Saturday, January 29, 2011

If your sister was on TV, would you watch her?

After an awesome day with the ladies from our church's women's ministy, it remended me to write about something I realized at an ALPHA group we lead.    It sounds strange, but has made a huge step in my walk toward God.  This also majorly helped me understand my husband in his walk, since he is "way" ahead of me!  So here goes...

As my husband grew deeper in his faith, it was hard for me, because things weren't the same...not that they were bad, but different.  He wasn't the same.  I noticed that he was ALWAYS watching, listening, reading, and interested in God things.  Jesus things.  The bible.  I have to admit, I'm a bit ashamed, but I felt a bit annoyed.  I have heard people being called Bible thumpers or Jesus Freaks and although I AM a believer and not a name-caller, he would definitely fit the bill.  

One night at our Alpha meeting, this exact point was brought was put in a much different way...the speaker explained that as our relationship with God grows closer, we want to know more.  It would be like seeing your brother or your sister or your best friend on the news and just flipping the station....NO...we would "want" to know what they were saying about him/her.  We would have to know what was going on with them because we "know and/or love"  them... I immediately pictured my sister on the news and the thought of passing up such a story would be crazy, I love her and absolutely have to know why she is on there!!!  More and more, books, radio and tv shows interest me when they are about our God.  I am happy to put things into a different perspective and be grateful that my husband is listening to the things that really matter!

Breathing a sigh of relief...

Last Friday, my husband's company had a total shake up, and I was scared out of my mind.  I touched on how it went down here.    But, as of now, he is still employed.  He is no longer with the same company, has to drive 3x further, but STILL HAS A JOB!!!  Prayer works, because this is nothing less than a miracle!!!

During the last week, in my worried state of mind, I packed tons of stuff to sell, I reduced our utility bills by getting rid of any extra programming and services, and quite spending.  Like, literally stopped going anywhere that wasn't a totally NEEDED!  We made meals out of what we already had and bought minimal groceries.  I didn't have to get gas, because I barely drove, and while it has only been a week, it was EXACTLY what I needed to become more conscious of everyday spending. 

In today's economy, one never knows when something like this might happen.  It has happened to so many others and although I consider myself a thrifty person, I know there are ways we can get by on less.  So, I went searching, and with the advice of my dear friend, April ,  I started a blog about saving money.  It is called  Money Saving Momma .   I am so excited to be blogging and sharing tips with others, and hopefully, someday earn money doing reviews/advertisements on it.    Maybe all this happened for a reason, it brought Billy and I closer, it got Billy out of a corporate environment, and reinforced our faith that God will provide.  I am so grateful for my family and friends who kept us in their prayers, it worked!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gave a compliment, Caused a cry

Today, while at Wal-Mart for my weekly grocery trip, I had to use the restroom.  When I got all the way to the back bathrooms, I noticed an elderly cleaning lady with her big mop and bucket in the doorway...I politely asked her if she needed me to go to the restrooms upfront (hoping she would say no...i really had to go) and she never looked up from mopping and quietly said, "no", and scooted her big rolling mop bucket out of my way.    The bathroom was spotless and smelled "clean". 

While in the restroom, I thought about how she wasn't very friendly, and instead of being annoyed, I put myself in her shoes.  Maybe she doesn't feel that "making eye contact" would matter, maybe her back is killing her from cleaning...SO...I decided to let her manager know how nicely cleaned the restrooms were.  On my way out, I asked her for the name of her manager and she hesitated for a sec, then worriedly stated his name.  I was caught off guard that maybe she thinks I was planning a complaint.  I immediately complimented her and said that I'd like to let the manager know what a great job she was doing.  She burst out into tears...she was smiling by this time, so I assume they were happy tears, but how sad is that?  As she composed herself, I said that she deserved some major credit for her job, because I clean bathrooms at home just for "my" family and it is hard work!  She thanked me repeatedly and I thanked her back. 

The lady at the service desk said that "positive remarks" are HUGE for them, all the more reason to find someone to compliment on each visit.  Sometimes you may have to look hard, but I'm sure there is someone  who could really use a kind word  :)

Smart and Trendy Moms

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snow Days

We have had so many snow days this year!  I have to admit...I LOVE IT!!!  I always feel like, what a great time to relax, play with the kids, read a book, watch movies, take a nap...BUT it ends up, clean the house, do laundry, feed the kids-all day long, put on snow clothes, take them off, clean it all up, listen to fighting b/t them...etc...

