Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Banana Wheat Waffles With Chocolate Chips

Yummy!

I really enjoyed making these Banana Wheat Waffles for my family this morning. I also threw some chocolate chips into the batter. They gobbled them up! This recipe has NO sugar in it! I was stunned and pleasantly surprised!

Hannah seems to be having some negative reactions from her tetnus shot yesterday. She has a fever and is quite lethargic. I hope she feels better soon! I don't like to give her Tylenol or Motrin because it makes her insanely HYPER!!

Have a good Saturday!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Family Friday - Doctor Visit

I'm enjoying the holistic lifestyle that my family is moving toward, but I doubt I'll ever stop seeking the counsel of the medical community or vaccinating my children. I suppose I like a balance.

Hannah had her 4 year well-visit today. WHAT A CHAMP!

They measured her at 38.5 inches which is only the 25% for height. I think she's taller than that though because we measure her all the time. She was bowing her head down when they were measuring her. We always get almost an inch more, but she's still shorter than average. She doesn't really have a choice in this family!

She lost a pound from last year which is unusual but ok. Last year she was in the 50-75% for both her height and weight but her BMI was a little high. This year it's perfect and the doctor told me to keep doing what I'm doing! I love to hear that, especially when I get so much flack for how I feed my kid!

They did a vision test and her vision is good! Same as last year 20/25.

She was a real trooper. She didn't fight anything and very cooperative. She was nervous about "where" the doctor was going to check her and about getting shots. She asked everyone was talked to if she was getting one and they all did what I had been doing - changing the subject!

She got the nasty shot too. DTP with Tetanus. That one burns going in and hurts for days! All she said was "ow!" and that was it! I'm so proud of her!

So, Dr. Ogle said she's perfect! I like to think so too. Enjoy a little picture of her faking a traumatic look!




Family Friday - Attention Parents of Junior Highers!

Hannah is 4 now and most days we try to spend some sort of devotional time with her.

We'll read her Bible and ask her questions or talk about it before we pray. Sometimes she prays, sometimes we pray but it's always a positive time. Doing this, I can already see the positive effects, even at four years old.

Jesus isn't a little cartoon character you play with until you grow out of it...well, He shouldn't be. When you're talking to kids about Him, inevitably things have to get serious. You talk about death, pain, suffering, and sin.

We try to be straight forward and age appropriate with Hannah, but it's difficult when she starts asking tough questions later, when the information sets in and she sees it applying to life. Even though it's difficult, I'm glad that she speaks up and try not to look too rattled when she does.

BUT, there is a huge part of me that is scared. She getting bigger and someday she's going to be a teenager. The older kids get the less they want to talk to their parents about anything. How do we prevent that? On one hand, we want them to consult us, on the other, we can't hide our panic when they do!

Working with junior highers is fun. In the early stage of adolescence, they are still very much dependent on adults - stuck in between being a kid and a rowdy teenager. This, in my opinion is a perfect time - and the end of the era where they DO want parents around - to connect with your middle schooler.

IT IS NOT...Let me repeat that...NOT too early to start talking to your kids about sex, drugs, profanity, pornography, and puberty. It's not too late to start talking about how to be a good friend, treat people with respect, and how to act like Jesus.

I just finished a book that I want to recommend to all Junior High Parents to read WITH their kids. Our kids want to talk to us, but if you sit them down one day and tell them you want to have "the talk," they're going to run screaming and tell their friends how lame you are. It's so much easier to have an "open window" to start a conversation. Be looking for them ALL the time. Here at Nexus, we always do our "love, sex, and dating" talk in February - perfect open window for you to instill YOUR thoughts on the subject and get a feel for how they think about it.

By reading this book together, "Surviving Middle School: A Hilarious Guide That Will Help You Avoid Being a Dork" by Rick Bundschuh - you're opening windows. The guy is funny, straight forward, and completely age appropriate. Not only will your kids be amused by it - but so will you. It even addresses social stuff - and we all know how awkward the junior high years can be.

Get this book. It's a perfect way to start the school year. The chapters are short and easy to read AND the book comes with a cool music CD. You can buy the book for $10 here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday




My baby is four years old!

I just can't believe it.

I'm one of those people who live in the moment. I don't say that Hannah is four until she's four. The day before her birthday, she was still three. I'm not rushing time away.

But, last weekend, and all of last week for that matter we celebrated Hannah's birthday. She had her very first sleep over her her two favorite girlies and got lots of cool stuff including a bike, a DS, charms for her bracelet, beautiful dresses, Candy Land, ballerina barbie, a princess sleeping bag and Wiggles tickets.

