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Archive for November, 2009

Lately, I have been hooked on Passionate Homemaking , a blog on biblical homemaking that I just love love love! 

A while back, she posted on an advent celebration that she and her family enjoy each year.  I LOVED the idea and will be working this year and next to put together the necessary collection of ornaments as well as a book with each of the daily readings. 

Since we don’t have any of the ornaments at this point, this year we will mostly be just reading the devotionals each day of Advent and then add the tree activity next year.  The devotionals are all bible stories (many well known), but the focus of each reading is on how everything shows us the need for our Savior.  The way was prepared for Christ to die for us long before He came to earth!

Anyway, go here to read her post on her Jesse Tree Celebration.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”

~Isaiah 11:1-2

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Menu Planning Monday

Monday: Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Tuesday: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole with Brown Rice

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Baked Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries with Corn

Friday: Mac and Cheese and Peas

Saturday: Mark Work Party

Sunday: Dinner with Friends (I am making dessert, will post a recipe if it turns out yummy!)

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Getting it Together

Well, obviously, I have been off-line for a while (I guess it has been two weeks now!). I have DEFINITELY missed blogging since it always is so relaxing and it is fun to share what is going on with us!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving week and were able to spend lots of time just the two of us and also lots of time with family.  Mark had the whole week off and, although I had to work Monday, we got to spend some time together every other day of the week!  We even managed to squeeze a trip to OMSI in before our membership expired and used our free OMNIMAX tickets to see a movie while there-OMSI is one of those places that we always have a blast at!

We spent Thanksgiving with Mark’s family and had a great dinner and lots of yummy pies for dessert.  I always love thanksgiving and I am hoping and praying that the Lord will provide a way for us to get back to Maryland next Thanksgiving since I have not spent a Thanksgiving with my family since 2004! 

We left Friday morning for Eagle Crest (a resort in Central Oregon) where we stayed with Marks Aunt and Uncle and his Aunt’s family.  There were twelve couples and we ended up having a blast playing lots of group games.  We went into downtown Sisters (one of those quaint little “frontier” towns you see mostly in old movies) on Friday night for the Christmas Tree Lighting and also on Saturday for the Christmas Parade-both were very small town, but very fun nonetheless. 

While we were in Sisters, I picked up some yarn and knitting needles/crochet hooks and started practicing my knitting again.  I also got some beautiful alpaca yarn and made a chunky stitch scarf using a new stitch pattern I learned (super simple, but really fun)!

This weekend was sort of a weekend to welcome in the holiday season.  It didn’t feel like Christmas was really upon us until seeing all the decorations and hearing all the Christmas music.  I am starting to get excited for the holidays!  I am also now very aware just how much I need to do.  I am taking my papers to work tomorrow to die cut some things for my Christmas card and will have to start putting them together this week!  Luckily, we are too cash poor to buy gifts for anyone so we are keeping the shopping VERY minimal this year so at least I don’t have that stress!

Well, I hope that every one of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  I hope that I can keep myself together enough to keep up with posting more regularly during this holiday season!  I will be praying throughout this season to keep my heart and mind focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and will be praying the same for each of you!

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I’m Twenty-Three

It just seems bigger when I spell it out….

I can’t believe it!  The years are just flying by!  It seems like life has moved quicker than time has and I sometimes feel like I missed it! 

I have to say that “big days” have sort of bummed me out for the past few years.  Last year I remember just breaking down and losing it at Costco (yes, Costco) on Mother’s Day because I has so planned on at least being pregnant by that time.  I even remember having a little cloud over my head on my 2-year anniversary because August had been our “planned” time to start trying for a family. 

I am not sad today because I am 23 and childless…..no, if I am sad at all today it is because I wasted close to 23 years without the Rock that I now have!  But then again, I can’t really be sad about that-we are certainly not called to look back on our lives and regret….afterall, we have been made new-I can’t really be anything but overjoyed that my Savior loves me SO MUCH that he has cried out to me and grabbed hold of my heart with strength like no other. 

