Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spiritual Sunday



I was driving to a doctor's appointment today when I took this picture (real safe, I know) and sent it to Matt.

Look how gorgeous the sky was! I wonder how many angels we hanging out on those clouds! It reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses.


Romans 1:20 (New International Version)

20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (biblegateway.com)

I love this verse! Read it a few times to really let it sink in. 

Often people ask the question - If Christians say that Jesus is the only way to heaven, what about the people who've never even heard God's name? How do they get to heaven?

I feel like this verse so clearly answers that question and magnifies the beauty of God's creation!

ALL CREATION IS WITHOUT EXCUSE! God's invisible qualities are so visible, that you can't help but see him in a light spring breeze, puffy white clouds, falling leaves, and a spring thunderstorm - just to name a minute few.

Not much more explanation is needed, but I leave you with this question - 

Where have you seen God in His Creation lately and are you giving it a second thought?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Baked Mac and Cheese

Ahhhh....I was supposed to make Baked Mac and Cheese for a Memorial Day party at the Longstreth's. I wasn't feeling so hot so we weren't able to make it, but I made this dish later in the day anyway.

Ok, this is NOT something you can eat on a regular basis. It has about a bagillion calories and you can feel your arteries gluing shut with each bite, but IT IS DELISH!

MY CHANGES
I added extra velveeta and a bunch of spices - garlic powder, chili powder, and a little spoonful of dijon mustard since a lot of the comments said the recipe was a tad bland. I also added italian seasoned bread crumbs to the top before I baked it.  Y-U-M! Click the recipezarr link above to try this sinfully yummy comfort food!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Friday - Rick and Doreen are home!


I love it when my brother and his wife (in the center of the photo) come home to visit. My brother Ricky moved to Texas when he was hired to work as a flight controller for the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center (NASA). Okay, so I brag a little. He never does, so someone has to. I'm proud of him. He's a humble guy who's sweet, funny and loves Jesus - not to mention he picked a gem for a bride.

That said, I'm glad they're home. Family dinner's aren't the same without them. The kids are excited to see him and he's my favorite person to talk Dave Ramsey about with! When all of my siblings are together, we tease each other like we did when we were kids and my mom makes us all fat with her amazing cooking and purchases of our favorite childhood candy. 

So, this next week will be spent catching up and having fun with my brother and Doreen. I love my family!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thankful Thursday



I always have so much to be thankful for. I'm sorry for being so bad at blogging this past week, there's been so much going on over the holiday.

Look how cute my little bubby is with her bouquet and her sweet friend Kylie. She did a fantastic job being a cute little flower girl at Carli and Alan's wedding. She had a blast and enjoyed being  a ham! I'm thankful I did not stutter while reading either!

I'm thankful Hannah sat still for the hour and 45 minutes it took for me to do her hair.

I'm thankful I got to dance with my dreamy husband. I'm just so in love with him and we love to dance together!

I do have to admit though, sometimes weeks like the last few we've had make me antisocial. I don't want to talk to anyone or be around anyone. I'm a social butterfly normally, but even I can get peopled-out. That's how I've been feeling. But, I'm overcoming - because I have no choice, and the activities NEVER stop!! It's the year for weddings!

I'm being somewhat random and jumpy today, and I'm ok with that because it's my blog, and I can...but I have more things to be thankful for!!

Yesterday was busy like the rest, I worked, came home, cleaned and made cookies for another wedding before heading to the Mills for service. 

After I got home, I was baking off the cookies and got to spend the most amazing hour and a half with my husband. When life gets busy, I don't think it's uncommon to coexist with your spouse; to work together on autopilot to make sure the household runs smoothly. But, what happens to your relationship during that time? It goes kinda stale. But, last night was like we were dating again and I enjoyed it so much. It was like I traveled back in time and was a love struck teenager again. I loved it! It's what I'm most thankful for this week!

What are you thankful for?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Family Friday - Oh The Memories

Tonight is the rehearsal dinner for our friends' wedding. Hannah is one of the flower girls.

This will bring back so many memories of 10 years ago when I met the man (or then, boy) who I'd start my family with.
It's the same church.

Same Pastor.

The bride and groom are former students I was mentoring at the time who are now close friends of ours.

