Friday, October 30, 2009

Super Savings Saturday - $12 Budget

I Did it! I'm so proud of myself!

I acutally walked into a store, bought nothing that wasn't on my list and walked out WITH CHANGE in my purse! Whoo hoo!!!

Since I had $12 for this week, that's a major feat - considering I needed milk, fruit and baking powder and hoped to score a few other good deals along the way.

So.... here's the loot:

Store #1: Cub Foods
Total Spent: $5.96
Kraft Mac and Cheese: 4 boxes x $0.25 = $1 (Store coupon pricing)
Green Giant 5lbs Russet Potatoes: 1 x $0.98 = $0.98 (Store coupon pricing)
5lb bag Harlson Apples: 1 x $3.98
Store #2: Rainbow Foods
Total Spent: $4.63
Gallon Roundy's Milk: 2 x $2.19 = $4.38
Roundy's Chunk Cheese: 2 x $0.99 = $1.98
Roundy's Chunk Light Tuna in Water: 1 can x $0.79 = $0.79
Roundy's Baking Powder: 1 can x $1.19 = $1.19
2.95 lbs Bananas x $0.55/lb = $1.62
Bar S Franks: 2 x $0.68 = $1.32 - $1/2 coupon = $0.32
Minus Catalina for $3.50
Total Spent: $10.59 (Leaving me $ 1.41 in my purse!)

Even better: Total Saved: $12.25 (Sales and coupons combined!)
Not bad if I do say so myself! I usually don't do that good!

For more shopping inspiration, see Money Saving Mom!

October Blessings

This has been a bumpy month for us.

It started out so good with my surgery going so very, very well and the fridge and pantry being so well stocked by my folks before they headed back home.

...then it seemed like things started to fly apart all at once.

...A broken plate...a broken futon...running out of several things in the cupboard...John not really getting well...Missy getting getting sick...the weather stripping on the van...the water softener having a canary and spewing water all over the floor...finding out we need to buy Buddy yet another pair of Tap Shoes for dance class (his feet just keep growing!)...John having two paychecks this month below our normal 'budgeted' amount due to various reasons...having to somehow pull an additional $1000 out of that monthly budget to pay my tuition...

...and I could continue.

Still, there are many blessings:
  • Time and a flexible schedule. Far and away the biggest blessing this month is time. My schedule is flexible enough that I can stay home with the kids and John is able to take a day off as needed right now too. I am able to recover myself, which is also a blessing. We didn't have any company or big time commitments that involved cleaning the house, making elaborate dinners, or spending inordinate amounts of time elsewhere. All of that helps with the recovery.
  • Seeing the benefits of a budget. Sometimes it's really hard seeing the $ pile up in a category when you 'need' them in another. We're reaping the reward of being diligent right now with our cars - plenty of money to fix the weather stripping on the window and replace some aging brakes without having to put anything on the credit card.
  • Timing! We got John's scholarship check just in time to pay tuition! I love it when that happens!
  • We're still eating from our garden. Tomatoes and the very last squash. I had put the green tomatoes we harvested before the snow in a brown paper bag with the top folded over. I check it about every other day. We've had several large tomatoes ripen (3 this week!) and enough cherry tomatoes to keep us in salad and snacks. We're good for probably another week or two as well! How cool is that?
  • Good sales! There have been so really good sales lately. I've spent a tidge too much (back to diligence today though!) but we're well stocked again. I'm happy with that!
  • Homemade Halloween Costumes from Grandma. I may have mentioned how much my Mom loves to sew! She sewed awesome Halloween costumes for the kids - a dinosaur/dragon thing for Buddy and a purple princess for Missy. They're lovin' it!
  • The ability to give. We have a lot of birthdays in October, so I had to put together 4 birthday baskets and 2 bags for littler kids as well. I spent a total of $10. Mostly I used what I had on hand - the baskets/bags, quilt supplies that I had bought 2 years ago, candles from cleaning out my own stash, some $1 nail polish, lotion and things I had bought a while back as part of my gift stash, a mug I had cleaned out of my own cupboard a while ago, and some snacks picked up on sale this week. It feels so nice to give a thoughtful gift without spending a lot of money on it. Not to mention being able to give someone a hug, a small treat or just being able to donate some old things to charity. Nothing gives a warm fuzzy like that!
  • Knowing that I'm FINALLY on the mend. Seeing the 'light at the end of the tunnel' so to speak with all this illness stuff, especially for myself, is SUCH a blessings. After feeling like I got teased a few weeks back, I'm glad to be heading to a point where I can see things improving. No idea yet where I'll end up, but I'll take what I can get right now!

How have you been blessed in October?

Easing Back Into The Swing of Things

It's been a whole week now (well, it will be this evening!) since I got my high fever and offically came down with this crud. I'm still tired, but overall feeling MUCH better. I'll take a nap today, tomorrow and Sunday and then hopefully be back to normal.

On the docket for today:
  • Washing the bedding (almost done with this one!)
  • Grocery store run (busy day tomorrow and I don't want to over-do it!)
  • Paying a couple of bills
  • Working on my paper for class
  • A little ironing (if I'm really on the ball, but this can wait if need be!)

Plus the nap.

That's it. Nothing more.

I'm still feeling a bit like a slug, but I know what can happen if I over-do it too soon and don't want to end up there. So, taking it easy today still but slowly getting back into the swing of things. It's nice to be feeling the end of the tunnel up ahead. I write "feeling" because that's how I can tell. My head isn't stuffy anymore. My energy is slowly coming back. I'm tired, but not exhausted. I can actually get out of bed at 7am rather than 755am.

God willing, things will be back to normal FINALLY. I'm ready for that. We'll see what God has in mind. In the meantime, I'll rejoice in the energy I have and what I'm able to currently do. I'm so very blessed, even with the flu!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 10/26 (Posted on a Wednesday!)