Yes, I spent 23 years without truly loving and seeking Christ….that does stink….I admit…

BUT I am only 23!  I, Lord willing, have 5 or 6 more decades to live and serve Him.  I think about just how much He has revealed to me in the past 8-10 months….IMAGINE HOW MUCH HE WILL REVEAL IN THE NEXT 50 – 60 YEARS! 

Hallelujah! 

For anyone reading who doesn’t understand what I mean or the joy that I feel…for anyone who thinks that they are too late to be completely consumed with the power and love of Jesus Christ….for anyone who thinks that their life is too full of sin to be accepted and loved by any God….for anyone who thinks that you are just fine on your own-here is what I say…

My God is not only mine….He is not just some God…He is THE GOD!

He offers us a new life…our old lives forgotten….no, we don’t have to pay our way out of our sins….we don’t have to spend time in Hell being punished for our sins…

He became human for you and me- He was made human so that He could bear all of our sins by living completely blameless before God…

He Died for you and me- paying the penalty for our sins…yes, ALL of EVERYONE’S sins…that is EVERY sin that EVER was, is, or will be

He was Buried for you and me- He spent three days in a tomb

He Rose Again for you and me-He alone conquered death and overcame the clutches of hell.  In His resurrection, we will be resurrected and one day live on a new earth with our precious Lord and Savior.

These are the basic truths of Christ.  I am praying that each and every person who reads this post will consider their relationship with the Lord.  Are you living your life for Christ above all else?  Am I always doing just that? No….but I am striving toward that life!  That is the life that I want…a life that is wholly pleasing before my God, the God of Heaven and Earth. 

If you do not have a personal relationship with the Lord, I pray that you will seek Him.  He will meet you where you are, you don’t have to free yourself from the tangles of sin before asking Christ to be your Lord.  In fact, you can’t free yourselves from the tangles of sin…you need Christ for that!  I am praying that you will find Him and He will turn your heart to Him! 

Blessings!

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

~ 1 John 4: 9-10

I once heard it put like this…

“God does not wash us clean first and then love us….He shows His love for us by first loving us and then washing us clean!””

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So I looked all over yesterday, but could not find the camera cord!  I need it too because I have to print out class pictures to put in our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  Oh well, I will have to give Mark a mission tomorrow to track it down! 

I really don’t want to post about my freezer cooking day until I can get the pictures off of my camera, so I am going to give it until the end of the weekend.  If Monday rolls around and I still haven’t found a cord, I will have to just post anyway!

I also haven’t posted a menu plan, weekly deals, or much of anything else this week….bummer….I really LOVE LOVE LOVE posting (even the dumb stuff) because it is so much fun.  Where did this week go?  Anyway, this weekend is sort of my “birthday weekend” if you will, so I don’t know how much posting I will do, but I will be thinking about you all!

Tomorrow I am going shopping and to lunch with some girlfriends and then Mark and I may be doing something in the afternoon.  If not, I will be at Music Millenium (a local music store) where Mark’s cousin Stephanie (yes, the incredibly beautiful girl who sung at our wedding) will be performing with a band she is in called Shoebox Letters.  It is always fun so I am hoping we go, but if Mark has plans for us I certainly can’t pass them up, right?

Sunday we have church and sunday school and then we will- I REPEAT, WE WILL- go to care group (we haven’t been in a month and I miss it…).  Monday night Mark and I are going out to celebrate my 23rd birthday…not sure where yet, but I can’t wait for a long overdue date night! 

This post is here and there and everywhere…so I might as well keep on going….. 

I am all alone tonight because my pursuit of a raw milk supplier got the better of me and I decided to search the internet rather than go with Mark. 

Where is he? 

Well, let me just say our God is good!  He hears our prayers and answers them in His perfect timing! 

 Mark is helping out with a youth group activity at church tonight!  Okay so it doesn’t require any intense spiritual dedication and/or devotion, but he could have just ignored the request for help and stayed home to play video games, right?   I have been really praying for Mark to get more involved in our church family and just to put himself out there.  I have stopped “mentioning” all the events and have just given this to the Lord.  Well, out of the blue, Mark told me that he was going to volunteer to drive the youth around Portland for a night of “digital wars”!  I was stunned (and at the same time wanted to fall on my knees and praise God) that he was willing to give up his friday night to drive around some teenagers! 