And now my daughter is the flower girl. It's just seems surreal to me. Maybe I'm being overly sentimental, it's just a little emotional to me. I feel like I'm getting old :)

Anyhow - this weekend just reminds me of my adoration for my family and for the God who blessed me with them!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It looks like a mess, but this little sweet pea entertained herself for a very long time while I was cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen after work. I'm thankful for her today, a gracious God, gorgeous weather, and a hot husband!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - Vitamin D


Well it was a fabulous day to get some good 'ole Vitamin D from the sun here in Pittsburgh!

Hannah's nutritionist told me not to put sunscreen on Hannah right away when she goes out to play. SCARY right? I'm a sunscreen spaz. Not only do I bathe my child in it before she goes out to play, but I spray every kid in the radius of my sunscreen bottle as well - sometimes without asking their parents. I'm obsessed!

But, I worry about Han not receiving enough of the important vitamin and trust the nutritionist. On days like today when I went to the park when the sun was blazing at 3pm, I didn't mess with it - I just put it on her. But, this morning when we were outside for 10 minutes blowing bubbles, I let her go out without any.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you can find vitamin D in foods like fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil. But, it states that the sun contributes significantly to our body's production of the vitamin. It is thought that as little as 10 minutes of exposure is enough to prevent deficiencies.

Why is it so important? It helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It helps with the absorption of calcium to keep bones strong. It's even thought recently to prevent osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer and some autoimmune diseases.

So, wait a few minutes (just a few) before slathering on that sunscreen. You won't burn or even get a tan line - but you'll get some of that vitamin D producing sun that boosts your mood and your health without doing a thing!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Money Monday - Giving gifts

So, it's the end of the month again - and I always put myself up against the ropes on the food budget.

I recently went to Aldi's and was very impressed with their prices! I'm going to need to make a stop there soon.

We have SO MANY weddings and showers and parties and birthdays and holidays in May and June. Can I just say HOLY COW??!! It's so easy to drop $200 and STILL look cheap.

So, what do you do when you're trying to put yourself on a strict budget but people you love are getting married or graduating or celebrating birthdays??

I've been REALLY struggling with this lately. I don't want people to determine my appreciation and love for them by how much I spend on their gift! So here are some things I remind myself when everyone else's gifts cost more money.

1. I'M IN DEBT - Even though we may have an acceptable income monthly - I owe the college loan and mortgage loan people money. It's money that's been used up five years ago. And - if I don't get rid of them - GOD FORBID SOMETHING HAPPENS - I'm still going to owe them money. They will not care if I had a birthday party to go to. 

I don't like owing people money. I can't stand it - so it has to be number one priority for the finances after tithing and the major bills are paid.

2. GIFTS DO NOT EQUAL LOVE and if you think they do - maybe we shouldn't be friends :) Don't get me wrong. If you've ever read the book "The Five Love Languages" you'll know that some people get their love tanks filled up by giving and receiving gifts. While this is incredibly important to acknowledge if someone in your life can relate to this - it is crucial to remember that no matter how much money you spend - it doesn't determine the depth of your love for them. I hope not at least - because my hubby and I haven't gotten each other birthday gifts in 7 years!

3. LESS NOW= MORE LATER - If you're out there and you think I'm really cheap - PLEASE KNOW THIS - We're striving to be debt free very soon. If you stick it out with me, I promise I'll really ROCK in the gift department later. I promise I'm not stingy!

4. I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY - Ultimately, I'm called to take care of my family - and if my child won't have enough money in her college fund to go to school because I felt guilty about not spending hundreds of dollars on gifts 15 years ago - that's just not right. My family's safety and security HAS to come first - and the more debt I'm in - the more risks I'm taking with the safety of my family.

I struggle with this because I love to give. I also struggle because there's a part of me that is really concerned with how others view me. I do NOT want to be stingy - or to appear stingy for that matter!! But, hopefully the day is coming soon where this won't be such an issue!

But - if you're like me - and you worry about this stuff - I hope this helped you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - No Bake Cookies

On Tuesday night, while we were watching the Biggest Loser Finale - Matt and I wanted something sweet. Haha! I know I know!

I didn't feel like baking so I found a recipe for no-bakes that I made myself SICK on. 

They are so yummy.

YOU WILL PROBABLY NEED TO ADD A FEW EXTRA OATS SO HAVE THEM READY.

But, you can find the recipe here. And you'll love them. They are VERY good if you put them in the freezer for a little while :)

Family Friday - Parenting

I've learned a lot the last few weeks.

