Thursday, December 31, 2009
I'm thankful for my health.
I'm thankful that God is in control and keeps his promises even when my anxiety is too much to bear.
I'm thankful for a husband who is a man above any other I know.
I'm thankful for a little girl who is sweet as pie, smart as a whip, and as sassy as me!
I'm thankful for the future that this year holds for my family, and to God for his ABUNDANT and overflowing blessings.
Happy New Year friends.
May you be blessed in 2010.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
An interesting and eventful death of the car had to be necessary, right?
Matt broke down on a horrible road (think steep hill with a stick shift, sharp bend, no shoulder) as we were taking the car to a transmission guy a few miles away. Only when Matt called the repair place we had just picked it up from did the mechanic tell him it wasn't safe to drive. Thanks a bunch.
While Matt was waiting (less than 15 minutes) for the $60, cash-only tow truck (because people with cars that are a piece of crap always have $60 cash on them) a police car comes, sirens blaring, to tell my fierce looking husband that if he doesn't move the car it will be impounded.
During the aforementioned 15 minute wait, the police officer made my husband call the tow company a SECOND time to make sure he was coming because I think he REALLY wanted to impound the piece of crap.
I'm running around like a madwoman, getting cash for Matt and trying to get his cell phone out of the car we were borrowing that had it's keys locked in it....Ah yes, a delightful day.
All that to be said, it's going to cost $1000 to fix the car and that's before the inspection due in January that I know it would fail. We decided to donate the car to a good cause.
Luckily, we have an inexpensive car available to us immediately and we will begin aggressively saving for a new one (instead of another Disney vacation) so we're poised and ready to purchase a newer car next time.
It's nice not to be worried about it!
The basement remodeling project is on hold until we can finish our fully funded Emergency Fund complete and money for a car secured...Hopefully around $15,000. What a lofty financial goal. Hopefully that will be complete by July?? Can it be done??? We'll see!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
It is difficult, isn't it?
I'm beginning my journey of reading the Bible - cover to cover - in 3 months. I was going to start in January - but why wait, right?
Today (which is really last Monday - I wonder where I actually AM today in my journey) I read the first 17 chapters of Genesis. It seems like a lot, but I can read the entire Twilight series in two weeks....which puts my Bible reading to literal shame.
I am ashamed.
So anyway, I'm back to enjoying the stories of The Beginning and have so many things to think about.
Take Abraham. God promised him...audibly promised him...that he would be the father of many, more numerous than the stars in the sky. He came to him in visions and signed a literal contract with fire.
So, did Abraham say, "Awesome God! Whenever you're ready!"?
Nope, he and Sarah didn't believe him. Sarah was having a difficult time getting pregnant. They were both impatient. So they took matters into their own hands. Have you ever done this? (I only do it most days.)
HELLO BUDDY?! Didn't God like, promise you??
Sarah insisted that Abraham sleep with her servant and she would have a son through her...poor Hagar. Sarah literally laughed in God's face, disbelieving his promise of a son to her.
Hagar ends up running away for a while in fear before returning to give birth to Ishmael...who is referred to as a "wild donkey." Ishmael's descendants are STILL causing problems in the world today.
God does keep his promise, exactly as he said he would (in his time of course) and gives Sarah a son from her own womb, Isaac. Isaac loved God and followed him passionately.
Ok, so I think you can figure out where you and I fit in, right? How are we supposed to have faith when Abraham and Sarah failed and they had God screaming in their faces?
I don't think that's the point.
The point is, God keeps his promises.
Along the way, you and I try to take things into our own hands because we get tired of waiting. Maybe we think we heard him wrong; and we cause all sorts of trouble for ourselves.
Stay on the path. God is always true to his Word. If you look back on your life, you can always see that He came through at the perfect time...and he will this time too.
I pray today that the peace of God's promises to you fills your life.
Friday, December 25, 2009
My sweet little baby with her favorite gift. The princess and the frog doll!
I wish I could post more from last night, but I LOST MY MEMORY CARD in the chaos. I was devastated. Luckily, it has been found, but it's still at my grandfather's house at the moment.
Happy Birthday Jesus. Thank you for the gift.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It's that time of the year. Everyone is spreading Christmas germs...er...Cheer.
I picked up a pack of Emergen-C for kids. It comes with 30 packs in one box for about $8 at Target.