Well, I'm fighting the 'crud' again this week, so we're eating pretty simple around here. We have LOTS of food in the house so I'm trying not to buy much and eat from the 'pantry', so to speak.

Breakfast is usually cold cereal or oatmeal, unless otherwise stated, though I'm thinking of trying a new recipe I have for peanut butter and jelly muffins for Thursday morning. We'll see.
Lunch is leftovers or sandwhiches unless otherwise stated.

Monday, 10/26:
Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup and Cornbread

Tuesday, 10/27:
Dinner: Spiced Pancakes with Fruit

Wednesday, 10/28:
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, Steamed Broccoli, and Fruit

Thursday, 10/29:
Dinner: Baked Pork Chops and Acorn Squash, Lettuce Salad, and Fruit

Friday, 10/30:
Dinner: Leftovers or Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, 10/31:
Breakfast: Out for all (Monthly Bible Studies)
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Fruit
Dinner: Hamburger Gravy with Noodles, Steamed Broccoli, and Fruit

For more menu inspiration, check out Organizing Junkie!

Time for Recovery

Being home last week with Missy should have told me I was going to get sick myself. That's usually what happens.

And it did.

Friday night I came down with a bad fever, shakes like I couldn't believe, and a terrible headache.

Ah yes, the flu.

Probably H1N1 but we don't know. We're now being told that the flu that John and Missy had were most likely this H1N1, after being initially told it wasn't, and that is most likely what I am now getting over too.

So I've been sleeping the last 4 days - or the bulk of it anyway. Starting to feel better today but I'm still tired. I think today is a good day for sleeping and reading and maybe a little embroidery. And that's about it. I folded and put away a basket of laundry Monday and wiped myself out for the rest of the day. Then yesterday was like taking 2 steps backward. Definitely don't want to do that again!

I'm taking this entire week off of everything outside of home - no class, no work, no choir, no anything. I need the rest. I need to recover once and for all.

Do I feel like a lazy bum? Sometimes. But, I've been sick for so long now (over 2 years including this recovery time since surgery) that I understand the value rest for my body and immune system and can mostly live with the supposed laziness of it. Most of the time I'm just grateful for being able to take the time to rest with two now healthy kids at daycare and preschool and a healthy hubby who doesn't mind cooking dinner, doing the laundry and running after the kids by himself after a full day at work and juggling homework for 2 online classes besides.

I'm also grateful that I don't have a child in the hospital, myself in the hospital or any further complications. I ran into a friend at the grocery store a week or so ago who's son had been in the hospital with severe pneumonia as a complication of H1N1. He has a pre-existing medical condition that makes him more susceptible. She was rejoicing because he came home with them again. He came very close to going to his heavenly home instead. He's only 15.

Makes a week at home feeling like a limp dishrag seem not so bad...

So much to be thankful for!
What more can I ask for?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Class Today For Me

We found out yesterday that Missy can't go back to school until Monday at the earliest, preferrably Wednesday next week. We're hoping it can be Monday since she's obviously better and getting tired of being home with the parents! :) She is so used to having someone her age around to play with that she just gets tired of playing with us or by herself (which she does very well, I might add). I am going to take her in for school pictures tomorrow - I was told I can bring her for that but she can't stay for class.

So, John has the day off and I'm back in class today. There's just enough time to finish my presentation and then go to class tonight. I did a quick run to the local library last night and got my ducks in a row for my presentation today, I just have to tweek it and make sure it makes sense!

We have a busy weekend with company coming up, so I am grateful that Missy is feeling well.
It's amazing how grateful I am for my normal schedule when things get shaken up like they have this month!
I'm grateful I'm feeling back to normal now (thank you Anitbiotics!) and have the energy to do my work and take care of a 'sick' child.
I'm grateful that John can take today off (he can't tomorrow as he's the only one on staff - I'm so grateful that wasn't today!).
I'm grateful that I have a flexible schedule.

My daycare lady was talking about how 2 of her parents called her in a panic last week with sick kids and were unable to get time off work. I am SO very grateful that I am NOT in that position - no matter how inconvenient it is for me that my schedule gets interrupted. My children are far more important than a schedule or a job or anything else that I have going on. No matter how cranky it makes me to have my schedule shaken up, I am grateful that I have that flexibility and the desire and ability to stay home and take care of my children.

Besides, when else would I get to make crazy glitter, glue and paper pictures and funny looking beaded 'necklaces' with a four-year-old for 2 days in a row?

So much to be grateful for!
What more can I ask for?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Day at Home...

I had hoped that Missy would feel well enough to send her back to school and daycare today but that's not the case, so we're home again today.

I'm beginning to feel like I've been AWOL from work/school! Yes, I have good reason to be gone (and honestly wouldn't want to be there with a sick child at daycare - if they'd let me send her - or with a sick self either) but I'm starting to feel the responsibilities I have ther piling up on my shoulders.

I discovered yesterday that mornings are better for working on schoolwork with Missy home, rather than afternoons, which had been my original plan. I can sew quilt squares with her wanting to help me or interrupting me every 5 minutes. Reading a 10-page, small-type article from The British Journal of Educational Psychology and actually comprehending it, not to mention taking coherent notes, for a project at school, not so much! :)

So, we'll see how today goes in terms of getting schoolwork done. It frustrates me when I can't keep up with all of my responsiblities. It frustrates me when things don't go by my agenda. I need to remember that it will all work out for God's good. And that it could be a whole lot worse.

In spite of not getting much schoolwork done until I went to the local library yesterday evening, I have so much to be grateful for.

