Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making a Plan- July

Yesterday I spent the majority of the afternoon planning meals for the rest of July----after we return from vacation. I know that I know how to cook more than 20 meals.....but why did I have such a hard time coming up with 20 different meals? I would love to hear what your favorite meals are....and if you spot something obvious that I have left off....please tell me...I am new at this so am fairly sure I've forgotten something!

1. Spaghetti, Green Beans, Rolls
2. Turkey, Potatoes, Broccoli, Watermelon
3. Chili Dogs, Chips
4. Chicken Pot Pie, Salad
5. BLT's, Mac N Cheese
6. Sausage, Corn, Baked Beans
7. Grilled Cheese, Chips
8. Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Squash, Green Beans
9. Crockpot Chicken, Rice, Salad
10. Pizza
11. Cheeseburger Macaroni, Broccoli
12. Taco Salad
13, Chicken Spaghetti
14. Turkey Sandwiches, Chips
15. Roast, Potatoes, onions, carrots, Salad, Rolls
16. Chicken Nuggets, Corn, Apple Sauce
17. Pork Chops, Pasta, Green Beans
18. Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon
19. Hamburgers, Homemade Fries
20. Corn Dogs, Chips

A question: When you meal plan do you plan your meals and then look for coupons or do you base your menus off the coupons you have?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays...

This week's weather forcast appears to be bringing some much needed rain to my neck of the woods...and I am already thinking...What on earth am I gonna do with the kids?

So I've started making a list....maybe it can help you on your next rainy day or Monday....they don't have to always get you down!

1. Make a tent....the kind with kitchen chairs and an old sheet.

2. Rent a movie ON DEMAND. It's gonna cost you $3.99 for something recently in the theaters or you can grab an older one for $2.99 or so....but the benefit is 2 hours of happy, occupied kids. OR watch something you have on hand...for free!

3. Tackle a project....clean out a closet or sort through toys. It won't take all day but you will all feel like you haven't wasted the day....then reward yourselves by taking time to....

4. Bake cookies

5. Make homemade playdough

6. Read together

7. Finger paint.

8. Write letters to grandparents (or draw pictures)

9. Play tournament games...checkers, Candyland, Connect Four, Uno, Monopoly, Wii

10.  Order Pizza for delivery

And if all else fails......PLAY IN THE RAIN!

So, what do you do with your kids on bad weather days?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Couponing, Meal Planning and More

I posed this question in my facebook status yesterday:

Favorite coupon site or tip?

Do you have one? I am looking into some serious ways to be better stewards of our money. My plan is to get my coupons in order (any tips on that would also be appreciated) and then after we return from vacation in 2 weeks to get busy saving some cash on our food expenses.

I hear meal planning and couponing go hand in if you have a scrumptious low cost recipe that you want to share feel free.

I'll combine all the responses and link to your blog later this week.

Thanks for your help!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Decision to Trust

For about 6 months God has been pricking my heart to quit my job...or at the very least to scale back. To be honest when the pricking started I resisted. I was inwardly feeling conflicted but I had a job...a great job...a regular paycheck...a good one....and in an economy when I knew so many were struggling I thought it would be foolish to give up what most people would fight for. I worked 30 hours a week from home, worked flexible hours for the most part...but I knew God was ready for me to do something else.

After listening to a couple of sermons on the importance of the family, reading some pretty amazing statistics, seeking God's face I then had a heart to heart with Bruce and then my boss. I wasn't sure exactly what God was leading me to do, but felt that I needed to at least speak up so that my boss could make an intelligent plan for the future or her PR firm. My boss was more than understanding. When I talked with Bruce he said God was already speaking to him about me cutting back. was this going to happen? It's one thing to want to quit your's another thing to do it....and afford it! I had run the numbers...and there was no way I was going to be able to cut our expenses enough. And then it happened. In the middle of us trying to figure it all out....our home in Gunter sold, we got our tax return and we received an unexpected financial gift. GOD. IS. AMAZING. We were able to pay off every penny of debt with the exception of our home and 1 car ...which will be paid off in Dec.

I am not writing all this to brag...but to tell of the goodness of the Lord. He honored a grain of desire we had to obey Him. I say GRAIN because I don't know that I had THAT much faith that HE was going to work it all out. I only know we decided that we needed to head in the direction He was calling us.

And I know this isn't going to be a cake walk. We've cut our income in half....I'll be growing a garden way into the fall, clipping coupons beginning next week, using our towels more than once and any other budget savvy thing I can do....but I've got faith that if God wanted us to take this step...he's going to provide each step of the way. After all.....that's His business!