I give a packet in Hannah mixed with water (it's like a fruity fizzy drink) when she is/or is going to be around sick people, or we have a special things going on, like Christmas or vacation.
It has all of the essential vitamins for children PLUS immune boosting antioxidants. So, when using this, you would NOT give your child their multi-vitamin.
It also has immune boosting:
Plus it has:
Calcium, Vitamin D and Phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth
and Choline which supports healthy brain function and digestion.
It seems to be really doing it's job! I recommend it!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A couple years ago someone, as a gift gave us a little photo album in a sweet little cloth Santa Claus pouch with a little handle perfect for hanging on the front door knob.
Then, I can use the fronts of the ones I like best in my scrapbook!
Monday, December 21, 2009
I thought I had budgeted well for vacation. A chunk of money from November's budget was set aside, and a smaller chunk from December's budget.
Stay with me, this is confusing.
I use Quicken to budget monthly, and adjust a new budget at the beginning of each month.
We went on vacation and I thought I had $1700 set aside. $1000 from November's budget and $700 from December's.
Well, when we got home, my budget read that there was only $700 budgeted (I wasn't realizing that the $1000 from November was just sitting in the account.) We spent $1200 the week we were in Disney so I just adjusted the budget and pouted a little.
Later I couldn't figure out why there was so much more money in the checking than we had left to spend for the month...and then it clicked!
I'm very excited, because this will allow us to reach our year-end goal in our savings account by the end of the year. That doesn't mean our emergency fund is complete, but it's where we wanted to be by the end of the year!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I can't really describe how I've been feeling lately - a little bipolar.
Motivated in my head.
Unmotivated in my body.
Lot's of oxymoronic type feelings there!
I'm seriously considering trying to read the bible in 90 days. I was going to start at the new year, but maybe I'll just start now :)
God bless you this week as we remember the greatest birth in history!
Anyhow, here's what's for dinner tonight.
Sauteed shrimp with linguini, spinach and roasted asparagus in a light cream sauce.
I hope it turns out well!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I have always wanted Hannah to feel comfortable volunteering in hospitals and nursing homes and this is the first year she's actually been able to participate with us.
Each year we take the student ministry to Presents for Patients. We bring residents without families gifts and spend time with them.
This year was AWESOME. Our kids did amazing. Not only did they spend time with their resident, but they made their way around the whole place spreading Christmas cheer!
What a sweet, beautiful, compassionate little girl I have. I hope she continues to blossom into the fantastic little lady she is now...even if she is a little feisty.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Lack of time - 69%
Lack of money 69%
Pressure to give gifts 51%
How do we respond?
Lack of sleep - 56%
Lack of energy 55%
So what are some way to avoid becoming a statistic?
1. Have an outlet (something you enjoy)
2. Control your "stressors"
3. Hang out with friends
4. Focus on positive
5. Try to find balance.
Above info received from this website.
I'm probably about 2/3 of the way finished Christmas shopping. I'm just no good at it. I feel like I get bad gifts and I'm way cheaper than everyone else. I hugely stress about it. I stress about money. I stress about having something to do every second of every day. This is not what the holiday should be.
I spend a lot of time wrapping gifts tonight. I do have to say...I'm loving the way the tree looks with gifts under it, and I'm fairly confident about the gifts I've purchase thus far...I'm excited to give Matt his gift too. I like to buy him things :)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I figured it's healthier (somewhat) than cookies and it looks so cute in the little "chinese food" boxes I put them in.
I included the recipe, since it's completely adapted by me and I really do love it!
Here it is for you too!
6 cups gluten free quick oats
1 stick butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup golden raisins
(the above ingredients are COMPLETELY adaptable and take substitutes well!)
Melt butter with oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add honey and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and then stir in cinnamon. Turn off heat and stir in oats. Spread mixture evenly between two ungreased cookie sheets and press down. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes (you really have to adapt this to your oven) or until toasty brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans before breaking up into an airtight container or zip top baggie. Add in raisins and almonds and mix.
Enjoy dry or with milk!!
Monday, December 14, 2009
I had to do a HUGE shop, so I stopped at Aldi and Shop n' Save.
Can I just be blunt and say that if you haven't tried out Aldi, you're crazy.