I'm grateful for a flexible schedule that allows me to stay home with a sick child.
I'm grateful I don't have to scramble to find 'backup, emergency' childcare and pay for it!
I'm grateful for a child who is an easy patient and content to eat popsicles and crackers, and watch movies or be read to without much fussing and complaining.
I'm grateful for my own improving health (antibiotics can be a very good thing!).
I'm grateful that John can take tomorrow off from work so I can go to class.
I'm grateful for medical insurance and access to medical care if we need it.
I'm grateful for stores to buy things like Tylenol and Motrin at.
I'm grateful that I have the cash to buy things like Tylenol and Motrin without having to worry.

Even with the temporary inconvenience of child with a cold, I have so much to be grateful for.
What more can I ask for?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Day At Home

I got home from school yesterday and had a moment of panic.

Missy had a fever of 101F and that meant I needed to quickly find a sub for my class coordinator position at Jazzercise this AM as well as figure out how on earth I'm going to actually get the schoolwork I need to get done this week done as well as finishing off a couple of birthday presents by this weekend.

Never fear! The good Lord provided - three people to sub for me (my franchise owner got a good laugh out of that!), a daughter who no longer has a fever and is perfectly content eating goldfish crackers, watching movies and dozing on the couch, and the two hours I would have spent at Jazz to cut out quilt squares and sew. I will work on the homework stuff while Missy is sleeping for an afternoon nap today.

We're pretty darn sure that what Missy has is what John had right after my surgery - a nasty, but short-lived virus (about 36 hours) and not the H1N1 that's been running around. If she's feeling a lot better by this afternoon, we can be pretty confident that it is.

It's these little refining moments that I have to work on trusting God to work things out for good. Not necessarily what I want to do, but what will be the good for everyone. I can do pretty well with trusting God with the big things - serious illness, big problems, and, yes, even death. But it's the little things - a sick child, things taking longer than I think they should, a budget that won't balance, rude actions by others - that I have trouble with.

I'd like to think that I'm getting better! And learning to relax in His peace and roll with the punches. I'm also thinking that this is a lifetime progress kind of thing, not something that happens overnight. I KNOW that I'm better than I used to be. And that's what it's all about isn't it?

So, I get a whole day at home - something I rarely get to do. With my Missy. And with time to get a few things done.

What more can I ask for?
God is so good!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


That title doesn't have a "bummpy" in front of it!

Not that I couldn't have put one there - I woke up a whole whopping 30 minutes before I had to get myself and my 2 kids out the door this morning, including showers, clothes, etc. plus an afternoon's worth of toys packed too - but it certainly isn't as bumpy as the last two have seemed.

I did manage to get us out the door and the two kids dropped off at Sunday school (it felt SO WEIRD just to drop them off and leave - I wonder how other people do that regularly?) and then drive across town (thank heavens for Sunday morning lack of traffic!) to the retreat to hear John give his last talk.

He did AWESOME! I am so proud of him and feel so very, very blessed that he is my husband. Just hearing the team members praying for him (they do laying on of hands before and after the talks) and thanking God for how he has impacted their lives even if only met him on this retreat was amaizing. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt now that this calling to become a Pastor is straight from the Lord. What a blessing!

Then I got to come home to a quiet house and take nice long nap. Some dear friends of ours offered to take the kids for the whole day after I asked them to pick the kids up from Sunday School and take them to worship this morning. What blessing is that! It has been so nice to just have a quiet day to get my ducks in a row for the next week without having to worry about the munchkins. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly. I enjoy being with them. They do require a LOT of energy right now, and I have spent the majority of the last three days with them - while I'm still sick and without that abundant amount of energy. The nap felt great. I'm excited to attend closing worship for the retreat today. And I'm excited to hear about my kids' day with our friends when I pick them up after closing worship.

It's been a good day.
What more can I ask for?
Soli Deo Gloria.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Super Savings Saturday - I Blew It!


I had $15 left for groceries this week.

I blew it.

I spent $41.56.
That's $26.56 over - more than my alotted weekly budget. *Sigh*

I had a list longer than my arm, and I realized we were out of TP too. Plus, I'm tired and back on antibiotics and have two cranky kids - all the result off my late night last night and our busy day yesterday (not the antibiotics, but the rest of it). So I decided to just wing it.

I used 1 coupon - a store coupon for 78-cent frozen veggies - and that's it. I did buy stuff on sale. Does that make up for it? :)

Here's what we got:
2 gallons of milk
2 36oz apple juice
4 bunches broccoli (I'll blanch and freeze 2 of these for later.)
1 white onion
5 lbs potatoes
3 lbs bananas
1 1-lb bag frozen green beens
2 lbs pears
1 1/4 lb sweet potatoes
4 cans Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup
2 8oz cans Tomato paste
1 bag oyster crackers
1 box Animal crackers
1 bag brown sugar
1 bag coffee
1 carton ice cream
1 block chedder cheese
1 bag shredded chedder cheese
1 jar Smucker's Raspberry All-Fruit Spread

I think that's it. :)

Not too bad - the fruit, onion and potatoes were all less than $1/lb, and everything else was on sale. I could have done better though and just bought the bananas, milk, block cheese, coffee and TP.


I guess that's what I get for shopping tired and crabby. I should know better.
I'll do better next week.

For more shopping inspiration, see Money Saving Mom.

Busy Friday

I meant to post yesterday. Really I did.

Life happens - nothing bad, just good and busy.

So here's part of the reason I didn't bog yesterday:

Yep, we carved Jack-o-Lanterns. Four of them!
The two on the left were drawn by Buddy and the one on the right by Missy. Yep, they all have glasses - John and I have glasses and the kids keep asking for them even though they don't need them. The flower one is mine - trying to get rid of the bruised/cut spots on the outside of the pumpkin.

We also have toasted pumpkin seeds (I spent almost 2 hours going through all the guck to get out the seeds) in two different 'flavors' and I have apples in the dehydrator (my house now smells like apple pie!).

