Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Monday 4/27-5/3

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Baked Potatoes with veggies and cheese

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches, carrot sticks, fruit
Dinner: Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes, green salad

Breakfast: Toast and fruit
Lunch: Lentil Soup
Dinner: Aztec Chicken

Breakfast: Smoothies and toast
Lunch: Sandwiches, fruit, carrot sticks
Dinner: Lentil Tacos

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: Lightning Fast Wraps, string cheese
Dinner: Pasta with Eggplant

Breakfast: Smoothies and toast
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: something from the crockpot???
Dinner: Birthday Party: Bring your own Burgers

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Frugal Friday

In continuing on with my thoughts regarding Thriftiness vs. Frugality from a couple of weeks ago, I find myself to be constantly challenged in my thinking. This is just a short tally of my wins and losses in this area of my life:

Ways I've cut spending:
* Did some honest soul searching about necessary purchases regarding rebates at Rite Aid and Walgreens the last couple of weeks
* Did the same for double coupons at KMart this week and cut my list
* Passed up some deals at the grocery store because they didn't fit our meal plan or current recipes
* Passed up the luxury of a new book
* Cut down on trips to the gym in favor of old workouts
* Passed on "Make a Plate" at MOPS (despite gift idea)
* Searched gift box in closet for Easter, over buying something else
* Took a mom at her word when she said that her daughter didn't need another birthday gift
* Passed up spa night with MOPS

Luxury money that I've spent, but am ok with:
* Gas money for the holiday
* Snacks on the way to Grandma's
* Ordered photos with Walgreen's discount code
* Kids' summer swim and gymnastics lessons

Luxury money that I'm still debating on:
* MOPS night at the ceramics studio???

For more Frugal Friday thoughts, check out Life As Mom.

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Fourteen

Read previous posts in this series by checking out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, and, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve and Part Thirteen.

As I write the final post in their series, my three year is rallying a major war in the time-out corner, trying everything he can to push my buttons. There are days he succeeds, and days he doesn't. Let's hope today is a good day.

I pray that through this series, you've been as encouraged as I have. To take a look at yourself. To take a look at your parenting style. To remember that we can only accomplish these things as we continue to focus on the Lord and become the parents that He would have us be.

Remember that this is a short season in your life. No matter where your children are, toddlers or teenagers, this too shall pass. And what impression will you have left on them?

"In all things will I remember that more is caught than is taught."

Praying for you today,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

I have a great tackle this week...

Just need to gloat for a moment...

I spent last week at my mom's. Hubby was working funny hours and Big Boy was on Spring Break. The Men's Retreat was this last weekend so it all rolled into one to be a great time for an extra long visit.

One of the upsides of visiting Grandma...

I scrapped over 20 pages... 6 family reunion pages for our family album and over 15 pages for my Baby Girl's first year album. I just have birthday and Disney trip to scrap to finish her first year.

I'm so excited. It's been my goal to finish her first year album before she turns 18 months this June. So it finally looks like I'm on the right track.

To see what others tackled this week, check out Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Menu Monday 4/20-4/26

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: Salad and sandwiches
Dinner: Taco Soup

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and toast
Lunch: Baked Potatoes
Dinner: Hamburger Skillet

Breakfast: Orange Smoothie
Lunch: Salads and sandwiches
Dinner: Veggie Quesadillas

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: Veggie Noodle Soup
Dinner: Leftover Enchiladas

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Veggie Quesadillas
Dinner: Veggie Pizza

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Easy Thai Chicken Wraps

Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Birthday Party: Take Burgers

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Link Love

I love this idea of Quiet Bins for the kids (@ Keeper of the Home).

Here's another great blog on Room Time for littles (@ Teaching Two).

This is a great post on being Generous While Living on a Budget (@Money Saving Mom). These are some great ideas essential for anyone being thoughtful of their budget.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Thirteen

Read previous posts in this series by checking out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, and, Part Ten, Part Eleven and Part Twelve.

