Showing posts from February, 2011

Goals Update - Overwhelmed

These last few weeks have left me feeling overwhelmed.  Very overwhelmed.

This is a very busy season in our lives and this fall only promices to get busier. 

We are already planning for fall. 

John has a 30-hour per week internship this fall, the kids will be in first grade (registration has already passed for that!), I'll be certifying for my Jazzercise certificate and I'm hoping to be defending my dissertation some time in that mess too.  With John's busy work and school schedule it means my work schedule will have to change too.  

These are all good things - it means John's getting closer to graduation and ordination, the kids are progressing academically as they should, I'm meeting my exercise/fitness goals for the year, and my career as a perpetual student is almost over.  It means we'll be 'gaining' $12,000 a year from not having to pay my tuition anymore (and that money can go toward our goal of paying off our house!).  It means that at least …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 20, 2011

Waffles with Peaches and Walnuts.  Yum!
This week is off to a slow start around here - lots of snow (about a foot so far yesterday with more expected today) has us at home.  At least for me and the kids. Poor John has to go in to work!  The kids had today off anyway for President's Day, but I have a "snow day"!  Otherwise, I head out of town on Friday evening for a weekend retreat this next weekend, so John and the Kids are on their own until Sunday afternoon, when we're meeting for a mid-afternoon meal out. My cousin is on the retreat with me and her husband, John and the kids are meeting us for "Lunner" Sunday afternoon before we all head home.
Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday, February 20: Breakfast: Cold Cereal and Milk Lunch:  French Bread, Cheese, Apple and Pear Slices Dinner: Salmon, French Bread, Green Beans, Pineapple and Cantaloupe
Monday, February 21: Breakfast: Waffles with Pineapple (kids' request) Lunch: Chicken Nuggets, Carrots, …

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Church Family

With John being in Seminary and 'working' in 2 different churches, us attending a third and our children attending school at a 4th, I often feel like I'm playing musical churches.    Sometimes it's frustrating, running here and there, juggling 2-3 different schedules and churches on a Sunday.  We're also part of the Minnesota Via de Cristo community, which adds a 5th church community in there as well.

Even though it often feels like we're juggling things and it's a bit crazy, it means we have a HUGE church family.

Yes, a family.

A family made up of God's precious children of all shapes and sizes, colors and abilities. 

And it is a family.

We care for each other.

We argue with each other.

We lift each other up.

We get angry with each other.

We help each other out.

And we're always there for each other.

Doesn't that sound like a family?  I think so.

These last few months have been especially tough for me for some reason.  Part of it is that I'…

Super Savings Saturday - Back on Track with the Grocery Budget!

After being a bit, well, sloppy with the grocery budget last week - after the whole $60 in January thing I guess I was feeling like I needed to spend money for some dumb reason! - I decided that I was going to hit it hard from now on out.  We have several 'little' things that we're saving for and that money comes out of what's left from our cash envelopes, for things like groceries, recreation, gas, etc.    I'm pleased to say that I have money to put into the 'savings' envelope this week! 
Here's what I got:
Store #1:
Java Delight Coffee $4.99 with store coupon Hunt's Ketchup 36oz $1.39 Jenny-O Turkey Breast @ $0.99/lb (store coupon): $7.95 2.61 lbs of Red Seedless Grapes @ $1.39/lb: $3.63
Total Spent: $17.96 Total Saved: $8.23 (according to store receipt)
Store #2: Store Brand Whole Wheat Saltine Crackers $2 4 Cans Progresso Vegetable Soup $1 x 4 = $4 - $1 - $1 = $2 Reeses Peanut Butter Egg: $0.66 2 Loaves Mini French Bread $1.99 Colgate Regular Toothpaste $0.…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Simple and Little

One of the greatest joys I have in life as the simple and  little things.  Things such as...

* my son's laugh
* my daughter's pig tails
* my husband's hand holding mine
* my lovely flowers in the spring and summer
* hot spiced cider in the fall
* hot and fresh coffee
* good conversation with a friend
* a date night game with my husband and lots of laughs
* a first thing in the morning cuddle with one of my children
* homemade Valentine's cards
* homemade Valentine's treats
* a tidy living room
* a cleaned-up kitchen
* my daughter's face deep in concentration on a project
* an imaginary light sabre fight with my son
* good hot cocoa mix from a friend
* a glorious sunrise (or sunset)
* soft grass on my bare feet
* a good book
* good music
* wholesome, fresh food
* freshly pressed school uniforms
* clean sheets on the beds
* time to sew
* thumb-print pictures made by my kids
* flying high on a swing
* playing tag or ring around the rosey or London bridge
* my chil…

Super Savings Saturday - 4 pair pants, 2 jackets, 1 blouse, 2 suits plus Jewelry for $65!

So, I am officially in love with Clothes Mentor!  I love, love, love that store!  They recently opened on in a neighboring suburb and after reading rave reviews on several other blogs, I decided to give it a shot!  My first time there I bought 1 pair of slacks, 1 skirt, 3 sweater sets, and a cashmere sweater for $100.  I thought that was pretty good.

Today's "haul" took the cake!  And I'm lovin' it!  I had $60 total to spend, I needed some things for myself and I wanted to stop at another shop and get some things for the kids too.

Today was the last day of the $2 clearance sale.  I only looked at the $2 racks, until it came to the jewelry.  Here's what I got:
(Pardon the crummy pictures.  I have a very mediocre camera and very average lighting!)
These lovely brown gauchos (is that what they're called?).  Cost: $2
These lovely black pin-stripe pants.  Cost: $2
This lovely pair of wide-leg jeans (sorry folks, I don't 'do' the skinny jeans!). Cost: $2

In the Refiner's Fire - Lessons from George Muller

A few weeks ago I bought the Autobiography of George Muller and read it cover to cover in one sitting!  Yes, it really was that engrossing.  And I was absolutely enthralled.