We had a blast. I'm so thankful for these times we have together. Hannah is an amazing and sweet kid. I'm thankful her birthday went well, and I'm always thankful to see that gorgeous smile on her face. When opening her gifts she announced, "I love all of this stuff!"




Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - Stress

How are you feeling lately?

Are you somebody who feels stress on a regular basis?

I knew that I connected too much with the topic when my preschool aged daughter started asking me if/why I was "dressed out."

At stress.org a list of 50 possible symptoms of stress are listed. Do you find yourself in any of these listed below? I'm going to encourage you to to take a minute to reflect on how your body reacts to stress.

  • Frequent headaches
  • Gritting teeth
  • Chest Pain/Palpitations
  • Constipation, Diarrhea
  • Increased anger, frustration
  • Depression, mood swings
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Frequent crying spells
  • Forgetfulness, disorganization
  • Social withdrawal
  • Constant Tiredness, fatigue

I'm a high-stress individual. The last two weeks have been some of the highest stress days I can remember. I've been hit from every angle and sometimes, that just stinks. What do you do?

Maybe some of these things are logical but, I'm here to remind you, because I care about my readers. Sometimes we need a little push!

So here are some things you can do to calm down:
  • In order to reduce stress TRY to prevent it.
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthy
  • Avoid too much caffeine
  • Journal
  • Spend time meditating, in prayer, reading your Bible - connecting with God in general
  • EXERCISE - I just can't "stress" it enough, it WILL relax you
  • Get lost in a good book (Twilight maybe? :)
  • Build in "me" time...the dishes will be there tomorrow
  • Focus on your breathing - I never realized how often I hold my breath when I'm stressed out!
  • Eat just a little bit of chocolate (or a lot, depending on the day) - Chocolate is a proven mood booster! The darker, the better!
School is starting again, summer's ending, finances, marriages, housework, meal cooking, work, busy schedules, TOO MUCH TO DO!

It's time to relax now...take five and go to your happy place! I hope you can de-stress today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Set a Timer

As I sit here, it's just about 11pm. Matt's coming home from a business trip tomorrow (I'm writing this post in advance) and I need to clean the house.

Hannah threw up today (not really today - it'll be last week - your time) and I need to do barf laundry.

I don't feel like it.

Every night Matt's been gone, I put Hannah to bed and sit on my computer the rest of the night and watch TV. It's driving me nuts.

So I did what I always do when I need to get off my butt.

I set the stove timer for 20 minutes.

I told myself when the timer goes off I can sit back down. You'd be surprised how much you can get done in a short amount of time.

I quickly wiped down the bathroom, did the dishes, put them away, wiped the kitchen floor and started a load of laundry.

Feeling unmotivated. Get off your butt and set your timer for 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Promise yourself you can sit down after the timer goes off if you want. It's great motivation! I bet you won't even stop cleaning when the timer goes off!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Money Monday - Hodge Podge


Hey! Do you like my new layout!?!?

Thank you to Mike Evans who fixed it up for me so it would fit me more. I suppose for some reason the pre-made template bugged him. THAT'S OKAY WITH ME! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! You can check out his blog here for awesome and inspiring thoughts!

We've had a crazy weekend! Hannah's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated the whole weekend and all of last week for that matter! I'm a little irritated because I abandoned my frugal ways in favor of convenience. I just didn't have time to make my own sugar cookies, so I bought pre-made dough. I didn't calculate so I WAY overbought everything and now I'm afraid the food will spoil before we can eat it. That is a HUGE pet peeve of mine!

I really really like my frugal ways, and I don't like to abandon them, so I'm sticking with them!

In other news, our lives have been very stressful lately. My husband would like to take a trip on Labor Day weekend, but we just can't come up with the cash that fast! But, boy, it would be nice to take a trip!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Individual Turkey Meatloaf

I got the original recipe from Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Get Real Meals Cook Book but this recipe has my adaptations

Ingredients:
1 1/3 lb ground turkey (one pkg)
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/3 c. bottled bbq sauce
1 small/half medium zucchini diced fine
1 tbsp grill seasoning
3/4 c bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix ingredients together. I shape them into 5 or 6 mini loaves. Cook for 18-20 minutes.

Very yummy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Well, to be honest, it's been a very bad week. The worst in a long time.