In addition I spent some time at John's retreat listening to him give his first talk on God's Grace. It was awesome!

Then I ened the day with a 2 1/2 hour conversation on the phone with my cousin. It was so good to talk to her - it had been a while! Which meant I didn't get to bed until about 1230am. *Yawn* :)

There were lots of other little things in there too - dinner of macaroni and cheese and fruit, playing with the kids, reading lots of stories, running an errand and even getting a bit done for school as well.

A good and busy day.

What more can I ask for?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Three for the Weekend

John headed out the door today to work at a men's retreat this weekend. He is the assistant spiritual director for the weekend (one of 2) and is giving two talks on Grace. He is nervous and feeling a bit out-of-sorts since he missed their last pre-weekend with the flu.

That means it's just the kids and I! I'm feeling better - it's amazing what sleep can do! - but I'm thinking that it's going to be a weekend of books and movies and crafts rather than anything more exciting. The kids got a whole stack of books from their preschool book order yesterday so maybe we can spend some time reading those. I have a trip to the Library planned and carving the pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns. That's about it.

The kids get to spend Sunday with our friends while I go listen to John speak and then later in the afternoon go back for the closing service.

Can I ask you to please keep John, the workers and those attending in your prayers? They would greatly appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Just when I think things are getting back to normal, life happens again.

I spent most of last night up with the worst sore throat I've had in YEARS. It hurt to swallow at all! John kindly suggested I take some Advil but I declined, as a single swallow of water almost wouldn't go down. I got about 1 1/2 hours of sleep total over 8 hours. Not so good.

So, I called in sick to work today. I didn't have any meetings so it's not that big of a deal.

But I feel like it is.

Days like today make me feel like I'll never get where I believe God is leading me. Like I will be sick for the rest of my natural life.

My head knows that this is a virus - the doctor said so, and I know it's been going around and around and around at preschool and daycare. My daycare lady has even had it for the last week or so. It's not contagious by now but it's certainly enough to make me feel truly icky. (Yes, that's the technical term). I know that by the beginning of next week, we'll be back to normal - whatever that is - around here! At least that's what other people have said and I have reason to believe they're telling the truth.

The part of me that is susceptible to the evil one doesn't believe all that. I feel like I will get sicker and sicker until my kids have to watch me struggle to live. I coughed so hard last night at one point that it scared Buddy. His frightened face with his wide green eyes appears in my mind's eye every time I cough or start to feel like I can't swallow as well as I would like. I know that these scenarios aren't true - they're a fabrication. But still they come.

So I turn back to the Lord. Asking Him for continued healing, for rest, and to carry me through. And hopefully the ability to get some schoolwork done at home today too. :)

Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Bump in the Recovery Road

I caught something this weekend. "The crud" as we call it around here. Brought home by the kiddos and generously shared.

At my doctor's appointment yesterday he said I have to be careful that the virus I caught doesn't open the door for a bacterial infection. This is especially important since I still have open areas in my sinus cavities. Bacteria infection + unhealed area = not a good situation. :)

So, I did go work out today (that was encouraged - to boost my immune system).
I'm taking extra Vitamin C (also encouraged).
I'm back on my Vitamin D prescription (also encouraged).
Drinking lots of water, taking naps and trying to not push myself too hard to complete things.
(Again, all encouraged).


I loved being back in the swing of things.
I loved being able to chase after my kids - something my heart has been yearning for for two years now.
I loved being back to my workout and seeing everyone again.

I know all the rest and everything else is necessary for healing and recovery.
Still, it's a bummer.

At least I can say that I am feeling better on my own - without help of antibiotics or prednisone or anything else. Just lots of water, vitamins and rest. That is a blessing. Twelve rounds of antibiotics and 3 rounds of prednisone in 15 months do a number on your body.

And I know that God is still good. Even if I've hit a bump. He still is there and will carry me through.

Soli Deo Gloria. Always!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - October 11th (2 week menu)

I planned two weeks this time thanks to our stock up weekend! I have some kid-favorites on the menu that we rarely eat this weekend because John is at a church retreat Thursday through Sunday and it's just the kids and me at home. We're also eating cheesier than normal this weekend since the three of us love cheese and John can't eat it. Thought I'd treat the munchkins and make life easier for me at the same time!

Breakfast is oatmeal or cold cereal unless otherwise stated.
Lunch is usually leftovers unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, 10/11:
Brunch: Pancakes with Frozen Strawberries
Dinner: Spaghetti with Lettuce Salad

Monday, 10/12:
Dinner: Baked Chicken, Steamed Carrots, Roasted Potatoes, Fruit

Tuesday, 10/13:
Dinner: Soft Shell Beef Tacos, Fruit

Wednesday, 10/14:
Dinner: Baked Salmon, Acorn Squash, Wild Rice, Fruit

Thursday, 10/15:
Dinner: Leftovers

Friday, 10/16:
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese, Fruit

Saturday, 10/17:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Fruit
Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Pudding Cups, Sliced Apples
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets, Sliced Tomatoes, Fruit

Sunday, 10/18:
Brunch: Pancakes with Bananas and Chopped Walnuts
Dinner: Spaghetti, Lettuce Salad

Monday, 10/19:
Dinner: Baked Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Acorn Squash, Fruit

Tuesday: 10/20;
Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Carrots, Fruit

Wednesday, 10/21:
Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup, Homemade Bread, Fruit

Thursday, 10/22:
Dinner: Venison Stew in the Crockpot, Baking Powder Biscuits

Friday, 10/23:
Dinner: Leftovers

Saturday, 10/24:
Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit
Lunch: Bagel Pizzas, Fruit
Dinner: Harvest Party at Church (Dinner Provided)

For more menu inspiration, check out Organizing Junkie!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

....Outside at least. Inside we're still pretending it's October!