"I will not require of my children obedience, honesty, patience, or kindness without first being willing to submit to the same rules whether in speed limit, in miscounted change from the grocery store or when answering a toddler for the fourteenth time, for by this my children will see a mother who is also learning and not a perfect parent to whom they'll never measure up."

This is quite a moment of reflection. How many times have we asked things of our children that we're not willing to do ourselves? My own personal conviction has been in the area of kindness lately. It's too easy to forget that my children are young. Not to allow inappropriate behavior in them, but to remember that what appears as disobedience is sometimes simply ignorance. And while the consequences of their behavior may be warranted, comforting and walking them through the situation is still necessary in displaying kindness.

I'm sure my children have seen in the last few weeks that their mommy is still learning. However, open and honest communication is still necessary for them to learn how we think through situations and learn from them. Fully showing them, when age appropriate, how Mommy is growing while benefit them in multiple ways.

"Lord grow my character that I may more accurately display who you are to my children. May I continue to face challenges in my growth, not only for my benefit, but theirs as well."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Resources

Big Boy exhausted after a day of hunting eggs and eating with family--Easter 2008

This has been a crazy past couple of weeks, and sadly, I've haven't been as focused as I'd like to be on the upcoming holiday. Easter is a time of festivity and joy. But it can so quickly become lost in the trappings of a commercialized American holiday. Or in my case, thoughts of a complicated economy. As I struggle to refocus myself and my kids on the meaning of the day, I also struggle with that to tell my 3 year old. That his Jesus that he loves was nailed to a cross, but arose after three days. It's a fantastical tale. One I believe, but even looking through his eyes, I wonder how to explain the hatred that would have motivated such unbelievable actions. Or the love that allowed them to happen.

If you're struggling with how to explain the depth of this cherished day, I'd like to include some resources that have been brought to my attention, in hopes that they will be of help to you as well. Enjoy!

Resurrection Cookies--I just found these today. I'm thinking of doing them with the kids tomorrow.

Resurrection Eggs--Although mine still seem too little for this, I may not be giving them enough credit. This would be fun to try to do next year and do it for several days leading up to Easter.

Two Dozen Easter Traditions--Check out these Easter traditions and consider incorporating a few into your family.

Family Bible Readings for Holy Week and More Holy Week Resources

Frugal Friday

I was recently challenged by a post from Kristen at We are THAT Family commenting on The Difference Between Thrifty and Frugal. I wasn't challenged so much to live off the grid, so to speak, rather to revisit my issue of spending.

In the past 9 days, we've had our offer on a house accept and 2 days later had our second car go into the garage. While a second car is a recognizable luxury, it's one that has almost become a necessity in my life. I didn't realize how much I depended on that car until I found myself without. And facing 10 days and thousands of dollars of work. Add these two things together and it's been a lot of soul searching this past week.

As my husband has taken it on to be the bread winner, allowing me the liberty of staying at home with the kids, I've always thought of my contribution to be in the area of frugality. While my days are far from easy, I have had some time to bargain shop, clip coupons, and generally penny pinch. What was once a chore, quickly became fun for me. How far could I stretch my husband's pay check? How far could it go?

And then somewhere along the way, my frugality became thriftiness. I learned how to stockpile shampoo and toothpaste, how to purchase some higher end items for less, and picked up some luxury items for myself along the way. All at a fraction of the cost. However, there were still some loses. Somethings that just weren't necessities. Somethings were just fun.

So I'm just thinking through this idea. Check out the original post. Tell me what you think.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Twelve

Read previous posts in this series by checking out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, and, Part Ten and Part Eleven.

"I will by my actions and my speech let my children see a mom love their dad, for by this will my children sense family stability at a time when marriages all around them are crumbling."

I have to chuckle at God's timing. This same topic was the focus of my MOPS group this morning. How to keep your marriage strong. Why it's your responsibility to keep it strong.