I kept wanting to put up cranky status messages on my facebook, and write things like , "I can't think of anything positive to put here, so...blah blah blah." But, every time I tried to do that, I'd think of at LEAST 5 things I am grateful for. At LEAST 5 good things happening in my life. So then I'd get ticked off and not put anything.

Weeks like this happen and we live through them - either peacefully or kicking and screaming. (I'm a kicker and a screamer.)

So this week, more than any, I need to start my thankful list.

1. We paid for our vacation suite this week! Woo hoo!
2. Hannah's birthday is this weekend! We got her a bike!
3. Ricky and Doreen are home!
4. We got to see the Wiggles and Hannah got to shake Sam's hand! What a blast!
5. My eyes are doing fantastic and I just reduced to 3 chemo pills!
6. My husband made me the most fabulous cappuccino with whipped cream and hot fudge. He's amazing.
7. I know at least 2 people on this planet like me ;) (The jury may still be out on Han, she's stuck with me)

See, I could go all day.

Hope you find something to be thankful for today!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Sinking Chips

Have you ever made any type of bread or cake with chocolate chips only to find them all sunk to the bottom when you pull it out of the oven?

Here's a tip to stop this from happening.

Mix the chocolate chips in with your dry ingredients before adding them to the wet ingredients.

Coating them this way stops them from sinking to the bottom of whatever you're making!

It works!

Happy 7th Birthday to my little nephew Vinny today!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Money Monday - Zero Based Budget

Do you budget?

I'm constantly looking at mine.

We have a zero based budget, which means, EVERY SINGLE PENNY is spent. It also means, that, at the end of the month, your checking account should be $0.

That freaks people out. It even freaks me out a little.

Here's why/how I do it this way.

1. Giving every dollar a name insures that we never have to ask the question "Where did our money go this month?" We know exactly where each penny went.

2. It's not really that scary because the checking account never really is at zero because of overlap. Plus, we keep a small cushion in there just in case. I don't record that cushion in the checkbook.

3. It just makes everything work out neatly and cleanly at the end.

4. It allows you to put the maximum amount of extra income towards debt or savings.

5. Doing our budget this way has allowed us to pay off $34,000 of debt in 2 years.

Here's what my favorite financial guru Dave Ramsey has to say about the zero based budget.

What is a zero-based budget? Why is it important?
In a zero-based budget, the income minus the outgo always equals zero. A budget is telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went. You must be intentional with your money if you want to win with it. It is important to use the zero-based model because it gives every dollar a name before the month begins,
which puts you in complete control of your money!

Name some of the reasons we need to do a zero-based budget each month.
A cash flow plan ends management by crisis.
Managed money goes farther.
Budgeting ends most money fights.
Budgeting removes much of the guilt, shame and fear you now experience.
Budgeting ends overdrafts and the accompanying stress.
Budgeting tells you where you are overspending and underspending.


I can't tell you how insane it makes me when I hear that most people don't even balance a checkbook. I don't know how you can look at an ATM receipt or even at your online statement and think you have any idea what's in your account. For me personally, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I managed things this way.

When you take control of your money, balance your checkbook, and begin budgeting I can PROMISE you one thing. YOU WILL FIND MONEY YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD!!!!!

You want a raise? Try this for 3 months and let me know how it goes. (I only charge a 10% convenience fee.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - I love Hebrews.

I really love the book of Hebrews. It makes me feel like Jesus is sitting right next to me. It makes him even more human to me sometimes than the gospels do.

It reminds us of how far we were from God and how close we can be now because Jesus did what he did. It helps me to understand WHY he had to die.

Starting in chapter 4 verse 12

For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done. [Cringe]

THAT IS WHY WE HAVE A GREAT HIGH PRIEST WHO HAS GONE TO HEAVEN, JESUS THE SON OF GOD. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find the grace to help us when we need it. [Whew!]

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family Friday - Pile of Doodie

Ok, before you judge me on this video, I need to mention a few things.

1. If you're offended by potty talk, don't bother watching.
2. This video was taken in the bathroom at work. Matt was on his business trip and I was tired and stressed. This cracked us both up for some sick reason.
3. Hannah has always fought stomach issues, so when she has a good poop, we celebrate.
4. She wanted some privacy, so she locked herself in the stall and called me in when she was done. When I walked in, she was standing just like she is in the video, proudly displaying her doodie. So I laughed and said, "Hannah, you look like you're about to say, 'Behold, my pile of doodie.'" After a stressful morning, this struck us both funny so I taped her saying it and sent it to Matt who was in Las Vegas on business.
5. The original poop was flushed. This is a total reenactment.
6. You've got to stop sometimes and just laugh with your kids. Life is too serious and stressful. Have a little fun with them. It's what they'll remember.