I had first heard of George Muller when I first stumbled across Crystal's blog a few years ago. Her old blog, that is - the one before this one!  Then it suddenly kept popping up all over the place!  First on another web site I had stumbled upon, then a friend mentioned it, then a co-worker, then in a sermon at church, then a friend, and...  well, you get the picture. 

Hmmm, maybe this is something I should look into! 

I have had it on my "To Read" list for quite some time but since our local library didn't carry it and I am trying very hard not to buy any more books until I finish reading the shelves (literally) full of unread books that live in our house, I hadn't read it. 

Once I started reading I really couldn't put it down. 

I learned some very valuable things reading this book. …

Goals Update - Week of January 30th, 2011 Review

Is is just me or is this year flying by?  I feel like I'm hearing a "Whoosh" as the days fly past.  *SIGH*

I guess that just means I have to pay more attention as things happen!

Things that were completed this last week include:
* Doing a quick tidy on the living room and our bedroom
* Cleaning out the kids drawers
* Getting caught up on the ironing
* Deep cleaning the bathrooms (they desperately needed it!)
* Staying caught up - and actually getting ahead! - with my teaching work
* Working out 3x this last week
* Going through 2 more transcripts (almost done with those!)
* Finishing another paper
* Starting a research proposal
* Establishing a professional contact that might be very important in the near future
* Ordering some supplies which will enable me to finally cross off some of my scrapbook projects from my to-do list
* Going on a very nice date with John (and managed to find a babysitter at the last minute)
* Making Valentine's Day presents for John and the…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 6th, 2011

Where, oh where, does the time go?  Can you believe it's already February?  I'm at a loss as to how that can happen so darn fast!
ANYWAY, here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, February 6th, Super Bowl Sunday:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch: Chili Fundraiser
   Dinner: Super Bowl Party (Bring Chips)

Monday, February 7th:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Kids, Leftovers for the grown ups
  Snack for Mom: Yogurt with Granola
  Dinner: Bagel Pizzas, Salad, Melon-Apple-Grape Salad

Tuesday, February 8th:
   Breakfast: Pancakes with Pumpkin Butter and Almonds
   Dinner: Baked Chicken, Quinoa, Green Beans, Melon-Grape-Banana Salad

Wednesday, February 9th:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Blueberries and Almonds
   Lunch: Turkey Sandwiches, Applesauce or Mandarin Oranges, Cookie, Juice Box
   Snack for Mom:  Crackers with Pumpkin Butter
   Dinner: Hot Dogs in Buns, Cole Slaw, Orange Wedges

Thursday, February 10th:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins …

Healthy Habits in 2011 - Exciting Stuff!

I'm really excited with what I've been doing on this area.  Even with being sick and having a house full of sickies for the last two weeks,  I've made progress. 

I found and calibrated that darn pedometer.  Progress.
I keep forgetting to wear said pedometer.  (No, that's not progress!)

I've been doing much better with snacking. Progress.
It's really hard to snack when you're doing things that require your hands and when I have to tell my accountability partner what I've eaten it tends to cut down on mindless eating.  Crackers are still a weakness - especially right before bed (a habit I started when I was pregnant how many years ago now!) - but I have managed to cut down to a few oyster crackers from a whole bowl of saltines.  I don't need the salt  and I don't need the calories!

The biggest thing - and the most exciting - is that I took that first step to being a Jazzercise instructor!

I had an impromptu opportunity this week to do a movement …

Prayer Request Update

A huge THANK YOU for all your prayers.

My parents are now on their way back to the US - evacuated to Greece and now on their way home.  We're just hoping they don't get stuck someplace here in the US with all the storm activity running around.

As my Dad said, "This trip turned into quite the adventure!" 

It's a huge relief.

And we are go grateful!

Thanks again for your prayers.  We so appreciate it!

Soli Deo Gloria.  Amen.

Goals Update - Week of January 23, 2011 Review

With how our weekend went, last week seems like it was a LONG time ago.  I feel like I've lived three lives (at least!) since last week.

What did I accomplish last week?
* Finalized everything I needed for classes this week.
* Slept a LOT (to get rid of a bad head cold)
* Attended 2 meetings
* Cleaned out another bookcase - of work/school stuff this time! I think that stuff multiplies on it's own.
* Filled out enrollment forms for my kids for school for next year
* Worked out twice
* Did a movement screening for becoming a Jazzercise instructor (more on that later!)
* Read a whole entire book - for pleasure!
* Deep cleaned my bathroom
* Found Buddy's glasses - he had lost them for about a week

I figured that was pretty good for having a terrible head cold, John having a sinus infection and the kids still getting over their head colds! 

I also realized this last month that I had expectations that were more than just a bit too high as to what I could get done in a day.  I&…

Menu Plan Monday (on a Tuesday) - Week of January 30th, 2011

I'm a bit grateful that the pantry challenge is over, since we were out of several things - mostly by my own poor planning.  Fortunately nothing earth-shattering food-wise other than fruit, which we run out of regularly anyway.  Kleenex and feminine products were the problem as was shampoo - though I managed to make it through without buying shampoo until after the pantry challenge was over!  We can make do without crackers but we really like to have them on hand - yes, we're a wee bit spoiled like that! :)

That said, we still have  A LOT in the freezer and pantry - especially frozen veggies and things like rice, beans and pasta.  So we'll work on using those this month.  I'm also slowly working toward more of a true "stockpile" of 3-6 months of food.  We have several holes plus fruit and milk.  I don't plan on filling in the fruit and milk that much since fresh fruit and milk to drink are important to us.  The other holes are more important. And I'll…