I must admit that when people start telling women what to do to make their marriage affair proof, I'm the first to stand up and question why the women always get these "lectures." However, the Lord was revealing something else to me today in that conversation. He began to show me that although I'm right in recognizing that it's not a two sided issue, I can, and should, be doing my part to strengthen this relationship any way I can. Although my husband shares in this responsibility, that doesn't release me from putting my 100% effort in as well.

So in a sense, how dare I blame him for not recognize my unspoken needs. How dare I demand more. If I were truly loving my husband, my response wouldn't be more demands.

Now, I'm not saying all wives should be doormats. Rather, we should continually be working on our communication and lovingly strive to better ourselves and our relationship for everyone involved: husband, kids, and us.

I see how reassuring it is to my kids when my husband and I are moving insinc with one another. There are times when we will embrace in the kitchen, just to hold one another. And when my kids see that, their faces light up. Both the 3 year old and the 1 year old come running to be a part of our hug. They instantaneously know that's a safe place to receive love. It's innate in them. They recognize it and embrace it.

My marriage is far from perfect. There are fights and annoyances. But we are careful to express love between us in front of the kids. Through this they have seen a marriage built on commitment and a mutual respect and honor for a living God.

"Lord, remind me to place my marriage above myself. Remind me that cherishing it and nurturing it is far more important even than the things that I'm "doing for the kids." By cherishing this relationship I'm giving to them a gift that is far above many of the tasks that I allow to rob my time."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

Flat surfaces in our home are always a challenge. Things get tossed here and there, there seems to be such a paper trail throughout our home. And having such a large bedroom at this time, we have lots of flat surfaces: desk, entertainment center, dressers, nightstands. Finally I had to do something this week. So I worked on both the entertainment center and the dressers. Oh, it's like a breath of fresh air and I'm anxious to take some more. Here's what I got done:

Our messy dressers:

Various shots of our messy Entertainment Center:

The dressers cleaned up:

Shots of the Entertainment Center cleaned up:

For more Tackle Tuesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Menu Monday 4/6-4/12

Wow! This is shaping up to be a fun, but busy week. We're trying to get to our playdate at the park and company Monday, an Easter party and gymnastics on Wednesday, MOPS on Thursday, and going to Grandma's on Sunday. Plus squeezing in Easter stuff, packing, and doing some planning for the fall retreat. Should be fun. Just hope I remember to dye the eggs before Saturday. Figured I'd better make a note of it in my menu or I'll forget. :-)

Breakfast: Yogurt and cinnamon toast
Lunch: Sandwiches, salad, string cheese
Dinner: Homemade pizza

Breakfast: As You Wish... Muffins
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:Enchiladas (Big Boy's Request), green salad

Breakfast: As You Wish... Muffins, fruit
Peanut Butter Cookies for party at the YMCA
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly, bell pepper strips and dip
Dinner: Split Pea Soup in the crockpot

Breakfast: Toast, fruit, yogurt
Monkey Bread for MOPS
Lunch: Salad, veggie dippers
Dinner: Three Cheese Baked Spaghetti

Hard boil eggs for dying on Saturday Night

Breakfast: Orange Smoothies, toast
Lunch: Lightning Fast Wraps, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sammies, fruit, chips
Dinner: Hamburgers, Potato Salad, Smores

Breakfast: Bagels, eggs
Lunch: Sammies, chips, veggie dippers
Dinner: Leftovers or Taco Salad

Breakfast: Cranberry Apple Muffins
Going to Grandma's
Dessert to Share: ???

Practicing Hospitality: Chp 7

Lindsey, from Prassionate Homemaking, continues our book club discussion this week with chapter seven. For previous discussions, check out chapter one, chapter two, chapter three, chapter four, Part Five, and Part Six.