Ok, now watch and laugh at what I have fondly titled "Behold, my pile of doodie."


video

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Matty Boy


I AM SO THANKFUL MY MATTY IS HOME!!!

He's been in Las Vegas since LAST SATURDAY and I have missed him terribly!

It's like taking half of yourself and flying it across the country!!

Hannah has been asking for him all week.

I really don't take for granted all the things Matt does for me.

But, aside from adoring being with him and getting tired of barricading myself in at night, some of the things I really don't like to do, that he normally does is...

1. Taking out the garbage.
2. Taking out the recycling.
3. Bringing the empty garbage and recycling cans BACK
4. Running around the neighborhood retrieving things that blow away in storms (thank you to the anonymous neighbor who put Hannah's picnic table umbrella back in the yard instead of leaving it in the street.)
5. Protecting the house
6. Watering the plants.
7. Setting my own alarm (I know, I know)

I know there are others, but these are just a few that stick out!

Welcome home my Matty.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - Get Moving

Since we got cable I've been LOVING the On Demand exercise videos.

There is a HUGE variety!

I jumped on the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred bandwagon.

Whew! I'm amazed at how much a 30 minute workout can do!

I've been saying for a while that I get annoyed because I just don't have time to work out for a whole hour every single day. But I DO like to work out most days.

30 Day Shred is nice because it's short, but aggressive. It's not easy. I definitely noticed a difference in my shape after a few days.

It's made exercising more fun to switch it up every now and then.

I'm a firm believer that 10 minutes of stretching is better than nothing. It's just so important to get moving.

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are seven benefits of regular exercising.

1. It improves your mood. (I agree!)
2. It combats chronic diseases. (I can attest to this one too!)
3. Helps you manage your weight.
4. It boosts your energy level.
5. Promotes better sleep.
6. Benefits relationship with your spouse.
7. It can be FUN!

Give it a shot!

I'm even posting embarrassing pictures. This is how my husband tortures me as repayment for me trying to look good for him :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Making Birthday Cakes



I've started a HORRIBLE tradition.

I've been making Hannah's birthday cakes every year.

And every year, there's more pressure to top the last one...and do whatever character she decides she wants...

I had to talk her down from Murray (from the Wiggles - I don't create edible humans) to Dorothy the dinosaur. I believe I can manage that one.

Every year I say I'm going to buy a stupid cake and every year my friends guilt me into making another one.

This year my sister asked me to help her with a Super Mario cake for my nephew's birthday. KILL ME NOW.

I think my cakes turn out pretty well...but I hate every step of it.

Every one else seems to love it.

So I'm not sure whether my tip is to give it a try or to NEVER start a tradition like this!

Either way...enjoy some of my VERY amateur work :)

This is Hannah's first birthday cake, and my first attempt at making a character cake.
Blues Clues.



For birthday number two, Hannah Banana chose Dora!

This hideous piece of garbage was Carrie's baby shower cake that LIQUIFIED after I tried to freeze it. I didn't even serve this embarrassment. It was my first attempt with fondant.


This butterfly was Hannah's 3rd birthday cake. After the baby shower cake I decided NOT to do one at all - but at the last minute, I threw this one together.

This is the most recent cake. Fresh and not even eaten yet! Well, it'll be eaten in a few hours. This is iced cake covered with fondant. Super Mario! He's my favorite I think!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Money Monday - Those Joneses

Pf blogger Punch Debt in the Face started a personal finance Mad Lib a couple weeks ago. It goes a little like this:


Hi my name is (blank) . I currently have (blank) dollars in my wallet. When I started managing my finances I was worth (blank), and now have a net worth of (blank). I currently work (blank) and have been doing it for (blank) years. I make roughly (blank)per year. I want to have (blank) waiting for me when it comes time to retire. Aside from learning about finances, I really enjoy (blank)I think the world would be a better place if (blank) didn't exist. I had(blank) for dinner last night and it was (blank). I have had(blank)significant others over the course of my lifetime (counting awkward middle school relationships). One thing that makes me different is(blank). Now that I'm done with this mad lib, I think I'm going to (blank).

I'm not going to fill it out personally for you, but take a look at it. As you read it, put your own blanks in. I can tell you when we started managing our finances two years ago we had a net worth of almost NEGATIVE $150,000. After paying off all of our debt except for our mortgage and purchasing life insurance, I feel much better. Seeing that number really freaked me out. I think it's important to remember what truly defines you (which is why I thought it was cool that they ask what you enjoy aside from finances. Money is NOT everything, but when it burdens you, it can certainly FEEL like it.