Yesterday as I was driving to the church I heard a speaker say "It's not about's about direction", he went on to say that we are not going to achieve perfection here on earth, but we should be walking in a direction that lets the world know who we are headed towards. I love that! God honors those small mustard seeds of faith.  We just need to move in that direction.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Walmart's Got You Covered

In an endeavor to work on my tan....or more honestly just go hang out with my kids and friends at the pool I attempted to find my packed-away-in-a-box bathing suit today. I believed it to be in the top of my closet where I tend to put things that I do not wear very often....and yes, even though I live in Texas where the heat index was 110 today, I do not have that many opportunities to wear the lovely tankini set I bought last year. So, as I climbed on the chair to rescue said bathing suit from the dust mites and cobwebs of the top of my closet, I was a little surprised to only find the top of the tankini set. There she was blue with teal green and purple cute. Where had I put the bottoms? I remembered that I had put a bathing suit in my dresser a few weeks ago when unpacked my summer clothes so I mozied on over to the dresser to discover the bottoms of a bathing suit....a different bathing suit....the red and gold and brown tapestry patterned bathing suit. UGH.....this wasn't going as planned. So, I searched and search....but found nothing.

So, reluctantly I psyched myself up for the after church trip to Wal-mart to find another suit....or at least some shorts to match the blue one. The trip wasn't a total waste. I needed a few things for our cookout tomorrow night for our late Father's Day celebration with Bruce's dad. Luckily, for all your bun needs....Walmart's got you covered! (I'm sorry....I just couldn't help myself) I emerged later with HB buns and 2 pair of board shorts w/tanks.....Now if I can just remember where I put them.....

Need Daily Encouragement?

My sister in law, Jan from Georgia (and mom to my sweet niece), is finally blogging! I am so excited about her blog, Jan's Ponderings. She has a great  knack for writing. If I were you....I'd start following her today and then start your day reading her devotional thoughts! Go HERE now!!!!! You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When You've Made a Fool of Yourself....

Teaching my kids the finer things in life is really quite important to me. Things like saying "please and thank you "and "Yes Ma'am and No Sir" are just about lost arts....and I know these thing because I've been around 120 kids during registration at VBS this week! But some of the lesser known finer things include saying "excuse me" at the appropriate times and possibly one that I have managed to master recently the "what to do when you wear your shirt inside out to lunch with friends". Yes, I did.

I had managed to put my shirt on correctly when I dressed for VBS this past Monday morning, but after registration I came home to work. I was wearing the layered-make-you-look-25 pounds-lighter look and so I took off the top shirt and wore only the tank while I was working from the privacy of my home. At 12:30, Bruce calls and says he is going to take the VBS speaker to lunch at the local Mexican place and asks if I want to join them. Did I mention our music director and three of his kids were going too. So, I grabbed my shirt, slipped it on, grabbed my keys, and headed out the door. I remember thinking to myself as I tried to get my tag to tuck under my shirt "I need to cut this tag out when I get home". Wow...I am a genius.

I arrived early, got the table for the 9 of us, saw our pastor and his wife, sat and talked with them for a few minutes....all the guess it....the shirt is on inside out. The guys and kids get there, we share in lovely  man conversation. We eat, the kids finish and Savannah comes over to me to ask me something. As she leans in to talk to me, she looks at my shoulder, then at me, then whispers to me, "Mom, do you have your shirt on inside out?" I looked down at my sleeve. "Why, yes. Yes I do Savannah"....and then I acted like I had never seen it and kept right on visiting with the guys....after all....they are men....they never noticed!

Geez......Lesson of the day....never'll save yourself a lot of embarrassment....teach your children to do the same.....and you'll save them and yourself a lot of embarrassment!

So humor me.....tell me something you've done recently to embarrass yourself! PLEASE!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fantastic Dads

The media wastes no time informing us of the large mass production of dead beat dads. Thankfully I didn't have I won't be giving any new briefs on that topic today. I was blessed with a fantastic dad for 18 years, and when he passed away it was possibly the most life changing event I have experienced to date. He taught me more about life, God's Word, hard work and respect than any other human being. He was fantastic.

And...this week past week I have had the opportunity to spend quality time with my new stepdad. Many of you will remember my mom remarried in October after being a widow for 19 years. This week ended up being so special. We had no big plans and spent most of our time just visiting. Mom and Tom arrived for a five day visit and left this morning after making a plethora of new memories. Tom has a wonderful way of making you feel at ease. He's funny, kind, generous and has a huge fan base in the under 4 footers in our home. God knew just what we needed after all these years.

My brother became a dad on Christmas day last year year. His little Sydney has already worked her magic on her daddy and is pretty busy calling the shots in their household. Daddy Andy is learning all about the do's and don'ts of fatherhood and is becoming another fantastic dad. He's juggling a career that includes non-traditional work hours and he's managing to still find time for cuddles and kisses from his baby girl.

My father in law manages to keep our family equipped with family recipes from our ancestors. He's up to date with the going ons in our community and he loves spending time with his kids and grandkids. He's the best navigator of country back rounds I know!

And saving the best for last...and certainly not least, I thank God for the father of my own children. He is amazing. He shares the weight of parenting with me. He plays, instructs, disciplines, laughs, guides and spends time with Savannah and Tucker. Their faces light up with joy when they see him coming. He is loved by many, but none more than us. We are blessed to have him.