We have 4 1/2 inches of wet, heavy snow on the ground.

(Here's the snow sticking to the top of our patio table umbrella.)

I'm definately not ready for this!

Yet, I keep thinking it could be worse.

We could have lost a chunk of a garden that is a main source of food for us. We didn't.
We could not have winter clothes, coats, snowpants or hats or have to make all these things by hand. We have all those things.
We could have no money to buy boots or mittens or have ot make these by hand. We do have the money and a store to buy them at - it just takes some wiggling of the budget.
We could have to carefully ration our fuel to stay warm. We don't.
We could live in an area that is inaccessable from the outside during winter. We don't.
We could not have access to police and fire protection and medical care during bad weather (or for other reasons). We have access to all three no matter what the weather.

I'm grateful we live now.
I'm grateful for grocery stores and clothing stores.
I'm grateful we have the good income that we do, even though it's tight sometimes.
I'm grateful for plenty of fuel and a home that stays nice and warm with hot and cold running water.
I'm grateful that we can complain about the snow as an annoyance rather than something that will become a matter of life and death.
I'm grateful that I can think it looks lovely even though it's snow in October.
I'm grateful that I can stay inside with my mountain of school reading, hot tea and candles rather than having a job that puts me outside in this muck.

So much to be grateful for.

What more could I want?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Bumpy Sunday

It's another bumpy Sunday here.

I officially caught the crud that's been running around our house.

About mid-afternoon yesterday, I felt like I had been doused in boiling water and felt limp as a dishrag. To bed I went. Took a 4 hour nap. Ate dinner and went back to bed.

Up at 8am this morning. Clipped a couple of coupons, ate a very small breakfast, took a shower. Went back to bed. Up ate a snack, checked my email, now I'm writing this. Then I'll go back to bed again.

Uff da.

Just when I think everything is ready to get back to normal, reality hits.

The good news?
John and the kids made it to worship - though they missed Sunday school.
I'm starting to feel better - at least a little bit.
The kids actually took a nap today.
My fever is pretty much gone, I just feel like I've been hit by a truck!
I don't have to go in to work until Wednesday, though I have my final follow up from surgery appointment tomorrow.

Not too bad. Not to mention that I think with another couple hours sleep I should be able to actually make dinner! And with an early bed time tonight, I should be fine tomorrow.

And I keep thinking my life is getting back to normal.
What do I know? :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Super Savings Saturday - The Additional Stock Up Addition, Part 2

We've done two additional things today that have added groceries to our stockpile.

First, a trip to the apple orchard. This is included in our entertainment budget, so we get apples and pumpkins without adding to our grocery bill.

We got:
  • 1 peck fresh Paula Red Apples
  • 2 small pumpkins
  • 1 large pumpkin

For $16 dollars! The pumpkins will actually be carved, but I will toast the seeds for snacks and that also means I can cook the 2 pumpkins the kids brought home from their school trip to the pumpkin patch!

Second, an actual trip to the grocery store. We decided after looking at the sales, to put another $10 overtime toward stockup groceries this week and kidnap $10 from next week's groceries.

We got:

  • 4 boxes of pasta
  • 8 cans tomato juice
  • 3 cans beans
  • 3lbs bananas
  • 3lbs grapes
  • 2 15oz peanut butter
  • 1 15oz ketchup
  • 1 box macaroni and cheese
  • 1 bottle chili powder
  • 1 6oz chopped walnuts

All for $17 dollars.

I made up a 2-week menu plan and my plan for next week is to buy fruit, lettuce, milk and any killer deals that I can get for a total of $15.

I also took a trip to the local second-hand score and managed to score 2 name-brand winter coats for the kids for $18! My budget was $20, so that was right on target! No boots - they were all too small or too beat up and I was out of money anyway, but I'm relieved the coats are taken care of. Hats and mittens are next and then I'll worry about the boots....

For more savings madness visit Money Saving Mom.

Super Savings Saturday - the Additional Stock Up Addition, part 1

I'm not doing so hot this month so far with the $25/wk budget. The deals are good and we've ran out of so much.


So much for practicing thriftiness this month!

We had to buy a few things for preschool this week again. Having twins and having the kids bring snacks in alphabetical order by last name means that we get to send snacks two weeks in a row. I have the string cheese and baby carrots that I bought week to send and we added pudding cups and will add more fruit to go with the string cheese.

First run this week: Sam's Club.
John has some overtime this week so we decided to take $15 of the overtime money and another $10 in left over from last week gas money and do a little stocking up. The stock up purchases:
  • Lemonade Mix
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • 90% Lean Ground Beef (5#)
  • Rosemary (clearanced)
  • Sage (clearanced)

Preschool Purchases:

  • 40 100% fruit juice boxes
  • Pudding Cups (20 for school, 16 for us)

Additional Purchases:

  • 1 1/2 doz eggs
  • 2 gallons of milk
  • 1 whole pineapple
  • 1 4-box set of instant apple cider drink mix for John (this is his favorite thing to drink and we can only get it at Sam's in the fall)
  • 2 64oz bottles of apple juice

Total spent in addition to stock up money? $30 - for the additional purchases. lemonade and spices. I had $31.33 combining last week's leftovers and this week's $25. I am going to stop and buy chili powder and bananas today and that should be it for the week. If I can get something else for almost free or free I might get that too. We'll see.

I'm wrestling with being thrifty and getting those good stock-up deals that make it so much easier later. I'm going to sit down with the sale flyers next and see if I can find anything good....


They had been predicting snow in the forecast for this weekend all week.

I really thought they were kidding. I mean, it's only the 10th of October! Usually we don't get snow until at least November, if not after Thanksgiving.

