Saturday, July 31, 2010

Couponing Link

Coupon users are making the news!  This news link has great information, and proves that couponing is all the rage! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tina's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Those yummy cookies in the picture?  Those are the creation of a genius:  Tina @ Carrots & Cake.  I have made them many times, and they are as delicious as they look!  Even non-vegans and healthy-food-haters think they are wonderful! 
Give them a try.  And check out Tina's blog for more great recipes.
Thanks, Tina!

Recipe: here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scripture Memorization Tip!

Part of our home schooling curriculum is to memorize scripture.  I found an excellent tip for making it and easy, quick part of our day that really works!  Click the link below to start doing this today, whether you home school or not!

Simply Charlotte Mason:  Scripture Memory Box

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Because...

I just love this picture. 
It was taken on Easter Sunday, at my Grandmother's house, after a huge dinner with all of my wonderful family.
Which I also love. 
Funny how a simple picture of nothing at all, really, can bring up visions of things that mean so much.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Modest Swim wear?

I wasn't sure what "modest swim wear" would look like, but I know what immodest swim wear looks like, and I am not cool with it.
When we decided to take a vacation that would entail lots of swimming, I started looking for a swimsuit that wouldn't feel like I was parading around in front of strangers dressed in only my undergarments.
I found a suit that is well-made, flattering, and feminine. 
And covered. 
Check it out!

Yeah, that is obviously not me.  The picture is courtesy of the link below.

My suit actually has an adorable rouched skirt.  The top is the same, and it has the genius little hooks that keep the top and bottom linked together, so the top won't ride up. 
I love it!
Go to Christa Taylor online to order.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am Almond Butter

Food for thought, anyone? 

I stumbled onto an interesting "bloggersation" when I went "e-wandering" the other day. 
Is what we eat a stewardship issue?
The comments at the end of the post are interesting. 
Check it out!
Click here:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

John Piper: Make War

I am a huge fan of John Piper.  This is a short, powerful sermon that is just amazing.
Take some time to look at it...then go make war on your "stuff."
Click here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stuff I Like

I love it when I get a photo that displays a myriad of things I love...and I love to use a sentence that enables me to say "myriad."  In this picture, I love:

1.  The Roo, my nephew
2.  The Kitty Friend
3.  Popcorn (in the red bowl)
4.  My ugly pink chair (it is just the right height for me)
5.  Fleece blankets
6.  Books...of course

Friday, July 23, 2010

"We Are Having Our Time..."

They have "their time" every day, just to catch up and reconnect after a long day at work.
He is single. 

A Little Thrifty Love

The men in my house--The Husband and Brother--have had quite a successful week.  In the last two days, they both had very exciting work-related news.  I am so proud of both of them. 
Neither of them really read my blog, so I can be super mushy without them even knowing it :)

Dear Husband, 

You have always been the one for me, so how blessed am I that you turned out to be one of the most wonderful men in the world?  I couldn't have known when we were young who you would become as a man, but God did.  And He blessed me richly in bringing us together.  Thank you for all your hard work, for your integrity, for your sacrifice for our family and beyond.  You are the most treasured thing in my life.  I hope to have many more years full of opportunities to show you how happy I am to be your wife.  So, in honor of your success, I am making you a special dinner, including two of your favorite things...beef and homemade salsa. 

That is love, babe.
Love Always, The Wife

 Dear Brother,

How awesome is your new venture in life?  I am really proud of you, "Gaylord."  I know you can be successful at whatever you do...remember the time you totally put your heart and soul into doing your laundry?  Wait, scratch that.  What about the time you totally dominated the weeds in the ditch with that mini lawn mower?  Yeah, this is going to be just like that.  You are going to dominate it.  Just make sure you get up in time :)  Thanks for letting me hang out with you and share in your life.  Lots of times God gave me just enough encouragement, just in time, and many times He used you to do it.  You are a pretty good friend.  In honor of your exciting news, I made you Chocolate Chip Cookie bars--with real butter. 

Love, Your Secretary

Who says celebrating has to be expensive? 
I guarantee that they know how important they are to me, and I didn't have to go out and buy anything. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Discipline Advice

Sometimes I have to have a "conference" with Tiny Love about her behavior.  I will even subject myself to the aroma of her beloved yellow blanket if it means that we can talk privately about the issue in a room full of people. 
I am happy to discipline and train my children. 
I am not happy to humiliate them in front of others to do so.
Tiny reacts to discipline slightly different than Curlyjo. 