This is what I got there:
- salmon - individually wrapped/bagged/frozen
- frozen broccoli florets
- hot pockets (They're a backup lunch for Matt if he's late)
- jumbo cooked/frozen shrimp
- fresh cauliflower
- pancake syrup
- 3lb. oats
- 2 toothbrushes
- Fresh bunch of asparagus
- a bag of naval oranges
- 12 mini whole wheat bagels
- 4 anjou pears
- swiss cheese
- cheddar cheese
- provolone cheese
- Egg beaters
- 2 cans of green beans
- ground turkey
- grape tomatoes
- seedless cucumbers
- red/yellow peppers
- bagged spinach
- bagged salad
- 4 small zucchinis
- stick of pepperoni
- golden raisins
- dried fruit
- 1lb chopped walnuts
- a dozen eggs
- chocolate chips
- peanut butter chips
- Deli ham
Grand total $61.10
Now come on...that's awesome...
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, "The Lord Reigns."
Wow, what a great week. It's so weird to be back from Disney World in the frigid temperatures of Pittsburgh, looking at the mistakes I made in the budget, emptying spoiled food from the fridge, paying bills, meal planning and wading through hundreds of emails.
Can I just say WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
I did NOT want to leave vacation! I wanted to stay another week.
But I will rejoice. I am so grateful and thankful to God for BLESSING us with the opportunity to get away on the vacation of a lifetime. There are so many things I want to tell you all but it must wait until I can upload the fantastic pictures!
God is good. I felt his hand of protection upon my family all week. He filled us with his joy, rest, and peace, and for that I praise him.
To illustrate his protection; a story. I hate flying. I've avoided many trips with various excuses in order to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground. But, when we decided to take this trip, I decided I had to give up my fears. I've really been working on trusting God to protect my family and me and this was the perfect opportunity to see if I've progressed at all.
I did pretty well. Hannah, for some reason, was terrified, so having to pretend I was perfectly calm while reading her a book during takeoff was what I needed. I did pause for a deep breath or two. Our flights to Orlando were without incident...but returning to Pittsburgh was a different story.
We had a layover in Atlanta and the weather was a bit rough. Without any warning or consoling from the pilot the plane was violently jerking, swaying, and deeply dipping. At one point I shrieked out loud in fear. It made me even more nervous to see concern in Matt's eyes. A seasoned flyer, he said it was the worst flight he's ever been on. Once making it through the bumpiness, the landing was awful. The wings jerked quickly back and forth and I'm just going to say...I was freaking out.
The flight crew reminded me of Moe, Larry, and Curly, and the pilot never came on to let us know we were going to hit some rough turbulence or to even acknowledge the aggressive ride - something I think should be an obvious courtesy when thousands of feet in the air with a nervous flier such as myself.
Our flight from Atlanta to Pittsburgh wasn't as bumpy, but the pilot came on to keep us posted on the conditions to expect, which is much less nerve wracking to me!!
So, for this and many other things over this past week, I rejoice in my God, my Savior for his blessings.
Something funny - Random guy on airplane screaming himself awake throughout the flight. Matt and I were in tears with laughter while Hannah yelled loud enough for the guy to hear "WHAT'S SO FUNNY??"
Love to all! Rejoice today!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
A while back I read about a concept in Reader's Digest called Change One. I've not studied it in depth but I believe I follow that principle in more than one area of my life
If you think about an area of your life that's out of control: your house cleaning, laundry, weight, eating habits, budget, family time, work, schedule etc. you can apply this principle.
MY HOUSE IS ALWAYS A MESS:
Change one thing about the way you housekeep. Make your bed every morning for a week before adding another habit OR make sure your sink is clean each night before bed, OR do one load of laundry a day. Do not add another habit until you're comfortable that you've mastered the first habit.
MY FINANCES ARE OUT OF CONTROL:
Do you have a hard time keeping track of debit purchases? Just start by having one place that you put your debit receipts, mine is ALWAYS my wallet. Receipts go right in there, OR maybe you need to balance your checkbook. If you do that stuff, maybe you need to create a simple budget. As with housekeeping DO NOT add another financial habit until you've mastered the first one you choose.
MY WEIGHT/DIET/EXERCISE ARE NONEXISTENT:
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I try to do everything at once and then I quit on day two (or halfway through day one). So if you need to get your health in check, pick one: exercise for 10 minutes every day starting today, OR add a piece of fruit to each meal OR start a multivitamin. Give yourself time before adding anything else.
The whole CHANGE ONE principle is just that, you make small changes that eventually add up to big change. It's not so unnerving that you quit because you can't do it all. It's about setting reasonable goals for yourself and reaching them before you make another small change.