Can I just say that God is not only working in Mark’s heart, but also in mine?  Let me just tell you that I have spent a few days now thinking about how I needed to go along “to help Mark”. 

Wow, can you say “control issues”?  Here he is, volunteering to help out with something, and I am worried about his driving and ability to find his way around Portland. 

Give me a break, right?  I guess I still have a LONG way to go in this marriage thing, huh?

Well, anyway, Mark is out right now driving around a few kids while they track down a few Portland landmarks and try to get good digital pictures of everything on their list.  It actually seems like it would be a super fun activity and I hope one day to help out!  They left at 7 and have to be back at the church with developed pictures by 10:30 PM to see who got the best shots.  I think the list includes getting pictures of:

  •  a statue
  • a particular building
  • a bridge
  • a picture with as many bridges in it as possible
  • a stranger proposing to someone of the opposite sex
  • a picture with a police officer
  • a picture of the kids walking a dog

and so on and so forth….sounds kind of fun, huh?

Man, now I REALLY wish that I would have gone along.  BUT, I think that it is important for me to let Mark have this for himself.

On the upside of being home tonight, I have officially tracked down a raw milk supplier!  YIPPEE!  Mark and I have been considering switching to raw milk for awhile and now have an order in to get a half gallon next wednesday and we will see if we want to become “regulars”!  It is illegal for farms to sell raw milk in Oregon unless it is bought on the farm and there are no more than 3 dairy cows.  Since very few farms have only 3 cows, that makes it REALLY hard to get raw milk on a regular basis unless you have friends who farm.  However, in Washington farms are allowed to sell raw milk in stores and at farmers markets and even set up drop off points.  We have connected with a group that basically “carpools” the milk from Vancouver, WA to various places around Portland.  We are super excited to have found a reputable source!

The only thing we are going to have to figure out if we decide to switch all of our milk to raw is that it is SUPER expensive.  It looks like the average price we are going to find without driving a LOT to get it will be $10/gallon.  Since we drink just shy of a gallon a week, that means that our food budget would be quite depleted by just our milk! 

However, Mark and I have been talking about how we will be needing to adjust our budget soon anyways so that we can stock back up on many of the things we have used up more recently (since switching to $100/month) like crackers and cereals (which we will be attempting to cut out completely by the end of next year…more on that later), frozen veggies, frozen chicken, brown rice and black beans, and a few others. 

So for anyone out there wondering how we were eating on $100 a month, know that that was almost entirely (probably around 80%) fresh produce, deli meat, and milk.  If we hadn’t already been stock up up on most household supplies, pasta, rice, beans, cereals, crackers, meats, grains (including bread), cheese, and frozen fruit and veggies-we NEVER could have eaten on that! 

Anyway, I think that we both agree that raw milk has enough benefits that we will MAKE it work in our budget.  (Of course if we can’t stand it, then we might have to switch a LOT slower than planned, but we will see how it goes I guess!)  We will probably end up increasing our budget up to about $40 a week again (so $30 after milk), but we have not sat down and prayed this through yet. 

Once Mark gets the promotion that he should be getting within the next few months, we will probably begin slowing increasing our food budget as needed in order to switch to more whole foods.  Since I have not been picky about meats recently, I have been able to stock up on a LOT, but that supply is running low and I think we are going to start trying to find less processed and higher quality products as we run out of our supplies and buy new! 

This is all speculation, of course, our plans are time and time again proven wrong and we must re-evaluate our decisions constantly.  Although I am currently(and happily) in one season of my life, I am still planning for my season of motherhood and I want to be certain that before I begin feeding my children (whether in my tummy, breastfeeding, or eating at the table), I know how to feed me

A blog that I regularly read and seek good, biblical encouragement and support from, has recently posted on the subject of “Real Food”.  I will be linking and reviewing what I think of her post (and how I plan to apply it in my life) in the beginning of next week.  Make sure you check back as it is one of my favorite posts on this subject!

Ok…wow…thanks for sticking that out….that was the most random post of random information that I have written in a LONG time….