What do you want out of life? Can you wait for it? Are you succumbing to this microwave culture, where you need to have what you want NOW? Do you have to keep up with your friends? Everyone else is doing (blank), why can't I?

It's okay to be different. It's not easy to say no. Your friends and family will think you're weird and your kids may pout. But, YOU can change your family tree. You can change your kids' lives. By saying no now, you can say yes later. And by "yes" I mean giving your kid way more than what football costs for 4 years of high school.

If you save $100 per month for 20 years. At the end of that 20 years that amount of money will likely have grown to nearly $100,000. I'm pretty sure your kids will understand why you said no, when they can go to college for free and have a huge down payment on a house.

Even at $25 a month you'd end up with over $24,000 at the end of 20 years.

That's how you make compound interest work FOR you instead of against you. 

Do as you wish, but consider these things the next time you feel like you have to keep up with the Joneses.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

I made these banana whole wheat muffins with all whole wheat flour, applesauce in place of the oil and honey instead of sugar.

I promise you - they're very tasty, moist, and HEALTHY.

Try them out!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Family Friday - Sad



Hannah and I went to see my grandfather yesterday. Hannah has a special gift. She is unfazed by people who are sick. She's not afraid or leery. In fact, it's almost as if she's drawn to it.

When Matt's grandmother was really sick, the night she passed, Hannah insisted on being right by her side, covering her with blankets and fluffing her pillows. It's amazing.

I told her my grandfather wasn't feeling good and she's been asking to see him for days. We went down yesterday and I could tell my mom was nervous. He was having a significantly hard time breathing and was down emotionally.

Hannah was a ray of sunshine. She climbed right into his hospital bed with him, gave him hugs and kisses, and cracked up the entire room with her antics. When the doctor came in and my grandfather introduced her, she looked up at the doctor and boldly asked "Do you think I'm a genius?"

Even when my grandfather choked on his food, Hannah was not rattled. Maybe she didn't realize, you say? Five minutes after the incident, Hannah starts telling my grandfather about when she threw up her food because she didn't like it. How's that for empathy?

I'm so glad we went down there. He had his lung drained again last night and had a nasty reaction to the morphine, so everyone ran back down there.

The doctor is coming in to talk with him today. He's going to decide wether he wants the aggressive and simultaneous radiation and chemo required to keep this wretched and fast growing cancer at bay.

Please keep my family in your prayers today. Pray for peace and God's amazing presence. Pray that each member of my family grasps on to God's love as a foothold during this difficult time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Lots of Stuff

Thank you to those who left words of encouragement yesterday. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

I have a lot to be thankful for today as always. I like Thankful Thursdays because they balance out Whiney Wednesdays. :)

Anyhow, I spoke with Donnie today and things are going GREAT at Beach Escape. God is moving in the hearts and lives of our students. This is what makes my job worth it! I love to see the kids move closer to God.

I'm also thankful that our landscaping project is JUST ABOUT complete. A couple more little things and it's done. Ahhhh! I'm so glad. Here are some pictures you've all been asking for. The before pictures are somewhat inaccurate. None of them show how bad the landscaping actually looked. Just think "white-trash-ghetto-fabulous-esque."




In the picture above, you can see one of two ugly metal Ts that were used to hold a clothes line. I actually tied Hannah's birthday balloons to them. They were ugly, rusted, and held in by about 200 pounds of concrete! Thank you garbage men for taking them!

In the picture above, Hannah and our two little neighbors are showing off their cool chalk drawing. At the top left, you can KIND OF see the start of the landscaping mess on the side of the house. There were weeds taller than me and grass growing throughout the flower bed. A persistent ground cover was also pretty nagging. 

Ha, I also just noticed the pile of weeds to the left of that, that I had already started trying to pull!

This is Hannah's birthday last year, but you can see the flower bed in front of the back porch. This really doesn't do it justice but it's a glimspe I suppose. Do you KNOW how much overgrowth can happen in a whole year of no weed pulling???

Finished product #1 NO Ts!


And here is the finished side of the house! In the back left corner you'll barely see the down spout that Matt had to reroute underground/under the sidewalk. He did a fantastic job!


Here's the finished back part. The flower bed in the back, and Matt laid the patio to the left next to the air conditioner. Down the hill to the left was redone as well. It's filled in with river rock.