Don't blow your health this holiday season. We're talking about 5 days max - Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day. Make smart choices this month and CHANGE ONE!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Basically this idea focuses on the idea that there are a variety of avenues for an individual to learn at his or her best. Most fall mainly into one intelligence, but may have qualities of another.
Here they are:
Linguistic (word smart)
Bodily-kinesthetic (movement/hands on)
Interpersonal (people oriented, social)
Intrapersonal (self oriented)
Using a variety of these when teaching kids (and adults for that matter) facilitates an amazing learning environment. It's interesting how excited I am when I think about these ideas, and how depressing it is to reflect on the idea that most teachers LECTURE LECTURE LECTURE. A VERY small number of students retain knowledge at their full potential through lecture.
Ok, sorry for the lesson, but I've been thinking of how I work with Hannah. We're not on a rigid schedule, I've just always "played" with her by encouraging educational games. When she was 11 months old we'd play with foam letters in the bath tub. Now, we're reading books.
If I tell Hannah, sit down and practice reading, she very quickly, without looking up, says NO and braces for an argument. If I ask Hannah if she wants to play school with her stuffed animals and Magna Doodle and she's the teacher, she's IN! In a few minutes, she's reading and writing words (and punishing Winnie the Pooh when he misbehaves).
1. We make up songs/rhymes/rhythms when learning thing like address and phone number (musical)
2. We go outside and collect rocks/leaves and do art with them (naturalistic)
3. We learn rhymes while jumping on the trampoline (bodily kinesthetic, linguistic)
4. Playing school and making Hannah the teacher (interpersonal, bodily kinesthetic)
5. She uses her tag system and educational leap pad, v smile and DS games (spatial and bodily kinesthetic)
6. We read books and do LOTS of flash cards and puzzles (spatial, bodily kinesthetic, linguistic)
7. We're working on tying shoes (bodily kinesthetic)
8. Hannah is not an intrapersonal learner. She does NOT like to do things alone, but that doesn't mean we don't encourage her to daily play by herself and complete tasks on her own.
If you're in a rut and trying to teach your child to grasp a new concept, try this approach. It's WAY more fun than the "do your homework" technique. I promise.
Monday, November 30, 2009
We tend to shop on Black Friday EVENING after all the crazies (and awesome sales) are done for the day. I'm just not a huge fan of shopping. It's nice if I have money to spend and I like giving gifts, but I just never know what to get everyone. I'll walk around stores aimlessly analyzing everything I pick up...then I'll put it down, buy something else, and wish I would have bought the first thing. It's just too much stress for me.
I also feel like most of my family can buy what they want themselves in better quality than I can buy. Does that make sense??
Last rambling...greeting cards. I hate them. I like receiving them when they're from someone who can truly express themselves with one. There are some people who search for that perfect card when they can't find the words to say and I think that's awesome for sure... In fact, I have one from a friend on my fridge because I know it has meaning behind it...and it makes me laugh.
That said, I think they're a big fat waste of money. $4 for a CARD??? I usually make Hannah color a picture and write Happy Birthday on the bottom. Most of them get thrown in the garbage! Cards serve purpose, but it annoys me that people feel and obligation to purchase cards that 9 times out of 10 will get tossed. If I have to buy a card for whatever reason - it's a 99 cent card and I'll write something sentimental in it if I'm so inclined. It's a waste of money and paper...so make one :)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I added some chopped orange and yellow bell peppers
I used ground turkey instead of beef
I used mini shells instead o elbows
I used worcestershire instead of soy sauce and
Omitted the celery leaves
It is very simple and delicious. Find it here.
Friday, November 27, 2009
We wanted to have some fun with Hannah yesterday so I took one of the ideas from yesterday's blog. We made a Thanksgiving Tree! I drew a tree with marker and Hannah painted it. Then we drew leaves and wrote for what we are thankful on them. We cut the leaves out and glued them to the tree. What a fun project!
We were going to go to my sister and brother-in-law's house for dinner but little Vinny got sick. Luckily, they have delivery services there and brought us over a delicious dinner! Thanks Mike and Shari!!