Me:  No, Tiny.  The answer is no.
Tiny:  But, but, but...AAAAUUUGHHHHHHH!  *insert crying*

Me:  No, Curlyjo.  The answer is no.
Curlyjo:  Oooookkk.  *insert slight eye roll*

And you know what?  The eye rolling drives me the most bananas.  Poor Curlyjo, my sweet, compliant, gentle child, can't even get away with an eye roll.  But Tiny Love can just have an all out mental breakdown, and I will just tell her to go have it somewhere else.  I guess I just don't know what to do with the eye-rolling, as it often is coupled with obedience.  But it is obvious by her attitude that the compliance I am receiving is begrudging.  She still thinks I am wrong/crazy/annoying.
Obviously, I am not a perfect parent.  So, I like to seek parenting advice from books, other mothers, and "professionals." 

I recently read a post on the blog "Making Home."  The blog writer, Jess, has five children, which in my opinion makes her a professional.  If you find yourself tossed in the wind of parenting, looking for answers, trying new methods only to end up in the same tantrum place, check out her thoughts on discipline.  
You just might identify some areas that need YOU. 
Then you can roll your eyes at yourself.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vacation Organization

Poetry, right?

I have been using an incredible guide for my vacation packing!  You MUST check out this site if you are:
1.  OCD (check).
2.  Terrified of forgetting something (check).
3.  Not sure what to take on vacation, because you have never been on one with kids (check).
4.  In charge of packing for everyone (check).
5.  Leaving a teenage boy at your house to take care of things for a week (check).

I have made list for everyone, including Brother.  His list includes items such as:

~ Miss sister terribly.
~ Flush the toilet.
~ Mow the grass sometime before it qualifies for the "Prairie Restoration" program.
~ Call your mother daily, hourly if necessary.
~ Unless it is for Tupperware, you can't have a party.
~ Do not neglect the care of the Kitty Friend's litter box, or fear retaliation in the form of urination.

Yes, I am thorough. 
Yes, he will be annoyed.
These are not new concepts.
Without a list of things to focus on, he might do this:

or this:

or this:

When he should be doing this:

All things aside, I am grateful that he will be here to keep up with things while we are gone.   I really do like him very much, even though he does things like this when I leave my camera out on my desk:

And really, he isn't too far off...I am incredibly:
1 a : happily excited : merry b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits

2 a : bright, lively b : brilliant in color


So?  What is his point?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, July 20, 2010

Outside my window...It is dark and rainy.  Perfect weather for sleeping late!

I am thinking...about the storms we have had in the last couple of days.  Storms make me think of how awesome God is, that if He were to come over me with even a fraction of His power, I would bend like the trees in the wind.

I am thankful husband, who works so hard so that I can be home with our children.

From the learning rooms...I have been freaking out about planning our next school year.  I am looking forward to having a normal routine again. 

From the kitchen...I am about to make breakfast, which Tiny Love likes to include syrup.  I am out of almond butter.  This is not good.

I am wearing...a t-shirt, boxer shorts, no socks.  But my hair is done, makeup on.  Priorities.

I am creating...a very detailed information packet to take on vacation.  It has maps, directions, local businesses, lists of things to pack for each family member, phone numbers, and instructions for Brother while I am gone.  I love lists.

I am get a pedicure today with a dear friend.  I haven't had one in a few years, so I will try to swallow my pride and not feel ashamed of my calluses.  Running is unkind to the feet. 

I am reading...A Little Piece of Earth by Maria Finn.  Now I need a worm farm in my basement.

I am buy almond butter today.  Sorry, the almond butter is obviously distracting me today.

I am hearing...Tiny Love give me her itinerary for the next few days. 

Around the house...Tiny Love is dusting my printer.  She can leave her room so trashed that I can't find my way to her bed to kiss her goodnight, but dust on the printer requires immediate action.  I don't get it.

One of my favorite things...almond butter.  Again with the obsession.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Packing for vacation, getting my teeth cleaned (which I hate), helping with VBS, putting some mileage on my sneakers, and the usual (dishes, laundry).