Well, we woke up to a dusting of fluffy white.

Yes, the grass is poking through.
No, it really doesn't cover anything but the roofs.
Yes, it will probably melt by noon.

But it's snow.

And two happier pre-schoolers you have never seen!

"Mama! Mama! It snowed! It snowed! Can we go sledding?"

I had to work really hard not to laugh.

And I feel so very blessed that it takes so little to make my kids so happy! What more can I ask for?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scripture For Today

I'm having a good week Devotionally speaking!

What I'm reading is really relevant and 'speaks' to me. I like it when that happens. It seems like I always have some times when I read my Devotional Material and say "Ok, what on earth am I supposed to get out of that?" I'm so glad that yesterday and today are not in that category!

Last night John and I were talking about a discussion he was having in one of his seminary classes about how society today is not marriage friendly. The media - or at least 98% of it - protrays relationships of all kinds in poor ways, with spouses, kids and parents, and friends being rude and disrespectful to each other, backstabbing each other, complaining to high heaven about the little things that each other does.

Are John and I perfect at being a couple? Heaven's no! But we don't deliberately demean, belittle, give the silent treatment, expect the other to read our mind, or call each other names. Our children aren't allowed to either (as much as we can control that and catch it when it does happen!). We grew up with very, very (did I say VERY?) different family dynamics and models but that was one thing both of our sets of parents - his and mine - have modeled very well for us. They also modeled for us that divorce is not an easy solution and is only a last resort solution with a lot of heartache, trials, and sorrow on all sides. My parents have been married to each other for 51 years and his have been married to each other for 36. We are so blessed and grateful.

So, what's the Scripture for today?

Romans 12:17-19
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengence is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
It's not easy being 'nice' all the time. And you certainly can't make others be nice and act appropraitely. But YOU can act nice and be appropriate. Seeking revenge does nothing but cause division.
God doesn't want that.
And neither do we deep down inside.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back to Work

I'm back to class today. It's an evening class and I still have a bunch of reading to do before it. No matter - I have time and can read faster now than I have in a while! :)

The chicken for dinner tonight is in the crockpot, my bags are packed (except my laptop), I have a snack to tide me over from lunch until I get home and have dinner, and I have my ducks in a row to stop at the public library on the way up to school. I even have put the last little bit of laundry away and tidied up the house for John and the kids when they get home today.

It's good to be back - even though the time off has been nice.

It's nice to cross things off my to-do list.

It's nice to be learning intellectual things again.

It's even nicer to be back full force on the path that God has set before me.

God is good! Always.

Scripture for Today

I was doing my morning devotional and the scripture for today really reached out and grabbed me:

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (NKJV)
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption in herit incorruption.
Behold, I will tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?"
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
We have so much to be grateful for - but the most important thing is our salvation in Christ Jesus and that the victory is through Him, not through our sinful selves
Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Be Careful What You Pray For....

Each month I pick a couple of 'character' things to work on.

This month it's thriftiness and self-control.
Given the current state of our budget and that I'd like to lose 6-10lbs by the end of the year, those are very current topics.

We've had the futon break beyond repair, a plate crack in half, half the stuff in our cupboards run out, we're currently completely out of anything drink except water and out of eggs. I need new glasses and we had the weather stripping come off the front window on the van. The hinge on the front storm door is about to bust in half (it's very close) and we have a list of things we need for winter as long as my arm. Not to mention that Buddy needs shoes - badly!

In addition to that, my Dad bought a mountain of junk food. And I made a batch of my most favorite cookies in the whole wide world yesterday.

Then, this evening I opened the local paper and saw an article that just made my blood boil that was about our church. It's an ongoing issue that the article was about but I'm furious that the information was let to the press before it was brought to the congregation. John was so irritated he fired off a 'clarification question' to our senior pastor via Facebook. *SIGH*

I think I'm making progress, though.

I sent John to dance class with the kids with only $3 for 1 gallon of milk on the way home.
We found the money in the budget for the weather stripping.
We decided to leave the futon where it is, flat. Not the best for TV watching, but better than the floor.
I've only eaten 4 cookies today. :)
And, most importantly, I've decided to wait a week or so to talk to my pastor - partly to see what comes of the initial response and partly because I'm so angry I'm seeing red and know that talking right now would not be productive or helpful!

I should have known this is what would happen if I prayed for help in learning thriftiness and self-control.

A few years ago when I prayed for lessons on patience:

God sent me twins!

Yes, God does have a sense of humor.
So, be careful what you pray for.

I guess I never learn....

A Good Weary

I officially over did it yesterday.

It felt so good to have energy again that I didn't know where to stop!

So, I woke up this morning physicaly weary. But it's a good weary. A weary that comes from doing more than I should but also from knowing that I will be able to do all that again. It's a weary that comes from accomplishment.

After I posted yesterday I did another 8 loads of laundry (don't ask!), put together my day planner for October and scheduled my next 2 weeks, cleaned the bathroom, made an enormous batch of cookies by hand (my mixer is too wimpy to handle it), made dinner, made popcorn and on-the-stove hot cocoa, got the living room and kitchen cleaned up for John's Bible Study, made and ate dinner, washed dishes (we don't have a dishwasher), did a little reading for school, put away the laundry, vacuumed the family room and then got the kids ready for bed and watched a movie with them while John's Bible Study was meeting.

I also got to bless John and his guys. It was his kick-off night and since he's been pulling most of the load around here the last two years, I wanted to do something special. So I dug out the fancy paper plates, napkins and cups, set the food out in my nice dishes (with Missy's help), and made hot cocoa (it was 45 degrees here yesterday with wind - brrr!). I put a plate of lit candles in the middle of the table and made sure the living room was toy-free and spotless. John was appreciative and the guys were impressed. I love to entertain so for me it was really no big deal. But, I've been too sick the last two years to do that. I was impressed that I got all that done with the kids downstairs cuddled up with a movie with 5 minutes to spare before they started arriving!