As for today, we'll probably do some shopping later. The basement is calling me! It needs cleaned. I have plans to put MORE down there to make room for Hannah's new toys!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
1. Create a Thanksgiving Tree - Begin by drawing or using construction paper to create a bare tree. Now cut leaves from your construction paper, use yellows, oranges, greens and browns. As family members come in the door, give each of them one or more leaves and ask them to write on it what they are thankful for. Collect the leaves in a bag. At the end of the evening, a designated person(s) can read the leaves and then attach them to the tree with glue. Hang up your Thanksgiving Tree for all to see. Have the tree laminated or framed, and it can become a wonderful keepsake. It can also be used as part of the décor for next year’s Thanksgiving celebration.
2. Patriotism - Remembering that Thanksgiving originally celebrated the creation of a new government, Thanksgiving is a great time to express patriotism. Whether one agrees with war or not, one great tradition would be to come together to make “Thank You” cards for the troops serving overseas. To prepare, have lots of construction paper, rubber/craft stamps, glue, scissors, glitter, stencils and other artistic items on hand. Family members of all ages will enjoy this project.
3. Thoughts of Thanks - Put together a bag of thoughts or expressions. These might be something like - my family, my home, what I’m most thankful for, my favorite things, etc. Each family member pulls a thought or expression and expounds on that thought. For example, if someone pulls “my family”, they can then express what they are most thankful for about their family. This activity can make for a wonderful time of sentiment.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
So head on over to A Heart In Progress for detailed instructions on how to ruin pumpkin seeds...twice!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Little Hannah Banana is sick :( BOO!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The first video is of Hannah astonishing me reading a book she's never seen before. I knew she was picking up on things, but it's just so weird to hear her READ.
The second is our youth staff video we just completed for Nexus. It's good for a laugh if you've already seen Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me. You should click the link and watch it right on YouTube thought because for some reason my blog is cutting off the right side of the video.
So, stay healthy emotionally today. Do something fun with your kids or something to boost your own spirits
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A lot of it is because Hannah insists on bringing toys in the car. She comes with me to work most days, so we have bags of toys, lunch bags, book bags, work bags, coupons, wrappers, coats, shoes, and GARBAGE. I'm awful at keeping the car clean! I just can't carry everything in with me when I'm coming in the house and I'm too exhausted to make two trips.
Because I need to have my car inspected, I need to clean the inside out...because if I do, the dealership will wash and vacuum my car.
So, my tip to you today is to get your car cleaned out! Tests have been done to show that dashboards are NASTY breeding grounds for bacteria...and moms with small children have the germiest cars!
Keep a shopping bag in your car for garbage and a container of wipes to clean up messes. This will help keep junk to a minimum. We all know it's impossible to keep the car clean all the time, but small things like a bag for toys can help just a bit!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I don't know if it's the nice weather, the vacation I'm looking forward to, or being debt free.
I just want to buy gifts!!
I like to stay somewhat inexpensive, but still give cool gifts. I feel like I can never do both though.
I think I might make some homemade granola for Hannah's teachers and put it in pretty tins. What do you think about that? I LOVE homemade granola!
If you have kids in school and feel like you want to do something but not break the bank, stay simple and practical.
Most teachers prefer gift cards according to a poll in Parent's Magazine.
So, here are some ideas for you that DO NOT involve candles or lotion!
A small gift card to Starbucks/Bookstore/Coffee Shop/Holcombs etc (it could even be $5 or $10 with a nice note attached)
A little movie basket with a couple movie tickets/popcorn/candy
You could go in with other moms and pitch in for a larger gift card to a restaurant or a massage.
Make baked goods! Even opt for something along the healthier side - like granola or bran muffins.
Make a little recipe book of your favorite appetizer, entree, dessert, finger food, dip...etc.
Any other ideas?
Stay practical when you go inexpensive. People appreciate something they can USE over something that looks like it came from the dollar bin.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
These pictures show him installing the insulation. He got almost all of it done that day. He has one small part to do and then he'll begin getting the wood up there for the floor. We're noticing a draft coming from where the door is, so we're going to probably have to get a $100 cover to put up there to block it out.
Here's the attic door that Lee and Matt put in. No more crawl space in the closet. The original insulation was white, disgusting and falling apart (almost nonexistent) as it is as old as the house, which was built in 1947.
Look at the pink fluffiness of the new stuff. If it didn't destroy the human body, I'd love to make an insulation snow angel! Ok, that's weird, but it still looks awesome! More pictures when it's done :)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
- Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
- Corn (However, almost all corn is genetically modified)
- Sweet Peas
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
I'm so excited.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
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