelming! Don't you find it amazing that every holiday season the television stations are flooded with hollow "Christmas Specials" sung by the height of the immoral 'pop tarts' who don't even have a clue (or maybe are just ignoring that prod of their conscience)! Let's take a deeper look at these songs and bring back to light the truth of their intention! Have we forgotten what Christmas is? Praise the Lord it is His plan of salvation through the birth of His Son! Be on the lookout each week...they're coming!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Twin

It may be common knowledge to you and I that a twin size bed is meant for one person. My youngest, however, has apparently not been notified of this well known fact. Poor little guy is super sick right now and just needs his mommy...and his blanky (the enormous down comforter as discussed in a prior post)...and Mr. Ducky, Bear, Giraffe, and sixteen pillows...all in his little twin bed. At about 3am, restless and tired of being coughed on, I relinquished my post at the top of the bed and curled down into a ball at the bottom of the bed. As long as my little could hold my hand, he was fine and would stay asleep. Mommy, on the other hand, didn't find the night as restful as she had hoped...

More to come, but for now Mommyblogger takes a break!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Adventures of Black Friday 2007

I pulled into the Meijer parking lot under the cover of dark and made my way to the back of the store. There wasn't an abundance of customers, but many more than the usual 3rd shift patrons. I was delighted to find that the pillow aisle, of all places, was abandoned and felt it beckon me to set up camp. I stacked some pillows up against the racks, laid down my goose feather 'pillow' vest and relaxed back to watch the commotion. I found a nearby bookshelf stacked with recent best sellers and sat back to take in a few chapters of Kevin Trudeau's newest smash on the drug companies. I had also brought some breakfast in form of an energy bar (very important).

About 4:15am (keeping in mind that the ropes were dropped at 5am) I asked a sales associate where a specific item would be located in the sale grid. (I had promised a friend to get this item) He informed me that this year all of the electronics were located at various points of the store and you would need to wait in line. (Now, you must remember in my post about last year we talked about the 'logistic nightmare' of the setup) They had fixed it! Good for Meijer...bad for me! I was in the wrong area all this time!

I jumped up, tossed the pillows back into the racks and bolted for the front of the store. I found the line just in time and settled in for the 45 minute wait. There were only 30 spots available for this line and I had captured number 10. Within minutes the other spots were filled! Whew... Just in time!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Race Day!

"Happy Thanksgiving Day!"
" Pre-race & freezing cold...nice little icy mist falling"
"I Finished the 4 Miler with my personal best time!"
"At home with the boys and my medal...their shirts say, 'I love my marathon mommy'!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever."

Psalm 136:1

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bob the Builder

"Art Class"

Okay, so the idea in art class was to re-create a 3-D "Bob" with playdough. My oldest (4) made one and I did too. Can you tell which one is his and which one was made by the adult?!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Did I Forget to Mention?

Big Win for the Ohio State Buckeyes!
Lil' Bub & Mommy are decked out for the Big Game!




Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tales of "The Day After Thanksgiving"

Have I mentioned that I love a good deal? In all honestly, it's not about the 'brand' or having 'stuff', but rather the idea that I was a good steward with my money! Truly, I am not a craven materialist and encourage my children not to desire 'things' or even shopping. I must say, however, that the day after Thanksgiving, aka: "Black Friday", happens to be one of my most favorite days out of the year. It must be the camaraderie with all of the other adrenaline junkies of the world that want to find that 'diamond in the rough' and find it on sale for $.99.

Last year I woke up at 3am Friday morning because I couldn't sleep. (Should have had one last dose of turkey to get all that good triptophene flowing before bed). I knew that our local Meijer superstore was starting their advertised prices at 6am. So, why not head out a little early? It's a 24 hour store... I can just fill the cart with the deals, do our grocery shopping for the week and get a little alone time in the darkness and quiet of night. I'll wait around until "6am" hits and then head over to the checkout line.

HA! I arrived to a scene that will live in infamy. The entire back section of the store was roped off as off duty cart boys and sales associates held "guard duty". Every aisle from the front of the store to the back was beginning to fill with militant shoppers...ready for battle. People carried lawn chairs, coupons, and even a few with a thermos filled with piping hot coffee. These shoppers were prepared! I realized a battle plan was needed and began to quickly move to action.

I found a housewares aisle that nobody seemed interested to set up base in. I was surrounded by window treatments, chair covers, and folding chairs. Ah! Folding chairs! Perfect... I took a seat bellied up to the rope at the end of the aisle and waited. Oh, the excitement was beginning! I leaned deeper to see what was around 'my' aisle. I began to make mental notes of those other 'game face' know the ones I'm talking about...the lady decked out with running shoes and speedo shorts, the gentlemen with a cane (aka: weapon), or the innocent looking grandma with 27 grandchildren and an "agenda"!

About ten minutes later another lady came into my aisle. Friend or foe? As it would turn out, a wonderful friend! We began laughing together at our feeble attempts slip away while the kids were sleeping for some alone time. We started scheming together about techniques and strategies. She gave me her list and I gave her mine. She would head one way and I would head another. We programmed each other's cell numbers into our phones and planned to meet at the underwear aisle. (We guessed this might be a safe zone...not too many 'intimate' deals this time of year...not any worth getting trampled over anyway)

Our aisle quickly filled to thirty plus people. The manager of a local breakfast joint came by and handed us coupons for free sandwiches later that morning. We were super excited! The countdown began and the nerves grew in anticipation. I felt like a purebred about to be let out of the starting gates. "5, 4, 3, 2, 1"! And the ropes dropped. And everybody dashed into the aisles. And about ten seconds later we all stopped because we were completely stuck. Call it gridlock if you will. Imagine an area about 300 feet in length, but only 12 feet in width suddenly filled with over 1000 crazy customers...with carts. Not good... a logistics nightmare to be more exact. So what to do? I started laughing hysterically, frankly because there was nothing else to do...and nowhere else to go.

**Allow me to take a 'sidebar' for all of you clausterphobics out there. BEWARE of Black Friday! If you are a diehard shopper and must risk it...prepare yourself! My mother, for instance, would have most likely had a panic attack at this point. She thinks that my father and I have lost our minds to get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to fight the crowds and the traffic for a deal. Her time is much better spent in mid May when nobody has gift giving on their minds yet. (love you mommy!)** Okay, back to the story...

Most of the customers were all having fun and started working together to help eachother out. "You want Polly Pocket in Aisle 7? Hey! The lady in the red coat needs a Polly!" "How many drills?" "Here, pass that basketball to the little boy three down on your left". I felt like Pollyanna. We were all working together...for the most part.

Then entered, "The Mama". She was in no mood to be helpful and had greed on her mind. She was angry that nobody was moving and perhaps was a little overwhelmed. She started ramming her cart into people and yelling. She shoved an employee on the ground and about ran over a little kid. People began to 'boo' her conduct as we helped up the poor little lady she'd knocked over. We parted the waters to let her through. Completely sad, but unfortunately how some see the giving and gifting of Christmas.

Slowly, but surely we maneuvered our way from the 'deal aisle' to 'panty lane'. I met up with my new found 'battle buddy' and we exchanged our items that we had found for each other and made our way to the checkout lanes. We enjoyed eachothers company and talked throughout the day on our phones.

I'm looking forward to this Friday as well. My dear friend, Andi, is going to be joining me for her very first time of TDAT sales. Friendship and discount...what could be more fun?!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


For all those who read my blog yesterday and had any doubt that my oldest weighed 24 lbs at 2 months of age...I offer... my proof.