I promise to get back to normal next week….not having my laptop is really throwing me!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Recently, the Lord has laid this scripture on my heart.  I hope an pray that it is meaningful to you as it has been to me…

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

~1 John 2: 15-17

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I’m Back!

Sorry for the almost week that I have been MIA in the blogging world!  Here’s what has been going on with us…

Last Friday morning I woke up feeling rotten and just wasn’t going to be much of a teacher so I stayed home from work…I was upstairs with Mark just before he was leaving for work and I was using the laptop on the bed….I stood up and stepped on the cord and somehow flung (quite literally) the laptop onto the floor.  I froze up and Mark actually had to come pick it up since I was much too scared to do so…well, my screen was completely cracked, making my laptop unusable for the time being.  I was TOTALLY bummed out (especially since about 2 years ago I did the same thing with my old laptop) and it was just rotten!  Anyway, I felt like an idiot and was really upset because….well, because it’s me and I must admit I tend to over react (only a little, of course 😉 ).  So anyway, Mark called later that morning to tell me that he would almost certainly be able to fix it and it would only be about $90 to get a new screen.  Yay for my genius husband…I knew I married a computer nerd for a reason!

Anyway, as of last Friday we were down to our two desktops….I decided to use mine to do some bargain hunting and it just started crashing once every few minutes!  So that was out!  I suppose I could have used Mark’s computer, but I was just finished with computers at that point!  The good news is that Mark has my desktop up and running now! 

So aside from that, we have a leaking shower in our main bathroom so we are using our extra bathroom while Mark looks into what tools he is going to need to fix our leaking one….so right now there is a shower rod putting pressure on the handle to keep the water from leaking…once again- I am so grateful for my clever husband!

Ok…other than those minor set backs, things are good!

Last weekend I started thinking about how nice it would be to not have to make dinner every night….or even every other night…so I started brainstorming some freezer meal ideas.  Well, if you know me well, you know that when I get into something, I go ALL IN, so Saturday evening I headed out to Winco with my list and bought everything I needed to make double batches of 5 meals AND a batch of Beef and Bean Burritos!  Sunday we ended up going out to lunch after church so I got off to a late start, but cooked from 3 to 7:30 and had a LOT of food ready for the freezer.  I will be posting all about that soon-so be sure to check back!

I have snagged some great deals in the past week and I will also post all about those!  Wow, I have so much to catch up on!

Anyway, I want to find the cord for our camera (we usually just use the special port on the laptop to get pictures) so I can put up some deals and freezer cooking posts!

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Rolling the Walgreens Deals

I am LOVING Walgreens (well, not the store but the incredible money making deals that have going on)!

I made three transactions yesterday and came home with all these goodies:

November 4 002

Transaction #1 and #2 (both exactly the same):

  • Almay Pure Naturals Foundation: $10
  • Almay Pure Naturals Eye Shadow: $7.50-$7.50 (BOGO Sale)
  • Used a $7 RR and a $1 RR from Vaseline Lotion and Halls

=$2 OOP, received a $10 and a $5 RR!

Considering that I paid mere pennies for those $7 and $1 RR and only paid $2 OOP, I am pretty excited about the MASSIVE profit with $15 in RR (times two!)

Transaction #3:

  • 3 Lubriderm Lotions: $4 ea. – (3) $2/1 cpns – (3) $1/1 wags cpns = $3 + $8 RR
  • 1 Quilted Northern TP: $4.30 – $1/1 cpn = $3.30
  • 3 Hunts Tomato Sauce: $1 – $1/3 cpn = FREE
  • 2 Halloween Pencils (clearanced…filler items): $.06 ea = $.12
  • Used a $3.50 RR and a $1 RR from EmergenC and Halls

= $1.92 OOP, received $8 in RR!

So here is my before and after breakdown….when I went into Walgreens, I had $24.50 in Register Rewards, spent roughly $5.90 OOP and walked away with $42 in Register Rewards!  That is a profit of about $11.50 AND I got much needed toilet paper as well as some lotion and all-natural make-up! 

Considering that I am typically spending loose change to get the register rewards, I think that this could prove to be quite the money-making scheme!  Yay for register rewards….this just goes to show you that couponing IS for everyone!  Who couldn’t use some extra cash!

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