I love it anyways, and the next time we have a snow day, I'll still "think" about all the wonderful things I "could" be doing!!!

Peeling out of snowy wet clothes and making a pile on MY floor!!!

Cub Scouts to the Fire House

Last Tuesday, the den went to visit our local Fire House.  It was AWESOME!  It is really cool to see how the firemen live.  They have recliners and a tv.  Four firemen work together per shift.  Each shift has their own fridge and pantry!  They take turns cooking dinner each night and then work out to stay strong for the job!  They also now have their own beds in separate rooms.  They also have housekeeping duties that they share, like mopping, cleaning the bathroom, and doing the dishes.  All the while, just waiting for the come to the rescue...REAL HEROES!!!

Way to make yourselves comfy in their chairs!!

Our gang with our den leader, Cheryl

Blake's Favorite part!!!

They dressed Cheryl to put out a fire!

Blake earned some beads too!


The entire group...thanks to these wonderful firemen!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today was the day...

First off, I must focus on this:   My husband, my children, my family, my friends, being healthy, and God's love.  These are the things that I choose to focus on when things get bad, because today was the day...

Today was the day that we have thought about, worried about.  The day that Billy's job got shaken.  I say shaken instead of lost, because he is still technically employed, just no longer at his usual place.  He will keep his job while he trains his replacement and while another location needs him.  How long will that be for?  We haven't a clue.  I wouldn't normally write about this sorta thing, but it is happening to so many people and has unfortunately become common.

We moved here for THIS job, almost 5 years ago.   His job back home was commission-based and with having a family to support, we felt this was an opportunity that had to be taken. It was an chance to have a steady salary, to work for a Christian-based company, a company that was family-oriented and cared about people.  As it turns out, it's quite the opposite. 

To make matters worse, our finances ever since have been dealt a bad hand.  I call it that because, it has been like bad luck.  We had to use our retirement to move for the new job.  It had been a year and we couldn't sell our house back home, finally got it rented out and the tenants stopped paying and destroyed the home.  We eventually lost it to foreclosure.(disgusted and full of guilt over this after living there for over 10 years)  During my Mom's battle with cancer, I charged the expenses, and in the end- the funeral.  Meanwhile, we have been living paycheck-to-paycheck, getting by and thankful for no major emergencies or expenses.  I am constantly trying to be frugal by purchasing most everything at second-hand stores, save energy around the house (I even hang dry quite a bit of our laundry to save $$), and shop for groceries on a tiny budget.  The word budget is kinda scary (i just now realized )...what if there isn't a paycheck to budget?

Believe it or not, this posting is going to end on a good note...  

I once heard that people should be "big" on family and being together, more than "big" on house/ items and not be home enough to enjoy them together.  Billy and I have been praying for a way for him to be home more, doing a job that he believes in, and making a difference somewhere...this may be just what we have been asking for...  Who knows what the future may hold?  Jobs for us that we enjoy, time to spend together as a family without the constant stress and phone calls from his job...hmmmm...that would be nice.

It would be very easy for us to focus on the possibility of losing our house, having to relocate, selling our stuff BUT just to think...we have each other and our health and our faith and THOSE are the things that are important.  Sometimes, I think about if one of us were sick, not with a cold, but an illness.  I wouldn't give a second thought about what house I lived in, or what car I drove....all I would care about is us staying together and having our health....SO that is what I am choosing to focus on!!  

Billy's faith is strong and that's awesome!  He is certain that God will provide and that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  I wish "I" had his kind of faith, but I'm working on it, everyday!! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

White carrots - our veggie of the week

I am doing a "Weekly New Fruit/Vegetable".  I have started this several times before and seem to gravitate back to the familiar, but am back at it!!

This week the kids chose the "white carrots" aka parsnips.  I have tried these years ago and remember that I liked them, but am experimenting again and including the kids.  I got a recipe for Honey Glazed Carrots & Parsnips here.               

bacon-wrapped pork fillet, spinach salad, and roast carrots & parsnips
The parsnips were kinda like a spicy carrot, but not spicy as in hot but just bumped up carrot flavor!!  The kids kept asking for more and Blake even held his arms up, closed his eyes, and yelled, "YUMMO!!"  These will be served again.  The glaze isn't even needed, but it was so delish on the meat and veggies, that I am definitely going to make it for the next holiday meal.   I think any kid would eat ANY veggie with this glaze on it.  It made me feel like I served a 5 Star meal!!lol!!