These are some key points that struck me:
*recognizing that an understanding of culture will open doors for sharing the gospel
*recognizing that a misunderstanding of culture can also close doors for sharing the gospel
*reminding us that it takes time to build relationships (pg 201).
*using English appropiately, this can save you a lot of misunderstandings (pg 208).

Discussion Questions:
1. What ideas can you share for being sensitive in communicating with people from different cultures?
What a tough question! But one worth wrestling through. I think in communicating with different cultures, taking a moment to be clear and thoughtful of one's words goes a long way. We so often speak in slang terms. Or just aren't sensitive to the things we say. And sarcasm and joking don't translate well in cross-cultural contexts. Idioms and cliches are suddenly out of place when trying to explain them. Having an open heart and mind to resolving conflicts and misunderstanding is key. In my experience of traveling internationally, prayer also has a lot to do with understanding each other. Our greatest connections have come from thoughtful and prayerful relationships.

2. How can you be more purposeful in including strangers/ foreigners in your hospitality practices?
Our town is small and although I know there are foreigners in our community, there are few in my sphere of influence. Or perhaps, my sphere has become too small. So this makes me wonder about how we can reach out into the community more.
Having said that, we've recently been talking about including others in our home. We've talked about inviting youth into our home to earn money for a mission trip, inviting a single mom over for dinner, and reaching out to those involved in the kids' programs that our children attend.

Join us tomorrow for chapter 8: Hospitality and Ministry

Link Love

I love these baby shower ideas (@ Momadvice).

I'm going to have to remember these 13 Phrases You Should Say On a Regular Basis (@ Happy to be at Home). Great ideas!

Can we say Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pops (@ Food Network)? Can we say delicious?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Frugal Friday

Can you believe it? I forgot to post the cheapest fruits and veggies last month. What kind of frugal mama am I? :-)

Here is the cheap produce listings for this month:
spring peas

I thought really loved summer produce, but I'm seeing some great potential for this month. Here's a few of the ideas roaming around in my head:
Chicken and Artichoke Pasta
Roasted Asparagus
Asian Noodle Salad
Rhubarb Raspberry Crisp (I personally love these and as strawberries are on sale right now, swap them out for the raspberries).

and let's not forget that if you have a little one, Mangoes make great baby food.

For future reference, here's the original Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables Month by Month article.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Eleven

This is a picture of Big Boy and some friends at a birthday party last month.

Read previous posts in this series by checking out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, and Part Ten.

"I will make our home a haven of rest and retreat from the outside world and a welcomed place for my children's friends, for with each impromptu backyard soccer game, each video viewed on a rainy day, each cup of hot cocoa or chocolate chip cookie, my children will have opportunity to practice the art of Christian hospitality thereby learning to share all God has given them."

This part is my favorite. So far. :-) I often think of what it will be like when my kids get older and pray that it will be our house that they spend time at. And pray that the Lord will expand our budget to feed a group of teenage boys.

While I know that I can keep my kids from spending time in less desirable places, I pray that they want to spend time in our home. That they feel it's a safe place to bring their friends. That their friends also recognize it as a safe place to be.

I'm reminded daily that time is short. They are growing all too quickly. So I pray for more patience, more calmness to sit down and listen, more peace to hear what they're really trying to say. I'm reminded to first make our home a place of retreat to them. A place that displays Christ's love so that they may welcome others into it.

Our book club reading has done wonders for enlarging my view of biblical hospitality. It's all about displaying the character of Christ. When there was a need, there He was. And there is a need in our world for Godly homes to open their doors to a hurting society. What better way to serve our kids and the world than to equip them to open their doors and lives, thereby expanding our reach even after they leave home.

"Lord, may my home always be a place of refuge. First, for my husband. Then for my children. Then for the world. May I be reminded to include them when preparing moments of hospitality. And may I remember that their generation has one of the greatest needs for it. Show me how I can make my home a safe place for these kids, both now and as they grow older. And may I never groan about a couple of extra mouths at the dinner table."
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