I've heard, and have come to agree with, the idea of the Terrible Two's being nothing compared to the Tyrannical Three's!

We've had such a time.

As a parent I'm so strict. I've vowed not to have a snotty bratty kid and have enforced many a rule on my preschooler.

1. She has to be academically superior.
2. Always polite
3. Always obedient
4. Always pleasant
5. Always eat healthy

Yeah. 

Seeing it in writing is making me feel worse. I can't even come close to fulfilling those rules MYSELF let alone expect my 3 year old to do it!

All of this came to a head a couple weeks ago. Neither one of us were happy and there was no way Hannah could accomplish my unrealistic demands. Sometimes Matt would look at me like I was from another planet...(I was getting that look from a lot of people!)

Hannah was rude to her friends and adults
Disobedient
Miserable

...and I was acting the same way.

She'd want to wear sweat pants with a dress and I'd adamantly oppose.

Then one day I stopped and thought - Why can't she wear that hideous plaid headband with a bow with her t-shirt and jeans? Besides the fact that it was ugly and didn't match - what was my reasoning for refusing her? The more I thought about it, the more I realized:

1. I wanted to be in control.
2. I cared too much what other people thought.

and those are BAD reasons to parent!

So, since then I've REALLY tried to put myself in Hannah's shoes and have attempted to ask myself the above questions before I start an argument. (Am I being controlling? Do I care more about what others think than my daughter's well-being?)

It's a great thing that she wants to express herself. So what if it's not my favorite headband. It doesn't have to be something I love for her to like it, right?

So what if she doesn't want to run up and hug someone she never sees to greet them - I don't really want to either!

Instead of YELLING at her to CALM DOWN when she gets frustrated - how about I put myself in her shoes. I wouldn't like being stuck in my shirt either!

CAN I JUST SAY after changing MYSELF...I HAVE A DIFFERENT KID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was ruining her with my demands.

She is a new kid. She knows she can express herself to me safely. 

Do I fail? 

YES

Do I still struggle with my controlling nature?

YES

Am I treating my child WAY better, giving her an environment to grow and flourish.

YES.

Is she happier?

YES YES YES!

It's amazing. We have no more fights about whether she's going to wear a barrette or a pony tail or over what outfit she'll wear. She is still disciplined and still sits in time out - but it's not because she won't cooperate when it's time to practice cutting with scissors!

Please don't think I'm a nazi mom. I, like every other mother, want my child to be the best she can be. But, I'm LEARNING the correct way to do that. She and I have VERY similar personalities and I do NOT flourish with the parenting I was giving her. It's just SO AGAINST my nature to do things differently - but it's imperative if I want to have a relationship with my daughter. PARENTING IS MORE ABOUT CHANGING YOURSELF THAN IT IS ABOUT CHANGING YOUR CHILD!

And I'm always up for a good challenge!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for a great year for Hannah at preschool! I can't believe she's done! What a great year. Today they had their last time together at Paradise Park and they had a blast. We had lunch there too. 

Here's a picture  of the kids in her class!


I'm also thankful that the rain held off for the most part! We were there for almost 3 hours. Hannah is laying on the couch now and I know her bed is calling her name!

Wellness Wednesday

Ick - I ate WAY too much junk tonight. My stomach is NOT right!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thankful Thursday



Oh my goodness.
I'm the most thankful person on the planet today!!!!

I'm thankful.
I'm thankful to be a mom.
I'm thankful to be a mom of the most fantastic little girl on the PLANET!

At her school today they had a Mother's Day breakfast and it was SO CUTE!

Hannah has been so excited to have me at school with her and I must admit, I was just as excited to go.

Her teachers made a huge breakfast with yummy home made waffles! Delish! Hannah made me a little potted plant, a hand print, and a cute little survey that asked lots of questions about Mommy. (For those of you who want to know - I am 10 inches tall and 4lbs, and my favorite show is Dora). We even got to do a craft together!

The kids sang two ADORABLE songs - which melted my heart. Hannah watched me the whole time she sang and ran to me after. Oh my, there's just nothing better!
"I'll hug you mom till my arms wear out!"


After the little program and breakfast the kids were running around. The teacher asked them to stop and I was the only parent who made my kid stop running - so Hannah was the ONLY kid not playing with the others - which bugs me. Hello parents, that's just like telling your kids they don't have to listen to their teachers!!!