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

The beautiful and elusive Curlyjo has a loose tooth.  Loose teeth are all the rage around here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

To participate in Menu Plan Monday, click here.

I have been trying to plan a menu for the next week for several days.  We have a very busy week, and we are leaving for vacation on Saturday, so our meals need to be quick, easy and not have too many leftovers!

Monday:   Toasted turkey and cheese sandwiches on bakery rolls, chips, fresh veggies with light Ranch dressing

Tuesday:  Enchilada Pie (I will be adapting the recipe by using canned cooked chicken breast and cooking the casserole in the crock pot.  I hope this works!), Salad

Wednesday:  Healthy Cheddar and Bacon Quiche, salad, whole wheat mini bagels

Thursday:  Tex Mex Turkey Soup (adapted by using ground turkey), crackers/tortilla chips

Friday:  "Leftover Round-Up"

Saturday:  Vacation begins!

I do plan to do some cooking while we are on vacation.  Eating out is not my favorite thing to is not healthy or economical, two things that are very important to me.  I will be taking my blender (for smoothies!), and I thought out loud about bringing my Crockpot.  The family members we are vacationing with looked at me like I was out of my mind, so I think I better leave my beloved crock at home. 

What is for dinner at your house this week?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Favorite Personal Bible Studies

(Almost) Every morning, I have a "quiet time" with my Bible while I drink my coffee.  Growing up in church, I knew that this was something I "should" do.  Now it is something I want to do.  I began practicing this discipline about three years ago, and it has changed my life. 
But, the Bible can be daunting. 
Where do I start reading? 
What am I supposed to do?
What does it mean?
I found resources that have really helped me focus during my Bible time, and I have learned so much!
All of the studies below are suggestions based on my personal experience.

An awesome study for getting familiar with who the Bible says God is...
so basically, who God says He is.

An amazing resource for teaching you to look at each verse different ways, to help increase your understanding.

Hands down, the most life-changing time I have ever spent with God's Word was when I was doing this study.  I plan to do it again.  I think He can make it new :)

A quick daily lesson, but very reflective and challenging.  It made me take a hard look at some things in my life that were just too important.

I am currently finishing this one.  It is just so amazing.  I highly recommend it!

Can you tell that I love Kay Arthur Bible studies?  They are well-written, Biblically sound, and teach you Bible study skills that you will use for the rest of your life.

The time I have spent in private Bible study have been more formative to my faith than any church service I have attended.  Church is an important part of my life, but my church life is fueled by my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I have found that what I know about Jesus, what I believe to be true, and what that means in my life are made very clear to me in personal Bible study time. 
I find structured Bible studies to be helpful, but you could just pick up a Bible, ask God for guidance, and go with it.
He has a way with His Word.

All images are courtesy of and all resources are available there.

Soooooo Thirsty!

This hot weather seems to be getting to everyone.
Nothing a tall glass of cold water can't fix!
I set my water glass on the landing of the stairs, walked away to get a book for Tiny Love, and Kitty Friend decided to help herself. 
It was a tight fit, so she decided to try the "hand-to-mouth" method instead.

I guess it is kind of a clean/hydrate combo. 
Once we were all done admiring how cute (and kinda gross) this was, I led Kitty Friend to her water bowl, where I poured her the rest of the water. 
She turned up her nose and walked away.
She thinks she is people. 

I don't know where she gets this idea :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thrifty Tips

If you are looking for a new hobby that will be both entertaining and lucrative while feeding your love of lists and control over a world of chaos, COUPONS are for you.

I love the couponing game.  
I love that I get to tell the Wal-Mart cashier what I want to pay for an item.
I love that I can beat "the Man" at this game.
Oh, and I love to be in control...of my grocery budget :)

While I am still a novice at the couponing thing, a friend of mine has taken me under her wing.  She has shared some awesome tips with me!
If you want more information on how to begin saving money with coupons, check out:

If you are a bibliophile (like me) and want to read up on it, I suggest:

I have been reading it, and it really is helpful!