Well there's that. Nothing mind blowing but SO MUCH better than it was before. And, we're TIRED!!

I'm also thankful for the gorgeous sun outside today. Hannah and I are hoping to go down to see Pappap Carl in the hospital. She always knows how to cheer him up!



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wellness Wednesday

I feel emotionally  drained today. Who knows why. I know I'm tired, that's for sure.

My grandfather had his lung drained last week and felt so good! They managed to get 2 liters of fluid out of one lung! Today he's not feeling well and it appears that the lung has filled back up. He has started radiation treatments every day for the next 3 weeks to hopefully shrink the tumor behind his kidney and then they will start aggressive chemo. 

I just feel so terrible. It's a lot of stress to put on someone who's going to have his 81st birthday on Sunday! If you think of him, please pray for his comfort.

I'm also just ready for another baby I think. I always get teary eyed when I watch A Baby Story. I actually try not to watch it. But, yesterday during Hannah's nap I flipped it on and just cried the whole way through it! An ugly cry if you know what I mean. A little while later Hannah wakes up and in such a timely way asks me when I'm going to have a baby in my belly. You see, she's just as impatient for this as I am. I'm not this desperate "every time I see a baby I cry" type person at all, but every once in a while, my readiness to complete my family catches up with me.

On they way into work today I heard a song on the radio that Matt's uncle sang at his grandma's funeral. It always makes me teary eyed. We all miss her.

There are some other things weighing on me a little heavily today as well. Stuff I'm not going to write about. I guess we all have down days, and today is one of mine. 

I sure am glad my God is so big. He just takes me by the hand and guides me through this life. On good days and bad. On the upside, my eyes are doing well! I can't wait to stop this chemo!!''

In order to stay positive I included a picture of Hannah Banana very proudly defeating me just because it makes me laugh. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Cupcakes

Do you have a turkey baster?

I don't, but if I did, I just thought of an INSANELY good idea!

I have a pet peeve. When I make cupcakes, I can't stand when the batter drips down the sides.

If you have a turkey baster, you could use it to squirt the batter directly into the muffin tin.

SHA-ZAM!

Good idea huh?


Monday, August 3, 2009

Money Monday - Menu Planning/Sappy Stuff

I've been so excited to go grocery shopping. My first shop as a debt free person!

I've raised our grocery budget from $200 per month to $250 per month.

I've also started planning meals ahead of time. It really saves you money. Here's why.

1. You're not running out for fast food because you haven't planned ahead.
2. You know exactly what you need at the grocery store and aren't just grabbing at random ingredients you MIGHT need.
3. When you plan ahead you can search for printable coupons.

As for number three - I went online to product websites and actually found $1.50 off coupons for Kashi cereal and 50 cent coupons for Hannah's almond milk. I also need Arm & Hammer Laundry Soap. It's on sale at Shop 'n Save this week AND I found a coupon online.

That's $6 saved JUST on those things I NEED every time I shop. 

It's a good (but somewhat time consuming idea) to compare sales adds with coupons and what groceries you need. It'll save you a BUNDLE!

On a sappy note:

Also, seven years ago today I married the LOVE OF MY LIFE! I'm sorry I don't have a better picture. We got married before the digital age. AM I THAT OLD? I don't have a scanner, so I took a picture of a picture. I guess it's better than nothing. 

As a teenager I used to lay in my bed and dream about my wedding, who I'd marry, having kids and all things related to that stuff. EVERY NIGHT I'd fall asleep wondering what my life would be like as a grown up. I have to say - my beautiful family is better than ANYTHING I could have conjured up myself. It's almost magical. My life has God's hand all over it. 

Happy Anniversary Love!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - Encourage

How often do you find yourself tearing people down? Thinking negative thoughts about others? Wanting to flip a bad driver the bird?

Today's verse reminds me what my purpose is on this planet and what my attitude should be. I hope it encourages you today too!

Hebrews 3:12

See to it, brothers, that none of you  has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 

It's good to be reminded of this. It's so important to be into our Bibles daily (which I need to be better at) so that God's presence is always in our hearts and minds.

Scrumptious Saturday - Salmon

This Honey Ginger Grilled Salmon recipe is on my list to make. 

Don't laugh at me.

I've NEVER made fish before. 

Matt doesn't like it and it's expensive, so I've never attempted it but even through is sarcastic "I'm just not a fish guy" grumbles, I'm going to try it. 

It looks so good!

Follow this link to try it for yourself. Seems simple enough.

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