Hannah was sad so I gave her my camera to take pictures on...and guess what I found when I scrolled through them....ONE OF THE OTHER MOTHER'S BREAST FEEDING. I'm so tempted to post the picture, but I can't for the woman's sake. But, man, that kid is SOMETHING! SO FUNNY!

I love my life!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wellness Wednesday

Hannah and I both had an appointment at the nutritionist today.

$200 later - We're both doing well.

I was clear of any weakness! Woo hoo! Very exciting.

Hannah is doing well too! 

That's said, I'm emotionally drained. Hannah's behavior was not good today. She does so much better when she has more of my attention.

I'm so anxious about my eyes. I can't remember if I blogged before that I'm now taking LESS CHEMO! One less pill a week. 

I just can't help being anxious. My eye is a little achy and I can't tell if it's just allergy stuff or what. I'm so nervous.

I just pray that God is healing my body and have faith that he's doing it.

I also feel stupid at something I said to the nutritionist. I was thanking her for all she's done, because I know God lead me to them and they've had a huge hand in my health...but I was like "I owe you guys everything." Which made me want to kick myself as soon as I said it, because I owe GOD everything...but I didn't know how to back pedal. I was just trying to say thank you and THAT's the stuff that always comes out my mouth that will needle me forever! It'll have me questioning - Am I like Moses and I won't be healed (or let into the promise land) because in the moment I didn't give God the glory???  

I know, I know, this is what I do to myself. This is what the anxiety does to me and it's so unhealthy. Obviously my motives were pure and I was just trying to say thank you, but BLAH BLAH BLAH.... 

I felt stupid.

So for those of you who still love me, please continue to pray with me for my health. Please pray specifically that, as the chemo is decreased, that the inflammation and pressure will not increase.

Thank you loves!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Money Monday

I went to the bank today to cash in some bonds to put towards our debt.

While I was there I casually asked about money market rates because, by the end of summer, we want to start saving our 3-6 months of living expenses, and I've heard that money markets do much better than regular old savings accounts....like 3-4% better.

So, get this...Money markets are at .2%...No, that decimal point is not a typo. What the heck? That's also what my savings account is at.

I've heard the ING Direct (an online savings account option) is much better and very reputable. I think think they are FDIC insured as well.

But, all that to say...HOW ANNOYING? .2%?? That's a JOKE.

I guess in "this economy" (which I'm sick of hearing about btw) they want us to spend not save. That's really great considering NO ONE HAS ANY MONEY!

(Stepping down from my soap box!)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Banana Oatmeal Bread


So I'm on an oats kick! 

Banana Oatmeal Bread with Caramel Glaze

This is by far the best recipe I've ever had for this and I can't stop eating it! It's actually chewy - kind of like a brownie. It's a must! (It's simple too!)

The recipe for the bread is on one of my favorite sites. You can find it here. I took some pictures of it too!

I did alter the recipe a bit. I didn't put cinnamon in and used vanilla instead. I also chopped up some left over solid chocolate from Easter and added a little over 1/2 cup.

The glaze is simple.

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk

bring to a boil for one minute and pour over your bread. YUM! DELISH!

Family Friday




Good day!

Hannah and I got to spend the ENTIRE day together. She just kept telling me how much she loves spending time with me. I love spending time with her too!

We went to buy paint, went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a gift for Miss Carli's shower, sold some clothes at Once Upon a Child, went to Sam's Club. Then we were tired!

We came home, Hannah went down for a nap while I cleaned the kitchen and made the fabulous banana bread recipe you're all going to get tomorrow!

I did some laundry before she woke up and then we played Go Fish (or Gold Fish if you're Hannah).

Matt got home, we ate dinner and he got right to painting.  I have some pictures I need to get on this post! We should finish the second coats tomorrow. We're painting our white walls in the living room hallway and master bedroom "mocha" and Hannah's room "Alyssum "(or asylum if you're Carrie and me) Pink.

Hannah and I were in the way so we played in the sandbox and went for a walk where we met some neighbors and their cute little bunny named "Bunny". Hannah loved that! Then we stopped over my sister's so the kids could play together. We came home and after Hannah went to bed I helped Matt paint.

 I'm loving the color and not loving the wood trim in my house and I'm really wanting a new front door! We had so much fun together...you know...It's 12:30am and you're getting giddy, sloppy and hungry. That's where we are right at the moment! I realize my pictures are blurry. They're from my phone!

I love my family so much! How blessed I am!

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