So, here is my tip.  It is not earth-shaking or brilliant, but I am still excited.  I am easily amused, obviously. 
My family and I are leaving for vacation next week (I won't say where, but I will say tar balls), and I have been collecting provisions for a couple of months.  Using every coupon I could that didn't say "excludes travel size," I scoured the stores for mini everything.  I ended up with all of this:

Each of these items were either free or close enough. 
I capped that vacation spending faster than you can say "BP."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thank God for Tiny Love

Tomorrow we take Tiny Love to the children's hospital for her "check up."  This is an event that takes place every two years, and it really is an all day event.  I dread it.  I brings so many memories flooding back to my mind and heart, things I would like to never have to think on again.

Maddie was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis when she was eleven months old.  I had no idea there was anything wrong with my little tiny baby, I just thought she was perfect.  A wonderful doctor who attended church with us happened to notice some abnormalities in her head shape and voiced her concerns.  I am thankful for that doctor every day. 

Looking back on her early pictures, I see now that her head shape did get worse as she got older, but I just hadn't ever heard of such a problem. 
We went to the children's hospital to see a Pediatric Plastic Surgeon.  That title made me feel guilty, before I knew what these wonderful doctors do.  They advised us that surgery was the only way to fix the problem and avoid a potentially serious situation later on.  I left that day shocked, scared, and shaken to the core.  We scheduled surgery, and I prayed and prayed and cried and called out to God on her behalf.  
And He heard me. 
Though immediately after surgery, she sure didn't look like it.

I was the most shaken I had ever been, or have ever been since.  I couldn't bear to look at her at first, and that made me feel guilty along with scared.  She battled blood loss, blood transfusions that just didn't end, and a collapsed lung.  But she was strong, and God was faithful. 
I clung to Him and tried to just keep going.

She took a step forward, she took a step back.  It felt like years, but actually it was only five days.  Yes, five days after surgery, Tiny Love went home.  She never acted like she was in pain, though her pupils showed the effects of the trauma to her head.  She never seemed to notice the wound on her head, though others looked terrified when they saw the massive amount of stitches used to close up her precious body.  She never cried in the night, though I did. 
Five days after coming home, we celebrated Christmas.

I thanked God for restoring her health and her smile, and He continued to heal her.  To communicate all the ways God used this dark time in our lives to strengthen us is beyond my power of communication. 
All I can say is, He is my Counselor, my Healer, my Good Shepherd. 
Heaven listens.

That I know for sure.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Time for Everything

So, what have I been doing lately? 

1.  Taking care of a temporarily crippled dog.

2.  Visiting with Mom and Dad, who are home right now!

3.  Listening to this:

4.  Reading this:

5.  Cooking from this:

6.  Doing the usual laundry, dishes, etc. (ad nauseam).

We are now up to speed.  My life is so exciting.
One thing we have not been doing is homeschooling!  I guess this year our school is getting a summer vacation.  The girls have been having fun swimming, having play dates, and doing the summer reading program at our local library. 
I have been thinking about my little blog, and how much I have missed having a place to vent my thoughts, share my ideas, and generally chronicle our lives for the whole world to read (eeekkkk!), and I have come to some conclusions:

~ I am going to be more organized in the format of my blogging.  I need a list.  I just do.

Mondays:  Menu Plan Monday/recipes
Wednesdays:  Random!   
Thursdays:  Homeschooling/Kids
Fridays:  Thrifty Fun
Saturday:  Random! 
Sunday:  Bible-related posts

Do you love how I actually schedule when to be random?  So?  Don't judge me. 

~ I like blogging because I miss writing.  My favorite part of college was all the papers I had to write.  I enjoyed it immensely, the way it made me think more critically, focus on one thing (being at home is a lesson in multi-tasking), and seeing the beautiful fruit of my labors (being a homemaker often feels like an exercise in futility).  I love what I do now, but this gives me a place to think, be, share, and learn.
And be random.
At the appointed time, anyway.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's Alive...

my bloggy that is.

I FINALLY got a new computer (it is not, however, a mac...I just couldn't do it).

So, Monday I will take it in and get it all set up, and then I will be blogging my life away :)

I have a lot of things kicking around in my brain that I want to write about.  For those of you who love the "sound of my voice" (Mom), this is a positive developement.  For those of you who are more on the "show the pictures and shut it" side, not so much.  But, there will be pictures worth a thousand words as well as a thousand words. 

Let the good times roll.
Hope to see someone on Monday!