It took so little to make John happy - and put a big smile on his face - and it was my priviledge to do it!

No wonder I was tired.

Today my goals are simpler: my reading for school, the ironing and vacuum the living room. And maybe a nap.

It feels good to be back in the swing of things and even put a smile on the faces of others - even if I have to take it one day at a time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Conviction

God has been working hard in my heart and mind over the last couple of years.

I've always been a my way, my time, my agenda, my schedule and my plans kind of gal and it's been particulary touch being ill (especially without any type of diagnosis for two years - I'll write more about that later!), and not being able to meet the agendas I had set for myself.

In the last few weeks - ever since my cousin died (which I'll also write about later) - I've been convicted of a few things.

I've been working to do things I shouldn't be doing, I've been too focused on myself.

Me. What I want to do.

Not what I should be doing. Not what God wants me to do.

I have always felt that God has called me to be a scientist, a Physicist to be exact, and a professor as well as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc. That part hasn't changed.

What has changed is my additional agenda. Nothing like being sick to tell you what you really don't need to do!

Keeping my house? Fine - but don't go overboard.
Sewing, crafting, scrapbooking, embroidery? All fine too - but not at the expense of other things.
Obsessing over our ever-changing budget? Nope - not worth it.
Taking on commitments that sound good and are worthwhile but take time away from stuff that is more important? Nope. Really bad idea.

What do I must I do?
My God - my relationship with Him comes first and foremost - without Him I have nothing and can do nothing and can be nothing.
My family -building relationships, loving my husband, training my children, and caring for my family.
My Schoolwork - finishing this PhD is of utmost importance if I'm going to end up where God is directing me to be.
My Teaching - a commitment and vocation God has called me to and therefore must be placed above other things.
My relationships with others - relationships are it. Without them, it doesn't matter what else we have.
Basic needs - a clean, comfortable home; clean, comfortable, appropriate clothes; good, basic, healthy food; and taking care of the things the Lord has blessed me with. It doesn't matter if they're the latest, newest or 'best'.

None of these things are easy or without complications. And I need to be careful. I tend to still want to do it "my" way.

But the thing I've been convicted of is that if I stick to the list of things God has given to me and let the rest go, He will do the heavy lifting, giving me strength when I'm weary and peace when I'm troubled. He will carry the burdens of forgiveness, temptation, hurt, greed, and sorrow. And will give me the load of joy, peace and security.

A conviction worth carrying.

Soli Deo Gloria. Always.

I'm Lovin' This!

It's 1015am here. I have been up since about 5am. I actually got about 7 hours of sleep with only one wake up! Yippie!

In the half hour before John's alarm went off, I just decided to lay in bed and listen to the rain drum on the roof rather than pushing myself to get up and get rolling. I love that sound. *Sigh* Because I like it so much, I didn't haul myself out of bed until John started wondering where on earth he'd put his work keys at 605am. After a bit of a scramble we found them and he was off. So I made coffee and drank some and rocked. What a lovely way to start the day!

What I'm lovin' is the energy I have! I've already gotten so much done and will be able to get much more done today. I will probably need a short nap - I'm feeling like I will if I'm going to be doing coherent reading later today - but that's fine. I'm still recovering.

So far today I've changed all four beds, 6 sets of towels, the sofa slipcover, and the kichen tablecloth, done 3 loads of wash, swept the bedroom floors and changed out some more summer decorations for fall. That's in addition to my 10 minutes of quiet time, my morning devotions, breakfast, getting the kids up, fed, and out the door, and sending my parents off on the their drive home from visiting, helping and their trip overseas. Not bad, if I do say so myself! :)

I'm sure some of you think I'm crazy, but doing anything has been such a struggle. If I changed the 3 upstairs beds, I wouldn't have the energy to do the slipcover and would have to wait a bit before doing that and the towels. Then it would take me 2 days to do the 3 loads of laundry. Decorating? Forget about it - maybe I could swap out a burnt down candle or put out new placemats when the current ones got a little too icky for my taste, but that's it. Anything else? Forget it. That would be my energy limit for the day.

What else do I have on tap for today? Baking is next (I'm taking a break to blog, check email and drink some hot tea right now), then lunch, my short nap and then my schoolwork reading.

John has Bible Study kickoff here tonight, so the kids and I get to cuddle in pajamas on the futon downstairs, watching a movie and eating popcorn. I'm looking forward to that!

I'm lovin' today. I'm sure I'll love tomorrow too.

Isn't God good?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Surgery Follow Up

I had my surgery follow up appointment today.

Everything looks really good and I can get back to normal activities as soon as I feel up to it! Whoo hoo!

I had the spacers taken out - I'll spare you the details since it was pretty gross, but they were HUGE. I can feel the difference and can breathe freer than I have for literally years! My energy levels have now officially shot back up high enough that I'm actually giddy - John and my Mom both commented on this!

Just to demonstrate how high they are now, here's what I did today on 9 hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep:

Surgery follow-up appointment.
2 hours at JoAnn Etc. buying material for Halloween costumes, Christmas Outfits and some odds and ends to finish some other things off.
Lunch out with Mom and Dad (Dad's treat).
Cleaned out the sewing area (it still needs more but it's a start).
Ran errands with Dad.

That is between 9am and 330pm today. Any one of those activities would have drained my energy before on 10+ hours of interrupted sleep and a 2 hour nap. I didn't have the ability to bend over and move free enough to clean out the sewing area before at all!

I know I'm not fully recovered yet, need a bit of extra sleep and feel a bit like I've taken a basketball full in the face, but I'm enjoying the energy! I'm not planning on heading back to my workout or choir until next week, when I think my energy should be back full strength. I'm having fun imagining all I can get done during the rest of the year! It's exciting!