The fillets were only $1.38 each, spinach bought in bulk at Costco, and the veggies cost around $3 for all.  Yummy, cheap, and mostly healthy!!  Entire dinner for under $6 for a family of four!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

School keepsakes

Since Blake started preschool,  I have held onto artwork, select school papers, and anything I thought was special.  It is quite a pile in my office and there is no excuse for it!  He has been in preschool since he was three years old and he is now in first grade, that 4 years of stuff to sort through.  I did keep in in order by year, and there really isn't all that much from preschool, but none the less, this project need to get done so that I can continue to stay with it throughout his school years.

I bought a large plastic file box for each kid.  One blue and one pink.  They have lids that lock to protect the stuff inside too.  I will let Blake and Taylor decorate them and then designate each of the folder sections inside to each year of school.  That way I will limit myself on what and how much stuff I can keep.  I am writing the school grade on the backs of each item.

I got Kindergarten almost done and love looking back already!  

Larger artwork that I love, have a special place on our dining room wall.  I take pictures of him with his artwork each school year and then if something should happen to them...I still have the pic.  It may become very impractical to "keep" all of them, so that's another reason I take a pic.

Blake's kindergarten artwork
Some that I kept that are larger, I also have an under-the-bed plastic container that I put them in and slide them under the guest bed.  The one question that I must ask myself is:  Why am I organizing the kids keepsake stuff when my house is a disaster?????  It's funner than mopping!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blake is 7...Lego party !!!

Blake's birthday is right after Christmas, so planning can be tough.  School just got back in, money is tight, and after the holidays we are ready for a break.  This year, I knew that we were going to keep things inexpensive and simple.  The more I thought about NOT having a party for him the more I wanted too!  Soooo, we decided on a Lego party.  I printed out coloring pages from as place mats, bought plain old square red plates and cups to serve a home-made cake that was decorated by Billy and Blake!
the table is set...

My little baker

Daddy helping to make the cake decorations

Lego 7 cake
Blake got to go shopping to pick the little prizes for the goody bags.  Taylor and Blake both had fun making and filling them!
Taylor helped with ALL the plans!

The goody bags

I didn't let him hand out invitations to all of his classmates because there are 24 kids in the class....YIKES!!  I have to be honest, I only let him invite the friends that we talk to all the time.  I really love the Mom's that I have gotten to know since moving here, so that is the group of kids that came, so everyone knew each other and chatted away as the kids went CRAZY!!!  Well, except one mom...April...watched the Chiefs game with the Dad's...but anyways!!  lol!! I had to give her trouble!!!

April and Kanin...aren't they cute?!?!

The first game was '"Billy's game"  of Lego toss.  The kids got to toss legos into different sized bowls, and if they got it into the smallest one, they got to throw a sock "snowball" at Billy!!  The last part was my idea, and Billy wasn't very happy about that!  Then off to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY and have cake and ice cream!

Blake got really great gifts of games and Lego stuff....his favorite things in the world!!

He read each card out loud (with help now and then)
 They just "played" most of the time, but at the was time to start the scavenger hunt that leads them to their goody bags!
the gang

the first clue was hidden in the palm!

Richy found a clue!

I think they finally found them


Saturday, January 8, 2011

How can my baby be 7 ???

How can it be???  How can my baby boy be seven years old, already? 

We were watching old family videos over the past holiday and saw Blake when he was makes me sooo sad to know how fast he has grown up.  I guess that means "in a blink of an eye", Taylor will be seven too!!  I just wish things could   S L O W   down a bit...

3 days old
5 days old

1 week old

3 months old

5 months old

6 months old
First Christmas!
Blake and Aunt Sissy 1 year old!

2 years old "CHIEFS fan"
Blake and Daddy

Blake is 3  !!!

Blake's 4 !!!  ( yes, i realize he's still in the same shirt as the last birthday!)

Blake with his new baby sis  2008

Baseball 2008

Preschool 2008

Blake is 5 !!!

First day of Kindergarten

Annual hunting trip

1950's day

Cardinal Campout
Blake is 6 !!!
Blake's spring school pic

First loose tooth

Blake became a cub scout

He earned his bobcat status

all i want for Christmas is my front tooth!

Annual hunting trip

Blake is 7 !!!