Not many families can say they have 4 men who are fantastic role models. Thank you Lord for these amazing men in my life and in the lives of my kids. What a gift...what a legacy....what a treasure!

Happy Anniversary! this guy
Friend, Protector, Man of Integrity, Kind, Christian, Loving, Giving, Honest, Funny.

Thank you for 17 wonderful years....the ride has been unpredictable and blessed!

I love you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Favorites

My favorite things about summer:

1. More relaxed schedule with the kids. No preschool, homeschool, homework!

2. My garden....fresh squash, tomatoes, corn...yummy!

3. My flowers....I inherited tons of beautiful flowers in my yard from the previous's wonderful to wake up to something new everyday!

4. kids love it and so do I. This year I only get to work for an hour a day because I will still be working my job, but I am excited that I still get to be involved.

5. VACATION!...we don't usually take a summer vacation so I don't know if this one will stay on the list (we love the mountains in the fall). We are headed to Branson in a few weeks. Gonna be fun I am sure!

6. More time to visit with friends. No one is rushing out the door to get kids in bed for school. Everyone is just more laid back.

7. Visitors....more out of town friends and family visit during the summer. It's fun catching up!

What about you....what are your favorite things about summer?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thankful Thursday

No matter what our circumstances are, we have so much to be thankful for.

Here's a small list of my current gratitudes....what are you thankful for this week?

I am thankful for ....

1. A reduced schedule with my job this month (my last day is June 30!)
It's allowing me to spend some extra time with the kids...NICE!

2. Upcoming vacation to.....Branson! Finally decided last night that will be our destination.

3. Opportunity to pray for friends.

4. My mom is on her way to see me....she will be here in 4 days!

5. My husband, his burden for others, his leadership in our family.

Leave a comment and let us know what you are thankful for this week!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Church of Today

This morning I was up early and browsed through a whole long list of facebook status updates from the last couple of days. I saw 4 post that where nearly identical. You know what they said? .....thanks for asking...I'll tell ya....They all said something like "Pray for my child or so-n-so's teenager...after all they are the church of tomorrow".

I've heard this said many a time before and each time it hits on a bit of a nerve. Does it you? I mean, really, our kids...our teenagers...the church of tomorrow? I think I am just about ready to stand up and say NO!

Kids and teenagers who know Christ are part of the CHURCH OF TODAY! They are vital to what is happening today in the church. They don't need to wait until they are 18 or 21 to wake up and say..."oh, right, now I am a part of the church of today". Their worth is as great today as it will be in 10 years. If you don't think kids and teens are part of the church today, I would strongly urge you to take a trip to your child's Sunday School class, AWANA, children's church or other Kid-friendly program. You will see kids actively and aggressively participating in worship, learning and scripture memory and reading. If we added just a touch of their excitement for the things of God to our worship services on Sunday we might get a glimpse of what the church of today could really be!

I've seen teenagers who serve the Lord more faithfully and more joyfully than adults. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying we don't need adults. I am saying that we don't need to wait until teens become 20's to welcome them into the church of today. They are valuable, moldable, teachable and most of all ready to commit to a wild adventure with God. They don't know about being careful instead they take risks. What better time to let them know we are counting on them TODAY to do something for Christ?

The trend for church raised kids is to stray from the church during their 20's. Let's stop the cycle. Let's move in a direction to mentor and grow youth to a deeper understand of their position in Christ and the church.

I promise I am stepping off the soap box right now. Finished for today.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reflections of Youth

It's funny. I never realized how unhip I am until today.

Incident #1- Our new youth pastor and his pretty, youthful wife arrived in town this week. Today was their first service at the church as staff. He wore salmon colored pants, blue boat shoes and lime green socks. Considering he bought the pants from J Crew they must be in style...right? Funny because everyone was talking about it...the youth guy knows he's got more style than any other guy on staff...he can take the laughs for sure!

Incident #2- It was brought up in choir practice tonight at church that I have a blog. One older teenage guy just about passed out and then asked "You have a blog, what do you have to blog about?" I that boring???? Funny how teenagers view adult lives!

Well, I won't be showing up in salmon colored pants (and neither will Bruce) and I might not lead the most exciting life....but I am happy being me. It's taken a while to get here....and there are still things that make me more nervous than they should...but I am getting there...pretty comfortable in my own skin. Thankful for the person God's made me. Happy to change the things I need to as I can and willing for God to change the things that on my own I am unable.

I do have a few risky things going on that may make me sound more adventurous....

1. I have a blue dress and new navy blue leggings that I have been putting off wearing....but I am just about out world...and please-no fashion police!

2. We are planning a fly by the seat of your pants vacation. Meaning----we aren't going to plan every last minute of it...we will leave plenty of room for spontaneous fun.

3. There's a slight chance that with mom visiting next week, my refrigerator might get cleaned out....that in and of itself is living life on the edge!

4. My hairstyle and possibly color is going to change drastically in the next week!

See, I can live life on the edge....with or without salmon colored pants!

Seriously, so happy Greg and Alicia are with us on staff. They make us all look younger!