My goals for this week are catching up on old and current school things, a little baking, and a lot of catch-up sewing. Hopefully I can make a serious dent in my goals list for the month!

What are you hoping to use your energy for this week?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - October 4, 2009

Back to normal this week after surgery last week - back to work/class on Thursday for me at least.
Mom and Dad are heading home either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on my doctor's report Monday, so it's back to normal kitchen activities as well.

Breakfasts: cold cereal or oatmeal (unless otherwise stated)
Lunches: leftovers, sandwiches (unless otherwise stated)

Brunch: Baked Eggs, Cinnamon Rolls, Bacon and Melon
Dinner: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Quessedillas, Fruit

Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Lettuce Salad, Fruit

Dinner: Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Carrot Sticks, Apples
Bible Study Kickoff Snacks: Homemade Chips and Salsa, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Hot Cider, Hot Cocoa and Water

Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks, Lettuce Salad

Dinner: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Fruit

Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothies
Late Lunch/Early Dinner: Chili, Cornbread and Fruit

For more meal inspiration check out

Luthern World Relief Quilt Tops

I didn't get much extra done in September, with trying to get ready for school, finishing up my written exam, applying for a last minute job (that fell through), burying my cousin, getting the kids into preschool, helping with a huge fundraiser for my (deceased) cousin's group home and prepping for surgery.

I did get two Lutheran World Relief quilt tops done for our quilting group at church.

They turned out pretty good and the quilting group will back and tie them and send them off.

They're not the most beautiful quilts ever, but they'll keep someone warm and let them know they're loved and prayed for.
It makes me feel so good to think I can do a little bit of good for the world from my own home!
What do you do to make you feel connected and help the world?

Super Savings Saturday - The Awesome Gifts Edition

Can I tell you how completely cool my parents are?

I've been out with surgery, and my parents have been running the show since John has been out with a cold/flu thing.

They have spoiled us completely rotten with junk food, cooking, cleaning, child care and free groceries!

So my fridge and freezer are well stocked! Stock up items include:
a huge block of cheddar cheese (I don't know the weight off the top of my head, but it's huge!)
4 20 oz packages of boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 20 oz packages of boneless pork chops
10lbs of potatoes
a dozen oranges
10lbs of flour
2 3-packs of shortening sticks
2 lbs of cornmeal
5 lbs of apples
16 oranges
3 tubs of ice cream
1 box of ice cream sandwiches

Not to mention all the chips, crackers, yogurt, fruit, and meat that they've purchased in addition.

Last night Mom made an awesome baked whole chicken with baked butternut squash served with cut up fruit for dinner. It was super yummy and we have enough leftover for at least another meal. Dad even got me a new liner for my crockpot to replace the cracked one!

They didn't have to do this and I am so terribly grateful. I means that the $8.33 that we had left over last week goes toward another two weeks of groceries. It means that I don't have to scrimp quite as much. It means that I have plenty of flour for bread, pizza, cookies and other yummy and good things. It might sound silly to think that $8.33 is something to be grateful for. For our current budget, it is.

Since I don't go back to work until Thursday this week, my plan for one day is to bag up baking mixes to have on hand for this fall. And make treats for the kick off for John's Bible Study. I'm also going to figure out the best deals this week to fill up our stockpile with a few other staples so we can help keep our budget within it's $25/wk limit easily as the year winds up.

And I'm going to write my parents a big long thank you note. They deserve it.

For more savings inspiration, visit Money Saving Mom for Super Savings Saturday.

The Biggest Blessing of September

I never ever thought I would write that having surgery is a blessing.

But it has been.

I closed out September by having sinus surgery on September 29th. I was scared stiff - by the descriptions of the recovery, the fear of having a puffy black and blue face that would scare my children, of being the terrible patient that I tend to be during recovery.

The reality: even before I was awake enough from anesthesia for the nurses in the recovery room to notice, I knew I had made the right decision.

The terrible pain that had been predicted? Less than half of what I've been walking around with daily for the last 8 months. Mostly feeling like I've run face first into a brick wall, but in reailty not enough to notice unless I touch it or bump it on one of my kids.

The puffy, black and blue face? Some slight brusing under one eye that looks like I didn't get enough sleep. Some very slight puffyness around my nose that you don't notice with my glasses on.

The terrible patient? I've basically been sleeping. And watching Disney movies with Buddy and Missy. Not bad at all!

The bad parts?
John was sent home from work with what we believe is a really bad cold on Thursday. Since he works at a hospital, it's all H1N1 precautions so he's off for a full week.
And...he shared.
So I had a lot of extra guck in there I shouldn't have. And since I can't blow my nose for a week, it's driving me crazy to let it run and mop it up. Do you want to know how much hand washing we've been doing in this house? :) The other bad thing: my Mom caught it too, so my Dad's been doing the bulk of the child care. Not that my Dad doing the child care is bad, but I don't like getting my parents sick while they're here.

I know I'm not fighting an awful infection anymore - this was something I felt almost immediately.
My face doesn't hurt constantly (something I'd gotten so used to I didn't even notice anymore).
In spite of being down with the crud, I feel better than I have in years - literally.
My right ear feels normal for the first time since I can literally remember (at least high school - and we won't say how long ago that was!).
I don't feel like I have to fight with all my energy for an hour of productive time on anything.
I feel like I will be able to have the energy to meet all my goals (all 240 of them!) by the end of the month in spite of recovering - since most of them are schoolwork, writing letters, and catching up on things like shredding, it seems even more do-able than I ever would have thought.

Am I totally out of the woods for sinus problems? No. But this I can live with and thrive with very easily.

God is SO good!